The Pope proposed as the universal primate
THE Pope is the overall authority in the Christian world. This is the conclusion of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), and shows that ecumenists are determined to put us all under the authority of the papacy. The commission, in its document The Gift of Authority, accepted that “if a new united Church was created, the Bishop of Rome would exercise a universal primacy”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, commenting on the commissions findings, accepted that only the Pope had the moral authority to unite the various Christian denominations. Moral authority? One cannot but wonder at the naivety and ignorance of the archbishop in attributing moral authority to a system which was and is notoriously corrupt. He added, “In a world torn apart by violence and division, Christians need urgently to be able to speak with a common voice, confident of the authority of the gospel of peace.” Woe betide Christianity when it will have the Pope as its spokesman! However, there will not only be a godly remnant always, but also true Christianity will prevail worldwide.
The commission also concluded that the Pope had a “specific ministry concerning the discernment of truth”. How preposterous when Rome is riddled with heresy and when the Pope, speaking with supposed infallibility, holds and teaches doctrines which are diametrically opposed to Scripture. The Anglican Bishop of Birmingham and co-chairman of ARCIC, said: “One faith was given by Christ and his apostles and what we are trying to do is rediscover that one common faith.” What the Bishop needs to do is go to the Bible to find for himself “the faith once delivered to the saints”.
The commission describes the Pope as a “gift to be received by all the Churches”. The Roman Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the other co- chairman, added: “The primacy of the Pope is a gift to be shared.” If the Churches receive this gift they will surely be denied the gifts which the great Head of the church procured for men by His atoning death. Rome has always withheld the free, full and sufficient salvation of the gospel from those under its authority, and has ever stood between sinners and the Saviour.
The Popes visit to Romania
THE Popes recent visit to Romania was the logical outcome of his 1995 ecumenical encyclical, Ut Unum Sint. In it he called on the Eastern Orthodox Churches especially, whose relations with the Papacy have been greatly strained since the end of the cold war, to unite with his Church by the end of the year 2000. The co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) said at the time that the encyclical brought in a springtime for ecumenism.
The springtime theme was echoed by the Pope last month, when thousands gathered in the Romanian capital of Bucharest to greet him. He said that after the winter of communist domination, a springtime of hope had begun. Certainly the Pope views the situation there as a springtime for the papacy, and sees his visit as an important step in what he calls teaching his Church “to breathe again with its two lungs the Eastern one and the Western one.” But history shows that where Rome begins to reign, winter has set in.
For leaders in government and the Church in the 90-per-cent Orthodox country, the Popes visit is viewed as necessary to enhance the countrys image, despite its continuing hostility to the Vatican. A Romanian religious commentator has said about the Orthodox leadership, “They are still convinced that the Pope is a great enemy, and they are afraid that he could fuel Catholic proselytism.” And, of course, nothing will satisfy the papal antichrist but to have all under its dominion, and to be accorded the place of supremacy which it arrogantly claims for itself.
Romes pseudo saints
HUNDREDS of thousands of “pilgrims” were in Rome at the beginning of last month for the beatification of the Capuchin friar, Padre Pio. Pio died in 1968, and has an enormous following in Italy.
Not only is exemplary holiness required in the person to be beatified, but also proof that a miracle has been performed by, or through, him or her. This is the first step, we are told, on the long road to sainthood in the Roman Church, and means that the person can now be declared “blessed”. The second and final step requires proof of a second miracle. Without two accredited posthumous miracles that person cannot be declared a saint (unless he or she was martyred). Such saints are not in this world but only in heaven, a fact that is proved, says Rome, by the posthumous miracles attributed to them. They are “models and intercessors”, whom the “faithful” are to imitate and pray to.
How contrary to the Word of God! The saints, as the sermon in this issue shows, are not just a few select believers, but all believers. They do not have to wait until they enter heaven before being regarded as saints, or pronounced “blessed”. Even while they are in this world of sin and sorrow they are declared by God Himself to be His saints and to be blessed indeed. True saints view as shocking and offensive the practice of praying to anyone other than God. They are saints not only because they are set apart to the Lord in conversion, but also because they walk constantly in the way of holiness, albeit not perfectly.
As for Padre Pio, the measure of his holiness may be gauged from the fact that the Church deprived him, for 11 years, of the public exercise of his priesthood and forbade him to speak to women, because he was reported to the Vatican to be guilty of fornication. Later, he claimed to have received the “stigmata” in his two hands (continuously bleeding sores which are blasphemously said to imitate the bleeding wounds of the Saviour), and was therefore greatly revered, but one priest, who was a doctor, said the stigmata had been self-inflicted with acid. That he was a charlatan is very evident from his ludicrous claim (believed by many of his followers) that in 1943, “when an aerial battle was in progress above his monastery, he soared into the sky to catch in his arms the pilot of a stricken Italian plane and bring him safely down to earth”! However, all criticism of him was dismissed in the beatification process, and the Pope himself, a devoted supporter of Pio, speeded up the beatification process.
