Posts Tagged ‘Roman Catholicism’

Time magazine names Pope Francis its ‘Person of the Year’ – “Captured the Imaginations of Millions”

 

LTRP Note: After reading the article below by the Washington Post, please re-read some of the 2013 Lighthouse Trails coverage on Pope Francis. (See the links below the article.) When you consider that the new pope is contemplative, interspiritual, ecumenical, and soft toward the homosexual issue – basically, an emerging “progressive” pope – it’s no wonder Time magazine (which promotes all of the above) named Pope Francis “Person of the Year.”

By Lillian Cunningham
The Washington Post

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - DECEMBER 04: Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's square for his weekly audience on December 4, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. At the end of his General Audience Pontiff called on everyone to pray for a group of nuns taken by force from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Tecla in the ancient Christian town of MaÕlula in Syria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)The red border of Time magazine will frame Pope Francis as its 2013 Person of the Year, the magazine announced Wednesday morning. By the judgment of Time’s editorial staff, the pope — elected earlier this year after a surprise resignation by predecessor Pope Benedict XVI — was the most influential global newsmaker of the past 12 months. Earlier this week, Time narrowed the finalists down to 10, then five. Pope Francis ultimately won out over NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Texas senator Ted Cruz and gay rights activist Edith Windsor.

“[W]hat makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all,” Howard Chua-Eoan and Elizabeth Dias write in the cover story. “In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church.”

Coverage by Lighthouse Trails:

United Nations Chief Hails Pope Francis as “a Spiritual Leader of the World”

The Implications of Pope Francis Recent Remarks about Homosexuality and Abortion

Pope Francis calls for intensified dialogue with Muslims – Everyone “a brother or
sister.”

Pope Francis – Spiritually “Founded” on a Contemplative Tradition

Evangelical Leaders Luis Palau and Rick Warren Salute Pope Francis – What Are the Implications?

The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ

The Catholic Church Continues Drawing In the “Lost Brethren” Through Eucharistic Adoration

Pope Francis

LTRP Note: For a number of years now, Lighthouse Trails author Roger Oakland has been warning the body of Christ about the Catholic Church’s “new evangelization” program, which is basically an effort to bring the “lost brethren” (Protestants) into the Catholic church. Roger has been stating all along that to do this the Papacy is using what they call “Eucharistic adoration.” The article below from the Vatican news agency is another current example of the reality of this happening. In Roger’s Booklet Tract The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ,  he explains:

The New Evangelization program will use Eucharistic adoration to rekindle Eucharistic amazement, and more and more people will be drawn by experience to the Eucharistic Christ. An experience-based Christianity not supported biblically is one of the most effective ways to lead people astray. If the New Evangelization points people to a Eucharistic Christ associated with profound experiences including healings, miracles, and signs and wonders, it has the potential to bring vast delusion. We are witnessing this today.

In what way does this tie in with what is happening in the church? Well, mainly through the contemplative prayer movement. Ray Yungen talks about this in his article  “Contemplative Spirituality – the Source of the Catholic Church’s Expansion,” where he says:

I had always been confused as to the real nature of this advance in the Catholic church. Was this just the work of a few mavericks and renegades, or did the church hierarchy sanction this practice [contemplative prayer]? My concerns were affirmed when I read in an interview that the mystical prayer movement not only had the approval of the highest echelons of Catholicism but also was, in fact, the source of its expansion. (emphasis added)

As we witness most of the major Christian figures today embracing contemplative spirituality, please know that this is moving things quickly toward the Catholic Church’s goal to envelope all non-Catholic Christian-proclaiming peoples to itself. And this always brings to mind the Christian martyrs identified  in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs who died painful torturous deaths because they would not embrace the Eucharistic “Christ” of the Roman Catholic Church. Those who think that those days could never happen again are only fooling themselves. The force behind those deaths - Satan - is at work today more than ever before because he knows the day of the Lord’s return as well as His final judgment draws near. 

From Zenit news in Rome (the Vatican news agency)

“Vatican Congregation Makes DVD About Eucharistic Adoration”

Cardinal Cañizares: There will be no ‘new evangelization’ without adoration

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments together with HM Television has just published a new DVD that will help the faithful rediscover the importance of Eucharistic Adoration in the life and mission of the Church. It is the second video in a series of four, entitled: “From the Visible to the Invisible.”  The video contains testimonies of conversion thanks to Eucharistic Adoration, as well as its history and the biblical foundations.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has strongly supported and encouraged the production of this video precisely because he believes that, “the New Evangelization will not be possible if there is no Adoration.” Click here to continue reading.

NEW PRINT BOOKLET TRACT: The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ

 The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ written by Roger Oakland is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The booklet tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of  The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ, click here. 

The New Evangelization From Rome—Or Finding the True Jesus Christ

By Roger Oakland

When Christians speak of evangelism, they are usually referring to efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.

Just before ascending to heaven, Jesus commissioned every believer to proclaim the good news when He said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

This Gospel of Jesus Christ is very simple. It is a message that even a child can understand. It is about God’s plan to save us from our sins. Since the fall of man, all have been born into this world separated from God, our Creator, by sin. About two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, supernaturally came to this earth, born of a virgin. While here on earth, Jesus lived a sinless life. He died upon the Cross at Calvary, and His blood was shed as a sacrifice for our sins. All those who accept and believe in Jesus (that is, who Jesus is and what He has done) can enter into a relationship with Him, the Creator of the universe. This relationship will then last for eternity. This is the simple Gospel.

