| ORIGINS OF THE PAPACY
Where did the teaching that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and that he ordained Clement to succeed him, originate? True history teaches that Linus was ordained by Paul, and that Anacletus followed him, and that Clement was actually the third Bishop, ordained a quarter century after the death of Peter. But Rome is not interested in the Truth.
The Roman doctrine that teaches Clement succeeded Peter as Bishop was first taught in the spurious forgery “The Epistle of Clement to James”, which was written in the late second or early third century. Later Catholic Church Fathers quoted this pseudo-Clement document as an authority, they simply ignored the fact that it contradicted the Bible and common history.
One of the ways, as we have learned, that Rome gained credibility, was through her use of forgeries. It is common knowledge that the Roman Church has for centuries used forgeries and lies to gain power.
THE DONATION OF CONSTANTINE
For instance, the Roman Catholic Church used one of the most famous forgeries of history which is called the “Donation of Constantine” as the basis for papal territorial and jurisdictional claims in Europe. The letter was most probably written in the middle of the eighth century. The Roman Catholic Church continued to appeal to this influential document for centuries to come. It was not until 1440 when the scholar Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457) carefully analyzed the document determining that it was a fraud. The problem was, the Donation was the central pillar of the Papal States legitimacy so Valla's work had to be suppressed. It was not until 1517 that published copies became available. Valla presented an overwhelming case, but it would be several hundred more years until Rome finally conceded.
Pope Gregory VII was a master forger, surpassing even this great fraud [Donation of Constantine]. Gregory had an entire school of forgers turning out document after document bearing the papal seal of approval.
Rome has made use of many spurious writings, some contributed to Clement, Ignatius, and even from the Apostles themselves (As in the “Constitution of the Holy Apostles}. All in their attempt to legitimize their many unbiblical and unchristian doctrines and practices.
The only safe course for man to follow is the course that the Reformers declared many years ago. The Bible and the Bible alone as our authority. Let us base every doctrine upon its sacred words and those doctrines and teachings and customs that fail to match the Holy Writ, let them be cast far from us. As Paul, the founder of the Roman Church, had said, “Let GOD be true, and every man a liar”.
THE BIRTH OF THE PAPACY
As we have seen there is no trace of such an institution in the Bible, nor is there any such thing written about in the first three centuries. So when was the Papacy born? Where and how did it begin? As we will see through the pages of history, that the Papacy was birthed through a series of labors, over a number of centuries.
Though the Mystery of Iniquity was at work in the Apostle’s day, it became very evident in the fourth century, after the first Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 AD. For example:
In 330 AD Emperor Constantine moved his capital to Constantinople, and for all practical purpose he turned over the city of Rome to the Roman Pontiff.
In March of 533 Justinian proclaimed the Pope to be the “Head of All Churches”, the “Head of all bishops, and the true and effective CORRECTOR of HERETICS” .(Code of Justinian, lib.1 tit. 1; as given by R.F. Littledale in the Peterine Claims, Pg. 293. – also see George Croly, The Apocalypse of St. John, pg. 170).
Then in March 537, the Roman General Belisarius removed Bishop Silverius and sent him into exile. The Emperor then ordered the clergy to elect a new bishop. The deacon Vigilius who by a bribe of two hundred pounds of gold purchased the honor. (see The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. IV, chap. 41, pg. 168-169)
"Vigilius...ascended the papal chair (538 A.D.) under the military protection of Belisarius." History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 327
In AD 606 Boniface III. accepted the court title of “Universal Bishop” from the Emperor Phocas, but this title was not recognized by the Church.
Then in 860 AD, Nicholas I. astonished the world when he said: “without the consent of the Roman See and the Roman pontiff, nothing should be decided.” Also, he affirmed, “The Creator of all things has established the Princedom of the Divine Power, which He granted to His chosen apostles. He has firmly established it on the firm faith of the Prince of the Apostles, — that is to say, Peter, — to whom he pre-eminently granted the first See”. Where did Nicholas find authority to make such a proclamation? He simply appealed to the authority of his forged Documents, which he succeeded to make law for the West. He thus created the lasting division with those of the East, who had never heard of such a doctrine before. Nicholas thus became the first “Pope” who answers to the Tridentine and modern definition.
In AD 1073 Gregory VII. enforced a number of spurious canons without reference to antiquity, and pronounced that the title of “Pope” should only be used in reference to the Roman Bishop, who holds the sole and peculiar dignity of the Prince Bishop. Before this time the term ‘pope’ was used as a title of humility and was given to any Bishop or parish priest; the Greek orthodox Church still continues this practice.
Then in the years between 1545 and 1563 AD, the Council of Trent framed the “Roman-Catholic Church” out of a number of national churches, to which it gave a new creed and new organic laws; and through their work they made the Pope the “Universal Bishop” and they reduced other bishops to mere presbyters, who were to act as the Pope’s local vicars.
In 1870, the First Vatican Council, held under the supervision of Pop Pius IX (1846-1878) declared the infallibility of the pope. Which teaches the pope exercises an infallible teaching office when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, in his official capacity as pastor and teacher. Thus when the Pope speaks in this capacity, the whole Roman Church must accept his words, as the infallible word of God.
One historian wrote: “In a few centuries the pope had become in theory, and to a certain extent in practice, the high priest, censor, judge and divine monarch of Christendom” Well’s Outline of History pg 526.
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