Not that long ago, I had a Roman Catholic commentator by the name of Kevin leave a series of comments in which he said he'd answer and in which he challenged me to produce evidence that Popes had issued any Papal Bulls (official writings) calling upon Christians to err and to buy indulgences (absolution for evil). He denied the existence of any such Bulls. I asked Kevin if I produce such evidence, would he convert. He never answered. You know what that means.

Kevin wrote the following:

Inaccuracy #1

Your insistence on the sale of indulgences as being allowable or supported by popes and/or being a portion of Catholic doctrine.

I must now ask you to name the pope(s) and present a piece of officially written documentation (such as a papal bull or encyclical) that can support your accusation.

I wrote the following in response:

Ah, we've arrived somewhere. Before I answer you as you've requested, first a question and answer from you is required here. If I supply this information, will you denounce the Roman Catholic religion? Is "official" support sufficient to cause you to disassociate yourself? You see, I don't want to swat at flies. I'll just remove the dung heap in one fell swoop. Be careful what you ask for.

Before I go there though, even if there is no smoking gun in your opinion, you must first tell all of us whether or not you hold with Jesus that we know the Roman Catholic Church by its fruits and lack thereof down through the ages. It takes no official papal bull to be produced to show that the Roman Catholic Church and its popes who teach for God's doctrine the traditions of men that that church did not instruct its membership not to join in making warfare, taking lives, maiming people for life where they didn't just kill them, taking innocent life, and more, all for secular reasons and all of which is completely antichrist.

Well, I asked him that back on December 31, 2008. Here it is, January 12, 2009, and he has not responded. So, for the sake of all others and for Kevin too if he will be honest and love the truth, I give the following.

Against the clear and plain teaching and example of Jesus Christ, Pope Alexander II in 1063 granted official indulgences to military crusaders (killers, murderers).

Pope Alexander II gave a formal, written papal blessing to William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy (1035-1087) for William's invasion of England. William led the Norman invasion of England in 1066. William alleged that he was promised the throne of England by his cousin, Edward the Confessor. Edward named someone else. William invaded. The invasion succeeded. William then instituted feudalism — meaning, he did away with much of the commons.

All land holdings were in fief or fee. It was hierarchical. Vassals paid homage, legal and military service, and goods and money, etc., as tenants to the next landlord(s) up in the hierarchical chain of command. The common people were literally enslaved. They were the property of the feudal lords. This was might makes right — nothing more. It was blessed by the Popes.

It is the remnant of that evil system (capitalism) that the Christian Commons is designed to reverse.

Pope Urban II (Council of Clermont, 1095) granted complete penance to Crusaders. Pope Eugene III did much the same in 1145. Pope Gregory VIII granted indulgences to those who paid others to fight in their place and who financed the wars (maiming, killing, destruction, etc.).

Pope Callistus III in 1457, via an official Papal Bull, granted plenary (total) indulgence to anyone who paid 200 maravedi for the Crusade against the Moors. He also extended the indulgences to the dead.

Pope Sixtus IV released a Papal Bull in 1476 for the cathedral of Saintes, France. People giving money were granted plenary indulgence. It was extended also to the dead.

In 1534, John of Leiden, an Anabaptist who had been a short time ruler of Munster, was captured. Here's what the Roman Catholic Prince-Bishop of Munster, Franz von Waldeck, did to him and his accomplices:

Each [was] attached to a pole by an iron spiked collar. Their bodies were ripped with red-hot tongs for the space of an hour. After Knipperdolling saw the process of torturing John of Leiden, he attempted to kill himself with the collar using it to choke himself. The executer tied him to the stake to make it impossible after that. After the burning, their tongues were pulled out with tongs before each was killed with a burning dagger thrust through the heart. [spelling and punctuation corrected] (Source: Wikipedia)

It wasn't until the Council of Trent (December 13, 1545 to December 4, 1563; 25 sessions; three periods), until after Luther objected so strongly, that the selling of indulgences for money (unrighteous mammon) was forbidden by the Popes.

There is your proof of paying money for evil (indulgences). It was giving for the sake of personal recompense taught against by none other than Jesus Christ. The money raised was also used for evil purposes. The Popes taught error and confusion and led away from Jesus and God. They were not moved to do so by the Holy Spirit but rather by Satan.

