8 quotes as Pope Francis celebrates 8th anniversary of papacy

March 11, 2021

Pope Francis’ papacy turns eight years old on Saturday 13 March 2021.
From all of us at the Global Catholic Climate Movement, we wish Pope Francis a happy eighth anniversary!
To celebrate, we remembered eight of our favorite quotes from Pope Francis during his world-changing papacy.

1. “This is a symbol, it is a sign, right? Washing feet means: ‘I am at your service.’ “

Pope Francis shared those words during his Holy Thursday homily less than two weeks after he was elected the Bishop of Rome. His Holiness was referring to how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples the day before he was nailed to the cross.

Pope Francis emulated Jesus on that Holy Thursday by washing and kissing the feet of 12 young prisoners in Rome.

“Help one another,” Pope Francis said in his homily. “This is what Jesus teaches us and this what I am doing, and doing with all my heart, because it is my duty.”

2. “I want a mess in the dioceses!”

Months later, while in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013, Pope Francis memorably called on the youth of the world to evangelize and make “a mess!”

Pope Francis shared his vision for the Church at World Youth Day 2013. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

During a special meeting with Argentine youth, Pope Francis further laid out his inclusive and caring vision for the Church and how we all can bring the Gospel to the streets.

“What do I expect as a consequence of the Youth Day? I expect a mess. There will be one. There will be a mess here in Rio? There will be! But I want a mess in the dioceses! I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street!”

3. “… the Paris Agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground.”

Pope Francis has talked to a wide variety of people during his papacy, including millions of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.

But he doesn’t speak only with people who agree with him. In June 2018, Pope Francis hosted oil and gas executives for the “Energy Transition and Care for our Common Home.”

Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

His Holiness didn’t mince words in the room full of executives, reminding them what the historic Paris Agreement says about keeping “fossil fuels underground.”

“Yet even more worrying is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris Agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground… Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization!”

4. “The businesses, national or international, which harm the Amazon… should be called for what they are: injustice and crime.”

Pope Francis’ papacy has been full of firsts. He’s the first Pope from the Americas, and the first to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi.

Pope Francis also became the first Pope to call for a synod in which integral ecology was applied to a specific place in creation.

Indigenous People from all over the world participated in the Amazon Synod. Above, Pope Francis participates in a Season of Creation event in 2019.

In October 2019, the Vatican invited the bishops from all dioceses in the world to travel to Rome to discuss the Amazon and its people during the Amazon Synod.

After the synod, Pope Francis penned “Querida Amazonia,” in which he envisioned a more resilient future for all of the Amazon and its people and made clear how he views businesses that harm the life-giving rainforest.

“The businesses, national or international, which harm the Amazon and fail to respect the right of the original peoples to the land and its boundaries, and to self-determination and prior consent, should be called for what they are: injustice and crime.”

5. “Let us care for one another and let us be loving custodians of creation.”

Pope Francis’ embrace of social media as a way to spread his hopeful message has captivated hundreds of millions of Catholics and people of faith, and he’s been using the channels since the beginning of his papacy.

Six days after his election, Pope Francis shared the below, which was only his second tweet as Pope.

“Let us keep a place for Christ in our lives, let us care for one another and let us be loving custodians of creation.”

6. “So what they all need is an ‘ecological conversion.’”

Participating in prayer services or river clean-ups can be powerful ways for all us to express and show our solidarity with creation.

But the most important part of that participation is what it ideally produces: an ecological conversion.

Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk

As Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si’, what everyone needs to undergo is an “‘ecological conversion,’ whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.

“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (LS 217).

7. “Laudato Si’, mi’ Signore.”

The four words that start Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical and mean, “Praise be to you, my Lord,” showed just how much His Holiness admires St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology.

Those words and all of Laudato Si’ have helped the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics better understand that “everything is connected” and put millennia of Catholic teaching in the context of today’s ecological crisis and climate emergency.

The encyclical has led to countless acts around the world, as Catholics and all people of good will increasingly look to care for creation and take action against the climate crisis.

“‘Laudato Si’, mi’ Signore’ – ‘Praise be to you, my Lord.’ In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us’ (LS 1).

8. “…for we know that things can change.”

Pope Francis doesn’t hold back in Laudato Si’. He makes clear the despair that our common home is feeling after decades of neglect and how we all need to urgently change our ways to care for creation.

But the encyclical also highlights the reality that, as Catholics, we still have hope and we know that all things are possible through God.

“… we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (LS 13).

Prayer for Pope Francis’ papacy

May God continue to bless and watch over Pope Francis, his papacy, and all of the Catholic Church. We also pray that through Pope Francis’ leadership, the Church will care for our common home like never before and achieve climate justice worldwide.