FaithWorld

Timeline: The first year of the papacy of Francis

(Pope Francis on the flight to Rome from Brazil where he made his “who am I to judge?” comment, July 29, 2013. REUTERS/Luca Zennaro/Pool)

Below is a timeline of the major events since then and the key decisions he has made.

March 14: On the morning after his election, the pope makes a surprise visit to the Rome hotel for clerics where he was staying before his election and pays the bill.

March 15: Pope tells his fellow Argentines not to travel to Rome for his inaugural, urging them to give the money to the poor instead. One headline: ‘Don’t fly for me Argentina’.

March 16: In an address to journalists, the pope gives his first clear indication he wants a more austere Church, saying “Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor.”

Most memorable quotes of Pope Francis from his first year

(Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina appears on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica after being elected by the conclave of cardinals, at the Vatican, March 13, 2013. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez )

Thursday marks the first anniversary of the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis, the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years.

Below are some memorable quotes from the pontiff, arranged in chronological order.

In Vatican shake-up, Pope Francis redefines the role of his second-in-command

(Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic palace in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 9, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi )

When he was elected a year ago, Pope Francis promised to shake up the bureaucracy of the world’s smallest country. He has started at the top – curbing the once-overarching role of the secretary of state.

The cardinal who oversees the Vatican’s relations with other countries has served as the top ranking official in the Holy See’s bureaucracy since the 17th century. And in recent decades the office accumulated increasing authority over finances and job hires, taking on roles analogous to prime minister and chief of staff in the papal court, as well as that of top diplomat.

Czech Catholic priest Tomas Halik wins $1.83 million Templeton Prize

(Czech priest Tomas Halik smiles after being awarded the 2014 Templeton Prize in London March 13, 2014. REUTERS/Olivia Harris )

A Czech Catholic priest whose theology of paradox invites believers and atheists to dialogue has won the 2014 Templeton Prize, worth $1.83 million, for his work affirming the spiritual dimension of life.

Tomas Halik, who worked underground to promote democracy and morality before communism fell in Czechoslovakia in 1989, has “continuously opened vistas that advance humankind,” the U.S.-based John Templeton Foundation said on Thursday in announcing the prize.

German Catholic bishops pick pope aide Cardinal Marx as their new leader

(German Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the Vatican March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi)

Germany’s Catholic bishops elected Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx their new leader on Wednesday, picking a close associate of Pope Francis already working on Vatican reform to also guide them at home.

Marx’s election in Germany, one of the richest and most influential national churches in the 1.2-billion-strong Roman Catholic world, enhanced his status among the men the pope has called on to help him revitalize the Catholic Church.

Known in Germany as a spokesman for social and economic justice, he gave his 2008 book on a just world economy the title “Das Kapital” in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the magnum opus of Karl Marx, the German founder of communism.

A year on, Pope Francis faces challenges meeting reform hopes

(Pope Francis leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

In the year since his surprise election, Pope Francis has raised so many hopes of imminent changes in Church teaching that managing all those expectations is going to be a challenge.

The Argentine-born pontiff has caught world attention by suggesting he might ease the Catholic Church’s strict rules on divorce, birth control, married or women priests and gay unions.

Islamic scholars establish prizes for peace, recommend Muslim peace teams

(Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies session, March 9, 2014/Sohail Nakhooda)

Muslim scholars aiming to combat religious extremism in the Islamic world have established annual prizes for the best studies on peace and the best initiatives to promote peace in the region. At a meeting in Abu Dhabi on Sunday and Monday, they also recommended the creation of a team of young Muslims trained to visit conflict regions in Muslim countries to spread a message of peace instead of religious-based violence. The meeting, which was addressed by United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, further agreed to launch a “Muslim Wise Men Council” based in Abu Dhabi to bring together Islamic scholars at annual meetings aimed at promoting peace, according to their communique issued on Tuesday. No further details were immediately available. About 250 scholars from around the Islamic world attended the meeting, including the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam and Sheikh Abdallalh bin Bayyah, head of the Global Centre for Renewal and Guidance.  “This rise of extremism and terrorism that is trying to legitimise itself through Muslim discourse is alarming,” said Aref Ali Nayed, a leading Libyan scholar and his country’s ambassador to the UAE.  “This conference brings together the top Muslim scholars living today. These are the most respected scholars coming together to say the essence of Islam is peace, compassion and blessings. They are here to say no to violence and terrorism.” “We hope to end up with permanent institutions of cooperation that can be umbrella organisations that can enhance the networking of scholars across the Muslim world, educational programs and outreach that can trickle down to the various communities through mosque preaching and in schools,” Nayed said.  “A lot of this is about ideas. A lot of the scholars need to have their ideas changed about where the problems lie, and that takes time because the intellectual community in the Muslim world has been battered down,” said Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California. “It’s hard to get ideas out. People aren’t thinking creatively about the problems they’re confronting. We’re not doing it in America, we’re not doing it in Russia or Ukraine, we’re certainly not doing it in Egypt or Syria.” Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah said: “Now we want to start the journey of peace in the Muslim world. The starting point is to dialogue, by inviting al the scholars to meet. There is a culture of peace in the Islamic heritage.” – by Regan Doherty in Abu Dhabi

Orthodox patriarchs urge peace in Ukraine, plan first council in 1,200 years

(Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (R) leads a special Sunday mass after the Synaxis at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul March 9, 2014. REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

Patriarchs of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East. Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the second-largest family of Christian churches, also agreed to hold an  ecumenical council of bishops in 2016, the first in over 1,200 years.

The Istanbul talks were called to decide on the council, which the Orthodox have been preparing on and off since the 1960s, but the Ukraine crisis overshadowed their talks at the office of spiritual leader Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. As the prelates left a special service at Saint George’s Cathedral, a woman in the crowd called out in Russian “Pray for Ukraine!” Two archbishops responded: “You pray, too!”

Hollywood blockbuster film ‘Noah’ faces ban in the Arab world

(A stained glass painting of Noah’s Ark in Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church in Paris, June 2, 2010/GFreihalter)

Three Arab countries have banned the Hollywood film “Noah” on religious grounds even before its worldwide premiere and several others are expected to follow suit, a representative of Paramount Pictures told Reuters on Saturday.

Islam frowns upon representing holy figures in art and depictions of the Prophet Mohammad in European and North American media have repeatedly sparked deadly protests in Islamic countries over the last decade, fanning cultural tensions with the West.

Comic superhero Ultraman slain by Malaysian censors because of “Allah”

(Japanese children’s television heros Ultra Seven (L) and Ultraman (R) preview software created  from their television series in Tokyo February 15, 1999. REUTERS/Eriko Sugita)

Malaysia has banned a comic book starring the Japanese superhero Ultraman because it could disturb “public order”, sparking a torrent of online ridicule from those who saw it as the latest sign of excessive censorship in the Muslim-majority country.

The book, “Ultraman The Ultra Power”, was banned from Feb. 18 with a penalty of up to three years’ imprisonment for anyone who imported or published the comic, state news agency Bernama reported the home ministry as saying.