In my last post, I shared excerpts from Petrus Romanus by Thomas Horn and Cris Putnam. We saw from history that the Christianity spread by the original apostles and faithful disciples who risked — and often forfeited — their lives to share the Gospel message was hijacked by powerful men and turned into a religious establishment to govern people who claimed the title of Christian. That governing body became known as the Roman Catholic Church, ruled by the “papacy” or elected popes who were rendered “infallible” in the nineteenth century. Here are some facts that every Christian should know about a few specific “vicars of Christ” …
- Constantine was instrumental in ending all persecution against Christians by issuing the Edict of Milan (“Edict of Toleration”) in the early fourth century. He did not remain faithful to Christ, however, and also worshipped pagan deities.
- Stephen I (r. 254-257) was the first (known) to forcefully assert the Petrine doctrine of Roman authority over ALL Christians.
- Leo the Great (440-461) assumed the pagan title of Pontifex Maximus and was favored by the Emperor Constantine.
- Gregory VII made “Pope” or “Pontiff” the official title in the eleventh century, and political maneuvers allowed the Church to assert more and more worldly power.
- Pope Innocent III (13th century) adopted a new title, “Vicar of Christ.” (Vicar literally means “instead of Christ.)
- Pope Pius IX declared that all Christians must believe and affirm that “the Roman Pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole Church and father and teacher of all Christian people. To him, in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus to tend, rule and govern the universal Church.” (Vatican Council, as quoted by Global Catholic Network, last accessed 12/18/2011)
- Pope Boniface VIII is regarded by many as one of the most evil persons who have ever lived. He was extremely corrupt and managed to purchase the papal office in the early 1300’s. His papal “bull” entitled Unam Sanctam was a major impetus for the Protestant reformation. It declared, “… we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Medieval Sourcebook)
- Pope Gregory XIII ordered a celebration after 70,000 Bible believing Christians were brutally murdered in France in August, 1572.
- Pope Pius XII legitimized Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany, and the Vatican put the fascist dictator Mussolini into office.
Something that I have always wondered about was explained in Petrus Romanus. The Catholic Church’s persecution of the Jews led to the disassociation of Passover, which was replaced by Easter:
“In 325, after Constantine had allegedly become a Christian, HE ORDERED ALL JEWS TO LEAVE ROME. The Nicaean Council also ruled that Christians could have nothing in common with Jews. In fact THIS WAS THE RATIONALE BEHIND DISASSOCIATING THE DATE FOR EASTER FROM PASSOVER AS IT IS IN SCRIPTURE…. This sort of thinking caught on and the Council of Antioch passed AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING CHRISTIANS FROM CELEBRATING PASSOVER with their Jewish neighbors in AD 341. Later, the Council of Laodecia (434-481) OFFICIALLY BANNED CHRISTIANS FROM KEEPING THE JEWISH SABBATH….
“Jews were tolerated userers when their lending was to the advantage of the Church or secular authorities. While many popes and councils condemned the practice, Nicholas V (1452), Sixtus IV (1478), and Innocent VIII (1489) all granted absolutions [payment in exchange for forgiveness of sins] to promote it in the Jewish community. Thus, it is demonstrable that the ubiquitous conspiracy theory that ‘Jews control all the money’ is simply a derivative of the Catholic Church’s past decrees.” (P.R. pg. 352)
Enough for now. Next we will look at the persecution not only of Jews but also of Bible believing Christians imposed by various popes.