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Roman Catholic



Timeline of Catholic Church History

The origins of the Roman Catholic Church as it existed for 1000 years, through the Middle Ages until the Reformation—and still exists today as a somewhat different institution—can be traced to the 5th and 6th centuries. The purpose of this article is to take a look at that period of time and the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Rome fell to the Goths in 410 A.D. The Roman Empire was finished in the west of Europe. The Roman Empire lived on in the east based in its new capital (from 330) of Constantinople (Istanbul today). Before and after this time on the Christian Church was catholic (universal) but after 410 it developed differently in the east and the west. In the west the Church came to dominate the political world because of a vacuum I will address shortly; in the east the political world dominated the church.



Catholic Beliefs

The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church were not to split apart until the 11th century, though differences arose in the 5th century that were the seeds of this later schism. After Rome fell, the use and understanding of Greek in the west dropped precipitously as Latin prevailed. Few Greeks spoke Latin. Some disputes arose that were nothing more than mistranslations of each other's languages.

The Western church came to view Mary the Mother of Jesus as having lived a sinless life (Immaculate Conception) and taken to heaven without physical death (Assumption). The Eastern Church did not accept these beliefs but did believe Mary to be the Mother of God (Theotokos) and a lifelong virgin—beliefs not adapted by the west.

1000 years later, Protestants rejected all of these ideas (Mariology). All Christians have always believed in the Virgin Birth of Jesus, of course.

Christians in those days treasured relics (remains). These would be body parts of a Saint, or clothing and other items said to have been worn or used by Saints. From this developed the practice of praying to dead saints (or later other dead people); and praying for dead people—ideas rejected a millennium later by Protestants.



Catholic Religion

The first Pope (papa—a reference to fatherly care of the Believers) was Leo the Great (400-461). Leo was elected by the Roman people as the bishop of Rome in 440 and immediately proclaimed himself the supreme head of all Christendom.

A church council was called at Chalcedon in 451 to discuss this proclamation and the council instead declared that the bishops of Rome and Constantinople were equals. The Roman Catholic Church was officially proclaimed in response to that decision.

This was in no way some kind of conspiracy. Rome was where Peter and Paul had been martyred; the site of more Christian martyrdoms than any other city by far; had a long reputation for orthodoxy and piety among the churches there; and the largest city in the world.

In earlier times of church history the bishops of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Ephesus, Carthage, Lyon, and Hippo had been powerful but the influence of these cities was on the wane.

Constantinople had been a hotbed of heresies and division; and generally looked to Rome to solve their theological disputes. It was widely acknowledged that one of the bishops should have final authority to adjudicate the issues that faced the Church. Rome was the logical choice.

Pope Leo the Great soon assumed the role of civic and political leader of Rome—not traditionally the role of a minister. But this was no conspiracy either but rather the result of Barbarian invasions which had left no one else willing to perform these duties. The citizens of Rome insisted that he lead them. In 452 it was only Leo who had the guts to go outside the city gates and face Attila the Hun—famously persuading him, unarmed, into stopping his attacks on Europe.



Definition of Chalcedon

The Council at Chalcedon did produce a statement in which the entire church, east and west, agreed as to what we now call orthodox (accepted standard) Christian belief. Here is the Definition of Chalcedon (451):

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood;

truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body;

consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;

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in all things like unto us, without sin;

begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;

one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;

the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ;

as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.



Saint Patrick; Clovis; Benedict

There were other important developments during these times in the history of Christianity. One of the greatest missionaries in history was St. Patrick (390-460), a Briton who converted virtually the entire country of Ireland.

Clovis (466-511)—this name eventually became Louis—the king of the Franks, the most powerful tribe in Europe, converted to Catholicism in 499.

The Italian monk Benedict (480-547) founded Catholic monasticism—which preserved literacy, learning and Christianity during the Dark Ages in Europe.





Pope Gregory the Great

Gregory the Great (540-604) may have been the greatest Pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. His great-grandfather and another relative had been popes. Gregory was rich, and lived a distinguished public life before deciding to become a monk. He used personal funds to establish seven monasteries in Rome and Sicily—and gave away the remainder of his wealth to the poor.

Gregory left a life of luxury for a life wearing a hairshirt; eating only raw fruit and vegetables. He accepted an appointment as representative of the Pope in Constantinople for seven years, during which time he became well acquainted with Eastern theology, spirituality, and church life. After this, Gregory longed to return to a monastic life of solitude and prayer but was recruited for a job he did not want: Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Gregory the Great—the first monk to become Pope—was a prolific writer. In his writings we sense a man theologically astute; pastorally sensitive; soaked in Scripture; with a deep spiritual awareness; and remarkably humble. He possessed a heart fervent with desire to see the church be just, honest and loving to friends and foes.

Gregory became the ruler of Italy—not because he wanted to be, but because no one else would accept the job of protecting the country against invaders.

He sent a monk named Augustine to convert pagan Britain in 595—and he succeeded. He baptized King Ethelbert and 10,000 of his subjects at Easter 601. Augustine became the Archbishop of Canterbury and is today considered the father of the English Church.

Gregory may be the father of western music, Gregorian chant taking its name from him.

Gregory also promulgated the doctrine of purgatory—unknown in the Eastern Church and rejected a millennium later by Protestants. This was based on a widespread hope through the entire Christian community (from ideas of Origen) that God might save some people after death after a purification—a temporary punishment of the fire of God. This would apply not to those who rebelled against the gospel, but those who have erred in their beliefs out of ignorance.







Orthodoxy versus Heresy

The 6th and 7th centuries were a time when orthodoxy in Christian beliefs solidified. Orthodox was defined as consistent with the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles; with the teachings of the church fathers who followed the Apostles and in some cases knew them; with doctrines that had universal consensus by Christians everywhere—which were harmonious.

The opposite of this is heresy, which is propagation of doctrines that are not in alignment with Scripture or tradition.

On many occasions the church accepted some doctrines put forth by a church leader but not all. For instance the church rejected St. Augustine's doctrine of predestination—though it was revived 1000 years later by Protestants under John Calvin. A heretic was one out to destroy the orthodox teachings of the church, generally by bringing forth something new not contained in the Bible.

Orthodoxy had been formed by, in descending order of influence but all having some input: church councils, synods, bishops, priests, and ordinary Christians. To enforce orthodoxy, the church could excommunicate a heretic (put someone out of the religious community) as anathema (accursed).

The idea is to eliminate quarreling within the Body of Christ; and prevent the gullible (or simple) from being perverted by false doctrines. In most cases, orthodox beliefs were the middle way between extremes that presented themselves from time to time.





The Miracle that is Christianity

By the year 600 a barely known (during His lifetime) Jew named Jesus, who died with a handful of followers, was worshipped from Ireland to India by people from all walks of life—from emperors to slaves. In the east they had become the church of the emperor—in the west the church of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. When I resume this story a new danger arises: Muhammad and Islam.

By this time the canon of the New Testament was used in all Christendom; the doctrine of the Trinity fully developed; and the ecclesiastical structure of the Church in place.

No one could have predicted that this little baby Jesus, born to a virgin, would found a religion that would take over the known world and that He would become the central figure of human history. Christians everywhere believed—and believe today—that this is a supernatural story through the work of the Holy Spirit. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary and extraordinary people had been martyred rather than disavow the resurrection and Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are two billion Christians on Earth today.




James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 03, 2009:

I received this comment via email from a gentleman who asked me to post it for him as he was unable to successfully register to do so with HubPages:

Why Mary, Why Christ & Why The Church

The Family of Mary & Joseph, with a Substantial Foundation in the extended family of the Jewish F aith and with an Wise Understanding of Jewish Scripture, and Living a Virtuesis Life in a Religious Community; was the “Perfect Soil” “Pure Culture” for the Birth of Jesus Christ.

For God to act through the Collective Consciousness of20Mankind, and Save Humanity from individual original sin (“Individual Selfishness”) (“A separation from the Universal Subjective Collective Consciousness of God and His Will);

The Consciousness of God, The Pure Awareness of God (“THE PERSONALITY” OF GOD”) (“Universal Life Consciousness It-self”) needed to be individualized in Humanity, needed to become part of the HUMAN CONSCIENCE

Thus The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit in Mankind through a Woman in such a culture was Necessary. It took some thousands of years for such a “Culture’ to be formed on this Earth and a woman to be chosen. “The Chosen Birth”

Once Christ was born into “Humanity”, God, The Collective Consciousness of the Universe became a part of the Individual Collective Consciousness of Mankind and thus a part of all individual CONSCIENCE so Man through Individual Self Refection “Individual Self Analysis” could subjectively know God and the will of god for his own life and thus take responsibility for his life under the guidance of Christ through the Holy Spirit.

