“The papacy is a significant office in Christianity with a great deal of history and a great deal of responsibility. A number of popes over the years have been very significant in the development of theology and Catholic practices and beliefs,” she said. “What happens in the Catholic Church affects everyone. This is very surprising news.”
Found that in the local paper. It is in a real sense true, even for those who believe that they are somehow Catholic-free in their Christianity.
First, I can imagine a-many of a fundie congregation come Sunday morning mentioning this as a highlight of their sermon. It happens because they are focused on the Pope, believing him to be some sort of beast/false prophet/”antichrist.” Or, maybe they like St. Malarky’s prophecy about Petrus Romanus. Regardless, for many this news has brought about a heightened sense that the word is about to end for whatever reason — meaning that God and the Catholic Church are on the same time table, that what happens in Rome will affect Heaven in some way.
Second, this will only show them just how right they are. They will use Rome as a point of measurement. See, they’ll say to one another, the Pope knew just how bad the Catholic church really is and couldn’t deal with it, or some other straw man fallacy. Or, they’ll make a comment about the Pope being a quitter.
Anyway, the professor there is correct — what the Pope does does in fact have a pretty solid impact on the rest of Christianity, if even to raise the gossip quota and fear-mongering.