Unfortunately, Satan has always had an agenda to complicate the Gospel or confound people into believing in something less or something more than what the Gospel message teaches. Paul talked about “another gospel” when he warned the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:4) and the Galatians (Galatians 1:6) about the dangers of being deceived. Satan is a clever schemer. Deceiving people in the name of the Savior is part of the devil’s ultimate plan.

Not everything labeled the gospel is the true Gospel. Further, it follows that the term evangelization, if it is based on a counterfeit gospel, will seduce people into believing they are going to heaven, when instead they may be on their way to hell.

In this booklet, we will be dealing with The New Evangelization, a program currently being promoted by the Catholic Church and designed to win the world to Christ—the Eucharistic Christ.

What is the New Evangelization?
The New Evangelization is a missionary effort of the Catholic Church to bring the “Lost Brethren” (Protestants) back into the “fold.” Most of this effort is aimed at stirring up interest in the Eucharist.

An article published by Zenit (“The World Seen from Rome”) presented a news item based on an announcement made by Pope John Paul II about the Eucharist. The article was titled “Why the Pope Would Write an Encyclical on the Eucharist: To Rekindle Amazement.”1 The pope had already declared the Eucharist to be the focal point for the Catholic Church’s missionary vision at the Eucharistic Congress in June of 2000, but now the pope had written an Encyclical on the Eucharist. The following statement made by John Paul is very enlightening:

[T]he Church will only be able to address the challenge of the new evangelization if she is able to contemplate, and enter into a profound relationship with Christ in the sacrament that makes his presence real.2 (emphasis added)

This statement confirms how this New Evangelization program is directly linked to the Eucharistic Christ. Further, the Zenit article gave more details on how the pope wanted to see this program develop:

I would like to rekindle this Eucharistic “amazement” by the present Encyclical Letter, in continuity with the Jubilee heritage which I have left to the Church in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte and its Marian crowning, Rosarium Virginis Mariae. To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the programme which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, summoning her to put out into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the new evangelization.3

Making it clear that the New Evangelization program would be tightly associated with the sacrament of the Eucharist, John Paul concluded:

To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his body and his blood. The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist, by him she is fed and by him she is enlightened.4 (emphasis added)

The Facts about the New Evangelization
There are many sources available confirming such a program exists. For example, on the EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) website under a heading “The New Evangelization: Building the Civilization of Love,” it reads:

As the Holy Father entrusts the Third Millennium to the Blessed Virgin Mary, EWTN inaugurates its New Evangelization specialty site. . . . Under the protection of St. Therese of Lisieux, Patroness of the Missions, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom the Pope has committed the New Evangelization, may the Spirit of God bring about the New Pentecost to which the Church looks forward with hope.5

This above statement may come as a surprise to Protestants who are enthusiastically joining hands with Catholics for the sake of “evangelism.” The Catholic program is committed to “Our Lady of Guadalupe” (Mary).6 Remember, Paul warned the Corinthians about “another spirit” that was associated with “another gospel” and “another Jesus.”

More Evidence
Now, if the Catholic Church was “searching for” a method of evangelization for the “new evangelization” in the year 2000, apparently that method has now been discovered and endorsed. Remember, John Paul II called for a “rekindling of Eucharistic amazement” associated with the New Evangelization.
Another piece of evidence that the Eucharist is a key to understanding the New Evangelization comes from an advertisement in Envoy Magazine titled “Will you answer our Holy Father’s call for the New Evangelization?”7 Beneath the title was an appeal to help purchase and distribute books, tapes, and other literature.

As part of the advertisement, a booklet was shown bearing the title The Most Blessed Sacrament: Our Lord is truly present: Body, Soul and Divinity to make you happy now and for all Eternity! by Catholic priest Stephano Manelli. On the front cover of this booklet was a monstrance. In the location where the wafer would normally be found was an actual face—supposedly the face of Jesus. Consider the following excerpt from the booklet:

Let us ask the question: What is the Eucharist? It is God among us. It is the Lord Jesus present in the tabernacles of our churches with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. It is Jesus veiled under the appearance of bread, but really and physically present in the consecrated Host, so that He dwells in our midst, works within us and for us, and is at our disposal. The Eucharistic Jesus is the true Emmanuel, the “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)8

Or the following statement that defies any biblical basis:

With Communion, Jesus enters my heart and remains corporally present in me as long as the species (the appearance: of bread) lasts; that is, for about 15 minutes. During this time, the Holy Fathers teach that the angels surround me to continue to adore Jesus and love Him without interruption.9

Or this statement that seems to reflect a strong spiritual experience that acts as a powerful attraction to the Eucharistic Christ:

All the saints have understood by experience the Divine marvel of the meeting and the union with Jesus in the Eucharist. They have understood that a devout Holy Communion means to be possessed by Him and to possess Him. . . . It is not possible to have a union more profound and more total: He in Me and I in Him; the one in the other. What more could we want?10

