by Danny Vierra
Chapter 13 – A Personal Testimony in Regard to the Sacraments
It is interesting that the word “Sacrament,” which is a Roman Catholic term for “a visible, tangible sign through which God approaches us, enters into our lives, and draws us to Himself through his grace…. comes from a Latin translation of the Greek ‘mysterion’ or ‘mystery. ’ ” (Basics of the Faith: A Catholic Catechism, p. 151). Three of the seven sacraments, or “mysteries,” are these: infant baptism, which is non- Biblical; the Eucharist Presence of Christ, which is certainly a mystery unlike any other; and the Holy Orders, the priesthood, in which priests are sworn to celibacy as a discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, even though the Bible says: “It is not good that the man should be alone” and “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior… Not given to wine.” (Gen. 2: 18; I Tim 3: 2, 3).
One only needs to look in the newspapers to see the fruit of this “Holy Sacrament,” for they are filled with reports of the lewd and promiscuous practices of celibate priests. Some of the headlines include: “Priests and Pedophelia: A Silence That Needs Breaking”; “Sex abuse cases sap church budget”; “Sex abuse lawsuits”; and “40% of U. S. Roman Catholic Priests Reported To Be Gay.” Not surprising is the fact that homosexual priests are dying from AIDS worldwide. In fact, in the past few years the Roman Catholic Church has spent one billion dollars in outof- court costs involving the sex affairs of priests. Did not the prophecy of the Apostle Paul hit the mark when he wrote the following: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (I Tim. 4: 1- 3). With all the sexual exploits of celibate priests coming out in the open, Paul’s words are very apropos: “Speaking lies in hypocrisy [their messages on moral purity, anti- homosexualism, abortion, and taking an oath of celibacy while practicing sexual perversion are certainly ‘lies in hypocrisy’], having their conscience seared with a hot iron [insensitive, scarred, non- functional]. (Verse 2). May we all pray that they repent of such deeds. Also, to add to the testimony that the prophecy of I Timothy 4 applies to the Roman Catholic Church, I, while growing up in our Catholic home, was not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. My mother would serve me fish. Later the Church changed the rule and made it applicable only to Lent. But it still fulfils the prophecy.
Friends, not only had I, as a young Catholic boy, confessed my sins to the priests (many of whom were committing grievous sins), I also had offered prayers to and lit candles for my departed loved ones, prayed to dead saints and the Virgin Mary while kneeling in front of their images, and said, literally, thousands of Hail Marys. As I look back, I see even more Babylonian practices in which I unknowingly participated. For instance, here are a few: my baptism as an infant (because of my family’s belief in original sin); my participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass, which I attended hundreds of times and which is a celebration of the Eucharist (Holy Communion); and my belief in purgatory, a place where I could still be purified from sin even after death. To redeem my past, I feel I need to expose the origin of these other Roman Catholic practices and their pagan roots, as being further identifying characteristics of “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots” and to help others meet God’s approval in the coming contest.
First, let us look at infant baptism. Nowhere in the Bible will you find one instance of the baptism of an infant. But if one believes the Roman Catholic Doctrine of original sin— which means that every person born into this world inherits Adam’s sin, guilt, and condemnation— then should a person die, whether as an infant or not, before baptism, that person would be lost for eternity. Therefore, Roman Catholicism advocates infant baptism as a means of cleansing, or purifying, that child from original sin. Today, I realize that I had no choice, as is the case with millions of babies, in deciding whether or not to be a Roman Catholic. I became a member of that denomination before I could even speak or think for myself. Had I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at just a few months of age? Of course not. But the Catholic Church substitutes the church’s faith for that of the child. Furthermore, baptism, which is to be by immersion [the whole body being covered by water (see Matt. 3: 16), and never simply by the sprinkling of water on the person’s head], is a public declaration of the baptismal candidate’s acceptance of Christ both as his personal Savior from sin and for His substitutionary death on that person’s behalf. It is a declaration that the “old man (the carnal man)” is being buried in the watery grave, “that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin [which an infant knows nothing about].” (Romans 6: 6). So with baptism, it is “a seal of the righteousness of the faith” (Rom. 4: 11) which the man has before he is baptized; for it is said, “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.” (Mark 16: 16). Where faith exists, if it be genuine, it is the evidence of a new heart, of a regenerated nature. (See Gal. 2: 20). All these aforementioned things are impossible for a babe.
