The True Status Of The Roman Catholic Church-No. 2
We come now to the investigation of the second proposition by which Catholics try to prove their point about the Bible. They steadfastly affirm that:
Second: The world can have no Bible independent of the Catholic Church.
It is a fact well known that the first translations of the scriptures (New Testament) was from the old Syriac scriptures. This old Syriac language very closely resembled the language spoken by our Lord. Then came at an early date, the Egyptian, Ethiopian and the Gothic versions.
Toward the close of the fourth century, the old Latin version of the scriptures was found to be so full of errors that Saint Jerome was chosen to prepare the Latin Version which is known as the Vulgate. The Vulgate was finished in 385 A.D. This Vulgate was claimed by the Pope and declared by him to be perfect. The Pope, instead of declaring the word to be inspired, declared the translation made by Jerome was perfect. So, it is easy to see that the claim by Catholics that there was no Bible until the fourth century is unfounded. It was the Vulgate that was made in the fourth century and not the Bible. The Vulgate is simply a translation of the Bible. Instead of the Catholics preserving for us the Bible, they preserved for us a Latin translation of the Bible. The Vulgate is just a translation of the Bible--translated from other copies of the Bible.
The American Revision Committee gave us the "Revised Version" of the Bible in 1900. Is there anyone so simple as to think this committee gave us the Bible? No, they just gave us a translation of the Bible. The Catholic Church did not preserve the Bible for us. They simply preserved a translation of the Bible.
But do we have to depend on the Vulgate to know that we have the Word of God? Certainly we do not. We have our Bible absolutely independent of the Catholic Church. We would have our Bible if the Vulgate, a Latin translation, had never been made. This Vulgate has nothing to do with us getting our Bible. The Vulgate has no more to do with our knowing we have the Bible than does the Revised Version, Goodspeed's Version, Martin Luther's translation, or any other translation. Of course, the Bible must be translated. Yet we do not translate it from the Vulgate, a Latin translation, but from the original Greek.
There are hundreds of manuscripts to be found today. They are not originals, but copies made from copies of originals. The three most important copies are:
1. The Vatican. This manuscript is held by the Roman Church in Rome. It is not quite complete but an excellent copy. All Protestant scholars have access to this manuscript. They may go there and read the Word in the Greek language. They can use it in making translations of the Bible. However, Catholic scholars will not use it. They will not use it because of their foolish notion that the Vulgate is perfect.
2. The Alexandrian. This is an excellent manuscript and all scholars have access to it, but Catholic scholars will not use it. They will not use it because they have been led to believe that the Vulgate, a Latin translation, is perfect.
3. The Sinaitic. This manuscript was formerly at St, Petersburg, Russia. However, it has been purchased by the government of England for $50,000.00 and is now in the British Museum in London. This manuscript is said to be the best manuscript in existence. The Testament is complete. It was written in Greek on the skins of antelopes and was written before the fourth century. This is the oldest and most complete manuscript on earth and the Catholic Church never had it. Too, the Alexandrian manuscript was never in the possession of the Roman Church. Thus we have the best manuscript in the world and the oldest manuscript in the world and the Catholic Church never had and will not ever use it because they foolishly believe that the translation made by Jerome is perfect. Thus you see that we have our Bible independent of the Catholic Church. Catholic priests know this to be so and will not even deny it in open debate. Yet they hope that folk that hear them preach will not investigate for themselves.
The Rheims-Douay version or translation of the Bible is the one used by English-speaking Catholics. This English version is made from the Latin Vulgate and not from the original Greek. It is only a translation of the Vulgate.
The Catholic Church claims that the translation made by Jerome was perfect. Yet Jerome accepted only thirty-nine books in the Old Testament and they accept more. Why? Jerome is infallible when he suits the Catholic Church and fallible when he does not.
But remember this one thing: all the disputed books in the Catholic Bible are in the Old Bible and not in the New. Should we admit that they belong in the Bible they would not affect Christianity. Christianity comes from the New Bible and not the Old.
In the New Testament there are about 370 allusions to passages in the Old Testament and not an illusion to a passage in the questioned books. There are about 263 direct quotations by our Lord and His Apostles from Old Testament books and not a quotation from one of the disputed books. Does this seem strange? Not once did the Lord nor His apostles recognize these books inserted by the Catholic Church. No inspired man ever refers to the apocryphal books.
