The Catholic Church: A Friendly Discussion with Our Catholic Friends (Part 1c)

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church

A Friendly Discussion with Our Catholic Friends

(Part 1c)

  • What are the most important things
    that a Catholic needs to know?
  • What truths will a Catholic priest never tell you?
  • What are the amazing origins of the Catholic Church and Catholic doctrines?

Introduction

You are about to read an unusual and enlightening presentation of the truth of God in a way that you may never have seen before.  Many people go through life, entirely oblivious to the many Scriptural truths that you will find discussed on the following pages.   We encourage you to read with an open mind, a receptive heart, and an honest spirit.

The Bible says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).  Be willing to expose yourself to that divine light and walk in it.  Scripture says, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (v. 130).  Be willing to receive this spiritual light and seek the understanding it can give you.

We have attempted to be amicable in our presentation of truth in this book, showing a friendly attitude toward our Catholic acquaintances.  This is the way I would wish to be approached if I were in their spiritual shoes.  At the same time, we have attempted to be clear and forthright so that the Word of God may shine forth plainly before religious falsehood.

If you are a sincere Catholic seeker of truth, we welcome you to these pages.  God delights in the “honest and good heart” that seeks to know and do the will of God, regardless of the cost, and all for the glory of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–Richard Hollerman

  1. The Catholic Crusades and the Infamous Inquisition

So apostate had the medieval Church become that they sought to conquer the Muslims in the Middle East, ones who had steadily invaded both Catholic and Orthodox territories.  During the 1000s, “fierce Seljuk Turks from central Asia invaded the Near East and conquered Asia Minor, Palestine, and Syria.”[1]  These brutal Turks had replaced the Arabs and “were much more fanatical and brutal than those whom they had replaced, and European pilgrims were subjected to persecution when they landed in Palestine.”[2]

With this background, we see the rationale for the great Crusades.  The threat addressed in the Crusades was that of the advance of Islam:

With Muhammad as its leader, the religion of Islam originated in A.D. 622 and spread aggressively. Less than 25 years from the beginning of the “Hegira” (i.e., Muhammad’s flight from Mecca), the followers of Muhammad had taken control of Egypt, Palestine, Persian, and Syria.  With its thirst for conquest, this religion threatened to convert the whole world to its beliefs.  Soon the threat to Catholicism became increasingly obvious.  Many Catholics in conquered nations had converted to Islam out of fear; the advancement of this doctrine over Roman influence and its official religion seemed inevitable.  The Roman religion, and the unity of the nation that depended on it, would collapse soon if something were not done quickly.  Thus the conflicts between Catholics and Muslims gave rise to the infamous Crusades.[3]

The stated purpose of the Crusades was to win back Jerusalem and Palestine for Christ.  The term crusade comes from the Latin word that means “cross.”  The Crusaders placed the symbol of the cross on their clothing, and “to take up the cross” meant to participate in a Crusade.

The Crusades (from 1096 until 1270) were military expeditions that started out as a fulfillment of a “solemn vow” to regain the “holy places” in Palestine from the hands of the Muslims.  In November 1095, Pope Urban II encouraged the masses to fight together against the Islamic Seljuk Turks who invaded the Byzantine Empire and subjected Greek, Syrian, and Armenian Catholics.  He also wanted to extend his political and religious power.  To encourage Catholics to involve themselves in a bloody war in the “name of God,” the pope offered forgiveness of sins, care for the lands belonging to crusaders, and the prospect of plunder.[4]

The Crusaders of Europe engaged in eight major campaigns from AD 1096 to 1270.  “Kings, nobles, and thousands of knights, peasants, and townspeople took part in the Crusades.”[5] They claimed the motivation was to control the Holy Land as well as protect the Greek Orthodox Church of Byzantine Empire from the violent Muslim Turks.  Many of the crusaders also wanted to increase their “power, territory, and riches.”[6] “The love of military adventure, which was sanctified by the Roman church, also drew many of the feudal nobles and knights into the armies of the Crusades.  Others joined the Crusades to escape from domestic boredom or the punishment for crimes.”[7]

