Conquerors of the Laity

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For years, the Roman Catholic system has been experiencing a shortage of men entering the priesthood. Pope Francis is now considering the possibility of ordaining married men as priests, especially in rural areas.

Granted, the media exposure of priestly sexual abuse spanning decades has demythologised the gnomic claim of priestly celibacy as a “brilliant jewel” which “radiantly proclaims the reign of God.” As if self-restraint can be wished on clerics by an ink on paper, the Code of Canon Law says:

Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity” (III: 277:1).

For the first 4 centuries of the church, most Christian leaders were married. Even popes were married up until the 9th century. In 1018, Pope Benedict VIII forbade marriage for priests and the First Lateran Council in 1123 finally prohibited it.

After the Council of Trent, the penalty for priests or nuns who violates the canon law on marriage is excommunication. How Rome will now overturn its own “infallible” decree after 10 long centuries remains an amazing spectacle to behold.

I had a Catholic friend who led a dissolute life of sex and booze even though he was a seminarian at the time. We lost contact for several years but when I saw him on Facebook recently, he was now a priest at a parish in Delta State. As we chatted, I quizzed him, “I hope you’ve stopped those stuff you used to do back then right? I know you’d be better now that you’re a priest.” He laughed “Better? I’m worse! Back in those days I was still a good guy, but now I’m doing worse stuff!”

Such an admission to an outsider like me is like a diamond in a coalmine. Celibacy is not the only root of the depravity and corruption in the Catholic clergy – power is another. A maxim says: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

It’s not as if priests, nuns or popes are inherently more prone to promiscuity than others. Many of them started out with high morals and spiritual aspirations – however unbiblical their system is – but it was the privilege, power and authority which Rome’s hierarchical system conferred on them that perverted and destroyed them. Nothing destroys an unregenerate individual faster than a position of power. Even spiritually immature Christians find it hard to stay afloat the cesspool of power.

Catholic historian, Ignaz von Dollinger, in The Pope and the Council, wrote about a legend in which Constantine burnt written accusations against the bishops when it was laid before him, saying that “the bishops were gods, and no man could dare to judge them.”

This absolutist code still pervades Rome’s hierarchy, and all forms of abuse hinge around power and control. This is the key behind the prevalence of sexual abuse within Catholicism. The authoritarianism wielded by the clergy not only absolves them of their crimes but also renders their victims utterly powerless to stand against them.

Even Rome’s ecclesiastical titles reflect this currency of power. The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Instead of addressing patriarchs as ‘Vostra Beautitudine,’ archbishops as ‘Your Grace,’ bishops as ‘My Lord,’ abbots as ‘Gracious Lord,’ one may without any breach of etiquette salute all equally as Monsignor.

The word “monsignor” means “my Lord” and “arch” means “master,” so archbishop and arch priest literally mean master bishop and master priest which dubiously elevates them to the same footing as Jesus: “You call me Master and Lord, and rightly so.” (Jn. 13:13). But He warned: “for you have only one Master and you are all brothers” (Mt. 23:8).

The Pope is called “Most Holy Father,” but the title “Holy Father” appears only once in the Bible and it’s used for God (Jn. 17:11). Why should this title be attributed to an earthly creature? We are warned against using the religious title of “father” because it diverts the reference people should have for God/Jesus to imperfect and sinful men (Mt. 23:9).

Notably, the Catholic priest is called “another Christ” (sacerdotus alter Christus). This god-like pedestal on which priests and popes are placed gives them much power over Catholics and this religious absolutism was precisely what Jesus denounced among the Pharisees. They had their religious garbs, special seats, religious showbiz and rites which gave them so much control over the people (Mt. 23:1-12).

Christ’s death has torn apart the veil of the temple. No need to go to God through human priests again. Every Christian is now a priest and Jesus is our High Priest. All who have been washed from their sins by Christ’s blood are “priests unto God” and are “a royal priesthood” (Rev. 1:6, 1 Pt. 2:9). Rome dare not teach this truth because she will lose her hold on the laity.

The Bible commands church leaders: “Do not lord it over the group [congregation] which is in your charge, but be an example for the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). But as the centuries went by, false leaders began to lord it over the people, teaching them that they needed a priest to listen to their sins and absolve them, sprinkle them, give them last rites and say Masses for them.

A powerful system of priestcraft soon developed and Jesus, the true High Priest, became clouded from their view by dark veils of man-made traditions. Any system of priesthood – whether professing to be Christian or not – that is contrary to the priesthood of all believers which the New Testament teaches is an abomination before God.

