Posts Tagged ‘Roman Catholicism’
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology by Kevin Reeves is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology, click here.
C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology
By Kevin Reeves
I remember well those hot pre-summer vacation days in Philadelphia, standing in formation with my classmates in the parking lot of the Catholic church/school to which I belonged, the sun baking my hatless head as we sang in unison the praises of Mary, the Mother of God. It was a yearly festival, this May Procession, and although we grade-school kids were supposedly there to honor Mary, we all knew that if we adhered close enough to the religious choreography, the parish priest looking on would cut that school day in half. And, if we were really sharp, he would give us off the whole next day. That was the real goal, and we knew it—for each to keep his place in formation, standing straight and uncomplaining, responding correctly to cues from the nuns. It usually paid off, though I clearly recall once being stiffed by the priest although we’d suffered admirably through the hot, endless ordeal.
I bring up the May Procession, not by way of mocking, but because it is indicative of the Catholic Church at large. The term “religious choreography” is aptly used, because it is descriptive of the rigidity of the faith and practice in which I was immersed for the first twenty-four years of my life. The church called the way we were to move, think, act, if we wanted to remain in good standing and possibly attain salvation.
It has been my experience that Roman Catholicism is basically composed of rules to be obeyed. The closer one adheres to said rules, it is taught, the holier one becomes. Though the Scriptures are utilized—albeit in conjunction with what Protestants believe are non-canonical books, like Maccabees and Tobit—they are never stand-alone but are always viewed through the lens of Catholic tradition and doctrine and take secondary place to that church’s form and structure. Catholicism teaches that one cannot be righteous apart from the Catholic system; salvation, as such, is not solely on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, but also on the basis of works—works which adhere to the Catholic formula. For all those years, I was taught, and believed, that it was the Catholic Church that saved me, not Jesus alone. And for all those years of faithful belief and practice, including twelve years of Catholic school, I never once heard the undiluted Gospel preached.
It was said with pride within my own family that we came from 200 years of Catholic tradition. Our spiritual forebears included poor Irish farmers, assorted rogues one step ahead of the law, fiddlers, and (I was told, anyway) an Irish archbishop, and with such an impressive, unbroken line of Catholicism, we were born into the fold. Until I drifted away from the Catholic Church at twenty-four, all my religious experience had been formed by that ancient tradition. I was raised among statues of Mary and the saints, scapulars, holy water, and blessed palm leaves, but I don’t recall ever seeing a Bible in the house. We really didn’t need one for the spiritual path we were on. The parish priest and nuns taught us all we needed to know to be good Catholics. Not good Christians, mind you. Good Catholics. I say without animosity that there was, and is, a huge difference, one which Catholics do not seem to understand.
For the past several decades, there has been a concerted effort by both the Catholic hierarchy and some leading evangelicals to join hands, forget the tumultuous past, and work together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Though it has always been a subtle thrust of the Vatican to draw back to its church those who consider themselves “Protestant,” now the move has gained such momentum that subtlety is no longer warranted. Today, so much Catholic tradition has inundated even mainline churches that the lines between truth and error are blurred, or worse, eradicated altogether.
Even many Bible-believing Christians love Saint Francis of Assisi, that gentle mendicant at whose beckoning wild animals would supposedly become tame. They have no idea that in real life he was a Catholic mystic, whose vision of Christ supposedly pierced his own hands, feet, and side with the visible, painful wounds of Christ’s crucifixion; they don’t know that Francis honored and held as holy his pope, Innocent III, who instituted the first serious persecution of those who deviated from Catholic tradition; they do not know of the many popes who had mistresses, sired illegitimate children, lived in luxury, ruled as emperors and yet whose word, spoken “from the chair” of Saint Peter was still considered by the faithful to be the very word of God.
When asked about the discrepancy, a Catholic may indeed admit to a checkered papal history, and at the same time confess that a reigning pope can and does speak infallibly, “from the chair.”
Many Christians who don’t recognize the danger infiltrating Christ’s church might well remark that because the pope and his emissaries don’t do those same things today, then we should forget the past, forgive, and move on, recognizing what is good in Catholicism and even incorporating some (or many) of its tenets and practices. I wonder if John Hus, William Tyndale, or scores of other good Christian men and women who gave their all to free multitudes from the religious bondage of Catholicism would think it appropriate to let bygones be bygones. Remember, for all the papal bluster about goodwill toward those outside Vatican purview, the Catholic Church is still basically the same as it was many hundreds of years ago. It has never renounced the Counter-Reformation, nor repented for the execution of men like Hus, nor repudiated its most dearly held doctrines like transubstantiation (the re-sacrifice of Christ on the Cross in every Mass) or the belief in Mary as mediator between Jesus and men.
Many of the following terms were pulled from my memory of long association with and participation in the Catholic Church. As a child I learned the Mass in Latin, competed for “holy cards” in Catholic school, revered both the priests and nuns, and, faithfully adhered to the system marked out for me from birth. Some outworking of Catholicism may have changed since my Catholic days, but the system, the doctrine, and the practices are essentially the same. I have also turned to the research and work of Roger Oakland, director of Understand the Times, International and his excellent book, Another Jesus?: The Eucharistic Christ and the New Evangelizations to confirm the meanings of the following terms.
