Skip to comments.Fascination with Francis stirs Protestant hearts
Posted on 01/24/2014 3:54:59 PM PST by ebb tide
What has intrigued me most about Pope Francis is not the way in which Catholics -- well, most of them, anyway -- have embraced him but the way in which countless Protestants have moved into his fan club.
More is at play here than simple celebrity in our overwrought pop culture. At least, I hope so.
The Protestant fascination with him hasn't broken down the many theological, liturgical and structural barriers that still exist between Protestantism and Catholicism, but it has softened them a bit and it has caused some Protestants to want to figure out what makes Francis tick, what Jesuit theology is all about and what ground we Protestants might share in common with Catholics.
My own congregation is a good example of this phenomenon. Our pastor, Paul Rock, recently began a sermon series he's calling "Jesus, the Pope and a Protestant Walk Into a Bar." His sermons, which started Sunday, can be found here .
To alert people to this series, he posted this short video  on our church's website . As Paul says in the video, "This is a pope who has become the people's pope. ... The fact that Pope Francis has been an inspiration to both Catholics and Protestants I think provides us a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at this Catholic-Protestant divide."
I suspect that the intense Protestant interest in Francis is a sign that deep in our protesting marrow, there is a yearning for unity and a latent sense of regret that it had to come to all that division in Martin Luther's time and that the divide has never been healed.
For good and sufficient reasons back then, insistent Catholic reformers broke away from Rome in what became known as the Protestant Reformation, and although countless feelings were hurt and vicious charges traded, it was surely a reluctant parting. The Luthers, the Ulrich Zwinglis and the John Calvins of the time first sought to fix what they thought had gone wrong in the church. But failing that, they felt they had no choice but to leave.
So off they went in a huff while the Catholics they left behind mostly shouted after them not to let the door slam them in the butt on the way out. It was sad, though perhaps avoidable, but we can't rewrite that history now.
No divorce happens because of what just one of the partners does, thinks or says. It's always a group failure, as it was in this case. But it's also true that no divorce happens without some residual regret.
Some of that residual regret is helping to fuel the Protestant fascination with Francis. Whether it will mean anything in the way of reconciliation over the long haul is unknown. But it's certain that no reconciliation will be possible if both Protestants and Catholics continue to deny the regret they feel and their hope for a different future.
To Protestants, one of the most attractive things about Francis is his humility, his willingness not to rely on, defend and protect all aspects of the hierarchical system of polity that has marked the papacy, especially in the time since Pope John XXIII. That system, at least to Protestant eyes, seems to be in tension with the idea straight from the mouth of Jesus that true leaders must first be servants.
Now Francis not only is saying exactly that, he's acting as if he believes it.
Protestant polity usually is more decentralized and democratic than the Roman system of governance, but that doesn't mean some Protestant leaders don't also fall into the trap of being insufferable monarchists and worldly kingdom-builders.
Today, however, when Protestants set aside that nonsense and focus on humbly seeking to follow the God of love revealed in Jesus Christ, they find they have been joined by a fellow pilgrim, Francis. And we should welcome each other on the journey.
[Bill Tammeus, a Presbyterian elder and former award-winning faith columnist for The Kansas City Star, writes the daily "Faith Matters" blog  for the Star's website and a monthly column for The Presbyterian Outlook. His latest book, co-authored with Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, is They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust . Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .]
Typo error on source. It should be “National Catholic Reporter”.
Sorry, folks. Any man that believes the doctrines of Rome, is not a “peoples pope” but a man believing errant theology. There are no 7 sacraments, no genuflecting, no paternosters, no “Roman Catholic Church” in the Scriptures. There is just the body of believers gathered by Jesus, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and rescued from themselves because they were elect before the foundation of the world.
No “pater noster”? Do you even know what that is? See Matthew 6:9-13.
Birds of a feather?
Excerpt from Preface:
I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else.
It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall, I have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in. For that purpose the worst of the rooms (whichever that may be) is, I think preferable. It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into the room you will find that the long wait has done some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and, of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling.
In plain language, the question should never be: “Do I like that kind of service?” but “Are these doctrines true: Is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?”
When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. This is one of the rules common to the whole house.
Sorry. Didn’t know this had already been posted.
Do you know what it says????
No Pater Noster? I’ll put Heaven on notice that the Our Father has been abrogated.
