By Mick Krever, CNN
One of Pope Francis’ dearest friends is none other than a Jewish Rabbi.
And Rabbi Abahram Skorka, who has known Pope Francis for 15 years, since he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, has a concise description of what makes Francis’ papacy different from his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger.
Pope Francis “lives with his mind in heaven and with his feet on Earth,” Rabbi Skorka told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday. “And Ratzinger lived totally in heaven.”
Abraham Skorka, a prominent Argentine rabbi, has had frank and open conversations with Pope Francis since he was Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. Those discussions are the topic of a book written by both, “On Heaven and Earth.”
By Lucky Gold, CNN
Imagine a world where a medieval message of humility and reform is delivered five centuries later.
From the moment he first appeared on the Vatican balcony, Pope Francis has challenged his fellow priests to put aside the trappings of wealth and power.
Whether washing feet at Eastertide or carrying his own bag and driving his own little car, the pope has walked the talk.
On Wednesday he made another kind of statement, by suspending a German bishop whose personal excesses had earned him the nickname ‘The Bishop of Bling.’
By Mick Krever, CNN
Pope Francis is leading a “revolution” at the Vatican, Italian author Marco Politi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
The new pontiff is focussing on reforming four “key” areas, Politi said: money, power, poverty, and community.
“He told the bishops and the cardinals,” Politi told Amanpour from Rome, “that they have not to behave like princes of the renaissance. He tells the priests not to forget when they buy a car about children who starve because they don’t enough to eat.”
Pope Francis spoke out on the issues of the Church in a frank interview with Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper.
"This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us,” the pontiff said. “I do not share this view and I'll do everything I can to change it."
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour speaks with Father James Martin, editor of the Jesuit Journal "America,” about his magazine’s wide-ranging interview with Pope Francis.
By Mick Krever and Juliet Fuisz, CNN
In his first international trip, Pope Francis has travelled to Brazil, a country wracked in recent weeks by massive street protests.
So is the pontiff, with his message of social change and revival within the church, endorsing the activism of Brazilian youth?
“The core message that he's trying to deliver to young people on this trip is that he wants young people to see themselves as inserted into the struggles of society,” CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen told Christiane Amanpour from Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
Father Thomas Rosica speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the new directions Pope Francis is taking the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis has been shunning the frills of his new job and this time he is choosing a new more modest apartment as his home for now.
By Samuel Burke, CNN
Many Jesuits are stunned that a Jesuit is now Pope.
"Saint Ignatius never intended for Jesuits to have positions of power, authority or influence in the Church,” Father Joseph McShane told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “So we were always told from the day we entered there would never be a Jesuit Pope and now we have one. We are all stunned."
McShane is President of Fordham University in New York and even though he didn’t expect the selection of then-Cardinal Bergoglio, he believes Pope Francis has the background to reform.
The new pope must confront a crises and crimes that have rocked the Church over the last decade.
To tackle the sex abuse catastrophe McShane said the new Pope would be “wise to listen to the American bishops” who are advocating for a policy of zero tolerance throughout the Church.
“More importantly, he has to say that whenever such an act, such a sin, such a crime is reported, the first concern is for the victim and the victim's family,” McShane said.
But is Pope Francis powerful enough to make sure the curia and the Catholic hierarchy abide by that?
“I don't know if it's a question of ‘is he powerful enough?’ I think it's a question of ‘is he brave enough to call it out,’” McShane said.
He believes Pope Francis is.
“If you look at what he has done in Buenos Aires with his own priests, it is clear,” McShane told Amanpour. “I'm sure you've read the stories about him excoriating priests who refused to baptize children who were born out of wedlock – calling them the new Pharisees, a new class of hypocrites, who forgot that the Lord ate with prostitutes and sought out sinners. So I think he's brave enough and direct enough to do this.”
According to veteran Vatican journalist Marco Politi, the initial traction in the papal vote was not for then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
“From the first leaks we understand that there was a strong candidate,” Politi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. “The Italian Archbishop of Milan, Scola, who entered the conclave with the strong determination of his supporters to make him Pope But in the first ballots he couldn’t provoke an ‘avalanche effect’ to get more and more votes.”
Politi said that Scola then stopped campaigning and a compromise “bridge builder” like Cardinal Bergoglio began to lead the way and that man is now Pope Francis.
In the video above Politi shares other fascinating details about the papal vote.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's name was not name in the media as one of the papal front runners in the past few weeks, even though it had been reported that Bergoglio came second to Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.
When CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about those reports, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick simply said, "That is what they say.” McCarrick would know if that is true, because he participated in the 2005 vote — keeping the promise he took to ever reveal details of that election.
Even though McCarrick didn't take part in Thursday's vote, he told Amanpour he wasn't surprised Bergoglio was selected. The media may not have seen it coming, but McCarrick said "many of us had thought about it beforehand." McCarrick believes that time was on Bergoglio's side; that with each inconclusive vote, it became more likely that the cardinals would gravitate toward Cardinal Bergoglio.
In the video above you can watch Amanpour's full interview with McCarrick and hear his thoughts about how a Latin American Pope could change the Catholic Church.