Roman Catholic Endeavors to Overturn the Reformation

Just as the primary response of the Roman Catholic Church to the Biblical faith of the Reformers was the Counter-Reformation through the Jesuits, now Pope Francis a Jesuit leads the Roman Church’s endeavors to overturn the Reformation. Thus it is of vital importance that we understand want is involved in these endeavors so as not only to impede them but to advance Reformation faith. 

In the sixteenth century, the most important response of the Roman Catholic Church to the biblical faith of the Reformers was the Counter-Reformation through the Jesuits.  In an aggressive manner, they led a movement to restore to the Roman Catholic Church the political and ecclesiastical power it had before the Reformation.  The Jesuits led the main Counter-Reformation efforts for four centuries by upholding Papal authority, restoring the sacramental system, and promoting mysticism along with superstitions to those many nations that had been touched by the biblical principles of the Reformation.  They sought out persons of position and power and worked at gaining favor by those who were in their circles of influence, particularly by teaching their children.

            This Jesuitical practice was incorporated into Vatican Council II of 1962-1965.  Its major accomplishment was a planned strategy of false ecumenism.  The resolve was that all other “Christian” institutional denominations and their members are now to be drawn back into full communion under Papal Rome.  Thus, since Vatican Council II, Papal Rome has been working tirelessly to have itself recognized as the only Christian Church.  All others, especially Evangelicals, are designated as “separated brethren.” and may only obtain recognition as authentic Christians by returning to union with the Mother Church.  Thus the Roman Church continues to work towards the time when she will be accepted as in fact the Head of Christendom.

Endeavors to Overturn the Reformation through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)

In 2016, the skilled Jesuit, Pope Francis, leads the Roman Church’s latest activities to overturn the Reformation.  It is of vital importance that we understand what is involved in these activities so as not only to obstruct them but also to advance Reformation faith.  On January 25, 2016, the Catholic News Service reported that Pope Francis would visit Sweden on October 31, 2016,

“to participate in an ecumenical service and the beginning of a year of activities to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  Pope Francis will lead the ecumenical commemoration in Lund alongside Bishop Munib Younan, president of the Lutheran World Federation, and the Rev. Martin Junge, federation general secretary, said a joint press release by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the LWF.”[1] 

The apostasy of the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation has already been attested to, when on October 31, 1999, they together issued an accord entitled, “The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.”[2]  The official common statement under the heading entitled, “The Justified as Sinner,” stated, “We confess together that in Baptism the Holy Spirit unites one with Christ, justifies, and truly renews the person.”[3] 

Biblical truth, however, is that the believer’s faith cannot be based on any physical work whatsoever, as true faith is in Christ Jesus’ perfect life, and sacrifice alone justifies a person by grace alone through faith alone.[4]  To claim that the causative effects “in Baptism” justifies an individual before the Holy God is to attempt to negate the Lord’s grace and His finished work on the cross.  It is “to preach another gospel.”[5]  Justification by God’s grace alone through faith alone was Martin Luther’s great principle, the very principle that the Lutheran World Federation totally compromised in 1999 through an extended ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.  

The Rome Church Advances its Ecumenical Grip on the Church of England

Furthermore, on February 9, 2016, the same Catholic News Service reported that,

“…[the] archbishop of Westminster hosted an evening service at the former home of King Henry VIII.  It is the first time a service has been conducted at the palace’s Chapel Royal according to the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church in more than 450 years.”[6] 

This latest intrusion was predictable since Pope Benedict XVI made a Papal visit to the United Kingdom in September of 2010.  The visit was called “an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen ties between the United Kingdom and the Holy See on global initiatives, as well as the important role of faith in creating strong communities.”[7]  The Pontiff addressed the British civil society at Westminster Hall [both houses of Parliament].” [8] 

             Although King Henry VIII broke politically with Papal Rome, he personally never renounced Roman Catholic doctrine.  Consequently, the present-day Church of England, represented by the Archbishop of Westminster and mimicking Roman Catholic doctrine, is being ever more closely united with the apostate Roman Church by ecumenical dialogue, precisely as Vatican Council II document No. 32 stated is the Papacy’s objective.[9]  

Now, in 2016, the two reports that we have documented announce the realization of 500 years of papal efforts to “nullify” the Reformation.  It is necessary, therefore, to review the historical facts of the Reformation in order to demonstrate that the intended Roman Catholic ecumenical meetings with both the president of Lutheran World Federation {LWF) and the Archbishop of Westminster are specifically intended to promote apostate betrayals of the Reformation faith. 

Authentic Reformation Faith

Martin Luther in Germany; John Calvin, Lefevre, and Farel in France; and Zwingli in Switzerland all represent authentic Reformation faith.  The essential nature of their Reformation faith was salvation before the Holy God by His grace alone.  United by the truth of God’s Word, they believed that each individual is saved by God’s grace alone as Scripture states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”[10]  They each taught the biblical truth that,  “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…that he [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”[11] 

            The Reformation possessed definite characteristics, many of which set it apart from any other revival in history.  One of the distinguishing features was its territorial outreach.  It began simultaneously and independently in various European countries.  Men such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Lefevre, and Zwingli preached in unison against rituals of Romanism and exalted faith in Christ alone as the sole means of salvation.  Although Luther is called the originator of the Reformation, the other Reformers, also proponents of Scripture alone, being the basis of truth, preached the same gospel of grace.

Sola Scriptura: The Power Principle of the Reformation

After what seemed endless years floundering in the heretical Papal Tradition, seeing the light of the Reformation, Europe began to come to biblical Christian faith.  Martin Luther spoke eloquently to the heart of God’s people when he said, “Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason–I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other–my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen.”[12]  Indeed, Luther had simply discovered what had been the standard attested to by our Lord and His Apostles.  In the wilderness temptation, the Lord Jesus three times rebuffed the prince of the devils, saying, “It is written.”  For example, “he answered and said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”[13]  In stating, “It is written,” the Lord used the precise phrase that is used eighty times in the Holy Bible.  This repeated phrase underlines its importance.  The Lord’s complete acceptance of the authority of the written Word is evident in His words, “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.”[14]  So elsewhere it is written, “Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy name.”[15]  The Reformers bowed in submission to the sole authority of God’s Word, as the Apostle Paul had taught them, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”[16]

Thus, Luther and the Reformers whom the Lord raised up at that time knew that a person’s conscience is bound to God’s written Word: “Thy Word is truth.[17]  Indeed, all true disciples must acknowledge that there is an absolute standard by which a thing may be judged to be truth or falsehood, and afterward pleasing or displeasing to God.  It is not possible to own Jesus Christ as Master or Lord and simultaneously refuse the rule of the Father’s Word in and by Him.  If a person loves God he will love His Word alone; that is, without the contamination of tradition.  “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.[18]  A person cannot say he loves God and not love His Word; for the marks of authentic spiritual affection are obvious in Scripture: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.”[19]

            Having placed their faith in subjection to God’s written Word, the Reformers could not do otherwise than condemn the false Roman Catholic dogma that “Sacred Tradition” was essential to the knowledge of the truth.  Yet this untrue belief remains the system of belief of the Church of Rome as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other.”  The Catechism of the Catholic Church also states, “And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.”  “As a result the [Roman Catholic] Church...does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the Holy Scriptures alone.  Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”[20]

Learning the Way of Truth and Life for the Reformers

At the time of the Reformation, scholarship and the pursuit of truth had become a staple of life.  A great friendship and fraternization developed among the Reformers, as the movement grew across Europe and the British Isles.  A frequent interchange of ideas ensued, and hospitality was freely extended.  One of the surprising features of the Re-formation was this extent of contact and cooperation among the Reformers as they encouraged each other in their efforts.  The Reformation spread with great rapidity.  Of course consolidations, refinements, and extensions were inevitable; but it is difficult to imagine so tremendous a revival on such a vast scale could be executed in so short a time, bringing with it a complete change in thought and in peoples’ lives.  This was necessarily providential; for at that time there were educated men who knew the Hebrew, Latin, and Greek necessary to read the Bible as it then existed.  And it was essential that the Bible be translated into the common language of each country so that the people would have the privilege of reading the Scriptures in their own tongue.  This task demanded scholarship.  All the preaching of many Luthers, Latimers, Zwinglis, Knoxes, and Wisharts would have failed to accomplish the Reformation if, at the same time, the Bible in the common language had not been provided for the people.  If at the moment Latimer was preaching at Cambridge, it had not happened that Tyndale, who had fled to the Continent, was smuggling back thousands of copies of the English New Testament so that every Englishman could read the way of salvation for himself, there would have been no Reformation in England.  A similar situation occurred in Germany, France, and other countries. 

            The Reformation proper, the break with Roman Catholic totalitarianism, was accomplished in a relatively short time.  The Reformation was a constant, all-encompassing moving of the Holy Spirit.  It was truly a glorious spiritual awakening when multitudes were freed from bondage of the superstition and ritualism of an apostate Papacy, and converted by the Gospel of Grace.  The recovery of the sole authority of Scripture led to obedience to God and His Word, just as the rediscovery of the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone led every true believer into direct and personal contact with the God of revival.

The Heritage of the Reformation

What then is the heritage of the Reformation?  How are we to learn from it for our time?  The Reformation itself was a revival, grounded not only in the Word of God, but also in prayer as each previous and subsequent revival has been.  Spurgeon clearly described the prayer that was the support sustaining the Reformation.  Spurgeon said, “Think not that Luther was the only man that wrought the Reformation! There were hundreds who sighed and cried in secret, ‘O God, how long?’: in the cottages of the Black Forest, in the homes of Germany, on the hills of Switzerland, in the palaces of Spain, in the dungeons of the Inquisition and the green lanes of England.”[21]  Thus, prayer was the bedrock of this great movement as the dedicated prayer requests of numberless hearts across Europe pleaded the Lord to send a mighty moving of His Spirit. 

            The first great awakening after the Reformation occurred in the 18th century in both America and Britain, which was associated with Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield.  Prior to the outpouring of the Lord’s grace, we find prayer in the lives of these men and in the lives of their associates.  Also, in Ulster Northern Ireland in 1859, and the end of the 19th century, and in the beginning of the 20th century at Wales, prayer anticipated these Reformations.

Conclusion

The Reformers proclaimed in their biblical teaching that God alone is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in His being, goodness, holiness, justice, power, truth, and wisdom.  Thus, He alone hears prayers; He alone is the all Holy One; He alone is the Holy Father; in a word, to God alone be the glory. Thus, plans for Pope Francis to visit Sweden on October 31, 2016, and the Archbishop of Westminster hosting an evening service at the former home of King Henry VIII, are obvious examples of the Roman Church’s apostasy.  In 2016, sin indeed abounds.  The holiness of God, the fear of God, the conviction of sin, and the gospel of grace are necessary.  With all this abounding sin and deception, how do we live and reign with Christ Jesus at this time?  The Scripture gives us the answer, “For if by one mans offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”[22]  As you receive the abundant grace given by Christ, you are redeemed from the dominion of death; you will live and reign with Christ as you are sanctified daily through His Word by the Holy Spirit, and by constant fellowship with Him.  Also with Him, you shall reign forever and glorify Him for all eternity.  Believe on Him alone and you will be secure in Him, “to the praise of the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved.”[23]

            It is by the power of grace of the Lord Jesus Christ alone that we can truly live the Christian life, as did the Reformers in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.  The Lord’s sacrifice is for the believer, in that He substituted Himself in the place of sinners who would come to believe, and thus satisfied the law on their behalf.  So authentic was this substitution that His sacrifice for them eliminated all necessity of punishment.  In becoming the substitute for His people, Christ Jesus took their legal responsibility.  In the wonderful words of Scripture, “when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”[24]  The Lord God has promised to be a Father to true believers—that they shall be His sons and daughters.  This is the greatest honor possible.  What rank ingratitude that anyone should slander such a gift and spurn Christ Jesus and eternal life in favor of the apostate Roman Catholic Church.  Hence, the Lord promised, “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”[25]  Those who come at the call of God are given to Christ, because it is through His blood alone that they can be saved.  The Lord God, by His Spirit, convinces of sin, righteousness, and judgment those who acknowledge their iniquity and their need of salvation.  Is the Lord God calling you?  Only in the Lord Jesus Christ is found freedom and eternal life!  By His grace believe on Him and Him alone, “for by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”[26]  ♦

Please make the article below known to your family and church members, and if possible have it posted on the Internet.

I would like to have your response to the article with any proposals that you may have. You can email me at; richardmbennett@yahoo.com  Or else send your comments to Pastor Glenn with whom I work at; bereanbeaconmail@yahoo.com

Thank you,

Richard Bennett

 

 

[1] www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/01/25/pope-francis-to-visit-sweden-for-reformation-commemoration/   2/23/2016

[2] www.bereanbeacon.org/new-blog/2015/10/17/the-catholic-lutheran-accord

[3] Lutheran-Catholic Accord, “The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” October 31, 1999, Sect. 4.4 

[4] John 6:29; Romans 2:28, 29; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Colossians 2:11; Romans 3:21-26

[5]  Galatians 1:9

[6] www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3439293/Hampton-Court-Palace-chapel-holds-Catholic-service-Henry-VIII-broke-away-Rome-16th-century.html  5/18/2016

[7] https://zenit.org/articles/uk-queen-government-welcome-papal-visit

[8] http://www.zenit.org/article-28654?l=english

[9] Vatican Council II Document “Reflections and Suggestions Concerning Ecumenical Dialogue”  August. 1970

[10] Ephesians 2:8-9

[11] Romans 3:23-24, 26

[12] http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1501-1600/martin-luthers-most-noble-words-11629925.html

[13] Matthew 4:4

[14] Matthew 5:17-18

[15] Psalm 138:2

[16] 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

[17] John 17:17

[18] Psalm 119:140

[19] Jeremiah 15:16

[20] Catechism of the Catholic Church, Para. 80, 81 and 82

[21] www.the-highway.com/revival-reformation_Lamb.html 2/23/2016

[22] Romans 5:17

[23] Ephesians 1:6

[24] Galatians 4:4-5

[25] John 6.37

[26] Ephesians 2:8-9

The Legacy of the True Historical Patrick

Ireland has a very distinctive history.  It was an island untouched by the Roman legions, and Patrick, the Evangelist, brought to it the Gospel of grace.  Patrick was descended from a family that had placed their faith in Christ Jesus for at least two generations.  He tells us his father was “the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a presbyter, of the settlement of Bannaven Taburniae.”[1]  These facts are recorded in Patrick’s own testimony of faith.  This authentic document is preserved in five manuscripts: one in the Book of Armagh of the seventh century, the second in the Cotton Library of the tenth century, a third in the French monastery of St. Vedastus, and two more in the Cathedral Library of Salisbury.  This authenticated document is the main source of both the person and the mission of Patrick, and also his clear statement of the Gospel of grace.

Patrick was born in the year A.D. 373[2] in a town on the River Clyde in Roman Britain, now a part of Scotland.  When he was sixteen years old, Patrick was captured by a band of pirates who sold him to a chieftain in what is now county Antrim in Northern Ireland.  For six years he tended flocks.  In his testimony, he tells us, “I was taken captive before I knew what I should desire and what I should shun.”[3]  It was during the time of his captivity that he turned from his careless ways and came to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.  He was convicted that he was a sinner.  In his own words,

“[B]efore I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and He that is mighty came and in His mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall.  And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for His great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.”[4]  

Patrick, like so many of the godly men of history, found God’s favor in the riches of the grace of Christ.  This was the theme echoing throughout the testimony of Patrick, in his own words “I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace.”[5]   He then grew in the grace of God.  Having believed on “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,”[6] he directly received “of his fullness…grace for grace.”[7]  In his own words,

“More and more did the love of God, and my fear of Him and faith increase, and my spirit was moved so that in a day [I said] from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number; besides I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time.”[8]

Patrick relates how, after six years, he escaped and following a difficult journey on land and sea returned to his people in Scotland.  In his own words, “I was again in Britain with my family [kinsfolk], and they welcomed me as a son, and asked me, in faith, that after the great tribulations I had endured I should not go any where else away from them.”[9]

His Direct Mission from the Lord

Like the Apostle Paul, he received a clear and personal call from the Lord to preach the Gospel in the land of his former captivity.  He described his call in these words,

“I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter:  ‘The Voice of the Irish’, and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice:  ‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.’  And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke.  Thanks be to God, because after so many years the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry.”[10] 

He speaks of being called again in a dream another night, but makes it clear how he interpreted what was happening by the Scriptures.  He wrote, “‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we know not how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for utterance.’”  And again, “‘The Lord our advocate intercedes for us.’”  Thus, Patrick relies on Scripture to understand his experience and to see that it was the Lord Himself who was calling him.  In his own words, “He who gave his life for you, He it is who speaks within you.”[11]  He understood that Christ Jesus, who had died for his sins, was the One who was calling him to work as an evangelist in the very island where he had been held captive.

A second historical document from Patrick’s own hand is his letter to Coroticus.  In it he explains, “Thus I am a servant in Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[12]  This is a major factor in understanding Patrick.  He knew himself as a sinner and found salvation where only sinners find it, “in Christ Jesus our Lord.[13]  The first words of his testimony read, “I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many.”  Likewise, in the beginning of his letter to Coroticus he states, “I, Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, resident in Ireland”.  Quite clearly Patrick saw himself as a sinner.  He did not look to some spark of divine life from within himself or to some ritual; rather, he looked unto Christ Jesus.  Patrick’s words, “unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” shows his distinct and personal comfort and courage in Christ.  Totally unlike religion that looks to rituals, Patrick had his eyes set on the Lord.  Catholicism now, and to some extent even in Patrick’s time, looks to sacraments as necessary for salvation.[14]  Patrick saw himself only as a sinner saved by grace in Christ Jesus.  Patrick’s message is that salvation is totally in Christ alone—a message utterly diverse from that of Roman Catholicism, then and now.

His Mission Begins

Patrick, the Christian evangelist, being about 30 years old, together with some brothers in the Lord, set out for Ireland.  He arrived in or about the year 405.  This fact of history is authentic and verified.  For example, Marcus, an Irish Bishop, who lived at the beginning of the ninth century, states that Patrick came to Ireland in the year 405, and Nennius, who lived about the same time, repeats the statement.[15]  This date is of great importance because many centuries later there was an attempt made to confuse Patrick with Palladius, who had been sent out by Pope Celestine as a missionary to Ireland.  When news of Patrick’s Christian success had reached Rome, Pope Celestine then sent Palladius as a bishop to bring the churches under the control of the Papacy.  It was in 432, at least 27 years after Patrick’s commission from God, that Palladius from Rome came on the scene.  When Palladius did come to Ireland, it was to an Ireland that had many Christian churches and that did not accept his message of subservience to the Bishop of Rome.  In actual fact, Palladius was greatly discouraged by his lack of success.  To quote from the historian Philip Schaff, “Palladius was so discouraged that he soon abandoned the field, with his assistants, for north Britain, where he died among the Picts…. The Roman mission of Palladius failed; the independent mission of Patrick succeededHe is the true Apostle of Ireland, and has impressed his memory in indelible characters upon the Irish race at home and abroad.”[16]

God’s Grace Over the Course of Sixty Years

The work of Patrick and his associates in Ireland was extremely difficult.  He came up against the old pagan religion of the Druids.  The people believed in the Druids as pagan priests who would mediate for them in the things of the spirit.  When Patrick preached Christ Jesus in his own words he said,

“I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, and the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth.  As He once promised through His prophets:  ‘To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.’[17]  And again, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth.’  And I wish to wait then for His promise which is never unfulfilled, just as it is promised in the Gospel.”[18]  He wrote of baptizing many thousands of believers after they had professed faith.[19]

He also wrote about anxious journeys, difficulties, and disappointments.  He combated the powers of darkness in the priesthood of the Druids.  He relied on Christ Jesus and the glorious Holy Spirit given to convict people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.  He understood grace to be entirely from God when he declared,

“I, alone, can do nothing unless He Himself vouchsafes it to me.  But let Him search my heart and [my] nature, for I crave enough for it, even too much, and I am ready for Him to grant me that I drink of His chalice, as He has granted to others who love him.  Therefore may it never befall me to be separated by my God from His people whom He has won in this most remote land.  I pray God that He gives me perseverance, and that He will deign that I should be a faithful witness for His sake right up to the time of my passing.”[20]

Over the course of 60 years, Patrick went the length and breadth of Ireland preaching the Gospel and, like Timothy and Titus before him, he ordained elders and established churches.  It is reckoned that at the end of his days there were 365 churches across the island.  These were established, as were the churches in biblical times, with the people served by a pastor or elder.  The authority of the pastor was one of service, rather than lording it over the people.  It was like the establishing of churches that were written about in the pages of the New Testament.  Likewise, the monasteries set up by Patrick, were totally unlike the monasteries that were established under the Church of Rome.  These monasteries were quite like those of the Vaudois and other early Christian churches of northern Italy and southern France, whereby men came aside for some years to be trained in the Scriptures and to learn how to evangelize and to bring the Gospel to others.  Later in their lives, these men married and had families.  These men were not forsaking the world for some retreat of inner holiness; rather, they were men who saw light and life in Christ Jesus and wished to evangelize others with the true Gospel.  Because of these monasteries and the churches that Patrick founded in Ireland, Ireland became known as the “Isle of Saints and Scholars.”

Six Hundred Years of Fruitfulness

The clarity of the Gospel message cherished by Patrick and those who worked with him was to live on for many years after him. There were many famous missionaries like Patrick, such as Columba and his companions who set out for Scotland in 563.  Then there was Columbanus with his companions that went to evangelize France and Germany in 612.  Kilian and the brothers that accompanied him went as missionaries to Franconia and Wurzburg in 680.  Forannan and twelve brothers with him set out to bring the Gospel to the Belgian frontier in 970.[21]

For more than 600 years, Irish missionaries carried the Gospel with the same truthfulness as Patrick’s to Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, and beyond.  Darkness covered Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries.  The Dark Ages had begun and the Roman Church, having gained rulership through intrigue and persecution, now held most of Europe in her iron grip.  Even so, in those dark centuries, the Irish missionaries continued to spread the true Gospel, seed which for centuries to come would bear much good fruit all across Europe. 

Embezzlement of the Legacy of Patrick

With the coming of the Danes in the ninth century, however, the Celtic Church in Ireland began to lose its biblical clarity.  Furthermore, Papal Rome began to unleash military power to bring Ireland under her control.  This began with the decree of Pope Adrian IV issued to King Henry II of England in 1155.  The Pope authorized the invasion of Ireland and sent the king a ring of investiture as Lord of Ireland, calling upon the monarch to, “to extirpate the vices that have there taken root, [in Ireland]…saving to St. Peter and the holy Roman Church the annual pension of one penny from each house.”[22]

King Henry carried out the designs of the Papacy in 1171 and with a strong military force subdued the whole Irish nation.  He received from every Archbishop and Bishop, at the Synod of Cashel in 1172, charters whereby they confirmed the Kingdom of Ireland to him and his heirs.  The King sent a transcript of these charters to Pope Alexander III, who, according to the letters of the Archbishops and Bishops, was extremely gratified by the extension of his dominion, and in 1172 issued a bull confirming the Papal decree of Pope Adrian.  Further rulings were sent from Rome to Henry II and to the princes and nobles of Ireland, and to the bishops of Ireland to establish the hierarchy over the people and pastors and command obedience of both Ireland and England to the Papal throne.

The Heritage of Patrick Lives On!

The heartbeat and the soul of Patrick was the Gospel of Christ.  He wrote in his testimony,

“I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless, I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul’s desire.  I am not ignorant of what is said of my Lord in the Psalm: ‘You destroy those who speak a lie and a lying mouth deals death to the soul.’  Likewise the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘In the day of judgment, men shall render an account for every idle word they utter’’ So it is that I should fear mightily, with terror and trembling, this judgment on the day when no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.”[23]

These words of Patrick are like a prophetic trumpet of the Lord.  It is most serious to steal the legacy from the people of the nation, particularly when that heritage was life and light in Christ Jesus!  Many Irish have grown up engrossed in the rites and rituals of Roman Catholicism.  Many of us, turning from those dead things and having drunk deeply of the biblical grace of God that is in Christ Jesus, now want to stand on Patrick’s words, “no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.”  To publish abroad the Gospel of God’s chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world[24] is our longing now, as it was Patrick’s then.  The wonder of Patrick’s life was simply God’s grace in Christ Jesus.  The divine call to the true Gospel went forth from Ireland for more than 600 years.  Just as Patrick expected the power of God’s grace to overcome the priesthood of the Druids, we now stand for the same biblical Gospel that he preached to evangelize even those in the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy.  The battle is the Lord’s and the victory will be His.  “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[25]  In the legacy of Patrick, we pray Christ words, Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.”[26]  The frightening words of the Lord ring in the ears of those who spend their lives in man-made religion, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”[27]  No person by merely acknowledging Christ through a priesthood and sacraments shall have any part with God in Him, but only the one who does the will of His Father.  The Lord made the will of the Father abundantly clear when He said, “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”[28]  Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts….”[29]  As Christ Jesus’ Gospel stands, so also is His call on your life.  “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”[30]   Believe on Him alone for, “this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”[31]  Then you will stand where, before you, Patrick stood immoveable, and this is how it will be for all eternity.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”[32]  “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.   §

 

Permission is given to copy and distribute this article. 

 

 

[1] The Confession of Patrick,  http://irelandnow.com/confession.html  1/18/2012

[2] “According to the best authorities, Patrick was born about A.D. 373; and Lanigan has adduced good evidence to prove that he died in A.D. 465 (Apud Lanigan, vol. iv. p. 112).  The Book of Armagh furnishes corroborative evidence of the same fact.  It says, ‘From the passion of Christ to the death of Patrick there were 436 years.’  The crucifixion took place about A.D. 30; and adding these thirty years to the 436 that intervened between the crucifixion and the death of Patrick, we arrive at A.D. 466 as the year of his demise.  Traditions of the highest authority attest that he spent sixty years in preaching the Gospel to the Scoto-Irish.” From, “St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” in History of the Scottish Nation by J.A. Wylie (London:  Hamilton, Adams & Co. Andrew Elliot, Edinburgh 1886) Vol. II, Ch 9.

[3]  The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.

[4]  Ibid., p. 2

[5]  Ibid., p. 5

[6]  John 1:14

[7]  John 1:16

[8]  The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.

[9]  The Confession of Patrick, p. 3.

[10]  Ibid., p 3.

[11]  Ibid., p. 3.

[12]  Letter to Coroticus, http://prayerfoundation.org/st_patricks_letter_to_coroticus.htm  1/30/03, p. 2.

[13] “…that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.. Philippians 3:8-9

[14] “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.”  (italic in the original).  Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second ed., (United States Catholic Conference, 1997) Para. 1129.

[15]  The historian, J A Wylie goes to great lengths of demonstrate the fact that Patrick came to Ireland to evangelise in 405.  Among others, he quotes Dr. Killen as saying “‘Its [i.e., this fact] claims to have been acknowledged by the best critics of all denominations,’ by Usher, Ware, Tillemont, Lanigan, and Neander….He [Dr. Killen] thinks that Patrick arrived in Ireland immediately after the death of Nial, or Nial of the Nine Hostages, in the year 405.’”  From “St Patrick:  Apostle of Ireland” by J.A. Wylie in History of the Scottish Nation, Vol. II, Ch. 13, endnote No. 4.

[16]  Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, Sect. 14, “The Conversion of Ireland”.

[17] Jeremiah 16:19

[18]  The Confession of Patrick, p. 5.

[19] Ibid., p. 2.

[20]  Ibid p 8

[21] For a more complete list, see Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, “Conversion of Northern and Western Barbarians”, Sect. 15, “The Irish Church after St. Patrick.  The Missionary Period”.

[22]  The full text of the Papal Bull of Pope Adrian IV that empowered king Henry II to conquer and subdue Christian churches to Rome can be read at: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/medieval/bullad.htm   2/1/2003

[23] The Confession of Patrick, p. 8.

[24] Ephesians 1:4

[25]  Luke 12:32

[26]  John 17:24

[27]  Matthew 7:21

[28]  John 6:29

[29]  Hebrews 3:7, 8

[30]  Romans 10:17

[31] 1 John 5:11-12

[32]  II Corinthians 5:17

Pope Francis Attempts to Cover Up His Promotion of Islam

Comment by Richard Bennett

 

On Monday, January 11, 2015, Pope Francis tried to cover up his promotion of Islam by a condemnation of the Jihadists of the Islamic State.  Pope Francis told members of the international Diplomatic Corps in the Vatican on Monday that every true religion promotes peace, and by contrast, religious extremists who kill in God’s name—such as the Islamic Caliphate, are a perversion of real religion. Such a disclosure was just another attempt to play both sides, as this Jesuit Pope is so skilled in doing. 

Pope Francis stated, “every authentic practice of religion cannot fail to promote peace.”[1] However, he fails to make mention of his own Roman Catholic Church that carried on one of the most horrendous, torturing, murdering campaigns during the years of the Inquisition.  The torture chambers of the Inquisition lasted 605 years and were found throughout the nations controlled by popes of Rome.  They had their beginning under Pope Innocent III in 1203 until the Inquisition's final dissolution in Spain and Portugal in 1808.  Moreover, just like what we have seen with the Roman Catholic Church during the Inquisition, it is evident in the same way with the terrorists who fulfill the mandates of the Qu’ran. 

For the Catholic Church to promote Islam, when those who are faithful to its harsh teachings kill so-called infidels, many who claim to follow Christ, reveals much about the state of the soul of the Pope of the Catholic Church.  Thus it appears that this Jesuit pope is not any different from the popes during the 605 years Inquisition.  Francis’ dishonesty on Monday, January 11, 2015 was simply a deceitful cover up.

 

Your comments are welcome, just email: richardmbennett@yahoo.com

Thank you

 

 

[1]https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2016/january/documents/papa-francesco_20160111_corpo-diplomatico.html

 

The Appalling History of Croatia in the 20 Century

By Richard Bennett and Michael De Semlyen

 

In 1929, Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty, along with Pope Pius XI, officially conceding Vatican Hill to the Pope.  The Papacy once again became a sovereign, civil state.  The legal agreement between Mussolini and the Vatican was just the beginning.  Following this, the Papacy formed alliances in the twentieth century with Roman Catholic dictators such as Adolph Hitler of Germany, Francisco Franco of Spain, Antonio Salazar of Portugal, and Juan Peron of Argentina.  But the alliance that proved to be the most brutal and bloodthirsty of all was that between the Papacy and Anton Pavelic in Croatia.  Within the Papacy it was agreed that Anton Pavelic[1] was to be head of the new nation-state of Croatia, which was carved out of Yugoslavia during the Second World War.

 

During Pavelić's four-year reign, he and Roman Catholic Prelate, Archbishop Alois Stepinac, pursued a “convert or die” policy among the 900,000 Greek Othodox Serbs, Jews, and others in Croatia.  Two hundred thousand were converted; the 700,000 who chose to die were tortured, burned, buried alive, or shot … after digging their own graves.  This appalling persecution carried out by the Ustaše included many of the worst atrocities of history.  The mutilations were horrific, the tortures vicious, and the savagery terrible.  The Catholic Church did not leave the execution of a religious war to the secular arm.  She was there herself, openly ignoring precautions and bolder than she had been for a very long time.  Wielding the hatchet or dagger, pulling the trigger, organizing the massacre, the

Anton Pavelić with Archbishop Stepina    Roman Catholic priests tortured and killed. 

 

Anton Pavelić with Franciscan Monks

Many of the Ustaše officers were priests or friars sworn to fight “with dagger or gun,” for the “triumph of Christ and Croatia.”  Priests played a prominent role in the closing or takeover of Serbian Orthodox churches, the seizure of church records, and the interrogation of the Serbian

 

Orthodox clergy.  They also supervised concentration camps and organized the torture of many of their victims. 

French author Edmond Paris, who was born a Roman Catholic, and has written a very thorough account of this terrible massacre in his book Convert or Die, has said,

“It is difficult for the world to believe that a whole people could be doomed to extermination by a government and religious hierarchy of the twentieth century, just because it happened to belong to another ethnical and racial group and had inherited the Christianity of Byzantium rather than that of Rome.” 

The creation of the entirely Roman Catholic, independent State of Croatia during the Second World War was accompanied by a persecution so ferocious that it is difficult to find a parallel in all of history.  The Inquisition applied to the Serbian Orthodox by the Croatian Catholics accounted for 700,000 Serbs being tortured and killed in just four years.  So, while the Inquisition ended in the nineteenth century, the same procedures and mindset were evident in Croatia in the twentieth century.  In fact, the same mindset is still officially maintained by the Papacy in the twenty-first century.  The Roman Church to this day maintains the laws that she used as her authority to torture and murder Bible believers for over 600 years.  In her present-day laws she states her right to coerce Christian people.  Thus, Canon 1311 states, 

“The [Catholic] Church has an innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful by means of papal sanctions.” 

While there are no sanctions in torture and death at the present time, the same astonishing mindset is Roman Catholic law.  The fact is that the Papacy still claims the right to judge and impose chastening that has not changed since the days of the Inquisition.  In present-day Canon Law she also decrees,

Canon 1405 (Sect.1)  “It is the right of the Roman Pontiff himself alone to judge in cases mentioned in can.  1401:1.  Those who hold the highest civil office in a state...

Canon 1401 “By proper and exclusive right the Church adjudicates: 1. cases concerning spiritual matters or connected with the spiritual; 2.  the violation of ecclesiastical laws and all those cases in which there is a question of sin in respect to the determination of culpability and the imposition of ecclesiastical penalties.”

The Holy Spirit’s admonition to believers is to be remembered as these decrees are certified into law, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”[2]            

In past times, kings, princes, and nations were supposed to tremble at her decrees.  Woe to him who resisted!  Subjects were released from their oaths of allegiance; whole states were placed under interdict.  By deception regarding the Gospel and, subsequently by force, the Papacy has held her domain together.  She has only external unity, as any one who has lived within her system and studied her decrees and history knows.

Our Prayer for Croatia

We have documented on how the institutionalized Papacy and the powers of darkness have conspired against Serbs, Jews, and others in Croatia.  It is horrendous!  Our prayer now is that the Lord Jesus Christ would show the power of His kingdom in Croatia.  Psalms 2 reminds us that the Lord Jesus the Messiah reigns; His throne is not moved, whatever may be the turmoil and schemes against Him.  While the enemies of the Gospel are plotting and planning how to break His bands asunder and cast His cords from them, He has already defeated their devices, and He says to them, “yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.[3]  All events are in His hands.  None can stand against the almighty Lord Jesus Christ!

The voice of the Lord thunders from the final chapters of the Bible and reverberates throughout the world, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”[4]  While the Papacy from the city of Rome continues to wax strong, her final condemnation is already written, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”[5]  God’s reserved wrath, His punishing justice, and His enmity to sin, will be revealed to the entire world.  The destruction of Papal Rome will proceed from the glory of His power.  “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.[6]  The certainty of the final triumph should animate us in our efforts, and embolden true believers in their struggles. 

