Why Do I Care?

REUTERS pool photo
REUTERS pool photo

This question was put to me on Facebook yesterday as I was making comments about the Papal election presently underway in Rome.  Why do I, as an Orthodox Christian, care about who becomes the next Bishop of Rome.  Well, there are many reasons and these are in no particular order.

1.  The Bishop of Rome speaks for more than one billion people living in the world.  Now I don’t know exactly how many people live on this planet we call home but that seems like a pretty significant number.  Just for comparison sake, although Orthodoxy Christianity is the second largest group of Christians in there world there are only about 300 million of us and no one Patriarch speaks for all of us.

2.  From an historical perspective this is big news.  This is the first time in more than 600 years that a sitting Pope resigned his office.  This is also the first Conclave of the Social Media era so it is interesting to watch, and like I said yesterday, even with all of the technology and social media we all still watch a chimney to get the news, and wait for a person to walk out on a balcony and tell the world who the next bishop of Rome will be.  That’s what I like to call tradition and it reminds me that no matter how much or how fast the world is changing the Church remains constant, or should remain constant.

3.  Whether we Orthodox like to think of this or not, the Bishop of Rome is really the moral voice of the world’s Christians.  Yes we disagree on the interpretation of that morality, but for the most part we agree.  So when the Bishop of Rome speaks about Abortion, contraction, war, peace, immigration, etc. we Orthodox need to listen.  This is not a matter of theology but of morals and we share much in common.

4.  Who gets elected has a lot to do with any hopeful reunification of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

5.  They have cool stuff they do and it is nice to watch!

6.  Most of my family is Roman Catholics and I care because they do!

7.  Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston might get elected and I have actually met him in person and I think it would be cool to say I met him once.

So those are my reasons.  But I think the most important one is that because the Roman Catholic Church has not changed the way they do things, and because much of this is shrouded in secrecy there is something rather comforting about it.  I mentioned it earlier in this essay, but it has to do with tradition.  What we Orthodox share in common with the Roman Catholic Church is our desire to remain faithful to the Apostolic tradition, before you start to hate I know the argument so just move on, and at the same time remain relevant in people’s lives in the 21st Century.

Both of our churches agree that we do not change our theological positions or our moral positions based on which way society is going.  We both agree that the Church informs society not the other way around.  It is a pipe dream to think that the next Bishop of Rome is going to allow married men to be ordained priests, or that women will suddenly be allowed to get ordained, or that abortion on contraception will be okay, there are plenty of churches that one can attend where all of those things are okay.  No need to show up early at them either there are plenty of open seats!

The Orthodox and Roman Catholics share a common faith and a common tradition.  We express that differently but we are joined by our common history.  That is why I care and that is why you should care.  What these 115 Cardinals do has some effect on the Orthodox as well.


    1. In addition, the spiritual/moral health of R Catholics will affect the spiritual/moral health of society in general so it is critically important and, I submit, important to our Lord.

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!