Papal Claims to Authority

Here you see the coat of arms for the Vatican City State. Take note of the crown on top, a symbol of papal authority. It is a triple tiered crown, that is also called a tiara or triregno in Latin.

Concerning the extent of Papal dignity, authority, or dominion and infallibility.
(Quoadea quoeconcernunt papae dignitatem, auctoritatem, seu potestatem, et infallibilitatem.)

#1. "The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not mere man, but as it were God, and the vicar of God."
(#1. "Papa tantae est dignitatis et cesitudinis, ut non sit simplex homo, sed quasi Deus, et Dei vicarius.")

#13. "Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions."
(#13. Hinc Papa triplici corona coronatur tanquam rex coeli, terre et infernoram.")

Pope John XXIII

#18. "As to papal authority, the Pope is as it were God on earth, Sole sovereign of all the faithful of Christ, chief king of kings, having a plentitude of unbroken power, entrusted by the omnipotent God to govern the earthly and heavenly kingdoms."

(#18. "Deveniendo ad Papae auctoritatem, Papa est quasi Deus in terra unicaus Christifidelium princeps, regum omnium rex maximus, plenitudinem potestatis continens, cui terreni simul, ac coelestis imperii gubernacula ab omnipotenti Deo credita sunt.")

John XXIII wearing the triregno crown
presented to him in 1959.

#30. "The Pope is of so great authority and power, that he is able to modify, declare, or interpret even divine laws."
(#30. "Papa tantae est auctoritatis et potestatis, ut possit quoque leges divinas modificare, declarare, vel interpretari, ad num.")

Source: Lucius Ferraris, “Papa,” art. 2, in his Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica, Juridica, Moralis, Theologica, Ascetica, Polemica, Rubristica, Historica. (“Handy Library”), Vol. 5, published in Petit-Montrouge (Paris) by J. P. Migne, 1858 edition, column 1823, Latin.

Here are the relevant Scanned pages from Ferraris' Prompta Bibliotheca for those who would like to see the original Latin text of the above quotes.

These papal claims, to include the presumed authority to modify the divine laws of God, were specifically prophesied in the book of Daniel:

Dan 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: (of the most High) and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

   It is a remarkable fact that the first instance upon record in which the bishop of Rome attempted to rule the Christian church was by AN EDICT IN BEHALF OF SUNDAY. It had been the custom of all the churches to celebrate the passover, but with this difference: that while the eastern churches observed it upon the fourteenth day of the first month, no matter what day of the week this might be, the western churches kept it upon the Sunday following that day; or rather, upon the Sunday following Good Friday. Victor, bishop of Rome, in the year 196,36 took upon him to impose the Roman custom upon all the churches; that is, to compel them to observe the passover upon Sunday. "This bold attempt," says Bower, "we may call the first essay of papal usurpation."37 And Dowling terms it the "earliest instance of Romish assumption."38

Bower`s History of the Popes, vol. 1. pp. 18, 19; 
     Rose's Neander, pp. 188-190; 
     Dowling`s History of Romanism, book 1, chap. 2. sec. 9. 
37 History of the Popes, vol. 1. p. 18.
38 History of Romanism, heading of page 32. 

Source: History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week, by J.N. Andrews, Chapter 16, Origin of First-Day Observance, copyright 1998, TEACH Services, Inc., ISBN 1-57258-107-7, page 276.

Pius XII coronation
with the 1877 tiara of Pius IX

In the coronation of all popes — including Pius XII, on March 12, 1939 — the tiara is placed on the candidate’s head with the words:

“Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns and know that thou art Father of princes and kings, Ruler of the world, Vicar of our Savior Jesus Christ.”*

If this phraseology had not been sanctified by long usage, it would not have been coined in this generation to express the relation of the pope to the political and social order; but it would not have been created in the first place if it had not meant then what it says — “Ruler of the world.”

Source: Paul Hutchinson and Winfred E. Garrison, 20 Centuries of Christianity: A Concise History (1st ed.), p. 120. © 1959 by Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., New York.

* According to the Vatican web site, this interpretation of the triple crown is found in the Pontificale Romanum Clementis VIII, Editio Princeps (1595-1596), the official liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. See below for the Latin wording.

The Papal Tiara

The occasions on which the Pope wears the tiara are laid down by Papal protocol as follows:

(a) at Mass for his coronation;
(b) at Mass for the Feasts of the Epiphany, the Annunciation, Easter, the Ascension, SS Peter and Paul, All Saints, and on the third Mass on Christmas Day; and
(c) when the Pope celebrates Pontifical Mass.

In addition the tiara is worn on certain special occasions such as the canonization of a new Saint.

Source: European Regalia, by Lord Twining, made and printed by William Clowes and Sons Ltd, London and Beccles for the publishers  B T Batsford LTD, 4 Fitzhardinge Street, Portman Square, London W1, 1967, pg. 117.

    THE TIARA or triple crown is not, properly speaking, so much an ecclesiastical as it is a royal ornament; it was supposed to have been first worn only with a single coronet, by Pope Sylvester in the time of the emperor Constantine. Innocent III. about the year 1200. writes, that the church gave to himself a crown for the temporal dominion and a mitre for the priesthood. It is generally thought that Boniface VIII. about the year 1300. was the first who added a second coronet to shew the spiritual supremacy and the temporal power united: and about twenty years afterwards John XXII. or according to others Urban V. more than sixty years later, placed the third coronet upon it, thus making a tiara to exhibit the pontifical, the imperial, and the royal authority combined. To the wearer and to the beholder instructive lessons are taught, the one and the other are admonished that the head upon which it is borne is supposed to be endowed with proper science, as it certainly possesses power of government, and spiritual jurisdiction; and the variety of its knowledge should emulate the beauty of that decoration which is externally shewn.


Tiara regularly used to dress
the Vatican's statue of Peter.
Click on photo for a close up view

    The most respected of the ecclesiastical symbols, the tiara, or triregno, is also a symbol of the pope's authority over the Church. No one knows for certain when the tiara originated, and it has undergone many changes since it first appeared at the Papal Court. The tiara comprises three separate crowns, or diadems. The bottom crown appeared in the ninth century as ornamentation at the base of the mitre.
    When pontiffs assumed the temporal role of sovereign princes, they further adorned the base decorations with the jeweled crown of the princes of the time. The second crown was added by Pope Boniface VIII in A.D. 1298 to represent his spiritual dominion. By A.D. 1315, the triregno appears in the documentation of the Papal Treasury.

Source: The Church Visible, by James-Charles Noonan, Jr., © 1996, published by Viking, the Penguin Group, ISBN 0-670-86745-4, page 189.

Papal Tiara
From Rome In Colour
Copyright by Casa Editrice Lozzi, Rome

Film of the funeral procession of Pius XII

On the left is a silver-gilt triregno tiara set with imitation stones that has been used since 1736* to dress the statue of Peter in St. Peter's Basilica on June 29th, the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul. On the right the same tiara appears to be on top the hearse in the funeral procession of Pius XII. It is an oversized tiara made especially to fit the statue of Peter, and is too large for any Pope to wear.

* Source: European Regalia, by Lord Twining, made and printed by William Clowes and Sons Ltd, London and Beccles for the publishers  B T Batsford LTD, 4 Fitzhardinge Street, Portman Square, London W1, 1967, pg. 117.

In the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., a triple-tiered papal tiara is on permanent display (See #6 in the virtual tour of the crypt church). This tiara is shown above being worn by Pope Paul VI, who offered to sell it to benefit the poor, however Cardinal Spellman of New York persuaded the pope to donate it to the Catholics of the U.S. in the hope that it would inspire offerings for the world's poor. The medal shown above, depicting the coronation of Pope Paul VI, was sold, and the proceeds then were donated to charities.

Tiara of Pope Paul VI
as displayed in the Vatican's pavilion
at the 1964-65 World's Fair
in New York city.

Papal Tiara is Persian
(Babylonian?) in design.

"The origin of the tiara is not known, though it is fashioned after the Persian royal headpiece."

Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia, Revised and Updated, © 1987, by Robert C. Broderick, Editor, Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., ISBN 0-8407-5544-9, p. 579.

On the right is a Persian triple-horned headpiece depicted on gate A in the citadel of King Sargon II (721-705 B.C.), in Khorsabad (Iraq). The triple-horned headpiece indicated deity, and was worn by the pagan Sun gods Shamash and Ashur.

This may well be the origin of the triple-tiered papal tiara as claimed by the Catholic Encyclopedia, cited above.


Photo is from the 1933-34 expedition of the
Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago.
Oriental Institute Negative Number: N 18525

Papal Tiaras And The Fortunes Of War.

During the sack of Rome in 1527, Pope Clement VII had all the papal tiaras and other regalia stripped of jewels, broken up, and melted down for the gold by Benvenuto Cellini to prevent their capture by the forces of Emperor Charles V.

Following the Revolution that cast off the yoke of religion, France
set out to eliminate the papal government. Napoleon Bonaparte began waging war against the papal empire, defeating its army and seizing state after state, until Pius VI was compelled to comply with the Treaty of Tolentino (February 19th, 1797). Under its terms of surrender, the Pope lost temporal sovereignty, and lacking sufficient funds, payed the assessed war debt from its fortune in papal tiaras, jewelry, and works of art. In 1798, Napoleon's forces under General Berthier entered Rome itself, capturing and imprisoning the pope, and plundering the churches of any remaining treasure. It was reported that one gemstone, a large diamond, had escaped Napoleon's forces. With the establishment of a Roman Republic, France declared the papal empire extinct.

With the church forcibly reduced to temporal impotence and poverty, Pope Pius VII was elected and crowned in 1800 with a beggarly pasteboard tiara, said to be profusely ornamented with gold and silver embroidery, set with imitation colored gems, and the one remaining genuine gemstone. Today, research indicates nearly 30 papal tiaras have existed since 1800, but several have apparently never been on public view, so little is known about them.

Pius VII - Coronation Mar. 21, 1800, in Venice
with Faux Pasteboard Tiara

  1. Pasteboard tiara of Pius VII (1800)
  2. Tiara of Pius VII (1805)

  3. Leo XII - Coronation Oct. 5, 1823, St. Peter's Basilica
    with 1805 Napoleonic Tiara of Pius VII

    Pius VIII - Coronation Apr. 5, 1829, in St. Peter's Basilica
    with 1805 Napoleonic Tiara of Pius VII

    Gregory XVI - Coronation Feb. 6, 1831, in St. Peter's Basilica
    with 1805 Napoleonic Tiara of Pius VII

  4. Tiara of Gregory XVI (1834 / 1855) Alleged Tiara of Gregory XVI (1845)
    • Erroneously reported by many periodicals in 1845 to be a gift of Queen María Cristina of Spain on or before June 3, valued at 100,000 fr. (£4,000), and said to be manufactured by M. Martínez, of Madrid. It apparently was completely fictional; it never existed. Mémorial Bordelais (Bordeaux, France), about June 3, 1845, was cited as the source, but this issue has eluded discovery. See: La Presse (Paris), June 10; The Times (London), June 11 (but referring to accounts of June 3); L'Univers Union Catholique (Paris), June 11; The Patriot (London), June 12; The Church and State Gazette (London), June 13; The Weekly Chronicle (London), June 14; The Bell's New Weekly Messenger (London), June 15; Willmer & Smith's European Times (Liverpool), June 19;  The Boston Daily Atlas, July 4; Sandusky (Ohio) Clarion, July 11; Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio), July 15; New York Evangelist, August 7; The South Australian Register, October 1; French magazine yearbook Magasin des Demoiselles (Paris, 1845).
    • In contemporary Spanish papers, a similar story of a papal crosier (magnífico báculo pontificio) said to be commissioned by Queen Cristina was flatly denied by the owner of the Martínez Silverware Factory. El Español (Madrid, established 1835), June 7, 1845

      Pius IX - Coronation Jun 21, 1846, in St. Peter's Basilica
      with 1805 Napoleonic Tiara of Pius VII

  5. Tiara of Pius IX (1848)
  6. Tiara of Pius IX (1854)
  7. Tiara of Pius IX (1855) See the entry for 1834.

  8. Tiara of Pius IX (?)
  9. Tiara of Pius IX (1860)
  10. Tiara of Pius IX (1865)
  11. Tiara of Pius IX (1870)
  12. Tiara of Pius IX (1871)
  13. Tiara of Pius IX (1877)

    Leo XIII - Coronation Mar. 3, 1878, Sistine Chapel
    with 1877 Palatine Guard Tiara of Pius IX

  14. Tiara of Leo XIII (1887)
  15. Tiara of Leo XIII (1887)
  16. Tiara of Leo XIII (1887)
  17. Tiara of Leo XIII (1894)
  18. Tiara of Leo XIII (1902)
  19. Tiara of Leo XIII (1903) (Photo below)
  20. Tiara of Pius X (1908)
  21. Tiara of Pius X (1909)
  22. Tiara of Pius XI (1922)
  23. Tiara of Pius XI (1922)

    Pius XII - Coronation Mar. 12, 1939, Loggia over Portico of St. Peter's
    with 1877 Palatine Guard Tiara of Pius IX

    John XXIII - Coronation Nov. 4, 1958, Loggia over Portico of St. Peter's
    with 1877 Palatine Guard Tiara of Pius IX
  24. Tiara of John XXIII (1959)
  25. Tiara of John XXIII (?)

    Paul VI - Coronation Jun. 30, 1963, Steps of St. Peter's Square
    with the New Bullet Tiara from Archdiocese of Milan.

  26. Tiara of Paul VI (1963)

    John Paul I - No Coronation

    Pope John Paul I, John Paul II, in 1978, Benedict XVI in 2005, and Frances in 2013, all refused a formal coronation ceremony with the triple-tiered crown, as it was considered to be out of step with the less pompous tone set by their predecessor Pope Paul VI and Vatican II's emphasis on the pastoral role of the Papacy, rather than its temporal authority.

    John Paul II - No Coronation

  27. Tiara of John Paul II (1981)

    Benedict XVI - No Coronation

    Benedict XVI even went so far as to remove the triple tiara from his coat of arms, and replaced it with a miter with three stripes representing his papal authority.

  28. Tiara of Benedict XVI (2011)

Frances - No Coronation

Detail from a photo on page 44 of St. Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes,
by Allen Dunston, O.P., and Roberto Zagnoli, ISBN 0-88397-140-2 (paperback catalogue).

Seven triple tiaras in the display case of the Papal Sacristy of the Sistine Chapel (room of the Copricapi). From left to right they are:


Did you notice the two keys in the Vatican's coat of arms? Those represent the keys to the kingdom, the assumed authority to bind and loose claimed by the Papacy from the book of Matthew-

Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Let's look at this passage in detail-

Verse 15 - Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is.

Verse 16 - Simon Peter (Cephas) answers that he knows Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah, the very Son of the Living God. This is the very foundation of the Gospel message. Jesus is the Messiah.

Verse 17 - Jesus responds that the ONLY reason that Peter knows this is because it has been revealed to him by none other than God the Father.

Verse 18 - Continuing, Jesus remarks to Peter that upon the rock of His true identity, Jesus as the Son of God, Jesus the long awaited Messiah, Jesus the salvation of all mankind, Jesus the one mediator for mankind, upon this foundation stone of fact the church of faithful believers will surely overcome sin and death (hell). That is, after all, the promise of John 3:16 isn't it? The Catholic Church appeals to this same verse to say that Peter is the foundation of the Church, and that his Papal office is declared here. This is a substitution of the Papacy in place of the Gospel message, yet again.

Verse 19 - The Papacy presumes that in this verse Jesus bestowed on Peter the absolute right and authority to govern the church as he (Peter) deemed appropriate, and that God would back him up, and his successors, in all they do in His name with that authority. But there is another interpretation that is not nearly so generous in it's scope-

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall (first) be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall (first) be loosed in heaven.

