Tag Archives: pope

Will the “right” man be elected as the new Pope?

So Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, is resigning at the end of this month due to old age. Papal spokesmen assure us, repeatedly, that the still living and kicking but soon-to-be former Pope will not participate in the cardinals conclave in March to select his successor at this second-oldest, on-going “Christian franchise,” the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Ah yes, we hear from the authorized sources the strict observance of the explicit “letter of the law”—the RCC’s canon law—in public.

But how should we weigh the “spirit of the law” aspects of such a statement? After all, such pre-emptive assurance of Pope Benedict’s non-interest in handpicking his successor is being conveniently offered to us by the employees of the same man who long-ran that secretive multi-national church corporation’s Holy Office of the Inquisition (better known more recently as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) before becoming Pope!

Should we trust a church hierarchy that still officially denies that it systemically covered up and “managed” for hundreds and hundreds of years the fall-out arising from its numerous priestly pedophiles? Granted, however, that we must acknowledge that the RCC will now apologize publicly for their priests’ licentious behaviour and pay compensation to victims. But still, should we trust them?

Actually, I admire Pope Benedict for this pro-active initiative to assure an orderly succession to the top job at the RCC. By resigning now while his mind is still sharp he can make a strong effort to influence the outcome of the cardinals’ vote.  And it goes almost without saying that the “right” man to become the new Pope will be the one who will continue Pope Benedict’s conservative policies. Actually those policies are really just a continuation of those of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Conservative Catholics are probably relieved by Pope Benedict’s succession gambit. They, like their last two popes, are wary of the moral relativism that is dominating the Western world at this point in time. They don’t believe that all is just a matter of personal preference and opinion. They believe that Truth with a capital “T” really does exist.

Since they also believe that the Pope has the authority to define doctrine in their church, and to make definitive statements concerning truth and falsehood; it is essential, from their point of view, that the “right” man be elected as the next Pope.

I don’t fault them for their logic. After all, if a new Pope was elected who had a secret agenda to institute “reforms” allowing gay marriage, ordination of women, abortion, euthanasia, and easy divorce—well, all would be lost for those supporting conservative values in the RCC. And that’s the flaw in the Catholic tradition of Christianity.

Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ—that he rules as a substitute for Christ and has final authority. In essence, the RCC makes a man and that man’s opinions the arbiter of what is Truth or falsehood.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, however, teaches something else:

Sanctify them [that is to say: purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. John 17:17 Amplified Bible

When Satan tried to tempt Jesus Christ to enact something, to follow a policy that would, in essence, make an accommodation to a personal preference or desire, Jesus rebutted the Adversary, making this statement on the real source of authority:

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone [by any material or human means alone], but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 New Living Translation

The part of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that Jesus was quoting to Satan on this issue of the real authority to decide questions of Truth or falsehood is found in Deuteronomy 8:3. Godly authority to decide questions of church policy and all other questions of what is right or wrong is by Sola Scripture, which in Latin means by Scripture Alone. It is the Judeo-Christian Scriptures alone that reveal the Truth. It is never a question of merely any man’s or woman’s personal opinion or preference, whether that person is elected a Pope or not!

All Catholics, all Protestants all secular people, and all believers in other religions are eventually going to learn the answer to this question about where ultimate, legitimate authority rests. Most will learn the hard way at some time in the future. You can learn this right now and act on it to become consecrated to God as His own son or daughter—a higher spiritual office than any earthly Pope— if you will allow the Word of God to direct you into living in and by His Truth.

Should the Pope repent for his priests’ pedophilia?

Responding to a swelling tide of outrage at the rapes and other sexual abuses perpetrated by many thousands of his pedophile priests, Pope Benedict XVI said at a Vatican mass on April 15, 2010:

Now, under attack from the world which talks to us of our sins, we can see that being able to do penance is a grace and we see how necessary it is to do penance and thus recognize what is wrong in our lives.

