'I don't think any of us expected so much fresh air'

Fresh air!

Like Pope John XXIII, who opened the windows of the Vatican to the fresh air of the Second Vatican Council, so too Francis has reopened those same windows to the winds of the Holy Spirit, with results that continue to surprise and inspire, writes NCR.

- by Gerard O'Connell

Benedict XVI's troubled Pontificate ended with his revolutionary resignation on February 28, 2013. Four days later, 150 cardinals gathered in the Vatican for the pre-Conclave assemblies to discuss the dramatic state of the church and the daunting challenges facing the new pope.

In the following week, they spoke frankly, expressing profound concern, dismay, even anger at the quagmire in which the Roman Curia was bogged down due to seemingly endless scandals.

They demanded reform, radical reform of the Roman Curia. They wanted someone 'to pick up a brush and spade and clean out the muck,' one told me. They were looking for a man with the ability to govern the Roman Curia and a Church that seemed adrift on the high seas. Above all, an Asian cardinal confided, they were seeking 'a man of deep spirituality' whom the followers of other religions would recognize as 'a man of God.'

Confounding the pundits and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the cardinals in conclave chose the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, the runner-up in the 2005 Papal Conclave and the outstanding spiritual leader of the Latin American church. He was elected on a platform for reform, and he knew it.

One year later, the Pope's reform is turning out to be much deeper and wider than most, if not all, of his electors had anticipated. England's Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor put it this way: 'We all wanted change and reform, but I don't think any of us expected so much fresh air!'

FULL STORY After a conclave that demanded reform, a year of 'fresh air' (National Catholic Reporter)

MORE:

Vatican Commentator on anniversary: Pope Francis has irrevocably changed the papacy (Vatican Radio)

For Pope Francis, a year of reform and evangelization (The Record)

Pope Francis' Reforms For The Catholic Church May Be Bigger Than Anyone Dreamed (The Huffington Post)

Pope Francis' Best Quotes Of 2013 (The Huffington Post)

Pope Francis' Central Message (National Catholic Register)

First Year As Pope: Top 10 List To Understand Pope Francis' Pontificate (Archdiocese of Sydney)

Lessons in style: Pope's gestures, choices are teaching moments (CNS/The Catholic Weekly)

WATCH:

Cardinal Pell: Pope Francis' First Year - A Game-changer (xt3tv/YouTube)

Listen:

Pope Francis: looking back on his election (Vatican Radio)

Book and DVD mark first year of Francis (Vatican Radio)

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