Protestants react to the pope

Protestants react to the pope

Manya A. Brachear
Published July 13, 2007

When the Vatican issued a papal document Tuesday that rejected other churches as alternative routes to salvation and emphasized Roman Catholicism as the one, true path, many Protestants viewed it as a step backward in ecumenical relations.But some Protestant leaders also took time to assure their flocks that much progress has been made in the last half-century and will continue.

“The anguished response of Christians around the world to the Vatican’s statement … clearly indicates that what may have been meant to clarify has caused pain,” wrote Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “Now is the time for our thoughtful and measured response. The question all Christian people should reflect on today is how best to exercise forbearance and love for one another.”The Seeker asked readers if non-Catholics had a right to criticize the pope for clarifying Catholic doctrine. Most responders unleashed their anger, sometimes at fellow readers. Others tried to open the door to healthy dialogue. Here’s what several had to say:

Charles G: “I am not a Catholic, but I find all the fuss about the pope’s speech hard to understand. Do most fundamentalist Protestant preachers view their more liberal, modernist counterparts as being just as much Christians as they are? I doubt it. Let’s stop pretending that religious differences don’t exist. They do. Acknowledging that fact does not constitute intolerance. Rather, intolerance involves trying to prevent others from worshiping in the way they believe is correct.”

Chrisb: “Criticizing the pope is rather silly, since he’s only saying what his church believes. After all, Protestants also tell Catholics that they’re ‘going to hell,’ so they’re in no position to criticize him. Those Protestants are also merely saying what their church believes.”

Derek: “I am sure that the Catholics out there already know that the Catholic church only believes that Catholics will be saved. I believe the pope wanted to make sure to remind the Protestants of this.”

jmd: “Wow, such anti-Catholic sentiment here! I’m one of the most militant, hedonistic, secular atheists you’ve ever seen, and even I feel deeply hurt by what some of you are saying. I hope you pause long enough from your tirades … to find some small amount of peace in this world.”


Find the full text of Manya A. Brachear’s Web log at Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

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