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Monday, September 25, 2017
Date Posted:

Gregory to Boniface
Rome On Orthodox Bloc
Put limbo into limbo
Paul VI and Aldo Moro
Break-Up Of Britain
Breach Wall of Secrecy
Crusade Is Faltering
Rome Dominating Europe
Father Christmas Bones
The Tainted Saint
Canonising John Paul
Rome Reaps What Sows
The ‘Hell of Nuns’ 2
The ‘Hell of Nuns’
Padre Pio Shrine
Unlikely Nun Supremo
Rome's Secret Weapon
The Irish Republicans
Irish Brigade In Italy
Pope's Irish Brigade
Why Pope Benedict XVI?
Where Rome Is Wrong 3
Where Rome Is Wrong 2
Where Rome Is Wrong 1
Athanasius ... Genius?
1st Pillar of Popery 5
1st Pillar of Popery 4
1st Pillar of Popery 3
1st Pillar of Popery 2
1st Pillar of Popery 1
Mandatory Celibacy
The Demon of Celibacy
What is the Individual
Infallibility of Pope
The Jesuits
Cult of Mary - 2
Cult of Mary - 1
Advance of Romanism: 2
Advance of Romanism: 1
Confess: Modern Sodom
The Perils of Popery
Purgatory Pickpocket
An Exposure of Popery
Popish Miracles
Punishment Of Heretics
The Eucharist, Or Mass
Doctrine Of Oaths
Who Intercedes? - 6
Who Intercedes? - 5
Who Intercedes? - 4
Who Intercedes? - 3
Who Intercedes? - 2
Who Intercedes?
Monasteries + Convents
Holy Orders
Rome's Rejection
Virgin Worship
The Jesuits
Saints And Angels
Duties Of Protestants
Condition / Prospects
The Inquisition
Popish Confirmation
Popish Baptism
Rome's Literary Policy
Clerical Celibacy
Image Worship
Extreme Unction
Catholic Unity
Communion In One Kind
Merit of Good Works
Auricular Confession
The Rule of Faith
Papal Infallibility
Luther Speak
Ten Commandments
Jesuit Oath Exposed
Imagery - II
Imagery - I
Antichrist to Light
Saint Worship
Scarlet Woman
Indulgences - Tetzel
Christ and Pope
Relics of Rome
Refuge of Lies
Papal Infallibility
Rome's Immorality
Rome Unchanging
True Papal Church
The Mass

The Worship of Saints

The especial characteristic of the Romish Church is image worship, and this charge it virtually acknowledges by excluding the second Commandment.
Rev. George Croly, LL.D.

[Dr. George Croly was a great English Protestant stalwart of the nineteenth century. He was Rector of the United Parishes of St. Stephen Walbrook and St. Herbert. The following is an extract from his sermon entitled "Papal Rome – The Principles and Practices of Rome alike condemned by the Gospel", preached in 1848. Though specifically highlighting the error of saint-worship, the extract also exposes the intrinsic falsehood of the whole vast Romanist system. I have modernised the punctuation and spelling and added a few explanatory footnotes, but left the original text intact. – A.N.]

To whatever being beyond the grave man offers worship, that being is, to the worshipper, a god. For to hear prayer at all times and places, and to answer it, obviously implies universal presence and unlimited power. Rome acknowledges hundreds of saints, which thus to her are gods.

Against thus degrading the supremacy of the Eternal she takes refuge in the doctrine of subordinate gods. But there can be no subordinate god. The doctrine itself is a contradiction in terms: there can be no ranks in perfection. Nature in its evidence of One Creator, Scripture in its declaration: "The Lord thy God is one God", and reason in its consciousness of the immeasurable distance between a Self-existent and a created Being, alike confute the most enormous of all errors. If the saints are gods, the tenet involves the extravagant absurdity that the created can be uncreate, the limited infinite, and that the born in time has existed from eternity.

