Sunday, May 30, 2021

“ROME WILL LOSE THE FAITH”

 

There are some deep rumblings of unrest within the Catholic Church, even in its higher levels.  A recent conference at the Vatican is causing a stir.  Some Catholics see this meeting as a bad sign.

The public was recently informed about the Fifth International Vatican Conference that was held at the Vatican on May 6-8, 2021, and it was titled “Exploring the Mind, Body and Soul.  Unite to Prevent and Unite to Cure.  A Global Health Care Initiative: How Innovation and Novel Delivery Systems Improve Human Health.” 

And there was certainly an interesting and controversial lineup of speakers for this meeting.

Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano put out a declaration on April 21, 2021, before the meeting occurred.  Vigano was obviously not impressed with the theme of the meeting or the speakers, and he had some very strong statements about this conference.   

The Lineup

He noted that the lineup of speakers included “the infamous Anthony Fauci, whose scandalous conflicts of interest did not prevent him from taking over the management of the pandemic in the United States.”  Also speaking would be Chelsea Clinton (daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton), whom Vigano claims to be “a follower of the Church of Satan and a staunch abortion advocate.”  New Age guru Deepak Chopra was also scheduled, along with extremist environmentalist Jane Goodall, the CEO’s of Pfizer and Moderna (COVID 19 vaccine producers), and some Big Tech representatives, as well as a number of left-wing media persons, and others – over 100 speakers in all.

Vigano Speaks Out

But again, Archbishop Vigano was certainly not happy with this cast of characters.  He apparently has a hard time understanding how the pope could bring together such a group into the Vatican. 

He lashes out at the current Catholic hierarchy and he states:

“This conference… is the umpteenth scandalous confirmation of a disturbing departure of the current Hierarchy, and, in particular, its highest Roman members, from Catholic Orthodoxy.  The Holy See has deliberately renounced the supernatural mission of the Church, making itself the servant of the New World Order and Masonic globalism in an antichristic counter-magisterium.”

Wow!  That’s quite an indictment against his own church.  Again, he comes out swinging:

“The result is the superimposition over the true Church of a sect of heretical and depraved modernists who are intent on legitimizing adultery, sodomy, abortion, euthanasia, idolatry and any perversion of the intellect and will.  The true Church is now eclipsed, denied and discredited by her very pastors, betrayed even by the one who occupies the highest throne [i.e., the pope].”

The COVID Connection

Vigano is also disgusted with the image this conference was using to promote their cause.  Concerning the focus of the conference on the COVID issue, Vigano stated:

 “Even the image chosen to promote the conference is extremely eloquent: a close-up of Michelangelo’s fresco of creation on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, in which the hand of God the Father reaches out towards the hand of Adam, but with both hands covered by disposable surgical gloves, recalling the regulations of the new ‘health liturgy’ and implying that even the Lord Himself might spread the virus.”

Vigano calls the image “blasphemous,” and rightly so.  According to Vigano, “… the COVID religion proposes the vaccine… as the only means of salvation.” 

Many, many people don’t trust the vaccine and simply do not want it.  Speaking personally, I find it very interesting how the far left is pushing this “cure” so hard.  There is something strange about all this.  Some companies are offering small gifts as incentives to take the shot.  But I’ve even heard of one company that is offering a chance to win a million dollars if they get vaccinated!  Why do the people need to be bribed to get such a “great cure”?  Isn’t this a bit suspicious?  There must be a reason for such an incredible push to take this vaccine even though there is a 99.98, or so, percent chance of survival without it.  Furthermore, we don’t know the lasting effects of this medicine.  Mark my word, something sinister is going on behind the push for this vaccine.

For Money?

Vigano continues his critique:

“One wonders if Bergoglio’s [Pope Francis’] zeal for the dissemination of the gene serum is not also motivated by base economic reasons, as compensation for the losses suffered by the Vatican and the dioceses following the lockdown and the collapse of attendance by the faithful…”

In other words, according to Vigano, one reason the pope may be taking advantage of this opportunity in joining this globalist agenda is to recover from the recent church attendance slump where the money just wasn’t coming in as usual.  Time will tell.

She Said What?

The archbishop continues his criticism of this group and he states:

“At La Salette, Our Lady [Mary] warned us: ‘Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist.’”

Lose the faith?  Become the seat of the antichrist?!!!  Wow!  This is heavy stuff, coming from a Catholic source!  And it actually lines up with biblical eschatology (end-time events)!

Pope Francis has been a very controversial pope, and many Catholics are not comfortable with his reign.  And people like Archbishop Vigano are making their voices heard. 

See here:

https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/declaration-of-abp-carlo-maria-vigano-with-regard-to-the-fifth-international-vatican-conference

The Danger of Apostasy

Vigano also calls for “… a firm and courageous denunciation of this apostasy and its authors.”

