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Tuesday, June 11, 2002

FRONT PAGE | All News | Choice | Comments | Christian | Gay | Catholic | Evolution | BJU | Paisley

Speakers at Southern Baptist Convention sympathize with Roman Catholics

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Following a display of fireworks, Armed Forces hymns and rappellers unfurling a huge American flag, leaders of the nation's largest Protestant denomination offered conciliatory words for their counterparts in the Roman Catholic Church.

At the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting, some speakers warned delegates against passing judgment as Catholic bishops prepare to discuss what to do with sex-offending priests.

"We shouldn't enjoy this Catholic mess too much," the Rev. Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., said Sunday during a service sponsored in St. Louis by the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists. "We're waiting on the other shoe to drop, and when it does, don't be surprised if there is more and more within our ranks."

The Conference of Catholic Bishops is scheduled to meet in Dallas later this week to discuss policies regarding priests who sexually abuse youngsters. The discussion is expected to focus on calls for zero-tolerance for priests who molest children in the future and a second-chance policy for those guilty of past abuse.

It is difficult to estimate the number of abusive Protestant ministers. While Catholic churches answer to a central authority, in the Baptist denomination and other Protestant faiths, each local church handles such allegations.

Southern Baptist officials expect some kind of resolution to be presented this week concerning sexual misconduct by clergy in the 16-million-member denomination.

The Rev. Frank Ruff, the Catholic bishops' liaison to the Southern Baptists, said he thinks most people attending the convention realize that this is not exclusively a Catholic problem.

"Our dirty laundry is out there for everybody to see -- and it's pretty dirty," he said. "But I think everybody here in leadership knows that there's a fair amount of sexual abuse that goes on in all institutions, in all churches, in all schools, in many, many families."

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Bob Orris from Columbus, Ohio — 6/11/2002

It was with horror and sadness that I read about the Southern Baptist Convention sympathizing with Roman Catholic child molesters. Instead of pointing Catholics to Christ, the SBC is saying they are just the same as Rome is! May God give us new Protestant denominations that will stand up to the sin of Rome!
Robert Perry from Longmont CO — 6/11/2002

"We shouldn't enjoy this Catholic mess too much" (Rev. Welch) would seem to indicate that Southern Baptists are enjoying the fact that Catholic priests are being caught in horrific sin.

As much as I disagree with Catholic theology, I think our response to this ought to be one of grief followed by the Gospel, not enjoyment.

Renee from Michigan — 6/12/2002

Bob Orris,

Read World Magazine's March 30, 2002 issue on Protestant sexual abuse ( Rome is not the only one who has a problem with sexual sin. "New Protestant denominations" will not solve the problem, either. What we need is revival, true faith, personal accountability, and "abstain[ing] from all appearance of evil." Every Christian has a responsibility to strive, by the grace of God, for holiness and blamelessness.

Jouko Hakola from Queensland Australia — 6/13/2002

Excuse my ignorance, and this is not meant as a pun, but why have a liaison with somebody or something that does not represent the belief you stand for and believe to be the true gospel? If it indeed is true that there is a fair amount of sexual abuse going on in all churches and "everybody in leadership" knows about it, what is the leadership doing about it or was it meant as a smokescreen to divert the attention? If that is all it's called "dirty laundry" and it's "pretty dirty" I would not want to have anything to do with its representatives. All roads lead to the judgement seat, let us be true to the gospel we represent if it is the God given one and not man-invented. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Psalms 9:7-8
Richard Caldwell from Spring, Texas — 6/13/2002

As a Southern Baptist pastor I could not agree more with those here who have taken issue with Bobby Welch's statements. It is sadly one more expression of worldly thinking in the place of biblical thinking. It is one more evidence that we view the church not for what it is, an assembly of redeemed people who belong to Christ and exist for His glory; an assembly that is to maintain its purity through church discipline and the highest standards for its leadership; but a business that is trying to compete and win against those who have similar offerings.

The Roman Catholic church is an apostate institution. An old movement? Yes. An institution that is faithful to the New Testament and can rightly be called the church that Jesus Christ is building? No. An advancer of the most serious error, error that confirms souls in their darkness? Yes.

Do we need a liason to such an institution? No. Indeed I am greatly saddened and disgusted to find we have one.

Lord, please grant a great awakening to our country and let it begin with those who sit in our churches, but sit in darkness.

Today's Quote Where God becomes a donor man becomes a debtor. — William Secker
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