The Virgin stands at the head of the Popish calendar, and Rome loads her with laborious titles of government and glory. She is declared the great protectress of the believing world, the giver of salvation and the "Queen of Heaven". A separate worship has been formed for her, litanies have been invented in her honour, filled with rapturous repetitions of her name, and the Roman temples resound with a perpetual 'Ave Maria', which is an invocation, not a prayer.

Yet nothing can be more evident than that Mary was not permitted to exercise the slightest interference in the mission of our Lord; that He refused to work His first miracle at her bidding, in the presence of His disciples; that we have no intimation of His ever having wrought any one of His multitude of miracles at her bidding; that, while the Apostles, and even the seventy, wrought miracles in their mission, Mary wrought none; and that, at His death, instead of bequeathing the Church to her sceptre, He bequeathed herself as a husbandless and helpless woman to the care of His disciple, who thenceforth "took her to his own home". Even in His resurrection He appeared first to another, whom He sent to give the glad tidings to His disciples. After the Pentecost the name of Mary is heard no more. Can it be doubted that He, to whom the future was the present, thus contemplated the "falling away" and thus fortified the Christian against giving to a mortal the worship due only to God?

I must now limit myself to a rapid glance at the arguments by which, in our day, the astonishing impiety of laying once more the yoke of Popery on the neck of England has attempted a palliation.

It has been asked: Would God have tolerated the spiritual blindness of so many ages and of so many millions of men? The sufficient answer is that He tolerated heathenism through more ages and throughout a world. What God ought to do is beyond the limit of human understanding; what He has done is for its lesson.

The savage slays his enemy, but he does not torture his neighbour for refusing to bow down to the same idol as himself.

It has been asked: Is not any religion better than none? The answer is that a bad religion is worse than none; that truth will have more power on the mind that is blackened over with prejudice; and that nature is a better teacher than superstition. The savage slays his enemy, but he does not torture his neighbour for refusing to bow down to the same idol as himself. The Arab plunders, but he has no confessor to teach him perfidy: he keeps his oath, and the man who has shared his bread and salt is safe, whether he prays towards Mecca of Jerusalem. Ignorance is obviously better than the fierce fallacy which at once enfeebles the mind, inflames the passions, and plants an inveterate hostility to truth in the heart of man. To teach error is not to teach at all.

It has been asked: Must not Popery, by acknowledging the principles of Christianity, be, at least, good in part? The answer is that the acknowledgement of those principles was necessary to their perversion. To delude is impossible but1 under the semblance of sincerity. By the constitution of the human mind, wherever truth and falsehood are thus compounded, the falsehood inevitably overwhelms the truth, because the very attempt to combine them implies the worldliness which leads to error. We might as well yoke the living to the dead in the expectation of giving life to the corpse: the corpse corrupts the living. We must have truth alone or falsehood alone. How can a man believe in God and yet worship an idol?

The first half of the Creed of Pius VI, the standard of Popery, is the Nicene Creed; the next half contradicts its whole substance. There is no good in Popery.

...and that all heresies condemned by the Church [of Rome] are to be anathematized; that out of the [Roman] Catholic faith there is no salvation!

In the year 1563 the Council of Trent decreed that all persons promoted to Benefices with care of souls should make a public confession of their faith, and in the following year Pius IV issued the formulary which is since called his Creed and which is acknowledged as the standard of Romish doctrine. As the subject is familiar to all readers of Church history, I shall merely glance at the nature of this memorable document, which is generally divided into separate Articles. The first three contain the Nicene Creed; the remainder belong especially2 to Rome. Those Articles pronounce the Church [of Rome] to be the only judge of the sense of the Scripture; appoint seven sacraments; declare that in the mass there is offered a true propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that the whole body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord are offered in the Eucharist, and that the sacrifice is offered in either kind alone; that there is a purgatory and that souls therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful; that the saints are to be invocated3, that they pray for us to God, and that their relics are to be held in veneration; that the images of Christ, the Virgin and saints are to be retained, and to be held in "due veneration"; that the power of indulgences was given by God to the Church; and that the use of them is most wholesome; that the Church of Rome is the mother and mistress of all churches; that all things declared by the Councils, and especially the Council of Trent, are to be undoubtingly received, and that all heresies condemned by the Church [of Rome] are to be anathematized; that out of4 the [Roman] Catholic faith there is no salvation!

