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A Woman Rides the Beast #6

Blood of the Martyrs

A WOMAN RIDES THE BEAST

by Dave Hunt


The horrid conduct of this Holy Office [Inquisition] weakened the
power and diminished the population of Spain by arresting the
progress of arts, sciences, industry and commerce, and by
compelling multitudes of families to abandon the kingdom; by
instigating the expulsion of the Jews and the Moors, and by
immolating on its flaming shambles more than three hundred
thousand victims.
Jan Antoine Llorente, Secretary to the Spanish Inquisition,
1790-921

The Inquisition is, in its very nature, good, mild, and
preservative. It is the universal, indelible character of every
ecclesiastical institution; you see it in Rome, and you can see
it wherever the true Church has power.
Comte Le Maistre, 1815

It would be better to be an atheist than believe in the God of
the Inquisition.
Anonymous, Catholic



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS


     The quotations above present two opposing viewpoints, both
by Catholics. Only one is right. We learn the truth from John's
vision and from history. The woman astride the beast is "drunken
with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs
of Jesus" (Revelation 17:6). It is a horrible picture, but one
which history fully authenticates for Rome alone and no other
city.
     Every citizen in the empire was required to be a Roman
Catholic.
     Failure to give wholehearted allegiance to the pope was
considered treason against the state punishable by death. Here
was the basis for slaughtering millions. As Islam would be a few
centuries later, a paganized Christianity was imposed upon the
entire populace of Europe under the threat of torture and death.
Thus Roman Catholicism became "the most persecuting faith the
world has ever seen ... [commanding] the throne to impose the
Christian [Catholic] religion on all its subjects. Innocent III
murdered far more Christians in one afternoon ... than any Roman
emperor did in his entire reign"  Will Durant writes candidly:

"Compared with the persecution of heresy in Europe from 1227 to
1492, the persecution of Christians by Romans in the first three
centuries after Christ was a mild and humane procedure.
Making every allowance required by an historian and permitted to
a Christian, we must rank the Inquisition, along with the wars
and persecutions of our time, as among the darkest blots on the
record of mankind, revealing a ferocity unknown in any beast."

     Of course not all dissenters openly proclaimed their
disloyalty to Rome. There were secret heretics who had to be
sought out diligently. The method devised was the Inquisition, in
the opinion of Egyptian author Rollo Ahmed, "the most pitiless
and ferocious institution the world has ever known" in its
destruction of lives, property, morals, and human rights. Lord
Acton, a Catholic, called the Inquisition "murderous" and
declared that the popes "were not only murderers in the great
style, but they made murder a legal basis of the Christian Church
and the condition of salvation."

No Absolution for Rome

     Roman Catholic apologists deceitfully try to absolve their
Church of any responsibility in the actual burnings of heretics.
They claim that the Inquisition was the work of the state. On the
contrary, "The binding force of the laws against heretics lay not
in the authority of secular princes, but in the sovereign
dominion of life and death over all Christians claimed by the
Popes as God's representatives on earth, as Innocent III
expressly states it."

     The penalties were executed by the civil authorities, but
only as the secular arm of the Church. Innocent III commanded the
archbishop of Auch in Gascony: "We give you a strict command
that, by whatever means you can, you destroy all these heresies
... you may cause the princes and people to suppress them with
the sword." The pope offered "a plenary indulgence to the king
and nobles of France for aid in suppressing the Catharist heresy.
To Philip Augustus, in return for such aid, the pope offered the
lands of all who should fail to join in a crusade against the
Albigensians."

     Comte Le Maistre, in his letters written in 1815 to justify
the Spanish Inquisition, states that it existed "by virtue of the
bull of the sovereign pontiff" and that the Grand Inquisitor "is
always either an archbishop or bishop." If the authorities
refused to execute the condemned, they would themselves be
brought before the Tribunal and consigned to the flames.
It was the popes themselves who invented the Inquisition and saw
that it was carried out. "Gregory IX, in 1233, handed over the
office [of the Inquisition] in permanence to the Dominicans, but
always to be exercised in the name, and by the authority of, the
Pope."  As already noted, "Of eighty popes in a line from the
thirteenth century on not one of them disapproved of the theology
and apparatus of the Inquisition. On the contrary, one after
another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this
deadly machine."  We are not quoting Protestants or even
ex-Catholics, but Catholic historians. Listen to the leading
nineteenth-century Catholic professor of Church history:


