A Pope Like None Before. Somewhat Protestant

The idyll between Francis and the followers of Luther. The alarm of cardinals and bishops against the “Protestantization” of the Catholic Church. But also the distrust of authoritative Lutheran theologians

by Sandro Magister

ROME, July 22, 2016 – In the alarmed letter that thirteen cardinals from five continents were preparing to deliver to Pope Francis at the beginning of the last synod, they were warning him against leading the Catholic Church as well to “the collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation:”

Thirteen Cardinals Have Written to the Pope. Here’s the Letter (12.10.2015)

Then at the last moment the thirteen deleted these two lines from the letter that was actually put into the hands of the pope. But today they would put them back in word for word, seeing the ever more pronounced idyll that is developing between Francis and the followers of Luther.

On October 31, Jorge Mario Bergoglio will fly to Lund, Sweden, where he will be met by the local female bishop, to celebrate together with the Lutheran World Federation the five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. And the closer that date gets, the more sympathy the pope manifests for the great heretic.

At the last of his in-flight press conferences, on the way back from Armenia, he sang the praises of Luther. He said that he was moved by the best of intentions, and that his reform was “medicine for the Church,” skimming over the essential dogmatic divergences that for five centuries have pitted Protestants and Catholics against each other, because – these are again his words, this time spoken in the Lutheran temple of Rome – “life is greater than explanations and interpretations”:

In-Flight Press Conference…

The ecumenism of Francis is made like this. The primacy goes to the gestures, the embraces, some charitable act done together. He leaves doctrinal disagreements, even the most profound, to the discussions of theologians, whom he would gladly confine “to a desert island,” as he loves to say only half-jokingly.

The hitherto unsurpassed proof of this approach of his was, last November 15 during his visit to the Lutherans of Rome, the response that he gave to a Protestant woman who asked him if she could receive communion at Mass together with her Catholic husband.

The response from Francis was a phantasmagorical whirlygig of yes, no, I don’t know, you figure it out. But not because the pope didn’t know what to say. His expressive “fluidity” was intentional. It was his way of bringing everything back into discussion, making everything thinkable and therefore practicable:

Responses of the Holy Father…

Right on cue, in fact, came “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the magazine of the Rome Jesuits that has now become the grapevine of the Casa Santa Marta, to confirm that yes, Francis had wanted to convey precisely this: that even Protestants can receive communion at a Catholic Mass:

Communion For All, Even For Protestants (1.7.2016)

It is laying it on a bit thick when Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, says that “we Catholics do not have any reason to celebrate October 31, 1517, the beginning of the Reformation that led to the rupture of Western Christendom.”

Pope Francis isn’t even listening to him and is joining the party, indifferent that Müller – who was in fact one of the thirteen cardinals of the memorable letter – sees it as another step toward the “Protestantization” of the Catholic Church:

How Cardinal Müller Is Rereading the Pope (29.3.2016)

A pope like Bergoglio, in reality, would not be distasteful to a modern Luther. No more indulgences or purgatory, which five centuries ago were the spark of the rupture. And instead a superlative exaltation of divine mercy, which washes away gratis the sins of all:

Indulgences and Purgatory? Francis Has Mothballed Them (19.12.2015)

It is not a given, however, that the idyll is reciprocated by all Protestants. In Italy, their historical root is constituted by the minuscule but lively Waldensian Church. And its two most illustrious theologians, Giorgio Tourn and Paolo Ricca – both of the same generation as Bergoglio and both formed in the school of the leading Protestant theologian of the twentieth century, Karl Barth – are very critical of the secularizing tendencies both of their Church and of the Church of Pope Francis.“

The malady,” Ricca said in a recent head-to-head debate in “Riforma,” “is that we are all focused on social issues, something that is sacrosanct, but in the social we exhaust Christian discourse, and outside of there we are mute.”

And Tourn: “The policy of pope Bergoglio is to do charity. But it is clear that the witness of fraternal love alone does not automatically lead to knowing Christ. There is today not a silence of God, but our silence about God”:

Una Chiesa in torpore

. . .