As Christians who hold fast to the Scriptures and abide in Jesus, we need to love Catholics, while at the same time expose the errors of the religious system in which they are enmeshed. Only by speaking the truth in love and finding no place for compromise with error can we glorify the God who saved us through the shed blood of His only Son.
For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
Catholicism in Terms
Absolution: The forgiveness of one’s sins by a priest, who acts as a mediator between God and man. That the priest is the one who forgives sin is confirmed by the priest’s own words: “I absolve thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As a teenager once, prior to confession, I asked a priest, “Father, can you forgive hatred?”
“I can forgive any sin, son,” he said with confidence in his authority.
This is in direct conflict with Scripture, which states in 1 Timothy 2:5 that “. . . there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Ash Wednesday: Catholic holy day wherein a priest smudges the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the faithful with a semblance of the words, “dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return,” a warning of the short earthly life span of man. The faithful usually wear the ashes on their foreheads the entire day, in full view.
Assumption: The supposed heavenly taking up of the body of Mary into glory.1
Bleeding Host: A communion wafer that oozes blood and/or pulses like a heart.
Catechism: A book enumerating and explaining the teachings of the Catholic Church. It is given to potential converts and, historically, taught in Catholic schools to students.
Confession: The act of confessing one’s sins to a priest in order to obtain absolution. The priest acts as mediator between God and men, forgiving sins and prescribing what he considers an appropriate penance.
Confessional: The dark, boxlike structure where Catholics to go “confession” (see cover of this booklet). A screen is between the priest and the sinner so that neither can clearly see the other, for privacy’s sake.
Contemplative Prayer: Going beyond thought by the use of repeated prayer words or phrases. The religious chanting common in some monks’ orders qualifies as contemplative, since the phrases, intonation, and method used in the chant is designed to lift the practitioner from the earthly to the divine realm.
Counter-Reformation: The movement, exemplified by the Council of Trent, organized by the Catholic Church and meeting for years that codified Catholic belief in opposition to the Protestant reformers. The council essentially denied the simple truth of the Gospel in favor of longstanding Catholic tradition and Vatican interpretations, and placed an anathema (curse from God) on those in disagreement with its findings on such things as transubstantiation.
Crucifix: Cross on which a figure of Jesus still hangs. Central point of any Catholic church and affixed to the rosary chain, the crucifix reminds the worshipper of the suffering of Christ and His sacrifice for the salvation of souls. Praying while staring at the crucifix is common among Catholics, as the crucifix is used as a prayer assist.
Ecstasy: The ultimate goal of the Catholic mystic in his seeking of God, usually involving separate incidents over a lifetime of devotion. Manifestations accompanying ecstasy, such as visions, crying, rapture, trance, levitation, the receiving of the stigmata, etc., have been reported throughout history.
Eucharist: The sacrament of the partaking of the Communion wafer and wine consecrated by the priest during the Mass. Believed to impart special grace, because the recipient is said to be eating and drinking the actual body and blood of Christ. Also refers to the Communion elements themselves.
Eucharistic Christ: The actual, physical presence of Christ in the consecrated Host, which is to be worshipped by the faithful. It is important to remember that Catholics do not believe they worship a wafer; they believe they worship the Christ that appears in wafer form.
Eucharistic Miracle: Communion wafers that bleed, pulse like a heart, etc. Wine that turns miraculously into human blood. If reports are genuine, then these are actual supernatural occurrences, and completely at odds with the Scriptures, hence demonic in origin.2
Ex Cathedra: Literally, “From the Chair,” meaning the chair of Saint Peter, whom Catholics believe was the first pope of the Roman Church. When a pope speaks Ex Cathedra, his words are considered to be the very words of God.
Father: Official term of address for a priest, as he is seen as a mediator between God and men, the conduit through which the eucharistic transubstantiation is performed, and in matters of faith and practice the wise leader of a spiritual “family” (his parishioners). This is in direct violation of the commandment of Jesus in Matthew 23:9, wherein our Lord states, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, who is in heaven.”
Though Catholics downplay the importance of this distinction, to call anyone “father” in the official, spiritual sense indicates deference to his presumed spiritual standing, which is believed to be higher and more in tune with God. Implied in this term and image of the Catholic “father” is the idea of a God who is not directly approachable by the “laity,” or the everyday Catholic. Instead, the common people who come with petitions or confessions to God the Father approach through a complex spiritual protocol of Mary, the saints, the angels, and, of course, the family or parish priest. But the Scriptures tell us repeatedly that “. . . because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6) and that we are to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). By His death and resurrection, Christ Himself has torn the veil that separated us from God (Matthew 27:51) and removed the system that required a human high priest as intermediary. A priest, Catholic or otherwise, is no longer needed for the Christian to directly approach his Father God.
Genuflection: The act of bowing down on one knee before the altar, often in consort with a sign of the cross, in worship of the Jesus whom Catholics believe is physically present in the Host. The Host is kept in a special, ornate box behind the altar. The faithful Catholic, before leaving the church building, turns, faces the Host (the body of Jesus), and falls on one knee in worship of the Host he believes to be God. This is no less than idolatry.
Good Works: In the Catholic sense, necessary to maintain one’s salvation. Catholics will cite James 2:17 (“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”) to support their assertion. But James here is speaking of works showing that you already have faith in Christ, not that faith plus works equals salvation.
