Tag Archives: Roman Catholic Church

Francis, Vigano, the Roman Church, and 5 Protestant Responses

Earlier this week it was reported by various news organizations that archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., wrote a scathing report alleging that the Pope, Pope Francis, not only knew about ex-archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s cover-up of sexually abusive priests, but removed sanctions imposed upon the former archbishop.  When did he know it?  At least five years ago, perhaps more.  Vigano has called on Pope Francis to retire.

The Church of Rome has been under fire from sexual abuse victims for two decades now.  It’s hard to believe that it has been that long, and beyond that, it is hard to believe that when the stories broke years ago, there was not a full-blown confession, repentance, and an immediate start to making things right.  Instead, it seems there has been an ever-increasing attempt to sweep it all under the rug, hoping it will go away.  No matter how “religious” and “righteous” some believe themselves to be, for some reason we all ignore and disbelieve Numbers 32:23, “be sure your sins will find you out.”

That being said, I believe that we as protestants need to have a righteous (not self-righteous) response to the calamity befalling Rome.

  1. Mourn.  While this story goes as high up as the Pope himself which can and should bring about a righteous indignation, we must not forget that there are thousands of victims whose lives have been turned upside down. Many are feeling shame, anger, hatred, distrust, loneliness, depression, and loss.  Many have or are contemplating suicide.
    The curtain has been pulled back and we are now seeing how things are and have been.  As Jeremiah wrote, so should we feel: “For this our heart has become sick, for these things our eyes have grown dim,” (Lamentations 5:17, ESV).  Understand that in using this verse, I am not comparing the Roman Church with Mount Zion, but simply expressing the sense of loss with those who are suffering.
  2. Do not rejoice.  I know we are protestants, and we have been stating that the Roman Church has been corrupt for five-hundred years now.  But now is not the moment to rejoice.  It is not the time to be proud and point fingers.  It is a time to be humble.  When Abraham heard of the impending doom of Sodom, he did not rejoice, but prayed for God to spare the city if there were but ten righteous.  He watched from a distance as the fire fell, no words spoken.  Solomon wrote, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him,” (Proverbs 24:17-18, ESV).  Is the papacy and the Roman Church corrupt?  I believe with all my heart that it is.  It needs to be cleansed, but I will not rejoice over its demise.  As John Wooden stated, “Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”  The church had ample opportunity to get itself in line, but it refused to do so, and now time has run out.  I do not know if this is the end of the RC; it most likely is not, but it is a time of rebuke and judgment.
  3. Examine ourselves.  While the prevalence of abuse accusations in protestant circles is not nearly the number as in the Roman one, that does not mean that we are without sin.  Paul wrote, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.  For in passing judgment on one another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the same things,” (Romans 2:1, ESV).  Obviously, I am not saying that every pastor, minister, deacon, or layperson is practicing molestation.  However, we must be careful and examine our own churches and denominations.  Is there a cover-up of sin?  Or are we bringing sins into the light and dealing with them appropriately?
  4. Pray.  Pray for the victims.  Pray for the priests and bishops.  Pray for the papacy.  Pray for the Church of Rome.  Pray for yourself, your church, and your denomination.  Pray without ceasing.
    “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin,” (Psalm 51:1-2, ESV)!
  5. Look to Christ. As heart-wrenching as all of this is, as mystifying and infuriating as these past few days, weeks, and years have been, we must not forget that Christ reigns.  Why, in His reigning, did He allow these atrocities to occur?  I do not know.  But I do know that we must not allow such grotesque abuses to keep us from seeing the grandeur and majesty of He who sits in heaven.

    These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth, (Colossians 2:23-3:2, ESV).


Breaking News: The Pope is Wrong!

It’s not Tuesday/Newsday, but I couldn’t let this wait.  If you’re Protestant, the headline may not seem like much news, but if you are not then it may sound a bit shocking.  The Pope declared that the death penalty is always inadmissible.  Always! Why is it always?

“I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.”

Life is sacred.  That is correct.  It is sacred because man is created in the image of God.  That’s behind the word “sacred:” holy.  God is holy.  Since we are made in His image, our lives are sacred.  But that doesn’t mean that the death penalty is always inadmissible.  In fact, according to God (and not the Pope) it means the exact opposite!  Read carefully the following words: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image,” (Genesis 9:6, ESV).

Understand what God is telling Noah here.  This isn’t a culture thing.  This isn’t like divorce in which Jesus said that Moses allowed it because of the hardness of the people’s hearts.  This is set in stone because man has always been and always will be made in the image of God.  When one man (or woman) disregards that person and maliciously destroys such image, that man (or woman) forfeits their right to live.  This isn’t some church teaching.  This is biblical doctrine.  Yes, one may have mercy.  But there is a difference between pleading for mercy and saying that the death penalty is always inadmissible. One cannot say that the death penalty is never allowable and still be biblically accurate.  That not only goes beyond the teachings of Scripture, but is anti-biblical.

This is also not simply an Old Testament teaching.  This is New Testament as well.  In Romans 13, the apostle Paul wrote that we are to obey our governing authorities, “for he is God’s servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain.  For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out the wrath of God on the wrongdoer,” (v. 4, ESV [italics mine]).  It is the prerogative and the responsibility of the government to wield the sword–impose corporal punishment on those who do wrong.  In some respects, that would mean that the government would decide what is wrong enough to garner the death penalty.  Some governments may decide to impose it in certain circumstances while others may decide not to impose it at all.  But they (including the governing authority of the Vatican City and head of the Church of Rome) do not get to say that it is always inadmissible–never allowable, tantamount to sin, when God says that it is allowable and necessary at times.

One cannot forget what happened with Ananias and Saphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit.  They both died immediately at the hands of the one to Whom they lied.  At that moment there was the death penalty, and it was admissible.  One cannot forget Nadab and Abihu who offered strange fire to God within minutes of receiving the instructions on how to offer the real thing.  They too were struck down.  One cannot forget Uzzah who thought it would be better for the unclean hand to touch the Ark of the Covenant than for the Ark to touch the ground.  Dead.  Why?  Because these were sacred.  God the Spirit is holy.  God the Father is holy.  The Ark of the Covenant is holy.  It is not something with which to trifle.  Nor is the human life.  It is made in the image of God and thus to shed the blood of man is reason to forfeit one’s existence.

If one is part of the Roman Catholic Church, he/she must understand that Pope Francis is fundamentally changing the teaching of the church which has lasted for millennia.  While it may be fitting with the times and culture of today, make no mistake, this is major news for him to change the catechism in such a way.  And that is exactly what he did.

“Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before…added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.”

In years past, Pope Francis has hidden behind the wall of an atheist reporter subtly making statements that go against official church teachings.  However, today, he has done so openly and defiantly.  If Jesus is God in the flesh (and He is) then Jesus has the same thoughts toward this as what is stated to Noah in Genesis 9.  To go against Christ is by its very definition anti-Christ.  I am not one to use that description lightly.  But I call ’em like I see ’em.

Quotes were from the New York Times article.