22 April 2010

Pope Benedict in Malta

The Pope, being the head of the Catholic Church and respected by millions of people, bears a tremendous responsibility before God. He is burdened by the many mundane cares of the Church, but the most relevant and pressing issue is the message of salvation he proclaims.

The apostle Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel because he was convinced that it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes. The world considers this message a scandal and foolishness, but nothing is more needed for sinners than the Good News from heaven. Not long ago, the capuchin monk, Raniero Cantalamessa, expressed his concern about the grave situation in the Catholic Church in a sermon before Pope Benedict. He stated that "the great majority of Catholics have lived entire lives without having ever heard a direct announcement of gratuitous justification by faith, without too many 'buts'."

Is the Pope teaching salvation as a gift, given freely by grace through faith in Christ? That we are not saved by our works of righteousness? That a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law? That God justifies the ungodly who does not work but believes in him?

The Pope is accountable before God to proclaim the Gospel in its purity. For the Gospel sets people free, brings life eternal, forgiveness and the joy of the Holy Spirit; a fake "gospel", however, leads to despair, death and hell.

I hope and pray that Pope Benedict will take heed to what his preacher has admonished.