NOW a process of Individual Human Holy Growth for Man is possible under the Holy Spirit into the Image and Likeness of God “Jesus Christ”; Now this is For-Ever possible in Individual Man. A Conscious awareness of Being in Christ and a Conscious awareness of Christ being in us is Real for all Individuals.


Now the Rights of Man are greater then the Laws of Mankind and Christianity is Born. Man need not look out side him-self

for God, his self worth and dignity is not out-side him-self. His Dignity and Worth is out of his Reciprocal Relationship with Christ ,not through knowledge and actions in mans world. Christ is the Reason and above human reason for Individual life.

NOW Through the Holy Spirit acting through the Individual consciousness of the Individual Man; M an formed The Catholic “Universal” Church as the Collective Body of Christ “The Culture of Christ”

Now Individual Men guided by the Holy Spirit in the Culture of the Catholic (Universal) Church can give birth to Christ in Ones Self, in them-selves, and obtain Everl asting Life while giving Life to the Body of Christ “Humanity” and create a World of “Peace and Freedom’ for all mankind and a world with-out End.

Security Consultant/Integrator

with Cisco Unified Communication Solutions

Edward F. Moore

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 26, 2009:

Tony Ballatore— Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

I was once an avid coin collector. Hard times hit back in 1980 and I had to sell my excellent collection of 10 years. I never got back into it after that.

I did not address the "Apostate" but I did write about this period of time in my previous HubPage:

Thank you for your gracious comments. I appreciate it.

Tony Ballatore on October 24, 2009:

I enjoyed your work; well written & researched. It was open, objective, and, dare I say, catholic.

Let me know if you plan to write something regarding the conflict around the time of 'Julian the Apostate'. I find this point in history very interesting, and as a coin collector, rich with beautiful and inexpensive coins.

Kind regards,


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 02, 2009:

stars439— I have to agree. The first painting I have a copy of in my living room. It is beautiful. Thank you for saying so. I appreciate the visitation.

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on October 02, 2009:

Beautiful Art. God Bless

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 29, 2009:

Make Money— Oh yes. I have been on the New Advent website quite a bit. I talked about Ignatius and the other church fathers on an earlier Hub

I agree with you completely the word catholic with a small "c" was used very early—probably in the last part of the first century. But the term Roman Catholic with a big "C" I can find no record of being used until Pope Leo. And after this the ecclesiastical, institutional, hierarchical Church that would go on to dominate the Middle Ages came to be as we know it today.

I apologize for the confusion. I will go look at the pages you recommended and I appreciate the tip.

Thank you for visiting and for your fine remarks.

Make Money from Ontario on September 29, 2009:

Hi James. You have quite the history of Christianity in this and other Hubs. I can't say that I agree with everything you say, particularly that the origins of the Catholic Church can be traced to the 5th and 6th centuries. Ignatius of Antioch first mentioned the word Catholic, a Greek word meaning universal in, if I can remember correctly his Epistle to the Smyrnæans. Ignatius of Antioch is one of the Fathers of the Church who died at Rome between 98 and 117 AD.

It's clear that you have done a lot of research for these Hubs James. You might also consider this page on the Fathers of the Church for your research. It has all the writings of the Fathers of the Church as well as the Liturgies of James, Mark and of the Blessed Apostles (The Liturgy is what is said in the Holy Mass. All three of these old Liturgies show that the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist was recognized then the same as it is today in Catholic Churches), list of Church Councils, the Catholic Apocrypha writings and some Miscellaneous writings.

You may also be interested in the list of Popes.

God bless


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2009:

Tina Irene— Actually I didn't know that. I thought the West Frisian Islands were Flemish but I didn't really know. As a former devoted amateur cartographer, I do know where they at least. :)

(And I meant "zee pitbull" and I meant "reared up." Couple of corrections there. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2009:

Tina Irene— hmmm . . . my little friend has become de pitbull. (with French accent)

1) "In 1567, Pope Pius V cancelled all grants of indulgences involving any fees or other financial transactions."

Catholic Encyclopedia: article Indulgences

Odd, he would cancel something that was not going on.

2) So there was no role played by the Inquisition to keep translations of the Bible out of the hands of the common people.

1215 Pope Innocent III issued a law commanding “that they shall be seized for trial and penalties, WHO ENGAGE IN THE TRANSLATION OF THE SACRED VOLUMES



In 1483 the infamous Inquisitor General Thomas Torquemada began his reign of terror as head of the Spanish Inquisition; King Ferdinand and his queen “PROHIBITED ALL, UNDER THE SEVEREST PAINS, FROM TRANSLATING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE INTO THE VULGAR TONGUES, OR FROM USING IT WHEN TRANSLATED BY OTHERS”. For more than three centuries the Bible in the common tongue was a forbidden book in Spain and multitudes of copies perished in the flames, together with those who cherished them.

The Constitutions of Thomas Arundel, issued in 1408 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, made this brash demand: “WE THEREFORE DECREE AND ORDAIN THAT NO MAN SHALL, HEREAFTER, BY HIS OWN AUTHORITY, TRANSLATE ANY TEXT OF THE SCRIPTURE INTO ENGLISH, OR ANY OTHER TONGUE, by way of a book, libel, or treatise, now lately set forth in the time of John Wyckliff, or since, or hereafter to be set forth, in part of in whole, privily or apertly, upon pain of greater excommunication, until the said translation be allowed by the ordinary of the place, or, if the case so require, by the council provincial” (John Eadie, The English Bible, vol. 1, 1876, p. 89). Consider Arundel’s estimation of the man who gave the English speaking people their first Bible: “This pestilential and most wretched John Wycliffe of damnable memory, a child of the old devil, and himself a child or pupil of Anti-Christ, who while he lived, walking in the vanity of his mind … crowned his wickedness by translating the Scriptures into the mother tongue”

The Fifth Lateran Council (1513-1517), which charged that NO BOOKS [of any kind!] should be printed except those approved by the Roman Catholic Church. “THEREFORE FOREVER THEREAFTER NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PRINT ANY BOOK OR WRITING WITHOUT A PREVIOUS EXAMINATION, TO BE TESTIFIED BY MANUAL SUBSCRIPTION, BY THE PAPAL VICAR AND MASTER OF THE SACRED PALACE IN ROME, and in other cities and dioceses by the Inquisition, and the bishop or an expert appointed by him. FOR NEGLECT OF THIS THE PUNISHMENT WAS EXCOMMUNICATION, THE LOSS OF THE EDITION, WHICH WAS TO BE BURNED, a fine of 100 ducats to the fabric of St. Peters, and suspension from business for a year.

Council of Trent in 1546, which placed translations of the Bible, such as the German, Spanish, and English, on its list of prohibited books and forbade any person to read the Bible without a license from a Catholic bishop or inquisitor.


[Keep in mind all this was to protect the purity of the Latin translation of the Bible. As if. It was written in Greek—not Latin]

3) You are saying Jesus has judged Martin Luther and sent him to Hell? And you know this how?

I don't understand your goody-two shoes remark. I am looking at my last comment and I don't get it.

I have the 95 Theses in front of me now. They look pretty good to me.

I don't think Luther wanted to split the Church. He wanted to reform the Church—hence Reformation. You can look at it as the Devil's work or God's work. Who is in control ultimately of Creation?

I was talking about facts not opinions missy! Every link you have sent me is from or .org or .net Nothing wrong with that. All I was saying is, if you are studying any subject, and you only listen to the subject itself tell you what happened, you will not have a full view of anything. I read AND the works of the Reformers themselves, and secular historians, too.

I really admire Cardinal Newman. But that quote you keep popping up with:

"Too be DEEP in history is to cease to be a Protestant".

Is nonsense. I dare say I don't know a single person personally who has read as many pages of history than I have. I have literally hundreds of history books behind me right now, and as many on theology, written from many points of view. All history is written from a point of view. And don't give me that infallible crap, either. When the Church is reunified, that won't be part of it, rest assured.

