TITLE:“LIGHT” FROM THE ALTAR OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
It is often said of organizations that speak out against Catholicism, that we are ill-informed of what Rome really teaches. So, I have decided to go to her manuals and teaching sources and let Rome speak for herself. The following quotes are taken from The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church: Embracing Light From the Altar or The True Catholic in the Church of Christ. This book was written in 1920 by Rev. James J. McGovern, D.D., published with the approbation of “the most Rev. James Edward Quigley, D.D., archbishop of Chicago. It contains the approval of several bishops and archbishops, as well as the approval of the Vatican itself. It was published by the Duggan Publishing Co. of Chicago and Buffalo. In the preface, it states:
“....It is to be regretted that THERE BE MANY CATHOLICS WHO ARE NOT CONVERSANT WITH THE TEACHINGS AND PRACTICES OF THE CHURCH, and are unable to explain the truths they profess to believe. FOR THESE AND ALL OTHERS seeking more knowledge, `THE MANUAL OF THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH` has been published as A LAMP OF FAITH which it is hoped will KINDLY LIGHT THE WAY OF TRUTH which leads to the Eternal Happiness of Heaven" (Emphasis mine).
Let’s take a look at what Rome says is a “lamp of faith” that will “light the way of truth”, and compare it with some scriptures, which is the true “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”. On pages 105-106, we read:
"Our Lady had to offer her Son to God in the Temple; and when He had been accepted by the priests in God's name, she was allowed to purchase Him back again. She did so by offering two doves, which offering was considered by the law to be within the means of the poor. Our Lady was ready, nay anxious, to give all she had, but she was pleased to show us that He may be purchased by the poor in spirit for such little things. At the ceremony there are present--Jesus, making a full oblation of Himself to His Father for us; Mary, showing her love by offering her Son to God, and yet glad to have Him back again, hers once more, and hers by another title; Joseph, quietly contemplating the scene, and carrying the doves, the price of the redemption of Jesus" (Emphasis mine).
Now, let’s look at what really happened, according to God’s word. Luke 2:22-24 says:
“And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
As we can see from Luke, the male child being presented “shall be called holy”, and they were presenting Him to the Lord. So why did Mary bring an offering? Leviticus 12:1-4, 6-8, answers that question:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then SHE SHALL BE UNCLEAN SEVEN DAYS; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. and she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. And WHEN THE DAYS OF HER PURIFYING ARE FULFILLED, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, FOR A SIN OFFERING, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: Who shall offer it before the LORD, AND MAKE AN ATONEMENT FOR HER; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall MAKE AN ATONEMENT FOR HER, and she shall be clean.”
There is no indication here that it was necessary for Mary to buy back Jesus from God, rather, it is obvious that a lamb was to be offered for the uncleaness of the woman! The blood sacrifices of the Old Testament were a shadow of the substance, which is Christ Jesus. It is the Lamb of God that purchased His church with His own blood, and therefore, purchased Mary from her uncleaness. The so-called “light from the altar” of Catholicism seems pretty dim when put under the light of the scriptures!
The Manual goes on to say:
"Hail, Mary! sinless one, and yet ready to bear the burden of my sins for love of me. Full of grace, never sullied by sin thyself, strong to bear the effects of my sin. The Lord is with thee, not bodily in this mystery, but in spirit, for thou alone were like Him in thy purity and in thy capacity to bear with the sins of the world" (109).
Here we see RCC teaching that Mary can “bear the burden of my sins” and the “effects of my sin”, totally disregarding Isa 46:4-5:
“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?” (see Isaiah 40:18, 25 and 46:5 against being "like" Him)
God alone “bears” our sins. Hebrews 1:3 is very clear that Jesus “by himself purged our sins”. Isaiah 53:5-6 says:
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Let’s look at more “light from the altar of the Catholic church”. On page 226, we read:
"God, by a meek maid, conquered the rebellious spirit who thought to be as the Most High, and crushed with Mary's heel the serpent's head. She was the sole triumph of the four thousand years before her birth and of the two thousand years that followed. Never again shall we see an Immaculate One upon the earth."