Well, sorry, Archbishop Vigano, but the church of Rome has fallen into apostasy long, long ago.  The early church of Rome was actually spiritually healthy during the period of their great persecution.  But I believe that the church got into trouble in the early 300’s, ironically, when Emperor Constantine and his successors stopped the persecution and allowed (and encouraged) the church to merge with paganism.  Some scholars see the typology of this particular early church “marrying” the world at this point.  In fact, the word “Pergamos” (Revelation 2:12) in Greek means “married to the tower,” with the tower symbolizing power (and the world, in general).  So, in Revelation, Jesus Christ rebukes that particular church (in the city of Pergamos – Revelation 2:14-16) which had metaphorically “married the world” and entangled with paganism.  Many churches today are guilty of the same thing.

This archbishop (to his credit) can sense the trouble brewing concerning Pope Francis, but I truly wish he could also discern the truth concerning the many official teachings of his church that are false.  Hopefully, all this uproar will cause Catholics to pause and question the leanings of their ecumenical leadership and their church’s fearful destiny (Revelation 18) in the end times.  I pray to God that many Catholics see this and turn to the Bible and its true gospel.

Conclusion

The Roman Catholic Church never was the one true church – but not because of pedophilia, sodomy, homosexuality, rape, cover-ups or any other scandal -these were just symptoms of the real problem, which is that they rejected several key biblical principles, but mainly, they have shunned the gospel of grace, which is salvation apart from the merit of works.  And that deviation from such an important doctrine has caused a slippery slope into apostasy.

But Catholics may respond by saying, “The Catholic Church is not the only church experiencing scandals, greed, ungodly leadership, etc. - Protestants can and do sometimes have the same issues.”  That’s true, but they do it because they, too, deny key biblical principles.  They have that in common with Catholics, and they will not escape condemnation just because they are Protestants.

Moving away from such biblical principles is always the first step toward the downfall of any church group that claims to be Christian, be it Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise (Isaiah 8:20; Hebrews 4:14).

Will the Church of Rome lose the faith, as Archbishop Vigano suggests?  Indeed, it already has, and tragically, it will bring many down with it.

Don’t just blindly trust these (or any) leaders.  Measure everything they say and do by the Scriptures (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

THE WHORE OF BABYLON

 

One of the strangest and most vivid images in the Bible is this entity commonly known as the Whore of Babylon, officially called “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth” (Revelation 17:3).  This chapter (Revelation 17) describes the entity itself, and Revelation 18 describes its fall and utter destruction. 

We know that there is a lot of symbolism here, but what is this thing?  Is it a person?  Is it a political system?  Is it a church?  Maybe it’s a nation, or possibly a combination of some of these things? 

Whatever it is, it is obvious that God is not pleased with it.  It is not something that true Christians want to be a part of, so we want to take it very seriously.  Let’s look at it more closely.

Some aspects of all this will remain a mystery, but we are given many clues to this revelation.

For the sake of space, I will not quote the whole chapter here, but here are eight key points about the Great Whore in Revelation 17:

·                            ·      She sits upon many waters (v. 1)

·      Kings of the earth commit fornication with her (v. 2)

·      Her fornication makes the inhabitants of the earth “drunk” (v. 2)

·      She sits upon a scarlet beast with blasphemous names (v. 3)

·      She is dressed in scarlet and purple, with gold and precious stones (v. 4)

·      She is drunk with the blood of the saints/martyrs (v. 6)

·      She sits on seven mountains (or hills) (v. 9)

·      She is a great city (v. 18)

The Breakdown

Ok, let’s go a little deeper.  The “many waters” in the first verse of this chapter are explained farther down, and they represent “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (17:15).  This multitude, no doubt, is the restless throng of people who have rejected God.  The fact that she “sits upon” them would point to her ruling over this vast multitude.  Therefore, she has great power and authority. 

The fornication she commits with kings may not be literal, but is rather, a spiritual fornication – ungodly alliances or treaties with nations, ungodly laws, and ungodly relationships. 

The people of earth being “drunk” with her fornication could possibly mean that they have gone mad and are oblivious to their destination, having a false sense of security.  Or perhaps it is because they believe in her false teachings, leading to God’s wrath. 

She sits upon a scarlet beast, one that is extremely blasphemous.  We can see that she is controlling this beast – for now – but later, she will be controlled (and destroyed) by him.  This is the kingdom of the antichrist/beast of the last days.

This harlot is also very rich, since she is dressed in scarlet and purple, possessing gold and many riches and she seems to have a universal influence.

Her own drunkenness is the result of her killing the saints and the martyrs of the faith, because they were in her way.  She indulges in, and is obsessed with, their destruction.

Lastly, she is a great city that sits on seven mountains (or seven hills).  So, let’s start here, since it is clear that she is a city. 

Who is This City?

Ok, how many cities are there that sit upon seven hills?  Actually, there are quite a few that make this particular claim.  According to one source, there are literally dozens of them.  See here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_claimed_to_be_built_on_seven_hills

But the great majority of these cities were either unknown at the time of John’s writing of the book of Revelation and/or they are not relevant to the context.  But there are a couple of cities that stand out. 