But I love you and your agile mind and your learned comments and your tenacity and your commitment to your beliefs—even if you did rare up on me this time. :D

Tina Irene on September 16, 2009:

Double post. Sorry

Tina Irene on September 16, 2009:

James -

You know yours too.

So, that's all you have to say after all that stuff you replied with? (hee, hee) But, I bet you're thinking of coming up with another hub sort of like this one on that "diet of worms" (YUK!). :D

At first I said only "Frisian", but then thought you might ask which one. So, I added "West" since there's a difference between the West Frisian Islands and the rest of them. The West is Dutch (The Netherlands); but I bet you knew that.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2009:

Tina Irene— Not only Frisian but West Frisian! Wow! You know your ancestry.

Tina Irene on September 16, 2009:

PS, James -

A correction needs to be made to the last line of my last reply, as follows:

Tina: a Seneca/French/West Frisian/German/Welsh/Irish and Alpha female member of the Fightin' Irish!

That's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Tina Irene on September 16, 2009:

James -

Regarding your last reply:

It appears to be that the ducks of history need to be placed in their proper order and the misinformation needs serious correction. The Church wasn't "way off track" but there are plenty of non-Catholics who open their off-track mouths, thus displaying their ignorance of Catholicism and of history. This is always the case. And, should one insist upon spouting history, it behooves him/her to spout ALL of it, that being, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I don't mean you, necessarily, but your reply is WAY off base.

These are the DOCTRINAL and HISTORICAL reasons why:

(1) "The sale of indulgences" was NEVER part of Catholicism. Those who had the Doctrine of Indulgences wrong ended up standing corrected.

(2) For 1500 years, the Bible was HAND WRITTEN, not zoomed off a printing press; and what's more, most people couldn't read until starting around the 1700s. Therefore, the Church isn't to blame at all regarding the fact that people couldn't READ anything at all, including THE Bible. And even Martin Luther had to read HIS anti-Biblical "bible" to most of his followers.

(3) It doesn't go unnoticed that some non-Catholics complain about the "wealth" of the Church while conveniently "forgetting" the multi-billion dollar "business" of non-Catholic TV evangelists, like Robert Schuller and his "Crystal Cathedral" (talk about "wealth"). And I'm not going to get into the TV evangelists (Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell) who had all their little sheep listeners send them tons of money to help their buddy, the "president" of Guatemala (Jose Efrain Rios MONTT), carry out his program of mass extermination, GENOCIDE, of 70,000 Maya Catholics from 1970 through 1990. Again...70,000 Catholics in RECENT history! And don't even mention it's because they were Maya because one of my children is half Maya and I have enough Seneca in me that I'm LABELED "non-white" by most of the state "laws" of this country, laws made by...guess who?...Protestants. According to THEM, I'm a blue-eyed Native American and THAT couldn't be dumber. So, don't hand me any "Protestant goody-two-shoe" baloney.

Luther in robes and sandals? HA! Not in Germany, pal. Luther suffered from what can only be described as bipolar disorder and we have his writings from his days as a monk and as a priest which point out his medical struggles and in which he clearly states that both his parents had been physically abusive to him. It's a known historical fact that his father had a wicked temper and had been accused of killing another man. But he moved Martin and his mother away from their ancestral home to AVOID prosecution. Yeah...his father was a piece of work. In fact, in his writings, Luther states that his parents' abuse of him was the reason he joined the religious life, which of course is the wrong reason. So, don't spout "robes and sandals" to me regarding Luther 'cause Christ never said "Bible only" and therefore, Luther mislead others to no end and Christ's Judgment of him is: "millstone around the neck and thrown into the water".

To demonstrate how conflicted Luther was, this is what he told his followers:

"Accordingly, we concede to the papacy that they sit in the true Church, possessing the office instituted by Christ and inherited from the apostles to teach, baptize, administer the sacrament, absolve, ordain, etc."

Sermon for the Sunday after Christ's Ascension; John 15:26-16:4 (2nd sermon), page 265, paragraph 28. (1522)

Luther remarked several years later in another sermon to his followers:

"We concede - as we must - that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] say is true: that the papacy has God's word and the office of the apostles, and that we have received Holy Scripture, Baptism, the Sacrament, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them?"

Sermon on the gospel of St. John, chaps. 14 - 16, in vol. 24 of LUTHER'S WORKS recorded in 1557, St. Louis, MO, Concordia, 1961, 304

YOU "highly recommend" reading history from "both points of view"? Well, history is history regardless of "points of view". Points of view means OPINIONS, not FACTS. Therefore and again:

"Too be DEEP in history is to cease to be a Protestant".

The key word is "DEEP". Therefore, the Diet of Worms, you say? Well then, bring it on, James!

Tina: a Seneca member of the Fightin' Irish! :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 15, 2009:

Tina Irene— The Reformation is a complex subject. From the sale of Salvation (Indulgences) to the excommunication of people who dared wish to read the Bible for themselves—as Scripture commands us to do—in my humble opinion the Church got way off track. The Diet of Worms is—speaking of history—quite an interesting subject to study. I have to run an errand but in general I will say I have studied this period of history extensively. It took 20 men to carry the Pope's train in those days it was so laden with jewels. And in shuffled in poor Martin—in a robe and sandals. I remember another guy in a robe and sandals, too.

I'll get back to you later. I read the history from both points of view. And this I would highly recommend. :)

Tina Irene on September 15, 2009:

James -

You're welcome, and thanks for your nice reply.

I must say though, I agree with hardtimes regarding historical facts and therefore, the two of us agree with John Henry Cardinal Newman who said:

"To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant."

And the following is from the link at the end of this comment:

"Newman’s maxim is not intended to be a "rule" that those Protestants versed in Church history "must" enter the Catholic Church. It is a general observation that Church history argues against Protestantism and that those Protestants who study history deeply many times realize that the Catholic Church is the true Church.

"Ultimately, belief in the truth of Catholicism is a gift of faith given by God that must be accepted and acted upon by the recipient in order for the recipient to become Catholic. With Protestant historians, it may be that some, for whatever reason of divine Providence, were not given that gift; or that those who were given that gift did not accept it or act upon it for some reason. We must commend such people to God’s mercy, trusting that if these individuals follow him to the best of their ability according to the light of truth that they have, it may be possible for them to achieve salvation." (cf. Lumen Gentium, 16)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 12, 2009:

cosette— Many Cathedrals are utterly beautiful. I have been blessed to visit many in Europe, (sadly) mostly used as museums these days, that took hundreds of years to build. Incredible works of human hands for the Glory of God. And being inside them, one does feel an overwhelming sense of the supernatural—unless viewed with a hard heart, of course.

I thank you for your wonderful words. I enjoy your Hubs, too. You are an excellent writer. :)

cosette on September 12, 2009:

WOW. love the imagery! in fact, i was going to write a hub about just that topic alone...even though i am no longer a practicing Catholic, i still visit the church i went to as a child (St. Mary's Basilica) and just sit there in the quiet and look at everything and meditate and come away feeling refreshed. this is probably one of the most comprehensive hubs i have read here. i am definitely ranking it UP. great job!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 11, 2009:

hardtimes— Personalized? As in fiction? May I ask what facts I may have out of place?

hardtimes from USA on September 11, 2009:

Sorry to say that I cannot agree with your personalized rendition about the Roman Catholic Church, its history, etc. I greatly prefer traditionalist orthodoxy in Faith, meaning, of course, Catholicism. Of course, you're welcome to your opinions. But, I prefer actual history instead.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 10, 2009:

Tina Irene— I have several friends and acquaintances who spent time at L'Abri with the Schaeffers in Switzerland, including the author Os Guinness.

I see that Scott Hahn went to Gordon Conwell. My friend Frank James is in the administration there—might be the President.

I really like Norman Rockwell's work. I featured one of his paintings in my Hub "American Art."

You and Clive Staples born on the same day? I think I have all of his books.

Encyclical, that's it. I had a brain freeze. It happens when one gets old. :)

I still haven't researched that Jesus letter. Been a little tied up but I'll get to it soon. It sounds exciting. Thanks for writing back.

Tina Irene on September 10, 2009:


Thanks for your awesome responses!

Schaeffer grew up in Pennsylvania, like Scott and Kimberley Hahn did. As you know, he was pro-life, like the Hahns, you and I are.

