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.
I am saying that the pronouncement of the Council were in response to the teachings of the Reformers and a condemnation of them. Trent was a response to an existential threat. It took Rome more than a decade to wake up to what was going on, that The Empire was in schism. Rome had been distracted by their quarrel with the Emperor which led to the sack of Rome by his troops, with the Turkish threat, with the demands of Henry VIII and Francis etc. Olkiticsa in short. Then there started a move to negotiate with the Lutheran princes, and moves for new council. When it finally happened, it was without the Reformers, that is to say, the Lutherans etc. The Catholics reformers set the agenda, so Trent adopted the reform agenda of the Catholic reformers. Less a counter-Reformation,than an :alternative-reformation. The rivalry with todays evangelicals, to the extent that they do not use the rhetoric of the Protestant Reformers, is of a different kind.
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HABEMUS PAPAM!!! (Live Thread)
RE: I am saying that the pronouncement of the Council were in response to the teachings of the Reformers and a condemnation of them.
I don’t think you answered my question. If Trent’s pronouncement were a condemnation of the Reformer’s teachings (you just said it above), then surely the same condemnation applies to their present followers who teach similar things. But then, Vatican II calls them “United with Christ”, so which is it?
So, which is being condemned and why the condemnation? Is it because of the historical situation at that time which no longer exists today, or is it because of the TEACHINGS THEMSELVES?
My reading of Trent and Vatican I tells me that it is the TEACHINGS that are condemned. Which is, EVEN IF there is no existential threat like an Empire in schism today, the condemnation of the TEACHING still remains.
But you seem to be saying no... ( or maybe I read you wrongly).
RE: The rivalry with todays evangelicals, to the extent that they do not use the rhetoric of the Protestant Reformers, is of a different kind.
OK, let’s say that today’s reformers do not use the heated rhetoric of the 16th century, are their beliefs ( e.g. Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, non-recognition of the Pope as Primate ) still under Trent’s condemnation or not? And note I focus on the word — BELIEF, not the rhetoric of the 16th century, or the existential threat to the Empire.
RE: The rivalry with todays evangelicals, to the extent that they do not use the rhetoric of the Protestant Reformers, is of a different kind <-— Note the last two words.
What is this “different kind” you are referring to? Could you please clarify? How is the belief of Reformed Christians today any different from the beliefs of the Protestant Reformers?
Also, why don’t you clarify each of the points I raised in Post #40 above.
All you’ve done in response is to re-iterate what you said before, which does NOTHING to clarify the seeming contradiction between Vatican I and II.
We must of course face the reality of the differences in doctrine. Luther and Calvin et al. developed theologies that were different from those of the Church and were contradicted—and condemned—m by the Council of Trent. But no evangelical today does not come to these doctrines the same way that the Reformers did. The Luther of 1521 was not yet a Lutheran. So long as he was alive, he kept developing his own thought and it did not become unchangeable until he died. It is said that on his deathbed, he affirmed his teachings. But as soon as he was dead, they were placed in the hands of other man. Ditto the works of Calvin, and by the end of the century we have Calvinism and we have Lutheranism, which are based on their teachings but not exactly the same. Today, Evangelicals may honor to their principles, but they are no more Lutherans or Calvinists than Luther and Calvin were Augustinians. They are embedded in a tradition, and what separates Catholics and Evangelicals is that each follows a tradition, and so particular principles matter less than the tradition as a whole. Of course the reform or evangelical tradition is far more diverse than the Catholic tradition. The development of denominationalism in the 19th century in America was an effort to arrive at certain common principles, which are the ones you list, but they are less important than the impulse created by revivalism.
RE: Today, Evangelicals may honor to their principles, but they are no more Lutherans or Calvinists than Luther and Calvin were Augustinian.
Excuse me? Have you spoken to devout Calvinists and Lutherans today? (I’m not talking about the wishy washy ones of the PCUSA or ELCA, I’m talking about the millions of Lutherans and Calivinists who REALLY believe the same doctrine Luther and Calivn espoused ).
The thesis that Luther nailed in the Church at Wittenberg which were debated and then condemened by Trent are still in existence today.
Sola Scriptura ( which in effect means the denial of ex-cathedra of the Pope ), Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Glora ... all of these are ALIVE AND WELL TODAY.
Just listen to a Christian radio that broadcasts the teachings of people like John MaCarthur, RC Sproul, etc. and you’ll hear them espoused time and again.
I have to disagree with you here - EVANGELICALS ( the devout ones ) believe in the above SOLA’s that Luther and Calvin espoused.
