LOS ANGELES — Lou Engle of The Call is again raising concerns after a Roman Catholic leader prostrated at his feet on Saturday in declaring that he wanted to “kiss his feet” in an act of reconciliation between Christians and Catholics, and Engle returned the act by likewise kissing the man’s shoe.
The gesture took place during “Azusa Now,” an event hosted by The Call, which was attended by over 100,000 people at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“Believing that decades of globe-spanning prayer have saturated the heavens, we will boldly ask God for the rain of revival,” a description of the event states. “We will consecrate an entire day—15 hours—for the purpose of unity, miracles, healing, and the proclamation of the gospel.”
Engle had specifically invited Roman Catholics to attend the event.
“We just want to welcome our Catholic brothers and sisters from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to gather together to pray,” he said in a promotional video. “Come join your brothers and sisters at the Memorial Coliseum believing for a move of unity and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
One segment of the event featured Matteo Calisi, a Roman Catholic leader who had been appointed by “Pope Benedict” to serve on the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and had also served as president of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships. Calisi founded United in Christ, an organization that strives for ecumenism between Christians and Catholics.
During the segment at Azusa Now, Calisi told the audience that division between Christians and Catholics is a “diabolical sin,” and that Jesus “doesn’t care” that Christians and Catholics disagree on biblical doctrine.
“He doesn’t care about our differences,” he said through a translator. “We’re not going to be known by our differences … but for the love we have for one another.”
“We Catholics … we want to ask you Protestants for your forgiveness for not respecting the love of Jesus,” Calisi said. “Please give us your forgiveness and your mercy.”
He stated that he wanted to wash Engle’s feet on stage as a gesture of reconciliation, but since it was not possible, he desired to instead kiss his feet.
“We wanted to, Lou, kiss your feet as Catholics,” Calisi said, to which Engle nodded. “And just honor you with this gesture right now.”
Calisi then laid prostrate Engle’s feet, clutching one foot with his hands. Engle placed both hands upon Calisi’s back as he did so.
When Calisi stood, Engle moments later fell to the ground prostrate at Calisi’s feet and kissed one shoe, as others gathered around to lay hands on them. Calisi then spoke against what he called a “spirit of division” between Christians and Catholics.
While some characterized the gesture as a “tender moment,” others expressed deep concern.
“What’s up with Lou Engle letting the representative of the Catholic Church kiss his feet because it would logistically be impossible to wash his feet?” wrote one man from Brazil. “I seem to remember John falling at the feet of an angel … and the angel freaked out! He yanked John up onto his feet and admonished him for doing so. Worship God!!! was the charge set forth by this angelic being who understands the Kingdom of Heaven!”
“This kind of stuff must stop!!! I don’t care where it happens, the ‘holy environment’ it happens in, to whom the ‘honor’ is bestowed or the intentions behind it I call malarky!” he said.
“Besides all of the bad teaching etc., shame on Lou for letting anyone bow prostrate to him and kiss his feet,” another said. “What a big difference from true, biblical apostles like Paul who tore his garments and corrected such an error. The rampant, false teachings and practices in pockets of the American ‘church,’ makes me feel literally sick to my gut.”
The incident begins at approximately 6 hours 55 minutes into the video.