NPR

After 5 Years As Pope, Francis' Charismatic Image Has Taken Some Hits

The pope has focused on the poor and boosting interfaith dialogue. But he has attracted criticism over his handling of issues including clerical sex abuse and the status of women in the church.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd in St. Peter's Square on Sunday. Recent months have seen Francis become the target of criticism on various fronts, and his image as a charismatic reformer has suffered some hits. Source: Filippo Monteforte

Every Sunday when he is at the Vatican, Francis ends his remarks to the crowd in St. Peter's Square with a typical Italian saying: "Have a good lunch and arrivederci."

It's that common touch that has so endeared the Argentine-born pope to millions of people across the world, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, since his election five years ago, on March 13, 2013. But in recent months, Francis has also become the target of criticism on various fronts, and the image of him as charismatic reformer has suffered some hits.

Rather than scolding the faithful on issues of sexual morality — as his two predecessors did — Francis instead stresses the need for mercy. He has championed the cause of the poor and the environment and denounced what he calls the "globalization of indifference" toward

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