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tv   Pope The Most Powerful Man in History  CNN  December 24, 2018 5:00pm-6:01pm PST

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despite the corruption of fallible men, the papacy remains divine. ♪ wron of one of the most powerful men onering hol earth position that has exited for almost 2,000 years. as the world changes and faith evolves, his authority remains. what began with one apostle -- has become 1.2 billion followers under one man. he is the head of the catholic church, the pope. and this is his path to power. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ in this episode -- never-before seen orders from pope leo x and henry viii sever protestants from the catholic church, and the rupgs of renaissance popes push three men to reignite a revolution that transforms christianity forever.
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>> narrator: in 2016, pope francis kicks off the 500-year anniversary of the reformation. a spiritual revolution that splinters the once-universal catholic church. >> the reformation, it is incredibly pivot all in the development of christianity. >> the reformation could have been one of the big tragedies of christianity, but rather you get
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the emergence of a of more individualized or personal faith. >> the beginnings of the reformation are all about this push back against what is seen as excess in rome. >> narrator: in the 16th century, many catholics are disturbed by the church's pervasive materialism and corruption. as a result, new denominations of christianity begin to form and break ties with the vatican. >> the reformation is an anonymous bomb dropped on the theological landscape. >> all great religions of the world which are successful change, and christianity is no exception to that rule. >> narrator: the umbrella of modern christianity includes over 800 million protestants and 1.2 billion catholics worldwide. but in the 16th century,
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catholicism is the law of the land. >> there is a foment of devotion, deep, deep piety in europe. everyone went to church out of conviction. >> narrator: almost the entire population of europe devoutly follows rome's catholic doctrine, and the pope is at the head of it all. >> in the 16th century, there h had been a series of worldly popes that loved power. >> all earthly institutions are flawed, and the renaissance popes got caught up with power. >> it is not surprising that people who loved power took it. >> narrator: but as papal power swells, so does a culture of greed and corruption. the tenets of christ begin to fall by the wayside as popes spend exorbitant amounts of money in the name of luxury, excess and absolute power.
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>> popes during the renaissance bring a sense of majesty into the papacy that had not kpied befokpied -- existed before even though we would probably say their methods were a little bit ruthless. >> narrator: and in 1513, pope leo x takes the over-indulgence to new heights. >> leo x was an extravagant pope, very interested in architecture and the glories of the city of rome and spent a lot of money in pursuits of that kind. >> the church has become one of the key commissioners of this huge, exciting cultural explosion which is the renaissance. >> narrator: pope leo x throws lavish parties and hires rafael to paint elaborate frescos
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throughout the vatican. he spends a small fortune on the pa lashan expansion of st. peter's basilica. >> during the renaissance we had lots of arts, lot of patronage, but in another way it is dire for the church because they were actually breaking the church. >> that art, that sculpture, all of that fabulous beauty has to be paid for. >> narrator: pope leo x pays for his opulent lifestyle by selling positions within his administration. >> he says these offices will cost this of, if you want this one you have to pay this much. >> they're selling their bishoprics, putting illegitimate kids into office, basically sbez willment. >> this is the time the catholic church is profoundly corrupt. >> narrator: but the pay-offs are not enough to key ep with leo's spending. >> it has put a strain on local
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churches and parishes. people are giving up lots of money during this time period, and they're feeling pressed. >> narrator: only two years into leo x's papacy, the vatican is on the verge of bankruptcy. in order to save the church from financial ruin, he charges his clergy with selling indulgences throughout all of europe. >> indulgence, the forgiveness of sins in return for cash payments. >> indulgences started way back in the crusades, and the idea was that you've got these soldiers fighting for christ and they're likely to be killed at any moment. and so what the church did was to give them a get-out-of-burgatory-free card. indulgence was the way to reward people doing something good for god, but the trouble was that this system grew and very soon
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people were being offered indulgences for sale. >> narrator: leo x realizes not only would the sale of indulgences deepen the pockets of the catholic church, but it will also fund the expensive construction of st. peter's basilica. >> people go to st. peter's now and think about how did they get all of the money to build this. well, they were taxing people with indulgences. >> the whole thing about st. peter's indulgence is it was applicable to your dead relatives. so you could get your relatives out of purgatory by paying for indulgences. >> narrator: as word of the pope's campaign for indulgence sales spreads throughout europe, it triggers a reaction from a fundamentalist professor in germany. >> martin luther heard about this and found it obscene. >> narrator: martin luther, a
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33-year-old fryer deeply devoted to the bible, is appalled by the exploitive nature of indulgences. >> martin luther felt that this was selling god's salvation for money, and you can't do that. >> it is the notion of indulgences that finally bring the church down. >> narrator: as vatican culture sinks deeper into the pits of corruption, martin luther begins to ignite an extraordinary revolution.
