You Can't Escape God, 1978
The problem that prevents Church reunification
THE MOST PIVOTAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL-SECULAR PROBLEMS in need of solution to permit reunification of Christianity's religious structure and a resultant increase of efficiency in its divinely commissioned functioning was manifested on the eve of the 21st century by a large and insidious resurgence of the issue that has been commonly mistaken as "Church versus State."
Many people have assumed this problem became a permanently dead issue several centuries ago. In contrast, certain of its manifestations in modern times not only were doing grave immediate injuries to secular society and laying the foundations for still greater evils in the future but also were wreaking havoc in the Church itself, as analysis in this and its following chapter will presently show.
Accordingly, let us now be prepared to perceive that the ecclesiastical aspects of this problem originate in claims or postures of "infallibility" or of "peerless wisdom" on behalf of one or many members of the Christian clergy and in their claims or postures of possessing divine authority to seek varying degrees of supremacy over secular society in all manner of economic-social-political affairs. Likewise, let us be prepared to show that the application of those twin-concepts to the teachings and actions of such clergy in modern times have tended to mislead secular society into such critical matters as humanity's population explosion and the already existing and potentially cataclysmic confrontation between so-called Capitalism and so-called Communism. In addition, we shall observe that the same combination of factors has been impeding the Church from the discovery and adoption of a host of theological, methodological, and organizational improvements. Changes are needed for reuniting and consequently gaining an enhanced efficiency. Failure to address these factors has been repelling millions of potential converts to Christianity as well as making millions of others, already involved, into discouraged and individualistic 'quit the church' members.
Of course, our study must anticipate that some Christians of various denominations, particularly in the clergy, will initially be hostile to in-depth analysis of the Church-State issue in this and the next following chapter. Nevertheless, if we are to help the institution founded by Christ to achieve the optimum efficiency which he intended it to attain and in its authorized functions, we shall need not only to dig to the very bedrock of this matter but also to be thoroughly candid in presenting the pertinent facts and consequent conclusions.
We proceed, therefore, by initially recognizing that the practice of depicting "Church and State" as rivals for dominant economic-social-political power is a misnomer carried over from earlier centuries when the overlying fact was not clearly stressed-that the Church was the captive of its clergy. Thus, what existed under such circumstances was rule-by-clergy, not ruled by the Church. Accordingly, the real crux of the issue to be analyzed herein will concern the extent, if any, to which sundry modern members of the clergy -- by direct or indirect processes -- may rightfully constitute themselves as fractional or total rulers of secular society's economic-social-political affairs.
Now to set ourselves straight in another matter of nomenclature, let us be prepared to recognize not only that the Christian ministry was denied authorization by Jesus to take over any portion of secular society's functions but also that the reign of any government which is partly or wholly subservient to any portion of the clergy is thereby proportionately a priestocracy, not a theocracy ruled by God. Further, let us mention now that Clericalism is the term we shall apply to identify the strategic and tactical methods used by some clergy in successful or unsuccessful attempts to impose, to any extent, one of the three forms of priestocracy upon secular society -- whether on a local, national, or World-wide basis.
Next let us engage in a further preliminary clarification by defining the three forms of priestocracy, allowing for some overlapping among them. Thus, the first of these would have the whole World -- or as much of it as might be possible to include -- directly ruled by a government comprised of a self-appointed hierarchy of clergy, not only to replace all secular governments but also even to be undisputed in a posture of being the "true owner" of all forms of wealth (thus applying the keystone characteristic of Marxist Collectivism.) The second form of priestocracy would allow property ostensibly to be privately owned and managed and would allow secular governments to exist for the performing of routine chores but would require such governments and their citizens to be directly subservient to whatever commands that might be issued by a "higher-level" government comprised of a priestly hierarchy. The third kind of priestocracy would be similar to the second except that secular governments would be indirectly controlled by an informal alliance of think-alike priests exerting a "political activism" to brainwash multitudes of secular people.
Let us be prepared to perceive, therefore, that it was the first and second forms of priestocracy which Clericalism achieved in medieval times and that it was the third form which had become the unadmitted objective of many of the clergy at the approach of the 21st century; also, that these modern pursuers of secular power were to be found in most if not all of the church's denominations. On the other hand, let it be emphasized now by our study that the extent and intensity of the use of Clericalism's methods in the 20th century varied greatly from one priestly activist to another; also, that a very considerable number of the Christian clergy not only refrained from such practices but also even spoke out sometimes against the political involvements of their clerical brothers.
What is it that is bad about some clergy seeking to make themselves a dominant economic-social-political force in one form or another? As have been or will be amplified at several points of our study, there are three categories of response to that question. In the first place, such conduct is contrary to God's plan for Mankind -- which requires secular society to find out for itself how to translate the Church's teachings of basic morality into the more detailed rules of conduct requisite to match the necessarily increasing complexities of life; thus, the activism of some of the clergy assumes that they possess divine authorization which, in fact, Jesus very clearly withheld. In the second place, such invasion of the prerogatives of secular society assumes a clerical possession of or access to infallibility or ineffable wisdom in the potentially limitless field of "faith and morals" as applied to economic-social-political affairs in contrast to the fact that Jesus likewise conspicuously withheld such capabilities not only from all clergy subsequent to the Apostles but also even from the Apostles themselves. In the third place, Clericalism is bad because the typical clergy are considerably more predisposed than secular society to the espousing of economic-social-political fallacies, even of potentially catastrophic proportions; thus, the public's quick or slow recognition of priestly errors in such matters has the added effect of making millions of Christians and non-Christians hostile to or dubious of even the "good parts" of the Church's functions.
Accordingly, in the next chapter we shall examine some of the specifics of how Clericalism was being applied in the 20th century with resultant injuries to secular society and to the Church itself. In that context, we shall particularly examine the impact of religious-political acts and teachings not only on such problems as the critical expanding of Earth's population and the confrontation between Individualism and Collectivism but also on such matters as the deterrence of ordinary crime, the relationships between races, and the questions of divorce and of non-marital and perverted sex.
In the present chapter, however, we shall confine ourselves to an investigation of two preliminary topics: First, we shall examine the motivations which have caused numerous clergy of all denominations to engage in Clericalism, including the theory of Roman Catholicism that its popes are or can be infallible in the (actually limitless) field of "faith and morals." Second, we shall recount some of the outstanding cases of history in which pre-Catholic as well as later Roman clergy, claiming or posturing infallibility, not only have badly misled Mankind in secular affairs but also have been guilty of major errors even in the Church's own bailiwick of theology. We shall also respond to the question of why God allowed both Church and State to encounter such errors. However, we shall leave it for the subsequent chapter to show also how it has been that many Protestant clergy, while themselves decrying the infallibility claims of the Roman papacy, nevertheless have postured almost or wholly its equivalent by purporting to possess a level of wisdom so superior to that of secular society that they also -- as well as much of the Catholic clergy -- have sought to impose varying degrees of a priestocratic denomination by the tactics of Clericalism as applied to economic-social-political affairs.
WHAT MOTIVATES MANY OF THE CHRISTIAN CLERGY to engage in Clericalism is easily perceived by observation and analysis. Thus, we find two main categories of such motivations. First, are those comprised of the personality traits that are characteristic of typical clergymen. Second are those that are derived from a maze of theological dialectics.
The personality traits of the typical clergyman obviously begin with his zeal to do good for his fellow men. Certainly it is self-evident that an overwhelming majority of the men [and now women] who enter the clergy are prompted to do so by a most admirable desire not only to help other men with admission of their souls to Heaven but also to assist them to attain peace and optimum happiness on Earth. In turn, we perceive that many clergymen not only possess high hopes of being able to help men qualify for Heaven but also possess a high degree of egotism in assuming that their combinations of natural talent and training make them superior to non-clergy in the understanding of economic-social-political matters. In contrast, such clergy have vocational as well as personal predilections to seek the public's acceptance of secular relationships which, in fact, are wholly unsound and even critically dangerous, as will be shown in detail later in this and the next chapter.
