Why Catholics Don’t Need a Pope

Aug 11, 2019 version



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Ugly, wicked results of the papacy

No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

Papal succession didn’t do anything, good at least

Other churches did better without a Roman pope

Possible Pope Replacements

Exactly where do we go from here?



I1. We are evangelicals answer who gives answers for our faith

I2. Many types of Catholics historically

I3. Today many different types of Catholics

I4. Karl Keating, a founder of Catholic Answers

I5. Five of Karl Keating’s books

     (These videos are partially an answer to his books)

I6. Protestants, Evangelicals, and Fundamentalists


I1a. Our Background and Approach

We are evangelicals, not the fundamentalists Keating has often run across

We are Christian apologists, but not “professional anti-Catholics”. We are unpaid and focus on many other things, not just Roman Catholicism.

In a sense we are “bystanders” in Keating’s battle with “fundamentalists”.

But since our beliefs are similar enough to fundamentalists, in a way we are not.

We affirm that a person can be a Catholic and go to heaven, and we know of evangelical Catholics that we believe are. (They don’t follow a pope.)

We almost feel like we are arguing against a country needing an emperor, 1000 years ago.


I1b. We agree with Keating on…

Like Keating, we don’t believe God gave the Bible by mechanical dictation C&F p.129

We believe the Bible is inerrant in its original text. (We guess Keating would agree with this)

The pope and bishops are not inspired like authors of scripture were. C&F p.146

Jesus is the ultimate head of the church DC p.73

Keating scorns the libelous books The Two Babylons and Babylon Mystery Religion, C&F p.219-222, DC p.47, as do we.

We do not base our apologetics on Lorraine Boettner’s book Roman Catholicism. C&F p.27-49,82, 204,224-231. I have not even read it.


I2. Many Types of Catholics Historically

Origenism: Centuries after Origen’s death (254 A.D.) he was declared a heretic (553 A.D.)

Monothelites (625-680 A.D.) later declared heretics

Iconoclasm: Keating calls this a heresy C&F p.41

Mathematician and scientist Blaise Pascal was a Jensenist (Calvinistic Catholic), later called a heresy

At times two and even three competing popes

Albigensians/Cathars (ex-Catholic heretics way out there) C&F p.298-299


I3a. Many different Types of Catholics today

Reactionary and Traditionalist

Ultra-Montanists and neo-ultramontanists

Modernists and Neo-Catholics

Sedevacantists (ex: Gerry Matatics, Mario Derksen) say the current pope(s) are illegitimate

Hans Küng, Edward Schillebeeckx, and later Karl Rahner did not affirm Jesus’ physical resurrection


I3b. Hans Küng, Catholic theology professor (ex)

Infallible?: An Inquiry. Papal infallibility, he contended, was the doctrine that made it so hard for the Catholic church to admit and correct its mistakes. Instead, he proposed that the church should claim "indefectibility" -- that despite all errors, it would always be maintained by the Spirit in the truth. …

He has expressed joy at Pope Francis' very different style -- and felt able to add a second, affirmative tier to the title of the English edition: We Can Save the Catholic Church!

https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/ripples-spread-out-hans-k-ngs-work 7/14/2019


I3c. Karl Keating on Roman Catholicism

Many Catholics would not feel Keating and his group Catholic Answers, represent their views.

But others would agree with Keating

We don’t want to try to guess how many in each group

We will just acknowledge that we are discussing Catholicism primarily as described by Karl Keating


I4. Karl Keating, is a founder of Catholic Answers

A Roman Catholic Apologetics Ministry that argues on two fronts

Against Fundamentalists (and Evangelicals)

Many Catholics and Catholic websites that say the current Roman Catholic Church has lost its way

About 13% of all Americans are ex-Catholic (Pew)

Keating is very concerned that many fundamentalists (1/3 to a majority) are ex-Catholics. C&F p.14

(But he should give evangelicals some credit here too)

He never says in any of his five books that a Catholic becoming an evangelical is better than becoming an agnostic or atheist


I5. Five Books by Karl Keating

Main sources: 5 of Karl Keating’s books plus re-reading the NT, plus early church history

C&F Catholicism and Fundamentalism “The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” (1988)

WCRB What Catholics Really Believe (1992)

US The Usual Suspects: Answering Anti-Catholic Fundamentalists (2000)

DC Debating Catholicism: 4 Books in 1 (2017)

FF The Francis Feud : Why and How Conservative Catholics Squabble about Pope Francis (2018)

To get a different perspective I also read Peter Kreeft’s Forty Reasons I am a Catholic.

