Pedophile priests & liberal Catholicism

Joseph Bottum, editor of First Things, points out that the cases of the pedophile priests  come from the 1970s, when theological liberalism was rampant in Catholicism.   He says that the lack of recent cases reflect a more conservative church and a generation of more faithful priests:

There are two parts to the scandal that has obsessed Europe in recent weeks. The first part — the most evil, disgusting part — is over. Every group has a small percentage of members with sick sexual desires. By their very calling, Christian ministers ought to have a lower percentage. For a variety of reasons, however, the Catholic Church suffered through an astonishingly corrupt generation of priests, centered around 1975, with a percentage of sexual predators at least equal to the general population’s.

Thank, God, that part is finished. European churches are now putting in place stringent child-protection procedures, and even with the anti-Catholic obsession raging in Europe, no cases of deliberately suppressed incidents less than a decade old have emerged. Besides, the new generation of priests, formed in the light of John Paul II’s papacy, seems vastly more faithful to Catholic moral teaching.

Still, the second part of the scandal remains, for it involves not the mostly dead criminals but the living institution. The bishops who ruled over that corrupt generation catastrophically failed to act.

Some of this came from the shortsighted and anti-theological advice of the lawyers and psychologists who dominated Catholic institutional thinking in that era. But much came simply from a desire to avoid bad publicity. And for the bishops’ failures, every Catholic is now paying — in a hundred years’ worth of donations lost to court judgments, in suspicious faith and in deep shame.

via Opposing view: ‘Every Catholic is now paying’ – Opinion – USATODAY.com.

The author says that now those who are out to destroy the Catholic church are trying to target Pope Benedict–to the point of some European newspapers offering awards for documents linking him to the scandals–which he thinks is unfair.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    Well, for what it’s worth, I think the linkage between liberal Catholicism and paedophilia in the priesthood sounds a lot like special pleading. It ignores the fact that much, if not most of the abuse was perpetrated by priests who underwent formation in the pre-Vatican II era. I think that at the heart of this problem is an unholy nexus of absolute power, celibacy and secrecy. There is mounting evidence that this combination of factors not only fostered an environment in which these terrible deeds were almost bound to happen, but actually drew those conflicted over their sexuality into it. A perfect storm, if you will, and pity the victims caught up in it!

    I deplore liberal Catholicism..it is “another Gospel”, but these particular sins cannot be charged to its account, imo.
    Try again, Mr Bottoms, without rose-coloured glasses, this itime.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    Well, for what it’s worth, I think the linkage between liberal Catholicism and paedophilia in the priesthood sounds a lot like special pleading. It ignores the fact that much, if not most of the abuse was perpetrated by priests who underwent formation in the pre-Vatican II era. I think that at the heart of this problem is an unholy nexus of absolute power, celibacy and secrecy. There is mounting evidence that this combination of factors not only fostered an environment in which these terrible deeds were almost bound to happen, but actually drew those conflicted over their sexuality into it. A perfect storm, if you will, and pity the victims caught up in it!

    I deplore liberal Catholicism..it is “another Gospel”, but these particular sins cannot be charged to its account, imo.
    Try again, Mr Bottoms, without rose-coloured glasses, this itime.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    Sorry, that would be Mr Bottum; my mistake.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    Sorry, that would be Mr Bottum; my mistake.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I think Mr. Bottum is correct. The calculated recruitment, by liberal Catholic leaders, of a large number of homosexuals into the priesthood in the ’50s and ’60s, led to an explosive situation where a fair number of priests a) were attracted to little boys, and b) thought the rules of chastity and celibacy no longer applied in modern times. Result: catastrophe.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I think Mr. Bottum is correct. The calculated recruitment, by liberal Catholic leaders, of a large number of homosexuals into the priesthood in the ’50s and ’60s, led to an explosive situation where a fair number of priests a) were attracted to little boys, and b) thought the rules of chastity and celibacy no longer applied in modern times. Result: catastrophe.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Honestly, I believe there is no one single answer as to why? Actually, I take it back. Why don’t we blame what is at the heart of the issue. The Roman Church like every other organization on earth is made up of sinners and when you have sinful people hanging around people are going to get hurt. Rather than trying to lay blame, it would be better to acknowledge the sin, repent, and strive to become more Christ-like and sin no more.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Honestly, I believe there is no one single answer as to why? Actually, I take it back. Why don’t we blame what is at the heart of the issue. The Roman Church like every other organization on earth is made up of sinners and when you have sinful people hanging around people are going to get hurt. Rather than trying to lay blame, it would be better to acknowledge the sin, repent, and strive to become more Christ-like and sin no more.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The John Jay Study data show about 50 reported instances of America priestly sex abuse in 1950, followed by a precipitous of rise to about 775 about 1980, and a decline to about 50 in 2003. George Weigel of Ethics and Public Policy Center writes in an article, What Went Wrong :

