Doubting like Luther, and trying to test like a Berean, this is where I think aloud about Christian belief and practice. It is also where I share resources of interest to other struggling believers.

Baptized and confirmed in the American Lutheran Church, I explored New Age spirituality for a time but have since worshiped the Trinitarian God of Christianity in many different churches, my denominational preference being Lutheran. I believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. My greatest struggle is prayer. My greatest annoyance is legalism and the notion that blind obedience to the Law will bring sanctification. My greatest fear is that I don't believe correctly. Yet, my greatest hope is that as I grow in my understanding of the grace that God extends to me daily, I will grow in my ability to walk in and demonstrate that grace to others.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The New Pope and His Effect

The Delivery of the Keys
by Pietro Perugino
Yesterday was an important day in the history of the Church.  The College of Cardinals, meeting in secret conclave, elected the 266th pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, forevermore known to the world as Francis I.  Like the name he chose, his selection represents many firsts:  he is the first Holy Father from South America;  he is the first Jesuit to be elected to the papacy;  he is the first pope in the modern era to be elected after a papal resignation;  and he is the first man to fill the "shoes of the fisherman" who will have a Twitter account from the beginning of his service as head of the Catholic Church.

By many accounts over the past day, Pope Francis I is a humble man who eschews, as often as possible, all the trappings of his high office in the church.  It is reported that, while Cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he rejected use of an official limousine and an official residence, opting instead to ride the bus and live in a modest apartment near his parishioners.  It is said that he has personally washed the feet of the faithful during Holy Thursday Mass and that he regularly visits the slums and shantytowns fo Buenos Aires.  It is also reported that he enjoys cooking his own food, drinking a local Argentinean drink known as "mate," and watching soccer.

As the mother of a Protestant who often sings in the Catholic Church (and who sometimes attends Mass as a result), it will be interesting to see if the humility and service of the new Holy Father will trickle down to the parish level.  While Pope Benedict XVI was in charge of the Church, our local Catholics saw changes in their Missal and the type of music that was used at Mass, a return to an older style of worship and the use of more Latin chant.  One of the parishes a few miles east of us even held a Tridentine Reguiem Mass on All Soul's Day.  Since Pope Francis I appears to have a hands-on approach in the practice of his faith, I am curious if the local parish priests will begin to focus on and encourage outreach to the hurting populations in southeastern Connecticut, such as th ehomeless and those affected by unemployment and hunger.

So, as I waited for the results of the Papal Conclave, now I will wait to see what happens to the Catholic Church as she lives and serves under new leadership.

Also of interest:
Slideshow of Pope Francis I
Trading In the Bus for a Butler:  The New Pope's New Lifestyle

Related articles:
The Conclave Meets Soon
The Papal Selection Process

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