Garry Wills Why I am a Catholic.

I have read all of these books, except only part of Garry Wills’ book. I have read all Christian writings prior to 325 A.D. (almost 4200 pages).

I have also re-read all of the New Testament.


I6a. Keating on Protestants

Keating gets some things right and some things wrong in describing fundamentalists and evangelicals.

But since this is on why Catholics don’t need a pope, and not primarily a critique of Karl Keating, let me skip over a few mistakes and highlight some things Keating correctly says.


I6b. On Evangelicals and Fundamentalists

Not all Protestants are evangelicals. C&F p.15

Even evangelicals, who call themselves “Bible-believing Christians” have differences. C&F p.11

Baptist, reformed, other fundamentalists, charismatics

Evangelicalism is a spectrum C&F p.11

[KJV-only] Peter Ruckman, and no dancing, drinking fundamentalists on one extreme, and those who really like C.S. Lewis on the other side.


Recap: Why Catholics Don’t Need a Pope


- - - - - - - - - - -

Ugly, wicked results of the papacy

No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

Papal succession didn’t do anything, good at least

Other churches did better without a Roman pope

Possible Pope Replacements

Exactly where do we go from here?


Ugly, wicked results of the papacy

U1. At least 19 Catholic persecutions of Jews

U2. Multiple Inquisitions in Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, and all of Latin America

U3. Crusades and bloody persecution, including against fellow Christians in India, Italy, France, Spain, and Poland

U4. The Papal States and papal armies

U5. Amputation, rape, murder and Catholicism in the Americas

U6. 46+ Bad popes (violent, nepotism, sexual immorality, bad teaching)

U7. Popes on Trial


U1a. 19 Catholic Persecutions of Jews

See our video Roman Catholic Persecutions of Jews for the details.

The text is at www.biblequery.org/Other Beliefs/RomanCatholicism/CatholicPersecutionOfJews.html (and doc)


U1b. Pope Paul IV’s Bull Cum nimis absurdum Against the Jews

This papal bull was issued July 12, 1555

1. . . . in all future times in this city [Rome], as in all other cities, holdings, and territories belonging to the Roman Church, all Jews are to live solely in one and the same location, or if that is not possible, in two or three or as many as are necessary, which are to be contiguous and separated completely from the dwellings of Christians. . . . And they are to have only one entry, and so too one exit.

2. . . . [the Jews] may have only one synagogue in its customary location, and they may construct no new synagogue. Nor may they possess any real property. Accordingly, they must demolish and destroy all their [other] synagogues except for this one alone. The real property which they now possess, they must sell to Christians within a period of time. . . .

3. And so that they be identified everywhere as Jews, men and women are respectively required and bound to wear in full view a hat or some obvious marking, both to be blue in color, in such a way that they may not be concealed or hidden. . . .

5. Nor may they themselves or anyone in their employ labor in public on Sundays or other feast days declared by the Church. . . .

7. Nor may they be so presumptuous as to entertain or dine with Christians or to develop close relations and friendships with them.

9. Additionally, these Jews may carry on no business as purveyors of grain, barley, or other items necessary for human sustenance, but must be limited [in this sphere] to dealing only in second-hand clothing.

From Manfred R. Lehmann’s website (http://www.manfredlehmann.com/news/news_detail.cgi/23/0)


U2a. Inquisitions

In Dictatus Papae (probably 1075 A.D.), Pope Gregory VII said, “The Roman Church was founded by God alone; the Roman pope alone can with right be called universal; he alone may use the imperial insignia; his feet only shall be kissed by all princes; he alone may depose the emperors; he himself may be judged by no one; the Roman Church has never erred, nor will it err in all eternity.” (Austin’s Topical History of Christianity p.165.) With that over-confident attitude, here is what they did with the Inquisition.


U2b. Start of the Inquisition

The inquisition stated under Gregory IX sometime between 1227 and 1233. “Gregory IX included in his register in 1224 constitution of Frederick II, which permitted the burning at the stake of heretics.” The Inquisition : Hammer of Heresy p.33


U2c. Do good Catholics never question?

