Before his election, which he did not seek, Cardinal Bergoglio, now Francis I, stated: “Once elected, the Pope is, by virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, …preserved from the possibility of error.” Though Protestants believe that the solid foundation was indeed laid by inspired apostles, they do not believe that the role of the Church was to elect more inspired apostles, but rather faithful men who would preserve the already-laid deposit.
We can pray for the Bishop of Rome, however, who has much wisdom. He rejects abortion, same sex marriage and moral relativism as notions thoroughly opposed to the Christian Faith. Though concerned for the poor, he is not a crypto-Marxist do-gooder. He believes poverty is the result of the Fall, so ultimately (since socialism, he believes, creates more poverty), “there is nothing the Church can do except try to educate people to become good consumers”… in a fair capitalistic economy.
My prayer for the Bishop of Rome is that he fully integrate into his declarations and actions the truths of the epistle to the Romans. The Medieval popes failed to do this, in spite of the urging of a Catholic monk, Martin Luther. From their beginning, the Jesuits were viscerally opposed to the Gospel.
So, we do not pray that Francis will become a successor of Luther, but of those from whom he claims succession, including the apostle Paul. Paul declared with divinely-given liberating power: “The just shall live by faith,” that is, a faith, not in our own righteousness but an empowering faith in the gift of God’s righteousness, won for us at the Cross of His Son.