(Continued from page 328)
Papal Rome is critical of anyone, whether it is Jerome or Döllinger, who dares contradict 'the Church'!
If the 'canon' was so important to Rome, why did the Council of Florence fail to 'formally' record it?
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
The Latin Church
In the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages we find evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals . There is a current friendly to them, another one distinctly unfavourable to their authority and sacredness, while wavering between the two are a number of writers whose veneration for these books is tempered by some perplexity as to their exact standing, and among those we note St. Thomas Aquinas . Few are found to unequivocally acknowledge their canonicity. The prevailing attitude of Western medieval authors is substantially that of the Greek Fathers. The chief cause of this phenomenon in the West is to be sought in the influence, direct and indirect, of St. Jerome's depreciating Prologus . The compilatory 'Glossa Ordinaria' was widely read and highly esteemed as a treasury of sacred learning during the Middle Ages ; it embodied the prefaces in which the Doctor of Bethlehem had written in terms derogatory to the deuteros, and thus perpetuated and diffused his unfriendly opinion. And yet these doubts must be regarded as more or less academic. The countless manuscript copies of the Vulgate produced by these ages, with a slight, probably accidental, exception, uniformly embrace the complete Old Testament Ecclesiastical usage and Roman tradition held firmly to the canonical equality of all parts of the Old Testament . There is no lack of evidence that during this long period the deuteros were read in the churches of Western Christendom . As to Roman authority, the catalogue of Innocent I appears in the collection of ecclesiastical canons sent by Pope Adrian I to Charlemagne, and adopted in 802 as the law of the Church in the Frankish Empire ; Nicholas I, writing in 865 to the bishops of France, appeals to the same decree of Innocent as the ground on which all the sacred books are to be received.
TCE: While The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that 'In the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages we find evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals ... veneration for these books is tempered by some perplexity as to their exact standing, and among those we note St. Thomas Aquinas [and] Few are found to unequivocally acknowledge their canonicity' we note that they still cling to the view that 'The chief cause of this phenomenon in the West is to be sought in the influence, direct and indirect, of St. Jerome's depreciating Prologus ... it embodied the prefaces in which the Doctor of Bethlehem had written in terms derogatory to the deuteros, and thus perpetuated and diffused his unfriendly opinion.' But how feeble and contradictory is their claim that 'these doubts must be regarded as more or less academic'! When, at the end of the fourth century, Jerome was clearly recognised by the 'inspired and infallible' Pope Damasus to be the most learned Biblical scholar of his day and commissioned to prepare a standard Latin version of the Scriptures ('the Latin Vulgate'), it really is too ridiculous to accuse an academic or being 'too academic' and to try and ignore his work because it clearly contradicts 'Trent' and a multitude of Papal attempts to overturn his conclusions. It is all too obvious that Papal Rome adopts the same tone whenever someone like Jerome - or Döllinger! - dare contradict the conclusion desired by 'the Church'!
The Catholic Encyclopedia ignores such inconvenient facts and claims 'countless manuscript copies of the Vulgate produced by these ages, with a slight, probably accidental, exception, uniformly embrace the complete Old Testament Ecclesiastical usage and Roman tradition held firmly to the canonical equality of all parts of the Old Testament ... There is no lack of evidence that during this long period the deuteros were read in the churches of Western Christendom' thus brushing off the written warnings of Jerome as if they were simply an 'unfriendly opinion' from a Doctor who was 'too academic'! The fact that Papal Rome appeals to 'Roman tradition' when the facts are too unacceptable for her popes merely expresses, again, the truth that they will always ignore the facts when an appeal to the emotion of unprovable 'Tradition' might deliver the desired result. But nothing can overcome the fact that the Apocrypha are exposed as non-canonical fakes when the evidence is examined carefully and it is impossible for Papal Rome to provide concrete evidence that 'canonical equality' was a reality in all 'the churches of Western Christendom'. That the more 'ignorant and unstable' (2 Peter 3:16) accepted the 'deuteros' as at least useful for edification is a long way from accepting them as having 'canonical equality' to the genuine, inspired books of the Old Testament.
Cardinal Gustav von Hohenlohe remarked: 'I need no other argument against papal infallibility than this single one, that in my entire life I never met a man who was less particular about the truth than Pius IX.'
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
The canon of the Old Testament and the general councils
The Council of Florence (1442)
In 1442, during the life, and with the approval, of this Council, Eugenius IV issued several Bulls, or decrees, with a view to restore the Oriental schismatic bodies to communion with Rome, and according to the common teaching of theologians these documents are infallible statements of doctrine. The 'Decretum pro Jacobitis' contains a complete list of the books received by the Church as inspired, but omits, perhaps advisedly, the terms canon and canonical. The Council of Florence therefore taught the inspiration of all the Scriptures, but did not formally pass on their canonicity.
TCE: Strange that 'infallible popes' fail to consistently and infallibly declare the canon of Scripture and, as late as 1442, the 'Council of Florence ... did not formally pass on their canonicity'! The evidence certainly does not reveal that Papal Rome held any provable belief that the accuracy of the Word of God was fundamental to the Church. The truth clearly remains that, within the Papal Roman Catholic Church, the canon was still not universally accepted, anymore than Papal views on a host of other points is truly accepted by those within the organisation and The Catholic Encyclopedia can only claim, hopefully, that the omission of a clear declaration of canonicity came about 'perhaps advisedly'. Advised by who? Certainly not the Holy Spirit!
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
The Council of Trent's definition of the canon (1546)
It was the exigencies of controversy that first led Luther to draw a sharp line between the books of the Hebrew Canon and the Alexandrian writings. In his disputation with Eck at Leipzig, in 1519, when his opponent urged the well-known text from II Machabees in proof of the doctrine of purgatory, Luther replied that the passage had no binding authority since the books was [sic] outside the Canon . In the first edition of Luther's Bible, 1534, the deuteros were relegated, as apocrypha, to a separate place between the two Testaments. To meet this radical departure of the Protestants, and as well define clearly the inspired sources from which the Catholic Faith draws its defence, the Council of Trent among its first acts solemnly declared as 'sacred and canonical' all the books of the Old and New Testaments 'with all their parts as they have been used to be read in the churches, and as found in the ancient vulgate edition'. During the deliberations of the Council there never was any real question as to the reception of all the traditional Scripture. Neither--and this is remarkable--in the proceedings is there manifest any serious doubt of the canonicity of the disputed writings. In the mind of the Tridentine Fathers they had been virtually canonized, by the same decree of Florence, and the same Fathers felt especially bound by the action of the preceding ecumenical synod . The Council of Trent did not enter into an examination of the fluctuations in the history of the Canon . Neither did it trouble itself about questions of authorship or character of contents. True to the practical genius of the Latin Church, it based its decision on immemorial tradition as manifested in the decrees of previous councils and popes, and liturgical reading, relying on traditional teaching and usage to determine a question of tradition . The Tridentine catalogue has been given above.
TCE: As we have shown, Luther's statement was based on the nature of the Apocryphal works, never mind the decision made by Papal Rome's top theologian Jerome who, at the behest of Pope Damasus, produced the Vulgate and noted carefully the 'deuterocanonical' works and why they were not inspired. For The Catholic Encyclopedia to accuse Luther of using 'the exigencies of controversy' and claim that this was the reason 'that first led Luther to draw a sharp line between the books of the Hebrew Canon and the Alexandrian writings' is to ignore the facts of history in a dramatic and disingenuous manner. And the fact that the 'well-known text from II Machabees' was correctly rejected by him because 'the passage had no binding authority since the books was [sic] outside the Canon' was also based on his correct assessment and an opinion shared by the compiler/translator of the Vulgate, Jerome, and many others, such as Cardinal Cajetan and Cardinal Ximenes. To claim that Trent considered all the books of the Old and New Testaments 'sacred and canonical ... with all their parts as they have been used to be read in the churches, and as found in the ancient vulgate edition' without mention of the true ramifications of their extremely variable usage is equally artful. The claims that, at Trent:
'there never was any real question as to the reception of all the traditional Scripture. Neither - and this is remarkable - in the proceedings is there manifest any serious doubt of the canonicity of the disputed writings' is made by simply ignoring all the known disputes that occurred!
And to claim that 'In the mind of the Tridentine Fathers they had been virtually canonized, by the same decree of Florence, and the same Fathers felt especially bound by the action of the preceding ecumenical synod' is to hope that the admission already made (that the 'Council of Florence ... did not formally pass on their canonicity' - i.e. did not 'virtually canonize' the Apocrypha with the real canon at all!) has been missed or forgotten by Papal Roman Catholics and other readers.
