Ivan Foster: Lowry saying NI should welcome Pope is example of ignorance of Rome’s teachings

Pope Francis walks past cardinals and bishops in the Tor Vergata neighborhood in Rome today, Saturday, May 5, 2018, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way, one of the Catholic Church's biggest missionary movement. Protestant church leaders in Northern Ireland have urged him to visit the Province. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis walks past cardinals and bishops in the Tor Vergata neighborhood in Rome today, Saturday, May 5, 2018, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way, one of the Catholic Church's biggest missionary movement. Protestant church leaders in Northern Ireland have urged him to visit the Province. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Ben Lowry, deputy editor of the Belfast News Letter, could not be more wrong when he argues that the so-called ‘Protestant’ church leaders are right in saying that the pope should come to Northern Ireland (Protestant leaders are right: Pope should visit NI, May 5).

How can such men be right when they deny the Bible and the historic doctrines of their respective denominations?

A fear of God and a reverence for His Word is the basis of historic Protestantism's teaching on the claims of Rome and its popes, notf sectarianism

A fear of God and a reverence for His Word is the basis of historic Protestantism's teaching on the claims of Rome and its popes, notf sectarianism

Mr Lowry further argues that because “almost everybody of note ultimately comes to Northern Ireland at some point in their life, from Chinese or American or European leaders, to sports and music stars and business and religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama”.

None of the visitors to Northern Ireland ever claimed to be the person that the pope claims to be!

Pope Boniface stated: “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

Pope Leo XIII said these things about the role of the Papacy and the Roman Church: “Our thoughts went out towards the immense multitude of those who are strangers to the gladness that filled all Catholic hearts: some because they lie in absolute ignorance of the Gospel; others because they dissent from the Catholic belief, though they bear the name of Christians.

Rev Ivan Foster pictured at his Co Fermanagh school.' Picture by Press Eye in 2007

Rev Ivan Foster pictured at his Co Fermanagh school.' Picture by Press Eye in 2007

“This thought has been, and is, a source of deep concern to Us; for it is impossible to think of such a large portion of mankind deviating, as it were, from the right path, as they move away from Us, and not experience a sentiment of innermost grief. But since We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”

And more recently, Pope John Paul II wrote that names like ‘Holy Father’ are applicable to the Pope, even though calling him that is contrary to the Gospel: “Have no fear when people call me the ‘Vicar of Christ’, when they say to me ‘Holy Father’, or ‘Your Holiness’, or use titles similar to these, which seem even inimical to the Gospel.”

In 1996 he also gave his assent to calling the Pope ‘Lord’ and ‘Christ on earth’: “we readily understand the devotion of Saint Francis of Assisi for ‘the Lord Pope’, the daughterly outspokenness of Saint Catherine of Siena towards the one whom she called ‘sweet Christ on earth’, the apostolic obedience and the sentire cum Ecclesia of Saint Ignatius Loyola,and the joyful profession of faith made by Saint Teresa of Avila: ‘I am a daughter of the Church.’”

I could multiply such quotes indicating that the man Ben Lowry believes we should all welcome to Northern Ireland is one who exceeds all other deceivers. He brazenly, wickedly claims to be God on earth!

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

None can welcome him here without giving credence and accreditation to his claims and becoming an accomplice in his deceit!

I will not go into details regarding Rome’s history of shedding the blood of those she deemed her enemies and that only because they believed the Bible.

Modern terrorist movements pale into insignificance when compared to the diabolical record of this wicked organisation!

Mr Lowry’s stance is an indication of the gross ignorance that exists regarding the historic position of the Reformed Church on the teachings of Rome.

Far from being the fruit of sectarianism, historic Protestantism’s teaching on the claims of Rome and its popes are born out of a fear of God and a reverence for His Word.

If Northern Ireland follows Mr Lowry’s foolish recommendations it will be casting aside the wise counsels and conclusions of godly men, which counsels have served nations well in the past.

Furthermore, it will bring upon it the frown of the One Who has said: “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me,” Jeremiah 27:5.

Furthermore, He has said: “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any,” Isaiah 44:8.

If God in His infinite wisdom knows of no other God, despite the pope’s claims, then there is no other God and the pope is a fraudulent impostor!

Rev Ivan Foster (Retr), Kilskeery, Co Tyrone

• Ben Lowry: Protestant leaders are right: Pope should visit NI