Monday, January 05, 2009

DIES DOMINI: Papal Blasphemy

In my final paper of the holiday break, I examine perceived instances of papal blasphemy, including three papal quotes cited as examples of the pope claiming to be "God." In my experience, many Adventists believe that we Catholics consider the pope to be "God."


Matthew said...

I only read the first point of your paper, as my bleary-eyed grief of OSU's loss is still too much for me to adequately destroy everything you stand for.

The point you make about Paul calling people "holy ones" is true and all, but the Church doesn't call everyone holy, only some receive that greeting. Thus, calling some "your holiness" and not others wouldn't be right, right?

If you mean that it is so because of his office, it should apply to all the bishops and (perhaps) the priests.

Even still, the term is prone to being seriously misunderstood by most people today as a sign of arrogance or assumed (personal) if there is something inherently godly about the person's character (which is not always true with popes). But this is true with many titles, these days.

Hugo Mendez said...

Think of all the titles or appellations applied in Catholicism: "servant of God," "venerable," "blessed," "eminence," "holy," "monsignor," "father," "mother," "brother," etc. If someone is "holy," is he not also "venerable?" If he is called "father," is it impossible to also consider him "blessed"? The specialization of these terms does not imply exclusivity. These titles only highlight a particular attribute of the individual or office, but one likely characteristic of other individuals or offices.

The key issue I address in the paper is whether the use of "your holiness" is blasphemous. Clearly, based upon all the biblical evidence, it is not.

Lee Faber said...

Hugo, you might also track down and discuss that claim of eg white's in the great controversy that "lord god the pope" is an official title. i tried tracking it down in her notes, but couldn't track it past 18th cen. protestant claims to any real catholic document.

Matthew said...

I think the term that gets Adventists the most is the idea of being the Vicar of Christ. I haven't heard too many (personally) complain about "your holiness." I personally am not a big fan of the title, given the cultural conditions (it's like saying: "your awesomeness" or "your god-likeness"). Paul told Titus in 1:8 that an elder must be holy--not that all elders are so. My sensibilities cause me to shy away from even allowing the pope "servant of the servants of God" because often the title doesn't meet the character, which is what Paul seems to be hinting at in Titus. But I don't think these are blasphemous, maybe arrogant and injudicious at the worst.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hugo,

I really appreciate your work! As a former "Lutheran", I think I can understand why you eventually had to go "home to Rome" :)

Pax et bonum!

In Christ

Th. S.

Brandon said...

I agree with you for the most part. I think the titles, archaic gestures, etc. should be done away with. I dont think they are blasphemous at all, if understood in the context of their development and history.. but I think that we as a culture have moved beyond that.

I am not a fan o titles anyway.. but even here in America it is still customary to use them.. for example "Your Honor" to refer to a judge.. although many are not all that honorable. Its a term of respect for the position.

I agree though, that today, the uniformed could very well see this as a sign of arrogance.

But then again.. I think that is the case with Altar servers too.. From my point of view.. priests can hold their own books.


Matthew said...

"priests can hold their own books."

LoL Brandon...

Well it is a very debatable line between liturgical ritual and practicality.

The Lady Dragon said...


I have to slightly disagree with your last comment to this post. The old ways of showing respect are more important today than ever. Democracy has eaten away at the fundamentals of respect for one another, for our superiors and for God. Everybody is so "equal" nobody wants to serve. Everybody is so "equal" that we can all be our own popes. My cousin the nun actually suggested to me that Heaven is a democracy. By keeping the old titles and the old gestures, perhaps we can remember to submit to authority, Divine and Religious.

Hugo Mendez said...


Sean Hyland wrote a great discussion of the "Lord God the Pope" quote, available here.

Brandon said...

I understand what you are saying.. and agree with you to a large extent. However, in my opinion, authority and respect must come from God and within, not external titles that are out dated. It is the spirit of the person that demands respects and it is the spirit of God that pronounces authority. People will not respect or bow to the authority of leaders simply because of titles.. I would submit the current state of Catholicism in America and Europe as proof. The titles mean nothing if the interior is not converted. If it is converted... then respect will be shown even if there are not titles.

Brandon said...

Matthew said: "Well it is a very debatable line between liturgical ritual and practicality."

Well.. then the deacon can hold them.. he is usually standing right there ;)

I know it is ritual.. but ritual for the sake of ritual is empty, in my opinion. Now if the priest is old, well maybe I can understand it.. those books are heavy.. LOL


Brandon said...

