The Roman Catholic Church teaches (1) that Peter was the first pope of Rome, and (2) that authority over every Christian was given to him in that conversation when Jesus mentioned that the type of acceptance and confession which Peter made was to be the foundation which Christ's church would be built upon.

Here are three official Church statements which clarify its position on this subject:

"But Peter alone receives the keys of the Church; he alone is the rock on which the Church is built; on the faith of him alone the faith even of the other Apostles depends; he alone is made the shepherd of the whole flock,” -William E. Addis and Thomas Arnold, A Catholic Dictionary, p. 669..

It is taught that all must be subordinate to Peter. It is said that he and his successors prescribe dogmatically the laws for the Church, which, if not obeyed, will bring dire results..

"While the Church lasts, Peter (and his successors) will hold its keys. . Peter is the steward to whom the keys are committed. Readmits to and excludes from the Church in his Master's name. In other words, he is the center of the Church's unity. All, from the great Apostle of the Gentiles down to the most obscure of the Church's children, hold their place and exercise their functions in subordination to Peter.

"What he binds and looses on earth is bound and loosed in heaven, -ie., he is the ultimate earthly judge of what is lawful and unlawful. He is to lay down the laws and conditions on which communion with the Church and participation in its privileges depend, and the decisions of his tribunal here will be ratified in the heavenly court." Ibid.

It is of interest that Peter never claimed to be the pope. Instead, he called himself an "apostle" and one among many "elders."

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ."- 1 St. Peter 1:1.

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ." - 1 Peter 5: 1­3, R.S.V.

Although the popes expect and demand homage, as mentioned earlier, Peter refused homage from men -as when Cornelius, the Roman centurion, fell down at his feet and would have worshiped him, Peter protested quickly and said, "Arise, I myself also am a man!" (Acts 10:26).


How did Peter's contemporaries regard him? He was held in high esteem as an inspired apostle. But was he looked upon as a pope? The record of the Council at Jerusalem (also called the first council) reveals that he was not credited as possessing official supremacy.

In A.D. 31 Christ uttered these words in the hearing of all the disciples: "I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (St. Matthew 16:19-20). If these "keys" were given to Peter as the first pope, then he would have been the acknowledged ruler of all the apostles and every Christian.

The first council was held in A.D. 52, according to the chronological dates of the Bible. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Peter had occupied the papal chair for almost twenty years by the time this first council assembled. Surely, if Peter had been given special authority by Christ, by A.D. 52, everyone in the church would have been bowing in submission to the wishes of Peter for over years. They would, according to papal teaching, have bowed before his papal chair, kissed his ring, and done obeisance to him.

The first Christian Council reveals that Peter was not acknowledged by anyone as the leader of the Apostles. Here are causes leading up to the convening of this council:

In the church, at Antioch, a controversy arose on the question of circumcision. Certain Pharisees from Judea had gone to Antioch declaring that in order to be saved, the Gentile converts must be circumcised and keep the ceremonial law.

What was the "ceremonial law"? It consisted of Levitical regulations which prefigured the death of Christ, such as the sacrifices of lambs. But, when the Lamb of God died, that law was done away with. Hence it was no longer to be observed. But the Pharisees taught that it must still be obeyed. This resulted in much confusion and contention. The disputed question demanded an authoritative decision. If Peter had been holding the office of pope, would he not have been appealed to for a decision on this vital subject?

Peter, in keeping with his so-called successors, should have been the one with the authority to call for a church council to decide the issue. But Paul, Barnabas, and members from the church in Antioch were the leading figures in this council.

We will examine the record in Acts 15, to see if the Apostle of posthumous fame revealed marks of distinction at this important church council.

There have been many church councils throughout history. But only one church council occurred in the New Testament Church. Because it was the only one which Peter, Paul, and the other Apostles attended, -it is very important to us.

Surely, if Christ appointed Peter as His "successor," then Peter was not only the chairman at that council, but also the one who announced its decisions.

But we will find that this was not so. Peter was just one Apostle among equals. There is nothing to indicate that he was the leader.

The question of circumcision and other points caused the church at Antioch to call for a general council to be held at the headquarters.

"And some coming down from Judea, taught the brethren: That except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved."-Acts 15: 1.

The church sent Paul and Barnabas with a delegation of its members to Jerusalem, to discuss the matter with the "apostles and elders." Had Peter been functioning as a pope, would they not have brought this vital question to him for a decision? Following his decision would come an encyclical containing an authoritative decree which would forever settle the question. But no, we find Peter submitting the question to the apostles (of whom Peter was one), elders, and church members. This was clearly the established order of the early Christian church.

“And when Paul and Barnabas had no small contest with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of the other side, should go up to the apostles and priests to Jerusalem about this question.

"They therefore being brought on their way by the church, passed through Phenice, and Samaria, relating the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren."-Acts 15:2-3.

When the representatives arrived in Jerusalem, they were received by the church, apostles, and elders. It should be noted that in their reception the church is named first, then the apostles and elders. The laity played a very important part in this council. The church--which is the members, the body of Christ-was the primal source of authority. This was a church council.

"And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church, and by the apostles and ancients, declaring how great things God had done with them." Acts 15:4.

In the council, certain Pharisees who professed the Christian faith rose to defend the doctrine of circumcision. "But there arose some of the sect of the Pharisees that believed, saying: They must be circumcised, and be commanded to observe the law of Moses.

"And the apostles and ancients assembled to consider of this matter.” -Acts 15:5-6.

Peter takes the floor. While his speech was presented with vigor and punctuated with invincible facts, it failed to settle the controversy. Further discussions were necessary. Had Peter been the vicar of Christ, his speech would have settled this doctrinal dispute.

"And when there had been much disputing, Peter, rising up, said to them: Men, brethren, you know, that in former days God made choice among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

"And God, who knoweth the hearts, gave testimony, giving unto them the Holy Ghost, as well as to us; And put no difference between us and them; purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why tempt you God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, in like manner as they also." –Acts 15:7-11.

Paul and Barnabas also testify to a hushed audience. These men who had "hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus" could speak with authority. (See verses 25-26.)

“And all the multitude held their peace; and they heard Barnabas and Paul telling what great signs and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them,"-Acts 15:12.

But it was the speech given by James, which resolved the doctrinal dispute. He was the chairman of the council. His statement unified the members of the council and brought a unanimous decision. "And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying: Men, brethren, hear me.

"Simon hath related how God first visited to take of the Gentiles a people to His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written: After these things I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and the ruins thereof l will rebuild, and I will set it up: That the residue of men may seek after the Lord, and all nations upon whom My name is invoked, saith the Lord, who doth these things. To the Lord was His own work known from the beginning of the world.