I believe this verse applies to all Christians, not just Peter. The word of God is the limiting factor in our authority. We only have authority to declare to the world what God's word reveals to us in His scriptures. As an example, the Christian can declare adultery to be a sin, condemned by God, but only because God himself declares this in His scriptures. But, beyond the clear written word of God, though, the Christian has no right to go. That is entirely different from the Catholic interpretation of absolute God-like unerring power presumed by the Papacy.

Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

So, to make it clear, just what is (are) the key(s) to the kingdom? Well, how will any mortal human being enter into the kingdom? By faith. Faith in what? Faith in Jesus Christ, the Rock of our Salvation. Peter had the Gospel message revealed to him by God the Father, the very keys to the kingdom to all who believe. Peter's charge was to "feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17); proclaim what the Father had made known to him, that Jesus was the Messiah, and that He (Jesus) is the only way to overcome sin. It is a duty and responsibility levied on all who know the Gospel message. And how do we know the true Gospel message today? The Bible reveals it to us through Scripture via the Holy Spirit. The two keys to the kingdom are the Old and New Testaments of Scripture!

So to wrap up Matt 16, I have just shown you a rational and valid interpretation that completely negates the Catholic claim of infallible vested Papal authority and the Petrine theory of Apostolic succession. They are pure invention, a fabrication not even dreamed of until a couple of hundred years after the time of Christ, when the church was trying to establish the authority of the Bishop of Rome over the Church. In the place of the Gospel message, the Catholic Church claims a blanket infallible Papal authority to proclaim Tradition. Again a substitution of the Papacy for the Gospel message. That process is called AntiChrist.

It is worth noting that the book of Mark relates the same conversation Jesus had with the disciples beginning in chapter 8, verse 27, and Mark curiously overlooks Peter's alleged investiture as Pope. Why? Surely if Mark knew Peter to be the visible head of the church, this is a remarkable and inexcusable omission on his part. So, because of the omission, it is apparent that Mark knew nothing of Peter's alleged supreme authority over the church.

Roman Emperor Decrees the Primacy and Authority of the Bishop of Rome

Source: Ecclesiastical Empire, by A. T. Jones, Review and Herald Publishing Co., Battle Creek, Michigan, 1901, pg. 157.

The development of the papal power can only be briefly summarized here. The first great step took place under [Pope] Damasus (366-384) who obtained from the Emperor Valentinian I the right of all bishops in the western part of the empire who were condemned by their provincial synod to appeal to the Bishop of Rome.

Source: THE CHRISTIAN FAITH: AN INTRODUCTION TO DOGMATIC THEOLOGY, by Claude Beaufort  Moss, D.D., London S.P.C.K, 1965Holy Trinity Church, Marylbone Road London, NW 1, Printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay (The Chaucer Press) Ltd  Bungay Suffolk, first printing 1943, Part II, Chapter 49,  III. The Papacy a Development from the Order of Bishops,  1. Origin and Development of the Papacy.

Source: Pope Leo I, Letter to the Bishops of Vienne, July, 445 A.D., 10:1-2; in The Faith of the Early Fathers (FEF), 3 volumes, edited and translated by William A Jurgens, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970, 1st edition, volume 3, p. 269.

Source: Pope Leo I, Letter to Bishop Anastasius of Thessalonica, c.446 A.D., 14:11; in Jurgens, FEF, volume 3, p. 270.

Source: Pope Leo I, Sermons, 4:2; in Jurgens, FEF, volume 3, p. 275.

Pope Gregory the Great (590–604 A.D)
"Universal Pontiff" a profane title

For, as your venerable Holiness knows, this name of Universality was offered by the holy synod of Chalcedon to the pontiff of the Apostolic See which by the providence of God I serve(2). But no one of my predecessors has ever consented to use this so profane a title; since, forsooth, if one Patriarch is called Universal, the name of Patriarch in the case of the rest is derogated. But far be this, far be it from the mind of a Christian, that any one should wish to seize for himself that whereby he might seem in the least degree to lessen the honour of his brethren. While, then, we are unwilling to receive this honour when offered to us, think how disgraceful it is for any one to have wished to usurp it to himself perforce.

Wherefore let not your Holiness in your epistles ever call any one Universal, lest you detract from the honour due to yourself in offering to another what is not due.

Source: BOOK V, EPISTLE XLIII: TO EULOGIUS AND ANASTASIUS, BISHOPS from Pope Gregory the Great, online at EWTN. (You will need to scroll down to find the document)

Pope Gregory the Great renounces the title "Universal Pope".

Your Blessedness has also been careful to declare that you do not now make use of proud titles, which have sprung from a root of vanity, in writing to certain persons, and you address me saying, As you have commanded. This word, command, I beg you to remove from my hearing, since I know who I am, and who you are. For in position you are my brethren, in character my fathers. I did not, then, command, but was desirous of indicating what seemed to be profitable. Yet I do not find that your Blessedness has been willing to remember perfectly this very thing that I brought to your recollection. For I said that neither to me nor to any one else ought you to write anything of the kind; and lo, in the preface of the epistle which you have addressed to myself who forbade it, you have thought fit to make use of a proud appellation, calling me Universal Pope. But I beg your most sweet Holiness to do this no more, since what is given to another beyond what reason demands is subtracted from yourself. For as for me, I do not seek to be prospered by words but by my conduct. Nor do I regard that as an honour whereby I know that my brethren lose their honour. For my honour is the honour of the universal Church: my honour is the solid vigour of my brethren. Then am I truly honoured when the honour due to all and each is not denied them. For if your Holiness calls me Universal Pope, you deny that you are yourself what you call me universally. But far be this from us. Away with words that inflate vanity and wound charity.

And, indeed, in the synod of Chalcedon and afterwards by subsequent Fathers, your Holiness knows that this was offered to my predecessors(1). And yet not one of them would ever use this title, that, while regarding the honour of all priests in this world, they might keep their own before Almighty God.

Source: BOOK VIII, EPISTLE XXX: TO EULOGIUS, BISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA online at EWTN. (You will need to scroll down to find the document)

Pope Gregory the Great criticizes use of the title "Universal Bishop"
and denies Peter was a "Universal Apostle".

For to all who know the Gospel it is apparent that by the Lord's voice the care of the whole Church was committed to the holy Apostle and Prince of all the Apostles, Peter. For to him it is said, Peter, lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep (John xxi. 17). To him it is said, Behold Satan hath desired to sift you as wheat; and I have prayed for thee, Peter, that they faith fail not. And thou, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (Luke xxii. 31). To him it is said, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever thou shalt bind an earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven (Matth. xvi. 18).

Lo, he received the keys of the heavenly kingdom, and power to bind and loose is given him, the care and principality of the whole Church is committed to him, and yet he is not called the universal apostle; while the most holy man, my fellow-priest John, attempts to be called universal bishop. I am compelled to cry out and say, O tempora, O mores!

Source: BOOK V, EPISTLE XX: TO MAURICIUS AUGUSTUS from Pope Gregory the Great (590–604), online at EWTN. (You will need to scroll down to find the document)

Pope Gregory the Great calls the title Universal "pestiferous".

... Be it known then to your Fraternity that John, formerly bishop of the city of Constantinople, against God, against the peace of the Church, to the contempt and injury of all priests, exceeded the bounds of modesty and of his own measure, and unlawfully usurped in synod the proud and pestiferous title of oecumenical, that is to say, universal. ...

... I exhort and entreat that not one of you ever accept this name, that not one consent to it, that not one write it, that not one admit it wherever it may have been written, or add his subscription to it; but, as becomes ministers of Almighty God, that each keep himself from this kind of poisoned infection, and give no place to the cunning lier-in-wait, since this thing is being done to the injury and rendering asunder of the whole Church, and, as we have said, to the condemning of all of you. For if one, as he supposes, is universal bishop, it remains that you are not bishops. ...

Source: BOOK IX, EPISTLE LXVIII TO EUSEBIUS OF THESSALONICA from Pope Gregory the Great (590–604), online at New Advent. (You will need to scroll down to find the document)

Pope Gregory the Great declares title "Universal Priest" to be Antichrist.

Whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others. Nor is it by dissimilar pride that he is led into error; for, as that perverse one wishes to appear as God above all men, so whosoever this one is who covets being called sole priest, he extols himself above all other priests.

Source: Pope Gregory the Great (590–604), Letter to Emperor Mauricius Augustus (against assumption of title “universal” by Patriarch of Constantinople) in his Epistles, bk. 7, letter 33, trans. in NPNF, 2d series, Vol. 12, p. 226 (2d pagination).

Here is the above BOOK VII, EPISTLE XXXIII: TO MAURICIUS AUGUSTUS online at EWTN. (You will need to scroll down to find the document)

Tiara given to Pius IX
by Queen Isabella II of Spain (1854)
Set with diamonds, pearls,
emeralds, rubies and sapphires.


So Pope Gregory the Great condemned the titles of Universal Patriarch, Universal Pope, Universal Bishop and Universal Priest. He saw that such pomposity was satanic or antichrist in nature. In any case, Pope Boniface III (607 A.D.), a mere three years after the death of Gregory, petitioned Emperor Phocus to declare the Roman See the head of all Christian churches and that the title Universal Bishop would apply exclusively to the Bishop of Rome. This was done in an attempt to end the ambitions of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

See Boniface III online at New Advent.

Emperor Phocus granted the request, and a grateful Boniface III erected a gilded statue of him in Rome proclaiming his greatness.

Donation of Constantine to the "Universal Pope" of Rome.

... Our most gracious serenity desires, in clear discourse, through the page of this our imperial decree, to bring to the knowledge of all the people in the whole world what things our Saviour and Redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the most High Father, has most wonderfully seen fit to bring about through his holy apostles Peter and Paul and by the intervention of our father Sylvester, the highest pontiff and the universal pope. First, indeed, putting forth, with the inmost confession of our heart, for the purpose of instructing the mind of all of you, our creed which we have learned from the aforesaid most blessed father and our confessor, Sylvester the universal pontiff; and then at length announcing the mercy of God which has been poured upon us. ...

For let all the people and the nations of the races in the whole world rejoice with us; we exhorting all of you to give unbounded thanks, together with us, to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For He is God in Heaven above and on earth below, who, visiting us through His holy apostles, made us worthy to receive the holy sacrament of baptism and health of body. In return for which, to those same holy apostles, my masters, St. Peter and St. Paul; and, through them, also to St. Sylvester, our father, -the chief pontiff and universal pope of the city of Rome, -and to all the pontiffs his successors, who until the end of the world shall be about to sit in the seat of St. Peter: we concede and, by this present, do confer, our imperial Lateran palace, which is preferred to, and ranks above, all the palaces in the whole world; then a diadem, that is, the crown of our head, and at the same time the tiara; and, also, the shoulder band, -that is, the collar that usually surrounds our imperial neck; and also the purple mantle, and crimson tunic, and all the imperial raiment; and the same rank as those presiding over the imperial cavalry; conferring also the imperial sceptres, and, at the same time, the spears and standards; also the banners and different imperial ornaments, and all the advantage of our high imperial position, and the glory of our power.

Donation of Constantine online.

Though proved a forgery in the 15th century, the use of the phrase "universal pope" in the Donation of Constantine shows the title was attributed to the Bishop of Rome in the 8th century. For centuries, the Donation of Constantine was held to be genuine by the Catholic Church.

Pope Leo IX In 1054 A.D. Cites The Donation of Constantine to Assert Papal Primacy.

Pope Leo IX sent a letter to Michael Cærularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, in 1054, that cited a large portion of the Donation of Constantine, to include the phrase Vicarius Filii Dei, the Roman numerals of which add up to 666. The reason that Leo provided the Greek Patriarch with the bulk of the text of the donation, was to officially notify him that Emperor Constantine had conferred a unique dignity, authority and primacy on the See of Peter, making Constantinople subject to Rome. Leo IX assured the Patriarch that the donation was completely genuine, not a fable or old wives tale, so only the apostolic successor to Peter possessed that primacy and was the rightful head of all the Church. Little did Leo IX know that he cited and testified to the authenticity of the most stupendous fraud in European history. The Patriarch rejected the claims of papal primacy, and subsequently the Catholic Church was split in two in the Great Schism of 1054. See 666, The Number of the Beast for details.

Now note that Pope Gregory VII also declared himself to be "Universal Pope", a title which Gregory the Great refused and condemned. This papal claim has been maintained or embellished on by every subsequent pope, eventually leading to the declaration of papal infallibility.


1. That the Roman Church was founded by the Lord alone.
2. That the Roman Pontiff alone is justly called universal.
3. That he alone can depose bishops or restore them …
9. That all princes should kiss the feet of the pope alone…
12. That it is lawful for him to depose emperors …
18. That his sentence ought not to be reviewed by any one; and he alone can review [the decisions] of all.
19. That he ought to be judged by no one …
22. That the Roman Church never erred; nor will it, according to Scripture, ever err …
27. That he can absolve subjects from their allegiance to unrighteous [rulers].

Pope John XXIII

 John XXIII Pontifex Maximus
wearing the tiara of Pope Pius XI.
Attualità Giordani, Rome
Click on image for an enlargement

Source: Gregory VII (1073-1085 A.D.), Dictatus Papae (“Dictates of the Pope”; sometimes called the Dictates of Hilderbrand), Latin text in Karl Hofmann, Der Dictatus Papae Gregors VII (Paderborn [Germany]: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1933), p. 11.

Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) Claims Divine Authority

Pope Innocent III claimed that only the Roman Pontiff had the power to transfer and separate bishops, because when he separates, it is not a man that separates, but God that separates, because he acts "not only as a man, but as the true God's vice governor on earth" [non puri hominis, sed veri Dei vicem gerit in terris], ... he "dissolves not with human, but with divine authority" [non humana, sed divina potius auctoritate dissolvit.]:

Non enim homo, sed Deus separat, quos Romanus Pontifex (qui non puri hominis, sed veri Dei vicem gerit in terris) ecclesiarum necessitate vel utilitate pensata, non humana, sed divina potius auctoritate dissolvit.

It is not a man, but God, who separates those whom the Roman Pontiff (not only as a man, but as the true God's vice governor on earth), providing for the necessities and the good of the churches, dissolves not with human, but with divine authority.

Source: DECRETALES D. GREGORII PAPAE IX, SUAE INTEGRITATI  UNA CUM GLOSSIS RESTTUTE Ad exemplar Romanum diligenter recognite, LUGDUNI, 1584, liber I, titulus VII - De Translatione Episcopi, cap. III, col. 217. (138) Download entire volume, .pdf. All 5 volumes are available at Gallica.

The adjacent gloss for "veri Dei vicem" adds the following regarding the scope of the Pope's authority as God's true vice governor:

veri Dei vicem (gerit).]

Unde dicitur habere caeleste arbitrium (Cod. de sum. tri. 1. I. in fi.),
Whence he is said to possess a divine judgment,

et ideo etiam naturam rerum immutat, substantialia unius rei applicando alii (arg. C. communia de leg. l. 2),
and therefore he altereth the very nature of things, by applying the things that are of the substance of one thing unto another,

et de nullo potest aliquid facere (C. rei uxor. act. l. unica in prin. et De Consecr. Dist. 2. c. 69),
and of nothing he can make something; [to make something out of nothing is to construct new laws];

et sententiam, quae nulla est, facit aliquam (Caus. III. Qu. 6. c. 10);
and that sentence which is of no force he can make to be of force;

quia in his, quae vult, ei est pro ratione voluntas (Instit. de jure natu. § sed quod principi. haec quippe.)
and he can do these things, because his will stands for reason.

Nec est, qui ei dicat, cur ita facis? (De Poen. Dist. 3. c. 22. ex psona. alias est in c. quauis)
Neither is there any may say unto him, Why dost thou so?