At the end of the day Papal Rome always falls back on the same device, as they admit:
'The Council of Trent did not enter into an examination of the fluctuations in the history of the Canon. Neither did it trouble itself about questions of authorship or character of contents. True to the practical genius of the Latin Church, it based its decision on immemorial tradition as manifested in the decrees of previous councils and popes, and liturgical reading, relying on traditional teaching and usage to determine a question of tradition'.
Never mind the facts and such trifles as exegesis and hermeneutics ('character of contents'), the Papal Roman Catholic mind is made up by the decree of the popes based on nothing but invention ('immemorial tradition ... traditional teaching and usage to determine a question of tradition') is the never-ending mantra that cannot hide the truth of the machinations of Papal Rome.
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
The Vatican Council (1870)
The great constructive Synod of Trent had put the sacredness and canonicity of the whole traditional Bible forever beyond. By implication it had defined that Bible's plenary inspiration also. The Vatican Council took occasion of a recent error on inspiration to remove any lingering shadow of uncertainty on this head; it formally ratified the action of Trent and explicitly defined the Divine inspiration of all the books with their parts.
Rome desperately appealing to the canon of the Old Testament among their brothers in similar cults!
TCE: Anyone knowing the sinister machinations of the Vatican Council in 1870 will recognise the liberal dressing applied to the whole issue of 'inspiration'. And the 'the permissibility of doubt on the part of Catholics' was certainly shown by the intrigues of Pius IX at Vatican I to be just one of many freedoms that this evil fraud was never going to allow. As we recorded years ago on our pages, amongst other facts about this farce, Cardinal Gustav von Hohenlohe remarked: 'I need no other argument against papal infallibility than this single one, that in my entire life I never met a man who was less particular about the truth than Pius IX.' (August Bernhard Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible, Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1981, p121-122). Hasler was able to spend years researching the secret Vatican archives and found documented proof that revealed Pius IX to be anything but 'infallible' and, rather, known for:
'... unhealthy mysticism, the childish tantrums, the shallow sensibility, the intermittent mental absences, the strangely inappropriate language even in strictly official speeches, and the senile obstinacy all indicate the loss of a solid grip on reality...' (ibid. p124-127 - or this page)
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
The canon of the Old Testament outside the Church
Among the Eastern Orthodox
The Greek Orthodox Church preserved its ancient Canon in practice as well as theory until recent times, when, under the dominant influence of its Russian offshoot, it is shifting its attitude towards the deuterocanonical Scriptures. The rejection of these books by the Russian theologians and authorities is a lapse which began early in the eighteenth century. The Monophysites, Nestorians, Jacobites, Armenians, and Copts, while concerning themselves little with the Canon, admit the complete catalogue and several apocrypha besides.
TCE: These churches cannot be trusted with the genuine canon anymore than the Papal Roman Catholic Church ever could - all are proven hetero-liberal groups, when they are not outright cults.
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
The Protestant Churches have continued to exclude the deutero writings from their canons, classifying them as 'Apocrypha'. Presbyterians and Calvinists in general, especially since the Westminster Synod of 1648, have been the most uncompromising enemies of any recognition, and owing to their influence the British and Foreign Bible Society decided in 1826 to refuse to distribute Bibles containing the Apocrypha . Since that time the publication of the deuterocanonicals as an appendix to Protestant Bibles has almost entirely ceased in English-speaking countries. The books still supply lessons for the liturgy of the Church of England, but the number has been lessened by the hostile agitation. There is an Apocrypha appendix to the British Revised Version, in a separate volume. The deuteros are still appended to the German Bibles printed under the auspices of the orthodox Lutherans .
TCE: These high-lighted passages will be commented on elsewhere, relevant to the flabby liberality of both groups named here who are both edging ever nearer to re-unification with Papal Rome - who they never truly left, anyway.
So, having dealt with all the statements from this page of The Catholic Encyclopedia, we need to consider the latter point a little further. In translating the Scriptures into German, Luther gave one of many signs that he and the Reformation did not 'Reform' far enough, by positioning the deutero-canonical books in an intermediate position between the Old Testament and the New Testament. His resultant Lutheran church also failed to clearly define the limits of the canon and placed the Apocryphal writings by themselves as distinct and separate from Holy Scripture - an attitude shared by the most famous of the early Reformers. In the Zurich Bible of 1529, as in the Genevan version in English of 1560, the Apocryphal books were placed apart with special headings by themselves because the early Reformers did not entirely reject the Apocryphal writings because of the regard held for its usage and the traditions of centuries. But the Reformers eventually sided with those who stood by Jerome while Rome resolved to settle the matter in her usual manner and, at the Council of Trent decreed, at their fourth sitting (April 8, 1546), that the Apocryphal books were equal in authority and canonical value to the other books of sacred Scripture. To make this decree effective they added:
'If, however, anyone receive not as sacred and canonical the said books entire with all their facts, and as they have been used to be read in the Catholic church, and as they are contained in the Old Latin Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 AD) edition .... let him be anathema.'
Thus Papal Rome attempted to close forever the field of Biblical study and all free research so that the Vatican Council of 1870 not only reiterated the decree but took another step and canonized very variable tradition!
We should not forget that repeated attempts were made during the 16th and 17th centuries to have the Apocryphal books removed from the Scriptures, e.g. The Synod of Dort (1618-19), when Gomarus, Deodatus and others sought to confirm Jerome's findings, but failed. The only achievement was in getting the Apocrypha separated from the truly canonical writings and grouped by themselves, as in the Gallican Confession of 1559, the Anglican Confession of 1562, and the Second Helvetic Confession of 1566, although the Puritan Confession went further, and declared that they were of a purely secular character. The various continental and English versions of the Bible then being printed also placed them by themselves, apart from the acknowledged books, as a kind of appendix, e.g. the Zurich Bible of 1529, the French Bible of 1535, Coverdale's English translation of 1536, Matthew's of 1537, the second edition of the Great Bible of 1540, the Bishops' of 1568, and the King James Version of 1611. The first English version to omit them altogether was an edition of King James' Version published in 1629, but the custom of printing them by themselves, between the Old Testament and the New Testament, continued until 1825, when the Edinburgh Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society protested that the Society should no longer translate these Apocryphal writings and send them 'to the heathen'. The Society decisively yielded and determined to omit them (May 3, 1827) and Protestants in Great Britain and America then broke away from the practice of publishing the Apocrypha as a part of sacred Scripture. In Europe, since 1850, the tendency was to move in the same direction. But, to emphasise again the failure of many to properly 'Reform', The Church of England and the American Episcopal church failed to wholly exclude the Apocrypha 'readings' being selected from Wisdom, Ecclesiastes and Baruch, which were read on week days between October 27 and November 17. Only when the English Revised Version, produced by the Church of England in 1885, was printed without so much as a reference to the Apocryphal writings did the tendency to break away from unproven 'traditions' of Papal Rome gain real ground. This accelerated slowly so that the Irish church also removed them while the American Standard Revised Version ignored them altogether.
So, again, the evidence reveals that the omission of the Apocrypha was clearly justified by both Jews and early Christians while the 'Church Fathers' were also divided over them (as well as struggling to recognise some of the clearly canonical books) - and Jerome, despite being the most renowned translator approved by an 'infallible Pope', rejected them but was first manipulated and then ignored!
You write: Your alleged and erroneous claim of supposed geographical 'errors' in these Books is a Protestant fabrication. You might as well call Genesis unscriptural for recording the location of the Garden of Eden as around the Tigris River and Euphrates, when Eden is clearly not there today.
TCE: If you are going to accuse us of an 'alleged and erroneous claim' you will need to prove a case with facts - nothing else will do! And it is not just 'geographical 'errors' in these Books' - we gave detail of other errors too! How do you think you can just ignore these points? And your attempt to use the location of the 'Garden of Eden' to excuse your inability to explain Apocryphal errors is a foolish straw man for, not only did we never use any such example to explain the errors of the Apocryphal books, but the argument is also utterly and obviously bogus - for who knows when and how sin brought about a final end to Eden as it once was? What is the point of speculating about matters which are not important to our salvation or Christian lives? If we were meant to know the location of Eden it would be in Scripture - but there is no excuse for blatant error in books you claim are inspired by God!
