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.)

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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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