Cost of a Bible Before the Printing Press


Reuben: Mary did not acquire any divinity, just because she gave birth to Jesus.

Bread From Heaven: We totally agree. Mary is only a human person. Anti-Catholic propaganda misinforms many Protestants that we think she is divine and that we worship her. But this is a lie.

Reuben: Catholics need to read the Bible, and let the Holy Spirit guide them to know the truth.  In the early days the Catholic Church did not want the common man to read the Bible, so that they could interpret the Bible according to their need.

Bread From Heaven:  I find your desire for people to “interpret the Bible according to need” troubling. Are you aware of the condemnation in Scripture of private interpretation?

2 Peter 1:20  First of all, understand this: no prophecy of Scripture is to be interpreted by an individual on his own;

A Catholic who goes to mass every Sunday will hear nearly the whole Bible in three years. And we do read the Bible as well. It is NOT true that the Catholic Church did not want the lay people to read the Bible in the early days of the Church. Once again you have been misinformed. In the early days of the Church:

1) Most people could not read.
-So the priest read the scriptures to the people. Which is still done
even though most people can now read and Bibles are cheap.

2) For the first 400 years of Christian history the Scriptures had not even been canonized so many different letters and gospels were read to the people. They did the best they could with what they could obtain. But some of these early writings were later not canonized. Even after 400 years (for reference the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock 400 years ago) every local church did not have in their possession every single canonized book of the Bible. There were no printing presses or books as we know them back then. Each book was a “book” in the form of a scroll.

3) Until some time after the invention of the printing press, the Bible, was an extremely costly book.
At today’s minimum wages of $8/hr and only counting the time for one monk to write the whole Bible, it would take 10 months at a cost of $16,640!!! But that doesn’t count the second monk who checked every single page for accuracy, which would raise the cost of one Bible in today’s US Dollars to $30,000 + And that still does not include the cost of materials, or for the time for another monk to Illuminate (decorate) the pages and for someone else to bind the pages together and put on a cover. At these prices it is easy to see why every person could not have their own personal Bible for study and devotions. It also becomes clear why Churches chained the Bible in the Church to prevent the theft of this precious possession used every day at every Catholic Mass. All colleges also chained their books in the Library and student had to go there to read them.

4) The idea of the necessity of Scripture alone for personal reading, salvation, and growth in holiness was a very late invention by Martin Luther etc. It could not be an eternal Christian principle because the majority of people, until the last several hundred years could not read. Even today, 20% of the world population cannot read. So, Our Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom and mercy would never have made salvation dependent upon personal reading of the Bible, as some Protestant sects seem to teach.

Reuben:  Nobody should be following the Church or a preacher blindly. Catholics need to understand that it is not important to view what the Church says or the Pope says; it has to be aligned with the Word of God.

Bread From Heaven: Believe me Catholics do not follow anyone blindly. There is NOTHING in our Faith than contradicts one thing in Scripture. Our faith only contradicts Protestantism and some of their individual interpretations. We follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, our Pope, and our Bishops because we are convinced that Jesus Christ Himself founded our Church on Peter the first Pope and the Apostles, the first priests and bishops. All the Protestant churches were started by men.

For more please see my post–>Why NOT the Bible Alone?

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75 Responses

  1. I agree; most were illiterate until even the 18th century. Many across the globe are illiterate today and need someone to share the Gospel with them, verbally. I don’t believe anyone truly understanding the principle of evangelism thinks you have to get the truth from the written word, having “read” it with your own eyes. Never-the-less, it is also true that there is far more of an opportunity to be led into a lie or half truth when you are relying on the spoken word of men. While it remains our hope that God will keep those who come to him in faith, this hope resides in us while we live in a fallen world with desperately wicked men who can masquerade as men of God (defined as men gifted by the Holy Spirit as teachers).

    This does not change because a man swears an oath or learns in a Catholic Institution or wears the garments of a Catholic Priest. I believe recent events should have driven that home by now. And it is also true that men within the Catholic church do not all agree on the catechism as written. I am reading through “The Faith of Millions” right now and there are passages in there, written by a Priest, describing what he believes is taking place during Communion. What he verbalizes in that section of the book does in fact run counter to the catechism and by the catechism is indefensible.

    On the subject of Mariology; while the Catholic church seeks to define it’s view of Mary and a believer’s “responsibility” to her, a believer’s “relationship” to her, a believer’s view of her and uses the word “venerate” in an effort to describe a particular level of “adoration” just short of worship, the prayers which it has contrived and demands a believer pray, bely that…”Hail Holy Queen; mother of mercy; our life, our sweetness, and our hope..”. Now I am sure that there is some kind of apologetic explanation that ie designed to lead someone away from the clear definition of these words but I will tell you what I read in these words and that most of my (Catholic) family draw from them: 1. Mary is a Queen in Heaven 2. It is her mercy that frees us 3. She is the reason for our life, our joy and she is the reason for our hope.

    I won’t go further into the prayer than that except to say, if this was not the intent of the prayer and if Mary is not/was not to be worshipped, then the prayer is ill-conceived. As much as anything I can tell you this is a foremost reason for me not to return to the Catholic church. A second reason is that the Catholic church, while declaring something else, truly does not believe John 14:6 at least not in practice. If they did, they would not look at Believers and Followers of Jesus Christ, outside the church as the “mission field”. By doing so, they/you, again bely what you say by your actions which clearly say “no one will come to the Father except by Rome…”. If in fact the Catholic church truly believes John 14:6 and John 15:6 et al, it would be seeking to align itself with the “Great Commission” Math 28: 16-20. The nations is a reference to those peoples not yet reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not those people not accepting every dot and tittle of the Catholic Catechism which includes worship of people.

    • Dear John,
      I agree with your first paragraph. It really doesn’t matter what the priest says in the book you are reading. What the Catechism says is what the Church teaches. If the priest is contradicting the Catechism then the priest is wrong. I am a Catechism Catholic. I believe and trust the teachings of the Church Jesus founded. You are correct. Men can make mistakes. They can even teach heresy. And I have heard Catholic priests teach heresy. Some, blatant and some more subtle. But what the Catholic Church teaches is indefectible and trustworthy. I am able to know what the Church teaches if a priest ever says something that sounds wrong.

      A man sitting down and reading the Bible can also vere into heresy. For a while as a Protestant I rejected the reality of Hell b/c of my interpretation of the Bible. So, yes men are fallible. But the Catholic Church is not fallible. Catholics are fallible and sinful. Priests are fallible and sinful. But the Teachings of the Church are sure and infallible. The are what Jesus taught the disciples and the disciples passed down to faithful men able to teach.

      We honor Mary. We do NOT worship Mary. I know what you mean by some of the prayers but they only offend Protestant ears looking for Catholic error. Mary is the Queen Mother of Heaven. But she is not the fourth person of the Trinity….making it a quadrinity or something. We are NOT required to pray to Mary. We are not required to pray any particular prayer to Mary. We are not required to pray to the Saints. We do NOT adore Mary. We honor her as a holy example for our lives.

      Re: Hail Holy Queen
      We do believe that God has chose to give us the gift of salvation through Mary. Jesus was born of her and took her flesh in the incarnation. If you are familiar with Scripture God seems to have a habit of using men to accomplish almost everything in His plan of Salvation rather than just wave His hand and “POOF” it is done. Thus, he used and continues to use Mary to shower His children with grace. But she remains a creature. A woman and not divine in any way.
      She is merciful, our life, the reason for our Hope but ONLY as a result of the power and purpose of God. On her own she is nothing. Sometimes also, pious prayers can get a little hyperbolic. So, I certainly understand that a Protestant, who starts with a bias that we worship Mary or honor her too much reads these prayers and is sure they are evidence of blasphemy. The Hail Holy Queen prayer is very ancient and was probably composed while Christendom was still unified. Today with the sensibilities of Protestants perhaps such a prayer would be worded differently. But the Catholic Church is not going to change her 2000 years of historical prayers and ways of speaking. All you need to know is that we do not worship Mary. That is a Protestant lie.

