Pope Francis vs God

Dennis Prager discusses the very recent change to Catholic dogma by the SJW Pope — Pope Francis. I didn’t include a caller from a woman that goes to a Latin Mass perish… she said her priest rebuked the Pope’s change. I suspect these churches will grow. Looking forward to hearing input from my conservative minded Catholic friends and family. The ARTICLE Prager was reading from is partially excerpted below:

POPE FRANCIS AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

In a move that should surprise no one, Pope Francis has once again appeared to contradict two millennia of clear and consistent scriptural and Catholic teaching. The Vatican has announced that the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be changed to declare the death penalty “inadmissible” given the “inviolability and dignity of the person” as understood “in the light of the Gospel.”

There has always been disagreement among Catholics about whether capital punishment is, in practice, the morally best way to uphold justice and social order. However, the Church has always taught, clearly and consistently, that the death penalty is in principle consistent with both natural law and the Gospel. This is taught throughout scripture—from Genesis 9 to Romans 13 and many points in between—and the Church maintains that scripture cannot teach moral error. It was taught by the Fathers of the Church, including those Fathers who opposed the application of capital punishment in practice. It was taught by the Doctors of the Church, including St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church’s greatest theologian; St. Alphonsus Liguori, her greatest moral theologian; and St. Robert Bellarmine, who, more than any other Doctor, illuminated how Christian teaching applies to modern political circumstances.

It was clearly and consistently taught by the popes up to and including Pope Benedict XVI. That Christians can in principle legitimately resort to the death penalty is taught by the Roman Catechism promulgated by Pope St. Pius V, the Catechism of Christian Doctrine promulgated by Pope St. Pius X, and the 1992 and 1997 versions of the most recent Catechism promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II—this last despite the fact that John Paul was famously opposed to applying capital punishment in practice. Pope St. Innocent I and Pope Innocent III taught that acceptance of the legitimacy in principle of capital punishment is a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy. Pope Pius XII explicitly endorsed the death penalty on several occasions. This is why Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as John Paul’s chief doctrinal officer, explicitly affirmed in a 2004 memorandum:

If a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment… he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to have recourse to capital punishment.

Joseph Bessette and I document this traditional teaching at length in our recent book. For reasons I have set out in a more recent article, the traditional teaching clearly meets the criteria for an infallible and irreformable teaching of the Church’s ordinary Magisterium. It is no surprise that so many popes have been careful to uphold it, nor that Bellarmine judged it “heretical” to maintain that Christians cannot in theory apply capital punishment.

So, has Pope Francis now contradicted this teaching? On the one hand, the letter issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announcing the change asserts that it constitutes “an authentic development of doctrine that is not in contradiction with the prior teachings of the Magisterium.” Nor does the new language introduced into the catechism clearly and explicitly state that the death penalty is intrinsically contrary to either natural law or the Gospel.

On the other hand, the Catechism as John Paul left it had already taken the doctrinal considerations as far as they could be taken in an abolitionist direction, consistent with past teaching. That is why, when holding that the cases in which capital punishment is called for are “very rare, if not practically non-existent,” John Paul’s Catechism appeals to prudentialconsiderations concerning what is strictly necessary in order to protect society.

Pope Francis, by contrast, wants the Catechism to teach that capital punishment ought never to be used (rather than “very rarely” used), and he justifies this change not on prudential grounds, but “so as to better reflect the development of the doctrine on this point.” The implication is that Pope Francis thinks that considerations of doctrine or principle rule out the use of capital punishment in an absolute way. Moreover, to say, as the pope does, that the death penalty conflicts with “the inviolability and dignity of the person” insinuates that the practice is intrinsically contrary to natural law. And to say, as the pope does, that “the light of the Gospel” rules out capital punishment insinuates that it is intrinsically contrary to Christian morality.

To say either of these things is precisely to contradict past teaching. Nor does the letter from the CDF explain how the new teaching can be made consistent with the teaching of scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and previous popes. Merely asserting that the new language “develops” rather than “contradicts” past teaching does not make it so. The CDF is not Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, and a pope is not Humpty Dumpty, able by fiat to make words mean whatever he wants them to. Slapping the label “development” onto a contradiction doesn’t transform it into a non-contradiction….

[….]

