Pope Francis on Gays: `Who am I to Judge?’

CNN reports on a candid press conference held by Pope Francis on the flight back to Italy after his tour of Brazil:

Pope Francis said Monday that he will not “judge” gays and lesbians – including gay priests – a huge shift from his predecessor, who sought to bar men with “homosexual tendencies” from the priesthood, and another sign that the new pope is changing the church’s approach to historically marginalized groups.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis said in a wide-ranging news conference aboard the papal plane.

Though answering a question about the so-called “gay lobby” at the Vatican, the pope’s remarks seemed to signal a change in tone, if not in teaching, in the church’s stance towards gays and lesbians more generally.

The pope was flying back to Rome from Brazil, where he spent the past week celebrating World Youth Day, an international Catholic event that drew millions.

Taking questions from reporters aboard the plane, the pope addressed nearly every hot-button issue facing the Roman Catholic Church – its alleged “gay lobby,” Vatican bank corruption, the role of women, abortion, homosexuality and his own personal security.

“Pope Francis’s brief comment on gays reveals great mercy,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at America, a Catholic magazine based in New York.

Martin noted that Francis also showed “greater compassion for divorced and remarried Catholics, a group that has long felt marginalized in the church, and called for a `deeper theology’ on the role of women in the church.”

“Today Pope Francis has, once again, lived out the Gospel message of compassion for everyone,” Martin said.

The pontiff spoke on the record for an hour and a half in the back of the plane that was carrying him back to Italy after his first international trip as pope to Brazil, where he was greeted by massive, frenzied crowds at every turn.

“I’m happy. It has been a beautiful trip, spiritually speaking; it has been good to me. I’m tired enough but with a heart full of joy,” he said.

On Sunday, the mayor’s office in Rio de Janeiro said more than 3 million people came to Copacabana Beach for a morning Mass with Francis, who was in Brazil for the weeklong World Youth Day celebration.

Security issues plagued the trip because of Francis’ immense popularity as the first Latin America pope. His arriving motorcade was mobbed after a wrong turn, prompting the Brazilian military to raise the trip’s security level to “high risk” and send in reinforcements to protect the pontiff, who insisted on being close to the people.

“There is always the danger that there is the crazy person, and we never know what he or she will do,” Francis said. “But to create a safety barrier between the bishop and its people is insane. And I’m outside this security. I prefer the risks of the madness outside, to be close to the people.”

On the ‘gay lobby’ and homosexuality

The pope addressed the issue of an alleged “gay lobby” within the church. Hints that the Holy See contained a network of gay clergy surfaced last year in reports about a series of embarrassing leaks to Italian journalists.

The “Vatileaks” scandal factored in Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV’s shocking decision to resign this year, according to some church experts, as it impressed upon the 86-year-old pontiff that the modern papacy requires a vigorous and watchful presence.

“There’s a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I’ve never seen it on the Vatican ID card!” Francis said.

“When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”

The problem, he said was, lobbies that work against the interest of the church.

In 2005, during the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican issued directives barring from the priesthood men “who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called ‘gay culture.'”

Francis’ brief remarks seem to signal a sharp shift from that policy.

On women

The pope also spoke out about the role of women in the church, saying it needs to be deeper and not end. But he brushed aside the possibility of ordaining women as priests, saying the church had spoken on the matter: “The church says no. That door is closed.” He did say that more work needed to be done theologically on the role of women in the church.

On abortion

Pope watchers have noted that Francis said little to nothing about abortion on his trip to Brazil. Abortion is illegal in Brazil, except for cases in which the health of the mother is at risk. Laws were recently changed to allow abortions in cases in which the child would be born with certain life-threatening birth defects.

The pope said he had nothing to say on the trip about abortion because the church teachings against it were clear and this trip was the time for “positive” news.

On divorce

“I believe this is a time of mercy, a change of epoch,” the pope said when asked about divorce. He said the group of eight cardinals tasked with reform will explore the issue of whether divorcees can receive Communion, which they are currently barred from doing.

On the Vatican Bank

The pope conceded he was unsure what to do with the Vatican Bank, which is known by its acronym IOR.

