In March of 2018, a Catholic Priest in Poland publically stated that if Pope Francis does not change his ways that he was praying for “his quick departure to the House of the Father”. Cardinal Raymond Burke has said the Pope rather than clarifying the doctrines of the Church has been guilty of “increasing confusion”.
On April 5th 2018 ahead of a conference he was to speak at on April 7th Cardinal Raymond Burke made the following statement regarding Pope Francis’s recent interview with an Atheist journalist who stated the Pope did not believe non-believers went to hell but that they simply ceased to exist:
“The confusion and division in the Church on the most fundamental and important issues — marriage and the family, the Sacraments and the right disposition to receive them, intrinsically evil acts, eternal life and the Last Things — are becoming increasingly widespread. And the Pope not only refuses to clarify things by proclaiming the constant doctrine and sound discipline of the Church — a responsibility inherent in his ministry as the Successor of St. Peter, but he is also increasing the confusion…
Instead of clearly reasserting the truth about the immortality of the human soul and Hell, the denial only states that some of the words quoted are not the Pope’s. It does not say that the erroneous and even heretical ideas expressed by these words are not shared by the Pope, and that the Pope repudiates these ideas as contrary to the Catholic Faith. This playing around with the faith and doctrine, at the highest level of the Church, rightly leaves pastors and faithful scandalized.”
At an April 7th conference Cardinal Burke almost sounded like a Protestant when he said what the Pope teaches must be in conformity with “Divine Revelation”:
“According to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Successor to Saint Peter has power which is universal, ordinary and immediate over all the faithful. He is the supreme judge of the faithful, over whom there is no higher human authority, not even an ecumenical council. To the Pope belongs the power and authority to define doctrines and to condemn errors, to make and repeal laws, to act as judge in all matters of faith and morals, to decree and inflict punishment, to appoint and, if need be, to remove pastors. Because this power is from God Himself, it is limited as such by natural and divine law, which are expressions of the eternal and unchangeable truth and goodness that come from God, are fully revealed in Christ, and have been handed on in the Church throughout time. Therefore, any expression of doctrine or law or practice that is not in conformity with Divine Revelation, as contained in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Tradition cannot be an authentic exercise of the Apostolic or Petrine ministry and must be rejected by the faithful. As Saint Paul declared: “There are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be anathema.”
Unfortunately Cardinal Burke threw in there the Catholic doctrines of a Papal power (a single human being who inherits the office of the Apostle Peter) along with Church tradition being equal with the Sacred Scriptures (the Bible).
He is so close to the truth, yet so far away. I will come back to the Papacy in a moment.
And then we have the recent incident on April 19th where the Pope told a young boy that his atheist father was in heaven because he was “a good man”:
“This is the touching moment Pope Francis comforted a grieving boy who was worried his father didn’t go to heaven as he was an atheist.
The boy, known only as Emanuele, broke down in tears as he approached the microphone to take part in a Q&A session with the pontiff who visited the St. Paul of the Cross parish on the outskirts of Rome on Sunday.
According to The National Catholic Reporter, Pope Francis told the crowd that Emanuele’s father, who had recently passed away, was a ‘good man’ but hadn’t believed in god.
And he reassured the heartbroken boy that his late father was in heaven because god is ‘surely proud of him’. “
What was the point of Jesus Christ coming to die on the cross if we can be saved by being “good”? What was the point of Christ dying on the cross to save sinners if there was nothing to save them from – eternal torment in hell?
The Pope’s heresy strikes at the heart of the Gospel itself. The Scriptures tell us:
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
Titus 3:5 (KJV)
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Romans 4:5 (KJV)
“2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
Romans 4:2-3 (KJV)
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Romans 3:28 (KJV)
The False Catholic Doctrine of the Successor of Saint Peter
As much as Catholics like Cardinal Burke want to thread the needle, one of the reasons the Catholic Church is in the mess it is in today is because of its false doctrine of the Successor of Saint Peter. You don’t have to be a theologian to study this out.
Nowhere in the Scriptures does it state “the Successor to Saint Peter has power which is universal, ordinary and immediate over all the faithful”. This was a pure fabrication of men in the centuries after the Apostles died to consolidate human power in the church.