The frequently quoted maxim that “peoples ignorant of history are destined to repeat it” is still true.  True believers are in real danger of compromising with the Church of Rome.  Without the knowledge of the horrifying history of Croatia in the 20th Century, we can fail to see that the true Gospel is a matter of life and death.  As the Apostle Paul told believers, “All who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.[7]  The victory of the faith and courage of believers over the severest trials is repeatedly recorded in the pages of history.  As the Lord proclaimed, “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.[8]  “Also I say unto you, whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.”[9]  We appeal especially to Croatian people—where there is true faith and love of the Lord, there is in the midst of all afflictions a joy unspeakable and full of glory.  God is the only Holy Father, the All Holy One.  His holiness is the distinguishing factor in all His essential characteristics and attributes.  This is the reason why we need to be in right standing before the one and only All-Holy God on the terms He prescribes.  The good news is that by His grace you can turn to Him in faith alone for the salvation that He alone gives, by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, which is based on Christ’s death and resurrection for His people.  Believe on Him alone; as the Scripture states, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”[10]  ♦

If the Lord has by His grace touched your heart in reading this account of Croatian history, please let us hear from you using the email address: richardmbennett@yahoo.com

 

Thank you,

Richard Bennett and Michael De Semlyen

 

[1] Ante Pavelić, born July 14, 1889 – died December 28, 1959

[2] Galatians 5:1

[3] Psalm 2:6

[4] Revelation 18:4

[5] Revelation 14:8

[6] Revelation 14:10

[7] 2 Timothy 3:12

[8] Matthew 10:28

[9] Luke 12:4

[10] Ephesians 2:8-9

The Roman Church Promotes Islam and Accepts Islamic Faith

As huge numbers of Islamic migrants continue to stream into Europe from the Middle East, there is great concern among Western people.  Nonetheless, even with this astonishing background, Pope Francis continues to promote Islam.  Instead of warning people against the dangers they face from the onslaught of migrating Muslims from across the world, Francis has left unaddressed Islamic persecution of Middle Eastern and African Christians, and indeed Europeans.  In fact, Pope Francis’ outreach to Islam is simply an intensified application of the Roman Catholic Church’s Vatican Council II teaching. 

The Roman Church has been consistently encouraging a massive influx of Muslims into Europe, even into the USA.  Such immigration is a basic cause for the attacks that have already taken place.  For example, there was the massacre in Paris on Friday, November 13, 2015, during which at least 128 people were killed,[1] and for which the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has claimed responsibility.[2]  Incidents of Islamic terror, such as the Paris attack or the San Bernardino attack in the USA, are driven by a vile, totalitarian ideology.  Islam has its own dynamic, and it is not based on any logical or rational grievances.  Its totalitarian, ideological roots are grounded in the Qur’ân.  It cannot be doubted that the Pope and his advisors know this.

The current exportation of Islamists to Europe was in planning at least since 2011, as the “Clarion Project,” challenging Islamic extremism stated,

“ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stated, ‘loud and clear that if ISIS cannot defeat the West by military means, they will overrun it with jihadists….The present predicament indicates, without any shadow of doubt, that al-Baghdadi is on the ascent.  The Islamic State may have occupied vast tracts of land in Iraq and Syria over the past fifteen months or so, but that victory diminishes into insignificance in comparison to what he is up to now…He [al-Baghdadi] has stretched his hand to grab the crown jewel of humanity:  European civilisation.  Along with the hundreds of thousands of migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other parts of the Islamic State caliphate that have landed on European shores are large number of Islamic State jihadis mingled among them -- with more millions on the march, trekking across the continents of Africa and Asia, heading towards Europe. …[there is evidence that] al-Baghdadi had the financial backing of rich Arab States, in particular, Saudi Arabia and Qatar…And while Europe’s leaders talk and talk, their countries are gradually being inundated with migrants and jihadists - exactly as planned by the modern day caliph.’”[3]

Autumn 2015 Events

In Germany, which has 3.0 to 3.5 million Muslims, a Roman Cardinal spoke of Islam’s Qur’ân as a part of the historic heritage of Europe and the Near East.  

“The Cardinal was Cardinal and Bishop of Mainz who emphasized before 250 listeners at the event center of the university that the Interreligious dialogue has a long history and started at Vatican II.  Then Cardinal Lehmann stated that Quran-Research shows ways to read the Quran as a text of late antiquity.  As a result the Quran does all at once not appear strange, but shows the nearness to Christendom and Judaism.  The Quran is part of the historic heritage of Europe and the Near East,” says the Cardinal.”[4]

Such is the dreadful compromise carried out in Germany.  Never mind the truth that the Qur’ân is not part of “the historic heritage of Europe,” as the Cardinal himself knows.  Rather, the Roman Catholic agenda is again to strengthen its influence across the world!

Another tactic, the support for both legal and illegal immigration, has for many years been the policy of the Papacy.  Thus, on September 16, 2015, Pope Frances addressed legal and illegal immigrants in Spanish at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall saying, 

“The Quakers who founded Philadelphia were inspired by a profound evangelical sense of the dignity of each individual and the ideal of a community united by brotherly love.”  This conviction led them to found a colony which would be a haven of religious freedom and tolerance.  That sense of fraternal concern for the dignity of all, especially the weak and the vulnerable, became an essential part of the American spirit.”[5]

Consequently, with this Papal mindset, it is becoming apparent that the Pope and Roman Catholicism are promoting the immigration, both legal and illegal, of Islamic people as refugees into Western nations.  Thus, it is reported on a Roman Catholic website, 

“Syrians have left their homes, and four million have fled their country as a result of the civil war and the rise of ISIS within the borders…While the majority of these refugees have fled to neighboring countries, some have sought asylum in Europe.  Pope Francis and the Catholic bishops have called on the U.S. and international governments to support the asylum seekers.”[6]  

Another Roman Catholic website reports, 

“Pope Francis and the Catholic bishops have called on the U.S. government and the international community to provide support to both Syrian refugees fleeing violence and to countries that have been at the forefront of this humanitarian effort.”[7]  

However, five of the wealthiest Muslim countries have taken in no Syrian refugees, arguing that doing so would open them up to the risk of terrorism. Although the oil rich countries have handed over aid money, Britain has donated more than Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar combined.[8]  Rather, there is evidence that the ISIS leader al-Baghdadi might have been partially funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with three other of the wealthiest Arab nations.  Undoubtedly, the Roman Catholic Church is rejecting analytical reasoning so that it can support both sides in the conflict, so that when there is a resolution to conflict, the Roman Church will be on the winning side.

The Roman Church Promotes Islam in Its Schools

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales desire that Muslim prayer rooms be opened in every Roman Catholic school.  These bishops also want facilities for Islamic pre-prayer washing rituals in all Roman Catholic schools.  Muslims say that Catholic schools would need to install bidets, foot spas, and hoses to facilitate such extensive cleansing rituals.  The recommendations have been approved by Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, and the favorite to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as Catholic primate. 

Catholic School Offers “Sacred Place” For Muslim Prayer[9]

One is aghast that any Catholic religious school should offer Islamic students “sacred spaces” of any kind.  However, such facilities are allowed in Roman Catholic schools, not only in England and Wales but also in the USA.  For example, John Birney, president of “Brother Rice High School” in Bloomfield, Michigan has decided to permit a “non-Christian prayer room within the school to allow Muslims and other non-Christian students.”  Birney urged people to ask if the prayer room is “something that compromises our faith and identity, or is it in fact consistent with the respect that we have.”[10]

All of this assistance of Islam by immigration and Roman Catholic schools is happening under Pope Francis’s jurisdiction.  What Francis has made abundantly clear is, first, that he has no concern to protect faithful Catholics from the Muslim onslaught, which, if successful, will end up with Catholics and Westerners having to live under Sharia law.  Second, as a primary Western religious leader, he is encouraging the Muslim religious leaders to persist in their violent onslaught, primarily on the West, and on Christianity in particular, but also around the world in general.  Third, it is clear that he is accommodating Islam for his own purposes of empire building and does so with no compunction to be truthful or Christian in his dealings with them.  For example, Pope Francis has stated, 

“The sacred writings of Islam have retained some Christian teachings; Jesus and Mary receive profound veneration and it is admirable to see how Muslims both young and old, men and women, make time for daily prayer and faithfully take part in religious services.  Many of them also have a deep conviction that their life, in its entirety, is from God and for God.  They also acknowledge the need to respond to God with an ethical commitment and with mercy towards those most in need.”[11]

The Pope’s statement is deceitful adulation because it must be reconciled with the Roman Church’s official declaration that “the plan of salvation” includes the Muslims, quotation,

The [Roman] Church’s relationship with the Muslims.  ‘The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.’”[12]  

Francis knows perfectly well that the Islamic Allah is not the God of the Bible.  Thus, it is that Pope Francis, representing the Roman Church, has accepted Islam and its peoples.  The fact that the Roman Church and the Allah of Islam agree on “the plan of salvation” demonstrates to true Bible believers that it is against biblical faith.  The biblical commandment not to venerate any strange god has been broken by the Rome Catholic Church in order to credit Islam and its adherents with holding to the faith of Abraham. 

Islam Rejects the Trinity, Christ’s Divinity, and His Substitutionary Sacrifice

Because of what is happening, it is necessary for us to study the official teachings of Islam.  Christians believe in one God, which, in this one Godhead, there exists three Persons.  Islam rejects this Trinitarian concept as blasphemous.  The Qur’ân declares,

“Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve” (Surah 5:73).[13] 

The Bible proclaims Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross in place of the believer, “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.[14]  Islam passionately rejects the crucifixion of Christ Jesus.  Thus, the Qur’ân declares, 

“And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure” (Surah 4:157).

The Bible proclaims Christ Jesus as divine, being the brightness of the divine glory, and the express image of God.  In the Qur’ân, Christ Jesus is debased to being solely an apostle of Allah.  Thus, the Qur’ân states, “O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah…” (Surah 4.171).  Christ Jesus declared, “Before Abraham was, I AM.[15]  “I and my Father are one.[16]  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.[17]  A religion that rejects Christ’s divinity cannot be of the truth.  It is abhorrent that Pope Francis and his Roman Church, in accepting the teachings of the Qur’ân implicitly, denigrate the Lord Jesus Christ.  

The Gospel and the Qur’ân’s Religious Philosophy

In the Bible, the Gospel is as the Apostle John declared, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.[18]  “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.[19]  The whole “purpose” of the God of Scripture is clearly seen in the Gospel of John, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.[20]  This is totally different from the god of Islam who orders fighting, war, and punishment—by amputation, crucifixion, and murder.  The following is just a sample of the primary concept of fighting for Allah that the Qur’ân requires: 

“And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers” (Surah 2.191).  

“…let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world's life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward” (Surah 4.74).

The commandment of the Lord, however, is as different as darkness and light; for He says to those who are truly His own, “Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.[21]  While many individual Muslims may deplore atrocities committed in the name of Islam, it cannot be denied that these atrocities are encouraged and justified by Islamic teaching.  Even the most moderate form of Islam is incompatible with biblical truth.

Pope Francis’ first foreign policy address in March 2013 made Muslim-Catholic relations one of his top priorities.  Before an audience of ambassadors from 180 countries, he explained how he wanted to work for peace and bridge building between peoples.  Muslims and Catholics, he claimed, needed to intensify their dialogue.  Positive shockwaves were sent into Muslim-Catholic circles, and Muslim scholars and religious institutions around the world welcomed Pope Francis’ election.[22]  Thus Roman Catholics are in dialogue with the Muslims.  Consequently, it is the blind leading the blind as each tries to move forward its own particular agenda.  Neither agenda is about finding truth in a fallen world but rather both agendas are centered on building an earthly empire in which they will have absolute control.  However, they have not properly considered who the Lord Jesus Christ really is and the fact that the God of the Bible works all things according to the counsel of His own will.[23]

Conclusion

Pope Francis and the Roman Church’s promotion of Islam is an establish fact.  Instead of warning people against the onslaught of Muslims across the world, Francis has left unaddressed Islamic persecution of European, Middle Eastern, and African people.  Such Roman Catholic extremism is momentous. 

The testimony of the Bible and history is that man by his own resources and research cannot adequately understand God.  As Scripture states, “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?  It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?[24]  The depths and riches of His wisdom are past human comprehension.[25]  The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed the means by which a person is to know who God is and how He acts.  He said, “sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.[26]

The Lord God’s written word, the Bible, not only contains the truth, it is itself truth.  As descendants of Adam, we are sinful creatures, separated from our holy Creator.  By ourselves, we have no way to be right with God.  From the beginning, God’s word made it clear that even one act of disobedience would produce death.  Death means separation.  Mankind is spiritually dead, separated from the Source of life—the Lord God.  “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”[27]  The Lord God is all pure and all holy.  As sinful human beings, we cannot have a relationship with Him, as He cannot tolerate sin.  Thus, a person must die and face God’s righteous judgment.  Of ourselves we are helpless sinners because, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”[28]  No amount of prayer, fasting, or good deeds can give us a relationship with the Lord God.  We behold the answer to our spiritual position in Christ Jesus alone.  God’s grace was planned before it was imparted, as the Scripture says, “before the foundation of the world” that we should be “accepted in the beloved.[29]  The purpose and design of God from all eternity was that all gifts should come to sinful man in and through Christ Jesus.  Grace in its most proper and authentic sense is definitely free, as the Scripture says, “being justified freely by His grace.[30]  The reign of sin and false religion is overcome by the reign of God’s grace.  As Scripture says, “even so might grace reign![31]  The abundance of grace far surpasses the evils of sin.  Once a believing sinner receives Christ Jesus as his only surety before the All-Holy God, he finds himself not only freed from his sins, but also made to “reign in life.”[32]  Those who receive the abundant grace given by Christ are not only redeemed from the dominion of death, they live and reign with Him as they are sanctified daily through His word by the Holy Spirit, and by constant fellowship with Him.  With Him they shall forever live and reign, world without end.  Through Christ Jesus, grace reigns with sovereign freedom, power, and bounty!  “Blessed be his glorious name for ever:  and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.”[33]  ♦

 

Richard Bennett of “Berean Beacon Ministry”

Email address: richardmbennett@yahoo.com

Permission is given to copy this article if it is done in its entirety without any changes.

Permission is also given post this article in its entirety on Internet Websites

 

 

 

[1] http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/13/world/paris-shooting/ 12/15/2015

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZPZTYPpaiUhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZPZTYPpaiU

[3]www.clarionproject.org/blog/europe/al-baghdadis-trojan-horse-arrives-europe12/21/15

[4] http://www.ruhrnachrichten.de/staedte/bochum/Bischof-in-Bochum-Kardinal-Lehmann-will-interreligioese-Gespraeche-mit-dem-Islam-foerdern;art932,2189134 Translated from the original German 12/15/2015.

[5] http://abcnews.go.com/US/pope-francis-philadelphia-founded-haven-religious-freedomtolerance/story?id=34064928  

[6] www.societyofmaryusa.org/JPIC/JPIC-Action-HumanitarianCrisisInSyria110515.html  12/15/2015

[7] www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/syrian-refugee-crisis.cfmhttp://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/syrian-refugee-crisis.cfm  12/15/2015

[8]www.breitbart.com/london/2015/09/05/gulf-states-refuse-to-take-a-single-syrian-refugee-say-doing-so-exposes-them-to-risk-of-terrorism/

[9] Details on: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1091218/Muslim-prayer-rooms-opened-Catholic-schools-say-church-leaders.html#ixzz3ubVKMF6E

[10] http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/catholic-school-offers-sacred-place-muslim-prayer

[11] http://galliawatch.blogspot.com/2013/12/pope-francis-on-islam.html   2/20/14

[12] Catechism of the Catholic Church, Para. 841 

[13] All quotes from the Koran are from this site: http://www.hti.umich.edu/k/koran/

[14] Ephesians 1:7

[15] John 8:58

[16] John 10:30

[17] John 8:24

[18] 1 John 1:5

[19] John 17:3

[20] 1 John 5:13

[21] Luke 6:35-36

[22] http://craigconsidinetcd.com/2014/01/24/pope-francis-christians-must-build-bridges-of-dialogue/

[23] Ephesians 1:11, “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”

 

[24] Job 11:7-8

[25] Romans 11:33; Isaiah 40:28; Ecclesiastes 3:11

[26] John 17:17

[27] Romans 5:12

[28] Ezekiel 18:4

[29] Ephesians 1:4, 6

[30] Romans 3:24

[31] Romans 5:21

[32] Romans 5:17

[33] Psalm 72:19

 

 

 

History of the Early Church Invalidates Papal Claim of Apostolic Succession

From April 15-20, 2008, Benedict XVI visited the United States and the United Nations as the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and first representative of the Holy See.  Thus, the President welcomed him with the words: “This is your first trip to the United States since you ascended to the Chair of Saint Peter.”[1]  Both Benedict”s title and his chair are granted by the dogma of apostolic succession.  In fact, it is required in the Catholic Church that one believes in an historical continuity between the early Church and the Roman Catholic Church as defined by the papal dogma of apostolic succession.[2]  Catholics are taught not to question this dogma.  Based on it, the present pope has flatly stated that “Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century cannot be called ‘Churches’ in the proper sense…[they] do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the church.”[3]  He is not speaking in a vacuum, but rather in a time when many people are being seduced through dialogue and other methods into the Roman Catholic Church.  For example, the American president said to him, “Most of all, Holy Father, you will find in America people whose hearts are open to your message of hope.  And America and the world need this message.”[4]  The Pope’s message was consistently vacuous, totally without the Gospel of grace, stooping even to pray for the dead at Ground Zero.  His words were, “O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions, who gather today at this site, the scene of incredible violence and pain.  We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here.[5]

 

As they are, these words based in anti-biblical doctrine come from a man who claims to be head of the true church of Christ Jesus.  His actions, too, in performing the Mass, which is heretical, as well as blasphemous, are perfectly consistent with his position against the Reformation blossoming of the true churches in the sixteenth century, whose biblical heritage is undeniable.  Therefore, in this presentation we want to document the New Testament concept of church and give historical data showing that the biblical concept of church was indeed lived out in the times after the Apostles and prior to the Reformation. 

Biblical Concept of Church

Christ Jesus founded His church on the Gospel message that He is “the Christ” (the Anointed-Messiah) and “the Son of the Living God.”[6]  After the Lord’s glorification, the Holy Spirit empowered all the believers that were assembled at Jerusalem to take the Gospel throughout the world.  According to the New Testament, the first church to be established was the church in Jerusalem.  It was from there that the believers went forth with the Gospel.  They were the “church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”[7]  The New Testament also records the establishment of the local churches in Judea and Samaria.  The Gospel then spread to cities in Cypress and to Antioch.  When the believers in Jerusalem heard that the people in Antioch had received the Gospel, they sent Barnabas to them.  Barnabas first went to Tarsus to fetch Paul.  Together they spent a whole year at Antioch teaching the Gospel of grace though faith alone in Christ Jesus.  It was there that those who believed the Gospel were first called Christians.  The Apostle Paul appointed elders[8] and deacons in these local churches.  These offices, however, are not the very essence of the church; rather, they function for teaching and administration so that the assembly is orderly.  The unifying center of the assembly of believers (i.e., the local church) is not the structure of the group, as the Pope maintains, but rather it is the Gospel.

 

The Greek word “ekklesia” literally means “the called out ones.”  In the New Testament, it is applied to the whole company of believers throughout the present era, of whom Christ said, “I will build my Church.”[9]  The Apostle Paul’s definition under the direction of the Holy Spirit is that the church is Christ’s body.[10]  The word generally signifies the local assembly of believers.  The central feature of the New Testament letters is the Gospel of grace through faith alone as, for example, in the letter to the believers at Ephesus, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”[11]  The expression “the church of God” was collective, as when the Apostle wrote, “give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God,”[12] meaning the believers as distinguished from both Jews and Gentiles.  The ordinary believers are continually called the “church” as the Apostle addressed them, “unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.”[13]  “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans.”[14]  The church was simply, but uniquely, the community of believers.  All the messages given by the Lord through the Apostle John were also to local churches.[15] 

 

As mentioned, the unifying factor that designated early local churches was the Gospel.  These local churches believed and taught the Gospel of God’s grace.  That Gospel was for them “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”[16]  Faith alone, consistent with the Scriptures, was the means by which the believers entered into the salvation purchased by the perfect life and sacrifice of Christ Jesus.  Across Europe and Asia, local churches were established as ordinary believers spread the Gospel. 

The Roman Catholic Concept of Church

The Vatican requires that Catholics profess that there is an historical continuity between the church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and the Roman Catholic Church.  To assess the validity of the Catholic belief, it needs to be held firmly in mind that the Roman Catholic Church means something quite different by the word “Church” than does the New Testament.  While the teaching Magisterium does mention the Church as “the People of God,” “the Body of Christ,” and “the Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the emphasis is always on the authority and mission of the papal organizational system.  Thus, Rome teaches, “He [Christ] instituted the Church.  He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal.”[17]  How this claimed power structure is exercised is clearly laid out by the Roman Catholic system: “There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive.”[18]  “Priests have received from God a power that he has given neither to angels nor to archangels.... God above confirms what priests do here below.”[19]  “‘Believing’ is an ecclesial act.  The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith.  The Church is the mother of all believers.  ‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.’”[20]  The claimed absolute power of the papal hierarchical system is totally contrary to the New Testament concept of the church as “the assembly of believers.”  The Papacy’s lust for power is so insatiable that it claims power for itself, which rightfully belongs to the Holy Spirit.  Thus, the Magisterium officially teaches, “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”[21]  How does such dogma reflect any historical continuity with biblical doctrine and the practice of the authentic early church?

Early Believers and Scripture

The early believers held to the Scriptures as being the absolute Word of God’s truth.  The early Church understood apostolic doctrine as the written Word of God.  From the very start of the post-apostolic age in the writings of such Apostolic Fathers as Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement, and Barnabas, there was an exclusive appeal to the Scriptures for the positive teaching of doctrine and for defense against heresy.  In the writings of these men, the authority cited is that of the Old and New Testaments.  In the written texts of the apologists, such as Justin Martyr and Athenagoras, the same exclusive appeal to Scripture is evident.  There was no appeal in any of these writings to the authority of an extra-biblical tradition as a separate body of revelation.  Rather, it is in the writings of Irenaeus and Tertullian in the mid to late second century that the concept of an apostolic tradition, which was handed down in the Church in oral form, was first encountered.  Irenaeus and Tertullian stated forcefully that all the teachings of the bishops that were given orally were rooted in Scripture and could be proven from the written Scriptures.

Examples of Early Believers Testifying to the Gospel

Polycarp of Smyrna (born c. 69) died a martyr somewhere around the year 155.  He testified to being saved through grace and Christ Jesus, “…the Lord Jesus Christ...in whom you believe...knowing, that through grace ye are saved, not from works, but by the will of God, through Christ Jesus.”[22]  Clement of Rome, who died about the year 100, wrote of being justified by faith,  “…Therefore, we also, being called through his (God’s) will in Christ Jesus, are not justified through ourselves, neither through our own wisdom or understanding or piety or works...but through Faith.”[23]

  • Justin Martyr (c. 100-165) wrote of being righteous before God on account of faith.  He stated, “It was not by reason of circumcision that Abraham was testified of God to be righteous, but on account of faith.  For, before he was circumcised, it was said of him: Abraham believed in God; and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.”[24]
  • Irenaeus, who died about the year 190, or as late as 202, clearly explained the Gospel message in Romans, Chapter 3: “When Christ came, he accomplished all things: and still, in the Church, continues to accomplish the New Testament, foretold by the Law, even to consummation.  As also the Apostle Paul says in his Epistle to the Romans: but now, without the Law, the righteousness of God is manifested, being testified of by the Law and the Prophets: for the just shall live by faith.  But, that the just shall live by faith, had been foretold by the Prophets.”[25] 
  • Clement of Alexandria, a contemporary of Justin and Irenaeus in the late second and early third century, gave evidence to the Gospel of grace when he wrote, “Abraham was justified, not from works, but from faith.  After the end of life, therefore, it is no profit to men even though now they shall have performed good works, unless they have faith.”[26] 
  • Athanasius, in the fourth century, likewise testifies of grace and redemption in a clear-cut Gospel message, “Not from these, but from faith, a man is justified; as also was Abraham.  Having thus discussed such points, the Apostle shews again: that, in no other manner, can there be redemption and grace to Israel and to the Gentiles, except the original sin, which through Adam passed unto all, be loosed.  But this, says he, can be blotted out though no other than through the Son of God…. For it was impossible, that any other should loose this transgression.  Thus, as through one man sin entered into the world: thus also, through one man, grace came upon all.”[27]

Extensive Growth and Severe Persecution

The spread of the Christian faith during the first three centuries was rapid and extensive.  In the providence of God, the main reasons for this were the fidelity and zeal of the preachers of the Gospel, the heroic deaths of the martyrs, the translation of the Scriptures into the languages of the Roman world, and the well-developed and expansive Roman road system over which the Gospel was carried.  Under the Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211), Christians suffered appallingly.  The most severe persecution was under the Emperor Diocletian and his co-regent, Galerius, during the years 303-311.  Yet, far from exterminating the Christians and the Gospel, the persecution purified those who preached and increased their ability to give the Gospel message.

Early Church: Northern Italy and the Cottian Alps

Since at least the late eleventh century,[28] the Roman Catholic Church has loudly alleged that the early churches, in what is known today as Northern Italy,[29] were simply those churches that had fallen away from the authority of the Bishop of Rome.  However, Peter Allix, writing in 1690, shows clearly that these churches were established locally from apostolic times and were not under the Bishop of Rome at any time before the eleventh century.  Of their doctrine and practice he states, “It is sufficient to make them deserve the name of apostolical, that they received the doctrine of the Apostles, as a pledge from the hand of their first disciples, which they preserved so very tenderly throughout the following ages.”[30]  Allix’s rebuttal of the Roman Catholic charge uses quotations from these churches’ liturgy and from records of the practice of their faith, which regularly included record of increasing disagreement with the Bishop of Rome.  At times, Allix quotes the records of the Roman Catholic Church against the believers, showing that the very things of which the Roman Church was accusing them were in fact biblical. 

According to Faber, in about the year 406, Vigilantius, a native of Aquitaine, published a treatise in answer to Jerome’s defense of his own departure from Scripture.  In it, Vigilantius “attacked the notion that celibacy is the duty of the clergy; censured…the figment that they [martyrs] are potent intercessors at the throne of grace; ridiculed the blind and almost idolatrous reverence which was paid to their relics; exposed the folly of burning tapers, like the Pagans, before their shrines, in broad day-light; detected the pretended miracles said to be wrought by their senseless remains…pointed out the useless absurdity of pilgrimages either to Jerusalem or to any other reputed sanctuary.”[31]  Although Vigilantius’s treatise is no longer extant, this information comes from Jerome as he seeks to refute Vigilantius during the course of their exchanges.  According to Jerome, who resided in Jerusalem, Vigilantius “wrote from a region, situated between the waves of the Adriatic and the Cottian Alps.”[32]  Nor was Jerome able to have Vigilantius extirpated from this region, where he worked as a presbyter, because the bishop of the area agreed with Vigilantius.  Faber’s point is this:

“This district [where Vigilantius was residing] on the eastern side of the Cottian Alps is the precise country of the Vallenses.  Here they claim to have lived at least from the time of Pope Sylvester; and here, in point of fact, as we may presumptively gather from the present remarkable statement of Jerome, that they were actually settled as early as in and before the year 406….

“Here, therefore, only seventy years after the death of Pope Sylvester, we actually find a Church in the valleys of the Cottian Alps, the theological condition of which exactly corresponds with the account handed down, from generation to generation, among the Vallenses themselves: that is to say, we actually find a Church, in the very region where the account teaches us to seek it, protesting, through the mouth of its approved pastor, Vigilantius…against the superstitions of the times, and, in its estimate of those superstitions, openly differing from the bishops of the corrupt Church of Rome.”[33] 

The Roman Catholic claim for dominion in the area is refuted by the written record of Jerome’s correspondence with Vigilantius.  Further, Pope Pelagius I (555) lamented that “The Bishops of Milan do not come to Rome for ordination,” and this was in accordance with “an ancient custom of theirs.”[34]  Allix further notes, “In the year 590, the Bishops of Italy and of the Grisons, to the number of nine, rejected the Communion of the Pope, as of an heretic…protesting [to the Emperor] that they could not communicate with Pope Gregory the First.”[35]

Allix documents the fact that even in the ninth century the churches of Northern Italy were still not under the yoke of papal authority.  Rather, they were able to hold out until after the death of Claude, Bishop of Turin.  Claude, in the mid-ninth century, staunchly defended his diocese against Rome while simultaneously and tirelessly teaching the Gospel and the Bible throughout his diocese by preaching and by writing.  Wylie confirms that it was not until the mid-eleventh century that the churches on the plains of Northern Italy finally succumbed to papal authority.  Even then the churches in the valleys of the Cottian Alps held true to the Bible in their faith and practice.  These are they who were known as the Vaudois, or People of the Valleys.[36]

Faber shows from the text of the Vaudois poem, Noble Lesson, which has imbedded in it the date of 1100, that the language in which the document is written is “derived, without any intervention of an older derivative language, from the decomposed stock of its parent Latin.”  This was the language of the Vaudois who had retreated to the valleys of Italian Cottian Alps during the second, third, and fourth centuries.  Since the Noble Lesson was one of their documents, it shows conclusively that the language of the Vaudois had not changed substantially in all the centuries they lived hidden in their valleys.  This confession of faith in poetic form was used to teach their children “the faith once delivered to the saints.”  Here, then, are conclusive pieces of evidence—Jerome’s recording of Vigilantius in 406, Claude Bishop of Turin in the early 800’s, and the language in which the Noble Lesson (written in 1100) and other earlier original documents which Samuel Morland procured in 1655—that the Vaudois or Vallenses really were preserved by God in the line of unbroken apostolic faith from the early centuries through the Reformation. 

 

It should be noted, the Vaudois are sometimes called Waldenses.  The Roman Catholic Church’s consistent policy has been to try to confuse the origin of the early churches of the Valleys.  It contended that it was Peter Waldo who established these churches, thus maintaining that they were heretics rather than the true church.  However, the still extant historical facts make it clear that the Papacy’s long record of revisionist history is as false today as it was at its inception many centuries ago.  One very important fact is that Peter Waldo was not known before 1160 while the Noble Lesson was written in 1100.  In 1690, Allix contends, “it is not true that [Peter] Waldo gave this name to the inhabitants of the valleys: They were called Wallenses, or Vaudés, before his time, from the valleys in which they dwelt.  This we find…in Ebrardus de Bethune, who wrote in the year 1212, where he asserts, that they called themselves Wallenses…because they abode in the ‘valley of tears.’ so that we see that this etymology rather has respect to the place where they lived, which was in the valleys of Piedmont, than to the name of Peter Waldo.”[37] 

 

The testimony of the Vaudois, both in their writing and in their practice, showed that the authority of the Bible continued to be their rule of life.[38]  The first distinguishing principle of the Waldenses bore on their daily conduct, and was summed up in the words of the apostle: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”[39]  The second principle was the authority and popular use of the Holy Scriptures, which they had in their native language.  There were those among them who could quote the entire Bible from memory.  The third distinguishing principle was the importance of preaching and the rights of believing men to exercise that function.  To these fundamental principles, based on the Sermon on the Mount, the Vaudois added the rejection of oaths, the condemnation into purgatory, and prayers for the dead.  There are only two ways after death, they declared—the way to heaven and the way to hell.  The pre-Reformation Vaudois faith and practice touched many people through those dark centuries.  They regularly sent out missionaries (many of whom were merchants) to evangelize Europe, and these missionaries attracted converts from many sources.  They were, however, to suffer terribly for their faith. 

 

It is an historical fact that these churches of Northern Italy, which had remained faithful to the Scripture from the time of their establishment in the second, third, and fourth centuries through the Reformation, were the true churches.  The Papal Church clearly was, and is still today, the heretical schismatic.  It is the historical account of these ancient biblical churches in northern Italy and southern France that the Roman Catholic Church has been trying for at least the past nine centuries to wipe out—ethnic cleansing of them by crusades and six hundred years of Inquisition against them, by destruction of the records of their testimony, and by revisionist history.  It is by the providence of God that to this very day Papal Rome has not succeeded. 

The Paulician Churches from the First Century

The Paulician churches were of apostolic origin, and they were planted in Armenia in the first century.  “Through Antioch and Palmyra the faith must have spread into Mesopotamia and Persia; and in those regions become the basis of the faith as it is spread in the Taurus mountains as far as Ararat.  This was the primitive form of Christianity.  The churches in the Taurus range of mountains formed a huge recess or circular dam into which flowed the early Paulician faith to be caught and maintained for centuries, as it were, a backwater from the main for centuries.”[40]  The earliest center of Christianity in Armenia was at Taron, which was the constant home and base of operations of the Paulicians.  They claimed that they were of apostolic origin.  Upon this point Adeney says, “Therefore, it is quite arguable that they should be regarded as representing the survival of a most primitives type of Christianity…Ancient Oriental Baptists, these people were in many respects Protestants before Protestantism.”[41] 

 

In the eighth century the Paulicians, scattered by persecution, spread westward through Bulgaria and along the northern coast of the Mediterranean as far as the Pyrenees Mountains.  Many settled in southern France where they became known as the Albigenses.  All along the way, the Paulicians planted local churches, which continued strong in biblical doctrine and practice.[42]  They did not recognize persons of other communions as belonging to the churches.  “We do not belong to these,” they said.  “They have long ago broken connection with the church and have been excluded.”[43]

Pre-Reformation Missionaries to Europe

From the year 405, when Patrick arrived in Ireland, there were more than six hundred years of fruitfulness from the clarity of the Gospel message preached by Patrick and those who worked with him.  There were many famous Irish missionaries like Patrick, such as Columba, Columbanus, Kilian and Forannan, who carried the Gospel well up to the tenth century to Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, and beyond with the same truthfulness as Patrick.  From at least the eleventh century onward, the Vaudois sent their missionaries, called Barbes, throughout Europe.  They carried the same Gospel message, as did the Irish missionaries.  In 1209, the Papacy began its first crusade against European believers, starting with the Albigenses in southern France.  Those who could escape did.  They spread the Gospel wherever they were scattered.  In about 1332, Pope John XXII sent his inquisitors into the territory of the Vaudois to execute the laws of the Inquisition against these believers.  From then on, the Vaudois were scattered throughout France, the Low Countries, Germany, Poland, Bohemia, Moravia, England, Calabria, Naples, and further.  They, too, spread the Gospel wherever they went.[44]

The Legacy of the Early Church

We have identified the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ by two marks—they hold to the sole authority of Scriptures and to the true Gospel.  We have briefly documented the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ as it existed in various countries before the Reformation of the sixteenth century.  Down through the centuries, these believers were scattered from Jerusalem to the Piedmont valley of Italy, to France, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, England, and throughout all of Europe.  We have documented various peoples honoring the true faith, and bearing the Scriptural truth. 