I read "The Screwtape Letters". However, long before I read it, I read the article "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1950s. I was just a kid, of course, but my parents had a subscription to The Saturday Evening Post. That's how I happened to read it. I was captivated by the reproductions of Norman Rockwell's paintings, too (I know...real boring). Anyway...C.S. Lewis and I were born on the same day (not the same year, though, of course). And the Apologia! What a piece of writing!

I think the word may be "encyclical", instead of "proclamation". (?) Both JP II and Benny the 16th were personally and horribly affected by what went on in Europe before and during WW II. Yeah...Benny's something else. Did you know, before he was elected pope he had been the head of the Office of the Inquisition? It's not called "the Inquisition" anymore but, it's the same office. He's definitely a "get back to it" type of guy when it comes to Catholic apologetics. Personally, I feel that's been needed for quite a while and, that may be one of the reasons he was elected pope.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 09, 2009:

Tina Irene— Very astute observations about McCain. You are very sharp.

I love John Paul II. I have several of his books; loved his proclamation (not right word) about the human body?; and have watched every film and documentary about him available. I especially enjoyed the biopic that starts with him at WWII.

I admire Pope Benedict, too. You got to admit: he's got a pair! And what an intellect for a Holy Man! I have 2 of his books.

I have "Apologia Pro Vita Sua" right behind me. But I also enjoy Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis and many others. I learn things from all of them.

Thank you so much for your gracious and learned words. I'll get to that Jesus letter tonight after my company leaves.

Tina Irene on September 09, 2009:


Many thanks for your replies.

I can see by your hubs that you are not anti-Catholic. I discern that you are a seeker of wisdom and truth.

I agree that McCain was totally against abortion as you and I are. Sadly though, the Nation as a whole was sick and tired of the Republicans, who (for one example) made little or no effort to stop the Dems from forcing Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac into issuing mortgages to those who couldn't afford them, thus setting the stage for the consequential financial collapse. I noticed that as soon as the first stimulus packaged was signed by both presidential candidates, McCain appeared to loose zeal for the Oval Office, and I don't blame him. He knew what he would be walking into as a result of the stimulus package (especially at his age), that being, the highly probable consequence of serious financial problems. McCain is no dummy. I wouldn't have walked into that either and I'm younger than McCain.

Regarding the RCC: history can be debated until the cows come home but that doesn't change it, whether it was good, bad or ugly. I'm the first to admit there had been members of the Church who were very, very bad. In recent years, the Church, through Blessed Pope John Paul II, apologized for any and all harm, or perceived harm, that any Catholic may have caused anyone from the beginning of Christianity forward. So, given the apology, further complaints are merely "sour grapes". (I'm not including you in on that, by the way.)

Some of the greatest members of the Church were converts from the Protestantisms, such as John Cardinal Newman, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and Catholic apologists Scott and Kimberley Hahn. I, myself, am a revert to the Faith. What convinces those who decide on Catholicism and the Church is the theological and historical evidence. Speaking for myself, along with the evidence, is the awesome supernatural events that I have unworthily received, some of which I haven't written hubs on yet and don't know if I can because there aren't words in any human language that can do justice to some of the events, although I may try. Nonetheless, there are no images available that can depict what I have been shown so, if I go forward with writing some events, I'll have to drawn what I've been shown as best I can in order to properly present certain, particular events. To this aim, maybe the college courses I took in drawing will be of some help (?).

Anyway..."can't wait" (as in NOT) to see what you'll have to say about those johnny-come-lately "reformers", who "reformed" themselves and each other (hee, hee).

Here's information on Scott and Kimberley Hahn:

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 09, 2009:

divinemercylover1— I am humbled by your gracious compliments. Thank you, John. I am going to get over and read more of your fine poetry tonight. I'm a bit behind on my reading of other Hubs.

Faithfully Yours,


divinemercylover1 on September 09, 2009:

Well James, another beautifully mastered selection and incredibly prolific writing. I see you falling right in line with the greats Christian Authors of all time. Thankyou for always being so alive with the written word.

Kind Regards,


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 08, 2009:

Tina Irene— I was not a big McCain fan but I had no idea he was anti-Catholic. I've never heard that before. I had lunch with him once here in Orlando with about 10 people, before the Florida Primary. I hosted an event here for Sam Brownback. There's a photo of us together on my "Giorgio Armani" Hub. I also liked Huckabee and even Romney. So, McCain was my 4th choice out of four but I had to favor him over Omaba—not only an pro-abortionist but he voted down a law in Illinois that would have prevented live born babies from being starved to death.

Well, I like the reformers in general but we can save that for when I get to them. That will be further on down the road.

I am in no way anti-Catholic. I have books right behind me by plenty of Catholics and I think they are great theologians, Godly men, and excellent writers, too.

I probably am not a big fan of the Catholic Church as it was in 1500. But today, I think its just dandy.

Thanks. I enjoy the banter about such important issues as these.

Tina Irene on September 08, 2009:


Your first reply: I'm with you! And no, I didn't mean you thought Christ was illiterate. I merely posted that some erroneously do. And the letter! "speaks with authority" as Christ sounds, quoted in the Gospels. Whereas the letter's not necessary to me as "proof" of any sort, whenever I read it, it gives me the feeling Christ is standing right beside me; therefore, I'm with you on "WOW"!

Regarding your thoughts on as to why Christ is quoted by others: I feel it's because of the concept of "word of mouth", meaning the best recommendation of all.

Your second reply: the opinions of 16th-21st-century "reformers" (far, far from the time of the documented sources) are full of theological and historical holes, and that's the nicest thing I can say.

Regarding anti-Catholics: in a nutshell, we Catholics don't care.

The filioque means "(and the Son)" and it has to do with whether or not the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Father AND the Son. As stated, the theological discussion on this concept has been open since the Nicaea Council of 325. It still needs to be discussed, of course, so...Cerularius was full of beans not discussing it AND trying to use it as an excuse. As stated, he was power hungry 'cause he wanted to be "the pope".

Your last reply: Yeah..."small world" regarding First Things, and other thing we have in common.

Sorry Catholics didn't vote the way some think they "should have" (I'm disappointed too) but frankly, the other presidential candidate is an anti-Catholic. If he weren't, than maybe the Catholic vote would have gone the other way. On the other hand, if he weren't an anti-Catholic and the Catholic vote went the other way, anti-Catholics would be hollering that Catholics have "no right to vote their religion". Catholics are always "darned if they do, and darned if they don't", in the opinion of some non-Catholics. This is one of the reasons Catholics don't care about the opinions of non-Catholics regarding Catholics.

It used to be that the choice between two presidential candidates had some substance. Then, it became a choice between "the lesser of two evils". This past presidential choice was, "name your poison".

And PS: our Nation will come to rue the day the current "president" was voted in; in fact, we've been seeing the horrible results since January.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 07, 2009:

Tina Irene— I am sure Cerularius played a hand but the Filioque seems to have been a rather serious issue to both sides (neither was willing to give an inch). Or maybe I have named it wrong. The dispute was about whether the Holy Spirit comes from the Father OR from the Father and the Son OR from the Son—right?

Yes, but I was personally very disappointed that Catholics voted for a pro-abortion candidate in such large numbers when us Evangelicals thought the Catholics were our allies in that battle.

You read First Things? Really? WOW! Now you have my attention! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 07, 2009:

Tina Irene— Sorry about that. I read the page and it did not strike me as anti-Catholic. I may not be as sensitive to such a thing as you are. Well, I have more scholarly tomes behind me in my library but they are not so easily accessible on the internet. I just thought it expressed the general view of the Reformers as I have heard it expressed many times over the years. It was simply the highest rated Google search under "canon 28: Council of Chalcedon. Nothing more. I thought you might find it interesting—not offensive. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 07, 2009:

Tina Irene— Oh yes. I agree. I never thought Jesus Christ was illiterate. Are you kidding me? I am sure He knew every language on Earth AND the language of angels. It is recorded, I think, that He read from the scrolls in the synagogue.

While I am quite familiar with Agabus, Thaddeus, and of course, Eusebius, I am still shocked about this. Never in all my born days have I heard about anything written by Christ Himself. I never doubted that He could have written a trillion pages—but figured God must have had a mysterious reason why He wanted the testimony of His disciples rather than Jesus Himself. I don't automatically doubt you, but this is so stunning—after years of studying—that I will need to search this diligently and get back to you regarding it. WOW!