The great Crusades is an illustration of how far this apostate form of Christendom had drifted from the teachings of Christ and the apostles, as well as the practice of the early Christians for the first two centuries.  Jesus said, “I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:38).  He said in another place, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).  When Peter attempted to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, our Lord rebuked him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

The apostle Paul likewise admonished the Romans, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. . . . Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.  ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17a, 19-21).  Again, the apostle writes, “See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

We can see why warfare was so antithetic to authentic Christianity and so abhorrent to the early disciples.  “No Christian ever thought of enlisting in the army after his conversion until the reign of Marcus Aurelius” around AD 173.[8]  “From the end of the New Testament period to the decade AD 170-180 there is no evidence whatever of Christians in the army.”[9]  From about 174 A.D. on to the time of Constantine, about 313 A.D., there are indications that a few [professing] Christians were in the military service.”[10]  Historian Everett Ferguson writes, “Only in the early 170s do we find the first explicit evidence since apostolic times to the presence of [professing] Christians in the military service.”[11]  This contrast between the peace and nonresistance of the early followers of Jesus our Lord and the later experience of “holy war” and armed conflict is unmistakable.  The spirit of Christ and the spirit of the Crusades are the very opposite.  This again shows how far the early Church had fallen by the Middle Ages.

We can see that this religio-political alliance known as the Holy Roman Empire was far different from what Christ wanted for His people.  As we mentioned, the kingdom of Christ is spiritual in nature, composed of those whose hearts are ruled by God, while “the kingdoms of the world” are the domain of Satan (cf. Luke 4:5-6).  The Lord never intended His followers to become part of worldly, nationalistic, and political affairs.  Although Christians are subject to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17) and pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1-2), they are distinct from them.  God’s kingdom may be found in every people group of the world (Revelation 7:9; Matthew 28:18-19), but is not at all identified with any nation or culture or people.  This medieval Catholic perspective entirely changed the Christian view that prevailed in the first century!

Papal Supremacy

Elected as pope in 1198, Innocent III (1161-1216) brought the medieval papacy to the zenith of its power. . . . Innocent believed that he was “the vicar of Christ,” with supreme authority on earth.  He believed that kings and princes derived their authority from him and that he could therefore excommunicate, depose them, or lay an interdict, which forbade the clergy to perform any but the most essential services of the church, upon their state.  He believed that God had given the successor of Peter the task of “ruling the whole world” as well as the church.  The pope stood above man and below God. . . . The pontificate of Innocent III marked the peak of papal power in Europe.  Sordid stories of nepotism, simony, drunkenness, and neglect of their people by the priests antagonized many in the century following Innocent’s death in 1216. (Earl Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, pp. 206-210)

The Roman politico-religious alliance of an apostate Church with a brutal state brought many far-reaching and disastrous effects.  One of these had to do with dissidents to the Catholic way.  Those who objected to the increased false teaching and corrupted ways found in the Roman Church of the Dark Ages were mercilessly persecuted and put to death.  “Multitudes of people, led by relentless religious leaders, executed those considered to be heretics without judicial process.”[12]  The Catholic Church could see that there was a need to regulate this slaughter of non-Catholics, thus there was “another wave of bloodshed paradoxically known in history as the “Holy” Inquisition.[13]

The infamous Inquisition was used to destroy those who objected to the Roman abuses.  The Inquisition was of three types.  First, the “Episcopal Inquisition” was established by Lucius III in 1184, and this was supervised by local bishops.  Second, there was the “Pontifical Inquisition,” begun by “Pope” Gregory IX in 1231 to force people to change their anti-Catholic beliefs.  The Congregation of the Holy Office took control of this Inquisition in 1542, with the Judges coming from the Dominican and Franciscan orders.  “The Inquisition operated chiefly in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.  Working in secret, the Inquisitors often misused their power.  Some suspects were tortured, and heretics who refused to change their beliefs were sentenced to die by burning.  In the 1500’s, Catholic leaders turned the Inquisition against the Protestants.”[14]

The inquisitors would go to the place of the alleged heresy, and with the help of the authorities, ask the heretics to present themselves voluntarily before the tribunal.  The public also was encouraged to report heretics; anyone could accuse anyone else of heresy.  The accused was forced to confess his “heresy” without an opportunity to confront his accusers or defend himself.  A long imprisonment awaited the “heretic” who denied the charges.  His imprisonment would be interrupted by numerous torture sessions until he confessed his “heresy.” If he continued to refuse to confess, he was turned over to the civil authorities who administered the death penalty to the “obstinate heretic.”

