Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thoughts on hearing of the new Pope. . .

Oddly enough, where I was prior to the announcement of the new Pope, the TV blared The View, with its own odd mix of mostly off the track opinions.  Anyway, there were usual complaints about the Roman Catholic Church being behind the times, about the need to address the equality of women and gays, and the obligatory reference to clergy sex abuse.  Then there was a complaint about not having Sunday school or some place to ditch your kids during the Mass since there obviously is nothing for them in the service, with all its ups and downs, etc...  Finally there was some thought to a more egalitarian view of things.

A couple hours later when I heard a few reports on the new Pope, I heard the same mention of humility and how refreshing it would be to have a Pope who lived humbly, cooked for himself, rode the bus, and cast off all the pomp (referring of course to the Cardinal's manner in Argentina).  There was also talk about "growing" into the papacy -- translate that "moderate" views.  Anyway, my point is just that media folks really do not get much about Christianity or Roman Catholicism (even with all of the billion or so Roman Catholics).  It is no surprise, then, that they do not have a clue about Lutherans.

All in all a surprise or perhaps not.  If he was known well enough and highly regarded enough to be near selection last time (the rumor), he was clearly the frontrunner even if none of us caught it.  He is well educated, has great pastoral experience, is clearly a traditionalist in doctrine and practice, and, perhaps, like my own favorite, John XXIII, will give his own personal and pastoral dimension to the papacy during his tenure.  Humility does not mean liberal or progressive or inclined to break with the legacy of the past.  It simply means he sees beyond himself.  I am not sure the media gets that or that any of us does.  We like labels too much.

The key here for a Pope, as for any Pastor, is that the Church was there before you, and, God willing, will be there, perhaps stronger, after you leave.  None of us is but a temporary steward of the office entrusted to us.  That is both comforting and humbling.  It keeps me both relieved and concerned at the same time.  God bless him.  He will be a strong and reliable voice against abortion, against the redefinition of family so common today, and against a modernity which is so married to the moment it cannot see before or after itself.  That would be a good thing.  For Rome.  For Roman Catholics.  For us all...

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

How is it possible that a LUTHERAN pastor would ever say that a POPE would be good for anyone?! Perhaps a review of "On the Power and Primacy of the Pope" is in order. Or is that, such as our liberal contingent would say, "no longer relevant?!" No wonder Lutheranism is in the sad shape it is in today.

Chris said...

Hey, Anonymous,

You're just a anti-catholic bigot. Who the hell are you to say that this man, whatever his religious convictions may be, is automatically bad for people? The treatise you cite condemns the office, not the man.

Why do you refuse to sign your own name on such an inflammatory post? Or are you to scared to be called out?

Full disclosure: I'm Greek Orthodox and we do not recognize the papacy, but that doesn't mean we go out of our way to come up with mere ad hominem attacks.

BTW, Lutheranism is in the sad shape it's in becuase of abandoning its catholicity over the past 50 years and becoming either more Methodist (ELCA) or Baptist (LCMS).

--Chris

David Gray said...

Chris,

Why do you want to attack Lutherans for being confessional?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what the Confessions say or do not say about the papacy (not about individual popes), one more voice against the encroaching godless modernity would not be bad... it would be good.

Paul Mumme said...

Anonymous #1: Even Christ compliments—by means of a parable—the dishonest manager for being more shrewd than the sons of light (Luke 16:8). I subscribe fully to the Lutheran Confessions because (quia) they rightly expound God's holy Word. That doesn't mean I cannot stand with the pope in condemning abortion, homosexuality, etc. I even stand with the Muslims on that one. I also work with many—Christian or not—in supporting a local pregnancy center where I live. The Primacy does not become irrelevant on this account. It holds full force.

Janis Williams said...

Chris,

Thanks. You defused my anger by saying what I felt. I might not have used the same words, but the anger would have been much stronger than words I might have put in print.

Fr. Peters is often accused of being close to swimming the Tiber. What a shame that 'traditional' Lutherans seem unable to remember there was a Catholic church before Rome. The Church Fathers were all Catholic last time I checked.

Also, remember not everyone is computer savvy. They may not know how to put a name or avatar on their comments....

Chris Jones said...

David,

I do not think that Chris (a different Chris from me, of course) attacked Lutherans for being confessional. If anything, he criticised us for not being confessional enough. He lamented what he described as a "loss of catholicity"; a full adherence to our Confessions, not only in subscription but in the substance of our teaching and (especially) in our liturgical practice would result in a Churchly life that would look a lot more "Catholic" that what we find in Actually Existing Lutheranism today.

Remember, too, that it was not Chris who first asserted that "Lutheranism is in sad shape," but the anonymous poster to whom he was replying. Chris's post was not an attack, but an alternative explanation (and a correct one, in my view) of a problem already given.

Anonymous said...

Luther came to reform, but the Roman Catholics rejected him. Roman Catholic doctrine is not infiltrating the Lutheran church. Can we all agree on this point.

Baptist and emergent theology is threatening to destroy the Lutheran church from within. Look at the books in the libraries of many LCMS churches. How many of them are books promoted by Saddleback and by Willow Creek. For example, Beth Moore books are in my LCMS church.

Unknown said...

David,

Chris Jones got to answer before I did. The Anonymous poster was making an ad hominem attack. The Treatise on the Primacy and Power of the Pope, wrong as it is, is not an ad hominem invective nor should it be treated as such. Pr. Peters was wishing the man, Pope Francis, and the people he leads, well. That should not be treated as Fr. Peters now becoming a papist.

You can be confessional without being an anti-catholic bigot. Unfortunately, many Lutherans I know do not know how to conduct themselves as such.

--Chris

Anonymous said...

I cringe whenever I witness rabid attacks by LCMS Lutherans on the Roman Catholic church. According to Chris Rosebrough at Pirate Christian Radio, The emergent church is a far greater threat to Lutheranism:

http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/


Whooops! Perhaps selecting a pope from Argentina was not such a good idea after all:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/washingtons-pope-who-is-francis-i-cardinal-jorge-mario-bergoglio-and-argentinas-dirty-war/5326675

Short link:

bit.ly/16tvP7w

David Gray said...

A Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope is part of the Book of Concord. Presumably a thoroughly confessional Lutheran would not be at odds with it.

Of course we all wish Francis well. But unless he renounces Trent and the items identified in the treatise he will be occupying a very problematic office and embracing the errors which it embodies.

Let Francis embrace justification through faith alone and the monergism of the Lutheran confessions and I'll be more excited than you can imagine.

Unknown said...

David,

You wish pope Francis well? Based on what you wrote, you wish him well with an "if" attached.

David Gray said...

No, I wish him well without qualification. Indeed wishing him to renounce error is a true wish for his well being and future. In so far as his office and his mission lead people into error I do not wish his mission well. Where he bears witness faithfully to the truth I wish his mission well.

Pastor Peters said...

What a hot button this turned out to be -- and all because I gave a somewhat generic welcome to a new Pope and acknowledged that his voice will be reliable on the world stage as we address the common enemies of the faith in abortion and the devaluing of life, sexual immorality and the redefinition of marriage, and the march of modernity that has stolen away our truth, our morality, and our confidence in the institutions of mercy in our society.

I thought I was wishing him well. Without qualification. And happy that another strong voice will stand with other Christian voices for truth that we hold to be self-evident except in contemporary culture.