The Roman Catholic Church

Our continued look at various religions and denominations.

By BETTY CANON, Office Assistant, South American Division Headquarters

By Robert F. Correia,  Intern, Potomac Conference


Early church fathers cast about for name that, when added to "Christian," would sig­nify one universal church. References to universal history, laws, etc., suggested term "catholic." Ignatius of Antioch was first to apply catholicity to Christian church.

"Where Christ is, there also is the catholic church." "Catholic" became complement of "Christian." Soon universal Christian church became known as "Catholic church."


Dates its origin from selection by Jesus Christ of apostle Peter as chief of apostles, and traces its history through his successors in Bishop of Rome. (See Handbook of All Denominations.)

The church dates back to sixth century, but creed of Catholic Church not formulated until sixteenth century.

Romanism did not exist in days of apostles. (Not till sixth century.) There were churches in Rome, same as at Jerusalem and Corinth, but there was no resemblance in doctrine or government to the Roman Catholic.

Romanists get credentials from their own interpretation of Scripture. (Matt. 16 :18; I Peter 2:4-6.) None of the Scriptures they use contains slightest allusion to Roman church.


Since Seventh-day Adventist workers must become thoroughly acquainted with histori­cal steps which became basis for transfer of original rest day, the seventh-day Sabbath, to Sunday, first day of the week, we will not here .enter into these details. Efforts of Rome in this direction well known to us. We know background for her designs as foretold by Daniel—"shall . . . think to change times and laws." Because of Rome's last-day program for world, our workers must remain intelligent on all her moves, and especially final ones in earth's history.


Seventh-day Adventists have guidance in Spirit of prophecy in approaching Catho­lics. We are not to "make a raid" on them, but rather be tactful and diplomatic in dealing with them. We are to find points of agreement, and proceed carefully.


1.  God has created, preserves, and governs all things.

2. Trinity of three Persons.

3. Second Person of Trinity became man, and died on cross for us.

4. No one can be saved without grace of God.

5. God will judge all men.

6. Not sufficient to believe what God has re­vealed; we must all keep His command­ments.

7. Sin is transgression of law of God. (See Abridged Catechism of Christian Doc­trine by Rev. Joseph Deharbe, S. J., pp. 7, 8, 21.)


I. Points on proper observance of Sunday which we might also apply to observance of Sabbath. (See Keeping Sunday Holy, Rev. J. B. Bagshawe, pp. 9-16.)

2. Give time to "recollection of spirit." (Page II.)

3. Good reading ought to have a place. (Page 15.)

4. Reading should be instructive and de­votional—Holy Scriptures, .sermons, meditations, etc. (Page 16.)

5. Study life of our Lord, His doctrines, and example. (Page 16.)

6. Abstain from all unnecessary work. (Page 9.)

7. Sunday observance which we could not apply to true Sabbathkeeping. (See Keeping Sunday Holy, pp. 7-13.)

8. Give lessons in drawing, writing, reading, music, etc. (Page 7.)

9. Buy necessary things for daily con­sumption. (Page 7.)

10. Reap corn, mow hay, or gather fruit when such things would be likely to suffer from bad weather. (Page 7.)

11. "If young people occasionally take an unreasonable part of it [Sunday], and, 11OLV and then, spend a large part of the day in taking fresh air and exer­cise, which they cannot otherwise get, I do not think He [God] will be of­fended—if they are careful in hearing mass—provided that, as a rule and ha­bitually, they keep Sunday in a right spirit, and give their time and service generously to Him." (Page 13.)


I. Mary—Mother of God.

Mary declared by church to be mother of God, but not mother of His Godhead; Sec­ond Person of Holy Trinity existed from all eternity. Mary a finite creature, born ac­cording to human nature. Obviously she could not have been mother of Infinite God­head of her divine Son. In Christ, two na­tures—the one divine, the other human; but one Person. That one Person was the Son of Mary, Mother of God. (See Catholic Mind, June, 1943.)

2. Papal Infallibility.

Papal infallibility does not mean that the Pope can use his high authority to mislead the church. It means that after due consid­eration, he defines a dogma that has been divinely revealed to church by God. Scope of this power applies to faith and morals, but not to science or history. If Pope were to declare earth is flat, that would be some­thing quite outside his pontifical authority, and anyone would be free to dispute his point of view. But when he defines a dogma that God has revealed to His church, then he is infallible, and you cannot argue. (Ibid.)

3. Has Rome Fostered Bible Study?

(The question of whether or not Catholics may read their Bibles, is a real, live, pres­ent-day issue. One hears much today re­garding Rome's new interest in advocating a study of the Bible for all her members. Judging from conflicting opinions on this point one must conclude that she has not changed her policies of adroitness. Rome is still circumscribing the reading program of her members. In a recent move to circulate a special war edition of the New Testament, we observe that many verses and whole chapters of the Word are omitted. Read­ers are left under the impression that they are reading God's Word as it was given through inspiration. The following quota­tions throw light on both sides of the ques­tion of her attitude.)

a. Writers favoring Bible study.