New Focus on the Eucharist
In an article titled “New Focus on the Eucharist,” Catholic Herald reporter Russell Shaw summarized the various events Pope John Paul promoted and then asked a very important question: “Pope John Paul and the Vatican lately have been devoting more than ordinary high-level attention to the Eucharist, and now they apparently mean to devote even more. That raises an obvious question: Why?”11 A website called “Apostolate for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration” seems to answer that question with the following two statements:

The regular practice of Eucharistic adoration, which perpetual adoration fosters, must be at the root of our response. It enables us to respond to the Holy Father’s call with “generosity and holiness.” . . . It will prepare us for the “new evangelization” which will help restore all things in Christ.12

In his encyclical letter on the Eucharist, “Dominicae cenae,” Pope John Paul II said: “May our adoration never cease.” That is what perpetual adoration is: adoration that never ceases. So let us continue to work hard for the spread of perpetual adoration, so that our Holy Father’s wish for perpetual adoration in every parish in the world may be fulfilled and that Christians of this millennium may witness the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Eucharistic Reign of Christ.13

The New Evangelization program will use Eucharistic adoration to rekindle Eucharistic amazement, and more and more people will be drawn by experience to the Eucharistic Christ. An experience-based Christianity not supported biblically is one of the most effective ways to lead people astray. If the New Evangelization points people to a Eucharistic Christ associated with profound experiences including healings, miracles, and signs and wonders, it has the potential to bring vast delusion. We are witnessing this today.

Finding the True Jesus Christ
The biblical Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He is not confined in any earthly vessel or chamber. Jesus warned His disciples about those who say, see he is here or he is there as if physically present on the earth. According to the Gospel, He is physically present seated at the right hand of the Father until His second coming, and through His Spirit dwells in the hearts of every true believer. He cannot be made any more present than He already is.
By contrast, the Catholic “Gospel” makes Jesus physically present at every mass around the world.

The question we each must ask is—Will the Eucharistic Jesus reign in my heart? Will we trust another Jesus because of Rome or because apparitions endorse him? Will we trust another Jesus because of miracles, healings, or the supposed presence of God? Or will we follow the Jesus of the Bible?

Only the Bible, the Word of God, is infallible (2 Peter 1:20-21). It is truth (John 17:17). We know this by its fulfilled prophecies. Dozens of prophecies concerning Christ alone have been fulfilled to the letter. In addition, hundreds of prophecies concerning Israel and the Gentile nations have come to pass. The probability of all this happening by chance is too small to consider. No other book can boast of design with such intelligence. This amazing book records the life of the only perfect Person. No other book and no other man can compare. There is no risk in accepting the Bible as our final authority.

Feelings, Experiences, and Deceptions
A universal commonality associated with the Eucharist and the apparitions involves reports of intense encounters and gratifying feelings. Many experience a sense of serenity. Others encounter a spiritual presence or warmth. Some see visions, while others commune with an apparition. However, as the Scriptures explain, Satan and his demons can conjure false signs, feelings, and experiences. These experiences can give the recipient a false sense of peace with God while in reality they are leading the person into a trap.

While the Bible acknowledges that believers can experience God in unique and sometimes intense ways, these must be tested by God’s Word. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). If our spiritual filter is not God’s law, His testimony, and His Word, we will be led astray.

What’s more, the Bible states: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). It cautions us not to walk by sight (or appearances or visions or feelings or emotions). We all know that appearances can be misleading. Our senses can be deceived. Jesus warns us, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). During the last days, seductive deceptions will multiply, as Scripture warns:

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

Follow Your Heart or God’s Law?

The world tells us to follow our heart—go with our feelings. The Bible, on the other hand, states emphatically: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26).

Our senses and feelings can direct us on a path that leads to destruction rather than life. We need a new heart—one guided by God and His trustworthy testimony. As the Bible states:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

God tells us we need new hearts. You may ask, “What’s wrong with the heart I have?” Once again, it is God’s Word that acts like a divine flashlight showing us the darkness and depravity of our old heart:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)

The Bad News
God tells us we need new hearts. But how do we receive this new heart? Before explaining God’s gracious provision, we must first understand mankind’s dilemma. The Bible states that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Scripture is utterly clear: “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalm 14:3). This is why we cannot trust our old hearts. Our hearts are inclined to error and sin.

To see if God’s assessment is fair and accurate, we need to look at His Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Consider here just a few of them—

Have you ever used your Creator’s name (Jesus Christ or God) in vain, or worse, as a curse word? Think of how offensive this is to your Creator. This is the God who wove you in your mother’s womb. He blessed you with eyes that behold His beautiful creation and taste buds that delight in His great variety of foods. Think of the wonder of your ears, and how music can inspire and refresh you.

Have you ever lied? White lies and fibs are lies in God’s eyes. We’re commanded to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Have you?

Have you ever stolen anything—the value is irrelevant? Cheating on a test or fudging the tax numbers is stealing. Please remember, God sees the past as the present.