"Through the influence of Gratian ... and unwearied activity of
the Popes and their legates since 1183, the view of the Church
had been ... [that] every departure from the teaching of the
Church, and every important opposition to any ecclesiastical
ordinances, must be punished with death, and the most cruel of
deaths, by fire....
Innocent III declared the mere refusal to swear, and the opinion
that oaths were unlawful, a heresy worthy of death, and directed
that whoever differed in any respect from the common way of life
of the multitude should be treated as a heretic.
Both the initiation and carrying out of this new principle must
be ascribed to the Popes alone.... It was the Popes who compelled
bishops and priests to condemn the heterodox to torture,
confiscation of their goods, imprisonment, and death, and to
enforce the execution of this sentence on the civil authorities,
under pain of excommunication.
From 1200 to 1500 the long series of Papal ordinances on the
Inquisition, ever increasing in severity and cruelty, and their
whole policy towards heresy, runs on without a break. It is a
rigidly consistent system of legislation; every Pope confirms and
improves upon the devices of his predecessor. All is directed to
the one end, of completely uprooting every difference of
belief....
It was only the absolute dictation of the Popes, and the notion
of their infallibility in all questions of Evangelical morality,
that made the Christian world... [accept] the Inquisition, which
contradicted the simplest principles of Christian justice and
love to our neighbor, and would have been rejected with universal
horror in the ancient Church."
 
     Far from being its originators, civil authorities often
tried to resist the Inquisition, but they could not. Forced to
carry out the sentence, executioners sometimes "strangled the
condemned before lighting the flames." Such acts of deficient
mercy were, unfortunately, the rare exception. A few
compassionate voices were raised within the Church: "St.Bernard
pointed out that Christ had expressly forbidden the line of
conduct afterwards prescribed by the Popes, and that it could
only multiply hypocrites and confirm and increase the hatred of
mankind against a blood-thirsty and persecuting Church and
clergy." But most clergy agreed with the popes.

Papal Decrees

     We often learn of secular resistance from papal decrees
overruling it. Will Durant informs us that in 1521 Leo X issued
the bull Honestis which "ordered the excommunication of any
officials, and the suspension of religious services in any
community, that refused to execute, without examination or
revision, the sentences of the inquisitors."  Consider Clement
V's rebuke of King Edward II:

"We hear that you forbid torture as contrary to the laws of your
land. But no state law can override (the Church's] canon law, our
law. Therefore I command you at once to submit those men to
torture."

     Pope Urban II (1088-99), inspirer of the first Crusade,
decreed that all heretics were to be tortured and killed. That
became a dogma of the Church. Acclaimed as the 'angelic doctor,'
even St.Thomas Aquinas taught that non-Catholics, or heretics,
could, after a second warning, be legitimately killed. His exact
words are: "they have merited to be excluded from the earth by
death." 
     Pope Martin V (1417-31) commanded the King of Poland in 1429
to exterminate the Hussites (sympathizers with the martyred Jan
Hus), who had fought back and had routed the pope's army. The
following from the pope's letter to the king reinforces what we
know of the evil of papal totalitarianism and tells us why popes
hated the Hussites and other independent Christians and wanted
them destroyed:

"Know that the interests of the Holy See, and those of your
crown, make it a duty to exterminate the Hussites. Remember that
these impious persons dare proclaim principles of equality; they
maintain that all Christians are brethren, and that God has not
given to privileged men the right of ruling the nations; they
hold that Christ came on earth to abolish slavery; they call the
people to liberty, that is to the annihilation of kings and
priests.
While there is still time, then, turn your forces against
Bohemia; burn, massacre, make deserts everywhere, for nothing
could be more agreeable to God, or more useful to the cause of
kings, than the extermination of the Hussites."

     The popes themselves were the authority behind the
Inquisitions. They wielded the power of life and death even over
emperors. Had any pope opposed the Inquisition, he could have
stopped it during his papacy at least. Where do we read that the
popes thundered anathemas against the secular authorities who
imposed so many and such gruesome deaths upon their victims?
Never! Civil magistrates would have desisted from these loathsome
murders in order to save their own souls, but papal orders to
stop the Inquisitions never came.
     On the contrary, the Roman pontiffs, who originated and
directed the Inquisitions, threatened excommunication against any
who failed to carry out the inquisitors' decrees.
     Today's Catholic apologists deny the facts of history and
accuse those who present the truth of being "unscholarly." D.
Antonio Gavin, a Catholic priest and eyewitness to the Spanish
Inquisition, tells us: 
  
"The Roman Catholics believe there is a Purgatory, and that the
souls suffer more pains in it than in Hell: But I think that the
Inquisition is the on]y Purgatory on earth, and the holy Fathers
[priests/popes] are the judges and executioners in it. The reader
may form a dreadful idea of the barbarity of that tribunal by
what 1 have already said, but I am sure it never will
come up to what it is in reality, for it passeth all
understanding...."
 
