Nine amazing things Pope Francis did in 2014
In 2013 Pope Francis had a lot to celebrate. Not only was he named Time magazine person of the year, but was also awarded the title of Esquire’s best dressed man.
But far from resting on his laurels, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics had a very eventful 2014 too.
Here are nine of the most awesome things the first non-European pope in 1,200 years did this year:
Became the first religious head to be Rolling Stone magazine cover star
The then 77-year-old Pope turned rockstar and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, accompanied by a 7,700 word cover story titled ‘The Times They Are A-Changing’. The article, penned by Mark Binelli, compared the Pope’s charm and appeal to that of former US President Bill Clinton.
Auctioned his Harley Davidson for charity
Pope Francis auctioned his custom 2013 Dyna Super Glide for £200,555, and donated the money raised to a hostel and soup kitchen in Rome. A Harley-Davidson leather jacket signed by the pontiff also sold for £47,751.
Took on the mafia
The Pope urged mobsters to pray for forgiveness and “repent” after three-year old Nicola Campolongo - nicknamed Coco - was shot in the head and killed in the town of Cassano Jonio in Calabria, in southern Italy.
Declared the internet to be godly
Writing of the pros and cons of the digital age, and its implications for Catholics when interacting with people from different faiths and backgrounds, Pope Francis referred to the internet as a “gift from God”.
Noting the “immense possibilities” the internet offers, the pontiff said: “This is something truly good, a gift from God.” However, he did urge caution: “The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us.”
Declared Catholic beliefs consistent with evolution and the Big Bang theory
Yes, the Pope really did say that God is not “a magician with a magic wand,” and that the scientific theories of evolution and the Big Bang were not incompatible with the existence of a creator.
Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope said: “When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” he said.
Gave two schoolchildren a ride in the popemobile
The Pope invited two 11-year-olds, Livio Bastianelli and Davide Maria Bianchi, to hop aboard during his general audience in St Peter’s Square - a day before the commencement of the four-day event in the lead up to Easter.
Personally asked for forgiveness for the ‘evil’ of sexually abusive priests
Pope Francis pleaded for forgiveness for the “evil” of priests who sexually abused children, and promised to take an even stronger stand than before against Catholic abuse scandals.
Vatican Radio quoted him as saying: “I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil that some priests - quite a few in number, (although) obviously not compared to the number of all priests - to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.”
Dropped the F-bomb during a Papal address
Pope Francis shocked thousands in St Peter’s Square when he accidentally swore during a weekly address in March.
A common mistake committed by non-native Italian speakers, the Pope stumbled over the Italian word for ‘example’ or ‘case’ — “caso,” and instead uttered “cazzo” — which translates to “f***” (or can also mean the male genitalia).
Played a significant role in the historical US-Cuba breakthrough
US and Cuba decided to restore diplomatic ties with each other earlier this month — a historic rapprochement, facilitated in part, by none other than Pope Francis.
Both Barack Obama and Raul Castro gave a shoutout to the pontifex. Obama said: “In particular, I want to thank his Holiness Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is.”