Fallen angels, or what the Bible calls "devils," often come on the scene wearing various disguises. The best way to test any paranormal claim is by the Word of God because any newer revelation, if it is from God, will not contradict what He has already revealed in Scripture.
The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 what would soon happen in the church. "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things. . ." (Acts 29:30).
Jesus painted a graphic picture of this when He compared the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed that grows into a large tree "so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches" (Matt. 13:32b). These "birds" see the value of the tree that represents God's kingdom, yet they are outsiders who seem to have taken over the kingdom for their own benefit. They are birds of prey and they are preying upon the church.
Satan has had a field day with the Roman Church over the centuries because of how far she has strayed from the simplicity of Scripture. He and his minions can get away with passing themselves off as angels of light by appearing to biblically ignorant peasants and verifying Rome's unbiblical doctrines. When an apparition affirms her errors, she responds with gratitude and wonder.
In the first century church, the light of the gospel penetrated the kingdom of darkness as the apostles exhorted the pagans of their day to turn away from their foolish idolatries and come to the living God. To demonstrate their commitment to Jesus and their rejection of Satan's black arts, they brought all their magic contraband and burned it publicly. "Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver" (Acts 19:19).
However, after Christian persecution ended when Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in the fourth century, Rome found ways to merge pagan superstition with Christianity, and the embryo of the harlot church was created. The pagan temples were converted into churches. Pagan statues and art were given new "Christian" identities. The pagan idols of the Queen of Heaven were transformed into Mary, now come to be known as the Mother of God. The lesser pagan deity of the child of the pagan goddess became identified as the "Christ Child."
Along with this diabolical transformation of the large segment of the western church came in all the superstitions and fears to which the pagans had always been in bondage.
"Rituals of Rome"
What today's Catholic Church refers to as "sacramentals" consist in a large part as superstitious magic and talisman. Catholic priests use holy water, incense, candles and the sign of the cross to ward off evil.
On Ash Wednesday, the priests make a round mark with their thumbs on the forehead of their parishioners reminiscent of the way Hindu gurus mark the so-called third eye of their initiates.
Another strange Catholic ritual that has no biblical parallel is the blessing of the throats in which the priest or Bishop takes two unlit candles crossed to form an "x," and as the "faithful" come up to the altar, the priest holds the two unlit candles crossed at the base of their throats while speaking the incantation: "May the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from all ailments of the throat and every other evil."
This is done every February 3rd, the feast day of St. Blaise, a fourth century martyr remembered for unclogging a boy's throat of a fish bone. He later became the patron saint of throat maladies.
The sanctified superstitions of pagan Rome were outdone a millennium later upon the discovery of the new world. Catholic missionaries were sent from all over Europe to the Americas to convert the natives to Catholicism.
The Mayans of South America and the Aztecs of Mexico were steeped in the black arts of magic, superstition, and ancestor worship. Catholic missionaries stuck with what worked in the past and taught them the veneration of the saints, even giving each saint special powers over nature, and they painlessly replaced their many gods and goddesses. For instance, if one pagan god controlled earthquakes, the padre could point them to St. Emydius, the patron saint of earthquakes. It was a simple exchange.
Unfortunately, a devil is still a devil even if you give him a new name. The Bible says that the idols the heathens worship are in reality demons. "What is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons" (1 Cor. 10:19-20) After the new world devil merger, the Roman Catholic Church increased the number of evil spirits in their midst. And, the new world devils adapted to their new identities and set out to take their rightful place as objects of worship.
"Let the Dead Bury the Dead"
One aspect of the old church that was easily accepted by the new christianized pagans was the magic art of necromancy -- obsession with the dead. All over Europe before the discovery of the Americas, Catholics clutched relics of the "saints" that even included their hair, fingernails, and even their bones. To this day any Catholic gift shop carries holy cards and other objects containing these relics or mementos of dead people. Those who treasure such items feel an extra closeness to the ghost of the relic.
