The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Is Francis I our pope?

Regardless, we pray for his success

At the close of our regular Thursday evening’s chancel choir rehearsal the director named those in the congregation who were ill or grieving for whom we should pray. Then she asked, “Is there any good news?”

In response, a voice from the soprano section announced, “Well, we have a new pope.”

Another soprano responded, “They have a pope. We don’t. We’re Lutheran.”

Someone in the bass section spoke up saying, “At the highest theological levels, on the key subject of justification by faith, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutherans have no essential differences.”

Another bass whispered that this makes little difference since many folks at the parish level pay scant attention to such agreements.

So do Lutherans have a new pope or not? 

When someone counts Christians around the world, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants and others compose one body. Further, the pope resides among the Western church with its emphasis on the meaning of the cross. As for Lutherans, few non-Roman Catholics in the Western church, with the possible exception of Anglicans, follow the liturgical pattern of the mass more faithfully.

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