Former New Zealand Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark’s response to a question put to her recently about the role of religion in addressing the world’s problems was:
“Absolutely critical and I say that as a person of no faith whatsoever, but most people aren’t like me. Most people do have some adherence to faith and so faith communities have enormous influence.”
She then spoke particularly of the influence of Pope Francis. “You take a faith leader like the Pope. He has influence that transcends religion. I said to someone the other day, ‘I am not a religious person but thank God for the Pope”.
About this time last year she said something very similar when she named the Pope as the most inspirational leader in the world at the moment. Her words were:
I look, for example, around the world at who is providing a sense of inspiration and hope at the moment. It’s the Pope. I am not a Catholic but I recognise in this man tremendous goodness. A voice of sanity in a troubled world, often speaking what we all feel but could not express as eloquently. So, yes, leadership matters.
Pope Francis is giving great leadership. One of the topics for our Synod next month is “Go you are sent to find new leaders. There were many responses sent in as part of the consultation on the Synod material. Two of the responses that came in about “leadership” said the following:
“Servant leaders who delegate and support, challenge others, listen and respond to minority groups, teach others to be leaders.”
“There are different types of leaders – upfront leaders who are our clergy, presidents, chairpersons, who guide our organizations. They are the Light of the World. There are also behind the scenes leaders who quietly use their own talents and encourage others to do likewise. They are the Salt of the Earth.”
There are multiple ways in which people in our parishes and schools are able to be leaders. It is not just the priests in the parishes or the principals in the schools who are called to leadership. We rely on people for Parish Councils, Finance Committees, Liturgy Committees, St Vincent de Paul Society, School Boards of Trustees (these are just a few examples), endless organizations and projects in the Church. Finding new ways to lead and to enable others to lead is vital today. Helen Clark sees Pope Francis as an inspirational leader and she speaks of how “leadership matters.”
We can all be leaders in different ways. Some are the “Light of the world,” others are “the salt of the earth.” Actually Jesus tells us that we are both. (Matthew 5: 13-16)
How are you showing leadership today and how will you show leadership in the future?
With every blessing