According to Rome, it was “Mary’s heel” that crushed the serpent’s head. Genesis 3:15 tells us a different story.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
It is apparent from the scriptures that it was not the woman that bruised the head of the serpent, but rather, her “seed”. Galatians 3:16 tells us that “seed” was Christ. “...He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ”. Romans 16:20 also makes it clear that God shall bruise Satan under our feet, and not Mary. “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly….” Why then does Rome distort the scriptures and put the emphasis on the woman instead of her "seed"? The reason may be found in the ancient Babylonian religion. Rome, notorious for incorporating pagan symbolism into her religion, incorporated the titles and attributes of many goddesses throughout history. Hislop, in his book The Two Babylons, notes the similarities between Rome’s goddess crushing the head of the serpent, and other goddesses.
“‘In the upper most storey of the tower of Babel, or temple of Belus, Diodorus Siculus tells us there stood three images of the great divinities of Babylon; and one of these was of a woman grasping a serpent’s head.’ Among the Greeks the same thing was symbolised; for Diana, whose real character was originally the same as that of the great Babylonian goddess was represented as bearing in one of her hands a serpent deprived of its head.” (76-77)
It is not enough for Rome to have twisted scriptures to teach pagan doctrine, but she takes the titles that foreshadow Christ in the Old Testament and apply them to Mary. In The Catholic Manual, page 107, we read:
"But why talk of sin today, of all days in the year, when we are celebrating Mary's spotlessness? Let us rather turn our weary eyes away from that evil to which we are akin and lift them up to rest on Mary. And it is a rest. If there were a spot on earth where we could truly say, ‘Here no sorrow can come!’ how would people flock to that spot. But there is no such place. Still there is Mary! Hers is a soul where perfect peace and holy joy dwell undisturbed. She was foreshadowed in the Old Testament under the most beautiful types: the dove that could find no spot clean enough for a resting-place; the many-colored rainbow, reaching from heaven to earth and ratifying God's promise to man; the fiery bush, burning but unconsumed; the majestic cloud of flame that led the Israelites into the Promised Land; Aaron's Rod with its pure white blossoms; the Ark of the Covenant, God's home on earth; Gideon's fleece, exempt from the common lot; `the garden enclosed`......"
Let’s take each title and compare it with the word of God. Rome says Mary is spotless. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is the only spotless one, for “all have sinned” (Rom.3:23, 5:12). In 1 Peter 1:18-19, we read:
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (Compare with Heb.9:14, Ex.12:5)
In Revelation 5:3, John weeps because there was "no man found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon”. But one of the elders said, “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” If Mary was spotless and worthy, then she could have opened the book, but the word of God says that only the Lion of the tribe of Judah was worthy!!!
Without one shred of scriptural evidence, Rome says that we can “rest in Mary”. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Mt 11:28-29) , “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.” (Ps 37:7)
Rome then goes on to say that “Mary was foreshadowed in the Old Testament as the dove that could find no spot clean enough for a resting-place”. The dove from Noah’s ark was sent out three times. The first time, it had to return to the ark because “there was NO DRY PLACE for it to land”, not because there was “no spot clean enough”. The second time, the dove brought back and olive branch. The third time, it did not return, and Noah knew that the waters had abated.. There is simply no evidence to support this interpretation. So where does Rome come up with this interpretation that the dove is “Mary”? Again we have to go to the ancient pagan religion of Babylon to find our answer. In the ancient Babylonian religion, the goddess was represented as a dove.
