The Bishop Speaks

Bishop Louis Vezelis O.F.m.

The December 1999 issue LIFE magazine carries an ambitious title "2000 Years of Christianity". In truth, the entire article is a mish-mash of distortions typical of those whose goal is not objective history, but a very subjective and biased "interpretation" of history.

When it comes to the Roman Catholic Church, Her enemies within and her enemies without have only so many deceits to practice. One of these deceits is the pretense to `expertise.'

First of all, before even proceeding to expose the errors and distortions of history, it is necessary to keep in mind that any of the more popular magazines such as LIFE, TIME & NEWSWEEK are published by the same people whose rejection of Catholicism (the only legitimate expression of the true faith) is intimately connected with a particular world view. A world view that is totally opposed and contradicts the world view of the Catholic Church.

Whenever there is something derogatory about the Catholic Church that can be stirred up, then these periodicals have room for that in their so-called section on "religion". Otherwise, there is nothing of importance to be said concerning the Roman Catholic Church.

We call this kind of slanted reporting "biased".

Now, it is a very common thing to encounter people whose judgment is obscured either through ignorance or prejudice. Such people are unable to make judgments based on objective fact.

Thus, starting from a false premise, the consequences flowing from the false premise will follow logically even though they are false.

The entire premise of the article is based on false "facts". What are these "facts"? The first fallacy is the supposition that the Roman Catholic Church has come from Judaism.

This is the first and most important error because the writer of the article, in order to be logical with his own premise, will be forced to promote the lie. It is a `lie' because it is deliberate. It is deliberate because those who promote this error do so with such fanatical irrationality that no evidence and no argument can move them.

Judaism is not the religion of the Old Testament as its leaders constantly din into the heads of their followers. Judaism is to the true faith of the Old Testament universal (Catholic) believers what Protestantism is to the true faith of the New Testament universal (Catholic) believers.

The Roman Catholic Church did not begin with Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He had come not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it

The division of the Bible intop "Old" and "New" Testaments is an articifial division for purposes of study. In reality, there is only ONE Testament - the promise and preparation and its gradual realization. The Book of Genesis already speaks of the promised Redeemer. The preparation lasted until His coming. The present preparation is for His return. Everything is centered on Jesus Christ and not the Jewish people (if we could find them!).

The Patriarchs were saved by their faith in the coming Redeemer. They were the Catholics of the Old Testament. The so-called "Jews" were the heretics who persecuted the true believers.

There is no such religion as "Judaism". What is called "Judaism" is the continuation of the heretical sect that opposed itself to the true believers. It does not make any difference how many remained true, just as it makes little difference how many remain true today to the universal faith.

Juda, the patriarch of the tribe of Juda that bears his name did not start a religion that would merit bearing his name. He was the fourth son of Isaac.

Juda's importance in history lies in the fact that the prophets foretold that the Redeemer would be born of a virgin of this tribe. But, being a Judean is not the same as being a member of a particular religious sect. We refer to those who followed the ideas of Martin Luther as "Lutherans". We refer to those who adopted the religious views of Calvin, "Calvanists" . Under no honest circumstances can these people be called "Christians" because they and all those thousands of mini-sects that have been spawned outside the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church no longer preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The high priests were the forerunners of the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. Jesus foretold that the temple would be destroyed and, consequently, the Levitical priesthood would come to an end.

By instituting the priesthood according to the order of Melchisedech Jesus perfected the Levitical priesthood which followed the pagan rituals of bloody sacrifice. Jesus was a priest according to the order of Melchisedech because He terminated the Levitical priesthood which decreed His sacrificial death, and as the High Priest of the priesthood according to Melchisedech, He offered the first unbloody Sacrifice on Holy Thursday when He instituted the great mystery of transubstantiation. The changing of the substance of bread into His Body and the wine into His sacred Blood, Jesus inaugurated the perfect sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving and propitiation..

Certainly, only those can believe this to whom it has been given to believe. And just as certainly, those who would attempt to treat the Roman Catholic Church as a natural institution like their own can only go from error to error.

Under the mask of writing on "2000 Years of Christianity", what the author really wants to do is propagandize on behalf of those who pay him: the Jews.