Prisoners in the Tower

Serena Williams, ranked as the number one women’s tennis player, recently received a trophy in Australia. “I have to thank Jehovah God for this,” she said, facing the crowd. She and her sisters became Jehovah’s Witness in the early 1980s. “We believe in God and the Bible,” she said, “and without him I wouldn’t be here right now.” Most JWs will tell you the same, but we need to look beyond the paintings and scale over the fence to see what lies behind the tower.

When JWs show up at your door, they first ask if you have a Bible and request to study the Bible with you. They hand you their study book, What Does the Bible Really Teach? and tell you to read out a portion and answer the questions on each paragraphs. For the next hour, that’s all you do and this is how each session will go. Wait a minute, I thought they said this was a “Bible study.” They are not studying the Bible with you, but conditioning you to accept the Watchtower’s faulty interpretation of the Bible.

This is a “bait and switch” system where what you are told outside is different from what you get once you walk in. On the outside, the Jehovah Witness religion claims to have faith in Jesus or primarily study the Bible, but as you are drawn in, the main emphasis shifts to the Watchtower Society.

“The only reliable guidance by which to direct our steps is spiritual guidance which comes through Jehovah’s word, his spirit and his organization.” (The Watchtower, Sept. 1, 2005, 23)

“We should meekly go along with the Lord’s theocratic organization and wait for further clarification rather than balk at the first mention of a thought unpalatable to us and proceed to quibble and mouth our criticisms as though they were worth more than the slave’s provision of spiritual food.” (The Watchtower, Feb. 1, 1952, 80)

“We ‘see’ Jehovah and ‘hear’ his voice of salvation by heeding what he says through his inspired Word, the Bible, and through the faithful and discreet slave.” (The Watchtower, Dec. 1, 2006, 9)

The terms “Jehovah’s organization,” “the Lord’s theocratic organization” or “faithful and discreet slave” all refer to Watchtower leadership which Witnesses must submit to. Thus, when JWs tell you they are “hearing” or trusting in Jehovah, what they really mean is that they are hearing and trusting in the Watchtower Society – Jehovah’s organization through which his spirit teaches Bible truths. This principle of blind loyalty to an authoritarian leadership as a condition of “salvation” is a mark of all cults. Here are more quotes:

“Put faith in a victorious organization” (The WT, March 1, 1979, 1)

“To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise, we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it” (The WT Feb. 15, 1981, 12)

“Respond to the directions of the [Watchtower] organization as you would to the voice of God.” (The WT, June 15, 1957, 370)

“Come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation” (The WT Nov. 15, 1981, 212)

Contrary to what JWs say in public, their faith is not in Jesus, but a man-made organization. In their 2013 study article, Make Sure of the More Important Things, the term “organization” appears 24 times, while the name of Jesus appears only 18 times. The accompanying chart on it shows that the Watchtower Society next in command after Jehovah – omitting Jesus Christ!

We need to ask JWs: what would your life be without Jesus? Since He is the “way, truth and life” what qualifications does the Watchtower Society have that equal Jesus’ claim? If John 14:6 is true, then why do they need the Watchtower? If they were to go through life without the Watchtower Society where would they be and if they were to go through life without Jesus which loss would be greater?

The Bible is clear that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Jesus Christ – not an organization – “is the gate; whoever enters through [Him] will be saved” (Jn. 10:9) We are saved “only by believing in Jesus Christ…in order to receive God’s approval by faith in Christ” (Gal 2:16). As many as believe in Him receive eternal life (Jn. 3:16). The only way to be saved and have God’s approval is to receive Christ by faith into one’s heart. So it’s not about being in an organization but being in Christ and Christ being in us.

The totalitarianism wielded by Watchtower leadership helps absolve them of their false teachings and evil practices. Julie, an ex-JW, recalled reporting an elder whom she felt was a wolf among the sheep to another elder. “He laughed at the absurdity of my comment and said ‘Those verses [of wolves among sheep] only refer to the first century.’ ‘What?’ I asked myself. He explained that since Jehovah’s organization was fully formed, there were no wolves in the congregation.” So they are infallible!