      Here is John 14:6

      “I am the way, the truth, and the life!” Jesus answered. “Without me, no one can go to the Father.

      I have no idea why you don’t think we believe this or practice it. It is absolutely true. It is a lie also that we believe that no one can be saved unless they are Catholic. Of course, we want to share the fulness of the Faith and Gospel with everyone, even Catholics! Just b/c God uses a human in His plan does not mean that He is no the way the truth and life and and without Him no one can go to the Father. The Catholic Church has been evangelizing the whole world for 2000 years. That is why we have Churches in every country on Earth. I do not understand why you think otherwise.

      • BFHU; I am sorry you attended a fellowship that taught there was no hell. It has always mystified me that anyone could deny the existence of something so clearly taught, but, this is not a rational or even logical argument in favor of the hierarchal governance and preeminence of the Catholic church we know today. Again; “church” reflects an organism which the sum total of Believers in Jesus Christ not an established body of governance established by Jesus Christ.

        In addition, you mentioned that reading the Bible opens up the opportunity to “vere into heresy”. Don’t you find that the least bit curious? We are admonished to study and you argue that God can “keep” the Pope from “veering” into sin when making Bulls yet now state you don’t believe God keeps men from the same when reading “his word”. If anything can be true and hopeful it is that God will keep men from heresy – men who are sincerely seeking God’s desire for them.

        The point is, the only thing giving any credence to the opinion that the Pope is infallible, in some things yet not keeping men who read his word, is the convenient Catholic teaching that the Pope is kept and this, through tradition which is, again, uniquely Catholic.

        I like to say; when in doubt; make a rule.

        Again, my contention with the Catholic church is the same contention you had with the churches of your youth (Protestant), that some of the teachings do not line up with some written dogma or doctrine of another. While you migrated to and now firmly believe in Catholic dogma, I have read Scripture – and church history and come to a different opinion.

        This, however, does not mean I believe all Catholics are going to Hell. And when I share the Gospel with family and friends who are Catholic, it is with the understanding that they are his servants – not mine. But I am also keenly aware that if they think their rosarie or the lighting of candles, or the “smells and bells (as a friend on mine says), are the reasons they are going to Heaven, I am duty bound to steer them back toward Christ; not Mary, Peter, Paul, Father Schmucatelli, or Pope John Paul.

        Again; John 14:6 clearly indicates “the way”, Acts 16:31 indicates the personal decision to accept John 14:6. And while there are other Scriptures which say much of the same thing, the rest is admonition and exhortation on discipline and fellowship with others – as well as sharing the Gospel.

        You said you were caught up short with those teaching there was no hell; I was caught up with zero evidence in the lives of almost every single Catholic I knew, in the normal course of their daily lives of their salvation other than saying; ‘I am Catholic’. No evangelism, no Bible study, no Catechism classes, no outreach, no personal prayer, just rote poem recital.

        • Dear John,
          I did not attend a church that taught there was no Hell. I came up with that on my own using Scripture alone. It is only “clearly” taught if you come to scripture with a bias in favor of historical interpretation. But if you try interpreting certain verses a case can be made for no eternal punishment of hell.

          I did not say it was a rational or logical argument for the hierarchy. But it is an argument for interpreting Scripture in union with the historical interpretation.

          We believe that the Holy Spirit prevents the Pope from teaching error on faith and morals to the whole Church. God could make every individual able to interpret scripture infallibly. He could do that. But obviously He does not do this. Protestantism portrays this par excellence with dueling doctrines, contradicting teachings, disunity, fracturing and splintering every time one person or a group of people decide that they and they alone have the TRUE interpretation of scripture. This is the unintended consequence of Sola Scriptura. I think all of these men are truly seeking God. It is impossible to tell who is or who is not unless some serious sin shows up down the road. But in the meantime, people are sincerely deceived.

          Catholics do not think that smells and bells are why they are going to Heaven. That is a Protestant conceit. Salvation is much more serious than that. We would rather be in the Church that Jesus founded, than one founded 40-500 years ago my men.

          I am sorry that you knew no holy Catholics. But your experience was not complete. The Catholic Church has been awash in a hostile takeover attempt by heretics for the past 50 years. So, it does not surprise me that your experience was so unfortunate. But God raises up saints in times such as these. You could have been one of them but opted out.

          • BFHU; “The Catholic Church has been awash in a hostile takeover attempt by heretics for the past 50 years. So, it does not surprise me that your experience was so unfortunate…” What you describe here is precisely the thing you raise in your concerns about the “Protestant” churches and precisely the point when it comes to how the split even came about. The fact is, there have been heresies, discontent and outright immorality in the church for centuries and there are two reasons for this:

            One; it is a foundational truth that all men have sinned and that all men are sinners (present tense).

            Two; as soon as you arrive at the opinion that men, even the Pope, are “kept”, you violate number one.

            There is zero evidence that God promised to keep or that he has kept the various Popes from sin as it pertains to anything. It is simply a traditional teaching of the Catholic church but as you have so clearly indicated, even under the “kept” teaching of the Popes, heresies have made their way through the clergy and to the laity who “LARGELY” never see the inside of a Bible. Their teaching is from these men who are, according to rule one, sinners.

            Scripture – not Catholic tradition nor Catholic catechism, teaches us to ‘test the spirits to see if they are of God…’ This is a tall order if the Catechism preempts Scripture or if people are not reading Scripture in order to have something to ‘test the spirit of men’ by.

            The point is, the same level of confusion exists within the Catholic church as anywhere else; it is human nature. And if you were so given to the infallibility and uniqueness of the Catholic church, you would not feel compelled to study either the church traditions – or Scripture yourself and, you would have no way of knowing whether the opinion you just stated was in fact an accurate representation or a gut feeling.

            When we say Scripture must be the final arbiter (most Protestant churches do not teach it is heresy or wrong to study other sources…that is a Catholic evangelical tool), it is precisely to this point. When there are questions, or divisions or misunderstandings, it is the precise writings of the Apostles which have been declared to be Scripture, the New Testament which must be consulted to straighten these things out.

            And as I said before, it is quite clear that early Fathers did not all agree with what has been now declared to be Catholic Catechism. Ignatius had problems with transubstantiation as did Justin Martyr. Augustine taught predestination as did a German Monk who belonged to the order named for him, Luther.

            When we, as Believers in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, get in front of the judgment and the Book of Life is opened, there will not be a box to check which says Catholic (BTW a word not coined by the Apostles). It will simply say saved or not saved. Works which were “meet” for the kingdom, will produce rewards, all others will be burned but the Believer will be saved.

            The name above the door of the church does not save; Jesus Saves and we would all do a lot better for the lost, and for each other, if we would spend out time seeking the lost and spreading the Gospel.

            • John we do NOT believe that the Pope is kept from sin. He goes to confession once a week to confess his sins. Yes, Our Enemy is always trying to destroy the Church, of course. St. John promised that heresies would arise, so of course they have. However, we have the Catechism of the Catholic Church to anchor us in the TRUE teachings of the Church throughout history. We do not have to rely on this or that interpretation of scripture. We can know the Truth as passed down from the teaching of the Apostles.

              The Catechism of the Catholic Church does NOT in any way, shape, or form preempt Sacred Scripture. All that the Catholic Church believes must be in alignment with Sacred Scripture. And it is. People do not need to read Scripture in order to learn the Christian Faith. However, for the last 50 years people have been poorly taught, many priests have not used the homily to soundly instruct the faithful. We do have real problems in the Catholic Church. I do not deny that. Through the centuries there are ups and downs. We are coming out of a downswing. You have many misconceptions about salvation and assume we think we will be saved b/c we are Catholic or b/c we check a box. We will be saved if at the end of our life we are in Friendship with Christ and judged fit for the kingdom. The teachings of the Catholic Church are the teachings of Christ and the apostles from which the Scriptures were born. So there is no contradictions. But Protestants came along 1500 years and sat down with scripture while rejecting much of historical Christian teachings and made up their own doctrines without reference to what the Church has always and everywhere believed in regards to certain doctrines while accepting without question other doctrines. They picked and chose the doctrines they liked and rejected those they did not like. The root meaning of the word “heresy” means to pick and choose.

