All eyes turning to Rome
Catholicism represents continuity, mystery
By Tony Staley
For the last several weeks the eyes of the world have been on Rome in a way they haven't since the empire fell. That will continue for several more weeks. Now we're seeing speculation on the outcome of the first papal conclave in 26½ years. Next will be the conclave itself, followed by wall-to-wall coverage of the new pope, his installation and first days in office.
It's amazing to see this fascination with the church. In the United States, Catholicism is the largest single religion, but only 25% of the population is Catholic. Worldwide, Catholics make up 16-17% of the population. Yet, a casual observer of the saturation coverage could easily believe that the U.S. and world are overwhelmingly Catholic.
Even people who were not fans of Pope John Paul II or the Catholic Church are watching with fascination and awe, probably because Catholicism is 2,000 years old and the vestments and rites also stretch back to the early centuries of the church. In an age when permanency seems to mean the time it takes to refresh a web page, the Catholic Church offers continuity and mystery.
Through his life and death, Pope John Paul, a strong advocate of evangelization, has set the stage for a massive evangelization effort. We now must use this opportunity in the name of Christ for the greater honor and glory of God.