The Spirit of Roman Catholicism

What Lies Behind the Modern Public Image?

 

 

by

Mary Ann Collins

A Former Catholic Nun

[Tracy's note: This well-written, well-researched book was sent to me by a former nun. May the Lord Jesus Christ use it to edify Christians and to open the eyes of those who are still blind. To download this important book in MS Word, click here. Used with permission. Thanks Sister Mary Ann! God bless you. Go visit her GREAT website for more information on Romanism and other topics.]


Contents

 

 

Preface

 

In the early 1900's a famous baseball player was accused of cheating. Unfortunately, the accusation proved to be true. A young fan met the baseball player and said, "Say it ain't so!"

I have often felt that way while doing research about the Roman Catholic Church. Sometimes it has caused me so much distress that it has adversely affected my health.

However, the truth is precious, even when it is painful. Our God is Truth incarnate. (John 14:6; Romans 3:4) And He promised that the truth would set us free. (John 8:32)

Please read the poems at the end of this book. They will help you see these issues from the long-term perspective of God's love and faithfulness.

I want to share the information in this book. You can copy it and quote from it. Please give it to anybody who might be interested. You can download the book from my web site. (Information is at the end of the book.)

May the Lord bless you, protect you, guard you, and guide you. And may He reveal Himself to you in a new way.

Mary Ann Collins

February 19, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

Introduction

 

Since I left the Roman Catholic Church to join a Scripturally based Protestant church, I have wrestled with various issues relating to Catholicism. Some papers emerged from that struggle.

Then one morning I woke up thinking, "I need to look up 'Anathema' in the 'Catholic Encyclopedia'." It was like this idea had been downloaded in my head while I was sleeping.

I looked it up. That was the beginning of three months of intense research and writing, which resulted in this book. You may be surprised at what I discovered. I certainly was.

I discovered that there is something behind Catholicism which is not obvious at first, something which is quite different from the modern public image.

How can we see what this is? By looking at how the Catholic Church has behaved when it was in a position of power, and therefore it was able to do what it really wanted to do. And by looking at some official Catholic documents which show a surprising side of the Catholic Church.

 

 

Chapter 2

Anathemas

 

According to the 1913 edition of the "Catholic Encyclopedia," when the Catholic Church anathematizes someone, the Pope ritually puts curses on them. There is a solemn written ritual for doing this. The "Catholic Encyclopedia" article describes the ritual in detail, including extensive quotations from it. [This article is available on-line. Note 1 gives its address.]

In pronouncing the anathema, the Pope wears special vestments. He is assisted by twelve priests holding lighted candles. Calling on the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Pope pronounces a solemn ecclesiastical curse. He ends by declaring, "We judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate". The priests reply, "Fiat!" (Let it be done!) and throw down their candles.

As we will see, the Catholic Church considers heresy (disagreement with Catholic doctrine) to be a crime. The Council of Trent, and other Church councils, declare that any person who disagrees with even one of their doctrinal statements is thereby anathematized. When the Pope pronounces an anathema, he is said to be passing sentence on a criminal.

The "Catholic Encyclopedia" says that the anathema ritual is "well calculated to strike terror to the criminal and bring him to a state of repentance". (Emphasis added.)

For those whose crime is heresy, repentance means renouncing everything that they have said or done which conflicts with Catholic doctrine. In other words, they have to renounce their own conscience and discernment, and the conclusions which they reached in their best efforts to understand Biblical principles. And they have to submit their minds and wills unconditionally to every official doctrinal declaration of the Catholic Church. As we will see, Canon Law says that this unquestioning submission of the mind and will is required.

According to the 1913 edition of the "Catholic Encyclopedia," a person's religious belief is "outside the realm of free private judgment". This is consistent with the spirit behind anathematizing people. [This article is available on-line. Note 2 gives its address.]

The present Pope (John Paul II) has issued a new edition of Roman Catholic Canon Law. According to Canon 752, whenever the Pope or the college of bishops makes a declaration concerning faith or morals, "the Christian faithful" are required to give "a religious submission of the intellect and will" to it. Furthermore, they must "take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it". [Note 3] So it is against Roman Catholic Canon Law for "the Christian faithful" to doubt or deny or dispute any Catholic doctrine. If something is against the law, then any person who does it commits a crime, which makes them a criminal. Canon Law has punishments for such criminals.

ENFORCEMENT

According to Canon 1311, The Catholic Church has the right "to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful". (Emphasis added.) Canon 1312 says that penal sanctions can include depriving people of "some spiritual or temporal good". [Note 4]

"Spiritual goods" are things which are necessary to get to Heaven. The Catholic Church believes that it can deprive people of them through excommunication and anathemas. "Temporal goods" are things which are needed for life in this world. They include such things as property, liberty, and the freedoms which are guaranteed to Americans by the Bill of Rights.

The Catholic Church has never renounced its past practice of killing people that it considers to be heretics. On the contrary, the Office of the Inquisition still exists. It is part of the Vatican Curia. In 1965, its name was changed to "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith". It is headed by Cardinal Ratzinger. [Note 5]

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. After defining the dogma, the Pope said that if any person dares to "think otherwise than as has been defined by us" they thereby shipwreck their faith, are cut off from the Church, and stand condemned because of it. The Pope went on to say that if any person says, or writes, or in any other way outwardly expresses "the errors he thinks in his heart," then they thereby "subject themselves to the penalties established by law". [This papal bull is available on-line. Note 6 gives addresses.]

The Pope's reference to legal penalties is significant because a man had been executed for heresy 28 years before this papal bull was issued. In 1826, a Spanish schoolmaster was hanged because he substituted the phrase "Praise be to God" in place of "Ave Maria" ("Hail Mary") during school prayers. [Note 7]

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII issued a papal bull defining the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. He ended by saying, "It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it." The Pope further declared that any person who attempts to do so thereby incurs the wrath of God and the wrath of the Apostles Peter and Paul. [This article is available on-line. Note 8 gives the address.]

According to "Webster's Dictionary," "forbidden" means "prohibited; interdicted." "Webster's Dictionary" defines "interdict" as used by the Roman Catholic Church as follows: "A punitive censure restraining certain persons or peoples from the sacraments, Christian burial, etc." The more general meaning of "interdict" is "a prohibitory decree". Although this papal bull doesn't openly threaten "penalties established by law," it still implies the possibility of some form of punishment.

The difference in tone between the bull of 1854 and the bull of 1950 reflects the decrease in power of the Catholic Church. In 1854, a man had recently been killed for heresy. In 1950, democracy was spreading to many countries, and the political power of the Roman Catholic Church was decreasing. By 1950, the kind of language which was used in the 1854 bull would not have created a good image for the Catholic Church.

CONCLUSION

The Roman Catholic Church believes that the Pope has the power and the authority to damn people to hell. The anathema ritual demonstrates this belief.

I have heard many Catholics deny this, saying that only God can condemn people to hell. But look at the ritual of the anathema, as described in the 1913 edition of the "Catholic Encyclopedia." And look at the following solemn declaration of excommunication which was pronounced by Pope Innocent III,

"We excommunicate, anathematize, curse and damn him" [Note 9]

The anathema ritual and its wording are a demonstration that popes believed that they could consign people to hell. The fear that the anathema produced is a demonstration that other people also believed it. So is the power that anathemas gave the popes over civil rulers. (See the chapter, "Spiritual Intimidation".)

The anathema ritual is still on the books, which means that it could be invoked at any time that it was thought expedient to do so. But these days, it would probably not be considered "religiously correct" to use it.

 

Chapter 3

The Council of Trent

 

The Council of Trent anathematized every Christian who disagrees with any detail of Catholic doctrine. These anathemas have never been canceled. An anathema means that the Pope has ritually placed someone under a solemn ecclesiastical curse. (See the chapter, "Anathemas".)

The Council of Trent (1545-1564) was the Roman Catholic Church's response to the Protestant Reformation. It took every single doctrine that Protestants believe, one at a time, and declared that anybody who believes even one of them is "anathema" (officially and ritually cursed by the Catholic Church). [The documents produced by the Council of Trent were published as a book which is available on-line. Note 1 gives information.]

It also defined Catholic doctrines, detail by detail, and declared that anybody who denies even one of these details is anathema. These doctrines include the authority of the Pope, the practice of indulgences, veneration of Mary and the saints, and the use of statues. So the Council of Trent anathematized all Christians who are not Roman Catholics.

Following is an example of one of these declarations: "If anyone says that Christ received in the Eucharist is received spiritually only and not also sacramentally and really, let him be anathema." ("Canons on the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist," Canon 8). What does "really" mean? Canon 1 declares that the communion bread is "truly, really and substantially" the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. (And if you don't believe this, then you are anathema.) [You can see these canons for yourself. Note 1 gives on-line addresses.]

OFFICIAL MODERN ENDORSEMENT OF

THE COUNCIL OF TRENT

The declarations and anathemas of the Council of Trent have never been canceled. On the contrary, the decrees of the Council of Trent are confirmed by both the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the official "Catechism of the Catholic Church" (1992).

The documents of the Second Vatican Council cite the Council of Trent as an authority for doctrinal statements, both in the text and in the notes. The "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" states that the Second Vatican Council "proposes again the decrees of" three previous councils, one of which is the Council of Trent. [Note 2] The "Decree on the Training of Priests" says that the Second Vatican Council was "continuing the work begun by the Council of Trent". [Note 3]

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church" was written for the purpose of summarizing the essential and basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It was approved by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and the English translation was released in 1994. Another English edition was printed in 2000. It has numbered paragraphs, and has been published in many languages.

The Council of Trent is mentioned in seventy-five paragraphs of the "Catechism". It is always mentioned in a positive, authoritative way. Some paragraphs mention it two or three times. Paragraph 9 of the "Catechism" says that the Council of Trent was the origin of Catholic Catechisms. The other 74 paragraphs in the "Catechism" which mention it either cite the Council of Trent as an authoritative source which supports their doctrinal statements, or else use phrases such as, "We therefore, hold, with the Council of Trent, that...". [Note 4]

THE ANATHEMAS OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT

CANNOT BE REVOKED

According to "The Catechism of the Catholic Church," the Catholic doctrine of infallibility applies not only to the Pope, but also to Church Councils (including the Council of Trent). [Note 5] As a result, the official statements of the Council of Trent are considered to be infallible. This means that they cannot be changed. Therefore, the anathemas of the Council of Trent cannot be revoked.

The Catholic Church may find it expedient not to call people's attention to these anathemas. But it cannot revoke them.

CONCLUSION

It is no longer "religiously correct" to talk about anathemas. The word "anathema" does not even occur in the official "Catechism of the Catholic Church". (Neither does the word "inquisition".)

However, both the Second Vatican Council and the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" confirm the decrees of the Council of Trent. And these decrees contain the anathemas. So anathemas are part of the doctrinal package -- whether or not the Catholic Church chooses to talk about them.

 

Chapter 4

Ecumenism

 

There is a hidden agenda behind ecumenism. As we shall see, official Roman Catholic documents from the Second Vatican Council show that the purpose behind ecumenism is to bring Protestants and Orthodox into the Catholic Church.

VATICAN II AND ECUMENISM

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) wrote 16 official documents. It also gave some groups of experts the task of working out the details of how to apply the principles and directives of the Council. These groups of men wrote official "post conciliar" documents to more fully elaborate what had been written by the Council. The conciliar and post conciliar documents are published together in the same two-volume work.

The Council's "Decree on Ecumenism" states that ecumenical activity cannot result in changing any aspect of the Catholic faith. [Note 1] This foundational principle is reflected in the post conciliar documents dealing with ecumenism.

For example, Post Conciliar Document No. 42 says that the purpose of ecumenism is to transform the thinking and behavior of non-Catholics so that eventually all Christians will be united in one Church. It states, "This unity, we believe, dwells in the Catholic Church." [Note 2]

In other words, "unity" means that all Christians will become Roman Catholics.

INCONSISTENCY

The Council of Trent anathematized every Christian who disagrees with any detail of Catholic doctrine. These anathemas have never been canceled. An anathema means that the Pope has ritually placed someone under a solemn ecclesiastical curse. (See the chapters, "Anathemas" and "The Council of Trent".)

The modern ecumenical approach of reaching out in a friendly, respectful way to "separated brethren" seems inconsistent with the anathemas of the Council of Trent.

In 1302, Pope Boniface VIII declared,

"[I]t is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff [Pope]." [This encyclical is available on-line. Note 3 gives addresses.]

 

In 1849 and again in 1863, Pope Pius IX declared that no person can be saved outside of the Roman Catholic Church. [These encyclicals are available on-line. Note 4 gives addresses.]

According to the Catholic doctrine of infallibility, these are infallible statements. Therefore, they cannot be reversed. [Note 5]

Freedom of religion is opposed by modern Canon Law (1988). Canon 1366 says that parents are to be punished with "a just penalty" if they allow their children to "be baptized or educated in a non-Catholic religion". The reference to baptism shows that this refers to Christian religions which are not Roman Catholic. [Note 6] (During the Inquisition, "a just penalty" included things like torture and being burned at the stake. The Inquisition was based on Canon Law.) (See the chapter, "Hunting 'Heretics'".)

Ecumenism seems inconsistent with the doctrine that there is no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church. It also seems inconsistent with modern Canon Law.

THE POPE SPEAKS

In his opening speech to the Second Vatican Council (1962), Pope John XXIII said that the Catholic Church has always opposed "errors" (disagreement with Roman Catholic doctrine). He said that the Catholic Church has often "condemned them with the greatest severity," but these days it "prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity." The Pope said that the Catholic Church is presently dealing with "errors" by demonstrating the validity of Catholic teaching, rather than by "condemnations". [This speech is available on-line. Note 7 gives addresses.]

CONCLUSION

The present preference for a gentler approach to people who disagree with Catholic doctrine may explain the apparent discrepancy between the Council of Trent and ecumenism.

The Catholic Church is engaging in ecumenical dialog with Protestants and Orthodox, calling them "separated brethren," and speaking as if it respects their beliefs. But at the same time, behind the scenes, it still officially declares that they are damned to hell because of their beliefs.

Chapter 5

Spiritual Intimidation

 

Pope Innocent III reigned from 1198 to 1216. He excommunicated Markward of Anweiler. In passing the sentence of excommunication, Innocent declared,

"We excommunicate, anathematize, curse and damn him" [Note 1]

Innocent III and other popes ruled over kings and other secular rulers by using the "spiritual weapons" of excommunication and interdict. These "weapons" have been effective because Roman Catholics believe that the Pope has the power to deprive them of the grace which they need in order to get to Heaven. Excommunicated people are cut off from the Catholic Church, from church services, from Christian burial, and from the sacraments (communion, confession, baptism, confirmation, and marriage). [Note 2]

Because Catholics believe that the Catholic Church and the sacraments are necessary for salvation, this is, in effect, sentencing them to hell.

In 1014, Pope Leo IX excommunicated the entire Orthodox Church. This means that, according to Catholic theology, every single Orthodox priest, nun, layman, and laywoman is damned to hell unless they repent and submit to Rome. [Note 3] (If a modern Pope decides to remove that excommunication, then it will help Orthodox Christians who are alive today. But for nearly a thousand years, Orthodox Christians lived and died under that curse.)

Interdicts are a somewhat less severe form of excommunication which is applied to large groups of people, including entire nations. Baptism and the "last rites" are allowed, but all other sacraments are forbidden. Church services and Christian burial are also forbidden. If the Pope is in conflict with a secular ruler, then he can put the ruler's subjects under interdict in order to put pressure on the ruler. It works. The ruler's Catholic subjects put pressure on him to submit to the Pope, so that the Pope will remove the interdict. [Note 4]

It works. But at what price? What happens to the innocent people who had nothing to do with the conflict between their ruler and the Pope? They are allowed to receive the "last rites". But that only works for people who know that they are dying. What about people who die suddenly and unexpectedly? And because of the interdict they were not able to have a priest absolve them of their sins? According to Catholic doctrine, they go to hell. So in effect the Pope is willing to send people to hell in order to get political power over secular rulers.

Interdicts were used primarily during the Middle Ages. But, as we will see, the interdict was used as recently as 1962.

Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) used interdicts and the threat of interdicts eighty-five times in order to force secular rulers to submit to him. He was so successful that kings declared that the Pope was their feudal lord. For example, King John of England became the vassal of the Pope and paid him an annual tribute. [Note 5]

Innocent III wore clothes covered with gold and jewels. He made kings and cardinals kiss his foot. [Note 6] In the papal bull "Deliberatio," Innocent declared,

"By me kings reign and princes decree justice." [Note 7]

Pope Boniface VIII reigned from 1294 to 1303. On November 18, 1302, he issued the papal bull "Unam Sanctam" in which he declared that the Pope has both spiritual and worldly power. Boniface declared that there is no salvation apart from submission to the Pope. [This encyclical is on-line. Note 8 gives addresses.]

One of the most famous incidents of excommunication occurred when Pope Gregory VII excommunicated the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV. In order to receive forgiveness from the Pope, and to have the excommunication removed, Emperor Henry had to spend three days repenting in front of the castle where the Pope was staying. It was bitter cold (January, 1077). Henry spent most of his time kneeling in the ice and snow, weeping and pleading for forgiveness. When Pope Gregory finally allowed Emperor Henry to come into the castle, he publicly humiliated him. [Note 9]

Pope Gregory VII declared that the Pope has the right to depose kings and emperors, to make laws, and to require secular rulers to kiss his foot. He said that nobody has the right to judge the Pope. [Note 10]

Excommunication and interdicts are not ancient history. The authority, and the procedure for exercising it, are in existence today. The present Pope (John Paul II) has issued a new edition of Roman Catholic Canon Law (the legal regulations of the Roman Catholic Church). Canons 1331 and 1332 deal with punishments for people who have been excommunicated or placed under interdict. Canons 1364 to 1399 deal with penalties for "delicts" (offenses against Canon Law). These penalties include excommunication and being placed under interdict. [Note 11]

INTIMIDATING VOTERS IN 1962

A modern example of spiritual intimidation is the 1962 election in Malta (a small island in the Mediterranean Sea, near Sicily).

Dr. Mark F. Montebello is a Catholic priest from the Island of Malta. He wrote a series of three articles entitled, "Civil Rights in Malta's Post-Colonial Age." The third article describes how the Archbishop of Malta required Malta's Catholic priests to help him prevent Catholics from voting for Mintoff (the Labor Party candidate) in Malta's 1962 election.

According to Dr. Montebello, the Archbishop instructed the priests to use the sacrament of confession to coerce the consciences of Catholic voters. He ordered the priests to threaten people with eternal damnation. He also endorsed literature which contained "medieval intimidations" (the kind of spiritual intimidation that was done during the Middle Ages). [Note 12 gives the address of an on-line article.]

The Catholic Church officially declared that it was a mortal sin to vote for Mintoff. Priests who failed to cooperate were silenced. Some of them were forced to leave Malta and become missionaries in foreign countries. [Note 13 gives the address of an on-line article.]

Maltese Catholics who voted for Mintoff were placed under interdict. It became a mortal sin to vote for Mintoff. Catholics who voted for Mintoff were banned from church life and from the sacraments. They were denied a Christian burial. Instead, they were buried in a section of the cemetery which was called "the rubbish dump," implying that the soul of the dead person was damned. A citizen of Malta recounts,

"The Catholic Church used the pulpit, the confessional, the media and even public meetings in its vigorous campaign. I asked my father about his experience. When he went to confession, the priest asked him how he intended to vote in the general election and refused to give him absolution." [Note 14 gives the address of an on-line article.]

The Catholic Church categorizes sins as either mortal sins (the most serious kind) or venial sins (which are considered to be less serious). [Note 15] According to Catholic doctrine, if a person dies in a state of mortal sin, then he or she is damned to hell. [Note 16] In order for a mortal sin to be forgiven, a Catholic must go to confession and receive absolution from a priest. [Note 17] However, if a Catholic is under interdict, then he or she is not allowed to receive the sacraments, and therefore cannot receive absolution for their sins.

So what happened to Maltese Catholics who voted for Mintoff? (1) According to the Catholic Church, they committed a mortal sin. (2) They were placed under interdict, and therefore they could not have that mortal sin be absolved by a Catholic priest. (3) Therefore, they die in a state of mortal sin. According to Catholic doctrine, that means that they go to hell.

There is one exception. A person under interdict is allowed to receive the "last rites." However, this requires that: (1) the person is close to death and knows that they are dying; (2) in spite of being near death, they are in good enough shape mentally and physically to be able to look for a priest (or to ask friends or family members to look for a priest); (3) they are able to find a priest who is willing to help them; and (4) the priest gets there in time to give them the "last rites" before they die. According to Catholic doctrine, this means the difference between Heaven and hell.

 

Chapter 6

Hunting "Heretics"

 

Augustine lived from 354 to 430 A.D. He had a vision of an ideal society, with the Roman Catholic Church at its center, governing all aspects of human life. His ideal society required conformity in belief and practice. Augustine taught that it was right and necessary for the Catholic Church to make this happen, even if it meant coercing people to comply. This laid the theological foundation for persecuting "heretics" and for the Inquisition. [Note 1]

For over a thousand years, the Roman Catholic Church hunted down "heretics" and killed them. Some of these "heretics" were people with strange beliefs. But, as we shall see later, many of them were Bible-believing Christians.

Jesus predicted that true Christians would be persecuted and killed. He told His disciples,

"Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." (John 16:2)

For the Roman Catholic Church, "heresy" means to "obstinately" doubt or deny any official Catholic doctrine. [Note 2] Doctrines which have often been disputed include the authority of the Pope, purgatory, indulgences, the veneration of Mary and the saints, and transubstantiation (the doctrine that the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ are fully present in every fragment of consecrated bread).

Some Catholic doctrines seem to conflict with the plain meaning of Scripture. As a result, people who read the Bible for themselves are likely to doubt or dispute those doctrines. One way of solving that problem is to prevent laymen from reading the Bible. The Catholic Church took that approach for hundreds of years.