 “We have no right to ask reasons of the Church, any more than of Almighty God, as a preliminary to our submission. We are to take with unquestioning docility whatever instruction the Church gives. Catholic World August 1871 p.598. Quoted by Bart Brewer in DC p.212

Some Catholics agree with this and others do not. Do you agree?


U2d. Inquisitions

In February 1231, Gregory IX issued the constitution Excommunicamus against both heretics and even those who merely do not denounce the heretics they might know to the authorities. It included life imprisonment for unrepentant heretics, the right to appeal was denied, and their homes were destroyed.


U2e. Inquisitions

On October 11, 1231, Gregory IX issued the Papal bull Ille humani generis The Inquisition : Hammer of Heresy p.35-36: “When you arrive in a town, you will summon the prelates, clergy and people, and you will preach a solemn sermon: then you will assume several discreet persons as assistants and begin your enquiry into beliefs of heretics and suspects with diligent care (they will already have been denounced). Those who, after examination, are recognized as guilty or suspected of heresy must promise to obey the orders of the Church absolutely; if they do not, you should proceed against them, following the statutes that we have recently promulgated against the heretics.”


U3. Crusades and bloody persecution

Many are familiar with the crusades to the Mideast, which was a violent counter-attack to a violent attack.

But there were many other crusades too

Crusades against the Cathars (non-Christian heretics)

Crusades against the Waldenses

Crusades in northern Europe against the Latvians and Lithuanians

Persecution of Eastern Orthodox in Poland

Persecution of Nestorians in India


U4. The Papal States and papal armies

The Papal States were lands in mainly central Italy owned by the papacy. They raised armies and fought in wars for the Pope.

Pope Innocent III made possible the future Papal States. Condemned the English Magna Carta.

Pius IX (1846-1848) persecuted Jews. 1864 Syllabus of Errors against separation of church and state. Catholicism should be the state religion in lands with a majority of Catholics. Against Bible societies and for the Papal States.


U5. Catholicism in the Americas

Columbus enslaved Indians and allowed his men to rape and kill them. For that he was brought back in chains. The pope had nothing to do with that though.

However, after that, the Spanish amputated hands and feet of Indians that stole or did not submit to them. They enslaved Indians and raped many. The pope did not order this treatment. However, the pope did nothing to condemn it.

You can find many horrible drawings made of this. Let’s just skip the ugly pictures though.

On one hand we can point out that a pope did not stand against error during the Monothelite controversy. However, multiple popes being silent on this and the Nazi Holocaust are far, far more serious than being silent on Monothelitism.


U6. At Least 46 Bad popes

Sergius III (904-911) Marozia was his mistress. He allegedly fathered Pope John XI. Papal succession is from him.

Benedict IX (1032-1044,1045,1047-1048) sexual immorality. He sold the papacy and abdicated. Papal succession is from him.

Gregory IX (1227-1241) crusade against the Holy Roman Empire. Started the Inquisition in Languedoc, France. Endorsed the Crusades in northeastern Europe. In 1239 ordered raiding all synagogues to confiscate all Jewish Talmuds. Papal succession is from him.

Urban VI (1378-1389) said he did not hear enough screaming when some were tortured. Papal succession is from him.

Nicholas V (1447-1455) 1452 bull Dum Diversas and 1455 bull Romanus Pontifex authorized capturing slaves, but only of non-Christians. Papal succession is from him.

Sixtus IV (1471-1484) Nepotism: made three nephews, one grandnephew, and one other relative cardinals. Papal bull Exigit Sincerae Devotionis Affectus to spread the Spanish Inquisition to Castille. He had the Venetians attack the city of Ferrara, for a nephew. Sold offices and privileges for money. Promoted the immaculate conception. He confirmed Nicholas V’s bulls for Portuguese to enslave non-Christians. Papal succession is from him.

Julius II (1504-1513) The Warring Pope looted Italian cities. 1511 church council suspended Julius II, but it was just ignored. Papal succession is from him.

To see at least 46 bad popes see our video or read our web page at

www.biblequery.org/OtherBeliefs/RomanCatholicismn/ListofTheBadPopes.html (and .doc)


U7. Popes on Trial

Sabellian heresy popes Zephyrinus and Callistus I

Stephen VI (896-897) and the cadaver synod. De-fingered the corpse of Pope Formosus. He was later murdered.

