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.
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?