“Why non Catholics spend inordinate time picking apart our Catholic faith is beyond me!”
If your ‘faith’ is a distortion of the “original gospel that was once for all handed down to the saints,” then every Christian has a spiritual and moral obligation to contend for that undefiled good news (Jude 1:3).
If you are convinced that your hallowed beliefs are being ripped apart, perhaps you might want to place them under the scrutiny of Scripture and history to see where the truth lies. This is about the eternal fate of souls not emotions.
“Billions of Catholics over the world venerate Mother Mary Our Divine Mother who was ever-present at her Son’s side at his most uplifting and darkest moments.”
That billions of people subscribe to a myth doesn’t make it true. God is not a respecter of numbers. If Mary is your ‘divine mother’ and God is your divine father, what are you insinuating?
Go to the Old or New Testament, where in either covenants do you find any arrangement for a ‘divine motherhood’ much less a hint that Mary – a mere mortal – contributed anything to the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross?
The only places you’d find such patterns of beliefs and rites are ancient paganism and modern witchcraft. It’s time you admitted that at some point, pagan horses had been switched mid-stream within Catholicism.
“We wouldn’t care either if anyone quote “that is why I will never be Catholic”. Instead of analyzing and over analyzing we in the Christian community would be better off putting the Word into action.”
Speaking of your definition of “the Word,” why not break it down? You believe the Bible, plus Traditions and the Church Magisterium make up the “Word.”
By elevating the words of uninspired men to the level of inspired Scripture (and as we know, even denying the plenary inspiration of Scripture), the Catholic religion has trapped many sincere souls in a tunnel of spiritual darkness in which they are bound to follow rules and beliefs that oppose the Bible and are void of human conscience.
“Instead of passing judgement – on a religion thousands of years old built on authentic discourse. “
If a religion’s validity lies on being thousands of years old, then why not embrace Hinduism or Buddhism? Not to mention, the discourses on which Rome’s power sprang up are outright forgeries and layers of fiction. The Donation of Constantine and Isidorean Decretals are some examples.
“Religion is not going to get us into heaven. Catholics are mature enough to know that saying 100 Hail Mary’s will not get us into heaven. However as we build to eternal glory with the Father in Heaven we continue to ask our Most Divine Mother to intercede for us – and send our innermost prayers to the Father.”
This is what I call forked tongue rhetoric – denying a belief in three sentences and expressing it in the last one. That’s a symptom of years of systematic mental conditioning; it runs so deep that you’ve found a way to reconcile the inherent contradictions packed into the teachings you’ve embraced. So you say more about what you believe by not actually saying it. Nice job.
Furthermore, by asking this ‘divine mother’ to intercede for you to qualify for heaven, you explicitly admit that the intercession and mediatorship role of Jesus Christ is lacking and there is another you’re trusting in. Thanks for reinforcing our convictions of Rome grafting goddess worship onto Christianity.
“The problem critics of the faith people will have with people like us, who are born Catholics and revere our faith is that we do not have to explain and analyze why we celebrate this GREAT feast of the ASSUMPTION, furthermore why we VENERATE Mary! That is why we call it a MYSTERY. Mystery of our faith. It is beautiful as it is a treasure only we as Catholics can hold dear to our hearts. So I as a Catholic won’t explain this mystery and analyze it – I don’t have to.”
This is cultic language politics with which religious groups repeatedly hide their lack of answers by bleating the word “mystery.” But wielding the word “mystery” like a magic wand can’t cover up the egregious falsehood of your Mariolatry.
The Greek word for mystery in the NT is musetrion and it was never used to denote a secret that shouldn’t be revealed. Instead, it was always used to refer to knowledge that is being revealed. For example (all quotes are taken from the Catholic New American Bible):
“I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise [in] your own estimation…” (Romans 11:25)
“Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51)
“…you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, [namely, that] the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier.” (Eph. 3:2-3).
“the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones” (Col. 1:26).
“…I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns.” (Rev. 17:7).
