20 Surprising Quotes To Celebrate Pope Francis’ Birthday

Published December 17, 2015
Updated June 24, 2016

El Papa Francesco turns 79 years old today. From calling on the world to combat climate change to his professional past as a janitor, chef and club bouncer, the current head of the Catholic Church challenges popular conceptions of the papacy, wooing diverse audiences from around the world. On his birthday, we look back through some of the most surprising Pope Francis quotes to date:

Women In The Catholic Church
Women in the church are more important than bishops and priests.Gabriel Sozzi/Wikimedia Commons

Heads Of The Church
Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy.Flickr

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes Thought
I like it when someone tells me 'I don't agree.' This is a true collaborator. When they say 'Oh, how great, how great, how great,' that's not useful.Jeon Han/Creative Commons

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes Pointing
It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life.Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis Quotes On Women
We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of women within the church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.Jeon Han/Creative Commons

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes Kiss
These days there is a lot of poverty in the world, and that's a scandal when we have so many riches and resources to give to everyone. We all have to think about how we can become a little poorer.Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes No Hat
The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes Yellow
Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loves ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis On God
And I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.Jeon Han/Creative Commons

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes Crowd
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: 'Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person.Tnia Rigo/Creative Commons

Pope Francis Quote On Divorce
People who started a new union after the defeat of their sacramental marriage are not to be excommunicated, and they must absolutely not be treated that way.Flickr

Controversial Issues
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of a church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis So
When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician. But that is not so... He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes Obama
I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis On Evolution
God is not... a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life... Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.Tnia Rigo/Creative Commons

Pope Francis On Papal Authority
The authority of the pope is not unlimited.Wikimedia Commons

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes Sitting
My authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative. I have never been a right-winger. It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems.Jeon Han/Creative Commons

I am a sinner. That is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.Creative Commons

Catholic Church On Homosexuality
If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? We shouldn't marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.Jeon Han/Creative Commons

Pope Francis Progressive Quotes Solemn
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves the condemnation from the church's pastors wherever it occurs.Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy these interesting Pope Francis quotes? Check out our other posts on interesting quotes and inspirational quotes guaranteed to change your life!

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Kelly, Erin. "20 Surprising Quotes To Celebrate Pope Francis’ Birthday." AllThatsInteresting.com, December 17, 2015, https://allthatsinteresting.com/pope-francis-quotes. Accessed May 26, 2024.