Throwback Thursday: The “unchanging” Roman Catholic church changes once again

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on April 11, 2016 and has been revised.

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Catholics often boast that theirs is the UNCHANGING, “one true church,” but even a casual student of church history knows that is not the case. And now we have another example.

In the past, any Catholic who divorced and remarried without obtaining an annulment was said to be living in a state of mortal sin and was officially barred from receiving the eucharist Jesus wafer. But in his new “apostolic exhortation,” Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), released last week, pope Francis tacitly suggests via an obscure footnote that it’s now up to the local parish priest to evaluate the circumstances of each remarried divorcee parishioner and decide if they are able to receive the sacraments (see article below). With so many Catholics divorcing these days, Francis was compelled to change the policy in an effort to keep the church viable.

But this ex-Catholic saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone has a couple of important questions regarding this new policy. First, what about all the divorced Catholics who remarried and died in a state of mortal sin prior to this change? Do they all now receive a “Get Out of Hell, Free” card or is the declaration not retroactive? Also, how could such an important doctrine affecting faith and morals that was upheld by all previous infallible popes now be so conveniently discarded? Catholics would rather not confront such questions.

I’m so grateful to the Lord for leading me out of Catholic legalism, ritualism, and man-made traditions. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and then ask the Lord to direct you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.


Pope Francis to church: Be more accepting of divorced Catholics, gays, and lesbians
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/08/europe/vatican-pope-family/index.html?eref=rss_world


Note from April 2021: I couldn’t have possibly known when I wrote the above post in April 2016, that pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia encyclical would have MAJOR repercussions within the Roman Catholic church. Conservative Catholic prelates, priests, and laity did in fact note the doctrinal incongruity of Francis’ lifting of the ban on communion for remarried divorcees and reacted with zealous indignation. Formal protests were submitted and ignored by the pope. Cautious conservative prelates and priests advised their followers to ignore Francis’ doctrinal novelty while a few went so far as to openly call Francis a heretic. Amoris Laetita was the start and Francis has continued to roil conservatives with his progressive reforms.

Communion for the divorced and remarried, papal critics and family life: Pope Francis’ ‘Amoris Laetitia’ at 5 years
https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2021/04/08/amoris-laetitia-pope-francis-five-years-divorced-remarried-catholics-240412

Catholic talk radio host, Mother Miriam, advises her listeners to “oppose” pope Francis

I don’t get a chance to listen to Catholic talk radio like I used to, but back on December 8th, I was driving down the road and I tuned into the local AM Catholic radio station. The program being broadcast at that moment was “Mother Miriam Live,” hosted by Catholic nun, Mother Miriam (aka Rosalind Moss, photo above). Miriam is a protégé of über-conservative cardinal, Raymond Burke, and a propagator of traditional, militant, pre-conciliar Catholicism and an outspoken critic of the Catholic progressivism being disseminated by pope Francis and other liberal prelates and priests. She often criticizes pope Francis on her show while dichotomously feigning fealty to the papal office.

Halfway though the December 8th program, Mother Miriam read an email from a discouraged listener regarding pope Francis’ recent Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers) encyclical. I’ve transcribed Mother Miriam’s remarks below with the listener’s written words italicized:


“We have an email from Frank who writes, Dearest Mother Miriam, I am very troubled by pope Francis’s latest encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti” (All Brothers). This encyclical seems more like a communist manifesto rather than a call to holiness. We’ve not talked about that on this program. I’m going to read Frank’s email because he describes why he has said that. I think it’s important that we do read it because so many people are confused if not distraught by it. Frank says, The Holy Father outlines his recipe for rebuilding a post-pandemic world beginning with a complete restructuring of politics and civil discourse in order to create systems prioritizing the community and the poor rather than individual or market interests. The pope criticizes heavily democratic forms of government that value individual and personal freedom and favors a socialist form of government where globalist elites look out for the common good. Communists always love the masses, but disdain the individual and want to control their lives. The pope seems blind to this reality. Now this is Frank writing. I don’t know, I wouldn’t personally say the pope is blind to this reality. Frank continues, This encyclical seems more concerned on the false promise of creating an impossible utopia on earth instead of a focus on the true promise of how to obtain eternal life for our souls in Heaven. Sadly, Frank continues, there are also, it seems, direct shots against President Trump. For example, where the pope laments, quote, the concept of popular and national unity influenced by various ideologies is creating new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense under the guise of defending national interests, endquote. Frank says, I pray for the Holy Father, but would appreciate your thoughts on how faithful Catholics may respond to this latest encyclical. God bless you always, Frank.

