Pope Francis and the Evangelicals

I just read Sandro Magister’s background piece on the Holy Father’s visit to Caserta.  Did you read it?  HERE

I want to preface this with a reminder that Popes meet with all sorts.  Even as I scratch my head about Pope Francis meeting with Joel Olsteen, I remind myself that Paul VI met with Idi Amin Dada.  St. John Paul met with Yasser Arafat.  Popes meet with all sorts. That’s what Popes do.

ROME, July 23, 2014 – When the news got out, and was confirmed by Fr. Federico Lombardi, that Pope Francis intended to make a private visit to Caserta to meet with a friend, the pastor of a local Evangelical community, the city’s bishop, Giovanni D’Alise, was thunderstruck. He hadn’t been told a thing.

Moreover, the pope had planned his visit to Caserta for the same day as the feast of Saint Anne, the city’s patron. Seeing themselves snubbed, some of the faithful threatened an uprising. It took a good week to convince the pope to change his schedule and divide the trip into two phases: the first a public one with the faithful of Caserta on Saturday, July 26, and the second in private with his Evangelical friend on the following Monday.


The meeting with [evangelical] Pastor Traettino in Caserta is not, in fact, an isolated episode, but part of a broader effort that Pope Francis is making to win the favor of the worldwide leaders of those “Evangelical” and Pentecostal movements which especially in Latin America are the most fearsome competitor of the Catholic Church, from which they are snatching enormous masses of faithful. [The Church is bleeding out there.]


Three days later, on June 4, the pope had a long meeting at his residence of Santa Marta with some “Evangelical” leaders of the United States, including the famous televangelist Joel Osteen, California pastor Tim Timmons, and the president of the Evangelical Westmont College, Gayle D. Beebe.

On June 24, another meeting. This time with Texas televangelists James Robinson and Kenneth Copeland, with Bishop Anthony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, with John and Carol Arnott of Toronto, and with other prominent leaders. There were also Geoff Tunnicliffe and Brian C. Stiller, respectively the secretary general and “ambassador” of the World Evangelical Alliance. The meeting lasted for three hours and continued through lunch, in the refectory of Santa Marta, where the pope, amid loud laughter, gave Pastor Robinson a high five (see photo).  [Yep.]

Copeland and Osteen are proponents of “prosperity theology,” according to which the more faith grows the more wealth grows. They themselves are very wealthy and live an extravagant lifestyle. But Francis spared them the sermon on poverty.

Instead – according to what “ambassador” Stiller reported – the pope assured them: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.”

But he also told them that he had learned from his friendship with Pastor Traettino that the Catholic Church, with its imposing presence, acts too much as an obstacle to the growth and witness of these communities. And for this reason as well he thought of visiting the Pentecostal community in Caserta: “to offer an apology for the difficulty brought to their congregation.”


Read the rest there.

Moderation queue is ON.

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  1. Priam1184 says:

    When it comes down to it can someone like Joel Osteen even really be called a Christian? Really? Their faith is not something I can recognize. The Pentecostalists are in the end not so different than the Muslims. Their belief system promises worldly success and has nothing in common with the rejection of this world that is preeminent in the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ as promulgated by the Catholic Church. A reminder to all of these christians: the Church is in the world but not of the world.

    I’m sorry Pope Francis but if everything Mr. Magister reported here is true then I have to say you have made a mistake on this one. But in this case the Holy Father was acting and not teaching; in that endeavor he is just as likely to screw up as any of the rest of us.

  2. DavidJ says:

    If there was a specific offense that someone committed against someone in Caserta, then perhaps an apology was in order. Perhaps that’s something I’m unaware of. A nebulous apology for being an obstacle to the growth of a non-Catholic Christian community, though, seems unnecessary at best. I want to give the pope the benefit of the doubt here, but I find it hard to do so. Without context, this seems like he’s apologizing for the Church being Catholic, and how could one ever do that?

  3. racjax says:

    Regarding Westmont College, the main contributors are virulently anti-Catholic. The main financial contibutors derogatorily refer to Catholics as “Romans”. One directly told me that Beebe said “they can deal with this Pope.”

  4. Bosco says:

    I could not help but notice, Father Z. that you have posted another piece today titled:
    “Is Pres. Obama going to “nullify” immigration laws?”

    To be perfectly honest, I believe the Bishop of Rome is every bit as anarchic in his sphere as is Mr. Obama. I think it eerie at best. [I like to think that the Holy Father has something good up his sleeve. I do NOT think that about POTUS.]

  5. Tradster says:

    Am I correctly understanding this, because it seems contradictory. First I read that Pope Francis is meeting with the Protestants because they are snatching away huge numbers of Catholics. Then he apologizes to them for the Church getting in the way of them growing by snatching even greater numbers of Catholics.