"For which cause I judge that they, who from among the Gentiles are converted to God, are not to be disquieted. But that we write unto them, that they refrain themselves from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach Him in the synagogues, where He is read every Sabbath."-Acts 15:13-21.

A united and final decision was rendered, by the "apostles and elders, with the whole church." Peter obviously was not the pope. He exercised no judicial authority. Peter, as a man of God, recognized the principle of church authority. All the other apostles did also. The democratic tenets of self-government were featured at this first church council, setting a pattern for all subsequent councils.

"Then it pleased the apostles and ancients, with the whole church, to choose men of their own company, and to send to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas, who was surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren."-Acts 15:22.

This letter, written by the council, gives for its source of authority the "apostles and elders and brethren." Evidence of a papal chair is lacking. Not one word or act on the part of Peter, nor on the part of those who engaged in the discussion, could be interpreted as giving any official distinction to Peter.

"Writing by their hands: The apostles and ancients, brethren, to the brethren of the Gentiles that are at Antioch, and in Syria and Cilicia, greeting."-Acts 15:23.

Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas delivered the official church letter to the assembled "multitude," which comprised the church. The letter was not delivered to a clergyman but rather to the body. So, the principle of church authority was observed even in the delivering of the letters. Any deviation from this principle is a virtual denial of the Scriptures, a departure from Bible precedent which gives rise to a hierarchy.

"Forasmuch as we have heard, that Some going out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment: It hath seemed good to us, being assembled together, to choose out men, and to send them unto you, with our well beloved Barnabas and Paul: Men that have given their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also will, by word of mouth, tell you the same things. For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things: That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which things keeping yourselves, you shall do well. Fare ye well.

"They therefore being dismissed, went down' to Antioch; and gathering together the multitude, delivered the epistle."-Acts 15:24-30.

"Rabbi," "Master," "Father" are titles not to be assumed by the true follower of the meek and lowly One. "All ye are brethren." Let us all, through His divine power, emulate Him.

"But be not you called Rabbi. For One is your master, and all you are brethren. "And call none your father upon earth; for One is your father, who is in heaven."-St. Matthew 23:8-9.



Confessing and forsaking sin was taught in the Old Testament. To whom were sinners to confess? This is important in the life of every Christian. First, let us review some Old Testament Scriptures.

"He that hideth his sins, shall not prosper: but he that shall confess, and forsake them, shall obtain mercy." Proverbs 2&13:

David confessed to God, but never to human beings.

"Have mercy on me, 0 God, according to Thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.

"Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.

"To Thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before Thee: that Thou mayst be justified in Thy words, and mayst overcome when Thou art judged. 

"For behold Thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of Thy wisdom Thou hast made manifest to me. "Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. To my hearing Thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.

"Turn away Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.

"Cast me not away from Thy face; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.

"I will teach the unjust Thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to Thee. Deliver me from blood, 0 God, Thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol Thy justice.

"0 Lord; Thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. "-Psalm 50:3-17 [Psalm 51:1­15].

David did not have to perform penance. A broken and contrite heart, is all God requires.

"For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings Thou wilt not be delighted. A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, 0 God, Thou wilt not despise."-Psalm 50:18-19 [Psalm 51:16-17].

God says He will blot out our sins, for His own sake.

Through the blessed name of Jesus, our sins are forgiven.

"I am, I am he that blot out thy iniquities for My own sake, and I will not remember thy sins."- lsaias 43:25.

The Saviour forgave the sins of a paralytic.

"Whose faith when he saw, he said: Man, thy sins are forgiven thee."-St. Luke 5:20.

God alone can forgive sins. Christ was God; therefore He could forgive sins. That is why He can forgive sins; because He is God! No one else can! Were He not God, but only one assuming the prerogatives of God in absolving sinners, He would have been guilty of blasphemy.

"And the scribes and Pharisees began to think, saying: Who is this who speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"-St. Luke 5:21.

We have discovered, in Scripture, that only God is to hear our confession of sin. Did Peter have any knowledge of the idea that we should confess our sins to men? Let us consider several passages of Sacred Scripture which explain this:

Simon, the sorcerer, wanted to purchase with money the gift of the Holy Spirit.

"And when Simon saw, that by the imposition of the hands of the apostles, the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying: Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I shall lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said to him:

"Keep thy money to thyself, to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast no part nor lot in this matter. For thy heart is not right in the sight of God."-Acts 8:18-21.

Peter told Simon to "repent" and pray to God that his sins would be forgiven. - "Do penance therefore for this thy wickedness; and pray to God, that perhaps this thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee."-Acts 8:22.

Other translations phrase that "Repent of your sins." In the original Greek of the New Testament, it does not say, "Do penance." Here is how it is worded in another Church approved version:

"Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you." -Acts 8:22, R.S. V.

Peter told Simon to pray to God for forgiveness.

Why did Peter not hear his confession, give him absolution, and impose penance? Peter had no knowledge of the doctrine of auricular confession (ear confession to a man), nor of any authority invested in him as a pope or priest to absolve a sinner.

It is also evident he was unaware of, what is called, the Sacrament Penance: doing some act, as prescribed by the priest, to atone for your sin.

"What shall we do" to be saved? was the question asked of Peter and the other apostles. "Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart, and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren?"-Acts 2:37.

In Acts 8, Peter told Simon to repent and pray to God to forgive him. In Acts 2, he told the multitude to repent.

Why didn't he tell them to kneel at the apostles' feet and have them forgive their sins and impose the penance? None of this was ever taught by any of the apostles, including Peter.

While the Rheims-Douai translates this imperfectly, other versions translate the Greek correctly.

"But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."-Acts 2:38.

"And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."-Acts 2:38, R.S. V.

The Greek verb, translated "repent" in Acts 8:22 and 2:38, is metanoeo (pronounced "meta-naw-EH-oh"). Page 1115, of Liddell and. Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, defines this verb as "to change one's mind," "to repent." Examples are cited from Greek literature which primarily speak of repenting. The concept, "do penance," does not occur.

Metanoeo comes from the noun, metanoia ("meta-NOIah"), which means "a change of mind," "a change of heart," "repentance. "

What did the Apostle John have to say about auricular confession?

The Apostle John, like Peter, knew nothing about confessing to a man. Sins are confessed to God, who then forgives and cleanses. How the heart of our blessed Lord must feel when we resort to a human being instead of going to Him and confessing our sins!

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity."-1 St. John 1:9.

Is there no place in Sacred Scripture where our Lord and Saviour instructed us to do penance? No, not one.

