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R. A. Torrey :: Rome, The Antagonist of the Nation

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ROME, THE ANTAGONIST OF THE NATION


By Rev. J. M. Foster,
Boston, Massachusetts

The Roman Catholic Church, both in Scriptures and in Christian history, figures as a politico-ecclesiastical system, the essential and deadly foe of civil and religious liberty, the hoary-headed antagonist of both Church and State. John Milton said: " Popery is a double thing to deal with, and claims a two-fold power, ecclesiastical and political, both usurped, and one supporting the other." Let us consider a few undeniable facts.

I. ROME IS THE NATION'S ANTAGONIST BECAUSE IT IS A CORRUPT AND CORRUPTING SYSTEM OF FALSEHOOD AND IDOLATRY THAT POLLUTES OUR LAND.


Cardinal Manning said: "The Catholic Church is either the masterpiece of Satan or the kingdom of the Son of God" ("Lectures on the Four-fold Sovereignty of God," London, 1871, page 171). Unquestionably, it is not the latter. Cardinal Newman declared: "Either the Church of Rome is the house of God or the house of Satan; there is no middle ground between them" (Essays 11, page 116). We solemnly affirm that she is not the former. The Church of Rome is Satan's counterfeit of the true Church of Christ. The heathen sacrificed to devils, not to God. As Israel took their idols from the nations about them, Rome Papal took her idolatry from Rome Pagan. When the "barbarian hordes" from the North over-ran the Roman Empire and dismembered it, the Bishop of Rome sent missionaries among them, proposing a union of Christianity and paganism. The pagan temples and priests and rites were incorporated with the Christian Church, and Rome became "baptized heathenism." "They feared the Lord and served graven images" [2 Kings 17:41]. The Bishop of Rome naturally had great influence among them. At his suggestion the lost unity of the Western Empire was restored in recognizing him as the official ecclesiastical head. The Greek Emperor at Constantinople, Phocas, desired to strengthen his authority in the west and invoked the aid of the Roman bishop. Boniface III saw his opportunity and made a deal. If the Byzantium Emperor would acknowledge him as universal bishop, he would accede. Phocas recognized Boniface III in 606 A.D. The pagans worshipped the Caesars. Roman Catholics pay Divine honors to the pope. They ascribe to him the names, titles, attributes, words and works of God. The name of God and His works have been ascribed to the pope by their theologians, canonists, councils and the popes themselves. By the authority of canon law the pontiff is styled the Almighty's vicegerent. This is treason. The second commandment forbids worshipping of God by images, and yet Rome Papal has introduced the image worship of Pagan Rome, only changing the names. The Virgin Mary is substituted for Venus. The image of Christ takes the place of Jupiter. The idols of the pagan temples were not so numerous as the idols of the Romish cathedrals today. Pope Plus IV called the Council of Trent, which issued its creed in 1564. This creed of Pius IV, together with the decree of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, promulgated in 1854, and that of the pope's infallibility, issued in 1870, mark the doctrinal status of Rome today. Let us note a few facts in regard to this.

