– Charles Spurgeon
1834 – 1892
When Roman Catholicism bases its bedrock of authority on an ever-changing position of leadership (just like Mormonism), it never ceases to amaze me what men can dream up. And with no real, fixed, eternal foundation by which to measure all new revelations, decrees, and doctrines, whatever the pope (or a prophet) says must be accepted as truth and cannot be scrutinized or challenged because the people lack a source of unchanging truth.
Without a solid, non-vacillating source of truth to stand on, those who follow the pope (or the prophet) simply get carried along to and fro with every wind of doctrine, resulting in their eternal destruction at the hands of those who promised them peace and safety and assured them that everything was all right.
Examining the claims of any man, even that of the Apostle Paul as the Bereans did in Acts 17 (and were called noble for doing so), is necessary. Without a basis to measure what a man says (and holding him accountable to that standard of measurement) then you are at the mercy of a sinful son of Adam and are entrusting your eternal soul to whatever that man says.
Case in point: According to this article in Zenit, the Romish organization recently announced this whopper of a tale:
On Benedict XVI’s behalf, the Apostolic Penitentiary is granting a special plenary indulgence to those who pray before the remains of St. Celestine V during the year dedicated to him.
That’s right, if you pray in front of the corpse of a dead man you can receive a “special plenary indulgence.” I can’t make this stuff up (but apparently Rome can).
His remains will be on pilgrimage during this year throughout the dioceses of the region where people were affected by the quake, so that the faithful, having fulfilled the other requirements, can receive the indulgence.
“Having fulfilled the other requirements?” What can they possibly add to the already completed, perfect sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God? What “other requirements” does the Bible say we must fulfill?
Galatians 2:16 is pretty clear that
A man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
So what basis of unchanging truth, what foundational, eternal authority does Rome appeal to in order to validate this Romish teaching? Apparently not the Word of God, as this article never once points to Scripture to support this gross error. Instead Rome actually references a previous papal error to support the current papal error.
As a gift to all the people, [Celestine V] decided that those who confessed and were sincerely repentant, and visited the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in that city, between Aug. 28 and Aug. 29, would receive the remission of sins and the absolution of punishment. Until then, a plenary indulgence was only granted to those who went to the Holy Land as crusaders and to pilgrims who visited the Portincula of Assisi.
So Celestine V, who taught the false gospel of obtaining “remission of sins and the absolution of punishment” by one’s own ability (in this case if someone visited a certain Basilica), is now the object of the furtherance of this false gospel by virtue of us praying in front of his dead body? This sounds like great fiction at best, occultism at worst.
And where did Celestine V come up with this idea? Notice in the previous quote that Celestine V simply “decided” this new wind of doctrine. What power he must wield, and with no basis by which to measure truth, how can this ever be challenged? For a Roman Catholic it cannot, and this is why Rome is so adamantly opposed to Sola Scriptura.
The article continues:
The prelate added: “Celestine wished to remind us of the great love of God, of God’s forgiveness, of reconciliation, of conversion and of peace.
Apparently this is a “love” and a “forgiveness” that the Romish god could not completely provide to his people unless they were able to travel to a certain city between August 28 and August 29th in the 13th century.
Rome can keep its impossible gospel, and I’ll stick to the perfect Word of God which tells me where God’s peace truly comes from: “Having made peace through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20).”
If Celestine V or Pope Benedict XVI had spoken in Berea and given the above “teaching” to the Bereans, and they searched the Scriptures to see if it were so, would they have been able to find it? Certainly not, for even Rome can’t find Scripture to support this aberrant teaching. But such is the liberty of Rome (and any cult) that puts the words of its leaders above that of the very Word of God. And such is the reason why Rome attacks the Word of God so vehemently, because it stands in direct opposition to Rome’s teachings, and Rome will only be at “peace” when it extinguishes all opposition, whether by torture, murder, threat of ex-communication or attacking the precious Word of God.
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. – Titus 3:4-7
There is a staircase in Rome–the seat of religious harlotry–that, supposedly, people can ascend on their knees and gain some pitiful “indulgence” from the man who sits in a temple as God. Spurgeon wrote about it as he witnessed this atrocity:
WHILE traveling in Italy it was our good fortune to fall in with our esteemed friend, Dr. Jobson, a Wesleyan brother well known to fame as a preacher of the gospel, and known also to his numerous friends as an artist of no mean order. By his kindness we are able to present our readers with a view of the stairs on the north side of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, at Rome, which are superstitiously reputed to be the identical steps which our Savior descended when he left the judgment hall of Pilate. No mention is made of steps in the gospels, but that is of small consequence to the Church of Rome, which recognizes tradition as quite sufficient authority. There are twenty-eight marble steps of considerable breadth, and we are asked to believe that they were transported from Jerusalem to Rome by miraculous agency. We remember a cottage which was so dilapidated that, to our knowledge, the father gathered up the steps of the stairs, and sent his boy with them to the landlord, with the message, “Please, sir, father has sent you our stairs, and would be glad of a new set,” but these marble slabs are in excellent repair and of great weight, and must have required a considerable amount of angelic engineering to remove them to their present site. However, for many a long year doubters concerning the authenticity of the holy stairs have been judged to be rank infidels, and have been considered worthy of the direst pains of perdition.
Our abhorrence of Popery and everything verging upon it rose to a white heat as we saw how it can lower an intelligent nation to the level of fetish worship, and associate the name of the ever-blessed Jesus with a groveling idolatry. If our mild milk-and-water Protestants could see Popery with their own eyes, they might have less to say against [Protestant] bigotry; and if those who play at ornate worship could see whither their symbolism tends, they would start back aghast, and adhere henceforth to the severest simplicity. Perhaps Luther would never have become a Reformer had it not been for his visit to Rome and his ascent of these very stairs. In the city where he expected to find the church of God in all its holiness, he found sin rampant beyond all precedent. “It is almost incredible,” says he, “what infamous actions are committed at Rome; one would require to see it and hear it in order to believe it. It is an ordinary saying that if there is a hell, Rome is built upon it. It is an abyss from whence all sins proceed.” Nor did he speak as an exaggerating enthusiast, for Machiavelli’s witness was that the nearer you came to the capital of Christendom the less you found of the Christian spirit. “We Italians,” said the great historian, “are chiefly indebted to the church and the priests for our having become a set of profane scoundrels.”
According to this story from the Catholic News Agency the Pope has granted indulgences to those who break the first and second Commandments. Below are excerpts from the article which explains the works based, unbiblical hoops one has to jump through to obtain forgiveness:
The first way to obtain the indulgence is to visit the following places in Lourdes between December 8, 2007 and December 8, 2008, preferably in the order suggested: (1) the parish baptistery used for the Baptism of Bernadette, (2) the Soubirous family home, known as the ‘cachot,’ (3) the Grotto of Massabielle, (4) the chapel of the hospice where Bernadette received First Communion, and on each occasion they pause for an appropriate length of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, … and the jubilee prayer or other Marian invocation.
If the faithful are not in Lourdes, but wish to receive the plenary indulgence, then during the week of the anniversary of the first apparition, which is the week of February 2, 2008 through February 11, 2008, and they must visit “in any church, grotto or decorous place, the blessed image of that same Virgin of Lourdes, solemnly exposed for public veneration, and before the image participate in a pious exercise of Marian devotion, or at least pause for an appropriate space of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, … and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
There is also a provision for those who are unable to fulfill the previous two ways of obtaining the indulgence. Those who “through sickness, old age or other legitimate reason are unable to leave their homes, may still obtain the Plenary Indulgence … if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the usual three conditions, on the days February 2 to 11, 2008, in their hearts they spiritually visit the above-mentioned places and recite those prayers, trustingly offering to God, through Mary, the sickness and discomforts of their lives.”
Where is all that in the Bible?
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.