Hail Mary: A prayer of devotion to Mary, ending with the plea, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Holy Water: Water blessed by the priest and normally kept in small water dishes near the inside entrance to a Catholic church. The faithful dips a finger or two in the water and makes the sign of the cross.
Host: From the Latin hostia, meaning “victim,” because Christ is supposedly sacrificed repeatedly, in every Mass. Physically, it is the Communion wafer consecrated by the priest. When lifted up at the high point of the Mass, and blessed by the priest, the Host is said to become the actual body of Christ. Likewise, the wine, when lifted up and consecrated during the Mass, is said to become the actual blood of Christ.
Immaculate Conception: The doctrine which declares that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born without original sin in order to be the perfect vessel for the birth of the Son of God. The Scriptures say that only Jesus was born without sin, because He was God incarnate.
Indulgence: A pardon or shortening of the time that a soul is sentenced to purgatory, granted by an act of the pope. The selling of indulgences to raise monies for the building of a new church or add to the Vatican treasury, etc., was so widespread during the Middle Ages, that a ditty developed from the practice: “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.”
Infallibility: A characteristic presumed of the pope when speaking officially on faith and doctrine. His words are considered inerrant, without flaw, as coming from God.
Lectio Divina: Means “sacred reading.” In today’s contemplative movement, it often involves taking a single word or small phrase from Scripture and repeating the words over and over again.
Lent: The forty-day period preceding the day the Lord’s resurrection is celebrated. During Lent, Catholics donate extra money, give up certain harmless pleasures, make a more serious commitment to the church, sacrifice for others, etc.
Limbo: The supposed state just short of heaven wherein reside those good souls who had not been baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. This includes babies stillborn or those who died before being baptized.
Lourdes: A famous grotto in France where the peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous supposedly witnessed multiple appearances of the Virgin Mary. The grotto later became a pilgrimage site for the sick and infirm, and many supernatural healings have been said to occur there.
Mary: The mother of Jesus in the Bible, called The Mother of God by Catholics. She is the object of adoration to the faithful who pray to her for mercy, forgiveness, or miracles. The faithful sometimes make vows to her, contrary to the admonition in Matthew 5:33-37 to utter no oaths at all. Also called the Blessed Mother, Blessed Virgin, Virgin Mary, Our Lady, and the Queen of Heaven. One common prayer of praise to her states, “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.” So much in this prayer usurps the authority of both Christ and the Father in the life of the true Christian. In 2 Corinthians 1:3, God, not Mary, is the one from whom mercy flows, He being called “the father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” In the above prayer to Mary, she is also called “our life,” but Colossians 3:4 states that “. . . when Christ, who is our life, shall appear . . .” Later in that same prayer to Mary, she is called the Catholic’s “advocate,” thus again usurping Christ’s position, as 1 John 2:1 calls Him, not Mary, the Christian’s advocate.
This image of Mary as a powerful go-between is so central to the Catholic faith that it is impossible to conceive of Catholicism without her in the position of adoration that she holds. It is of utmost importance to realize that the Bible says very little about the mother of Jesus. Catholic tradition is responsible for the Marian construct we see in operation today.
Marian Apparitions: Though not exclusively a Catholic term, it is used to denote supposed appearances of Mary in her glorified state. She is said to have appeared to individuals or groups of people in many locations throughout the world, including at Fatima, Portugal in the early part of the twentieth century.
Mass: A celebratory re-sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. This is a contradiction of the many Scriptures that declare Christ died only once, for all men, for all time, such as Hebrews 9:28, which states that “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” He is never to be re-offered as a sacrifice for sin, such as is done in the Mass. His one sacrifice was sufficient.
May Procession: A spiritual celebration of the Catholic Church, which, in my time, was composed of schoolchildren in the Catholic school I attended, and directed by nuns and priests. Mary is honored as the Mother of God. One of the songs sung during the celebration is “Immaculate Mary.”
Mediatrix: Term applied to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who is said to be a co-redeemer with Christ. In Catholic practice, Mary is often the mediator between men and Jesus, it being suggested that she is more merciful and that her Son in heaven would refuse her nothing.
Monstrance: The ornate, hand-held container that is used to display the Host. A priest raises the monstrance above his head and passes it before the congregation, allowing them to worship the supposed Jesus in the Host.
Mortal Sin: A sin that, if not repented of before death, condemns a soul to hell.
Mystic: In Catholic parlance, one who seeks complete union with God.
Mysticism: A direct experience with the supernatural realm outside scriptural boundaries.
New Evangelization Plan: A program by the Catholic Church designed to win the world to Christ (the Eucharistic christ), with the Eucharist as the focal point.3
Our Father: The Catholic term for the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our debts” is usually substituted with “forgive us our trespasses.”
Pope: From the Latin papa. The supreme, spiritual head of the entire Roman Catholic Church on earth, considered the “vicar” of Christ.
Purgatory: Place of punishment wherein those who died with venial sins on their souls will be purged. Considered by some Catholics to be a place of fiery torment of unspecified but limited duration.
Penance: Good works, restitution, or a set of prayers to be prayed after a priest absolves sin. Failure to do penance when so ordered invalidates the absolution.
Relics: Anything once belonging to a deceased, sainted Catholic, including bones, articles of clothing, personal possessions, etc., that are considered imbued with supernatural power. Historically, the sale of relics was a booming business. Supposed pieces of the “true cross” and spots of “Christ’s blood” were once peddled in Europe.
Righteousness: The position of being in right standing with God through good works, prayers, and devotion to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Contrary to the use of the term in the Bible (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:28), righteousness in the Catholic system is not imputed and irrevocable, but rather maintained by following the Catholic protocol.
Rosary: A set of beads, ending in a crucifix, that is used with a particular pattern of fixed prayers, especially the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Primarily a devotional tool to Mary.
Saints: Devoted Catholic men and women, most notably mystics, who were canonized by the Catholic Church after a Vatican investigation has proven that two miracles occurred through or by their intervention. Catholic tradition ascribes to some saints rather fantastic characteristics, such as bi-location (being in two places at one time), levitation, or the stigmata.
Separated Brethren: Any Christian who is not a Catholic. Protestants.
Scapular: Small piece of consecrated cloth, with a picture of the Mother of God and/or the saint to whom it was first given. The scapular is designed to be worn about the neck as a symbol of consecration to Mary. Supposedly presented by Mary to Catholic Saint Simon Stock in the early medieval period, in the form of a monk’s habit. It was eventually cut down to its present form for use with common Catholics, with the promise that the faithful who die wearing the scapular will not be sent to hell.4
Sign of the Cross: Short ritual, using the hand to touch first the forehead, then the center of the chest, then the left side of the chest or shoulder, then the right. During the ritual some bow their heads, and some say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The ritual is a symbol of worship and humility.
Statues: It would be difficult to overstate the importance of statues (those miniature or life-size representations of Mary, the Catholic saints, and Christ) in Catholic worship. In a church, or consecrated by a priest for private use, such statues are viewed as holy by “the faithful.” Catholics kneel before them, fix their eyes upon them while praying, and implore favors from those they represent. This practice is in direct violation of the Second Commandment, written in Exodus 20:4-5, which forbids the pagan practice of bowing before images in worship. Doing connotes idol worship.
In many churches, bouquets of fresh flowers are placed at the feet of a statue of Mary, by the faithful as evidence of their devotion to the Mother of God. Statues may also be attired according to month, holy day, or festival, such as those of Mary in certain Catholic nations, where the statue is crowned, dressed in fine garments and jewels, and paraded on a garlanded platform through the streets amid throngs of worshippers. In some churches, the statue of Mary, normally placed near or beside the altar rail, is shown with a serpent under her feet, indicating that she will tread down Satan. The Bible states that only Christ, not Mary, will crush the serpent’s head, since it is He alone who purchased salvation for believers at the cost of His own blood.
In the past century, miracles attributed to Catholic statues include mouths moving as if to speak, and blood or tears or milk flowing from the eyes. In view of the Scriptures, such bizarre manifestations can only be considered demonic.
Stigmata: Visible marks depicting the wounds of Jesus’ crucifixion, appearing on the hands, feet and side of certain mystics, such as Francis of Assisi.
Tabernacle: The ornate box on the altar containing the hosts.
Transubstantiation: The doctrine that asserts that during the Mass, the Host (the communion wafer) and the communion wine are transformed miraculously into the literal body and blood of Christ.
Venial Sin: A “smaller” sin, one that does not place the soul in eternal jeopardy. It is believed that a Catholic may die with venial sins on his soul, and, after a time of suffering in purgatory, be taken to heaven.
Visualization: Can be used as a springboard to mysticism, i.e., visualizing oneself walking with Jesus, talking with Him, sitting at His feet and listening to His teaching. This goes much farther than harmless imagining in that visualization is utilized to actually bring one into contact with God.
To order copies of C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology, click here.
2. Joan Carroll Cruz, Eucharistic Miracles: And Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1987), back cover; cited in Roger Oakland’s Another Jesus? (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2004), page 115.
3. Read chapter 6, “The New Evangelization” of Another Jesus? for more information.
To order copies of C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology, click here.
“Mike Bickle’s Admission About Catholic Influence on International House of Prayer” and Francis Chan’s Involvement
By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries
When is a sheep a wolf? Mike Bickle and Francis Chan are being used to undo the Reformation. Will the rising false church have Catholic and contemplative roots? It is happening even as we speak. This article is reblogged because it includes Mike Bickle’s admission that many of the teachings at IHOP have been influenced by Catholic contemplatives such as John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and others.
The article also asks which Christian leader will be next to point the visible church towards Rome. Well, as became evident during Onething 2015, that leader is Francis Chan. As the first sentence of the article notes, there was nothing about Catholic participation on the IHOP-KC website in the weeks before the event took place.
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
Recently, I was informed about a conference held this week in Budapest, Hungary where Willow Creek senior pastor Bill Hybels taught leaders. According to comments posted on Phil Metzger’s Facebook page, the event was held at Calvary Chapel Golgota Budapest where Metzger is pastor. He is also the director of Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe (also located in Hungary). On Metzger’s Facebook, Hybels was not only endorsed, he was praised. 
Perhaps most who read about this event will not be alarmed. But I was because I see the significance. I know that what Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel once stood for is not at all what Hybels stands for. Bill Hybels was mentored by Peter Drucker along with Rick Warren to “reshape” Christianity for the 21st century. Hybels, from the famous Willow Creek Church located in South Barrington, Illinois, fathered the “seeker-friendly” movement.
