Thursday, April 7, 2005

Pope Springs Eternal

Protestant Christian bloggers Kevin McCullough and Pastor Ray Pritchard note that Protestants, particularly Evangelicals, are debating whether or not Pope John Paul II went to heaven.

What I find far more interesting than any such speculations is the fact that every Catholic blogger I've read on the topic of the pope's death has asked readers to pray for John Paul's soul. The Catholics' prayer requests not only displays their belief in prayers for the dead, but also their belief that, regardless of whether they personally believe a person is heavenbound, the decision rests with God.

I have noticed that this Catholic reluctance to judge whether or not a person is bound for heaven also affects their reaction upon the deaths of people who have committed great evils; they are far less likely than Protestants to assume that such people go straight to hell.

There is great humility in acknowledging that such judgment is reserved for God alone. I'm reminded of that in Catholics' reactions to the pope's death, and I would like to learn from it.