[UNSUPPORTED CLAIMS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH]
[Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 10, June, 1888, pp. 337-339]
[In a letter entitled “A Protest,” the writer signing himself “Discipula,” takes issue with a statement in T. B. Harbottle’s Pamphlet No. 6 of the T. P. S. Series, and defends the Roman Catholic Church, as a faithful member thereof. He objects to the sentence: “. . . . . In neither section of Christianity, indeed, is there any recognition of the necessity of that self-conquest which is the basis of the Theosophical system of ethics. Both . . . believe in a divine grace which, descending into the heart of man, takes as it were the battle out of his hands and relieves him from responsibility and possibility of failure.”
“Discipula” declares that “. . . . as a member of the Roman Catholic Church, which is the ‘Mother and Mistress’ of all Christian Churches and from which they are all derived, in a greater or less degree, I can speak with certainty. . . .” He then tries to show that the Church inculcates sound precepts of ethics.
This evoked from H.P.B. the following forthright statement:]
We denounce the claim, that the Roman Catholic Church is “the Mother and Mistress” of all Christian Churches, as one of the many arrogant assumptions made by Papism, and which are neither warranted by history nor by fact. For, while history shows it to be quite the reverse of truth, facts are there to withstand “Peter to the face” once more. If Greek Ecclesiastical History is to be set
aside, there are Dean Stanley’s Lectures to prove the facts; * and the Dean, as an historian, was surely an unprejudiced authority. Now what do both history and the Dean say? That the Christian Church began her existence as a colony of Greek Christians, and of Grecianized, Hellenic Jews. The first and earliest Church Fathers, such as Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, etc., etc., wrote in the Greek language. The first Popes were Greeks, not Italians, the very name “Pope” being a Greek not a Latin name, “Papa” meaning father. Every Greek priest is called to this day “papa,” and every Russian priest “pope.” The first quarrels which led to the separation of the Church, into the Latin and the Greek or Eastern, did not take place earlier than the IXth century, namely, in 865, under the Patriarch Photius; while the final separation occurred only in the XIth century, when the Latin Church proclaimed herself with her usual arrogance the one universal Apostolic Church and all others Schismatics and Heretics! Let our esteemed correspondent read History, and see what happened at Constantinople, on May 16, 1054. She will then learn that on that day a crowd of Roman delegates, led by Humberto, broke into the cathedral of St. Sophia, and laid down upon the altar their bull of ANATHEMA against those who would not follow them in their various innovations and schemes. Thus it would seem that it was Latinism which broke off from the Greek Oriental Church and not the latter from Rome. Ergo, it is the Roman Church which has to be regarded not only as guilty of a schism but of rank heresy in the eyes of every impartial Christian acquainted with history. Hence, also, it is the Greek Oriental Church which is the “Mother and Mistress” of all other Christian Churches—if any can claim the title. Assumption of authority is no proof of it. As to the rules of life taught by Jesus, if
* [The source which H.P.B. refers to is: Dean Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church. With an Introduction on the Study of Ecclesiastical History. London, 1861. 8vo. Also 1862,1869, and 1883.--Compiler.]
the Roman Church had ever accepted them, surely she would never have invented the infamy called the Inquisition; nor would she have slaughtered, in her religious fury and in the name of her God, nearly 50,000,000 of human creatures (“heretics”) since she came to power. As to her rules and ethics, she may pretend to teach people to “forgive their enemies from their hearts,” but she takes good care never to do so herself. Nor can Christian endurance or “renunciation of self” ever reach the grandeur in practice of the Buddhist and Hindu devotee. This is [a] matter of history too. Meanwhile, “God the Father” if this person could be conveniently consulted, would surely prefer a little less “lip-love” for himself, and a little more heart-felt sympathy for Humanity in general, and its suffering hosts in particular. “Little Sisters” and Big “Christian Brothers” do frequently more mischief than good, especially the “Nursing Sisters,” as some recent cases can show.