There is no record in Holy Writ that Christ ever set up a confessional box to hear confessions, nor that He gave His disciples instruction to do this. This innovation came into the Church in AD. 1215. No intimation is given, in all of John’s writings, that such a dogma was ever to be introduced in the Christian church.

Then there is the matter of remitting sins. Is the Church or its priests able to take away your sins? Let us consider this next:

The Catholic Church teaches that, in St. John 20:23, Christ gave the disciples unmitigated, absolute power to sit in judgment on the sins of those who confess.

"Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."-St. John 20:23.

Regarding the above verse, here is a daring declaration:

"God has given him [the priest] the right to sit in judgment on the sins of men and release them from the debt they owe to His [Christ's] offended majesty. " 'Go, show yourselves to the priest,' He said, 'he is My representative on earth, holding in his hands the power of God. No matter what your sins may be, no matter how numerous or repeated times without number, if only he [the priest] forgives you, so shall I. His authority, his right to forgive is absolute, for I have said to him: 'Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven; and what soever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven.’

"Confident in that promise, for 'God is faithful and cannot deceive,' the poor sinner kneels at his confessor's feet. He hears the words: 'I absolve thee from thy sins in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,' and the hideous load of sin drops from his soul for ever."-William Doyle, Shall I Be a Priest? pp. 14-15.

What did Christ mean by the statement, "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained"?

With a subject of so great importance as releasing and binding human souls, surely Christ would have given instruction about how it was to be accomplished, Never having seen it done before, the disciples surely would have, needed advice. Why did they not ask counsel? The answer is that such rights were not entrusted to them, as we shall see on further study.

Christ alone has the power to admit to or debar a soul from heaven. Thank God, He has never given to another the jurisdiction over the souls of mankind. Pity us all if that were the case! A king or priest claiming this divine right is not sanctioned by Heaven.

"And to the angel of the church of Philadelphia, write: These things saith the Holy One and the true One, He that hath the key of David; He that openeth, and no man shutteth; shutteth, and no man openeth." - The Apocalypse 3:7.

Christ instructs church members on how to deal with one another when difficulties arise between them. "But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and

rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.

"And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand."-St. Matthew 18:15-16.

If the offender remains unrepentant-and refuses to go to Christ for forgiveness-after the entreaty of the "witnesses," then appeal should be made to the entire local church, which is the final court. Christ gave the church membership the official authority to deal with outward unlawful acts committed toward each other. The church was also given authority to deal with all who violate its standards. Should the offender refuse to take the counsel of the church body, then his name is to be dropped from the record. "And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as thee as the heathen and publican."-St. Matthew 18:17.

When the church follows divine instruction, the course it takes regarding its obstinate and disobedient members will be ratified in heaven by God. The one who refuses the united decision of the church in his behalf must be regarded as a heathen. What attitude should the church assume toward those who are outside the fold? It should work to bring them in. This is Christ's instruction to His body. What a sacred responsibility!

"Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven." St. Matthew 18:18.

"Tell it unto the church." He did not say that one should tell it to the priest or to any other clergyman, for that matter. It is the body of believers that God recognizes. The disciplinary acts of binding and loosing were never invested in either the disciples or the clergy. God has a church that follows our Lord's prescribed method in dealing with its members when difficulty arises. But we must never forget that the one who is dropped from church membership is dear to the heart of God, and that His love should actuate the church body.,

"And if he will not hear them; tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican."-St. Matthew 18:17.

God appeals to the backslider to return. "I am married unto you." This is a tie that God does not want severed. He has a claim on those who were once members but have left the fold, and this is how the church is to regard these former members. May we regard every soul as our Saviour did! He had a deep love for every human soul and was willing to sacrifice for that soul's salvation.

"Go, and proclaim these words towards the north, and thou shalt say: Return, 0 rebellious Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not turn away My face from you: for I am holy, saith the Lord, and I will not be angry for ever.

 “But yet acknowledge thy iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God: and thou hast scattered thy ways to strangers under every green tree, and hast not heard My voice, saith the Lord.

"Return, 0 ye revolting children, saith the Lord: for I am your husband: and I will take you, one of a city, and two of a kindred, and will bring you into Sion;" Jeremias 3:12-14.



It was not until AD. 1215,-1,120 years after the Apostle John wrote the last book of the Bible,-that confession to a priest and penance was introduced into the Roman Church! It was the Fourth Lateran Council (AD.1215) which started the ceremony called auricular (ear) confession. Confession to a priest occurred at times in earlier centuries, but it was not until the Fourth Lateran Council, that it was declared to be compulsory by Innocent III (1198-1216). "Anyone who does not do so goes to hell."

According to Church regulations, those who refuse to confess to a priest are violating the third commandment of the Catholic Church. But that "third commandment" is not one of the Ten Commandments. Note what the catechism. teaches:

"The third commandment of the Church obliges us to go to confession once a year. This law was enacted at the Fourth Council of Lateran in the year of 1215. The penalty, attached to the violation of this law is that the sinner may be interdicted from entering the Church while living, and be deprived of Christian burial when dead.

"The Church leaves us free to choose any confessor who is authorized by the bishop to hear confessions.”

"This law of the Church is binding on all who have attained the use of reason. Therefore as soon as children can distinguish between right and wrong, so as to be capable of mortal sin, they ought to be prepared for their first confession." -Francis J. Butler, Holy Family Catechism, No. 3, p. 203.

If auricular confession was ordained by Christ, the Founder of the Christian church, why should almost 1,200 years be allowed to pass before imposing the obligation requiring members to confess to an ordained priest, a mere human being?

Did Christ change the plan of salvation after twelve centuries had elapsed, permitting the institution of the auricular confession, and anathematizing all who should reject it?

He would not be our eternal God if we could not rely upon His character and His unchangeable Word.

"For I am the Lord, and I change not: and you the sons of Jacob are not consumed." Malachias 3:6.

Our Saviour is always the same. The doctrines in the Sacred Scriptures, and Which Christ and His apostles taught, have not changed. "Jesus Christ, Yesterday, and to day; and the same for ever." Hebrews 13:8.

God will not alter His Word; but man has presumed to do so by adding dogmas. "But My mercy I will not take away from him: nor will I suffer My truth to fail." Psalms 88:34 [Psalm 89:34].

A fearful penalty awaits those who add dogmas.

"For testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book." The Apocalypse 22:18.

Divine retribution will be meted also to all who delete any truth from the Scriptures.

"And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall takeaway his part out of "the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book." The Apocalypse 22:19.

According to the rule of the Church, the faithful are not permitted to confess their sins to God; they must confess them to a priest.

"Confession is the telling of our sins to an authorized priest for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness." Baltimore Catechism.

