Pope Francis is offering us a remarkable example of right use of power. He understands and owns the extraordinary role power given to him as Pope. He could get caught, as many leaders do, in the shadow side of power. Instead, he demonstrates that a powerful person can take tough and decisive action and at the same time act with compassion and tenderness. His spiritual and moral guidance is toward the greatest common good as is felt in his words to the US Congress.
"If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort."
I want to note a few examples of his power infused with compassion. While the Pope is not free to change the church's teachings, he does feel free to encourage change from focusing on dogma to focusing on compassion for all. He urges Christians not to "obsess" over issues of abortion, contraception, and gay marriage, but to be in service to all people. He demoted a high-ranking Vatican Cardinal who had been harsh and dogmatic about homosexuality and yet he softens the criticism of nuns and praises their exemplary leadership. He takes a strong stand on global warming and on corruption and abuses of power in politics. He took extra-ordinarily strong action in firing all but one of the priests who run the Vatican Bank. He calls "unfettered capitalism tyranny and says that economic inequity kills." Demonstrating his desire to stay in touch with all the people he serves, he reportedly leaves the Vatican at night to minister to the homeless anonymously. This desire to stay connected is wise because it is one of the antidotes to being overtaken by the shadow of power. It is refreshing and good for the soul for right uses of power to be in the news.
Here's a link to Francis' speech to congress.