It has proven to be very interesting in studying the history of the Catholic Church. While, I do not agree with their doctrine, it has proven to be a wild ride. According to some of the research that I have found, many Catholics believe that Peter was ordained the first Pope of the Catholic Church by none other than Jesus himself. They draw this conclusion from Matthew 16:18. When in actuality, the Christian church that believed that Jesus Christ is God Almighty, was persecuted by the Roman Empire from 65-300 AD. In many of the books that the Apostle Paul wrote, he referred to himself as “a prisoner for the Lord Jesus Christ.” Nowhere in the Bible do I find the origin of the Catholic Church. The Pope is not in there, Mary remaining a virgin and living a sinless life is not in there, nowhere is purgatory found in the Bible. As a matter of fact, most of what the Catholic Church teaches does not seem to appear in the Scriptures. So what gives?
In 313 AD, The Roman Emperor Constantine met with Licinious at Milan to confirm a number of dynastic and political arrangements. The Edict of Milan came out of this meeting. The edict allowed toleration to be shown to Christians and returned their property that was seized during the Roman persecution of the Christian Church.
Constantine’s conversion is something of a mystery. There are two different accounts, one by Lactantius, who states that Constantine received instructions from God to paint the Christian symbol on his troops shields and he fought the Battle of Milvian Bridge in the name of the Christian God. The other account came from Eusebius who claimed that Constantine saw the Christian symbol in the sky with the legend, “In this sign, conquer.” However, this is problematic because in 310 AD, Constantine claimed to have received a vision from Apollo in Gaul.
The Roman Empire prior to being radicalized into Christianity worshipped pagan gods. In the Catholic Church today, according to The Catechism of Trent: It is lawful to have images in the Church, and to give honor and worship unto them…” It is stated throughout the Bible that idolatry is a sin. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” This is an imperative statement that leaves no room for doubt. Idol worship, according to the Word of God is wrong. When Moses received the Ten Commandments, he came down from Mt. Sinai and the children of Israel had made a golden calf to worship. He threw down the commandments, melted down the idol and made them drink it.
In the Catholic Church, Mary the mother of Jesus Christ is worshipped. It is said that she remained a virgin the rest of her days and that she was sinless. Actually, the Bible says that Jesus was her firstborn (which would imply that she had more children.). Mary herself had to pray and receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Catholic Church claims that Mary sits on a throne in heaven making intercession for sinners. That is not scriptural. Nowhere in the Bible is this even mentioned. This is just another idol. The purpose of Constantine’s conversion was political. In proclaiming Christianity to be the religion for Rome, he sought to unify the Roman Empire. It is interesting to me, that the Christian church became paganized and pagans accepted this “new religion.” Constantine, declared himself the head of the church in 313 AD. He wrote letters to clergy and set forth the rules that governed the Catholic Church.
Continuing to study the Catholic Church I came across purgatory. The Catholic Church believes that a Christians soul must be burnt to purge it from sin. Special masses may be performed and alms may be given to the priest to “speed-up” the process. The Bible, in Acts 2:38 declares, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” It doesn’t say that your soul will be burnt to purge it from sin. God’s blood removes our sins. Our sins are washed away through baptism in Jesus name.
Interestingly enough, the Roman Empire (pre-Christianity) had numerous gods that they worshipped. A god of peace, war, fertility, the list goes on. Instead of gods, the Catholic Church now have saints over these “departments.” It seems to me that what happened is the Catholic Church and Constantine did not want to give up idol worship and they adopted Saints in their place. These “saints” filled the void left by their gods, and Constantine had his unification.
There is so much to study, and to review that this barely scratches the surface of the history of Catholicism. Throughout the ages that have passed since Constantine, the lines separating Christianity and paganism has gradually blurred. The paganist worship that the Romans once used is now buried under hundreds of years of theology and tradition. I will continue to research the Catholic Doctrine, and belief system. One last point though before I shut this down for today. It is interesting to me that Constantine managed to bring about the Catholic Church and that shortly after his death in 337 AD, the world entered the “Dark Ages.” A time of Crusades and Inquisitions’. The Christians that did not accept this newly packaged “Christianity” was still persecuted. Anyone not receiving this new religion was declared a heretic and was tortured until they confessed their new-found beliefs. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Y’all take care.