Whether Pope Francis is kissing a disfigured man with boils, washing the feet of a young muslim woman, driving his own car while refusing to live in the papal apartment, or simply denouncing excessive consumerism in typical ‘counter culture’ fashion, he has been doing some noteworthy things since assuming the papacy earlier this year. Even from an evangelical perspective, there are a lot of positive aspects to be gleaned from the change in tone at The Vatican.
However, as cheerleaders of The Pope have seemingly come out of the woodwork this year, it has not been to share how Jesus is working in their lives or how their personal Christian walk is going. On the contrary, most often it has been to rave about all the great things Pope Francis is doing.
I am a born-again Christian who attends a non-denominational Protestant church. At first thought you might think the election of a new Pope should not matter to me, or that I might even scoff at Catholic claims of papal authority and the whole black smoke/white smoke conclave theatrics. However, a major characteristic (and dare I say “admirable quality”) Catholics have in their ranks is organizational unity (for the most part) of their 1.2 billion adherents worldwide. In contrast, under the Protestant umbrella which approximately 840 million subscribe to some flavor or another, there are more denominations than you can shake a stick at.
At the top of this organizational unity within Roman Catholicism is of course the Bishop of Rome – the Pope. Since Pope Benedict announced his historic resignation, I have immersed myself in researching Catholic beliefs and theology out of mere curiosity and intrigue. As an adult convert to Christianity, everything is still relatively new to me so I just try to soak it all in with an open mind.