Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Empire Strikes Back

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy- Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.

The statement brought swift criticism from Protestant leaders. "It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity," said the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a fellowship of 75 million Protestants in more than 100 countries.

"It makes us question the seriousness with which the Roman Catholic Church takes its dialogues with the reformed family and other families of the church," the group said in a letter charging that the document took ecumenical dialogue back to the era before the Second Vatican Council.- AP NEWS

DISCLAIMER: What follows is my light-hearted take on what is actually a serious issue. For a far more reasoned as well as gracious and edifying discussion on the Pope’s recent statement, please follow this link .

Well, well, well! What can I say? I don't think the Pope reads the Christian blogs but I have to say that, as a former Roman Catholic with lingering nostalgia for the faith of my mother and grandmother, reading the above news item made me smile quite a bit. What I mean is that, the Christian blogosphere is overloaded, overstocked and overwhelmed by Reformed Protestant internet theoloGians (RPGs) who never loose an opportunity to launch cyber grenades at the Roman Catholic Church and then sit back and watch their faithful commenters pile on.

The words "Apostate" "Whore of Babylon" "Heretics" etc are frequently thrown around when it comes to discussing the Catholic Church. Two weeks ago I read one popular Protestant Christian blogger (who I read often and respect greatly) write that "the Roman Catholic Church may be Satan's greatest masterpiece of deception". Remember that this is the denomination of my departed mother and grandmother before her who raised me to read the Bible, but I let him off because I knew he was really upset by news that another prominent Evangelical had decided to join the Catholic Church.

Now, I suspect that word has leaked out to the Pope, the former Cardinal Ratzinger, about the kind of stuff being written and commented on in cyberspace about the denomination he heads and I guess this is his response. I can't think of any other reason for a zinging statement like this from the Pope, especially in this age of ecumenical dialogue between denominations.

He is really going to upset a lot of already upset Protestants. For those of you who lack the kind of classical education I have and do not understand Latin, which is the original language in which the document the Pope has just signed is written in, here is the a simple translation in modern English. Cardinal Ratzinger is saying

"Analyze this! I say to you, yes to you champion bloggers; your Christian communities are defective and you do not belong to true Churches. Now go analyze that on your blogs!"

Talking about defective, I think I can say from 18 months of experience that blogging is a good but defective medium of communication. But more importantly, do follow this link to read the real Original Document on the True Church, the Bride of Christ– Robbo

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Anonymous Gaius Columbus said...

It is reported that the reason given by Pope Benedict for this assertion is that none of the protestant churches can claim an Apostle to be a founding father.

While many, as you say, will find his words shocking, the whole issue of the primacy of one church over another is no new controversy. It was present in Paul’s day and has stuck around in various forms since then. Indeed, I just read a wonderful book by FF Bruce on the history of the church that provides an account/history of this and other similar controversies that have dogged the church throughout the centuries.

Fortunately, Christ and the Apostles, to whose spoken words and writing we all subscribe, state quite clearly that these demarcations are not only unimportant, they are also unhelpful. The important thing as I see it is not the side of this pseudo-bifurcation one belongs to, but rather whether Christ is preached and honored by all irrespective of professed affiliation.

In the now famous words of Rodney King, “why can’t we all just get along?” ;)

July 14, 2007 at 10:53 AM  

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