Global Politics, According to Pope Francis

36 Pages Posted: 31 May 2017 Last revised: 18 Aug 2017

Jodok Troy

University of Innsbruck; Stanford University

Date Written: August 17, 2017


Two of Pope Francis’s most persistent political attributes are his conception of peace from the periphery and the spin he gives to papal human rights discourse away from a traditional notion of human rights towards one of embedding them in social justice issues and the common good. Both indicate that this pope, for the first time in papal history, holds onto a conception of international politics as global politics. In the absence of conceptual frameworks that bring together the individual view of the pope and global politics, I explore illustrative evidence from the wide array of topics on the pope and global politics to bolster the claim of his conception of global politics and human rights. By doing so, the article puts forward three intertwined explanatory hypotheses. First, if Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s conceptions of global politics, such as on peace and human rights, are as important as his rhetoric suggest, then they translate into political action of Pope Francis. I demonstrate this hypothesis through an interrogation of Pope Francis’s practices and self-understanding, thus discerning their normative contents. Second, if those conceptions gain traction and become entrenched in a papal trajectory, then they alter the institutional setting and foreign policy of the Holy See. I substantiate this claim by examining the historical record of papal political conceptions that shaped the institutional setting of the Catholic Church and the Holy See. Third, if International Relations want to make bold claims about the Holy See and take it seriously as the largest transnational religious actors, then it needs to accept a global perspective, created by interactions within and beyond the subject. I warrant this by a turn to research on the hierarchical structure of world politics and the changes therein.

Keywords: Pope, global politics, International Relations, human rights, peace, religion, Church

Suggested Citation

Troy, Jodok, Global Politics, According to Pope Francis (August 17, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Jodok Troy (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck ( email )

Universitätsstraße 15
Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020
+43(0)512.507.2849 (Fax)


Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States


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