Ipse enim potest supra jus dispensare (infra, Lib. III. Tit. 8. c. 4, j. de conces. prae. c. proposuit.)
for he can dispense above the law,

idem de injustitia potest facere justitiam corrigendo jura et mutando (Lib. II. Tit. 28. c. 59.,  j. de appella c. vt debitus., Lib. IV. Tit. 14. c. 8, et j. de cosang. et affinit. cap. non debet.)
and of unrighteousness make righteousness, correcting and changing laws,

et plenitudinem obtinet potestatis (Caus. II. Qu. 6. c. 11). decreto
for he hath the fullness of power.

The references in the gloss are supplied in:

A Compendium of Ecclesiastical History, by Dr. John C. L. Gieseler, Fourth Edition Revised And Amended, Volume III, 1853, translated from the German by the Rev. John Winstanley Hull, M.A. pg. 161.

The English translation of the gloss is primarily from:

The Decades of Henry Bullinger, The Fifth Decade, By Heinrich Bullinger, Translated By H. I., 1852, pg. 121.

See also:

A Sketch Of The Romish Controversy By G. Finch, London, 1831, pg. 318. This book incorrectly reads "Ipse enim potest s. jus dispensare" in the gloss as "Ipse enim potest sanctum jus dispensare" (for he can dispense with holy laws,). The referenced section in the gloss to Lib. III shows that "supra" (for he can dispense above the law,) is correct.

An excellent searchable version of Gregorius IX Decretalium compilatio with concordance.

Pope Innocent III Claims Authority Over Kings

Just as the founder of the universe established two great lights in the firmament of heaven, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, so too He set two great dignities in the firmament of the universal church..., the greater one to rule the day, that is, souls, and the lesser to rule the night, that is, bodies. These dignities are the papal authority and the royal power. Now just as the moon derives its light from the sun and is indeed lower than it in quantity and quality, in position and in power, so too the royal power derives the splendor of its dignity from the pontifical authority.... Letter to the prefect Acerbius and the nobles of Tuscany, 1198.

Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254)

Every cleric must obey the Pope, even if he commands what is wrong, for no one can judge him. The only exception was if the command involved heresy or tended to the destruction of the church. Pope Innocent IV, Comment. in Decretal. Francof. 1570, 555. [Apparatus in quinque libros decretalium, commentary on the Decretals of Gregory IX]

Source: The Pope and the Council, by Janus [with the collaboration of J.N. Huber and J. Friedrich], translated from the German by Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger, Johannes Nepomuk Huber, Third Edition Revised, Rivingtons, London, Oxford, and Cambridge, 1870, page 161.

First Council of Lyons - 1245 A.D.
Bull of Pope Innocent IV Deposing Emperor Frederick II

... We [Pope Innocent IV] therefore, after careful discussion with our brother cardinals and the sacred council [Lyons, 1245 A.D.] on his [Emperor Frederick II] wicked transgressions already mentioned and many more besides, since though unworthy we hold on earth the place of Jesus Christ, and to us in the person of the blessed apostle Peter has been said, whatever you bind on earth etc., denounce the said prince, who has made himself so unworthy of the empire and kingdoms and every honour and dignity and who also, because of his crimes, has been cast out by God from kingdom and empire; we mark him out as bound by his sins, an outcast and deprived by our Lord of every honour and dignity; and we deprive him of them by our sentence. We absolve from their oath for ever all those who are bound to him by an oath of loyalty, firmly forbidding by our apostolic authority anyone in the future to obey or heed him as emperor or king, and decreeing that anyone who henceforth offers advice, help or favour to him as to an emperor or king, automatically incurs excommunication. Let those whose task it is to choose an emperor in the same empire, freely choose a successor to him. With regard to the aforesaid kingdom of Sicily, we shall take care to provide, with the counsel of our brother cardinals, as we see to be expedient.

Given at Lyons on 17 July in the third year of our pontificate [1245 A.D.].

Source: Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Tanner, Norman P., ed., New York: Sheed and Ward, ISBN: 072203010X, 1990.

Claims of “I Am Caesar” (Boniface VIII)

Pope Pius XII

The papal theory made the Pope alone God’s representative on earth and maintained that the Emperor received his right to rule from St. Peter’s successor. For historical proof of the genuineness of this position attention was called to the power of the keys, the Donation of Constantine, the coronation of Pepin, the restoration of the Empire in the West. … It was upheld by Nicholas I., Hildebrand, Alexander III., Innocent III., and culminated with Boniface VIII. at the jubilee of 1300 when, seated on the throne of Constantine, girded with the imperial sword, wearing a crown, and waving a sceptre, he shouted to the throng of loyal pilgrims: “I am Caesar—I am Emperor.”

Pius XII wearing the 1877 tiara of Pius IX
Wide World Photos, Inc.

Source: Alexander Clarence Flick, The Rise of the Mediaeval Church, copyright 1909, published in New York: by Burt Franklin, 514 West 113th Street, p. 413.

Obedience to the Pope declared necessary for Salvation

We, moreover, proclaim, declare and pronounce that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human being to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Source: Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam, promulgated November 18, 1302, in Translations and Reprints From the Original Sources of European History, Vol. 3 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 189–), No. 6, pp. 20–23 (from Latin text of Mury, Revue des Questions Historiques, Vol. 46, pp. 225, 256, based on the facsimile from the Papal Regesta).

Liberally minded Catholic apologists will sometimes suggest that Boniface VIII meant to apply his remark only to Catholics, and that Protestants are not automatically excluded from salvation by it. However the Latin text (in David S. Schaff, The Middle Ages [Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 5. New York: Scribner, 1910], part 2, p. 28) reads omni humanae creaturae (“every human creature"). The title of the bull, Unam Sanctam (One Holy Church) and its last sentence make clear that Boniface VIII was declaring that submission to the Pope of the Holy See of Rome of the Catholic Church was the only means of salvation and that those resisting that presumed authority were lost souls. Conservative traditional Catholics will staunchly defend the statement that "Outside the Catholic Church there is no Salvation", and will cite Unam Sanctam as proof positive.

Here is the full text of UNAM SANCTAM online.

The Decision of the Pope and the Decision of God Constitute One Decision.

    Secunda ratio accipitur ex parte Papae. solus Papa dicitur esse Vicarius Dei: quia solum quod ligatur vel solvitur per eum, habetur solutum et ligatum per ipsum Deum. Sententia igitur Papae et sententia Dei vna sententia est: sicut una sententia est Papae, et auditoris eius. Cum igitur appellatio semper fiat a minori iudice ad superiorem, sicut nullus est major seipso: ita nulla appellatio tenet, facta a Papa ad Deum: quia unum consistorium est ipsius Papae et ipsius Dei: cuius consistorij clauiger et ostiarius est ipse Papa. Nullus ergo potest appellare a Papa ad Deum. Nullus ergo potest appellare a Papa ad Deum, sicut nulla potest intrare ad consistorium Dei, nisi mediante Papa, qui est aeternae vitae cónsistorij clauiger, et ostiarius et sicut nullus pot appellare ad se ipsum: ita nullas pót appellare à Papa ad Deu. quia vna sententia est, et vna curia Dei, et Pape.

    Second reason considering the role of the Pope. Only the Pope is said to be the Vicar of God: because he alone is able to bind and loose, possessing alone loosing and binding given to him by God. The decision of the Pope and the decision of God constitute one decision, just as the decision of the Pope and his disciple are the same. Since, therefore, an appeal is always taken from an inferior judge to a superior, as no one is greater than himself, so no appeal holds when made from the Pope to God, because there is one consistory of the Pope himself and of God Himself, of which consistory the Pope himself is the key-bearer and the doorkeeper. Therefore no one can appeal from the Pope to God, as no one can enter into the consistory of God without the mediation of the Pope, who is the key-bearer and the doorkeeper of the consistory of eternal life; and as no one can appeal to himself, so no one can appeal from the Pope to God, because there is one decision and one court of God, and the Pope.

Summa de potestate ecclesiastica, Augustini Triumphi (Agostino Trionfo), Question 6 Ad 1. See 666, The Number of the Beast for details.

Pope Martin V Claims Worldwide Authority

Romanus Pontifex, beati Petri coelestis Regni clavigeri successor et vicarius Jesu Christi, cuneta mundi climata, omniumque nationum in illis degentium ... Datum Constanciae secundo nonas Aprilis, Pontificatus nostri anno primo.

