Rome and the Jesuits Goal for America


Well-Known Member
------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------

"Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." -Revelation 17:1,2

You [Pope Pius IX] have stooped to unite in political fornication with the civil government of any and all despotic countries; you have prostituted the cross, the symbol of sacrifice and salvation into the symbol of tyranny and ruin.

Those who call themselves the Vicars of God on earth have become the Vicars of the genius of evil
. -Giuseppi Mazzini Italian patriot, 18631

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------

Unholy Alliances

A city built on seven hills is accused of committing fornication with the kings of the earth! We have noted that the term "fornication" is used often in the Bible in a spiritual sense signifying unfaithfulness to God. Ezekiel 16 is devoted entirely to denouncing Jerusalem for her unfaithfulness to God, likening her to "a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband" (verse 32). Jerusalem had violated her spiritual relationship to God through idolatry and alliances with pagan nations. That meaning is clear from many passages in Scripture.

Jerusalem, however, can't be this woman because, as we have seen, she isn't built upon seven hills and doesn't meet any of the other criteria. Obviously, then, the city which this woman represents must claim a faithful relationship to God similar to Jerusalem's. In fact, Rome claims to have replaced Jerusalem in God's affection. And she has violated that relationship by entering into unholy alliances with godless earthly kings. Rome alone meets this and the many other criteria that John sets forth.

History is replete with the record of unholy alliances between the Vatican and secular governments. Much of the evidence remains today in Rome's churches and monuments. For example, the Vatican Museum is filled with priceless ancient paintings, sculptures, tapestries, gold, and jewels once worn or treasured by despotic rulers. Most were given to popes by kings, queens, emperors, or governments in token of papal partnerships with these worldly figures - relationships which the Bible condemns, and which would be unthinkable for the true bride of Christ.

The Witness of History

Driven from Rome by a popular uprising against his oppressive reign, Pope Leo III fled to the Frankish court of Charlemagne to enlist his help in recovering those territories over which the popes reigned. That bloodthirsty warrior's armies recaptured Rome and, in the name of Christ, restored Leo to the papal throne. While Charlemagne knelt at Mass in St. Peter's on Christmas day of A.D. 800, the pope placed a crown on his head and proclaimed him emperor of the West. The title was eventually recognized by both the eastern emperor in Constantinople and the Caliph of Baghdad. As Maurice Keen reminds us, "The restoration of the worldwide dominion of Rome was the dream not only of medieval popes and emperors but also of many of their subjects and servants."2 This dream will be fully achieved at last under Antichrist.

The pope's move was a shrewd one. Charlemagne's power had threatened to overshadow the authority of the papacy. After his coronation by the pope in St. Peter's, however, Charlemagne, in solid partnership with the papacy, "worked for some forty years to create a Christian commonwealth such as St. Augustine had earlier outlined."3 The emperor's brutal military campaigns in northern Europe were accompanied by the forcible conversions of the heathen. Charlemagne was the popes' secular arm that Christianized the pagans with the sword and thereby enlarged the Roman Catholic domain as the Spanish conquistadors would later do in America.

Charlemagne's father, Pepin, as we have previously noted, on the basis of a fraudulent document, The Donation of Constantine, had subdued and turned over to the popes the huge territories thereafter known as the papal states and ruled by the papacy. Charlemagne, too, was deceived by this fraud. Based upon the Donation, he formally drew up a charter which acknowledged the papacy as both spiritual and temporal ruler over "all the regions of Italy and the West." Thereafter Charlemagne acted as the popes' protector and partner, much as Constantine had at the very beginning of the developing coalition between Church and state. Such an arrangement, totally contrary to the teachings of Christ, is only one example of the spiritual fornication which this woman would be involved in, exactly as John foresaw it in his vision.

Eventually the Church and the state became so closely allied that there was scarcely any distinction between them. Emperors convened and presided over the great councils of the Church and looked upon the popes and the rest of the Church hierarchy as their partners in governing the masses. Such unholy papal alliances, soon to become commonplace, would have been anathema to the early church; they made a mockery of Christ's rejection and crucifixion by the world. Consider another excerpt from the shamelessly flattering speech by Eusebius (a different portion of which we previously quoted) in praise of Constantine. He attributes to the pagan emperor the very spiritual qualities and ecclesiastical authority and functions now claimed by the popes:

"Our Emperor, His [Christ's] friend, acting as interpreter to the Word of God, aims at recalling the whole human race to the knowledge of God; proclaiming clearly in the ears of all, and declaring with powerful voice the laws of truth and godliness to all who dwell on the earth.... invested as he is with a semblance of heavenly sovereignty, he... frames his earthly government according to the pattern of that Divine original ... the monarchy of God."4

There can be no doubt as to the amazing accuracy of John's vision of a city that claims to belong to Christ yet prostitutes herself to the kings of the earth. To have pagan rulers enforcing "Christianity" by military might upon an ever-widening papal empire was a blasphemous travesty of the truth that Christ proclaimed. It was such a gross misrepresentation of the gospel and such a confusing identification of the state with the Church that eventually Christ was considered the true ruler of Byzantium! Coins depicted Him wearing the Imperial crown and icons represented Him clothed in the vestments of the emperor. The emperor's own throne sat next to another one, empty except for a copy of the Gospels, indicating that Christ was the coemperor of Byzantium. Such was the spirit of the times that prevailed in the West as well.

Eventually, as we have already noted, Pope Innocent III abolished the Roman Senate and placed the administration of Rome directly under his control with a single senator as his deputy. In 1266 Clement IV gave this function to Charles of Anjou, who founded the University of Rome. The papacy continued to be at the heart of almost every political intrigue; and its armies were allied with the forces of many a king in the continual wars that plagued Europe.

In the New World the Church was the partner of the Spanish conquistadors and of the Portuguese in Africa. Recently Native American activists called on Pope John Paul II to formally revoke a papal bull, Inter Cetera, issued in 1493, which declared that "barbarous nations discovered and yet to be discovered should be subjugated to the Catholic faith in order to propagate the Christian empire."5 Examples of "fornication with the kings of the earth" from ancient history could be multiplied, but we need to move on to modern times.

The 1929 Concordat with Mussolini

We have already referred to the fact that in 1870 the independence of Italy was declared and what remained of the Papal States was absorbed by the new united nation. We have also noted that the Italian people voted overwhelmingly against the pope's rule and for the new independence. The temporal powers of the popes were ended, including their prestige and alliances with earthly regimes. The popes' civil authority was limited to the Vatican, where they remained in self-imposed exile for nearly 60 years until, in 1929, Mussolini and Pope Pius XI signed the Lateran Treaty.

This Concordat made Roman Catholicism once again, by national law, "the sole religion" of Italy. Neither Peter nor Paul, and surely not Christ, would ever have entered into such an arrangement with any government, let alone with a Fascist dictatorship. The Vatican, which claimed to be the true and only Church, the bride of the Christ who said His kingdom was not of this world, was acknowledged once again as a sovereign state with the status of a secular nation able to send and receive political ambassadors.

For having seized the papal territories in 1870, Italy paid to the Holy See 750 million lire in cash and 1 billion lire in state bonds. Some of these funds would be used to start the Vatican Bank, now infamous for its corruption. Some would end up in rather strange investments for Holy Mother Church, such as "an Italian firearms factory and a Canadian pharmaceutical company that manufactured contraceptives."6

There is no doubt that the Roman Catholic Church put Mussolini in power. In order to obtain the Lateran Treaty, the pope required Catholics to withdraw from participation in politics (many had been socialists actively opposing Mussolini and his Fascist party) and gave the Church's backing to Il Duce. The pope made public statements so strongly in support of Mussolini-e.g., "Mussolini is the man sent by Providence"-that Catholics had no choice but to support the aspiring Fascist dictator. Without that help Mussolini would not have been voted in and history might have been much different.

Quid Pro Quo

On his part, after the Concordat was signed, Mussolini declared: "We recognize the preeminent place the Catholic Church holds in the religious life of the Italian people-which is perfectly natural in a Catholic country such as ours, and under a regime such as the Fascist." All the cardinals in Rome, in an address to the pope, hailed Mussolini as "that eminent statesman [who rules Italy] by a decree of the Divine Providence." Looking back, one wonders how men who claimed to be the emissaries of the Holy Spirit could have been so wrong. There was, however, a selfish reason for their folly.

It was a quid pro quo that promised much for both parties. Mussolini needed the Church to establish his hold on Italy, and on its part the Church was willing to support him in exchange for restoration of at least some of its former prestige and power. With the solid backing of the Church, Mussolini was established as dictator. And with the Treaty, the Roman pontiff once again achieved the status of right-hand man to the emperor, a position which the popes had earlier enjoyed, beginning with Constantine and continuing with his successors. "Fornication with kings," after a brief interruption, had begun again.

The Church remained, throughout World War II, the loyal partner of an oppressive dictatorship which had been only too happy to give the pope what he wanted: the suppression of basic human rights. With Catholicism now the state religion, religious education was made compulsory in the schools, teachers and textbooks had to be approved by the Church, religious marriage became compulsory, and divorce was forbidden. Criticism of Catholicism either oral or in print was made a penal offense.

As Avro Manhattan puts it in The Vatican and World Politics, "Thus the Church became the religious weapon of the Fascist State, while the Fascist State became the secular arm of the Church." No such arrangement with any secular government could be entered into by any other church (Baptist? Methodist? Lutheran?) even if it so desired. Only Vatican City is capable of spiritual fornication, and surely its concordats with Mussolini, later with Hitler and with a variety of other governments, are exactly that. There is simply no mistaking this woman's identity.

On June 3, 1985, the Vatican and Italy signed a new concordat that ended "a number of privileges the Catholic Church had in Italy, including its status as the state church.... the new treaty guarantees religious freedom for non-Catholics and ends Rome's status as a `sacred city' [but] still recognizes the `particular significance' of Rome to Roman Catholicism."7

The 1933 Concordat with Hitler

One of the key figures in negotiating the 1929 Concordat with Mussolini was Solicitor Francesco Pacelli, brother of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII. The latter, as the Vatican's Secretary of State, would play a key role in negotiating the lucrative (for the Church) 1933 Concordat with Hitler. One of the benefits of the Concordat was the hundreds of millions of dollars that would flow to the Roman Catholic Church through the Kirchensteuer (church tax) throughout the entire war. In return, Pius XII would never excommunicate Hitler from the Catholic Church nor would he raise his voice to protest the slaughter of 6 million Jews.

Leading Catholic prelates and theologians were ecstatic at the signing of the 1933 Concordat. Catholic theologian Michael Schmaus wrote in praise of the authoritarianism of the Nazi regime and compared it to that of the Church: "The strong emphasis on authority in the new government is something essentially familiar to Catholics. It is the counterpart, on the natural level, to the Church's authority in the supernatural sphere. Nowhere is the value and meaning of authority so conspicuous as in our holy Catholic Church." Of course that was true. The papacy had for centuries worked in close partnership with autocratic kings and emperors in the suppression of basic human rights.

Today's Catholics need to face the fact that the totalitarianism of their Church was a major factor in preparing German Catholics to embrace the Nazi regime. Catholic professor of church history Joseph Lortz "never tired of speaking of `the fundamental kinship between National Socialism and Catholicism, a kinship which runs amazingly deep....' " In the same year, 1933, a well-known prelate from Cologne, Robert Grosche, wrote in Die Schildgenossen:

"When papal infallibility was defined in the year 1870, the Church was anticipating on a higher level the historical decision which has now been made on the political level: a decision for authority and against discussion, for the pope and against the sovereignty of the Council, for the Fuehrer and against the Parliament."8

Drawing upon years of study of secret documents in the Vatican archives, its curator of some years, August Bernhard Hasler, noted: "Both in Italy and in Germany the Curia took the opportunity to secure from a dictatorial regime what seemed impossible under parliamentary government, namely, a concordat." He then quotes German Catholic leader Ludwig Kaas: "The `authoritarian state' necessarily understood the basic principles of the `authoritarian church' better than others had." Indeed, they were partners who were made for each other. Hitler received the following warm note of congratulations from Cardinal Michael Faulhaber six months after he came to power:

"What the old parliaments and parties failed to achieve in sixty years your broad statesman's vision has made a reality of world history in six months. This handclasp with the papacy, the greatest moral force in the history of the world, signifies a mighty deed full of immense blessing and an increase in German prestige East and West, in the sight of the entire world."9

Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist John Toland points out that the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church were eager to curry Hitler's favor. After an audience with Pope Pius XI, even though Hitler had just outlawed the Catholic Party, its leader, Monsignor Ludwig Kaas (in words obviously intended to impress the Fuehrer), told the press: "Hitler knows how to guide the ship. Even before he became Chancellor I met him frequently and was greatly impressed by his clear thinking, by his way of facing realities while upholding his ideals, which are noble." Toland goes on to explain:

"The Vatican was so appreciative of being recognized as a full partner that it asked God to bless the Reich. On a more practical level, it ordered German bishops to swear allegiance to the National Socialist regime. The new oath concluded with these significant words: "In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interest of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it."10

Drawn into the Maelstrom

When Hitler, over the objections of Mussolini, announced that Germany was withdrawing from the League of Nations, a telegram came quickly from Catholic Action pledging its support. Shrewdly, Hitler made this move subject to a vote of the people, then put pressure upon them to back him. The Catholic Church gave him its enthusiastic support and made it clear to Catholics that they were to vote in favor of Hitler's decision. Cardinal Faulhaber, with the approval of every bishop in Bavaria, declared that by voting yes, Catholics would "profess anew their loyalty to people and fatherland and their agreement with the farsighted and forceful efforts of the Fuehrer to spare the German people the terror of war and the horrors of Bolshevism, to secure public order and create work for the unemployed."

When Hitler moved his troops into Austria, after the usual promises that he wouldn't, he was astonished at the enthusiasm of the crowds of Austrians, almost all Catholics, who greeted him. After addressing a crowd of about 200,000 in the Heldenplatz, he led a parade past the Winter Palace with Austrian generals joining on horseback. Later Cardinal Innitzer greeted Hitler "with the sign of the cross and gave assurance that so long as the [Roman Catholic] Church retained its liberties Austrian Catholics would become `the truest sons of the great Reich into whose arms they had been brought back on this momentous day.' "Der Fuehrer shook the Cardinal's hand warmly and "promised him everything."11

On Hitler's fiftieth birthday "Special votive masses were celebrated in every German [Roman Catholic] church `to implore God's blessing upon Fuehrer and people.' The Bishop of Mainz called upon Catholics in his diocese to pray specifically for `the Fuehrer and Chancellor, the inspirer, enlarger and protector of the Reich."' Nor did the pope fail to send his congratulations.12

The Catholic press throughout Germany almost unanimously declared that Hitler's narrow escape from the 1939 attempt upon his life was the miraculous protection of God. Cardinal Faulhaber instructed that a Te Deum be sung in the cathedral of Munich "to thank Divine Providence in the name of the archdiocese for the Fuehrer's fortunate escape." Having failed to condemn Germany's liquidation of Poland, the pope did not neglect to send his special personal congratulations to Hitler for his miraculous survival of the assassination attempt.

Even when Hitler's evil had been fully revealed, the Church continued to support him. When German troops launched their offensive against the Soviet Union, the pope again "made it clear that he backed the Nazi fight against Bolshevism, describing it as `high-minded gallantry in defense of the foundations of Christian culture.' A number of German bishops, predictably, openly supported the attack. One called it `a European crusade,' a mission similar to that of the Teutonic knights. The pope exhorted all Catholics to fight for `a victory that will allow Europe to breathe freely again and will promise all nations a new future."'

We could go on with page after page of documentation. However, this should be enough to establish the fact that from the pope and bishops on down Roman Catholics felt a kinship with Hitler and backed him even after his ruthless expansionist ambitions and crimes against humanity were well known. Unholy alliance? Spiritual fornication? There can be no doubt.

Today's Continuing Alliances

The cover of Time magazine of February 24, 1992, carried the pictures of former President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II together with this startling caption: "HOLY ALLIANCE: How Reagan and the Pope conspired to assist Poland's Solidarity movement and hasten the demise of Communism." The lead story told how Reagan had "believed fervently in both the benefits and the practical applications of Washington's relationship with the Vatican. One of his earliest goals as President, Reagan says, was to recognize the Vatican as a state `and make them an ally."'

And allies they became in one of the most amazing exploits in history. It brought down the Berlin Wall, ended the Cold War, and completely unraveled Soviet Communism. It was a story of intrigue and cooperation between the CIA and the apparently even more effective agents of the Vatican. Reagan and John Paul II, both survivors of assassination attempts, shared "a unity of spiritual view and a unity of vision on the Soviet empire: that right or correctness would ultimately prevail in the divine plan."

A five-part strategy emerged during the first half of 1982 "that was aimed at bringing about the collapse of the Soviet economy, fraying the ties that hound the U.S.S.R. to its client states in the Warsaw Pact and forcing reform inside the Soviet empire." In the outworking of the plan, former Secretary of State Alexander Haig acknowledged that "the Vatican's information was absolutely better and quicker than ours in every respect. [The] Vatican liaison to the White House, Archbishop Pio Laghi, kept reminding American officials, "Listen to the Holy Father. We have 2000 years' experience of this."13

That the pope played a key role, both Reagan and later Gorbachev frankly admitted. A major newspaper article coming out three weeks after the Time story reported: "'Pope John Paul II played a major political role in the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe,' said Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev predicted that the pope will continue to play `a great political role' in the current `very delicate transition' taking place in Europe.... the events in Eastern Europe `might not have been possible without the presence of this pope, without the great role-including political-which he knew how to play on the world scene,' said Gorbachev."14

At this point we will leave it to the reader to consider the Vatican's motivation in such heavy political intervention. The fact remains that such a role on the world scene, with its unholy alliances, political intrigues, and earthly goals, would be anathema to Christ's true bride.

The Vatican has long been involved in clandestine activities and self-serving partnerships with many nations. According to the Knights of Columbus magazine, "the history of diplomatic ties between the United States and the Holy See goes back nearly 200 years." The article pictured the then American ambassador to the Vatican, Thomas Melady, and his wife, Margaret, with the pope and quoted Melady:

"Pope John Paul II is at the high point of respect as a world leader ... our government is cooperating as one government to another government, the government of the Holy See. It is a great honor for me to be there, representing our government to the Holy See, at this significant time in world history."

Apparently Christ, whose kingdom at the beginning was ` not of this world," had changed His mind. He who commissioned His disciples to call converts out of the world to heavenly citizenship with His gospel of redemptive grace has apparently decided to work with the nations of this world to create a paradise down here. The Knights of Columbus article went on to exult in the fact that -

"Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Holy See began in the 18th century when the Papal States (before their absorption into Italy) agreed to open several Mediterranean ports to U.S. shipping. In 1797 John B. Sartori, an Italian, was named U.S. Consul....

In 1847, at the request of President James K. Polk, the U.S. Senate established a diplomatic post in the Papal States ... until 1867 when anti-Catholic elements in the United States succeeded in getting the diplomatic mission eliminated.

Informal relations resumed in 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Myron C. Taylor as his "personal envoy" to the Holy See....

In 1981, President Reagan named William A. Wilson, a Catholic, to the post. Wilson served until 1984, when the Vatican and the U.S. began full diplomatic relations and Wilson was made the first U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.15

Consider the following from a recent brochure advertising "The Catholic Event of the Year": "Pope Leo XIII compared the proper relation between Church and State to `the union of the soul and the body in man.' Imagine a nation without a soul! As recent events have confirmed with frightening clarity, America today is such a nation. America was discovered by a Catholic [Columbus], who claimed her for Christ the King. If America is to be rediscovered and reclaimed for our King-if she is to find her missing soul-it is Catholics who must act, and act now."16

Rome has not changed. Her ambitions remain very much of this world. Of course, it is in Christ's name that she wants to reestablish her "reign over the kings of the earth." It is for "the good of mankind and the glory of Christ," as she perceives it, that "the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaiously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods"17 back under her control. Vatican II couldn't be clearer on this point.
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------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------

The horrid conduct of this Holy Office [Inquisition] weakened the power and diminished the population of Spain by arresting the progress of arts, sciences, industry and commerce, and by compelling multitudes of families to abandon the kingdom; by instigating the expulsion of the Jews and the Moors, and by immolating on its flaming shambles more than three hundred thousand victims. -Jean Antoine Llorente Secretary to the Spanish Inquisition, 1790-92

The Inquisition is, in its very nature, good, mild, and preservative. It is the universal, indelible character of every ecclesiastical institution; you see it in Rome, and you can see it wherever the true Church has power. -Comte Le Maistre, 1815

It would be better to be an atheist than believe in the God of the Inquisition. -Anonymous Catholic 3

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------

Is all of the below chapter a preview of the atrocities that will again occur during the Tribulation Period??


Blood of the Martyrs

The quotations above present two opposing viewpoints, both by Catholics. Only one is right. We learn the truth from John's vision and from history. The woman astride the beast is "drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Revelation 17:6). It is a horrible picture, but one which history fully authenticates for Rome alone and no other city.

Every citizen in the empire was required to be a Roman Catholic
. Failure to give wholehearted allegiance to the pope was considered treason against the state punishable by death. Here was the basis for slaughtering millions. As Islam would be a few centuries later, a paganized Christianity was imposed upon the entire populace of Europe under the threat of torture and death.

Thus Roman Catholicism became "the most persecuting faith the world has ever seen. .. [commanding] the throne to impose the Christian [Catholic] religion on all its subjects. Innocent III murdered far more Christians in one afternoon ... than any Roman emperor did in his entire reign."4 Will Durant writes candidly:

"Compared with the persecution of heresy in Europe from 1227 to 1492, the persecution of Christians by Romans in the first three centuries alter k-nrtst? was a mild and humane procedure.

Making every allowance required by an historian and permitted to a Christian, we must rank the Inquisition, along with the wars and persecutions of our time, as among the darkest blots on the record of mankind, revealing a ferocity unknown in any beast."5

Of course not all dissenters openly proclaimed their disloyalty to Rome. There were secret heretics who had to be sought out diligently. The method devised was the Inquisition, in the opinion of Egyptian author Rollo Ahmed, "the most pitiless and ferocious institution the world has ever known" in its destruction of lives, property, morals, and human rights. Lord Acton, a Catholic, called the Inquisition "murderous" and declared that the popes "were not only murderers in the great style, but they made murder a legal basis of the Christian Church and the condition of salvation."6

No Absolution for Rome

Roman Catholic apologists deceitfully try to absolve their Church of any responsibility in the actual burnings of heretics. They claim that the Inquisition was the work of the state. On the contrary, "The binding force of the laws against heretics lay not in the authority of secular princes, but in the sovereign dominion of life and death over all Christians claimed by the Popes as God's representatives on earth, as Innocent III expressly states it."7

The penalties were executed by the civil authorities, but only as the secular arm of the Church. Innocent III commanded the archbishop of Auch in Gascony: "We give you a strict command that, by whatever means you can, you destroy all these heresies ... you may cause the princes and people to suppress them with the sword." The pope offered "a plenary indulgence to the king and nobles of France for aid in suppressing the Catharist heresy. To Philip Augustus, in return for such aid, the pope offered the lands of all who should fail to join in a crusade against the Albigensians."8

Comte Le Maistre, in his letters written in 1815 to justify the Spanish Inquisition, states that it existed "by virtue of the bull of the sovereign pontiff" and that the Grand Inquisitor "is always either an archbishop or bishop."9 If the authorities refused to execute the condemned, they would themselves be brought before the Tribunal and consigned to the flames.

It was the popes themselves who invented the Inquisition and saw that it was carried out. "Gregory IX, in 1233, handed over the office [of the Inquisition] in permanence to the Dominicans, but always to be exercised in the name, and by the authority of, the Pope."10 As already noted, "Of eighty popes in a line from the thirteenth century on not one of them disapproved of the theology and apparatus of the Inquisition. On the contrary, one after another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this deadly machine."11 We are not quoting Protestants or even ex-Catholics, but Catholic historians. Listen to the leading nineteenth century Catholic professor of Church history:

"Through the influence of Gratian ... and unwearied activity of the Popes and their legates since 1183, the view of the Church had been ... [that] every departure from the teaching of the Church, and every important opposition to any ecclesiastical ordinances, must be punished with death, and the most cruel of deaths, by fire....

Innocent III declared the mere refusal to swear, and the opinion that oaths were unlawful, a heresy worthy of death, and directed that whoever differed in any respect from the common way of life of the multitude should be treated as a heretic.

Both the initiation and carrying out of this new principle must be ascribed to the Popes alone.... It was the Popes who compelled bishops and priests to condemn the heterodox to torture, confiscation of their goods, imprisonment, and death, and to enforce the execution of this sentence on the civil authorities, under pain of excommunication.

From 1200 to 1500 the long series of Papal ordinances on the Inquisition, ever increasing in severity and cruelty, and their whole policy towards heresy, runs on without a break. It is a rigidly consistent system of legislation; every Pope confirms and improves upon the devices of his predecessor. All is directed to the one end, of completely uprooting every difference of belief... .

It was only the absolute dictation of the Popes, and the notion of their infallibility in all questions of Evangelical morality, that made the Christian world ... [accept] the Inquisition, which contradicted the simplest principles of Christian justice and love to our neighbor and would have been rejected with universal horror in the ancient Church.12

Far from being its originators, civil authorities often tried to resist the Inquisition, but they could not. Forced to carry out the sentence, executioners sometimes "strangled the condemned before lighting the flames."13 Such acts of deficient mercy were, unfortunately, the rare exception. A few compassionate voices were raised within the Church: "St. Bernard pointed out that Christ had expressly forbidden the line of conduct afterwards prescribed by the Popes, and that it could only multiply hypocrites and confirm and increase the hatred of mankind against a bloodthirsty and persecuting Church and clergy."14 But most clergy agreed with the popes.

Papal Decrees

We often learn of secular resistance from papal decrees overruling it. Will Durant informs us that in 1521 Leo X issued the bull Honestis which "ordered the excommunication of any officials, and the suspension of religious services in any community, that refused to execute, without examination or revision, the sentences of the inquisitors."15 Consider Clement V's rebuke of King Edward II:

"We hear that you forbid torture as contrary to the laws of your land. But no state law can override [the Church's] canon law, our law. Therefore I command you at once to submit those men to torture."16

Pope Urban II (1088-99), inspirer of the first Crusade, decreed that all heretics were to be tortured and killed. That became a dogma of the Church. Acclaimed as the 'angelic doctor,' even St. Thomas Aquinas taught that non-Catholics, or heretics, could, after a second warning, be legitimately killed. His exact words are: "they have merited to be excluded from the earth by death."17

Pope Martin V (1417-31) commanded the King of Poland in 1429 to exterminate the Hussites (sympathizers with the martyred Jan Hus), who had fought back and had routed the pope's army. The following from the pope's letter to the king reinforces what we know of the evil of papal totalitarianism and tells us why popes hated the Hussites and other independent Christians and wanted them destroyed:

"Know that the interests of the Holy See, and those of your crown, make it a duty to exterminate the Hussites. Remember that these impious persons dare proclaim principles of equality; they maintain that all Christians are brethren, and that God has not given to privileged men the right of ruling the nations; they hold that Christ came on earth to abolish slavery; they call the people to liberty, that is to the annihilation of kings and priests.

While there is still time, then, turn your forces against Bohemia; burn, massacre, make deserts everywhere, for nothing could be more agreeable to God, or more useful to the cause of kings, than the extermination of the Hussites."18

The popes themselves were the authority behind the Inquisitions. They wielded the power of life and death even over emperors. Had any pope opposed the Inquisition, he could have stopped it during his papacy at least. Where do we read that the popes thundered anathemas against the secular authorities who imposed so many and such gruesome deaths upon their victims? Never! Civil magistrates would have desisted from these loathsome murders in order to save their own souls, but papal orders to stop the Inquisitions never came.

On the contrary, the Roman pontiffs, who originated and directed the Inquisitions, threatened excommunication against any who failed to carry out the inquisitors' decrees. Today's Catholic apologists deny the facts of history and accuse those who present the truth of being "unscholarly." D. Antonio Gavin, a Catholic priest and eyewitness to the Spanish Inquisition, tells us:

"The Roman Catholics believe there is a Purgatory, and that the souls suffer more pains in it than in Hell: But I think that the Inquisition is the only Purgatory on earth, and the holy Fathers [priests/popes] are the judges and executioners in it. The reader may form a dreadful idea of the barbarity of that tribunal by what I have already said, but I am sure it never will come up to what it is in reality, for it passes all understanding….".19

The Dogmas Remain Today

Had Rome ever confessed the evil of her ferocious slaughter of millions of those whom she called heretics, and had she renounced the centuries of plunder and murder and wiped those doctrines from her books, then we could forget that horror. That she has not done so, however, requires us to face, no matter how unpleasant, the facts of history. Far from expressing shame for the execution of heretics, a popular American Catholic weekly in 1938 declared:

"Heresy is an awful crime against God, and those who start a heresy are more guilty than they who are traitors to the civil government. If the state has a right to punish treason with death, the principle is the same that concedes to the spiritual authority [Roman Catholic Church] the power of life and death over the archtraitor [heretic]."20

Infallibility can never admit it was wrong. As John Fox reminds us in his Book of Martyrs, "A Church which pretends to be infallible will always seek the destruction of those who dissent from it.... "21 De Rosa points out that Pope John Paul II -

"knows the church was responsible for persecuting Jews, for the Inquisition, for slaughtering heretics by the thousand, for reintroducing torture into Europe as part of the judicial process. But he has to be careful. The doctrines responsible for those terrible things still underpin his position."22

Disobedience to the pope became the epitome of heresy. Those guilty of it immediately lost any normal human rights and were summarily put to death. Consider Urban VIII's 1627 Bull In Coena Domini. Gregory XI had first brought it out in 1372, and Gregory XII reconfirmed it in 1411, as did Pius V in 1568 (who said it was to remain an eternal law in Christendom). Each pope added new touches until it was well-nigh impossible for an admitted non-Catholic to exist in Europe, much as it will be worldwide under Antichrist for any who do not submit totally to him. The bull "excommunicates and curses all heretics and schismatics as well as all who favor or defend them, [including] all princes and magistrates.... "23

This bull is still in force today. Nor could it be otherwise, with the ex cathedra pronouncements of four infallible popes behind it. The absolutism remains even though Rome is not presently able to enforce it so blatantly. The Code of Canon Law, Canon 333, par 3, declares: "There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff." Vatican II, of course, says the same.

The woman rides the beast, holding the reins! Incredible, but it happened. Heresy in the Church's eyes was treated as treason against the crown. The Church sought out the heretics, found them guilty, and handed them to the civil authorities for execution. As its secular arm, the state did the Church's bidding in the execution of heretics, the confiscation of their property, and the enforcement of the Church's decrees against them and their heirs.

The Use of Torture

Remember, it is not that the woman's hands are red with blood but that she is drunk with the blood of the martyrs.
Her condition depicts a Church that not only kills but tortures pitiful victims for days and even weeks. The inquisitors seem to be drugged into insensibility until their normal sense horror and sympathy had been numbed. Indeed, to be able impose the most extreme torture without a twinge of conscience or compassionate thought became a mark of holiness and fidelity to the Church.

Try to imagine being suddenly arrested in the middle of the night and taken to an unknown location kept secret from family and friends. You are not told the charges against you or the identity of your accusers, who remain unknown and thus immune from any examination to discover whether they are telling the truth. Whatever the accusation, it is accepted as fact and you are guilty without trial. The only "trial" will be by the most ingeniously painful torture that continues until you confess to that unnamed crime or heresy of which you have been accused. Imagine the torment of dislocated joints, torn and seared flesh, internal injuries, broken bones on the rack and other devices, mended by doctors so they could be torn asunder again by fresh torture. Eventually you would confess to anything to end the torment, but no matter what you confess it never fits the secret accusation, so the torture continues until at last you expire from the unbearable trauma.