The Dogmas Remain Today

     Had Rome ever confessed the evil of her ferocious slaughter
of millions of those whom she called heretics, and had she
renounced the centuries of plunder and murder and wiped those
doctrines from her books, then we could forget that horror. That
she has not done so, however, requires us to face, no matter how
unpleasant, the facts of history. Far from expressing shame for
the execution of heretics, a popular American Catholic weekly in
1938 declared:

"Heresy is an awful crime against God, and those who start a
heresy are more guilty than they who are traitors to the civil
government. If the state has a right to punish treason with
death, the principle is the same that concedes to the spiritual
authority (Roman Catholic Church] the power of life and death
over the archtraitor [heretic]."

     Infallibility can never admit it was wrong. As John Fox
reminds us in his "Book of Martyrs," - "A Church which pretends
to be infallible will always seek the destruction of those who
dissent from it...." De Rosa points out that Pope John Paul 11 -
"knows the church was responsible for persecuting Jews, for the
Inquisition, for slaughtering heretics by the thousand, for
reintroducing torture into Europe as part of the judicial
process. But he has to be careful. The doctrines responsible for
those terrible things still underpin his position"

     Disobedience to the pope became the epitome of heresy. Those
guilty of it immediately lost any normal human rights and were
summarily put to death. Consider Urban VIII's 1627 Bull "In Coena
Domini." Gregory XI had first brought it out in 1372, and Gregory
XII reconfirmed it in 1411, as did Pius V in 1568 (who said it
was to remain an eternal law in Christendom). Each pope added new
touches until it was well-nigh impossible for an admitted
non-Catholic to exist in Europe, much as it will be worldwide
under Antichrist for any who do not submit totally to him. The
bull "excommunicates and curses all heretics and schismatics as
well as all who favor or defend them, [including] all princes and
magistrates...."

     This bull is still in force today. Nor could it be
otherwise, with the ex cathedra pronouncements of four infallible
popes behind it. The absolutism remains even though Rome is not
presently able to enforce it so blatantly. The "Code of Canon
Law," - Canon 333, par 3, declares: "There is neither appeal nor
recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff."
Vatican II, of course, says the same.
     The woman rides the beast, holding the reins! Incredible,
but it happened. Heresy in the Church's eyes was treated as
treason against the crown. The Church sought out the heretics,
found them guilty, and handed them to the civil authorities for
execution. As its secular arm, the state did the Church's bidding
in the execution of heretics, the confiscation of their property,
and the enforcement of the Church's decrees against them and
their heirs.

The Use of Torture

     Remember, it is not that the woman's hands are red with
blood but that she is drunk with the blood of the martyrs. Her
condition depicts a Church that not only kills but tortures its
pitiful victims for days and even weeks. The inquisitors seemed
to be drugged into insensibility until their normal sense of
horror and sympathy had been numbed. Indeed, to be able to
impose the most extreme torture without a twinge of conscience or
compassionate thought became a mark of holiness and fidelity to
the Church.

     Try to imagine being suddenly arrested in the middle of the
night and taken to an unknown location kept secret from family
and friends. You are not told the charges against you or the
identity of your accusers, who remain unknown and thus immune
from any examination to discover whether they are telling the
truth. Whatever the accusation, it is accepted as fact and you
are guilty without trial. The only "trial" will be by the most
ingeniously painful torture that continues until you confess to
that unnamed crime or heresy of which you have been accused.
Imagine the torment of dislocated joints, torn and seared flesh,
internal injuries, broken bones on the rack and other devices,
mended by doctors so they could be torn asunder again by fresh
torture.
     Eventually you would confess to anything to end the torment,
but no matter what you confess it never fits the secret
accusation, so the torture continues until at last you expire
from the unbearable trauma.
     Such was the fate of millions. These were real people:
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters - all
with hopes and dreams, with passions and feelings, and many with
a faith that could not be broken by torture or fire. Remember
that this terror, this evil of such proportions, that it is
unimaginable today, was carried on for centuries in the name of
Christ by the command of those who claimed to be the vicars of
Christ. They are still honored with that title by this Church,
which has never admitted that the Inquisitions were wrong. She
has not repented or apologized, and she dares to pose even today
as the supreme teacher and example of morals and truth. Remember
also that the doctrines which supported the Inquisitions remain
in force within the Roman Catholic Church even at the present
time. 
     With the use of torture, there was no limit to what the
accused would confess. At least one poor creature said he would
admit having killed God if his inquisitors would stop torturing
him.
     Women accused of being witches confessed, under torture, to
having had sex with Satan and even to having borne him children,
children who remained invisible and were thus all the greater
menace to Catholics. Pope Innocent VIII made such hysterical
nonsense official Catholic dogma in his 1484 Bull, "Summis
desiderames affectibus":

