When the word Christianity is invoked, most people have an impression that is based on Roman Catholicism. However, Roman Catholicism is inconsistent with the Bible. Catholicism is thus self-contradictory - claiming to be based on the Bible but opposing it in practice. The purpose of this article is to present factual truth, not to hurt Catholics. Moreover, I do not doubt the sincerity of at least some Catholics; I do affirm however, that sincerity is not enough to access God; we ought to approach God on His terms.
Roman Catholic Teaching:
“We rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets" Roman Catholic Catechism, Pg 328, #1161.
The image is from Chick Tracts.
“You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them…Take diligent heed to your souls, for you saw no form on the day Jehovah spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, that you not act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any statue: male or female figures, the figure of any beast on the earth or the figure of any bird that flies in the heavens, the figure of anything that creeps on the ground or the figure of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth.” – Exodus 20: 4, 5, Deuteronomy 4:15-18
In the medieval ages, the papacy could propagate doctrines at will; today, with people more familiar with the Bible, the RCC has had to come up with excuses to defend some of these teachings:-
1.We're not making idols of false gods, but of the true God. Yeah, but that still violates Deuteronomy 4:15-18. Moses warned the Israelis that they did not see any form of Jehovah. No authentic eye witness-created portrait of Jesus exists.
2.We don't think the idols ARE God; they're just representations of God to help us focus. Hindus say the same thing. The Bible forbids us to make and bow down to images. It does not make the distinction that you've brought up.
3.So if all graven images are bad why do you give dolls to your children and put photos on your computer? This argument is similar to that of the Pharisees who objected to the disciples peeling corn on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1). The whole point of these Biblical passages is not to make/use images in the context of worship and bowing down.
Roman Catholic teaching:
The RCC does not promote astrology but has a calendar of festivals and times similar to pagan festivals patterned after seasons. [See Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, for a detailed treatment]. Note also the picture of the sun inside St Peter's Basilica, Rome.
“Thus says Jehovah: Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be dismayed at the signs of the heavens; for the nations are dismayed at them.” – Jeremiah 10:2
In the Bible, Paul instructs a church which was getting into similar practices:
“But now, knowing God, or rather being known by God, how is it that you turn again to the feeble and worthless principles, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years!” – Galatians 4: 9-10
Roman Catholic Teaching:
"The Church does not know of any other means other than Baptism [sprinkling of water by a priest on a baby] that assures entry into eternal beatitude..." (RCC Catechism, Pg. 352, #1257)
“Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God” RCC Catechism Pg 342, #1213
“For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no one should boast.” – Ephesians 2: 8, 9
Dipping yourself or someone else in water, or sprinkling water on someone else is a “work”, for which you can take credit. According to the RCC, if a baby is in danger of dying and a priest can’t be got immediately, anyone can baptize the child, and so prevent it from going to hell. The volunteer (or the person who rushed to get water) can now take credit for saving the child! This is in direct contradiction to the clear teaching of the Bible mentioned above.
Roman Catholic priests take a vow of celibacy, in which they claim to set aside even their basic human desire for sex for the sake of serving God. The reality is different. Abuse by Catholic priests is too common to be dismissed as a case of a "few bad apples". People who otherwise would be normal members of the community are turned into monsters by the Roman Catholic priesthood. The image shows an obelisk at Vatican. The obelisk is an icon of nearly all pagan religions. It symbolizes the male sex organ. Hindus also use obelisks. The Indian name is "lingam". Obelisks were also part of ancient Egyptian religion.
All forms of prostitution and phallic worship are wrong, and marriage is a legitimate and honorable outlet for sexual desire; the demand of celibacy is a doctrine of demons (Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 7:9, 1 Timothy 4:1-3)
According to the RCC, "Mother" Mary is Mediatrix, Coredemptrix and has the power to grant favors. Notice how Roman Catholic statues often show Jesus as a baby, whereas he is seated on the Fathers's right hand now (Hebrews 1:3) - his infancy is a part of history just as his foetal stage or childhood, but the RCC is obsessed with his infancy! Just like the pagan mother and child concept! The RCC calls Mary "Queen of Heaven" - the same title that pagans used for the goddess Ashtoreth (Jeremiah 7:18).
