Choosing the Leader: This past year Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen to become Pope Francis, the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. During the conclave that elected the new pope, the popular news media predicted that the Church would, and should, take into consideration the political ramifications of the selection. Would the new pope come from Africa? Would the new pope modify the Church’s stance on abortion or gay/lesbian rights? The opposing perspective from those within the Church claims that although the pope is elected by the College of Cardinals, the Holy Spirit intervenes within the election process so that the chosen candidate will be the expression of God’s will, which subsumes all other political concerns.
The area seeks abstracts and panels that explore how leaders of religious institutions are selected. Within the selection process, how do the human, political interests interact with spiritual doctrine? How does the selection of a new leader influence the religious institution? How does one identify the traits and characteristics of leadership within a religious context, and are those traits similar or different when compared with leaders of various secular institutions? How are religious leaders, religious leadership, or the selection of a new leader portrayed in popular media (literature, television, film, and so on)? Proposals can explore these issues; however, proposals can also engage with any aspect of religious leadership or the selection of leaders. Proposals about any religious tradition from any point in history will be considered.
If there any questions please contact the area co-chairs, Anthony Zias and Pam Detrixhe, by clicking the “Contract area chairs” button on the Religion and Popular Culture page on the MAPACA website. Visit the website at http://mapaca.net
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