The Papal Record
IN this era of ecumenism, many often overlook the
abysmal record of the Papacy. The Vatican has never repented of it. In May
1990, the emperor of Japan publicly repented of the crimes perpetrated in
Korea during the Japanese occupation of 1906–1945. But the Papacy has
never repented of her crimes of vastly greater proportions.
This summary of the Papacy’s record is not written in
order to cause anyone to despise the Catholics, for these people are
greatly loved of God; however, in order to demonstrate why God, in His
Word, uses such strong language in His denunciation of Catholicism, we
need to understand that Scripture is speaking about the religious system,
not against individual persons for whom He died.
We quote from a Catholic author lest Protestant sources
are thought to be biased. Dr. Peter de Rosa (a former professor of ethics
and metaphysics in Westminster Seminary, and a former dean of theology in
Corpus Christi College) has not concealed this record in his classic work,
Vicars of Christ.
Claiming to be in the apostolic succession from Peter,
popes have led out in the most appalling evils. Who can seriously believe
the claim of apostolic succession when popes have conducted themselves in
a manner that is foreign to the Christ-filled life of the apostle Peter?
The Jews made similar claims, in their retort to Jesus, that they were the
descendants of Abraham. This claim was genetically valid, but the
character of these people proved how utterly false it was. The papal claim
of apostolic succession is also a fallacy.
No one can successfully refute the fact that many evils
were perpetrated, in the name of God, by the Roman Catholic Church. In
1432, a group of godly bishops held a council in Basel, Switzerland,
without papal approval. These sincere prelates merely wished to cleanse
the church of the more obvious evils in its midst. The response of Pope
Eugene IV to their suggestions typi-fied papal responses over many years
to such proposed reformations.
In spite of curial efforts to scupper it, a council met
in Basel in 1432. The bishops showed they were in earnest. [They declared
that] from now on, all ecclesiastical appointments shall be made according
to the canons of the Church; all simony 1
shall cease. From now on, all priests from the highest to the lowest rank,
shall put away their concubines. Whoever, within two months of this
decree, neglects its demands shall be deprived of his office, though he be
the bishop of Rome. From now on, the ecclesiastical administration of each
country shall cease to depend upon papal caprice. . . . The abuse of ban
and anathema by popes shall cease. . . . From now on, the Roman curia [the
pope, the cardinals, and the permanent staff] shall neither demand or
receive any fees for ecclesiastical offices. From now on, a pope should
think not of the world’s treasures but only of those of the world to
This was strong meat. Too strong. The ruling pope,
Eugene IV, summoned his own council at Florence. [The council that met in]
Basel [in 1432] he labelled "a beggarly mob, mere vulgar fellows from
the lowest dregs of the clergy, apostates, blaspheming rebels, men guilty
of sacrilege, gaolbirds [jailbirds], men who without exception deserve
only to be hunted back to the devil whence they come. (Peter de Rosa, Vicars
of Christ, p. 138)
One man who sought reformation and paid with his life
as a result was the Bohemian Reformer, John Huss.
Huss, who was brave, chaste, incorruptible, a stern
opponent of simony and clerical concubinage met a harsher fate. Forbidden
counsel, tried on a trumped-up charge, interrogated by Dominicans who had
not read his books, even in translation, he was sentenced to death. . . .
It was clearly more sinful to say, as did Huss and the New Testament,
that, after the blessings the Eucharist should still be called
"bread" than to be a greedy, murderous, incestuous pope who
misled the church on almost everything. (de Rosa, pp. 132, 133)
This latter reference is to Pope John XXIII (no
connection with the twentieth-century pope of the same name) who, the same
year that Huss was martyred (1415), was deposed after his conviction on
five charges. Peter de Rosa quotes Gibbons’ record concerning the fact
that the number of charges against Pope John XXIII was reduced from
fifty-four to five.
The most scandalous charges [against Pope John XXIII]
were suppressed; the Vicar of Christ was only charged with piracy, murder,
rape, sodomy, and incest. (de Rosa, p. 132)
For these crimes, the pope received a jail sentence of
three years. It was said of the same pope that he was exonerated of the
charge of heresy because he did not evince sufficient interest in religion
to say anything heretical. Such secularization on the part of a Christian
leader was shameful.
Even more shameful was the conduct of Pope Innocent IV
and his curia who, because of a dispute with Emperor Frederick II, were
forced to leave Rome and set up court in Lyons, France. After the emperor’s
death, Innocent IV and his entourage returned to Rome. History testifies
that the pope was misnamed. In a letter dated 1520, Cardinal Hugo, writing
in the pope’s name, expressed appreciation to the citizens of Lyons for
their hospitality during his period of dire need; however, the cardinal,
pointing out that all the benefits had not been one-sided, gave evidence
of this fact.
During our residence in your city, we [the curia] have
been of very charitable assistance to you. On our arrival, we found
scarcely three or four purchasable sisters of love. Whilst at our
departure we leave you, so to say, one brothel that extends from the
western to the eastern gate. (de Rosa, p. 164)
No true Christian could experience anything but
revulsion at this conduct by claimed religions leaders.