The Spanish Inquisition was the third and most horrible of all.  “It began in 1478 with the approval of Pope Sixtus IV, and it lasted until 1834.  This tribunal was different from the Pontifical Inquisition because the inquisitor was appointed by the king rather than the pope, so the inquisitor became a servant of the state rather than the church.[15]  Led by the evil and infamous Torquemada, this Inquisition sought to destroy all anti-Catholic sentiments.  I’ve personally toured the Inquisition Museum in Lima, Peru, where the different forms of torture were inflicted on non-Catholics and anti-Catholics in an effort to change their beliefs and force them to accept Catholic dogma and practices.  Part of the reason for this Spanish Inquisition was to deal with a threat that the Church and society believed they saw in the Jews.  Additionally, Spain wanted to maintain unity in the kingdom.  “Hoping to unify their country religiously, the rulers asked the pope for permission to ‘purify’ their kingdom of non-Catholic ideologies by means of the Inquisition.”[16]

In time, this brutal tribunal dedicated itself to the persecution of Muslims, alleged witches, and supporters of Protestantism.  Though prior inquisitions were cruel, the Spanish Inquisition was devised to terrify even the vilest criminal.  Its instruments of torture were even more innovative and inhumane than those of earlier times. Torture treatments included, but were not limited to (1) dislocation of the joints of the body; (2) mutilation of the vaginal, anal, and oral interior cavities; (3) removal of tongues, nipples, ears, noses, genitals, and intestines; (4) breaking of legs, arms, toes, and fingers; (5) flattening of knuckles, nails, and heads; (6) sawing of bodies in half; (7) perforation of skin and bones; (8) tearing of skin from the face, abdomen, back, extremities, and sinuses; and (9) stretching of body extremities.

Although Catholicism may want to deny its past, history speaks loudly concerning the atrocities committed in the name of the Catholic faith.  Catholicism may try to hide behind the injustices committed by other religious groups to cover its own disgrace, but the truth is that Catholic methodology was the inspiration for the bloody canvas of other religious “artists.”  There is no doubt that the Crusades and Inquisitions played a major role in the development and growth of the Catholic Church in a world that did not want to conform to this kind of religion.[17]

Some suggest that only 30,000 non-Catholics were murdered,[18]  but it has also been estimated by John B. Wilder, in The Shadow of Rome,[19] that “between 50,000,000 and 68,000,000 suffered under Rome’s inquisition, with 300,000 being burned in Spain.”[20] This figure could be inflated, but it is clear that vast numbers of hapless people were slaughered by Catholic authorities during those dreadful several centuries.  Whatever the number, God gave the body of Christ only the power to withdraw fellowship from the offender, not to inflict physical punishment (cf. Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15).

We are made to wonder why the Catholic officials (in the form of the “Pope” and college of Bishops) do not openly confess the sins of brutality, cruelty, deception, wickedness, perversity, and all manner of other sins that were committed over multiplied centuries, from AD 313 until the modern era, particularly in the Crusades and the Inquisitions.  While modern Catholics may deplore some of what happened centuries ago, why is there no clear denunciation of the sins of the Catholic leadership during all of those shameful centuries?

 Serious Catholic Concerns

On the following pages, we want to share some of the major concerns that we have about Catholic theology, doctrines, ritual, beliefs, practice, and life.  It has been our intention to be entirely fair in this discussion, viewing both the positives and the negatives in Catholic theology, beliefs, practice, and lifestyle.  Besides the positive points that we noticed earlier, it would be dishonest for us to overlook the grave concerns we have concerning these vital matters. We wish to share these truths only to help our dear Catholic friends who remain loyal to this ecclesiastical system.  We know that sincere, truth-seeking Catholics will earnestly want to know God’s truth about all of the following issues.

