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    October 22, 1885

    “Some Facts about Roman Catholicism” The Signs of the Times, 11, 40.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A few weeks ago we received the following letter from a gentle man in Livermore, Cal., with an accompanying request that it be published at our convenience. Accordingly we give it publicity, as a matter of interest to our readers:-SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.1

    “EDITOR OF THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Having received a few numbers of the SIGNS from a friend here, I have been reading some of Mrs. E. G. White’s articles, and had begun to think that much good would accrue to Christians, as argued from her religious stand-point. But when, in the issue of August 20, in an article entitled ‘Protestantism and Catholicism Uniting,’ that lady assailed that ancient ark of truth, the Church of Rome, I must say that the writer stepped ‘down and out’ of her sphere of usefulness, and lowered pen to the trickery of Pixley and the fiction of Eugene Lawrence; and, moreover, I charge her with violating one of God’s commandments.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.2

    “Another charge that stands against such writings is that of desiring to menace the peace of our country by stirring up the demons of religious prejudice and bigotry. It is insulting to the intelligence and liberality of the age we live in, for Protestant writers to use such methods of argument against that large body of Christians who acknowledge and follow the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. What does the writer mean by the following rather mysterious sentence in the article I refer to: ‘The people of our land need to be aroused to resist this dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty’? I challenge the writer for an explanation of how, when, and wherein is Catholicism a foe to civil and religious liberty. Facts, not fiction, are wanted.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.3

    “Another sentence that may well bring the blush to the cheek of intelligence: ‘A prayerful study of the Bible would show Protestants the real character of the papacy.’ The truth, Mr. Editor, needs not the support of dark insinuation and mysteriously clouded sentences. It is an easy matter for these Protestant writers to erect an imaginary gibbets, and manufacture imaginary instruments of persecution and torture, and array them as the work of the dim and distant ages of the past, with which to terrify and intimidate the weak minded of this world; but for the earnest seeker after truth, nothing but the naked facts and the ever-unchanging truth will stand the test of investigation.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.4

    “I agree with the writer when she says that ‘Rome never changes.’ Her principles, founded on the Holy Scriptures, never change. The truth does not change.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.5

    “In regard to the Bible, there is another charge made frequently against the Roman Catholic Church, that of ‘banishing the Bible from the Christian world.’ What a preposterous idea! Comment is unnecessary, since the Bible can be seen in every Catholic house,-the only pure and unadulterated word of God. I would ask Mrs. E. G. White, Who is responsible for the recent revision of the Bible? Was this Rome’s doing? Why is the sacred book curtailed, perverted, assailed, and, I may say, torn asunder leaf by leaf? Is the pope doing this? Why is even the definitive Christ being denied in your modern Protestant pulpits? and even [it is taught that] the ten commandments are to be disobeyed. The charge I lay at the doors of your modern Protestantism.”SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.6

    The above is the entire letter, with the exception of the last paragraph, which contains no new statement. We have given it, in order that we may have the opportunity of once more showing the reason why we are uncompromisingly opposed to Catholicism. But first we would say that the writer cannot have given Mrs. E. G. White writings a very careful reading, or he would not charge her with using “dark insinuations and mysteriously clouded sentences.” As a rule, her writings are characterized by clearness and directness of expression, and concerning the Catholic Church she has given most decided utterance. Now to a consideration of the letter. The point over which the writer seems to be aggrieved is, that Catholicism is a foe to the civil and religious liberty. We therefore quote a few facts, not fiction.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.7

    On Dec. 8, 1864, Pope Pius IX. published the Papal “Syllabus of Errors.” This document, also issued by his sole authority, became in an especial manner the utterance of the Catholic Church, when, less than eight years later, Pius IX. still being pope, the doctrine of papal infallibility was declared. In this Syllabus there are eighty distinct propositions, but each of which is held by the Catholic Church to be an error. We quote two of them:-SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.8

    “77. In the present day, it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion shall be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of other modes of worship.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.9

    “78. Whence it has been wisely provided by law, in some countries called Catholic, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own worship.”SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.10

    To men who love liberty these propositions seem just, but the Catholic Church declares them to be errors, and thus plainly teaches that no Catholics ought to be allowed to enjoy public worship. If this does not show that the Catholic Church is the foe of religious liberty, what would?SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.11