  6. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I am unfamiliar with the people with whom Holy Father is visiting, and with their churches. Yet I have lived for 61 years in a region where most Christians are Evangelicals.

    The churches with whom Catholics should be talking are, in order of importance, (1) The Eastern Orthodox Church, (2) the Oriental Churches, and (3) Evangelicals.

    Far too little time has been devoted to working with Evangelicals; far too much time has been spent “dialoging” with the dying: the “mainline” Protestant Churches, among whom I include Latter-Day Anglicans. These churches are ultra-Liberal; indeed it was with them that Liberalism was born, first the Latitudinarians of the 18th C, then the Liberals of the 19th C – Thomas Arnold, Charles Kingsley, F. D. Maurice, Albert Ritschl, and the man who cost Nietzsche and Feuerbach their faith: David Strauß, and the Lutheran midwife to Modernism: Adolf von Harnack.

    With the establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate, Holy Father Benedict stopped “dialoging” and sent out a lifeboat. Mother Church ought to consider if this can be done for Lutherans who have grown weary of Liberalism. Ditto to Low Church Anglicans of the N.T. Wright type. And we should be joining hands with Evangelicals, and for four reasons.

    First, many of them have been told lies about us. 30 years ago in a barber’s chair, I was reading a tract on the Rosary. The barber, who attended a Fundamentalist Fortress of a Baptist church in my town, said to me “I’ve always wanted to ask a question of a Catholic.” I asked him what it was. “Can Catholics pray to God?” I strongly assured him that we can and do. He replied “Well, I always heard that Catholics had to go first to their priest, and the priest would pray to God for them.” Clearly someone had told him wrong. And this isn’t an isolated example. These people need to get to know us, and we them.

    Second, no other Protestant group is so close to us in moral theology. They don’t think highly of the Sexual Revolution’s issues: Killing children, homosexual marriage (or homosexuality at all), and of the desert of Transgendered-stan.

    Third they are with us with religious liberty issues. A former student of mine, now a Baptist minister, led a rally in front of the local Federal Building supporting Christian prayer at the local County Commissioners’ meetings (he invited a Catholic priest to participate in the rally). They oppose the restrictions on religious liberty in Obama Care. They want prayer in schools and have even set up their own parochial schools. (And, Priam1184, they not only have nothing in common with Moslims, but also they are Israel’s strongest supporters. )

    Finally, we Catholics need to know Scripture just as well as the Evangelicals know it. Call them in this matter Role Models.

    Folks, these are the people with whom we should be talking and with whom we should be marching. So I’m not upset at what Holy Father is doing. He knows we have much common ground with Evangelicals.

    Fr. Z, be upset if Holy Father were to have tea with John Shelby Spong.

  7. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Readers should take note that Evangelical is not the same as Pentecostal and Dispensationalist. Nor all all Evangelicals Fundamentalists; see their love of N.T. Wright. I’ve even read works by Evangelicals who strongly object to Penal Substitutional Atonement, embracing instead Christus Victor (Gregory Boyd) and Sacrifice (Joel Green)

  8. jacobi says:

    We have a problem here.

    The Evangelicals are a heretical schismatic ecclesial body. The only reason I can see for the Successor of Peter to visit this, or any representative of this group, is to point out to them the errors of their ways and persuade them – or evangelise them if you wish – to return to the One True Church, the Catholic Church.

    Yes the Evangelicals are “ snatching enormous masses of faithful”. I would suggest that this is because the Church in Latin America in the post Vatican II years has become so Relativised and lacking in faith or conviction, or in any form of meaningful liturgy, that the laity have simply given up and looked elsewhere.

    The Evangelicals at least give them a chance to sing, dance, wave their arms about and otherwise let off steam.

    But the critical issue here is that in treating this heretical body as an equal, the Successor of Peter, and Keeper and Guardian of the Keys, is simply confirming these ex-Catholics in the gravely false decision they have taken and encouraging many more to desert the Mystical Body of Christ.

    One other point if I may. Coming as I do from a region in which the Church was cruelly treated and persecuted after the Protestant Reformation, I take great exception to any suggest that we Catholics have anything to apologise for.

    It is the Protestants who must apologise!

  9. mtmajor says:

    I’m so confused; apologize? For what, exactly? I hope Mr. Magister is off base with this report.

    For what it’s worth, my confusion regarding this papacy continues to expand, despite grand efforts of many here. Too many abstract sayings and actions with contradicting and confusing clarifications to make sense of it all.

