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Mary 27 at the Christian Witness Ministries Web Site
Christian Witness Ministries

E C U M E N I C A L I S S U E S • M a r i o l a t r y a n d t h e R C C
Apparitions of Mary and the Word of God
(In this series source material is identified by way of a BIBLIOGRAPHY provided at the end of each article. Footnotes are used to define technical terms only.) Apparitions of Mary and the Word of God

AS an ex Roman Catholic I have watched with increasing interest and alarm the growing enthusiasm amongst Protestant Evangelical groups to enter into dialogue with Rome. Whilst the ecumenical side of the Anglican church led by Canterbury have been for many years falling over themselves to move closer toward reunion with the Papacy, that has not been the case with the evangelicals until recently.
However in 1994 a massive change in thinking took place and many of the most respected evangelicals started to buckle at the knees. In a misguided desire to build commonality with the one billion Catholics they put their signatures to an insidious document: “Evangelicals and Catholics together”.
They turned away from the eternal truths of Scripture that had been their guiding light to blindly accept the claims of Rome that their gospel is really no different to the True Gospel.

The outcome was an agreement by a large slice of the church to no longer proselytize Catholics, but rather accept them as bona fide Christian brothers and sisters. This step was a giant leap along the road to ecumenical unity, or so it seemed. But in September 2000 a document “Dominus Jesus” (see article in December 2000 issue of CETF by Richard Bennett – ), was issued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone as approved by the Pope, which clearly restated the position Rome had always held, which is “there is no salvation outside of the Catholic church”.

In other words whilst “she” had been quite happy to chat with her “separated brethren”, as Protestants are called, on an equal basis, she would never be willing to accept them as true members of Christ’s Body until their doctrinal beliefs came into line with those of the Holy Roman Church and they were absorbed into total communion.
One would have thought that such a statement would have rung alarm bells among those who had been so keen to have dialogue and sign agreements, but not so. In the main there was silence, although some attempts were made to water down the document, and excuse its content as being purely aimed at those within the Catholic church. Anything to save the day it seems.
Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School at Stamford University and executive editor of “Christianity Today” put on a brave face saying,

“From an evangelical perpective, we must say to the Church of Rome the same thing this document says to non-Catholic Christians: serious defects remain in Catholic teaching and piety and we call the Church of Rome, as we call our own churches, to further reformation on the basis of the Word of God”

Fine words but water off a duck’s back to the Vatican. Rome has not, does not, and will not change. She has a clear-cut agenda to regain supremacy over Christendom, so if there is any reformation to take place it will only be in the evangelical camp as it gives more and more ground to conform to Rome’s position, which will take them further down that slippery slide of compromise which can only end when they have been fully absorbed by the “Harlot of Babylon.”

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.”
Revelation 17:4-9

The situation is deteriorating rapidly and it’s becoming increasingly evident that large sections of the evangelical church are blind to the Papacy’s agenda. They fail to fully grasp just who it is they are getting into bed with. Rome’s gospel is far from the truth and her traditions so idolatrous that they must be fully uncovered if Biblebelieving Christians are to be protected from becoming entangled in her dangerous web.

It is too easy to get caught up in Satan’s web of deception and look upon Roman Catholicism as just another denomination with its fair share of error, just like any Protestant group. After all they believe much the same as we do, don’t they? Such thinking is folly. Rome is not a Christ-centred church. She is more like a malevolent medusa whose serpent-like tentacles poison and control the minds of those under her thumb with doctrines that are not from the Book of Life. One of the most dangerous of them all is the cult of the Virgin Mary.

In a two part series on this phenomenon we hope to provide an understanding of this clever demonic trap so that no one is left in any doubt that to play with Rome in any way whatsoever is to play with fire.
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect”Matthew 24:24

Do not worship this! Since the early 1930’s there has been a steady increase in the frequency and number of claimed appearances of the “Blessed Virgin Mary”, as Catholics commonly refer to her.

Add to that the previously existing sightings and you have in excess of 300 centres that attract pilgrims by the millions, to do homage, make their requests known to Mary and put their eager offerings into the church’s ever-open coffers.

