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Chapter 48

John Paul II - Part 2

 

Let us search a little deeper into some of the pope’s outrageous forays into medievalism. This activism must be remembered since in January 2001 he created forty-two new cardinals and revealed the names of two others secretly created in 1998—forty-four in all. The world press described the policies of these men in the mild term of "conservatives." Could that mean that these men possessed medieval thinking?

On March 28, 1998, John Paul issued an Apostolic Letter entitled Ad tuendam fidem (To protect the faith). In this largely neglected document, which was made available on the Vatican Website, the pope introduced new canon laws 1371 and 1436 in full that their medieval nature be perceived.

Canon 1371 - The following are to be punished with a just penalty: §1 - a person who, apart from the case mentioned in canon 1364 §1, teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff, or by an Ecumenical Council, or obstinately rejects the teachings mentioned in canon 750 §2 or in canon 752 and, when warned by the Apostolic See or by the Ordinary, does not retract;

§2 - a person who in any other way does not obey the lawful command or prohibition of the Apostolic See or the Ordinary or Superior and, after being warned, persists in disobedience.

Canon 1436 -

§1. Whoever denies a truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or who calls into doubt, or who totally repudiates the Christian faith, and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished as a heretic or an apostate with a major excommunication; a cleric moreover can be punished with other penalties, not excluding deposition.

§2. In addition to these cases, whoever obstinately rejects a teaching that the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops, exercising the authentic Magisterium, have set forth to be held definitively, or who affirms what they have condemned as erroneous, and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished with an appropriate penalty.

Here we first notice that the canons are not directed to Roman Catholics alone. They are directed to "a person" or to "whoever." This is ominous. This pope sees his authority to extend worldwide, just as did his medieval predecessors. Further in Canon 1436, Section 1, he equates "catholic faith" with "the Christian faith." It may be said that he is using "catholic" in its original meaning of universal. Protestants can only hope so, but his use of "whoever" causes serious doubt on this point.

Further, he threatens punishment "as a heretic," or a "just penalty" or "an appropriate penalty" for all who disagree with the teachings of the Roman Pontiff, the Ecumenical Council, the Apostolic See, the Ordinary, the Superior, and the College of Bishops. Who is an ordinary? He is—

a cleric, such as the resident bishop of a diocese, with ordinary juristriction in the external forum over a specified territory (The Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1973).

The word ordinary has a special meaning in the Roman Catholic Church: it means one who ordains, that is, makes ordinances, commands. It applies to bishops, archbishops, patriarchs, and pope.

Who is a Superior?

The head of a monastery, abbey, convent, or other ecclesiastical order or house. (Ibid.)

Thus the right to impose punishments, whether just, appropriate or applicable to a heretic is distributed widely.

More affronting to "whoever" and "a person" is the fact that Rome has a long track record of that which it regards to be "just," "appropriate," or that deserved by a "heretic." Simply read the writings of Thomas Aquinas, remembering that two twentieth-century popes, Leo XIII and Pius XI, issued encyclicals lauding Aquinas’ theology, a theology which is required teaching in Roman Catholic seminaries and universities. Fox’s Book of Martyrs reveals the horrors and cruelties of enforcing Roman Catholic punishment.

The introduction of Ad tuendam fidem applies this apostolic letter to "the Christian faithful." The apostolic letter commences,

TO PROTECT THE FAITH, of the Catholic Church against errors arising from certain members of the Christian faithful, especially among those dedicated to the various disciplines of sacred theology, we, whose principal duty is to confirm the brethren in the faith (Lk. 22:32) consider it absolutely necessary to add to the existing texts of the Code of Canon Law. (Emphasis added to "Catholic Church" and "Christian faith")

Yet, remarkably, this medieval body of canon laws passed the eyes of Protestant believers almost unnoticed, and Protestant leaders continued to praise the Pontiff as a man of peace and love.