Eventually, Julie was summoned to a judicial trial. “At those hearings, I upheld my faith in Jehovah, Jesus Christ, and the Bible, but I refused to put faith in the Watchtower Society.” This was deemed a great offense and she was disfellowshipped. Let’s look 4 facets of Watchtower control over JWs:

I. Fostering a Child-like Dependency

“[We must] show our respect for Jehovah’s organization for she is our mother and the beloved wife of our heavenly father, Jehovah God.” (The WT, Nov. 1, 1995, 25)

“So we stand up respectfully and bless his faithful organization, his queenly ‘woman’ in heaven which makes all these loving provisions for us as children of God.” (The WT Oct. 1, 1950, 348)

JWs are reduced to “little children” who depend on Father and Mother to teach them how to behave, think, what to feel or say. The Watchtower organization demands absolute submission to their control. This is why after a JW leaves the religion, he feels confused because he has depended on their leadership for his identity and direction for so long.

II. Control of Behaviour

A good example of behaviour modification is how JWs are forbidden by Watchtower policy to report any case of sexual abuse or incest within the religion to the police in order to protect the image of Jehovah’s organization – ironically, the very organization that covers the abuse and shields the abuser (as many victims have testified). Three quotes from The Watchtower November 1, 1995 article which deals with sexual abuse were quite revealing:

Can we doubt that the Devil now plays upon child abuse and the ‘downhearted spirit’ of many adults who suffered this (or are troubled by ‘memories’ of having suffered it) to try and weaken the faith of Christians?” (p. 26)

This rhetoric is aimed at preventing victims from exposing their abusers or talking about the abuse so it won’t appear that they are being used by the devil to weaken the faith of other JWs. Such a clap trap would keep lips sealed and “the Society” in a clean image.

If there is some valid reason to suspect that the alleged perpetrator is still abusing children, a warning may have to be given. The congregation elders can help in such a case. Otherwise, take your time. Eventually, you may be content to let the matter drop.” (p. 28)

You can’t miss the undertone here: “take your time…let the matter drop.” This is the same look-the-other-way policy adopted by Catholicism towards sex predators in its ranks. One wonders how only congregational elders can help in cases when the abuser is also an elder. Will an elder expose a fellow elder? I  don’t think so.

If the accusation is denied, the elders should explain to the accuser that nothing more can be done in a judicial way. And the congregation will continue to view the one accused as an innocent person…Even if more than one person ‘remembers’ abuse by the same individual, the nature of these recalls is just too uncertain to base judicial decisions on them without other supporting evidence.” (pp. 28-29)

How ludicrous! So once a sex predator in the Watchtower rank denies he abused a child, he is deemed innocent and the victim is quickly told there’s no justice! Even when several children point him out as an abuser, these are still “just too uncertain” to make him guilty. What “supporting evidence” is required? Do the judicial elders have to watch the sexual act itself before an action is taken? With this “policy,” a paedophile can continue abusing children for another 20-30 years before the Watchtower would debate whether he is guilty. Such a paradise for paedophiles.

III. Control of Emotions

Two things inform a human emotions – thoughts and pictures. The pictures on Awake! or The Watchtower magazines portray JWs as happy, peaceful people who will live in paradise earth, while non-JWs are presented as mindless hypocrites or wicked folks who will be blown to bits at Armageddon. Such images are meant to keep the JWs from leaving and at the same time lure in the foolhardy. Labels are powerful. Once they are hurled at a group, it sticks, and negative images are evoked. Here is an example:

“Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious deadly disease. You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are ‘mentally diseased,’ and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings (1Timothy 6:3, 4).” (The WT, Jul. 15, 2011, 16)

The venom there can hardly be hidden. Apostates, (i.e former Jehovah’s Witnesses) are labeled as “mentally diseased.” They Scripture-fish for a liberal rendering of 1st Timothy 6:5 and use the term “mentally diseased” to smear all ex-JWs. This creates an image in the minds of JWs about those who leave the cult – as insane and diseased people. It’s a psychological weapon more potent than a physical one. Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword.

IV. Control of Information

JWs are conditioned to avoid or distrust any information whether in books or websites that critiques the Watchtower Society. Their leaders do not want them to read from the other side, but continually hammer their own ideas into their heads. This is brainwashing. It is also implemented by isolating them from ex-JWs or knowlegeable Christians who can weaken their faith in “the Society” with the Gospel:

“The talk ‘Guard Against Deception’ showed that we wisely treat as poison the distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods propagated by apostates.” (The WT Jan 15, 2003 23)

“Like rocks hidden below water, these false Christians mask their real intent beneath a pretense of concern for the Witness youth. But their goal is to shipwreck the faith of the unwary ones. – 1 Timothy 1:19, 20. This journal, as well as other materials produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses, has repeatedly warned of this particular danger.” (The WT, Oct 22, 2005, 18)

