Roman Catholics losing their “sense of sin”
THE Vaticans newspaper, LOsservatore Romano, says that Roman Catholics are losing their “sense of sin”. This conclusion is based on the fact that many of them are taking mass without having had the sacrament of penance.
The sense of sin which is found in the thinking of Roman Catholics is a feeling of guilt which arises from the dread of punishment for certain sins. This comes very far short of the Biblical sense of sin which we all should have. This true sense of sin, wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, includes grief before God for having offended Him, hatred of ones sins of both heart and life, and turning from sin to God. Inseparably connected with this sense of sin is a hoping in the mercy of God in Christ and therefore trusting in Christ for salvation from the guilt and power of sin. Only in this way can sinners have peace with God and peace of conscience.
Never can a sinner obtain peace by the so-called sacrament of penance. Penance is the confession of sin to a priest and the priests pronouncement of absolution, together with the doing of good works, or the performing of acts of penance, stipulated by the priest. These, says a Roman Catholic catechism, lessen “the temporal punishment for sin and help to avoid a long stay in purgatory”. As Loraine Boettner says, “According to this view, God does not cancel out all the punishment due to the sinner when He forgives his sins. No limit is set to the works and services that can be demanded. The poor sinner is always left to the mercy of the priest.”
The sacrament of penance is an invention of Rome, not a requirement of God. May the day soon come when Roman Catholics world-wide will realise what Luther discovered in studying his New Testament: that Christ did not say, “Do penance,” but, “Repent and believe the gospel.”
Guidelines for Roman Catholic priests to prevent child-abuse scandals
THE Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has issued guidelines to ensure that “the dreadful disease” of child sex abuse within the church is stamped out. It is shocking in the extreme that a body that claims to be part of the Christian church has to take such steps. It has been forced to do so by such cases in Scotland as that of Canon Joseph Terry, who was found guilty of abusing young girls in Ballachulish and Kinlochleven; the priest Desmond Lynagh, who was jailed for abusing teenage boys; and the priest John Archibald, who was sent for church counselling after child abuse claims. Other cases in England, Austria and the USA could be cited.
Such great evil and gross uncleanness is a loud call to any in the Church of Rome who have ears to hear: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17).