Since being elected to the Holy See in March 2013, Pope Francis has gone on an unprecedented spree of reform, liberalization, and outreach. In the process, he's accomplished an enormous amount, breaking bureaucratic logjams, increasing accountability, and refocusing the Church's role in ministering to the needy.
What has Pope Francis done? To start, the pontiff has achieved a great deal by living simply, speaking his mind, enforcing frugality, and working for peace and justice. While his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, was seen as an ineffectual doctrine enforcer, Francis has tried to do away with or change doctrine that no longer applies to a 21st century Catholic Church. Pope Francis makes the news regularly with his latest reforms and proclamations. He's simplified annulment rules that have been overly complicated for centuries, threatened to shut down the Vatican Bank if it didn't embrace transparency and reform, and moved toward liberalizing the Vatican's stances on homosexuality, the environment, and the economy.In the process, he's angered many American conservatives, conservative Catholics around the world, and traditionalists who feel he's going too far, too fast. But the reforms continue apace, and likely will for Francis's entire papacy. If you don't know much about Pope Francis, this biography outlines his greatest achievements, and is the perfect place to learn more about his history, opinions, and ethos. Then you can decide which of Pope Francis's reforms and achievements you think is his best to date.
Embraced Interfaith Dialogue
Francis has advocated good relations between the Catholic Church and Jewish and Muslim leaders since the beginning of his papacy. He's also attempted to heal schisms in Christianity, some of which are centuries old.
Increased Accountability In Sex Abuse Scandals
Francis has taken a number of steps to crack down on the sex abuse that was rampant in the Catholic Church. He set up an eight member committee to advise him on how to respond to the abuses, and has met with abuse victims on numerous occasions. He has also defrocked several bishops involved with sex crimes.
Denounced Human Trafficking
Francis has denounced human trafficking and people smuggling in much harsher terms than his predecesors, calling it a disgrace, a crime against humanity, and a humiliation of those affected by it.
Enforced Frugality In High-Ranking Bishops
Francis has insisted on frugality in the Church. One of his first acts was to nix the bonuses usually paid to Vatican employees upon the election of a new Pope. A year into his papacy, he sacked the German "bling bishop" who reportedly spent over $40 million on a new residency.