'Replies from Roman Catholics'

Mike Martin - 24

23rd August, 2003

(Continued from page 280)


Even a cursory reading of the following list will make clear that most of the distinctive features of the Papal system that developed were unknown to Apostolic Christianity, and that one can hardly recognize in present day Romanism the original Christian doctrines. 
If you believe this is not so then please supply Scriptural and factual support for those named We agree that not all dates can be given with exactness (since some doctrines and rituals were debated or practiced over a period of time before their formal acceptance):

Full Menu

Topics discussed on pages responding to Roman Catholics
Section 8-25:

Do TCE write out of 'hatred of the Catholic Church'?

'Two sides to every story' - or the truth versus the lies?

Scandalous behaviour of 'just a few popes'?

Luther was far from perfect - but Salvation is not based on him or his doctrines!

Luther struggled to leave all of Rome's corrupt doctrines

Hagiography - a sure mark of 'religion' and religiosity

Don't check out the facts when your mind is made up?

Are the scandals of Papal Rome acceptable?

Why does Rome persecute those following the Bible alone?

Have there really been only 'a few scandalous popes'?

Has Rome really 'survived 20 centuries'?

The blasphemy of Mariolatry

Matthew 23 describes the clergy of Rome!

'Some popes were great sinners … Luther … was far more scandalous'

Luther taught that good works were to be avoided/performing them was a mortal sin 


'Luther's' Protestant society much more immoral than Papal Rome?!

Luther threw out seven entire books of the Bible

Luther added the word 'alone' to Romans 3:28?

Protestants still use Luther's canon of the Bible instead of the rightful Catholic one

Protestant-Fundamentalism began a hundred years ago? - I

Protestant-Fundamentalism began a hundred years ago? - II

Who have conflicting beliefs and no unity of doctrine - 'Protestants' or Roman Catholics?

Catholics were just about the only Christians around until the Reformation - did Rome kill millions?

Were other heresies around before the Reformation?


The Papal Doctrine of 'The Two Swords'

The 'first' Protestants persecuted Roman Catholics?

Who really massacred millions?

Who really began the witch-hunts!

Witchcraft was one excuse used to persecute 'heretics' such as the Anabaptists

Oliver Cromwell:  Lord Protector of England (1599-1658)

Can anyone claim that Rome is even slightly Biblical?


How did we actually get the Bible?

Can Rome logically deny Sola Scriptura?

Did the apostles consult Scripture or the Holy Spirit?

Does 'Tradition' - 'oral teachings' of the apostles - have a place?

Passages in Scripture point to the importance of Tradition?

No Christian faith is more closely aligned with the Bible than Catholicism?

Baptism is necessary for salvation?

Keeping 'The Commandments' is essential for salvation?

'Once Saved Always Saved' means you can wilfully sin?

The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is Biblical?

The Bible is not the sole authority in matters of faith?

Catholicism was present from New Testament times?

Peter is always listed as the first apostle in all the gospels?

Jesus didn't say that Peter would be perfect in behavior - only in his teaching?

Early Christians prove the Papal view of the Eucharist is correct?

Claims of 'cannibalism' prove the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?!

A letter to Clement proves that the Corinthians appealed to a Bishop and did not consult Scripture?

An Ignatius letter proves Papal Rome's 'presidency'?

Ignatius tells us that the Eucharist is truly the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ?

Justin also emphasizes the fact that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?

Irenaeus supports the Roman Catholic view of the Papacy and the listing of the Bishops of Rome?

Polycarp mentions Ignatius approvingly - and this supports the claims of Papal Rome?

Do the Church Fathers' beliefs support Rome or 'Fundamentalist' beliefs?

Salvation from the Perspective of the Early Church Fathers

JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE ALONE WAS DENIED BY TRENT

JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE ALONE - DENIED BY VATICAN II

PAPAL ROME DENIES SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE IN ITS DEFINITION OF JUSTIFICATION

PAPAL ROME DENIES SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE IN A MULTITUDE OF OTHER WAYS

Papal Roman Catholic HERESIES


If the Catholic Church were really a tool of Satan, then its exorcism rite would go against the words of Jesus?

Satan was jealous of Padre Pio and 'attacks' by Satan and evil spirits prove he was used by God?

If the Catholic Church is a tool of Satan, why does Satan harass holy Catholics?

Do Catholics check their minds in at the door?

Should we point out Papal anti-democratic behaviour - as well as the heretical nature of some 'Protestant' pastors? 

Papists believe that each 'Protestant' has the right to interpret the Bible personally so that millions of 'views' exist?

Protestants don't have Christian unity while 'one billion Catholics' have 'one set of doctrine'?

'Protestant' arguments have little power against Catholics who know the Bible and History?

