Catholics thank Pontiff for making church cool

Pontiff receives high praises as he marks the fifth anniversary of his papacy.

These comments come as the Pontiff marks the fifth anniversary of his election as the Pope on March 3, 2018.

Tributes to Pope Francis

In his statement, Premier reports that Catholic journalist Austen Ivereigh commended the leader for making the church innovative.

He said: “He’s introduced a free-wheeling news conference on the papal plane coming back from his trips.

“In his first big foreign trip in July 2013, he stood in front of the world’s media for an hour and a half — and they literally asked him anything they wanted — and of course that generated a huge amount of headlines.

“There’s no question that he’s fascinated the world, he’s fascinated the news media; that’s really his single greatest accomplishment, to make the Church exciting, dynamic and interesting in many ways to the world outside the Church.”

Paul Vallely, who wrote a biography about Pope Francis, also weighed in on the Catholic leader’s papacy.

In his words, “I think he’s been an enormous success; people feel that there’s a freshness to his approach.

“He’s not a liberal, actually, he’s quite conservative on lots of issues but he’s got this new approach of putting people before doctrine.”

The Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin had one word for the pope — joy.

He said: “I would like to say that the fundamental characteristic of this Pontificate is precisely joy, a joy that does not arise evidently from carelessness, but from the fact of knowing that one is loved by the Lord.”

More on Pope Francis

The first thing he did, after his election on March 3, 2013, chose his name, which honors St. Francis of Assisi. This 12th-century friar was known for caring for the poor.

He explains why he chose this particular name in an interview with the media.

Pope Francis says a cardinal embraced him after his election and  said, “Don’t forget the poor.” According to him, this influence his decision.

“That struck me … the poor. … Immediately I thought of St Francis of Assisi. Francis was a man of peace, a man of poverty, a man who loved and protected creation. … How I would love a Church that is poor and for the poor,” he said.

His concern for the poor, interest in environmental issues, are some of the things that have reigned in his five years as pope.

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