Some may consider the picture of pope Francis photoshopped into the Godfather to be a bit much, but I thought it was appropriate for the first two stories:
For centuries, organized crime was the great benefactor of Catholicism as blood money poured into church coffers. The Mafia and the church once fit together like hand in glove. When pressed, Catholic spokespersons said of Mafia goons and labor union thugs, “We don’t ask them about their business, and they don’t ask us about ours.” Mafia dons were often pious churchmen and their weddings and funerals were officiated by leading prelates. Mafia killers were buried without a second thought in blessed Catholic cemeteries next to pedophile priests, while unbaptized babies, divorced remarrieds, and psychologically-disturbed suicide victims were barred. As the Mafia slides into obscurity, this “consideration” is far too little, way too late.
And while we’re speaking about organized crime, there was the papacy of pope Alexander VI – Rodrigo de Borja – who ruled from 1492 to 1503. The ABSOLUTE corruption of Rome under Borja and the aftermath hastened the rise of Luther and the other 16th-century Reformers through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m always encouraged when I read stories about Catholics buying Bibles and reading them. Hopefully, they’ll soften their hearts, accept Christ, and come out of religious legalism. But the fact remains that the “one true church” discouraged personal Bible reading and study for centuries. Catholic defenders claim their church gave the world the Bible and yet the church denied it to everyone but their clergy. If you read the Bible with an open heart and the Lord’s enlightenment you’ll understand why that was the case.
If you’ve been following Catholic news reports as I have this month – LGBTQ Pride Month – you’ve witnessed an overwhelming number of stories dealing with the Catholic church’s increasing acceptance of “alternative” lifestyles, not at the Vatican level but at the diocesan and parish levels.
Who would have thought Francis would be able to line up the Lutherans, Charismatics, and Pentecostals a lot more easily than the Eastern Orthodox. But the Patriarchs have long memories. They’re still smarting over the sacking of Constantinople by the infallible pope’s armies of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Too bad most Protestants have forgotten the past.
The four traditionalist cardinals – Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke and Joachim Meisner – are once again demanding that Francis clarify his ambiguous teaching in “Amoris Laetitia” regarding communion for remarrieds. Francis ingeniously, yes, INGENIOUSLY, circumvented previously “infallible” dogma via an obscure footnote in an effort to recover alienated remarrieds who were previously barred from communion. But the defenders of Wojtyla/Ratzinger-style ecclesiastical conservatism aren’t laying down without a fight. Oh, and Catholics are so comforted to know they are guided by an infallible, unified Magisterium?
Contemplating the level of corruption inside the Catholic church that enabled a murderous pedophile like father Joseph Maskell to die a free man, this ex-priest has nothing good to say. See my review of “The Keepers” here.
I’m actually encouraged by these continuing “pot shots” at Luther from the ultra-traditionalist Catholic website, Church Militant. They don’t get it. Luther would be the first to admit, it wasn’t about him and a religious institution, it was about Jesus Christ and the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Few contemporary Catholics relate to this type of pre-Vatican II militancy anymore. Eighty-percent of American Catholics can’t be bothered with attending obligatory mass every Sunday.
Imagine Roman Catholic crucifixes hanging in U.S. public school classrooms? That’s the case in Italy and in at least one other European “Catholic country” that I’m aware of; Poland. I obviously don’t agree with atheists on a lot of things but sponsorship of a particular religion by a tax-supported government institution in a democracy is totally untenable.
…And finally, for all my fellow Baptists out there, here’s a little fun from the Babylon Bee at our expense.