The Jews who held the Old Testament scriptures do not accept these books.
Now let us see what we have learned about these books that have been placed in the Catholic Bible.
1. They were rejected by Jerome, the translator of their Bible.
2. No inspired man ever refers to them.
3. They are rejected by the Jews who preserved the Old Bible for us.
This ought to settle the matter to all who desire to know the way of God. This does settle it with all who are willing to be governed by the facts in the case.
The Maccabees were inserted in the sixteenth century.
We come now to the examination of their third proposition which is:
Third: The Scriptures must be officially interpreted by the Roman Church before any man knows what they mean.
If their effort to prove that man cannot understand the scriptures unless interpreted for him by the Pope and his Cardinals, they cite II Peter 1:20-21: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit." Thus they claim that "private" judgment is outlawed. By private judgment they mean the right to read and understand the scriptures for oneself.
Now let us ask a few questions and then see what Peter was teaching. First: Why cite scripture to us if we cannot understand it? You say we cannot understand the scriptures and then cite scripture to prove your point. If I cannot understand it then your argument that I can't understand it is wrong. Now which proposition, Mr. Catholic, do you believe? You say I can't understand the scriptures unless officially interpreted. Then you cite scripture to prove your point. Why, again, I ask, do you cite scripture? This is another instance wherein the Catholic priest hopes that you will not think. That you will just take his word for it. Second: Can we understand this passage to tell us we can't understand this passage? If I can understand this passage why can't I understand other passages?
The truth is this passage ruins the doctrine of the Catholic Church. This passage does not say that scripture cannot be understood. It does not say that the Bible has to be interpreted by the Pope. It does teach that no one man or set of men can set their "private" judgment over the Word of God. That is just what the Catholic Church tries to do. They set the "private" judgment of the Pope over individual study. That is here condemned. The Catholic Church claims special right to interpret the Bible for the world and Peter says that no man has that right. Yet the Catholic says that I can understand this passage. And by us all, it is understood--understood as condemning the "private" judgment theory of the Pope of Rome. The truth taught by Peter here is this: No prophet spake his own words or will, it was not his private judgment but the Word and will of God. He was moved by the Holy Spirit.
That the scriptures were written for all the people and not a selected few may be seen from the following facts:
1. We are told to read. "Till I come give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching." (I Tim. 4:13.)
2. We are told to study. "Study to show thyself approved unto God as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God." (II Tim. 2:15.)
3. To let the word dwell in us. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Col. 3:16.)
4. To desire the sincere milk of the word. "As new born babes long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation." (I Pet. 2:2.)
5. That the old scriptures were written for our learning. "For whatsoever things were written afore were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope." (Rom. 15:4.)
6. The scriptures were written to admonish us and not just for the Pope. "Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages are come." (I Cor. 10:11.) Please note that in the last two passages cited we are told that the scriptures admonish and comfort us. Written for us and not for the Pope and his Cardinals. The Bible is for everybody.
7. Jesus said go preach to every creature. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mk. 16:15.) Why preach to every creature if they cannot understand it? Again Christ said, "He that believeth not shall be damned." (Mk. 16:16.) Will Christ damn a man for not believing a message that he cannot understand? It is to be taught the whole world--"teach all nations." (Matt. 28:19-20.) This gospel should be preached to the whole world and the Pope's notions have nothing to do with it. The Pope is simply trying to keep you from taking the Bible for what it says. He knows that the Bible condemns him and the whole Catholic system and thus he tells us we don't know what the Bible means when we read it. The Bible means what it says. Do not be afraid to take the Bible for what it says regardless of what the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church might have to say about it.
8. Take a look at special letters of the New Testament and thus you can see that the Pope has no right to his "private" judgment. Read the letter to the Churches of Galatia. Not to the Pope but to the Churches of Galatia. These churches could read and understand the letter addressed to them. They did not have to wait until the Pope or some priest explained it. In fact there were no priests and no Pope when the Galatian letter was written. Again Paul wrote to all that are in Rome. (Rom. 1:7.) He did not write to just a few but to all that are in Rome. All were addressed and all could understand. Too, Paul instructed that the First Thessalonian letter be read to all the brethren. (I Thess. 5:27.) "I adjure you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the brethren." Why read it to all the brethren or to any of the brethren, if they could not understand it?
