WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH THE
ROMAN CATHOLIC RELIGION ?
NOTE: The original question (which follows) is much more lengthy.
WHY DO I FEEL AS I DO ABOUT MY RELIGION ?
I was raised and schooled in the Roman Catholic Church. I have practiced my faith piously and devoutly for my entire life. I was a Marian devotee and wore a scapular for 35 years. Now, widowed at age 61, after having read through the entire Bible, for the first time I find myself feeling eerily different, even distant, about my religion.
My most pious relatives and the devout among my Catholic friends are vitriolic and acrimonious in their scorn and rebuke since they discovered I have presumed to read and attempt to understand the Holy Scriptures without the aid of a priest or officially approved Roman Catholic literature.
They often will scream and yell about Protestant misinterpretations of Christian beliefs established long ago by early church fathers, about the abandonment of Roman Catholic traditions or about numerous Protestant Bibles with flawed translations. They seem self-righteously proud they have avoided attempting to read the Bible for themselves. They tell me that I am a fool, while assuring me that they "KNOW" what they believe.
I find I am embroiled in a holy war over the issue of my daily routine of studying in the Scofield Reference Bible while listening to a Protestant minister on the radio who sequentially reads through the entire Bible with commentary, explanation, word studies and personal reflections drawn from a lifetime of ministry.
A small group of my relatives and Catholic friends have begun attempting to distract me during the time of these Bible study broadcasts. I have responded by avoiding them, making myself unavailable, and by discovering the different times other radio stations air the same Bible study in my area. I now tune-in on short-wave radio twice a day.
Their attitudes and actions are driving me away from the Mother Church because when I attend Mass is when I suffer their unrelenting vocal attacks in public. It is most embarrassing when they bring our Monsignor into the fray, for he supports my detractor's opinions. It makes my attendance at weddings, funerals, etc., a difficult and uncomfortable situation.
The buzz escalated to a howl when it was discovered I modestly support the organization of the radio minister and purchase bound copies of his commentaries comprising the broadcast material. Now, one close relative often brings nuns to my home to pray for me, three other relatives have made a donation to have mass said for my recovery, and several groups of friends claim to pray the rosary for me, that I might recover my senses and return to being a good Catholic once again.
They are most upset over the fact that I am beginning to realize that the Roman Catholic faith is a sham, that it is a false religion fashioned around showy but powerless rituals and spectacular but worthless ceremonies rooted in pre-Christian religions. For having read through the whole Bible I now see clearly that the pre-Christian religious practices described in the Old Testament, which God commanded the Hebrews to avoid, are mostly the current religious practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
I was quite startled to discover that Protestant Bibles contain a proscription in the Second Commandment against religiously associated idols of any kind, and against images of any living thing when the idols and images are for religious purposes. It is that since no human has ever seen God, no human can ever produce a replica or likeness of God that would be remotely accurate. Which would render every religiously associated idol and image the worthless status of being either a pathetic counterfeit of the Real God or of being an unholy substitute for the True God. And that this worthless and forbidden status applies to all religiously associated idols and images without exception.
Not one officially approved Roman Catholic Bible I have examined contains the Second Commandment proscription against idols and images used in religious worship or involved in pious devotional practices. I get the impression that Roman Catholicism has altered some scriptures to suit its religious practices rather than adjusting its religious practices to fit God's Holy Scripture.
I shudder to think I spent almost sixty years ignorantly engaging in idolatry, identified by and condemned by God in the Bible, simply because that is the way I was raised, that is the faith I was taught. It is scary to realize that I might have never discovered the truth and could have delusionally gone to my grave unsaved while falsely believing I was a saved Christian.
My detractors are making my life a living hell. I am considering moving away from my family, my lifelong friends and my hometown just to have some peace and to regain a more normal and less contentious lifestyle.
Are my current feelings about the Roman Catholic faith justified? Is there really, as I feel the Bible clearly indicates, something terribly wrong with the Roman Catholic religion?"
Name and location withheld, by request.
THE ANSWERS ARE: YES, AND YES !
Both the Bible and secular history make it transparently clear that you are quite justified in feeling there is something terribly wrong with the Roman Catholic religion.
In spite of the (suspiciously) missing Second Commandment against ALL man-made idols and images (Found in Exodus 20:4-6; in Protestant Bibles), Roman Catholic Bibles do include hundreds of other references to God's proscription against ALL religiously associated man-made idols and images.
