A Nice Man, But Still The Same System

Over the past two years I have admired the kindness, the sincerity, the graciousness of Pope Francis. I have appreciated his voice in speaking out against the great inequality that exists between the rich and the poor. I support his appeals to take care of God’s creation, planet Earth. I resonate with his emphasis that the real breakdown in our society stems from the breakdown of the family nucleus.

All that said, brothers and sisters, this very kind and sincere man, still represents and endorses a very faulty and dangerous system.

I read this article today at the CNN website (go ahead you can click on it and read it and come back). I am not addressing the topic of abortion, that is not the purpose of this post. What caught my eye were the following statements:

Now, women who’ve had an abortion and anyone who helped them get one will be forgiven of what the Church still considers a sin, as long as they confess to having had the procedure or assisting someone in getting it.

I’ve bolded the words that are the problem to me, “NOW…will be forgiven.” I am not comfortable with a human system that gets to decide when an individual can or cannot receive forgiveness…by the way, the forgiveness being spoken of here is not that humanity will forgive them…this is speaking of divine forgiveness. This new statement from Pope Francis is basically him stating that he has the authority to NOW open up heaven to those whom it had previously been closed too, well it wasn’t closed…

Before the Pope’s change in policy, women who’d had an abortion were automatically excommunicated by the Catholic Church and needed the permission of a bishop in order to lift that ban.

Notice again the language, “automatically excommunicated” this is not about getting disfellowshipped from the church, excommunication is to be banned from heaven. And according to the Pope prior to his latest statement women were kept out of heaven based on this act, but not because Jesus or God said this was absolutely the case, but because the Papal Church did, if a Bishop gave permission the ban could be lifted and a person could have their name written back into the book of life.

But “NOW” according to the Pope as long as there is confession to a priest heaven will remain open to those involved in abortions.

Oh but wait…

The shift isn’t going to last forever — it only applies for the Holy Year that runs from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.

So ladies that have received an abortion and those that have assisted them you better make your appointment to see a priest now, because this offer only lasts one year, then it is back to automatic excommunication…oh and don’t forget if you go get an abortion between today’s date September 1st and December 7th, you’re still banned from Heaven, but you can get back in December 8th no problem, after all this is what the Pope has decided,

“I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it,”

Brothers and sisters we should not look for every opportunity to scourge the pope. I recently heard an evangelist talk about how Pope Francis was speaking out against global warming and how President Obama affirmed Pope Francis’ sentiments and somehow he tried to tie those that supported environmental practices as supporting the Pope and helping to bring about end time  events…I don’t know it was ridiculous and I was shaking my head, it just makes us as Adventists look stupid.

I’m not comfortable with this type of witch hunt…

When Pope Francis or anyone associated with the Papal system does something kind and in accordance with scripture there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that and even affirming that. We should pray for him, as we pray for all people in positions of authority. I believe him to be a very sincere man.

But we must not become blind, and this article reminds us of that.

While Pope Francis by all appearances seems to be a very kind and good human being, he still represents the same system that Martin Luther took a stand against, that John Calvin, and Ulrich Swingli spoke-out against. He still represents a system that places man as the ultimate authority rather than The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

This article reminds me to remain vigilant to not “wonder after” anything except Jesus Christ and Him alone…

Because my Bible still reads,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  -1 John 1:9

The “He” being spoken of in this passage is Jesus. Not any man or woman, JESUS and Jesus alone!

We can all call sin by it’s right name, including the Pope. But only God can decide if we have or have not been forgiven, no man or woman, no one, man or woman, can decide who is or is not banned from heaven; not even the very kind and very sincere Pope Francis.

Let us not join the world in wondering after any system that places a man or woman on equal footing with Jesus.

Let us be kind and gracious, even as gracious as Pope Francis; but may we always stay vigilant, discerning, and true to our prophetic understanding.

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