Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 13, 1956

The Pope For A 'Pen Pal'

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

"As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man." (Acts 10:25-26.)

The above Scripture sets forth the attitude of the apostle Peter and of Luke who by inspiration penned the description of the meeting of Peter and Cornelius. Although the Catholic Church makes the false assertion that Peter became the first 'Pope of Rome'.... his very actions were so diametrically opposed to the claims of the Papacy, and the conduct of the Papacy, that the very assertion is foolish.

The Pope is such an important personage in the minds and eyes of his subjects that the Catholic Encyclopedia devotes over two entire pages to instructions on the manner and method of addressing the Pope, in the event one should decide to correspond with him. Therefore, in the event you may wish to become a 'Papal pen pal,' we submit the following information.

The paper upon which you write must only be white, for no other color is allowed. It must be a hand-made paper in order to assure its durability. The ink used must always be black . . . colored inks are forbidden... they are contrary to tradition, and they may also fade. If you seal your letter, then only red wax may be used to seal it . . . all other colors are forbidden.

Now that you have your writing implements and the proper paper at hand, the next step is your introduction or greeting to the pope. In Italy, where the pope perhaps enjoys greatest homage, we are informed that the letter must begin with the expression "Most Holy Father" and in the body of the letter, one must refer to him as "His Holiness." It is the usual custom to speak to the pope always in the third person, ending your letter with: "Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, I have the honour to profess myself, with the most profound respect, Your Holiness's most humble servant."

However, if this type of address is too revolting to you, may I suggest that you lower your sights a bit and work up a correspondence with a mere 'Bishop'?

In Italy, a bishop must be addressed as follows: "To His Excellency, the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Monsignore (name), Bishop of (place)." The Catholic Encyclopedia continues and informs us that in closing our little epistle to the bishop, we should write: "Kissing his pastoral ring, I am His Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Excellency's very humble and very obedient servant."

Whew! All I can say to that is . . . the servant may be humble, but the bishop sure isn't!

After beginning on page 137 and ending on page 140 of the Catholic Encyclopedia, the last paragraph on the subject states: "Even, however, with these explanations, which might have been developed at greater length, some difficulty may occasionally occur, in which case it is better to make a free use of titles of respect, rather than to run the risk of not using enough, and of thus falling short of what is due and fitting."

"And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God . ." (Matt. 19:16-17.)

...Be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man (spiritually. L.W.M.) your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called Masters: for one is your Master, even Christ... And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." (Matt. 23:8-12.)

Certainly, the attitude and teachings of Christ and his apostles concerning the matter of titles does not agree with the pretensions of the Roman Hierarchy. This is just another point upon which the Catholic Church is NOT in the least APOSTOLIC!