Image credit: L’Osservatore Romano
I’m at a loss.
I know this isn’t news, but the constant reminders of our Holy Father’s utter disregard for Catholic truth is…well, it’s just disheartening. We told you about Lund and the push for intercommunion — and why that’s not even possible. We addressed the fact that the Church has long since infallibly tackled the errors of Martin Luther. We didn’t bother with his proposal of new beatitudes (no, that’s not satire. I’m not kidding.)
The longing for unity, which is clearly strong in the leadership of both sides, also showed itself to highlight commonalities at the expense of real differences such as women’s ordination, abortion rights and human sexuality. When it comes to ethics and morals, Lutherans and Catholics have never been farther apart.
Still, Church and Lutheran leaders gave the day, which included an international ecumenical gathering and a question and answer session with Pope Francis in the evening, effusive praise. Rev. Junge said the historic meeting was a “fantastic encouragement” for dialogue and a “milestone” in the bilateral relationship.
Catholic and Lutherans attending the evening event also appeared to be greatly encouraged by the commemoration.
“It was a very big event and I think it changed something, not only in the Church but in me personally,” said Els, 65, from Sweden. “I found what the Pope said to be most helpful: to convert and not to judge other churches nor my own church.” But asked if she felt drawn to enter the Catholic Church as a result, she emphatically said “no” and that she had to “be faithful to my church.” She told the Register she felt Pope Francis “doesn’t want us to be altogether as Catholics but remain as we are. We have to keep our identity and that’s the only way to become one church because unity is in diversity, and not in difference.”
Jonas, a Swedish non-denominational Christian, said he believed the commemoration was a “sign of Christian unity and hope for the future,” adding it was “very nice” to have the Pope in Sweden.” But like Els, the event did not draw him toward the Catholic Church but rather called him to be a “faithful Christian.”
“May God bless Catholics,” he said.
Father Dominic, a Jesuit living in Stockholm, said the most “fundamental thing was that Catholics and Protestants came together and made this happen.” He advocated more dialogue in order “to learn much more” from each other. The Pope’s visit, he said, “made the faith more accessible, it’s saying you don’t need to be afraid of Catholics.”
Cardinal Koch told reporters in the evening of Oct. 31 it was a “very beautiful” day, one that’s “very late” in coming, but “very important.” It’s a “new beginning of a way to leave conflict in the past and go toward communion in the future,” he said.
But when asked by the Register whether he believed the Catholic Church was the one, true Church to which all Lutherans actually belong, he said “Christ is also present in other churches.”
The Catholic Church is the “universal Church” while the Lutherans have “another structure,” he said, a subject he would like “deepened.”
This theme is so profoundly consistent with Francis/Bergoglio. He has been avoiding actual evangelization — sometimes working actively against it — for as long as anyone can remember. I’ve covered this in some detail in the past. We also know that he dissuaded Tony Palmer from becoming a Catholic when he expressed interest in doing so, and the poor man died outside the Church because he took then-Cardinal Bergoglio’s advice. Lund repeats the same rejection of the Great Commission we’ve been witnessing for years. Just listen to this testimony from two American Protestant leaders who met with Francis in Rome. You need only about 30 seconds to get the jist (the video starts at 6:39; if it doesn’t go there automatically, you’ll want to skip ahead):
My faith, my hope, my trust, is in Jesus Christ and in the promise he gave to His Church. But enough is enough already! There’s not enough time in the day to report on all the ways Rome is now rejecting Christ’s own teaching and mission.
I believe God is letting this happen for a reason, and I believe that this is the time of Our Lady, whose Immaculate Heart will triumph. But my own heart, sinful and small as it is, is heavy.
I again turn today to His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who cuts to the heart of the crisis and gives us a cause for hope: Mary is the destroyer of all heresies.
‘Rejoice — Gaude — O Virgin, my Lady, for thou alone has destroyed all heresies in the whole world. Mother of God, intercede for us.’
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.