"'Two encyclicals in fifty years on the stip of the Bible, not to mention similar pleas other popes and high Roman ecclesiastics, surely "give the lie,"' says the Catholic Times, 'to the age-old slander that Catho­lics may not read the Bible.'

"Pasquier Quesnel, in the eighteenth cen­tury, in his Moral Reflections and the Gos­pels, pleaded that 'the reading of Holy 

Some Claims of Catholicism Refuted

I. "Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is Obliged 10 practice."—James Cardinal Geeboxs, Faith of Our Fathers (Baltimore, John Murphy Co., 1893), p.

2. "We must, therefore, conclude that the Scrip­tures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith. . . . They do not contain all the truths nec­essary for Salvation."—Ibid.

3. "Unlike the rest of the children of Adam, the soul of Mary was never subject to sin, even in the first moment of its infusion into the body. She alone was exempt from the original taint. This immunity of Mary from original sin is exclusively due to the merits of Christ."—Ibid., p. 204.

4. "But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a .single line au­thorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scrip­tures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify."—Ibid., p.

5. "If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observ­ing the Saturday with the Jews."—Rev. Bertrand L. Conway, The Question-Box Answers (New York, Columbus Press, 1912), p. 254.


I. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for cor­rection, for instruction in righteousness : that the man of God 'may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.

2. "To the law and to the testimony ; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isa. 8:20.

3, "All have sinned." Rom. 3:10, 23; 5:12.

4. "This attribute, or note, of the church implies that the true church must always teach the identi­cal doctrines once delivered by the apostles. . . Consequently, no church can claim to be the true one whose doctrines differ from those of the apos­tles."—JAMES CARDINAL GIBBONS, Faith of Our Fathers (Baltimore, John Murphy Co., 1893), P. 58.

5.   Ibid. Scripture is for everybody, it is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for all sorts of persons to study and know the spirit, piety, and mystery of the Holy Scrip­ture, and that to take the New Testament out of the hands of Christians, or to keep it closed up, by taking from them the means of understanding it, is no other than to shut up or close the mouth of Christ in respect of them.' (Though Pasquier Quesnel was a Catholic, his opinions were promptly con­demned by Clement XI.)"—"Has Rome Fostered Bible Study?" By W. L. Emmerson in Signs of the Times, Aug. 15, 1944.

"Be assured that if you become a Catholic you will never be forbidden to read the Bible. It is our earnest wish that every word of the Gospel may be imprinted on your memory and on your heart."—James Cardinal Gibbons, Faith of Our Fathers, pp. 74-91.

b. Authorities against Bible study.

'At that Council [of Trent] an index of prohibited books was submitted to, and ap­proved by, Pope Pius IV. One of these was the Bible in the common tongue. . . . Therefore it was decreed: 'If anyone with­out a license presume to read or keep by him the Bible, he shall be disqualified to re­ceive the absolution of his sins till he deliver It up to the ordinary.' "—W.L. Emmerson in Signs of the Times, Aug. 15, 1944.

"According to Cardinal Bellarmine, the Scriptures 'ought not to be read publicly in the vulgar tongue.' "—Ibid.

Cardinal Wiseman wrote in the September, 1852, issue of the Dublin Review, "We do not urge them [the Scriptures] on our peo­ple; we do not encourage them to read them; we do not spread them to the utmost among them. Certainly not !"—Page 254.

"God never intended the Bible to be the Christian's rule of faith."—James Cardinal Gibbons, Faith of Our Fathers, p. 78. "The Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith, because they cannot, at any time, be within the reach of every inquirer ; because they are not of them­selves clear and intelligible, even in matters of the highest importance, and because they do not contain all the truths necessary for salvation."—ibid., pp. 89, 91.

4. On Parochial Schools.

Rome cherishes a deadly hostility to schools not completely under her own care. She would like supreme authority over the schools of all Christian countries. People in Catholic lands have not received the ben­efits of education. (See The Papal System, Cathcart, pp. 370, 372.)

5. On the Sacrament of the Mass.

While stressing the sacrament as essential to salvation, there is no certainty about sal­vation in Catholic Church.

According to Cardinal Bellarmine, "It is not possible for anyone to be sure with the certainty of faith that he has received a true sacrament, as a sacrament cannot be cele­brated without the intention of the minister, and no one can see the intention of another." "In the Romish Church, by the testimony of Bellarmine and the Council of Trent, no one can tell whether he has ever received a true sacrament ; nor has he any certainty whether he is not going headlong to the pit when he may have observed all the rites of the Church; and when he may have the as­surance of all its clergy that he is going straight to heaven. There is ground here for dreadful uncertainty and apprehension." —Ibid., p. 360.

VIII. Membership.

Number of Catholics in United States in 1944, about 22,000,000.

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By BETTY CANON, Office Assistant, South American Division Headquarters

By Robert F. Correia,  Intern, Potomac Conference

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