The old Roman Catholic Church, as well as the new world Catholic Church, take this morbid tradition even further. In many Catholic cathedrals around the world, glass cases containing the dead bodies of Catholic saints all dressed up are on display. There is a demonic trick called the incorruptible bodies. These are dead bodies that don't seem to decay or decay more slowly than normal, or at least that's the Catholic claim. Sometimes it's just a body part like the heart or the tongue that doesn't rot, and then that ugly body part is placed in a glass jeweled vessel to be venerated by the faithful who stand in awe of the diabolical display.
There are several Catholic websites devoted to these incorrupt cadavers that give a guided tour of all the churches and cathedrals that contain these works of devils. One of the "saints" whose heart can be seen is St. Clare of Montefalco. The Catholic television network, Eternal Word Network (EWTN), carries a TV series called, "Saints and Other Powerful Women in the Church," hosted by Bob and Penny Lord, two devout Catholics who take tourists on pilgrimages to Catholic holy sites around the world and televise their tours. One of their brochures for this series invites the tourists, and ultimately the TV viewer, to venerate St. Clare's incorrupt body and to "see the heart muscle with the form of Our Lord crucified, the nerve endings which form the Crown of Thorns." :"(Bob & Penny Lord tour brochure.)":
In the same brochure the viewer is invited to come see the "incorrupt arm" and incorrupt heart" of Carmelite reformer, St. Teresa of Avila. And, if that isn't gory enough, you can look at St. Catherine's "incorrupt head" in Siena, Italy, and pray at the same crucifix where the saint received the stigmata of the Lord.
The stigmata is a manifestation of the marks of crucifixion upon a Catholic mystic. The pain of the pierced hands, feet, and side is a typical accompaniment. The superstitious Catholic Church sees this as something holy when it is an obvious demonic mockery of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church's most famous stigmatist was Padre Pio, a man who was said to be constantly being attacked by demons and who before he died questioned whether he was going to heaven or hell. He also had what the Roman Catholic Church calls the "gift of bi-location," physically being in two places at the same time. There is absolutely no Bible precedent for such a superstitious belief, but Rome recognizes it as a sign of sainthood, and Padre Pio was just recently beatified (a precursor to canonization) by Pope John Paul II.
Another obvious work of the devil, prevalent in pagan/Hindu circles, is levitation, the lifting of a person off the ground by unseen forces. How this practice brings any honor to Christ is a mystery to anyone. One Catholic saint that was proudly honored by EWTN was named Joseph of Cupertino, or "the flying saint." He would levitate up to any crucifix to look into the eyes of the idol on the cross. His fellow monks reportedly had to tie a rope around his ankle to pull him back down to earth or it was feared he would sail off into outer space.
These are either wild, fabricated tales, or they are the result of Catholic spiritism that they call miracles. Other diabolic miracles EWTN parades as sanctified include statues bleeding, crying, or shedding oil; crucifixes coming to life and talking to Catholic mystics. None of these cheap parlor tricks have any biblical precedent, instead all have parallels in the world of the occult.
"All Paths Under the Pope"
One would think that now in the twenty-first century, the Roman Catholic Church would leave demonic superstition behind. She seems to be trying to modernize her outward appearance in order to slow the tide of Catholics leaving in droves for more seeker-sensitive Christian churches. And the devils who are at home in Rome are accommodating them once again by inspiring Catholic architects, artists and other talent to get on the new age bandwagon.
Just watching Catholics in the news reveals their public relations campaign of inclusiveness. Historically, as already pointed out, the Roman Catholic Church has merged various pagan ideas into their own teachings and rituals. But now, the Vatican trend is to acknowledge all religions as having a part of the truth and participating with them to show some unity, just as long as the pope is recognized as predominant. It would seem as though all are accommodating the pope, as they give him honor. The whore of Babylon is now in the infancy stage and growing.