Starting about 1080, there were many incidents where scholars wanted to translate the Bible into the language of the common people, but it was forbidden by the Pope, Church councils, or individual bishops. [Note 3] William Tyndale was burned as a "heretic" because he translated the Bible into English. [Note 4] People were burned as "heretics" for owning or reading his translation. [Note 5]

For centuries, Christians were forbidden to possess the Scriptures in any language, including Latin. Reading the Bible was considered to be proof that someone was a heretic. Men and women were burned at the stake for reading the Bible in Latin. [Note 6]

With the Protestant Reformation, the Bible was translated into English, German, and other languages. With the invention of the printing press, Bibles became so plentiful that they could no longer be suppressed. That is why people like us, who are not Latin scholars, are able to read the Bible today.

CHRISTIAN "HERETICS"

Who were some of the Christian "heretics" who were persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church? I would like you to meet the Waldensians. (They are also known as the Waldenses and the Vaudois.) When "heretics" were hunted, their writings were confiscated and burned, so it is often difficult to know what they really taught. [Note 7] However, we do know what the Waldensians taught. Their writings survived.

In some ways the Waldensians were similar to the Franciscans. Both groups taught the value of poverty and simplicity. They both had poor, humble, itinerant preachers, who were barefoot and wore humble peasant clothing. [Note 8] As we shall see, the Pope examined the Waldensians and found no heresy in them. (But later another Pope reversed that decision.)

Who were these courageous men and women who endured centuries of persecution for their faith?

THE WALDENSIANS

One of the most famous Waldensians was Peter Waldo (1140-1218), a wealthy merchant of Lyons, France. He asked a priest how to live like Jesus Christ. The priest quoted the words of Jesus to the rich young ruler, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (Matthew 19:21) Waldo made financial provision for his family, gave the rest of his money to the poor, memorized Scripture, and began preaching. Some scholars believe that Peter Waldo was the founder of the Waldensians. However, there is strong evidence that the Waldensians began long before Peter was born, and that Peter was given the surname Waldo because of his association with them. [Note 9]

The Waldensians traveled in pairs, preaching the Gospel. They were humble people who believed in "apostolic poverty". They were barefoot, owning nothing, and they shared all things in common. Their teaching was orthodox, but they were considered to be a threat because they set standards which made many members of the Catholic clergy look bad by comparison. [Note 10]

The humility and voluntary poverty of the Waldensians were a striking contrast to the pride and luxury of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. A prime example of this was Pope Innocent III. He reigned from 1198 to 1216, which was during Waldo's lifetime. Innocent wore clothes covered with gold and jewels. He made kings and cardinals kiss his foot. [Note 11] He said that the Pope is "less than God but more than man". [Note 12]

Another example is Pope Boniface VIII, who reigned from 1294 to 1303. He said, "I am Caesar. I am emperor." He wore a crown which was covered with costly jewels, including 48 rubies, 45 emeralds, 72 sapphires, and 66 large pearls. [Note 13] Boniface declared,

"[I]t is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff [Pope]." [This encyclical is available on-line. Note 14 gives addresses.]

Waldo's beliefs were founded on the Bible, especially the Gospels. He believed that there was no need to interpret the Bible because it spoke clearly for itself. All that was needed was to make the whole of Scripture available to the people. Waldo was French, so he commissioned two priests to translate the Bible into French, starting with the Gospels. As soon as the first Gospel (Matthew) had been translated, Waldo applied it to his life "to the letter" and began preaching it to the people. [Note 15]

In 1179, Pope Alexander III found no evidence of heresy among the Waldensians. However, because they were laymen, he forbid them to preach unless they were requested to do so by a bishop. The Archbishop of Lyons ordered Waldo to stop preaching. Waldo quoted Acts 5:29, "We ought to obey God rather than men." Waldo kept on preaching, and the Archbishop excommunicated him. Then, in 1184, Pope Lucius III excommunicated Waldo and his followers. [Note 16]

In 1211, more than eighty Waldensians were burned at the stake for "heresy". This was the followed by centuries of persecution. [Note 17]

Because they were persecuted, the Waldensians went underground and spread to other countries, especially Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. The magnitude of their persecution is shown by the fact that in one year, in Italy alone, nine thousand Waldensians were killed and another twelve thousand were put into prison, where most of them died. In spite of this, somehow the itinerant Waldensian preachers were able to maintain links throughout Europe. [Note 18]

The Waldensians survived until the sixteenth century. Then they joined the Protestant Reformation. In 1848, the Italian government granted them emancipation. Finally, they were free from persecution (except for a brief period when Mussolini persecuted them during World War II). There are still Waldensian churches today. [Note 19]

THE INQUISITION

One of the things which was used to try to suppress the Waldensians and other "heretics" was the Inquisition. It began in 1180, four years before Waldo and the Waldensians were excommunicated by the Pope.

From 1180 to 1230, the Catholic Church enacted legislation (Canon Law) against heresy. It created a permanent tribunal, staffed by Dominican friars, which became known as the Inquisition.

The Inquisition used procedures which were banned in regular secular courts. It used anonymous informers. The accused person was not allowed to know who accused them and they were not allowed to have anybody defend them. People were allowed to accuse their personal enemies. The inquisitors were allowed to use torture in order to get accused people to "confess". Once a person was accused, some kind of punishment was inevitable. If secular officials were reluctant to punish the victims, they were likely to become victims themselves. [Note 20]

If enough witnesses testified that the accused person was guilty, then he or she was considered to be guilty. At that point the accused person had to choose between confessing and renouncing their "errors" or else being burned. If they confessed, then they would stay in prison for the rest of their life, but they would be spared being burned at the stake. [Note 21]

When secular rulers resisted the harsh methods of the Inquisition, popes pressured them by excommunicating the rulers and placing their subjects under interdict. (Interdict means that no religious services or sacraments were allowed, including communion, confession, marriages, and Christian burial.) (See the chapter, "Spiritual Intimidation".) For example, when King Edward II protested that torture was opposed to English law, Pope Clement V told the king that the law of the Roman Catholic Church was higher than the law of England. The Pope said,

"We hear that you forbid torture as contrary to the laws of your land.... I command you at once to submit those men to torture." [Note 22]

The Pope gave orders to the King of England, and the King obeyed. The nation of England took a giant step backwards and started torturing people again.

The Inquisition was financed by confiscating the property of people who were condemned. It had to get people convicted in order to get the money that it needed for its operations. This was a strong motive for using torture to make people "confess". In Spain, the Inquisitors usually got all of the money. In other countries, the money was divided between the Inquisitors and the Vatican. [Note 23]

Even the grave was no protection from having property be confiscated. Corpses were dug up, and dead men and women were convicted of heresy. This allowed the Inquisitors to take the property of the heirs of the dead "heretics". [Note 24]

Sometimes people were convicted of heresy for reasons that are difficult to understand. A young nobleman failed to take his hat off when a religious procession was going through the streets. It was raining at the time. He paid a heavy price for trying to keep his head dry. He was convicted of blasphemy. He was sentenced to "torture ordinary and extraordinary". His hands were cut off. His tongue was ripped out with pincers. And he was burned alive. [Note 25]

In 1545, the Inquisition published an Index of prohibited books. Catholics were threatened with damnation if they read one of these books. The Index included all of the books of the Protestant Reformers, as well as Protestant Bibles. In Spain, owning one of these banned books was punishable by death. The list of forbidden books was kept current until Pope Paul VI abolished the Index in 1959. [Note 26]

In the eighteenth century, the Inquisition ran out of money and became largely inactive. Its last execution was in the early nineteenth century (1826). A Spanish schoolmaster was hanged because he substituted the phrase "Praise be to God" in place of "Ave Maria" ("Hail Mary") during school prayers. [Note 27]

The Office of the Inquisition still exists. It is located in the Vatican. In 1965 its name was changed to "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith". It is headed by Cardinal Ratzinger. [Note 28]

CONCLUSION

There was a wide variety of Christian "heretics". On the one hand, there were the Waldensians, who were simple, humble people who were just trying to live according to Biblical principles. But when told not to preach, they continued preaching.

On the other hand, there were people like Wycliffe, who said inflammatory things. Wycliffe started out as a Catholic Reformer and eventually wound up becoming a Protestant. He taught that the government of England should remove morally corrupt churchmen and confiscate their property. He said that the Pope is "Antichrist itself, the man of sin who exalts himself above God." Now those are "fighting words". Of course the Pope was angry. Wycliffe's followers (the Lollards) were severely persecuted. [Note 29]

But did Jesus and his Disciples kill people for saying offensive things? They could have. Elijah called down fire on people.

"And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." (Luke 9:54-55)

There is an old story about a man who asked a woman, "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?" She said, "Well, for a million dollars, I guess maybe I would." Then he said, "Would you sleep with me for five dollars?" She replied, "What kind of woman do you think I am?" And he answered, "We've already established that. Now we're haggling price."

A million dollars is a strong enticement. For the Pope to be publicly accused of being the Antichrist is a strong provocation. But no matter how great the enticement or the provocation, some things are just plain wrong.

Killing "heretics" because of their religious convictions is never justifiable. As one man said, "Either the victim resists, and you murder his body, or he yields and speaks against his conscience, and you murder his soul." [Note 30]

 

 

Chapter 7

Credentials

 

The Roman Catholic Church claims that the early Christians were all Roman Catholics, and that (aside from the Orthodox Church) all Christians were Roman Catholics until the Protestant Reformation. It also claims that the Apostle Peter was the first Pope, ruling from Rome.

But do these claims stand up to the test of history? Or are they false credentials?

There is historical evidence that the Roman Catholic Church began with Emperor Constantine. Many Protestants believe that throughout Church history, there have been many true Christians who were not Catholics, and these Christians were often killed by the Catholic Church. They also believe that Peter was just one of the apostles, and that the Catholic Church only copied and preserved the Bible, which God had already given to us.

CONSTANTINE

On October 28, 312 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine met with Bishop Miltiades. (Catholics would later refer to him as Pope Miltiades. But at the time he was known as the Bishop of Rome.) Miltiades was assisted by Silvester, a Roman who spoke educated Latin, and acted as interpreter. The previous day, Constantine had seen a sign in the heavens: a cross in front of the sun. He heard a voice say, "In this sign you will conquer." He painted crosses on the shields of his soldiers. Constantine won an important battle. He was convinced that it was because of the power of the sign that he had seen. He asked for two of the nails that were used to crucify Jesus. One nail was made into a bit for his horse. Another nail was made a part of his crown, signifying that Constantine ruled the Roman Empire in the name of Jesus. He allowed Miltiades to keep the third nail. [Note 1]

The fact that Constantine saw the cross and the sun together may explain why he worshiped the sun god while at the same time professing to be a Christian. After his "conversion," Constantine built a triumphal arch featuring the sun god (the "unconquered sun"). His coins featured the sun. Constantine made a statue of the sun god, with his own face on it, for his new city of Constantinople. He made Sunday (the day of the sun god) into a day of rest when work was forbidden. [Note 2]

Constantine declared that a mosaic of the sun god (riding in a chariot) represented Jesus. During Constantine's reign, many Christians incorporated worship of the sun god into their religion. They prayed kneeling towards the east (where the sun rises). They said that Jesus Christ drives his chariot across the sky (like the sun god). They had their worship services on Sunday, which honored the sun god. (Days of the week were named to honor pagan gods. For example, Saturday is "Saturn's day," named for the Roman god Saturn.) They celebrated the birth of Jesus on December 25, the day when sun worshipers celebrated the birthday of the sun following the winter solstice. [Note 3]

Historians disagree as to whether or not Constantine actually became a Christian. His character certainly did not reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ. Constantine was vain, violent, and superstitious. His combination of worshiping the Christian God and the sun god may have been an attempt to cover all the bases. (A similar spirit can be seen in wealthy Americans who financially support both opposing candidates during an election. No matter who wins, they expect to have the favor of the person in power.) Constantine had little respect for human life. He was known for wholesale slaughter during his military campaigns. He forced prisoners of war to fight for their lives against wild beasts. He had several family members (including his second wife) executed for doubtful reasons. Constantine waited until he was dying before he asked to be baptized. Historians disagree as to whether or not he actually was baptized. [Note 4]

Constantine wanted to have a state Church, with Christian clergy acting as civil servants. He called himself a Bishop. He said that he was the interpreter of the Word of God, and the voice which declares what is true and godly. According to historian Paul Johnson, Constantine saw himself as being an important agent of salvation, on a par with the apostles. Bishop Eusebius (Constantine's eulogist) relates that Constantine built the Church of the Apostles with the intention of having his body be kept there along with the bodies of the apostles. Constantine's coffin was to be in the center (the place of honor), with six apostles on each side of him. He expected that devotions honoring the apostles would be performed in the church, and he expected to share the title and honor of the apostles. [Note 5]

Constantine told Bishop Miltiades that he wanted to build two Christian basilicas, one dedicated to the Apostle Peter and one dedicated to the Apostle Paul. He offered a large, magnificent palace for the use of Miltiades and his successors. Miltiades refused. He could not accept the idea of having Christianity be promoted by the Roman Empire. [Note 6]

Constantine rode off to war. By the time that he returned in 314 A.D., Miltiades had died. Bishop Silvester was Miltiades' successor. Silvester was eager to have the Church be spread using Roman roads, Roman wealth, Roman law, Roman power, and Roman military might. Constantine officially approved of Silvester as the successor of Miltiades. Then he had a coronation ceremony for Silvester and crowned him like a worldly prince. No bishop had ever been crowned before. [Note 7] Constantine's actions give the impression that he believed that he had authority over the Church.

Before Constantine's "conversion," Christians were persecuted. Now, instead of facing persecution, Bishop Silvester lived in the lap of luxury. He had a beautiful palace, with the finest furniture and art. He wore silk brocade robes. He had servants to wait on him. Near his palace was a basilica which served as his cathedral. This luxurious building had seven altars made of gold, a canopy of solid silver above the main altar, and 50 chandeliers. The imperial mail system and transportation system were placed at Silvester's disposal. It was now possible to have worldwide church councils. [Note 8]

Read the Book of Acts and the Epistles and compare the Church shown there to the Church of Bishop Silvester. Here is how the Apostle Paul described the kinds of things that he had to endure, as a leader in the early Church.

"Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)

After Constantine's "conversion," the Church was radically changed. Suddenly, being Christian resulted in power, prestige, and promotion (whereas previously it had resulted in persecution). Suddenly, by the Emperor's decree, Christianity became "politically correct". So ambitious people joined the Church for worldly reasons. The Bishop of Rome was supported by the military might, political power, and wealth of the Roman Emperor. Worldwide church councils were convened.

This was the birth of the Roman Catholic Church. It was created in the year 314 A.D. by Emperor Constantine and Bishop Silvester.

A TALE OF TWO BISHOPS

The degree of change which Constantine caused in the Church can be illustrated by looking at the lives of two Bishops of Rome. So let's go back in history for about 100 years before Christianity became "politically correct," to look at the life of Bishop Pontian. Then we will compare Pontian's life with the life of Bishop Silvester, who lived during the time of Emperor Constantine.

(The following information about Bishops Pontian and Silvester comes from Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," pages 19-38.)

Pontian became the Bishop of Rome in the year 230 A.D. He was made bishop suddenly and unexpectedly when his predecessor was arrested and killed by Roman authorities.

On September 27, 235 A.D., Emperor Maximinus decreed that all Christian leaders were to be arrested. Christian buildings were burned, Christian cemeteries were closed, and the personal wealth of Christians was confiscated.

Bishop Pontian was arrested the same day. He was put in the Mamertine Prison, where he was tortured for ten days. Then he was sent to work in the lead mines of Sardinia.

When prisoners arrived at Sardinia, their left eye was gouged out and a number was branded on their forehead. Iron rings were soldered around their ankles, linked together with a six-inch chain which hobbled them. A tight chain around their waist was fastened to their ankle-chain in such a way that they were permanently bent over.

The prisoners worked for 20 hours a day, with four one-hour breaks for sleep. They had one meal of bread and water per day. Most prisoners died within six to fourteen months from exhaustion, malnutrition, disease, beatings, infection, or violence. Some went insane or committed suicide.

Pontian only lasted four months. In January, 236 A.D., Pontian was killed and his body was thrown into the cesspool.

What happened to Pontian was not unusual. Many Christians were sent to the Sardinian lead mines, or persecuted in other ways. If a man accepted the position of being a Christian leader, he knew that his life from that time on was likely to be short and painful. There were 14 Bishops of Rome in the 79 years between Pontian and Silvester.

Then along came Constantine.

In 314 A.D., Emperor Constantine crowned Silvester as Bishop of Rome. Silvester lived in luxury, with servants waiting on him. Constantine confessed his sins to Silvester and asked for his advice. Silvester presided over worldwide Church councils. He had a splendid palace and a sumptuous cathedral. He had power, prestige, wealth, pomp, and the favor of the Emperor.

Churchmen wore purple robes, reflecting the purple of Constantine's court. That was an external change. The most important change was an internal one. The Church took on the mentality of Rome. Under Silvester, the internal structure of the Church took on the form and practice and pomp of Rome.

Silvester died in December, 336 A.D. He died peacefully, in a clean, comfortable bed, in the Roman Lateran Palace. He died surrounded by well dressed bishops and priests, and attended by Roman guards. His body was dressed in ceremonial robes, put in an elegant casket, and carried through the streets of Rome in a solemn procession. He was buried with honor and ceremony, attended by the cream of Roman society and by the Roman people.

It is understandable that many Christians would have preferred an officially approved status for the Church. But what was the result?

Before Constantine, the church was a band of heroic men and women who were so committed to serve the Lord Jesus Christ that they would endure any hardship. After 314 A.D., the Church became infiltrated by opportunists who were seeking power and political advancement. Church leaders were no longer in danger of persecution. Rather, they enjoyed all the trappings of power and luxury.

Historian Paul Johnson asks, "Did the empire surrender to Christianity, or did Christianity prostitute itself to the empire?" [Note 9]

The temptation for an ungodly alliance with Rome was very great. But at what cost?

STATE RELIGION

In 380 A.D., Emperor Theodosius published an edict requiring that all Roman subjects profess the faith of the Bishop of Rome. Those who refused were considered to be "heretics". Jews, pagans, and "heretics" were subject to harsh punishments. In 390 A.D., Bishop Ambrose excommunicated Emperor Theodosius and required him to do penance for eight months in order to be restored to the Church. Theodosius complied. [Note 10]

It is amazing how much power the Catholic Church gained in less than a century. Constantine had promoted the Church by giving it special benefits. But Theodosius forced people to become Catholics by imposing harsh punishments on anybody who disagreed with the Bishop of Rome. Constantine had asked for advice from Bishop Silvester. But Theodosius obeyed orders given by Bishop Ambrose.

Catholicism was now the state religion of the Roman Empire. The Roman Catholic Church, which was born under Emperor Constantine, had now become so powerful that a bishop could give orders to the Roman Emperor.

FROM MARTYRS TO "HERETIC" HUNTERS

Emperor Constantine and Bishop Silvester created the Roman Catholic Church in 314 A.D. Forty years later, Augustine was born. He became a bishop and a "doctor of the Church". He lived from 354 to 430 A.D.

Augustine insisted that it was right and necessary to use force to bring about unity among Christians. He said that "heretics" should not just be expelled from the Church. Rather, they should be compelled to denounce their beliefs and conform to "orthodoxy," or else be destroyed. This became the basis for the Inquisition, and for killing "heretics" throughout Church history. [Note 11]

During the century following Constantine, the Roman Catholic Church went through an amazing transformation. Catholics became "heretic" hunters. They killed people who disagreed with them.

By the time of the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church burned people at the stake for translating the Bible into the language of the common people. They even burned people for reading the Bible in Latin. (See the chapter, "Hunting 'Heretics'".)

Acts 5:17-40 tells how the high priest and the Jewish leaders imprisoned the apostles and wanted to kill them because they were telling people about Jesus. Gamaliel, a respected rabbi, urged them not to persecute the Christians. He said,

"And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." (Acts 5:38-39)

Jim Jones demonstrated that Gamaliel was right. He and his followers self destructed. The men who translated the Bible into the language of the common people also demonstrated that Gamaliel was right. The Catholic Church was unable to suppress the translation of the Bible. That is why people like us, who are not Latin scholars, are able to read the Bible today.

How does the persecution of "heretics" compare with the picture of Jesus that we see in the Gospels? Did Jesus try to force people to conform to His teachings?

With amazing patience, Jesus kept on teaching the crowds of people, healing the sick and demonstrating the love and the power of God. When His disciples didn't understand His teachings, He explained them. (Luke 8:5-15) When the rich young man turned away from Jesus, He didn't rebuke him or threaten him. He let him go. (Matthew 19:16-22)

In John 6:48-68, Jesus gave a teaching that was difficult for people to accept. Many of His disciples left Him and no longer followed Him. He asked the Twelve, "Will ye also go away?" (John 6:67) He didn't threaten them or rebuke them. He didn't try to force them to believe what He taught them. He left them free to believe or not believe, to stay or to leave.

WAS PETER A POPE?

Peter does not describe himself as being a high and mighty Pope, with authority over the entire Church. Rather, Peter calls himself "a servant". (2 Peter 1:1) He refers to himself as a fellow "elder". (1 Peter 5:1) Rather than claiming special authority for himself, Peter says that all believers are a "royal priesthood". (1 Peter 2:9) He tells Christian leaders that they are not to lord it over other Christians and they are not to covet riches ("filthy lucre"). (1 Peter 5:2-3)

"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:1-3)

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9)

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John confirms Peter's statement that all true believers are priests. (Revelation 1:5-6; 5:9-10; 20:6) (Catholic Bibles refer to the Book of Revelation as "The Apocalypse".)

How does Peter, as portrayed in the Bible, compare with the Pope, who sits on a throne, and is carried on the shoulders of men, seated on a litter like an oriental king? As head of the Catholic Church, the Pope controls immense wealth, with widespread investments around the world. The wealth of the Vatican is amazing. [Note 12]

Catholic theologians claim that Jesus built the Roman Catholic Church on the Apostle Peter. They base this on Matthew 16:18, where Jesus tells Peter, "And I say unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." A huge doctrine with immense historical consequences has been built upon one short verse. The question is, does the rock on which the church is built represent Peter or does it represent Jesus Christ?