Have you ever committed adultery? Or have you secretly desired to? Jesus said:

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)

Have you ever committed murder? Most plead innocent until they realize that hatred in the heart is murder in God’s eyes: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (I John 3:15). Think of the people you would like to get out of the way. Reflect on the many people who annoy you and those who caused you pain or embarrassment. To hate them in your heart is murder.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then according to Scripture you have broken the whole Law (James 2:10) as it is not a part and parcel proposition where we can weigh our good deeds next to our bad deeds. When we break God’s Law at any point, we come under the full condemnation of the Law. And God warns us that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Sin causes both physical death and eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

The Good News
Fortunately this is not the end of the story. The Good News is that God does not want anyone to perish “but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). In His great love, God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, to fulfill the Law and to pay the penalty which our sins demanded. We sinned, yet Jesus died in our place. The Bible declares:

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Jesus died in our place. He then rose from the dead, defeating death. All who recognize their sinfulness, repent from their sins,* and put their trust in Him will be saved. This is how we receive new hearts—and eternal life. This is what Jesus meant when He said we must be born again (John 3:3, 7). Our spirit is made alive when we believe in the Lord and His provision. (*Dr. Harry Ironside said “Repentance is the sinner’s recognition of and acknowledgment of his lost estate and, thus, of his need of grace” (“Except Ye Repent”).)

The Free Gift
God offers salvation to all as a free gift. Only Jesus could pay the penalty that our sins demanded. We cannot bribe God with our good works or church attendance. No ritual or sacrament can appease His divine justice. Salvation is strictly on the merits of Jesus Christ and His mercy and grace toward all who accept Him by faith. The Bible states:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9; emphasis added)

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 2:16)

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 6:28-29)

Also, since salvation is a free gift, we can have assurance of salvation because it depends on what Christ has done and not on our own merits or performance. John writes of this assurance:

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5: 11-13)

By contrast, the Catholic “Gospel,” being works oriented, cannot offer any assurance of salvation but must rather categorize such assurance as the sin of pride and presumption. This is brought out succinctly by the testimony of a former Catholic priest:

In the seminary where I was living we . . . had to perform certain penances and acts of self-denial which included fasting and abstinence. We also had to go to the confessional and practise meditation . . . We were taught that in spite of all this we could not be certain of our salvation since one of the dogmas of the Church is that anyone who claims to be sure of his salvation is certainly lost.14

The Ultimate Sacrifice
The Catholic Jesus is the Eucharistic Jesus. The Marian apparitions’ Jesus is also the Eucharistic Jesus. However, the Eucharistic Jesus is not found in the Bible.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is immutable and unchanging (Hebrews 13:8) and that He is now seated at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19). Furthermore, it tells us that God “dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48), and Jesus said, “if they shall say unto you . . . he [Jesus] is in the secret chambers; believe it not (Matthew 24:26). Yet, Catholic doctrine violates all of these Scriptures when it says that Jesus can be found in a host and contained in a monstrance.

The idea of Transubstantiation was extracted from Scripture where Jesus said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53). Unfortunately, Catholic scholars were remiss in examining the context of the Scripture, where his disciples were murmuring of what Jesus could have meant by saying these things. If we read further, Jesus explains His meaning:

Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:60-63)

First, Jesus makes it clear that He could not have meant this in the physical sense because He was soon to be gone (“ascend up where He was before”). Second, Jesus tells them He had been using a figure of speech by speaking in spiritual terms (which He did regularly): “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit.” Third, Jesus tells them that “the flesh profiteth nothing” where the word “flesh” is the same Greek word that Jesus used in John 6:53 above. What’s more, the idea of partaking of blood becomes even more difficult when we consider that partaking of blood was forbidden in the Law, while the consumption of human blood was an unthinkable abomination. Clearly, Jesus had used a statement earlier that can only be correctly interpreted as a figure of speech. Later, at the Last Supper, Jesus made it plain again that He had been speaking figuratively when He said, “this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) as opposed to telling them they would be participating in a new event.

Does this Catholic doctrine of the Eucharistic Christ really matter? Apparently, it did to Mrs. Prest of 16th century England who lived during the reign of Queen Mary. This godly woman was burned alive at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church. Her crime—opposing Roman Catholicism, primarily that of the Eucharist. When challenged on that point by a bishop, she replied:

I will demand of you whether you can deny your creed, which says that Christ does perpetually sit at the right hand of His Father, both body and soul, until He comes again; or whether He be there in heaven our Advocate and to make prayer for us unto God His Father? If He be so, He is not here on earth in a piece of bread. If He be not here, and if He do not dwell in temples made with hands but in heaven, why shall we seek Him here? If with one offering He made all perfect, why do you with a false offering make all imperfect? If He is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth, why do you worship a piece of bread [the Eucharist]? Alas! I am a poor woman, but rather than to do as you do, I would live no longer.15

The fact that Mrs. Prest was later burned alive awakens to us the horrors of what she must have endured. But we should not allow the testimony of how she died overshadow the message of why she died. We dishonor the martyrs when we forget what they died for.

What was it that troubled Mrs. Prest so much about the Eucharist that she was willing to die a martyrs death? It had much more to do than the fact that the Roman Catholic Church contradicts Scripture over where Jesus is physically present. The real issue is that the Catholic Church has established another Jesus and another Gospel. The true Gospel tells us that we are saved by faith alone through the one-time sacrifice of Jesus at the Cross:

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:10-12)

The Catholic “Gospel” maintains that we are saved by our participation in the Mass where the sacrifice of Calvary repeats itself again and again. This works-based “Gospel” is unable to save anyone. Only when one comes to Christ in humble repentance and puts one’s faith in Jesus Christ and believes in the one-time sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross is one born again from above, born of the Spirit, with the Holy Spirit dwelling in his or her heart. The true Gospel offers assurance of salvation, but the Catholic gospel offers no such assurance as it is based on our performance.

