As the ecumenical push continues trying to join all the "denominations" into one big happy family, warning signs keep surfacing. First, it was Irish President Mary McAleese, a good Roman Catholic who dared receive forbidden communion in a Protestant church and got roundly chastised in the media by the Archbishop. Now, no less than U.S. President Clinton and wife, professing non-Catholics, have done something "unlawful" by taking communion at a Mass in South Africa.
The local priest who allowed such a travesty claimed the national bishop's conference said it was okay, but the Vatican Secretary of the Sacraments, Geraldo Angelo, said, "Since this person who is not a Catholic, he cannot be admitted to the eucharistic Communion. No bishops' conference can advance a different rule." These two revealing incidents have happened against the back drop of a couple of documents recently drawn and signed by prominent Roman and Evangelical leaders in the U.S. The first was called "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" and was signed in 1994. Much concern arose in evangelical circles since the document failed to address the fact that Catholicism teaches a works salvation dispensed on the installment plan with no assurance of ever being right with God. This led to a second document, "The Gift of Salvation" composed and signed by many who drafted the original document. In the beginning of this new document, which deals primarily with justification, it appears to present essentially the Evangelical view of salvation by faith alone. Then, near the end, it states that there are "necessarily interrelated questions that require further and urgent exploration." Listed among these are baptismal regeneration, sacramental grace, purgatory, indulgences, devotion to Mary, prayers to dead saints, and whether the eucharist wafer really becomes Jesus during the Mass.
With these issues unresolved, the document is simply more popish doubletalk. All of the blood shed during the Reformation was over the fact that these very issues contradict in one way or another the concept that salvation is freely given to those who simple believe by faith alone.
The uproar over Clinton and McAleese cuts clearly through the ecumenical fog. There is no way Rome can afford to give an inch on the central pillar of popery: acceptance and worship of the wafer god.
Can anyone question that the Vatican is "that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Those who dream of unity must eventually recognize that it can only come when everyone "comes home to Rome."
See March/April 1998 article: Irish President angers Rome by taking Protestant communion.