I doubt that any papal document has had the readership or the impact of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. It has changed the political dialogue on the poor, the income gap and inequality for both parties.
What is interesting is that what Pope Francis has taught on these issues has been in many earlier papal documents, which demonstrates the influence of the messenger on the reception of the message. Of course, one must admit that papal encyclicals and other documents in the past tended to be extremely ponderous compared to the simple language and clarity of Evangelii Gaudium.
For the media, popes before Pope Francis made more news by what they did than by what they taught. Pope Francis has struck a chord not only with the media, and some politicians, but also with Catholics and even non-believers worldwide. His style and simplicity have caused him to be dubbed “the world’s parish priest.”
In less than a year he has changed the image of the Catholic Church. Who would have believed it? The Spirit moves in strange and wondrous ways.
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