POPE FICTION: Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy — PinoyExchange

# POPE FICTION: Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy

The Dark Knight
This is for esnuera who would rather believe phantom quotes without any proof nor link!

Fiction 5

The pope is the beast spoken of in Revelation 13. Verse 1 says that he wears crowns and has "blasphemous names" written on his head. Verse 18 says that the numerical value of his name adds up to 666. The pope's official title in Latin is Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar of the Son of God). If you add that up using Roman numerals, you get 666. The pope's tiara is emblazoned with this title, formed by diamonds and other jewels.

I wasn't very good at math in school, but even I can follow this argument and run the numbers well enough to show it's bogus. (Besides, answering this question is apologetics at its most fun!) The charge that the pope is the beast of Revelation 13, because his tide adds up to 666, is especially popular with Seventh-Day Adventists, but it's also widely repeated in some Protestant circles.

Vicarius Filii Dei does have the mathematical value of 666 in Latin. Here's how it works. Like many ancient languages, such as Greek and Hebrew, some Latin letters are also used for numbers: I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500 and M = 1000. The letter "u" is rendered as V and the letter "w," which doesn't exist in the Latin alphabet, would be rendered as VV. So this title would read in Latin as VICARIVS FILII DEI.

When calculating the value of a name or word, letters that don't have a numerical value are ignored. For example, drop out the novalue letters in my name, PATRICK MADRID, and you come up with 2102 - 1 (i) + 100 (c) + 1000 (m) + 500 (d) + 1 (i) + 500 (d) = 2102. By the way, this is one reason why, as far as I know, no one has yet accused me of being in league with the anti-Christ. The numbers just don't add up.

But in the case of VICARIVS FILII DEI, they do add up to 666. Isolate the numbers and this is what you get: 5 (v) + 1 (i) + 100 (c) + 1 (i) + 5 (V) + 1 (i) + 50 (L) + 1 (i) + 1 (i) + 500 (d) + 1 (i) = 666.

But there are problems with this. The first is that Vicarius Filii Dei, or "Vicar of the Son of God," is not now, nor has it ever been, a title of the bishop of Rome. The second problem is that virtually no one, including many unsuspecting lay Catholics, knows that this papal "title" is a fabrication. To an untrained ear, it sounds enough like one of the pope's real titles, Vicarius Christi (Vicar of Christ), to pass the test. Unfortunately for those who traffic in this particular piece of pope fiction, the real title, Vicarius Christi, adds up to only a measly 214, not the infernal 666. In fact, none of the pope's official titles, such as Servus Servorum Dei (Servant of the Servants of God), Pontifex Maximus (Supreme Pontiff), or Successor Petri (Successor of Peter), will add up to 666. That's why you never see any of them used by anti-Catholics.

If the person making this claim disputes these facts, ask him to furnish even one example of a papal decree, ecclesiastical letter, conciliar statement, or any other official Catholic document in Which the pope calls himself or is referred to as the "Vicar of the Son of God," He won't be able to find one, because none exist. Vicarius Filii Dei has never been a title of the pope.

Poof! That part was easy, but some people, especially Seventh Day Adventists, will ignore the evidence (or lack of it) and hold tenaciously to the notion that "Vicar of the Son of God" is an official papal title and therefore identifies the pope as the Beast of Revelation. What else can be said in response?

Using the same math exercise we did above, point out that the name of the woman who started the Seventh-Day Adventist church, Ellen Gould White, also adds up to 666 in Latin. (L + L + V + D + V + V + I = 666). Then ask if this proves that she is the Beast. I can assure you the answer won't be "yes." If the answer is "no," ask how this numbers game could possibly prove the pope or anyone else is the Beast. If you're answered with silence, it's a good bet that you've made some progress with the person.

The main fact to impress on someone who uses this argument is that a papal title had to be invented, one that could produce the magic number, in order to give this argument legs.

But we're not quite finished cutting it off at the knees. The charge that the pope is the Beast because he wears a crown, and Revelation 13:1 says the Beast wears crowns and has "blasphemous names" written on his head, must also be answered. This we can do more quickly.

Since about the year 708, many popes have worn at non-liturgical ceremonial events a special papal crown called a tiara, but the stylized beehive-shaped papal crown of three diadems that we have come to know as a tiara emerged only in the early 14th century. Although it was customary for tiaras to be encrusted with jewels and precious ornaments, there is no evidence - no statue bust, painting, drawing or even written description of any of the many tiaras that were crafted - that any papal tiara ever had the name or title of a pope emblazoned on it.

