Southern Baptist leader and Catholic ally slams pope

A Southern Baptist leader who Catholic bishops highlighted as a partner in the religious liberty fights has harsh words for Pope Francis.

Dr. Russell Moore (

Dr. Russell Moore (

One of the Catholic Church’s allies in the fight to safeguard religious liberty is lashing out at Pope Francis.

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who leads the Catholic bishops’s religious liberty commission, cited the Catholic Church’s partnership with 100 faith leaders in calling for protections for religious liberty this past July. Featured notably in the first line of the press release was Dr. Russell Moore, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Today, Moore offered some pointed words on Pope Francis’s latest high-profile interview:

It’s another week and thus another interview with Pope Francis. This one, I’m sorry to say, is more than just confusing. It’s a theological wreck.

Moore takes issue with the pope’s assertion that:

Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good. … Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.

Moore jabs at the pope’s cited influence of Augustine on his belief:

From Augustine’s Confessions to “Well, everyone has his own ideas about good and bad…” is a mighty long path.

Further, Moore challenges the pope on his claim that the Catholic Church had grown too obsessed with abortion and same-sex marriage:

If the church is right about the personhood of unborn children (and I think it is), then why would we not be “obsessed” about speaking for them, and for the women and men whose consciences are tyrannized by their past sins?

When the Catholic bishops touted their partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention and Scientology, among others, it raised a few eyebrows. It’ll be interesting to see if Moore’s comments damage this relationship. Of course, his critique of Francis isn’t as harsh as those from some Catholics.