Catholic radio host won’t answer question about pope Francis in forthright manner

Part of my daily routine at work is to listen to one hour of Catholic talk radio. While I wouldn’t recommend that activity to someone who has recently accepted Christ and come out of Roman Catholicism, I do it to stay abreast of what’s going on in the RCC and to pick up material for this blog.

I used to listen to a local Catholic talk show broadcast out of Buffalo, but after they changed formats and experimented for a couple of months with material that was very critical of pope Francis, they did an abrupt about-face and returned to uncontroversial (and very boring) topics. I then switched to the “Called to Communion” show on EWTN radio with host, David Anders (photo above), who attempts to proselytize Protestants and lapsed Catholics. I’d been listening to Anders for over eight weeks and hadn’t once heard him address the controversies surrounding pope Francis…until just now.

I was listening to the 5/22/18 podcast of “Called to Communion” and at the 42:31 mark, Nancy from Rockingham, North Carolina called in with a concern. She cited the recent news reports that the German Catholic bishops were debating the acceptability of intercommunion with Protestants, always a forbidden practice according to official Catholic teaching. But rather than issue a ruling on the argument, pope Francis directed the German bishops to work out a solution for themselves. Nancy then asked Anders…

“If the Holy Father lets the German people, for example, bishops, decide about spouses that are non-Catholic receiving the eucharist, what does that say or do to people who are attracted to the Catholic church by (its) authoritative teaching?”

Ah! Wonderful question! Nancy has put her finger on the very essence of the recent controversies over Catholicism’s claims to papal infallibility and the inability of the pope to lead the church into doctrinal error in light of Francis’ heterodoxy. I had been patiently waiting for this question for eight weeks! How would Anders respond?

For the next 6 minutes and 34 seconds, Dr. Anders danced around Nancy’s question. He said popes only speak definitively and dogmatically on issues of faith and morals when they speak ex cathedra – from the chair of Peter – and that Catholics are not bound to follow the pope when he is not speaking ex cathedra. This is sheer obfuscation. Popes have issued thousands of bulls, decrees, letters, and encyclicals over the centuries (240 encyclicals in the last 150 years alone) and Catholics were always obliged to obey their pontiff. Papal infallibility wasn’t defined until 1870. Did Catholics feel free to ignore the pope’s declarations and commands prior to 1870? Nonsense. Advising Catholics to obey the pope only if he speaks ex cathedra is conservative Catholics’ way of dealing with Francis’ heterodoxy without openly calling for schism and rebellion.

Dr. Anders, Nancy from Rockingham, North Carolina contacted you with an extremely important question, but when she hung up the phone she was no clearer about the answer than prior to her call. But why would anyone be surprised by Anders’ circumspection? You’ll never catch a low-level marketing executive publicly badmouthing his company’s CEO.

Postscript: Given the entire 1500-year history of the Catholic church, Catholic theologians can only agree on the infallibility of three papal decrees: The Immaculate Conception of Mary (1854), Papal Infallibility (1870), and the Assumption of Mary (1950). What is the use of having allegedly infallible popes if they almost never speak infallibly? It’s all a ruse.

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An Invitation to Examine Catholicism in the Light of Scripture

Test All Things: An Invitation to Examine Your Catholic Faith in the Light of Scripture
By Joseph Mizzi
PDF Download, 2005, 126 pages

Joseph Mizzi of the island nation of Malta has written this excellent primer on the differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity. Mizzi was raised in a devout Catholic family, but was taken aback when his brother trusted in Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone and left the family religion. Joseph set about to study the Scriptures himself with the aim of persuading his brother to return to Catholicism, but also ended up accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone.

