Evangelicals take part in Vatican marriage conference

Evangelicals, Pentecostalists, and even Mormons took part in a recent Vatican conference on marriage, which was hosted by Pope Francis.  Southern Baptist social ministries spokesman Russell Moore was an invited speaker.  So was megachurch pastor Rick Warren, who was said to have turned the Roman Catholic meeting into a “revivalist meeting.”  (Does anyone know if any Lutherans participated?)  The Catholics gave the evangelicals a standing ovation.

Do you think this was a good thing–religious people of various stripes rallying in defense of marriage–or a problematic and potentially dangerous  bit of unionism? [Read more...]

Human ecology

A useful concept and a clarifying name from Pope Francis:  People worry about the state of the natural environment, he observed.  But they also need to worry about the social environment.  Family breakdown, rampant immorality, and materialistic hedonism damage what he calls the “human ecology.”  [Read more...]

“First it was your turn, and now it is our turn”

The Pope made an interesting comment to visiting Jewish leaders.  He compared the atrocities being committed against Christians in parts of the Middle East and the world’s overall silence on the subject to the way Jews were treated in the run-up to World War II.  The pope, who sees us in the beginning stages of a new world war, thinks Christians will increasingly be the new target.   “First it was your turn,” he said, “and now it is our turn.” [Read more...]

Are we already in World War III?

Pope Francis says that all of conflicts throughout the world constitute a Third World War.  Indeed, there was a time when two individual nations would fight it out over a dispute.  Now, even regional conflicts quickly become globalized.  So maybe the Pope is right, that World War III is upon us. [Read more...]

Half of marriages aren’t valid?

Roman Catholics don’t believe in divorce.  But they do allow for annulments.   These involve ecclesiastical tribunals that rule that a valid marriage never existed in the first place.  If it was determined that a couple was too young and didn’t know what they were doing or that they didn’t understand the Catholic theology of marriage, their marriage could be declared invalid.  Despite receiving the sacrament of marriage in their wedding, despite living together for decades, despite having children and raising them to adulthood, they weren’t really married, thus ratifying their civil divorce and allowing them to marry someone else.

Catholics who do get a divorce and remarry without an annulment (which is a very expensive and time-consuming process) incur automatic excommunication, meaning that they are not allowed to receive Holy Communion.  This affects lots of people, as you can imagine, and cuts seriously into church attendance.  So the church is reconsidering its practice, trying to find a way to allow remarried people to take Communion.

A leader of that effort is the retired German archbishop Cardinal Walter Kasper, who, in the course of an interview in Commonweal Magazine, dropped this bombshell that, strangely, has drawn little attention: “I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid.” [Read more...]

Pope says 1 in 50 priests is a pedophile

In another controversial interview, Pope Francis said that Vatican research has found that 2% of priests–including bishops and cardinals–are pedophiles.  That comes to 1 in 50 of the 414,000 priests.  He also said that he planned to find a “solution” for priestly celibacy, noting as Protestants have always said, that the requirement was not instituted for the first 900 years of Christendom. [Read more...]


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