Wednesday, April 20, 2005

As a Protestant, I'm not exactly sure how to view the election of Pope Benedict XVI. On the one hand, I reject the papacy's claim to authority over the Church, and I certainly have serious issues with a whole host of Roman Catholic beliefs and practices. But on the other hand, the new pope claims to bear the name of Christ, and we share a common baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. I am caught somewhere between two unacceptable extremes: one being a broad-brushed anathematizing of Roman Catholics and their pontiff, and the other being a fuzzy ecumenicism that glosses over serious theological issues.

I am encouraged by the signs that Benedict XVI will take a strong stand against liberal trends within the Roman Church, as well as against the ever-prevalent plagues of secularism and relativism threatening from outside. However, the election of a new pope serves, as expected, as great fodder for the uber-Reformed, both in blog-land and in real-life. The saddest comments I've seen have expressed a desire to see Benedict take a hard-line stance in enforcing Roman Catholic teachings, which will (some hope) "deepen the divide between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, but that is a move in the right direction." In other words, the "right direction" is perpetual schism among those who claim the name of Christ.

LORD, have mercy on us, and please bless the head of the Roman Church with godly wisdom, so that one day, all of Christ's people may be united under the teachings of Your Word and not divided by the traditions of men.

(PS Daniel Kirk has some good thoughts in the comments on this thread.)

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