Further, the fact that the Eucharistic Jesus is re-sacrificed at each Mass demonstrates another major conflict with the Bible. Once again, in the Book of Hebrews, this is illustrated:

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (Hebrews 9:15-17)

In other words, for the New Testament to be in effect, Jesus had to die “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10), which was the ultimate sacrifice and proof of His divine perfection. To propose a re-enactment of the one offering once made is to denigrate the very will and purpose of the Father and the majesty, power, and absolute perfection of Jesus Christ the Lord. And as Hebrews 10: 11-12 explains, the contrast of the two offerings (man’s versus God’s) is man’s offering can “never take away sins” and God “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever.”

The Catholic “Gospel” makes Jesus’ sacrifice like the repeated sacrifices of bulls and goats of the Old Testament that could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). Jesus has “obtained eternal redemption.” “It is finished” (John 19:30), as Jesus said. The upper room is vacated. The cross is bare. And the tomb is empty. Jesus has been resurrected. Hallelujah! He now dwells in the hearts of those who have trusted and believed on Him. Truly, this is reason for rejoicing!

Jesus said, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). The apostle Paul tells us that Christ dwells in every believer’s heart (Ephesians 3:17). Christians are the temple of God—the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). If ingesting consecrated bread was the true way to receive Christ, it would only bring His presence for a short time. Only while the bread remained in the digestive tract would Christ be in us. The rest of the time He would be absent. Yet, the biblical Jesus tells us, “Abide in Me, and I in you” (John 15:4), and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

Serious Consequences
The Book of Hebrews includes a warning to those who crucify Christ repeatedly and put Him to an open shame. In the sixth chapter, we read:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:1-6)

Are you willing to risk the chance of putting Jesus to an open shame by rejecting the biblical plan of salvation for the Eucharistic Christ? Keep in mind that Jesus was crucified once for sins. He shed His blood on the Cross one time for all. The sacrifice has been made. Our sins have been paid in full.

Call Upon the True Jesus
If we repent of (turn from and forsake) our sins and acknowledge what He has done and ask Him to forgive us for what we have done, then we can enter into a relationship with Jesus, our Creator and Redeemer, that will last forever. As Paul wrote to the Romans:

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:8-13)

Jesus Christ offers freedom and eternal life for all who “confess” Him, “believe” that God has raised Him from the dead and “call upon Him.” Jesus Christ has answered all demands of the all holy God against sin; in Him, sinners are acquitted and vindicated. His words of assurance are:

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. . . . If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11: 9-10, 13)

If we come before Him with a sincere heart and ask him to forgive us for our sins, He will. In the Book of Acts, Luke recorded:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:8-12)

It is this Jesus, the Jesus of Nazareth, the “Jesus” Peter spoke about, who is the true Jesus. Let each one of us be sure we know who He is because we know His Word.

To order copies of  The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ, click here. 

Endnotes:

Endnotes:
1. Zenit (The World Seen From Rome), “Why the Pope Would Write an Encyclical on the Eucharist: To Rekindle Amazement” (http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/why-the-pope-would-write-an-encyclical-on-the-eucharist).
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. “The New Evangelization: Building the Civilization of Love” (Eternal Word Television Network, http://www.ewtn.com/new_evangelization/Novo_millennio.htm, ).
6. Ibid.
7. Envoy Magazine, Volume 7.2, 2003, p. 9.
8. Fr. Stephano Manelli, O.F.M., The Most Blessed Sacrament (Havertown, PA: Children of the Father Foundation, 1973), p. 4.
9. Ibid.
10. Ibid.
11. Russell Shaw, “New Focus on the Eucharist” (Catholic Herald, October 2003, http://www.catholicherald.com/stories/New-Focus-on-the-Eucharist,3444).
12. http://www.perpetualadoration.org/ws2000.htm.
13. Ibid.
14. Richard Bennett and Martin Buckingham, Far From Rome, Near to God: Testimonies of Fifty Converted Roman Catholic Priests (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, First Banner of Truth Trust Edition, 1997), p. 212, citing Mariano Rughi.
15. John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails, 2010), pp. 266-270

To order copies of  The New Evangelization From Rome Or Finding the True Jesus Christ, click here. 

News in Review with Understand the Times

Catholic Evangelization and the Role of the “Eucharist” in This End-Time Deception

Pope Francis

By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times

For those who are not aware of the Catholic Church’s New Evangelization program, let me provide a brief overview. The Catholic Church plans to establish the kingdom of God on earth and win the world to the Catholic Jesus (i.e., the Eucharistic Christ). This will be accomplished when the world (including the separated brethren) comes under the rule and reign of Rome and this Eucharistic Jesus.