“Some say that it would be better if it were a bank, others say that it should be a foundation. Other say to shut it down. These are the suggestions going around. I don’t know. I trust the commission’s members that are working on the IOR. But I wouldn’t be able to tell you how this story is going to end.”

And as for what was in the black leather bag he carried onto the plane? A razor, a prayer book, a diary and a book about St. Theresa, but, the pope joked, “Certainly not the keys to the atomic bomb!”

He said he carried his own bags because “It’s normal, we have to be normal. We have to be accustomed to being normal.”



34 thoughts on “Pope Francis on Gays: `Who am I to Judge?’

  1. “Francis’ brief remarks seem to signal a sharp shift from that policy.”
    That’s a clear overstatement, as Francis was talking about those who are already priests, not candidates for priesthood (whom the Benedict’s policy addressed).
    Actually, nothing new, just compassionate confirmation that self-sex attraction, like any other temptation, is never a sin in itself. Only homosexual acts are.

    1. Re: “…self-sex attraction, like any other temptation, is never a sin in itself.”

      This is only the case if the perverted affection towards the same sex is not what moral theologians refer to as : “voluntaria in causa;” that is, deliberately brought on by previous sinful acts such as looking at homoerotic pornography, associating with known homosexuals, whether individually or in groups, such as “Courage” – which is an absolute proximate occasion of sin under the pretext of a so-called “support group”…OR, a deliberate determination of the intellect and will to foster and promote an already pre-existing psycho-sexual attraction towards the same sex…

      1. Right on here! Indeed the Christian life is always quite a spiritual war, and the great Adversary of souls, Satan, is quite alive and well on planet earth, and always interconnected with his fallen host! As our Lord Jesus knew so well! (Matt. 8: 28-33)

  2. And who can say that “this” papacy” is standing biblical? The corruption lies very deep! And I say this sadly! But Christians are to judge righteous judgment, just as their Lord, (John 7: 24). Right is right, and wrong is wrong, indeed what has become of right moral doctrine and teaching in right judgment? And where have the moral theologians gone in the RCC? Woe be the politically correct! And sadly, many divorced Catholics still receive unjust treatment, while the culture, and now the Catholic Church it appears placate the Gay agenda!

    “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5: 20)

    No wonder Benedict /Ratzinger resigned! One wonders when the godly Catholic laity will have the courage to take back their Church, and say enough?

  3. I fear that many people , both Roman catholics , Anglicans (both traditionalists and those in the Canterbury Communion) as well as conservative Christians of other denominations, will not receive this news with enthusiasm. Francis is indeed a very different pope than his predecessor.
    How will all the Anglicans who have joined the Ordinariate feel if this pope appears to be taking a similar stance to the current and former Archbishops of Canterbury on the question of gay people and their place in the Church?
    It was also stated in a report on this bloggsite, quoting a major conservative catholic newspaper a few days back, that, if one is Anglican, all that the Communion has to offer is “porn and Gays”! I found this quite horrifying; not all Anglicans in the Canterbury communion will take this lightly.The report quoted yesterday was downright uncharitable and quite distateful to those of us who continue to “fight the good fight” where we currently find ourselves serving God and His church.Yes, the C of E has made some ill-advised investments in companys involved in gambling and all the other vices which accompany those industries, but it has a lot more to offer its faithful members than the qouted catholic newspaper report suggests.
    All of this, yeterdays report from the catholic newspaper ,and the Holy father’s comments after his visit to Brasil, puts a whole new slant on the Doctrine of Papal Infalibility, does it not?
    Were not curruption in the Vatican and Papal authority some of the reasons for the Reformation 400 years ago? Perhaps we are now heading for further ‘splits’ in Christianity? I was told by a former Traditionalist Bishop that Francis was “a liberal” and that we should “watch this space” and see. I for one am glad that the Pope is attempting to rid the vatican of scandal and that he is trying to bring the Church to where the people are.The Millions who flocked to his Mass at the Coco Cabana beach are evidence of the fact that people want the church to be ‘accessible’.( I can hear the some shouting “well why don’t they come to their nearest church?”) We tend to forget that the Chuch conists of people and not buildings. Many are expecting a radical change under this papacy.However I’m not sure that Francis’ compassionate stance towards gays and divorcees , by most conservative Christians will be welcomed. The question may need to be asked “Has the Institutional Church become too “top heavy” with Bishops and a somewhat rigid “top down” approach to its management?” The Congregationalists may feel that the Pope’s words on this occasion will justify their system of church governance, namely individual congregations each with their own structure and tradition?I am not sure.I guess we all have to be faithful to Christ where we are. As our Blessed Lord said to His disciples, “watch and pray.”
    Again we must remember that the Church is God’s church, Christ’s bride, and that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

