News clippings

Just about every day I scan the internet for interesting news stories about thenews Catholic church. I collect a lot of reports but I don’t always have the bandwidth to write in length about each of them. So here’s a collection below of important, recent reports, grouped by topic, with some very brief headings written by me:

Catholic conservatives continue to grow increasingly frustrated with pope Francis. Where is this all heading? There’s some traditionalists openly calling for Francis to resign.

The Catholic hierarchy continues in its efforts to recover the “separated brethren.”

The shameful pedophile priest scandal and cover-up continues.

Several days ago, I reported that pope-emeritus, Benedict, was bemoaning the fact that Catholicism planted the seeds of its own decline by declaring at Vatican II and afterward that everyone – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Protestants, and atheists – could go to Heaven if they were “good” (see here). In response to Benedict’s remarks, an unbeliever wrote an article below asking why anyone would waste another second of their lives in a Catholic church pew if all “good” people are going to Heaven; a question I have asked MANY times in this blog. Evangelicals who embrace Catholicism as a Christian church need to repent and stand up for the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. If this atheist can see what’s going on, why are some evangelicals so blind?

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26 thoughts on “News clippings

  1. I saw Spotlight last night and I was dumbfounded. My 10 year asked what I was watching, I told him and he said oh yea I saw the previews for that ..that’s so horrible! How could priests not be punished? He toes on to say, I hope they know God will punish them and all the ones who hid it too. Mind you, he’s a very mature 10 year old. He later says ..no wonder people lose faith in God. I said I know..it’s sad. He then goes about his merry business. It just rips your heart out that so many were abused and so many went unpunished.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Andi. That movie was excellent – and so disturbing – but it still only caught just a speck of the pain and anguish suffered by thousands. As you mention, I think many Catholics accept Christ in spite of their church’s official teaching but this scandal turned off many to spiritual things completely. I’ve enjoyed your several references to your son. He sounds like he has much wisdom for one so young.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Very disturbing..and yes I wished it had delved more into the pain they caused..I know it’s a touchy subject but it’s very real. And thank you..he’s my special boy..to top it off his name is Anjel. I somehow don’t think that was a coincidence. Bless you Tom!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Because of its celibacy rule Catholicism obviously attracted men with psychological issues or it turned them over time. I was an altar boy for 4 years and I had the sense that several of the priests were not regular guys.

      Hey, great name for a boy who loves the Lord! Thank you, Andi! Lord bless you,too!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They set those priests up like they were Jesus. In the old days people used to kiss their hands. Such an abuse of trust but the system was rotten from within. So glad your little guy gives you such joy!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks SO much, Maria! And thanks also for your blog ministry. Your encouraging words were like a cool drink on a hot day after an exchange I had with another blogger. Long story short, I stumbled across the blog of an ex-catholic evangelical who’s very critical of certain aspects of Catholicism but maintains it’s still a Christian church and that most Catholics “believe” and “trust” in Jesus. Ach! The majority of evangelicals have this mindset nowadays but it’s a little unsettling to hear it from one who came out of Catholicism.

      Lord, help us to follow You in all we do, replacing our own will with Yours.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tom, I’d like to continue our discussion just a bit, if you don’t mind. I don’t want to quibble neither, just to seek understanding. I have been struggling with the issue of whether or not Catholics are saved since I picked up Loraine Boettner’s Roman Catholicism almost 30 years ago and started getting Dave Hunt’s Berean Call. I am at the place now where I do believe a Catholic who believes Jesus is God and Lord and submits to him is saved – Romans 10:9 (and by the way, I didn’t say “most” Catholics believe and trust in Jesus – I have no idea what percentage do). But I am still open to considering opposing viewpoints because I just want to know the truth.

        You yourself admitted that “many Catholics have accepted Christ” and that “MOST [but not all] set about trying to merit their salvation as their church teaches them they must do.” So it sounds like you agree that it is possible to be Catholic and a true Christian. Correct me please if I misunderstood.

        If that’s true, then it’s the doctrine and practices of the Roman Catholic Church that you take issue with, as do I. But the fact that they uphold the New Testament as divinely inspired, and preach and teach Jesus as Christ, Savior and Lord…the same Jesus that’s revealed in the NT that you and I also believe in, I believe qualifies them as being a “Christian” church.

        There are Protestant denominations that preach and teach doctrines that I believe are contrary to Scripture, and it’s certainly clear that the denominations disagree with each other about some pretty important doctrines. Should they be accusing each other of not being Christian?

        My point is, the RCC needs to be called out for her erroneous teachings but saying that it’s not a Christian church is going too far, I think. And if Ravi Zacharias doesn’t address the errors in the RCC it’s because he believes his calling is preaching Christ…preaching Truth…knowing that even within the Catholic Church he can be found and believed on. And because he knows that a solid foundation in knowledge and belief in the Truth will naturally expose the opposite. I often refer to the analogy of how those in the business of identifying counterfeit money are trained by immersing them in the details of the real thing so that the fake will naturally stand out.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Caroline, thanks for the comment. Please allow me to start off with some basics just so I can try to make my point.