Why is it not acceptable to go directly to God with our sins? Why must we instead go to an erring, sinful fellow human being?

According to Church law, if the priest does not forgive your sin, God cannot. This is because the priest is said to have "jurisdiction" over you.

"An authorized priest is one who has not only the power to forgive sins by reason of his ordination to the priesthood, but also the power of jurisdiction over the persons who come to him. He has this jurisdiction ordinarily from his bishop."-Baltimore Catechism.

The priest has the power because, according to the Church, he stands as God to the one confessing to him. "One must receive absolution in feelings of total humility, considering the confessor as Jesus Christ Himself whose place he takes."-French Catechism.

It is said that God has to forgive whoever the priest decides to forgive, even though the priest may make mistakes. The following statement comes from a book for those about to join the Church.

"The priest does not have to ask God to forgive your sins. The priest himself has the power to do so in Christ's name. Your sins are forgiven by the priest the same as if you knelt before Jesus Christ and told them to Christ Himself: - Instructions for Non-Catholics.

Do Priests Have Power to Forgive Sins?

The Catholic Church claims that our Lord conferred upon the apostles the power to forgive sins. Supposedly through apostolic succession the popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests are invested with the power to absolve the sinner who confesses, as stated here:

"Question: Does St. Ambrose say that priests have the power to forgive sins? Answer: St. Ambrose says, 'It seems impossible for sins to be forgiven by penitence, but Christ granted this to His apostles, which has been from the apostles transmitted to the ministry of the priests.' "-Roderick MacEachen, Complete Catechism of Christian Doctrines, Rev. ed., pp. 120-121.

"The Church teaches that our Lord conferred on the apostles a true priesthood, when He gave them power to offer the sacrifice of the Mass and the power to forgive sins. By the possession of these two powers the apostles were constituted true priests, or mediators between God and man."-Francis J. Butler, Holy Family Catechism, No. 3,p. 277.

If what the Catholic Church teaches is true, then many of us do not go to Christ for forgiveness of sins, as the Bible teaches.

If what the Catholic Church teaches is true, then what happened to all those souls who had not confessed their sins to a priest for forgiveness during the first 1,200 years of the Christian era? Auricular confession was not made an article of faith until the Fourth Lateran Council (A.D. 1215). How were the sins of those who lived during the 4,000 years before Christ expiated without the confessional, absolution of a priest, and the imposed penance?

According to the Bible, throughout all human history men and woman have been able to go to God for pardon from sin. But, according to the Church, from A.D. 1215 onward, they must instead go to a sinful, fellow human being.

Venial sins are defined as "small and pardonable offenses." Only mortal sins must be confessed to a priest, but there is no agreement among priests as to which are mortal and which are venial; yet all agree that such a distinction exists. Although some sins are classified as "mortal," there remains no clarity as to which sins have to be confessed.  


For 1,500 years the slaying of the Passover lamb by the Jews pointed to the death of Christ. The last evening that Christ was with His disciples, He ate the Passover with them.

It was the last Passover to be observed by Christians, for the true Passover Lamb was to die the next afternoon. All sacrifices were to end, and consequently the human priesthood was to cease. Desiring to leave a memorial of His death, one that would ever keep in mind the two great events-His death and His second coming-Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper.

"And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch [passover] with you, before I suffer."-St. Luke 22:14-15.

"Jesus took bread." The unleavened bread was on the table. He took this bread and blessed it, or as St. Luke 22: 19 says, "gave thanks," and then broke it, saying, "Take, eat; this is My body." This was Thursday night. If this bread were His real body, as the Catholic Church declares, then He died on Thursday night. But we know that is not true.

"And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to His disciples, and said: Take ye, and. eat. This is My body."-St. Matthew 26:26.

The above verse says, "This is My body." He did" not transmute the bread into His real body. Would we charge our Lord with creating Himself out of a literal piece of bread? Had He not previously used symbols with which to illustrate a specific truth He was teaching? For example, He had referred to Himself as "the door" (St. John 10:9), the "vine" (St. John 15:1), "the light" (St. John 8:12).

If we apply the logic used by some in interpreting Christ's statement "This is My body," is it not possible by the same mode of interpretation to say that Christ is changed into an actual "door," "vine," and "light"? If it holds good in one instance, it must hold good in others.

Christ broke off a chunk of bread, a figure which He left to represent His broken body. He did not give them a whole round wafer. How is a whole round wafer a broken piece of bread? Let us quote that verse again:

"And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to His disciples, and said:

Take ye, and eat. This is My body."-St. Matthew 26:26.

"Take, eat." The disciples took the bread in their hands. Christ did not place the bread on their tongues. The bread was to be eaten, not dissolved on the tongue of the receiver.

Let us next turn to St. Luke 22:19.

"And taking bread, He gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is My body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of Me."-St. Luke 22: 19.

"Commemoration" or "remembrance"-a reminder, or a memorial, of the great sacrifice of our Saviour. Although the Greek word for "remembrance" is given in the Douay Version as "commemoration," in the revised New Testament (N.I.V., 1 Corinthians 11 :23-29) the term, "remembrance," is used by the Roman Catholic translators.

Luke 22:19, quoted above, says "gave thanks," while Matthew 26:26, also quoted, above, says “blessed." Thus the words "blessed" and "gave thanks" are synonymous.

The Catholic Church teaches that blessing the bread resulted in it having been changed into His body. But what Christ actually did was to thank God for the food before partaking of it.

Taking the cup, He "gave thanks." Christ left on record an example for every Christian to follow, in thanking God for .the food He provides. This is why we offer thanks at our tables and ask Him to bless the food which we are about to eat.

Then Christ told them to drink the grape juice in their cups: "And taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this.”-St. Matthew 26:27.

The R.S.V. says, "And He took a cup." "Chalice" is an old word for an extremely expensive cup. Jesus did not have an ornate, expense cup in His hand; He had just a simple, fired-clay cup. Jesus never made pretensions, as though He were a wealthy man, with expensive palaces to live in and hired servants who carried Him around.

He gave the disciples the cup and told "all" to "drink" But the Catholic Church withholds the cup from the laity. -Only the officiating priest drinks the wine.

For 1,400 years, Christ's followers did as He told them to do during the Lord's Supper; Each one drank from his own cup during the Communion Service. -But then, in A.D. 1439 at the Council of Florence, a shocking thing occurred: The cup was "withdrawn" from the laity! From that time to this, over 560 years, the communicant has received only half the sacrament! No longer in the Roman Catholic Church do the followers of Christ drink from their cup, as Christ told them to do in St. Matthew 26:27.