"Men and women straying from the Catholic faith have abandoned
themselves to devils, 'incubi' and 'succubi' [male and female
demonic sexual partners], and by their incantations, spells,
conjurations ... have slain infants yet in the mother's womb, as
also the offspring of cattle, have blasted the produce of the
earth...."

     Torture was considered to be essential because the church
felt duty-bound to identify from the lips of the victims
themselves any deviance from sound doctrine. Presumably, the more
excruciating the torture, the more likely that the truth could be
wrung from reluctant lips. The inquisitors were determined that
it was "better for a hundred innocent people to die than for one
heretic to go free." This horrendous doctrine was maintained
under every pope for the next three centuries. Durand suggests:

"The inquisitors appear to have sincerely believed that torture
was a favor to a defendant already accounted guilty, since it
might earn him, by confession, a slighter penalty than otherwise;
even if he should, after confession, be condemned to death, he
could enjoy priestly absolution to save him from hell."

     Another author, Gerard Dufour, quotes a 1552 book by
Simancas stating that "the inquisitors should be more inclined to
the use of torture than regular judges because the crime of
heresy is concealed and very difficult to prove." The openly
stated purpose of torture was "to cause the most intense pain to
the prisoner. And for that the inquisitors exchanged recipes
[techniques]."
     Other authorities of that time are quoted to the effect that
torture was not expected to rescue the accused from his heresy,
but its main purpose was to terrorize the masses, which in fact
it did.
     Catholic apologists are quick to say that Pope Sixtus IV
attempted to stop the Inquisition. That is not true. He issued a
bull in 1482 declaring that the inquisitors in Aragon, Spain,
seemed more interested in getting wealthy than defending the
faith and accusing them of imprisoning, torturing, and burning
faithful Catholics on the basis of false accusations from their
enemies or slaves. He decreed that a representative of the local
bishop must always be present, that the accused must know the
names of the accusers, and that appeals to the Holy See ought to
be allowed.
     This bull, however, was only for Aragon, and when King
Ferdinand defied it Sixtus backed off and five months later
suspended it.
     In the meantime he was taking money for granting
dispensations
and absolutions (which the inquisitors never honored) from the
sentences of the Inquisition in Aragon. Nor did he give any
refunds. If the pope had been seriously concerned for justice
rather than money, he would have forced the king to comply and
have made the bull effective everywhere instead of only in
Aragon?

The Modus Operandi

     When the inquisitors swept into a town an "Edict of Faith"
was issued requiring everyone to reveal any heresy of which they
had knowledge. Those who concealed a heretic came under the curse
of the Church and the inquisitors' wrath. Informants would
approach the inquisitors' lodgings under cover of night and were
rewarded for information. No one arrested was ever acquitted.
"Heretics" were committed to the flames because the popes
believed that the Bible forbade Christians to shed blood. The
victims of the Inquisition exceeded by hundreds of thousands the
number of Christians and Jews who had suffered under pagan Roman
emperors.
     The Inquisition, established and repeatedly blessed by the
popes, was an open assault upon truth and justice and basic human
rights. It was the perfect set-up for bigots, villains, enemies,
and crazies with overworked imaginations to seek revenge, rid
themselves of a rival, or gain personal satisfaction of having
become important to the Church. De Rosa writes:

"Whenever one of the Papal States fell to the armies of the new
Italy and the prisons were opened, the prisoners' conditions were
said to be indescribable.... for more than six centuries without
a break, the papacy was the sworn enemy of elementary justice."