    1. Surely doctrinally and theologically “Francis” IS a “liberal”, lets call it clearly and cleanly! Speaking with a double tongue is surely one of the great problems historically with the papacy, nothing new here, but the depth and place. Perhaps Benedict/Razinger was the last real traditional pope? And the so-called “Institutional” Church alone (or by itself) is surely not the place of the historical aspect of the acts of God’s prevalence, (again alone). But Christ Himself, is the place and benefit of His own Person & Work, and this by the Holy Spirit, (John 7: 39). Note again the collective message in the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, (Rev. 2-3).

  4. A papal committee into looking at Communion for re=married divorcees . Impossible. he would be risking an Ananias and Sapphira moment.

  5. Total over-reaction to what he has said. People are reading their own prejudices into his answers. Pray tell where he has varied from Church teaching or scripture in his remarks?
    It is possible to speak pastorally and with kindness. Remember, we hate the sin and love the sinner.

    Oh – and don’t make the boring mistake of misreading my byline as liberal Catholic – I am not.

    1. 2005 was not that long ago, and the statements made by Ratzinger as Pope were very clear on this subject. And now we hear this kind of statement from Francis, which most certainly gives a different message. So what is one to think? The Vatican used to measure its statements more carefully, but this appears to be hardly the way of Francis. It seems he just shoots from the hip much of the time, and in my opinion he is certainly no Ratzinger, theologically! For this Reformed Anglican, this just once again cements the fallibility of the papacy, and the loss of both the theological with the pastoral with just another so-called human pope. If I were still a Catholic I would ask for better, and stand my ground with the past in better Catholic voices! Btw, in the third session of the Council of Trent they reaffirmed the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and the validity of both Old and New Testaments! Luther had anticipated this with the making of The Schmalkald Articles in December 1536. The true catholic church, consists of “holy believers and little sheep who hear the voice of their shepherd” along with “the word of God and true faith.” (SA III, 12, 3)

      Amen, I will stand with the Reformational and the Reformed Church Catholic!

    2. I very much agree with your comment.

      Very much of what the Holy Father has said in Brazil – and on the plane home – does signal his determination that the Church should not be “just another NGO”.

      As seems now to be usual, the tough talking was with the Bench of Bishops – see his address to the Bishops of Brazil:

      “Consequently, we, as pastors, need to ask questions about the actual state of the Churches which we lead. These questions can serve as a guide in examining where the dioceses stand in taking up the spirit of Aparecida; they are questions which we need to keep asking as an examination of conscience.

      1. Do we see to it that our work, and that of our priests, is more pastoral than administrative? Who primarily benefits from our efforts, the Church as an organization or the People of God as a whole?

      2. Do we fight the temptation simply to react to complex problems as they arise? Are we creating a proactive mindset? Do we promote opportunities and possibilities to manifest God’s mercy? Are we conscious of our responsibility for refocusing pastoral approaches and the functioning of Church structures for the benefit of the faithful and society?

      Bishops must lead, which is not the same thing as being authoritarian. As well as pointing to the great figures of the Latin American episcopate, which we all know, I would like to add a few things about the profile of the bishop, which I already presented to the Nuncios at our meeting in Rome. Bishops must be pastors, close to people, fathers and brothers, and gentle, patient and merciful. Men who love poverty, both interior poverty, as freedom before the Lord, and exterior poverty, as simplicity and austerity of life. Men who do not think and behave like “princes”. Men who are not ambitious, who are married to one church without having their eyes on another. Men capable of watching over the flock entrusted to them and protecting everything that keeps it together: guarding their people out of concern for the dangers which could threaten them, but above all instilling hope: so that light will shine in people’s hearts. Men capable of supporting with love and patience God’s dealings with his people. The Bishop has to be among his people in three ways: in front of them, pointing the way; among them, keeping them together and preventing them from being scattered; and behind them, ensuring that no one is left behind, but also, and primarily, so that the flock itself can sniff out new paths.”

