"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Kazakhstan: Convert from Islam to Christianity gets 2 years prison for inciting religious hatred

Source: JihadWatch

By Robert Spencer, Director of Jihad Watch

“Inciting religious hatred” is what the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has for years been pressuring the West to criminalize. It is clear from this case that the term is a catchall for anything Muslims don’t like and don’t want spoken.

“Christian convert from Islam gets two years in prison for stirring religious hatred,” Asia News, December 30, 2015:

Astana (AsiaNews) A Kazakh court yesterday sentenced Seventh-day Adventist Yklas Kabduakasov to two years’ imprisonment in a labour camp on specious charges of inciting religious hatred. In November, a lower court had given the 54-year-old father of eight a seven-year sentence of restricted freedom at home.

Forum 18 reported that Mr Kabduakasov was prosecuted on allegations of inciting religious hatred. This was done by talking to others about his faith. He and his fellow Church members reject the charges as baseless.

Local sources said that Kazakhstan’s secret police, the National Security Committee (KNB), tracked Kabduakasov’s movements and taped his discussions, especially on matters of faith. After a year, he was arrested on 14 August, and convicted on 9 November.

The KNB apparently rented a flat where four university students invited the accused for religious discussions, secretly taped the meetings and then used the evidence in the prosecution case.

A lower court sentenced him to seven years’ restricted freedom, and ordered the destruction of nine Christian books that had been confiscated at his house. The Prosecutor had sought seven years’ imprisonment in place of the restricted freedom sentence.

A court heard the appeal on 22 and 25 December, before imposing two years in a labour camp on 28 December.

According to some Kazakh Christians, who withheld their names, he was tried because he had left Islam for Christianity. In addition, he had spoken with Muslims about the Gospel, raising the possibility of proselytising.

Kabduakasov’s case is thus seen as a warning to anyone tempted to leave Islam for Christianity….

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why Thomas Aquinas Distrusted Islam by Dr. Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.


The 13th-century scholar Thomas Aquinas, regarded as one of the most eminent medieval philosophers and theologians, offered a biting critique of Islam based in large part on the questionable character and methods of its founder, Mohammed.

According to Aquinas, Islam appealed to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace but by the power of the sword.

Aquinas, a keen observer of the human condition, was familiar with the chief works of the Muslim philosophers of his day–including Avicenna, Algazel, and Averroes–and engaged them in his writings.

Since Islam was founded and spread in the seventh century, Aquinas—considered by Catholics as a saint and doctor of the Church—lived in a period closer to that of Mohammed than to our own day.

In one of his most significant works, the voluminous Summa contra gentiles, which Aquinas wrote between 1258 and 1264 AD, the scholar argued for the truth of Christianity against other belief systems, including Islam.

Aquinas contrasts the spread of Christianity with that of Islam, arguing that much of Christianity’s early success stemmed from widespread belief in the miracles of Jesus, whereas the spread of Islam was worked through the promise of sensual pleasures and the violence of the sword.

Mohammad, Aquinas wrote, “seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure.”

Such an offer, Aquinas contended, appealed to a certain type of person of limited virtue and wisdom.

“In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men,” he wrote. “As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.”

Because of the weakness of Islam’s contentions, Aquinas argued, “no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning.” Instead, those who believed in him “were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.”

Islam’s violent methods of propagation were especially unconvincing to Aquinas, since he found that the use of such force does not prove the truth of one’s claims, and are the means typically used by evil men.

“Mohammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms,” Aquinas wrote, “which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants.”

At the time Aquinas was writing, Islam was generally considered a Christian heresy, since it drew so heavily on Christian texts and beliefs. Aquinas wrote that Mohammed “perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law.”

According to the noted historian Hilaire Belloc, Islam “began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. Its vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was—not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing.”

In his Summa contra gentiles, Aquinas ends his argument against Islam by offering a backhanded compliment to Mohammed, noting that he had to keep his followers ignorant in order for them to remain faithful.

It was, Aquinas wrote, “a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity.”

“It is thus clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly,” he wrote.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome

Monday, December 28, 2015

Why I Left Iglesia Ni Cristo and Became Secular

This article is contributed by Allan Michael Pedraja. Contact author for comments and questions.

I was born a “handog” in a big clan of Iglesia Ni Cristo here in Makati. I even sent my younger brother to New Era University to study BEM (Bachelor of Evangelical Ministry). It’s been four years since my brother got ordained as a full-pledged minister.

I am from the family of “true believers”. My father who passed away last year at the age of 91 served as a head deacon ever since I was a child (now I’m 37). My sister is a head secretary, another sister is a head choir, and another sister is a deaconess. My oldest brother-in-law [sic] assumed my father’s position as a head deacon after he passed away. All three of my brother-in-laws are head deacons, while our youngest brother holds a high position in INC Engineering.

My knowledge about this religion is not a joke after all, but I stopped attending worship services even before this current scandal broke-out. The more knowledge I have, the more I became convinced that this group is not with the biblical god.

As a man of integrity, my family respected my decision. Not even my brother – who is a minister, can answer my questions.

The reason why I left INC is simple yet too personal. I don’t want other people to control myself. I don’t want to live in isolation. I don’t want to be told to do this and do that – not from the people who weren’t even feeding me – the leadership of INC. I don’t want to live like a robot and do only things in their favor.

Yes, members of INC are deprived of freedom – freedom that a normal person should have. Members are blind to realize this because their minds are clouded by the term “pasakop sa pamamahala” (follow the head).

INC is all about psychology. They planted fear (of dagat-dagatang apoy) to members so they follow whatever the leaders (ministers) told them to do so because if they won’t, they will be expelled. Expulsion is scarier than death according to them.

I wasted a lot of time and money in this religion for almost three decades. I went to the church twice a week and attended in different church-related activities, but lately I asked myself “What for? What all of these sacrifices all about when leaders are spending INC’s money in luxury?”.

Any religion is business and the best selling product is “fear”. INC is champion in teaching “fear” to its members.

