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Listing of recent Popes
257. Pope Leo XIII: February 20, 1878 - July 20, 1903 (25 years)
258. Pope Pius X: August 4, 1903 - August 20, 1914 (11 years)
Pope Pius X is known as a thoroughly anti - modernist pope, using Church power in order to maintain the line of
tradition against the forces of modernity and liberalism. He opposed democratic institutions and created a secret network
of informers to report on the suspicious activities of priests and others.
259. Pope Benedict XV: September 1, 1914 - January 22, 1922 (7 years)
260. Pope Pius XI: February 6, 1922 - February 10, 1939 (17 years)
For Pope Pius XI, communism was a greater evil than Nazism - and as a result, he signed a concordat with Hitler in the
hopes that this relationship might help stem the rising tide of communism which was threatening from the East.
261. Pope Pius XII: March 2, 1939 - October 9, 1958 (19 years, 7 months)
262. John XXIII: October 28, 1958 - June 3, 1963 (4 years, 7 months)
Not to be confused with the 15th century antipope Baldassarre Cossa, this John XXIII continues to be one of the most
beloved popes in recent Church history. John was the one who convened the Second Vatican Council, a meeting which
inaugurated many changes in the Roman Catholic Church - not as many as some hoped for and more than some feared.
263. Pope Paul VI: June 21, 1963 - August 6, 1978 (15 years)
Although Paul VI was not responsible for calling the Second Vatican Council, he was responsible to ending it and for
beginning the process of carrying out its decisions. He is perhaps most remembered, however for his encyclical Humanae
264. Pope John Paul I: August 26, 1978 - September 28, 1978 (33 days)
Pope John Paul I had one of the shortest reigns in the history of the papacy - and his death is a matter of some speculation
among conspiracy theorists. Many believe that he was murdered in order to prevent him from learning or revealing
embarrassing facts about the Church.
265. Pope John Paul II: October 16, 1978 - April 2, 2005
The currently reigning pope, Pope John Paul II is also one of the longest reigning popes in the history of the Church.
John Paul has tried to steer a course between reform and tradition, often siding more strongly with the forces of tradition,
much to the dismay of progressive Catholics.
266. Pope Benedict XVI: With the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, the Church has so far seen largely a
continuation of the policies of his predecessor, John Paul II, with some notable exceptions: Benedict decentralized
beatifications and reverted the decision of his predecessor regarding papal elections[248]. In 2007, he set a Church record
by approving the beatification of 498 Spanish Martyrs. His first encyclical Deus Caritas Est discussed controversial
views on sexuality.
First Vatican Council
Before the council, in 1854 Pope Pius IX with the support of the overwhelming
majority of Roman Catholic Bishops, proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate
Conception. Eight years earlier, in 1846, the Pope had granted the unanimous wish
of the bishops from the United States, and declared the Immaculata the patron of the
USA (Mary as in the form of the Immaculate Conception Mary).
In 1870, the First Vatican Council affirmed the doctrine of papal infallibility when
exercised in specifically defined pronouncements. Controversy over this and other
issues resulted in a very small breakaway movement called the Old Catholic Church.
Pope Leo
The Industrial Revolution brought many concerns about the deteriorating working
and living conditions of urban workers. Influenced by the German Bishop Wilhelm
Emmanuel Freiherr von Ketteler, in 1891 Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical
Rerum Novarum, which set in context Catholic social teaching in terms that rejected socialism but advocated the
regulation of working conditions. Rerum Novarum argued for the establishment of a living wage and the right of workers
to form trade unions.[202]
The social teachings of Pope Pius XII made church dogma changes to workers and owners of capital politicians,
educators, house-wives, farmers bookkeepers, international organizations, and all aspects of life including the military.
Going beyond Pius XI, he also defined social teachings in the areas of medicine, psychology, sport, TV, science, law and
education. There is virtually no social issue, which Pius XII did not address and relate to
the Christian faith. [204] He was called "the Pope of Technology, for his willingness and
ability to examine the social implications of technological advances.
Madonna and Child
Since the 19th century, Popes began to use encyclicals (Papal letters to churches) more
frequently. Leo XIII, the Rosary Pope, issued eleven Marian encyclicals. Recent Popes
promulgated the veneration of the Blessed Virgin with two dogmas, the Immaculate
Conception in 1854 by Pius IX, and the Assumption of Mary in 1950 by Pope Pius XII.
Pius XII also promulgated the new feast ‘Queenship of Mary’ celebrating Mary as
Queen of Heaven and he introduced the first ever Marian year in 1954, a second one was
proclaimed by John Paul II. Pius IX, Pius XI and Pius XII facilitated the veneration of
Marian apparitions such as in Lourdes and Fátima. Later Popes, from John XXIII to
Benedict XVI, promoted the visit to Marian shrines (Benedict XVI in 2007 and 2008).