      Certainly that kind of approach is going to make some prelates feel uncomfortable. And a good thing too!

  6. I only question the idea of a Commission on the divorced/ re-marrried. Like the contraception commission in 1968, it can only result in a Papal affirmation of the truth…no communion for adulterers.

    As for so called Reformed Anglicans…they actually can’t agree whether there should be divorce or not. Thay all accept contraception and are varied in their response to abortion and other ethical issues.

    “Reformed” Anglicanism is at variance with historic its understanding of the episcopate, the priesthood, baptism ( as the real meands of being born again), the meanining of the eucharist, justificatiuon , scripture, authority and the petrine ministry etc.

    1. Typical ignorance from a Traditional Catholic position! Calling all divorced Catholics “adulterers”!

      Indeed Reformed Anglicans – and generally most conservative Evangelicals – are somewhat left to their conscience as to many things that are simply not directly regulated by the Word of God. As too many of todays so-called R. Catholics, who by common sense and their conscience practice contraception.

      I love it! I would challenge you RW to come-up with the Sacramentarianism (in tote) of Roman Catholicism from the Pauline of the Letters of Romans, Corinthians and Galatians! Especially the last! And note surely the Letter to the Galatians was written before Romans. In both, especially Galatians: St. Paul is dealing with the persuasions of the Judaizers, who as Paul wrote were in Galatians 1: 7, were perverting (metastrepho, Gk)…sought to change something of an opposite character, into something else). Here Paul is most harsh, and notes this as an absolute subversion, the attack is on the grace of God! And brings a double statement of God’s “anathema”! (Gal. 1: 8 & 9)

      Of course historically, Galatians was the Letter that Luther used to show that God’s grace cannot be compromised, and strictly Law and Gospel simply cannot be mingled, certainly in the great Salvation of God! And to quote Paul in 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

      “He [Paul] boasts that his doctrine and office are from God alone, in order that he might silence the boast of the false apostles . . . He says it is not true, even if an angel were to preach differently, or he himself . . . and concludes that everyone must be justified without merit, without works, without law, through Christ alone.

      “. . . He shows that law brings sin and a curse rather than righteousness. Righteousness is promised by God, fulfilled by Christ without the law, given to us – out of grace alone.
      ” . . . he teaches the works of love that ought to follow faith” [LW 35; 384]

      This is really rather quick, but indeed the great Apostolic Letter of Paul’s Galatians is the hammer blow to any works righteousness!

      And btw, we should not forget the Galatian Texts of Gal. 2: 11 thru 16, noting really the rest of the chapter! Again, another hammer blow against any infallible doctrine of the papacy itself!

      1. And we should note that the Reformers used ‘Law/Gospel’ in the proper use towards the Gospel “kerygma” (message). But Law always comes before, to show us our sin/sins and need of Christ! (Gal. 4: 1-7)…see too Paul’s great “allegory” in Gal. 4: 21-31, which gospel are we going to have, that of the Bond or Free… The Judaizers or the Apostle Paul? The great question is still before us today!

      2. And let me say here again, that I love my Catholic friends, many are real “Brethren” in Christ, with regeneration and grace. And I have still extended family that are R. Catholic! And I actually have many R. Catholic friends also. 🙂 But the test of the Gospel is always truth, liberty and surely the great Person & Work of Christ Himself! Let us love Him, who is life, mercy & grace itself!

        “For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (bondage).” (Gal. 5: 1, ESV)

      3. We should too note, (Matt. 7: 13-29)…btw, note that verse 29, “For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Hopefully, our Lord’s statement as to “few” ‘there be that find it.’ Is hyperbolic, exaggerated, for the great truth and effect. But let us surely take great note here! Are WE one of His own? Knowing HIM as Savior & Lord of life & death!

        Christ and His Gospel/Good News are always “His” authority!

