Reformation Day III

More from Pope Francis’s interview with Father Ulf Jonsson.

In discussing the Reformation, the pope said: “At the beginning, Luther’s was a gesture of reform in a difficult time for the Church. Luther wanted to remedy a complex situation.” Five hundred years later, while “celebrating” the Reformation, Pope Francis still can’t acknowledge that the Church was corrupt – he just says it was “a complex situation” and “a difficult time.” The pope cares far more about the reputation of his institution than the truth. This is a recurring motif.

 

Proselytizing and Conversions

Pope Francis said: “to proselytize in the ecclesial field is a sin. Benedict XVI told us that the Church does not grow by proselytism, but by attraction. Proselytism is a sinful attitude.” This is disinformation. In the early days of the Church, proselytism was essentially the only means by which the Church grew, especially in conjunction with household conversion. (When the patron or head of a household was converted, his clients – those who depended on him – also converted out of loyalty/duty. The elite had thousands of clients, and the near-elite hundreds. Later, Constantine used incentives to attract the elite, showering a fortune on them while exempting them from taxes. Many were “attracted” by these incentives and converted.

Soon after Constantine, Theodosius the Great took a different approach. Constantine had to rely on positive incentives, since Christianity was a very small minority. Theodosius had other options. While he didn’t proselytize, he also didn’t use “attraction.” Theodosius simply declared pagan worship to be a capital crime. The threat of death did a pretty good job of converting people, though it took centuries for much of the population to convert.

After Constantine, Christianity underwent major changes. To facilitate conversions, it adopted many pagan doctrines and practices. While the great majority of Catholics were not converted by proselytizing, they were definitely not converted by “attraction.” In Latin America, the Church relied on forced conversion. This was largely true in Africa as well. Pope Francis suppresses the facts and implies a false, idyllic process of conversion.

Persecution and Warfare

Pope Francis also said: “When Christians are persecuted and murdered, they are chosen because they are Christians, not because they are Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, Catholics or Orthodox.” He suppressed the fact that the great majority of Christians who were persecuted were victimized by other Christians, especially the Catholic Church. After Constantine established the Nicene Creed, any deviation was considered heresy, subject to the most severe penalties. The Church persecuted untold thousands of Christians for stepping out of line. While celebrating Reformation Day, Pope Francis would also have us forget the centuries of warfare between Catholics and Protestants that followed that event.

Speaking of warfare, Pope Francis said: “You cannot make war in the name of religion, in the name of God. It is blasphemy, it is satanic.” This is mind-boggling. The Catholic Church declared many Holy Wars, not only against Muslims but also against various “heretical” Christian sects. The leading Church theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, developed the theory of just wars to sanctify the Church’s predilection for holy wars, and his theory is still Church policy, part of its Catechism. The Church was involved in one holy war or another for much of its existence. Pope Francis now implies that the Church was blasphemous and even satanic all this time – presumably while under the inerrant guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Neither the religious press nor the secular press commented on any of these obvious falsehoods and outrageous claims. Pope Francis is never fact checked or held accountable. Big Brother would be envious. Nonetheless, the Church complains it is under attack by secular society.