This post was originally published on the Associated Baptist Press ABPnews Blog.
I don’t think a day has passed since March 13 without a student, colleague, fellow church member, family member, or friend asking what my perspective is on the election of Pope Francis, especially since they know that I was a member of the Baptist World Alliance delegation to our recent five-year dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church and have otherwise written on ecumenical themes. These conversations have helped me have a better idea of what it is that I think!
Much of what I think would merely echo perspectives that have already been widely aired in the media. Here I’ll restrict myself to my initial thoughts regarding what the pontificate of Pope Francis may mean for Baptists.
While I don’t think the pontificate of Benedict XVI should be regarded negatively where Baptist-Catholic relations are concerned, I think Baptists have good reason to be encouraged by the election of Pope Francis.