    Since 2002, with strong support from then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (and from him still as Benedict XVI), the Catholic Church in America has developed and enforced policies and procedures to ensure the safety of the young that offer an important model for the world church. There were only six credible reports of sexual abuse of the young in the U.S. church last year. And while that is six too many in a church that ought to hold itself to the highest standards, it is nonetheless remarkable in a community of 68 million people.

    What is essential throughout the world, however, is that the church become more Catholic, not less. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” proposed an understanding of faithful and fruitful human love as an icon of God’s inner life. That vision is far nobler, far more compelling, and far more humane than the sex-as-contact-sport teaching of the sexual revolution, the principal victims of which seem to be vulnerable young people. Those who are genuinely committed to the protection of the young might ponder whether Catholicism really needs to become Catholic Lite-or whether the Augean stables of present-day culture need a radical cleansing.

    Augean stables indeed. The level of sexual predation in contemporary secular culture is obvious and alarming.

  • Peter Leavitt

    The John Jay Study data show about 50 reported instances of America priestly sex abuse in 1950, followed by a precipitous of rise to about 775 about 1980, and a decline to about 50 in 2003. George Weigel of Ethics and Public Policy Center writes in an article, What Went Wrong :

    Since 2002, with strong support from then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (and from him still as Benedict XVI), the Catholic Church in America has developed and enforced policies and procedures to ensure the safety of the young that offer an important model for the world church. There were only six credible reports of sexual abuse of the young in the U.S. church last year. And while that is six too many in a church that ought to hold itself to the highest standards, it is nonetheless remarkable in a community of 68 million people.

    What is essential throughout the world, however, is that the church become more Catholic, not less. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” proposed an understanding of faithful and fruitful human love as an icon of God’s inner life. That vision is far nobler, far more compelling, and far more humane than the sex-as-contact-sport teaching of the sexual revolution, the principal victims of which seem to be vulnerable young people. Those who are genuinely committed to the protection of the young might ponder whether Catholicism really needs to become Catholic Lite-or whether the Augean stables of present-day culture need a radical cleansing.

    Augean stables indeed. The level of sexual predation in contemporary secular culture is obvious and alarming.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Sorry, nn the above first sentence the number for 2003 ought to have been 25.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Sorry, nn the above first sentence the number for 2003 ought to have been 25.

  • J

    Hogwash.
    Child abuse goes back to Adam’s day; what’s new in ours is the widespread reporting of it.
    Henderson @1′s points are irrefutable.

  • J

    Hogwash.
    Child abuse goes back to Adam’s day; what’s new in ours is the widespread reporting of it.
    Henderson @1′s points are irrefutable.

  • Georg

    It’s always amusing to read conservative Lutherans defending the Catholic Church, or here, the pope specifically. According to the BOC, the papacy is the antichrist. But that’s so 16th century. Now, the pope and the reactionary wing of the American Catholic Church are useful allies/leaders in the American culture war against Obama, so everyone’s now solicitious about the Church. When Lutherans aruge this way, they are announcing that they are in schism with the Church.

  • Georg

    It’s always amusing to read conservative Lutherans defending the Catholic Church, or here, the pope specifically. According to the BOC, the papacy is the antichrist. But that’s so 16th century. Now, the pope and the reactionary wing of the American Catholic Church are useful allies/leaders in the American culture war against Obama, so everyone’s now solicitious about the Church. When Lutherans aruge this way, they are announcing that they are in schism with the Church.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Funny, I thought I read something in the Catechism about apologizing for my neighbor and putting the best construction on all he does. Must have misread it.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Funny, I thought I read something in the Catechism about apologizing for my neighbor and putting the best construction on all he does. Must have misread it.

