The papacy of Pope Francis

The recent election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglia in 2013 as Pope Francis brings to 266 the total number of popes in the history of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has therefore, served for less than a year. Nonetheless, this paper focuses on the papacy of Pope Francis, including the challenges he has faced since he was elected, as well as those that he might face in future. This paper also addresses key issues that surround the aspect of papacy in the Catholic Church, including papal infallibility, among others. Like other leaders, the popes of the Catholic Church have been faced with a plethora of challenges. However, each pope has addressed the challenges in their own distinct manner. Likewise, Pope Francis has not been an exception. According to the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (2013), since his election as a pope, he has already encountered different challenges, and is expected to face more challenges in future. Some of these challenges emanate from the church, and the pope is expected to provide a redress for them. Nonetheless, governance is one of the major challenges, which the pope has faced, and will continue to face in the future. Pope Francis, being a leader, has to make important decisions as far as governance is concerned. For instance, he had to appoint his secretary of state. This is a senior position, which is regarded second after the pope. Therefore, appointing a secretary requires the pope to have experience in the Curia, be strong-willed, and exhibit aspects of reform. On the contrast, Pope Francis is considered to have less experience in the Curia, and exhibits more pastoral than managerial capabilities (International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 2013). In addition, Pope Francis has to deal with the practical problems of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is big in size, thus faces different challenges in the form of social and economic issues, and doctrinal issues, among others. For instance, the pope has to deal with all the financial affairs of the Vatican, including the finances that goes out and comes into the church. In addition, Pope Francis has to address issues in the church, such as homosexuality, divorce, the position of women in the church, and abortion, among others. On the aspect of homosexuality, Pope Francis’ recent remarks about homosexuality have elicited considerable controversy. Although Pope Francis argued against judging gay people, but instead welcoming them to the church, these sentiments were welcomed with criticisms from those people, who feel that homosexuality in society should be condemned (Montoya, 2013). Overall, Pope Francis being a spiritual leader and a symbol of church unity, also faces the challenge of ensuring the stability of the Catholic Church. This includes him reaching out to the large number of secular Catholics and maintaining the relevancy of the Catholic Church. Throughout history, the Catholic Church has been implicated with different controversies, most of which have persisted even today. First, there is the common Catholic contraception controversy. Since the Catholic Church is known to be prolife, this advocates for the ban on contraception and abortion. This stand of the Catholic Church therefore, continues to result in a collision between religion and public health. This also hampers