Questionable quotes – Pope John Paul II

Have no fear when people call me the “Vicar of Christ,” when they say to me “Holy Father,” or “Your Holiness,” or use titles similar to these, which seem even inimical to the Gospel. Christ himself declared: “Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah” (Mt 23:9-10). These expressions, nevertheless, have evolved out of a long tradition, becoming part of common usage. One must not be afraid of these words either. 

Pope John Paul II from “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” p. 6

“Call no man your father…”

Tom, excatholic4christ

Sorry but, yes,  I truly am afraid to do this, as all Christians should be. We should be afraid to disobey the Lord. For in addition to not wanting to grieve Him, we know with certainty that we will stand before Him one day. 

Hebrews 12:28-29

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Serving God acceptably means acknowledging only One Holy Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


John Huss, the early reformers, and how the Church of Rome sees them, Part 2


Bethlehem chapel (Prague ), Reproduction of a painting showing the execution of Jan Hus, Wolfgang Sauber, 10 June 2010, Wikimedia CommonsIn 1414, Anti-Pope John XXIII – yes, there have actually been anti-popes – called a council at Constance in southwest Germany. One of its goals was to destroy the influence of Wycliffe and Huss towards reform. Huss was summoned to appear there, and under Emperor Sigismund’s promise of safe-conduct he went in good faith. There, he was imprisoned, condemned, and handed over to the secular authorities, who executed him at the stake on July 6, 1415.

He did have a chance to speak, though he was derided and shouted down. His sharp public rebukes of the Catholic clergy must have been unforgivable. He defended his faith and refused to recant of those things which had been falsely attributed to him. From all I can gather, he still believed that the Church of Rome could be reformed. However he also believed that the Scriptures are our final authority, and he had trusted in Jesus Christ as His sole Mediator. 

According to S. Harrison Thomson, in Czechoslovakia in European History, the reasons for which Huss was pronounced a heretic and executed were:

  1. For holding Wycliffe’s teaching on Transubstantiation (Huss rejected Wycliffe’s teaching on this).
  2. Huss’s own teaching on the church which to quote Thomson was this: “He] regarded the church as the congregation of all the faithful, whose only real head is Christ.” (p. 83)

Jerome of Prague, who had joined Huss at Constance to be of help to him, was also executed.

The Council of Constance was an Ecumenical Council (a general council), and according to New Advent Catholic encyclopedia, “General councils represent the universal Church and demand absolute obedience.” Though called by an Anti-Pope, the proceedings were ratified by Pope Martin V, who is considered legitimate. Now, when a Pope and council agree, it is final. So, remember this when you hear Francis encouraging Christian unity, or speaking of Huss as a reformer. For the Council of Constance declared Huss a heretic and consigned him to death. 

So was Huss a reformer or heretic? God has set His seal to this: He knows those that are His. 

This past July of 2015, Huss’s death was remembered in Rome by a Liturgy of Reconciliation at which Francis spoke. Here is a translation of his words:

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave Monday when he received in audience a Delegation of the Czech Republic, on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of Jan Hus’ death.

* * *

Dear Friends,

I welcome you, distinguished representatives of the Hussite Czechoslovak Church and of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, who are in Rome to celebrate, at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, a Liturgy of Reconciliation on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the Reformer Jan Hus. I give a cordial greeting to Cardinal Miloslav Vlk.

This meeting gives us the opportunity to renew and deepen the relations between our communities. In obedience to the will of the Lord Jesus, who on the eve of his Passion and Death prayed to the Father for the unity of his disciples (cf. John 17:21), we have the duty to promote increasing mutual knowledge and active collaboration. Many disputes of the past call to be revisited in the light of the new context in which we live, and agreements and convergences will be reached if we address the traditional conflictive questions with a new look. Above all, we cannot forget that our shared profession of faith in God the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, in which we were baptized, already unites us in bonds of genuine fraternity.

Six centuries have passed since the day that the renowned preacher and Rector of the University of Prague, Jan Hus, died tragically. Already in 1999, Saint John Paul II, intervening in an International Symposium dedicated to this memorable figure, expressed his “profound regret for the cruel death inflicted [on him],” and he numbered him among the Reformers of the Church. In the light of this approach, the study must continue on the person and activity of Jan Hus, who for a long time was the subject of contention among Christians, while today he has become a reason for dialogue. This research, carried out without conditioning of an ideological type, will be an important service to the historical truth, to all Christians and to the whole society, also beyond the boundaries of your Nation.

Vatican Council II stated: “the renewal of the Church,” which “consists essentially in enhanced fidelity to her vocation … Hence, this renewal has a singular ecumenical importance” (Unitatis redintegratio, 6). Today, in particular, the need for a New Evangelization of so many men and women that seem indifferent to the joyful news of the Gospel, renders urgent the duty of renewal of every ecclesial structure, in order to foster the positive answer of all those to whom Jesus offers his friendship (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium,27). And the visible communion among Christians will surely render the proclamation more credible.

