Free Presbyterians Protest COP26 Visit of Pope Francis

Free Presbyterians Protest COP26 visit of Pope Francis 

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has sent a protest to the First Minister urging her to resist political and diplomatic ties with the Pope, ahead of the COP26 summit of world leaders in Glasgow in November. 

At a meeting of the Church’s Southern Presbytery in Glasgow on the 24th August, Rev David Campbell proposed a Resolution of protest, quoting the famous Act of the Scottish Parliament of 24th August 1560 abolishing the Pope’s authority in Scotland. Writing to the Scottish First Minister, the Presbytery claims that the intended visit “is harmful to the spiritual interest” of the Scottish government and the people of Scotland. 

Free Presbyterians previously protested against Pope John Paul II coming to Scotland on what was billed as a “purely pastoral” visit in May 1982. The firmly Protestant Church also resisted the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010, which included a reception by the Queen in Edinburgh, and which reportedly cost the UK taxpayer £10 million. The intended visit of the Pope to the COP26 summit in Glasgow is expected to be a lower key affair, but the Presbytery warns that “whether in a civil matter, or for religious purposes” the Pope’s teaching is “contrary to the Word of God and the constitutional securities of Scotland.” 

The Resolution was sent to the First Minister with a verse from the Book of Revelation, which the Church believes identifies the Papacy with Babylon, and is also an urgent plea and appeal to Roman Catholics to come out of their Church and to find salvation only in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Protestant Church of the Reformation was essentially founded on evangelism among Roman Catholics. 

The Presbytery has asked the First Minister to use her “influence to encourage the government of the United Kingdom” to cease diplomatic ties with the Vatican. Free Presbyterians believe that the Pope is the Antichrist of Scripture. They claim that Roman Catholicism teaches a false gospel, harming souls, and is a danger to morals, especially in forbidding marriage and imposing vows of celibacy. The Republic of Ireland cut diplomatic ties in 2011, in what many viewed as anger over child sex-abuse revelations.