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3 concerning updates on Pope Francis

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3 concerning updates on Pope Francis

Pope Francis has been quite active in 2018 and its only the beginning of February. Many big stories regarding the Pope are receiving little attention. Pope Francis seeks to be different from his predecessors but it doesn’t appear he’s immune from the pedophilia scandals within the Catholic Church. As the Pope branches out to reach more people, is the Chinese government really a good partner for the Christian faith? Lastly the Pope Francis balances his call to fight antisemitism with encouraging a highly Islamic regime.

Story 1

CBS News- AP: Despite denial, Pope Francis got sex abuse victim’s letter

Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press.

The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.

While the victims’ testimony was deemed credible by both Vatican and Chilean prosecutors, the local church hierarchy clearly didn’t believe them, which might have influenced Francis’ view. Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz has acknowledged he didn’t believe the victims initially and shelved an investigation. He was forced to reopen it after the victims went public. He is now one of the Argentine pope’s key cardinal advisers.

In a rare rebuke of a pope by a cardinal, O’Malley issued a statement Jan. 20 in which he said the pope’s words were “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” and that such expressions had the effect of abandoning victims and relegating them to “discredited exile.”

A day later, Francis apologized for having demanded “proof” of wrongdoing by Barros, saying he meant merely that he wanted to see “evidence.” But he continued to describe the accusations against Barros as “calumny” and insisted he had never heard from any victims.

Even when told in his airborne press conference Jan. 21 that Karadima’s victims had indeed placed Barros at the scene of Karadima’s abuse, Francis said: “No one has come forward. They haven’t provided any evidence for a judgment. This is all a bit vague. It’s something that can’t be accepted.”

He stood by Barros, saying: “I’m certain he’s innocent,” even while saying that he considered the testimony of victims to be “evidence” in a cover-up investigation.

Story 2

WSJ: Pope Francis to Bow to China With Concession on Bishops

Pope Francis has decided to accept the legitimacy of seven Catholic bishops appointed by the Chinese government, a concession that the Holy See hopes will lead Beijing to recognize his authority as head of the Catholic Church in China, according to a person familiar with the plan.

For years, the Vatican didn’t recognize the bishops’ ordinations, which were carried out in defiance of the pope and considered illicit, part of a long-running standoff between the Catholic Church and China’s officially atheist Communist Party.

The bishops approved by the Beijing-backed Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association are seen as more willing to toe the government’s line, or even to support a Chinese Catholic Church free of the Vatican’s influence. Several of the bishops are members of a government advisory body controlled by the Communist Party.

It would then be up to Beijing to accept a proposed agreement giving the pope veto power on future bishop candidates, whom he would approve or veto after their selection by the Chinese government. Beijing’s major condition for that agreement has been that the pope recognize the seven bishops, the person said.

The Communist Party keeps a tight grip on all religious practice, mandating that religious institutions be free of foreign control. New regulations that went into effect on Thursday require that religious institutions gain government approval for teaching plans, overseas pilgrimages and other activities.

On the other hand, a deal would represent a breakthrough: the first official recognition by the Communist government of the pope’s jurisdiction as the head of the Catholic Church in China.

Story 3

Telegraph: Pope Francis gives peace symbol as gift to president Erdogan as Turkish forces pound Kurdish militia

Pope Francis gave a symbol of peace as a gift to Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, as Turkish forces continued their military offensive against Kurds in Syria.

The Pope and the Turkish leader had a 50-minute meeting behind closed doors, during which they discussed the situation in Syria as well as refugees in the Middle East and the Trump administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which they both oppose.

It was the first visit of a Turkish president to the Vatican in nearly 60 years.

After the meeting, the Pope gave Mr Erdogan a bronze medallion showing an angel embracing the world while battling a dragon.

“This is the angel of peace who strangles the demon of war,” he told the president, whose forces have been accused of grave human rights abuses in the northern Afrin region of Syria.

My Take

Full disclosure: I’m a staunch protestant. But despite doctrinal differences, I recognize the faith of Catholics who have a relationship with Jesus.

Many people had high expectations for the Pope to address and make reforms in response to the child sex abuse that is within Catholic Church. The recent article by the AP shows evidence contrary to the Pope’s initial zero tolerance stance. The Pope’s lack of zeal in dealing with a scandal that was closer to him, both geographically and through connections, demonstrates an alarming amount of hypocrisy on the issue.

The move to recognize Chinese bishops is troubling for Christians in the east. Consider a segment of this thread on Chinese persecution:

The concern with this move is that the Pope just legitimized bishops who likely have no business being bishops. Since the Communist government approved of them, the indication is clear that the “radical” teachings of the Bible will be whitewashed with government sanctioned politically correct church material. So one must wonder, how serious is the Pope taking the Great Commission? The underground church is booming by most reports and so is the persecution. By absorbing apostate Chinese churches into the Vatican, the Pope is not only doing underground Catholics a disservice but also every other denomination. China is using a can’t beat them, so lets get them to beat themselves. These state-approved Churches are detractors to faith and the Pope gave his nod to them in exchange for recognition as the head of these churches. This is naive negotiating. We all know the government will truly be the authority these bishops respond to. Whether the Pope is egotistical or naive, he’s giving the Chinese government a brand name (the Vatican) for it to control Christianity through its state-run churches.