  • Peter Leavitt

    One can hardly underestimate the degree of hard-edged bias among many Protestants against the Catholic Church. Arthur Slessinger Sr. ,the historian, regarded this as the most deeply rooted prejudice in American culture. This is unfortunate, as orthodox Protestants, Catholics, and Jews are at present engaged in a fateful cultural struggle against fundamentalist secularism that commands the heights of American culture including the liberal media, Hollywood, and much of academia.

    As to Lutherans, many of the more knowledgeable and understanding of them are aware that the Catholic Church has come a long way since the time of the Reformation. Carrying a deep grudge against Catholics for past errors is a hardly a Christian thing to do.

  • Peter Leavitt

    One can hardly underestimate the degree of hard-edged bias among many Protestants against the Catholic Church. Arthur Slessinger Sr. ,the historian, regarded this as the most deeply rooted prejudice in American culture. This is unfortunate, as orthodox Protestants, Catholics, and Jews are at present engaged in a fateful cultural struggle against fundamentalist secularism that commands the heights of American culture including the liberal media, Hollywood, and much of academia.

    As to Lutherans, many of the more knowledgeable and understanding of them are aware that the Catholic Church has come a long way since the time of the Reformation. Carrying a deep grudge against Catholics for past errors is a hardly a Christian thing to do.

  • Adam Koontz

    As everyone except some “evangelical catholics” in the ELCA knows, Rome’s errors aren’t past errors. Rome still teaches justification as a process involving both faith and works; it’s right there in their Catechism. I don’t think that the current pope has made any bones about that, although he is certainly better informed about the Lutheran Confessions than just about any other pope ever has been (see his Fundamentals of Catholic Theology). For the denigration of Christ’ s merit and the exaltation of the authority of man over God’s Word, the papacy “is called and truly is the Antichrist.” It isn’t carrying a deep grudge or mouthing Know-Nothing shibboleths to confess what God teaches about the justification of the ungodly over against all errors, past and present, Roman and evangelical. The Evangelical Lutheran church cannot be in the business of playing nice for the sake of culture wars, no matter how important they seem here and now.

    That is a separate issue from putting the best construction on things and desiring healing and absolution for Christian brothers. I don’t think any Lutheran reformer desired that the sexual abuses then current among the Roman clergy (as attested by the Apology) continue for the sake of showing that a married clergy is better. Lars is very much right to point to the 8th Commandment as our guide here.

    But I cannot help thinking that Mr. Bottum is doing some special pleading, and that as “Dr Luther” said, a single cause of this rash of sin cannot be spotted. From a poison spring flow poison streams. We’re talking about human hearts who had/have a lot of authority and influence. Something is bound to go horribly wrong sooner or later when sinners are running things, and I hope that the Roman church continues to combat this evil in their midst, even as we all need to crucify the old Adam daily, arising to live in our Baptism in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.

  • Adam Koontz

    As everyone except some “evangelical catholics” in the ELCA knows, Rome’s errors aren’t past errors. Rome still teaches justification as a process involving both faith and works; it’s right there in their Catechism. I don’t think that the current pope has made any bones about that, although he is certainly better informed about the Lutheran Confessions than just about any other pope ever has been (see his Fundamentals of Catholic Theology). For the denigration of Christ’ s merit and the exaltation of the authority of man over God’s Word, the papacy “is called and truly is the Antichrist.” It isn’t carrying a deep grudge or mouthing Know-Nothing shibboleths to confess what God teaches about the justification of the ungodly over against all errors, past and present, Roman and evangelical. The Evangelical Lutheran church cannot be in the business of playing nice for the sake of culture wars, no matter how important they seem here and now.

    That is a separate issue from putting the best construction on things and desiring healing and absolution for Christian brothers. I don’t think any Lutheran reformer desired that the sexual abuses then current among the Roman clergy (as attested by the Apology) continue for the sake of showing that a married clergy is better. Lars is very much right to point to the 8th Commandment as our guide here.

    But I cannot help thinking that Mr. Bottum is doing some special pleading, and that as “Dr Luther” said, a single cause of this rash of sin cannot be spotted. From a poison spring flow poison streams. We’re talking about human hearts who had/have a lot of authority and influence. Something is bound to go horribly wrong sooner or later when sinners are running things, and I hope that the Roman church continues to combat this evil in their midst, even as we all need to crucify the old Adam daily, arising to live in our Baptism in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well said, Adam (@11).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well said, Adam (@11).

  • fws

    what adam @ 11 says.