Clearly and simply showing that God is against the religious use of man-made idols, most especially when idols are used in pious devotions; when used for adoration; and when used for purposes of veneration, service or honor of some personage other than God.
Why haven't Roman Catholics
noticed what God says?
NO IDOLS! NO IMAGES!
This means: AT ALL TIMES!
No "RELIGIOUS" usage of statues or likenesses of anything!
What could be simpler or easier to comprehend?
Read The 2nd Commandment - That Is Missing From
Most Of The Officially Approved Roman Catholic Bibles:
The Book Of Exodus - Chapter 20
4 - "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 - Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 - And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."
King James Version
You will notice that God says, "Those whom He thinks love Him are those who keep His commandments". And you are entirely correct in your realization that this proscription against ALL religiously associated idols and images is without any exceptions, ever.
"Counterfeit" Christians BELIEVE God, but they do not OBEY God.
Within both Judaism and "Authentic" Christianity, there are absolutely no circumstances where God finds idols or images acceptable. NONE, WHATSOEVER !
The actual words of the entire Biblical narrative differ greatly from popular Roman Catholic "Religious" myths. The words of the Bible also differ greatly from many other unscriptural "Religious" practices, traditions, customs, and fanciful beliefs in fables or pagan folklore that have been built up around the Roman Catholic "Religion" in opposition to the original, God-given Bible stories.
About "IDOLS": God declares that ALL idols are blind, dead, deaf, empty-of-life, forbidden, mute, religiously worthless, spiritually powerless, sinful. God calls the religious use of idols "Spiritual Adultery"! See: Lev.19:4 - Jer. Ch. 3 - and the entire Books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
About "IMAGES" (Likenesses, Statues and Symbols): Forbidden, whether they are carved, cast, graven, molded or molten - See: Lev. 26:1 - Deu. 5:8 - Deu. 16:22 - Deu. 27:15 - Jer. 10:14 - and the entire Book of Isaiah.
In addition to the testimony of God, which you have discovered in the Bible, both modern archaeology and ancient history weigh-in with overwhelmingly massive amounts of information about the fact that the religious system (today) called Roman Catholicism pre-existed Christianity - for ages and eons before the time of Christ Jesus.
The core beliefs and practices of Romanism had existed for three thousand years by the time of the formation of the earliest, NON-Roman Catholic, Apostolic, Christian church in First Century, CE, Rome. Two thousand years ago Romanism had all of today's idols, images, rites, ceremonies, religious orders and ecclesiastical calendar already intact, three hundred years before Romanism first claimed to be a Christian religion in the Fourth Century, CE.
And secular history also shows that what (today) is called Roman Catholicism, as the state religion of Rome, was the avowed enemy of Christianity and of individual Christians for nearly 300 years after the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Back in those days it was not only the Jews who were persecuted by Rome, for Christianity was perceived as nothing more than a Hebrew cult or sect.
And, lastly, both the Bible and secular history show that, prior to the Fourth Century of this Common Era, what (today) is called Roman Catholicism had no part in the formation of Apostolic Christian doctrine and had no part in the establishment of any Christian church group.
While Emperor Constantine decreed Christianity to be tolerated as a "Lawful" religion (Edict of Milan, CE 313), Roman Catholicism did not declare itself "Christian" until the eastern Emperor Theodosius I decreed Christianity as the new, official, state religion of Rome (Edict of De Fide Catolica, CE 380).
Immediately following Emperor Theodosius's decree, Those Christian-Persecuting Romanists Of The Former, Ages-Old, Roman State Religion Shortly And Quickly Absorbed (Usurped) Apostolic Christianity...
.... Taking It Captive !
And Romanism proceeded to BACK-DATE their Fourth Century, CE, ascension to their newly-endorsed "Christian-like" status to make it appear as if Roman Catholicism had evolved from the original Apostolic Christian Church in an unbroken line of succession from Saint Peter, through all the Popes-of-Rome, right up to today.
At the time of the change-over from pure paganism to a somewhat "Christian-like" form of religion, the Romanists of the Fourth Century, CE, possessed a very well-established, highly-organized system of temples, monasteries and abbeys throughout the Empire. And Romanism enjoyed a deeply embedded and politically connected priesthood having the innate ability of religious deceivers to begin posing as authentic Christian clergy.
