1. He acknowledged atheists in the most wonderful of speeches.

The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class. We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all. And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: We will meet one another there.”

 

2. He lives an average life.

Pope Francis has done everything he can to counter the image of the lavish lives of popes in the Vatican. As the most powerful symbol of the church, he was offered the grand 12-plus room papal apartment at the Apostolic Palace. But Pope Francis turned it down and chose instead to live in a studio apartment at the Vatican with no personal staff to help him. He affords himself none of the luxuries that the previous popes afforded themselves, such as grand garments. Pope Francis keeps it rather simple in a white robe and he encourages others around him to do the same. He publicly acknowledged that the average set of cardinal’s clothes costs $20,000 and urged officials to dress more modestly.

Moreover, he made the ultimate sacrifice by selling his beloved Harley Davidson to fund a soup kitchen for the poor.

 

3. He’s an environmentalist at heart.

Pope Francis is an advocate for the environment. In his inaugural homily at St Peter’s Square, he said: “I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”

During his visit to Brazil he encouraged farmers and ranchers to stop invading the land of native people. He espoused treating the Amazon like God’s garden.

 

4. He does not hide behind the ‘Popemobile’.

If there is one thing that drives his personal bodyguards crazy, it’s the way Pope Francis mixes in with huge crowds without fear. He loves meeting his ‘fans’, kissing babies and blessing those who come to him with a problem. He also chooses to walk around during Mass instead of taking the pope mobile. In fact, he has recently traded in his bulletproof ride for an open top white Mercedes jeep that allows him to hop on and off easily whilst meeting with people on the street.

 

5. He tweets.

Pope Francis has definitely got on with the times. He’s a regular tweeter. Despite the 140 character limit, Pope Francis has used Twitter to spread wise words to his 3.75 million-strong following.

Here are some of the Pope’s best tweets:

Seeking happiness in material things is a sure way of being unhappy.”

My thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centered mindset bent on  profit at any cost.”

“Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved and forgiven.”

“How marvelous it would be if, at the end of the day, each of us could say: today I have performed an act of charity towards others!”