Just what then are Bible-believing Christians to make of all this? Should they be accepted as genuine divine displays, rejected as just emotional nonsense, viewed as deceptive human manipulation, or worse classed as demonic manifestations? The only way to obtain a true picture and find real answers is to dig into the history and development of “Marian” worship, overview the present situation and then compare what we find against the perfect standard of God’s Word to lay bare the facts of this powerful form of idolatry so that we are left with no illusions. Scripture tells us:
“Beloved do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God”
1 John 4:1

So like good “Bereans” let’s peel back the wallpaper and expose the real substance of the matter.*9
Over the centuries the Roman Catholic Church has put together a vast number of traditions coupled to a complex array of Scriptures, all quoted out of context to justify its stand in regard to Mary. However, in truth the Word of God does not have a great deal to say about her. What we are told is that she was a young Jewish woman, engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. Whilst still in a virginal state she became pregnant with the Messiah by the Holy Spirit’s power, which she acknowledges in her song of praise:

My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave: for behold from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name”Luke 1:46-49

Following the birth of Jesus Mary is mentioned on just four more occasions. The wedding at Cana in Galilee; when she accompanied the Lord’s brothers in an attempt to see Him; at the cross where she was handed over by the Lord to the care of the disciple John; and finally her name comes up as being with the disciples just prior to the day of Pentecost.
“These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers”
Acts 1:14

That is the sum total of biblical insight we are given in relation to this lady, and such was accepted without question by the churches until around 150-250AD. Then out of the blue an Apocryphal *1 writing called the “Protoevangelium of James”, appeared on the scene. This document claimed a sinless state for Joseph and Mary stating:
“And taking it (the water of the ordeal) he made Joseph drink it and later sent him to the mountain from which he returned completely well. He gave Mary some to drink and sent her to the mountain from which she returned completely well. And all the people marvelled because no sin was revealed in them.”

As a result of this heretical piece of nonsense, the assertion that Mary was a perpetual virgin began to be considered seriously. Thus the door was opened to the transformation of Mary, the humble servant described in Scripture, into a very different character with power and position out of all proportion to the facts.
The Mother of God?
In the early church the term Mother of God was not in common usage among Christ’s followers. However Mary was certainly acknowledged as God’s chosen vessel to carry and give birth to the natural body of His Son — in other words the human vehicle for God in Christ to enter into our world. But in regard to the parentage of the Saviour what the Scriptures say is quite clear:
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:17

“Grace and mercy and peace be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”
2 John 3

These are just two examples. Consequently the focus of honour and worship is always on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit, exactly as it should be.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Exodus 20:3

In time, however, Mary’s standing came under closer scrutiny by the theologians of the day and after some due consideration the title Theotokos (= God bearing), was granted to her, which led to the beginnings of adoration using the title Mother of God.
Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople became so concerned at this elevation of a human being, he took issue over the problem in a series of sermons. He wanted the term Christotokos (= Christ bearing) to be used, but this was not acceptable to the “orthodox” teachers who began to view Nestorius *2 with suspicion of being a heretic. They claimed he was separating Christ into two persons — one human, one divine. At the Council of Ephesus in 431AD he was deposed as Patriarch and shipped off to a monastery in Antioch. The council then issued the following declaration:

“If anyone does not confess that Jesus Christ is truly Emmanuel, and that on this account the holy virgin is the mother of God let him be anathema.”
Thus the te
rm Mother of God became Mary’s official title.
As a consequence honours beyond all scriptural warrant began to come her way. Legend, licence and strange logic were used as building blocks to assemble an idolatrous throne, which pleased the multitudes of pagan-minded church goers, who had been devotees of Diana, Ceres, or Aphrodite, for now they could continue their goddess worship with just a name change. Biblical warnings were tossed aside:

“You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you.”
Deuteronomy 6:14

As a result Mary worship accelerated unhindered and any who did not agree with her new standing risked hierarchical wrath if they spoke out. From Constantinople in 754AD an edict was put out condemning any Orthodox Christian who did not:
“. . . confess the holy Ever-Virgin Mary, truly and properly the Mother of God, to be higher than every creature whether visible or invisible and does not with sincere faith seek her intercession, as one having confidence in her access to our God.”
This was a call to out and out Marian worship, which continues to this day. One Roman Catholic web site has this to say:
“Several times the disciples asked Her advice to be guided in their decisions, because Her words were full of sapience (wisdom). They felt the Lord Spirit talked by Her lips.”
This is total fantasy with no Scriptural basis whatsoever, yet it is put forward as fact and accepted as such by the Roman Catholic faithful in our century. The RC church makes no effort to correct such blatant untruth.
In any cultic system justifying a lie requires manipulation of truth to suit, so Rome had to do some remodelling. The fact of the immaculate conception of Christ was one thing, but to declare Mary remained virginal throughout her life was something very different. This created problems not least of which was the biblical evidence that Mary had other children after the birth of the Lord Jesus.
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”
Mark 6:3

To overcome this difficulty the author of the Protoevangelium of James asserted that the other children mentioned in the Gospels were Joseph’s by a previous marriage. At first the church ignored such fraudulent documents and their false conclusions, and only heretical groups on the fringes granted them credibility. But in time the theologians of the day began to take them seriously and tentatively gave them credence.

One major reason for this was a perceived need to counter the constant pagan and Jewish lies being spread abroad about the Lord in regard to His birth and His mother’s fidelity. Bit by bit the mounting pressure undermined the Church’s integrity, as Cesar Vidal explains in his excellent book The Myth of Mary:

“In an effort to defend the good name of Jesus and Mary, it turned, not to historical reality but to the invention of stories that never happened.”
The “church” resorted to the very thing it desired to overcome — lies, and in so doing, like Israel and Judah, it fell into a pattern of untruth which has afflicted it ever since:

“Because they rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept My statutes: their lies also have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked.”
Amos 2:4

And of course we are well aware who feeds this problem in man, the originator of every untruth, Satan.
“Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”
John 8:44

His servants naturally do the same. Now, however, his cancerous influence had gained a foothold in the church, which began to infect the thinking of certain prominent members. Men like Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Ambrose and Augustine of Hippo, fell into the trap and began to promote false teaching including the perpetual virginity of Mary, and her sinlessness.

The biblical parallel between Christ and Adam — “ The first man, Adam, became a life giving soul. The last Adam became a life giving spirit” 1 Corinthians 15: 45 — resulted in a similar analogy regarding Mary and Eve being put forward which further enhanced Mary’s position. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in the early 2nd century wrote:
“And as mankind was bound unto death through a virgin, it is saved through a virgin; by the obedience of a virgin the disobedience of a virgin is compensated.”
This statement in regard to Mary’s obedience to the will of God — “And Mary said, behold the bondslave of the Lord; be it be done to me according to your word” Luke 1: 38, set against Eve’s disobedience, was turned upside down to infer a whole new status for Mary.

If Eve was immaculate before the fall, then Mary her replacement after the fall, must be likewise, it was suggested. Theologians of the day began to reconsider the issue and homed in on certain Scriptures, in particular two verses from the gospel of Luke:
“And coming in he said to her, ‘Hail favoured one! The Lord is with you.”
Luke 1:28

“And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, ‘blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”Luke 1:42

The conclusions were that Gabriel’s comment “favoured one” was a recognition of Mary’s immaculate state, and Elizabeth’s cry “blessed among women are you” acknowledged that Mary was the holiest of all women. From there it was a simple piece of exegetical sleight of hand to expand these as proof texts of her sinlessness. Thus Augustine (354-430AD) commented in one of his sermons:
“Mary remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to Him, a virgin in carrying Him, a virgin in nursing Him at her breast, always a virgin.”

Once falsehood and myth gain a foothold it is very hard to eradicate their influence, and all manner of unsubstantiated foolishness is preached. Ambrose (340- 397AD) bishop of Milan stated:
“In heaven she (Mary) leads the choirs of virgin souls; with her the consecrated virgins will one day be numbered.”
What incredible licence. Just as extreme is this comment by Ephraem of Syria:

“You alone and your Mother are good in every way; for there is no blemish in thee, my Lord, and no stain in thy Mother. O virgin lady, immaculate Mother of God.
Lies and yet more lies were told and readily believed.
“Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”
1 Corinthians 5:6

