Media reports suggest that being elected pope has not changed Francis’ demeanor. He is said to be frugal with the Vatican’s funds, moving freely among his congregations and remaining approachable.
“He is very well respected,” said the Rev. John P. Rosson of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Cooperstown. “He has highlighted the church as a servant. He is a pope by gesture and by vesture. What I mean is he see himself as a shepherd. He is a Jesuit, who has adopted a Franciscan name. He does not wear red shoes or live in the palace. He does not sing. He is less concerned with defining the Gospels and more concerned with encountering the person of Christ.”
Rosson said the pope is not inclined to change the rules of Catholicism; however, he is focused on healing rather than judging.
“We have so many disenfranchised Catholics,” Rosson said. “Catholicism is still the largest denomination in the country, but this is followed by the second-largest category — non-practicing Catholics.”
According to Rosson, Francis was nearly elected pope twice before, and it was expected in the Catholic community that he would become the next pope.
“This is a pope that the United Nations could have elected,” Rosson said. “It is like when the astronauts look down at earth from the moon — they see no boundaries between communities. This pope is less concerned with history and more concerned with the present. In the midst of all that is bad in the world, this is a moment of joy.”