“I even hesitated reading Frank’s email because I agree with Frank and it’s very, very difficult. The way we’re going, the Holy Father together with, what Frank calls, some elites in the world, billionaires who are striving for a one-world government and really to control the masses. Much of what’s going on with COVID, COVID is real, but much of what’s going on is to, I remember Hillary Clinton and others saying, Let’s not waste a good crisis. And so they’ve used the COVID crisis to further their agenda for a one-world market and controlling the masses. So, I agree with you, Frank. What are we to do? How do faithful Catholics respond to this encyclical? I think by simply countering what is not Catholic and speaking of what is Catholic. God’s plan for us is not an earthly utopia, but a Heavenly one, eternal life, to repent, to be saved, to embrace Christ, and to be part of His church. The only way to get to Heaven is to be part of His church on earth. These sorts of encyclicals, and plans, and ideologies are leading us away from that and we cannot have it. We must cling to Christ, to the church, to the teachings of the church, which have not, will not, and cannot change, and to the Scriptures, and I would say our response to the pope’s encyclical is to triple our Catholicity, to begin to live your Catholic faith beyond anything you’ve lived before. To be strong and steadfast and be fully Catholic and oppose anything that is not Catholic, that will not get you to Heaven.”


Fascinating!

Catholic conservatives and traditionalists are caught in a tortuous (for them) Catch-22 bind. One of their most cherished tenets is absolute fealty to the pope, the alleged “Vicar of Christ” on Earth. Yet, progressive pope Francis is subverting their beloved church doctrines and propagating progressive political views. What does it say about the Roman Catholic church when conservative Catholic prelates, priests, nuns, and lay leaders are advising their followers to ignore and even oppose the pope? In practice, they have appointed themselves pope over the pope! Keep in mind that neither side in this Catholic tug-of-war, neither the progressives represented by pope Francis or the conservatives represented by Mother Miriam, teach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Both sides disseminate the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Below is the video of the 12-08-20 program in question. Mother Miriam’s critical remarks about pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers) encyclical begin at the 31:00 mark.

Conservative Catholic clerics begin to react to pope Francis’ approval of same-sex civil unions: “We have a bad pope.”

The conservative Catholic backlash to pope Francis’ call for civil unions for same-sex couples is just beginning to percolate. Watch this 7-minute video as a visibly emotional Catholic priest tells his congregation “we have a bad pope” (3:05 mark). The priest continues by saying he doesn’t know “what vanity, or dark spirits, or fallen inclinations” are guiding the pope.

A “bad pope”?

The foundation of Roman Catholicism is the pope, the alleged “Vicar of Christ.” What does it mean if the pope is a “bad pope” and is not to be followed? The foundation of Roman Catholicism crumbles.

There is another way, a better way. Jesus Christ declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

Church membership doesn’t save. Trying to obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) doesn’t save. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church that teaches the uncompromised Gospel.

Catholic vs Christian | “I am a Catholic. Why should I consider becoming a Christian?”

BREAKING NEWS! Pope calls for civil unions for same-sex couples, in major departure from Vatican doctrine

I don’t normally publish two posts in one day, but this news cannot wait.

I was doing some routine work on the blog late this morning when I overheard on the television in the adjoining kitchen a special news announcement involving the “leader of the Catholic church.”

I scrambled into the kitchen to hear that Pope Francis is calling for civil unions for same-sex couples. This is ASTOUNDING, although not altogether surprising. The Vatican has been preparing for this moment for several years via the work of Jesuit priest, James Martin, its advance man for full acceptance of practicing LGBTers.

The ramifications and fallout from this “announcement” (underhandedly communicated via a docu-bio of Francis) are and will be ENORMOUS. This contradicts previous papal teaching on the illicitness/sinfulness of homosexual practices and same-sex unions/marriages that many/most serious Catholics held to be unchangeable and even infallible. Conservative and traditionalist Catholics will be enraged to a such a degree that many will now surely call for a formal split from pragmatically-progressive, world-pleasing, pope Francis.

I need to read some more reports on this development before I can comment at length. The bottom line is the Roman Catholic church does not teach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Whether it’s Francis’s progressive camp, now publicly embracing same-sex unions, or the Catholic conservative camp, the genuine Gospel is not to be found in Roman Catholicism.

