Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 6, 1951
NUMBER 31, PAGE 1,6b

Why Millions Call Him "Holy Father"

Thomas Allen Robertson, Ontario, California

An advertisement of the above title appeared not long ago in a number of magazines and newspapers throughout the nation. It was inserted by the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization. We call attention to several statements in the ad, in the order in which they appear.

1. "They wonder how an exclusively spiritual leader can command the devotion of nearly four hundred millions of people."

The Pope of Rome is not an "exclusively spiritual leader." If so, on what grounds does he request an envoy From most of the governments of the earth? Our own country, which constitutionally separates church and state, is now considering the question of an ambassador to the Vatican. It is because of his claim to temporal sovereignty that the Pope presses his request for these political envoys.

The whole history of the Catholic Church has been one long story of politico-religious intrigue. This political ecclesiastical nature of the Catholic Church has been maintained either in thought and desire, or in act and fact, since the time of Gregory VII. One quotation will show what we mean:

"By adroit political intrigues the imperial power of Italy was reduced, and Henry's son, Conrad, urged on rebellion. Pope Urban II (successor to Gregory VII) became strong enough to enter into a contest with Philip of France, and to excommunicate him for his connection with Bertrade. Conscious of his position as the rightful leader of Christendom, he placed himself at the head of a movement which soon made him all-powerful in the West." (Fisher's History of the Christian Church, pp. 185, 186)

Add to this the statement made by Gregory VII on March 7, 1080:

"And now, 0 ye princes and fathers, most holy Apostles Peter and Paul, deal with us in such wise that all the world may know and understand that having the power to bind and loose in heaven, we have the like power to take away empires, kingdoms, principalities, duchies, marquisates, earldoms, and all manner of human rights and properties." (History of the Christian Church, Schaff. Vol. V, p. 32)

When one views these quotations, and scores like them which might be cited from authentic histories, and adds to the picture the fact that at one time during their rise and aggression both Mussolini and Hitler enjoyed the blessings of the Pope (and that both of them died in the good graces of the Catholic Church, neither of them being excommunicated for his brutal crimes against humanity), and that the Pope was and is behind Franco, bloody dictator of Spain, one can recognize how hollow and false is the claim that the Pope is "an exclusive spiritual leader."

2. "What is there about this man that causes people to speak of him in a hundred tongues as "Holy Father"? We find the answer, of course, not necessarily in the holiness of the man himself, but in his Christ-given office. The answer is found by tracing the history of the Catholic Church . . . the history of 262 successive Popes ... back through nearly 2,000 years to Christ himself."

First, in connection with the above false statements we want all to see that Christ himself forbade calling men "Father" religiously, it was Christ who said, "And call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven." (Matt. 23:9)

Secondly, the office of the Pope is not a Christ-given office. Such an office is not named in the Bible. The first time the term "Universal Bishop" appears in history is several hundred years after the establishment of the church. As a matter of fact, Leo I, in the year 446 A.D., obtained from Valentinian III by an imperial law recognition of primacy. This was the first real beginning of the present Catholic system. Innocent III (1198-1216 A.D.) was the first to designate himself as the "Vicar of God" or Christ on the earth. The silence of the Bible and the fact that it took this monstrous system several hundred years to develop argue eloquently against it.

' Thirdly, of the 262 Popes and nearly 2,000 years of history claimed in the ad, the gaps in both popes and years are too great and too many to be ignored. Of the popes, there were 23 claimed which cannot be historically proved; there are 48 who did not claim to be pope at all, or exercise any kind of universal rule; there were four who reigned in exile or were exiled; five were deposed; and there were 20 "anti-popes"—that is men who reigned as pope for a brief time but were put out by a rival faction who then installed their man as pope. (Articles on POPE, PAPACY, PAPAL SYSTEM, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. IX, pp. 126-132)

3. "We know from the New Testament that the church was actually organized . . . that it was governed by the Apostles under the leadership of Peter."

The New Testament nowhere states that Peter was the leader, the first pope. Actually, there is much evidence that he was not the leader, the one to which all looked. In the conference at Jerusalem (Acts 15) it is James, not Peter, who is the spokesman of the occasion. James says, "Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God." (Acts 15:19) Isn't that strange, James handing down the sentence when Peter, the one Catholicism declares the head of the church, was there? Again in Acts 11 we find Peter defending himself before the brethren in Jerusalem because he had preached to the Gentiles. Is that any way for a POPE to act? Furthermore, Paul speaks of "James, Cephas, and John" who "seemed to be pillars." If Peter had been Pope, how could Paul have said that he "seemed" to be a pillar? And mention him as in the same category with two others of the same sort?

In Gal. 2:12 Paul withstood Peter to the face. Peter had at first eaten with the Gentiles, but when certain came from James, Peter was afraid. Is that the way for a POPE to act? And Paul withstood Peter to the face because Peter was wrong. Would anyone withstand the POPE to his face today?

4. "The Catholic Church traces its unbroken history back to the Apostles—back to Christ. And Catholics today call Pope Pius XII "Holy Father" because he is the lawful and historical successor to Peter the first Pope."

We have already mentioned this "unbroken history" fable. It gets hazy back about 606 A.D., and plays out completely about 350 A.D. There is no trace at all of anything like Catholicism prior to that time.

Pius XII is not the lawful and historical successor to anything by the apostate innovations of the Catholic Church. He cannot be any kind of a successor to an apostle, for by Peter's statement in Acts 1, the apostles can be chosen only from those who "have accompanied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John." Was Mr. Pius one of that number? It is morally, legally, scripturally, and historically impossible for the Catholic doctrine of apostolic succession to be true; for no man can qualify.