How many of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics actually follow their church's teaching on matters such as contraception and abortion? How many actually believe its teaching on transubstantiation, that during Holy Communion the bread and wine offered to the congregation are miraculously changed into the body and blood of Christ?
So what does this all mean for non-Catholics? Well, probably not a lot. For most people, Pope Francis is just another old man who should really be on a golf course in Florida somewhere, enjoying retirement. And yet we all tuned into the news when the signal was given that a new pope had been elected.
Starting in March 2013, my husband Stephen and I are planning to fly to Rome, mount our bicycles, and pedal. Roughly six months later, we hope to arrive in St. Petersburg. And that's just for starters. We're trading in our house and two cars for a tent and two bikes and we don't know when (or where) we'll have a solid roof over our heads again. I know what you're thinking. Why?