VATICAN CITY - At the end of the conclave, the man who emerged as Pope Francis, the Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, must be able to show hope to a humanity that truly needs to see such a sign. No, the new pope should not just be a manager in charge of restructuring the Roman Curia -- this image emerged from the discussions of the cardinals -- nor a policeman, called to pull the undisciplined back into line.
Western societies are faced with a serious economic crisis, as well as a crisis of values. There are areas of the world that are devastated by war and violence but still remain hidden in the shadows, despite the reach of globalization.
The pope is not the Great Fixer of history called upon to take responsibility for resolving issues by virtue of his natural gifts. He is expected simply to proclaim the Gospel.
The new pope needs to be able to use his own humanity to reveal the merciful face of a God who makes himself near to a hobbled human race: hugging the masses before judging them. This was a need discussed by the College of Cardinals, conscious of the responsibility of the choice they have to make.
The scandals the Roman Curia has faced in the last few years have left scars on the Catholic Church. Over the past week, the Vatican's Secretary of the State, Tarcisio Bertone, had to listen to many criticisms of his management skills. However, one wonders if the cardinals -- all of them -- have really done all in their power in the recent past to resolve the situation.
More than just reform
But the Curia, even if it were possible to reform it -- making it more agile, functional, transparent and more collegial -- would still risk remaining just a structure of power to prop up a self-referential Church.
Everything in the Church, Curia included, must be reconsidered and seen for just one single goal: proclaiming the Gospel. One of the great teachings of Benedict XVI was that the Church and the pope must never be compared to a company and its CEO. Now, more than ever, the pope must be a true man of God, not an administrator or a marketing guru.