              There were disagreements among faithful Catholics over issues such as the canon of Scripture, the exact nature of the Eucharist, perhaps predestination but once the Bishops made a definitive, infallible decision about what was to be believed, the faithful said Amen.

  2. I dont think you would get through the whole bible in 3 years with 156
    small readings. It would not nearly be enough. All the apostles and disciples and Jesus knew the Old Testament by heart since they were Jews. The new testament gospels and letters would be circulated immediately. Eg pauls letters to the churches would be read out to the congregation when they were written – that was their purpose – they would also be copied by scribes and given to whoever wanted them.
    With no distractions like TV these new testament writings of which there is ample evidence would be passed round and copied.

    Since even the Son of God needed scripture to defeat the devil then how much more do we. Without the sword of the spirit (the Bible)
    we would be defenceless against the evil one. The Bible is the Word
    and we are told right through the bible to immerse ourselves and our children in the Word.
    In the early days those who could not read would be hearing the Word
    from teachers and pastors and the readings and sermon’s would be much longer than they are now.
    The average homily in a catholic church is only minutes and in many churches the priest or minister is constrained in what he can warn about.
    The Catholic church certainly suppressed the Bible.

    • Dear Charles,
      I didn’t say “all” I said nearly all of the Bible. Of course geneologies are skipped and some of the repetion of events in Kings and Chonicles are probably skipped. But there are 208 readings in a year not counting the Holy Days of Obligation. And the readings are not that short sometimes. My point is that we cover most of scripture in three years. Protestants act like we have no exposure. I will admit I have not investigated this claim.

      I realize that the Gospels and Paul’s letters were circulated in the first four centuries. And as time passed more copies were undoubtedly made. But the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura was conveniently not invented until after the printing press which made it seem a lot more plausible than it would been even 100 years earlier. My point is that probably very few, if any, local churches possessed all of the books of the Bible for centuries b/c for one thing no one had definitively decided what books were infallible scripture. That took 400 years.

      So yes the four gospels were certainly circulated but so were other gospels and other letters and writings besides those now contained in canonized scripture. Because of the cost and time involved in making accurate copies I doubt they were just “given to whoever wanted them.”

      The Catholic Church has NEVER suppressed the Bible. That is another Protestant lie that you have been taught. We may have short homilies but we read more scripture at every mass than Protestant Churches on average. Protestants do have longer sermons but we actually read more scripture. We hold the Scriptures in very high esteem. Nothing in our faith may ever contradict anything in Sacred Scripture.

  3. There is absolutely no condemnation for anyone to read the active and living word of God.
    This is misusing what Peter mean’t – he mean’t that the Words that were written for all of the Bible came not from man’s own interpretation but from the Holy Spirit guiding the prophet’s writings.

    ‘Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.’
    peter 1 20 – 21

    By reading scripture the simple are made wise.

    • Dear Charles,
      I did not say reading scripture was condemned. I said scripture condemned PRIVATE INTERPRETATION of Scripture

      We reject the infallibility of Protestant interpretation of Scripture.

      2 Peter 1:20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,

      And the word translated “prophecy” does not mean foretelling the future but according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary:
      “Propheteia: signifies the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God.”

      Protestants, on their own authority will teach what they believe the Scriptures mean contrary to how they have historically been interpreted. So a pastor claims he is speaking forth the mind and counsel of God when he teaches his congregation what he thinks scripture is saying. Sometimes, most of the time even, what he teaches is aligned with the historic interpretations of scripture. But no Protestant fears to proclaim his own private interpretation of scripture. He sincerely believes he is being led by the Holy Spirit and is speaking forth the word of God. This private interpretation is precisely the reason there are so many divisions in Protestantism which is diametrically opposed to Jesus’ desire for unity in John 17. But this desire for unity is totally ignored by Protestants b/c they know deep down that somehow Protestantism has not worked out the way it should have.

  4. Scripture does not condemn private interpretation of scripture. When
    one reads it is inevitable that the mind interprets.
    Scripture always commands us to read and meditate upon the Word.

    As I said above – Peter 1.20 is not saying that people should not read the bible – he is saying that the prophecies – (the bible) came from the Holy Spirit not man’s own thinking. So there is no scripture which says dont read and interpret.

    There are thousands of splits in the catholic church except they are hidden under one umbrella .

    ‘But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.”
    1 jOHN 2 ; 27

    Scripture was already decided before the apostles died – it was ratified
    400 years later.

    • @Charles Allan: You’ve to learn to read scripture in context. For 2 Pet 1:20, you should continue reading … “but false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies …” Remember that the words of the “original” inspired bible flow continuously without the arbitrary “chapters and verses” which were added later. Now in context, “private interpretation” by false prophets and false teachers (within the Christian community) will bring destructive HERESIES. Private Interpretation has led to disunity among Christ’s followers, and some 30,000 Protestant denominations which disagree on core doctrines of the faith. Every Protestant invented doctrines (like Sola Scriptura, Sola Fidei, Private Interpretation, Double Predestination, OSAS, Wealth & Health Gospel) are heresies.

  5. Surkiko – there will certainly be false prophets in all churches but Peter
    1 .20 is not saying what you think – he is saying that scripture was
    written by the Holy Spirit through the prophet eg such as Peter himself.
    It is you that is cutting the full sentence and making it out of context.

    You are making Peter 1 .20 out to read that no person is to interpret scripture which is nonsense -everyone is to read and interpret scripture. I agree that OSAS and wealth can be heresies.

    • @Charles Allan: Private reading and interpreting the bible is obviously okay except that you’ve to honor God’s plan of a teaching church and that you’ve to read and understand the bible with the mind of the church (that is, you certainly cannot arrive at “truths” which are contrary to defined doctrines, etc.). Otherwise, you will end up very easily with heresies. That’s what 2 Peter is trying to warn us about unbridled bible reading. When St. Paul was converted, he went to see “Cephas” (Peter) and remained with him for fifteen days (Gal 1:18). Again, after fourteen years and as an apostle to the Gentiles, St. Paul went back to Jerusalem to seek confirmation that what he was preaching was in line with the Church “lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain” (Gal 1:1-2). Apostolicity is a mark of the Church founded by Christ upon the apostles. St. Paul understood apostolicity when he said: “How can men preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:15). During the first council of the church in Jerusalem, the decrees handed down were deemed good to the “Holy Spirit AND us” (Acts 15:28), meaning that there was/is no runaway Me-Jesus Me-Spirit Christianity from the beginning.

      • Surkiko; If you read Galatians 1:18, you will need to read the former three verses in order to keep it in context. Paul did not meet with Peter for three years and makes a point of saying he did not seek the counsel of men or the Apostles (of whom Peter was one). It was a full three years later that he went to Jerusalem to “get to know” Peter and then for only fifteen days. He doesn’t say he went there for Peter’s “blessing” or for Peter’s “teaching”.

        Also In Galatians 2:11-14, Paul criticizes Peter publically for sliding away from the pure Gospel and back toward the Judaizers. One chapter after the one you took 1:18 from. Isn’t it rather curious behavior for a man you claim to be subservient to Peter?

        Also, when you consider the sheer quantity of Scripture written by Paul and in the Bible a compared to Peter – oh wait; the Catholic church decided which books would be in the Bible, right?

  6. surkiko – private reading and understanding the bible is an obligation on all christians – eg such as the bereans who checked what paul was
    saying agreed with scripture. There were churches such as the seven in asia but there was no church as head over the other churches
    until about 400 ad. And as you say Paul went to Jerusalem to seek
    confirmation not Rome.