The fact is that making saints and setting up shrines to them is a big money-spinner for Rome. Indeed, Pio already has a shrine devoted to him at San Giovanni Rotondo, in the toe of Italy, where his cult is now big business. This shrine is acquiring a reputation among Roman Catholics as a second Lourdes, and last year seven million people visited it. It is reckoned that the number will now reach nine million by the year 2000. The present Pope certainly has an eye to business he has beatified 819 people and canonised 283, accepted a total of 1,385 miracles, and has almost reached the point of making more saints than all his predecessors together!
The Pope continues his saint-making apace and has put “on the fast track to sainthood” such people as Pope John XXIII and Gonxha Bojaxhiu, otherwise known as Mother Teresa. As far as she is concerned, many people regard her as a saint. There are even some who claim to be Protestant and Reformed and who speak of her as as a Christian and one of the true saints. We were astonished to read the following words, written by the minister of St Peters Free Church congregation in Dundee, the Rev. David Robertson, on the Free Church of Scotland website. Commenting on the commemoration of the death of Princess Diana he said, “In the week after Dianas death, Mother Teresa died. One thing we do know about her is that she did give up her life to care for the poor. There were no millionaire boyfriends or palaces for her, only the simple conviction that she was doing what she did in the name of Christ. Will her death be commemorated by the great and good of our society this year? I doubt it. After all Mother Teresa was not a glamorous princess with a penchant for the media but simply a professing Christian who dared to take on, not just the good causes but also the uncomfortable ones like abortion. Who lived the more Christ-like life?”
Gonxha Bojaxhiu was much praised, of course, for her tireless work among the poor in Calcutta. However, she was a deluded devotee of Romanism who believed that her numerous works of charity would earn her a place in heaven. We are not suggesting that she did not feel for the poor, but she did adhere to the Romish idea of salvation by works, not the Biblical teaching of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Being Christ-like must begin with the new birth and faith in Christ, and where there is this there will be the abhorring of salvation by works. Only such a person is a saint.
The Popes blessing on Andreotti
THE Papacy can readily cosy up to criminals when that suits its agenda. That was very evident during the last war when fraternal relations were maintained between the Vatican and Hitler, despite Hitlers slaughter of millions of Jews.
It was evident again when the Pope formally blessed the former Italian Premier, Giulio Andreotti, in front of the large gathering at the recent beatification ceremony of Padre Pio, despite the fact that just two days earlier, prosecutors demanded a life imprisonment for Andreotti for the murder of an investigative journalist. In another trial, prosecutors are pressing for his conviction on Mafia-related charges.
The blessing was the Vaticans most dramatic show of support for Andreotti. “It has all the flavour of absolution,” said a Rome daily newspaper. The Vatican denies the papal blessing is an attempt to sway opinion in Andreottis favour. “The Holy See doesnt interfere in judicial matters,” said a Vatican spokesman. He is naive indeed who will believe that!
Abuse in Roman Catholic establishments
FIVE priests, one of them 87 years old, were charged last month with indecently assaulting ex-pupils of St Marys College, a Roman Catholic prep school in Stonyhurst, Lancashire. A former headmaster is also awaiting trial accused of indecent assault over 26 years. In Dublin a monk, Joseph Keegan, has been jailed for six years by a Dublin court for sexually abusing five boys over a nine-year period. And so the long catalogue of reports about abuse or alleged abuse by priests, nuns and others in Roman Catholic establishments in this country and abroad grows by the month.
The Irish government has recently apologised to child-abuse victims who suffered in Roman Catholic institutions supported by state funds. The Belfast News Letter reports that the Irish Premier, Mr Ahern, not only apologised but also announced that there will be a commission to inquire into all aspects of abuse, and that for the first time in the Irish Republic a register of sex offenders will be established. The Roman Catholic Christian Brothers order, which runs orphanages and other institutions, said it would cooperate with the Dublin government inquiry and face up to whatever findings are made.
When we think of how such evil conduct has been swept under the carpet in the past in that Rome-dominated state, we suspect that it is a mere fraction of the abuse inflicted on these poor victims which will come to the knowledge of the public in the short term. But Scripture reveals that the omniscient God will yet judge that great whore, the papal antichrist. “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication” (Rev. 19:1,2).