The masses of just-converted pagans and heathens had no way of knowing this new state-ordained religion was composed of fakers, posers and frauds, since, as a result of 300 years of persecution, almost no authentic Christians remained (Alive!) to testify against the old Romanists in their new, state-sponsored, "Christian-like", religious permutation.
Those former persecutors of Christians, those old Romanists of the formerly official, pagan, state religion, those old idolatrous Roman Catholic priests, abbots and bishops were not authentically Christian in God's eyes.
As fakers and posers the Romanists never possessed the "Spirit of Truth" from God.
For, at the time of their religious transition, an authentic in-dwelling by the Holy Spirit would have been necessary to (individually) render each one of those Romanists genuinely sanctified by God's standards and, by extension, would have been necessary to alter their "make-believe" idolatrous form of religion into something much more authentically Christian - much more like the purest form of Apostolic Christianity which had completely rejected idolatry.
THE MOTIVE AND THE ADVANTAGE
The old, pre-Christian, Roman religious system had both the MOTIVE (Purpose) and the ADVANTAGE (Temporal Power) to perpetuate its pagan, heathen system of idolatry which, both modern archaeology and secular history prove, had its source and origin in the ancient Chaldean mysticism of Babylon, three thousand years before the time of Christ Jesus.
The new purpose of the old Roman religious system was to retain power within their well-established sphere of religious influence to maintain their hold on the lucratively profitable enterprise called "Religion".
To take on, after the Fourth Century, CE, the appearance of the rightful successors of the original, all Hebrew, Apostolic, Christian Church.
And, most importantly, to merge-together the ancient, idolatrous, Roman, religious system with what little they understood of "true" (authentic) Christianity.
The resulting religious amalgam, today's modern Roman Catholicism, while possessing some small amount of Christian truth is so error-filled because the old, idolatrous, Roman, religious system was never rejected but merely adapted.
Back in the 4th Century, CE, Romanism falsely labeled itself as authentic Christianity, even though idolatrous Romanism bares no resemblance to the original "true" form of Apostolic Christianity that SHUNNED idolatry and pagan heathenism.
Romanism has always eagerly admitted it has "baptized" pagan heathenism in order to "Christianize" it, and today's Roman Catholic hierarchy freely admit Romanism had long ago brought pagan heathenism within its ecclesiastical robes.
The Roman Catholics have ignored the format for the Church, found in the Book Of Acts:
The Apostles were sent by Christ Jesus to take the Church out into the pagan world.
Roman Catholics have reversed that process, and have been busy bringing the paganism of the world into the church.
Romanism, long ago, adapted pagan heathen holy days, religious beliefs and spiritual practices to Christianity. Holy days, religious beliefs and spiritual practices that have no connection to the original, Apostolic, Christian faith.
The Roman Catholics, in the Fourth Century, CE, executed this adaptation in order to comfortably and serenely accommodate the massive influx of pagan heathens into the newly "Christianized" Roman state religion. And those pagan heathens felt right-at-home in the new state religion that supported and embraced the old, idolatrous, religious system so completely, even unto today.
The old Romanist idolaters, posing as the new Christians, were far too dedicated and committed to idolatrous spirituality to ever conform fully to Christ Jesus. For that conformity would have required the complete rejection of idolatry and the complete rejection of all pagan heathenism, which God calls spiritual sin.
But, remember this...
GOD HAS MADE NO TRUCE WITH SPIRITUAL SIN !
All of the paganistic heathenism adopted many thousands of years ago by Roman Catholicism is the same paganism and heathenism adapted to Apostolic Christianity by Roman Catholicism, and is the type of idolatry that the earliest gentile Christian converts were instructed to give-up, quit, forsake, repent-of and cease to practice.
GOD CALLS IDOLATRY SIN !
SPIRITUAL ADULTRY !
And Roman Catholic idolatry feeds and bolsters humanity's pagan, heathen, spiritual inclination which conforms itself to the natural world so easily. A natural spiritual inclination that the Apostle Paul declares each new, individual, Christian convert must "put-off" (quit, repent-of) in order for God's Holy Spirit to transform one into an authentic Christian "believer" by the spiritual renewal of one's formerly idolatrous, pagan, heathen mind. (See: Romans 12: 1-3)
The Roman Catholic religious system has never had this obligatory experience of spiritual repentance and renewal.
