A quick flick through the Metro yesterday brought to my attention the full page advertisement for the 2014 'Mission to London'. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not an advert taken out by the Archdiocese of Westminster, but a coalition of what appears to be a number of 'ecclesial communities', many of which are based in the US.
It is advertised in the Metro as an event 'for people of all faiths' but I would tentatively suggest that this is not an event for members of the One True Church. The reason it caught my eye was not so much the size of the ad itself but the presence of Kenneth Copeland, the evangelical pastor who responded so enthusiastically to the ecumenical YouTube clip from His Holiness Pope Francis, introduced by the Pope's 'brother bishop' friend Tony Palmer. May his soul rest in peace.
The website claims that the entrance fee to the three-day Earls Court event was just £50 but has been reduced to £20, but for that £20 you can expect some serious 'financial breakthroughs'. Below is a taste of what Londoners who pay money out of their wage packets to attend this event will witness. Morris Cerullo is 'headlining' the event.
Pope Francis has gone to quite some lengths to 'reach out' to these Protestant evangelical communities. My understanding is that the honest janitor is more precious in the sight of God than the dishonest or shrewd millionaire, not because God detests the rich, but because God takes pleasure in those who seek Him and serve Him with an upright heart. I've said before that the 'three pees' message of Pope Francis - 'poverty, prayer and peace' - runs in complete contradiction to the emphases of what Catholics have traditionally understood as protestant heretical sects, whose main attraction seems to be personal enrichment in this life.
I'm at a stage in my 'spiritual journey' where I can watch the below clip and think, 'that is completely, bat*** insane', but obviously many others will be more impressionable and vulnerable to the message of these charismatic figures promising £££s to those who pray hard enough and give them £££s. I believe that God in His providence can and indeed does assist us in our daily needs - we pray 'give us this day our daily bread'. However the idea that if you pray 'in the spirit' enough, God will send you through the financial stratosphere to new levels of financial glory is a rather suspicious and dangerous message.
Call me a pessimist, but I fail to see how 'unity' is to be achieved with communities that actually believe the things believed by the pastors of these 'ecclesial communities', who object to a number - quite a number, indeed - of the holy doctrines held by the One True Church. Obviously, His Holiness takes a quite different view, but for these reasons I have found the 'outreach' to the evangelical protestant communities to be utterly baffling. I'd love to see a Catholic congregation's reaction to a parish priest speaking like this in order to encourage his parishioners to assist in his church restoration fund. Oh, that would go down well! Many parishes would like to be 'raised up into a financial dimension' they have 'never experienced'. Money has, let us be honest, never been a problem for the evangelicals.