A year of Pope Francis

Good news these days is far too rare, so when it comes, it's great. Upon the one-year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis as pontiff, it is inspiring to see how much he has done in so little time and what a blessing he has been for the Roman Catholic Church and so many others around the world who aren't Catholics. Polls show the pope has not so much changed people's behavior but opened their minds. He has taken on controversial subjects but not in a divisive way, only to ask that people refocus away from social culture wars and on to the needs of the neediest instead.

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After years of scandal, the Catholic Church badly needed an uplift, and Francis has changed the way the world views the Church. Polls show 60 percent of Catholics feel their faith has been renewed by the Holy Father. But it's clear his reach has extended well beyond his faith. Congress is awaiting a response from the Vatican to an invitation House Speaker John Boehner extended to the pope to speak before a joint session. The speaker said in his letter that the pope has "inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity and humble service," and added that he "has awakened hearts on every continent."

Good deeds, indeed.

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