We can add to these many other un-Scriptural innovations such as:  monks; nuns; monasteries; convents; forty days Lent; holy week; Palm Sunday; Ash Wednesday; All Saints day; Candlemas day; fish day; meat days; incense; holy oil; holy palms; Christopher medals; charms; novenas - and still others.

So we have a clear record of Papal Rome's steadily increasing departure from the simplicity of the Gospel and proof that the Papal Roman Catholic religion now practiced is the outgrowth of centuries of error. 
Human inventions have been substituted for Bible truth and practice.  Intolerance and arrogance have replaced the love and kindness and tolerance that were the distinguishing qualities of the first century Christians so that, in Papal Roman Catholic countries, Protestants and other sincere believers in Christ who do not acknowledge the authority of the pope have been, and are, subject to all kinds of restrictions and in some cases even forbidden to practice their religion.  It is clear from history that the distinctive attitude of the present day Roman Church was fixed largely by the Council of Trent (1545-1563), with its more than 100 anathemas or curses pronounced against all who would ever dare to go against Papal Rome's decisions.

The doctrines and practices above can be dated to the time they became a part of the Roman system and we know that not one of them became a part of the system until centuries after the time of Christ!  Most of these doctrines and practices are binding on all Papal Roman Catholics, for they have been proclaimed by a supposedly infallible pope or church council.  To deny any doctrine or practice proclaimed officially in this way involves one in mortal sin. 
What will be next - the full deification of Mary? Mary is already mis-presented in current Roman teaching as a Mediator along with Christ:  the 'Mediatrix of all graces,' and the people are being told that the way to approach Christ is through His mother.  'To Christ through Mary,' is the slogan despite the clear Scriptural doctrine that declares:  'For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in its proper time' (1 Timothy 2:5).  The images of Mary have outnumbered those of Christ for many years, and more prayer is offered to the paganised Mary than to Christ.  The Papal teaching that Mary's sufferings, particularly those at the cross, were redemptive in the same sense that Christ's sufferings were redemptive have not one jot of Scriptural backing but, since the pope was proclaimed infallible (by himself!) in 1870 he therefore no longer needs the authority of an ecumenical council.

How can the Roman Church boast that she never changes or teaches new doctrines! Sem per idem - 'Always the same' is her motto, but the fact that not one of the doctrines in the above list has any support in the Bible disproves conclusively the claim of the priests that their religion is the same as that taught by Christ and that the popes have been the faithful custodians of that truth.

The fact is that many of the above listed rites and ceremonies (e.g.  temples, incense, oil lamps, votive offerings, holy water, holy days and seasons of devotion, processions, blessings of fields, sacerdotal vestments and the tonsure of priests, monks and nuns, images) are all taken directly from paganism or from Old Testament Judaism. 
As much as 75 percent of Roman ritual is of pagan origin as a result of the influx of pagans who entered the church at Papal Rome for political reasons under the influence of Constantine.  While the Roman Church has hurled the name 'heretic' at all who differ with her, the above list shows that the real heretics originate in Papal Rome and the truly orthodox are the evangelical Christians.  Scripture is clear on this:

'But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.  ...  Making void the word of God by your tradition, which ye have delivered:  and many such like things ye do' (Mark 7:7,13).

'To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them' (Isaiah 8:20).

Hence the apostle Paul was inspired to write this warning to the early church:

'I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them' (Acts 20:29-30). 

'But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema' (Galatians 1:8).

If the Catholic Church were really a tool of Satan, then its exorcism rite would go against the words of Jesus?


You writeNow I'm going to switch gears and talk about something that all Fundamentalists believe that defies reality, and that belief is that the Catholic Church is a tool of Satan.  Again, I can turn to the Bible and prove that that belief is a false one.  When the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out devils by the power of Satan, what did Jesus say in reply?  'A house divided cannot stand.'  For all 2000 years of its existence, the Catholic Church has had members who practice the exorcism of evil spirits.  If the Catholic Church were really a tool of Satan, then its exorcism rite would go against the words of Jesus, would it not?  Only Jesus can be your judge, not me, but I am concerned that when Fundamentalists proclaim that the Catholic Church is a tool of Satan, they may be risking blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

TCE:  Let us see what really defies reality!  First, there are many interesting aspects to this application of Mark 3:20-30:

20  And He *came home, and the multitude *gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal.  21  And when His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, 'He has lost His senses.'  22  And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, 'He is possessed by Beelzebul,' and 'He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.'  23  And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, 'How can Satan cast out Satan?  24 
'And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  25  'And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  26  'And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!  27  'But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.  28  'Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter;  29  but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin' 30  because they were saying, 'He has an unclean spirit.'