Celestine V (1294-1294 or 1296-1296) Nearly all of his official acts nullified by his successor, the ruthless Boniface VIII. Celestine was murdered after resigning. Boniface ordered a crusade against the Colonna family.

Boniface VIII (1294-1303) involved in many wars. He wrote the Unum Sanctum. He died of “chagrin” shortly after his imprisonment.

Benedict XI (1303-1304) reversed Boniface VIII's 1302 papal bull Unam Sanctam.

Clement V (1305-1314) tried Boniface VIII for heresy and sodomy.

1328 French king Louis deposes Pope John XXII for heresy

1328- Marsilius of Padua, later archbishop of Milan, persecutes Catholic clergy loyal to John XXII


U7a. Sabellian popes Zephyrinus and Callistus I

Hippolytus (222-235/236 A.D.) “Callistus corroborated the heresy of these Noetians, but we have already carefully explained the details of his life. And Callistus himself produced likewise a heresy, and derived its starting-points from these Noetians,-namely, so far as he acknowledges that there is one Father and God, viz., the Creator of the universe, and that this (God) is spoken of, and called by the name of Son, yet that in substance He is one Spirit. For Spirit, as the Deity, is, he says, not any being different from the Logos, or the Logos from the Deity; therefore this one person, (according to Callistus,) is divided nominally, but substantially not so. He supposes this one Logos to be God, and affirms that there was in the case of the Word an incarnation.Refutation of All Heresies book 10 ch.23 ANF vol.5 p.148

See also Caius (190-217 A.D.) ch.1 ANF vol.5 p.601


Recap: Why Catholics Don’t Need a Pope


- - - - - - - - -

Unfortunately horrible results of papal succession

No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

Papal succession didn’t do anything, good at least

Other churches did better without a Roman pope

Possible Pope Replacements

Exactly where do we go from here?


No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

N1. Some Catholics unaware or unwilling to admit that these happened

N2. Others perhaps are too ashamed to discuss it

N3. Keating at least lightly mentions some of these things and says all Catholics should regret these happened. C&F p.315-316

N4. Keating says some popes were very bad. FF p.82

The Holy Spirit let the cardinals make the wrong choice for pope. FF p.82

N5. But these were not “official acts” and did not deny teaching on “doctrine and morals”

N6. A new argument (at least to me): Papal infallibility is only negative (trigonometry example C&F p.215)


If Catholics only Thought About It

“I always have found curious that many Catholics – the majority of practicing ones, I would say – think that the Holy Spirit positively determines the outcome of conclaves, as though his invocation amounted to an urim and thummin. Such a view stumbles when confronted with names such as John XII and Alexander VI, two of the most unsavory occupants of the Holy See.” – Karl Keating in FF p.82-83


Recap: Why Catholics Don’t Need a Pope


- - - - - - - - -

Unfortunately horrible results of papal succession

No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

Papal succession didn’t do anything, good at least

Other churches did better without a Roman pope

Possible Pope Replacements

Exactly where do we go from here?


Papal Succession didn’t do anything good

P1. Having a pope did nothing to stop…

P2. Papal succession does not guarantee…

P3. Papal succession only guarantees…


P1. The pope did nothing to stop or criticize…

The previous ugly things plus

In 1156 English-born Pope Adrian IV papal bull “Laudabiliter” giving the English blessing to conquer Catholic Ireland

Burning to death “heretics” like St. Joan of Arc in 1431. Declared innocent in 1456, and canonized in 1920.

St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre Aug 23-24, 1572. 5,000 to 30,000 French Protestants murdered


P2. Papal Succession Never Guaranteed…

P2.1 The wrong person would not become pope FF p.82-83. Read on Alexander VI, Boniface VIII, Julius II, who attacked cities in Italy, or Benedict IX who sold the office of pope.

P2.2 Bad examples: violent, wicked, immoral, nepotistic men would not lead as pope

P2.3 Popes failed in supporting correct teaching C&F p.227

Infallibility only works negatively C&F p.146


P2.3 Popes failed in supporting correct teaching

Pope Clement XI’s 1713 papal bull Unigentus anathametizes these:

74. The Church, or the whole Christ, has the Incarnate Word as its head, but all the saints as members.

80. The reading of the Sacred Scripture is for all.

81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it.

83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scripture. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men, has arisen the abuse of the Scripture by which heresies have been born.

84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ.

