From beginning to end, Hans Küng’s book, The Catholic Church: A Short History, provides a critique of the Roman Catholic Church through and through. Yet, here is a voice from inside the ranks, if you will, with Küng having served as official theological consultant to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), appointed by Pope John XXIII himself.
Still, because of the challenges Küng has voiced over the years, most of them summed up in this book, the Vatican withdrew his ecclesiastical teaching authority in 1979, especially in light of his criticism to the doctrine of papal infallibility.1 Nevertheless, through it all, Küng calls the Church of Rome his “spiritual home to the present day.”2 I’d say quite a testimony and challenge to many modern Christians who so easily exit stage left when things get challenging and tough within their own church context. Continue reading →
One would have to come from another planet if they were not aware of the changes taking place in the Roman Catholic Church. On Monday, 11th February 2013, Benedict XVI announced his retirement. Normally, the pope’s office becomes vacant as from the date that the current pope dies. So, this was a bit of a change, being the first resignation (or retirement) in almost 600 years. Gregory XII was the last resignation, in 1415.
Thus, today, Tuesday, 12th March 2013, marks the day that the Cardinals gather to begin the process of electing a new pope. Continue reading →
As Christmas approaches, there shall be a heightened focus on Mary within the Roman Catholic church. Well, to be honest, they always maintain a focus of veneration for Mary. The Roman Catholics would claim they are not worshiping her – that only belongs to God – but that veneration is a special honouring, which would include bowing to icons of Mary and prayer to Mary as the Mother of God and Queen of Heaven.
A couple of weeks ago, I found a very helpful post by John Piper with regards to what I believe is a healthy and biblical focus on Mary for the Christian. The article begins with these words:
The veneration given to Mary in the Roman Catholic church is beyond what is warranted by the New Testament. In fact, it is astonishing how little we see of Mary in the New Testament. Let us honor her unique motherhood. Let us count her blessed as the mother of our incarnate Lord. But let us not put her on a pedestal that neither she nor Jesus would have approved of.
As usual, Piper looks to approach the person of Mary from a biblical perspective, which I believe is the best starting point. I don’t negate church history and what our early fathers wrote and taught as well. But Piper does a real good job in assessing what the first fathers taught, that is, the first apostles and their associates as they wrote letters to the believers and churches of the first century.
Piper does not proclaim hellfire and brimstone on the Mariology of the Roman Catholic church, though he disagrees with the full teaching of that branch of the church. He is more passionate about preaching against the prosperity gospel. Still, he shares some interesting things to consider about the life of Mary, but also shares the overall lack of emphasis on Mary following the four Gospels. Interesting…
So, check out the article by clicking on this link if you would like. Of course, he was not able to address every single issue. But I think it was quite good and sufficient for a blog post.