I have plenty of problems with Roman Catholic teachings and traditions. Particularly with the traditions. I have spent many hours in the past studying Catholic doctrines in the light of the Scripture and seeing things that didn’t wash in the Truth. Recently as I have studied more in the Hebraic roots vein, I am finding more things that simply blow my mind. I know that it was a Catholic Pope(Gregory XIII) who handed us the currently dominant calendar, which is a warmed over version of an earlier pagan calendar. The RCC systematically eradicated the timekeeping method that God had given us. Rather than use the timekeeping method of the one that created time, the RCC saw fit to make their own. In doing so, they also did away with God’s appointed times and seasons. But since legalism is a tricky thing and seems to be ingrained in human nature, they found a way to retain the legalistic thinking of our earlier Jewish brothers. They moved the Sabbath to Sunday, which isn’t possible when you think about it. How arrogant is it to change God’s Sabbath? But notice this from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The express teaching of Christ and St. Paul prevented the early Christians from falling into the excesses of Jewish Sabbatarianism in the observance of the Sunday, and yet we find St. Cæsarius of Arles in the sixth century teaching that the holy Doctors of the Church had decreed that the whole glory of the Jewish Sabbath had been transferred to the Sunday, and that Christians must keep the Sunday holy in the same way as the Jews had been commanded to keep holy the Sabbath Day. He especially insisted on the people hearing the whole of the Mass and not leaving the church after the Epistle and the Gospel had been read. He taught them that they should come to Vespers and spend the rest of the day in pious reading and prayer. As with the Jewish Sabbath, the observance of the Christian Sunday began with sundown on Saturday and lasted till the same time on Sunday. Until quite recent times some theologians taught that there was an obligation under pain of venial sin of assisting at vespers as well as of hearing Mass, but the opinion rests on no certain foundation and is now commonly abandoned. . .
. . .The obligation of rest from work on Sunday remained somewhat indefinite for several centuries. A Council of Laodicea, held toward the end of the fourth century, was content to prescribe that on the Lord’s Day the faithful were to abstain from work as far as possible. At the beginning of the sixth century St. Caesarius, as we have seen, and others showed an inclination to apply the law of the Jewish Sabbath to the observance of the Christian Sunday. The Council held at Orléans in 538 reprobated this tendency as Jewish and non-Christian. From the eight century the law began to be formulated as it exists at eh present day, and the local councils forbade servile work, public buying and selling, pleading in the law courts, and the public and solemn taking of oaths. There is a large body of civil legislation on the Sunday rest side by side with the ecclesiastical. It begins with an Edict of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, who forbade judges to sit and townspeople to work on Sunday. He made an exception in favour of agriculture. The breaking of the law of Sunday rest was punished by the Anglo-Saxon legislation in England like other crimes and misdemeanours. After the Reformation, under Puritan influence, many laws were passed in England whose effect is still visible in the stringency of the English Sabbath. Still more is this the case in Scotland. There is no federal legislation in the United States on the observance of the Sunday, but nearly all the states of the Union have statues tending to repress unnecessary labour and to restrain the liquor traffic. In other respects the legislation of the different states on this matter exhibits considerable variety. On the continent of Europe in recent years there have been several laws passed in direction of enforcing the observance of Sunday rest for the benefit of workmen.
I find it interesting that the Catholic Encyclopedia has this in its entry about Judaism:
The high-priest, a person most sacred, stood at the head of the hierarchy, and acted as final arbiter of all religious controversies. The Sanhedrin of Jerusalem, or supreme tribunal of Judaism, watched zealously over the strict fulfilment of the Law and issued decrees readily obeyed by the Jews dispersed throughout the world. In the Holy Land, and far and wide beyond its boundaries, besides local Sanhedrins, there were synagogues supplying the ordinary religious and educational needs of the people, and wielding the power of excommunication against breakers of the Law, oral and written. A learned class, that of the Scribes, not only read and interpreted the text of the Law in the synagogue meetings, but sedulously proclaimed the “Traditions of the Elders”, the collection of which formed a “fence to the Law”, because whoever observed them was sure not to trespass in any way against the Law itself. Legal righteousness was the watchword of Judaism, and its attainment by separation from Gentiles and sinners, by purifications, fasts, almsgiving, etc., in a word by the fulfilment of traditional enactments which applied the Law to each and every walk of life and to all imaginable circumstances, was the one concern of pious Jews wherever found.
What is it that keeps them from seeing the parallels with this situation in Jesus’ first coming with the RCC vision of themselves as the one true church? In place of the High Priest they have a Holy Father or Pope who is the final arbiter of all doctrine. He is in fact considered infallible and must be obeyed. The RCC is the only correct group and excommunicates those who are breakers of the “law” either Scriptural or tradition. I love my Catholic brothers and sisters in the faith and I am not hostile to the Church despite what this post may indicate. I wish to see the RCC come to a realization of where she is at and I pray that it happens. When Luther attempted to reform the Church, he was booted out and his life was threatened. Times are different now as the RCC has recently acknowledged that Luther’s desire for reform was correct and good and well-meaning. They have even said that he might have been right about a few things.
I have more to say but this post is already quite long. I will post another discussion of the Sabbath and the Feasts of the Lord next time, but let me leave you with one other comment about the primacy of Rome that fits this discussion. In the debate over the celebration of Easter, the churches were not all in agreement.
At the end of the Second Century, Victor, the bishop of Rome began to threaten other Church leaders in an attempt to get them to abandon Passover in favor of the Roman Easter celebration as a means to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Polycrates, the bishop of Ephesus, wrote to Victor his response to these threats.
“We for our part keep the day [14th of Nisan = Passover] scrupulously, without addition or subtraction. For in Asia great luminaries sleep who shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s advent, when He is coming with glory from heaven and shall search out all His saints – such as Philip… there is John, who lent back on the Lord’s breast… there is Polycarp, bishop and martyr… All these kept the fourteenth day of the month as the beginning of the Paschal Festival [Passover], in accordance with the Gospel, not deviating in the least but following the rule of the Faith. Last of all, I too, Polycrates, the least of you all… and my family has always kept the day when the people put away the leaven [Feast of Unleavened Bread]. So I, my friends, after spending sixty-five years in the Lord’s service and conversing with Christians from all parts of the world, and going carefully through all Holy Scripture, and not scared of threats. Better people than I have said: ‘We must obey God rather than men’.”
-Eusebius, The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine, p.231
Despite what the Catholic church teaches, there has not always been a deference to the opinions of Rome. In fact, this recognizable quote of obeying God rather than men was first uttered by Peter and here used to denounce the so-called Petrine authority of Rome.