Monday, July 21, 2014

Refuting Mike Gendron's “The Controversial Pope Francis”


(I wrote this in letter format so you can see exactly how Mike Gendron will see it.  My responses are in blue.)
 
Mr. Gendron, in regards to your latest newsletter, I am genuinely interested in hearing your explanation of why you chose to only report tiny bits of fact and then mix it with generous amounts of speculation, unsupported assertion, and logical fallacies.

For example, the very first claim is that Pope Francis suppreses the Truth of God's Word. But doesn't this beg the question (even if not in the formal sense)...who is interpreting the Truth of God's Word, and under what Authority. Doesn't one need to establish that he or she has some authority to interpret God's Word before accusing someone else of suppressing It?

Secondly, please cite, in its full context from an actual Catholic source, ANY Catholic Doctrine which the Pope has opposed or contradicted...and provide the full context of the alleged contradiction/opposition. I believe you will find that this assertion is completely false and unfounded.
 
"Pope Francis is turning out to be one of the most controversial popes in modern history since his election to the papacy on March 13. During the four months he has been on the papal throne, he has made numerous statements that not only suppress the truth of God's Word, but also oppose the doctrines of the Catholic Church. "

I believe people can find controversy wherever they want. So far I have yet to see anything more controversial from this Pope than any other Pope in modern history. I disagree, wholeheartedly with the assertions here, but still...let's see what you offer as evidence to support your assertions, Mr. Gendron.

"The day he was elected pope he said he would pray to Mary for the protection of Rome. "

How does that suppress the Word of God or oppose Catholic teaching? Doesn't the Word of God says that we ARE to pray for one another (Rom15:30, Eph 6:18-19) and show several times where Christians are praying for, and requesting prayer from, one another (2Thess 1:11, 2Thess 3:1)? Does Scripture say that when we pass on from this life that we are dead, or that we are alive...that our God is God of the living (Mk 9:4, Mk 12:26-27)? Does going to be with God make us ineligible to pray for our brethren on earth? (Chapter and verse please, Mr. Gendron.)

"Later he appeared to contradict himself by saying, "He who doesn't pray to the Lord, prays to the devil." Is the pope saying that Catholics who pray to Mary and the saints are praying to the devil? "

First of all, how is it a contradiction to ask Mary for intercession, and also to pray to God? Are we not allowed to ask for intercessions? (Chapter and verse please.) Second, I'm not sure if you're “begging the question”, or committing a fallacy of a “non sequitur”, but no, the Pope is not saying Catholics pray to the devil when we pray to the Saints in Heaven. Praying to the Saints in Heaven does not preclude praying to God, does it? It sure doesn't seem to be an issue to the Angels and Saints in Heaven who are offering our prayers to God in Revelation 5:8. Are those Angels cooperating in sin, Mike? It also didn't seem to be an issue when Mary communicated with the Angel, instead of talking directly to God, in Lk chapter 1. And it didn't seem to be an issue when David spoke to Nathan instead of going straight to God in 2 Sammuel. And it didn't seem to be an issue for the Israelites to go through the prophets...ad nauseum... Mr. Gendron, what is the hang-up about asking the Saints in Heaven to pray for us? Is there some Scriptural prohibition against it that you can show us?

"In May, the pope said everyone, even atheists, are redeemed with the Blood of Christ. The pope followed this heresy with another placating statement, saying, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" "

Mr. Gendron, who did Christ die for? Did He die for the sins of just a few? Or did He die so that ALL could be saved? And are you saying that it is a heresy to believe what Christ Himself told the Pharisees about coming to heal the sick? Did Christ die for ALL those who need Him, or only for those who are already saved? (Chapter and verse please.)

Mr. Gendron, can athiests never come to believe? If not, then what's the point of spreading the Gospel? Why did Christ command the spreading of the Gospel to the unbelievers, the Gentiles, the Pagans, all nations, if they will never believe and if Christ did not die for them? Did Christ send His Apostles out only to the believers? But if they can come to believe and be saved, then how is it wrong to say they have been redeemed? Maybe you have a different definition of “redeemed”? 

And what is the problem with not judging a person who is gay...who has a same-sex attraction? Did Christ not tell us not to judge a person? You seem to be implying that the Pope is okay with the ACT of homosexual sex. But that's not true, is it Mr. Gendron? In fact, didn't the Pope, in that very same conversation that you snipped from, clarify that his whole point is to love the sinner, but hate the sin? That's the exact message I got from the Pope's comments, and it's been the consistent teaching of the Church for 2,000 years now, and is the message in the Gospels. The Pope neither suppressed the Word of God, nor did he oppose Catholic doctrine.

"Possibly his most controversial decision was to make the reporting of sex crimes against children illegal."

WHAT?! Mr. Gendron, instead of inventing blatant misrepresentations of half-truths, if there is even that in your claim, how about you simply provide the facts for your readers. The facts are, that no other institution in the world, religious or otherwise, has done more to protect children from abuse and make it easier for clergy, the laity, and children and parents to recognize signs of abuse. The facts are that the Church has established a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to abuse, handing over to authorities any Priest who is legitimately accused of such behavior, and has even gone so far as to change its Canon Law to make it easier to punish accused Priests...even if there is not enough evidence for a civil prosecution. The facts are that the Church has taken aggressive proactive steps to ensure that it is the safest place for children. Mr. Gendron, what has your church done to be proactive in this area? Has your church volunteered itself to be put under the scrutiny of outside investigative studies, such as the John Jay Report? Has your church instructed millions of children and adults in how to recognize abuse? Has your church installed Victim Assistance Coordinators to ensure that every victim is heard? Has your church educated its members to know that the majority of abuse of this nature takes place at home, by married men, and that children are 100 times more likely to be abused at their public schools than by a Catholic Priest? Mr. Gendron, why hasn't EVERY institution, religious or otherwise, taken such aggressive and proactive measures to protect our children? (Source: http://www.themediareport.com/fast-facts/ )

"The Vatican also jumped on the heretical bandwagon last month by offering indulgences, to reduce time in purgatory, to those who follow Pope Francis on Twitter during World Youth Day. As foolish as this sounds to intelligent people, we must wonder if Catholics will ever wake up and realize their religion teaches a false and fatal gospel that leads them on the broad road to destruction? How many more blatantly false teachings must come out of the Vatican before Catholics realize they have been deceived about life's most critical issue, the salvation of their soul?