The last story is perhaps the most dangerous. Not only is it demonstrating a high amount of hypocrisy, or at very least inconsistency, in Pope Francis’s beliefs, but it could have more eternal/providential implications. Pope Francis met with Turkish President Erdoğan after his military commenced Operation Olive Branch to terrorize Kurds in Syria. Instead of confronting his attack on the Kurds, the Pope gave this dictator a medal of peace. What’s worse is that the Pope is basically being a tool for which Turkey can advance its Islamism. While the Pope scolded America, on Christmas, for moving it’s Israeli Embassy, Turkey announced it’s opening a Palistinean Embassy in Jerusalem, unscathed by the Vatican. Who’s side is the Pope on? Is he on the side of Jesus or Muhammad? This is a serious question. The Pope pushing to divide Israel only furthers the latter’s cause. As noted in my scathing critique of Paul Nelen’s antisemitism, Jesus will return to save Israel and nations will be judged. It is my understanding that Catholics believe in the second coming like the rest of Christianity. Why then would Pope Francis cozy up to a man bent on forming the next Caliphate?

A Kurdish pastor said something which is a bit of a wake up call: Turkey is a bigger threat to Israel than Iran. In truth, we cannot say for certain when the end-times are but soon. Turkey is a big player and Erdoğan has risen to the world arena, ending Turkey’s Kamalism in favor of Islamism. He could establish a caliphate through his neo-Ottoman pursuit. His land grabs in Syria are at very least a display of power. This is not the type of behavior the Pope should promote. Many opponents call the Pope Francis the Antichrist. He’s not, but he did just give a peace medal to the current front-runner.

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Culture and Religion

Acts 17:11 – ‘searched the scriptures daily’

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Acts 17:11 searched the scriptures daily

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. – Acts 17:11 (KJV)

We’ve talked before about doing daily Bible study, then we made sure to expand on what we were promoting by reminding people that Christianity itself should not be a task. Now, we’ll go to the source (as we should have done from the beginning) and point to scriptural backing that we are not only supposed to read the Bible, but to search it and use at as the ultimate reference.

This verse is often quoted out of contest. It points to the Bereans as true students of the Word. There are even ministries today who herald to the Bereans and continue in the works that were alluded to in this chapter. The reality is this: the Bereans were Jews who studied fervently and as a result they were easily converted to belief in Yeshua as the Messiah.

If there’s any one takeaway from this (other than the call to continuously study and find truth in the Bible by applying the teachings of the Bible itself), it’s that those who are the most steadfast in their studies, whether it’s of the Bible or of this world, are the ones who are easiest to bring to the truth. Christianity and all religions have gained an unfortunate label of being only for the “weak of mind” or gullible people. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not necessarily about intelligence. It’s about discernment. Those who see the world through the lens of common sense and an unbiased intellect are the most likely to come to the faith. They simply need a little Biblical worldview prompting.

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Culture and Religion

Matthew 22:37 – ‘love the Lord thy God’

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Matthew 2237 love the Lord thy God

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. – Matthew 22:37 (KJV)

We’ve all heard this verse, but have we really contemplated it? This is a verse that sits in the middle of many different things happening. The Pharisees and Sadducees were questioning Him. His answers were profound and defining.

This important portion of this message is echoed three times: all. Love thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind. This is the most important Commandment according to Yeshua.

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Culture and Religion

Scouts BSA: Proof that moral leadership matters in life

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Scouts BSA Proof that moral leadership matters in life

In the Age of Trump, where the Fellowship of the Pharisees and their so-called evangelical followers have given “God’s chosen president” a “mulligan” for his sexually immoral past in exchange for a seat at his table, the damage being done to the Gospel of Christ is obvious.

Another consequence of this kind of hypocrisy has been the destruction of moral leadership in nearly every area of American life. For example, let’s take a look at Scouts BSA, formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America.

In a report by NBC New York yesterday, we learned that nearly 8,000 adults are suspected of sexually abusing more than 12,000 children in the Boy Scouts over the years, and that these incidents have been kept secret according to victim’s rights attorney Jeff Anderson.

“For many, many years there’s been an excavation of what are called the ‘perversion files’—those are files held and hoarded at the Boy Scouts of America headquarters.

“Those ‘perversion files’ that they’ve had reflect that they have removed thousands of offenders of childhood sexual abuse over the years and they’ve kept that in files secretly.”

While the abuse appears to have been going on since the 1940s, recent decisions by the Boy Scouts created an environment that essentially guaranteed it would happen with greater frequency, thanks to the institution of LGBT-friendly changes to their leadership requirements.

In the summer of 2015, then-president of the Boy Scouts and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates abandoned the organization’s commitment to develop moral character by lifting the ban on homosexuals serving as leaders due to fears of possible lawsuits.

The lawsuit excuse was a lie as the Supreme Court had already upheld the BSA’s right to exclude homosexuals. In reality, Gates, the guy responsible for ending the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, simply wanted to open scouting to the LGBT community, regardless of any consequences. Moral considerations be damned.

Here’s an irony for you. Scouts BSA announced a few months ago it may go bankrupt due to the lawsuits over sexual abuse and declining membership. I guess Gates missed that one.

By the way, Scouts BSA also made a policy change in February 2017 to recognize children by their “gender identity,” and the reason Boy Scouts of America changed the name to Scouts BSA is because it’s now open to girls. How long will it be before we hear about a “straight” leader sexually molesting these new additions to the Boy Scouts?

In the end, however, it’s not an LGBT or straight issue; it’s a moral leadership issue. Unfortunately, morality no longer exists in the Boy Scouts because their first duty to God no longer exists, due in no small part to the rise of the lukewarm church and cheap grace theology.

Moral leadership matters in life; and in politics as well. But we’ll never see it again in America unless something changes in the heart of the church.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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