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How being a Jesuit has impacted Pope Francis' papacy


The first Latin American pope and the first Jesuit. As such, Pope Francis brings an experience and background to the Vatican that sets him apart from all previous popes. 

The Communications Director for the Jesuit General Curia says many of the pope's actions resonate directly with the Society of Jesus, even with the initial choice of the name, Francis, a humble and poor saint from Italy.

PATRICK MULEMI,
SJ
Communications Director, Jesuit General Curia
“I would say there are certain things that have influenced him, his life and those come out in the way he is leading the Church. The experience of 'Church' in Argentina, where Francis comes from, that has influenced how he looks at the Church, how he looks at the world and how he looks at the role of the Church in the world.”

To him, the world is his “flock,” so he asks for prayers and also calls them to prayer, just as any Jesuit would. He has established the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in September and a new Marian feast day the Monday after Pentecost. 

Additionally, each month he invites all to join him in his prayer intentions, which mainly focus on social issues. 

PATRICK MULEMI,
SJ
Communications Director, Jesuit General Curia
“I think that's one of the hallmarks of what I would say, in that manner, he acted like a Jesuit. Where he says, 'Okay, there's something going on in the world. There's something going on in my community. He is saying to all of us, we have this situation. Let's engage with this. It might be a social, political situation, but it needs us to engage in that. That's what, in many ways, Jesuits do. We engage with the world, we engage with the social, political circumstances around us.”

This idea of “engaging” is one directly from the Jesuits, as in their nearly 12-year formation, they are at the service of others: the sick, poor, refugees and even those who don't share the same beliefs. Pope Francis has exemplified each of these during his pontificate.

His mercy goes even deeper, when during the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016 he gave priests permission to forgive the sin of abortion, which could previously only be done by bishops.

PATRICK MULEMI,
SJ
Communications Director, Jesuit General Curia
"He leads by being an example, by trying to live what what he is talking about. And that's basically what Ignatian spirituality is all about. It's not really a spirituality of leadership. It's a spirituality of service. If you cannot serve, you cannot lead as far as I'm concerned. I think that is what Francis is all about.”

Even after being named TIME magazine's person of the year in 2013, his humility, passion and care for others still resound, all great qualities he gained during his 60 years as a member of the Society of Jesus.