Peter himself answers this question when he says that Jesus is a living stone. (1 Peter 2:4) The Apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ is our spiritual Rock. (1 Corinthians 10:4) In Romans 9:31-33, Paul says that Jesus was a rock of offense for the Israelites who were trying to be saved by works of the law instead of by faith.

In the New Testament there are three words for "stone". "Lithos" means a stone like a mill stone or a stumbling stone. The other two words are "petra" and "petros". "Vine's Expository Dictionary" says that "petra" means "a mass of rock". It defines "petros" as "'a detached stone or boulder,' or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved."

In Matthew 16:18, the word for Peter is "petros," a detached stone that can easily be moved. The word for the rock on which the church is built is "petra," a mass of rock. Other examples of the use of "petra" show what a huge mass of rock is meant by the word. They include the man who built his house on rock, as opposed to sand (Matthew 7:24-27) and the tomb where Jesus' body was put, which was carved out of a rock (Matthew 27:60).

Did Peter act like he was in charge of the early Church? In the Book of Acts, Paul describes a controversy over whether or not gentile converts to Christianity should be required to be circumcised and follow the Jewish dietary laws. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to confer with the apostles about it. (Acts 15:2-4) Peter and other people spoke. (Acts 15:7-13) Following a period of silence, James (not Peter) made the final decision in the matter. He called it a "sentence". According to "Strong's Concordance" the word means a judicial sentence, a decree, or a judgment.

"And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me... Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood." (Acts 15:13, 19-20)

The Book of Acts is the history of the early Church up until a few years before Peter's death. It says nothing about Peter being in authority over the whole Church. It shows no connection between Peter and Rome.

Acts 28:14-15 tells how Paul met with the "brethren" in Rome, but it makes no mention of Peter. As we shall see, when Paul met with Peter in Jerusalem, Peter was identified by name.

Acts 2:14 and Acts 8:14 say that Peter was in Jerusalem. Acts 9:36-43 says that Peter went to Joppa, which is near Jerusalem. In chapter 10 of the Book of Acts, Peter is still in Joppa. Acts 11:2 says that Peter returned to Jerusalem.

Joppa is about thirty miles from Jerusalem. If the Book of Acts records this much detail about Peter's visit to a nearby town, wouldn't it tell us if Peter went all the way to Rome? Particularly since it does tell us that Paul went to Rome.

Acts 15:1-20 tells how Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to meet with Peter, James, and the other apostles. Galatians 1:18-19 says that Paul went to Jerusalem to visit Peter and James.

The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul "to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints". (Romans 1:7) In Romans 16:1-15, Paul greets 26 people by name. He never mentions Peter. If Peter was the leader of the Church in Rome, then why didn't Paul mention him?

Paul wrote five letters from a Roman prison (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, and Philemon). He never mentions Peter. The man who stuck with Paul to help him and encourage him in Rome was Luke -- not Peter. (Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11)

Paul only mentions Peter in one of his epistles (Galatians). In Galatians 1:18-19 he says that he went to Jerusalem to see Peter and James. In Galatians 2:8 Paul says that he preached to the gentiles and Peter preached to the Jews (the "circumcision"). In Galatians 2:11-21, Paul recounts how he publicly corrected and rebuked Peter because Peter became so intimidated by the Judaizers that he "walked not uprightly".

Evidently Paul's public rebuke of Peter did not cause a problem between them. Peter loved and respected Paul as a brother, and exhorted the Church to heed Paul's wisdom.

"Account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you" (2 Peter 3:15)

LEGENDS AND TRADITIONS

When I was in school, I was taught that, as a boy, George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and confessed his transgression to his father saying, "I cannot tell a lie".

Parson Weems' biography of George Washington is the source of that story. According to modern historians, the cherry tree event never happened. I was quite surprised to hear that because I had never questioned the story.

Articles on the Internet say that Parson Weems deliberately created the cherry tree legend some time between 1800 and 1809. But perhaps Parson Weems wasn't deliberately deceiving people. Perhaps he was simply passing on a story that he believed to be true. Either way, modern biographers of George Washington say that the cherry tree episode never really happened. [Note 13]

If we hear a story repeated often enough, then we tend to believe it. The idea of questioning it becomes almost unthinkable because the story is so familiar and so widely accepted.

I believe that something similar has happened with the Catholic Church's stories about Peter. These traditions have been repeated so often that many people never question them. (See the Appendix.)

THE "EARLY FATHERS"

Catholic apologists often quote the "Early Fathers" in support of Catholic doctrines, the papacy, and other Catholic claims. Who were these people?

There were many early Christian leaders, including priests, bishops, and scholars. There were a lot of these men, and they had a wide variety of opinions on religious matters. Their theological differences were as widely varied as those of theologians from different denominations are today. [Note 14]

So one person finds some "Early Fathers" to support one position, and another person finds other "Early Fathers" to support the opposite position.

But it's not a level playing field. Among all of those early Christian leaders, who decided which ones qualified to be called "Early Fathers"? The Catholic Church. Who decided which works should be copied and passed on to posterity? Copying was a slow, tedious job before the invention of the printing press. Who decided which writings were important enough to copy? The Catholic Church.

APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION

The Roman Catholic Church paints a picture of an orderly succession of popes who faithfully followed in the footsteps of the Apostle Peter. However, according to Biblical standards, some of these men were not fit to rule a house church, let alone be bishops.

One example was Pope Benedict IX (1033-1045). He had sex with boys, women, and animals. He practiced witchcraft and Satanism. He gave orders for people to be murdered. He turned the Lateran Palace into "the best brothel in Rome." [Note 15]

In spite of all that, Catholic doctrine says that Benedict's decisions about theological matters were infallible. [Note 16]

INFALLIBILITY

According to Roman Catholic doctrine, popes and Catholic church councils are infallible. This means that whenever they make official declarations concerning matters of faith or morals, God supernaturally protects them from making errors. Infallibility applies to all Roman Catholic popes and church councils: past, present, and future. [Note 17]

"Webster's Dictionary" defines "infallible" as "not capable of erring". It says that "infallible" as used by the Roman Catholic Church means "incapable of error in defining doctrines touching faith or morals".

What happens if a pope or a Catholic church council makes an "infallible" declaration which directly contradicts the "infallible" declaration of another pope or church council?

Truth does not contradict truth. Therefore, if the "infallible" pronouncements of the popes and Catholic church councils really are infallible, they will never contradict other "infallible" pronouncements. So if there is even one contradiction, then the doctrine of infallibility cannot be correct.

The claim for papal infallibility does not stand up to the test of history. Pope Zosimus (417-418 A.D.) reversed the pronouncement of a previous pope. He also retracted a doctrinal pronouncement that he himself had previously made. Pope Honorious was condemned as a heretic by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681 A.D.). (This means that Pope Honorious made doctrinal statements which are contrary to Roman Catholic doctrine.) He was also condemned as a heretic by Pope Leo II, as well as by every other pope until the eleventh century. So here we have "infallible" popes condemning another "infallible" pope as a heretic. In 1870, the First Vatican Council abolished "infallible" papal decrees and the decrees of two "infallible" councils. [Note 18]

The doctrine of the Assumption of Mary was officially declared to be a dogma of the Roman Catholic faith on November 1, 1950. This means that every Roman Catholic is required to believe this doctrine without questioning it. However, as we will see, the teaching of the Assumption of Mary originated with heretical writings which were officially condemned by the early Church.

In 495 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared that the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary is a heresy and people who teach it are heretics. In the sixth century, Pope Hormisdas declared that anyone teaching this doctrine is a heretic. Two "infallible" popes both declared that this doctrine is a heresy. Then on November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII (another "infallible" pope) declared that the same doctrine is official Roman Catholic dogma, which all Catholics are required to believe. [Note 19]

So before November 1, 1950, any Catholic who believed in the Assumption of Mary was a heretic (because of "infallible" declarations of popes). But after November 1, 1950, any Catholic who failed to believe in the Assumption of Mary was a heretic (because of the "infallible" declaration of Pope Pius XII).

In 1864, Pope Pius IX "infallibly" declared that the idea that people have a right to freedom of conscience and freedom of worship is "insanity," "evil," "depraved," and "reprobate". He also declared that non-Catholics who live in Catholic countries should not be allowed to publicly practice their religion. In 1888, Pope Leo XIII "infallibly" declared that freedom of thought and freedom of worship are wrong. These encyclicals are available on-line. [Note 20 gives addresses for them.]

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) produced a document entitled "Declaration on Religious Liberty" which states that all people have a right to freedom of religion. [Note 21]

Now I certainly agree with the idea of freedom of religion. However, it totally contradicts the "infallible" declarations of Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII. It also contradicts the anathemas of the Council of Trent, the killing of "heretics," the Inquisition, the burning of people who translated the Bible into the language of the common people, and the persecution of Protestants.

Freedom of religion also contradicts modern Canon Law (1988). Canon 1366 says that parents are to be punished with "a just penalty" if they allow their children to "be baptized or educated in a non-Catholic religion". The reference to baptism shows that this refers to Christian religions which are not Roman Catholic. [Note 22] (During the Inquisition, "a just penalty" included things like torture and being burned at the stake. The Inquisition was based on Canon Law.) (See the chapter, "Hunting 'Heretics'".)

Here the Catholic Church is on the horns of a dilemma. If it says that people have a right to freedom of religion, then it admits that it is not infallible. If it says that it is infallible, then it admits that it really does not believe that people have a right to freedom of religion.

The Catholic Church can claim infallibility, or it can claim that it has seen the error of its ways and it now supports freedom of religion. But it can't have it both ways.

Two Roman Catholic organizations have found contradictions between "infallible" doctrinal declarations of the Second Vatican Council and "infallible" doctrinal pronouncements of Pope Pius IX. [Note 23 gives addresses of on-line articles dealing with these contradictions.]

The conservative group (True Catholic) concludes that, therefore, the Second Vatican Council must not be legitimate. The liberal group (Women Priests) concludes that, therefore, Pope Pius IX taught "errors". Either way, there are contradictions between official doctrinal declarations of an "infallible" pope and an "infallible" church council.

True Catholic also claims that Pope John Paul II has taught 101 things which are contrary to "infallible" Catholic doctrines which were declared by "infallible" popes and church councils. They conclude that John Paul is therefore a heretic, which, according to Canon Law, means that he is not a valid pope. So they call him an anti-pope. [Note 24 gives the address of an on-line article.]

If John Paul II is not a valid pope, then the papal chair has been vacant. In order to rectify this situation, True Catholic has elected a pope. On May 20, 1998, Pope Pius XIII was elected. [Note 25 gives the address of an on-line article.]

So we now have two men who claim to be Pope: John Paul II and Pius XIII. It seems that having two popes at the same time is not confined to the Middle Ages.

CONCLUSION

The Roman Catholic Church was created by Emperor Constantine and Bishop Silvester in the year 314 A.D.

Peter did not act like a Pope and he did not describe himself as having any special authority. In the Church meeting that is described in chapter 15 of the Book of Acts, James appears to be the person in authority. He makes the final decision. The Bible shows Peter as being in Jerusalem, not in Rome.

 

There are "infallible" doctrinal declarations which contradict one another. Therefore, the doctrine of infallibility is not valid.

The contradiction of "infallible" doctrines has caused some very conservative Catholics to believe that John Paul II is not a valid pope, and the Second Vatican Council was not a valid council. It has also caused some very liberal Catholics to believe that Pope Pius IX taught doctrinal errors.

 

Chapter 8

The Roman Catholic Church and the Bible

 

The Roman Catholic Church claims that it gave us the Bible. But does this claim stand up to the test of history?

The Old Testament was written by God's inspired prophets, patriarchs, psalmists, judges, and kings. It was faithfully copied and preserved by Jewish scribes. Modern Protestant Bibles have the same content as the Hebrew Bible.

The New Testament was written by Christian apostles. None of them were Catholics, because there was no Roman Catholic Church at the time. This was over two centuries before Constantine's "conversion" and the formation of the Roman Catholic Church in 314 A.D. (See the chapter, "False Credentials".)

The early Church did not have the New Testament as we know it. Rather, individuals and local congregations had portions of it. They would have one or more of the Gospels, some of the letters which Apostles had written, and perhaps the Book of Acts or the Book of Revelation.

Why weren't all of these books collected in one place? Look at what the books themselves say. Individual apostles wrote them for specific audiences. The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts were written for Theophilus. (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1) Most of the Epistles were written to specific churches or to specific individuals. (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:1; 3 John 1:1)

The early Christians expected that Jesus would return for His Church at any moment. As a result, they didn't see the need for long-term planning for future generations. Furthermore, Christians were persecuted by the Romans. When your life is in constant danger, it is difficult to collect writings which are scattered all over the Roman Empire. So it took time to collect all of these writings, decide which ones were authoritative Scripture, and make complete sets of them.

By the time of Origen (185-254 A.D.), there was general agreement about most of the New Testament. This was sixty years before Constantine's "conversion" and the formation of the Catholic Church. By 367 A.D., all of the books of the New Testament were acknowledged as being authoritative Scripture. [Note 1]

The canon of the New Testament was not formed by the decision of any Church council. Rather, the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.) listed as canonical "only those books that were generally regarded by the consensus of use as properly a canon". [Note 2] In other words, it didn't create the canon. Rather, it formally identified the canon that already existed.

The Catholic Church did not give us the Bible. However, Catholic monks helped preserve the Bible by copying it.

As we will see, the Catholic Church kept the Bible in Latin, which prevented people from reading the Bible in their own language. Most people didn't know Latin, so they had to depend on priests to read the Bible for them and explain it to them. They were not able to check what the priests taught them against Scripture. Men who translated the Bible into the language of the common people were burned at the stake. Men and women who were caught reading the translations were also burned.

The Catholic Church changed the Bible. In 1548, at the Council of Trent, it added the Apocrypha to the Bible. The apocryphal books contain passages which are used to justify some Catholic doctrines, such as praying for the dead. The Apocrypha are discussed later in this chapter.

KEEPING THE BIBLE IN LATIN

Under Roman rule, Latin became a universal language. So when the Bible was originally translated from Greek and Hebrew into Latin, that made it more available to people. However, with the collapse of the Roman empire, Latin was spoken less and less. In time, only scholars understood it. The vast majority of people no longer spoke it.

Starting about 1080 there were many incidents where the Pope, Church councils, or individual bishops forbid the translation of the Bible into the language of the common people (the vernacular). [Note 3] Men such as William Tyndale were burned as heretics for translating the Bible into English. [Note 4]

Laymen were not even allowed to read the Bible in Latin. Reading the Bible was considered to be proof that someone was a heretic. Men and women were burned at the stake for reading the Bible in Latin. [Note 5]

People were so hungry to know what the Bible said that when an English translation of the Bible was finally made available, crowds of people filled the church where it was kept. Men took turns reading the Bible out loud. As long as there was daylight, men kept reading the Bible out loud while the crowds listened. [Note 6]

STRUGGLING WITH LATIN

When I became a Catholic, the Mass was still in Latin. I knew some Latin because I had studied it for three years in college.

At High Mass, the Scriptures were sung in Latin. The Bible was a large, ornate book. The priest would cover it with incense, and bow before it, and sing the Scripture verses in Gregorian chant. I enjoyed listening to the Gregorian chant.

However, the one thing that I could not do was to understand the Scripture that was sung. With my three years of college Latin, I could sometimes understand the meaning of a word or a phrase. But that was nothing like understanding the Scripture passages.

The end result reminds me of the Andy Warhol painting of a can of Campbell's tomato soup. You can read about it. You can study the picture. If you are an artist, you can paint a copy of it. You can do everything except eat the soup. And why does Campbell's make tomato soup? So that people would eat it. And why did God give us the Bible? So that people would understand it and be transformed by it.

TRANSLATING THE BIBLE

The first English translation of the Bible was made in 1382 by the followers of John Wycliffe, with his help and inspiration. An improved version was completed in 1388. Wycliffe's followers were known as Lollards. They were severely persecuted. Wycliffe's translation of the Bible had to be copied by hand, which is a slow process. Most of the copies of Wycliffe's English Bible were destroyed. [Note 7]

A century and a half later, the Tyndale-Coverdale Bible was published in 1535. William Tyndale and Bishop Miles Coverdale translated the original Greek and Hebrew texts into English. Their Bible was published in Germany, where Tyndale had taken refuge. The printing press had been invented. This enabled Tyndale and his followers to produce copies of their English Bible faster than they could be found and destroyed. Tyndale was burned at the stake. [Note 8]

Forty-seven years later (1582), the first Catholic translation of the New Testament into English was published. The Catholic translation of the Old Testament was published in 1609. These translations were not from the original Greek and Hebrew. Rather, they were from a Latin translation of the Bible. [Note 9]

CONDEMNING BIBLE SOCIETIES

In 1846, and again in 1849, Pope Pius IX officially declared that Bible societies are "crafty enemies" of the Catholic Church, and of humanity in general. Why? Because they translate the Bible into the language of the common people, and they give Bibles to anybody who wants them, including people who are not well educated. [These encyclicals are available on-line. Note 10 gives addresses.]

In 1864, Pope Pius IX officially declared that the idea that people have a right to freedom of conscience and freedom of worship is "insanity," "evil," "depraved," and "reprobate". He also declared that non-Catholics who live in Catholic countries should not be allowed to publicly practice their religion. In 1888, Pope Leo XIII declared that freedom of thought and freedom of worship are wrong. [These encyclicals are available on-line. Note 11 gives addresses for them.]

According to the Catholic doctrine of infallibility, these are infallible statements. [Note 12] Therefore, they cannot be reversed.

This is not ancient history. My great great grandparents were alive in 1864.

ADDING TRADITION TO SCRIPTURE

The Roman Catholic Church officially states that Catholic tradition is equal in authority to the Bible. [Note 13] Catholic tradition consists of various expressions of worship and belief of the Catholic people. [Note 14] It is nebulous. It keeps changing. You cannot find it written in one place. You can't really put your hands on exactly what it is.

For Jesus' evaluation of the religious traditions of his time, read Mark 7:1-13 and Matthew 15:1-9. Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees because their traditions nullified the Word of God. He used Scripture to measure the validity of their religious traditions. He was distressed because the religious leaders of his time considered their traditions to be equal in authority to Scripture. Jesus rebuked them saying,

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:8-9)

"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the traditions of men". (See Mark 7:8.)

FORBIDDING PEOPLE TO

INTERPRET THE BIBLE FOR THEMSELVES

According to the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, Catholics are required to find out how the Catholic bishops interpret Scripture passages, and they are to accept what the bishops teach "with docility" as if it came from Jesus Christ Himself. In other words, they are not allowed to believe what they read in the Bible without first checking it out with the Catholic Church. They are not allowed to use their own judgment or to follow their own conscience. They are required to believe whatever the bishops teach without questioning it. [Note 15]

THE APOCRYPHA

The Apocrypha are books which occur in Catholic Bibles but not in Protestant ones. They were never part of the Hebrew Bible, and the Jews did not recognize them as canonical. In 1548 the Council of Trent declared that the Apocrypha are canonical (part of inspired Scripture) and it anathematized anybody who believes otherwise. [Note 16]

Jesus and the Apostles quoted from the Old Testament hundreds of times, but they never treated any of the apocryphal books as being authoritative. The apocryphal books themselves never claim to be the Word of God. The books of Tobit and Judith contain serious historical inaccuracies. [Note 17] [Note 18]

Following is a summary of the main events in the Book of Tobit. [The Book of Tobit is available on-line. Note 19 gives addresses.]

My references to chapters and verses are those of the Revised Standard translation of Tobit. There is a wide variation in translations of Tobit, including differences in essential matters. There are also historical and geographical inaccuracies in the Book of Tobit. For example, Sennecherib was not the son of Shalmaneser. (Tobit 1:15) He was the son of Sargon the Usurper. [Note 20]

SUMMARY OF THE BOOK OF TOBIT

One night Tobit slept outdoors, with his face uncovered. He slept by the courtyard wall. There were sparrows on the wall, and bird droppings fell into Tobit's open eyes. As a result, a white film formed over his eyes and he became blind. The physicians were unable to help him. (Tobit 2:9-10)

A maiden named Sarah was reproached by her maids, who accused her of strangling seven husbands before they consummated their marriage with her. This was attributed to a demon named Asmodeus. (Tobit 3:8)

The angel Raphael was sent to heal Tobit's eyes, and to bind the demon Asmodeus, and to give Sarah in marriage to Tobias, the son of Tobit. (Tobit 3:17)

Tobias (Tobit's son) was traveling with the angel Raphael (who appeared in the form of a Jewish man named Azarias). A fish leaped up from the river and tried to swallow Tobias. Then the angel told Tobias to catch this fish. He caught it and threw it on the land. Then the angel told Tobias to cut the fish open and to keep the heart and liver and gallbladder. He said that smoke from the heart and liver would drive demons and evil spirits away. He also said that if a man's eyes are covered with white films, then having them anointed with the fish gall would heal him. (Tobit 6:1-9)

Tobias was afraid to marry Sarah because seven husbands had died in her bridal chamber. The angel told him to take burning incense and put the heart and liver of the fish on it in order to make a smoke. He said that when the demon smelled the smoke he would flee and never return. (Tobit 6:11-17)

Tobias married Sarah. He put the heart and liver of the fish upon burning incense. When the demon smelled the odor he fled to the "remotest parts of Egypt" and the angel bound him. Tobias and Sarah went to sleep. Sarah's family was greatly relieved the next morning when both of them were still alive. (Tobit 7:1-8:14)

Tobias and his new wife went to Tobit's home. The angel Raphael told Tobias to take the fish gall with him and rub it on his father's eyes. He did, and Tobit's eyes were healed. (Tobit 11:2-16)

COMMENTS ON TOBIT

Does this sound like inspired Scripture to you? Does it reveal God's nature and character, and His ways of dealing with His people? Does it inspire you to want to know God better? Does it give you strength and courage to be a faithful Christian?