Many of the exorcisms with which we have become familiar in modern literature and history have been performed by Papal Roman Catholic priests.  Every Papal Roman Catholic diocese is supposed to have an official exorcist according to some Catholic writers, and no exorcism is to be performed except by permission of the bishop and then only by the men who are officially appointed for this service.  When one studies Papal Roman Catholic exorcism practices one is struck by the great difference between such attempts at driving out devils and the exorcisms performed by Jesus and the apostles. 
In the Bible an exorcism is usually a very simple command to the demon to leave and the whole process is over in a very short time (see list below).  A Papal Roman Catholic exorcism, on the other hand, is carried out with elaborate ceremony and sometimes lasts for months with individual sessions lasting as long as the exorcising priest is able to stay awake!  Some would say that the evidence indicates that such exorcisms - performed with the mechanical repetition of Bible passages, prayers to the saints and holy water and votive candles - are successful some of the time.  Luther explained such successes as being a means which the devil uses to strengthen the hold which the false doctrines of the Roman Church have on men.  Such an explanation is in accord with the Biblical teaching that the Anti-christ will be able to deceive men with his 'lying wonders' (2 Thessalonians  2:9). 

But there is an alternative explanation.  There is some evidence that Papal Rome simply replaced the exorcising rituals of the kabbalists and theurgists (
theurgy - from Gk. θεουργία - the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving henosis, and perfecting oneself) with a few of their own invented rituals transposed into the formula that they brought before them when they joined the church.  Examining fragments from the forms of exorcism employed by kabbalists and Papists one finds identity in phraseology which may explain one of the reasons why the Papal Roman Catholic Church has always desired to keep the faithful in ignorance by using Latin as the language of her prayers and ritual.  Only those with direct knowledge of the two 'systems' would be able to compare the rituals of the Church and the occultists.  The best Latin scholars were, until a comparatively recent date, either churchmen, or dependent upon the Church.  Common people could not read Latin, and even if they could, the reading of the books on magic was prohibited, under the penalty of anathema and excommunication.  The cunning device of the confessional made it almost impossible to consult, even surreptitiously, what the priests call a grimoire (a devil's scrawl), or Ritual of Magic.  To make assurance doubly sure, the Church began destroying or concealing everything of the kind she could lay her hands upon.

The following texts have been translated from the
Kabbalistic Ritual, and that generally known as the Roman Ritual.  The latter was promulgated in 1851 and 1852, under the sanction of Cardinal Engelbert, Archbishop of Malines, and of the Archbishop of Paris.  Speaking of it, the demonologist des Mousseaux declared:  'It is the ritual of Paul V, revised by the most learned of modern Popes, by the contemporary of Voltaire, Benedict XIV'


KABBALISTIC (Jewish and Pagan) Exorcism of Salt


The Priest-Magician blesses the
Salt, and says'Creature of Salt, in thee may remain the WISDOM (of God); and may it preserve from all corruption our minds and bodies.  Through Hochmael (God of wisdom), and the power of Ruach Hochmael (Spirit of the Holy Ghost) may the Spirits of matter (bad spirits) before it recede.  ...  Amen.'

Papal Roman Catholic Exorcism of Salt


The Priest blesses the
Salt and says:  'Creature of Salt, I exorcise thee in the name of the living God .  .  .  become the health of the soul and of the body! Everywhere where thou art thrown may the unclean spirit be put to flight.  ...  Amen.'

KABBALISTIC (Jewish and Pagan) Exorcism of Water (and Ashes)


'Creature of the Water, I exorcise thee .  .  .  by the three names which are Netsah, Hod, and Jerod (kabbalistic trinity), in the beginning and in the end, by Alpha and Omega, which are in the Spirit Azoth (Holy Ghost, or the 'Universal Soul'), I exorcise and adjure thee ...  Wandering eagle, may the Lord command thee by the wings of the bull and his flaming sword.'

Papal Roman Catholic Exorcism of Water


'
Creature of the water, in the name of the Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost [triune God of the Bible].  .  .  be exorcised.  ...  I adjure thee in the name of the Lamb .  .  .  that trod upon the basilisk and the aspic, and who crushes under his foot the lion and the dragon.'

These are quotations from the revision of the Ritual from 1851-2 and a similar pattern can be found in the ritual of ceremonial magic of the kabbalists of the Middle Ages, who followed Papal Rome's error in simply modelling the  language upon their inaccurate and dangerous beliefs about Christ [thinking he was a 'magician' like themselves]!