     The property of heretics was confiscated and divided between
the inquisitors and the popes. That the corpse of Pope Formosus
had been twice disinterred, condemned, and excommunicated set a
pattern. In 680 the Sixth General Council decreed that even dead
heretics should be tried and condemned. Corpses that had lain in
the grave for decades were dug up, tried, and found guilty. At
that point the past assets of the deceased were confiscated,
causing heirs to lose everything, including, in many cases, all
civil rights.
     Roman Catholic apologists pass off the Inquisitions as a
necessity at the time to keep the Church doctrinally pure. They
suggest that any excesses were the work of overly patriotic
Spaniards who were concerned that many "converted" Moors and Jews
were not really loyal to the Church. Seemingly forgotten is the
"barbaric cruelty of the pious priestly inquisitors in Italy,
France, Germany, the Low Countries, England and the Scandinavian
lands." Besides the Spanish Inquisition there were the Roman and
Medieval Inquisitions as well. Emmet McLoughlin, who spent years
researching relevant historical records in the New World, writes:

"There were no Moors and few Jews in Peru, where I saw the Hall
of the Inquisition, the dungeons of imprisonment, and the
gorgeously carved door with... an opening made at mouth height so
that the witness could testify against the accused heretic
without being seen or identified ...."
 
     As an eyewitness in the early eighteenth century in Spain,
Gavin tells us, "This tribunal is composed of three Inquisitors,
who are absolute judges ... from their judgment there is no
appeal .... The first Inquisitor is a divine, the second a
casuist, and the third a civilian; the first and second are
always Priests .... The third sometimes is not a Priest .... The
Inquisitors have a despotic power to command every living soul;
and no excuse is to be given, nor contradiction to be made, to
their orders.... "

The Pilgrim Church

     Catholic apologists admit that the Church "made some
mistakes," but insist that Rome couldn't be the whore in
Revelation 17. Why? Because Christ promised that the gates of
hell would not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18), and
Roman Catholicism was the Church. Even many evangelicals are
deceived by this argument. The truth is that Roman Catholicism
did not represents Christ and was not His Church. For at least a
thousand years before the Reformation the true church was
composed of multitudes of simple Christians who were not part of
the Roman system. That such believers existed, refused to be
called "Catholics," and worshipped independently of the Roman
hierarchy is history. It is a fact that they were pursued to
imprisonment and death since at least the end of the fourth
century. Among the evidence in ancient records stands the "Edict
of the Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II, and Theodosius I" of
February 27, 380, which established Roman Catholicism as the
state religion. In part it said:

"We order those who follow this doctrine to receive the title of
Catholic Christians, but others we judge to be mad and raving and
worthy of incurring the disgrace of heretical teaching, nor are
their assemblies to receive the name of churches. They are to be
punished not only by Divine retribution but also by our own
measures, which we have decided in accordance with Divine
inspiration."

     These non-Catholic Christians had, out of conscience before
God and in obedience to His Word, separated themselves from what
they sincerely called even in that day "the whore of Babylon."
Concerning them, Bishop Alvaro Palayo, an official of the Curia
in Avignon, wrote grudgingly: "Considering the Papal Court has
filled the whole Church with simony, and the consequent
corruption of religion, it is natural enough the heretics should
call the Church the whore." E.H.Broadbent calls these
Bible-believing Christians "The Pilgrim Church" in his book of
that name:


"In the Alpine valleys of Piedmont there had been for centuries
congregations of believers calling themselves brethren, who came
later to be widely known as Waldenses, or Vaudois .. In the South
of France ... the congregations of believers who met apart from
the Catholic Church were numerous and increasing. They are often
called Albigenses [and] had intimate connections with the
brethren - whether called Waldenses, Poor Men of Lyons, Bogomils,
or otherwise - in the surrounding countries, where churches
spread among the various peoples.
In 1209 [Pope Innocent III] proclaimed a crusade against [them].
Indulgences, such as had been given to the [Holy Land]
Crusaders ... were now offered to all who would take part in the
easier work of destroying the most fruitful provinces of France.
This, and the prospect of booty and license of every kind,
attracted hundreds of thousands of men. Under the presidence of
high clerical dignitaries and led by Simon de Montfort, a
military leader of great ability ... the most beautiful and
cultivated part of Europe at that time was ravaged..."

     These simple believers were burned at the stake or slain
with the sword (and most of their records were destroyed) when
their towns and villages were razed by papal armies. Catholic
apologists falsely accuse them of heresies and abominable
practices which they denied. The accounts we have of their trials
reveal that they held beliefs similar to evangelicals of today.
Though some of the worst tales are told about the Cathari, one
can only agree with their beliefs as described by Durant:

"[They] denied that the [Roman Catholic] Church was the Church of
Christ; [declared that] St.Peter had never came to Rome, had
never founded the papacy; [and that] the popes were successors to
the emperors, not to the apostles. [They taught that] Christ had
no place to lay His head, but the pope lived in a palace; Christ
was propertyless and penniless, but Christian prelates were rich;
surely ... these lordly archbishops and bishops, these worldly
priests, these fat monks, were the Pharisees of old returned to
life! The Roman Church, they were sure, was the Whore of Babylon,
the clergy were a Synagogue of Satan, the pope was Antichrist.
They denounced the preachers of crusades as murderers ... laughed
at indulgences and relics ... they called the churches "dens of
thieves" and Catholic priests seemed to them "traitors, liars,
and hypocrites."