We now come to the study of the next proposition, namely, the claim that the Catholic Church is authority in religion and not the Bible. That the Pope is the vicar of Christ on earth and that his decisions are infallible. That the Bible is authority only in the hands of the Catholic Church.
In this connection I am willing to settle the matter by the Bible. I am willing to be governed by it. We could both agree that the Bible is authority and read what it says and the argument would be over. But instead the Catholic sets up an arbitrary authority--the Catholic Church. But we ask, "How will you prove that the Catholic Church is authority? Will you try to prove it by the Bible?" The answer is "Yes". They take the Bible which they say is not authority to prove that their church is authoritative. That is silly. If the Bible is not authority how does it prove that the Catholic Church is authoritative? We deny that the Catholic Church has any authority from God and challenge the Pope and all his priests to prove it. Will they quote the Bible? If so, why? Why quote the Bible if it is not authority? Can they take that which is not authority to prove that their church has authority? The Catholic argues in a circle. He proves his church is authority by the Bible and then proves the Bible authority by his church. So round and round he goes. Mr. Catholic meets himself coming back.
As before stated the Roman Church vests all power in the church, with infallibility resting in the Pope. Too, the Pope was not even considered to be infallible until 1870-just seventy-three years ago.
They claim that Peter was the first Pope and all others are his successors. In order to establish this they must first prove that Peter was preeminent among the apostles.
The Catholic Church therefore makes an effort to prove the primacy of Peter. They say that Christ made him the first Pope. To prove their point they quote Matthew 16, verses 18 and 19. "And I also say unto thee that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." This is a fine passage of scripture but it does not teach what Catholics read into it. It does not say that "Peter is the foundation of the church." It does not say that the "church was built on Peter." The Church of Christ was not built on Peter but on Christ. "No other foundation can any man lay, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 3:11.) The foundation is Christ, not Peter.
Christ said, "Thou art Peter (petros) and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church." The Greek word "petros" is a noun in the masculine gender. The word "petra" is in the feminine gender. The church was to be built on "petra" and not on "petros." "Petros" is the word by which Peter is called. Too, since the feminine gender could not refer to Peter it must refer to the confession he made. The church was not built on Peter--so away goes the very foundation of Roman Catholicism.
But the Catholic claims that Peter was given the power to "bind and loose"--he was given the "keys" of the kingdom. Yes, this is true. But did you not know that this same power was given to all the apostles ? "And when he had said this he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit: whosoever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them: whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained." (Jno. 20:22-23.) The word "key" is a symbol of power and authority. All the apostles were given the same power and authority. Peter was not preeminent in any sense, over the rest of the apostles.
Too, Jesus Christ taught equality among the apostles. "And I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and ye shall sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Lk. 22:29-30.) Please notice that the Lord says this is for "you," for all of the apostles and not just for Peter. "Ye" shall sit on thrones "judging." "Ye," not just Peter. All the apostles were equal in authority.
God delegated "authority" to His Son. Christ acted for Jehovah. Christ came not to do His own will but the will of God. Thus Christ was the representative of Jehovah on earth. When Christ left this world He delegated authority--"keys of the kingdom"--to all the apostles and not to Peter alone. To hear the apostles is to hear Christ. To reject them is to reject Christ. "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." (Matt. 10:40.) We hear the apostles through the Word of God.
Paul says that he was equal with Peter. "I, for I reckon I am not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles." (II Cor. 11:5.) Paul is not a "whit" behind Peter, the Catholic Church to the contrary notwithstanding.
The guiding influence of the Holy Spirit was given to all the apostles. (Read Jno. 14:26; 16:5-15; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 2:1-4.) God sent the Holy Spirit to twelve men on Pentecost and not to one man. To all the apostles and not to Peter alone.
A casual reader of the Bible can easily see that Peter was not a Pope. In the first chapter of the Book of Acts when it was time for a selection to be made to fill the place from which Judas by transgression fell, all the apostles had a part in the matter and not Peter only. Why did not Peter appoint some one to take the place of Judas if he was the Pope? By reading Acts, first chapter, you can easily see that Peter was not a Pope. However, Catholic priests hope that you will listen to them and not read for yourself.
In Acts 8:14 the record says that Peter was sent to Samaria. Please notice that the book says they sent Peter and John. Who sends the Pope around today? Who has the power to send the Pope? The Pope does the sending today. Peter does not look much like a Pope in this passage, does he? In fact he was not a Pope.
