Pope Francis has “consolidated his position as one of the most popular pontiffs of modern times,” according to BBC news.
Pope Francis addresses social issues directly, particularly when asked about pressing issues.
During a visit to the Philippines on Jan. 18, a brave 12-year-old girl asked Pope Francis a question:
“Many children are abandoned by their parents. Many children get involved in drugs and prostitution. Why does God allow these things to happen to us? The children are not guilty of anything,” Glyzelle Palomar asked the pope, according to christianpost.com.
Pope Francis, the first pope from the Americas, did not pretend to know the answer to the young girl’s question. Instead, he told the difficult truth.
“She is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer, and she wasn’t even able to express it in words, but in tears,” said Pope Francis.
Pope Francis did not shy away from the question, but expressed to the audience that such questions do not have a concrete answer. Instead, Pope Francis talked to the audience about how to combat such issues with true compassion and understanding.
“I invite each one of you to ask yourselves, ‘Have I learned how to weep, how to cry when I see a hungry child, a child on the street who uses drugs, a homeless child, an abandoned child, an abused child, a child that society uses as a slave?’” Pope Francis said.
Prostitution is not the only issue that Pope Francis has commented on. Since he began his papacy, Pope Francis made his business to discuss issues that the Catholic Church had avoided for years.
The purchasing of sacraments had been a problem in the Church for years. On Jan. 23, the pope told the Vatican that not only should sacraments be free, but annulments should also be free because annulments are connected to the sacrament of marriage.
“The sacraments give us grace, and a marriage proceeding, like an annulment, touches on the sacrament of marriage,” Pope Francis said, according to HuffingtonPost.com.
Pope Francis also critiqued the way confessions are not intimate but are now automatic.
“Confessions often seem like a procedure, a formality. Everything is mechanical! No! Where’s the meeting in this? The meeting with the Lord who pardons you, hugs you and rejoices?” Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis has also spoke out against the recent Charlie Hebdo Paris attack. He encouraged religious groups to denounce their radical counterparts.
“I express my hope that religious, political and intellectual leaders, especially those of the Muslim community, will condemn all fundamentalist and extremist interpretations of religion which attempt to justify such acts of violence,” Pope Francis said, according to USNews.com.