Conclusion

The stark reality of the facts of history of the true church permeated with the Gospel of God’s grace in doctrine and practice utterly voids the papal assertion of an historical continuity between the early believers and the papal church via their dogma of apostolic succession.  Rather the Roman Catholic Church is the proven schismatic from the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

As the true church saw (prior to the Reformation and the Reformers), the papal system with its blasphemies against the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ, its idolatry and Inquisition, its claim to apostolic succession—all these show “the woman” “sitting upon the scarlet-colored beast.”[45]  The same “woman drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus”[46] is still today making merchandise of the souls of men while purporting to “dialogue” with true Christians as “brothers and sisters in Christ.”

 

However, the cautious observers understand that the love for the Papacy is hazardous, such so, as to bring to mind the Scripture, “all the world wondered after the beast.”[47]  They have noted that, as with the funeral of John Paul II, so also with April 2008’s visit of Benedict XVI to the United States.  Both were widely received with such reverence and awe as to be called adoration. 

 

Like true believers of old, we must enter into battle.  The Lord is with us; we will have the final victory.  The command of the Holy Spirit is still this: “having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore.”[48]  The certainty that we know Him and are His should animate our efforts, and encourage us in our struggles.  The glory of God’s free grace in the Gospel, based on the written Word of Scripture alone, remains the legacy of the early Church and is still available to all the Lord’s people.  ♦

 

Richard Bennett of Berean Beacon ministry—Website: http://www.bereanbeacon.org 

 

 

[1] http://z22.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080416.html 4/21/08 

[2] “The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity—rooted in the apostolic succession between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church:…” Official Declaration “Dominus Iesus” 2000 §16.  Italic in the original.

[3] “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.”

www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070629_responsa-quaestiones_en.html   8/10/2007

[4] www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080416.html  4/21/2008

[5] http://www.wnbc.com/news/15937320/detail.html 4/21/2008

[6] Matthew 16:16-17

[7] Acts 8:1

[8] The terms overseer and elder/pastor are used interchangeably (Acts 20:17, 28; I Peter 5:1-4).

[9]  Matthew 16:18

[10] Ephesians 1:22-23

[11] Ephesians 2:8, 9

[12] Corinthians 10:32

[13] I Corinthians 1:2

[14] Colossians 4:16

[15] Revelation 1:11

[16] Romans 1:16

[17] Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), Para 874

[18] Catechism, Para 982

[19] Catechism, Para 983

[20] Catechism, Para 181

[21] Catechism, Para 882

[22] George Stanley Faber, The Primitive Doctrine of Justification, Investigated (London:  R. B. Seely and W. Burnside, 1837) Ch. IV, p. 87

[23] Ibid., p. 80

[24] Ibid., p. 89

[25] Ibid., p. 94

[26] Ibid, p. 96

[27] Ibid, pp. 100-101

[28] J. A. Wylie, History of Protestantism Vol. I, pp. 10-15.  See also Peter Allix, Some Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Church of Piedmont, originally printed in 1690; 1989 reprint of 1821 edition, p. 192.

[29] Allix, Ancient Church of Piedmont, p. 1.  See also Thomas M’Crie, History of the Progress & Suppression of the Reformation in Italy in the Sixteenth Century (Edinburgh & London:  Wm. Blackwood & Sons, 1856).

[30] Allix, p. 4.

[31] George Stanley Faber, Personal letter to Dr. Gilly quoted in William Stephen Gilly, Vigilantius and His Times (London:  Seeley, Burnside, & Seeley, 1844) Reprint.  pp. 335-338.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Wylie, Vol. I, Book I, p. 19

[35] Letter to Emperor Mauritius as recorded in Baronius, ad h. annum, n. 29, in Allix, Ancient Church of Piedmont,  p. 35.

[36] Peter Allix, Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of the Albigenses, first published in 1692.  1989 Reprint of the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1821 edition.

[37] Allix, pp. 182-183.

[38] See The Noble Lesson and other works, a catalog of which is recorded in Samuel Morland, The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of Piemont (Henry Hills, 1658)  Reprint.  Morland was sent by Oliver Cromwell to put pressure on the Duke of Savoy to stop the “bloudy massacre” of the Vaudois in 1655.  Morland received many original manuscripts of the Vaudois at that time and put them in the public library at the University of Cambridge, from which they shortly disappeared.  Morland in his two volume History was careful to quote widely from these original sources. 

[39] Acts 5:29

[40] Bury’s edition of Gibbon’s History, VI. p. 543

[41] Adeney, The Greek and Eastern Churches, pp. 217-219

[42] George Stanley Faber, The History of the Ancient Vallenses and Albigenses (London, 1828) Book II & III.

[43] Such is the testimony of Gregory Magistos, A. D., 1058, whose history is one of the chief sources of information.  For the documentation see “Paulicians and Bogomil Churches” www.pbministries.org/History/John%20T.%20Christian/vol1/history_04.htm  4/8/2008

[44] Wylie, Vol. III, Book 16th.

[45] Revelation 17:3 Raynerius, a papal inquisitor who lived before the middle of the thirteenth century, testified of the Vallenses as saying, “They hold the Church of Rome to be the whore of Babylon, and that all that obey her are damned.”  Found quoted in Allix, pp. 209-211.

[46] Revelation 17:6

[47] Revelation 13:3

[48] Ephesians 6:13,14

The Vatican’s Global plans

On December 13, 2000, the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, under the heading, “All are called to build God’s kingdom,” published the Pope’s words from his General Audience of December 6,.  The Pontiff declared,

Those who have chosen the way of the Gospel Beatitudes and live as ‘the poor in spirit’, detached from material goods, in order to raise up the lowly of the earth from the dust of their humiliation, will enter the kingdom of God….Those who lovingly bear the sufferings of life will enter the kingdom…All the just of the earth, including those who do not know Christ and his Church, who, under the influence of grace, seek God with a sincere heart, are thus called to build the kingdom of God by working with the Lord, who is its first and decisive builder.”

These beguiling words are false.  Each expression suggests salvation in a way that is alien to Scripture.  It is not by choosing “the way of the Gospel Beatitudes” that one enters the kingdom of God, but rather faith in ‘The Way’, Jesus Christ and in His finished work on the Cross; “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”  It is not by “lovingly bear[ing] the sufferings of life” that we enter into the kingdom, but by Christ “bearing” our sins and “suffering” in our stead.  It is nonsense to imply that a man who does not know Christ can be a part of the kingdom of God.  I am the Good Shepherd and know My sheep, and am known of mine (John 10:14).  The papal pronouncement can only be understood in the light of the Pontiff’s continued plans for World Government.  His presupposition is that the kingdom of God already exists in the Roman Catholic Church.  This is consistent with the his new Catechism, “…The [Roman Catholic] Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom.  Its keys are entrusted to Peter.”[1]

Centuries of patient aspiration, plotting, planning, and political subterfuge have come at last to fruition, for the European Union (EU) appears to be the prototype for the Vatican plans for World Government.  As one studies the official words of a previous pope on “Effective World Authority’’[2] and is cognizant of what has already happened in the EU, one wonders just how close are we to a World Criminal Code, World Prosecutor, and the regular branding of biblical churches as ‘sects’.  What is happening in Europe was outlined in the UK’s Sunday Telegraph, October 20, 2000,

“The Blair government is preparing to transfer huge swathes of power to Brussels at the December Nice summit.  It has signaled its intention to give up the veto in many of the areas where it remains; to accept a written constitution for the European Union (known as the Charter of Fundamental Rights); to approve further steps towards a European army and police force; and even to allow the European Union to set up its own criminal code, with a European Prosecutor.”

Since 1973 the European Common Market had by plan and purpose become the European Community (EC).  The EC further evolved into the European Union.  Now the EU is expanding its collective presence by proposing an European army, police force, criminal code, and Prosecutor.  In 1998, Torquil Dick-Erikson of the Critical European Group (CEG), a group of academics and students interested in scrutinizing the EU, wrote,

‘Corpus Juris’ is a plan prepared by the EU commission (XXth DG) at the request of the European Parliament, to tackle fraud against the EU budget.  It will set up a European Public Prosecutor, on the continental inquisitorial model, who will have over-riding jurisdiction throughout Europe, to instruct national judges to issue arrest warrants against suspects, have these held in custody for indefinite periods pending investigation (or transported to other countries in Europe)¾with no obligation to produce prosecution evidence and no right to a public hearing during this time.

The cases are then to be tried by special courts, consisting of professional judges and ‘excluding simple jurors and lay magistrates’.  They will be empowered to hand down sentences of up to seven years.

It is the expressed intention of the EU Commision, and the President of the EU Parliament Don Gil Robles, for this system to be an ‘embryo European criminal code’, later to be extended to all kinds of crime.  On November 8-9, 1998, there was an Inter-Parlimentary Conference in Strasbourg, where the Corpus Juris project was put forward for informal consideration.  Fourteen member states expressed general agreement with the idea.”[3]

It is disconcerting to note that the EU is considering legislation that seems to resemble historic Roman Catholic Church judicial practice.  Absent is ‘due process’; gone are the Miranda Rights.  Is this coincidence?  Or is history repeating itself?  In centuries past, the Church of Rome always employed governmental henchmen to hold, even bind, her people together.  She has always desired, and for much of her history has had, secular prosecutors and an inquisitorial system to apply her penalties against what she considered heresy.  One must ask what is the ultimate purpose of the Papacy in European and international affairs and just what is the structure of the Papacy that would give it international political power to achieve those goals.

Society on the International Level

“The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II” sees himself as the one capable of (if not ordained to) bringing in World Government.  Through his new Catechism he declares,

“It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society.  The common good of the whole human family calls for an organization of society on the international level.”[4]

And from his perspective, the “common good of civil society” is Roman Catholism[5], embraced by the rank and file; defended and enforced by civil authorities; subject to the will of the Holy See.  The Pontiff’s goal for ecumenism plots towards world government in political, economic, and social life.[6]  This is the way his predecessors on the Pontifical Throne also expressed themselves.  For example, Pope Paul VI in his 1967 encyclical on the topic of “The Progress of Peoples” in an entire section titled “Toward an Effective World Authority’’ proclaimed,

“This international collaboration on a worldwide scale requires institutions that will prepare, coordinate, and direct it until finally there is established an order of justice which is universally recognized….Who does not see the necessity of thus establishing progressively a world authority, capable of acting effectively in the juridical and political sectors?”[7] 

Who indeed!  Upon hearing this statement we must cast a backwards glance at the witness of history; for what has ever been the purpose of the juridical and political sectors in the eyes of Rome but to function as a secular sword, wielded at her behest!  For when she was Mistress of the world, then and only then was there to her mind a “healthy socialization.”[8] 

International Criminal Court & “Heinous Crimes”

And so Archbishop Renato Martino (the Holy See’s permanent Observer to the United Nations) on June 16, 1998, at the Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court spoke for the Vatican,

“As Pope John Paul has stated, ‘Within the international community the Holy See supports every effort to establish effective juridical structures for safeguarding the dignity and fundamental rights of individuals and communities.  Such structures however can never be sufficient in themselves; they are only mechanisms which need to be inspired by a firm and persevering moral commitment to the good [who defines that good?] of the human family as a whole.’”[9] 

Although the Roman Catholic Church’s historical record is consistently one of absolute, and more often than not, deceitful tyranny, breaching rather than “safeguarding the dignity and fundamental rights of individuals,” and this fact the Archbishop undoubtedly knows, Rome nevertheless imagines herself as the only authority on morality.  This position, so clearly codified in her present day Canon Law, implies that the Roman Catholic Church is the one whose right it is to define ultimately what is for “the good of the human family as a whole.”  Thus, it is not difficult to see that her interest in the International Criminal Court is distinctly and solely a vested interest.  Post this frightening note upon hearth and home; the Holy See has a delegate to the World Association of Jurists thus giving Catholic Canon Law an influence on the judiciary on an international scale.  Archbishop Martino further stated,

“Those who are responsible for violations of the most heinous crimes which offend the conscience of the human family, the crimes which will fall under the jurisdiction of this Court, must be made to accept their responsibility in accordance with universal [read “Catholic”] norms…Any structures or rules which could lead to decisions about guilt or innocence that are based upon political rather than juridical considerations have a questionable role in the proposed statute.”

Since the Church of Rome declares that her laws, including those defining heresy, are “irreformable”[10], the statement that “those who are responsible for violations of the most heinous crimes which offend the conscience of the human family...will fall under the jurisdiction of this Court” is broad enough to include eventually those things that Rome defines as heresy. 

Power & Politics

The Roman Catholic Church deals with nations under the title of “The Holy See.”  On her web page, while commenting on the “The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations,” she states,

“The term Holy See stands for the central authority of the Church, which transcends, even if it includes, the tiny sovereign State of Vatican City.  Thus, the Holy See represents a world wide community and not only the citizens of Vatican City.”[11] 

Distinctly, therefore, she defines herself simultaneously as “the Holy See” and “the central authority.”  She then sets the jurisdiction of this “central authority” to swallow up the “ world wide community.”  We would be deluded were we to imagine that only Roman Catholics are included within this realm, for Rome’s own dogmas teach that all humanity falls under papal sufferance.  Exactly how ‘magnanimous’ and ‘beneficent’ such “authority” intends to be is a foregone conclusion.  In a concise, intense, insightful official law, the same RCC authority declares, “The First See is judged by no one.”[12]  No accountability, only tyranny: such has ever been Rome’s stamp upon the pages of history.  The Pope’s mission is also clearly declared in his official pronouncements.  He defines the Church as, “the Church which is a ‘sacrament or sign and instrument...of the unity of the whole human race.”[13]  No doubt, to be unwilling to submit to “central authority” would be a heinous crime offending the “conscience of the human family,” and disrupting the “the unity of the whole human race.”

The Structure That Makes Power Possible

It would appear that the goal of the RCC hierarchy to restore the Holy Roman Empire is being realized on a global scale.  Setting aside the biblical and simple organizational structure of the bride of Christ, the RCC clearly documents the structure by which she controls her own household.  Her power structure is central and totally dictatorial.  “She” is a system of men, carefully set forth in order of command, fully arrayed in costumes that signify rank.  The Pope claims absolute authority his Empire, “By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses infallibility in teaching when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful...he proclaims by a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.”  “No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff.”[14]  Thus, it is here, at this point that the “dignity and fundamental rights of individuals and communities” cease to be.

The Chain of Command

The government she mimics is not that of a church, but that of the Roman Empire.  Like the latter her power structure is similar, with senate (curia), ambassadors, and a world net of influence.  The Roman Catholic hierarchy consists of the Pope, cardinals, patriarchs, major archbishops, archbishops, metropolitans, coadjutor archbishops, Diocesan bishops, coadjutor bishops, episcopal vicars, eparchs (bishops of the Eastern Churches), Vicars apostolic, prefects apostolic, apostolic administrators, vicar generals.  Most Roman Catholic pastors or parish priests deal with the last on the pecking-order regime, “the vicar general.”[15]  Crushed beneath this ponderous hierarchy are the nuns and laity.  As they serve “Holy Mother the Church,” they obviously fail to reflect that this hierarchy is composed solely of celibate men.  “Also subject to the Holy Father are titular archbishops and bishops, religious orders and congregations of pontifical right, pontifical institutes and faculties, papal nuncios and apostolic delegates.”[16]  “Assisting the Pope and acting in his name in the central government and administration of the Church are cardinals and other officials of the Roman Curia.”[17]

The Imposition of Power

The Roman Catholic Church imposes her rigorous rules on men and upon their consciences.  In that domain she claims that her pope is infallible, and that no one can judge him.  The baptized Catholic must give loyal submission of the will and intellect to his teachings, even when these teachings are not claimed to be infallible.  Thus, she decrees, “This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra.”[18]  The Roman Catholic Church enforces authority over 814,779 women who are her nuns, 57,813 men whom she calls religious brothers, and 404,626 men whom she calls her priests.[19]  For the nuns the vow of obedience, alien to biblical thought, compels submissiveness.  Her Canon Law #601 teaches, “The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in a spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ who was obedient even unto death requires a submission of the will to legitimate superiors, who stand in the place of God when they command according to the proper constitutions.”  Obedience to the Lord as commanded in the Bible is twisted in the Catholic world into obedience to one’s local superior “who stands in the place of God.”  Each local superior is accountable in the chain of command to his immediate overseer, an upward progression that ends ultimately at the Pope.  The RCC goes so far as to declare, “Religious can be coerced by penalties by the local ordinary [the Bishop] in all matters in which they are subject to him.” (Canon 1320)  Such dictates as these run contrary to the Lord’s command to His servants, “For one is your Master and ye are all brethren;be ye subject one to another”; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  In truth, the Papacy cannot point to a New Testament model for its hierarchal structure.  It also runs contrary to Federal and State law that no foreign power can coerce U. S. citizens.

The Predicament of the Catholic

The following is a summary from Peter de Rosa, a RC writer,

“The dilemma of American Catholics today is simply the dilemma of most Catholics writ large.  They live under two conflicting ideologies.  Patriotism and religion have little in common....In the state, a Catholic rejoices in openness, complete freedom of worship, democracy.  He takes it for granted that freedom leads to a deepening of the truth.  He is used to his leaders having to present themselves for his approval.  He can vote them in, he can vote them out.  He demands press conferences, freedom of information, an unfettered press that is like a second government.  “In the church, a Catholic has to put up with total secrecy and lack of accountability.  There are no choices, no elections.  No bishop or pope is, as far as he is concerned, voted in or out.  He has to accept what he is given.  In the church, there are no press conferences, no checks and balances, no explanations.  The control from the top is absolute.”[20]

The Sovereign Power & Evangelicals

Evangelicals who used to warn of a “one world government” now seem intent to run into the arms of this “central authority.”  They refuse to recognize what the RCC is, and how she operates¾not as a Church but as a sociopolitical empire.  For example, Charles Colson, Timothy George, Os Guinness, Richard Land, Max Lucado, T.M. Moore, Mark A. Noll, and J.I. Packer endorsed “The Gift of Salvation” document that begins with the statement, “We give thanks to God that in recent years many Evangelicals and Catholics, ourselves among them, have been able to express a common faith in Christ and so to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.”[21]  If Christ were their sole Lord and Master, they would not kowtow to the system of “The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II.”

The Word of God and Rome

The Holy Spirit, foreseeing all these things, as the Guide and Comforter of the true church has graciously provided a divine answer for the dangerous, ubiquitous, reviving Holy Roman Empire.  In the Bible, the Spirit of God has portrayed the Church of Rome as wonderful in the eyes of the world, but deplorable as apostate.  For the believers, He has broken her magic spells; He has lifted her mask, and has written in large letters her title for all to read: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT.[22]  The true believer must compare everything to the Word of the Infinite, All Holy, Unchangeable, All-Powerful, All Knowing, and All Wise God.  When confronted with the behemoth of Rome, the confidence believers have in the Lord is similar to that of David as he weighed the might of Goliath against the True God. “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”[23]  It is the Lord’s task to consume the wicked with His power.  “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.[24]  In the meantime, multitudes are saved from her, “with fear, pulling them out of the fire. [25]  This gracious deliverance is by the Gospel word of truth.  The Lord Christ Jesus, the Exalted Head of the Church, and His Sovereign Spirit give comfort and victory, for “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).  ¨

 

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[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church (San Francisco, CA:  Igantius Press, 1994) Para. 567

[2] Paul VI, Populorum Progressio (1967), 78

[3] Torquil Dick-Erikson, commentary on “Corpus Juris”:  http://www.euroscep.dircon.co.uk/corpus3.htm  Bolding in any quotation indicates emphasis added by this paper.

[4] Catechism, Para 1927

[5] “[T]he [RC] Church was founded by Christ…and is composed of men; they, the members of the earthly city, are called to form the family of the children of God….Made one in view of heavenly benefits and enriched by them this family has been ‘constituted and organized as a society in the present world’ by Christ and ‘provided with means adapted to its visible and social union.’  Thus the [RC] Church, at once ‘a visible organization and a spiritual community,’ travels the same journey as all mankind and shares the same earthly lot with the world:  it [the RCC] is to be…as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God.”  Vatican Council II The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, No. 64, “Guadium et Spes”, 7 Dec. 1965, Austin Flannery, Ed., 1981 ed. (Northport, NY:  Costello Publ. Co., 1975) Para 40, pp. 939-940 All Vatican Council II documents are taken from this source unless otherwise noted.

[6]  See John Robbins, Ecclesiastical Megalomania:  The Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church, (Unicoi, TN 37692:  The Trinity Foundation, 1999).

[7]  Paul VI, Populorum Progressio (1967), 78

[8]  Guadium et Spes, Para. 42

[9] Catholic International August, 1998, Vol. 9, No. 8, p. 350

[10] No. 28, Lumen Gentium, p. 380

[11] (Footnote information missing.)

[12] Code of Canon Law, Latin-English ed., New English Tr., (Wash. DC:  Canon Law Society of America, 1983,  Canon 1404.  All canons are taken from this edition unless otherwise stated.

[13] August, 1998 webpage http/www.vaticanva, Encyclical Letter of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Solicitudo Rei Socialis.  In saying this he is referring to Vatican Council II Documents, No. 28, Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Vol. I, Sec. 1, p. 350

[14] Canon 749 Sect 1 & Canon 333 Sect 3

[15] Catholic Almanac, 2001 (Huntington, IN:  Our Sunday Visitor) pp. 286-288

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Vatican Council II Documents, No. 28, Lumen Gentium, 21 Nov. 1964, Vol. I,  Sec. 25, p. 379

[19] Catholic Almanac, 2001 (Huntington, IN:  Our Sunday Visitor) p. 343

[20] Peter De Rosa, Vicars of Christ:  The Dark Side of the Papacy (New York, NY: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1988) p. 150

[21] Christianity Today, December 8, 1997

[22] Revelation 17:5

[23] I Samuel 17: 45

[24] II Thessalonians 2:8

[25] Jude 2:3

The Vatican’s Policy on Religious, Political, and Economic Activities

Dear Friend,

A biblical understanding of economics is one of the gifts that God gives to sustain us, believer and non-believer alike.  Biblical economic principles are to be treasured since they bring some degree of stability and well being into societies.  This current pope, like his predecessors, is flagrantly denying private property rights and basic biblical economic principles because he has accepted the papal principle of “the universal destination of goods.”  The Lord’s people need to be made aware of these facts and some of the examples that fall under them.

All of this and more are carefully documented in our current article given below.  We ask that you respond in prayer and forward the article to others.  If possible, I also request that you post it on your Web page.

Yours in Christ Jesus and for His Gospel,

Richard Bennett

 

The Vatican’s Policy on Religious, Political, and Economic Activities

By Richard Bennett and Robert J. Nicholson

 

On June 29, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI published an encyclical titled, “Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth)” subtitled, “On Integral Human Development in Charity and Truth.”  After a list of Roman Catholic people to whom the document is addressed, it inclusively states, “and [to] all people of good will.”  The emphasis on “all people” permeates the encyclical.  His audience is not only to be the adherents and professors of Romanism, but also all those who believe and sense that justice, integrity, and love are the ethical foundations of human well being.  Leaders and followers of every religious creed, social dogma, economic, and political persuasion are embraced for the purpose of dialogue. 

The opening sentence of the Encyclical states, “Charity in truth…is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity.”  Since sinning against God is without question “the authentic development” of every person’s sin nature inherited from Adam, the opening premise of the encyclical cannot be true if the word “authentic” is used in its normal sense.  Part of Benedict’s definition of “authentic development” is found in Sect. 18, “The truth of development consists in its completeness: if it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true [authentic]…development.”  Further, in Sect. 11, Benedict citing Paul VI states, “authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension.”  Thus, the scope of Benedict’s proposal could hardly be larger, for he has not only included “every person and all of humanity,” but also “the whole of the person in every single dimension.”  At the outset, the wording of the subtitle, “integral human development in charity and truth,” has an odd ring to it.  However, “integral development of all people under one global system” does not ring oddly, as the sentences from Sect. 11 and 18 make clear.   

Benedict states, “Pope Paul VI taught that progress, in its origin and essence, is first and foremost a vocation: ‘in the design of God, every man is called upon to develop and fulfill himself, for every life is a vocation.’[1]  Nowhere in the Bible is such an idea found as popes Paul VI and Benedict XVI have taken as truth.  Rather, every man is commanded to repent and believe the Gospel, “…but now [God] commandeth all men everywhere to repent:  because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”[2]  God’s command is to all men in all places; all men have need of repentance, and have sinful natures and personal sins of which to repent.  The Apostles were commissioned to preach this everywhere.  Now in Gospel times it is earnestly commanded, because the Lord God Who governs the world will judge it.  The Scripture commands each man to repent and believe.  But no man can do this without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, Whose job it is to convict a man of his hopeless-sinful state, and of the Lord Jesus Christ’s righteousness, “when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).  The Holy Spirit convicts of sin as He makes us realize our lost condition and brings us to sense our need of Christ’s righteousness.  Only the Holy Spirit can impart spiritual life to the soul and supernatural light to the mind.  Therefore the Lord Himself proclaimed, “truly, truly, I say unto you except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  Truly, truly,” is an expression used by the Lord to draw attention to the crucial importance of what He said.  What He calls being “born again,” He also establishes as a principle of life, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6).  None of this is found anywhere in the encyclical.  While we saw Benedict state, “the whole of the person in every single dimension,” he explicitly leaves out the moral condition of the person before God.  Ephesians 2:1 states the moral condition of a person before conversion as, “dead in trespasses and sins,” leaving him needing therefore to repent and believing the Gospel.

Nevertheless, although these two popes have based their agenda on a falsehood, Pope Benedict states, “This [universal vocation purportedly from God] is what gives legitimacy to the [Roman Catholic] Church’s involvement in the whole question of development.”[3]  

Benedict expands his argument by stating that the Papacy’s worldview is relevant for today, “To regard development as a vocation is to recognize, on the one hand, that it derives from a transcendent call, and on the other hand that it is incapable, on its own, of supplying its ultimate meaning.”  Benedict has shrewdly played two trump cards to political leaders, particularly those in democratic nations. 

First, he states that the Papacy’s vision comes from a transcendent source—a height of authority to which modern secularists, whether politically or financially powerful, cannot attain.  This is because modern secularists have never solved the problem of the justification for government.  Without civil government, anarchy reigns because of the wickedness of individuals.  However, due to the wickedness of individual civil magistrates in a civil government that de facto denies any real authority other than men, such government ends up in totalitarianism.[4]  Second, in speaking of “ultimate meaning,” Benedict targets another weakness of his secular opponents: one of the basic issues with which many modern secularists, agnostics, atheists, and religionists struggle is that of meaninglessness, which is an identity issue.           

Thus, the Pope states, “In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations.”[5]  Quoting former Pope Paul VI, he asserts,

“Underdevelopment…is the lack of brotherhood among individuals and peoples…This [brotherhood] originates in a transcendent vocation from God the Father, who loved us first, teaching us through the Son what fraternal charity is.  Paul VI…placed at the summit, after mentioning faith, ‘unity in the charity of Christ who calls us all to share as sons in the life of the living God, the Father of all.’”[6]

This concept of brotherhood and unity pervades the document.  The term “human family” is mentioned twelve times; the expression “community” twenty-three times.  It assumes that all the “human family” is considered to be the children of God as communities work together.  Thus, again alluding to Pope Paul VI, Benedict maintains that “an authentic humanism” can be established, “Only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God’s family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism.”[7]  In Benedict’s view, these self-evident truths—creature-hood in common, universality of the human family, and interdependent community—are the pre-conditioning facts of a fulfilling human existence.  These facts demand that all reasoning and action concerning the life of man must embrace these self-evident truths.  If they do not, then it is likewise self-evident that modern life will lack individual moral excellence, ethical political action, and just and sustainable economic values and objectives. 

What Benedict, and Paul VI before him, has not demanded is that the Gospel must be proclaimed.  Nor can they … because their authority base, being “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture,” is flawed.  Nevertheless, without it the brotherhood and unity that these popes offer is a sham; for the unity that they propose must, if necessary, be imposed by force from civil authorities.  It is precisely this that Benedict is proposing in his latest encyclical.  His idea is not new.  Indeed, it is a page out of the playbook of Hildebrand who, during the Dark Ages, understood that in order to rule over the emperor and the kings of the Holy Roman Empire, he needed to establish a transcendent authority for his position.  Although he did not live to see his idea fully implemented, it became the basis of the Papacy’s control through its moral power over civil power to perpetrate its murderous Inquisition on the peoples of Europe and the British Isles for six hundred years, ending in the late eighteenth century.   

This global ambition of Benedict has long been the Papal goal.  Thus, we notice that the July 15, 2009 edition of the Jesuit magazine, America, carried a cover article entitled, “The Papacy for a Global Church.”  Among many other things, the well-known Jesuit, Avery Dulles, wrote, “In our electronic age, when information travels with the speed of light, global authority is more important than ever.”[8] 

The assumption is that what the Pope presents as the subject and focus of the encyclical is a set of universal values that should direct and inform all religious, political, and economic activity in the modern world. 

Pope Benedict’s Conjectures and How They Are to Be Judged

What must be understood is that Benedict’s encyclical, with its elevated and inspiring tone in pursuit of ethical excellence, is heavily laden with all the classical assumptions of the Papacy.  Principally, what is being presented in the encyclical is an idealized plan for the world, based on the Vatican’s view of both what the world presently is, and what it could be, if the Pope were the temporal lord-director of all things spiritual, political, and economic.  The whole argument of the encyclical hangs upon the veracity of its alleged self-evident axioms.  But, are the assumptions true?  If the Pope of Rome wants to be a prophetic voice in the modern world, allegedly speaking on Christ’s behalf, then we shall evaluate his assumptions according to the measure given in the Word of God, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”[9]  The Lord Jesus Christ was emphatic that Scripture is absolute truth and that it cannot be refuted; He proclaimed, “the Scripture cannot be broken.” In prayer to His Father, He identified God’s Word with truth, “Thy word is truth.”[10]  In this light; namely, the Word of truth in Scripture, Benedict’s self-evident “truths” are clearly false.  It will be shown that the encyclical serves the Papal’s purpose, as well as others who also are grabbing for world power; it is plainly inimical to the well being of every human life on this planet.  Scripture warns the believer of an iniquitous system that will be maintained by fraudulent methods.  “All power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”[11]  This is what we are seeing before our eyes in this encyclical. 

In Section 50 of the encyclical, Benedict gives his part of the message to all nations.  He stated, “Let us hope that the international community and individual governments will succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment.”  The Lord Jesus Christ’s message to all nations is utterly different.  He proclaims, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.”[12]  Following on this message is the assurance that those who by grace believe on Christ (i.e., the true spiritual family from people across the globe) are the real family of God in faith.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”[13]  As presented in the Gospel, those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ have been declared “sons of God” through the Lord’s perfect life and sacrifice.  As the Apostle Paul proclaimed, “ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”[14]

The Pope’s Agenda

While we are rightly concerned with what the present pope is saying, it is also imperative to grasp why he is saying it.  Benedict’s encyclical is not in any sense a labor of original thought.  Both his analytical style and argumentative form are firmly grounded in the Vatican’s preeminent sense of its own self-importance and presumed lordship over every aspect of human life.  As a worldly, religious entity of over 1,600 years standing, Rome has inevitably developed a complex, sophisticated, idealized economic and political theory that reflects its institutional energy of self-preservation and perpetuation.  Even as we examine the assumptions underlying what Benedict’s view of truth, love, and justice are in the light of Holy Scripture, we need to see what purpose and position the Vatican believes it occupies in the scheme of human life and development.  The Vatican’s beliefs concerning its position and mission must likewise be held to the light of the prophetic testimony of the Word of God.  Is the Roman Papacy a divine gift to the human race?  Has the Supreme Pontiff been set in the world, in the place of Christ and His Word, to be the arbiter of politics, economics, ethics, and religious practice?  If not, then what position exactly does Rome occupy in Holy Scripture?  Is the Roman church the bride of Christ, outside of which there is no hope of salvation?  One’s eternal interest rests on the answers to these questions. 

If the Pope is who and what he claims to be, then when he says, “Charity always manifests God's love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world,” he is authoritatively proclaiming that there is a path to redemption other than through the perfect and complete substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Pope is saying precisely and unmistakably that love as a personal commitment, and activity in general, is a way of salvation.  To put it plainer than the Pope, an individual experience of the love of God, felt or expressed, is a ground of gaining favor and acceptance with God.  This is one example of dozens of statements in Benedict’s encyclical that flatly contradicts the plain teaching of Scripture on how a person is accepted by God.  The Lord’s Word of truth states, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”[15]  Humanity’s greatest problem is that we have offended the Lord God, the All-Holy One.  His holiness is the distinguishing factor in all His essential characteristics.  This is the reason why we need to be in right standing before the one and only All-Holy God on the terms He prescribes.  Our evil thoughts, deeds, and character have made us His enemies.  We have a spiritual debt of infinite proportions that we are unable to repay.  Due to our innate rebellion toward the holy God, even our good deeds are as filthy rags before Him.  The good news, however, is that by His grace we can turn to Him in faith alone for the salvation that He alone gives.  By His grace comes the conviction of the Holy Spirit, based on Christ’s death and resurrection for His own.  This culminates with our believing on Him alone.  Benedict demonstrates exhaustively that his views truly represent the historical essence of Rome’s religious and social teaching.  However, that teaching is not the teaching of the Bible.  Grasping this point is critical to understanding how the Vatican sees itself. 

Acceptance of Rome’s teaching, agreement with its scheme of salvation by works, and association under its moral and ethical lordship is not merely suggested; it is demanded by a proxy submission to the veracity of everything Benedict proposes concerning justice, love, and truth.  To accept validity of the teaching is to accord Rome practical primacy.  Plainly, however, in the light of Scripture, Rome cannot be the faithful bride of the LORD of Glory.  Its history, testimony, and opposition to the truth of the Word of God inform us it is a woman of another type.  In fact, Rome is in reality “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,” hotly engaged in lascivious associations with the princes and kingdoms of this world for the sake of its own advantage and promotion.  Rome speaks on the world’s political and economic interests because those interests are its own. 

Benedict’s objective is to firmly ground his institution’s welfare and future in terms of an “integral human development” that acknowledges his primacy as the sole arbiter of ethics and moral order.  The Triple Tiara with its profoundly symbolic exhibition of papal claims of absolute lordship over spiritual, civil, and moral life is concealed from public view to avoid exposure and embarrassment.  However, it is quite clear that Benedict is cleverly penning this epistolary encyclical to again assert the Papacy’s autocratic claims.  The Pope’s aim in this encyclical is to propound and promote a type of world government.  Specifically, he envisions a renewed and rejuvenated “globalized society” within which the Roman church subsists as the principal ethical entity.  The term “globalize” is used 53 times in the document and, in the terms of the argument, is meant to reinforce not merely the concept of an inevitable necessary global synthesis but to generate a “just and sustainable economic order.”  The term is always subtly informed, qualified, and defined in harmony with the expressed views of his predecessors on the Pontifical Throne.  Demonstrating continuity of tradition or teaching is a pervasive literary artifice in this encyclical.  It is designed to morally reinforce its central assumptions and position, namely, that what Benedict writes is obviously authoritative.  Thus, he quotes many times from Pope Paul VI in his encyclical called, “The Progress of Peoples,” translated in Latin, “Populorum Progressio.”  An entire section of Pope Paul VI’s document is entitled, “Toward an Effective World Authority.”  There Pope Paul VI proclaimed,

“This international collaboration on a worldwide scale requires institutions that will prepare, coordinate, and direct it until finally there is established an order of justice which is universally recognized….”[16]

It is imperative for us to understand what the Vatican wants to see and, in point, be actively associated; namely, that there be a cohesive array of institutions, or internationalized bureaucratic collective, that function effectively as a world authority capable of forcefully managing all economic, political, and social elements of human life in a “just” way.  Once the reader reasons his way past the moralizing platitudes of “Populorum Progressio,” this is obviously what Paul VI was really saying.  Benedict is careful to show that not only are his views in complete harmony with his predecessor, it is also his way of getting dominance worldwide, which follows the “traditional” method.