Such was the fate of millions. These were real people: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters-all with hopes and dreams, with passions and feelings, and many with a faith that could not be broken by torture or fire. Remember that this terror, this evil of such proportions that it is unimaginable today, was carried on for centuries in the name of Christ by the command of those who claimed to be the vicars of Christ. They are still honored with that title by this Church, which has never admitted that the Inquisitions were wrong. She has not repented or apologized, and she dares to pose even today as the supreme teacher and example of morals and truth. Remember also that the doctrines which supported the Inquisitions remain in force within the Roman Catholic Church even at the present time.

With the use of torture, there was no limit to what the accused would confess. At least one poor creature said he would admit having killed God if his inquisitors would stop torturing him. Women accused of being witches confessed, under torture, to having had sex with Satan and even to having borne him children, children who remained invisible and were thus all the greater menace to Catholics. Pope Innocent VIII made such hysterical nonsense official Catholic dogma in his 1484 Bull, Summis desiderantes affectibus:

"Men and women straying from the Catholic faith have abandoned themselves to devils, incubi and succubi [male and female demonic sexual partners], and by their incantations, spells, conjurations ... have slain infants yet in the mother's womb, as also the offspring of cattle, have blasted the produce of the earth ...." 24

Torture was considered to be essential because the church felt duty-bound to identify from the lips of the victims themselves any deviance from sound doctrine. Presumably, the more excruciating the torture, the more likely that the truth could be wrung from reluctant lips. The inquisitors were determined that it was "better for a hundred innocent people to die than for one heretic to go free." This horrendous doctrine was maintained under every pope for the next three centuries. Durant suggests:

"The inquisitors appear to have sincerely believed that, torture was a favor to a defendant already accounted guilty, since it might earn him, by confession, a slights penalty than otherwise; even if he should, after confession, be condemned to death, he could enjoy priestly absolution to save him from hell." 25

Another author, Gerard Dufour, quotes a 1552 book by Simancas stating that "the inquisitors should be more inclined to the use of torture than regular judges because the crime of heresy is concealed and very difficult to prove." The openly stated purpose of torture was "to cause the most intense pain to the prisoner. And for that the inquisitors exchanged recipes [techniques]." Other authorities of that time are quoted to the effect that torture was not expected to rescue the accused from his heresy, but its main purpose was to terrorize the masses,26 which in fact it did.

Catholic apologists are quick to say that Pope Sixtus IV attempted to stop the Inquisition. That is not true. He issued a bull in 1482 declaring that the inquisitors in Aragon, Spain, seemed more interested in getting wealthy than defending the faith and accusing them of imprisoning, torturing, and burning faithful Catholics on the basis of false accusations from their enemies or slaves. He decreed that a representative of the local bishop must always be present, that the accused must know-the names of the accusers, and that appeals to the Holy See ought to be allowed.

This bull, however, was only for Aragon, and when King Ferdinand defied it Sixtus backed off and five months later suspended it. In the meantime he was taking money for granting dispensations and absolutions (which the inquisitors never honored) from the sentences of the Inquisition in Aragon. Nor did he give any refunds. If the pope had been seriously concerned for justice rather than money, he would have forced the king to comply and have made the bull effective everywhere instead of only in Aragon.27

The Modus Operandi

When the inquisitors swept into a town an "Edict of Faith" was issued requiring everyone to reveal any heresy of which they had knowledge. Those who concealed a heretic came under the curse of the Church and the inquisitors' wrath
. Informants would approach the inquisitors' lodgings under cover of night and were rewarded for information. No one arrested was ever acquitted.

"Heretics" were committed to the flames because the popes believed that the Bible forbade Christians to shed blood. The victims of the Inquisition exceeded by hundreds of thousands the number of Christians and Jews who had suffered under pagan Roman emperors.

The Inquisition, established and repeatedly blessed by the popes, was an open assault upon truth and justice and basic human rights
. It was the perfect setup for bigots, villains, enemies, and crazies with overworked imaginations to seek revenge, rid themselves of a rival, or gain personal satisfaction of having become important to the Church. De Rosa writes:

"Whenever one of the Papal States fell to the armies of the new Italy and the prisons were opened, the prisoners' conditions were said to be indescribable….for more than six centuries without a break, the papacy was the sworn enemy of elementary justice."28

The property of heretics was confiscated and divided between the inquisitors and the popes. That the corpse of Pope Formosus had been twice disinterred, condemned, and excommunicated set a pattern. In 680 the Sixth General Council decreed that even dead heretics should be tried and condemned. Corpses that had lain in the grave for decades were dug up, tried, and found guilty. At that point the past assets of the deceased were confiscated, causing heirs to lose everything, including, in many cases, all civil rights.

Roman Catholic apologists pass off the Inquisitions as a necessity at the time to keep the Church doctrinally pure. They suggest that any excesses were the work of overly patriotic Spaniards who were concerned that many "converted" Moors and Jews were not really loyal to the Church. Seemingly forgotten is the "barbaric cruelty of the pious priestly inquisitors in Italy, France, Germany, the Low Countries, England and the Scandinavian lands." Besides the Spanish Inquisition there were the Roman and Medieval Inquisitions as well. Emmet McLoughlin, who spent years researching relevant historical records in the New World, writes:

"There were no Moors and few Jews in Peru, where I saw the Hall of the Inquisition, the dungeons of imprisonment, and the gorgeously carved door with ... an opening made at mouth height so that the witness could testify against the accused heretic without being seen or identified ...." 29

As an eyewitness in the early eighteenth century in Spain. Gavin tells us, "This tribunal is composed of three Inquisitors, who are absolute judges ... from their judgment there is no appeal.... The first Inquisitor is a divine, the second a casuist, and the third a civilian; the first and second are always Priests.... The third sometimes is not a Priest.... The Inquisitors have a despotic power to command every living soul; and no excuse is to be given, nor contradiction to be made, to their orders. . . . "30

The Pilgrim Church

Catholic apologists admit that the Church "made some mistakes," but insist that Rome couldn't be the whore in Revelation 17. Why? Because Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18), and Roman Catholicism was the Church. Even many evangelicals are deceived by this argument.

The truth is that Roman Catholicism did not represent Christ and was not His Church. For at least a thousand years before the Reformation the true church was composed of multitudes of simple Christians who were not part of the Roman system. That such believers existed, refused to be called "Catholics," and worshiped independently of the Roman hierarchy is history. It is a fact that they were pursued to imprisonment and death since at least the end of the fourth century. Among the evidence in ancient records stands the "Edict of the Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II, and Theodosius I" of February 27, 380, which established Roman Catholicism as the state religion. In part it said:

"We order those who follow this doctrine to receive the title of Catholic Christians, but others we judge to be mad and raving and worthy of incurring the disgrace of heretical teaching, nor are their assemblies to receive the name of churches. They are to be punished not only by Divine retribution but also by our own measures, which we have decided in accordance with Divine inspiration."31

These non-Catholic Christians had, out of conscience before God and in obedience to His Word, separated themselves from what they sincerely called even in that day "the whore of Babylon." Concerning them, Bishop Alvaro Palayo, an official of the Curia in Avignon, wrote grudgingly: "Considering the Papal Court has filled the whole Church with simony, and the consequent corruption of religion, it is natural enough the heretics should call the Church the whore."32 E. H. Broadbent calls these Bible-believing Christians The Pilgrim Church in his book of that name:

"In the Alpine valleys of Piedmont there had been for centuries congregations of believers calling themselves brethren, who came later to be widely known as Waldenses, or Vaudois.... In the South of France ... the congregations of believers who met apart from the Catholic Church were numerous and increasing. They are often called Albigenses [and] had intimate connections with the brethren-whether called Waldenses, Poor Men of Lyons, Bogomils, or otherwise-in the surrounding countries, where churches spread among the various peoples.

In 1209 [Pope Innocent III] proclaimed a crusade against [them]. Indulgences, such as had been given to the [Holy Land] Crusaders ... were now offered to all who would take part in the easier work of destroying the most fruitful provinces of France. This, and the prospect of booty and license of every kind, attracted hundreds of thousands of men. Under the presidence of high clerical dignitaries and led by Simon de Montfort, a military leader of great ability ... the most beautiful and cultivated part of Europe at that time was ravaged ....33

These simple believers were burned at the stake or slain with the sword (and most of their records were destroyed) when their towns and villages were razed by papal armies. Catholic apologists falsely accuse them of heresies and abominable practices which they denied. The accounts we have of their trials reveal that they held beliefs similar to evangelicals of today. Though some of the worst tales are told about the Cathari, one can only agree with their beliefs as described by Durant:

"[They] denied that the [Roman Catholic] Church was the Church of Christ; [declared that] St. Peter had never come to Rome, had never founded the papacy; [and that] the popes were successors to the emperors, not to the apostles. [They taught that] Christ had no place to lay His head, but the pope lived in a palace; Christ was propertyless and penniless, but Christian prelates were rich; surely ... these lordly archbishops and bishops, these worldly priests, these fat monks, were the Pharisees of old returned to life! The Roman Church, they were sure, was the Whore of Babylon, the clergy were a Synagogue of Satan, the pope was Antichrist. They denounced the preachers of crusades as murderers ... laughed at indulgences and relics ... they called the churches "dens of thieves" and Catholic priests seemed to them "traitors, liars, and hypocrites."34

Nineteenth-century Roman Catholic author du Pin writes: "The pope [Innocent III] and the prelates were of opinion that it was lawful to make use of force, to see whether those who were not reclaimed out of a sense of their salvation might be so by the fear of punishments, and even of temporal death." Almost everyone knows that crusades were organized of tens of thousands of knights and foot soldiers to retake Jerusalem from the Muslims. Very few have ever heard that similar crusades involving huge armies were fought against Christians who could not in good conscience submit to Rome. Yet such was the case, beginning with Pope Innocent III.35

A major crime of these Christians was believing in freedom of conscience and worshipbiblical concepts which the popes hated, for such beliefs would put Rome out of business. Though no exact figures are available, the slaughter of these Christians by the popes probably ran into the millions during the thousand years before the Reformation. In the city of Beziers alone about 60,000 men, women, and children were wiped out in one crusade.36 Innocent III considered the annihilation of these particular heretics the crowning achievement of his papacy! Broadbent writes:

"When the town of Beziers was summoned to surrender, the Catholic inhabitants joined with the Dissenters in refusing.... The town was taken, and of the tens of thousands who had taken refuge there, none were spared [alive]."37

In spite of periodic massacres, groups of independent Christians were growing in numbers long before Martin Luther was born. They would seemingly be wiped out in one area only to be found in another. As Ulric Zwingli would later state in 1522 in a letter to his brothers, who were fearful that he would be burned at the stake:

"O, my beloved brethren, the gospel derives from the blood of Christ this wondrous property, that the fierce persecutions, far from arresting its progress, do b hasten its triumph!" 38

Rome could not allow independence from her iron grip. Thus the French Vaudois incurred the wrath of Pope Innocent VIII (1484-92) "for daring to maintain their own religion in preference to that of Rome." In 1487 the pope raised a crusade against them in which he promised "the remission of all sins to everyone who should slay a heretic,"39 and ordered any bishop removed who neglected to purge his diocese from heretics. No wonder these Christians thought of the popes as Antichrists, for what they suffered was far worse than Roman emperors meted out to the early church and seemed so much like the persecution under Antichrist prophesied in Revelation 13.

In 1838 George Stanley Faber wrote An Inquiry into the History and Theology of the Ancient Valdenses and Albigenses. Nearly 200 years earlier, in 1648, Samuel Morland had published his History of the Evangelical Churches of Piedmont (an area in France populated by the Albigenses and other "heretics"). The investigation of both of these authors drew on a number of other works going back into the thirteenth century. From written and public testimony at their trials, it is quite clear that the Vaudois, Albigenses, Waldenses, and other similar groups were heretics to Rome only. In fact, their beliefs were much like those of the Reformers, of whom they were, in a sense, the forerunners. Martin Luther acknowledged his debt to them when he wrote:

"We are not the first to declare the papacy to be the kingdom of Antichrist, since for many years before us so many and such great men (whose number is large any whose memory is eternal) have undertaken to express the same thing so clearly and plainly."40

The Mennonites

One of the worst heresies in Rome's eyes was to reject infant baptism
. That ritual supposedly removed the stain of original sin, made the infant a child of God and member of the Church, and started the process of salvation, which consisted in obeying Rome's ordinances and participating in her sacraments.

Those who managed to find a copy of the Bible (which Rome did her best to keep from the people) discovered that it contradicted Rome's doctrines. Salvation came not through baptism but by faith in Christ. Baptism was for those who believed in Him as their personal savior. No infant was capable of such understanding and faith.

Those who believed the gospel they found in the Bible wanted to be baptized as believers. The Dutch Catholic priest Menno Simons relates his own confusion before he became a Christian:

"On March 20, 1531, a certain tailor by the name of Sicke Freerks Snijder was executed in [Leeuwarden] for the strange reason that he had been baptized a second time. "It sounded strange in my ears," says Menno, "that a second baptism was spoken of.

It seemed still more strange when Menno learned that Freerks was a pious, God-fearing man, who did not believe the Scriptures taught that infants should be baptized but rather that baptism should be administered only to adults upon confession of a personal faith.41

Many of the growing numbers of Protestants, such as Lutherans, continued to baptize infants and do so today - one of several elements of Roman Catholicism from which many Reformers were unable to shake free. Thus Protestants, too, began to persecute and in some cases even to execute those who had been baptized a second time. These "heretics" came to be known as Anabaptists.

The Catholic Inquisition in Holland, where most of the Anabaptists were, burned tens of thousands at the stake for espousing the baptism of adults who had come to personal faith in Christ. Those who gave the heretics help or shelter shared their fate. The largest group of Anabaptists followed the teachings of Menno Simons and became known as Mennonites. Menno writes:

"[About 1539] a very pious and God-fearing man Tjard Reynders, was apprehended in the place where he sojourned for the reason that he had received me, homeless man, out of compassion and love, into his house, although in secret.... he was, after a free confession of his faith [in Christ alone], broken on the wheel and executed as a valiant soldier of Christ, according to the example of his Lord, although he had the testimony, even of his enemies, that he was an unblameable and pious man."42

The stories of the martyrs who, because they placed their faith in Christ alone and were devoted to Him, were tortured and slain, many in the flames, present a picture which in its pathos and tragedy is almost unbelievable. We learn both of the terror they faced bravely at the hands of those who claimed to be serving Christ, and of their faith, from letters they wrote while awaiting execution. Consider this brief excerpt from a letter that Hans Van Munstdorp wrote to his wife when they were both in prison at Antwerp:

"An affectionate greeting to you, my beloved wife, whom I love from the heart ... and must now forsake for the truth [for] which we must count all things loss and love Him above all.... my mind is still unwaveringly fixed to adhere to the eternal truth. [I hope] by the grace of the Lord that this is also the purpose of your mind, which I would be rejoiced to hear. I herewith exhort you my beloved lamb, with the apostle: "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, and suffer yourself not to be moved from your purpose.... "43

On September 19, 1573, after her husband's death and after she had in prison given birth, Janneken Munstdorp wrote a farewell letter to her baby daughter. It was a lengthy exhortation to live for Christ, filled with Scripture references and teachings from God's Word to guide her child as she grew up. This brief excerpt from that letter reveals a young mother's and martyr's love and faith:

"The true love of God and wisdom of the Father strengthen you in virtue, my dearest child.... I commend you to the Almighty, great and terrible God, who only is wise, that He will keep you and let you grow up in His fear... you who are yet so young and whom I must leave here in this wicked, evil, perverse world. Since ... you are here deprived of father and mother, I will commend you to the Lord; let Him do with you according to His holy will....

My dear lamb, I who am imprisoned ... can help you in no other way; I had to leave your father for the Lord's sake.... [W]e were apprehended. .. [and] they took him from me.... And now that I have ... borne you under my heart with great sorrow for nine months, and given birth to you here in prison, in great pain, they have taken you from me....

Since I am now delivered up to death, and must leave you here alone, I must through these lines cause you to remember that when you have attained your understanding you endeavor to fear God and examine why and for whose name we both died; and be not ashamed ... of us; it is the way which the prophets and the apostles went, and the narrow way which leads into eternal life...."44

Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that these martyrs have been forgotten. Or, worse yet, their faithfulness to Christ in torture and death is being mocked today by evangelical leaders who say that the truths for which they gave their lives are not important. They died to bring the gospel to lost souls because Rome's gospel was sending multitudes to eternal judgment. But even though Rome's gospel has not changed, many evangelical leaders today are saying that Catholics who follow Rome are saved, and they are now looking upon the Roman Catholic Church (a Church that burned people at the stake for giving out the Scriptures!) as a partner in evangelizing the world for Christ. The martyrs must weep in heaven-not for themselves but for the lost-if Christ allows them to know of this uncaring betrayal of the faith for which they died.

The Inquisition Today

The Medieval Inquisition had flourished for centuries when Pope Paul III, in 1542, gave it permanent status as the first of Rome's Sacred Congregations, the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Inquisition. Known more recently as the Holy Office, its name was changed in 1967 to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith-quite appropriate inasmuch as the public burnings were known as autos-da-fe or acts of faith. The persecution, torture, and killing of heretics has never been repudiated by the Roman Catholic Church and has continued into modern times, as we shall see.

Rome is faced with a clear choice: Either her zealous torture and slaughter of so many innocent victims is something to be proud of or it is something to be ashamed of. Of course, Rome will neither repent of its sins nor give up its claim to infallibility. Therefore it is not surprising that the Office of the Inquisition still occupies the Palace of the Inquisition adjacent to the Vatican, though under its new name, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. Its current Grand Inquisitor, who reports directly to the pope, is the former Archbishop of Munich, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, whom Time has called "the world's most powerful cardinal [and] the Catholic Church's chief enforcer of dogma. . . .”45 That enforcement may be brutally direct or dealt with a gloved hand through another person, as was the case in late 1993 in the muzzling of Fr. Joseph Breen by Nashville's Bishop Edward Kmiec. In a letter to the nation's bishops, Breen, pointing to "the vast difference between what is said in Rome and what actually happens" pleaded for "optional celibacy." He was forced to sign a pledge "that he will not speak to media ... [and] not criticize what bishops do."46

While it no longer immolates its victims, the Congregation still attempts to maintain the Vatican's cultlike control over the thinking of its clergy and Church members. For example, on June 9, 1993, Ratzinger published "Instructions ... in Promoting the Doctrine of the Faith." The document demands that "prior permission is required ... for what is written by clerics and members of religious institutes for newspapers, magazines or periodicals which are accustomed to attack openly the Catholic religion or good morals. The instruction also warns Catholic publishing houses to conform to church law. And bishops are obliged to prevent the sale and display in their churches of publications on religion and morals that lack church approval…..47 It is the Index of Forbidden Books again!

Monumental Hypocrisy

The Roman Catholic Church has been the greatest persecutor of both Jews and Christians the world has ever seen, and has martyred far more Christians than even pagan Rome or Islam. She has been exceeded only by Mao and Stalin, but they hardly claimed to be acting in Christ's name. Catholic Rome has no rival among religious institutions in qualifying as the woman who is "drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus."

Yet John Paul II, in his recent treatise, Veritatis Splendor, has the audacity to speak of Catholic saints "who bore witness to and defended moral truth even to the point of enduring martrydom...."48 What of the millions whom his Church massacred because their moral conscience and understanding of God's Word did not coincide with Rome's! The silence from the Vatican concerning its infamous and innumerable crimes against God and humanity is deafening. Even worse is the hypocrisy that allows this murderous woman to pose as the great teacher and exemplar of obedience to Christ.

"'Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"(Matthew 5:10). Thus John Paul II began today's [October 10, 1993] solemn mass in honor of the beatification of 11 [Catholic] martyrs of the Spanish Civil War and two Italian religious."49 So reported the influential Catholic magazine Inside the Vatican. As always, while Catholic martyrs are lauded, there is no admission of and no apology for the millions of Christians and Jews who have been martyred by the Roman Catholic Church. The hypocrisy is monumental.


The Roman Catholic "Church" is overripe for God's wrath and judgment........

I believe the papacy will re-ignite the flames of the Inquisitions during the soon coming Tribulation Period, and it will be a worldwide persecution - all in an effort by the false "Holy Father" to assist in the Antichrist's takeover of planet Earth and to eventually demand all to worship him as God.

"Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" - Revelation 18:4


Well-Known Member
------------------------------- A WOMAN -------------------------------

I gather that... some arrangement has been worked out with the Vatican and Argentina ... protecting not only Quislings but also [those]. . . guilty of terrible crimes committed in Yugoslavia. I presume we must protect our agents even though it disgusts me ... we are conniving with the Vatican and Argentina to get guilty people to haven in the latter country. -John Moors Cabot American Ambassador to Belgrade June 1947

The Vatican's [Ratlines] were supposed to remain hidden forever. But beneath the sleepy town of Suitland, Maryland, there are twenty underground vaults, each an acre in size, crammed... with classified documents... hidden from public scrutiny. As the decades passed, the successors to the original custodians had no idea what awful secrets lay buried... until piece by piece they lifted the veil of Vatican secrecy.

By the time the intelligence chiefs read this book it will be too late.... The Vatican's Ratlines have passed from secrecy to history. It is an ugly legacy of spies, scandals, and Nazi smuggling. -From the preface to Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis and Soviet Intelligence2

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------

Was this part of Christ's Great Commission? (Matthew 28:19) That followers of Jesus and His so-called "One True Church", should harbor and assist war criminals to escape judgment and be relocated to safe havens around the globe??

The Vatican Ratlines

With the collapse of German resistance at the end of World War II, the great fear of the peoples living in Eastern Europe was that the advancing Soviet troops would not liberate but enslave them. Whole countries would become part of the spoils of war with which Roosevelt would reward Stalin. Freedom would be lost and citizens once used to traveling freely from country to country would become virtual prisoners of Communist regimes behind closed borders.

Escape from Communist rule, if it was to occur, had to be effected immediately. With this realization, multitudes of refugees began streaming west ahead of the advancing Red Army. Mingling among those fleeing, and hoping to hide their identity in the confusion, were tens of thousands of war criminals from the Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. Ironically, many of them would receive faster and better aid than the legitimate refugees, some of whom they had imprisoned and tortured.

Pius XII's defenders insist that his wartime silence in the face of the Holocaust was dictated by the necessity for the Church to remain neutral. As the war neared its end, however, the pope was far from neutral. He pleaded with the Allied Forces to go easy on both Mussolini and Hitler. Their countries had to remain strong as a buffer against Soviet Communism. The Allies, of course, turned a deaf ear to the pope's surprising intercession for mass murderers.

Having failed to do anything on a significant scale to rescue the Jews, the pope would exert great effort to save their murderers. The rationale was that the Fascists who had fought Communism must be rescued from prosecution as war criminals in order to carry on the battle from other Catholic countries. Though unable to rescue Hitler and Mussolini, the pope let it be known in the refugee camps "that the Vatican would shelter Fascist fugitives."3

The Great Escape West

It is almost uncanny how quickly that word reached the "right people" while remaining unknown to the rest. A steady stream of Nazi war criminals began to flow through an underground escape route which was quickly set up by the Vatican. The network would be known as the Ratlines. Investigative reporters Mark Aarons and John Loftus, having sifted through thousands of hitherto secret documents, write in their remarkable book Unholy Trinity:

"Under the direction of Pope Pius XII, Vatican officials such as Monsignor Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI) supervised one of the greatest obstructions of justice in modern history ... facilitating the escape of tens of thousands of Nazi [war criminals] to the West, where they were supposed to be trained as "freedom fighters" .. [as well as] Central European Fascist [war criminals] from Russia, Belorus, and the Ukraine."4

Most Catholics would have been shocked to know what the Vatican was secretly doing - and most of all to know that the escaping war criminals included a large number of clergy, from priests to archbishops. Nor was the Vatican ignorant of their crimes but had actually given them its blessing with full knowledge of the awful facts. How tragic that a similar effort had not been put forth to rescue millions of Jews from the Nazi death machine!

Thousands of the Ustashi retreated with the Nazi troops in face of the Russian advance and attempted to surrender to British forces at the Austrian border but were refused. It was therefore necessary to get past the British lines secretly, and to do so they were aided by fellow Ustasha, Father Vilim Cecelja. A Lieutenant Colonel in the Ustashi militia, he "spoke with pride of his leading role in organising 800 peasants to fight alongside the Nazi invaders" of Yugoslavia. He had been part of Pavelic's entourage when the latter had been blessed by Pius XII in Rome on May 17, 1941.

In anticipation of the Nazi defeat, Cecelja had gone to Vienna in May 1944 "to prepare the Austrian end of the escape network" and to found "the Austrian branch of the Croatian Red Cross, which provided ideal cover for his illegal work."5 As for Pavelic himself, Western intelligence records indicate:

"Ante Pavelic clipped his recognizable bushy eyebrows, donned a beard, and, with an Argentine passport, slipped into Austria under the name "Ramirez." He hid in the Convent of St. Gilgin until picked up by British occupation forces. [By arrangement with the Vatican] he was released and surfaced two years later in Italy dressed as a priest and secreted in another convent ... [until] he sailed to Buenos Aires in 1948." 6

The Early Ratlines Operation

One of the early key figures directing the escape of Nazi war criminals (and especially Catholic clergy) was Bishop Alois Hudal, rector of a seminary for German priests in Rome and a close associate of both Monsignor Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI) and Alcide de Gasperi (later Italian Premier). Confidant also of Eugenio Pacelli both before and after he became Pius XII, Hudal was as fanatical in his support of Hitler and Nazi policies as he was in his hatred of anything Communist. An unrepentant anti-Semite to his death, Hudal worked closely in Rome with the Holy Office (successor to the Inquisition), watchdog over Catholic doctrine.

Hudal saw no conflict between his beloved Roman Catholicism and his equally beloved Nazism. During the war he proudly drove around Rome displaying a "Greater Germany" flag on his car, until an allied victory was inevitable. Then it was hastily removed.

Hudal's pro-Nazi speeches in Rome, his pro-Nazi book, The Foundations of National Socialism (given the imprimatur by Cardinal Theodore Innitzer, primate of the Austrian Catholic Church, who welcomed Hitler enthusiastically when he invaded Austria), far from being frowned upon by the Vatican, seemed rather to earn its approval. Close associate of the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Eugenio Maria Pacelli (who became Pope Pius XII on March 2, 1939), Hudal was elevated to Titular Bishop in 1936 in a ceremony presided over by Cardinal Pacelli himself. Equally favored by the Nazis, Hudal held a Golden Nazi Party membership badge.

Among the war criminals that Hudal helped escape were major figures such as Franz Stangl, commandant of the infamous extermination camp at Treblinka; he had presided over the efficient murder of about 900,000 inmates, mostly Jews. After his arranged "escape" from prison camp in Austria, Stangl made his way down the pipeline to Rome along with tens of thousands of others. "Hudal" was the name they all whispered, the password that opened secret sanctuaries. As Stangl told it, shortly after he had arrived at a Vatican property in Rome where he would be sheltered, Bishop Hudal "came into the room where I was waiting and he held out both his hands and said, `You must be Franz Stangl. I was expecting you.' 7

Stangl was finally located and recaptured in Brazil in 1967 by Simon Wiesenthal's Nazi hunters, who learned of the Ratlines. This underground network of Catholic offices, seminaries, monasteries, convents, and residences provided not only shelter on the escape route but false identities and passage to South America and other safe havens. The most infamous mass murderer of them all, Adolf Eichmann, atheistic head of the SS Department for Jewish Affairs and in charge directly under Hitler of the entire Holocaust, was among the tens of thousands who were carefully smuggled by Catholic officials with Vatican blessing down the Ratlines.

Israeli Intelligence eventually tracked down Eichmann in Argentina and kidnapped him. He was tried in Jerusalem and executed in 1962. The Israelis were careful to look upon this remarkable exploit not as revenge but as a triumph for truth and justice. Eichmann could have been murdered in Buenos Aires by Israeli agents. Instead he was, at great risk and effort, brought to trial where his victims could face him in open court and the whole world could hear the evidence of the Holocaust. The "wandering Jews," without a national home, whom Eichmann had systematically put to death by the millions, but now in their own land, heard the testimony. After hearing Eichmann's own admissions (though he justified obedience to his "god" Hitler), the jurists weighed the evidence, rendered the verdict, and hanged him.

Most of the other Nazi war criminals, however, were able to melt into the German communities in Latin America. Having escaped the arm of human justice, they eventually faced a Higher Court - as we all must someday. There perfect justice is meted out in spite of the corruption of those who claim to represent that Court on earth.

An Incredible Obsession

The Ratlines began with diplomatic pressure applied by Pius XII to allow his personal representatives to visit prisoner of-war camps "to minister religiously to Catholics." The real purpose was to identify and smuggle out Nazi war criminals. It can hardly be a coincidence that the man Pius XII chose to head this outrageous obstruction of international justice was his close adviser, Bishop Hudal, whom almost all of Rome knew was a fanatical anti-Semite and pro-Nazi. As Hudal himself later frankly admitted:

"I thank God that He [allowed me] to visit ... prisons and concentration camps and [to help prisoners] escape with false identity papers.... I felt duty bound after 1945 to devote my whole charitable work mainly to former National Socialists [Nazis] and Fascists, especially to so called "war criminals."8

What an admission! Do not forget that Hudal was a Roman Catholic bishop, close friend, and confidant of more than one pope. He dedicated his life to serving Holy Mother Church in obedience to its spiritual leader, whom he believed to be the vicar of Christ. He would not have done anything that was contrary to the dictates of the one whom he called Holy Father. And he was rewarded with position and titles for that faithful service.

Remember, the war had ended. Hitler's evil and its horrendous consequences in destroyed cities and millions of lives lost was a matter of undisputed history. The massacre of 6 million Jews was fully documented public record. The criminality of the Hitler regime had so outraged the world that an international tribunal had been assembled in Nuremburg to try those responsible for "war crimes." Yet Bishop Hudal, knowing the facts, declared with the conviction of a man who believes he has served God well that his "charitable work" had mainly consisted in rescuing "war criminals" from the justice the rest of the world wanted to impose upon them!

Did Hudal act alone? Indeed not. He faithfully carried out a secret mission in service of the pope and his beloved Church. After he was replaced, that work continued under Vatican sponsorship. The new men in charge were even more overtly evil than Hudal. Like him, they were Catholic clergy who believed they were serving God and knew they had the pope's blessing. Thus Hudal's incredible words about "charitable work" in rescuing "war criminals" are really the words of the Vatican that was behind the operation.

All to the Glory of God?

Some of the most valuable assistance that Hudal received in setting up his infamous escape routes came from an old friend, Walter Rauff, himself a Nazi war criminal and mass murderer of Jews. The tangled web of evil implicates other powers as well with whom the Vatican covertly worked, including the United States. The OSS (predecessor to the CIA) "borrowed" Rauff from the Vatican long enough to debrief this former SS Intelligence chief of everything he knew about Communist agents operating in the West, then allowed him to return to his apartment in Milan, from which he ran the northern end of the Ratlines.

To help finance the Vatican's escape network, Rauff enlisted a former SS colleague, Frederico Schwendt, one of the most talented counterfeiters of all time. His genius supplemented Vatican funds during the early days of the Ratlines. Later operations were supported in large measure from the sale of some of the Nazis' ill-gotten treasures, including hundreds of pounds of gold smuggled out to the West and laundered by Catholic prelates.

Even the International Red Cross, especially the Rome office, but others as well, was duped into aiding the operation by providing the false identity papers that enabled multitudes of war criminals to board ships in Genoa for South America. That end of the operation was overseen by Croatian Archbishop Siri, who hid such infamous monsters as Eichmann in a monastery during his flight from justice.9 As for Pavelic's old friend from Intermarium and one of the mass killers of Serbs and Jews in Croatia, Stejpan Hefer, the records indicate:

"Stejpan Hefer also escaped into Austria. He was there on August 19, 1946, when the Yugoslav government filed documents asking for his return to Yugoslavia to stand trial for war crimes [but] sailed to join his poglavnik in Argentina.

