Catholic Disrespect for Other Christians

Book Critique of The Catholic Verses by Dave Armstrong

Book Critique of Return to ROME by Dr. Francis J. Beckwith

Book Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Protestant Paul wrote: For as often as you eat this bread (not body) and drink this cup (not blood), you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26.

EXCLUSIVE - 'Let down by the Pope on Lesbos': Christian brother and sister told they would be rescued by Holy Father then left behind over EU deal to send migrants to Turkey

•    Roula and Malek Abo fled Syria fearing ISIS would kill them for their faith

•    The siblings made treacherous journey to Lesbos, where they are stuck
•    Thought their luck had changed after offered passage to Rome with Pope
•    But because they arrived on April 1 - 10 days after EU deal to send failed asylum applications arriving in Greece from Turkey back, they are stuck
•    Spokesman for charity Sant'Egidio called the siblings' case 'regrettable'
•    He added the ultimate decision over who was picked was up to the Vatican, which declined to comment
•    Neither the Vatican or the charity would confirm the selection process
•    For the latest on the refugee crisis visit


22 April 2016

A Christian brother and sister from Syria say they have been 'let down' by the Pope after he left them behind in a Lesbos refugee camp despite promises they would be given a new life in Italy.

Roula and Malek Abo say they were two of the lucky 'chosen 12' refugees selected by the Vatican to be taken from the desperate camp and housed in Rome.

But what seemed like the chance of a lifetime was cruelly snatched away when they were told the following day they couldn't go. Instead three Muslim families were taken.

Roula, 22, and her brother arrived on Lesbos on April 1 – ten days after the controversial EU deal to return all asylum seekers arriving to Greece from Turkey.

Their application for asylum is being process and they are waiting to learn if they will be sent back to Turkey.

Stuck on Lesbos, Roula told MailOnline: 'If they can do this for 12 people they can do it for more.

'If you have promised to take people back to Italy will something like registration papers stand in your way?'

Neither Community Sant'Egidio, the charity which organised the trip, or the Vatican would explain the selection process over which migrants were picked.

Spokesman Massimiliano Signifredi called the incident 'regrettable' - adding: 'The problem here is the three Syrians arrived after the March 20 deadline. They arrived just after the agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

Mr Signifredi said: 'Our staff went to Lesbos and spoke with the people who were selected. But everything was decided by the Vatican.

'The question why the Pope took only Muslims is difficult to understand and he was suffering, I think, because he wanted to do something also for Christians as the chief of the Catholic Church. But he couldn't because there is this international agreement [with the EU].'

The Vatican declined to comment. 

Still reeling over her dream being so cruelly dashed, Roula had to watch the three fortunate families board a plane for a new life in Europe while she and her brother were left behind to face an uncertain future in Greece.

Pope Francis, the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, said the decision to take a dozen to Italy was a gesture of goodwill to set an example to the world to extend the hand of friendship during Europe's migrant crisis.

They are being housed in Rome by Sant'Egidio, which has brought 250 Syrians to Italy since March.

Roula, her brother, 28, and a third man, their friend Samir, also 28, from Damascus, say a day or so before the Pope arrived they were approached by three volunteers believed to be from Sant'Egidio.

She explained: 'They said they would take us to Italy, to pack our bags and to meet them the next day.

'It was so secretive – they didn't announce it to anybody and we were told to keep it a secret.

'It seemed so unofficial – we didn't know who they were or if they would really take us,' Roula added.

'I thought they might be organ traffickers – we had no idea.'

Samir had no such doubts when he was approached, however.

'I was so excited to go to Italy - it was such a relief,' he said. 'They offered me my future on a plate, and then 24 hours later they took it away.

'They had even told me that after a few months I could be reunited with my family and they would arrange for them to come from Damascus and join me in Italy.'

But the next day they received the crushing news that their places were given to another family.

The reason they were given was because they had arrived in Greece after the March 20 deadline for the EU deal.

The Pope told reporters on the plane back from Lesbos that it had been the idea of one of his aides and that he had immediately agreed.

'I felt the spirit was talking to us,' he said, adding that 'everything was done according to the rules', with documents provided by Italy, the Vatican and Greece.

Asked why they were all Muslim, he said there was something wrong with the papers of a Christian family that had originally been on the list.

All 12 migrants from three families have spoken of their delight at being set up in their own flats in Rome capital and given Italian lessons.

'It was an amazing feeling [to be leaving the camp in Lesbos] because this was our big dream,' said Hasan, a 31-year-old a garden designer who fled after the Syrian regime tried to make him join the army. He is now in Rome with his son Riad, two, and wife, Nour.