It has never become either holy or sanctified in God's eyes.
Through the temporal power of Rome, by the Fourth Century, CE, the Roman religious system had spent the previous 500 years as the established state religion.
And, by the Fourth Century, CE, the Roman religious system had spent the most recent 300 years jealously attempting to stamp-out the same Christianity it (then) wished to incorporate and attempt to imitate.
Secular history records that, up until 382 CE, ALL Roman Emperors also carried the title "Pontif Maxum" (Supreme Pontiff, or Pope), head of both the government and the religion of Rome. From 100 years before the first Triumvirate, until the Emperor Gratian's rejection of the religious title, it was a nearly 500-years-long run of Emperor worship as state religion.
During that five-hundred-year period newly minted coins of Rome had the current Emperor's name and likeness on the obverse, with the title "Divi Felius" (The Divine One - The Emperor/God), while holding the royal objects of temporal power.
And those same coins had the title "Pontif Maxum" (Supreme Pontiff - Pope) on the reverse, displaying the Emperor's profile while wearing a miter (the Pope's tall hat that looks like a fish's head with an open mouth) as the royal object of religious power worn by all Emperor Popes, and now worn by all later (non-Emperor) Bishop-of-Rome Popes.
Roman coins from that period can be viewed in museums, in encyclopedias, and are displayed "For-Sale" on the World Wide Web and in coin collecting catalogs dealing with ancient or historical coins.
WHEN A NON-EMPEROR
FIRST BECAME A POPE
Beginning at 382, CE, was the first occasion when a Roman Catholic Bishop of Rome ascended to the title of Pope. Slightly more than 300 years after the time of Christ Jesus was the first time a NON-Emperor was ever a Roman Catholic Pope.
After the relocation of the empire's capitol to Constantinople, after the split that left two separate empires, and after the fall of Rome to the Vandals in the Fifth Century, CE, a succession of Bishops-of-Rome (non-Emperor) Popes began to also wield the immense temporal powers of the former Emperors.
At this point in time, after the fall of Rome, the "Dark Ages" began in Europe.
And it was during the "Dark Ages" that the Bible became a closed book to the masses of people. The "Dark Ages" are when literacy began a marked decline in Western Europe, for that was when Roman Catholicism put the Bible under lock and key.
Even today Roman Catholics are not encouraged to read the Bible, so most never do.
In today's modern era, Roman Catholics are strongly discouraged from independently attempting to read and understand the Bible; while Evangelical Protestant Christians are strongly rebuked if they do NOT engage in daily Bible study.
Finally, a funny thing happened on the way to the Reformation. For, about a thousand years after Roman Catholicism helped usher in the "Dark Ages", a Roman Catholic priest and seminary professor, in Germany, began to read for himself the New Testament in the original unaltered Greek. The revelations he discovered caused him to realize that Roman Catholicism (as it was taught from the Latin Vulgate Bible translation and as it was practiced by Romanists in that day) was a Christian impostor, a religious fraud, and a false claimant of authentic Biblical Christianity.
About five-hundred-years ago, in an era when printing first began to be mechanized; at a time when printed material began to become affordable for the masses of people; at a time when literacy in Europe was beginning to rapidly increase; and at a time when accurately translated Bibles first began to become widely available in numerous common languages (rather than only in Latin or Greek), the iron-fisted control Roman Catholicism exerted over access to the Word of God began to slip and fade away.
But because Roman Catholicism has neither repented-of nor forsaken its idolatrous origins it has never operated with God's spiritual blessing. And without God's blessing Romanism has been forced to pretend that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ; to pretend to be the successor to Peter the Apostle; and to pretend to offer an authentically sanctified religion that, in fact, is nothing more than a bombastic and flamboyant imitation religion.
Roman Catholicism, However, Does NOT Imitate
Authentic Christianity For...
.... IDOLATRY HAS NOTHING-IN-COMMON...
.... With The Original, All-Hebrew, Apostolic Form Of
Christianity Found In The Bible.
THAT idolatry is why Romanism's piously devout and faithful adherents openly display a lack of spiritual fulfillment.
Demonstrated by the many millions of Roman Catholics who are forever chasing-after apparitions of blessed virgins; and so often venerate relics and vague images of Jesus or Mary appearing on a tortilla, or on a huge water storage tank, or on a window pane; and are always managing to conjure-up weeping or bleeding idols and statues.
