Pope Benedict XVI

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is a nearly unique event in the history of the church…but why should it matter to anyone who isn’t Catholic?

David Drury, chief of staff to the General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church and an adjunct professor at IWU, addressed that question on his blog earlier this week, explaining, among other things, the importance of the pope in any effort toward worldwide Christian unity:

Perhaps no person embodies a hope for worldwide unity of the church more than the Pope. Since the Reformation there are massive ecclesial and governmental divisions to this catholicity, but the ecumenical movement, more recently the emergent in the United States and the Missional Church have sought to find more common ties and mission with the Catholic Church, and vice-versa. Pope John Paul II was quite intentional in this area and sought to bridge divides over past sins against other religious groups as well (Jews and Muslims most notably). The word “Pontiff” itself means “bridge-builder.”

Read the full post here.

Wesley Seminary Dean Ken Schenck also weighed in on the current events in the Catholic church on his Quadrilateral Thoughts blog, speculating on what the Church might be looking for in a successor to Pope Benedict:

 I guess there’s a saying somewhere that a good RC bishop “needs to be like Jesus with an MBA.”  I guess the current pope may think the RCC needs as a pope some young energetic person with strong organizational skills who can crack some heads and oust a bunch of corruption.

This reflects my own pilgrimage in viewing Wesleyan church leadership, even Wesleyan college leadership.  When I was a naive boy, I used to think that only the holiest of people became general superintendents….but that’s not really what organizations need to function well or, if the supreme leader is chosen for being most holy, they often need someone else on the side actually running the operations. 

Read the full post here.

IWU had its own experience at the Vatican in 2011, when the university chorale was invited to sing at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. They missed out on meeting the Pope, but they did make quite an impression:Chorale-at-Vatican

“We were asked to perform as the choir for a Wednesday evening Mass,” said Dr. Todd Guy, chorale director. “We sent our repertoire to the Vatican, and they chose the pieces they wanted us to sing.” In addition to the Mass itself, the chorale was asked to sing one piece during the communion service. “So many people stayed to take communion, however, that Vatican officials asked us to sing three or four additional pieces,” Guy said. “We ended up doing eight pieces, which was basically our full concert.”

The Chorale sang in an area of St. Peter’s that normally seats 750 people, but Vatican officials estimated that 1,000 people crowded in to hear the Chorale. St. Peter’s Basilica, which seats 60,000 people, has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world.

Read the full story here.

Slider photo: Wikipedia/Francois Malan