The pope has many ways to talk to the world’s people, including his @Pontifex Twitter account with 20 million followers. His speeches, homilies, teachings, messages and, recently, his encyclical on climate change are parsed for evidence of his thinking on crucial issues, such as poverty, marriage, divorce, homosexuality, and the role of women in the church. Since his election in 2013, pilgrims and the curious have flocked to Vatican City to see the popular pope, who greets them in St. Peter’s Square, often at general audiences where he teaches, prays, and blesses the crowd. The scene is frenzied, as visitors seek his attention—and are frequently overwhelmed when they receive it.
See more of our coverage and Dave Yoder’s photos in the August issue of National Geographic magazine.