“...To express the celestial benignity of her [mother-goddess] nature, she was called by the name of ‘D’Iune,’ or ‘The Dove,” or without the article, ‘Juno,’ — the name of the Roman ‘queen of heaven’ which has the very same meaning; and under the form of a dove as well as her own, she was worshipped by the Babylonians. The dove, the chosen symbol of this deified queen is commonly represented with an olive branch in her mouth, as she herself in her human form also is seen bearing the olive brand in her hand...when the deified mother was represented as a Dove, what could the meaning of this representation be but just to identify her with the Spirit of all grace, that brooded, dove-like, over the deep at the creation; for in the sculptures at Nineveh, as we have seen, the wings and tail of the dove represented the third member of the idolatrous Assyrian trinity.” (The Two Babylons, 78-79)
John 1:32 says, “...I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.” It is evident that as the pagan religions mock the word of God, so does Rome! Just as the pagan goddesses were symbolized as a dove, they were also connected with the rainbow. For this reason, Rome claims that Mary is foreshadowed as “the many colored rainbow reaching from heaven to earth and ratifying God’s promise to man”. The pagan religions around the world hold to the same doctrine concerning their goddesses, and considered the rainbow to be the “Gateway to heaven” , the path souls take on their way to heaven or other worlds. The Russians call the rainbow the "Gate to Heaven." The Zulu of South Africa call the rainbow the Queens Arch because it is one of the frames that form the house of the Queen of Heaven. In Kauai the Goddess of the rainbow is Anuenue. In myths of India the Goddess Indra not only carries a thunderbolt like the Greek God Zeus but she also carries a rainbow, known as Indra's bow or weapon. The Maya people believe that the Goddess of the rainbow is Ixchel the wife of the God Itzamna. She is also the spirit associated with the moon, sexuality, childbirth and medicine. A similar Mexican story, from the state of Michoacan, tells of Mauina the Goddess of fertility, who lives under the rainbow in the gardens of the rain and water. The Navajo's also say the rainbow is a Goddess who appears during ritual chanting to heal the sick. To understand the true meaning of the “bow in the clouds”, let’s examine Genesis 9:13-16:
“I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”
Now, let’s compare with Ezekiel 1:28:
“As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”
Now, let’s compare with Matt.24:29–30:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
It’s evident again from scripture that the “bow in the clouds” is referring to Jesus, and not Mary! It is God who keeps His covenant with man, not Mary! Rome should have relied on the word of God to interpret the scriptures, instead of the teachings of the pagan’s around her.
Let’s continue with more “light” from the Catholic altar. They say that Mary was foreshadowed as “the fiery bush, burning but not consumed.” Ex 3:2 says, “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush”. Acts 7:30-31 says:
“And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.”
Again, we must go to the ancient pagan religions to find the “light” of Catholicism, since the Bible does not support their interpretation. In an ancient Orphic hymn, we read: “Daughter of Saturn, venerable dame, Who dwell’st amid great fire’s eternal flame, In thee the gods have fix’d their DWELLING PLACE, Strong stable basis of the mortal race.” (The Two Babylons, Hislop, 78)
Hislop notes that even when Vesta is identified with fire:
“...this same character of Vesta as ’the Dwelling place’ still distinctly appears. Thus Philolaus, speaking of a fire in the middle of the centre of the world, calls it ’The Vesta of the universe, the HOUSE of Jupiter, the mother of the gods.” (78) I feel that the burning bush represents Jesus whose “eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace.”
Rome’s attempt to say that Mary was foreshadowed as “the majestic cloud of flame that led the Israelites into the Promised Land” is just plain blasphemy! There is no excuse for such poor hermeneutics. Ex 13:21 says, “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.”
Just as the Lord went before them by a “pillar of a cloud” by day, He went by night as a “pillar of fire”. Not Mary, but the LORD!!!! I Corinthians 10:1-4 says:
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
Is Rome claiming that in Mary we are baptized unto Moses? Seems impossible? They have no problem saying that she is foreshadowed as “Aaron’s Rod with its pure white blossoms”. Aaron’s rod symbolizes the resurrection, life out of death. After Christ was slain by the broken law, He also arose from the dead, and abides a High Priest forever “after the power of an endless life”. (Heb 7:16) We have a loving, triumphant Saviour, who conquered death and hell and sin and therefore is able to save to the uttermost all those who by faith come unto Him.
