photo: Corbis

Pope Francis is changing the hearts and minds of non-believers and millennials alike with his words and actions. The Catholic church has been in the spotlight nonstop due to his current visit to Cuba and the United States.

Since his Papal inauguration in 2013, Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina) has radically changed the Catholic Church’s stance on various controversial issues, and is viewed as quite a contemporary. He’s even on Twitter!

It’s estimated that roughly 300,000 Cubans attended the mass given by Pope Francis on September 20th, which is not a surprise at all. A survey conducted early this year noted that eight in 10 Cubans view the Pope positively. The survey also showed that “Cuba's Catholic Church is also well-liked, with 7 in 10 rating it positively, including majorities of non-Catholics.” One of the main reasons why Cubans love Pope Francis is linked to his support of normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

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So, how and why did Pope Francis become the “People’s Pope”? He’s been very vocal about a number issues. Let’s take a look at some of his more radical stances on issues that every millennial cares about:

  • On gun control: You cannot call yourself a Christian if you invest in weapons. “If you trust only men you have lost. It makes me think of ... people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn't it?”
  • On the environment: “Every person who lives on this planet" needs to engage with the issue of climate change. “Climate change [...] constitutes one of the main current challenges for humanity.”
  • On abortion: On September 1, Pope Francis sent a letter to priests urging them to express “words of genuine welcome” to repentant women who have undergone abortions, “combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed.” “I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.”
  • On homosexuality: “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
  • On hopeless millennials: “If I find a young person without hope, I’ve said this before, ‘a young retired person.’ There are young people who seem to have retired at 22 years old. They are young people with existential sadness, they are young people who have committed their lives to a basic defeatism.”

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