Thus, whenever portions of secular society reject such unsound relationships such a clergyman assumes that the rejection simply reflects views inferior to his own; accordingly, his well intentioned zeal to have his own concepts become accepted is multiplied by his feelings of impatience and frustration. In turn, his thus-magnified zeal motivates him to push harder for adoption of his views even in the most complex of economic-social-political matters -- either by joining or leading in deeds of modern political "activism" or, as in medieval times, by participating in an outright clerical seizure of governmental power. In addition, of course, occasional members of the clergy are motivated to participate in Clericalism by a desire to experience the possession and wielding of political power for its own sake; indeed, history tells of many instances in which leading ecclesiastical figures have been responsive to this motivation almost or entirely to the exclusion of everything else.
As for the theological dialectics which extensively provide added motivations for Clericalism, these consist of the conscious or subconscious belief of many clergymen that whatever they may recommend to secular society is directly or indirectly guided by God. Thus, the most extreme concept of such guidance has been set forth for many centuries on behalf of the popes of the Church of Rome whose hierarchy of priests has been dialectically convinced that each papal leader is divinely infallible "when speaking ex-cathedra in matters of "faith and morals." Hence, the belief of Catholics that the papacy can speak with infallibility on some matters has tended to make the pronouncements by the popes seem to possess a similar certainty of correctness on all other matters also.
In turn, because the scope of faith and morals is actually sufficient to cover all possible subjects, it became assumed by the Roman clergy many centuries ago that it would be desirable for the papacy not only to speak with presumptive infallibility or ineffable wisdom concerning all conduct of secular society but also to apply such putative excellence either by directly dictating to secular governments or by superseding them with a wholly ecclesiastical rule. So it was that by the processes of Clericalism the papacy was able for several centuries to impose a No. 1 form of priestocracy on some parts of Europe and a No. 2 priestocracy virtually everywhere else in that sub-continent's vast area. Of course, the papal dream of achieving a direct and total World-wide dominance in secular as well as ecclesiastical matters was later put in moth balls and the popes were forced even to beat a retreat to a level of Clericalism which could apply no more than a partial No. 3 priestocracy -- or none at all -- even in Europe.
Nevertheless, if a pope sounds off today on the morality of any economic-social-political subject -- such as birth control, for example -- he will be assumed by tens of millions of Roman Catholics to be speaking with a supreme degree of moral wisdom even if he refrains from making his pronouncements ex . Moreover, such pronouncements will have an impact even on non-Romans and non-Christians because the secular results of obedience to the papacy's views by a probable majority of Roman Catholics cannot be disentangled from the economic-social-political lives of all other people.
Let us not jump at this point to an erroneous notion that only the Roman hierarchy has practiced Clericalism or that it alone has been motivated in part by a belief of being God-guided even in complex economic-social-political matters. Thus, for a second time our study now mentions that large numbers of Protestant clergy have also sought to impose a No. 3 priestocracy on secular society partly in response to the same motivation. However, we must defer an analysis of non-Roman Clericalism to the next chapter in order to deal chronologically with the subject at hand.
Likewise, let us not get an impression that all mistakes in economic-social-political matters should be attributed to clergy. Indeed, secular society and its secular leaders are solely accountable for many terrible blunders; however, such as these have simply been the price that Mankind has been called upon to pay -- in accord with God's plan -- to avoid being mere puppets of direct or indirect divine management. On the other hand, we shall deal herein only with the errors of Clericalism because the others are simply not within the purview of our study.
THE ORIGIN OF CLERICALISM IN CHRISTIANITY dates back at least to the third century of the Church's existence but it did not reach a fanatical status until, by medieval times, a sophisticated system of dialectics had been developed to contend eloquently but erroneously that its practices were in conformity to God's desires.
Two statements by Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament, have provided the decisive points for those dialectics. Thus, when the Apostle whose original name was Simon first came into his presence, Jesus told him, "You shall be called Cephas." In Aramic, that meant "rock" or "stone"; hence, "Peter" became that Apostle's English-name equivalent. In the other citation of Jesus' words, he is quoted as telling Peter (in the presence of other Apostles) that "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shall bind on Earth shall be considered bound in Heaven, and whatsoever that shall loose on Earth shall be considered loosed in Heaven."
Hence, the related dialectics of Roman Catholicism have contended that certain special powers were thereby granted to Peter and have been inherited by the popes as his apostolic successors. Specifically, the statement that "upon this rock I will build my Church" has been taken to mean that Peter and his successors were given total authority to rule the Christian Church. In turn, the "bind and loose whatsoever" phrases have been taken to mean that Peter and his successors were given a capacity to be infallible in secular as well as ecclesiastical matters; thus, that it would be desirable for the popes to be infallibly supreme over secular States as well as being infallibly supreme within the church. Further, the combination of the "bind and loose" and "the keys" phrases have often been taken to mean that Peter and his successors were given authority not only to grant or deny any person a "forgiveness" of his sins (thus, to admit anyone to Heaven or to condemn him to Hell) but also were thereby given power as well as authorization to rule the World -- directly or indirectly -- in secular as well as ecclesiastical matters. Thus, Pope Boniface VIII (in 1302) summarized the foregoing dialectics most succinctly in words which said, "We declare, state, define, and pronounce that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human being to be subject to the Roman pontiff.
Of course, a Council of Roman prelates as recently as 1870 declared that the popes are infallible only in the field of "faith and morals" and when speaking ex . Nevertheless, as we have earlier noted, that field is actually limitless; moreover, there are hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics who have been persuaded that a pope speaks with ineffable wisdom even when he does not buttress his words with a claim of infallibility.
In contrast, we can know today that the twin concepts of papal infallibility and of divine authority for the World to be ruled by a priestocracy -- or for any lesser controls to be imposed on secular society by Clericalism -- have been wholly in error. Indeed, we can know this in four different but overlapping ways.
First, we can know of that error by perceiving it was God's intent that Mankind should rely on secular efforts to learn how to translate and apply the clergy-taught basics of morality at the more complex levels of economic-social-political life, rather than for secular society to be mere puppets subject to direct or indirect divine controls. Second, we can perceive that Jesus neither sought to supplant secular governments nor even attempted to dictate to them; to the contrary, he said, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." Further, we shall deduce later in this chapter what Jesus really meant -- quite contrary to the traditional Roman concept thereof -- when he spoke to Peter of "bind and loosing" and of the "keys to the kingdom of Heaven." Third, we can note certain errors committed by Peter himself which attest his own lack of infallibility; likewise, the fact that he refrained from attempting to dictate not only to secular governments but also to his fellow Apostles. Fourth, we can note many blunders of Peter's successors over many centuries which certify their lack of infallibility, too, as well as their lack of any divine authority to dominate or compete with secular governments in economic-social-political affairs.
It will suffice to show only a few of the errors of which Peter himself was obviously guilty. Thus, he originally shared with other Apostles a belief that the Second Coming of Jesus would be within their own lifetimes. Likewise, we can be sure he believed and taught, erroneously, that God existed in advance of cosmic substance, that he "manufactured" Adam as the prototype of our species, and that he constructed our Earth at the center of the Universe. Hence, such errors make it clear that Peter was not infallible even in matters of "faith" (i.e., theology.) In addition, Peter blundered by helping or leading in the Jerusalem fiasco of Collectivism when Christians were urged to live "in common", whereas he should have known from the earlier experience of the Hebrews in Egypt what unhappily happens whenever people surrender the principle of individualistic property ownership. Thus, it is evident that he was equally fallible in matters of economic-social-political relations. Moreover, when two of the donors to the share-the-wealth program engineered by the Apostles exercised a moral right to retain a portion of what they owned, Peter was most grievously fallible in frightening the wisely cautious pair so badly that they died on the spot.
