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Catholics mark four years of Pope Francis

By David Njaaga | Published Tue, March 14th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 13th 2017 at 22:11 GMT +3
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta (right) and Popes representative, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo Nuncio cut a cake to celebrate 4th anniversary since the Pope Francis was dedicated. PHOTO: BEVERLYNE MUSILI

Catholics around the world yesterday joined Pope Francis in celebrating the fourth anniversary of his election to head the church.

In Kenya, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta led the celebrations at the residence of the Pope's representative in Nairobi.

Mrs Kenyatta congratulated Pope Francis for his dedicated service to humanity.

"Congratulatory messages are in order for a servant of God who has dedicated himself to making sure we live in peace and harmony," she said shortly after officiating at the ceremony.

In his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, concern for the poor, populist causes, and commitment to interfaith dialogue.

He is credited with having a less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors, for instance, choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than the papal apartments.

He maintains that the church should be more open and welcoming.

Pope Francis maintains the traditional views of the Catholic Church regarding abortion, euthanasia, contraception, homosexuality, ordination of women, and priestly celibacy. He opposes consumerism and supports action on climate change.

Born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio on December 17, 1936, Pope Francis is the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, a title he holds ex-officio as Bishop of Rome and sovereign of Vatican City.

He chose Francis as his papal name in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi, the first Jesuit Pope from the Americas, the Southern Hemisphere, and outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the eighth century.

Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 28, 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on March 13.

The Pope has been quoted criticising the "cult of money" that is driving the world's financial system. His emphasis on the poor and his style are akin to those of a parish priest.

He is also not afraid of critising the church for putting dogma before love.

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