Tag Archives: Roman Catholic Church

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Muddy Mercy

Things just got a whole lot messier for the Church. Archbishop Carlo Mario Vigano—the papal ambassador to the US from 2011-2016–alleges that he made Pope Francis aware of Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual abuses in 2013; further, Vigano claims that the Pope failed to discipline McCarrick until five years later (he was forced to resign in June) in part due to their strong political alliance: McCarrick advocated for Francis’ election to the papacy and the pope relied upon him significantly to oversee the American Church. If these allegations are true, Pope Francis should step down immediately. This could be the defining moment for a Church that repents in action.

There’s much I love about Pope Francis, especially his action toward the poor and displaced. But his unclear pastoral directives toward persons facing same-sex attraction have always unsettled me. I perceive him as a man who has been evangelized by winsome practicing homosexuals and won over. His legacy to ‘not judge’ persons with same-sex attraction paired with his counsel ‘to accompany’ them on their journey appears to be to a road going nowhere. Mercy without truth ceases to be mercy at all; it merely confirms people in their fractured, fruitless lives. And it leads to tolerating absolutely vile and inexcusable behavior in leaders. Francis judged McCarrick way too late.

Vigano’s report broke the morning I preached to a beautiful congregation in the San Fernando Valley. Given how the Church of Los Angeles lives in the face of the LBGT+ dragon, I emphasized the Cross: Jesus’ self-giving which commands repentance of any sexual expression that raises itself above His Lordship. Mercy flowed as many came forward to weep before the Crucified, including Kim, a 13-year-old girl wrestling with same-sex attraction who wondered whether or not she was a ‘lesbian.’ We prayed for her as with all others, confident of Jesus’ capacity to reconcile her to His best for her.

That church is a clear and cohesive witness of how mercy and truth meet. In contrast, my Roman Catholic Church is a house divided, if Vigano’s letter has any merit. He points out how homosexuality figures large into the current scandal, as most cases of clerical abuse involve male teens, not tots. Vigano also describes how Pope Francis with McCarrick’s help appointed American bishops with a ‘gay-leaning’ sensibility.

All this in a Church that has at its center a robust, life-giving vision of human sexuality: St. John Paul ll’s ‘Theology of the Body’ and the extraordinary role that Pope played in the Catechism in which he defines chastity as integration—reconciliation to our bodies, our genders, and our freedom when surrendered to Christ to offer ourselves purely and well to one another.

Where chastity is mocked by divided churchmen who lead the sheep in darkness, we must reclaim this dynamic vision of human sexuality and seek to live it with all His strength. We can assume responsibility and act upon what our gracious God has taught us, in spite of dodgy shepherds.

As for the shepherds, may Jesus Himself raise His sword over all priests, bishops, cardinals and popes who desecrate God’s children through abuse, its cover-up, and the promotion of pagan LGBT+ liberties that enslave little ones. I am praying for many to submit to Christ and to resign in the wake of this recent shakedown, including Cardinal Wuerl who allegedly knew of McCarrick’s wickedness for years and did nothing.

Unfaithful shepherds have brought us low. They must go. For too long shepherds have waved the rainbow flag over the sheep rather than teaching them to raise the Cross—Christ Crucified and lifted high–as the only means through which we can be reconciled to God’s good will for our sexuality.

Kim deserves better. I shudder to think of her in the hands of a McCarrick or even the confusing counsel of Pope Francis. She needs pure mercy, free from the muddy waters flowing from the Vatican. So do all the Catholic faithful whose trust has been undermined by secrets and LGBT+ lies.

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On this Sure Foundation, a Fountain

Report on Family Synod

Last month I addressed a group of Catholic leaders in Rome on the transforming power of Jesus’ love, through His Church, for persons with same-sex attraction. That was on the eve of the Family Synod, a group of 270 bishops from around the world who deliberated for three weeks on a host of family issues with an eye toward pastoral care. I’ve only read excerpts of their final report so I offer you this limited reflection.

Drawing upon Scripture and Church tradition, this concise report will be a helpful document for the Church as she rises up to fulfill a range of responsibilities for the families of the world. No small world, no easy tasks. I am grateful for the clout wielded by bishops from Asia (our beloved Filipinos), South America (blessed Cordoba), and namely Africa, whose Cardinal Sarah opened our one-day event in Rome and whose leadership there mobilized many bishops to refuse the liberalizing tendency of some western bishops. The poor cannot afford to wage ‘gay marriage’ wars or worry about gender reassignment costs; they bring us back to first things–helping a man and woman make it work it for the kids they create.