     Nineteenth-century Roman Catholic author du Pin writes: "The
pope [Innocent III] and the prelates were of opinion that it was
lawful to make use of force, to see whether those who were not
reclaimed out of a sense of their salvation might be so by the
fear of punishments, and even of temporal death." Almost everyone
knows that crusades were organized of tens of thousands of
knights and foot soldiers to retake Jerusalem from the Muslims.
Very few have ever heard that similar crusades involving huge
armies were fought against Christians who could not in good
conscience submit to Rome. Yet such was the case, beginning with
Pope Innocent III.
     A major crime of these Christians was believing in freedom
of conscience and worship - biblical concepts which the popes
hated, for such beliefs would put Rome out of business. Though no
exact figures are available, the slaughter of these Christians by
the popes probably ran into the millions during the thousand
years before the Reformation. In the city of Beziers alone about
60,000 men, women, and children were wiped out in one crusade.
Innocent III considered the annihilation of these particular
heretics the crowning achievement of his papacy! Broadbent
writes:

"When the town of Beziers was summoned to surrender, the Catholic
inhabitants joined with the Dissenters in refusing .... The town
was taken, and of the tens of thousands who had taken refuge
there, none were spared [alive]."

     In spite of periodic massacres, groups of independent
Christians were growing in numbers long before Martin Luther was
born. They would seemingly be wiped out in one area only to be
found in another. As Uric Zwingli would later state in 522 in a
letter to his brothers, who were fearful that he would be
burned at the stake:

"O, my beloved brethren, the Gospel derives from the blood of
Christ this wondrous property, that the fiercest persecutions,
far from arresting its progress, do but hasten its triumph!"

     Rome could not allow independence from her iron grip. Thus
the French Vaudois incurred the wrath of pope Innocent VIII
(1484-92) "for daring to maintain their own religion in
preference to that of Rome." In 1487 the pope raised a crusade
against them in which he promised "the remission of all sins to
everyone who should slay a heretic," and ordered any bishop
removed who neglected to purge his diocese from heretics. No
wonder these Christians thought of the popes as Antichrists, for
what they suffered was far worse than Roman emperors meted out to
the early church and seemed so much like the persecution under
Antichrist prophesied in Revelation 13.

     In 1838 George Stanley Faber wrote "An Inquiry into the
History and Theology of the Ancient Valdenses and Albigenses."
Nearly 200 years earlier, in 1648, Samuel Morland had published
his "History of the Evangelical Churches of Piedmont" (an area in
France populated by the Albigenses and other "heretics"). The
investigation of both of these authors drew on a number of other
works going back into the thirteenth century. From written and
public testimony at their trials, it is quite clear that the
Vaudois, Albigenses, Waldenses, and other similar groups were
heretics to Rome only. In fact, their beliefs were much like
those of the Reformers, of whom they were, in a sense, the
forerunners. Martin Luther acknowledged his debt to them when he
wrote:

"We are not the first to declare the papacy to be the kingdom of
Antichrist, since for many years before us so many and such great
men (whose number is large and whose memory is eternal) have
undertaken to express the same thing so clearly and plainly."

The Mennonites

     One of the worst heresies in Rome's eyes was to reject
infant baptism. That ritual supposedly removed the stain of
original sin, made the infant a child of God and member of the
Church, and started the process of salvation, which consisted in
obeying Rome's ordinances and participating in her sacraments.
Those who managed to find a copy of the Bible (which Rome did her
best to keep from the people) discovered that it contradicted
Rome's doctrines. Salvation came not through baptism but by faith
in Christ. Baptism was for those who believed in Him as their
personal savior. No infant was capable of such understanding and
faith.
     Those who believed the gospel they found in the Bible wanted
to be baptized as believers. The Dutch Catholic priest Menno
Simons relates his own confusion before he became a Christian:
On March 20, 1531, a certain tailor by the name of Sicke Freerks
Snijder was executed in [Leeuwarden] for the strange reason that
he had been baptized a second time. "It sounded strange in my
ears," says Memo, "that a second baptism was spoken of."
     It seemed still more strange when Menno learned that Freerks
was a pious, God-fearing man, who did not believe the Scriptures
taught that infants should be baptized but rather that baptism
should be administered only to adults upon confession of a
personal faith.
     Many of the growing numbers of Protestants, such as
Lutherans, continued to baptize infants and do so today - one of
several elements of Roman Catholicism from which many Reformers
were unable to shake free. Thus Protestants, too, began to
persecute and in some cases even to execute those who had been
baptized a second time. These "heretics" came to be known as
Anabaptists.
     The Catholic Inquisition in Holland, where most of the
Anabaptists were, burned tens of thousands at the stake for
espousing the baptism of adults who had come to personal faith in
Christ. Those who gave the heretics help or shelter shared
their fate. The largest group of Anabaptists followed the
teachings of Menno Simons and became known as Mennonites. Menno
writes:

