Pope Francis, above, will make his New York City debut on Sept. 24. Francis' high popularity is due in part to his tolerant and forgiving teachings. PHOTO CREDIT: ALETEIA IMAGE DEPARTMENT
Pope Francis, above, will make his New York City debut on Sept. 24 at St Patrick’s Cathedra;. He will also lead mass the following night at Madison Square Garden. PHOTO CREDIT: ALETEIA IMAGE DEPARTMENT

“The Pope” is a strange term to utter nowadays. Pope Benedict XVI’s strange demeanor and evil looks probably did not help the previous situation. It also didn’t help that his name had come up when discussing Hitler Youth. But now, Pope Francis, or “Pope Franny,” as he is dubbed by some, is changing the Pope’s public perception for the better.

Pope Franny is set to make his first stateside appearance this week in New York City, even stopping for a meet-and-greet in Central Park. This event is set to hold more than 100,000 people and ticket sales are already through the roof.

But why is this one man so popular?

To be fair, Pope Benedict drew similar numbers in his appearance in the United States, but what isn’t shown in numbers is the staggering number of non-Catholics paying attention to Pope Franny’s events.

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Pope Franny’s biggest message seems to be that of total acceptance, regardless of whether or not it conforms to the old Catholic traditions. He seems okay with simply accepting the fact that everyone should share in some sort of spiritual bonding, instead of forcing one religion upon the world. This is incredibly important.

If you are considering this for the first time, or at least acknowledging all this man has done for the first time, just take a ride with me in the papal motorcade for a moment to explore the importance of Pope Franny.

Let’s start with his early life, a period that could only be described as “eventful.” Not only was Pope Franny a chemical technician in the ‘70s, but he was also a bouncer at an Argentinian night club, a job he worked to make some extra cash.

If that doesn’t scream Pope, I don’t know what does.

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Pope Franny began his papacy in an unorthodox and surprising style by stating that his time as pontiff was going to be short and powerful.

In his first months, he not only expressed his concern with the lack of pure Catholicism among followers, but urged them to accept all religions. This was a sentiment that surely made more than a few Cardinals redder than their robes, causing one to say, “This papacy is like a rudderless ship.”

Pope Franny would then continue to flex his papal muscles. He advocated for human evolution and the theory of evolution, supported Nikola Tesla’s claim that humans should be off fossil fuels by 2030, and allowed women to be forgiven for abortions, which approximately 24 percent of U.S. Catholics disapprove of in all circumstances. He even set a standard for clergymen by excommunicating hundreds of priests who were convicted or accused of various crimes including sexual assault and corruption.

This Pope just gets it. He understands what people want to hear in 2015.

As religious support is in a total freefall, he understands that people don’t want to hear the same tired religious spiel. Religion needs to take an immediate right turn if it wishes to survive past 2100. As humans become more interconnected, we see the different sides of life that religions claimed didn’t exist or were fixed. We have seen the horrid nature of man and realized that human struggle is internal and consequential, not external and eternal.

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For students on a college campus, the most important aspect of this topic is one simple idea — acceptance. The Pope preaches and urges people to accept all forms of life. He says to accept those around you and accept new ideas in front of you. Love those in your life unconditionally and help those less fortunate than you.

In a world that is ravaged by war and a massive refugee crisis, the world needs more Pope Franny: a man on a mission to prove that whether you are religious or not, you need common sense and a loving heart.

He’s not the first person to preach this, but he certainly is the loudest.

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