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Roman Catholicism: Why I had to leave PART 2
CATHOLICS vs ROME
Vatican II declared it was no longer a sin for a Catholic to read a non-Catholic Bible or visit a non-Catholic church.
The average Catholic in the Western world loved that. Non-Catholics, too, where so many are prone to visiting each other’s churches with friends and family of various denominations. Strangely, they did nothing at Vatican II to remove the more than 100 anathemas, or curses, pronounced by the Council of Trent in 1545-63 on the Protestant churches and beliefs. More about that coming up. How good it is for all those who march under the banner of Christianity, to be able to worship our Lord and King together. But let’s be together TOGETHER. Question: Why didn’t Rome clean the slate while they were at it and lift those curses?
Is unity breaking out among denominations throughout the world? Not hardly. In some sections of the world, if a non-Catholic church begins a ministry, persecution, even death, is eminent. In other nations anything that’s not Catholic is considered a cult and is considered as unworthy of government tax exempt benefits. Strangely, in many so-called “Catholic” countries…
Italy, France, Spain, Mexico… the percentage of the population that attends church, reads the Bible, or has the slightest clue of what it means to be Catholic is staggeringly low. Fact is, sadly, the overwhelming majority of Catholics worldwide do not know what it is that God would say to them through His Word, the Bible, but are relying upon official interpretations, opinions, traditions and dogmas of the denomination, even mixing basic teachings with blatant occultic practices. Few have taken the time to study those dogmas themselves. The competency of Catholics,their sincerity, integrity, intelligence, or religious dedication, is not the concern here. Their strong convictions
are admirable, even enviable. Most would agree that, to make a quality decision, one requires quality facts. So, I encourage you, as I did, to compare the major teachings of the Catholic church with the obvious truths of God’s Word.
An analogy from my own life is this: since I was a boy, I have been a Chicago Bear football fan. Why? Because I lived in Chicago and my dad was a fan. I didn’t know the players, how well they played, the long history of the team, but it was a family tradition. As the years passed, I have remained true to the Bears, win or lose (mostl lose). Strangely, my younger son, here in the heart of Dallas Cowboy country, where we now reside, is ALSO a Bear fan. Now, I haven’t watched a pro football game on TV in many years at this writing. I know very little about
the Bears, who the coach is, who the players are, but I guarantee you, if they make it to the Super Bowl any time
soon, my world will stop to see them play on some big TV screen somewhere. (Incidentally, I am to be pitied above all men for I am also a Chicago Cub fan. Sigh).
If you will, please examine the following synopsis of details which caused me to question my Catholic affiliation and decide for yourself if there was any merit to my decision to leave the Catholic church I had been affiliated with for 21 years, attending a Catholic school, wearing my scapular, serving as an altar boy, was baptized, confirmed, etc.
THE BIBLE vs ROME
— The Bible was officially forbidden to the people, placed on the Index of Forbidden Books List by the Council of
Valencia, 1229 AD.
— Council of Trent (1545-63 AD) also prohibited its use and pronounced a curse (anathema) upon anyone who would oppose this decree.
— The Roman Catholic Church has burned Bibles and the people who translated it and promoted its study (EX: John Hus, 1415 AD; Wm. Tyndale, 1536 AD).
— Though external pressures have caused Rome to relax restrictions against Bible study in the U.S., its distribution
is still widely withheld in many countries heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism.
–Though the Roman Church claims the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, it openly exalts the authority of its own traditions, dogmas and decrees ABOVE the Bible.
— The church teaches the deity of Christ but places Mary and priests as mediators between God and believers so that free access to Jesus is possible only through them.
— The church teaches forgiveness of sins but only through confession to a priest and the absolution given by him.
— The church teaches salvation, but substitutes a system of grace plus works in which human deeds are important.
— The church teaches that Christ established the Church, but exalts the pope as its head and invests absolute, infallible
authority in him and his decrees.
