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Why aren’t people told about this?
Church historians conceal the fact that the Bible and its Gospels were unknown in upper and middle-class circles until recent times. This claim is supported by the records of history and this brief overview looks at just a few of the many supporting comments. For example, the letters of Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345 – 402), a Roman statesman and orator, whose writings were widely admired well into the early Middle Ages, listed all the traditional religions of Rome in his time but never mentioned the Gospels or any aspect of the Christian religion. Likewise, Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius, a Roman author of the early Fifth Century, wrote Saturnalia, a compendium of ancient Roman religions, but never mentioned a supposedly new ‘revealed religion’ called Christianity. That was the time when the Church today claims that thousands of converts to its new religion were swarming across Europe and apostles of Christ were piously professing the ‘truth of the Gospel’ to a newly enlightened world.
No Christianity in the Fifth Century
Around that same time, St. Augustine (d. 430), who was never a Christian, but a Manichean with Mithraic ideals, spent time in Rome, and describes his experience in his ‘Confessions’ (VIII, 2). He wrote that ‘the whole of the nobles’ knew nothing of a new religion supposed emanating from the Gospels of the ‘New Testimonies’. By ‘nobles’ he meant not merely the wealthier patricians, but the whole official and cultivated classes. Thus, Gospel stories were unknown in the ‘Holy City’ in the Fourth and Fifth centuries, and that was unchanged some 1400 years later. Proof of this assertion is found in the words of Reverend J. A. Clark who, while on a religious trip to Rome in 1838, said this in a letter he sent to his family in Philadelphia, USA:
‘The Bible in Rome is a strange and rare book. The only edition of it authorized to be sold here is in fifteen large volumes, which is filled with Popish commentaries. Of course, none but the rich can purchase a copy of the Scriptures. Indeed very few common people know what we mean by the Bible’.
(Reverend J. A. Clark, Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Andrews, Philadelphia, USA, March 24th, 1838)
Priests of the 19th Century were no more religious than those of the 4th Century and that is manifest from the following words from another clergymen:
‘Down to the present day [c. 1845] in countries where popery generally prevails, multitudes of otherwise well-educated people are ignorant of even the existence of the Bible’.
(‘The History of Romanism’, Rev. John Dowling, A. M., Pastor of the Berean Church, New York, 1845, p. 224)
This comment nullifies Church claims that the world was grovelling for the ‘word of God’ since time immemorial. In reality, for centuries the intelligentsia ridiculed ecclesiastical writings because they knew they were only received by people who were without complete possession of their intellectual facilities (‘Catholic Encyclopedia’, Pecci Ed., Vol., ii, p. 618).
Catholic priests knew nothing of the Bible
For some 1400 years, both the Old and New Testaments were almost entirely unknown, not only among the laity, but among the great majority of the clergy. Italian Reverend Dr. Giustiniani (d. 1838), confirmed this fact, stating that in his time, Catholic priests in the Vatican did not know of the Bible:
‘What was my surprise when I made known my thoughts to some priests to find that they were rank infidels? With the Bible, they were un-acquainted; they mocked and ridiculed things most sacred in the eye of a devout papist, and laughed at the ignorance of the poor deluded people’.
(‘Papal Rome As It Is’, Reverend Dr. Giustiniani, p. 42, 1813)
It is only in the last 150 years or so that the Bible attained a form of veneration after the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation of Propaganda took full advantage of the advent of newspapers, radio, and later, television. How these few above assertions from the past can be reconciled with today’s presentation of the history of the Catholic Church must be left for papal casuists to explain.
Quote of the day:
"Christians are the unstable, unlettered, superstitious masses".