It is the iniquitous doctrine of papal infallibility
proclaimed at the Vatican I Council of 1870 which prevents contemporary
popes from expressing regret for these disgusting activities. One wonders
what Giuseppe Sarto (better known as Pope Pius IX, who introduced the
dogma of papal infallibility) thought about the statement that Pope Adrian
VI made in 1523.
If by the Roman Church you mean its head, or pontiff,
it is without question that he can err even in matters touching the faith.
He does this when he teaches heresy by his own judgment or decretal. In
truth, many Roman pontiffs were heretics. The last of them was Pope John
XII. (de Rosa, p. 285)
At the Vatican I Council, no fewer than 140 bishops
absented themselves from this session which voted papal infallibility.
They would have done themselves and their church a better service if they
had displayed greater courage, and boldly voted what their consciences
dictated. In the session, only two bishops evinced such courage—the
Italian bishop Riccio, of Cajazzo, and the American bishop Fitzgerald, of
Little Rock; however, they also demonstrated the shallow depth of their
convictions a few minutes later.
Those two brave bishops who, a moment ago, denied it,
now confessed on their knees to Pius IX—"Modo credo, Sancte
Pater"—that they believed it as sincerely and unreservedly as they
believed in God’s and Jesus’ divinity. Theirs was the quickest
conversion in history. (de Rosa, p.187)
If, as had been declared, popes are infallible when
they speak ex cathedra,2
then surely Pope Adrian VI’s statement that popes have been fallible in
matters of faith is an infallible statement. The reader will see at once
the problem inherent in such a statement.
Applying the God-like quality of infallibility to some
of history’s most evil men underlines God’s utter rejection of the
papal system. It is a system which designates evils as virtues and virtues
In his seventeenth-century book, Romano Pontifice,
Cardinal Bellarmine stated, "If the pope were to err by imposing sins
and forbidding virtues, the church would still have to consider sins as
good and virtues as vices, or else she would sin against conscience."
(de Rosa, p. 71)
With such an abhorrent concept of right and wrong, one
designed by the archdeceiver himself, no wonder Pope Clement XI (1700–1721)
could declare the following:
There is no higher duty than obedience to the pope.
Obey him, and there can be no question of condemnation from God. (de Rosa,
If this pope is to be believed, those who, at the
command of the popes, perpetrated the Inquisition (in which millions of
faithful and innocent men and women were cruelly tortured and killed) were
"pleasing" to our loving and beneficent God. The
"justice" of the Inquisition, a part of papal policy for
centuries, may be judged by the following:
In the Libro Nero (Black Book) on display in the
Vatican for the guidance of Inquisitors, as late as the end of the
nineteenth century, it was stated, "Either the person confesses and
he is proved guilty by his own confession, or he does not confess and is
equally guilty on the evidence of witnesses. If a person confesses the
whole of what he is accused of, he is unquestionably guilty of the whole;
but, if he confesses only a part, he ought still to be regarded as guilty
of the whole, since what he has confessed proves him to be capable of
guilt as to the other points of the accusations. . . . If, notwithstanding
all the means employed, the unfortunate wretch still denies his guilt, he
is to be considered as a victim of the devil. As such, he deserves no
compassion from the servants of God nor the pity and indulgence of the
Holy Mother Church. He is a son of perdition. Let him perish among the
damned." (de Rosa, p. 230)
[From the moment of arrest, the victim of the
Inquisition] had no hope. . . . Alone and friendless, he was refused legal
representation. . . . Defense witnesses were not allowed. All prosecution
witnesses (their identities were kept secret from the prisoner) were given
equal status. Among them might be the accused’s servants whom he had
dismissed for theft or incompetence or others of ill-repute or unreliable
testimony. (de Rosa, p. 231)
It is understandable why a Roman Catholic author was
constrained to state Pope Innocent’s opinion.
In [Pope] Innocent’s view, it was more wicked for
Albigenses to call him the antichrist than for him to prove it by burning
them—men, women, and children by the thousands. (de Rosa, p. 225)
Despite all this iniquity in the leadership of the
Catholic Church, men today praise the Papacy as a bastion of liberty,
justice, and democracy. It must never be forgotten that, even today in the
United States, there is an obvious difference between the privileges of
democracy and the freedom of expression that individual Catholics enjoy in
society, and the secrecy and absolute control in church government.
A Catholic rejoices in openness, complete freedom of
worship, and democracy. He takes it for granted that freedom leads to a
deepening of the truth. He is used to his leaders having to present
themselves for his approval. He can vote them in; he can vote them out. He
demands press conferences, freedom of information, and an unfettered press
that is like a second government. In the church, a Catholic has to put up
with total secrecy and lack of accountability. There are no choices. . . .
He has to accept what he is given. In the church, there are no press
conferences, no checks and balances, and no explanations. The control from
the top is absolute. The impression given is that freedom and discussion
lead to the dilution of truth. (de Rosa, p. 209)
In truth, even in the last decade of the twentieth
century, the Papacy is the arch-opponent of liberty, justice, and
No wonder God is constrained to declare the final
judgment of this corrupt religious body.
For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath
remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double
unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled
fill to her double. How she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously,
so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a
queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her
plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be
utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
selling of church appointments
2 ex cathedra, literally, "from the bishop’s
palace." The meaning is, speaking officially, handing down law on a