Responding to Christ’s call to continuous conversion, of which we are all in need, we can progress together on the path of reconciliation and peace. Along this path we learn, by the grace of God, to recognize one another as friends and to consider others’ motivations in the best possible light. In this connection, I hope the bond of friendship will be developed also at the level of the local and parish communities.

With these sentiments, I unite myself spiritually to the Penitential Liturgy that you will celebrate here at Rome. May God, rich in mercy, grant us the grace to acknowledge ourselves all sinners and to be able to forgive one another; I assure you of my prayer and I ask all of you, please, to pray for me and for my ministry. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian]

Francis’ statements, either when speaking of Huss or the Waldenses, seem to be attempting to share mutual guilt. That is, since all are sinners, Huss sinned too. After all, as other Catholics maintain – and to some he is a villain, Huss’s preaching led directly to the Hussite Wars. The problem with Rome’s approach is plain. It is a subtle reproach not a plea for forgiveness. And, Huss didn’t preach war but Christ and reform of the church in the nation he loved.

Francis called Huss’s death “tragic”. And as he noted, he isn’t the first pope to speak of Huss’s death in this way. John Paul II called it “cruel” and, like Francis, sought to promote dialogue for the purpose of unity through the opportunity afforded by studying Huss. John Paul II said the following at an International Symposium on the Czech Reformer,

“A figure like John Hus, who was a major point of contention in the past, can now become a subject of dialogue, discussion and common study” in the hope that decisive steps can “be made on the path of reconciliation and true unity in Christ…” (Vatican Radio, 2/5/2015)

These things aren’t honest. Please pray for Catholics and apostate Protestants to “come out of her My People!”


a tribute

By grace he was led on to know the Lord,

a diligent servant opening God’s Book

to fulfill his work of preaching,

he found Heaven’s light shining

in the face of Jesus Christ.


Looking around he saw corruption,

Looking afar he saw – on an island in the sea –

another man treading out the corn,

humble oxen both, doing the heavy work.


Looking out he saw, beyond the bars

of his sudden prison, men gathering wood,

servants hauling, pennants flying.


His paper hat with devils scribbled 

was probably the first thing to burn,

its black ash falling as sparks ascended.



~ click to enlarge ~

Jerome of Prague - Foxe


Burning of Jan Hus (John Huss) at the stake at Council of Constance in 1415, Wikimedia, Public Domain



600 Years Later: Rome’s Revisionist Re-Working of John Huss’ Martyrdom


Apologizing for mass murder


Pope Francis shakes hands with Eugenio Bernardini, the Moderator of the Waldensian Church, during the first ever visit of a pope to the Waldensian evangelical church, in Turin, northern Italy, Monday, June 22, 2015. (L’ Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP) | ASSOCIATED PRESS


(Disclaimer: only a glimpse of the history of relations between the papacy and Waldensian Christians can be gleaned from these excerpts. Sitting popes came against them over a very long period of time. See J.A. Wylie’s History of the Waldenses, available in several formats.)


A recent Papal apology

Pope Francis Asks Forgiveness For Catholic Church’s Persecution Of Waldensians

This HUFF POST RELIGION article by Philip Pullella (REUTERS) majors on Francis’ personality and the probable motive behind this apology – the push for “Christian” unity.

“Pope Francis asked forgiveness on Monday for the Roman Catholic Church’s ‘non-Christian and inhumane’ treatment in the past of the Waldensians, a tiny Protestant movement the Vatican tried to exterminate in the 15th century.

“Francis made his plea during the first ever visit by a pope to a Waldensian temple on the second day of a trip to Italy’s northern Piedmont region, the centre of the Waldensian Church, which has only about 30,000 followers worldwide.

“While the movement is miniscule compared to the 1.2 billion member Roman Catholic Church, the gesture is part of Francis’ drive to promote Christian unity and it has taken on added significance ahead of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017.

“‘On behalf of the Catholic Church, I ask forgiveness for the un-Christian and even inhumane positions and actions taken against you historically,’ he said. ‘In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us!’

“The Waldensians, who now live mostly in Italy and Latin America, were founded by Peter Waldo in France in the late 12th century. He gave up his wealth and preached poverty but as the movement grew it came into increasing theological conflict with the papacy.

“The movement, an early precursor of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, was branded as heretical and in 1487 Pope Innocent VIII ordered its extermination.”


Waldensian motto “Light Shines In Darkness”


How faithful Waldensians view his apology

Pope meets the Waldensian Church

On July 3, 2015, the website of the group of Christians named “Sentieri Antichi Valdesi” (“Old Waldensian Paths”) published an analysis of the Pope’s apology and his reception in a Waldensian temple. 

“We believe that ‘hugs’ and forgiveness in this context, has little meaning. This is because the Catholicism represented by the current pope and the version of faith represented by the current ‘Waldensian’ moderator has very little to do with the actual Catholics and Waldensians who were in conflict. They may consider themselves their successors, and true ‘representatives’ but, in our view, they are not. Instead, they are an ‘evolution’, not necessarily for the best.