Pope calls for civil unions for same-sex couples, in major departure from Vatican doctrine
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/pope-calls-civil-unions-same-sex-couples-major-departure-vatican-n1244137

Update: I made it a point to listen to conservative Catholic talk-radio host, Al Kresta, at 4:00 p.m. today to get his take on Francis’s bombshell. As would be expected, Kresta tied himself up into multiple knots trying to downplay/minimize/mitigate/white wash the news. Kresta lamely postulated that, in approving civil unions for same-sex couples, Francis wasn’t necessarily sanctioning homosexual behavior. Kresta stumbled and stammered, suggesting the pope would expect civilly-united, same-sex Catholic couples to live as brother-brother or sister-sister. Say what?!?!? Kresta is living in fantasy land. He can’t yet admit to himself and his audience that his pope is a heretic according to Catholicism’s own tenets. But I think with this particular “reform,” Francis has finally given conservative Catholics, like Kresta, something they cannot glibly explain away.

Throwback Thursday: Galileo and the “infallible” popes

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on January 18, 2016 and has been revised.

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In 1870, prompted by pope Pius IX, who was besieged by the advancing Italian nationalist forces, the First Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic church declared as binding dogma that the pope is infallible when he “defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.” This doctrine of papal infallibility had many opponents within the Catholic church at the time and is problematic when attempting to reconcile an infallible papacy with its history. Popes have excommunicated previous popes. There were the bloody Crusades, the Inquisition, forced “conversions,” and the persecution of Jews and Protestants, all carried out with the approval and, oftentimes, at the instigation of the allegedly infallible popes. Modern popes have been kept busy apologizing for their predecessors. But perhaps one of the most clear-cut arguments against papal infallibility was the church’s condemnation of Galileo and his revolutionary theory of heliocentrism.

In the early 1600s, people believed the planets, sun, and stars revolved around the Earth based upon the ancient Ptolemaic geocentric model. A literal interpretation of the Bible (see Joshua 10:12-14) also seemed to support geocentrism. In 1616, Galileo’s theory of heliocentrism – that the Earth revolved around the Sun – was declared heretical by pope Paul V and the Inquisition because it seemingly contradicted Scripture. Galileo continued to challenge geocentrism, so in 1633, yet another pope, Urban VIII, and the Inquisition once again condemned him. The scientist was consequently placed under house arrest until his death in 1642.

Four-hundred years later, it’s universally accepted that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The two popes were dead wrong when they condemned Galileo. Today’s Catholic sophists try to exonerate the two “infallible” popes by claiming the condemnations of Galileo were not done “ex cathedra,” as official papal declarations, but the controversy certainly did involve an important issue involving faith. We can see from our vantage point that the church’s claimed ability to infallibly interpret Scripture was totally discredited by the two popes involved.

At least one contemporary Catholic apologist, Robert Sungenis, correctly and honestly recognizes that the question of papal infallibility is central to the Galileo affair. Sungenis concedes that if Galileo was right, then the popes proved themselves fallible by condemning him. So over the last several years, Sungenis has gone about trying to prove that geocentrism is true and that heliocentrism is false. You read that correctly! In 2007, Sungenis began writing a procession of books and materials defending geocentrism. See here. Someone needs to inform NASA, the U.S. military, satellite providers, etc., that all of their celestial mechanical calculations based on the heliocentric model are incorrect!

Most dismiss Sungenis as a screwball, but I give him credit for at least having the courage of his erroneous convictions and refusing to engage in dishonest sophistry when it comes to the Galileo affair, like other Catholic apologists do. Sungenis was once one of the most prominent American Catholic apologists, and at one time even hosted two series on the EWTN Catholic cable channel, but his defense of geocentrism and his controversial viewpoints on Jews and the nation of Israel have since relegated him to the fringe.

The early church quickly became institutionalized after Christianity was adopted as the state religion by the Roman Empire. Simple faith in Jesus Christ devolved into legalism and ritual. Those who put their faith in a man or an institution will be forever disappointed. Put your faith in Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Savior by faith alone.

The Two Popes: A ham-fisted plug for pope Francis

The Two Popes
Directed by Fernando Meirelles, screenplay by Anthony McCarten, and featuring Anthony Hopkins as pope Benedict XVI and Jonathan Pryce as pope Francis
Netflix, 2019, 125 minutes.

