Trusting in a Religious System :: By Steve Meehan

False Catholic Doctrines
Growing up as a Roman Catholic, I was led to believe that I was on the right course to be able to gain entrance into Heaven one day. I mean, who else besides Catholics have the insurance policy that has cradle to grave coverage – and even beyond, with the afterlife doctrine of Purgatory to cover any leftover sins?

Roman Catholicism has the priests to absolve one’s sins; they have the same priests to administer the consecrated bread that has become Jesus to them; they have the Mother of God to intercede on our behalf, if we are unable to reach God the Father or Jesus with our petitions and who also lessens one’s time in Purgatory; and of course, they have the Pope, the Holy Father, Christ’s representative on Earth, to watch over the flock. It was all very reassuring to know, as we were taught, that we belonged to the only One True Church. What other religion offers so much as does Roman Catholicism, and how could one go wrong by trusting in their teachings?

From the very beginning of a Catholic’s life, one is baptized into the Catholic Church by the sprinkling of water over the forehead as an infant – maybe only a week old – and thus the requirement of being born again as a Christian had been fulfilled. There used to be a teaching that unbaptized babies would go to a place called Limbo, since even an un-regenerated baby could not attain entrance into Heaven.

As an infant, I had no concept of sin; I did not know that someone had to pay the penalty for my sin, nor that Jesus Christ was the only one qualified to be the propitiation for my sins.

Stand-ins or proxies, or Godparents, as they are known, were the ones who would acknowledge for the infant, that they would shun sin and they would make the profession of faith into Roman Catholicism on the child’s behalf. They would also affirm that they would offer instruction to the child as he or she grew in the Catholic faith, if the child’s parents neglected to do so. After the first of many sacraments to come had been accomplished, I was now baptized and well on my way in my Christian journey.

Years later, as I grew into adulthood and started to read the Holy Scriptures for myself; and under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, I began to see that the rite of Baptism was normally performed after a person had already acknowledged that they were a sinner and in need of a qualified savior to cover the cost of their sins. It was after they had invited Jesus Christ into their life to be their personal Savior, and thus being born again, that a person would be baptized as an outward sign to others of what had already transpired inwardly.

In all the cases that I have read in the Holy Word of God, the person being baptized was fully immersed into water rather than just having water sprinkled over the forehead.

The full immersion typifies what has happened to the recipient in the ritual of baptism. Upon being lowered into the water, it symbolizes that they have died to their old self, their fleshly, physical birth, and have now arisen out of the water in a spiritual rebirth, all of which takes place spiritually when a person fully places their trust in Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation. They have then become born again; and so the Baptism ritual is an outward sign to others of what had already occurred the moment we had said yes to Jesus.

Christ tells us in John 3:3, that unless we are born again, we cannot see the Kingdom of God.

How is it possible then, for an infant to meet the requirements of being born again, when they have no knowledge of sin, that one’s sin problem must be atoned for, and that only belief and trust in Jesus is the correct requirement for salvation? How can godparents speak for the infant or the priest perform the ritual to one who is incapable of acknowledging their need for a savior?

Even Jesus Christ, although He did not need to do it but allowed Himself to be baptized for righteousness sake and to set an example to others who would follow Him, was only baptized as an adult and just before the start of His earthly ministry.

If we are followers of Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we follow His example of baptism only after we have acknowledged our need for Him and to show others outwardly that we have accepted Him and want to obey His commands? How then does infant baptism have any merit since the child has no knowledge of its need to be saved first?

On every Sunday and “Holy Day of Obligation,” as a Roman Catholic, we would dutifully go to Mass. Upon entering the church, normally a Catholic would first dip his hand into a font or a little cup-sized holder of water, then proceed to make the sign of the cross. This “Holy Water” had a threefold effect to acquire blessings: it was a sign of repentance for one’s sins; it was done for the protection from evil; and thirdly, it was a reminder of one’s baptism into the Catholic faith.

The sign of the cross was instituted early in the progression of the Roman Catholic religion. It normally precedes a prayer and then also concludes the prayer. It was also, at one time, done three times by the priest just before the consecration of the bread: first on the forehead, then on the lips, then over the heart. Three fingers were used to signify the Holy Trinity, and the movement was up from the forehead down to the chest signifying Jesus coming down from Heaven to the Earth; then right to left, signifying Jesus starting with the Jews; then passing to the Gentiles. Over time, the sign of the cross switched from going right to left, to left going right.