Though the Roman Catholic Church claims to be “the one true church,” arguing that its roots can be traced to Christ, the historical facts do not substantiate this claim. Roman Catholic dogma has evolved over the centuries, however, none of its
major traditions and doctrine were ever taught, defended, practiced, or embraced by the early, apostolic church.
Following are some elements of Catholic doctrine, rituals, decrees, and beliefs and the approximate year they were
Sign of the cross…300AD
Veneration of angels, dead saints, use of images…375AD
Mass as a daily celebration…394AD
Exaltation of Mary and use of term “Mother of God”…432AD
Doctrine of Purgatory, instituted by Gregory I…539AD
Prayers to Mary, dead saints, angels…600AD
Canonization of dead saints, first by Pope John XV…995AD
Fasting on Fridays and during Lent…998AD
Mass developed as a sacrifice, attendance mandatory…11th Century
Celibacy for priests, decreed by Gregory VII…1079AD
The inquisition, instituted by Council of Verona, suspects convicted of heresy, tortured and executed, estimated
15 million people died…1184AD
Sale of Indulgences…1190AD
Transubstantiation, proclaimed by Innocent III…1215AD
Confession to priests, instituted by Innocent III in Lateran Council…1215AD
Adoration of the host (Latin: means “victim”), decreed by Honorius III…1220AD
Bible forbidden, Council of Toulouse…1229AD
Cup forbidden to people at communion, Council of Constance…1414AD
Purgatory, pronounced as dogma by Council of Florence…1439AD
Tradition declared as equal authority with Bible, Council of Trent…1545AD
Apocryphal books added to Bible, Council of Trent, a reaction to the Protestant Reformation. By canonizing
these books it legitimized their use in doctrinal matters (1 Maccabecs 4:46, 9:27, 14:41 states the days of prophets
were gone; Jesus quoted all 39 OT books from Genesis to Malachi, never the Apocrypha; No other New Testament writer
quoted the Apocrypha. Jesus contradicted teachings from Apocrypha; Jerome, Origen and others denied its inspiration;
The Pesshitta, the Syriac Bible of 2AD, did not contain the Apocrypha)…1546AD
Infallibility of Pope, Vatican Council…1870AD
Public schools condemned, Pius XI…1930AD
Assumption of Mary, bodily ascension into Heaven after death, Pius XII…1950
Mary proclaimed “Mother of the church,” Paul VI…1965AD
Other areas of scriptural abuses and manmade doctrine include nuns, Ash Wednesday, All Saints day, medals, charms, relics, novenas, and more. This revealing list represents an overview of the many human inventions which have corrupted, distorted, and perverted the official positions presented as truth by the Roman Catholic Church to its people. The problem: worldwide, the majority of Roman Catholics have no idea!
PETER vs ROME
In his book Eaclesiam Suam, Pope Paul expressed his distress because of what some of the “Separated brethren” say about the papacy as being the stumbling block in the way of church unity. He said, “Do not some of them say that if it were not for the primacy of the pope, the reunion o the separated churches with the Catholic Church would be easy? We beg the separated brethren to consider the inconsistency of this position, not only in that, without the pope, the Catholic church would no longer be Catholic, but also because without the supreme decisive pastoral office of Peter, the unity of the Church of Christ would utterly collapse.”
Collapse? I doubt it. I do agree that if the Catholic Church were reformed according to Scripture, it would have to be abandoned. About Peter, claiming him as first pope is nothing short of doctrinal error. It’s based upon Matthew 16:13-19, where Jesus responds to Peter’s confession that He is the Christ declaring that upon this rock He will build His church and will give the keys to the kingdom to Peter to bind and loose on the earth. The papacy claims that Peter is the rock referred to here and the keys represent the pope’s absolute authority and infallibility over the church. Jesus DID say Peter was a rock, but a study of the Greek word for “rock” reveals Peter’s name (Petros) as referring to a mere stone in comparison to the massive rock (petra)… the Gibraltar, which is His Holy Name, the Name above all names… Jesus!
