By Jamie Pearce.
You may be wondering just what Jorge Mario Bergoglio, elected Pope on 13 March, will bring as the 266th Bishop of Rome. Others might be wondering just what Justin Welby, installed as Archbishop of Canterbury on 21 March, will bring as the 105th occupant of the Chair of Saint Augustine.
It’s been observed that rarely have these two positions been occupied by such similar individuals as the immediate predecessors of the new Pope and the new ’Cantuar’ (as the Archbishop of Canterbury is known by the Anglican cognoscenti). Both Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams are highly regarded scholars, both are described as introverts, both have been known to carry very seriously the weight of their high office and the major challenges confronting them. Both were in their respective roles for roughly the same period.
Their respective successors seem to be very different — and it is a well known factor in organisations that new appointments regularly reflect qualities seen as deficiencies, or even weaknesses, in their immediate predecessors.
So, what of these newly installed successors, their backgrounds, how they were appointed, and most significantly, what challenges do they face as they take up their roles as Christian leaders in 2013?
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Photo His Holiness Pope Francis by Christus Vincent, flickr cc.