  • fws

    what adam @ 11 says.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Regardless of the cause, what has been missing is a ruthless and transparent effort on the part of the Magisterium to root this out to the uttemost, and to provide real pastoral care for the victims.

    For too long, even during the present crisis the church has been concerned with who has the proper authority to criticize the church and an unhealthy interest in protecting it’s reputation and clergy at the expense of the victims.

    Check out http://www.bishopaccountability.org for absolutely more evidence concerning this foul mess than you can stomach.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Regardless of the cause, what has been missing is a ruthless and transparent effort on the part of the Magisterium to root this out to the uttemost, and to provide real pastoral care for the victims.

    For too long, even during the present crisis the church has been concerned with who has the proper authority to criticize the church and an unhealthy interest in protecting it’s reputation and clergy at the expense of the victims.

    Check out http://www.bishopaccountability.org for absolutely more evidence concerning this foul mess than you can stomach.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Peter Leavitt opines, “As to Lutherans, many of the more knowledgeable and understanding of them are aware that the Catholic Church has come a long way since the time of the Reformation. Carrying a deep grudge against Catholics for past errors is a hardly a Christian thing to do.”

    Lutherans have no grudge against Catholics, never have, never will. It is the Pope who is in league with the devil not the Catholic Church.

    Nothing has changed since the time of the Reformation. The actions of the Anti-christ demonstrate a continuing rebellion against the powers ordained by God to punish evil-doers (Rom. 13:1-6). Rather than humbly submitting himself and his dominion to the authority of government, he aids and abets the evil-doers.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Peter Leavitt opines, “As to Lutherans, many of the more knowledgeable and understanding of them are aware that the Catholic Church has come a long way since the time of the Reformation. Carrying a deep grudge against Catholics for past errors is a hardly a Christian thing to do.”

    Lutherans have no grudge against Catholics, never have, never will. It is the Pope who is in league with the devil not the Catholic Church.

    Nothing has changed since the time of the Reformation. The actions of the Anti-christ demonstrate a continuing rebellion against the powers ordained by God to punish evil-doers (Rom. 13:1-6). Rather than humbly submitting himself and his dominion to the authority of government, he aids and abets the evil-doers.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Daniel, I should suggest that you read any one of John Paul II’s or Benedict XVI’s encyclicals and ask yourself whether either of these holy and brilliant men could be fairly characterized as in rebellion against the powers ordained by God.

    You might, also, try a fair reading of the late Lutheran pastor and theologian, Richard John Neuhaus’s article, How I Became the Catholic I Was including:

    Mine was a decision mandated by conscience. I have never found it in his writings, but a St. Louis professor who had been his student told me that the great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran. That impressed me very deeply. I was thirty years a Lutheran pastor, and after thirty years of asking myself why I was not a Roman Catholic I finally ran out of answers that were convincing either to me or to others. And so I discovered not so much that I had made the decision as that the decision was made, and I have never looked back, except to trace the marks of grace, of sola gratia, each step of the way.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Daniel, I should suggest that you read any one of John Paul II’s or Benedict XVI’s encyclicals and ask yourself whether either of these holy and brilliant men could be fairly characterized as in rebellion against the powers ordained by God.

    You might, also, try a fair reading of the late Lutheran pastor and theologian, Richard John Neuhaus’s article, How I Became the Catholic I Was including:

    Mine was a decision mandated by conscience. I have never found it in his writings, but a St. Louis professor who had been his student told me that the great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran. That impressed me very deeply. I was thirty years a Lutheran pastor, and after thirty years of asking myself why I was not a Roman Catholic I finally ran out of answers that were convincing either to me or to others. And so I discovered not so much that I had made the decision as that the decision was made, and I have never looked back, except to trace the marks of grace, of sola gratia, each step of the way.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    @ Peter Leavitt

    Mr Leavitt, the John Jay report indicates that at least 63% of the priests and deacons studied would have received their formation prior to Vatican II and the upsurge of liberalism in the Roman Catholic Church (and a further 25 % of the clergy studied were born between 1940-1949, for whom it is difficult, without further data, to gauge when they received their formation). When one looks wider than the American scene, for example to the situation in the Irish church (see the Murphy report), the scope of the problem in the pre-Vatican II church begins to be seen in its proper light.
    Again, Mr Bottum’s argument looks much like special pleading.