    • The apocalyptic “seven churches” were local faith communities but all subscribe to the “one Lord, one faith and one baptism” in unity. They were like the modern dioceses and archdioceses of the Catholic Church. It’s not the same to say that Protestantism is similarly unified since the 30,000 denominations profess diagonally opposing core beliefs. We need only to ask our Lord directly about the identify of His Church. Christ founded only one Church, which He founded on Peter in Matt 16:18. The anointed leadership of Peter in NT Church was abundantly clear. It was to Peter that Christ gave the commission to “tend my lamb, feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17). The infant Church was born on Pentecost in Jerusalem but has had to grow organically and organizationally by later shifting the apostolic seat to Rome where Sts. Peter and Paul died. Don’t believe in the oft-repeated lie and fable about Constantine and Roman Catholicism. In AD 70, the fourth Pope St. Clement I, was invited to intervene by papal correction to settle more seditious and factional struggles at the apostolic church in Corinth (Note: Apostle John was then still alive and did not raise an objection to Rome’s exercise of petrine authority). St. Polycarp (AD 69-155), bishop of Smyrna, also journeyed to Rome to confer with Pope Anicetus about the proper time to observe Easter. His disciple, St. Irenaeus of Lyons (AD 120-202), wrote to Christians who “may wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the apostles manifested throughout the whole world ” to defer to the “tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized in Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul.”

      • Surkiko; I will agree with you on one thing. It is an absolute shame that the Church is as split as it is. But, at what point, should men, moved by the Holy Spirit continue under leadership which those men believe – through study, are teaching wrong things…even heresy? Let’s recall that when the actual reformation took place, those years were not glowing years for the Catholic church or for the clergy; sexual immorality, collection of money to build churches via indulgences claiming a person could shorten their “stay” in purgatory, the larger the sum, purgings via burnings and torture et al…And you are right, Geneva ended up “purging” the same way but my question remains; should men continue to sit under the teaching of men who have become corrupted or should they seek men who are not personally corrupted? And the point is, the church in the 16th century had grown particularly corrupt and many of the teachings (catechism) and practices of the Catholic church automatically preclude folks like us from worshipping together, ie; mary worship, requiring belief in transubstantiation, belief in Purgatory, rote prayer to Mary etc.

  7. surkiko – paul said do not go beyond what is written so any traditions
    have to agree with the written word.
    We can see heresies creeping into all churches due to the lack of study in the written word which we need to feed on each day.
    So we have pagan beliefs infiltrating church services such as syncretism with hindu and buddhist ceremonies that John Paul attended.

  8. Syncretistic prayers only occur during inter-faith ecumenical events. It is an universal gesture of good will and brotherhood, and does not imply agreement with everything another religion teaches. As Christians, we should be respectful of the many elements of sanctification and of truth which may be found outside the visible confines of the Church while continuing in steadfastness to pray for non-Christians to come to the fullness of the truth in Christ Jesus.

    About not exceeding “what is written” (1 Cor 4:6), culpability is oftentimes than not, the excess literalism or the case of trying “to prove too much” (beyond what is “written”) by ignoring rules of text analysis. In context, the Corinthian Christians were digressing from authentic apostolic preaching by their exaltation of one preacher at the expense of others (“So let no one boast of men … that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another,” 1 Cor 3:21 – 4:6). There is a familiar ring to all this: the popularity of celebrity preachers and televangelists who try to woe and sway believers with stage persona and oratory (mixed with flashy sideshows, a moving rock band and … coffee house). The irony is that if “sola scriptura” had won the day at the Jerusalem Council, the Judaizers (Gal 2:12) would be right to insist that a Gentile convert must be circumcised according to the Abrahamic Covenant.

  9. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. Cor 10:21.
    Not exceeding what is written means do not go beyond scripture – do
    not add man made rules.
    Galations (scripture) is saying that Christians do not need circumcision
    since the New Covenant is in place – it does not say Christians need to be circumcised – so not sure how you can say this.

    • Dear Charles,

      You have misunderstood Surkiko. She was trying to point out that if Sola Scriptura had been practiced back at the dawn of the Church then the Apostles would surely have agreed with the Judaizers that the Gentiles must be circumcised since Scripture (the only existing scripture at the time) says:

      Gen 17:9 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

      10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
      11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

      Leviticus 12:3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

      But since the invention of Sola Scriptura was only 500 years ago, we find that the New Testament does NOT command circumcision for Christians.

      • This argument, however is a non sequitur and a distraction. Of course the Apostles would not have become “Judaizers”. They recognized Jesus as the Savior promised and Jesus presented a Gospel that dispelled with the Levitical requirements and traditions of the Jews. It is a curious way to make the argument that somehow the Catholic explanation of the Protestant view of Scrioture, ‘Sola Scriptura’, is not…Scriptural.

        By the way; None of the churches (fellowships of Christians) teach Sola Scriptura. What we do believe is that if there exists any contention or disagreement on specific doctrines or understandings, rather than leaning on the traditions of men, we should rely on Scriptures as the final arbiter. And being as the Catholic church is largely responsible for the letters which make up the Bible, I would think th Catholic church would agree with that.

        If there was something ‘else’ that the Catholic church thought was necessary – in addition to the Gospel, it should have found it relatively easy to find Apostle provided, written proof of it and included it.

        Of course I am referring to the volume that nearly exceeds the Bible itself; the Catechism (traditions and bylaws) of the Catholic church. This item being discussed which you answered here is but one of the many curious positions taken by the church which claims to have been responsible for the keeping of the Gospel to the extent it provided the world with the completed text we call the Bible.

        For instance; if Mary was to be venerated/worshipped/prayed to, it seems that the Apostles would have made it crystal clear and that there would be a great deal of written evidence – from them on the subject. But the Catholic church either could not find it, or, it doesn’t exist.

        Also; if transubstantiation ( a word and definition not even coined until many centuries later), was in fact precisely what Christ was saying, thee would not have existed questions about it raised by the early church Fathers and it would not have taken the Catholic church until the thirteenth century to “establish” it formally? And answering this as necessary to put to rest questions about it is not an acceptable answer because the catechism was not established in the thirteenth century but many centuries prior. And YES; it was not universally agreed upon that the communion bread was indeed the body of Christ. It was always intended as a representation of the body of Christ. Even he said so; “…do this in ‘memory’ of me…” An odd way to declare the bread was indeed his body. He clearly indicated continuing to share bread and through the sharing, bringing to mind the price he paid, with his own flesh, and blood, to pay the price for our sins. And YES; it should only be entered into having first confessed our sins, approaching the “table” with a clear conscience and with reverence.

        • If the purpose of putting together the New Testament had been to produce a catechism then surely things would have been different. But, first of all there was general agreement among all Christians on these issues until the Protestant Rebellion. There was no need to write a book of apologetics for the 21st Century 2000 years ago. There were apologetic writings but they were not included in the New Testament. There were writings about the FACT that the Eucharist was the very body of Christ. But they were not included in the New Testament. These writings were in existence and all sorts of other writings that give concrete evidence for the fact that Catholic beliefs were the same from the beginning of Christianity. But, they were not included in the New Testament b/c Sola Scriptura was NOT the RULE for Faith. It seems to be a wonderful idea but the reality is that it is unhinged from historical Christianity and provides a means for each reader to consider himself an infallible interpreter of Scripture, thereby perpetuating the rejection of any need to explore what the first century Christians, who were taught by the Apostles themselves, believed. I am now Catholic b/c the first century Christians believed all of the Catholic doctrines from the beginning. The early Christians simply were not Protestant in their beliefs. If they had been I would still be a Protestant.

          • BFHU; The Catholic church did not even come into being until the 4th century and if it was the same – precisely the same as it had been for the preceding years, it is of immense curiosity that the original Church of Jesus Christ would feel compelled to adopt a name rather than “staying the course” and letting the “schisms” adopt their own name.

            Also; you base your statement of all the church believing in the very same things the Catholic church teaches today ie, Mary veneration/worship/attendant prayer and the doctrine of transubstantiation but there is ample evidence that there was no absolute agreement about this. I will not beat the Mithras/Isus drum at this point other than to say those accusations offer plausible explanations in light of the lack of total compliance, within the church concerning transubstantiation. And yes; if the Catholic church saw this as the central truth of the Mass, from the beginning and if all were in agreement, then it would have been added to the catechism. Those kinds of things were in fact written as is evidenced by those writings of the Apostles and the Didache.

            By the way; there were other areas of derision as well. Augustine actually did teach predestination of the Saints even though the Catholic church insists on denying what are the clear teachings from his works and his retractations did nothing to soften the edge of what he taught.