Part of Benedict’s agenda is the development of an increasingly globalized society by the nations seeking for “the common good” of all.  Thus, in section 7 concerning “the common good” he states,

“It is the good of “all of us,” made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society.”

This concept of “the common good he emphasizes 20 times in the document.  Benedict, while he served as “Cardinal Ratzinger,” drafted what is now the official Catechism of the Catholic Church.  In this he stated,

“The [Roman Catholic] Church makes a judgment about economic and social matters when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls requires.  She is concerned with the temporal common good of men because they are ordered to the sovereign good, their ultimate end.”[17] 

In the Bible, the ultimate end of man is to glorify God through the appreciation and adoration of His Son Jesus Christ to the complete satisfaction of our souls.  In the Bible, it is through the commitment to the whole counsel of God that we come to delight more fully in who He is as the One Sovereign God to His glory and our good.  There is no such thing as “the sovereign good” that can be conceived as existing externally to God as sovereign.  Therefore, His revealed will in His Word is the only standard of good for rational creatures.  “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”[18] 

The emphasis on economics is such that the Pope mentions the concept 133 times.  This is the same pope, Pope Benedict XVI, and his Vatican system, that teaches that private property is not personal as such, but belongs to all people.  His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, whom he quotes many times in the encyclical, stated, “Private property, in fact, is under a ‘social mortgage,’ which means that it has an intrinsically social function, based upon and justified precisely by the principle of the universal destination of goods.”[19]  The “principle of the universal destination of goods” is clearly observed in what the present pope endorses in the second part of his first encyclical entitled “God is Love.”[20]  The Pope wholly sanctions the principle of the universal ownership of all goods embalmed in the writings of popes John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II on whom he relies heavily in this his second encyclical.[21]  A Vatican Council II document upholds the same principle of the “universal ownership of all goods” and emphatically teaches, “If one is in extreme necessity, he has the right to procure for himself what he needs out of the riches of others.”[22]  The Vatican philosophy is simply a justification for theft—whether on an individual level or governmental level.  The Bible states, “Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house…nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.”[23]  (It is this very thing that the United States government is engaged in with its ever-increasing theft through forced taxation to support socialism.  The American middle class is disappearing while the rich, political elite steal more from them through higher and higher taxes to support the every-growing poor class.)

In reference to the economic and political turmoil of our time, the Pope uses the term “crisis” 19 times in his encyclical.  There is no denying that the world is in crisis, but Benedict’s proposed remedy is just another disease being presenting as a cure.  Instead of looking to the Father in heaven and His Word to learn biblical stewardship of their money and property, Catholics, and now nations across the world, are being exhorted to look to Benedict and his encyclical as a sure path for resuscitation of the international economy.  biblical principles of divine justice, creaturely property rights, and equivalent value exchange economics needed for stability and wellbeing of nations, are negated and ruined by Benedict’s economic policies.[24]

Real Legal Power to Implement the Pope’s Agenda

At the beginning of section 67, Benedict calls for “a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.”  “Real teeth”—i.e., true legal power—is something with which the Vatican is very familiar.  Social and religious dominance, upheld and maintained by means of civil law throughout the European nations, is what the Catholic Church enjoyed and thrived on throughout the Dark Ages and Middle Ages.  The Holy Roman Empire’s assertion of this evil principle was the underpinning of her power during the six hundred years of the Inquisition and, generally throughout the centuries, the growth of her religious power system.  To illustrate the strength of “real teeth,” from the beginning of the Papacy until the present time, it is estimated by credible historians that more than 50 million (50,000,000) men and women had been slaughtered for the fabricated crime of heresy charged against them by Papal Rome.[25]  At the present time, the Vatican’s ability to grow in strength remains potent in nations where she has legal concordats with the civil governments.  Since early in the 20, century, while under Pius XII, her legal strategy has become even more assertive and autocratic.  Moreover, the Roman Catholic Church has much influence in the formulation and implementation of national and international laws, particularly in the nations in which she has papal nuncios as ambassadors.  At present, she maintains diplomatic relations with 174 countries at embassy level. 

Expediency, deceit, and cunning have always been defining elements of the Roman Church’s geo-political pronouncements.  The Vatican, desiring to maintain official diplomatic intercourse with all nations, woos Iran, all the while maintaining relations with Israel.  She has had uninterrupted relations with Cuba while having great difficulties with China, Korea, and Vietnam.  Interestingly, Islamic countries are slow to sign agreements with the Holy See.[26]  Through her many Roman Catholic representatives in government, her own direct influence as a civil power, and in particular through her concordats, Papal Rome is now able to substantially influence civil rulers and civil policy in many nations.  As she assumes control through civil ambassadors and legal concordats, Rome continues to fulfill prophecy of the woman “sitting upon the scarlet-colored beast.”[27]  The woman, i.e., the Papal Church, is seated upon a scarlet-colored beast—the civil power.  As far as possible, she controls and directs for her own ends the civil power that carries her.  The political civil power is subordinate to the spiritual control of apostate Rome and is the Pope’s necessary instrument used to fulfill his aspirations and objectives. 

Finale in Conclusion

Benedict and his encyclical on directing religious political and economic activities worldwide should not be surprising to us.  Papal arrogance tallies well with Scripture’s prediction for such claims, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”[28]  The words inscribed on the Pope’s official miter are “Vicarius Filii Dei,” Latin for “Vicar of the Son of God.”  Since there can be but one Vicar of Christ who is infinite, supreme, omnipotent, and all sufficient, the Papacy is a demonically energized apostate system that will be judged and utterly condemned by the Lord.[29]

Biblical insight apprehends that “the whole world lieth in wickedness[30] and, “the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand.[31]  The papal program is wicked, willful, and its genius in means and method, satanic.[32]  The Sovereign LORD God has allowed Satan to enter into conflict against Him.  The people of God know that this is the Lord’s design, as His Word proclaims, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out![33]  From the beginning the Lord purposed to glorify Himself “in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end.[34]  He created the world and formed man for this purpose.  His all-wise design was not defeated when Adam and mankind fell, for Jesus Christ the LORD was the Lamb, “slain from the foundation of the world.”[35]  Almighty God’s will is from eternity, and reigns supreme in time.  He orders, directs, and controls all events.  He it is, “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.[36]  Satan and his present neo-Babylonian empire cannot resist Him.  It is written, “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble.”[37]  We pray that the people will understand this, and that they also would be motivated to seek His grace.  Grace is unmerited, divine favor.  By mercy alone, He saves hell-deserving sinners, and so all the glory of redeeming power is His alone.  Papal Rome’s modern manipulation of civil power, false ecumenism, and unbiblical economic policies are only instruments to the final end of the glorification of God and the establishment of His righteous kingdom.  We can be sincerely thankful that Almighty God in His supreme wisdom has set limits to the intrigues of Rome.  The Roman Church will be punished for its willful rejection of the Lordship of Christ.  The Lord’s people will not be deceived by the powerful delusion that has descended on the world.[38]  They “should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”[39]  True believers are those who adhere to God only and His written Word.  These know that they are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and that God solely is due all glory and praise!  ♦

 

[1] Encyclical “Love in Truth,” Sect. 16 (Emphasis in original document.)

[2] Acts 17:30-31

[3] Encyclical “Love in Truth,” Sect. 16

[4] Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things:  An Introduction to Philosophy Second ed. (Unicoi, TN:  The Trinity Foundation, 1991) Ch. 3, “The Philosophy of Politics.”  www.trinityfoundation.org

[5] End of Sect. 7

[6] “Charity in Love,” Sect. 19

[7] “Charity in Truth,” Conclusion, Sect. 78

[8] http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=760   Avery Dulles was one of the original signers of the deceptive 1994 document entitled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT).  ECT has done much to devastate evangelism to Catholics with the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

[9] Isaiah 8:20

[10] John 10:35; John 17:17

[11] II Thessalonians 2:9-10

[12] Matthew 28:18-20

[13] John 1:12

[14] Romans 8:15-16

[15] Ephesians 2:8-9

[16] Pope Paul VI in Populorum Progressio section 78

[17] Catechism of the Catholic Church Para 2458 

[18] I Samuel 2:2

[19] Encyclical, “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis”, John Paul II, Sect. 42

[20] http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html

[21] Encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est”, Sect. 27

[22] “Gaudium et Spes”, Vatican Council II:  The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Para. 69.  Text is also on the Internet at: http://www.osjspm.org/cst/gs_cos2.htm

[23] Exodus 20:15, 17

[24] See also our article on, “Papal Promotion of Collective Ownership and Theft”

[25] This is documented in John Dowling’s The History of Romanism, Book 8, Ch. 1, pp. 542, 543. The main credible historians on the Inquisition, besides Dowling himself are Lea, Vancandard, Maycock, Coulton, and Turberville.

[26] However, since October 11, 2007, when one hundred and thirty-eight Grand Muftis, proclaimed a call for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity, things have radically changed.

[27] Revelation 17:3

[28] Isaiah 14:14

[29] Revelation 18:8 “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”

[30] I John 5:19

[31] Daniel 12:10

[32] II Corinthians 4:3-4

[33] Romans 11:33

[34] Ephesians 3:21

[35] Revelation 13:8

[36] Ephesians 1:11

[37] Psalm 99:1

[38] II Thessalonians 2:8-11, Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.  In context, “If it were possible,” means that it is not possible.

[39] Jude 3

True and False Worship: the Cross and the Mass

 

I.  Introduction

Worshipping God is that communion that exists in true harmony between the Creator and the creature man. 

A. Before the Fall

1.  There were no restraints on relationship between God and Adam.  God spoke to Adam, laying out for him his duties, instructing him concerning his environment (Genesis 1:28-30), created a helpmeet for him (Genesis 2:21-22).

2. Adam had only external restraint, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

B. At the Fall, the relationship between God and Adam was severed by Adam’s sin (Genesis 3:6-8). 

 

II. The Biblical Pattern for True Worship

God took the initiative in restoring the Creator-creature relationship severed by Adam’s single act of rebellion God's taking the initiative involves both the negative, by showing them what is unacceptable, and the positive, by giving them a promise which He will fulfill by means His grace through faith.

A. In initiating how restoration between God and man will take place, God first addresses the sin, metes out the punishment, promises restoration of relationship between Himself and man, and then initiates action which thousands of years later will fulfill the promise.

1. The promise of restoration, or salvation, is given in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

2. Having made the promise, God initiates the action, which at the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ will fulfill perfectly the promise of restoration of the relationship between the Creator and His creatures.  God’s first action after the promise is to slay animals to make covering for Adam and Eve, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).  In so doing, God has set the pattern for how the restoration shall be accomplished, for this action on God’s part foreshadows the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).

 

B. In taking the initiative, God shows that one cannot approach God in his own way; Adam with his fig leaf, Cain with his grain offering, and Nadab and Abihu offering strange fire are examples.

 

C. God sets the pattern for how He will fulfill His Promise of Salvation.  Evident throughout the Scripture, God develops acceptable worship for His people.  Since the thoughts of man are only evil from his youth (Genesis 6:5, 8:21), God always approaches man on His grace through faiths.  In each step, it is God who takes the initiative.

III.  The Basis for True Worship

A. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, no communion between God and man is possible except on the basis of conformity to God’s specific requirements.  He is the perfect All-Holy God, and the one who has fellowship with Him must also be perfect in His sight with God’s own perfection credited to him.  “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

 

B. God’s imperative Word is that we are to worship Him “in the beauty of holiness,” “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name...worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” 

(I Chronicles 16:29).

1. This command is never possible in the believer’s own holiness which, because of our nature, is always imperfect.  The constant theme of the Old Testament and the New Testament is that God has provided His perfect One, Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is credited to the believer.  Therefore, Isaiah could declare, “Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength...(Isaiah 45:24), and “...He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

2. The praise of the Old Testament saints is of God’s own righteousness in which they counted their salvation and strength.  

a. Psalm 71:15-17 “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; ....I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of Thine only.

b. “The beauty of holiness” in which we approach God is best summarized by the prophet Jeremiah, “And this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:6).

3. This basis of relationship whereby we may communicate with the All-Holy God, while understood and applied under the Law and the prophets, is now made manifest in the New Testament.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus  (Romans 3:21, 22, 24).

4. Once we stand before the All-Holy God accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6), clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we have the basis of fellowship with God.  In sanctification as he writes His law on our hearts as believers, we strive to be holy as He is.  He is then our God and we are His people, and we are privileged to call Him Abba Father.

I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people”  (Jeremiah 31:33).

 

IV.  The Restrictions of True Worship

The law in summary is the Ten Commandments, the first two of which deal explicitly with worship.  Continued fellowship with God includes the keeping of His restrictions in our worship of Him.

A. Most important in the First Commandment of the Decalogue, He sanctions Himself as the only object of true worship.  This is most important because what is excluded is all religious veneration of beings not God, all objects not God and all superstition. “I am the LORD thy God...Thou shalt have no other gods before me”  (Exodus 20:2-3).

 

B. The Second Commandment is also of uttermost importance, for it forbids practices, which negate one’s worshipping God by faith.  What is excluded from our communion with the true God sanctioned in the First Commandment is the making and bowing down to any graven images of Him, which includes the making or bowing to any likeness or art form of God.

1. Thus, all divination is forbidden.  This includes all looking to material things (and the rituals by which they must be attended) as if they were able to convey God’s favor (or disfavor) to us, and conversely all looking to material things and rituals as instruments able to convey our praise and worship to Him. 

2. Even in the Old Testament, worshipping God was by faith resting on Him and His promise and His righteousness.  The ceremonial law was merely of sign value to remind the believer of the promise the Passover meal was a memorial alone and a shadow of what was to come in Christ.  So the continued theme of worship in the midst of the ceremonial details of the old Testament was God Himself and nothing of the paraphernalia.  “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psalm 18:2).

 

V.  The Wonder and Essence of True Worship

  1. Our worship and service to God as believers is as a spiritual house to offer spiritual sacrifices to God acceptable only in the person of Jesus Christ“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).  This is in fact how the believers lived, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).  The Gospel was always the spiritual message of repentance and faith, as were the fellowship the breaking of bread and prayers. The continued theme is communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit because the believer is accepted in Christ.

B. No hint is ever given of trusting material signs to give life.  The stress is always on the blessings in Christ in the heavenly places.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

 

VI.  The Distinctive of New Testament Worship

A. In the New Testament, the Lord Himself teaches that the worship of God must continue to be in spirit and in truth.  Christ Jesus’ teaching on true worship is in the imperative form:

True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”  “They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

 

B. Christ indicated to the woman at the well that a great change in the form of worship was soon to happen.  When Christ died on the cross, He exclaimed, “It is finished  (John 19:30) and the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).  The Old Testament ceremonial rituals were fulfilled and finished.  The distinctive is that the fulfillment of the promise of redemption has been accomplished.  There are now no rituals to signify what is to come. 

1. The truth has come in person and is now manifest to us in the person of Christ in whom we worship by faith alone.  In the words of the Apostle Paul, the ceremonies were “a shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:17).  The continued theme of the New Testament is that the believer is by God’s grace in Christ.  Ceremonies and rituals were again in the words of Paul the schoolmaster of old, “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” 

2. We do indeed have two signs in the New Testament to testify to what His person has done.  The truth is, “ye are complete in him” (Colossians 2:10), rather than in any sign or symbol.  “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18).

 

VII.  The One Sacrifice, Once Offered

Christ’s sacrifice marked the fulfillment and end of the priestly ordinances of the Old Testament, “there is no more offering for sin (Hebrews 10:18).  Through His priestly offering on the cross, Christ “by Himself purged our sins” and “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3).

A. The Holy Spirit clearly instructs us that Christ’s sacrifice was one, in contrast to the many sacrifices of the Old Testament.

1. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12).

2. “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14).

 

B. The unique oneness of Christ’s sacrifice is in this very fact that it was one offering once made.  The concept “once” is deemed so important that it is asserted seven times by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.  The perfection of Christ’s sacrifice is contrasted to the daily repeated sacrifices of the Old Testament.  The truth of the excellence of Christ’s sacrifice is highlighted by the word “once.”

1. “For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God” (Romans 6:10).

2. “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself” (Hebrews 7:27).

3. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).

4. “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

5. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).

6. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

7. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18.).

 

VIII.  The One Sacrificial Priest

A. Clear as the midday sun also is the contrast that the Holy Spirit presents to us in contrasting Christ’s priesthood to the Old Testament priesthood.  The Levitical priests were mortal and therefore needed successors.  Christ is an eternal priest and His priesthood is untransferable, needing no successor.

And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable[1] priesthood” (Hebrews 7:23-24).

 

B. Most important is the fact that Christ Jesus, having nothing more precious than Himself, offered Himself.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:17-18).

 

C. He alone had the absolutely unique qualifications to offer Himself.

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).

 

D. Christ is the sole sacrificial Priest of the New Testament.  He finished the work of our salvation by one sole offering.  The Scriptures repeatedly establish this truth.  The substance of this is found in the Lord’s declaration from the Cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

1. For anyone to deem himself fit to offer immortal Christ Jesus in His perfect sacrifice is blasphemous pride.  Were such a human offering of Christ possible, Christ would have suffered so cruel a torment in vain, in His own oblation of Himself, “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).

2. Measured by the biblical terms of worship given to us by God, the idea that Christ ought to offer Himself often is equally blasphemous.  Such a concept attempts to reduce Christ’s sacrifice to imperfection, since it assumes that His one offering made once was not good enough to make complete atonement.  What is absolutely perfect and consummated cannot be repeated since repetition is a proof of imperfection.

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself  (Hebrews 7:27).

 

E. The summary of the Scriptural truth regarding communion with God is

1. He alone initiates the pattern of such worship.

2. His own righteousness credited to the believer by grace through faith alone is the only basis of true worship.

3. His restrictions are to be taken most seriously so that worship of Him remains spiritual, as He is Spirit.

4. The wonder of the greatest comfort we have in true worship is that we have Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master in whom we are accepted, as our intercessor.  He is our High Priest, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1). This is the presence of God that we now have, and the fulfillment of which we look forward to in celestial glory, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

 

IX.  False Worship in the Position of the Roman Catholic Church

A. Overview showing a lack of the fear of the Lord

1. The Church of Rome officially teaches that in her Mass is the culmination of the worship men offer to Christ and through Him to the Father. She declares that the Mass is also the source and summit of her life. 

2. The sacrifice of Calvary, she claims, is in her control since she declares her Mass to be one and the same sacrifice with that of the Lord Jesus Christ’s. 

3. In contrast to the biblical Christ, Who is now reigning King of Kings and Lord of Lords and sitting at the right hand of God the Father, Rome consistently portrays the dying Christ, “the sacred victim.” 

4. Using as her center of worship the ritual of the Mass, which all the faithful on pain of mortal sin are required to attend, Rome attempts to establish her own righteousness (grace plus works).[2] 

a. She teaches and dramatizes this by having her faithful offer themselves together with the dying Christ to the Holy God of the Bible.

b. She teaches that in the round white wafer is contained the physical Christ and His soul and divinity.  This wafer is to receive worship due to Holy God alone. 

 

B.  The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Christ is immolated in the Mass.

1. Vatican Council II Documents, “For in the sacrifice of the Mass Our Lord is immolated[3] when ‘he begins to be present sacramentally as the spiritual food of the faithful under the appearances of bread and wine.’  It was for this purpose that Christ entrusted this sacrifice to the [Roman Catholic] Church, that the faithful might share in it both spiritually, by faith and charity, and sacramentally, through the banquet of Holy Communion.  Participation in the Lord’s Supper is always communion with Christ offering himself for us as a sacrifice to the Father.”[4]  (Emphasis added)

2.  The present day R C Church that has officially ratified the Council of Trent continues to curse all who do not hold that her Mass is indeed a propitiatory sacrifice. What she presently ratifies is the following, “If anyone says that the sacrifice of the mass is one only of praise and thanksgiving; or that it is a mere commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross but not a propitiatory one; or that it profits him only who receives, and ought not to be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities, let him be anathema.”[5]

3. The clarity of Christ’s command stands diametrically opposed to such teaching.  Christ’s words, “Take and eat,” were addressed not to His Father in heaven but rather to the apostles.  He did not command them to “offer and propitiate.”  Rather, such an offering was His unique office as the one Mediator.

 

C. The center of Roman Catholic worship and life is the Mass.  The Roman Church teaches her faithful that they are to offer themselves with “the sacred victim”, Jesus Christ, and to receive the same “sacred victim”.

1. In Vatican Council II documents, Rome declares, “Consequently, the eucharistic sacrifice is the source and the summit of the whole of the [Roman Catholic] Church’s worship and of the Christian life.  The faithful participate more fully in this sacrament of thanksgiving, propitiation, petition and praise, not only when they whole-heartedly offer the sacred victim, and in it themselves, to the Father with the priest, but also when they receive this same victim sacramentally.”[6]

2.  Christ was never a victim and the idea of His being victimized is nowhere in Scripture.  Rather it was of His own free will that He chose to go to the cross.  This erroneous doctrinal base is so highlighted by Rome that it focuses the mind on a tragic Christ as victim and not the Victor as he now is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  An example of the way this is worded in the worship of the Mass is the following from Eucharistic Prayer No. 3, “Look with favor on your Church’s offering, and see the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself.”[7]  The whole idea of offering this “Sacred victim” is sacrilegious. 

3.  As Rome repeats her commands, the false gospel of offering one’s self to cooperate in one’s salvation is dramatized in their worship.  So Rome proclaims: “Therefore the eucharistic celebration is the center of the assembly of the faithful over which the priest presides.  Hence priests teach the faithful to offer the divine victim [Jesus Christ] to God the Father in the sacrifice of the Mass and with the victim to make an offering of their whole life...”[8]  The simple truth of Scripture is “there is no more offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:18).

 

D. While purporting that she is doing what the Lord commanded, Rome further claims that the sacrifice of Calvary and the Mass are the same—“one single sacrifice.”

1. Rome teaches, “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: ‘The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.’ ‘This divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.’”[9]

2. Three things are claimed: that Christ is contained, that He is offered, and that the offering is in an unbloody mode.

a. The claim that Christ is contained in the bread is directly opposite to Scripture.

1. The New Testament stressed the opposite as facts, “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself (Hebrews 9:24).  The Church of Rome in each Mass insists on saying that its bread is that into which Christ is claimed to have changed.  His substance is claimed to be in what is “made with hands,” Thus, she states, “we have this bread to offer which earth has given and human hands have made.”[10]

2. Christ is ministering in heaven itself and “is not entered into the holy places made with hands.”  Further He himself warned us, “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, ... behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:26-27).

b. Rome claims that Christ is offered in her Mass.

We have seen that the Word declares, “Nor yet that he should offer himself often...for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:25-26).

c. Rome claims that that Christ “is offered in an unbloody manner.”

1. Note that in the quotation under discussion, Rome claims“Christ...is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.”  Scripture equates offering and suffering.  In a propitiatory sacrifice, to offer and to suffer are the same thing.  This truth is so important that it is given in Scripture as an absolute principle, “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). 

2. Hence in this context to propose a bloodless sacrifice is to claim as sacrifice that which cannot be a sacrifice, as defined by Scripture.  A bloodless sacrifice is a senseless contradiction that has no purpose other than to deceive.

 

E. Rome claims that her Mass is a continuation of Christ’s work of redemption.

1. Canon 904“Remembering that the work of redemption is continually accomplished in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, priests are to celebrate frequently; indeed daily celebration is strongly recommended, since even if the faithful cannot be present, it is the act of Christ and the [Roman Catholic] Church in which priests fulfill their principal function.”[11]

2. God’s truth is that the work of redemption is already accomplished “having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12).  To teach redemption as presently continually being accomplished is to teach a lie boldfacedly before the clarity of God’s Word: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13-14), “It is finished” (John 19:3).

 

F. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the communion bread is to be worshiped as God.

1. Vatican Council II documents state, “There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind ‘that all the faithful ought to show to this most holy sacrament the worship which is due to the true God, as has always been the custom of the Catholic Church.  Nor is it to be adored [worshipped] any the less because it was instituted by Christ to be eaten.  For even in the reserved sacrament he is to be adored [worshipped] because he is substantially present there through that conversion of bread and wine.”[12]

2. The Lord’s words are spoken to us in precise and clear terms, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me”(I Corinthians 11:24).  “Take, eat is not“offer and adore”; “this do” is not “sacrifice this.”

3. Most serious in the above teaching of Rome is idolatry.  The Lord Jesus Christ repeats the commandment of old when He declares in His Word, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).  We must truly worship Him in spirit and truth.  To command worship of the communion bread is idolatry.  It is an absurd and impious doctrine that by necessity imposes worship of something that is eaten and carried into the stomach.  Not without the dreadful crime of idolatry can the worship due to the true God alone be transferred to the communion bread. 

 

X. Roman Catholic Concept of “Transubstantiation” Must Be Seen in the Light of Scripture.

A.  The Roman Catholic Church claims a change of substance in the communion elements.

1. The concept of “transubstantiation” was officially introduced into the RC Church in 1215 AD at the Lateran Council under Innocent III.

2. The roots of the concept can be found from after the Second Council of Nicea when images of Christ were officially sanctioned in AD 787.  The physics behind it is that of the pagan philosopher, Aristotle.  Present-day Rome continues to teach this medieval tradition in the following,

“…this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood.  This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.’”[13]

3. This absurd conviction that defies the truth of Scripture, the evidence of the senses, and even reason itself is taught adamantly by the Church of Rome.  So, she summaries in paragraph 1375, “It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament....”[14]  Biblically, this is a denial of Christ’s words and the words of the Apostle Paul.

 

B. The actual words of Scripture must be seen in context.

1. In the passages of Scripture concerning the Last Supper, the elements retain the same name after the Lord’s words as before he spoke, “Take, eat; this.  The demonstrative pronoun “this” means this bread.  There is nothing else that it can mean.  The Scripture continually calls that which Christ gave to his disciples bread, “For as often as ye eat this bread,” ...whosoever shall eat this bread,” But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread” (I Corinthians 11:26, 27, 28).  The relative pronoun “this” limits the element spoken about to the same that Christ took; no other explanation is possible.

2. Similarly Christ calls that which he gave the disciples to drink “wine.”  “For this is my blood of the new testament, ...but I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom” (Matthew 26:28, 29).  “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:24, 25).

 

C. Communion is through faith.

1. There is indeed communion with the body and the blood of Christ in a spiritual sense, so in a very real sense both the bread and the wine point to Christ and is His finished work.  Communion with the Lord is the heart of the message in the biblical texts.  Our faith is focused on Him.  “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (I Corinthians 10:16, 17).

2. What is definitively excluded by all the texts give is the idea of looking tothe element itself as if it had life.  In Christ’s words “the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63).

 

D. Drinking blood is forbidden; true power is in spiritual atonement

      1. A consistent command of God is that of not physically consuming blood

a. “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:4).

b. “Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh” (Deuteronomy 12:23). 

2. While this command not to eat blood is very strong, the spiritual importance of the blood shed is constantly given in God’s Word: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).

3. This same concept of spiritually exalting and dignifying of blood finds its highest development in the vicarious application of the shed blood of Christ to the believer.  “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7).

 

E. Command remains against drinking blood.

The command to abstain from physically consuming blood is repeated in the New Testament.  “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well” (Acts 15:29).  The concept of physically drinking Christ’s blood is both abhorrent and forbidden in both the Old Testament and New Testament.  The whole idea, therefore, of an actual drinking of Christ’s blood is biblically forbidden and insulting to the Person and words of the Lord.

 

XI. Application of the Concept of Transubstantiation

A. In face of the clarity of Scripture, Rome insists that the elements are actually the body and the blood of Christ.  On top of this, Rome claims a power effect from the elements.  Thus, the Church of Rome declares,

Holy Communion separates us from sin.  The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is ‘given up for us,’ and the blood we drink ‘shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins.’  For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins”[15]

 

In this theEucharist” is looked upon as uniting us to Christ and at the same time cleansing from sin.  To attempt to claim causative effects for that which was given to testify to the Lord’s grace and His finished work is divination, as one’s hope centers on the physical object.

 

B. Likewise considering the Eucharist again Rome teaches, “By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins.[16]  Rome here teaches her people to look to physical things as a means of conveying God’s grace, to look to the sign as if it had power.  This is exactly the Roman Catholic mindset as is declared, “Sacraments are ‘powers that comes forth’ from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving.”[17]

 

C. Such teachings as these come under the eternal curse of perverting the Gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9).  Christ’s words are spirit and life, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth” (John 6:63).  To propose an oral ingesting of Christ’s flesh is to hold out a false message that perverts the Gospel.

 

D. The teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in John Chapter Six confirms the spiritual union of Himself and the believer and not “for the meat which perisheth” but rather “for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27). 

1. When the Jews asked what they were to do that they might partake of “the bread of life,” Christ answered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29).  The whole theme of John Chapter Six is believing on Him the Christ as the true means of allaying spiritual hunger and slaking spiritual thirst.  “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

2.  The Lord’s words “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:55) show how serious is the command to believe on Him.  The Lord Himself has commanded worship “ in spirit and in truth  It is the absurd to suggest that he might have been advocatingphysical eating of flesh and drinking of blood.   The clear principle of interpretation that He gives of His own words are, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).  Francis Turretin writes,

“Our opponents [the Roman Catholic Church] can find nothing in this chapter [John Chapter Six] which favors oral manducation. (1) Not what is said in v. 55: ‘My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.’ For He is the true food; but of the mind, not of the stomach; of the heart and of faith, not of the mouth.  Thus, it denotes the truth of the similitude between corporeal food and spiritual and celestial food as to the efficacy of nutrition, but not as to the mode of eating.  As ‘Why do you prepare teeth and stomach, [rather] believe and thou has eaten.’ as Augustine says on John Chapter Six.”[18]

 

XII. Summary:  True and False Worship

A. The Christ in Whom we spiritually worship is biblically portrayed, “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when he had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).

 

B. The finished Sacrifice on which we rest our faith and which we commemorate in praise and thanksgiving is His sacrifice alone: II Corinthians 5:21 states, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”  This was Christ’s sacrifice and His alone.  Yet in the sacrifice of the Mass, Roman Catholic theology debases Christ’s finished and complete offering of Himself on Calvary’s cross: Roman Catholic doctrine teaches people that they are able to help in Christ’s offering of Himself by taking part in the so-called sacramental representation of His offering (Mass) and to assist in propitiating God’s wrath by also offering themselves at the same time.  But such action by people is not possible because Christ was the only one as God-man Who could make such an offering for sin.  In a strict sense it is blasphemy a showing of contempt and lack of reverence for God.  It is a violation of the Third Commandment, which required that the name and reputation of the Lord be upheld, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain (Exodus 20:7).

 

C. Our praise in worship is for the once offered Christ: Scripture teaches that Christ’s atonement—His own blood having been shed and through that final act having obtained our eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)—ended all sacrifices.  Thus, on the authority of God’s word, the believer must hold what the Lord said on the cross: “It is finished.”  Believers glory only in Christ’s finished work of their redemption.

 

D. As believers we glorify God, with Him as the object of our faith, as He has always commanded because “God is a Spirit”(John 4:24).  In worshipping the bread as if it were substantially the Lord Himself, the Church of Rome commits gross idolatry.

 

E. Believers in remembrance of the Lord take the elements of the Lord’s Supper with great respect, to deepen their spiritual union with Him.  To confuse signification, which is a remembrance, with identification, which holds that the elements have become the actual body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, is serious sin against the Lord in His First and Second Commandments.

 

XIII. Concern for Catholics

Since the Mass is central to Catholicism, Bible believers ought to have real compassion for Catholics who are taught the doctrine documented here.  To try to appease God with an ongoing sacrifice is de facto an act of unbelief in the all-sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross.

 

“Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh ‘given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit’ preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism...”[19]  Such teachings come under the eternal curse of perverting the Gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9).  Each week, millions of Catholics line up at the altars, each time being promised “the source and summit of the whole Christian life”[20] and “Christ himself.”[21]  They are required to worship the bread with “the cult of adoration.”[22]

 

Does all this matter before the All-Holy God?  Most certainly it does, for the Scripture states emphatically,

As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed”  (Galatians 1:9).

I am the LORD thy God...Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”  (Exodus 20:2-3).

I am the LORD; that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images”  (Isaiah 42:8).

 

We have analyzed the Cross and the Mass in biblical light.  Individual Catholics also sin against the First Commandment in religious invocation and veneration given by them to saints, angels, relics, and to the Pope himself.  To rationalize that such worship is of a lesser kind of worship than the worship Holy God demands for Himself alone is pure sophistry, similar to calling adultery a casual affair.  The Lord’s Word to such individual Catholics is, “ repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).  The All-Holy God who hates adultery in worship also commands, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

 

 

 

[1] Aparabatos (Greek) meaning:  Untransferable, not passing on to others.  In the New Testament, no sacrificial priests are mentioned, only elders and pastors.  In Christ Jesus, all believers are part of the royal priesthood of Christ in spiritual praise, but no one has a share in His sacrificial priesthood.

[2] Roman 10:3 applies, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

[3] The American College Dictionary defines to immolate as:  1) to sacrifice, 2) to kill as a sacrificial victim, to offer sacrifice.

[4] Vatican Council II Documents, No. 9, Eucharisticum Mysterium, 25 May 1967, Vol. I, Sec. 3, pp. 102-103

[5] The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Tr. by Rev. H. J. Schroeder, O.P. (Rockford, IL 61105:  Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1978) Canon 3, p. 149

[6] Vatican Council II Documents, No. 9, Eucharisticum Mysterium, 25 May 1967, Vol. I, Sec. 3, p. 104

[7] New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book, Rev. Francis Evans, General Editor (New York, NY:  Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1980) p. 120

[8] Vatican Council II Documents, No. 63, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7 Dec. 1965, Vol. I, Sec 5, p. 871

[9] Catechism of the Catholic Church  (Liguori, MO:  Liguori Publications, 1994), Para. 1367

[10] New Saint Joseph’s People’s Prayer Book, Selection #88, p. 98

[11] Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Ed. (Canon Law Society of America:  Washington, DC 20064, 1983).  Unless otherwise stated, all canons cited are taken from this source.