Further demonstrating the difference between being the leader of the Apostles (primus inter pares) which Peter certainly was, and being their infallible overlord which he certainly was not, it was he who took the initiative to remind the Council of Eleven that a new Apostle was needed to replace Judas Iscariot but it was Peter who pointed out that "we," not "I," who should do the choosing. Likewise, at a time when Paul and Barnabas had been converting pagans to Christianity without requiring them to be circumcised, it was Peter who argued to a Council of Apostles that such non-requirement had been correct, but it was James who presided and who announced a Council decision that circumcision was unnecessary for Christians.
Now let us recognize that, although we have already shown that Jesus' words to Peter could not have meant what Boniface and other popes have claimed, it will be helpful to deduce what Jesus really meant instead. Let us proceed, therefore, by noting that Peter's original name, Simon, was the Aramic equivalent of "one who is zealous." In turn, the fact that Jesus did choose him to the leader of the Apostles makes it clear that Peter must have been physically rugged. Hence, both of those characteristics allowed this Apostle to be appropriately described as a "rock" -- around whom other men would rally at times of danger or hardship. Thus, it is not surprising that Jesus decided his chosen leader of the Apostles would be more appropriately called Peter rather than Simon and could be appropriately referred to as "this rock." On the other hand, such renaming did not require Peter to be infallible or to be given dictatorial authority over the other Apostles or over society as a whole. Moreover, Jesus knew that for Peter to be made infallible or to be given such authority would have been contrary to God's plan for Mankind.
Yet, there still remains a reasonable question of what purpose was really served when Jesus spoke of building his Church "upon this rock", and referred to the "keys" and to the "binding and loosing". However, we shall not find it difficult to deduce the true answer even though for many centuries it has been ignored or overlooked.
The answer begins with the fact that when Jesus spoke his much-debated words, Peter either had already known or had contemplated the possibility that he would be saddled with the heavy responsibilities of leadership in getting the Church spread to distant and hostile places. Yet, Peter also either surmised or was fully aware that he was not going to be infallible, as was later made evident by his actual errors. Hence, it is inescapably evident that he was terribly worried not only that he might lack capabilities adequate for leadership but also that he might be blamed and punished for the errors which, in his lack of infallibility, he anticipated he would later unwittingly commit.
Thus, from those obviously correct premises we are led to an obviously correct conclusion that the oft-quoted words of Jesus were not a commissioning of Peter to be an infallible and all-powerful head of the Church and even of secular society as well, but were instead simply the means by which Jesus dispelled Peter's fears of leadership inadequacy and his fears of blame and punishment for the errors which -- in his lack of infallibility -- he would later inevitably commit.
Accordingly, let us perceive that the first three words of Jesus' statement, "Thou art Peter," were simply a preliminary admonishment to that Apostle as if to say, "Don't forget that you are rock" and that "you have the strength of rock for encountering the responsibilities which lie ahead." In turn, by next saying that "upon this rock I will build my Church," Jesus was simply adding a specific reassurance to all the Apostles, but to Peter especially, that the chosen leader's rock-like virtues would be adequate (despite the expectability of some errors) for the leadership role which had been assigned to Peter. There was a likelihood, however, that the reference to building the Church might actually increase Peter's apprehensions. Hence, Jesus immediately interjected a supplementary assurance that what was to be built would be ultimately successful. Thus, "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it," he said.
In turn, Jesus told Peter that "I" will give to thee the keys to the kingdom of Heaven" -- another metaphor. Thus, even as Hell has no "gates," Heaven has no locks to be opened by "keys." Hence, this reference to keys meant simply that Peter would possess a knowledge that would enable those to whom it was relayed to qualify their souls for admission to Heaven. Yet, that was a knowledge possessed not just by Peter alone but also by all the other Apostles, too. Let us perceive, therefore, that the mention of the keys was simply an added reminder to Peter of his possession of such knowledge as a further reassurance of his competence despite his lack of infallibility. Certainly it did not imply that Peter or his successors could dispense free tickets to Heaven or consign Heaven-deserving souls to Hell.
Yet, the assurance that the Church would ultimately achieve success did not relieve Peter of the realistic anticipation that, in his lack of infallibility, he would make some serious errors in his leadership and might be blamed and punished for them. Hence, it was at this point of Peter's unspoken thoughts that Jesus went all out to remove Peter's fears. "Whatsoever thou shall bind on Earth shall be considered bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on Earth shall be considered loosed in Heaven, " Jesus told him. In other words, it was precisely because Peter knew he would not be infallible that he was told that whatsoever misjudgements he might make on Earth would be considered in Heaven as though they were free from error, rather than being held against him. (On the other hand, Jesus constructed his statement in a form that would not leave Peter's successors exempt from Hell's corrective processes in response to errors committed in a capricious or arrogant manner.)
Let it be perceived by all of modern Christianity, therefore, that the words of Jesus to Peter concerning the "rock," the "keys," and the "binding and loosing" were not a grant of infallibility, or of power to send souls to Hell or to Heaven, or of authority to coerce or supersede secular governments -- either for Peter, his colleagues, or their combined successors. Instead, those words were actually in recognition of the non-granting of such a status and were uttered simply and almost solely for the allaying of Peter's realistic fallibility fears.
HOW A CHRISTIAN PRIESTOCRACY WAS IMPOSED on the Western World in medieval times by using the Petrine theory of infallibility and of supreme authority on behalf of Peter's successors needs to be examined now not only because the dire results of that doctrine have exposed its fallacy to everyone who has not been piously blind but also because our review of those consequences will provide grim added warnings against the even more insidious forms of Clericalism which have become rampant in modern times.
Thus, we note that in the first three centuries of Christianity a great variety of conflicting concepts of theological truth had developed among the clergy, attesting the incompleteness of knowledge supplied to the Apostles by Jesus and demonstrating how erroneous beliefs or surmises could originate as products of priestly efforts to supplant residual voids or to correct second-stage errors. For example, there came to be conflicting views concerning whether God was just one person or a three-some of persons. Likewise, although none of the early clergy was capable of understanding the actual nature of the Holy Spirit, there was much debate concerning whether it or he "proceeded" from only the Father or from both Father and Son.
It became obvious, therefore, that if the Church was to escape an enormous fragmentation its clergy would need to accept a standardized set of answers -- even if some were temporarily erroneous -- to all such questions. So it was that in the year 325 most of the bishops and many priests assembled in Council at Nicaea at the order of the Emperor Constantine to attempt to agree upon a single set of theological concepts and to forbid any subsequent deviations therefrom.
Accordingly, we note that the Nicene Creed -- still recited by millions of Christians in modern times -- was promulgated by that Council, that its statements expressed the views of a dominant majority of those present, and that this group was headed by the Bishop of Rome as Peter's apostolic successor. Thus, because that creedal document was intended to serve for all time to come as an infallibly correct summary of Christian theological truth, we perceived that those who caused its adoption were thereby posturing group-infallibility. Yet, the lack of infallibility, either in that group itself or in any individual within it, has already been implied in earlier chapters of our study and will now be amplified by referring to a number of profound errors which the Nicene Creed has contained. On the other hand, it is not surprising that other portions of the same Creed are everlastingly true. After all, the clergy at Nicaea did possess a vast, but incomplete, source of such truths as contained in the Old and New Testaments. Hence, it will be desirable now to list the Nicene Creed's truths and errors in that stated sequence.
