I follow fairly closely the developments of the RC church. This mystifies many of my Evangelical friends, some of whom are under the persuasion that the Protestant Reformation forever settled the condemnation of the RC church and the Papacy. It is to them, frankly, irrelevant what transpires among the one and one-half billion Roman Catholics. I think they are wrong. Whatever happens in the RC church flows into Evangelicalism, since a broad swath of former RC churchmen fill its pews, and Evangelicalism continues to inform the RC church as many of its own members move toward the liturgical traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. Of course, Evangelicals have found the RC church co-belligerents in maintaining the moral values that ensure a healthy democracy and rebuilding a marriage culture. We are interconnected, no matter how deep the divide might be on several key doctrinal matters. We both believe in a version of Christianity that is supernatural in its essence, and we both hold vigorously to the Bible as inspired by God and expressed in the three great creeds of the church-the Apostles, Nicene and Chalcedon.
My awareness of the RC church is essentially doctrinal. I have no real grasp of the politics of it. Ross Douthat does, and that is why his recent address at the Erasmus Lectures is so important. Here is the video of his address, “The Crisis of Conservative Catholicism.” It is my hope that his vision of conservative Catholicism carries the day in the face of a resurgent Left that hopes not only to change pastoral practice but actually change doctrine, particularly ones that affect social mores, and more specifically those related to human sexuality.
Evangelicalism needs the help that RC conservatives provide, if only for no other reason than company on this lonely road. Take a listen to Douthat and come a bit closer to the struggles of a church that confesses, along with Evangelicals, our Trinitarian, supernaturalistic confession that Jesus Saves.