Three days later, John Paul dated another apostolic letter, Dies Domini (The Day of the Lord). We have already analyzed this document in our book, The Pope’s Letter and Sunday Laws. (Hartland Publications, P. O. Box 1, Rapidan, Virginia 22733) This letter cites Pope Leo XIII, whom we have seen abhorred religious liberty. John Paul stated in his letter,

My predecessor Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Rerum Novarum [New Things] spoke of Sunday rest as a worker’s right which the state must guarantee.

In his encyclical John Paul echoed Leo’s words,

Therefore, in the particular circumstances of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy.

No outcry was heard from the Protestant world in general on this call for civil legislators to do the bidding of the Papacy.

The impact of John Paul’s Dies Domini can be seen in the alleged response of a Brazilian Archbishop of the Syrian Eastern Rite Church in communion with Rome. We quote his apostolic pastoral letter.

I, Chriostomos Moussa Matanos Salama, by God’s mercy, archbishop of the holy Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioquia at the archdioceses located in Brazil, at the following address: Comendador Street, Salamao #74 - Belo Horizonte - MG Brazil, proclaim this pastoral letter, to call for a convocation of archbishops, bishops, fathers, deacons and delegates from different orthodox communities in Brazil, in order to gather together for an EXTRAORDINARY SYNOD (no date set yet), focusing on the issue of the Roman document from the Holy Father, John Paul II, Successor of Peter the apostle, called DIES DOMINI, which exalts the Sunday as truly the day of the Lord because of Christ’s resurrection—a glorious event that took place THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK with many apparitions of the Lord of Life recorded in the New Testament. I am going to give a broad explanation about this most important day which the world has known along the historic trajectory—SUNDAY (KIRIAKE HERMERA)—that will be studied in the HOLY SYNOD—along with the articles of the Association and Orthodox Apostolic Catholic Churches of the West, having the presence of patriarch authorities from the Eastern Holy churches with the presence of our patriarch, His Holiness Don Elias IV and representatives from the patriarch Pinen of Russia and authorities of the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church through the ONBB (National Conference of Bishops in Brazil).

1. We cannot tolerate the keeping of any other "day" by any other religion without the full knowledge of "His holiness." The catholic writers, John, Matthew, Mark and Luke do not mention any other day but the DAY OF THE LORD—SUNDAY, the only day of the resurrection of Christ. That is why we cannot accept any other gospel. (Galatians 1:6—9.)

2. We cannot tolerate any belief in the keeping of any other "day" this is in accordance with the Bible and the holy tradition and liturgy. (Isaiah 1:13—14.)

3. We cannot tolerate Jews, Sabbatizers, Adventists, or any other sect that does not keep the day of the Lord, Sunday, and tries to lead the people to go into great erroneous theologies against the good moral customs created through the rich traditions of the Holy Church.

4. We cannot tolerate those who do not seek to understand or accept the precepts ordained by the Holy Father, the Pope, in regard to the day of the Lord’s resurrection—Sunday.

5. We cannot tolerate any agreement with Bible texts that are not explained by the Living Magistry (i.e. religious teaching authority) of the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church which will govern the world in fulfillment of the word of God from Genesis to Revelation.

6. We cannot tolerate any keeper of any other day but the Holy Sunday the main day of the resurrection of the eternal God. In virtue of this, we are obligated to fulfill the demands of the Divine oracles enforced by the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church—which decides the destiny of mankind.

7. We cannot tolerate the transgressors of the Holy day—Sunday. In this case they will receive judicial penalties through the Justice Court to stop and restrain the liberty of conscience of those who are disobedient to the laws imposed by Rome, according to the supremacy of the Pope—Advocate of the Divine Laws. He who judges, but cannot be judged.

8. Due to the intolerance of the transgressors we will ask, through the United States of America, to punish drastically the disobedient who came from 1844, who have taken to their fold our Catholic people that are ignorant about the motives of the transgressors. Our fold, through fear of the law, is joining under the Millerite farce (i.e. sabbatizing). These Millerites seek to contradict the holy pope with spurious doctrines, like the observance of the Sabbath day and the non-immortality of the soul, which are the principal pillars of their heresies.

