Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on March 28, 2016 and has been revised.
Catholic apologists love to point to the wide diversity within Protestantism with its large number of denominations and a growing number of non-denominational churches. But while evangelical Christians might disagree on many secondary and tertiary doctrinal issues, we are united in our belief in the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Regrettably, many of the old, mainline Protestant denominations slipped into apostasy long ago.
Catholicism likes to present itself as the “one true church,” united in faith behind the pope, but the reality is actually quite different. Catholic belief ranges the full spectrum, from the super-progressive to the ultra-conservative, with hundreds of millions of nominal members in-between. The vast majority of Catholics (76%) do not attend mandatory weekly mass or yearly confession.
Speaking of Catholic conservatives, I see that Mother Mary Angelica, aka Rita Rizzo (photo above) passed away yesterday (March 27, 2016), Easter Sunday, at the age of 92. She was the driving force in the creation of the EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) Catholic media conglomerate. Her pithy, no-nonsense commentary attracted a devoted following among conservative and traditionalist Catholics. There is little doubt that her admirers will soon be petitioning the church hierarchy to begin the canonization process to elevate Mother Angelica to sainthood.
Many uninformed evangelical Christians might take a quick look at the life of Mother Angelica and conclude, “Of course this woman was a devoted Christian. Despite her quirky and unbiblical Catholic distinctives, she obviously loved the Lord and devoted her entire life to Him.”
Regrettably, the “gospel” taught by Mother Angelica was NOT the genuine Good News! Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. She believed, like all Catholics who are faithful to their church’s teachings, that salvation is by baptism and by participating in the church’s other sacraments and by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules. She had an especially strong “devotion” to Mary and believed that Mary’s intercession was vital to salvation. Most people will remember her for leading the praying of the rosary to Mary, still re-broadcast daily on EWTN. However, Mother Angelica also supported her church’s dichotomous teaching that people of all religious “faiths” could be saved if they “followed the light they were given” and “lived good, upright lives.”
Through her media empire, Mother Angelica led many away from the genuine Gospel to a false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Catholics are being misled from following the narrow way of Jesus Christ as the only hope of salvation and have, instead, been taught a wide-is-the-way religion which mentions God, Jesus, “faith,” and “grace,” but is actually one of the false, works-righteousness religions going back to Cain.
2020 Postscript: The EWTN conglomerate has emerged as one of the leaders of conservative Catholic opposition to pope Francis and his progressive reforms. Francis will definitely NOT be amenable to efforts to canonize Mother Angelica.