Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pope Declares Catholicism is "IT"

The press is apparently shocked to hear that the Pope thinks that Catholicism is the only true church and no one else is entitled to call themselves much of anything. Well of course he does! How silly for this to even make news: It's the same stance the Popes have had since they broke off from mainstream Christianity to start their own sect in the first couple hundred years A.D.

Before we go further, let's do a quick synopsis of the history of early Christianity:

Many different Christian sects and beliefs developed between 30 - 300 A.D. But by 313 A.D. the Roman Catholic church was formed due to the new Roman Emperor Constantine, who declared that everyone HAD to become Christian.

Constantine then sent out an invitation to all Christian leaders to come forward and become a part of this vast network. The ones who stepped forward were absorbed into a new conglomerate: The Roman Catholic Church. Those who refused, continued to practice their Christian beliefs outside of this new organization. (Incidentally, the Greek Orthodox Church was a schism of the RC Church, which happened in the first couple hundred years of the initial incorporation).

The Roman Catholic Church became the dominant church, in part due to clever alignment with those in power and the willingness to torture and kill any who disagreed with their interpretation of the Bible.

Although they no longer torture or kill those who disagree, the Popes could hardly say that all religions are the same. That's like the head of Burger King saying "All fast food restaurants are the same. Heck, if there's a McDonald's closer to you, try what THEY have!" After all, the RC Church wants your money just as Burger King does. It's hardly good business to send anyone to the competition.

Some may ask: If the Pope is saying that no other religions can call themselves a "church", what does he mean? In the Bible, the church is defined as the Christian believers that are going to heaven. So, the Pope is saying "if you're not a Roman Catholic, you're going to hell." Give it to this latest Pope: At least he's staying consistent.


mal said...

The Pope and most churches for that matter are guilty of the most insidious of sins....Hubris. What arrogance to say that any man made church stands between man and God. How pompous to state that your relationship with God is superior to every one else.

Religious authorities of all stripes seem to ignore the parts of their respective religious texts that minimize their self appointed grandeur.

Call me a cynic

United We Lay said...

Anyone who says that their way is the only way does not deserve to be in charge of anything.

Hans said...

Good analogy to Burger King. I agree with you on that and really don't care what the Pope says.

Ed Abbey said...

I think your dates and facts are at least from a different source than what I learned. In 33 AD Simon Peter declared that Jesus was the Messiah and formed the Catholic Church. According to the Bible, Jesus entrusted the keys to heaven to Peter before being crucified.

Christian persecution began in 64 AD under Nero. In 313 was when the Edict of Milan ended the Roman Empire's persecution of the Christians, not the beginning.

in 110 AD is the first use of the term Catholic Church in a letter from Ignatius of Antioch to the Church at Smyrna, a full 203 years before you said it split from Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Haveing met many former Catholics and knowing what I know. I'm not a big fan of the Catholic church. The concept was good, but it's waaaaaay off base as an organization.

There are many good Catholic Christians out there just like there are many good Episcopal Christians and Lutheran etc. But what they teach from what I understand is WAAAAAYYY off.


Saur♥Kraut said...

Edge, Yup, I agree with you all the way.

Ed, you've got the Catholicized historical version. Or should I say "revision"? Check out true historical sources, read about it outside of what the RC Church says, and you'll see a whole new picture emerge. They like to claim that they were the originating church. The truth is, there were many churches at that time, meeting covertly here and there. For another look at church history, you could go here. Keep in mind it's written by independent baptists, but understand that independent baptists are basically what most of the churches were at that time. Don't confuse that with SOUTHERN Baptists, which is a religious organization of churches. Anyway, there are many independent historians that will verify the above independant baptist account.

Hans, ;o)

UWL, Well, this is where it gets weird. I think there's much room for debate. And I understand why certain people think that their way is the only way... After all, I think the RC Church has got it all wrong, so I can't be a hypocrite here. Where it's WRONG is when they get aggressive about it. It's a fine line, you know?

Mal, this is amazing! I was going to use the word "hubris" but I try to write journalistically which precludes using difficult words (although most of my readers have high IQs and great vocabularies).

The Lazy Iguana said...

Why do we still care what the Pope says in the year 2007?

There was a time when the Kings of old Europe listened to the Vatican. This time is knows as "The Dark Ages".

The Vatican would love to go back to those days. The constant edicts and demands they continue to issue is proof of that.

This is about as much of a "news story" as "Man in Miami eats a pound of beans and farts for three days".

United We Lay said...

I first wrote a rather long comment, but I think I'm going to write a post instead.

AQ said...

Reminds me of a joke I love. Of course different religions have been used as the punchline but here goes:

A man arrives at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks, "Religion?"

The man says, "Episcopalian". St. Peter looks down his list, and

says, "Go to room 24. But be very quiet as you pass room 8".

Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. "Religion"? "Baptist".