This is significant, because there have been medieval and Renaissance popes whose extravagant vanity prodded them to have lavishly ornamented, jewel-encrusted tiaras made for themselves. And we possess paintings and statues and other representations of them produced during their lifetimes that show these tiaras (we even possess some of the actual tiaras). If any popes in history would have been tempted to succumb to the bad taste of spelling out "Vicarius Filii' Dei" in diamonds across the front of their tiaras, these men would have - but they didn't. No pope did, One particular anti-Catholic tract I've seen shows a plain metal tiara with Vicarius Filii Dei written in diamonds across it. But it was a drawing - not a photograph of a museum piece or even a photo of a painting of a tiara.

It had to be drawn, of course, because the "666 papal crown" - as with all the other pope fictions - has only ever existed in the minds of those who perpetuate this fantasy.

Sigurado yung brainwashed diyan iignore pa din yung lack of proof nila kasi may mga phantom quotes naman sila eh... phantom quotes!

• The Dark Knight
Fiction 2

The bishop of Rome can't be the "successor to Peter," since Peter was never in Rome. The Bible nowhere says he went there, and Paul, who did go there, never mentions Peter being in Rome. If Peter were the "pope," he certainly would have mentioned it.

Trying to prove St. Peter did not go to Rome and die there is a lot like trying to prove that St. Matthew didn't write the Gospel of Matthew. True, the Bible doesn't explicitly say he went to Rome, but the surrounding historical evidence is more than sufficient to prove that he did.

But first, we should ask, "If St. Peter didn't go to Rome, where did he go? Where did he die?" We'd expect to find plenty of evidence in the writings of the early Church telling us where this prominent Apostle carried out his final years of ministry, if it were some place other than Rome. But the historical record contains no hint that he ended his days anywhere but Rome. No other city except Rome ever claimed to possess the site of his martyrdom or his tomb (and early Christians were extraordinarily diligent about making and proving such claims). No other city - not even Antioch, where he resided for a time during his apostolate - claimed he ended his days among them. No Church Father or Council or any other early Church record indicates that he finished his days anywhere but in Rome.

That's the lack of evidence side of the coin. The flip side is the mountain of evidence proving he did go to Rome. Everyone everywhere in the early Church agreed that St. Peter went to Rome, ministered there for more than two decades, and suffered martyrdom by inverted crucifixion in A.D. 65, under the persecution of Emperor Nero. Given the grave danger to the early Church from a hostile Roman government, it makes perfect sense that St. Paul would not mention St. Peter's whereabouts in his letters. He didn't want to draw unfriendly attention. It's also quite possible that St. Peter had not yet arrived in Rome when St. Paul was writing. We even see St. Peter himself making what seems to be a cryptic reference to his presence in Rome when he says "The chosen one at Babylon sends you greetings, as does Mark, my son" (I Peter 5:13). "Babylon" was a commonly used code word for Rome among Christians, because its pagan decadence and opposition to Christ was reminiscent of the idolatrous wickedness associated with ancient Babylon.

But once St. Peter had been martyred, the testimonies of his sojourn in Rome with St. Paul poured forth in a flood from the early Christian writers. Perhaps the most detailed of these early accounts came from St. Irenaeus of Lyons (d. 200) in his apologetics work, Against Heresies. He gave a detailed account of succession of the bishops of Rome, from St. Peter down to his own day. He referred to Rome as the city "where Peter and Paul proclaimed the gospel and founded the Church. "Other notable early examples were St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107), who referred to the Church at Rome as "the Church of Peter and Paul" (Letter to the Romans); St. Cyprian (d. 251), who described Rome as 'The place of Peter" (Epistle 52); and St. Jerome (d. 420), who called Rome "the See of Peter" (Epistle 15, to Pope Damasus). Around A.D. 166, Bishop Dionysius of Corinth wrote to Pope Soter, "You have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome ."(quoted in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2:25).