Archbishop Charles Chaput, who is likewise opposed to applying the death penalty in practice, has nevertheless acknowledged:

The death penalty is not intrinsically evil. Both Scripture and long Christian tradition acknowledge the legitimacy of capital punishment under certain circumstances. The Church cannot repudiate that without repudiating her own identity.

If Pope Francis really is claiming that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, then either scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and all previous popes were wrong—or Pope Francis is. There is no third alternative. Nor is there any doubt about who would be wrong in that case. The Church has always acknowledged that popes can make doctrinal errors when not speaking ex cathedra—Pope Honorius I and Pope John XXII being the best-known examples of popes who actually did so. The Church also explicitly teaches that the faithful may, and sometimes should, openly and respectfully criticize popes when they do teach error. The 1990 CDF document Donum Veritatis sets out norms governing the legitimate criticism of magisterial documents that exhibit “deficiencies.” It would seem that Catholic theologians are now in a situation that calls for application of these norms.

(read it all)

Here was a helpful read comparing past Catechisms:

Francis Uses Junk Theology to End the Death Penalty

We must first examine the actual change, with close attention to the very choice of words in which condemnation of the death penalty is articulated. A close examination is required because very much may be at stake in terms of Catholic teaching, Catholic doctrinal tradition, the practice of the moral law, and the affects this change might have on the future of the pro-life movement.

Here are the three versions of the Catechism regarding the death penalty. The first 1992 edition taught:

2266: Preserving the common good of society requires rendering the aggressor unable to inflict harm. For this reason the traditional teaching of the Church has acknowledged as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty. For analogous reasons those holding authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the community in their charge.

The primary effect of punishment is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When the punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment has the effect of preserving public order and the safety of persons. Finally, punishment has a medicinal value; as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.

2267: If non-lethal means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

The 1997 2nd edition, Art. 2267, reaffirmed: “the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor…,” but added: “assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined.” Consistent with the 1992 version it stated: “If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”

Then the following paragraph was added:

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm—without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”68

This paragraph was added to reflect the teaching of John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae (EV) to which footnote 68 refers as the Church has progressively come to disfavor capital punishment. The moral licitness and even practice of the death penalty is upheld by the Church, while at the same time the 1997 Catechism encourages “non-lethal means” as such punishments are “more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.” The premise for the growing disfavoring of the application of capital punishment is well articulated in EV, Art 9“Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.” Simply put, the Church seeks to build a culture of life that includes respect even for those who commit the worst atrocities. Even so, John Paul II’s desire to advance respect for the lives of those who commit murder may have opened the door to the present pontiff’s change to the Catechism.

The Bergoglio Text

Here is the change Pope Francis has made to the CCC, Art. 2267:

Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes.  In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.  Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

Footnote 1 refers to Francis’s October 2017 address at a meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Both versions of the CCC have been scrapped and replaced with the above text. Most troubling is the complete absence of any recognition that the “traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty.” One may argue that the previous versions merely paid lip service to that tradition. However, that’s just the point! When it comes to doctrinal proclamations words are everything! At least the first two versions of the CCC did not ignore the fact that the application of the death penalty finds support in the Judeo/Christian religion as revealed by God…

[….]

The Church has never taught that the lives of those who commit heinous crimes are “inviolable” or that the death penalty is “not permitted.” This is all new. The culture of life may be advanced by the Bergoglio innovation, as well as the practice of the Gospel—but a junk theology has been foisted on the People of God in order to get us there.

(read more)

Pastor Robert Jeffress Defends Biblical View of Marriage

Christian pastor Robert Jeffress (from First Baptist Dallas) systematically destroys gay reverend Neil Cazares-Thomas’ (from the Cathedral of Hope) arguments point-by-point on same-sex marriage.

Related:

Eye for an Eye: One of the Greatest Ideas in History

Nowadays, many people, particularly those living in Western civilization, no longer regard their society as morally superior to any other. In this video, Dennis Prager lays out how this view does not spring from intellectual rigor, but from intellectual laziness.

SEE ALSO: Dennis Prager deals with the misconceptions related to skeptics charge against Deuteronomy 21:18-21. Many of these Torah verses are ripped from their historical and hermeneutic context (CARM Deuteronomy)

Is Penal Substitution Biblical?