Upon entering the church, the Catholic faithful would genuflect before the image of Jesus nailed to a cross or the presence of Jesus in the golden monstrance before one would enter and sit in the pews. I can remember as an altar boy during my Catholic parochial grade-school years, during the Mass, it was one of my duties to go down to the communion rail area and pull back the cart that contained the votive candles from before the statues of Mary, so that the priest could administer the communion wafer to the faithful unimpeded.

The church would be full of Roman Catholic regalia, unseen usually in Protestant churches. Stained glass windows were very prominent, especially in the churches that were constructed in areas where the offerings taken in were substantial. Stations of the Cross would line either side of the church and would be prayed before by the faithful, usually during the Lent season. Statues of Mary are always prevalent in all Catholic churches, as well as figurines of other “saints.”

There are usually kneelers in front of the statues and the votive candles, where the faithful can light a candle and pray facing the statue. I can remember doing this practice many times, as well as seeing my parents, relatives and others doing the same thing. Candles were always burning before these images. I can remember gazing intently into these forlorn-looking figurine eyes, just hoping that they could hear my prayers and maybe offer an answer or relief at the time. Many, if not all Catholics engage in this solemn devotion and prayer time.

It was as if these figurines were the actual beings listening to our prayers.

It wasn’t until later in life, again, that I discovered through Bible study that God abhors this kind of activity. Those statues are not God and they don’t hear or answer prayer requests. They are inanimate objects and should never replace a true relationship with Jesus Christ or God the Father. The Second Commandment absolutely forbids this kind of activity and should never be conducted by a true child of God.

Exodus 20:4-6 reads: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the water under the Earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

This is a commandment not to do this! It is the second one, just after the first which reads: “I am the Lord thy God…thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

God even equates the worshipping of statues as hating Him; we are placing something else before Him. This commandment was originally given to the Chosen People of God, the Israelites, but also extends to those who have become children of God through the sacrifice of Jesus and those who have accepted Him. This commandment was never rescinded.

The Bible is replete with examples of false worship directed towards statues, groves of trees, and other images. There is no shortage of verses in Scripture where God detests the placing of images up to worship instead of rightly praying to the Lord in spirit. The apostle John wrote:

“But the hour comes, and now is, when true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

If we are to worship Him in spirit and truth, then we must not be placing graven images before our eyes and praying to them. It is wrong, it is false, and it is detestable to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Why the Catholic Church has deleted the Second Commandment and allows this kind of activity to flourish throughout their ranks and cathedrals is beyond comprehension. They call themselves the One True Church, yet they continually defy God and encourage this kind of worship. In certain countries, mostly Roman Catholic, they dress up statues of Mary, then parade around behind it, adoring it and throwing flowers in the street before it.

What a pagan ritual! And abhorred by the Creator of all.

A few years ago, I went to a Good Friday Mass at the behest of my mother, who is still a dyed-in-the wool Roman Catholic. I agreed to go only if I could take her to a worship service of my choosing at a later date. During the Mass, one of the parishioners had wheeled out a figurine of a cross that he had constructed, and it had been blessed by the local priest. The faithful then were instructed to come up out of their seats, and in single file form, come before the cross and give their adoration. But they were admonished, in order to save time, either to just kiss it, touch it or kneel before it – only one of those three.

I shook my head in disbelief as I stood in my pew and observed this idolatrous procession. The old priest kind of glared at me for not being involved in this graven image spectacle.

It was unbelievable. Christians, true Christians, should not be bowing down, kissing, touching, praying to, dressing up, and parading behind graven images! It is false worship, and it is condemned by God.

Jesus tells us in John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

Later in the Mass, the priest gets to the consecration of the bread, the culmination of the Roman Catholic worship service. He has the power, as endued from on high by Rome itself, to change the elements of bread and wine into the physical and spiritual manifestation of Jesus Christ – all of His humanity and all of His divinity. It is through this Transubstantiation that the bread and wine have now become Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Creator of the Universe, in their belief.

The bread and wine still retain the physical characteristics of bread and wine; but somehow, through spiritism, or mysticism, or just plain old hocus-pocus, these wafers are now Jesus Christ, who apparently is not seated by the right hand of the Father in Heaven anymore, but continually shows up on the altars of Roman Catholic churches in the form of a wafer!

