A new documentary, “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” directed by Wim Wenders, attempts to show viewers who the Pope really is. However, the film is less so a documentary detailing his life, but a trip through his life.
In the film’s interview scenes, viewers see the Pope as humble in practice, comparable to St. Francis of Assisi in his respect for the less fortunate. In one instance during the film, the pontiff stated, “Talk little. Listen a lot,” suggesting he is seeking to be a Pope of the people.
Throughout his papacy, Francis has taken a more nuanced stance on homosexuality and contentious scientific issues. Particularly, he has expressed his beliefs that the theory of evolution can coexist with creationism and women should become more equal members of the clergy.
One notable scene of his travels depicts the Pope cleansing the feet of those who came to him while he was traveling, indicating a likening to that of Christ.
Wenders highlights his markedly liberal outlooks on these quintessentially conservative matters within the church that has set him apart from his predecessors in a manner that the filmmaker argues has truly brought Catholicism into the 21st century.
However, despite Francis being seen as an arbiter of change in the church establishment, he ultimately retains the church’s traditional stances on matters such as abortion, asserting that it is still a major sin, but he posits that it can still be forgiven and has given priests the authority to forgive the sin, according to USA Today.
Love of God and love of neighbour should be the two cornerstones of our lives.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) May 25, 2018
In sum, the main message of the film and of the pontiff himself is one of love and respect that can be appreciated by all, not merely adherents of the faith.