The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Desmond Connell, has likened the Bible to a best-selling travel guide and urged young people to make use of it. In The Universe of December 26, 1999, he says: "I invite you over the coming year to open the Bible and to discover the good news it contains. […] I say to you, know the Gospel."
Has Rome suddenly changed? Can a Church which has banned, burned and perverted the Bible now have been converted to recommending the reading of it?
Do not be deceived. Here we have another sample of the window-dressing of contemporary Romanism. Most people are aware that Rome is presently carrying on a very extensive propaganda campaign. As the world enters the twenty-first century, popery is frantically engaged in posing as the promoter of Biblical Christianity and the preacher of the Gospel message in a Trojan-horse attempt to undo the work of the Reformation and regain the power and influence that she lost in the sixteenth century.
Nothing has changed. While Roman Catholicism appropriates the Christian name, it is essentially opposed to everything Christian. While it professes belief in the Bible, it prostitutes it to its own interpretation. Note in this context Connell's carefully added statement: "Know the Gospel by seeking help from wise guides" – meaning, of course, from a Church which claims the right to be the sole interpreter of the Scriptures. No, Rome has not changed: the Babylonian Whore is still naked despite her pretended facelift for the new millennium.
She continues to pay homage to the ordinances of Christianity, but, semper eadem, still perverts them to a purpose the reverse of their significance. She professes human dependence on divine grace, but then continues to sell salvation at a price. She has not ceased to subordinate the authority of the Word of God to the authority of her pagan traditions. She still arrogates to herself the right to be the supreme arbiter of human existence and destiny of the individual, the family and the nation. She has not abandoned her claim that the Pope is the head of all peoples, nor ceased to condemn all who refuse submission to her sole authority. She still enthrones the Pope as sovereign over all and exalts him above all that is called God, or is worshipped.
Rome is seeing and seizing her opportunity in this year 2000, and her profession of orthodoxy as to the fundamentals of the Bible is providing a very tempting bait for many. As ever, she is parasitical in both nature and habits, conveniently fastening herself like a leech upon the Bible and pretending to abjure heterodoxy. In reality, however, this window-dressing is an attempt to conceal the fact that most of the fundamental truths of the Gospel are absolutely negatived by what the Church of Rome really teaches, for she maintains that tradition is of equal value to the Bible and that salvation is impossible outside her own bosom.
In a word, Rome hates the light of the Bible. All past history fully testifies to this fact. Gregory IX forbade its possession and translation. When Wycliffe translated it, those who dared to read it were burned at the stake with copies of it about their necks [cf. Blackford Condit: The History of the English Bible, New York, 1881, p. 75].
It is scarcely remembered today, and conveniently overlooked by Connell, that in 1571 Queen Elizabeth sent a fount of Irish types and a printing-press to Ireland for the purpose of printing the Scriptures in Irish. These gifts were never used for that purpose and were ultimately secured by the Jesuits who carried them to Douay in France and deprived the Irish of the means of obtaining the Scriptures.
Let it be remembered that in 1816 Pius VII issued his Bull against Bible Societies, calling the circulation of the Scriptures "a crafty device by which the very foundations of religion are undermined, a pestilence which must be remedied and abolished, a defilement of the faith, eminently dangerous to souls, impious machinations of innovators, wickedness of a nefarious scheme, snares prepared for man's everlasting ruin, a new species of tares which an adversary has abundantly sown". This Bull also declares that "agreeably to the Index [i.e. the Council of Trent's Index of Prohibited Books, rule IV] the Bible printed by heretics is to be numbered among prohibited books" […].
Today the Church of Rome is repeating the principle of that fourth rule of the Council of Trent, which ordered: "If any one without a licence 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." This amounts in actual fact to saying that salvation can not be obtained by reading the Bible! The Bible, on the other hand, says: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life […]." (John 5:39) Like Archbishop Connell's remarks, guidance by the Roman Church in how to interpret the Bible does not look like a serious encouragement of the uncontrolled circulation of the Scriptures. If it were, Rome would have changed, and her profession of 'infallibility' would quickly be overturned.
After almost a thousand years of Bible prohibition, is it not a bit late for the Archbishop to be 'promoting' the Bible? Is Rome's new pretended promotion of the Bible not in itself an admission that the Bible was ever absent from her unbiblical system of worship? Is it not also indicative of the fact that, in order to appear to be a Christian Church and lure her victims into her fold, she must 'ape' true Christianity by pretending to ascribe to Biblical principles? Is it not a contradiction in terms that last December the Archbishop distributed a copy of St. Mark's Gospel to each person attending the blasphemous mass, when the sole, perfect and sufficient sacrifice of Christ exposes the very ritual of the mass as a blasphemy? Does Rome not condemn herself by refusing to distribute the Bible in its entirety and to allow her flock to read it independently of her influence?
Rome cannot allow unlimited circulation of the Scriptures or unsupervised 'interpretation' of them. Cardinal Wiseman, in his Catholic Doctrine of the Bible [London, 1853, p. 20], wrote: "If therefore we be asked why we do not give the Bible indifferently to all, and the shutting up of God's word be disdainfully thrown in our face, we will not seek to elude the question, or meet the taunts by denial, or by attempts to prove that our principles on the subject are not antagonistic to Protestants. They are antagonistic, and we glory in avowing it." [Emphasis mine.]
No wonder Rome hates the Bible, for no one who reads it can find in it one solitary word about the fallacies of Roman rites and ritual, from transubstantiation to auricular confession, from purgatory to the worshipping of images.
To our dear lost Roman Catholic fellow human beings we would say: Read the Bible in its entirety without the adulterated 'guidance' of your Church, go to your priest, and tell him that you cannot find your Church's doctrines in the Word of God. You will discover Rome's real attitude to the Bible, for your priest will argue with you and endeavour to convince you that you should shut up the Book that is 'leading you astray'. Then take Archbishop Connell to task.
You will jump for joy and praise God for giving us such a Book as the Bible. You will learn: "The entrance of thy words giveth light […]." (Psalm 119:130).