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Mustard Seed November/December 2013

Letter From the Editor

World Watch - What is Behind the Current News?

The Total Lunar Eclipses (Blood Moons) of 2014 and 2015

The New Gospel - "Tolerance"




World Watch - What is Behind the Current News?



The National Catholic Register carried the following headlines this past week (November 4, 2013):  “VATICAN CITY — Today during his general audience, Pope Francis drew attention to the rich diversity within the universal Church [Catholic Church], saying that such differences are in fact a sign of unity.”  He continued to say in his address:  “In effect, the Church is one, and it is in that same unity, even though it is dispersed throughout the world and there are many diversities.” [Paragraph 1]


These “many diversities” he is referring to are the many non-Catholic churches around the world.  From the time he was ordained, Pope Francis has established his mission, as Primate to bring all churches into unity with the universal [Catholic] Church by promoting the ecumenical journey.  “That is why we always need to encourage communion in all of the fields of life, he said, so that we may grow in the unity that God gives us and also to promote the ecumenical journey.”  The ecumenical journey is the process of uniting all people [the churches] together as one. [Paragraph 2]


On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, The Sacred Page (A Blog on Catholic Biblical Theology and The New Evangelism) carried the story of Pope Francis in his address to a gathering of religious leaders in Rome (delegates of the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and Ecclesial Communities of the West).  He states:  “Dear Brothers and Sisters, First of all, heartfelt thanks for what my Brother Andrew (referring to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who works to advance reconciliation among Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox communities) told us. Thank you so much! Thank you so much!  It is a source of particular joy to meet you today, delegates of the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and Ecclesial Communities of the West. Thank you for wanting to take part in the celebration that marked the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter.”  He went on to say:  “Yesterday morning, during the Mass, through you, I recognized the communities you represent. In this manifestation of faith, I had the feeling of taking part in an even more urgent fashion the prayer for the unity of all believers in Christ, and together to see somehow prefigured the full realization of full unity which depends on God’s plan and on our own loyal collaboration.”  In the middle of his address he said: “Together with you I cannot forget how much the council has meaning for the ecumenical journey. I like to remember the words that Blessed John XXIII, of whom we will soon mark 50 years since his death, when he gave his memorable inauguration speech: ‘The Catholic Church therefore considers it her duty to work actively so that there may be fulfilled the great mystery of that unity...’”  Pope Francis concluded by saying:  “For my part, I wish to assure, in the wake of my predecessors, the firm wish to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue, and I thank you, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, for the help it continues to offer in my name, for this noble cause. I ask you, dear brothers and sisters, to bring my cordial greetings to the Churches and Christian communities who are represented here. And I ask you for a special prayer for me so that I can be a pastor according to the heart of Christ.”  [Paragraph 3] [note in paragraph 9 the Pope claims to be chief pastor over the churches]


Deacon Greg Kandra records the same event on March 20, 2013 as follows:  “The Catholic Church knows the importance of promoting friendship and respect among men and women of different religious traditions,” he said, repeating the entire phrase twice for emphasis March 20 during a meeting with the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Jain delegations that had come to the Vatican for his inauguration.”  Greg Kandra continues:  “Pope Francis has a ‘strong desire’ to continue the ecumenical journey towards the ‘noble cause’ of Christian unity, he is confident that the ‘fraternal dialogue’ with the Jewish people will continue, he ‘appreciates’ the presence of Muslims at the ceremony marking the beginning of his pontificate, with which to promote ‘friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions’, a phrase repeated twice.”  [Paragraph 4]


Greg then concluded with a recap of Pope Francis inauguration address by saying:  “Francis then made a double reference to the link between the beginning of his pontificate, the Year of Faith and the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II. He announced that want to continue the initiative of the Year of Faith, “a truly inspired” idea of Benedict XVI and then he quoted John XXIII. “Together with you – he said – I cannot forget how the council’s significance for the ecumenical journey. I like to remember the words that Blessed John XXIII, of whom we will soon mark 50 years since his death, when he gave his memorable inauguration speech: “The Catholic Church therefore considers it her duty to work actively so that there may be fulfilled the great mystery of that unity, which Christ Jesus invoked with fervent prayer from His heavenly Father on the eve of His sacrifice. She rejoices in peace, knowing well that she is intimately associated with that prayer’”.  [Paragraph 5]


Has the Catholic Church changed her position on her daughter churches around the world being defective as stated by the previous Pope?  The headlines around the world from leading newspapers carried the story on July 10, 2007 that "Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released [that] Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches."  [Paragraph 6]


"It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which set off a fire storm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the 'means of salvation.'" [Paragraph 7]


Looking at the document, Dominus Iesus IV, 17, it quotes: "Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ [Catholic Church] is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church."  [Paragraph 8]


When you look at the structure and beliefs of most Sunday keeping churches you will see that they meet the requirements that the Catholic Church places on her daughter churches. They must hold mass or church services on Sunday, offer communion, believe in the trinity and believe in the incarnation. The only difference, she (Catholic Church) believes, is that these daughter churches do not recognize the primacy she holds. To define this primacy, she believes that the Catholic church is the one true church because she holds apostolic succession from Peter and "The title pope, once used with far greater latitude, is at present employed solely to denote the Bishop of Rome, who, in virtue of his position as successor of St. Peter, is the chief pastor of the whole Church, the Vicar of Christ upon earth."  [Paragraph 9] [note in paragraph 3 that Pope Francis claims pastor ship over the churches]


The goal of the Catholic Church is to reunite her protestant daughters with her again and to heal the wound that resulted from the split during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.  Has it not been appointed Pope Francis, as his mission to heal the split between them and bring about this reunion?  [Paragraph 10]


In the document, "Rome's Challenge, Why do Protestants Keep Sunday?" the Catholic Church protests that: Most Christians assume that Sunday is the biblically approved day of worship. The Roman Catholic Church protests that, indeed, it is not. The Roman Catholic Church itself without any Scriptural authority from God transferred Christian worship from the Biblical Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday, and to try to argue that the change was made in the Bible is both dishonest and a denial of Catholic authority. If Protestantism wants to base its teachings only on the Bible, it should worship on Saturday.  [Paragraph 11]


Over one hundred years ago the Catholic Mirror ran a series of articles discussing the right of the Protestant churches to worship on Sunday - exposing their claim that the New Testament taught Sunday keeping to be false. The articles stressed that unless one was willing to accept the authority of the Catholic Church to designate the day of worship, the Christian should observe Saturday, the true Christian Sabbath, as both the Old and New Testaments teach. [Paragraph 12]


At the root of these articles (Rome's Challenge) the Catholics demand that the Protestants either keep the true Sabbath (seventh day of the week) or acknowledge the primacy of the Catholic Church and submit to her authority. At the root of Pope Benedict XVI writing is the same demand on the daughters of the Catholic Church: acknowledge the primacy of the Catholic Church, unite with her and heal the lack of unity that has certainly wounded the Catholic Church.  [Paragraph 13]


Note: you may read or download the entire article: "Rome's Challenge to the Protestants - Why do Protestants Keep Sunday?" on our web site at: www.cognm.org.  From our home page go to links. [Paragraph 14]


-Ed Costanza







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