Maybe ecumenical protestant hearts, but no born again Christian has any excitement for or about the Pope.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Having established that the verses in question contain what is commonly known as the Lord's Prayer and the Our Father...You just said there is no Our Father in the bible.
Would you care to expand a bit or your previous statement, or did you simply suffer a "senior moment"?
I say it many times everyday. I say it at every Mass. Do you know what it says?
There really is no “Protestant fascination” with Pope Francis. There is no fascination like that among Bible-believing Christians but there certainly could be some among liberal Protestants from denonimations like the Episcopal, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran churches. Most of the Catholic Church has voted with liberal Protestants and atheists for decades in favor of secular humanism, so the step towards universalism that Francis just took makes sense.
Well, you almost got it right... If you check the best and earliest manuscripts of the Greek text, you will find that the last line of your quote is not really a part of the text. "For thine..."
But, you did not continue to read what Jesus actually said. The next line of his remarks are: For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Now, this may be a part of your errant theology (and that of your organization), but it is not a part of the Gospel that was ultimately delivered through Paul. What you are reading in the so-called Lord's Prayer, is a portion of the requirements of the Mosaic Law, my FRiend. The Gospel of grace is extended to Gentiles (probably you, certainly me) after the blood was shed (Eph. 2...read the whole chapter). Thus, a "paternoster" has no place in Christianity.
ping to 15
ping to 15
Maybe ecumenical protestant hearts, but no born again Christian has any excitement for or about the Pope.
Popes come. Popes go.
Is this author suggesting it was a “friendly divorce”
there were CENTURIES of religious wars..
not just the one in 1618-1648 ending in the Peace of Westphalia..
Why not? He's like putty in their hands.
And Pope Francis hopes to drag the Church closer to the Protestant model. No wonder so many seem to be dazzled by him.
Quite a presumptuous statement for one who doesn't pray the Pater Noster.
“Most of the Catholic Church has voted with liberal Protestants and atheists for decades”
1956 - Eisenhower won the Catholic vote
1972 - Richard Nixon won the Catholic vote
1980 - Ronald Reagan won the Catholic vote
1984 - Ronald Reagan won the Catholic vote
2004 - George W. Bush won the Catholic vote
2012 - Obama won the Catholic vote 50% to 48%
over a Morman Republican, smallest winning
margin in the history of presidential politics.
That is correct, and the Catholic Pater Noster doesn't include that last line. So your complaint is unfounded.
Thanks for admitting it.
You skipped quite a few election cycles. Any reason why?
This is the sophomoric stuff that low-information Protestants spew out. You see, they simply can’t digest the intellectual, historical, and liturgical practices of the early Church or its early hierarchal structure to present a ONE single truth as given by Christ in the Great Commission to Peter and His disciples. The great works of Augustine, Aquinas, St. Ambrose, Cardinal Newman (a Convert to Catholicism); Benedict XVI, or Richard Neuhas (The late Great American Lutheran theological scholar who converted to Catholicism) simply goes over the heads of low-information Protestant Christians.
Protestant theology today is reduced to bits and pieces which any FourSquare Church corner street pastor from Rev. Wright to Joel Osteen to Jimmy Swaggart is allowed to pick up and promote as “the” truth when it fact it is “their “ own personal version of the truth.They crack open the Bible and do a “Billy Graham” and say they found the truth. At last count some 35,000 different denominations and expanding. These are all the wild and poisonous mushrooms that scatter around the great Mustard Tree.
"This is the sophomoric stuff that low-information Protestants spew out"...ah, the chance to impress those beneath his opinion of himself, has come. And gone. And we are left with a fleeting moment of comedic craving. Such as the fireplace suddenly losing a log as it rolls toward Steelfish's priceless rug, only to have him stomp out the sparks with his tawny taupe driving moccassins. While in desperation he pours his snifter of brandy onto his shoes and watches in horror as they poof straight out of existence. Never one to find the humor or irony in a situation he has claimed as the moral high ground, he grasps aimlessly toward the front door, smoke billowing and Bach just a distant memory. Asking us to find our own way out, he collapses into a corner, cursing the low-information Protestant Christians for not knowing the basics of fire prevention and sharing with him. After all, he cannot know everything. He was prepared to share his intellectual, historical, and liturgical practices with the heathens. The least they could have done was bring a fire extinguisher. Must he do EVERYTHING?