God who wants us to “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” would certainly not exalt ignorance by obscuring a core doctrine of the faith behind a complicated maze of “mystery” (1 Pet. 3:15).
“As many many other Catholics around the world do. So people like you who find time to criticise will be even more frustrated. You deny Mary you deny Christ. Let’s find time reflecting on the Word instead of bashing other faiths.”
Your final line is a display of relativism. That logical fallacy torpedoes the pillars of the faith you’re alluding to, unless, of course, you’re a syncretist.
I think those who presume that God had glorified a human being and made her the central focus of a faith will come up frustrated whenever they try to read their dogmas into the revealed Word of God.
Your second sentence is quite revealing, perhaps not in a way you intended. To you, Jesus, the Eternal Word who called all men to Himself and even forgave the repentant sinner on the cross without any intermediary cannot be seen without Mary – a mere servant of God who had no redemptive powers whatsoever. This is a diabolic deception. Call that whatever you like, but it’s not true Christianity.
The spiritual credential of the Roman Catholic institution, specifically in the context of its exorcisms, has also been engaged previously.
After reading The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio (Doubleday: 2009), it dawned on me that more needs to be said on this rite, as it had been sensationalised and overrated in popular culture.
I will quote mainly from Baglio’s The Rite to highlight my arguments that even in this rite, the legitimacy of Roman Catholicism is shown to be patently undermined.
The Vatican issued a decree which says:
Among her sacramentals, the Catholic Church, in obedience to the Lord’s Prayer, already in ancient times mercifully provided that through pious prayers her people may ask God to liberate the faithful from all dangers and especially from the snares of the Devil.
In a truly unique way, exorcists were established in the Church who, in imitation of Christ, could cure those obsessed by the Evil One, even by commanding demons in the name of God, so that they might depart, lest for whatever reason they do further harm to human creatures (Decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship of the Faith, Nov. 22, 1998).
This establishes that exorcism is a sacramental in which the exorcist imitates Jesus in liberating the faithful from the powers of the devil and commanding demons to depart.
This presupposes an authority that comes from Christ and is exercised uniquely by Rome. The Catechism of the Catholic Church brings this out more clearly:
“When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism … Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church.” (par. 1673).
From this, it can be inferred that the rite of exorcism is based on:
1. The authority of Jesus Christ
2. What Jesus taught and did
3. Having the same results that Jesus had.
On a flip side, if this rite is based on the authority of an institution, or prevalent superstition, if it’s not based on how Jesus and the apostles expelled evil spirits and the results seen conflict with what was obtained within the pages of the New Testament, then the authority of Rome is dubious and the Jesus it appeals to is not the Jesus of the Bible.
Before I elucidate on these arguments, I want to point out that not everything stated or described in The Rite is actually false or misleading. There are parts of it that are quite revealing, though not in the way the author supposes.
For instance, it correctly draws the curtain on the existing tension between a religious institution that is blinded by its rigid structures, elitism and skepticism and the European culture which in the past relied on it for its dictates.
It quotes Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII (Pope John XXIII Community Association), that “about 25 percent of Italians, or about 14 million, are involved in some way or another in the occult.” (p. 16) Note: about 83% of Italians are Roman Catholics.
Whilst many European Catholic priests and bishops scoff at the existence of the devil and demons, Tarot card readers congest the late-night cable channels hawking their divination wares and “lucky” amulets.
It was also estimated that “as many as 8,000 satanic sects with more than 600,000 members exist within Italy” alone.
The book appealed to an occult expert, Fr. Aldo Buonaiuto, a member of the Pope John XXIII Community Association, who admits the prevalence of many hardcore satanic groups in Italy.
He classifies them into “Youth Acid” (consisting of mostly young people involved in the physical trappings of Satanism), “Power Satanism,” (those seeking power and riches from Satan) and “Apocalyptic Satanism,” which has as its goal, the total destruction of life as we know it (p. 45).
These startling realities have been fuelled, in part, by a traditional church that has failed to provide spiritual succour and a sound moral template to souls hungry for God and His intervention.
