Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart Debates Catholicism on 1984’s ‘Crossfire’

Earlier this week I flipped on the TV without caring the station and flopped onto the bed. Up popped four gentlemen passionately discussing a religious topic. I didn’t give it much thought since there’s often protestant programs popping up on obscure channels–especially for those who don’t care to have cable like myself. Too lazy to move and caring too little to change it, I watched the men discuss how faith alone attains salvation (sola fide) and good works are worthless. It wasn’t a surprising topic to expect from four southern televangelists.

Image result for jimmy swaggart meme
SBN is Swaggart’s TV Network

I watched a few minutes more until the discussion took a break for an infomercial-like advertisement featuring one of the men on the discussion panel, “Buy Jimmy Swaggart’s Commentary on the Book of Romans before supplies run out!” The televangelist and salesman went on, “and if you buy now, I’ll throw in the Q&A book Ask Jimmy for the low price of $30!”.

Who was this guy and who cares about his commentary on Romans, lets hear his thoughts on James I thought. Knowing the name Swaggart sounded familiar to me, I did some quick research (Google) and learned a lot in mere minutes. I realized how well-known and popular he was through the 80’s and 90’s as a protestant preacher, singer, and TV personality. The best takeaway was a clip I came across of him on a 1984 episode of CNN’s Crossfire debating Pat Buchanan and Tom Braden about Catholicism. It’s interesting because both Pat and Tom defend Catholicism despite representing politically conservative and liberal positions (a cable news liberal defending the Church, what?!). Mr. Swaggart, though, correctly jabs the liberal Tom Braden when he tells him he has no clue about what he is talking about when it comes to Christianity.

As a millennial born in the same year as this broadcast, the early form of this show is new to me. Also new to me is the fact that Pat Buchanan is a Catholic (perhaps I knew that he was at least culturally when he ran for president, those are different). Mr. Buchanan does a pretty good job defending the Faith and employs the classic argument against the protestant belief of sola scriptura by asking Jim what determines his interpretation of scripture is accurate but not someone else’s, specifically the pope’s along with a magisterium of bishops in agreement. Braden came off as a sentimentalist and shot himself in the foot a few times, which set Swaggart up for some (mostly accurate) body shots. ☩

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A Great Message from the 14th Sunday After Pentecost (1962MR)

Those attending the Extraordinary Form today will have heard the propers for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost. A point I have been discussing and praying over often lately surfaced within the readings, specifically the Communion proper, Matthew 6:23.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God: and all things shall be added unto you, saith the Lord.

It is a point that CS Lewis sums up succinctly in the pictured quote below:

The message is simple but of paramount importance for the person who desires both an ordered life on earth–filled with as much joy and free from as much despair as possible–for themselves and their family and a spot in heaven. If one’s actions are healthily oriented towards heaven, they will likely also be rewarded with worldly benefits. But if one orients their actions according to worldly enjoyments, they will, ultimately, end up with nothing.

Father John Zuhlsdorf expands well on this point, in the context of today’s other propers:

There is nothing wrong with material, created things or wealth until we seek them for themselves. Only God must be seated on the throne of our heart. It is hard to make material gains and we toil for them. But we can easily perform small acts that are meritorious for heaven. These acts accrue. Small incremental acts help us to greater acts, especially in regard to mortifications and performance of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Working in small increments is a good way to proceed in the spiritual life. This is how we conquer vices and build virtues. And the spiritual merits we gain accrue exponentially when we are in the state of grace. […] Even the smallest acts we perform, if we do them prayerfully for love of God, uniting them to Him and His will for us, are meritorious. Examine your consciences in regard to created things, which includes people. No created thing, which includes people, can be on the throne of your heart. That’s God’s. When our loves are ordered, we can love people and use material things properly and in ways that are meritorious.

Pope Francis Visits the Disabled

The Holy Father put his Gospel message on full display last Friday when he visited a home just outside of Rome which cares for those with “severe mental disabilities”. The time he spent with them, including lunch, is touching. L’Arche Center strives to uphold the dignity of those it serves and combats, as the pontiff often describes, the “throwaway culture” of society.

There’s few things more beautiful about Pope Francis than his care for those most in need. God bless the Pope.

From Edward Pentin at the Register:

Pope Francis’ much loved human touch was on display on Friday when he made a surprise visit to a community in Italy which houses and cares for persons who have severe mental disabilities.

CNA provided the above video of the visit which was part of the Pope’s “Mercy Friday” initiative, in which he carries out one act of mercy a month on a Friday throughout the Jubilee of Mercy.

The Holy Father sat at table and ate with the volunteers and the disabled, and listened to their testimonies.