John L. Allen Jr.: Pope’s first term: Clear wins, mixed verdicts and unfinished business

(Crux) Francis’s papacy is four years old, which, for Americans, can’t help but suggest it’s the end of his first term. (That, of course, is not actually how things work in the Vatican, where popes don’t stand for re-election, but that won’t stop many Americans from attaching a special resonance to today’s milestone.)

Whatever one makes of Pope Francis, whether one finds him inspiring or infuriating, there’s no question the last four years have been an earthquake in the Catholic Church. Francis has taken the wider world by storm and shaken up the Church he leads in a variety of ways, the full implications of which probably won’t be clear for a long time.

In the spirit of taking stock, the following offers a sampler of clear wins Francis has notched over the last four years, a couple of mixed verdicts, and three incompletes. It’s hardly meant to be an exhaustive overview, since this dynamo of a pope doesn’t have an off switch, and trying to catalogue everything he’s said and done over these past four years would miss the forest for the trees. [More]