As the yeast permeated the church in the east and west, Mary’s popularity grew and devotion to her entered deeper into the realm of idolatry.
Then in 312AD Emperor Constantine embraced the Christian religion, and so began the moulding of church and state into one. The result was a further disastrous degeneration of Christian life and standards under an influx of pagan worshippers into the churches, bringing with them their ungodly mindset.
How true the Word of God has proved itself to be.
“Do not be deceived; bad company corrupts good morals”
1 Corinthians 15:33

A controversial scribe called Epiphanius (315-403AD), whose writings are not substantiated elsewhere, tells in his Panarion (or Refutation of all the heresies) of a group called Collyridians who sprang up in Thrace (part of Greece) and quickly spread from the Black Sea down into Arabia. He states that this was mainly a female sect with a priestess who led in the worship of Mary as the Queen of Heaven.
Part of their ritual involved covering a throne with a linen cloth, placing bread or small cakes on it, consecrating them to Mary, then sharing them as a communion.

Whilst the church eventually suppressed their activities, goddess worship in one form or another was now entrenched in religious life, and people merely replaced the old female deities such as Isis and Cybele with that of the Blessed Virgin.

In Soissons, France a temple originally built to the goddess Isis was consecrated to Mary. In similar vein the Parthenon in Athens, originally devoted to the pagan goddess Athena Palas, was rededicated to Mary.
E.H. Broadbent in his excellent work, The Pilgrim Church explains:
“Little by little, the meetings of the disciples of the Lord in simple houses and rooms changed to the gathering of all — willing or unwillingbelievers or not — in consecrated buildings dedicated to the Virgin or one of the saints, filled with images, pictures, and relics, which became objects of worship.”

On November 1st, 1950 Pope Pius XII made an ex cathedra *3 statement claiming that Mary’s body was raised from the grave shortly after she died, reunited with her soul and that she was then taken up and enthroned Queen of Heaven. This pronouncement was merely official sanction of what had been taught and believed for centuries.
The first considerations of this myth came from the eastern half of the Church where feasts to celebrate the birth and assumption of Mary were proclaimed and Saturdays dedicated to her.

Further fame and honour came her way when Persian forces besieged the city of Constantinople. Pictures of the Virgin were painted on all the city gates as charms to ward off the invaders, and when the enemy failed to capture the city naturally the credit was given to Mary. Here was no ordinary mortal, no, here was God’s mother exercising supernatural powers.

When Jehoshaphat was under attack by his enemies in Old Testament times he sought God who responded, “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s” 2 Chronicles 20:15.

Yet there was no such cry from the church leaders of Constantinople, so far had they fallen away it never occurred to them to seek the Lord. No, they went to Mary.
By the middle ages, worship of Mary was normal practice and miracles were regularly ascribed to her. Writing from Rome one author enthused:
“She appeared by day on the mountain where robbers had fallen upon people and sought to slay them. And these people cried out saying: ‘O lady Mary, Mother of God, have mercy on us.’ And she appeared before them like a flash of lightning, and blinded the eyes of the robbers and they were not seen by them.”
With each successive Pope her popularity grew and so did the legends. A letter from one St John of Damascus stated:

“St Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451AD), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St Thomas, was found to be empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.”
As a result of this dubious piece of zealous journalism, and others like it, it was gradually accepted that Mary’s body did not decompose in the grave as normal, but was removed to heaven.
“And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven.”
John 3:13

Rome without a single shred of Scriptural or historical proof declared that Mary left this world in the very same supernatural manner as her Saviour.
A further cultivation of Mar y’s high standing was the arrival of the Rosary. *4 This device has a long history, being found among the Phoenicians around 800BC, and used in the worship of Astarte.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia a sculpture from ancient Nineveh depicts two winged females praying before a sacred tree, each holding a rosary. Most Catholics believe the Rosary’s beginnings are to be found in the medieval church monasteries, the truth however is very different.

The Rosary stems from the east not the west. The early followers of Brahmanist Hinduism used them to worship the gods Vishnu and Shiva. In Hindu mythology the account of the death of Sati, Shiva’s wife is eye opening.

“On hearing of this event, he hastened to the banks of the river of heaven, where he beheld lying the body of his beloved Sati, arrayed in white garments, holding a rosary in her hand, and glowing with splendour, bright as burnished gold.”