Jesus was not saying He would build His church upon simple Simon Peter. NO! But, He would build it upon that simple foundational confession of faith which Peter made that Jesus is the Christ! Not only Peter’s confession, but every similar confession for generations to come (Rom 10:9-11). Jesus is the Rock, not Peter! (See I Cor 3:11; Eph 2:20, 21).
The “keys” symbolize the authority to open the way of salvation through the preaching of the Gospel to all those who are shackled in darkness and sin. Peter was first entrusted with the keys because he was first to give this confession of faith in Jesus and was instrumental in initially opening the door of salvation to the Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2), as well as to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10). However, ALL true disciples possess these same keys when proclaiming the way of salvation to unbelievers and offering them spiritual liberty through Christ (Matthew 18:18).
Furthermore, the Scriptures disprove Roman Catholic claims concerning Peter. Neither the Scriptures nor Peter ever claimed to be pope, head over the church, or in a superior position over the apostles. Apart from Catholic tradition, there is no biblical, historical, or credible archacological evidence that Peter ever went to Rome or presided as its leader. Read the following Scriptures. Decide for yourself:
1 Peter 5:1 (he is referred to as merely another elder among many)
1 Peter 5:3 (he actually warned AGAINST lording over the flock)
Acts 10:25-27 (he refused to receive homage from men – no ring kissing or special treatment or titles)
Matthew 16:23 (proved he wasn’t infallible when Jesus rebuked him sharply regarding the need for crucifixion)
Galatians 2:11-14 (Paul scolded him for vacillating, being inconsistent, and a hypocrite)
Matthew 8:14; Luke 4:38; I Corinthians 9:5 (he was married)
Romans 16 (Paul wrote this epistle, greeted many believers but did not greet Peter. Why not? Because he wasn’t there).
MARY vs ROME
Catholic women seem to LOVE Mary! In this age of gender equality, I have found that there are many women who love being Catholic ONLY because there seems to be a woman in at least equal authority at the helm. These women forget that anything with two heads is a freak!
In spite of Rome’s great emphasis upon Mary, the Scriptures say very little about her. She’s never mentioned by Paul, Peter, James, or John. None of the New Testament epistles refer to her either. In fact, the most significant Catholic teachings concerning her are fairly recent in origin (Immaculate Conception, 1854; Assumption, 1950).
The Bible refers to Mary as “blessed…among women” (not ABOVE women, Luke 1:28). It does not teach us to deify, worship, or pray to her. Jesus did not. Neither did the early Christians. She is recognized for her many wonderful attributes, namely, her willingness to bring Christ into the world and non-Catholics would do well to study these attributes. By that example, we should each be as willing to be used as a vessel for bringing Christ into our own world. Unfortunately, Rome’s adoration of her is condemned by God’s Word as you will see.
In The Glories of Mary (p. 82, 83), Bishop deLiguori wrote that Mary acts as a Mediator between angry sinners and God. The scriptures refute that (I Tim 2:5 and Jn 14:6). He also states that the Holy Church commands a worship peculiar to Mary. It is blatant idolatry to kneel before her statues, recite Hail Mary’s or sing songs to her. This was forbidden by Christ (Matt 4:10), where He reminded Satan: “For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’ ” Roman Catholicism teaches that Christ is a stern, wrathful judge who cannot be approached by sinners and that Mary is a tender, understanding, merciful intercessor who will plead our cause to her Son with the persuasion of a loving mother. The Bible refutes that (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25; 9:24).
The Bible rejects Rome’s claim that Mary is the Peacemaker between sinners and God, pg. 80 of Bishop DeLiguori’s book. Compare this belief to the Scriptures (Eph 2:13-18). Christ is our peacemaker. Not Mary, priests, popes, deceased saints, or even the church. On page 160, deLiguori says Mary is “…the gate of Heaven because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through Her…” St. Joseph’s Daily Missal, pg. 1305 says, “the Way of Salvation is open to non otherwise than through Mary,” and that “our salvation is in the hands of Mary.” Compare that claim to the Word of God, Acts 4:12. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved,” and John 14:6, “I am the Way and the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”
The Bible gives no support to the many exalted titles the Roman Catholic Church bestows upon Mary: Queen of Angels, Door of Paradise, mother of Grace, Morningstar, Refuge of Sinners. These titles clearly represent Rome’s attempt to elevate Mary to a glorified status, not taught in the Scriptures.
