If you think President Obama is catching flak for wanting to admit Syrian refugees into America, you should see the flak Pope Francis is catching for suggesting that Lutherans can be admitted to Catholic communion.
Say what you will about the spiritual wanderings of Methodist-turned agnostic libertine-turned Roman Catholic-turned Eastern Orthodox Catholic Rod Dreher: the man has never stooped to becoming Lutheran, for God’s sake! Which may be why he is so appalled (yet again) at Pope Francis, who has “cracked the door” to allowing Lutherans and other Protestants (i.e. heretics) to receive the Eucharist (i.e. Body and Blood of Christ aka little wine and little cracker):
“Yesterday, the Pope — the Pope! — told a Lutheran woman to “come forward” because “life is bigger than explanations and interpretations.” 1
How in the world could this have come to pass? What fiendish trap was laid for Pope Francis, into which the well-meaning but hopelessly naïve (or perhaps diabolically cunning) pontiff fell?
[Responding to a question] posed by a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic man, about when she and her husband can expect to receive holy communion together (it is forbidden in the Catholic Church for non-Catholics — Orthodox Christians excepted under certain conditions — to receive communion), the pope said “Talk to the Lord and then go forward”; or, in Dreher’s incredulous paraphrase, “Let your conscience be your guide. Who is the Pope to judge?”
Really, now—what sort of pope tells people to consult their consciences? What sort of pope doesn’t know that “Talk to the Lord” really means “Hey, do whatever you feel like doing,” because real Christians don’t talk to the Lord directly, they go through authorized channels? Come to think of it, what sort of pope even talks to Lutherans in the first place?
Dreher quotes from the Catechism—that refuge of converts and ex-Catholics—to put Francis in his place; having done so to his own satisfaction, he triumphantly concludes:
“[It’s] hard to avoid the conclusion that Pope Francis just effectively rewrote the Catechism, and destroyed a Eucharistic discipline that has existed since the Reformation. Did you ever think you would live to see this? The Pope is refuting the magisterial teaching of his own Church, and not on a small matter either.” 2
The Catholic communion rail is being overrun of late by a disreputable lot: openly gay lovers (i.e. sodomites), divorced and re-married Catholics (i.e. adulterers), and now Lutherans (i.e. Lutherans!). It’s enough to make a God-fearing Christian want to keep his distance, lest he be contaminated by all that sin, all that heresy: all that, I don’t know, inclusiveness.
I have a friend whose father left the Catholic Church back in the late 1960’s; when my friend asked his father why he left, his father answered, “All that peace and love crap ruined everything…” Thank the merciful God, that man did not live to see the papacy of Pope Francis the Apostate; but he’s no doubt rolling over in his grave right now, grumbling something about damn Lutherans!
1 The emphasis on Lutheran is Mr. Dreher’s, as is the exclamatory! disbelief.
2 Thus sayeth Rod Dreher, the man who left the Church and its “magisterial teaching” because it didn’t meet his personal moral standards.