Italian evangelical pastor accuses Pope Francis of wanting to destroy Protestant Reformation

Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church want to destroy the Protestant Reformation, according to an Italian evangelical pastor who spoke to attendees of a conference in Orlando, Florida last week that was held to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

(REUTERS / Tony Gentile)Pope Francis, waves as he leaves at the end of his general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, December 17, 2014.

Speaking to the people who attended the Ligonier National Conference last week, Church Breccia di Roma pastor Leonardo De Chirico said Pope Francis and the Catholic Church remain opposed to the Protestant Reformation and modern evangelicalism. He also accused the pontiff of having the ultimate goal of destroying that Reformation, The Christian Post relays.

"He is ... the first Jesuit pope. And remember, the Jesuit order was founded in the 16th century to fight against the spreading of the Protestant Reformation," Pastor De Chirico said during the conference in Orlando. "With Pope Francis, the Jesuit order comes to us with a smiling face, but always carrying with him not only the tradition, but also the goal of the Jesuit order to dismantle, to deconstruct the Protestant Reformation and to offer a Roman Catholic alternative."

In July last year, De Chirico was one of the speakers at the Rome Scholars Network in Rome, which focused on evangelicalism's gap with the Roman Catholic faith. After the gathering, the Italian pastor told Evangelical Focus that there are many Catholic leaders and some evangelicals as well who say the Reformation is over, but they do not agree with this thought.

De Chirico also said the Roman Catholic faith is trying to promote the strategy of absorption to "swallow up Evangelicals." He said Rome's friendly façade does not reflect its unchanging fundamental structure.

The Italian pastor's words were echoes of what Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur said the previous week at the conference. The latter said the Catholic Church's 16th century Council of Trent clashes with Martin Luther's doctrine of "Sola Fide," and that there is no harmony between the two denominations.