Returning to the importance of the utter necessity of rejection of the Apocrypha we cannot overemphasise the damage that such heretical works cause to the true Gospel. Papal Rome tries to insert a passage which changes the emphasise from the true canon which teaches clearly that the payment for sin is through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ alone! These genuine Scriptures teach that Jesus "released us from our sins by His blood" (Revelation 1:5) and they make no mention of acts of penance, indulgences, or a place such as purgatory through which the penalty of sin can be satisfied. But Papal Rome turns to 2 Maccabees 12:39-46 to try and support its claims that purgatory has a sound Biblical basis. Its primary evidence is from these passages in Second Maccabees [cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church - Paragraph 958 & 1032] and this passage, in which Papal Rome claims to find the teaching concerning purgatory, concerns an event that occurred about 160 B.C., during a war between Judas Maccabaeus, a Jewish general, and Gorgias, governor of Idumea. Following a bloody battle, the Jews observed the Sabbath and then went out to bury their dead:
On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral. tombs. But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain. They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to light the things that are hidden. Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin. (2 Maccabees 12:39-46 NAB)
Papal Rome claims that, since the slain "had gone to rest in godliness" (2 Maccabees 12:45 NAB), they were not in hell but, since they needed to be freed from sin through atonement, they did not go directly to heaven either. Therefore the souls of the slain must have been in some third location which has been called 'purgatory'. Thus they point out that the author of Second Maccabees comments that "it was a holy and pious thought" (2 Maccabees 12:45 NAB) for Judas "to provide for an expiatory sacrifice" (2 Maccabees 12:43 NAB) and "to pray for them in death" (2 Maccabees 12:44 NAB) and, in this way, he "made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin" (2 Maccabees 12:46 NAB).
There are many examples in Scripture of the views of men which simply do not present God's 'views' - and this is one of them. Ostensibly praying for the dead in purgatory may seem to be an appealing, pious thought. But the important fact is that the 'doctrine' is clearly un-Biblical, false, and 2 Maccabees 12 does not provide a Scriptural basis for either purgatory or praying for the dead. The vast majority of Papal Roman Catholics probably do not even check out this passage which actually makes no direct reference to purgatory at all!
2 Maccabees 12 is not just extremely obscure but internally inconsistent, claiming that the slain "had gone to rest in godliness" (2 Maccabees 12:45 NAB) after revealing that these dead warriors were idolaters who had been judged by God for their sin and had apparently died in their guilt! Papal Rome has never been reticent in adding to Scripture and the fact that there is nothing in the law of Moses, or the whole of the Old Testament, that would indicate that offerings for the dead were ever an authentic part of the Jewish faith does not stop the popes from trying to lever another nice little money earner into their arsenal of false doctrines designed to achieve this end!
2 Maccabees 12 only reveals that the unknown writer of the book held to a false belief that sacrifices could atone for the sins of the dead. There is no proof that Judas Maccabaeus himself believed such a thing and the writer presents his own interpretation of Judas' actions and motivations which, when compared with Leviticus 4:1-6:7, might just be explained if he sent the money to Jerusalem to provide for a sin or trespass offering. If this were the case, his purpose would have been to atone for the defilement that the sin of the idolaters had brought upon the camp, in which case the offering was for the living, not the dead. That the writer misunderstands that possibility reveals even more the clear disparity between the true canon and this pseudepigrapha smuggled into the Alexandrian manuscripts.
One of the clearest indications of the falseness of this Apocryphal work is that the unidentified author of 2 Maccabees does not even claim to speak for God or even present his book as an original work, but states that it is the abridgement of another man's writings:
"All this, which Jason of Cyrene set forth in detail in five volumes, we will try to condense into a single book" (2 Maccabees 2:23 NAB).
This is exactly the same trap that the false prophet of the Mormon cult, Joseph Smith, fell into when he wrote in one of the books (3 Nephi 5:14-16; cf. Mormon 5:9) that supposedly make up 'another testament' (aka 'The Book of Mormon') that his record would have been better if only he had 'bigger plates'. But his writer then repeatedly gives details of abundant metal plates which are available to him but, instead of using them to create a superior record, he prattles on in utterly tiresome, space wasting, pedantically trite phrases that make it clear that the only inspiration Smith ever got came from the many bottles of alcoholic beverages that he consumed - while banning his followers from drinking the same (rather like the historical popes who forbade marriage to Papal Rome's priests while indulging in multiple adulterous relationships themselves). Here is an example of this uninspired work of Smith:
1 Nephi 9:2: And now, as I have spoken concerning these plates, behold they are not the plates upon which I make a full account of the history of my people; for the plates upon which I make a full account of my people I have given the name of Nephi; wherefore, they are called the plates of Nephi, after mine own name; and these plates also are called the plates of Nephi.
Why use one word when ten will do - yet, when an excuse is needed for the soporific 'tomes' that make up Smith's fake 'testament' (aka - 'The Book of Mormon'), the writers do not 'dare' or do not have the materials to write a 'fuller' record!?
It is no wonder that a famous Mark Twain quote exists:
'"All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the "elect" have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so "slow," so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle - keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate."
Regarding Twain's reference to the anaesthetic chloroform, he could have gone further and referenced an alternative anaesthetic within the Book of Chloroform - 'The Book of Ether'!
You write: The Bible also teaches the earth is Geocentric, however, you have no qualms about embracing the communist invented notion of a heliocentric earth.
TCE: We await your clear exposition from the Bible and known scientific facts wherein you will prove to the world that the sun goes around the earth - and thus contradict the Papal Roman Catholic Church's apology to scientists they terrorised. A 'communist invented notion'? The notion that the Earth revolves around the Sun had apparently been proposed as early as the 3rd century BCE by Aristarchus of Samos (Dreyer, 1953, p135-48; Linton, 2004, p38-9 - known from a brief passage in Archimedes's work, The Sand Reckoner). The astronomer Copernicus was threatened with excommunication when he revived the idea and scientifically exploded the geocentric theory popes adhered to in their blind faith. Galileo (1564-1642) was not just an Italian mathematical physicist and astronomer who conceived the idea for the isochronous pendulum, the sector-compass and developed the concept of mathematical laws governing the universe, but also made the first practical use of the telescope, through which he observed sunspots, the phases of Venus, discovered the four bright satellites of Jupiter and the Law of Falling Bodies, and provided an alternative to Aristotelian dynamics. His work gave credence to Copernicus' heliocentric theory, where the sun is the centre of the solar system, in place of Ptolemy's geocentric theory, which had placed the earth at the centre. Galileo was terrorised despite his infirmities and old age and despite making statements, such as:
I am inclined to think that the authority of Holy Scripture is intended to convince men of those truths which are necessary for their salvation, which, being far above man's understanding, can not be made credible by any learning, or any other means than revelation by the Holy Spirit.
In reference to the Bible, Galileo pronounced:
As to the (physical) propositions which are stated but not rigorously demonstrated, anything contrary to the Bible involved in them must be considered undoubtedly false and should be proved so by every possible means.
In a letter, Galileo wrote:
I send you a rose, which ought to please you extremely, seeing what a rarity it is at this season. And with the rose you must accept its thorns, which represent the bitter suffering of our Lord, while the green leaves represent the hope we may entertain, that through the same sacred passion we, having passed through the darkness of this short winter of our mortal life, may attain to the brightness and felicity of an eternal spring in Heaven.
Further evidence, if it were needed, that popes are not infallible is found in the tragicomic case of Galileo for, in defense of Church dogma, Pope Urban VIII (1623-44) threatened the elderly and very infirm Galileo with torture if he would not renounce his claim that the earth revolved around the sun. Declaring that this belief was contrary to Scripture the pope made Galileo kneel in fear for his life and recant of this 'heresy' before the Holy Office of the Inquisition! The fact that the geocentric view remained official Catholic dogma for centuries, with infallible pope after infallible pope affirming that the earth was the centre of the universe and all heavenly bodies, including the sun, revolved around it while astronomers revealed that the sun was not the centre of the universe and Edwin Hubble showed that it was part of a galaxy (the Milky Way) clearly passed many Papal Roman Catholics by.
But, incredible as it seems to any open minds reading these words, it was not until 1992 that the Vatican, after a 14-month study, finally admitted that Galileo had indeed been right! Although Papal Rome could not admit it, this admission was at the same time an acknowledgment that the many popes who had affirmed that Galileo was wrong were themselves fallible creatures obviously capable of making false interpretations of Scripture. Yet, laughably, Vatican II reaffirmed the dogma that only the magisterium led by the infallible pope may interpret Scripture and that all the faithful must unquestioningly accept their interpretation. No wonder Vatican II limits its endorsement of Biblical inerrancy to matters of faith and morals, stating:
'The books of Scripture firmly, faithfully and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures.'
The Knights of Columbus edition (Vatican II, 'Vatican Council II, Divine Revelation, Knights of Columbus paraphrase ed.; 111.11e.) paraphrases this section with these words:
'Hence the Bible is free from error in what pertains to religious truth revealed for our salvation. It is not necessarily free from error in other matters (e.g., natural science) [emphasis in original].'
It would appear that the God that Papal Rome believes in had the power to create the universe but His Word preserved in the Bible is not thoroughly inspired because He is ignorant about such things as 'natural science' and 'astronomy'!
The truth is clear - the 'magisterium' of Papal Rome has claimed to be infallible and, combined with 'Apostolic Succession', claims to be the only organisation capable of correctly interpreting Scripture. But if all of this was true it would have no excuse for the many mistakes of the 'Church Fathers' and popes - and therefore no excuse for the scientific mistakes it has made. The certain sign (which is shared by all cults because they are all inspired by Satan) of an anti-Christ religion is to try and negate or blame Scripture. By replacing the normal God-given reasoning processes used by individuals (and that is long before we factor in the power of God's Holy Spirit) to recognise what is the Truth of God's Word, Papal Rome continues to try and control the lives and consciences of all men and governments.
While you are supplying factual evidence (rather than your inventions and fabrications) that Rome treated men such as Galileo with kid-gloves, you can also supply your evidence that they were communists!
And you can try to find a reply to this post from one of your own:Pope Francis: "It is the Communists Who Think Like Christians"
The evidences of Papal errors and contradictions throughout history are utterly palpable!
This is how the website dialogue went with Pope Francis:
'You told me some time ago that the precept, "Love your neighbour as thyself" had to change, given the dark times that we are going through, and become "more than thyself." So you yearn for a society where equality dominates. This, as you know, is the programme of Marxist socialism and then of communism. Are you therefore thinking of a Marxist type of society?
"It it has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians. Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the marginalized have the right to decide. Not demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, whether they have faith in a transcendent God or not. It is they who must help to achieve equality and freedom". [emphasis added]
One of the most hotly contested criticism of Pope Francis is that he is ideologically aligned with Marxists. We've covered some of the connections before, so I won't rehash them here. What seems fair to say is that this is the most direct admission yet that Francis identifies his program of social justice as something compatible with Communism - itself an intrinsic evil.
The website continued:
'Francis was busy meeting with his friend Emma Bonino, Italy's most famous and prolific abortionist. They got together to talk about the migrant crisis, something so close to his heart that he not only overlooks Bonino's crimes and calls her one of Italy's "greats", he also used it to take a swipe at then presidential candidate (now president-elect) Donald Trump ...'
Francis is so reminiscent of President Obama (sad enough in itself!) that the left wing "Save mother earth" radicals couldn't rush quickly enough to embrace him as their own. Strange, isn't it? Surely the job description of a Pope is to lead the so-called faithful upon the earth -- spiritually speaking? Once again this speaks volumes about the Vatican and Papal Roman Catholic Church worldwide!
Clearly your latest incumbent is also at odds with you in more ways than two demons can tell!
You write: You also readily reject the passages of Scripture where Lord Jesus Christ emphatically states that unless you eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, you will not have eternal life. He even stressed that His Flesh is Real Food, and His Blood is Real Blood.
TCE: Since we have totally refuted this false doctrine in numerous places - such as this page - we await your refutation - including your quote from Scripture that contains the literal words you claim the Lord Jesus Christ used when:
'He even stressed that His Flesh is Real Food, and His Blood is Real Blood'!!!
You write: Lastly, the application of these arbitrary criteria of yours in rejecting Scriptural Books is only fable meant to divert fairytale-oriented persons.
TCE: Resorting to this ad hominem attack and accusations that match your other efforts - which often quote inaccurately from others works - will never refute facts and logic. If you believe we have applied 'arbitrary criteria' we await your exposé.
You write: The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the Council of Carthage.
TCE: This quote comes from http://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=2486
Let us look at other parts from that section of The Catholic Encyclopedia:
Under the title 'Canon of the New Testament' we read:
The Catholic New Testament, as defined by the Council of Trent, does not differ, as regards the books contained, from that of all Christian bodies at present. Like the Old Testament, the New has its deuterocanonical books and portions of books, their canonicity having formerly been a subject of some controversy in the Church. These are for the entire books: the Epistle to the Hebrews, that of James, the Second of St. Peter, the Second and Third of John, Jude, and Apocalypse ; giving seven in all as the number of the New Testament contested books. The formerly disputed passages are three: the closing section of St. Mark's Gospel, xvi, 9-20 about the apparitions of Christ after the Resurrection ; the verses in Luke about the bloody sweat of Jesus, xxii, 43, 44; the Pericope Adulteræ, or narrative of the woman taken in adultery, St. John, vii, 53 to viii, 11. Since the Council of Trent it is not permitted for a Catholic to question the inspiration of these passages.
Then we find the portion you partially used:
The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council.
The Catholic Encyclopedia presents an account that allows for the manipulation of 'the canon' that the Papacy has exhibited for virtually all of its history, as this section reveals under the heading:
1. The witness of the New Testament to itself: The first collections
'Those writings which possessed the unmistakable stamp and guarantee of Apostolic origin must from the very first have been specially prized and venerated, and their copies eagerly sought by local Churches and individual Christians of means, in preference to the narratives and Logia, or Sayings of Christ, coming from less authorized sources. Already in the New Testament itself there is some evidence of a certain diffusion of canonical books: II Peter, iii, 15, 16, supposes its readers to be acquainted with some of St. Paul's Epistles ; St. John's Gospel implicitly presupposes the existence of the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). There are no indications in the New Testament of a systematic plan for the distribution of the Apostolic compositions, any more than there is of a definite new Canon bequeathed by the Apostles to the Church, or of a strong self-witness to Divine inspiration. Nearly all the New Testament writings were evoked by particular occasions, or addressed to particular destinations. But we may well presume that each of the leading Churches--Antioch, Thessalonica, Alexandria, Corinth, Rome - sought by exchanging with other Christian communities to add to its special treasure, and have publicly read in its religious assemblies all Apostolic writings which came under its knowledge. It was doubtless in this way that the collections grew, and reached completeness within certain limits, but a considerable number of years must have elapsed (and that counting from the composition of the latest book) before all the widely separated Churches of early Christendom possessed the new sacred literature in full. And this want of an organized distribution, secondarily to the absence of an early fixation of the Canon, left room for variations and doubts which lasted far into the centuries. But evidence will presently be given that from days touching on those of the last Apostles there were two well defined bodies of sacred writings of the New Testament, which constituted the firm, irreducible, universal minimum, and the nucleus of its complete Canon: these were the Four Gospels, as the Church now has them, and thirteen Epistles of St. Paul - the Evangelium and the Apostolicum.
TCE: The phrases used in this section make it clear that The Catholic Encyclopedia is employing considerable guesswork which you have carefully omitted to ensure you paint the picture that is advantageous to your desired result - forcing Apocryphal writings into a position equal to the works that The Catholic Encyclopedia calls 'the nucleus of its complete Canon'! How was this 'nucleus' achieved - and why did it take centuries to get to the 'complete Canon' when Papal Rome supposedly had 'Papal infallibility' and 'Apostolic Succession' to guide it to a 'certain Canon'?