  10. romanrevert says:

    “the Catholic Church, with its imposing presence, acts too much as an obstacle to the growth and witness of these communities. And for this reason as well he thought of visiting the Pentecostal community in Caserta: “to offer an apology for the difficulty brought to their congregation.”

    In other words, “…as members of the One True Church, we are sorry for getting in the way of the spreading of your heresies.” Would he have apologized to the Arians ?

    Not wanting to convert the Evangelicals to the Catholic Faith is very … well… un-Catholic. Is he content to leave them in their error and heresy? Is he content to deprive them of the Sacraments? I am confident that he knows of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus – so why does he continue to ignore it or fashion it to his own liking? I continue to be dumbfounded by the seemingly complete departure from Tradition and the Faith of the Apostles (at times) from this Pontificate. I hate to say it, but for the good of my own faith, I usually tune him out. St. Athanasius, pray for us!

  11. excalibur says:

    Oy vey!

  12. Aspie says:

    Pentecostals don’t even have trinitarian baptism. That means their baptisms are invalid. This means the Catechism of the Catholic Church implies they aren’t inside the body of Christ: paragraph 1279 says “The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ.” It is as helpful to the church for Muslims to convert atheists as it is for Pentecostals atheists because neither have trinitarian baptism.

  13. tcreek says:

    The ecumenism of recent popes is bearing fruit, especially for Evangelicals.

    Pew Research – April 27, 2009
    Faith in Flux – Leaving Catholicism

    “Those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the Catholic Church by nearly a four-to-one margin. Overall, one-in-ten American adults (10.1%) have left the Catholic Church after having been raised Catholic, while only 2.6% of adults have become Catholic after having been raised something other than Catholic.”

    “Former Catholics are about evenly divided between those who have become Protestant and those who are now unaffiliated with any religion, with fewer now adhering to other faiths. Among Catholics who have become Protestant, most now belong to evangelical denominations …”

    I suspect the figures for 2014 would show a greater loss of Catholics.
    In Louisville Ky, evangelical mega-church Southeast Christian claims that ex-Catholics make up their largest group.

  14. Tamquam says:

    A lot of these Evangelicals remain virulently anti Catholic, though some have reconciled themselves to the point that they consider us Catholics kind of quasi, demi semi Christian, in a way, sort of. I am willing to pray with any of them who are willing to pray with me, and I don’t beat them over the head and shoulders with the incompleteness of their doctrine when I do. Part of that is the spoon full of sugar vs the barrel full of vinegar approach (which works sometimes, you’d be surprised, though the righteousness contest works sometimes too, I must admit). Part of it is more practical and self serving. The Gospel of Christ is is under vicious and concerted attack everywhere to a greater degree than we’ve seen in quite a few generations. I want allies with the Light of Christ about them, however dim and fitful the flame, as the darkness descends. Now might be a good time for the Pope to work up the “Whoever is not against me is with me” approach on contrast to the “Whoever is not with me is against me” scenario. I am emphatically NOT saying that there is no difference between Catholics and the separated brethren, nor that we should throw out what is distinctively Catholic in our Faith to pander to Protestants so as to gain a sort of false love form them. I am saying that it is a greater good to work together to oppose and right the evils that beset us than that any be overwhelmed and driven under in isolation.

    And yes, I know paragraphs are our friends.

  15. APX says:

    After applying for a job with a rather large Evangelical Christian Homeless shelter (that receives funds from the diocese, no less) for a position requiring very specific qualifications and experience (both of which I have) that had been posted for months because they couldn’t fill that position with a qualified person, and after jumping through the application hoops, was turned down because I was unwilling to sign their statement of faith, I no longer feel we should be “working in collaboration” with Evangelicals for social justice causes, but rather starting up our own organizations.

    Fwiw: That position still remains unfilled.

  16. Luvadoxi says:

    As a former evangelical with a mainline Protestant background, the Lord converted me to His Holy Catholic Church through the Eucharist; it may have been easier for me because I had a somewhat sacramental background and recognized the “real thing” when I saw it. That being said, the Lord allowed me a season of scrupulosity (part of OCD which would have and did attach to my former beliefs too) to see that I had gone down a dark road of harsh judmentalism that was only making me miserable and I almost lost seeing the gospel love of Christ. Anyway, I came to respect again Evangelical love of the written Word of God. Pastor James Robison is a good man, as far as I can tell. When I first heard of this meeting, I was going through major temptations to leave the Catholic faith–long story–but there are good reasons Evangelicals are making inroads–but thank God the Eucharist keeps me in. Anyway–when I saw on Life Today the Pope’s message to evangelicals when he met with his friend Tony (I forget his last name), Pastor Robison was amazingly kind and positive about this meeting, while acknowledging our differences. This is a major opportunity–I think Pope Francis knows what he is doing. Conversion is a tricky business and we underestimate the Holy Spirit. He worked with me where I was at the time, which was in a very distant place at one time–feminist Wicca. He worked within that to bring me back. Stop and think–do you want to be *right* or do you want to win souls back? The hard line approach does nothing but push people away.