  7. Answering the challenge…….

    Read Hebrews 12, ” the priestly service of the Gospel of Christ.”

    Find annointing in James….scrapped by Cranmer

    Find the value of celibacy in Corinthians ch 7

    Find confession in John 21

    Find the papacy and infallibility in Luke 22

    Find the real presence in John ch 6

    Find a denunciation of justification by faith alone in James

    Find the distinction between mortal and venial sin in 1 John.

    Find relics in Acts

    Find purgatory in Corinthians 1:3

    Etc etc

  8. Hebrews 12, the great High Priesthood is of course Christ’s alone! (Heb. 12: 2 ;22-25, etc. actually to the end of verse 29).

    James 5:14-16 is of course first Jewish (the anointing of oil), and is actually connected to the whole Body-Life of the redeemed, (verse 16…”one to another”).

    Celibacy, in (1 Cor. 7), is always a choice and gift of God…”Each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” (7: 7, RSV) “Only, let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him.” (verse 17) There is not a word here about any mandatory celibacy of the presbyters!

    Confession, in John 20: 21-23, has to do with the essence of the Apostolic Gospel, but we simply don’t see it in any ecclesiastical sense in the life and work of the Apostles in the Book of Acts! Certainly not in the Gospel of Paul! (Note, 1 Cor. 1:17)

    Luke 22 certainly does NOT give a wit of any “papacy” and “infallibility” that I can see? The “Twelve Tribes of Israel”, is part of the Messianic Kingdom in the Glory, (Rev. 19: 4-9…”the marriage supper of the Lamb”, and the whole Church is there (OT believers/NT believers, verse 4).

    John 6, and the so-called “Eucharist”, “My flesh”= Myself. Put by the figure Synecdoche (of the Part), for the whole Person, as in Gen. 17:13. In John 6, we have The Sign (48-51), in verse 51, The Signification. The whole of this section has to do with the Jews contention actually of the whole person of Christ! And in verse 53, the Hebrews used this expression with reference to “knowledge” by the figure Metonymy (of the Subject), as in Ex. 24: 11, where it is put for being alive; so eating and drinking denoted the operation of the mind in receiving and “inwardly digesting” truth or the words of God. (See Deut. 8: 3 and compare Jer. 15: 16 / Ezek. 2: 8). Indeed the Jews knew this idiom well! And btw, in the historical context, the Jews of course knew nothing here of any Christian “Eucharist”! By comparing verses 47 and 48 with verses 53 and 54, we see that believing on Christ was exactly the same thing as eating and drinking Him. Again “flesh…blood” are the figure Synecdoche (of the Part), this idiom is put for the whole Person!

    *Sure, as Christians now, we can look back in John and see the whole Christ as the I Am’s of God!

    And even in the Letter of James, it is “dikaioo, Gk.” is used to set forth the righteous, to justify. Again, “works” only manifest what GOD Himself has already done in the heart with the gift of faith…”so faith without works is dead..” (James 2: 26…We must look back at Paul’s Eph. 2: 8-9-10; and there is no contradiction!)

    Mortal and venial sin are a scholastic definition, but can be surely over pressed. But in 1 John 5: 8, the issue is “that we [who] are of God”, do not “practice”, or continue to live in sin. (I John 5: 17-18-19)

    Relics are simply not needed, though it can be a sort of human thing, but not really needed surely, the whole cult of the Saints borders on profane issues, and can be blasphemous when it replaces Christ as Mediator!

    And indeed perhaps “purgation” (at death, the Bema-Seat of Christ), but not a Purgatory (place).

    Btw, it is good to dialogue! 🙂

  9. Romans 15:16

    to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

    1. Indeed I was wondering if you would pull this verse up, but let’s exegete it.

      First, Paul says, in verse 15, “But boldly I wrote to you, in part as reminding you on account of the grace, having been given to me from God. For me to be a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, – literally- administering in sacred service the Good News (Gospel) of God, that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Lit. translation)

