By now, I expect many Christians have seen the surprising viral video of Pope Francis’ recent appeal for unity with Protestants, presented at a Kenneth Copeland conference of charismatic leaders this past January.
This is not the first time the Catholic Church has made overtures for their “separated Protestant brethren” to return to the fold. What makes this appeal different is the personal “heartfelt” directness of the message.
Popes have always embedded these messages into their pontifical letters or as fleeting references in some official speech. This particular message was so homey and personal, however, it took everyone by surprise. Not many months ago, I wrote, “The world now has the first pope with the ability to unite the Catholic and Protestant world—even the press is calling him ‘the people’s pope’!” I think this message of unity speaks to that notion.
There are many probable reasons for his candid appeal to Protestants. And I expect some are as much religious as political. (Read more)