Quadriga - Pope Francis - A Year of Change? | Quadriga - International Debate from Berlin | DW | 13.03.2014
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Quadriga - Pope Francis - A Year of Change?

It is exactly one year since the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the new head of the Catholic Church. Since then Pope Francis has become a symbol of humility, hope and change. He has fought for more transparency, rejected the luxuries of the Church and reached out to the public. Can he build enthusiasm for the Church among believers? Does he have enough Allies in the Vatican?

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After years of reputation-ruining scandals and headlines including child-abuse, abuse of official positions, money laundering, links to the Mafia and extravagance, Pope Francis has become a symbol of hope and change.

Within the last decade more than a million Catholics had left the church in Germany alone. Pope Francis has promoted reforms in the Vatican Bank and the Curia. The Jesuit and first Latin American in the post wants a simple church, dedicated to the poor more in tune with the church in his home continent and Africa than with the church in Europe.

His modest lifestyle is the embodiment of this idea, but will the church as a whole be able to follow his lead.

And do people even want a Pope who devotes himself to the poorest? Do they prefer his "bruised, hurting and dirty” church to one which is insular and stays firmly within its comfort zone? Do they value a Pope who is accessible and lives in their world with only a poor man's crucifix of tin?

Francis reaches out to the people. He says he needs everyone including people who the Church has traditionally classed as sinners such as gay and lesbian believers. But even while reaching out he still holds tight to the traditional values of the Church. On matters such as contraception, abortion and divorce he's just as conservative as his predecessor.

How does this fit together? Is Francis a credible pope? Or does Bergoglio, as many critics have claimed, lack theological depth? Is he really more of a ‘man of the people’ than previous Popes? Can he win over the institution and its followers or will he get tangled up in the contradictions between tradition and his new awakening?

Write to us with your opinion: Pope Francis - A Year of Change?

Our guests:

Derek Scally - is the Berlin correspondent of the "Irish Times". He studied journalism in his native Dublin and cultural studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He worked previously in New York for "The Irish Voice," the leading Irish-American newspaper in the U.S. His main areas of interest are German and European politics, business and the arts. He also reports on Polish affairs and reported closely on the German pope Benedict.

Martín Gak- received - his Ph.D. in philosophy from The New School for Social Research in New York. His area of work is ethics in theory and practice. He wrote his dissertation on the relation between religious morality and secular ethics and the grounds of politics. Based in Berlin, he is a regular contributor to newspapers, magazines and blogs.

Claudia Keller- after completing her degree in history and German studies, she worked as a trainee for the Berlin daily newspaper „Der Tagesspiegel“. After finishing her journalistic training she stayed on at the „Tagesspiegel“ newspaper in Berlin as an editor. She writes primarily about topics such as religion, integration and education policy. At the same time she also publishes articles in the weekly paper „Die Zeit“ and in the magazine „Chrismon“.