"Taken up to heaven she (Mary) did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation..." (Roman Catholic Catechism, 274-275, #969)
According to the RCC, Mary is sinless, a perpetual virgin, the mother of God, queen of heaven and co-redemptrix with Jesus Christ (Roman Catholic Catechism articles 491,494,495,508,964,966,968,969)Biblical teaching:
SIXTH SESSION, CANONS CONCERNING JUSTIFICATION: "If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA" (Council of Trent, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24).
A consequence of works-based salvation is asceticism - the belief that you can earn salvation by abstaining from natural pleasures (like good food, sex, etc) or inflicting suffering on oneself. Former Catholic and founder of "In the Straight Street" Herman Hegger narrates in his autobiography how as a monk he was made to whip himself, lie down for other priests to walk on him, and lick the monastery floor.
"Purgatory" is a Roman Catholic invention in connection with works-earned-salvation. When a person dies, he supposedly goes to "purgatory" where he pays "his part" of the penalty for his sins. Moreover, the time of suffering can be reduced if you pay the RCC to say masses on your behalf! Former Catholic Mike Gendron says he knows Catholics who have willed their entire estates to the RCC to have masses said for them to shorten the time that they will spend in purgatory.
"We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull, Unam Sanctum, 1302.)
"The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and preaches that NONE of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics [non-Catholic Christians] and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, UNLESS before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, NO ONE, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441).
"How are we to understand [the] affirmation [that] outside the Church there is no salvation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim [one of the richest organizations in the world!] now on earth, is NECESSARY for salvation." - Catechism of the Catholic Church, copyright 1994, U.S. Catholic Conference, Inc.-Libreria Editrice Vaticana, page 225, article #846.
Roman Catholicism:A region whose Catholics worship together is a parish. Ordinary Catholics are called "laity". Above them are deacons, and priests who assist a "parish priest". Many parishes make a diocese, handled by a bishop. Over several bishops is an archbishop. Several archbishops come under a cardinal, and finally, all Cardinals come under the Pope, the Supreme head of the RCC. The Pope lives in a palace in Vatican.
Not only are the above Catholic structures and positions absent in the Bible, but they contradict the Biblical teaching on church. In the Bible churches are local autonomous units; all leadership positions are within a local church and there is no hierarchy or central authority over different churches.
"If any one shalt deny that the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore entire Christ, are truly, really and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist; and say that He is only in it as a sign, or in a figure - let him be accursed! (DAMNED)". – Canon 1, Council of Trent, 1536 (This has been ratified by the recent Vatican II Council, 1963). It is still in effect.
This canon is referring to a small wafer that the participants eat in the Catholic mass (worship service). The priests also eat it, and have wine as well. The RCC teaches that the wafer and wine “truly, really and substantially” get converted to the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
According to the RCC, what is the purpose of the wafer and wine getting converted to Jesus’ body and blood?
The Biblical “Lord’s Supper” is completely different from Roman Catholic communion. The Bible teaches that Jesus' sacrificial death is a once-and-for-all done deal 2000 years ago, not something to be continued or repeated.
“We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL…But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10: 10, 12, 14
Roman Catholic Teaching:
"...against the publication, distribution, reading, and possession of books of the holy Scriptures translated into the vernacular tongue." – Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846)
"We prohibit the laity from having the books of the Old and New Testament, unless it be at most that any one wishes to have, from devotion, a psalter, a breviary for the Divine offices, or the hours of the blessed Mary; but we forbid them in the most express manner to have the above books translated into the vernacular tongue" – The fourteenth canon of the Council at Toulouse
“It is evident, from experience, that the Holy Scriptures when circulated in the vulgar tongue, have produced more harm than benefit…We have deliberated upon the measures proper to be adopted, by our pontifical authority, in order to remedy and abolish the pestilence.” – Pope Pius in the 7th Encyclical letter of 1816
The following information is taken from David Cloud's Way of Life Ministries.