Roman Catholicism has lost much of its respectability in the West. While drowning in the cesspools of clerical concubinage, pederasty and paedophilia, it can’t be griping about satanic ritual abuse perpetrated by satanists without being hit by an irony of shame.
By whose Authority?
There are several guidelines that are laid down by Rome on how exorcism must be conducted
The Ritual itself has undergone several adjustments over the centuries and the one currently used is the 1998 Revised Ritual.
Guideline 13 of the Ritual stipulates that only a priest found worthy and nominated by a bishop of a diocese can perform an exorcism.
If a priest doesn’t have the express permission of a bishop, he can’t cast out any demon. His prayers “wouldn’t have the same effect on the demon because essentially the exorcist would be praying the Ritual in a state of disobedience and the demon would know it,” writes Baglio (p. 58).
But from the NT, it’s evident that every disciple of Christ had the authority from Christ to cast out demons. Jesus spelt it out:
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons” (Mark 16:17).
This was why the early church had no officially appointed “exorcists” since it was generally known that every Christian has received power to cast out all evil spirits.
Paul and Silas didn’t need any permission from a bishop in Philippi in order to cast out a demon from the diviner following them in Acts 16:18.
It now gets fuzzy when Baglio writes, “Not everybody has to be a Catholic, or convert to become liberated, though some do.” He appealed to the authority of Fr. Gabriele Amorth who “has exorcized Muslims and Hindus on rare occasions, but mentions that he will pray the Ritual using the name of Jesus Christ. ‘I also ask them to fulfill their spiritual duties. For example, Muslims have the obligation to pray and so I tell them to do so'” (p. 149).
So even if a person doesn’t submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, he/she is still supposedly liberated using Christ’s authority. Quite intriguing isn’t it?
Again, Jesus clearly stated that demons are expelled using His name, but this rite appeals more to the authority of Catholic icons of veneration and religious objects.
In the prologue of the book, Baglio recounts an exorcism in which the demon speaking through Anna describes seeing “St” Gemma Galgani, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope John Paul II and Mary the Queen herself joining the exorcists in the spirit to cast him out (pp. 7-8).
Quite a scintillating conference of spirits. But that’s not all. Baglio also informs us:
“Many exorcists invoke Mary during the Ritual. ‘The demon is so terrified of her that he will never pronounce her name. He’ll say ‘that woman’ or ‘she destroys me,’ says Father Amorth. ‘The Marian prayer, especially the rosary, is a very powerful weapon in the fight against Satan,’ explains Father Bamonte. ‘That is why [Mary] insists so much that we pray the rosary; the rosary is a prayer that really whips the demon into a frenzy’.” (p. 137)
It would seem to us that these demons are rather excited that the exorcists are perpetuating the very deception they wish to plant in the minds of many Catholics. Baglio adds:
“For the Church, these sacred objects (holy water, blessed oil, a crucifix) possess a kind of “power” because they carry the blessing of the Church (p. 119).
In plain terms, this rite is not essentially based on the authority of Jesus Christ. It’s based on the authority of an institutional hierarchy, Mary, saints, objects and like the case of Silvia recounted in the book, the promise of a demon (p. 147).
How Jesus expelled Demons
Without missing words, Jesus never performed an exorcism and was not an exorcist. Exorcism is not even biblical; it was an old Jewish ritual that was observed by the sons of Sceva – who had their clocks cleaned in return (Acts 19:12-16).
Modern exorcisms are marked by rituals, incantations, formulas, liturgies along with incense, holy water, and crucifixes. Sometimes they are interspersed with candle lighting. None of these things can expel demons.
A Roman Catholic publication says:
‘‘Elements of the rite include the Litany of Saints; recitation of the Our Father, one or more creeds, and other prayers; specific prayers of exorcism; the reading of Gospel passages and use of the Sign of the Cross’’ (Matthew Bunson, 2004 Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac. Indiana, 2004, p. 137).
When we compare this complicated Roman ritualism with the simplicity and demonstration of authority with which Jesus and the apostles expelled demons, a striking contrast is seen.