Evidently the pope found it too distasteful to explicitly detail the nature of those sins or to admit his own personal decades-long role in enforcing his church’s official Crimen Sollicitationis policy. The Crimen Sollicitationis policy instructed the Catholic hierarchy about how to deal with pedophile priests in Canada, the United States, Ireland, Germany, Italy—where ever in the world the Catholic Church operates. The policy’s main thrust was an effort to protect the Catholic Church’s reputation by covering up and protecting pedophile priests by moving them to new areas whenever a sexual abuse scandal erupted.  Keeping victims quiet was also part of that policy.  This was accomplished by using a variety of means including excommunication threats and hush money.  You can get more information about this by watching a remarkably well-produced BBC documentary called Sex Crimes and the Vatican. Please note, however, that this documentary will both enlighten and disgust you at the same time: http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyeshowcase/

Proverbs 28:13 says:

He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (NKJV).

It is interesting to note that the Pope called Catholics to do penance rather than calling on them to repentance. “Penance” means according to dictionary.com: 1) punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin; 2) penitential discipline imposed by church authority; 3) a sacrament, as in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting in a confession of sin, made with sorrow and with the intention of amendment, followed by the forgiveness of the sin.

But, according to Harper’s Bible Dictionary “repentance” is a word “covering several biblical ideas that range from regret to changing one’s mind or behavior so as to bring about a moral or ethical conversion.” I think the pope and the rest of the Catholic hierarchy could use a dose of real, heart-felt repentance and ethical conversion rather than merely saying a few dozen extra “Hail Marys” or wearing an itchy hair-shirt or doing without red meat for a month.

Is the Catholic Church’s insistence on making its priests take vows of celibacy at the root of their pedophila plague? More than a few people think so. The Catholic Encyclopedia’s online article on “Celebacy of the Clergy” (at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03481a.htm ) seeks to defend their doctrine. Yet even there they have to admit:

We do not find in the New Testament any indication of celibacy being made compulsory either upon the Apostles or those whom they ordained…

What I find amazing in reading their article is that while they know the original Church of God NEVER required celibacy of ANY or ALL of their bishops/elders and deacons, they—the Roman Catholic Church—think they can use human reason to create allegories or inferences that give them the authority to do the opposite of unambiguously clear Scripture! The Pope feels free to add doctrines and teachings that are, in many respects, burdens—big burdens—to those who follow him.

Matthew 23:4 They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. 5 “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.

Of course, when Jesus gave the above description, he was referring to the scribes and Pharisees who were the principal leaders interpreting the Old Covenant Scriptures for the Jewish community in Judea. Jesus regularly took them to task for adding all sorts of do’s and don’ts to the written Word of God. Some of them grew to hate Jesus because he was calling them to repentance and to return to the simplicity of the divine intent expressed by the Holy Scriptures.

We know, historically, that the scribes and Pharisees developed and codified their “Oral Law,” which was a complex set of scriptural interpretations, rules, and regulations, that were eventually called the Talmud. This Oral Law or Talmud was intended to be a fence around the written Word of God in order to lead the people of God to more perfectly obey God from the Pharisaical point of view. The Roman Catholic Church has done a similar thing with their Canon Law by adding, for example, a vow of chastity that was never presented as obligatory by the Bible. Isn’t this vow like most of the Catholic Canon Law an unbearable religious “burden” loaded onto the straining backs of both people and priests? Why even the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article admits that the obligatory vow of chastity required for ordination is a “burden”—“You ought anxiously to consider again and again what sort of a burden this is which you are taking upon you.”

It is also interesting to note in context of Matthew 23:5 that the Catholic hierarchy like the ancient Pharisees love their showy religious garb and grand religious processions. Hasn’t the hide-bound, starch-skirted Catholic hierarchy just morphed into the modern gentile equivalent of Jesus’ former unrepentant, myopic, pharisaical opponents?

