March 13, 2013, the Catholic Church has a new Pope. He is Jorge Bergoglio, a Jesuit from Argentina. Taking the name of Pope Francis, after Francis of Assisi, he is viewed as a reformer. The Catholic Church is in need of reform.
Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Jesuit movement. The Jesuits are known as the “Marines of God.” Ignatius wrote: “I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it.” This is the problem with man-made institutional religion. It is almost always corrupted by the perceived needs of the institution’s leadership. This is true of many denominations and even some para-church organizations.
I have no doubt that there are some born-again believers in the Catholic Church. It is also true that God loves Catholics. He wants them to have a personal relationship with Him through their own personal belief in the redemptive work of His only Son, Jesus. There are a number of ex-Catholics in my Sunday school class. They have seen Catholicism for what it really is. What they were taught in the Catholic Church does not point to God. It points to powerful men. All practicing Catholics participate in catechism training. Here is just part of what they are taught.
Six Commandments of the Church:
1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holidays of obligation.
2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed.
3. To confess at least once a year.
4. To receive the Holy Eucharist during Easter time.
5. To contribute to the support of our pastors.
6. Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us within the forbidden degrees of
kindred, nor privately without witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.
Isn’t it interesting that there is not any mention of the need for the people of the Catholic Church to have a personal relationship with God through a personal decision to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus? Every one of the six commandments of the Catholic Church is intended to strengthen the hold of the man-made institution over the real spiritual needs of the individual.
Here are the dogmas of the Catholic Church concerning Miriam, the mother of Yeshua.
1. Mary is truly the Mother of God.
2. Mary was conceived without stain of Original sin.
3. Mary conceived by the Holy Ghost without the co-operation of man.
4. Mary bore her Son without any violation of her virginal integrity.
5. Also after the Birth of Jesus Mary remained a Virgin.
6. Mary was a Virgin before, during and after the Birth of Jesus Christ.
7. Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven.
Which of the seven dogmas concerning Mary cannot be true? Don’t the Scriptures themselves tell us that after Jesus was born Mary and Joseph had children together? Take a look at Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31.
Speaking of the Scriptures, in 1562, Gaspare de Posso, the Archbishop of Reggio at the Council of Trent declared that tradition now stood above Scripture: “The authority of the Church is illustrated most clearly by the scriptures, for on one hand she recommends them, declares them to be divine, and offers them to us to be read, and on the other hand, the legal precepts in the scriptures taught by the Lord have ceased by virtue of the same authority. The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord’s day. These and other similar matters have not ceased by virtue of Christ’s teaching (for He says that He has come to fulfill the law, not to destroy it), but they have been changed by the authority of the Church.”
It seems to me that the Roman Catholic priests are saying: “Don’t worry about the Bible. We are the very Word of God.” Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” I pray that Pope Francis is asking the same question today.
For more on the origins of the Catholic Church read one of our previous blog posts: All Have Sinned. Those interested in reading what God says is necessary to believe in order to obtain the favor of God, here is the Plan of Salvation.
*Note: The original title of this posting was not appropriate. I want to apologize for its inflammatory nature.