When Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world in February in becoming the first pope to resign in 600 years, he left behind a Roman Catholic Church weakened by scandals, beset by infighting and suffering from a general sense of isolation from the modern world.
Three months after the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis, much of the gloom seems to have lifted.
St. Peter’s Square is again a magnet for legions of pilgrims, and the communications problems that dogged Benedict’s papacy have receded. Francis’ simpler, direct style, together with his focus on the poor and the marginalized, has captivated the world.
The first pope from Latin America has now amassed more Twitter followers in Spanish than any other language.
As Francis prepares to mark his first 100 days in office next week—an admittedly arbitrary measure for a 2,000-year-old institution that thinks in centuries—here’s what we’ve…