  17. Luvadoxi says:

    Today’s evangelicals are not heretics–they are Christians with heretical beliefs. Big difference. I didn’t grow up “protesting” Catholicism–Catholicism wasn’t even on my radar screen. We were just Christians (of course I wasn’t in a particularly anti-Catholic denomination).

    Also, I want to say–about the church reconversions. Years and years ago when I was living a pretty secular lifestyle but still Christian, we went out to eat in a church that had been converted to a restaurant like the one in the photo. Subliminally (great word!), being in a former church called “The Monastery” I believe, gave me a connection to beauty and the Faith. These little things add up. Again, don’t underestimate the love of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.

  18. Luvadoxi says:

    I meant to say, that meeting with the Pope I referenced above–kept me from despair and kept me in the Church. It’s a daily fight in the Church Militant. But I think my salvation is worth something.

  19. tioedong says:

    the joke about the evangelical surge in South America (and here in the Philippines) is that the Catholic clergy started pushing liberation theology, and the faithful voted with their feet and became evangelicals.
    A lot of this is sociology: The church is feudal, with elites running it for the village peasants. But as folks leave the family village behind, they are lost in the city. Small evangelical churches replace that family: instead of going to uncle Edo for help, you go to your fellow church members. Ditto for hiring folks to work in your shop. And pastors tend to be middle class, one of you, often working a job just like you, not from elite families living in the rectory.

    The Evangelicals also preach morality that helps folks get jobs: honesty, hard work, no stealing. So they are more valuable employees (one reason that the middle class in China embraces Christianity) .The Catholics love the poor, and stress alms, but the protestants give their members tools to get out of poverty….

    A lot of what the Pope says is easier to understand if you live in the growing third world economies (e.g. south America, Philippines, Asia). But the US press tends to see it through the eyes of American politics. Take gays: Here in the Philippines, Catholic politicians who get photo ops with the bishops, are stealing millions of pesos from poor funds. Corruption is a bigger moral problem than the local gay celebrity who is partnered but admits he wears a scapular and goes to church.

  20. Kathleen10 says:

    This cannot be coincidental. After existing for over 2000 years, the Catholic church elects a Pope who cannot seem to avoid causing worry over the things he says and does, at exactly the same point in time that the United States, existing for just over 200 years, elects a President who does the exact same thing, admittedly to a much greater degree. If this is coincidence, it seems like supernatural coincidence. What are the odds! And further, at this same exact time, our culture and world seems to be unraveling like kitty’s ball of yarn. We sure could use some reassurance that someone is at the helm of the ship and all will be well. It doesn’t look like we are going to get it from either quarter. I guess we’ll just have to rely on God’s promises to us. I don’t understand what the Holy Father says and does, often, and here is another prime example. I sadly admit I am with romanrevert, I tune him out.
    All things pass away except His Word. Lord, have mercy on your people.

  21. jhayes says:

    Kenneth Copeland video reporting on the evangelical group visit with Pope Francis.

    Start at 31:00 for his review of last year’s message from Pope Francis that started the process
    Or at 44:00 if you want to see just his report on the meeting in Rome.


    Bishop Tony Palmer died this week. He was the intermediary between the Evangelicals and Pope Francis. There is a segment on him starting at 24:30

  22. jhayes says:

    “last year’s message” should have been “last February’s message”

  23. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Pentecostals don’t even have trinitarian baptism. That means their baptisms are invalid. This means the Catechism of the Catholic Church implies they aren’t inside the body of Christ.”

    This is 100 percent false. I’m not sure who taught you things about Pentecostals in general and their baptisms in specific. Yes, Pentecostals have Trinitarian baptisms. This makes them Christian, unlike Mormons (who are not Trinitarian), or Muslims (who reject Christ). Ignorance on either file is a significant barrier to evangelization.

  24. Toan says:

    “according to what ‘ambassador’ Stiller reported – the pope assured them: ‘I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism…'” — I wonder if this segment is a quote or a paraphrase by Stiller. Pope Francis frequently confuses people by making broad statements that are true in one sense but untrue in another. I can easily see this as another occasion in which he makes another such statement, and then is paraphrased as making the statement in the sense that is untrue.