Hefer was helped out of Europe by the most important Croatian escape route, which operated out of the Instituto de Santa Jeronimus (Institute of St. Jerome) at 132 Tomaselli Street in Rome. This [Vatican-financed] Catholic foundation, run by Fathers Draganovic and Levasic, facilitated the escape of thousands of Ustashi to South America....

In Buenos Aires, the refugees could receive assistance from a group of exiled Croatian Catholic monks. In this way, as many as five hundred Ustashi a month were able to slip away."10

By what rationale could torturers and mass murderers be protected from justice? The accumulated evidence indicates that being pro-Catholic and anti-Communist was all that mattered. Absolution was possible for any crime. Moreover, killing heretics and Jews had been a well-established practice for centuries by the Church and had been confirmed by numerous popes as an act of faith to the glory of God. When one considers the Vatican’s history, the rescue of Nazi war criminals who were Catholics and had faithfully followed the example of Mother Church seems gruesomely understandable.

Supporting the Roman Catholic Church in its struggle against its archenemies (Communism and Protestantism) and propagating the Catholic faith worldwide was seen as doing God's will
. It was therefore to be pursued by any means, at any cost, and with any partners of convenience. The Vatican's determination to see Europe become once again a Catholic Federation of States in opposition to Stalin's Communism was the overriding factor, with which all else had to fall in line. The Western Allies were willing to be limited partners in such an enterprise to whatever extent it served their own selfish interests. It was the very unholy alliance ("fornication with kings") all over again, of which the woman whom John had seen astride the beast would be guilty down through history.

Catholic countries were duty-bound to do their part in furthering the Vatican's interests. Part of that duty included providing safe haven for those sons of Mother Church whom she wished to protect in the pursuit of her great mission to create God's kingdom on earth. Those in far-off Latin America were strategically located to best perform that service, and they did so.

A New Director for the Ratlines

Hudal's open espousal of Nazism, his outspoken admiration for Hitler, and his unabashed anti-Semitism continued even after the war ended and the unfathomable evil of the Holocaust had been revealed to a horrified world. As a result, the bishop eventually became an embarrassment to the Vatican. He was drawing public attention which threatened exposure of the Ratlines. Consequently, his superiors brought pressure upon Hudal to step out of the picture. Reluctantly he retired from his ecclesiastical positions and faded into the background.

Thereafter the supervision of the Ratlines fell upon the shoulders of a resourceful Croatian Catholic priest, Father Krunoslav Draganovic. In Croatia he had been a close assistant to Bishop Saric of Sarajevo, a notorious anti-Semite known as the "hangman of the Serbs. Church officials had called Draganovic to Rome in August 1943, where he became Intermarium's most influential contact in the Vatican. That he had also maneuvered himself into becoming the Croatian Red Cross representative in Rome was of invaluable help after the war in obtaining false documents for fugitives.

Draganovic was director of the Croatian Confraternity of San Girolamo, founded in Rome by Pope Nicholas V in 1453. The monastery's labyrinthian interior on Tomaselli Street soon sheltered many a fugitive from international justice. San Girolamo became, in fact, the nerve center for the continued smuggling of Nazi war criminals to South America and elsewhere. Many of Draganovic's former associates in the Ustashi, including a number of Catholic priests such as Father Vilim Cecelja (listed as "war criminal number 7103" by Tito's government and unsuccessfully sought for extradition), were key figures in operating the Ratlines. Cecelja, already referred to as responsible for the Austrian end of the Ratlines, "had served as a military chaplain and performed absolution for Ustashi forces during the height of the massacres of Serbs and Jews."11

Immediately after the war, Father Cecelja, ostensibly for the purest humanitarian reasons but without any affiliation or approval of the International Red Cross, founded the Croatian Red Cross, a strategic move which was to prove extremely useful for the Ratlines.12 Receiving temporary permission to run his "refugee camp" in Austria until the International Red Cross could set up its own authorized affiliate, Cecelja gained access to Red Cross identity cards. He was thereby able to provide false papers certified by the Red Cross13 for his fellow Ustashi as they escaped into Austria and then made their way down the Vatican pipeline through Rome to Genoa and on to freedom in South America. This Catholic Father often boasted of his initiation into the Ustashi in a secret ritual involving candles, a crucifix, and crossed dagger and revolver.

A Staggering Contempt for Truth

When rumors of the smuggling operation began to circulate, both the Vatican and Draganovic disclaimed any involvement in the Ratlines. Such denials by the Roman Catholic hierarchy continue to this day, usually datelined Vatican City and carried in major newspapers around the world. Here is a recent protest of innocence:

"Rebutting an old accusation, the Vatican yesterday rejected ... allegations that it aided Nazi war criminals to flee Europe to South America after World War II.

The assertion ... was triggered by reports from Argentina that newly declassified archives there show that Nazi officials arrived in Buenos Aires after the war on passports provided by the Vatican, the Red Cross and Spain....

Vatican archives for the period are closed, despite requests from Jewish groups for access to them....

Vatican press chief Joaquin Navarro, the spokesman for Pope John Paul II ... said, "The idea that the Holy See ... helped Nazi criminals, persecutors of the Jews, to flee from Europe ... is historically false."14

[A later article declares]: Almost two years after President Carlos Saul Mennen announced that he would open Argentina's "Nazi files," investigators here say they have ... probably gathered one of the most exhaustive archives documenting the movement of Nazis after the war that exists....

The documents show, for example, that Ante Pavelic ... entered Argentina after the war with eight Croatian aides ... but not previously known was the entry of Pavelic associates accused of war crimes, including ... [a list of names follows]." 15

Such periodic outbursts of self-righteous indignation only betray the Vatican's flagrant disregard for truth. The facts, hidden for decades in secret vaults, can no longer be denied. Some of the records that Aarons and Loftus uncovered, which establish beyond question the Vatican's active involvement, were originally acquired by "a daring burglary of Draganovic's office which obtained photographs of many of Draganovic's top secret records." Those records provide conclusive proof that Girolamo was "the centre of the Vatican's smuggling operation."16

Photocopied documents from the burglary also confirm that Ante Pavelic himself "was living inside the Vatican along with other wanted war criminals."17 In those days the former Croatian Fuehrer was disguised as a Catholic priest. While being hidden at the Vatican, Pavelic became a good friend of Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, the Vatican's under secretary of state. Montini became Pope Paul VI in 1963 in the midst of John XXIII's Vatican Council II. As already mentioned, Paul VI would take control of and impose his will upon Vatican II much as Pius IX had done with Vatican I in 1870.

Vatican sponsorship of the Ratlines was also thoroughly established through constant surveillance by Allied intelligence teams.18 Consider the following brief excerpt from a report by Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) Agent Robert Mudd:

"These Croats [war criminals] travel back and forth from the Vatican several times a week in a car with a chauffeur whose license plate bears the two initials CD, "Corps Diplomatic." It issues forth from the Vatican and discharges its passengers inside the Monastery of San Geronimo [at San Girolamo]. Subject to diplomatic immunity, it is impossible to stop the car... .

Draganovic's sponsorship of these Croat Quislings definitely links him up with the plans of the Vatican to shield these ex-Ustashi nationalists until such time a, they are able to procure for them the proper document, to enable them to go to South America."19

Western intelligence was spectacularly inept in its opposition to "the very well organized and successful Ratline run by Father Krunoslav Draganovic and an array of Croatian clerics." One of the few moments of triumph came when "the British arranged an ambush at San Girolamo itself, arresting about one hundred men as they left a meeting."20 One reason for the lack of success was the fact that both "Washington and London had entered into arrangements with the Holy See to assist many Nazi collaborators to emigrate via Draganovic's smuggling system."21

American and British Involvement

The frustrated American and British agents who were attempting to capture elusive war criminals were not aware that Draganovic was being tipped off by certain elements within their own agencies. Thus the "good Father" continued to snatch his fellow Ustashi out of refugee camps just before they were about to be arrested. This was the case, for example, with Ljubo Milos, a senior official at the Jasenovac concentration camp where about 300,000 people were killed. Milos had enjoyed the "ritual killing of Jews," slitting throats, sheering ribs, and ripping open bellies with a special knife, or having prisoners thrown alive into the brick factory furnace, or simply having them bludgeoned to death.22 Tipped off that Milos was about to be arrested, Draganovic snatched him out from under the noses of his would-be captors and whisked him away to safety.

Another Catholic priest/Ustashi member and war criminal who worked underground on the Ratlines was Father Draggutin Kamber. A mass murderer, Draggutin had even set up and commanded a concentration camp for Serbs and Jews, whom he declared had to be exterminated because they were harmful to the Ustashi state. Now he worked diligently to help his fellow Ustashi war criminals elude Soviet and Allied intelligence and make their way to freedom, where the Ustashi movement could make a fresh start. The OSS even cooperated in the effort because it was hopeful that these Croatian patriots would become a formidable foe to the Communist Tito, who had become President of Yugoslavia.

The CIC was actually working against itself. While one section, under orders from Washington, was seeking to arrest war criminals, another was under secret orders from Washington to shelter and use Nazi war criminals to its own ends. Take, for example, the infamous Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo chief in Lyons, France. The United States CIC 66th headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, sheltered Barbie and his family for more than five years while it used him as an informer - then helped him escape. While many of the Barbie files have been removed from State Department archives, "it appears that the High Commissioner's Office issued Barbie with Allied Control Board travel documents and sent him down the Vatican Ratline." Aarons and Loftus continue:

"Draganovic promptly shipped him [Barbie and his family] off to South America under the name of Klaus Altmann. In Bolivia, Barbie was received by Draganovic's local representative, Father Rocque Romac, another Fascist Croatian priest and wanted war criminal, whose real identity was Father Stjepan Osvaldi-toth....

A close examination of the badly copied Barbie documents reveals that the State Department co-ordinated his passage down the Ratline. Indeed, almost all of the early passengers on the American Ratlines were handled by the State Department's Office of Policy Co-ordination (OPC) through their contact man in Rome.

In fact, many of Draganovic's phoney exit papers were arranged through Robert Bishop, an American ex-OSS agent who was then in charge of the eligibility office of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) in Rome according to CIC records."23

Thus the Vatican's infamous Ratlines were operated in unholy alliances with Western intelligence agencies-up to a point. At the same time that Allied intelligence was helping Draganovic to smuggle out certain war criminals he was going behind their backs to rescue many thousands more. Recently released secret documents reveal an almost unbelievable web of intrigue and evil-payoffs, doublecross, murder-that eventually implicated CIA chiefs such as Allen Dulles and William Casey as well as United States presidents, and laid the foundation for later scandals such as Watergate and the IranContra affair. Infamous war criminals who should have been tried at Nuremburg were even brought into the Pentagon as special consultants in preparation for what seemed an inevitable war with the Soviet Union. Ironically, the policy opened the door to Soviet agents who infiltrated the entire Ratline system and the related Western intelligence agencies-but that is another story.

The Vatican not only rescued tens of thousands of war criminals from justice but set them up to continue their terrorism anew after the war. It was Intermarium all over again, a fresh start to build a Catholic Europe in opposition to Soviet Communism. For example, Draganovic sheltered within the San Girolamo monastery Vilko Pecnikar, "organiser of Pavelic's pre-war terrorist groups [and] a General in Pavelic's Personal Body Guard," who also commanded "the brutal Gendarmerie, which worked in close collaboration with the Gestapo." Both Britain and America had agreed to hand him over to Tito's Yugoslavian government for prosecution as a major war criminal. But Draganovic rescued Pecnikar and gave him access to "the treasure he had collected for his Ratline" to use "in re-organizing the Ustashi movement [abroad]."24

The Death of Ante Pavelic

In due time, when he had given Vatican and Western intelligence all the information he possessed, Pavelic was passed down the Ratline to safety under the identity of Pablo Aranyos. The Aranyos identity papers were provided by yet another Croatian Catholic Priest, Fr. Josip Buzanovic, himself a wanted war criminal who later escaped to Australia.

Pavelic was welcomed to Argentina by its dictator, Juan Peron, himself a Bailiff Grand Cross of Honor and Devotion of the Roman Catholic secret order, Knights of Malta. It is still required that the head of Argentina be a Roman Catholic. Pavelic was assured that Peron had already approved the continuation of the Ustashi movement from Argentina as its new base. That arrangement had been negotiated by a Vatican representative, Daniel Crljen, another priest who had also played a key role in the slaughter of Serbs.

Waiting for Pavelic in Buenos Aires was a host of his former ministers, police, and military officers, most of them wanted war criminals. Virtually the entire leadership of the Ustashi had escaped intact and had safely preceded their poglavnik down the Ratlines in their flight from justice. His old friend Stejpan Hefer had also joined the Ustashi Fuehrer there to give the movement a fresh start in new locations around the world.25

The exiled Ustashi members managed to portray themselves as victims of Communist terrorism who had fled from persecution brought about because they were Croatian patriots who opposed Tito's Communist regime. Having experienced Communism's evil firsthand, they said, they now wanted to warn the world and were dedicated to fighting this monster and eventually freeing the oppressed. Thus they claimed to merit the backing of freedom-loving people. Anticommunist front groups were set up, such as the Croatian Liberation Movement (HOP), founded by Ante Pavelic and headquartered in Buenos Aires. Stejpan Hefer was named to its supreme council.

But there is no honor among murderers, and it was not long until rival Croatians attempted to assassinate Pavelic, and the poglavnik went into hiding in Spain. He lived quietly and reclusively in Madrid until his death from natural causes in December 1959. On that day, Pope John XXIII pronounced his personal benediction upon that incredibly evil and sadistic mass murderer!

Pavelic is buried in a secret grave outside Madrid. "On Pavelic's death, the leadership of the HOP passed to Stejpan Hefer."26 Archbishop Saric died a year later, in 1960, also in Spain.

The Pitiful Denials

In tracing the history of the Vatican and the popes, we have found a consistent pattern of suppression of the most elementary human rights, a pattern which has included torture and murder on a grand scale. Such behavior, supported by infallible pronouncements and unchangeable dogmas, has not been confined to the Middle Ages but continues to the present as circumstances allow. The operation of the Ratlines, which we have only been able to summarize briefly, provides additional proof that Rome has not changed.

We have also seen a consistent pattern of denial of the facts which betrays a staggering contempt for truth. The irrefutable historic record provides no basis for confidence in the pledges of peace and goodwill either toward Jews or evangelicals which are currently issuing forth from Rome. Recent newspaper articles reveal that there are still Catholic clergy who would support the Holocaust and run Ratlines today:

"One of France's most notorious Nazi collaborators was arrested Wednesday [May 24, 1989] at a Roman Catholic priory and charged with crimes against humanity, after spending most of four decades in hiding.

The 74-year-old fugitive, Paul Touvier, was head of intelligence for a pro-Nazi militia in Lyons....

His protection during the early postwar period by senior members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been extensively documented ....27

The hierarchy of France's Roman Catholic Church supported the pro-Nazi government of Vichy France.... Despite individual acts of bravery and heroism [by Catholics], much of the church hierarchy collaborated wholeheartedly ... for decades French cardinals, monks and nuns helped ... Paul Touvier elude justice."28

On May 5, 1994, PrimeTime Live with Sam Donaldson presented a television documentary titled "The Last Refuge." The program, shot in both Argentina and Rome, offered some of the same information we have just presented above. The entrance into Argentina of Nazi war criminals coming down the Vatican Ratlines was documented from the recently released archives in Buenos Aires: for example, the recorded entry of Jose Mengele (known as "the Angel of Death" of Auschwitz). It was shown that the Argentine government, which was both pro-Catholic and pro-Nazi, knew Mengele's true identity and whereabouts and protected him in spite of demands for his extradition. He died of natural causes in Brazil in 1979.

The most fascinating part of the film was Sam Donaldson's street encounters with elderly surviving Nazi war criminals interviewed for the first time ever on camera. Initial denials were followed with grudging admissions of identity after Donaldson showed copies of SS membership documents and photos of the individuals in SS uniform. Acknowledgment of involvement in atrocities was also elicited but with the excuse that "I was only following orders." One ex-Nazi acknowledged that he had had an office in the Vatican.

Interviewed also were ex-military intelligence agents who confirmed that the Vatican had run the Ratlines. Donaldson then went to Rome to interview Father Robert Graham, a Church historian who is an authority on the immediate postwar period as reflected in the Vatican archives. In view of the overwhelming hard evidence we now have that the Vatican ran the Ratlines, it was both humorous and maddening to hear the pitiful denials from Graham of any Vatican involvement whatsoever. He did acknowledge that the Vatican facilitated the passage through Italy and into South America of thousands of what he insisted were "simple refugees," with maybe "one or two" war criminals sneaking through unrecognized.

"One or two?" exclaimed Donaldson in surprise. "There were thousands!"

"Oh, please! Please!" returned Graham patronizingly. "Don't be ridiculous. A thousand? That's absurd!" When Donaldson persisted, giving additional evidence, Graham, now visibly upset, responded, "Please! Are you all so simple and unsophisticated as to believe that stuff? Please! Be more intelligent than that. Give the Pope some credit...."

But the evidence is ironclad, and the Vatican denials only serve to demonstrate once again its contempt for truth. While many individual Catholics showed compassion and concern and even risked their lives to rescue Jews, the Church as an entity did not. It is only fitting that Aarons and Loftus concluded their book with this moving indictment of the Roman Catholic Church at its highest levels:

"Instead of smuggling homeless Jews to Argentina, the Ratlines smuggled Eichmann, Pavelic and Stangl, among many others. Instead of denouncing Bishop Hudal, the Vatican replaced him with a less conspicuous but far more efficient and effective operative in the form of Father Draganovic. Instead of international justice, there was Intermarium and a host of emigre Nazi fronts....

What the Vatican did after World War II was a crime. The evidence is unequivocal: the Holy See aided the flight of fugitives from international justice. The Ratlines were intentionally created to aid and abet the escape of wanted Nazi war criminals....

We find no defense of ignorance: Pius XII was fully aware of Ante Pavelic's crimes. Nor was he the only case. The Ratlines operated with reckless disregard for the fugitives' crimes against humanity. If the Pope wanted to know their real names, he had only to ask Father Draganovic. The burglary of his office revealed that he kept lists of the fugitives' true and false identities.

The Pope's diplomatic messages reveal a pattern of protection and intercession for war criminals.... the Vatican knew they were sheltering Nazis.

We find no defense of unauthorised conduct: the Ratlines were an official extension of covert Vatican diplomacy.... There was virtually unanimous agreement among the surviving witnesses that Draganovic operated with the highest official sanction.... The intelligence files of several nations confirm that the Vatican's top leaders authorized and directed the smuggling of fugitive war criminals.29

No matter how much and how convincing the evidence, however, Rome persists in its denials of culpability. The absolute, infallible, and unchallengeable authority of the Roman Pontiff must be maintained at all cost.


Well-Known Member
They can deny all of their wicked deeds and feel smug with pride because they have all this power and they can even believe that the Pope is some kind of "god" on this earth, but the whore will go down in flames and all of their deeds will be laid bare at the Great White Throne judgement. Come quickly Lord Jesus!


Well-Known Member
SkyRider - great posts. Thanks for sharing. The members of the RCC forget the sordid history of their Churches past deeds. There is an old saying that goes something like this "Actions Speak louder than words."
In these cases they are screaming!


Well-Known Member
They are pure evil. I hope that any Catholics looking in will get an eyeful of the sordid goings on that have taken place and continue to fester behind the Vatican walls. Back in my former Catholic years, I never would have believed the atrocities committed by these supposed representatives of Christ. On the other thread, you can see how they contrived and came up with a false religion that lured in and kept multitudes hostage to a false plan of salvation - and how diabolically successful it was and continues to be. In this thread, you can see them wearing another mitre of control, where they conspired with the kings of the Earth to commit fornication with government bodies to go after true Bible believing Christians and to further the control the popes had and have over the affairs of men across the planet. In the book of Revelation, we can read about the saints who are shown under the altar during the Tribulation Period crying out to the Lord 'how much longer until retribution is meted out to those who killed them during that seven-year period'. I would suggest that the much rejoicing that takes place in Heaven when we read about Babylon falling will be those Christians, who over the centuries, were slaughtered at the hands of the papists, whose numbers have exceeded millions, by the final form of Babylon - Rome (the Vatican).


Well-Known Member
------------------------------- A WOMAN --------------------------------

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy Word.... Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. -Psalm 119:9,105

That from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith.... -2 Timothy 3:15

It is evident, from experience, that the Holy Scriptures, when circulated in the vulgar tongue, have produced more harm than benefit [paraphrasing Trent1 ].... We have deliberated upon the measures proper to be adopted, by our pontifical authority, in order to remedy and abolish this pestilence ... this defilement of the faith so imminently dangerous to souls. -Pope Pius VII encyclical letter of 1816 addressed to the primate of Poland [ says a "Vicar of Christ" ]

If I am cast into prison ... it will be easier to transport a rock from our Alps than to move me as much as a hand's breadth from the Word of Jesus Christ. -Ulric Zwingle, August 13, 15222

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST --------------------------

Sola Scriptura?

The well-known axiom that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is just as true in religion as in politics. In fact, religious power is even more corrupting than political power. Absolutism reaches its ultimate abusive pinnacle when it claims to act for God. Vatican II requires "loyal submission of the will and intellect" to the Roman Pontiff "even when he does not speak ex cathedra. . . . "3 No Catholic can presume to obey God and His Word directly but must give that absolute obedience to the Church, which acts for God and thus stands between the individual and God.

The corruption of power reaches its greatest height in Catholicism's bold claim that its members cannot understand the Bible for themselves but must accept unquestioningly the Church's interpretation: "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God ... has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone."4 With that edict, God's Word, the one repository of truth and liberty which is capable of destroying despotism, is kept under Church control and shrouded in mystery. This leaves devout Catholics at the mercy of their clergy, a clergy which, as we have seen, is all too readily corrupted.

Blind Acceptance

To escape that destructive enslavement, the Reformers urged submission to God's pure Word as the ultimate authority rather than to the Church or the pope. The basic issue that sparked the Reformation (and which remains the basic issue today) was whether to continue in blind submission to Rome's dogmas, even though they contradicted the Bible, or to submit to God's Word alone as the final authority. Menno Simons' biographer relates the conflict he faced:

"The real problem came when Menno, having dared to open the lids of the Bible, discovered that it contained nothing of the traditional teaching of the Church on the Mass. By that discovery his inner conflict was brought to a climax, for he now was compelled to decide which of two authorities was to be supreme in his life, the Church or the Holy Scriptures."5

The Reformers made that choice in favor of Scripture and their central cry became Sola Scriptura! That liberating truth was rejected at the Council of Trent by bishops who were unwilling to surrender control of the people under them. It was even considered to be harmful for the people to possess the Bible in their own tongue because they might take it literally, which Rome argues even today must not be done. From her viewpoint only a specially trained elite can understand the Bible:

"The interpreter must.... go back wholly in spirit to those remote centuries ... with the aid of history, archaeology, ethnology, and other sciences, accurately determine what modes of writing the authors of that ancient period would be likely to use, and in fact did use."6

Trent's view that the authority for the Catholic is the Church, not the Bible, remains in force today. Only Scripture scholars trained at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome with "a degree in theology [and] mastery of six or seven languages (including Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek ... )" are capable of understanding the Bible. Having earned "a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture ... the Catholic Church's license to teach Scripture,"7 they alone can teach the Bible. No layman is qualified. Vatican II insists:

"It is for the bishops, with whom the apostolic doctrine resides, suitably to instruct the faithful entrusted to them in the correct use of…the New Testament…by giving them translations of the sacred texts which are equipped with necessary and really adequate explanations."8

What the Bible Says

The Bible was given by God to all mankind, not to an elite group to explain it to others. It is to be a lamp on the path (Psalm 119:105) of all who heed it. Moses proclaimed that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3)-and not a whisper about that word being interpreted by an elite hierarchy. Psalm I speaks of the blessed man who meditates upon God's Word (variously called the law, statutes, judgments, commandments, etc.) day and night. "Man" surely includes woman, but cannot possibly be interpreted to mean only a special class of highly educated experts.

We get the impression from reading Paul's epistles that those to whom they were written were expected to understand them. The epistles are not addressed to a bishop or select group of leaders but to all of the Christians at Corinth, Ephesus, etc. Each Christian is given an understanding by the indwelling Holy Spirit of the words which the same Spirit inspired "holy men of God" to write (2 Peter 1:21).

Even a "young man" is expected to "heed" God's Word (Psalm 119:9). Again, not a hint is given that it must be explained to him by a rabbi. Christ, quoting Moses, affirmed that man is to feed upon the Bible for his very life (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Job considered God's Word "more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12). Never a word about consulting a hierarchy for its meaning!

Trusting the Church Instead of the Bible

The pope, in his August 15, 1993, "address to representatives of the Vietnamese community" at Denver, told them: "The challenge before you is to keep pure and lively your Catholic identity. . . ."9 One seldom if ever hears Catholic leaders exhorting the flock to be true simply to Christ or to God's Word, but always to the Church. Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II's 1993 treatise on morals, refers to the truth taught by Christ and mediated by the Church. Without that mediation the Catholic cannot know God's truth simply by reading God's Word. Only by such a doctrine can Rome keep its adherents blindly following its corrupt and unbiblical teachings.

Cardinal Ratzinger, watchdog of orthodoxy, exemplifies this blind faith in Catholicism. He tells of a theology professor who admitted that the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, declared a Roman Catholic dogma in 1950 by Pope Pius XII, could not be supported by Scripture, yet decided to believe it because "the Church is wiser than I." Sadly, he is actually acknowledging the Church to be wiser than the Bible and thus capable of contradicting it!

Ratzinger has that same unwarranted total trust in Catholicism and pledges "to follow the Catholic faith and not my own opinions."10 Thus he guards the "faith" not by making certain that what is taught in Catholic seminaries, universities, and pulpits around the world agrees with the Word of God, but that it conforms to Catholic tradition taught by popes, councils, and church fathers - and much of it in false decretals. Vatican II says that "both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal feelings of devotion and reverence."11 The new universal Catechism of the Catholic Church recently released by the Vatican states:

"The Church to which is confided the transmission and the rendering of the Revelation does not draw solely from the Holy Scriptures her certainty on all points of Revelation [but also from Tradition and the magisterium] ..."12

The Church Stands in the Way of Truth

Christ declared, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth [no hint of another source of truth]" (John 8:31,32). He did not make that statement to the 12 apostles, but to common people who had just "believed on him" (verse 30). He said nothing of His truth having to be interpreted by the rabbis, and of course the Roman Catholic hierarchy didn't even exist then. God's Word was available to and was to be understood, believed, and obeyed by even the newest converts. That was what Christ expected of His followers then and it is what He expects of us today as well.

Rome blocks the individual's access to the truth. The Catholic can't learn directly from Christ's words, but only from the interpretation thereof by the Church. Christ said, "Come unto me ... I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Rome allows no one to come directly to Christ, but has set itself up as the intermediary channel of God's grace necessary for knowing God's truth and for salvation. On this point Rome is adamant. Otherwise she would lose her hold on the people, who could then do without her.

Would God inspire infallible Scripture and then deny to all except an elite few the ability to understand it, requiring billions of people to surrender their minds to a hierarchy by blindly accepting their interpretation of His Word? If the Holy Spirit can convince the world "of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:8), then surely He can teach all those in whom He dwells. John says that the Christians to whom he writes don't have to look to some special class of men for teaching but have an "anointing [of the Holy Spirit which] teacheth you of all things" (1 John 2:27).

If all Christians are "led by the Spirit of God" (Romans 8:14), then surely all must be able to understand the Scriptures which the Spirit of God has inspired. Christians "have received ... the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Corinthians 2:12). There is no hint that a group of clergy must interpret the Scriptures for everyone else. And why should they? All Christians "have the mind of Christ" (verse 16). Rome dare not acknowledge this truth, for then those under her would be set free.

Rome is still searching for truth outside God's Word. Consider Rome's Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum). Pope John Paul II is a graduate. Its 1200 students from 135 countries have made "the search for truth" through the thousands of volumes on theology and philosophy in its library and elsewhere their "life-objective."13 Contrast Christ's statement, that by obeying His Word one knows the truth, with the complexity of the "search for truth" by Catholic scholars. Both can't be right.

A Deadly Spiritual Bondage

Ordinary Bereans checked Paul's teachings not with a hierarchy in Rome, which didn't even exist, but against the Bible (Acts 17:11). That practice was commended then and it is still each individual's responsibility to know God's Word and to test every spiritual leader by it, no matter who he may be. This is what the Bible declares.

Roman Catholics, however (like Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and members of various cults), must accept, not check, their Church's teachings. The very Book that would bring life, light, and freedom to individuals and nations is spiritually chained out of reach even as it was once literally chained. Of course, such withholding of God's Word from the laity is consistent with Catholicism's persistent suppression of the basic human freedoms of conscience, religion, and the press.

Among the crimes for which believers were committed to the flames in the Spanish Inquisition was the distribution and reading of the Bible. Smuggling Bibles into Communist or Muslim countries such as China or Iran is understandable, but imagine having to smuggle Bibles into a "Christian" country such as Spain, and being put to death for doing so! Yet in an Auto de Fe in Seville on December 22, 1560, Julian Hernandez, one of those burned at the stake on that occasion, was declared to be an arch-heretic because:

"through his great efforts and incomprehensible stealth he introduced into Spain prohibited books [Bibles and New Testaments] that he brought from far away places [Germany] where they give protection to the ungodly [Protestants].... He firmly believes that God, by means of the Scriptures, communicates to the laity just the same as He communicates to the priest."14

To believe that God could communicate His truth through the Bible not only to the clergy but to ordinary believers was a crime punishable by death! Rome has not changed, though the Bible is no longer banned overtly as in the past. To do so today would be the wrong tactic and likely create the opposite reaction to the one desired. There is a better way: Let the people have the Bible in their hands, and even encourage them to read it, but keep it from their hearts by insisting that only the Church can interpret it.

At the same time, confidence in Scripture is undermined by Rome's teaching that the Bible is not trustworthy in its pronouncements on history or science. Catholicism takes a symbolic meaning from the book of Jonah concerning "the universality of salvation" and denies that a literal prophet named Jonah was swallowed by a literal fish.15 The early chapters of Genesis are likewise viewed as symbolic rather than accounts of actual creation of the world and man, leaving the door open to evolution. Even the rapture is seen as symbolic and not referring to a literal catching up of Christians to heaven, an idea which Catholics consider to be a delusion.16 The 1964 Instruction of the Biblical Commission declared that the literalist view of the Bible adopted by Fundamentalists "actually invites people to a kind of intellectual suicide."17

Did the Catholic Church Give Us the Bible?

It is claimed that only the Church can interpret the Bible because it was the Church which gave it to us. That is like saying that because Paul wrote his epistles, we need him to interpret them. Furthermore, the Church did not give us the Bible - certainly not the Old Testament, for there was no Church in those days. And if the Roman Catholic Church was not needed to give us the Old Testament, then clearly it was not needed to give us the New either.

A favorite question of Catholic apologists is, "How do you know that Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke or that Matthew wrote the Gospel of Matthew?" They claim that Roman Catholic tradition contains this information. Yet no tradition proves who wrote Hebrews, Job, Esther, or various Psalms. Nor does it matter. That the authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit is what counts. This inspiration bears witness within readers who are themselves indwelt by the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of Scripture.

