The Common Good

Whoever church chooses as pope, his voice matters, say non-Catholics

Date: March 15, 2013

"The leadership and voice of the Catholic Church in the person of the pope on issues of peace and economic justice is very important. For the Christian church as a whole, Catholic social teaching is one of the most coherent bodies of thought on the role of the church in the world," said Duane Shank, an Anabaptist who is senior policy adviser at Sojourners, a Washington-based Christian organization committed to faith in action for social justice.

Shank told CNS he regularly cites church teaching on the dignity of the human person and the importance of serving the common good in his work. When the pope -- any pope --- speaks on such issues, people listen, he said.

Writing on the Sojourners blog March 12, Shank said the Catholic Church "is an unbroken link to the first-century Roman church for all Christians, no matter our denomination. ... No matter if we are Eastern or Western Christians, no matter how Protestant or Anabaptist some of us are, the church of Rome is still in some way our mother church."