Thanks for the verification on how the members of the Catholic church, vote with the pro-abortion left.
Take the illegals out of the equation and Romney would have won the Catholics going away. Romney beat Obama by 19% among Catholics that actually go to church on a regular basis, as in white Catholics.
The Fishwrap? Usually not worth reading?
You’re pointing to 6 Presidential elections in the last 56 years, and there’s a lot more to it than Presidential elections. In Congressional elections Catholics go for Democrats or moderate Republicans. The excitement for Rick Santorum wasn’t from Catholics, but evangelicals. Democrats weren’t at all nervous about him getting the nomination and drawing away Catholics from their party.
LOL! You haven’t discovered the search feature on FR?
Neither is the USCCB junk that some people post.
Obama got 76% of the low information hispanics that identify as Catholic, who no more have been catechized and know the doctrine of the Catholic Church than the man in the moon. They vote for whomever can promise them the most and spout off about wanting to tear down the borders so granpma Maria, grandpa Juan and uncle Mario can join them in the states. And the vast majority of them are family-oriented who definitely do not believe in aborting their children or homosexual “marriage”. They will vote for whomever promises them the most and that is always democrats. How many times have you heard a republican say that hispanics should be in the republican party because by and large they are social conservatives. That’s why you have the Christies, Ryan, Boehner and Juan McCain’s of the world pushing for amnesty. They want that vote and they could care less how many illegals flood the United States.
In other words, more than 40% of faithful, white, church-attending Catholics are still abortion-advocating Obama supporters, rendering them latae-sententae excommunicated right out of the gate. What percentage out of 70 million do you think remains? I arrived at a figure of 7%.
Thanks to no other than their Latin American bishops, like Archbishop Bergoglio.
“are still abortion-advocating Obama supporters”
You mean like those millions and millions and millions of black PROTESTANTS that cast their vote for brother Barrack?
The ones that go to Church 3 or 4 times a week and will tell you how Christian they are and how they don’t believe in abortion and how they don’t believe in homosexuals getting “married”. Yea them. Oh, but you give them a pass because they call themselves protestants. It’s only Catholics that are singled out for voting for Obama, when the ones that allowed him to carry the “catholic vote” can barely speak English. Or those white protestants all over Virginia, Penn, Ohio, and West Virginia that call themselves Christian but voted for the baby killer because their good ole boy union members, and “my daddy voted democrat all his life and daggummit I will to”. You give them a free pass because they are protestants.
Catholics, we know how they vote, and now we are learning that some want a white’s only church.
Which I guess is what happens when immigrants from Catholic societies and nations, meet with Catholics who don’t live in such Catholic utopias.
More self-love from the Catholic scribes about how they are the center of the world and we should all agree with them.
I doubt there is this much self-affirmation in a homosexual focus group or a psychologists couch
There’s a real big big difference in voting patterns of Catholics who can read and those who can’t.
Who? Oh, you mean them. Those people.
Its only Catholics that are singled out for voting for Obama, when the ones that allowed him to carry the catholic vote can barely speak English.
What's that, you say? We established from your last post that 40% of white, weekly-church-attending Catholics still voted for Obama - does this mean that the 40% can barely speak English, too?
I don't get all this "singling them out" talk. Black, non-English-speaking, low-information baptized Catholics are numbered by their bishops among the 70 million claimed here in the USA - just like the magic white folk are. Is the number wrong? Are there 70 million Catholics or not? Now if you don't want some of them counted, you go right ahead and not count them That's an argument to take up with your own church, not with me.
Or those white protestants all over Virginia, Penn, Ohio, and West Virginia that call themselves Christian but voted for the baby killer because their good ole boy union members, and my daddy voted democrat all his life and daggummit I will to. You give them a free pass because they are protestants.
Wait - am I supposed to give them a free pass because they are, because they call themselves protestant, or because they have the right skin color? Where are you finding all these free passes laying around, that you claim I've punched?
“I doubt there is this much self-affirmation in a homosexual focus group or a psychologists couch”
Try asking your Episcopalian brother. Lots of sodomites getting “married” in his church.
I'm told that's what the icons and relics were created to make up for. I'm guessing they missed the circles and arrows and paragraphs on the back of each one?
No, just the hypocritical protestant voters, who were responsible for sending Obama back to the White House. There are a hell of a lot more protestants in this country than Catholics.
wow. Personalize it, just like leftists always do.