What place does the pope have in lives of non-Catholics?

Pope John Paul IISee today's Wineskins Blog about the question, "What place does the pope have in lives of non-Catholics?" I'm interested to hear what others think, so please visit and give your two cents worth. I didn't mention on Wineskins that Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame wrote a better book called, Angels and Demons, which pivots on the death of a pope and the Conclave, among other things. Just as any book, particularly fiction, should be read with concern for what is actually historical, so you ought to read this book with that caution and more background reading while you learn about the Conclave narratively.

Yesterday, Jill gathered our children around her scrapbook (she had not pulled it out in years) and showed them the photo she had taken when the pope walked past her in St. Peter’s, posted above. Our children want to know why the pope is so important, why all the attention is on his death right now. We talked about how he's the leader of one billion people, their church, and he is in the line of many who have decided important things about what Christians have believed about Jesus and his mission. Yet, we temper it with our own understanding of the priesthood of all believers, the message of Hebrews, the way we are shepherded by loving elders in our lives today. Though we are not "told" what to believe by the pope, his office has still influenced what we believe over the years and I would venture to say, still does. His stands make a difference to many beyond the Catholic faith, in what they come to believe for themselves.

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GeneralGreg Taylor