Rome’s proclamation that Mary is the Ark of the Covenant again usurps the position of Christ. Christ is the ark in whom we find the bread of life, the new resurrection life in the budding rod of Aaron and freedom from judgment and the liberty of grace as represented by the broken law covered by the sheltering blood upon the mercy seat. The three articles in the ark speak of Christ’s death, resurrection and eternal supply. It is blasphemy for Rome to claim that these all represent Mary. It is equally blasphemous to claim that God’s home on earth is Mary, and hardly deserving of a response. Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Jesus is the tabernacle of God. But, just as the pagan religions believed the goddess to be the “Tabernacle” of God, so does Rome.
Rome’s attempt to make Gideon’s fleece represent Mary, is for the purpose of trying to convince her people that Mary was conceived sinless. If Mary did not need saving, then she would not have rejoiced in God her Saviour. (Luke 1:47), nor would she have offered an offering for her “uncleaness”. That is also the reason why they call Mary a “garden enclosed”. They want you to believe that God kept Mary from sin. Again, they are grasping for straws here! Nonetheless, Rome knows no bounds in her attempt to overthrow the position of God and give His attributes to Mary instead. We know that from scriptures that God is our comforter, for only God is omnipresent and able to comfort each and every person with His presence. Mary cannot fulfill this position. Yet Rome, in her “light” from the altar claims:
"He [Jesus] died, but He left as a pledge of His love His own mother to be our comfort and support. But her days of bliss came too. Like her Son, she passed through the portals of death; like Him, she went up body and soul into Heaven” (209).
John 16:7-14 clearly shows the Holy Spirit to be the Comforter that Jesus gave us after His death and resurrection...not Mary. Notice how Rome preaches Mary’s death and resurrection and her glory. This is not the gospel! This is “another gospel” my friend. (2Cor.11:2-4) This is the gospel according to Rome, and Paul warned us in Galatians 1:6-8 of those who would come preaching "another gospel".
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
The gospel the disciples preached was after the word of God. Paul said he was “...called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord…. But, the Manual of the Catholic church says the apostles of our Lord were “unscriptural”. Just listen to this next quote: "Unscriptural though the Apostles were at this time, yet they were keen enough to know that what they had lost in Jesus they would find in Mary" (183). How could the apostles think they lost anything in Jesus? In Him is all things given. What possible reason would Rome have for wanting anyone to think that the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ were “unscriptural”? Is it because they place so little value on the word of God? Nonetheless, the Bereans tested the words of the apostles with the word of God, and found them to be scriptural. The gospel was promised beforehand in the holy scriptures. Therefore, the apostles were not “unscriptural”.
I would like to end this article with one more quote from the Catholic Manual. On page 123, we read:
"As Queen of Heaven and dispenser of the manifold gifts of grace won by her Son, she is able to help us at all times. She will use her power to the full if we will only acknowledge her Queenship and unite with all the saints in giving her all the glory in our power...Help me, Dear Mother, to root out of myself my own will so that I may be filled with thy spirit which is the Spirit of God" (123).
We were warned in Jeremiah 7 and 44 not to pray to the queen of heaven, yet despite these warnings, Rome gave the title of “queen of heaven” to Mary and commanded men to pray and offer sacrifices to her. Rome assures us that Mary will “use her power” if we only acknowledge “her Queenship” and unite with “all the saints in giving her ALL THE GLORY”. The word of God clearly says that all glory, all honor, all praise belongs to Jesus Christ. In Rev.5:13 we read:
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”
It is evident that the “light from the Catholic altar” is indeed darkness, and the work of Satan, and not of God. Matthew 6:22-23 says,
“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”
What about the leader of that system?
“Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” (Zec.11:17)
My friend, if you have Catholics who are trapped in this system, please share with them the precious word of God and take the time to care for their souls. They are being held captive by an evil system that continuously mocks God’s word.
“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Tim.2:25-26)
By Rebecca A. Sexton, Former Catholics For Christ
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