Thus, our study has earlier shown that the following assertions of the Nicene Creed are true, allowing for certain interjected amplifications for the sake of clarity: l -- That there is "one God" (a one-person Deity who is the Father of a divine lineage presumably limited to one Son.) 2 -- That God is "almighty" (by virtue of an omniscient know-how applicable to the spontaneously inevitable laws of nature.) 3 -- That Jesus is the "Son of God" (making him genetically divine but not a co-Deity.) 4 -- that Jesus is "of one substance with the Father" (provided this is taken to mean simply that their heavenly bodies are composed of identical kinds of materials.) 5 -- That Jesus "for us men and our salvation came down from Heaven" (thus, that he originated in Heaven before his soul was reincarnated on Earth, and that his purpose in our World was to help save Mankind from its previous level of theological and moral ignorance.) 6 -- That Jesus "was incarnate . . . . of the Virgin Mary" (by a process in which his soul-cell implanted itself in her womb.) 7 -- That Jesus was "crucified also for us," but "arose," and "ascended into Heaven" (as detailed elsewhere in our study). 8 -- That Jesus "shall come again, with glory, to judge . . . . the quick" (the members of Earth's final living generation). 9 -- That there is a "Holy Spirit" (consisting of a special kind of electronic particles rather than being either a person or a co-God) and that these holy particles "proceed"can be sent forth) "from the Father and the Son." l0 -- That Jesus did establish "one Catholic (universal) and Apostolic Church" (the purpose of which remains unchanged despite its modern condition of disunity). ll -- That there is a "resurrection of the dead" (a post-Earth reincarnation of human souls. l3 -- That there is a "life of the World to come" (whereby earthly souls, having obtained new bodies, abide in the eternity of Heaven).
On the other hand, our logic shows the framers of the Nicene Creed were guilty of errors in certain of its other portions. In particular, we have concluded: l -- That God was not the "Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible;" that, instead, all substance of the Universe came into existence in response to the spontaneously inevitable laws of nature and that even the origin of Heaven preceded the origin of the Deity. 2 -- That, although Jesus is divine in lineage, he is not "God of God" or "very God of very God;" thus, not as a co-God but as God's Son he should be venerated, hallowed, glorified -- and thanked for the assistance he gave to Mankind during his long-ago visit to Earth. 3 -- That, although Jesus will judge "the quick" at his Second Coming, he will not judge "the dead" -- because they will have been subject earlier to an inner process of their own souls, leading from self-condemnation to correction and to the state which is called forgiveness. 4 -- That the Holy Spirit is not a "who" but a "which" and should not be "worshiped and glorified" as a co-God. 5 -- That the Holy Spirit is not the "giver" of the ordinary life which we experience on Earth but is, however, the key ingredient of the reincarnated post-Earth life of the human soul. Footnote 1
We perceive, therefore, that none of the clergy at Nicaea was infallible -- for if infallibility had been really possessed either by the Council as a whole, or by the dominant group within it, or by the Bishop of Rome, the Nicene Creed would not have contained the errors which modern Man now finds within it.
Now let us examine how it was that the group-infallibility postured at Nicaea came to be secondary to claims of personal-infallibility on behalf of the successive Bishops of Rome and was combined with their additional claims of divine authority not only to rule the Church but also to head a priestocracy that would be dominant over the World's secular society in economic-social-political matters as well.
We note, therefore, that by the time of the Council at Nicaea a practice had already developed wherein the bishops of such principal cities as Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome exercised a degree of ecclesiastical guidance for other bishops and lesser clergy of their respective areas. After Nicaea, however, the successive prelates at Rome began to claim that they possessed a divinely granted authority superior to all of the others everywhere. Hence, as the other key city bishops had become known as "patriarchs" (i.e., as the "father-like" heads of the ecclesiastical "family" of each respective area), it became a practice of the followers of the Bishop of Rome to describe him as the "pope" (i.e., as the chief "father" of all Christendom.
Many prelates in the distant eastern cities refused, however, to be submissive to the papal claims; accordingly, they severed their organizational relationships with Rome. Thus, a unity among the eastern bishops became the structure of the Eastern Orthodox Church which even unto the present day was continuing as a large and independent entity. Yet, in the western parts of early Christendom the powers exercised by the papacy continued to be expanded. For example, although a number of Councils of Bishops were assembled in subsequent centuries it was always the popes who dominated them.
Moreover, the popes did not sit content with the applying of an ecclesiastical dominance. Instead, and likewise based on the erroneous theory of the powers and authority of Peter, while also being responsive to a variety of personal motivations, the successive popes began to impose a papal-headed priestocracy upon secular society in most of Europe as well as upon the Roman sector of the Church itself. Sometimes the extremist tactics of Clericalism by which the papacy sought a maximum application of its intent to rule all Mankind made use even of powerful military forces led by popes themselves to capture territories which thereupon became ruled directly by the Roman pontiffs. At other times the popes paid money or favors to various secular rulers to cause them to make war on other States whose kings were reluctant to be subservient to the papacy's powers.
More basic, however, in the efforts of many popes to be dominant in the World's economic-social-political affairs was the continuous use by the papacy of methods of subversion to undermine and make submissive any secular governments which attempted to reject papal domination. There were two phases in such subverting. First, the Roman clergy taught everyone in the western nations -- kings and commoners alike -- that only by participating in the Church's sacraments could anyone keep his soul from going to Hell and instead to win for it admission to Heaven. Thus, the second phase of subverting, as we have earlier seen implied in the words of Pope Boniface V111 concerning "salvation" consisted of imposing or threatening to impose either excommunication upon individuals or an interdiction upon all the people of a nation.
A person subjected to excommunication was thereby denied access to the sacraments. This meant to the typical victim that if he died before such a ban was lifted he would fail to win the salvation which he understood that the papacy would either award or deny. It also was taken to mean that other persons would have papal approval if they abused someone who had been excommunicated; indeed, it was commonly believed that even an excommunicated king was fair game for either revolt or murder. Consequently, even an excommunicated rank and file person was frantic to do whatever the clergy commanded -- as deputies of the pope -- as a means of gaining escape from excommunicated status.
Interdiction, however, by shutting off everyone in a nation from the sacraments, could make an entire populace ready to overthrow a king who resisted a pope. Thus, a secular ruler could avert the menace of an interdiction only by accepting subservience to the papacy. On the other hand, as we shall presently see from the records of history, it mattered little how ruthless a king might be toward his own people provided he remained subservient to Rome; indeed, in such cases a secular ruler even could count on receiving foreign military aid directly from the papacy or from one of its vassal kings to keep himself upon his throne.
Moreover, many kings found it convenient to help disseminate the papal dialectics which held that all power over Mankind was delegated by God to the popes who, by approving a king, enabled such a secular ruler to rule "by divine right" -- rather than depending on the consent of the people governed or on any on the job proof of ability to govern wisely. Thus also, the same dialectic held (in the manner of ancient and modern Collectivism) that all property in a king's realm was owned by the State (i.e., the king) even when portions thereof were in the hands of individuals other than the king. In turn, the root of such dialectics further implied that a "higher ownership" of all property was vested in the stewardship of the papacy itself.
Accordingly, a king could grant a "lower level" title of ownership to anyone he chose, as applied to any property in his kingdom. In turn, however, this practice implied that the king also had a right to take back whatever he had previously sold or given. Hence, it was made to appear that instead of taking back an entire property by confiscation the king could take back a fraction of its value each year in the form of taxes in whatever amount that the king himself might unilaterally decide. Moreover, it was held that the taxpayers had no right to have any say in determining how the king's tax revenues might be expended. Likewise, the same theory held, of course, that the popes could impose similar taxes on kings.