Of course it is said, without proof, that a miraculous innovation is wrought by the priest. At the moment of consecration the wafers are supposedly infused with blood. Each round wafer is allegedly a whole Christ, "body and blood, soul and divinity." This doctrine was not taught in the upper room where this the Communion service was instituted.

The wine was to represent His precious blood, shed for the sins of the world. What a symbol He left to remind us of His supreme sacrifice! The new covenant was ratified, the plan of salvation made secure.

"For this is My blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins." -St. Matthew 26:28.

It was unfermented wine which was in the cup. Fermentation is a type of sin. There was "no sin" in the life of Christ. The wine used on the Roman altars is fermented, but the bread is unleavened.

"And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of My Father."-St. Matthew 26:29.

Some Protestant churches use leaven in the Communion bread. The symbol is marred and the pure, sinless Christ insulted. How does He feel when He sees His professed followers offering in the holy Communion service emblems which denote sin? This service was designed by Christ to keep before the people His sinless, spotless character. The pure juice of the vine, untouched by fermentation, and bread which contained no leaven, were fitting symbols of His unblemished life.

The Apostle Paul wrote the following passage twenty-eight years after the institution of the Lord's Supper:

"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is My body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of Me ["in remembrance of Me," R.S.V.].

"In like manner also the chalice, after He had supped, saying: This chalice is the New Testament in My blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of Me ["in remembrance of Me," R.S.V.]. "For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until He come.

"Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.

"But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice.

"For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord."-I Corinthians 11:23-29.

"I have received of the Lord." He received it by inspiration. He outlines how this service was to be conducted. It is to be done in "remembrance" or "commemoration" of our Lord, not as an act or a drama. "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread."-I Corinthians 11:23.

This service was to point back to His death.

"For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until He come. "-1 Corinthians 11:26.

"Let a man examine himself." It does not say to go to any human being and have him examine you. "But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord."-I Corinthians 11:28.

"But let a man examine himself," is what 1 Corinthians 11 :28 says in another Church-approved translation (R.S.V.).

Before one partakes of this Sacrament, there must be a searching of one's heart before God, confession of all sin to God, and deep repentance in order to be worthy to eat and drink at the Lord's table.

Christ died "once" for all. The Catholic Church teaches that the sacrifice of the Mass repeats Calvary. It is claimed that, each time Mass is offered, -Christ suffers and dies again.

Yet the Holy Scriptures teach exactly the opposite:

"{Christ] needeth not daily.. to offer sacrifices. . for this He did once, in offering Himself." Hebrews 7:27. "By His own blood, [He] entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption. "--Hebrews 9:12. "Nor yet that He should offer Himself often. . for then He ought to have suffered often. . So also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many." -Hebrews 9:25-28.

"In the which will, we are sanctified by the oblation of the body of Jesus Christ once." -Hebrews 10: 10. "And by that we will have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."-Hebrews 10:10, R.S. V. These verses reveal the utter futility of repetitious sacrifice, which can never take away sin. Christ offered "one sacrifice for sins forever." He is on the right hand of His Father as our High Priest.

"And every priest indeed standeth daily ministering, and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

"But this man offering one sacrifice for sins, for ever sitteth on the right hand of God." -Hebrews 1 0: 11­12.

"One sacrifice for sins." The reiteration of Calvary in the Roman Mass is a denial of the full atonement made by Christ. When He died, He said, "It is finished" (St. John 19:30). The price of redemption was paid by that one death. All animal sacrifices were ended, and the human priest­hood was forever abolished.

"For by one oblation He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."-Hebrews 10:14. "For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified."-Hebrews 10:14, R.S. V. "Offering" or "sacrifice" is the better word. Although "oblation" comes from the Latin and means "oblatio," sacrifice; the words "offering" or "sacrifice" are 'better understood today.

"I am living for ever and ever." Jesus declared this to John years after He went to heaven. Who would want to put our blessed Lord to death again?

"And alive, and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell." The Apocalypse 1:18.

When the divine Word is followed, the Lord's Supper is a most beautiful and meaningful service. It is symbolic of the new earth, where all will sit at the table when the marriage supper of the Lamb will be celebrated.

This promise will then be fulfilled. What a blessed hope we have!

"And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of My Father."-St. Matthew 26:29.

Christ said to His disciples, "This is My body," and "This is My blood" (Matthew 26:26-28). How can that be taken in a literal sense? At the time those words were spoken the bread and wine were on the table before Him; and, in His body, He was sitting at the table as a living man. The crucifixion had not taken place. They ate the Lord's supper before it occurred.

Jesus said to do it as a memorial to Him. We do not, and cannot, memorialize someone who is present, as the Church says Christ is present in the Mass. But in the future, in His absence, these things would symbolize His broken body and shed blood. They would then call to mind His sacrifice, and would then be taken "in remembrance" of Him (1 Corinthians 11:25).

Jesus' words, "This is in remembrance [commemoration] of Me," show that the Lord's supper is not some kind of magical operation; but it is primarily a memorial instituted to call Christians throughout the ages to remember the wondrous sacrifice of the crucified Lord and all its marvelous benefits and lessons for us. A memorial does not present the reality, in this case His true body and blood, but something quite different; this serves only as a reminder of the real thing.

We often show a friend a photograph and say, "This is my wife"; "This is my son"; etc. Such language is readily understood in ordinary conversation. Nobody takes such words literally. The Bible is written in the language of the common people. Hence it is perfectly obvious, to any observant reader, that the Lord's Supper was intended primarily as a simple memorial gathering; it is in no sense a literal reincarnation of Christ.

The real meaning of Christ's words can be seen when they are compared with similar figurative language which He used elsewhere.

Jesus said, "I am the door (St. John 10:17) -but of course He did not mean that He was a literal wooden door with lock and hinges. He said, "I am the vine" (St. John 15:5) but no one understood Him to mean that He was a grapevine. When He said, "Ye are the salt of the earth" (St. Matthew 5: 13), He did not mean His followers were actual salt.

The disciples had no trouble understanding what Jesus was saying, and neither did the Roman Church until 800 years after Calvary.


Yes, it was not until 800 years after Jesus met with His disciples in the upper room for that Communion service, that anyone thought of the idea of the "real presence.”

In the first part of the ninth century a man named Paschasius Radbertas, who was a Benedictine monk, began to advocate the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine. In AD. 831 he wrote a treatise, Concerning the Body and Blood of Christ.

Here is a brief summary of the doctrine which Paschasius advanced:,

"After the consecration of the bread and wine in the Lord's supper, nothing remains of these symbols but the outward figure, under which the body and blood of Christ were locally present. While the bread may have the appearance of bread, it is now, after the priest utters the words: 'This is my body,' the real body of Christ. The cup, after the priest  blesses it, is no longer wine, but the real blood of Christ." -Paschasius Radbertas. Concerning the Body and Blood of Christ.

