(Continued from page 269)Poverty of Christ to Regal Pontiff!
From the simple statement 'On this rock I will build my church' a Petrine office, apostolic succession, papal infallibility, and all the pomp, ceremony, and power surrounding the pope today have been invented.
Upon this simple Biblical 'foundation' the entire construction that is the Roman Catholic Church has been built - i.e. the infallible papacy, apostolic succession, intricate hierarchy of priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals et al, the magisterium of bishops which alone can interpret the Bible, the requirement that for his alleged infallibility the pope must speak ex-cathedra to the entire Church on matters of faith or morals, etc. That none of these concepts is even remotely suggested, much less specifically stated, either in Matthew 16v18 or elsewhere in Scripture is dismissed by Catholic apologists, who then look to 'tradition' for support. It is a demonstrable fact that deceit and fraud are required to 'support' Rome's claims.
While we know that Scripture says the Christ had 'nowhere to lay his head' (Matthew 8v20), lived in poverty and was crucified naked, Rome hopes we will swallow the fabrications of a Papal successor living in luxury (possessing more than one palace containing in excess of 1100 rooms), waited upon day and night by scores of servants, and wearer of colossally expensive gold-embroidered silk robes! The idea that Christ or Peter passed on such incongruous pomp and luxuries, which neither of them knew, is utterly ludicrous and thoroughly blasphemous.
Peter wrote: 'Silver and gold have I none' (Acts 3v6) and we know that papal luxuries and pompous claims of authority over kings and kingdoms were unknown in the Church until centuries later as the ambitious popes of Rome gradually extended and solidified their authority and control over earthly rulers and made claim to such titles as 'supreme ruler of the world' and 'king of kings.' They claimed to be 'God on earth,' even the 'redeemer' who 'hung on the cross as Christ did' and asserting that 'Jesus put the popes on the same level as God.'' What vile blasphemy!
Rome had been the capital of the empire before Constantine moved his palace to the East, and it continued to be regarded as the capital of the western half of the empire. With the Emperor Constantine installed in the city of Constantinople (Istanbul today), the pope developed near absolute power, not only as the head of the Church but as the emperor of the West. W.H.C. Frend, Emeritus Professor of Ecclesiastical History, in his classic The Rise of Christianity, pointed out that, by the middle of the fifth century, the Church: 'had become the most powerful single factor in the lives of the peoples of the empire. The Virgin and the saints had replaced the [pagan] gods as patrons of cities.'
Pope Leo 1(440-61 A.D.) typically boasted that St. Peter and St. Paul had 'replaced Romulus and Remus as the city's [Rome's] protecting patrons.'' Frend writes that 'Christian Rome was the legitimate successor of pagan Rome ... Christ had triumphed [and] Rome was ready to extend its sway to the heavens themselves.'
Papal Historical Revisionism hides the truth
The historical record shows the popes did not just claim the 'throne' of Peter - they even warred with one another to gain it. To try and achieve their aims they manufactured historical documents, such as The Donation of Constantine, a deliberately fraudulent document manufactured for the popes and first used in the eighth century by Pope Stephen III to convince Pepin, king of the Franks and father of Charlemagne, that territories taken by the Lombards from the Byzantines had been given to the papacy by the emperor Constantine, founder of the papacy. As a result, Pepin routed the Lombards and handed the pope the keys to some twenty cities (e.g. Ravenna, Ancona, and Bologna) and the huge chunk of land joining them along the Adriatic coast. The Donation of Constantine was forged with a supposed date of 30 March, 315, and declared that Constantine had given these lands, along with Rome and the Lateran Palace, to the popes in perpetuity. In 1440 this document was proven to be a forgery by Lorenzo Valla, a papal aide, and his conclusions have been upheld by historians ever since! So we must ask why the supposedly infallible popes have continued to assert, through the intervening centuries, that the document was genuine and justified their claims? This fraudulent claim continues to be perpetuated by an uncorrected inscription in the baptistry of Rome's St John Lateran!Genuine Apostolic Succession?
The Constantine fraud was followed by pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, which were early papal decrees allegedly compiled by Archbishop Isidore (560-636 A.D.) but actually fabricated in the ninth century. These frauds became the foundation for much of the 'tradition' the papacy still relies on today.