[12] Vatican Council II Documents, No. 9, Eucharisticum Mysterium, Vol. I, Sec. 3, p. 104.  Exodus 20:4-5 states, however, that graven images are not to be made nor are they to be bowed down to. The Catholic Church teaches its faithful to practice the same kind of grave error into which Aaron fell--for Aaron made the golden calf as a medium through which the Israelites were to worship Holy God.  See Exodus 32:5-6.  The new Catechism explains the mechanism of idolatry in Para. 2132, “The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment [sic] which proscribes idols.  Indeed, the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype, and whoever venerates [worships] an image venerates the person portrayed in it.”  Ex. 20:4-5 explicitly prohibits all practices of idolatry, including those taught in official Roman Catholic doctrine, and including the practice of worshiping the communion bread.  See also Jer. 10:14-15.  For excellent study see Graven Bread: The Papacy, the Apparitions of Mary, and the Worship of the Bread of the Altar by Timothy F. Kauffman (Huntsville, AL 35804-2398: White Horse Publications, 1995) 170 pp. with appendices.  Call 1-800-867-2398;  web site address is:  http://whpub.com.

[13] Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), Para 1376

[14] Ibid., Para. 1375

[15] Ibid., Para. 1393

[16] Ibid., Para. 1395

[17] Ibid., Para. 1116

[18] Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Tr. by George Musgrave Giger, Ed. by James T. Dennison, Jr. (Phillipsburg, NJ 08865-0817: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 1997) p. 512

[19] Ibid., Para. 1392

[20] Ibid., Para. 1324 “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘...For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”

[21] Ibid., Para. 1374; 1375; 1376; 1377

[22] Ibid., Para. 1378

The Structure of the Roman Catholic State-Church

The structure of the Roman Catholic Church is a totalitarian hierarchy.  Its position as the restored Holy Roman Empire is depicted in the Bible.  It must never be forgotten that the Roman Papacy is an absolute, unlimited, tyrannical monarchy—a worldly, secular government.  It has its territorial dominions; it has its advocates, ambassadors, ambitious plans, army, bank, court, detective force, foreign treaties, jurisprudence, laws, legislature, nobles, policy, prison, and taxes, as much as any secular kingdom.  But the Roman Catholic State-Church is also most different from other secular powers.  Her spiritual commerce goes hand in hand with her civil power, claiming infallibility and international recognition.

I.  Introduction

The finger of God that clearly gives the Ten Commandments also gives a clear picture of the bride of the Lamb, the true church.  Additionally, He gives a clear picture of the apostate church.

1. Consistently in the words of Christ Jesus and of the Apostles Paul and Peter, the contrast between the true church and the apostate church is that those of the true church are few in number and those of the apostate church are many.

2. The true church is described in Scripture as the “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars”[1] who was forced “to flee into the wilderness”  The history of the true church is described by the above text.  The apostate church is the woman who is seated upon the beast reigning “over” peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.  (Revelation 17:15)

3. The Scripture meticulously and clearly portrays the little flock, overcome, worn out, yet ever faithful.  The second woman is graphically portrayed as “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls,” [2]

4. Many of those who are the bride of the Lamb have been slain by the woman drunken by the blood of the saints.  The history of the Inquisition shows that this is true.

 

II.  By comparing Scripture and RCC doctrine, God’s prophetic word unveils the identity of the Roman Catholic Church.

A. Forbidding marriage and eating of certain foods.

1. Scripture - I Timothy 4:1-3

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

God has left both marrying and fasting to the conscience of His people.  The New Testament teaches that many of the Apostles, the brethren of the Lord, and even Peter had wives.  The Papacy however dares to step in between God and the consciences of men, and to interpose its authority as absolute and imperative.

2. Roman Catholic primary sources

a. Vatican Council II Documents, “For these reasons, based on the mystery of Christ and his mission, celibacy, which at first was recommended to priests, was afterwards in the Latin Church imposed by law on all who were to be promoted to Holy Orders.  This sacred Council approves and confirms this legislation.”[3]

b. Code of Canon Law Canon 1251“Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”[4]

B. The liar, the antichrist

1. Scripture - I John 2:22; Matthew 23:9   

a. I John 2:22“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?  He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

b. Matthew 23:9“And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven.”

The antichrist in Greek is “antichristos,” which can mean either “against Christ” or “instead of Christ.”  The full sense of the word is understood by combining the two: one who, assuming the guise of Christ, opposes Christ.  The Pope, in assuming to himself the title of“The Holy Father” and “Vicar of Christ”, thereby fulfills the definition.

2. Roman Catholic sources

a. The Catholic Encyclopedia:  “Father is defined”: “This title is extended to all priests of the English-speaking world, because they are regarded as spiritual fathers.  Holy Father is a title of The Pope alone.  God the Father is the First Person of the Blessed Trinity.”[5]

b. Council of Florence 1438-1445.  “...the Roman Pontiff himself is...the true vicar of Christ, and that he is the head of the entire Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians....”[6]

c. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”[7]

C. The man of sin and son of perdition

1. Scripture - II Thessalonians 2:3-12[8]

v. 3“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

v. 4“who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

The Bible declares that God alone is the Lawgiver (James 4:12), able to save and to destroy.  He is alone the Sovereign, whose office it is to govern souls by His word.  It portrays Him as the author of all sacred rites; it teaches that righteousness and salvation are to be sought in Christ alone.  There is not one of these things that the Pope does not assert to be under his authority.  Scripturally, therefore, the office of the Papacy fulfills the description of “the man of sin.”  True religion is that by which the true God alone is worshipped.  The fact that the Pope receives the kissing of his ring and the genuflections and other acts of worship define him as “the son of perdition.”

2. Roman Catholic sources

a.  v. 3“...the man of sin...”  lit., the one who is subject to no law i.e. lawless.

1. Canon 1404“The First See is judged by no one.”

2. Canon 1405, Sec. 1“It is the right of the Roman Pontiff himself alone to judge in cases mentioned in can. 1401: 1. Those who hold the highest civil office in a state...;  4. Other cases which he has called to his own judgment.”

3. Canon 333, Sec. 3“There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.”

b. v. 4“...he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

1. “The Supreme Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possesses infallible teaching authority when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful...he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held as such.”[9] 

“Infallible teaching authority” is an attribute of God “Sitteth” is “kaqedra” in Greek from which comes “cathedral,” “the bishop’s seat,” and also the expression “ex cathedra,” or from this seat, he claims the divine attribute of infallibility.

2. “The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, ‘supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls.”[10]

3. Vatican Council II Documents,

a.  “...bishops in a resplendent and visible manner, take the place of Christ himself, teacher shepherd and priest, and act as his representatives (in eius persona) ...”[11]

b. “The priest offers the Holy Sacrifice in persona Christi; this means more than offering ‘in the name of’ or ‘in the place of’ Christ.  In persona means in specific sacramental identification with ‘the eternal High Priest’...”[12]

c. “All priests share with the bishops the one identical priesthood and ministry of Christ.”[13]

“The mystery of iniquity doth already work,” the Scripture states; and this mystery will continue to work, until the full development of the apostasy, and its final destruction at the Second Advent.

D. The woman, the whore

1.  Revelation 17:4“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

Roman Catholic sources

The Catholic EncyclopediaCassock (also soutana) defined: .”..The Holy Father wears a white cassock; bishops wear purple, cardinals red; and other prelates are entitled to wear purple” (p. 95).

2.  Revelation 17:5“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

a. The Barbarian overthrow of the Roman Empire was succeeded by the gradual rise of papal Rome.  A very significant event in this evolution took place in the sixth century.  The wars of the Emperor Justinian, who was living in Constantinople, made it possible for him to hand over his title of Supreme High Priest (Summum Pontifex)  to the bishop of Rome.  This he did in the sixth century.  The exact date given by some is 538 AD.[14]  The bestowal by Justinian of the title of Supreme High Priest together with the office of Universal Oversight of the entire Christian World exalted the Bishop of Rome to become what we know as the Pope.  He was then recognized as Spiritual Head of the restored Roman Empire.  In 800 AD, the work of Charlemagne completed the evolution of the movement by the creation of the “Holy Roman Empire” of medieval and modern times.[15]

b. Rome is also a mystery religion as documented by her own people: 

1. John Henry Cardinal Newman, “In the course of the fourth century two movements or developments spread over the face of Christendom, with a rapidity characteristic of the Church; the one ascetic, the other ritual or ceremonial.  We are told in various ways by Eusebius that Constantine, in order to recommend the new religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward ornaments to which they had been accustomed in their own.  It is not necessary to go into a subject which the diligence of Protestant writers have made familiar to most of us.  The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holidays and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields; sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church.”[16]

2. St. John Damascene“As the holy Fathers overthrew the temples and shrines of the devils, and raised in their places shrines in the names of Saints and we worship them, so also they overthrew the images of the devils, and in their stead raised images of Christ, and God’s Mother, and the Saints.”[17]

c. Likewise in her Catechism (1994) she documents her own place with the occult:

1. #958“Communion with the dead.  In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead;...our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”  All such communication is forbidden in Scripture.

2. #2677“By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All Holy One.”  The RCC prays not to the all holy righteous God alone, but to Mary whom she calls “The All Holy One,” also.

3. Revelation 17:6“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus...”

a. Lord Acton (English Roman Catholic) “‘The Inquisition is peculiarly the weapon and peculiarly the work of The Popes.  It stands out from all those things in which they co-operated, followed or assented as the distinctive feature of papal Rome.”[18]  (Details re the fulfillment of this verse are given in our paper on Persecution.)

b. The blood of the martyred saints overcame the secular Roman Empire.  In contrast, the restored Roman Empire under the papacy overcame the saints, as Scripture had foretold.  Likewise as stated she was to become “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”[19]  No other kingdom or power has drunken so deeply of this blood as has Papal Rome.  Thus, as streams may be traced to the fountain, and rays of light to the sun, so may these prophecies be traced to the Papacy, and applied only to it.  This is the “the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.” [20]

4. Revelation 17:9“And here is the mind which hath wisdom.  The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.”

The Catholic EncyclopediaRome defined: .”..It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper now is confined....”(pp. 528-529)

5. Revelation 17:18 “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”

a. Historical evidence

1. Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctum, November 18, 1302“And we are taught by evangelical words that in this power of his [Peter and his successors] are two swords, namely spiritual and temporal....Therefore, each is in the power of the [Roman Catholic] Church, that is, a spiritual and a material sword.  But the latter, indeed, must be exercised for the [Roman Catholic] Church, the former by the [Roman Catholic] Church.  The former (by the hand) of the priest, the latter by the hand of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest.  For it is necessary that a sword be under a sword and that temporal authority be subject to spiritual power....It is necessary that we confess the more clearly that spiritual power precedes any earthly power both in dignity and nobility, as spiritual matters themselves excel the temporal.”[21]

2. History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century“The Pope, who has been subject from the earliest days of his existence, first to the Roman Emperors, then to the Frank Emperors, and, lastly, to the German Emperors, was now emancipated, and walked, for the first time, their equal, if not, indeed, their master....”[22]

b. The same claims of “Sovereign Emperor” is made in our own times. 

1. Canon 1404“The First See is judged by no one.”

2. Canon 1405, Sec. 1“It is the right of the Roman Pontiff himself alone to judge in cases mentioned in can. 1401: 1.  those who hold the highest civil office in a state.”

E. The Holy Roman Empire is portrayed as Babylon fornicating with the kings of the earth.

1. Revelation 18:3

“For all nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”

2. The relationship of “the woman” to the nations (fornication) is done by “papal representatives.”

a. “Papal representatives ‘receive from the Roman Pontiff the charge of representing him in a fixed way in the various nations or regions of the world’... An apostolic nuncio has the diplomatic rank of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary.”[23]

b. “Church-State Relations: The thrust in this area is toward the development of sound relations with civil governments and collaboration in work for peace and the total good of the whole human family.”[24]

III.  The structure of the Roman Catholic Church is a totalitarian hierarchy.  As such, it is anti-biblical.  The goal of the RCC hierarchy is to restore the Holy Roman Empire, this time increased to be global in scale.

A. The biblical organizational structure of the bride of Christ is simple.

1. All in the church are brothers¾elders and deacons, while they hold positions, are still only brothers within the same body¾and the Master is Jesus Christ the Lord. “For one is your master even Christ and ye are all brethren” (Matthew 23:8);

2. It is the assembled people of God (I Corinthians 11:18).

3. It is the local body or church (Romans 16:5, 23).

4. It is the whole body of believers (Ephesians 1:22-23, 3:10).

5. As Church officers,

a. the term overseer or elder/pastor are used interchangeably (Acts 20, 17, 28, I Peter 5:1-4);

b. the elder (bishop) is to be the husband of one wife, knowing first how to manage his own home, and then God’s church(I Timothy 2-6);

c. the Christian elder is not to lord it over other believers (Matthew 20:25-26).

6. All believers have immediate access to God in Christ Jesus; all share in the royal priesthood.  (I Peter 2:9)

7. All believers are called into obedience to the Lord.  (John 10:27, Galatians 5:1)

B. The RCC clearly documents the structure by which she controls her own household.  Her power structure is central and totally dictatorial.  “She” is a system of men, carefully lined up in order of command, fully arrayed in the costumes to signify rank.

1. The Pope claims absolute authority over the household of the RCC.

a. “As a structured society, the Catholic Church is organized and governed along lines corresponding mainly to the jurisdictions of the Pope and bishops.  The Pope is the supreme head of the Church.  He has primacy of jurisdiction as well as honor over the entire Church....”[25]

b. Canon 749 Sect 1“The Supreme Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possesses infallible teaching authority when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful...he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held as such.”

c. Canon 333 Sect. 3“There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.”

2. Like the first Roman Empire, modern Rome is similar in power structure, with senate, ambassadors, and a world net of influence.

3. The order of the rank and file under him is as follows:

a. “Subject to the Holy Father and directly responsible to him for the exercise of their ministry of service to people in various jurisdictions or divisions of the Church throughout the world are: resident archbishops and metropolitans (heads of archdioceses), diocesan bishops, vicars and prefects apostolic (heads of vicariates apostolic and prefectures apostolic), certain abbots and prelates, apostolic administrators.  Each of these, within his respective territory and according to the provisions of canon law, has ordinary jurisdiction over pastors (who are responsible for the administration of parishes), priests, Religious and lay persons.”[26]

b. “Also subject to the Holy Father are titular archbishops and bishops, religious orders and congregations of pontifical right, pontifical institutes and faculties, papal nuncios and apostolic delegates.”[27]

c. “Assisting the Pope and acting in his name in the central government and administration of the Church are cardinals and other officials of the Roman Curia.”[28]

d. The RCC hierarchy consists of the Pope, cardinals, patriarchs, major archbishops, archbishops, metropolitans, coadjutor archbishop, Diocesan bishop, coadjutor bishop, episcopal vicar, eparch (bishops of the Eastern Churches), Vicar apostolic, prefect apostolic, apostolic administrator, vicar general.[29]  The average Pastor or Parish priest deals mostly with the last on pecking-order regime, “the vicar general.”

e. The RC nuns and other laity come at the bottom of this mounting power scale.  As they serve “Holy Mother the Church,” they fail to reflect that the hierarchy is all men.

3. The Empire of Rome imposes its rigorous rules on men and on their consciences.  In that domain it claims that the Pope is infallible, it claims that no one can judge him.  The baptized Catholic gives loyal submission of the will and intellect to his teachings, even when they are not claimed to be infallible.

a. “This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra....”[30]

b. “The Christian faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound by Christian obedience to follow what the sacred pastors, as representatives of Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or determine as leaders of the [Roman Catholic] Church.”[31]

c. The Empire of Rome also enforces authority over 838,000 women who are her nuns, 59,500 men whom she calls religious brothers, and 404,500 men whom she calls her priests.

1. For the women called nuns the vow of obedience, alien to biblical thought, compels submissiveness. Canon 601 teaches, “The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in a spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ who was obedient even unto death requires a submission of the will to legitimate superiors, who stand in the place of God when they command according to the proper constitutions.”  Obedience to the Lord commanded in the Bible is turned here in the Catholic world into obedience to one’s local superior “who stands in the place of God.”  Each local superior is accountable in the chain of command finally to the Pope.

2. The RCC goes so far as to declare, “Likewise, Religious are obliged to observe all those prescriptions which episcopal councils or conferences legitimately decree as binding on all.”  And she requires compliance by the same standard; “Religious can be coerced by penalties by the local ordinary [The Bishop] in all matters in which they are subject to him.”  (Canon 1320) Such dictates as these run contrary to the Lord’s command to His servants, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).  It also runs contrary to state law that no foreign power can coerce citizens.

d. The marriage of the baptized Catholic is also subject in conscience to the Empire of Rome. 

In Roman Catholicism it is the written fact in her law that she is judge over marriage.  It is declared in her Canon 1671 “Marriage cases of the baptized belong to the ecclesiastical judge by proper right.”  The RCC state church assumes control over marriage and the marriage bed, and dictates to the institution of marriage through local tribunals in each nation.

e. Summary from Peter de Rosa, a Roman Catholic writer, “The dilemma of American Catholics today is simply the dilemma of most Catholics writ large.  They live under two conflicting ideologies.  Patriotism and religion have little in common....In the state, a Catholic rejoices in openness, complete freedom of worship, democracy.  He takes it for granted that freedom leads to a deepening of the truth.  He is used to his leaders having to present themselves for his approval.  he can vote them in, he can vote them out.  He demands press conferences, freedom of information, an unfettered press that is like a second government.

“In the church, a Catholic has to put up with total secrecy and lack of accountability.  There are no choices, no elections.  No bishop or pope is, as far as he is concerned, voted in or out.  He has to accept what he is given.  In the church, there are no press conferences, no checks and balances, no explanations.  The control from the top is absolute.”[32]

C. How the Empire of Rome deals with kings and princes.  See attached chart.

1. She is into every good works scheme everywhere, especially schools & hospitals--things that show well publicly and touch individuals.  Maintains some excellent schools that influence population and leadership.

2. She has representatives in every sort of social action group, commission, advisory boards, etc.

3. More importantly, she calls herself “The Holy See.”

a. She defines what she means by the term “Holy See” rather than “the Vatican.”  On her web page, while commenting on the “the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations,” she states “The term Holy See stands for the central authority of the Church, which transcends, even if it includes, the tiny sovereign State of Vatican City.  Thus, the Holy See represents a world wide community and not only the citizens of Vatican City.”[33]  Distinctly therefore she defines herself simultaneously as “the Holy See” and “the central authority.”  Then she shows the boundaries of this “central authority” to be “a world wide community.”  In a short intense insightful official law, the same RCC authority declares, “The First See is judged by no one.”[34]

b. In all international matters the Holy See calls even the conferences of Bishops to heel. Thus, she demands in her law “whenever the actions or programs entered into by the conferences take on an international aspect it is necessary to consult the apostolic See.”[35]

4. The Pope’s mission is also clearly declared in his official pronouncements.

a. He defines the Church as, “the Church which is a ‘sacrament or sign and instrument...of the unity of the whole human race’”[36] Considering the fact that he the Pope and command structure of the RC Church, are “the central authority,” it is clear that the RCC authority seeks to be “sacrament or sign and instrument...of the unity of the whole human race.” 

b. Peter de Rosa confirms the view above, “John Paul sees himself as the great champion of Catholic truth.  It is absolute.  He can no more doubt it in all its ramifications than he can doubt the existence of God.  He feels he has to be harsh to dissidents in order to be kind to the mass of Catholics who have a right to the fullness of truth.  This is why he is prepared to plead for freedom everywhere except in his own church.

“In his travels, John Paul presents the papacy as the champion of truth and the rights of man.  He takes it for granted that popes have never contradicted one another on essentials or deviated from Gospel truth.

.”..these assumptions are false.  Apart from the fact that the tenth- and fifteenth-century papacy was the heresy, the denial of everything Jesus stood for, many popes have made astonishing errors.  They have repeatedly contradicted one another and the Gospel.

“History explodes the myth of a papacy lily-white in the matter of truth.  In an age of barbarism, the Popes led the pack; in an age of enlightenment, they trailed the field.  And their record was worst when, contrary to the Gospel, they tried to impose the [RC] truth by force.”[37]

c. Evangelicals who used to warn of a “one world government” now seem intentrun into the arms of this “central authority.”  They do not recognize who the RCC is nor how she operates in the realm of kings and princes.  For example, “The Gift of Salvation” document begins with the statement, “We give thanks to God that in recent years many Evangelicals and Catholics, ourselves among them, have been able to express a common faith in Christ and so to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.”[38]

5. As a sovereign state and as an empire being restored, she sends ambassadors to nearly every nation in the world, and to the United Nations.  In this capacity, she influences the decisions taken by the civil governments.  Example: Archbishop Renato Martino, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the Second Committee of the 52nd Session of the UN General Assembly October 16, 1997.  He said, “The launching of the initiatives of the international Financial Institutions in favour of the Heavily Indebted Poorest Countries (HIPC) has brought a renewed attention of the “family of nations” to the external debt crisis....On more than one occasion, the Holy See has encouraged the rapid application of the HIPC initiative, also in the spirit in which many persons wish to celebrate the year 2000, namely, as a Jubilee Year....Among the concrete manifestations of this Jubilee spirit there are those of the remission of debts and the lifting of burdens which affect the poorest, so that they are enabled to take their rightful place, on an equitable footing with others, in the construction of society.  This is the context in which Pope John Paul II has explicitly pointed to the year 2000 as a time in which to appeal for giving ‘...thought, among other things, to reducing substantially, if not cancelling outright, the international debt which seriously threatens the future of many nations....’

“The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in particular, has addressed over the years the Holy See’s concerns on the question of external debt.  It will be launching various initiatives in the coming years, in dialogue with governments and private organizations, aimed at sensitizing public opinion to the issue.”[39]

6. The reality of all this comes together as one looks at the development of the European Union in the last half of the 20th century.

a. “One of the founding fathers of the EU, Jean Monnet, also a devout Roman Catholic, totally rejected the idea that Europe should consist of sovereign nations.  He believed in the Catholic vision that Europe should become a federal superstate, into which all ancient nations should be fused.  [He is speaking of the old Holy Roman Empire, dealt a mortal blow by Napoleon in 1798, but since Vatican Council I in 1870, has been reviving being seen in the last half of the 20th century as the formation of the EU.] ‘Fused’ is a word he used...and is wholly consistent with the language/ of Maastrict.”[40]

b. “While the White Paper on our [British] EEC membership talked of a family of nations which would pool some of their sovereignty where necessary, and never against the will of any nation, the reality of the Treaty of Rome and the Treaty of Maastrict proved very different...Baroness Shirley Williams observed, ‘We will be joined to a Europe in which the Catholic religion will be the dominant faith, and in which the application of the Catholic Social Doctrine will be a major factor in everyday political and economic life.”[41]

c. From Catholic International, September 1998 “European bishops seek wider role” 

“Catholic bishops from the European Union (EU) have urged ‘deeper dialogue’ with EU institutions to strengthen the continent’s cultural and spiritual roots.  However, a Catholic official said EU-Church contacts still lacked an ‘institutional framework’ which could allow religious leaders some influence in policy-making.

“Speaking at a mid-June Brussels meeting with EU Commission chairman Jacques Santer, the German head of the Commission of Episcopal Conferences of Europe (COMECE), Bishop Josef Homeyer...said Catholic Church leaders hoped to begin formal annual meetings with EU leaders, as well as setting up joint working groups on specific issues.  He added that the aim would be ‘closer institutional cooperation,’ and a ‘new quality’ in EU attitudes to Christian Churches....COMECE has monitored EU legislation since its foundation in 1980, and has permanent sub-committees on law, bioethics and social affairs.  Among the current initiatives, the commission is to consider Church recommendations this autumn for minority rights and conflict-resolution mechanisms, in a new declaration titled ‘Architecture of Peace.’  A separate ‘Manifest on Europe” linking EU expansion with Christian values, is also expected to be finalized at the 1999 Rome Synod of Bishops.

“Churches were not mentioned in the 1992 Maastrict Treaty, under which EU member-states agreed to closer political and economic links.  However, a brief statement recognizing the ‘status enjoyed by churches and religious associations’ was accepted by EU Foreign Ministers at their June 1997 Amsterdam summit, after prominent theologians had warned that the refusal of EU institutions to acknowledge faith traditions was contributing to a crisis of legitimacy.

“COMECE’s Irish Secretary-General...said [that] the Catholic Church had no wish to ‘play the role of politician or legislator,’ and would always recognize ‘the legitimate autonomy of the political order.’

“Besides COMECE, several Catholic organizations also maintain EU liaison offices in Brussels, including Caritas and the Jesuit-run OCIPE information network” (p. 398).

c. “The Maastrict Treaty confirms European bureaucratic supremacy over more than 70 policy areas, including taxation, monetary policy, education, immigration, judicial policy, ...competition...industrial policy...energy, and consumer affairs.”[42]

d. “The Evangelical Alliance notes that Evangelical Christians are perceived by the EU as a ‘sect’, and that any group which does not belong to the majority church (Roman Catholic) is views by many MPs with suspicion....”[43]

Evangelical Times, August 1998, “Growing religious intolerance in Belgium,” The Belgian Chamber of Representatives recently passed a law creating a ‘sect oversight organization’ which will ‘scrutinize’ the 189 religious organizations listed in the Belgian Parliamentary Sect Report published in April 1997...Minority evangelical, Pentecostal and Adventist churches not belonging to the United Protestant Church of Belgium, which is recognized by the state, are targeted in the Belgian Sect Report...This law, which must still be approved by the Senate, has alarmed observers who fear for Belgium’s religious liberty.”

e. “If European federalism triumphs, the EC [European Community] will indeed be an empire.  It will lack an emperor: but it will have the Pope.  It is difficult not to think that Wojtyla realises this.”  Sunday Telegraph, 25th August 1991 

IV. The Holy Spirit, foreseeing all these things, as the Guide and Comforter of the true church, has graciously provided a divine answer for the dangerous, ubiquitous, reviving Holy Roman Empire.  In the Bible, the Spirit of God has portrayed the Church of Rome as wonderful in the eyes of the world¾but lamentable as apostate.  To the believers, He has broken her magic spells, he has lifted her mask, and has written in large letters her title for all to read:  MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT.[44] 

The believers of old, such as the Vaudois and the Lollards saw those things clearly and were thereby fortified and equipped.  Likewise, to the Reformers, the office of the papacy was “the man of sin” and the antichrist.  The Roman Empire revived as the so-called “Holy Roman Empire,” they saw as Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18.  These doctrines were embodied in their Confessions of Faith and sealed by the blood of countless martyrs.  Confidently they saw it would most surely be terminated, as the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.”[45]  In the meantime, multitudes are saved from her, “with fear, pulling them out of the fire....”[46]  This is by the Gospel word of truth.  The Lord Christ Jesus, the Exalted Head of the Church, and His Sovereign Spirit give comfort and victory, for “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).  ¨

 

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[1] Revelation 12:1

[2] Revelation 17: 4

[3] Vatican Council II:  The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, No. 63, Presbyterorum Ordinis, Vol. I, Sec. 16, p. 893, 2 vols., Austin Flannery, O.P., Editor (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Co., 1975) 1981 ed.  Flannery takes all references to Vatican Council II documents from this work.  Throughout this analysis, bolding in any quotation indicates emphasis not in the original text.

[4] Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Ed. (Washington DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1983).  Unless otherwise noted, all references to canon law are taken from this volume.

[5] The Catholic Encyclopedia, Robert Broderick, ed. (Nashville, TN: Thos. Nelson Inc., 1976) p. 217

[6] The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Tr. by Roy J. Deferrari from Henry Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum, 13th ed. (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1957) #694

[7] Catechism of the Catholic Church (San Francisco:1994) #882.  Hereafter referred to as the Catechism.

[8] As to the hindrance to the manifestation of the “man of sin” in v. 7, the testimony of the early fathers from Irenaeus, the disciple of the disciple of St. John, down to Chrysostom and Jerome was that they understood it to be the imperial power ruling and residing at Rome.

[9] Canon 749, Sec. 1

[10] Catechism, #937

[11] No. 28, Lumen Gentium, Sec. 21, Vol. I, p. 374

[12] No. 77, Dominicae cenae, Sec. 8, Vol. II, p. 74

[13] No. 63, Presbyterorum Ordinis, Sec. 7, Vol. I, p. 875

[14] LeRoy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1978) Vol. I, p. 513

[15] See Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 15

[16] John Henry Cardinal Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, (Garden City, NY:  Image Books, 1960) pp. 352-353

[17] Quoted in Newman, p. 355

[18] Lord Action, Letters to Mary Gladstone, in William Shaw Kerr, A Handbook on the Papacy (Edinburgh:  Marshall Morgan & Scott, 1950) p. 235

[19] Revelation 17:6

[20] Daniel 7:21

[21] Denzinger, #469

[22] J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century (New York:  John B. Alden, Publisher, 1883) p. 6

[23] 1998 Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac (Huntington, IN:  Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1997) p. 168.

[24] Ibid.

[25] 1998 Catholic Almanac, p. 141.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] 1998 Catholic Almanac, pp. 141-142

[30] Vatican Council II Documents, No. 28, Lumen Gentium, 21 Nov. 1964, Vol. I,  Sec. 25, p. 379

[31] Canon 212, Sec. 1

[32] Peter DeRosa, Vicars of Christ:  The Dark Side of the Papacy (New York, NY: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1988) p. 150

[33] August, 1998 webpage http/www.vaticanva, Encyclical Letter of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Solicitudo Rei Socialis.

[34] Canon 1404

[35] Canon 459, Para. 2

[36] August, 1998 webpage http/www.vaticanva, Encyclical Letter of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Solicitudo Rei Socialis.  In saying this he is referring to Vatican Council II Documents, No. 28, Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Vol. I, Sec. 1, p. 350

[37] de Rosa, p. 151

[38] Christianity Today, December 8, 1997

[39]Catholic International Vol. 9, No. 1, January 1998, p. 33

[40] Adrian Hilton, The Principality and Power of Europe:  Britain and the Emerging Holy European Empire (Rickmansworth, Herts. WD3 5SJ, England:  Dorchester House Publications, 1997) pp. 67-68

[41] Ibid., p. 88

[42] Ibid., p. 92

[43] Ibid., p. 104

[44] Revelation 17:5

[45] II Thessalonians 2:8

[46] Jude 23

Sex, Shame, and the Catholic Church

Sex, shame and the Catholic Church was Newsweek’s cover story for March 4th, 2002, subtitled “and new soul-searching across America.”[1]  One would have hoped that exposure of the Catholic teaching on virginity and celibacy would have been discussed.  Instead, the article focused on quoting some facts and figures, and who says what, with no reference to the official stand of the Roman Catholic Church.  Since what has happened is of a most serious nature, it would be in order to expect that some reference would have been made to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ on the abuse of children.  The pastoral teaching of the apostle Paul regarding marriage and ministry ought also to be brought to bear on the issue.  Instead of this, the Vatican has issued rules of secrecy regarding the scandals that have been revealed in Boston and across the world regarding Catholic priests abusing children. 

Because of the outrageous behavior coming out of Boston, and similar scandals across the world, the Vatican has been asked for a response.  The late Pope John Paul II approved some new rules.  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, through the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, published these rules, namely that “pedophile cases were subject to pontifical secrecy and that only priests should handle such cases, including those serving as judges, prosecutor, or defense advocate in church tribunals…[and] victims must make their accusations within 10 years after turning 18.”[2]  Had such principle of “pontifical secrecy” been produced in any other forum, an outcry would be heard.  The temptations of priests judging their fellow priests¾and that with “pontifical secrecy”¾would be similar to an appeal of Enron’s executives claiming the right to judge Enron’s executives and being allowed to exercise “executive secrecy.”  All of this is totally shocking, especially in light of the Lord Jesus Christ’s principles on this very matter.  If truth and justice are to be seen, it must be not judging concerning any outward appearance, not by person’s position in society, not in secrecy, but in the light of day, so that justice is seen to have prevailed.

Marriage and Ministry

In the Scripture, marriage is honored.  The Scriptural qualifications of a pastor or minister are that he is to be the husband of one wife, knowing how to manage his own home first and then God’s church.  “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.[3]  “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior…one that ruleth his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”[4]  The Lord Jesus Christ speaks about the gift of celibacy—a gift that is given only to a few.  On the very topic: “it is not good to marry,” Christ Jesus said, “All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.  For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.  He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.[5]  Therefore, it is in the context of speaking about marriage that the Lord speaks of the eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.  It is to be noted that the Lord does not speak of an institution of celibates; rather He says, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”  It is a personal matter between the Lord and the individual who is able to receive and bear up under the teaching.  It was not a universal counsel meant for all male believers serving in ministry.  What the Lord did NOT say was this: “for this cause shall a man also leave father and mother and join himself to a group of other celibates, and their way of life shall be established.”  No such form of life was ever established by the Lord; rather only for certain individuals between the Lord and those individuals this type of life is counseled.  Had the Lord envisioned “Master Generals” and monasteries, and “Mother Superiors” and convents in this context, He would have said so.  In the New Testament, however, there is no hint of the Apostles being celibate, nor those who were to follow them as pastors.  Rather, in Christ’s teaching, and that of the apostle Paul, marriage is an ordinance from which no profession is barred.  “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?[6]  The Scripture verifies that Cephas (Peter) had a wife and a mother-in-law.[7]  It is beyond reason or saneness to think Peter was celibate.  Forbidding marriage is one of the erroneous doctrines of the antichristian church.  In I Corinthians 7:8-9 and 7:32-38, the apostle Paul say it is permissible to be celibate if one so chooses, but it is never to be commanded; it is never law.  In the Apostle’s words, “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.[8]  Getting married includes the consummation of marriage.  Priestly celibacy has been the root cause for sexual immorality among priests, women, boys, and girls, as priests sexually proposition women and girls for adultery and/or fornication, and boys for sodomy.

Roman Catholic Law on the Clerical State

The Roman Catholic teaching regarding marriage and ministry heads in a totally different direction.  Total servitude to the Roman Catholic system replaces an individual’s intimate relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.  For the Catholic priest, marriage is not “honorable and undefiled”; rather, it is called a scandal.  By Roman Catholic Church law, priests and bishops and are forbidden to marry.  The exact words of Roman Catholic law are given in their Code of Canon Law,

Canon 1394, Sec. 1“…a cleric who attempts marriage, even if only a civilly, incurs an latae sententiae suspension; if he is does not repent after being warned and continues to give scandal, he can be punished gradually by deprivations, even by dismissal from the clerical state.”[9]

Celibacy, in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, is solely for the individual who can receive that gift.  Canon 1394 clearly contradicts the Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching.  Boldfaced enough to admit that her iron laws are not based on the Bible but on her own tradition, the Vatican teaching reads,

“In any case, the [Roman Catholic] church of the West cannot weaken her faithful observance of her own tradition.  And it is unthinkable that for centuries she has followed a path which, instead of favouring the spiritual richness of individual souls and of the People of God, has in some way compromised it, or that she has with arbitrary juridical prescriptions stifled the free expansion of the most profound realities of nature and of grace.”[10] 

It is shameless arrogance that the same pope, and his Church, while freely admitting that their laws of celibacy came not from the Lord Jesus Christ, nor from the Apostles, but rather from “her own tradition,” yet state that it is “unthinkable” that the Roman Catholic Church “has with arbitrary juridical prescriptions stifled the free expansion of the most profound realities of nature and of grace.”  How could a church that recognizes that ecclesiastical celibacy is not from Christ and the Apostles, still make such teaching her law?  Her own official answer begins benignly enough,

“Let us look openly at the principal objections against the law that links ecclesiastical celibacy with the priesthood.  The first seems to come from the most authoritative source, the New Testament, which preserves the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.  It does not demand celibacy of sacred ministers but proposes it rather as a free act of obedience to a special vocation or to a special spiritual gift.  Jesus himself did not make it a prerequisite in his choice of the Twelve, nor did the Apostles for those who presided over the first Christian communities.”[11]

The Roman Church states that the principal objections “seem” to come from “the most authoritative source,” the New Testament.  Yet, for her, the Scripture is not “the most authoritative source”!  While recognizing that virginity is not of the nature of ministry in itself, Rome is bold enough to declare that priestly celibacy is still for the Church of Rome a “sacred law.”