      We can see that here is “Paul’s” great ministry and calling of God, “on account of the grace, having been given to me from God.” Paul calls this his “dispensation” (stewardship) – of the gospel is committed unto me.” (1 Cor. 9: 17). See also, (Col. 1: 25). Indeed this is Paul’s calling of stewardship-dispensation, in the great economy in the Gospel of God In Christ for the Gentile Nations. And quite simply this is only Paul’s revelatory work and ministry! It can be accepted and somewhat understood and received, but not really transferred to any other so-called Apostles. It is as Paul says a work in and by the Holy Spirit to the Gentile people: “themselves”. And it is here too, that Paul is called the Apostle to the Gentiles, in himself! (Rom. 11: 13)

      Again, there is simply nothing in the text itself of Paul handing this off to someone else literally. It is itself a spiritual and sacred work in the Good News of the Gospel of God In “Christ Jesus”. And this inversion of the name/names is part of that Pauline revelation that IS that the ministry itself, that does follow the revelation, i.e. ‘In Christ’, or more fully “In Christ Jesus”. (Note, 1 Tim. 2: 5-6-7).

      1. Explain it away…you would do the same with the gift of the Holy Spirit by the breathing of Christ for the forgiveness of sins, as a commission for preaching the Gospel. It doesn’t wash…for I have 2,000 years behind my exegesis , and you barely 500!

        Very pleased to see the Pope was misquoted…no Papal commission on divorce and what he meant was homosexuals in good faith trying to live a celibate and holy life.

      2. @RW: It always hard to dialogue when you don’t know Holy Scripture, or how to use it as it is “spirit and truth”! YOU are just an obvious advocate and devotee of a rather almost dead traditional Catholicism! I grew-up with all this in Dublin Ireland in the 1950’s and part of the 60’s. But thank God it is really almost gone, in the main, but there are always going to be people like you sadly you live on the edges and legalities. You sir are merely a “legate” of law, the canon type. But the Gospel is always liberty and spiritual freedom In Christ Jesus! As I noted, you have surely missed it, as seen in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians! (Gal. 3: 1-6 ; 5: 1)

      3. Nice private interpretation, and quite logical in some points. Unfortunately, one of many plausible and equally logical, yet often contraditory, interpretations that can be derived from the Scripture. As always, the question of the interpretative authority remains pivotal.

      4. Really nothing “private” here at all, some thoughts culled from the writings from Irenaeus, One God: Intellect & Love, with his ideas of the Divine economy. Yes, too with some good ideas also from a few Pauline minded Anglican theolog’s. Btw, Irenaeus of Lyons has been called ‘the first great Catholic theologian’. And note too that Irenaeus was Historic Premillennial! Oh yeah! 😉

        There is no doubt some “Plotinus” in Irenaeus thinking too!

        Btw, for those that do READ theology? Let me recommend two books here, both men are in Australia: one an Anglican, and this is the more in-depth book of the two: Eric Osborn’s: Irenaeus of Lyons, (Cambridge, 2001, first paperback 2005). This is just historical and well done, as too theologically Irenaeus! And the second, is by Denis Minns, (2010, T&T Clark)…Irenaeus, An Introduction, Minns is a previous lecturer in Patristics at Blackfriars, Oxford, and a Catholic. He is now (as a Dominican friar) living in Sydney.

        So CC before you just jump in, you better know the subject a bit better! And the old “private” interpretation ad hoc gets quite old actually. Anyone that knows this old “theolog”, knows that I surely don’t do anything theologically just “privately”. I always check the historical framework of the whole Church Catholic, which obviously includes the Reformers, Catholicism, but also always too the EO! 🙂

        Btw again here, Irenaeus sits quite on-top of the early Church Catholic & Theological, (125-30 – 200). This western Father, pressed by a Socratic love of truth and a classical love of beauty, was a founder of so-called western humanism! So here we have simply one the best early “interpretative authority’s”! Yes simply one of my favorite early Fathers and Theolog’s!

      5. And we can surely note here that one of Irenaeus’s favorite theological ideas is the Divine Economy! And here of course is one of St. Paul’s most profound revelations of God, in the Greek word: Oikonomia (Dispensation), which was the place of God’s divine responsibilities in the great stewardship of St. Paul’s divine ministry in the fulfillment of unfolding God’s divine revelations…”the fulfillment being the unfolding of the completion of the Divinely arranged and imparted cycle of truths which are consummated in the truth relating to the Church as the Body of Christ”. The latter is a Lexicon quote, and even itself carries the great idea of the Church Catholic, but of course much more than just Roman Catholic!