For example, in Mark 1:25, ‘‘Jesus rebuked a demon, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’’’ and he did at that instant.
Again in Mark 9:25, Jesus said, ‘‘I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!’’ The ease and brevity with which Jesus dealt with evil spirits is far from what is being practiced in the rite of exorcism.
The New Testament contains great resources for the believer’s spiritual warfare: the Saviour’s victory at Calvary (John 12:31, Rev. 12:11). The promise of overcoming (1 John 5:4-5; Rev. 21:7). The intercessory ministry of Christ (John 17:15, 20). The knowledge of Satan’s tactics (2 Cor. 2:11). The believer’s spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-17). The Holy Spirit’s indwelling power (1 John 4:4). The believer’s prayers (Matt. 6:13; Eph. 6:18-20; Mark 9:29). The instructions for defeating Satan (James 4:7-8) and the stripping of Satan and his ranks of their powers at Calvary (Col. 2:15).
Having abandoned and rejected these spiritual weapons that are mighty through God to deal with the powers of darkness, Roman Catholicism has as substitutes, carnal weapons, religious paraphernalia, fetishism and rituals that are rooted in medieval mythology and ethnic folklore.
Such traditional rites were known in the time of Christ, He simply didn’t acknowledge them.
Jesus refused to endorse their superstition and cryptic formulas because it has always been the work of devil to complicate things that are otherwise simple – especially receiving spiritual freedom.
The Jews in the time of Jesus believed demons dwelt in crumbs so Jesus had the apostles gather up the leftover bread to enjoy it.
The Jews believed demons dwelt on unwashed hands, but Jesus did not insist on ceremonial hand washing.
The Jews believed that demons prowled in deserted places, but that is exactly where Jesus goes to enjoy
communion with God the Father.
They believed that demons infested Samaria, so Jesus boldly went there. He intentionally negated these rules because they are based on human wisdom and devoid of spiritual value (William Alexander, Demonic Possession in the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1980, pp. 28-29).
On the other hand, Rome’s belief in the “power” of the Eucharist, rosaries, medals, “holy” water, incense and images of the Virgin to vanquish demons are vestiges of older folk or sympathetic magic as well as subjective demonic manifestations.
Rome’s failed experiments
If the exorcist is actually representing or imitating the Jesus of the Bible, then the results of these exorcisms should match what we see in the Gospels.
In The Rite, Baglio makes at least seven references to fruitless exorcisms (all emphasis mine):
• A group of Catholic charismatics in Italy who tried to cast out an evil spirit from a man. “Without warning, the demon turned on them saying, ‘Who are you?’ Then he launched a bookcase at them, sending them all
to the emergency room with injuries.” (p. 63)
• A demon possessed nun named Janica who has been exorcised for 9 years without a headway (pp. 99-102).
• A statement credited to Fr. Amorth, the late Vatican foremost exorcist: “I have people that I’ve been exorcising for twenty years” (p. 130).
• A statement credited to Fr. Carmine: “the hardest thing is that the liberation never happens right away. Sometimes you need years and years, and this methodical perseverance is not only very tiring, but the demon takes advantage of it…’” (p. 134).
• Giovanna who “had been undergoing exorcisms for more than forty years, and her case was considered one of the most severe…” (p. 142).
• Beatrice who had a “grueling two-year battle involving weekly exorcisms” (p. 151). The evidence offered in support of her liberation is as deluded as her visions during the rite itself.
• Stephanie who was said to have been sexually abused by her father and was demonized. She and her husband, Chris, “searched for other priests who might be willing to help them but had been turned away each time” (pp. 170-177). They eventually didn’t receive any help.
• Maria, a twenty-seven-year-old originally from Honduras, who had been seeing demons and hearing them tell her, “You belong to us!” After the exorcism, her mother told Fr. Gary that “her daughter’s reaction to the prayers had been similar to the [pagan] exorcism in Honduras, this time it was much more intense.” (pp. 177-178). That gives little or no hope.