When Hybels and his cohorts discovered that the seeker-friendly model produced spiritually illiterate believers, they said they “repented”  from this model of church; but in actuality, they delved right into teachings associated with the emergent church and contemplative mysticism, seeing those as the next “great” step. Interestingly, on Metzger’s Facebook page, someone defending Metzger’s promotion of Hybels said that it was irrelevant to talk about the emerging church because it was no longer an issue. But nothing could be further from the truth. While often called other names now, such as progressive, the ideologies of the emerging church are very much at work today. Click here to read this entire article and for endnotes.
By John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries
In this video, International House of Prayer leader Mike Bickle includes the Catholic religion in “the Body of Christ.”
Here is the link: click here
Here is what is on the video: Mike Bickle and the Catholic Ecumenical Track sponsor, Keith Major, emoting about the Catholic Track at IHOP-KC’s Onething 2015 conference. Onething 2015 did indeed take place with Catholic participation.
“As for the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her…” (Jeremiah 44:17)
LTRP Note: As we have often reported, when someone begins to practice contemplative prayer, their spiritual propensities begin to change, and they become more interspiritual and ecumenical. In 2011, we reported “Mike Bickle of IHOP-KC instructs followers on contemplative prayer.” Now in 2016, we can see how Bickle (and IHOP) has well entered his interspiritual, ecumenical downfall.
Articles from Lighthouse Trails:
The title for a new book, The Good Shepherd Calls: An Urgent Warning for the End Times Church, flooded into my mind like a lightning bolt flashing in the darkness. In all honesty, I had no desire or motivation to write another book. I have been telling people that I was in retirement when I was asked about writing another book.
For the last five years, my ministry had shifted away from focusing on discerning the times to our Bryce Homes International program, assisting poor and underprivileged children around the world. I was satisfied to live out the rest of my life without facing the pressures and the hostility so common in a ministry that deals with contending for the faith.
For almost four decades of my life, I have been on the front lines directing an apologetics ministry called Understand The Times. As the result of a serious illness that nearly ended my life in 2009 when I was in my early 60s, I reasoned the time had come to let others take my place in the battle. However, that suddenly changed after reading an article and watching a video that showed Jesuit Pope Francis proclaiming that all religions including “Christianity” worship the same God. Something in me snapped. How could I not send out a warning?
Immediately, I wrote and published a commentary on our website showing that Bible prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled and the return of Jesus Christ is at hand. I could no longer remain silent. Something had to be done to wake up the pastors and the church. We are living in the crucial Last Days the Bible foretells will unfold, and the time is short.
Yet there is a huge problem. The closer we get to the return of Christ, fewer and fewer recognize what is happening. Satan’s deceptive plan to set up a One-World global religion in the name of Christ for the cause of peace is being fulfilled to set up the religion for the Antichrist. Why are the pastors not warning the sheep? Worse yet, why are so many pastors promoting global ecumenism and praising the pope? Click here to continue reading.
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church by Ann Marie is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of A Former Nun Speaks Candidly About Pope Francis, Deception, and Mind Control in the Catholic Church, click here.
By Ann Marie
Pope Francis is trying to pull Protestants into the Catholic Church. As you will see, several things are helping him accomplish this.
Ecumenism seems plausible because Catholics use words in a way that outsiders don’t understand. Because Protestants don’t understand what Catholics really mean, they think they have a lot of things in common, when in reality, they don’t. For example, let’s look at the word “grace.” According to the Bible, salvation cannot be earned. It only comes from the grace of God. The apostle Paul says:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us. (Titus 3:5)
However, according to Catholic doctrine, if people do good works, and they fulfill certain specified requirements, then they can merit a “divine reward” from God.1 This is a doctrine of earning spiritual blessings by doing good works. In addition, the liturgical ritual for baptizing infants includes a prayer asking God to give grace to the water in the baptismal font (the water used to sprinkle the infant).2 For Catholics, “grace” is something that can even be given to inanimate objects such as water.
Here is another example of how Protestants can think they understand Catholicism, when they really don’t. A Catholic priest wrote to me saying that the Catholic Church teaches we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. However, he failed to mention something. According to official Catholic doctrine, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ—PLUS being baptized, going to Mass on Sundays, receiving communion at least once a year, going to confession at least once a year, believing the official doctrines of the Catholic Church, and dying in “a state of grace.” (In America, Mass on Saturdays can be substituted for Mass on Sundays.)
Pope Francis claims that Christians, Jews, and Muslims worship the same God. We do not! Christians and Jews worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Bible tells us to love and forgive. Muslims worship a very different “god,” and the Koran tells Muslims to kill “infidels” if they refuse to convert to Islam.