Alleluia. I joined the Roman Catholic Church because she remains the sole, coherent global institution that upholds the beauty of man and woman as God’s image on earth, and marriage as earth’s immovable foundation that must be restored and strengthened for the good of everyone on the planet.

On that basis, the synod report offered only one paragraph (#76) on persons with same-sex attraction. While reiterating the fundamental principle of respect for persons bearing that burden, with special sensitivity to the needs of family surrounding the struggler, the report stated that ‘there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.’ The Church is the Rock. She is immovable in her anthropology and commitment to real marriage.

But her foundations require a fountain, an evident gusher of mercy for persons ravaged by the idolatries of our day. Will we as the Church be Jesus for the Samaritans around us who will keep drinking from polluted wells until we make ‘living water’ real to them? Our truth is sure. Let mercy arise for the lost and least.

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November 18, 2014: Summoning the Saints

‘Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did…”’

A young Christian and university student, I was also fresh out of the ‘gay’ scene and grateful to Jesus and His friends for giving me an alternative. My pastors knew many young people like me. ‘Please help others,’ they implored Annette and me, while mentoring us in how to best share our stories and gather seekers for mutual support. My pastors took a risk by releasing us to serve the church. We in turn had to leave our ‘water jars’ and give ourselves away so that others might discover the riches of Jesus in His body.

That was the DNA of my young church: rousing one another to build the Bride. And who better to do so than young ones so grateful to Jesus that they want to offer themselves to His members? He honors these efforts; Jesus certainly magnified our little offering! As men and women received healing in our small groups, we invested in them and they became healers in their own right. God increased their healing as they offered themselves to others.

Because we did everything as a group, no one person had to bear the weight of another’s brokenness. Jesus did, through His Spirit, by releasing a variety of gifts. As wounded healer, we actually created a healing community; we encouraged one another through ongoing training and cyclical opportunities to lead healing groups together. In so doing, we increased our involvement in the life of the greater church. We fulfilled an aspect of St. Paul’s exhortation ‘to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up…’ (Eph. 4:12)

We continue to train lay persons to run these groups. ‘Living Waters’ now flow throughout the world, in nearly every denomination. The local churches need such service for her sexually broken. And just as much, persons whose shame has been turned to glory need the dignity of becoming useful in the restoration of other lives. Without Jesus and His friends, these wounded healers would have been left eternally homeless. Now they help create a home for others in Christ’s body.

My new church home, the Roman Catholic Church, is a deep well of wisdom, authority and abiding love. She is also seriously challenged in releasing the saints to do the work of the ministry. Her strength–providing continuity of leadership—is also her weakness. It tends to create ‘religious professionals’ to which the laity remains childishly deferential. In order to meet the needs of broken people over the long haul, we need bishops and pastors who are open to new models of pastoral care and equipping/overseeing the saints to do such care. May she forsake a restraining (not dead) formalism in order to liberate her wounded healers.

‘It is through you, the laity, that the Church’s mission is fulfilled by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ St. John Paul ll

Please join us as we pray for:

  1. North & South Carolina, Dean Greer – Coordinator: For new regional leadership to be identified and raised-up, for existing groups and to see new groups  established. 
  2. Aguas Vivas: Evanston, Illinois, Kerrie – Spanish Coordinator: Grace, protection and anointing as Kerri attends the CrossCurrent group at the Vineyard and runs a small group for Spanish speakers.
  3. Restored Hope Network: CCR, Michael Newman, Houston, TX: Culture clashes and more connection with other ministries. Shadow of His Wings Ministry, Lee Preston, Garden Ridge, TX: Discernment for he and his wife to determine God’s path.

“Courage for Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BLOGS & PRAYER POINTS FOR NOV. 16, 17, 18, 19

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Retrieving the Family from Synod’s ‘Gay Follies’

How is it that a fraction of the population manages to steal the beauty of family? According to media reports, one would think that the Synod on Family was little more than a battle for ‘gay rights’ in the Roman Catholic Church. Issues surrounding ‘gay-identified’ persons seemed to prevail, even though in its final report the synod rescinded its previous controversial references to homosexuality. In the end, only 2 of 62 paragraphs pertain to ‘pastoral care of persons with a homosexual orientation.’