1. Rome restricts the use of the Bible. The fourth rule of the congregation of the "Index Of Prohibited Books", approved by Pius IV and still in force, runs as follows: "Since it is manifest by experience that if the Holy Bible in the vulgar tongue be suffered to be read everywhere without distinction, more evil than good arises, let the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor be abided by in this respect, so that, after consulting with the parish priest or the confessor, they may grant permission to read translations of the Scriptures, made by Catholic writers, to those whom they understand to be able to receive no harm, but an increase of faith and piety from such reading (which faculty let them have in writing). But whosoever shall presume to read these Bibles, or have them in possession without such faculty, shall not be capable of receiving absolution of their sins, unless they have first given up their Bibles to the ordinary." This prohibition has been followed up by later declarations. Pope Leo XII, in an Encyclical dated May 3, 1824, addressed the Latin bishops thus: "We also, venerable brothers, in conformity with our apostolic duty, exhort you to turn away your flocks from these poisonous pastures [i.e., vernacular Bibles]. Reprove, entreat, be instant in season and out of season, that the faithful committed to you (adhering strictly to the rules of the 'Congregation of the Index') be persuaded that if the Sacred Scriptures be everywhere indiscriminately published, more evil than advantage will arise thence, because of the rashness of men." And the way of the laity to the reading of the Holy Scriptures is further blocked by the second article in the creed of Plus IV: "I do admit the Holy Scriptures in the same sense that Holy Mother Church hath held and doth hold, whose business it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of them. Nor will I ever receive or interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers." As the "Holy Mother Church "publishes no commentaries on the Holy Scriptures", nor "authorized interpretation" of Holy Writ; and as "the unanimous consent of the Fathers" is impossible, they having commented freely, each according to his ability, the way of the laity to the Word of God is closed. The difference between Protestantism and Romanism is, the Bible is an open book to the one and a sealed book to the other. The Reformed Churches have translated the whole Bible into 517 languages and dialects—all the great trunk languages spoken by three-fourths of the world's inhabitants—and published 300,000,000 copies. The Roman Church keeps the Bible locked up in the Latin tongue. It is true the Douay Bible was published, the New Testament in 1582 at Rheims, and the Old Testament at Douay in 1609. This is Rome's English Bible. But the people are forbidden to read it. A distinguished French Romanist, Henri Lasserre, struck with the fact that the children of the church knew "the Divine Book only in fragments, without logical or chronological order," brought out a translation of the four Gospels, for which he obtained the sanction of the Archbishop of Paris and of the Pope. The result was an immediate sale of 100,000 copies, so eager were the French Romanists for this novel work. But the Index shortly interfered. The Pope's express sanction was withdrawn, the printing and the sale peremptorily stopped, under the pretext that some passages were translated inaccurately. The fragments in Latin were preferred as safer than the whole in a language everyone could understand. Rome has made only two translations, and those not spontaneously, but because the inquirers insisted upon their possession. These two are for Uganda and for Japan. The large number of Protestants compelled the Roman missionaries to accede to the demands of their own inquirers and converts that they should possess the wonderful Book which their fellow countrymen were reading.

2. Rome accepts the Apocrypha of the Old Testament. The Apocrypha came this way. The larger part of the Jews never returned from the Babylonian captivity, but were dispersed in many countries. They had the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. They also had other writings, produced after Malachi, but not of equal authority. About B.C. 280, Ptolomy, the King of Egypt, invited Hebrew rabbi to come to Egypt and translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. The other Jewish writings were translated also, and used by the Alexandrian Jews of the dispersion, although they did not hold them as part of the Old Testament. In course of time the Latin language superseded the Greek in the West, and in their ignorance of Hebrew, Latin translations were made, not from the original Hebrew, but from the Greek version, and the Apocrypha was translated with it. Most of the Christian fathers had no knowledge of Hebrew, and read the Scriptures in Greek and Latin. They distinguished the Bible from the Apocryphal writings. So did Jerome, in his Latin Vulgate, 404 A.D., translated from Hebrew and Chaldee. So did Philo and Melito, A. D. 160, and the Jewish Talmud of the fifth century, and the great Roman Cardinal Cajetan (1518) and the learned Roman Catholic Archbishop Ximenes, to whom we owe the famous Complutensian Polyglot (1517), and Josephus (who lived about the time of Christ). Augustine differed from Jerome as to the authority of the Apocrypha, but Augustine did not know Hebrew and his testimony is valueless. But not one of the thirty bishops in the Council of Trent could read Hebrew, and only a few knew the Greek. And yet that utterly incompetent Council decreed the Apocrypha to be a part of God's Holy Word, and to be accepted under pain of anathema.

3. Rome accepts tradition as of equal authority with the Scriptures. The Council of Trent (Session IV): "Seeing clearly that this (saving) truth and (moral) discipline are contained in the written books and the written traditions received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down even unto us, transmitted, as it were, from hand to hand;" and again: "Every sort of doctrine which is to be delivered to the faithful is contained in the Word of God, which is divided into Scripture and tradition." But such stupendous assertions require clear evidence. Where is "tradition" found? Has Rome recorded and registered it? Where is the digest and proof of it for the faithful to examine? How is it tested? How is it shown to be necessary? Abbe Migne made a compilation of the decrees of councils and writings of the ancients in 220 thick volumes, and called it "The Catholic Tradition". To this, many other works must be added. Are these mountains of chaff to be dug through before Christ is found? This is Satan's way of lies.