With the current situation, the normal worship services are totally different than before. The church is losing a lot of respect from the general public, and in order to control the damage, it is strictly pushing the members to follow whatever Eduardo Manalo has to say.

I won’t join in any other business of religion. I will remain secular – a simple person who follow the rules of law.

The current scandal inside the Iglesia ni Cristo will only worsen. I already told my minister brother to prepare for the worst to come. I asked him once, “What are we going to do if what happened to Lowell Menorca and Isaias Samson happened to you?”. My brother was speechless.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo council will do everything and spend all the members’ money to protect themselves, but I don’t see the law on their side. Truth will prevail and this time, they will be the biggest losers. The public – unlike the INC members, are not dumb. Eduardo Manalo has just destroyed the 100-year legacy. The damage is beyond repair.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Iglesia defying order to stop construction in Tandang Sora compound? -Rappler

Photos taken on Wednesday morning, December 23, show construction continues in the compound despite an order to 'temporarily stop' during the holidays

MANILA, Philippines – Despite a court order, construction activities are still ongoing in No. 36 Tandang Sora, where estranged siblings of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) head Eduardo Manalo currently reside even after their expulsion from the powerful church.

Photos taken at past 8 am Wednesday, December 23, show not a few construction workers still assembling scaffolding tubes in the compound, even after a Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC) ordered the INC to "temporarily stop" any construction during the holiday season.

This was the agreement of the church and the camp of Lottie Manalo-Hemedez during a hearing on Tuesday, December 22.

It was a compromise, after the court gave the INC until December 28 to comment on Hemedez' manifestation and very urgent motion for immediate implementation of the December 16 court order.

The previous court order directed the INC to clear the entrance to the compound by removing the guardhouse and portalet currently blocking the driveway of the Manalos' residence, and to restore their electricity.

However, Hemedez' counsel Trixie Cruz-Angeles on Tuesday said not one of the court's orders have been complied with, except the scheduled court inspection on December 16. (READ: INC's Angel Manalo to brother Eduardo: Don't fence us in)

INC lawyer Serafin Cuevas Jr, meanwhile, said Hemedez's camp is "imputing bad faith already" when they claimed the INC started putting up fences when the court sheriff already left the compound after the inspection.

The December 22 order also asked the INC to allow the unhampered access of Angeles and another lawyer, Ahmed Paglinawan, to their clients' houses. (READ: What's happening inside the Iglesia's 36 Tandang Sora?)

In September, the INC asked the court to ban visitors from the compound. But Hemedez is challenging the church's right to do this based on assertions of ownership.

She claims she and her late husband, Eduard Hemedez, own the land title to the 36 Tandang Sora residence – not the INC. The INC has been pointing to a deed of sale supposedly drawn up in April this year allegedly transferring the property from the Hemedez couple to the church.

But expelled INC minister Isaias Samson Jr had said it could not have been possible for Lottie's husband to sign the deed of sale dated April 21, 2015 since he died in April 2013 or two years before.

Lottie and his brother Felix Nathaniel "Angel" Manalo were expelled by their elder brother and INC head Eduardo Manalo. Their mother Tenny was also expelled, after she and Angel claimed their lives were in danger. (INFOGRAPHIC: The Manalos of the Iglesia ni Cristo)

This prompted Iglesia's worst crisis in years, with former ministers alleging abductions and corruption within the church. – Rappler.com


"That the FOUNDER of this association (IGLESIA NI CRISTO®) are: FELIX MANALO, residing in Tagig, Rizal, P.I., ..." (all emphasis mine).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Where is Purgatory in the Bible?

By Andres Ortiz

The Bible does not mention the exact word “purgatory,” but instead it makes reference to a place which can be understood as what is referred to as purgatory. To claim that purgatory does not exist because the exact word does not appear in Scripture is a failure to understand Scripture.

The Bible contains references to many Christian doctrines, but fails to call them out by name. One might as well even deny that there is something called the Bible because no such name is found in the Bible. Furthermore, one might as well deny the Trinity, Incarnation, and so forth because these exact words are not found in the Bible.

The name does not make the place; the place must exist first, then we give it a name. We call this place “purgatory” because it means “a cleansing place.” Therein souls are purged from the small stains of sin, which prevent their immediate entrance into Heaven.

In the Old Testament

The first mention of Purgatory in the Bible is in 2 Maccabees 12:46: “Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from sin.”

Some people do not accept Maccabees as book of the Bible. This is unfortunate since it is that their Bibles have been edited and are missing books. (Find out Why Catholic Bibles Are Different) Even if a person does not accept the book of Maccabees, it at least has historical value for we can learn what the pre-Christian community believed.

In Chapter 12 of Second Maccabees we read Scriptural proof for Purgatory and evidence that the Jews had sacrifices offered for those of their brothers who had lost their lives in battle. That the Jews prayed for the dead shows that they believed in a place where they could be helped (which we now call purgatory) and that the prayers of their living brothers and sisters could help them in that place. This is closely related to the Catholic doctrine of the communion of saints.

During the Reformation in the 15th century, when Martin Luther was deciding to remove books from the Bible, these words in the book of Maccabees had so clearly favored Catholic teaching, that the whole book was removed from the Protestant Bible. Unfortunately for Protestants, even if they feel that the book was not inspired, it still tells us of the practice of God’s chosen people.

In the New Testament

In Matthew 5:26 and Luke 12:59 Christ is condemning sin and speaks of liberation only after expiation. “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” Now we know that no last penny needs to be paid in Heaven and from Hell there is no liberation at all; hence the reference must apply to a third place.

Matthew 12:32 says, “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Here Jesus speaks of sin against the Holy Spirit. The implication is that some sins can be forgiven in the world to come. We know that in Hell there is no liberation and in Heaven nothing imperfect can enter it as we see in the next part. Sin is not forgiven when a soul reaches its final destination because in heaven there is no need for forgiveness of sin and in hell the choice to go there is already made.

Revelation 21:27: “…but nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who does abominable things or tells lies.” The place that is to be entered (the place to which this passage refers) is heaven (read the text around it for context).

