"(Francis) has taken the world by storm,"Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, of Louisville, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said on "CBS This Morning." "I think the eyes of the world are on the church. And I think there's a real call to make us more pastoral, to be able reach out and accompany people. And the pope does it the way Jesus said, you know, don't just tell people to do something, but do it yourself. So, he's just been a great role model."
Instead of the papal limo, a simple Ford would do. And instead of an entourage, he'd carry his own bag. This was the papacy of gesture, but with a message to the Vatican establishment, the Curia.
A year after Pope Francis's selection, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, said his success, "I think we knew what we were getting because obviously we elected him. But that he's done it so successfully, so effectively, so expeditiously, I think that's an extraordinarily pleasant surprise to us."
Massimo Franco, author of the new book "The Vatican According to Pope Francis," said, "He's a man who hasn't any relation with the mentality and the tradition of the Roman Curia. This is the real novelty, and this is something shocking for the Vatican."
Dolan said Francis' efforts to live more simply may actually have a "frustrating" drawback for him in that it only increases the attention. "The more simple he wants to be, the more sincere he wants to be, the more natural he wants to be, the more himself he wants to be -- and all of that is genuine as can be -- the more his popularity and esteem goes up," Dolan said. "That shouldn't surprise us because that's the gospel. Jesus told us, when you get rid of pomp and prestige and power and clout, people are going to love and you accept you more. And that's happening with him. So, his variability to shy away from attention and put the spotlight somewhere else is only intensifying."
The shocks of Francis' papacy would get bigger through the year. Francis would break rules, in what he did -- washing the feet of non-Christians -- and in what he said to a Church which had called homosexuality an "intrinsic disorder." This pope said, "Who am I to judge?"
Francis was elected to reform the Church, to clean up its financial corruption, to confront -- in its abuse scandal -- its moral failings. He may not want to change the Church's core doctrine, but he does seem intent on changing the way that doctrine is applied.
"(Francis') responsibility...is to preserve and hand on timeless teachings of the Church," Kurtz said. "So, I think it's -- it's strategy. Sometimes people make a mistake. They think, well that means, therefore, nothing new is going to happen. No, (look to) pastoral strategy. You can see already the difference he's made in his own pastoral strategy and that's really what we're talking about here -- not timeless teachings of the church."
Francis, Kurtz added, has already changed an emphasis in pastoral life. "One of the things he says over and over again -- 'Hey, see the person before the rule.' Now that's a major change."
Other changes may come as women are granted more opportunities in the church. Kurtz said, "I think the first thing we do is acknowledge the women who are already contributing. And we make a mistake sometimes when we don't first acknowledge what is already happening."Dolan noted, "(Francis) has done something profound in saying, 'We're not just talking about function here for women.' And he's reminding us. He said it doesn't take one of these, a (priest's) collar, to have responsibility, leadership in the church. It takes love and service. And women are that -- they're icons of that. So he wants -- he's spoken about not functions, not roles. He's talked about a whole new theology of women, where we appreciate what they bring."