Skip to comments.Evangelist Luis Palau: New Pope Francis a Friend of Evangelicals
Posted on 03/16/2013 11:18:09 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Evangelist Luis Palau, who knows and has prayed together with Pope Francis on several occasions, called the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics a friend of evangelicals who is respectful of all sides of Christianity.
"I exploded," Palau told oregonlive.com, of his reaction after his son, Kevin Palau, president of the Luis Palau Association, shared the news that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected pope this week. "I just couldn't believe it. In the last election, he was in the running but he told me he felt led by God to remove himself from the race. I said, 'Maybe next time,' and he said, 'I'll be too old.'"
The fiery preacher who some have called the "Latin Billy Graham," said whenever they prayed together, Bergoglio asked him to "lay your hands on me and pray for me, that God will keep me as servant." The new pope is respectful of all sides of Christianity, Palau said, adding the press referred to him as the "evangelical pope" in 2008. Bergoglio, 76, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1936. His father was an Italian immigrant. He's the first pope from South America, and also the first Jesuit pope. Palau was also born in Argentina, and moved to Portland, Ore., in his mid-20s to enroll in a graduate program in Biblical studies.
"I've met him several times, gone to his place, we've talked, we've prayed together you know. He builds bridges to other Christian groups, like evangelical Christians, which is a high percentage in Latin America. He's a friend. He's a real friend," Palau, 78, told kgw.com.
In Buenos Aires, the Rev. Dr. Norberto Saracco, a prominent evangelical leader in Argentina, affirmed that Pope Francis is "known for having very good relationships with evangelicals and with leaders of other faiths, in addition to being a man of prayer and a supporter of the Bible Society," the Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of the Wold Evangelical Alliance, said in statement to congratulate Francis.
The new pope took the name of the most severe critic of the papacy before Martin Luther, and bowed to receive the crowd's blessing.
"He doesn't act superior or above, you know, because of his position and so on," Palau said. "You'd never guess he was a cardinal if he walked in the room, because he makes a point of it. He's not impressed by himself."
Bergoglio is known for his simplicity. In Argentina, he chose not to live in the archbishop's palace and took a simple apartment instead. He also cooked his own meals and used public transport to go to work in lieu of a chauffeured limousine he was entitled to.
When Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage in 2010, Bergoglio opposed it, saying the legislation would "seriously injure the family" and that gay adoption would be "depriving (children) of the human growth that God wanted them given by a father and a mother."
On criticism that Bergoglio failed to act in the mid-1970s to protect the people from military dictators in Argentina, Palau said, "It's, you know, so easy to make statements, why don't they say this or say that. Why don't you go, become a citizen and live there, then try to do it?"
Palau said the new pope is likely to focus on the youth. "His passion for (the) young was in my book, far more visible and that shows you my conversations with him, than even his work with the poor. He really was desperate about the secularization of young people all over the west and all over the world," said Palau, author of numerous books.
Pope Francis is known for his pastoral skills and spirituality. He urged leaders of the Roman Catholic Church Friday never to give in to discouragement, bitterness or pessimism but to keep focused on their mission. "Let us never give in to the pessimism, to that bitterness, that the devil places before us every day. Let us not give into pessimism and discouragement," Reuters quoted the pope as telling the cardinals who chose him.
Francis also told the cardinals Thursday the Church must not become just another charitable group without its divine mission, urging they must stick to the faith's Gospel roots and shun modern temptations.
On Friday afternoon, Francis slipped out of the Vatican to visit a fellow Argentine, 90-year-old Cardinal Jorg Mejia, who had suffered a heart attack. On Thursday morning, the day after his election, he left quietly to pray at a Rome basilica and to pay his bill at a residence where he had been staying before the conclave, according to Reuters.
Earlier in the Sistine Chapel, Francis stopped cardinals who tried to kneel before him.
Extending his "warmest congratulations" to the newly elected Pope, Tunnicliffe affirmed his prayers for the new leader, who will head the Catholic Church "at a time filled with great challenges but also a time of great possibilities..." He said WEA looks forward to "building on some of the good work we have done together in the past, such as the collaboration for the document Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct."