The Second Vatican Council highlighted the importance of Marian veneration in Lumen
Gentium. During the Council, Paul VI proclaimed Mary to be the Mother of the Church.
World War II: After violations of the 1933 Reichskonkordat which had guaranteed the Church in Nazi Germany some
protection and rights, Pope Pius XI issued the 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge which publicly condemned the
Nazis' persecution of the Church and their ideology of neopaganism and racial superiority. After the Second World War
began in September 1939, the Church condemned the invasion of Poland and subsequent 1940 Nazi invasions. In the
Holocaust, Pope Pius XII directed the Church hierarchy to help protect Jews from the Nazis. While Pius XII has been
credited with helping to save hundreds of thousands of Jews by some historians, the Church has also been accused of
encouraging centuries of anti-Semitism and Pius himself of not doing enough to stop Nazi atrocities. Debate over the
validity of these criticisms continues to this day. In 2000, Pope John Paul II, on behalf of all people, apologized to Jews
by inserting a prayer at the Western Wall.
Second Vatican Council
The Catholic Church engaged in a comprehensive process of reform following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65).
Intended as a continuation of Vatican I, under Pope John XXIII the council developed into an engine of modernization.
It was tasked with making the historical teachings of the Church clear to a modern world. In a key passage about
collegiality, Vatican II teaches: "The order of bishops is the successor to the college of the apostles in their role as
teachers and pastors, and in it the apostolic college is perpetuated. Together with their head, the Supreme Pontiff, and
never apart from him, they have supreme and full authority over the Universal Church; but this power cannot be
exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff". They made pronouncements on topics including the nature of the
church, the mission of the laity and religious freedom. The council approved a revision of the liturgy and permitted the
Latin liturgical rites to use vernacular languages as well as Latin during mass and other sacraments. Efforts by the
Church to improve Christian unity became a priority. In addition to finding common ground on certain issues with
Protestant churches, the Catholic Church has discussed the possibility of unity with the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Vatican II reaffirmed everything Vatican I taught about papal primacy and infallibility, but it added important points
about bishops. Bishops, it says, are not "vicars of the Roman Pontiff." Rather, in governing their local churches they are
"vicars and legates of Christ". Together, they form a body, a "college," whose head is the pope.
Sexuality and gender issues
The sexual revolution of the 1960s brought challenging issues for the Church. Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae
Vitae reaffirmed the Catholic Church's traditional view of marriage and marital relations and asserted a continued
proscription of artificial birth control. In addition, the encyclical reaffirmed the sanctity of life from conception to natural
death and asserted a continued condemnation of both abortion and euthanasia as grave sins which were equivalent to
Efforts to lead the Church to consider the ordination of women led Pope John Paul II to issue two documents to explain
Church teaching. Mulieris Dignitatem was issued in 1988 to clarify women's equally important and complementary role
in the work of the Church. Then in 1994, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis explained that the Church extends ordination only to
men in order to follow the example of Jesus, who chose only men for this specific duty.
Major lawsuits emerged in 2001 claiming that priests had sexually abused minors. Some priests resigned, others were
defrocked and jailed, and there were financial settlements with many victims. The United States Conference of Catholic
Bishops commissioned a comprehensive study that found that four percent of all priests who served in the US from 1950
to 2002 had faced some sort of accusation of sexual misconduct.
Rome apologetic?...
Reference works such as "The Vatican's Holocaust" by Avro Manhattan and "Convert or Die!" by Edmond Paris present
the documented facts that the Catholic church murdered over 700,000 orthodox Serbians in Croatia, Yugoslavia, during
the years 1940-1945. The RCC successfully set up an entirely Catholic ‘state’ with the birth of Croatia.
In the year 2000, Pope John Paul made a mock apology for atrocities that occurred over the centuries, pretending that it
was only certain members of the Catholic church who were responsible for committing the gruesome acts of torture and
murder, when in fact it was the official policy of the papacy that was responsible. Furthermore, the "Pope" made no
apology for, nor did he even mention, the nearly three quarters of a million innocent Bible believing Christian Serbians
slaughtered by Catholics in Croatia, Yugoslavia, during World War II.