Paschasius further claimed that the body and blood of Christ -the same body which was born of the virgin Mary, hung and suffered on the cross, and was buried and rose from the dead -was present in the Lord's Supper.

This new theory, when first advocated, was bitterly opposed by a number of Church leaders. One was Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Maiaz, who took definite issue with the new concept. He called it a perversion of the Lord's Supper. Archbishop Maurus wrote this:

"Some persons, of late, not entertaining a sound opinion respecting the sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord, have actually ventured to declare that this is the identical body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; the identical body, to wit, which was born of the Virgin Mary, in which Christ suffered on the cross, and in which He arose from the dead. This error we have opposed with all our might"-Rabanus Maurus Epist. Ad. Heribald, c. 33.

A lengthy battle was fought over this new idea. Opponents of the theory said it was shocking and preposterous. Interestingly enough, at the time, no mention was made by any of the contenders of the terms, "transubstantiation" and "the worship of the elements" (the bread and wine). Those were additional concepts, which did not develop for another 380 years.

Many fierce arguments were fought by the bishops over the "real presence" theory until early in the thirteenth century. Then, at the Fourth Council of Lateran (A.D. 1215), transubstantiation was made a dogma of the Church. (This was the same council which decreed that the people had to confess to priests instead of to God.)

Pope Innocent ill officiated at this Council. The decree issued on the dogma is as follows:

"The body and blood of Christ are contained really in the sacrament of the altar, under the species of bread and wine, the bread being transubstantiated [changed] into the body of Jesus Christ, and the wine into His blood, by the power of God."-Council Lateran, lX, cap. 1.

Because transubstantiation —the changing of the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Christ —had been declared an official dogma by the Lateran Council, it could no longer be contested. To oppose or even doubt the theory would be heresy and could cost a person his life.

The alleged power of the clergy, to create God from the elements of bread and wine, has caused credulous worshipers to consider the priest something of a God, since he had power to bring God down into a wafer and a cup.

Although it greatly increased the power of the Church, what does it do to our Lord?

The priest is taught that he has power over God, to command Him to come down into the wafer and the cup any time he, the priest, so decides.

"With regard to the power of the priests over the real body of Christ [the actual body of Christ in heaven], it is of faith that when they pronounce the words of consecration, the incarnate God has obliged Himself to obey and come into their hands under the sacramental appearance of bread and wine.

"We are struck with wonder when we find that, in obedience to the words of His priests-Hoc est corpus meum (This is My body) —God Himself descends on the altar, that He comes whenever they call Him, and as often as they call Him, and places Himself in their hands, even though they Should be His enemies.

"And after having come He remains, entirely at their disposal and they move Him as they please from one place to another. They may, if they wish, shut Him up in the tabernacle, or expose Him on the altar, or carry Him outside the Church; they may, if they choose, eat, His flesh, and give Him for the food of others.

Besides [in addition to such fabulous authority], the power of the priest surpasses that of the Blessed Virgin, because she cannot absolve a Catholic from even the smallest sin."-de Liguori, The Dignity and Duties of the Priest.

The very important Council of Trent (AD. 1545-1563), in one of its sessions, confirmed the decision of the Fourth Lateran Council on the question of transubstantiation: "This holy Council declareth: That by the consecration of the bread and wine, there is effected a conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the wine into the substance of His blood; which conversion is fitly and properly termed by the holy Catholic Church, transubstantiation."-Council Trident, Sess. XIII, cap. 4.

The Catholic Church today accepts and practices the doctrine of transubstantiation. The members of the Church are required to believe it, on pain of mortal sin.

The Roman Catholic Mass is designed to be a dramatic representation of our Lord's suffering and death on Calvary, and just before and after. The priest at the altar performs the part that the Saviour went through from the time He entered the Garden of Gethsemane until He arose from the tomb.

The principal part of the Mass is reached when the officiating priest allegedly transmutes, or changes, the bread and wine into the real "body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord." When this act is accomplished, it is claimed that transubstantiation occurs.



In the following verse we find the first promise of our Redeemer. Adam and Eve had turned from obeying God and His Word. They had voluntarily delivered themselves into the hands of Satan and consequently were unable to extricate themselves from his power.

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He [the promised "seed"] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Genesis 3:15, R.S. V.

In the hearing of Adam and Eve, our Lord made known to Satan that the "seed" Christ —would "crush" the head of the enemy and thus enable man to be restored to his former position. The plan of redemption is revealed in this text!

Was it Christ or was it Mary who crushed the head of Satan? The Rheims-Douai Version reads thus: "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." -Genesis 3:15.

A later Church-approved version is an example of what  you will find in other Bible translations:

"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He [the promised "seed"] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."-Genesis 3:15, R.S.V

The literal translation of the Hebrew Old Testament reads thus: "He shall bruise,"--not "she shall bruise."

Catholic theology does not always go according to the Latin Vulgate's interpretation on what the Church calls the ipsa conteret (the exact meaning of the verse and its context), as referring to Mary. The actual Hebrew word in Genesis 3: 15 for progeny (seed) is masculine —and not feminine. Therefore it should be translated "He shall bruise thy head." It is Christ by His Incarnation, life, sufferings, death, and heavenly mediation—who will crush the head of the deadly serpent, Satan. Satan will be conquered and destroyed because of what Christ has done.

This is clearly shown in Paul's statement to the Galatians about the promised "seed."

"To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not, And to his seeds, as of many: but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ."-Galatians 3: 16.

"And to thy seed, which is Christ," is how the Rheims Douai, translated here, says it. Christ is the promised seed. He alone was the One who would crush the head of Satan. Why should anyone want to take away the glory from our Lord and give it to any mortal being?

The Word declares that God will not give His glory to another, nor His praise to a graven image. "I the Lord, this is My name: I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven things." Isaias 42:8.

Man is doing that which God frowns upon — worshipping the creature rather than the Creator.

"Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified Him as God, or given thanks, but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened . . Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever." -Romans 1:21, 25.

Hundreds of years before the Virgin Mary was born, the pagan world had a goddess, a queen. She was known by different names in various countries

Semiramis; Astarte, Cybele, and Themis, Mother of the Gods, Maker of Investigations, Dove, and Goddess of Justice. These and many other names and titles were given to the «Queen of Heaven. " This great Mother Goddess was I mentioned by an Old Testament prophet:

"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to offer libations to strange gods, and to provoke Me to anger." Jeremias 7:18.

