Choice of new pope signifies a call for a change in the way we think of religion and leadership.

Now anyone who knows me can tell you I am not Catholic, however my mom followed the Catholic religion for more than 30 years. But, the point of today’s blog is not about following the Pope, but what we can learn from the Cardinals and their choice of the new Pope? Could this be a small wake up call for other religions?

For the first time in history the cardinals picked from outside of their little group or click by picking Bergoglio. He made history as the first non-European pope of the modern era, the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit and the first to assume the name Francis. He was not seen by the mainstream media as ever really being considered for Pope even though he garnered 40 percent of the votes during last election for Pope Benedict. The new pope then quickly made another kind of history, breaking with tradition in his first public act before the 150,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Square. Rather than bless the crowd first, he asked them to pray for him. He did one more thing that many have not even heard about yet, he broke with another tradition by refusing to use a platform to elevate himself above the cardinals standing with him as he was introduced to the world as Pope Francis.

Even Bergoglio’s selection of the name of Pope Francis is “the most stunning” choice and “precedent shattering,” The new pope is sending a signal that this will not be business as usual. The name symbolizes “poverty, humility, simplicity” and rebuilding the Catholic Church. The man himself is a very humble man, has lived in a small apartment rather than the Cardinal mansion, rode the bus to work every day and even after being elected Pope the next morning he carried his own luggage and paid his hotel bill like he was just another every day man.

So what does this say to other religions around the world and more specific here in the USA? It’s time to quit doing business as usual and get things right. We need leaders who are humble and do not make it about themselves, leaders who do not fit into the status quo and good ole boy systems. We need leaders who are real, have had difficulties, and can relate to the congregations in which they represent. People are searching for real and honest relationships and for people they can relate too, not someone on a stick and who has for the most part always been above others. People are not looking for the churches of days gone by, they are looking for real honest and open churches where people are real and do not feel like those around especially leadership are above them.  We have to stop doing church as a business and realize that it is about people and relationships. The world has changed and now even the Catholics realize that they cannot keep doing church as usual. All religions would do well to learn from the election of the new pope and that people want change, they want real, they want honesty, and they want someone like them, faults and all. Someone they can relate too and is not seen as just another suit and tie, but as a real person that can relate to their struggles.  Just my two cents worth!!

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