The Pope makes annullments easier

Roman Catholics don’t allow for divorce, the dissolution of a marriage.  They do, however, allow for annullments, which deny after the fact that a valid marriage ever took place (despite how long the couple has lived together, if they had children, etc.).  After an annullment, the marriage is considered never to have existed.

The process to get one has been arduous, time-consuming, and expensive, given the tortuous logic that has to be engaged in, with couples having to provide evidence, for example, that they too young to know what they were getting into and so didn’t really have informed consent to the marriage, and similar rationalizations.

But now Pope Francis has issued the biggest changes to annulment proceedings in hundreds of years, making the whole process much easier.  This will surely mean that more Catholics will end their marriages.  But at least they won’t get a divorce! [Read more…]

Conservative Catholics revolting against the Pope?

The Washington Post reports that a backlash against Pope Francis is taking place among many conservative Catholics who disapprove of his seemingly liberal stances on homosexuality, immigration, climate change, divorce, and the like.  Details after the jump.

This must surely create a great sense of cognitive dissonance, since a “conservative” Catholic would seem to be most committed to the authority of the Pope.  I’d like to hear from any of you readers who are conservative Catholics frustrated with this Pope about how you navigate these waters. [Read more…]

Pope will allow priests to forgive abortion

Pope Francis will allow priests to forgive the sin of abortion during the upcoming Holy Year, from December 8 to November 26.  Normally, abortion incurs automatic excommunication.  Bishops must give special permission before a priest can absolve a penitents of that particular sin.

That abortion cannot be forgiven, apart from an elaborate bureaucratic process, is another example of the Gospel-denying effects of the Roman Catholic penitential system.  Christ died for all sins, including abortion, and He bore every woman’s abortion in His body on the Cross.  So every woman who has committed this sin can know that she has forgiveness in Him.  Now for one year, such women can find forgiveness in the Roman Catholic Church.

But this action by Pope Francis is being interpreted as another example of the pontiff’s “tolerance” and will be taken as a weakening of the church’s position on abortion. [Read more…]

Donald Trump to meet with Prosperity Gospel preachers

Donald Trump will be meeting with a “select” group of evangelical pastors in an event organized by television evangelist Paula White, a woman who is the senior pastor of her megachurch and who teaches the “prosperity gospel.[Read more…]

Why churches need confessions of faith

Union University is leaving the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, an organization of evangelical schools, because some of them have decided to embrace gay marriage.  Other schools are considering doing the same.  This has raised the question of what evangelicals and their institutions must be expected to believe.  If everything is left to the interpretation of the individual believer, on what grounds can a church say that the interpretation is in error?  The problem is, if you don’t have doctrinal confessions–the rejection of which many evangelicals pride themselves on–how can you make a doctrinal stand?

Westminster professor Carl Trueman, after discussing the immediate issues, concludes that if churches are going to be able to withstand the secularist onslaughts, they really need to have a specific theology worked out in their confessions of faith, as Lutherans, among others, do. [Read more…]

Christianity is not spiritual, it’s physical

In an interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber, the ELCA “pastrix,” when asked about those who consider themselves “spiritual, but not religious,” turns the terms around, saying that Christianity–what with the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Sacraments–is not so much spiritual as physical. [Read more…]