Pope Francis is a terrible CEO

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Pope Francis is a terrible CEO

[cap­tion id=”” align=“aligncenter” width=“480”] Pope Fran­cis gives this blog his blessing[/caption]

If the Catholic Church was a cor­po­ra­tion, Pope Fran­cis would be it’s CEO. And in terms of a com­pany, the Catholic Church is pretty impres­sive: ~1.3 bil­lion mem­bers, a few hun­dred bil­lion in assets, mis­sion­ary oper­a­tions through­out the entire world, and the inspi­ra­tion for great orga­ni­za­tions such as Catholic Char­i­ties USA. It’s a big order for any sin­gle per­son to run, let alone do so while fight­ing a com­bi­na­tion of Satan and sec­u­lar­ism on a daily basis.

While I like Pope Fran­cis as a spir­i­tual leader, I have to say that as a CEO, he sort of sucks. For a CEO, his com­mu­ni­ca­tion, dis­ci­pline and snap deci­sions aren’t great. If you wanted to read an arti­cle where I detail that Pope Fran­cis is the anti-Christ…this is not that arti­cle. But if you won­der why you’re not happy with the Pope, then maybe this is the arti­cle for you.

Let’s start with com­mu­ni­ca­tion. A good CEO com­mu­ni­cates clearly, con­sis­tently, and con­stantly. This means you say exactly what you mean, in as few words as pos­si­ble, with no ambi­gu­ity, and repeat the message.

The recent “non-​clear” moment in many people’s minds is the recent change to the death penalty sec­tion of the Cat­e­chism, where the Pope used the word “inad­mis­si­ble.” Now, maybe in his head this is clear, but most Catholics were left scratch­ing their heads. The pre­vi­ous Cat­e­chism said the death penalty is only allowed in grave cir­cum­stances, and that over­all we should move to elim­i­nate it. Most peo­ple can under­stand this, even if they don’t agree with the notion. But what does “inad­mis­si­ble” mean? Most, includ­ing myself, haven’t a clue.

I remem­ber when I told a a group of young Sailors that I was OK if they redesigned the lay­out for our metal work­shop floor. In my mind, it meant the Sailors would put together a plan, lay it out on paper, brief me on it, and then present it to me with a bill for mate­ri­als. In my mind, that is exactly what I would do for my boss. Instead, two weeks later I found that three petty offi­cers had changed the down­stairs lay­out no less than four times, with no res­o­lu­tion or agree­ment on a way ahead. After round­ing every­one up and issu­ing very in-​depth instruc­tions, I was able to get a bet­ter layout.

Dis­ci­pline is impor­tant. Even peo­ple that com­mit to an orga­ni­za­tion with good val­ues occa­sion­ally fall short. I had Sailors that dis­closed clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion, forged a Com­mand­ing Officer’s sig­na­ture, and dis­obeyed law­ful orders. I also had Sailors that I thought dis­obeyed the rules, only to later find out they were inno­cent. My response to all these sit­u­a­tions was the same: inves­ti­gate thor­oughly, then take deci­sive action. For the Sailors I found guilty, I quickly pun­ished them, either remov­ing them from the Navy or tak­ing some­thing less and set­ting them on a path to get bet­ter. If they were inno­cent, I would per­son­ally sit down with them, explain why I had inves­ti­gated the mat­ter, and then move forward.

The Catholic Churches dis­ci­pline on priest homo­sex­u­al­ity and sex­ual abuses hasn’t been deci­sive in any respect. When some­one fails that mis­er­ably at that level, you must act. Had Pope Fran­cis (and Pope Bene­dict before him) pub­licly lai­cized those found guilty, and then pushed for pros­e­cu­tion of the more severe cases, you would have sig­nif­i­cantly less scan­dal asso­ci­ated with the Church. Doing this with the mes­sage that these peo­ple failed to uphold your high val­ues helps to main­tain those same values.

Snap deci­sions seem cool in the movies, but are nor­mally ter­ri­ble for a CEO. We aren’t talk­ing about the quick, life-​saving deci­sions in com­bat. I had a senior enlisted leader bring me a half-​baked plan for chang­ing our uni­form pol­icy, and instead of think­ing it through like most plans, I sim­ply said “Sure, sounds good.” Two days before imple­men­ta­tion, I heard my Sailors grum­bling about a stu­pid plan devised by lead­er­ship, and when I got details, I was hor­ri­fied. A quick can­cel­la­tion saved the day, but I had to later build back some trust.