The Eucharistic Jesus is supposedly Christ’s presence that a Catholic priest summons through the power of transubstantiation, the focal point of the Mass. Many Christians believe the Christian tradition of communion is the same as the Catholic tradition of the Eucharist. But this is not so. The Eucharist (i.e., transubstantiation) is a Catholic term for communion when the bread and the wine are said to be transformed into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Catechism states:

In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”1

The host is then placed in what is called a monstrance and can then be worshiped as if worshiping Jesus Himself. The implications are tied directly to salvation itself. With the Eucharist, salvation becomes sacramental (participation in a ritual) as opposed to justification by faith in Christ alone, described in Galatians 2:16. While this mystical experience is a form of idolatry (as well as the very heart of Catholicism), there is a growing interest by evangelical Christians in this practice, particularly by the emerging church.

The Catholic Church leadership, concerned with apathy for the Eucharist within the Catholic ranks, is hoping to “rekindle the amazement”2 of the Eucharist through what is called their “New Evangelization program.”3 With a two-fold purpose–to keep present Catholics and to bring evangelicals into the Catholic Church–church leadership has a plan to re-emphasize the Eucharist as the focus of the Catholic faith. By saying “rekindle the amazement,” they mean bring out the mystical, supernatural element of the Eucharist.

All Catholics are expected to worship the host (Eucharistic Adoration of the transformed wafer), and church leadership says it is anathema (to be accursed) to reject this teaching.

While it is true that during the Reformation and Counter Reformation, many who refused to believe in transubstantiation were tortured and executed for their faith in the Gospel, time has a way of forgetting the facts of history.

In April of 2003, the pope wrote an encyclical promoting the “New Evangelization” program for the purpose of “rekindling amazement” for the Eucharist.4 Then in October of 2004, John Paul II initiated “The Year of the Eucharist” as part of his evangelistic plan to bring the world to the Eucharistic Christ. Following his death in April of 2005, Pope Benedict XVI picked up Pope John Paul’s mission immediately. He called the “faithful to intensify” devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus, and said the Eucharist is the “heart of Christian life.”5

The New Evangelization program plans to revitalize the Catholic faith by reigniting strong interest in the Eucharistic Jesus. It is not just the pope who is enthusiastic about this–cardinals, bishops, and priests all over the world are joining in to help with the mission. Something very significant is happening. Eucharistic adoration is becoming the foundation for the new evangelization of the Catholic Church.

In speaking of the pope’s view on the Eucharist, Protestant-turned Catholic Scott Hahn states:

The coming of Jesus Christ – what the Greek New Testament calls his “parousia” – is not simply some far-off event. It is his presence in the Eucharist. Fundamentalists reduce the meaning of “parousia” to Christ’s coming at the end of time; but for the first century Greek speakers the word meant “presence.” Catholic theology holds on to that original meaning.6

The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the Second Coming Catholic style. Unfortunately, many evangelical Protestants are not even aware of this.

While Eucharistic adoration contradicts biblical Christianity, a growing number of popular evangelicals (especially those leaning toward emerging spiritualities) seem to find no offense in such a doctrine. And with the increased acceptance of mysticism and an attraction to imagery within evangelical circles, it only makes sense that many evangelical Christians find nothing wrong with the Eucharist and Eucharistic adoration. Such acceptance, however, is neutralizing former evangelical resistance to all things Catholic.

In Doug Pagitt’s book Church Re-imagined, he describes his initial attraction to rituals associated with the Eucharist:

The first day of Lent this year brought the first Ash Wednesday gathering in our church’s history and in mine…. Until this point, Ash Wednesday had not been part of my Christian faith experience. Not only had I never applied ashes to anyone’s forehead, but I had also never had them applied to mine. After this experience I wondered how I could have celebrated 19 Easters as a Christian without this tremendous experience.7

Scot McKnight, another emerging church influencer and the author of The Real Mary and The Jesus Creed, in referring to an Anglican service, McKnight speaks of the Eucharistic focus. He states:

[T]he point of an Anglican gathering on a Sunday morning is not to hear a sermon but to worship the Lord through the celebration of the Eucharist… First some scripture readings and then the sermon and then some announcements and then the Eucharist liturgy–with everyone coming forward to kneel and participate—publicly–in the body and blood.8

McKnight says that “the Eucharist profoundly enables the grace of God to be received with all its glories and blessings.”9 No doubt, McKnight will have an impact on those in the emerging church movement, and his views on the Eucharist will rub off. He has been a popular speaker at many events including Willow Creek’s Small Group Conference and the National Pastors Convention. Both of these events have reached the “postmodern” generation.

The late Robert Webber was very influential in closing the gap between Eucharistic adoration and the evangelical church. A document he authored called “A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future” states: “We call for a renewed consideration of how God ministers to us in … Eucharist.”10 Two well-known evangelical publishers, Baker Books and InterVarsity Press (both of which now publish emerging church authors) sponsored the document as did Christianity Today. The AEF, which the document is called, is endorsed by various emerging church leaders such as Brian McLaren who calls it “a preaching resource” that “emphasize[s] the importance … of Advent or Lent.”11

Participants of the AEF include numerous Christian seminaries like Bethel Seminary in Minnesota, Dallas Theological Seminary, and pastors from many different denominations including Nazarene, Wesleyan, Mennonite, Reformed, and Baptist.

