Pope to have joint service with Lutherans on Reformation Day

Pope Francis will join with the Lutheran World Federation in a joint worship service in Lund, Sweden, on October 31, 2016, to celebrate Reformation Day.

To underscore, once again, conservative Lutheran bodies do not approve of joint services with those of other confessions.  Neither do conservative Catholics.  So we do have that in common, along with closed Communion, male-only ordination, pro-life convictions, traditional morality, and belief in the historic creeds.  The LWF has gone wobbly on all of those issues, so I’m curious what unity the Pope hopes to find.  I guess “justice, peace, and reconciliation” is more important than theology for all liberals and that the current pontiff is in that camp.

But setting that aside for now, some Protestants have wondered if they should celebrate Reformation Day.  If the Pope celebrates it, they should too! [Read more...]

The new colonialism

The left continues to condemn colonialism.  Western nations taking over “third world” countries was indeed morally problematic and the source of many problems today in our “post-colonial” world.  But today the left is championing a “new colonialism,” one that insists on imposing the modern West’s views of sexual permissiveness, contraception, and abortion on cultures that recoil from them.  Now Pope Francis is speaking out against this “ideological colonialism.”

Maybe this will encourage the left to abandon multi-culturalism and moral relativism!  Then again, those are the ideas they are trying to impose on traditional cultures. [Read more...]

More on the Pope’s openness to communion with Lutherans

As we blogged about, Pope Francis recently visited a Lutheran church in Rome, where, in answer to a question, he expressed openness to allowing Roman Catholics and Lutherans to commune together.  An article on the subject and an interview with the pastor of the Roman Lutheran congregation have been published in the National Catholic Register.  The interview is excerpted here after the jump.

We conservative Lutherans agree with conservative Catholics in being opposed to any kind of intercommunion between the churches.  We both agree that communion requires full doctrinal agreement.  The pastor here is of the Lutheran World Fellowship/ELCA variety, which believes otherwise and that ecumenical unity trumps just about every other consideration.

But I found two things interesting in this discussion.  First, the interviewer does not have a clue about what Lutherans believe about Holy Communion.  He uses “the Real Presence” to describe the Catholic view, assuming that Lutherans don’t believe in that, even though the term is a Lutheran concept!

More significantly, though, the Pope is acknowledging that Lutherans have the true Body and Blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, that the Lutheran sacrament is valid.  I don’t know that a pope has ever acknowledged that before.  And if the Sacrament is valid, that means the Lutheran pastoral office is valid, which, as the pastor says, has long been a key issue. [Read more...]

Pope says to preach Gospel, then Law

The Pope began his Jubilee Year of Mercy by ceremonially opening the Holy Door at St. Peter’s basilica.  (More on that and the indulgences going through a door like that will get you in a later post.)  In the accompanying address, Pope Francis reversed what Lutherans say about preaching the Law (to awaken hearers to their sinful condition), then the Gospel (the message of free salvation won by Christ on the Cross).  He said to first preach God’s mercy and THEN preach God’s judgement. [Read more...]

Sexual ethics are part of social justice

Many people, including the Pope, are saying that the church should devote more attention to social justice as opposed to to sexual ethics.  First Things editor Matthew Schmitz, a Catholic, reminds us that sexual ethics are part of social justice. [Read more...]

Pope Francis on intercommunion with Lutherans

Pope Francis met with a congregation of Lutherans in Rome, giving them a chalice and kind words.  Then a woman asked when she might be able to share Holy Communion with her Catholic husband.  Read what the Pope said after the jump. [Read more...]


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