Pope Francis is no stranger to saying and doing things no other pope has done before. His down-to-earth style and progressive stances on a number of key social issues have rendered him a sort of rock star among Catholics, long craving a modernization of their church.
An encyclical, for example, is the most authoritative teaching document a pope can issue. On June 18, 2015, despite many conservatives urging him not to, Pope Francis published one on climate change. In doing so, he's not the first pope to advocate for protecting the environment, but he is the first to do so in such an official document.
By CBS News staff writer Christina Capatides
He loves animals
When Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's papacy began on March 13, 2013, he became the first pope to ever choose the name Francis... after St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of animals.
He explained the choice in his first address to the media, "For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation."
He's more open on homosexuality
Pope Francis has taken a significantly more open-minded and conciliatory stance on homosexuality than any pope before him.
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Francis asked, during a groundbreaking news conference in July 2013 . "We shouldn't marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society."
He's considering female deacons
In August 2016, "after intense prayer and mature reflection," Pope Francis set up a panel to study whether women should be able to serve as deacons, a role now reserved to men. The commission is made up of 12 members including priests, nuns and laywomen... half women and half men. So, for the first time in centuries, Pope Francis has opened up the possibility that women of the church could preach and preside over weddings, baptisms and funerals.
He's cracking down on church abuse
Under Pope Francis' guidance, the Vatican took several concrete steps forward in holding church officials accountable for committing or ignoring acts of sexual abuse.
In June 2015, Pope Francis approved the creation of a new tribunal, devoted exclusively to investigating cases, in which bishops covered up for priests who abused their station to rape or molest children.
Less than a week later, two church officials in Minnesota -- an archbishop and a deputy bishop -- resigned after being charged for systematically turning a blind eye to the acts of pedophilia committed by one of their priests.
And this summer, the Vatican also announced that it would be criminally prosecuting their former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Józef Wesołowski, for sexually abusing young boys.
Ground breaking "Laudato Si"
In his groundbreaking 184-page encyclical letter, "Laudato Si" (On Care For Our Common Home), Pope Francis insists that global warming is real and that an urgent "cultural revolution" is needed to protect the Earth from its devastating effects. Indicting big business, short-sighted politicians and climate skeptics alike; he states that "doomsday predictions... can no longer be met with irony or disdain."
There are both scientific and moral reasons for protecting God's creation, he says. Nature is a precious gift that should be cared for, not ravaged. The poor bear the brunt of air pollution, toxic dumping, rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions. And the poor shouldn't suffer because of the sins of the rich.
Lastly, Francis attributes the Earth's continual loss of biodiversity, the melting of Arctic glaciers, and the pollution of the world's water supply to a broad sweep of wasteful human activities, like the burning of fossil fuels... not population growth.
No stranger to tackling controversial issues, Pope Francis took on both abortion and annulment in a series of groundbreaking moves, September 2015.
The church considers abortion a "reserved sin," on the level of attacking a bishop or desecrating the Eucharist. As such, it carries with it automatic excommunication from all Catholic sacraments, including confession.
The Pope did not change that; but during the Jubilee Year of Mercy starting December 8, he made it possible for any priest anywhere in the world to forgive the sin through confession. For the Catholic Church, that is huge.
Catholic doctrine holds that marriage is forever. An annulment, however, can be granted by a church tribunal up to 60 days after the ceremony, if it is argued that the marriage had some inherent defect from the start (e.g. one spouse was intoxicated at the time of the wedding, or one spouse never intended to have children). The problem is: annulment can cost thousands of dollars and take years to process.
On September 8, 2015, Pope Francis released two legal church documents that completely overhaul the system, making it faster, easier and less expensive to get a marriage annulled. He did so out of "concern for the salvation of souls."
He sees the bigger picture
Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Church's moral structure might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make it a merciful, more welcoming place for all.
John Allen, a senior correspondent with the National Catholic Reporter, told CBS Radio News the pope is not changing church policy but makes it clear that he wants a less judgmental church.
"I think he is conscious that he's at a sort of make-or-break moment where the kind of pope he wants to be - if he wants to affect real change - he's got to be explicit about it," Allen said.
He can spin a basketball
On May 6, 2015, Pope Francis met with the Harlem Globetrotters, during a general audience in St. Peter's Square.