Also, regarding this -— “he kept developing his own thought and it did not become unchangeable until he died” — Martin Luther did not think of himself as an innovator, he and his colleagues considered themselves REFORMERS, people who wanted the catholic ( as in universal ) church to go back to original Biblical Principles.
You can talk to a devout reformed Christian today and they will tell you that as well.
But having said that, I don’t think you’ve answered my question, in other words, your answers are unclear after so many exchanges.
Are the anathemas of Trent and Vatican I directed towards the DOCTRINES of the reformers or not? If so, the “anyone” in the pronouncement by logic, should apply to those who believe and teach these same doctrines today.
One of them being the non-recognition of the Pope as the Primate of all Christianity.
Therefore, I find it difficult if not impossible to reconcile Vatican II and Vatican I.
BTW, why not answer each of the points I raised in Post #40 above? A yes or no with an explanation as to why the answer is such would go a long way towards clear thinking.
Your contention is that the language of the two Vatican Councils cannot be reconciled, but this is I think to take these words out of context. In a way, the Church acts as Luther did as an individual, which is to save its theory of authority by reformulating old truths in new language. The doctrine of infallibility was a strong assertion of a historic claim of authority by the Bishop of Rome. In a way, this is instrumental. HOW if not by vesting final authority in a single person, is the earthly purity of doctrine to be sustains; how are the many diverse members of the Body of Christ to be kept together and acting in consort? To put it another way, who are the human agents of the Holy Spirit? Obviously, Peter did not simply take the place of Our Lord. No one could. The fact is that Our Lord did not assign him as a kind of Caliph, which was the way that some of the Medieval popes sometimes seemed to act, but as Pope St. Gregory put it, Servant of the Servants of God., In effect,like Moses at the head of the people of Israel. But more so. Moses had never seen His Lord in the flesh. Which is why Paul made a points of connecting with Peter in Jerusalem. Our Lord has ordained Peter to serve a role he never gave to any one else.
That did not, of course, make Peter the first pope, The popes are his successors, and here is the difficulty, one can or cannot accept his successors as bishops of Rome as having the same sort of authority as Peter, as being like him the Keeper of the Keys. One way to get around this, of course, and that is to downplay Peters role. That requires a certain reading of the text, which done mainly by elevating others, such as Paul/James. By treating Peter as no more than the representative Christian rarher than as the representative/deputy of Christ. Another way is to deny the existence of a monarchial bishop of Rome, In any case, Luther et al, simply rejected the authority of Rome by interposing his own authority as a scholar,
RE: Martin Luther: He felt justified in doing this because he saw the developments for the previous thousand years as innovations or at least imperfect formulation of the Gospel as found in Scripture,
OK, I agree with the above statement. But you seem to be ignoring my question — If Luther’s above study and his above belief was considered anathema to Trent and then re-iterated by Vatican I, why is the anathema not re-iterated in Vatican II for those who share his beliefs today?
Your citing history never answered that question. It only BEGGED the question.
RE: In a way, the Church acts as Luther did as an individual, which is to save its theory of authority by reformulating old truths in new language.
Well, if that is the case, then I would expect the Roman Catholic Church to “save” its theory of authority by reformulating old truths in THE SAME LANGUAGE.
Hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics are even as we speak, LEAVING the church and joining other denominations, In Latin America alone, the Pentecostal movement is growing by leaps and bounds and many of these joiners were born Roman Catholic.
If as you say, The doctrine of Papal infallibility was a strong assertion of a historic claim of authority by the Bishop of Rome, I would expect it to be re-iterated in Vatican II, not weakened and calling those who leave the church to join another denomination “United with Christ”.
So, let’s go back to my original question, which was not answered at all. Historical issues you cited did nothing to answer my questions, which are these:
1) The anyone in their , if anyone says clause refer to specific people in HISTORY PAST, not to non-catholic Christians today.
Yes or No?
2) The anathema of Vatican I and Trent refers only to those who threaten to make war on the Vatican (”Existential threat” <— your words) and NOT to those Reformers and other non-catholic Christians who simply do not recognize the Popes authority over them but are not at war ( militarily ) with the Vatican.
Yes or No?
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.
Yes or No?
Surely It isn’t difficult to answer my questions.