Thus, the obedience of all non-kingly people to existing kings and popes and the obedience of kings themselves to the popes were long ensured not only by the fears of kings and commoners of being deprived of the Christian sacraments but also by their fears of being deprived of the property they held. In other words, it took many centuries and a great deal of bloodshed for the Western World to escape from the in-cahoots arrangements between popes and secular rulers which were the basic medieval manifestations of priestocracy.
Yet, the practice of taxation and confiscation for whatever purposes the popes and kings might choose were not the only burdens which such priestocracy loaded upon the rank and file people of the western sector of Mankind. For example, it was the popes who -- despite their claims or postures of infallibility or super-wisdom -- could not get it through their own heads that an individualistic true owner of property not only had a spontaneous right to defend his ownership and a similar right to transfer such ownership to others by a permanent sale but also had a moral right to rent such property to others on the basis of a "temporary price" for a "temporary sale." So it was that the papacy forbade Christian owners of property to make any charge (as a "rental" or as "interest") for letting it be used by others in a temporary-use arrangement. The effect of this inane ruling was, of course, to discourage all forms of lending and even to discourage the accumulating of liquid capital which later would be desperately needed to pay for the construction of machinery and related facilities that would usher in the affluence of economic-social-political Individualism. However, the fact that this ruling involved a moral question and the fact that the popes were assumed to be experts in both "faith and morals" caused the papacy's prohibition of so-called "usury" to endure at least for several generations -- until it was quietly abandoned.
However, our study has so far dealt with medieval Clericalism only in terms of generalities; hence we shall next need to deal with the results in the terms of great specifics.
THE INJURIOUS IMPACTS OF CHRISTIAN CLERICALISM first reached dimensions large enough to demonstrate even by the results alone the absurdity of all priestly claims or postures of infallibility or super-wisdom relating to economic-social-political matters during a 600-year period in which a total or partial priestocracy was imposed on most of Europe beginning about 10 centuries after the Church was founded.
This was a period in which the errors of the supposedly infallible papacy led to the separation of non-Roman Christians from other Christians who remained affiliated with Rome. In addition, it was a period in which much of secular society delivered a crushing but non-fatal defeat to papal Clericalism and then achieved great economic-social-political progress by proceeding along lines directly opposite to those which the popes had previously imposed.
Of course, the falsity of the papal claims of infallible capabilities in the actually limitless field of faith and morals was also demonstrated in the same centuries by the papacy's conduct even in religious matters not directly hitched to economic-social-political affairs. Thus, because these manifestations of non-infallibility were among the major factors which alerted many Christians of their need to escape from Roman Clericalism as well as from certain of Rome's religious concepts, we shall identify seven examples of religious blunders committed by various popes.
First, there were at least five "Crusades," all deplorable and all launched by popes, which cost thousands of lives of Christians and non-Christians and which wasted vast quantities of Europe's wealth in the pursuit of fatuous objectives. Particularly significant was the role of Pope Urban II who, in 1095, instigated the initial Crusade, seeking the capture of Jerusalem from its Moslem occupants. Thus, although inescapably aware that great bloodshed would be one of the results of such unnecessary warfare, Urban promoted it with oratory which persuaded much of the clergy and laity of Europe that God willed it!
Second, it was Pope Innocent III who persuaded the Lateran Council in 1215 to enact laws that required Jews to wear identifying apparel and to live in ghettos. This was, of course, just one of many anti-Jewish acts of the papacy over many centuries which transmitted to Christian secular society a hostility toward Jews, manifested in bloody pogroms, and was another instance of a lack of the infallibility which the popes professed to possess in faith and morals.
Thus, despite the claims of infallibility, it was Pope Gregory IX who in 1233 gave the infamous Inquisition a go-ahead push, and it was Pope Innocent IV who in 1252 approved the use of torture by ecclesiastical "inquirers" to obtain "confessions of guilt" from anyone suspected of heresy. In these practices, the proceedings were secret, the person accused was never confronted by his accuser or by any other witnesses, and was not even informed of whatever it was that they did or did not testify. Moreover, if any witnesses dared to attempt to defend the accused they also became accused and were targets for torture also. Then, if a person had falsely testified against himself simply for the sake of momentary escape from physical pain but later sought to deny his previous words he was re-tortured until he "confessed" again. In turn, because the papacy-appointed prosecutors maintained a sham of avoiding bloodshed, the convicted persons were handed over to corrupt secular officials, usually to be burned at the stake.
Fourth among the non-secular blunders of the supposedly infallible popes was the case of Kublai Khan, the emperor of China, who wrote a letter asking the papacy to send missionaries to convert the millions of Chinese people to Christianity. That letter was brought to Rome by the father and uncle of Marco Polo, but it took two years for them to get one of the popes (Clement IV or Gregory X) just to receive it. Then, the inadequate response it brought was merely the assigning of two Dominican friars to make contact with the Chinese ruler, and even these turned back without reaching their assigned destination.
Fifth, the fallibility of the papacy even in personal morals was displayed by the immoral personal conduct of numerous popes. Most notorious of these, of course, was Alexander VI (1492-1503) who was the father of numerous illegitimate children including the equally infamous Caesar and Lucretia Borgia.
Sixth among the fallible ecclesiastical acts of the popes was the selling of "indulgences" as authorized by Julius III and Leo X. The granting of the so-called indulgences was based on a falsity of theological dialectics which held that the popes had at their command a "treasury of good works," created by Jesus and by various saints which could be drawn upon by the papacy -- like writing a check against a bank account -- to be credited to the account of a sinner in Hell in amounts sufficient even to win an immediate transfer of his soul from Hell to Heaven. Moreover, it was claimed by persons hired by clergy to be peddlers of indulgences that such a document could also nullify sins that had not even yet been committed; in other words, they could be construed as "licenses" for the committing of future sinning.
Seventh in our incomplete list of the primary religious blunders of the papacy is the fact that, because the popes had long accepted a doctrine that the Earth had been created by God at the center of the Universe, there was great reluctance in the Roman hierarchy to let the astronomer Galileo show the World in 1616 that this theological concept simply was not true. Hence, when he championed the knowledge -- earlier discovered by Copernicus -- that our Earth revolves around its Sun, he not only was ordered to be silent on this subject but also was arrested, was bullied until he denied on his knees the truth he had previously published, and was forced to perform acts of "penance" until he died about 30 years later.
Accordingly, from the seven examples just cited, the demonstrated fact that the clergy's principal claimants of infallibility were not infallible even in theology or in the ecclesiastical aspects of morality, and that they were likewise often apathetic concerning the performing of the Church's really authorized functions, would be sufficient to show by itself alone if this were necessary, that they likewise were neither infallible nor divinely authorized to practice Clericalism in the paralleling field of economic-social-political matters.
In turn, the fallibility of those who claimed or postured infallibility was shown also by their resistance to early Christian protestants who -- within the existing organizational structure of the Church -- sought reforms in its clergy and in certain of its doctrines.
For example, the victims of the Inquisition included thousands who were merely seekers of reforms from within, long before other Protestants successfully separated themselves from Rome to achieve an independent Reformation. Likewise, three other examples of what happened to early would-be reformers are also significant.