From Hinduism it spread to Buddhism, thence into Islam and many other pagan societies, then finally in the 13th century it was absorbed into the Roman Catholic Church system. It holds a pre-eminent position in the prayer life of the majority of Catholics, but that isn’t surprising when you recognise the power it is claimed to hold.
Those who recite the Rosary regularly are the recipients of no less than 15 promises from Mary herself. These include:
“I shall deliver from purgatory those who have been devoted to the rosary. The faithful children of the rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in heaven. All who recite the rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only son Jesus Christ.”
There is so much heresy here, but what is clear is the incredible claims for Mary of powers that are quite simply the Lord’s alone.
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
— Matthew 28:18

Rome however ignores the Scriptures, preferring its traditions and today continues to urge its followers worldwide to make regular use of the repetitious formula of the Rosary prayers. Jesus, speaking on prayer in the Sermon on the Mount said,
“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.”
Matthew 6:7

If He taught that such prayers were not to be used by His disciples in praying to God, then how much worse are the actions of the Roman Catholic church in calling all its adherents to regularly engage in the Rosary?
About the same period a contraption known as the Scapular *5 arrived on the scene. This strange object was the invention of an English monk, one Simon Stock who according to tradition lived a harsh hermit-like existence from the age of 12 in the hollow of an oak tree for some 20 years. Such an existence would, I suspect, have a degenerative effect upon one’s sanity, to say the least, and open the mind to all manner of strange ideas.

Well, interestingly enough, toward the end of this period the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to him in divine splendour surrounded by thousands of angels, holding the scapular in her hand.
She appointed him to take this as a sign of the Carmelite order to which he belonged, which up until this amazing event had been struggling to get recruits, however, things now started to improve. Very convenient but this wasn’t the end. At a later date she appeared again and promised, “whoever dies clothed in this (the scapular) shall never suffer eternal fire.”
This is an incredible statement and quite at odds with scripture. Jesus alone has the power to save from the flames of hell: “And there is no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

Only in the Lord is there deliverance from the wrath to come, because He alone has “the keys of Death and Hades” Revelation 1:18. It is Christ who when He returns as judge, “will render to every man according to his deeds” Romans 2:6. No amount of fetishes will alter that reality.
It is an incredible evil that multitudes of Catholics are so trapped in superstitious nonsense that they willingly place their future in wearing a pagan amulet. All you have to do is purchase one, get a priest to bless it and “hey presto” you’re safe from divine judgement. One RCC website suggests,

“If the angel of death passed over the houses that had the sign of the blood on their door post when the scourge of death came to the Egyptians, so will God recognise the seal of Mary if you wear the Brown Scapular. His anger will not harm you.”

What this declares to us is that Christ’s sacrifice was insufficient to justify the guilty before God. There is required the extra dimension of Mary’s involvement by way of a charm. Yet scripture says,
“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
Romans 5:9

Today within Roman Catholic circles there are some 17 different scapulars ranging from those associated with Mary to others affiliated to Joseph, St Michael the Archangel, and Mary Mother of good counsel. All of them of course provide the holder with guarantees as promised by the church. Bonaventure a Franciscan theologian stated,

“Men do not fear a hostile and powerful army as much as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.”
This is sheer blasphemy. The powers of darkness fear no created being but they certainly fear the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And they (evil spirits) entreated Him (Jesus) not to command them to depart into the abyss.”
Luke 8:31

But Rome ignores such facts preferring to push Mary’s heavenly protective garment (scapular) claiming it is an extraordinary physical safeguard for all who wear it. What interesting yet damnable theology!
In the little Italian town of Loreto close to the Adriatic Sea there stands a spacious church in the style of a Roman basilica. There is something unique about this structure. Within its walls, it is claimed, stands another building. This little rough-walled cottage (now conveniently encased in marble) of about 10 metres by 3 metres is treated with awe within the Roman Catholic Church, and venerated as the original home of Mary, Joseph, and the Lord Jesus in Nazareth. How it came to be in Loreto is a most interesting tale.

According to church history, after the Muslim army led by Saladin had defeated the crusaders in 1187AD they were forced to withdraw from Palestine. Catholic historians claim this left the little home under threat of demolition by the new rulers. Miraculously however this special residence was saved by being transported across the skies by angels, first to a town in Yugoslavia, then to Lecanati, Italy and finally to its present position in Loreto between the years 1291 and 1295. Why the angelic removalists should require two stopovers has never been fully explained, but there you have it. According to Rome this house was translated by divine power.

