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Chapter 13

Blasphemy

 

We must hasten to examine our clues and leave family history behind.

Clue 9 deals with blasphemy. This clue is mentioned in relation to the first beast on four occasions in chapter 13.

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Revelation 13:1)

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (Revelation 13:5, 6)

These passages parallel the little horn of Daniel 7 which in verse 25 was to "speak great words against the most High."

What is blasphemy? The Jews fully understood it.

And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? (Luke 5:21)

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. (John 10:33)

Claiming to forgive sins and claiming to be God are ultimate blasphemies. Of course the Jewish accusations against Christ were invalid, for He was God. But with sinful man this is an entirely different matter.

Does Rome fulfill this first criterion of blasphemy? Does it claim the power to forgive sin?

Russell knows from personal experience that it does. In December 1985, he visited Rome. Upon hearing that the Pope was holding an audience, he inquired concerning his eligibility to attend. He learned that one required an invitation from his local Roman Catholic Bishop. That was a considerable impediment since Russell was thousands of miles from his homeland and in any case, it was unlikely that the local Bishop would issue such an invitation to a non-Catholic.

In search of an episcopal invitation, Russell entered the area of Vatican offices upstairs and to the right of St. Peterís Basilica as viewed from St. Peterís Square. Walking along an ill-lit corridor he eventually found a door ajar. A man in clerical attire was seated at a desk. He proved to be a friendly and obliging Bishop who provided Russell with the appropriate invitation.

At the conclusion of the audience, at which between 200 and 300 were in attendance, the attendees were assured that because of their attendance, all their sins had been absolved and that even the sins of their loved ones back home had received absolution. Russell was staggered. No mention of sorrow for sin or deep heart repentance was made.

But let us examine the words of Papal authorities. In his book, The Dignity and Duties of the Priest, Alphonsus de Liguori stated,

A priest in absolving a sinner, performs the very office of the Holy Ghost in the sanctification of souls. (Benziger Bros., New York, 1888, p. 36)

De Liguoriís words carry weight. He was the eighteenth-century priest whose order of Redemptionist priests was given Papal approval by Pope Benedict XIV in 1749. He was later canonized.

The Roman Catholic author, William Doyle, wrote,

The poor sinner kneels at his confessorís feet. He knows that he is not speaking to an ordinary man, but to another Christ. He hears the word, "I absolve thy sins" and the hidden load of sin drops from his soul forever. (Shall I be a Priest?, pages 14, 15)

The Roman Catholic priest, Michael Meuller, in his book, The Catholic Priest, wrote,

The priest does not only declare that the sinner is forgiven, but he really forgives him. . . . So great is the power of the priest, that the judgments of heaven itself are subject to his decision. (Kreuzer Bros., 1876)

At the sixteenth century Roman Catholic Council of Trent two canons, IX and X, touched on this matter.

IX. If anyone saith that the sacramental absolution of the priest is not a judicial act . . . let him be anathema.

X. If anyone saith that priests . . . have not the power of binding and loosing or that not priests, alone are ministers of absolution, let him be anathema. (Dogmatic Canons and Decrees, pages 118, 119)

The word anathema means cursed.

A recent publication of the Roman Catholic Church purchased from a Catholic book store in 1990, contains a catechism approved in 1921 by the Roman Catholic Archbishops and Bishops of England and Wales. Article 111 of the catechism questions,

What do you mean by the forgiveness of sins?

It answers,

I mean that Christ has left the power of forgiving sins to the Pastors of His church. (John XX.23) (The Complete Catholic Handbook for the Latter Days, Britons Catholic Library, p. 22)

We would comment that the unrestricted application of John 20:23 to priests and ministers does violence to the body of Scripture. This passage states,

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:23)

Yet never once does Scripture reveal that any apostle assumed the prerogative of Deity alone to forgive sins. When the Lord taught people to pray to the Father, He taught them to beseech the Father directly for forgiveness. (Matthew 6:12) Further we are informed,

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1)

No man dare usurp Godís power to forgive the sins of mankind, whether he be prelate, priest, pastor, saint or layman.

Does the Papacy claim to be God? Let the claims of Popes and Catholic apologists speak to this question. Notice the words of Pope Leo XIII (1878ó1903),

We hold upon earth the place of God on earth. (The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII, p. 304)

The same pope stated,

But the supreme teacher in the church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of the will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. (Ibid. p. 193)

Alphonsus de Liguori, a declared saint of the Roman Catholic Church, stated,

Indeed it is not too much to say that in view of the sublimity of their offices, the priests are so many gods. (op. cit. p. 34)

Doctor F. Lucii Ferraris stated,

The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were God, the vicar of God. . . . Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions. (Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica Juridica Moralis Theologica, Volume 4, p. 48)

Dr. Ferraris also declared,

The Pope is as it were God on earth, sole sovereign of the faithful of Christ, chief king of kings, having plentitude of power, to whom has been entrusted by the omnipotent God direction not only of the earthly but also of the heavenly kingdom. (Ibid.)

It is also claimed tható

The sentences which he [the Pope] gives are to be forthwith ratified in heaven. (The Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. 12, p. 265)

A Catholic newspaper, The Catholic National, July 1895, stated,

The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ but he is Jesus Christ himself hidden under the veil of flesh.

H. C. Lea reported, Studies in Church History, page 389,

In 1335 Bishop Alvarez Pelayo laid down the doctrine that as Christ partook of the nature of God, so the Pope . . . is not simply a man, but rather God on earth.

As recently as December, 2000 on the Vatican web-site the Pope was described as "sweet Christ on earth" in an article concerning the Secrets of Fatima.

In yet another area does the Roman Catholic Church blaspheme; indeed, it even dares to exceed the acts of God. Christ had life, original, unborrowed, underived. In the prophecy of Micah concerning the incarnation of Christ, the prophet declared His eternity.

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)

Of Christ, Scripture declares,

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)

He is the Creator of all. Yet in the Mass the Roman Catholic Church claims to create the One who was never created.

Once more we turn to the writing of the Roman Catholic saint, Alphonsus de Liguori. He declared,

If the person of the Redeemer had not yet been in the world, the priest by pronouncing the words of consecration would produce this great person of a Man-God! "O wonderful dignity of the priests," cries out St. Augustine, "in his hands, as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the son of God becomes incarnate." Hence the priests are called the parents of Jesus Christ. . . . Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his Creator. . . . "He that created me without me, is Himself created by me!" (op.cit. p. 32, 33)

The German author, Dr. Nicholas Gihr in his book, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, 1877, published in English by B. Herder Book Co., St. Louis and New York in 1939, and which edition bore the imprimatur of Archbishop Glennon of St. Louis, asserted the blasphemous notion that the mass was equally efficacious in the sacrificial atonement as the death of Christ, Himself. Dr. Gihrís words were,

The Eucharistic sacrifice is to be considered in so far as in it Jesus Christ offers Himself, that is, He is not only the sacrificial gift, but also the most eminent sacrificer. In this respect the Sacrifice of the Mass is not inferior in value to that of the cross: both are equally infinite, equally beyond all estimation and equally valuable. . . . The object offered on the altar . . . is Christ Himself, His Body and Blood, His holy humanity.

God plainly declares of Christ,

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)

Thus the Papacy in its ecclesiastical arm most assuredly meets the criterion of blasphemy.

 


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