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. ♪ >> narrator: in 1517, despite the deep piety of european catholics, materialism and corruption run rampant inside the vatican walls. but in germany, one man decides that it is time to take a stand against the sins of the pope. >> martin luther was a member of an order of friars called the order of hermits of saint augustine. >> luther was a professor of scripture. he had become a morning out of fear. he had made a vow to saint anne during a thunderstorm. >> early in his career he was sent off to rome by his religious order, and he was
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shocked by rome sniec. >> narrator: a deeply religious scholar, martin luther is horrified by the hedonism he sees provided by indulgences. he is outraged by the fact that the pope is exploiting the follower's fear of damnation for financial gain. >> martin luther felt that the god he found in the works of augustine forgave sin and didn't actually consider individual sins. he made a free, merciful decision to forgive those who loved him. luther found that god loved him and he wanted to spread this message of god's love as well as the message that you and i, people like us, human beings, are all sinful. there's nothing we can do about that. >> for luther, the sale of indulgences was exactly the antithesis of this sense of christianity as a liberating
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mode. salvation not as free gift as something you have to stump up money for. >> martin luther thought it was all a sham. he decided to hold a seminar about indulgences, and he would issue 95 things to be discussed in this seminar. the seminar never happened, but the 95 theses, the 95 ideas to be discussed were there. >> narrator: martin luther sends his 95 theses to the archbishop in germany who then sends it to the pope. in his theses, luther questions the indulgences and whether the pope should have power over who goes to heaven or hell. >> the theses are a series of technical questions about whether or not, for example, the pope or any priest has
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jurisdiction in the afterlife. there were a lot of catholic theologians who thought the afterlife was in god's world and papal authority was for this world. it is often said that he nailed the document of these 95 theses to the castle church door. >> this is not the first time these ideas had been put out. far from it, but the difference between 1517 and the 14th century is the printing press. the 95 theses were printed and they were widely distributed. >> martin luther had become a celebrity in all europe. he was producing books and finding a real talent. he is one of the first great best seller writers in print. >> luther was a master of popular media.
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>> narrator: previously the printing press had only been used to circulate scripture and official documents. martin luther is the first to use it to spread a subversive message. >> his revolution was fuelled by the printing press and he used it with genius. but that brought a real problem, now he was the symbol of all sorts of discontents and he had aroused passions he couldn't control all through europe and now europe was split. >> narrator: martin luther's statements kbeagainst the sale indulgences put him in direct opposition to pope leo x who was frantically selling them to cover his debts. >> church leaders were now saying to lugether, you must ob the pope and to obey you must keep quiet. and luther could not keep quiet.