4. Rome has seven sacraments. Here is the decree of the Council of Trent: "If anyone saith the sacraments of the new law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord, or that they are more or less than seven, to-wit: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony; or even that any one of these seven is not truly and properly a sacrament; let him be anathema" (Session VII; canon 1). The definition of a sacrament given by the Council was: "A visible sign of invisible grace, instituted for our sanctification." But the Scriptures teach that "A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein by sensible signs, Christ and the benefits of the new covenant are represented, sealed and applied to believers." According to this there are only two sacraments of the New Testament: baptism and the Lord's Supper. The other five, penance, confirmation, extreme unction, orders, and matrimony, are not sacraments. Here the Church of Rome usurps the prerogatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, the sole and only Head of His body the Church.

5. Rome teaches transubstantiation. The Council of Trent (Session XII, chapter 4): "By the consecration of the bread and wine a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood, which conversion is by the Holy Catholic Church suitably and properly called transubstantiation." To this add Article V of the creed of Plus IV: "In the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist there are truly, really and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ." This doctrine, as the English Archbishop recently described it, "depends upon the acceptance of a metaphysical definition expressed in terms of mediaeval philosophy." The philosophy is that of Aristotle, who attempts to draw a distinction between "substance" and "accidents"—substance being the inner reality in which the qualities or accidents, the taste, smell, form, color, etc., inhere. But this contradicts the testimony of our senses. It is unreasonable and entirely unscriptural.

6. Rome sacrifices the mass. By sacrifice they mean "an act of external worship in which God is honored as the principle and end of man and all things, by the oblation of a visible creature, by submitting it to an appropriate transformation by a duly qualified minister" (Cath. Dic., page 813). This is its comment upon the Eucharistic sacrifices: "All that is included in the idea of sacrifice is found in the Eucharist. There is the oblation of a sensible thing, viz., of the body and blood of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine." "There is the mystical destruction of Christ the victim, for Christ presents Himself on the altar as in a state of death, through the mystical separation between His body and blood." "In this sacrifice of thanksgiving we offer God the most excellent gift He has bestowed upon us, viz., the 'Son in whom He is well pleased.'" Is not this awful presumption? Their Eucharistic sacrifice they hold to be "one with that of the cross; on the cross and altar we have the same victim and the same priest." Pope Pius V said: "Protestants have no sacrifice because the Reformation abolished the mass." But the old answer of Bishop Jewel is as true as ever: "Indeed the mass is abolished through the gracious working of God…They did tell us that in their mass they were able to offer Christ, the Son of God, unto God His Father for our sins. Oh, blasphemous speech, and most injurious to the glorious work of our redemption! Such kind of sacrifice we have not. Christ Himself is our High Priest…by whom we are sanctified, even by the offering of Christ once made, who took away our sins and fastened them upon the cross…This is our sacrifice, this is our propitiation and sacrifice for the whole world. How, then, saith Pope Pius, we have no sacrifice?"

7. Rome denies the cup to the laity. The Council of Trent pronounces two anathemas as to this. One will suffice. "If anyone saith that the Holy Catholic Church was not induced by just cause and reasons to communicate under the species of bread only, laymen, and also clerics, when not consecrating, let him be anathema" (Session XXI; canon 1, 20). This is unscriptural. Our Lord instituted the feast in the use of both bread and wine. Down to the fifteenth century both elements were used. Denying the cup to the laity was the culmination of many previous errors, such as confounding the sign and the thing signified, the propitiating sacrifice of the mass, the priesthood of ministers and the stupendous miracle of converting bread and wine into the real flesh and blood of Christ.

8. Rome traffics in masses. The priests claim to remove souls from purgatory for a certain number of masses, each having a certain price. Not long ago Queen Christina of Spain left money for 5,000 masses to be said for herself and 5,000 for her husband. As no priest could offer the mass more than once a day, they had to be let out to country priests. More recently, the Abbe Brugidon endeavored to raise money toward building a church in Rome by receiving payment for masses to be said when the church was completed. There is much doubt as to whether the church will ever be built, but 260,000 masses have been already paid for. A number beyond the power of the Abbe ever to accomplish. Such stupendous frauds will shock the moral sense of the Christian world and awaken the Church to a recognition of the mystery of iniquity in the Church of Rome.