  1. Tradition or the Word of God?

The Catholic Church

We must begin by looking at the very foundation of the Catholic system.  Basic to the perpetuation of the Catholic Church is tradition.  The Council of Trent (1545) declared that tradition was just as authoritative as the Word of God.[21]  “Once the Church made tradition equal in authority with God’s Word, it had the freedom to add more and more traditions, including such ideas as the immaculate conception of Mary, that she was born without original sin, that Mary lived a life of sinlessness, that she was lifted into heaven, that she did not die.. . . . We can add to this lengthy list such concepts as monks, nuns, monasteries, convents, a 40-day Lent, Holy Week, Ash Wednesday, and All Saint Day.”[22]

The same authors explain: “For Roman Catholics, the Bible is not the sufficient rule of faith.  For them it is the Bible plus tradition.  While the Catholic Church theoretically adheres to the Scriptures as one source of authority, in actual daily practice it does not encourage its members to follow Scripture but to follow the Catholic traditions.”[23]  In practical terms, if there is a contradiction between what God’s Word teaches and what the tradition of the Catholic Church teaches, the loyal Catholic is to choose to follow the Church’s dictates rather than the will of God found in Scripture.

In the terms of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, “sacred tradition and sacred scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, which is committed to the Church.”  They say that both the written Word of God and the tradition of the church constitute a sacred deposit given to the Catholic Church.  They say that there is no contradiction between these two.  (In the following pages, we will observe that there is serious contradiction in dozens and perhaps hundreds of cases.)

This tradition that the Catholic Church rests on is in the context of authoritative religious leaders.  These men are thought to be able to convey absolute and infallible teachings that members of the Catholic Church are required to obey.  We now speak of the magisterium, a Latin word meaning “teaching authority.”  This teaching authority is “vested in the pope, the successor of Saint Peter and the head of the Church, and in the bishops together and in union with the pope.  This teaching authority is at times infallible, and then demands from the Christian faithful the assent of faith.  At other times this teaching authority, though not explicitly infallible, does express authentic Christian Catholic teaching and demands from the Christian faithful the loyal submission of the will and the intellect.”[24]

Notice how this is explained by Vatican Council II:

Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their part, are obligated to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind.  This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra in such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, and that one sincerely adhere to decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated” (“Dogmatic Constitution on the Church”).[25]

We should note that the Catholic is not taught to obey the “Pope” or the bishops only if what they say agrees with the Word of God, but they are commanded to obey regardless of whether the dictates are in harmony with God’s will or not.  (Obviously, they assert that there is never a contradiction between God’s will and the will of the Magisterium.)  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence” (82).

It is difficult for some people to understand how a church can knowingly believe certain things or do certain actions that have no basis in God’s Word.  But this indeed is the case.  One Catholic openly admits this:

The Catholic Church has such love and reverence for the Holy Scriptures that many Catholics, including yourself, accept without question the idea that the Bible is the only source of true Christian religion.  Like you, without knowing the proofs of their own beliefs, they presume that someone or other of the Doctors or Fathers of the Church have furnished proofs from the Bible for every Catholic tenet and position.

This is not the case and need not be the case.  The totality of Catholic faith is based on the Scriptures, the use of human reason, historical traditions, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit[26]

Are these four sources of authority reliable?  The first one certainly is—the Word of the Living God.  What about “human reason”?  This has often been very faulty!  “I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).  “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26).  What about “historical traditions”?  Again, we know that church traditions have been proverbially unreliable.  Jesus charged the Pharisees with “neglecting the commandment of God” while holding to “the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8; cf. vv. 9, 13; Colossians 2:8, 21-23).  Finally, what about “the inspiration of the Holy Spirit”?  Millions of people, especially religious leaders, have assumed that the Spirit was working through them and leading them to certain theological conclusions or religious actions, but they have been dreadfully mistaken.  We can see that the only reliable guide is the Holy Scriptures.

