The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) congratulated Pope Francis for being elected the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church and said it hopes to continue positive dialogue together.
The Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of WEA, which represents more than 600 million evangelical Christians, extended his "warmest congratulations" to the newly elected Pope and affirmed his prayers for the new leader, who will head the Catholic Church "at a time filled with great challenges but also a time of great possibilities...," in a statement released Thursday.
"We look forward to building on some of the good work we have done together in the past, such as the collaboration for the document Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct," said Tunnicliffe. more >>
The bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) shared on Thursday that Pope Francis, the new Roman Catholic Church head, has ties to the Lutheran Church.
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of ELCA, said in a statement that he is "encouraged that Pope Francis has worked with Lutherans in Argentina."
"His choice of the name Francis is a strong sign of his commitment to a life of prayer, simplicity, humility and solidarity with those who live on the margins of society. May the gifts of the Holy Spirit sustain him as we enter this holy calling," Hanson said. more >>
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 >>