This viewpoint has come under attack as of late. Here is a good “definition” from CARM:

  • Penal Substitution is a theological viewpoint within Christianity that maintains Jesus was legally punished in place of the sinners. That is, He took the place of the sinner. It is “penal” in that Christ suffered the penalty of the Law, taking the “penalty” of the Law. It was substitutionary in that Christ took our place on the cross when He bore our sins (1 Pet. 2:24) and became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21)….. Though there are varying views of the atonement, the Vicarious Substitutionary Atonement (Penal Substutionary Atonement) best explains the Scripture and most importantly, it probably relates the satisfaction of Law as a relates to the holiness of God.

The GOSPEL COALITION (AU) notes the importance of this view as The Heart of the Gospel

Light-n-Salt In A World of Politics

Just wanted to share this comment on Scripture from a 1987 book I am reading. Front and back cover follow the quote, click to enlarge.

2. Light and Salt

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

MATTHEW 5:13-16, KJV

Christ reminded the disciples of their twofold obligation: they were to be salt and light. The illustration of salt implies both the concept of a covenant people and a moral conscience in the culture at large. In the Old Testament salt was symbolic of a covenant (Num. 18:19). in ancient Greek and Arab societies, legal agreements were confirmed by eating bread dipped in salt. Jesus is suggesting that we who are his disciples are the salt of the earth—we are his covenant people. Salt was also utilized in ancient cultures for preserving and flavoring meat. Jesus seems to be implying that we are also a moral preservative and ethical conscience to ‘the society in which we live. As representatives of his righteous standards, we should be involved in preserving Judeo-Christian values as founda­tional for the health of the society in which we live.

Jesus also refers to us as the light of the world. Most commentators interpret this to mean that we have an evangelistic obligation to society. We are to shed the light of the gospel on the dark world around us. While this is certainly true, Jesus is also speaking of the light of our “good deeds” (v. 16). We are to be a moral conscience (salt), but at the same time we are to demonstrate that moral standard through our good deeds (light). In other words, we have no right to call for justice unless we are ourselves just in dealing with others….

  • Richard John Neuhaus, Gen. Ed., The Bible, Politics, and Democracy (Grand Rapids, MI: William J. Eerdmans Publishing, 1987), 10-11; from chpt 1, “The Bible, Politics, and Democracy,” by Edward Dobson.

The Protestant and Roman Catholic View of Justification

Many members of the Protestant church today do not understand properly their origins and the nature of their predecessors “protest” against the Roman Catholic Church. When asked about the respective differences, they may respond with some stereotypical answers such as, “I don’t worship Mary,” “I believe in justification by faith, not works,” or “The bread and wine of the Lord’s supper don’t really turn into the body of Jesus.” In this lesson, Dr. Sproul explains the real, serious points of doctrine at stake during Martin Luther’s timeframe and the Reformation, paying careful attention to the doctrine of justification and its place in Roman Catholic thought.

Would it surprise you to learn that current Roman Catholic doctrine declares all Protestants accursed? Remarkably, if probed, most Protestants would respond in disbelief to this proposition. Yet, it holds true, and the Roman church maintains the same stance today as it took in the sixteenth century at the Council of Trent. The major area of dispute at the council regarded the doctrine of justification, notably the role of faith in it. A thorough, clear understanding of justification remains imperative for a proper understanding of the differences between historic Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, and Dr. Sproul provides this clarification in today’s lesson.

Many people in contemporary culture shrink at the idea of double imputation inherent in the Protestant understanding of justification. That God would place others’ sins on His own Son while simultaneously declaring the guilty righteous on account of the merit of Christ defies reason and creates a form of “cosmic child abuse,” they say. Yet, this position demonstrates a serious flaw in reasoning, for the Father does not abuse His Son. On the contrary, our own wrongdoing rests upon Christ’s shoulders at the cross, and He bears this burden willingly for the sake of His flock. Furthermore, a position against double imputation seriously underestimates the love of God for His children. As Dr. Sproul will show in this lesson, it is a love that delivers sinners from the place of despair, and brings them into salvation.