Francis' predecessor Pope Benedict XVI resigned, saying, "Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." The inauguration of Pope Francis will be held Tuesday.
As I explained, “anathema” has a specific technical meaning in canon law. The secular dictionary definition isn’t going to give you that. Because it is a penalty under church law, like all such penalties, it doesn’t apply to non- Catholics. That doesn’t change the fact that some of what the reformers taught is heretical. But you can’t argue the fate of non-Catholics in Catholic teaching based on a penalty clause which is no longer in force, and never applied to them in the first place.
It was their doctrines that were denounced. But both men were baptized Catholics and Luther an ordained priest. As for their followers, that would be those who openly professed such doctrines. In Germany and elsewhere, the common people usuallu had no choice as they were required to follow the dictates of their local authorities. This would be less true of the sects, who were persecuted by both Catholics and Lutherans. Freedom of religion —as a concept— was anathema even to the sectarians. They did not believe any man had the right to err about the true doctrine of Christ.
RE: That doesnt change the fact that some of what the reformers taught is heretical.
so, not recognizing the Pope as the Supreme Pontiff of the Church is heretical...
As for heresy, what else is heresy that the reformers taught? Can you cite one example?
I cited one of them already — not recognizing the Pope as the Primate of the church.
RE: But you cant argue the fate of non-Catholics in Catholic teaching based on a penalty clause which is no longer in force, and never applied to them in the first place.
I find this to be quite strange and hard to conceive. Why would anathema merely apply to Luther or Calvin and not to his followers who believe the same “heretical” ( your words ) doctrine they do? These are people who call themselves “Christian” as well.
For instance, there are thousands upon thousand of people in the world who were baptized in the Roman Catholic Church as infants who after growing up, decided, upon reflection and discussions with non-Catholic Christians, that they are convinced that Martin Luther and John Calvin are right.
Surely, these thousands of non-Catholics are anathema according to Vatican I. That is, if the technical meaning is having been Catholic, you now embrace doctrine that the Roman Catholic Church (as per Vatican I ) calls anathema.
Yet, Vatican II calls them separated brothers.
The only convincing explanation for me is Vatican II superceded Vatican I.
RE: As for their followers, that would be those who openly professed such doctrines.
There are MILLIONS of Luther and Calvin followers now who OPENLY profess their doctrines.
Luis Palau being one of them ( ask him for instance if he believes in Sola Scriptura, I am 100% certain he would say YES. Why do I say that? I heard him say so before ).
Ask Palau directly if he believes that Pope Francis should be THE ( not ‘a’ ) representative of Christ on earth. If he were honest to his Evangelical Heritage, he would say Francis is ‘a’ representative, but not ‘the’ representative of Christ.
Vatican I condemns that belief, but Vatican II does not.
To be consistent with your statement ‘As for their followers, that would be those who openly professed such doctrines.’, men like Palau would be under Vatican I anathema ( bit not Vatican II ).
Not really. Not many even know what the teachings of Luther and Calvin were. And the consequence of their actions was a Christianity divided literally into warring camps, the devastation of Europe, and the discrediting of Christianity in such a way as to open the door to the new paganism that threatens us now.
RE: Not many even know what the teachings of Luther and Calvin were.
I beg to disagree with you here.
Even for the sake of argument, we were to agree that there are those who don’t know what the teachings of Luther and Calvin were, there are MANY who do.
The Pastors, the leaders, men like Luis Palau for instance.
The question still remains — are they under the condemnation of Vatican I? or are they considered “united with Christ” as per Vatican II?
None believed in a special priesthood, bit instead, they believed in a ministerial class composed of men knowledgeable in the Bible. They rejected Latin as a liturgical language, and used the Vernacular, but trusted their ministers to know the Scriptural language , Greek and Hebrew. Hence the authority of the vernacular Bibles. Today, of course, the Vernacular Bible is accepted as authentic even by those who read not a word of the original languages. No longer is the priest the bridge between God and believer, but the translator and interpreter.
OK, given all of the above, why then are non-catholic Christians considered “united with Christ” by Vatican II?