“Virginity undoubtedly, as the Second Vatican Council declared, ‘is not, of course, required by the nature of the priesthood itself.  This is clear from the practice of the early Church and the traditions of the Eastern Churches.’  But at the same time the Council did not hesitate to confirm solemnly the ancient, sacred and providential present law of priestly celibacy.”[12]

Clearly in terms of ultimate authority, the Roman Church contends that Roman Catholic Tradition stands above the Holy Scripture!

In the face of all this, the Holy Spirit had warned of such absurd teaching and practice in the New Testament.  “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.[13]  This text plainly applies to the Roman Catholic Church, which has put her traditions above the Holy Scripture.  Forbidding to marry was one of the steps towards that great apostasy, which is and has been for centuries enshrined in the paying of veneration to the relics of martyrs, erecting altars, burning incense, consecrating images and temples, making prayers and praises to the dead departed, and generally deceiving those who have not received the love of the truth.  Such demon-worship also includes forbidding marrying, and commanding to abstain from meats.  The same priests, who are forbidden to marry, are the ones who also are commanded to abstain from meats on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Eliminating the Law to Remove the Occasions for Infidelity?

The Vatican freely admits that what has happened and is happening is saddening, and it might appear that the solution would be to allow the Roman Catholic clergy to marry.  The official stand of the Church of Rome recognizes this as an option,

“There are those who are convinced that a married priesthood would remove the occasions for infidelity, waywardness, and distressing defections which hurt and sadden the whole [Roman Catholic] Church.  These also maintain that a married priesthood would enable Christ’s ministers to witness more fully to Christian living, by including the witness of married life, from which they are excluded by their state of life.”[14] 

While Rome officially admits this, in practice she does nothing; rather, she continues to insist on her laws of celibacy.  The laws of Rome are de rigueur,[15] enforced, and unchangeable, in the words of the Pope and Vatican Council II, the Roman Catholic Church imposes celibacy by law.  Her official words are,

“…based on the mystery of Christ and his mission, celibacy, which at first was recommended to priests, was afterwards in the Latin Church, imposed by law on all who were to be promoted to Holy Orders.  This sacred Council approves and confirms this legislation.”[16]

Given such rash disregard for the Holy Scripture, is it really so “unthinkable” that “she has with arbitrary juridical prescriptions stifled the free expansion of the most profound realities of nature and of grace”?[17]

The Boston Disgrace

“Since the mid-1990s, more than 130 people have come forward with horrific childhood tales about how former priest John J. Geoghan allegedly fondled or raped them during a three-decade spree through a half-dozen Greater Boston parishes.  Almost always, his victims were grammar school boys.  One was just 4 years old.  Then came last July’s disclosure that Cardinal Bernard F. Law knew about Geoghan's problems in 1984, during Cardinal Law's first year in Boston, yet he approved his transfer to St. Julia's parish in Weston. Wilson D. Rogers Jr., the Cardinal’s attorney, defended the move last summer, saying the archdiocese had medical assurances that each of Geoghan’s reassignments were ‘appropriate and safe.’ But one of Cardinal Law's bishops thought that the 1984 assignment of Geoghan to St. Julia's was so risky, that he wrote the cardinal a letter in protest.  The archdiocese already had substantial evidence of Geoghan’s predatory sexual habits.  That included his assertion in 1980 that his repeated abuse of seven boys in one extended family was not a ‘serious’ problem, according to an archdiocesan record.  And the St. Julia’s assignment proved disastrous.  First, Geoghan was put in charge of three youth groups, including altar boys.  In 1989, he was forced to go on sick leave after more complaints of sexual abuse, and spent months in two institutions that treat sexually abusive priests.  Even so, the archdiocese returned him to St. Julia’s, where Geoghan continued to abuse children for another three years.  Why did it take a succession of three cardinals and many bishops 34 years to place children out of Geoghan’s reach?”[18] 

The Boston Affair is Only the Tip of the Iceberg

“Using the higher estimates of pedophile priests (8,000) and numbers of victims (265), the results are even more astonishing, giving a possible maximum of 2,092,440 direct victims and as many as 12,554,640 indirect victims for a total of 14,647,080.  For comparative purposes, using the lower numbers the number of direct victims and survivors alone could populate a city larger than Boston. Using the higher numbers, it would be the fourth largest city in the U.S., One between the size of Houston and Chicago.  Four in 10 US Catholic nuns report having experienced sexual abuse, a study by Catholic researchers supported by major religious orders, has found.  The study found that sisters who have known sexual abuse less in childhood, fled to convents to escape sexual advances.  During religious life, close to 30% of the nation’s 85,000 nuns experienced ‘sexual trauma,’ ranging from rape to exploitation to harassment.  A total of 40% reported a least one experience of that kind.”[19]  The Vatican memoranda state that priests have assaulted nuns in 23 countries, including the United States, Ireland, Italy, Brazil, and India.

The Roman Catholic Response

In face of these and other facts, the official Roman Catholic teaching declares,

“Life consecrated by the profession of the evangelical counsels is a stable form of living by which [the] faithful, following Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God.”[20]

The words “more closely,” therefore, contrast to the vows of marriage.  The meaning is that the consecrated life of priests and nuns is a closer following of Christ than is marriage.  Clearly, God has never declared this to be so, rather the opposite, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.[21]  The marriage covenant is the most tender and endearing of all human relations, more tender than even that bond which unites us to a parent.  The word ‘cleave’ denotes a union of the firmest kind.  This is God’s gift of marriage, and most understandable that the apostle Paul should also say, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife.”[22]           

Marriage is honorable.  The understanding that a pastor should be the husband of one wife has full, scriptural backing.  Despite the agony, misery, and morality of thousands of Roman Catholic priests, the Roman Catholic Church continues to enforce its own law on its followers.  As Scripture says, those who teach such things have departed from the faith in order to propagate their demonic doctrine.  Rome has departed from the faith commending and enjoining celibacy and virginity to the office of a pastor, which God has never commanded.  What they consider “holy” turns out to be unholy, and what is in fact “holy,” Rome absolutely prohibits.  The present crisis of the Roman Catholic Church show what a disaster may come when the Bible is set aside as the basis of all truth, and in its place is set the inane Tradition of fallible man.  “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.[23]

The Vatican Solution

The Pope and Vatican’s resolution to the problem we have seen is pontifical secrecy, and a new stress on the law of celibacy and the turning to psychology for help.  On March 4, 2002, it was announced that homosexual men should not be ordained as priests.[24]  Joaquin Navarro-Valls, a chief spokesman for Pope John Paul II, made the comment.  “If they were to eliminate all those who were homosexually oriented, the number would be so staggering that it would be like an atomic bomb; it would do the same damage to the church’s operation,” said A. W. Richard Sipe, a former priest and psychotherapist.[25]  Sipe has been studying the sexuality of priests for 25 years and has written three books on the subject.  “It would mean the resignation of at least a third of the bishops of the world.  And it’s very much against the tradition of the church; many saints had a gay orientation, and many popes had gay orientations,” Sipe said, “Discriminating against orientation is not going to solve the problem.”[26]

The Real Solution

By nature, every person is born a sinner destined for hell.  Salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone.  The real call of Scripture is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ alone, for it is by grace alone through faith alone that a person is born again to new life in Christ.  “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand.  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.[27]  This call is made to all, but in a special way—to the sincere American Catholic of our day—we loudly yet gently say,  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.[28]  Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.[29]

The Lord God used the Gospel message that is central to every true revival in the body of Christ, as it was in the Reformation.  Literally hundreds of thousands of Catholics are saved each year as they see the finished work of Christs redemption and the foolishness of the traditions, laws, and trappings of the Church of Rome.

The continual theme of Scripture to the believer is “In the LORD have I righteousness and strength[30] or in the words of the Apostle, “That I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.[31]  The believer who is totally accepted in Christ on this basis moves forward.  Thus, God’s grace can flow abundantly; God alone is glorified.  In the great wisdom of the apostle Peter we say to the sincere Catholic, downtrodden by scandal, tradition, and shame, “Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.[32]  This is the only sound and lasting answer to “The new soul-searching across America,” of which Newsweek speaks.  In the counsel and command of the Lord Jesus Christ, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent[33]

 

Richard Bennett of Berean Beacon Ministries

Website: http://www.bereanbeacon.org

Permission is given by the author to copy this article if it is done in its entirety without any changes.

Permission is also given post this article in its entirety on Internet Websites

 

[1] Steve Wohlberg http://www.whitehorsemedia.com/articles/?d=65

[2] Associated Press, 1/9/2002 http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/geoghan/010902_vatican.htm

[3] Hebrews 13:4  

[4] I Timothy 3:2-5 

[5] Matthew 19:10-12

[6] I Corinthians 9:5

[7] Matthew 8:14 (Throughout article, bold added for emphasis.)

[8] I Corinthians 7:9

[9] Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Ed., New English Tr., 1999 (Washington DC:  Canon Law Society of America, 1983).  All canons are taken from this source unless otherwise stated.  Bolding in any quotation indicates emphasis added in this paper.

[10] Vatican Council II, Documents No. 95, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 24 June 1967, Vol. II Sec. 41, p. 297 

[11] Vatican Council II Documents No. 95, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 24 June 1967, Sec. 5, p. 286 

[12] Vatican Council II Documents No. 95, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 24 June 1967, Vol. II Sec. 17, p. 290 

[13] I Timothy 4:1-3  

[14] Vatican Council II Documents No. 95, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 24 June 1967 Sec. 9, p. 287 

[15] Prescribed or required by fashion, etiquette, or custom: proper

[16] No. 63, Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7 Dec. 1965, Vol. I, Sec. 16, p. 893 

[17] Vatican Council II Documents No. 95, Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 24 June 1967, in Flannery, Vol. II, Sec. 41, p. 297

[18] “Church allowed abuse by priest for years” http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories/010602_geoghan.htm

[19] National Catholic Reporter 1/15/99, as quoted in “Catholic Pedophile Priests” http://www.thelinkup.com/stats.html

[20] Vatican Council II Documents No.28 “Lumen Gentium” Vol. I Para 44. p. 404

[21] Matthew 19:5-6

[22] I Timothy 3:2

[23] Matthew 7:20

[24] http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=2508

[25] http://news.change.org/stories/the-catholic-church-needs-its-gay-priests

[26] Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 3/4/20 http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_rcc.htm

[27] John 3:35

[28] Acts 16:31-32

[29] Rev 18:4-5

[30] Isaiah 45:24

[31] Philippians 3:8-9

[32] I Peter 1:18-19

[33] John 6:29

The Roman Catholic Socialist Agenda

Dear Brother,

Following biblical principles regarding how we live and provide for our families and ourselves brings stability and well-being into the societies in which we live.  At the present time, socialism is on the rise and the Catholic Church is helping to advance it with her socialistic agenda.  The attack on the United States by the Catholic Church and far left political secular interests is moving the United States by increments to accept socialism, a form of civil government which is totally contrary to the U.S. Constitution.

The Papacy’s socialist agenda can be documented from the official Catholic information that is publicly available.  It is time to sound the alarm.  Our article provides an outline of a few of the major elements of the Catholic working agenda, which is monumental and intricate.  I ask that you study the article below forward it to others.  I request also, if possible, that you post it on your Website.

Yours in Christ Jesus and for His Gospel,

Richard Bennett

 

The Roman Catholic Socialist Agenda

 

At the present time, it is becoming more apparent that the Roman Catholic Church is first and foremost a socialist system.  For example, on February 10, 2012, Dr. Paul A. Rahe, a practicing Catholic, vehemently criticized its socialist agenda in a widely read article entitled “American Catholicism’s Pact with the Devil.”  He stated,

“In my lifetime, to my increasing regret, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has lost much of its moral authority.  It has done so largely because it has subordinated its teaching of Catholic moral doctrine to its ambitions regarding an expansion of the administrative entitlements state.  In 1973, when the Supreme Court made its decision in Roe v. Wade, had the bishops, priests, and nuns screamed bloody murder and declared war, as they have recently done, the decision would have been reversed.  Instead, under the leadership of Joseph Bernardin, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago, they asserted that the social teaching of the Church was a “seamless garment,” and they treated abortion as one concern among many.”[1]

Rahe is exactly right in his estimation that the Catholic Church has “subordinated its teaching of Catholic moral doctrine to its ambitions regarding an expansion of the administrative entitlements state.”  However, Cardinal Bernardin was acting in accord with the major thrust of the Vatican.  The Catholic agenda has not changed since Cardinal Bernardin’s time.  Indeed, the Catholic Church subordinates not only its moral teaching but also the very Gospel of grace to its social teaching.  Furthermore, official Vatican dogma declares that Catholic social doctrine is a valid instrument of evangelization,

“The Church’s social doctrine ‘is itself a valid instrument of evangelization’ and is born of the always new meeting of the Gospel message and social life.  Understood in this way, this social doctrine is a distinctive way for the Church to carry out her ministry of the Word and her prophetic role…This is not a marginal interest or activity, or one that is tacked on to the Church’s mission, rather it is at the very heart of the Church’s ministry of service: with her social doctrine the Church ‘proclaims God and his mystery of salvation in Christ to every human being, and for that very reason reveals man to himself.’”[2]

Purpose of Vatican’s Social Doctrine

The purpose of the Vatican’s social doctrine is officially stated, “With her social doctrine, the Church aims ‘at helping man on the path of salvation.’  This is her primary and sole purpose.”[3]  Thus, the Vatican is unambiguous in defining the intent of its social doctrine.  It focuses on the good social works that people do.  It assumes that these social deeds proclaim “God and his mystery of salvation in Christ.”  However, salvation in Christ is totally separate from human deeds, as it is exclusively by the power and in the authority of His name.  As the Apostle Peter proclaimed, “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Likewise, the Apostle Paul proclaimed, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”[4]  Every converted sinner is a sinner saved by grace alone.  The grace that saves them is the free, undeserved favor of God.  The Lord God saves sinners, not through doing social works, but through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.  Both grace and believing faith in Jesus Christ alone are essential gifts from God, for without them none can be saved.  This true Gospel is given to mankind by divine revelation in Scripture.  It stands in total contrast to the official dogma of the Vatican that “The Church’s social doctrine ‘is itself a valid instrument of evangelization.’”  Rome’s latest scheme to evangelize starts, as always, with the attempt to replace the true Gospel with its counterfeit gospel.  In an age when Marxism, statism, and socialism are on the rise, the Catholic Church’s social doctrine, which is socialist to the core, has been added to its false gospel.  Once again, the Catholic Church is able to blend itself in with whatever are prevalent trends in the society it wishes to draw into itself. 

Foundation of Catholic Social Doctrine

The Catholic Church states that its “primary and sole mission” is to “help men on the path to salvation.”  Starting with a false gospel, the Vatican then teaches a social doctrine based in standard anti-biblical Catholic dogma.  For example, it states,

“In fact, the roots of human rights are to be found in the dignity that belongs to each human being.  This dignity, inherent in human life and equal in every person, is perceived and understood first of all by reason.  The natural foundation of rights appears all the more solid when, in light of the supernatural, it is considered that human dignity, after having been given by God and having been profoundly wounded by sin, was taken on and redeemed by Jesus Christ in his incarnation, death and resurrection.”[5]

By speaking of “human dignity” having been “wounded by sin” and “redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ in His incarnation, death and resurrection,” the Catholic Church has simply retrofitted its old dogma that “It [original sin] is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted.”[6]  With this new tool, “human dignity…wounded by sin…redeemed,” the Vatican is now able to accommodate the socialist-statist trends so prevalent in modern, secular thinking.

However, the fall of man from grace was total.  Since then, man is born spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins.”[7]  The Fall corrupted every aspect of who man is, including his ability to reason.  Therefore, the Bible does not talk about human dignity but rather about man’s sin nature.  The sin of Adam brought spiritual death to the whole human race.  Consequently, before Holy God, all men are born possessed of inherent pride, selfishness, idolatry, and hostility to God and the truth of His Word.  It is not surprising, therefore, to see that the Catholic Church states, “This dignity, inherent in human life and equal in every person, is perceived and understood first of all by reason.”  Their statement is simply a demonstration of corrupted reasoning.  Rather, what is demonstrably “inherent in human life and equal in every person” is this: every one of us is born spiritually dead.  The sin nature, with which every individual is born, shows itself by the personal sins each person commits.[8] 

The Catholic teaching is contradictory to Scripture because the Bible portrays unregenerate human beings as dead in trespasses and sins; thus, before God, lacking all dignity.  Sinners are cut off from God, the Fountain of life, and therefore spiritually dead, even as a condemned criminal is said to be a dead man.  This is the reason we need to be in right standing before God on the terms He prescribes.  We have a spiritual debt of infinite proportions that we are unable to repay.  However, by His grace alone we can be turned to Him in faith alone for the salvation that He alone gives.  Then by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, based on Christ’s death and resurrection, we believe on Him alone.  As the Scripture states, “you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”[9]  All the vain glory of speaking about “human dignity” ought to alert one to the fact that the Papacy is promoting its social works agenda with an ulterior motive beyond the proffered “helping man to salvation.”  For centuries, the Vatican’s false gospel has deceived souls to their detriment.  The new agenda is simply the latest device added to their false gospel.  It cannot save from destruction.  It cannot deliver life in Jesus Christ.

Human Rights as Defined by Catholic Social Dogma

Having stated that the roots of human rights are in human dignity, the Vatican defines what it means by human rights.  “In Catholic teaching, human rights include not only civil and political rights but also economic rights …‘all people have a right to life, food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, education, and employment.’”[10]  However, the Bible does not speak in terms of rights.  From cover to cover, the words “rights” and “privileges” are never found in the Bible.  The Bible speaks rather about what is fitting for man as when it states, “to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”[11]  Thus, it is that God looks to the one who recognizes he is poor in spirit, whose heart is contrite for sin, and who trembles at His Word.  By God’s grace, men can repent of the arrogance of standing on one’s so-called rights and accept the truth of His Word that states “There is none righteous, no, not one.”[12]

Vatican Aligns With Socialist Theories of Government

Catholic social doctrine continues to be honed for accumulating power to the Papacy.  In its claimed status of spiritual moral authority, the Catholic Church makes known its opinion regarding the duties of civil government when it states,

“Society as a whole, acting through public and private institutions, has the moral responsibility to enhance human dignity and protect human rights.  In addition to the clear responsibility of private institutions, government has an essential responsibility in this area [because]...Human rights are the minimum conditions for life in community.  In Catholic teaching, human rights include not only civil and political rights but also economic rights.  As Pope John XXIII declared, ‘all people have a right to life, food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, education, and employment.’”[13]

The Catholic Church teaches a role for civil government that is beyond the purpose designated to it by Scripture.  The civil government is meant to constrain evil behavior.[14]  Thus, people are to obey their civil government in order to avoid anarchy and chaos.  It is the individual’s responsibility to provide food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, etc., for his own family.  As Scripture states, “if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.[15]  The Papal Church contradicts this by asserting that individuals have a “right” to such things.  Moreover, the Vatican insists emphatically that private institutions and civil governments have an essential duty to provide such things.  The Papal Church teaches a socialist policy regarding the duties of civil governments.  In so doing, the Vatican hopes to set itself up as the moral watchdog for society, both within nations and internationally.

Vatican Promotes “the Common Good” to Attain a Collectivist State

The concept of “the common good” is an integral part of the Catholic social doctrine.  They define “the common good” as follows, 

“The common good does not consist in the simple sum of the particular goods of each subject of a social entity.  Belonging to everyone and to each person, it is and remains ‘common,’ because it is indivisible and because only together is it possible to attain it, increase it and safeguard its effectiveness…The common good, in fact, can be understood as the social and community dimension of the moral good.”[16] 

Implicit in this statement is the idea that all property, wealth, and goods are never fully privately owned.  Elsewhere, it is officially stated that private property and all goods are always subject to regulation so that “the common good” will the foremost beneficiary.[17]  Further, the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares,

“It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society.  The common good of the whole human family calls for an organization of society on the international level.”[18]  

By aligning itself with current socialist trends, the Vatican hopes to gain an increasing position of relevance in secular political, economic, and social circles.  Their ambition focuses on gaining power at every level, but particularly at the international level.  Pope Paul VI in a section of his encyclical entitled, “Toward an Effective World Authority,’’ proclaimed,

“This international collaboration on a worldwide scale requires institutions that will prepare, coordinate, and direct it until finally there is established an order of justice which is universally recognized.”[19]

Catholic social doctrine aims at a Marxist-type collectivism in which each person has an equal portion of “the common good” based on his so-called claimed human dignity and rights.  Such a concept teaches people to depend on civil government rather than taking responsibility for their own lives and choices, as the Bible requires.  Nowhere does the Bible call on believers to depend on government for their livelihood, but rather they are to look to God who will provide for His own.[20]  If, however, the Bible can be made to be irrelevant[21] and the Gospel perverted, then the Catholic Church will once again have an opportunity to be the international moral authority that it claims to be primarily in secular nations. 

The Modus Operandi of the Vatican Socialist System

The Roman Church seeks to implement her socialist ideas by using her power as a religious system working through her own status as a civil state.  As a religious system, she is able to command a “fifth column” within many nations.  By her influence as a civil power, Papal Rome is also able to substantially influence civil rulers and civil policy in many nations and international bodies.  The Church of Rome has 179 legal agreements with nations across the world.  These “concordats,” as they are called, guarantee that the Catholic Church has the right to define religion and worship for Catholics within that sovereign nation.  They also secure for the Vatican the right to define doctrine, establish Catholic education, and negotiate laws regarding property, appointing bishops, and Catholic laws of marriage and annulments.  Thus, the Vatican is able to make use of civil governments to implement its own agenda.

Catholics Are Obliged to Promote the Socialist System

Dr. Rahe also noted that for some time he has heard no moral teaching from his priest when he goes to church, but rather he hears socialism; and, he is right.  The central authority of the Catholic Church has declared that all Catholics are to be taught this social doctrine, and they are to promote it everywhere in every situation—both personal and political.[22]  This, says the Catholic Church, is the duty of the lay Catholics in particular; hence, they must be taught it.  Since the social doctrine has been designated as part of the theology of the Catholic Church, it must be believed on pain of excommunication. 

Decidedly, the Vatican has on its agenda for the United States a change from constitutionalism to socialism.  This the U.S. Bishops made clear in 1995 when they stated,

“In the pastoral letter we suggest that the time has come for a ‘New American Experiment’—to implement economic rights, to broaden the sharing of economic power, and to make economic decisions more accountable to the common good.  This new experiment can create new structures of economic partnership and participation within firms at the regional level, for the whole nation, and across borders.”[23]

God, in His providence, saved Europe and England during the Reformation of the sixteenth century by the spread of the Gospel and the proliferation of the Bible.  In the seventeenth century, thousands of Bible believers, under threat of persecution from the Papacy’s murderous Inquisition, fled to the new land of America where they had freedom to worship God according to their belief and to set up a civil government that would be greatly influenced by the Bible.  In our own day, if the authority of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be removed from the Western world, the Catholic Church, which is both a religion and a nation state, will have an opportunity to again enslave the West. 

Conclusion

It is from the biblical perspective that we must view the machinations of the Roman Catholic social teaching and practice.  The Catholic Church formally went apostate at the Council of Trent in 1546 when they denied the Gospel.[24]  Nonetheless, the Gospel remains “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…for therein is the righteousness of God revealed.”[25]  The central message of the Gospel remains unaltered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.[26]  The Lord God speaks to us again through His written Word, “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me…and had walked in my ways!  I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.”[27]  He will give us victory over the enemies of the Gospel and Christian life as we listen to Him and walk in His ways.  Our Lord God delights in our serving Him.  We are utterly blessed as we hold to Him and His biblical truth.  In addition, we see the Lord's fruitfulness and providence in our days, to the praise of the glory of His name!  ♦

 

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[1] http://ricochet.com/main-feed/American-Catholicism-s-Pact-With-the-Devil 2/15/2012

[2] “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” Para. 67 www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html 2/25/2012

[3] Ibid, Para. 69

[4] Ephesians 2:8, 9

[5]www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html See Chapter Three The Human Person and Human Rights, IV. Human Rights, a. The value of human rights, Para. 1532/25/12

[6] Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), Para. 405

[7] Ephesians 2:1

[8]All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

[9] Ephesians 2:1

[10] US Bishops 1995 Pastoral Letter, “Economic Justice for All:  Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy,” Sect. 17 http://www.usccb.org/upload/economic_justice_for_all.pdf  2/17/2012(Bolding in any quotation indicates emphasis added in this paper.)

[11] Isaiah 66:2                                                                        

[12] Romans 3:10

[13] “Economic Justice for All,” Para. 18http://www.osjspm.org/document.doc?id=94

[14] Romans13:3, 4“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.  Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.  For he is the minister of God to thee for good.  But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

[15] I Timothy 5:8

[16] Compendium, Sect. 164

[17] Compendium, Sect. 177, 178

[18] Catechism, Para. 1927

[19] Paul VI, “Populorum Progressio” (1967), Para. 78

[20] Matthew 6:31-32 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? ... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Hebrews 13:5-7 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

[21] This agenda has been taught ubiquitously in Western colleges and universities at least since the 1960’s.

[22] Compendium, Sect. 80

[23] “Economic Justice for All,” Para. 21

[24]If anyone shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence alone by which we are justified: let him be anathema [cursed].”  Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (Herder Book Co., 1957) # 822, Can. 12

[25] Romans 1:16

[26] John 6:29

[27] Psalm 81:13-14

The Perilous Fondness for the Papacy

The Roman Pontiff and his Church demand respect and obedience throughout the world.   The world in response shows a great fondness for the Pope as he addresses and admonishes world leaders and makes declarations on all major events.  For example, the official Vatican Information Service on June 4, 2004 reported the explicit rebuke that the Pope gave to President Bush, “‘Your visit to Rome,’ said the Pope, ‘takes place at a moment of great concern for the continuing situation of grave unrest in the Middle East, both in Iraq and in the Holy Land.  You are very familiar with the unequivocal position of the Holy See in this regard, expressed in numerous documents, through direct and indirect contacts, and in the many diplomatic efforts which have been made since you visited me in 2001.’”[1]

The Pope’s central authority, by which he judges all things, is officially called by the term “Holy See” rather than “the Vatican.”  The Vatican’s web page states, “The term Holy See stands for the central authority of the Church, which transcends, even if it includes, the tiny sovereign State of Vatican City.  Thus, the Holy See represents a world wide community and not only the citizens of Vatican City.”[2]  The Pope is the head of a sovereign state and at the same time a central authority to a worldwide community.  In an insightful official law the same Holy See declares, “The First See is judged by no one.”[3]  The Papacy declares itself to be supreme, accountable to no one; the sole judge of what is right and wrong, while simultaneously demanding that no one can judge it.  The audacity of the Holy See reaches its zenith in the civil and political arenas as it proclaims “It is solely the right of the Roman Pontiff himself to judge…those who hold the highest civil office in a state.”[4]  One of the Holy See’s hallmarks is that of judging those who lead nations.

Most people do not regard as the Papacy as a civil power and have even less knowledge of how it exercises its power through civil law.[5]  It is often accomplished by what is called a “concordat.”  A concordat is a contract that legally binds the nation involved and the Holy See.  It guarantees the Roman Catholic Church the right of freedom of religion and worship, the right to define doctrine, establish Roman Catholic education, negotiate laws regarding property, appoint bishops, and to require recognition of Roman Catholic law regarding marriage and annulment.  In the twentieth century, some of the main concordats were with Latvia (1922), Bavaria (1924), Poland (1925), Romania (1927), Lithuania (1927), Italy (1929), Prussia (1929), Baden (1932), Austria (1933), Germany (1933), and Yugoslavia (1935).  These concordats protected all things Roman Catholic, such as schools, hospitals, and institutions, often run with public funds.  Discrimination and harassment of institutions not Roman Catholic has been evidenced in all these nations.  The Vatican’s relations with Roman Catholic dictators in the same century were evidenced by her preference of dictators within her own fold.  Some of these have been Adolf Hitler in Germany, 1933-1945; Benito Mussolini in Italy, 1922-1943; Francisco Franco in Spain, 1936-1975; Antonio Salazar in Portugal, 1932-1968; Juan Peron in Argentina, 1946-1955; and Ante Pavelic in Croatia, 1941-1945.

On June 20, 2000 under the heading, “Virtually All Countries Have Signed Concordats with Rome” the Catholic news agency Zenit reported, 

“The desire of countries around the world to maintain stable relations with the Vatican is greater than ever. This is reflected in the extraordinary number of “concordats” that Rome has signed with other capitals over the last few years.  From 1950 to 1999, 128 concordats were signed between Rome and different States. This figure was disclosed during an international congress organized by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, which presented in one volume all the concordats signed over the last 50 years.  In the past 9 years, 43 concordats were signed between the Vatican and other States.  In part, this significant figure is due to the fact that, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the former communist countries hastened to establish diplomatic relations with Rome, in order to change the Church’s illegal status.  This has led other nations of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa to knock on Rome's door and enter judicial agreements.  This marathon has implied an average of 19 concordats a year. Prior to 1989, the Vatican signed international agreements primarily with European and Latin American countries.”[6] 

The Holy See’s Political Power

One may ask of what importance are these concordats, and how do they affect the lives of people in the nations involved.  Recent history answers that.  The Papacy through concordats supported and collaborated with both the Mussolini and Hitler regimes, as well as setting up its own totalitarian state in Croatia during the Second World War.  The Vatican’s legal agreement with Fascism of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, and Latin America were lived out in the economic and social conditions of these nations.[7]  “Freedom of religion” in those nations was interpreted as freedom for the Roman Catholic religion and those who joined together in false ecumenism with her.  With concordats established and Catholic law recognized in civil law in many more nations than before, true believers should take heed. 

Since the Holy See defines what is not a legitimate church, “the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense,”[8] her power and influence needs to be strongly and continually challenged in both the religious and civil spheres in any nation.  That she is a hovering menace to Bible believers can be seen presently in the European Union (EU), where non-ecumenical Bible believing churches are already being designated as sects, worthy of being watched by the civil government.  If the Papacy has its way, the new EU constitution will recall the Christian roots of European heritage.  This will provide a wedge for the Vatican to insist upon its legal status in the EU, once again starting the engines of a state church, this time for the whole EU.[9] 

That the world refuses to learn from the experiences of history is to be expected; but now, likewise, New Evangelicals are hastening Rome-ward.  The New York Times May 30, 2004 carried news of the alliance between Catholicism and Evangelicals that is restructuring America.

“In 1960, the last time a Roman Catholic ran for president on the Democratic ticket, evangelical Protestant leaders warned their flocks that electing John F. Kennedy would be like handing the Oval Office to the Antichrist….Forty-four years later…Evangelicals and conservative Catholics have forged an alliance that is reshaping American politics and culture….Exactly 10 years ago, a group of Evangelical and Catholic leaders and scholars released a document called ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together.’  It was the result of a dialogue started by two men: the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Catholic priest in New York who edits the journal First Things, and Charles Colson….The two men convened a group of prominent theologians and religious leaders.  The Evangelical side included the late Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, the religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and theologians like James I. Packer.  The Catholic side included the late Cardinal John O’Connor of New York and the theologian Avery Dulles, now a cardinal.  Their manifesto was primarily theological, but it included overt political pledges to work together on issues like abortion, government aid for religious schools and strengthening the ‘traditional family,’ in part a reaction to the growing gay rights movement.  The document shook the Evangelical world….By 2000, Mr. Colson and James Dobson, the broadcaster who founded Focus on the Family, were invited to the Vatican to address the bishops on the breakdown of the family, the first such appearance ever.  Evangelical institutions like Wheaton College in Illinois and Gordon College in Massachusetts began inviting Catholics to speak on campus, Mr. Colson said.”[10] 

As the world and false Evangelicals join hands in the dark with the Vatican, it affords immediate opportunity to contemplate what Scripture says about the nature of apostasy.  It is appropriate also to understand how true believers of former times viewed the their relationship with the Vatican.

Overview of the Apostate Church

The Holy Spirit in Revelation Chapter Seventeen vividly depicts the features of the Apostate Church.  It is done in graphically precise detail.  The Apostle John beheld the ten-horned beast carrying a woman dressed in purple and scarlet, decked with gold, precious stones, and pearls, a harlot, and the mother of harlots and abominations.  She is the paramour of kings, merciless, cruel, intoxicated with the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Christ Jesus.  These symbols are brilliantly portrayed.  “The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth” (v 9).  This the Holy Spirit clarifies by proclaiming, “the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (v 18).  The city indisputably is Rome.  The name upon the harlot’s brow is “mystery” (v 5).  She cannot be heathen Rome of which there was no mystery because her character was never concealed.  “Christian” Rome, however, is a mystery, for she is not what she appears.  Babylon, in the book of Revelation, is a city and a harlot.  Jerusalem, in the same book, is a city and a bride.  Babylon is the fraudulent lover of earthly kings; Jerusalem, the chaste bride of the King of Kings.  The contrast is between the faithful Church and the Apostate Church.  Chapter 17 thus describes in detail the character of the Apostate Church.[11]  

Religious Power Seated on Civil Power

The woman is seen “sitting upon the scarlet-colored beast” (v. 3).  The woman, the Papal Church, is seated upon a scarlet-colored beast, the civil power.  She controls and directs for her own ends the civil power on which she rides.  The political civil power is subordinate to the spiritual control of apostate Rome and is the Pope’s necessary instrument used to fulfill his aspirations and objectives.  This is exactly the history of the Papal Church. 

