Guest / Limited Access /
A Pope for All Christians
Image: Christopher Furlong / Getty
A Pope for All Christians

When the new pope is consecrated, he will inherit a troubled global church. Internal scandal and unaddressed external problems pose great risks to the vitality of Catholicism. But the consequences of success or failure are huge for the church universal, the world's 2.1 billion Christians of every denomination.

This is more than a butterfly effect. Rome is not Las Vegas—what happens in Rome will not stay within the borders of Vatican City. One consequence of globalization is that the walls that have long divided Catholics from Orthodox, mainline Protestants, evangelicals, and Pentecostals are eroding.

Brian Stiller,a global ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance, commenting about Catholic and evangelical relations, wrote on his blog recently, "Not in 500 years have the two sides been so close and friendly."

The challenges inside the Vatican and the Catholic Church are familiar, and they are of concern to every Christian who longs for a healthy body. Two cardinals, Keith O'Brien (Scotland) and Roger Mahony (Los Angeles), are just the latest Catholic leaders who stand accused of wrongdoing. Several priests allege that O'Brien initiated "inappropriate" behavior, possibly sexual, with them. Court documents reveal that Mahony relocated priests, known to be sexually abusive, to shield them from prosecution. In addition, a money-laundering scandal has tainted the Vatican's reputation of integrity. And the so-called Vatileaks scandal has pulled back the curtain on infighting and factionalism within the potent Catholic curia, the leadership core.

Our point is not to kick an institution that's already downed by scandal. Protestants, after all, are well acquainted with ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedPope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
(UPDATED) Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries.
TrendingChristianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Christianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
Editor's PickWhat Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
What Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
Rooting our celebration of Christ’s birth more deeply in our lives.
Comments
Christianity Today
A Pope for All Christians
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.