2 Stars

Back in February 2019, I reviewed an interesting book, “The Pope,” by Anthony McCarten, that contrasted the doctrinally conservative, pope Benedict XVI, with his successor, the progressive reformer, pope Francis. See me review here.

Netflix produced a film based on the book and released it for streaming this past December 20th. Just as in the book, the sharp contrast between the conservative Benedict and the progressive Francis is the theme of the film. Benedict is portrayed as hopelessly out of touch with the world with his rigid clericalism and doctrinalism. Francis, in contrast, is presented as a breath of fresh air who is willing, make that eager, to eschew clerical privilege and bend/circumvent doctrine in order to reach people with the progressive version of the Catholic works-righteousness “gospel.”

This film is a biased representation of the current battle within the Catholic church between conservatives and the Francis-led progressives, with Francis the clear favorite. Pro-Francis screenwriter, McCarten, “swings for the fences” at the end of the film with Benedict XVI/Hopkins admitting the error of his rigid ideology and fully embracing Francis’ reforms. The two characters seal the deal over Fanta and pizza, watching a soccer game, and dancing the tango together (VERY creepy in light of the current clerical abuse and homosexuality scandals in the RCC). What a “hammy” ending and it’s all pure fiction.

People love Francis for being so “down to earth,” but neither in conservative Catholicism’s rigid doctrinalism or in Francis’ doctrine-bending “pastoralism” can be found the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

While “The Two Popes” is garnering a lot of accolades at the various Hollywood awards shows, I would recommend this pro-Francis puff piece only to serious evangelical Vatican-watchers. Everyone else should use the two hours for something more productive.

Pope Francis’ fight to steer the RCC toward progressivism

Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church
By Austin Ivereigh
Henry Holt and Company, 2019, 401 pp.

2 Stars

When cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected to the papacy in 2013, conservative Catholics did not know what they were in for. However, by 2016 it was crystal clear that Bergoglio was on a mission to steer the Roman Catholic church towards a progressive/liberal ideology. In that year, pope Francis guilefully overturned the ban on communion to remarried divorcees via a couple of footnotes in his “Amoris Laetitia” encyclical, and conservative opposition to Francis has been on the rise ever since.

Books critical of pope Francis by Catholic authors began appearing in late 2017 and have continued to be published. See here for details. There is disappointment and frustration with Francis among some conservatives that borders on outright rebellion. Discussions of schism are held in check by hopes that the next pope returns the church to pope John Paul II-style conservatism.

British journalist, Austin Ivereigh, answers Francis’ conservative critics with this very flattering apologia of the current pope. The problem, according to the author, is not Francis’ attempts to make the church more relevant, “pastoral,” and appealing in an era of rising secularism and an increasingly disaffected membership, but, rather, the problem is the intransigence of rigid conservative Catholics who are rooted in “clericalism” and doctrinalism at the expense of compassion and mercy.

In this book, Ivereigh covers all of the sturm und drang of Francis’ controversial papacy, including such topics as…

  • The fight with conservatives over control of the Order of Malta
  • The ongoing Vatican Bank financial scandals
  • Reform of the corrupt Vatican Curia
  • The ongoing clerical sexual abuse scandal including Francis embarrassing mishandling of the situation in Chile in early-2018.
  • How Francis is adapting the “Aparecida” movement (focus on the poor, social justice, etc.) of Latin American Catholicism to the entire church.
  • Francis’ elevation of environmental concerns and climate change to the forefront.
  • The “Amoris Laetitia” controversy including the dubia sent to the pope by the resistant right-wing cardinals.
  • Francis’ method to orchestrate liberal change through synods rather than by papal decree.

One of the greatest ironies of our era is watching conservative Catholics line up in opposition to their own pope!

This book will give the reader a good understanding of the pro-Francis progressive viewpoint in this ongoing feud between liberal and conservative Catholics. Except for a brief account of Francis’ bumbling accommodations to Argentina’s murderous dictatorship as head of the country’s Jesuit order in the 1970s, the pope is portrayed with embarrassing adulation. This book reminded me, no exaggeration, of the fawning Catholic saint hagiographies of yesteryear.

Please keep in mind that neither the conservative Catholic doctrinalists or Francis and his progressive allies proclaim the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. I would recommend this puff piece only to serious evangelical Vatican-watchers who are interested in the current internecine tug-of-war within Catholicism.

