History of Roman Catholic Dogma

Luther W. Martin
St. James, Mo.

Definition: DOGMA - "A truth directly proposed by the Church for our belief as an article of divine revelation." (Page 154, A Catholic Dictionary, by Attwater).

Man celebrates the DAY of his birth, rather than the hour or minute of his birth. Buildin.-s are dated as of the YEAR of their construction, yet they may have required years to build. Similarly, the Roman Church is the product of several centuries of development.

Today, the Roman Catholic Church possesses unusual, peculiar and different characteristics in belief, teaching and practice. If we determine WHEN each of these various characteristics had its beginning, then we can learn that the Roman church is not the same today as it was 500 years ago, etc.

The Roman Catholic Church, As We Know It Today, Did Not Exist Prior To --

1950, since that is the year in which the DOGMA of the 'Bodily Assumption of Mary into Heaven' was promulgated. Although this teaching has been known since the earlier centuries, it was not an 'Article of Faith' . . . thus the Catholic member did not have to believe it, until the year 1950. Now, they MUST believe it or be guilty of a mortal sin.

1870, since it was in that year that the dogma of 'Papal Infallibility' was defined. Before that time, it was a subject of much conjecture. Now, EVERY CATHOLIC MUST BELIEVE IT or be guilty of sin.

1854, since that was the year of defining the dogma of the 'Immaculate Conception' of Mary. . . that is, she was without stain of original sin.

1545, as that is the date of the beginning of the Council of Trent, in which Catholicism had to solidify her teachings, and make them more explicit in order to combat the Reformation started a few years before by Martin Luther. It was in this Council that she proclaimed the Latin Vulgate to be authentic and free from error; defined the doctrine of original sin, and further defined the doctrine of Veneration of Saints.

1517, due to the fact that in that year she established rigid censorship of publications to be read by her members, and defined that the Pope had authority over Councils of the Church.

1431, as that was the date of defining the doctrines of Purgatory and Indulgences.

1414, as in that year, she ceased using both bread and wine in communion and resorted to the use of bread only.

1215, due to the fact, that at that date she defined the dogmas of Transubstantiation, Auricular Confession, and in fact, a Council passed 70 laws already drawn up by the Pope, without even reading them.

1123, as in that year, she prohibited the marriage of the priesthood, and declared any existing marriages of the clergy, null and void.

1059, in as much as in that year, the College of Cardinals was formed.

1054, as it was in that year that her departure from the Greek Church became final.

787, because in that year she authorized the use of 'Holy' images in church buildings.

606, as it was in that year that a Roman Bishop first took upon himself the title of Universal Bishop.

553, inasmuch as it was in that year that prayers to Mary and the 'Saints' were authorized. This was authorized by the 11 Council of Constantinople. Incidentally, the first Council even to be held in Rome did not convene until the year 1123.

431, at which time Mary was defined as the 'Mother of God.'

325, upon which date the 'Nicene Creed' was composed and approved. . . however, it was altered for Roman Church use in some of the later Councils.

325, inasmuch as that was the date of the first 'World-Wide' Council of the Church . . . Although it was called together by Constantine, who was NOT even a Christian. 315 Greeks and only 3 Latins attended this Council.

110, since it was in that year that the Greek word Catholic was first applied to a religious organization. The word I catholic' means general or universal, and was frequently used in reference to medicines that were used in treatment of many ailments or diseases . . . thus, catholic remedies.'

In order to demonstrate the fact that the first departure from the New Testament church pattern was Greek, rather than Roman, we list the attendance at the first seven 'world-wide' Councils of the Church:

(1) I Nicea, 315 Greeks, 3 Latins, --325 A.D.

(2) II Constantinople, 149 Greeks, 1 Latin -- 381 A.D.

(3) Ephesus, 67 Greeks, 1 Latin -- 431 A.D.

(4) Chalcedon, 350 Greeks, 3 Latins -- 451 A.D.

(5) II Constantinople, 158 Greeks, 6 Latins -- 553 A.D.

(6) III Constantinople, 51 Greeks, 5 Latins -- 680-1.

(7) II Nicea, 370 Greeks, 7 Latins -- 787 A.D.

Total all in attendance, 1486.

Total Greeks -- 1460.

Total Latins -- 26.

(The outline of a recent lecture delivered by Luther W. Martin of Rolla, Missouri).

Truth Magazine I:5, pp. 17, 19
February 1957