'When we came here to Sant'Egidio everyone has been very helpful and kind. Now we have our own room [apartment] which is just for us.

'We have been treated very, very well. We really feel now at last we are safe.'

But 1,200 miles away in the sweltering makeshift camp with the rats, snakes and rubbish of those who remain faced with the prospect of being returned to Turkey is Samir.

'I was very disappointed,' he said.

The siblings are trying to stay positive as they want to travel to Germany where their mother is living. But they are at a loss to explain why Sant Edigio volunteers appeared to 'play god' and got their hopes up only to let them down.

'We're happy for the families that went of course,' said Roula, who is hoping the charity stands by its promise to fast-track their applications and come back for them, but it is no guarantee.

She went on: 'We don't care for one country over another – I just want to be with my mum.'

Roula and Malek left Qamishli, which is in Syria near the Turkish border, in March, in fear for their lives.

'They killed the Christians in Raqqa we heard, so of course we had to leave,' Roula said.

Malek added: 'We stayed as long as possible, because it's not easy to get the money to leave Syria. It takes you 50 years to buy a house so you don't decide to leave it in a minute.

'We were clinging to the hope that it will get better. We know that as soon as we leave the house people will come and take our stuff. We know we can't go back.

'We wanted to finish university – I studied law and Roula was studying to be a primary school teacher.'

The pair had hoped finishing their education would give them a better chance to start a new life in Europe, but Roula had to abandon her studies to flee.

Samir left Syria for Turkey late last year, just before Christmas, after he escaped being forced to join President Assad's army fighting a war he doesn't believe in and do his military service.

'They force you to sign up and they make you kill people – if you don't, they kill you. I had to leave,' he told MailOnline.

Like many Syrians, he first tried to make a new life for himself in Turkey, despite having to wait for months on the Turkish-Syrian border, as Turkey has abandoned its open door policy to allow refugees fleeing the violence to safety.

'I was in Istanbul for three months trying to find work. I tried so hard, but it was impossible. People look down on you there – they don't want to hire Syrians,' he said.

So he joined the thousands of his desperate countrymen and the now standard fee of €2,000 to cross to Lesbos on a rubber dinghy.

In Kara Tepe, the camp named in Turkish because it is above the black cliffs smugglers tell their newly branded captains to aim for, Samir, Roula and Malek joined 900 other refugees deemed vulnerable and have their applications on hold.

Much preferred to the feared Moria detention centre where migrants are sent upon arrival, the camp is nestled on hillside surrounded by olive trees, and is exclusively reserved for families who have vulnerable members – those who are disabled, have severe trauma and are survivors of torture or rape, or are single women, pregnant or lactating mothers.

Inhabitants are free to go to the supermarket, as long as they have written permission, and are served meals twice a day.

NGOs provide humanitarian assistance and volunteers help out with clothes distribution and activities for the bored children.

While the residents are free to leave, if they are caught outside the camp without written permission, they face deportation or will be moved to the Moria detention centre.

But it is miserable and the atmosphere is tense.

For many the disappointment of having made it to Greece and across the water to be told they cannot go any further is too much to bear – made worse by the conditions. 

'We get told that we are lucky to be here in this field,' grandmother Kawther Yousef told MailOnline, 'but what are we, sheep?'

'This is the fifth snake the boys have killed – they're all about this size, they're babies – but where is the mother?' another grandmother called Susan from Kobane added.

The group of women are all alone – their husbands have either died in the fighting or they have gone ahead to Europe and are desperate to be reunited.

All three families selected by the charity were taken from Kara Tepe camp to meet the Pope in Mytilene before jetting off to their new lives in Rome.

But for the hundreds left behind, the idea of selecting such a small number people seemingly at random is a hard pill to swallow.


Question: John Henry Cardinal Newman once said, "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." If that is the case, why are there so many Protestant church historians, even patristics scholars, who never join the Catholic Church?

Answer: Newman’s maxim is not intended to be a "rule" that those Protestants versed in Church history "must" enter the Catholic Church. It is a general observation that Church history argues against Protestantism and that those Protestants who study history deeply many times realize that the Catholic Church is the true Church. Ultimately, belief in the truth of Catholicism is a gift of faith given by God that must be accepted and acted upon by the recipient in order for the recipient to become Catholic. With Protestant historians, it may be that some, for whatever reason of divine Providence, were not given that gift; or that those who were given that gift did not accept it or act upon it for some reason. We must commend such people to God’s mercy, trusting that if these individuals follow him to the best of their ability according to the light of truth that they have, it may be possible for them to achieve salvation (cf. Lumen Gentium, 16).

