Pope Francis calls for an end to war, but…

Pope Francis (Source: presidencia.gov.ar)


Pope Francis spoke of peace and ending war today:

Stop the Wars, Pope Says in New Year Appeal

January 01, 2014

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis delivered an impassioned New Year’s peace address on Wednesday, saying the heart of humanity seemed to have gone astray and too many people were still indifferent to war, violence and injustice.

The pontiff, who took his papal name from St Francis of Assisi, the saint most associated with peace, urged the world to listen to the “cry for peace” from suffering peoples.

”What on Earth is happening in the hearts of men? What on Earth is happening in the heart of humanity?” he said to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square on the day the Roman Catholic Church celebrates its World Day of Peace.

“Time to stop”

”It’s time to stop!” he said, departing from his prepared text.  http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-stop-the-wars-pope-says-in-new-year-address/1821329.html

Pope Francis also made a plea for peace a week ago (see Pope Francis’ Christmas speech: Words of a lamb or a dragon?).

As I said then, and will say now, while on the surface some of this sounds like what a ‘lamb’ may say, could it be part of the speech of a dragon (Revelation 13:11)?

From the ‘lamb’ perspective, Jesus clearly taught that Christians should be peacemakers:

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Being a real peacemaker is actually good.

Many in the media seem enamored with Pope Francis and many seemed to love his speech today as well as the one last week.

Of course, true Christian leaders should be interested in peace, as the Apostle Paul wrote:

15…As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Yet, notice something else from the Apostle Paul:

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” (Romans 10:15-16)

16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known. (Romans 3:16-17)

Pope Francis talks of peace, but…Pope Francis does not understand nor teach the true gospel. Yet, the media tend to think that he does, as they also do not know the true gospel nor the way of peace.

Furthermore, it was after his church made various arrangements with the pagan Emperor Constantine (who worshiped the sun war god Mithras) that the majority in the Greco-Roman churches embraced war.

From that point forward, history records his church instigating, encouraging, and in various ways promoting war, including wars against true Christians and others (the Inquisition is one example) and the Muslims (the Crusades is an example here).

Notice the accounts from two historians:

The Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312 A.d.)…Constantine…the… cross. He had been led to adopt this emblem through the appearance, as once he prayed to the sun-god, of a cross over the setting sun, with the inscriptson upon it, In this sign conquer. Obedient unto the celestial vision, Constantine had at once made the cross his banner,a and it was beneath this new emblem that his soldiers marched to victory at the battle of the Milvian Bridge.

Whatever may have been the circumstances or the motives which led Constantine to make the cross his standard, this act of his constitutes a turning point in the history of the Christian Church. Christianity had come into the world as a religion of peace and good will. The Master had commanded his disciples to put up the sword. For two centuries and more, obedience to this command by a large body of his followers had been so implicit that a Quaker, nonmilitary spirit had throughout this period characterized the new sect . Some of the early Church Fathers taught that the profession of arms was incompatible with a true Christian life. But after the victory for the Cross at the Milvian Bridge a change passed over the Church. It leaned more and more upon earthly power, and became militant. This infusion into the Church of the military spirit of Rome was one of the most important consequences of the story of the miraculous cross in the sky, and of the espousal of the Christian cause by the emperor Constantine. (Van Ness Myers, Philip. Ancient History. Published by Ginn and company, 1916 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Sep 26, 2007, pp. 480-481).

{Constantine} described to them the figure of the sign he had seen, bidding them represent it in gold and precious stones…Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with gold, formed the figure of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones; and within this, the symbol of the Saviour’s name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of its initial characters, the letter P being intersected by X in its centre…

The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his armies (Eusebius. The Life of Constantine, Book 1, Chapter 31).

So, in other words, like the Quakers and the faithful of the Church of God, those who considered themselves Christians were opposed to military participation until a sun-worshipping emperor claimed to see a spear in the sky with a cross bar. Then he and his immediately “Christian” soldiers used this as their emblem when they went out and killed. So, this is how participation in carnal military warfare became “acceptable.” Do Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox realize that this is the real reason that “Christians” decided that they could bear arms for carnal governments?

A former Catholic priest reported:

Whereas up to the year 175 there was not a single Christian soldier, in 416, by an edict of Theodosius, only Christians were allowed to enlist (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolberg Press, Dublin, 2000, p. 156).

Yet, this is not an area that true Christians compromised on. ThThe only ones who enlisted were those that ended up accepting the type of compromised “Christianity” that nearly all the Greco-Roman Emperors from Constantine onwards endorsed.

