We have a Pope!
Yesterday, our wonderful new pope, Pope Francis, was officially installed as the leader of the Catholic Church.
With 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, it was an exciting day for many, many people.
Francis, was elected on the second day of the Papal Conclave, in which 115 Catholic cardinals met and voted on a new leader within the walls of the beautiful Sistine Chapel.
For those who do not understand the traditions of the Catholic faith (Non-Catholics & Catholics alike) the whole process can seem confusing and somewhat silly at times. However, tradition, is what sets Catholics apart from most other Christian denominations.
We believe that without tradition, there is no foundation to our faith.
By that I don’t mean that Jesus and the Bible aren’t also foundational. I mean that the foundation of our faith stems from tradition. The Bible, as we know it, was compiled roughly 300 years after the birth of Christ, and since the church was instituted by Christ, the traditions and customs that came out of those first 300 years make up a large and integral part of our faith. In fact, if you think about it, for those religions that base their faith upon the Bible alone, much of the New Testament is actually a written account of the first popes, bishops, and priests who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to start many of the traditions seen in the Catholic church today. In many ways, it is a narrative of the infancy of the Catholic Church.
Today, over 2 thousand years later, we carry on many of those same traditions.
The tradition of having a pope, a leader of the faith, was begun when Jesus said to his blessed apostle Simon, “…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
It was continued last week, on a rainy March evening. The bells of Saint Peter’s square rang joyously as a man dressed in white walked out on to a balcony and humbly asked the world to pray for him.
This can explain more beautifully than I ever could.