VATICAN — In an intriguing move by the Vatican, Pope Francis has invited veteran Adventist evangelist and staunch papal critic Doug Batchelor to Rome for peace talks.
The invitation comes after a seemingly never-ending stream of criticism of the Vatican from Doug Batchelor. Pope Francis, who allegedly has Adventist family, said that he was inviting Batchelor for a conversation focused on common ground instead of differences “whether real, stemming from 16th century Catholic abuses or rooted in complete misunderstanding of modern Catholic positions.”
Although there has been no official response from Batchelor yet, Adventist inter-faith scholar Mattias Telmo says that he doubts Batchelor will take the pope up on his offer to talk. “Doug Batchelor appeals to a base of highly combative television viewers that take end-time prophecy as an excuse to lambast almost every move that the pope makes. Even we Adventists feel like he is going a little far.”
Telmo appealed to Adventists to develop a more generous view of Christians and others outside the Adventist faith community. “Believe it or not, there is a way to be a responsible Adventist with a watchful eye for prophetic events without demonizing every move of someone who honestly seems to be doing his level best as a religious leader,” said Telmo of the current pope. “We are often guilty of comparing the best of our ideals as a church to the worst abuses of another faith. It’s like a Catholic equating Mother Teresa with his church and claiming David Koresh was a typical Adventist. That is just not fair.”