As recent news has showed the Roman Catholic Church has elected a new pope to lead them through a time of unprecedented turmoil. The church has recently been fighting scandals in the form of financial problems and sexual abuse of children by priests. With Pope Benedict stepping down from the papacy the conclave of cardinals were tasked to select a leader who could steer the church out of these troubled waters and into a new more peaceful era. They ended up choosing Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina to lead them as the new pope. The leadership styles of Pope Benedict and Jorge Bergoglio are very different and will create very different results from the church and it followers.
Pope Benedict is a very intellectual man. Forbes.com described him as an “authoritarian doctrinal watchdog” and his personality as one fueled by “extraordinary ambition, intellect and discipline”. He chose the name Benedict when he became pope in order to display an image of a communicator and an advocate of peace. Although this is true a lot of Catholics never really felt a strong connection with Pope Benedict and it seemed to me that his strong conservative views alienates a lot of Catholics who would like to see some sort of small reform in the church. I find it easiest to classify Pope Benedict leadership style using the Skills Approach (PSU, L4, p4). He has very high conceptual skills which make him an ideal candidate to be the leader of the church. However, his technical skills or his ability to relate to the masses is low when compared to his predecessor Pope John Paul. Being the pope is a very unique leadership situation because you must have very high conceptual skills in order to understand all of the church doctrine and history. While at the same time it is important to have high human and technical skills so that you can relate to the everyday catholic who is trying to come to grips with their faith. It is very hard for the average Christian to relate to Pope Benedict and that is where some of his shortcomings come from.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio took the name Pope Francis when he was elected pope. This is very significant because no pope had ever taken the name Francis. Saint Francis was a very humble man who strived to better the world by serving others. By taking the name Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio clearly believes that he can do the same thing in his papacy. An example of this includes his profound humility. He would take the bus to work and lived in a small apartment as an archbishop (Bellitto). Also, when he was elected pope instead of blessing the crowd at St. Peters square he asked them to pray for him instead. He is the kind of person who looks to serve others and because of this I identify his leadership style as servant leadership. Servant leadership is when the leader serves the needs other people so that they have the ability to meet the needs of the organization. The followers then transform into servants themselves who can help other followers in the organization (PSU L11, p3). This creates a whole organization of people who are developing into leaders of their own. This is a perfect model for the Catholic Church because it focuses on evangelizing and spreading the faith to one another by service. This is why I believe that Pope Francis will be a very successful pope and one who revitalizes the Catholic Church by his actions and service to the followers. Those followers will then go out on their own and spread the faith.
Bellitto, Christopher M. “Pope Francis, Humble, Authentic and Credible.” CNN. Cable News Network, 15 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Forbes. “Profile Of Pope Benedict XVI.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 25 Apr. 2005. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Penn State World Campus (2013). PSYCH 485 Lesson 4: Skills Approach. Retrieved on March 18, 2013
Penn State World Campus (2013). PSYCH 485 Lesson 11: Servant Leadership. Retrieved on March 18, 2013