So, what are we to say about the author's introductory statement that "Jesus of Nazareth" was a "strange and charismatic Jewish preacher". Robert Sullivan could not do better than a rabbi to begin with a naturalistic downgrading of Jesus. His very first sentence betrays his ignorance and lack of professionalism. The article is the most disgusting anti-Catholic trash that has been printed in our day.

If only every atheist and heretic were as holy as each one pretends, neither one nor the other would have either turned his back on God or left the true Church.

If God did not respect the free will of men, there would be no perversion of true religion into the many pre-New Testament sects and post-New Testament sects.

It would really take too much time to expose the malicious errors of the author of that anti-Catholic article.

Better not waste the reader's time on a fruitless venture: After all, "a fool convinced against his will is of the same opinion still". Instead, it would be more beneficial to expose the fundamental deception upon which the thesis of Mr. Sullivan must stand and which he is bound to defend _ if he wants to keep his job.

The fundamental thesis of the article in the December 1999 issue of LIFE is to continually re-enforce the myths of "Judaism".

It was the Greek Father of the Church, St. John Damascene who pointed out succinctly the four great heresies that pervaded and continue to pervade human history.

In his work ON HERESIES, St. John Damascene states:

"The parents and archtypes of all heresies are four in number, namely: (1) Barbarism; (2) Scythism; (3) Hellenism; (4) Judaism. Out of these came all the rest.

1. Barbarism is that which prevailed from the days of Adam down through ten generations to the time of Noe. It is called barbarism because of the fact that in those times men had no ruling authority or mutual accord, but every man was independent and a law unto himself after the dictates of his own will."

Certainly, there had to be a true religion among the prevailing false religions. This was the religion of the believers who were not "Jews" but were the descendants of Adam. Was Adam a "Jew"? To even suggest such an absurdity would bring derision upon the idea. Was Noe a "Jew"? How could Noe be a "Jew" if there were no "Jews" until the time of Jacob. What faith did Noe and his family have? It was the true faith first revealed to Adam. St. John then continues:

"2.Scythism prevailed from the days of Noe down to the building of the Tower of Babel and for a few years after the Tower period, that is to say, until the time of Phaleg and Ragau. (Note: Phaleg, the father of Ragau, who was the great great grandfather of Abraham [Gen.11; Luke 3]).

These last migrated to the regions of Europe and, from the time of Thare (the father of Abraham) _ from whom the Thracians sprung _ and on, have been associated with the country and peoples of Scythia.

3. Hellenism arose from idolatry in the time of Sarug (the great-grandfather of Abraham). Since in those times everyone was given to superstition, when the races of men had begun to turn to a much more civil way of life, they turned also to idolatrous rites and usages, and to deify men who had once walked among them."

At first, they painted with colors and made pictures of those whom they had once held in esteem, whether tyrants or sorcerers or men who in their lifetime had done something deemed worthy of note in the line of courage or bodily strength.

Then, after idolatry had been introduced, beginning with the times of Thare, the father of Abraham, they first put the potter's skill to use for the making of figures of their dead. And then they applied every art to their portrayal _ the builders sculpturing in stone, the gold and silversmiths fashioning out of their own materials, and similarly the woodworkers, and so on.

The Egyptians, however, together with the Babylonians and Phrygians and Phoenicians, were the first to introduce this kind of cult with its statues and mysteries. From them it passed to the Greeks, first in the time of Cecrops (the mythical king of Athens) and from then on. Then, considerably later, the cults of Chronos, Ares, Zeus, Apollo, and the rest of the gods was introduced."

It would be absurd to assume that there was not some sound natural and supernatural belief before the advent of the more familiar characters of the Bible. What was that true religion founded on revelation and sound reason? Was that "Judaism"? Most assuredly, it was not. "Judaism" did not exist (if it existed at all!). What could that religion have been that had no specific name? It could only have been the universal true religion (Catholicism). And now, we come to that strange religion commonly known as "Judaism". Where did it come from?

St. John says that this is the fourth parent and archtype of all heresies. Since it is the fourth in the group of four, we may logically conclude that it is this religion that is the parent and archetype of all subsequent heresies.