"[About 1539] a very pious and God-fearing man, Tjard Reynders,
was apprehended in the place where I sojourned for the reason
that he had received me, a homeless man, out of compassion and
love, into his house, although in secret.... he was, after a free
confession of his faith [in Christ alone], broken on the wheel
and executed as a valiant soldier of Christ, according to the
example of his Lord, although he had the testimony, even of his
enemies, that he was an unblamable and pious man."

     The stories of the martyrs who, because they placed their
faith in Christ alone and were devoted to Him, were tortured and 
slain, many in the flames, present a picture which in its pathos 
and tragedy is almost unbelievable. We learn both of the terror 
they faced bravely at the hands of those who claimed to be serving
Christ, and of their faith, from letters they wrote while
awaiting execution. Consider this brief excerpt from a letter
that Hans Van Munstdorp wrote to his wife when they were both in
prison at Antwerp:

"An affectionate greeting to you, my beloved wife, whom I love
from the heart ... and must now forsake for the truth [for] which
we must count all things loss and love Him above all ... my mind
is still unwaveringly fixed to adhere to the eternal truth. [I
hope] by the grace of the Lord that this is also the purpose of
your mind, which I would be rejoiced to hear. I herewith exhort
you my beloved lamb, with the apostle: 'As you have received
Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in
Him, and established in the faith, and suffer yourself not to be
moved from your purpose. ...'"

     On September 19, 1573, after her husband's death and after
she had in prison given birth, Janneken Munstdorp wrote a
farewell letter to her baby daughter. It was a lengthy
exhortation to live for Christ, filled with Scripture references
and teachings from God's Word to guide her child as she grew up.
This brief excerpt from that letter reveals a young mother's and
martyr's love and faith:

"The true love of God and wisdom of the Father strengthen you in
virtue, my dearest child.... I commend you to the Almighty, great
and terrible God, who only is wise, that He will keep you and let
you grow up in His fear... you who are yet so young and whom I
must leave here in this wicked, evil, perverse world. Since...
you are here deprived of father and mother, I will commend you to
the Lord; let Him do with you according to His holy will....
My dear lamb, I who am imprisoned.... can help you in no other
way; I had to leave your father for the Lord's sake.... [W]e were
apprehended.... they took him from me.... And now that I
have.... borne you under my heart with great sorrow for nine
months, and given birth to you here in prison, in great pain,
they have taken you from me....
Since I am now delivered up to death, and must leave you here
alone, I must through these lines cause you to remember that when
you have attained your understanding you endeavor to fear God and
examine why and for whose name we both died; and be not
ashamed... of us; it is the way which the prophets and the
apostles went, and the narrow way which leads into eternal
life..."
 
     Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that these martyrs have been
forgotten. Or, worse yet, their faithfulness to Christ in torture
and death is being mocked today by evangelical leaders who say
that the truths for which they gave their lives are not
important. They died to bring the gospel to lost souls because
Rome's gospel was sending multitudes to eternal judgment. But
even though Rome's gospel has not changed, many evangelical
leaders today are saying that Catholics who follow Rome are
saved, and they are now looking upon the Roman Catholic Church (a
Church that burned people at the stake for giving out the
Scriptures!) as a partner in evangelizing the world for Christ.
The martyrs must weep in heaven - not for themselves but for the
lost - if Christ allows them to know of this uncaring betrayal of
the faith for which they died.

