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Should non-Catholics Care What the Pope Says?

September 21, 2013

Yesterday I asked whether Protestant progressives should care what the Pope says.  My own answer was “Yes!” I cited just a reason or two it may be important and affect us, if not directly then indirectly through other people.

Today I’m expanding the question to all non-Catholics, including those of no faith or other faiths.  Of course, we won’t care to the extent that Catholics generally will.  But whether or not we “care” in the sense of at least paying attention and taking note, I become more and more convinced Pope Francis will make a difference in the world beyond just influence on Catholics or his Church.  

Of course influencing the Catholic Church influences the world.  That happens in a number of ways.  What may be hard for Americans to grasp is just how influential the Catholic Church is in Latin America particularly (as well as other regions).  And Francis is from Argentina, further increasing his clout in the Latin world.  He also speaks languages besides Spanish and English.  Seems to be a very bright man yet humble and wise.  (Bright and wise often don’t go together.)

I think I’m with many observers who see this Pope as having what one might call a humanizing effect on both his Church and the world.  The Roman Catholic Pope typically is the most influential religious leader in the world.  Perhaps this one even more so.  Technically the Pope is also a “head of state,” the Vatican.  His positions and actions do influence other heads of states and various political affairs.  Francis’ recent words (links in yesterday’s post) on mercy, acceptance and welcoming seem to reflect the spirit of Christ (as agreed upon even by “secular” people and humanists).  They are words that move toward peace.  

I expect they will be controversial because of their implications if not because of the words themselves.  They call really all Christians toward a higher level of vision and behavior.  One which heals.  One which loves.  One which unites.  Yes, we should care.

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