If this was considered to be part of the Bible, would that increase your confidence in the Word of God?

CONCLUSION

God gave us the Bible. Catholic monks helped preserve the Bible by copying it during the Middle Ages.

The Roman Catholic Church kept the Bible in Latin. It killed scholars who translated the Bible into other languages. This made it difficult for people to understand the Bible.

The Catholic Church changed the Bible by adding the Apocrypha to it.

 

Chapter 9

Mandatory Celibacy

 

Lately the news has been telling us about Roman Catholic priests who sexually molested boys. Apparently these men were unable to handle mandatory celibacy.

The early Church did not require celibacy. We know that the Apostle Peter was married because Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law when she had a fever. (See Matthew 8:14-15 and Mark 1:30-31). We know that bishops were married, because Paul gave them the guideline that they should only have one wife. (1 Timonthy 3:2) Paul mentions that Peter, other apostles, and Jesus' brothers were married. (1 Corinthians 9:5)

Even now, priests in the Eastern Rite Church (a branch of the Roman Catholic Church) are allowed to marry. I have personally known Byzantine Melchite (Eastern Rite) priests who were married.

There are some Roman Catholic priests who are legally married. Over 100 married Protestant ministers converted to Catholicism and were ordained as Roman Catholic priests. [Note 1]

Some priests are secretly married. When I was a Catholic I had a regular confessor, a priest I met with every week to mentor me and instruct me on issues of faith and morals. Years later I was shocked to learn that, while he was my confessor, he was secretly married. (Eventually he left the Catholic Church and openly married his wife. Years later, he left his wife and children, went back to the Catholic Church, and was reinstated as a priest.)

When I was a nun, we were taught that the purpose of celibacy was to enable us to be more totally dedicated to God. The Apostle Paul said,

"But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." (1 Corinthians 7:32-33)

This shows that celibacy is a valid calling which can help people be more fully devoted to God. When God calls, He equips. I have known precious celibates (both Catholic and Protestant) whose devotion to God is inspiring.

But what about requiring people to be celibate? Earlier in the same chapter, Paul said,

"But I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Corinthians 7:7-9, emphasis added)

While discussing celibacy, Paul said that God has given people different gifts. It is good for a person who has been given the gift of celibacy to be celibate. But if they do not have that gift, then it is better for them to marry.

In spite of Paul's admonition, the Roman Catholic Church requires that priests, nuns, and monks be celibate. How did that happen?

Pope Gregory VII reigned from 1073 to 1085. At the time, most Catholic priests were married. Kings and nobles donated property to the Roman Catholic Church in exchange for the faithful service of priests. Some priests tried to leave this property to their heirs. In addition, they had loyalty to the nobles who provided them with homes. In order to protect Church property, and to ensure that the loyalty of the priests went to the Pope and not to secular rulers, Pope Gregory abolished clerical marriage. He passed laws requiring that priests be celibate, and he got rid of married priests. [Note 2]

In 655 A.D., by passing a decree, the ninth Council of Toledo turned the children of married priests into Church property. They immediately became the permanent slaves of the Catholic Church. In 1089, by passing a decree, the Synod of Melfi under Pope Urban II turned the wives of married priests into property. The priests were put into prison and their wives were sold into slavery. Their children were either sold into slavery or else abandoned. [Note 3]

Married priests were a target of the Inquisition. [Note 4]

There is a web site for priests who are struggling with celibacy. [Note 5] There is an on-line support group for priests and nuns who are involved in "romantic relationships". [Note 6] There are support groups for children who have been fathered by Catholic priests. [Note 7]

In the last fifteen years, the Roman Catholic Church in America paid nearly one billion dollars because of Catholic priests who were convicted of sexual abuse. Catholic priests in ten other countries have also been convicted of sexual abuse. There are two support groups for helping women who are sexually involved with Catholic parish priests. Eastern Rite churches (which do not require celibacy) do not have these problems. [Note 8]

 

Chapter 10

A Modern Bid for Power

 

During the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church controlled the known world. Popes gave orders to kings and emperors.

A Vatican insider has warned us that the Catholic Church is diligently working to regain its historic position of power over world leaders.

Malachi Martin recently died. He was a Catholic priest, a Vatican diplomat, and the personal confessor of Pope John XXIII. Martin believed that the Vatican wants to control the world again, as it did in the Middle Ages. He wrote a book about this entitled, "The Keys of This Blood: Pope John Paul II Versus Russia and the West for Control of the New World Order." [Note 1]

When Martin wrote this book in 1990, the U.S.S.R. was the great competitor of the West. If he wrote the book today, he might discuss Muslim nations and China. But whoever the competing nations are, the Vatican is working to gain world domination.

If the Vatican succeeds in its bid for power, then it may be in a position to impose its laws (Canon Law) on many nations. [Note 2 gives information about Canon Law.]

Canon 1311 of Roman Catholic Canon Law says that the Catholic Church has the right to "coerce offending members of the Christian faithful" (emphasis added).

Canon 752 says that "the Christian faithful" are required to submit their minds and wills to doctrines declared by the Pope or the college of bishops, and to be careful to avoid anything which disagrees with those doctrines.

Does the term "the Christian faithful" in these laws refer to all Christians? Or only to Roman Catholics? The term could be interpreted either way.

Are Protestants numbered among "the Christian faithful"? Here the Catholic Church is on the horns of a dilemma. If it says "yes," then it admits that its laws justify the persecution of Protestants. If it says "no," then it admits that the term "separated brethren" is meaningless. If Protestants are not "Christian faithful" then ecumenism does not make any sense (unless it is just a ploy to bring Protestants back into the Roman Catholic Church.)

Of course, the Catholic Church can take the option of keeping the written laws as they are, but verbally saying that it would never use them to persecute Protestants. To believe that is like believing a salesman who promises you things that aren't in the written contract.

Canon 1366 says that "parents" are to be punished with "a just penalty" if they allow their children to "be baptized or educated in a non-Catholic religion". The reference to baptism shows that this refers to Christian religions which are not Roman Catholic.

Canon 1371 says that "a person" who teaches a doctrine which has been condemned by an ecumenical council is to be punished. The Council of Trent described every single doctrine of the Protestant Reformation, and condemned it. It also listed Protestant objections to Catholic doctrine, and condemned them.

The wording of these laws does not indicate whether they apply to all Christians, or only to Roman Catholics. They are written in such a broad way that it might be possible to interpret them in a way that applies to non-Catholics.

If a time ever comes when the Roman Catholic Church interprets these laws as applying to non-Catholics, then it would become a crime (an act contrary to Canon Law) for a person to be Protestant and to instruct their children in their beliefs.

It would also become a crime for Catholics to convert to Protestantism and then share their new faith with other people (including their own children). Sharing can be considered to be a form of teaching. And their new faith would include things which are contrary to Catholic doctrine.

This doesn't seem fair because most Catholics were baptized into the Catholic Church when they were babies. In other words, they were made Catholics without their consent.

These laws say that offenders are to be punished with a "just penalty". This term is so broad that it can be interpreted to mean almost anything. It gives immense discretionary power to whoever is in authority at the time.

During the time of the Protestant Reformation, it was a crime to be a Protestant. Being burned alive was considered to be a "just penalty" for the crime of disagreeing with Catholic doctrine. Similarly, during the Inquisition, torture and death were considered to be "just penalties" for the crime of "heresy" (disagreeing with Catholic doctrine). (See the chapter, "Hunting 'Heretics'".)

Right now, the Catholic Church does not have the power to openly persecute Protestants. So the issue of whether or not Canon Law can be said to apply to non-Catholics is not a matter of practical concern.

However, if the Vatican succeeds in its bid for power, then the definition of "the Christian faithful" in Canon Law may have far-reaching consequences for Protestants.

 

Chapter 11

The Numbers Game

 

People tend to be impressed with size. "Bigger" and "better" often go together in advertising slogans. But is this how God sees things? Can we assume that the Roman Catholic Church must be right because it is so big?

Goliath was huge, powerful, and a seasoned warrior. He was admired by the Philistines and feared by the Israelites. People were impressed with Goliath, but God wasn't. God used a shepherd named David to kill the giant. (1 Samuel 17:1-54)

When Gideon fought the Midianites, he started out with 32,000 men. That sounds like an impressive number until you read that the Midianite soldiers were a multitude which filled the valley like a plague of locusts. But God told Gideon that he had too many men, and he was to send home every man who was afraid. Two-thirds of his men left (22,000 out of 32,000). Then God disqualified all but 300 of the 10,000 men who remained. That left Gideon with one percent of his original soldiers. (Judges 7:1-9)

In God's eyes, which group were the true hearted soldiers through whom He could do miracles? The 31,700? Or the 300 who defeated the Midianites? If you read what happened, you will see that God was with the one percent.

Could the difference be even greater than a hundred to one and still have God be with the minority? Well, what if the 31,700 had decided that because the 300 were different, they must be "heretics" and therefore they should be killed?

Jesus spoke about a large crowd of people which goes the wrong way, to its destruction, and a small group of people who finds the right way, which leads to life. He said,

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

If you look at the context in which Jesus said this, He was speaking to the multitudes in Israel. These were not pagans who served horrible demon "gods". These were God's chosen people, in covenant with Him, the people who had the Scriptures, the people to whom God had sent the prophets. And Jesus warned them that there was a broad, popular way, which most people would choose, that would lead to destruction.

Jesus spoke of Godly people who would be despised, and false people who would be widely accepted. He said,

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:11-12)

"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26)

Obviously, being part of a small minority that is spoken against does not necessarily make people right. David Koresh and Jim Jones were dead wrong.

My point is that you cannot use numbers to decide whether or not people are right. We need to measure their teachings against Scripture. Our plumb line is the Bible, not the calculator.

Chapter 12

New Age Catholicism

 

The "New Age" is actually a resurgence of old paganism which has been "westernized" and dressed up in modern vocabulary. It denies foundational Christian doctrines and basic Christian morality. But in spite of this, there are Catholic priests and nuns who are openly promoting New Age beliefs and practices.

I will give documented information about this from Catholic authors. One of them is a Catholic reporter who spent over twelve years getting first-hand, eye witness information. There are also on-line articles which you can read for yourself. (I give the addresses in the Notes.)

As we will see, there are priests and nuns who promote pagan rituals, occult activities, Hindu religious practices, worship of "the goddess," witchcraft, and "channeling" (having "spirits" speak through you). They deny foundational Christian doctrines, such as the fact that Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins. And they renounce traditional Christian morality.

If you have difficulty with the following information, I understand. So do I. But the facts won't go away just because we don't like them.

Randy England is Catholic. He wrote "The Unicorn in the Sanctuary: The Impact of the New Age on the Catholic Church". According to England, New Age concepts are taught at retreats, prayer workshops, and educational conferences. [Note 1 gives addresses of on-line summaries of the book.]

The theology of Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin opened the door for New Age concepts to come into the Catholic Church. ("Unicorn," pages 78-95) These led to "creation-centered spirituality" and Catholic feminism, which will be discussed later. (pages 118-134).

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk. He taught that every form of mystical experience is valid, no matter what its source. He praised Hinduism and Buddhism. Merton wanted to see the religions of the world become united. ( "Unicorn," pages 75-77)

Priests and nuns are teaching trusting Catholics to do Hindu meditation, to use visualization techniques, and to cultivate spirit guides. Randy England says that spirit guides are demons. ("Unicorn," pages 3 and 77) Therefore, a person who cultivates spirit guides is actually invoking demons and inviting them to control his or her life.

A Jesuit priest teaches priests, nuns and lay Catholics to do Eastern meditation, using spirit guides. Priests and nuns teach prayer techniques which are not prayer in the Christian sense at all. Rather, they result in altered states of consciousness, and susceptibility to demonic influence. A Franciscan priest teaches Catholics to "manipulate" reality with the assistance of "spirit beings" (i.e., demons). He is especially influential with nuns. Catholics are taught that their "spirituality" will be improved by New Age techniques such as yoga, practices from Eastern religions, and occult meditation. Some Catholic schools no longer teach the Ten Commandments and foundational Christian doctrines like the Resurrection. Instead, they promote a non-Christian, one-world government. ("Unicorn," pages 6-9 and 135-146)

Mitch Pacwa is a Jesuit priest who became involved in the New Age when he was in the seminary. He wrote "Catholics and the New Age". (If you search for the book at Amazon.com you can see nine pages on-line.)

According to Pacwa, some Catholic parishes give workshops on astrology, channeling, and the enneagram (a New Age system of personality analysis). Pacwa had extensive personal experience with the enneagram. He became proficient, and taught it to other priests. [Note 2]

During the period between 1970 and 1980 (when I was still a Catholic), I ran into three New Age things which were promoted by Catholic priests. First, a Catholic priest recommended self-hypnosis and gave me cassette tapes for doing it. Fortunately I never listened to the tapes. I have since learned that any form of hypnosis is spiritually dangerous.

Second, some Catholic friends enthusiastically recommended that I attend a Catholic workshop on "Centering Prayer" which was given by a priest. Fortunately, I was not able to attend the workshop. I bought the priest's book, but it seemed strange and I didn't read much of it. I've learned from Randy England's book that "Centering Prayer" is similar to Silva Meditation (also called Silva Mind Control). It involves altered states of consciousness and spirit guides. ("Unicorn," pages 143-146)

Third, I went on a Catholic retreat which was run by priests. Much to my surprise, the psychology of Carl Jung was taught throughout the retreat. In addition, the bookstore sold books which discussed spirituality in terms which didn't sound Christian. One of the books talked about finding "the goddess within". According to Randy England, Jung was an occultist who had spirit guides.

In each of these situations, I had a genuine desire to become closer to God. I went to Catholic priests, looking for training in how to pray, looking for things to strengthen my spiritual life. But instead of offering me life-giving Christian things, those Catholic priests offered me deadly New Age things.

In Matthew 7:9-10, Jesus said that if our children ask us for bread (nourishment), we don't give them a stone (something worthless). And if they ask us for fish (something nourishing), we don't give them a snake (something deadly). However, when I asked those Catholic priests for something nourishing, they offered me deadly things instead. According to Randy England, Donna Steichen, and Mitch Pacwa, my experience was not unusual. Similar things have happened to many Catholics.

CATHOLIC FEMINISTS

The following information about Catholic feminists comes from the book "Ungodly Rage". Some of this information is available in on-line articles about the book. [Note 3 gives their addresses.] If you search for the book at Amazon.com, you can see 25 pages on-line.

Donna Steichen (a Catholic journalist) wrote "Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism". She spent twelve years getting first-hand information. Her book is based on things that she personally saw and heard, plus the writings of Catholic feminists. She is a good reporter, giving names, dates, quotations, and lots of nitty gritty details.

Catholic feminist leaders teach that every form of sexual expression is good (even incest and sadomasochism). They give teachers strategies for getting rid of the sexual inhibitions of their students, so that the students will be free to express themselves sexually. They say that every act of "love" and pleasure is a ritual which honors the goddess. Their openly stated goal is to redefine sexuality and morality. Donna Steichen asked some feminist nuns about these teachings. The nuns enthusiastically agreed with the teachings, and with the moral system that it reflects. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 41-45, 150, and 176-177)

In 1985, Mrs. Steichen attended a Conference on Women and Spirituality. (The following information is from pages 29 to 63 of "Ungodly Rage".)

The School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) were deeply involved. Some of them gave workshops during the conference. Many SSND nuns attended the conference. They helped with preparations, and they allowed attendees to stay at their Good Counsel Educational Center. Thus, the conference had a major impact on an entire community of teaching nuns.

The Catholic priest who is the chaplain of St. Benedict's (a nearby Catholic school) announced the conference and arranged transportation for women who wanted to go. Faculty members and students attended. Donna Steichen interviewed the priest. He had studied the program and was aware of its nature. He approved of it.

The conference was an ecumenical event. Sixteen of the speakers were Catholics (nuns, former nuns, and laywomen). The majority of the women who attended were Catholics. They included nuns, teachers at parochial schools and Catholic colleges, staff members of Catholic counseling agencies, parish administrators, and laywomen. In other words, many attendees were women in positions of authority and influence.

The conference was also attended by professing witches and by avowed lesbians who claimed to be Christians.

Speakers promoted goddess worship, and the exploration of "sacred" sexuality. A sense of victim mentality was fostered. The idea of sin was mocked. According to the speakers, the only sin is sexism. Most of the workshops included pagan rituals.

Most speakers ignored Jesus altogether, but Rosemary Ruether said that some people might want to retain Him as a "symbol". Ruether openly stated that the objective of Catholic feminism is to take over the Catholic church. And in order to do this, it needs to maintain the appearance of legitimate Catholicism.

Ruether told women to establish covens or Women-Church groups to celebrate their own rituals. These groups would either replace traditional Christian churches, or else be places of refuge where women who retain church affiliation would be free to share their true feelings. She said that large groups should be subdivided into groups of 13 members, because 13 is the number for a coven. (The term "coven" is usually applied to groups of witches.)

Steichen interviewed many of the attendees. None of the Catholic women saw any conflict between their Catholicism and their attendance at this conference. They even defended the worship of pagan gods and said that it does not conflict with Catholicism. Mrs. Steichen asked them if the early martyrs were wrong to face death because they refused to worship pagan gods. The women didn't get the point. They usually responded that things are different now.

Mrs. Steichen also interviewed some Protestant women who were disturbed by the conference. I believe that if the Catholic women had been well grounded in Scripture, they would have been less susceptible to deception.

On Sunday morning, three feminist services were available for conference participants. One of them was a Wiccan ritual, which was attended by about half of the women (including Donna Steichen). As part of the ritual, the participants cast a spell. (Wicca is a religion based on witchcraft. It involves goddess worship, rituals and spells.)

After the ritual was over, Donna Steichen asked one participant if she was a nun. The woman said that she wasn't, but she always sees a lot of nuns at these rituals.

The Catholic feminist movement grew in numbers and in influence. The next year (1986), a Women in the Church Conference was attended by 2,500 women, 85 percent of whom were nuns. (That is over two thousand nuns.) One speaker told the women to get rid of the "false god" of Christianity and create a "God-myth" to replace it. She said that women need to "reclaim their reality" by means of "holistic sexuality". Another speaker said that Scripture should be radically transformed in order to make it support the feminist agenda. An example of this is one speaker's interpretation of what happened in the Garden of Eden. She said that when God banished the snake, it was patriarchy banishing the goddess, and banishing Eve's freedom to express herself sexually. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 123-124 and 145-153)

About two hundred of the nuns who attended wore habits and veils. At first Donna Steichen thought they must not have realized the nature of the conference when they decided to come. However, when she interviewed them, every single one of them enjoyed the conference and agreed with it. One of them had been orthodox in her beliefs until she took a summer class at the University of Notre Dame a few months before the conference. As a result of that class, she became a radical feminist. ("Ungodly Rage," page 133)

Some Catholic clergymen support the radical Catholic feminists. This conference was given under the auspices of Catholic bishops and priests. Advisors for the conference included nearly 20 bishops and 15 priests. They did not want their names to be known, presumably because of the controversial nature of the event. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 152-153)

In October 1987, A Women-Church conference was attended by 3,000 women. Most of them were Catholics. Many were nuns and former nuns who were involved in teaching, social service, or pastoral ministry. In other words, they were women in trusted positions of leadership, influence, and authority. ("Ungodly Rage," page 154)

Speakers identified sexuality with spirituality, and with a woman's identity. They said that "sexual empowerment" is the key to empowering women. They praised lesbianism and auto-eroticism, calling them good things which honor the goddess. One lesbian speaker said that her lesbianism is a form of goddess religion. Speakers promoted abortion. One speaker openly said that in order to promote their feminist religion, they need the institutional Catholic Church because it is a global power with far-reaching influence. Workshops included instruction in animism (worship of nature spirits), with rituals that were a combination of feminism and Native American practices. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 150-154 and 173-183)

Mary Hunt said that in order for the Catholic feminist movement to survive, it must influence the next generation. Now this is a practical problem for a movement which is largely founded on nuns and lesbian laywomen, because they usually don't have children. Therefore, they have to influence other people's children. Mary Hunt spoke of the need to create places to influence children, including schools, retreat centers, think tanks, and centers for feminist theology. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 185-186)

Much of this was already in place when Donna Steichen wrote "Ungodly Rage" in 1991. The conference participants were primarily Catholic teachers, nuns from retreat centers, and women who work with youth. In other words, they were in positions that enable them to influence Catholic children and young people. Conference participants also included women who were administrators in chancery offices and parishes. This position enables them to influence what kinds of programs, retreats, and workshops are given in Catholic parishes.

One of the speakers was a Carmelite nun who founded the Association of Contemplative Sisters. She said that although these contemplative nuns started out being "God oriented," they later changed their focus to "mysticism and feminism". They incorporated pagan traditions into their worship and meditation. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 182-183)

You can see a description of a Women-Church Conference on-line, complete with quotations and a description of the pagan ritual. [Note 4 gives the address.] This conference was held on April 20, 1996, at Emmanuel College (a Catholic college in Boston). Starhawk (a witch) led a pagan ritual dedicated to the goddess.

As we will see, entire religious communities have become infected with Catholic feminism.

Joleene Unnerstall was a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). She left the convent to become a New Age "trance-formationalist" (she uses trances and hypnosis). She developed a conference called "Womenspirit Rising" which includes workshops on reincarnation, "the goddess within," the use of crystals, and channeling. Womenspirit Rising was given at the SSND provincial motherhouse. Another SSND nun teaches Silva Mind Control, including giving classes on astral projection and "spirit messages". SSND nuns have also been heavily involved with the Catholic Coalition for Gay Civil Rights. ("Ungodly Rage," page 342)

The sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet run Fontbonne College. They invited the Womenspirit Rising conference to their college twice in the same year. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 106-107) Catholic parents who sacrificed to send their children to this Catholic college probably did not expect to have them be trained in channeling and goddess worship.

