Thursday, May 23, 2013

Is the Pope Catholic?

...that's usually a retort to point out the obviousness of an association.  But I mean it as a real question today:
In a passage that may prompt a theological debate about the nature of salvation, the pontiff also declared that God “has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!”
Even the atheists,” he said to those who might question his assertion. “Everyone!”
Wednesday’s remarks displayed the kind of plain-spokenness that has become a hallmark of Francis’ homilies and speeches, and they also developed themes that Francis frequently mentions in a pontificate that is just over two months old.
One is that the Catholic Church must be open to the world and not “self-referential, closed in on herself,” as he said last weekend at Pentecost. Another is that the church must be humble and recognize its own shortcomings, and that it should be tolerant of nonbelievers.

One of the principles of the Reformation is that Scripture is the authority, not any man (i.e. the Pope).  Even the pontiff's words have to be weighed in light of what God's Word teaches:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

"For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (Romans 10:10-13)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’  (Matthew 7: 21-23)

It is one thing for the Pope to note that Catholics (indeed, anyone who claims the Name of Christ) should be open in love toward those who have not yet called upon Jesus as Savior.  That is how the Gospel ("good news") of Christ is shared.  This is the essence of being 'tolerant' of nonbelievers, and even the Apostle Paul instructed believers that, where is depended on them, they were to live in peace with everyone.  (This, of course, implies they do not always get the sole vote in the matter...)

However, it's entirely something else -- and hellishly deceptive -- to suggest everyone is already redeemed, whether they acknowledge Christ or not.  Whatever other prerogatives he may have, the so-called 'Vicar of Christ' cannot contradict Christ.


JIm said...

Jt -- the one Comfort in my life has been the ever presence of God's written Word. Your posts are a source of strength, but nothing rivals the Word. Thank you for continuing to write and speak the Truth.

May God continue to bless you and your family.


Jim said...

As to your post -- I'm reminded just how deceitful the devil is and how he never takes a rest in looking for new and rehashed ways to lead people to hell.


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