This book avoids heavy theological jargon and appeals to the Catholic layperson in a winsome, loving manner. Scripture passages are plentiful. Chapter headings are as follows:

  1. What Will It Profit A Man?
  2. God’s Word Is Truth
  3. Built Upon Christ
  4. Guilty!
  5. Justified!
  6. Baptism
  7. Forgiveness
  8. Purgatory
  9. The Sacrifice Of Christ
  10. The Eucharist
  11. Jesus, Our Priest
  12. My Soul Magnifies The Lord
  13. One Mediator
  14. Salvation Is Not By Works
  15. Jesus Is The Way

For a free PDF download of “Test All Things,” see here.

“A friend of mine explained (Catholicism’s salvation system) in a simpler way. “God did his part. Now it’s up to you to do your part too.” I used to believe this, and did my utmost to “do my part” but never did I find rest and peace for my soul. How could I know whether I’ve done enough? If I die, would I go to heaven or would I go to hell? These doubts held me captive in a gloomy prison cell, and I know many Catholic friends who are in the same predicament.” – page 103.

Mizzi maintains the website below, which has a large amount of information for Roman Catholics who are searching for the truth about salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

Just for Catholics
http://www.justforcatholics.org/

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

May the Lord bless you in your search for the truth.

Does 2 Timothy 1:16-18 teach Purgatory?

Catholicism differs in many respects from Biblical Christianity, including its belief in Purgatory. The Catholic church defines Purgatory as “a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating (i.e., atoning for) their sins before going to Heaven.” Catholicism teaches that even one unconfessed mortal (i.e., major) sin on the soul dooms a person to Hell, while venial (i.e., small) sins or any residual temporal punishment remaining after confession must be expiated in Purgatory. However, references to Purgatory can neither be found explicitly or implicitly in Scripture. Catholic apologists, of course, argue that the doctrine is based on Scripture.

The other day I was listening to my daily dose of Catholic talk radio via the “Called to Communion” radio show with host David Anders and a listener called in asking where Purgatory could be found in the Bible. Anders responded by saying the doctrine of Purgatory and praying for the dead can be found in 2 Maccabees 12:38-46. See here.

While the Roman Catholic church accepts 2 Maccabees and the other books of the Apocrypha (1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon), Baruch, Tobit, Judith, and additions to Daniel and Esther) as Scripture, the Jews of ancient Israel never embraced those materials as Scripture and, likewise, Jesus and the Apostles never quoted from them. Besides, the dead soldiers cited in the passage had been participating in gross idolatry, a “mortal” sin according to Catholic dogma, so they would have been disqualified from Purgatory anyway.

But wait! Anders also claimed the apostle, Paul, refers to Purgatory in 2 Timothy 1:16-18. Let’s take a look at that passage:

“16) May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17) but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18) may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.”

But is this passage referring to Purgatory? Let’s look at John MacArthur’s exegesis of this passage from “The MacArthur Bible Commentary,” 2005, p. 1805:

1:16 Onesiphorus. One of Paul’s loyal coworkers who had not deserted Paul, but befriended him in prison and was not ashamed or afraid to visit the apostle there regularly and minister to his needs. Since Paul asks Timothy to greet those in his house (4:19), the family obviously lived in or near Ephesus.

1:17 when he arrived in Rome. Onesiphorus was perhaps on a business trip, and the text implies that his search involved time, effort, and possibly even danger.

1:18 that day. This is also called the “Day of Christ,” when believers will stand before the judgement seat and be rewarded (Phil. 1:6, Phil. 1:10, 1 Cor. 3:13, 2 Cor. 5:10, 1 Pet. 1:5).

Catholicism errs greatly by confusing the judgement seat of Christ (the Bema Seat), where the works of saved believers will be judged, with the Great White Throne Judgement where the unsaved will be judged in their sins and condemned to Hell.

Claiming from 2 Timothy 1:16-18 that Onesiphorus is dead and in Purgatory and that Paul is praying for him is forcing-a-square-peg-through-a-round-hole eisegesis. Onesiphorus was alive at the time Paul wrote 2 Timothy and the apostle was praying that Onesiphorus be rewarded at the Bema Seat for his service and was also praying for his family back in Ephesus for their sacrifice in his absence.

