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4.08.2005    |    A Protestant View
The spectacle of the Pope's funeral in Rome is both awe inspiring and, frankly, vulgar. John Paul was a great man, a man who walked in the way of the Fisherman...to a point. I seriously doubt that Jesus would have been much at home in the Vatican palaces, with the billions and billions of dollars worth of furnishings, servants, glittering possessions. On the other hand, the millions of Catholics who love these trappings of power seem to not want to turn the clock back to the Church's origins in the catacombs of Rome. Too damp, and it's hard to keep the red wines at the proper temperature, don't you know.

Among some evangelicals, I've heard the Church of Rome referred to as the Whore of Babylon; a perversion of the Christian faith. Most Protestants are more circumspect; they may think that all of this pageantry and immense wealth in the service of the church's headquarters (as against helping the poor) is whoredom, they just don't say so out loud. After all, it's not their church now, is it?

And yet the Catholic Church isn't just the gaudy display of unchristian wealth and unbiblical pomp and circumstance. It is Franciscan friars doing God's work; Dominicans teaching and ministering to the poorest of the poor; and dozens and dozens of other religious orders doing God's work all over the globe. I'd like to think that John Paul might have preferred the simple robes of the Franciscan, but that the greater good was served by sitting in the gilded throne at the Vatican.

As for the Catholic Church not being my church, well, yes, it is -- we are all brothers in Christ. Which is why it pains me to see such a vainglorious display of wealth to honor a man who would likely have preferred to wear a simple robe and sandals as he walked in the path of our Lord.

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Blogger John said...

Great post JL and one I heartily concur with. I suspect the reason for the 'funeral; was for RC propaganda purposes, I believe John Paul would have been embarressed by the pomp and ceremony.

2:48 PM, April 08, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.