            It is my belief that the Catholic church pulled him aside and “chastised” him for the teaching and he may have accepted the redress and stopped teaching it at some point (which I believe is evidenced by his being canonized). And also by the way; I agree with the Catholic church on this issue. Augustine taught a heresy. Free will is clearly taught and upheld by the Apostles.

  10. BFHU -No I understood what surkiko was saying – but sola scripture includes what Paul and the apostles were preaching and writing so if we go by sola scripture we will not be deceived into accepting circumcision.

    Sola scripture was not “invented” 500 years ago – it was reality from
    the teaching of Jesus and his disciples from the New Covenant .

    The gospels were circulated before Paul’s and Peter’s letters – this is
    why the converts knew that they must leave Jerusalem before the Roman invasion of 70AD – Jesus prophecied in Mathew exactly how this would happen .

    Sola scripture happened when Jesus and the Apostles spoke – there was no 1500 year time gap.
    Ignoring text analysis is a completely separate argument.

    The Bereans would have rejected Paul’s teaching if it did not align with
    sola scripture and Paul publicly rebuked Peter for Judaizing mealtimes
    since it did not conform to Peter’s sola scripture letter re all foods being clean.
    Everything including the Magisterium must be tested to scripture

    Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ

    • Dear Charles,
      There is no scriptural evidence for the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Scripture was written and canonized by the Catholic Church and has always been held in high esteem by the faithful and leaders of the Catholic Church. There was NO CANONIZED NEW TESTAMENT until 400 years after the birth of Christ. The scriptures that the Bereans searched was the OT. Yes, long before the NT was canonized Gospels and epistles were circulated. However, these writings included gospels and epistles that were NOT later canonized. So the doctrine of Sola Scriptura would have been impossible b/c there was not perfect agreement upon which writings were “Scripture”. Yes, there was general agreement on most of the books some decades later but not in the first decade and no church possessed all of the writings that were later canonized. The Gospel and faith was known and taught orally and writings were used as they could be and those that were at hand. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura could never have gained a foothold until after the invention of the printing press and after more people had access to books and therefore more motivation to learn to read.

    • @ Charles Allan: (BFHU -No I understood what surkiko was saying)

      Not really. The Judaizers were a faction of James who did not quite understand that the Christian Church is a covenant community distinct from Judaism and an universal (catholic) community that embraces all nations. They did not quite get the new economy of the gospel sealed by the blood of Christ. Read BFHU’s more detailed explanation.

  11. The printing press could only copy what had been handwritten for
    1500 years – so this handwritten scripture would be what Paul referred to when he said ” do not add to what is written “. If the Canon had not been decided then Paul’s instruction would not be valid.

    The heretical writings would be rejected by those who led the churches. Every one would know who Peter Paul Timothy etc were
    and would copy and circulate the gospel and the letters.
    Bible reading or possession was punished by death for hundreds of years by the Catholic church which no one can deny.

    There would be oral teaching but it would have to line up with scripture. I have never believed that the new testament writing would not have been quickly and eagerly sought out and read by the New Church – there is overwhelming evidence of the early circulation of NT scripture – any alpha course has the evidence for this quick dissemination – which exceeds in number any other ancient writings.

    The Jewish converts could read and write.

    • Dear Charles,
      Paul was merely referring to the OLD Testament. He could NOT have been referring to the NT as we know it today b/c it DID NOT EXIST AS A BODY OF LITERATURE. It is existed as a loose collection of writings, yes. And it those were circulated but it is an historical fact that these contained many writings that were not later canonized. Yes, of course some of these were heretical or contained error; but not all of them. Many are still very useful and written very early but they were not canonized NOT B/C THEY WERE HERETICAL but b/c of some other criteria of which I am not sure off the top of my head. I think the writing had to have been done by an actual apostle or his biographer. As St. John says, “if all that Jesus did were written down the world could not contain the books.”

      The canon was not decided within Paul’s lifetime. Your understanding of what Paul meant by that scripture is in error and was taught to you without an understanding of the history of the Bible/canonization, based on inaccurate assumptions regarding the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura. I would like to recommend Where We Got the Bible. It was written by a Protestant who converted to the Catholic Church after doing the research.

      • BFHU; I believe the point is that the Apostles were in fact saying that their teachings/writings were in keeping with what they had been taught by Jesus and therefore carried the weight of the title of Scripture. It is not unreasonable to assume they were Scripture in the time in which they were written and there is also, then, ample “Scriptural eveidence, ie, Apostolic admonition against adding to or detracting from those things which they were writing. Paul was quick to condemn Peter in Galations and the Corinthians for allowing othe things not taught by him into the church and he did the same throughout his writing.

        I understand the argument you are trying to make but you are missing a very tangible point; the Apostles accepted those things they were writing, as Scripture because they were detailing those things given them by Jesus Christ himself. New Testament Scripture was availble to the New Testament church in the first century in the form of the spoken word, which was consistent with the letters the Apostles wrote and then circulated…all were Scripture.

        I would hope the Catholic church in this day would agree, then, that those letters which were canonized and assembled into the collection called the Bible, contained the sum total of things which Christ and the Holy Spirit intended for us as believers to have – needing no other. And if this is not true, the suggestions is that he Bible is not “complete” and therefore, one has to question whether the men who gathered those writings were “kept” by the Holy Spirit in that work.

        Do you understand the argument now?

        • @ John: To response to your various objections …

          1) The important point to note is that Paul went to see Cephas (but not just to “get to know” Rock/Cephas as you tried to minimize it) and later went back to Jerusalem to insure that his preaching was in line with the Church “lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain.” Many Protestants should do the same, by checking the orthodoxy of their beliefs with the church of Christ.

          2) (Paul criticized Peter publicly … curious behavior for a man you claim to be subservient to Peter?) Fraternal correction is perfectly okay (BTW, this wasn’t an occasion of doctrinal differences like how you want to make it to believe. BTW, some people also think that Paul was being too prideful and lacking charity here too).

          3) (Also, when you consider the sheer quantity of Scripture written by Paul and in the Bible a compared to Peter). Is this now a popularity contest? Just don’t take Paul over Jesus Christ too, like in the Reformed Christianity.

          4) (The church in the 16th century had grown particularly corrupt and many of the teachings … automatically preclude folks like us from worshiping together). A bit overstated and exaggerated, don’t you think? Most “abuses” were localized. Not the same as saying that the doctrines were wrong, just misapplied by some Christians.

          5) (If Mary was to be venerated/worshipped/prayed to, it seems that the Apostles would have made it crystal clear and that there would be a great deal of written evidence). The bible is about salvation history, not a textbook on everything. Catholics follow scripture and “behold (our) mother” with John (“the disciple whom (he) loved”) and respect Mary as “henceforth, all generations will call (me) blessed”. If Protestants don’t like honoring the mother of our Lord, so let it be.

          6) (Also; if transubstantiation …). This is just a theological explanation of the reality: transubstantiation, trinity. More precise language is used as the church “treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” with Mary (Lk 2:19) and was guided by the Spirit who “will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:26). It’s even more so a “hard saying” to the step children of the “Reformers”. Are you going to go away like the other disciples in Christ’s time? (Jn 6:66-69).

          7) (It is of immense curiosity that the original Church of Jesus Christ would feel compelled to adopt a name rather than “staying the course” and letting the “schisms” adopt their own name). St. Cyril of Jerusalem, AD 315-386, Catechetical Lecture 18: “(which) is called catholic, then, because it extends over the whole world, from end to end of the earth, and because it teaches universally and infallibly each and every doctrine which must come to the knowledge of men … And if you ever are visiting in cities, do not inquire simply where the house of the Lord is — for the others, sects of the impious, attempt to call their dens ‘houses of the Lord’ — nor ask merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the name peculiar to this holy Church.”

  12. The Jewish Christians already knew not to add to the old testament so
    Paul would have been referring to the Gospel and New testament letters.

