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Is Pope Francis Really 'The People's Pope'?

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Time magazine has dubbed Pope Francis its Person of the Year, calling him "The People's Pope." This title comes weeks after he criticized aspects of the global economy and "unbridled consumerism" in a document called an apostolic exhortation. Host Michel Martin recently spoke with a group of practicing Catholics about how Pope Francis has inspired them in their faith.

Interview Highlights

Author Michael Sean Winters: What the pope's exhortation puts into focus

Very prominent Catholic conservatives like professor [Robert] George, George Weigel, have spent the last 10 years telling us that there were five nonnegotiables for Catholics in the public square. Abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia — they never included poverty. Well, clearly the whole thrust of this document is that if you are serious about evangelizing, if you want to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, then [you had] better put concern for the poor front and center. And this is not just individual charity — one on one — this is a requirement of our society and therefore, of our state.

The Rev. Leo Patalinghug: What many Catholic priests are saying about Francis' message

We're all talking about how this is challenging us. There's going to be tendencies in every one of us to try to be in the virtuous mean — it's as dizzying as trying to stand and equalize a seesaw. It is very difficult to do. By our brokenness we're going to be pulled to the left and to the right, and he's challenging us to not go there. He's challenging us to — as Cardinal Dolan says — to be human, to really exercise your Christianity not from your brain or from your pocketbook but from your heart.

Columnist Gayle Trotter: the message she gets from the pope

As a Catholic, I have a responsibility to reach out to those in my community and to help them, and further — not just my community, but the country, continent and most importantly the world. And I think when we look at the bottom of the Gospel, it's not justice — it's grace. And we all have the benefit of receiving the grace of God and we all have the responsibility of what we do with the grace that we've received to go out and to preach the Gospel, the joy of the Gospel.

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