VATICAN CITY-- Pope Francis, the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will be expected to clean up the Catholic Church's administration and finances and restore its moral leadership role, turning a page on recent scandals.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, is seen as a great spiritual leader. But many commentators have described him as a poor manager of everyday affairs, who left the Roman Curia, the Church's government body, in disarray. He also lacked the popular touch of the late John Paul II.
Experts agree that what the Church now needs is not just a fine intellectual, but also an inspiring pastor and someone with proven management skills.
"You put all that together and it looks like Jesus Christ with an MBA. That's a pretty tough job description for anybody," Father Thomas Reese, a theologian from Georgetown University, told Vatican Radio this week.
Francesco Clementi, an expert on Vatican governance from the University of Perugia, is convinced that the new pope has what it takes.
"He has a very strong pastoral profile, he is a simple man who lives simply, but he also has a great expertise of government since he has occupied practically all posts in the Curia," Clementi told dpa.
At the same time, his relatively advanced age -- 76 -- might make him "a transitional pope" rather than "the pope for the new millennium," Clementi said.
Francis has been a member of several congregations -- the Vatican's equivalent of ministries -- but has never led them. Vatican Insider, a specialized website, notes that he would only come to Rome "when it was absolutely necessary."
As a result, he is not associated with VatiLeaks -- the leaking of confidential papal papers last year that shed light on alleged infighting between leading Curia members, as well as on cases of graft and financial impropriety.
In his first outing before the faithful, Francis appeared relaxed and at ease, joking about coming "almost from the end of the world," a reference to his roots and his status as the first pope to hail from Latin America.