Postscript: Here’s a question for Catholics regarding the title of this book, Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church: The Roman Catholic church boasts that it is the “one, true church” and that it is Semper eadem, always the same. Why then is pope Francis trying to convert it?

Pope slaps woman’s hand in St. Peter’s Square

I don’t usually publish two posts in a single day, but I wanted to pass this information along. Thanks to Beth at I Once Was Lost for bringing this matter to my attention:

Yesterday evening, New Year’s Eve, pope Francis walked beside a barrier at St. Peter’s Square to greet and “bless” the throng of people who had gathered. After shaking hands with many of the folks pressed against the barrier, the pope began to walk away, but one pious Catholic would not be disappointed and reached out and grabbed Francis’ hand, pulling him toward her. The startled pope tried to pull his hand away and even began slapping at the woman’s hand with his free left hand to break her grip.

 

Allow me to paint between the lines of this scenario. This pious Catholic woman fulfilled the dream of a lifetime by traveling from her faraway country to the Vatican in Rome, Italy to see the pope in person during a New Year’s Eve appearance at St. Peter’s Square. She arrives at the square many hours ahead of time in hopes of getting a good spot to view the “holy father.” As the pope begins walking next to the barrier and shaking hands with the “pilgrims,” the woman pushes and jostles her way next to the barricade to position herself for a personal encounter with the “Vicar of Christ.” As Francis approaches, the woman nervously blesses herself with the sign of the cross as she prepares for the encounter. She can barely contain herself as she anxiously anticipates what will certainly be the greatest moment of her life. However, immediately after shaking the hand of the person next to her, the pope begins to veer away from the barrier. The woman responds instinctively. She won’t be denied after all of her hard effort and anticipation. She reaches out and grabs the pope’s hand and pulls him toward her. Francis reacts in surprise and anger by violently slapping at the frenzied woman’s iron grip.

As the Guardian newspaper reports, the “video of the incident went viral, prompting indignation on social media. One Twitter user wrote: ‘What the pope did demonstrates one thing – he’s a man.’”

In a speech to a crowd assembled at St. Peter’s square on New Year’s Day, Francis apologized for his violent reaction. Ironically, in his prepared address he condemned all violence against women.

Yes, the pope is just a man. Would Peter the apostle have accepted all of the slavish adulation and servitude accorded to Francis and all of the previous popes down through the ages? We’ll let Scripture speak:

“When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am a man.’” – Acts 10:25-26

Yes, Francis is just a man, a man who propagates a spiritually deadly false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. We know from God’s Word that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Pope Francis apologises after slapping woman’s hand
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/01/pope-francis-apologises-after-slapping-womans-hand

Rebutting a Catholic apologist, #3: “Paul Rebuked Peter”

Today, we continue our series of responses to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. The Catholic apologist continues his six-part section on church hierarchy and authority with a chapter countering Protestants’ argument that Peter (and hence the pope) was not infallible because “Paul Rebuked Peter.”

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The notion of papal infallibility began gaining popularity within Roman Catholicism in the 15th century, but it wasn’t until 1870, after Italian nationalist forces had occupied the former Papal States and prepared to liberate Rome, that a defiant pope Pius IX pressured the bishops attending the First Vatican Council to declare as dogma that popes were infallible when they taught on matters vital to faith and morals. Although he could not resist the temporal power of the Risorgimento liberators, Pius IX could assert his alleged spiritual superiority by having himself proclaimed as infallible (he also excommunicated everyone who participated in the Risorgimento). As a dogmatic teaching, all Roman Catholics were thereafter required to believe the pope was infallible under threat of damning mortal sin.

Ever since 1870, Protestants have cited Galatians 2:11-14 to refute the notion of papal infallibility:

“But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

If Peter was the first pope and infallible, as Catholics claim, then why was he leading the church into serious error by hypocritically abstaining from eating with Gentiles in the presence of Jewish legalists, for which he had to be publicly corrected by Paul?

Broussard argues that Protestant critics reveal their very faulty understanding of papal infallibility by citing this passage. According to the Catholic standard, only when a pope speaks ex cathedra, officially “from the chair” of St. Peter, in declaring a doctrine as dogma is a teaching considered divinely-guided and infallible. Broussard admits that Peter’s behavior at Antioch was reprehensible and worthy of rebuke, but the bad behavior did not meet the conditions required of dogmatic infallibility. Peter wasn’t acting in his office as supreme teacher of the church in that circumstance at Antioch, argues Broussard. He was just being a cowardly hypocrite.