Some Catholics say that the “woman” in Revelation 17 is Jerusalem.  After all, Jerusalem was also known as “the Great City” (Revelation 11:8).  It is said that she was also built on seven hills.  And Jerusalem was, at times, corrupted, and was a great persecutor of Christians, as well.

On the other hand, it is important to note that Jerusalem has never had dominion over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18).  She didn’t have an empire. 

The city of Jerusalem cannot be the woman in Revelation 17-18.  Why?  The following fact should remove all doubt as to whether Jerusalem fits this description:

“And a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.” (Revelation 18:21 - NASV)

Note the phrase “and will not be found any longer.”  Is Jerusalem ever totally destroyed, never to be rebuilt, as the whore in Revelation 18 is?  There is absolutely no biblical evidence that Jerusalem will be ultimately destroyed in such a way as to never return. 

Babylon Identified

Ok, then.  If this city is not Jerusalem, then what city is it?

Consider this:  In the year 71 A.D., one year after Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem, Roman Emperor Vespasian mints a coin showing a woman sitting on seven hills and this woman is identified as Rome.  See here:

https://www.edgarlowen.com/roman-imperial-coins-12-caesars.shtml

The apostle John wrote the book of Revelation about 95 A.D.  Being familiar with the Emperor’s coin, the people of John’s day would have immediately recognized John’s description of the woman in Revelation.  It was the same woman as the one on the coin sitting on seven hills – the description of John’s city was, without doubt, Rome.

Many scholars believe that this “woman” is unmistakable.  According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (online), Rome is the city to which Revelation 17 and 18 refer:

“A few interpreters have believed that Jerusalem was the city that was designated as Babylon, but most scholars hold that Rome was the city that was meant… There are some striking facts which point to Rome as the city that is designated as Babylon.”

“The characteristics ascribed to this Babylon apply to Rome rather than to any other city of that age: (a) as ruling over the kings of the earth (Re 17:18); (b) as sitting on seven mountains (Re 17:9); (c) as the center of the world’s merchandise (Re 18:3,11-13); (d) as the corrupter of the nations (Re 17:2; 18:3; 19:2); (e) as the persecutor of the saints (Re 17:6).” (Under ‘Babylon in the New Testament’)

See here:

https://www.internationalstandardbible.com/B/babylon-in-the-new-testament.html

Even the Catholic New American Bible (World Publishing, Red Letter Edition, copyright 1987), says in its footnotes on chapter 17 of Revelation that the apostle John was speaking of Rome:

“Babylon, the symbolic name of Rome, is graphically described as ‘the great harlot.’”

“17, 4:  Reference to the great wealth and idolatrous cults of Rome.”

“17, 9:  Here is a clue: literally, ‘Here a mind that has wisdom.’  Seven hills: of Rome.”

 “17, 16-18:  The ten horns: the ten pagan kings who unwittingly fulfill God’s will against harlot Rome, the great city.”

And the footnotes in chapter 18 of Revelation continue:

“18, 1 – 19, 4:  A stirring dirge over the fall of Babylon-Rome.  The perspective is prophetic, as if the fall of Rome had already taken place…”

“18, 3-24:  Rome is condemned for her immorality, symbol of idolatry… and for persecuting the church; 19, 2.”

“18, 11:  Ironically, the merchants weep not so much for Babylon-Rome, but for their lost markets.”

Again, these quotes were all taken from pages 1388 and 1389 of the New American Bible.

Now, granted, the publisher believes that this is referring to the old pagan Rome, that is, Rome before Christ and the early church.  But, nevertheless, the publishers of the Catholic NAB agree with most scholars and admit that it is indeed Rome and not some other city.

Old Rome or New Rome?

Ok, so is this city pagan Rome or modern Rome?  Of course, Catholics will generally say that it is the old pagan city.  They would never admit that this cursed city is their own Vatican-controlled modern Rome, or the church within it.

It is true that much of what the apostle John says of this city in Revelation matches with the worldliness, debauchery, and corruption of pagan Rome.  Yes, they were blasphemous.  Yes, many of their leaders were filthy rich, powerful and influential.  And yes, they killed the saints, they killed the apostles, and they even killed Jesus, Himself!  Sounds like a match, right? 

But there are at least three problems with this idea of pagan Rome being the harlot: 1) The timing, 2) John’s amazement, and 3) the title “harlot.” 

First, the timing: Revelation 18 is talking about the ultimate end of this great city, its finality.  This is a future event.  Remember, Jesus gave the apostle John an outline and told him:

Revelation 1:19 - “Write the things which thou hast seen [the past, i.e., the vision he was given of Jesus among the candlesticks – v. 12-18], and the things which are [the present, i.e., the things concerning the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3], and the things which shall be hereafter [the future, i.e., chapters 4 through 22].  Notice, in Revelation 4:1, the angel says, “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be HEREAFTER.”  Therefore, starting with chapter 4, these events are future from John’s perspective.