Reports of Roman Catholic priests who employed these dangerous and un-Scriptural rituals, even inviting the demons into their own bodies, show that some died during the rituals.  Are there any Scriptural precedents for such occurrences? First compare the words of the Lord Jesus Christ when 'exorcising' demons and notice how He used simple phraseology:

Matthew 8:32 He said to them [demons], 'Go!'
Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered, 'Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Matthew 17:18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
Mark 7:29 Then he told her, 'For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.'
Mark 7:30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Luke 4:35 'Be quiet!' Jesus said sternly.  'Come out of him!' Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
Luke 8:30 Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?'   'Legion,' he replied, because many demons had gone into him.  31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.  32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside.  The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission.  33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
Luke 9:42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion.  But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.  43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

Compare the Scriptural example set by Jesus and followed by Paul when he cast the demon out of the slave girl (
Acts 16:16-18):

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying.  17 She followed Paul and us, crying, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." 18 And this she did for many days.  But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.

Do we see in these examples a pattern to follow?  Is it the pattern of the Son of God - the Holy Word of God - or the inventions of men as used by Roman priests? 
Do we have a Scriptural example of the likely result when men attempt to imitate Jesus but do not acknowledge Him and His position of authority as described by the Bible? Yes, we do! Turn to Acts 19:13 and read what happened when the 'magician' sons of Sceva attempted to cast demons out of a man:

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed.  They would say, 'In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.' 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.  15 One day the evil spirit answered them, 'Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?' 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all.  He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

Conclusion?  The exorcisms of Papal Rome are not the deliverances of the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples!

Since you bring up the question of the
fruits of Papal Roman Catholicism let us look at the Scriptural view:

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  (Matthew 7:20)

To answer this question one need only look at the fruits of Papism.  A list of apparent successes is not proof of authenticity.  Although you may try and use them in an effort to prove the authenticity of Papal Rome, we know that you will not acknowledge the accomplishments of other organizations (although those into Ecumenism might insult us by calling us 'separated brethren') who have a similar record of 'successes'.  Papal Rome is consistent with many other groups preaching a false gospel who profess that their leaders are the only ones with the authority to speak the things of God, and that all others are in a state of apostasy.  Despite this claim, the popes have often contradicted one another and their traditions are shown to be the traditions of men.  Close examination proves the 'fruits' of Papal Rome to be tainted.

Satan was jealous of Padre Pio and 'attacks' by Satan and evil spirits prove he was used by God?


You write:  I can tell you about some anecdotes about Satan and the Catholic Church, too.  You may have heard of Padre Pio, the Italian priest who died in 1965, and was either beatified or canonized by Pope John Paul II last year.  Padre Pio was the only priest ever known to have the stigmata, the nail wounds of Christ in his hands and feet.  (St.  Francis of Assissi in the 13th century was the first Catholic known to have the stigmata, and only a few Catholics have had them since).  When Padre Pio said Mass, during the Consecration, when the Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, his hand wounds would bleed.  But the stigmata were not the only source of Padre Pio's suffering, however.  Satan was jealous of the Padre's leading people to Christ, and evil spirits used to attack the holy priest at night.  His body was covered with bruises from their vicious pummelling.

Another priest you may have heard of is St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests.  He was pastor in the village of Ars, France, in the 1800's, and he is known as the Cure of Ars.  The Cure was gifted by God with the ability to see the state of grace of a person's soul, and people (including bishops) would come from miles around and wait in line for days to confess their sins to him and to gain his spiritual advice.  The Cure heard confessions for 18-20 hours a day, and of course got very little sleep.  One night as he was sleeping, Satan grabbed the Cure by the ankles and yanked him out of bed!  This was the beginning of a ritual that went on for years.  The saint was terrified at first, but then just got into the habit of going back into bed and back to sleep.  In one of his appearances to the Cure, Satan said, 'If there were but three priests like you in the world, I would lose most of my kingdom.'

One holy Catholic I'm sure you have never heard of is Bernadette Cyr, of Biddeford, Maine.  I know her personally, as she helped me get through months of agonizing suffering when I had my disabling seizure 5 years ago.  Bernadette suffered from epilepsy for 33 years, and for 12 years she couldn't be left alone, as she had 8-12 grand mal seizures a day!  And to add more to her extreme suffering, one day out of the blue, Satan started harrassing her, trying to get her to turn her back on God for allowing her to suffer so much.  This went on daily for 2 years.  Bernadette is a woman of great faith, however, and she persevered in prayer.  God showed great mercy to her on June 25, 1978, by instantly curing her of her epilepsy and several other serious health problems.

