Over at the Ridley Website, I have a short piece on what Protestants, Evangelical Anglicans in particular, should make of Pope Francis and his whirlwind tour of the USA.
Here is my introduction:
It’s hard not to like Pope Francis. On the one hand, he remains religiously and ethically conservative, while on the other hand, he is speaking out on topics like global poverty, climate change, and religious freedom that Anglicans can relate to. What is more, he seems to embody what he preaches. Gone are the fancy hotels, the ritzy cavalcades, I mean, this is a guy who washes the feet of prisoners and hangs out with the homeless. His walk matches his talk. He acts in a way highly reminiscent of Jesus. Let’s face it, the current Pope is a rock star and he’s making Christianity cool again, at least in some respects. But then again the Anglican church did not break away from Rome simply on account of Henry VIII’s marital mishaps and his quest for a male heir. Rather, the Anglican church took up the protestant cause in its protest against the abuses and abominations of the medieval catholic church. What is more, the 39 Articles explicitly reject the “Romish” doctrine of purgatory and calls the sacrifice of masses an act that celebrates “blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.” While Anglicans have always wrestled with how to be “Catholic” and “Reformed,” the official line is that we are not part of the Roman Catholic Church, we protestants.