“Having this accurate knowledge, who would become so curious as to pay any attention to apostate mouthings? May no man ‘delude you with persuasive arguments.’ (Colossians 2:2-4) False religious propaganda from any source should be avoided like poison! Really, since our Lord has used ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ to convey to us ‘sayings of everlasting life,’ why should we ever want to look anywhere else?” (The WT, Nov 1, 1987, 20)

A real truth is never afraid of lies. It is a lie that fears the knowledge of the truth. It’s the Lord Jesus Christ Himself – not a religious organization –  that has the sayings of eternal life. While true Christianity embraces and recognizes all who confess the name of Christ in faith and practice, the Watchtower Society denounces anyone who disagrees or think differently from it as “apostates.” (1Cor. 3:1-9) Typical of cults. JWs must come to the point of acknowledging their sin of giving to an organization a place of honour that belongs to God alone. This is sheer idolatry, and even the Watchtower Society agrees:

“If one renders obedient service to someone or some organization, whether willingly or under compulsion, looking up to such as possessing a position of superior rulership and great authority, one can scripturally be said to be a worshipper.” (The WT, Sept 1, 1961, 525)

“We  cannot take part in any modern version of idolatry – be it the worshipful gestures towards an image or symbol or the imputing of salvation to a person or an organization.” (The WT, Nov 1, 1990, 26)

Is Rome the Infallible Bible Interpreter?

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Sometimes, when you confront the errors of Rome with the Bible, some Catholics will likely respond saying:

“What makes your interpretation of the Bible infallible? Are you an authentic interpreter of the Bible?”

Marcus Grodi, a Catholic convert, also employed this rhetoric device:

All of this wrangling [over] how to interpret Scripture gets one nowhere if there is no way to know with infallible certitude that one’s interpretation is the right one. The teaching authority of the Church in the magisterium [is] centered around the seat of Peter. If I could accept this doctrine, I knew I could trust the Church on everything else” (Surprised by Truth, 1994, p. 56).

There are several weaknesses in this claim.

(I) The Catholic assumes that the Bible is so cryptic, so confusing and esoteric, that one needs to be “infallible” in order to understand or interpret it.

To them, we can’t even understand a verse like Matthew 24:1 “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when the disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings,” unless we are infallible.

But the Berean Christians didn’t have an infallible church to guide them as they “examined the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). Reason? They didn’t need to be infallible to understand the Scriptures.

When Jesus chastised the Sadducees for being in error and held them accountable to what God has said to them in Matthew 22:31, why did the Sadducees not respond, “We didn’t have an authentic interpreter of the Bible?” Because one doesn’t need an “infallible church” to know God’s Word!

II. Rome has a problem with the Bible. They described it as, “A dumb and difficult book [which] was substituted for the living voice of the Church, in order that each one should be able to make for himself the religion which suited his feelings” (A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, 1953, p. 11).

The Roman Catholic institution doesn’t want the Bible which God gave to all of mankind to speak to each person. Not only that, the role of the Holy Spirit in enlightening each Believer to Scripture has been totally eradicated and replaced with the Church (pope and bishops).

So, to a Catholic, the Holy Spirit is just like a theological abstraction or a sentence at the end of the Apostles’ Creed. But the Holy Spirit has been given to every Believer, and He’s not just a bystander, He’s a Teacher.

Romans 8:9, 16 “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his … For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God…

1 Corinthians 2:10-12 “But to us God hath revealed them, by this Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God

If all Christians are “led by the Spirit of God,” then they must be able to understand the Scriptures inspired by God’s Spirit.

Since Christians have received the Spirit of God and have “the mind of Christ” (1Cor. 2:16), we don’t need a church Magisterium to understand or interpret the Bible. This is a truth that Rome hates.

III. The doctrine of the “infallible interpreter” implies that God didn’t make Himself clear in His Word. It assumes that God gave us a revelation that still needs revealing or failed in His attempt to give man a revelation.

It’s ludicrous to teach that God inspired infallible Scripture yet denied 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 entrance of His word gives light and understanding unto the simple” (Ps. 119:130) then one doesn’t need the Pope to know what it says.

If the Holy Spirit can convince the world “of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement” then surely He can teach all those in whom He dwells (John 16:8).

Apostle John says that the Christians to whom he writes don’t have to look up to a class of men for teaching but have an “anointing [of the Holy Spirit which] teaches you all things” (1 Jn. 2:27).

Sadly, the very book that should bring life and freedom to Catholics have been spiritually chained out of their reach.

