Although only a 25% minority of the U.S. population belong to it, the Roman Catholic Church has much more power in the United States than it deserves, because many of its members and/or spouses are well situated in high offices throughout American society Prior to Justice Scalia's death, they had secured not only 6 of the 9 seats of the U.S. Supreme Court, but key positions in every other important sector of society. See Catholic celebrities throughout civil society.
When you are an organization with such clout, with a billion members, a world wide institution, with centuries of effort to put down roots deep into societies all over the world, and a treasury to match, you get to do all kinds of things, including making your own reality, i.e. you can persuade yourself and/or others of "reality" like the following:
- that Jesus Christ personally selects one of your high priests to fill his shoes and speak for him on earth; and . . .
- this high priest isn't even required to act as Jesus Christ clearly instructed his apostles to act, or to teach what Jesus taught; and . . .
- this high priest can teach all kinds of things that Jesus never taught, and get away with calling that teaching the "Gospel of Jesus Christ"; and . . .
- this high priest can live in opulent splendor, in a palace with over 10,000 rooms, and never have their sheep question how they can be "vicars of Christ", who said of himself, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." (Matt. 8:20) See VaticanPalace.html.
- Such high priests can demand that their billion "sheep" treat them -- not like royalty, because that is not good enough, but like a fourth person of the Holy Trinity. They can require, for example that (in defiance of what Jesus taught regarding the use of titles of honor) they be addressed as "Your Holiness", "Holy Father", "Supreme Pontiff," and even worse, "the Vicar of Christ"?
These are the instructions which Jesus left for those who would take over the leadership of his new movement after his impending departure :
"They (the lawfully established clergy of his time) preach but do not practice. They pile up back-breaking burdens and lay them on other men's shoulders -- yet they themselves will not so much as raise a finger to move them. Their whole lives are planned with an eye to effect. They increase the size of their prayer books and lengthen the tassels of their robes; they love seats of honor at public functions and front places and to have men call them "rabbi" or "teacher".
How many people know that the famous saying
As for yourselves, don't you ever be called "rabbi" -- you only have one teacher, and all of you are brother of one another. And don't call any human being "father" -- for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. And you must not let people call you "leaders" -- for you have only one leader, the Anointed One (Christ). The only "superior" among you is the one who serves the others. For, every man who promotes himself will be humbled, and every man who learns to be humble will find promotion.
But alas for you, you scribes and Pharisees, play actors (hypocrites) that you are! You lock the doors of the kingdom of Heaven in men's faces. You will not go inside yourselves, and neither will you allow others to enter." (Matt. Ch. 23)
( See CatholicArrogance.Org/CallNoManFatherFather.html )
"All power tends to corrupt;
absolute power corrupts absolutely."
was specifically addressed by one of the England's greatest liberal Catholic thinkers at the time, Lord Acton, to one of England's most important churchmen in a letter addressed to the Anglican historian Mandell Creighton, in 1887, after he had just published the first two volumes of his chief historical work, the History of the Papacy?
When you are an organization with power like the Catholic Church's, you can even overrule the dictionary when it comes to the meaning of words. When the word "bigotry" is used in conjunction with the Catholic church, it doesn't mean believing or promoting lies about that institution. It means "knowing and publishing the truth about that institution". When it comes to the Catholic Church, the rules that apply to everyone else don't apply. Most Roman Catholics seem to believe that official representatives of their church have some kind of divine right to get away, not just with murder, but with mass-murder. And anyone who says otherwise they label "an anti-Catholic bigot".
As the author of this web site, I welcome any effort by any Catholic apologist to prove even the smallest detail of my work wrong. I do make mistakes on occasion. But they are honest mistakes, which I am happy to correct when solid evidence is presented to prove that something I have published was inaccurate. Every such correction makes this site that much more powerful. But more often than not, all that Catholic apologists have to say in response to charges of Catholic criminality or sinfulness is either "you're an anti-Catholic bigot" (because you don't believe what Catholics believe ), and / or "what you say is wrong" ( because I, or other Catholic apologists, say otherwise), without any evidence to prove their case.
- When you have clout like the Roman Catholic Church's, you can even conduct a campaign for public sympathy on the grounds of being an oppressed minority. ( Don't laugh; when non-Catholics don't capitulate to every last demand of the R.C. church, many Catholic apologists complain about being powerless victims of oppression!)