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>> if you were the enemy of the church, that would mean you could be called a heretic. so martin luther was putting himself in very dangerous territory now. >> narrator: deep within the vatican's secret archive -- lies the document that split the once-universal catholic church. it has never before been seen on camera. on january 3, 1521, pope leo x issues a papal order ex communicating the german preacher. >> all germany was in uproar, and this was very bad news for the overall ruler of germany, the holy roman emperor, charles v. >> narrator: acutely aware of
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the fervor luther ignited in germany, charles v worries his excommunication might start a revolt. >> and what he did was to summon martin luther to a meeting of the parliament of the empire. it is called the diet. it was meeting that year in the city of vans. what the emperor was going to do was to order him to be obedient to the church. imagine this great set piece. all of the great figures of the holy roman empire there, bishops, princes, a vast crowd in attendance, and there the emperor told luther to be obedient to the church. luther said he could not be obedient. he must be obedient to the bible, the scripture. >> rather than being willing to investigate these ideas, the catholic church took a turn in the other direction and erected walls. martin luther is officially marked as being outside of the
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tradition of the catholic church. it was seen as an act of disloyalty. to be protestant meant you were loyal to the pope. >> narrator: after luther's defiance of king charles and the pope at the diet of vermes, a hard line is drawn among christians. >> the foundation of the reformation is that the church is the invisible gathering of all of those who confess christ in every time and in every place, and because this is not a temporal group of people there's no way there can be a temporal head of it. >> narrator: those aligned with martin luther protest the pope's divine claim to leading the catholic church and become known as protestants. they build lutheran churches throughout germany and scandinavia, focusing their teachings on scripture instead of loyalty to the pope. >> in the past when people don't want to receive catholicism, people could be burned for
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heresy, you could be tortured, you could be imprisoned. martin luther's not the first person that challenged the church, but he's probably the first person that lived to tell about it. >> narrator: martin luther goes into hiding and the protestant reformation continues to grow. in 1523, two years after the diet of vermes, a new pope, clement vii is elect. unlike leo x, lem ent vii agrees with luther's reform, posing a threat to the wealthy monarchs who benefit from church corruption. wifi wireless charging 104 cubic feet of cargo room and seating for 8.
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♪ >> narrator: after martin luther denounces the pope in 1521, european christians are split in two. lutherans develop their own church, founded on the belief that salvation is achieved through faith alone, while catholics continue to practice obedience to the vatican. but the abandonment of
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catholicism by half of europe presents pope clement vii with a dilemma. >> clement vii must have been sorry he was ever elected pope because his whole reign was a calamity. >> he was chronically indecisive. he would go to bed for days with headaches and stomach aches rather than make a serious decision. >> narrator: not only is pope clement vii faced with a church that martin luther has splintered, but he is also caught in the middle of territory disputes between kings. >> the papacy functions politically as one element in the cockpit of europe where all around it dynastic politics are being worked out. >> narrator: in 1527, the vatican is still aligned with the king of germany, charles v, who stood with pope leo x against luther just six years
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earlier. >> charles v was a very unusual person. he was the king of germany. he ruled the north of italy. he was the holy roman emperor, but he had also inherited the rule of spain. so he had more power than at this point any tell properly monarch had ever had at any point. he was a very alarming monarch to many people. >> he wants italy at the same time that the french want italy. >> narrator: in an attempt to balance the power in europe, pope clement vii abandons his alliance with charles and makes a secret treaty with france called the league of cognac. >> as if the pope doesn't have enough problems in the late 1520s, he found himself at war with the greatest catholic in europe, charles v, the very man who challenged luther.
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>> there is one ruler, the king of france, who is behind the pope, and the king of germany is against the pope. there's a war between the church and germany, but it is really between the king of germany and the king of france. >> now charles v invaded italy and he invaded rome. rome was sacked by the imperial troops, many of whom were lutherans and hated the pope. and so for weeks on end, rome faced terror. it is the most extraordinary irony it was a catholic who did as of harm to the pope as a protestant. >> narrator: in may of 1527, the german army storms the churches, monasteries and palaces in rome. by the end of that spring, more than 8,000 romans are
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slaughtered. horrified by the carnage, pope clement vii flees the vatican and seeks safety. >> he gets away by sneaking out of the city. >> narrator: the pope hides out in a castle outside of rome for five week, but eventually the german army surrounds his refuge. clement vii is forced to surrender to king charles v. >> there was certainly no intention to kill the pope. why would you do that to the holy father? but what the emperor wanted was to make the pope helpless, and he did so. and now the emperor had him at his mercy.
