20 April 2005

A Protestant’s Response to the Election of Benedict XVI

It would be easy to say, as a protestant, that the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be the next pope, leaves me completely disinterested. It would also be a complete lie. And for all those protestants who scoff at the media hype about it, here’s news for you: it matters for protestants who is pope.

The sad thing is that in the dechristianized West, your average heathen neighbor cannot tell the difference between Christians and Mormons, or Christians and Muslims, and certainly not between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Read the liberal media and you should realize that everyone who talks about Jesus is automatically labeled an evangelical and if you ever mention anything contrary to one of the New Age creeds

—“We believe in a woman’s right to abort her baby because she cannot face changing diapers. We believe in the right of any human to marry any other creature regardless of race, religion, gender, species or number. We believe in creating life for spare parts and ending it for spare parts. So help us the Universal Energy into which we hope to be dissolved when our bodies die.”—

you are sure to be called a right wing extremist or be compared to a member of Al Qaeda.

In other words, most ignorant liberals (not necessarily a tautology) will consider the pope the universal representative of Christianity. What the pope says or does, reflects on all Christians, even protestants. It is the weakness of the schismatic nature of protestantism that there is no unified ambassador on earth. But then I guess, protestants believe in that one Ambassador, Jesus Christ, Someone the RC church has sort of lost sight of when Mary and the saints (please do not start a rockband with that name) started crowding Him out.

So, what is a protestant to make of Pope Benedict XVI? As far as I can tell, he is a clone of John Paul II. He has somewhat less charisma and more of a German accent but, apart from that, it seems John Paul II is ruling from beyond the grave. That means a strong conservative voice on social issues but also, unfortunately, unflinching on the RC superstitions, i.e. Mary as a fourth person in the Trinity, purgatory and indulgences, praying to a pantheon of saints and worshiping the bread-god in the eucharist. Another toughy. Let’s just pray that the new pope will focus on the former and down-play the latter, at least in the public arena. Because if he is seen as a strong, principled Christian, his example may yet be a PR opportunity for the gospel. After all, the Holy Spirit does not need human perfection to effect grace and faith. Even the pope can be saved.

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