        What is the “Good News” of Christianity? Hopefully we can both agree that:
        * We are separated from God by sin and deserve eternal judgement.
        * God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins.
        * Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all who accept Him as their Savior by faith.

        We cannot stand before a Holy God with our own righteousness because we have none. We have no plea of our own. But when we accept Christ we are covered by His perfect, imputed righteousness. Our trust is ONLY in Him and what He has done.

        All genuine evangelical churches teach the above as THE Gospel despite the many secondary doctrinal differences (more on those below).

        But does Roman Catholicism teach the same Gospel? It’s true, Rome also teaches we are separated from God by our sin and that God the Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins. But what does Rome teach regarding HOW to appropriate the gift of salvation offered by Christ? Rome says its sacraments confer grace upon the recipient, enabling that person to avoid acts of sin. Rome says Christ’s righteousness is not imputed to us but that its sacramental grace is “infused” into the recipient’s soul and it is then up to the Catholic to remain in this “state of grace” by obeying all of the Ten Commandments and church rules.

        If you’re a sinner saved by grace as I am, you know you can’t possibly obey the Ten Commandments in thought, word, and deed, for even a single day. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 5:21-30 that no one can successfully obey the law, but the Catholic church makes it a requirement that one MUST be in a (mortal) sinless state of grace in order to merit Heaven. That’s NOT good news, that’s VERY BAD news for the practicing Catholic. A Catholic commits the “sin of presumption” if they say they are already saved. Since salvation for Catholics is based on successfully obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules, their bottom line can’t be tallied until after the moment of death. Catholics faithful to their church’s teaching all die in fear and uncertainty because their salvation is based upon themselves.

        Catholics point to many verses in the Bible regarding obedience. Yes, the Lord requires that we follow Him in obedience and charity but we must first accept Him as Savior. And even then, we will never be able to perfectly obey Him in this life.

        Jesus presented the difference between His Gospel and the gospel of Roman Catholicism in Luke 18:9-14. The despised tax collector had absolutely no plea of his own – zero, none, zilch – but begged the Lord to save him. In contrast, the Pharisee thinks he obeys the Law pretty well, he can plead his case all day. Several of the many Catholics who have written this blog have stated that they obey the Ten Commandments pretty well and that I’m being too hard on myself. They correctly speak for their church’s official teaching.

        As I stated before, some Catholics surely accept Christ in spite of their church’s official doctrines. They know they can’t measure up to Catholicism and throw themselves at the feet of Christ, begging for His mercy. But the official teachings of Roman Catholicism do not lead to salvation. Unfortunately, people like Zacharias do not make the distinction and infer standard Catholicism is legitimate. Evangelicals in the past had no problem publicly distinguishing between the Gospel of grace and Rome’s works salvation. Rome has not changed its foundational, Tridentine doctrines despite the window dressings of Vatican II, so why are some of today’s evangelical leaders like Zacharias so deferential, accommodating, and compromising when it comes to the foundational errors in Rome’s salvation theology? Zacharias does Catholics and Christians a HUGE disservice by blurring the Gospel of grace.

        I’m very familiar with the unfortunate counterfeit analogy and wrote about it below:
        https://excatholic4christ.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/really-dumb-advice/

        Given the current state of evangelicalism, with men like Joel Osteen receiving great admiration, there’s little regard or tolerance for anyone who speaks up and asks, “But what about…?”

        Just one more point about the secondary doctrinal issues. Praise the Lord for all the Reformers who tried to return the church to simple faith in Christ alone. It took successive generations of Reformers to remove remaining vestiges of Roman tradition and legalism. If it weren’t for the Reformers, we’d all still be living in an autocratic church state with zero religious freedoms and only an underground Gospel. Multiple denominations are the fallout from all that but I see it as a good thing. The Holy Spirit has done His most powerful work in an unorganized patchwork and hodgepodge of genuine faith, NOT in a monolithic, autocratic, religious institution which “converted” people at the point of a sword.

        Praise the Lord for the men and women who still take a stand for the Gospel of grace!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen! Having set our hand to the plough, there’s no looking back, something this former Catholic you spoke to needs to realize. So glad to encourage you, Tom!
    Am reading through these articles and grateful to learn but getting a little upset. To read about the Counter-Reformation at a Catholic site is difficult, though necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Maria. The Catholic writer in the Counter-Reformation article basically says, hey, we ‘ve moved past our strident inflexibility so why do you Protestants continue to obstinately refuse to return to the fold? A percentage of evangelicals will agree with him.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aletia’s a “good” source for Catholicism’s bad information. Reading articles about the Catholic church reminds me of when I used to view things through religious and worldly understanding before I accepted Christ.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Crux is good also. For a change of pace I also like to check out remnantnewspaper.com, churchmilitant.com, and lifesitenews.com, all traditionalist Catholic sites that have little use for Francis.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know where you’re coming from, Tom, and I share your commitment to the truth of the gospel as you’ve outlined it. I appreciate your comments and you are helping me continue to work through this confounding matter of the RCC’s commitment to Christ as Savior and Lord while seemingly denying the sufficiency of his sacrificial work.