So, the destruction of this woman happens in the end times – in the days of the beast (the antichrist) and the false prophet, just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  Her final demise hasn’t happened yet, so it can’t be pagan Rome.

Secondly, concerning the apostle John’s amazement (Revelation 17:6), why was this vision such a shock to him?  Upon viewing such corruption, blasphemy, ill-gotten riches, fornication and the murdering of innocent Christians, this should have been no surprise.  This was just another day in pagan Rome.  He would have fully expected pagan Rome to be involved in such.

What was shocking was the fact that the church in this city started out as a faithful church, but she soon declined/weakened spiritually until she fully adopted the culture, teachings, practices and the mentality of pagan Rome, with its most disgusting and evil pleasures.  What used to be a pillar of virtue in its earliest years had now become the Harlot.  What John saw was not pagan Rome, but “Christian” Rome who was now acting like pagan Rome.  I believe that this is what shocked him.

Thirdly, biblically speaking, the spiritual terms “harlot” and “adulteress/adulterer” are generally used in the sense of one who has had a loyalty, covenant, or relationship with someone (especially God), but broke it.  A biblical harlot is not necessarily just an unwed woman/city/nation who is immoral.  She is one who is unfaithful to her spouse, or one who goes back on a vow.  Those individuals, cities and nations who had a relationship with God, but fell away without repentance, will be judged by God more harshly than those who have never known Him.  Think of it this way:  You can’t call someone “unfaithful” if there was never a commitment made in the first place.  A man cannot approach a strange woman and demand a divorce – she doesn’t even know him and has never entered a marriage covenant with him.  The same goes spiritually.

Again, spiritual adultery/harlotry implies a previous loyalty toward God, but old Rome never had that.  Those pagan nations in the Old Testament were just that… pagan, ungodly, idolatrous – but not necessarily spiritual harlots.  So, again, Revelation 17 and 18 can’t be speaking of pagan Rome. 

So, if it’s not pagan Rome we are talking about, then which Rome is it?

The Catholic Church’s Boastful Claims

In the first 300 years of the church of Jesus Christ, the church at Rome prospered spiritually (even in intense persecution).  But after Constantine, the Roman church, as we said before, became watered down, and eventually apostate.  The old pagan Rome indeed did all those evil things mentioned in Revelation, but apostate Rome continued them!

Once again, pagan Rome has never had a relationship or covenant with God, but modern apostate Rome certainly makes the CLAIM of loyalty, faithfulness, and marriage to Jesus Christ.  She boasts great things about her relationship with God: 

She claims to be the church founded by Jesus Christ (Baltimore Catechism #152); she claims to be the only true Church, i.e., “the sole church of Christ” (CCC #811); she claims that her leader (the pope) is the “Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church” (Annuario Pontificio) who is also sometimes infallible (CCC #869, 891); she claims that the pope “enjoys, by divine institution supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls” (CCC #937) and the Catholic Church claims that apart from her there is no salvation! (Unam Sanctum; Cantate Domino).  I could go on and on, but I think that we can certainly see her great claims of spiritual superiority.  Can anyone doubt that there is a covenant marriage with God implied here?

Yet, this city/church/institution has been a powerful and corrupt influence on the world, both spiritually and politically.  It is a fact that popes of this apostate city/church have both placed kings and emperors on their thrones, and have had them removed at will by threatening them with excommunication.

Concerning apostate Rome, the late Dave Hunt had some sobering and compelling arguments in his well-documented book, A Woman Rides the Beast:

“Pagan Rome made sport of throwing to the lions, burning and otherwise killing thousands of Christians and not a few Jews.  Yet ‘Christian’ Rome slaughtered many times that number of both Christians and Jews.  Beside those victims of the Inquisition, there were Huguenots, Albigenses, Waldenses, and other Christians who were massacred, tortured, and burned at the stake by the hundreds of thousands simply because they refused to align themselves with the Roman Catholic Church and its corruption and heretical dogmas and practices.”

Furthermore, Hunt says:

“Protestants have now forgotten the hundreds of thousands of people burned at the stake for embracing the simple gospel of Christ and refusing to bow to papal authority.  Amazingly, Protestants are now embracing Rome as Christian while she insists that the ‘separated brethren’ be reconciled to her on her unchangeable terms!” (Harvest House Publishers, copyright 1994, page 81)

Yes, there is today a tendency with many churches to join ranks with Catholicism, saying that Catholics also have the gospel, and that we shouldn’t be divisive.  But this is not true and is influenced by the diabolical Ecumenical Movement spearheaded by the Roman Catholic Church.

Conclusion

So, once again we ask the question, what exactly is this “woman,” this Great Harlot?  I am convinced that she is Rome, but she is not just limited to the city of Rome.  She is a worldwide system, spearheaded by the Church of Rome (the Catholic Church) and this system will include the multitude of false religions in the world (including watered-down versions of “Christianity”).  This ungodly ecumenical movement will include people from ALL religions and would even include atheists!