The Papal Church arose through the favor of the Emperors of the old Imperial Roman Empire.  Constantine who in 313 AD declared Christianity to be the state religion of Imperial Rome set the stage for this.  Before that time, the church was the fellowship of believers under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ, working under their pastors by the authority the written Word as received in the gospel accounts of the life of the Lord, and the writings of the Apostles together with the Old Testament.  The church by Constantine’s design, however, was to be organized and governed on the Imperial Roman Empire model.  Thus, governance of the church was divided into four great provinces and a bishop in each province elevated above his brothers.[12]  Historically, the power of the Bishop of Rome increased as the imperial power of the Emperor declined.  Besides Justinian’s edict in 538 AD, the edicts of the Emperors Theodosius II and Valentinian III proclaimed the Roman Bishop “as Rector of the whole Church.”[13]  So it is that by the edicts of civil powers, with the sanction of the Italian bishops, the Roman Bishop became the head of the Western clergy.  By this time, however, the demise of the Imperial Roman Empire was at hand, and one might have thought that the state church would fall with the Empire.  The Bishop of Rome, however, claimed an authority on a higher than that given by civil power, in order that his position would be secure perpetually.  Skillfully he grasped to himself the ideal tool, the title of successor to the Apostle Peter, through which he claimed himself to have been invested with the authority of Holy God.  In doing this, he rose to a position far above that of mere patriarchs and emperors.  Wylie summarizes,

“With the assertion of this dogma the system of the Papacy was completed essentially and doctrinally, but not as yet practically.  It had to wait the full development of the idea of vicarship, which was not till the days of Gregory VII [Hildebrand, 1073-85].  But here have we the embryonic seed—the vicarship to wit—out of which the vast structure of the Papacy has sprung.  This it is that plants at the centre of the system a pseudo-divine jurisdiction, and places the Pope above all bishops with their flocks, above all kings with their subjects.  This it is that gives the Pope two swords….The day when this dogma was proclaimed was the true birthday of the popedom.  The Bishop of Rome had till now sat in the seat of Caesar; henceforward he was to sit in the seat of God.”[14]

To do this, of course, required intrigue, deceit, suppression of the Bible and the Gospel—all of which was accomplished over the course of time so that by the time of the great Reformers of the sixteenth century, it was clearly understood that the Papal church was the woman who rides the beast.  Among us today is this same church, the Roman Catholic Church, still claiming the same authority and still pursuing the same agenda.

In Daniel chapter seven, the little horn, symbolizing the papacy, persecuted the saints[15] and spoke against God “the most High”[16] but would come to its end at the termination of 1260 years.[17]  That occurred in 1798 with the arrest of Pope Pius VI in the wounding of its head, 1260 years after Justinian’s edict of 538 AD.  The Papal Church languished and lost its civil power for decades.  Revelation chapter thirteen explains however, a second rise of this same political-ecclesiastical institution as a last day power, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed:  and all the world wondered after the beast.”[18]  This came to fruition, just as Scripture had foretold.  In 1929 Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty with Pope Pius XI officially conceding Vaticanus Mons (Vatican Hill) from the nation of Italy to the Pope.  The wound was healed!  At the hand of civil power, the Papal Church had once again sprung forth as a landed theocracy, still claiming for her pope the titles of Successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ. 

While she became the smallest independent state in the world (108 acres) she again has become one of the greatest in political intrigue, in the words of Lord Acton “the fiend skulking behind the Crucifix.”[19]  Because she is established on civil power and as a sovereign state, she wields much sway in national and international law, particularly in the nations in which she has papal nuncios as ambassadors.  At present she maintains civil relations with 172 countries at Embassy level.  According to the Catholic Almanac, “An apostolic nuncio has the diplomatic rank of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary…a nuncio has precedence among diplomats in the country to which he is accredited and serves as dean of the diplomatic corps on state occasions.”[20]  The history of Papal Rome, her seeming demise, and her present day position in the world, show that she fits what the Holy Spirit revealed Revelation 17. 

Significance of Place, Attire, and Possessions

The place of residence of the Papal church was never in doubt, “the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth (v. 9).  The system itself still delineates the area of residence of the Papal State.  “...it is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State. proper now is confined.”[21]  The revelation of God shows forth the attire and possessions of the Apostate system, “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication (v. 4).  Scarlet, the usual color of the robes of kings and military men, was and still is the favorite color of Papal Rome.  Cardinals for example, are clothed all in scarlet.  Papal patriarchs, metropolitan archbishops, archbishops and bishops wear purple and “the Pectoral cross.”  “The Pectoral cross” is declared by Rome to be “decorated with gems; that of a bishop usually contains relics of a martyr.”[22]  Papal Rome has the “the golden cup” in the chalice on her altar, which must be gold or gold-plated.  Biblically, gold represents perfection and the things of God.  Deceptively Rome offers a “pure” outward display, but of her Eucharistic use of that golden cup she states, “…in the sacrifice of the Mass Our Lord is immolated.”[23]  In Scripture Lord Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice was once offered.[24]  Thus, the golden cup she holds out as the center of her worship to God is filled with the most odious of abominations, an apt image to denote her idolatry and superstition.

Description of the Inner Character

Verse 5 delineates her inner character “upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”  She is called “great” because of the scale of the Papal influence, and because of the multitude of kings, princes, and presidents with whom she has done business.  The Papal Church is also invested with the title, “Mystery Babylon the Great.”  Throughout her history she has been an enigma.  She continues to be so, even to those within her own system.  Truly God’s Word describes her as a “Mystery.”  She is also called “Babylon” as she is the exact antitype of the ancient Babylon in her idolatry and cruelty.  Babylon of old was only a miniature pastel portrait of her.  “Babylon the great” titles herself as “Holy Mother Church.”[25]  She has the audacity to proclaim, “‘No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.’”[26]  In truth the Bible has revealed her inner character as, “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” (v. 5).  The Pope and his Church bring into the worship of God the worship of the communion bread[27] and Mary as “‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All Holy One,”[28] with the Pope himself designated as “Most Holy.”[29]  The traditions of “Holy Mother Church” also bring into the worship of God the frustrated lives of celibate men and women, and worst of all, it brings in the idolatry which God hates.[30]  Icons and saints’ bones alike are venerated as relics.[31]  Papal Rome encourages people to contact the dead.  She teaches, “In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead...Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping ‘them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.’”[32]  As the promoter of lewdness through the institutions of her unholy traditions, there never was a more expressive or appropriate title applied to her than that penned by Holy Spirit through the Apostle John.

Her History of Persecution of True Believers

The Roman Church has employed kings and princes in her work of persecution.  Her courts first tried and condemned the believers, after which they were delivered over to the civil authority to be executed.  In the Papacy’s crusades against Bible believing cities, towns and territories, Rome enlisted the civil power of kings and potentates to carry out her cruel deeds.  In those many years, the Papal system was “drunken with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs” (v. 6).  The Crusades against the Albigenses, the Vaudois, and the Waldenses were replete with outrageous slaughters and barbarities.  The individual hounding down of true believers that resulted in atrocious torture and death is the documented history of the state religion of the Papacy.  For centuries through her Office of the Inquisition, she organized wars against Bible believing cities and territories.  In the middle of the thirteenth century, Pope Innocent IV devised in detail for the many inquisitors how torture was to be perpetrated.  “Innocent IV gave comprehensive instructions regarding how torture was to be applied in his bull At Extirpanda (1252).  This was revised and reissued by subsequent Popes.  Torture is prescribed, but it was to stop short of pulling off limbs or causing death...Ruinous punishments are enacted on all who harbor or give advice or favor to a heretic.  How completely the abominable system was the direct achievement of the Papacy is show by the clause that no change could be made without the special authority of the Apostolic See.”[33] 

“From the birth of Popery in 600, to the present time, it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than fifty millions of the human family,[34] have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by popish persecutors, an average of more than forty thousand religious murders for every year of the existence of Popery.”[35]  Roman Catholic author, Peter de Rosa, wrote of the atrocities of the Roman Catholic torture machine, 

“The record of the Inquisition would be embarrassing for any organization; for the Catholic Church, it is devastating.  Today, it prides itself, and with much justification, on being the defender of natural law and the rights of man.  The papacy in particular likes to see itself as the champion of morality.  What history shows is that, for more than six centuries without a break, the papacy was the sworn enemy of elementary justice.  Of eighty popes in a line from the thirteenth century on, not one of them disapproved of the theology and apparatus of Inquisition.  On the contrary, one after another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this deadly machine.”[36] 

The Papacy has shockingly fulfilled the image from Revelation of the blood-drenched woman from six centuries of her murderous rampage.  In the Bible, the Holy Spirit foretold of her lust for power and blood.  History has recorded some of the gruesome details.

The State of Affairs as It is at the Present Day

Papal Rome has stood in direct opposition to the Gospel of Christ and the judgment of God will come upon her.  There never was a clearer duty than that of withdrawing from Papal Rome and her ecumenical followers.  Her iniquity is corrupting and intoxicating the nations with a counterfeit head of the Church, a sham gospel, and will make her utter ruin the just and righteous act of God!  The voice of the Lord comes back in thunder from the course of ages and reverberates throughout the world.  “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.[37]  The Woman sitting upon the scarlet-colored beast will continue and wax strong and draw to her bosom multitudes, and nations and power and glory of the world, as the Lord said she would.  However, the final condemnation of her and those within her is already written, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”35God’s reserved wrath, His punishing justice, and His enmity to sin, will be revealed to the entire world.  The destruction of Papal Rome will proceed from the glory of His power.  “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.[39]

In the meantime, the victory of the Gospel Word is seen for those who wait on Him.  His power has always been greatest in the day of utmost need.  Our prayerful duty is to fear the All-Holy God, to obey His great commission, and to trust His victory now and hereafter, and to earnestly pray and desire that we be more and more conformed to be like unto the Lord!  “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.[40]  Holiness consists in the believer’s conformity to the image of Christ.

Bible believers of old recognized the Apostate Church from the pages of Scripture and were prepared to both expose her and to face her, in the strength and wisdom of the Lord.  Among others there were, Dante, John Wycliff, John Huss, and Savonarola.  During the Reformation, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, John Bradford, and John Foxe.  In the 17, and 18, centuries such as John Bunyan, the translators of the King James Bible, and the men who published the Westminster and Baptist Confessions of Faith.  Sir Isaac Newton, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley.  In more recent times there were such as Charles Spurgeon, Bishop J. C. Ryle and Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  All these men and many more knew the precision of Scriptures regarding both the true bride of Christ and the Apostate woman “drunken with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs.”  The Written Word has been fulfilled in history, in both light and darkness.  Like those believers of old we can enter into battle, because we have the secure proof that the Lord God is with us, and we will have the final victory.  The words of the Apostle we repeat,  …having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore.[41]  The certainty of the final triumph should animate us in our efforts, and encourage us in our struggles.  “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.[42]  ♦

 

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[1] http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/vis/dinamiche/e1_en.htm 6/10/04

[2] August 1998 webpage http/www.vaticanva, Encyclical Letter of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Solicitudo Rei Socialis.

[3] Code of Canon Law, Latin-English Ed. (Wash. DC:  Canon Law Society of America, 1983) Canon 1404

[4] Ibid., Canon. 1405

[5] “Although the Holy See is closely associated with the State of the Vatican City, the independent, sovereign state governed by the Holy See, the two entities are in fact separate and distinct.  The Holy See administers the Vatican City, including all diplomatic functions; foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See rather than to the Vatican City, and the Holy See establishes diplomatic agreements ("Concordats") with other sovereign states, on behalf both of itself and of the Vatican City (as appropriate).  Generally speaking, the Holy See is a party on its own behalf to treaties of Ecclesiastical interest, and a party on the Vatican City's behalf to treaties of technical significance (e.g., regarding co-operation with Italy).” www.wordiq.com/definition/Papacy 6/10/04

[6] www.zenit.org/english/archive/0006/ZE000620.html  6/10/04

[7] For fuller documentation of this see John Robbins, Ecclesiastical Megalomania: The Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church (Unicoi, TN 37692-0068:  The Trinity Foundation,1999)  ISBN: 0-940931-52-4

[8] Dominus Iesus (September 5th 2000), Para. 17

[9] See also Richard Bennett & Michael de Semlyen, “Papal Rome and the European Union” (Dorchester House Publications, 2003).  Available through Richard Bennett’s Catalogue and www.bereanbeacon.com

[10]http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/30/weekinreview/30good.html?ex=1086943027&ei=1&en=bfb253a76cb3c861  6/9/04

[11] The Roman Catholic Church officially went apostate at the Council of Trent in 1547.  Canon 9, “If anyone shall say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will:  let him be anathema.”  Can. 12 “If anyone shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone by which we are justified:  let him be anathema.”  Denzinger, Henry, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Tr. By Roy J. Deferrari, 30th Ed. of Enchiridion Symbolorum, Rev. by Karl Rahner, S. J. (St Louis, MO:  B. Herder Book Co., 1957)  #819, #822.  These canons are absolutely upheld by the RCC today. 

[12] J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, 4 vols. Orig. publ. 1878 (Rapidan, VA:  Hartland Publications, 2002) Vol I, p. 4

[13] J. H. Merle D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century 4 vols. (New York:  American Tract Society, 1848) Vol. I, p. 42

[14] Wylie, Vol. I, p. 10

[15]I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;” Daniel 7:21

[16]And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws:” Daniel 7:25a

[17]and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Daniel 7:25 b

[18] Revelation 13:3

[19] Acton, Correspondence, 55; as quoted in Himmelfarb, Lord Acton, p. 151See our article “Vatican Prepares to Control Through Civil Law” on our WebPage: www.bereanbeacon.org

[20] Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac, 2001, p. 277

[21] Robert Broderick, The Catholic Encyclopedia (Nashville, TN:  Nelson Inc., 1976) pp. 528-529

[22] The Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 466

[23] Vatican Council II Documents, No. 9, Eucharisticum Mysterium, 25 May 1967, Vol. I, Sec. 3, pp. 102-103

[24] Christ’s sacrifice marked the fulfillment and end of the priestly ordinances of the Old Testament, “there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10:18)  The unique oneness of Christ’s sacrifice is in this very fact that it was one offering once made.  The concept “once” is deemed so important that it is asserted seven times by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. 

[25] Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Ed. (Wash DC:  US Catholic Conf., 1994, 1997) Para 1163

[26] Catechism, Para 181

[27] “There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind ‘that all the faithful ought to show to this most holy sacrament the worship which is due to the true God, as has always been the custom of the Catholic Church.  Nor is it to be adored any the less because it was instituted by Christ to be eaten.”  Vatican Council II:  The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, No. 9, Eucharisticum Mysterium, Austin Flannery, ed. (Northport, NY:  Costello Publ. Co., 1975) 1981 ed., Vol. I, Sec. 3, p. 104

[28]  “By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the ‘Mother of Mercy,’ the All Holy One.”  Catechism Para 2677

[29] Denzinger, Henry, #649

[30] “Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified…the veneration of icons - of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints.”  Catechism, Para 2131

[31] Catechism, Para 1674

[32] Catechism, Para 958

[33] William Shaw Kerr, A Handbook on the Papacy (Edinburgh:  Marshall Morgan & Scott, 1950) pp. 232-233.

[34] “A million of poor Waldenses perished in France; nine hundred thousand orthodox Christians were slain in less than thirty years after the institution of the order of the Jesuits.  The Duke of Alva boasted of having put to death in the Netherlands, thirty-six thousand by the hand of the common executioner during the space of a few years.  The Inquisition destroyed, by various tortures, one hundred fifty thousand within thirty years.  These are a few specimens, and but a few, of those which history has recorded; but the total amount will never be known till the earth shall disclose her blood, and no more cover her slain” Scott’s Church History in John Dowling, The History of Romanism, 1881, Classic Reprints No. 57 (Pensacola, FL:  Vance Publications, 2002) Book VIII, Ch. 1, p. 542

[35] Dowling, p. 541

[36] Peter De Rosa, Vicars of Christ:  The Dark Side of the Papacy ( NY: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1988) p. 175.

[37] Revelation 18:4

35 Revelation 14:8

[39] Revelation 14:10

39 Romans 8:29

[41] Ephesians 6:13,14

[42] Romans 8:16-17

The Pattern of Papal Persecutions: Then and Now

To recognize the dominant position to which the Roman Catholic Church aspires and which she has always desired, it is essential understand how she has acted in the past¾for the pattern is still the same.  Her aspirations must be codified in law before they can be enacted effectively.  Rome has always constructed the machinery of law within her own system before she is able to impose on others what she traditionally has called her “just penalties” for disobedience.

Pontifical Throne Establishes External Unity

To the Church of Rome, external unity is of the utmost importance.  She expects to achieve this unity by means of her law.  In the Bible there is relationship between the members of a church and its elders because both members and elders are in the Lord Jesus Christ and share in that life through the Holy Spirit.  By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church, having apostatized from the true Gospel, does not have and cannot have any such fellowship.  Counterfeiting the true body of the Lord Jesus Christ, she must therefore find some effective way to bind all to her very visible and active pontifical throne.  To this throne she undertakes to chain¾by law and through ignorance of Holy Scriptures¾priests, presidents, and people, in order to make her pope the universal monarch.  Seeking to obscure the clear light of Holy Scripture, she promotes her bond of union through the murky light of visibly active popes, archbishops, bishops, canon law, and ceremonies.  

Citing tradition and her own authority[1], the Church of Rome claims to have “divine and catholic faith.”  When people believe this they are enslaved¾because once external religion is accepted as genuine, truth and the Gospel of salvation are no longer understood as flowing from the Bible.  Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church claims she controls the means of salvation for everyone.  She then imposes a system of works upon them for their entire lives.  Her priests affirm their convictions by means of their sovereign pope and a salvation conveyed by means of sacraments.

Paradigm for Power

In past times all kings were supposed to tremble at her decrees.  Woe to him who resisted!  Subjects were released from their oaths of allegiance; whole states were placed under interdict.  By deception regarding the Gospel and, subsequently, by force Rome has held her domain together.  She has only external unity, as any one who has lived within her system and studied her decrees and history knows.  It is of signal importance to realize that the Roman Catholic Church has no other way to maintain her life than by imposition of her external laws, for she lacks the life giving power of the Holy Spirit and unity of the One Body of the Lord Christ Jesus.  She must legislate to exist, and she needs civil powers to enforce her decrees.  It is crucial to understand that suppression and control are her main stratagems¾even if at the moment this does not appear to be the case.  If persecution by her is to be avoided, her paradigm must be understood.

The UN, the EU, and “the Souls of Men”

In centuries past, Rome always needed secular allies to hold her people together.  Kings trembled upon their thrones, offering her their protection if Rome would in her turn support them.  They conceded to her “spiritual authority.”  She responded by demanding secular support in applying her penalties against what she saw as heresy.  If kings did not obey, their thrones were harassed by interdict.  The merchandise between Rome and kings was “the souls of men.”[2]

The documentation of this paper will show a distinct possibility of the repetition of history.  A careful examination of the pattern of past events is an invaluable aid to a sound evaluation of what is happening in our own day.  The important thing is to be wise in the Lord, as both Scripture and history seem to present a specific possible scenario.  The following statement is an encapsulation of that scenario.

It would be advantageous to the European Union (EU) to have a cultural “seamless garment” which would maintain a grass-roots, unifying force between individual states and the developing central authority.  Proffering such a garment to the EU, Rome likewise needs the European Court and the law courts of the member countries to classify as “sects” Bible believing churches, thus preparing the ground for legal extirpation of all those who will not bow to her edicts.  In the global sphere, the United Nations (UN) desires sovereignty and thus needs a world police force.  In that arena, the Church of Rome, whose system exists within every nation represented in the UN, in turn needs a world court by which to enforce the wearing of her cultural “seamless garment.” This would subsume the globe's “multiculturalism” under one culture, counterfeit, and apostate Christianity.  Given their respective goals, these three entities might readily find it to their advantage to work in tandem. 

World policeman and the World Court of Justice

The military arm of the UN is at present beginning its attempt to perform the role of world policeman.  Its counterpart, the World Court of Justice, is being constructed in an attempt to enforce global laws.  Rome, to maintain her external unity, is obligated to cooperate.  Very willingly she blesses at the international level the “sovereignty” of the EU and UN.  This “sovereignty” reduces the individual nations to the position of pawns, turning the clock back to pre-Reformation days.  The Roman Catholic Church at the same time is acquiring positions of influence so that she can systematically eliminate opposition¾as she has always done.  These positions include the Holy See’s following representatives: a permanent observer within the UN, ambassadors in one hundred and eighty four different countries, and representatives to or membership in over thirty quasi-governmental and international organizations.  The Roman Catholic Church has tremendous influence through these contacts.  Her men and women bring, by their obedience to her central authority, the RCC mindset to bear on international politics.

Biblical Freedom

Freedom is an integral part of the biblical faith.  In the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”[3]  The command of the Lord is “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”[4]  God demands true and total submission to His Word.  Nevertheless, the Church of Rome demands submission of intellect and will to her claimed infallible authority, regardless of the fact that she contradicts the Word of God.

Rome's claim¾that the obedience Holy God requires to His Word is due to her alone¾is always her basis for inflicting persecution on others.  It is only as one understands her arrogant position that one can make any sense of the oppression that she has perpetrated throughout history, and what she is doing at the present time.

Biblical Perspective

Today, it is imperative to know of the religious persecutions by the Roman Catholic Church against the Bible believers throughout the course of European history¾for the same Roman Catholic Church, still enslaving people worldwide to her false gospel, is gathering strength in this day.  Her method, the Inquisition, has never been revoked nor has she ever apologized for the suffering caused by it.  Although according to Vatican Council II documents, Evangelicals now are termed by her as “separated brethren”; she has never withdrawn her categorizing of them as “heretics.”  This is confirmed by Vatican Council II documents.[5]  The Jesuits are still in influential places, an example of which is the formulation of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (March 1994) and The Gift of Salvation (November 1997).

To understand Western history in the context of biblical truth is to gain in our own time the foothold of a stabilizing perspective.  To those who take the time to acquire this, the Lord's promise still stands, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  Correctly using biblical truth to interpret history, or “binding together,”[6] is an example of what it means to wait upon the Lord.  The believers' purpose must be to know the truth while trusting the Lord for the freedom to proclaim the Gospel.

“Peace, Peace; When There is No Peace”

The heart and mind of the Roman Catholic Church is expressed in her Canon Law.  This is how she has acted in the past, now conducts herself, and will conduct herself in the future.  The face that Rome shows to the outside world has another side to it, one that is seen primarily by those inside her system when she enforces her law.  For example, for twenty years the Pope has been proclaiming “peace, peace” from nation to nation.  The newspapers give prominence to his continuing message calling for religious freedom and respect for each member of the human family.  What is not proclaimed is Roman Catholic law and how it is implemented.  Some of the smaller news services, such as News Network International who for many years carried information on how Rome applied her laws, have been shut down recently.  An example of the contrast between public image and private practice was the wooing content of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT), published in 1994.  In March of the same year, the Roman Catholic Archbishop Bohn of Brazil announced at the 31st National Conference of Bishops in Brazil, “‘We will declare a holy war, don't doubt it…the Catholic Church has a ponderous structure, but when we move we'll smash anyone beneath us.’”  The article reporting on statement went on to comment,

“According to Bohn, an all-out holy war can't be avoided unless the 11 largest Protestant churches and denominations sign a treaty…[which] would require Protestants to stop evangelization in Brazil.  In exchange, he said, Catholics would agree to stop all persecution directed towards Protestants.  Bohn called his proposal an ‘ultimatum’, and said it would leave no room for discussion.”[7] 

Nevertheless, eighteen months later in an address to the UN entitled “The Global Quest for Freedom,” Pope John Paul II stated,

“We will not be able to overcome it [our fear of the future] completely unless we do so together.  The ‘answer’ to that fear is neither coercion nor repression nor the imposition of one social ‘model’ on the entire world.  The answer...at the end of the twentieth century is the common effort to build the civilization of love founded on the universal values of peace, solidarity, justice, and liberty.  And the ‘soul’ of the civilization of love is the culture of freedom: the freedom of individuals and the freedom of nations, lived in self-giving solidarity and responsibility.”[8]

It should be noted that the same pope who addressed these eloquent words to the UN had two years previously nailed down laws that forbid such freedom and peace.  In the small print of the 1998 Catholic Almanac under the heading Pope John Paul II, the entry entitled Canon Law states,

“The Pope was deeply involved in the work of completing the revision of the Code of Canon Law which he ordered into effect as of Nov. 27, 1983.  He called it, in effect, the final act of the Second Vatican Council...He promulgated the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches Apr. 18, 1990.”[9] 

Examination of these laws shows them to be of the same absolute, unlimited, and tyrannical character as those of the past.  The Code has the entire necessary legislature, jurisprudence, and laws for the purposes of control and coercion.  The same pope who splendidly addressed the UN on the need for freedom, simultaneously effects in Roman Catholic law the following,

“The Church has an innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful by means of penal sanctions.”[10] 

Clearly, official Roman Catholic law is the iron fist under Pope John Paul II’s velvet glove.  That this is the RCC modus operandi can be learned from her history.  The dissimilarity between the dictate of the present pope and the apostle Paul is evident.  The Pontiff's rule is “The Church has an innate and proper right to coerce.  The apostle states, “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.”[11]

Trusting in the God of True Peace

In the latter half of this paper, contemporary RC canon law demonstrating Rome's present readiness to exert control will be documented.  First, however, it is important to review the historical persecution of Christians by the Roman Church.  All that is discovered must be measured in terms of the Lord God’s greatness and the truth of His gospel.  The Lord Jesus Christ declares the truth concerning Himself, “…thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”[12]  In Him is our faith and confidence, and all facts must be perceived in the wisdom of His written Word.

Apostasy Sets the Foundation for Later Persecution

The historian, J. A. Wylie, shows the beginning of corruption of the Christian Church, an apostasy that set in place the machinery for later persecution.

“From the fourth century the corruptions of the Christian Church continued to make marked and rapid progress.  The Bible began to be hidden from the people.  And in proportion as the light, which is the surest guarantee of liberty, was withdrawn, the clergy usurped authority over the members of the Church.  The canons of councils were put in the room of the one infallible Rule of Faith; and thus the first stone was laid in the foundations of ‘Babylon, that great city, that made all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’…

“The beginning of this matter seemed innocent enough.  To obviate pleas before the secular tribunals, ministers were frequently asked to arbitrate in disputes between members of the Church, and Constantine made a law confirming all such decisions in the consistories of the clergy, and shutting out the review of their sentences by the civil judges.  Proceeding in this fatal path, the next step was to form the external polity of the Church upon the model of the civil government.  Four vice-kings or prefects governed the Roman Empire under Constantine, and why, it was asked, should not a similar arrangement be introduced into the Church?  Accordingly the Christian world was divided into four great dioceses; over each diocese was set a patriarch, who governed the whole clergy of his domain, and thus arose four great thrones or princedoms in the House of God.  Where there had been a brotherhood, there was now a hierarchy; and from the lofty chair of the Patriarch, a gradation of rank, and a subordination of authority and office, ran down to the lowly state and contracted sphere of the Presbyter.”[13]

The Donatists, Novatians, and Paulicians

 The Donatists, the Novatians, and the Paulicians are some of the groups that suffered grievous persecution by the growing power of apostasy.  These groups present a long history in themselves.  In this short paper these bodies are not dealt with for two reasons: (1) Roman Catholic authorities purposefully have smeared the Christian testimony of these groups.  It is very difficult to discern what was authentic and what was in fact aberrant.  (2) Rome had not yet brought the civil powers to sufficient degree of submissiveness to her rule, to allow her to eliminate, unhindered, those that she classified as heretics.  While those persecutions were not fundamentally different from subsequent atrocities, her thoroughness in rooting out opposition was sporadic.  The history of these persecutions is here left untold because it occurred before the system of the apostasy was clearly developed.

The Vaudois

The Vaudois are a very interesting example of early apostolic Christians untouched by apostasy.  Their teachings were very clear on the absolute centrality of Christ and His grace alone in regard to salvation; likewise, they saw in the apostate system of the Roman Church the one who was the antichrist.  They suffered centuries of persecution from Rome.  These are a story in themselves, documented minutely by Jean-Paul Perrin.[14]

Foundation of the legal basis needed for persecution

Rome, at the height of her power in the thirteenth century, depended on what had been laid as legal bedrock in the sixth century.  The emperor Justinian was the main architect who established the foundation for Rome's ability to impose external unity.  Hildebrand Pope Gregory VII (d. 1085) contributed greatly, rigorously nailing down all the applications of the legal power base.  A brief summary of how legality was first given to Papal Rome through a codified law structure is found in Ewin Froom,

“Justinian I (527-565), greatest of all of the rulers of the Eastern Roman Empire...[achieved the] codification of the vast and confused mass of Roman Law. This was accomplished by 534, and resulted in the Code, or Codex, the Digest, or Pandects, and the institutes, which together formed the Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law).”[15]

“Justinian’s...great achievement was the regulation of ecclesiastical and theological matters, crowned by the imperial Decretal Letter seating the bishop of Rome in the church as the ‘Head of all the holy churches,’ thus laying the legal foundation for papal ecclesiastical supremacy.[16] 

“Justinian had established the seat of government for the western part of his empire at Ravenna, thereby leaving the ‘eternal city’ largely to the jurisdiction of its bishop.  Further, the silent extinction of the consulship...which he accomplished in the thirteenth year of his reign, likewise had the same tendency¾that of establishing the influence of the bishop of Rome.”[17]

Link Between Justinian’s Era and the Papal Monarchical Era

It is important to see how Papal canon law initially came to be incorporated into Western civilization.  The official Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law: Text and Commentary explains, “During the ninth century, there was a concerted effort to renew society and centralize Western civilization.  It is usually called the Carolingian Reform after its initiator, Charlemagne, who was crowned Roman Emperor by the Pope on the feast day of Christmas in the year 800.  Its intention was to stabilize the structures of Christendom, and one of its chief tools was reliance on church law.”[18]  It is interesting to observe in our own day, the RCC through her political pronouncements and her Canon Law is jockeying to be a major influence in establishing what is morally right for the World Court.

Rome Begins to Use Her Machinery of Law

The historian Lea shows how Rome initially used her “legal powers” to implement penalties.

“The decree of Lucius III. at the so-called Council of Verona, in 1184, commanded that all potentates [kings and princes] should take an oath before their bishops to enforce the ecclesiastical and secular laws against heresy fully and efficaciously.  Any refusal or neglect was to be punished by excommunication, deprivation of rank, incapacity to hold other station, which in the case of cities they were to be segregated and debarred from all commerce with other places.

“The Church thus undertook to coerce the sovereign to persecution.  It would not listen to mercy, it would not hear of expediency.  The monarch held his crown by the tenure of extirpating heresy, of seeing that the laws were sharp and were pitilessly enforced.  Any hesitation was visited with excommunication, and if this proved inefficacious, his dominions were thrown open to the first hardy adventurer whom the Church would supply with an army for his overthrow.  Whether this new feature in the public law of Europe could establish itself was the question at issue in the Albigensian crusades.  [Count] Raymond’s lands were forfeited simply because he would not punish heretics...The triumph of the new principle was complete, and it never was subsequently questioned.”[19]

 

The Pope who had called himself “overlord of kings and princes,” Hildebrand Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), had laid the groundwork for Lucius III.  The civil powers at this time in history were so weak that of necessity they feared to disobey the dictates of Rome.  The king's crown was secure only if he participated in extirpating Rome's enemies.

The Inquisition

William Shaw Kerr quotes from Lord Acton, who was among the most learned of the English Roman Catholics, regarding the basic nature of the Inquisition.  Lord Acton’s conviction was that,

“The Inquisition is peculiarly the weapon and peculiarly the work of the Popes.  It stands out from all those things in which they co-operated, followed or assented as the distinctive feature of papal Rome.  It was set up, renewed and perfected by a long series of acts emanating from the supreme authority in the Church.  No other institution, no doctrine, no ceremony is so distinctly the individual creation of the Papacy, except the dispensing power.  It is the principal thing with which the Papacy is identified, and by which it must be judged.  The principle of the Inquisition is the Pope’s sovereign power over life and death.  Whosoever disobeys him should be tried and tortured and burnt.  If that cannot be done, formalities may be dispensed with, and the culprit may be killed like an outlaw.  That is to say, the principle of the Inquisition is murderous, and a man’s opinion of the Papacy is regulated and determined by his opinion of religious assassination.”[20]

Following on from the Council of Verona, a type of persecution involving incarceration and confiscation of property was practiced at the parish level and at the Episcopal level in the Roman Catholic Church.  The next more comprehensive level of persecution was reached with the establishment of the Inquisition in 1203 AD.[21]

The year 1203 AD and the person of Pope Innocent III mark the start of the Inquisition as a distinctive papal creation.  The year 1870 marks the end of it.  In 1203 Pope Innocent III, in order to stamp out what he deemed “heresy” in southern France and in Italy, published a decree appointing the Abbot of Citeaux as his delegate, giving him power to judge and punish “heresy.”  It was by delegating to the Abbot the power to punish “heresy” that Innocent III’s decree took to itself power which heretofore had been reserved to the Episcopal inquisition.  While the Inquisition did not replace completely persecution of “heretics” by local bishops, it was an enormously powerful tool, the application of which was to be far more widespread.[22]

Bull Consummates the Organization for Persecution

“In 1233, Pope Gregory IX issued a bull, by which he confided the working of the Inquisition to the Dominicans.  He appointed his legate, the Bishop of Tournay, to carry out the bull in the way of completing the organisation of that tribunal which has since become the terror of Christendom and which has caused to perish such a prodigious number of human beings...In the exposition made by the Bishop of Tournay, of the errors of the Albigenses, says Sismondi, ‘we find nearly all the principles upon which Luther and Calvin founded the Reformation of the sixteenth century.’”[23]

Because of the burning of Albigensian literature by the Roman Catholic Church, it is now very difficult to judge how biblical were the teachings of these people.  The persecution of the Albigensians, who lived in Southern France, commenced in the thirteenth century.  In her self-appointed role as “Lord of the conscience,”[24] Rome’s first tools of persecution were the crusades.  These she employed first against the Muslims in Palestine and then, under Innocent III, she turned to persecuting the Albigenses.  They were intelligent and prosperous.  Municipal institutions that accorded much freedom to the populace governed their towns and communities.  Wylie fills in the chilling history,

“The penetrating and far-seeing eye of Innocent III saw all this very clearly.  Not at the foot of the Alps and the Pyrenees only did he detect a new life: in other countries of Europe, in Italy, and in Spain, in Flanders, in Hungary—wherever, in short, dispersion had driven the sectaries, he discovered the same fermentation below the surface, the same incipient revolt against the Papal power.  He resolved without loss of time to grapple with and crush the movement.  He issued an edict enjoining the extermination of all heretics.

“Cities would be drowned in blood, kingdoms would be laid waste, art and civilization would perish, and the progress of the world would be rolled back for centuries; but not otherwise could the movement be arrested, and Rome saved.”[25]

It is important to recognize the system of law that Rome constructed to justify persecution.  Today, the same Roman Catholic “Lord of the conscience” is continuing to cement in law similar decrees.

Corporal Punishment Essential

While the Roman Catholic Church held that it was her duty to judge every man’s conscience, she held that it was the duty of temporal powers to implement her decrees. Therefore had she labored over several centuries to find a way to coerce the civil legal system to execute her “just penalties.”  The civil authorities had no interest in and no jurisdiction to convict and prosecute “heretics.”  (It is interesting to note that Pilate would not prosecute the Lord Jesus Christ nor would Pagan Rome prosecute Paul until the “spiritual authorities” presented the matter before their respective courts.)  By the thirteenth century, however, the Roman Catholic Church had managed to secure her grip on the temporal sword enough to force the civil authorities to carry out the punishment she prescribed for heresy against any man.  Lea explains the procedure.