Friends, this doctrine and discipline of the Roman papacy, as it is with many of its doctrines, was never derived from the Bible. Therefore “regeneration by baptism” —the belief that your sins, including “original sin,” are actually washed away by the water used, and not by your faith in the cleansing blood of Christ that preceded the ceremony —is fundamentally an article of Rome. It is as if baptism, or works, and not faith, justifies or pardons us from sin. In contrast, the Bible says: “Much more then, being now justified by his blood [not baptism, which is the statement a person makes after he has accepted Christ and His atoning sacrifice, and has repented and confessed his sins to His Savior, for it is called ‘the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins’ (Mark 1: 4)], we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5: 9; see also Romans 3: 24, 28; 4: 2; 5: 1). By Rome, baptism is pronounced as absolutely necessary for salvation, insomuch that infants dying without it (unless, according to Catholic Doctrine, they have received the baptism of blood, or martyrdom, such as in the case of the babies murdered by King Herod) cannot be admitted to glory; and its virtues are so great, that it is declared in all other cases to “regenerate us by a new spiritual birth, making us children of God.” It is to be “the first door by which we enter the fold of Jesus Christ; therefore the merits of His death are by baptism applied to our souls…. to satisfy Divine justice for all demands against us whether for original or actual sin.” (Bishop Hay, Sincere Christianity, pp. 363, 358). This is antiScriptural! What if the child, John the Baptist, had died in his mother’s womb? What would have happened to him? Would he, according to the doctrine of Rome, never be admitted into heaven? Such a belief gives birth to such questions. Friends, as this doctrine never came from the Bible, from what source did it originate?
It came from heathenism— from Babylon! In the Chaldean mysteries, before any instruction could be received, it was required, first of all, that the person to be initiated submit to baptism in token of blind and implicit obedience [such as with a child who has no choice]. Pagans would baptize their children “by sprinkling them with water or by plunging them, as soon as they were born, into lakes or rivers.” (Antiquities, Vol. 1, p. 335).
Second, I want to address the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Eucharist Presence of Christ, and the wafer used in that ceremony. According to Roman Catholic teaching, each Mass is a true sacrifice, in which the risen Christ becomes bodily present, under the appearance of bread and wine, on the altar as a victim who is offered anew by the church to God the Father as expiation for the sins of the people. The Mass is considered to be a renewal, an unbloody sacrifice (or in an unbloody manner), by the mandate of Christ, of the one universally effective sacrifice freely offered by Christ Himself in His crucifixion, for the redemption of the world. How can an unbloody sacrifice redeem anyone from sin when the Bible explicitly states: “Without shedding of blood [there] is no remission [of sin]” (Heb. 9: 22),” and “In whom [Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1: 7)? Yet according to Catholic doctrine, “The Holy Mass is one and the same Sacrifice with that of the Cross, inasmuch as Christ, who offered Himself to His Heavenly Father, continues to offer Himself in an unbloody manner on the altar, through the ministry of the priests.” (A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, p. 47). The Mass is the means of applying the merits of Calvary which is done over and over again. It is not difficult for one to see that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church contradict the Scriptures when the Bible says, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor… that He should offer Himself often…. but now once … to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” (Heb. 9: 24- 28). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (I Pet. 3: 18). Besides, what did Jesus mean when He cried out, “It is finished” (John 19: 30) just before he died?
The Mass is a celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The priest who performs the Mass, or celebrant, reads or sings in Latin. But the ceremony is translated into various languages, so that all present may understand. The Mass, which includes two basic parts— the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, “re- enacts the greatest event of history and of Christian faith: the paschal mystery— the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…. In the Eucharistic Prayer during which the solemn Consecration of bread and wine takes place…. Catholics believe that at this point, by God’s sovereign power and will, the bread and wine truly become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” “This was no symbolic reception,… but was actually eating the body of Christ and drinking His blood even if this body and blood still appears to our senses as bread and wine…. Catholic Christians believe that when they receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist, they are actually partaking of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” (Basics of the Faith: A Catholic Catechism, pp. 195, 196, 164, 165). Blasphemy! The priest, or the celebrant— the creature— has the audacity to create, as it were the Creator! With all the Masses offered every week throughout the world, are the millions of tiny wafers used simultaneously, the literal body of Christ?
