The Francis Effect - Living the joy of the Gospel

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over substance in the lives of our teachers. Pope Francis teaches us to be slow to judgement. He says, “If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is that fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray my hope is that we will be moved by fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: ‘Give them something to eat.’ (Mk6:37)” (EG 49). Pope Francis speaks of “new and often anonymous kinds of power” which take the joy of living from people and leave “a struggle to live with precious little dignity” (EG 52). This challenges us to question our school and university cultures, to reflect on our leadership and to ask what is the counter culture we build in our communities and how does it reflect the Good News. Is our attention on people, including those who are at the margins, a problem to us? Is our attention on


league tables or size of institution or prestige? The Exhortation makes uncomfortable reading; it is too easy in our professional lives to go along with the dominant cultures, to accept that the institution has rights over people but to forget that it shares community with them. In a world where employees are seen as resources and human capital, how do Catholic employers avoid an “economy of exclusion and inequality?” (EG 53)

…how do Catholic employers avoid an “economy of exclusion and inequality?” (EG 53) Education at all levels is a highly feminised profession. In recent years we have seen lay women in leadership in greater numbers. Our schools, universities, agencies and parishes rely on the commitment and work of women. The long standing traditions of the religious sisters give us confidence in the leadership of women within the Church. Pope Francis acknowledges “the indispensible contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend