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Adding to the Gospel...

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. (Romans 16:17) The council of Trent was key in solidifying many of the errors of the church and making them "unchangeable" or "irreformable." For more on Trent click here.

 

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Please, compare the following with what you find in the searchable Roman Catholic Catechism, which is provided at the following site: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm.

Chief Errors of the Roman Catholic Churchwhy it is not the same church that Christ founded

Dogmaformally defined required for belief doctrines that go far beyond the word of Godfar beyond the early church

 

Over the years, certain arrogant men have decided that it would be okay and even "necessary" for them to add teachings to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Though Jesus plainly told us that what was necessary is that we believe in him as the Son of God, these men decided otherwise. They insisted, you must also believe in them as "pope" and in their formal teachings--teachings that went far beyond the Nicene Creed which was formulated on the basis of  the Bible. What's more, they claim to have made their teachings "irreformable," that is--these teachings cannot be changed--they will always be required for salvation, according to them. 

Because they tell us these teachings are indeed required for our salvation, they also necessarily claim that these teachings are actually part of the "gospel" their church teaches and preaches. In fact, they use an illustration to tell us how these truths began as mere acorns, hardly visible in the early church, and have now grown into large oak trees, clearly visible to all who hold the true faith, clearly revealed by God himself and thus necessary to our salvation.

During the time of St. Paul, there were certain Jews who professed to be followers of Christ and had similar convictions about a certain essential for salvation.. For instance, they were convinced that in order to truly follow Christ, the males of a family absolutely must be circumcised. They began teaching this to the Gentile Christians in Galatia, trying to get them to see how "obvious" it was that this "oak tree" of circumcision should be an essential or required part of their faith--something absolutely necessary for their salvation.

The issue of requiring circumcision was only one, seemingly "slight" difference, between the "gospel" these professed Jewish Christians taught and the Gospel that Paul taught. But, the true Jewish Christian, Paul, let them know in very certain terms that this single error of theirs made the difference between heaven and hell. 

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than that which you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:8-9)

As we can read, Paul, speaking the word of God, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, warned them well that, because of their erroneous teaching requiring circumcision, they were preaching a "different gospel" and that those who continue to preach a different gospel from the one that he preached will be condemned to hell. He also made the true Gospel very clear: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved--you and your household."  (Acts 16:31) 

What has become of that Gospel? In the Roman Catholic Church it has long been buried under a massive grove of "artificial oak trees." The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church now claim these artificial oaks of their own making are necessary and revealed by God for salvation! The largest of these so-called oaks is their obstinate rejection of the biblical Gospel of salvation through faith alone at the Council of Trent. They have also elevated their tradition (which includes themselves through the so-called "Magisterium") to equality with the word of God and they have added a myriad of additional requirements, all of which, they insist are necessary for the salvation of the faithful. (The following references to Catholic Catechism are listed by paragraph number, for example CC#1395). Yes, let us walk now through this dense forest of their own making and describe these "artificial oaks" of error as we meet them. (Check catechism references at http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm)

  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that "faith plus works" are necessary to attain eternal life and that those who believe that faith alone in Christ and what he has done for us is what is essential are doomed to hell, unless they repent (same goes for all the rest of the following bullet points in this article). Also go to Catechism paragraphs (CC# 1821 and 2010) to see that the church still teaches this..  No matter that Christ himself tells us: He who hears my word and believes in the One who sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation (hell): but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24). He who believes in me has everlasting life. (John 6:47)  Yes, that is the same as "he who has faith" in me or "he who trusts me," will have everlasting life. But that was not good enough for the bishops at the Council of Trent, session six, as we read their "Decree on Justification”, canon 12: “If anyone says that the faith which justifies is nothing else but trust in the divine mercy (of God), which pardons sins because of Christ; or that it is that trust alone (faith alone) by which we are justified; let him be anathema (accursed, condemned to hell).” Also see several other decrees issued on Justification by the bishops at Trent. 
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that the pope is supreme over all Christianity on earth, also that he speaks infallibly—without the possibility of error—when he offers a teaching on matters of faith, morals, discipline, etc…  (See the text from the First Vatican Council, further below, which apparently overlooked Christ's statement about himself, just prior to his ascension, that "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Christ)." Matthew 28:18) Also see, Col. 1:18, Eph. 1:22, 4:15 and 5:23 and Roman Catholic Catechism (CC #889-891)

  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that only the pope, as well as those bishops and priests in union with him, has the authority to properly interpret the word of God, the Bible. (Vatican I--Also see CC #85, 100,119) Therefore, the Bereans must have been wrong to search the Scriptures "everyday to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11 Perhaps they tried to "avoid" interpretation? C'mon.
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that Mary, the mother of Christ, was conceived by her earthly parents free from sin, as a special grace from God—known as the “Immaculate Conception.” (See CC #490-493, #722 and excerpt from solemn definition, below.) Therefore, the Roman Catholic Church would seem to insist that St. Paul must have been mistaken to teach that "There is none righteous, no not one. (Romans 3:10) and "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (except Mary?). (Romans 3:32)
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that Mary was always a virgin, despite the birth of Jesus, which is known as the "perpetual virginity" of Mary. If that is true, she can't be the same "woman clothed with the sun" who is supposed to be Mary but cries out in the pain of child birth according to Revelation 12:12. If you're a perpetual virgin--you don't cry out in child birth.
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that Mary was taken into heaven bodily at the time of her death, known as, the  “Assumption of Mary.” (See CC #966 and the excerpt further below, also John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris 25, on Mary's suffering "fruitful for redemption of the world.") The Roman Catholic Church would have us believe that God apparently "failed" to inspire anyone to write about this "required for salvation" teaching in the times of the apostles and thus any mention is absent from his holy word, the Bible. Curious, eh? (Again, see excerpts from the formally defined teaching below.) 

  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that if you die with an unconfessed mortal sin on your soul, your spirit will go straight to hell--unless you have a firm intention to confess to a priest as soon as possible. (Compare CC #1035 to 1 John 1:9, two paragraphs below, and more catechism references in next paragraph.) This "firm intention" clause is apparently derived from those cases of General Absolution (CC #1483), which a priest is allowed to give a whole congregation, only in cases of "imminent danger." Therefore, it may or may not apply in certain circumstances. This is why some elderly Roman Catholics often pray for a happy death--one that is attended by a priest, who can give them absolution before the moment of death (they don't want to go to hell on a technicality).
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that there are two categories of sins—mortal and venial. A mortal sin is a serious or grave offense against God, while a venial sin is a lesser sin of neglect or omission. (CC # 1854, #1861) Let's see, sin is rebellion against God--so why should mortal and venial mean so much to us? I think it has a lot to do with that other supposed required-for-salvation teaching, Purgatory and your chances of getting there--see references to Purgatory and Indulgences further below.
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that absolution from a priest is the only regular way that sins—especially mortal sins—can be forgiven. (CC #1484. #1493, #1456, #1495. #1461) Apparently it doesn't matter that God's word promises otherwise: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that you commit a mortal sin if you miss Mass unless you are too sick to attend. Better look both ways before you cross the street or at least hope and pray the "firm intention" clause applies and you have a firm intention to confess to a priest the first chance you get. I mean really firm. Does anyone really believe God will "get you on a technicality" even if you're sorry for your sin? C'mon. Again, take your sins to God: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that the Mass itself is an actual sacrifice or re-presentation of the sacrificial act of Christ offering himself (through the priest) to God the Father, but this time in an unbloody manner (CC# 1367): “And forasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated (sacrificed) in an unbloody manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross; the holy Synod teaches, that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory…For the Lord, appeased by the oblation thereof, …forgives even heinous crimes and sins.” (Council of Trent, Session 22, Chapter 2)   This unbloody sacrifice cannot be, according to God's word: Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Leviticus 17:11 "For it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." Hebrews 9:22 "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." This doesn't mean we have to throw out the Lord's Supper, but to see it for what it truly is, a commemoration of the one sacrifice of Christ, recalling that that one sacrifice forever provides forgiveness of sins for all who believe in Christ and what he did for them. "And where these (sins) have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin." Hebrews 10:18,
  • That (as also mentioned above) the Mass is required to sooth, appease or turn back the wrath of God (propitiatory sacrifice) as an expiation (atonement) for sins recently committed: 

    1354 ...(the Mass) "reconciles us with him" 1366 ...its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of sins we daily commit.  1371 ...purifies the faithful departed,  1391 ... provides intimate union with Christ, 1395 ...preserves us from future mortal sins. 1414 ...is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain temporal (earthly) benefits from God. "...that the Church might have a perpetual Sacrifice, by which our sins might be expiated, and our heavenly Father, oftentimes grievously offended by our crimes, might be turned away from wrath to mercy, from the severity of just chastisement to clemency." (Catechism of the Council of Trent, p.255, translators McHugh and Callan, Tan Books, 1982.)  This bullet point and the one immediately above are teachings that are totally contrary to Holy Scriptures and the complete and sufficient, once for all times, atonement for sin that the Bible clearly indicates Christ accomplished for all who come to believe in him: "And where these (sins) have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin." Hebrews 10:18, also see 1 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 7:27-28, 9:12, 9:26, 9:28, 10:10, 10:12-14, 10:17-18, 13:15, Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7 and Philippians 4:18. 

  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that the Mass can forgive only small or venial sins and yet is somehow the same sacrifice as Christ's but it does not result in the forgiveness of serious sins: "The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins--that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation." (CC #1395) "Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion." (CC #1385)

  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that there are exactly seven sacraments, no more or less. (CC #1210) and that the "sacraments confer the grace they signify because in them Christ himself is at work." (CC #1127)The Bible tells us Jesus explicitly commanded Baptism and Holy Communion--and said not a thing about working through them. There are also biblical references to preaching the Gospel, anointing of the sick, laying on of hands and washing of feet. But none of them are defined as sacraments. The word sacrament is the Latin word for "mystery." The Greek word is "mysterium." Thus the Greeks call the sacraments, "the mysteries." St. Paul also seemed to know nothing about seven sacraments. He simply told us that all who believe are sealed in the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance with God. (Ephesians 1:11-14)
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) of transubstantiation, which must be understood as the only way in which the bread and wine at holy communion become Christ’s body and blood. (CC #1374-1377)  The exact explanation of transubstantiation was borrowed from a formulation of "accidents and substances" developed by the pagan philosopher Aristotle. Why can't we simply believe in the promise of Christ? "This is my body...this is my blood." Matthew 26:26-28  The fact is, we can--just not as Roman Catholics!
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that what we receive at Holy Communion is indeed the "whole" Christ: body, blood, soul and divinity. Council of Trent, which apparently decided that Christ's promise of his body and blood (Matthew 26:27-28) simply wasn't enough for us. Perhaps there were other motives as well. It could be argued that this makes the elements of holy communion easier to adore (worship).
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that receiving the body and blood of Christ at holy communion can only forgive venial or small sins. (CC #1395) No matter that Christ, at his Last Supper, told us that his blood was "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:28 This is serious proof that the Mass and Christ's one sacrifice are not the same. Christ's one sacrifice forgives all the sins of those who believe in him. This applies to the following bullet point as well.
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that, if you receive the body and blood of Christ at holy communion without first being absolved of your mortal sins by a priest following oral confession, you commit another mortal sin (a sacrilege) by receiving at holy communion--no matter that you approach with a repentant heart (CC# 1385 "Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.") (Also see CC# 1456, 1484, 1493, 1495). No matter that Christ, at his Last Supper, commanded us to "take and eat and take and drink" and told us that his blood was "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:28. Yet it is somehow now a sin to approach this holy meal to receive his forgiveness? We must already be forgiven by a priest? C'mon. Again, more proof that the Mass is not the same sacrifice as that of Christ as the church contends. (CC #1367) Even the Roman Catholic faithful seem to know better than this in their hearts. Many do not first go to confession to a priest before receiving.
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) in Purgatory as a place of purgation—a state of purification, where a soul that dies without any mortal (serious) sin—is suffers the earthly or temporal punishment due for the minor or venial sins committed while on earth. Ultimately this soul will be allowed into heaven. (CC #1030, #1031) Taught at the Second Council of Lyon (1274) and by Pope Benedict XII in Benedictus Dei (1336), as well as the Councils of Florence and Trent--declared a dogma at Trent. Are we to believe that Christ did not suffer the full punishment due our sins on the cross? That's what the Roman Catholic Church expect us to believe. However, the Bible, the word of God speaks quite differently: "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:24) Are we to believe that Christ does not cover all who believe in him in his own righteousness? "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." (Romans 4:7-8) "This is why 'it was credited to him as righteousness.' The words 'it was credited to him' were written not for him (Abraham) alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness--for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised for our justification." (Romans 4:22-25)
  • The required for salvation Roman Catholic belief (error) that the pope has the authority to offer indulgences (through bishops and priests) which can remove a portion (“partial indulgence”) or all (“plenary indulgence”) of the temporal (earthly) punishment that a soul may be due for its sins in Purgatory. (CC # 1471-1478, #1498, #1032) John Paul II offered a plenary indulgence in Mystery of the Incarnation, issued Nov. 19, 1998. He offered them during the Jubilee year (2000) and every Christmas. No matter that the Holy Spirit tells us through St. Paul: "For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time." (1 Timothy 2:5-6) In other words, JPII, like all the popes before him, had no power, no authority to offer such indulgences but in claiming to do so he made himself a "mediator" between God and men.

The Roman Catholic Church tells us all of these teachings and more are required for the Christian believer if he or she hopes to enter heaven--regardless of whether or not they believe Christ is indeed their Lord and Savior.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441:

“Therefore the Holy Roman Church condemns, reproves, anathematizes and declares to be outside the Body of Christ, which is the Church, whoever holds opposing or contrary views [e.g. heretics].” (Denz. 705) 

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896:

“The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium.”

Yet the above listed Roman Catholic teachings and many others are all clear additional requirements to the one that Christ taught us as necessary for our salvation: “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47) 

For those who may not believe that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that these are required for salvation, please read the following excerpts from texts of the three major dogmas that have been "formally defined" in the last 200 years of the church. Each of them includes an "anathema" which is a condemnation to hell for those who continue in their unbelief of these teachings of the Roman Church.     

·        The Immaculate Conception (Ineffabilis Deus) of Mary

Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854...

… "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."

Hence, if anyone shall dare--which God forbid!--to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.

·    On the infallible teaching authority of the Roman  pontiff

  Vatican I, Session 4, 18 July 1870, Chapter 4…

  …8.But since in this very age when the salutary effectiveness of the apostolic office is most especially needed, not a few are to be found who disparage its authority, we judge it absolutely necessary to affirm solemnly the prerogative which the only-begotten Son of God was pleased to attach to the supreme pastoral office.

9.Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the christian faith, to the glory of God our saviour, for the exaltation of the catholic religion and for the salvation of the christian people,  with the approval of the sacred council,  we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA,

  that is, when,

    1.in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,

    2.in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority,

    3.he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church, he possesses by the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals, 

Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable. So then should anyone, which God forbid, have the termerity to reject this definition of our; let him be anathema.

 

Encyclical MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS     

Pope Pius XII November 1, 1950

defining "ex cathedra" (from the chair of Peter) the dogma of

the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

.....by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.  45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.  47. It is forbidden to any man to change this…If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Making things clear

If you still might have any lingering doubt as to whether the Roman Catholic hierarchy continues to require belief in these particular dogmas and doctrines, consider the following. In his book Catholicism, Father Richard McBrien tried very hard to raise a serious question as to whether Catholics really had to believe the Marian dogmas (Immaculate Conception, Assumption) in order to be counted among the faithful. Pope John Paul II eventually responded, quite definitively, to McBrien and other like theologians by inserting certain norms into the Code of Canon Law which made the pope's answer crystal clear.

In a document entitled Ad Tuendam Fidem, issued in January of 1989, the Pope first reminded the faithful that an existing Canon, Canon 750, already stated that "Those things are to be believed...which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church (Pope and curia) or by its ordinary universal Magisterium (bishops and priests in agreement with the pope)..."

Next, John Paul II added the following paragraph: "Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitely by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held:....therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitely sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church."

Finally, the Pope added some "teeth" by inserting the following in Canon 1436 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches the following: "Whoever denies the 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."

In summary, the Roman Catholic Church does indeed require, under penalty of condemnation (the eternal fires of hell), for all its faithful to believe the dogmas of Papal Supremacy and Infallibility as well as the Immaculate Conception of Mary and her Assumption in addition to all the other teachings listed above and more. That means you can believe that Christ died for your salvation, that he truly is the Son of God and God in the flesh and put your full trust in him but still end up in hell, according to the Roman Catholic hierarchy, if you fail to believe all these other teachings as revealed truths from God. Could this be the real reason that "faith alone" in Christ alone, just doesn't work for the pope and his bishops?

The truth of Christ, who said: "Truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life." (John 5:24)  simply does not fit the Roman Catholic "system."

How can any thinking Catholic agree to the many erroneous beliefs listed above? Only if they are totally ignorant of the word of God, the Bible. How can we begin to equate teachings involving this man called the "pope" or even Christ's mother as somehow affecting the salvation that only Christ himself won for all who believe? His mother was indeed graced by God to bear our very Savior but when did Christ or any of his apostles teach that our salvation should depend on any aspect of her life? The answer is: they did not.

And what would the "true" Peter say of all of this? He has already spoken (and interestingly enough it again involve "circumcision") at the first Council in Jerusalem, and his words were inspired by the living God:

"Some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, 'The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.'"

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." (Acts 15:5-11)

And the words of God, spoken by the Holy Spirit through St. Paul, echo all the louder in agreement with the true Peter: Romans 11:5-6 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

The Gospel is a Gospel of grace. Find out more about this gift and how through his grace alone God provides us with the gift of faith. We are saved by the grace of Christ through his gift of faith alone. Click here to read more about Faith Alone!

For more on the core errors of the Roman Catholic Church, go to The Tragedy of Trent.

"For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." (Romans 10:2-4) –Bro. Jim

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