BTW.. no offense meant Fr. Jim, or Father Erik if you are reading this.. LOL ;)


Anonymous said...

Usually the server holds the book because the priest is holding his hands in the orans position or is blessing the people. It is simply a practical matter. I am getting older though, so I can use the help.

In no way does the Pope think he is God. Nor do Catholics believe that. Even SDA's use the title "pastor." That means "shepherd." Do they thereby mean that Jesus is not the shepherd? I really wish they would focus on what we really believe rather then create straw men to vanquish.
Fr. Jim

Hugo Mendez said...


Matthew said...

I don't think anyone has an difficulty with using the title of "pastor." The difficulty is in the titles that seem to denote character rather than job. Pastor refers to a job or role, while "your grace" or "your eminence" seems to be more towards character. I could be wrong on the meaning of these, but the point is if it's about character the shoe should fit. Otherwise it seems hollow and people today will just roll their eyes.

+ Most Right Reverend Matthew

Anonymous said...

Most such titles refer more to the office not the holders personal holiness. In England Judges can be referred to as "your worship." so some are a hold over from a more polite and formal age. Even in the US the President is officially referred to as "Your Excellency" in some cases. Titles denote respect for the office and that isn't a bad thing.

All of this aside, we don't and have never taught that the Pope is God. To say that we have is bearing false witness. It simply isn't true.
Fr. Jim

Matthew said... for the second point in Hugo's

Ted McMillan said...

You guys do believe that the Pope is God.

The bible tells you not to lie and says clearly that all liars, with the father of it, are damned. The Pope tells you guys to lie and you do all the time.

The bible tells you that we are the priesthood of all believers and that people can worship God and go to heaven without having to be Catholic: There were the followers of Christ's gatherings and the followers of John the Baptists'. None went to the other to tell them they had to abandon their gatherings and services to join with the other.

Mark 9:38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

Jesus said:

Matt. 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

It then said:

Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

The Pope tells you that the Catholic Church can even dispense with the commands of Christ. You then believe what he says and put Jesus second!

Jesus said to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16). Did your history follow that?

Jesus said in disagreements or justice, to bear witness to all of the evil someone has done:

John 18:22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?

America is now fashioning itself after the security principles of the Inquisitions with secret courts and literal ownership of men. If that bothered you guys, your opposition would have made a difference. If only you didn't give opposition ONLY to those who didn't like this!

A bold Jesuit posts publicly just after the Patriot Act that non-Catholics should be exterminated:

An "Adventist" Jesuit then followed to attack those who don't like death threats against themselves AND HIMSELF. He persists in his bold lies just like here:

He then constantly called me names while telling me I didn't have a "right method and spirit" in "talking" to the monster who made such bold threats. He then constantly kept calling the monster a good Christian.

That monster then came back at least twice and emailed me worse bold death threats:

A major discussion forum is shown these bold death threats and then swarmed to attack me for not liking death threats against my own life. Their conclusion, like here, is that I am full of "bigoted anti-Catholic hate." That forum is Beliefnet.

Why fight against the truth even more after 2000 years? You think it will always bow and be destroyed before you? You think you can always behave like Jesus Arch-enemy Satan and not have all the truths you warred against come back upon you with demands?

Hugo Mendez said...

"You guys do believe that the Pope is God."

You have no evidence for that, and apparently never read my paper on the subject.

Ted McMillan said...

You posted that you don't believe the Pope is God. You also posted that Rome has changed and doesn't want all not of her faith tortured and killed.

It doesn't matter what you say. You don't have a two-day history of lies when I came here. You have almost a 2 millenia history of it.

The worst most maniacal scoop of the centuries death threats against all non-Catholics is publicly posted on the internet. You again went right by it to use the Big Lie Theory that you don't subscribe to it.

Could it be those who posted those threats were that bold because they know their brothers are everywhere dominating the internet too? If those death threats embarrass Rome, why does everyone who agree with them only attack the people who bring them to light and might have a chance to stop them from repeating?

You clearly do not have human minds--certainly not American. You might have jumped if I posted a Muslim saying all Catholics must die only in New York City?

It went right passed you! It doesn't pass humans. It doesn't even pass Atheists!

Hugo Mendez said...


It is unfortunate you did not respond the the argument sin my paper when denying my counterargument.