Two people who have had a significant influence on the Catholic feminist movement are Matthew Fox and Rosemary Ruether. Fox will be discussed later

Ruether is a Catholic feminist theologian who is openly lesbian. She developed a liturgy for the "covenanting" of lesbian couples. Ruether's books include "Gaia & God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing" and "Religious Feminism and the Future of the Planet: A Christian-Buddhist Conversation".

MATTHEW FOX

The following information about Fox comes from chapter 6 of Randy England's book, "The Unicorn in the Sanctuary". It is entitled "Woman Church, Witchcraft, and the Goddess". This chapter is available on-line at a Catholic web site. [Note 5 gives the address.]

As a Dominican priest, Matthew Fox promoted Wicca, paganism, and goddess worship in the Catholic Church. For years he told trusting Catholic priests, nuns, and lay people that the Holy Spirit wants them to adopt these practices.

The Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality was founded by Fox. It is located at Holy Names College (a Catholic college run by nuns, the Sisters of the Holy Names Jesus and Mary). Staff members of the Institute included a practicing witch named Starhawk, a voodoo priestess, a shaman (an animist who worships nature spirits), and a Jungian psychologist. Starhawk is the high priestess of a witches' coven.

The Institute has developed a Catholic liturgy which is based on Wiccan sources.

Matthew Fox denies the existence of sin, except for one thing. He says that it is sinful to fail to embrace the New Age.

Fox preaches "sensual" spirituality, hedonism, and "ecstasy". He says that "intelligent use of drugs" is an aid to prayer. He openly and directly promotes witchcraft.

The following information about Matthew Fox comes from an article by Catholic priest Mitchell Pacwa. It is entitled "Catholicism for the New Age: Matthew Fox and Creation-Centered Spirituality". This article is on-line. Information about Fox's organizations comes from web sites and phone conversations. [Note 6 gives addresses of Pacwa's article and related web sites. It also gives the address of a transcript of an interview with Fox which was done by a New Age group which is enthusiastic about him. This will enable you to see for yourself the kinds of things that Fox believes and the way that he expresses himself.]

Fox is the founder, president, and editor-in-chief of a magazine called "Creation." You can get some idea of what he believes by the art work in his magazine. The July/August, 1991 issue of "Creation" featured a picture of Jesus Christ, naked, seated in a lotus position, with antlers on his head. The May/June, 1992 issue featured a picture entitled "The Qetzalcoatl Christ". It showed the Aztec snake god with the face of Jesus Christ.

Matthew Fox is a popular speaker with great influence. He endorses homosexuality. He denies original sin and redemption. He says that we need to "embark on a quest for the Cosmic Christ" and in order to do this, we need to stop seeking the "historical Jesus".

According to Fox, true spirituality is about Eros. He says that Holy Communion should be "intimate" and "erotic". He says that spirituality should be sensual, and he promotes "sensual sacraments and liturgies".

Fox teaches that people of all religions should be united at "a mystical level". He openly promotes witchcraft, shamanism, astrology, and pagan religions. He praises the writings of the witch Starhawk, and her vision of a revival of goddess worship.

Fox says that "personal Savior" Christianity is "anthropocentric and antimystical". He teaches that Christians need to convert to a "Cosmic Christ" Christianity.

In 1991, Fox was ordered to leave his Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality (in Oakland, California) and return to Chicago, or else be dismissed by his religious order. He refused, left the Catholic Church, and became an Anglican priest. He founded the University of Creation Spirituality (also located in Oakland) and is its president. Fox, Starhawk, and the voodoo priestess left the Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality (at Holy Names College) in order to join the University of Creation Spirituality.

Although Fox has left, his Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality is still at Holy Names College. However, its name has been changed. It is now called the Sophia Center in Culture and Spirituality. It gives graduate degrees in Creation Spirituality. Judging by its courses and faculty, it is thoroughly New Age, with a strong influence of shamanism, African religions, and "eco-feminism". Several courses appear to be Wiccan.

Although he is no longer Catholic, Fox continues to have widespread influence among Catholics through priests and nuns who have been influenced by his teachings. His influence also continues through Catholics who are trained at the Sophia Center in Culture and Spirituality at Holy Names College.

Fox's books are sold in both Catholic and New Age book stores. His books are featured at some Catholic retreat houses. They are used by nuns. This not only influences the nuns, it also influences Catholics who come under the influence of those nuns. (For example, other nuns, or students, or Catholics who attend retreats.)

One of Fox's books is entitled, "Whee! We, Wee All the Way Home: A Guide to a Sensual, Prophetic Spirituality". [Honest. I'm not kidding. You can check it out for yourself at Amazon.com.] Another is entitled, "On Becoming a Musical, Mystical Bear: Spirituality American Style". Other books include "One River Many Walls: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths" and "Exploring the Cosmic Christ Archetype".

Fox co-authored a book entitled "Coming Out Spiritually" with Christian de la Huerta, the founder of Q-Spirit. According to the cover, this book "supports the queer community as it awakens". [You can see the cover and some pages from the book at Amazon.com.]

Because of Fox's teachings, some nuns have incorporated Wiccan rituals into their worship. Some nuns are teaching Fox's "creation spirituality" to young children, and neglecting foundational doctrines such as sin and redemption. (Fox doesn't believe in these doctrines.)

CULTIVATING BITTERNESS

Leaders of the Catholic feminist movement exhort women to cultivate rage and anger against patriarchy. This is contrary to Scripture, which warns us to avoid bitterness. The Bible says,

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." (Hebrews 12:14-16)

"Strong's Concordance" defines the word "profane" as "heathenish, wicked". (Heathens are pagans.) The Bible connects bitterness with failure to respond to God's grace, defiling other people, sexual immorality, pagan behavior, and forfeiting one's spiritual inheritance.

The Catholic feminist movement encourages women to become bitter and remain bitter and to call it a virtue. And when nuns do things, they usually do them zealously and thoroughly.

Donna Steichen says that feminist nuns can be "spiteful, irrational, unscrupulous and destructive". Most of them are committed to their "careers" and refuse to leave the Catholic Church even when they no longer believe its teachings. They stay in their positions for the purpose of destroying the Catholic Church as we know it, and creating a new feminist religion in its place. ("Ungodly Rage," page 26)

As we will see, Catholic feminism has resulted in the defilement of many Catholics.

INVOLUNTARY NEW AGE INDOCTRINATION

Mother superiors and Catholic educators have been exposed to New Age rituals and indoctrination when they didn't expect it and therefore weren't prepared for it. This is of strategic importance for the Catholic feminist movement. If you indoctrinate a mother superior, then you influence all of the nuns in her convent. If you indoctrinate an educator, then you influence all of his or her students. If one of those students is a nun, then she is likely to influence other nuns in her convent. In addition, feminist educators can influence their colleagues, thus spreading the influence of feminism on the educational system.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has a National Assembly for mother superiors of convents. Its 1991 National Assembly featured feminist teachings and a daily ritual during which the nuns chanted "Come into the darkness" and invoked a spirit of death. This was attended by nine hundred mother superiors and their assistants, who then went back to their convents and influenced the nuns there. [Note 7]

There was more involved than the feminist teachings which were given by speakers and modeled during the ritual. Pagan rituals can result in demonic influence on the participants. Having been a nun, it gives me the creeps to even think about what it would be like to be under the authority of a mother superior who has come under demonic influence.

Jean Houston was the director of the Foundation for Mind Research and past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and she frequently speaks at New Age conferences. In 1982, 1984 and 1989, Jean Houston addressed Catholic educators at the convention of the National Catholic Education Association. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 242-245).

Between 1985 and 1988, the National Catholic Education Association had a "Catholic Education Futures Project". Twenty other Catholic educational organizations participated in it. This was billed as being preparation for future needs. However, in actuality it was a New Age indoctrination of leaders in Catholic education. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 244-245)

Catholic feminist nuns teach New Age spirituality at parochial schools and Catholic colleges. This betrays the trust of the Catholic parents who send their children to these schools.

Mundelein is a Catholic women's college which is run by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is affiliated with Loyola University, which is run by Jesuit priests. In March 1985, a conference called "The Goddesses and the Wild Women" was held at Mundelein. This conference was repeated there in 1986. Also in 1986, a program was given at Mundelein entitled "Her Holiness: Maiden, Mother, Crone." The program honored the "triple goddess" of witchcraft. It included a croning ritual, which is a witchcraft initiation ritual. Mundelein's Department of Religion made the arrangements for this program. ("Ungodly Rage," pages 79-91)

Catholic parents who sent their daughters to Mundelein did not expect them to be taught goddess worship and witchcraft initiation rituals. They probably thought that they were protecting their daughters by sending them to a Catholic college run by nuns.

Heythrop College (in London) is run by Jesuit priests. In January 2002, the college hired a professed witch to teach psychology of religion. This was done with the approval of the Jesuit priest who is the president of the college. [Note 8 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

Catholic parents who sacrifice to send their children to Heythrop College do not expect to have them come under the influence of a teacher who is a practicing witch. Even though her subject matter is not witchcraft, her witchcraft beliefs and values will influence her view of both psychology and religion, and the way in which she presents them. In addition, teachers can have a personal influence on their students.

RELATED ISSUES

Matthew Fox is not the only Catholic priest who teaches New Age spirituality. There are others. One example is Jesuit priest George Maloney. He wrote "Mysticism and the New Age: Christic Consciousness in the New Creation". The following Catholic priests teach Fox's creation spirituality: Thomas Berry, Roland Murphy, Richard Rohr, Cletus Wessels, and Ken Butigan.

There is a Benedictine monastery which calls itself a "Christian Ashram". You can study mysticism, comparative religion, and Indian music there. Dom. Bede Griffiths is in charge of it. His books include "Cosmic Revelation: The Hindu Way to God" and "The Other Half of My Soul: Bede Griffiths and the Hindu-Christian Dialogue".

Griffiths combines Catholicism with Hinduism. Another priest combines Catholicism with Buddhism. Dom. Aelred Graham wrote "Zen Catholicism" and "Conversations: Christian and Buddhist".

 

Catholic priest Edward Hays is an "expert" on prayer. He runs a Catholic-Hindu "house of prayer" complete with statues of Hindu gods. There is also a crucifix. Hays gives Jesus equal billing with the various Hindu gods. The "house of prayer" is popular, and usually filled to capacity. ("Unicorn in the Garden," pages 72-74)

Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello gives workshops introducing Catholics to Eastern prayer and meditation techniques, including visualization and Transcendental Meditation. He wrote a book entitled, "Sadhana: A Way to God". The cover shows Jesus on the cross, and a person seated in the lotus position, meditating at the foot of the cross. ("Unicorn," pages 100-114)

Some Catholic theologians teach that it is "scandalous" to insist that Jesus Christ has a unique status in salvation. They say that it creates a stumbling block to unity with people of other religions, such as Buddhists and Hindus. A Catholic center for spirituality features readings from the "holy books" of many faiths, celebrates pagan festivals, and includes statues of Buddha and Vishnu in their chapel. In 1998, there was a retreat which was attended by both Catholics and Buddhists. In 1999, a Catholic Advent celebration included Buddhist monks and nuns. There is a web site which is devoted to facilitating "dialogue" between Catholics, Buddhists, and Hindus. [Note 9 gives the addresses of on-line articles.]

The Ursuline Sophia Center (run by Ursuline nuns) features labyrinth walks, Reiki, and spiritual programs which are inspired by religions that are not Christian. (Reiki involves New Age manipulation of "energy" fields and the transfer of "energy" to other people.) Their store sells items for doing Reiki, Yoga, and T'ai Chi. They have classes for training people to do Reiki. [Note 10 gives addresses of on-line information.]

I know a man who went to seminary to become a Catholic priest. One of his seminary professors recommended some books written by Wiccan authors. He was influenced by those books. One thing led to another and he wound up becoming a Wiccan priest instead of a Catholic priest. (Eventually he became a born-again Christian and left Wicca.)

Some friends of mine used to be involved in a New Age organization. They attended workshops which included training in things such as shamanism, reincarnation, and Tarot cards. They told me that nuns participated in these workshops.

NEW AGE MORALS

Notre Dame is a well known Catholic university. It is run by Holy Cross priests. During Lent this year (2002), some Notre Dame students and faculty members are producing a verbally pornographic lesbian play. It's title is "V----- Monologues". ["V" is my euphemism for the word for female reproductive anatomy. This word, and its vulgar, slang counterpart, are prominently featured in the play.] [Note 11 gives the address of an on-line article at a Catholic web site.]

In the play, a 24-year-old woman gets a 13-year-old girl drunk and seduces her. (This is statutory rape.) There is a "chorus" which chants obscenities like a mantra. The play is obsessed with female reproductive anatomy. [I apologize. But if it's bad reading an understated summary of the play, what would it be like to have your children watch it? Or perform in it? At a Catholic school where you thought they were safe because it is run by Catholic priests.]

This play is being performed with the blessing of Notre Dame's president, a Catholic priest named Edward Malloy. President Malloy has said that the Catholic Church needs to change its stand regarding "alternative forms of orgasmic behavior." So this play promotes his beliefs.

The play was performed at Saint Mary's, a Catholic women's college near Notre Dame. Saint Mary's is run by Holy Cross nuns. One of the actresses was a Holy Cross nun, a faculty member of Saint Mary's. The nun wore a tee shirt which said, "Can you say V-----?" And she chanted obscenities. [Note 12 gives the address of an on-line article.]

I cannot imagine what it would be like to watch a nun do that. A nun who is on the staff of your college. An authority figure. A nun you call "Sister". A nun who should be an example of religion and morality. A nun who is supposed to embody consecrated purity.

Last year this play was performed at Georgetown University, a prestigious Catholic university which is run by Jesuit priests. The editor-in-chief of the university's newspaper ("The Hoya") wrote an article about the play. He described the audience's rowdy enthusiasm during the raunchiest parts of the play, and he criticized Georgetown University's administration for allowing the play to be performed. He was fired and his article was never published. [Note 13 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

"V----- Monologues" was also performed at the following six Catholic universities and colleges. (The Notes all give addresses of on-line articles.)

The University of Detroit Mercy, run by Jesuit priests and Sisters of Mercy nuns (March 16, 2002). [Note 14]

Loyola University, run by Jesuit priests (February 14, 2001). [Note 15]

Villanova University, run by Augustinian priests (October 15, 2000). [Note 16]

Marist College, run by Marist Brothers (February 14, 2000). [Note 17]

Marquette University, run by Jesuit priests. [Note 18]

Fordham University, run by Jesuit priests. [Note 19]

This play is contrary to the moral standards of most Catholics, including Catholic parents who sacrificed to send their children to Notre Dame, Saint Mary's, Georgetown University, Detroit Mercy, Loyola, Villanova, Marist College, Marquette, and Fordham.

HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?

How could this happen? How could priests and nuns become so deeply deceived? And how could Catholic laymen and laywomen so easily accept New Age teaching from priests and nuns, when that teaching is clearly contradictory to traditional Catholic practice and doctrine?

It is easy to deceive people who are used to being told what to think. And, as we will see, the Catholic Church claims that it has the right to control how Catholics think.

According to Canon Law (the official laws governing the Roman Catholic Church), Catholics are required to submit their minds and wills to any declaration concerning faith or morals which is made by the Pope or by a church council. [Note 20]

The Catholic Church teaches that only the Magisterium of the Church (the Pope and the bishops in communion with him) has the right to interpret Scripture. According to Catholic doctrine, people like us are not allowed to interpret Scripture for ourselves. Rather, we have to check it out with Church authorities. [Note 21]

In other words, Catholics are required to used authority figures in order to check out Scripture. This is the opposite of the Bible, which tells us that we should use Scripture in order to check out the teachings of authority figures.

The Apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament. He went to the Third Heaven and was given revelations of things that he was not allowed to tell us about. He was given such great revelations that God sent him a "thorn in the flesh" to keep him humble. (2 Corinthians 12:2-7) Paul was so highly regarded by the Apostles that he was able to publicly rebuke Peter. (Galatians 2:11-21)

Paul was a great apostle, a martyr, and a hero of the faith. Much of our theology is based on his writings. Certainly the Apostle Paul had more authority than any pope or bishop. But does the Bible rebuke people who questioned Paul's teachings? Were people expected to submit their minds and wills to whatever the Apostle Paul taught them about faith and morals? Not at all.

On the contrary, the Bible commends the people of Berea because, when the Apostle Paul preached to them, they checked out what he said against Scripture. They "searched the Scriptures daily" in order to "see whether these things were so". (Acts 17:10-11

God wants His people to check things out for themselves, using Scripture as their yardstick.

The Bible says, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21). According to "Strong's Concordance," the word "prove" means "to test". We are supposed to test things, to check them out for ourselves, using the Bible for our plumb line. If we are faithful to do that, then it will help us become mature Christians who are not deceived by false doctrines. If we fail to do it, then we will be vulnerable to every "wind of doctrine" that comes along.

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephesians 4:14)

CATHOLICISM AND PAGANISM

Historically, Catholicism has been combined with paganism in various countries and cultures. This may be one reason why many Catholics (including priests and nuns) have been vulnerable to New Age beliefs and practices. Following are some modern examples of paganism being mixed with Catholicism.

Voodoo is practiced in Africa, South America, and the West Indies. It is also practiced in some areas of the United States. Haiti and New Orleans are famous for it. Voodoo is a mixture of Catholicism and West African religion. Practitioners invite "spirits" (i.e., demons) to "mount" them (possess them). People who practice Voodoo often practice regular Catholicism as well. For example, Marie Leveau, the most famous Voodoo Queen in New Orleans, went to Mass every day. Voodoo involves black magic, curses, and spells. People in New Orleans were afraid of Marie Leveau (the Voodoo Queen). But she considered herself to be a devout Catholic. [Note 22 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

In Cuba, there is an annual festival in honor of St. Lazarus which combines Catholic and Voodoo rituals. According to "Catholic World News," celebrations include Catholic Mass, offerings of rum and cigars, and pilgrims who carry crosses or drag heavy weights which are chained to their bodies. In 1996, Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana said the Mass. [Note 23 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

In South Africa, animals are sacrificed during Roman Catholic Mass. Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Bloemfontein has actively promoted this practice. Archbishop George Daniel of Pretoria said that animal sacrifice is being done in parishes in his diocese. There is a video showing it. A Catholic priest blessed chickens and goats during Mass. The animals were slaughtered. Their blood was poured into a hole outside of the church. [Note 24 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

In Guatemala, Mayan rituals are combined with Roman Catholicism. In Chichicastenango, Guatemala, there is a Mayan-Catholic Mass. Mayan rituals are conducted inside the Catholic church while the Catholic priest says Mass. This is so popular that it is featured in Guatemalan tourist guides. In Mayan-Catholic churches, one half of the church has pews. The other half has a bare floor. This enables people to put candles and flowers and other things on the floor as part of their Mayan rituals. [Note 25 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

Mexicans celibrate the Day of the Dead. This is a combination of Aztec religion and Roman Catholicism. In modern cities, it can be primarily just a festival. But in rural areas, it is a serious religious ritual. Some Catholic Mexicans actually worship the dead, even though their Catholic priests tell them not to. [Note 26 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world. It has 115 million Catholics, which is twelve percent of the Roman Catholic Church. In other words, one out of nine Catholics lives in Brazil. Ninety-three percent of Brazilians claim to be Catholic. However, at least sixty percent of Brazilians practice spiritism. In other words, more than half of Brazil's Catholics practice spiritism in addition to Catholicism. Brazilian Catholics are known for having "double affiliations" (being members of two or more different religions at the same time). Religions which are often practiced by Brazilian Catholics include Candomble, Umbanda, Macumba, and Kardecism. In addition, many Brazilians practice witchcraft or consult witches. [Note 27 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

Candomble, Umbanda, and Macumba are all mixtures of Roman Catholicism, various African religions, and the beliefs of Brazilian Indians. Religious practices include inviting "spirits" (i.e., demons) to possess the worshipers. Many Brazilians practice both traditional Roman Catholicism and Candomble. Macumba practitioners do black magic. Kardecism is a form of spiritism which includes belief in reincarnation. [Note 28 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

Santeria is a Caribbean religion which combines Roman Catholicism with African religions. People who practice Santeria often practice regular Catholicism as well. Cities with large Hispanic populations usually have Santeria. [Note 29 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

In the Philippines, during Holy Week (the week preceding Easter), there are "folk rituals". These include "penitential processions" with hundreds of men who whip themselves until their backs are covered with blood. Some people are literally crucified at the end of a Passion Play on Good Friday (but they are only left on the cross for a short time). The crucifixions first began in 1961 with a "healer" who wanted to be crucified in order to acquire "sacred power" for "esoteric healing". Following his example, many other "healers" were also crucified. The practice spread and was no longer limited to "healers". Some people have come from foreign countries in order to be crucified. Women have been crucified. [Note 30 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

CONCLUSION

When people are used to being told what to believe, then what protection do they have against false teaching? Especially if it comes from authority figures like priests and nuns.

It is far more difficult to deceive people who have a real understanding of the Bible, and who habitually check things out against Scripture. Especially if they are also in the habit of humbly asking God to guide them and to correct them if they get off track.

The Bible gives us some beautiful examples of humble prayers for guidance, instruction, and correction.

"Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults." (Psalm 19:12)

"With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments." (Psalm 119:10)

"Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." (Psalm 25:4-5)

"Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me." (Psalm 119:133)

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139: 23-24)

 

Chapter 13

A False Comparison

 

Some Catholic apologists portray Protestant churches as being unstable, constantly splitting into new denominations, and full of wide-spread disagreement about foundational issues. (I've had them tell me that there are 25,000 to 30,000 different Protestant denominations.) They contrast this with the Roman Catholic Church, which they portray as being solid and unified. They say that when people interpret the Bible for themselves, it results in chaos and division, as shown by the many Protestant denominations. They conclude that, therefore, Protestantism doesn't work, and interpreting the Bible should only be done by the Catholic hierarchy. [Note 1] In other words, Protestants should become Catholics.