In judging the inveterate nature of Popery we are to remember that this Creed was not formed in a barbarous age, but in the most active period of the recovered human mind; that it was not made in the brute arrogance of a despotic time, but with the new power of European opinion compelling it to be cautious at every step; and that the Council of Trent, combining all the learning of Popery and all the experience of Papal peril, sat for nearly eighteen years. If the history of that ominous and evil Council exhibits in its doubts and altercations an irresistible answer to the outrageous claim of infallibility, nothing can be more distinct and decisive than its conclusions. It has, however, given to Protestantism the eminent advantage of knowing the whole plea5 of Popery. We are no longer to be sent back to the perplexities of obsolete tradition, to the helpless conjectures of the Fathers, or to the supersubtle disguises of Romish doctrine by Rome itself. The Council of Trent is the criminal in court; the Creed of Pope Pius is his confession; and we have thenceforth only to judge of6 the guilt of Rome by the recognised laws of the understanding.

It has also been asked: Are we not indebted to Popery for preserving, at least, the rudiments of Christianity through the Dark Ages? The answer is that Popery itself constituted the Dark Ages.

The theory of this debt has been among the fanciful inventions of a class of writers who, in the pursuit of romantic novelty, have lately laboured to discover the services of7 Rome. But it might be almost conceived that those writers had never read the annals of early Christianity. The whole Roman Empire in Europe was Christian before the coming of Antichrist. Even the chief tribes of the Barbarian invaders were Christian – some even before their invasion. In the fourth century the Gothic nation had adopted the creed of their great missionary Ulphilas, and in the progress of the fifth and sixth centuries Christianity had spread itself among the conquerors in the most widely distant Provinces of the Western Empire – the Burgundians in Gaul, the Suevi in Spain, the Vandals in Africa and the Ostrogoths in Pannonia.

The Reformation was scarcely more a blaze of religious light than it was a burst of intellectual triumph.

What conceivable right have we to presume that the divine and habitual power of Christianity to enlarge the faculties and purify the morals of mankind would not have wrought their natural effect on those fresh and bold minds from whose energy all the liberties of Europe have eternally sprung? But the true proof of the pressure of Rome is the saliency of the human mind when its pressure began to be removed. The Reformation was scarcely more a blaze of religious light than it was a burst of intellectual triumph. Science was emancipated by the same blow which smote Superstition. The tyranny of mind and the tyranny of conscience died together.

It is true that the great Ruler of all, in His mercy, has never suffered unmixed evil to overwhelm mankind; that out of the deepest humiliation of the earth He extracts good; and that He created, as of old, in the pomp and superstition, the encouragement of the arts. Thus, He creates the struggles of war, the sustenance of the bolder qualities of our nature; and thus, even in the sufferings inflicted by His own hand in the famine and the pestilence, He elicits the birth of human resource and the new activity of human preservation.

It is true that cities arose, and men reasoned, and that human energy was not suffered to lose wholly its spring, even under the pressure of Rome. But how little had man been profited by the thousand years of its supremacy! How vast a blank was left in the life of the world! How empty were the drudgeries of the school-men8! How wearied, bewildered and exhausted was the genius of Europe in wandering through the Egyptian darkness of the Middle Ages! And how irresistible an evidence of the evil was given in the sudden contrast of good9; in the power with which the European mind sprang on its feet at the moment when its old chains were breaking; in the scarcely less than miraculous ardour and intellectual soaring with which it achieved the magnificent discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries – those bright mountain-tops, emerging from the flood of death to tell us then, and tell us still, how glorious an intellectual world lies yet to be developed when the waters of darkness shall be finally drained away10!

The true view of Popery is not that of the preserver of ancient literature or the parent of modern science, but the perverter of the one and the persecutor of the other11. It could not prevent the light of Heaven descending on man, but it suffered the light to descend only through the bars of a dungeon, which at once restricted the powers of human movement and shut out the excitement, the health and the grandeur of nature.

