Pope Francis met on Tuesday, Oct. 1, with top cardinals and charged them with the task of helping him overhaul the Roman Catholic institution. In his criticism of the Vatican's present condition, he condemned the "leprosy" in the Vatican and called for a less hierarchical Church that would be structured "horizontally."
"Leaders of the Church have often been Narcissuses, gratified and sickeningly excited by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy," Pope Francis via La Repubblica
In plain English the Pope is labeling a problem with the leaders who tend to be enamored with themselves and excited by those who flatter them. As a leader himself, the Pope is a humble man of few words and yet a man of action and purpose. If world leaders took a few pointers from the Pope's leadership style they could get things done with less conflict and more public satisfaction.
Leading is more than good rhetoric and ideas
Pope Francis is known for his humility, but this is not to be confused with a doormat mentality. He has made it clear you can be both humble and a leader. This is the same way Jesus led. Pope Francis has also shown that leading is more than good rhetoric and ideas. For instance, the Pope has already taken steps to address high profile Vatican problems like the scandal riddled Vatican bank. In June he set up a commission to analyze the bank and to propose ways to reform it and now three months later reforms are already being enforced. On Tuesday, Oct. 1 the bank published its accounts for the first time in an effort to be transparent. Plus the bank is also shutting 900 accounts belonging to diplomats from embassies to the Holy See in Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
Seeking advice involves listening to those with differing ideas
The Pope has met with a group of 8 cardinals from Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Honduras, India, Italy, and the United States. Notice he did not just surround himself only with others who think like he does. That's the mistake King Rehoboam made. "But he rejected the advice of the elders who had advised him and consulted with the young men who had grown up with him and served him" (1 Kings 12:8). The Pope asked his advisors for advice on reforming the Vatican administration and how communication with local churches can be improved. He understands communication requires give and take and that true leadership is more than telling people what to do.
Teamwork and deadlines
The advisory board of cardinals will hold closed-door talks for three days and is expected to tackle a range of problems. One thing to note is that the team has a time limit and they are expected to work together. They have three days. Perhaps government leaders from different ideologies could be expected to work within the framework of deadlines to get things done.
Tackle the difficult
The Pope isn't running from problems long ignored. He's tackling tough things like financial reform, the role of women in the Church, and issues like divorce and homosexuality. President Obama has tackled some difficult issues like healthcare, but with more than half the country unhappy with the current health insurance mandate even he could learn from the Pope who is trying to strengthen ties between the Vatican and local parishes. It's not just parishes that agree with him on church issues, but an increased focus and improved communication with all priests and their communities.
"The church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God" – Pope Francis
Get back to basics
The Pope is trying to get back to basics. The church has strayed from Christ's call. He has pointed to the "leprosy" in the Vatican. If the President and Congress could be that honest and forget about partisanship and just speak the truth, listen to the people, and do the right thing, the country might actually have a chance to heal, help others, and get out of debt. If we could get back to basics, it would be "We the people" dictating what the government is doing instead of the other way around.
Pope Francis is the first Latin American to be elected as Pope. He is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the first pope to be a Jesuit and to come from the Americas. His book, The Light of Faith, was published in July, 2013.