This entity is the Revived Roman Empire.  It carries the spirit of ancient Babylon and pagan Rome.  Remember, Babylon has always represented the epitome of paganism and hedonism.  It is the religious branch of the New World Order. 

This same system began centuries ago when men (probably led by Nimrod) attempted to create a one-world government/religion with the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-8).  But God stopped it from happening.  But this same entity will finally be realized soon enough when earth’s inhabitants welcome the global New World Order.  Somehow, they will convince the world that this type of unbiblical “unity” is a good thing.  It will be an all-encompassing religion where anyone will be welcome – anyone but true Christians!  

Speaking for myself, I used to be Catholic and I have many Catholic friends and family members.  My heart goes out to them and to all Catholics.  I would beg them to heed this sobering and fearful message from God, Himself:

Revelation 18:4 – “… Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

To say that she will be punished harshly is an understatement.  Don’t be a part of this!  Remember, this system is not just a harlot – it is the MOTHER OF ALL HARLOTS, and of all the disgusting abominations on planet earth!  Don’t fall into her “unity” trap.  Embrace and stay within the biblical gospel message.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

EXCESSIVE DEVOTION TO MARY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

 

I recently ran across an article on a website that featured an “Ask a Priest” section.  In this particular article, an upset and frustrated woman writes in and asks the priest about Marian devotion, i.e., the intense devotion, prayers and attention directed to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

I believe that this lady was more discerning and more honest with the biblical evidence than most Catholics.  She explains that she and her husband were former Protestants, but had now been Catholic for years.  Yet, they still struggled with all the attention Mary receives.  She went on to say, “To us she receives more prayers, attention, devotion, processions and obedience than Jesus, which to us still after all these years is worship and not mere veneration.”

Yes, indeed, and it is generally referred to by Catholics as “excessive devotion.”  But the Bible calls it idolatry (Acts 17:16, 22-23).

This woman tells how this teaching had been bothering them for years and she explains what happened one day when she went to confession: “For penance the priest told me to ask Mary to pardon my sins and then say five Hail Mary’s.”  This, of course, seriously bothered her and she states, “… I had been struggling to go to church because of Mary, and now I never want to go back, not to any church.”

See the article here:

https://rcspirituality.org/ask_a_priest/ask-a-priest-what-if-marian-devotion-seems-too-much/

The Priest Responds

The priest to whom the lady wrote then answered, “… true devotion to Mary always leads us closer to her Son… But these cases of exaggeration are anomalies [i.e., something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.]” 

I’m a former Catholic, and I don’t know, but from what I’ve seen, this excessive devotion seems to be the norm for many Catholics, especially those in other, mostly-Catholic, countries.

The “Ask-a-Priest” then goes on to quote official Catholic teaching on Mary’s role and how it supposedly does not obscure or diminish the role of Jesus – yet it mentions her “salvific influence.” (Lumen Gentium, No. 60)

The priest goes on to say, “Mary is important only because Jesus is much, much more important.”

But tell that to the millions who bow humbly in prayer to statues of Mary, asking HER for things like salvation, and calling HER “our life, our sweetness, our hope,” etc.  Ask those millions who make pilgrimages every single year to shrines built in Mary’s honor and we can see who is more important to them.

If SHE is much, much less important than Jesus, then why are there so many more shrines in America and all around the world to her, rather than to Jesus?  And why does the Catholic rosary have far more prayers addressed to Mary than prayers to Jesus/God?

The priest continues: “As for the penance you received: Perhaps the priest in his zeal misspoke when he implied that Mary would be the one to forgive you.”

“Misspoke” is a giant understatement.  Don’t you think that priests (who are highly educated) should know better than to suggest such a thing as Mary forgiving sin?  Have not priests taken a solemn vow to be faithful in correctly dispensing penances in the confessional? 

In Catholicism, is the confessional the place to make flippant comments or show misguided zeal?  Surely, Catholics will say no.  So, priests need to quit making excuses for each other!

Furthermore, the priest said, “He [the priest giving penance] was probably just trying to encourage you in your relationship with Mary.” 

Well, that’s the problem!  Too much emphasis on Mary is the very thing that this woman was so concerned about.

Furthermore, he said, “The key thing is not to dismiss entirely the role of Mary simply because some folks might seem to take things to an unhealthy extreme.”

This “Ask-a-Priest” is bending over backward to avoid placing the blame on the Catholic Church who allows such behavior.  But didn’t he just say that it was an “unhealthy extreme,” yet he seems to be ok with it?  Is no one accountable in this?  Is anyone ever rebuked for this idolatry? 

And, I have to add, what exactly is the “role” of Mary in the church?  The Bible appoints no special role to her that is different from any other believer’s role.  Yes, she gave birth to and raised and nurtured the Savior, but there is no exceptional “role” for Mary in the body of Christ, especially in the exalted manner that we often see.  This priest goes on to mention the “scriptural roots” of true Marian devotion.  But there is no such thing!

