I am a little afraid that I may return from my trip to Europe a Roman Catholic for two reasons:

(1) I’m going to Rome! So either I will be tempted to become a Catholic while in Vatican City or I will be tempted to become a Caesar while wandering around the Capitoline and the Palatino. If you think it is odd that someone of French descent would want to be a Caesar consider this fellow:

Napoleon Bonaparte

Pope Benedict XVI

(2) After Mark Stevens blogged on Pope Benedict XVI’s second volume of Jesus of Nazareth there was a urge to sample some of his work from the first volume. I read the introduction and I was very, very impressed as it appears the Pope has engaged not only Catholic scholars, but Protestants, and he even showed familiarity with things like the canonical approach set forth by “American scholars” (xviii) and philosophical hermeneutics (xx).

It may be my Protestant bias, but I never thought of the Pope as being someone who would address things like historical-critical research. For some reason I saw the Pope as someone who could say whatever he wanted from the Magisterium and everyone else simply had to submit. Rather, he says in his introduction to V. 1 that he is doing no such thing and “Everyone is free, then, to contradict me.” (xxiii-xxiv)

I was wrong. I apologize to my Roman Catholic friends. We Protestants can be a bit ignorant.

That being said I must confess that it is unlikely that either of these two things will be persuasive, but I thought it would give me another reason to brag that I am going to Rome.