Hello, my dear friends. I’m speaking, of course, to our Catholic friends, and I mean friends. I have many Catholic friends and, on my mother’s side of the family, Catholic relatives, including my mother. My mother is of Irish-Catholic background. In her family there are members of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland and in America and in Canada. I've always had a love of the Catholic people, and I spent 11 years of my youth in Catholic schools through my mother's insistence. But like many other young people at that time I began to question the established religious values of the time and began to do my own seeking and my own searching.
Now I should tell you my own family is a mixture of Roman Catholic and Jewish, and partially for that reason I'm able to speak and read the Hebrew language, and I've also learned Greek. I looked at other faiths – Judaism, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism – most of all I studied the Scriptures with an emphasis on studying them in the original languages. I don't say I'm the greatest scholar or theologian in the world, but I do know what I believe and why I believe it.
I have a book here, Rome Has Spoken, written by two academic Roman Catholic nuns Maureen Fiedler and Linda Rabben – they’re the editors. They are both Ph.D.'s, both Roman Catholic nuns, both quite scholarly women. The book is published by Crossroad Publishing Company and it’s a very, very interesting book, a compilation of Vatican- and papal-issued statements from different times in history.
I’d like to ask you some questions as a Roman Catholic, questions of the sort I once asked myself, questions that other people like me have asked. But before I do that I’d like to read you some quotes from Roman Catholic documents – official Vatican documents – that areimprimatur and nihil obstat, official Roman Catholic documents.
In the year 420, Boniface I, Bishop of Rome: “Instead of what is lawful for what has been decided by the apostolic see to be reconsidered, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the current pope vigilist was found guilty of heresy and formally excommunicated from the body of the faithful. And at the Third Council of Constantinople in 681, Pope Honorius had confirmed the impious opinions of the heretic Sergius and anathematizee the pope from the church.” According to Roman Catholic history, Roman Catholic documents, popes have been kicked out of office and excommunicated by councils of the church. It was not the belief, according to the Roman Catholic Church, that the pope at that time was somehow infallible in what he was proclaiming.
Of course now they claim, since 1870, when he speaks ex-cathedra he is, but I've never heard in modern history of a Pope being fired – sacked by the church. But things began to change by the medieval church, and again I'm only reading from Roman Catholic history that the creedom of 1140, where matters of faith are concerned, a General Counsel – a kind of magisterium – is greater than a pope. For though the Roman pope has sometimes erred, this does not mean that the Roman Church has. In other words, popes can say things that are erroneous and the church doesn’t have to support them.
By 1200 A.D. Pope Innocent III: “Every cleric must obey the pope, even if he commands what is evil; for no one may judge the pope.” In the year 1200 the papacy decreed you have to obey the pope even if he tells you to do something which is evil and that no one may judge it, although the earlier councils of the church fired popes. A religion that came to teach you have to follow a man even when he's telling you to do something evil.
In the year 1302, Pope Boniface VIII, “Unam Sanctam”: “We declare, affirm, and define as a truth necessary for salvation that every human being is subject to the Roman Pontiff.” In the year 1302 it was decreed by Pope Boniface VIII that to have salvation – that is escape hell and go to heaven – you have to be subject to the pope.
Let’s move to the modern era.
1854, Pope Pius IX, “Ineffablis Deus”: “If anyone shall dare to think otherwise the most Blessed Virgin was from the first moment of her conception preserved immune from all stain of original sin. if anyone dares to think otherwise that has been defined here by us, let him know that he certainly has abandoned the divine and Catholic church.” The church is proclaimed as divine and if you don't believe that Mary was sinless you’ve abandoned it. That was in 1854. Why was it not taught earlier? The term “theoticos” –“mother of God” is not in the Bible or in the Greek text anywhere, it’s not in the Vulgate. Pius IX was the same pope who issued a papal encyclical in which democracy was condemned – “Quanta Cura”.
In the first Vatican Council in the year 1870, “Pastor Aeternus”: “We teach and define that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in the exercise of his offices pastor and teacher of all Christians, he defines by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority a doctrine of faith and morals which is to be held by the whole Church. It is by reason of the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished His church to be endowed in defining doctrines of faith and morals.” Since 1870 there’s been an official doctrine that the pope, when he speaks ex cathedra from the chair of Peter cannot make a mistake; a human being who cannot make a mistake even though earlier church councils said that popes can make mistakes even in matters of doctrine and some were excommunicated for it.
Quite a book. A book not containing Protestant documents, a book compiled by Roman Catholics containing Roman Catholic documents.
Again, Boniface VIII, “Unum Sanctum”, 1302: “We declare, affirm, and define as a truth necessary for salvation that every human being is subject to the Roman Pontiff.” If you’re not a Catholic you can’t go to heaven they said.
There was a Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”, 1896: “Let such as these take counsel with themselves and realize that they can in no wise be counted among the children of God unless they take Christ Jesus as their brother and at the same time the church, that is the church of Rome, as their mother.” Jesus as your brother and the Roman Catholic Church as your mother. And if that is not the case, you’re not a child of God. John 1 says to all who believed Him, who believed in His name, to all who received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. (Jn. 1:12)
1948. the Holy Office, “Cum Comperum” reminded Catholics of canonical prohibitions against unauthorized prohibition and so-called ecumenical meetings with non-Catholic Christians and in shared worship. They were warned against it in 1948, now all of the sudden it’s to be pursued in order to get people to become Catholic. That tells me something. At one time they were afraid of Catholics being lured away from the church by associating with other Christians; now they think the time is ripe to lure other Christians into the Roman Church.
The Second Vatican Council in 1964, Dogmatic Constitution of the Church: “Those who through no fault of their own do not know the gospel of Christ or His church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart and moved by grace tray in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience, these too may attain eternal salvation.” Which directly, of course, contradicts the earlier pronouncement Unum Sanctum.
Contradiction upon contradiction; things have devolved and changed. Yet the constitutional motto of the Roman Church is “Semper Idem” – “always the same”. Well, it’s not; it’s changed, changed, and changed. What the Roman Catholic Church is today it became at the Council of Trent, basically, in the aftermath of the Reformation. We can document it from their own documents. Some Catholic scholars admit it. Yet in a way it is Semper Idem. Once they make another doctrine they can’t change it. There are two kinds of doctrines in the Roman Church:proxima fide and de fide You can change a proxima fide doctrine like making the mass from Latin into English, but a de fide doctrine – transubstantiation, purgatory, indulgence – they couldn't change that stuff.
And so looking at these contradictions, coming from a Catholic background on my mother’s side of the family, I have to ask some questions of my Catholic friends – sincere questions. Again, I’m not attacking you, it would be attacking my own family, indeed my own mother. I'm not attacking you, I'm simply trying to arrive at the truth. I'm only asking you questions that I once asked myself.