Why I Believe the Pope is the Antichrist

“There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.”

No, those are not my words and I do not believe that the Pope is the Antichrist.  In fact, I think that’s petty funny–how ridiculous can you get?!  Those were, however, the words of the “Westminster Divines”, the group of Protestant pastors and theologians who gathered in Westminster (England) in 1646 to publish the official creed of the English Reformation.  I would like to have heard the explanation given of “Why I Believe the Pope is the Antichrist”.

I also like this one:

“Such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters”

Papists there means Roman Catholics.  So there are four divisions of men:  (1) Reformed Christians, (2) Infidels, (3) Roman Catholics and (4) other Idolaters.   Imagine the children of the Protestants, taught to believe that the Catholic Christians were followers of the Antichrist and idolaters!  Of course, Catholics are blamed for the intra-Christian violence in the UK.  Give me a break–the Catholics were there first!

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this.  It’s a cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper’s Weekly magazine in the formative days of the U.S.:

The early Americans were careful to guard their children from the dangerous Roman Catholics--and care to teach their children to hate them. Look carefully at the alligators and the building on the other side of the sea.

Here’s another one—take time to see the details:

Here "the people" are protected from the dangers of...the Roman Catholics. The sign on the wall reads, "No sect can rule this school!". Actually, anti-Catholicism rules the early American schools and culture as Protestants and non-Christian Naturalists train a nation of children to hate Catholicism. If you think that early America was "Christian" or that "freedom of religion" was actually the doctrine, you don't know real history too well. This was in the nation's #1 magazine in 1875--when the public school system was being established and Catholicism was arriving from Europe. To give you a reference...St. John Neumann died in Philadelphia in 1860 after starting the nation's first diocesan Catholic school system there. He was that evil man endangering the children of America! The Americans understood EXACTLY what was going on...and wanted it that way.

Anyway, it is quite amazing today to see efforts at “ecumenism” or collaboration among non-Catholic Christian groups with the Catholic Church, where the non-Catholics seem to act as though statements like these were never made and that we were all old chums before the Catholics started picking on everyone.  I’d argue that the first step towards any ecumenism should be a confession of sin.  Maybe something like this, “We do not believe that the Pope of Rome is the Antichrist and we do not believe that Roman Catholics are justly lumped with infidels and idolaters.”

I think that would be a good first step.

After all, if they do still believe (in their hearts) that the Pope is the Antichrist, I can’t see the prudence in collaborating with his local minions in community activities!

Anyway, I would just like us to be honest about why ecumenism isn’t easy.  When we’re being called followers of the Antichrist and lumped together with infidels and idolaters, it’s really tough to hug.

Beginning this year, the CLAA will be offering a course in the Westminster Catechism of 1646, as a means of exploring historic Protestant doctrine.  It will be an enlightening and helpful study for Catholics and non-Catholics.  Honestly, I don’t believe modern Protestantism has anything to do with “protesting”  Catholicism at all.  Most Protestants today (a) don’t know what the original Protestants actually believed or (b) what the Catholic Church actually teaches.  Modern divisions are largely rooted in ignorance and the best thing we can do to move towards peace is learn what the teachings are on which Protestants and Catholics were first divided.

WM

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9 Comments on “Why I Believe the Pope is the Antichrist”

  1. Michael Sherman
    January 23, 2012 at 12:09 am #

    I do not believe that the Pope of Rome is the Antichrist and I do not believe that Roman Catholics are justly lumped with infidels and idolaters.

    • wmclaa
      January 23, 2012 at 12:13 am #

      Thanks, Mike. :)

  2. Bridget
    January 23, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    These words sound like my Sedevacantist relatives. How eerie to see that their path has been already trodden .

    • wmclaa
      January 23, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      That’s why I always call the hyper-trads the new Protestants. They think they’re MORE Catholic, but are actually saying the same things the Protestants did. The difference is that whereas the Protestants set the Bible (i.e., their interpretation of the Bible) against the Church that gave it to them, the hyper-trads set the Liturgy (i.e., their understanding of the Liturgy) against the Church that gave it to them. Same ol, same ol’.