The rest of the document is a marvel of Catholic truths and concerns for the whole family: sweeping topics like ‘the exaggerated individualism that perverts family ties’ (5) and how only ‘full commitment to Christian marriage can be an antidote to such individualism’(9), ‘children as the real victims of family snags’ (8) and potential victims of ‘the marketing of the body through Internet porn’ (10), how ‘a crisis of faith has led to our current crisis of marriage and family’ (32) and how we need testimonies in our parishes of seasoned families (39) who exhibit ‘an openness to life’ (57) and ‘how the indissolubility of marriage is a gift, not a yoke.’ (14)

Through the document runs a river of mercy, and an appeal to come alongside of persons who have fallen short of God’s best in any of these ways (and more), that they may be turn back to Jesus and be embraced by His Church.

Then why have we reduced the synod to a ‘gay’ culture war? Nothing new under the sun. For the last 40 years now, congresses of every mainline Protestant denomination in the USA have been divided and disempowered by ‘gay rights’ concerns. Eventually, persons of common sense who realize that Jesus loves persons with SSA so much that He calls them to more than the ‘gay’ status quo get tired and relent to the drive of activists who insist on ‘gay’ everything.

Every denomination who has relented in that way has essentially lost the power of the Gospel to define sexual purity and order and to transform persons who are impure and disordered. Sounds like we have a common enemy who will do anything to distract us from what really matters, and to divide us on what does not.

We all agree that there are really wonderful people with same-sex attraction. And we are fools to give them ‘sacred status’ as if they did not have to repent like the rest of us and get on with the business of picking up their crosses and following Jesus. Chastity is a common good and Christian goal that applies to all persons.

Please pray with us at Desert Stream Ministries as we continue our 40-days of prayer for the Church at large. Pray that the enemy will be overcome as the Church centers on redeeming the family and not appeasing the ‘gay agenda.’ Pray that this Synod and its report will bear fruit as it is deliberated upon in preparation for the larger and more conclusive gathering on the family to be held in Philadelphia, October of 2015.

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Waking Up

How do you explain a nation that resolutely opposed ‘gay marriage’ at the polls (32X) then ushered it in boldly last Tuesday?

You could cite Obama’s slide as America’s; he started 4 years ago resolute in his ‘Christian’ commitment to marriage then unraveled. He became the first US president to champion ‘gay marriage’ last May. Did he lead America into ‘gay marriage’ or just reflect the superficial faith of many? Chicken or egg: discuss.

Last Tuesday, the Church laid an egg; she chickened out, big time. How else do you explain the stats that most avowed Roman Catholics in the USA now support ‘gay marriage’? Or the evangelical drivel that ‘we cannot legislate morality’? Are you kidding? Every act of legislation is a moral decision!

We so want a tolerant Jesus that we edit the truth that He is the Creator and Redeemer of all, which implicates our gender, our sexuality and what we do with our bodies. Supporting ‘gay marriage’ declares that we have no understanding of what it means to be human, made in His image. So we settle for a ‘feel good’ Jesus who does not mess with us. In truth, Jesus messes with us at the core of our affections and motives so that we don’t mess up others, including murdering the unborn.

Jesus indicts America’s cowardice with ‘gay marriage’ and a new host of pro-abortion leaders led by Obama himself.

It’s not too late. Last Tuesday sounded an alarm. Will ‘we wake up from the dead and let Christ shine on us?’ (Eph. 5:14)

I had a dream last night of a bright-eyed young pastor serving an ailing church in Boston. Due to the pastor’s disavowal of ‘gay marriage’, the church elders took away his keys. But he had a key, shaped like a cross. His ‘cross-key’ gave him free and ready access to the church that mere men could not stop. Many joined him, and a vibrant renewed church emerged from the dying one.

My friend and colleague Josh Glazer woke up. He led his Maryland-based ministry Regeneration to pray and fast with us over these last 40-days. He writes: ‘I’ve been humbled to have my own cowardice and compromise exposed–masked as compassion, busy-ness, humility, and the pursuit of being ‘relevant’. Also, I’ve become increasingly aware of something akin to a spirit of delusion over our land, blinding us to the true fruit of the unnatural desires we’ve been embracing.

The shining moment of this fast for me was when a spirit of fear was broken. The Lord showed me my cowardice and compromise as “holding to a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:4). For three days following, I reveled in Hebrews 11 — reading of my brothers and sisters in the faith who have gone before me, not clinging to this country nor the approval or pleasures therein, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:16).

As this fast concludes, whether marriage further upheld or further desecrated, I am convinced we must keep crying out for mercy and a spirit of repentance in His Church and throughout our land. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us!”

 

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