    As for the Catholic Church being imposing and blocking the growth/work of Evangelicals…I dunno. Again I wonder if those are his actual words. Even if they are, I could easily see some unorthodox pastors and Jesuits doing damage not only in Catholic spheres, but also in Protestant ones, and they could certainly be worth apologizing for. *shrug*

  25. Pope Francis is the Pope of our chastisement.

  26. CharlesG says:

    I wonder if the Pope has a cunning “non-evangelizing” Evangelization plan. I read an article about St Peter Faber SJ, canonized by the Holy Father, who apparently pursued more of a friendly dialogue approach rather than a condemnatory, argumentative approach to Protestants back in the Jesuits’ Counter Reformation heyday. Perhaps it is a key to the Pope’s thinking?

  27. aquinas138 says:

    Ben Kenobi,

    Not all Pentecostal groups are created equal – my great-grandfather belonged to a snake-handling sect in North Alabama that didn’t even practice baptism!

  28. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I can’t recall where, but I read on another site, maybe a Protestant one, a different take on the “apology.” It seems as if these pastors were mentioning to the Pope that in areas hostile to religion, governments have denied them (Evangelicals) permission to acquire new properties, build new churches, or advertise services. And the question came up if Catholic government officials also use legal means to restrict religious freedom of Protestant missionaries, and it was agreed that they did do this, in spite of the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II that everyone has a right to religious freedom.

    So, Francis’ apology was NOT that Catholics should have done more to help Protestants steal Catholic sheep and grow. Rather, the Pope was concerned that in overwhelming Catholic countries, Protestants should not be legally obstructed from enjoying the right of religious freedom. That could mean Catholics using red tape to stop granting visas to Protestant missionaries, or bureaucracy to use building codes to stop them from building a church, or using overt or aggressive hostility against Protestants.

    It appears that Pope Francis believes that if Catholics want Protestant numbers to decrease or be restricted in any town or area, it should not be by means of coercion and flexing Catholic political power to intimidate Protestants. It should be by Catholics preaching the truth, attracting by the beauty of their liturgy, and convincing by the example of holy lives.

  29. jhayes says:

    The goal for now seems to be more a kind of wraparound unity of churches and ecclesiastical communities whose members share a common personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord but without necessarily agreeing on all details of doctrine or church organization. A Christian unity in diversity rather than a specifically Catholic unity.

    Cardinal Ratzinger, while at the CDF said that the ultimate goal is true unity [ut unum sint] but the form that takes and when it happens is in God’s hands, not ours. But in the meantime:

    Perhaps listening, humbly one in the other in our diversity would be of more help to us than a superficial type of unity. All these attitudes must always be in function of the firm will to become mature for the moment of unity. The model of reconciled diversity should be interpreted in terms of these dynamics and processes. I see this as very important: reconciled diversity does not mean being content with the situation at hand. Rather, it is a dynamic process; it is ecumenism in the positive if it is interpreted in this way. Even at this moment in time when God is still not giving us perfect unity we each acknowledge the other as our Christian brother, we acknowledge the sister Churches, we love each other’s communities, we meet together in a process of divine education in which the Lord uses the different communities, one for the sake of the other, to render us capable and worthy of definitive unity ‘

  30. Cathy says:

    It kind of freaked me out, at first, to hear about Catholic Apologists. I like to think of the Pope’s use of this term in regards to this, offering a reason and defense.

  31. jflare says:

    “The churches with whom Catholics should be talking are, in order of importance, (1) The Eastern Orthodox Church, (2) the Oriental Churches, and (3) Evangelicals.”

    I suppose, in a sense, that makes sense because churches might be closest to ours theologically. As a practical matter though, no, I really don’t agree with that assessment at all.
    I come at this concern from a very personal standpoint: My mother and her sisters grew up Methodist; since my mother and her next older sister both married Catholics, they each became Catholic, as did each of their kids. That also means though that close to half of my cousins are Methodists. I can’t remember any time during my childhood that anyone ever talked much about faith when we had family gatherings. Granted, we rarely interacted with one family due to their living some four states distant; granted that one of those wound up becoming Catholic when he married. Even so, we’re anything but a united family.
    Then too, in my neighborhood, there were three families in the neighborhood that have remained there for decades. Ours was Catholic, the family next door were Methodist, and the family across the street were Lutheran. Because of age similarities, our family and the Lutherans played together quite often. Though we chatted now and then with the Methodists, they were far enough older that we didn’t interact so much.
    Then again, thinking about it, a good friend of my brother and myself–who oddly lived about 1/2 mile distant, was a Presbyterian, while a good family friend was also a Methodist. Technically, he was my folks’ friend, but we sometimes called him “Uncle Hersh” when we were tots.
    Then there was Boy Scouts…..
    I could go on, but you get the picture.

    I don’t deny the merit of seeking to reconcile with other traditions based on greater historical commonality and what-not. I must admit though, those seem to me mostly … antiseptic concerns.

