In April 2004, I had the chance to visit Rome on Easter weekend. While there, I sat in St. Peter’s Square listening to Pope John Paul II’s final Easter address with tens of thousands of other onlookers. It was a once in a lifetime experience for a Southern Baptist student like me to behold.
With today’s announcement that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning from the papacy, many evangelicals are wondering whether they should be interested in this resignation–the first voluntary resignation of a pope since 1294.
Why should evangelicals care about the resignation of Pope Benedict? Russell Moore has a helpful article recounting reasons why we should watch this transition with interest:
With Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking resignation this morning, evangelical Christians might be tempted to see this the way a college football fan might view the departure of his rival team’s head coach. But the global stakes are much, much higher. As Pope Benedict steps down, I think it’s important for us to recognize the legacy of the last two bishops of Rome that we ought to honor and conserve: an emphasis on human dignity.
Pope Benedict was always intended to be a transitional figure for the papacy. So, the Catholic church is in the midst of a significant crossroads that will shape its direction for decades to come. That’s why evangelicals should care about Pope Benedict’s resignation.