Papal Roman Catholic historian J.H. Ignaz von Dollinger writes that prior 'to the time of the Isidorian Decretals no serious attempt was made anywhere to introduce the neo-Roman theory of infallibility. The popes did not dream of laying claim to such a privilege.' As he explains, these fraudulent Decretals would gradually, but surely, change the whole constitution and government of the Church, leading him to write [in 1869]:
For three centuries past it [the fabrication] has been exposed, yet the principles it introduced and brought into practice have taken such deep root in the soil of the Church, and have so grown into her life, that the exposure of the fraud has produced no result in shaking the dominant system.
The Isidorian Decretals involved about a hundred concocted decrees allegedly promulgated by the early popes, along with counterfeit writings of supposed Church authorities and synods. These fabrications were just what vile Nicholas 1(858-67) needed to justify his claims that the popes 'held the place of God on earth' with absolute authority over kings, including even the right to 'command massacres' of those who opposed them - all supposedly in the name of Christ.
The popes who followed Nicholas were only too happy to emulate his ways, and each of them used his predecessors' actions to justify his own, thus building an increasing claim for 'infallibility' on this fraudulent foundation. Writing in the nineteenth century, Papal Roman Catholic historian R.W. Thompson commented:
Such times as these were adapted to the practice of any kind of imposture and fraud which the popes and clergy considered necessary to strengthen the authority of the papacy... the personal interest [and] ambition of Innocent III led him to preserve all these forgeries with care, so that.., the 'pious fraud' might become sanctified by time... The result he hoped and sought for has been accomplished....
[These] false Decretals, which are now universally considered to have been bold and unblushing forgeries ... constitute the cornerstone of that enormous system of wrong and usurpation which has since been built up by the papacy, to revive which Pope Pius IX has now put forth his Encyclical and Syllabus [of Errors]...
So much of the 'apostolic tradition' that supposedly supports Roman Catholicism and which they claim to be on the same level as Scripture was, in reality, a deliberately manufactured fraud. The doctrines built upon these forgeries became a part of Catholicism so that, even after the hoax was exposed, the popes were reluctant to make the necessary corrections and, rather than risk losing their worldly empire, endorsed the counterfeit.
Thus Pope Pius IX used the fraud, though it had already been exposed for three centuries, to build his case to pressure the bishops to make papal infallibility an official dogma at Vatican I. Then, even though the testimony of history conclusively refutes both apostolic succession and papal infallibility, Vatican II affirmed this false view:
This is the sole Church of Christ which in the creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it....The Roman Pontiff as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.
Since the claim that the popes are the successors of the apostle Peter is the cornerstone of Roman Catholicism, without which that Church would lose its uniqueness and could not function, it is worth examining their claim to an unbroken line of 262 popes succeeding Peter. For apostolic succession to occur, each pope must choose his own successor and personally lay hands on him and ordain him, following the Scriptural procedure found when Paul and Barnabas were sent forth by the church at Antioch on their first missionary journey (Acts 13v3). Timothy's appointment to the ministry was also by the elders laying hands upon him (1 Timothy 4v14), as did Paul when he imparted a special spiritual gift to Timothy (2 Timothy 1v6). This Biblical procedure, however, has never been followed with regard to successors of the bishops of Rome or the popes. A pope's successor is not chosen by him but is determined after his death by others. Although the system now accepted by the world as bona fide has been observed on worldwide media in recent years it was often done in an even more ungodly manner in the past, as history reveals.How many 'popes' are missing?
As shown earlier, there is also no record that Peter was ever Bishop of Rome, and therefore no Bishop of Rome could possibly be his successor. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (178-200 A.D.), provided a list of the first 12 Bishops of Rome. Linus was the first and Peter's name does not appear. Eusebius of Caesaria, the Father of church history, never mentions Peter as Bishop of Rome. He simply says that Peter came to Rome 'about the end of his days' and was crucified there. Paul, in writing his epistle to the Romans, greets many people by name, but not Peter. That would be a strange omission if Peter had been living in Rome, and especially if he were its bishop!
The Vatican officially lists the popes, arbitrarily beginning with Peter and continuing to the present. But they don't inform the public that there have been several such lists which were 'accurate' at one time but subsequently had to be revised - and now conflict with each other. The earliest lists come from Liber Pontificalis (Book of Popes), apparently originating in the days of Pope Hormisdus (514-23 A.D.), yet even the Catholic Encyclopedia casts doubt upon its authenticity, while most scholars today agree that it mixes fact with fiction. The actual Bishops of Rome cannot be identified with any certainty at this late date - as the New Catholic Encyclopedia, published by the Catholic University of America, acknowledges:
But it must be frankly admitted that bias or deficiencies in the sources make it impossible to determine in certain cases whether the claimants were popes or anti-popes.