The people of Judah, in the days of Jeremias, had gone so far back from serving the true God that they gave them selves up to worshiping the Queen of Heaven, Ashtoreth, the Phoenician goddess. The people told the prophet, Jeremias, that they would not obey the Word of the Lord. They felt sure that the Queen of Heaven would intercede I with the gods and protect them, as long as they burned “incense," made “cakes," and poured out “drink offerings" to her.

"Then all the men that knew that their wives sacrificed to other gods: and all the women of whom there stood by a great multitude, and all the people of them that dwelt in the land of Egypt in Phatures, answered Jeremias, saying: "As for the word which thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken to thee:

"But we will certainly do every word that shall proceed out of our own mouth, to sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to her, as we and our fathers have done, our kings, and our princes in the cities of Juda, and in the streets of Jerusalem: and we were filled with bread, and it was well with us, and we saw no evil.

"But since we left off to offer sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and to pout out drink offerings to her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword, and by famine.

"And if we offer sacrifice to the queen of heaven, and pour out drink offerings to her: did we make cakes to worship her, to pour out drink offerings to her, without our husbands?"-Jeremias 44:15-19.

The enemy of God presented this rival goddess to the people who were thus deceived by her so-called miracles. How did God regard all this? He could no longer bear with them. They were taken captive by Babylon for refusing to obey His voice, His law, and His testimonies.

"And Jeremias spoke to all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying:

“Was it not the Sacrifice that you offered in the cities of Juda, and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, which the Lord hath remembered, and hath it not entered into His heart?

"So that the Lord could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which you have committed: therefore your land is become a desolation and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.

"Because you have sacrificed to idols, and have sinned against the Lord: and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have not walked in. His law, and in His commandments, and in His testimonies:, therefore are these evils come upon you, as at this day." Jeremias 44:20-23.

In the days of the Apostle Paul, all Asia and the then known world were given over to the worship of “the great goddess Diana."

St. Paul taught the people of Ephesus that the silver images of Diana which they were worshiping should be destroyed; and, as his enemies charged:

"You see and hear, that this Paul by persuasion hath drawn away a great multitude, not only of Ephesus, but almost of all Asia, saying: They are not gods which are made by hands."-Acts 19:26.

So Paul was calling the people, away from image worship, back to keeping the first and second commandments which they had been breaking.

But the people who made their living by image-making opposed Paul's doctrine. Demetrius and his craftsmen were being put out of business by Paul's teaching.

"Now at that time there arose no small disturbance I about the way of the Lord. For a certain man named. Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver temples for DIana, brought no small gain to the craftsmen.”

"Whom he calling together, with the workmen of like occupation said: Sirs, you know that our gain is by this trade; and you see and hear, that this Paul by persuasion  hath drawn away a great multitude, not only of Ephesus, but almost of all Asia, saying: They are not gods which are made by hands.

"So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought, but also the temple of great Diana shall be reputed for nothing; yea, and her majesty shall begin to be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

"Having heard these things, they were full of anger, and cried out, saying: Great is Diana of the Ephesians." Acts 19:23-28.

If Paul Were living today, what attitude would he assume toward the craft of image-making? Would he not cry out for its destruction as he did in Ephesus?

The prophecy of lsaias was given over seven hundred years before our Lord was born. "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign.

Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel."-lsaias 7:14.

The sign was that a virgin would give birth to a son, Immanuel, God with us. The young woman chosen by God was the virgin Mary, a pure, noble character. Would that all women would follow her example of purity, and all mothers would train and educate their children according to the Word of God.

Elizabeth's blessing upon the virgin Mary did not elevate Mary to the status of beatification. The text does not indicate that she would be invoked by her admiring devotees. She was blessed "among" women. She was not the only woman blessed in the Bible.

"And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."-St. Luke 1:42.

By the prophetess Deborah, lad was also "blessed among women."

"Blessed among women be Jahel the wife of Haber the Cinite, and blessed be she in her tent."-Judges 5:24.

But being blessed "among" women did not make Jael different from any other human being. There is no record in Holy Scripture that Jael was ever venerated following Deborah's blessing upon her.

The Bible gives no intimation that the virgin Mary was regarded with any reverential respect, either at the time of Elizabeth's blessing or at any subsequent time. Devotion to Mary was uknown to the early church. The apostles give no suggestion in any of their writings that devotion, or worship, had been given to Mary.

The Scriptures clearly teach that only God should be worshiped. Note the reaction of the angel Gabriel to John's worship: "See thou do it not worship God." This experience is left on record for our admonition. If the highest angel refused to be worshiped, why should any of the human family dare to accept such homage?

"And I fell down before his feet, to adore him. And he saith to me: See thou do 'it not. I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, who have the testimony I of Jesus. Adore God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."-The Apocalypse 19:10.

"You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who bold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God."-Revelation 19:10, R.S.V.

The Catholic Church teaches that there are three forms of worship: latria (cultus latriae), the Worship due alone to God; dulia (cultus duliae), the veneration or worship given to saints and angels; hyperdulia (cultus hyperduliae), the worship, adoration, and homage given the virgin Mary. These are Latin terms which the average layman has difficulty in defining and equating.

 The "Ave Maria," better known as the "Hail Mary," is well-known to every faithful Catholic: "Literally ‘Hail Mary,' Ave Maria is the title of the familiar two part prayer:

" Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among all women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus- Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. "- The Catholic Encyclopedia, 59-60.

—Yet, according to the Catholic Dictionary, this did not come into use until "the end of the twelfth century."

Words were added to the prayer by the Franciscans about the middle of the fifteenth century. The whole Ave Maria as it now stands was decreed by Pope Pius V in 1568. I According to the words of Scripture, Mary rejoiced in her Saviour. If she could not sin, what need did she have for a Saviour?

"And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."-St. Luke 1:46-47.

Paul evidently knew nothing about the Immaculate Conception of the virgin Mary or of her sinless state, for he I said that "all have sinned."

"For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God." Romans 3:23.

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23, R.S.V.

If Mary was what the Catholic Church claims, how could Paul write that "none:," not even "one," is just, that is, righteous in the sight of God.

"As it is written: There is not any man just."-Romans 3:10.

Christ was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh." He "condemned sin in the flesh" by living a life in perfect conformity to the Ten Commandments. He never sinned, not even by a thought. What a Saviour we have!

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh; God sending His own-Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and of sin, hath condemned sin in the flesh." -Romans 8:3.

But the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the virgin Mary gives us a Christ who could not sin. Such teaching strikes at the very heart of the atonement.

