WASHINGTON (CNS) — Within two years of becoming pope, Pope Francis now has an effect named after him. This “Francis effect” provides both comfort and challenges to Catholics, according to a panel of U.S. Catholic leaders speaking during a March 10 teleconference organized by Faith in Public Life.

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 11. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-AUDIENCE March 11, 2015.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 11. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-AUDIENCE March 11, 2015.

“One of the most significant things about Pope Francis is the way in which he is reimagining how the church presents itself to the world,” said Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, a senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter newspaper.
“If we think back three years ago, and you asked people in the street … ‘What’s the pope concerned about? What’ s the church concerned about?’ you’d get a very different response than what you’d get today,” Father Reese added. “In a sense, he has rebranded the Catholic Church.”
Pope Francis “challenges those on the left and the right,” said Kim Daniels, a senior adviser to the group Catholic Voices. For the right, she added, the challenge is “a fresh look at poverty”; for the left, “a fresh look at how to build a culture of life. Our faith should challenge us,” Daniels said.
“The content of Pope Francis’ challenge is resistance to a throwaway culture. This is a call to us to stand for the most vulnerable: the unborn,” she added, but also “the jobless, the migrants, to all who are marginalized. We’re all in this together.”

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