Pope Francis and the Apostasy of the Christian Church

by Geert ter Horst

anti-pope-francisThe Roman Catholic Church throughout her history has always vehemently opposed to give the Sacrament of Holy Communion to those living in irregular sexual relationships. The position of the Church was that those living in cohabitation, adultery, or any other sexual relation outside traditional marriage were unfit to receive Communion, because they were in a state of mortal sin and in danger of losing their eternal salvation, according to the warning of the Apostle Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians:

I Corinthians 6:9-10
Know ye not that unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of G’d? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of G’d.

Holy Communion was considered to be only for those in the ‘state of grace’ according to Catholic theological terminology — or, in evangelical terminology, in the ‘state of being saved’. To be in the state of grace requires that one has confessed and sincerely repented the mortal sins one has committed, and has acted upon this repentance by leaving all situations of continuously ‘living in sin’.

This sacramental discipline was based on the notion that, ultimately, the Church is only composed of those are saved, i.e. the truly faithful. Only the saved, ultimately, are part of the mystical Body of Christ. This community of the saved is liturgically expressed in Holy Communion, because in receiving the Eucharist the Body of Christ is actualized in this temporal life and in and through it the faithful are bodily and spiritually united with the Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Second Vatican Council there has been a growing minority in the Church of liberals and modernists abandoning this traditional moral position. For some decades, this minority has grown vocal and demanding, and important Church leaders, including Cardinals have joined it. And in our days of the pontificate of Francis even the Pope seeks to support it. Sacramental discipline, which was already considerably weakened after Vatican II, is now in danger of being completely thrown out of the window.

Under the guise of proclaiming “mercy” and “compassion” — reiterating the general Christian invitation that the Lord is welcoming everyone — Pope Francis’ pontificate has become a concerted effort of theological liberals to change the moral basics of Catholicism and to bring it in line with the demands of the modern world. For this is really what theological liberalism or modernism is all about: adapting the Church to the modern secular sensibilities of liberty and equality.

What is happening in Catholicism since Vatican II, and now seems to culminate in the effort to abandon traditional sexual ethics, is nothing less than the introduction of the principles of the French Revolution in the Church.

As Torah minded believers we should be attentive of this phenomenon as a new manifestation of the spirit of lawlessness (i.e. Torahlessness), as a radicalization of Replacement Theology.

The Replacement Theology that was introduced in the early days of the Church can be viewed as an effort to synthesize the biblical and Jewish heritage of the Church with the surrounding culture of Greco-Roman Antiquity. Such a synthesis was only possible by giving up the culture and rites of the Torah. The Catholic Church was the result of this synthesis. For this reason Catholicism can be viewed as a secularization of the Jewish religion. In order to have universal impact, and to be acceptable to all people, it was deemed necessary for the message of the Gospel to shake off its Jewish particularisms. Thus the Church supposedly would be enabled to gain cultural influence and to effectively evangelize the masses of the Roman Empire without the obstacles of Jewish cultural forms.

What is happening nowadays is a radicalization of this Replacement Theology by an effort to synthesize the historical Catholic heritage of the Church with the surrounding culture of Naturalism and Secular Humanism. Such a synthesis is only possible by giving up traditional Christian sexual morality.

What will be the result of this proposed new synthesis? In any case not Catholicism or Christianity as we know it. If the agenda of the modernists is accepted by the Church, the result will be a rupture in the continuity of Church’s teaching and practice as big as when the Church rejected Torah observance and introduced Replacement Theology.

By adopting the umbrella of Secular Humanism and an attitude of inclusiveness the Church will become more thoroughly de-judaized then ever before. Not only Jewish rites and ritual laws but also Jewish ethics will be declared obsolete. This amounts to a nearly complete rejection of the Hebrew Bible, the so-called ‘Old Testament’. But this also implies the rejection of many and fundamental parts of New Testament teaching.

This modernist revolution is so fundamental that it could never succeed under the existing premises of Catholic doctrine. That’s why it is introduced by the Pope and his circle of liberal theologians as just a matter of pastoral care and compassion. It is presented to the faithful as if the practice of the Church could change without changing the doctrine. Once the practice is changed, however, in the name of mercy, traditional moral doctrine, while being preserved in name, will become completely obsolete and fossilized.

