I admit, my antipathy for Catholicism runs deep. That has to do with its all-male, celibate priesthood, its veneration of Mary to — for all intents and purposes — divine status, its homophobia, and my first marriage. I’m copping to my own bigotries right off the bat here.
Nevertheless, I was taken aback by the over-the-top ebullience that many of my fellow Protestants were expressing on Twitter and Facebook yesterday. People were gushing, people were admitting to crying. And, most astoundingly, people were using the first person plural: “We have a new pope!”
Far be it from me to burst your bubble, but he’s not your pope, and he’s not my pope. If you or I, non-communicants in the Roman Catholic Church, were to approach the altar when Pope Francis was presiding at mass, he would not serve us the Eucharist. He wouldn’t recognize your non-Catholic marriage as sacramental in the eyes of God. And, if he agrees with his immediate predecessor, he does not think you attend a church. You attend an “ecclesial community.”
Like many, I have hoped that the Catholic Church would continue its progression, which began at Vatican II. But it hasn’t. The last two popes have rolled back those reforms, and there’s much evidence that this pope will continue in that vein.