In the early church a question arose over circumcision. (Acts 15.) The matter was taken to Jerusalem (not Rome) before the apostles and elders. The matter was brought before, not the Pope and his Cardinals, but the apostles--all of them--and the elders. That does not look like a Catholic Church, does it? Too, you will please note that James presided over this council and not Peter. James not Peter. James says, "Wherefore my judgment is," and his judgment was accepted and the letter was written to the Gentiles, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood. This was a decision rendered by the Apostle James and not Peter. Thus showing that Peter was not preeminent and surely not the Pope.
Secondly, in order to prove that the Pope is the vicar of Christ on earth, representing Christ from Rome, it is necessary to prove that Peter was at one time Bishop at Rome.
It is claimed by Catholic priests and the Pope that Peter was in Rome from A.D. 43 to A.D. 68 and acted as Pope. This is a mere assertion which cannot be proved, and few will dare try, except where no one has a chance to reply.
To show that this is but an assertion, that is, that Peter was Bishop in Rome from A.D. 43 to A.D. 68, let it be understood:
1. History does not prove that Peter was Bishop at Rome from A.D. 43 to 68; in fact, history does not prove that Peter was ever at Rome at any time, much less from A.D. 43 to 68.
2. The scriptures do not state Peter was at Rome. Then if history does not prove and the scriptures do not state he was in Rome, it rests upon a mere assumption born of a desire to substantiate a theory accepted by the Roman hierarchy.
In order that it may be clearly shown that the claims of Catholicism concerning Peter's sojourn in Rome from A.D. 43 to 68 is untrue, you will note
1. Peter was imprisoned in the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 44. (Acts 12.) How, then, could Peter be Bishop at Rome and at the same time be in jail in the city of Jerusalem?
2. In A.D. 58 the Apostle Paul wrote the Roman letter addressing it to the Church of God at Rome, and saluted 27 persons and did not so much as mention Peter. Why did Paul ignore the Pope? If Peter was Pope in Rome in A.D. 58 as Catholics claim, why is it that Paul would salute 27 persons by name and not one time mention Peter, the Pope?
3. While in Rome Paul wrote Philemon, Philippians, Ephesians and Colossians, but makes no mention of Peter. A strange way to treat the Pope, if Peter was Pope.
4. Near the close of Paul's life in A.D. 67, Paul writes to Timothy and says only Luke was with me. (II Tim. 4:11.) Too, he says all men forsook me. (II Tim. 4:16.) What happened to the Pope? Was he so ashamed of Paul that he wouldn't even stand by him? Remember also that A.D. 67 is the very time they claim that Peter was the Pope, and yet he forsook Paul, and wouldn't even stand by him in his hour of trial.
5. The Apostle Peter makes no mention of Rome in his works. Is it not strange that when Paul was in Rome he mentioned Rome and yet if Peter stayed in Rome he never mentions it? Again I repeat, history does not prove that Peter was in Rome during any time of his life, and the scriptures do not state it.
A perfect religion requires perfect authority. Perfect authority presupposes perfect love, perfect wisdom and perfect justice.
"A careful study of the lives of the Popes reveals anything but these three characteristics. For example, war between contending aspirants for the Papacy was quite common in early days. At one time Benedict the 9th, Sylvester the 3rd and Gregory the 8th all claimed to be Pope at the same time. Pius the 2nd lead a vile life and excused himself on the grounds that David and Solomon had been guilty of the same indiscretions. Alexander the 6th was brazen enough to acknowledge the paternity of a son after he had become Pope and made his own daughter his private secretary. And what shall I say of the woman, Joan, who is said to have worn man's raiment, deceived her subjects, and occupied St. Peter's chair for about two years and a half? From these facts it is quite evident that we could hardly go to the Papacy for perfect love, wisdom and justice; therefore, we must reject the Papacy as the source of authority in religion."--Center Shots at Rome by George Rutledge.
In conclusion, we have seen first the scriptures assert their own authenticity. Second, we have our Bible independent of the Catholic Church. All they gave us was a translation out of the Latin into the English. Third, the scriptures can be read and understood by all who desire to know the truth. Fourth, the Catholic Church is not authority. Do not be afraid to read and study your Bible and do what it says. The Bible plainly condemns the claims of the Papacy on almost every page.
We now come to the discussion of the fifth and last proposition.
Are her teachings compatible with the principles of American Democracy?