It will be clear to Messianics and to traditional Christians that what is happening here is nothing less than open apostasy from the faith. The pastoral terminology is just a smokescreen. What is called ‘mercy’ by Pope Francis and other Catholic modernists is just what traditional theology rejects as ‘cheap grace’. It is a ‘mercy’ that doesn’t require repentance in the sense of turning away from the state of sin. It is a lawless mercy which permits the sinner to continue in sin and yet be in ‘full communion’ with the Church and presumably with Christ.

The principle of lawlessness, that was introduced in the early history of the Church, nowadays seems to be on its way to a complete victory. If this analysis is correct, then we are witnessing an important preparatory phase for the coming of him who is called by St. Paul the “man of sin” and the “lawless (Torahless) one” (II Thess. 2:3, 8), the Anti-Christ or Anti-Messiah.

The coming of this Torahless person is connected to the “falling away” — the massive apostasy from the Christian faith — and other events that will precede the Second Coming of Christ:

II Thessalonians 2:3
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [i.e. the day of the Second Coming of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition […].

Why are these developments within the Roman Catholic Church important for us as Torah observant Messianics who deny many Catholic doctrines and precriptions? Because the Catholic Church is the historical heart and centre of Western culture, its unifying factor and its traditional moral compass. The apostasy and possible collapse of this Church is an alarming sign of the moral collapse and desintegration of our entire culture.

While it is true that the Catholic Church has been an important factor in the persecution of the Jews and a fierce opponent of Torah observance by Christians, this doesn’t mean that we should simply rejoice in her downfall. For we can be sure that when the Church is removed from the scene, or should choose to side with the forces of secularism, we’ll have to face a future of persecution. The Church will not be replaced by a more friendly power but to all probabilty by the naked aggression of an openly Anti-Christian Secularism.

The Catholic Church has known many Popes and other high prelates who were examples of wicknedness and lawlessness instead of examples of Christ and shepherds of his flock. But whatever these persons said and did, they never questioned or attacked the dogmatic and moral fundamentals of the Church.

After Vatican II all this has changed. The present crisis is mainly a consequence of the tidal waves of modernist theology that entered the Church during and after this Council. Pope Paul VI complained that the smoke of Satan had entered the Church. John Paul II tried to consolidate the situation and to limit the damage. This line of consolidation was continued under Benedict XVI. Under Francis, however, we face again the full seducing force of modernism at work. His pontificate might well initiate the final apostasy of the Christian Church.

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5 Responses to “Pope Francis and the Apostasy of the Christian Church”


  1. 1 Bart De Wilde October 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Some time ago Cardinal Danneels who was the leader of the Catholic Church in Belgium before, acknowledged publicly he was part of some ‘conspiracy group’ within the Church together with other high ranked Church people : the group regularly came together to discuss possible means that could be taken against Pope Paul VI. They didn’t succeed first because against their will it was Benedict XVI that succeeded. The actual Pope indeed was the candidate of this secret group. I understand that he had to follow a secret agenda (coming from this group, as this group wanted more ‘modernity’ and ‘liberty’. After this public acknowledgment (Cardinal Danneels seemed very proud of what he had done), there were rumors on conservative Catholic websites that Benedict XVI had been obliged (by this group) to renounce his function. Some ultra conservative Catholic groups even deny the actual Pope and claim to remain true to the only true Pope (Benedict XVI). They connect the actual Pope with the book of revelation and end time stories. For the moment there are some rumors the actual Pope would resign within a year because the program he was meant to fulfill, has been completed. Again .. this are only rumors. But given the public confession of Danneels himself, it could be there is some truth here ..