“In prosecutions for heresy the ecclesiastical tribunal passed no judgments of blood.  It merely found the defendant to be a heretic and “relaxed” him, or relinquished him to the secular authorities with the hypocritical adjuration to be merciful to him, to spare his life and not to spill his blood.  What was the real import of this plea for mercy is easily seen from the theory of the Church as to the duty of the temporal power, when inquisitors enforced as a legal rule that the mere belief that persecution for conscience’ sake was sinful was in itself a heresy, to be visited with the full penalties of that unpardonable crime....[26]

That this is Rome’s understanding of the necessity for corporal punishment is documented from her own sources.  Thus, in present day Sources of Catholic Dogma, Rome states,

“Chap. 27.  As Blessed Leo [II, late seventh century] says: ‘Although ecclesiastical discipline, content with sacerdotal judgement, does not employ bloody punishments, it is nevertheless helped by the constitutions of Catholic rulers, so that men often seek a salutary remedy, when they fear that corporal punishment is coming upon them.’”[27]

Details of Torture Decreed

The decree of the Council of Verona hypocritically established “ecclesiastical discipline” avoiding “bloody punishments.”  This camouflage was done away with in the middle of the thirteenth century when Pope Innocent IV devised in detail for the many inquisitors how torture was to be perpetrated.

“Innocent IV gave comprehensive instructions regarding how torture was to be applied in his bull At Extirpanda (1252).  This was revised and reissued by subsequent Popes.  Torture is prescribed, but it was to stop short of pulling off limbs or causing death...Ruinous punishments are enacted on all who harbour or give advice or favour to a heretic.  How completely the abominable system was the direct achievement of the Papacy is show by the clause that no change could be made without the special authority of the Apostolic See.”[28]

Procedures of Rome's Inquisition

Kerr’s descriptions of the Inquisition’s practices are important facts of history.  A brief example of the kinds of details known is given here,

“The methods of the Inquisition were, from the start, an outrage on elementary principles of justice.  Any one could be arrested on suspicion.  The trial was secret.  The prisoner was not allowed to know the accusers or witnesses.  The judges were ecclesiastics with the most absolute power.  The evidence of infamous persons, criminals or perjurers or heretics was admitted so long as it was hostile.  Children from the age of twelve were required to bear testimony.  The prisoner had not the help of an advocate....A person tried by the Inquisition was scarcely ever acquitted.  ‘In the register of Carcassonne from 1249 to 1258, comprising about two hundred cases, there does not occur a single instance of a prisoner discharged as innocent.’ Tanon, a French investigator, writes, ‘There is scarcely ever an acquittal, pure and simple, in the sentence of the Inquisition.’

“The numbers of those burned at the stake cannot be known.

“The minor penalties were sufficiently terrible.  Gui sentenced nearly a quarter of those brought before him to wear the cross of infamy.  This branded a person so severely that petitions show he could scarcely earn a livelihood...The inquisitors could leave people in their prisons indefinitely without trial....The inquisitor Eymeric in his famous Directorium instructs that a person believed guilty “shall be shut up in prison, strictly confined and in chains....If he shows no willingness to be converted there is no need for haste...for the pains and privations of imprisonment often bring about a change of mind...The durus carcer et arcta vita¾chains and starvation in a stifling hole¾was a favourite device for extracting confession from unwilling lips...It happens that there is definite information about some of these prisons.  Clergy and laity complained about the prison conditions in some towns in the south of France.  It was stated that the cells were fitted up with divers kinds of torments...Many through the severity of these torments lose the use of their limbs and are rendered utterly impotent.  Some also, by reason of impatience and excessive pain, end their days by the cruelest death...The consuls of Carcassonne thus described the inquisitors' dungeons there...Some are so dark and airless that the inmates cannot tell night from day; and thus they are in perpetual lack of air and complete darkness.  In others are poor wretches in manacles of iron or wood, unable to move, sitting in their own filth, and unable to lie except on their backs upon the cold earth, and they are kept for a long time in these torments day and night.”[29]

Six Centuries as the Adversary of Justice

Peter de Rosa, a prominent Roman Catholic writer today, agrees with the non-Catholic historians’ and with Catholic Lord Acton’s assessment of the Inquisition.  He states unequivocally,

“The papacy in particular likes to see itself as the champion of morality.  What history shows is that, for more than six centuries without a break, the papacy was the sworn enemy of elementary justice.  Of eighty popes in a line from the thirteenth century on, not one of them disapproved of the theology and apparatus of the Inquisition.  On the contrary, one after another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this deadly machine.”[30]

In September 1870, the Italian troops took Rome.  A decree of the New Regime ended the Inquisition as the papal persecution and death of its enemies.  Besides the present day general silence on the subject of the Inquisition, there still is no repentance and no apology on the part of papal Rome for what she did for 667 years.  Rather, her laws have continued to declare arrogantly her position to judge state officials worldwide.  Vatican Council II has done nothing to reverse her stance.

No Checks and Balances to Absolute Power

The same Roman Catholic authority informs us that there are no checks and balances to her absolute power.  In her commentary on her canon law is the following,

“In the United States, the three governmental functions¾legislative, executive (administrative), and judicial¾are carried out by separate authorities.  Their relationship with each other is described as “a balance of powers.”  The system of checks and balances succeeds because of a complicated and flexible tension that exists among the three.  Law is based on the consent of the governed.  Governmental actions must never grow independent of the people.  The balance of powers prevents any branch from deviating very far from this basic characteristic....

“The Church’s governmental system is vastly different from the notion of a balance of powers.  In fact, the three functions are situated in the same office.  Not only the Pope but every diocesan bishop is legislator, administrator and judge...Unlike the American system, ecclesiastical law does not arise from the will of the governed¾nor does the Church’s juridic structure rely on a system of checks and balances to maintain its effectiveness...The Code promotes this system through a hierarchical structure that is more vertical than horizontal.  Ultimately, the highest judge, the Pope, is also the highest legislator and administrator....”[31]

Individual’s Intellect and Will Subsumed Under Rome’s Decree

At the Council of Verona in 1184, it was by decree that Lucius III first brought the bishops and clergy “to heel.”[32]  Later, the civil authorities were coerced into obedience.  In our own day increasingly there is an insistent pressure on the bishops and clergy fall into line.  Furthermore, believers who group together in biblical faith are being classified as “a sect” so that civil law can be used against them.  Stage one of the machinery is bringing the bishops, Religious, and all ranks of the structure into absolute obedience.  Thus, present day Roman law decrees,

Canon 752“A religious respect of intellect and will, even if not the assent of faith, is to be paid to the teaching which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate on faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they do not intend to proclaim it with a definitive act; therefore the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid whatever is not in harmony with that teaching.”

In this official law Rome enunciates, in clearer terms than any cult states, the necessity of suppressing one’s God given faculties¾that of mind and will.  This is not only demanded, but in Canon 1371 she pronounces that the consequence for not obeying is a “just penalty.”

The extent to which Rome claims a right to judge and impose chastening has not changed since the days of the Holy Roman Empire.  In present day canon law she states,

Canon 1405 (Sect.1)  “It is the right of the Roman Pontiff himself alone to judge in cases mentioned in can. 1401: 1.  Those who hold the highest civil office in a state;...

Canon 1401 “By proper and exclusive right the Church adjudicates: 1. Cases concerning spiritual matters or connected with the spiritual; 2. The violation of ecclesiastical laws and all those cases in which there is a question of sin in respect to the determination of culpability and the imposition of ecclesiastical penalties.”

The Holy Spirit’s admonition to believers is to be remembered as these decrees are certified into law, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”[33]

Thumbscrews Tighten

An article in the Catholic World Report, “Rome Has Spoken¾Again,”[34] shows of how wide spread is the interest among Catholics regarding the issue of tighter controls. 

‘The Pope Moves to Stamp Out Liberal Debate on Heated Issues,’ headlined the New York Times in a front-page story, warning darkly of possible ‘just punishment’ for dissenters in a sub-headline. ‘In an attempt to stifle dissent by liberal theologians,’ the first line of the Associated Press story out of Vatican City read, ‘Pope John Paul II has declared deviations from Catholicism’s ‘definitive truths’ a violation of Church law.’  In another front-page story, the Washington Post introduced its coverage with a headline reading, ‘Papal Letter is Divisive, Critics Say’¾nor did the Post fail to add the obligatory sub-headline about how ‘Dissent on Dogma Risks Punishment....’”

Believers outside the Roman Catholic Church ought to be interested, too, because the method of increasing subservience to the Pope is clearly illustrated in the article.  The article explains,

“What was it, then, that the Pope actually did on June 29, 1998?...He issued a motu proprio, meaning a document issued on the Pope’s own authority, not following up a synod or council, or responding to a query.  The Pope’s document will, according to the usual custom, be known by the first words of the text, Ad Tuendam Fidem (“To Defend the Faith”).  The main purpose and effect of the document was to make formal and explicit in canon law a requirement which has already been in force since 1989 in a “Profession of Faith” issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [formerly known as The Inquisition and still housed in the same building in Rome as it had been during those horrendous centuries]....While subscribing to the basic Creed of the Church has always been a requirement for those holding certain official Church positions, the 1989 Profession of Faith...added the requirement of a special Oath of Fidelity which had previously been required only at the episcopal level.”

Gearing up Repressive Machinery

This latest motu proprio has the tone of Hildebrand Pope Gregory VII.  The comments of Rome's own writers on the new law explain very clearly that absolute obedience will be required in an area which previously had not been defined, 

“When the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith got around to issuing its 1989 special Profession of Faith, a middle category of belief was included.  This category, sketched out in the second paragraph of the Oath of Fidelity, consisted of those doctrines ‘definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.’  These doctrines were to be ‘definitively held’ regardless of whether or not they were ‘defined’ as ‘divinely revealed’...And what Pope John Paul II had now done in issuing his new motu proprio is simply this: he has incorporated the new, added second category of belief, as delineated in the 1989 Profession of Faith, into the Church’s Code of Canon Law.”[35]

The report undertakes to inform its readers of the seriousness of disobeying the Pope,

“By formally recognizing a second category of beliefs¾which might be ranked slightly below what is ‘divinely revealed,’ beliefs in doctrines that are nevertheless to be ‘definitely held’¾and by incorporating this new category into canon law itself, John Paul II has also, in effect created another corresponding category of Church discipline¾a category slightly below that of formal heresy¾for those who continue to doubt or deny the Church’s teachings at this level....[36]

It continues by clarifying the principle underlying the specific issue,

“The action that the Pope has now taken cannot be altered or abolished by a future pope.  Anyone with any knowledge of how the Church, and specifically, the Holy See, functions, and has consistently functioned down through Church history, cannot reach any other conclusion but that the thing is now done....

“Those in the Church who continue to doubt and deny the definitive nature of the Pope’s action...are still not guilty of formal heresy [italic in the original]...[T]his pope is in fact still not putting any dissenters out of the Church....The Explanatory Note, for example, simply describes these dissenters as no longer ‘in full communion with the Catholic Church.’  It rather pointedly also does not prescribe any specific ‘just punishment’ or penalty for them; nor does the Pope himself; he merely warns of the possibility. 

“Of course this papal warning is itself highly significant.  Even though the Pope is not reading the dissenters...out of the Church at this point, he has, and rather dramatically, now established a firm legal basis for proceeding against the contumacious among them with more drastic disciplinary measures; the position they have taken is now excluded by canon law....According to the Explanatory Note, this teaching [on ordination] could even be the subject of a future definition¾which would immediately throw all of the dissenters from the Church’s doctrine into the ranks of formal heresy.”[37]

The writer of this report is writing in a Catholic magazine to Catholics.  He has delineated for them what they can expect if they do not align with the Roman Catholic Church on any issue.  The new category concerns faith and morals¾the same area about which the RCC spoke before the international court of law was set up.

The Outcome Grim

The article in the Catholic World Report also observes serious consequences:

“Of course, it is also true that the significance of John Paul II’s Ad Tuendam Fidem goes far beyond the question of any single doctrine....There remains, for instance, the whole question of how our free-wheeling theologians in universities and seminaries are going to be brought into conformity with what is now the firmly established law of the church.  However, this does come about, we can at least state with some assurance that Pope John Paul II has laid down a very solid foundation for the renewal [read repression].”[38]

It is expedient for one to think seriously about the censures on Catholics who are teaching in non-Catholic schools and universities.  These people are included in the number of those who in the eyes of the RCC need to be in “conformity with what is now the firmly established law of the church.”

Just Penalties Today

In our own day Rome declares that there are “just penalties” for those who will not bend the knee to her.  Present day canon law shows what offenses the RCC considers punishable.

Canon 1369“A person who uses a public show or speech, published writings, or other media of social communication to blaspheme, seriously damage good morals, express wrongs against religion or against the Church or stir up hatred or contempt against religion or the Church is to be punished with a just penalty.”

In an introductory article on these “just penalties” of Rome, official Catholic canon law commentator states, “While a certain type of diversity clearly enriches the Church, it simply cannot tolerate certain divergent patterns of thought or activity....”[39]  It is sobering when reading the account of history to remember that in present day Roman Catholic law, a “just penalty” is still required by Rome for deviating from her dictates.

A “Crack of the Whip”

The Roman Catholic Church is continuing to tighten her grip on those under her jurisdiction.  An example of the legislative aspect of this process can be seen in the following addition to the present code of Roman Catholic canon law (and the Canon law for the Eastern Churches).  Canon 750 of the current body of canon law, now has a second paragraph which reads,

“Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.”[40]

Rome has been repressive through out her history; the “each and everything” clause in this canon law seems to introduce an unparalleled universal enslavement.  Furthermore, this decree spells out the punishments that are to be enacted to ensure compliance.  Under the heading in the papal code itself, Offenses against Ecclesiastical Authorities and the Freedom of the Church (sic), the pronouncement continues,

“Canon 1371, n. 1 of the Code of Canon Law, consequently, will receive an appropriate reference to canon 750, 2.  So that it will now read:

Canon 1371, paragraph 1.  The following are to be punished with a just penalty:

1. a person who, apart from the case mentioned in canon 1364, 1. Teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff, or by an Ecumenical Council, or obstinately rejects the teachings mentioned in Canon 750, [Para.] 2. or in Canon 752 and, when warned by the Apostolic See or by the Ordinary, does not retract.”[41]

The Roman Catholic Church has increased its demand for the submission of mind and will to its decrees.  This covers all members of the Roman Catholic Church in matters concerning faith and morals.  While physical punishment is not prescribed, if it were added in, it would have to be accepted with a submissive conscience.  The decrees that established the tortures enacted during the Inquisition have still not been rescinded.  Rather, Canon 752 decrees

“A religious respect of intellect and will, even if not the assent of faith, is to be paid to the teaching which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate on faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they do not intend to proclaim it with a definitive act; therefore the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid whatever is not in harmony with that teaching.

An official commentary on Canon 1371 states, “…one may wonder whether those normally guilty of such an offence would be Catholics, on whom such a norm might have a beneficial effect.”  This statement and terms such as “the Christian faithful” may make one wonder who is being threatened in these canons.  Is it Catholics alone or are others to fear as in the past?  Canon 11 states that “merely ecclesiastical laws” binds those baptized in the Catholic Church.  The commentary on Canon 11 makes it abundantly clear that ecclesiastical laws can at times be articulations of divine law.[42]  If Rome makes such a claim for some of her laws, then ipso facto they would bind all, in her mind, not simply Roman Catholics.  This distinguishing and current enforcement of stricter interpretation of law makes one wonder if Rome is not quite likely to interpret her laws as divine when she has the power to do so.  She alone is the interpreter of her laws, and the only one to say to whom and when they apply.

“The Punishment of Offenses in General”

Under the above heading, the Code of Canon Law outlines the unbelievable Canon 1311,

“The Church has an innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful by means of penal sanctions.”

Specified penalties are spelled out in Canon 1312,

Para 1.  The following penal sanctions exist in the Church:

1. medicinal penalties or censures enumerated in can. 1331-1333;

2. expiatory penalties enumerated in can. 1336.

Para 2.  The law can establish other expiatory penalties which deprive a believer of some spiritual or temporal good and are consistent with the supernatural end of the Church.

Para 3.  Penal remedies and penances are likewise employed; the former especially in order to prevent offenses, the latter rather to substitute for or to increase a penalty.”

The perverse vindictiveness of these canons contravenes the often-repeated scriptural commands to be not despotic as the world is.  “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”[43]

Under the heading of Censures, the RCC spells out her denunciations of excommunicated and interdicted persons.  Canons 1336-1338 lay out what she calls the “Expiatory Penalties.”  Canon 1336 provides a further example of “just penalties”; to quote just two of five paragraphs, “1o. a prohibition or an order concerning living in a certain place or territory; 2. Deprivation of power, office, function, right, privilege, faculty, favor, title or insignia, even merely honorary.”[44]

Under the heading, Penal Remedies and Penances, two canons explain these “remedies.”  It is of little comfort to learn that proof of admonishment is to be preserved in the secret archive of the curia, and that “A public penance is never to be imposed for an occult transgression.”

In total contrast to the agitation and condemnation underlying Rome's “just penalties” is the Lord's Word, “For we know Him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord.  And again, The Lord shall judge his people.”[45]

Rome “Always the Same” and “Infallible”

Rome is, in her own words, semper eadem, always the same.  She claims that she is infallible and that to her is to be given submission of intellect and will.  Her present day Code of Canon Law has not changed her penalties for crimes against her system; rather, they are now clearer than ever.  As she is accepted by most civil powers in the present world she becomes more brazen.  She is accepted as a recognized civil and religious body by most governments and in some nations by their very constitutions.  The Roman Catholic Church is involved in every facet of modern life.  This has been documented in the paper called “The Structure of the Roman Catholic State-Church.”[46] 

As the Roman Catholic Church’s influence increasingly shapes civil law in the European Union, biblically based churches there are being legally classified as sects; already there are reports of this from Europe.  A glimmer of the true face of Rome does appear from time to time.  One such time may have been in the Sunday Telegraph, August 25, 1991.  The following was stated, “If European federalism triumphs, the EC [European Community] will indeed be an empire.  It will lack an emperor: but it will have the Pope...it is difficult not to think that Wojtyla realises this.”  If the European Union succeeds, we may indeed have the restored Roman Empire; if so, all her laws showing her true mind regarding “peace and freedom” are already in place.  Those in the Vatican who dictate propaganda are the same authorities that draft and execute Roman law.  They clearly know the contradiction that exists between the image painted and the realty enacted.  The same fountainhead that issues the human dignity and freedom encyclical letters simultaneously pronounces penalties on those who in exercising their conscience come under her curse.  The words of the Lord apply in full force: “if ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”[47]

Ecumenical Talk but Not Freedom

 While the media extols the acceptance by the Roman Catholic Church of Bible believers as “brothers and sisters in Christ,” Roman Catholic law is quite different.  It is a strict offense for an ordinary Catholic of any country to hand over of his children to be baptized or educated in a non-Catholic religion.  The present pope has enacted the following,

Canon 1366“Parents or those who substitute for parents are to be punished with a censure or another just penalty if they hand their children over to be baptized or educated in a non-Catholic religion.”

The Holy Spirit exhorts the believers, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”[48]  If Evangelicals are now defined by the RCC as “separated brethren,” how can Canon 1366 be matched with I Peter 3:8-9?

Interlocking Pieces

Just as the penetrating and far-seeing eye of Innocent III saw clearly incipient revolt against the Papal power, so in our own day John Paul II sees clearly the need to establish law so that all revolt, spiritual or otherwise, against the RCC can be suppressed.  His June 29, 1998, Ad Tuendam Fidem [To Protect the Faith], is a very clear example of his encroaching grasp for legal power.  The Catholic World Report has clearly commented on this recent iron fisted decree.  If all of this were not simultaneous with his approval of the International Criminal Court, one might lay aside a consideration of his ultimate purpose.  But Bible believing churches are being labeled as sects, while the RC system itself in the USA is now being held to more rigorous standards of obedience.  Europe is already for the most part won for Rome.[49]  The present reinforcement of canon law leaves very little to the imagination.  While adding that “close Church-State relationships largely a thing of the past today” [sic], the official commentary tells exactly how Rome has implemented her penalties in the past.  “Frequently the Church had recourse to the secular arm to enforce its own discipline, and at times Church authorities implemented distinctly secular or civil penal orders.”[50]  Most of the precursors to persecution are already in place.  Scripture warns believers to be ready for persecution.  “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”[51]  The history and pattern of Rome’s tyranny in the past testifies to this.

Present-Day Relations Between the EU and Roman Catholic Church

The desire of the European Union to incorporate “Christian” influence into a “Europe undergoing unification” is shown by the following quotes from the Catholic International magazine,

“Commission chairman Jacques Santer said the EU had shown its readiness to recognize the ‘specific role of Churches’ in its October 1997 Amsterdam Treaty.  However, he added that this should be seen as only a ‘first step’ towards strengthening the EU-Church ties.

“Churches are called to give sense to a ‘Europe undergoing unification', the chairman continued. “Although we cannot really speak now of a Christian Europe as such, Christianity is still putting its mark on Europe, and a Europe without Christianity remains unthinkable.

“The address follows calls for a ‘new quality’ in EU attitudes to Churches by the German head of the Commission of Episcopal Conferences of Europe (COMCE), [Roman Catholic] Bishop Josef Homeyer, issued during a June meeting with Santer in Brussels.

“...Catholic leaders have complained that current EU-Church contacts still provide no input into policy making...Bishop Egon Kapellari, also cautioned that attempts to ‘push Churches to the margins’ could impede the creation of a ‘common, spiritual Europe.’

.”..[Jacques] Santer said Churches deserved to be a “privileged partner” of the EU...”[52]

Three points are noticeable here.  First, “Catholic leaders” desire input into “policy making.”  The historical analysis provided by this paper demonstrates that political involvement by the Roman Catholic Church in European State affairs may inevitably result in the persecution of Christians.  Second, in the political statement made by Jacques Santer (the head of the European Union Governing Commission) on the “specific role of Churches,” the term “Churches” probably means the Roman Catholic Church in partnership with the European ecumenical churches.  The Catholic Church has been historically and still is today by far the largest church in Europe.  Therefore its policies, including canon law, are likely to be the dominant influence in giving the EU “sense” in the “privileged” partnership.  Third, the Amsterdam Treaty is now part of EU law and Jacques Santer envisages the treaty “as only first step towards strengthening the EU-Church ties.”  History seems to be repeating itself.

Corpus Juris

Torquil Dick-Erikson of the Critical European Group (CEG), a group of academics and students interested in scrutinizing the EU, writes,

“Corpus Juris” is a plan prepared by the EU Commission (XXth DG) at the request of the European Parliament, to tackle fraud against the EU budget.  It will set up a European Public Prosecutor, on the continental inquisitorial model, who will have over-riding jurisdiction throughout Europe, to instruct national judges to issue arrest warrants against suspects, have these held in custody and transported to other countries in Europe for up to nine months pending investigation¾with no obligation to produce prosecution evidence and no right to a public hearing during this time.

“The cases are then to be tried by special courts, consisting of professional judges and ‘excluding simple jurors and lay magistrates’.  They will be empowered to hand down sentences of up to seven years.

“It is the expressed intention of the EU Commission, and of the President of the EU Parliament Don Gil Robles, for this system to be an ‘embryo European criminal code’, later to be extended to all kinds of crime.  On November 8th and 9th, 1998, there was an Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Strasbourg, where the Corpus Juris project was put forward for informal consideration.  Fourteen member states expressed general agreement with the idea.”[53]

It is interesting to note that the European Union is considering legislation that seems to partially resemble historic Roman Catholic Church judicial practice.  Is this a coincidence?  Or is history repeating itself?

“Heinous Crimes” and the International Criminal Court

As in the past, so also now the Roman Catholic Church needs civil authorities to enforce her dictates.  Thus, it is no surprise to see her strongly endorsing the International Criminal Court.  Catholic International magazine, in an article entitled “The ‘Higher Goal of Reconciliation’,” reports on the remarks of Archbishop Renato Martino (the Holy See’s permanent Observer to the United Nations) made in Rome June 16, 1998, at the Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.  Archbishop Martino pointed out nothing new but rather something to which all could seemingly agree,

“As Pope John Paul has stated, ‘Within the international community the Holy See supports every effort to establish effective juridical structures for safeguarding the dignity and fundamental rights of individuals and communities.  Such structures however can never be sufficient in themselves; they are only mechanisms which need to be inspired by a firm and persevering moral commitment to the good of the human family as a whole.’”[54] 

Although the Roman Catholic Church’s record is consistently one of absolute tyranny contravening rather than “safeguarding the dignity and fundamental rights of individuals,” as the Archbishop undoubtedly knows, the RCC nevertheless sees herself as the only authority on morality.  This position, so clearly codified in her extant canon law, implies that the Roman Catholic Church sees herself as the one whose right it is to define ultimately what is for “the good of the human family as a whole.”  Thus, it is not difficult to see that her interest in an international court of law is a distinctly vested interest.  It is noteworthy that the Holy See has a delegate to the World Association of Jurists.  Thus, Catholic canon law may be influencing the judiciary on a global scale.  The article continues,

“Those who are responsible for violations of the most heinous crimes which offend the conscience of the human family, the crimes which will fall under the jurisdiction of this Court, must be made to accept their responsibility in accordance with universal norms…Any structures or rules which could lead to decisions about guilt or innocence that are based upon political rather than juridical considerations have a questionable role in the proposed statute.”[55] 

The Roman Catholic Church talks of “heinous crimes which offend the conscience of the human family,” but nowhere in the statement does she see fit to mention that these “heinous crimes” offend the Holy and Just Lord God.  Since the Church of Rome declares that her laws, including those defining heresy, are “irreformable,” the statement that “those who are responsible for violations of the most heinous crimes which offend the conscience of the human family...will fall under the jurisdiction of this Court” is ambiguous enough to include eventually those things which offend the RCC regarding what she calls heresy. 

“Violence in the Service of Truth”

The December 1998 issue of the Catholic World Report carries an article entitled “Evaluating the Inquisition.”[56]  A three-day conference was held in Rome during the final weekend of October, 1998, to which “experts from around the world were invited by Vatican officials to reflect on the history of the Inquisition.”  Whether only Roman Catholic experts were invited is not reported, but it was noted, “most of the conference was held behind closed doors, to encourage free discussion among the assembled scholars.”  The occasion for the conference is a “response to the challenge issued by Pope John Paul II for an ‘examination of conscience’ by the Church in preparation for the coming millennium.”  The Pope remarked that the purpose was to “provide the Holy See with a complete and accurate understanding of the Inquisition.”

In meeting with the participants, Pope John Paul II said, “‘The problem of the Inquisition belongs to a tormented phase in the history of the Church, which I have invited Christians to examine in a spirit of sincerity and open-mindedness.’”¾which invitation must be seen in the light of his latest motu proprio (June, 1998) that severely limits “open-mindedness,” as does Canon 1369 (above).  The Pope goes on to point out that the historians “‘are not being asked to make an ethical judgment¾which is beyond their competence¾but to help reconstruct, as accurately as possible, the events, practices, and mindset’ of the Inquisition in its historical context.”  The Pope is unequivocally reserving to himself the domain of moral judgment¾perfectly aligned with Canon 1404, “The First See is judged by no one.”¾so that in due season, the Pope will have the final pronouncement as to what one is to believe concerning the Inquisition, and the Reformation, it might be added.

The Pope continues in carefully chosen words when, in referring to his apostolic letter, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, he says that the Inquisition is “another painful chapter to which the children of the Church must return with a spirit of repentance over the acquiescence...to the methods of intolerance and even violence in the service of truth.”  About whom is he speaking?  Dominican Georges Cottier, theologian for the papal household, also speaking at the conference, clarifies the matter by first stating that “the Pope’s call for an ‘examination of conscience’” is “a matter of seeking ‘purification of memory.’”  He counsels, “Requests for pardon [from God] are appropriate...whenever the faithful of the Church acted in ways that are inconsistent with the Gospel, in effect giving scandal rather than evangelical witness.”  Lest the Holy See should fall under the judgment of the world, however, the Dominican theologian explains, “It is critical to preserve a proper understanding of the distinction between ‘the Church, which is holy, and her children, who are sinners.’  The Church herself need not ask for forgiveness; rather the Church asks forgiveness for her wayward children....In this respect the Church is quite different from the modern societies which, ‘confronted by the collective crimes of our century’ show an ‘amazing amnesia, as though the events...can safely be ignored.’”  Clearly, the Pope plans by his conferences and papal judgments to put behind the RCC, if he can, the six hundred years of “the most heinous crimes which offend the conscience of the human family” or the Inquisition, and with it, the Reformation.

The Bottom Line

Roman Catholic leaders, then, are very clear in their assessment that the most serious threat to Romanism itself is the biblical fundamentalist.  In his book, Report on the Church: Catholicism After Vatican II, Richard P. McBrien states,

“The real challenge to ecumenism that affects Christians at the level of everyday life is that of biblical fundamentalism, embraced now by many thousands of Catholics and ex-Catholics...biblical fundamentalism may be the single most serious threat to Catholic faith in the United States and in Latin America today.”[57]

The bottom line is that while the RCC understands very well the position which is held by “biblical fundamentalists,” many biblical believers today are totally unaware of who Rome is.  The Bible speaks clearly on what Rome is; history fulfills the Bible message.  Once Rome has civil power again, history will more than likely be repeated.  To look elsewhere for the Man of Sin and the Son of Perdition is not simply to ignore the testimony of Scripture.  The ramification of such error regarding Scripture is to render one dangerously unknowledgeable regarding history and therefore easy prey to deception.

 “In Thy Light Shall We See Light” (Psalm 36:9)

All that has been outlined here must be measured in the light of who God is and His purposes in allowing apostasy and persecution.  The true believer must compare everything to the Infinite All Holy, Unchangeable, All-Powerful, All Knowing, and All Wise God.  The confidence believers have in the Lord is similar to that of David as he weighed the might of Goliath against the True God. “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.”[58]  It is the Lord’s task to consume the wicked with His power.  “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”[59]

The Lord in His Word has foretold the destruction of Antichrist’s reign; the Word of the Lord will reduce it to nothing.  The Antichrist will be completely and in every respect destroyed on the final day of the restoration of all things.  Christ will be manifested from heaven as the Judge.  In the meantime, the victory of the gospel Word is seen for those who wait on Him.  His power has always been greatest in the day of utmost need.  The character of God in His gracious Gospel is “the spirit of his mouth.”  This has been understood and lived out as “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”[60]  We see his power as we boldly proclaim His graciousness, every individual who is saved “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”[61]

Our prayerful duty is to fear the All-Holy God, to obey His great commission, and to trust His victory now and hereafter.  “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”[62]  ¨

 

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[1] Canon 750“All that is contained in the written word of God or in tradition, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church and also proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium, must be believed with divine and catholic faith; it is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore, all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatever which are contrary to these truths.”  Code of Canon Law, Latin-English edition (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1983).  All canons quoted are taken from this source unless otherwise noted.

[2] Revelation 18:13

[3] John 8:31-32

[4] Galatians 5:1

[5] Vatican Council II Documents, No. 32, Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, Sect. 21.  However, Denzinger, Para. 444 still stands: Gregory IX’s “We excommunicate and anathematize…all heretics” is considered infallible by Rome.  Also Denzinger, Para. 714 stands, in the words of Vatican Council II documents, “irreformable” (No. 28, Lumen Gentium, Sect 25), as well as Council of Trent, Cannons 9 and 12, Denzinger Para 819 and 822 respectively.  Henry Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, Tr. by Roy J. Deferrari, 30th ed., Revised by Karl Rahner, S.J. (St. Louis, MO:  B. Herder Book Co., 1957).

[6] The root meaning of the Hebrew word qavah (kaw-vaw') translated as “to wait," means to bind together or braid together.

[7] Chrisma, May 1994

[8] Catholic International, “The Global Quest for Freedom”, Vol. 6, No. 12, December 1995, p, 560

[9] 1998 Catholic Almanac (Huntington, IN 46750: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1997) p. 109

[10] Canon 1311.  Bolding in any quotation indicated emphasis added.

[11] II Corinthians 1:24

[12] John 17:2-3

[13] J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism (Kilkeel, Co. Down, N. Ireland:  Mourne Missionary Trust, 1985) Vol. I, pp. 3-4

[14] Jean Paul Perrin, History of the Ancient Christians Inhabiting the Valleys of the Alps (1847; reprint, P. O. Box 38, Dayton, OH 45449: Church History Research & Archives, 1991).

[15] LeRoy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers (Hagerstown, MD 21740: Review and Herald, 1950) Vol. I, pp. 505-506

[16] Ibid., p 507

[17] Ibid.

[18]The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, James A. Coriden, Thomas J. Green, Donald E. Heintschel, eds. (Mahwah, NJ:  Paulist Press, 1985) p. 2.

[19] Henry Charles Lea, A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages (New York, NY: Russell & Russell, Publishers, 1955) Vol. I, pp. 224-225.

[20]  Lord Acton, Letters to Mary Gladstone, in William Shaw Kerr, A Handbook on the Papacy (Edinburgh: Marshall Morgan & Scott, 1950) p. 235

[21] William Shaw Kerr writes, “Among many scholars there is a consensus concerning the Inquisition.  For their detailed and reliable research, Lea’s great works, The History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages, and The History of the Inquisition of Spain, are well known.  The facts he presents are consistent with the writings of A. L. Moycock in his books, The Inquisition, and The Papacy.  G.C. Coulton in his book, The Inquisition and Liberty, Medieval Studies, or his book, The Inquisition, and such studies as Medieval Heresy and the Inquisition, and The Spanish Inquisition by A.S. Tuberville attest consistently to the same historical facts.” (pp. 235-6).

[22] See, Thomas M. Lindsay, A History of the Reformation (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1907) Vol. II, pp. 597-598

[23] Wylie, Vol. I, p. 45

[24] Ibid., p. 38

[25] Ibid., pp. 38-39

[26] Lea, Vol. I, p. 224

[27] Denzinger, Para. 401

[28] Kerr, pp. 232-233

[29] Kerr, pp. 235-237

[30] Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ:  The Dark Side of the Papacy (New York, NY 10003:  Crown Publishers, 1988) pp. 175-176

[31] The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, p. 12

[32] Denzinger, Para. 402

[33] Galatians 5:1

[34] Msgr. Michael J. Wrenn & Kenneth D. Whitehead, “Rome Has Spoken¾Again”, The Catholic World Report, August/September 1998, pp. 44-52

[35] Ibid., p. 47

[36] Ibid., p. 51

[37] Ibid., p. 52

[38] Ibid., p. 52

[39] The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, p. 894

[40] “Ad Tuendam Fidem”, Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Official Translation, given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on 28 May, in the year 1998

[41] Ibid.

[42] The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, p 31

[43] Matthew 20:25-27