Pope Francis visited a Waldensian church and asked for forgiveness. This is the first time a Pope has visited this Evangelical church denomination.
The denomination is very small, with 30,000 worldwide, mostly in Italy and France.
And they gave him a warm welcome. Pastor Paolo Ribet of the Waldensian Church in Turin, said
“In this path of individuals and churches, we find brothers and sisters who join us along the journey. Today, with great joy, we find ourselves with you, as a new brother in this journey.”
In his speech Pope Francis brought up their past persecution of the Waldenses and asked for forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church.
“I ask for forgiveness for the non-Christian attitudes and behaviors, some even inhumane, that we carried out against you. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, forgive us.”
And of course he promoted unity with the Roman Catholic Church, as he draws the world unto himself.
“Unity, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, does not mean uniformity. In fact, even brothers and sisters have a common origin, but they are not identical.”
To understand why he needed to ask for forgiveness, here is a partial list of come of their heinous crimes against the Waldenses. Inhumane is an understatement.
In 538 A.D., the Roman Catholic Church gained religious and civil power when Emperor Justinian issued a decree making the Pope head of all churches.
It didn’t take them long to start persecuting people groups such as the Waldenses (called Vaudois in French), who were used by God to preserve His Holy Word, preach the pure Gospel of Christ, and testify against the Antichrist Papal Church.
First, let’s define the word heretic:
According to Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary, this is a heretic: “One who holds or advocates controversial opinions, esp. one who publicly opposes the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.”
Or, as one author has put it, “Heresy, to a Catholic, is anti-Catholic truth found in the Bible.”
At length, Peter Waldo, or Valdo, a native of Lyons, eminent for his piety and learning, became a strenuous opposer of popery; and from him the reformed, at that time, received the appellation of Waldenses or Waldoys.
Pope Alexander III being informed by the bishop of Lyons of these transactions, excommunicated Waldo and his adherents, and commanded the bishop to exterminate them, if possible, from the face of the earth; hence began the papal persecutions against the Waldenses. (d)
1140 – The number of the Waldenses was very great, and the probability of its increasing alarmed the pope, who wrote to several princes to banish them from their dominions, and employed many learned men to write against their doctrines.
1211 – Roman Catholic authorities burn at the stake approximately 80 Bible-believing Waldensian Christian men and women at Strasburg in Alsace (in northeastern France). (g2)
1229 – The Council of Toulouse forbids reading or owning a Vaudois (Waldensian) Bible. (Canon XIV)
“We prohibit laymen possessing copies of the Old and New Testament … We forbid them most severely to have the above books in the popular vernacular.” (In any language but Latin)
“The lords of the districts shall carefully seek out the ‘heretics’ in dwellings, hovels, and forests, and even their underground retreats shall be entirely wiped out.” – Council Tolosanum – Pope Gregory IX
1477 – When Pope Sixtus IV commanded a crusade against the Waldensian Christians in southern France, Roman Catholic soldiers responded by murdering many thousands of these Bible-believing Christians – men, women, and children. (r)
1540-1570 – Papal Rome sent army after army of Roman Catholic soldiers into southern France and surrounding areas in an attempt to exterminate the Waldensian Bible-believing Christians.
These Roman Catholic armies butchered up to 900,000 Waldensian Christians – men, women, and children – during that thirty-year period. (t)
Think of Monks and Priests, in holy garments — directing, with heartless cruelty and inhuman brutality — the work of torturing and burning alive innocent men and women, and doing it in the Name of Christ — by the direct order of the “Vicar of Christ!”
d – BibleStudyTools.com Fox’s Book of Martyrs – Persecution of the Waldenses in France
g2 – Wikipedia – Waldensians https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians
r – Christianism.com http://www.christianism.com/additions/33.html
t – Grace Gems – Evil Popes http://gracegems.org/D/evil_popes.htm
Related Study: Witnesses Against The Papal Antichrist