The Bible clearly implies a place for an intermediate state of purification after we die in the many passages which tell that God will reward or punish according to a person’s life.

What if purgatory really doesn’t exist?

Ponder the following example. Imagine a Christian man, justified by the Lord, loses his temper and yells at his next door neighbors for letting their dog dig a hole in his yard. We can see that the man treated his neighbors rudely, albeit the neighbor’s behavior was also reprehensible. His actions would be considered a light sin (called venial sins by the Catholic Church). It’s not of the same moral weight as theft or murder, but it’s still a sin.

After shouting at the neighbors, with all the anger and stress in his body the man walks into his house, has a heart attack, and dies having just committed a small sin in the final moments of his life. Remember, this man is Christian and justified by the Lord, yet has committed a sin. Does he go to heaven or does he go to hell? Are all sins created equal? No, all sins are not equal and even justified men of the Lord can make mistakes and sin.

If purgatory didn’t exist, the man would go to hell for his small sin. God’s mercy is so great and our God is a just God that it seems unfathomable that he would condemn a justified man to hell for a small, yet unrepented sin. The man’s soul is dirty. His actions have defiled his soul, but not the point where he has cut himself off from God. Only mortal sins cut off a person from God’s grace. So, the man, having been justified by the Lord, is destined for heaven, yet his soul is defiled by his sin (Matthew 12:36, 15:18). His soul is in need of cleansing because nothing defiled can enter heaven. This is the purpose of purgatory. Out of mercy and love God sends the man through purgatory on his way to heaven so that his soul can be purified to be able to join God in heaven.

Remember, purgatory is not a second chance for conversion; the man is already justified. If there is no place of intermediate state of purification, the man would be damned to hell! Who would be saved? Those who teach against purgatory teach an unreasonable doctrine. Will Catholics go to heaven?

So, why do non-Catholics reject a teaching so full of consolation? My guess is that they want to believe that the merits of Christ applied to the sinner who trusts in Him, will remove all sin past, present, and future abdicating all responsibility for sin after justification. Yet this is also unreasonable. Only Jesus’ death on the cross makes us worthy before God the Father. We cannot stand before him on our own merits. We need Jesus Christ. Yet we also have personal responsibility in our justification before the Lord.

Luke 12:48:

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

If we accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, confess him as Lord, yet commit bad actions, God judges accordingly.

Matthew 12:37:

By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

Our acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross does not abdicate our responsibility live the Gospel. Salvation is not assured. Salvation is not by faith alone for the Bible says that we will be held accountable by our words and that much will be entrusted to us! Nowhere in the Bible does it say salvation is by faith alone. This teaching is un-Scriptural. Rather the Scriptures say that faith without works is dead (James 2:26).

While Jesus can be the only acceptable sacrifice to God for our sins, it doesn’t give us a license to sin. Nor does justification by the Lord preserve us from sin. Even a justified man can commit a sin. Therefore, even though Christ’s blood on the cross makes us right before God, God still requires much from us in return. He requires us to die to ourselves each day and to choose him in everything we do. It simply doesn’t fit with God’s justice for a person to be off the hook simply because at some point in the past they became justified. We have a duty to God to obey him for if we do not obey God we will be punished according to his justice. Purgatory is part of God’s justice.

The Holy Spirit has TOTALLY left the Iglesia Ni Cristo® as experienced by its members

Kahit noon pa man, WALA TALAGANG Banal na Espiritu sa iglesiang tatag ng isang tao. Isang taong NAGPANGGAP na "HULING SUGO" raw! Taong NILISAN ang TUNAY NA IGLESIA at saka NAGTATAG ng PANSARILING IGLESIA at tinawag na "Iglesia Ni Kristo" sa una at naging "Iglesia Ni Cristo" pagdaka. Sila na rin ang NAGPATOTOO nito!

Monday, December 21, 2015

CBCP News: What if Jesus wasn’t born on Dec. 25?

Source: CBCP News

QUEZON City, Dec. 21, 2014—Amid the uncertainty surrounding the real date of Christ’s Nativity, a Catholic lay evangelist highlights the one thing that cannot be denied: “The Savior of the world was born and it was a cause for joy” (cf. Lk. 1:10).

“It is the event that we celebrate, and it is the joy that we relive,” stressed Marwil N. Llasos of the Company of Saint Dominic (CSD), a lawyer by profession and preacher by vocation.

Llasos made the statement in response to criticisms that Catholics and other Christians who have taken up the practice, cannot celebrate Christmas because not a single verse in the Bible supports Dec. 25 as the Lord’s birthdate.

Christmas is traditionally celebrated on December 25, but uncertainties
regarding the accuracy of the date  remain(Photo: CBCP News)
True. But the lawyer-preacher shares the Church sees the significance of Christmas in a different light.

“Jesus Christ may or may not have been born on Dec. 25, but we have more reasons to believe that He was born on, or within the vicinity of Dec. 25. But it really doesn’t matter because what we celebrate is not a date but an event. The choice of Dec. 25 to celebrate the Birth of Christ is not dogmatic or doctrinal, it is liturgical,” Llasos explains.

“Besides, there can never be any apodictic way to determine dates in the Bible. Even the exact year of Christ’s birth is not known. We can only intelligently guess. Why? Because the calendar has changed! The Jews had their own lunar calendar. Then we had the Julian calendar. Now we follow the Gregorian calendar. On the year the Gregorian calendar was promulgated by the Pope, ten days were taken from October,” he says.

In defending Christmas and similar Catholic traditions, Llasos raises the alarm on the danger that may arise in declaring as true what the Church has not dogmatically settled.

“The Church has no dogmatic pronouncement regarding that [Christmas], so we cannot go beyond what the Church affirms. Otherwise, our enemies will take our word and pass it off [as] Church’s official teaching which is not. It’s more prudent not to affirm what the Church does not affirm,” he shares.

It means the Church is the first to point out that Christmas-on-Dec. 25 is not an article of Faith.

But again, it’s The Event, not the date. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

Calculating Christmas Not Based on Pagan Festivals

Posted Date: December 18, 2012
By William J. Tighe –
Source: Orthodoxy Today

Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance.

A Mistake
The idea that the date was taken from the pagans goes back to two scholars from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German Protestant, wished to show that the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25th was one of the many “paganizations” of Christianity that the Church of the fourth century embraced, as one of many “degenerations” that transformed pure apostolic Christianity into Catholicism. Dom Jean Hardouin, a Benedictine monk, tried to show that the Catholic Church adopted pagan festivals for Christian purposes without paganizing the gospel.

In the Julian calendar, created in 45 B.C. under Julius Caesar, the winter solstice fell on December 25th, and it therefore seemed obvious to Jablonski and Hardouin that the day must have had a pagan significance before it had a Christian one. But in fact, the date had no religious significance in the Roman pagan festal calendar before Aurelian’s time, nor did the cult of the sun play a prominent role in Rome before him.

There were two temples of the sun in Rome, one of which (maintained by the clan into which Aurelian was born or adopted) celebrated its dedication festival on August 9th, the other of which celebrated its dedication festival on August 28th. But both of these cults fell into neglect in the second century, when eastern cults of the sun, such as Mithraism, began to win a following in Rome. And in any case, none of these cults, old or new, had festivals associated with solstices or equinoxes.

As things actually happened, Aurelian, who ruled from 270 until his assassination in 275, was hostile to Christianity and appears to have promoted the establishment of the festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” as a device to unify the various pagan cults of the Roman Empire around a commemoration of the annual “rebirth” of the sun. He led an empire that appeared to be collapsing in the face of internal unrest, rebellions in the provinces, economic decay, and repeated attacks from German tribes to the north and the Persian Empire to the east.

In creating the new feast, he intended the beginning of the lengthening of the daylight, and the arresting of the lengthening of darkness, on December 25th to be a symbol of the hoped-for “rebirth,” or perpetual rejuvenation, of the Roman Empire, resulting from the maintenance of the worship of the gods whose tutelage (the Romans thought) had brought Rome to greatness and world-rule. If it co-opted the Christian celebration, so much the better.

"the attribution of the date of December 25th was a by-product of attempts to determine when to celebrate his death and resurrection."
A By-Product
It is true that the first evidence of Christians celebrating December 25th as the date of the Lord’s nativity comes from Rome some years after Aurelian, in A.D. 336, but there is evidence from both the Greek East and the Latin West that Christians attempted to figure out the date of Christ’s birth long before they began to celebrate it liturgically, even in the second and third centuries. The evidence indicates, in fact, that the attribution of the date of December 25th was a by-product of attempts to determine when to celebrate his death and resurrection.

How did this happen? There is a seeming contradiction between the date of the Lord’s death as given in the synoptic Gospels and in John’s Gospel. The synoptics would appear to place it on Passover Day (after the Lord had celebrated the Passover Meal on the preceding evening), and John on the Eve of Passover, just when the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Jerusalem Temple for the feast that was to ensue after sunset on that day.

Solving this problem involves answering the question of whether the Lord’s Last Supper was a Passover Meal, or a meal celebrated a day earlier, which we cannot enter into here. Suffice it to say that the early Church followed John rather than the synoptics, and thus believed that Christ’s death would have taken place on 14 Nisan, according to the Jewish lunar calendar. (Modern scholars agree, by the way, that the death of Christ could have taken place only in A.D. 30 or 33, as those two are the only years of that time when the eve of Passover could have fallen on a Friday, the possibilities being either 7 April 30 or 3 April 33.)

However, as the early Church was forcibly separated from Judaism, it entered into a world with different calendars, and had to devise its own time to celebrate the Lord’s Passion, not least so as to be independent of the rabbinic calculations of the date of Passover. Also, since the Jewish calendar was a lunar calendar consisting of twelve months of thirty days each, every few years a thirteenth month had to be added by a decree of the Sanhedrin to keep the calendar in synchronization with the equinoxes and solstices, as well as to prevent the seasons from “straying” into inappropriate months.

Apart from the difficulty Christians would have had in following—or perhaps even being accurately informed about—the dating of Passover in any given year, to follow a lunar calendar of their own devising would have set them at odds with both Jews and pagans, and very likely embroiled them in endless disputes among themselves. (The second century saw severe disputes about whether Pascha had always to fall on a Sunday or on whatever weekday followed two days after 14 Artemision/Nisan, but to have followed a lunar calendar would have made such problems much worse.)

These difficulties played out in different ways among the Greek Christians in the eastern part of the empire and the Latin Christians in the western part of it. Greek Christians seem to have wanted to find a date equivalent to 14 Nisan in their own solar calendar, and since Nisan was the month in which the spring equinox occurred, they chose the 14th day of Artemision, the month in which the spring equinox invariably fell in their own calendar. Around A.D. 300, the Greek calendar was superseded by the Roman calendar, and since the dates of the beginnings and endings of the months in these two systems did not coincide, 14 Artemision became April 6th.

In contrast, second-century Latin Christians in Rome and North Africa appear to have desired to establish the historical date on which the Lord Jesus died. By the time of Tertullian they had concluded that he died on Friday, 25 March 29. (As an aside, I will note that this is impossible: 25 March 29 was not a Friday, and Passover Eve in A.D. 29 did not fall on a Friday and was not on March 25th, or in March at all.)
"From a sermon of St. John Chrysostom, at the time a renowned ascetic and preacher in his native Antioch, it appears that the feast was first celebrated there on 25 December 386."

Integral Age
So in the East we have April 6th, in the West, March 25th. At this point, we have to introduce a belief that seems to have been widespread in Judaism at the time of Christ, but which, as it is nowhere taught in the Bible, has completely fallen from the awareness of Christians. The idea is that of the “integral age” of the great Jewish prophets: the idea that the prophets of Israel died on the same dates as their birth or conception.

This notion is a key factor in understanding how some early Christians came to believe that December 25th is the date of Christ’s birth. The early Christians applied this idea to Jesus, so that March 25th and April 6th were not only the supposed dates of Christ’s death, but of his conception or birth as well. There is some fleeting evidence that at least some first- and second-century Christians thought of March 25th or April 6th as the date of Christ’s birth, but rather quickly the assignment of March 25th as the date of Christ’s conception prevailed.

It is to this day, commemorated almost universally among Christians as the Feast of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel brought the good tidings of a savior to the Virgin Mary, upon whose acquiescence the Eternal Word of God (“Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten of the Father before all ages”) forthwith became incarnate in her womb. What is the length of pregnancy? Nine months. Add nine months to March 25th and you get December 25th; add it to April 6th and you get January 6th. December 25th is Christmas, and January 6th is Epiphany.

Christmas (December 25th) is a feast of Western Christian origin. In Constantinople it appears to have been introduced in 379 or 380. From a sermon of St. John Chrysostom, at the time a renowned ascetic and preacher in his native Antioch, it appears that the feast was first celebrated there on 25 December 386. From these centers it spread throughout the Christian East, being adopted in Alexandria around 432 and in Jerusalem a century or more later. The Armenians, alone among ancient Christian churches, have never adopted it, and to this day celebrate Christ’s birth, manifestation to the magi, and baptism on January 6th.

Western churches, in turn, gradually adopted the January 6th Epiphany feast from the East, Rome doing so sometime between 366 and 394. But in the West, the feast was generally presented as the commemoration of the visit of the magi to the infant Christ, and as such, it was an important feast, but not one of the most important ones—a striking contrast to its position in the East, where it remains the second most important festival of the church year, second only to Pascha (Easter).

In the East, Epiphany far outstrips Christmas. The reason is that the feast celebrates Christ’s baptism in the Jordan and the occasion on which the Voice of the Father and the Descent of the Spirit both manifested for the first time to mortal men the divinity of the Incarnate Christ and the Trinity of the Persons in the One Godhead.

"December 25th as the date of the Christ’s birth appears to owe nothing whatsoever to pagan influences upon the practice of the Church"

A Christian Feast
Thus, December 25th as the date of the Christ’s birth appears to owe nothing whatsoever to pagan influences upon the practice of the Church during or after Constantine’s time. It is wholly unlikely to have been the actual date of Christ’s birth, but it arose entirely from the efforts of early Latin Christians to determine the historical date of Christ’s death.

And the pagan feast which the Emperor Aurelian instituted on that date in the year 274 was not only an effort to use the winter solstice to make a political statement, but also almost certainly an attempt to give a pagan significance to a date already of importance to Roman Christians. The Christians, in turn, could at a later date re-appropriate the pagan “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” to refer, on the occasion of the birth of Christ, to the rising of the “Sun of Salvation” or the “Sun of Justice.”

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Was Never a Pagan Holiday

Source: Traditional Catholics
By Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
Posted Date: December 15, 2010

Around this time of year we are bombarded with anti-Catholic propaganda questioning the blessed day of Christ’s birth as December 25. This date, we arrogantly are told, was originally a pagan holiday. The Early Church “chose” it to “Christianize” a Roman feast of the Sun. According to this theory, the Christmas date was only established in the 4th century, when we have the first evidence of the Nativity being celebrated in Rome in 336. The conclusion: The origins of Christmas are pagan, and we do not really know the date the Savior of mankind was born.

Let us not be too quickly impressed with these lies whose aim is solely to diminish the homage we pay Our Lord Jesus Christ and to denigrate the Catholic Church. In fact, the opposite is true. It is the thesis of the pagan origins of Christmas that is a myth without historical substance.

No ancient Roman festivals on December 25

The notion that Christmas had pagan origins began to spread in the 17th century with the English Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians, who hated all Catholic things. The Puritans hated Catholicism so much that they revolted against the so-called Anglican church because, even with their heresies, they considered it still too similar to the Catholic Church.

A colonial Puritan governor, stops the merrymaking
Christmas festivities (1883)
They abhorred the feast days and in particular, they detested the Christmas feast with its joyous ceremonies, celebrations and customs. Since the Bible gave no specific date of Christ’s birth, the Puritans argued that it was a sinful contrivance of the Roman Catholic Church that should be abolished.

Later, Protestant preachers like the German Paul Ernst Jablonski tried to demonstrate in pseudo-scholarly works that December 25 was actually a pagan Roman feast, and that Christmas was yet another instance of how the medieval Catholic Church ‘paganized’ and corrupted ‘pure’ early Christianity. (1)

Around the same time, the Jesuit Jean Hardouin with his eccentric theory of universal forgery that put in doubt every historical source known, backed the Puritans on their theory of Christmas having pagan origins. But his research was largely discredited given his absurd affirmations. For example, he maintained all the Church Councils that took place before Trent were fictitious and almost all the classical texts of ancient Greece and Rome were false, made by monks in the 13th century. Such assertions are blatantly absurd, given the countless source documents demonstrating the opposite.

The two principal claims for Christmas having pagan origins pretend that the early Church chose December 25 in order to divert Catholics from Roman pagan festival days. The first claim pretends that it replaced the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia, a time of feasting and raucous merry-making held in December in honor of the pagan god Saturn.

Now, the Saturnalia festival always ended on December 23 at the latest. Why would the Catholic Church, to diverge the attention of her faithful from a pagan celebration, choose a date two days after that party had already ended and whoever wanted had already overindulged? It makes no sense. No serious scholar believes this claim.

Christmas established before the pagan Sun festival

The second claim is that the Catholic Church established Christmas on December 25 to replace a solar feast invented by Emperor Aurelian in 274 AD, the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Birth of the Unconquered Sun).

The fact that Christmas entered the world calendar (the accepted Roman calendar) in 354 – which was after the establishment of the pagan feast – does not necessarily mean the Church chose that day to replace the pagan holiday. Two principal reasons concur with this conclusion:
Aurelian instituted the sun festival to bolster a
dying Roman Empire

First, one must not simply assume that the early Christians only began to celebrate Christmas in the 4th century. Until the Edict of Milan was published in 313, Catholics were persecuted and met in catacombs. Hence, there was no public festivity. But they celebrated Christmas among themselves before that Edict, as hymns and prayers of the first Christians confirm (2).

Second, this claim is based on unsound assumptions. As scholar Thomas Talley points out in his book The Origins of the Liturgical Year, Emperor Aurelian inaugurated the festival of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun trying to give new life – a rebirth – to a dying Roman Empire. It is much more likely, he argues, that the Emperor’s action was a response to the growing popularity and strength of the Catholic religion, which was celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25, rather than the other way around. (3)

There is no evidence that Aurelian’s celebration preceded the feast of Christmas, and more reason to believe that establishing this festival day – which never won popular support and soon died out – was an effort to give a pagan significance to a date already of importance to Roman Catholics.

Dates based on the Scriptures

But let us leave the realm of conjecture and return to historical records. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that, even though the Christmas date was not made official until 354, clearly it was established long before Aurelian instituted his pagan feastday.

The conception of St. John the Baptist is the historical anchor to know the date of Christmas, based on the detailed and careful calculations on dates made by first Fathers of the Church.
The date of Elizabeth's conception sets the base for
knowing Christ's birth

The early tractatus De solstitiia records the tradition of the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Zachariah in the High Temple when he was serving as high priest on the Day of Atonement (Lk 1:8). This placed the conception of St. John the Baptist during the feast of Tabernacles in late September, as the Archangel Gabriel said (Lk 1:28) and his birth nine months later at the time of the summer solstice. (4)

Since the Gospel of Luke states that the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary in the sixth month after John's conception (Lk 1:26), this placed the conception of Christ at about the time of the spring equinox, that is, at the time of the Jewish Passover, in late March. His birth would thus be in late December at the time of the winter solstice.

That these dates, based on Tradition and Scripture, are trustworthy is confirmed by recent evidence taken from the Dead Sea Scrolls, whose authors were very concerned about calendar dates, essential for establishing when the Torah feasts should be celebrated. The data found in the Scrolls make it possible to know the Temple’s rotating assignment of priests during Old Testament times and show definitely that Zachariah served as a Temple priest in September, thus confirming the tradition of the Early Church. (5)

The Catholic Church determined March 25 as the date of Our Lord’s Conception long before Aurelian decided to make his solar feast. For example, around 221 AD, Sexto Julio Africano wrote the Chronographiai in which he affirmed that the Annunciation was March 25. (6) Once the date of the Incarnation was established, it was a simple matter of adding nine months to arrive at the date of Our Lord’s birth - December 25. This date would not be made official until the late fourth century, but it was established long before Aurelian and Constantine. It had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

We can be certain that the first Catholic apologists and Fathers of the Church, who lived very close to the time of the Apostles, were fully aware of the dates associated with the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They had all the calendar sources at hand and they would not allow any untruth to be introduced in the Catholic liturgy. The date of Christ’s birth was transmitted by them as being December 25, a Sunday.

Addressing the verse of Luke 2:7, Fr Cornelius a Lapide comments on the architecture of this choice: “Christ was born Sunday, because this was the first day of the world. … Christ was born on Sunday night, in keeping with the order of His marvels, so that the day on which He said Let there be light, and there was light, was the same day on which, at night, the light shone in darkness for the upright of heart, that is, the sun of justice, Christ the Lord.” (7)

1. Thomas Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), p. 88.
2 Daniel-Rops, Prières des Premiers Chrétiens, Paris: Fayard, 1952, pp. 125-127, 228-229
3. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year, pp. 88-91.
4. The tract is entitled 'De solstitiia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis domini nostri iesu Christi et iohannis baptista,' in Ibid., p. 93-94. Talley also provides other historical documents of early Church writers showing that the dates of the Conception and Death of Our Lord had been established very early.
5. Shemaryahu Talmon, Professor Emeritus at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a top Scroll scholar, published an in-depth study of the Temple’s rotating assignment of priests in 1958 and the Qumran scrolls to see the assignment during New Testament times. Martin K Barrack, “It Comes from Pagans,” Second Exodus online
6. Ibid.
7. Cornelius a Lapide, Commentaria in Scripturam Sanctam, Paris: Vives 1877, Luke 2:7, vol 16, p. 57.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mother Teresa to be made a saint by Catholic Church

Source: Inforum
By Reuters Media

Catholic nuns from the order of the Missionaries of Charity gather under a picture of Mother Teresa during the tenth anniversary of her death in Kolkata, India, in this September 5, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw/Files
VATICAN CITY - Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Nobel peace laureate who dedicated her life to helping the poorest, is to be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican said on Friday.

Pope Francis has cleared the way for sainthood by approving a decree recognizing a second miracle attributed to her intercession with God, a requirement of sainthood.

The nun, who died in 1997 at the age of 87, became an international icon but has also been criticized for trying to convert people to Christianity.

The late Pope John Paul II bent Vatican rules to allow the procedure to establish her case for sainthood to be launched two years after her death instead of the usual five. She was beatified in 2003, a mere six years after her death.

Beatification requires one miracle and is the last step before sainthood, which requires a second.

The church defines saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in Heaven with God.

Francis, who has made concern for the poor a major plank of his papacy, was keen to make Mother Teresa a saint during the church's current Holy Year.

Church officials say Mother Teresa's second miracle involved the healing of a Brazilian man suffering from a viral brain infection that resulted in multiple abscesses with hydrocephalus.

Relatives prayed to Mother Teresa and he recovered, leaving his doctors mystified, they said. A Vatican medical commission deemed the sudden recovery "inexplicable in the light of present-day medical knowledge," according to Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the chief promoter of the sainthood cause.


In Kolkata, as Calcutta is now called, Sunita Kumar, spokeswoman for the Missionaries of Charity religious order which Mother Teresa founded, said the nuns were "over the moon" at the news.

"We thought her whole life was a miracle. Her whole life was dedicated to the poor and there was nothing else in her mind than service. Everyone was accepted and there was no obstruction in her work," she told Reuters.