Thus, when John Wycliffe (1320-1384) attacked the temporal powers being wielded by the popes he was tried for heresy and was saved from a death penalty only because a throng of followers intimidated the ecclesiastical court which tried him. Even so, 44 years after his natural death his body was dug from its grave and was burned, on the grounds that it was a capital offense to challenge any papal position. Meantime, John Huss (1369-1384) was summoned to appear before the Council of Constance which caused him to be burned at the stake simply because he had preached certain of Wycliffe's views. Moreover, Huss had consented to take himself into the presence of that tribunal only because he had been given a pledge of safe conduct by the Emperor Sigismund. Hence, it is also significantly evident that this secular ruler was one of numerous craven monarchs who found it profitable for themselves to be non-resistant to the papacy. In turn, Cirolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) was a Dominican friar who demanded the dethronement of Alexander VI, the Borgia pope. Yet, the net result of this demand for reform from within was that the protesting friar was hanged as a heretic and his body was burned.
On the other hand, not all pre-Reformation opposition to the practices of the papacy came from protesting minor clergy or from rank and file peoples. For example, King Edward III -- having discovered the papacy playing financial footsy with the king of France against England -- stopped paying the taxes which Rome had previously levied for collection from the English people. In addition, Edward adopted the Statute of Provisos (1351) which for a time excluded from England all officials appointed by popes, and the Statute of Praemunier (1353) which for a time prohibited the English king's subjects from taking secular cases at law to papal courts for appealed decisions.
Thus, the oft-heard question of "Why didn't the Protestants confine their efforts for reform to actions taken inside the Church?" is already well answered by the experiences of Wycliffe, Huss, and Savonarola as well as by those of the victims of the Inquisition. Obviously, as a practical matter, it was not safe or effective to oppose the papacy in pre-Reformation times except in rare cases such as that in which King Edward's secular government, at least temporarily, had sufficient military strength to resist the forces which the popes could summon to smite protesters.
IN THE PERIOD KNOWN AS 'THE REFORMATION,' however, it gradually became possible for millions of Christians protesting against the economic-social-political and ecclesiastical concepts of Rome to obtain protection from governments resistant to papal Clericalism sufficient to achieve improvements in secular life and to become members of Churches not affiliated with the Roman pontiff.
It follows, therefore, that if we are to learn what is requisite for modern Christianity to achieve the efficiency-in-unity which Jesus intended and if we are to recognize the related necessity for modern secular society to stop being misled by some clergy into highly injurious economic-social-political errors, we shall need to comprehend more clearly than previously has been commonly possible how certain events of the Reformation demonstrate that the dialectics and personality factors of medieval Clericalism were essentially the same as have been involved in a widespread and more insidious form of Catholic and Protestant Clericalism today.
Accordingly, our study proceeds by noting it was Martin Luther who led the first successful and large scale escape of protestants from papal domination and it was the selling of "indulgences" by emissaries of the popes which precipitated, originally in Germany, the Lutheran break-away from Rome. The leader of this separation -- an ordained priest of the Roman Church -- also had, however, a great many other charges of errors and improprieties to lodge against the papacy, its acts and its teachings.
So it was, in 1517, that Luther attached a written statement of 95 of such accusations to the door of a church, hoping thereby to initiate a debate that might achieve without a separation the reforms which he recommended. Instead, after some three years of parrying, the papacy excommunicated him and demanded that he be arrested by Emperor Charles V to be tried for heresy. By that time, however, so many of the German princes and people had become followers of Luther that Charles simply ordered him to appear for a hearing by a parliament of nobility. Luther was given Charles' promise of safe conduct; thus, the target of the related Roman ire obeyed the order despite being reminded that a similar pledge by Sigismund had not saved Huss from being burned at the stake. Yet, Luther stood his ground at his hearing, refusing to retract what he had written.
Thereupon, Charles declared Luther to be an outlaw but agents of Frederick, the ruler of Saxony, took the accused man to the safety of a castle. Later, Luther resumed public preaching of his concepts of Christian truth and when these were embodied in the "Augsburg Confession" they became fundamentals of the Lutheran Churches of today.
The role of John Calvin (1509-1564) was also important in clipping the ecclesiastical and secular powers of the popes. Thus, just 24 years after Luther had set forth his concepts of needed reforms, the Protestant Calvin was called by the people of Geneva, Switzerland, to take charge of both its ecclesiastical and secular affairs. This arrangement put him as much in command of both Church and State, locally, as though Geneva had remained under papal controls. On the other hand, Calvin's later followers came to favor the "contract theory of government" which held to essentially the same truth that was recognized in an earlier chapter of our own present study -- that early Man had lived in an amoral condition of perpetual "war of all against all," a circumstance which could be corrected only by the forming of governments dedicated to justice, the essence of peace.
In turn, the Calvinists deduced that "all government rests upon the consent of the governed" -- a view which later was echoed in the American Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution of the United States. In other words, Calvin's followers came upon a near-perfect concept which would require only two modifications to be wholly correct. Thus, as so amended, that concept would be that "all government is good which rests upon the enlightened consent of the governed."
An account of the struggle between "Church and State" (i.e., between papal Clericalism and secular society) in England from 1215, when King John signed the famous Magna Carta, the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, will be found even more illuminative in the purview of our study than the experiences of Luther and Calvin for two chief reasons. First, it reveals how -- even in modern times -- papal Clericalism still seeks to bolster its aspirations for a wholly dominant ecclesiastical and secular supremacy by including in its dialectics certain false innuendoes relating to the Protestant Anglican Communion of Christian people. Second, the tactics of the popes in relation to the English secular and ecclesiastical institutions from John to Elizabeth can be more clearly delineated than is possible in the cases of Luther and Calvin.
As earlier noted, the popes had long been sponsors of feudalism headed by kings and of the false theory that secular monarchs ruled by "divine right" -- provided they were willing to take orders from Rome. By the time of King John, however, many of the English people had become disenchanted with the consequences of such rule. In particular, at the rank and file level they were unhappy with the low standard of living, it being the residue of the nation's productivity after heavy taxes had been jointly imposed by popes, by kings, and by feudalistic barons.
Thus, when even some of the barons became irked by the dictatorial tax powers exercised by John in his in-cahoots relationship with the papacy, they compelled him to sign the Great Charter which promised tighter restrictions on his taxing practices. That document was, of course, a great milestone in Mankind's economic-social-political advancement because one of its provisions gave birth to a gradually evolving concept of parliamentary rule whereby taxes could be levied only by officials responsive to a majority of a nation's people and whereby such a majority presumably would reflect the interest of all others as well. Accordingly, it is significant that John's signature was hardly dry before Pope Innocent III declared that the Magna Carta should be treated as null and void. Nevertheless, in succeeding centuries the power of parliaments grew while the powers of kings and popes diminished.
Meantime, even an occasional king became bold enough to resist the powers of the papacy. Thus, King Edward III was such an example. In other words, even while the rank and file of English secular society were gradually clipping the powers of the kings, the kings were gradually clipping the powers of the popes.
A still greater break between secular society in England and the popes occurred in the reign of King Henry VIII (1509-1547), and the details of the related events are still highly significant today -- not only because they show how malevolent were the efforts of Roman Clericalism to retain or recover its powers in that nation but also because they can clarify the manner in which the modern Roman sector of the clergy has continued to use a major misleading innuendo as one of its tactics seeking to cast doubt on the validity of any ecclesiastical denomination not affiliated with Rome.
Thus, first dealing with the innuendo tactic, we note that millions of 20th century Catholics and Protestants have been taught to use a Roman-chosen description in stating that Henry VIII was the founder of the Anglican denomination (which later came to include the Protestant Episcopal Church in America.) Hence, because that term has been allowed to seem to be correct, it has promoted a false notion that the Anglican Communion of today was human-founded -- as as if this made it illegitimate. Moreover, the same tactical objective has been served by overlooking the fact that Henry had reasons far more profound for leading a break-away of English Christians from the controls of the papacy than merely his frustrated attempt to obtain papal approval of a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
In the first place, we note the truth that the Church in England had been in existence for many centuries prior to Henry's reign; hence, instead of "founding" it, he simply restored it to a basis which excluded the papacy's claims of a right to be dominant over England's ecclesiastical land economic-social-political affairs. In other words, Henry simply provided the sufficiency of secular military strength that was necessary to permit English Christians to remain Christians without being subject to the Clericalism of the popes.
