Populist appeal of Pope reaches across religions

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) -- Pope Francis is getting the attention of people beyond a Catholic audience. He's spoken to powerful politicians, and yet many say he still speaks the language of the people.

"There were certain topics that were sort of walled off from the religious world," explained The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young of San Francisco's Grace Cathedral. "He's not afraid to address those topics."

Topics like immigration, sexuality, and climate change. They all have a broad appeal beyond the Catholic Church.

"We believe that our Heavenly Father created this earth for us and we have to be stewards of that," said Phil Millett as he walked the labyrinth outside Grace Cathedral. "And then it affects those that don't have any particular religion just as equally because we all have to breathe the same air and drink the same water."

Millett is Mormon by faith, but thinks the Pope can speak to many faiths and people with no particular faith.

"The more places he can go and visit the better off we all are," said Millett

"He speaks people who care about the human condition, people who care about the dignity of human beings" said Clemens about Pope Francis.

The Pope does not lead Clemens church either. Grace Cathedral is Episcopalian.

"It definitely feels like a new time in the Roman Catholic Church and just the religious world in general," Clemens remarked. "Religion isn't just about what happens in churches."

Clemens said the only other religious leader today who has that spotlight and broad appeal is the Dalai Lama, who once spoke at Grace Cathedral. 

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