What an odd, transitional feeling there is in the air at the moment. The beginning of March here in southwestern Finland brings hints of spring borne on the breezes blowing over the crusted, dirty snow. The See of Rome is now vacant, and the world waits for the announcement of a new occupant of the Throne of Peter.

I’m uncomfortable with calling this period an “interregnum,” as some bloggers I’ve read have. My discomfort is shared by not a few Catholic theologians who have reminded their readers recently that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of a fisherman, not an emperor or king.

Whatever we call this in-between time, we can use this Lenten time to join our Catholic sisters and brothers in reflecting on the church, its mission, and its form in the world – the face it shows in the world. What happens in the coming days will assuredly affect us Orthodox as well. How can we most lovingly and humbly join in the ecclesial self-reflection happening now?

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