It is amazing to me how the faithful of Roman Catholicism can fall for this. This is now their God? In the form of a wafer? It doesn’t speak, it doesn’t heal, it doesn’t forgive sins; it is just to be consumed physically, and then what? I think if Jesus Christ did show up at all those Masses, wouldn’t one want to introduce Him to family members or friends so that they too could experience Him?

The whole idea of God being reduced to an inanimate object like a wafer is ludicrous, yet well-meaning Catholics buy into it and don’t question it. It is like the story of the Emperor and his new clothes. He tells everybody that he is wearing the most expensive and finest apparel known to man; and even though he is naked, all of his following believe what the Emperor is telling them. Oh, yes, those clothes are wonderful. Not until a young lad blurts out that the Emperor is naked, then they can see the ruse for what it is.

We don’t receive Jesus via a wafer; we receive Him internally and spiritually when we accept what He has accomplished for us on the cross. It is only then that we are saved and that He takes up residence in our lives through His Holy Spirit.

We become born again through His spirit. We recognize our inability to make it to Heaven because of sin in our lives; recognize that we are incapable of saving ourselves through works or good living; and recognize that only Christ can save us from ourselves and lack of purity. That is how we intake Jesus, not through a wafer. Eating Him physically would have no benefit to us spiritually.

He told the woman at the well that He was Living Water. Does that mean that we should worship a glass of water? He told the woman that if she drank what He had to offer, that she would never thirst again. Physically, while on Earth, of course she would thirst again. Spiritually, if she invited Jesus into her life and accepted His free plan of salvation, she would be filled spiritually with Living Water, and her spirit would never thirst again.

In John 6 is where Roman Catholicism contends that Jesus was speaking to the crowds in a literal sense, in a physical sense, that unless one eats the physical body of Jesus they would die in their sins. It is a discourse that goes back and forth between the physical and the spiritual.

The Jews heard Him in physical terms, after just having eaten of the loaves and fishes that Jesus fed them, so of course they were repelled by Him speaking of eating His flesh. They turned away, but apparently Rome has not turned away from that and has incorporated a cannibalistic rite in which they proclaim that they are physically eating Christ’s flesh and spirit. Jesus, though, qualifies, in John 6:63 that He is speaking in spiritual terms:

“It is the Spirit that quickens (or comes alive); the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

In John 6:47, Jesus says: “Verily, Verily (or Truly, Truly), I say unto you, he that believes on me has everlasting life.”

We are saved by believing on Him, not by eating His flesh or a poor substitute as in a wafer. One could eat those wafers for the rest of their life, but unless they believe in Jesus for their salvation, it will be a futile exercise and warrant them nothing.

Why substitute what Christ has told us in His Word regarding salvation and instead put forth a worthless, idolatrous, even a blasphemous practice of worshipping and ingesting a gluten wafer? How is this worshipping in spirit and truth if we are engaged in a false means of receiving Jesus?

This has all the earmarks of a false doctrine instituted by our spiritual enemy. Jesus Christ does save, but not via a wafer.

The communion service is a remembrance of what Christ did for us physically on the cross. He offered up His body and blood physically so that we could take Him in spiritually. We remember, at those communion services, what He did one time for the remission of our sins.

We don’t eat Him physically; He has already entered us spiritually when we accepted Him and His atonement for our sins. The physical aspect of Him in us would be a temporary condition, but with Him spiritually dwelling in us it is eternal. Don’t worship a wafer!

The angels, in the Book of Acts, at Jesus ascension into Heaven, even asked the men of Galilee why they continued to gaze into the heavens at the disappearing of our Lord. They were told that Jesus would again come in like manner, when He does return to Earth. He will come with the clouds in the end times, and not daily in the form of a wafer at every mass that is performed on an hourly basis.

When He physically returns, there won’t be any mistaking it. He even said, in the Olivet discourse in Matthew 24, not to believe those who are saying Christ is here or there – as the priest does on the altar during the so-called Transubstantiation ruse – or that Christ is in the secret chambers – as the priests contend about the wafer in a golden monstrance. Jesus said believe it not.

Again, when Jesus does return, there will be no doubt about His arrival.

In Roman Catholicism’s churches, there are also confessional booths. When I was in about 2nd grade, I had my first confession. It was very intimidating to walk into that booth and confess my sins. It was almost akin to telling God about my shortcomings. I remember the opening rote words told to the priest: “Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been (well, up to that point, all my life – all 8 years or whatever!) since my last confession.” Then, one would list all their sins and conclude the litany with, “For these and for all my unconfessed sins, I am truly sorry.”