94. Nothing engenders a worse opinion of the Church among her enemies that to see exercised there an absolute rule over the faith of the faithful, and to see divisions fostered because of matters which do not violate faith or morals.

Quoted from the Catholic writer Garry Wills, Why I am a Catholic p.182-183

Full text at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Canons_and_Decrees_of_the_Council_of_Trent/Second_Part/Condemnation_of_the_Errors_of_Paschasius_Quesnell


P3. Papal succession only guarantees…

A pope won’t deny key doctrines (not practice) of the church DC p.82, C&F p.225

Could be coerced like Pope Liberius to put out a doctrinally ambiguous statement in 352 A.D. C&F p.226-227 DC p.82. See also Vigilius and Honorius C&F p.229.

A new argument (at least to me): Papal infallibility is only negative (trigonometry example C&F p.215)

Only In official pronouncements

not counting pronouncements though official at the time but repudiated later. Nearly all the official acts of Pope Celestine V (1294-1294) were nullified by his successor, Boniface VIII.

- That’s it!


Other Catholics disagree with Keating on this though. Catholic writer Garry Wills Why I am a Catholic p.285-287 has a very pointed rebuttal. “Those who deny that the papacy has changed rely on two main dodges. First, they say that preceding changes were developments, all right, but they were development toward a single final concept of the papacy, a concept implicit in it from the outset…. I said there were two dodges used by papists to deny the changing nature of the papacy. The second one is to “Define infallibility down,” so narrowing it that every challengeable papal statement is excluded from its purview. But that just demonstrates that: The historical reality of papal teaching has little to do with infallibility. We are told by papists that the pope was infallible all through history; we just did not notice that fact because he did not exercise his gift, even where we might most expect it. What more appropriate time for using it than in condemning the heresy of Pelagius? But Zosimus failed to do that – he must have been saving up his infallibility for some other occasion. In the same way, Honorius did not use his gift of inerrancy to condemn Monothelitism – in fact, he advocated it and was called a heretic by a council and later popes. Boniface was not saved by his infallibility from saying that outside the church there is no salvation. … Popes, it turns out, can err over and over again on matters affecting eternal salvation – consigning people to hell for mortal sins like taking interest on loans, using contraceptives, remarrying, eating meat on Friday – without calling into question their inerrant power. They can release souls from purgatory or assure the entrance of saints into heaven – all without abusing (because never using) the gift of infallibility. Then what was the gift for? Apparently for two reasons only; the definition of Mary’s immaculate conception (in 1854) and of her bodily assumption into heaven (in 1950). This is a very odd gift of the Spirit, one not vital to the life of the church for most of the first two millennia of its existence.”


Recap: Why Catholics Don’t Need a Pope


- - - - - - - - -

Unfortunately horrible results of papal succession

No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

Papal succession didn’t do anything, good at least

Other churches did better without a Roman pope

Possible Pope Replacements

Exactly where do we go from here?


Other Churches did better without a Roman Pope

O1. Other churches did not have Roman popes

O2. What did churches without the Roman pope do?

O3. Moreover, if a Pope influenced these things…

Then Catholics are better off without popes


O1. Other churches did not have Roman popes

At least 7 Eastern orthodox churches (their patriarchs have much more modest power)

Copt / Monophysite (called heretics in 451 A.D., but now in communion with Rome, but not Eastern Orthodox. (Their pope does not claim much power.)

Nestorians (called heretics in 431 A.D. had 1 non-problem and 2 serious errors)

Anglicans, Lutherans, Reformed

Swiss Anabaptists, Mennonites


O2. What did other churches without a pope do?

Few or no persecutions of Jews

No Inquisitions

No Crusades. That was only a Catholic thing.

No burning to death heretics (Lutherans and Calvinists learned this from Catholics though)

No blessing to invade fellow Christian lands

No amputation, enslavement, rape, torture, and murder in the New World

Then I am glad those churches did not have violent, wicked Roman popes


O3. Did a pope have anything to do with              _

At least 19 persecutions of Jews

Inquisitions (plural)

Crusades in northern Europe, an Italian towns, Waldensians, or Protestants in St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre

Burning to death “heretics” like St. Joan of Arc

In 1156 English-born Pope Adrian IV papal bull “Laudabiliter” giving the English blessing to conquer Catholic Ireland

Amputation, enslavement, rape, torture, and murder in the New World

Yes a Pope either instigated them, allowed them, or at the very least failed to rebuke them.