The other day I called a Catholic bookstore to verify what I am telling you, and it so happened that the clerk handed the phone to a priest who was in their store. She felt he could better answer my questions. I asked him if the breaking of the wafer portrayed the breaking of Christ’s body— his sacrifice for us. To this he answered, “Yes.” I then asked him how many times the Eucharist wafer is lifted above the altar. To this he answered, “Twice.” Then he added: “The second time the Host— Christ’s body— and the chalice of His blood are raised, the priest says ‘through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory are yours almighty Father, forever and ever! ’” I then asked him if the Eucharist bread actually becomes Christ’s body, and the wine his blood? He continued, “The philosophical term used for this is transubstantiation, which means that the substance of the bread and wine becomes the substance of the Godhead, which is Christ.” He then said, “The Lutheran will say that it is bread, but to a Catholic, it is Christ!” “The Mass,” he emphasized, “is a reenactment of what happened 2,000 years ago, and is for us today.” He then asked me if I understood what he had said, to which I answered, “Perfectly!” He responded, “Very good. I have students in my classes who cannot understand what you grasped so quickly.”
From historians we learn that no blood was allowed to be offered on the altars of the Assyrian Venus— the great goddess of Babylon. The very shape of the unbloody sacrifice of Rome may also indicate its origin. The Eucharist wafer, which is broken as was the body of Christ, is a small thin round wafer, and it is on its roundness that the Church of Rome lays so much stress. What could have induced the papacy to insist so much on the roundness of its unbloody sacrifice? Clearly not from the Bible, for there is no reference of a round wafer at the Lord’s supper, but to the contrary, the Lord took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to His disciples saying, “Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.” (1 Cor. 11: 24). But if we look at the altars of Egypt, we will find the thin, round cake. The round disk, so frequent in the sacred emblems of Egypt, symbolized the sun, in honor of Osiris, the sun- divinity. “In Egypt, the disk of the Sun was represented in the temples…. In the great temple of Babylon, the golden image of the Sun was exhibited for the worship of the Babylonians. In every respect, then, we see how justly Rome bears on its forehead the name, ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great. ’ It is striking to find that the image of the sun , which apostate Israel worshipped , was also erected above their altars. When the good king Josiah set about the work of reformation, we read that his servants in carrying out the work, proceeded thus: ‘And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence, and the images (margin, sun- images) that were on high above them, he cut down. ’ ” [II Chron. 34: 4] (The Two Babylons, pp. 162, 163). The Eucharist is a term of Roman Catholic usage, but we are seeing it employed more and more frequently in some of the Protestant churches today. In fact, when John Paul II came to America, the Protestants flocked to see him, as well as the Catholics. I heard that Protestant ministers, as well as their members, were seen kissing the pope’s ring. Evidently, John Paul’s ecumenical efforts to organize all the churches under his leadership is working! The deadly wound has been healing spectacularly. In fact, it may already have healed completely!
Third, though not a sacrament, as a Roman Catholic I had believed in the doctrine of purgatory. Purgatory, according to the Catholic Church, is a place or state following death in which “God purges or purifies any remaining sin or the effects of sin that prevented the person from entering into full communion with God in heaven.” (Basics of the Faith: A Catholic Catechism, p. 306). This doctrine, which has no foundation in the Bible, I had blindly believed in as a security for salvation. I remember purgatory as “that other place,” other than heaven or hell, where I might end up if I were not good enough. There I would be punished by fire until I was purified from all sin, at which point, I would finally be admitted into heaven. “The Catholic tradition concerning purgatory includes the notion of purgation from sin by the fire of God’s love and holiness. Fire implies pain, and thus it should not surprise us if purgatory is painful.” (Ibid., p. 307). This is utterly ridiculous! As if God would literally burn people for a while to purify them! But had I not been taught that prayer, good works, and penance do foster God’s work of purification of ourselves, others living on earth, and those in purgatory? “Prayer and sacrifice for each other that we may be freed from sin are among the primary ways that the saints— members of the body of Christ whether on earth, in heaven, or in purgatory— can aid each other.” (Ibid., pp. 307, 308). Thank God, that today I believe in righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ, and not in righteousness by works, to merit salvation. Not in penances and the “Sacraments” of Rome, but in the mercy and power of God and His grace! “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Titus 3: 5, 6). Yet, The Thunder of Justice claims that the visionaries at Medjugorje had reported seeing purgatory, and claim “there are many different levels, some close to Heaven and some close to hell.” They also say: “Mary has recommended praying at least seven each of the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, plus the Apostles’ Creed, for the souls in purgatory and for their intentions. Souls there are waiting for your prayers and sacrifices, Mary has emphasized.” (The Thunder of Justice, pp. 203, 204). Again, friends, it is plain to see that the one promoting this error is not the Virgin Mary, but a demon in disguise!
Go to Chapter 14 ⇒
All emphases in this article are mine.
Published by Modern Manna Ministries