Friday, July 30, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI and the United Kingdom

Pope Benedict XVI and the United Kingdom,

This publication has been timed to coincide with the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI (16-19 September). During his time in the UK the Pope will meet the Queen at Holyrood Palace, Scotland. He will address a gathering of both Houses of Parliament. Also Joseph Ratzinger will beatify Cardinal Newman, making him the first Englishman to be made a “saint” since the Reformation.

The impending visit has already caused some controversy, not least due to Ratzinger’s failure to deal with the problem of child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Before becoming Pope he was Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Rome’s disciplinary body (formerly called The Inquisition). It is alleged that as Prefect he knew what was going on, but did little to prevent children being abused by paedophile priests.

Evangelicals might feel a little unhappy concerning the high honours that will be accorded to such a man. But it seems that by and large we have given up the fight when it comes to the controversy with Rome. We appear to have forgotten what the Reformation was all about. The aim of this book is to set out the influence of Protestantism on our national life and to expose Roman Catholic false teachings.

The Pope presides over a system of sacramental salvation. He claims to be head of the visible Church, with supreme and universal power over the people of God. Since 1870 Rome has regarded the Pope’s ex cathdera pronouncements as infallible, elevating his authority to the level of Holy Scripture. The Virgin Mary is regarded as “co-mediatrix” alongside Jesus, compromising the unique saving value of Christ’s finished work. The Reformers were right to battle against unbiblical Roman Catholic doctrine in their day. Still we must contend for vital, gospel-centred Christianity in opposition to the errors of Rome.

Not all readers will agree with the authors’ Presbyterian views on Church Establishment or that the Pope is the Antichrist. But here is a timely reminder that the man who is due to visit these shores in September is a powerful leader of a false religion. Roman Catholicism robs our Lord Jesus of his unrivalled role as head of the Church and the only mediator between God and men.

Perhaps the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI will give Evangelical Protestants a fresh opportunity to graciously explain the differences between Rome and genuine, biblical Christianity.

* Reviewed for September edition of Evangelicals Now.


Protoprotestant said...

I would think one would be rather more upset over the claim of England's monarch to be head of the church.

While the pope is certainly an evil man, I've always been a bit concerned with some of the modern chapel attendees who seem to pine for the lost Empire and its glories. Very strange.

I would think English Christians would know better. As far as the Scottish end, I'm afraid their descendants learned little when they came to North America. They turned right around and were happy to participate in the creation of a new Constantinian Empire.

All Empires are evil things.

So while I detest the Pope, I always have had the feeling especially with the Protestant Alliance type folks that it's not just the theological issues (with which I agree) but just as much the frustrated Constantinianism....which I strongly oppose.

I'd be curious for any comments anyone would have to that end. During my several visits to the UK I interacted a fair bit with Christians, but the people I knew didn't seem to be terribly keen or revisiting or glorying in Empire. Thus, I was not able to get a better sense of where those who wish for its return are coming from.

I've been quite disappointed as of late to hear several sermons and lectures by men associated with the Banner of Truth wherein they seemed to lament the dissolution of Empire.

I for one hope to see the break-up of the American Empire in my lifetime. Perhaps my children will be able to locate a church that won't be engaged in Nationalistic idolatry........

John A.

Exiled Preacher said...

Elsewhere on the blog I have argued for the disestablishment of the Church of England.

As indicated the review was written for publication in "Evangelicals Now". I was limited to 400 words maximum, so all I could do is say that not all readers would agree with the Free Presbyterian position on Church Establishment. I certainly don't.

theologicum monasticum said...

To my knowledge, Mary has never been officially declared a "co-meadtrix" by the Catholic church. Do you have documentation you could point me to to verify that? I know there has been talk, but I didn't know of anything official.

Exiled Preacher said...

The exact phrase "co-mediatrix" may not have been used in official Catholic documents, but the idea that Mary shares in the mediatorial work of Christ is certainly present in Roman Catholic teaching.

Vatican II states,

LG 62. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.

Also, John Paul II's Encyclical Redemptoris Mater, Part III - Maternal Mediation says,

"The teaching of the Second Vatican Council presents the truth of Mary's mediation as "a sharing in the one unique source that is the mediation of Christ himself." Thus we read: "The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. She experiences it continuously and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that, encouraged by this maternal help, they may more closely adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer.""

If in the Roman teaching cited above Mary is regarded sharing in the mediation of Christ and as "Mediatrix", then I don't think that it is unfair to speak of the Roman Catholic Church confessing that Mary is "co-mediatrix".

Protoprotestant said...

I agree regarding Mary. Just because it hasn't been proclaimed dogma doesn't mean it's not the de facto teaching of the 'church'.

As far as my previous comments...I hope I did not offend. It was not my intention. I enjoy this site and the outlook here. Please don't take it as if I was launching an attack.....

John A.