When Bernadette was cured, she was blessed with the stigmata.  She has also been given the gift of healing.  She holds healing services at a small chapel that was built on her property, and she has also traveled North America holding services.  Jesus has wrought many wonderful miracles as she has laid hands on people and prayed over them in His Name.  Satan has not given up on Bernadette, however.  For 2 or 3 days before each healing service, he still continues to harrass her.  Not only is Satan jealous of Jesus' healings, but he knows that because of them and Bernadette's witness to the Faith, many hearts will be led to Christ.  I would recommend that you check out Bernadette's website, littlehouseofprayer.net.  You may have to search Google to find it, as I cannot always bring it up on Yahoo.  You will notice that in her picture, Bernadette is holding her hands behind her back, as she is very modest about her stigmata.

If the Catholic Church is a tool of Satan, why does Satan harass holy Catholics?


You write:  So I ask you, why, if the Catholic Church is a tool of Satan, does Satan harrass holy Catholics?  Doesn't it make you wonder?  These people I have mentioned are only a sampling of holy Catholics who have been harrassed by Satan.  There have been many others.  I have never heard of a Fundamentalist, or any Protestant for that matter, who has been so harrassed.  Have you?  The only Protestant I know who claimed that Satan appeared to him was Martin Luther, and Luther wrote that Satan spoke with approval of Luther's new doctrine of justification by faith alone.

TCE:  You have really answered your own question when you write that you have 'never heard of a Fundamentalist, or any Protestant for that matter, who has been so harassed'.  You were critical of Luther when Satan apparently appeared to him and congratulated him, as you wrote in your first e-mail.  But when Satan apparently congratulates 'the Cure' by saying 'If there were but three priests like you in the world, I would lose most of my kingdom'!  you cannot see what is in front of your nose?  Does the Bible indicate that the appearance by demons or Satan to a servant of God always reflects on the spirituality of the person?  God allowed Jesus to be tempted by Satan (Matthew 4), but this was an absolutely unique occasion reflecting the utter dedication of our Lord to His forthcoming trials before, and at, Calvary.  Why would God allow Satan to appear to those exhibiting 'stigmata' - imitating Christ?  Only Satan has any interest in counterfeiting something true and substituting something false.  By contrast, we have the apostle Paul entreating God for release from his 'thorn in the flesh' (2 Corinthians 12:7-10):

'7 And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.  8 Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; 9 but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.'

God declared
'My power is made perfect in weakness' and many have speculated about the nature of Paul's thorn - was it Satan or demons that attacked the apostle?  Clearly, anyone who  seeks comparison with the spirituality of the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul will think that receiving the same torments or marks will make it clear that they are 'spiritual giants.'  Unfortunately for them it is clear that Satan is the one with most to gain from such a deception, whether the signs are from him or generated through self-mutilation.  Search your Bible in vain to try and find one example of post or pre-resurrection 'stigmata' - for not one exists in all the saints!  Again, 'stigmata' are yet one more example of post-Constantine addition by Papal Rome.

It is noteworthy that only since St.  Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226) devoted himself to the imitation of  Christ, and apparently inflicted himself with wounds to perpetuate the first stigmatic fraud, have there been several hundred others since, including Magdalena de la Cruz (1487-1560) of Spain (who admitted her fraud when she became seriously ill) and Therese Neumann of Bavaria (1898-1962).  The latter reportedly survived for 35 years eating only the 'bread' of the Holy Eucharist at mass each morning. 
The source of her wounds can be found in her occultic practices of clairvoyancy and astral projection.

As the thirteenth century advanced, exhibitions of stigmata began to proliferate and, within a hundred years of St.  Francis's death, over twenty cases had occurred.  The trend continued in successive centuries, with no fewer than 321 stigmatics being recorded by 1908.  Not only were they invariably Catholic, but more than a third had come from Italy and the rest mostly from France, Spain, and Portugal, demonstrating that the Roman Catholic countries, mostly with a Latin and Mediterranean influence, have dominated the history of stigmata.  The twentieth-century record of stigmata, however, shows a change in pattern.  Italy dominated somewhat less, and cases were reported from Great Britain, Australia, and the United States.  The latter included (in 1972) a ten-year-old African-American girl named Cloretta Robinson, a Baptist and thus one of a very few non-Catholic Christians to have exhibited the stigmata (including at least three Anglicans).  One of the more recent stigmatics, Fr.  James Bruce, claimed not only to have Christ's wounds but also that religious statues wept in his presence.  This was in 1992 in a suburb of Washington, D.C., but the 'miracles' have apparently since ceased. 
At least one 'stigmatic' Catholic priest has been caught on film inflicting the wounds on himself.