II. ROME IS THE NATION'S ANTAGONIST BECAUSE IT IS A POLITICAL SYSTEM OF FOREIGN DESPOTISM.


Rome Pagan persecuted the Christians. Rome Pagan became Rome Christian under Constantine and ceased persecuting. Rome nominally Christian became Rome Papal and persecuted more severely than before. The pope controlled the kingdoms of Europe for twelve centuries. How did he gain this power? After the pope became universal bishop he longed to be free from the Byzantine yoke and wield civil power himself. His opportunity came at last to realize his ambition. Here it is. Clovis the Great entered Gaul and destroyed the Roman army in the battle of Soissons in 486. He then established the French monarchy and became the first of the dynasty of Merovingian kings. The Merovingian dynasty continued two hundred and fifty years, when it was superseded by the Carlovingian dynasty. The change came thus: Childeric III was the last of the Merovingian kings, a weak, incapable prince. Charles Martel was "the Mayor of the Palace," which placed him next to, but not on, the throne. The Saracens invaded France and threatened European civilization. Charles Martel conquered them in a seven days' battle between Tours and Poitiers in 732, and saved Europe from the scourge of Mohammedanism. The government of France was henceforth practically in his hands. His son and successor, Pepin the short, wished to remove Childeric III and establish himself on the throne of France, but he must have a legal permit. He appealed to the pope at Rome for such authority. The pope's opportunity had come. He offered to do as Pepin desired, providing Pepin would free the Holy See from the domination of Byzantium. So Pepin led his army across the Alps and conquered the provinces, entered Rome, made Stephen III a free Prince. The pope became the king of kings in 755. He girded on two swords, one on each side, emblems of temporal and spiritual power. And the pope crowned Pepin King of France. Now, the pope desired to revive the old Roman Empire. In 800 Charlemagne, the son and successor of Pepin, was invited to Rome and crowned by Pope Leo III as "Emperor of the Romans." In return for this Charlemagne decreed that one-tenth of all incomes must be given to the church on the severest pains of forfeiture. But the pope must have grounds for such assumptions of power. And so the "false decretals" of Isadore, which are now universally considered to have been bold and unblushing forgeries, were promulgated between 847 and 853. And about 858 the "Donation of Constantine," which is now acknowledged by Romanists to be spurious, was made to do service. These were requisitioned by Pope Nicholas I. The system grew as Innocent III placed the iron crown upon the head of Otho I in 962, as the "King of the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans"; as Hildebrand enforced celibacy upon his English clergy in 1073; as Adrian IV granted Ireland to King Henry II in 1156; and as Boniface VIII issued his famous Bull, Unum Sanctum, in 1303, which was quoted by Pope Pius IX in his Encyclical of 1864, and is good canon law today. Here are its contents:

  • 1. It is necessary to salvation that every man should submit to the pope.
  • 2. This is a necessary consequence of the dogma of papal supremacy.
  • 3. It condemns the assertion by the state of any power over church property.
  • 4. The temporal power of Christian princes does not exempt them from obedience to the head of the church.
  • 5. The material sword is drawn for the church, the spiritual by the church.
  • 6. The material sword must cooperate with the spiritual and assist it.
  • 7. The secular power should be guided by the spiritual as the higher.
  • 8. The spiritual has the pre-eminence over the material.
  • 9. The temporal power is subordinate to the ecclesiastical as to the higher.
  • 10. The temporal power, if it is not good, is judged by the spiritual.
  • 11. To the ecclesiastical authority (that is, to the pope and his hierarchy) the words of the prophet Jeremiah apply: 'Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root up and pull down and to waste and to destroy; and to build and to plant.'
  • 12. When the temporal power goes astray it is judged by the spiritual.
  • 13. For obtaining eternal happiness, each one is required to submit to the pope.
  • 14. The supremacy of the pope even in temporal things is to be enforced.
  • 15. The pope recognizes human authorities in their proper place, till they lift their will against God."

The Holy Roman Empire reached its climax in 1164 when Hadrian IV trod on the neck of Frederick of Barbarossa, and went out of commission in 1806, when Napoleon Bonaparte compelled Joseph II to abdicate. When Victor Immanuel II entered Rome in 1870 and made the Quirinal the capital of United Italy, the pope called himself "the Prisoner of the Vatican" and issued one of the most shocking excommunications against the conqueror:

