Pope Francis has endeavored to shift church culture / National Catholic Reporter

This Monday, March 13, is the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate. We’ll start seeing many stories marking his anniversary and assessing his effectiveness. Here’s an early one from a veteran National Catholic Reporter writer.

In January, the Vatican office that oversees Catholic priests, sisters and brothers in global religious orders had a plenary session. Seven women attended as representatives of the world’s women religious. That fact may not seem significant for those outside the Vatican, as sisters and nuns obviously represent a large proportion of those in religious life. But it was the first time in decades that women had been present at such a meeting, the result of a direct request to Pope Francis …

“Four years into this pontificate, many of the changes taking place at the upper echelons of the church echo the sisters’ experience: Something that at first glance could appear minor takes on a wider meaning. Transformations build slowly as a culture shifts.

“As Francis enters his fifth year, some ask just what this pope, who famously said he had come “from the ends of the Earth” for the job, has achieved. What’s more, they wonder, how will the things he has not accomplished be carried forward?”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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