      1. As to my succinct comments, I don’t consider a combox of this blog the right place for lengthy teological discussions. Anyway, what I’ve meant is that choosing from among different historical interpretations is exercising private judgment all the same, so ultimately your “checking (always) ….” comes down to private opinion and nothing more.
        I’ve once followed a 1000-post or so discussion among Calvinist and Armininian protestants, trying to ‘prove’ their respective positions from the Bible alone. A splendid exercise in futility.

        As Bryan Cross has once put it, “Although it would be nice to think that Scripture is so clear that no visible living interpretive authority is needed to provide the authoritative interpretation, if the fragmentation of Protestantism over the past four hundred and ninety years is not enough to falsify such a position, then how many more centuries of division would be needed to falsify it?”

      2. I have a blog of my own, anytime you want to come and make the old school Traditional defense of Roman Catholicism, who are quite welcome! I would give you the floor first! The whole point and reality is that this position is actually quite a myth now! Indeed whether people like you like it or not, Vatican II has simply changed all that! When good thinking people see the papacy of a Benedict/Ratzinger to a now Jesuit Francis, they can surely see that there is really no absolute consensus even in the RCC! Thankfully the days of Ultramontanism are quite gone! The only lasting hope for the RCC theologically and biblically is more in and with the spirit of a Newman. And we can see some of this in the spirit and reality of the Anglicanorum Coetibus, from Benedict/Ratzinger! I hope for the real sake of the cause of Christ that the Ordinariates will again be some kind of channel and place of change and evangelical renewal in the RCC! I am not sure this happen? But as far as I can see this is really the last hope for the RCC, in any real ecumenical sense! And this will even affect the place of Rome and the EO! If there is not a real change in these places, the RCC will in some real sense, die spiritually, and continue to move toward the Text of 2 Timothy 3: 5… “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” And btw, this goes for many in the whole visible Church, Orthodox and Protestant and so-called Evangelical! Until we realize that the whole Church historical is under siege, and that antichrists and then finally THE Antichrist is coming! We will either be part of the renewal or the loss and apostasy. And btw, it is here that the ministry and work of the “Adversus Haereses” of Irenaeus surely points!

      3. 1. “The whole point and reality is that this position is actually quite a myth now!”
        That’s your assertion and belief. For others, the visible Church established by Christ will never be a myth. For me, a view that by following some exegetical rules one will always come to the reformed interpretation of the Scripture is a complete myth.
        2. “Vatican II has simply changed all that!”
        Another assertion. Actually, no one has managed to prove that any Vatican II documents have introduced any dogmatic changes.
        3. “When good thinking people see the papacy of a Benedict/Ratzinger to a now Jesuit Francis, they can surely see that there is really no absolute consensus even in the RCC!”
        No, what they see is a major difference in style and a shift in pastoral focus, and no/zero/null change (i.e. full continuation) in doctrinal matters.
        4. Thanks for invitation to your blog, but if you long for sound theological discussions, especially with people who have thorough knowledge of the reformed/Presbyterian doctrine, let me recommend to you once again the “Reformation meets Rome / Called to Communion” site. I think the level of the Catholic/Protestant debate there is unmatched across the Internet.

      4. @CC: Yes, I have seen this site of # 4 I believe? (Have you ever heard Perry Robinson, an EO?) Indeed interesting, would that I was younger, and had more time! Note, I am now for the most part retired, and do daily hospital chaplain work (which I actually love btw). Though I am always the “theolog”! 😉

        But indeed to deny the great loss of the RCC since Vatican II, would be undeniable in this time of both modernity and postmodernity (and the mess of the Roman priesthood and sexual scandal), at least to my mind! If I were to move towards any High Church position, it would be as I have expressed in the past, to Orthodoxy (the EO), but surely more in the west, the Brit’s or even the Americans (Antiochian Orthodox). But, I am still a convinced “neo-Calvinist”, though certainly classic Anglican therein! Note, as to Christology and the Trinity of God, I have for the most part been close to Orthodox for years!

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