Between the Dalai Lama and McKinsey's

Behind the appearance of sweetness, warmth and serenity, Pope Francis is implementing hard-headed management, even hiring a McKinsey consultant to help reform the Curia.

- Michael Kelly SJ, Ucanews

Characterisations of Pope Francis abound. In something that hasn’t happened since 1979, when John Paul II did it. During WYD, Pope Francis was Time magazine's cover story everywhere in the world except the United States.

The accounts of Papa Francesco are varied. Sometimes he’s portrayed as a Catholic Dalai Lama – all sweetness and serenity in the face of the world’s horrors and all the complexity that cultures and institutions create for innocent individuals. 

He visits jailed refugees; he says Mass in prisons; as Bishop of Rome (which he prefers as his title to pope) he says parish Masses and hears confessions; he has announced his respectful and non-judgmental attitude to gays; he embraces the disabled and hugs babies. His reactions are warm, humane and tug at your heartstrings.

At other times, he’s expected to be a senior executive of a global agency that specializes in refitting and refocusing extensive and well resourced enterprises that have lost direction. He has inherited a Vatican in tumult over alleged corruption, inefficiency, arrogance and the influence of a 'gay lobby' that has adversely affected good governance.

Francis has declared his hand on the sort of people who should be in leadership positions in the Church – simple, humble, poor, engaged and respectful people who are pastors rather than authoritarian rulers, and leaders who understand their own and their flock’s frailty, and who are listeners first.

But he has also brought in McKinsey’s, a consultancy firm that is a world leader in advising companies, even nations, on managing organizational and cultural change. Pope Francis has engaged the services of the chief executive of McKinsey’s in Germany to advise him on how best to refit the Vatican to deliver on its mission.

In what may be the first sign of the German’s work, the pope has appointed a committee of seven lay experts with a cleric as their secretary to advise on all matters financial and operational in the Vatican. Even if someone inside the Vatican came up with the idea, it is the first time that the Vatican itself has looked outside its own processes and resources for guidance about how to do its job.

FULL STORY Between the Dalai Lama and McKinsey's

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