The latest on Pope Francis, from Leonardo Di Chirico

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The “Uncertain Teaching” of Pope Francis

March 1st, 2017

Yes or No. This is the only way a Pope (or the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office responsible for Catholic doctrine) can answer a question posed by a cardinal or group of cardinals if and when they inquire about the correct interpretation or application of Catholic teaching. Yes or No was the expected answer that never came to a letter written to the Pope by four cardinals in September 2016 pleading with him for clarity regarding the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The letter asked the Pope five short questions about the exact meaning of some statements contained in the document on whether or not divorced individuals living in new relationships can have access to the Eucharist. Given that different bishops around the world are giving different answers (some saying Yes, others No), the four cardinals addressed the Pope himself hoping to receive an authoritative and univocal interpretation of the matter.

So far no answer has come, and the Pope has made it known that no answer will ever come. The Pope’s silence is causing perplexity and some worries in many Catholic circles. Is Catholic teaching becoming subject to many shades of grey? The incident also gives an opportunity to reflect on the Pope’s whole approach to the stability of doctrine. Is this absence of Yes or No only to be limited to this specific case, or is it a feature of an overall theological vision that lacks rigid reference points?…

Finish reading here

LEONARDO DE CHIRICO

Vatican Files

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What Kind of “Reformation” Does Pope Francis Have in Mind?

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Vatican Files

Evangelical Theological Perspectives on Roman Catholicism

As the Pope commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, what he has in mind is an altogether different kind of reformation, i.e. a reformation that will make his church more catholic and more Roman, doubtfully more evangelical.

LEONARDO DE CHIRICO

What Kind of “Reformation” Does Pope Francis Have in Mind?


Leonardo De Chirico (1967) planted and pastored a Reformed Baptist church in Ferrara (northern Italy) from 1997 to 2009. Since 2009 he has been involved in a church planting project in Rome and is now pastor of the church Breccia di Roma…
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Incredible quotes – Leonardo De Chirico

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Romans 16

19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.


De Chirico’s article “What Do You Think About Pope Francis?” is really helpful. In it he states that it is “vitally important for evangelicals to know who Pope Francis really is.” If you read only this excerpt, you will be wiser.

“It comes as no surprise then that the first saint that Pope Francis proclaimed in 2013 was Pierre Favre (1506-1546), a French first generation Jesuit with a ‘smiling face’ who more than others tried to look like a Protestant in order to drive people back to the Roman Church.

File:Pierre Favre (1506-1546).jpg

Pierre Favre (Peter Faber), Co-founder of the Company of Jesus

“Furthermore, the Jesuit side of Pope Francis is clear enough given his published (and never retracted) opinion that Luther and Calvin destroyed man, poisoned society, and ruined the church! In his 1985 lecture on the history of the Jesuit order, he gave severe evaluations of Luther (a ‘heretic’), and especially of Calvin (a ‘heretic’ and ‘schismatic’) bringing about the ‘Calvinist squalor’ in society, in the church, and in man’s heart. According to that lecture, Protestantism lies at the root of all evils in the modern West. The fact that this lecture was republished unchanged in 2013 in Spanish and translated in 2014 into Italian with his permission, but without a mitigating word of explanation, indicates that this assessment still lingers in the Pope’s heart and mind. He recently added a harsh comment on the Puritans, falsely associating them with a bigoted and merciless form of Christianity. This friendly Pope to Evangelicals is a Jesuit whose entire mission of order is to defend the Roman Church against Protestantism. Certainly Francis is a smiling Jesuit, but the anti-Protestant still beats in his heart.”

Leonardo De Chirico

What Do You Think About Pope Francis?

Reformanda Initiative

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Pope Francis and Evangelicals

Some evangelical leaders pray with Pope Francis in May 2015

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Itinerary for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. – things to consider

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Next week the Pope plans to visit Cuba and the U.S.  Below is the itinerary for his time here.