There are good reasons for believing the stigmata are usually self-inflicted, rather than psychosomatic or miraculous. 
It is noticeable that no stigmatic ever manifests these wounds from start to finish in the presence of others.  Only when they are un-watched do they start to bleed.  One who claimed exception to this rule, Catia Rivas, has been proven a fraud in other ways that discredit her claims.  When an alleged miracle occurs we should ask ourselves whether the 'sign' is Scriptural - the answer is emphatically 'No!'  And, which would be more miraculous, the alleged miracle or that we are being hoaxed?  Reasonableness requires us to go with the lesser of two miracles, the least improbable, and conclude that we are witnessing not miracles but frauds.  All 32 or so recorded cases of stigmata have been Roman Catholics and all but four of those cases were women.  No case of stigmata is known to have occurred before the thirteenth century when the crucified Jesus became a standard icon of the Papal Roman Catholic Church in the west.  Reasonableness comes down heavily on the non-miraculous and, rather, fraudulent explanation.

Regarding the stigmata endured for 50 years by Padre Pio, you forget to mention the extraordinary and blasphemous claims of Papal Rome that his 'wounds' were also in payment for the sins of the world.  The Bible repeatedly assures us that Christ suffered the full penalty for sin:  'In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace' (Ephesians 1:7; cf.  Colossians 1:14).  There is nothing left for sinners to pay in order to receive the pardon offered by God's grace.  The debt has been paid in full.  'It is finished!' Christ cried in triumph just before He died upon the cross (John 19:30).  To suggest otherwise is the most serious heresy.  Pio claimed that more spirits of the dead than living persons visited him in his monastery cell.  The spirits came to thank him for paying for their sins with his sufferings so they could be released from purgatory and go to heaven This despite the clear Biblical warnings against consulting with the dead (Isaiah 8:19; 19:3; 29:4; Leviticus 20:6)!  Other monks testified that they heard multitudes of voices talking with Padre Pio at night and, according to monks who lived with him, the last big demonic tussle was in July, 1964, when they heard him calling out from his cell and found him on the floor, his forehead 'slit open'.  He told a priest later 'the devil tried to scratch out my eyes.'  The next day, the devil is said to have spoken through a possessed person, saying:  'I went to visit somebody.  I took revenge.'  This is the standard of evidence we are expected to naively accept as proof of 'sainthood.'

Many people said Padre Pio was able to predict events in their lives or knew what they were about to confess and it is claimed that he was seen in two places at the same time - an occultic feat the Papal Roman Catholic Church naively accepts as a Christian gift called 'bi-location' rather than occultic 'astral projection.' 
We might ask why the Vatican investigated and rehabilitated him twice in the 1930s and 1960s when he was ordered not to say mass in public or hear confessions before eventually being cleared of charges of sexual misconduct and fraud.  Considering Papal Rome's record with many sexually abusive priests we do not hold confidence in any 'investigation' they carry out!

John the Baptist hailed Christ as
'the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world' (John 1:29).  All others (including Pio, and other 'stigmatised papists'), being sinners ('all have sinned'- Romans 3:23) would have to die for their own sins and therefore could not also pay for sins of another person.  Peter declared that Christ once for all time 'suffered for sins, the just [sinless one] for [us] the unjust, that he might bring us to God' (1 Peter 3:18).  Yet Catherine of Siena, Padre Pio, and other such 'suffering saints' are revered and prayed to by millions of Catholics, including the current pope, for having suffered for the sins of others.  They are made greater than Christ in the sense that His suffering leaves good Catholics still in purgatory, whereas Padre Pio's suffering supposedly releases multitudes to heavenCatherine of Siena, who persuaded Gregory XI, seventh of the Avignon popes, to return to Papal Rome, is recognized today as a Catholic saint.  She was a staunch supporter of Urban VI, but he is shown on the lists today as an anti-pope!  Just before her death, Catherine, who had lengthy trances in which she allegedly saw heaven, purgatory, and hell, received permission from God (so she said) to allow her 'to bear the punishment for all the sins of the world.'  Yet Christ's death had already paid the full penalty for sin.  Was she excommunicated as a heretic for such blasphemy? No, she was so admired for her 'sacrifice' that the Papal Roman Catholic Church made her a saint.  Vatican II declares that believers have always 'carried their crosses to make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others...  [to] help their brothers obtain salvation from God...  .'  Such blasphemy is one of the abominations originated by the Papal Roman Catholic Church - and which she still holds to today.  Can there be any greater abomination than teaching that sinners for whom Christ paid the full penalty of sin need yet to 'make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others'?