Catholics vs. Evangelicals

Catholic Education Resource Center

There is a Catholic crisis among evangelicals. Some evangelicals believe their brethren should be converting Catholics, not collaborating with them.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together (1995) was an open appeal for Christians to end fraternal conflicts which "give aid and comfort to the enemies of the cause of Christ." The final document emerged from a two-year discussion designed to address tensions in Latin America where Catholics and evangelical missionaries have been engaged in open conflict. Its main authors were Rev. Richard John Neuhaus of the Institute of Religion and Public Life and Chuck Colson, founder of the Prison Fellowship.

It was agreed during these meetings, anticipating John Paul IIs most recent encyclical, That They May Be One, that Scripture "makes unity of true Christians an essential — a prerequisite for Christian evangelism." Further discussions resulted in a 28-page non-binding accord, "which cannot speak officially for our communities. It does intend to speak responsibly — from our communities and to our communities."

ECT does not turn a blind eye to doctrinal difference. It specifically notes that serious difficulties still co-exist alongside the greater imperative for Christians to present a unified front against secular culture. The document concedes that no attempt has been made to obscure serious differences, but rather to focus on what Christians can affirm together.

Catholics at large seem to accept this; the Catholic signatories have suffered little criticism. Meanwhile their evangelical counterparts are enduring a firestorm of debate. In the name of "justification by faith alone," leading evangelicals are accusing Protestant declaration signers of turning their backs on Luther and the Reformation. The evangelical signers of ECT-including Chuck Colson, J. I. Packer, Pat Robertson, and Bill Bright-have been under relentless attack for over a year from John Ankerberg, D. James Kennedy, John McArthur, and R. C. Sproul for "selling out" the Gospel to Rome.

Ankerberg has videotaped and broadcast on cable TV a series of discussions with McArthur and Sproul during which they claim that Catholics are cursed under their own anathema, since the Council of Trent, for having falsified the Gospel. McArthur writes in his book, Reckless Faith, that having "abandoned the true faith for another gospel," Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, "are not entitled to be embraced as members of Christs body." The mission of ECT, the dissenters claim, is not the Gospel with its message of eternal salvation, but a "false unity" based upon a worldly goal of political and religious cooperation.

Dissenters also find fault with the resolve of ECT not to engage in "sheep stealing," that is, deliberately proselytizing members of other Christian denominations. For McArthur, this leaves "trapped millions of Catholics in a system of superstitious and religious ritual that insulates them from the glorious liberty of the true gospel of Christ .... That is, they should not be approached by evangelicals and told that no amount of sacraments or good works can make them acceptable to God."

For the dissenters, the intent of ECT, to promote Christian cooperation in facing the present cultural crisis, is secondary to the issue of whether or not Catholics are really Christians, whether or not they follow the "true Gospel," whether or not they are "truly saved." As R. C. Sproul, Jr. has put it, "We have a great deal in common with Rome. But if they [Catholics] believe the doctrines of their church, they are not Christians." Sproul further adds that signing the declaration implies an acceptance of Roman Catholic doctrine.

The division has spawned a flurry of clarifying documents issued by signatories in response to demands of their critics within the evangelical fold. John McArthur explains why some evangelicals signed ECT, "As the pressure mounts for evangelicals to succeed in the political realm and fight for cultural morality they often capitulate to the New Ecumenism."

Bowing to this kind of pressure, several signers, including Richard Land and Larry Lewis of the Southern Baptist Convention, have removed their names from the document. Some who let their names remain have been urged to issue statements clarifying their attitudes toward Catholicism.

The evangelical endorsers of ECT who resisted the pressure to recant their support reaffirmed their belief in the two pillars of the Reformation- sola scriptura (Scripture alone) and sola fide (faith alone). However, they declare, failure to assent to these reformation principles does not "in itself disqualify one from the salvation promised to those who believe in the Lord Jesus."

"That assumption in itself represents a monumental doctrinal shift," wrote McArthur. The shift is fundamental for dissenters who insist that unless these two principles are upheld as the defining doctrine of salvation, the Reformation is null and void.

Other endorsers have emphasized the opportunity ECT provides for presenting the Gospel to Catholics. Commenting on his meeting with his evangelical detractors, Bill Bright wrote to his supporters that ECT "facilitated our evangelism in Catholic countries." He argued that removing his name from the document could result in the loss of salvation for many Catholic souls: "Since the ECT Statement had already helped us reach more Catholics in other countries, the Holy Spirit brought tears to my eyes before these men [McArthur and Sproul] as I explained that repudiating the agreement would probably cause tens of millions of Catholics to not hear the gospel and to be eternally lost."