If the purpose of the Roman catholic church is to protect against error, then anathema of Vatican I should apply to every Lutheran, Presbyterian and yes, Protestants and Evangelicals out there ( Luis Palau included since he was born Roman Catholic ).
But that is not what is indicated in Vatican II.
United by what we share in common. With the Orthodox churches we theologically have the most in common; then such bodies as the Anglo-Catholics and Lutherans; then the Reformed churches. Let us say the confessional churches, which might include the Methodists. Then such bodies as the members of the Southern Baptist Convention, which might not recite the Apostles Creed, but accepts most of its tenants. Then Pentacostals of every stripe. Then liberal Protestant bodies of every denomination. With evangelicals of ever kind there is a great overlap, but most in the notion that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God., which faith is expressed in the Nicene Creed in the term consubtantial, which is no more than a one-word, philosophical expression of that dogma.
RE: RE: Then such bodies as the members of the Southern Baptist Convention, which might not recite the Apostles Creed, but accepts most of its tenants.
I have news for you. Some Southern Baptist churches DO recite the Apostle’s Creed. And even when in their worship services, some don’t, they ACCEPT ALL OF IT. I don’t understand where the use of the words “most of it” comes from.
By the word “most”, c an you clarify which one of the tenets of the Apostle’s Creed ( and even the Nicene Creed ) they do not accept?
I should know, I’ve been to many of their worship services and spoken to many of their pastors.
I’ve even had the chance to speak to one of their ( now deceased ) leaders, Rev. Adrian Rogers.
There is only one tenet that they might disagree with with the Roman Catholic Church — the word “catholic”.
Roman Catholics understand it as THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH with the Pope at the head.
The non-Catholics understand it to mean the universal church (the body of Christ) that will exist from the time it was founded until Jesus returns. Members of this church are all who have by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ, believed in Him and accepted Him as Lord and Savior REGARDLESS of whether they are members of the Roman Catholic church or not.
But going back to the original discussion...
Vatican I states thusly:
Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.
You are saying that Roman Catholics can be united with those who are anathema by virtue of what you share in common?
I find this to be most strange. How can you be united and at the same time anathema?
The heretic Arius shared many tenets of the Christian faith with the Orthodox Christians at that time, EXCEPT for his denial of the deity of Christ. He was ANATHEMA and condemned as a heretic. There was no talk of being united by what was shared in common.
RE: It is Catholic doctrine that the Church is the baptized.
So, why are those who are not baptized in the Roman Catholic Church considered “united with Christ” by Vatican II?
RE: What Trent condemns is essentially novelties in doctrine which divide the Church.
OK, not recognizing the Pope as Primate is a novelty according to Trent right? Then why are those who believe in this “novelty” now considered “United with Christ” by Vatican II?
Makes no sense.
RE: The Lutherans, the Calvinists, and the Baptists all claim to be the Catholic Church,
Correction, the The Lutherans, the Calvinists, and the Baptists all claim to be MEMBERS of the Catholic ( as in Universal ) church. They recognize each other as members as well and include ALL who by grace through faith in Christ ( regardless of which denomination they belong to ) as members of the catholic church.
The question they will ask of ANY PERSON ( regardless of denomination ) is this -— DO YOU CONFESS JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND SAVIOR ? If the answer is “yes”, then they are recongized to be part of the catholic church.
If you don’t believe me, ask any pastor of any of these denominations.
RE: The Council of Trent said, no, YOU who say this are the apostates
Which of course begs the question -— IN WHAT SENSE ARE THEY UNITED WITH CHRIST according to Vatican II?
An apostate cannot be united with Christ can he?
So, You can’t have both Vatican II and Trent or Vatican I simultaneously be correct on this issue. So, which one prevails?
RE: Trent was dealing with the claims of the Reformers that they taught the true Gospel. That the Church of Rome did not. Trent rejected their claims.
Sure, but remember this, WE HAVE SPIRITUAL DESCENDANTS OF THE REFORMERS EXISTING TODAY, BY THE MILLIONS I MIGHT ADD.
