Pope sees banner first year, but expectations high

9:28 PM, Mar 12, 2014   |    comments
Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square on Jan. 15, 2014.
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VATICAN CITY (AP) - From his simple sound bites to his breaking of Vatican rules, Pope Francis has made being Catholic cool in his first year.

He might not like his superstar status, but he certainly knows how to work a crowd and he has endeared himself to the public for looking out for the poor and shifting the church's focus to mercy rather than moralizing.

Not everyone is pleased. Some conservative Catholics worry that the pope's words and actions have confused the faithful and undermined church teaching.

In his second year, Francis has a high-profile trip to the Holy Land coming up this May and a visit to South Korea in August.

In between, he must forge ahead with reforms to the Vatican bureaucracy, and October will see the synod on the family. Surveys sent to ordinary Catholics around the world show the vast majority reject church teaching on contraception, divorce and homosexuality.

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