  13. In 25 years in the Catholic Church I encountered no Bible Study – only a few paragraphs once a week with a few minutes of sermon , no prayer groups that I knew of – yoga in the church hall , dances and drinking in the church hall , bingo race nights and day dancing in the church hall .
    Amazingly I was so deceived I organised this stuff – Thinking that because it is for charity everything is OK .
    There was no outreach and anything to do with scripture was not for the layman but for the lone priest to handle.
    There was no Holiness preaching. There was a once a year trip to Lourdes. This was one church in Glasgow Scotland . Football matches were attended on Sunday afternoon by many church members with drinking as well.
    I read the Bible a bit but spent most of my time in the church hall so I cannot blame anyone. The conversation and atmosphere was not about scripture but any srtof worldliness.

    It was more like a social club . I also ran the Sunday coffee morning
    which was idle chatter rather than Christian fellowship.

    I did not meet a catholic who talked about the bible – if I had it would
    have been a conversation stopper.

    The catholic church in America seem to be more into the Bible and I believe this is because of Protestant competition and its distance from Europe.

    I now think that anyone who gets to Heaven without Bible study must be greater than Jesus and the Apostles who needed the armour and the sword of the spirit – which is scripture.

    • Charles; I want to intervene for a moment. My entire family is Catholic – both sides. My wife’s family is all Catholic – both sides. Collectively our combied ancestry is Irish, Scottish, Norwegian, Italian, Canadian and Native American. She and I were both born and bred in America. I can tell you I know of exactly one person in our extended family who remained Catholic and studied the Bible and that was my Mother. All others relied on their one trip to Mass on Sundays and many of them missed many of those Sundays.

      I can also tell you with certainty, that none of my friends who are Catholic have ever read the Bible, except one and he only started reading it due to conversations he and I have had concerning the very topic this Blog covers; the preeminence of the Catholic church.

      So don’t be deluded into thinking that American Catholics are somehow more informed or better studiers of God’s word than in Scotland; they aren’t. The Lady who runs this site is unique and I applaud her for this effort; “steel sharpening steel”… As long as we all realize that Jesus Christ is ultimately the only “Way”. John 14:6 (at the danger of sounding like a broken record)

    • Dear Charles,
      As I mentioned to John:

      The Catholic Church has been awash in a hostile takeover attempt by heretics for the past 50 years. So, it does not surprise me that your experience was so unfortunate. But God raises up saints in times such as these.

      I have seen it too. In fact just this summer a priest in Denali National Park uttered more heresy in 20 minutes than I have heard in the 12 years as a Catholic. My son, a recent grad of a good Catholic College went up to talk to him after mass and the priest told him he was tired of putting up with people like him and for him to go away, get outta here! Believe me the Catholic Church has problems….people problems. This is very different from doctrinal problems. We certainly do need the scriptures but to say that one cannot get to Heaven or take advantage of the sword of the spirit without BIBLE STUDY is merely your opinion and based on nothing in Scripture. I just do not understand why Protestants criticize the Catholic Church for not sticking to Sola Scriptura and yet so often think nothing of making pronouncements, as if their opinion is truth on the level of Scripture.

  14. The sad thing is that when I became a believer at 35 I liked reading the Bible but got more and more involved in charity churchianity and my reading was always behind my experience – my belief was 100% but I confused this with walking in faith in holiness and sanctification – I did not get baptised for 15 years and no one knew this – if only someone had taught me the importance of this ( seven more demons would not have entered) . For an adult the follow up of my conversion was not good even though God gave me incredible blessings.
    It was my own religious pride – if only I had joined a bible believing preaching spirit filled church.
    Since the spirit of Jezebel is supposed to be strong in the catholic church (thyatira) it could have been this spirit.
    I was not fully aware of the power of evil spirits nor was this taught in the church’s two or three minute sermons. The misplaced confidence
    – we are catholic therefore saved misleads so many.
    We as a family tune into the live services of the New York Times Square church and find Carter Conlon well versed in scripture.

    I grew up with many catholic friends in Scotland who never witnessed to me or read the Bible

    • @ Charles Allan: It’s good that you are here now. There are plenty of Catholics who will read the bible with you. We just need to read it with the mind of the church; otherwise, we can easily be led into heresies. While in a way that we all survived the tumultuous years after visionary and prophetic Vat II, we need to bring the experience we have learned to help raise up a holy people again.

  15. bfhu – The sword of the spirit IS scripture – so as I said anyone who
    presumes to be saved without bible study is presuming they are superior to Jesus and his disciples. Jesus used the sword of the spirit to defeat satan’s temptations – how much more then do we need scripture.

    • Here lies the problem. Protestants tend to EQUATE scripture with the word of God, whereas Catholics primarily see the “word of God” as the living Christ who is Word-incarnate first. It is a mistake (heresy) to limit God to the written word only. This is a perfect example of taking something “beyond what’s written”: You’ve substituted “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is THE WORD OF GOD” (Eph 6:17) with “SCRIPTURE.”

      • Scripture is the word of God and Jesus used it. I don’t know of protestants who limit God to his word only – God has no limits but we have so we need the living word of God and its power. When Satan comes to tempt we have to use the word of God as a sword – not someone else’s words

        • That’s what you said “The sword of the spirit IS scripture” and that’s not what it says in Eph 6:17. If you want to quote bible verses, be accurate and faithful.

  16. If reading the Bible leads someone into heresy then they have read it
    improperly – they could just as easily be lead into heresy with commentary. Since the Holy Spirit will lead a humble believer into all truth then a sincere Christian should have no worry about bible study.

    Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Jesus – St Jerome

    • Dear Charles,

      In Romans 10:17 Paul says:

      ” So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

      This presumes preaching the word of God. The Church of the ages preached and will preach always and everywhere the Gospel.

      There is no problem with reading the bible, that is fine, but an authorative interpreter is necessary……. the Church…..LISTEN to Her.

    • If the bible is really self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) and its own interpreter (“Scriptura scripturam interpretatur”) and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine as proposed by you, then Protestantism should have been of “one Lord, one faith and one baptism.” The experience is completely different no matter how you spin it, Charles. Do you ever heed biblical warnings like “There are some things in them (Paul’s writings) hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, AS THEY DO THE OTHER SCRIPTURES” (2 Pet 3:16). Or at least try to heed the direct warning of Christ himself about “Ye search the scriptures” (Jn 5:39) yet failing to recognize the living Christ. Take your own advice, be a “humble believer” and submit yourself in obedient to Christ and His Church: “We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit” (1 Jn 4:6).

  17. That’s right hearing by the WORD of God which is the Bible. Paul represented the Church and the Bereans checked what he SAID to the Bible. The authorative interpreter is the Holy Spirit.
    The reversals of previously infallible statements by succeeding Popes
    prove that man is fallible.

    John 2.27
    But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

    • Dear Charles,

      Yes the pope is a fallible man, except in faith and morals, that is what catholics believe. According to you is everybody a (fallible) “pope”.

      And these fallible ‘popes” have raised hundreds if not thousands of denominations and all claim that they are led by ONE Holy Spirit. Obviously the SAME Spirit leaves them in disunity and chaos. Who is wright, there has to be an authorative interpreter of the bible on earth.

      In Luke 10, Jesus sends (gives authority) his disiples into the world saying: ” He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” From here there is un unbroken line in the Catholic Church, the Church acts under His order, it is the Church with His Mission to teach and preach the Gospel with authority for all ages. Listning to Her is listning to Him and you will Hear, that`s for sure.

  18. This was taken from an internet article – easy to google this period
    which lasted around 200 years . It would not be giving out a good message on faith and morals.

    Pope Sergius III (904-911) obtained the Papal office by murder. The annals of the church of Rome tell about his life of open sin with Marozia who bore him several illegitimate children. He was described by Baronius as a “monster” and by Gregorovius as a “terrorizing criminal.” Says a historian: “For seven years this man … occupied the chair of St.Peter, while his concubine and her like mother held court with a pomp and voluptousness that recalled the worse days of the ancient empire.”

    This woman – Theodora – likened to Semiramis (because of her corrupt morals), along with Marozia, the Pope’s concubine, “filled the papal chair with their paramours and bastard sons, and turned the Papal palace into a den of robbers.” The reign of Pope Sergius III began the period known as “the rule of the harlots” (904-963).