The Catholic Encyclopedia continues:
2. The principle of canonicity
Before entering into the historical proof for this primitive emergence of a compact, nucleative Canon, it is pertinent to briefly examine this problem: During the formative period what principle operated in the selection of the New Testament writings and their recognition as Divine?-- Theologians are divided on this point. This view that Apostolicity was the test of the inspiration during the building up of the New Testament canon, is favoured by the many instances where the early Fathers base the authority of a book on its Apostolic origin, and by the truth that the definitive placing of the contested books on the New Testament catalogue coincided with their general acceptance as of Apostolic authorship. Moreover, the advocates of this hypothesis point out that the Apostles' office corresponded with that of the Prophets of the Old Law, inferring that as inspiration was attached to the munus propheticum so the Apostles were aided by Divine inspiration whenever in the exercise of their calling they either spoke or wrote. Positive arguments are deduced from the New Testament to establish that a permanent prophetical charisma ... was enjoyed by the Apostles through a special indwelling of the Holy Ghost, beginning with Pentecost: Matth., x, 19, 20; Acts, xv, 28; I Corinthians, ii, 13; II Corinthians, xiii, 3; I Thessalonians., ii, 13, are cited. The opponents of this theory allege against it that the Gospels of Mark and of Luke and Acts were not the work of Apostles (however, tradition connects the Second Gospel with St. Peter's preaching and St. Luke's with St. Paul's); that books current under an Apostle's name in the Early Church, such as the Epistle of Barnabas and the Apocalypse of St. Peter, were nevertheless excluded from canonical rank, while on the other hand Origen and St. Dionysius of Alexandria in the case of Apocalypse, and St. Jerome in the case of II and III John, although questioning the Apostolic authorship of these works, unhesitatingly received them as Sacred Scriptures. An objection of a speculative kind is derived from the very nature of inspiration ad scribendum, which seems to demand a specific impulse from the Holy Ghost in each case, and preclude the theory that it could be possessed as a permanent gift, or charisma. The weight of Catholic theological opinion is deservedly against mere Apostolicity as a sufficient criterion of inspiration. The adverse view has been taken by Franzelin (De Divinâ Traditione et Scripturâ, 1882), Schmid (De Inspirationis Bibliorum Vi et Ratione, 1885), Crets (De Divinâ Bibliorum Inspiratione, 1886), Leitner (Die prophetische Inspiration, 1895 - a monograph), Pesch (De Inspiratione Sacræ, 1906). These authors (some of whom treat the matter more speculatively than historically) admit that Apostolicity is a positive and partial touchstone of inspiration, but emphatically deny that it was exclusive, in the sense that all non-Apostolic works were by that very fact barred from the sacred Canon of the New Testament. They hold to doctrinal tradition as the true criterion.
TCE: These quotes reveal the clear nature of Papal difficulties with 'the Canon' and the reasons that make it impossible for any Papal Roman Catholic to lever Old Testament or New Testament Apocryphal works into Scripture. The crux of these 'difficulties' will be high-lighted in our conclusion! It is noticeable that the following views are found at various websites, e.g.:
'Catholic champions of Apostolicity as a criterion are: Ubaldi (Introductio in Sacram Scripturam, II, 1876); Schanz (in Theologische Quartalschrift, 1885, pp. 666 sqq., and A Christian Apology, II, tr. 1891); Székely (Hermeneutica Biblica, 1902). Recently Professor Batiffol, while rejecting the claims of these latter advocates, has enunciated a theory regarding the principle that presided over the formation of the New Testament canon which challenges attention and perhaps marks a new stage in the controversy. According to Monsignor Batiffol, the Gospel (i.e. the words and commandments of Jesus Christ) bore with it its own sacredness and authority from the very beginning. This Gospel was announced to the world at large, by the Apostles and Apostolic disciples of Christ, and this message, whether spoken or written, whether taking the form of an evangelic narrative or epistle, was holy and supreme by the fact of containing the Word of Our Lord. Accordingly, for the primitive Church, evangelical character was the test of Scriptural sacredness. But to guarantee this character it was necessary that a book should be known as composed by the official witnesses and organs of the Evangel; hence the need to certify the Apostolic authorship, or at least sanction, of a work purporting to contain the Gospel of Christ. In Batiffol's view the Judaic notion of inspiration did not at first enter into the selection of the Christian Scriptures. In fact, for the earliest Christians the Gospel of Christ, in the wide sense above noted, was not to be classified with, because transcending, the Old Testament. It was not until about the middle of the second century that under the rubric of Scripture the New Testament writings were assimilated to the Old; the authority of the New Testament as the Word preceded and produced its authority as a New Scripture. (Revue Biblique, 1903, 226 sqq.) Monsignor Batiffol's hypothesis has this in common with the views of other recent students of the New Testament canon, that the idea of a new body of sacred writings became clearer in the Early Church as the faithful advanced in a knowledge of the Faith. But it should be remembered that the inspired character of the New Testament is a Catholic dogma, and must therefore in some way have been revealed to, and taught by, Apostles.--Assuming that Apostolic authorship is a positive criterion of inspiration, two inspired Epistles of St. Paul have been lost. This appears from I Corinthians, v, 9, sqq.; II Corinthians, ii, 4, 5.'
TCE: Again, the problem of even inferring that the unwritten words of Christ or His Apostles could be reliably passed on by 'tradition' are high-lighted! Obviously, if it was possible to authenticate any part of 'the Canon' by the authority of word of mouth we could have any number of doctrinally and factually incorrect works levered into Scripture. And this, in fact, is what Rome has done. Regarding the claims that 'two inspired Epistles of St. Paul have been lost' we note:
1 Corinthians 5:9
The Greek word used in 'I wrote unto you' may either refer to this epistle, or to some former epistle. It simply denotes that he had written to them; but whether in the former part of this, or in some former epistle which is now lost, cannot be determined by the use of this word. A large number of commentators (e.g. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, most of the Latin commentators, and many others) believed that this refers to the same epistle, and that the apostle means to say that in the former part of this epistle (1 Corinthians 5:2) he had given them this direction (in support of this interpretation they appeal to related passages in Romans 16:2; Colossians. 4:6; 1 Thessalonians. 5:27; 2 Thessalonians. 3:3-4). It is true that others have suggested it refers to a lost epistle which had been sent to them before their messengers had reached him, but this is mere speculation. John Calvin is another (influenced by Papal Rome!) who commented: 'The epistle of which he here speaks is not now extant. Nor is it to be doubted that many others have perished; but it is sufficient that these survive to us which the Lord saw to be needful.'
2 Corinthians 2:4-5
Most commentators logically conclude that the words - 'I wrote unto you' - simply refer to his former Epistle (1 Corinthians!) and is therefore definitely not referring to a lost epistle.
Continuing with the next section in The Catholic Encyclopedia:
3. The formation of the Tetramorph, or Fourfold Gospel
Irenæus, in his work 'Against Heresies' (AD 182-88), testifies to the existence of a Tetramorph, or Quadriform Gospel, given by the Word and unified by one Spirit; to repudiate this Gospel or any part of it, as did the Alogi and Marcionites, was to sin against revelation and the Spirit of God. The saintly Doctor of Lyons explicitly states the names of the four Elements of this Gospel, and repeatedly cites all the Evangelists in a manner parallel to his citations from the Old Testament . From the testimony of St. Irenæus alone there can be no reasonable doubt that the Canon of the Gospel was inalterably fixed in the Catholic Church by the last quarter of the second century. Proofs might be multiplied that our canonical Gospels were then universally recognized in the Church, to the exclusion of any pretended Evangels. The magisterial statement of Irenæus may be corroborated by the very ancient catalogue known as the Muratorian Canon, and St. Hippolytus, representing Roman tradition; by Tertullian in Africa, by Clement in Alexandria; the works of the Gnostic Valentinus, and the Syrian Tatian's Diatessaron, a blending together of the Evangelists ' writings, presuppose the authority enjoyed by the fourfold Gospel towards the middle of the second century. To this period or a little earlier belongs the pseduo-Clementine epistle in which we find, for the first time after II Peter, iii, 16, the word Scripture applied to a New Testament book. But it is needless in the present article to array the full force of these and other witnesses, since even rationalistic scholars like Harnack admit the canonicity of the quadriform Gospel between the years 140-175.
But against Harnack we are able to trace the Tetramorph as a sacred collection back to a more remote period. The apocryphal Gospel of St. Peter, dating from about 150, is based on our canonical Evangelists. So with the very ancient Gospel of the Hebrews and Egyptians (see APOCRYPHA). St. Justin Martyr (130-63) in his Apology refers to certain 'memoirs of the Apostles, which are called gospels', and which 'are read in Christian assemblies together with the writings of the Prophets'. The identity of these 'memoirs' with our Gospels is established by the certain traces of three, if not all, of them scattered through St. Justin's works; it was not yet the age of explicit quotations. Marcion, the heretic refuted by Justin in a lost polemic, as we know from Tertullian, instituted a criticism of Gospels bearing the names of the Apostles and disciples of the Apostles, and a little earlier. 120) Basilides, the Alexandrian leader of a Gnostic sect, wrote a commentary on 'the Gospel' which is known by the allusions to it in the Fathers to have comprised the writings of the Four Evangelists.
