The faithful in America already know — this — pope is different. And so do their bishops:

Bishop Robert Cunningham explains: “I think his emphasis is definitely on understanding, compassion and forgiveness. It’s also true though that he hasn’t changed a single church teaching. So, the old saying that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness sometimes than it is to ask permission, certainly resonates, it seems to me, with him”

  For American Catholics who go to church regularly and perhaps for those who don’t…They’re expecting a lot of this pope>

Those expectations are wide-ranging in a diverse U.S. Church. Many hope Francis can help reverse the damage done by the priest sex abuse scandal:

For young people, this has been a major blow to their confidence in the worthiness of the church as a community. And so most millennial Catholics are really looking askance at the church and looking for i think more integrity, more authenticity in terms of what we espouse and what we do” said Father David McCallum of New York

Father Mc Callum and fellow Jesuit, father George Coyne both say the pope will inspire, invigorate and recharge American Catholics within American society itself:

Fundamental to the American constitution is the separation of church and state. But many Catholics feel that we kind of possess this. Gay marriage is against our beliefs. So we’re going to fight it and fight it and fight it. His mentality is very different from that and i think that he will spread that mentality just by being who he is to the American catholic” said Father Coyne

Father MccCallum adds “The pope himself is I think restoring in many ways a focus on the gospel and Jesus’ words and actions. And his actions were not limited to people’s spiritual lives. They also addressed their material lives and questions of the abuse of power and injustice. So those who would like to keep the pope in a box will be frustrated.”

Catholics in this country are not of one mind either on church doctrine or the many social issues that Pope Francis tackles head on, like climate change, immigration, income inequality, and a lifestyle based on consumerism. But the people in the pews are hungry for one thing that may, at the end of the day, have to come from within:

  Where are the leaders that really generate energy among American Catholics? Where are they? said Father Coyne “Among the American hierarchy ? But the church is not just hierarchy. We are the church. The people are the church. Where in this American church has grown up a moral leader something like Pope Francis?”