Tina Irene on September 07, 2009:


On miscellaneous topics:

The Great Schism was caused by power-hungry Michael Cerularius. The filioque was merely an "excuse".

Last time I checked, US Catholics can vote as they see fit, just like non-Catholics...although it was obvious to me that Obama was a big spender during the presidential campaign.

I'm a fan of "First Things" too.

Tina Irene on September 07, 2009:


Regarding the website you provided:

Besides the fact that it is totally anti-Catholic, there's no header or any other information identifying which one of the 39,000 Protestant sects that website belongs to. This isn't surprising because it's the usual case when it comes to those types of websites. What's more, in that website there is no historically-accepted, documented evidence that refutes the historically-accepted, documented evidence on record. Therefore, what's in that website is OPINION only, everyone's entitled to an opinion but, opinion does not and cannot change history.

Right off the bat, the website says in so many words, there's "no evidence" that Christ designated St. Peter as Head Apostle when Christ says to St. Peter, "And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." (Matt 16:19).

Even the Lutherans (LCMS) hold to Christ's Words on this, that being, St. Peter is Head of the Apostles. So, maybe the person who runs that website (and his group, if he has one), threw Matthew 16:19 out of his "bible".

Tina Irene on September 07, 2009:


Before your comment regarding the Christ's letter, I had never heard it referred to as "the Golden Legend", that "title" did not come from the Early Church, and so it appears to be a later (perhaps, non-Catholic) concept.

There are those who erroneously think Christ had been illiterate (I'm not saying you do); but, not surprisingly, those who hold this also never read the New Testament. If they did, they'd see where, at age 12, Christ conversed with the elders in the Temple and they marveled at what He knew at such a young age. Also, during His Ministry, Christ taught in the Temple and as such, must have spoken and written Hebrew along with Aramaic. In addition, He wrote in the dirt during the incident in which men wanted to stone a woman "caught in adultery". That's a fairly well-known account so, I can't see where there are some who try to say Christ "couldn't read and write".

In any case, both Christ's letter and the letter to Him that prompted His letter are in Eusebius' Church History, Book I, Chapter 13. It is my understanding that Christ's letter is in the Vatican and it is hand-written, of course. (No typewriters in those days, hee-hee).

Regarding the letter:

The ruler of Edessa (Abgarus) wrote to Christ. Of course, this was before Christ's death. This is a COPY (note "copy") of what his letter to Christ says:

"Abgarus, ruler of Edessa, to Jesus the excellent Saviour who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem, greeting. I have heard the reports of you and of your cures as performed by you without medicines or herbs. For it is said that you make the blind to see and the lame to walk, that you cleanse lepers and cast out impure spirits and demons, and that you heal those afflicted with lingering disease, and raise the dead.

"And having heard all these things concerning you, I have concluded that one of two things must be true: either you are God, and having come down from heaven you do these things, or else you, who does these things, are the Son of God.

"I have therefore written to you to ask you if you would take the trouble to come to me and heal the disease which I have. For I have heard that the Jews are murmuring against you and are plotting to injure you. But I have a very small yet noble city which is great enough for us both."

The answer (note, NOT A COPY) of Jesus to the ruler Abgarus by the courier Ananias:

"Blessed are you who hast believed in Me without having seen Me. For it is written concerning Me, that they who have seen Me will not believe in Me, and that they who have not seen Me will believe and be saved. But in regard to what you have written Me, that I should come to you, it is necessary for Me to fulfill all things here for which I have been sent, and after I have fulfilled them thus to be taken up again to Him that sent Me. But after I have been taken up I will send to you one of My disciples, that he may heal your disease and give life to you and yours."

I capitalized the possessive and personal pronouns in Christ's letter that refer to Him and the Father because that is merely my way, is all.

For me, the SOUND of the letter is the way Christ sounds in the Gospels. This is the reason I hold that it is a bona fide letter from Christ.

Eusebius' history on this says a post-Ascension disciple of Christ, named Thaddeus, was sent to Abgarus and, long story short, Thaddeus healed Abgarus.

Here's the web page on Church History (Eusebius), Book I. Scroll down to Chapter 13:

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 07, 2009:

Tina Irene— For one Protestant view of Canon 28 you may read here:

I agree with everything you said here and will anticipate word about that most interesting letter.

I enjoy your intellectual powers and gifts.

Tina Irene on September 07, 2009:

James--You're welcome and it's my pleasure to be communicating with a fine, intelligent person as you, obviously, are.

Regarding canon 28, what I'm reading in the web page is:

"The twenty-eighth ratified the third canon of the Council of Constantinople (381), and decreed that since the city of Constantinople was honoured with the privilege of having the emperor and the Senate within its walls, its bishop should also have special prerogatives and be SECOND IN RANK, AFTER THE BISHOP OF ROME." (my capitalizing)

As stated, the East was into the habit of wanting things one way, and then the other and thus, there had been ongoing and long-standing instability in the East.

As far as the "power" of the Church: Again, there had been nothing else and no one else TO make decisions, etc. If the Church hadn't, there would have been a huge void and who knows what would have happened to the West. For example, the West would not have had some form of education throughout the Dark Ages (at the least and for one point). I'll add that the East was (and in some cases still is) very resentful that the West pulled together in unity, and I'll say again: there had been those who paid little, or no, attention to the popes, especially when (and after) the City-States emerged. I really don't want to get into the so-called "reformation" except to say that it had been Martin Luther who insisted upon calling the Church "the Catholic Church", with a capital C. (And ironically, Luther had a much greater reverence for Mary than many Catholics today have.)

I totally agree with what you say in your sixth paragraph (last comment). I appreciate what you say in your seventh paragraph and I DO realize you are as fair and as balanced as you can be. Also (and as an "add-on", not as a "counter", I'm not saying there had not been times when certain members of the Church had been off base, human behavior being what it is.

I'll end this comment here and continue with the subject of Christ's letter in my next comment.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 07, 2009:

Tina Irene— Regarding the Rome-Constantinople question, this is my source of information which led me to believe the Council of Chalcedon had declared Constantinople equal to Rome in authority—which Rome rejected and declared the Roman Catholic Church as the ruler of all Christians worldwide and in authority over all other bishops, patriarchs, or popes:

"...we do also enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the one hundred fifty most religious Bishops gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city is honored with the Sovereignty and the Senate and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome...." (Canon 28, Chalcedon)

Anyway, I did see in other places that this same document used the word "second" in regard to Constantinople. Maybe they were trying to have it both ways.

As a matter of pure history, the reaction of Pope Leo to the staement I quoted in this comment is widely regarded as the beginnings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church (RCC) as we regard as the Church we see in history from 500-1500 as holding nearly absolute sway over Christians in the west and proclaiming absolute power over Christians worldwide with varying degrees of compliance until the reformation.

Historically, this is a new development in the world as different from catholic (universal) church prior to 451. The word catholic was not capitalized before, it was used as an adjective. Now it became a noun. At least, this is my understanding, which admittedly is limited to say the least.

I have already agreed that the churches in the east would squabble and then ask the church in Rome to settle their disputes. And I agree that Rome might as well be the center of Christianity. How that came about in terms of human history is what I am exploring here, because there is a lot of false teaching and belief out there that it came about as a result of some kind of sinister "Da Vinci Code" conspiracy.

You are surely up on your church history and you make for a fine apologist. I think I am defended your beliefs through the side door more than you might realize but not as a Catholic. As a Hubber who likes history and does his best to present the results of his research and understanding. I am defending your beliefs against theologies far more dangerous to them than Constantinople or Chalcedon. :D

Thank you so much for your commentary. I enjoy the conversation.

Tina Irene on September 07, 2009:

James--Thanks for your reply and your compliments. The barbecue was great! Made final plans with some who were there regarding who's traveling with whom into NYC on Friday, the 11th for the anniversary of 9/11.

I totally agree with you on lack of education in the US--by design, as you put it.

The web page I posted: the information has never been successfully rebuked. There was always a Head Bishop, never a first, second, etc., "among equals". Again, that makes no sense since, there cannot be equal status AND a first, second, etc., status. There had been a chronic habit on the part of Eastern bishops (patriarchs) to agree at the time of a council, then at a later time claim they hadn't agreed. This habit was part of the reason there had been about 14 mini-schisms on the part of the East before the final one in 1054.

