Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Pastor's School Report-Catholicism update
This week I am at Beeson Divinity School's Pastors School at Samford University in Birmingham, AL.
My family and I have been coming to it for the past 9 years. It has been a source of mental rest for me and at times spiritual encouragement. Over the past 3-5 years I have noticed a strong tendency toward the ecumenical movement. It has bothered me because when this movement is pushed something else ALWAYS follows...compromise. For all groups to get along you have to bring in all sorts of things and teachings and throw out other things to make room for the ecumenical party favors.
When I arrived here Monday I noticed that the Dean of Beeson, Timothy George (who is Mr. Ecumenical in theology circles), was teaching a class with Franciscan Brother-Father-Friar Francis Russo from Washington DC. The name of the class was "Saint Francis of Assisi-A Saint for all of us." I thought to myself "I've got to go and hear this."
I have never thought that an ascetic lifestyle equated salvation but I guess to some it does.
Anyway, my son and I attended and it was ridiculous. Timothy George's explanation of Francis of Assisi's salvation was "he looked around and was burdened for the homeless derelicts on the street and decided to become one himself."
Francis Russo stood up in his Franciscan garb and told us how he had taken the vows of:
I was wondering if he wanted us to clap or something. I never heard about his conversion though. Interesting
He then stood near a framed painted picture of Jesus on a cross and told us about how Francis of Assisi loved the gospel. Over and over I heard that phrase with not one crumb of an example of such.
Then the Q&A came. Amazingly, I restrained myself. Finally, one fellow in the front row said how he was worried that the "dialogue" between Catholics and Baptists is starting to fade because of Joseph Ratzinger's (the pope) comments last month and how worried he is that some Baptists are withdrawing fellowship from the "dialogue." I wanted to throw some cheese up there to him and play "Time to say goodbye" on my air violin.
Russo along with George said that what Ratzinger (the pope) said was nothing new and they had always felt that way. I wanted shout "AMEN, AMEN and AMEN." The problem came when no one had a problem with that answer.
I will post later with more of the sordid details from this class.