The Scriptures make reference to only three translations apart from Christ’s. Those of Enoch, Elijah, and Christians at some future date, which makes the airborne cottage claim, at the very least, suspicious. Perhaps then the mode of travel was on the wing so to speak, however scripture only refers to one flight involving an object:
“Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked and behold, there was a flying scroll.”
— Zechariah 5:1

The tale is most mysterious to say the least, but there’s more. Certain miracles have been attributed to that little house itself.
One “Father” Georgevich, local parish priest of Tersatto, the Yugoslav town where the house first alighted, who was crippled with arthritis, was told in a dream by the Virgin Mary:

“Know that this house is the same in which I was born and brought up. Here at the Annunciation . . . I conceived the Creator of all things. Here, the Word of the Eternal Father became man. The altar which was brought with the house was consecrated by Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. This house has now come to your shores by the power of God…And now in order that you may bear testimony of all these things, be healed. Your unexpected and sudden recovery shall confirm the truth of what I have declared to you.”

Allegedly, the next day, his disability had disappeared. Whilst I do not argue with the fact of the gift of healing, in which God demonstrates His power to restore individuals through a believer, I can find nothing in the Bible supporting the total transfer of that divine authority into human or other hands.

Peter when speaking to Aeneas, a paralytic for eight years, said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; arise, and make your bed” Acts 9:34. There is no hint of any claim of personal power here. All the glory was given to God. Not so with the Mary apparition where it is claimed that the supposed healing was at its own decision and ability.
The Bible makes reference to a number of false miracles. One has only to consider the limited abilities of Pharaoh’s magicians. This Marian assertion must be in that devilish category. King David reminds us all:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.”
— Psalm 103:2-3

Genuine miraculous healing is a sovereign work of the Lord. Any other is counterfeit and we should beware of such. In fact this whole episode in regard to Loreto lacks credibility, and at least one honest Catholic has made that clear.

Canon Chevalier in 1906 wrote an article entitled “Our Lady of Loreto” in which he pulls the myth to pieces. He says pilgrims’ accounts make no mention of any cottage similar to the one at Loreto being in the Holy Land, and Oriental writers are silent about any disappearances of buildings in 1291. Various charters and documents prove that a church dedicated to Mary already existed on the Loreto site before the claimed translation.

Finally prior to 1472, a full one hundred and eighty one years later, no writer existed who claimed to have heard of the event. So it is obviously a ridiculous sham, as of course is the intriguing excess baggage of Peter’s consecrated altar, which just happened to be in the house when it took off. Yet in the face of all this Rome happily continues to support the lie and its congregations swallow it unquestioningly.
“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority.”
— Jeremiah 5:31

How can anyone possibly put any trust in Papal statements and traditions in the face of such blatant falsehood? Yet over one billion devotees cheerfully swallow it all — hook, line and sinker.
As the years passed Mary’s status grew. Visionaries such as Elizabeth of Schonau came on the scene claiming to have spiritual interaction with Christ, Mary, an angel or one of the many so-called saints.

Feast days were given over to Mary, and processions of images of her accompanied by prayers became a common sight. Ritual flagellation in public in honour of the “Virgin of the Pool” developed, and it was not uncommon to see thousands of people parade city streets whipping themselves systematically until the blood flowed down their torn backs.
Whilst such activities are not commonly seen in most of the West today, they still prevail in some parts of the globe, particularly in Spain, Mexico and the Philippines, in ceremonies related to the Virgin Mary.
“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self abasement and the worship of angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.”
Colossians 2:18

Such degrading acts do nothing to improve one’s spiritual condition yet up until recently it was part of life for trainee priests in Franciscan seminaries. Emmett McLoughlin an ex priest says in his book Peoples Padre:
“Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening at 5.45 o’clock we closed the doors of our cells; to the chant of the ‘Miserere’ we disrobed and ‘scourged our flesh to bring it into submission’. The Superior patrolled the corridors to listen to the sound of beating — the assurance of compliance.”
God told the priests in the Levitical law:
“They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edge of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh.”
— Leviticus 21:5