In our backward search we have come to the sub-Apostolic age, and its important witnesses are divided into Asian, Alexandrian, and Roman:
St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and St. Polycarp, of Smyrna, had been disciples of Apostles ; they wrote their epistles in the first decade of the second century (100-110). They employ Matthew, Luke, and John. In St. Ignatius we find the first instance of the consecrated term 'it is written' applied to a Gospel (Ad Philad., viii, 2). Both these Fathers show not only a personal acquaintance with 'the Gospel' and the thirteen Pauline Epistles, but they suppose that their readers are so familiar with them that it would be superfluous to name them. Papias, Bishop of Phrygian Hierapolis, according to Irenæus a disciple of St. John, wrote about AD 125. Describing the origin of St. Mark's Gospel, he speaks of Hebrew (Aramaic) Logia, or Sayings of Christ, composed by St. Matthew, which there is reason to believe formed the basis of the canonical Gospel of that name, though the greater part of Catholic writers identify them with the Gospel. As we have only a few fragments of Papias, preserved by Eusebius, it cannot be alleged that he is silent about other parts of the New Testament.
The so-called Epistle of Barnabas, of uncertain origin, but of highest antiquity, cites a passage from the First Gospel under the formula 'it is written'. The Didache, or 'Teaching of the Apostles', an uncanonical work dating from c. 110, implies that 'the Gospel' was already a well-known and definite collection.
St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, and disciple of St. Paul, addressed his Letter to the Corinthian Church c. AD 97, and, although it cites no Evangelist explicitly, this epistle contains combinations of texts taken from the three synoptic Gospels, especially from St. Matthew. That Clement does not allude to the Fourth Gospel is quite natural, as it was not composed till about that time.
Thus the patristic testimonies have brought us step by step to a Divine inviolable fourfold Gospel existing in the closing years of the Apostolic Era. Just how the Tetramorph was welded into unity and given to the Church, is a matter of conjecture. But, as Zahn observes, there is good reason to believe that the tradition handed down by Papias, of the approval of St. Mark's Gospel by St. John the Evangelist, reveals that either the latter himself of a college of his disciples added the Fourth Gospel to the Synoptics, and made the group into the compact and unalterable 'Gospel', the one in four, whose existence and authority left their clear impress upon all subsequent ecclesiastical literature, and find their conscious formulation in the language of Irenæus.
4. The Pauline Epistles
Parallel to the chain of evidence we have traced for the canonical standing of the Gospels extends one for the thirteen Epistles of St. Paul, forming the other half of the irreducible kernel of the complete New Testament canon. All the authorities cited for the Gospel Canon show acquaintance with, and recognize, the sacred quality of these letters. St. Irenæus, as acknowledged by the Harnackian critics, employs all the Pauline writings, except the short Philemon, as sacred and canonical. The Muratorian Canon, contemporary with Irenæus, gives the complete list of the thirteen, which, it should be remembered, does not include Hebrews. The heretical Basilides and his disciples quote from this Pauline group in general. The copious extracts from Marcion's works scattered through Irenæus and Tertullian show that he was acquainted with the thirteen as in ecclesiastical use, and selected his Apostolikon of six from them. The testimony of Polycarp and Ignatius is again capital in this case. Eight of St. Paul's writings are cited by Polycarp ; St. Ignatius of Antioch ranked the Apostles above the Prophets, and must therefore have allowed the written compositions of the former at least an equal rank with those of the latter ('Ad Philadelphios', v). St. Clement of Rome refers to Corinthians as at the head 'of the Evangel'; the Muratorian Canon gives the same honour to I Corinthians, so that we may rightfully draw the inference, with Dr. Zahn, that as early as Clement's day St. Paul's Epistles had been collected and formed into a group with a fixed order. Zahn has pointed out confirmatory signs of this in the manner in which Sts. Ignatius and Polycarp employ these Epistles. The tendency of the evidence is to establish the hypothesis that the important Church of Corinth was the first to form a complete collection of St. Paul's writings.
5. The remaining Books
In this formative period the Epistle to the Hebrews did not obtain a firm footing in the Canon of the Universal Church. At Rome it was not yet recognized as canonical, as shown by the Muratorian catalogue of Roman origin; Irenæus probably cites it, but makes no reference to a Pauline origin. Yet it was known at Rome as early as St. Clement, as the latter's epistle attests. The Alexandrian Church admitted it as the work of St. Paul, and canonical. The Montanists favoured it, and the aptness with which vi, 4-8, lent itself to the Montanist and Novatianist rigour was doubtless one reason why it was suspect in the West. Also during this period the excess over the minimal Canon composed of the Gospels and thirteen epistles varied. The seven 'Catholic' Epistles (James, Jude, I and II Peter, and the three of John) had not yet been brought into a special group, and, with the possible exception of the three of St. John, remained isolated units, depending for their canonical strength on variable circumstances. But towards the end of the second century the canonical minimum was enlarged and, besides the Gospels and Pauline Epistles, unalterably embraced Acts, I Peter, I John (to which II and III John were probably attached), and Apocalypse. Thus Hebrews, James, Jude, and II Peter remained hovering outside the precincts of universal canonicity, and the controversy about them and the subsequently disputed Apocalypse form the larger part of the remaining history of the Canon of the New Testament. However, at the beginning of the third century the New Testament was formed in the sense that the content of its main divisions, what may be called its essence, was sharply defined and universally received, while all the secondary books were recognized in some Churches. A singular exception to the universality of the above-described substance of the New Testament was the Canon of the primitive East Syrian Church, which did not contain any of the Catholic Epistles or Apocalypse.
6. The idea of a New Testament
The question of the principle that dominated the practical canonization of the New Testament Scriptures has already been discussed under (b). The faithful must have had from the beginning some realization that in the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists they had acquired a new body of Divine Scriptures, a New written Testament destined to stand side by side with the Old. That the Gospel and Epistles were the written Word of God, was fully realized as soon as the fixed collections were formed; but to seize the relation of this new treasure to the old was possible only when the faithful acquired a better knowledge of the faith.
TCE: Unfortunately for the view of Papal Rome the clear teaching of Scripture is revealed in John16v7-15 - 'However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak and He will tell you things to come'. There is no mention of it taking centuries for 'the faithful' to realise a fuller gospel truth that would only come to later believers who 'eventually' accepted the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is no surprise to know that Papal Roman Catholics rely on men to tell them what to believe - rather than on the Holy Spirit - for the evidence of Papal errors and contradictions throughout history are utterly palpable!
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
... In this connection Zahn observes with much truth that the rise of Montanism, with its false prophets, who claimed for their written productions - the self-styled Testament of the Paraclete - the authority of revelation, around the Christian Church to a fuller sense that the age of revelation had expired with the last of the Apostles, and that the circle of sacred Scripture is not extensible beyond the legacy of the Apostolic Era. Montanism began in 156; a generation later, in the works of Irenæus, we discover the firmly-rooted idea of two Testaments, with the same Spirit operating in both. For Tertullian (c. 200) the body of the New Scripture is an instrumentum on at least an equal footing and in the same specific class as the instrumentum formed by the Law and the Prophets. Clement of Alexandria was the first to apply the word 'Testament' to the sacred library of the New Dispensation. A kindred external influence is to be added to Montanism : the need of setting up a barrier, between the genuine inspired literature and the flood of pseudo-Apostolic apocrypha, gave an additional impulse to the idea of a New Testament canon, and later contributed not a little to the demarcation of its fixed limits.
TCE: Here we see the admittance that a 'demarcation' was necessary and the reason is easily seen in the warnings against the Montanists. The unity of the 'Catholic' church, which some try to argue for by the continuance of the apostolic office, is regarded by Irenaeus, who was most vigorous in his defence of the faith in the reign of Commodus (ca. 180-192, although his birth is assigned to dates about 50 years apart, i.e. 97-147), as mainly a doctrinal unity and he only hints at any 'guardianship of sacramental grace'. Yet he also singled out the continuance of spiritual gifts as a special note of the true church, meaning not just the 'charismatic' that so many seek to this day, but also the gifts of prophecy and miracle. However, he did not just oppose schismatics who destroy the church's unity, but also heretics who corrupt her doctrine. While, regarding internal divisions among the faithful, he never wearied in urging the interests of peace, neither in the Montanistic movement nor in the Paschal controversy did he see grounds for the severance of church communion. But he determinedly opposed those who denied the presence of the Spirit in the wider church and attempted to claim His gifts exclusively for its own sect or party. He gives leeway to the Montanists, who doubtlessly began with honourable motives, and were very concerned about something most believers are concerned about: the role of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, power, and dynamism in the ministry. It is noticeable that Tertullian was sympathetic to such aims but became enthralled with the excited frenzy that it degenerated into in Montanism and, later, Irenaeus defended the belief and practice of charismatic gifts but denounced the Montanist error into which Tertullian had plunged. That a champion of the faith could fall vulnerable to this kind of spiritual seduction should serve as a warning to every generation - and to every Christian who confuses 'Biblical charismata' with 'Experiential charismania' and a position of authority with a position of infallibility! Thus we see that even The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that 'the need of setting up a barrier, between the genuine inspired literature and the flood of pseudo-Apostolic apocrypha, gave an additional impulse to the idea of a New Testament canon'. In our conclusion we will see how the Papal Roman Catholic Church lost the whole plot and why arguments over the Apocrypha and 'the Canon' are superfluous when discussing Papal Rome.