Catholicism's claim that the New Testament comes from the Church by decision of the councils is false. No early council even ruled on what was canonical; yet in these councils, to support their arguments, both sides quoted the New Testament, which had obviously been accepted by general consensus without any conciliar definition of the canon. The Synod of Antioch, in A.D. 266, denounced the doctrine of Paul of Samosata as "foreign to the ecclesiastical canon." The Council of Nicea in 325 refers to "the canon"; and the Council of Laodicea in 363 exhorted that "only the `canonized' books of both Old and New Testaments be read in the church." Yet none of those councils deemed it necessary to list the canonized books, indicating that they were already well-known and accepted by the common consent of Christians indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Not until the Third Council of Carthage, in A.D. 397, do we have the first conciliar decision on the canon.18 That is rather late if without it Christians didn't know what books were in the New Testament and therefore couldn't use them, as Rome claims today! History proves that the books of the New Testament were known and accepted by Christians and in wide circulation and use at least 300 years before Carthage listed them. Historian W.H.C. Frend writes:

"The Gospels and epistles were circulating in Asia, Syria, and Alexandria (less certainly in Rome), and being read and discussed in the Christian synagogues there by about 100. In Polycarp's short letter there is an astonishing amount of direct and indirect quotation from the New Testament: Matthew, Luke, and John, Acts, the letters to the Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Romans, the Pastorals, 1 Peter particularly, and 1 and 2 John are all used.... The Christian Scriptures were quoted so familiarly as to suggest that they had been in regular use a long time."19

No rabbinical body decided upon the canon of the Old Testament. That canon was recognized by Israel and available as it was being written. Daniel, a captive in Babylon, had a copy of Jeremiah written only a few years earlier and was studying it as Scripture (Daniel 9:2). We are certain that the entire Old Testament was well-known when Christ was here and undoubtedly long before, for every Israelite was required to meditate upon it day and night.

God's Word Speaks Directly to All

In Old Testament times the common people were expected to know God's Word, not through rabbinical interpretation but for themselves, and were able to know it. That fact, as well as its availability to all, is very clear from Christ's rebuke of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: "0 fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken...." (Luke 24:25). He would not have used such harsh language in holding these two ordinary people responsible for their ignorance of prophecies had not all of the Old Testament Scriptures been readily available, familiar, and understandable to the ordinary Jew. He then expounded unto them in all the Scriptures (which must therefore have been known) "the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:25-27). All of the Scriptures were even available to the faraway Bereans north of Greece, who, as we have seen, "searched the Scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11).

The same evidence is found in the fact that Timothy knew the Old Testament from early childhood (2 Timothy 3:15) and that it was taught to him not by the rabbis in the synagogue but at home by his mother and grandmother, who themselves were women of faith (2 Timothy 1:5). It is certainly clear that no one in Old Testament times looked to any hierarchy for an official interpretation of Scripture. Nor did the early church. Nor should we today.

The plain words of the Bible, without Rome's domineering interpretation, give the lie to the hierarchical structure of the Roman Catholic Church and the authoritarianism of its clergy. Priscilla and Aquila were an ordinary husband and wife who labored daily at tentmaking (Acts 18:3). Yet a "church [met] in their house" (1 Corinthians 16:19) and they were capable teachers of God's Word, even instructing a man so eloquent as Apollos (Acts 18:26). Paul referred to them as "my helpers in Christ Jesus" (Romans 16:3). They had never been to seminary and were not part of a clerical hierarchy (which didn't exist), but they knew God and His Word by the Holy Spirit indwelling them. So should all Christians today.

According to Paul, ordinary Christians are to judge whether a preacher is speaking God's truth. Paul submitted his writings to the same criteria, inviting his readers to judge by the Holy Spirit within them whether his epistles were from God or not: "If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:37). It was by the same witness of the Holy Spirit within each individual believer that the first-century church decided which books were canonical. In exactly the same way Christians today recognize the Bible as God's inspired Word.

The Sad Consequences

Unfortunately, the average Catholic has been taught to look to the Church hierarchy for the instruction which the Holy Spirit desires to give directly to believers. To Rome, to suggest that the Holy Spirit speaks to individuals through the words of the Bible is anathema. Karl Keating, one of the leading Catholic lay apologists, writes:

"The Catholic believes in inspiration because the Church tells him so - that is putting it bluntly - and that same church has the authority to interpret the inspired text. Fundamentalists have no interpreting authority other than themselves."20

In fact, "Fundamentalists" look to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Catholicism also claims that guidance, but only for its hierarchy, who alone can be led of the Spirit to understand the Bible. Yet the Bible says every Christian is indwelt, empowered, and led of the Holy Spirit. In fact, one is not even a Christian without this inner witness and leading of the Holy Spirit:

"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.... For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.... The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God ..." (Romans 8:9,14,16).

"But God hath revealed them [the “things of God”] unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.... the things of God knows no man but [by] the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit, which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches" (I Corinthians 2:10-13).

Having been convinced that he cannot understand the Bible for himself, the devout Catholic is at the mercy of his Church and must believe whatever it teaches. The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine bluntly declares:

"Man can obtain a knowledge of God's Word [only from the Catholic Church and through its duly constituted channels.

When he has once mastered this principle of divine authority [residing in the Church], the inquirer is prepared to accept whatever the divine Church teaches of faith, morals and the means of grace."21

Here again, brazenly stated, is the first principle of every cult: "Check your mind at the door and believe whatever the group or church or guru or prophet in charge says." The idea appeals to those who think that by thus surrendering their minds to an infallible authority they escape their individual moral responsibility to God. Others are afraid to think for themselves because that would put them outside the Church, where "there is no salvation."22 By this means God's Word, which should speak powerfully to each individual, is held just out of reach of individual Catholics by their Church.

When Was the New Testament Canon Established?

That the New Testament canon, exactly like the Old, was accepted and recognized by a consensus of the believers as it was being written is clear from the historic evidence we have given above. Further proof comes from the testimony of Peter:

"Even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist], as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:15,16).

Peter acknowledges Paul's writings to be Scripture. So has, apparently, the entire body of believers at this time. "The other Scriptures" by that time would have included most of the remainder of the New Testament. Furthermore, these books were so readily available and wellknown by common consensus already at this early date (about A.D. 66) that Peter didn't even need to name them. Christians knew what writings were inspired of God in the same way a native in the jungle knows that the gospel is true: by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

Tragically, Catholicism not only teaches that the Church hierarchy alone can interpret the Bible, but that no one can believe it without the Church attesting to its authenticity. Keating suggests that the gospel itself has no power without this endorsement. He quotes St. Augustine: "I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so."23 If that is true, then no one prior to the Third Council of Carthage in A.D. 397 could have believed or preached the gospel!

Yet the gospel was preached from the very beginning. Paul turned the world upside down with the gospel (Acts 17:6). Within the first two centuries about 10 percent of the Roman Empire became Christians and studied, meditated upon, believed, and were led by both the Old and New Testament Scriptures exactly as we have them today. If they could know what books were inspired and could be guided by them without the authenticating stamp of the Roman Catholic Church (which didn't yet exist), then so can we today.

The absurdity and destructiveness of the view that God's Word must have Rome's endorsement is immediately apparent. It is a blasphemous denial that the gospel in itself has power to save or that the Holy Spirit can use the Bible to speak directly to hearers' hearts. Under this view, one must twist prove that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church, that it is infallible, that it says the Bible is true, and that therefore the Bible and the gospel must be believed; only then can the gospel be preached. How absurd! Yet to a Catholic this view makes perfect sense because the Church is the vehicle of salvation. One's eternal destiny depends not upon one's relationship to Christ, who is revealed in His Word, but upon one's relationship to that Church and participation in its sacraments.

This theory, of course, is refuted by the Bible itself. Christ and His disciples preached the gospel before any church was established. Early in His ministry, before even saying anything about establishing His church, Christ sent His disciples forth, "and they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel" (Luke 9:6). Eleven times in the four Gospels we are told that Christ and His disciples were engaged in preaching the gospel, a gospel which is "the power of God unto salvation" to those who believe it (Romans 1:16). Yet there was no Roman Catholic Church in existence to verify that the gospel was true. Nor does today's preaching need Rome's endorsement any more than it did in the beginning.

Three thousand souls were saved on the day of Pentecost without Peter saying one word about an infallible Church putting its approval on what he preached. Even after Pentecost we find no attempt by Christians, who "went everywhere preaching the Word" (Acts 8:4), to prove that an infallible Church existed and endorsed the gospel. We read of the preaching of Philip in Samaria and of Paul in many places, where multitudes believed; yet not once is the gospel supported by the statement that Christ established an infallible Church and that the bishops of this Church had put their official stamp of approval upon what was being preached. If the endorsement of the Roman Catholic Church wasn't needed then, neither is it needed now, for the Word of God is "living and powerful ... a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

The Sufficiency of Scripture

"Show us one verse in the Bible that clearly declares Sola Scriptura, that the Bible is sufficient in itself," is the specious challenge thrown out by Catholic apologists. One might as well demand "just one verse that states that God is a triune being of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." No single verse says so, yet the doctrine of the trinity is accepted by both Catholics and Protestants as biblical. Nor is there a single verse which contains the words "the Bible is sufficient." However, when we put together the many verses in the Bible on this topic it is clear that the Bible teaches its own sufficiency both to authenticate itself to the reader and to lead to spiritual maturity and effectiveness all who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and read it with open hearts.

Paul declared that Scripture was given for "doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" and that the Bible itself makes the man or woman of God "perfect [i.e., mature, complete, all that God intended], thoroughly furnished [equipped] unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16,17). In other words, the Bible contains all the doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteousness that is needed for those who heed it to become complete in Christ. Catholic apologists quote nineteeth-century Cardinal John Henry Newman to the effect that if this passage proves the above, then it "proves too much," that "the Old Testament alone would be sufficient as a rule of faith, the New Testament unnecessary" because all Timothy had was the Old Testament.24 The argument is fallacious for several reasons.

First of all, Timothy had more than the Old Testament. This is Paul's second epistle to him, so he has at least two epistles from Paul in addition to the Old Testament. Paul goes on to say that he is about to be martyred (2 Timothy 4:6-8), making this the last epistle Paul wrote. So Timothy, obviously, has all of Paul's epistles. The date is probably around A.D. 66, so he also has the first three Gospels and most of the rest of the New Testament.

Furthermore, when Paul says "all Scripture" it is clear that he means the entire Bible, not merely that which had been written up to that time. Similar expressions are often used in Scripture, but they never mean only the Bible written to that time. When Jesus said, "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48), He didn't mean only what he had spoken to that time. Likewise, when he said, "Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17) He obviously meant all of God's Word, though all had not yet been written.

When the writer of Hebrews said, "The Word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword," he didn't mean only that part of the Word of God that had been written to that time. Nor did Paul by "all Scripture" mean only that which had been written to that time. He clearly meant all Scripture. So Cardinal Newman was wrong, and naively so. Yet Catholic apologists confidently quote his folly to disprove the sufficiency of Scripture.

"That the man of God may be perfect" simply means that the Word of God is all one needs to be "perfect" in the sense of being mature and all that God wants a Christian to be. Catholic apologists refer to other verses where the word "perfect" is used, such as: "If you would be perfect, sell all you have and give to the poor," or "Let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire," etc. They then contend that if it can be argued from 2 Timothy 3:17 that the Bible is sufficient to perfect believers, then selling everything one has and giving it to the poor or being patient is also sufficient to make one perfect.

Again the argument fails. Suppose an athletic trainer offers a perfect diet with all the nutritional elements one needs to produce a perfect body. This doesn't mean that other things, such as exercise, aren't necessary. Paul is saying that the doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness contained in Scripture is sufficient teaching for the man (or woman) of God to be all God desires. This does not mean that one doesn't have to exercise patience, faith, obedience, charity, etc., which themselves are taught by Scripture. It does mean that in the area of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness the Bible needs no supplementation from tradition or any other source.

Moreover, Paul goes on to say that the man (or woman) of God is, by the Scriptures themselves, "thoroughly prepared unto every good work." The Bible never makes such a statement about patience or love or charity or tradition or anything else. Paul is clearly teaching Sola Scriptura. This doctrine was not invented by the Reformers; they derived it from Scripture.

The Central Issue – A Clear Choice

When Thomas Howard, brother of Elizabeth Elliot (wife of martyred missionary Jim Elliot), became a Catholic, Gordon College removed him from its faculty. Among the reasons given was the fact that the statement of faith which all faculty had to sign affirmed the Bible as "the only infallible guide in faith and practice"-impossible for a Catholic to sign. Howard acknowledged that "the sole authority of Scripture is a principle unique to Protestantism, and that he, as a Catholic, could not subscribe to it."25

Sola Scriptura remains the central issue at the heart of the Reformation. One must choose between submitting to the authority of the Bible or to that of the Roman Catholic Church. One cannot do both because of the clear conflict between the two. The choice one must make is obvious. Blind submission to any earthly hierarchy in itself contradicts the Bible. Moreover, we have given more than sufficient evidence from history to show that the Roman Catholic Church, from the pope down, has forfeited any claim it may ever have had to be trusted.

The most tragic consequence of the blind faith in their Church as the sole interpreter of God's Word for mankind is that hundreds of millions of Catholics consequently trust it for their eternal destiny. The question of salvation, therefore, is also a key issue necessarily separating Catholics and evangelicals.


Well-Known Member
SkyRider - thanks for posting this. As another forum member is fond of saying the RCC is "Satan's Masterpiece." A religion that has enslaved by current estimates around 1.3 billion people!

As a former Catholic born an raised in this "religion" I attended both Catholic elementary and high school and was well versed in their theology. I always recall from my childhood that any questions we had about why we followed the various dogmas they espoused were instantly quashed. Don't ask questions - just do as we say! When I went away to college I was finally free of this slavery. Unfortunately, I drifted for a long time, but praise God I found Jesus (or did he find me?).

We need to desperately pray for our family members, friends and all Catholics that they see the light of the true Gospel! The season of our Lord's return is upon us - Maranatha!
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Well-Known Member
------------------------------- A WOMAN --------------------------------

"This do in remembrance of me.... For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show [proclaim] the Lord's death till he come." -1 Corinthians 11:24, 26

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind "that all the faithful ought to show to this most holy sacrament [wafer which allegedly has been transformed into Christ's body] the worship which is due to the true God, as has always been the custom of the Catholic Church. Nor is it to be adored any the less because it was instituted by Christ to be eaten." [quoting Trent] ... he is to be adored there because he is substantially [physically] present there ... whole and entire, God and man ... permanently ... through that conversion of bread and wine which, as the Council of Trent tells us, is most aptly named transubstantiation.

... in the Eucharist we become partakers of the Body and Blood of God's only Son ... [and] the partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ has no less an effect than to change us into what we have received. -Vatican II

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------

"Sacrifice" of the Mass

We have come to the very heart of Roman Catholicism, that unique element which separates it from all other religions and especially from evangelical Christianity: the sacrifice of the Mass
. In it "the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated. [It is] the source and the summit of the whole of the Church's worship and of the Christian life." Declared present on the altar through the miracle of transubstantiation (which only the Catholic priest can perform) is the "true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who is really and substantially present under the appearance of bread and wine in order to offer himself in the sacrifice of the Mass and to be received as spiritual food in Holy Communion."

Christ said from the cross just as He died, "It is finished" (John 19:30). But to the Catholic it isn't finished. Christ's sacrifice continues to this day, being endlessly repeated on Catholic altars: "Each time Mass is offered, the Sacrifice of Christ is repeated. A new sacrifice is not offered, but by divine power, one and the same sacrifice is repeated.... In the Mass Christ continues to offer Himself to the Father as He did on the Cross" but in an "unbloody manner under the appearance of bread and wine."

Calvary was a very bloody scene. How there could be an unbloody repetition thereof is not explained. Furthermore, the remission [of sins]" (Hebrews 9:22). Yet the "unbloody" Mass is deemed to bring remission of sins - a remission, which is not needed, for Christ already obtained it on the cross. The Bible says:

"And he took the cup ... saying ... this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed [on the cross] for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:27, 28).

"To him [Christ] give all the prophets witness, that ... whosoever believeth in him shall receive [as a gift of God's grace] remission of sins" (Acts 10:43).

Many Sacrifices or Only One?

The Mass is called a propitiatory sacrifice in which "Christ offers himself [perpetually] for the salvation of the entire world ... [and] the work of our redemption is accomplished." In contrast, the Bible repeatedly emphasizes that the full penalty for sin was paid upon the cross and on that basis the resurrected Christ "entered in once into the holy place [heaven], having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12). There He is seated at the Father's right hand, our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), representing those He has redeemed, where "he ever lives [dies no more] to make intercession for them":

"Who needs not daily, as those [Old Testament] high priests, to offer up sacrifice ... for this he did once, when he offered up himself" [on the cross] (Hebrews 7:27).

The contrast between Catholicism and what the Bible teaches could not be greater than with regard to the alleged "sacrifice" of the Mass. That difference is exposed with stark clarity in the distinction which the Bible emphasizes between the one sacrifice Christ made of Himself and the continual Old Testament sacrifices which had to be repeated daily. The repetition of those offerings is given as proof that they could not pay the penalty for sin; and the fact that Christ was offered only once is given as proof that His sacrifice was sufficient and never needed to be repeated. That the Mass must be repeated proves its ineffectiveness. If once is not enough, then neither would be a billion repetitions; nor can Rome say how many masses it takes to get anyone out of purgatory.

The many Old Testament sacrifices of animals were anticipatory types of the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross which would accomplish what they could not. The Bible allows no misunderstanding:

"Nor yet that he [Christ] should offer himself often, as the [Jewish] high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many...

For the law ... can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? ...

But this man [Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God ... for by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified....

[God says] their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin"
(Hebrews 9:25-10:2; 10:12-18).

Scripture could not be clearer. Christ's sacrifice took place once for all time upon the cross and is never to be repeated because it paid the full penalty for sin. That the Mass is Christ being sacrificed over and over on Catholic altars is the heart of Catholicism; and the repetition of the Mass is the Catholic's main hope of eventual release from purgatory. That doctrine directly contradicts the Bible. Vatican II declares: "In the sacrifice of the Mass ... the body which is given for us and the blood which is shed for the remission of sins are offered to God by the Church for the salvation of the whole world." If this is true, then Christ's death upon the cross was not sufficient but only a partial payment for sin. Yet the Bible assures us that He paid the full penalty for our sins.

The Impossibility

What is claimed for the "sacrifice of the Mass" (whether it is called a renewal, repetition, reenactment, or re-presentation) is impossible. Christ's sacrifice upon the cross occurred at a specific time and accomplished its purpose. This historic event may be (and should be) remembered and honored, but it can no more be "perpetuated," repeated, or "re-presented" than yesterday's news or any other past occurrence. And why should it be, since by that one offering He "perfected forever them that are sanctified"?

The Christian's faith is in Christ's sacrifice upon the cross. The Catholic's faith is in the Church's alleged ability to repeat that sacrifice upon its altars. Yet even the pope can't say how many such repetitions may be needed. Thus many Catholics designate large sums in their wills so that after their decease hundreds and even thousands of Masses will be said on their behalf. This doctrine breeds uncertainty, not the calm assurance that Christ offers in Scripture. The Pocket Catholic Dictionary declares, ". . . the more often the sacrifice [of the Mass] is offered the more benefit is conferred." How much "benefit" in each Mass? No one knows.

Furthermore, Christ is now in a resurrected, glorified, immortal body at the Father's right hand, never to die again. He cannot be "sacrificed" in the Mass. Christ declared: "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore" (Revelation 1:18). Moreover, his body, which now lives in "the power of an endless life" (Hebrews 7:16), contains no blood, which is the life of mortal flesh. His resurrection body is immortal.

"Flesh and Bone"-A Resurrected Body Without Blood

When Christ first came to His disciples that resurrection evening they thought they were seeing a spirit. To prove He was alive, He said, "Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones [not "flesh and blood"], as ye see me have" (Luke 24:39). Doubting Thomas, absent on that occasion, declared skeptically, "Except I shall ... put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25).

When Christ returned a week later He invited Thomas to do just that: "Reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27). Clearly Christ's wounds had not "healed" but remain as memorials. The gaping hole in Christ's side into which Thomas could thrust his whole hand is further evidence that there is no blood in His body.

Blood is the life of mortal flesh, and Christ's blood was poured out upon the cross for our sins: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11). Yet the wine is said to become Christ's blood upon Catholic altars - the blood of His pre-crucifixion body that was resurrected immortal.

To repeat or to perpetuate the sacrifice of Christ, His pre-crucifixion body must be reconstituted. This stunning feat is allegedly accomplished through the "miracle" of transubstantiation: changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Therefore, "the priest is indispensable, since he alone by his powers can change the elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. ..."

The Vital Role of Transubstantiation

Due to the alleged miracle of transubstantiation, the host (or wafer) which is eaten at Mass is worshiped as Christ Himself
. The same devotion is directed to additional blessed wafers reserved in a tabernacle (a small, boxlike receptacle covered with a veil and with a light perpetually burning nearby). The devout come and pray to the wafers therein as though to Christ, believing they are in His holy presence. Mother Teresa expresses this belief:

"It is beautiful to see the humility of Christ ... in his permanent state of humility in the tabernacle, where he has reduced himself to such a small particle of bread that the priest can hold him in two fingers."

A large wafer is exhibited for adoration in a monstrance - a gold or silver vessel with a transparent center for displaying the wafer. Seeing the sacrament "stimulates the faithful to an awareness of the marvelous presence of Christ and is an invitation to spiritual communion with him. It is therefore an excellent encouragement to offer him [in the wafer] that worship in spirit and truth which is his due." An ex-Catholic writes:

"[Catholics] bow down to a wafer that sits in a "tabernacle" on an altar and believe that it is actually Christ Himself.... That's why as a child I was taught to make the sign of the cross whenever passing a Catholic church."

There is a revival across America of "perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." Parish families sign up for an hour or more each week so that some devout are "keeping Christ company" in worship of the host almost around the clock every day. "Pope John Paul II approves enthusiastically of perpetual adoration ... establishing exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Peter's in 1981." He has said:

"How great is the value of conversation with Christ in the blessed sacrament. There is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more powerful for advancing along the road to holiness."

Pagan Pageantry to Honor Christ?

Enclosed in a monstrance, the wafer is also carried in processions. It is astonishing with what extravagant pageantry the host is paraded through the streets on special festivals. An early eighteenth-century eyewitness and participant in the grand procession in Zaragoza, Spain, on the annual festival of Corpus Christi writes:

"The Dean of the cathedral summons all the communities of Friars, all the clergy of the parish churches, the Viceroy, Governor and Magistrates, the judges of the civil and criminal council, with the Lord chancellor of the kingdom and all the fraternities, brotherhoods, or corporations of the city to meet together... in the Metropolitan cathedral church of St. Salvator, with all the standards, trumpets, giants [huge wooden figures 15 feet tall dressed colorfully] in their respective habits of office or dignity; and all the clergy of the parish churches and Friars of convents, to bring along in a procession all the silver bodies of saints on a base or pedestal, which are in their churches and convents. The inhabitants are to clean the streets, which the sacrament is to go through, and cover the ground with greens, and flowers, and to put the best hangings in the fronts of balconies and windows.

The Viceroy goes in state with the Governor, Judges, Magistrates, and officers to meet the Archbishop in his palace, and to accompany his Grace to church, where all the communities of Friars, Clergy, and Corporations, are waiting for them. ... After the Archbishop has made a prayer before the great altar, the music begins ... while the Archbishop takes out of the tabernacle the Host upon the rich [solid gold] chalice, and places it on the great custodia, on the altar's table.

The Archbishop in his pontifical habit officiates ... his Grace giveth the blessing to the people with the sacrament in his hands. Then the Archbishop, with the help of the Dean, Archdeacon, and Chanter, places the custodia on a gilt pedestal, which is adorned with flowers and the jewels of several ladies of quality, and which is carried on the shoulders of 12 Priests, dressed in the same ornaments they say Mass in. This being done, the procession begins to go out of the church in the following order.

First of all the bagpipe, and the great and small giants [colorful figures], dancing all along the streets [followed by] the big silver Cross of the cathedral.... [Next come 30 corporations of tradesmen, the smallest is 30 people, then] the boys and girls of the blue hospital with their master, mistress, and the chaplain.... [Then all the religious orders, led by the Franciscans because they are the youngest, in all about 70 orders] drest in the ornaments they use at the altar.... There are 20 convents of Friars ... about 2000 present on this solemn occasion; 16 convents of Nuns ... [about] 1500 ... [and the 1200 parish priests] ... [in all] 4700 ecclesiastical persons [and] the inhabitants come to 15,000 families.

[Then come] the clergy of the cathedrals of St. Salvator and the lady of Pilar, with all their sacerdotal ornaments and the musicians of both the cathedrals which go before the custodia or sacrament, singing all the way. Then the 12 Priests more, that carry the canopy, under which the sacrament goes.... The Archbishop in his pontifical habit goes at the Subdeacon's right hand, the Viceroy at the Archbishop's, and the Deacon and Subdeacon one at the right and the other at the left all under the canopy.

Six Priests with incense and incensory on both sides of the custodia go incensing the sacrament without intermission; while one kneels down before the great Host and incenses it three times the other puts incense in his incensory ... and thus they do from the coming out of the church till they return back again to it.

The great Chancellor, Presidents, and councils follow after [with] all the nobility, men and women, with lighted candles. This procession lasts four hours from the time it goes out, till it comes into the church again. All the bells of the convents, and parishes ring all this time....

The riches of that procession are incredible.... With this magnificence they carry the sacrament through the principal streets of the city, and all the people that are in the balconies and lattice windows throw roses and other flowers upon the canopy of the sacrament as it goes by."

If this wafer is the literal pre-crucifixion body of Jesus Christ being offered on Catholic altars around the world, then the pageantry is not overdone - or is it? How did that one body become millions of bodies each in the form of a tiny wafer, each one literally and physically Jesus Christ "whole and entire"? How did the bloodied "old rugged cross [with] its shame and reproach" transmute into gold and become encrusted with diamonds? And how can bishops in their ornately embroidered robes of finest silk represent that One who hung naked on the cross and whose lifeless, battered body wrapped in graveclothes was laid in a tomb? Has the "perpetuation" of Christ's death become an incongruous farce?

What does such pagan pageantry with its gold and jewels have to do with Calvary? How blasphemous is this parading before the world of the Church's boasted power to hold the pre-crucifixion body of Christ in its hands and offer Him again upon its altars!

This dogma breeds fanaticism, not faith
. The slaughter of the Jews in Deggendorf to which we earlier referred had been in revenge for their allegedly stealing and "torturing" a consecrated wafer. Those conditioned to believe that wine had become Christ's blood were able to believe Hitler's myth of blood as well.

Reality or Fraud?

This alleged power of the priests to re-create upon Catholic altars the literal body of Christ and then to offer Him to God in "the sacrifice of the Mass [in which] Our Lord is immolated ... [and] Christ perpetuates in an unbloody manner the sacrifice offered on the cross" is the distinctive mark of Roman Catholicism. It is thereby, as we have noted, separated by an impassable gulf from all other religions and especially from evangelical Christianity. What we have here is either the most vital and miraculous reality or the most diabolical fraud. There is no middle ground.

The Catholic cannot deny that on the face of it the claim of transubstantiation seems preposterous. There is no detectable change in wafer or wine after they presumably have been transformed through the priest's unique power into Christ's literal body and blood. How then can one be certain that this "miracle" has occurred? As with so much else in Catholicism, assurance comes only by blindly accepting whatever the Church says.

Yes, some Bible verses are offered in support of this dogma, but the Catholic must accept the Church's interpretation of these, though common sense and proper exegesis would reject it. There are two main passages from which the doctrine of transubstantiation is derived: John 6:51-57 and Matthew 26:26-28 (compare also Luke 22:19,20 and 1 Corinthians 11:24,25). Let us consider them.

Literalism or Symbolism?

Referring to His impending crucifixion, Christ told the Jews in John 6, " . . . the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.... Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (verses 51,53). Catholicism takes these words literally and faults Protestantism for interpreting them symbolically. Christ also said, "I am the bread of life" (verse 35). Why not take Him literally there, making Him a loaf of bread? Is it any more foolish to say Christ is bread than to say a piece of bread is Christ? The Bible should be taken literally wherever that is its meaning - but not when analogy or symbolism is meant, and literalism would violate logic or God's laws.

The psalmist said, "He [God] shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust" (Psalm 91:4). Are we to picture God as a big bird? Jesus wept over Jerusalem: "How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!" (Luke 13:34). Surely He wasn't speaking literally, though He was identifying Himself as the very One of whom Moses wrote in Psalm 91.

Jesus called mankind to believe on Him. He told Nicodemus that those who believed on Him would "not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16), and that believing on Him would bring about a new birth. He didn't mean a physical birth, however, but a spiritual birth, a fact which even Catholics acknowledge. He promised to give the woman at the well "living water" and even "a well of water" springing up within her (John 4:10-14), but He surely didn't mean physical water. He told the Jews that whoever would believe on Him, "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38), but He meant neither a physical belly nor literal physical rivers.

In John 6 Jesus said: "I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (verse 35). That He didn't mean He was literal, physical bread or that those who believed on Him would thereafter never have the need for physical food or drink is clear - but they would never hunger or thirst spiritually again. He was of course speaking spiritually and illustrating His ideas with analogies from things familiar to all. Then why should He be taken literally when a few moments later He says that one must "eat" His body and blood?

Based on that crucial interpretive mistake, the Catholic insists that the bread and wine is literally Christ. Let us follow that to its logical conclusion. If Christ was speaking literally about His body, then He must have been speaking literally when He said, "I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (verse 35). Since the Catholics claim to literally eat Christ's physical body, they should never physically hunger or thirst - but of course they do. Yet if "hungering and thirsting" are spiritual terms, then so must be the eating of His body. Obviously, Christ is saying that those who believe on Him receive eternal life and don't have to keep coming back to Him for another installment.

Catholicism insists that the faithful eat the body and drink the blood of Christ frequently. The more Masses said the better, yet even then one can't be sure of making heaven without suffering in purgatory. The Code of Canon Law, Canon 904, says, "Remembering that the work of redemption is continually accomplished in the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice, priests are to celebrate frequently; indeed daily celebration is strongly recommended...." The Bible, however, assures us in numerous verses which we have already quoted that the work of redemption was accomplished once for all on the cross and that Christ's sacrifice is never to be repeated.

Christ said, "This is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which sees the Son and believes on him may have everlasting life" (John 6:40). Clearly this believing on Christ (which He likens to eating Him) is a once-for-all act. He doesn't say it must be done 20 times, a thousand times, once a day, or once a week. The moment a person believes on Christ, he or she receives forgiveness of sins and everlasting life as a free gift of God's grace. Clearly, a person who has received eternal life by once believing/eating need never repeat that act. Otherwise everlasting life is misnamed, for something that is everlasting must last forever and need not be renewed or reinforced. Consider Christ's words in this same chapter again:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me hath [present possession] everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:47-51).

Where did Christ give His flesh? Not at the Last Supper, as Catholicism teaches, but on the cross. That interpretive error is again a fatal one. For if when Christ said, "This is my body ... this is my blood" at the Last Supper it was literally true, then He sacrificed Himself before He went to the cross! This is, in fact, the strange teaching of Catholicism: "Our Saviour at the Last Supper on the night when he was betrayed instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood so that he might perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries till his coming."

We repeat: If Christ is speaking physically of His body and blood in John 6, then those who eat of Him will never physically die. But all of the apostles themselves are dead. If He did not mean that eating of Him would prevent physical death, then neither did He refer to physically eating Him. He is obviously speaking spiritually all through that chapter, as elsewhere.

Tragically, the Catholic is prevented from receiving the spiritual eternal life that Christ offers by the dogma that He is speaking physically. Rome claims to control "the merits Christ won" and to dispense another installment thereof each time the Catholic (so it is imagined) physically ingests Christ's literal body and blood. The Mass must be repeated endlessly.

Parables to the Multitudes

When Jesus said, "I am the door; by me if any man enter in he shall be saved" (John 10:9), not even Catholics take that to mean that Christ is a physical door through which one must literally walk one's physical body to be saved. He is using this analogy to illustrate that in believing on Him one walks through a door into a new state of spiritual being, eternal life. When Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness" (John 8:12), He was not speaking of physical light but of the spiritual light which those who believe on Him receive, in contrast to the spiritual darkness in which this world dwells.

