Wednesday, March 20, 2013

a new pope

Here are three articles about the new pope (Francis I) in Rome, written from a Protestant perspective.  The first is helpful background to the issue of the papacy, the second is conciliatory, and the third is more critical...  

The rise of the papacy.  "There are one billion Roman Catholics worldwide, one billion people who are subject to the Pope’s authority. How, one might ask, did all of this happen? The answer, I believe, is far more complex and untidy than Catholics have argued. First, I will give a brief explanation of what the Catholic position is, and then, second, I will suggest what I think actually took place..."

A Pope for All Christians.  "Why believers of all stripes should care about the new head of the Catholic Church: When the new pope is consecrated, he will inherit a troubled global church. Internal scandal and unaddressed external problems pose great risks to the vitality of Catholicism. But the consequences of success or failure are huge for the church universal, the world's 2.1 billion Christians of every denomination.  This is more than a butterfly effect. Rome is not Las Vegas—what happens in Rome will not stay within the borders of Vatican City. One consequence of globalization is that the walls that have long divided Catholics from Orthodox, mainline Protestants, evangelicals, and Pentecostals are eroding..."

Humble Popes Don’t Exist.  "Roman Catholicism is installing Francis as pope today. And much has been made of his bus rides and apartment dwelling back home in Buenos Aires. (The fact that people are impressed by his studied avoidance of opulence actually speaks volumes about Roman Catholicism in general). But while the press fawns and Rome beams over his supposed humility, what should Bible-believing Protestants say? Probably something like this: 'How great sin have you heaped up for yourself, when you cut yourself off from so many flocks! For it is yourself that you have cut off. Do not deceive yourself!'”

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