Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 30, 1954

"Quoting A Roman Catholic" -- No. 3

Luther W. Martin. Rolla, Missouri

Throughout the centuries, a number of Roman Catholic scholars have valued the FACTS of history rather than the FABRICATIONS of history. Consequently, from time to time it is possible to present writings of Catholic historians and theologians, which agree with non-catholic historians, and which further put to lie the fabrications of the majority of Catholic writers. In the year 1870, the Vatican Council passed the dogma of Papel Infallibility. This action precipitated so much controversy and agitation within the ranks of the. Roman Church herself, that it was decided that a search of Catholic documents and articles of that era, and perhaps in the 1860's would produce some very useful material in pointing up the fallacy of such a dogma.

One of the most prolific writers and opponents of the Infallibility Decree from the. Roman Sect herself, was Dr. J. J. I. Dollinger, (von Dollinger), who wrote, prior to his excommunication, under the pen name of "Janus." Dr. Dollinger was a priest and scholar within the ranks of Catholicism for forty-nine years. He wrote various treatises during that forty-nine year period, and many of them are still being quoted and published by Catholic writers. Thus, when we quote from Dr. Dollinger, we are "Quoting a Roman Catholic."

In two previous articles, we used his writings to show that the Papal power was initially based upon the (1) Forged Isidorian Decretals; (3) Fabricated Decrees of the Hildebrandine Era. Now, in this writing we quote Dollinger on the "Earlier Roman Fabrications."

Dr. Dollinger On Earlier Roman Forgeries

"Pope Agatho had said at a Roman Synod, in 680 A.D., that all the English bishops were to observe the ordinances made in former Roman Synods for the Anglo-Saxon Church. Cardinal Deusdedit made this into a decree issued by Agatho to all bishops in the world, saying they must receive all Papal orders as though attested by the very voice of Peter, and therefore, of course, infallible. One of the boldest falsifications the Gregorians allowed themselves occurs first in Anselm's and then in Cardinal Gregory's works, from whom Gratian borrowed it. St. Augustine had said that all those canonical writings (of the Bible) were pre-eminently attested, which Apostolical Churches had first received and possessed. He meant the Churches of Corinth, Ephesus, etc. The passage was corrupted into, — . Those epistles belong to canonical writings which the Holy See has issued'; and thus it came to pass that the medieval theologians and canonists, who generally derived their whole knowledge of the Fathers from the passages collected by Peter Lombard and Gratian, really believed that St. Augustine had put the decretal letters of Popes on a par with scripture. When Cardinal Turrecremata, about 1450 A.D., and Cardinal Cajetan, about 1516 A.D., put the Infallibility doctrine into formal shape, they too relied on the clear testimony of St. Augustine, which left no doubt that the first theologian of the ancient church had declared every Papal utterance to be as free from error as the Apostolical Epistles.

"That Papal Infallibility might be more firmly believed, personal sanctity was also ascribed to every Pope. This notion was first invented by Ennodius, deacon, and secretary of Pope Symmachus, who wrote in 503 A.D.,to defend him against certain charges. The Popes, he said, must be held to inherit innocence and sanctity from Peter. Isidore eagerly seized on this, and invented two Roman Synods, which had unanimously approved and subscribed the works of Ennodius. Gregory WI made this holiness of all Popes, which he said he had personal experience of, the foundation of his claim to universal dominion. Every sovereign, he said, however good before, becomes corrupted by the use of power, whereas every rightly appointed Pope (This proviso was meant to cover the frequent cases of such evil Popes as, e.g., John XII and Benedict IX.) becomes a saint through the imputed merits of St. Peter. Even an exorcist (One of the lower ranks of the Catholic clergy) among the clergy, he added, is higher and more powerful than every secular monarch, for he casts out devils, whose slaves evil princes are. This doctrine of the personal sanctity of every Pope, put forward by the Gregorians, and by Gregory VII himself, as a claim made by Pope Symmachus, was adopted into the codes of canon law. But as notorious facts, and the crimes and excesses of many Popes, which no denials could get rid of, were in glaring contradiction to it, a supplementary theory had to be invented, which Cardinal Deusdedit published under the venerated name of St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany. It was to this effect: Even if a Pope is so bad that he drags down whole nations to hell with him in troops, nobody can rebuke him; for he who judges all can be judged of no man; the only exception is in case of his swerving from the faith. That this could have been written nowhere but in Rome, and certainly not by St. Boniface, is self-evident. There were no 'innumerable nations' in this day for the Pope to drag down into hell with him like slaves. The words imply past experience of many profligate Popes, and a period of enormously extended Papal power over the nations, and were clearly invented after the pontificate of Benedict IX. Gratian has, of course, adopted them from Deusdedit.

