Pope Francis 5 years on: a revolution or just talk?

Jorge Bergoglio has been pope for five years. Opinions vary in Europe's media on how much his pontificate has changed the Vatican - and the Catholic Church.

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Jornal de Notícias (PT) /

Side by side with the forgotten

Jornal de Notícias praises the pope's humanity:

“Under Pope Francis the Church is returning to its roots. It is positioning itself beside the disinherited who live in extreme solitude: the citizens who no one sees, who receive handouts from a society that then moves on with a clean conscience. Through the voice of Pope Francis we learn about the horrors of everyday life in Syria, not through the whispering of the UN. He shakes us awake every time a person seeking a dignified life dies crossing the Mediterranean.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

The end of the uniform doctrine

Is Pope Francis changing Christian doctrine? Gazeta Wyborcza ventures an answer to the question:

“That depends what you understand by that. You can't pack away a doctrine in mothballs, the Pope has let it be known, while his key advisor Cardinal Kasper has explained that Catholic tradition is like a river. In the Vatican there is also talk of decentralising the Church and allowing the bishoprics of each country to develop their own doctrines. According to commentators of Church law that could usher in a situation in which a divorced person can take communion in one country and not in another. This may well happen, and Francis will allow it. And that raises the fundamental question of whether the same rules should apply throughout the Catholic Church.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Lacking courage to follow words with deeds

La Vanguardia, on the other hand, points out that not in all areas have Pope Francis's pretty words been followed by deeds:

“Francis has injected the Vatican's structure with new dynamism and cleaned up the Church's finances, renewing its management and putting an end to poor practices. ... But like his predecessors he has stopped short of admitting female priests. And in the fight against sexual abuse he has disappointed those who see this as the top priority. Although the number three in the church hierarchy, Cardinal George Pell, is on trial for such abuse Francis has not taken any decisive steps. Some members of the body created to combat these abuses have resigned in protest at its laxity. 'The words of the pope always point in the right direction. The problem is that they aren't followed by action,' one of them lamented.”