Franciscus_kotel

from UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS:

Schedule: 2015 Apostolic Journey Of Pope Francis To The United States Of America

Here is the schedule for Pope Francis’ September 2015 Apostolic Journey to the United States of America as released by the Vatican on June 30, 2015.  All times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (WASHINGTON, DC)

  • 4:00 p.m.    Arrival from Cuba at Joint Base Andrews

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (WASHINGTON, DC)

  • 9:15  a.m.  Welcome ceremony and meeting with President Obama at the White House
  • 11:00 a.m.  Papal Parade along the Ellipse and the National Mall (time approximate)
  • 11:30 a.m. Midday Prayer with the bishops of the United States, St. Matthew’s Cathedral
  • 4:15  p.m.  Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (WASHINGTON, DC, NEW YORK CITY)

  • 9:20  a.mAddress to Joint Meeting of the United States Congress (emphasis added)
  • 11:15 a.m. Visit to St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
  • 4:00 p.m.   Depart from Joint Base Andrews
  • 5:00 p.m.   Arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • 6:45 p.m.   Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (NEW YORK CITY)

  • 8:30  a.m. Visit to the United Nations and Address to the United Nations General Assembly
  • 11:30 a.m. Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, World Trade Center
  • 4:00  p.m.  Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem
  • 5:00  p.m.   Procession through Central Park (time approximate)
  • 6:00  p.m.  Mass at Madison Square Garden

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (NEW YORK CITY, PHILADELPHIA)

  • 8:40  a.m.  Departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • 9:30  a.m.  Arrival at Atlantic Aviation, Philadelphia
  • 10:30 a.m. Mass at Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia
  • 4:45  p.m.  Visit to Independence Mall
  • 7:30  p.m.  Visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (PHILADELPHIA)

  • 9:15   a.m.  Meeting with bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
  • 11:00  a.m. Visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
  • 4:00  p.m.   Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • 7:00   p.m.  Visit with organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families, Atlantic Aviation
  • 8:00   p.m.  Departure

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In light of these things, I ask you to consider the following images and facts. 

Here are pictures of bas-relief sculptures which have been given a place of honor on the walls of the U.S. House of Representatives chamber:

Pope Innocent III House Chamber

In the Middle Ages, Pope Innocent III ordered the Crusade against the Albigenses, Christians who lived in the south of France. They were falsely labeled heretics, ‘Manicheans’, a kind of Gnostic. This slander continues to this day. (See Richard Bennett’s Berean Beacon about this.)

Gregory_IX_bas-relief_in_the_U.S._House_of_Representatives_chamber

Gregory IX founded the Inquisition which terrorized the West for more than six centuries, wearing out the saints and murdering millions.

Here is an explanation of why these icons, and others, appear in the House Chamber, from:

ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL

EXPLORE CAPITOL HILL:

INNOCENT III

The 23 marble relief portraits over the gallery doors of the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol depict historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law. They were installed when the chamber was remodeled in 1949-1950.

Created in bas relief of white Vermont marble by seven different sculptors, the plaques each measure 28 inches in diameter. The eleven profiles in the eastern half of the chamber face left and the eleven in the western half face right, so that all look towards the full-face relief of Moses in the center of the north wall.

The subjects of the reliefs were chosen by scholars from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia Historical Society of Washington, D.C., in consultation with authoritative staff members of the Library of Congress. The selection was approved by a special committee of five Members of the House of Representatives and the Architect of the Capitol.

The plaster models for these reliefs are on display on the walls in the Rayburn House Office Building subway terminal.

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Here is just a little about the remarkable life of Innocent III from Catholicism.org:

Pope Innocent III and The Marks of a Great Papacy

“The Fourth Lateran Council”.

