Michele Bachmann Should Not 'Get a Pass' on Past Membership in Anti-Catholic Church
The news and blogosphere is filled with responses to the story by Joshua Green, the Senior Editor of the Atlantic
During the last election, a question was raised about then candidate Barack Obama concerning his membership in a Church body which espoused Anti-Americanism. Will some of those same people ask this candidate, whom they seem to agree with on issues, about her affiliation with a Church body which espoused overt Anti-Catholicism?
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The news and blogosphere is filled with responses to the July 14, 2011 story by Joshua Green, the Senior Editor of the Atlantic, entitled "Michele Bachmann's Church Says the Pope Is the Antichrist." That is because it raises a serious matter which should not be taken lightly, and one which the candidate must address.
First, let me share some personal context. I am what is often called a "revert" to the Catholic Church, someone who returned to the Church of my childhood after a long search for the truth. I love being a Catholic Christian. I hold an undergraduate degree and a master's degree in Catholic theology. I am a dissertation away from obtaining a PhD in Catholic Moral Theology. I am also a member of the Clergy, a Deacon. However, I write this article as a private and very concerned citizen.
I am a lawyer. I have spent much of my career in Pro-life, Pro-Family and Religious freedom work, forging alliances between Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical and Protestant Christians. My goal has been to effect cultural, social and political change. Like the old country song "I was Country when Country wasn't Cool", I could say "I was ecumenical when ecumenical wasn't cool". I cut my activist teeth on evangelical and Catholic collaboration.
I share all of this in order to establish that I do not have an anti-Protestant bone in my body and that I know this subject well. Among the early responders to his article, some point out that Joshua Green did not treat the subject well due to a lack of theological knowledge of the subject matter. Let's consider that claim first.
I will admit that Mr. Green's story did not address the progress in relationships between some segments of the Lutheran community and the Catholic Church. In fact, an historic accord was signed on (Protestant) Reformation Day, 31 October 1999, All Saints Day eve, which shows the work of the Holy Spirit in healing a significant division between Catholics and Lutherans.
This document is entitled the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" (JDDJ) between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church. It can be read in its entirety on the Vatican Website. The dialogue also gave rise to an Annex which addresses implications on the relationship between the Catholic Church and Lutherans which can also be read there.
The Annex contains these promising words "the mutual condemnations of former times do not apply to the Catholic and Lutheran doctrines of justification as they are presented in the Joint Declaration." In other words, not all Lutherans hold the virulently anti-Catholic sentiment endorsed by the Lutheran Church body to which Michele Bachmann formerly belonged.
However, Joshua Greens' story properly addresses the fact that the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a Church body with which the candidate was connected for many years, does. It was -and still is - Anti-Catholic. In an introduction to their doctrinal statement we read this assertion, "As Martin Luther grew in his appreciation of the gospel; he also grew in his recognition that the Papacy is the Antichrist." They then claim that belief as their own.
Here are a couple of snippets from their "Statement on the Antichrist": "Now, it is manifest that the Roman pontiffs, with their adherents, defend [and practice] godless doctrines and godless services. And the marks [all the vices] of Antichrist plainly agree with the kingdom of the Pope and his adherents.. [A]ll Christians ought to beware of becoming partakers of the godless doctrine, blasphemies, and unjust cruelty of the Pope. On this account they ought to desert and execrate the Pope with his adherents as the kingdom of Antichrist; just as Christ has commanded."
To his credit, Joshua Green of the Atlantic footnoted this document. It is taken directly from the web site of the Lutheran Body to which Michelle Bachmann belonged for many years. She left the Church in the last year, submitting her request in writing. However, these Anti-Catholic positions were and are available to anyone who goes to that site, including Michele Bachmann. To use an old legal term, res ipse loquitor, the thing speaks for itself.
And what it says is not only repugnant to Catholics; it should be repugnant to other Christians, ...
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