The New Pope's Top 5 Priorities

Welcome back!
Pope Francis I
Habemus Papam! The election to the Papacy of a kind, compassionate Jesuit from Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. This is a remarkable outcome, and has the opportunity to signal a fresh start for the Church in a time of great crises - not just within the Church but in all parts of this world. Laura and I have had the privilege of working with many Bishops and Cardinals over the years, so I have a particular interest in this surprising - and in my view, refreshing - choice of the Cardinals.
What are the top 5 priorities facing Pope Francis I?
1. Modernize the Vatican bureaucracy and financial systems to bring streamlined decision-making, and transparency and accountability. Pope Francis' parents are Italian immigrants, but his South American perspective, combined with his Italian cultural background can only help bridge the gap necessary to create genuine change.
2. Reignite the 1. 2 billion faithful around the world. The fact that the fastest growing parts of the Church are from south of the equator, the election of a Cardinal from the Americas, is a huge step that many had thought would not happen in their lifetime.
3. Use all forms of communications to build a dialogue with the world. That means embracing broadcast interviews, social media and every opportunity to build mutual understanding. Expect to see him travel extensively throughout South America, Africa and across the globe. That will be critical to building the capital necessary to make transformative change.
4. Bring a fresh perspective to broad social issues - including building a constructive dialogue over 'moral' issues, the environment, the poor, refugees, as well as the issues over handling of sexual abuse cases around the world. As Pope John Paul II proved, it's remarkable what a fresh, energized Pontiff can do to move forward on a range of constructive issues.
5. His passion for social justice - read his angry criticism of 'hypocrites', as has been reported by the Associated Press:

"Like other Jesuit intellectuals, Bergoglio has focused on social outreach. Catholics are still buzzing over his speech last year accusing fellow church officials of hypocrisy for forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.
"In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don't baptize the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage," Bergoglio told his priests. "These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it's baptized!"
Bergoglio compared this concept of Catholicism to the Pharisees of Christ's time: people who congratulate themselves while condemning others.
"Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit," Bergoglio said."
With those words, come hope - not just for the Catholic Church, but for the whole world.

Until next time...


  1. hmmm...I don't see endorsing same-sex marriage on this list...or ordaining women...or letting priests marry...

  2. That is true. This blog focuses primarily on communications, not on debating doctrinal issues particular to one faith or another. Of course many will not agree on the Church's teachings, however, the ordination of women and married priests are not doctrinal in nature. They are practices which could indeed be changed. Will they? Interestingly, there are married priests in the Church already, and I have met several. If an Episcopalian or Anglican Minister is already married, and becomes a Catholic priest, that is fully recognized by the Catholic Church and they are welcomed fully into the priesthood. So certain changes are indeed possible - and in our lifetime.