"The Gregorian doctrine since 1080 A.D., then is, that every Pope, lawfully appointed, and not thrust in by force, is holy and infallible. But his holiness is imputed, not inherent, co that if he have no merits of his own, he inherits those of his predecessor St. Peter. Notwithstanding his holiness, he may drag countless troops of men down to hell, and none of them may withstand or warn him; notwithstanding his infallibility he may become an apostate, and then he may be resisted. Probably the latter distinction between his official or ex cathedra infallibility and his personal denial of the faith was implied here.

"Gregory VII seems to have sincerely believed that his infallibility was already acknowledged throughout the Christian world, even in the East. He wrote to the Emperor Henry, `The Greek Church is fallen away, and the Armenians also have lost the right faith, but,' he adds, 'all the Easterns await from St. Peter, (viz., from me) the decision on their various opinions, and at this time will the promise of Peter's confirming his brethren be fulfilled.' He wanted then (in 1074 A.D.) to go at the head of a great army to Constantinople, and there to hold his solemn judgment in matters of faith, for he does not seem to have counted on the voluntary submission of the Greeks; instead of which he contented himself with plunging Germany and Italy into a religious and civil war, the end of which he did not live to see. All history proves, he says, how clearly holiness is connected with infallibility in the Popes. While there are at most only a few Vikings or emperors who have been holy, out of 153 Popes 100 have not only been holy, but have reached the highest grade of sanctity. And the Gregorians disseminated the fable, which even the well-known annals of the Popes contradicted, that of the thirty before Constantine all but one were martyrs. The Gregorians busied themselves greatly with the rectification of Papal history, and as the apostasy of Liberius — copied from St. Jerome's Chronicle into so many historical works — was not easy to reconcile with Papal infallibility and sanctity, Anselm adopted into his codex the earlier fable, that Liberius when exiled, had ordained Felix his successor, by advice of the Roman clergy, and abdicated, so that his subsequent apostasy did not matter.

"If every Pope is holy and infallible, then, according to the Gregorian view, all Christendom must tremble before him, as before an Asiatic despot whose disfavor is death. Accordingly, Anselm and Cardinal Gregory extracted passages from older forgeries, especially from a spurious speech of St. Peter, to the effect that no one should hold intercourse with a man under the Pope's displeasure. Like the successive strata of the earth covering one another, so layer after layer of forgeries and fabrications was piled up in the church. This shows itself most conspicuously in the great church question of Synods, where the two contradictory views of the self-government and administration of the church by Councils, and of the absolute sovereignty of the Pope and Court of Rome over the whole Church, were at issue. In 342 A.D., Pope Julius had written to the Eastern Bishops, who had confirmed the despotism of St. Athanasius at the Synod of Antioch, that they should not have acted for themselves in a matter affecting the whole Church, but, according to ecclesiastical custom, in union with 'all of us,' i.e., the bishops of the West. Socrates, who welcomed an opportunity of pointing out the 'ambition of the Roman Church, had twisted this into Julius saying that nothing could be decided without the bishop of Rome. His Latin translator, Epiphanius the Italian, about 500 A.D., went a step further, and made the Pope say that no Council could be held without his consent. Isidore worked up these materials; and made Pope Julius write, in two spurious epistles, that the Apostles and the Nicene Council had said no Council could be held without the Pope's injunction. And thus Anselm and the other Gregorian canonists could quote a whole string of primitive decrees resting Councils and all their decisions on the arbitrament of the Pope, and Grattan has borrowed the whole of his seventeenth Distinction from Anselm.

"Even this was not enough. Not only were Councils to be made dependent, but the institution itself, as it had existed for nine hundred years, was to be abolished. As the kings who had become absolute in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries could no longer endure any representative assemblies, so the Papacy, when it wished to become absolute, found that Synods of particular National Churches were better out of the way altogether. — These had therefore to be put an end to, or at least broken up and made so difficult that they could only proceed at the beck of Rome. The following forgery was used for this purpose:

"The opponents of Pope Symmachus, in 603 A.D., in order to show that they could assemble in Rome without him, had affirmed that the annual Provincial Synods prescribed by the Church would not lose their force merely because the Pope was not present at them. Ennodius, in his defense of Symmachus, replied that weighty causes (causae majores) were by the canon of Sardica reserved to the Pope. That was itself a misrepresentation, long current in Rome; the canon only gave a right of appeal to Rome for bishops. Anselm of Lucca, and Cardinal Gregory, and Gratian after him, made out of this the following decree of Pope Symmachus: 'The Provincial Councils ordered by the canons to be held annually, have lost their validity from the Pope not being present at them.' And the title of the decree is, 'Provincial Synods without the Pope's presence have no force' (pondere carent). And thus an ecclesiastical revolution was brought about in three lines." (Pages 90-96, The Pope and the Council, written by a Roman Catholic scholar, Dr. J. J. I. Dollinger, under the pen name 'Janus.')

Although Dr. Dollinger uses the word 'Pope' (papa) as a synonym for the bishop of Rome, we wish to emphasize that the appropriation of the title 'Ecumenical Bishop' or 'world-wide bishop,' or the (Pope as he is now known), was first taken by a bishop of Rome in 606 A.D.