Pope Francis is raising eyebrows again with his comments about gays, telling reporters "Who am I to judge?" homosexuals who embrace God. Never one to follow the rules, Francis is becoming known as the "People's Pope" for his simple lifestyle, humble persona and breaks with tradition.
Ever since he was elected pope in March, Francis has exhibited a marked departure from his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Even his shoes, shown here, are symbolic of a simpler papacy in contrast to the bright red shoes favorited by Benedict.
Pope Francis also broke historic ground with his name choice, which is in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, a saint who championed the poor. It's the first time Francis has been used as a pope name.
Pope Francis also decided not to move into the papal apartment used by Benedict XVI and others before him, preferring instead to stay in a simple suite at a Vatican hotel.
The morning after his election, he swung by the Church-run residence he was staying before becoming pontiff and settled the bill himself, even picking up his own luggage.
Here, Pope Francis carries his own personal bag as he departs Rome for his trip to Brazil.
Pope Francis made history in late March when he washed the feet of young prisoners in Rome for his Holy Thursday service. Two young women were among 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed in a traditional ceremony, the first time a pontiff included females in the rite.
Telling his predecessors "we're brothers now," Pope Francis again made history by visiting Pope Benedict XVI at his retreat in northern Italy shortly after his election as the new pope. It was the first time that two living popes had met.
Pope Francis is somewhat of a headache for his security team, often making unscheduled visits among the masses. Here, he stepped out of his vehicle to kiss the head of a man with a physical disability as he arrived for his inauguration.
He did the same during his recent trip to Brazil, making unscheduled stops in the slums of Rio de Janeiro and a clinic for drug addicts.
Pope Francis has also made a point of including and interacting with those who have physical and developmental disabilities. Here, he blesses a woman in a wheelchair in Rio de Janeiro. A few weeks ago, he made headlines for letting a boy with Down syndrome on board the "Popemobile."
Pope Francis interacts with the media much more than any pope before him. Here, he listens to a reporter's question as he flies back to Rome following his visit to Brazil.
Atheists welcomed comments by Pope Francis in May that God redeems everyone, even nonbelievers. “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” the pope told worshipers at morning Mass. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”
The pope's silence on abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia in his early months of leadership has angered and isolated some right-wing Catholics. While Pope Francis is a social conservative, he rejects the confrontational, caustic approach favored by many right-wing Catholic culture warriors in favor of openness and understanding.