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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam

The throne of St. Peter
The smoke billows white at the Vatican. Soon, the cry Habemus Papam! (which is Latin for, We have a Pope!) will be heard in St. Peter's square. Millions watch to find out who was chosen to ascend the throne of the Roman Catholic Church. And while being Pope isn't quite the whole "ruler of the entire Christian world" gig that it once was, many Catholics are rallying to the news, hoping that their religion and their spiritual lives might find a better direction with a new leader.

So why did I interrupt Fenelon from his blogging to bring a word about the new father of the Catholic Church, especially when I'm an ex-Catholic Protestant? Because this is big news, whether you're Catholic or not. While I have a vested, prophetic interest in the new leader, it's important (not to mention compassionate) for Protestant and Orthodox Christians to not downplay the Pope's significance in the lives of so many potential souls, whose only exposure to the Truth about Jesus (whatever may be found in their religion) is through the mouth of the Pope. So though I'd go to the stake for my Protestant faith, I try to give the benefit of the doubt and sincerely hope that perhaps this new church father will bring his flock closer to the teachings found in Scripture and to the relationship with Jesus Christ that can save their souls. After all, I've known of many true Christians within the Catholic Church who have found Jesus, despite the religious trappings. Look at the priest, Francois Fenelon, whose writings I've been posting. He writes like a true follower of Jesus Christ.

But all the pomp and circumstance does make me pause. It shows me how the distraction of external religion continues to mislead people, drawing them away from the real need happening within their souls. Even the great Catholic mystics would agree that much of their religion was distraction, which is why many of them were reformers

The truth is, Christians everywhere already have a Pope. The word pope means "father" and there is but one Father of the true Christian Church: the Lord Jesus Christ, our only head. This is what the Protestants died for and what the Orthodox Church stands for. There's no need for a Pope on earth, when an all powerful one resides in Heaven and in our hearts. Only Christ is bishop over all.

As I continue reading and contemplating my own resistance to dying to Self and following Jesus Christ, I can't help but be saddened by the fact that so many Catholics (though not all) miss the point of their religion entirely. It's not the external religion that matters, but the internal condition of the heart. If only they would stop gazing outward to the Vatican for hope and look inside themselves. If they have Jesus in their heart, then they will see their Pope there. If they do not, then they will see their need for the only true Pope the world has ever known, who is in Heaven, and will reveal Himself to those who ask.

Oh, yes; it's true: Habemus Papam! And His name is Jesus Christ.

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