Evidence that the Pope Skips Confession
If you haven’t been hearing about the child and teenage sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, it is about time that you know about it. It has come to light that the Roman Catholic Church has been suppressing information, in some cases by vows of silence, about sexual abuse in their celibate priesthood. In one such case, the offending priest continued to abuse children for 18 years after being caught. Unbelievable. Although there have been cases that go back to 1975, probably with many before that, the Pope has been reluctant to even speak about the sex abuse problems for fear of them being perceived as a connected scandal rather than isolated incidents associated with individual priests.
Finally, the current Pope, Benedict XVI, has issued an apology about the Irish child sex-abuse scandal.
Read the Pope’s letter, and see if you agree with the top ten reasons Pope Benedict XVI’s apology is worthless.
10. It is not an apology
The Pope admits to shame and guilt but never actually says what his personal involvement was or why it was a scandal. A victim of the abuse, Paddy Doyle, rightly called it, “same old dribble that’s been coming out for years.” An apology is hardly an apology if the offending party won’t even state in clear terms the crime he is personally responsible for, which brings us to the next point.
9. He is sympathetic rather than repentant
The whole letter has an attitude that says, “I feel your pain,” rather than, “I am sorry for the pain that I am responsible for.”
8. He doesn’t disclose action he will take
He lists a bunch of problems that need to be addressed, but does not mention how they will be addressed. On top of that, he doesn’t even mention if the priests will be excommunicated, or even defrocked. Considering that some of the priests involved in the sexual abuse had already been subjected to their peers for some form of restoration, this is a very empty way to regain the trust of abuse victims.
7. He asks other people to fix his problem
Beyond the fact that he doesn’t propose concrete solutions that he will take besides merely visiting the dioceses in Ireland, he does give the worlds’ Roman Catholics some tasks like fasting and works of mercy during Lent in order to, essentially, buy the grace needed for the restoration of the [Roman] Church in Ireland. Wait, I thought this was an apology letter, not a letter to get the faithful to try to fix a church under your oversight. It reminds me of the words of Jesus.
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others.”
Besides all of this, his solutions are entirely sacramental. More on that later.
6. He blames it on secular society
One of the more ridiculous and outright offensive parts of this letter is when he blames the fall of the dioceses on secular culture, when there is no organization in secular culture that comes close to the scope of the abuses of the Roman priests, especially considering how systematic they were. Besides this, it is utterly hypocritical that the Roman Church would portray themselves as holy and holding the keys to dispense grace, but yet when such rampant, sickening, widespread, and secretive sin comes to light they would blame the secular culture. If they truly held the keys to grace, you would think that they could at least get enough grace to not abuse children and teenagers.
5. He is hypocritical about who can receive the sacraments
Speaking of hypocrisy, the Pope scolds the offending priests briefly, but then proceeds to offer them sacraments by which they can (supposedly) atone for their sins, yet the excommunicated can not even receive the sacraments. A few generations ago, you could get excommunicated for divorce, but now when priests abuse children they are not even defrocked.
4. He treats the scandal as if it were an isolated event
The Pope doesn’t address why this is happening everywhere, not just in Ireland. There have been over 400 legal cases in the United States alone, and over 2000 cases of child abuse in the Dublin diocese alone, which have been intentionally covered up by the church, according to a reading of the Murphy Report.
3. He says nothing about celibacy
The elephant in the room that none of the clergy including the Pope want to talk about is celibacy. Celibacy in Roman Catholic priesthood, did not become a requirement until 1123 AD. That’s right, there are more years of history in which celibacy was not a requirement than when it was one. Furthermore, mandatory celibacy is repeatedly denied in the Bible. In their justification, the clergy quote Matthew 19, which is not talking about clergy, yet they must ignore 1 Timothy 3 that mentions the behavior of the wives in the qualifications for the clergy. Later in the letter, Paul says something even more startling. Excuse my [interruptions].
1 Timothy 4
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times [1123AD?] some [context: clergy] will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons [harsh, Paul], through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage [forbid what?] and require abstinence from foods [meat during Lent?] that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Finally, the apostle Peter and other apostles had a wife.
1 Corinthians 9:5
Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
It is truly ironic that the man who claims his authority based on Peter (known as Cephas in other places of the Bible), would insist on a doctrine that Peter himself would have broken.
2. He is not the head of the universal Church
The Pope may claim to be the pastor of the universal church but he is not. The word “catholic” means universal (hence it is recited in the Apostles’ Creed by non-Catholics), but there is a funny thing about names. Baptists aren’t the only ones who baptize, Presbyterians aren’t the only ones with elders, Episcopalians aren’t the only ones with bishops, Pentecostals aren’t the only ones with the Holy Spirit, the Church of England is not the only church in England or limited to England, and the Eastern Orthodox church is not the only orthodox church. So the Catholic church is not the universal Church merely because it thinks so. Secondly, Jesus is the pastor of the universal Church, not Peter, nor Benedict XVI, nor any other man who has ever walked the planet.
1. He promotes a different gospel
When viewed in light of sacramentalism, the best thing the Roman Church could do for you is excommunication. Sacramentalism is the false belief that your sins are only forgiven when the grace required is merited through works or sacraments. In other words, the Roman Church and the foolish Pope Benedict XVI add works to salvation in order that you may atone for yourself. The scriptural basis against this claim is overwhelming, so endure with me while I overwhelm you.
Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Galatians 2:15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Galatians 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
John 6:28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
Ephesians 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Genesis 15:6 And [Abraham] believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
The reason these priests are not bearing fruit in keeping with repentance is because they do not believe the true gospel and are insisting on works-righteousness. The Pope’s gospel is quite different.
“I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland.”
Grace that is earned by fasting, prayer, reading scripture, and works is simply not grace. Webster’s dictionary has a better theology of grace than the Pope when it defines grace as, “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.”
The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 1,
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Paul literally invokes the anathema on anyone who would preach a contrary gospel regardless of his or her status, placing it above not only his apostleship (apostleship being the basis to the authority the Pope claims to have), but beyond even the declarations of heavenly angels. If you get the gospel wrong, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Pope or Protestant, an Archbishop or an Atheist, a Catholic Monk or a Buddhist Monk, if anyone should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you let him be accursed.
The tragic fact about this apology letter is that it reinforces the false gospel of the Pope, and places people on a road to atone for their own sins and to sanctify themselves. It is no wonder that the Roman Catholic Church can’t rid itself of pedophilia when Jesus’ death on the cross for their sins hinges on works rather than God’s grace.
If you are in a church, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, or otherwise, and you are hearing a false gospel, leave that church immediately and find a different one. Let the leaders declare any powerless curses that they desire on you and know that Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins is free and for you and received by grace through faith alone.