Papal Rome, with all of its vast archives, cannot verify an accurate and complete list of the popes, so the alleged 'unbroken line of succession back to Peter' is a fanciful fiction. Anyone who takes the time to seriously attempt a verification of its accuracy will conclude that the Church has fabricated an official list of popes in order to justify the papacy and its pretensions. It can also be shown that the Bishop of Rome was not considered to be the pope of the universal Church - even by Roman citizens - until about a thousand years after Pentecost!
For centuries the citizens of Rome elected the Bishop of Rome - a custom that proves that the Bishop of Rome had jurisdiction only over that territory, for if the jurisdiction of Rome had been over the whole Church then, obviously, all of the Church accepting the papal claims would have been involved in choosing him - a situation seen today! Further, at times the right to elect their own Bishop was denied to the citizens of Rome and they promptly revolted and forced their will upon the local civil and religious authorities. This violent mob action also further proves the complete absence of any godly direction by the Holy Spirit in Rome's desperate claims to apostolic succession.Criminal behaviour from 'popes'?
Thus it was that powerful and corrupt Italian families (Colonna, Orsini, Annibaldi, Conti, Caetani, et al) fought wars for the papacy for centuries, e.g. Boniface VIII, a Caetani, had to battle the Colonna to remain in power and, at the height of his success, he had all of Western Christendom travelling to Rome for the great Jubilee (1300 AD). However, in 1303 Boniface was seized by emissaries of Philip the Fair of France, and the papacy was appropriated by France with French popes residing at Avignon (from 1309-77). Again, this proves that it was political manoeuvring and nothing of the Holy Spirit that determined who would be pope - showing again the fraudulent nature of Rome's claims to apostolic succession!
So popes were installed and deposed by imperial armies, or mobs, and filthy lucre or violence was the predominant factor in 'apostolic succession.' It is not just this century that suspicion has been cast over the death and succession of a pope. Popes have been killed in the past when understandably jealous husbands discovered them committing adultery with their wives. Thus it was that the Concordat of Worms (between Pope Calixtus II and the Emperor Henry V, September 23, 1122) forced the pope to swear that the election of bishops and abbots would take place 'without simony and without any violence,' for these worldly methods had all too often decided Church affairs.
So chaotic was the process that rival 'popes' arose, each claiming to have been legally voted in by a legitimate council, e.g. the simultaneous fight for election by rival factions of Popes Ursinus and Damasus which eventually saw the former installed as pope after much violence. This situation was later reversed, after a bloody three-day battle backed by the emperor, and Damasus remained vicar of Christ for 18 years (366-84 A.D.). So, again, we are to believe that 'apostolic succession' by an 'unbroken line from Peter' was brought about by violence?
Incredibly, Damasus (in 382 A.D.) first used the phrase 'Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church' to claim supreme spiritual authority, yet he used violence, wealth, and the resulting power, to live in luxury that would be utterly alien to Christ - yet we are supposed to believe he was part of an unbroken link back to 'pope' Peter?
Another foolish impostor, Stephen VII (896-7 A.D.), pulled off the astonishing act of exhuming Pope Formosus and condemning the corpse for heresy at a mock trial. Ironically, the impostor Stephen got his own just desserts when he was strangled soon after by opposing zealots! His supporters promptly elected Cardinal Sergius to be pope, but he was driven out of Rome by a rival faction which had elected Romanus as its own choice to be 'infallible vicar of Christ.' Popes followed one after another in a supposedly 'unbroken line of apostolic succession from Peter,' as another historian (E.R. Chamberlin, The Bad Popes, Barnes & Noble, 1969, p21) records:'Popes' were chosen by prostitutes and 'Madams'?
Over the next twelve months four more popes scrambled onto the bloodstained [papal] throne, maintained themselves precariously for a few weeks - or even days - before being hurled themselves into their graves.
Seven popes and an anti-pope had appeared in a little over six years when... Cardinal Sergius reappeared after seven years' exile, backed now by the swords of a feudal lord who saw a means thereby of gaining entry into Rome. The reigning pope [Leo V, 903] found his grave, the slaughters in the city reached a climax, and then Cardinal Sergius emerged as Pope Sergius [III, 904-11], sole survivor of the claimants and now supreme pontiff.