Catholic leaders like to say that if we take the Bible alone as our guide, there will be multiple divisions.  They enjoy pointing out that there are 2,000 Protestant sects and denominations in the United States alone and 20,000 worldwide.  They say that tradition is needed to preserve the church from falling into such extensive division.  Interestingly, these figures, originally given by David A. Barrett in his World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World A.D. 1900-2000, have been grossly misinterpreted.[27]  Barrett actually lists the following groups of churches:

  1. Roman Catholicism (223 denominations)
  2. Protestant (8,196 denominations)
  3. Orthodox (580 denominations)
  4. Non-White Indigenous (10,956 denominations)
  5. Anglican (240 denominations)
  6. Marginal Protestant (1,490 denominations)
  7. Catholic (Non-Roman) (504 denominations).

With or without authoritative tradition, there is extensive division in the world.  But truth is not determined by the amount of strife or division, but by what God has revealed in His authoritative Word.  We know that an abuse of Scripture (by either Catholics or Protestants) does not justify an abandoning of Scripture as our only reliable standard. We cannot condone Protestantism, for generally religious traditions and human reasoning have corrupted their own churches.

The Catholic Church is more devoted to human tradition than to the living Word of God.  Catholics assert that sacred tradition involves “the handing on of God’s Word by the successors of the apostles.”  These Catholic leaders (whom they assume are successors of the apostles) through the centuries are thought to have been equipped by God to “faithfully preserve, expound and spread it [the tradition] abroad by their preaching” (Catechism of the Catholic Church).

Catholic apologists Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham explain the two kinds of traditions.  First, they rightly say that “human” tradition must be rejected for this is what Jesus opposed so vigorously (Matthew 15:3; Mark 7:9).  “Jesus clearly condemns human tradition that sets aside the commandments of God.”[28]  We agree that those “erroneous human traditions” are not bound and should be condemned.  But they also say that “apostolic” tradition is to be accepted.  Paul both commends people for following them (1 Corinthians 11:2) and commands them to follow them (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6-15).  Therefore, they say, “the Church bases its doctrines on Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition.”[29]  They assert, “By Divine Tradition is meant the revealed truths taught by Christ and His apostles, which were given to the Church only by word of mouth and not through the Bible, though they were put in writing, principally by the Fathers of the Church.”[30]

How could we ever verify if a particular tradition actually was voiced by Peter or Paul or John?  If they failed to put their inspired teachings into writing, how can we know for sure that they were true—or the explanation, or deduction, or advice of the so-called “Father” of the Church?  Church tradition is utterly unreliable, especially in light of the fact that many of the “fathers” contradicted each other in what they taught and the views they espoused.

This is where the Catholic Church makes its dreadful and deceitful mistake.  It is true that we are to follow the apostles’ tradition (what they literally “handed down” to us to follow), but Catholicism means later tradition that was “handed down” not by the first apostles in the first century but later tradition of the third, fourth, fifth, and later centuries!  They say that “doctrines can develop, in the sense of being understood more fully and made more explicit.  These fuller insights are passed on by the Church through its teaching office (Magisterium).”[31]  If something was taught or promulgated in the third, fourth, or fifty centuries, it is considered “Apostolic Tradition” and bound on us today!  They can’t trace it as going back to Peter, Paul, John, or James—but long after they died.

In this way, they can justify purgatory, images, the papacy, devotion to Mary, the assumption of Mary, Papal infallibility, and other abuses.  They consider these “Apostolic” traditions even though they came many years and generations after the apostles.  In reality, Catholic “Apostolic Traditions” are human religious traditions masquerading as “apostolic.”  The Biblical doctrines are thought to “develop” (to use their term) to the point that they bear little or no resemblance to Biblical teaching.  Their so-called “apostolic traditions” are actually the very religious traditions that Jesus opposed so strenuously in His teaching (cf. Matthew 15:3-14; Mark 7:5-13).  And, sadly, the average Catholic is deceived by this deceptive reasoning.

It definitely is true that the tradition of Christ and the apostles, that was “handed down” or “handed over” to the body of Christ, was meant to be followed (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6).  However, innumerable traditions that Catholics observe arose many years after the apostles and actually violate the very words of the apostles as reflected in Holy Scripture (Colossians 2:8; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).  It is not a matter of choosing to obey God’s truth plus Catholic tradition and leadership, but a matter of choosing to obey God’s truth or Catholic tradition and leadership.  We can’t have it both ways.

