Pope Francis smiles during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 22. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope Francis is the world’s third greatest leader, according to Fortune

By  Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
  • March 23, 2017

Pope Francis has ranked third on Fortune’s annual “World’s Greatest Leaders” list, in part because of his criticism of what the magazine called “capitalism without conscience.”

The two people on the 50-member list who beat him to the top were first-ranking Theo Epstein, president of the Chicago Cubs, and Jack Ma, chairman of the Alibaba Group e-commerce firm.

The magazine cited Francis’ work to balance the modern and traditional aspects of the Roman Catholic Church, his pushing it to be more accepting of divorced and LGBT Catholics and, more recently, his suggestion of married men as a possible solution to the priest shortage.

“But beyond his church’s walls, it’s the Pope’s critique of capitalism without conscience that ensures his enduring influence,” Forbes said Thursday (March 23). “In December at a gathering of CEOs convened by Fortune and Time at the Vatican, Pope Francis called on business leaders to do more to reach the billions of people shut out from the fruits of the global economy.”

Epstein was noted for presiding over the Chicago Cubs as it ended a 108-year-old championship drought, and Ma for his promise to President Trump to create 1 million American jobs in five years.

Francis topped the list in 2014, the year after he became Pope.

“In the brief time since, Francis has electrified the church and attracted legions of non-Catholic admirers by energetically setting a new direction,” Forbes said at the time.

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