IV. Popular Catholic apologists teach their fans that anytime someone shows how Catholic doctrines contradict the Bible, they should dismiss it by saying, “That’s your fallible interpretation.”

This is obfuscation by rhetoric. Catholics who use this line have two priori assumptions:

(a) That the Bible is too complicated – This is untrue. In fact, a non-Christian can exegete a Bible verse and comprehend a passage in its context.

The difference is that his understanding will not have the Holy Spirit’s illumination and his conclusion would be the deadness of the letter.

(b) That only the Catholic Magisterium can interpret the Bible – This is also false.

Respected Catholic scholars have even denied this, thus forcing the Catholic himself to resort to excessive amounts of private interpretation:

A wide field is still left open to the private student, in which his hermeneutical skill may display itself with signal effect and to the advantage of the Church. On the one hand, in those passages of Holy Scripture which have not yet received a certain and definitive interpretation, such labors may, in the benignant providence of God, prepare for and bring to maturity the judgment of the Church” (Providentissmus Deus, On the Study of Holy Scripture [Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII Nov 18, 1893]).

Very few texts have in fact been authoritatively determined and there consequently remain many important matters in the explanation of which sagacity and ingenuity of Catholic interpreters can and should be freely exercised…” (Dom Bernard Orchard M.A.; ed, A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, 1953, p. 60).

If the Catholic church has not yet given her followers the infallible interpretation of the Bible, but “a wide field is still left open” that virtually everyone can share the pasture, then it’s a spiritual tragedy to look up to them for any guidance.

Catholic scholar, Raymond Brown even stated:

“To the best of my knowledge, the Roman Catholic Church has never defined the literal sense of a single passage of the Bible” (The Critical Meaning of the Bible, New York: Paulist Press, 1981, 40).

Yet Catholics are told by pop apologists that their church is the infallible interpreter of Scripture. We refuse to submit to such duplicity.

V. Since the Magisterium hasn’t infallibly interpreted most of the Bible, on what basis then do Catholics trot out Bible texts at will?

Why, for instance, don’t Catholic apologists go to debates with the Catechism or the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, but rather go around with that “dumb and difficult Book” that no one can understand outside of Rome?

If these guys have the hotline to God through the living voice of the Mother Church, why do they use the Bible or even quote it? Doesn’t that make you a bit suspicious?

Devin Rose, in his book The Protestant Dilemma wrote:

“We know that Christ established a Church visible and unified, to which he gave his divine authority. In Matthew’s Gospel, we read that ‘he called to him his twelve apostles and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal all diseases and every infirmity.’ (Matt 10:1). But according to Protestantism, this authority must have been lost when the visible Church became morally and doctrinally corrupt.”

So here we have a lay apologist using his private judgement of the text to tell us “we know that Christ established…” Has his Magisterium given him an infallible interpretation of that verse? No. That’s his fallible opinion.

The text also shows that the authority Christ gave His apostles was to cast out demons and heal the sick. Until the Magisterium of the Catholic church starts going to demon possessed folks or hospitals to cast out demons and heal the sick, they should discard this spoof text.

This Catholic even assumes that everywhere the Bible mentions the apostles of Christ, it must be referring to the Roman Catholic Church! Such a giant leap is a Catholic dilemma.

VI. If the Old Testament saints didn’t need a magisterium, why should it be necessary for New Testament saints?

Some Catholics appeal to “the seat of Moses” mentioned in Matthew 23:2. Aside from the fact that their idea of Moses’ seat is wrong (it’s referring to the seat from where the teachers read the Law, not the chair of a pope), for Catholics to use this text, they will first have to explain how the “Jewish Magisterium” could fallibly pass on the Corban rule which Jesus attacked in Mark 7:1-13.

And they must also explain how and where the Jewish Magisterium “magically” became the Roman Catholic magisterium.

VII. Rome forbids Catholics from using their private judgement in understanding the Bible, yet many Catholic converts used their private judgement and reasoning in whatever they read to arrive at Rome.

But once they get into the circle, they are mandated to give up their private judgement and submit to the Rome. Eric Svendsen pointed this out:

“The fact is, he had to engage in the very same principle of private judgment that we all must use to decide among the various options; namely, a thinking, objective reasoning process apart from reliance upon the system to which he would eventually subscribe… The Roman Catholic cannot introduce a double standard at this point and still be consistent.” (Upon This Slippery Rock, New York: Calvary Press, 2002, p. 34)

VIII. We’re not infallible, neither are Catholics. But if they claim their church (or pope) is infallible, then how did fallible Catholics “know” this?