All of THAT religious foolishness is superstition-based and is rooted in the underlying idolatry of Romanism. THAT is why Roman Catholicism, as an idolatrous religious system, leaves much to be spiritually desired by its adherents.
Because, even when it is not consciously realized or acknowledged, the faithfully devout and pious adherents of Roman Catholicism clearly demonstrate that they can feel in their souls a spiritual deficiency that Romanism is incapable of filling.
In spite of the showy religiosity of Romanism, its adherents deeply and sub-consciously sense that a superstition-based, idolatrous religion cannot offer a path to genuinely authentic and assured salvation.
Primarily because Roman Catholicism remains (today) the same idolatrous religion that it was before the time of Constantine, a religion that is a blend of folklore and reverence, it is in direct opposition to God's admonition to all potential Old and New Testament believers to cease, desist and flee-from idolatry.
The Bible is very clear and straight-forward about that long-standing and often stated admonition from God against idolatry!
Christ Jesus' statement that He will "set you free" refers to human souls being set free from the spiritual burdens of idolatry. Since, in the absence of Christianity, humans will always drift into idolatrous religiosity; and since idolatry has no power to either forgive sins or provide eternal salvation; those souls caught-up in idolatrous religiosity have no relief for the guilt they feel because of their sins and they have no solution for what to them is a mystery, the attainment of fully assured salvation.
While Christ Jesus, through Biblical Christianity, provides real and effective relief from feelings of guilt for our sins and, by the Grace of God, provides assurance of eternal salvation, Roman Catholicism DOES NOT provide that relief or assurance because it CAN NOT guarantee those provisions.
And Romanism can not guarantee those provisions because, while authentic, Biblical, God-ordained Christianity provides genuine spiritual security through assurance of salvation for its believers, Roman Catholicism can only induce superstition and insecurity in its make-believers.
Romanism is a guilt-based religion with a focus that leaves many of its adherents constantly fixated on feelings of guilt. It is as if feelings of guilt for sins and fear of eternal condemnation is the engine driving the entire Romanist religious system, aptly demonstrating that idolatry is, indeed, heavily laden with tremendous spiritual burdens.
Roman Catholics are tormented with doubt about their eternal salvation whenever they contemplate their religion's teaching on Purgatory (Limbo). And they do not realize many will be victimized and betrayed on Judgment Day because Roman Catholicism provides no dependable assurance of eternal salvation, despite Rome's false and pretentious claim of possession of the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
As a result of Rome's pretentious claims, while falsely imagining that they are only in Purgatory (Limbo), an untold number of Roman Catholics will permanently end-up in Hell. And, while they further imagine that their stay in Hell is only temporary, as time marches on into never-ending eternity they will eventually come to the helpless, hopeless and lonesome realization that there are NO! EXITS! out of Hell.
THAT is when they will fully realize they have been victimized, betrayed and abandoned.
THAT is why it is so spiritually risky and eternally dangerous to practice Roman Catholicism. And...
.... THAT is why piously devout and faithful Roman Catholic adherents demonstrate a lack of spiritual fulfillment.
THAT tangible spiritual void...
....is why they foolishly quest-after apparitions, desperately seek to venerate relics or vague images, and marvel at weeping or bleeding idols and statues.
Romanism does not spiritually fulfill them, as evidenced by their unquenchable demand for more and ever more religious-type experiences.
Quite simply, Roman Catholicism is not spiritually satisfying! Because Romanism teaches that intermediaries are essential to spiritually approach God (a priest, a blessed virgin and favorites selected from an army of saints - as intercessors) Rome can not satisfy the natural, human, transcendental urge (Longing) for direct, personal, authentic, spiritual contact with God.
By keeping its piously devout and faithful adherents away from the Bible, Roman Catholicism protects itself from the scandal of having many of its believers question the underlying idolatry of the Roman form of religion that is revealed and exposed in the Holy Scriptures. But, in the end, Roman Catholicism produces religious dupes by blocking, quenching and stifling the fulfillment of that longing for direct, personal, spiritual contact with God.
And once any Roman Catholic reads all of God's Word, Witness, Testimony and Counsel for them self they, just like that priest in Germany, about 500 years ago, will come to the realization that they should flee idolatrous Roman Catholicism...
In The Best Interest
Of The Eternal Destiny
Of Their Soul.
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