Leading Roman Catholic theologians tried to justify war in the fifth and thirteenth centuries, and Thomas Aquinas actually listed some of the objections that real Christians should have to war:

Objection 1. It would seem that it is always sinful to wage war. Because punishment is not inflicted except for sin. Now those who wage war are threatened by Our Lord with punishment, according to Mt. 26:52: “All that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Therefore all wars are unlawful.

Objection 2. Further, whatever is contrary to a Divine precept is a sin. But war is contrary to a Divine precept, for it is written (Matthew 5:39): “But I say to you not to resist evil”; and (Romans 12:19): “Not revenging yourselves, my dearly beloved, but give place unto wrath.” Therefore war is always sinful.

Objection 3. Further, nothing, except sin, is contrary to an act of virtue.

But war is contrary to peace. Therefore war is always a sin.

Objection 4. Further, the exercise of a lawful thing is itself lawful, as is evident in scientific exercises. But warlike exercises which take place in tournaments are forbidden by the Church, since those who are slain in these trials are deprived of ecclesiastical burial. Therefore it seems that war is a sin in itself.

On the contrary, Augustine says in a sermon on the son of the centurion [Ep. ad Marcel. cxxxviii]: “If the Christian Religion forbade war altogether, those who sought salutary advice in the Gospel would rather have been counselled to cast aside their arms, and to give up soldiering altogether. On the contrary, they were told: ‘Do violence to no man . . . and be content with your pay’ [Luke 3:14. If he commanded them to be content with their pay, he did not forbid soldiering.” (Aquinas Thomas. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. Second and Revised Edition, 1920. Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Online Edition Copyright © 2006 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol. Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii. APPROBATIO ORDINIS. Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L. Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ).

After listing 4 valid objections, Aquinas attempts to justify war over those objections. I would simply comment here that it is impossible to Do violence to no man if you are killing or trying to kill others–thus for Aquinas to use Augustine’s argument here simply does not prove his point. The main point of Luke 3:14 is that John the Baptist taught that newly repentant people who happened to have been in the military (and who probably were not allowed to quit) should do NO VIOLENCE. Presumably, like the Apostle Paul taught about slaves (1 Corinthians 7:21), soldiers were being told that they should accept their burden until they could be free of it–and perhaps because of them doing no violence, it may be that they might be allowed out of their military obligation early (military commanders generally do not want soldiers who will not fight).

Anyway, to further justify war, Thomas Aquinas continued with:

Those who wage war justly aim at peace, and so they are not opposed to peace, except to the evil peace, which Our Lord “came not to send upon earth” (Matthew 10:34). Hence Augustine says (Ep. ad Bonif. clxxxix): “We do not seek peace in order to be at war, but we go to war that we may have peace. Be peaceful, therefore, in warring, so that you may vanquish those whom you war against, and bring them to the prosperity of peace” (Ibid).

Perhaps I should add here that the term “evil peace” is in no version of the Bible that I have ever seen, hence does not appear to be a valid reason for justifying Christian participation in warfare.

It should be noted that although the early Church was against military service, in the fourteenth century the Roman Church later decreed:

Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. However, one sword ought to be subordinated to the other and temporal authority, subjected to spiritual power…Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff (THE BULL UNAM SANCTAM , 1302. English translation taken from a doctoral dissertation written in the Dept. of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America, and published by CUA Press in 1927. In Medieval Sourcebook, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/b8-unam.html 01/16/06).

Thus, Roman leaders endorsed killing and the use of the military under the authority of church leadership.

The Crusades were one of the most famous use of the military by those associated with the Roman Catholic (as well as Eastern Orthodox) Church.

As well as the famous inquisition:

The next major step in the establishment of the Inquisition was taken by Innocent III…In the West, the same pope launched a “Crusade” against the Cathars, or Albigenses, of Southern France in 1208…In the second century of the Christian Era, most Christians refused to take up arms at all.. One millennium later, Christians were not only fighting for the church against “infidels” who had conquered ancient biblical lands, but against other Christians, heretical ones, who only asked to be able to live in peace on their ancestral soil…Perhaps for medieval popes the crucial factor that caused them to condemn dissidents was really the dissidents’ rejection of papal authority (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 260-261).

But using military force was not just Rome’s position in the Middle Ages.

Notice the following curious statements from the its former pontiff, Benedict XVI, who to a large degree is supporting his predecessor, as well as the position of Aquinas:

In this regard, the Introduction of “Spirituali Militum Curae” expressly cites “Gaudium et Spes,” recalling that those doing military service must be considered as “ministers of the security and freedom of peoples”, because, “if they carry out their duties properly, they also truly contribute to stabilizing peace” (cf. “Gaudium et Spes,” n. 79).