However, the picture of Protestant division and the picture of Catholic unity are both greatly exaggerated. The "chaos" is an illusion. And the resulting conclusion is therefore not valid.

THERE IS BASIC UNITY AMONG PROTESTANTS

There are some beliefs which define Christianity. These include things such as the Incarnation (Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man), the Atonement (Jesus Christ died for our salvation), the Resurrection of Jesus, the Second Coming of Jesus, and the authority of Scripture. These are not negotiable. Any person who does not believe them is not a Christian.

Some things are negotiable. These include things such as the form of baptism, the kind of worship music, the form of church structure and organization, defining the relationship between free will and predestination, and eschatology (beliefs about what will happen during the End Times). These are important issues. They can affect the quality of a person's Christian life. But they do not determine whether or not a person is a Christian. These are areas in which Christians can agree to disagree.

Differences among genuine Protestants occur in the second area, the negotiable items. They could be compared to flavors of ice cream. There are many kinds of ice cream, but they are all ice cream. They aren't pie, or cake, or salad. In real life, people know when they are eating ice cream, and when they are eating something else.

Some Catholic apologists say that there are 30,000 different Protestant denominations. This is not true. Dr. Eric Svendsen has made an in-depth study of this claim. There is no valid foundation for it. His book "On This Slippery Rock" has a chapter about it, which you can read on-line. Dr. Svendsen also has an on-line article about diversity in Catholic beliefs. [Note 2 gives addresses.]

I looked in my Yellow Pages under "churches". It listed Catholic churches, Orthodox churches, a few cults, and 73 varieties of Protestant churches. Of the Protestant varieties, many are obviously variations of the same thing. For example, it listed nine different kinds of Baptist churches.

Let's compare this to something in everyday life. There is a huge difference between cats and dogs and horses. Now if you narrow it down to dogs, there are many different varieties. And within each variety, there are subgroups. For example, there are different kinds of collies and different kinds of poodles.

Catholic apologists act as if differences in Protestant churches are like the huge differences between cats and horses and birds and dogs. In reality, they are like the differences between different kinds of dogs (variations in the same kind of thing.) Often, they are like the differences between different kinds of poodles or different kinds of collies (small variations in things which are essentially the same).

THERE IS DIVERSITY AMONG CATHOLICS

The appearance of unity among Catholics is misleading. There are actually major differences in theology and in practice. I will only discuss a few of them, by way of example. Malachi Martin's most recent book, "Windswept House," deals with some other differences. Although it is a novel, it deals with real issues.

Protestants who have differences in practice and belief identify themselves by different names. They openly acknowledge their differences. However, Catholics who have differences in practice and belief still call themselves by the same name (Roman Catholic), and they say that the Pope is their leader. This gives a false impression of unity.

In spite of verbally saying that the Pope is their leader, there are Catholic priests and theologians who openly defy the Pope's authority. Malachi Martin wrote about some of them in his book, "The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church". [Note 3] There are also feminist nuns who openly defy the Pope. (These will be discussed later.)

There are conservative Catholics who want to do things the "old" way that things were done before the Second Vatican Council. This includes having Mass said in Latin.

An ultra conservative group called True Catholic believes that Pope John II is not a valid pope because he has promoted "heresy" (things which are contrary to Catholic doctrine which was "infallibly" declared by previous popes). They believe that as a result the papacy has been vacant. In order to remedy the situation, they have elected a pope. [Their web site has information about this. Note 4 gives the address.]

There are Catholic theologians who teach liberation theology, which equates "salvation" with armed revolution. There are gun-toting Catholic priests who fight alongside communist guerillas, working for communist revolution. [Note 5] I first heard about them from a Latin American friend who personally witnessed the destruction and confusion which they have caused.

As we will see, some Catholic priests and nuns teach things which are clearly contrary to basic Christian doctrine. Yet they are still allowed to teach in the name of the Catholic Church, and to hold positions of influence and authority. I ran into some of this when I took classes in Religious Education at a Catholic college in the mid-1960s. Since then, it has become more widespread, and the teachings have become more extreme.

BIOETHICS

The Catholic Church has traditionally been a champion of sanctity of life. However, some Catholic priests at a prestigious Catholic university are actively working to undermine the sanctity of human life, both theoretically and in practical ways.

Georgetown University is run by Jesuit priests. It is the home of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, which is headed by a Jesuit priest. Some of its faculty members are also Jesuit priests.

The Kennedy Institute of Ethics actively promotes abortion and euthanasia, which are contrary to the traditional Catholic belief in the sanctity of human life. It is working to have "death" be redefined to include people in "irreversible" comas, so that doctors can get better quality organs for transplants. This is documented in the book "Culture of Death". The Introduction to the book is available on-line. [Note 6 gives the address.]

The Kennedy Institute of Ethics trains doctors, nurses, lawyers, legislators, teachers, and hospital administrators. It also has an annual summer "Intensive Bioethics Course" which is attended by people from around the world. It has branches in Asia and Europe. According to the woman I spoke with, it has the most comprehensive library of bioethics literature in the world.

NEW AGE TEACHINGS AND PRACTICES

The "New Age" is actually a resurgence of old paganism which has been "westernized" and dressed up in modern vocabulary. It denies foundational Christian doctrines and basic Christian morality. It is totally contrary to the "official teachings" of the Catholic Church. But in spite of this, there are Catholic priests and nuns who are openly promoting New Age beliefs and practices. This is an area in which there is a wide diversity of beliefs among Catholics.

The chapter "New Age Catholicism" has a good deal of detailed, carefully documented information about this. It comes primarily from Catholic authors and Catholic web sites.

I am only giving a brief summary here. I realize that it is a lot to take in all at once. Therefore, I am giving you some on-line articles, so you can see this information for yourself. [Note 7 gives the addresses of the articles.]

Some Catholic priests are teaching trusting Catholics to engage in occult practices, including "channeling" (having "spirits" speak through you). Some feminist nuns participate in pagan rituals, worship "the goddess," and practice witchcraft.

There are Catholic retreat houses which promote New Age practices. A Catholic priest runs a Catholic-Hindu "house of prayer" which has statues of Hindu gods, plus a crucifix.

Some Catholic schools no longer teach foundational Christian doctrines, such as the Resurrection. Instead, they teach New Age beliefs. There are Catholic colleges which give workshops on withcraft rituals, channeling, and goddess worship.

There are feminist nuns who promote lesbianism. A lesbian play which is verbally pornographic has been performed at nine Catholic universities and colleges, with the approval of the priests and nuns who run the schools. At one Catholic college, one of the actresses was a nun. [Note 8 gives addresses of on-line articles.]

These New Age beliefs and practices are contrary to traditional Catholic teaching. Lesbianism and pornography are contrary to traditional Catholic morality.

FIRE INSURANCE

Another area of diversity is the approach toward some old fashioned Catholic "devotions". I will illustrate this with one example.

Can Catholics be sure of getting into Heaven if they wear a specific religious item showing devotion to Mary? Modern theologians and apologists will probably tell you, "Of course not!" However, as we will see, there are Catholics who believe that Mary will give them "fire insurance" if they follow her directions.

According to tradition, on July 16, 1251, the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Simon Stock, holding a Brown Scapular (two pieces of brown cloth attached by strings). She promised him, "Whoever dies clothed in this [the scapular] shall not suffer eternal fire." This promise is for people who belong to the religious order of the Carmelites, or who are associated with them. Catholics can be "enrolled" into the "family of Carmel" by any Carmelite or authorized Catholic priest. In 1965, Pope Paul VI encouraged Catholics to wear the Brown Scapular and pray the Rosary. [Note 9 gives addresses of articles from Catholic web sites.]

Catholics who wear the Brown Scapular can also qualify for the "Sabbatine Privilege" if they fulfill certain religious requirements. The "Sabbatine Privilege" is a promise that if they go to Purgatory, Mary will get their Purgatory time shortened. [Note 10 gives addresses of articles from Catholic web sites.]

There are other Catholic devotional practices which have promises attached to them. They often involve the use of medals, rosaries, pictures, different kinds of scapulars, and specific prayers. There is even a "five way medal" which consists of a cross with medals at the end of each of the four arms. This enables people to wear a cross and four different medals at the same time in a neat and orderly way. (Five items on five separate chains could become quite tangled.) There are also "four way medals" which have four medals in the general shape of a cross. Sometimes the medal is enclosed in a circle. Some of these medals are solid gold, and quite expensive. You can see them on-line. [Note 11 gives addresses.]

I have known Catholics with a wide range of approaches to these "devotions". Some considered them to be old fashioned, or even superstitious. Others took them quite seriously. I knew one woman who was so devoted to praying the rosary that even when she was carrying on a conversation, her rosary beads were going through her fingers.

THE PROBLEM OF MISTAKES

Should men and women interpret the Bible for themselves? They might make mistakes. This is a problem because nobody is immune from making mistakes.

But mistakes can be corrected. We serve a living God who loves us. He is able to correct us if we get off track. Look at some of the prayers in the Bible.

"Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults." (Psalm 19:12)

"Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me." (Psalm 119:133)

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139: 23-24)

Men and women who study the Bible and interpret it for themselves may sometimes make mistakes. But if people do not know the Bible well, and they are not used to understanding Scripture for themselves, then they will be easily persuaded by authority figures who teach unbiblical things. In order to test a teaching, people need something solid to compare it to.

Catholics are used to trusting priests and nuns, and accepting whatever they teach them. Catholics have not been taught how to test things, and check them out against Scripture.

The possibility of making mistakes is something that we have to deal with all the time. For example, there are no perfect parents. Fathers and mothers make mistakes. But that doesn't mean that children should be raised by "experts" in institutions instead of being raised by their parents. ("Experts" make mistakes, too. Look at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, and the Catholic colleges which produced a lesbian, verbally pornographic play.)

The learning process always involves the risk of making mistakes. Hebrews 5:14 says that it is "by reason of use" that people "have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." In other words, it takes time and practice to learn to discern things for ourselves. But God expects us to do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says that we should "prove [test] all things; hold fast that which is good." In other words, test everything and only keep what's good.

Romans 8:28 says that "All things work together for good to them that love God." That includes our mistakes. God is big enough and powerful enough and loving enough to make even our mistakes work out for our good. He is "able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy". (Jude 1:24)

The Catholic approach says, "You might make a mistake. I'll do your thinking for you."

The Protestant approach says, "Even if you do make a mistake, our God is able to turn it around and use it for good. Do your best and with the guidance of God's Word and the Holy Spirit, you will be able to grow into a mature Christian who is able to handle God's Word correctly ("rightly dividing the word of truth"). (2 Timothy 2:15)

CONCLUSION

Although Catholics have a common name and acknowledge a common leader, there is actually a wide variety of practices and beliefs within Roman Catholicism. For a concrete example of this, compare Mother Teresa with nuns who practice witchcraft.

Although there are variations in Protestant churches, genuine Protestants are in agreement about the foundational doctrines of Christianity. Their differences concern the practical application of how to nurture, develop, and express our Christian life.

It is somewhat comparable to nutrition. There are numerous approaches to nutrition, and "experts" still don't fully understand it. All parents agree that we need to feed our children. But they have different ideas about what constitutes the best way of feeding them. Similarly, Protestant churches have different ideas about what is the best way to feed Christian "sheep".

Chapter 14

Conclusion

 

There was a time when James and John wanted to call down fire upon some people. "But [Jesus] turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." (Luke 9:55, emphasis added)

Can the same thing be said of the Roman Catholic Church?

If you want to know what something really is, then look at how it behaves when it is in a position of power.

You have seen some of the things that the Catholic Church has done when it was in a position of power. How do they compare with the way that Jesus and the Apostles treated people?

Read the Gospels and the Book of Acts and compare what you see in the Bible with what you see in the Roman Catholic Church. Are they operating in the same spirit?

There is an old saying about the Roman Catholic Church that when it is in the minority, then it is as meek as a lamb. When it has equal power, then it is as sly as a fox. And when it is in the majority (and therefore in a position of power), then it is as fierce as a tiger.

Appendix

"According to Tradition . . ."

 

We often hear the expression, "According to tradition...". But how reliable are these statements? The following illustrates that people's confidence in these traditions can be disproportionate to the evidence supporting them.

According to tradition, around 40 A.D., the Apostle James (the Greater) was in Saragossa, Spain. He was discouraged because his mission had failed. Mary appeared to him. She gave him a pillar (column) of jasper wood, and a small wooden statue of herself. She also told him to build a church in her honor. This is considered to be the first apparition of Mary. [Note 1]

There are some problems with this story. In the first place, in 40 A.D., Mary may well have been alive. (It was only a few years after Jesus was crucified.) If she was alive, then how could she "appear" to anybody?

In the second place, the early Christians didn't have churches. They met in people's homes. (See Acts 2:46; Acts 20:20; Romans 16:19; 1 Corinthian 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2, which all refer to churches meeting in people's homes.) The Book of Acts ends around 60 A.D., when Paul was in Rome. There is no record of any church buildings. (This is about 20 years after Mary supposedly appeared to James and told him to build a church in her honor.)

Furthermore, starting with the stoning of Stephen, Christians were killed for their faith. It is basic common sense that people who are being killed for their faith do not want to call attention to their religious gatherings. That is not a good time to build church buildings.

According to tradition, in the eighth century, a hermit "discovered" the body of the Apostle James (the Greater) in Saragossa, Spain. [Note 2] This discovery is questionable in view of the fact that (as we shall see) the Catholic Church has a history of fake discoveries of relics (bodies of saints, pieces of the "true" cross, the nails which were used to crucify Jesus, bread from the Feeding of the Five Thousand, etc.).

Relics were believed to have spiritual power to protect people from demons, give them victory in war, and bless them in other ways. People wore small relics on chains around their necks, as charms for protection. Churches were built over the bodies of saints. Important relics drew pilgrims, which brought money. Bodies of saints were stolen and portions of them were sold for money. Kings and bishops took great risks to steal the bodies of important saints. Towns that had relics prospered and expanded. Fraudulent relics were sold. Graveyards were robbed, and the bodies were passed off as relics of saints. [Note 3]

Relics were important for raising money. Historian Paul Johnson says, "A cathedral without a well-known saint was missing an important source of revenue". [Note 4]

A great cathedral was built in Saragossa in honor of Our Lady of the Pillar. (It is in an area of Saragossa known as Campostella.) It is a major pilgrimage site. The wooden statue of Mary, and the pillar (the column of jasper wood) can be seen on special occasions. [Note 5]

The cathedral in Saragossa has a statue of Our Lady of the Pillar which wears clothing. It has a crown made of 25 pounds of gold and diamonds, with so many diamonds that you can hardly see the gold. In addition, it has six other crowns of gold, diamonds, and emeralds. It has 365 mantles, embroidered with gold and covered with roses of diamonds and other precious stones. It has 365 necklaces of pearls and diamonds, and six chains of gold set with diamonds. The cathedral has another statue of Mary which is five feet high, made of pure silver set with precious stones, with a diamond-studded crown of pure gold. [Note 6]

According to tradition, the head of the Apostle James (the Greater) is buried in Jerusalem. It is in the Cathedral of St. James. This conflicts with the Saragossa tradition. [Note 7]

 

Biography

 

I started out as a "liberal" intellectual who was prejudiced against Christianity. I had been taught to believe that Christians were gullible people who were either stupid or uneducated. I was basically an agnostic who didn't know or care whether God existed. For me, the idea of God was irrelevant. I looked to science, psychology, and politics to save mankind from its problems.

During my senior year in high school, I fell in love with a young man who was a devout Catholic. That was my first encounter with someone who strongly believed in God. I may have met Christians before that, but they didn't make their Christian beliefs known to me.

This young man prayed. He was a man of integrity. His life was guided by his religious beliefs. He had a kind of compassion and respect for people that I had not seen before. I wanted it. I figured that it had something to do with his religion, so I started taking instruction in Catholicism. The young man moved away, but I continued studying Catholicism.

During my first year of college I went to a local priest every week for instruction. Under his direction, I studied many books including the "Baltimore Catechism" and biographies of well known modern Catholics. (This was in the days of the Latin Mass, before there was a formal catechumen program.) I was unable to return to college the following year. I found another priest and continued studying Catholicism. The priest gave me books to study including a series of booklets on Scripture. (There was a booklet for each book of the Bible. On each page, the top half of the page contained Scripture and the bottom half contained a Catholic commentary about those portions of Scripture.)

My job was close to a Catholic Church, and I went to Mass during lunch hour. I prayed for God to give me faith. I was praying even though I wasn't sure that God existed. My very first prayer was, "God, if You're out there, show me." I didn't take communion because I wasn't a Catholic. I only said as much of the Apostles Creed as I actually believed. It was a long time before I could even say the opening phrase, "I believe in God".

After several years I was baptized a Roman Catholic. Soon afterwards, my brother also became a Catholic. His instruction was through group classes. I attended those classes with him. I was hungry to learn anything that I could about God.

I went to a Catholic college and majored in Religious Education. My classes on Scripture taught a lot of modern "higher criticism," and some of my Religious Education teachers taught things that seemed to be contrary to the official teachings of the Catholic Church. I found a conservative priest and I checked teachings out with him to see if they were the official teaching of the Catholic Church. Because I no longer trusted the teachings of the Religious Education department, I changed majors.

When I entered the convent, I was careful to choose a conservative one which followed the official teachings of the Catholic Church. My training for religious life included studying the documents of the Second Vatican Counsel, other books relating to Catholic doctrine, and biographies of well known saints.

I spent over two years as a postulant and a novice. This was a time of testing for the leaders of the convent, and for me, to decide whether or not I should make vows. My mother superior had some questions about my calling, and she and the leadership decided that I should not remain in the convent. I left the convent on good terms and have occasionally been in contact with the sisters since then.

Our mother superior was very careful about which priests she allowed to say Mass at our convent. We had priests who were loyal to God and to the Catholic Church. They believed the Bible. They were faithful men.

When I left the convent and went to live with my parents, I couldn't find priests like that. The local priests seemed to have little faith and little loyalty, either to God or to the Catholic Church. I remember one Mass where the homily (a short sermon) was so distressing that I left in tears. I stayed outside, weeping. But then I went back in, in order to take communion. I tried every Catholic church in town, but I couldn't find a good priest.

I vividly remember a priest who was spoke about Luke 7:38-50. This was the time when Jesus ate in the home of a Pharisee and a woman came and wept and washed Jesus' feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair, and anointed them with ointment. The Pharisee was critical. Jesus told him that he had not washed Jesus' feet, but the woman did. He had not greeted Jesus with a kiss, but the woman kissed his feet. The Catholic priest said that this event must not have really happened, because it would be rude for a guest to say something like that to his host, and Jesus would never have been rude. This illustrates an attitude towards Scripture which I encountered with a number of priests. It was very distressing.

Meanwhile, my parents had become Christians. They attended a Protestant church where the pastor believed the Bible and loved the people. Because the local Catholic churches were distressing, I started doing the splits. I went to early morning Mass and then I attended my parents' church. I did the splits for years.

I made myself go to Mass out of duty. But I went to my parents' church eagerly. I learned exciting things about the Bible there. I sang songs that stirred my soul. I took classes that made me more and more hungry for Scripture. I got to know people who were enthusiastic about God. I learned that Biblical principles really work, and that they make a significant practical difference in real life situations.

As I learned more about the Bible, I began to realize that some Catholic teachings are contrary to Scripture. This was disturbing, but I kind of pushed those contradictions to the back of my mind and didn't deal with them. They made me uneasy, but I wasn't emotionally able to handle the idea that there might be something wrong with the Catholic Church.

My brother was a devout Catholic. He assisted the priests at Mass for many years. He lived several hours' drive away from us. We had a tradition that on Easter and Christmas, he would come visit and we would go to Midnight Mass together.

One Christmas, at Midnight Mass, the priest taught that the Christmas story as presented in the Bible is basically a pious fairy tale to make people feel good, but it has nothing to do with reality. My brother got so angry that he wanted to jump up and shout, "Are we here to celebrate it or to debate it?"

The next day, we went to church with our parents. The pastor there told us that Daniel had been in charge of the "wise men" of Babylon (magi). Therefore, they knew about Baalam's prophecy that the King of the Jews would be heralded by a star. Their religion included watching the stars for signs. So when they saw the special star, they realized that it signaled the coming of this special King of the Jews. Also, one of their functions was to decide who the valid king was if there was a controversy about it. So when they came to confirm that Jesus was truly the King of the Jews, they were fulfilling their official function.

Needless to say, the contrast was striking. And troubling. I did a lot of praying after that. By the following Easter, I had left the Catholic Church and joined my parents' church.

I didn't know what to tell my brother and his wife, because they were coming to visit at Easter, and I did not want to go to Midnight Mass with them. We had a long, awkward telephone conversation. Then I finally told them. They started laughing. They had also left the Catholic Church, and were in the process of visiting different churches, trying to find a church home.

There was a prayer that had a major impact on my life, but I don't remember the exact words. When I prayed it, I was crying and I didn't know why. And afterwards, things were different, but it's hard to put into words. The prayer was something like this:

"Jesus, I want to know You. Please reveal Yourself to me and make the Bible come alive for me. I want to be clean and start over again. Please forgive my sins. Wash them away and set me free. I want to live right. Please change my heart. Help me love what You love, and turn away from things that displease You. You know what's best for me. I want to do things Your way. Please be the Lord of my life. Teach me to love the way You love. Help me be faithful to You. Thank You for loving me and for hearing this prayer. Thank You for being my Lord and my Savior."

Since then I have been struggling with issues related to Catholicism. This book emerged from that struggle. In addition to being a former nun, I am also a widow. My husband and I were very close, and his death introduced me to a level of emotional pain that I didn't know was possible. But God is faithful.

 

Poems

 

YOUR WORD

Your Word brings life to save my soul.

Your Truth brings light to make me whole.

Your perfect love casts out my fears,

Comforts me, and dries my tears.

I'm in the shadow of Your wings

Where you teach my heart to sing.

Safe and secure from all alarm,

Your faithful love keeps me from harm.

I will bless You all my days.