The Roman Pontiff, successor of the blessed Peter, and the vicar of Jesus Christ, keeper of the keys of the heavenly Kingdom, of all regions of the world, and of all of the nations and those who dwell in them, ... (4 April 1417).

In eminenti specula militantis Ecclesiae Romanus Pontifex, B. Petri coelestis regni clavigeri successor, et Vicarius Jesu Christi, habens super Orbis Ecclesias et Monasteria universa, aliaque loca religiosa, plenitudinem potestatis, privileges, more Pastoris, suae providentiae oculis Universum Orbem terrarum, et nationum in illo degentium, ... Datum Florentiae 4 nonas Junii, Pontificatus nostri anno tertio.

Stationed on the lofty watchtower of the church militant, the Roman Pontiff, Blessed Peter's successor, keeper of the keys of the heavenly kingdom, and the Vicar of Jesus Christ, having fullness of power and privileges over all the churches and monasteries and other religious places of the world in the manner of the Shepherd, the eyes of His providence over the whole world, the nations and all of those who dwell in them, ... (10 June 1420).

Source: Bullarium Patronatus Portugalliae Regum In Ecclesiis Africae, Asiae, Atque Oceaniae, ..., Volume 1 (1171-1600), curante Levy Maria Jordão, 1868, pgs. 8 & 12.

Pope Claims Primacy Over the World.

Item, diffinimus sanctam Apostolicam sedem et Romanum Pontificem in universum orbem tenere primatum, et ipsum Pontificem Romanum successorem esse beati Petri principis Apostolorum et verum Christi vicarium totiusque Ecclesiae caput et omnium christianorum patrem ac doctorem exsistere; et ipsi in beato Petro pascendi, regendi ac gubernandi universalem Ecclesiam a Domino nostro Iesu Christo plenam potestatem traditam esse; quemadmodum etiam in gestis oecumenicorum Conciliorum et in sacris Canonibus continetur.

We likewise define that the holy Apostolic See, and the Roman Pontiff, hold the primacy throughout the entire world; and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the true vicar of Christ, and that he is the head of the entire Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him in blessed Peter by Our Lord Jesus Christ, to feed, rule, and govern the universal Church; just as is contained in the acts of the ecumenical Councils and in the sacred canons."

Source: Pope Eugene IV, Papal Bull Laetentur Caeli, dated July 6th, 1439.
Second Latin source,
The Council of Florence, see pgs. 414-415.

See also: Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Translated by Roy J. Deferrari, from the Thirtieth Edition of Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum, published by Herder & Co., Copyright 1954, page 220 (pg. 252 in reader), #694.

Papacy Claims Authority Over the Kings of the Earth

On the above papal medal (Mazio 13, Spink 342) issued by Pope Callistus III (1455-58), the reverse side reads OMNES REGES SERVIENT EI, a quote of Daniel 7:27 from the Latin Vulgate, which when translated in the Catholic Douay Rheims reads "ALL KINGS SHALL SERVE HIM". The scripture refers to God, but the papal triple-tiered tiara portrayed above the cross clearly symbolizes papal authority, that the papacy is God's designated representative, having authority even over the kings of the earth, just as the above excerpts show.

1417 - 1431



1431 - 1447



1513 - 1521



1522 - 1523



The above papal medals illustrate the coronation of the Pope. The reverse motto is "Whom They Create They Adore In Rome"

Another God on Earth
Fifth Lateran Council, Session IV (1512)

Christopher Marcellus (Christophori Marcelli / Cristoforo Marcello, appointed Archbishop of Corfù, June 1514) in a speech addressing Pope Julius II, in the Fifth Lateran Council, Session IV in 1512, said:

"Take care, so that the sheepfold may be one, it now is divided into parts. Take care at last, that we lose not that salvation, that life and breath which thou hast given us. For thou art our shepherd, thou art our physician, thou art our governor, thou art our husbandman, thou art finally another God on earth."

Source: Sacrorum Conciliorum: Nova et Amplissima Collectio, J. D. Mansi (ed.), Paris, 1902, Huberti Welter,  Vol. 32, col. 761, Latin:

Cura, ut ovile unum fiat, quod modo est in partes divisum. Cura denique, ut salutem, quam dedisti nobis, & vitam & spiritum non amittamus. Tu enim pastor, tu medicas, tu gubernator, tu cultur, tu denique alter Deus in Terris.


Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), a Doctor of the Church, in his Disputationes de controversiis christianae fidei, Adversus hujus temporis Haereticos (Debates on the Christian Controversies of Faith Against Contemporary Heresy), claimed that all the names that Scripture applies to Christ are also to be applied to the Pope. In Volume 2, LIBER SECVUNDUS, De Conciliorum auctoritate (Book 2, The Authority of Councils) we find the following:

Summam Pontificem absolute esse supra Concilium.

TERTIA propositio. ...
    SECUNDO probatur ratione, in scripturis fundata: nam omnia nomina, quae in scripturis tribuuntur Christo, unde constat eum esse supra Ecclesiam, eadem omnia tribuuntur Pontifici: ac primum, Christus est paterfamilias in domo sua, quae est Ecclesia, Pontifex in eadem, est summus oeconomus, id est, paterfamilias loco Christi, Lucae 12. — Bellarmini, Disputationes, Tom. II, Lib. II, De Conciliorum auctoritate, Cap. XVII, col. 95, 1608, Paris.  A 1613 printing.

The Supreme Pontiff is absolutely above a Council.

THIRD proposition: ...
    SECOND it is proved by an argument, founded in the scriptures: for all the names, which in the scriptures are applied to Christ, proving him to be above the Church, are in like manner applied to the Pontiff: as first, Christ is head of the family in his own house, which is the Church. The Pontiff is high steward in the same, that is, he is head of the family in the place of Christ, Luke 12:42.

Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

Martin Luther on Papal Infallibility

[p. 69] They assume authority, and juggle before us with impudent words, saying that the Pope cannot err in matters of faith, whether he be evil or good, albeit they cannot prove it by a single letter… We will quote the Scriptures. St. Paul says, “If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace” (1 Cor. 14:30). What would be the use of this commandment, if we were to believe him alone that teaches or has the highest seat? Christ Himself says, “And they shall be all taught of God” (John 6:45). Thus it may come to pass that the Pope and his followers are wicked and not true Christians, and not being taught by God, have no true understanding, whereas a common man may have true understanding. Why should we then not follow him? Has not the Pope often erred? … Therefore it is a wickedly devised fable—and they cannot quote a single letter to confirm it—that it is for the Pope alone to interpret [p. 70] the Scriptures or to confirm the interpretation of them. They have assumed the authority of their own selves. And though they say that this authority was given to St. Peter when the keys were given to him, it is plain enough that the keys were not given to St. Peter alone, but to the whole community.

Source: Luthers Werke (Erlangen, 1828–1870), trans. and ed. by H. Wace and C. A. Buckheim in First Principles of the Reformation (Philadelphia, 1885), pp. 159–239, passim. Reprinted in Louis L. Snyder, ed., Documents of German History (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1958), pp. 69, 70. Copyright © 1958 by Rutgers, The State University.

Martin Luther also wrote-

"I now know for certain that the papacy is the kingdom of Babylon and the power of Nimrod, the mighty hunter (Gen. 10:8-9)."

Source: Martin Luther's The Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), in Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings, edited by Timothy F. Lull, published by Fortress Press, © 1989, ISBN 0-8006-2327-4, page 268.

Papal Infallibility Denied as Catholic Dogma Before 1870

Q. Must not Catholics believe the Pope in himself to be infallible?
A. This is a Protestant invention; it is no article of the Catholic faith; no decision of his can oblige, under pain of heresy, unless it be received and enforced by the teaching body, that is, by the Bishops of the Church.

