Yesterday was a big day for me as a Detroit Lions fan. For the first time in many years the Lions landed multiple quality free agents when they signed RB Reggie Bush and S Glover Quin from Houston, who sadly wants to be known as “GQ”. But perhaps the best signing yesterday was that of the Catholic Church when they signed free agent Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the 266th Pope. He’s now known as “Pope Francis” which, on the surface, may not seem much better than calling himself “GQ”.
A couple of points need to be made here before going on:
1. I do not agree with a large amount of Catholic doctrine. While it is too great to go into detail about here it is important to note that these are major differences especially on the topic of salvation by faith vs. works.
2. Just because I do not agree with Catholic doctrine does not mean that there aren’t people who passionately love Jesus and seek to make him famous who are Catholic and that includes some who are in leadership.
Having said that, I believe this pope matters to all evangelicals and not just those who are Catholics.
A good friend, Rob Kotaska (my long time Halo partner and current Halo blogger), sent me an article last night. Being a devout Catholic, he was extremely excited about the new pope. The article talked about the humility of this man and I wanted to share a couple of the highlights.
In an organized religion where flashy, over the top expenses and appearance are the norm, Pope Francis prefers to be more simple than that. The article states:
When he became a bishop in 1992, Bergoglio chose as his motto miserando atque eligendo, “lowly and yet chosen.” Matthew knew himself to be unworthy (read: “human”) yet Jesus chose him, not despite but because of, his humanity. These words signal humility
But it’s not just words that make this man humble. As Cardinal he could have lived in a large palace but instead, he chose a small apartment. He fixed his own meals and took public transportation to work. Even after being elected pope, in his first appearance, he dressed in a reserved fashion showing that this free agent signing was about anything but the power and money of the position.
Again, I disagree with many things about the Catholic faith, but this man is already displaying some qualities that I think all Christians, church leaders, pastors and others would do well to follow – a life free of greed and consumerism and a life that is meant to serve others with the power (re: influence) one has.
On top of that, this man is going to be leading a large number of people worldwide into a faith that is about humility, serving others, and avoiding the greed and consumerism that has a tight grasp on far too many people today.
I don’t have to agree theologically but I will agree that the way Pope Francis has lived his life (at least in regard to the above) is a model of following Jesus and living as He lived.