Brights Campus Crusade for Christ International, in fact, has targeted Spain for mission work. One wonders if Campus Crusaders will remember ECTs distinction between legitimate evangelization and sheep-stealing?

While this controversy underlines the residual antiCatholicism that has long been nurtured among some Protestant sects, it also threatens the unity of evangelicals themselves. As McArthur states, "This may become one of the most hotly contested issues of the decade. The future of evangelicalism hangs in the balance."

How should Catholics view ECT and this growing division in the evangelical movement? While evangelical objectors insist that the present moral crisis does not provide sufficient motivation to condone collaborating with Catholicism, Catholics have an opportunity to respond positively on two fronts.

Primary emphasis should be given to re-evangelizing our own Catholic people. It is a sobering realization that the first goal for some signers of ECT was to find a legitimate door through which they can begin proselytizing Catholics. Catholics must be alert to this very real threat.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a potent instrument with which to begin our re-evangelization effort. Millions of Catholics do not understand their faith, having accepted it, not "personally" but from their family or culture. As parishioners, parents, teachers, lay ministers, as anyone engaged in defending the faith, we should urge our bishops, clergy, and parents to teach from the Catechism. The best defense against false teaching is knowledge of the truth.

Catholics, as never before, have the tools with which to become apologists. The faithful need to learn the standard evangelical opening lines, and be prepared to explain baptism as the initiation of grace in the life of the believer. Catholics must teach their teenagers how to meet the "are you saved?" challenge they are sure to meet on college campuses.

Catholic parents have both the joy and obligation of passing on the faith to their children. "The mission to educate demands that Christian parents present to their children all the topics necessary for . . . a Christian and ecclesial point of view . . . its principal aims are these: that as baptized persons are gradually introduced into a knowledge of the mystery of salvation they may daily grow more conscious of the gift of faith which they have received" (Familiaris consortio 39).

Catholics should be impressed with the need for right-giving, which means a reordering of our philanthropy. How is it that an evangelical organization can pull millions of dollars from their followers for spreading their brand of salvation while Catholics presume on the mercy of the Holy Spirit to spread the truth? Catholics are guilty of smug complacency. Catholics must support authentically Catholic apologetic efforts, pro-life groups, seminaries, parish schools, colleges, publications, and radio-TV ministries. It is sad and unnecessary to watch anyone, young or old, reject the Church, especially when it is due to the misinformation spread by anti-Catholic evangelists.

Secondly, taking our cue from the evangelists who endorse ECT, Catholics should desire ecumenical alliances that strengthen the Christian presence in our culture. ECT was a timely idea and its authors and signers should be congratulated. Yet, Catholics have an even greater opportunity.

Catholics have the opportunity to capitalize on an unprecedented moment in which many evangelicals are open to Jesus prayer "that they may all be one" even as Christ and the Father are one. The unfortunate erosion of confidence in the philosophical basis of Western morality has impelled many men of good will to seek a common ground in Christ. The Catholic commitment to sanctified family life, the unborn, and the correct moral order are fruits of the Church led by the Holy Spirit; thus, they are good works done by the grace of God.

Our separated brothers have witnessed the steady stream of scholars and ministers finding the path to the Catholic Church. The conversions of Peter Kreeft, Richard John Neuhaus, Deal Hudson, Scott Hahn, Tom Howard, Steve Wood, Gerry Matatics, the Duchess of Kent, Bishop Graham Leonard, not to mention whole Anglican parishes, stand as eloquent refutation to the charge that Catholicism is a mindless, rote "system" for people who dont "know the good Book." Many Protestants have begun to see that the fruit of the Reformation cannot ripen to the fullness they naturally desire. Many are just waiting to be shown the way home.

For the first time since the Reformation evangelicals are drawing upon the heritage of Catholic moral theology with its emphasis on the development of virtue and character. Catholic moral theology has remained faithful, throughout history, to the tradition of wisdom which draws upon both Rome and Jerusalem. Many evangelicals have acknowledged the superiority of its natural law foundation as an antidote to the moral relativism of the present age.

With John Paul II, a visible warrior against the evil of this age, Catholics can warmly welcome alliances with evangelicals to redress the secularity of our time. This pope has captured the hearts of many non-Catholics who cannot deny that he is led by God. In our ecumenical struggle together, we Catholics, by example and commitment, by teaching and love, can welcome home our family members who have been away from the Lords table too long.