"Go to room 18. But be very quiet as you pass room 8".

A third man arrives at the gates. "Religion"? "Jewish". "Goto room 11. But be very quiet as you pass room 8".
The man says, "I can understand there being different rooms for different religions, but why must I be quiet when I pass room 8"?

St. Peter tells him, "Well the Catholics are in room 8, and they think they're the only ones here".

green said...

see, this is exactly the kind of stuff that would work well on GvD.

Still wanna join???

Bryan said...

There is a long-standing tradition (even within the Catholic Church I might add) that the last Pope will be the false prophet. Don't know if it will actually play out that way or not but it wouldn't surprise me, given the fascination Catholics seem to have with false miracles: Bleeding statues, Our Lady of Fatima, etc.

Ed Abbey said...

I guess I will have to agree to disagree because your source starts off his argument by calling the pope the Antichrist. Probably not a unbiased person.

All other sources I can find on the internet state and prove that the Roman Catholic church began with Jesus and has continued ever since. Unlike the pope, I don't think that makes them the only Church or true church.

As a Catholic, I believe that other religions have just as much right to practice their religions as I do mine. Also I can assure the writers above that I don't believe in false miracles, bleeding statues, etc. Those are just slanderous statements trying to characterize all Catholics into one neat package. As I learned in grade school or perhaps earlier, don't judge a book by its cover or judge a group by a select few.

Ed Abbey said...

Here are just some of many sources all of which disagree with your timeline:

undergroundlogician said...


As your friend, I most hotly disagree with your post. I mean you no disrespect. I'm simply appalled not only of your lack of knowledge of Church history, but by the certainy by which you hold these opinions. The information you cite as church history reads like a by-line out of the pulp fiction of Dan Brown. Really, Saur, you're much better than this!

I don't know where you got your history, but you need to read Eusebius'll find the Catholic Church was NOT formed by Constantine. As a matter of fact, the Church was called Catholic by the end of the first century, which appears in a writing by Igatius of Antioch who writes to the Church in Smyrna: "where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." I could go on, but if you really want the historical data, you'll find plenty.

Another thing, did you actually read the five questions that were published Tuesday by the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith? Or did you read what the AP reported about it? I'd like to know, since I read both and found the AP to be typically unobjective.

Most of your friends who comment here are equally guilty of what they condemn in the you all propose to know what the real truth is? If the Pope is arrogant by stating what the truth is, then you all are equally guilty of being arrogant. It is a clear example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Really, Saur, this post is fraught with fallacies and innuendo. I will support your freedom your opinions, even though they are bad ones. I neither mean you no harm, nor wish to demean you. Please take what I have said to you as one with charitable intensions.

Cranky Yankee said...

Yikes! Far be it from me to defend the Catholic church or anything the Pope says, but this post, opinion aside, is fraught with historical inaccuracies and sweeping generalization that betray a staggering ignorance of the subject.

For instance the Great East-West Schism you you mention happened in the 11th century... And Constantine was hardly a "new" Roman Emperor when he converted...

Strong opinions are wonderful. They are even better when based upon a well researched understanding of the subject.

AQ said...

I'm curious, UL, do you think only Catholics are going to heaven and the rest of us Christians are going to hell?

Cranky Yankee said...

UL - It appears that no one here actually read the CDF -
Here is a overview of the Document posted at another blog by UL.

Questions #2 and #3 address the teaching of the conciliar document Lumen Gentium (doc) (#8) that the Church of Christ "subsists" in the Catholic Church. The CDF document explains: "It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them." Nevertheless, only the Catholic Church is characterized by identifying marks of Christ's Church: being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

The Christian communities separated from the Catholic Church, the CDF continues, "though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation." These communities can act as instruments of salvation, because of their partial participation in "that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church."

(.../snip) And furthermore I believe that the press latched onto a controversially bad interpretaion of what the CDF said in order to cause a stir in Protestant America. It worked. Witness Saur's reaction.

Cranky Yankee said...

Sorry, That should read,

Here is a link to an overview of the Document posted at another blog by UL.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Everyone, I'm way to busy at this point to continue to defend my position. However, I assure you that from the books and papers I've read, my facts are correct. The only one I'm not certain about is the Greek Orthodox church because I'm not at all well-versed in it's history. Perhaps I was mistaken about the early schism and it took place at a later date. May I add that anyone taking exception to this has had more time to pick this apart than I have had to do further research. I wish it were otherwise, but I am sadly up to my ears in work.

Again, just remember: History is written by the conqueror. And the RC Church was, until the Reformation, most assuredly the conqueror. However, other independant historians definately take exception to the standardized version that the RC Church is THE church and was the initial one that started up right away. In fact, that would be impossible, as there are letters written to many different churches even in the Bible. To claim that these churches were all RC churches is ludicrous. Additionally, as time went on, additional churches and sects were founded and there was no unifying religious organization until Constantine instituted one.