    In the reign of Hildebrand, the priests were bound by an oath of obedience to the pope, of which the following are a few clauses:-SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.12

    “I will be faithful and obedient to our lord the pope and his successors.... In preserving and defending the Roman papacy and the Regalia of St. Peter, I will be their assistant against all men.... Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our same lord, I will persecute and attack to the utmost of my power.”-Decretum Greg. IX., lib.2, tit. 24.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.13

    That certainly does not bear the stamp of liberty. That the Roman Church is a foe to liberty is also shown by its enmity to the Bible. This charge the gentleman calls a falsehood, but we repeat it, and offer facts for proof. After Luther had posted up his famous “Theses,” directed especially against the sale of indulgences, Tetzel, the agent of the pope, came out with some counter propositions, among which is the following:-SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.14

    “Christian should be taught that there are many things which the church regards as certain articles of the Catholic faith, although they are not found either in the inspired Scripture or in the earlier Fathers.”-Seckendorf, Hist. Lutheran., lib., 1, sec.12.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.15

    If the Catholic Church is a friend to the Bible, how is it that, previous to the Reformation, not only the laity, but also the vast majority of the clergy, had never seen a Bible? Why was it so sedulously kept from the people that even very few priests had ever seen a copy of it? The fact is, that Wycliffe was condemned as a heretic and a sacrilegious man, simply because he gave the Bible to the people of England; and in 1408, an English council, with Archbishop Arundel at its head, enacted and ordained “that no one henceforth do, by his own authority, translate any portion of Holy Scripture into the English tongue, or any other, by way of book or a treatise, nor let any such book or treatise now lately composed in the time of John Wycliffe aforesaid, or since, or hereafter to be composed, be read in whole or in part, in public or in private, on the pain of the greater excommunication.” Thus this popish council decreed that not only should Wycliffe’s translation be taken from the people, but that in no coming age should they have any portion of the Bible in any living language.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.16

    But Bibles were printed in spite of papal anathemas, and soon the land was filled with them. Now what did the Roman Church do? It would have brought upon itself the condemnation of all virtuous people if it had continued its outspoken denunciations of the Bible, so, while pretending to exalt that book, it began to weaken its influence. Any one who possesses a Catholic catechism will find there a plain statement to the effect that common people are at full liberty to read the Bible, provided they do so in the original! That is, the farmer and the hod carrier, the brick layer and the errand boy, may read the Bible in Greek and Hebrew! This amounts to actual prohibition.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.17

    But this is not all. The Catholic Church gives her children a version of the Bible, but in it she has not scrupled to alter the text to suit her own dogmas. As an instance we quote Genesis 3:15 as it stands in the Douay Bible, and also in the Vulgate: “And I will put enmity between thee the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; she shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel.” In this matter a prophecy concerning Christ is made to uphold the Catholic worship of the Virgin Mary.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.18

    Speaking of the Virgin Mary, we will notice one or two points which show the papal disregard for the Holy Scriptures. In Deuteronomy 27:15, we read these plain words: “Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place.” In the face of the second commandment, in this curse, a book entitled “Glories of Mary,” published with the approval of the Archbishop of New York, on page 658 contains the following:-SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.19

    “Father Thomas Sanchez never returned home until he had visited some church of Mary. Let us not be weary, then, of visiting our queen every day in some church or chapel, or in our own house, where it would be well for that purpose to have in some retired place a little oratory, with her image, adorned with drapery, flowers, tapirs for lamps, and before it also the litanies, the rosary, etc., may be said.”SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.20

    Again, the apostle Peter, speaking of Christ, said: “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. But in the “Glories of Mary,” page 279, among other blasphemous things we find the following:-SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.21

    “In the Franciscan chronicles it is related of Brother Leo, that he once saw a red ladder, upon which Jesus Christ was standing, and a white one, upon which stood his holy mother. He sought persons attempting to ascend the red ladder; they ascended a few steps, and then fell; they ascended again, and again fell. Then they were exhorted to ascend the white ladder, and on that he saw them succeed; for the blessed virgin offered them her hand, and they arrived in that manner safe in Paradise.”SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.22

    Again, on page 177:-SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.23

    “St. Bonaventure, moreover, says that Mary is called the gate of heaven, because no one can enter into heaven if he does not pass through Mary, who is the door of it.”SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.24