Yet Rome sees no problem with its priests cutting their flesh. It’s tragic, yet even today there is an ultra secretive organisation with a worldwide following inside the RC church called Opus Dei in which flagellation is practised. We wonder at such brutal practices, but in a church where some believe that Matthias, the man chosen to replace Judas Iscariot by the Apostles, exercised this type of masochism, it’s quietly given a stamp of approval. This strange activity designed to bring the flesh into submission and gain the favour of God, like so many other things in Catholicism has its roots in the east. Worshippers of Moloch and also Osiris carried out ritual whipping at their festivals. In the Bible we read of the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. The Baal worshippers became so frustrated in their futile attempts to draw down fire from their god that they began to abuse their bodies in an effort to make him act.
“So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them.”
1 Kings 18:28

Whether you wound yourself with whip or sword it’s the same principle really. At the time these things were prevalent the Angelus *6 was introduced as a prayer to be repeated morning, noon and night to demonstrate veneration of Mary.
Originally it was to be recited on your knees (except on Saturday and Sunday evenings when a standing posture was acceptable), and within earshot of a ringing bell to be effective. However Pope Leo XIII modified the rules in 1884 allowing certain exceptions.
The benefit to be gained from all this was an Indulgence *7 of 100 days for every recitation, and such favours in the eyes of the faithful, were not to be sneezed at, then or now. Any opportunity to gain a reduction in the period of suffering of the soul after death in Purgatory *8 is not to be missed in Catholic eyes.

Such is the bondage and fear the deluded followers of Rome are placed under that life is a continual round of man made rituals of service and appeasement with the desperate hope that legalistic obedience to such will ultimately culminate in getting to heaven.
“But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotions to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 11:3
The areas we have considered in this first part are just some of the many corrupt influences that penetrated and took root in the church during the first 500 years after Christ’s ascension to glory. What is patently clear is the ease with which every false doctrine, every lie and half truth managed to undermine dependence on Truth and to find a comfortable home in the established church.

Martin Luther in Table Talk said,
“We easily fall into idolatry, for we are inclined thereunto by nature, and coming to us by inheritance it seems pleasant.”
How right he was, and the more entrenched the idolatry the more pleasant it is to us, and the harder to remove. Even Luther himself remained a devotee of Mary throughout his life.
Likewise the influential reformers Calvin and Zwingli could not quite bring themselves to renounce the unbiblical teaching in reference to Mary as the Mother of God and a Perpetual Virgin.

There can be no doubt that within the fallen nature there is a propensity to go after other gods, and even the wisest of us can get drawn in.
The Christian walk is a battle against the world, the flesh and the devil and all of us can trip up. We need to be careful that we don’t become smug so that we look with a secret sense of superiority upon gullible Catholics, Protestant Ecumenicals, extreme Pentecostal/Charismatics, or misguided Evangelicals.
In all cases we must not be too hasty in our judgements.
This article has focused only on the early stages of a very long process of turning away from God. In effect we have studied the building blocks and the cement of a throne of idolatry that the Papacy skilfully erected to rule over its followers who, in earlier times, were, in the main, illiterate and thus content to act like sheep following their ecclesiastical masters.
The Roman Catholic Church like any cult has to extend its control to survive. By its very evil nature it could not stand still. A new dimension was needed.

What was required was a unique personality fit for a throne, acceptable to all the faithful.
Imagine such a person having exceptional beauty seated on a raised chair gloriously bedecked in radiant colour, surrounded by a mysterious aura, with the ability to hold your gaze indefinitely; a person who appears to have divine supernatural powers; a person who is in tune with church tradition and sympathetic to your old nature; a person who claims to know the future, and always holds your well-being in her hands. Would that person not be wonderfully attractive, and would it not be very difficult indeed to resist giving your undivided adoration to her, if you knew no better?

That of course is exactly what has been going on since the 16th century when the Roman Catholic Mary started to “reveal” herself in person, beginning with the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531.

That’s the other half of this amazing story of deception and we will consider all that in the second part of this article.

The Lord bless you.
(Scripture quotes from The New American Standard Bible.)

