Pope Francis knows his Vatican revolution must outlast him

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In his first year in office, Pope Francis has transformed the image of the papacy. His demonstrative lack of ostentation has been an extraordinary contrast with almost all his predecessors. From the moment he signed out of his own hotel room after being elected pope, rather than sending a flunky to do it for him, he has shown a remarkable gift for public humility.

He has refused to live in the papal apartments. He has described himself as first and foremost a sinner. He washed the feet of Muslim immigrant women to make a traditional gesture of humility reach out into the modern world. He has refused to criticise gay people, asking "Who am I to judge?" and then confirming the appointment of a man thought to be in a prolonged gay affair to a key job cleaning up the Vatican. But what, in substance, has he actually achieved?

The transformation of the image of the papacy is a real achievement. It does not in itself attract people back to the church, but it does remove a gigantic obstacle to their return. It's also clear that he thinks he was elected to do a great deal more than that.

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