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10 Years On, Pope Francis Faces Challenges From the Right and the Left

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nytimes.com

ROME — Pope Francis once envisioned serving only a few years as pontiff. On Monday, he commemorated his 10th anniversary as leader of the world’s Roman Catholics, saying it seemed “like yesterday” that he took control of an ideologically divided church that has opposed him from the right for going too far and criticized him from the left for not going far enough.

Throughout the past decade, Francis, now 86, has visited far-flung countries and strode across the international stage as a major figure willing to use his moral capital on the major issues of the day.

He has made the College of Cardinals, which will pick his successor, much more global and has opened doors to debate in the church, seeking to make a torn institution more collegial, unified and less centralized in Rome.

But deep into Francis’ longer-than-average papacy, many of the faithful are wondering whether the pope, slowed by a bad knee but perhaps less inhibited after the death of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, will make concrete and transformative change or decide once and for all that such shifts will not happen on his watch. “He is a pope who has realized many things in 10 years,” Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals, said in a brief interview on Monday evening. “Mainly the new ideas, building bridges.” But Francis has had less success in bringing bishops along with him, something he views as essential for making lasting change. “In all these years, we didn’t see a clear majority of reformers among the bishops and priests all over the world,” said Marco Politi, a veteran Vatican analyst and author of “Pope Francis Among the Wolves: The Inside Story of a Revolution.” While Francis has for a decade faced unrelenting.

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