In fact if you read the Book of Galatians will find that Paul did not seek out the authority of Peter when he was called by God as he states:
“15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”
Galatians 1:15-18 (KJV)
So Paul shows us here that he when God called him to be an Apostle – he did not go and ask “Saint Peter”, the supposed first Pope’s permission. He instead went out and preached the Gospel to the Gentiles and then after 3 years he finally visited Peter. But nothing is said of Peter giving him permission, but rather simply him and the other Apostles giving him the right hand of fellowship:
“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”
Galatians 2:9 (KJV)
And notice again from this passage in Galatians 2:9 that it was the three Apostles – James, Cephas (Peter) and John who gave him the right hand of fellowship. And there was no authority given to him – they simply recognized God’s gift and calling on Paul’s life.
But then we have the one that really blows away the Catholic teaching that Paul regarded Peter as the first Pope:
“11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”
Galatians 2:11-14 (KJV)
If Paul recognized Peter as the first Pope, God’s supposed single human authority over all the Church whose successors would rule over all the Churches of the world, why would he publically, not even privately, confront Peter to his face?
The point is that the Catholic doctrine of the Papacy is found nowhere in the Scriptures and Catholic tradition is not equal to the Divine Scriptures.
Trouble for My Catholic Friends
I had to say what I just did about the Papacy. I know that is extremely offensive to many of my Catholic friends both online and offline. I have worked with and known personally many Catholics over the years whom I believe are true believers in Jesus Christ and they are saved and on their way to heaven.
They have often said to me over the years that it would shake their faith if there was not some continual succession of church leaders who kept the doctrines of the church all these centuries. I told them that I believe there has always been those who are faithful to the teachings of God’s Word but that it does not always have to be a matter of single line succession.
Sometimes church leaders have strayed little and other times they have strayed very far. Some leaders even turned against the faith they once held proving they were never true believers in the first place. But God has always reserved to himself a faithful remnant, just not in the way Catholics believe.
As a Bible believing Christian, a Protestant, and a Baptist I believe in the battle cry of the reformation “Sola Scriptura” – Scripture alone is our only infallible and divine source of doctrine and truth. All other Christian writings may or may not contain truth, but they are the fallible words of men (including my own). The Bible tells us this regarding scriptural authority:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”
II Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
In fact the Jews did very much what the church fathers and Catholics did after the Apostles died. They added to Moses law their traditions just as Catholic Church has its Church traditions. Christ condemned such actions of placing the traditions of men on equal footing with the Word of God:
“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”
Mark 7:9 (KJV)
Paul later gave a similar warning about falling the traditions of men:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
Colossians 2:8 (KJV)
Some will try and say “Well Paul praised his followers for following the traditions they were taught”. Yes he did, but he was referring the divinely inspired traditions, teachings, that he and the other Apostles gave to the churches:
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
2 Thessalonians 2:15 (KJV)
In his first Epistle to the Thessalonians the Apostle Paul wrote:
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)
He was clear that the traditions that he and the other Apostles taught were not the words of men, but they were in fact the very Word of God – Divine Scripture. “Sola Scriptura” is clearly what the Bible teaches us is to be the foundation for our faith.
So when we have a problem with a heretical Pastor or other church leader in Protestant churches – we should be able to easily throw the heretic out of office. Our Pastors must conform themselves to one thing and one thing only – the Word of God. Our faith should not be in our Pastor or our church, but rather it is to be in God. Churches and Church leadership can be corrupted, but God’s Word remains our one true anchor of what is true and what is right before God.
But unfortunately though, many of my Protestant brethren in recent years have become no better than my Catholic brethren in fighting against heresy in our churches. We stand by silently while men claiming to be Bible believing Christians willingly and happily accept not only full fledge feminism into the churches today, but also homosexuality. Consider this supposed Baptist church in Memphis Tennessee that voted to approve their church overseeing marriages for same sex couples:
“A Cooperative Baptist Fellowship congregation in Tennessee voted Jan. 10 to marry same-sex couples.
First Baptist Church in Memphis capped a three-month discernment process by adopting a policy extending “privileges afforded to any follower of Christ” without discrimination based on factors including sexual orientation.”
This is the wickedness which we are faced with in this generation both in the Catholic Church as well as Protestant Churches.
We need to pray for faithful men of God to rise up in our churches in this wicked and heretical generation to preach against the wickedness of these men who occupy leadership positions in our churches.