Neither Jesus nor the apostles spent months or years in expelling demons from people. Yet the diary of the Catholic exorcist is laden with clients who struggle fruitlessly for decades to be free from defeated foes.
In a bid to offer a convenient excuse for these failed experiments, Baglio says God “does permit it [demon possession] for some good purpose (similar to temptation).”
He cements this with a quote from John Chrysostom, “Possessed persons can obtain a twofold benefit from their condition. In the first place they can become more holy and good; secondly, having paid the debt for their sins here on earth, they can present themselves pure before the Lord.” (p. 47).
This is a colossal tragedy. Imagine being told week after week by a religious system you trust that God who sent Jesus to deliver the oppressed and destroy the works of the devil relishes your demonized state of suffering and this is how the debt of your sins will be cleared!
This is a doomed religious vessel; a destructive cage that every truth-seeking Catholic must escape from.
This work is not how exorcists are made, it’s how deceivers are schooled and the deceived are groomed.
The myth that Sunday was formerly a pagan day of worship of the sun adopted by the church, is a proverbial horse that has been ridden to death. Even worse, this ghostly horse has taken on a life of its own and has moved beyond the religious fringes where it was initially stabled.
The basic idea is this: Sunday was the established day of rest, the weekly holiday in the ancient pagan world. On this day each week, the Romans, Greeks, and other pagans, gathered in temples to worship their pagan gods, particularly the Sun-god—hence the term Sun-day.
This misinformation has been repeated so much that it’s time we threw it in the dustbin for the falsehood that it is.
In two previous articles (one/two), I’ve examined the erroneous claims made by Seventh Day Adventists regarding the Jewish sabbath and the Lord’s day from historical and biblical perspectives.
Now, I still intend to refute the tortuous, incoherent and intellectually suicidal connections they (and other religious groups adhering to the Jewish sabbath) forge between Sunday as a day of worship and ancient Greek or Roman Paganism.
1. Those making this claim of “Sunday stolen from the pagans” usually fail to back it up with historical sources. They will quote virtually anyone but a reputable historian – and by this, I mean someone whose credentials are in History and has published academic works in that field.
If you scan through SDA materials, you will observe the curious absence of citation of primary sources to corroborate their assertion of Sunday being a pagan day. Instead, they conveniently declare this information to be historical “fact” and quickly move on to their next rhetoric.
But on the odd occasion that a source is cited, it’s usually Arthur Weigall’s 1928 work “The Paganism in Our Christianity,” in which he states that the church made Sunday sacred “largely because it was the weekly festival of the sun; for it was a definite Christian policy to take over the pagan festivals endeared to the people by tradition, and to give them a Christian significance” (p. 136).
Aside from the fact that this man had cultic agenda (he was a Unitarian), SDA writers who cite him don’t disclose to their readers that he also declared:
The virgin birth is of pagan origin (p. 44)
Jesus’ miracles are of pagan origin (p. 58)
Jesus didn’t really die (p. 93)
The Jewish Sabbath is of pagan origin (p. 136)
It’s clear that Weigall’s work is a sword that cuts three ways. If it proves Sunday to be a pagan day, it must also prove Saturday to be a pagan day, and if either assertion is to be accepted as valid, then Christianity as a whole would have to be rejected as pagan! Certainly, this is not a source a believer would want to appeal to.
2. A competent study of history and ancient Greek and Roman religions shows that neither the Romans nor the Greeks ever had a regular weekly day of rest from secular work.
Neither did they have a regular weekly festival day. They didn’t have a regular day of the week on which they gathered for pagan worship. These are facts of history.
Dudley M. Canright, a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, researched these facts early in the 20th century. He sincerely believed Sunday worship came from paganism—since this teaching had been passed on to him. But when he began to look into the subject more fully, he came to a different conclusion.
It was at his time (c. 1913-1914) that he contacted four Greek and Roman history scholars with ten questions that he submitted to them separately. These scholars were:
F. N. Pryce of the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum.
R. Rathborn of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
George F. Moore, Professor of Ancient Roman and Greek History, Harvard University in Cambridge.