Several years ago during a papal visit to America, the pope held audience for Protestant clergy to line up and give him ambiance. The pope sat on his portable papal throne, with his crucifix staff in hand, decked out in his fanciest jeweled miter as America's clergy brought him various gifts. Many Protestant clergymen also wore their finest ecclesiastical costumes during this display of papal seniority and each and every one of them came before the pope with all reverence, some even bowing before him and kissing his ring.
One of the most elaborate outward displays of the Roman Catholic Church's new ecumenical and modern paradigm shift can be seen in the new $200 million dollar cathedral in Los Angeles that opened in late 2002. In the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the old church meets the new church, but the new church is given the highest honors.
This modern mega-structure cannot even be recognized as a Catholic church from its architectural design. One Catholic, writing a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times described it this way:
"In appearance and atmosphere, this is a profoundly anti-Christian place. The massive entrance is a blind alley out of a pharaoh's tomb. The nave, with its downward-sloping floor and low ceiling, feels dark and oppressive--unlike the transcendent open space flooded with light that one expects in a Catholic church. The altar is a massive slab of blood-red marble imported from Turkey--a savagely pagan touch, like the sacrificial table atop an Aztec temple. Unfortunately, the archdiocese is going to suffer the consequences of this grotesque white elephant for decades to come." :"(Kevin McMahon, Letters to the Editor, Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2002.)":
The old Roman Catholic Church of the Americas is depicted outside the cathedral in the "Plaza of the People." :"("A Short Tour of The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels" brochure, pps. 22-23.)": This is a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, a 12-foot-high image of her is visible to motorists who pass by. Inside the niche is a mural showing the new saint, Juan Diego, in an attitude of prayer toward the lady. "Aztec and Spanish angels" are said to adorn the niche to symbolize the joining of the two cultures, and apparently religions as well.
This Aztec visionary was canonized in the summer of 2001. This "saint" is very much revered in Mexico because his lady is the patron saint of Mexico and "he was instrumental in unifying indigenous spiritual beliefs with Christianity." :"(Flores, Miroslava and La Voz de Aztlan, "Vatican to Canonize Cuauhtlatoahtzin [Juan Diego]," ACN, 1/17/01, www.treff-raum-espaciotime.com/ Articles/cuauhtlatoahtzin.html.)":
This Aztec devil in the guise of a lady appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531 at the very place that the Mexicans worshipped the goddess Tonantzin, the goddess of earth and corn. Her name means "Our Mother" in Nahuatl, the Mexican language. This devil goddess told St. Juan Diego she wanted a temple built for herself at the same location where the original pagan temple had once stood in honor of the goddess.
Juan Diego went to the local bishop with the apparition's demands and he did not believe the Indian until the goddess gave him proof when her image mysteriously appeared on Diego's cloak. According to Catholic reports, the bishop asked Juan Diego who the lady was and he answered, "Tecuauhtlacryseuh" which sounds like "Guadalupe." "The bishop associated the lady with the Muslim Spanish Madonna, Our Lady of Guadalupe' that was venerated high in the Estremadua Mountains of Spain." :"(Ibid.)":
Juan Diego's lady has a crescent moon under her feet, the symbol for Islam. The name she gave the visionary, Techipeh, actually translates, "She who comes flying from the Region of Light' like an Eagle of Fire.'" :"(Ibid.)":
The image of this lady that currently is enshrined at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, appears to be a pregnant Mexican native.
During Juan Diego's canonization ceremony as seen on EWTN, native dancers in paint and feathers performed their native dance before the pope. An image of Juan Diego wearing his Aztec native headdress was presented to the pope, carried on a liter in a procession through the crowd of 12 million onlookers for all to venerate. During this pagan ceremony, the natives invoked the eagle because St. Juan's real Aztec name was "Talking Eagle."
Could this be one of the birds of prey sitting in the branches of the grown mustard tree as mentioned earlier?
It is not surprising that L.A.'s new cathedral recognizes America's own Marian apparition. However, the real place of honor is given to the "Lady of the Angels" herself -- the new and improved "Mother of God."