In June 2014, Pope Francis invited Muslims and Jews to the Vatican for an interfaith service for Catholics, Muslims, and Jews. This is the first time in history that Islamic prayers have been held at the Vatican.3
When listening to Pope Francis or reading his statements, please remember— he is a Jesuit; and Jesuits believe it is morally right to engage in “mental reservations.” This is the practice of saying something with the deliberate intention of deceiving people, but doing it in a way that avoids technically telling a lie. One form this can take is to add more words in your mind that are never spoken, but taken together with those said out loud, the total statement would technically be true.4
Jesuits and Mind Control
The Jesuits practice a form of mind control. It violates a person’s ability to think independently and to follow one’s own conscience. In addition, this can be used to pressure people to obey orders to do bad things. This approach can be seen in the following three rules from the “Spiritual Exercises” of Saint Ignatius Loyola. (He was the founder of the Jesuits.) The “Spiritual Exercises” are divided into sections of four “weeks,” followed by sections of four kinds of rules. These are from the last section of rules titled “Rules for Thinking with the Church.” Ignatius Loyola taught his followers:
Rule 1: Putting aside all private judgment, we should keep our minds prepared and ready to obey promptly and in all things the true spouse of Christ our Lord, our Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.
Rule 9: [T]o praise all the precepts of the Church, holding ourselves ready at all times to find reasons for their defense, and never offending against them.
Rule 13: If we wish to be sure that we are right in all things, we should always be ready to accept this principle: I will believe that the white that I see is black, if the hierarchical Church so defines it. For, I believe that between the Bridegroom, Christ our Lord, and the Bride, His Church, there is but one spirit, which governs and directs us for the salvation of our souls, for the same Spirit and Lord, who gave us the Ten Commandments, guides and governs our Holy Mother Church.5 (emphasis added)
In addition to these Jesuit teachings, the Catholic Church itself promotes mind control. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the idea of freedom of religion is wrong. Religious belief is said to be “outside the realm of free private judgment,” which means that people are not supposed to use their own personal judgment to determine their religious beliefs.6
According to Canon Law (the official laws governing the Roman Catholic Church), Catholics are required to submit their minds and wills to any declaration concerning faith or morals which is made by the Pope or by a church council. They are also required to avoid anything that disagrees with such declarations.7
The Catholic Church teaches that only the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (the Pope and the bishops in communion with him) has the right to interpret Scripture. People are not allowed to interpret Scripture for themselves. They are supposed to rely entirely on Catholic Church authorities.8 Catholics are supposed to “receive with docility” any directives given to them by Catholic Church authorities.9
A Spirit of Control
The Catholic Church has a strong spirit of control. However, it does not always show it overtly. There is an old saying that when it is in the minority, then it is as meek as a lamb; when it is equal in power with other denominations or religions, then it is sly as a fox; and when it is in power, then it becomes as fierce as a tiger.
Two examples of this are the claim to be infallible and the claim to be able to consign people to hell. I’ll discuss infallibility here, while information about anathemas and consigning people to hell are found in the appendix.
According to the official teaching of the Catholic Church, Catholic men and women are not allowed to believe what they read in the Bible without first checking it out with the Catholic Church. They are required to find out how the bishops of the Church interpret a passage, and they are to accept what the bishops teach “with docility” as if it came from Jesus Christ Himself. They are not allowed to use their own judgment or follow their own conscience. They are required to believe whatever the bishops teach without questioning it.*10
The Catholic Church also teaches that when the bishops officially teach doctrine relating to faith and morals, then God supernaturally prevents them from making any errors. This is called “infallibility.” It applies to official councils, such as the Second Vatican Council. It also applies to other teachings, as long as the bishops and the Pope are in agreement about them.11
In addition to all this, the Pope is said to be infallible whenever he makes an official decree on matters of faith and morals. According to Catholic doctrine, it is impossible for the Pope to teach false doctrine. Catholics are expected to obey the Pope without question even when he is not making an “infallible” statement about doctrine. They are expected to submit their wills and minds to the Pope without question.12
The “Early Fathers,” and the theologians and canon lawyers of the Middle Ages, never taught that the bishops or the Pope were infallible. This is demonstrated by the fact that in 680 A.D., the Sixth Ecumenical Council condemned a pope as a heretic. It was not until the fourteenth century that the theory of infallibility began to emerge. With the development of this theory came a change in the interpretation of some biblical passages.13
My Experience with Mind Control
I understand such things because I used to be a nun in a convent where we were subjected to some forms of mind control. Our personal identities were taken away from us, and we were given new names. We were cut off from our families. We were not allowed to have any kind of emotional attachment to any person or even to an animal. We had to keep silence, which prevented us from communicating with the other nuns.
We had no free time. Everything was scheduled. We had several services a day to sing the Divine Office (Vespers, etc.). Plus we went to Mass every day. We also had scheduled prayer time in the evening, when there was a strict code of silence. All of our other time was spent doing chores.
In the convent, we owned absolutely nothing. I wore my eyeglasses, but they could have taken them if they wanted to.
Christians are supposed to put on the mind of Christ. We do that through prayer and reading the Bible. In contrast, in the convent, we were taught to put on the mind of the Pope and of the founder of our religious order and also of our mother superior. They were our guides rather than the Bible. We were led by them instead of being led by the Holy Spirit.
In effect, our superiors were our conscience and our brains. We were not allowed to think independently or have our own opinions about things, much less communicate about any questions we might have. We were not to ask questions—just obey.
When I left the convent, the nun responsible for getting me out of there whisked me away in such a fashion that the other nuns never saw me leave. I recall noticing that nuns would disappear from time to time but didn’t understand what that meant until it happened to me.