Besides the vast amount of historical evidence showing that St. Peter went to Rome, modern archaeology has cinched the case even tighter by a definitive scientific demonstration that his bones (studies showed that they are of a powerfully built elderly man who died of crucifixion) are interred directly beneath the high altar in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, several levels down, where the original first century Vatican hill sloped away toward the Tiber River, This was just outside the walls of what was once Nero's Circus - precisely where all the early Christian and even non-Christian records say St. Peter was crucified and buried.
• The Dark Knight
Fiction 3

The papacy is a medieval Roman invention. The early Church knew nothing of a "supreme pontiff." Other bishops didn't regard the bishop of Rome as having special authority to operate the way modern popes do.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, "It is easy to find truth; it is hard to face it, and harder still to follow it." This is certainly true for some when it comes to facing the historical evidence for the papacy in the early Church. The hard-core purveyors of pope fiction refuse to believe that the papacy was established by Christ. But if the equivalent of the modern a Roman invention of the eighth or ninth century, how do we explain the fact that for the preceding 700 years, the bishops of Rome were regarded (and regarded themselves) as having a special, unique authority and responsibility for the whole Church? Here are a few of the hundreds of examples that could be given.

The earliest account we have of a bishop of Rome exercising authority in another diocese comes from St. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians. It was written by Clement, bishop of Rome, around the year A.D. 80. In it he responds to the Corinthians' plea for his intervention. The entire letter is written in a fatherly, kind way but it, is also clear that Clement was quite aware he had a special authority. Two key phrases stand our as testimony of this: "But if any disobey the words spoken by Him [Christ] through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in sin and no small danger"; and "For you will give us joy and gladness if, obedient to what we have written through the Holy Spirit, you root out the lawless anger of your jealousy" (59, 63). Clearly, this early bishop of Rome wrote as one who expected his words to be obeyed.

Pope Victor I (reigned 189-199) worked to settle a dispute among the bishops of the East and West over when to celebrate Easter - known as the Quartodeciman controversy. The other bishops recognized his unique authority when they followed his directive to convene local and regional synods to deliberate on the issue. Most of the bishops decided to adopt his proposal that the whole Church celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after Passover. Those who didn't, he threatened with excommunication. The fact that no bishop in the world -- not a single one -- disputed his authority as bishop of Rome to carry out such an excommunication is a powerful piece of evidence that the early Church recognized the unique authority of the bishop of Rome.

Shortly before his death in A.D. 200, St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote to Pope Victor asking him to relent and allow the Eastern bishops to maintain their celebration of Easter according to the Hebrew lunar calendar, evidence that he recognized the pope's authority to threaten excommunication. Pope Victor did not in fact relent, but it's important to note that St. Irenaeus, like most of the bishops, submitted to the pope's ruling. After all, it was Irenaeus who wrote of the Church at Rome: "For with this church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree; that is, all the faithful in the whole world, for in her the apostolic tradition has always been preserved for the benefit of the faithful everywhere" (Against Heresies 3:3).

Around the year 220, Pope Callistus wrote, "Callistus, archbishop of the Church Catholic in the city of Rome, to Benedictus, our brother and bishop, greetings in the Lord. By the love of the brotherhood we are bound, and by our apostolic rule we are constrained, to give answer to the inquiries of the brethren, according to what the Lord has given us, and to furnish them with the authority of the seal of the apostles" (First Epistle 1). Clearly he was well aware of his special role and authority in settling problems in the Church, even in other dioceses.

Later, the same pope wrote a letter to all the bishops of Gaul, saying, "Callistus to our most dearly beloved brethren, all the bishops settled throughout Gaul ... We beg you not to permit anything to be done in those parts contrary to the apostolic statutes; but, supported by our authority, you should stop what is injurious, and prohibit what is unlawful. Observe this law, which has been laid down by the apostles and fathers, and our predecessors, and has been ratified by us ... We have replied to your interrogations shortly, because your letter found us burdened overmuch, and preoccupied with other judgments" (Second Epistle, To All the Bishops of Gaul 2, 6).

In the year 382, Pope Damasus wrote about his authority as bishop of Rome, anchoring it to the fact that he was the successor of St. Peter, He said the Church at Rome "has been placed at the forefront, not by the conciliar decision of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelistic voice of our Lord and Savior Who says, 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven' . . . The first See, therefore, is that of Peter the Apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish" (Decree of Pope Damasus 2-3).

In A.D, 404, St. John Chrysostom wrote to Pope Innocent, "I beseech your Charity to rouse yourself and have compassion, and do everything so as to put a stop to the mischief at this point" (First Epistle to Pope Innocent 1). Note that Chrysostom, the archbishop of Constantinople, a powerful diocese, recognized the need to appeal to the bishop of Rome to resolve a controversy.

Many other examples of the primacy of the bishop of Rome in the early Church could be added. Even from the earliest years, the bishop of Rome had - and everyone recognized that he had - a special authority in the Church. Those who say the papacy is a "medieval Roman invention," are either ignorant of history or dishonest