Ardern an example of a successful leader Pope says

female leaders

In his new book Let Us Dream, Pope Francis recognises the success of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The countries with women as presidents or prime ministers have on the whole reacted better and more quickly than others, making decisions swiftly and communicating them with empathy,” he says.

By way of example, Francis cites the success in New Zealand, Germany, Iceland, Taiwan and Finland.

This observation has led him to increase the number of women in decision making roles in the Vatican. Women are “much better administrators than men,” he writes.

In his new book, Francis suggests “the perspective women bring is what the world needs at this time.”

“Allowing women’s perspectives to challenge existing assumptions” in the Church, is something he has tried to focus on as Pope, he writes.

Throughout his pontificate, Francis says he has sought to appoint women to leadership positions – in the Roman Curia and in advisory, board level positions on Vatican bodies.

“I chose these particular women because of their qualifications but also because I believe women in general are much better administrators than men,” he says.

“They understand processes better, how to take projects forward.”

Francis is often criticised for not doing more to include women and for using outdated or non-inclusive language.

He makes it clear that female leadership in the Church cannot simply be equated with what happens in the Vatican or on “specific roles.”

Leadership should not be equated with inclusion into the ranks of the clergy, he says.

“Perhaps because of clericalism, which is a corruption of the priesthood, many people wrongly believe that Church leadership is exclusively male,” he writes.

“But if you go to any diocese in the world you’ll see women running departments, schools, hospitals, and many other organisations and programmes; in some areas, you’ll find many more women than men as leaders.”

“To say they aren’t true leaders because they aren’t priests is clericalist and disrespectful.”

Francis’ new book is his latest attempt to try and influence the world’s post-pandemic response.

In his view, the worst reaction to the passing of the pandemic would be a return to “feverish consumerism and forms of selfish self-protection” instead of protecting the environment.

He offers an alternative future – one of people-focused politics concentrating on communities, with new inclusive forms of globalisation and a Universal Basic Income.

He also has sharp words for cultural warrior Catholics who “turned into a cultural battle what was in truth an effort to ensure the protection of life.”

He also calls out anti-maskers, labelling them as “victims only in their own imagination.”

Regarding the debates about pulling down statues during this year’s antiracist riots in the US, Francis writes that he applauds the defence of human dignity in the protests, but objects to attempts to “purify the past” by “amputating history.”

Better to learn from the shame of the past than to try to “cancel” it, he says.


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