In earlier days, it was common to ask, “Is the Pope a Catholic?” in response to a question that, without a doubt, would be answered in the affirmative. However, even Catholics are wondering about the Pope’s catholicity! Francis even shocked the Catholic world when he went soft on homosexuality, then his condemnation of capitalism, and his shocker, “There is no hell.”
Usually three strikes and you’re out but Francis is still in—for now. But Catholics keep asking if the Pope is a Catholic. A Catholic writer suggested that while there are echoes of concern among Catholics, the Church has survived much worse including: Pope Stephen VI (896–897) who had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed, de-fingered, and thrown in the Tiber; Pope John XII (955–964) murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife; Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, 1045, 1047–1048) who “sold” the Papacy; Pope Urban VI (1378–1389) who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured; Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503) who was guilty of nepotism and whose unattended corpse swelled until it could barely fit in a coffin; and Pope Clement VII (1523–1534) whose power-politicking with France, Spain, and Germany got Rome sacked.
Of course, many more problem popes could be mentioned but I will not do so. Moreover, I could produce a list of scandals among Fundamental Christian leaders, but I won’t.
Referring to those who rescued migrants on the Mediterranean Sea five years earlier, Francis said, “I thank the rescuers for embodying in our day the parable of the Good Samaritan, who stopped to save the life of the poor man beaten by bandits,” Francis said. “He didn’t ask where he was from, his reasons for travelling or his documents…he simply decided to care for him and save his life.” Francis called for treating migrants as Jesus had treated the poor and disadvantaged, but also stressed that migrants ought to be properly integrated into society.
Francis is a better theologian than that.
Christ told the parable to establish an individual Christian’s responsibility to be a compassionate, caring, and committed person in his or her daily interaction with others, especially the hurting, the innocent, and the poor. The parable has nothing to say about immigration, integration, or whether a nation should have open or closed borders. The Pope tried to take a teaching obviously for individuals and applied it to government action. Francis was like many Baptists who take a text then depart therefrom to say what they want to say under the color of biblical support.
That is mishandling, malfeasance, and a mistake and God warned about misusing His Word.
Two thousand years ago, the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was notorious for its danger and difficulty. I have travelled that same road many times and it is again dangerous today because it is part of the Palestinian Authority not controlled by Israel. In Christ’s day, anything could happen on that difficult road that made its way through rough desert terrain where dangerous robbers hid in caves waiting to attack unsuspecting travelers.
Tensions were particularly high in the early decades of the first century B.C. because Samaritans had desecrated the Jewish Temple with human bones during Passover. Josephus reports frequent violent conflicts between Jews and Samaritans throughout the first half of the first century. The Samaritans and Jews hated each other that went back hundreds of years. The hatred was so intense, Jews traveling to Galilee in the north would be expected to take a direct route north, but that would take them through Samaria. Instead, they travelled much out of their way to stay away from Samaria.
Christ made a point of going through Samaria in John 4 to contact, confront, and convert a rejected, immoral woman. It was a shocking thing to do. He did that because she was a woman and a Samaritan and had many needs. Christ was making a statement and giving us an example to love even the despised even going out of our way to do so.
In His parable, a traveler is robbed and beaten and left for dead on the road to Jericho. Two highly trained and highly principled men, a Levite and a priest, refused to help him but a hated Samaritan helped victim onto his beast and took him to an inn to be cared for at his expense! Christ made a “good guy” out of the “bad guy” as this individual of a social group all Jews disapprove of exhibited moral behavior superior to individuals of their own group.
Oh, my! A mixed breed and theologically messed up Samaritan more principled than a Jew! Impossible!
Continuing his mishandling and misapplying the parable, the pope promised his “solidarity and encouragement” with migrants, and called for all segments to “work out together the path of integration.” Pope Francis upbraided those who fail to open their doors to migrants, comparing them to the oppressed poor of the Old Testament who were “trampled on.”
Pope Francis tried to make the Good Samaritan parable an immigration problem but it had nothing to do with borders or separated children. It was simply an instructive parable to inform Christians how to react to others during their everyday lives. It has nothing to say about any government action or crossing borders.
Commenting on this parable, Calvin pointed out that people are not born merely for themselves, but rather “mankind is knit together with a holy knot … we must not live for ourselves, but for our neighbors.” Most of the early church fathers allegorized this parable, but Calvin was correct.
I seldom quote Martin Luther King, Jr. but he commented on this parable turning it into a political/social problem. He said, “One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial.”
With a caveat, I agree, but then King ran into tall weeds when he added, “It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” The implication is that government was to be blamed for making the traveler a victim and must step in and do whatever is necessary to see that no one is injured on that dangerous road again. Or, maybe mandate that the priest and Levite be required to come to the aid of injured men. At least mandate that beggars will no longer exist.
Maybe by government fiat!
When will Liberals learn that government cannot mandate love and compassion?
Boys’ new book Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! was published recently by Barbwire Books; to get your copy, click here. An eBook edition is also available.
Fact, Fraud or Faith?
by Don Boys, Ph.D.
Only an uninformed fanatic says that evolution or creation can be proved scientifically. Christians believe in creationism because we believe in the veracity of the Bible but we also have scientific evidence to support our position. In every debate I’ve had with evolutionary scientists, the arrogant, asinine accusation is made, “Well, evolution is scientific while creationism is religion.” Evolution is about as scientific as a voodoo rooster plucking ceremony in Haiti. Almost.