Over the centuries, Rome, with its works gospel of sacramental grace and merit, created an elaborate system with regards to Purgatory involving indulgences, the church’s treasury of merit, and prayers for the dead. But believers know that God’s Word mentions only two afterlife destinations for the dead; Heaven and Hell.

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” – 2 Cor. 5:6-8

There is no “middle place” for the punishment of small sins. “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it” – James 2:10. Purgatory is a man-made creation meant as a “safety net” for credulous works religionists. There is only Heaven and Hell. We are all sinners and none of us can merit Heaven. Repent of your sin and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone.

What does the Bible say about Purgatory?
https://www.gotquestions.org/purgatory.html

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/26/18

Is Jesse Duplantis (photo left next to a Dassault Falcon 7X jet) the only big-name prosperity gospeler on TBN who still doesn’t have a private jet? Of course, such flamboyant ostentatiousness doesn’t bother the credulous folks who send in money via their maxed credit cards. Those mansions and jets are proof that they can also live their “best life now” if they only send in their seed money and pray with enough faith.

Pope Francis is guilefully opening the door to intercommunion with Protestants just like he guilefully lifted the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. Conservatives are upset, but Francis knows that slavish devotion to sectarian doctrine limits Catholicism’s ability to retain members and captain the ecumenical and interfaith movements.

Despite Francis’ heterodoxy, conservative prelates like Burke are still reluctant to openly call for schism or rebellion, so they couch their words in carefully coded euphemisms.

Mike Gendron’s warnings about Catholicism and Islam are spiritually sound, but this left-wing virtual rag interprets them as far-right religious wackiness. What a surprise.

I would hazard a guess that C.S. Lewis is quoted more often from American evangelical pulpits than any other modern figure because pastors think that quoting Oxford academicians imparts an air of intellectual superiority. The author of this article rightly points out that Lewis deviated from Biblical orthodoxy on several counts, but is still too tolerant in my opinion. See my “the emperor has no clothes” post on Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” here.

Pope Francis seems to be in good health for an eighty-one-year-old, but for how much longer? In the mean time he’s “stacking the deck” for the next papal election so that a like-minded progressive will carry on his reforms.

I was aware of the “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word” documentary, which was released in theaters on May 18th, but not “Beyond the Sun” starring Francis as himself, which was released on May 15th. My, Francis continues to enhance his celebrity throughout the world (except among Catholic conservatives).

Francis is publicly acknowledging the Catholic church’s plummeting vocations to the priesthood because he’s greasing the skids for future reforms: married priests and female deacons.

Relatively few Catholics could explain their church’s complicated and un-Biblical indulgence system, which allegedly shortens the time a soul has to suffer in un-Biblical Purgatory. Stay tuned for a post on Purgatory next week.

Some people absolutely abhor the “turn around and shake some hands” moment at Sunday service. A few people defiantly take a seat so they don’t have to participate. I rather like the greeting time myself. How about you?

CBS not giving up on “faith-based” entertainment

I have some news about a couple of “faith-based” television shows, one on the way out and one on the way in.

Living Biblically
CBS

I previously reviewed the first eight episodes of “Living Biblically,” which ran on CBS from February through April on Monday nights. The comedy was about Chip, a “lapsed” Catholic, who decides to get serious about his religion and live his life “one-hundred-percent according to the Bible” with “laughable” results. The only redeeming quality of the show, if you could call it that, was that it accurately portrayed Catholicism’s “good people go to Heaven” false gospel.

With the final five episodes still in the can, CBS cancelled the low-rated show in mid-April. However, I’ve just learned that the network will allow the series a “last hurrah” by airing the final five episodes according to the following schedule:

  • Never Let Loyalty Leave You – May 28th
  • Submit to Thy Husband – June 4
  • Thou Shalt Not Covet – June 11
  • It’s Better to Give Than to Receive – June 18
  • David and Goliath – June 25

All of these dates are Mondays and I’m assuming all broadcast times will be at 9:30 p.m. EST as it was previously.