St. John writes:

"4. Judaism had from the time of Abraham received the seal of circumcision. By Moses, who was seventh after Abraham, it was committed to writing in the Law given by God. From Juda, the fourth son of Jacob, surnamed Israel, through David, who was the first of the tribe of Juda to rule, it acquired the definitive name of Judaism. It is apparent that the Apostle was summarizing these four heresies when he said: `In Christ Jesus there is neither Barbarian, nor Scythian, nor Greek, nor Jew: but a new creature."

If, then, all heresies down through the ages and even to the present day come from these four heresies, then, how can anyone with reasonable intelligence say that the Roman Catholic Church comes from Judaism, the fourth of the archtypes of heresy?

If we were to do a little further research, we would find that Protestantism perfectly reflects the heresies of Judaism. Judaism gradually lost its distinct characteristics and finally became reduced to Talmudism.

Judaism existed side by side with the universal community of the true believers (Catholics of the Old Testament). Even during the Babylonian captivity, when the prophets who represented the true faith warned the Hebrews to avoid involvement with the Egyptian women, there were still faithful Catholics. The others ignored the warnings of the prophets and married pagan women. It was not long before they adopted the pagan gods and rituals of the pagans.

Rather than listen to the prophets, they murdered them. It was these "Jews" who adopted human sacrifice, going so far as to offer their own children as human sacrifices to the pagan gods.

Obviously, such a religion of violence would appeal to a nation of violent people. And this is where we come to the Talmudism (Judaism) of the time of Christ. Not all the captives returned to Palestine after their they were freed. Those who did, brought with them the new religion of paganism. Those who returned from Babylon brought with them their pagan gods.

It was during the Babylonian Captivity that the laymen began to take over the position of the Levitical priests. This is how the line of the rabbis came into being. They were not priests according to the order of Levi. Their influence was very great and they certainly influenced and used the high priests for their purposes. The compromising high priests soon became pawns in the hands of the clever Scribes. It was the Scribes who would gradually become the `rabbis' _ teachers _ thus, eclipsing the priests and high priests.

Mr. Robert Sullivan would condition his readers to believe that "Stephen, a follower of Jesus, is stoned to death for blasphemy, becoming the first Christian martyr". He was stoned because of `blasphemy'?

If we were to ask Mr. Robert Sullivan to explain what he means by `blasphemy,' perhaps his statement may have merit. However, to have any merit at all, such a statement must be quoted in its entirety. Then, the `blasphemy' must be pointed out.

It is in the Acts of the Apostles that we find the account of St. Stephen's martyrdom for "blasphemy".

Let us examine the evidence. We find the information about Stephen in Chapter 6 and 7 of the Acts of the Apostles.

We are told that the word of the Lord spread rapidly: "And the word of the Lord continued to spread and the number of the disciples increased rapidly in Jerusalem; a large number also of the priests accepted the faith." (Acts 67).

Stephen ran into trouble with the Judaizers _ the nationalists who made race their religion. Even though Stephen spoke with the unction of one inspired by God, these types are unable to discern spiritual matters. And so it happened that these different factions disputed with Stephen:

"Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. But there arose some from the synagogue which is called that of the Freedmen, and of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of those from Cilicia and the province of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit who spoke.

Then they bribed men to say they had heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and against God.

And they stirred up the people and the elders and the Scribes, and, running together, they seized him and brought him to the Sanhedrin.

And they brought forward false witnesses to say, `This man never ceases speaking words against the Holy Place and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the traditions which Moses handed down to us.' Then all who sat in the Sanhedrin, gazing upon him, saw his face as though it were the face of an angel." (Ibid.6,9-15).

Notice the important words `bribery' and `false witnesses.' These are the same things that were done to Jesus; these were the same malicious tactics of the liars who delivered Jesus over to the public authority represented in Pontius Pilate. It was the same malice working now.

Note also that this group of fanatics perceived the positive results of Stephen's preaching and working of miracles. They must have been possessed by devils to see evil in good. For, it was surely the good that upset them.

Mr.Sullivan apparently did not even bother reading this part of the historical events surrounding the murder of St.Stephen.

Did Mr.Sullivan take any note of the statement that Stephen's accusers were bought to lie?

