The Vatican and the Czech Republic
Roman Catholic spokesmen have lashed out against a decision of the Czech Parliament not to ratify the 2002 agreement between the Republic and the Vatican. Among other things the agreement provided for “the teaching of the [Roman] Catholic religion in schools, colleges and preschool centres”. “In this decision, a great dose of ignorance has counted”, maintained one spokesman. It “projects a bad image in the international context”, declared another.
Whatever the Parliament’s motivation, one can only be thankful that the agreement was not ratified. Concordats before the Second World War between the Vatican and nations such as Germany and Italy did nothing, to put it mildly, to promote religious freedom. By coming under the dominion of Rome, a country causes great harm to the souls of its people. If it had agreed to have its children and young people indoctrinated in the idolatrous teachings of Roman Catholicism, the Czech Republic would have done enormous damage to their spiritual well-being.Discussing Mary
In May a round-table discussion on “Mary and the Churches” took place in Rome between Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, and Protestant clergy. The Russian Orthodox representative’s comments illustrated the idolatrous nature of his Church’s theology. He referred to Mary as “the only being who is between the created and the uncreated” and claimed that “every prayer to God is also a prayer to Mary”. He also said, “Mary is omnipresent in prayer, the liturgy, iconography and, above all, in the Eucharist”.
The Roman Catholic representative claimed that “Mary is the being in whom the Father, through the Son, sole Mediator, continues to console and give grace”. But if Mary could give grace, she too would be a mediator, an idea which has no scriptural authority. She is simply a sinner saved by the grace of the one Mediator, “Jesus Christ the righteous”.
Neither of the above contributions to the discussion about Mary is unexpected. What is more disappointing is the Protestant contribution, from a professor at the Waldensian Faculty of Theology. The Waldenses had a noble history of resistance to Rome even before the Reformation, enduring centuries of fearful persecution. Now, though he stresses that, for followers of the Reformation, there are no mediators between God and humanity except Jesus Christ, this professor seems to wish to be as concessive as possible. “We pray with Mary, as Mary,” he says, “but not to Mary” – whatever he really meant. Mary, in common with the rest of the saints of God in heaven, no longer prays.