Prof. W. H. Westerman of the University of Wisconsin.
D. M. Canright reminds us that: “All four of these specialists in ancient history agree in answering these questions though neither one knew that they had been submitted to the others yet all four exactly agree in every particular, though widely scattered … Such a unanimous agreement would settle any question in a court of law.”
From the world renowned British Museum in London, England, Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities
Sir: I am commanded by the Assistant Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities to reply as follows to your questions on the ancient week:
Q. 1. Did the pagan Romans and Greeks ever have any regular weekly day of rest from secular work? Ans. No.
Q. 2. Did they have any regular weekly festival day? Ans. No.
Q. 3. Did they have any regular weekly day when they assembled for pagan worship? Ans. No.
Q. 4. Did they have any special day of the week when individuals went to the temples to pray or make offerings?
Ans. No; both for Greeks and Romans the month was the unit and not the week. The Greek calendar varied in different states but the month was generally divided into three periods of ten days. The Romans reckoned from three fixed points in the month, the Kalend or first, the Nones fifth or seventh, the Ides thirteenth or fifteenth. These subdivisions in themselves had no religious significance.
Also in the Roman calendars were nundinal, or market days, at periods of eight days, or, as the Romans reckoned time. On these days farm work, etc., stopped and citizens flocked into the town markets. To some extent this may be a regular stoppage of secular work.; but it had no religious significance, except that it was considered an evil omen when the nundinal coincided with other festival days, e. g., the: Nones. The nundinal period seems derived from a blundering reminiscence of a quarter of a lunar period, and there seems no connection with the later seven days’ week (see below).
Q. 5. As Sunday was sacred to the Sun, Monday to the Moon, Saturday to Saturn, etc., were those supposed deities worshipped on their own particular days more than on any other days?
Ans. No; the old worship of the gods was disappearing when the seven-day week came about. The significance of the deities’ names was astrological, not religious, e.g., if a person were born on Monday, the moon would influence his horoscope, but the moon was never an object of common worship.
Q. 6. When was our week of seven days first introduced into the Roman calendar?
Ans. There are traces in the literature of the late republic (first cent. B.C.) that the Romans used the week of seven days for astrological purposes, in connection with the many Eastern superstitions of the period. It was probably the third century, A.D. before the seven day week came into common use.
Q. 7. From whom did the Romans learn the week of seven days?
Ans. From the Jews, alternately the Assyrians and Babylonians; the names were probably fixed by the Hellenistic Greeks.
Q. 8. Did the pagan Greeks ever adopt in common life, or in their calendar, the week of seven days? Ans. No.
Q. 9. Did Apollo, the Sun god, either among the Romans or Greeks, have any special day on which he was worshipped with prayers or offerings more than on any other day?
Ans. There were certain set festivals at various temples; these were annual, not weekly.
Q. 10. Did the pagan reverence for Sunday have anything to do in influencing Christians to select that day as their rest day?
Ans. No; it can hardly be said that there was any special reverence for Sunday in pagan times (see answer to No. 5).
I am, sir,
Your obedient servant,
F. N. PRYCE.
3. The following was the response from George Moore, Professor of Ancient Roman and Greek History, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
There are two seven-day weeks: the Jewish week, with a Sabbath on the seventh day; and the Astrological week, with days named after the sun, moon, and five planets, in our order determined by the theories of astrology, but without any day of rest …
The Astrological week first appears in Greek and Latin writings about the beginning of the Christian era … It had no use in ordinary life. Abstinence from labor on the seventh day, or on one day in seven, is a distinctively Jewish institution.
The edict of Constantine (321 A.D.) closing the courts on Sunday and prohibiting some kinds of labor on that day, is the first recognition of a seven-day week in Roman law. The ancient Romans had a market day every eight days, when the peasants came to town to market, but it was in no sense a day of rest.