    • 2 Messianic613 November 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      These old progressive prelates like Danneels, Kasper, &c, really believe in not much at all, except perhaps in the false doctrine of universal reconciliation. For them all questions about doctrine and practice are only relevant for this life and the institutional Church, and it is all a matter of give and take. They seem to be deeply convinced that G’d will always bless what they decide here on earth, whatever it is. One never hears them on such subjects as mortal sin, the possibility to incur eternal damnation, and the necessity of sincere repentance. From what they say and do it is obvious that they are false shepherds and don’t believe in these things. If they did take the Gospel seriously, they wouldn’t consider for a moment to invite adulterers to the Lord’s Table without requiring repentance.

    • 3 bart November 3, 2015 at 4:10 am

      before I accepted Yeshua as my lord, I was a catholic: as a child I came out of a catholic family and i was educated a catholic. My parents were very convinced and supported the church. I have known the ‘system’ and only have this memory of a church insitution longing for power: there never was something of even a desire for HaShem. The only places in catholic church I discovered some hunger for HaShem and some faith were in the monasteries that have their focus on prayer. But as you maybe know, traditional monastic orders form a ‘system’ apart from the ‘system. outside. The abbot of a benedictine monastery has the same function and authority of a bishop. He is independant from the local catholic hierarchy. This ads to the difference. The focus is different here. A monastery normally has a different focus than the focus of the local hierarchy outside of a monastery. Furthermore In Belgium – from old a catholic country that the reformation lost in the struggles in the 16 century to the Spanish and the inquisition – the catholic church had always a strong influence in politics because or its connections with the social structures and the political parties (and even the royal family). It is this strong power in the social, educational and medical structures of the country that still guarantees some influence on national and political level. It is not pretty to discover this and experience power in stead of faith. In cases of interest we see a hidden play over people’s lifes without mercy for other thinking people. In my observation and life experience the catholic church never has changed this ‘medieval and ancient’ character trait and if they could, they would take it all back. We see this in their relationships with the other faith families as well. They always act as if they are the master in the game. Even towards muslims and jews. They act as if they know what people have to do in Jerusalem for instance. It is an attitude, an attitude of a master they continuously display. The bishop of Bruges once said me personally (during a visit at the home of my parents one night, while I was still young and studying): the whole thing like oechumene serves only as a thing to get other churches obedient and in one line to Rome again. From that time I knew enough. They will deny this in public, but they never changed concerning their hunger for power and controll. In fact catholic church is about power and controll. Many people that grew up protestants of evangelicals do not know the catholic church from the inside : they only see the surface. They become mislead by this ‘friendly looking’ surface and the manhy rituals. They do not know there is no faith in the church except for some places as some monasteries that do not interfere with politics .. Those mislead people are in danger when engaging in talks with the catholic church about questions as ‘unity’ etc … The official church doctrine is used to get other people within their system and controll. It is a good thing to differentiate between individual catholic people and the ‘system’. This difference ads to the confusion people have. There are ‘individuals’ that do have some faith and they are engaged trying to live out their ‘faith’ but within the ‘system’ they are used. This is something what – for instance – many anglicans do not know, when looking back to the catholic church.

  2. 4 Bart De Wilde October 31, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    I can follow the line of this article. I think you only miss some point in Church history. We must never forget that the Roman Catholic Church presented itself as the center of Christianity after it left the Eastern Church itself, that had its center in Byzantium. The original ‘Christian Church’ was centered in the East and the Catholic Church only presented itself as the original ‘power’ and Church after a power struggle with Byzantium: it didn’t want to submit itself to the original ‘Church leaders’ anymore. They invented a theology therefore (“Tu es Petrus …”).

    After this break we can speak of two Churches: the ancient Christian faith that we still can find in the Orthodox Church in the East, and the Catholic Church in the West. In theology this break developed further more with the coming of Thomas Aquinas and its theology. In that time there was some conclusion that heathen philosophies in the old times in some way were superior and could be connected with the Lord (such as Platonism etc .. ) and this view opposed strongly the theological views of the Orthodox Church at that time that saw this as heretic. But this development is important because it meant a foundational theological start for further deviation in the future.

    Many Orthodox Christian believers resist further contacts with Roman Catholics because they see the growing evolution as a confirmation of the original deviation. They also have an analogue view as the Reformation concerning the validity of the Papacy. They see it as heretic and against the will of Yeshua. In their view Western Church history has a logical bottomline, as the Reformation is only the prolongation of deviations and breakings that begun with the original rebellion of the Catholics against Byzantium. They claim their Orthodox faith as being the original unchanged ancient faith of Christianity.