You fill my heart with songs of praise.

 

JESUS, SON OF DAVID

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.

Light my path and guide my way.

Make me faithful, so I'll stay

Close to You throughout the day,

Devoted to You in every way.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.

Open my eyes that I may see

The precious truth that You have for me.

Open my heart to love as You do.

Enable me to be faithful and true.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.

GOD'S LOVE

The God who made the world has always loved us.

Before we drew a breath, our heart was known.

God created us to live with Him forever,

To sing and dance with joy before His throne.

Our time on earth is hard, but it is fleeting.

No matter how things seem, God's always there.

He'll guide us and protect us and watch over us,

And take away each tear and fear and care.

And when the toil and pain and fear have ended,

When sorrow's gone, and all we know is love,

Then we and God will celebrate forever,

Rejoicing with the saints in Heaven above.

 

JESUS, YOU'RE THE LOVE

Jesus, You're the love who'll never leave me.

You're the love who'll always understand.

You will not forsake me or deceive me.

You'll stay by my side until the end.

When I'm afraid, You'll wrap Your arms around me.

You're the faithful friend who's tried and true.

No matter what the troubles that surround me

You will find a way to get me through.

Your love is strong, it's deeper than the ocean.

It's higher than the moon and stars above.

When earth and stars are gone and time has ended,

I'll still live, rejoicing in Your love.

 

You have my permission to set these poems to music. I don't want any royalties.

Notes

 

CHAPTER 1 -- INTRODUCTION

There are no notes for this chapter.

CHAPTER 2 -- ANATHEMAS

1. "Anathema" in "The Catholic Encyclopedia" (1913 edition), Volume 1. This article is available on-line. The ritual is described in detail, with a lengthy quotation, on pages 2-3 of my print-out.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm

2. "Inquisition" in "The Catholic Encyclopedia" (1913 edition), Volume 8. This article is available on-line. The quotation is from the second paragraph of the article. The Office of the Inquisition is an ecclesiastical institution for suppressing heresy. It is a permanent office with headquarters in Rome (described on pages 1 and 23-24 of my print-out).

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm

For a Protestant perspective on the Inquisition, you can go to the following article. It is on the web site of Bart Brewer, who is a former Catholic priest.

http://mtc.org/~bart/inquis.htm

3. Canon 752 in "Code of Canon Law," Latin English edition, New English Translation (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), page 247.

4. Canons 1311 and 1312 in "Code of Canon Law," page 409.

5. Following is a link to an article on the Vatican's web site. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/index.htm [Click on "Profile".]

The Vatican web site is slow and it doesn't always come up. You can also find information about the change of name of the Office of the Inquisition at the following sites:

http://www.geocities.com/iberianinquisition/office.html

http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Student_Work/Trial96/breu/timeline.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1251000/1251677.stm

6. "Ineffabilis Deus" ("Apostolic Constitution on the Immaculate Conception"). Encyclical of Pope Pius IX issued December 8, 1854. Near the end of this papal bull there is a section entitled "The Definition". The statements that I described are in the last paragraph of that section. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.newadvent.org/docs/pi09id.htm

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius09/p9ineff.htm

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/bvm00013.htm

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius09/p9ineff.htm

7. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity" (New York: Simon & Schuster, a Touchstone Book, 1995), page 308. Paul Johnson is a prominent historian and a Catholic.

8."Munificentissimus Deus" ("Defining the Dogma of the Assumption"), paragraph 47. Encyclical of Pope Pius XII issued November 1, 1950. This papal bull is available on-line.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius12/P12MUNIF.HTM

9. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 199.

CHAPTER 3 -- THE COUNCIL OF TRENT

1. This article from a Baptist web site gives general information about the Council of Trent. It quotes a number of decrees relating to Evangelical doctrines.

http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/trent.htm

This article is from a Catholic web site which is run by a Catholic priest. It has quotations from the Council of Trent on several subjects, including 11 decrees dealing with communion.

http://www.trosch.org/chu/trent-1.htm

This link gives the canons of the Council of Trent dealing with communion (the eucharist).

http://codesign.scu.edu/arth12/text_counciloftrent.html

The entire text of the Council of Trent is available on-line.

http://history.hanover.edu/early/trent.htm

http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ctbull.html

http://www.pax-et-veritas.org/Councils/trent/trent.htm

2. "Lumen Gentium" ("Dogmatic Constitution on the Church"), paragraph 51. In Austin Flannery (Editor), "Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents," Volume 1, New Revised Edition, fourth printing (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Company, 1998), page 412.

3. "Optatum Totius" ("Decree on Priestly Training"), Conclusion. In Austin Flannery (Editor), "Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents," Volume 1, page 724.

4. You can check this out for yourself. Following are addresses for two web sites which have the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" with a search engine.

http://www.christusrex.org/www2/kerygma/ccc/searchcat.html

http://www.scborromeo.org

5. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" (Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic Conference, 2000), Paragraph 891. This is available on-line.

http://www.christusrex.org/www2/kerygma/ccc/searchcat.html

http://www.scborromeo.org

CHAPTER 4 -- ECUMENISM

1. "Unitatis Redintegratio ("Decree on Ecumenism"), Paragraph 24. In Austin Flannery (Editor), "Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents," Volume 1, New Revised Edition, fourth printing (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Company, 1998), page 470.

2. "Reflections and Suggestions Concerning Ecumenical Dialogue" (Post Conciliar Document No. 42). In Austin Flannery (Editor), "Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents," Volume 1, New Revised Edition, fourth printing, pages 540-541. The quotation is on page 541.

3. Pope Pius IX, "Quanto Conficiamur Moerore" ("On Promotion of False Doctrines"), August 10, 1863, paragraph 8. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius09/p9quanto.htm

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0255d.htm

http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P9QUANTO.HTM

Pope Pius IX, "Nostis et Nobiscum" ("On the Church in the Pontifical States"), December 8, 1849, paragraph number 10. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius09/p9nostis.htm

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0255z.htm

http://ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P9NOSTIS.HTM

4. Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam," November 18, 1302. This short encyclical is available on-line. The quotation is at the very end of it.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Bon08/B8unam.htm

http://faculty.juniata.edu/tuten/unam.html

http://www.catholicism.org/pages/unam.htm

http://www.newadvent.org/docs/bo08us.htm

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/b8-unam.html

5. "Catechism of the Catholic Church" (Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic Conference, 2000), paragraph 891. This book comes in numerous editions and languages. Because it has numbered paragraphs, statements can be accurately located in spite of the variety of editions. The "Catechism" is available on-line with a search engine.

http://www.christusrex.org/www2/kerygma/ccc/searchcat.html

http://www.scborromeo.org

6. Canon 1366, "Code of Canon Law," Latin English edition, New English Translation (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), page 427. Canon Laws provide the legal basis for everything that the Roman Catholic Church does. Even the Inquisition and the persecution of Protestants were based on Canon Law.

7. The Opening Speech of Pope John XXIII to the Second Vatican Council is available on-line. See the section entitled "How to Repress Errors".

http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/v2.html

http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/teach/v2open.htm

http://www.saint-mike.org/Library/Papal_Library/JohnXXIII/Opening_Speech_VaticanII.html

http://www.rc.net/rcchurch/vatican2/j23open.txt

CHAPTER 5 -- SPIRITUAL INTIMIDATION

1. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity" ( New York: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1976, 1995), page 199. Paul Johnson is a prominent historian and a Catholic.

2. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," Updated Second Edition (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, 1995), page 185.

3. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church" (New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981), pages 133-134. Malachi Martin recently died. He was a Catholic priest, a Vatican insider, and the personal confessor of Pope John XXIII.

4. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," page 185.

5. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," pages 185-186.

6. Clifford Pereira, "Glimpses of Church History, 1200 - 1300". On-line article.

http://www.goa-world.net/overseas-digest/Archives%202/history%208.html

7. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 199.

8. Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam," November 18, 1302. This is a short encyclical. The quotation is at the very end of it. This papal bull available on-line.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Bon08/B8unam.htm

http://faculty.juniata.edu/tuten/unam.html

http://www.catholicism.org/pages/unam.htm

http://www.newadvent.org/docs/bo08us.htm

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/b8-unam.html

9. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," pages 137-145.

10. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," pages 196-197. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," page 140.

11. "Code of Canon Law," Latin-English Edition, New English Translation, pages 416, 427-435. Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1998.

12. Dr. Mark F. Montebello, "Civil Rights in Malta's Post-Colonial Age," Part III, "Independence According to the British," first subheading, "The Most Shameful Episode". This article is available on-line. The information is on page 1 of my print-out. http://www.maltamag.com/features/civil_rights3.html

13. E.C. Schembri, "The Making of a Statesman". This is an article about Mintoff, the Labor Party candidate in Malta's 1962 election. The information is on page 2 of my print-out. http://members.tripod.com/~bezzul/mintoff2.html

14. Joe Mizzi, "Liberty of Conscience". On-line article by a citizen of Malta.

http://www.justforcatholics.org/a76.htm

15. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" (Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic Conference, 2000), Paragraphs 1854-1856, 1863. The "Catechism" summarizes the essential and basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It was approved by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and the English translation was released in 1994. The latest English edition was printed in 2000. It is available on-line, with a search engine.

http://www.christusrex.org/www2/kerygma/ccc/searchcat.html

http://www.scborromeo.org

16. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church," Paragraphs 1033, 1874.

17. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church," Paragraphs 1395, 1424, 1449, 1484, 1497.

CHAPTER 6 -- HUNTING "HERETICS"

1. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity" (New York: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1995), pages 112-119. Paul Johnson is a Catholic and a prominent historian. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," Updated 2nd Edition (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), page 128.

2. Canon 751, "Code of Canon Law," Latin-English Edition, New English Translation (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1989), page 247. According to Canon 751, "heresy" applies to people who have been baptized. However, most Catholics are baptized as infants, when they have no say in the matter. Also, the law does not say that it only applies to baptized Catholics, so it could be interpreted to apply to people who have been baptized as Protestants. During the Protestant Reformation, people who had been born and raised Protestant were killed as "heretics". For centuries, the Waldensians and other Bible-believing Christians (who were never baptized as Catholics) were persecuted as "heretics". In Spain, Jews and Muslims (unbaptized people) were persecuted as "heretics".

3. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 273.

4. "Tyndale, William" in the "World Book Encyclopedia 2000" (on CD-Rom). Information about William Tyndale is available on-line.

http://www.hertford.ox.ac.uk/alumni/tyndale.htm

http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9707/web/tyndale.html

http://www.cantonbaptist.org/halloffame/tyndale.htm

http://www.williamtyndale.com/0welcomewilliamtyndale.htm

http://www.llano.net/baptist/tyndale.htm

5. If you want to get a feel for the times, then read the book "God's Outlaw" by Brian H. Edwards (England: Evangelical Press, 1976, 1999). This book is available at regular book stores.

6. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," pages 254-255; 273.

7. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," pages 119-120.

8. Gabriel Audisio (translated by Claire Davison), "The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival" (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pages 11-12. "Francis, Saint" and "Francis, Saint, Conversion" in Encyclopedia.com (an on-line encyclopedia published by Columbia University; it has a search engine).

http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/04681.html

http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/04681Conversion.html

9. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," pages 207-208. Dr. Bill Jackson, "Waldenses". This article is on-line. I encourage you to read it. Dr. Jackson combines excellent scholarship with touching portraits of heroic people.

http://www.angelfire.com/ky/dodone/NA5.html

10. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 251.

11. Clifford Pereira, "Glimpses of Church History, 1200 - 1300". On-line article.

http://www.goa-world.net/overseas-digest/Archives%202/history%208.html

12. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," page 185.

13. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," page 215.

14. Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam," November 18, 1302. This short encyclical is available on-line. The quotation is at the very end of it.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Bon08/B8unam.htm

http://faculty.juniata.edu/tuten/unam.html

http://www.catholicism.org/pages/unam.htm

http://www.newadvent.org/docs/bo08us.htm

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/b8-unam.html

15. Gabriel Audisio, "The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival," page 11.

16. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," pages 206-209.

17. "Waldenses" in Encyclopedia.com.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/13592.html

18. Gabriel Audisio, "The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival" (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1999), summary from the back cover of the book. J. McCabe, "The Waldensians". This article is on-line.

http://orthodox.truepath.com/articles/catholicism/oppression/Waldensians.htm

19. Gabriel Audisio, "The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival," pages 189-190. "Waldenses" in Encyclopedia.com.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/13592.html

J. McCabe, "The Waldensians". This article is on-line.

http://orthodox.truepath.com/articles/catholicism/oppression/Waldensians.htm

Dr. Bill Jackson, "Waldenses". This article is on-line.

http://www.angelfire.com/ky/dodone/NA5.html

20. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," pages 253-255. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," pages 211-212.

21. "Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," page 231.

22. Dave Hunt, "A Woman Rides the Beast" (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), page 246.

23. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 308.

24. Dave Hunt, "A Woman Rides the Beast," page 253.

25. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 353.

26. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," page 274.

27. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 308.

28. Following is a link to an article on the Vatican's web site. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/index.htm [Click on "Profile".]

The Vatican web site is slow and it doesn't always come up. You can also find information about the change of name of the Office of the Inquisition at the following sites:

http://www.geocities.com/iberianinquisition/office.html

http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Student_Work/Trial96/breu/timeline.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1251000/1251677.stm

29. Bruce L. Shelley, "Church History in Plain Language," pages 225-231. "Lolladry" in Encyclopedia.com.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/07588.html

30. Quoted in Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 318.

CHAPTER 7 -- CREDENTIALS

1. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church" (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981), pages 31-33. A major theme of this book is the radical change which occurred in the Church as a result of Constantine. Malachi Martin recently died. He was a Catholic priest, a theologian, and a Vatican insider. He was the personal confessor of Pope John XXIII.

2. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity" (New York: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1995), pages 67-68. Paul Johnson is a Catholic and a prominent historian.

3. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," page 33. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 67. Information about the days of the week being named for pagan gods and goddesses can be found in a good dictionary. Look up each day of the week, and "Saturn". I used "Webster's Dictionary," 1941 edition, which gives the origins of words.

4. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," pages 68-69.

5. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 69.

6. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," pages 33-34.

7. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," pages 34-35.

8. James G. McCarthy, "The Gospel According to Rome" (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), pages 231-232. James McCarthy is a former Catholic.

9. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 69.

10. Theodosius was forbidden to go into the Cathedral of Milan or to take the sacraments. This is excommunication, being cut off from the Church. Theodosius had to repent in order to be restored to the Church. Articles about this event are on-line at the following addresses.

"Ambrose, Saint" in "The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia," Sixth Edition, copyright 2000. http://www.encyclopedia.com/articlesnew/00413.html

"Theodosius I" in "The Catholic Encyclopedia," Volume 14. This article is available on-line.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14577d.htm

"St. Ambrose Humiliates Theodosius the Great".

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/theodoret-ambrose1.html

Christopher S. Mackay, "Theodosius". See the section "Theodosius in the Thrall of Ambrose"

http://www.ualberta.ca/~csmackay/CLASS_379/Theodosius.html

11. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," pages 113-119.

12. Vatican finances are a major theme of David Yallop's book, "In God's Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I." This book is well written, thoroughly researched, and gripping. (Don't start reading it before bed because it's hard to put the book down. You may wind up reading all night.) Vatican insiders asked Yallop to investigate the Pope's death because they believed that he had been murdered. Yallop did his homework. He interviewed Mafia gangsters and Vatican insiders.

13. On-line articles about Weems and the cherry tree story are at the following addresses.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/gw/gwmoral.html

http://www.virginia.edu/gwpapers/lesson/life/life1.html

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/trialheroes/HEROSEARCH2.html

14. These different beliefs and practices are described by Malachi Martin in "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," pages 11-28. Martin was a Catholic priest, an eminent theologian, and a professor at the Vatican's Pontifical Institute.

15. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church," page 132.

16. "Catechism of the Catholic Church" (Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic Conference, 2000), paragraph 891. This book comes in numerous editions and languages. Because it has numbered paragraphs, statements can be accurately located in spite of the variety of editions. The "Catechism" is available on-line with a search engine.

http://www.christusrex.org/www2/kerygma/ccc/searchcat.html

http://www.scborromeo.org

17. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," paragraph 891.

18. William Webster, "The Church of Rome at the Bar of History" (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1995), pages 63-71.

19. William Webster, "The Church of Rome at the Bar of History," pages 81-85.

20. Pope Pius IX, "Quanta Cura" ("Condemning Current Errors"), December 8, 1864. The "error" is given in Section 3, second paragraph. (Most numbered sections consist of only one paragraph. This section has two paragraphs.) Paragraph 6 formally condemns all of the "errors" which are described in the encyclical. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.pax-et-veritas.org/Popes/Pius_IX/quantacu.htm

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0255e.htm

http://www.dickinson.edu/~rhyne/232/Six/Quanta_Cura_Both.html

Pope Pius IX, "The Syllabus of Errors," December 8, 1864, paragraphs 15, 77, and 78. The "Syllabus of Errors" accompanied the encyclical "Quanta Cura". In reading it, remember that Pius condemned every statement that you are reading. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius09/p9syll.htm

http://www.stthomasaquinas.net/encyclicals/Pius09/P9SYLL.HTM

http://www.reformation.org/syllabus_of_pius.html

Pope Leo XIII,"Libertas Praestantissimum" ("On the Nature of Human Liberty"), June 20, 1888, paragraph 42. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://fsspx.free.fr/en/popes/Leo_XIII_LIBERTAS.htm

http://www.saint-mike.org/Library/Papal_Library/LeoXIII/Encyclicals/Libertas.html

21. "Dignitatis Humanae" ("Declaration on Religious Liberty"). In Austin Flannery (editor), "Vatican Council II, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents," New Revised Edition, Volume 1 (Northport, New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1975, 1996), pages 799-812.

22. Canon 1366, "Code of Canon Law," Latin English edition, New English Translation. (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), page 427. Canon Law provides the legal basis for everything that the Roman Catholic Church does. Even the Inquisition and the persecution of Protestants were based on Canon Law.

23. "The Errors of Pope Pius IX". This article gives extensive quotations, with references to Pope Pius IX's encyclicals and documents from the Second Vatican Council. It is on-line.

http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/piusix.htm

"Summary of the Principal Errors of Vatican II Ecclesiology." This article is on-line.

http://www.truecatholic.org/v2ecclesio.htm

Lucian Pulvermacher, "Vatican II Council -- Accepts Freedom of Religion, Teaches Heresy" in "Caritas Newsletter," August 19, 1989. This article is on the Internet.

http://www.truecatholic.org/car8908.htm

24. Patrick John Pollock, "101 Heresies of Anti-Pope John Paul II." Internet article.

http://www.truecatholic.org/heresiesjp2.htm

25. Lucian Pulvermacher, "Papal Election," "Caritas Election News #1". Internet article.

http://www.truecatholic.org/electionnews1.htm

CHAPTER 8 -- THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE BIBLE

1. William Webster, "The Church of Rome at the Bar of History" (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1995), page 8. "The Canon of the New Testament: A Brief Introduction". This article is available on-line.

http://www.tmch.net/ntcanon.htm

2. Walter A. Elwell (editor), "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology" (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1984), page 141.

3. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 273. The author is Catholic.

4. "Tyndale, William" in "World Book Encyclopedia" (on CD-Rom).

5. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 273.

6. This information comes from an on-line biography of William Tyndale which is available at http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/10/06.html

7. "Wycliffe, John," "Lollards," and "Bible" in "World Book Encyclopedia" (on CD-Rom).

8. "Tyndale, William" and "Bible" in "World Book Encyclopedia" (on CD-Rom).

9. "Bible" in "World Book Encyclopedia" (on CD-Rom).

10. Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus" ("On Faith and Religion"), November 9, 1846, paragraph 14. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius09/p9quiplu.htm

http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/teach/quiplur.htm

http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P9QUIPLU.HTM

Pope Pius IX, "Nostis et Nobiscum" ("On the Church in the Pontifical States"), December 8, 1849, paragraph 14 This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius09/p9nostis.htm

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0255z.htm

http://ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P9NOSTIS.HTM

11. Pope Pius IX, "Quanta Cura" ("Condemning Current Errors"), December 8, 1864. The "error" is given in Section 3, second paragraph. (Most numbered sections consist of only one paragraph. This section has two paragraphs.) The condemnation of all of the "errors" described in the encyclical is given in paragraph 6. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.pax-et-veritas.org/Popes/Pius_IX/quantacu.htm

http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0255e.htm

http://www.dickinson.edu/~rhyne/232/Six/Quanta_Cura_Both.html

Pope Pius IX, "The Syllabus of Errors," December 8, 1864, paragraphs 15, 77, and 78. The "Syllabus of Errors" accompanied the encyclical "Quanta Cura". In reading it, remember that Pius condemned every statement that you are reading. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius09/p9syll.htm

http://www.stthomasaquinas.net/encyclicals/Pius09/P9SYLL.HTM

http://www.reformation.org/syllabus_of_pius.html

Pope Leo XIII,"Libertas Praestantissimum" ("On the Nature of Human Liberty"), June 20, 1888, paragraph 42. This encyclical is available on-line.

http://fsspx.free.fr/en/popes/Leo_XIII_LIBERTAS.htm

http://www.saint-mike.org/Library/Papal_Library/LeoXIII/Encyclicals/Libertas.html

12. "Catechism of the Catholic Church" (Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic Conference, 2000), paragraph 891. The "Catechism" is available in many languages and many editions. It has numbered paragraphs so you can locate things precisely, no matter what language it is in or what edition you are using. It is available on-line with a search engine.

http://www.christusrex.org/www2/kerygma/ccc/searchcat.html

http://www.scborromeo.org

13. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," paragraphs numbered 80, 84, 86, and 97.

14. "Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs numbered 78, 98, 113, 2650, and 2661.

15. "Catechism of the Catholic Church," paragraphs numbered 85, 87, 100, 862, 891, 939, 2034, 2037, 2041, and 2050.