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>> narrator: after clement vii yields significant papal territory to charles v, he retreats to a deserted palace in italy. church business slowly resumes until the pope finds himself clashing with another powerful monarch in a feud that will change the reach of the catholic church forever.
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♪ >> narrator: after king charles of germany attacks rome in 1527, the city is in ruins. >> after that, it took half a century to rebuild rome. >> narrator: though rome is destroyed and half of europe has abandoned catholicism for lutheranism, the pope is determined to strengthen what is left of the catholic empire. but despite his best efforts to revive the splintering church, another threat to papal power brews in england. >> henry viii was a fascinating, extremely complicated individual. >> henry viii had the biggest ego in the kingdom of england.
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he was also a clever man, talented, good-looking when he was young, and like many teenagers he never quite coped with growing up. >> narrator: henry viii has ruled england since he was 18 years old, and as a young, charismatic monarch -- he's used to getting what he wants. >> henry was married to the daughter of ferd nant ainand an isabella of spain. >> narrator: henry's marriage to catherine of aragon is a important political alliance. he finds his marriage to her problematic. >> they had been together for 20 years and she had managed to produce one living daughter. >> he was very sensitive to the fact that he hadn't got a son to
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take over when he died, and that was fatal in the politics of a kingdom at the time. >> narrator: not only does henry want a son that his wife cannot give him, but he also has a mistress that he would like to marry. >> if you want to marry somebody else, there is no divorce. you need the pope to anull your marriage. >> he wants the pope to say he can mary anne boleyn. >> he needs a declaration that his marriage to catherine was never valid. >> narrator: the vatican archives contain the letter henry viii sent to pope clement vii requesting the anullment of his marriage to catherine of aragon in 1530. his request is signed by 81 members of parliament.
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but the pope's response is complicated by his political alliances. >> the pope was effectively the prisoner of the emperor charles v, who as it happens was the nephew of queen catherine of england. >> narrator: clement vii does not want to jeopardize his fragile truce with charles v by agreeing to his aunt's anullment, but king henry threatens to withdraw all of england from the catholic church if he does not get his way. >> so on the one way, there was the king of england saying, declare my marriage null or the church will suffer for it because the stream of money from england to the papacy will be cut off. on the other hand was the emperor charles v who says, if you divorce my aunty, you will suffer for it. >> narrator: propose clement is in a precarious position and
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finds himself paralyzed with indecision. but king henry viii is not known for his patience. >> clement used various little tricks, delaying tactics, and the thing just dragged on and on and on. henry finally just got fed up with it and said i'm just doing this on my own. >> narrator: in the decade after martin luther's revolution, a school of thought circulates around europe, doubting the pope's divine right to power. >> henry viii availed himself of this very strong current of reformation thought that said the pope is not the head of the christian church. the christian church is invisible. the christian church is all believers everywhere and the pope has no particular claim to be the leader. he took that reformation thought and then he entirely corrupted it by saying, the pope is not the leader of the christian church, i am.
