Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Roman Catholicism is novel, and was invented for the benefit of the Pope and the Clergy.

It is not with a very good grace that our opponents, after having disfigured and entirely changed the Christian religion, venture to accuse us of novelty. For, in truth, the Romish religion is a garment patched up with new pieces, — a heap of doctrines, invented and amassed from age to age, forged upon the anvil of avarice and ambition. We are ready to submit to all sorts of punishment, if, in five hundred years after Christ, and we could descend lower, it be proved that there was a single man who had a religion in the least resembling the religion of the Romish Church, such as it is at the present time. Can a single Church be found in antiquity, which deprived the people of the cup in communion? Did the Ancient Church forbid the people to read the Holy Scriptures? Did she believe in purgatory? Did any one then speak of Romish indulgences, and of the treasure of the Church, in which the Pope stows the superabundant satisfactions and penal works of saints and monks, and distributes them to others by his indulgences? Were images of God and the Trinity, in stone or in painting, then made? Were the images of saints worshipped? Were penitents seen whipping themselves in public, not only for their own sins, but also for the sins of others? Did the bishops of Asia, Egypt, or Africa, swear fidelity to the bishop of Rome, or accept letters of inves titure from him? Was the public service performed in a language which the people did not understand? Was the bishop of Rome then called God? Did he claim worship? Did he canonize saints? Did be pluck souls out of purgatory? Did he grant pardons for two or three thousand years? Did he depose kings, or vaunt of having the power to give and take away kingdoms? Had he the power to dispense with oaths and vows, and of dissolving marriages legitimately contracted, under pretence of the monastic profession? Did any then talk of chaplets, rosaries, blessed grains, Agnus Dei, &c.? I say the same of the titles, Queen of Heaven and Mistress of the World, given to the Virgin Mary; and of the various charges given to the saints, to one over a country, to another over a sickness, to another over a disease, to another over this or that trade. The power which the priests arrogate to themselves of pardoning sins in their quality of judges is likewise new, and is part of the iniquity of the later ages. In like manner, there is not a vestige to be found throughout antiquity, of private Masses, where there are no communicants and no hearers, said at the instance of those who pay for them. — The book, entitled the Tax of the Apostolic Chancery, shews at what price absolutions may be obtained for murder, parricide, incest, perjury. So many groats or ducats for having killed a father, and so many for maternal incest. A Romish Jesuit, named Sylvester Petra Saneta, lately wrote a book against me, from which I learn one thing I did not know before. He mentions, in chap. xiii. that during the time of Advent and Lent, the Pope does not permit any one in Rome to pass a whole night in a brothel, which would be a violation of the sanctity of Lent. On this account, during these days of devotion, it is permitted only to pass the day and part of the night with bawds. Are such laws to be found in the Ancient Church? In short, this religion is wholly of a late date — it is a confused collection of doctrines and laws, which were never heard of in ancient times, and were invented expressly for the pro fit and extension of the Papal Empire, — for the establishment of a monarchy, which had no existence in the first ages of the Church, — and for retaining the people in ignorance, lest the mystery of iniquity should be discovered. — The Pope and the Clergy find indulgences, private masses and prayers for trespasses, to be exceedingly lucrative. By means of auricular confession, the priests obtain knowledge of family secrets, and hold the conscience in bondage. They do not grant absolutions for nothing. The supererogatory works and satisfactions of monks replenish the spiritual treasury, of which the Pope keeps the key, and distributes them to the people by his indulgences, so lucrative to him , self and clergy. By granting absolutions, the priests make themselves judges of souls and judges in the cause of God. By reserving the communion cup to themselves and to kings, they make themselves the companions of kings, and assume a rank above the people. By the celibacy of bishops and other clergy, the Pope prevents the dissipation of the ecclesiastical treasures, and their being applied to the support and enriching of their children. 

By painting God the Father in the apparel of the Pope, the opinion is instilled into the people that God is like the Pope, and has a vast intimacy with him, since he has borrowed his robes. By the canonization of saints the Pope causes his valets to be worshipped by the people, and gives them the title of saints in recompense for their services.— By the sacrament of penance, the Pope and the priests usurp the power of imposing upon sinners pecuniary fines and corporal punishments, even to the flogging of kings. By performing the service in the Latin language, the people are retained in ignorance; by having it imposed upon them, they are taught that they are within the pale of the papal empire. The Roman language is bestowed on them for the purpose of subduing them to the Roman religion.— The power of the Pope to dethrone kings, makes him king of kings, and erects for him an empire, where he is elevated above all the grandeur of the world. The images, called the books of the ignorant, accustom men to neglect the Scriptures, which are utterly unknown in those countries where the inquisition reigns. By transubstantiation, the priests can make Jesus Christ, and keep him under their control. The Pope, by ordaining holy days during the week, regulates the civil police, causes the shops to be shut, and the sittings of the Courts of Justice and King's Council to be suspended. When merchants shut their shops, the clergy open theirs; and then it is that the people obtain pardons, visit relics, and sprinkle themselves with holy water, which is always at hand. The Pope, by the distinction of meats and fast-days, regulates the markets and stomachs, kitchens and tables, of kings and people. The more numerous the prohibitions are, the more frequently are applications made to Pope and Prelates for dispensations. The Pope decreed marriage to be a Sacrament, that he might take the cognizance of it away from judges and magistrates: for Sacraments are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Church.

The Pope, by dispensations for the degrees of consanguinity within which marriages are forbidden in the word of God, obliges the children of Princes, (for such dispensations are granted to none but the great,) born of such marriages, to defend his authority, that their own legitimacy may be maintained. From Annats and Archiepiscopal cloaks, the Pope derives incredible gain. For a mantle of this kind he draws sixty thousand ducats. The Pope, by the power he has assumed of being able to change the commandments, of God, and of absolving from oaths and vows made to God, exalts himself above God. For he who can absolve men from fidelity and obedience to God, must be greater than God. 

The invocation of saints, the worship of relics, and the miracles said to have been wrought by them, serve to build many churches and monasteries, which powerfully support the domination of the Pope; in short, all the crafty devices in the world has been employed to this end. Never was an empire raised with so much artifice. The doctrine which teaches us that Jesus Christ, by his death, delivers us from the guilt and punishment of sins committed before baptism, but that we must bear the punishment of the sins commit ted after baptism, either in this life or in purgatory, takes from the merits of Christ to make room for vile traffic, and to give credit to indulgences, and masses for the dead: every thing, in short, is turned to profit—even death itself is tributary to the Romish clergy.

Pierre Du Moulin, Anatomy of the Mass, Chapter 22

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