Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why is the Catholic Church...

...always playing defense?

That was my initial response to the news yesterday that the first pope from Latin America had been selected.

First, in 1978, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland was chosen in part to shore up Christianity in the officially atheist Eastern Bloc. Then, in 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was selected. One of his primary goals was to try to reverse the increasingly secular nature of Western Europe. Now, with the elevation of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina to the papacy, a cynic (who, me?) might be forgiven for viewing his election as an effort to stem the tide of Latin American Catholics from converting to evangelical denominations.

I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say on the new pontiff as I read about him in the next few days. (He was a surprise, wasn't he? 33-1 on Paddy Power!) But, in the meantime, that's my first thought: why does it feel like the Church is always playing defense?

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