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2013, the year Pope Francis overhauled Catholic image
SCRIPT: If the popularity of a pope were to be judged on nativity figurine sales alone, then it would be fair to say that Pope Francis has had a good year. SOUNDBITE 1: Genny Di Virgilio, sculpter (Italian, 17 sec): "This pope is loved by all generations. For example yesterday by 11 o'clock I had sold out of all my stock. So in just 2 hours, everything was gone." Latin America's first pontiff has only held the post for nine months yet is already Time Magazine's 'Person of the Year'. And he's accumulated 10 million followers on Twitter. Greeted by adoring crowds wherever he goes, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires is seen as a pope of genuine empathy, in touch with the common man. Only a few days into the job, he was washing the feet of inmates in a Rome prison - before consoling survivors of the Lampedusa migrant boat tragedy. SOUNDBITE 2: Pope Francis (Italian, 10 sec): "True power lies in service and a pope must carry out work that is humble, concrete -- especially for the the poorest, the weakest and the youngest." VOXPOP: French tourist (French, 11 sec): "He embodies St Francis of Assisi in his meekness and in all that he is, in every breath, in his his dealing with people, getting really close to people." While his public image is that of a kindly parish priest, some Vatican insiders suggest he can be brusque and authoritarian behind the scenes. But after years of turbulence, Francis has brought a down-to-earth style to the papacy and has shown a willingness to tackle issues like the Vatican's secretive finances: SOUNDBITE 4: Elisabetta Pique, journalist and Vatican specialist (Italian, 18 sec): "He has set up different commissions - one to look into the Vatican Bank, suspected of money laundering, a commission looking more widely at Vatican finances, one to increase financial control and not long ago, a commission for the protection of child victims of sexual abuse." Pope Francis, in spite of his disarming style, remains and moral conservative -- and is certain to stick to doctrine on issues like abortion and contraception. His apparent tollerance of homosexuality is also unlikely to change the Church's stance. Analysts warn that with so much expectation built up in so little time, there may well some disapointment to follow. SHOTLIST: -GV St Peter's Square, vatican City, AFPTV Dec 2013 -VAR shop selling and making nativity figurines, Naples, AFPTV Dec 2013 SOUNDBITE 1: Genny Di Virgilio, sculpter (Italian, 17 sec) -VAR Time Magzine, AFPTV Dec 2013 -VAR Pope in Assisi, AFPTV, Oct 2013 -MS Pope with a small boy in Rome, Oct 2013, Source: CTV, NO RESALE -Pope washing feet of prisoners, March 2013, Source: CTV, NO RESALE -VAR visit to Lampedusa, Source: CTV, April 2013, NO RESALE SOUNDBITE 2: Pope Francis (Italian, 10 sec) VOXPOP: French tourist (French, 11 sec) -GV Pope arriving in the Paul VI auditorium, AFPTV, 16 March 2013 -GV St Peter's Square, AFPTV, Dec 2013 SOUNDBITE 4: Elisabetta Pique, journalist and Vatican specialist (Italian, 18 sec) -VAR Pope in Assisi, AFPTV, Oct 2013 -VAR Pope in popemobile, March 2013, AFPTV /// ------------------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT STORY: Pope overhauls Catholic image but real reforms await 17 December 2013 VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has turned around the way the Catholic Church is seen but his promise of Vatican reform awaits next year and key problems remain, observers said on Tuesday, as the pontiff celebrated his 77th birthday. After years of stagnation and turbulence, the first ever Latin American pope has brought a down-to-earth style to the papacy and has shown a willingness to tackle issues like the Vatican's secretive finances. Francis has also established himself as a global voice on the side of the dispossessed with his critique of unfettered capitalism -- earning the label of "Marxist" from conservative commentators in the United States. In the Vatican's own sluggish view of time, he has moved quickly in his first months, installing a council of cardinals to advise him and calling for a less "Vatican-centric" Church with more power for bishops. He has accumulated 10 million followers on Twitter under the @pontifex handle, nearing rock star popularity, and has been named "Person of the Year" by Time and the US gay rights magazine The Advocate. "He puts himself at the level of ordinary people without formalism and without barriers," said Marco Politi, a Vatican expert and author of biographies of the two previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The change of mood has been all the more remarkable given the strife in the Church before his election in March, including outrage over child sex abuse scandals and divisions between the Vatican and local churches. Those issues have hardly gone away, however. Analysts warn that progressives in the Church and its many critics who have hoped for a raft of reforms of Catholic teachings will be disappointed. Francis remains a moral conservative, although a compassionate one, who is virtually certain to stick to doctrine on hot-button issues like abortion and contraception, or priestly celibacy and women priests. Even the pope's widely-praised comment about gay people -- "Who am I to judge?" -- is seen as showing a new tolerance but is unlikely to alter the Church's fundamental condemnation of homosexual acts as a sin. "Exaggerated expectations will necessarily lead to new disappointments," German cardinal Walter Kasper was quoted as saying in a new biography of the pope by Rome-based Argentine journalist Elisabetta Pique. "The new pope can renew the Church but he cannot invent a new Church," Kasper said, adding that progressives and conservatives alike would be "disappointed". Tackling Vatican finances, abuses Francis has begun consultations on reforming the Vatican administration and the Vatican's scandal-tainted bank, the Institute for Works of Religion, and has set up a committee on child abuse. On the issue of abuses and cover-ups by Catholic clergymen dating back decades, which continues to anger many Catholics and non-Catholics alike, two events next month could give an indication of the pope's direction. One will be the assembly on January 8 of the Legion of Christ, a troubled conservative religious order whose late founder Father Marcial Maciel was discovered to be a sexual predator and which has been placed under Vatican tutelage as more abuse cases have emerged. Then on January 16, the Vatican will send representatives to Geneva to testify at a meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child over its handling of abuse cases after saying it was not legally competent over the actions of clergymen. Some experts believe Pope Francis may be trying to do too much and creating confusion among ordinary Catholics with multiple interviews and ad lib speeches. "Pilot and navigator, accelerator and brake: Pope Bergoglio's driving is like that," said Vatican expert Sandro Magister, using Francis's surname from birth. He added that the pontiff's style had led to "misunderstandings and over-the-top expectations". And while his public image is that of a kindly parish priest, the Vatican gossip is that he can sometimes be brusque and authoritarian behind the walls. With the new pope's popularity recently growing among many non-Catholics as well, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi has expressed concern that the attention on his person could overshadow his actual message. Delivering his Christmas greetings to the Vatican press corps, Lombardi said: "Many of us are fascinated by this extraordinary personality but the pope wants people not to look at him but to look at Jesus".
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