Reflections on the New Pope
This week, the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the office of Pope, replacing the outgoing Benedict XVI. This, of course, greatly disappointed the liberal Protestants as well as the atheist community. It seems our liberal and atheist friends would like to see a progressive Pope; one who will do away with the restrictive Catholic doctrines that make the religion a dinosaur.
They would like a Pope that supports abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, will eliminate priestly celibacy, allow women in positions of power, and reverse Catholic doctrine on birth control. Someone who will sell the Vatican and feed the world.
But that isn’t going to happen, and the liberals and atheists need to make peace with that quickly.
This is the second papal election that I have seen in my lifetime. Unless Pope Francis becomes another John Paul II, it likely isn’t going to be the last one. The previous election that saw Cardinal Ratzinger promoted to Pope had the exact same groans issuing from the liberals and the atheists. I expect to hear the same groans next time as well.
Ed Stetzer had a lot of the same thoughts that I did, but as a research specialist for LifeWay he focused on demographics. What I’d like to focus on here is the theological implications of a papal conclave, and why (if the Catholics are right about what it entails) it will never produce a Pope that aligns with the world on those hot button issues.
First, let’s understand that Christianity isn’t a man-made religion. I know that atheist readers are quick to disagree and will ask me to “prove that” or “supply evidence.” Not the point of this article. So move on.
As a revealed religion, the tenets of Christianity cannot simply be rewritten. We are to value life — all life, including the life of the unborn and the lives of the dying. Whether someone has yet to live or only has a few more seconds, all life is granted by God and is never ours to take away. It is God who has appointed our time to live and to die, and has ordained the space we have between. As such, the Church positions on abortion and euthanasia are designed to value life and can’t be reversed by the decree of a sitting Pope.
It is not the Pope who decides what is binding on the Catholic faithful. The Pope and the Catholic Church safeguard what God has spoken through the Scriptures and what church leaders have written and taught in sacred Tradition. What is called “the full deposit of faith.” God has put all of his teaching in the Bible; it is the responsibility of the Church to teach that message and protect it from being subverted.
Second, Catholic Tradition has the papal conclave guided by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the message of the Bible. God doesn’t lie, and God doesn’t change. Would a conclave led by this Holy Spirit select a spiritual leader who would subvert the teachings of the Church? Who would depart from Catholic Orthodoxy?
Ultimately, if Catholic Tradition is correct, then we won’t see a Pope that is going to steer the Church away from God. Away from the teachings of Scripture. One who will depart from Sacred Tradition. Rather, we will always see a Pope that will point the Catholic Church to the Author and Perfecter of our mutual faith — Jesus Christ.
Posted on March 16, 2013, in Roman Catholicism, Theology and tagged atheist community, catholic doctrines, human-rights, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, liberal protestants, papal conclave, Pope Francis, Pope Francis I, Religion. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.