The “Never Let Loyalty Leave You” episode scheduled for this coming Monday, May 28th, looks intriguing. The summary states, “Father Gene is jealous when he finds out that Chip attended Vince’s Baptist church to see another side of religion.” I expect a good dose of “whatever works for you” ecumenism.

Reviews to follow.


Evidently, CBS did not learn its lesson from “Living Biblically” and is coming out with another faith-based comedy show in the Fall titled…

God Friended Me
CBS, Fall 2018 (premier date and time not yet available)

The advertised premise of the new, one-hour show is as follows:

“Brandon Micheal Hall stars in a humorous, uplifting drama about Miles Finer (Hall), an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.”

That’s certainly a wacky premise and I imagine the god that’s presented on this show will be something akin to the New Age, feel-good, false deity that we saw on Roma Downey’s “Touched by an Angel” rather than the God of the Bible. But the Holy Spirit can certainly use a show like this to get people thinking and draw people to the Lord. See the preview video below:

 

 

Ex-Novice Critically Examines Roman Catholicism

Catholic Concerns: Where Does the Road to Rome Lead?
By Mary Ann Collins
IUniverse, 2008, 272 pages

If you browse through a Christian bookstore these days, there’s an excellent chance you won’t see any critical examinations of Roman Catholicism on the shelves. Why not? The ecumenism that’s rampant today is intolerant of anyone who is so “uncharitable” as to suggest that Rome teaches a different gospel.

But there are MANY resources available that expose Rome’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit, you just have to know where to look (see here for my books list and here for my list of links).

Occasionally, I stumble upon a book that’s available as a free PDF download, like “Catholic Concerns” by Mary Ann Collins. Ms. Collins was a secular humanist who eventually converted to Catholicism and spent two years as a postulant and novice nun. Advised by her religious “superiors” that religious life wasn’t for her, she left the convent, began attending Protestant services, and eventually accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior by faith alone.

Between 2003 and 2010, Collins self-published eight books on Roman Catholicism and maintained a website, CatholicConcerns.com (no longer functioning).

“Catholic Concerns” is a very good overview of the differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity from a “layperson’s” perspective. Collins is not a theologian or an academic, just a born-again believer in Christ who has a sincere heart for lost Catholic souls. The writing is unpolished to a degree and the material begs for professional editing, but every Roman Catholic and evangelical would greatly benefit by reading this book. This isn’t an angry and hateful harangue against Catholicism from a bitter ex-member, but a loving invitation to Catholics to “Come, see a Man” (John 4:29).

Chapters:

  1. Competing Worldviews
  2. Mixing Catholicism with Non-Christian Religions
  3. Mary Worship
  4. The Eucharist (Catholic Communion)
  5. Wide Variety in Catholic Beliefs
  6. Who Gave Us the Bible?
  7. Was Peter the Pope?
  8. Invalid Popes
  9. Reflections on Unpleasant History
  10. The Birth of the Roman Catholic Church
  11. Tradition
  12. Infallibility
  13. Faith versus Works
  14. The Good Thief
  15. Ecumenism
  16. Faith Under Fire
  17. Appendices A-G

To access a free PDF of “Catholic Concerns” see here.

I usually prefer to read hard copy if I can, so I printed out the PDF double-sided and had it spiral bound at Staples for $6.00.

Enjoy and be blessed!

Dr. Regulus attempts to destroy the Legion and dominate the Universe!

Today we’re going to take a break from theological discussions and take a trip back to 1966 to review the next Legion of Super-Heroes tale from DC’s Silver Age…

Target – 21 Legionnaires!
Adventure Comics #348, September, 1966
Writer & Layouts: Jim Shooter, Penciller: George Papp

Plot

Superboy arrives at Legion headquarters in 30th Century Metropolis to participate in the election of the club’s new leader, Invisible Kid. The team then demonstrates their powers at a charity benefit, which is disrupted by an earthquake caused by the Legion’s clubhouse being ripped from its foundations and abducted by a mysterious giant spaceship. Sun Boy awakens after having been knocked unconscious during the mayhem, but has a case of amnesia and flies away in a confused panic.

