I agree. Pope Francis has been the sort of pastoral figure that even an evangelical such as myself cannot help but admire. I remember when I visited the Vatican a few years ago there there were two conflicting emotions present within me. First, there was angst and confusion as I tried to reconcile the opulence of the Vatican with the humble Servant-King of the Gospels. In that moment I could see why the monk Martin Luther was bothered by such extravagance. Second, there was admiration and even a bit of pride to see that the City of the Caesars had become a place from which Christ was being proclaim as King of all kings to the whole world. There is no heir to Nero, but there is one to Peter.
For many reasons I remain an evangelical, but a figure like Pope Francis does make you think deeply about Jesus’ prayer that we’d all be one and how a figurehead like the Pope can contribute to the realization of that prayer or resistance to it.
I think Luther was more repulsed by the materialism, hypocrisy, obscurantism and wealth of Rome’s clergy than by the extravagant architecture of the Vatican. Saint Peter’s II was very far from complete at the time of Luther’s visit.
Helpful point of clarification, thanks.
This Pope seems way more humble than the average bear and acts that out. I like him a lot, but, I liked Benedict a lot as well.
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