quod pro nobis traditum est

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lutheran Bishop among those who greet the Pope

Pope to Lead Prayer Service at Manhattan Parish This article announcing yesterday's prayer service at St. Joseph's Church in Manhattan, New York, was posted on this particular news source's website on April 1, 2008, and lists national and local church and religious leaders who were invited to personally greet the Pope. Bishop Benke, President of the Atlantic District, LCMS, is listed here and was there to greet Pope Benedict XVI. Having religious and church leaders greet other visiting church and religious leaders is common protocol and it is encouraging that the Missouri Synod agreed to be represented in this way and that the Bishop was there to greet the Pope.


saxoniae said...

Why do you call District President Benke a Bishop? I noticed Pr. Weedon has been doing that too.

Fr. Timothy D. May, S.S.P. said...

"Bishop" is a title used in the Christian Church throughout her history. Luther and the Lutheran reformers did not think this title a matter of great concern, together with many questions of ecclesiology (or "polity") as long as there was freedom in the Church to purely preach the Gospel and rightly administer the Sacraments. The "Bishop" is indeed equal in standing to the "District President" as one who represents a region, or district, within Lutheranism. I believe "District President" as a title is a more recent development in nomenclature, an "Americanization," as it were. At least it certainly sounds that way. While, in practical terms there is no difference in the operation of things, at least in Lutheranism, the title "Bishop" has more of a "churchly" emphasis. However, this is not widespread in the Missouri Synod and is really a title that only works if the individual and his district are comfortable with it. While some may feel threatened by this terminology there is no doubt that a "bishop" and a "pope" are men (they say this themselves). Therefore, I, like others, am not intimidated by the title or the person and will call each regional leader what they prefer to be called. However, at the end of the day, there is no Scriptural or basis in church history for omitting such a title.