To those who traditionally haven’t had much ritual in their lives (i.e., Protestants), the ambience of the Mass would have great appeal because of its religious novelty – thus the interest in the Eucharist by those who promote contemplative spirituality. And for many Catholics, the Mass (where the Eucharist is presented), in, and of itself, is not a mystical experience. However if the contemplative dimension is added, one actually can enter the mystical realm. On the surface, this phenomenon seems complex, but once we begin to understand mysticism, it all makes sense. Within the contemplative prayer realm, the meditator is actually getting in touch with a spiritual power or force. Combining the tradition of the Eucharist, which appeals to many raised in the Catholic Church, with the relatively recent explosion of contemplative practice, the Catholic Church sees this as a way to recover its robust state of previous decades.

Right now, some may be asking, is the physical presence of Jesus held inside the elements of the Eucharist? Or as some evangelicals and emergents have suggested, is there a special presence and power in the Eucharist? The answer to both is a resounding no! Jesus Christ indwells the heart of every person who is born again and who belongs to Him by faith through grace. He promises never to leave or forsake us, meaning that His presence is in our lives at all times. We are not required to partake in a ritual to experience His presence, nor is He confined in benign, lifeless wafers and wine (or juice). As Jesus said:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit [spiritual as opposed to physical], and they are life. (John 6:63, emphasis added)

Jesus said this in response to his disciples’ confusion over His statement “my flesh is meat indeed” (vs. 55). Paul adds further clarity in writing to the Romans that all we need to do is call upon the true Jesus, and He is there:

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:8-13)

At this point, we see the great chasm that separates Catholicism from the light of the Gospel – a light the reformers saw, for which many of them gave their lives. They recognized that participation in the sacraments is not what saves people.

The Catholic’s New Evangelization is no small issue. Darkness has fallen over the Christian church the same way an avalanche sweeps down a mountain. Every day new unsuspecting victims are being swept away and buried. And the role the emerging church plays in bringing this about is something that should alarm every discerning Christian.

To read more about the emerging church, read Roger Oakland’s expose,  Faith Undone.

Related:

WUERL: A new morning with Pope Francis

Notes:
1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 1374, page 383.6
2. H. J. Schroeder, The Canons and Decrees of The Council of Trent (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1978), page 79, Canon 1.
3. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “The New Evangelization” (http://www.ewtn.com/new_evangelization/Ratzinger.htm).
4. Zenit: The World Seen From Rome, “Why the Pope Would Write an Encyclical on the Eucharist: To Rekindle Amazement,” cited April 17, 2003, http://www.zenit.org.
5. “Pope Benedict calls on faithful to intensify devotion to Eucharistic Jesus,” http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=3686.
6. Interview with Scott Hahn, “Eucharist in the Pontificate of Benedict XVI” (Pontifications, June 12, 2005, http://web.archive.org/web/20070209234229/http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=940).
7. Doug Pagitt, Church Re-Imagined, p. 103.
8. Scot McKnight, “An Anglican Service” (Jesus Creed blog, http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=2258 – link no longer online).
9. Scot McKnight, Turning to Jesus, (Louisville, KY: Westminister John Knox Press, 2002 edition), p. 7.
10. Robert Webber, “A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future” (Online at: http://www.aefcall.org/read.html.
11. Brian McLaren, “The AEF Document as a Preaching Resource” (From the AEF Call website: http://www.aefcall.org/documents/TheAEFDocumentasaPreachingResource_000.doc).

Letter to the Editor: Concerned About Voice of the Martyrs Catholic Promotion

Hello Lighthouse Trails:

I am wondering if you can help me out here.  I have been a long-time financial supporter of Voice of the Martyrs and each Sunday I try sending an encouraging postcard to a persecuted Christian somewhere (from their prison letter writing list).  Imagine my shock when last Sunday one of the prisoners profiled in Voice of the Martyrs prisoner list was a Catholic “Father” in Vietnam!!  Catholics were responsible for many Protestant deaths over the centuries!!  I am deeply concerned about this and plan to terminate my financial support with them and switch to Open Doors (or some Protestant organization which supports the persecuted church); however I want to research this a bit more.  I vaguely recall you once had an article about VOM concerning this and am wondering if you could kindly forward this to me?  Also what can you tell me about your version of Foxe Book of the Martyr’s vs the VOM version? 

Thank you in advance,   John (not real name)

Our Response:

In 2010, Lighthouse Trails posted this article, “Concern Expressed Over Voice of the Martyrs Article on Mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon” and this one: “Voice of the Martyrs Responds to Lighthouse Trails Readers.”  And in 2011, we posted these articles: “Letter to Tom White of Voice of the Martyrs” and “Lighthouse Trails Regretfully No Longer Carrying Voice of the Martyrs Materials.”  

In response to your concern about VOM including the name of a Catholic priest on their August prisoner list, we share your concerns. We do not say that people who are Catholics should not be defended if they are being cruelly persecuted and imprisoned; however an organization like Voice of the Martyrs has built its reputation of being an advocate for evangelical and Protestant Christians. Many of the people who have donated money to the organization would not have done it had they known of VOM’s ecumenism. As the letter to the editor above points out, the historical Catholic church was responsible for the deaths of untold numbers of believers who would not bow to the heresies of the papacy (in particularly the Eucharist – that Christ is in a wafer that should be worshiped). See our article “Mrs. Prest – She Said No to Apostasy and Became a Martyr” as one example. So it seems strange that an organization that stands for persecuted Christians would in any way pay homage to Roman Catholicism which, by its very belief system (I.e., it is anathema to not embrace the Eucharistic sacraments), persecutes Christians.

