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Pope Francis as Moral Leader
Ethicist, Discerner, Communicator & Advocate for Social Justice

This work describes and analyzes the contribution of Pope Francis as an ethicist, a practitioner of discernment, a skilled communicator, and a strong advocate for social justice on the global stage.

1. Francis, the Ethicist—This chapter provides an overview of the moral theology positions and commitments of Pope Francis. In non-technical language, it explains the methods by which Pope Francis moves from premises to conclusions as he appeals to ethical values and proposes teachings and practices embodying mercy and justice for the church and world.

2. Francis, the Discerner—On display in all his moral teachings and ethical leadership is the rootedness of Francis in the Ignatian practice of discernment. This chapter explains several key dimensions of discernment as practiced in the Jesuit tradition of the Spiritual Exercises and through the motifs of dialogue and synodality. Case studies include the teachings of Francis on the themes of healthy family life and the environment, where the actions he took and the documents he produced (Amoris Laetitia and Laudato Si’) display his Ignatian heritage in profound and illuminating ways.

3. Francis, the Communicator—This chapter documents several public relations strategies by which Francis connects with his global audience to communicate the urgency of enhanced social concern for the marginalized and the moral duties we owe to others in need. Francis displays remarkable communicative skill in conveying his core messages though such techniques as well-chosen papal visits and convening themed gatherings (such as the novel World Meetings of Popular Movements). Examining his choice of symbolic gestures and rhetorical flourishes sheds much light upon the social priorities of Francis.

4. Francis, the Advocate for Social Justice—While the previous chapters address the style and methodology by which Francis proceeds, this final chapter focuses on the substance of his ethical commitments to justice. These include an insistence on workers’ rights, championing the well being of refugees and trafficked persons, promoting peace building and challenging escalating economic inequality.

ISBN: 978-08091-8824-6

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