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Wednesday, December 22, 2004 CE

Origin of certain Catholic practices

I personally believe that we should know why we do the things we do. That is why I love history. It tells me so much about what I presently am. I was born and raised Catholic and for years I believed what I was told and practiced religion as I was taught. I had the notion that all we did as part of practising religion came directly from God and was ordered by Jesus after he "founded" the Church. As time passed and to my surprise, I noted that things were not as I was told. Many practices that were supposed to have started with the establishment of the Church, were not so.

I am providing a website that lists many of the practices I am referring to, but the ones that impresed me the most were the following:

- Mary as "Mother of God" was initially proclaimed in the Council of Ephesus, 431 CE.
- The title of "Pope" was first used to describe the Bishop of Rome in the year 610
- The worship of the cross, images and relics was authorized in 788
- The celibacy of the priesthood was declared in 1079

If Catholics want to really know their own religion I encourage them to go and look for their own history. And this is true for all religions.


Blogger Francesca said...

Pontifex Maximus, one of the Pope's titles, was the 'chief priest' (read: Pagan priest) of Rome. For centuries, it was a position held by someone who had been trained as a priest. With the establishment of the Empire by Octavian/Augusuts, the Roman emperor took Pontifex Maximus as one of his positions.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

In Spanish, we still call the pope "sumo pontifice", which comes directly from the Latin "pontifex maximus". That title was the one used by the maximum religious authority. Julius Caesar was elected pontifex maximus in 63 BCE. This could be argued was one of the first steps on Caesar's accumulation of power that reached its maximum when he was appointed Dictator in 44 BCE. At that moment he was "de facto" an Emperor because he had religious, political and judicial authority, far more authorithy than the Senate. Caesar was not friend of the Republic and that was probably the reason why he was killed. "Pontifex" comes from "pontem faciens" which means "bridge maker", probably referring as the one in charge of communicating with the gods.

In 382 CE, The emperor Gratian leaved the title of "pontifex maximus" to the bishop of Rome named Siricius. Since then, the "pontifex maximus" was the bishop of Rome and not the Roman emperor. In 610 CE the Eastern Roman emperor, Phocas, addressed the bishop of Rome (or pontifex maximus) Boniface IV as pope for the first time.

6:03 PM  
Blogger aphrodite said...

In the beginning was God, not man-made religions. So we come to the question: what is true religion vs false religion? The antaganism between the two are constant. There is a longstanding antaganism between the "traditions of men" and the basic principle of the world.

9:32 PM  
Blogger TOKilla said...

I like to view the Church as a business, seperate from the teachings of Christ. By treating the Church as a man-made institute, it is easier to understand the problems that the church has had, both past and present. i recognize that many (if not most) of the Church's practices stem from wanting to convert Pagans to Christainity. Baby Jesus never sat on Santa's lap, and Jesus didn't ascend to heaven to get a better view of the Easter eggs, they are just traditions to draw people to the Church, the actual religion never changes.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

It is good to have people acknowlegding the nature of man-made institutions

4:59 AM  
Blogger aphrodite said...

We humans are pre-programmed to receive information at a high rate, and sometimes it is hard to shut out pernicious or damaging information at the same time. We must use insight. Too many notorioius examples of faith-inspired suicide lurk in the history of some religious belief systems. For example: Do you remember when Reverend Jim Jones led his followers from the USA to the Guyanan jungle where he told more than 900 of them (including children) to drink cyanide? Jones "the Father" had called his flock together and told them it was time to depart for heaven. "We're going to another place" he said "there is great dignity in is a great demonstration for everyone to die". Now, this case is an extreme tip of the iceberg. As humans we must not be gullible to take every man's word at face value, though it may be in the name of "religion". Religious tradition and God are 2 different things.

3:05 PM  
Blogger TOKilla said...

Although most cults end unfortunately and its sad that cult leaders will prey on susceptible minds, you must remember that Christianity started out as a cult. For about 300 years, Christians met in secret locations marked by the igthus (Jesus fish). They left their jobs and families to follow a self -proclaimed king with a sketchy background. Was he a bastard? Did his mom sleep around? How many dads did he have? With that in mind, its not that hard to see why some people follow leaders to the death.

"Blessed art thou Thomas who has seen and believed, but more blessed are those have not seen aand have believed"

5:05 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Christianity was very powerful because it promised afterlife and coming back from the dead. The idea of paradise was also very appealing.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Daniel_T said...

I heard also that the Council of Nicea in 325AD deleted earlier references to reincarnation from Christian theology. They also proclaimed Jesus and the only Son of God. You can read more about this at

Cheers .... Daniel T (from Art, Journeys, and Conversation)

10:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel_T said...

Actually - I might not be strictly accurate on that I think the 325AD council might have been the start of a process on removing reincarnation.


10:13 PM  
Blogger Doctor Marco said...

Hi Daniel, thanks for posting a comment.

As far as I know, reincarnation was not a topic for discussion in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 CE. However, there was a father of the church called Origen who lived in the third century, who said "The soul has neither beggining nor end". In the Fifth Ecumenical Council, held in Constantinople in 553 CE, it was issued something called "The Anathemas Against Origen". The first sentence reads: "If anyone asserts the fabulous pre-existence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema."

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Suena usted como un recalcitrante, ultra ateo comunista, perfil siniestro, mas aun tratandose de un profesional medico refugiado en el primer mundo, proveniente de un pais sudamericano sumido en la ignorancia y la miseria.

9:35 PM  
Blogger AmadeusAbbey said...

Let the Department of Defense investigate about your subversive behaviour and your FORM N-400 as well. You are not meritorious of the Star-Spangled Banner.

1:23 PM  

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