Archbishop Thomas D'Souza of Kolkata told Reuters the news from Rome was "the best Christmas gift," adding: "Her entire life and work was for the poor. Now it is in a way officially recognized. We are grateful to God."

In the years since her death, some have accused Mother Teresa and the order of having ulterior motives in helping the destitute, saying their aim was to convert them to Christianity.

The order rejects that, saying, for example, that most of those helped in the Kalighat Home for Dying Destitutes in Kolkata were non-Christians with just a few days left to live and noting that conversion is a lengthy process.

The order has also denied allegations of financial mismanagement of the huge sums it received from donors.

Known as the "saint of the gutters," the diminutive nun is expected to be canonized - formally made a saint - in early September. It is not clear if the ceremony will take place in Rome or if the pope will travel to India to preside.

It would be the first trip by a pope to India since 1999.

Mother Teresa was born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu of Albanian parents in Macedonia in 1910 in what was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

She founded the Missionaries of Charity with about a dozen nuns in the 1950s to help the poor on the streets of Calcutta and the religious order spread throughout the world. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

The Myth of the Pagan Origins of Christmas

Source: Intellectual Take-Out 

It’s generally accepted that early Christians adopted December 25th as the day of Christ’s birth to co-opt the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Some believe this fact undermines Christianity.

But according to Professor William Tighe, this “fact” may actually be a myth.

Based on his extensive research, Tighe argues that the December 25th date “arose entirely from the efforts of early Latin Christians to determine the historical date of Christ’s death.” He also goes so far as to claim that the December 25th pagan feast of the “’Birth of the Unconquered Sun’… was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance of Roman Christians.”

Tighe explains…

In the Jewish tradition at the time of Christ, there was a belief in what they called the “integral age”—that the prophets had died on the same days of their conception or birth. Early Christians spent much energy on determining the exact date of Christ’s death. Using historical sources, Christians in the first or second century settled on March 25th as the date of his crucifixion. Soon after, March 25th became the accepted date of Christ’s conception, as well.

Add nine months—the standard term of a pregnancy—to March 25th, and Christians came up with December 25th as the date of Christ’s birth.

It is unknown exactly when Christians began formally celebrating December 25thas a feast. What is known, however, is that the date of December 25th “had no religious significance in the Roman pagan festal calendar before Aurelian’s time (Roman emperor from 270-275), nor did the cult of the sun play a prominent role in Rome before him.” According to Tighe, Aurelian intended the new feast “to be a symbol of the hoped-for ‘rebirth,’ or perpetual rejuvenation, of the Roman Empire…. [and] if it co-opted the Christian celebration, so much the better.”

As Tighe points out, the now-popular idea that Christians co-opted the pagan feast originates with Paul Ernst Jablonski (1693-1757), who opposed various supposed “paganizations” of Christianity.

Of course, to Christians, it really doesn’t matter that much whether or not they co-opted December 25th from the pagans, or vice versa. The Christian faith doesn’t stand or fall on that detail. But it’s nevertheless valuable for all of us to give closer scrutiny to shibboleths—such as that of the pagan origins of Christmas—which are continually repeated without being examined. ​

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ASIA NEWS: A "miracle" at the Holy Door in Zhengding: 10,000 underground Catholics celebrate the Jubilee without arrests (Gallery)

Police stood before the cathedral and among the faithful, some in plainclothes; yet everything went smoothly. Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo is not recognized by the government and is under house arrest, monitored day and night. He is often forced to attend indoctrination classes away from his diocese. Pressures continue on underground priests – even with enticements and cash – to join the Patriotic Association.

Rome (AsiaNews) - "It's a miracle! It is protection from Heaven!” said some Catholics from the underground community in Zhengding (Hebei) after what happened on Sunday, December 13.

About 10,000 faithful from Zhengding, Lingshou, Beijing, and Baoding had gathered outside the cathedral (pictured) to celebrate the beginning of the Jubilee and the opening of the Holy Door.

The "miracle" is that police, which is always present in front of the church, did nothing to prevent the event and did not arrest anyone. (Perhaps) an even greater miracle was the fact that the underground bishop led the liturgy, which lasted from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Mgr Julius Jia Zhiguo, who is not recognized by the government, has been under house arrest for years for refusing to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), and for remaining loyal to the pope.

The CPCA is a Communist Party agency whose aim is to establish a Catholic Church independent from the pope.

Mgr Jia Zhiguo lives near Zhengding cathedral and is monitored day and night. He is often taken away for a week or two of “holiday" – i.e. classes of indoctrination and brainwashing – to convince him to join the CPCA.

Despite this, "it is amazing,” said a nun, “that so many people could gather for so long and no one was arrested. It is likely that there were plainclothes police mingled with the crowd, but nothing happened."

A procession followed by a series of readings from Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis’ Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy, preceded the solemn opening of the Holy Door in Zhengding. A single Eucharistic ceremony followed the door opening.

For years, the Chinese government has been trying to eliminate unregistered underground communities, whose “crime” is that of engaging in unsupervised religious activities. For this reason, priests involved in underground services are often imprisoned.

In recent months, many underground priests and bishops have come under strong pressure to join the CPCA, through enticements and offers of money.

Despite the constant monitoring to which he is subjected, Mgr Jia Zhiguo is well liked by the police as well as the population.

For a long time, he hosted at his residence about 200 abandoned children and disabled people, taking care of them along with some nuns and faithful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Truth about the Inquisition by Catholic Bible 101

"The formal process was necessary because of the Albigensian Crusade (also known as the Cathars). The Albigensians were a movement out of France that preached that marriage was evil, but that fornication was OK. They believed that there were two gods – the mean old God of the Old Testament who killed everyone, and the nice God of the New Testament who came to save everyone. They preached that the material world was evil, and therefore suicide was great."

Source: Catholic Bible 101

Nothing causes more heartburn for Catholics than when they are confronted by well meaning protestants about the Inquisition. The accusations by non-Catholic Christians goes something like this:

“The Catholic Church tried, convicted, tortured and killed millions of bible-believing protestants just like me in the middle ages, because they refused to convert to Catholicism and to bow down to the pope. And therefore this proves that the Catholic Church is evil and is not the one true church.”