9. We will not tolerate those transgressors. We will ask the American authorities to take the transgressor’s possessions, like publishing houses, their orphanages, their schools, and this needs to be done with holy urgency in order to completely finish with this deception (i.e. farce).

Such a response indicates the venom disguised in Dies Domini.

When we visited Brazil in March, 2001 we discovered that although the Archbishop’s office has confirmed the authenticity of this apostolic pastoral letter, later the office declared it to be a forgery.

It is possible that the later responses were demanded by either the Brazilian Primate or the Vatican which feared widespread condemnation. We personally met a Protestant pastor who had contacted the Archbishop’s office soon after the apostolic pastoral letter was issued. He had been informed that it was authentic, but when he again contacted the office in our presence its authenticity was denied. The pastor reminded the Archbishop’s secretary of the previous response, to no avail.

Pope John Paul II’s medieval mentality was plainly seen in the statement, Dominus Iesus (Lord Jesus) issued by the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the German Curial Cardinal Josef Ratzinger. This statement, belittling Protestant and those Eastern Orthodox churches out of communion with Rome, was approved by John Paul on June 9, 2000. Among other matters addressed, the document stated that churches which do not have a—

valid Episcopate [Bishops in an asserted unbroken line from Peter] and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharist mystery [the claimed creation of Christ’s body and blood in the Mass] are not churches in the proper sense.

Also the document further set out to demean all other Christian faiths by claiming that salvation was found "only in the unique and universal Catholic Apostolic Church."

Dominus Iesus also asserted,

There exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.

It is little wonder that it was declared that in issuing this document—

The Vatican has angered non-Catholics. (Melbourne Herald-Sun, September 6, 2000)

Yet this anger was short-lived and it did not prevent the head of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth II, visiting the pope six weeks later.

As John Paul’s worldwide popularity continued to rise despite these shameful affronts to godly Christians outside the Roman Catholic Confession, the healing of the deadly wound was manifestly complete.

There have been outcries against the beatification of Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, Archbishop of Zagreb during the perpetration of atrocities against Serbs in 1941—1945, a man who did nothing to protect helpless men from slaughter, simply because they held different religious convictions. But in general John Paul’s open support for a man who, but for his ecclesiastical post would surely have been designated a war criminal, was unconscionable. Stepinac had told Prince Paul of Yugoslavia in 1940,

The most ideal thing would be for the Serbs to return to the faith of their fathers, that is, to bow the head before Christ’s representative, the Holy Father. Then we could at last breathe in this part of Europe, for Byzantinism has played a frightful part in this part of the world." (J. Steinberg, "Types of Genocide? Croatians, Serbs and Jews 1941—1945 in The Final Solution, edited by David Cesarini, London 1996, p. 178)

Stepinac had the right to express this as a desire; but to enforce it, Never!

Pius XII—another man beatified by John Paul—in his encyclical, Orientalis ecclesiae decus (Rome and the Eastern Churches) proclaimed on April 23, 1944, echoed, with no hint of modesty, Stepinac’s call to Orthodox believers. Pius looked forward to the day when there would be "one flock in one fold, all obedient with one mind to Jesus Christ and to his Vicar on earth." If his call had ceased at obedience with one mind to Jesus Christ we could have applauded and trusted that the pope would have heeded his own advice. But he chose to ignore the biblical Vicar of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and promoted himself in that usurped role. This was a tragedy for himself and his adherents.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)

John Paul has canonized more people than any pope in history—more than all popes put together over the last five hundred years. Not a few have raised eyebrows. In our own country he beatified Mary MacKillop in 1995. She was the first Australian to be placed in line for canonization. Yet at one time in her life she was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church. She was a curious choice indeed.