If, therefore, the Council calls members of the armed forces “custodians of security”, how much more so would be the Pastors to whom they are entrusted!

I therefore urge you all to ensure that military Chaplains are authentic experts and teachers of what the Church teaches and practices, with a view to building peace in the world.

Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution is an important milestone in this teaching and its contribution in this context can be summed up in the words you have rightly chosen as the theme of this Congress: “‘Ministerium pacis inter arma’ — Soldiers at the service of peace”.

My Predecessor considered this “ministerium pacis inter arma” “a new proclamation of the Gospel in the military world, of which the Christian soldiers and their communities cannot fail to be the first heralds” (Address, Third International Congress of Military Ordinariates, 11 March 1994; ORE, 23 March, n. 5, p. 6).

The Church is missionary by nature and her principal task is evangelization, which aims to proclaim and to witness to Christ and to promote his Gospel of peace and love in every environment and culture.

The Church is also called in the military world to be “salt”, “light” and “leaven”, to use the images to which Jesus himself refers, so that mindsets and structures may be ever more fully oriented to building peace, in other words, to that “order planned and willed by the love of God” (Message for World Day of Peace, 1 January 2006, n. 3; ORE, 21 December 2005, p. 6), in which people and peoples can develop to the full and see their own fundamental rights recognized (cf. ibid., n. 4).

The Church’s teaching on the subject of peace is an essential aspect of her social doctrine. Grafted onto very ancient roots, it continued to develop in the past century in a sort of “crescendo” which culminated in the Pastoral Constitution “Gaudium et Spes,” in the Encyclicals of Bl. John XXIII and of the Servants of God Paul VI and John Paul II, as well as in their Addresses to the United Nations Organization and their Messages for each World Day of Peace.

This insistent appeal for peace has influenced Western culture, fostering the ideal that the Armed Forces are “an exclusive service for the security and freedom of peoples” (John Paul II, Address, Third International Convention of Military Ordinariates; ORE, 23 March 1994, n. 5, p. 6). (Benedict XVI. Giving Priority to the Soldier’s Christian Formation. Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered in the Vatican on Oct. 26 to the participants in the 5th International Congress of Military Ordinariates. From http://www.zenit.org/english/ 11/13/06 ).

So even though mentioning the “Gospel of peace,” Benedict XVI seemed to clearly be teaching that participants in the military are essential to the Roman Catholic’s teaching on peace. We in the Continuing Church of God take a different view.

Pope Francis is calling for an end to war, but he is not teaching his followers to not be combatants.  If he truly was against war, he would truly change Roman Catholic doctrine about war.  But, he will not be able to do that.

Furthermore, Pope Francis again made an ecumenical appeal in his message today:

January 1, 2014

VATICAN CITY –  Pope Francis on Wednesday urged people to accept each other’s differences and for enemies to recognize that they are brothers.

“We are all children of one heavenly father, we belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny,” Francis said, speaking from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, jammed with tens of thousands of faithful, tourists and Romans.

“This brings a responsibility for each to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers who respect each other, accept each other in one’s diversity, and takes care of one another,” the pope said.  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/01/01/pope-francis-stresses-acceptance-and-community-in-new-year-address/

The Bible teaches peace, yet warns of a rise of a warring ecumenical power (Revelation 13:4,8)–one that Rome will support and promote (Revelation 13:11-18; Revelation 17). (Here is a link to a YouTube video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?)

Pope Francis is making statements that encourage ecumenism while claiming to be against war.  But the Bible shows that the coming ecumenical power will be a warring one and persecuting one (Daniel 7:25, 11:28-39; Revelation 13:15; cf. chapter 14).  The current claims to accept ‘diversity’ will not apply once that coming Beast power gains power.

So, while in certain respects Pope Francis looks like a lamb, the dragon-like implications of what he is saying need to be understood by prophecy watchers.

Some items of related interest may include:

Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Christian Soldiers How are Christians to be like soldiers? How are they to be different?
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
What is the Gospel? True religion should be based upon the true gospel. What are some of the different gospels and where did they come from? Do you believe the true or a false gospel? Who is preaching the gospel? Here is a version in Korean 복음이란 무엇인가?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Just What Do You Mean the Kingdom of God? A booklet that was written by Herbert Armstrong answers questions about the Kingdom. Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would seem to be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet.” Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.

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