I think the question has to be asked — if Trent considers these people anathema, why does Vatican II consider those who share their beliefs “United with Christ”?
RE: Vatican II basically said, no, war is not appropriate; persuasion only, which of course is yet a kind of force. Charity must prevail. Neither side ought to resort to force to compel unity. But what was false is still false.
We are NOT talking about war here. we are talking THEOLOGICAL differences. So, kindly dispose of that idea.
These are theological differences that affect SPIRITUAL CONCERNS and that is where we should focus the discussion on.
It is clear that Vatican I and Trent still ex-communicates
the reformers and their followers. It is NOT CLEAR if Vatican II does. By using the words they are “united with Christ”, it looks like Vatican II is softening the words of the previous councils.
So your explanation does not solve the problem. If as you say, false is still false, and not accepting the Pope’s primacy is anathema, you don’t use the words — “United with Christ” to refer to those people who hold to what is false.
You might call them friends, but you don’t call them “united with Christ”.
To give you an example — I can be a friend of a self-professed supporter of abortion and gay marriage and even have a beer with him or even play ball with him, but I would not consider him “united with Christ”. He is MOST DEFINITELY NOT “united with Chris”t in any sense of the word by his support of murder of children and the destruction of marriage.
So, If Logic is to prevail, and the force of Trent and Vatican I is to be taken seriously, the millions of people who hold to the same beliefs as Luther or Calvin should NOT be “united with Christ” based on their beliefs. They should still be ex-communicated.
You cannot simultaneously hold to beliefs that are anathema and still be considered “united with Christ” ( or does Vatican II now says that you can?).
Whatever it is, I don’t see how the words of Vatican II and Vatican I can be reconciled.
RE: I am talking about history, about human beings acting in historyTrent took place within history and even as its was adjourning war was breaking in France between the Catholics and Huguenots
And I am also referring to history. Let’s ignore the war for the meantime. The question remains -— are the anathemas of Trent and Vatican I only for those whose citizens are at war? Or are they about SPIRITUAL differences?
But let’s set aside France and the Huguenots for the moment... here’s a direct question for you...
Based on YOUR UNDERSTANDING...is a professed Christian who does not acknowledge the Pope as Primate of the Christian church TODAY still under the Vatican I anathema or not?
A simple yes or no will suffice.
A Catholic, yes. but anyone else is not under the popes jurisdiction. Of course, any assertion to the contrary is invalid on the face of it, but the pope has no secular power to compel obedience. Even his power to compel Catholics is limited.
RE: A Catholic, yes.
What about those who were baptized catholic from infancy and then grew up to become reformed and evangelical ( see for instance Evangelist Luis Palau). Are they under the Vatican I anathema?
RE: pope has no secular power to compel obedience.
Again, let’s dispel with secular power, wars, troops, etc. Those are relics of ancient medieval times.
Does the Pope have real SPIRITUAL power to anathematize someone who believes in Jesus Christ but does not recognize that he is the Primate of the Christian church?
You are using a term as it it meant throwing thunderbolts from on high. The Council of Trent did what it did but it was in the midst of a civil war in the Church, against heretics who had the power to do great harm. Vatican I did what it did because the papacy was under assault from the secular powers of Europe and those even in the Church who wishes to destroy its power and influence. The threat to Church today does not come from the likes of Palau but from the secularists who are enemies of Christ, and the modernists within the Church.
Let me for clarification’s sake summarize what I’ve learned from you so far ( feel free to tell me what I’ve missed ):
1) I take it from your response that the answer is NO. Luis Palau ( despite his not recognizing the Pope as primate of the church ) is NOT under the Trent/Vatican I anathema. The ‘anyone’ in their , ‘if anyone says’ clause refer to specific people in HISTORY PAST, not to non-catholic Christians today.
2) The anathema of Vatican I and Trent refers only to those who threaten to make war on the Vatican and NOT to those Reformers and other non-catholic Christians who do not recognize the Pope’s authority over them but are not at war ( militarily ) with the Vatican.
3) Vatican II therefore recognizes the likes of Luis Palau and even the spiritual descendants of the reformers as “united in Christ” together with devout Roman Catholics.