Nicholas II (1059-61) made an obvious attempt to establish a 'more' stable selection system (in 1059) when he 'defined the role of the cardinals in the [papal] electoral process. During the Third Lateran Council in 1179, Alexander III (1159-81) restricted papal elections to the cardinals.' But little improved. A nineteenth-century historian (T.A. Trollope, The Papal Conclaves, 1876, cited in Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy, Crown Publishers, 1988, p98) pointed out, 'Few papal elections, if any, have been other than simoniacal [bought off for money].... The invention of the Sacred College [of cardinals] has been, on the whole, perhaps the most fertile source of corruption in the Church. Many cardinals went to Rome for the conclave with their bankers.'
John Burchard. Master of Ceremonies at the conclave that elected Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI [1492-1503]), kept diaries of these multiple fiascos and concluded that only five votes were not bought in that election: 'The young cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, who had refused to sell his vote, thought it prudent to leave Rome immediately.' Buying a cardinal's vote cost a small fortune so only the rich or powerful could enter the race to be a member of this false order of 'apostolic succession.' The battle for the papacy was fought mercilessly and the infamous Borgia bought the papacy with 'villas, towns and abbeys ... [and] four mule-loads of silver to his greatest rival, Cardinal Sforza, to induce him to step down.' Peter de Rosa summarised the situation succinctly:
It is instructive to see, by way of Burchard's diaries, how the Holy Spirit goes about choosing St. Peter's successor.
It is an indisputable fact that this wonderfully corrupt Papal edifice was ruled by popes installed to office by rich mistresses or other equally supporters, e.g. six by a mother-and-daughter pair of prostitutes. Theodora of Rome (wife of a powerful Roman Senator) manipulated Roman politics in this manner by exploiting the fact that her daughter, Marozia, was the mistress of Pope Sergius III. Recognised as 'the mistress of Rome,' Marozia was ruthless in employing every resource, even stooping to murder, to accomplish her ambitions. After the death of Sergius, Theodora simply used her 'skills' to manoeuver Anastasius III (911-13) and then Lando (913-14) onto the un-Scriptural 'throne' of Rome. This is the 'apostolic succession' that ignorant Roman Catholics take for granted. Edward Gibbon wrote (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire):'Popes' battled murderously for the throne?
The influence of two prostitutes, Marozia and Theodora, was founded on their wealth and beauty, their political and amorous intrigues. The most strenuous of their lovers were rewarded with the Roman mitre.... The bastard son, the grandson, and the great grandson of Marozia a rare genealogy - were seated in the Chair of St. Peter.
Alberic, one of Marozia's sons, maintained this vile dynasty by thuggery and literally controlled Rome by force. Roman leaders were forced to swear to elect his son (Marozia's grandson) Octavian, not only as his successor to the Imperial throne but, upon the death of the pope, to that supreme religious office as well. Thus Octavian became Pope John XII, while retaining the name Octavian in his secular princely role.
John XII (955-63) was renowned for sex-obsession that centred on multiple mistresses and of which Bishop Liudprand of Cremona, papal observer and chronicler of that time, recorded: '[the pope] was so blindly in love with [one mistress] that he made her governor of several cities - and even gave to her the golden crosses and cups of St. Peter himself.' Even his fanatical Roman supporters were dismayed at such loss of properties which they had looked upon as part of their heritage and, as his popularity waned, mobs sought his removal. The new King of Italy brought his armies against this typically corrupt papacy so that Octavian abandoned his claim to civil rule but tried to hold onto the lucrative and influential papacy by summoning Otto, King of Germany and Europe's most powerful ruler, to Rome to be crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Otto duly obliged and his armed might saved the besieged pontiff, who fulfilled his obligation with the coronation of his new ally, but then quickly found that he did not approve of the hedonistic lifestyle of young 'Pope' John XII. Octavian/John XII acquiesced, at least partially, until Otto and his armies had departed but then offered the Imperial crown to Berenger, the very enemy whose armies had pillaged northern Italy and frightened him into approaching Otto for protection!
Berenger was tempted, but recognised the superiority of Otto's forces and sensibly declined. The desperate 'pope' had let the cat out of the bag and was now forced to appeal far and wide for forces, whether they be thoroughly pagan or as pseudo-Christian as himself (e.g. Saracens, Huns etc.), to protect him from Otto the man he had doubtlessly selected through his infallibility as 'pope'! The system that had partnered crown and papacy in the times of Leo III and Charlemagne was now under serious threat.