Secular culture and even some professing evangelicals often describe God as an all-forgiving, cuddly being intent on accepting all people from all walks of life into his ever-accepting arms. As such, it advocates freedom to act in whatever way feels right, for if God is a god of love, surely He will never discriminate. This picture misses the mark absolutely. On the contrary, the heavenly Lord of Hosts demands rigid moral discipline from His creation. Although God alone acts in the justification of His children, after they enter into a state of grace He requires that they cooperate and fulfill his mandates and laws. Dr. Sproul explores the consequences of entering into a state of grace by the process of justification in this final lesson on Luther and the Reformation.

This is part of the “LUTHER AND THE REFORMATION” playlist.

Doctrinal Differences Still Matter Between Catholics and Protestants

Difference Between

Going to Heaven?

Do you want to see some theological white-washing (postmodern approaches to the Bible) of important issues facing the Church… that is, salvation through Christ Jesus… here Josh C. posted the following:

If faith without works is dead, and if works are acknowledged as a necessary result of faith, then quite frankly, what does it matter when God “justifies” us? This to me seems a matter of pure theory, in some ways unknowable by human beings. And yet it has divided masses of Christians who could otherwise be joining hand in hand to obey Jesus’ commandments in a world that needs such things. Real Christians have been stymied in the doing of real works for the sake of purely abstract mental constructs of which no man will ever have full knowledge. I find this an insult to the very spirit of Christianity. Jesus’ clear and unavoidable command of obedience, and his clear and unavoidable wish and prayer for unity, has been disavowed in favor of defeating other Christians on the battlefield of metaphysical abstractions! Nonsense.

I responded simply by saying: ‘I hope your OP was not about Catholic doctrine compared to Protestant.”

Stephen C. commented later by noting that,

Fighting 16th century debates that no one cares about any more is an utter waste of time and a slanderous representation of our Lord and his intents for his church and its testimony in the world.

To which Josh C. thumbed up (Facebook ya’ know). Here I responded with the following:

Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses claim Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was to merely remove Adam’s sin from us. And now they work towards building up their salvation through good works (differing levels of heaven for LDS or an opportunity to serve on a new earth for J-Dubs). Apologists and theologians rightly show that this is a misrepresentation of salvation in the Scriptures. So while I will invite these theological and dangerous cults into my home and discuss these issues… I cannot point out that infant Baptism in the Catholic Church removes Adam’s original sin and now Catholics get the opportunity to work towards lessening of time in Purgatory? That is an unimportant theological issue?

Josh clarifies a bit…

I think there are people on all sides who get it wrong. The point isn’t “there aren’t issues.” The point is people claiming to know with absolute certainty what I do not believe, even with the Bible, they can know. Even worse, and my main point, is the using of these debate points to divide people and break fellowship.

I respond to the above

My wife’s whole family is Catholic (accept for her dad). A person I admire greatly for his authorship converted (I posted on it here many years ago)

I understand about not dividing in issues of policy, politics, and relations. I also understand there are “Evangelical Catholics” who reject Mariology and the like. Fine. I treat everyone as individuals.

BUT, as an organisation, if a person were to believe doctrine as taught by the Roman Catholic Faith, or Eastern Orthodoxy… I would be as adamant as the Reformers that this doctrine is in the spirit of anti-Christ, as, it opposes the finished work of Calvary.

And?

Grace is another word for salvation and our status in sight of God being clothed with Jesus righteousness. Mary is not full of grace to be able to share with sinners. That is Christ’s (God’s) position alone to fill.

Am I suppose to not be able to express what the Bible teaches? Or how Jerome in the Latin Vulgate mistranslated a word and a pillar of Catholic doctrine is build on that false edifice (that the Greek corrects).

If that truth[s] divide, then so be it, but I am still close to my wife’s family ~ and her uncle, Father Joe, still asks me to convert at every family gathering (of which my wife is the oldest of about 44 grandkids/great-grandkids).

But on essential doctrine I do not budge. Sorry. 

  • In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love

BTW, I have a whole chapter (my largest) in my book on Evangelicals the get it wrong.

Mariology

Purgatory

The High Calling Of Parenting

In this third part of the summer “Family Series,” Pastor Jackson touches on where the parent/child relationship excels and fails Biblically, giving handy Scriptural reminders and useful tools to inculcate these “weighty measures” place on children and especially parents.