I'm also sorry you have apparently received death threats over the internet. I personally would not place much stock in the words of unknown or little-known people, though. Anything can type anything on the internet; those individuals certainly do not represent the Catholic Church. I encourage you to read and represent the official sources, which contain the actual teachings and statements of the Catholic Church. I'm sorry again.


Ted McMillan said...

I'm sorry you missed all the documentation that proved through the tortures of history that the Protestants were not "anti-Catholic" making guys like you get the worst of that history. Should I pity you guys cause you brutally tortured and murdered more people than all the cults of this century and any other put together and multipied to an exponent and still can't stand the torture of even historians reporting about it? I pity you guys being tortured that people even write the truth about it all. You poor things! We must make sure they never write about these facts anymore, huh?

I'm sorry your religion tortured and murdered multiplied millions of Protestants for over 1600 years with none like you objecting, and when it was finally forced to stop, you can see nothing but "bigoted" "anti-Catholic" hate. Was it your wisdom that made such conditions continue for so so long?

Another propagandist like yourself said that Rome didn't murder all those Protestants. He said that she merely condemned them and that the civil authorities murdered them. I replied how then did this condition continue for 1600 years. Did it continue that long because the civil authorities didn't practice abortion? Where were your protests of the civil authorities doing this? Is it like your protests against abortion? Why did you let it happen? Much like you now let the bold death threats still happen and are so sorry everybody else sees a problem with it? What about people who see a problem with your 1600+ year history. Does that bother you instead?

Remember Ted Bundy? Were any of you concerned about him in any way? Ready to compare?

I'm sorry for those little "bigoted" "anti-Catholics" that can notice your cult has not changed and raises your dander and poisons your gonads. I wouldn't put much stock in Protestants who speak the truth and were persecuted and tortured for almost two millennia and can notice your Rome has not changed.

On the other hand how are you going to place stock in the words of little people like you who make the most maniacal death threats the worst serial killers never made even though their words dominated the world for 1600 years at least? How are you going to be concerned about their words when you already agree with them? How are you going to put concern to their words when you will only attack those who don't like it? Who has yet even challenged the words of those super-terrorists yet? Why were they so bold in making such bold public death threats? Because propagandists like you are on a crusade against hate? They were on the internet a long time. While they were there, folk like you appeared with them there and only attacked us for not liking their threats.

You know what "bigotry" and "hate" is, but when people boldly make the worst public threats that are the scoop of the centuries and dominated the world for many centuries, you can't see anything. How dare you then accuse God's people of hate, bigotry and anti-Catholicism? You don't know what the meaning of the words is. If you and those like you did, Rome would not have committed half of the bloodshed and war she did throughout history.

Protestantism by nature was always anti-Catholic. Catholicism by nature was always anti-EVERYTHING ELSE.

Ted McMillan said...

Those people don't represent the Catholic Church!


No problem?

GOOD! You believe the Protestants misrepresent the Catholic Church. DON'T WORRY ABOUT THEM! Don't then enter the internet to brood and brood and lie and lie!

Just don't worry about them!

They don't OFFICIALLY represent the Catholic Church!

Hugo Mendez said...


I want to thank you for your enthusiasm. But I find it disappointing that you remain unwilling to discuss the modern Catholic position on religious liberty from the sources I recommended, instead repeating your basic claims again, with reference to your website. I can understand your position; but really, one cannot simply repeat the fact that the Catholic Church has once involved itself in persecution, and refuse to discuss the past centuries of theological developments.

You have made your point though. Other readers on this site will have a permanent copy of them. Thank you for the links; I'm sure your site will receive more visitors from them. Otherwise, I wish you well, and thank you for visiting our blog. Perhaps one day, we will talk again.

Ted McMillan said...

One cannot view Rome's past history that rivals all others put together and then accuse even trustworthy historians of anti-Catholicism and "bigotry". One cannot know that history and then be complaining about the "pitfalls" of other churches. The atrocities of Rome continued for 2 millennia. The reason that happened to this day is because of your wisdom and your disappointments.

If Rome is so developed, what happened to the doctrine of Papal infallibility? You mean all this time it was actually the Protestants who were correct all the time amidst Rome's constant complaints against them?

How changed is Rome and how developed is she? How would she react when she sees her own making bold death threats against all non-Catholics following what the dreaded "anti-Catholics" always said about her?

If she is changed and developed, would she dismiss these people as merely people who misrepresent her, telling us those people must be ignored, and then yet attack us claiming they have to do it because we misrepresent her?