    And again, we read on page 17:-SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.25

    “If the assertion is true and incontrovertible, as I believe it to be, and as I shall prove in the fifth chapter of this book, that all races are dispensed by the hand of Mary alone, and that all those too are saved, are saved solely by the means of this divine Mother; it may be said as a necessary consequence, that the salvation of all depends upon preaching Mary and confidence in her intercession.”SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.26

    We might quote pages to the same effect, but these quotations are sufficient to show that Catholicism is essentially an anti-Christian religion.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.27

    How about those “imaginary gibbets” and “imaginary instruments of persecution and torture” with which Protestant writers are said to “terrify and intimidate the weak minded of this world.” Since facts are wanted on this point, we have selected the article on page 635, entitled “Tortures of the Inquisition.” The instruments there mentioned are not imaginary; and, since “Rome never changes,” and this very year Monsignor Capel has repeatedly defended (not apologized for) the Inquisition, and has contended that the heretic is as worthy of punishment as the thief or murderer, we are fully justified in saying that the papal church would as readily torture heretics to-day and as did three hundred years ago.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.28

    It is a matter of fact, not of fiction, that on the 23rd of August, 1572, thousands of the Huguenots were brutally murdered in Paris, by order of the Catholic king, Charles IX., who himself joined in the massacre, and that the massacre received the sanction of the pope.SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.29

    It is a fact of history that on the 18th of October, 1414, the Emperor Sigsmund sent to John Huss a safe-conduct to attend the Council of Constance and to return. The honor of the empire was pledged for his security. Yet on the twenty-sixth day after the arrival of Huss, he was seized, in flagrant violation of the safe-conduct, carried before the pope and the cardinals, thrust into a filthy prison, and afterwards burned at the stake, without being allowed to speak in his on defense, simply because he denounced the iniquities of the papacy. This was done by order of the council, and the conscience of the emperor was pacified by the decree that “no faith is to be kept with heretics to the prejudice of the church.” This was the doctrine of the third Lateran Council, which affirmed that, “Oaths made against the interest and benefit of the church are not so much to be considered as oaths, but as prejudices.”SITI October 22, 1885, page 633.30

    Is a fact that the “true character” of the papacy may be learned from a study of the sacred Scriptures. Its character is especially portrayed in Daniel 7:21, 25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Revelation 13:1-7, and 17:3-6. The Scriptures, together with the facts of history, compel us to coincide with the declaration of Luther, that “the papacy is a general chase led by the Roman bishop [pope] to catch and destroy souls.”SITI October 22, 1885, page 634.1

    In writing thus, we have not the slightest personal feeling against any Catholic, and we can readily believe that a large proportion of them are sincere in their devotion. That many of the clergy are honest, is shown by the fact that we frequently hear of priests who are abjuring the Catholic faith. We expect to see many more honest souls leave that communion. It is a fact that comparatively few Catholics are acquainted with the real character and history of their church. These things are kept from them. And so our attack is not on any individual Catholic, but on Roman Catholicism-“the mystery of iniquity”-the monster of organized deception, superstition, and crime.SITI October 22, 1885, page 634.2

    We wish also to inform our correspondent that we have no apology to make for the perversions and curtailments of Scripture by modern Protestants.SITI October 22, 1885, page 634.3

    “Modern Protestant pulpits” are very different affairs from those of three hundred years ago. A great deal that is called Protestantism is not worthy of the name-it is so much like Catholicism. This is the great danger of the day. Professed Protestants, who laud the work of Huss, Jerome, Luther, and Knox, will call a man a bigot if he presumes to speak against the Catholic Church, forgetting that that church has the same character to-day that it had when Luther so boldly assailed it. A temporary loss of power is all the difference there is between the papacy now and the papacy then.SITI October 22, 1885, page 634.4

    It is impossible for us to recount the evils of Romanism every time we speak of that communion, and therefore the reader will please take these few quotations, which might easily be multiplied a hundredfold, as evidence that we know whereof we speak when we warn people against the papacy. We do not design to use “mysterious sentences,” but we hope ever to have grace and courage enough to speak boldly against the enemy of all civil and religious liberty-Roman Catholicism-and against all that savers of it, even though it sails under the banner of Protestantism. E. J. W.SITI October 22, 1885, page 634.5

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