The Nebraska native will be replacing a highly political — and deeply conservative — bishop, and could potentially usher in a new era of American Catholic leadership that spends less time fighting culture wars and more closely resembles the populist leadership of Pope Francis.
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Protecting Christian minorities is undoubtedly a component of Francis' newfound diplomatic voice, but his peaceful approach is also a firm reclamation of a moral weight once enjoyed by Catholicism —and possibly religion as a whole—in international politics.
“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude,” Pope Francis said.