Again, he said, “You want to be careful, too, because the devil would like to sow seeds of doubt about the Church in you, especially after your journey over the years.”

Yeah, be careful about doubting the Church, but never mind the possibility of idolatry, leading many to Hell… just be obedient to the Magisterium.  It just can’t be the Church’s fault, right?

And finally, “In the meantime stay focused on Jesus in the Eucharist and in Scripture.”

Notice how the priest inserts “in the Eucharist” here.  He is simply jumping from one form of idolatry to another.

Let it be known that the priest in this article never says anything about being careful in your devotion, toning it down, or warning of the likelihood of idolatry.  In fact, have you ever heard of ANYONE who was punished by a pope or other Catholic official for excessive devotion to Mary?  I certainly haven’t.

It seems that devoted Catholics are NEVER rebuked for this.  Therefore, it is a practice that actually ends up being encouraged in the Church.  Authorities may spout the official teaching of the Catholic Church, but I don’t see any negative consequences for this practice.

Defending the Problem

Another source I found is by Catholic apologist Joe Heschmeyer whose article is eloquently written and titled In Defense of Exaggerated Marian Devotion.  You can find it here:

https://shamelesspopery.com/exaggerated-marian-devotion/

Now, just looking at this title should disturb us.  Remember, the Catholic Church “officially” discourages excessive devotion, but from the very outset of his article, Joe Heschmeyer is bent on defending this behavior, instead of actually confronting it.

Joe states that these affectionate prayers and all this special attention given to Mary are “more like love letters to the Virgin Mary than they are like carefully-worded theological treatises.”

Well, no one is expected to act as a theologian when praying, but common sense and the Bible expose what is really happening here.

He also says, “Shouldn’t we be careful not to exaggerate or use over-the-top or flowery language?  No.  There are two reasons for this.  First, it limits the fullness of human emotional expression… Second, rejecting exaggeration thwarts our ability to understand the Bible… because the Bible employs exaggeration.” (Emphasis in original)

This was the thrust of his whole article.  Ok, so let’s look at this.  First, he says we shouldn’t limit “the fullness of human emotional expression” in prayer.  Ok, then would it be ok to add curse words and blasphemous phrases in prayer, as well… you know, since that carries a lot of emotional expression, right?  No sane Catholic would suggest this.  So, of course there should be limitations.  And biblical prayer must indeed be limited, and it is rightly limited to God, alone (Psalm 73:25).  No one should even be praying to Mary at all, much less using such exalted language toward her in prayer.

One must ask, where does all this “freedom of expression” stuff end?  If the fullness of freedom has no limits, then let’s just take it to the next level and “venerate” anyone and everyone!  Better yet, let’s just worship everything!  Of course, that’s silly, but that’s what can happen if you erase proper biblical boundaries.

Secondly, Joe says that we shouldn’t reject exaggeration, since the Bible sometimes uses exaggeration.  Ok, the Bible sometimes employs exaggeration… therefore, we should use extreme measures approaching the worship of Mary?  I’m sorry, but that just does not follow.  Again, what is it that properly limits this exaggeration, if not biblical principles of worship?

Very eloquent article, Joe.  Too bad you’re promoting idolatry and you’ll have to answer for that.  And so will the two priests mentioned above.

“Veneration” in Catholic Countries

I couldn’t find the exact quote, but the late Dave Hunt, who had travelled around the world, once said that the devotion to Mary in the United States was different than in other (mainly Catholic) countries.  He basically said that American Catholics observe a more “politically correct” version, one that is toned down, as opposed to the more freely expressed version of “veneration” in other countries.  In these countries, it often seems that it is simply open and outright worship of Mary.

To further confirm that idea, in another article on the Berean Call website, a questioner stated that Catholics don’t worship Mary.  The host answered, in part:

“… many a Catholic has commented that, ‘Catholics in Mexico (and throughout Latin America), in their devotion to Mary, do things that we would only do when worshipping God.’”

See here:

https://www.thebereancall.org/content/question-what-do-you-mean-mary-worship

In yet another article, a former Catholic nun shed a little more light on this:

“However, many years later I realized that if you want to know what something really is, then look at how it behaves when it is in a position of power.  In America, Catholics are in the minority.  To see the true spirit behind Catholicism, watch what the Catholic Church does in countries where it is in power.”

See here:

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Roman%20Catholicism/mary_worship_a_study.htm

Conclusion

As long as the Catholic Church defends (or makes excuses for) its members who practice “excessive devotion,” they will never get rid of this problem – and more and more people will be lost for eternity.

According to Lumen Gentium 51:

“… if any abuses, excesses or defects have crept in here or there, [we urge all concerned] to do what is in their power to remove or correct them…”

I don’t see it happening, folks.  I don’t see it now, nor have I ever seen this happen… and I suspect that it never will.