Harlem Globetrotter Flight Time Lang (R) even taught him how to spin the ball on his finger... making him easily the most baller pope in history.
He appreciates a good selfie
Ever the modern pope, Francies posed for a selfie with youth members of the Italian Diocese of Piacenza and Bobbio, in St. Peter's Basilica, August 28, 2013.
How #awesome is that?
He once worked as a bouncer
While visiting a working-class parish on the outskirts of Rome in December 2013, Pope Francis revealed that he once worked as a bouncer at a club.
What's more, he went on to comment that removing troublemakers from the club, as a young student in Buenos Aires, actually prepared him to bring people back into the church.
He's a poster boy
In 2013, Pope Francis was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for drastically changing the perception of the 2,000-year-old Catholic Church in such a short period of time.
"The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors," said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. "But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the Gospel - a message of God's love for everyone - he will certainly be happy about that."
He goes with the flow
On May 15, 2013, during Pope Francis' weekly audience with the public, someone at the edge of the crowd thrust a white bird cage at him.
Puzzled, his security detail took the cage, containing a pair of white doves, and handed it to Francis. Without hesitation, the pope opened the cage door, thrust a hand inside and extracted one dove. With a flick of his hand, he then sent the bird flying over the square.
The dove is actually one of the symbols of St. Francis of Assisi. Perhaps that's why Pope Francis immediately knew what to do with one.
He brings diversity to the papacy
Hailing from Argentina, Pope Francis is the first non-European pope in over 1,000 years.
Here, Pope Francis -- born Jorge Bergoglio -- is pictured as a young boy, destined for greatness.
He's a man of his own mind
Pope Francis broke with tradition on March 28, 2013, to wash the feet of two female and two Muslim inmates, during a Holy Thursday ceremony at the juvenile detention center of Casal del Marmo, Rome.
When these actions drew criticism from angry traditionalists, the Vatican issued a statement saying, "Washing feet was important to present the Lord's spirit of service and love."
He's always been that way
Pope Francis -- then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio -- kisses the feet of a young man trying to overcome drug addiction, during a mass in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 20, 2008.
He's not about fancy trimmings
When he became pope in 2013, Francis passed up living in the luxurious papal residence, choosing to move into a simple Vatican guesthouse instead.
He's a sports fan
Pope Francis meets Diego Maradona during an audience with the players of the 'Partita Interreligiosa Della Pace' in Rome, before the Interreligious Match For Peace at Olimpico Stadium on September 1, 2014.
He embraces the sick
Pope Francis kisses a sick girl after his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on January 8, 2014.
...and the disabled
Pope Francis has never shied away from the disabled. One time, he even paused his weekly audience to kiss and hold a man badly disfigured with Elephant Man Disease.
Here, he greets a handicapped man after his general audience in St Peter's Square, May 14, 2014.
He's not afraid to rock a poncho
Pope Francis wears a plastic yellow poncho as he waves to well wishers after a mass in Tacloban, January 17, 2015.
He would spend the rest of that day with survivors of the catastrophic super typhoon that claimed thousands of lives in the Philippines, highlighting his concerns for climate change.
He's great with kids
Pope Francis allows his skull cap to be removed by an inquisitive child, during an audience at the Vatican, December 14, 2013.
Like, really great with kids
A child smiles as she embraces Pope Francis, during an audience for the participants of the Convention of the Diocese of Rome at the Vatican, June 14, 2015.
He practices what he preaches
Pope Francis drives a Ford Focus, and has said that it pains him to see church officials driving fancy cars when so many children are dying of hunger around the world.
He's a hit with world leaders
Pope Francis shares a laugh with U.S. President Barack Obama, as they exchange gifts during a private audience on March 27, 2014 at the Vatican.
This meeting at the Vatican was a welcome rest-stop for Obama during his six-day European tour in 2014, otherwise dominated by the crisis over Crimea.
He doesn't sweat the small stuff
When a gust of wind blew Pope Francis' mantle across his face, during his weekly general audience in Saint Peter's square on June 17, 2015, he was totally unfazed.
Here, Pope Francis accepts a sign that one of his faithful made for him, ahead of his weekly general audience, in St Peter's Square, March 27, 2013.
He's a hip guy
Here, Pope Francis receives a leather jacket from Harley Davidson Motor Company senior vice-president Mark Hans-Richer, at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 12, 2013.