Pope Francis on life issues

The newly-elected Pope Francis is, of course, the pope being Catholic, pro-life.  To the point of having a good answer for those who believe in abortion in the case of rape–he calls that the death penalty for the unborn (practiced in countries that won’t give the death penalty for the rapists)–and agreeing that politicians who support abortion should be denied Holy Communion. [Read more...]

Pope Francis

A new pope has been elected:  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina.  He is the first non-European elected to that office in over 1000 years.  He will be the 266th person to hold that office.  He is taking the name of Francis (the proper form being Francis, not Francis I, as I posted earlier, since the first of that name is not given a number until there are others that need to be distinguished from each other).

I can’t believe that there has been no other pope named Francis, St. Francis being such a notable saint.  (See this for the possible significance of the name.)  At any rate, the election of this first South American pontiff is surely something of a surprise.   The top prospect lists of prospective popes that I saw earlier didn’t mention him.  I did find one that did, which I’ll quote after the jump, along with a video of Pope Francis. [Read more...]

The mother of all lock-ins

They aren’t a youth group, but what the cardinals meeting to elect a new pope are having is a lock-in.  So explains the BBC, with other little-known facts about what is going on in the Sistine Chapel:

1. It’s a lock-in. Conclave comes from the Latin “cum-clave” meaning literally “with key” – the cardinal-electors will be locked in the Sistine Chapel each day until Benedict XVI’s successor is chosen. The tradition dates back to 1268, when after nearly three years of deliberation the cardinals had still not agreed on a new pope, prompting the people of Rome to hurry things up by locking them up and cutting their rations. Duly elected, the new pope, Gregory X, ruled that in future cardinals should be sequestered from the start of the conclave.

2. Spying is tricky. During the conclave they are allowed no contact with the outside the world – no papers, no TV, no phones, no Twitter. And the world is allowed no contact with them. The threat of excommunication hangs over any cardinal who breaks the rules. [Read more...]

Who will get elected pope?

The conclave of 115 cardinals who will elect the pope convenes on Tuesday.  They will keep casting ballots until someone gets two-thirds of the vote.  Those of us who decry the office can still be interested in the outcome.  I think it would be good for worldwide Christianity if the cardinals would elect a non-European, such as Peter Turkson of Ghana.  Or maybe an Asian, such as Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanka or Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines.  Interestingly, liberal Catholics oppose the election of a pope from the developing world, since those societies are extremely conservative when it comes to “women’s issues” and, especially, homosexuality.

But I would love it if New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan were to be chosen. That’s because I’ve met him!  When he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, he was involved with a Catholic school where my wife taught.  Lutheran though I am, I think it would be cool to be able to say that I’ve met the pope. [Read more...]

New pope must pledge to serve until death?

The cardinals don’t seem to approve of Pope Benedict’s resignation and reportedly will ask the next pope to promise not to pull that again. British journalist John Follain reports:

CARDINALS plan to ask the next pope to pledge in his inaugural address that he will serve until his death, unlike Benedict XVI, whose resignation, they believe, has destabilised the Catholic Church.

Doubts have emerged about the impact of Benedict’s decision as the cardinals begin a series of meetings, known as general congregations, to discuss the church’s future.

Italian reports suggest some church leaders believe Benedict’s departure has undermined the sacredness of the office. An unnamed cardinal told the Corriere della Sera newspaper it was impossible to abolish the rule that a pope had the right to resign of his own freewill. “But for the future we need to safeguard the freedom of the church from external influences,” he said, amid fears that a pope could be pressured into stepping down. [Read more...]

A milestone in the decline of liberal Protestantism

The much-diminished National Council of Churches is closing its headquarters in New York City, a building that also housed the offices of the other major ecumenical Protestant denominations.  Leaving the building once  hailed as the “Protestant Vatican” and the “God Box,” the NCC is moving to Washington, D.C., where it will share an office with the Methodists.  Mark Tooley, writing in the American Spectator, reports on the move and includes some trenchant analysis of why liberal Protestantism has declined.  This is especially noteworthy since some ostensible evangelicals want to adopt the same strategy. [Read more...]