The Inquisition Today

     The Medieval Inquisition had flourished for centuries when
Pope Paul III, in 1542, gave it permanent status as the first of
Rome's Sacred Congregations, the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
Inquisition. Known more recently as the Holy Office, its name was
changed in 1967 to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
- quite appropriate inasmuch as the public burnings were known as
"autos-da-fe" or acts of faith. The persecution, torture, and
killing of heretics has never been repudiated by the Roman
Catholic Church and has continued into modern times, as we shall
see.
     Rome is faced with a clear choice: Either her zealous
torture and slaughter of so many innocent victims is something to
be proud of or it is something to be ashamed of. Of course, Rome
will neither repent of its sins nor give up its claim to
infallibility.
     Therefore it is not surprising that the Office of the
Inquisition still occupies the Palace of the Inquisition adjacent
to the Vatican, though under its new name, the Congregation for
the Doctrine of Faith. Its current Grand Inquisitor, who reports
directly to the pope, is the former Archbishop of Munich, Joseph
Cardinal Ratzinger, whom "Time" has called "the world's most
powerful cardinal [and] the Catholic Church's chief enforcer of
dogma...." That enforcement may be brutally direct or dealt with
a gloved hand through another person, as was the case in late
1993 in the muzzling of Fr.Joseph Breen by Nashville's Bishop
Edward Kmiec. In a letter to the nation's bishops, Breen,
pointing to "the vast difference between what is said in Rome and
what actually happens" pleaded for "optional celibacy." He was
forced to sign a pledge "that he will not speak to media... [and]
not criticize what bishops do."
     While it no longer immolates its victims, the Congregation
still attempts to maintain the Vatican's cult-like control over
the thinking of its clergy and Church members. For example, on
June 9, 1993, Ratzinger published "Instructions ... in Promoting
the Doctrine of the Faith." The document demands that "prior
permission is required ... for what is written by clerics and
members of religious institutes for newspapers, magazines or
periodicals which are accustomed to attack openly the Catholic
religion or good morals. The instruction also warns Catholic
publishing houses to conform to church law. And bishops are
obliged to prevent the sale and display in their churches of
publications on religion and morals that lack church
approval... It is the Index of Forbidden Books again!

Monumental Hypocrisy

     The Roman Catholic Church has been the greatest persecutor
of both Jews and Christians the world has ever seen, and has
martyred far more Christians than even pagan Rome or Islam.
She has been exceeded only by Mao and Stalin, but they hardly
claimed to be acting in Christ's name. Catholic Rome has no rival
among religious institutions in qualifying as the woman who is
"drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus."
Yet John Paul 11, in his recent treatise, "Veritatis Splendor,"
has the audacity to speak of Catholic saints "who bore witness to
and defended moral truth even to the point of enduring
martyrdom..." What of the millions whom his Church massacred
because their moral conscience and understanding of God's Word
did not coincide with Rome's! The silence from the Vatican
concerning its infamous and innumerable crimes against God and
humanity is deafening. Even worse is the hypocrisy that allows
this murderous woman to pose as the great teacher and exemplar of
obedience to Christ.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of
righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew
5:10)." Thus John Paul II began today's [October 10, 1993] solemn
mass in honor of the beatification of II [Catholic] martyrs of
the Spanish Civil War and two Italian religious." So reported
the influential Catholic magazine "Inside the Vatican." As
always, while Catholic martyrs are lauded, there is no admission
of and no apology for the millions of Christians and Jews who
have been martyred by the Roman Catholic Church. The hypocrisy is
monumental.

                            ...................

Dave Hunt gives 49 "references" to the quotes and information
given in this chapter.

NOTE:

If you were to give this chapter to a Roman Catholic to read, the
response would most likely be, "This is all just lies by those
who do not like the Catholic church."

The facts of recorded history, many do not want to believe. How
many German young people are interested in knowing the terrible
history of the German nation in the last TWO World Wars. It
cannot be denied because it is still relatively recent history,
and the documentation of it all, is still readily available. But
put yourself a few hundred years from now (just suppose this age
has not come to an end and the German people have not started
another world war), and few loyal German people will believe the
history of the 20th century, if you can still find it all.

Well, it's been about 500 years and more since the time spoken
about in this chapter of Dave Hunt's book. It is no wonder that
the loyal Roman Catholic simply would dismiss this chapter's
information as "lies by those who dislike the Roman Catholic
faith."

As Dave Hunt says, there is no other institution on the face of
the earth, that has been and still is, that can wear the title of
a Woman church (that rides a mighty Beast) that has been made
drunk on the blood of the saints.

And, the prophecy of Revelation shows SHE WILL YET BE FOR ONE
MORE TIME, DRUNK ON THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS, before Christ
returns to stop it all, and DESTROY HER, and usher in the Kingdom
of God on earth.

Keith Hunt

Entered on this Website December 2007


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