Their claim of an infallible church is their own fallible opinion. How do fallible Catholics even infallibly understand and interpret Rome’s infallible teachings?

Catholic lay apologists are the most interesting to watch. On the one hand they attack private judgement, but in reality, their lives depend on it because their church is infected with liberalism.

Steve Ray refers to the “pitiful additions and deletions to the sacred liturgy, or priests who think they are 2,000 years smarter than Jesus, the gospel writers and the holy popes” and hope “never to have to endure another such arrogant and foolish homily.”

This dude must be competent to interpret the Bible more correctly than his liberal seminary-trained priests.

Karl Keating of Catholic Answers complains that “many Catholics are confused because some priests tell them contracepting is immoral, while others tell them the practice is morally neutral, some priests speak as though Mary had one child while others imply she was the mother of the ‘brethren of the Lord.”

Catholic apologist, Bob Sungenis too admits:

“Today’s Catholic scholars took over where the Protestant liberals left off at the turn of the 20th century, and they are much worse than the Protestant liberals ever were. They simply do not have the traditional faith of our Fathers and medievals any longer.”

It’s gratifying to learn that the same Magisterium they are asking us to submit to have abandoned their own theology! These guys live in a context of contradictions.

IX. If an institution claims to be “infallible,” it musn’t contradict itself or make any blunder. Like God-breathed Scripture, it must be perfect and not contradict itself. Does Rome meet up to this criteria? Here are some blunders:

(a) Traditionally, the magisterium emphasised the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, extending to its factual inerrancy.

This doctrine was sustained by Vatican I, Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors and Benedict XV. But later in an encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu, Pius XII made allowance for Bible criticism which opened the door to a de-historical reading of Bible narratives.

Vatican II, however, stripped the Bible of its authenticity by affirming only a partial inspiration.

(b) Rome condemned Galileo’s view of heliocentricity in the 17th century, and forced him to recant his views before the Holy Office. Yet centuries later, they realized he was right and affirmed heliocentricity in 1992.

(c) The belief in Limbo was affirmed in the 12th century and was defended all through the Middle Ages. Several “visions” of Mary had even called for prayers for the babies on Limbo, yet in 2007, the Vatican smoothly discarded the belief and declared Limbo non-existent. The word has quietly disappeared from the recent catechism.

(d) In its canonical list, the Council of Trent mistakenly attributes the composition of the book of James to the Apostle rather than the Lord’s brothers. This error has been discarded by modern Catholic scholars.

(e) The Council of Trent also codifies Paul as the author of Hebrews, yet this cannot be sustained on either internal or external grounds and has been discarded by modern Catholic scholarship (See Luke T. Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament, 1999, 460-61).

(f) In the papal bull “Unam Sanctum,” Boniface VIII declared that there is only one true Church, outside of which there is no salvation or remission of sin and made submission to the pope necessary for salvation.

This position was codified by the councils of Florence and Lateran IV. But in Vatican II (Lumen Gentium 16) and also in Pope Benedict XVI’s book, God and the World, the actual salvation of non-Catholics and even non-Christians is admitted. Pope Francis has perfected this universalism to a tee.

(g) According to Vatican II, the universal consensus of the laity cannot err in matters of faith and morals (LG, 12).

Pope Paul VI’s “Humanae Vitae,” declared artificial birth control as inherently evil. This position is reaffirmed in the Catechism (2366-2370), yet this teaching has provoked the most uniform dissent on the part of the laity (not to talk of the priests and theologians). So which side is valid?

(h) In 1590, Pope Sixtus V issued an edition of the Vulgate accompanied by a bull in which he endorsed it with apostolic fullness as an irreformable text.

But this Sistine edition was so riddled with errors that it had to be withdrawn from circulation after his death and a revised edition was issued under Pope Clement VIII. How can Rome be infallible?

(i) In the Tridentine canon on Confirmation, no appeal is made either to Scripture or tradition.

They also appealed to Gen. 2:23 in defense of marriage. But this appeal would show that marriage was a creation mandate rather than a sacramental institution. Besides, Rome now regards the first two chapters of Genesis as allegory.

(j) According to a Catholic historian:

“Innocent I and Gelasius … declared it to be so indispensable for infants to receive communion that those who died without it go straight to hell. A thousand years later the Council of Trent anathemised this doctrine.” (The Pope and the Council, 1870, 42).

All these show us that Roman Catholicism is not an infallible, Bible-interpreting institution.