Satan claimed that no human being could keep the Ten Commandments. For 4,000 years his charge went unchallenged. Then the Son of God came to this earth in human flesh and demonstrated before Satan and the universe that, through the power of God, the Ten Commandments could be kept.

Christ partook of the same flesh and blood as the human family.

"Therefore because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself in like manner hath been partaker of the same: that, through death, He might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil." -Hebrews 2:14.

He did not take the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham. "For no where doth He take hold of the angels: but of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold. "-Hebrews 2:16.

"It behoved Him." In other words, it was necessary for Him to be "made like unto His brethren" in order for Him to be our High Priest.

"Wherefore it behoved Him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest before God, that He might be a propitiation for the sins of the people."-Hebrews 2: 17.

This is a very comforting text. Our Saviour can sympathize with us because He was tempted as we are.

"For in that, wherein He Himself hath suffered and been tempted, He is able to succour them also that are tempted." -Hebrews 2:18.

Had He taken the flesh of an "immaculate mother," He could not "be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." The teaching of the Immaculate Conception presents us with an entirely different Christ than the One portrayed in the Holy Scriptures.

"For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin."-Hebrews 4: 15.

How did Christ keep from sinning? He wept and prayed to His heavenly Father for the power to be kept from sin. Satan was constantly pursuing our Lord, to tempt Him. If only he could induce Him to commit just one sin, then the whole world would be lost. But, thank God, our Saviour never once yielded to the enemy. We, too, through His power can be kept from sinning.

"Who in the days of His flesh, with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to Him that was able to save Him from death, was heard."-Hebrews 5:7.

Christ was God while inhuman flesh, but He never used any of His divine power in combating sin. The power to meet the enemy He received from His Father.

"And wheras; as indeed He was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And being consummated, He became, to all that obey Him, the cause of eternal salvation."-Hebrews 5:8-9. At the age of twelve, Christ attended His first Passover. As He watched this service, the mystery of His own mission was revealed to Him.

"And His parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch [Passover]. And when He was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast.

"And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day's journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking Him.

"And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found Him, in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers."-St. Luke 2:41-47. .

It is evident from the reply Christ gave His mother, that she did not understand His mission as the Messiah. He disclaimed Joseph as His father and stated His Sonship with God.

"And seeing Him, they wondered. And His mother, said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.

"And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? did you not know, that I must be about My father's business?" St. Luke 2:48-49.

Eighteen years later, Christ performed His first miracle

at a wedding, to which His mother had also been invited. A fond mother's pride hopes for a miracle from her Son on this happy occasion. "They have no wine." These words were a suggestion for Him to supply the need.

"And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and His disciples, to the marriage.

"And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to Him: They have no wine."-St. John 2:1-3.

What was His reply? "Woman, what have I to do with thee?"

 "And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to Me and to Thee? My hour is not yet come."-St. John 2:4.

This form of address, "Woman," was in keeping with the Oriental custom. He added, "Mine hour is not yet come." Once again we find that even Mary did not have a right conception of Christ's mission.

Even though Mary did not fully understand the full import of Christ's mission, yet she had profound regard for His Word.

"His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye."-St. John 2:5.

"His mother said to the servants, Do whatever He tells you."-John 2:5, R.S.V.

Mary did not say, "Whatsoever I say unto you, do it," but "Whatsoever He saith.",

What "He saith" can be found only in the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, Mary says to do what the Scriptures teach. Apart from the Magnificat, this is the only counsel she ever , gave. How wonderful if all, both Catholic and Protestant, would adhere to her admonition!"

Later, a second incident strengthens our understanding of the fact that the tie of kinship in no way placed Mary on vantage ground with Christ.

The following passage reveals that Mary's connection with Jesus placed her in no different spiritual relation to Him from that of any other human being. All who receive Christ by faith and do the will of His Father are closer than human kinship could make them.

"As He was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold His mother and His brethren stood without, seeking to speak to Him.

"And one said unto Him: Behold Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without seeking Thee.

"But He answering him that told him, said: Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?

"And stretching forth His hand towards His disciples, he said: Behold My mother and My brethren.

"For whosoever shall do the will of My Father, that is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother." St. Matthew 12:46-50.

It is those who obey Christ—by obeying His Written Word as given in the Sacred Scriptures—who are His special people!

 A third incident says it even more clearly: Those who obey Christ are just as close to Him as any human being can be! As Christ was speaking, a woman in the audience called out that Christ's mother must be especially blessed. Jesus did not reply that those who obey God are as blessed as Mary, but He said that only those who obey God are blessed. In other words, Mary could only be blessed to the degree that she continued to obey God in the future as she had done in the past.

"And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that give Thee suck.

"But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the Word of God, and keep it."-St. Luke 11:27-28.

His reply clearly states that all who hear and keep the Word of God will be blessed. Mary had no divine merit because of her maternal relationship to the Saviour. She could find salvation only through the Lamb of God and in doing the will of God.

What did Peter say about this? He knew nothing about the virgin and her power to save. "Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved."-Acts 4:12.

What did the Apostle Paul say? Paul says there is only one mediator between God and man. It is "the man Christ Jesus," and not the woman Mary, who stand between God and man to intercede.

"For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:"— 1 Timothy 2:5.

The Apostle John said our Advocate with the Father is Jesus Christ.

"My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just."—1 St. John 2:1.

If Mary were the Queen of Heaven, the mediatrix, the advocate of sinners, the co-redemptrix, John would have known; for he took Mary to his own home after the death of the Saviour, and cared for her.

"When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, he saith to His mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own."—St. John 19:26--27.

"From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home."—John 19:27, R.S.V.

As a prophet of God, John mentions the two concepts which would be held regarding the human nature of our Lord, Jesus Christ: Some would believe what the Scriptures teach: that He came in "the flesh," that is, not from a so-called immaculate mother. This, the correct position, "is of God." Others would teach that He came not in the "likeness of sinful flesh," but from a sinless mother. This teaching John declares is the "spirit of antichrist." Here is the passage:

"By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: And every spirit that dissolveth [denies the humanity of] Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that He cometh, and He is now already in the world."—1 St. John 4:2-3.

When was the last time that Mary's name is mentioned in Holy Scripture? It is found in the first chapter of the Book of Acts.

All those who were in the upper room were mentioned. The disciples are first mentioned, next the women, then Mary. She evidently did not hold the preeminence at this important gathering.

"And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and-Matthew, James of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Jude the brother of James. All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren."—Acts 1:13-14.

So, in view of all that has been presented in the Inspired Writings about Mary, should we not give Christ His rightful place as the God of both justice and mercy?

"His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye."—St. John 2:5.

"His mother said to the servants, Do whatever He tells you."—John 2:5, R.S.V.