Once this accusation is out there, the Catholic will usually look sheepish and mutter something about “that was a long time ago,” “We don’t do that anymore,” or else they just shutup and turn and walk away. But the accusation is 100% false, and is nothing more than 16th century propaganda that has been passed down through the ages as fact, with the purpose of trying to prove the worth of protestantism by tearing down the Catholic Church. This webpage will explore the facts and the fantasy of inquisition myths and lore.

The period in history known as “The Inquisition” was actually a series of European church/state trials in several countries. Most European countries in those days were like Israel in the Bible – The Church and State were NOT totally separated from each other, but were a kind of a marriage between the two. The Holy Roman Empire and many of its countries had Catholicism as its state religion, following in the footsteps of Constantine, who encouraged this practice. Catholicism was a unifying cultural faith for the communities in the different European Kingdoms. Quite a difference from today in the Unites States, with its Masonic “separation of Church and State,” a phrase nowhere to be found in the Declaration of Independence or the original Constitution, but which the Supreme Court “interpreted” for all of us as “the law of the land.” In Europe of those days, to violate Catholic practices was seen as unpatriotic as well as heretical. And to violate the Catholic faith was not seen as a private matter either, but one that affected the entire community. It is this setting that gave birth to the “Inquisition,” which sought to preserve faith and culture in the Kingdoms where they were threatened by those who only pretended to be Catholic, but who were in fact, Albigensians, Jews, or Muslims. The struggle for the Church was to use the force of the secular state to enforce its findings, at the same time preserving the true meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this, the Church was sometimes successful, sometimes not, as we shall see.

The inquisition process was set up by the Church in the 13th century, well before Luther’s 16th century heresies of “saved by faith alone” and “the bible alone.” The formal process was necessary because of the Albigensian Crusade (also known as the Cathars). The Albigensians were a movement out of France that preached that marriage was evil, but that fornication was OK. They believed that there were two gods – the mean old God of the Old Testament who killed everyone, and the nice God of the New Testament who came to save everyone. They preached that the material world was evil, and therefore suicide was great. In 1208 (supposedly the same year that Mary gave St. Dominic the Rosary), the Albigensians killed a papal representative in France, and Pope Innocent III reacted by instituting better preaching of Catholicism, education, and reforms. But mob rule broke out instead, and for 20 years there was back and forth skirmishes between local citizens, priests, bishops, armies, and the Albigensians. So in 1231, Pope Gregory, the same great Pope who gave us the accurate Gregorian calendar we still use today, initiated a series of canonical instructions which formalized the process of fighting the Albigensians, many of whom had gone underground to escape death by the army. These canonical instructions became the blueprint for the inquisition courts.

Inquisitions were local trials, usually with a papal representative, the bishop of the area, or maybe even a priest from a local religious order. These trials were never ongoing non-stop, but rather started and stopped many times. The purpose of the trial was to root out clandestine heretics who pretended to be Catholic, but who were secretly behind the scenes implementing heresy to destroy the Kingdom from within. This is similar to today, where many people believe that some leaders are closet muslims who only pretend to be Christian. The danger is that enemies of the state may be getting aid and comfort from the very people who are supposed to be protecting citizens from the enemies. The goal of the Church in these trials was the conversion of the apostate soul. If the person repented and converted, a simple confession with resultant penance was the judgment of the court. If he or she did not convert, then that person was handed over to the secular authorities for whatever punishment the state deemed necessary. In some cases, this involved torture and capital punishment if the person was deemed a threat to the state.

It’s important to note that the prevalent means of obtaining confessions in those days was torture. However, the priests were forbidden to participate in it, and the torture by the inquisition court was much less severe than that of the civil court. In fact, many citizens who weren’t accused of heresy, but rather of a civil crime like theft, would often blurt out heretical statements in their secular trial so that they could be tried instead by the much easier inquisition. Again, no torture today is justified, but in those days, it was the accepted means of obtaining confessions. Most of the crimes investigated by the inquisition consisted of things like fornication, adultery, not attending Mass, etc. And a LOT of the perps were clergy, which should please a lot of secular people today, who falsely believe that all priests are child molesters and should all be in jail.

So what about the millions of protestants and scientists being tortured and killed by the inquisition? Well, those are two lies – In the case of Galileo, he was tried by the inquisition for presenting the Copernican theory of heliocentricity (the earth revolves around the sun) as a fact before it was proven (it was proven centuries later, by the Catholic Church). And he began to lecture the Pope publicly about the true meaning of scripture, which was definitely outside the purview of a scientist. Galileo was never tortured, and was not killed by the inquisition, but was rather placed under house arrest, in a very nice comfy mansion. Regarding the “millions of protestants” killed under the inquisition, Spain, which led the majority of inquisitions in killing heretics, simply did not have that many protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. And in fact, after Luther’s revolt in the 16th Century, thousands of Catholics and witches were killed by protestant authorities in Germany, in the protestant counter-inquisition. Henry VIII continued this tradition of killing Catholics who wouldn’t convert to protestantism as well, both in England, and later on, in Ireland, where the British Crown refused to even let the Mass be said! In America, the protestants in Salem had their own inquisition of clandestine witches, and executed them when found guilty. In 1834, the Spanish government officially ended the inquisition in Spain.

The big myth of the inquisition is that almost 100 million people were killed by the inquisition. But the few countries that carried out inquisitions – France, Italy, Spain – simply did not have that many people living there in those days. The best estimates of those who were killed range from a few thousand to ten thousand, over 5 centuries! Of course, today, we see all of this as being evil, through the lens of history in our Monday morning quarterback seats. But back then, it was the norm.

Summing up, the Church originally instituted the formal process known as the inquisition to quell the mob violence against the Albigensians, who preached that there was more than one god, that marriage was evil and fornication was good, that no formal government oaths should be taken, that all matter in this world (including the body) is evil, and that ritualistic suicide to escape this evil world is a wonderful thing. One can only imagine what would have happened if these guys would not have been fought against and destroyed by the Catholic Church!

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