As Pope Francis began his first full day as leader of the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday, Desiring God founder, John Piper, attempted to clarify a controversial statement he made in 2009 about heresy in Roman Catholic theology.
During the reign of Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, Piper was asked on video if he had two minutes to question the Pope on an issue, what would he ask, and he chose the subject of justification.
"I think Rome and Protestantism are not yet ready – I don't think the Reformation is over. I don't think that enough change has happened in Roman understanding of justification, and a bunch of other things," he said in the video. more >>
The election of Pope Francis as the 266th bishop of Rome held many milestones. Francis is the first Latin American pope in history and the first non-European pontiff in about 1,200 years.
However, some have claimed that a Medieval pope might have reached a milestone considered impossible given the standards and rules of Vatican City for ordained clergy. more >>
By means of the decision to elect a non-European, the Catholic Church has clearly accepted and given prominence to the fact that the center of gravity of world Christianity has shifted to the global south. Although popes from Poland and Germany were already a step away from Italy, the new step is away from Europe entirely, to the regions where the masses of Christians live.
It is astonishing that a bishop of the poor has been selected, who as a Jesuit would have been expected to be a closet liberal among the cardinals but by means of the selection of his papal name has indicated that his vow of poverty has programmatic significance. At the Catholic synod meetings last year I got to know him as a modest, humble, and friendly man who uses public transportation and goes without a palace or chauffeur. These are difficult times for all those in the Curia who have tolerated dirty church finances.
We have to expect that the new Pope, perhaps along with Cardinal Turkson from Ghana, who leads the Vatican Commission "Justitia et Pax" (Justice and Peace), will get more strongly involved in social questions. The election of a relatively old man, who is only a little younger than Cardinal Ratzinger was at the time of his election, may mean that he is a transitional figure, though he seems to be healthier than Benedict XVI was at the time of his election. more >>
Pope Francis, the newly elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has been greeted by a wide array of media responses, and while many have focused on his record with social work, his stance on gay marriage and abortion has divided opinions.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, had served as the cardinal of Buenos Aires, Argentina, since 1998 before he was elected Wednesday to succeed the retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He chose to be named after St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic saint known as an early church reformer.
Many news websites have focused their coverage of Pope Francis on his social work with the poor – NBC News described him as prizing "compassion, humility and simplicity," reminding readers that back home in Buenos Aires he takes the bus to work instead of using the services of a private chauffeur. As a member of the Jesuit Society of Jesus, he has taken a vow of poverty and dedicated his life to working with the poor and suffering. more >>
Pope Francis I should be a strong defender of persecuted religious believers of all faiths. The world is in dire need of such leadership.
Religious persecution is the gravest human-rights abuse of our day, both in its global reach and the numbers affected and in its implications for regional stability and world peace. When Congress enacted and President Clinton signed into law the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998, the United States became a world leader in the defense of religious freedom, with the high point of American leadership being a negotiated end to a religious conflict in South Sudan that had taken some 2 million lives. But it is a world leader no more. Washington has abdicated that role even as religious repression is intensifying internationally.
Ongoing religious persecution should be a major concern of the Catholic Church. In sheer numbers, Christians are the most persecuted religious group, suffering under the remaining militantly secular Communist regimes, under Islamist regimes, and under some nationalist regimes. And these persecutors of Christians typically persecute other religious minorities as well. more >>
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina will be the new pope with the name Pope Francis. One hundred and fifteen cardinals locked away in the Sistine Chapel announced to the world Wednesday that a new pope had been selected when thick white smoke could be seen billowing out from the chapel's chimney. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was selected and took the name Francis.
He is the first pope elected from Argentina and was the runner up to Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is revered for being a man of the people and for his continued commitment to social justice. He chose to live in a small apartment, rather than in the luxurious bishop's residence, and is still seen using public transportation.
As the cardinals entered the second night of the conclave, many were not expecting a decision so soon, given that there was no clear front runner going into the papal elections. more >>