11 years of Pope Francis: controversies, reforms & health

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Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, some cardinals believed the next pope should convey a sense of closeness and inclusivity. March 13 marks the 11th anniversary of who they elected: Pope Francis.

Throughout these 11 years, Francis has embraced human suffering in all forms—from the child who lost his father to refugees living with hopelessness.

The cardinals who elected Francis wanted a pope with energy to reform the Roman Curia. And he has done just that. Pope Francis continued the transparency and anti-corruption measures initiated by his predecessors. For example, by instituting external figures such as the Auditor General, who is in charge of supervising the balance sheets of institutions linked to the Vatican that until now, had operated freely.

Vatican Auditor General

Nothing is perfect. Everything can be improved further and, as the Pope himself says, corruption, rather than a sin, is a disease that needs to be cured.
I believe that the economic reforms initiated by Pope Francis and Pope Benedict make it more difficult to perform unlawful acts.

The Pope worked to focus the Curia on what he calls the Church's primary mission: evangelization.

On the other hand, some of his decisions have generated controversy. A recent example being his declaration titled “Fiducia supplicans” that allows for the pastoral blessings of same-sex couples. The declaration insists that the blessing is in no case an endorsement of the relationships, but some bishops argue that it creates confusion.

In the last two years of Francis' 11 year papacy, his health has begun to decline. It all started at the end of January 2022.

And I would like to tell you that today I won't be able to pass among you all to greet you, because I have a problem with my right leg. I have an inflamed ligament in my knee. But I will come down and greet you. And you will come up and say hello.

Since then, Pope Francis has had mobility difficulties, although this has not prevented him from continuing to travel. But respiratory issues have made his daily activities even more difficult.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning. Today I will not be able to read everything. I am getting better but my voice is still not back. Monsignor Braida will read the catechesis.

Over the last year, these respiratory problems have had him admitted into the hospital once, just before Easter 2023, and caused changes in his schedule from the end of November until now.

But Pope Francis has shown no sign of wanting to resign. Since the start of his knee problems, he had to cancel or postpone two international trips, but he has still made 9 trips in the last two years—and continues to plan more. In August, he plans to visit Pacific islands, although it is not certain if his health will allow the 87-year-old pope to do so.


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