Church is not — or should not be — a business. Sure, churches must apply sound business practices, and we do expect them to do all they can to attract and retain members, which is not unlike businesses doing what they can to maintain a market stronghold, but they’re not a business in the strictest sense.
Still, it is hard not to compare movement within the Catholic church with the type of top-down changes seen in the corporate world in an effort to better position itself and recover from a significant downturn.
The rise of Pope Francis as the head of the Catholic church almost seemed like an orchestrated business move, especially in light of the fact he replaced a living pope, Benedict. It was as though the Vatican conducted a board meeting, not a papal conclave, and voted on a new CEO to turn things around and lead a recovery effort.
And while Pope Francis has had his share of detractors since being elected pope a year ago, he also has been something of a miracle worker in doing precisely what many think has long been needed in the church.
From his genuine humble and gentle ways to his 21st century cool image — he’s tweeting, taking “selfies” — Francis has endeared himself to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.


Make no mistake. This pope is the real deal. Genuine. He is not putting forth one image and living another, and it certainly appears he is not sacrificing principles, faith and beliefs. To the contrary.
That is why it was refreshing last week when Pope Francis not only acknowledged the sexual misdeeds of some priests who molested and raped children, but also took personal responsibility as head of the church.
“I feel compelled to take personal responsibility for all the evil that some priests many — many in number (although) not in comparison with the totality — to assume personal responsibility and to ask forgiveness for the damage caused by the sexual abuse of the children,” he said in addressing the International Catholic Child Bureau. The bureau is a French Catholic network established to protect the rights of children.
“The church is aware of this damage. We don’t want to take a step back in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. ... I think we must be even stronger! You don’t play around with the lives of children,” he said.
We won’t be at all surprised to see tremendous growth in the Catholic church, as well as a renewed respect for the Vatican. No doubt that can and will be attributed to Francis, the new CEO.