A sinister villain, Dr. Regulus, sits at the controls of the rogue spaceship and contemplates his plan to destroy the Legion and “dominate the Universe” by harnessing the power of the sun’s radiation, while on the ground the fugitive Sun Boy unknowingly falls asleep in front of an open radiation source. Will he be killed by the deadly rays?

The Legion tracks down the mammoth spaceship and, once inside, Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Duo Damsel, Invisible Kid, Phantom Girl, and Superboy are individually vanquished by Regulus’ advanced technology. But the villain’s celebration is cut short when a rejuvenated Sun Boy confronts him, allowing some of the recovered Legionnaires to rejoin the fray. Regulus escapes and the Legion is able to return their clubhouse to its location. Sun Boy then reveals that he originally gained his powers via a failed experiment conducted by Regulus several years previous.

Comments

While Jim Shooter’s second Legion saga is notable for revealing Sun Boy’s origins, it’s clear the DC wunderkind was still honing his craft. Dr. Regulus would return to battle the Legion in future installments. Guest artist George Papp’s pencils are decent but no match for the Legions’ regular drawer, Curt Swan. It’s amusing from our 2018 perspective to see all of the mechanical dials and controls in these 30th century portrayals.

Next up: In Adventure 349, young Shooter begins his long string of classic Legion tales with “The Rogue Legionnaire.”

Spanish Jesuit turns to Christ and renounces Catholicism

Why I Became a Protestant
By Luis Padrosa
Moody Colportage Library, #240, 1953, 65 pages

Moody Press published over 500 booklets as part of its Colportage Library series including “Why I Became a Protestant” by Luis Padrosa, an ex-Jesuit priest and the founder of the Loyola Institute of Barcelona, Spain. Padrosa testifies that he began reading Protestant literature in order to familiarize himself with the “false doctrines” in an effort to help stamp out Protestant missionary efforts in his locale, but ended up accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone instead through the ministry of the Holy Spirit after reading God’s Word.

In the following chapters, Padrosa compares Catholic doctrine with Scripture:

  • Pontifical Infallibility
  • Necessity of a Visible Church
  • Unity
  • Tradition
  • Mary, Our Mother
  • Regulations (mass in Latin, eucharistic fasting, confession, celibacy)
  • Conclusion

The booklet ends with testimonials from the Spanish press regarding the authenticity of Padrosa’s Jesuit credentials followed by his letter of resignation from the Jesuit order.

I have studied many examinations of Catholicism, but Padrosa’s thorough debunking of Catholicism’s interpretation of Matthew 16:18-19 as the basis for its claims for Petrine authority and papal succession is excellent; perhaps the best I have ever read.

While this 1953 booklet is somewhat dated, it touches upon the main issues that still differentiate Catholicism from Biblical Christianity. Order the Kindle version from Amazon here or you can access a free PDF file below:

Why I Became a Protestant
http://www.baptistbiblebelievers.com/BookList/WhyIBecameAProtestantLuisPadrosa1953.aspx

Catholic friend, I pray you will take the time to examine whether your church teaches the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12

 

Pope Francis once again at the center of a maelstrom

I usually try to save news items for the Weekend Roundup, but the two stories below were going viral this afternoon and demanded immediate comment:

All of Chile’s Catholic Bishops Offer to Quit Over Sex Abuse Scandal

During Francis’ visit to Chile this past January, the pope committed an incredible blunder by reacting in anger to victims of priest pedophiles who have gone public and referring to them as “slanderers.” Chilean Catholics are livid over the church hierarchy’s cover-up of abusive priests and the pope’s gaffe added fuel to the fire. The Vatican has been in damage control mode ever since.