    Certainly I have almost no personal interest at all in bringing about reconciliation between the worldwide Catholic Church and another world-renowned entity. For my purposes, those might as well be wholly irrelevant.

    I have a terrible time having much enthusiasm for much of anything ecumenical when doing so means that I still can’t address the wide chasm between myself and half of my cousins.
    For my purposes, there isn’t much point.

  32. Henry Belton says:

    It’s awkard, yep.

    But when it comes to dialogue with our separated brethren this is it. The Church of England is barely hanging on, the other mainlines are severely deteriorated.

  33. Ed the Roman says:

    I’m puzzled. But I remember that these are all reports of private conversations given by interested parties on the non-Catholic side. So I dunno. The Holy Father may in fact be having these conversations for the people he’s talking to and not to signal to everybody else.

    Still, I dunno.

  34. Pingback: Various reports on the Pope meeting with evangelicals | Foolishness to the world

  35. @BenKenobi:

    “Pentecostals don’t even have trinitarian baptism. That means their baptisms are invalid. This means the Catechism of the Catholic Church implies they aren’t inside the body of Christ.”

    This is 100 percent false. I’m not sure who taught you things about Pentecostals in general and their baptisms in specific. Yes, Pentecostals have Trinitarian baptisms.

    It is partially false, but it is definitely not 100% false. A significant portion of pentecostal believers are “oneness pentacostals” who do not have an orthodox view of the Trinity and practice baptism in Jesus’s name only. Megapastor TD Jakes was a oneness pentacostal until recently.

  36. jhayes says:

    Vatican Insider (Saturday) on Monday’s upcoming visit to the Evangelical Church in Caserta

    Today Francis is meeting and embracing the Catholic community of Caserta and on Monday he will pay a personal visit to his friend, the pastor of the Evangelical Church of Reconciliation, Giovanni Traettino. He will speak off the cuff before a gathering of 350 Pentecostals, including some Evangelical pastors from the United States. The stage which has been prepared for the Pope’s visit will also host a group of musicians and a bass guitar. This is just a temporary set-up as the church building is currently under construction. After meeting the Evangelical community, the Pope will lunch with Traettino and some other pastors in the guesthouse. This will be an unprecedented visit, partly because it is going to be the first time a Pope leaves the Vatican to go and meet a Protestant community. This gesture of openness towards the Evangelicals is as unexpected as it is appreciated. Bergoglio planted the seeds for Monday’s meeting back in 1998, when he met a number of Evangelical pastors, including Traettino, in Argentina. Bergoglio formed a good relationship with these Evangelicals and this was rekindled during Traettino’s recent visit to the Vatican which led to the Pope being invited to Caserta to meet the local Pentecostal community. The announcement roused controversy and objections, some bolder than others, particularly within the very large and varied Evangelical community. Some Churches are not so open to dialogue with the Pope, whose authority is not recognised. Indeed some even oppose it. The question is being hotly debated on specialist websites and is yet another illustration of Francis’ tendency to break the mould, promising unexpected turns.


  37. robtbrown says:

    I have no problem with the Pope visiting Evangelical Protestants. After all Peter visited Cornelius, setting the example. The Pope is the visible head of the Church, with universal jurisdiction. Everyone alive is at least a potential member of the Church.

    The Pope is a 1970s Jesuit, and so is very interested in the lost sheep–that is fine. But his comments about those who want Latin liturgy seem to indicate that he considers them to be laudatores temporis acti.

  38. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The “hard line” doesn’t just push people away, and soft words aren’t the only way to attract people.

    The old way of putting it was that the bishop carries a crozier both for hooking sheep in and for beating wolves off; or that you give “milk,” often sweetened with honey, to babies and “meat” to mature believers. If people don’t know much, soft words and talk about commonality can help. If people need a sharp dividing line between truth and lies, or between complete truth and partial bits, then you haul out the hard approach.

  39. Kathleen10 says:

    Well if the Pope’s intentions were to apologize for and speak to a specific instance of “Catholic governmental obstruction”, I wish that he would speak to a specific instance. That report is nebulous and not specific at all, so the depth, breadth, and frequency of such obstruction is not clear. Where did this happen? Is it still going on? How often? I mean, if there is something worth a Pope apologizing for, then we all ought to know what it is. I feel uncomfortable with apologies on behalf of our Church for something that seems thus far, poorly defined. I felt exactly the same way about President Obama traveling the world apologizing for us based on his observation that we have been “arrogant” without being specific. I’m no scholar, but there seems something weird about apologizing for preventing others from advancing what we used to consider heresy. The Protestants certainly consider us the heretics! One has only to listen for a while to Protestant sermons to see it finally come around to Catholic-bashing. Protestants often consider the Catholic church “the whore of Babylon” and the Pope akin to the anti-Christ. Gird your loins if you read comboxes on Catholic matters that are frequented by Protestants, because you will read all manner of misrepresentations and ignorance on the Catholic faith, which is often spoon-fed by Protestant pastors. There is a lot of anti-Catholic propaganda out there, and we are apologizing?