In truth, there was nothing new in this.Since the 18th century, the liberal party, the party of the Enlightenment, has been struggling to gain ascendency in the Church, not only in the Church but in Protestantism. The events of 1789 -1815 slowed its progress in the Church , because so many became unbelievers . Anti-clericalism dominated the political life of so many Catholic, Countries. In the Protestant countries, with their weaker clerical class matters took a different course. The sects multiplied and state churches declined. John Wesleys methodism set the paradign for what happened in North America and the UK. Calvinism was abandoned either for liberalism or form arminianism, or people just stopped talking about theology at all. Wesley himself just straddled the fence, sometimes sounding Calvinist and something Arminian. The evangelical party in the Church of England did the same. Moral theology dominated the scene. The language of the Reformers was repeated but largely emptied of its content. Anti-Catholicism joined all parties.
The Church was embattled everywhere. Freemasonry was the choice the elites in Catholic countries. It was strong in the English-speaking countries as well, not anti-Christian. but still anti-Catholic. The government of Mexico has been anti-Catholics or at best tolerant since the 1820s, when the masonic US Ambassador, Joel Poinsett, was a major influence. Vatican I came about because Pius IX wanted take a stand against modernity,and you may recall how his syllabus of errors was received in this country. The same as humanae vitae in 1968, except that in the 1860s, the American Church was still united behind the pope, if only because of the need to confront the strong anti-Catholicism of the times.
I submit, therefore, that the want of the language of previous councils was not the cause of the disaster. Rather it was the revolt against Roman authority under the banner of the Spirit of Vatican II, an insurgency that had already begun in the 50s.
As for the falling away, it was owing to a loss of faith by the lower clergy and the nuns, who are the officer corps. of the Church. In many respects it is much like the Reformation of the 16th Century, which was also led by clergymen, at least in the beginning. Their doctrine is at least Christian, which is why so many Catholics have retreated to the sects from a body whose leadership evidenced so little faith in the doctrine of Trent. But far more have abandoned any meaningful form of Christianity. The opposite of love is, after all, not hate, but indifference.
RE: which was to complete to work begun by Vatican I, which was in effect chased out of town when the Italians occupied Rome. It was not to be a doctrinal council, as Trent was. However, it can be asserted, as Benedict has implied, that a party within the Church, treated the Council as not a renewal but as an abrupt departure from the past.
OK, The above statement now makes more sense, especially this : “It was not to be a doctrinal council” and this in regards to Vatican II : “the Council as not a renewal but as an abrupt departure from the past.”
But Let’s analyze this. There seems to be two things I garnered from this.
1) Vatican I is NOT to be a doctrinal council. If so, if the anathema on those who do not recognize the Pope as the Primate of christianity do not have spiritual force. The only force it has is denominational or institutional.
You are ex-communicated from the ROMAN CATHOLIC church, but not necessarily Christ Himself.
2) If Vatican II is a departure from the past, the next question is this — HOW FAR IS THE DEPARTURE? Surely there are doctrines that were espoused in Vatican I and Trent that are SPIRITUALLY BINDING.
But Vatican II does not depart doctrinally from the past, although many in the Church has thought it did. And as far as the language is concerned, even Trent made it clear that what was condemned was not persons but doctrines. The Lutherans were not there, not because they were not asked, but because they chose not to come. Regarding religious liberty, Vatican II says basically,that good people can hold to false doctrines. Some people resent the Catholic notion of invincible ignorance, but this is but an acknowledgement of human nature. My Methodist father-in-law, a very good man, absolutely refused to accept the statement that Jesus Christ is a Jew. Yet he was anything but an anti-semite. Go figure.
RE: And as far as the language is concerned, even Trent made it clear that what was condemned was not persons but doctrine.
Then the above sounds strange. How does the “anyone” in the “if anyone” clause apply to doctrine and not persons?
The pronoun — ANYONE cannot apply to an “it”.
Which goes back to the question -— Is non-recognition of the Pope as Primate of the Church a doctrine?
Is Sola Scriptura a doctrine?
I believe the answer would be “yes”.
If so, how can Trent simply condemn a doctrine and not condemn the person who consciously and openly, after having understood it, still holds it like many Protestants do?
In other words, one can hold false doctrine and still be “United with Christ” then, according to Vatican II.
RE: Invinsible Ignorance
I would not consider Lutherans or Calivinists to belong to this category. The Catholic Church is present almost eeverywhere they are present. Tradition, Scripture, Priests, the Pope are all there for them to hear. They are most definitely NOT invinsibly ignorant.
In fact, I would not use the word “ignorant” to describe them. Many can articulate the Roman Catholic faith just as well as an Catholic or Priest. So, this type of ignorance does not apply to them.
