Papal Preacher Says All Catholics Responsible for Church's Faults

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April 4, 2003 - VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- All Catholics share responsibility for the church's failure to live up to Christ's call that the church be holy and perfect, the preacher of the papal household said. "Christ loved the church and gave himself for her so that she would be 'without stain,' and the church would be without stain if it were not for us," Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa told Pope John Paul II and top Vatican officials. Leading a morning Lenten reflection April 4, Father Cantalamessa focused on the New Testament description of the church as the beloved bride of Christ. If Christ loved the church despite the failures he must have known would be part of her history, the preacher said, "Who are we to find in the weaknesses and miseries of the church a reason not to love her and, in fact, (a reason) to judge her? Do we think Jesus does not know the sins of the church better than we do?" he asked.

Ron Beaulieu's comments:

Where have we heard this before?! But at least the Catholic leader mentioned above believes in corporate responsibility for the sins of the church. There is more than most SDA's consent to. However, the principle being advanced is that the church can do anything it jolly well pleases and still be counted by God as His bride. That did not work with the Hebrew church and it will not work with the Gentile church. Only a relatively small remnant will escape from all formally organized churches to form the bride of Jesus Christ, and that includes the professing Seventh-day Adventist church.

Like Mother Rome, leaders and members of the professing Seventh-day Adventist church think that their church and its members are the bride of Christ no matter what abominations the church commits corporately. SDA's are worse than their Catholic counterparts in that they do not, for the most part, accept corporate responsibility for the abominations of the corporate church. This is evinced by its members often criticizing all and any who sigh and cry for the abominations as being critical and bitter.

Also, gross abominations are often regarded and/or excused by the church and its members as mere faults and defects. Abominations are not mere defects and faults. Only those who sigh and cry for all the abominations in the church will receive the mark (seal) of the Man in Linen, Ezekiel 9:4:

"Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those 'that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the church.' Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 266-267.

This instruction is based on Ezekiel 9:4, and Ellen White says that Ezekiel 9 will be literally repeated:

"Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be literally fulfilled; yet the time is passing, and the people are asleep. They refuse to humble their souls and to be converted. Not a great while longer will the Lord bear with the people who have such great and important truths revealed to them, but who refuse to bring these truths into their individual experience. The time is short. God is calling; will YOU hear? Will YOU receive His message? Will YOU be converted before it is too late? Soon, very soon, every case will be decided for eternity. Letter 106, 1909, pp. 2, 3, 5, 7. (To "The churches in Oakland and Berkeley, September 26, 1909.)" E. G. White Manuscript Releases Volume One, p. 260.

Is the Church Corporately Responsible for its Abominations?

"The gospel makes no compromise with evil. It cannot excuse sin. Secret sins are to be confessed in secret to God; but, for open sin, open confession is required. Desire of Ages, p. 811.

Corporate responsibility: "For evils that we might have checked, we are just as responsible as if we were guilty." Desire of Ages, p. 44.

Scripture on Corporate responsibility: Blood of the Prophets

Luke 11:50 Luke 11:49-51 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, Luke 11:50-52 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

Then, of course, there is the Achan principle.

"The plain straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel because of their sins. God holds His people, as a body [corporately], responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them." Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 269.

Ron Beaulieu