I understand Broussard’s argument. Protestants do present a bit of a straw man fallacy by presenting Galatians 2:11-14 as a refutation of papal infallibility according to the strict Catholic definition. However, there definitely are many problems with the claim of papal infallibility that Broussard conveniently doesn’t touch upon:

  • While Peter may not have been declaring dogma at Antioch, his example was leading many into dangerous doctrinal error. Catholics have historically claimed that popes were incapable of leading the church into error.
  • It’s ironic beyond measure that Broussard chooses to examine Galatians 2 in his defense of papal infallibility. Following Paul’s description of his rebuke of Peter, the apostle follows with one of the clearest defenses of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone in Galatians 2:15-21. The passage directly contradicts the salvation-by-merit theology that is at the heart of Roman Catholicism.
  • The history of the papacy is filled with incidents that do not reflect well on claims of papal infallibility in matters vital to faith and morals including the heterodoxy of pope Honorius, the Cadaver Trial of pope Formosus, the authorization of the Crusades and the Inquisitions, the Great Western Schism, the authorized selling of indulgences, the condemnation of Galileo, etc., etc., etc.
  • Catholic theologians can only agree upon three papal declarations as being infallibly dogmatic: the immaculate conception of Mary (1854), papal infallibility (1870), and the assumption of Mary into Heaven (1950). What is the point of papal infallibility if it is so rarely exercised?

Important: Just as with the two previous chapters on papal authority, Broussard purposely omits any mention of the current CRISIS within Catholicism regarding the papacy. Pope Francis has overturned three doctrines previously held to be unchangeable: (1) the ban on communion for remarried divorcees, (2) the ban on communion to Protestants (Protestant spouses of Catholic members may now receive communion according to the discretion of each bishop), and (3) the licitness of capital punishment. Conservative Catholic leaders are advising their follows to ignore Francis’s changes and some are even calling the pope a heretic. Catholics are wrestling with how an infallible pope can overturn doctrines considered unchangeable by previous infallible popes. Francis has even gone out of his way to downplay assertions of papal infallibility/prerogatives by emphasizing that “a pope can be wrong” (see here). As Broussard and other conservative Catholic apologists attempt to defend the bastion of papal infallibility, their own pope is busily dismantling the bogus dogma.

Next up: “Where Two or Three Are Gathered”

Dr. James White notes that these are very “Difficult Days for Rome’s Apologists”

For 1500 years, the Roman Catholic church has boasted that it alone has been vested with divine authority via its tripartite of (1) Scripture, plus (2) Sacred Tradition, all overseen by its (3) Magisterium; the pope and his bishops. In 1870, the pope was declared to be infallible in vital matters of faith and morals, a dogma that all Catholics are obligated to believe under threat of mortal sin. Pious Catholics even claimed that their popes were “incapable of” aka “divinely prevented from” leading the Roman church into doctrinal error. Catholics scoffed at poor Protestants who only had Scripture  – Sola Scriptura – to guide them.

The boastful confidence described above has dramatically changed with the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, aka pope Francis, to the papacy in 2013. Francis is a pragmatic progressive who is gradually steering the church away from dogmatics to “pastoralism” in an attempt to make the church more relevant and appealing to its increasingly disaffected membership. To the chagrin of conservative and traditionalist Catholics, Francis is upending doctrines considered to be unchangeable. Many conservative Catholics have accused Francis of at least “spreading confusion” and a few are even openly accusing him of being a heretic.

Catholic apologists are in a pickle. Their own pope is debunking their proudest claim; that of being led by an allegedly infallible pope who could never lead the RCC into error. I’ve wondered why evangelical apologists aren’t remarking more about the current crisis within Catholicism over Francis. Of course, many of today’s accommodating and compromising evangelical apologists (e.g., Zacharias, Craig, Strobel, McDowell) are focused on courting the RCC’s favor and would see it as inopportune and divisive to comment on Catholicism’s current internal crisis. But faithful apologist, James White, at Alpha and Omega Ministries has no such reservations.

Take a listen to the recent video below from Dr. White commenting on how these are “Difficult Days for Rome’s Apologists” because of pope Francis. White begins his remarks regarding the RCC’s papal crisis at the 3:15 mark and continues to the 32:12 mark. He notes at the end that the leadership crisis in Mormonism parallels in some respects what is going on at the Vatican.