Catholics believe that “holy water,” water that’s been blessed by a priest, possesses magical/supernatural properties that benefit all who come in contact with it. Down in Cow Island, Louisiana, a crop duster plane was recently used to spray 100 gallons of holy water on the community. Argh! Such blatant superstition. Catholics will eagerly jump through hoops in this and similar examples, trying to merit their salvation, but resist the simple Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
- Pope Francis denounces ‘rigidity’ as he warns of Christian decline
- Pope Francis: Catholics shouldn’t be afraid to change everything about the Church
Pope Francis’ conservative Catholic critics are becoming increasingly frustrated with the progressive pontiff and his doctrine-bending reforms, with some even denouncing him as a heretic. Francis is careful to never confront his “rigid” conservative critics directly, but often takes swipes at them in carefully couched language as he did in his Christmas sermon.
- Pope Francis calls idea of declaring Mary co-redemptrix ‘foolishness’
- Archbishop Viganò’s defense of Virgin Mary in response to Pope Francis
For centuries, the Roman Catholic church has taught that Mary is “Mediatrix of all graces.” The RCC teaches that ALL of God’s graces needed for salvation flow through Mary (see (Lumen Gentium, 62, from the Second Vatican Council). In addition, it’s widely accepted among many Catholic clerics and laity that Mary is also “Co-Redeemer” in conjunction with Jesus Christ. For decades, pious Mariolaters have zealously petitioned the church to make this teaching official, but there was resistance because of ecumenical considerations. Pope Francis recently weighed-in on the movement to crown Mary as Co-redeemer/Co-redemptrix, calling it “foolishness,” providing even more grist for conservative Catholics in their simmering rebellion against the pope.
This week, the pope advised a group of Italian high-school students to not to try to convert “non-Christians,” because, after all, everyone is a “child of God.” I’ll have more to say on this in an upcoming post.
This week, Christianity Today magazine published an editorial supporting the impeachment of President Trump and calling for his removal from office, which caused a ruckus among politically conservative-minded evangelicals. I generally avoid commenting on politics, but I couldn’t resist this controversy. What’s most interesting to me is that the opposing camps in this debate are both very ecumenical, but for entirely different reasons. The folks at CT and their readers generally place a high priority on (c)hristian “unity” and eagerly embrace Roman Catholics as Christians despite the fact that the RCC unabashedly teaches works salvation. The folks on the other extreme (e.g., Jerry Falwell, Jr., Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Richard Land, etc.) are eager to unite with any and all politically conservative religious folks in the ongoing culture wars in the misguided effort to “reclaim America for Jesus” and aren’t particular about denominational dog tags. Of course, political alliances always lead to religious accommodations, compromises, and betrayals of the Gospel as we saw with Chuck Colson’s “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT) project.
Were you able to use Christmas as an opportunity to share the Gospel with the lost? My wife sent out Christmas cards and wrote a rather unconventional-for-Christmas Bible verse inside: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” – 1 Timothy 1:15
Yes, Babylon Bee, society is going topsy turvy! “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” – Isaiah 5:20