“Pope Bergoglio is a typical representative, in his own way, of post-modernist relativism. The lips which kiss the Waldensian Bible belong to the same pope who kisses statues of the Madonna and honour John Bosco, a staunch opponent of the Waldensians. These lips also pray in mosques and Buddhist temples. The pope seems to ‘value’ without discernment each form of religiosity, pretending to keep them all together, in the name of an unspecified spirituality. Undoubtedly, to the ‘ecumenical’ modern relativist this is pleasing. It avoids the question of truth arising. Everything is resolved in a sentimental ‘love’ without discernment.

“All this certainly has its own logic, but is it something we want to subscribe to? The same applies to the modern ‘Waldensians’. While the Waldensian Church is formally the same institution as it was, modern Waldensians, despite their claims, have little in common with their historic predecessors who drafted their confession of faith and joined the Reformation in Geneva. Although formally subscribing to this, the modern Waldensians leaders continually contradict it or believe they have ‘moved on’ from it. They are not children of the the Reformation, but children of Enlightenment rationalism and higher biblical criticism, which sought to undermine the authority of the Bible (so that it would not longer be considered the Word of God). They have sold out to the myth of ‘progress’. They are enthusiastic supporters of any ideology that is fashionable. Undoubtedly, they speak about ‘love’, but it is love without discernment or defined in a very questionable way. Above all, this love is devoid of the moral criteria established by God in His law, which is relativised.

“What, then, do we think of this meeting of the pope and the modern Waldensians? We consider it essentially mystifying, a ‘reconciliation’ acted out ​​by people and institutions with which, as Christians, we do not identify with and which do not represent us.”


An older Papal apology

Pope Asks Forgiveness for Errors Of the Church Over 2,000 Years

The New York Times article by Alessandra Stanley (2000) shows the complexity of formal apologies for past sins in the thinking of the Catholic hierarchy; reveals the probable motivation for them; highlights crimes against the Jewish people; and, reveals the RCC’s belief that there is a need for mutual forgiveness. I believe that leveling a reproach in the context of any apology undercuts the value of the apology. 

“The public act of repentance, solemnly woven into the liturgy of Sunday Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica, was an unprecedented moment in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, one that the ailing 79-year-old pope pushed forward over the doubts of even many of his own cardinals and bishops. He has said repeatedly that the new evangelization he is calling for in the third millennium can take place only after what he has described as a church-wide ‘purification of memory.'”

“The pope, broadening a process of reconciliation that began in the 1960’s during the Second Vatican Council, has issued apologies before, notably regretting in a 1998 document the failure of many Catholics to help Jews during the Holocaust. [At the time,] That document, ‘We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah,’ disappointed many leading Jewish groups, which complained that the pope did not go far enough in apologizing for the silence of church leaders, including the wartime pope, Pius XII.”

“The pope also mentioned the persecution of Catholics by other faiths. ‘As we ask forgiveness for our sins, we also forgive the sins committed by others against us,’ he said.”


The Official view 


Except for these excerpts, I didn’t read this document. The topic was studied, and the document written, at the direction of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.


The study of the topic “The Church and the Faults of the Past” was proposed to the International Theological Commission by its President, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in view of the celebration of the Jubilee Year 2000. A sub-commission was established to prepare this study; it was composed of Rev. Christopher BEGG, Msgr. Bruno FORTE (President), Rev. Sebastian KAROTEMPREL, S.D.B., Msgr. Roland MINNERATH, Rev. Thomas NORRIS, Rev. Rafael SALAZAR CARDENAS, M.Sp.S., and Msgr. Anton STRUKELJ. The general discussion of this theme took place in numerous meetings of the sub-commission and during the plenary sessions of the International Theological Commission held in Rome from 1998 to 1999. The present text was approved in forma specifica by the International Theological Commission, by written vote, and was then submitted to the President, Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who gave his approval for its publication.


At the conclusion of this reflection, it is appropriate to stress yet again that in every form of repentance for the wrongs of the past, and in each specific gesture connected with it, the Church addresses herself in the first place to God and seeks to give glory to him and to his mercy. Precisely in this way she is able to celebrate the dignity of the human person called to the fullness of life in faithful covenant with the living God: “The glory of God is man fully alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.” By such actions, the Church also gives witness to her trust in the power of the truth that makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). Her “request for pardon must not be understood as an expression of false humility or as a denial of her 2,000-year history, which is certainly rich in merit in the areas of charity, culture, and holiness. Instead she responds to a necessary requirement of the truth, which, in addition to the positive aspects, recognizes the human limitations and weaknesses of the various generations of Christ’s disciples.” Recognition of the Truth is a source of reconciliation and peace because, as the Holy Father also states, “Love of the truth, sought with humility, is one of the great values capable of reuniting the men of today through the various cultures.” Because of her responsibility to Truth, the Church “cannot cross the threshold of the new millennium without encouraging her children to purify themselves, through repentance, of past errors and instances of infidelity, inconsistency and slowness to act. Acknowledging the weaknesses of the past is an act of honesty and courage…” It opens a new tomorrow for everyone.