Immaculate Conception teaches that Mary was born without sin. The Scriptures stress that we’ve ALL sinned (Romans 5:12) and that no one does not sin (1 Kings 8:46; Psalms 53:3, I John 1:8, 10). Mary herself acknowledges that she was a sinner in need of a Savior, (Luke 1:46, 47) by offering two turtledoves in the temple, like all poor Jewish mothers, atoning for their sin (Lev 12:6-8).
Rome’s emphasis on her perpetual virginity is clearly refuted in Matthew 13:54-56, Mark 6:3, John 7:5, 6. Though Rome claims these are Christ’s cousins, the original Greek wording clearly refers to brothers and sisters and not cousins. Read this for yourself! After Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary lived a normal husband and wife relationship, bearing other children.
MASS and THE EUCHARIST
According to John A. O’Brien’s The Faith of Millions, page 382, Catholics claim that communion is the exact same sacrifice as Christ’s death on the cross, and view it as a literal re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion on Calvary in an un-bloody manner. Christ’s body is re-crucified and re-sacrificed for the atonement of the individual’s sins. Catholicism teaches that the physical presence of Christ is IN the sacrifice, and that the wine and the “host” are MIRACULOUSLY CHANGED into the actual blood and body of Jesus Christ. LITERALLY! Not figuratively or symbolically. This is referred to as “Transubstantiation,” the literal changing of a substance from one form into another. This is completely contrary to the Scriptures which repeatedly stresses the finality and completeness of Christ’s sacrifice. Read it! Hebrews 10:11, 12, 14, and 18. Also, Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, and 22:28. While you’re at it, read John 19:30 and I Peter 3:18.
In 1963, Pope John XXIII declared, “I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent.” What did they decide at Trent, beginning in 1545? Canon I states: “If anyone shall deny that the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore entire Christ, are truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist and shall say that He is only in it as a sign, or in a figure-let him be accursed!”
In other words, Rome teaches this: that little wafer is GOD! The bread is supposedly literally changed into Christ by the priest. You’d BETTER believe it…or you’re cursed, according to Canon I. Fact is, tens of millions of people have been tortured and killed through the age for challenging such Catholic dogmas. The problem with this particular decree is that the majority of today’s logical, thinking Catholics deny they can believe this is true. Especially in the Western world. According to TRADITIO: Traditional Roman Catholic Internet (www.traditio.com) “70% OF NOVUS ORDO CATHOLICS NOW HOLD AN HERETICAL BELIEF IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST.” According to their report, this staggering statistic reveals, “… Only 30% of Novus Ordo Catholics believe that they are really and truly receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of Bread and Wine. This has always been the Church’s dogma regarding the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist… The poll results show a terrible confusion on the part of Catholics concerning one of the most fundamental dogmata of the Church, a confusion that has actually led them into (at least material) heresy. The poll results were presented to the U.S. Bishops at their annual conference of November 1992 at Washington, D.C. The bishops failed to take any action, but preferred to let 7 out of 10 Catholics remain in (at least material) heresy.” Ouch!
Since it wasn’t a practice till the early 1200’s, where did this belief originate? The mystic religions and worshipers of Osiris of the Middle East were a great influence on the West, particularly the cultured Italians. Also, the religion of Mithra had its impact. The idea of eating the flesh of deity was popular in Mexico and Central America long before missionaries landed there. Prescott’s Mexico, Vol. 3, quotes, “…their surprise was heightened, when they witnessed a religious rite which reminded them of communion…an image made of flour…and after consecration by priests, was distributed among the people…declaring it was flesh of deity.” A primitive practice indeed. Why do Catholic catechisms and doctrinal instruction books want people to think they must eat Jesus? The answer’s worth seeking.
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