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which was not at all what the reformers had in mind. >> henry viii says i'm going to do an act of supremacy and i'm going to declare myself over the church. >> henry says, i'm not a king, i'm an emperor, and emperors are accountable to nobody. >> narrator: in 1534, four years after henry viii's initial request for an anullment, he denounces the papacy, removing himself and his country from the ju jurisdiction of the catholic church. he proclaims himself the leader of a new church, the church of england. >> henry says, i decide that i'm not married to catherine. >> he divorces his nice, catholic wife and marries anne boleyn and now he's the head of a church. so he can take down catholic priests, he can put down people who don't follow his particular faith, the anglican faith, and as a result it ends up destroying the catholic church
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for a time in england. >> he tore the kingdom apart with his break from rome. >> we have wars of religion within england, we have wars of religion between france and england with france being more loyal to the pope, england more loyal to henry. the entire religious landscape becomes weaponized. >> and then henry viii begins to take the church's wealth. >> narrator: as head of the church of england, henry viii seizes property that belongs to the catholic church. >> he begins to strip all of the altars in england. he takes that wealth for himself. >> narrator: he dissolves the monasteri serks and con vents, stripping over 12,000 mornings, nuns and priests of their homes and assets. >> henry is very puzzling in terms of religion. >> henry viii had the alliances. he had the wealth to be able to disregard the pope, to be able
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to say, "no, i don't care if you put my entire country under interdict," meaning everybody is excommunicated, "this makes no difference to me." essentially he stripped away the authority of the papacy and originally, at least, kept almost everything else, simply establishing a new church with a different head, and that authority was what he was most interested in, who was at the head of it. >> narrator: in the face of spiritual revolutionaries and power-hungry monarchs, the once-almighty pope sees the power of the office dwindle for the first time in nearly 800 years. by the milling of the 16th century, it looks as if the reign of the roman catholic church is finally coming to an end. your home improvement "to-do list" still isn't "to-done". but hey, at least you still have time to get the ford vehicle you've always wanted.
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♪ ♪ >> narrator: by the end of pope clement vii's reign in 1534, the once-all-powerful catholic church is beginning to splinter. the new pope, paul iii, inherits
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a papacy swelling with uncertainties. >> just as the moment when the church seemed in real trouble, a particular champion came along and called himself ignatius. ignatius loyola. >> there were a group of french, spanish and portuguese students at the university of paris. they came under the influence of ignatius. >> narrator: at the university of paris, ignatius and his followers initiate a new way of praying based on meditation. in the past catholic prayer had consisted of standard recitations, but ignatius promotes a more personalized practice. >> he had developed a way of praying and focusing that was very attractive to these young men, so they all came together and they took vows together.
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>> they called this society the society of jesus. they were known as the jesuits. >> narrator: like martin luther, ignatius and the jesuits believed that every man, not just clergy, should have an individual relationship with god. but unlike martin luther, they do not pose a direct threat to the church. >> he had a lot in common with luther. ignatius was a man who believed that a direct communication with god was not only possible but was absolutely essential for the soul to prosper. too often i think we tend to break down catholic and protestant, especially during the reformation, into catholics thought that people needed a mediator between god and man and protestants say no, you can speak directly to good. ignatius was a catholic who believed the direct experience with god was one of the most important experiences that the
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church could steer you towards. >> they begin trying to rehabilitation fallen women, sex workers. they show great concern for the poor. eventually they go to rome with this new idea for a new order and they place themselves at the disposition of the pope. >> narrator: ignatius presents the jesuits' ideas to pope paul iii as a means of catholic reform. but in 1540, few had challenged the catholic church and remained in the good graces of the pope. >> the church hierarchy was feeling its way forward. this was an unknown new development. it was a new threat. even though luther's thought was condemned, within the catholic church there was also this recognition that, yes, there were reforms that needed to be made. >> the pope allowed them to become a formal religious order.
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niech niech >> narrator: in an unprecedented act, pope paul iii endorses ignatius's challenges to the church. he permits the jesuit order to flourish within catholicism. >> ignatius knew how to play vatican's politics. the society's always carefully cherished its independence and done so and protected that independence by talking about its loyalty to the pope. >> they become the largest religious order in the church. >> narrator: the jesuits make a name for themselves by shifting their focus to universal education. >> the jesuits focus on education for all classes of society. >> they provided a first-class education and people rushed to get that education.
