While there is much about Roman Catholic theology from which evangelicals must dissent, it could be argued that the orthodoxy, Christology and moral Law ethic of the Catholic Church is the historic foundation of Protestantism. It could also be argued that the current Pope has done more to halt the spread of atheistic communism and abortion in the world than any other man in modern history. Ironically, it was for his moral example (and Time’s liberal prejudice against Newt Gingrich) that Pope John Paul II won the “Man of the Year” cover (December 26, 1994/January 2, 1995). Time cited the following reasons for the award:
- The publication of Crossing the Threshold of Hope, the Pope’s answers to questions posed to him by a television journalist ranging from the existence of God to the mistreatment of women, which immediately became a bestseller in 12 countries.
- The Vatican’s intervention at the U.N.‘s International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in September where the Pope’s emissaries defeated a U.S.-backed proposition John Paul feared would encourage abortions worldwide.
- Pope John Paul’s forceful vision and leading example of the good life in a year when so many people lamented the decline in moral values or made excuses for bad behavior.
Time’s Man of the Year Award should remind many evangelical leaders of their cowardice in confronting on moral issues. Since Pope John Paul personally confronted President Bill Clinton on the abortion issue in a public setting in 1993, America’s leading evangelical Protestant leaders have been surprisingly silent.