by Ines Angeli Murzaku Ph.D.
Since March 2013, when Pope Francis was elected at the See of St. Peter, he has captured the minds and hearts of the people worldwide: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, believers, and non-believers alike. Compassion and forgiveness, mercy in action and prayer, love of God and love of neighbor, are some of the markers of Francis’ papacy so far. A particular concept of paramount importance to Francis’ pontificate is “the periphery.” In his interview with Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, a few months after his election, Francis talked about his theology of the periphery, explaining that the great revolutions and changes in history were realized when “reality was seen not from the center, but rather from the periphery.” According to Pope Frances, it is the life experience of the periphery, walking the walk of the periphery with the people of the periphery, through which one is acquainted with reality. The direction of Francis’ pontificate is periphery-bound, moving the Church from security to risk-taking, “from inward looking to outward looking,” from the center to society’s edges.