  3. Bridget
    January 23, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    My children and I are currently taking a class on the Council of Trent. We had NO idea all this happened (the Reformation, or Deformation as we like to call it), and question why these kinds of classes aren’t given more often in the Dioceses.

    It is an excellent class and really has opened up our eyes to Protestantism and has increased our faith.

    • wmclaa
      January 23, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Once anyone gets into the historical facts (as John Henry Newman did before he left the Anglican Church) the case for Protestants is impossible to maintain. There are NO Protestants who can argue today that (a) the early Protestants were in the right in either their doctrine or actions or that (b) the teachings of the early Protestants are maintained by modern Protestants. There is no reason for the division to continue today. All of the ignorant sound bytes like “Catholics believe they are saved by their own works” or “Catholics worship Mary and the saints” just prove that the division is the devil’s work. The Protestants can’t make an argument that is actually founded on anything true and their best arguments can be refuted by a well-catechized child.

      The biggest problem now is that in the era of professional religion, authors and self-appointed “pastors” are making millions of dollars thanks to the divisions and they will never sincerely work for truth and peace–unless it would increase their customer base. Unfortunately, they control the laypeople with lies that make Catholicism seem to be something it isn’t. If anyone was honest enough, before God, to actually let the Catholic Church introduce itself to them, rather than let others tell them what to think, there would be millions of Christians returning to the true Church–and most of the problems in their spiritual lives would vanish. All of the Protestant book writers and conference speakers love the confusion and weakness non-Catholics live with–wondering whether or not they’re saved, wondering why they can’t pray consistently, wondering what they should do with their lives, wondering what the Bible means, etc..–so it’s hard for Christians to get out from under the lies and control of Protestant pastors and teachers who basically tell them that if they become Catholics they will go to hell.

      IF non-Catholic Christians were serious about unity among Christians, they would let the Church introduce itself. They would read the Catechism, the writings of the doctors (teachers) of the Church, like St. Francis de Sales. I would love to hear ANY Protestant criticize the teaching of one of the Church’s actual teachers. They have no idea what they’re missing and their “pastors” will keep the truth from them for their own personal gain.

  4. Dan
    April 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Use are nothing but hypocrites use believe that the catholic church is a sect who worships objects ?… Take a look at England along with Britain it is one of the most western secularised countries and states in the world who idolise material objects

    • wmclaa
      April 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      So, you’re saying that Catholics worship objects? What objects do I (a Catholic) worship? Please tell me. I worship God. If I have a fault it’s that I don’t worship God enough, but I certainly don’t waste any of my time worshiping ‘objects’. If by ‘worship’ you mean to own or take care of, then yes, I and you would both be guilty of that. I have quite a few objects that I own and take care of.

      As for England, England was quite the spiritual place before it rejected Catholicism in the 1500s and made the King of England, rather than Christ, the head of its church. What, are Catholics responsible for the spiritual collapse of anti-Catholic England? No. England is stuck in its miserable state because it rejected true Christianity and got what it asked for. Fortunately, you’ll see many Anglicans returning to Catholicism. They aren’t the miserable ones and they certainly don’t “idolise objects”…it’s the people outside the Church who are worshipping money, pleasure, etc. Priests can’t own anything! Catholic monks and nuns take vows of poverty and have no private property. The Church is a non-profit organization…no one in it owns anything! How can the Catholics–of all people–be the people in the world accused of idolizing material objects?

  5. May 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Lots of food for thought here. A really great book I read recently that helped me a lot with understanding Protestantism was one called “Spirit and Forms of Protestantism” by Louis Bouyer. I liked the way he presented Protestantism in a very positive light but was also very honest about what he considered to be the fatal flaw in the system, and how he developed his thesis that only Catholicism can make Protestantism work. An excellent review of the book can be found here: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0097.html

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