Pope Francis' First Year

Pope Francis marks anniversary as world's Catholics embrace change.
3:00 | 03/12/14

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Transcript for Pope Francis' First Year
This is a special room. One year ago today the world was introduced to a new -- and in some ways the beginnings of a new Catholic Church. Francis the first started humbly with a simple good evening. But as -- -- those who. And with that a new -- was ushered in at the Vatican. Hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York this is an ABC news digital special report. As we look back on a year of change in the Catholic Church. Joining me live to discuss -- Francis is big year Tim reedy executive director of America magazine the country's only weekly publication on catholicism. And Catholic issues. -- say is the most impressive accomplishment of Pope Francis over -- first 365. Days. Well there's so much we can point to there's somebody images from these statements but I really think it's the change of emphasis change in tone. He's he's that made the message of the church so appealing to so many people not just Catholics -- many people outside of the church. This talk of change is not meant that this respect other previous -- but the significantly different approach to leading the world's one point two billion. Catholic Church members is -- not. Well he is more of a pastor than its predecessor Pope Benedict was really a teacher that's what he loved to do we love to write. Pope France's -- spent most of his career in ministry working with people as a pastor so you're seeing that you're seeing the fruits of that. In the way he connects with so many different kinds of people. Of course Jesus -- humility is the key to a good life. But Francis seems to be embracing us a living example of just -- Yeah it's really impressive when you see how willing he is to reach out to people as they greet him in Saint Peter's Square. People some of whom are disabled. Disfigured and yet you know he shows just -- love to them it's really I mean it's it's really moved for so many people. And Tim I want to talk about one moment in particular sort of hallmark moment when he stopped. To embrace and kiss a man horribly disfigured by a genetic disorder verify but -- -- Yeah I'm give us an idea of that scene. Well it again it was one of these spontaneous gestures that the -- become known for aware. He doesn't he he reaches out to people this was a picture at first that. Even people who why were -- say this is this is hard to look at this is something that as human beings we generally don't look at because. It's just you know it's so difficult -- imagine what it must be like to live with that condition but. For the Pope he what he saw was a child of god and he immediately reached out to him. For such a high profile person -- Francis has no public -- appearances today keeping a very low profile. But he did reach out to the world with a simple tweak. Pray for me what does it say you about not only the church but -- the church moves forward now. Well -- bullets echoing the first statement he made after he said good evening. When he was elected which was asking the audience in Saint Petersburg to pray for him and that was. That first sent the signal that we had a different kind of -- here. But it was also I'm I think he's also try not to draw too much attention to himself he. -- is a humble person and he notes is a big day a lot of people are talking about and so he wants a say let's remember. You know who who we worship here and look to god to pray for us. All that may be the case but his popularity sure has done nothing to skyrocket since election. There's something now recognized as the Pope Francis -- fact let's take a look at a recent poll 66%. Favorable rating among Catholics. 71% of whom Phil Francis is changing the church for the better. That's very impressive I mean and the kind of numbers he -- it's been consistent. That there is I mean that we haven't seen yet quite an uptick in the number for example Catholics. Gone back to church but anecdotally we're hearing a lot of people who were seriously considered re engaging with their fate as the result of the ministry of -- On that very issue accusing the Vatican of being party to cover ups and even going so far as to recommend some changes in the church law. The Pope responded directly to the UN report. Yeah I mean it was -- it was a difficult moment for the church's spokesman did speak to it. I'm basically saying that there are things in this report that we think -- valuable some valuable. Criticisms that we will try to implement there were some other things in the report that from people are very critical of the UN for criticizing the church and -- be going beyond its power but I think the important thing here is the Pope Benedict circle Francis is committing. Committed to. Looking into this issue he's special -- short O'Malley from Boston who -- become. Expert in dealing with these issues so he's a close advisor and we should look to him to see what what might the future might hold. And -- with all the changes that he's made in this first year and the talent that he sat looking ahead what can we expect in your -- from Pope Francis. Yeah that's the big question right now I mean we've focused a lot on the his style and how he's won so many admirers now the big question are okay what. What might actually happen in terms of the running of the church is appointed a number of commission to look -- questions like communion for divorced or remarried Catholics. The next several months we should get a better idea of of what changes of any might happen. And what about the world's youth where do you think he needs to focus most there. Well it's interesting get a quote once saying that the people we really must pay attention to our young people without a job and and all people are kind of on the -- so. He see those two people as people we need to reach out to as a community so yes -- is a big part of his ministry and certainly to him as you've watched him throughout this last year what has struck you most about. Well the fact that he's making demands and everybody you know I work at a Catholic magazine and I feel very challenged by what he's saying in terms of saying. You know we are all called to do better it's not just you know judging those among us who -- but where were all sinners and you know we all got to do better and he's leading us and and and challenging us and I think we all feel pretty invigorated. We will wait to see what -- Francis brings four year to Tim -- with America magazine thank you for being here. And of course you can keep up with France's first year anniversary of real time by downloading the ABC news -- And starring this story for exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm Michelle Franzen -- New York this has been an ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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