The Vatican leadership plays a large role in the faith and lives of Roman Catholics. It also influences the wider world. The Pope is one of the world’s most powerful and influential people. The fresh and humble approach of Pope Francis’s leadership (from 2013) has begun to change people’s perception of Catholicism, and even of Christianity overall. Yet Pope Francis also faces much upheaval within Catholicism globally, especially with the persistent troubles related to historic and present abuse of children by clergy. Pray for God’s grace for this man, and for the Holy Spirit to guide him into all truth.
The Roman Catholic Church is going through a time of turmoil and change. There are many doctrines and positions that divide this increasingly diverse body - ecumenism, the celibacy of the priesthood, the position of women, homosexuality and issues of AIDS and contraception. Pray for the essence of the gospel to be recaptured and for unbiblical forms and practices to be excised from the Church.
The loss of credibility through numerous scandals, aggressive papal doctrinal positions and sustained decline in vocations (of priests, monks and nuns) will force many changes on Catholicism; pray for wisdom in adapting the Church to 21st Century realities.
Pray for spiritual renewal. Catholic charismatic renewal has an impact far beyond the 235 countries and 120 million involved. Pray for them to be a bridge to believers in other denominations and to not be absorbed or rendered ineffective by the system. A large proportion of the Catholic missionary force is charismatic. At the same time, the Roman Catholic Church is expanding in many spiritual directions - theological conservatism, charismatic renewal, Marian devotion, folk religious practices and others. Pray for nominal Catholics - many millions strong - to experience the radical conversion and cultural transformation that their pontiff insists is essential to faith.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.