The Council of Trent (1545-1564) placed the Bible on its list of prohibited books, and forbade any person to read the Bible without a license from a Roman Catholic bishop or inquisitor. The Council added these words: "That if any one shall dare to read or keep in his possession that book, without such a license, he shall not receive absolution till he has given it up to his ordinary."
Rome's attempt to keep the Bible from men has continued to recent times. Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) denounced the Bible Society and expressed shock at the circulation of the Scriptures. Pius VII said, "It is evidence from experience, that the holy Scriptures, when circulated in the vulgar tongue, have, through the temerity of men, produced more harm than benefit." Pope Leo XII called the Protestant Bible the "Gospel of the Devil" in an encyclical letter of 1824. Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) railed "against the publication, distribution, reading, and possession of books of the holy Scriptures translated into the vulgar tongue." Pope Leo XII, in January 1850, condemned the Bible Societies and admitted the fact that the distribution of Scripture has "long been condemned by the holy chair."
Today, the RCC allows its followers to read the Bible, but this has more to do with the constraints of being in the Information Age than integrity.
- "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." – Matthew 4:4
- "The entrance of Your words gives light [not pestilence!!]; it gives understanding unto the simple." – Psalm 119:130
Learn more about what the Bible says about itself.
"For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." (Roman Catholic Catechism #882, p. 254)
"If the Pope should become neglectful of his own salvation, and of that of other men, and so lost to all good that he draw down with himself innumerable people by heaps into hell, and plunge them with himself into eternal torments, yet no mortal may presume to reprehend him, forasmuch as he is judge of all, and is judged of no one." Decreti, pars i. distinct. xl.can.xi.
"But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" – Matthew 23:8-9
The following quotes express Roman Catholic ideology:
...heretics [non-Catholics], of both sexes and of every name, we damn [I thought that only God does this] to perpetual infamy; we declare hostility against them; we account them accursed, and their goods confiscated; nor can they ever enjoy their property, or their children succeed to their inheritance [punishing the children!]; inasmuch as they grievously offend against the Eternal as well as the temporal king [the pope]." source: Pope Honorius, Quinta Compilatio Epistolarum Decretalium Honorii III. P.M. Innocentii Cironii, Juris Utriusque Professoris, Canonici ac Ecclesiae, et Academae Tolosannae Cancellarii, Comp. v. tit. iv. cap. i. p. 200; Tolosae, 1645.
"He is a heretic who does not believe what the Roman hierarchy teaches. --A heretic merits the pains of fire.--By the Gospel, the canons, civil law, and custom, heretics must be burned."--148, 169 Directory for the Inquisitors (As quoted in The American Textbook of Popery, page 379)
A WHOLE CITY MUST BE BURNT ON ACCOUNT OF THE HERETICS WHO LIVE IN IT.--WHOEVER PLEASES MAY SEIZE AND KILL ANY HERETICS.--Directory for the Inquisitors, page 199 (As quoted in The American Textbook of Popery page 380)
"Those convicted of heresy. . .shall be taken in shackles to the head of state or ruler or his special representative, instantly, or at least within fire days, and the latter shall APPLY THE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED AGAINST SUCH PERSONS - Pope Innocent IV, Ad Extirpanda, Law 24
Here is how the Roman Catholic Church put the above ideology into practice:
It should be obvious that the above evils are not cases of a mistake or the policy of some obscure deviant. It is the official, deliberate policy of the Church. These evils by themselves prove that the Catholic Church does not represent the true God.
As you can see, Roman Catholicism is similar to paganism rather than to the Bible. It is therefore not surprising to see Popes joining pagans in worship. What do we do with all this?
Links of interest: