Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Thoughts on hearing of the new Pope. . .
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...