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that's what spread the catholic faith back into areas whereigna live. and during that period, the jesuits is mushroomed. they took in more and more and more people. >> they begin to spread out through the new world and also into japan and india and other place places. >> inspired by the jesuits, pope paul iii calls for catholic unity to the fight against the ever-growing protestant movement. >> there's tremendous turmoil that is going on in the church. and so this becomes a time in which the church has to look to rebuild and how does a church rebuild? what do they do? how do they bring themselves together? >> in 1545, the pope assembles
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the council of trent to re-examine the catholic institution. a counter reformation is born. >> a council is called to start do reforms in the church that they believe must be done in order to hold onto the church and the ways in which they can push back against luther and these other reformiation movements. >> paul xxxviii, he's a great reforming pope. he makes a series of magnificent appointments to the cardinalhood. and these men become the leaders of the renewal of catholicism in the mid-16th century. and they're his men. >> a transformation begins. in 1567, the sale of indulgences is outlawed and a culture of change and growth is initiated in the church. setting the stage for the first jesuit pope and perhaps the greatest reformer modern era, pope francis. ♪
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reformation ignites in europe, pope francis becomes the first jesuit pope. a leader who calls on christians
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to be missionaries of hope. a jesuit is the last person i would ever think is going to become pope. >> right from the start, the society of jesus set its face againstness member of the society becoming pope. >> they are not supposed to seek ecclesiastical benefits. they should not want to be bishops or cardinals or things like that. >> why now for the first time in the church's history a jesuit pope? >> the unprecedented election of a jesuit pope signifies a real shift in the nature of the 2000-year-old office. >> pope francis positions himself not just the leader of the catholic church and the papacy but as a moral leader. the jesuits are the great success story of the catholic reform. jesuits are flexible thinkers.
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they understand that there are different sides to a question. they tend to be more lenient in their moral judgments. they tend to be more encouraging. so the impact of having a jesuit pope is interesting. it almost suggests the society felt that jesuits to the rescue. the church was in trouble. and so they'd send one of their own in. >> pope francis' election in 2013 comes during a turbulent time for catholicism. the vatican faces scrutiny for sexual and financial scandals while both church and sem ril attendance are on the decline the world over. change happens in the catholic church in a way that it doesn't happen in other places. it never happens directly emphasis gets changed. certain things are dropped from attention and they pivot. >> pope francis asked me to take on this job and culture about a year and a half ago and he spoke
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to me about what he wanted me to do. >> pope francis said, look, there are things changing in our world. there are things emerging that have potential to shape our future very differently. he said i wan you to get out there. i want you to meet the people whom are forging the future of the world. >> the changes initiated during the reformation have become part of the fabric of modern christianity. more than 900 million protestants around the world can trace their spiritual roots back to the revolution started in the 1500s. >> the shattering of the unity of christian dom was a tragedy but it also, of course, created a new kind of earthcy for catholic reform. >> after towel years of threats, tras formations and revolutionaries, the pope still maintains a following of 1.2 billion people around the world.
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the capacity of the catholic church to accept change has been central to its ability to remain relevant. >> reforming help to bring about a reneutral of the papacy and of the wider church. >> we could see how the papacy first changes but secondarily how it has to change with the time that it's in. where there might have been a time that science is bads and it's all terrible, pope francis has been able to speak about things like homosexuality, is the environment in ways in which other popes have not. we're now in a time where somebody like pope francis is changing climate change is real. that's a tremendous way to look at the paper sid to see how it has to develop over time not just about the tath but about the world in which it's dealing with. >> as long as the church has emptiesed, the word around it has been in flux. but throughout centuries of change and challenges, the pope
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still remains one of the most powerful men on earth. ♪ one of the most powerful men on earth holds a has existed for nearly 2,000 years. as the world changes, and faith evolves, his authority remains. what began with one apostle has become 1.2 billion followers under one man. he is the head of the catholic church. the pope. and there is his path to power.


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