Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Man of the Year

He was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, but few people know that name. He was elected head of the world’s largest Christian denomination. This church’s membership is around a sixth of the population of planet earth. At 1.2 billion, according to Wikipedia. He spoke, not long ago, to a crowd which, according to one report, topped three million. But he sometimes sneaks out at night to visit the poor. He has been named Time magazine’s person of the year, but he could not at first be convinced to move into his suites because he was enjoying holding daily devotions with the hotel staff.

He is best known as Pope Francis I.
In the fifteen hundreds, Martin Luther nailed, on Halloween, to the door of the church at Wittenberg, his ninety-five thesis. At that time he had to go into hiding for his descent of the church. He could have been burned at the stake, as the theologians Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were, nearly thirty later, simply for disagreeing.
Things have changed since then within the Catholic Church. They now have their first South American pope ever. And the first that was not from Europe since the before the Normans invaded England. You are absolved from some of the years of purgatory simply by following His Holiness on twitter these days. Even atheists, it appears, are now assured a place in heaven.
The “Papal See” continues to reflect the movements of thought and change in popular opinion. The early church father’s would have been mortified. They refused to change their minds for even the emperor. But without force, the people have slowly brought about change since the purging and killings. But the Catholic Church, in the words of one “has moved on.”

Andrew C. Abbott

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