In the old Roman calendar there were many days when the courts were closed and other public and private business was not done. They had also many festivals on which the people left their ordinary occupation to take part in the celebrations, but these have no periodicity like that of the week …
The planetary week in which the days were named from their regents, Saturday, Sunday, etc., was an invention of the astrologers, probably in the second century, B.C., and has no relation to religion or influence upon it. Saturn, for example, was not worshipped on Saturday, nor Jupiter on Thursday. The festivals of the several gods were never weekly festivals, nor did they occur on days fixed by other divisions of the month, say the tenth day …
Private persons went to the temples when they had occasion to offer prayers or sacrifices or to make vows, etc. There were no stated days for such visits-though some days were in some temples luckier than others, and there was nothing like a stated day for the assembling of a worshipping congregation except the festivals of the local calendar.
Very truly yours,
George F. Moore.
4. One of the most detailed works on ancient Roman religion that I’ve read is, The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic by Warde W. Fowler (The Project Gutenberg, e-book released in 2009).
In it, Fowler describes Roman festivals in detail but says nothing about a weekly day of worship. This would have been a strange omission if Sunday had been “a venerable day of the sun” observed by pagans in Rome. Instead, the work shows that their festivals were seasonal or monthly.
The Roman annual calendar started on March 1; April was regarded as the month of opening or unfolding vegetation; May was the month of growing and June, the month of ripening and perfecting.
The Roman calendar at the time of Christ was divided into months, not weeks; they didn’t use our modern calendar. Therefore, the idea that the Romans specially worshipped the sun on Sunday, the moon on Monday or Frigg on Friday is a hoax.
5. The Encylopedia Britannica, article “Week” says: “For a time the Romans used a period of eight days in civil practice, but in AD 321 Emperor Constantine established the seven-day week in the Roman calendar and designated Sunday as the first day of the week.”
The Encylopedia Americana on the same topic says, “The Romans and Greeks …were not acquainted with the week till a late period. The Romans had, however, for civil uses, as the arrangement of market days, a cycle of eight days, the ninth being the recurring one, instead of the eighth as with us.”
In other words, the edict of Constantine in 321 A.D. was the first time in Roman law that Sunday was set aside as a holiday. It simply means before then it wasn’t recognized as a pagan holiday of the Empire. Before Constantine, the Roman Empire had eight days in a week (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,then 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.), but he made it into seven (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 then 1, 2, 3, 4 etc)
Assuming the Roman or Greek festivals were observed weekly, this calendar eliminates the possibility of pagans holding a feast for the same deity on the same day of the week, let alone being adopted by the church. Ralph E. Woodrow aptly pointed this out:
“Now this should be carefully noticed. IF pagans gathered on the first day of the week to worship Apollo, Mithra, or some other Sun-god, this would not correspond, week after week, to what we call Sunday. For example: Suppose our calendar had eight days in a week (instead of seven), and we met for Christian worship at seven day intervals. This would require a change of day each week!
“If we met the first week on Saturday, seven days later we would meet on Friday. Seven days later we would meet on Thursday. Seven days later we would meet on Wednesday, etc. There is simply no way that the first day—of an eight-day cycle—will consistently correspond with the first day of a seven-day cycle. This cries out in a loud voice, then, that the pagan Romans did not observe what we call Sunday as a weekly sacred day!” (Did Sunday Worship Come from Paganism? Palm Springs, CA., February 1999, p. 3).
It’s one thing for a denomination to say, “We meet for worship on Saturdays because we believe the New Testament does not really impose any particular day on believers, but gives us freedom to choose our own day of gathering for worship in church” – which is biblically fair. And I personally respect such sincere differences.
But it becomes a totally different ball game when a sect dogmatically says, “Sunday observance came from paganism! It originated from the worship of the Sun god in Rome and it won out because church leaders rebelled against God’s law. Sunday means ‘day of the sun,’ so if you go to a church on a Sunday, you are worshipping the sun god – Satan, and God told us through a 19th century visionary that Sunday worshippers will receive the mark of the Beast!”
This is a rhetoric laden with gross misinformation, falsehoods, fanaticism, poisoning the well, and religious mind control.