Rome, the Popes, and Paul

Ferrell Jenkins
Temple Terrace, Florida

Rome! The eternal city, it is called. Its ancient monuments are set like jewels among its hills. Not least of its fascinations, are the church buildings and constant reminders of the power of Roman Catholicism. Those who led in the apostasy from New Testament Christianity, which resulted in Catholicism, followed the philosophy of syncretism; they blended Judaism and Paganism with a little Christianity.

There are many reminders in Rome of the Apostle Paul: the Apian Way, the Julian Basilica in the Forum where Paul likely stood before Caesar, the Mamertine Prison where Paul was probably imprisoned during his second visit, and the church known as St. Paul's Outside The Wall where it is averred that Paul is buried. Paucity of evidence has never seemed to bother Roman Catholics.

Even St. Peter's Basilica - that conglomerate of architectural and artistic styles - bears reminders of Paul. During one of my visits to Rome I saw Pope Paul VI. As I drew in my breath seeking to make myself small to squeeze through a great mass of humanity, my heart sank as I gazed on this man who dares to call himself the successor to Peter and the vicar of Christ. The title assumed by the present prelate indicates that there have been previous popes of the Roman Catholic Church wearing the name of "Paul." I did some research in The Catholic Encyclopedia (old edition) official Catholic source book. I once had a priest to pretend that he had not heard of the set. Nevertheless the books have the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur. This means that they had the approval of the book censor and were published by the authority of a bishop.

Here are some of the things I learned about the previous popes named Paul. (All information is from Vol. 11 unless indicated. All italics mine for emphasis.)

Paul II

1. His grandfather was "commander-in-chief of the papal troops."

2. He was characterized by "extravagance" in his earlier years.

3. He elevated two grandsons to cardinals. One was aged fourteen and the other sixteen.

4. He had a granddaughter.

Note: In all fairness I must mention that the article did not say if he was married.

5. "It took some years to convince the emperor and his mediatizing advisors that Catholicism and Protestantism are as opposite light and darkness."

Note: This is extremely significant when viewed in the light of a statement by Cardinal Montini (now Paul VI) in Jan., 1962: "Our spiritual attitude toward them (non-Catholics) must change ... We must no longer consider them irreductible and foreign enemies, but brothers who have been painfully detached from the life tree of the one and only true Church of Christ. One must hope sincerely that some new and great event may come to change this sad state of schism among Christians" (The Record, Louisville Archdiocesan newspaper, June 22, 1963). He could not prove that the Roman Catholic Church is the "only true Church of Christ" if his soul depended on it, and it does.

6. Paul III "extorted."

7. "Since the Protestants repudiated a council presided over by the Roman pontiff, Charles was resolved to reduce the princes to obedience by force of arms. To this Paul did not object, and promised to aid him with three thousand ducats and twenty thousand infantry; . . ."

8. "He had his faults; but they injured no one but himself."

9. ". . . We are forced to confess that his reign was one of the most fruitful in the annals of the church."

Paul IV

"He reorganized the Inquisition in Italy on papal lines and for a generation was the terror of misbelievers." (Obviously Protestants, FJ)

2. "How so austere a person could be chosen pope was a mystery to everyone, especially to himself. I have never conferred a favor on a human being, he said."

3. He "elevated to the cardinalate his nephew Carlo Caraffa, a man utterly unworthy and without any ecclesiastical training, and enriched other relatives with benefices and estates taken from those who favored the Spaniards."

4. "The pontificate of Paul IV was a great disappointment."

5. "The Roman Index was established by Paul IV. A rigorous censorship watched over the Italian printing press" (XII, 768).

Paul V

1. "Paul V was no more free from nepotism than the other pontiffs of that century."

Paul VI has quite a legacy doesn't he? It is a shame that the name of the great apostle of the Gentiles is being thus degraded!

December 2, 1971