16. Walter A. Elwell (editor), "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology," pages 66-67.

17. Gregory Koukl, "The Apocrypha," 1998. This article is on-line. The web site has a search engine. Do a search for "apocrypha".

http://www.str.org

18. The Epistle of Jude refers to an event which is described in the Book of Enoch, a work which was familiar to his readers. However, Jude does not state or imply that the book itself is inspired Scripture. Rather, he uses it in a manner which is similar to a modern pastor using current events or a well known book or movie to illustrate a point which he is making in his sermon. The Book of Enoch is not one of the Apocrypha. It is not part of the Catholic Bible.

19. The Book of Tobit is available on-line.

http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/r/rsv/rsv-idx?type=DIV1&byte=3785365

http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/tob.htm

20. "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia," Electronic Database, 1996, by Biblesoft (a Bible study program).

CHAPTER 9 -- MANDATORY CELIBACY

1. "Current Statistics and Facts". This article is on a Catholic web site.

http://www.rentapriest.com/statistics.htm

2. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church" (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981), pages 141-142. John Shuster, "A Concise History of the Married Priesthood in Our Roman Catholic Tradition." This article is on-line.

http:/www.rentapriest.com/history.htm

3. Philip S. Kaufman, "Why You Can Disagree -- And Remain a Faithful Catholic" (New Expanded and Revised Edition) (New York: Crossroad, 1995), page 46. Philip Kaufman is a Roman Catholic priest. This chapter is available on-line at a Catholic web site. Most of the information is on page 4 of my print-out. Some details come from other articles which are listed below. These articles all come from Catholic web sites.

http://www.sja.osb.org/kaufman/chapter3.html

"A Concise History of the Married Priesthood in Our Roman Catholic Tradition." The information is on page 5 of my print-out.

http://www.rentapriest.com/history.htm

"Birth Control and the Catholic Church." The information is on page 4 of my print-out.

http://members.aol.com/revising/history.html

John Shuster, "39 Popes Were Married -- Part IV" subtitle, "Infallibility: A Man-Made Concept." The information is on page 1 of my print-out.

http://www.ffbcorpus.com/001204h.asp

4. Raymond A. Grosswirth, "Celibacy". This article is written by a Catholic who believes that married men should be allowed to become priests. It is on-line.

http://www.angelfire.com/ga2/religious/celibacy.html

5. Married Priests Web Site

http://www.marriedpriests.org/

6. Good Tidings Ministry

http://www.marriedpriests.org/GoodTidings.htm

7. Ministries and Groups

http://www.marriedpriests.org/MinistriesAndGroups.htm

8. "Current Statistics and Facts." This article is on-line.

http://www.rentapriest.com/statistics.htm

CHAPTER 10 -- A MODERN BID FOR POWER

1. Malachi Martin, "The Keys of This Blood: Pope John Paul II Versus Russia and the West for Control of the New World Order." (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

2. "Code of Canon Law," Latin English edition, New English Translation. (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988.) Canon Laws provide the legal basis for everything that the Roman Catholic Church does. Even the Inquisition and the persecution of Protestants were based on Canon Law. These are short laws, sometimes consisting of only one paragraph. They are easily obtained. All of them are contained in one thick book which costs less than I expected. They are listed by Canon number.

CHAPTER 11 -- THE NUMBERS GAME

There are no notes for this chapter.

CHAPTER 12 -- NEW AGE CATHOLICISM

1. Randy England, "The Unicorn in the Sanctuary: The Impact of the New Age on the Catholic Church" (Rockford, Illinois: TAN Books and Publishers, 1990). The author is Catholic. If you search for the book at Amazon.com, you can read nine pages on-line.

You can read reviews and summaries of "Unicorn in the Sanctuary" on-line.

http://www.tanbooks.com/books/unic1156.htm

http://www.marianland.com/errors024.html

2. Mitch Pacwa, "Catholics and the New Age" (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 1992). Some reviews and summaries of this book are available on-line.

http://www.catholicmart.com/catnewage.html (1 pages)

http://www.tiberriver.com/covers/089283756xz2.jpg (Shows the back cover of the book)

Byron Snapp, "New Age and Old Rome," in "Contra Mundum," No. 11, Spring 1994. (2 pages)

http://www.visi.com/~contra_m/cm/reviews/cm11_rev_newage.html

3. Donna Steichen, "Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism" (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991, 1992). You can read two reviews of this book on-line. If you search for the book at Amazon.com, you can read 25 pages on-line.

"Ungodly Rage". This is a short summary by the publisher, with quotations from reviewers.

http://www.catholic-pages.com/dir/link.asp?ref=17711

John F. McCarthy, "The Whole Truth about Catholic Feminism". (This is a 6-page article based on the book, "Ungodly Rage".) McCarthy is a Catholic priest. He is understandably angered by some things that Catholic feminists have done. His anger shows in his article. His approach is quite different from that of Donna Steichen. She presents carefully documented facts, and she lets the facts speak for themselves.

http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt53.html

4. Kathleen Howley, "Catholic College Welcomes Feminists, Bans Rosary". In the on-line edition of "Catholic World news," April 24, 1996.

http://www.cwnews.com/Browse/1996/04/383.htm

5. Randy England, "The Unicorn in the Sanctuary," chapter 6. This is available on-line at a Catholic web site. It is entitled, "Woman Church, Witchcraft, and the Goddess".

http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/FOX.HTM

6. Mitchell Pacwa, "Catholicism for the New Age: Matthew Fox and Creation-Centered Spirituality". This article is on-line. The author is a Jesuit priest.

http://www.equip.org/free/DF105.htm

Doug Armentrout, "Celebrating Interconnectivity. Interviewing Matthew Fox". (ONN-532, an article of the Online Noetic Network.). Matthew Fox describes his beliefs and liturgies.

http://www.wisdomtalk.org/b-5-32.html

Sophia Center in Culture and Spirituality (located at Holy Names College in Oakland)

http://www.hnc.edu/programs/gradcs.html

http://www.hnc.edu/~sophia/courses.html

http://www.hnc.edu/~sophia/faculty.html

University of Creation Spirituality (located in Oakland, California)

http://www.creationspirituality.com/matthew.html

http://www.creationspirituality.com/faculty.html

7. Mother John Marie, "Contaminated Christianity," in "Praise Him!", October 1991, Vol. XVII, No. 10, pages 13-14.

8. The story about the witch teaching at Heythrop College is in three on-line news articles.

http://www.ananova.com/yournews/story/sm_503171.html

http://www.unsolvedmysteries.com/usm214051.html

http://wiccauk.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=43

9. Bernard D. Green, "Catholicism Confronts New Age Syncretism". Green is a Catholic priest. This article is on a Catholic web site. The information is on pages 1 and 3 of my print-out.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/NEWAGE/SYNCRET.TXT

Hans Hallundbaek, "A Year of Dialogue Culminates in Buddhist Participation in Maryknoll Advent Celebration." BAUS Newsletter Issue 58. (Maryknoll is a Catholic religious order.)

http://www.baus.org/baus/newsletter/1999/nl58_dialog.html

"The Los Angeles Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue".

http://www.kusala.org/bccontent1.html

Buddhist-Catholic Retreat

http://www.kusala.org/buddhistcatholic/bcmalibu.html

"East-West Contemplative Dialogue: Where Christian Mysticism and Metaphysics Enters into Dialogue with Buddhism and Hinduism"

http://www.innerexplorations.com/ewtext/east-wes.htm

"Inner Explorations: Where Christian Metaphysics and Mysticism Meet Eastern Religions, Jungian Psychology, and a New Sense of the Earth"

http://www.innerexplorations.com/

10. The Ursuline Sophia Center. Information is from the following web pages.

http://ursulinesophiacenter.com/about.htm

http://ursulinesophiacenter.com/labyrinth.htm

http://ursulinesophiacenter.com/services.htm

http://ursulinesophiacenter.com/reikip.htm

11. Bud Macfarlane, "Our Lady Weeps: V-Monogues Comes to Notre Dame".

http://www.catholicity.com/commentary/macfarlane/vmonologues.html

12. E. Michael Jones, "V-Day at St. Mary's College" in the magazine "Culture Wars". This article is on-line. It contains some obscene language. These are quotations from the play which are used in order to enable readers to get some feeling for the nature of the play.

http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/2000/April/stmarys.html

13. Michele Malkin, "Columnist Dropped for Exposing Feminism," March 31,2000. (Michelele Malkin is a syndicated newspaper columnist.) This article is available on-line.

http://www.spiritone.com/~law/dropped.html

Wendy McElroy, "Feminists Who Celebrate Rape," April 2, 2000.

http://www.spiritone.com/~law/celebrate.html

The February 16, 2001 edition of Georgetown University's newspaper, "The Hoya," has a favorable review of the play entitled, "'V-----': A True, Moving Drama." This article is available on-line but I don't recommend reading it. It tries to make evil look reasonable and normal.

http://www.thehoya.com/guide/021601/guide3.htm

14. Promotional notice from the University of Detroit Mercy.

http://eng-sci.udmercy.edu/womres/

15. "News Briefs from Loyola World," February 7, 2001, "Women's Studies Spring Events". (Bottom of page 4 of my print-out).

http://www.luc.edu/publications/loyolaworld/nb-020701.html

16. Philly.burbs.com, "Halloween Guide". (Events in the area). The middle of page 2 of my print-out, under "Theater," has two listings for the play. This is the second one.

http://www.phillyburbs.com/halloween2000/courier.shtml

17 Beth Levy, "The V--- Monologues" in "Westchester NOW Newsletter - Spring 2000"

http://www.westchesternow.org/sp00vaginamonologues.html

18. Article from "The Truth," dated Winter, 2000. (This is a newsletter of conservative Catholics.) The article starts on bottom of page 2 of my print-out. The beginning words are in bold type. They are: "Catholic Universities Could Use a Little Judgment.

http://www.lesfemmes-thetruth.org/5twilightwin.htm

Article from "The Truth," dated Spring, 2000. They awarded the "Millstone Award" to Catholic colleges who scandalized people by showing the play.

http://www.lesfemmes-thetruth.org/v52award.htm

19. "Was V-Day Celebrated on Your Campus?" Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.

http://www.cblpolicyinstitute.org/vday.htm

20. Canons 752, 1311, and 1312 in "Code of Canon Law," Latin English edition, New English Translation (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), pages 247 and 409.

21. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church," Paragraphs 85, 100, 891, and 2051. The "Catechism" summarizes the essential and basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It was approved by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and the English translation was released in 1994. The latest English edition was printed in 2000. It is available on-line, with a search engine.

http://www.christusrex.org/www2/kerygma/ccc/searchcat.html

http://www.scborromeo.org

22. "Voodoo," Baton Rouge Net Louisiana Lagniappe.

http://www.brnet.com/vopage.html

"Voodoo in New Orleans and the Legacy of Marie Laveau"

http://www.prairieghosts.com/laveau.html

"Haitians -- Their History and Culture: Religion"

http://www.culturalorientation.net/haiti/hrelig.html

23. "Cubans Flock to Saint Festival Combining Catholic, Voodoo Beliefs," in "Catholic World News," News Brief, 12/18/1996

http://www.cwnews.com/Browse/1996/12/3279.htm

24. "Africa's Catholics in Row Over Sacrifices". The article is on pages 3-4 of my print-out.

http://www.goodnews.org.uk/Articles/wnr0003.htm

Noel Bruyns, "Let Africans Honor Ancestors with Blood Libations in Mass, Says Bishop". In "Christianity Today," April 10, 2000.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/115/46.0.html

Cedric Pulford, "Debate Continues on Incorporating Animal Sacrifices in Worship". In "Christianity Today," October 23, 2000.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/143/34.0.html

Other web pages with related information.

http://www.raidersnewsupdate.com/animalsac2.htm

http://www.worthynews.com/news-features/animal-sacrifice-catholic-mass.html

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=animal+sacrifice+%2B+Mass+%2B+Catholic

25. "Catholicism and the Mayans"

http://www.atitlan.com/catholic/

"Heart of Sky: Mayan Spirituality: Maya Catholics"

http://www.uwec.edu/academic/curric/greidebe/hos/Spirit/bgcathol.htm

"Far From Home: Guatemala to the Good Life". Angela Heywood Bible, "A Blending of Cultures". In "Lincoln Journal Star"

http://www.journalstar.com/gua_stories?page=Mon06.html

Tourist Guides of Guatemala which Feature the Mayan/Catholic Rituals

http://www.abstravel.com/guatemala/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/central_america/guatemala/

http://travel.discovery.com/dest/lpdb/cenam/guat/intro.html

http://www.enjoyguatemala.com/guateinfo.htm

26. Ricardo J. Salvador, "What Do Mexicans Celebrate on the 'Day of the Dead?'"

http://www.public.iastate.edu/~rjsalvad/scmfaq/muertos.html

"Day of the Dead"

http://www.nacnet.org/assunta/dead.htm

"Day of the Dead: How To Make Your Own Altar"

http://www.mexweb.com/muertos.htm

27. "About Brazil" (From the Brazilian Embassy in London)

http://www.ob.org/brazil/aboutbrazil.asp

Neuza Itioka, "A Brazillian Perspective: Case Studies from Brazil"

http://www.gospelcom.net/lcwe/dufe/Papers/Brazil.htm

"The Context of the Vision". Subheading, "The Belief System" (page 3 on my print-out).

http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:BBv6Tg_1mbcC:www.efcm.org/docs/Brazil.doc+Catholic+%2B+spiritism+%2B+Brazil&hl=en

Otavio Velho, "An Assessment of the Interreligious Situation in Brazil". [Article by the World Council of Churches]

http://www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/interreligious/cd36-03.html

"Brazil's Catholicism, Spiritism"

http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/msnews5.html

"Brazil's Religious History". Subheading, "Roman Catholicism"

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/2960/brazil/rel-history.html

Rodolfo Espinoza, "Question of Faith"

http://www.brazzil.com/cvrsep97.htm

28. "Brazil, A Cultural Treasure Chest: Religion:

http://www.fmpsd.ab.ca/schools/df/Brazil/mreligion.htm

Aaron Myers, "Religion: Candomble"

http://www.africana.com/Utilities/Content.html?&../cgi-bin/banner.pl?banner=Education&../Articles/tt_497.htm

"Umbanda" [This article also gives information about Macumba.]

http://www.geocities.com/arrudax/umbanda.htm

"Spiritism/Kardecism"

http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/latam/kardec.html

29. "Santeria"

http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/s/santeria.html

"Santeria, A Syncretistic Caribbean Religion".

http://www.religioustolerance.org/santeri.htm

30. "Modern Day Crucifixion in the Philippines"

http://www.wildcat.co.uk/text/crucifixion_txt.htm

Johanna Son, "Religion-Philippines: Holy Week of Folk Rituals, Gory Spectacle". In "World News, Inter Press Service," April 12, 1998

http://www.oneworld.org/ips2/apr98/04_45_007.html

"Cuersma" [Lent]. In "Filipino Heritage"

http://www.filipinoheritage.com/religious/Cuaresma.htm

CHAPTER 13 -- A FALSE COMPARISON

1. This is the subject of the book "On This Slippery Rock" by Dr. Eric Svendsen (Calvary Press, 2002). You can order Dr. Svendsen's book on-line.

http://www.ntrmin.org

2. Dr. Eric Svendsen, "On This Slippery Rock," chapter 5. This chapter is on-line.

http://www.ntrmin.org/30000denominations.htm

Dr. Eric Svendsen, "The Roman Catholic Challenge". Dr. Svendsen posed eighteen questions and offered a $100,000 prize to any person who could give him the official Catholic answer (an answer which Catholics officially agree on) to any of his questions. If they could answer just one, they would win the money. Nobody was able to do it, not even professional Catholic apologists. The questions and a summary of responses are on-line at the following address.

http://www.ntrmin.org/rcchallenge.htm

3. Malachi Martin, "The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church" (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987). Malachi Martin recently died. He was a Catholic priest, a Vatican insider, and the personal confessor of Pope John XXIII.

4. True Catholic's web site has articles about the state of the papacy.

http://www.truecatholic.org

5. Malachi Martin, "The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church" (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987).

6. Wesley J. Smith, "Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America" (Encounter Books, 2000). The Introduction is available on-line.

http://www.encounterbooks.com/mainstory/mainstoryCUDE.html

7. Randy England, "The Unicorn in the Sanctuary: The Impact of the New Age on the Catholic Church". The author is Catholic. If you search for the book at Amazon.com, you can read nine pages on-line.

Chapter six is available on-line. It is entitled, "Woman Church, Witchcraft, and the Goddess".

http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/FOX.HTM

You can read reviews and summaries of "Unicorn in the Sanctuary" on-line.

http://www.tanbooks.com/books/unic1156.htm

http://www.marianland.com/errors024.html

Donna Steichen, "Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism". If you search for the book at Amazon.com, you can read 25 pages on-line.

"Ungodly Rage". This is a short summary by the publisher, with quotations from reviewers.

http://www.catholic-pages.com/dir/link.asp?ref=17711

John F. McCarthy, "The Whole Truth about Catholic Feminism". This is a 6-page article based on the book, "Ungodly Rage" by Donna Steichen. McCarthy is a Catholic priest. He is understandably angered by some things that Catholic feminists have done. His anger shows in his article. His approach is quite different from that of Donna Steichen. She presents carefully documented facts, and she lets the facts speak for themselves.

http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt53.html

Mitchell Pacwa, "Catholicism for the New Age: Matthew Fox and Creation-Centered Spirituality". The author is a Jesuit priest.

http://www.equip.org/free/DF105.htm

Bernard D. Green, "Catholicism Confronts New Age Syncretism". Green is a Catholic priest. This article is on a Catholic web site. The information is on pages 1 and 3 of my print-out.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/NEWAGE/SYNCRET.TXT

Byron Snapp, "New Age and Old Rome," in "Contra Mundum," No. 11, Spring 1994. (2 pages)

http://www.visi.com/~contra_m/cm/reviews/cm11_rev_newage.html

8. Bud Macfarlane, "Our Lady Weeps: V-Monogues Comes to Notre Dame". This is on a Catholic web site, and is written by an alumni of Notre Dame who is deeply distressed by this.

http://www.catholicity.com/commentary/macfarlane/vmonologues.html

E. Michael Jones, "V-Day at St. Mary's College" in the magazine "Culture Wars". This article is on-line. However, it contains some obscene language from the play. The language is used in order to enable readers to get some feeling for the nature of the play.

http://www.culturewars.com/CultureWars/2000/April/stmarys.html

Michele Malkin, "Columnist Dropped for Exposing Feminism," March 31,2000. (Michelele Malkin is a syndicated newspaper columnist.) This article is available on-line.

http://www.spiritone.com/~law/dropped.html

Promotional notice from the University of Detroit Mercy.

http://eng-sci.udmercy.edu/womres/

Article from "The Truth," dated Winter, 2000. (This is a newsletter of conservative Catholics.) The article starts on bottom of page 2 of my print-out. The beginning words are in bold type. They are: "Catholic Universities Could Use a Little Judgment.

http://www.lesfemmes-thetruth.org/5twilightwin.htm

Article from "The Truth," dated Spring, 2000. They awarded the "Millstone Award" to Catholic colleges who scandalized people by showing the play.

http://www.lesfemmes-thetruth.org/v52award.htm

9. With one exception, these articles come from Catholic web sites. I've put the Protestant one first because it is a good, short overview with quotations from Catholic sources.

Dr. Bill Jackson, "Scapulars". The author is a former Catholic.

http://www.angelfire.com/ky/dodone/Scapulars.html

"The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel" [Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima]

http://members.aol.com/ccmail/scapular.html

"Brown Scapular" [Catholic Information Network]

http://www.cin.org/saints/brownsca.html

"St. Simon Stock" [Catholic Encyclopedia]

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13800a.htm

"Scapular" [Catholic Encyclopedia]

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13508b.htm

10. "The Rosary, Brown Scapular, and the Sabbatine Privilege" [Our Lady of the Rosary Library]

http://olrl.org/pray/rosary.html

"Sabbatine Privilege" [Catholic Encyclopedia]

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13289b.htm

11. "Four Way Medals." This page shows several different varieties. If you click on each picture, you can see an enlargement of it.

http://www.discountcatholicstore.com/four_way.htm

"Five-Way"

http://www.zieglers.com/Seasonal_Info.asp?cat=16&subcat=8&ID=9602

"Five Way Medal (Round Style)"

http://www.sacredheart.com/Medals_Five_Way_Medal_Round_Style.htm

"Four Way Cross Medal"

http://www.sacredheart.com/Medals_Four_Way_Cross_Medal.htm

"Four Way Maltese Cross"

http://www.sacredheart.com/CR-SS4444_Maltese_Cross.htm

CHAPTER 14 -- CONCLUSION

There are no notes for this chapter.

APPENDIX -- "ACCORDING TO TRADITION . . ."

1. "Some Important Marian Apparitions". The information is on pages 1 and 2 of my print-out.

http://members.aol.com/bjw1106/marian5.htm

2. "Some Important Marian Apparitions". (See Note 1.)

3. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity" (New York: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1976, 1995), pages 105-107 and 161-166. Paul Johnson is a prominent historian and a Catholic.

4. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity," page 226.

5. "Some Important Marian Apparitions". (See Note 1.)

6. Dave Hunt, "A Woman Rides the Beast," (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1994), pages 239-240.

7. William Steuart McBirnie, "The Search for the Twelve Apostles" (Wheaton, Illinois: Living Books, Tyndale House Publishers, 1973, 1982), page 103.

USE OF THIS BOOK: You have my permission to do the following things with the entire book, and with portions of it. (1) Quote from it. (2) Copy it. (3) Incorporate it into publications of your own. (4) Put it on your web site. (5) Translate it into other languages. (6) Distribute copies of it. This includes permission to sell it for profit. I do not want any royalties or financial remuneration of any kind.. Please share this book with anybody who might be interested in it. You can download this book from my web site (www.CatholicConcerns.com).

Copyright 2002 by Mary Ann Collins.

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