The Catholic Encyclopedia continues ...
B. THE PERIOD OF DISCUSSION (A.D. 220-367)
In this stage of the historical development of the Canon of the New Testament we encounter for the first time a consciousness reflected in certain ecclesiastical writers, of the differences between the sacred collections in divers sections of Christendom. This variation is witnessed to, and the discussion stimulated by, two of the most learned men of Christian antiquity, Origen, and Eusebius of Cæsarea, the ecclesiastical historian. A glance at the Canon as exhibited in the authorities of the African, or Carthaginian, Church, will complete our brief survey of this period of diversity and discussion:-
1. Origen and his school
Origen's travels gave him exception opportunities to know the traditions of widely separated portions of the Church and made him very conversant with the discrepant attitudes toward certain parts of the New Testament. He divided books with Biblical claims into three classes:
those universally received;
those whose Apostolicity was questions [sic];
In the first class, the Homologoumena, stood the Gospels, the thirteen Pauline Epistles, Acts, Apocalypse, I Peter, and I John. The contested writings were Hebrews, II Peter, II and III John, James, Jude, Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, and probably the Gospel of the Hebrews. Personally, Origen accepted all of these as Divinely inspired, though viewing contrary opinions with toleration. Origen's authority seems to have given to Hebrews and the disputed Catholic Epistles a firm place in the Alexandrian Canon, their tenure there having been previously insecure, judging from the exegetical work of Clement, and the list in the Codex Claromontanus, which is assigned by competent scholars to an early Alexandrian origin.
TCE: A clear admission that there was no absolute agreement amongst the 'Church Fathers' on the canon and how The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that 'Origen's authority' had more effect than the 'exegetical work of Clement'! Yet again 'Apostolic Succession' and 'Papal infallibility' is shown to be a myth.
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, was one of Origen's most eminent disciples, a man of wide erudition. In imitation of his master he divided religious literature into three classes:
Homologoumena, or compositions universally received as sacred, the Four Gospels, thirteen Epistles of St. Paul, Hebrews, Acts, I Peter, I John, and Apocalypse. There is some inconsistency in his classification; for instance, though ranking Hebrews with the books of universal reception, he elsewhere admits it is disputed.
The second category is composed of the Antilegomena, or contested writings; these in turn are of the superior and inferior sort. The better ones are the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, II Peter, II and III John; these, like Origen, Eusebius wished to be admitted to the Canon, but was forced to record their uncertain status; the Antilegomena of the inferior sort were Barnabas, the Didache, Gospel of the Hebrews, the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd, the Apocalypse of Peter.
All the rest are spurious (notha).
Eusebius diverged from his Alexandrian master in personally rejecting Apocalypse as an un-Biblical [sic], though compelled to acknowledge its almost universal acceptance. Whence came this unfavourable view of the closing volume of the Christian Testament ... Zahn attributes it to the influence of Lucian of Samosata, one of the founders of the Antioch school of exegesis, and with whose disciples Eusebius had been associated. Lucian himself had acquired his education at Edessa, the metropolis of Eastern Syria, which had, as already remarked, a singularly curtailed Canon. Luician is known to have edited the Scriptures at Antioch, and is supposed to have introduced there the shorter New Testament which later St. John Chrysostom and his followers employed--one in which Apocalypse, II Peter, II and III John, and Jude had no place. It is known that Theodore of Mopsuestia rejected all the Catholic Epistles. In St. John Chrysostom's ample expositions of the Scriptures there is not a single clear trace of the Apocalypse, which he seems to implicitly exclude the four smaller Epistles--II Peter, II and III John, and Jude--from the number of the canonical books. Lucian, then, according to Zahn, would have compromised between the Syriac Canon and the Canon of Origen by admitting the three longer Catholic Epistles and keeping out Apocalypse. But after allowing fully for the prestige of the founder of the Antioch school, it is difficult to grant that his personal authority could have sufficed to strike such an important work as Apocalypse from the Canon of a notable Church, where it had previously been received. It is more probable that a reaction against the abuse of the Johannine Apocalypse by the Montanists and Chiliasts - Asia Minor being the nursery of both these errors - led to the elimination of a book whose authority had perhaps been previously suspected. Indeed it is quite reasonable to suppose that its early exclusion from the East Syrian Church was an outer wave of the extreme reactionist movement of the Aloges--also of Asia Minor--who branded Apocalypse and all the Johannine writings as the work of the heretic Cerinthus. Whatever may have been all the influences ruling the personal Canon of Eusebius, he chose Lucian's text for the fifty copies of the Bible which he furnished to the Church of Constantinople at the order of his imperial patron Constantine; and he incorporated all the Catholic Epistles, but excluded Apocalypse. The latter remained for more than a century banished from the sacred collections as current in Antioch and Constantinople. However, this book kept a minority of Asiatic suffrages, and, as both Lucian and Eusebius had been tainted with Arianism, the approbation of Apocalypse, opposed by them, finally came to be looked upon as a sign of orthodoxy. Eusebius was the first to call attention to important variations in the text of the Gospels, viz., the presence in some copies and the absence in others of the final paragraph of Mark, the passage of the Adulterous Woman, and the Bloody Sweat.
TCE: Again it is made clear that, far from the New Testament canon and pseudepigraphical works being considered in the same manner by the 'Church Fathers', they were never in full agreement over these extremely important points. And we even find, once again, that far from 'Apostolic Succession' or 'Papal infallibility' deciding the inclusion of inspired books, other factors could decide the canon in churches: 'Indeed it is quite reasonable to suppose that its early exclusion from the East Syrian Church was an outer wave of the extreme reactionist movement of the Aloges - also of Asia Minor - who branded Apocalypse and all the Johannine writings as the work of the heretic Cerinthus.'
The Catholic Encyclopedia ( http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm ) cont. ...
3. The African Church
St. Cyprian, whose Scriptural Canon certainly reflects the contents of the first Latin Bible, received all the books of the New Testament except Hebrews, II Peter, James, and Jude; however, there was already a strong inclination in his environment to admit II Peter as authentic. Jude had been recognized by Tertullian, but, strangely, it had lost its position in the African Church, probably owing to its citation of the apocryphal Henoch. Cyprian's testimony to the non-canonicity of Hebrews and James is confirmed by Commodian, another African writer of the period. A very important witness is the document known as Mommsen's Canon, a manuscript of the tenth century, but whose original has been ascertained to date from West Africa about the year 360. It is a formal catalogue of the sacred books, unmutilated in the New Testament portion, and proves that at its time the books universally acknowledged in the influential Church of Carthage were almost identical with those received by Cyprian a century before. Hebrews, James, and Jude are entirely wanting. The three Epistles of St. John and II Peter appear, but after each stands the note una sola, added by an almost contemporary hand, and evidently in protest against the reception of these Antilegomena, which, presumably, had found a place in the official list recently, but whose right to be there was seriously questioned.
TCE: Taking these comments of The Catholic Encyclopedia into account we must wonder how any Papists can criticise Luther for questioning 'The Book of James' for he, at least, was wrestling with the magnificent doctrine of 'salvation by grace through faith alone' - which Papal Rome had erroneously discarded centuries earlier!?
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
C. THE PERIOD OF FIXATION (A.D. 367-405)
1. St. Athanasius
While the influence of Athanasius on the Canon of the Old Testament was negative and exclusive (see supra), in that of the New Testament it was trenchantly constructive. In his 'Epistola Festalis' (A.D. 367) the illustrious Bishop of Alexandria ranks all of Origen's New Testament Antilegomena, which are identical with the deuteros, boldly inside the Canon, without noticing any of the scruples about them. Thenceforward they were formally and firmly fixed in the Alexandrian Canon. And it is significant of the general trend of ecclesiastical authority that not only were works which formerly enjoyed high standing at broad-minded Alexandria--the Apocalypse of Peter and the Acts of Paul--involved by Athanasius with the apocrypha, but even some that Origen had regarded as inspired--Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache - were ruthlessly shut out under the same damnatory title.