1) Biblical Roles in the Family
2) Worshipfully Prioritize Your Marriage by Faith!
3) The High Calling Of Parenting

Zacharias Ursinus | Caspar Olevianus (Heidelberg Catechism)

Zacharias Ursinus (1534-1583), a sixteenth century German theologian, born Zacharias Baer in Breslau (now Wroc?aw, Poland). Like all young scholars of that era he gave himself a Latin name from ursus, meaning bear. He is best known as a professor of theology at the University of Heidelberg and co-author with Caspar Olevianus (1536-1587) of the Heidelberg Catechism…. (THEOPEDIA)

The Heidelberg Catechism is a document used in Reformed churches to help teach church doctrine. It takes the form of a series of questions and answers to help the reader better understand the material. It has been translated into many languages and is regarded as the most influential Reformed catechism.

Elector Frederick III, sovereign of the Palatinate from 1559 to 1576, appointed Zacharias Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus, to write a Reformed catechism based on input from the leading Reformed scholars of the time. One of its aims was to counteract the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church regarding theology, basing each statement on the text of the Bible…… (THEOPEDIA)

To Raise Your Hands In Church, Or Not

This comes by way of MOD-BLOG and imported from my old BLOGSPOT blog (December 07, 2009).  After a discussion about the act of raising one’s hand’s I was preparing to blog on it… however, after reading Nomads post I am merely going to tout this post as something I cannot top or I would at the most equal.  So if it has already been done, why not give props where props are due.  Plus, I may be a bit lazy right now.

I come from a conservative background of the Protestant church tradition. My friends and family tend to be non-demonstrative lot at church, with little more than the occasional “A-men!” when we are REALLY moved. So, it has bothered me to see a particular phenomenon from the charismatic/pentecostal tradition starting to appear in church – the raising of hands. This action, usually done during singing, always seemed showy to me and distracting. But, it is important to separate “it bothers me” from “it is wrong.” So, I decided to do some research into the phenomenon, and see what the Bible had to say.

First, I found an amazing number of defenses of the practice online. The best explanation of why people lift their hands in worship came from HERE.

  • Lifting the hands is a symbol of surrender.
  • Lifting the hands is a symbol of trust.
  • Lifting the hands is a symbol of openness.
  • Lifting the hands is a symbol of affection.

The “surrender” symbolism is especially significant, it seems to me. In my own observation, I have noticed that the lifting of hands is especially common among women in the churches I have visited. Surrender is something that is culturally-appropriate for women in America – giving oneself to your husband, to your children, to your church, to your friends – but is less culturally-appropriate to the rugged individualism which governs men in our culture.

In looking through scripture, there appears to be three classifications for the raising of hands:

  1. Prayer (5 references): 1 Timothey 2:8Lamentations 3:40-42Psalm 28:1-2Psalm 141:1-2Nehemiah 8:5-6;
  2. Worship (2 references): Psalms 63:3-4Psalm 134:1-3;
  3. Study (1 reference): Psalm 119:48.

Going by the pure number of references, it is clear scripture favors the raising of hands as a posture of PRAYER over worship. However, it is equally clear that scripture does call for the lifting of hands in worship. One interesting note from the same article listed above may be significant in this.

The Hebrew word for hand is the word yad; yadah means to “throw out the hand” or to worship with extended hands.

Which may indicate that the extension of hands to an object of adoration is simply an assumption of Hebrew culture.

Another article noted one other aspect of the raising of hands – which C.S. Lewis also applies to kneeling in The Screwtape Letters – is that movements and positions of the body influence the attitude of the mind and heart.

[Another] article which makes the claim that all raising-of-hands references in the old testament are related to the sacrificial system, and thus are inappropriate to a Christian world where sacrifices have been fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Christ. The author dismisses the 1 Timothy 2:8 scripture as a figurative passage asking for “clean hands” of Christians.

Overall, the middle road here appears to be that the raising of hands is a Biblical practice. It is permitted and encouraged by Scripture, but is not commanded or required. This article does a good job of summarizing what I have come to: worshiping with lifted hands is appropriate and scriptural, but should be done with an eye toward its potential impact on others around you. If you are in a service with people who will find it distracting, or who will be tempted toward showing off, then keep your hands down. If you are in a service where people are comfortable or ambivalent to the practice, go right ahead.

For me, this study has been a comfort. It reminds me that my own prejudices should not rule how I view others, or their relationship with God. Surely, some raise their hands to be showy. But others do so with sincere hearts, looking to praise God and obey scripture.