On the airplane trip from Colombo to Manila, Francis made a remark about the Salvation Army during his in-flight interview.
"Do you know what was the first experience I had of ecumenism? I told it to some days ago when I met a group from the Salvation Army. When I was four or five years old walking down the street with my grandmother, I saw two women from the Salvation Army, wearing those old-style hats, and I asked my grandmother, “Tell me, are they sisters (nuns)?” My Grandmother said “No, they are Protestant but they’re good (people).” It was the first time that I heard a person speaking well of people of another religion. At that time in the catechesis they told us that they all went to hell."
This isn't the first time he has told this story. In the book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope by Austen Ivereigh one reads,
Francis' guest at the Vatican, the General of the Salvation Army
As recounted above during the in-flight interview Francis told this same story to the delegation from the Salvation Army he invited to the Vatican. (underlines below are ours for emphasis)
The General and his party were shown great respect throughout their journey through the Vatican, with members of the Swiss Guard standing to attention as they passed.
When the Salvation Army group entered the room for their meeting, the Pope moved quickly towards them, warmly greeting each of his visitors. He listened attentively to the greetings brought by the General, which underlined the many things uniting Catholics and Salvationists and spoke of the experiences of cooperation between priests and Salvation Army officers in many areas of the world. He took with him to present to the Pope specially bound copies of the new book Conversations with the Catholic Church, as well as a copy of The Salvation Army Year Book 2015.
In his greeting, the Pope underlined the fact that theological differences between The Salvation Army and the Roman Catholic Church had not impeded the witness of a united sharing of the love of God and neighbour. He described the two as often meeting 'in the same peripheries of society' and described the work of The Salvation Army enabling 'Christ’s light to shine in the darkest recesses of [people's] lives'.
He spontaneously interrupted the reading of his greeting to share an experience of his childhood in Argentina in a time when Protestants were seen as 'bad people who would go to Hell'. He recalled how a four-year-old Jorge Mario Bergoglio (as Pope Francis was then called) was walking with his grandmother when he saw two Salvation Army women dressed in uniform with 'those strange hats'. ('Do you still wear them?' enquired the Pope.) Jorge asked his grandmother if they were nuns or sisters and she replied: 'No, they are Protestants – but they are good.'
'This,' continued Pope Francis, 'was the first sermon ever I heard about ecumenism – and [it] has influenced me in my ecumenical walk.'
Francis thanks the Salvation Army
We can already hear the naysayers, "the Salvation Army is made up of good people who help the poor!"
Rev. Rumble & Rev. Carty in their books Radio Replies, vol. I-III, address the subject of the Salvation Army in volume number two.
1312. Does the Catholic Church recognize the Salvation Army as in any way representative of genuine Christianity?No. As a religious body the Salvation Army is a form of Protestantism which the Catholic Church cannot but reject. It was founded by William Booth, an ex-Wesleyan minister. Disagreeing with Methodist ways, he left the Wesleyans in 1861 to become an independent evangelist. In 1865 he and his wife began to devote themselves to street preaching and rescue work in the slums of London. In 1877 he organized his converts into the Salvation Army, with himself as General, with the avowed purpose of working for the conversion of the poor and the alleviation of their temporal needs. But the whole movement is characterized by an un-Catholic, and even an anti-Catholic outlook.
1313. Does not the Army agree with the Catholic Church that men owe their redemption to the Precious Blood of Christ?Yes. But the Salvation Army has an extremely Protestant view of the nature of the Christian religion in other vital points—a view radically opposed to the Catholic concept. Where the Army preaches, "Believe on Christ and be saved," the Catholic Church insists that no one, whilst still in this life, can actually be termed "saved"; and that it is the will of Christ that all should believe in the Catholic Church, accepting all that she teaches and commands in the name of Christ. This involves acceptance of the Catholic Faith, the worship of God by assistance at the Sacrifice of the Mass, the reception of the Sacraments instituted by Christ, and the fulfillment of those good works for the love of God which are demanded by Christian virtue.
1314. Through the Salvation Army God provides for a certain class of people not reached by the Catholic Church.God does not need the Salvation Army for that. He can provide by divine grace for men outside the fold of the Catholic Church in a thousand and one ways. He does so for infidels, Mahometans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Adventists, and a host of others. If the apparent good done by the Salvation Army is proof that God Himself inspired its creation, then the apparent good done by all other Protestant organizations is proof that He inspired them also. And we cannot admit that God inspired all these conflicting religious bodies—bodies, also, which unite in denying the claims of that Catholic Church which Christ did undoubtedly establish.