The doubtlessly enraged, but relatively moral, Emperor Otto returned to Rome with his army to gather a synod while John XII was forced to flee to Tivoli with as many Vatican treasures as he could assemble. Bishop Liudprand presided over the gathering in the emperor's name and the proceedings were recorded for posterity: witnesses to the pope's fornication with numerous named women, his evil act in blinding Benedict, his spiritual father, the murder of a Cardinal John, and even to his 'toasting' Satan at St. Peter's altar meant his fate was sealed. But John XII died, before the findings of the synod were carried out officially, at the hands of a husband who found the vile creature in bed with his wife. Yet Rome continues to place John XII on the official Roman Catholic list of 'popes', each carrying the ludicrous title: 'His holiness, Vicar of Christ.'Roman Pontiffs were - and are - heretics!
After Otto's death, in Germany, the papacy fell under the control of a powerful family of warlords in the Alban hills and the leader of the clan, Gregory of Tusculum, used his wealth and armed might to place two of his three sons, then a grandson, in succession on the 'throne of St. Peter'. The Alberics of Tusculum 'dynasty' eventually amounted to 40 cardinals, 3 anti-popes, and 13 'popes' - all issuing from one dubious family. To try and claim that 'apostolic succession' and not simple , sinful, wealth and power produced this dynasty of deceivers is to stretch the incredulity of the most ignorant Catholic.
Devout Roman Catholic Church historian von Dollinger, wrote:
... the Roman Church was enslaved and degraded, while the Apostolic See became the prey and the plaything of rival factions of the nobles, and for a long time of ambitious and profligate women. It was only renovated for a brief interval (997-1003) in the persons of Gregory V and Silvester II, by the influence of the Saxon emperor.
Then the Papacy sank back into utter confusion and moral impotence; the Tuscan Counts made it hereditary in their family; again and again dissolute boys, like John XII [age 16 when he became Pope] and Benedict IX [at age 11], occupied and disgraced the Apostolic throne, which was now bought and sold like a piece of merchandise, and at least three Popes fought for the tiara, until the Emperor Henry III put an end to the scandal by elevating a German bishop to the See of Rome.'
Angry mobs forced Pope Benedict IX (1032-44; 1045; 1047-8) from Rome in 1045 and he fled to the protection of his uncle, Count Gregory, whose army controlled the hill country of Tusculum. During his absence, John, Bishop of the Sabine Hills, entered Rome and installed himself as 'Pope' Sylvester III (1045) but occupied the 'throne of Peter' a mere three months until Benedict stormed back with superior forces and ruled as 'pope' once again. Again, both men are on the official Vatican list of those considered worthy of the titles 'His Holiness' and 'Vicar of Christ'!
Benedict eventually sold the papacy for 1500 pounds of gold to his godfather, Giovanni Gratiano, arch-priest of St. John's Church at the Latin Gate, apparently tired of the burdens of his office and eager to devote himself to his hedonistic past-times. Thus Giovanni took over the papacy (in May 1045) as Pope Gregory VI (1045-6) until, perhaps missing the kudos of the papacy, Benedict returned to Rome (in 1047) and set himself up as pope once again! However, with insufficient forces to gain overall control, the Papacy suffered the confusion of having the third rival 'pope' - Sylvester III - still hanging onto his title, so Rome suffered under three 'popes', each ruling over that portion of the city that his private army controlled, each claiming to be 'the vicar of Christ and possessor of the keys of heaven by virtue of apostolic succession.'
Even Rome, used to the most bizarre claims, grew tired of this fiasco and its citizens appealed to Emperor Henry III who marched into Rome with his army and presided over a synod that deposed all three 'popes' and installed the emperor's choice - 'Pope' Clement II (1046-7). But, like a fading 'movie star' attempting one last come back, Benedict IX waited until the Imperial army withdrew before returning to Rome and taking back the papacy by force for another eight months (1047-8), until Henry returned and finally drove him back to the Alban hills.
This is the background to the ruthless, monstrous, charade that is 'apostolic succession' or 'papal infallibility.' Such mind-boggling claims to holiness leave the honest seeker to draw only one conclusion - decption of the most evil and complete kind is at work here in the guise of Christianity.
It is beyond question that he [the pope] can err even in matters touching the faith. He does this when he teaches heresy by his own judgment or decretal. In truth, many Roman Pontiffs were heretics - Pope Adrian VI, 1523 (ref. again by Papal Roman Catholic historian Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy, Crown Publishers, 1988, p. 204)'Pope' John XXII exposed the scam
When the claim is made that the popes are infallible, when they speak on morals and dogma to the entire Church, yet popes themselves (Adrian VI - quoted above, and others) have clearly denied that they or any other popes were infallible, how on earth can anyone argue otherwise?