Read more here: A Pope Like None Before. Somewhat Protestant

Did Munich killer lure children to their deaths on Facebook? | Daily Mail Online

Police probe fake ad for free food at massacre McDonald’s where Iranian, 18, killed first of his nine victims before turning gun on himself 

  • A number of people have been killed and another 21 people are injured after gunmen went on a shooting rampage
  • Police operation was launched in Munich, with force warning people to stay in their homes and avoid public spaces
  • Terrified shoppers were seen running for their lives from the Olympia Shopping Centre after hearing gunshots
  • Witnesses said that the shopping centre gunman screamed ‘I’m German’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ before shooting
  • Shooter reportedly fled after his shooting spree on the city underground network, which has now been shut down
  • His body was found half a mile from the scene. Police believe he acted alone after initially looking for three gunmen
  • He has now been identified as an 18-year-old Iranian, who has been living in Munich for more than two years


PUBLISHED: 11:33 EST, 22 July 2016 | UPDATED: 21:11 EST, 22 July 2016

Source: Did Munich killer lure children to their deaths on Facebook? | Daily Mail Online

Signers of document critiquing ‘Amoris Laetitia’ revealed | National Catholic Reporter

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Jul. 22, 2016

ROME An until now unpublished list of names attached to a critique of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on family life shows the signatories to include professors at diocesan seminaries, a member of a pontifical academy, and the head of the church’s ecclesiastical structure in Afghanistan. The signatories had sent a letter to the world’s Catholic cardinals asking them to “respond to . . .

Read more here: Signers of document critiquing ‘Amoris Laetitia’ revealed | National Catholic Reporter

As nuns’ numbers fall, pope says OK to use social media

July 22, 2016 VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican official says the number of nuns who dedicate their lives to prayer and contemplating God is dwindling, even as Pope Francis has written a new document praising their relevance in the world.

Monsignor Jose Rodriguez Carballo told reporters Friday that from 2000 to 2014, their numbers, including novices, plunged from some 55,000 to some 43,000. Spain and Italy have the highest number of them. Some of these

Source: As nuns’ numbers fall, pope says OK to use social media

Kaine’s VP pick greeted by blowback from progressive groups – The Washington Post

Why Clinton chose Kaine as her running mate

The Fix’s Aaron Blake breaks down why Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton chose Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to be her running mate. (Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)

By John Wagner July 22 at 9:27 PM

RICHMOND — Even before Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) was unveiled Friday as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, liberal groups were teed up to criticize the pick. Kaine’s boosters say that Kaine, a former Virginia governor and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is far more progressive than many of his critics realize.

Read more here: Kaine’s VP pick greeted by blowback from progressive groups – The Washington Post

Vermont doctors push back against assisted-suicide requirement – Washington Times

George Eighmey, president of the assisted-suicide advocacy group Death with Dignity, which helped draft Act 39, called the lawsuit “baseless” and “frivolous.” (Associated Press)

By Bradford Richardson – The Washington Times – Thursday, July 21, 2016

Vermont doctors and health care professionals are pushing back against an interpretation of state law that they say requires them to help kill patients who wish to die.

Members of two medical groups, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and Christian Medical & Dental Associations, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against officials in two state medical agencies responsible for the interpretation.

The lawsuit says these agencies have interpreted a 2013 physician-assisted suicide law, Act 39, in a way that would require health care professionals to counsel terminally ill patients about the option to commit suicide.

Additionally, under such an interpretation of the law, if medical professionals are not willing to help patients end their lives, then they must refer them to physicians who will, the lawsuit says.

Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Steven H. Aden, who represents the medical professionals, said this reading of the law violates the First Amendment and certain aspects of Obamacare.

Source: Vermont doctors push back against assisted-suicide requirement – Washington Times

News from The Associated Press


BERLIN (AP) — Police said they expect there will be multiple people dead in a shooting at a shopping mall in Munich, the German news agency dpa reported Friday.

The Bavarian Interior Ministry confirmed at least one dead and multiple people hurt at Olympia Einkaufszentrum mall.

Munich police spokesman Thomas Baumann told dpa the attack started at a fast food restaurant in the mall shortly before 6 p.m. local time. He said police didn’t know whether they were dealing with one or multiple shooters.

Police responded in large numbers to the mall in the northern part of Munich, not far from the city’s Olympic Stadium in the Moosach district of the Bavarian capital.

Munich police urged people to avoid public places. “The situation is still unclear,” they said on Twitter.

It’s the second attack in Germany in less than a week. On Monday, a 17-year-old Afghan wounded four people in an ax-and-knife attack on a regional train near the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg, and another woman outside as he fled. All survived, although one man from the train remains in life-threatening condition. The attacker was shot and killed by police.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the train attack, but authorities have said the teen likely acted alone.

Source: News from The Associated Press