Sources: A Doctrinal Catechism, by the Rev. Stephen Keenan, approved by the Most Rev. John Hughes, D.D., Archbishop of New York, Second American Edition, published in New York by E. Dunigan & Brother, (James B. Kirker), No. 371 Broadway, Copyright 1848, pages 305-306. Controversial Catechism or Protestantism Refuted, by the Rev. Stephen Keenan, Second Edition, published in 1851 in Edinburgh; by C. Dolman, 13 South Hanover Street, and 61, New Bond Street, London, page 102. The original First Edition was published in Edinburgh in 1846.

1805 tiara of Pope Pius VII
Papal Sacristy, The Vatican

  Q. Do you here suppose the teachers individually infallible, or that they are free personally from all sin and error?
A. By no means; philosophically speaking, if all the bishops of the Church, scattered over all the nations of the earth, all men of learning and probity, who have never seen one another,—who have had no means of combining to teach any particular doctrine,—and who have had no motive for such, do actually teach the very same truths, then we maintain, by all laws of human evidence or moral certainty, that their combined testimony to the existence of any doctrine infallibly proves its truth.

Source: A Doctrinal Catechism, by the Rev. Stephen Keenan, approved by the Most Rev. John Hughes, D.D., Archbishop of New York, Second American Edition, published in New York by E. Dunigan & Brother, (James B. Kirker), No. 371 Broadway, Copyright 1848, page 369. (The identical text appears on pages 67-68 of the 1851 Edinburgh Second Edition, and also on page 77 of the 1896 London revised New Edition.)

Prelude To Dogmatic Papal Infallibility

10. ... God Himself has set up a living authority to establish and teach the true and legitimate meaning of His heavenly revelation. This authority judges infallibly all disputes which concern matters of faith and morals, lest the faithful be swirled around by every wind of doctrine which springs from the evilness of men in encompassing error. And this living infallible authority is active only in that Church which was built by Christ the Lord upon Peter, the head of the entire Church, leader and shepherd, whose faith He promised would never fail. This Church has had an unbroken line of succession from Peter himself; these legitimate pontiffs are the heirs and defenders of the same teaching, rank, office and power. And the Church is where Peter is,[5] and Peter speaks in the Roman Pontiff,[6] living at all times in his successors and making judgment,[7] providing the truth of the faith to those who seek it.[8] The divine words therefore mean what this Roman See of the most blessed Peter holds and has held.

Source: QUI PLURIBUS, On Faith And Religion, Encyclical of Pope Pius IX, November 9, 1846.

The 1877 tiara of Pius IX illustrated at right was used for the coronation of Pius XII.  Pius XII chose this tiara for his coronation to symbolize the end of the 59 year feud between the holy see and the Italian state with the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929, which restored papal temporal sovereignty over the Vatican, lost under the pontificate of Pius IX.

Tiara of Pope Pius IX (1877)
Photo: Vatican Sacristy


Tiara of Pope Pius IX
displayed at Basilica of the Sacred Heart,
South Bend, Indiana

Unity with the Roman Pontiff Declared Necessary to Salvation

8. Also well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom "the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior."

Source: QUANTO CONFICIAMUR MOERORE, On Promotion of False Doctrines, Encyclical of Pope Pius IX, August 10, 1863.


I alone, despite my unworthiness, am the successor of the apostles, the vicar of Jesus Christ: I alone have the mission to guide and direct the bark of Peter. I am the way, the truth, and the life: they who are with me are with the church: they who are not with me are out of the church—they are out of the way, the truth, and the life. Let men well understand this, that they be not deceived, or led astray by soi-disant Catholics, who desire and teach something quite different from what the head of the church teaches. (The Guardian, London, April 11, 1866)

Seul, malgré mon indignité, je suis le successeur des Apôtres, le Vicaire de Jésus-Christ, seul j'ai la mission de conduire et de diriger la barque de Pierre, je suis la voie, la véritié et la vie.  Ceux qui sont avec moi sont avec l'Église; ceux qui ne sont pas avec moi sont hors l'Église; ils sont hors de la voie, de la vérité et de la vie. Il faut bien qu'on le sache, afin de ne pas se laisser tromper et aventurer par la parole de gens qui se disent catholiques, mais qui veulent et enseignent tout autre chose que ce que veut et enseigne le chef de l'Église.

Attributed to Pius IX, who on March 24, 1866, spoke in French, in response to an address by Catholics of various nations in which certain liberal ideas were expressed. Published in France in the Catholic monthly Revue du Monde Catholique, the L' Union, and the Observateur Catholique of April 1, 1866, p. 357.

Pope Pius IX photographed standing beside a jewel-encrusted triple tiara.

Recognition of Papal jurisdiction declared necessary for Salvation

1826  Therefore, relying on the clear testimonies of Sacred Scripture, and adhering to the eloquent and manifest decisions not only of Our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, but also of the general Councils, We renew the definition Pope Pius IX Medalof the Ecumenical Council of Florence, by which all of the faithful of Christ must believe "that the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold primacy over the whole world, and that the Pontiff of Rome himself is the successor of the blessed Peter, the chief of the apostles, and is the true vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church and faith, and teacher of all Christians; and that to him was handed down in blessed Peter, by our Lord Jesus Christ, full power to feed, rule, and guide the universal Church, just as is also contained in the records of the ecumenical Councils and in the sacred canons."

1827 Furthermore We teach and declare that the Roman Church, by the disposition of the Lord, holds the sovereignty of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction on the part of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; and with respect to this the pastors and the faithful of whatever right and dignity, both as separate individuals and all together, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church [which is] spread over the whole world, so that the Church of Christ, protected not only by the Roman Pontiff, but by the unity of communion as well as of the profession of the same faith is one flock under one highest shepherd. This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation.

Source: Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ [Vatican I - Pius IX], Session IV, July 18th 1870, Chapter 3., The Power and Manner of the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff, Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Translated by Roy J. Deferrari, from the Thirtieth Edition of Henry Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum, published by B. Herder Book Co., Copyright 1957, pages 453-454.

Papal Claim of Infallibility Declared Dogmatically.

Pope Pius IX

Pius IX Pontifex Maximus

Therefore faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, for the glory of God our Saviour, the exaltation of the Catholic religion, and the salvation of Christian people, the sacred Council approving, we teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed: that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Re- [p. 271] deemer willed that his Church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith or morals; and that therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church.

But if any one—which may God avert—presume to contradict this our definition: let him be anathema. Given at Rome in public Session solemnly held in the Vatican Basilica in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy, on the eighteenth day of July, in the twenty-fifth year of our Pontificate.

Source: Vatican Council, Session IV (July 18, 1870), First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ (Pastor Aeternus), chap. IV, Concerning the Infallible Teaching of the Roman Pontiff, in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (New York: Harper, 1919), Vol. 2, pp. 266–271.


Above is a papal tiara presented to Pius IX by Belgium in 1871. Click on the picture of the tiara to view the full sized picture. The complete inscription (including text on the unseen sides) is:


which translates to:

To The Infallible Vicar of Jesus Christ
To the Supreme Governor of the World on Earth
To the Father of Nations and Kings

See also: Vicar of Christ - Governor on Earth - Father of Princes and of Kings

 JOEL 11 23

The above gilt papal medal of Pius IX from 1877 depicts on the reverse the Pope enthroned wearing the triple tiara, with five figures paying homage, and is inscribed with a quote of Joel 2:23 from the Latin Vulgate, which the Douay Rheims translates to:

Joel 2:23 ... be joyful in the Lord your God: because he hath given you a teacher of justice ...

Père Hyacinthe On Infallibility

The following from the lips of Père Hyacinthe, does not sound much like endorsing the dogma of Infallibility: "I protest, against this pretended dogma of the Pope's infallibility, such as it is set forth in the decree of the Council. It is because I am Catholic, and wish so to remain, that I refuse to admit a doctrine unknown to the ancient Church, contested even now by many and eminent theologians—a doctrine which implies no gradual development, but a radical change in the constitution of the Church and in the immutable regulation of its faith. It is because I am a Christian and wish so to remain, that I raise myself with all my soul against these almost divine honors granted to a man who is presented to our faith—I had almost said to our worship—as uniting in his person alike that spirit of domination which the Gospel, of which he is the minister, denies, and that infallibility against which revolts his flesh, tempered in the same clay as our own, Gregory the Great rejected, as a sign of Antichrist, the title of Universal Bishop which was offered him. What would be said of the title 'Pontiff Infallible'?"