The cathedral's own website explains the symbolism of this transformed "Mary." :"(www.olacathedral.org)": Upon first glance, it's difficult to tell whether the statue is male or female, it looks so androgynous in its kimono and big masculine hands. But if you look behind her, you'll see a long braid that isn't visible from the front view.
The 25-ton Bronze Doors that open to her tells the whole story of the evolution of the Catholic "Mary." The Door has 15 separate depictions of the "Queen of Heaven." The first depiction of the lady is the most revealing. The Cathedral's web page describes the first image as the "Virgin of Pomata. This image from the Andes village comes from the late colonial School of Cuzco. Mary wears a feathered Inca headdress and a billowing dress suggestive of Pachamama, the Inca mountain goddess." :"(Ibid.)":
Other evolutionary depictions of Mary on the Bronze Door include Mary crushing the serpent; the Divine Shepherdess; the Virgin of the Cave whose image came from a cave and could do miracles (similar to the statue of Athens' goddess Diana whose image miraculously fell from the sky in the 19th chapter of Acts); the Black Madonna, the Pieta; and the Virgin of Loreto where she is depicted with angels. :"(Ibid.)":
Also on the Bronze Doors are "40 smaller icons that represent faiths preceding Christianity and include an I-Ching symbol, Celtic serpents and a condor symbol popular with the Chumash people who once inhabited Southern California." :"(Johnson, Reed, L.A. Times Sunday Calendar, September 1, 2002, "In Our Own Image.")":
Surrounding the 15 incarnational depictions of this lady of the (fallen) angels are "the words of an incantatory prayer listing her various titles -- Holy Mother of God, Vessel of Honor, Ark of the Covenant, Morning Star, Refuge of Sinners." :"(Ibid.)":
This is merely an expensive monument outlining the Roman Catholic Church's agenda in gathering all religions under her jurisdiction. In the past whenever astute Protestant historians documented Rome's merger of Christianity and paganism, Catholic spokespersons protested loudly denying any such connection. And now they proudly identify the origin of their own Lady of the Angels with the pagan Inca goddess, Pachamama. Unbelievable!
The artists responsible for the new Mary boldly told the Los Angeles Times, "I think that throughout all the representations of the Virgin goddess, there has always been the recognition that each one of those has been of the time and of the people." :"(Ibid.)":
So, even the Catholic artists sees her as a "goddess." Catholic apologists really can't get away with the denials anymore.
"Rome's Source of Inspiration"
One of EWTN's most famous Catholic apologists is Scott Hahn, a former Protestant minister. He has written extensively on the idea of Mary as the Ark of the Covenant as was seen earlier as one of her identities on the bronze door.
Hahn's reasoning goes like this. Since the Spirit of God descended upon the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, and the Holy Spirit also descended upon God's handmaiden when God miraculously caused her to conceive the Son of God, then Mary must be the ultimate personification of the Ark of the Covenant.
Hahn's biggest clue is that the pagan religions of the ancient world also had temples with arks. And the arks of the pagan cultures had female deities enthroned upon them.
Hahn explains: "During the late Bronze and early Iron Ages, excavators describe it as a female figure sitting in a square armchair.' Odd? Why would these ancient cultures have an ark on which sat this female figure on kind of a throne posture? And why did they also just like Israel often lead that ark out into battle ahead of the troops? Because it was a kind of Queen Mother figure perhaps. I mean, let's face it, ladies and gentlemen, if your mother was out in the front lines, would you be tempted to fight a little bit harder? Yeah. So consistently the Ark of the Covenant was what produced all of these miracle victories." :"(Hahn, Scott, "A Closer Look at Christ's Church; Answering Common Objections," Program 16 Transcript.)":
This interpretation makes Mary eternal and preexistent as only God can be. Hahn uses pagan tradition to interpret his concept of Mary, much in the same way as the L A. Cathedral's Bronze Door artist does. They both get their light from a place of darkness. It's a known fact that the Roman Catholic Church has given equal weight to tradition on par with Scripture -- but pagan tradition? It seems to carry the same weight with today's Roman Catholic movers and shakers.