1315. Are not Salvation Army methods preferable for simple people incapable of intellectual study to the Catholic Sacramental system?Under no circumstances could we say that. For, firstly, we can never admit that any means devised by men could be preferable to those instituted by Christ Himself. Secondly, we cannot say that the Catholic Sacramental system is in any way unsuitable for simple people; for Catholic children are well able to appreciate the significance of the Sacraments and to benefit by them. The value of the Sacraments does not depend upon the intellectual capabilities of the recipients. Thirdly, you seem to argue on merely natural grounds, not making sufficient allowance for the fact that Catholic Faith is a gift of divine grace, which is as difficult for intellectual people to attain as for simple people, and as easy for simple people as for intellectuals.
1316. The Catholic way may be better for some types of people, but the Salvation Army way is superior for others.Our Lord gave His religion for all mankind, and that religion is the Catholic religion. Had He thought variations necessary for different types, He would have incorporated them in the religion He established. He did not do so. Nor can a way which involves the preaching of heresy be better for anybody in reality and absolutely speaking, whatever good it may accidentally accomplish or occasion. I am discussing the matter from the viewpoint of principle, of course. Though I do not think the Salvation Army justified as a substitute for the true Catholic Church, I have an immense admiration of the zeal and sincerity of its members; their demonstration of the courage of their convictions, and the sacrifices they make; the indifference to the world on the part of women members exhibited by their modest dress and behavior. But, with all their good will, they support and continue a movement which ignores and is independent of the true Church established by Christ.
1317. The conclusion would be that the Salvation Army has a God-appointed, and not merely a man-designed place in this world.Though the Salvation Army has the best of intentions, there is no doubt that it is a man-designed enterprise for religious purposes. General Booth was a good man who wanted to do something for God and the salvation of souls. Being a stranger to the Catholic religion, and not satisfied with any other Church, he had to fall back on his own ideas. But they were very much his own ideas. However, though not God-appointed, the Salvation Army has resulted in much good, and in many genuine conversions from evil ways of living. And the explanation of that is simply this: Many a good man mistakenly does what is wrong with the best of intentions. In such cases, God overlooks the mistake, and even in spite of it blesses that man, and makes his work an occasion of blessing to others. But it always remains true that the work itself was really in opposition to God's will. Such is the position of General Booth and the Salvation Army. We Catholics rejoice at the sight of any good the Salvation Army may accomplish. But we are compelled to regret that it should be regarded by its members as a sufficient form of the Christian religion, and be allowed to occupy that place in the lives of its adherents which should really be held by Catholicism only. Many are thus contented to remain outside the Catholic Church, and to have so much less than our Lord really intended them to possess.
We can still hear the naysayers, "So what? They still do good and Francis said they are ecumenical. Get with the times!"
What the Catholic Sacraments are not important to you? OK, we have more on the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army and abortion
Screenshot of Salvation Army's page on abortion
Whoops, sorry if you are a product of a rape. The Salvation Army doesn't want you to live, they want you to die! If four of our friends' mothers felt the same way, they would have never been our friends because they would have been murdered, not to mention the families they have started which would have never existed! To Francis, members of the Salvation Army are just good people doing good things.
What does the Salvation Army say about birth control?
Screenshot of Salvation Army's page on abortion
Salvation Army & Planned Parenthood
That's very cut and dry isn't it?
Francis praying with the General of the Salvation Army
When he met with the representatives of the Salvation Army, Francis said the following,
"I earnestly hope that Catholics and Salvationists will continue to offer a common witness to Christ and to the Gospel in a world so much in need of experiencing God’s boundless mercy.
Catholics and Salvationists, together with other Christians, recognise that those in need have a special place in God’s heart, so much so that the Lord Jesus Christ himself became poor for our sake (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9). As a result, Catholics and Salvationists often meet in the same peripheries of society. It is my hope that our shared faith in Jesus Christ the Saviour, the one mediator between God and man (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5), will become evermore the firm foundation of friendship and cooperation between us.
'The Church which "goes forth" is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelising community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative; he has loved us first (cf. 1 John 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads, and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy' (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 24).
I pray that in today’s world all of Christ’s disciples will make their contribution with the same conviction and dynamism that The Salvation Army demonstrates in its devoted and highly appreciated service. The differences between Catholics and Salvationists regarding theological and ecclesiological questions need not impede the witness of our shared love of God and love of neighbour, a love which is capable of inspiring a concerted commitment to restoring the dignity of those who live on the margins of society.
Dear friends, I pray to God for the work of The Salvation Army. May many people in difficulty continue to rely on your efforts, which enable Christ’s light to shine in the darkest recesses of their lives. May you and your fellow Salvationists be filled with the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, understanding, fortitude and peace, and so witness to the Lord’s Kingdom in our suffering world. And I ask that you also pray for me."
We at Call Me Jorge... guess that unwanted pregnancies and unborn children are not equal in Francis' eyes to the outcasts who occupy the peripheries. Are not all souls important to God? Why isn't this the same with Francis?
The Salvation Army, ringing the bell and collecting money for abortion mills!