Leadership in the Papacy: Pope Francis I, The Servant Leader

By: Shane Macedonio, LIHC Staff

On March 19th, The Catholic Church inaugurated Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as the 266th Pope. As the leader of one of the largest organizations in the world, Pope Francis I faces a difficult task. Most people would agree that in the past several years, the Church has been experiencing turmoil as a result of a lack of religious vocations, a plethora of sex scandals, and a decrease in the confidence of the Vatican to provide effective leadership and guidance for the Church’s 1.2 billion adherents. Many are looking to Pope Francis I to lead the Church back to the correct path. In the first few days of his papacy, Francis I has already hinted at what his leadership style will be and how he will correct the course of the Church through various bold actions. Through the analysis of these actions, I will attempt to elucidate the type of leadership we should expect of Pope Francis I and the implications this has for the Church.

The first move of his Papacy, taking the name Francis, is indicative of the leadership style we should expect out of Pope Francis  in the future. By choosing the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope revealed his intention to promote simplicity, the protection of the poor, humility, and most importantly, the rebuilding of the Church. Pope Francis has already actively demonstrated this intention by celebrating mass in a prison, choosing not to live in the opulent papal palace, and making clear his intention to act in a decisive manner with regards to the corruption and sexual abuse that has recently plagued Catholic priests and the Vatican. Pope Francis will exhibit leadership through his humility and simplicity. As a servant leader, Pope Francis will be an exemplar for all Catholics to emulate, as he will revitalize and repair the Church through an active leadership style of leadership by example.

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