This may be a place to address a related matter, that of the Code of Canon Law.  Not only do Catholics look to the Bible and not only do they endorse Tradition as an expression of God’s will, but they have formulated their own Code book of rules and regulations that are placed on the Catholic Church.

“Since the Church is organized as a social and visible structure,” Pope John Paul II wrote in issuing a revised Code of Canon Law following Vatican Council II.  “It must have norms: in order that its hierarchical and organic structure be visible; in order that the functions divinely entrusted to it, especially that of sacred power and of the administration of the sacraments, may be adequately organized; in order that the mutual relations of the faithful may be regulated according to justice based upon charity, with rights of individuals guaranteed and well defined; finally, that common initiatives undertaken to live a Christian life ever more perfectly may be sustained, strengthened and fostered by canonical norms.”[32]

By Canon Law, what do we mean?  We know of the “Law of Moses” or the “Law of the Lord” (Luke 2:22-24).  And we know of “the law of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2), as well as “the royal law” and “the law of liberty” (James 2:8, 12), but what is the Law mentioned above?  Notice this explanation:

This body of law which governs Catholic life consists of 1,752 canons, divided into seven books: 1. General Norms, 2. The People of God, 3. The Teaching Office of the Church, 4. The Office of Sanctifying in the Church, 5. The Temporal Goods of the Church, 6. Sanctions in the Church, 7. Processes.  There is a commission set up at the Vatican that rules on the correct interpretation of the canons, whenever a doubt is raised.[33]

The Council of Nicaea “passed regulations of pastoral practice and Church discipline.  The pope and councils ever since then have continued to enact legislation to govern the Church and its faithful people.”[34]  Can we see the far-reaching effect of departing from the Word of God as our guide?  We are left with a myriad of papal pronouncements and human documents to regulate belief, practice, and policy, whereas the Word of God is all we need.  Therefore, let us examine some of the many issues related to Catholic teaching, ones that we would encourage a radical change of direction.

  1. Catholicism and Evolution

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has officially embraced the false doctrine of evolution.  In the past, the Church affirmed the Biblical teaching that God created all things in the relatively recent past.  Sadly, during the past half century, this belief has been greatly eroded.  John Paul II expressed some support for this evil and deceptive theory of pseudo-science.  As early as 1950, Pius XII wrote in his encyclical Humani generis:

The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, insofar as it inquiries into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter.

Years after this, on October 23, 1996, John Paul II said in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:

[N]ew findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.[35]

Notice one revealing and shocking report, found in Discover magazine.

Reporter Michael Mason spent some time discussing the scientific policy and direction of the Roman Catholic Church with Brother Guy Consolmagno (a Vatican astronomer), other Catholic officials, and members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a group that Mason describes as “a surprisingly nonreligious institution as well as one of the Vatican’s least understood.” Although the account begins with interesting research activities being undertaken, Consolmagno leaves little doubt as to what he considers the source of true authority.

“A hundred years ago we didn’t understand the Big Bang,” he says. “Now that we have the understanding of a universe that is big and expanding and changing, we can ask philosophical questions we would not have known to ask, like ‘What does it mean to have multiverses?’ These are wonderful questions. Science isn’t going to answer them, but science, by telling us what is there, causes us to ask these questions. It makes us go back to the seven days of creation—which is poetry, beautiful poetry, with a lesson underneath it—and say, ‘Oh, the seventh day is God resting as a way of reminding us that God doesn’t do everything.’ God built this universe but gave you and me the freedom to make choices within the universe.”[36]

It may be difficult for the reader to grasp the extent to which the Catholic Church today has surrendered to the false and blasphemous theory of evolution.  Probably traditional Catholics are grieved over the capitulation of their Church to this God-denying and Scripture-denying theory, but they should remember that their own Pope has opened the door to this falsehood!  It has invaded the Church from within and not from without.  I recently spoke to the head of the local conservative Catholic Book Store and Supply House and he expressed his disapproval of the modern Catholic teaching on evolution.  Notice this quotation in an authoritative Catholic source and do not overlook the subtle reasoning.  Under the topic of “Evolution,” we read:

Whatever theory is advanced to explain evolution, that such a process underlies the emergence of existing species and organisms presents no challenge to the Catholic understanding of the doctrine of creation. . . . There is no reason why God could not have employed some natural evolutionary process in the forming of species, even if this process appears to scientific observation to be largely random in its activity.  Christians can also accept the view that the material conditions for the emergence of the human species may have developed by evolution, as long as the immediate creation of each human soul by God is affirmed.[37]

This would say that even humans may have evolved from non-human and sub-human life forms (perhaps even from single celled creatures!), as long as we affirm that God creates the soul and places it in the primitive life of the first humans!

