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A Protestant Reaction to Pope Francis

March 22, 2013

Pope Francis. He appears to be a breath of fresh air to the Roman Catholic Church. Despite the theological differences between the Catholic Church and Protestant churches, the Pope has the proverbial ear of the world. The Pope is a reflection of the church he leads. To this point, it appears the Catholic Church is in for some changes.

Articles this week on foxnews.com and The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s site, cleveland.com, show a Pope who is much different from any previous ones in near memory. His attire has held the media captive. He dresses as a simple priest, eschewing the fineries the previous Pope took pride in. He has even asked the cardinals coming to meet with him to leave their red robes behind and wear a black cassock. He is not a fan of security protocols as they separate him from his flock. His belief of being a church of the poor to the poor is well-known.

This is good news for the Catholic Church. A Pope who has a pastoral heart, caring more for people than tradition can lead to great things. This is a Pope that can lead a major change in direction and restore the health of the Catholic Church.

Why should people from the Protestant tradition care? After all, Pope Francis is leading a completely different denomination, one which has some significantly different theology. This is important for the churches falling in the Protestant tradition because Pope Francis is introducing a pastoral style to the Catholic Church. To see him as a breath of fresh air, a Pope who is open to conversation between traditions is important. There has been a gap between the two traditions which has impaired conversation between the two faiths. Pope Francis’ care for the flock at large reflects a change in direction, a change which Protestants can relate to. This could be a time where theological differences may be set aside and the two faiths can walk into the streets together to care of the downtrodden and the least of these.

In the big picture, Pope Francis may not represent a major theological shift in the Catholic Churches future, but there is a definitive change in its application. This change is one the world at large will be watching, and waiting to see the changes ahead.

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  1. Protestant Update on the Pope | anafalz

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