For noen dager siden kom jeg over en artikkel som ble skrevet for akkurat to år siden, rett etter det store inrykket/ vitnesbyrdet hele verden fikk ved pave Johannes Paul II’s død og valget av pave Benedikt XVI. Forfatteren er D. Stephen Long, som underviser ved Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary i Evanston, Illinois.
Han skriver om flere grunner til å ønske en pave, bl.a. disse to: There are also two positive reasons Protestants need the papacy; for the sake of the unity of the church, and for the sake of truth grounded in love. Og han svaslutter sin artikkel slik:
At one point in history, to be a Protestant was explicitly or tacitly to will an end to the papacy. I think many Protestants can now confess that was a mistaken view. Both the church and the world would sorely lack a necessary witness if there were no papacy. If being a Protestant means willing the end to the papacy then I find myself no longer capable of willing such an act.
This stance does not require abandoning what is good in Protestant traditions. I for one cannot leave my separated Wesleyan communion behind. The hymns, doctrine, discipline and liturgy of that tradition gave me faith and taught me to love God. But neither can I will an end to the unity the papacy clearly produces throughout the world.
So what is to be done? Only two possibilities seem to present themselves. Either we try to find a place for our separated communities from within the Catholic Church or we find a place for Catholic unity from within our separated communities. Neither can be accomplished without willing the visible unity the papacy embodies.