I have heard from a few people that my posting seems too narrow these past few days as it has focused almost exclusively on John Paul II and the coming conclave. I admit to being pretty much unconcerned with the momentousness of a John Cornyn speech on the floor of the Senate, or Nancy Pelosi's and Tom Delay's travel schedules and reimbursements.I felt moved to write a note of encouragement to Hugh on this score. [I've added a few amplifying comments in brackets.]:
This is because of the immense stakes involved in the selection of the next pope for every issue of consequence in the moral debate, and not a few that pierce the geopolitical world at all. Non-believers may think it all beside-the-point, and non-Catholics may be confused by the process (as a former Catholic I may have some advantage in understanding the vast scope of the Church), but to repeat myself, the stakes are beyond measuring.
I think you should ignore what people tell you about 'narrowblogging' on the Pope and attendant speculation regarding his successor and the future of the Roman Catholic Church.
Because of the manner in which the Enemy [that's Satan, folks, and yes, I believe that Satan really exists] and many in the world are opposed to Christ [an enmity which I believe has often been fostered by Christians being hostile to those who may not agree with them on every jot and tittle of their faith], the Gospel, and the Church in these times, no follower of Christ can ignore what's going on in every part of the Body of Christ [that's one of the Bible's terms for the Church.]. Indeed, what happens at the Conclave to come should be the subject of many Christian prayers, irrespective of denomination or theology. We need to pray that for all the admitted doctrinal differences between various parts of the Church Universal, we all find ways to present a loving witness for Christ together. Who the next pope is will be critically important in that!
Having pointed out the enmity that exists and seems to be growing toward Christ, the Gospel, and the Church, I want to underscore what I have shared with you before. We must meet the world with openness, love, humility, and persevering compassion. We know that all people need Jesus Christ, but He isn't our weapon to use on unbelieving people; He's our Savior to share with others. Learning to turn the other cheek while standing our ground for Christ and His absolute Lordship is and will remain the extraordinary challenge for all believers around the world in the forseeable future. As I think I've mentioned to you before, the book of the Bible I believe that all Christians should be poring over incessantly these days is First Peter.
Blessings in Christ,