1 Timothy 4:2-5 NLT 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. 3 They will say it is wrong to be married… 4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 5 For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.

When God created the first man, He said it was not good for the man to be alone (cf. Genesis 2:18). So, God created the woman and the marriage covenant also in the Beginning.  And the LORD God also said that this was very good. Indeed, He blessed their sexuality and reproduction (cf. Genesis 1:28)!

Any person who wants to approach the throne of the living God must be repentant instead of proud, covering up his sins. And, such a person must be prepared to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God instead of substituting human reason for Holy Scripture. This is an essential point for any person or organization that truly wants to be Christian in fact and not just in name.

Catholic doctrinal error propagates child abuse scandals!

During the recently completed Easter/Passover season there were a great number of headlines in the various media sources I was following about the latest episode of the Roman Catholic Church and the illicit appetites of its clergy for pedophilia. This time around the scandal of Catholic priests sexually abusing children was stunning Europe.  The media has been talking about incidents in Ireland and Germany where, it seems, some are questioning whether the current pope was actually involved himself in covering up some abuse cases that happened there, during the time he was in charge .

A few years ago the scandal of Roman Catholic priests having sex with children (both boys and girls) in their care was outraging the United States. To settle some of those resulting law suits the American Catholic Church paid out hundreds of millions of dollars just in compensation not to mention their legal bills. Canada also has its own memory of the repeated, widespread abuse of Canadian Catholic children, including aboriginals, by Catholic clergy and other members of Catholic religious orders.

People are disgusted, of course, with the actual wolves in sheep’s clothing who committed those acts that have profoundly hurt and even destroyed so many thousands of innocent lives. Their odious predator names will burn in infamy just as long as their deeds continue to haunt the consciences of those they personally abused as well as their victim’s families!

But most thinking people are also angry with the Roman Catholic hierarchy who habitually protected their pedophile priests while turning a deaf ear to the victims for far too long. People are also angry with Pope Benedict for being unwilling to speak or even issue the appropriate profound apologies for an organization that has caused so much suffering. And actually, today, the Associated Press posted this news story written by Gillian Flaccus:

The future Pope Benedict XVI resisted pleas to defrock a California priest with a record of sexually molesting children, citing concerns including “the good of the universal church,” according to a 1985 letter bearing his signature. The correspondence, obtained by The Associated Press, is the strongest challenge yet to the Vatican’s insistence that Benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the Catholic Church’s doctrinal watchdog office.

When you consider this problem, these angry people are right to insist on an apology. Why? Because the root of this systemic evil of sexual perverseness by Catholic priests does indeed lie with the pope!

How so? Well, the pope and his predecessors—who loudly pretend that they are the direct lineal successors of the Apostle Peter—are directly responsible for refusing to allow their male clergy to follow the Apostle Peter’s own personal example! After all, the Scriptures plainly say that the Apostle Peter was married:

14When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. (Matthew 8:14-15 New International Version).

Also, consider this statement by the Apostle Paul in defense of his rights to financial support when traveling as a minister of the Gospel:

5Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and brothers of the Lord and Cephas [Peter]? (1 Corinthians 9:5 New Revised Standard Version).

Next, look at what the Apostle Paul writes about the qualifications for bishops [Gk: episkopos: also elder or minister]

2Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, and apt teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way—for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church (1 Timothy 3:2-5 NRSV).

The problem with the Roman Catholic Church is that they have trusted in their human traditions that engender twisted sexual perversions among their clergy instead of relying on the purifying effect that comes from following the Scriptures first and foremost when setting doctrine and moral standards.

The Creator made man with a strong sex drive as a motivation to cause him to marry a woman and engender children. Through these intimate familial relationships a godly man could learn priceless lessons that could enable him to effectively serve in the Church, the household of the Living God. To deprive the man of this Scripturally approved outlet for his God-given sex drive is like giving a free pass to Satan to pervert the man into a pedophile. The evil fruits of unscriptural doctrine should be evident to all.