That was usually followed by a little spiel about how wrong it was to be involved with these kinds of activities, and then came the sentence.

I would usually cringe and hope it would be a light sentence: a few Our Fathers, a handful of Hail Mary’s, but nothing too drastic like a whole rosary or a novena. Then, of course, after receiving my penalty, I was absolved by the priest and told not to do it again. To which, I would dart out, and be glad that the whole exercise was over.

Again, years later, while immersing myself in what the “Good Book” had to say, I discovered that Jesus commanded us not to call any man on Earth “Father.” In Matthew 23:9, Jesus tells us:

“And call no man your father upon the Earth; for one is your Father, which is in Heaven.”

It would seem to me, and I’m sure it is right, that Jesus here is referring to our Spiritual Father. Obviously, we have a male parent whom we refer to as a father. But, we are told by Jesus not to call anyone father in the spiritual sense. So, it begs the question: why does Roman Catholicism insist on calling their priests “father?”

Aren’t we supposed to do what Jesus says? Are we followers of Jesus, and as Christians shouldn’t we abide by what he commands us? If Roman Catholicism is true Christianity, why are they defying God again on this?

If the Catholic priests are indeed Christians, wouldn’t they be our brothers instead? It would seem that the title, in the way they use it, would infer that their priests are lord over us. Even the pope – which means papa – has the title of Holy Father. That to me is seriously wrong. Only one is our father, as Jesus tells us, and our Holy Father resides in Heaven.

No man on Earth is holy enough to be our father, let alone Holy Father. Only one time in Scripture is the term Holy Father used. In John 17:11, Jesus is praying to God the Father, and refers to Him as Holy Father. No man comes even close to the holiness of God the Father, so giving the pope this title robs God of His glory.

When a certain ruler approached Jesus to confer with Him, he called Jesus “Good Master.” Jesus responded, “Why call me good. No one is good, except for one, that is, God” (Luke 18:19).

It seems to imply, if the ruler only knew of Jesus as being a man, that certainly he was not good or holy. If the ruler, of course, knew that Jesus was in fact God, then the ruler was right. The pope, being a man and in need of a savior, is not good or holy. All of us fall short of the glory of God. To call another man holy, or even Holy Father, completely steals away the glory due to God alone.

Our Father is in Heaven, and he alone is Holy.

The pope also claims the title of “Vicar of Christ” or Christ’s representative on Earth. How is that possible? Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be His representative on Earth. He indwells all believers. No man can be God’s representative on Earth. Why would we need another? Why teach and practice these things if they are contrary to God’s Word?

They have claimed to have given us the Bible and yet they do things and teach things that defy what Christ and the Apostles taught us. Why would they do this?

The priests, in the form of penance and in other aspects of Catholic tradition, have us praying to Mary. Why? Didn’t Jesus in Matthew 6:6 tell us to pray to the Father directly? He never told us to pray to dead saints, or to Mary, but to the Father in Heaven only.

There is no scripture verse that tells us that Jesus passed out rosary beads to His Apostles and then to have them pray to His earthly and human mother, Mary. She is not the Mother of God, as God had no beginning nor had parents. Mary, or the Catholic version of her, is not omnipresent, omniscient, nor omnipotent. She is not God. She cannot be everywhere at all times, she is not all knowing as to when people are praying to her, nor all powerful to be able to answer and change circumstances in one’s life.

Roman Catholicism has grossly distorted the Mary of the Bible. Jesus is our Lord, not Rome. Jesus tells us to pray to the Father; Rome says Mary. Jesus is our only mediator; Rome tells us that Mary is His Co-Redeemer. The Bible tells us to pray to God for intercession; Rome teaches that Mary intercedes on our behalf.

So, do we follow Christ and His teachings or do we follow man and their false beliefs? The fingerprints of the adversary are all over the false doctrines that emanate from Rome.

The question comes down to: Whom do we follow? Whose path is correct? What or who will lead us in the correct path to salvation?

Roman Catholicism puts forth their plan of salvation that, in the end, cannot even assure salvation. One is baptized as an infant into their system; attends weekly mass to receive Jesus physically in the form of a wafer; confesses one’s sins to a “father” and he absolves us of those sins by paying a penance.