Hahn compares Jesus' relationship to His mother as the "Oedipus Complex," another inspiration from pagan lore. "The Blessed Virgin Mary is Christ's daughter," he explains, "because he is her creator, but he creates her to be his mother. But then, after he bestows his glory upon her and calls her to himself and makes her the Queen Mother of all . . . She becomes the bride of Christ. No wonder he calls her woman.' He can't decide, Are you my daughter? Are you my mother or are you my bride?'" :"(Hahn, Scott, "A Closer Look at Christ's Church; Mary, Ark of the Covenant," Program 17 Transcript.)":
The "Jesus" Hahn describes is one confused person and his mother is the new focus of all humanity. Hahn, the former Protestant minister (though his credentials are very suspect) merely moved beyond using the Protestant Reformers to interpret the Bible for him and moved on to rely upon Church Fathers and then full circle to pagan mystics for his interpretation. What it all boils down to is that Hahn is being manipulated by the master deceiver to corrupt the Word of God. He is entertaining the Devil, himself, unawares. His first mistake that made him vulnerable to error was that he wouldn't let Scripture interpret Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Hahn's new unorthodox view of Mary as the Holy of Holies, a place where only God can dwell, is inspired by pagan temples in Hahn's case and by Inca goddesses in the L.A. Cathedral. The Catholic Church is really showing her teeth.
Hahn's Ark rhetoric is consistent with the views of EWTN, the network he is seen on. On one EWTN program, "Tell the World," host Fr. John Hampsch, honoring Mary, made this proclamation: "Mary is the sinless one. The only one besides Christ that had a perfectly integrated personality. To be the tabernacle for the perfectly integrated Christ, the God-Man." :"(Hampsch, John, CMF, "Tell the World," video tape on file.)":
And on another EWTN program, "The Abundant Life," hostess Johnette Benkovic interviewed a Catholic mystic, Kristine Lathrop. Lathrop had supposedly been given a vision of the Annunciation from the viewpoint of the angel Gabriel. He was confused about the nature of his mission until he saw Mary "and when he saw her, he saw the Ark of the Covenant." :"(Kristine Lathrop, "The Abundant Life," 9/28/99 on EWTN, video on file.)":
Lathrop identified Michael as Mary's guardian angel who was in the scene with his wings encompassed around Mary as Gabriel made his visit. The hostess Benkovic was overjoyed to hear about Mary's guardian angel. She elaborated on her guest's vision. "We saw that as Gabriel made his way through the universe, all of these planets had angels and it reminds us of the fact that everything in nature has an angel -- planets and cities and towns and parishes and dioceses. And it brings to our mind the importance of our own angels." :"(Johnette Benkovic, Ibid.)":
This is nothing more than a new age concept of angels. Benkovic and her guest instructed the viewers how to make contact with their own angels.
"I have often heard that one way in which we can cultivate a devotion to our angel in a proper and authentic light is to give our angel a name. I remember that Padre Pio's angel's name was Salvatore." :"(Ibid.)":
These are not angels as they suppose. Angels are not beings that we invoke. They are not at our command. Scripture tells us that angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation" (Rom. 1:14). God is the one who dispatches His angels. They are under His command, not ours. "For He [God] shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:11). Throughout the Word of God, angels appeared as they were sent by God; never did they appear at man's bidding. And the fallen angels have rebelled from God's authority. They would be the only ones that a person can invoke and they do not mean us good but harm. And they camouflage themselves as the good angels. "For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14).
In these days of creeping apostasy and revival of demonic deception, Christians do well if they learn from the mistakes of "Mother Church" and not take the same path to perdition. The Roman Catholic Church has had centuries to devolve and become a "habitation of devils, and a prison for every foul spirit" (Rev. 18:2). It's time to heed the Biblical warning and "Come out of her, my people" (Rev. 18:4).