That the present pope would beatify individuals who would not lift a finger in defense of severely persecuted people and who, some are convinced, aided and abetted atrocities or protected perpetrators, is a matter that causes surprise. But an even greater surprise is that the Pope’s approval rating remains so high. In 1994, Time named John Paul the man of the year. It was a generally applauded decision. The accompanying material in the edition was full of accolades. This is a pope who apparently can do little wrong in the minds of many not of his faith.

Even when John Paul revisited the touchy arena of indulgences, the matter which had caused the greatest schism in the Roman Catholic Church, he came out virtually unscathed. The Lutheran Church had made its peace with the Vatican and it seemed that no man of the caliber of its founder arose almost five centuries later to nail his ninety-five theses on the church door. Protestantism’s protest was not even a whimper, as year by year, the ecumenical movement, having dulled Protestant sensibilities, saw the popularity of John Paul soar.

John Paul’s Papal Bull, Incarnationis Mysterium (The Mystery of the Incarnation), was interpreted to state that,

During the millennium celebration, penitents who do a charitable deed or give up cigarettes or alcohol for a day can earn an "indulgence" that will eliminate time in purgatory. (International Herald Tribune—an overseas newspaper compiled by the Washington Post and New York Times—November 29, 1998)

As the newspaper reported,

The Medieval church sold indulgences, a practice which drove Martin Luther to rebel and begin the Reformation. They remain a source of intense debate between Protestants and Catholics, and since Vatican II the church has played down their importance. (Ibid.)

John Paul ensured that no longer would indulgences be played down. Indeed, in this bold act, rather than increasing the rift between Rome and Protestantism he was—

broadening the ways believers can earn an indulgence beyond traditional Catholic rituals . . . trying to imbue indulgences with some of the ecumenical spirit he wants to lend the celebrations. (Ibid.)

The International Herald Tribune need not have concerned itself with "intense debate between Protestant and Catholics." In contrast to the sixteenth century, the Papal Bull, was taken on board by most Protestants as if it did not matter. Campbell Reid, the editor of the nation-wide Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, The Australian, in his editorial of December 2, 1998 commented,

Of course, whatever criticism the granting of indulgences attracts, the encouragement to live a better life must find widespread commendation.

There was no sense that men’s souls were at stake, that devout Catholics, unmindful of Scripture, would believe that such indulgences absolved their sins and would be drawn further to believe in the unbiblical concept of purgatory.

John Paul had tested the winds and found them gently blowing toward Rome. That which produced a seismic shock wave of gigantic proportions in 1517 did not elicit even the slightest tremor in 1998, 481 years later.

On May 13, 1999, the electronic London Telegraph reported that,

The pope was recognised as the overall authority in the Christian world by an Anglican and Roman Catholic Commission yesterday which described him as a "gift to be received by all the churches.". . . The commission concluded that the Bishop of Rome had a "specific ministry concerning the discernment of truth.". . . The Rt. Rev. Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and the . . . co-chairman added: "The primacy of the Pope is a gift to be shared."

The headlines of the world tell the story of the healing of the deadly wound. We quote an infinitesimal sample:

"[Tony] Blair reveals his close links with Catholic church" (London Daily Mail, March 5, 1998);

"A step closer after [U.S.-] Vatican Talks" (The Universe—Catholic newspaper, June 12, 1994);

"Duchess of Kent joins the Catholics" (London Times, January 12, 1994);

"A new Holy Roman Empire?" —reference to the European Union—(The London Economist, September 4, 1993);

"The Pope’s gentle persuader"—reference to English priest, Michael Seed, who is studying with high society Britishers converting to Roman Catholicism—(London Times, May 30, 1995);

"Queen’s attendance [at Westminster Roman Catholic Cathedral] causes controversy" (Sydney Sunday Telegraph, January 26, 1996);

"[Tony] Blair bends the knee to Rome" (The London Weekly Telegraph, July 3, 1996);

"Pope still wary over Inquisition"—refusing to make an apology for the inquisition—(Brisbane Courier Mail, November 2, 1998).

Every day around the world newspapers are shouting the news—the deadly wound is healed!

 


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