2017-18 Theme: The Pope Francis Effect


The Aquinas Center does themed years to offer a chance to explore a dimension of the Catholic faith in depth.

The theme for the 2017-2018 academic year is the impact of Pope Francis on the Catholic Church and the world.


Biography & Resources

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, when he was named the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Bergoglio, the first pope from the Americas, took his papal title after St. Francis of Assisi of Italy. Prior to his election as pope, Bergoglio served as archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013.

To date, his tenure has been characterized by an outspoken support of the world's poor and marginalized people, and he has been involved actively in areas of political diplomacy and environmental advocacy. In his writings and his actions, the pontiff emphasizes ideas like dialogue, mercy, and accompaniment. He vehemently opposes religious persecutions of all kinds and has sought the global abolition of the death penalty. He has been engaged in many ecumenical and interfaith initiatives. In strong terms, he decries our “throw away” culture that idolizes material goods while it discards people who are deemed marginal.

Pope Francis relishes simplicity and voluntary poverty. He wears simple vestments and is driven in a small car. He lives in a modest apartment. He wades fearlessly into crowds. The pontiff is known for his willingness to go to the margins. He washes the feet of criminals on Holy Thursday and embraces the disfigured.

In December of 2013, Pope Francis was named "Person of the Year" by Time magazine.