Cardinal Wuerl: Pope Francis Making 'Demonstrable Difference' for Catholics, World

Image: Cardinal Wuerl: Pope Francis Making 'Demonstrable Difference' for Catholics, World Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the end of Easter Mass at the Vatican on April 20.

Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 11:42 AM

By Greg Richter

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One year into his time as leader of the Catholic Church, and Pope Francis already has made a "demonstrable difference" in the life of the church, says Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Wuerl said there is an intangibleness to the changes brought by Francis, but that people feel uplifted and closer to the church than they did two years ago.

"That's part of the Francis Effect," he said.

Francis has made a point of putting a higher focus on humility and service than his predecessors, while insisting that the church's teachings haven't changed. He shows a face of the church "that has always been there, but hasn't been quite as evident," Wuerl said, "the face of a loving, forgiving Christ."

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Francis is telling church leaders, in effect, "the teaching is there, but here's how you do it," Weurl said.

Francis appointed Wuerl to the Congregation of Bishops, who have the task of choosing new leaders. Wuerl said the pope told him to find patient bishops who enjoy being pastors.

Francis is the same in private meetings as he is "in the streets," Wuerl added. At one meeting, the pope strolled in and took and empty chair just like all the other bishops, Wuerl said. Three hours into the meeting, he asked, "Don't we usually get a coffee break?"

At another meeting, Francis was asked his opinion on a matter, and responded, "If I told you what I think, you would all agree. I want to hear from you what you think."

He wants many voices heard so it can truly be said the Holy Spirit was heard, Wuerl said.

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