Only blind submission to the Church prevents the Papal Roman Catholic adherent from seeing that the doctrine of purgatory contains an obvious and fatal contradiction.  On the one hand we are told that the sacrifice of Christ is not enough to get one to heaven, but in addition to Christ's sufferings on the cross the forgiven sinner must himself suffer torment to be purged of his sin.  On the other hand, however, and in direct contradiction to Scripture, it is said that the Mass, which is the representation or perpetual renewal of Christ's sacrifice, reduces (by some unknown amount) one's suffering.  Presumably, if enough Masses were said one would be
purged by the expiation of all sins without any suffering at all.  So there is no need for one to suffer at all to be purged! If one truly had to suffer before heaven's gate could open, the Church would have nothing to offer and would lose a major means of income.  The same would be true if Christ's sacrifice for sin were enough to purge the sinner totally - as the Bible teaches.  The Catholic Church would again be out of business.  Therefore, to keep the Church operating and its coffers full, it is taught that one may be purged of sin by certain means which only the Church can provide, and that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was insufficient to purge of sin, so that the Mass, for which the Church receives income, can be credited with reducing suffering in purgatory and opening the gate of heaven.  How amazing that what Christ's suffering on the cross could not effect, the alleged repetition of that suffering re-enacted on Catholic altars can accomplish.

Moreover, the sufferings of others also are said to reduce the time needed for purging in purgatory.  The stigmata of Padre Pio and the sufferings of the 'saints' can thus accomplish what the sacrifice of Christ on the cross could not so that Papal Rome claims: 
'Following in Christ's steps, those who believe in him have always ...  carried their crosses to make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others.'  Christ's cross could only forgive but could not purge sin; yet the crosses carried by others can purge sin and thus can do more than the cross of Christ!  So the doctrine of purgatory contains a fatal contradiction.  It declares that one must suffer in order to be purged of one's sins; yet at the same time it says one need not suffer if certain rules are followed.  The major means of escaping suffering is through the repetition of the Mass, but there are many others.  The reduction or elimination of suffering in purgatory is also supposedly effected through un-Scriptural money-grubbing 'indulgences.'  All of these factors prove that the gospel of Papal Rome is 'another gospel' (Galatians 1:6-9).

Finally, we include the report from the James Randi website at  - on a television show in which many of the popular hoaxes which are perpetrated upon men as miracles from God (including 'stigmata') were supposedly exhibited.  It is no wonder that people like Randi are skeptics - they simply know too much about the methods used to deceive the gullible.  There we read:

I received a storm of email and phone calls following the Fox television network special 'Signs from God; Science Tests Faith' that was shown on July 28.  Though I'm sure that I could almost write a book based upon the material that appeared in this incredibly inept presentation, I will limit my comments here to just the highlights. 

A string of academics appeared on screen to make their pronouncements about the phenomena that were oohed and aahed over by co-host Michael Willesee (who was also the executive producer of the show), but no conjuror was called in, as if there were no possibility of any fraud taking place.  That would have been the least that Fox could have done.  The overall gushing acceptance of each and every claim made, left the viewer with a fear of imminent tooth decay.

Strangely enough, the only rational opinions expressed concerning the wonders that were trotted out on stage, came from a Catholic priest, who cautiously warned the hosts that perhaps they were not witnessing miracles.  Unfortunately, he also mentioned the possibility that some of these phenomena were not the result of divine intervention, or of fraud, but of the Devils work. 

When one of the scientists discovered that one of the wonder workers named Katya Rivas exhibited 'Delta state' signals on an EEG readout, he suggested that it might be the result of a residual epileptic condition, but this expert opinion was promptly ignored in favor of an unexplainable miracle, obviously in an effort to not overly tax the audiences intellect.  In fact, every time that a likely explanation was offered by the very experts that the producers had called in to declare their opinions, the hosts hastened to rationalize away any suggestion that a miracle had not been demonstrated. 

In one particularly glaring example of this tendency, Willesee demonstrated his skill at obfuscation when a forensic scientist
testified that blood found upon a plaster religious figure was from a female human, which rather damaged the contention that this was the blood of Jesus Christ.  Since the owner of this statue was a female human, a suspicion arose in the minds of perhaps a tiny percentage of the viewing audience, that the blood might be hers, rather than being of a divine origin.  Willesee proudly opined that since Christ had no father (?), his blood might very well be female.  I leave you to your individual opinions on this opinion. 

When rose petals placed upon a church altar were then enclosed between the pages of a Bible, it was found that various religious figures were showing up clearly on the petals and could be seen when held up to the light.  A botanist soon brought that theory crashing down when he demonstrated that a medallion pressed firmly against a petal produced exactly the same effect, though not exactly the same figures were shown to have been obtained by this means.  A simple question:  would it not have been clever to shop around the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia, where the wonder worker lived, and purchase religious medallions that would produce EXACTLY the same images? These medallions are turned out by the millions, and I feel quite certain that duplicates could easily have been obtained, and we would have definitively 'laid the ghost' of this spurious miracle, very easily.  As it is, the faithful can always claim that since the duplication of the effect was not 'exact,' the case against the rose petals being of divine origins, remains unproven. 

