Pope Benedict XVI has named the archbishop of San Francisco, William Levada, to the pope’s old job as guardian of the Catholic faith, making Levada the highest-ranking American ever to serve at the Vatican.
Do protestants need the papacy? Given the recent fascination with the pontificate of John Paul II and with the election of Benedict XVI, it would seem that the papacy is on the Protestant horizon in a way that would have been unthinkable even a generation ago. This may be the result of savvy marketing, the omnipresence of CNN, the celebrity status of John Paul II or a penchant for the exotic.
When Pope Benedict XVI announced in his first sermon that he has a “primary commitment to work without sparing energies for the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all the followers of Christ,” many expressed surprise.
At a meeting that underlined the high priority he may give to dialogue with non-Catholics—both Christians and the faithful of other religions—Pope Benedict XVI met with more than 30 non-Catholic representatives within a week of his election as Pope John Paul II’s successor.
The theology of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger played a major part in my book After Our Likeness (1998), which sought to develop a trinitarian, nonhierarchical understanding of the church. He thanked me politely for the copy I sent him and added, “You don’t expect me, of course, to have changed my mind after reading it.”