Before moving on, it is important to stop and consider what the lesson “underneath” a poetic interpretation of Genesis would be. If Genesis is not the literal account of God’s creative actions, then does that mean that God is deceptive? After all, if we are to read Genesis as a poetic rendering of the big bang, then the order of creation would be completely wrong. For example, in the big bang model, stars existed before the earth, but God’s Word emphatically tells us that the earth existed first, then the stars (Genesis 1:14-19). That’s quite a big error. So, is God’s supposed message in a “poetical” rendering that He doesn’t know how He created?[38]

Obviously, this Vatican belief in and promulgation of evolution violates vast amount of Scripture that declares that God is creator (Genesis 1:1), that He created through Jesus Christ (John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:16-17), that He created man and woman (Adam and Eve) (Genesis 1:26-27; Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9), that this first pair sinned and brought death into the world (Romans 5:12; 1 Timothy 2:13-14), and that this occurred in six days in the relatively recent past (Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11; Mark 10:6). The whole Old Testament and New Testament would offer abundant proof that God created and the earth did not evolve.

Surely the Catholic rejection of Biblical creation is a serious false teaching and a compromise with the unbelieving evolutionists of our day. This one issue alone disproves the claim that the “Pope” and the Catholic Church is infallible in belief and pronouncements.

Please check all of the articles in this series on the Catholic Church:

Part 1a

Part 1b

Part 1c

Part 2a

Part 2b

Part 2c

Part 3a

Part 3b

Part 3c

Part 4a

Part 4b

Part 4c

 

 

[1] “Crusades,” The World Book Encyclopedia.

[2] Alan Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, p. 213.

[3] Molises Pinedo, What the Bible Says about the Catholic Church, p. 20.

[4] Ibid., pp. 20-21.

[5] The World Book Encyclopedia.

[6] The World Book Encyclopedia.

[7] Alan Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, p. 213.

[8] C. J. Cadoux.

[9] Roland H. Bainton, Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace.

[10] William Paul, A Christian View of Armed Warfare!

[11] Early Christians Speak, p. 218.

[12] Moises Pinedo, What the Bible Says about the Catholic Church, p. 21.

[13] Ibid.

[14] The World Book Encyclopedia.

[15] Moises Pinedo, What the Bible Says about the Catholic Church, p. 23.

[16] Ibid., p. 24.

[17] Ibid., pp. 24-25.

[18] Earl Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, pp. 260-262.

[19] Page 87.

[20] Earl Cairns,  Christianity Through the Centuries, p. 354.

[21] Ron Carlson and Ed Decker, Fast Facts, p. 216.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid., p. 219.

[24] The Essential Catholic Handbook, p. 204.

[25] The Essential Catholic Handbook, pp. 204-205.

[26] Kenneth Ryan, Catholic Questions, Catholic Answers, pp. 95-96.

[27] Eric D. Svendsen thoroughly discusses the use of Barrett’s figures in Chapter 9, “How Many Denominations,” Upon This Slippery Rock, pp. 58-64.  This book may be consulted in “countering Roman Catholic Claims to Authority.”

[28] Beginning Apologetics I, p. 38.

[29] Ibid.

[30] The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, Revised, p. 240.

[31] Beginning Apologetics I, p. 38.

[32] Albert J. Nevins, Catholicism The Faith of Our Fathers, pp. 5-76.

[33] Ibid., p. 76.

[34] Ibid.

[35] http://209.85.165.104/search? q=cache:ffFec1NSLbYJ:atheism. about.com/od/ popejohnpaulii/a/evolution.htm +John+Paul,+evolution& hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=us)

[36] Originally taken from Answers in Genesis.

[37] Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 378.

[38]answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/08/23/news-to-note-08232008.

 

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