In the second place, the casuistric characteristic of the founded-by-Henry phrase is shown by the fact that subsequent to his reign, the Church in England was fully restored to Roman controls in the reign of "bloody" Queen Mary and was officially so recognized by the papacy's emissary, Cardinal Reginald Pole. Thus, the modern Anglican Communion traces its separation from Rome not to King Henry but rather to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I who succeeded Mary and who did not come to the throne until 11 years after Henry had died. Accordingly, let us perceive that -- because neither Henry nor Elizabeth was the "founder" of the Church in England -- the Roman contention that it was founded by Henry serves a second Roman propaganda purpose simply because Henry, later in his life, became a highly immoral person (although he probably had fewer illegitimate children and certainly caused far less bloodshed than quite a number of the popes.)
In addition, it is highly relevant to our analysis of the principles of Clericalism in modern times, even as they apply among some Protestant as well as Roman clerics, to consider succinctly but in finer detail some of the key events and conditions of the "Church-State" confrontation which troubled England in Henry's reign. We note, therefore, that Henry was about 18 years old when his brother Arthur, the predecessor king, died. Thus, because the papacy and the king of Spain wanted to keep England tied to the Spanish throne by marriage, young Henry was pressured until he consented to marry Arthur's widow, Catherine of Aragon. But because the Bible's Book of Leviticus forbade a man's marriage to his brother's widow, the wedding of Henry and Catherine was given a special dispensation by Pope Julius II.
Later, Henry -- who had obtained an extensive theological education in his earlier years -- was so thoroughly imbued with Roman dogma that he wrote a tract critical of Luther's views, whereupon Pope Leo X gave to the English king the honorary title of "Defender of the Faith." But when Catherine had given birth to six infants sired by Henry, all of whom but one (Mary) who died in infancy, Henry came to the conclusion that he was being divinely punished for his biblically-forbidden marriage. Moreover, he believed that England's welfare required him to sire a male heir to the throne. Thus, Henry assumed that the papacy which had claimed authority to bind him to Catherine would use the same authority to loose him from her so that he could escape the punishment which he assumed had been visited upon him and so that he could marry Anne Boleyn in the hope of fathering a son to inherit the throne.
Henry's eyes were opened, however, when -- for political and personal reasons -- Pope Clement VII refused to approve a termination of the king's marriage to Catherine. Clement's reasons began with the fact that the armies of Emperor Charles V had recently sacked Rome and had caused the pope's Medici relatives to be expelled from their holdings in the city of Florence. Moreover, Charles was a nephew of Catherine and hoped to add England to his empire by preventing Henry from acquiring a male heir to take precedence over Mary, inasmuch as she was of the same lineage as the Spanish royal family. Thus, when Charles signed a treaty with Clement, promising to restore the Medici to Florence, the pope -- as his part of this bargain -- refused to set aside Henry's marriage to Catherine, the mother of Mary. Hence, Henry realized that Clement's refusal was simply a case of the papacy meddling in the secular affairs of England in a manifestation of papal claims to be superior to all secular powers.
Such was the manner in which Henry was awakened to the fact that the clergy of Christ's Church had never been given any divine authority to tamper with the secular welfare of nations. Thus, so awakened, he resolved to deliver England from the powers that previously had been exercised by the popes -- and to begin this deliverance by marrying Anne. Accordingly, with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury who declared the marriage to Catherine to be null and void, Henry proceeded to marry Anne despite the fact that this caused him to be excommunicated from the Church of Rome by the pope.
In turn, the English Parliament -- which was just as resentful as Henry concerning papal taxation and other interferences from Rome in secular affairs -- adopted, in 1534, an Act. of Supremacy which described the king as "the only supreme head . . . . of the Church of England." Of course, that Act did not imply that it made Henry a member of the clergy. Instead, it depicted him in words tantamount to those used when Pope Julius had called him "Defender of the Faith," yet as amended to mean that Henry would be its defender in England from the powers that had previously been exercised by the popes.
Later, Anne gave birth to a daughter who ultimately became Queen Elizabeth I. Still later, after Anne was accused of adultery and was beheaded, Henry married other wives including Jane Seymour, the mother of King Edward VI who succeeded to the throne at Henry's death. In turn, Edward was succeeded by Mary and Mary was succeeded by Elizabeth.
During Henry's reign, the religious aspects of the Church in England as separated from Rome, continued virtually unchanged. However, Parliament forbade judicial appeals to the pope, prohibited the paying of taxes to Rome, and denied to papal agents any power or authority in England. Also in this period, Thomas Crammer (1489-1556) -- who had been confirmed by the papacy as Archbishop of Canterbury and who had officiated at Henry's marriage to Anne -- ordered that every parish in England should have a large Bible in English translation available for anyone to read who might so choose. Yet, when Cranmer personally deviated from the Roman concept of transubstantiation, Henry had Parliament adopt "Six Articles" which included provision for that doctrine to be accepted by the English Church.
In the reign of Edward VI (1547-1553), Cranmer continued as archbishop and secured repeal of the Six Articles. In their place, he provided "Forty-Two Articles" which expressed a number of anti-Roman views; also, he assembled the contents for the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and required that all Church services in England should be in the English language.
However, as soon as Mary followed Edward to the throne, England became ruled (1553-1558) by a fanatical pro-Roman queen. Ultimately to become known as "Bloody Mary," she caused about 300 Protestants to be burned at the stake including Cranmer himself. Meantime, she returned the Church in England to its earlier subservience to the papacy and summoned pro-Roman clergy to be her advisors in the nation's secular affairs. Indeed, so thorough was Mary's return of both the Church and the State to Roman hegemony that Cardinal Pole, as previously mentioned, formally pronounced the English Church as fully reinstated in the Roman Catholic sphere.
Protestantism in England got a fresh start, however, when Elizabeth I (1558-1603) succeeded Mary to the throne. Once again, Parliament made the Church in this realm independent of the papacy. Thus, when the new queen was named as the "Supreme Governor" of the English Church this meant simply that, as head of the State, she would defend Christianity in England from papal encroachments, even as a similar title had meant in the earlier case of Henry.
Under Elizabeth, the Roman liturgy was replaced by Cranmer's English language Book of Common Prayer and a new set of "Thirty-Nine Articles" was adopted to define the theological and organizational pattern of the Church in England. Nevertheless, of some 10,000 clergy who had been officiating as Catholics in the reign of Mary, only about 200 remained outside the Church of England in the Protestant reign of Elizabeth.
Of special economic-social-political interest in modern times, one of the definitive Articles adopted in Elizabeth's reign declared that "The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same . . . . Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability." This was a carefully reasoned and totally correct conclusion which accurately implied that even the Apostle Peter had been fallible when he helped organize early Christians in Jerusalem into a communal unit, an experiment which ended as a fiasco, as earlier noted in our study. In addition, this Article was a precautionary measure against the predilection of many medieval and modern clergy (Protestant and Catholic alike) to distort the obligations of charity and the rights of property ownership into terms of the same basic nature as Marxist Collectivism.
