I have great expectations for and from Francis, Bishop of Rome, and the Time Person of the year.

From Pope Francis, and the Vatican administration which he supervises, I expect a more humane – well a more Christian – style of leadership. My expectations are not limited just to Francis and his Vatican, however.  

I expect the rest of us in the church: lay men and women, ordained ministers, and bishops to ALSO implement a more caring and person-affirming leadership style.  If the entire community of faith – the entire church – doesn’t do this, the Person of the Year becomes just a pleasant and quickly-forgotten image.

The challenge for all of us then is to reject authoritarian management styles at all levels of our church life. We know of course that they do exist at all levels…….

(1)    The authoritarian manager controls and manipulates people. A pastoral leader, like Jesus, motivates and encourages people.

(2)    The authoritarian depends on power to get things done. The pastoral leader relies on collaboration and goodwill.

(3)    The authoritarian manager inspires and uses fear to control people. The pastoral leader understands that a genuine leader animates people and  generates enthusiasm.

(4)    Authoritarians always say “I.”  Real leaders say “we.”

(5)    Authoritarians have all the answers. Pastoral leaders may have good ideas; but they still realize they can learn from the people around them.

(6)    Authoritarians take credit. Pastoral leaders give credit.

(7)    Authoritarians see life issues in clearly delineated black and white. Pastoral leaders understand that human life is more often lived in shades of grey.

(8)    Authoritarians condemn without consultation. Pastoral leaders, like Jesus of Nazareth, acknowledge, forgive, and invite conversion.

(9)    Authoritarians rely on secretive manipulations. Pastoral leaders rely on open and frank conversation.

(10) Authoritarians basically distrust people. Pastoral leaders look at men and women and see the Face of Christ.


“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them. Their great men exercise authority over them. Let it not be this way among you.

Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.”

Matthew 20:25-26



  1. When the bishops start (reluctantly) asking for comments from the grass roots in response to Francis’ request, this needs to be submitted.
    Well done, yet again.

  2. I seem to have missed this post- sorry. Maybe it boils down to “Authoritarians rely on Wordly Power models. True leaders rely on the Power from God” ?

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