    I feel like the insect clamoring from the reeds, but I would feel profoundly more optimistic about the Holy Father’s comments and dialogue if I heard him more frequently and with greater conviction advance authentic Catholic teaching and history, maybe even some tradition? Could that be worked into these conversations in order to benefit the hearers, including we poor Catholics, the ones he is charged with leading? I don’t want to criticize Pope Francis, and I am not a great follower like so many here are, but my impressions are often that he often sounds disturbingly neutral at best, about the Catholic faith. That is so disappointing, especially in these trying times. He did not plan on even meeting with Catholics in that town he visited. There is a dissonance here that I just do not comprehend thus far in this papacy, but then again, I am not as well versed in these matters as many who read this blog.

  40. Kathleen10 says:

    In short, if you are charged with leading something, lead it. The primary requirement for that position ought to be that you support that entity fully, you love it, you believe in it, you believe it has something special that others would benefit from and you also believe it is worth protecting and continuing. Once that is established, do what you want as far as improvements, but first of all, you must love the thing, whatever it is.

  41. St. Peter Canisius says:

    Interestingly, I had been thinking of writing a letter to His Holiness asking him to write an email to Joel Osteen warning him about his many heresies in preaching and teaching. The man has no concept of SIN. In addition his concept of the nature of Christ is certainly Arian. So is that of
    Kenneth Copeland and Joyce Meyer.

    I fail to see why the Pope must apologize to these heretics for anything. These money grubbers are a blight on the name of Christ. Pope Francis, take a stand and let these usurpers know about their sins. Oh no, there’s that word again!

    Osteen revels in being known as America’s Pastor. You’re too late, Joel, and you couldn’t fill his shoes- his name was Bishop Sheen.

    Riley Kinney

  42. Luvadoxi says:

    Random points:
    The world has changed since my youth…the religious world in the US that is. When I was growing up most Christians were either mainline or Catholic, with Baptists in there as well. There were no megachurches. So there is no generic “Protestant” as in “Protestants are like…or Protestants believe” but I think that younger people see evangelical types and lump them all together as Protestants.

    To jflare–I think part of the issue is that your family were mainline Protestants at a time when it was considered impolite or fundamentalist to talk too much about Jesus. Much as I owe my background faith to my Presbyterian baptism and teaching, this was a fact in my life too so I know what you’re talking about. Very sad state of affairs.

    Suburbanbanshee–but the crozier was to beat the wolves, not errant sheep, right? :)

  43. Xmenno says:

    There is a group called “One-ness Pentecostals” who baptize only in the name of Jesus, quoting a scripture verse where this was done. An example of this group is the TV pastor named T D Jakes, and his church. Most pentecostal groups are trinitarian, and baptize as such.

  44. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    jflare, Methodist ain’t Evanglicals. Not even close.

    Samuel J. Howard, Pentecostals ain’t Evangelicals either. Those Evangelicals whom I’ve know these sixty years spend most of their time denouncing Pentecostalism and Dispensationalism.

    Pentecostalism in now declining in the USA, as is its Catholic tantamount the Charismatics. It had it’s heyday during the 4th Great Awakening, an event that is long over. It’s decline was foreseeable. It ran on emotion. And all emotion has one overpowering enemy: time.

    The real nuances within Evangelicalism is the division between Arminians and Calvinists. Indeed the real outcome of the 4th Great Wakening is a neo-Calvinist revival – complete with double predestination, double imputation, and penal substitutional atonement. Most of the Baptist Evangelicals whom I know happen to be Arminian.

  45. Alanmac says:

    The Prosperity Gospel.
    I am not a Biblical Scholar but I recall a verse from the Bible that goes, a rich man has as much chance of gaining entry to heaven as a camel does fitting through the eye of a needle.
    I should point out that perhaps this sham prosperity gospel can alibi the enormous wealth and extravagant lifestyles these evangelical “pastors” achieve or aspire to.

  46. Bosco says:

    I wonder how many Catholics Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen drove away from the Church and how many would-be converts from Protestantism were put off by the Venerable Archbishop’s non-nonsense straightforward apologetics?

    Would to God we had such clarity in the Church today!

  47. tcreek says:

    I remember the days when our shepherds knew the answer and spoke it, unambiguously.