Further examples could be given but would be superfluous. Jesus continually called mankind to believe on Him. Whatever He spoke about, whether the new birth, water, sheep, shepherd, seed, sower, plants, fruit, bread, or a door, was meant to convey a spiritual truth through the physical object of which He spoke and was not to be taken literally. We are told specifically that whenever Jesus spoke to the multitude, He always spoke to them in parables: "All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spoke he not unto them" (Matthew 13:34).

Christ was speaking to the multitude in John 6. We know, therefore, that He was, as always to them, speaking in parables, using figurative and spiritual, not literal and physical, language. There are, of course, other reasons for knowing this.

Further Compelling Arguments

It was and still is against the law for a Jew to partake of blood (Leviticus 7:26,27; 17:10,11; etc.), and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostles urged Gentile believers also, as something "necessary," to abstain "from blood" (Acts 15:28,29). Surely, then, Christ would not require Christians or Jews to drink His literal, physical blood. And eating His physical body would be cannibalism, an act He would not approve of, much less advocate. That He was referring to believing on Him and illustrating it by the symbol of eating and drinking is clear:

"I am the bread of life; he that comes to me shall never hunger, and he that believes on me shall never thirst, But ... ye also have seen me and believe not.... He that believes on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.... The bread that I will give is my flesh. which I will give for the life of the world.... Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eats my flesh and drinks my blood hath eternal life" (John 6:35,36,47, 48,51,53,54).

Is Jesus really saying that in order to receive eternal life one must literally eat and drink his physical body and blood? Or is He saying that we must believe on Him and is using the analogy of eating and drinking to illustrate that truth? He says very clearly that believing gives eternal life. Yet He says that only by eating Him can one have life. Here is an irreconcilable contradiction - unless, of course, eating is a synonym for believing.

There is an obvious reason why Christ used the symbol of eating. In the Old Testament the priests ate of the sacrifice: "The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it ... all the males among the priests shall eat thereof" (Leviticus 6:26, 29; cf. 6:16,18; 7:6,15; etc.). Christ was thus telling the Jews that He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifices and that His body and blood would be given for the sins of the world. He was also introducing the priesthood of all believers. Only the priests ate of the sacrifice under the law, but now all must partake of Him by faith to receive the gift of eternal life by God's grace. All must believe that the Son of God had become a literal flesh-and-blood man in order to die for mankind.

There are numerous other reasons why Christ could not have meant the literal eating and drinking of His physical body and blood. His sacrifice for sin occurred only once. If there were any physical eating, it should have taken place at that time. The body that was sacrificed and laid in the grave, as already noted, was resurrected and glorified. Christ's new body in which He now resides at the Father's right hand in heaven has no blood and cannot die. The old body whose life was in the blood no longer exists. Paul said, "Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him [as He was before the cross] no more" (2 Corinthians 5:16). To suggest that the pre-crucifixion body of Christ has been re-created on Catholic altars to be offered again for sin is a clear contradiction of both Scripture and logic.

The Bounds of Reality

The Catholic rests his entire case upon the plea that he is taking Christ literally. It is not literalism, however, but fantasy to suggest that each one of millions of wafers is the complete, whole, and entire physical, pre-crucifixion body of Christ while at the same time Christ is in heaven in His resurrected body. "But God is omnipresent," is the response. That is true, and because He is God, by His Spirit, Christ is everywhere at once. But when Christ became a man He voluntarily subjected Himself to certain limitations. A physical body occupies space and therefore can only be in one place at a time. Never is there a hint in the Bible that Christ was bodily present in more than one place at a time.

Yes, Christ said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). Christians believe this promise, but no one imagines that Christ is at one and the same time physically present in the midst of thousands of different groups of believers around the world. In fact, none of them imagines He is present physically at all, for that would mean He could be seen, but He is not. To suggest that millions of wafers are each Christ's physical body, whole and entire, is to depart from reality and engage in fantasy.

Nor does Christ's language at the Last Supper support transubstantiation: "[He] took bread ... broke it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me.... This cup is the new testament in my blood; this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). He wants Christians to remember His death on the cross and to take bread and wine as a reminder thereof. His language contains no thought of a repetition of His sacrifice on the cross.

Notice His words, "This is my body." He didn't say that one day pieces of bread would become His body through the miraculous power of transubstantiation wielded by Catholic priests, but that the bread at that moment was His body. No one could take that statement literally, for he was sitting there in His physical body and holding the bread in His hands. Obviously, the bread was symbolic.

We may be sure that none of Christ's disciples imagined that the bread He held was His literal body. That it could be His literal body and at the same time Christ be there in His literal body was impossible. Such a fantasy did not enter the minds of those present and was not invented until much later. It was certainly not conveyed by Christ's words, nor do we have any reason to believe that the disciples derived from them such a meaning. It was Pope Innocent III who made the Mass as a "sacrifice" official dogma in A.D. 1215

Lutheranism's Similar View

Martin Luther was unable to shake free from much of his Roman Catholicism (infant baptism, etc.), and it remains within the church that bears his name to this day. While denying that they teach transubstantiation, Lutherans declare:

"The true, real body and blood of Christ are somehow present, in a unique way, in, with, and under the bread and wine which are set aside, blessed, and consumed in the holy Supper. That is the plain meaning [?] of Scripture (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:23-32)....

The Lutheran doctrine is that the bread and wine in the holy Supper are the body and blood of Christ. How that can be, we do not know and do not understand. But ... Christ ... said that the bread is His body and that the wine is His blood. We simply echo His words....

Those who do not believe Christ's Words about this Sacrament, do not discern or recognize His body-or His blood-in the Supper and so can receive the Sacrament only in an unworthy way...."

It is not a question of whether one believes Christ's words, but of how those words are understood. There is no more reason to take Him literally when He said "This is my body" than when He said "I am the door." To take Him literally violates common sense, consents to breaking God's law through cannibalism and partaking of blood, and leads to the foolish heresy that in spite of Christ being in heaven in a resurrected and glorified immortal body, His pre-crucifixion body of mortal flesh and blood is being ingested again and again by Catholics and Lutherans. It also leads to the fantasy of imagining that millions of bits of bread or wafers can each one simultaneously be the entire physical body of Christ.

At least Luther did not teach that Christ's sacrifice was being repeated endlessly and that forgiveness of sins and eternal life are received in installments by eating the bread and wine. That delusion fostered by transubstantiation prevents the Catholic from believing in Christ. The Eucharist is the very heart of the false gospel of works promulgated by Catholicism.

Sadly, the devout Catholic has been turned from simple faith in Christ as his Savior to what he thinks is the physical eating of Christ's body and blood. Thus salvation comes not through faith but works; not by believing but by eating. No wonder it is so difficult for a Catholic to accept the biblical gospel! He has been taught that each time he ingests the alleged body and blood of Christ he takes another step toward salvation and heaven. Obviously, such a person finds it very difficult to accept that through one act of faith - receiving Christ by faith into his heart - he is saved eternally and at the moment of death passes instantly into Christ's presence, not into purgatory.

The gospel of God's grace is denied by the teaching that the "merits and graces" won by Christ are dispensed to the faithful in installments through Catholic liturgy, especially through the Mass. The alleged power of the priest to turn the tiny wafer and the wine into the literal body and blood of Christ is the heart of the lie. Thus, the Catholic, ignorant of the biblical teaching that Christ's one sacrifice suffices and that there is "no more offering for sin" (Hebrews 10:18), has been convinced by his Church that repeated sacrifices of Christ on Catholic altars are paying for his sin:

"The Mass is a truly propitiatory sacrifice [by which] the Lord is appeased [and] pardons wrongdoings and sins...."

A "Miracle"?

Those who reject the fantasy of transubstantiation are accused of not believing in miracles. Yes, "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27). Even that statement, however, must be defined by the nature of God and of reality. God cannot become a demon or Satan, nor can He lie (Titus 1:2). Nor could God become the universe, for by His very nature He is separate and distinct from the universe and pantheism is therefore impossible.

Likewise a miracle must function within the bounds of verifiable reality. A wafer which has been "turned into" Christ's body and blood yet retains all its original qualities and characteristics lacks an essential of a miracle: to be recognizable and thereby bring glory to God. Since the wafer and wine remain unchanged, the alleged miracle remains unseen. But a miracle must be observable (the lame walk, the blind see, the storm is instantly calmed, the dead come to life upon command, etc.), or else no one can know that it has taken place and thus no one can give God glory for it.

Of course God would be able to turn a wafer into human flesh. John the Baptist said that God could "of these stones ... raise up children unto Abraham" (Matthew 3:9; Luke 3:8). But if He did it, the stones which had been changed into human beings would not continue to look like stones and have all the qualities of stones. To turn a wafer into human flesh and blood would deny neither the nature of God nor of reality. But transubstantiation is not such a miracle. The wafer becomes Christ's body "under the appearance of a wafer."

There is no such "miracle" in the Bible. The opening of the Red Sea so that the Israelites could walk through it on dry land was a feat that both Jews and Egyptians observed and that both understood had occurred by God's power. Suppose it had been a "transubstantiation kind of miracle"-the Red Sea "opened" under the appearance of remaining closed and the Israelites had "walked" across on dry land "under the appearance" of having to swim across. Suppose Christ healed a blind man "under the appearance" of his not being able to see, or raised the dead "under the appearance" of lifelessness. Such suppositions are ludicrous, yet that is exactly the nature of the "transubstantiation miracle."

Let's take the miracle of the water turned to wine at Cana of Galilee. When the governor of the feast tasted it he exclaimed to the groom, "Thou hast kept the good [best] wine until now" (John 2:10). Suppose instead he had said, "This isn't wine, it's water!" The servants reply sincerely, "No, sir, it's wine." The governor's voice rises in anger: "Don't mock me! It looks like water, it tastes like water, it is water!" The servants insist, "Sir, it is wine. Jesus miraculously turned water into wine under the appearance of it remaining water." There is no such "miracle" in the Bible, and for Rome to make such a claim is a lame attempt to cover obvious fraud.

Decay, Condemnation, and Death

Let us consider only one further reason why transubstantiation is a hoax. The psalmist declared (and Peter quoted this prophecy in his Pentecost sermon, as did Paul later): "Thou wilt not ... suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:27; 13:35). Christ's body did not decay in the grave. Yet the consecrated and transubstantiated host reserved for administering to the sick or displayed for adoration breeds worms and mold if it isn't disposed of soon enough. If it were really Christ's body, it could not corrupt.

Tragically, the Mass becomes a cause of condemnation for Catholics, who "are obliged under penalty of serious [mortal] sin to hear Mass on Sundays and holy days …. According to a recent poll, only 33 percent of American Catholics attend Mass "on a given Sunday" and far less do so every Sunday as required. Only 12 percent of the Catholics in France (which is 90 percent Catholic) can be found in Mass on any Sunday. This works out to a very high percentage of Catholics who are habitually in mortal sin and thus deprived of "sanctifying grace" and "the right to heaven."

So important is this transubstantiation dogma to Rome that multitudes who could not accept it were burned at the stake. It was for this reason that most of the 288 English martyrs were consigned to the flames during the five-year reign of Bloody Queen Mary, who brought Catholicism back into England after a brief time of tenuous freedom from the papal tyranny.

Many a sincere and devout Roman Catholic desired to save England for beloved Mother Church and rejoiced when the Reformation was turned back. Today it is leading evangelicals who are only too happy to undo the Reformation and thereby deny Christ and His gospel. And in the process, they mock those who did not count their lives dear in order to preserve that gospel for us.


Sadly, many Roman Catholics have fallen for this ruse. I was indoctrinated as a child to believe it, as were my parents, and generations going back to our roots in Ireland. It is a cruel hoax, to believe that a sinful man, can turn a man-made wafer - probably manufactured in a factory-like bakery - into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, with all of His humanity and divinity. Each one supposedly turns into the life-sized body of Jesus. As stated, not much of a miracle has occurred if the wafer still retains the appearance and chemical make-up of a gluten wafer. And absolutely no saving power whatsoever. Just another act of deception by Satan to get the followers of Romanism to worship an inanimate object versus the real Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is really mass hypnosis to believe such a farce, but nonetheless, still an act of idolatry and blasphemy to worship just a round disk as God. We all used to be tickled by the story of the Emperor and his new clothes, and how anybody could fall for such a lie as believing that a ruler would appear naked but proclaim that he was instead wearing the finest apparel. Yet, an even more grievous lie is foisted on the followers of Roman Catholicism when they are told to believe their superiors that they can change a mere piece of bread into the God of the Universe! Tragic. Ridiculous. And yet, millions bought into it, or millions were persecuted because they wouldn't fall for the pope's lies.
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------------------------------- A WOMAN --------------------------------

"It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the Popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name.

It wounds Christ, robs Christ of His glory, puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread in the place of the Saviour.

If we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors; we shall love their souls though we loathe and detest their dogmas...." -Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"I'm eradicating the word Protestant even out of my vocabulary.... I'm not protesting anything ... It's time for Catholics and non-Catholics to come together as one in the Spirit and one in the Lord." -Paul Crouch on TBN

"It's time for Protestants to go to the shepherd [the pope] and say, "What do we have to do to come home?" -Robert Schuller

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------

Apostasy and Ecumenism

The statements with which we introduce this and the previous chapter indicate a dramatic change in the thinking of Christian leaders regarding Roman Catholicism from the days of Spurgeon to the present time. For 350 years most Protestant creeds identified the papacy as the system of Antichrist. That identification is now being dropped. The world's foremost evangelist has called Pope John Paul II "the greatest religious leader of the modern world ...." One of America's foremost "experts on the family" considers the pope to be "the most eminent religious leader who names the name of Jesus Christ." One frequently hears of leading evangelicals who have visited the pope and come away convinced that he is "born again." If so, how could he continue in that fraudulent office heading that corrupt religious system with its false gospel of works and ritual that is sending multitudes to condemnation?

Increasing numbers of today's evangelicals are accepting Catholics as Christians and seem to find no problem in joining with them in the evangelization of the world. That fact is made clear by the very title of the historic joint declaration (referred to earlier) by Catholic and evangelical leaders: Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd Millennium. Evangelicals and Catholics are declared to be full partners in the Christian mission of taking the gospel to the world, and they are not to evangelize one another. "It is neither theologically legitimate nor a prudent use of resources for one Christian community [evangelicals] to proselytize among active adherents of another Christian community [Catholics]." Some of the leading Protestant evangelists are now conducting their crusades in partnership with Catholics. However, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains why he could not support such crusades in England:

"I remind you that the Protestant Reformers were not just bigoted zealots or fools. Their eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit.... They saw this horrible monstrosity depicted in the Bible and they warned against it. At the risk of even losing their lives they stood up and protested.... A Christianity that merely preaches "Come to Christ" or "Come to Jesus" cannot stand before Rome. Probably what that will do ultimately will be to add to the numbers belonging to Rome. People who hold evangelistic campaigns and say, "Are you Roman Catholics? Go back to your church," are denying New Testament teaching. We must warn them!"

We have shown that the beast of Revelation 13 and 17 represents both the revived Roman Empire and the Antichrist. The false church, headquartered in Rome, is the woman riding the beast. But that identification of the woman, which for centuries was almost unanimous among Protestants, is accepted by only a few evangelical leaders today. A new spirit of ecumenism is sweeping the Christian world. Consider the following from a Christianity Today editorial:

"As we [Catholics and evangelicals] discussed the meaning of the gospel and what Christ meant to us, it became abundantly evident that we shared a common faith.... Traditional Roman Catholics accept the doctrine of grace alone.... They [Catholics and evangelicals] share the promise of the Father that they have been accepted by Him, and so they, His children, had better accept each other."

Nothing could be further from the truth, as we have thoroughly demonstrated. The Catholic view of grace, faith, and salvation is not at all what the Bible teaches. Yet misinformation about Catholicism persists. For example, Tom Houston, at the time international executive director of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism, told a plenary session of Lausanne II in Manila in 1989:

"There are six saving acts of God in Jesus Christ.... The Incarnation ... the Cross ... the Atonement. .. the Resurrection ... the ascension ... Pentecost ... the Second Coming of Christ. Now all these churches (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelicals, Orthodox, Pentecostals) believe in all these six saving acts. ... Let us make it our unflinching goal to stay together ... as reflected in the Lausanne Covenant."

So at last we learn from the previous director himself that from the beginning the Lausanne Covenant was intended to embrace Catholics and Orthodox! That revelation came as a shock to those participants who knew the heresies of Rome which Houston's speech denied. Delegates from Latin America, knowing Catholicism only too well, objected strenuously to the embrace of Catholics as Christians. Their protest was respected temporarily, but the momentum toward full fellowship with Catholics now seems irreversible.

A One-Way Street

Evangelicals who imagine an equal partnership with Rome seem blind to the obvious. The term "separated brethren," as used in Vatican II and ever since then in Catholic ecumenical documents clearly indicates that "unity" can be attained only by non-Catholics joining that Church. This fact has also been declared in numerous papal pronouncements to the Catholic faithful even before Vatican II. Typical is the following from Pope Pius XII:

"We must not pass over in silence, or veil in ambiguous terms, the truth of Catholic teaching... that the only true union is by the return of separated Christians to the one true Church of Christ.

For those who do not belong to the visible body of the Church ... none can be assured of eternal salvation, because ... they are still deprived of the helps and heavenly favors found only inside the Catholic Church."

Again, we see Rome teaching that a person cannot simply come to Christ and be saved through faith in His all-sufficient sacrifice for sin. There are other "helps and heavenly favors" which are necessary for one to be saved, and these are found only inside the Roman Catholic Church. Fortunately, the day has passed when this dogma had to be embraced under pain of death. That day, however, will come again, and perhaps sooner than we think.

Ecumenism is no equal partnership, but a one-way street to Rome. There is an all-out effort by Catholic apologists to refute the errors and inadequacies in evangelicalism. Thomas Howard's book describing his journey to Rome was titled Evangelical Is Not Enough.'' Tapes and books of this type are offered freely by Christian distributors and are carried without objection in most Christian bookstores. Yet many of these same distributors and bookstores which handle Catholic material refuse to stock books or tapes that are in any way critical of Catholicism, even though they present the truth.

The New Strategy: Ecumenism

Having lost her status as the official state church in most parts of the world, and no longer able to impose the death penalty for nonconformance, Rome has adopted new tactics. It was at her initiative, following the publishing of Dignitatis Humanae ("Declaration of Religious Freedom") at Vatican II, that the concordats in the few remaining countries where only Catholicism was allowed were changed to grant freedom of religion. This occurred in Colombia in 1973, opening the door to all religions and separating church from state. The same action was taken in 1974 in the Swiss canton of Valais, followed in 1975 by annulment of Article 24 in the 1940 Concordat with Portugal. Religious liberty was granted in Spain in 1976 by revision of the concordat to provide for separation of church and state, followed by similar action in Peru in 1980 and Italy in 1984. Finally, in July 1992, laws guaranteeing freedom of religion for nonCatholics at last went into effect in Mexico (though persecution and even killing of Christians by Catholics has continued). These moves did not reflect generosity on Rome's part but a clever strategy of taking the initiative to effect what was already inevitable in today's world.

Catholicism has become the ecumenical leader in a move to unite not only the "separated brethren" of Protestantism but all of the world's religions in a new world church. To large Hindu audiences in India in 1986 John Paul II declared: "India's mission ... is crucial, because of her intuition of the spiritual nature of man. Indeed, India's greatest contribution to the world can be to offer it a spiritual vision of man. And the world does well to attend willingly to this ancient wisdom and in it to find enrichment for human living." What an astonishing commendation of Hinduism!

One of the world's most influential Hindu leaders, Sri Chinmoy, known as "the guru of the United Nations" (where he holds twice-weekly meditations for staff), has been praised by more than one pope. Chinmoy's 80-plus meditation centers around the world have led millions into Hinduism's darkness, yet John Paul II considers him a friend and co-worker and has greeted him thus: "Special blessings to you. .. [and] to your members. We shall continue together." Pope Paul VI told Chinmoy, "The Hindu life and the Christian life shall go together. Your message and my message are the same." And now evangelical leaders are telling Rome that its gospel and their gospel are also the same!

Rome, of course, will be the headquarters of the new world religion, and the Catholic hierarchy will be in charge. Already she is preparing the way with amazing statements of acceptance of almost anything from voodoo to evangelicalism, while at the same time attacking the latter. During his 1993 tour of Africa the pope "sought common ground with believers in voodoo ... suggesting that they would not betray their traditional faith by converting to Christianity." Explaining that "the Catholic Church ... wants to establish positive and cooperative relationships with . . . various faiths in view of a mutual enrichment," John Paul II declared that "the Second Vatican Council ... recognized that in [all] diverse religious traditions there is something true and good, the seeds of the Word. It encouraged Christ's disciples to discover `the riches which a generous God has distributed among the nations."'

Try to imagine Moses suggesting that Israel "discover the riches" to be found in the religions of the idol-worshiping pagans around them, or Paul suggesting that the Christians in Ephesus "discover the riches" of the pagan worship at the temple of Diana! Then what are leading evangelicals doing in becoming Rome's partners?

Embracing All Religions

Like Mother Teresa, John Paul II praises all religions. Examples are legion, but we have space for only a few. In 1985, speaking to Muslims in Brussels, Belgium, the pope said: "Christians and Moslems, we meet one another in faith in the one God ... [and] strive to put into practice ... the teaching of our respective holy books." Islam's Allah is not the God of the Bible, nor could any Christian commend the teachings of the Koran. Meeting with Muslim leaders in West Africa in 1993, the pope "called on Christians, Muslims and animists ... to respect one another's religious beliefs...." How can one respect beliefs that lead people to hell? Far from asking us to "respect" pagan beliefs, the Bible condemns them.

Speaking to Shintoists and Buddhists in Tokyo in 1981, John Paul II commended the wisdom of their ancient religions which inspired them "to see a divine presence in each human being. ... [As Christ's Vicar] I express my joy that God has distributed these [religious] gifts among you"- an unthinkable statement in view of the errors of Shintoism and Buddhism! In Togo in 1985 the pope exulted that he had "prayed for the first time with animists." A conservative Catholic critic of his Church's astonishing ecumenism writes:

"Originally, ecumenism was concerned with unity among Christians. But it is now, increasingly ... seeking the union of all religions, Christian or non-Christian. On May 19, 1964, Paul VI officially launched a Secretariat for the non-Christians ... [which] played an important role during the last two sessions of the Council [Vatican II].... Some months later, Msgr. Wojtyla [who became Pope John Paul II] declared:

'Nostalgia for the unity of Christians makes common cause with that of unity for the whole human race.... This gives rise to the attitude of the Church towards the other religions, which is based on the recognition of their spiritual values, humans and Christians together, reaching out to such religions as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism' ...."

While the pope's embrace of all religions shocks conservative Catholics, it is actually consistent with history. From the very beginning under Constantine, when statues of Isis and Horus were renamed Mary and Jesus, and Pope Leo I (440-61) boasted that St. Peter and St. Paul had "replaced Romulus and Remus as [Rome's] protecting patrons," Roman Catholicism has always accommodated itself to the pagan religions of those peoples which it "Christianized." During a 1984 visit to New Guinea, Pope John Paul II presided over an outdoor celebration of the "New Mass" for natives. The Mass involved "dancers who pranced to the altar for the offertory procession, throwing up clouds of orange and yellow smoke, a pagan custom to ward off evil spirits ... [while] an 18-year-old college student read a passage of Scripture at the papal altar wearing her traditional clothes [nude above the waist]." The New York Times said the Mass was indicative of

"the Roman Catholic Church's efforts to make its services more universal by integrating into its ritual and liturgy elements of the cultures of the peoples to whom Western missionaries brought their religion."

Such integration is as old as Catholicism. In Haiti every voodoo ceremony begins with Catholic prayers. There is a saying that Haiti is 85 percent Catholic and 110 percent Voudun The frightening spiritist cult of Santeria exploding across America is also a blend of African paganism and Catholicism involving "gods" passed off as Catholic saints who front for demons. Visiting the cemeteries in Rio de Janeiro on any religious holiday one finds the Catholic faithful there petitioning the spirits of their ancestors along with the Catholic saints. In Brazil and Cuba, spiritism and voodoo-related African religions of various kinds blend with Catholicism, and throughout Latin America native superstitions remain among Catholics. The use of images, holy water, and many of the rituals now part of Catholicism have been adapted from paganism.

Paganism Within the Catholic Church

One finds every shade of New Age, occult, and mystical belief inside the Roman Catholic Church itself. Catholic World had an entire issue affirming the New Age movement, without a word of condemnation or correction. Thousands of priests and nuns practice Yoga and other forms of Hindu or Buddhist mysticism. Catholic schools across the country, once looked upon as bastions of sound education, are as permeated with occult and New Age methods as are the public schools. Spirituality of the Catholic Educator presents a sampling of Catholic education today:

"New Jersey/New York area Catholic schools utilize a program titled Energetics for Living: A Curriculum Enhancement Program for Peace Education, developed by Sisters Vergilla Jim, O.S.E and Claire Langie, O.S.U. Its purpose is "nothing less than the transformation of the child from within" through contact with the creative "energy" found "at the very center of their being" leading to an experience of "the interconnectedness and interdependency of all living creatures. . . ." Contact with the child's "sacred center" is effected through "the regular practice of meditation, visualization, relaxation, breathing, etc."

They have adapted the Hindu greeting "Namaste," which means "The God in me greets the God in you!"

Once the student sees that he and everything is God, "who would do violence to God or to any of his creatures?" asks Sister Loretta Carey, R.D.C., of Fordham University.

Sister Mary L. O'Hara, C.S.J., professor of philosophy at the College of Saint Mary, Omaha, specializes in promoting Buddhist and Hindu techniques for enhancing education in Catholic schools."

Catholic retreat centers around the world mix "Christianity" with Hinduism, Buddhism, and all manner of New Age beliefs and practices. Typical is the Ashram Ya Azim, a Franciscan Sisters' Center for Meditation in Willard, Wisconsin, which seeks to reach "Christ consciousness" through various New Age techniques. In its defense, Virginia Barta, president of the Franciscan Sisters in the USA, explains: "We can be Catholic and at the same time open ... to recognize the mystical truth in all religions."

At the start of his first U.S. tour, the Dalai Lama, who claims to be god and the fourteenth reincarnation of the original Dalai Lama, was feted at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral at what Time magazine called "an extraordinary interreligious festival" hosted by Cardinal Cooke. Declaring that "all the world's major religions are basically the same," the Dalai Lama was given a standing ovation by the overflow crowd. Cardinal Cooke called the event "one of the dramatic movements of the Spirit in our time." Surely not the Holy Spirit.

The entire May/June 1990 issue of Catholic World was devoted to Buddhism. The articles were all sympathetic, including favorable quotes from the pope. One article was even titled "The Buddha Revered As a Christian Saint"! John Paul II takes a broad-minded view of Buddhism and all other religions. He considers the Tibetan Buddhist Deity Yoga of his good friend the Dalai Lama, along with the prayers of witch doctors, spiritists, and every other religion, to be generating "profound spiritual energies" that are creating a "new climate for peace " Similar examples could be multiplied. According to a Los Angeles Times news report:

"Pope John Paul II slipped off his shoes to sit quietly and solemnly with the supreme patriarch of Thailand's Buddhists at a Buddhist monastery in Bangkok.... The Roman Catholic pontiff later praised the "ancient and venerable wisdom" of the Asian religion."

Try to imagine the apostle Peter attending a Buddhist temple ritual and praising Buddhism's wisdom! Or Paul telling audiences of Hindus, as John Paul II did during his visit to India, that he had not come there to teach them anything but "to learn from [their] rich spiritual heritage" and that the world needs to heed India's "spiritual vision of man." The early Christians would never have been martyred had they taken a similar ecumenical approach to Rome's pagan practices.

Why Ecumenical Popes are Popular

John Paul II seems to be in failing health. Whether he recovers his strength and continues or is replaced by another pope will have little effect upon the future. While John Paul II is the most blatant and effective ecumenist yet, he is only following in the footsteps of his predecessors, and his successor will continue in the same direction. Pope John XXIII (who opened Vatican II) and Pope Paul VI (who closed it) joined such notables as the Dalai Lama, Anwar el-Sadat (a Muslim), and U.N. Secretary General U. Thant (a Buddhist) to form The Temple of Understanding, known as the United Nations of religion. Catholics have been prominent ever since in the leadership of this major effort to establish a world religion.

As further proof of the ecumenism of John Paul II's immediate predecessors, Paul VI gave his blessing to the Second World Conference on Religion and Peace in Louvain, Belgium, in 1974. Under Catholic leadership, the Louvain Declaration stated:

"Buddhists, Christians, Confucianists, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Shintoists, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and still others, we have sought here to listen to the spirit within our varied and venerable religious traditions ... we have grappled with the towering issues that our societies must resolve in order to bring about peace.... We rejoice that ... the long era of prideful and even prejudiced isolation of the religions of humanity is, we hope, now gone forever."

It is interesting that the vast majority of Catholics, while refusing to follow papal dogmas in many respects, are only too eager to embrace the pope's ecumenism. And why not? The high percentage of Catholics who reject the basic teachings of the Church points toward a broadening "Christianity." A 1989 poll revealed that 25 percent of Catholics in America didn't believe in life after death, another 46 percent said no one really knows, and 55 percent believe they can dissent from official Church teaching while remaining Catholics. In a 1992 poll, 67 percent of Catholics favored ordaining women, 52 percent accepted abortion, 75 percent said priests should be allowed to marry, and 87 percent said married couples should make their own decision about birth control. In an April 1994 poll, "less than 29 percent of those under the age of 45 agreed that the `bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ."

In France and Italy the situation is even more amazing: 49 percent of French Catholics don't believe in the resurrection of Christ, 60 percent don't believe in heaven, 77 percent don't believe in hell, and 75 percent believe in neither purgatory nor the devil. In fact, "two-thirds of Catholic theologians [express] disbelief... in the existence of Satan ...." While 90 percent of Italians call themselves Catholics, only about 30 percent attend Sunday Mass; and national elections in Italy during the past decade have legalized both divorce and abortion in spite of pressure from the Church to the contrary.

Catholics are not alone in apostasy. A poll early in 1994 indicated that "4 out of 10 [Americans] who call themselves evangelicals don't believe there is such a thing as absolute truth. [Is "evangelical," like "born-again," becoming a meaningless term?] Of all U.S. adults, 71 percent say there is no such thing as absolute truth." Relativism and ecumenism go hand in hand. Those holding such loose views can easily be persuaded to join with almost anyone, provided the cause is compelling. Reviewing the book Rome Sweet Home (the story of Scott and Kimberley Hahn's conversion to Roman Catholicism), John W. Robbins wrote:

"[Scott] Hahn's defection is one of several similar defections. They are occurring, not because Rome is a true church, but because of the apostasy of "Protestantism." . . . Just when the preaching of the Gospel is most urgently needed, it is rarely heard in "Protestant" pulpits.... Only the grace of God can save us from another Dark Age and the church that Luther recognized as the slaughterhouse of souls."

Uniting Everyone in "Prayer"

Since taking office in 1978, John Paul II has moved ecumenism a quantum leap toward the coming world religion. One of the pope's major tactics for unity is getting religious leaders together for prayer. He wants to usher in the new millennium with an unprecedented day of prayer with Muslims and Jews on Egypt's Mount Sinai, according to a letter published by the Vatican.

One of John Paul II's most amazing feats was the gathering at Assisi, Italy, in 1986 of 130 leaders of the world's 12 major religions to pray for peace. Praying together were snake worshipers, fire worshipers, spiritists, animists, North American witch doctors, Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus, as well as "Christians" and Catholics. The pope declared that all were "praying to the same God." On that occasion the pope allowed his good friend the Dalai Lama to replace the cross with Buddha on the altar of St. Peter's Church in Assisi and for him and his monks to perform their Buddhist worship there.

