Even Southern Baptists know not to turn down an invitation from the Pope. Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church, and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, will meet Pope Francis and offer an “evangelical Protestant” perspective as part of a Vatican colloquium on marriage and family held this November 17-19. “I am willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelical Protestants believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled,” wrore Moore on why he’s going to the Vatican despite his disagreements with the Pope.
If you wanted to create a religion that almost everyone would love, how would you do it? Perhaps you would change your faith to make it more appealing to a modern world that is changing at blinding speed. Perhaps you would indicate that you are willing to become more “mainstream” on hot button issues such as gay rights.
Pope Francis on Sunday, as he beatified Pope Paul VI who implemented the Second Vatican Council’s vast changes, called on the church to adapt to “changing conditions of society.” His remarks took on added meaning as the bishops ended a two-week conference by rejecting landmark wording that would soften the church’s stance toward homosexuality and divorce. “God is not afraid of new things,” Francis pointedly said during the beatification Mass.
In a dramatic shift in tone, a Vatican document said on Monday that homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer” and asked if Catholicism could accept gays and recognize positive aspects of same-sex couples. Roman Catholic gay rights groups around the world hailed the paper as a breakthrough, but Church conservatives called it a betrayal of traditional family values. The document, prepared after a week of discussions at an assembly of 200 bishops on the family, said the Church should challenge itself to find “a fraternal space” for homosexuals without compromising Catholic doctrine on family and matrimony.