Recap: Why Catholics Don’t Need a Pope


- - - - - - - - -

Unfortunately horrible results of papal succession

No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

Papal succession didn’t do anything, good at least

Other churches did better without a Roman pope

Possible Pope Replacements

Exactly where do we go from here?


Possible Pope Replacements

Po1. Keating’s insightful book, The Francis Feud

Po2. The “more unsavory” popes (to put it too nicely)

Po3. The future of the Roman Church

Po4. Is every Protestant, or their pastor, their own pope?

Po5. If our pope were the Bible…


Po1. Keating’s Book: The Francis Feud

Keating has researched criticism of Pope Francis, and I have not, so I will just summarize some points

There is a lot of disappointment and criticism of Pope Francis by Catholics. Some of it is unjustified

Some criticism, whether correct or not, is unsubstantiated. (Example, Francis is arrogant, dismissive of people, and habitually uses vulgar language Colonna in FF p.36)

Some criticism by Catholics might be valid, dictatorial Peron-like control, summarily dismissing those not his supporters, insult-rich rhetoric

His bull has ambiguous statements to test the waters on changing church teaching

But even if these are all true, Francis is not nearly as bad as some other popes. FF p.111-112


Po2. The bad Popes

Keating says of 265 popes, there are only about 6 to 7 bad popes. C&F p.316; FF p.111,137

This is incorrect. There are at least 46 of them. See our video: List of Bad Popes or the notes at www.biblequery.org/OtherBeliefs/RomanCatholicism/ListOfBadPopes.html (and .doc)

How bad were some Popes? According to Austin’s Topical History of Christianity, p.148,

“Then [after 904] began the so-called “pornocracy,” during which Theodora and her two daughters, Theodora the Younger and Marozia, virtually controlled Rome and the church itself. Enticing harlots, these women had sold their bodies for positions, titles, and land, giving them widespread power. Marozia had an illicit affair with Pope Sergius III, from which was born a son who later became Pope John XI. When Marozia sought to have herself crowned empress, her younger son Alberic kidnapped and imprisoned his mother, incarcerated his half brother, the pope, and became emperor himself. He reigned from 932 to 954, exercising absolute control over the papacy. After Alberic’s death, his son Octavian was elected as Pope John XII, and proved to be the most odious member of this depraved family.


Po3. The Future of the Roman Church

According to Keating, Babylon in Revelation is Rome. DC p.185 C&F p.198-205,

Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2-21 all refer to Rome. C&F p.200-201.

Keating does not address the time period of these

Who will be the leader of Rome? (hint: not the mayor)

Will Catholics follow Babylon in Revelation 17:1-11?


Po4. Is every Protestant their own Pope?

The charge that “Every man a pope” was leveled by Catholics (but not Keating) against Protestants

False because no Protestant ever says they can speak infallibly

The Catholic Church has made stuff up: limbo, partial indulgences, plenary indulgences, immaculate conception of Mary, Mary is our mediatrix, redemptrix, and Queen of Heaven

Unfortunately Protestants have made stuff up too. Traducian (actually eastern Orthodox had that first), Lutherans and Geneva burning heretic (actually they first saw that in Catholics), easy-believism, Christ returning in 1975, etc.

But the difference is that other Protestants can see that these are not in the Bible.

Keating says that for many fundamentalists their pastor is their pope. C&F p.309

Even my former pastor said to double-check out everything he said against scripture, and don’t believe him if he goes against scripture.


Po5. If the Bible were our pope…

It didn’t require the papal states and millions of dollars annually to support it

It doesn’t tell us to persecute Jews, or anyone else for that matter

It doesn’t tell us we can skip Purgatory by fighting or dying in a crusade against Slavs, or anyone else. It doesn’t even mention Purgatory.

For others who also believe Jesus died on the cross or our sins and rose from the dead, the Bible doesn’t tell us to kill them.

The Bible won’t get deposed, tried for heresy (C&F p.220), or a succession by killing it, unlike popes

God’s word is sufficient; it teaches us truth better and better keeps us from error than popes

But. … our ultimate authority actually is not the Bible; it is God

Conclusion: The Bible is better than a pope, but is not to be our pope. Our only “pope” is Christ.


