Friday, January 03, 2014

“Pope Francis“ learns what Martin Luther knew: “Be a sinner and sin boldly”

Pope Francis: “Sin Boldly”
Pope Francis: “Sin Boldly”
Roman Catholics never seem to tire of misquoting that famous Martin Luther quote, which came in a letter to Philip Melanchthon, in which he said, “Be a sinner and sin boldly”. Here is some context from that letter:

If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner [LW 48:281-282].

Meanwhile, here is the context of Bishop Bergoglio’s remarks:

Priests, brothers, and sisters in Catholic religious orders around the globe should “wake up the world” by being “real witnesses” [they have been fake witnesses so far?] to a counter-cultural way of life that relies on generosity and self-forgetfulness, Pope Francis told a meeting of superiors general of religious orders in November.

Those religious, the pope also added, should also not be afraid of making mistakes or even committing sins.

“You should be real witnesses of a world doing and acting differently, “ the pope told some 120 leaders of male religious orders during a closed-door Nov. 29 meeting at the Vatican, according to a new account of the event released Friday by the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica.

“But in life it is difficult for everything to be clear, precise, outlined neatly,” the pope continued. “Life is complicated; it consists of grace and sin.”

“He who does not sin is not human,” said the pope. “We all make mistakes and we need to recognize our weaknesses. A religious who recognizes himself as weak and a sinner does not negate the witness that he is called to give, rather he reinforces it, and this is good for everyone.”

Maybe some day Rome will figure out what the Reformation was all about.