As time passes, and as the persons who had started original ideas, instituting reforms, or who had embraced benevolence in any form leave the scene; then things begin to change. Whether speaking of governments or corporations, townships or kingdoms, without the founders at the helm to maintain the organizational purity, and with different ideas coming in at the top or the bottom — directions may change and sometimes radically so. I have mentioned these processes before.
Take the Disney Corporation for example. It is possible that Walt Disney would not have thought much of some of the changes embraced corporately by the company which he founded. He was more socially conservative than some of his successors have proven to be – those who have stood in the same offices from which he had originated his singular plans and ideas.
Arguably the federal government here is much different than as it had been envisioned by the founding fathers of the country. Some believe those changes are for the good and some do not. But then, governance has certainly gone through a plethora of changes in every corner of the world throughout time. Things change here.
Someone said nothing gets done without motherhood. The one who comes up with the idea sets the tone and brings those things “to age.” We see these things acting within the history of the assemblies of Christ.
And you may have noted: the motherhood for the continuing heresy and departures in the churches actually had begun with the Greek Christians – those who had been called Gentile. Recall that the reigning emperor and his heirs from the fourth century and well into the fifth were Greek and fully patrons of Greece. Of the nearly sixty invitees to the first Nicene Council only seven had been Latin. Of those of whom we have record going into the fifth and sixth century only a handful had been Romans. It is not until the seventh century that the Romans would assume a wider role within the leadership of the apostate churches. The word catholic, which means common or universal, is a Greek word that does not appear in the Scriptures. It is not found until the fourth century in writings in relation to assemblies.
I could speak of indulgences, of auricular confession, of Avignon and Roman popes, of the founding of the College of Cardinals, and the like. But I choose to note that while the Latin churches came out of the Greek churches, the separations and schisms that took place forced the Greek churches, though well steeped in apostasy themselves, to finally completely divide from the Roman. It was the question of baptism as immersion over the form of sprinkling that the Roman churches had over time adopted that drove the last wedge. It seems a small thing to separate over when so much of the truth had already been overthrown. But by the start of the thirteenth century there were now two false “denominations” with no one, seemingly on the side of the truth. The history of the Middle Ages is virtually unknown in the West, and the history of Catholicism is inextricably linked into it.
The popes were temporal rulers interested in their holdings, and in having others bow before the Holy See. One of the worst was Boniface VIII. The following is what Dr. Schaaf wrote of him: “Coelestine V, who abdicated the papal office was followed by Benedict Gaetani – or Catejan, the name of an ancient family of Latin counts, – known in history as Boniface VIII. If Coelestine had the reputation of a saint, Boniface was a politician, overbearing, implacable, destitute of spiritual ideals, and controlled by a blind and insatiable lust of power.”
Of his “coronation” to the papal office, Dr. Schaaf, recalling the histories, recorded this. “Boniface rode on a white palfrey, a crown on his head, and robed in full pontificals. Two sovereigns walked by his side, the kings of Naples and Hungary. The Orsini, the Colonna, the Savelli, the Conti, and representatives of other noble Roman families followed in a body.”
“The following day the pope dined in the Lateran, the two kings waiting behind his chair.”
This tidbit only just scratches the surface. And with just a touch of irony, I might add that Peter and the rest of the apostles hardly ever acted like that.
It is Boniface VIII who is so richly parodied in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
But also during this period there were some voices crying out to be heard. Although many never found their way to the truth, there was budding an effort to question the schemes of pope, cardinal, priest and princes. I plan to examine some of these in the next offering.