Catholics, who believe a purifying fire will purge away their sins, are deluded victims of a fatal fabrication. The diabolical invention of a place for the purification of sins called Purgatory is not only a flagrant denial of the sufficiency of Jesus Christ, but also a blasphemous rejection of His precious blood as the only purification for sin (1 John 1:7)."

Wait, so teaching something [Purgatory] that is not only in the Scriptures, but also rooted deeply in ancient Christianity, and in fact mentioned as in passing...as though it were just common knowledge, and has never been challenged up until the 16th century is heretical? Scripture, the Word of God, completely fabricated a place where a man, after he has died, and is saved, can suffer loss as through fire (1Cor 3:13-15)? God was just fabricating facts when He inspired the authors to explain how David was punished for his sin, AFTER he had been forgiven (2Sam 12:13-18)? The Apostle John simply fabricated the fact that nothing unclean shall enter into Heaven, and Jesus was just making things up when He said to be “perfect” (Rev 21:27)? Was Paul just kidding around, making up heretical ideas, when he said there is a place or a process whereby the SPIRITS of just men are made perfect (Heb 12:22-23)?

Mr. Gendron, you are misrepresenting the facts again. It almost seems like you do this in purpose, as though you want to make the Church look bad, even if you have to twist Truth into untruth to do so. Is that what you are doing Mr. Gendron, or did you honestly just not take the time to carefully read and check your sources? I know that you have been provided the correct explanation of Purgatory, which you misrepresented some time ago, by a Mr. John Martignoni. Did you not read his letters? He clearly spelled out the Scriptural and historical basis, and the actual Catholic Doctrine on Purgatory...which you still misrepresent to this day. Can you please, for the sake of your readers, provide them the ENTIRE quotes from the Catholic Encyclopedia or Catechism so that tey can see it in proper context, with their own eyes, and read it for themselves. Why do you only want to show them the cherry-picked word or two that you snatched out of half a sentence and then twisted around to say something that it doesn't really say in context...and then apply your own personal interpretation onto that misrepresentation? Do you not trust your readers with the Truth?

"The concept of Purgatory became a Catholic doctrine around 600 A.D. due to the fanaticism of Pope Gregory the Great. He developed the doctrine through visions of a purifying fire. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Pope Gregory said Catholics "will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames," and "the pain is more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life." Centuries later, at the Council of Florence in 1431, Purgatory was pronounced an infallible dogma."

Actually, Mike, the concept of Purgatory dates back to the Jews, is found in Scripture, and can be found as early as the 2nd century mentioned casually, as in passing. I'll spare you my own long-winded response, and just provide you 2 of several links. The contents should sound familiar because Mr. Martignoni and other well-meaning Catholics have provided you with the same information in the past...which you obviously ignored.



"Over the centuries, billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from sufferings in Purgatory's fire. The Catholic clergy has taught that purchasing indulgences, novenas and Mass cards can shorten the period of suffering in Purgatory. When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased's punishment in Purgatory. We have heard of Catholics who have willed their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God's forgiveness has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican.

Another motivation for Rome to fabricate the heretical doctrine of Purgatory is its powerful effect on controlling people. Ultimately, the enslavement and subjugation of people is the goal of every false religion, and Purgatory does exactly that. The concept of a terrifying prison with a purging fire, governed by religious leaders, is a most brilliant invention. It holds people captive, not only in this life but also in the next life. Catholic clergy will not say how many years people have to suffer for their sins or how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty is the most ruthless form of religious bondage and deception! Only the truth of God's Word will set Catholics free from the bondage of deception. May all Christians lovingly confront them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Click here to see our latest broadcast on the pope's statements."

Again, Mr. Gendron, both of these paragraphs were addressed directly and thoroughly by Mr. Martignoni here:

http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/newsletter/detail/195 so there's no reason for you to have to listen to me explain it again.

You make a lot of spurious claims with no source to back it up, and try to make the Church look sinister for doing exactly what the Scriptures model for us. Tell me Mr. Gendron, do you accept money for your services? Or do you work for free? Would you or your pastor reject a stipend from family members who want to give you something for performing a funeral service? And can you do your readers a favor and trace all these “billions of dollars” that have gone to Roman Catholic Priests and show us, with actual source data, how much money we are really talking about per Priest, per year, and how that money is spent (such as, helping the poor and infirm, paying the electricity bills for the building used during the ceremony, etc...)? Then offer a comparison to every non-Catholic preacher and do the same tracking.

Mr. Gendron, whether you are doing it intentionally or not, you are misrepresenting the Catholic Church...bearing false witness against Catholics. In other words, you are helping, whether intentionally or not, to propagate lies. You are not doing anyone any favors by doing that, except the “father of lies”. Please be more careful that you correctly represent Catholic Doctrine, and allow your readers to make well informed decisions, based on actual Catholic Doctrine from actual Catholic sources in their full context.

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