Saur♥Kraut said...

For another article also mentioning that the Roman Catholic Church wasn't established for the first couple of hundred years, go here. This is written with much less hubris than the first article I referred to (the one that mentioned the Pope might eventually be the antichrist in this or a future generation). Since I'm not willing to finger the Pope as the antichrist yet, I'll recommend this article as being more objective. ;o)

undergroundlogician said...


Thanks for the question. I'm going to give you a qualified no. It is more complex than how it has been treated here. Ockham's razor will never do.

If a Catholic leaves the Catholic faith, in full knowledge that the Catholic faith is the fullness of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, they are in very difficult waters indeed; most likely they will lose their salvation. I stress full knowledge because people leave the Church, but often under duress, or in a state of ignorance where they weren't catechized properly. God is a merciful God; He doesn't condemn people for things which they are completely ignorant. He is GOOD! I am at a loss as to how this will all shake out; I cannot make this judgement, and I certainly will not judge now while I prepare for my big day before His judgment.

If you read the document, aq, it states that protestant churches are suffering from defect, they still "are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation." Read Cranky's section of quotes above; he grabbed a good section.

Christians who are not Catholic will go to heaven. I think you may be bringing up an idea that was condemned by the Catholic Church called Feeneyism, where a priest named Fr. Feeney thought that non-Catholic Christians would go to hell. This was struck down by the Catholic Church.

You may be interested to know that the Church even sees the possibility that non-Christians may also make it to heaven, based on the grace of Christ as well. VERY briefly, since the grace of Christ has been poured out on ALL mankind, anyone who may never have heard the gospel of Christ preached to them, still, by the actions of Christ, may receive the grace to come to God. If they have lived virtuously, it is because the grace of God has somehow moved them to do so. This is not a universalism by any means; but God is MERCIFUL to any who respond to his grace. Again, HE MAKES THIS DETERMINATION, not self-appointed pharisees here on earth.

I hope my lengthy response helps clarify this issue. Peace.

undergroundlogician said...


Are you pulling our legs? Uh, this article is just as bad. I'm sorry, little sister, this bird won't fly.

The Catholic Church does NOT elevate Sacred Tradition over the Scripture. The author doesn't understand the Catholic view of the Word of God. The Catholic Church sees Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture as a unity. Scripture is inspired by the Scripture, and the Church teaches which books are Scripture.

I see this over and over and over and over again, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Reconstruct what the Catholic faith is in the form of a straw man and then topple it with the feeblest of effort. If you read Ignatius of Antioch, Ireneus of Lyon, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Jerome--the early Church Fathers, they refer to the Catholic faith, the succession of the Bishops of Rome, most who were martyred in the first and second centuries. You need to become a student of history, not the pap on the blogsite you referred us to. This screams fundamentalist Christian wacko, dear one.

Saur♥Kraut said...

UL, hardly. One day when I have more time and energy, we can go over the real history of it all. I've never wanted to argue it all with you, because I believe there is much that both sides have in common. There is no doubt that some early RC Church fathers were good men and had much to be respected. But much corruption was introduced into the RC Church over time, and it's easily proven. After the Reformation, the RC Church improved remarkably because they had competition and were accountable - after all, absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it doesn't help to deny the past or revise history. Simply to CLAIM that the earliest (and I mean EARLIEST) church fathers were RC is not provable and there are many indications otherwise. The label for the RCs didn't come later and, as I said, there were many other Christians who DIDN'T join the conglomerate. That is proven, and there's no wiggle room there.

And, if you're truly a scholar of the RC Church, you also know that there have certainly been times that the RC Church has chosen "Sacred Tradition" over scripture. The RC Church has also doctrinally reversed itself.

These are simple facts.

On the other hand, that doesn't mean that there isn't much to commend the RC Church. IMHO, Roman Catholics are often good people and fellow Christians, but to deny facts and history is not healthy and cannot contribute to healthy spiritual growth.

UL said...

You misunderstand what you call facts. Of course, the Church was not always called the RCC. When breaking into hundreds of schisms after the Protestant Reformation, it was called that by both Protestants and Catholics to show distinction from the other denominations. This was hardly the case prior to the Reformation, and was called the Roman Church after Constantinople and the Eastern Church broke off in 1054. Prior to this, Rome was designated along with the Latin West as opposed to the Eastern Church.

You should do a little more historical research yourself before you begin stating "facts." It just looks bad after awhile and I want to save you some heart-ache and embarrassment.

You also misinterpret my claim. I never said that there was no corruption in the Church; I can name several Popes who were the bad ones. I'm not undaunted. Christ can remain in the Church though the weeds grow among the wheat.

I would love it if you made it more of a forum next time, rather than promoting this topic in such a polemical fashion.

We're friends! I want to assure you! Let's do this next time with more light and less heat!