I think the Pope made a snap deci­sion when he mar­ried two stew­ards on a flight from Chile. He was prob­a­bly well mean­ing, want­ing to fix a prob­lem. By not ask­ing some hard ques­tions, he didn’t notice that the cou­ple had not got­ten mar­ried in the church for 8 years…and had two kids to boot dur­ing that time. For any good Catholic, who gets told to go to mar­riage prep and the impor­tance of mar­ry­ing in the church, this smacks of incon­sis­tency, and could encour­age bad behavior.

I truly think Pope Fran­cis’ heart is in the right spot. But he isn’t a priest any­more, and the rookie mis­takes he is mak­ing are hurt­ing his Church. He needs to take some advice from Peter Drucker and start act­ing like a CEO.


This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other gov­ern­ment agency. And no, I don’t think the Pope is the anti-​Christ, even if my mother-​in-​law does.

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Or buy his book? Hail Mary the Per­fect Protes­tant (and Catholic) Prayer

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Pope Francis gives this blog his blessing

If the Catholic Church was a corporation, Pope Francis would be it’s CEO. And in terms of a company, the Catholic Church is pretty impressive: ~1.3 billion members, a few hundred billion in assets, missionary operations throughout the entire world, and the inspiration for great organizations such as Catholic Charities USA. It’s a big order for any single person to run, let alone do so while fighting a combination of Satan and secularism on a daily basis.

While I like Pope Francis as a spiritual leader, I have to say that as a CEO, he sort of sucks. For a CEO, his communication, discipline and snap decisions aren’t great. If you wanted to read an article where I detail that Pope Francis is the anti-Christ…this is not that article. But if you wonder why you’re not happy with the Pope, then maybe this is the article for you.

Let’s start with communication. A good CEO communicates clearly, consistently, and constantly. This means you say exactly what you mean, in as few words as possible, with no ambiguity, and repeat the message.

The recent “non-clear” moment in many people’s minds is the recent change to the death penalty section of the Catechism, where the Pope used the word “inadmissible.” Now, maybe in his head this is clear, but most Catholics were left scratching their heads. The previous Catechism said the death penalty is only allowed in grave circumstances, and that overall we should move to eliminate it. Most people can understand this, even if they don’t agree with the notion. But what does “inadmissible” mean? Most, including myself, haven’t a clue.

I remember when I told a a group of young Sailors that I was OK if they redesigned the layout for our metal workshop floor. In my mind, it meant the Sailors would put together a plan, lay it out on paper, brief me on it, and then present it to me with a bill for materials. In my mind, that is exactly what I would do for my boss. Instead, two weeks later I found that three petty officers had changed the downstairs layout no less than four times, with no resolution or agreement on a way ahead. After rounding everyone up and issuing very in-depth instructions, I was able to get a better layout.

Discipline is important. Even people that commit to an organization with good values occasionally fall short. I had Sailors that disclosed classified information, forged a Commanding Officer’s signature, and disobeyed lawful orders. I also had Sailors that I thought disobeyed the rules, only to later find out they were innocent. My response to all these situations was the same: investigate thoroughly, then take decisive action. For the Sailors I found guilty, I quickly punished them, either removing them from the Navy or taking something less and setting them on a path to get better. If they were innocent, I would personally sit down with them, explain why I had investigated the matter, and then move forward.

The Catholic Churches discipline on priest homosexuality and sexual abuses hasn’t been decisive in any respect. When someone fails that miserably at that level, you must act. Had Pope Francis (and Pope Benedict before him) publicly laicized those found guilty, and then pushed for prosecution of the more severe cases, you would have significantly less scandal associated with the Church. Doing this with the message that these people failed to uphold your high values helps to maintain those same values.

Snap decisions seem cool in the movies, but are normally terrible for a CEO. We aren’t talking about the quick, life-saving decisions in combat. I had a senior enlisted leader bring me a half-baked plan for changing our uniform policy, and instead of thinking it through like most plans, I simply said “Sure, sounds good.” Two days before implementation, I heard my Sailors grumbling about a stupid plan devised by leadership, and when I got details, I was horrified. A quick cancellation saved the day, but I had to later build back some trust.

I think the Pope made a snap decision when he married two stewards on a flight from Chile. He was probably well meaning, wanting to fix a problem. By not asking some hard questions, he didn’t notice that the couple had not gotten married in the church for 8 years…and had two kids to boot during that time. For any good Catholic, who gets told to go to marriage prep and the importance of marrying in the church, this smacks of inconsistency, and could encourage bad behavior.

I truly think Pope Francis’ heart is in the right spot. But he isn’t a priest anymore, and the rookie mistakes he is making are hurting his Church. He needs to take some advice from Peter Drucker and start acting like a CEO.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. And no, I don’t think the Pope is the anti-Christ, even if my mother-in-law does.

Did you donate to Da Tech Guy?

Did you subscribe yet?

Or buy his book? Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer

Because if not…what are you waiting for?