The nun took me to the bus station and got me a ticket to go back home, which was in another state. While she was at the bus station, she called my parents. I thanked God that my parents were home at that time. They weren’t out of town or away visiting friends. I didn’t have enough money to take a cab from the bus station to the house, and I didn’t have a key to the house. If my mother and dad had not been there, I would have landed helplessly at the mercy of strangers.
When I got home, it was strange talking to people again, and it took me a while to get used to it. It was strange hugging my family because I wasn’t used to touching people.
For months afterward, I always kept my head covered. I always wore a scarf. In the convent, we always kept our heads covered, except when we went to bed at night. It took me months to be able to have my head uncovered without feeling guilty about it. After that, it took many more months before I was able to put on lipstick, and when I did it, I felt guilty.
I got a job as a temporary secretary as I had been a secretary before going into the convent. One day, a man called my boss on the phone, and my boss asked me who it was. I told him I didn’t know, so he told me to ask the caller who he was. I wasn’t able to do that. For years, as a secretary, I had routinely asked callers who they were, but being in the convent, I could not be assertive enough to ask a question like that. Therefore, my boss had to teach me how to do it.
I have some friends who are former nuns. They also went through strange experiences while making the adjustment to normal life. One of them had a woman mentor her. The woman taught her how to ride a bus, how to shop, how to handle money, how to fix her hair, and how to do other things that people take for granted. She had lost all of those skills while she was in the convent.
One friend of mine who is a former nun was trained to whip herself. It took a lot of training to get her to think that it was the right thing to do. But because she trusted and obeyed her superiors, she came to believe it was a good thing. However, she didn’t actually put this into practice because Vatican II came along, and the convent changed its policy; but she was trained for it and was prepared to do it.
Leaving the Catholic Church
Eventually I left the Catholic Church and became an evangelical Christian. It took me a long time to do that, with a lot of Bible study and prayer. Even after I was fully persuaded that Catholicism taught things contrary to Scripture, it was difficult to leave because of the degree of mind control to which I had been subjected.
Getting out of the Catholic Church was one thing, but getting Catholicism out of me was another matter. It was a long, slow, difficult, and painful process because of the level of mind control I had gone through, but I wanted the truth—no matter what it cost me to learn it. Truth is precious, and the Lord Jesus Christ is truth incarnate. He says,
I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)
I was called “Sister Ann Marie” when I was in the convent. I am using that name in this booklet because I want to avoid being harassed.
According to the 1913 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia, when the Catholic Church anathematizes someone, the Pope ritually puts curses on them. There is a solemn written ritual for doing this. The Catholic Encyclopedia article describes the ritual in detail, including extensive quotations from it. (You can read the articles of the Catholic Encyclopedia online.)14
In pronouncing the anathema, the Pope wears special vestments. He is assisted by twelve priests who are holding lighted candles. Calling on the name of God, the Pope pronounces a solemn ecclesiastical curse. He ends by pronouncing sentence and declaring that the anathematized person is condemned to hell with Satan. The priests reply, “Fiat!” (Let it be done!) and throw down their candles.
As we will see, the Catholic Church considers heresy (disagreement with Catholic doctrine) to be a crime. The Council of Trent, and other Church councils, declare that any person who disagrees with even one of their doctrinal statements is thereby anathematized.
When the Pope pronounces an anathema, he is said to be passing sentence on a criminal. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that the anathema ritual is deliberately calculated to terrify the “criminal” and cause him to repent (in other words, to unconditionally submit to the Catholic Church).
For those whose crime is heresy, repentance means renouncing everything they have ever said or done which conflicts with Catholic doctrine. In other words, they have to renounce their own conscience and discernment and the conclusions they reached in their best efforts to understand biblical principles. And they have to submit their minds and wills unconditionally to every official doctrinal declaration of the Catholic Church. As we will see, Canon Law says this unquestioning submission of the mind and will is required.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a person’s religious belief is “outside the realm of free private judgment.” This is consistent with the spirit behind anathematizing people.15
The new Code of Canon Law was published by the authority of Pope John Paul II in 1983. It claims to be inspired by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and to put its reforms in concrete form. According to Canon 752, whenever the Pope or the college of bishops makes a declaration concerning faith or morals, “the Christian faithful” are required to submit their intellect and will to it. Furthermore, they are required to avoid anything which disagrees with it.16
So it is against Roman Catholic Canon Law for “the Christian faithful” to doubt or deny or dispute any Catholic doctrine. If something is against the law, then any person who does it commits a crime, which makes him a criminal. Canon Law has punishments for such criminals.