2. The Roman Church, the Synod under Damasus, and St. Jerome
The Muratorian Canon or Fragment, composed in the Roman Church in the last quarter of the second century, is silent about Hebrews, James, II Peter; I Peter, indeed, is not mentioned, but must have been omitted by an oversight, since it was universally received at the time. There is evidence that this restricted Canon obtained not only in the African Church, with slight modifications, as we have seen, but also at Rome and in the West generally until the close of the fourth century. The same ancient authority witnesses to the very favourable and perhaps canonical standing enjoyed at Rome by the Apocalypse of Peter and the Shepherd of Hermas. In the middle decades of the fourth century the increased intercourse and exchange of views between the Orient and the Occident led to a better mutual acquaintance regarding Biblical canons and the correction of the catalogue of the Latin Church. It is a singular fact that while the East, mainly through St. Jerome's pen, exerted a disturbing and negative influence on Western opinion regarding the Old Testament, the same influence, through probably the same chief intermediary, made for the completeness and integrity of the New Testament canon. The West began to realize that the ancient Apostolic Churches of Jerusalem and Antioch, indeed the whole Orient, for more than two centuries had acknowledged Hebrews and James as inspired writings of Apostles, while the venerable Alexandrian Church, supported by the prestige of Athanasius, and the powerful Patriarchate of Constantinople, with the scholarship of Eusebius behind its judgment, had canonized all the disputed Epistles. St. Jerome, a rising light in the Church, though but a simple priest, was summoned by Pope Damasus from the East, where he was pursuing sacred lore, to assist at an eclectic, but not ecumenical, synod at Rome in the year 382. Neither the general council at Constantinople of the preceding year nor that of Nice (365) had considered the question of the Canon. This Roman synod must have devoted itself specially to the matter. The result of its deliberations, presided over, no doubt, by the energetic Damasus himself, has been preserved in the document called 'Decretum Gelasii de recipiendis et non recipiendis libris', a compilation partly of the sixth century, but containing much material dating from the two preceding ones. The Damasan catalogue presents the complete and perfect Canon which has been that of the Church Universal ever since. The New Testament portion bears the marks of Jerome's views. St. Jerome, always prepossessed in favour of Oriental positions in matters Biblical, exerted then a happy influence in regard to the New Testament ; if he attempted to place any Eastern restriction upon the Canon of the Old Testament his effort failed of any effect [sic]. The title of the decree --'Nunc vero de scripturis divinis agendum est quid universalis Catholica recipiat ecclesia, et quid vitare debeat'-- proves that the council drew up a list of apocryphal as well as authentic Scriptures. The Shepherd and the false Apocalypse of Peter now received their final blow. 'Rome had spoken, and the nations of the West had heard' (Zahn). The works of the Latin Fathers of the period - Jerome, Hilary of Poitiers, Lucifer of Sardina, Philaster of Brescia - manifest the changed attitude toward Hebrews, James, Jude, II Peter, and III John.
TCE: The admission that 'The Muratorian Canon or Fragment, composed in the Roman Church in the last quarter of the second century, is [not just] silent about Hebrews, James, II Peter [but somehow] ... I Peter ... is not mentioned, but must have been omitted by an oversight, since it was universally received at the time' reveals, once more, the sheer slackness of Papal Rome. How could anyone think to omit an inspired book from the Word of God by 'an oversight'? This truly beggars belief.
While there is the same desperate attempt to besmirch Jerome's opinion of the true canon (while on one hand calling him a 'Church Father' they remind us how he was 'but a simple priest' when chosen by Damasus), The Catholic Encyclopedia grudgingly admits 'St. Jerome, always prepossessed in favour of Oriental positions in matters Biblical, exerted then a happy influence in regard to the New Testament' but then tries to deflect the proven fact of his disapproval of the Apocrypha by claiming 'if he attempted to place any Eastern restriction upon the Canon of the Old Testament his effort failed of any effect [sic] '. Perhaps the sloppiness inherent in Papal Rome's history of 'protecting the canon' will be inevitably maintained to the absolute End Times? There is nothing here that over-turns our view and Zahn's quote is pure wishful thinking! Regarding 'The Decretum Gelasii ...' we find The Catholic Encyclopedia tacitly admitting the fact that the western church did not adopt the triple division of sacred books prevalent in the eastern church - yet now agreed to it at the Roman synod of 382 under Damasus, bishop of Rome (366-384), i.e.:
(1) the canonical books of both Testaments; (2) writings of the Fathers approved by the church; (3) apocryphal books rejected by the church. But it does not advertise the fact that it also included a list of miscellaneous books condemned as heretical, including even the works of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Eusebius, these works being all branded as 'apocryphal.' By the way, Gregory of Nyssa and Epiphanius, both writing in the 4th century, use the word 'apocrypha' in the old sense of apocalyptic, i.e. esoteric! Again there is the attempt to avoid readers realising that Jerome (who died A.D. 420) in his Prologus Galeatus (so called because it was a defence and so resembled a helmeted warrior) preface to his Latin version of the Bible, used the word 'Apocrypha' in the sense of non-canonical books and his words are clear: Quidquid extra hos (i.e. the 22 canonical books) inter Apocrypha ponendum which translates: 'Anything outside of these must be placed within the Apocrypha' (as seen earlier, when among the Fathers and rabbis the Old Testament is made to contain 22 [not 24] books, Ruth and Lamentations being joined respectively to Judges and Jeremiah). That the western church as a whole departed from Jerome's theory by including the antilegomena of both Testaments among the canonical writings does not alter the fact that the general custom of western Christianity at this time was to take apocryphal to mean non-canonical. While Augustine (De Civitale Dei, XV, 23) ignored the superior scholarship of Jerome and explained the 'apocrypha' as denoting obscurity of origin or authorship, so this sense of the word became the prevailing one in the West and the Reformers were not the first to use the word 'Apocrypha' for a collection of books appended to the Old Testament (and generally, up to 1827, still appended to every printed English Bible). Bodenstein of Carlstadt (usually just called Carlstadt - died 1541), was an early Reformer and Luther's bitter personal opponent, but was the first modern scholar to define 'Apocrypha' quite clearly as writings excluded from the canon, whether or not the true authors of the books are known, by rediscovering Jerome's position. The adjective 'apocryphal' came to have an increasingly disparaging sense among Protestants but, in the eastern and western churches under the influence of the Greek (Septuagint) and Latin (Vulgate) versions, the books of the Apocrypha formed an integral part of the canon and were scattered throughout the Old Testament, they being placed generally near books with which they have affinity. But even Protestant Bibles (up to 1827) included the Apocrypha, as a collection of distinct writings appended to the end of the Old Testament. But, in the Middle Ages, under the influence of Reuchlin (another great scholar and Reformer who died 1532), Hebrew came to be studied and the Old Testament read in its original language. The fact that the Apocrypha is absent from the Hebrew canon would have had some influence on the minds of the Reformers especially when they noticed sections in the Apocrypha inconsistent with Protestant principles, e.g. the doctrines of prayers for the dead, the intercession of the saints, etc. That the Jews in the early Christian centuries had two Bibles: (1) the Hebrew Bible which does not include the Apocrypha, and which circulated in Palestine and Babylon; and (2) the Greek version (Septuagint) used mainly by Greek-speaking Jews, does not alter the fact that the Jews of Palestine and beyond did not look favourably on the Septuagint version and made the Hebrew canon their Bible, thus rejecting the books of the Apocrypha from their list of canonical writings. While the custom of many Christian churches influenced by Rome was to accept the Greek Old Testament canon, with which the Vulgate agreed almost completely after 'forgetting' Jerome's plain warnings, the Reformers were careful students of the Bible and, in Old Testament matters, the pupils of Jewish scholars - for (as Jerome also proved!) there were no other competent teachers of Hebrew. It should therefore be no surprise that the Old Testament canon of the Reformers would agree in extent with that of the Jews and not with that of the Greek and Latin influenced churches. Evidence reveals that the Septuagint and related Greek versions included the Apocrypha but, from the final destruction of the Jerusalem temple with its priesthood and ritual in 71 AD, it was needful to find some fresh binding and directing agency and this was found in the collection of sacred writings of the Old Testament, but excluding the Apocrypha of the Septuagint. We also see that the false doctrine of 'Papal Infallibility' (even the diluted claim that this is only 'ex cathedra'!) is utterly crushed as is Papal Rome's supposed ability to determine the 'canon' for, had this been true from the days of Peter, there would have been no argument about the inspired works. It has been shown that the 'Fathers' and the 'Councils' disagreed for centuries and a single, Spirit-filled believer reading Jesus' Words from John 16:7-15 would have known more than these men!
(Continued on page 330)