    • Dear Charles,

      Remember, the Church is a place for sinners, the Church is a Hospital and She treats and heals al kinds of sins. Even evil popes keep there authority given by Jesus to Peter (and to his succesors, the popes) as stated in Mat. 16.

  19. Some more of the same article –
    In many of these cases the popes were opposed by the bishops and priests who would try to stop the immorality :-

    Though seeking to put emphasis on certain good traits of Boniface, “Catholic historians … admit, however, the explosive violence and offensive phraseology of some of his public documents.” An example of this “offensive phraseology” would be his statement that “to enjoy oneself and to lie carnally with women or with boys is no more a sin than rubbing one’s hands together.” On other occasions, apparently in those “explosive” moments he called Christ a “hypocrite” and professed to be an atheist.

    Yet – and this sounds almost unbelievable – it was this Pope that in 1302 issued the well-known “Unam Sanctum” which officially declared that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church, outside of which no one can be saved, and says: “We, therefore, assert, define and pronounce that it is necessary to salvation to believe that every human being is subject to the Pontiff of Rome.”

    Because there have been sinful Popes, being “subject” to the Pope has raised a question. Should a sinful Pope still be obeyed? The Catholic answer is this: “A sinful Pope … remains a member of the (visible) church and is to be treated as a sinful, unjust ruler for whom we must pray, but from whom we may not withdraw our obedience.”

    From 1305 to 1377 the Papal palace was at Avignon, France. During this time, Petrarch accused the Papal household of “rape, adultery, and all manner of fornication.” In many parishes men insisted on priests keeping concubines “as a protection for their own families!

    During the Council of Constance, three Popes, and sometimes four, were every morning cursing each other and calling their opponents antichrists, demons, adulterers, sodomists, enemies of God and man. One of these “Popes”, John XXIII (1410-1415) “was accused by thirty seven witnesses (mostly, bishops and priests) of fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, simony, theft, and murder! It was proved by a legion of witnesses that he had seduced and violated three hundred nuns. His own secretary, Niem, said that he had at Boulogne, kept a harem, where not less than two hundred girls had been the victims of his lubricity.” Altogether the Council charged him with fifty-four crimes of the worst kind.

    A Vatican record offers this information about his immoral reign. “His lordship, Pope John, committed perversity with the wife of his brother, incest with holy nuns, intercourse with virgins, adultery with the married, and all sorts of sex crimes…wholly given to sleep and other carnal desires, totally adverse to the life and teaching of Christ … he was publicly called the Devil incarnate.” To increase his wealth. Pope John taxed about everything – including prostitution, gambling, and usury. He has been called “the most depraved criminal who ever sat on the papal throne.”

    • Dear Charles,

      If you were Satan wouldn’t it be a huge victory to somehow gain control and influence over the leader of the Church founded by Jesus? Just think how many souls would be lost from Heaven by an evil Pope? And the same is true for evil bishops or priests. Evil Catholics are one thing, but evil Catholic clergy is a great coup for Satan. Catholics know that priests and even the Pope sin. It is a tragedy. God, however, has always protected His Church against one of these evil Popes from teaching error on faith and morals. Even though, by their evil life many souls are scandalized.

    • I have looked up all of these popes during this period in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Most of them we know very little about and a majority of them were under the civil power of the king so they were unable to do much. Sergius and a couple of others are known to have enemies who wrote wicked caulmny against them. John XII was certainly an evil pope. Pope Agapetus who preceeded John XII was saintly and acheived much good even though under civil authority. Most were undistinguished. So, your internet sources may be picking up on accurate or inaccurate portrayals of Popes. But, even if all you said was true it only proves that Popes are sinners, which we already know. Did David’s adultery cause God to hate him? Did evil kings in Judah and Israel cause God to chose another “chosen people”? Did Judas disqualify Jesus as the savior? No, No, and No. Jesus promised to be with His church to the end of time and that the Gates of Hell would not overcome it. Not that the Gates of Hell have not tried and had some success. But overcome? Absolutely Not. If Protestants think that they have overcome the Catholic Church then they prove too much b/c that would mean that Jesus could not keep His promise.

  20. The civil powers were under the control of the Pope – not the other way around

    • Dear Charles,

      The pope is the spirtual leader of the catholic christianity, but he is also the head of the (church)state. Reddite ergo quae sunt Caesaris Caesari et quae sunt Dei Deo.

    • Dear Charles,
      You are mistaken. The Pope’s “power” has always only been spiritual and not the power of the sword. He is the head of state of the Vatican city state only. If a civil ruler was submissive to the Pope then his “power” would be greater, but only through the king, in general. At times perhaps this was not the case. If you think otherwise you need to cite a pope and date in which the pope actually personally wielded the power of the sword through force as a king would.

      • Dear Pam,

        As you know the papal state once was much bigger than Vatican City and comprised in former times great parts of Italy. Besides spiritual leader the pope is ruler of a state. Since 1506 until this very day the pope has an army, the Swiss Guard, a sort of body guard.

  21. Various Popes used mercenaries eg to fight the crusades and massacre people like the hugeunots. There was also the 30 years war
    against protestant nations

  22. One of the bishops is Anthony Perrenot, of Arras, who can speak seven languages. He has been Charles’s chief adviser. He detests the people, and hates heretics. The year after Charles was elected emperor he persuaded him to issue all edict against heretics. These were some of the provisions:
    No one shall print, write, copy, keep, conceal, sell, buy, or give in the churches, streets, or other places, any book written by Martin Luther or any other heretic.
    “Any person who teaches or reads the Bible, any person who says anything against the Church or its teachings, shall be executed.
    “Any person who gives food or shelter to a heretic shall be burned to death. Any person who is suspected, although it may not appear that he has violated the command, after being once admonished, shall be put to death.
    If any one has knowledge of a heretic, and does not make it known to the court, he shall be put to death.
    “An informer against a heretic shall recover one-half of the estates of the accused. If any one be present at a meeting of heretics, and shall inform against them, he shall have full pardon.”
    The Jesuits establish their torture-chamber. Thousands are put to death. The prisons are filled with accused heretics. Other thousands flee the country, seeking a refuge where no priest shall find them, or where they may be free from persecution. Their estates are confiscated, the property being divided between the men who ask questions, the king, and those who inform against the heretics.

  23. That the catholic church has martyred millions for reading the Bible and that Popes are fallible and many times have committed incredible cruelty on anyone who threatened the papal supremacy. The Nicolatians wanted power over the people rather than be of service to them by the washing of the feet . Can you honestly imagine Peter the apostle being carried around on a throne allowing people to kiss his feet or his gold ring and amassing wealth beyond dreams through indulgencies.

    • But, Charles, you have not proven that. You have only proven a civil authority in collusion with a bishop abused authority and passed laws. You have not proven that Popes are fallible, or that the Catholic Church martyred millions etc. When people were executed for religious reasons it was the power of the state who asked the Church authorities to examine the accused for heresy. The Church tried to convince the accused to recant in order to save their souls and their life. But the state executed. Now I will not deny that in such chaotic times clergy sinned. But we have already established that clergy sins and the pope sins. But the Holy Spirit prevents all popes from teaching error on Faith and morals.

      You judge the collusion of Church and state based on our own day of separation. But in those days the state viewed heresy as treason and acted accordingly. I do not hear you condemning with the same vigor the killing of the Canaanites by the Israelites or other atrocities in the OT.

    • Dear Charles,

      Study the history of the Church of the ages in depth and you will come to other conclusions.

      • … and I may add, don’t just read the slanted and extremely-biased versions of history written by Protestants for Protestants. For instance, John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs which was full of willful untruths and exaggerations. And don’t forget that Protestants were not immune but committed major atrocities against Catholics and even their own (who they considered “heretics”). Why did you think the pilgrims left to seek religious freedom in America? It was a dark and harsh time for all. It’s best not to judge history based on modern lenses. Otherwise, we will be judgmental and also wonder “how anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46).