The above is far from exhaustive by the way.

If it had ever been proper to collect money for indulgences, if it had ever been authorized, which it was, by a Pope, who was supposed to be infallible in matters of faith, why was the practice then reversed and prohibited by later Popes? The answer is that it was never proper and that the Popes who authorized it were in error and therefore certainly never infallible in matters of faith, nor is the current Pope. There is no unbroken Apostolic Succession in the Roman Catholic Church.

(See: "The Historical Origin of Indulgences," by Fr. Enrico dal Covolo, S.D.B. Last accessed: Monday, January 12, 2009.)


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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    • I'm a Catholic and a former seminarian. Priesthood was not my calling so I went out to live a private life. What you say is true and to be honest, I've lost faith not in the Lord but to pretenders in the church.

      How can I believe these priests when they lead a life of opulence while so many around us our starving? Riding in their fancy cars with the latest gadgets to boot. These however are quite few but they belong to the higher echelons of the church hierarchy.

      A close friend of mine, a priest was ousted from his parish by his superiors because he uses the church collection to feed the poor and educate the illeterate. To this day he sleeps on the floor because he believes it's criminal for him to sleep in comfort while so many do not even have a roof above their heads.

      I have done social work in different parts of my impoverished country and have been labeled a communist for it. This the reality of life, almost everyone can be bought, even those who are supposed to serve the Lord.

      • Hello Joel,

        Thank you for sharing.

        Tell your close friend who was ousted that Jesus slept on a pillow in the fishing boat. It's not a crime, although I understand the sentiment completely. He doesn't need to self-flagellate. There is enough evil in the world everyday. God and Jesus will not begrudge him a soft spot to sleep. He doesn't need to sleep in silk, but he doesn't need to wear a hair shirt either. Loose him from that grip that binds him. Do that for him because you would want someone to relieve you of uncomfortable sleep. You want everyone to have the necessities.

        It won't harm him or make him feel less for the people or to do less for them but rather benefit him to get others to get yet others still to provide each and all with a soft spot. It's as food, water, clothes, and a roof, etc. It's love. God is such. You'll be serving your brother not for the sake of personal, private recompense or because he'll love you in kind (though he will) but to pass it on.

        The Roman Catholic Church is the church of those who exercise lordship over others. The Roman Catholic popes don't read their own Bibles.

        "And he said to them: The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that have power over them are called beneficent. But you not so: but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger: and he that is the leader, as he that serveth." (Luke 22:25-26 DRB; Douay-Rheims Bible; Latin Vulgate Bible translated into English) [red lettering added]

        So, your friend was dismissed for serving the poor — for doing the will of the real Holy Father. He was accused of liberation theology. Was he militant? I suspect not. Of course, the Pope doesn't care whether or not the liberation theologian is militant. The Pope stands against the totally pacifistic liberation theologian. The Pope stands with those who wage the very wars against which Jesus preached. I do not stand against the totally pacifistic liberation theologians. I stand with them up to the point where the rest of our respective theologies cause us to part. I stand against holding with those who wage wars.

        Your friend and you are to join the Christian Commons. It's one purse, but all the members will give and share as each has need. The two of you will decide from conscience.

        You keep it right there where you are according to your conscience. The two of you begin the Commons right there. Hold all things common as the Real Liberal Christian Church. Drop away all that does not constitute bringing forth. Retain and magnify that which does. The Holy Spirit will guide you to be as consistent with Jesus's words and deeds as much as possible given the current level of darkness and hard-heartedness in the world in general and in your locale in particular.

        Don't fear the Roman Catholic hierarchy or their traditions that have not brought forth and do not bring forth. It has no spiritual power over you.

        Jesus is a communist. He is not a Marxist. He is not a Roman Catholic. He is a Real Liberal Christian. Christianity is communist. The Roman Catholic Church has stood in the way long enough. Go around them or through them. I give you leave. We give each other leave by God. Enter the strait gate. Eat the real body and drink the real blood, which together are the spirit of unselfishness.

        You don't need to spend a penny on pomp. Jesus rode in on an ass because the Lord had need of him, just as he has need of you. The ass was white and lowly but exalted for carrying the master, more your brother than the Pope's.

        You can bring yourselves to do these things. It's a simple decision anxiety concerning which passes quickly once made.


        Tom Usher