Scripture tells us in Mark 2:7: “Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

And why pay a penance? Didn’t Christ pay the penalty for all my sins on the cross? Did He come up short and I have to pay for the rest?

Rome points us to the pope, to the priests, to the sacraments, to a wafer, to Mary, to Purgatory, to statues, and to everything else other than Jesus Christ for our salvation.

There is no doubt that the devil has been very involved with the formation and grooming of Roman Catholicism over the centuries. They defy God at every instance in their litany of false doctrine and point repeatedly to a false system of worship rather than in Jesus Christ to save us.

I was aghast at what I used to believe in as a child and young adult growing up in the Roman Catholic system. It wasn’t until the Lord opened my eyes, I discovered His Word, and Jesus came into my life, that I could see how wrong Romanism is. It is pseudo-Christianity. They have all the appealing things on the outside to draw in the ignorant to their system – ignorant of the truth of God’s Word, that is.

It isn’t until we receive Christ into our lives that He gives us eyes to see and His Holy Spirit for discernment. They have a false gospel of works, a false Jesus in the form of a wafer, a false version of Mary, and they offer no assurance of salvation.

They claim, after one spends their whole earthly life in the Roman Catholic system and then untold decades, centuries, eons – they don’t even know – in a fictitious place called Purgatory to purge any leftover sins that Christ couldn’t cover, the priests couldn’t absolve, and the penitent couldn’t atone for – even after all that, for one to claim that they are saved is committing the sin of presumption. What?! After a lifetime of that, in their system, they still don’t know if they are saved, and one sins by claiming otherwise? What a corrupt, bankrupt system! Why put one’s faith in that?

Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Forsake the false religious systems; and yes, Roman Catholicism is a false religious system.

Put your trust in Christ, not in a religious system. God’s Word tells us we have assurance of our salvation by the atonement of Jesus Christ. In 1 John 5:12-13 we read:

“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Is it that important for you Roman Catholic friends to belong to their church with their false doctrines, their false system of worship, with their lifetime plan of salvation, to only end up in a Christ-less eternity? Is it that important to defy God by their practices only to wind up forfeiting everything for a bankrupt system? What is the attraction in belonging to an organization that misleads their adherents in a plan that offers zero assurance of ever making it to Heaven?

Is it the eye candy of the cathedrals with their ornate furnishings, the stained-glass windows, the gold statue of Jesus hanging on a cross, the nicely painted figurines of Mary showing her “sacred” heart, or the gold monstrance keeping their Jesus confined behind a glass window? Is it the pope dressed in his dazzling white cassock, riding around in his pope mobile, or the cardinals dressed up in their purple and scarlet attire? Is it the relics, the bones, the incense, the statues, the wafers, the candles burning to Mary, and all of the rest of the fleshly appealing things that they have to offer?

Is it more important for you to embrace all of those substitutes that they have beguiled people with over the centuries than to have a right relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son?

Nowhere in the entire Bible does it say that the Roman Catholic church is the means of salvation, nor are they God’s One True Church. It is all a façade, all a sideshow, replete with false teachings and a false system of salvation. It is the Devil’s masterpiece of deception—a “Christian” church that has so much to offer, except for the true means of salvation through Christ alone.

They continually deny the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement for all of our sins by the issuing of penances to pay for one’s sins, and then by their dogma of a place called Purgatory. They deny that Christ alone is our mediator and instead point to Mary as well, even though she didn’t go to the cross for us. Their mass utterly rejects Christ’s one time sacrifice on the cross, and instead offers a bloodless sacrifice over and over on their altars.

They present a false gospel of works through Mass and the sacraments instead of Christ’s gospel of grace that cannot ever be worked for. They present a false Mary that they claim never sinned, but the true biblical Mary acknowledged her need for a savior. They present a false Christ that is ingested in the form of a wafer versus the true Christ who takes up residence in our spirits when we invite Him into our lives.

What is so appealing with believing in a false gospel, a false Mary, a false Christ, and ultimately a false plan of salvation? Is it really that important to you to embrace all of that and then miss out on an eternity with Christ in Heaven?

Do not put your trust in a false religious system. Please follow what a lot of former Roman Catholics have done, like myself.

Their religion cannot save you. You must flee their clutches, their bondage system, and embrace God’s plan of salvation. Only Christ can save, and He is waiting with open arms.

“Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).