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White smoke, new Pope

Column by Sarah Fulton

Fulton is a first-year news/Internet major and can be reached at

Fulton columnist-w900-h900Watching as the white smoke rose announcing the selection of the new pope, I was underwhelmed by the moment. As a Christian, but not a Catholic, I thought that Pope Francis I was just another old conservative guy to lead the Catholic Church. However, since beginning his duties, he has changed my mind.

On the Thursday before Easter, Pope Francis observed the tradition of washing people’s feet, an act meant to mimic when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The washing of feet represents servitude in the Christian Church, and Pope Francis served with his own twist. Before Pope Francis exclusively washed the feet of men, he washed the feet of two women. It signified that Pope Francis was recognizing the importance of women in the church. He was breaking with tradition and saying that women are important too — they also deserved
to be served.

francis_ap-w2000-h2000The Vatican released a statement on April 5 that Pope Francis would seek to end the sexual abuse scandals that have plagued the church. According to Fox News, he intends to do this by creating measures to protect minors and help prosecute the perpetrators. Previous to Pope Francis’ placement, sex scandals were all I heard about the Catholic Church. By announcing that he is going to take decisive action to prevent sexual abuse, he won my confidence. It shows that he is not going to ignore the tough issues or deal with them behind closed doors.

The most impressive part about Pope Francis is the complete humility he has shown since becoming pope. Instead of living in the large papal apartments, he chose to live in the smaller guesthouse. During the official ceremony to confirm him as pope, he chose not to glorify himself, but to honor the previous pope. He gives off the impression of someone who is overwhelmingly humble.

There are approximately 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to BBC News. As their leader, it is wonderful to see Pope Francis use his position to promote understanding, servant-hood and humility, which are core values of the Christian Church. I hope he becomes a signal of the changing ways of Christianity. He made a non-Catholic believe in the power
of the pope.

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