The two most urgent causes, which will play an important part in uniting the world, are ecology and peace. It is increasingly believed that "peace" will be achieved by prayer to some higher power, and "any god will do," as Masonry says. Inspired by the pope's example at Assisi, "Interfaith Councils" are springing up across the United States, where Christians meet for prayer and social action with the followers of all religions. The procedure at one of the meetings was described by a participant:

"Swami Bhaskarananda, a Hindu, chanted a prayer to God ... Ismail Ahmed, a Moslem, recited a short prayer to God ... as they stood in front of an altar adorned with pictures of Sri Ramakrishna, Jesus Christ and Buddha."

Prayer has been uniting all religions worldwide, and even under evangelical leadership. At the 1993 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., Senator Kerry read John 3:1-21 (leaving out key verse 16), suggested that Christ was speaking of "spiritual renewal" and that "in the spirit of Christ ... Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Christian" were meeting together for that purpose. Vice President Al Gore said, "Faith in God, reliance upon a Higher Power, by whatever name, is, in my view, essential."

God said, "If my people who are called by my name" will pray "I will hear from heaven. .." (2 Chronicles 7:14). It was not an invitation to the worshipers of Baal and Ashtoreth and other gods to join with Israel in prayer. That would have been an abomination! Yet today's evangelicals are joining a mixed multitude to pray and to work for social justice and peace.

Gathering Worldwide Momentum

It is amazing to what extent those who call themselves Christians are able to justify, for the cause of peace and ecological wholeness, participation in religious practices with those of all religions. There is a large movement in South America called "The First Assembly of the People of God of Latin America and the Caribbean" (APD) which is attracting a truly ecumenical groundswell of Catholics, Protestants, and pagans with the blessing of the Catholic Church. The phrase "People of God" comes from Vatican II, and the movement claims to have "brought to life the model of the pluralistic and service-oriented church outlined in Vatican II teachings." The National Catholic Reporter favorably reported on a recent convention in Brazil:

"One [leader] held a silver scepter of Candomble, the worship of African gods.... Another, a Baptist minister, displayed a drawing of the world traversed by a crucifix.... Beside him, a voodoo priest from Haiti raised a pot of incense, spreading good energy over the crowd. And a pastor from the United Presbyterian Church read from Paul's letter to the Galatians. The celebrants surrounded a Brazilian Catholic brother who lifted up a priest's stole. Each kissed the colorful band of cloth."

A much larger but similar gathering, the Parliament of the World's Religions, was held in Chicago in September 1993, and was attended by about 6000 representatives of the world's major faiths. One of the plenary speakers, the Dalai Lama, called for a worldwide "spiritual awakening" that could be heeded by all religions. A major event of the Parliament was the awarding to Charles Colson of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the world's most prestigious and lucrative (monetary value about 1.2 million dollars) ecumenical award. It is given specifically for "encourag[ing] understanding of the benefits of each of the great religions." (Imagine Elijah accepting an award for "encouraging understanding of the benefits of Baal worship" or Paul on Mars hill "encouraging understanding of the benefits of paganism"!)

As always at such ecumenical milestones, Catholic leadership was much in evidence, including Chicago's Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and Fr. Thomas A. Baima, director of the Chicago archdiocese's Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung was "the main drafter of The Global Ethic ... promoting interreligious cooperation" produced by the Parliament and signed by most of the leaders present, including Rev. Wesley Ariarajah, deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches. It was "the first time in history that representatives of all the world's religions-Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and 120 other religious groupsreached common ground on ethical behavior.... Representatives from the Vatican and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops were present" and reacted favorably. The Los Angeles Times reported:

"Priests in Roman collars talked with saffron-robed Buddhist monks, and Rastafarians engaged in animated discussions with turbaned Sikhs.... On one night, followers of the neopagan Wicca [witchcraft] religion performed a full-moon ritual ...."

Roman Catholicism is proving to be the bridge that brings together all faiths. That fact alone is not surprising, but it is astonishing to see evangelical Christians stepping onto that bridge on one end while at the same time Hindus, Buddhists, and pagans of every stripe are stepping onto it from the other. If we are indeed in the last days, as seems apparent, it will not be long until all sides meet in the middle.

A Stepped-Up Campaign

On September 16, 1980, John Paul II told the Catholics in Osnabruch, Germany, "Encourage in a charitable way your evangelical brothers [the Lutherans] to witness to their faith, to deepen in Christ their form of religious life." Is the pope merely enticing the Protestants or is he really letting down the standard, as many Catholics fear? On February 6, 1983, he spoke of going "beyond misunderstandings ... to find once more what is common to all Christians ...." Such expressions of ecumenism have been common and have drawn fire from conservative critics within his Church.

There is no doubt that John Paul II has been breaking new ground in his pursuit of "unity." He knelt beside then Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie at the Canterbury Anglican cathedral altar and the two leaders embraced. In 1981 the pope "invited Metropolitan Damaskinos to speak in his place. For the first time since the schism [A.D. 1054], an Orthodox prelate thus sat in the Chair of the Basilica." The mutual anathemas between Rome and Constantinople had been lifted in 1965. On August 2, 1982, the pope resumed diplomatic relations with three Scandinavian countries that had not been recognized by the Vatican since they had broken with Rome at the Reformation. On December 11, 1983, John Paul II became the first pope in history to enter a Lutheran church. He did so in Rome, where he took part in the service and stated:

"I am here because the Spirit of the Lord thrusts us towards ecumenical dialogue, to find complete unity among Christians."

In 1987, Patriarch Dimitrios I was welcomed into St. Peter's Basilica by John Paul II, who introduced him as "His Holiness, Dimitrios I, our well-beloved brother in Christ" and exhorted the congregation to "hear the words of the chief Patriarch...." At the end of the Mass, Dimitrios returned to the altar "to bless the faithful." The pope responded, "The Catholic Church and the Orthodox have been given the grace to recognize one another as sister churches and to walk together towards full communion." On December 7, 1987, Patriarch Dimitrios I and John Paul II signed a declaration similar to the recent joint Catholic-evangelical agreement in the U.S.: "Each of our Churches has received and celebrates the same Sacraments [and] ... we reject all forms of proselytism.... "

Strange Bedfellows

On January 31, 1994, Chinese Premier Li Peng signed into law documents 144 ("Regulations on the Management of Religious Activity of Foreigners Within China's Borders") and 145 ("Management of Places of Religious Activity Ordinance"). As Wen Wei Po, Hong Kong's major pro-Beijing newspaper, admitted, these regulations are intended to prevent "proselytizing" by foreigners. The Chinese government realizes the danger to Communism if evangelicals are allowed to obey Christ's command to preach the gospel to every person on earth.

A similar but voluntary ban on "proselytism" is a key element in the accelerating ecumenical movement. Billy Graham's World Mission '95 involves such a pledge on the part of participating churches. The instructions for France, for example, for participation in this crusade that will be broadcast worldwide by satellite are clear: "All the denominations (Catholic, Orthodox, etc.) are to be kept advised and cooperation is to be mutual among all ... in spite of differences in theology"-and there is to be absolutely "no inter-church proselytizing." Ironically, the headquarters of the Mission in France is in the town of Beziers, which readers will recall was wiped out by Pope Innocent III with the loss of about 60,000 lives as the "crowning achievement" of his papacy.

One of the most amazing displays of this "antiproselytism" compromise by evangelicals of Christ's command to preach the gospel in all the world to every creature (Mark 16:15) occurred in Colorado. In recent years the city of Colorado Springs has seen the influx of numerous evangelical ministries establishing their offices there. Evangelical youth were winning their Catholic and Jewish schoolmates to Christ, bringing complaints from Catholic and Jewish leaders. To bring peace to the community, evangelical leaders, among them James Dobson, Navigators director Terry Taylor, Young Life director Terry P. McGonigal, and local evangelical pastors, signed a "Covenant of Mutual Respect" with the local Catholic bishop and Jewish rabbi and others. The covenant itself was reproduced in the April 22, 1993, edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph under the title "A Message to the People of Colorado Springs." It recognized the "Judeo-Christian heritage" common to all faiths represented by those signing the covenant and basically pledged to "learn from each other in a spirit of goodwill and mutual respect" rather than to evangelize. A Catholic newspaper reported triumphantly:

"The effort to evangelize by some communities was creating an atmosphere of animosity," said Bishop Richard Hanifen of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. About a year ago, Rabbi Howard Hirsch of Temple Shalom and Bishop Hanifen both found that Jewish and Catholic youths were being evangelized at school by other students of different faiths. Terry McGonigal, director of the Institute of Youth Ministries for Young Life, agreed that other Christian youths were being evangelized in schools as well....

To curb misunderstanding and to facilitate understanding, religious leaders from community churches and organizations began meeting informally to discuss the situation.... Youth leaders attended the first meeting June 26, 1992, to discuss whether the evangelization efforts were a problem, and determined they were....

Bishop Hanifen said in the future he hopes the group will explore all kinds of issues to learn the values of various faiths and how they view the Scripture. "Instead of trying to convince each other which way to settle issues, we hope to understand the processes of how we settle issues," he said. "I think with God's help, this will set the stage for the future for how our different traditions will behave, and that, I think, is very good for Colorado Springs."

The Charismatic Bridge to Rome

Oddly, at the same time that Rome is complaining about having Catholics evangelized, it is engaged in the largest evangelization program in history. "Evangelization 2000" is directed from the Vatican by Fr. Tom Forrest, to whom we have already referred. He organized a Worldwide Priests' Retreat which met at Vatican City in September 1990 to kick off the decade of evangelization. Interestingly, "The first purpose of the retreat [Forrest said] was to evangelize the priests." About 1000 of the 6000 priests attending responded to the call to "receive Christ as Savior and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Why should such an appeal be necessary, especially to priests, if Catholics are saved? And how could these 1000 really "receive Christ as Savior" in the biblical meaning of that phrase without denying most of the Catholicism they have been trained to perpetuate? That Tom Forrest is still a Roman Catholic priest who celebrates the Mass, believes in purgatory and indulgences, and dare not say that he is eternally saved indicates that he has never accepted the biblical gospel. Yet evangelicals accept him as a partner in the gospel.

Forrest is a charismatic. Much of the responsibility for the growing partnership with Catholicism lies with certain leaders in the charismatic movement. Charismatics were the first to hold joint Protestant-Catholic conferences and to accept one another as Christians. About 10 million Catholics in America and 72 million in 163 countries worldwide now "speak in tongues." That alleged ability was taken as proof by other charismatics that Catholics must be born again. The importance placed upon this experience caused even the most drastic differences in doctrine to be overlooked. The charismatic movement became the major bridge to Rome.

That there is a spurious "Holy Spirit" operating is evident. One of the first prophetic utterances in the Catholic charismatic movement (which began in the mid-1960s at Duquesne and Notre Dame Universities) was that "what Mary promised at Fatima is really going to take place." Yet the apparition of "Mary" at Fatima was demonic, as we shall document in the next two chapters. The "gift of tongues" was received spontaneously by many Catholics as they were engaged in prayers to Mary: "With Tom N. it was as he was finishing his Rosary ... with Sister M. it came as she knelt in silent prayer to the Blessed Virgin." The general effect upon Catholics of their "baptism in the Spirit" has been increased devotion to Mary and greater zeal for the many heretical dogmas of Romanism. The spirit that endorses such heresy will also endorse Antichrist.

On March 2-4, 1990, Robert Schuller hosted at his Crystal Cathedral the charismaticCatholic-sponsored "6th Annual West Coast Conference on The Holy Spirit." The majority of the audience were Roman Catholics, as were about half of the speakers. The overwhelmingly Catholic audience was delighted to hear Schuller declare:

"When I had the dream of this cathedral, I didn't want to build it without the blessing of the Holy Father. So I made a trip to Rome and I met with the Pope.... I took a picture of the cathedral and I told him I was building this and that [I wanted it to] receive his prayers of blessing. A photograph, of course, was taken of us and I have it hanging on my 12th floor... Then on the 30th anniversary of my ministry here I received the most beautiful full-colored photograph of the Holy Father bestowing his apostolic blessing upon my holy ministry, with a wonderful personal handwritten message ...."

Bible prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. Christ warned that the nearness of His return to take His bride home to heaven would be heralded by religious deception such as this world had never known (Matthew 24:4,5,11,24). So great would it be that even the elect would be in danger of being deceived. Men would be accepted as Christian leaders, even workers of signs and wonders, who were not Christians at all (Matthew 7:22, 23). Paul warned of the same deception and that it was the essential preparation for the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4), a preparation that has obviously been accelerating in our day.

In defense of his signing the historic document Evangelicals and Catholics Together, one Baptist leader exulted that it finally granted evangelicals recognition by Catholics as a legitimate religious group. The Reformers would hardly have been flattered by such "recognition." Moreover, the same status has long been granted to all religions by Rome. Nearly 30 years earlier Pope Paul VI had said:

"The Church has this exhortation for her sons and daughters: prudently and lovingly, through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, and in witness of Christian faith and life, acknowledge, preserve and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these peoples ...."

This is Roman Catholicism, a "Christianity" that is able to accommodate itself to partnership with all religious beliefs and practices. The foundation is being laid for the world religion headquartered in Rome.


Well-Known Member
------------------------------- A WOMAN --------------------------------

There is no one, 0 most holy Mary... who can be saved or redeemed but through thee.... -St. Germanus

As we have access to the Eternal Father only through Jesus Christ, so have we access to Jesus Christ only through Mary. By thee we have access to the Son, 0 blessed finder of grace, bearer of life, and mother of salvation.... -St. Bernard

In thy hands I place my eternal salvation, and to thee do I entrust my soul.... For, if thou protect me, dear Mother, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; nor even from Jesus, my Judge himself, because by one prayer from thee, he will be appeased. But one thing I fear; that, in the hour of temptation, I may neglect to call on thee, and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me, then, the pardon of my sins.... -One of many prayers in the popular booklet Devotions in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help

"And it was told him [Jesus]. .. Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the Word of God and do it." -Luke 8:20, 21

"And it came to pass [that] ... a certain woman... said unto him [Jesus], Blessed is the womb that bare thee.... But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it." -Luke 11:27, 28

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------

What About Mary?

We have identified the woman astride the beast as Vatican City and the false World Church which will eventually be headquartered there
. But why a woman on the beast and not a man? Why is this false World Church seen as a woman? Again this criterion, like all of the others in Revelation 17, fits the Vatican perfectly. The most prominent figure by far in Roman Catholicism is a woman. She overshadows all else, including even God Himself. More prayers are offered to the Catholic Mary and more attention and honor is given to her than to Christ and God combined. There are thousands of shrines to Mary around the world (and hundreds of shrines to other "saints"), but scarcely more than a handful of minor shrines to Christ himself.

Some Catholic leaders even boast that in this day of burgeoning "goddess consciousness" and "women's liberation" the Catholic Church is right in tune with the times: A woman holds the position of highest honor and power. In Catholicism it is a woman through whom all graces, gifts, blessings, and power flow-a woman, who, as we shall see, has the amazing potential to unite the entire world, including even the Muslims, in one religion. This "perpetual Virgin," however, is a fiction that bears no relationship to the real Mary of the Bible, a woman who was not only Christ's mother but also Joseph's loving wife.

Mary "Ever Virgin"?

The Bible teaches that Mary was a virgin until the time that Jesus was born. Subsequently she had a number of other children by Joseph, her husband
. This fact is clearly expressed by the statement that Jesus was her "firstborn son" and that Joseph "knew her not until" Christ was born (Matthew 1:25). There are repeated references to Jesus' brothers and sisters, some of whom are even mentioned by name. The people who knew Jesus where He grew up in Nazareth "were astonished and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom and these mighty works?" They went on to argue:

"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren James and Joses and Simon and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?" (Matthew 13:55,56; cf. Mark 6:3).

Catholic apologists such as Karl Keating insist that these brothers and sisters were really Christ's cousins and that Matthew and Mark had to use the word for brother/sister because neither Hebrew nor Aramaic had a word for "cousin." There is no basis for such an unbiblical supposition. Furthermore, Matthew and Mark were written in Greek. Keating insists that although there was a word for cousins (anepsios) in the Greek, it was common for Jews writing in Greek to continue the Hebrew practice of referring to all relatives as brothers/sisters (adelphos). He cites examples from the Septuagint, but none from the New Testament, because there are none. In fact, anepsios is used in Colossians 4:10 to refer to the cousin of Barnabas. Moreover, the brethren of Jesus are usually mentioned as being in the company of Mary, indicating that they were her children in her care or, if grown, traveling with her as part of the immediate family.

The Catholic argument goes on to insist that for Christ to be born of a womb that would later conceive and give birth to other children would somehow contaminate Him. That argument, again, is not only without biblical basis but takes away from Christ's very humility in becoming a man. Peter de Rosa, as a Catholic, gives some interesting insights into why Rome can't allow Mary to have sexual intercourse even after giving birth to Christ:

"[W]e noted that priests, especially popes, have developed a cult of the Virgin Mary. For celibates, the ideal woman is an asexual being who gave birth to a child. Mary had a baby without sexual intercourse; that is perfection."

If Mary had taken a vow of virginity, however, and that was what she meant by her response to Gabriel, then (as Martin Luther pointed out) by allowing Joseph to marry her she would have committed treachery and poured contempt upon the holy covenant of marriage. Even the Catholic Church doesn't allow a wife to take a vow of continence at her own pleasure, and the Bible is against it, declaring that the marriage bed is God's will for married couples (Genesis 1:28; 2:21-24; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5) and that it is honorable in all (Hebrews 13:4).

Clearly Mary's words to Gabriel "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34) refer only to her condition at that time. This was not a declaration that she had taken a vow of celibacy. If she had, she would not have been engaged to Joseph (verse 27). And if her perpetual virginity isn't true, neither are the other fantasies about Mary which Catholicism has invented (her immaculate conception, bodily assumption to heaven, etc.).

Mary, "Mother of God"

The most authoritative book written on Catholicism's "Virgin Mary" is by Cardinal and Saint Alphonsus de Liguori. Titled The Glories of Mary, it is a virtual compendium of what the great "saints" of the Roman Catholic Church have had to say about Mary down through the centuries. The chapter headings are staggering, crediting Mary with attributes, abilities, titles, and functions that belong to Christ alone: "Mary, Our Life, Our Sweetness"; "Mary, Our Hope"; "Mary, Our Help"; "Mary, Our Advocate"; "Mary, Our Guardian"; "Mary, Our Salvation." Here is a sampling of Liguori's quotes of what the saints have said concerning Mary's role in salvation:

"Sinners receive pardon by ... Mary alone. He falls and is lost who has not recourse to Mary. Mary is called ...the gate of Heaven because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through her. The way of salvation is open to none otherwise than through Mary ... the salvation of all depends on their being favored and protected by Mary. He who is protected by Mary will be saved; he who is not will be lost ... our salvation depends on thee.... God will not save us without the intercession of Mary.... who would receive any grace were it not for thee, 0 Mother of God...?"

"Mother of God"? Yes, Jesus is God and Mary is His mother, but she is not the mother of Him as God, which He was and is from all eternity before Mary was even born. She is the mother of the physical body which the Son of God took when He became man, but she is not the Mother of God! The Scripture explains Mary's role:

"Wherefore when he [Jesus] cometh into the world, he saith... a body hast thou prepared me" (Hebrews 10:5).

The incredibly unbiblical position to which Mary has been exalted by Roman Catholic tradition continues to be evidenced in the prayers offered to her. Those quoted at the beginning of this chapter are but a few of literally thousands which show that this false Mary is the very heart and life of Roman Catholicism. Yet Catholic apologists, sensitive of criticism in this regard, deny that Catholics pray to Mary. Peter Kreeft, for example, deceitfully writes, "Catholics [don't pray to saints, they] only ask saints to pray for them just as we ask the living to pray for us."

On the contrary, the most numerous and popular prayers in Catholicism are to the saints and especially to Mary, not to God or to Christ. Moreover, these prayers ask Mary to do for Catholics and for the entire world what she would literally have to be God (and, for some things, Christ) to be able to accomplish. At the close of the Sunday Mass in Denver in August 1993, John Paul II consigned all youth and the entire world to Mary's protection and guidance:

"Mary of the New Advent, we implore your protection on the preparations that will now begin for the next meeting (World Youth Day]. Mary, full of grace, we entrust the next World Youth Day to you. Mary, assumed into heaven, we entrust the young people of the world ... the whole world to you!"

Catholics only ask Mary to pray for them? If one asks prayer of a friend one doesn't say, "I implore your protection and entrust the whole world to you"! Yet such requests that only God could fulfill are typical of Catholic petitions of Mary, who is exalted to omnipotence and credited with caring for all who trust in her.

"Mary, Queen of Heaven"

Time magazine comments that "according to modern Popes" Mary is "the Queen of the Universe, Queen of Heaven, Seat of Wisdom. ..." In the pope's September 1993 speech in Lithuania, he spoke of Mary as "Mother of the Church, Queen of the Apostles [and] dwelling place of the Trinity"! He told "priests and aspirants to the priestly life, men and women Religious" to "look to Mary ... who is venerated here ... in the shrines of Ausros Vartai and Siluva, to which I will go on pilgrimage! ... To Mary I entrust all of you. .. !" Such blasphemy is repeated in the most recited Catholic prayer, the Rosary. It concludes with this final petition:

"Hail, holy Queen [of heaven], Mother of Mercy! our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping, in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary."

Mary is our life and our hope? According to Scripture, Christ is our life (Colossians 3:4)! Why Mary is the Catholic's hope was explained by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, whom Billy Graham admiringly called "the greatest communicator of the twentieth century":

"When I was ordained, I took a resolution to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist every Saturday to the Blessed Mother.... All this makes me very certain that when I go before the Judgment Seat of Christ, He will say to me in His Mercy: "I heard My Mother speak of you." During my life I have made about thirty pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and about ten to her shrine in Fatima."

What a pitiful expression of hope for eternity - that Mary will put in a good word for him because of his devotion to her! What happened to his faith in the Christ who died for his sins? In Catholicism, Christ and His sacrifice for our sins upon the cross are not enough. To be saved, one must have Mary's favor, for she decides who will be in heaven, as the many quotes above demonstrate.

Do Mary's "eyes of mercy" actually see everyone in the world? Is she really the "Mother of Mercy"? Didn't God's mercy exist long before Mary was even born? We read of the "God of mercy" (Psalm 59:17) and are encouraged to "trust in the mercy of God" (Psalm 52:8; Luke 1:78; etc.) but never a word is said in the entire Bible about Mary's mercy toward mankind.

Those who know God's mercy have no need of Mary's mercy. In fact, she would have to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent (qualities of God alone) in order to extend mercy to all mankind. Paul and John both refer to "grace, mercy, and peace" coming from God to believers (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; 2 John 1:3), but nowhere is there a hint that mercy is bestowed by Mary on Christians. Yet the Rosary makes it seem that we depend upon her mercy rather than upon God's. Is it really her doing that brings believers into the presence of Christ? According to the Rosary, one would think so.

Mary is the "Queen of Heaven"? We are told in Scripture that Christ is the king, but never that there is a queen of heaven, much less that she is Mary. If there were a queen who shares Christ's throne it would be His bride, the church composed of the redeemed, yet the church is never referred to as the queen of heaven. The only "queen of heaven" mentioned in Scripture is an idol which was worshiped by the pagans and to which the Jewish women gave offerings, bringing the wrath of God upon them:

"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.... Because ye have burned incense [to the queen of heaven] and because ye have sinned against the Lord ... therefore this evil is happened unto you" (Jeremiah 7:18; 44:15).

Far from being embarrassed by such pagan connections, Rome flaunts them. Many Catholics boast that Mary has taken the place of "Maia, the nymph of Greek mythology, who was the mother of Hermes by Zeus, the sky god." The month of May was named after Maia, who was known as "the queen of May ... [and] the Jesuit effort to turn the Queen of May into the Virgin Mary was successful...."

The Multiple Marys

There are many Marys in Catholicism, "Our Lady" of this and "Our Lady" of that. Wherever "Mary" appears in various forms, that particular "Mary" develops a following. Most Catholics have their favorite "Mary." Some prefer "Our Lady of Medjugorje," others "Our Lady of Guadalupe" or "Our Lady of Lourdes." Pope John Paul II has two favorite "Marys": the "black Virgin" of Jasna Gora, the patron saint and protectress of Poland, and "Our Lady of Fatima." The latter allegedly appeared to him during his convalescence from the attempted murder (which took place on the anniversary of her supposed first appearance in Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917). She had saved his life, she said, for a purpose and would give the world a sign that would cause it to bow to his supreme spiritual authority. Time reported:

"Devotion to Mary was ingrained in the Pope in his Polish homeland, where over the centuries the [black] Madonna has been hailed for turning back troops of the Muslim Turks, Swedish Lutherans and, in 1920, Soviet Bolsheviks.... John Paul [II has] made Mary's unifying power a centerpiece of his papal arsenal. He has visited countless Marian shrines during his globetrotting and invokes the Madonna's aid in nearly every discourse and prayer that he delivers."

The "Mary of the New Advent" to whom the pope referred in Denver is particularly associated with World Youth Day, which John Paul II has been promoting for some years. She was displayed at the all-night prayer vigil of pilgrims who walked to Cherry Creek Park (near Denver) to meet the pope, who came in by helicopter. A journalist who was present writes:

"It is well past 9 P.M. when the icon, the official one of World Youth Day, is presented. This part of the vigil is referred to as "Veneration [worship] of the image of the Virgin Mary: Our Lady of the New Advent" [which] the pilgrims now view for the first time... a painting of Mary with the child Jesus still in her womb....

The Lady of the New Advent is the most vulgar icon we have seen.... As the Colorado Chorus and the Youth Chorale sing the "Taize Magnificat," ten youngsters from Denver lift the icon of Our Lady of the New Advent and carry it around the aisles of the magnetometered area near the three-part stage. The crowd responds lavishly to it. Flashbulbs go off.... [Flower] petals are strewn around the icon..."

The next day, Sunday, the pope returned in his helicopter. The pilgrims, shivering from the chill (having tried to sleep through the night on the ground), greeted him again with renewed excitement. There he celebrated Mass and 3000 priests took several hours to minister the wafers to the crowd of 375,000. Addressing Mary in heaven personally at times during his talk, the pope began:

"With my heart full of praise for the Queen of Heaven, the sign of hope and source of comfort on our pilgrimage of faith to the heavenly Jerusalem, I greet all of you who are present at this solemn liturgy.... This liturgy presents you, Mary, as the woman clothed with the sun.... 0 woman clothed with the sun ... the youth of the world greet you with so much love.... In Mary the final victory of life over death is already a reality.... O Mary ... as Mother of the Church, you guide us still from your place in heaven and ... help us to increase in holiness by conquering sin."

The Cult and Worship of Mary

As early as 1854 Pius IX had sent up a papal infallibility trial balloon. It was well-received by the Church because it involved the ever popular "Virgin Mary." On his own initiative-by his own authority and standing alone without any Council or the magisterium supporting him-Pius IX pronounced as a dogma that all Catholics must accept the Immaculate Conception of Mary: that she was "in the first instant of her conception ... preserved free from all stain of original sin...." It was, in effect, a declaration of his own infallibility-that he did not need the support of the bishops or a Council but could define such binding dogmas on his own.

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII made an allegedly infallible ex cathedra declaration in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus that "the immaculate Mother of God and ever Virgin Mary was at the end of her life assumed into heaven body and soul." In the Constitution the pope claimed that the dogma of the assumption had been unanimously believed in the Church from the very beginning and that it was fully supported by Scripture. In fact, the dogma was unknown to the early church and is unsupported by Scripture. Such papal declarations simply responded to the popular sentiment of Catholics and contributed to the growing cult of Mary.

The cult of Mary developed gradually as the apostasy gathered momentum.
Commenting upon the adoration of Mary that took place during the pope's 1993 visit to Denver, a writer reminds us: "The Encyclopedia Britannica says that during the first centuries of the church there was no emphasis of Mary whatsoever. The Catholic Encyclopedia concurs: "... there is no ground for surprise if we do not meet with any clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin in the first Christian centuries."' Von Dollinger explains:

"Neither the New Testament nor the Patristic writings tell us anything about the destiny of the Holy Virgin after the death of Christ. Two apocryphal works of the fourth or fifth century one ascribed to St. John, the other to Melito, Bishop of Sardis-are the earliest. .. [suggestions] about her bodily assumption."

The Roman Catholic Church denies that Mary is worshiped. She is supposedly only given hyperdulia, the other saints dulia, while Christ is given latria. But consider this prayer which is popular among Catholics: "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul." Why not only to Jesus? Why to anyone else? Only God demands-and surely only He deserves-one's "heart and soul." How can one give one's heart and soul to someone without worshiping that person? Can anyone in the same breath give latria to Jesus, hyperdulia to Mary, and dulia to Joseph?

Among devout Catholics, those who have dedicated themselves to serve Mary are legion. Typical is the Legion of Mary, which "began in Ireland on Sept. 7, 1921 ... and is now in every country on the face of the earth. Mary's troops are everywhere!" The Legion has enjoyed the "commendation of five popes" since its inception. Pope Paul VI said, "The Legion of Mary is an army of those devoted and stalwart clients of Mary who are combatting the forces of evil in the world today." It is an undeniable fact that devotion to Mary among Catholics far exceeds devotion to God or Christ.

The Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent Mary

Soul Magazine, "Official publication of The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima in the U.S. and Canada" (22 million strong) declares: "Mary is so perfectly united with the Holy Spirit that He acts only through [her] His spouse.... all our life, every thought, word, and deed is in Her hands ... at every moment, She Herself must instruct, guide, and transform each one of us into Herself, so that not we but She lives in us, as Jesus lives in Her, and the Father in the Son." Every thought, word, and deed of all mankind is in Mary's hands? She instructs, guides, and transforms each one of us into Herself? Then Mary is God!

Never does the Bible say that the Holy Spirit only acts through Mary!
The Holy Spirit has been in action from eternity past, an eternity before Mary even was born. All our life is in God's hands, not Mary's. We are instructed and guided by God, not by Mary. And we are being transformed into the image of Christ, not the image of Mary. Nor does the Bible ever hint that Mary lives in the believers, while it assures us that Christ lives in us by His Spirit. To suggest that such promises are fulfilled in Mary is blasphemy of the vilest sort, which the real Mary would rebuke!

The Bible says repeatedly that Christ lives in the Christian
(John 14:20; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 4:19) and the Christian in Christ (Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; etc.) but says never a word about anyone either being in Mary or Mary in anyone. For that to be true of Mary, as it is of God and Christ, she would have to be omnipresent like God. Amazingly, whatever the Bible promises God will do for us through Christ requires, in Catholicism, the intercession and intervention of Mary as an additional intermediary. What an abomination!

Consider "the Holy Father's [pope's] Prayer for the Marian Year." The pope asks Mary to comfort, guide, strengthen, and protect "the whole of humanity." To do so she would have to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere at once. Even worse, his prayer ends: "Sustain us, 0 Virgin Mary, on our journey of faith and obtain for us the grace of eternal salvation.” This is blasphemy! Yet it is commonly declared that "Mary is the refuge of sinners ... the Gate of Heaven ... our way to enter into paradise."

Christ paid the debt for our sins and with His blood purchased our salvation, which is offered freely by God's grace to all who will receive it. There is no mention whatsoever of Mary in the gospel which Paul and the early church preached. To suggest that Mary must or even can in any way "obtain for us the grace of eternal salvation" is a denial of the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice upon the cross for our sins and a rejection of the grace and love of God and Christ. Catholics try to explain it away, but the fact is that Catholicism's "Mary" is exalted above Christ and God.

Maryology and Maryolotry

There are conservative Catholics who consider Pope John Paul II to be the betrayer of their Church because of his acceptance of other religions. Yet they are united with him in his devotion to Mary. The powerful expose of the pope's ecumenism titled Peter, Lovest Thou Me? is dedicated "to the Immaculate Heart of the Most Holy Virgin Mary."

