Italian Evangelicals: "A Very Roman Pope"
Roman Catholicism has "Not Moved One
ROME (ANS) – While Italian evangelicals are joining
millions around the world mourning the death of Pope John Paul
II, they are also recognizing the theological differences between
Roman Catholicism and the evangelical faith.
The Italian Evangelical Alliance (IEA) issued a statement in
Rome, April 7. Beyond the feelings of grief and loss which
evangelicals share, the passing of the pope calls for serious
reflection. According to the Alliance, John Paul II’s
pontificate of 26 years stands "in many ways as a parable of
present-day Roman Catholicism, in which the salient features of
the Roman Catholic Church in her present-day outlook can be
In spite of apparent ecumenical and inter-religious openness
the traditional Roman Catholic belief system "has not moved one
centimeter". The Alliance: "While respecting his person and zeal,
John Paul II has been a very Catholic, yet very Roman pope."
In 1999 the IEA issued a document on Roman Catholicism, in
which it stated that the evangelical faith is theologically
alternative to the Roman Catholic system. According to the
document Roman Catholicism is an ambiguous system of faith
– "a Yes and No to the Gospel at the same time".
While recognizing many areas of common ethical concern with
Roman Catholicism, the Alliance emphasizes that the calling of
the evangelical faith is to be "a confessing and exclusive Yes to
Jesus Christ, in the power of the Spirit and to the glory of God
The statement closes: "A pope like John Paul II, who had as
his motto totus tuus (completely yours) addressed to Mary surely
is not a pope who has been close to an evangelical spirit." Italy
has 57.7 million inhabitants; more than 90 per cent belong to the
Roman Catholic Church, while Protestants account for
approximately one percent.
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