According to Canon 1311, the Catholic Church has the right to coerce “the Christian faithful” who do things contrary to Canon Law. Canon 1312 says that penal sanctions can include depriving people of spiritual goods (such as the sacraments) and temporal goods (things which people need for life on this earth). During the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church penalized Protestants by depriving them of their property, their freedom, and even their lives.17
The Catholic Church has never renounced its past practice of killing people it considered to be heretics. On the contrary, the Office (or Congregation) of the Inquisition still exists. It is part of the Roman Curia (the group of men who govern the Catholic Church). In 1965, its name was changed to “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” It was headed by Cardinal Ratzinger until he became Pope Benedict in 2005.18
On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (i.e., that Mary was entirely sinless from birth). After defining the dogma, the Pope said that if any person dares to disagree with what the Pope has declared, then he or she shipwrecks their faith and is cut off from the Church. The Pope declared that such people are “condemned.” He said that if any person says, or writes, or in any other way outwardly expresses “errors” in his or her thinking, then that person becomes subject to punishment.19
The Pope’s reference to punishment is significant because a man had been executed for heresy 28 years before this papal bull was issued. In 1826, a Spanish schoolmaster was hanged because he substituted the phrase “Praise be to God” in place of “Ave Maria” (“Hail Mary”) during school prayers.20
On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII issued a papal bull defining the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. He ended by saying that it is forbidden for any person to oppose his declaration or to say things contrary to it. The Pope further declared that any person who attempts to do so thereby incurs the wrath of God and the wrath of the Apostles Peter and Paul.21
Although this papal bull doesn’t openly threaten punishment, it still implies the possibility of some form of punishment. The difference in tone between the bull of 1854 and the bull of 1950 reflects the decrease in power of the Catholic Church. In 1854, a man had recently been executed for heresy. In 1950, the political power of the Roman Catholic Church had decreased. By 1950, the kind of language which was used in the 1854 bull would not have created a good image for the Catholic Church in our modern day.
The Roman Catholic Church believes that the Pope has the power and the authority to damn people to hell. The anathema ritual demonstrates this belief. Many Catholics deny this, saying that only God can condemn people to hell. But look at the ritual of the anathema, as described in the Catholic Encyclopedia. And look at the following solemn declaration of excommunication, which was pronounced by Pope Innocent III:
We excommunicate, anathematize, curse and damn him.22
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*This contradicts what the Bible says about being a good Berean and testing all things (see Acts 17:10-11 and 1 Thessalonians 5:20), and it nullifies the idea that the Scriptures (particularly the Gospel) were intended to be understood by the common man (see Isaiah 35:8 and Habakkuk 2:2).
1. John A. Hardon, Pocket Catholic Dictionary (“merit”), p. 295. Hardon is a Catholic priest with a doctorate in theology.
2. The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume 1, pp. 394-407 as cited by James G. McCarthy in The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and the Word of God, p. 22.
3. Christopher Agee, “The Pope Just Invited Islam Into The Vatican, Christians Aghast” (Western Journalism, June 6, 2014, http://www.westernjournalism.com/pope-francis-host-islamic-prayer-vatican).
4. “Mental Reservation,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1911. The Catholic Encyclopedia is available online: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10195b.htm.
5. The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, translated by Anthony Mottola, Ph.D., introduction by Robert W. Gleason, S.J. (New York, NY: Image Books, 2014), pp. 139-141.
6. “Inquisition,” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII, 1910. The statement opposing freedom of religion is in the second paragraph of the article: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm.
7. Code of Canon Law, Canons 752, 1311-1312 (Latin English edition, New English Translation) (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), pp. 247, 409. The 1983 Code of Canon Law was translated into English in 1988.
8. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 85, 100, 891, 2051. The Catechism summarizes the essential and basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It comes in numerous editions and languages. Because it has numbered paragraphs, statements can be accurately located in spite of the variety of editions.
9. Ibid., Paragraphs 87, 1310, 2037.
10. Ibid., paragraphs 85, 87, 100, 862, 891, 939, 2034, 2037, 2041, and 2050.
11. Ibid., paragraphs 890, 891, 939, 2033, 2034, and 2049.
12. Ibid., paragraphs 892, 2037, and 2050.
13. William Webster, The Church of Rome at the Bar of History (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1995), pp. 34-55.
14 “Anathema,” Catholic Encyclopedia (1913 edition), Vol. 1. The ritual is described in detail, with a lengthy quotation; http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm.
15. “Inquisition,” Catholic Encyclopedia,” Vol. VIII, 1910; http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm.
16. Code of Canon Law, Latin English edition, New English Translation (Washington, DC: Canon Law Society of America, 1988), p. 247, Canon 752. The 1983 “Code of Canon Law” was translated into English in 1988.
17. Ibid., p. 409, Canons 1311 and 1312. These canons are in the beginning of Book VI.
18. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/diocese/dxcdf.html
19. Ineffabilis Deus (“Apostolic Constitution on the Immaculate Conception”). This encyclical of Pope Pius IX was issued on December 8, 1854. Near the end of this papal bull, there is a section titled “The Definition.” The statements I described are in the last paragraph of that section; http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm.
20. Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster, a Touchstone Book, 1995), p. 308. Paul Johnson is a prominent historian and a Catholic.
21. Munificentissimus Deus (“Defining the Dogma of the Assumption”), paragraph 47. Encyclical of Pope Pius XII issued November 1, 1950; http://www.geocities.com/papalencyclicals/Pius12/P12MUNIF.htm.
22. Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity, p. 199.
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By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times
Hardly a day goes by without news relating to Bible prophecy and especially the advancing trend towards a global religion for the cause of peace. It seems there are few who understand this is what the Bible predicts will happen on planet earth before the return of Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom.
Of course, this is no surprise to those who take Bible prophecy seriously. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Man’s plan for peace, inspired by Satan, will end in disaster, not in utopia.
While the Bible warns about the deception that will be characteristic of the Last Days through many prophetic statements, modern-day purpose-driven “Christianity” no longer pays attention to what God has said in His Word. Without question, the closer we get to the return of Jesus Christ, fewer and fewer who profess to believe in Christ believe what His Word says. Click here to continue reading.