An example of when a pope was consulted (for his confirmation of an Eastern bishop) occurred in the mid-800s regarding the "Phontius affair" (as I call it). I'll save the ugly details for the following web page and simply say here that Phontius attempted to usurp St. Ignatius, Bishop of Constantinople by deposing him, then Phontius asked the pope to confirm him as the bishop but the pope said "No way!", so to speak. Deposing bishops had been a way of life in the East in general and in particular, St. Ignatius had been imprisoned, exiled and condemned to death for not voluntarily resigning his rightful bishopric office.

Therefore, it cannot be that the popes "were not deferred to" by the East when they were deferred to. I'm not saying the bishops (East and West) didn't and don't have say over their "turfs" (so to speak) because they did and they do. As a member of the laity, for example, if I have a question I ask my bishop, not the pope. Same applies to members of religious orders, including priests. What I'm saying regarding the topic is, the East deferred to the popes when it came to disputes among themselves and thus, by this action demonstrated that they considered any given pope to be the "Head Bishop", not "an equal" in any sense of the word. Basically, the East did nothing but fight among themselves because each bishop wanted to be "a head bishop", or "a pope". Eventually, each Eastern bishop got what he wanted, ended up on his own, and one result was the invasion of Constantinople by the Muslims in the 1400s and thus, Constantinople is trodden upon by Muslims in "Istanbul". "Good work" on the part of Constaninople's bishops who refused to "hang together" with the West, and so they "hanged separately", so to speak.

Anyway, here's the web page on the "Pontius affair" entitled "St. Ignatius of Constantinople":

I'll be back with Christ's letter.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 06, 2009:

Tina Irene— Enjoy that barbecue! It's Labor Day Weekend!

I like Catholic Apologists from Cardinal Newman to Cardinal Dulles. I am a big fan of the most recent two Popes, too. And Mystical Theology is a great place to be gifted.

I am sorry Catholic education is on the wane. The government takes more and more of our tax dollars, leaving little left for school tuition and charitable giving—by design. This way they support the government schools and its ideology instead of Americans having the Freedom to educate their kids as they see fit. It's a shame, because Catholic Schools did a fantastic job in inner cities. I mean, the test scores and student behavior caused shame to public schools.

That is an interesting web page you directed me to. It conflicts a bit with history so I'll have to look into that further. But the whole page was chock full of fascinating stuff besides the issue we are addressing.

Thank you for your fine intellect. It is a pleasure to converse with somebody who knows what they are talking about.

Tina Irene on September 06, 2009:

James -

Thank you for your wonderful replies. Today I'm invited to attend a barbecue and cannot respond to all of them but, I have a moment at this time to quickly respond to a few.

First: some of the new information I brought up is not meant as a "counter" to you. It's just information. And no, I'm not a nun. I'm into the category of "Catholic apologist", and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that I have been given place me into the Catholic Theological branch of "Mystical Theology".

A quick word about Catholic education: the job of Catholic high school teachers it to cover the basics. What I know I took upon myself to find out after Catholic high school. Taking it upon oneself is (1) part of what Catholic education instills and (2) it's up to individuals after receiving a Catholic education to learn more, as I did. If I can do it, anyone can.

The "filioque" IS the phrase "(and the Son)". As stated, it's been up for discussion since the Council of Niceae.

St. Augustine, like any other Church Father, was entitled to his opinion; therefore, as a non-Catholic, Calvin was entitled to his opinion too. But, opinions don't change the fact that predestination is a very complex topic, there are too many variables, such as the individual person and Christ's Judgment, the fact that we cannot know anyone's final "state", not even our own while in this life, and therefore, the RCC does not make definitive "final" judgments regarding "who's getting to Heaven and who's not". This is, more or less, what I meant to say.

I didn't say the Church "didn't rule Europe for 1,000 years". I said there was nothing else and no one else TOO "rule"; BUT, despite the "look of 'bowing to the popes'", few listened to the popes. For example, King Ferdinand of Spain (whom I can't stand), did his "own thing", he ran around on his wife, etc., and had no respect for his wife and himself, let alone for the Pope. And he's just one example of those who didn't listen to the popes.

I didn't say there aren't Catholics who mis-say "pray to" instead of "pray for" regarding the Saints. I said, if you check with the Vatican website on this topic, you will find that it is "pray FOR". Individual Catholics CAN be wrong (surprise, surprise!). Again, the phrase is "pray FOR", and if non-Catholics "teach what Catholics believe", meaning Catholicism, they look way more intelligent when they get Catholicism CORRECT. By the way, the Saints include Mary and because she is the Mother of God (Christ), she's considered a "special kind" of Saint and the only one in her category. And this is no "stumbling block" for Catholics because there are just TOO many miracles associated with Mary and the Saints.

The 28 canon of the Council of Chalcedon (451) says: the city (or the see) of Constantinople is "second in rank, after the Bishop of Rome". Please refer to the list of canons agreed to at the Council of Chalcedon by way of the following link:

Once in the link, scroll down to the canons agreed upon at that council. Canon 28 is the last one. As stated, the EO who are in talks with the Catholics are finding out the truth by way of signed documents.

This is all I have time for today but, I will return tomorrow at some time to respond to your other great replies and to share with you (1) the dates and times when the East deferred to the pope(s) and (2) Christ's letter.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2009:

muley84— Hello old friend. Thank you very much for your kind comments. I appreciate it.

Michael A Muehleisen from Miami,FL on September 05, 2009:

As someone who grew up Catholic, and attended cathacism classes until I graduated high school; I must tell you I learned more of early Catholic history from your hub than all the years of Catholic schooling. Very informative and well written.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2009:

Tina Irene— Thank you for your kind words. I have never heard that anything written by the very hand of Jesus exists. In fact, I have heard exactly the polar opposite. So, I am very curious about this. Maybe the Golden Legend speaks of some answer to Agabus or something—that's why it's in the Golden "Legend." :)

Predestination is very complex. I think Calvin and Augustine are in complete accord—and I have read extensively both of their writings on that subject. I'm not sure Calvin is wrong—and I'm not sure he is right. But I admire him as a marvelous man and Christian.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2009:

Tina Irene— Regarding the misconception about praying to dead people. I agree that a Saint lives eternally. I meant they are not alive here on earth like you and me are. For instance, someone might say, "My mom died last year." Everybody knows what that means. They have left this Earthly realm.

I am sure you know that Protestants strongly object to me getting on my knees and praying, "Oh St. Patrick, please help me!" Jesus taught us how to pray: "My Father, who art in heaven." Now Jesus could have answered the disciples, "Oh dear Joshua, or Oh Jeremiah, Help me!" But He didn't.

Whoever started the praying to the dead—and it started after and was tied to the veneration of relics and alleged miracles caused by them (the thinking: well if St. Mark's little finger in a reliquary healed by gout I might as well pray to him directly)—I think Jesus would have the say over them. I have heard people pray to Mary right on front of me. This is a stumbling block to the unification of the Church.

But you did clear up some finer points about this issue and I greatly appreciate you for that. You are mighty sharp. Are you a nun?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2009:

Tina Irene— I believe the Roman Catholic Church did rule Europe for 1000 years. Kings and Queens bowed to the Pope—not the other way around. The Pope didn't bow to anybody. Kings and Queens had to get permission from the Pope for even the most personal of decisions. The Church was the most powerful—and feared—institution for all walks of life in all Europe for 1000 years.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2009:

Tina Irene— Allow me to clarify that I would never blame the Christians for the Fall of Rome but plenty of people did and have (including Gibbon) AND "City of God" was Augustine's rousing refutation of that erroneous opinion.

We must recall that Paul said the Temple of God is not in any building—and by implication any city. The Temple of God is you and me. That is where the Holy Spirit dwells.

I don't want to offend any Orthodox here. The Council of Chalcedon did rule that the See of Constantinople was equal to the See of Rome. I am sure you know that. So while I agree that the See of Rome should have had primacy, and that Rome eventually did have primacy, to insist it was unequivocally Rome in primacy since 33 AD is simply not true. Jerusalem was the primary center of the Church until 70 AD. This is well known. And Antioch was the second city of Christianity and first place anybody used the term Christian.

But, I appreciate your zeal! And thank you for the compliments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2009:

Tina Irene— Thank you for your learned commentary. I have seen the "Chair of St. Peter" close up and I concur as to its spiritual significance.

