During the past few weeks, the world has been focused on Vatican City as 155 Cardinals selected Jorge Bergaglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the next Pope and leader of more than one billion Catholics around the world. There has been much debate and conjecture as to what lies ahead for the Catholic Church and if the organization can redeem its reputation after several years of challenges.
The primary responsibility of the new Pope will be, as it has been for hundreds of years, to run the Catholic Church, oversee the Bishops who are accountable for their respective regions and diocese and to be the spiritual leader for Catholics worldwide. But if Pope Francis is to be successful, and if he desires to lead them into a 21st Century advancement, he will have to redefine his role as well as role of the Catholic Church worldwide.
The Pope may find himself in the position of immediately addressing the concerns of the constituents and faithful followers of the Catholic Church especially if the church is going to advance beyond its immediate concern; restoring the integrity of the church and its leadership from the position of the Pope down to the local priest. Recently one of the networks polled a group of faithful Catholics and asked them questions. Their responses were concerns from structure to dated policies and even challenges with trust in certain areas. For many years now good priests have been affected because of the criminal actions of some.
One of the obstacles the Pope may find is that he has to bridge the language barrier and conviction barrier between traditional minded followers and 21st Century followers in today’s world. The values and the methods of Christ do not change, but the question that may arise in today’s world is: are the methods as sacred as the message? The balance of faith is trust. He has to balance trust in order to balance faith.
In upgrading Pope Francis role because of present challenges, he may find himself to be more than a spiritual leader and administrator of the largest religious organization in the world. Problem solving has become an inherited responsibility. Coming up with plans to restore the Catholics faith and the church and reviving its attendance as well as making the organization innovative and more relevant in a changing world. Make no mistake; the Catholic Church has a lot of power and influence. However, the question is can it use untapped and unused influences to bring her back to the full strength and respect of her power? For example, in looking at the major tragedies and natural disasters over the past several years would it have been helpful if the Catholic Church took a leading role to the world’s challenges n these disasters? In respect to the fact that the Catholic Church is not the problem-solver of the world, it can be a very bright light for mutual parties to see how to get through dark days.
The Pope being the leader of such organization may have to reestablish the church on the world’s political scene in areas of tragedy as an image of goodness structure and direction. He may also have to align the church with other like-minded organizations in order to harness the full strength of the Vatican for the benefit of mankind.
We pray Pope Francis is successful. If he is successful, he will have created a dynamic, relevant and meaningful organization that has the fully restored respect of its constituents and leadership that can sustain and build the church into an affective, efficient and significant entity in today’s world.