    “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
    Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

    John 18:38

  48. mddelala says:

    Pope’s attitude is quite common here in Latin America.

    Last summer (January-February in the southern hemisphere) I went to a catholic mission with my diocese’s Seminary (I was a seminarian here up to march). One of our first instructions was that “we are not here to convert nor convince anyone about the Church”. I was also told by one of the older seminarians that “what’s important is that people approach Christ so being in the Catholic Church is not so important”. I quoted St. Catherin of Sienna who said that “the Church and Christ are the same and only thing” and also quoted St. Paul on his metaphor about the Head and the Body… neither quote was exactly “well received”.

    50 years ago, about 95% of people in my country were catholics. A very large amount of them were non practitioners, but catholics. Today in my country around 60% of the population will declare themselves catholics. But according to the church’s own calculations, the amount of catholics who go to mass on sundays varies between 3 and 1% of the total catholic population depending on the season (people tend to go a little more to mass on spring and on Marian feasts).

    It’s very sad when you go on these “catholic missions” just to talk with people about life and “being good” and just trying to make a point about being faithful to your own conscience (both things very important BTW), but being almost forbidden to convince a protestant and former catholic to return to his faith. What’s even more painful is hearing basically everyone (except for a few faithful priests and even more priests and bishops who will just not say anything at all) saying that God doesn’t care about religion and that any religion is basically as good as the next one.

    In my country, we just had a priest saying on national TV that there’s nothing wrong about homosexual marriage. Guess what the Bishops said. Nothing! We had another priest writing to the nation’s most important newspaper (the one that “everyone reads”… at least among those who read) saying that moral doctrine must change according to the times (specifically, he stated that it must change regarding sex only in marriage). And our Bishops said nothing. Only when another reader sent a letter to that very same newspaper stating that he felt that catholics have the right to know whether that doctrine is Ok or not a Bishop of a very small diocese sent a letter clarifying church’s position on the matter.

    My country has very few priests and many seminaries are closing. This is nothing like what’s happening in Europe or in a few places in the U.S.. This is nationwide. My diocese has over 4 million catholics and not even 250 diocesan priests.

    But our Bishops seem to believe in a future where priests are a thing of the past. And if they are questioned about vocations here, they will inevitably argue all of the following:
    1. That the little amount of vocations is due to some recent case of sexual abuse/scandal involving a priest.
    2. That God is calling many many men but they “won’t listen”.
    3. That young people today aren’t generous.
    4. That there are many “lay vocations” that give them hope.
    5. That there aren’t so few vocations after all (believe me: unless you live in a wealthy area where you can find congregations, you are going to have an EXTREMELY hard time finding a priest to confess your sins. Not only are they few, but those very few tend not to have a confession time and quite a few of them just don’t believe in confession).

    I asked and saw other people ask this question about vocations to bishops and to Seminary staff. I never even once heard anything that may have pointed out that, there might be a slight amount of responsibility of the church’s bishops and priests on the matter. No, the cause of the lack of vocations was always a scandal/non generosity or anything that does not imply responsibility for anyone in the Church.

  49. Luvadoxi says:

    Love for Jesus and true compassion and kindness attracts. We can always learn from our Protestant brothers and sisters, and they will be attracted by goodness, truth and beauty–and charity.

  50. PA mom says:

    On our local newspaper website, an Evangelical and I have been anonymously chatting from time to time. I have surprised him with my certain prolife beliefs, a willingness to profess Jesus, an explanation of Catholic prayer to Mary and especially on the sacredness of Scripture.
    Most recently he was thrown off by the concept that Catholics in the Middle Ages weren’t merely keeping the Bible from the masses, but also protecting the physical Holy Word from mistreatment and misuse. I made the point by asking him to guess how many bibles ended up in dumps each year, something the Middle Age Catholics would surely have considered grave sin.
    Our talks have been very positive overall, and it is c,ear that I am explaining to him things that the various Catholics directly around him have not known or been able to defend properly.
    I credit Fr Z nearly entirely on these points and on encouraging us to get out there defending the Faith with knowledge and reason, and I believe more discussion on an individual level between well meaning evangelicals and knowledgable Catholics in likely to be fruitful.
    They have a lot to inspire us with their dedication to and working knowledge of God’s Word.

  51. marcelus says:

    Appparently, the Pope was saying (it’s on news.va):

    Pardon and reconciliation were the themes at the heart of the Pope’s words as, to loud applause he asked forgiveness for the words and actions of Catholics who have persecuted Pentecostals in the past.

    “…..Chiedo perdono per quelli Cattolici che non hanno capito….”

    There may have been something we are not familiar with, or something that took place years ago. You can not know everything that takes place everywhere. Some persecution?

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