For Mary's heart to be immaculate she must have been sinless. Yet the Bible unequivocally declares, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Mary herself rejoiced in God as her Savior (Luke 1:47), and only sinners need a Savior. Christ clearly said, "There is none good but one, that is God" (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18). No exception is made for Mary.

If the accusation were made that Mary is their chief deity, almost every Catholic would deny it vehemently. This is, however, the way it works out in practice. It is said that when Mary commands even God obeys. What began as Maryology gradually became Maryolatry as the thousands of prayers to Mary, which attribute to her everything from salvation to omnipotence, testify. A popular tract, "The Rosary, Your Key to Heaven," declares:

"The Rosary is a means of salvation, because a true child of Mary is never lost and one who says the Rosary daily is truly Mary's child.... Mary is our all-powerful Advocate and she can obtain from the Heart of her Divine Son whatever is good for her children.... No one is beyond redemption if he but turns to Mary Immaculate."

The fact that Christ died for our sins and offers eternal life as a free gift of His grace means nothing without Mary. Though the Bible never even hints at such a thing, and though Paul never preached it or told it to anyone, yet for the Catholic,

Mary has become the essential conduit through which salvation and all grace flows. Jesus and God the Father play an important role too, but it is Mary who brings everything together and dispenses all God's gifts to those who through devotion to her become "her children."

This blasphemous dogma is taught without any biblical basis whatsoever
. Nowhere does the Bible suggest that anyone becomes a "child of Mary." According to the biblical gospel we become "the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26). Yet in Catholicism one becomes a "child of Mary" with the promise that "no true child of Mary will ever perish." Again she has usurped the place of Christ.

Yes, Catholicism acknowledges that Christ is the one Mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), but Mary is the mediatrix between mankind and Christ, "the short road to Jesus." "Jesus is. .. the Reservoir of all graces, and Mary is the Conduit whereby they are brought to us.... [Jesus] desires that His own Mother be our immediate Advocate ... to Whom we entrust our wants, and She shall present them to Jesus ..............Thus prayers to God, though in Christ's name and through Him, require Mary's intervention. Indeed, "all graces" come by means of Mary's "powerful intercession":

"O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in our Most Holy Mother, whom we invoke under the title of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and grant us by her most powerful intercession all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

The Bible is very clear that we come to the Father through Jesus Christ (John 15:16; 16:23). Never is there the slightest suggestion that we must come to Christ through Mary, much less that Mary herself is to be petitioned and answers prayer on her own initiative and in her own power. Yet Mary's function as an intermediary to Christ and her powerful intervention on behalf of and protection of those who call upon her is both taught in Catholicism and testified to by Catholics.

A convict in prison who converted to Catholicism testified in Keating's This Rock magazine to the transformation in his own life and what "the Holy Spirit" did for other convicts who were also "converted." There is little about Christ (other than making the "sign of the cross"), but much about the Church and "Catholic community" and, of course, Mary. The article stresses the "spiritual fruits" of the prison ministry, demonstrated by the converted convicts all participating in an act of "total consecration"-not to Christ or God, however, but "to the Immaculate heart of Mary":

"I knew it was Mother who had called them [the converts] to her heart.... I realized we could work things out so that the consecration could be made as a group in public when Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb was scheduled to be here for confirmation.

The only time we could all get together for our group preparation was at 6:30 in the morning on the recreation yard, so that's what we did for 33 consecutive days. Murderers, rapists, burglars, drug dealers, and arsonists; these men sacrificed daily to meet for the Mother of God. Each day they withstood cold, wind, rain, and ridicule to prepare their hearts and souls for a total consecration to the Mother of the Perfect Prisoner.

The big day came. Just before the apostolic blessing at the close of Mass, Archbishop Lipscomb allowed the public consecration. We filed past a borrowed statue of our Lady, each man stopping to bow in her honor, and lined up before the altar and then knelt. Since I led the consecration prayers, I couldn't see what was going on around me. I was told later that the Archbishop and the priests who accompanied him appeared to be fighting emotion during the ceremony. After all, before them knelt thirteen hardened criminals, converts all, who had become innocent little children at the feet of their Mother (emphasis added)."

Mary Crushes the Serpent's Head

Genesis 3:15 provides the first promise of the Messiah. God is speaking to the serpent (Satan): "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it [the seed of the woman, i.e., the virgin-born Messiah] shall bruise thy [the serpent's] head, and thou [Satan] shalt bruise his [the Messiah's] heel. Yet Catholic translations of Genesis 3:15 for years have said that "she [the woman] shall bruise thy head."

"The Rosary, Your Key to Heaven," cited above, says that Mary "will crush the serpent's head ... all are in need of her help to get to Heaven." This abominable usurpation by the fictitious Catholic Mary of Christ's place as victor over sin and Satan persists as one of Catholicism's major perversions of truth. In Pius IX's 1849 encyclical, Ubi primum, he declared that Mary's "foot has crushed the head of Satan" and that it was Mary herself who "always has delivered the Christian people from their greatest calamities and the snares and assaults of all their enemies, ever rescuing them from ruin." Again, she would have to be God to do so.

On November 27, 1830, Mary allegedly appeared in Paris to Catherine Laboure with her heel on the serpent's head and ordered that a "medal" be cast with this depiction of her victory over Satan. "Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal" became extremely popular. This medal is still worn around the necks of millions of Catholics for protection, many of whom swear that miracles have occurred for them as a result of wearing this amulet.

"Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal" is only one of literally thousands of alleged appearances of the Catholic "Virgin Mary" around the world and down through the centuries. Such apparitions have been multiplying and their frequency accelerating in recent years. Some are not recognized by the Church as legitimate, but many are; and all, whether officially acknowledged or not, affect millions of Roman Catholics who look to them as evidence that the Catholic Mary is indeed the hope of the world.

It is a Woman whom John saw astride the beast. Does that fact include intimations of the strategic role that Rome's fraudulent Mary will play in the preparation of the world for antichrist? We must consider that possibility carefully.


It is incredible to which lengths Rome/Babylon has gone to discredit Christ and to lift up the Babylonian pagan diety 'the Queen of Heaven" and to have all of the followers of the papist system to worship her. Their version of "Mary" supercedes all that Christ has done for us. Rome has "Christianized" a pagan system of worship and have demanded all of it's adherents to fall in line behind their call to idolatry. The religion should be renamed to Roman-Babylonian Idolators, since there are no shortages of the objects that they worship: "Mary", a consecrated wafer, statues, relics, the popes and prelates, Marian apparition sites - just about everything but God. The devil has many deceived in this religion, sadly.


Well-Known Member
------------------------------- A WOMAN --------------------------------

" An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment for sin the guilt of which is already, forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful obtains under certain and definite conditions with the help of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies authoritatively the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.

An indulgence is partial or plenary in as far as it frees from the temporal punishment due to sin either partly or totally.

The faithful can gain partial or plenary indulgences for themselves or apply them for the dead by way of suffrage.
" -The Code of Canon Law

"For God's only-begotten Son ... has won a treasure for the militant Church ... he has entrusted it to blessed Peter, the key-bearer of heaven, and to his successors who are Christ’s vicars on earth, so that they may distribute it to the faithful for their salvation....

The "treasury of the Church" ... is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ's merits have before God.... This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints [who] ... attained [by such good works] their own salvation and at the same time co-operated in saving their brothers
...." -Vatican II

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------


Can Bible-believing Christians really accept such an obviously false gospel and join with those who preach it in evangelizing the world? Can evangelicals, in good conscience, direct inquiring souls to a Church which preaches purgatory and indulgences, and agree that its members are Christians and not to be evangelized? A Church which claims to control the gate to heaven and opens it to those who put themselves in her hands?

In fact, she glories in her claim to be "the minister of redemption" (Canon 992 says the same). Rome unashamedly admits that the salvation she offers must be received in partial installments and that its efficacy is derived not only from "Christ's merits" but from the surplus "good works of all the saints" beyond what they needed to "attain their own salvation."

How astonishing that evangelical leaders could credit Roman Catholicism with being Christian and propose to evangelize the world as her partner in the gospel! We can only assume that they are ignorant of her true teachings and have been deceived by the many misrepresentations emanating from Catholic apologists. How else could those who otherwise seem to be stalwarts of the faith say that evangelicals and Catholics are in agreement on the fundamentals of the gospel?

Vatican II goes on to say, "To gain indulgences the work prescribed must be done." Here is further proof, if it were needed, that Rome preaches, promises, and practices salvation by works. And yet, oddly enough, the person himself doesn't have to do the good works. The good works of others may be credited to one's account in Rome's contrived ledger, which, when balanced out by its specious reckoning, opens the gate to heaven.

The Origin and Development of the Doctrine of Indulgences

The very concept of indulgences comes from paganism: the idea that the infliction of pain, the recitation of formulas, or the pilgrimages to shrines and sacrifices to the gods are meritorious and influence the gods in one's favor. The idea that saying so many Hail Marys or kissing a crucifix and repeating a formula could reduce purgatorial suffering which Christ's sacrifice on the cross could not reduce is bad enough, but the teaching that an indulgence may be applied to the dead carries the blasphemous absurdity a quantum leap further. The idea that "time off for good behavior" could be credited to someone in purgatory who has not done the necessary "work prescribed" betrays again the fraud of Romanism. Anything is possible for a financial offering.

The gospel of indulgences is one of Rome's most blatantly unbiblical and illogical doctrines coming out of the Middle Ages, and it is still in force today. The pagan concept of indulgences gradually became defined as part of Roman Catholicism over the years and eventually became the papacy's greatest moneymaking scheme. Theoretically it should take only one Mass to release every soul from purgatory; Mary, whose power is infinite, could do it in a moment; and the popes, whose power is also unlimited, could empty purgatory with the stroke of a pen by simply devising an indulgence to do so. Why not, then? Do they have no love for souls? The answer is obvious. Von Dollinger writes:

"[Augostino] Trionfo, commissioned by John XXII to expound the rights of the Pope, showed that, as the dispenser of the merits of Christ, he could empty Purgatory at one stroke, by his Indulgences, of all the souls detained there, on the sole condition that somebody fulfilled the rules laid down for gaining those indulgences.

He advised the Pope, however, not to do this ... [though] the Pope's power is so immeasurably great, that no Pope can ever know the full extent of it."

To empty purgatory would stop the inflow of offerings for more Masses and endless graces and favors. Instead, the requirements for getting out of purgatory were made ever more complex, necessitating ever greater services from the Church. The doctrine of indulgences was at last declared an official Church dogma by Pope Clement VI in 1343. Clement reasoned that "one drop of Christ's blood would have sufficed for the redemption of the whole human race." The remainder of that blood shed on the cross, its virtue "increased by the merits of the Blessed Virgin and the supererogatory works of the saints" (above and beyond the good works needed for their own salvation), constitutes the "treasury" referred to above. By papal bull in 1476, Pope Sixtus IV "extended this privilege to souls in purgatory [reducing their time of suffering there], provided that their living relatives purchased indulgences for them."

Out of this "treasury of the Church" salvation/redemption is dispensed a bit at a time by the Catholic clergy through the seven sacraments. There is no way to know how much credit is granted for each deed, ritual, or indulgence, or how long this process must continue. Never is sufficient grace given to assure one of heaven. Always more Rosaries must be said, more Masses performed, more offerings given in order to obtain more grace from the Church. Peter, whom Catholics say was the first pope, warned of such "false teachers" who would "bring in damnable heresies ... and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you" (2 Peter 2:1,3). Merchandise indeed! No gold mine could compare.

In Catholicism, one never passes "from death to life" as Christ promised (John 5:24) but is always in the process of earning salvation with the Church's help and with the expectancy of finishing the "purging" process in purgatory. In fact, excommunication is the penalty for a Catholic to say he is saved and knows that he has eternal life through faith in Christ's finished work. The very heart of the gospel that evangelicals affirm is denied by Catholicism in its official catechisms, canons, decrees, and dogmas, and those who dare to affirm the biblical gospel are anathematized.

Meriting Grace

There is almost no limit to the ingenious "means of grace" which popes and their assistants have imaginatively invented. One of the most popular ways to merit grace (a contradiction of terms) is through wearing the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (to which we have earlier referred). The " `Sabbatine' [Saturday] Privilege is based on a bull allegedly issued March 3, 1322, by Pope John XXII ... [declaring] that those who wear the Scapular and fulfill two other conditions ... will be freed from Purgatory [by the Virgin Mary] on the first Saturday after death."

In spite of the heresies and evil of Pope John XXII, many other popes (Alexander V, Clement VII, Pius V, Gregory XIII, etc.)7 have confirmed his teaching about the brown scapular, which in itself is so obviously contrary to Scripture. Pope Pius X declared, "I wear the cloth; let us never take it off." Pope Pius XI "joyfully professed: `I learned to love the Scapular Virgin in the arms of my mother...."' Pope Paul V affirmed that "the Blessed Virgin will aid the souls of the Brothers and Sisters of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel after their death. . . ." Pope Benedict XV offered a "partial indulgence for kissing the Scapular." And in 1950 "Pope Pius XII wrote the now-famous words concerning the Scapular: `Let it be your sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which we are particularly urging in these perilous times.'"

We have already noted the fatal contradiction that indulgences are designed to shorten suffering in purgatory; yet that very suffering is supposed to be essential in order to be purged for entrance into heaven. It makes no sense. Moreover, one can only wonder how and why an indulgence obtained by means of adoring a crucifix or having a Mass said is even more potent than Christ's actual death on the cross and how such representations of Calvary can accomplish what Christ's death could not. Again it makes no sense, but the Catholic has been taught not to reason why but simply to accept what the Church says.

Vatican II has a large section containing 20 complex provisions revising previous rules concerning when and how an indulgence may be obtained. One is reminded of Christ's denunciation of the rabbis in Matthew 23 for devising a labyrinth of rules that kept the people dependent upon their spiritual guidance. Rome has done the same. It would take a lawyer specializing in the Church's Canon Law to unravel the intricacies of how and when to maximize the various offers of "grace." The following is illustrative:

"The faithful who use with devotion an object of piety (crucifix, cross, rosary, scapular or medal) after it has been duly blessed by any priest can gain a partial indulgence. [ what the Bible calls idolatry ] But if this object of piety is blessed by the Pope or any bishop, the faithful who use it with devotion can also gain a plenary [full] indulgence on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, provided they also make a profession of faith using any approved formula. .. .

The way [partial indulgences] have been determined hitherto, by days and years, is abolished. Instead, a new standard for measuring them has been laid down. From now on a partial indulgence will be indicated only with the words "partial indulgence" without any determination of days or years."

If Rome was wrong in its rules concerning indulgences in the past, how can anyone be certain that she is correct now? And what of those who relied upon the previous rules? Of course, knocking off so many days or years in the past didn't really mean anything because the Church could never say in the first place how much time had to be spent in purgatory. Nor does an indulgence under the new rules have any understandable significance today. And what kind of "God" would bend His justice for such contrivances, measuring out "grace" depending upon whether the deed was done on a certain "feast" day and whether a priest or bishop had "blessed" the supposedly sacred object!

The major means of acquiring an indulgence of unknown benefit is, of course, through the Mass. Canon 904 states: "Remembering that the work of redemption is continually accomplished in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, priests are to celebrate frequently...." As we have already noted, instead of being a memorial to an accomplished redemption, each Mass takes another tiny step toward full redemption. No one knows how tiny that step is, but it must be miniscule indeed judging by the millions of Masses that continue to be celebrated with uncertain results.

Salvation for Sale

It was the sale of indulgences more than anything else that roused Luther's ire to such an extent that he nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg castle chapel and sparked the Reformation. As we have seen, salvation was sold in many other ways beside indulgences, and still is to this day. Though the fee is today called an "offering," in fact money changes hands, with the promise of salvation as the incentive for the "gift." Historian Will Durant's comments are of interest:

"Almost as mercenary as the sale of indulgences was the acceptance or solicitation, by the clergy, of money payments, grants, legacies, for the saying of Masses supposed to reduce a dead soul's term of punishment in purgatory. Large sums were devoted to this purpose by pious people, either to relieve a departed relative or friend, or to shorten or annul their own purgatorial probation after death. The poor complained that through their inability to pay for Masses and indulgences it was the earthly rich, not the meek, who would inherit the kingdom of heaven; and Columbus ruefully praised money because, he said, "he who possesses it has the power of transporting souls into paradise."

What fraud, as though God could be bought off for money! In Spain the annual papal Bull of the Crusade had to be purchased by everyone of seven years and older at least once each year. No one could be buried without the current Bull in the coffin. Upon purchase of the Bull, the pope immediately granted indulgences and absolution from all sins except heresy and the vow of chastity. A Catholic observer in eighteenth-century Spain, with reference to this Bull, made this damning comment:

"Let us say that we may suspect that this Bull sends more people into hell than it can save from it; for it is the greatest encouragement to sin in the world. A man says, I may satisfy my lusts and passions, I may commit all wickedness and yet I am sure to be pardoned of all by the taking of this Bull for two reals of plate [silver]. By the same rule their consciences cannot be under any remorse nor trouble; for if a man commits a great sin, he goes to confess, he gets absolution, he has by him this Bull, or permission to sin, and his conscience is at perfect ease, insomuch that after he gets absolution he may go and commit new sins, and go again for absolution."

Well-known Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft claims that "the Church soon cleaned up its act and forbade [shortly after Martin Luther's defection] the sale of indulgences...." Charles Colson erroneously claims the same. Of course, that simply isn't true. But even if it were, one cannot dispense so easily with the gross deceit that milked the faithful of their money and robbed them of salvation in the process. The sale of salvation had deceived millions for centuries by the time of the Reformation. Were there any refunds given by the Church? Of course not. Any remedy for those who had passed into eternity thinking they had bought their salvation? No. Tragically, the fraud continues to this day.

Kreeft, like other Catholic apologists, omits the fact that the false and evil doctrine of indulgences remains an integral part of present Catholicism, and that money is still given to secure salvation. As we have earlier noted, Vatican II declares: "The Church .. commands that the usage of indulgences ... should be kept ... and it condemns with anathema those who say that indulgences are useless or that the Church does not have the power to grant them…[for] the task of winning salvation."

It is no good to plead that the abominations of the past are no longer practiced by Rome. Of course they are, and quite openly, especially in Roman Catholic countries, though less so in the United States. Yet even here, salvation (in baby steps toward heaven, of course) may be purchased by offerings to the Church. One friend of the author whose father died recently in the United States said that more than 2000 dollars was expended for Mass cards at his father's funeral, which would allow for a number of Masses to be said on his behalf to help get him out of purgatory.

Rome has given her people a gospel of despair. Multitudes of Catholics live in dread of committing a mortal sin, of failing to reveal all in confession, of falling short of the rules and regulations their Church has set for salvation. As a consequence, they are completely at the mercy of the Church, looking to it for salvation rather than resting in God's rich grace and in Christ's finished work at Calvary.


What a complete fraud the Roman Catholic religion is! I feel really sorry for those who are adamant that they belong to Christ's "One True Chruch" and are on the correct path to gain entry into Heaven but instead are being massively deceived by the enemy!!


Well-Known Member
------------------------------- A WOMAN --------------------------------

The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death.

Otherwise, the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments.... The punishments with which we are concerned here are imposed by God's judgment, which is just and merciful. The reasons for their imposition are that our souls need to be purified, the holiness of the moral order needs to be strengthened and God's glory must be restored to its full majesty. -Vatican II

If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema. -The Council of Trent

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------


As the quotations above indicate, Catholicism teaches that while Christ's death made it possible for sins to be forgiven, the pardoned sinner must himself suffer some undefined pain or torment of unknown intensity and duration in order to be purged and thereby made fit for heaven. While Catholicism says it is theoretically possible to be cleansed through the sufferings of this life and one's death, no one, not even the pope himself, can know whether that has occurred. Consequently, almost all Catholics expect to spend some unknown length of time in purgatory. Failure to accept the doctrine of purgatory brings automatic excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.

Both Trent and Vatican II speak of those who, even though Christ suffered for their sins, "must still make expiation [for their sins] in the fire of purgatory." Here is Vatican II's further explanation of this doctrine:

"The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed....

n purgatory the souls of those who died in the charity of God and truly repentant but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions are cleansed after death with punishments designed to purge away their debt."

What is adequate penance? No one knows. The Church has never defined it. Where does the Bible say that punishment purges from sin? It doesn't.

The Impossible Doctrine

The doctrine of purgatory does violence to both logic and Scripture. Romans 6:23 says, "The wages of sin is death [i.e., eternal separation from God]" not a limited time in purgatory. We would be lost forever apart from Christ's sacrifice for our sins. Nor is sin of such a makeup or quality that suffering of any kind can purge it from the heart and soul. Sin is part of mankind's very nature. Suffering may indeed alter one's attitude temporarily, but once the pain has passed, the old tendencies return because the heart has not been changed. It takes a miracle of God to purge the soul of sin - a miracle which must both leave intact man's power of choice and satisfy the demands of God's infinite justice.

The Bible declares unequivocally that there is only one way for the soul to be cleansed: through the blood of Christ poured out upon the cross in payment for sin, and by a new birth of God's Spirit in the soul through faith in Christ and His finished redemptive work. Thus on two counts the doctrine of purgatorial sufferings is false: 1) It is impossible for suffering to cleanse the heart of sin; and 2) It is unnecessary for the pardoned sinner to suffer for his sin because Christ has already paid the full penalty demanded by God's justice. On that basis alone is a person cleansed.

The Bible declares that Christ, "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3), indicating that the purging is finished. And again, "The blood of Jesus Christ, [God's] Son, cleanseth [purges] us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Scripture is very clear in stating that it was the shedding of Christ's blood in death under the judgment of God that purged us. Moreover, "without shedding of blood is no remission [of sin]" (Hebrews 9:22). Purgatory isn't said to be a place of blood-shedding, but of "purifying fire." The only possible purging of our sins was accomplished by Christ; it is accepted only by faith; it is effected in the heart only by the grace of God.

There is a further reason why suffering either on earth or in purgatory by the sinner himself cannot purge from sin: The one making the sacrifice for sin must himself be without sin. Sixtytwo times in the Old Testament we are told that the animals that were offered had to be "without blemish" (Exodus 12:5; 29:1; Leviticus 1:3; etc.). These were "types" or symbols of Christ, the sinless, holy "Lamb of God" who would "take away the sin of the world" (John 1:36,29). Thus no amount of suffering by a sinner, here or in purgatory, could ever purge him or anyone else from sin. Only a sinless sacrifice can suffice.

Of Christ we are told, "[He] did no sin" (1 Peter 2:22), "[He] knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21), and "in him is no sin" (1 John 3:5). Absolute sinlessness was essential or else Christ could not have died for our sins; He would have been under the penalty of death for His own sins. So Peter said of Christ that He "the just [suffered] for [us] the unjust that he might bring us to God [i.e., to heaven, not to purgatory]" (I Peter 3:18). He added that those who lack this assurance have forgotten that they have been "purged from [their] old sins" (2 Peter 1:9). If we have trusted Christ as our Savior, we are to accept by faith the fact that God has purged us through Christ's finished work.

The Origins, Development, and Purpose of This Doctrine

The idea of purgatory, a fictitious place of final purgation, was invented by Pope Gregory the Great in 593. There was such reluctance to accept the idea (since it went contrary to Scripture) that purgatory did not become an official Catholic dogma for nearly 850 years-at the Council of Florence in 1439. No doctrine has so increased the Church's power over its members or added so much to its income. To this day the threat of purgatory hangs over Catholics, who therefore give repeated offerings to the Church for its help in getting them out of that place of torment.

Rome promises that if its decrees are followed one will eventually be released from purgatory and enter heaven. Yet the Church has never been able to define how long any person must spend in purgatory nor how much that time is shortened by any means it offers. It is utter folly to trust one's release from purgatory to a Church which cannot even define how long one must spend there for each sin or how much each ritual or act of penance reduces purgatorial suffering. Nevertheless, offerings are given by Catholics to the Church and large sums left in wills (remember Henry VIII) to have multiple Masses said on one's behalf. That process never stops, "just in case" more Masses are needed.

The Council of Trent, Vatican II, and the resulting Code of Canon Law contain many complex rules for applying the merits of the living, and especially Masses, to the dead in purgation of their sins and to reduce time in purgatory:

"The Church offers the Paschal Sacrifice for the Dead so that ... the dead may be helped by prayers and the living may be consoled by hope. Among Masses for the Dead it is the Funeral Mass which holds the first place in importance.... A Mass for the dead may be celebrated as soon as news of a death is received ...."

A major developer of this horribly false but ingeniously profitable doctrine was an Augustinian monk named Augostino Trionfo. In his day (the fourteenth century) the popes ruled as absolute monarchs over both heaven and earth. By their power to bind and loose they not only established and deposed kings and emperors, but it was believed they could open or shut the gates of heaven to mankind at will. Trionfo's genius extended this authority, at the behest of Pope John XXII, to a third realm. Von Dollinger explains:

"It had been said before that the power of God's vicar extended over two realms, the earthly and the heavenly.... From the end of the thirteenth century a third realm was added, the empire [rule] over which was assigned to the Pope by the theologians of the Curia-Purgatory."

Problems with Support from 2 Maccabees

Gavin tells how in his day (the early eighteenth century) it was still commonly taught that there were eight levels in purgatory. The poor were in the lowest level, where the fire was coolest, with kings in the highest level, where the fire was hottest. God in His goodness had supposedly planned it that way because kings and nobles were able to pay more to the Church to get their souls out whereas the poor had little to pay. He tells of poor people who, upon being told that a relative who had just died was among the beggars in purgatory, scraped together the money to say enough Masses to get them moved up to a higher level. Though the torment was greater, they would be in better company. So the priests charged money both to make the torment in purgatory greater and to get poor souls out of it!

Neither the word "purgatory" itself nor the idea of purgatory is to be found even once in the entire Bible. Nor is it so much as hinted at by Jesus or the apostles. Apologist Karl Keating admits that the doctrine "is not explicitly set out in the Bible." The one verse always cited in support of purgatory comes from the Apocrypha: "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they might be loosed from their sins" (2 Maccabees 12:46).

There are three obvious problems with this verse. First of all, there is not one example in the entire Bible of anyone praying for the dead. The Bible clearly states that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). It is too late for prayer after death; all that follows is judgment. Therefore this verse contradicts the Bible.

Secondly, those of whom this was said had been guilty of idolatry: "But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear" (2 Maccabees 12:40 New American Bible). Idolatry was a mortal sin and, according to Catholic doctrine, would have landed these men not in purgatory but in hell, from which there is no release. [ What?!?! Catholicism is STEEPED in Idolatry!!! ] Thus the idea of praying for them was both blasphemous and a waste of time, hardly the basis for accepting the doctrine of purgatory.

Finally, the very book of Maccabees itself declares that there were no prophets at this time and thus the inspiration of God had ceased: "There had not been such great distress in Israel since the time prophets ceased to appear among the people" (1 Maccabees 9:27 NAB). And again: "The Jewish people and their priest have, therefore, made the following decisions. Simon shall be their permanent leader and high priest until a true prophet arises" (1 Maccabees 14:41 NAB). Thus the two books of Maccabees can only be regarded as historical accounts at best but certainly not as Scripture, inasmuch as God was not inspiring anyone among His people. Obviously, then, one cannot support any true doctrine by a quote from this source. No wonder it contradicts the Bible!

What About Paul's Suffering?

Catholic apologists attempt to be biblical by basing the doctrine of purifying sufferings upon Colossians 1:24, where Paul says, "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church." That Paul's suffering, however, had nothing to do with purging sin, either his own or anyone else's, is clear from the fact that Christ's sufferings had completed that work. Only a sinless sacrifice and the shedding of blood would avail.

Then what did Paul mean? Rather than suffering to effect the purification of his or anyone else's soul, Paul was suffering for the sake of bringing the gospel to others ("my suffering for you"). He referred to the persecution which "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus" would suffer (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus told His disciples they would be hated and persecuted by the world (John 15:18,19). There is an "offense of the cross" (Galatians 5:11), and Paul said we must be willing to "suffer persecution for the cross of Christ" (Galatians 6:12).

It is not that Paul, like Christ, was suffering for sins in order to make up for what Christ's suffering upon the cross lacked, for there was no lack in that. The suffering that Paul endured and all other Christians true to the Lord must endure comes because we identify ourselves with Christ and live Christlike lives that condemn the world and reveal its evil. Therefore the world hates us as they hated Christ. In fact, Christ said that Paul must suffer greatly "for my name's sake" (Acts 9:16). In Acts 5:41 the disciples rejoiced that they "were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name." The suffering that true Christians endure is at the hands of those who hate their Lord and are offended by His cross.

Philippians 1:29 says it is a privilege to suffer because of the hatred the world has toward Christ: "Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on him but also to suffer for his sake." Second Thessalonians 1:5 speaks of "the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer." First Timothy 4:10 says that we "labor and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God." Peter also referred to the suffering that comes to every Christian who is true to the Lord (1 Peter 3:14; 4:13,16). Many other verses express the same thought.

In Philippians 3:10 Paul expresses his passion to know Christ "and the fellowship of his sufferings," which he says helps to bring him into conformity with the death and character of Christ. It is clear that Paul referred to sufferings for Christ's sake here upon earth at the hands of sinners, not to suffering in a future purgatory to be cleansed of one's sin. Paul writes in Romans 8:18 that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Certainly there is no thought of purgatory. We go from the sufferings of this world into the presence and glory of Christ and God.

Other Serious Problems with Purgatory

The doctrine of purgatory errs in a number of other ways. It forgets that we have offended God's infinite justice. James says that even the smallest sin makes a sinner "guilty of [breaking] all" of the commandments (James 2:10). Why? Because any sin is rebellion against God, which separates the sinner from God for eternity. We are finite beings and could never pay the infinite penalty demanded by God's justice. Consequently there is no escape from hell, but the sinner must suffer there eternally. To "expiate" one's sins by suffering is therefore impossible.

Of course, in theory God could pay the infinite penalty demanded by His justice against sin, but that wouldn't be just because He isn't one of us. So God became man through the virgin birth. Being a sinless man and infinite God in one Person, Christ was able to satisfy the claims of His own justice so that "whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). The only expiation of sin comes as a free gift of God's grace; any attempt to earn or merit it constitutes a rejection of God's offer of mercy to unworthy sinners. Moreover, the thought that there is any suffering at all left for a Christian to endure in payment of his sins after Christ suffered the full penalty and cried "It is finished" (John 19:30) is a blasphemous denial of the redemption that Christ effected and the salvation that He offers.

In the teaching of purgatory we see once again that Roman Catholicism does not accept God's offer of salvation by His grace, but insists upon adding human works to what Christ has done
. Although Catholicism does affirm that salvation is ultimately by grace through faith, it also states that good works (though by God's grace operating in the individual) are essential for salvation. We quote again from Vatican II:

"From the most ancient times in the Church good works were also offered to God for the salvation of sinners ... [by] the prayers and good works of holy people ... the penitent was washed, cleansed and redeemed....

Following in Christ's steps, those who believe in him have always ... carried their crosses to make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others ... [to] help their brothers to obtain salvation from God...."

A Fatal Contradiction

Only blind submission to the Church prevents the Roman Catholic adherent from seeing that the doctrine of purgatory contains an obvious and fatal contradiction. On the one hand we are told that the sacrifice of Christ is not enough to get one to heaven, but in addition to Christ's sufferings on the cross the forgiven sinner must himself suffer torment to be purged of his sin. On the other hand, however, and in direct contradiction, it is said that the Mass, which is the representation or perpetual renewal of Christ's sacrifice, reduces (by some unknown amount) one's suffering. Presumably, if enough Masses were said one would be purged by the expiation of all sins without any suffering at all. So one doesn't have to suffer, after all, to be purged.