    @ Dr Luther,
    Yes, of course original sin and personal acts of sin are at the heart of this matter. We are surely all Christian realists here. The immediate question is did the RCC have adequate procedures in place to check occasions for sin?, and, further, is there a deeper cause for these incidents in the peculiar ethos of the RCC?

    @Lars Walker
    Lars, that is an interesting argument. Do you have concrete information to back up that claim? How does it gel with the – admittedly limited – statistical information we have on the formation of Roman clergy convicted of paedophile acts?

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    @ Peter Leavitt

    Mr Leavitt, the John Jay report indicates that at least 63% of the priests and deacons studied would have received their formation prior to Vatican II and the upsurge of liberalism in the Roman Catholic Church (and a further 25 % of the clergy studied were born between 1940-1949, for whom it is difficult, without further data, to gauge when they received their formation). When one looks wider than the American scene, for example to the situation in the Irish church (see the Murphy report), the scope of the problem in the pre-Vatican II church begins to be seen in its proper light.
    Again, Mr Bottum’s argument looks much like special pleading.

    @ Dr Luther,
    Yes, of course original sin and personal acts of sin are at the heart of this matter. We are surely all Christian realists here. The immediate question is did the RCC have adequate procedures in place to check occasions for sin?, and, further, is there a deeper cause for these incidents in the peculiar ethos of the RCC?

    @Lars Walker
    Lars, that is an interesting argument. Do you have concrete information to back up that claim? How does it gel with the – admittedly limited – statistical information we have on the formation of Roman clergy convicted of paedophile acts?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mark Henderson, the vast proportion sexual predation of priests took place in the sixties and seventies, peaking about 1980. Most analysts who have studied this regard the main cause as the looseness of the secular sexual revolution and to a lesser extent theology that took place during this period. Since about 96% of the priests remained faithful to their priestly vows, it is rather dubious to pin the blame for the filthy behavior of a few on the generally excellent policies of Catholic church and seminary formation.

    George Weigel puts the matter as follows:

    Sexual abuse is indeed horrible, but there is no empirical evidence that it is a uniquely, predominantly, or even strikingly Catholic problem. The sexual abuse of the young is a global plague. In the United States, some 40 to 60 percent of such abuse takes place within families-often at the hands of live-in boyfriends or the second (or third, or fourth) husband of a child’s mother; those cases have nothing to do with celibacy. The case of a married Wilmington, Dela., pediatrician charged with 471 counts of sexual abuse in February has nothing to do with celibacy. Neither did the 290,000 cases of sexual abuse in American public schools between 1991 and 2000, estimated by Charol Shakeshaft of Virginia Commonwealth University. And given the significant level of abuse problems in Christian denominations with married clergy, it’s hard to accept the notion that marriage is somehow a barrier against sexually abusive clergy. (Indeed, the idea of reducing marriage to an abuse-prevention program ought to be repulsive.) Sexual abusers throughout the world are overwhelmingly noncelibates.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mark Henderson, the vast proportion sexual predation of priests took place in the sixties and seventies, peaking about 1980. Most analysts who have studied this regard the main cause as the looseness of the secular sexual revolution and to a lesser extent theology that took place during this period. Since about 96% of the priests remained faithful to their priestly vows, it is rather dubious to pin the blame for the filthy behavior of a few on the generally excellent policies of Catholic church and seminary formation.

    George Weigel puts the matter as follows:

    Sexual abuse is indeed horrible, but there is no empirical evidence that it is a uniquely, predominantly, or even strikingly Catholic problem. The sexual abuse of the young is a global plague. In the United States, some 40 to 60 percent of such abuse takes place within families-often at the hands of live-in boyfriends or the second (or third, or fourth) husband of a child’s mother; those cases have nothing to do with celibacy. The case of a married Wilmington, Dela., pediatrician charged with 471 counts of sexual abuse in February has nothing to do with celibacy. Neither did the 290,000 cases of sexual abuse in American public schools between 1991 and 2000, estimated by Charol Shakeshaft of Virginia Commonwealth University. And given the significant level of abuse problems in Christian denominations with married clergy, it’s hard to accept the notion that marriage is somehow a barrier against sexually abusive clergy. (Indeed, the idea of reducing marriage to an abuse-prevention program ought to be repulsive.) Sexual abusers throughout the world are overwhelmingly noncelibates.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Peter Leavitt@16 opines, “Daniel, I should suggest that you read any one of John Paul II’s or Benedict XVI’s encyclicals and ask yourself whether either of these holy and brilliant men could be fairly characterized as in rebellion against the powers ordained by God.”