I never considered the Eastern Orthodox Church heretical—nor are Evangelical Christians. There are plenty of heretics around that fall way outside the bounds of the three great divisions in the Church.

The final "Great Schism" was caused by "filioque." But I am not up to that part in my story yet. This is a Hub of a series that began in the year zero and has had 4 Hubs prior to this one. My next one takes up the story of the Christian Church during the time of the spread of Islam.

Doctrinal development is no hang up of mine. I am convinced the Holy Spirit continues to illuminate the minds of men and women, and has continued non-stop through the ages.

I am a long way from Martin Luther and the Reformation but I will have plenty to say about that—as it is much more familiar to me—when the time comes. But first, the next 900 years I shall write about will set the stage for Luther and his adherents.

I have a CD of Gregorian chants that I love to listen to.

I subscribe to "First Things" magazine and though the publisher/editor John Richard Neuhaus (a favorite writer of mine) died recently, he (with Chuck Colson) have done wonderful ecumenical work with "Catholics and Evangelicals Together."

Evangelicals and Catholics are well suited to be allies in view of the challenges of modern society and culture in America. They agree on most important issues—though the Catholics did support Obama heavily.

Thank you for sharing your immense knowledge of Church History.

Tina Irene on September 05, 2009:

I only have one more comment:

Predestination is an extremely complex topic. As it stands all by itself, it is not the conclusion of the RCC. There are two many variables to it and Calvin made a mess out of it, thus misleading others.

As stated, I'll look up the date when the East deferred to the "Head Bishop" in Rome and...I'm surprised you don't know about Christ's letter! I'll get back with you on that also.

All in all, the hub IS beautifully presented.

Tina Irene on September 05, 2009:'s a huge misconception:

"Catholics pray TO Saints". (HEE, HEE, HEE!) That's a falsehood, and I realize some Catholics say it that way but, if you consult the Vatican website, you will see that Catholics pray only TO God but we ask the Saints and the saints (those living on Earth) to pray FOR us. What's more, the Saints in Heaven are not "dead Saints" and in fact, they are more alive than we are in this life because...they are with God!

For example: in my hub article "Answer to Prayer" I prayed TO God FOR my classmate...or FOR the needs of my classmate. What I left out of that article was....

I also asked God if He would allow St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (the first American Saint) to also pray (with me) FOR the needs of my classmate. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is depicted on my high school ring because she established the teaching order that taught my high school. Again, the Saint was requested through God to also pray FOR my classmate. Since there was an answer to that prayer...and a far-out can be considered that the Saint was permitted by God to add her prayers FOR my classmate and, the answer to those prayers can also be considered another miracle wrought by God through the prayers of intercession of a Saint.

Tina Irene on September 05, 2009:

Wait a minute, James:

In one of your replies you stated, "Roman Catholic Church that ruled Europe for 1000 years" the absence of anything else and, as history has it, hardly anyone listened to the popes, anyway! (hee, hee)

Tina Irene on September 05, 2009:

James -

I preface this comment with an indirect answer to another comment (1), followed by an obvious observation (2):

(1) If it were not for the basic Catholic education I received (elementary and high school) I would not be as "universal" and as literate as I am. Anyone who was blessed with such an education and dismisses it, didn't work with it and didn't make it work for themselves. For example, in sophomore year of high school, we studied the life of Christ (religion class) and that course remained with me for all these decades. And no, I didn't care for some of those who were in the teaching orders but, they were of a much better caliber than what's "accepted" as "teachers" in the defunct public school "education" system, that's for sure!

(2) Some comments are obviously from those who are not Catholics or who are "proud drop outs" and so, when it comes to "things Catholic", such "sources" have been known to be against "things Catholic" and therefore (in a word), distorted.

Now, Bro James: As you most likely know, the pagan Roman Empire fell because of its own inner, moral decay. It also fell from physical illness, in part. The wealthy used cups, plates, etc., that were lead-based; ergo, poison. It fell to other pagans, as a matter of fact, who had been too poor to afford lead-based dish ware. And therefore, to "blame Christians" for the fall of the pagan Roman Empire is to follow the illogic that Christians, not Nero, burned Rome (for example). What's more, the pagan-to-pagan wars throughout the pagan Roman Empire are well-known. The Goths were pushed into parts of the pagan Roman Empire by other pagans (I believe, by the Huns) and the Goths ended up converted over time by Christians who had gone in among them and SERVED them. In a nutshell, paganisms do not meet the needs of the human spirit, but Christ does.

Let's go back to your beautifully-presented hub article and I will have to take my responses over a number of comments.

Frankly, and taking into consideration the information in my prior, long response, it doesn't matter what the EO churches accepted or accept and didn't accept or don't accept. As stated, the door is always open and the Light is always on and some of them are learning actual history their control-freak patriarchs didn't "allow" them to know about. That's not their fault but those patriarchs faced Christ and there's no telling what He did regarding them. Don't get me wrong: my eldest has a good friend who's EO and she loves my eldest, she loves me and she loves Catholics. In fact, she married a Catholic. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for us. She a saint! She's always bugging me with questions, too. Ahh...but I love her as one of my own children.

Again: the word "pope" is merely another word for "the Head Bishop"...that's all; and in time, the use of the word "pope" took precedence over "Head Bishop".

The word "Roman" in Roman Catholic refers to the language used in the liturgy at Rome, or the liturgical language used at Rome. Therefore, the language used is/was the Roman language, or Latin, and the Latin Church is another way of saying the Roman Catholic Church. The same applies to "the Greek Church" (for one example): the liturgical language used is the Greek language and...there are many languages used in the celebration of liturgy within the Roman Catholic Church including Greek (there ARE Greek Catholic Churches under the See of Rome). It's the same liturgy, just a different language.

Now, I'll end this comment here and pick up again on your hub article.

Tina Irene on September 05, 2009:

Hi James -

Finally getting back with you and thanks for inviting me to continue responding.

First of all, argue away!...even in the wee hours of the morning and without coffee. You appear to be one who (for example), when wanting a fresh loaf of good bread will go to the baker, not to the auto mechanic. In other words: go to the ones who know the subject.

Let me 'splain: I only read the first two paragraphs in depth. I glanced at the Pope Leo I The Great paragraph and picked up on the "first pope" words but, in retrospect, all the popes from St. Peter on are included under "P" and St. Peter is depicted with the Keys to the Kingdom, as Christ says in the New Testament St. Peter possesses. Thus the saying "St. Peter at the Gate", meaning St Peter's at the Gates of Heaven with the Keys to open or not to open. All the RCC popes are seated at "the Chair of St. Peter" in Rome, and the title "pope" is merely another way of saying "the Head Bishop of the Church".

According to the documents we have, there was never any "equal head bishops", there can't be 'cause that's impossible, and the see of Constantinople was always secondary to the See of St. Peter in Rome. Period. This is because the area of what was to become Constantinople was established by St. Andrew, not by St. Peter who holds the Keys to the Kingdom. (Again, refer to the Keys.) Along this line, at least one EO church (the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece) asked the Pope in 2005 (and received from him) permission to begin talks with RCC members and with the aim of reuniting with Rome. The EO churches are not "heretical"; they are merely schismatic and therefore, they can "come home" at any time. The talks are currently ongoing and those in the Eastern half of the Church who are participating in the talks are learning the truth regarding history, a truth they were never told by their bishops (their patriarchs). And by the way, between the West and the East there is only one theological "hang up" that's been open since the Nicene Council, that being, the phrase (and the Son) in the Nicene Creed, which has remained in brackets because it's been open for discussion all these centuries. To the Eastern churches and to all on Earth, the Catholic Church says, in so many words, "The door is always open and the Light is always on".

On that subject of the Head Bishop of the Church: we have at least one writing of a bishop (patriarch) of the East to the Head Bishop (the pope) in Rome asking for guidance in order to resolve a dispute among those in the East. In other words, deference to the Head Bishop. That writing goes back quite a way. I don't have the date off hand, but I will look for it and get back with you regarding it.

With regard to the RCC and "doctrinal development in time": Let's look at the United States (for example). It sure isn't like it was during the Colonial Time, is it? It developed over time, and so does everything else, including families like the RCC. And regarding families, for example: I didn't have my sixth child until I had the first five of "the tribe". And the grandchildren weren't born before the children were.