"By the authority of the Almighty God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and of the holy canons and of the undefiled Virgin Mary, mother and nurse of our Saviour, and of the celestial virtues, angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, powers, cherubim and seraphim; and of all the holy patriarchs and prophets, and of the apostles and evangelists, and of the holy innocents, who, in the sight of the Holy Lamb, are found worthy to sing the new song; and of the holy martyrs and holy confessors, and of the holy virgins and of the saints, together with all the holy and elect of God; we excommunicate and anathematize him, and from the threshold of the holy church of God Almighty we sequester him, that he may be tormented in eternal excruciating sufferings, together with Dathan and Abiram and those who say to the Lord God, 'Depart from us, we desire none of Thy ways!' And as fire is quenched by water, so let the light of him be put out forever more. May Father, Son and Holy Ghost curse him. May he be damned wherever he may be; whether in the house or in the field, whether in the highway or in the byway, whether in the wood or water, and whether in the church. May the Virgin Mary, St. Michael, St. John, St. Peter, St. Paul, the choir of the holy virgins, curse him. May he be cursed in living and dying, in eating and drinking, in fasting and thirsting, in slumbering and sleeping, in watching and walking, in standing or sitting, in lying down or walking, and in blood-letting. May he be cursed in his brain; may he be cursed in all his faculties; may he be cursed inwardly and outwardly; may he be cursed in his hair; may he be cursed in the crown of his head; in his temples, in his forehead and his ears; in his eyebrows, in his cheeks, in his jaw-bones, in his nostrils; in his foreteeth and his grinders; in his lips and in his throat; in his shoulders and in his wrists; in his arms, his hands and his fingers. May he be damned in his mouth, in his breast, in his heart and in all the viscera of his body. May he be damned in his veins and in his groin and in his thighs, in his hips; in his knees; in his legs, feet and toe-nails. May he be cursed in all the joints and articulations of his body. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot may there be no soundness in him. May the Son of the living God, with all the glory of His majesty, curse him; and may heaven with all the powers that move therein rise up against him, curse him, and damn him! Amen. So let it be. Amen."

But while the pope was pouring out the vials of his wrath, the Prussian army was sweeping the French at Sedan and Napoleon III surrendered and the German Empire became a firm union. The pope ex-communicated the German prelates who refused to accept the dogma of the pope's infallibility. They refused to vacate their parishes and the Ultramontanes attempted to force them out. The Germans interfered and the iron Chancellor, Bismarck, declared in the Parliament. "We are not going to Canossa, either physically or spiritually," and on July 4, 1872, the German Reichstag passed a law expelling the Jesuits from the Empire. France has later followed in separating Church and State and banishing the monastic orders. Spain has followed the same example and Portugal is doing likewise. But Great Britain and the United States persist in flirting with the great whore of the Tiber. The coronation oath of King George V was modified and "Home Rule" is voted to Ireland to please the Vatican. In the United States they have 11,000,000 and control 1,500,000 votes of the city governments of Boston, New York, Chicago and others and have ninety five percent of the municipal offices filled by Rome. The press of the country is censored by Roman Jesuits. The government at Washington went to Canossa when the President sent Judge Taft to Rome to consult the pope about the friars in the Philippines, the only difference being, Henry IV went in a coarse sackcloth and barefoot in the snow, standing at the gate three days, while Taft went in a swallow-tailed coat and white vest and shoes on his feet, and was received at once. But he bargained to pay the pope $7,500,000 for claims not worth $1,000,000 in the Islands; then $406,000 for damages to church property in quelling a rebellion provoked and fostered by the friars themselves. The solid Roman vote is a menace in our national elections. The Roman hierarchy owns $300,000,000 in America. They have a parochial school system and clamorously demand a share in the public school fund. Their policy is the refinement of duplicity. They join the infidels and skeptics in driving the Bible from our public schools, on the ground that the State is only a secular corporation and has no right to teach morals and religion. Then they turn with hypocritical distress and exclaim: "The public schools are godless, their education is dangerous because secular and an education without morals and religion is incomplete and vicious: we have built and equipped our parochial schools that our children may have an education in which morals and religion have their proper place and due share of attention; therefore we demand as a matter of fairness that the public school funds be shared with us to lighten this burden which we are forced to carry." But the answer which the organic people should return is: "This is a Christian State; the public school system is its agency for building up a Christian citizenship; morals and religion, so far as they are essential for discharging the functions of Christian citizenship, shall be taught in our public schools; and the school funds shall not be divided." While Cardinal Gibbons can have President Taft and his cabinet, the Judges of the Supreme Court, Senators and Representatives attending mass in the Roman Catholic Cathedral at Washington, the great political parties bidding for the solid Roman vote in national elections, and our national policy in the Philippines dictated by the Vatican, Rome may reasonably expect to capture our public schools through the Philippine educational policy. But our blessed Lord is upon the throne and His cause shall prevail.

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