If one truly had to suffer before heaven's gate could open, the Church would have nothing to offer and would lose a major means of income. The same would be true if Christ's sacrifice for sin, as the Bible teaches, were enough to purge the sinner. The Catholic Church would again be out of business. Therefore, to keep the Church operating and its coffers full, it is taught that one may be purged of sin by certain means which the Church can provide, and that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was insufficient to purge of sin, so that the Mass, for which the Church receives income, can be credited with reducing suffering in purgatory and opening the gate of heaven. How amazing that what Christ's suffering on the cross could not effect, the alleged repetition of that suffering reenacted on Catholic altars can accomplish.

Moreover, the sufferings of others also are said to reduce the time needed for purging in purgatory. The stigmata of Padre Pio and the sufferings of the "saints" can thus accomplish what the sacrifice of Christ on the cross could not. Here it is again: "Following in Christ's steps, those who believe in him have always ... carried their crosses to make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others." Christ's cross could only forgive but could not purge sin; yet the crosses carried by others can purge sin and thus can do more than the cross of Christ!

So the doctrine of purgatory contains a fatal contradiction. It declares that one must suffer in order to be purged of one's sins; yet at the same time it says one need not suffer if certain rules are followed. The major means of escaping suffering is through the repetition of the Mass, but there are many others. The reduction or elimination of suffering in purgatory is also effected through "indulgences."


Well-Known Member
------------------------------- A WOMAN --------------------------------

In an era when scientists debate the causes of the birth of the universe, both the adoration and the conflict attending Mary have risen to extraordinary levels. A grass-roots revival of faith in the Virgin is taking place worldwide. Millions of worshippers are flocking to her shrines, many of them young people. Even more remarkable are the number of claimed sightings of the Virgin, from Yugoslavia to Colorado, in the past few years. -Time magazine'

There is no doubt that Paul VI, together with John XXIII and John Paul II, will be remembered as the three great Popes of Peace, pioneers of a momentous transcendence of the Catholic Church into the New Age. -Robert Muller, former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General2

On February 11, the liturgy of the Church recalls every year the apparition of our Lady at Lourdes. -Pope John Paul II

--------------------------- RIDES THE BEAST ---------------------------

The Coming New World Order

Time magazine reports there have been so many sightings of the "Virgin Mary" around the world that "the late 20th century has become the age of the Marian pilgrimage" to the many shrines established to commemorate these appearances. There are 937 Marian shrines in France alone.4 From 1961 to 1965 there were about 2000 visitations to northwest Spain's village of Garabandal accompanied by occultic phenomena and apocalyptic messages to the world. In 1983 hundreds of Palestinian Arabs "saw the Virgin Mary" near Bethlehem, Israel. She has appeared in every corner of the world:

"There is also Dozule ... and Kibeho in Rwanda ... apparitions of Our Lady at Akita in Japan ... apparitions in Chile, in Australia and in Poland ... in Canada ... San Damiano [in Assisi, Italy], Cairo ... Amsterdam,[New York, etc.]." 5

These apparitions have brought millions of people to faith in Catholicism's Mary. The shrine at Lourdes, France, attracts about 5.5 million pilgrims annually; Poland's Black Madonna draws 5 million; Fatima, Portugal, "draws a steady 4.5 million pilgrims a year from an ever widening array of countries." Since John Paul II visited the shrine of Mary at Knock, Ireland, "attendance has doubled to 1.5 million people each year. To handle the influx, a new international airport was opened at Knock in 1986."6 A "Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine" has recently opened in Orlando, Florida. The shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Mexico City "draws some 20 million visitors a year"!7

Mary's powerful protection is celebrated around the world. Our Lady of Lanka, credited with preventing a Japanese invasion during World War II, has been the patron of Sri Lanka since 1948. Our Lady of Copacabana is "the patron of the Bolivian navy ... Our Lady of Coromoto, patron of Venezuela."8 Polish President Lech Walesa made a pilgrimage to Fatima, where he "offered prayers of thanks for the liberation of Poland."9 John Paul II believes "Mary brought an end to communism throughout Europe." 10 Similarly convinced, Moscow's Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, in 1991, made a pilgrimage to Fatima that was carried on prime-time Soviet national TV. A shrine to "Our Lady of Fatima," who appeared in the Soviet Union just before the Berlin Wall came down, will soon be established in Moscow in gratitude for her defeat of Communism.' 1 Kondrusiewicz wants her shrine to be a perpetual reminder of that great conquest.'2

The apparitions consistently preach the coming world religion of Antichrist: All religions are basically the same and must come together for peace. Offering an ecumenical gospel that can be "accepted by Catholic, Protestant, Moslem or Jew," 13 "Mary" declares: "Everyone worships God in his own way with peace in our hearts." 14 So says Our Lady of Medjugorje in Southern Bosnia-Herzegovina, where visionaries claim the Virgin has been appearing daily for the past 13 years in the heart of Ustashi Croatia.

Apparitions and Official Catholic Doctrine

Marian apparitions would hardly attract such a huge following if official dogmas did not support them. Catholics are taught to pray to Mary and are promised that she will protect them from every danger and supply their every need. Quoting Vatican II, the new Catechism of the Catholic Church declares, "From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of `Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs." 17 Here is official Roman Catholic doctrine from the highest level attributing to Mary authority and power which belong to God alone! Amazingly, this reference is quoted in This Rock (the premier Catholic apologist magazine) in an article arguing that although a large percentage of Catholics consider Mary to be equal to God, that view is not official Church doctrine. 18 But the quote proves it is. The "faithful fly [to Mary for] protection ... in all their dangers and needs." Could anyone less than God give protection to all the faithful and supply all their needs?

In the entire Bible there is not one prayer to Mary, not one instance of her miraculously helping anyone, nor any promise that she would or could. From Genesis to Revelation, protection and help are sought from, promised by, and found in God and in Christ alone. This fact is attested by hundreds of verses, of which the following are only a small sampling:

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27); God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1); In God is my salvation ... my refuge is in God (Psalm 62:7); The Lord... is my refuge ... in him will I trust (Psalm 91:2); Fear not. .. I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:14); Lord [Jesus], save me! (Matthew 14:30); Lord [Jesus], help me! (Matthew 15:25); Let us therefore come boldly unto [God's] throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)."

The infinitely powerful and loving God, and Christ (who is one with the Father), have protected, as promised, all who trusted in them through the centuries. Then why would anyone call upon Mary? Is she mightier than God or more compassionate or more reliable or quicker to respond? Though most Catholics would deny it, Mary subtly displaces the Christian Trinity. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was credited with miracles during its recent tour of the United States. Some of the honor she receives in Mexico includes:

Public buses in Mexico City suburbs have flower-adorned shrines to the Virgin on their dashboards, Mexican factories often post pictures of the Virgin to discourage bad behavior and tens of thousands of annual pilgrims to the Basilica finish their journey crawling on their knees. 19

To beseech Mary for help and protection implies that she is at least equal to God in power and is preferred over God and Christ. This is not the Mary of the Bible, but the woman who rides the beast. Faith in Catholicism's Mary, supported by her thousands of apparitions, prepares the way as perhaps nothing else could for a world religion, a New World Order, and the reign of Antichrist.

A Unique Role for the Amazing Mary

Worldwide, today's women are asserting themselves as never before in history. Contrary to popular opinion, "women instigate most domestic violence [and] hit men more frequently and more severely [than men hit them]" and violence is far more frequent in lesbian relationships than between husband and wife.20 Women are taking over what were once men's jobs, and there is a growing acceptance of women at the highest levels of leadership in business, government, and religion. Only God could have given John, 1900 years ago, a vision that so fits our day-a woman in control.

From current trends, it seems inevitable that a woman must ride the beast. And of all the women in history, none rivals Roman Catholicism's omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent "Mary." Could it be that in preparation for her unique role in the New World Order astride the beast she is now appearing to millions around the world in a dazzling display of power? The script is ingenious! John Paul II has said:

"Mary ... should inspire all who cooperate in the Church's apostolic mission for the rebirth of humanity.... The Church journeys through time ... along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary." 21

The ecumenical power of this Mary is found in the fact that she provides a new deity to whom the followers of all religions can look-a female deity in step with the spirit of our age. Even Protestants find her appealing. At a women's conference in November 1993, "more than 2,000 participants recited a liturgy to ... a female deity ... [and] in a ritual that resembled holy communion, the women partook of milk and honey to honor the goddess." A far-out New Age gathering? No, "most of the participants represented mainline Protestant denominations .... "22

A woman Lutheran pastor "boasted that Jesus Christ's name was never mentioned" while another church leader urged attendees to overthrow "the patriarchal image of [a] Father God." Korean theologian Chung Hyun Kyung "urged Christians to adopt a `new Trinity' composed of Buddhist, Hindu and Filipino goddesses."23

Catholicism is a jump ahead. Its "Mary," a goddess suitable for all religions, is already adored by a quarter of earth's population. Moreover, her ability to command the loyalty of multitudes has been demonstrated on a national level for centuries:

Mary was "declared Queen of the Ukrainian people" in 1037, and Hungary was dedicated to her by King St. Stephen at about the same time. "Richard II solemnly consecrated England to Mary as `her Dowry'. .An 1381." France was consecrated to Mary in 1638 by the order of Louis XIII, who said, "We consecrate to her particularly our person, our State, our crown and our subjects"; Poland in 1656 by King Casimir. All of the "South American Spanish colonies were dedicated to Mary through a `solemn consecration' in 1643 at the command of King Philip IV"; and in 1664 the same "was done for Portugal and all her colonies at the instigation of King John IV ... Austria the following year" etc. In 1846 the bishops of America wrote, "We ... place ourselves and all entrusted to our charge ... under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God ....”24

Mary and Islam

It is easy to imagine Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, and liberals - as well as both Catholics and Protestants - uniting in a world religion, but the billion Muslims pose a special problem. Mary, however, seems to be the unique one through whom even they could be united into a universal faith. A British Catholic magazine reports that "a Marian revival is spreading throughout Africa, with alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary finding a following among Muslims .... "25 African Muslims themselves are seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary and "are not required to become Christians" to follow her.26 Our Sunday Visitor pointed out the honor given to Mary in Islam's Koran and the intriguing connection between her and Muhammad's favorite daughter, Fatima.27

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote an interesting book in which he predicted that Islam would be converted to Christianity "through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God." He reasoned thus:

"The Koran ... has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and also in her Virgin Birth.... Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary."28

Sheen goes on to say how remarkable it was that "our Lady" had the foresight to appear in the Portuguese village of Fatima (named after Muhammad's daughter during the Muslim occupation) and thus become known as "Our Lady of Fatima." It is a fact that when a statue of "Our Lady of Fatima" is carried through Muslim areas of Africa, India, and elsewhere, Muslims turn out by the hundreds of thousands to worship her. In two days an estimated 500,000 came to give their respects to this idol in Bombay, India.29

Mary and John Paul II

No one is more convinced of the validity of the Fatima visitations than the present pope. Nor is anyone more devoted to Mary. John Paul II, who has "dedicated himself and his Pontificate to Our Lady,"30 bears the M for Mary in his coat of arms; his personal motto, embroidered on the inside of his robes in Latin, is totus tuus sum Maria (Mary, I'm all yours). The pope has unusual personal reasons for this special devotion. The assault upon his life occurred on May 13, 1981, the anniversary of the Virgin's alleged first appearance on May 13, 1917, at Fatima, Portugal.31 In a vision during his convalescence she told him that she had spared his life for a special mission he must fulfill in bringing peace.32

Returning to the Vatican after his recovery, John Paul II prayed at the tombs of his immediate predecessors and declared, "There could have been another tomb, but the blessed Virgin ... has willed otherwise."33 He added gratefully and reverently, "For everything that happened to me on that day, I felt that extraordinary Motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullets."34 Why would you need God when you have Mary's protection?

The thankful pope made a solemn pilgrimage to Fatima on May 13, 1982, where he "prayed before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Thousands heard him speak and consecrate the world to Mary as she had requested." On at least three other occasions, "on October 16, 1983; on March 25, 1984; and on December 8, 1985 ... he consecrated the world to our Lady"35 with "special mention" of the Russian people. Now that the Berlin Wall has come down and Soviet Communism has unraveled throughout Eastern Europe, credit is being given to Our Lady of Fatima for fulfilling her promise that if the popes and bishops would consecrate the world and Russia to her Immaculate Heart, "My Immaculate Heart will triumph, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace!"36

Such a statement is in the fullest opposition to the clear teaching of the Bible, which offers "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1) as a free gift of God's grace-a peace that was bought "through the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:20). Individual peace comes by faith to all who believe the gospel. World peace will only be established when Christ returns to reign from Jerusalem as the prophets foretold.

Yet Catholicism's Mary has taken the place of Christ as the one through whom peace will come, and the present pope and his Church support this heresy. Today's world (including those who call themselves Christians) is only too willing to accept a solution to its problems that leaves out Christ. That the woman is astride the beast seems to indicate that this pseudo-Mary of the apparitions will play a key role in the false peace by which Antichrist "shall destroy many" (Daniel 8:25). Declaring that the Lord had "confided the peace of the world to her," the apparition that appeared as the Virgin of Fatima offered its own peace plan in the place of Christ:

"Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.... Pray, pray, a great deal, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them....

God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to MY IMMACULATE HEART. If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace."37

Souls "go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices"? Christ has already made the only saving sacrifice!

A Seducing Spirit

Here is a blatant denial, accepted and promoted by Rome, that Christ's sacrifice paid the full debt for sin. Every pope in the last 60 years has honored Our Lady of Fatima.38 Devotion to a mythical "Immaculate Heart" substitutes for devotion to God and Christ, and obedience to "Our Lady" brings peace. The apparition is surely not Mary! Claiming for itself the authority and attributes of Christ, the apparition at Fatima also declared:

"I will never leave you. [This is the promise of Christ to His disciples, and it presupposes omnipresence, an attribute of God alone.] My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God....

Sacrifice yourselves for the conversion of sinners [only Christ's sacrifice avails for sinners], and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary....

I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to me."39

This counterfeit Mary's offer of "the graces necessary for salvation" and her promise to "lead you to God" is one more denial of the sufficiency of Christ's finished work upon the cross, a denial which is implicit in Catholic dogma and rituals. It is to Mary's heart that the world must make reparation for the evil it has done against her-another blasphemous teaching. David said, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned" (Psalm 51:4). Sin is against God, not against any of His creatures. Thus to teach that reparation must be made to Mary for sins against her is again to put her in the place of God. This elevation of the woman not only fits John's vision but also blends paganism and "Christianity" as foretold.

"Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace.... "A popular Catholic television program advertises, "There is no problem that cannot be solved with the Rosary," and gives an 800 number to call for further information. To say the Rosary one must repeat The Lord's Prayer and "Glory be to the Father. . . Son ... and Holy Spirit" six times each and the "Hail Mary, full of grace" 53 times. Yes, the woman dominates. The world is being prepared for the one who rides the beast, and even evangelical leaders and their flocks are being deceived. (One popular evangelical prophecy expert known for his Bible memorization repeatedly praises the pope on TV and quotes "Our Lady of Fatima" as though she speaks the truth.)

Clearly these "apparitions" oppose the biblical gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the finished sacrifice of Christ, and glorify a counterfeit Mary in His place. A "seducing spirit" (1 Timothy 4:1) is at work. Yet John Paul II has said, "The message of Fatima is addressed to every human being and is more relevant and more urgent than ever. "40 The offer of a pseudopeace is given by apparitions everywhere. Consider the following ad in The Dallas Morning News by the local "Queen of Peace Center":

PRESCRIPTION FOR PEACE. A Voice Cries Out in the Wilderness... a woman's. This event has been reported in the New York Times, 20/20, Life, Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, etc. Millions of people have visited this site and most have returned home with a renewed faith in God, peace in their hearts, and a desire to live the Gospel message ... we're talking about the appearance of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, BosniaHerzegovina as well as dozens of locations around the world.

WHY THE VIRGIN MARY? The Blessed Virgin Mary was the vessel that brought Jesus into the world the first time. Could it be that she is heralding His second coming?. .. "Begin by first creating peace within your own hearts," she says, "then in your families and in the world."41

Catholicism's Jesus: Subordinate to Mary

The apparitions are given credit for pointing people to Jesus, yet there is little sign of real devotion to Christ among pilgrims to Marian shrines. It is Mary who has the honor. The Rosary is prayed over and over, the talk is all about Mary rather than Christ or God, the devotion is to her, and pilgrims see themselves as her servants doing her bidding. Mary, not Christ, is the one who will bring peace. It is her peace plan for the world, reparation must be made to her for the sins committed against her, and she must hold back the hand of her son from judgment. Mary, not Christ, is glorified.

Moreover, the Jesus promoted in the apparitions is a counterfeit who is always subordinate to Mary. The visions of "Mary" at Fatima, Portugal, which have meant so much to all of the popes since then and especially to John Paul II, are very explicit in their diminishment of Christ and the elevation of Mary in His place. The false gospel of salvation through Mary is even endorsed by a demon posing as Jesus who accompanies Mary. The official account of the apparitions of "Our Lady of Fatima" declares:

On the 10th of December, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin Mary appeared to Lucia, with the Child Jesus by Her side, elevated on a cloud of light. [Jesus is no longer a child!]

Our Lady rested one hand on Lucia's shoulder, while in the other hand She held a heart surrounded with sharp thorns. At the same time the Child Jesus spoke:

'Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother. It is covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.'"42

On February 15, 1926, "the Child Jesus" appeared again and urged Catholics to "spread this devotion of [and] reparation to the Immaculate Heart of His Holy Mother," declaring that reparation must be made to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for mankind to be saved!43 Here again is blasphemy of the worst kind. It would never be uttered by the real Mary or by Jesus.

Christ is no longer a child and thus could not possibly appear in that form - and why should He even if He could?
A mature man when He died for our sins, He is now in a resurrected, glorified body at the Father's right hand. It defies all bounds of rational thought and reality to imagine that Christ is still a babe accompanying His mother. Yet those who find no problem believing that millions of different wafers can each be the true physical body of Christ, "whole and entire," have no difficulty believing that Christ, while a mature man in heaven in His resurrected body, can and does at the same time appear as a babe on earth.

Furthermore, the real Jesus, after His resurrection, told His disciples that "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations" (Luke 24:47). In his preaching, Paul declared that "through this man [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by him [not Mary] all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:38,39). The Bible contains no hint of reparations being made to Mary, much less that this is essential "for mankind to be saved."

All of the apparitions boldly offer a false gospel of salvation through Mary and the usual sacramental Catholicism of purgatory, ritual, and works
. "Our Lady of Medjugorje" has said:

"There are many souls ... who have been in Purgatory for a long time because no one prays for them.(7/21/82) God has placed His complete trust in me. I particularly protect those who have been consecrated to me.(11/6/82)

At Christmas the greatest number of souls leave Purgatory. There are in Purgatory souls who pray ardently to God ... [and] God permits them to manifest themselves ... to their relatives on earth in order to remind them of the existence of Purgatory ... "(Spring, 1983).

Clearly we are seeing what Paul warned would occur in the last days: "Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1). What these apparitions teach are definitely doctrines of devils that deny the sufficiency of Christ's death for our sins, that deny His position as Lord of all and exalt a false Mary above Him. She becomes the way to Jesus and the door to heaven (standard Catholic doctrine but not biblical). Typical is the following excerpt from a letter from the Office of the Bishop, Diocese of San Angelo, Texas, concerning a shrine to be built to "Our Lady of Guadalupe":

"When our Blessed mother appeared to Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531, Mary asked that a shrine be built in her honor so that through her, God's love, compassion, help and assistance could be poured out on the pilgrims who would come to this sacred place....

Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. and ask our Blessed Mother to give us her guidance. [signed] Your servants in Christ and Mary, Most Reverend Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, Bishop of San Angelo and Rev. Domingo Estrada, OMI, Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe."

The Shrine Offering slip enclosed said, "Yes! I want to help build a shrine to honor Our blessed Mother so all can be comforted by her presence." But earlier shrines to "Our Lady of Guadalupe" exist. There are thousands of Marian shrines around the world. Can her presence be at all of them simultaneously? She would have to be God for that to be true. In fact, the Catholic Mary promises to be with each individual Catholic worldwide. It is undeniable that Catholics look to Mary as though she were even greater than God and certainly more merciful and likely to favor them than God or Christ. As goddesses dominated in the past, so this goddess will play a dominant role in the immediate future.

Ancient Rome's Religion Revived

Clearly, along with a worldwide revival under Antichrist of the Roman Empire there will be a revival of its religion which, as we have seen, was paganism surviving under a thin veneer of Christian terminology
. It eventually became known as Roman Catholicism.` Statues of the fertility goddess were renamed Mary. Images had been made of the Roman emperors, and all who refused to bow to the images and worship the emperors as gods were killed. As the successors to the Roman emperors, the popes also killed those who refused allegiance to them and their religion. This is irrefutable history, which the Bible says will repeat itself under Antichrist:

[They will] make an image to the beast [Antichrist] ... and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Revelation 13:14,15).

A pope will not be the Antichrist, but will be his right-hand man, the false prophet of Revelation 13:11-17; 19:20; 20:10. At current papal appearances, however, one observes adoration like that which the world will give Antichrist when it worships him as God. Consider this eyewitness account from the 1993 World Youth Day at Denver. Pilgrims who had fasted and walked the 15 miles to Cherry Creek Park for an all-night vigil before "Our Lady of the New Advent" awaited the pope's return the next morning. What followed was almost terrifying to the few Christians present:

Suddenly, the whirring of the white-topped helicopter is heard above the music. "It's the Pope! Papa!"... The crowd becomes ecstatic ... people press forward. Some are clutching rosaries ... crying. .. [others] cheer ... the orchestra begins the Abba Ojcze Fanfare, the Pope's entrance music.

The crowd noise now is deafening as the small figure of Pope John Paul II walks out from the stage ... smiles and waves to the crowd.... The adoration of this man by these people is amazing to behold.... In his presence people lose ordinary defenses. They are vulnerable under this high-caliber "spirituality." He smiles with approving eyes, hugging and kissing those he can reach....

John Paul II in his white attire approaches the steps leading to his chair, a throne-like structure of oak. He waves again to the standing pilgrims then climbs the steps and sits down.... The music continues softly as a young person from the International Youth Forum reads from offstage: "Behold a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!"

The implication of that particular Scripture in this setting ... induces a sense of alarm and dread from Protestants. The Scripture is from Revelation 7:9-10 and presents a view of Christ on his throne in heaven. "The great multitude which no man could number" is the true church, the Bride.... However, at Cherry Creek Park the pope sits on a throne among youths of many nations and tongues. They cry out to him as this Scripture is read.

Is this pope insinuating that he is Christ on his throne and the youths below him are his sheep. .. ? ... The arrogance is overpowering despite John Paul's seeming humility. However, those unaware of Scripture and the translated meaning of the Polish hymn neither see nor sense arrogance. They see and sense love.

Pope John Paul II definitely has an enormous spirit of seductiveness ... respond[ing] to Abba/Father while sit[ting] in white vestments on a throne....

Youths dressed in native costumes and representing each of the continents come forward carrying their national flags. They proceed up the center steps and place their flags at the podium, literally at John Paul's feet.45

Here We Go Again!

Pagan Romans who worshiped the emperor were not narrowminded. They had many gods and tolerated a wide range of beliefs. Christians were not persecuted because they believed in Jesus Christ but because they believed in Him alone and would embrace no other gods, but only the God of the Bible. Catholicism is similarly tolerant of every religion and allows its members to practice everything from Yoga to voodoo so long as they remain in the Church. Both popular opinion and legislation are solidifying similar attitudes.

"Hate laws" are coming on the books in Canada and the United States (and elsewhere) which will make it a crime to suggest that anyone is wrong in his religious or moral beliefs or practices. Likely, it will soon be against the law to say that homosexuality is sin or that any religion is wrong. The "Genocide Treaty" signed by the United States and many other nations (though not yet enforced) already makes it a crime to suggest that someone's religious belief is false and to try to convert others to what one considers to be the truth.

Oddly enough, Roman Catholicism, while claiming to be the one true Church, at the same time embraces all religions, as we have seen. On this count as well, the Vatican qualifies uniquely as the woman astride the beast in Revelation 17. We have seen John Paul II's embrace of all religions and his claim that all gods are the same, while at the same time denouncing fundamentalist Christians. His friend and admirer, televangelist Robert Schuller, presents similar ideas from an alleged evangelical petspective: The way to "tell the good religion from the bad" is whether it is "positive." Schuller urged "religious leaders ... whatever their theology ... to articulate their faith in positive terms ... in a massive, united effort by leaders of all religions [to proclaim] the positive power ... of world-community-building religious values."46

"World-community-building religious values" acceptable to all religions? Antichrist couldn't improve upon that New Age doubletalk! Yet Schuller is commended by evangelical leaders and has the largest audience each Sunday morning of any televangelist. Schuller's embrace of Roman Catholicism and his advocacy of Protestants "coming home" to Rome has been welldocumented.47

The coming world religion will be subtly, not blatantly, anti-Christian. It will, like Hitler's National Socialism, pose as positive Christianity and will be irresistibly appealing to the whole world. Like so much that we are already seeing even within evangelical circles, it will be a perversion of Christianity in the name of Christ. The same acceptance of all religions is preached by the apparitions of Mary and by the most appealing Catholic evangelist, Mother Teresa, whom no one dares criticize because of her outstanding charitable deeds of self-sacrifice.

The worldwide fame of Mother Teresa of Calcutta has given Catholicism acceptability with Protestants, who rightly admire her life of sacrificial charity. Rome calls her "one of the world's greatest evangelists."48 Yet her "evangelism" leads no one to Christ but encourages trust in whatever god they believe in:49

[T]hey brought [us] a man with half his body eaten away. Worms crawled all over him.... I went to clean him, and ... he asked, "Why are you bothering to do this?"

"I love you..," I said. "For me you are Jesus coming in his distressing disguise ... I am only sharing the joy of loving you, and loving Jesus in you."

Then what did this Hindu gentleman say to me? He just said, "Glory be to Jesus Christ." . . . He realized that he was someone loved.50

This Hindu gentleman was not told the most wonderful evidence that "he was someone loved": that this "Jesus Christ," who is God, became a man to die for his sins and thereby paid the debt demanded by God's justice, so that he could be forgiven and receive eternal life as a free gift of God's grace. He was not evangelized in the biblical meaning of that term at all. He was left a Hindu with all of his superstitions and false beliefs intact-left in his sins to die without Christ, a Hindu who was "loved," but not loved enough by "one of the world's greatest evangelists" to be told the truth that would rescue him from hell! Such is Catholicism's new "evangelism" that proposes to "convert" the world by the year 2000. "I love all religions," says Mother Teresa, an idea that fits the coming world religion perfectly.51

The Vatican and the New World Order

The new world religion will be similarly tolerant of all beliefs which are willing to unite with one another in the charitable rescue of mankind. Uncompromising Christians will be put to death for standing in the way of unity and peace. David Koresh was a false Messiah, but the massacre at Waco shows how easily the Antichrist could justify the destruction of any who deviate from the world religion. President Clinton said:

"I hope very much that others who will be tempted to join cults and become involved with people like [David] Koresh will be deterred by the horrible scenes they have seen [of the immolation of the Branch Davidians at their Mount Carmel compound near Waco, Texas].... There is, unfortunately, a rise in this sort of fanaticism all over the world. And we may have to confront it again." 52

It is almost frightening that the President of the United States commends the massacre at Waco as the "justice" deserved by religious fanatics. In contrast, governments cultivate partnerships with Roman Catholicism. This was so not only in past centuries, but today as well. John Paul II's relationship with Reagan, Bush, Gorbachev, Arafat, et al is wellknown. His willingness to ignore injustice to keep such relationships was demonstrated early in his pontificate. He visited Argentina's "three-man ruling junta [but] refus[ed] to grant an audience to the relatives of about 20,000 people who were abducted by the military and `disappeared.' "53

One reason for Antichrist's close partnership, at first, with the Vatican is seen in the importance which every nation on the earth puts upon good relations with "the most extensive international organization in the world outside of the United Nations."54 U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn has said, "The Vatican relationship to the United States is extraordinarily important ... it is in the national interest of the United States of America to have strong diplomatic relations with the Vatican."55

President Clinton considered his meeting with the pope in Denver to be of the utmost importance. He met several times with Ambassador Flynn in preparation for that meeting, and Flynn flew out with him in the presidential plane for continuing consultation. Less than a year later Clinton journeyed to Rome to meet with the pope in the Vatican. The whole world recognizes the importance of this relationship (and so will Antichrist):

From Rome to Washington, geopolitical analysts are talking about a "new alliance" between the world's chief military power, the U.S., and the world's chief spiritual leader, the pope.56

Soon the alliance will be between the world ruler and the Vatican. Indeed, the woman will ride the beast, so vital will be her role. Antichrist will know there can be no political peace without religious peace. Until all religions are willing to embrace one another as partners in working toward common goals there can be no global peace-and the pope, for the reasons we have documented, will be essential to establish full ecumenism. Robert Muller, a Catholic and former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General and Chancellor of the University for Peace, has said:

"We need a world or cosmic spirituality.... I hope that religious leaders will get together and define ... the cosmic laws which are common to all their faiths....

We must also hope that the Pope will come before the year 2000 to the United Nations, speak for all the religions and spiritualities on this planet and give the world the religious view of how the third millennium should be a spiritual millennium ...." 57

When finally the religious leaders and political leaders unite to accomplish the same goals, the kingdom of Antichrist will have arrived. Such was the situation (in imperfect union) under Vatican leadership for more than a thousand years in the past. And so it will be again, but this time with the terrifying full control that only today's computers and spy satellites can effect.

A Solemn Warning from Heaven

How could religious leaders and their followers tolerate such totalitarianism? Consider the example of a 266-member delegation of America's National Council of Churches (NCC) which visited the Soviet Union in June 1984. They toured 14 cities and visited numerous state-licensed churches. The New York Times reported that the NCC delegation offered "praise for the status of religion in the Soviet Union and condemnation of the United States' role in the arms race ... [and] voiced irritation that the harmony of their visit had been marred when two demonstrators, demanding religious freedom, held up banners [reading `This is not a free church'] during a Baptist church service."58 The NCC delegation's leader, Bruce Rigdon of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, "expressed offense at the protest and admiration for the Soviet authorities who suppressed it."59

In Santiago De Compostela, Spain, during August 4-13, 1993, the World Council of Churches (WCC) held its Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order. Roman Catholics were official and full participants for the very first time at any WCC meeting. The goal toward which participants were working was a world church-and not one which is united so much by faith as one which is visibly united in the eyes of the entire world. The delegates adopted the statement:

"There is no turning back. .. from the single ecumenical movement that unites concern for the unity of the church and concern for... the struggles of the world."

That significant declaration recognizes that the world church must operate in partnership with the world government. WCC Central Committee Moderator Aram Keshishian declared in his address that the WCC "must relate its doctrinal work more closely to social ethics.... Faith and Order cannot ignore the socio-political and economic dimension in its quest for church unity.... Any dichotomy between Christian Faith and political involvement, between unity of the church and struggles for justice, is an ecumenical heresy."61

That goal will be realized. The marriage of convenience, however, between Antichrist and the false World Church won't last indefinitely. When the honeymoon is over, Antichrist will turn on and destroy the "whore" (Revelation 17:16), effecting God's will in the process (verse 17). One of the most damning indictments God makes against the woman on the beast is that she will have trafficked not only in costly "merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones" but also in "slaves and souls of men" (Revelation 18:12,13). We have documented that as well. In the meantime, there is a "voice from heaven" saying in awesome tones:

"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her, for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

Therefore, shall her plagues come in one day: death and mourning and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her
"(Revelation 18:4-8).

May all those who love Christ and His gospel come together in compassion and true union to rescue as many as possible from this dire judgment.


Choose Your Words Carefully...

Luke 2:34-35 HCSB
34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

I have wondered of the pain Mary may feel having her blessing so corrupted by men.

But in Christ's presence, she has perfect peace.