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Is The Pope Protestant? Well, Was The Last One?

Artur Rosman noticed something particular about the pope’s interview:

There is something of what we usually think of as Protestant directness and emphasis on experience in the following statement:

“We should not allow our faith to be drained by too many discussions of multiple, minor details, but rather, should always keep our eyes in the first place on the greatness of Christianity.

I remember, when I used go to Germany in the 1980s and ’90s, that I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.

If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith – a commitment from which we must not allow such situations to divert us.

In this perspective I would now like to continue by completing last Tuesday’s reflections and to stress once again: what matters above all is to tend one’s personal relationship with God, with that God who revealed himself to us in Christ.”

“Personal relationship”? That Francis, sounding like a Protestant!

Except that’s not Francis; that was Benedict.

Rosman says that the continuity between both popes’ teaching reveals itself when you consider the affection both had for the movement Communion and Liberation, with its focus on personalism, and distaste for moralizing. Read the whole thing.

Years ago, when I was a Catholic, a good friend who was in CL invited me to several talks and meetings. I enjoyed being with the people, but I couldn’t make sense of Msgr. Giussani’s teachings. I’m 20 years older now; maybe I should give them another try, for the sake of understanding this papacy better. Any CL members among the readership? If so, tell us how CL’s thought illuminates the thinking of Pope Francis (and, for that matter, Pope Benedict).

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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