Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Doctrine of Apostolic Succession: More RC Hokum

In Roman Catholic and Orthodox theology, the Doctrine of Apostolic Succession is based on the premise that Jesus promised to be with the apostles “always until the end of the age”. The unbrokenness of the apostolic succession is important. If there were any disruption it would mean Jesus' promise had not been kept. The Apostolic Succession Doctrine maintains that the authority of the church went directly from Jesus to Peter who, it is said, became the Bishop of Rome, and then to every Bishop of Rome (Pope) for the last 2000 years. However, if just one of those links in the glory chain from Jesus is not legitimate, if only one of those popes between Peter and the late John Paul II became pope by false means, then the whole doctrine of apostolic succession is thrown into a cocked hat. What are we to make, then, of the grisly facts about the following 9th and 10th century popes? John VIII (872-82) was bludgeoned to death by his own entourage, Stephen VI (896-7) was strangled, Leo V (903) was murdered by his successor Sergius III (904-11), John X (914-28) was suffocated, Stephen VIII (939-42) was tortured and mutilated. Powerful Italian families--the Theophylacts, the Crescentii, the Tusculani, put most of these men in power. John X was deposed and then murdered by the Theophylacts, who had appointed him in the first place. The head of the Theophylact clan, Marozia, was the one who appointed John X to Pope and eventually had him deposed. In addition, she appointed Leo VI (928) and Stephen VII (928-31) to Pope. She was the mistress of Pope Sergius III and she appointed her illegitimate son by Sergius III to pope. He became John XI (931-6). Like Leo VI, Stephen VII was elected while Pope John X was still alive and in prison. John's appointment and removal from office by Marozia was not valid. Neither the election of Leo nor of Stephen was valid which meant they weren't genuine popes. Plus, the appointment of a pope's son to the office of pope by his mother makes the word invalid something of an understatement. If the Roman Catholic Church wants to make the preposterous claim that from St. Peter to John Paul II the popes are an unbroken line of holy men passing the true word of God from one to the next, then the RCC must expect historians to reveal that the claim is a lie. To amuse ourselves while we wait for the election of the next pope, what RCC fairy tale do you want to hear tomorrow? I like the one about Jesus' mother's mother and father. The RCC says that Mary's mother and father were named Ann and Joachim. And that Mary was conceived in the normal way, but at the moment of conception God infused into Mary's soul so that Mary would not experience the slightest stain of Original Sin and would be a pure vessel to conceive Jesus. I emailed the catholicplanet.com, which answers all questions about RCC dogma. I asked where I might find mention of Joachim and Ann in the Bible. I received this answer: “Joachim is mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, under his other name, Heli (Luke 3:23). Ann is not mentioned by name. However, both Joachim and Ann are mentioned in the tradition of the Church. They are also mentioned in non-canonical writings of the early Church.” Translation: The backstory about Mary's parents, Ann and Joachim, and the rationale about Mary's Immaculate Conception were made up out of whole cloth by the RCC. Then after inventing names and legends about Mary's parents, the RCC made them Saints. Nota Bene: Original sin isn't mentioned in the Bible either. It was invented by Saint Augustine in the fourth century. With all this creative writing going on in the Roman Catholic Church, can anything the Vatican says be believed? The short answer: No.

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