*1 Apocrypha from the Greek, “hidden things” refers to a large body of writings that are manifestly false and thus unacceptable as part of the Canon of Scripture.
The Church of Rome however does give biblical status to 14 Old Testament apocryphal writings and makes use of them in its doctrine. Protestant churches do not accept any apocryphal writings as authoritative.
are also some 50 New Testament writings in this apocryphal category

*2 Modern research has unearthed a book written by
Nestorius, “Book of Heracleides”. In this volume he denies the heresy for which he was condemned, and clearly states that of Christ, “The same one is twofold”, which in essence is not that different to orthodox teaching. Misunderstanding then may well have led to Nestorius being unfairly treated in this matter.

*3 Ex Cathedra from the Latin, “chair or seat”. Early
bishops in the structured church sat on raised thrones given the title, “cathedrals”. Thus pronouncements from the supreme throne of the Pope claim the authority of speaking from the chair with infallibility when dealing with the areas of faith and morals. Statements made on such issues are binding and to be accepted by all Roman Catholics without question.

*4  The Rosary consists of 165 beads on a string. The
beads are used to follow a sequence of repetitive prayers. In its long form it consists of 150 set prayers to Mary, 15 repeats of the Lord’s prayer, and 15 recitations of the Gloria. Most Catholics use a shorter version divided into 5 sections.

*5The Scapular is generally composed of two small
pieces of brown wool about 4 inches (10 centimetres) square. Imprinted on it are pictures of the Virgin Mary.
It is to be worn day and night next to the skin, never to be removed until death.

*6 The Angelus is a short repetitive group of prayers in honour of the Incarnation. The prayers however are made up of a series of Hail Marys plus a Bible verse and a prayer to Mary the “ Alma Redemptoris” in chant form.

*7  An indulgence is a relaxation of church law in which
Papal authority cancels or shortens the sufferings one should undergo due to sin, usually in purgatory. The Pope apparently has a vast storehouse of unused merits by way of Christ’s suffering and Mary’s good works, and from this he withdraws merits to apply to church members as a reduction of purgatorial suffering.

*8 8 Purgatory is an intermediate realm between earth
and heaven. Those who die at peace with the church, yet imperfect are dispatched to it to undergo suffering and punishment in flames until such time as God decides His justice is satisfied and they are purged of all their sins, only then can they enter heaven. Rome’s claim for the validity of this doctrine is mainly based on a corrupt translation of 1 Corinthians 3:15 1 Peter 1:7 and the Old Testament apocryphal book II Maccabees 12:39-45.

*9 Acts 17:11

Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Roman Catholicism. Loraine Boettner.
No other Foundation. Jeremy C.Jackson.
The story of the Church. A.M.Renwick- A.M.Harman.
The History of the Church. Sheldon.
The Pilgrim Church. E.H.Broadbent.
Augustine. Henry Chadwick.
The Myth of Mary. Cesar Vidal.
All Roads Lead to Rome. Michael de Semlyen.
Babylon Mystery Religion. Ralph Edward Woodrow.
The Two Babylons. Alexander Hislop.
A Woman Rides the Beast. Dave Hunt.
Hitler’s Pope. John Cornwell.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.
The Angelus.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.
The Scapular.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.
The Holy House of Loreto.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.
The Rosary.
New Advent Catholic Enclopedia.
St Elizabeth of Schonau.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.
Ex Cathedra.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.
Visions and Apparitions.
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.
Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Brown Scapular of
The Brown Scapular.
How can Mary be the Mother of God. Rachel
Askwith. Catholic apologetics evangelization.
Mother of God and our Mother.heartland.
The Holy House of Loreto.
The Holy House of Loreto.Sister Katherine Maria.
Mary God’s Masterpiece. By a Claretian
Saint Matthias, Apostle. the sacred
The Immaculate Conception.Rev Charles Dickson.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Paul Flanagan & Robert Schihl.
Dialogue. The Immaculate Conception & doctrinal development. Dave Armstrong. erasmus
A Biblical basis for the Immaculate Conception.
James White.
Answers to Protestant Apologist James
R.White. Robert Sungenis.
The Goddess & Her
Catholics & Evangelicals.The Coming
The New Testament Church on
The Protestant Reformers on Mary.
Modern Protestants on
The Perpetual Virginity of Mary.
Dr.Robert Schihl.

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