The physical appearance of Stephen must certainly have been very striking if even the high priests "saw his face as though it were the face of an angel."

Generally speaking, evil men do not appear with the face of an angel. Generally, their evil minds and hearts are hard to hide. Evil has a way of betraying itself. But then, vultures fly with vultures and they all look handsome to each other.

One need only read the discourse of St. Stephen to see that there is no blasphemy in his words. He spoke with the grace of the Holy Ghost. How, then, does Mr. Sullivan dare to accuse him of blasphemy? It is Sullivan who blasphemes against the Holy Ghost. But, then, does Sullivan even believe in the Holy Ghost?

Now, we sit on the sidelines to observe what takes place.

At first, the high priests make a show of calm reserve and solemn wisdom befitting their office. They inquire: "Are these things so?" (Ibid. 7,1).

Perhaps this was their mistake. They asked for the truth. They got the truth. For, Stephen spoke: "Then he said, `Brethren and fathers, hear. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, and said to him, `Go forth from thy country and from thy kindred, and come into the land that I will show thee.' Then he went forth from the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after the death of his father, God removed him into this land where you now dwell." (Ibid. 7, 2-5).

So far, where is the blasphemy? There is none. Stephen recounts historical facts in the life of our ancestors.

What is of great interest is that Abraham dwelt in the land of the Chaldeans before he went to dwell in Haran. He had no land. Nor did he get any in the place where the high priests dwelled: "And he gave him no property in it, not even a foot of land, but he promised `to give it for a possession to him and to his offspring after him,' when as yet he had no son." (Ibid.7, 5).

So far, where is the `blasphemy'? There is none.

Let us continue: "And God said, `His offspring shall sojourn in a strange country, and they shall enslave and oppress them four hundred years. And the nation to which they have been in bondage, I will judge,' said God, `and afterwards they shall go forth and shall worship me in this place.' And he gave him the covenant of circumcision, and so he begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs." (Ibid.7, 6-8).

Even the high priests did not find any error in this. They did not even object when Stephen narrated the sad but providentially significant plight of Joseph.

"Out of jealousy the patriarchs sold Joseph into Egypt, but God was with him and rescued him from all his tribulations, and gave him favor and wisdom `in the sight of Pharoah king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and over all his household." (Ibid.7, 9 ss).

Stephen continued narrating the history of the Hebrew people. He covered the famine in Egypt; he correctly narrated time of bondage in Egypt; he went all the way to Moses and the flight from Egypt.

The Hebrews murmured against Moses. But Stephen merely states the facts:

"This Moses whom they disowned, saying `Who has made thee ruler and judge?' _ him God sent to be ruler and redeemer, with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. This is he who led them out, working wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the desert, forty years. This is the Moses who said to the children of Israel, `God will raise up to you a prophet from among your brethren as he raised up me; to him shall you hearken.'

This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, and he received the words of life to give to us."(Ibid. 7, 38).

We come now to the painful truth: "But our fathers would not obey him, but thrust him aside and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, `Make us gods to go before us. As for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'(Ibid. 40 _ss).

And Aaron, the high priest did make the golden calf for these unfaithful Hebrews. Observe: "And they made a calf in those days and offered sacrifice to the idol and rejoiced in the works of their own hands." (Ibid. 7, 41). At this point, the high priests must have begun feeling uncomfortable before the truth. What was the truth? It was that Aaron, the high priest, condoned the making of idols to the gods familiar to them in Egypt.

This reminder served to sting these high priests who were following in the footsteps of Aaron. More than this, Stephen now comes to the climax: He tells these false high priests what God did then: "But God turned and gave them up to serve the host of heaven, even as it is written in the book of the Prophets: `Did you offer victims and sacrifices to me for forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? Why, you took up with you the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Rempham, images that you made to worship, And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.'"(Ibid.7,42-43).

St. Stephen is here referring to the practice of human sacrifice into which these Israelites had sunken after they abandoned Moses. St. Stephen is addressing these words to the high priests before him. He is telling them who they truly are though disguised as Hebrews and Israelites.

"The star of your god Rempham" And what is this "star of Rempham"? More than one person will be shocked to learn what this "star of Rempham" really is.

(To be continued)

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