In answer to the question about Lighthouse Trails’ edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs versus the VOM edition, here is our statement on why we were compelled to publish our own edition:

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was first published over five hundred years ago. Today, there are many editions of this book available. When Lighthouse Trails decided to start offering this book to our readers, we began our search for a suitable edition. Much to our dismay, we discovered that many of the current editions were compromised in one form or another. For example, in one edition (ironically, published by an advocacy group for persecuted Christians), front page endorsements included the names of those who promote contemplative spirituality and/or the emerging church. When one realizes that contemplative/emerging spirituality embraces some of the very same beliefs that Foxe’s martyrs opposed to the point of suffering cruel persecution and death, it is most troubling and misleading to see these names in the cover of an edition of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

In another edition we reviewed, the book was among a special set of “Christian classics.” We were once again perplexed to see that some of the other books in that series were written by contemplative mystics.

And yet another edition, published by a secular publisher, advertised mystical and occult practices on the back cover.

Finally, after an unsuccessful search, Lighthouse Trails decided to publish our own edition of this truly incredible and unforgettable account.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3: 17

Worth noting, in John Foxe’s original Book of Martyrs, Foxe wrote much about the persecution from the Catholic church. But in some of today’s editions, you will find stories of this papal persecution omitted.

 In closing, there are many wonderful Christian organizations that are helping the poor, needy, and persecuted that are standing firm in the faith and not compromising the Gospel set forth in Scripture. We hope you and other LT readers will seek out these groups and consider supporting them.

 Thank you for your letter.

Editors at Lighthouse Trails

Related Articles:

The Catholic Church’s Role in the Coming One-World Global Religion

The Missionary Goal of the Catholic Church

The Implications of Pope Francis Recent Remarks about Homosexuality and Abortion

LTRP Note: The following news article shows how Bible prophecy of the days before Christ’s return is again being fulfilled. In the Catechism of the Catholic church, homosexuality is a “mortal sin” (a sin, they say, that will condemn you and send you to hell). Now the Catholic church is being led by a man who implies that homosexuality is not a mortal sin ( i.e, homosexuality is acceptable to God). When you couple Pope Francis’ spiritual grounding in contemplative practices1 and his connection to the Jesuits (who are traditionally mystics) with his views on issues such as homosexuality and abortion, you basically have an emerging church Pope. What we foresee happening is the new Pope is going to reorient the Catholic church away from its traditionalist mortal sin approach (i.e., morality) and take it in the direction of Anthony DeMello and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (both panentheistic Jesuit priests and fervent mystics).

William Shannon (Thomas Merton’s biographer), in his book Silence on Fire, states that Catholicism has been traditionally based on the spirituality of devotion (trying to get to Heaven through pious acts and deeds). Contemplative spirituality is the antithesis of this, in that man, in essence, is already good because he (meaning all mankind) is intricately connected to God (that is, man has divinity inherently within him already). 

We can see more clearly than ever now that even the Catholic church is “falling away” from its own traditional “faith.” This is going to allow  Catholic contemplative teachers and leaders to really come out of the contemplative closet. The last pope constrained the contemplative view, for the most part. This one will bring it to the forefront of the Catholic church. This is closing the gap even more between the “new” emerging “progressive” Christianity (of which many Protestant and evangelical members are embracing) and the Roman Catholic church, a paradigm shift which will eventually develop into a world-wide ecumenical interfaith religious body that will ultimately reject the Messiah, Jesus Christ and rather will worship and follow a one-world global religious leader of which the Bible predicts.

While Bible-believing Christians observe what is happening today in the world around us, may we encourage ourselves in the Lord that the plan of salvation as laid out in Scripture in not found in either of these spiritual outlooks: man cannot earn his way to heaven and neither is he already connected to God through his own virtue. It is only through humbly acknowledging that we are lost sinners (anything but Divine) in need of a Savior who died on the Cross as an atonement for our sins and then by faith believing on Jesus Christ and accepting Him as Lord and Savior can we be saved by His grace. No earning our way and no Divinity within ourselves.  

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

For more understanding, read “A Jesuit Pope? Understanding The Jesuit Agenda and the Evangelical/Protestant Church.”

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

“Pope Francis: Catholics Should Not Be ‘Obsessed’ With Speaking Against Homosexuality, Abortion”

ROME – In an article published on Thursday by the Italian magazine La Civilta Cattolica, Pope Francis explained that he believes the Roman Catholic Church needs to find a “new balance” in reaching unbelievers, rather than focusing on the issues of homosexuality and abortion.

During the lengthy piece, which covered a variety of topics, from being a Jesuit to the role of women in the church, Francis pointed back to comments he made last month when asked how Catholics can reach out to people who are divorced or involved in same-sex relationships.

“In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this,” he said. “During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ Click here to continue reading.


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