Enquiry into the Scriptures is the foundation of faith in the mind of the Christian; but Popery commands an implicit belief, not in the Scriptures, but in its Church, and even in that Church only as speaking by the Council of Trent.

[…] The love and fear of God are the motives of the Gospel to obedience; but Popery assigns the love to the Virgin Mary and the saints as the irresistible agents12 of man with God, while it nullifies all fear by its provisions of indulgences, masses and prayers for the dead.

Enquiry into the Scriptures is the foundation of faith in the mind of the Christian; but Popery commands an implicit belief, not in the Scriptures, but in its Church, and even in that Church only as speaking13 by the Council of Trent14.

[…] Of all the thrones of Europe, the Popedom has been the most exposed to casualty. For three hundred years, from the thirteenth century, its existence was a convulsion. Every clash of arms from the extremity of Europe found an echo in the Vatican. Every civil tempest of France, or Germany, sent a surge to dash against the walls of Rome. Yet, except by the Reformation, the influence of Popery was never retrenched in Europe.

[…] The especial15 characteristic of the Romish Church is image worship, and this charge it virtually acknowledges by excluding the second Commandment. Popery attempts a subterfuge16 under the words "due veneration"; but who is to be the judge of "due veneration", or who ever saw the mass solemnised without asking himself: Could worship go further? The jewelled crowns and tissued robes of the images, the golden shrines and votive tablets, the lifted hands, the adoring eyes, the hymns, the chorus of prayer! What mean they? If the Deity Himself descended on the altar, could man offer him more significant homage?

The divine commandment excludes all worship of an image, all "due veneration" – even the presence of an image. "Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image."

The ground of the commandment is perfectly intelligible. An image must be a false representation of God; it gives a false familiarity with the divine presence; it makes the Infinite local and gives the Omnipotent to the hands of a man. What work of canvass or stone can possibly realise17 even to the mind the Eternal? And the conception becomes lower still when miracles, tears and smiles of divine benefice, and the melancholy artifices of the Breviary, are attributed to the picture and the statue.

It is in this, and not in their own shallow subtleties and cobweb contrivances, that the statesmen of the world should look for the sweeping calamities and fiery cataclysms which, from age to age, have tossed the political soil of Europe like a raging sea. The same sovereign wrath which tore Israel up by the roots and flung it out, trunk and branch, to be shattered by the world – the same avenging justice which brought the hunter of the desert round the Imperial wild beast of Rome and smote him in his lair – still reigns, and judges, and punishes. Shall there be no lesson to us, in the ruthless havoc and wild heartrendings of the fairest countries of Europe during bigoted centuries? We ourselves are now18 beginning to feel the work of this wearied long-suffering; we know now, by bitter experience, the writhings and agonies of rebellion, like a wounded snake, preserving a strange vitality under all its bruises, and dangerous to the last. Yet when was Ireland without an infliction, and when was not all the remedial power of England hopeless to staunch her issue of blood – that disease of centuries19, for which she could have but one Healer, but to Whom she would not come.

1 except

2 specially, exclusively

3 invoked

4 outside

5 doctrinal system

6 in the matter of

7 find something positive to say about

8 teachers, educators

9 i.e., the Reformation

10 cf. the discoveries of the following 150 years, from the Industrial Revolution to the microchip

11 cf. the trial of Galileo

12 mediators between

13 interpreted

14 Creed of Pope Pius IV, Article V: "our Holy Mother the Church […] to which it belongs to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Scriptures". Thus the Council of Trent fastens the padlock on the Scriptures at the moment when it hangs the chain on the human mind. Enquiry into the Scriptures is thenceforth useless to the whole community of Romanism.

15 special

16 The Papist subterfuge consists in saying that the Ten Commandments are retained in the Romish Bible and the larger Romish Catechism, but the catechisms in Italy (Bellarmine's, etc.) and Ireland reject it.

17 reveal

18 i.e., in 1848, the year of rebellions throughout Europe, including Ireland

19 Popery

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