Adrian VI's declaration makes it even clearer that, since many popes have been blatant heretics, there cannot have ever been an unbroken line of 'apostolic succession back to Peter.' Apart from proving that the 'popes' have never been infallible, espousing heresy is a mortal sin in Roman Catholic theology and its immediate consequence, according to the official Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law (a codification of the canons and decrees of the Church councils), is instant and automatic excommunication because such a heretic has denied the faith and placed himself outside the Church!
Since a heretical pope would no longer even be a member of the Church, much less its head, he could not possibly provide a channel of apostolic authority to a successor. The list of popes contains numerous heretics who were denounced as such by councils and by other popes so it is little wonder the theories of apostolic succession and papal infallibility were not proposed until many centuries after Peter's death! We find a clear pattern of power seeking after kingdoms and nations followed by colossal, arrogant, oppressive imperialism. Claiming to be 'God on earth' and the 'vicars of Christ' ('vicarious' meaning 'in place of Christ, i.e. literally anti-Christ) was not enough for, claiming to be such, meant they had to maintain that they were also infallible.
A leading nineteenth-century Papal Roman Catholic historian (J.H. Ignaz von Dollinger, The Pope and the Council, London, 1869, pp. Xv, xvii) wrote that such authoritarianism encouraged despotism:
... the Catholic Church [developed] an hostile and suspicious attitude towards the principles of political, intellectual, and religious freedom and independence of judgment... [so that the] ideal of the Church [became] a universal empire.., of force and oppression, where the spiritual authority is aided by the secular arm in summarily suppressing every movement it dislikes. ... we could not, therefore, avoid bringing forward ... a very dark side of the history of the Papacy.
The idea that a pope could be thought infallible, even while blatantly contradicting himself, was maintained through such examples as Pope Clement XI (1700-21) confirming King Philip V of Spain and then, shortly thereafter, King Charles III of Germany, both with the same titles and privileges, including the highly prized 'Bull of the Crusade'. Not surprisingly, Charles went to war with Philip to claim the crown which the pope had seemingly given him. Clement even managed to confirm two different candidates, one proposed by each sovereign, for the same bishopric.
Such blatant contradictions should be proof enough to any open mind that this pope was clearly fallible.
Yet, even here, the bishops arguing the case for Charles III, according to a contemporary observer: 'did allege the Pope's infallibility, and that every Christian is obliged in conscience to follow the last declaration of the Pope, and blindly to obey it, without inquiring into the reasons that did move the Pope to it.' (D. Antonio Gavin, A Master Key to Popery: In Five Parts, 3rd ed., London, England, 1773, p. 113-114).This illogical and un-Biblical claim to absolute and infallible papal authority eventually became official Roman Catholic dogma at Vatican I a 'Council' which was coerced by Pius IX (1846-78) and even made submission to the pope a requirement of salvation:
If anyone therefore shall say that blessed Peter the Apostle was not appointed the prince of all the apostles and the visible head of the whole church militant or that the same directly and immediately received from our Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of honor only and not of true and proper jurisdiction [over the whole church], let him be anathema [excommunicated and thus damned]!
Such ludicrous propositions had been made many years earlier, e.g. in 1591, when the loyal Jesuit, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, declared that whatever the Roman Pontiff commanded must be believed and obeyed - no matter how evil or ludicrous. Biblical, logical, or even traditional support is totally absent for such an extreme and Satanic view!
Peter Olivi, a Franciscan priest, made one of the earliest attempts to establish papal infallibility via his primarily selfish motive. Pope Nicholas III (1277-80) had favoured the Franciscans by declaring that 'communal renunciation of property was a possible way to salvation' (A. B. Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible, Doubleday & Co. Inc., 1981, p36). Roman Catholicism had long taught salvation by works, as it teaches even today, despite Scripture clearly showing that good works come as a result of being saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2v8-10; Romans 4v3-5) and have absolutely nothing to do with the act of salvation itself! Like a greedy child seeking total favour over his siblings and desiring to make the pope's decision in favour of himself and his fellow Franciscans unassailable, Olivi proposed that such papal pronouncements were infallible.
Olivi's astonishing proposal was a radical departure from Papal Church tradition - even up to that time - and Papal Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung (ibid. Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible, from the introduction by Hans Kung, p. 9) wrote:
With regard to the origin of the Roman Doctrine of infallibility:... [it] did not slowly 'develop' or 'unfold,' but rather was created in one stroke in the late 1200s [by] an eccentric Franciscan, Peter Olivi (d. 1298), repeatedly accused of heresy. At first no one took Olivi's notion seriously.... The medieval canonists... had never claimed that the Church needed an infallible head to preserve its faith.... [And] the modern critical attack on the principles of infallibility has the backing of Scripture and the body of Catholic tradition.
