Pope Francis said religious proselytism is a “poison” during a meeting with Lutherans in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. His remarks came ahead of his visit to Lund, Sweden where he and Lutheran leaders will commemorate the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation as well as 50 years of official ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans.
The pope expressed gratitude for the ecumenical pilgrimage that started with the Reformation church in Germany and ended in Rome. He said baptism (not truth), is the unifying basis for dialogue between the two Christian professions.
The Vatican had placed a decorated statue of Martin Luther on display in the Vatican audience hall. Luther would, no doubt, be shocked and very unhappy with his spiritual descendents who have given up so much of what he and his fellow reformers fought and died for.
Ecumenism destroys love of truth in the service of finding common ground. In the course of the audience the pope said, “It is not licit that you convince them of your faith; proselytism is the strongest poison against the ecumenical path.”
In other words, it is inappropriate to try to bring others to an understanding of one’s own faith. It works against the ecumenical work of the Catholic Church. Rome teaches that she is the authority over what is truth, and she insists that she must be the only voice that teaches truth.
The pope added “you can tell the ‘why’ (of your faith) with much thoughtfulness. But without wanting to convince.”
But the Christian is to do the exact opposite. We are to find lost souls and show them the way of salvation.
The pope’s remarks echoed his previous strong words that condemn those who spread the truth. If the pope believes that winning a soul from a false opinion to an understanding of truth is poison, how does he think Christians should spread the gospel?
The pope previously said that it is a “very grave sin” for Catholics to try to convert Orthodox.
Had it not been for Luther, we would be in a mostly Catholic world. Luther did everything he could to get people to see the errors of Catholicism. In such a world, ecumenism would not be necessary. Imagine telling people that they cannot win souls to Christ and convince them, by God’s grace that they should change and adopt the principles of truth in their lives.
Speaking of the Holy Spirit, the pope said, “It is the Holy Spirit that works in the heart. He does what needs to be done: but He needs to speak, not you.”
That suggests that we cannot cooperate with the Holy Spirit in reaching souls, a false doctrine. But that’s not all. The pope is laying the foundation for non-Catholic churches to cease their witnessing and the presentation of truth as they understand it, so that there will be no voice against the Catholic Church.
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast: And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” Revelation 13: 3, 4.
Rome is coming after all evangelists, Bible workers, individual and others who try to win souls away from the Catholic Church (and other churches, for that matter).