“In 1215, Innocent summoned the Twelfth Ecumenical Council of the Church known as the Fourth Lateran. The objective was to reaffirm contested truths of the Faith, condemn the heresies, especially the Albigensians, establish procedures for dealing with the Jews, define and establish the degrees of hierarchical authority, and establish an inquiry procedure (that would eventually become “The Inquisition”). It laid down new rules for the reform and education of the clergy, and called for a new crusade to win back the Holy Land. Finally, the Fourth Lateran Council gave us the first of three infallible definitions that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. Never again could anyone doubt that it is absolutely necessary to be member of the Catholic Church in order to save one’s soul. In the definition directed against the Albigensians and other heretics, the council declared, “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all can be saved.””

Here is something Innocent said (from the same page at Catholicism.org):

Who am I and of what lineage that I should take my place above kings? For to me it is said in the prophets, ‘I have this day set thee over nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant.’ To me it is said in the apostles, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ The successor of St. Peter is the Vicar of Christ; he has been established as mediator between God and man, below God but beyond man; less than God but more than man; who shall judge all and be judged by no one.

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Here is a little about the remarkable life of Gregory IX from Britannica online:

Gregory IX, original name Ugo, or Ugolino, Di Segni (born before 1170—died Aug. 22, 1241, Rome), one of the most vigorous of the 13th-century popes (reigned 1227–41), a canon lawyer, theologian, defender of papal prerogatives, and founder of the papal Inquisition. Gregory promulgated the Decretals in 1234, a code of canon law that remained the fundamental source of ecclesiastical law for the Catholic Church until after World War I.”

Here are quotes from Gregory, words of love and words of hatred:

“How wondrously considerate of us is God’s pity! How priceless a love of charity which would sacrifice a son to redeem a slave!”

– Pope Gregory IX

“When you hear any layman speak ill of the Christian faith, defend it not with words but with the sword, which you should thrust into their belly as far as it will go”.

Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241) instructions to his clergy; Chronicles of the Crusade, G. de Villehardouin, p. 148.

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James 3:8,9

8 but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

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Remembering all this seems harsh and uncharitable in light of who Francis seems to be, a soft-spoken man who has washed the feet of the poor and who encourages justice, tolerance, and mercy. But truth is definite: it limits how we can think about things and still remain honest. He allows himself to be addressed as “Holy Father.”

The visit is coming and the facts are there. Is it wise to despise the testimony of martyrs both before and after the Reformation, and especially the “more sure word of prophecy”

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Pope Francis Remakes the Vatican

COVER IS FOR YOUR ONE-TIME EXCLUSIVE USE ONLY AS A TIE-IN WITH THE AUGUST 2015 ISSUE OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. NO SALES, NO TRANSFERS. COVER MAY NOT BE CROPPED OR ALTERED IN ANY WAY. ©National GeographicIf you’re interested in this subject, you’ll find an article by this name in the August issue of National Geographic. The subtitle is: “Will the Pope change the Vatican? Or will the Vatican change the Pope?”

In light of Francis I’s planned visit to the US in September, and his addresses to a joint session of Congress and also to the UN, it is important to study the groundwork being laid for these events in the media. 

“Pope Francis Remakes the Vatican”

Photographer – Dave Yoder

Writer – Robert Draper

(Yoder and Draper have also collaborated on a soon-to-be-published National Geographic book: Pope Francis and the New Vatican.)

I plan to read the article and share my thoughts. It includes a short timeline called “Saints and Sinners” that necessarily omits many things, but the omissions are significant:

the Inquisition,

the Reformation,

and the Counter-Reformation

It does include a mention of Luther’s excommunication but no year is given, and of “Reforming Popes,” which notes 1540 as the year when

“Church leaders convene a council… to reform the church. They approve new religious orders that spread the Catholic faith through worldwide missions.”

This is a strange way to speak about the Council of Trent, with its many anathemas of Biblical faith and Christians. And why no mention of it by name?

1540 is not only the date when Paul III summoned this council but the date of his approval/establishment of Ignatius of Loyola’s Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). 

Watch the media, please.