Pope Francis

The pontiff told the United Nations General Assembly that it is critical that the international community act now to solve problems ranging from climate change to poverty and inequality of opportunity.

Pope Francis during a 2014 visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
European Parliament / Flickr

In a 184-page encyclical assigning moral responsibility to the fight against climate change, Pope Francis in June urged the world to phase out its addiction to fossil fuels.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about the first woman to win math’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, and North Korea’s missile test this week as Pope Francis visits South Korea.

Later, a conversation with classical Persian scholar Austin O’Malley. He says the language’s stability drew him to study centuries-old Near Eastern poetry.

Park Jun-soo / South Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

South Korea's Defense Ministry says North Korea has fired three short-range projectiles into the sea.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss the conflict in Ukraine that likely led to the surface-to-air missile attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and the increased flow of unaccompanied minors over the U.S.-Mexico border.

Later, a conversation with Francis Rooney, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. President Bush appointed him to the post in 2005 shortly after the death of Pope John Paul II, and he's just written a book about his three-year tenure called The Global Vatican: An Inside Look at the Catholic Church, World Politics, and the Extraordinary Relationship between the United States and the Holy See.

Shealah Craighead / The White House

The United States has had a long-but-rocky relationship with the Vatican and didn’t formally establish diplomatic relations and appoint an ambassador until 1984. That 21-year stretch of U.S. representatives serving with a single pope ended when John Paul II died in 2005.

One leader whose popularity around the world has been eclipsed by the other met for the first time Thursday when President Obama visited Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Obama, who has seen his approval numbers decline since he took office in 2009, met for about 50 minutes with the pope, who has become one of the world's most popular leaders since becoming leader of the Roman Catholic Church a year ago.

Rebecca Cruise and Joshua Landis join Suzette Grillot to discuss subtle reminders of Nelson Mandela's controversial legacy during a week of celebration of the late president's life, and Pope Francis's selection as Time  magazine's 2013 "Person of the Year.'

Later, a conversation with Oklahoma native and former Army interrogator Eric Maddox. Ten years ago Friday, months of his intelligence work paid off when U.S. soldiers captured deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

In only his first year, Pope Francis was selected by Time magazine's editors as the person who had the greatest impact on the world, for good or bad, during 2013.

Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs said Pope Francis had changed the tone, the perception and focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, tells KGOU’s World Views host Suzette Grillot the enthusiasm created by Pope Francis is palpable.

"For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world's largest faith to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time's 2013 Person of the Year."

The magazine adds that:

Around the world today, the powerful "feed upon the powerless" and too many people are treated as "consumer goods to be used and then discarded," Pope Francis writes in his first major paper since becoming leader of the Roman Catholic church last May.

In the Vatican today, a surreal scene:

That's Pope Francis, the 266th Bishop of Rome, holding what the church believes are the bone fragments of St. Peter, the apostle and the first bishop of Rome.

Pope Francis cradled the relics during a mass at St. Peter's Square, which marked the end of the global church's Year of Faith. It was also the first time the Catholic Church has displayed the relics in public.

Pope Francis, in a wide-ranging interview with 16 Jesuit publications, says "the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards" if it continues to focus on narrow issues such as abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

Suzette Grillot hosts the program from Scotland, and Rebecca Cruise joins her by phone from Washington, D.C. to talk about the economic "baby bump" created by Prince George of Cambridge, and Pope Francis's visit to Brazil.

Later, former World Views research fellow Jack Randolph returns to the KGOU studios to talk about his latest trip to Tel Aviv. He returned to Israel this week to work with Peace Players International, an organization that strives to use sports to bring divided communities together.

George Martell / Pilot New Media Creative Commons

Pope Francis is urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a "mess" in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith.

It's a message he put into practice by visiting one of Rio's most violent slums and opening the church's World Youth Day on a rain-soaked Copacabana Beach Thursday.

“1970s surveys suggested that 90 percent of Brazilians identified with being Catholic, and now it's just shy of 60 percent,” says Suzette Grillot, the Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. “You've seen declining numbers. The pope wants to try to boost those numbers.”