On March 13, 2013, Pope Francis became the first pontiff from Latin America and the first to name himself after St Francis of Assisi.
These were some early hints at the change he would try to bring about in the Roman Catholic Church.
His visit to Iraq, his comments on the climate crisis and migration made headlines.
In an ever changing world with the center of gravity of global Catholicism drifting away from Europe, Francis chose to adapt. He launched different reforms with some pertaining to the redistribution of power according to this vaticanist:
“During these past 10 years we have witnessed the largest redistribution of power between cities, countries and continents in the history of contemporary church,” Piero Schiavazzi, Vatican Geopolitics Professor at the Link University Rome said.
“The real power of the church lies within the group of 120 cardinals who are in charge of electing a new pope. The overall number of cardinals coming from the Western world has been reduced and by doing so the geopolitical influence of the West has decreased whereas the Eastern world’s one has increased.”
In a decade, Francis also faced opposition. Fom some members of the Roman Curia, the departments which assist him in the government of the Church, among others.
Franca Giansoldati recently released a book with Cardinal Muller who is considered to be a critic of the Pope.
“There has always been right and left, conservatives and progressives in the church but a compromise has always been reached between the two sides. According to conservatives Pope Francis has not operated in this way.”
According to the 2023 edition of the Pontifical Yearbook, there are 1.3 billion Catholic Christians in the world; with Africa the fastest growing continent.
Catholics are in majority only in the Americas with 64.1% of the population, and are in the minority respectively in Europe (39.6%), Oceania (25.9%), Africa (19.4%) and Asia (3.3%).
Since 2013, Pope Francis has made five trips to Africa, visiting 10 countries.