  24. The State is acting for the torturors – the inquisition is well documented by catholic historians :-

    In 1252, Pope Innocent IV officially authorized the creation of the horrifying Inquisition torture chambers. It also included anew perpetual imprisonment or death at the stake without the bishops consent. Acquittal of the accused was now virtually impossible. Thus, with a license granted by the pope himself, Inquisitors were free to explore the depths of horror and cruelty. Dressed as black-robed fiends with black cowls over their heads, Inquisitors could extract confessions from just about anyone. The Inquisition invented every conceivable devise to inflict pain by slowly dismembering and dislocating the body.

  25. The actual instruments of unspeakable tortures are in museums all over europe – anyone can visit these museums.

  26. That Christians were tortured for reading or possessing a Bible which
    is in line with the blog. Scripture commands the exact opposite – ie that
    they should delight in reading the word of God.

    • “That CHRISTIANS were tortured” . You are right, both Protestants and Catholics were tortured. The Protestants were tortured by the Catholics and vice versa. The passions ran high.

      An ex-Protestant wrote: “That Protestantism from its inception was anti-Catholic, and remains so to this day (esp. evangelicalism). This is obviously wrong and unbiblical if Catholicism is indeed Christian (if it isn’t, then – logically – neither is Protestantism, which inherited the bulk of its theology from Catholicism). The Catholic Church, on the other hand, is not anti-Protestant. Unified Catholic Christianity (before the 16th century) had not been plagued by the tragic religious wars which in turn led to the “Enlightenment,” in which men rejected the hypocrisy of inter-Christian warfare and decided to become indifferent to religion rather than letting it guide their lives. I left Protestantism because it was seriously deficient in its interpretation of the Bible (e.g., “faith alone” and many other “Catholic” doctrines), inconsistently selective in its espousal of various Catholic Traditions (e.g., the Canon of the Bible), inadequate in its ecclesiology, lacking a sensible view of Christian history (e.g., “Scripture alone”), compromised morally (e.g., contraception, divorce), and unbiblically schismatic, anarchical, and relativistic. I don’t therefore believe that Protestantism is all bad (not by a long shot), but these are some of the major deficiencies I eventually saw as fatal to the “theory” of Protestantism, over against Catholicism. All Catholics must regard baptized, Nicene, Chalcedonian Protestants as Christians.”

      Pope John Paul II confessed in public sins committed by the Catholic Church and asked the world forgiveness. I have not seen any Protestant representative (if he/she exists) to do the same for the Catholics. Once again reading the word of God is delightful, but the early Christians did not have a New Testament, it has been canonized at the end of the 4th and at the beginning of the 5th century and most of the faithful could not read. Remember, Jesus gave us a Church with a Book and not the other way round.

  27. The early Christians would certainly have the New Testament at the same time it was written – the early church fathers included the list of inspired books in their writings. They would have received it orally and in written form very quickly as is proven by the historical evidence.
    I can’t see scripture alone being responsible for immorality such as abortion etc quite the opposite.
    The argument between catholic and protestant was mainly about the Bible (scriptures )being available to be read by the laity.
    It was the WORD of Jesus that gave us the church. The WORD came first then the church – groups of believers.

    • Dear Charles,
      It is a Protestant legend that the Catholic Church hated the layman reading the Bible. For a time after the Protestant Rebellion people were forbidden to read scripture b/c the fever of private interpretation led people away from historical Christianity and into various errors. Even Martin Luther deplored this unintended consequence of “every milk maid and sheep herder” thinking they could interpret scripture. It was INTERPRETING scripture over and against settled theology that the Church objected to. Not all mere reading of scripture. I am quite sure the Catholic Church did not invent the tortures you speak of but I am sure you can find lots of undocumented anti Catholic writings to that effect. Torture is not in any way in line with the Faith of our Catholic Church. Individual “Catholics” may have tortured or invented instruments of torture. But you will never find any authentic historic documentation that the Catholic Church tortured and invented tortures. If a Catholic ever does anything wrong, Protestants want to smear the whole Church with the sin. This is not charitable. It is exactly like our media today wanting to smear all of Christianity with the sin of any one evil person claiming to be Christian. There was no settled New Testament for 400 years.The New Testament was canonized by the Catholic Church. That is an historic fact. And yet many Protestant believe that by the year 400 AD the Catholic Church was totally corrupted. But they accept this New Testament from this supposedly corrupt Catholic Church.

    • Dear Charles,

      Okay, you mean the Word that became Flesh spoke the Words (of the Gospel). Jesus preached the Gospel but did not order to write it down, it was written within the Christian Tradition. In the early days of Christianity there were many writings. In 4th/5th century the Catholic Church decided which writings were inspired and which were not and canonized it. Again and again you are emphasizing that reading the bible is delightful, and everybody will agree. My point is that by time the New Testament was canonized, Christianity was already deeply rooted in the Roman world mainly by the preaching and teaching the of Gospel by the Church. Southern Europe, the Balkans, the Near East, the Middle East and northern Africa. Thousand years after the canonization of the New Testament the printing press was invented, by that time bible reading became popular.

  28. The laity were forbidden to read scripture by the catholic church.

    “Canon 14. We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; …we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books.”

    The Bible continued to be attacked, now from within the church. Bibles in common languages such as Greek were outlawed. The Latin Vulgate Bible was produced and carefully controlled, readable only by specially trained representatives of the church. Laws were issued making it illegal for any Christian to possess a Bible. Penalties
    included burning at the stake. During the Dark Ages even priests were unable to read the Scriptures for themselves. As a result, they were unable to compare the false doctrines sweeping through the Roman church against the doctrines of the Word of God. In Italy, it was still illegal to own a Bible until 1870!

    Nearly all the Catholics I know never read a Bible – just the 3-5 minutes
    of the weekly reading. Nor do they read the Catechism – they rely
    on what they learned at school.

    Even catholics admit to the terror of the inquisitions since they were targeted as well – there was no trial that was not already decided.

    You must read and interpret scripture – why read if you cannot understand. The Holy Spirit is promised to guide you.

    The instruments of torture are in museums all over europe and among these are catholic museums.
    It was not lone catholics who started the torture but the Popes.

    To say that the letters of paul peter etc were not available for 400 years is absurd – they were available immediately they were written.

    • Dear Charles,

      The Council of Toulouse was a regional council, not an ecumenical council. Regional councils do not have the authority to speak for the Pope or the Church. Just as I suspected. They are NOT INFALLIBLE EITHER. So this proves nothing except the local people were fed up with the heresy and were trying to stop it. Maybe they went overboard with their zeal for Christ.

      This council was called to deal with the Albigensian/Manichean heresy that was running amok in souther France. The texts it was referring to were doctored versions of the Bible which the Albigensian/Manichean created in order to support their heretical teachings. So no, this council did no forbid the reading and study of authentic translations of the Bible.

      St. Jerome of the 4th century said, “To be ignorant of scripture is to be ignorant of Christ.”

      Graces were granted to all who read the Sacred Scriptures and this is still true today.

      Charles, as a Protestant you are very unclear about the distinctions of doctrine and Church Law, local vs Ecumenical councils, Papal infallibility vs other Church documents. Why is it so important to prove that the Catholic Church is evil? Does love and charity overflow in your heart in these endeavors?

      The Excellence of Love

      1 Corinthians 13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

      4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

  29. I actually became a catholic and know that the Bible study is low on their list – if not the lowest .
    I have not heard the church granting graces to those who bible study.

    The inquisitions were all over europe for hundreds of years. Poor catholics in the south of france were killed and tortured – it was said
    that when an inquisitor protested about this he was told that God would know his own.

    Love – It was the church’s inquisitors who knew no love just hatred.

    Unlike Jesus who would not bring fire down on those who rejected Him
    the catholic church burned heretics or who they considered heretics
    so if this is what you call love are your opinions not a bit biased.

  30. Misinformed Protestants. Sola Scriptura is NOT even BIBLICAL in the first place. That already shows that the Catholic Church does not rely on man-made traditions and doctrines.

    More information from http://www.everythingcatholic.com & http://www.catholic.com

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