My friend Charles took exception to my observation:
I think most Catholics and all non-believers will care once the pope demonstrate what kind of person and believer he is.
Todd, brother, would like to retract and reiterate the last clause of your sentence? (Judge not, lest ye be judged.)
Well, no I wouldn’t. First, I’m stating my analysis of the state of the Church, and what I think Catholics are thinking about the pope. I may be wrong. But I’m hearing from people who wish for a Holy Father who is a hardliner, more pastoral, who will clean house with the curia, who will clamp down on predator-easy bishops, etc.. Sometimes these wishes are well-founded in morality, spirituality or such, at least as they assess it. And some of it might be coming from people who have totally uninformed opinions about Catholicism. In many cases, they might give the new pope the benefit of the doubt–until the first disagreement pops up. Or they may, given recent discouragement, wait and see. I’m leaning to more “wait-and-see” Catholics. Non-believers definitely.
So when my brother suggests …
It seems to me that that tho’ we may, indeed, have been created in the likeness of God, we weren’t bestowed Pantocrator status as part of the deal. At best, your mistatement is naive, at worst, very Dan Brown. Not sufficient either way.
… I’m pretty much discounting it. At best, I’m right. And large segments of the Church are going to wait and see because it’s not likely we know how the man will serve as pope until we have him under our belts for a few years. And at worst, if I’m wrong, the Church is in a much better spiritual place than I thought: that we will receive the next Bishop of Rome with joy and he will make his ministry emphasis quite clear early on. And I’m on board with that, too.
Either way, it doesn’t matter. I hope for the best. I’m not thinking the Holy Spirit will stick us with the worst. I’m also not invested with being right or wrong. The day moves on.
But it’s good to be clear about what constitutes the difference between being the cause of bad news and being only the bearer of it.