    Of cause we know that Greek Christianity had its struggle with Judaism and chose for the help of the Emperor in pulling down the original Judaic faith : the Emperor Constantine — still being a heathen at that time — chose for a trinitarian Christianity (through the counsils) hoping to consolidate a universal spiritual culture all over the empire. For him it meant a choice for a cultural political unity and from there for an empowerment of the empire itself. He knew that the old pagan ways were dead. He had to consider the new upcoming spiritual forces of Christianlity and his decision was backing the trinitarian groups in their powerstruggle against the other believers. Enforcing a political-spiritual consensus where everybody would have to find something of himself in it. Enforced by the sword and power of the State under his authority.

    With the dividing of the Empire between East and West, the Church in Rome saw the opportunity to break free from the Church authority of Byzantium, supporting the western Emperor. It meant the beginning of Western history. I think Christian Orthodoxy has a good point in saying there is a spiritual foundation for the continuous (slow) deviation of the Western Church. If this is true, it would mean we can expect a same evolution in Protestant Churches also and even within time maybe a fusion between different Churches under Rome again, because the root of the deviation would be the same. I agree it will result in a uniform culture in the West (what political Europe needs and seeks), counterbiblical, and it could give way to a time of persecution for real believers. But this will be rationalized and empowered by the many cults we see today. Persecuting cults (for protecting people) can be the trigger or the excuse for the coming persecution. We may conclude — if this analysis is true — that we will testify the end of the relevance of the Church, as the Book of the Apocalypse reveals there is no Church there. For HaShem the Church on the long term does not play any role in His story of salvation.

    • 5 Messianic613 November 5, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      My position is that the root error in both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is Replacement Theology, and that major theological, christological, and ecclesiological errors are strongly connected to this root error.

      As to the development of the Papacy, I would say that the Western Church showed a stronger emphasis on a closed juridical and hierarchical system of authority and a stronger sense of logic. The point here is not that this logic was wrong but that it was applied to the wrong entity, namely the Roman Church instead of the Jewish Nation.

      If the Church is part of Israel, it cannot have a functional hierarchy in the form of a priesthood which is independent of Israel and its national restoration. The ‘priesthood’ of the Assembly of Messiah can only exist as the leadership of Overseers, Elders, Deacons, &c, which are part of the basically synagogal structure of the Assembly, in a spiritual participation of the Melchizekian and heavenly Priesthood of Messiah. These offices in the Assembly can be exercised here on earth only on the synagogal level, not on the level of the official Levitical Priesthood of the Temple, which will be restored in the Kingdom Age.

      So the Papal Church is essentially wrong in considering its hierarchy to be the legitimate successors of the Sanhedrin and the Levitical Priesthood. But it is correct in its logic of the necessity of a hierarchical leadership of the people of G’d.

      In a similar way I consider the theology and philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, with its sharp analytical distinctions and its demarcation between the domains of natural knowledge and divine revelation, an enormous progress when compared to the work of many Church fathers, including such geniuses as Augustine for example. Aquinas’ effect on Catholicism is comparable to that of Maimonides on Judaism. But while Maimonides’ basic strength was was in the new scholastic analysis of the Torah, Aquinas’ forte was philosophy proper. And while Maimonides made some philosphical errors leading to rationalistic pitfalls which had bad effects on parts of his theology, in Aquinas the defect was in his theological assumptions which sometimes did damage to his philosophical acumen.

      The Protestant Reformation was successful in breaking the power of the Papacy and the Roman Church. In a new atmosphere of freedom it cleared up some of the superstitions that had crept into the Church, and brought a new devotion to biblical studies. But it hugely suffered from a neglect of philosophy, theological systematics, and the ancient aristocratic culture of the liturgy. One of the misfortunes of the modern messianic movement is that it inherited these defects of the Reformation in an engrossed form, through the intermediate stage of popular evangelical culture and theology.


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