Thus, Elizabeth -- despite her own royal status -- was leading the English people another step away from the "State-owns-everything" concepts of Roman-encouraged feudalism and toward the economic-social-political truths of Individualism. In turn, as England jointly gained ecclesiastical freedom from papal controls and a parallel freedom from the fallacies of feudalism, all levels of the people of that realm began to advance to a condition of prosperity and individualistic dignity never previously within their reach. Such economic-social-political progress was hampered, of course, by the World's unfamiliarity with the new and incomplete mechanisms of Individualism and by the fact that the previous times of monarchial-feudalism had left hardly any residue of liquid capital as a nest-egg for the transition.
Roman Clericalism continued, however, to plot an overturn of Protestantism in England, including schemes that called for Elizabeth to be assassinated. For example, one of the plotter's schemes called for murder of Elizabeth to be followed by the enthronement of her pro-Roman cousin known as Mary, Queen of Scots. Nevertheless, Elizabeth tolerated this situation for 29 years before she brought it to a halt in 1587 by having this Mary beheaded.
Meantime, Philip II of Spain became the papacy's chief secular arm in efforts to stamp out Protestantism; accordingly, he built the "Spanish Armada" of warships with the intent that it would pave the way for his armies to invade and conquer England. However, a smaller fleet of English ships twice trapped the Spanish vessels in harbors, inflicting major damage, and in 1588 a storm at sea completed the destruction of this phase of Philip's intentions.
So it was that Elizabeth's reign consolidated England's triumph over Roman Clericalism. Nevertheless, a truce between the papacy and the non-Roman branches of the Christian Church in other parts of the World was not achieved until later -- as further analysis by our continuing study will presently consider.
Thus, although the Lutherans also achieved a degree of security in parts of Germany as secular States defended them from the Roman desire to crush Protestantism, that papal purpose was active elsewhere on Europe's continent, especially under the management of secular zealots.
For example, the Spanish King Philip II sent the Duke of Alva to the Netherlands with an army which, between 1567 and l573, killed about 18,000 non-Roman Christians, and it was not until 1648 that Spain recognized the Netherlands as an independent nation where Protestants were not to be attacked or subverted by Roman Clericalism.
In France, still another instance of atrocious bloodshed in support of the concept of papal supremacy occurred in 1572. This was the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre which was plotted and triggered by the mother of the French King Henry III, Catherine de Medici (of the same notorious family as Pope Clement III who had refused to sanction to termination of the marriage of England's King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.) Taking advantage of an occasion when multitudes of French Huguenots (followers of Calvin) had peacefully assembled in Paris to witness the marriage of their leader, Henry of Navarre to Margaret of Valois, the sister of Henry III, the signal for the massacre to begin was given by ringing the bells of Roman Churches at two o'clock in the morning, whereupon armed bands of papal partisans proceeded to slaughter more than 10,000 unarmed Protestants in the French capital while another 10,000 were similarly slain in other parts of the nation.
Significantly, when the news of that horrible event reached Rome, Gregory XIII -- another "infallible" pope -- celebrated the occasion with a special Te Deum ("We praise thee, O God") and by commissioning an artist to paint a picture in commemoration of the bloody French scenes. Footnote 1
MEANTIME, THE COUNCIL OF TRENT HAD ASSEMBLED, as a gathering of Roman prelates, to consider what reforms might be made in the ecclesiastical and secular concepts of the papacy that might win back some of the Protestants who had already quit the Church of Rome and that might appease other Protestants who might otherwise do the same.
Unfortunately, that Council was comprised chiefly of Italians and Spaniards and was dominated by such intransigents members as the one who later became Pope Paul IV. As a result, only minor reforms were achieved by this group and its principal work was simply to compose a document known as "The Profession of Faith of Trent" which subsequently became the chief summary of Roman dogma.
Nevertheless, many historians have expressed a view that if Trent's reforms inside the Church of Rome had come a century sooner there would have been no exodus of Protestants from it. Our study, however, finds that view erroneous because the Council left the papacy still claiming infallibility and still claiming authority not only to dominate Christianity in ecclesiastical affairs but also to dominate all of secular society in economic-social-political matters as well.
Indeed, that Council left it impossible for any pope or any future Council to correct any major errors of the papacy -- whether of secular or ecclesiastical nature -- without first correcting (by abandonment) the claim of the popes to be infallible in the actually limitless field of faith and morals because errors made within a framework of previously claimed or postured infallibility cannot be corrected without admitting that such infallibility did not and could not exist. Thus, for a pope or a Council to admit that infallibility could not exist in the past would show any current claims of postures of infallibility to be equally ill-founded. Hence, the post-Trent refusal of the Roman hierarchy to abandon the claims or postures of papal infallibility, or a capability thereof, in the actually limitless field of faith and morals has had the debilitating and embarrassing effecting of freezing the Roman Church into the continued acceptance of inherited decisions even when some of them could be recognized today as obvious errors. Worse yet, the same continuance of the positions concerning infallibility and authority to rule -- continuing to be accepted as truth by millions of Roman clergy and laity -- gives the papacy a continuing power even in our modern World to mislead in many ecclesiastical and secular matters, some of which will be itemized in our following chapter.
Yet, there have been divine reasons for permitting such blind stubbornness of the Roman hierarchy to persist in the past, as we shall discover in the immediately following section of our present chapter.
WHY GOD HAS PERMITTED NUMEROUS CLERGY TO ERR, both in past and modern times, and in all denominations, by claiming or posturing infallibility or peerless wisdom and by misleading not only secular society but also the Church itself in many, matters, has long been a question that has troubled thoughtful Christians, However, the multi-part answer can be deduced now with self-manifested correctness.
In the first place, the Church was founded upon a temporary incompleteness of theological and moral truth. In other words, its original package of knowledge had numerous voids; moreover, some earlier voids had been filled with conjectures which actually were errors. For example, even the Apostles accepted a concept that a "preexisting" God had "manufactured" the Cosmos and had located Earth at its center. Similarly, although the ancient Hebrews had been taught in Egypt the basic fallacies of Collectivism, neither God nor his Son supplied the Church with any manual to explain in detail the mechanisms of justice which would ultimately comprise a perfected economic-social-political system of Individualism. Moreover, Jesus withheld infallibility from the Apostles and subsequent clergy for reasons which our study has previously mentioned. Yet, it is also obvious that he foresaw that, in consequence, a great many clergy -- being humanly devoid of infallibility -- would commit many errors, including a belief that infallibility or peerless wisdom would actually be possessed by one or many members of the Christian priesthood.
In the second place, it is therefore evident that secular society would have committed many errors itself, even if none of these had been sponsored by clergy. Thus it is evident additionally that he must have had some special reason for allowing some of the clergy itself to do such sponsoring with consequent injuries even to the Church itself.
In such manner, we are led to a rhetorical corollary question: Why didn't Jesus simply instruct the Apostles and subsequent clergy to candidly confess that "We don't know everything, we are not infallible or gifted with inimitable wisdom; moreover, it is not our task to go beyond the teaching of basic morality in influencing the conduct of secular society." Thus, the fact that Jesus did not so instruct the Apostles and subsequent clergy becomes the final premise in the logic which will provide the inescapably correct answer to the original question of why God "allowed" some clergy to err in the terribly grievous ways cited earlier in our present chapter.
The first part of that answer, we accordingly deduce, can be nothing other than that God knew a time would come when the Christian clergy would be confronted with new truths so startling that many of the priesthood would tend to react self-defensively by rejecting those truths, whether or not they had been instructed to abstain from an infallibility posture or claim.
Hence, the second part of the same answer, we deduce, can be nothing other than that only by allowing prominent clergy for many centuries to flatter their human egotism by assuming such posture or making such claim until they ultimately became overwhelmingly embarrassed by the deplorable results could God be certain that such members of the priesthood would finally be reduced to a degree of personal humility sufficient to make them willing to accept the startling disclosures instead of offering a stubborn and egotistical opposition to them.
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