    I read Benedict’s “Caritas in Veritate” as you suggested. I found it ironic that a man who claims immunity from prosecution by the world’s governments for crimes against children also claims the right to lecture those same governments on how they should govern.

    Yes, Benedict is brilliant but his brilliance is misdirected. Benedict was called by God to be Bishop of Rome, to preach, and to administer the sacraments, not to be the ruler of a phoney state.

    “Therefore the power of the Church and the civil power must not be confounded. The power of the Church has its own commission to teach the Gospel and to administer the Sacraments. Let it not break into the office of another; let it not transfer the kingdoms of this world; let it not abrogate the laws of civil rulers; let it not abolish lawful obedience; let it not interfere with judgments concerning civil ordinances or contracts; let it not prescribe laws to civil rulers concerning the form of the Commonwealth.” Augsburg Confession, Art. XXVIII.

    Peter Leavitt@16 opines, “You might, also, try a fair reading of the late Lutheran pastor and theologian, Richard John Neuhaus’s article, How I Became the Catholic I Was including:
    Mine was a decision mandated by conscience. I have never found it in his writings, but a St. Louis professor who had been his student told me that the great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran. . .”

    I will acknowledge the Pope’s authority if he will acknowledge the authority of the gospel, submit to civil authority, and admit his superiority over bishops and pastors is by human right and not by divine right.

    “The Roman Pontiff claims for himself [in the first place] that by divine right he is [supreme] above all bishops and pastors [in all Christendom].
    Secondly, he adds also that by divine right he has both swords, i.e., the authority also of bestowing kingdoms [enthroning and deposing kings, regulating secular dominions etc.].
    And thirdly, he says that to believe this is necessary for salvation. And for these reasons the Roman bishop calls himself [and boasts that he is] the vicar of Christ on earth.
    These three articles we hold to be false, godless, tyrannical, and [quite] pernicious to the Church.” A Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.

  • Daniel Gorman

    Peter Leavitt@16 opines, “Daniel, I should suggest that you read any one of John Paul II’s or Benedict XVI’s encyclicals and ask yourself whether either of these holy and brilliant men could be fairly characterized as in rebellion against the powers ordained by God.”

    I read Benedict’s “Caritas in Veritate” as you suggested. I found it ironic that a man who claims immunity from prosecution by the world’s governments for crimes against children also claims the right to lecture those same governments on how they should govern.

    Yes, Benedict is brilliant but his brilliance is misdirected. Benedict was called by God to be Bishop of Rome, to preach, and to administer the sacraments, not to be the ruler of a phoney state.

    “Therefore the power of the Church and the civil power must not be confounded. The power of the Church has its own commission to teach the Gospel and to administer the Sacraments. Let it not break into the office of another; let it not transfer the kingdoms of this world; let it not abrogate the laws of civil rulers; let it not abolish lawful obedience; let it not interfere with judgments concerning civil ordinances or contracts; let it not prescribe laws to civil rulers concerning the form of the Commonwealth.” Augsburg Confession, Art. XXVIII.

    Peter Leavitt@16 opines, “You might, also, try a fair reading of the late Lutheran pastor and theologian, Richard John Neuhaus’s article, How I Became the Catholic I Was including:
    Mine was a decision mandated by conscience. I have never found it in his writings, but a St. Louis professor who had been his student told me that the great confessional Lutheran theologian Peter Brunner regularly said that a Lutheran who does not daily ask himself why he is not a Roman Catholic cannot know why he is a Lutheran. . .”

    I will acknowledge the Pope’s authority if he will acknowledge the authority of the gospel, submit to civil authority, and admit his superiority over bishops and pastors is by human right and not by divine right.

    “The Roman Pontiff claims for himself [in the first place] that by divine right he is [supreme] above all bishops and pastors [in all Christendom].
    Secondly, he adds also that by divine right he has both swords, i.e., the authority also of bestowing kingdoms [enthroning and deposing kings, regulating secular dominions etc.].
    And thirdly, he says that to believe this is necessary for salvation. And for these reasons the Roman bishop calls himself [and boasts that he is] the vicar of Christ on earth.
    These three articles we hold to be false, godless, tyrannical, and [quite] pernicious to the Church.” A Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.


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