Please remember that I am discussing the system and not those who profess it--the creed and not the people. It will not do to wave the flag and talk of great Catholic patriots of our country. In America most members of the Roman Catholic Church have risen above the system. This is caused by the influence of our schools and Christian people. The system can be seen in its true light only where Rome has a majority. You cannot judge Nazism from the Hitlerites in this country. You need to look at Germany to see its true color.
That the Roman Catholic Church is opposed to the true spirit of American democracy I prove by the following points:
1. Her doctrine of a judge in controversy.
The council of Trent decreed "That the oral traditions of the Catholic Church" (meaning the Roman) "are to be received, pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia suscipit ac venerator,--with equal piety and reverence as the books of the Old and the New Testament."-Council of Trent, 4th Session.
Then she asserts: "It belongs to the church to judge of the true sense and interpretation of scripture: and that no person shall dare to interpret it in matters relating to faith and manners to any sense contrary to that which the church has held, or contrary to the unanimous consent of the fathers." (Ib.Id.)
Alexander Campbell said:
"In all monarchies, save that of Rome and Mahomet, a judge is not constitutionally a judge of his own case. But the Roman judge of controversy is the whole church, says my learned opponent, and her councils affirm with him. The whole church judging then between what parties? Herself and the heretics!! What a righteous, infallible and republican judge, is the supreme judge of controversy in the Catholic church! The controversy is between two parties--the church, or the clergy, on one side; and the heretics or the reformers on the other, as they may happen to be called; say the church and the heretics. And who is umpire, who is supreme judge of both? One of the parties, indeed, the church herself! This is the archetype the beau ideal, of civil liberty, and republican government, in the supreme Roman hierarchy. It will not help it to place the ermine on the Pope. He is that instant exparte judge. And besides, he is executive of the church. If the Pope is to be judge, and executive, and lawgiver, in the case as he frequently is, what a splendid picture of a republican president or judge have we got in the Roman church!"
2. The oath of allegiance to Rome.
Campbell also said:
"This ghostly despotism is to be sustained and defended, too, by the whole church, by vows, oaths, and pledges, the most solemn and binding that religion can suggest, or human ingenuity devise. Their oath, which is the same in all countries, I will now read--so far at least, as relates to this matter. * * *To reconcile it to the genius of our institutions, and to the safety and happiness of our country, will require the explanations and reasonings of my friend.
"I, N. elect of the church of N. from henceforward will be faithful and obedient to St. Peter the Apostle and to the holy Roman church and to our Lord, the lord N. Pope N. and his successors, canonically coming in. I will neither advise, consent, or do anything that they may lose life or member, or that their persons may be seized, or hands any wise laid upon them, or any injuries offered to them, under any pretense whatsoever. The counsel which they shall entrust to me withal, by themselves, their messengers, or letters, I will not knowingly reveal to any to their prejudice. I will help them to defend and keep the Roman papacy, and the royalties of St. Peter, saving my order, against all men. The legate of the apostolic see, going and coming, I will honorably treat and help in his necessities. The rights, honors, privileges, and authority of the holy Roman church of our lord the Pope, and his foresaid successors, I will endeavor to preserve, defend, increase, and advance. I will not be in any counsel, action, or treaty in which shall be plotted against our said lord, and the said Roman church, anything to the hurt or prejudice of their persons, right, honor, state, or power; and if I shall know any such thing to be treated or agitated by any whatsoever, I will signify it to our said lord, or to some other by whom it may come to his knowledge. The rules of the holy Fathers, the apostolic decrees, ordinances, or disposals, reservations, provisions, and mandates, I will observe with all my might, and cause to be observed by others. Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said lord, or his foresaid successors, I will to my utmost power persecute and oppose."--(Pontificale Roman, Edt. Antwerp, A.D. 1626.)
Alexander Campbell said:
"Here then is the most solemn pledge and vow given by every bishop of Rome, that he will to the utmost of his power persecute and destroy heretics and schismatics! Does not this indisputable fact, alone, sustain my * * * proposition, and prove that the genius of the Latin church is anti-American and essentially opposed to the existence of all free institutions?"
3. Her claims to control civil government.
"This is the doctrine which Barronius, with a Roman confidence, doth so often assert and drive forward, saying, `that there can be no doubt of it, but that the civil principality is subject to the sacerdotal; and that God hath made the political government subject to the dominion of the spiritual church."Epis. Patrac, Sess. 10, p. 133. Barronius, Annals, 57, 23.