2nd President of the United States John Adams wrote, "I have long been decided in opinion that a free government and
the Roman Catholick religion can never exist together in any nation or Country." "Liberty and Popery cannot live
The US administration in the 1980's under Ronald Reagan officially restored diplomatic relations with the Vatican for
the first time since the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Photos of Western leaders since Reagan that have embraced the ''Holy See''
The Changes to the Catholic Church in recent years, from a Catholic perspective
The following is from a concerned Catholic Priest about liberal changes to the Catholic Church:
“If we compare the Catholic Church in general before the Second Vatican Council to the modern day church today, we
can see many differences.”
Traditional Church
New Church (1969 and later)
Full churches on Sundays and Holy Days
Abundant religious vocations (priests and nuns)
Altar used
Tabernacle kept on altar in center
Crucifix over the altar
Near-empty churches on Sundays and Holy Days.
Drastic drop in religious vocations
Altar replaced with a table
Tabernacle removed or moved to the side
Crucifix removed, and other pictures such as that
of John Paul II are hung instead
Communion rail removed
Most if not all statues removed
Little or no veneration of Saints
Large variations across parishes
Modesty regulations lax or abolished
Conversions no longer a goal – instead
Ecumenism is preached
Heresy no longer discussed
Sacraments optional. Little emphasis on the state
of the soul, mortal sin, penance, judgment or hell
Liturgy changed and validity of the sacraments
now questionable
Modernism now replaces tradition
Priest validity of ordination questionable due to
changes in ordination rituals
Communion rail
Statues of Jesus, Mary, Angels & Saints
Veneration of Saints
Little variations in churches across parishes
Modesty regulations strictly adhered to
Goal of the Church to convert others to
Heresy strictly forbidden by the church
Staying in the state of grace and receiving the
sacraments mandatory to save our souls
Liturgy and sacraments consistent throughout the
Tradition held sacred in every aspect
Priests ordained with traditional rite
Well into the Twentieth Century, Catholics still defined Protestants as heretics, even if no longer resorting to persecution.
The Catholic Church considers, for example, "sola scriptura" as heretical; the belief that the Bible is the only infallible
authority for Christian faith, with the demand that all other authorities are subordinate to the Bible.
In the second half of the Century, especially in the wake of Vatican II, it began to be favoured to refer to Protestants as
"separated brethren" rather than "heretics." The latter is still on occasion used vis-à-vis Catholics who abandon their
Church to join a Protestant denomination.
Ecumenism broadly refers to movements between Christian groups to establish a degree of unity through dialogue. Over
the last century, a number of moves have been made to reconcile the schism between the Catholic Church and the
Eastern Orthodox churches. Although progress has been made, concerns over papal primacy and the independence of the
smaller Orthodox churches has blocked a final resolution of the schism. In May 1999, John Paul II was the first pope
since the Great Schism to visit an Eastern Orthodox country: Romania.
With respect to Catholic relations with Protestant communities, certain commissions were established to foster dialogue
and documents have been produced aimed at identifying points of doctrinal unity, such as the Joint Declaration on the
Doctrine of Justification produced with the Lutheran World Federation in 1999.
The following are some recent news excerpts dealing with Roman Catholicism becoming more mainstream and more
accepted by evangelical Christianity:
"The Roman Catholic Charismatic Renewal is growing at a rapid pace. All around the world Roman Catholics are
experiencing the charismatic's second baptism known as the 'baptism of the Holy Spirit.' Many are also being 'slain in the
spirit' and are Speaking in 'tongues'. The Roman Catholic priesthood has embraced the 'charismatic experience' which
has received the Pope's official blessing. Moreno Dal Bello, 1996
"A formal declaration boldly documents the Evangelical and Catholic commitment to work together to evangelize and
bring about social reform in the world. The Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third
Millennium has, in effect, laid the groundwork for Evangelicals to set aside their distinctive doctrines and unite with the
Catholic Church and other religions which are coming together by 2000 A.D." Tim Barbaho, 1996
"Bill McCartney and his Promise Keepers were embraced by the Denver Catholic Archdiocese ... at a gathering of more
than 250 men, and a handful of women, at the John Paul II Center in south Denver. " Jim Kirksey, Denver Post Staff
Writer, 1998
Here's the magazine article about the meeting with the Pope in 1995. "Charismatic Pat Robertson (Christian Broadcasting
Network), Chuck Colson (Prison Fellowship Ministries), Don Argue (president, National Association of Evangelicals),
and Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ) were among the religious leaders who met with Pope John Paul II during
the Pope's visit to New York City, October 7, 1995. According to the Religious News Service, Pat Robertson marched at
the head of an ecumenical procession (which included Bright) to the papal altar and was seated with Protestant, Orthodox
and other Christian leaders. Robertson is the Charismatic head of the 700 Club and Bright is the head of Campus Crusade
for Christ." David W. Cloud, 1996