- When you have a billion people behind you, among other amazing things you can do is rewrite history. To give just one of many examples, the marauding bands of well-armed agents of "Holy Mother the Church" who murdered and enslaved the inhabitants of whole continents and stole all of their property and possessions weren't criminally immoral villains to be ashamed of. In the Catholic mind, they were heroic "explorers" who "discovered" a "New World" and brought "salvation" to "pagan savages". Even though his many victims would have had a hard time seeing much difference between his "Conquistadors" and the Nazis - who were lead by another Roman Catholic conqueror named Adolf Hitler - the slave-trading, rapist, nation-stealing, mass-murderer, Christopher Columbus, has been transformed into a saintly hero. This historical revisionism has been so successful that a million and a half Catholic men pride themselves in being dues-paying "Knights of Columbus".
- A church with a billion people behind it can even hide from millions of Native Americans and Latinos the fact that they wouldn't be Roman Catholics now, were it not for the fact that their ancestors were "converted" to this "faith" at the end of a sword or they were raised as Catholics after all the adults in their families had been killed for refusing to accept "the one true faith". (All of this and much more we document fully at www.ColumbusNoHero.Org).
- When you have a billion people behind you, you can turn the most disgusting and immoral of your churchmen into "vicars of Christ", men like the pope responsible for "the Sistine Chapel", the celebrated artistic masterpiece in which popes ever since then have been selected by the college of cardinals under the guidance - they imagine - of the Holy Spirit, namely Pope Sixtus IV.
"Sixtus IV was the first pope to license the brothels of Rome; they brought him in thirty thousand ducats a year (roughly the yearly income of 30 common laborers). He also gained considerably from a tax imposed on priests who kept a mistress. Another source of income was granting privileges to rich men 'to enable them to solace certain matrons in the absence of their husbands.'
It was in the area of indulgences that Sixtus showed a touch of genius. He was the first pontiff to decide that they (indulgences) could be applied to the dead. Even he was overwhelmed by their popularity. Here was an infinite source of revenue that even his greediest predecessors had not dreamed of. It was breathtaking in its implications: the pope, creature of flesh and blood, had power over the regions of the dead. Souls in torment for their misdemeanours could be released by his word, provided their pious relatives dipped into.their pockets. And which of them wouldn't if they had a spark of Christian decency? Widows and widowers, bereaved parents spent their all trying to get their loved ones out of Purgatory, painted in ever more lurid colours.
Praying for the dead was one thing, paying for them another. Simple folk were led to believe that the pope, or those who came to their village and sold the pope's pardon, guaranteed their dead would go to heaven on the wings of indulgences. The potential for abuse was considerable. The sale of relics from the tenth century had been bad enough. . . Martyr's bones, like oil, were not a renewable commodity, but indulgences were limitless and could be priced to suit every pocket. Nothing was required of the donor or recipient, not love or compassion or prayer or repentance - only money. No practice was ever more irreligious than this. The pope grew rich in the measure that the poor were duped.
Purgatory had no justification, whether in Scripture or in logic. Its real basis was papal avarice. An Englishman, Simon Fish, in A Supplicacyion for the Beggars, written in the year 1529, was to point that out irrefutably:
'There is not one word spoken of it in all holy Scripture, and also if the Pope with his pardons may for money deliver one soul hence, he may deliver him as well without money: if he may deliver one, he may deliver a thousand: if he may deliver a thousand, he may deliver them all; and so destroy purgatory: and then he is a cruel tyrant, without all charity, if he keep them there in prison and in pain, 'till men will give him money.'
In 1478, Sixtus IV published a Bull that did even more harm to the church. He sanctioned the Inquisition in Castile. It spread, literally, like fire. In 1482, two thousand heretics were burned in Andalusia alone.
Of Sixtus it was said that he . . . 'embodied the utmost possible concentration of human wickedness'. In Bishop Creighton's words, 'he lowered the moral tone of (all of) Europe.' " (This is just one of many instances of the Catholic Church telling its millions of followers that Christ chooses the vilest of human beings to be his "vicars" on earth. See much more at http://CatholicArrogance.Org/PopesvsChrist.html :)
Imagine yourself as the Catholic parent of an altar boy son being told that you can't know anything about the past record of a new priest being assigned to your parish? Although Catholic parents never even dreamed of asking such questions in the past, they take it for granted now. Yet, even now, most Catholics wouldn't dream of asking the church as a whole "how have you behaved in the past, in other times and in other places?" If only Catholics did ask such questions, they would find what I have found, namely a long record of scandals that would make them think twice before swallowing whole all of this church's claims.
The great Greek philosopher, Plato, once wrote:
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark.
The real tragedy of life is when adults are afraid of the light."
Most Catholics have heard the words of Jesus that "The truth will set you free", but they find it easier to be wrong with a billion others, than to embrace the truth on their own.