The faults or excesses of some people are no excuse to leave God or leave Christianity altogether, as the lady in the first article was about to do.  However, when a group/system/religion purposely ignores the wrongdoing of its people and offer no discipline, the leaders of that group are at fault.

So, the bottom line is that the Catholic Church officially looks down on excessive devotion to Mary.  But practically speaking, it seems that they (those “venerating” Mary) can all get away with it.  The pope, as the “Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church” has the power to stop all this at any time.  The problem is, I don’t think he wants to.

I often wonder – what exactly would it take to cause Catholics to see through the false claims and the obvious idolatry within the Catholic Church?  Has the Church so indoctrinated them, that they can no longer recognize truth?

The Bible describes a hardening process by which one suppresses the truth, and his foolish heart is darkened, little by little, until the light that he has been so graciously given dims more and more… and he ends up worshipping the creature, rather than the Creator. (Romans 1:18-25)

It appears that this may be the case in Catholic obsession with Mary and their excessive devotion to her.

 

Friday, February 26, 2021

EUCHARISTIC WONDERS – MIRACLES OR DECEPTION?

 

In the sixth century, the story has it that a monk known as “Saint Zosimus” of Palestine intended to bring the Eucharist to a “Saint Mary of Egypt” (not the mother of Jesus).  But she was on the opposite side of the Jordan River and he had no way to get to her.  Saint Mary then made the sign of the cross and was able to walk on water in order to personally receive the Eucharist from Saint Zosimus…

In 1247, in Portugal, a woman hides the Eucharist in a drawer in her bedroom, but it produces a very powerful and bright light, which could easily be seen outside, and it attracts many townspeople to her home…

In 1263, a German priest consecrates the Eucharist… and blood begins to stream out of it…

In 1433, in France, a consecrated host (Eucharist) was on display for the purpose of “perpetual adoration” in the church, but heavy rains and dangerous flooding occurred in that location.  Nevertheless, in spite of four feet of standing water all around the church (whose altar contained the host), a dry pathway remained in front of the church, just like the parting of the Red Sea…

In 1649, in Peru, a priest saw an image of “the Christ Child” on the host…

In 2001, in India, a priest saw three dots on the Eucharistic host, which later changed into a human face…

See here:

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/eucharistic-miracles-evidence-of-the-real-presence-0

Bread that says, “Worship me!”

There are many, many other such stories, and it is these types of claims that support the Catholic zeal surrounding the Eucharist.

In fact, Catholics claim that there are hundreds of these “miracles” that happened throughout the centuries connected with the Eucharist.  The article in the link above claims that many times these Eucharistic miracles have happened when a Catholic was beginning to doubt the supposedly miraculous change that occurs when priests consecrate the bread and wine, but God helped to make it real to him.  In other words, it was assumed to be God’s strategic timing in some of these cases that saved the person from falling away from their belief in this Catholic dogma.

This ritual, this Communion service, is also known as the Lord’s Supper.  But remember, the Catholic Church officially teaches that every time the Eucharist (i.e., the wine and bread of Communion) is consecrated (blessed by the priest), these items turn into the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, Himself (CCC #1374).  This is called transubstantiation.  That also means the consecrated bread and wine are to be worshipped.  So when a Catholic partakes of communion, he believes that he is actually eating Jesus.  By the way, this is how the Catholic says he “receives Jesus.”  But this is not the biblical way to receive Him, which is simply by faith (John 1:12-13).

Although transubstantiation is a dogma of the Catholic Church that must be believed by faithful Catholics, it is interesting that no one is forced by the Catholic Church to believe any of these “miracle events,” even though some of these events are officially believed and accepted by the Catholic Church.  It seems the Catholic is obligated to believe in the miraculous change in transubstantiation, but he doesn’t have to believe in an official case “proving” this dogma.

The Power of the Priest!

According to priest John Anthony O’brien’s very popular book, The Faith of Millions: The Credentials of the Catholic Religion:

“When the priest announces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man… not once but a thousand times!  The priest speaks and lo!  Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.” (Page 255-56)

See here:

https://jamesattebury.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/the-priest-as-alter-christus/

This statement is nothing short of absolute blasphemy!  Yet, this popular and influential book has the Catholic seals of approval, called the Imprimatur and the Nihil Obstat.  These seals mean that the book is “free of doctrinal and moral error.”    

This sure sounds like an official endorsement of a blasphemous doctrine to me!  They had every chance to condemn the book, but I know of no pope, bishop or priest who tried to discourage the reading of this book or the statement I just quoted above. 

This book should be on their “Index of Forbidden Books” list because of such statements above, but instead, it is a Catholic best seller, it was reprinted in 27 editions, and translated into 10 languages.  Apparently, the book and its contents are fully accepted by the Catholic Church.  See here:

http://archives.nd.edu/findaids/ead/html/OBR.htm

Again, it is this type of mindset that leads the Catholic Church to twist the biblical Communion service into a perverted ritual, causing many to fall into idolatry.  This Catholic Eucharist is a dangerous and unbiblical doctrine.