"Again Bellarmine says: `By reason of the spiritual power, the pope, at least, indirectly, hath a supreme power even in temporal matters'."
"A.D. 1585.--The bull of Pope Sixtus V against the two sons of wrath, Henry, King of Navarre, and the Prince of Conde, beginneth thus: `The authority given to St. Peter and his successors, by the immense power of the eternal king, excels all the powers of earthly kings and princes. It passes uncontrollable sentence upon them all--and if it find any of them, casting them down from their thrones, though never so puissant, and tumbling them down to the lowest parts of the earth, as the ministers of aspiring Lucifer.
"And then he proceeds to thunder against them, 'We deprive them and their posterity forever of their dominions, and kingdoms;' and accordingly he depriveth those princes of their kingdoms and dominions, absolveth their subjects -- from their oaths of allegiance, and forbiddeth them to pay any obedience to them. 'By authority of these presents, we do absolve and set free all persons, as well jointly as severally, from any such oath, and from all duty whatsoever in regard of dominion, fealty and obedience, and do charge and forbid all and everyone of them that they do not dare to obey them, or any of their admonitions, laws, and commands'."--Bulls Sixti V. Contra Henr. Navarre, R. &c.
Again Campbell says:
"Is this the genius of our government? Are these the doctrines of the United States? Here you have kings hurled from their thrones, and subjects released from their allegiance, without ceremony, by the Vicar of Christ and the head of the church! Who is this that sets aside oaths, and religious obligations, in the name of the Lord? Why,' says the modern Roman Catholic, do you bring up these old things?' Not so very old! But will the bishop mention the council that ever repudiated this doctrine?
"He thereby deprives the queen of her pretended right to the kingdom, and of all dominion, dignity, and privilege whatsoever; and absolves all the nobles, subjects, and people of the kingdom, and whoever else have sworn to her, from their oath and all duty whatsoever, in regard of dominion, fidelity and obedience."--(Camp. Hist. anno. 1570.)
"That this was not peculiar to one individual, but of the spirit of the system, appears from the following facts
"Pope Clement VI did pretend to depose the Emperor Lewis IV.
"Pope Clement V in the great synod of Vienna declared the emperor subject to him, or standing obliged to him by a proper oath of fealty.--(Clem. lib. ii. tit. 9.)
"Pope Boniface VIII hath a decree extant in the canon law running thus: We declare, say, define, pronounce it to be of necessity to salvation, for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff'."
4. Her doctrine is contrary to the oath of allegiance to the United States of America.
"That he will support the constitution of the United States and that he doth absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatsoever; and particularly by name the Prince, Potentate, State, Sovereignty whereof he was before a citizen or subject."--(Oath of Allegiance.)
"The case is simply this: The oath of naturalization requires the candidate for citizenship to swear that he does absolutely and entirely renounce all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State, or Sovereignty. Now, the Pope of Rome is a sovereign of Europe--a foreign Potentate, issuing bulls, laws, or briefs, throughout the world: often to secure, augment and advance his authority, in temporals, as well as spirituals; as the testimony of 500 years now before you, amply demonstrates; and every Roman Catholic layman feeling a paramount obligation to his bishop and through him to the pope: and all the rulers of the Roman Catholic church, being sworn to the pope absolutely and forever, I ask, can such persons in good faith solemnly swear allegiance to this government? If a person can be sworn to support two antagonist constitutions, governments, powers,--two masters, as opposite as the poles: then may he, without perjury, swear to our government, and to that of papal Rome."--(Alexander Campbell.)
Let me conclude this lecture by saying, the fact of swearing forever to interpret the Bible as it has been interpreted is the essential element of mental slavery and degradation. If no one dare to interpret the scripture contrary to what the church has already held, or the unanimous consent of the fathers, there is no such thing as liberty of thought. Men thus become mental slaves.
The doctrine of making the pope a supreme judge in controversy--giving him all legislative, executive and judicial powers, of pledging to spread the power of the pope and persecute all who oppose him, is the paragon of tyranny on earth. The pope claims to have the right to control all civil liberty in the world. The bishops vow to help him retain such power. In such a system not one single element of free government or civil liberty can be found.
* * *(This lecture is based largely on arguments taken from the Campbell-Purcell Debate.)