A new way forward
■ Twin messages: Two main themes are expected to frame the beginning of the papacy of Pope Francis — the need to reinforce the Vatican’s views on issues such as birth control and women’s ordination, and a willingness to do more social outreach and take a more activist role on problems such as poverty and social justice. At a meeting of bishops in 2007, the future pope called on the church to purge the ‘‘social sin’’ of chronic poverty and economic inequality.
■ Populist approach: Francis has emphasized clerical simplicity and a hands-on, missionary- style pastoral leadership. He also has called for greater inclusion, such as efforts to keep divorced Catholics and unmarried mothers in the church’s fold. In his first Mass as pope on Thursday, Francis called for a collective spirit, in which all Catholics help build the church from its roots.
■ Social activism: The Jesuit ethos is built strongly around academic rigor and missionary service — and since the 1960s it has been associated with so-called liberation theology, the view that Jesus’ teachings requiring fighting for social and economic justice. Francis has called liberation theology a misguided view, but he accepts its goals, such as reducing the gap between the comfortable and needy and easing the pressures of Western-style capitalism.