Real Miracles

Interestingly, the “miraculous change” in the Catholic Eucharist is virtually never apparent in the day-to-day Catholic Mass.  The bread still looks like bread, feels like bread, and tastes like bread.  The same goes for the wine.  The Catholic Church claims that the elements have indeed changed, but are still “under the appearance of bread and wine.  How convenient. 

But compare this to the actual miracles in the Bible that Jesus did.  For the record, Jesus performed real transubstantiation.  When He turned water into wine, we know from the reaction of the people that the result no longer looked or tasted like water (John 2:6-10), and that fact was obvious to everyone. Jesus didn’t say that He was tuning water into wine, but “under the appearance of it still being water.”  The appearance changed along with the substance.

Another miracle that Jesus performed was walking on the water (Matthew 14:25).  But He didn’t swim across the sea and say, “Hey, look folks, I am walking on water, but ‘under the appearance of swimming!’”

Jesus also raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-43).  In this event, He didn’t stare at the still-lifeless corpse of Lazarus in the tomb while saying, “Look, I have raised Lazarus from the dead, but “under the appearance of lifelessness!”

No, all His miracles were real – they were verifiable and observable, every time.  His miracles were not fake, and they verified His message and His claims.  So did the miracles of the apostles and the very early church.

If the consecrating of the Eucharist was really a miracle, it would be clearly demonstrated each and every time the priest performed the Mass.

What Lurks Behind the “Miracle”

Ok, one might say that there must be a reason why all these stories of Eucharistic wonders exist.  It is not likely that every person in these stories is telling the whole truth, but neither is it likely that they were all lying, either.  Surely, something must be going on.  Apparently, they witnessed something that seemed miraculous.  Something unusual is happening in (at least some of) these cases, something supernatural. 

Many people don’t know this, but not everything that is supernatural is from God.  The seven sons of Sceva can attest to that truth (Acts 19:13-17).  These seven men were severely beaten and stripped naked by one man – a man who was possessed by demons, and Sceva’s seven sons were no match for him.  The supernatural strength of this man and his reactions were certainly not from God. 

But any supernatural event will never be alone – it is always attached to a message of some kind.  There are only two types of supernatural events: 1) True, God-inspired miracles (Acts 5:12-16), and 2) Lying wonders (Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 16:14).  To be a true miracle, it must point to the gospel of Jesus Christ, or to the principles of the Bible.  If it does not, then it is a lying wonder.

There was actually a test for miracles in the Old Testament.  Deuteronomy 13:1-3 says that you must not accept a sign or miracle which results in turning away from the true God.  In fact, the one who did such a “miracle” was to be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:5).

Furthermore, when Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh and Aaron threw down his staff, it became a serpent.  But Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to copy/counterfeit this same miracle (Exodus 7:10-12)!  But that doesn’t mean that the sorcerers were also from God.  They did their miracles through the power of the devil.

Conclusion

Catholics may say that there is indeed proof that these Eucharistic “miracles” are from God.  They will point to “scientific proof” of hosts turning into human flesh (cardiac tissue), the host bleeding or being preserved for centuries, or other unusual events.

But if this type of evidence goes against the biblical truth concerning the bread and wine in Communion, science is no help at all.  The devil can manipulate science or physical events and circumstances.  But he cannot change Scripture.  The Bible is the ultimate standard against which all things are tested (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and it is the spiritual “toolbox,” which can train the Christian and fully equip him for every good/spiritual work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Science does indeed agree with the Scriptures, but it certainly does not ever override or overrule them.

Ok, some Catholics will say that there are good personal fruits coming from these Eucharistic wonders.  They’ll say that those who experienced or saw these miracles have demonstrated a rise in piety or in religious practice, or an increase in Catholic submission to the Church, or had a more thriving sacramental life, an increase in pilgrimages or in “conversions,” had a warm and fuzzy feeling or a greater willingness to live out their faith, etc., etc.  But all this is just begging the question.  These are not biblical proofs of questionable events, but just an increase in religious activity.  This logic in no way verifies these wonders, or gives us sufficient reason to believe them.

So, since they are not biblical, either these “Eucharistic wonders” are tricks played on the gullible, or (if they are indeed supernatural) they are demonic false wonders and genuine deceptions.

Someone could argue that God could indeed change the bread and wine into His actual body and blood if He wanted to.  So why do Protestants limit God? 

But “limiting” God to the scriptural pattern of miracles is not limiting Him at all.

The bottom line is that if the Catholic Eucharist and its miracles are true, then they need to show how this lines up with the Bible (and they can’t)...  See here:

http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2009/10/eucharist-part-1.html

http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2009/11/eucharist-part-2.html

http://answeringcatholicclaims.blogspot.com/2016/01/access-denied.html

But if it isn’t true, Catholics are guilty of idolatry in the most basic sense.  And we know the end of those who practice idolatry:

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)