Doctrinal development is a major hang up for most non-Catholics and for those who are not members of mainline Protestant sects. Matter of fact, Martin Luther had been one of the biggest developers of (his own) doctrines. I see that there's at least one commentary on the doctrinal development of The Immaculate Conception. News flash: Mary was considered pure by those who had been her contemporaries and so, over time and with the constant miracles that could only be attributed to Mary, Mary had to be considered "more than" what had been held by those born into succeeding generations. Mary herself said she is "the immaculate conception" so, the wording of the concept did not come from humans living in this life. What's more, Catholics do not HAVE to hold to a very close reverence for Mary if they don't want to because Mary is happy being considered the Mother of her Son and being thought of by her accepting (and humble) answer to St. Gabriel, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy Word". (Like 1:38)

Doctrinal development happens in the RCC because the RCC is the Church of Revelation, and the RCC CAN rightfully say this based on results. "The Church of Revelation" means the Church of the Revelation of the Holy Spirit, Who continues to be with us, as Christ promised. I debate in secular history forums along side other practicing Catholics from other parts of the USA and from other parts of the world (whom I do not know) and we are on the same page regarding history and regarding the Power of the Holy Spirit. In other words, I have witnessed the Presence of the Holy Spirit in action upon secular debate boards. He is the Uniter (not the divider) and He certainly is the Wise Counselor.

Don't get me wrong, here. I'm not a non-ecumenical Catholic; in fact, I attended a Concordia University (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) and I found that what they call the "charismatics" among them relate to me to a T. Again: the Power of the Holy Spirit in action.

What's more, although I was a "cradle Catholic", I sojourned into agnosticism but was brought back Home by the astounding experiences and events as depicted in my hub articles and, by the way, I'm overjoyed at the return of the optional Latin Mass. I'm a Gregorian Chant "freak" (hee hee).

Anway, this comment is way too long, James. So I will end it--finally--and post another one in answer to your replies to me.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2009:

Tom Whitworth— Ah! I missed that about Gallerius. I was referring to the Edict of Milan. Constantine did print Bibles and build churches because under Diocletian ten years earlier the Bibles had been confiscated and destroyed and the churches burnt down. So, Constantine made reparations, probably for his mother, who was a devout Christian. Thanks for coming back, brother. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2009:

bgpappa— You know I have long enjoyed your Hubs, too. Thanks for the plain talk. :)

Tom Whitworth from Moundsville, WV on September 05, 2009:


I erred in my previous comment. However in 311 Gallerius was the first to proclaim tolerance for Christianity. In 313 Constantine affirmed Galerius proclamation, and restored confiscated property to the Church.

bgpappa from Sacramento, California on September 05, 2009:

Not really encouragement, just plain talk. Your stuff is really great.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:

bgpappa— Hey! My old friend. It is a pleasure to see you. Thank you very much for coming by and offering your encouragement.

bgpappa from Sacramento, California on September 04, 2009:

Another great article. I was raised Catholic and the Church has a great and troubled history. Well done.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:

partluck— Thank you so much. I believe every sincere Christian will go to Heaven, regardless of persuasion. I hope the Church is unified again someday and I believe it will be. Though not in my lifetime. I appreciate the visit and comment.

partluck from Edison, NJ on September 04, 2009:

This is an awesome hub. I am a former Catholic because I believe the Bible is the sole source of authority for the Church. Keep up your interesting writing.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:

Kebennett1— God does promise blesses and curses depending upon the choices we make. I have a question for you that I have long wondered: Is God ever surprised?

Kebennett1 from San Bernardino County, California on September 04, 2009:

James, I guess God giving us free will AND knowing what we will do a head of time is still contradictory to me! In His word He say's "If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit." (NAS). Why would He say IF and not WHEN, if He already knew what they would do? I am non-denominational myself. Just consider myself a Christian.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:

eovery— Thank you! I'll keep hubbin' as long as I can.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:

jiberish— I just love Dr. Johnson. How I wish I could think up the things he does. That quote in your comment box is awesome isn't it?

Maybe I did miss my calling. I have long been attracted to teaching.

Do not despair! Have Faith.

I never did go to Catholic School. I have been to Mass a couple times and I liked it. Of course, I have attended services by most all denominations and I enjoyed all of them—in different ways.

But reading the Bible is where it's at. For the past 4 or 5 years I read it aloud. It has more power that way.

I thank you for coming by and leaving your comments. I' glad you did. :)

eovery from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa on September 04, 2009:

Great info, James

Keep on Hubbing!

Jiberish from florida on September 04, 2009:

Maybe I should take Dr. Johnson's advice here, I just want to say that attending Catholic grade school, and high school did nothing for my knowledge of the religion. It wasn't until much later when I started to read the Bible, and began searching different faiths and churches, did I learn that I'm actually just a Christian.

"Wickedness is in itself timorous, and naturally skulks in coverts and in darkness, but grows furious by despair, and, when it can fly no farther, turns upon the pursuer."

I like this quote, because it gives me solace not to despair about the current state of affairs, evil will eventually turn on it's self. I thank you, you are a great teacher, you missed your calling.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:

Aya Katz— I agree with you. Many doctrines such as these took hold from the bottom up—grassroots movements, if you will. And centuries later became formally accepted. St Augustine did create a theological problem there with his Original Sin doctrine. And I suppose this was one solution. Another is that Jesus COULD have sinned (because of His human half), after all He was tempted by the Devil after the 40 days and 40 nights, but that He was so full of the Holy Spirit that He was, unlike us who do not have the FULLNESS of the Spirit as He did, able to resist.

Thank you for the better explanation of Immaculate Conception. I appreciate you for coming by, always with a keen insight.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:

ethel smith— I, too, believe there is only one God. I hope everybody seeks Him and finds Him as best they can. I thank you for visiting my Hub and leaving your remarks. Always a pleasure.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:


Here it is in Greek: ????????

I think the Mary question—in particular praying to Mary—is the major stumbling block for the reunification of their entire Body of Christ. I suppose veneration might be OK. But I find the key Scripture to be when they told Jesus, "Hey, your mom's outside." He said that Believers were his mothers, brothers and sisters (or something to that effect) which seems to me to nullify Mary being placed above other saints and apostles—at the least. Not that I think it a stumbling block to salvation, since God is a reader of hearts. Being the mother of Jesus was an incredible honor no doubt.

Thanks for coming back. Your wise words are always welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 04, 2009:

maven101—Thank you for your interesting comments. I had not heard that St. Laurence story but I don't doubt it. I have a book on the Catholic Saints but I haven't cracked it open yet. (No insult to it—I have hundreds of books here not yet read.) I have read "Foxe's Book of Martyrs", a fabulous book and full of stories like the one you mentioned. Amazing stories of the serenity with which martyrs faced death. Of course, martyrs have been given a bad name now—blowing up buses full of women and children but that is a distortion. Martyr simply means "witness."

You are welcome. I appreciate the visit.

Aya Katz from The Ozarks on September 04, 2009:

James, thanks for this historical survey of the early Roman Catholic Church. With regard to the the Doctrine of Immaculate Conception, you probably are aware that it was not made part of Church Doctrine till 1854, and it does not simply say that Mary lived a sinless life -- it says that unlike all other human beings (except her son), she was conceived without sin.

It was a way to get out from under the contradictions created by the Doctrine of Original Sin, which says that just by being human we are born in sin.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 04, 2009:

So many faiths and religions. I err toward agnostic these days but am open to belief. I was brought up to be religious but believed then that there was just one god, and lots of ways that people around the world followed him.

Vladimir Uhri from HubPages, FB on September 04, 2009:

Hello my brother. I went to Greek Bible dictionary to find "Theotokos", but I could not find it. I know the menaing. To confirm the truth there must be 2-3 witnesses to establish the truth. Since I did not find the Greek word I could not find it in the scripture either. Yes, Jesus Son of God had human mother, but not Elohim God have. Perhaps you will help me. I presumed I new the scripture. :-). Mary is not we should pray to, worship to her etc. We only honor her.

I probably will defend what I believe since I do not accept extra biblical sources if they do not match the Scripture - the Bible.

Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on September 04, 2009:

Having just read and thoroughly enjoyed your exemplary and concise history of the Roman Catholic Church, into which I was unknowingly baptised, I am reminded of the role