    But I am still not convinced that we should deny the Catholic Church a place at the table. They preach Christ crucified who died for the sins of the world and rose victorious over sin and death. I don’t know that their misrepresentation of how one obtains salvation is enough to disqualify her.

    Don’t get me wrong…when I have the opportunity in a personal relationship I point out how the RCC has deviated from the pure gospel. But if a family member or friend is disinclined to leave the church but is submitting to Jesus as Savior and Lord, I consider them a brother or sister in Christ.

    I think about the church in Galatia that Paul wrote to. Yes, he said they were believing a different gospel, but he still seemed to be addressing them as fellow Christians. What is your take on his words to them in the book of Galatians?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Caroline, thanks for your additional thoughts. Sorry for the delay. I had to recharge my batteries a bit before responding.

      Back in the 1950s, evangelicals were generally united and forthright in their criticism of Catholicism’s salvation theology and many of its other doctrines. But in the 60s, the approach began to change. Many thought dialogue and cooperation would be more advantageous in the long run instead of conflict and confrontation, especially in light of the apparent concessions made by Rome at Vatican II. Southern Baptist theologian, James Leo Garrett, spoke for many evangelicals when he wrote in 1965 that he hoped dialogue with Rome would encourage further “renewal” and the eventual “extirpation of the pagan and the peculiarly Roman elements in Roman Catholicism.”

      Since then there’s been many discussions between evangelicals and Catholics regarding how one is justified before God, most notably, Chuck Colson’s “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” ecumenical project in the 1990s. Both sides in that effort could firmly agree that salvation is by “God’s grace through faith” but Catholics could not add “alone” after “faith” because, as you know, they believe a person must also “cooperate with grace” and obey the Ten Commandments and church rules in order to merit their salvation. So this extremely important disagreement was left on the table with no final resolution in sight. The participants celebrated that they could at least agree that salvation is by “God’s grace through faith” but was the Truth really being served by such an obscure, ambiguous declaration?

      As we both agree, a person is not saved by a doctoral in theology, people are saved by placing their complete trust in Christ. Surely many Catholics are trusting in Christ alone because they are following God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than their church’s standard theology. I would hazzard that evangelical theologians “generally” agree that Catholic salvation theology is not correct. Some say, Yes, they’re wrong, but let’s not make a big stink about it; let’s just keep preaching the genuine Gospel and let God do the work. Zacharias and William Lane Craig would be advocates of that approach. Others – Sproul, McArthur, Horton, etc. – say both Catholics and evangelicals are done a disservice if we keep quiet about the errors in RC salvation theology. If the errors are not confronted, those who adhere to standard Catholic theology will think they’re doing just fine. Souls are at stake. Why perpetuate the error by keeping silent? Of course, in this day of watered down doctrine there are also some evangelicals who have jettisoned doctrine altogether and say that Catholics also believe in God and “love Jesus” so why nitpick?

      Sproul does a nice job in addressing the major differences in justification/salvation theology in a couple of books if you’re interested.

      I definitely oppose the attitude that says all Catholics are going to hell. Some Catholics have surely put their complete trust in Christ although it baffles me why such a person would remain in a church that teaches salvation must also be merited. But every Christian’s journey is different.

      Galatians is such wonderful testimony to the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone and I’m so glad you mentioned it because it’s so pertinent to our discussion. Yes, Paul addresses the Galatians as brothers and sisters in Christ in hope. Some people had entered the church insisting that adherence to the Law was required for salvation (similar to Catholicism). Paul addressed the church in general, hoping they would not give place to this false doctrine and allow it to spread. Let’s look at Peter. He certainly believed in salvation by faith in Jesus alone but he was a bit wishy washy in his application and Paul had to give him a public dressing down in defense of the pure Gospel (Galatians 2:11-16). Peter was certainly still a brother in Christ when he declined to eat with Gentiles, but his actions could have led others to believe in a different gospel of works salvation. That is what Paul was warning against. Peter’s accommodation could have led to terrible consequences. Similarly, I believe the accommodation of some of today’s evangelical leaders has also led to very bad consequences. Zacharias could never convince me his approach best upholds the Gospel, likewise I could never convince him. But Paul was forthright in his rebuke of those who preached a different gospel and of those who accommodated them and we should follow his example.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. You’ve got a blog post here if you haven’t already made it one. 🙂 I certainly wish more evangelical Christian leaders would address the problems with Roman Catholic theology, but I won’t criticize them without knowing their individual views about it. You and I have less influence but that makes it easier to be more direct. Let’s keep doing what we’re doing because we do have an impact, I’m sure. And I look forward to your future posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Caroline. I can easily get “carried away” on this subject. I get a little frustrated with evangelicalism’s accommodation but the Lord’s on His throne and I’ll just keep following His leading. I look forward to your posts as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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