Olivi's proposal was soon denounced by a later pontiff for the usual selfish reasons. Pope John XXII (1316-34) hated the Franciscans for taking vows of poverty that clearly condemned his own anti-Christ, plush lifestyle. His colossal fortune was assimilated 'by duping the poor, by selling livings, indulgences and dispensations.' (De Rosa, op. cit., p. 180). He therefore condemned, as heresy, both the Franciscan way of life and Nicholas III's commendation of it. Had the Franciscans not been the champions of it he might have accepted the idea as useful for his own purposes but, instead, he took awful vengeance upon the Franciscans. To try and justify contradicting another pope, John produced his Bull Qui quorundam (1324), a dogmatic assertion of doctrine made to the entire Church and thus infallible by later edicts. John XXII clearly reviled the doctrine of papal infallibility as 'the work of the devil' so, though often offered as an example of the consummate heretic, he continued in the 'holy office' for 18 utterly wicked years, yet his name remains today displayed on the Vatican's official list of the 'vicars of Christ'. John XXII is described by one Papal Roman Catholic historian as: 'full of avarice, more worldly than a pimp, and with a laugh that crackled with unimprovable malice' (ibid., p. 212). Such men flourished in the line of heretics making up the 'apostolic succession' back to Peter!The Abomination of Papal Indulgences!
As any reasonably scholared child in the UK can tell you, history records that, after John XXII's predecessor Clement V had given away most of the Church's wealth to his relatives, the new pope set out to cure this situation by selling 'absolution from sin' and 'eternal salvation.' What impression would these historical facts make upon any open-minded person, in any day or age? It is a fact that John XXII published a list of crimes and gross sins, together with the individual price for which the 'Vicar of Christ, head of the one true Church,' would absolve transgressors. Murder, piracy, theft, incest, adultery, sodomy, paedophilia - the 'pope' can forgive all, thus there is no sin that those with the money or the ear of the 'pope' cannot commit with real impunity! The wealthier one was, the more one could sin; the more Catholics sinned, the richer the Church became. Much of the wealth thus acquired was spent to further John XXII's passion for wars, as one of his contemporaries wrote:The Heretical Heritage
'The blood he shed would have incarnadined the waters of Lake Constance [an extremely large lake], and the bodies of the slain would have bridged it from shore to shore.' (ibid.)
John XXII's claimed that Christ and His apostles had been men of great wealth, as he declared in a papal bull: Cum inter nonnullos (1323). To deny this dogma was heresy punishable by death. Subsequently, John demanded that secular rulers burn Franciscans, who had taken vows of poverty, at the stake. Rulers who refused to do so were excommunicated and, during his pontificate, he handed over 114 Franciscans to the Inquisition to be consumed by the flames for the heresy of purposely living in poverty in imitation of Christ. This is how the inconceivable, but official Roman Catholic dogma - that Christ and His disciples were men of considerable wealth (and that all Christians ought therefore to be wealthy!) - came into being in the Papacy for a short while. Yet another dogma repudiated by other 'popes'!
Such papal heretics and their condemnations of one another are part of the history of the popes, a history which Catholics must honestly face, but clearly rarely do - for who could honestly know this and remain in this corrupt cult? Those who ignorantly admire Rome must realize that the position the 'popes' hold and the special authority they claim come through a long line of criminals and heretics whom adherents still honour as past 'vicars of Christ'.
John XXII is regarded by millions of Roman Catholics as an exceptionally holy man. He claimed to have been favoured by an appearance of 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' - when the 'Virgin Mary' appeared to him to present the Great Promise that she would personally go into purgatory the Saturday after their death and take to heaven all those who, having met certain other conditions, died wearing her brown scapular. In reliance upon this special Sabbatine [Saturday] Privilege, which was confirmed by other popes, untold millions of Roman Catholics have since worn (and still wear today) the brown scapular of 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' as their ticket to heaven. How anyone can be foolish enough to accept this 'privileged' guarantee when the Bible makes it clear that faith in Christ is the only 'way' to heaven - for all - is beyond belief!Popes who bowed to Emperors?