Last week, the Chilean bishops were summoned to the Vatican (photo above) and Francis accused them of “failing to investigate complaints of abuse, allowing evidence to be destroyed, and covering up for abusive priests by moving them from place to place.” Francis said the systemic failures had left him “perplexed and ashamed.” On Friday, all 34 of the national bishops offered their resignations, an unprecedented occurrance in the history of Romanism. How many resignations will Francis accept? Stay tuned. The takeaway is that Francis needs to throw some bishops under the bus in an attempt to exonerate himself after his misstep. This pedophile scandal has been dogging the Catholic church for twenty years but is uncorrectable because celibacy both attracts and fosters deviancy. One of the commentators on the Catholic radio show I was listening to today stated that it’s well-known that the Chilean Catholic clergy are rife with homosexuals, but that’s no different than here in the U.S.


In addition to dressing down the bishops, Francis met with some of the victims of the abuse in Chile including the main whistle-blower, Juan Carlos Cruz, a self-professed homosexual.

Pope Francis Reportedly Told a Gay Man ‘God Made You Like This’

It’s reported that Francis told the man: “Look Juan Carlos, the pope loves you this way. God made you like this and he loves you.”

The statement is contrary to official Catholic teaching, which teaches that homosexual inclinations are unnatural and sinful if pursued.

The conservative Catholic pundits I listened to were quick to point out that the statement was only alleged, but given Francis’ radical comments in the past they hedged their bets and added that the pope’s private conversations are not official teaching and are not binding on anyone. For many conservative Catholics, Francis’ papacy can’t end soon enough. LGBTQ organizations are reacting to the pope’s alleged comments with high praise.

 

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/19/18

I don’t condone any unlawful destruction, but this news story strikes me as bitterly ironic because the Catholic church in Buffalo that’s mentioned, St. John Kanty’s, has done far worse damage of eternal consequence to all the trusting souls who’ve entered through its doors over the years.

Few Americans are aware of the history of the dreaded Ustasha, the Croatian Catholic fascist militia that collaborated closely with Nazi Germany during World War II. It’s estimated the Ustasha exterminated 30,000 Jews, 29,000 Gypsies, and 500,000 Serbs during the war. A couple of weeks ago in Bleiburg, Austria, Croatian bishops co-sponsored a memorial to Ustasha war dead. Fascist symbols and slogans were in evidence. The Catholic church is also pushing hard to canonize Croatian cardinal, Aloysius Stepinac (d. 1960), who strongly supported the Ustasha during the war. The Catholic church was closely associated with 20th century fascist regimes in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Vichy France, Austria, Belgium, and throughout Pan Latin America.

Once again, mega-church guru, Andy Stanley, demonstrates that he’s prone to heterodoxy. If you need to listen to a Stanley for preaching and spiritual teaching, stick with Andy’s father, Charles.

Pope Francis rendered a non-decision in the German bishops’ debate over intercommunion with Protestants due to the controversy still raging over his lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees. The bottom line is that the liberal German bishops will instruct their priests to administer communion to Protestants, which they’ve already been doing for decades anyway.

In light of the widespread sexual abuse of Catholic children by pedophile priests, this case of hysterical verbal abuse pales in comparison.

The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem opened this week with great pomp and ceremony, but there was no mention of it on Catholic blogs that I could see. I speak from experience when I say Catholics generally don’t place any importance on the Jews being God’s chosen people (although they are currently not in accord with God because they reject Jesus the Messiah) or of God’s promises towards Israel being fulfilled in the future. Unlike evangelicals, Israel’s not even on the radar scope of the average Catholic.

We are living in unusual times when every week another conservative Catholic leader comes forward advising church members to disobey the pope.

Quite often, disgruntled conservative Catholics like the ones at The Vortex-Church Militant do the heavy lifting for me as in the story above. People are attracted to Catholicism’s “smells and bells,” but once they’re inside, they realize it’s an empty shell.

Many progressive mega-church pastors and worship leaders are frustrated that Steven Furtick keeps raising the hip/swag bar.