Yet, they are “United with Christ” even when they hold to doctrines Trent condemns?
RE: good people can hold to false doctrines.
The question then is how false a doctrine can one hold before one is considered NOT “United with Christ”?
If a good Muslim believe that Jesus is a prophet but refuse to believe that He is the son of God, he holds false doctrine. Does being “United with Christ” apply to him?
If a good follower of the Dalai Lama believes that Jesus is a great teacher (The Dalai Lama in fact calls Him “The Son of God”) but does not worship Him as the Roman Catholics do, does being “United with Christ” apply to him?
In other words, how does one hold false doctrine ( NOT out of invinsible ignorance ) and still be “United with Christ”?
A doctrine is true or false. The only time a person is held to account for a false statement is if it leads him to do something wrong. The pronouncements of the Council were that sola Scripture, at least as it was understood by the council, was false. The rejection of papal authority is less a doctrine than a refusal to be bound by papal authority. It is schism. As to condemnation of individuals, Trent did not acts as a Court as did the Council which condemned John Hus. As to being with Christ, it does depend on what false doctrine one is talking about. Any one who denied —as a Muslim does—that Jesus died for our sins on the cross—is obviously not close to Christ. He has closed this avenue to grace. But the question is how sinful is he?By denying Jesus as savior, has he closed to door to heaven? We can say all the right things about Jesus and be trapped in our sins. We can be oblivious to our sins. We can, on the other hand, go so far as to deny the existence of God and yet be close to him.
RE: The only time a person is held to account for a false statement is if it leads him to do something wrong.
Here again is what Vatican I says:
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
Did you read anything in the above that says — DO SOMETHING WRONG?
I don’t. The above statement seems to say that HOLDING to what they believe is FALSE doctrine IS doing something wrong.
And by implication, it should be EVEN MORE WRONG to lead millions of others to hold such false doctrine.
RE: A doctrine is true or false
I agree with you here. If not holding to the Primacy of the Pope is NOT a false doctrine, no amount of anathema pronounced by any council will have any spiritual effect in heaven or on earth. It would be akin to some angry individual cursing : “God Damn You.” and that’s all.
However, if it IS a true doctrine, then the anathema WILL have spiritual force.
RE: The rejection of papal authority is less a doctrine than a refusal to be bound by papal authority.
Ah, so it is NOT a doctrine then.... I shall have to take this matter up with some friends in the Catholic Church ( especially priests ). I suspect many will disagree with the above statement.
But assuming you are correct, therefore, what follows? If rejection of papal authority isn’t a doctrine, then the anathema has no spiritual power at all.
In which case, Vatican II is right to ignore it.
That has to be the conclusion if you are correct.
Let us look not at the decrees of Trent not as abstractions but as judgements having force. The force does not , however, act on the individual but on the propositions advanced. For instance, Luther did say the proposition that you quote, therefore he spoke falsely. But this is not a judgement on the man but on what he says. He is cursed, which is to say, he is expelled from the community. As to how close he is to Jesus, does that not depend on what it in his heart? Maybe what he said against the Jews weighed more heavily, or maybe what he said in anger agains his theological opponents. IAC. all the Council could say is that if he did deny the authority of the pope, then he was putting himself outside the protection of the Church. No mean thing, but in the end, he has already been judged by the time the council spoke.
RE: Let us look not at the decrees of Trent not as abstractions but as judgements having force. The force does not , however, act on the individual but on the propositions advanced.
Sorry, I cannot.
If what you say is true, the statement made by the council should not have been directed at “Anyone” but at the doctrines itself. However, that is NOT what the council said. It uses the pronoun ANYONE.
Therefore, if anyone espouses such beliefs, they ARE anathema.
I cannot look at it any other way unless the wordings are changed ( and they can’t be ).
If one espouses and teaches a doctrine and the doctrine spreads and is believed by millions, the person teaching the doctrine IS anathema.
He is and should be considered a false teacher ( of course one has to prove that what he teaches is really false, but that is another matter for discussion altogether ).
If the anathema (cursed) had been directed at individuals, they would have NAMED THEM. It was such language that was used by the Jews to exclude Christians from the Synagogues.
RE: If the anathema (cursed) had been directed at individuals, they would have NAMED THEM
And why would they have to do that? Luther or Calvin aren’t the only ones during the council of Trent or Vatican I who taught the doctrines being condemned. What purpose would it serve to give the many names one by one when the generic catch all pronoun “anyone” would suffice?