As it happens, John XXII was eventually denounced as a heretic by Emperor Louis of Bavaria, who deposed him and appointed another pope in his place. But, even more embarrassing, the emperor's purging of the papacy took a turn for the worse when, shortly after the new pope took office, his wife appeared on the scene. The emperor quickly decided that John XXII wasn't so bad after all. For, as Roman Catholic historian de Rosa sarcastically remarked: "John, like most of the other popes, had illegitimate children, [but] at least he 'had never committed the sin of matrimony.'" Such sarcasm, though it comes from a Papal Roman Catholic historian, may seem unfair at first but is in fact fully warranted. Today's Code of Canon Law, Canon 1394, refers to marriage as a 'scandal' for a priest, whereas it has no such harsh words for sins of which priests are frequently guilty even today, such as paedophilia, having a mistress, homosexuality, etc.
John XXII seemed to learn nothing from his earlier errors, because his mounting heretical pronouncements became so outrageous that only his death saved him from removal again from the papacy. But he remains on that long list of alleged successors of Peter through whom 'popes' continue to receive authority. There are far worse and more laughable examples, e.g. 'Pope' Stephan VII (896-7) who, in 896 A.D., had the corpse of the previous Pope Formosus (891-6) exhumed eight months after burial, dressed in its former papal vestments and propped on a throne in the council chamber to hear the heretical charges against 'him.' The cadaver was duly 'tried' and found guilty of having crowned one of Charlemagne's many illegitimate descendants as emperor - this despite the fact that a number of popes previous to this farce were also the illegitimate sons of previous popes. When the history of the 'popes' reveals so many illicit claimants to the alleged throne of Peter we can be certain that claims that 'popes' passed 'apostolic authority' to their successors to be an utter mockery.
After being condemned by Pope Stephan VII, the corpse of former Pope Formosus was stripped, the three fingers of 'benediction' on the right hand were hacked off, and the remains thrown to the mob outside, who dragged it through the streets and threw it into the Tiber where fishermen later gave it a 'decent' burial. Since Stephan VII declared all of the Formosus ordinations invalid, he created a serious problem which remains with the Papacy still. The many priests and bishops ordained by Formosus obviously ordained multitudes of others, who also carried out equally false appointments devoid of any 'papal holiness.' Clearly no one can know which priests, bishops, et al, down to the present time may be in the line of those falsely ordained by Formosus and are therefore without genuine 'apostolic authority'. The same questions can be asked of all who were ordained by the many other heretical 'popes'? When the name of Formosus still remains on the official Vatican list of 'vicars of Christ,' together with the pope who exhumed his body and denounced him posthumously in such a bizarre fashion, it is clearly impossible to take Papal claims seriously!
Pope Sergius III agreed with Stephan VII in pronouncing all ordinations by heretical popes invalid - a logical conclusion since automatic excommunication (supposedly) always accompanies heresy. In Cum ex-Apostolatus officio, Pope Paul IV declared 'by the plenitude of papal power' that all of the acts of heretical popes were null and void. That equally infallible declaration leaves 'apostolic succession' in ruins and there is not one word that any pro-Papist can produce in defence of this farcical situation.
When an unscrupulous Roman official, Vigilius, became pope (537-55) the situation became equally tragic for Rome, for he changed his mind on doctrine each time the emperor demanded it. Vigilius was finally declared a heretic and excommunicated by the Fifth General Council (553), called at Constantinople by the Emperor Justinian, so that a council's authority now carried authority exceeding that of the 'pope'!
When Vigilius was exiled by the emperor he confessed his errors and pleaded that he had been deceived by the devil. This clearly crushes Papal claims that Luther gained his clearly Biblical insights from the Devil! How come Vigilius remained undetected on Peter's alleged throne for one the longest reigns of any 'pope'? It is not as if only one pope was condemned as a heretic by a Church council - the Council of Constance [1414-18] deposed three popes who each claimed to be the one true vicar of Christ - and had each 'excommunicated' the other two!
The Sixth Ecumenical Council (678-87) condemned Pope Honorius (625-38) as a heretic and, for centuries, each new pope taking office was required to swear an oath that Honorius had been a heretic and had properly been condemned by the council. Of course, Honorius also remains on the official list of successors to Peter.
This action of the Sixth Ecumenical Council was corroborated by subsequent popes and considered proof, for centuries, that popes were not infallible. Yet, eventually, yet another contradiction occurred when the ruthless despot, Pope Pius IX, through threats and manipulation of the votes, managed to orchestrate an assertion of papal infallibility by the First Vatican Council in 1870.
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