Psalm 119:15 “Make me walk in the path of your commandments, For I delight in it.” (NKJV)


Psalm 119:81 “My soul faints for Your salvation, but I hope in your word.” (NKJV)


Psalm 119:97 “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (NKJV)


Recap: Why Catholics Don’t Need a Pope


- - - - - - - - -

Unfortunately horrible results of papal succession

No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

Papal succession didn’t do anything, good at least

Other churches did better without a Roman pope

Possible Pope Replacements

Exactly where do we go from here?


Exactly where do we go from here?

E1. Summary: what popes did and didn’t do

E2. Sola scriptura vs. scripture plus popes plus tradition vs. God

E3. Who is going to interpret the Bible?

E4. Keating claims the pre-Nicene church was Catholic

E5. Take seriously your faith in God

E6. So what are you to do?


E1. Summary: what popes did and didn’t do

Some popes set horrible examples and commanded terrible things

Some had bad teaching (which got un-officialized later)

Popes did not deny certain key doctrines, such as the virgin birth, Jesus dying for our sins, etc. Two were Sabellian though.

Churches without popes were kept from doing many evil things that the church with a pope did

Popes only made two (some argue a few more) pronouncements that the Catholic Church now calls ex-cathedra

Popes made many pronouncements that were official in their time but got “un-officialized” (Celestine V)


E2. Sola scriptura vs. scripture + popes + tradition vs. God

We strongly disagree with Keating’s claim: “…it was the church that formed the Bible, not the Bible that formed the church.” C&F p.312.

You often hear that Protestants base their authority on the Bible, and Catholics the Bible plus the popes plus tradition.

But no, we don’t think the Bible is our highest authority is the Bible.

Rather, our highest authority is God. We revere, and above all read the Bible because it is God’s word, not just because of our tradition.


E3. Who is going to interpret the Bible?

The pope doesn’t do it officially (very few infallible statements)

The Bible itself, current and past Christian writers of commentaries, study notes and other works

Church councils and tradition sometimes contradicted

The Church (all Christians in all times) collectively understand the Bible as well as we need

1,122 teachings prior to Nicea I that four or more Christians affirmed and none denied. www.biblequery.org/history/ChurchHistory/WhatEarlyChristiansTaught.html)

After Nicea, Athanasius affirmed 595 of them.


E4. Keating claims Pre-Nicene Church was Catholic

Though Keating is incorrect, early Christians did not have a Roman pope over them

Infallibility was not an official doctrine until 1870

Early church had bishops, but no Mariolatry, no saint veneration, no purgatory, no indulgences, and no pope over everyone

Nobody mentioned a pope until 232-249 A.D. in Heraclas of Alexandria

No Roman bishop called a pope until the local synod of Arles in 314 A.D, a year after Constantine legalized Christianity. Next reference 347 A.D.

First Roman bishop to call himself a pope was Siricius in c.384-399 A.D.

Decide: is it about the church, or is it about God?


E5. Take seriously your faith in God

If you want to be a Catholic, then be serious about your faith in God.

I don’t mean be serious about your faith in the pope, the Catholic Church or saints, but faith in God

If you are serious about God, then study God’s word above all human words

Loyally obey God’s shepherds over you, as Heb 13:17 says

Be a rebel against evil: Tt 1:14 says to pay no attention to the commands of those who turn from the truth. And 2 Tim 3:15 says to avoid evil people.

That includes evil popes which popes today claim papal succession from


E6. So what are you to do?

Pray to God that He is your first love, not anything or anyone on this earth. Put God first, not your ambitions, pleasures, traditions, or even your church.

If you have not done so, acknowledge to God that you are a sinner. Confess that you have tried to get to heaven on your own, not through Him.

Turn over your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust Him to have the answers. Follow Him, and obey God’s words

Live your life for God. Obey His words and don’t obey what goes against His words

Love and minister to other people, including other believers, regardless of what church they are a member of. Teach them, and learn from them, but don’t put anyone on a pedestal on par with God.

Our struggle to live a Christlike life is not meant to be done alone. Get involved in a good Christian ministry that puts God’s word above mere human words.


Recap: Why Catholics Don’t Need a Pope


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Unfortunately horrible results of papal succession

No excuse for Christian leaders to do these things

Papal succession didn’t do anything, good at least

Other churches did better without a Roman pope

Possible Pope Replacements

Exactly where do we go from here?


By Steven M. Morrison, Ph.D.