As Pope Francis takes office, there are lessons for communicators everywhere
Photo found on CTV News - March 14, 2013
In a year that has already brought many surprises in global affairs, none has been greater than the resignation of Pope Benedict XIV and the election of Pope Francis. Regardless of one’s faith or views about the Pope and his church, the announcement presents a fascinating case study of one of the world’s most venerable institutions facing the challenge of communicating in an era of dramatic change.
The key elements of the church’s recent history are familiar to many organizations: a leader — Pope Benedict — succeeds a more charismatic predecessor. He’s challenged to communicate with a massive, multicultural, multilingual follower base — with changing attitudes and a greater propensity to question authority. An empowered community of activists demands greater transparency and accountability for serious misdeeds in some quarters of the organization. And the organization’s hierarchy is more suited to outbound communication than open dialogue. Pope Francis comes from the pastoral tradition — a type of experience and skill he will need.
In Australia a little over two years ago, I shared a stage with Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. An astute communicator, he is one of the Vatican’s most senior media figures. Here are some insights I took away from that dialogue with him, which seem particularly relevant today — not just to the church, but to all organizations. more »