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Highlights from the pope’s first year

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Reuters

Pope Francis. File picture: Stefano Rellandini

Vatican City -

Ten highlights of Pope Francis's first year at the helm of the Roman Catholic Church:

March 13, 2013 - Election

“I am a great sinner. Trusting in the mercy and patience of God in suffering, I accept.” The new pope strikes a humble tone as he accepts his election. The theme is continued with his choice of the name Francis and his decision to live in a modest Vatican guesthouse.

March 16, 2013 - A new credo

The basis of the new pope's philosophy is outlined to the world's media: “How I would like a poor Church for the poor!”

March 17, 2013 - Mercy matters

The theme of mercy dominates his first Angelus (Sunday) prayers. “The Lord never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness,” he says. “A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness.”

March 28, 2013 - Washing feet

On Holy Thursday, the new pope washes the feet of 12 young offenders at a Rome prison in observation of an Easter ritual inspired by Christ washing the feet of his apostles.

“Whoever is the most high up must be at the service of others,” he says. “I do this with all my heart because it is my duty as a priest, as a bishop. I have to be at your service.”

June 7, 2013 - Modesty

“Me, I didn't want to be pope.” Francis responds to a question from a Jesuit student.

July 8, 2013 - Solidarity

For his first trip out of Rome, the new pontiff chooses to visit refugees on the Italian island of Lampedusa, highlighting the plight of African migrants who drown trying to cross the Mediterranean every year.

July 29, 2013 - A new approach to homosexuality?

“If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?” - on the plane returning from his first overseas trip, to Brazil, Francis responds to a question in terms hailed as marking a shift towards a more conciliatory attitude from the Church towards homosexuality.

September 7, 2013 - Prayers for Syria

Heeding a call from their new pope, Catholics all over the world mark a day of prayer and fasting for Syria. The initiative is seen as a sign of the Vatican reclaiming a role on the global stage.

September 19, 2013 - The Church must change

In his first full interview, Francis says believers should display “mercy” towards homosexuals, divorced people and women who have had abortions. “We must find a new balance, otherwise the Church's whole moral edifice risks collapsing like a house of cards,” he says.

November 26, 2013 - A Marxist pope?

In his first major publication, an “apostolic exhortation” that is described as the manifesto for his papacy, Francis decries the “new, invisible tyranny” of financial markets and reminds the rich of their duty to help the poor. One prominent American right-winger denounces the statement as “pure Marxism”. - Sapa-AFP


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