But the big feature of this ninety-minute fiasco, was the production of 'stigmata' on the hands and feet of Señora Rivas, as she lay abed for three and one-half hours, after announcing that she would exhibit the wounds of Christ  -  a common claim among saintly folks. 
While Willesee ran on about how closely they were watching the woman, which was obviously a hollow claim, since she tossed and turned and was embraced and tended to by family all the way through the process, we were shown intermittent glimpses of her face, as well as her hands and feet.  At one point, a small cross shaped mark appeared at one of the critical points, looking very much like the results of shallow incisions.  These could of course have easily been inflicted by the woman herself.  When these tiny wounds began to produce blood, Willesee piously dabbed up minute samples using Q-tips.  These were subsequently presented to their forensic expert, and to the great disappointment of the hosts, were identified as being of human female origin.  The forensic expert was rather cut off in mid-opinion, just as very interesting things might have been pronounced about the samples.  Please note:  a doctor was not called in, nor was any present.  The family and several priests were there, along with Michael Willesee, as if that were sufficient expertise for them to employ in this unremarkable demonstration. 

It is interesting to note that at one point, they got carried away in a zeal of scientific exuberance, and actually had their representative in Bolivia place a few rose petals, live on camera, into the pages of a Bible.  This was to discover whether or not a mysterious representation of a divine figure would show up when the petals were later examined.  We never found out whether magical forces had performed this feat, because they never went back to it.  Gee! I wonder if it worked?

Much was made of the fact that several religious statuettes in the Rivas household were dripping tears and blood, presumably originating from Jesus Christ.  Well, the blood tests proved negative in that respect, but still the mystery remained about how the liquids got there in the first place.  Now, I don't think you have to be an intellectual giant to come up with a solution to this problem.  Of course, the Fox TV people opted to send one of the figures to a prestigious laboratory and have it CAT-scanned.  As usual, the emphasis was placed upon super-technology, and not upon simple expert examination.  The CAT-scan, not to my surprise, revealed no 'mechanism' whatsoever that could have produced the two liquids.  But when I was visited here at the JREF offices in Florida by a video crew who were preparing an item for local television, I was able to cause a statute  -  one that they purchased and brought with them  -  to weep uncontrollably at will.  I simply squirted the figure surreptitiously, and the liquid ran down the face and arms quite convincingly.  At that same session, I caused 'holy oil' (actually Mazola) to appear between the glass of a picture frame and the picture inside. 
It was done by simple trickery, and looked just as good as any of the miracles shown on the Fox TV presentation.  No, better. 

I can only brand this shameful farce as the most obvious hoax since the 'Alien Autopsy' was given to us, and please note that this, too, was the product of Fox TV.  It appears that the American public never tires of nonsense, and so long as that hunger persists, Fox Television will be there to supply it. 

Finally, I direct your attention to the examination of Señora Rivas's 'stigmata' the day after she had been 'afflicted with the wounds of Christ.' Here, as if we needed it, was the definitive evidence that the Señora was perpetrating a blatant hoax on us. 
The extreme close-up video shots we were offered clearly showed a series of tiny incisions, not any sort of a puncture wound that we might expect if we were viewing a genuine phenomenon.  This woman was showing us self-inflicted cuts and any medically informed person could have testified to that fact.  But we were not offered the privilege of such expert assistance because that would have evaporated this miracle, as it would have done to all the other farces that we were shown. 

Are we losing this battle? With the millions of dollars involved in such a production, we must abandon all hopes of outperforming the schlock artists they simply have the financial advantage over us.  We can hope to influence a new generation, perhaps, but I have long ago abandoned the task of converting the older generation to a more rational attitude; they simply need and certainly embrace their own versions of the irrational and they cherish their foolishness devotedly.  I wish that I could afford a more generous attitude. 
The solutions to these purported miracles are so simple, so basic, so easily obtained, that those who accept them should bear some of the shame, as well.  These are kids' tricks, not highly sophisticated illusions.  They are obvious scams, and should be seen as such'.

We have read similar statements in Britain by a former 'lay-preacher,' Paul Daniels, who claims to be able to counterfeit the miracles of Jesus by methods similar to the ones exhibited by Randi.  Anyone claiming Jesus to be a fraud only needs to supply the magician and - for the sake of science only, you understand - we are willing to supply the cross, the nails, the guards, the leg-breaking if necessary, and the final spear thrust (we are certain that the death certificate, tomb, massive stone, and additional guard would not be necessary, but are willing to supply those too), to ensure that there is no counterfeiting of the greatest miracle of all!  Any volunteers?

(Continued on page 282)

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