Source: Père Hyacinthe (Charles Jean Marie Loyson), liberal French priest, 1827-1912, as reported in the August 24, 1870, edition of the Elyria Independent Democrat (Ohio), page 2.

Significance of Papal Infallibility Dogma

[p. 164] The dogma of Papal Infallibility … involves a question of absolute power… [p. 165] It is the direct antipode of the Protestant principle of the absolute supremacy and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures. It establishes a perpetual divine oracle in the Vatican. Every Catholic may hereafter say, I believe—not because Christ, or the Bible, or the Church, but—because the infallible Pope has so declared and commanded… If the dogma is false, it involves a blasphemous assumption, and makes the nearest approach to the fulfillment of St. Paul’s prophecy of the man of sin, who ‘as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself off that he is God’ (2 Thess. ii. 4)

Source: Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (4th ed., rev.; New York: Harper, 1919), Vol. 1, pp. 164, 165.

Keenan's Catechism Changes Its Tune

Subsequent to Vatican I and the declaration of papal Infallibility, Keenan's Catechism, third American Edition, was revised:

   Q. Do you here suppose the teachers individually infallible?
   A. The Pope as the constant head of the Church we hold infallible in decisions ex cathedra: but not exempt from falling into personal sin. The various bishops are neither individually infallible or sinless. But we may argue that if the Pope and the various bishop teach any particular doctrine,—men who have had no motive for such, do actually teach the very same truths, then we maintain, by all laws of human evidence or moral certainty, that their combined testimony to the existence of any doctrine infallibly proves its truth.
This, however, is not what we contend for here; we maintain our teaching body to be infallible, because God has made them so; as in the Old [pg. 370] Law he made the Scribes and Pharisees, who were the public ministers of his Church (though often, no doubt, personally sinners), infallible, for the safety of those whom they taught.

Source: A Doctrinal Catechism, by the Rev. Stephen Keenan, Imprimatur by John Cardinal McCloskey, Archbishop of New York, Third American Edition, Copyright 1876 by T. W. Strong, published in New York by P. J. Kenedy, Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, page 369.
A Doctrinal Catechism, (complete text of 1876 Third American edition) online.  See also pages 170-171 on papal infallibility.

In the 1896 London revised New Edition, Keenan's Catechism gave the following explanation:

    Q. But some Catholics before the Vatican Council denied the Infallibility of the Pope, which was also formerly impugned in this very Catechism: (Controversial Catechism, Edition Edinburgh, 1846, p. 117).
    A. Yes; but they did so under the usual reservation—"in so far as they then could grasp the mind of the Church, and subject to her future definitions"—thus implicitly accepting the dogma; had they been prepared to maintain their own opinion contumaciously in such case they would have been Catholics only in name.

Source: Controversial Catechism or Protestantism Refuted, by the Rev. Stephen Keenan, New Edition, revised by the Rev. George Cormack, published in 1896 in London by Burns & Oates, Limited - in New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago by Benzinger Brothers, page 112.

Tiara of Pope Leo XIII (1903)
displayed in the

Saint Peter and the Vatican:
The Legacy of the Popes
museum tour.

Detail from a photo at
Clear Channel Exhibitions © 2003-2004

The Coronation of Pope Leo XIII,
March 3rd, 1878.

The solemn moment has arrived. The Pope again ascends the throne, while the choir sings the antiphon, Corona aurea super caput ejus. The subdeacon of the Sacred college, Cardinal di Pietro, intones the Pater noster, and afterwards reads the prayer, Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, dignitas Sacerdotii, etc. The Second deacon removes the mitre from the head of the Pontiff, and Cardinal Mertel approaches, bearing the tiara. Placing it on the head of the Pope, he says:

Accipe thiaram tribus coronis ornatam, et scias te esse Patrem Principum et Regum, Rectorem Orbis, in terra Vicarium Salvatoris Nostri Jesu Christi, cui est honor et gloria in sæcula sœculorum.

[Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns and know that thou art Father of Princes and Kings, Ruler of the World, Vicar of Our Savior Jesus Christ on earth, to him be the honor and glory forever and ever.]

Source: Catholic World, Volume 27, Issue 158, May 1878, The Coronation of Pope Leo XIII, page 282.

Color print declaring Leo XIII Lumen Coeli, Latin for the "Light of Heaven".



The above papal medal from the 2nd year of the reign of Pope Leo XIII (1879) is inscribed on the reverse with the Latin phrase GENS ET REGNUM QUOD NON SERVIERIT MIHI PERIBIT, which translates to: THE NATION AND KINGDOM THAT WILL NOT SERVE ME WILL PERISH, (Isaiah 60:12 from the Latin Vulgate). The figure on the reverse is that of the church depicted as a papal tiara crowned queen, sitting on her throne, which calls to mind Revelation 18:7-

How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

Claims of Obedience to Pope as to God (Leo XIII)

22. ... But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.

Pope Leo XIII

Leo XIII Pontifex Maximus

Source: Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter, Sapientiae Christianae (On the Chief Duties of Christians as Citizens), dated January 10, 1890, trans. in The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: Benziger, 1903), p. 193.

Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII Pontifex Maximus wearing the 1834 tiara of Pope Gregory XVI

Pope Leo XIII
Claims to hold the place of God on Earth.

... We [the pope] hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty, ...

Source: Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Exhortation Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae (The Reunion of Christendom), dated June 20, 1894, trans. in The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: Benziger, 1903), paragraph 5, page 304.

Pope Leo XIII Affirms Supreme Universal Papal Authority

9. ... But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honour God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith. ...

13. ... the Pontiffs who succeed Peter in the Roman Episcopate receive the supreme power in the church, jure divino. "We define" (declare the Fathers of the Council of Florence) "that the Holy and Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold the primacy of the Church throughout the whole world: and that the same Roman Pontiff is the successor of St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, and the true Vicar of Christ, the head of the whole Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him, in Blessed Peter, by our Lord Jesus Christ to feed, to rule, and to govern the universal Church, as is also contained in the acts of ecumenical councils and in the sacred canons" (Conc. Florentinum). Similarly the Fourth Council of Lateran declares: "The Roman Church, as the mother and mistress of all the faithful, by the will of Christ obtains primacy of jurisdiction over all other Churches." These declarations were preceded by the consent of antiquity which ever acknowledged, without the slightest doubt or hesitation, the Bishops of Rome, and revered them, as the legitimate successors of St. Peter. ...

15. ... But the authority of the Roman Pontiff is supreme, universal, independent; that of the bishops limited, and dependent. ...

16. ... What Christ has said of Himself We may truly repeat of Ourselves: "Other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice" (John x., 16). ...

... Our soul goes out to those whom the foul breath of irreligion has not entirely corrupted, and who at least seek to have the true God, the Creator of Heaven and earth, as their Father. Let such as these take counsel with themselves, and realize that they can in no wise be counted among the children of God, unless they take Christ Jesus as their Brother, and at the same time the [Roman Catholic] Church as their mother.

Source: Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter SATIS COGNITUM (On the Unity of the Church), June 29, 1896.

1887 neo-gothic tiara of Leo XIII
Photo: Papal Sacristy, The Vatican


The Roman Pontiff is God's instrument of salvation

   "This is Our last lesson to you: receive it, engrave it in your minds, all of you: by God's commandment salvation is to be found nowhere but in the Church; the strong and effective instrument of salvation is none other than the Roman Pontificate." − Pope Leo XIII, in Allocution for the 25th Anniversary of His Election, given on February 20, 1903.

Source: Papal Teachings: The Church, selected and arranged by the Benedictine Monks of Solesmes, translated by Mother E. O'Gorman, R.S.C.J., Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart, St. Paul Editions, Boston, © 1980, 1962 by Daughters of St. Paul, Library of Congress catalog card number 62-12454, par. #653, page 353.

Haec vero a Nobis tanquam mandata novissima accipite mentibusque insculpite universi, salutem non nisi in Ecclesia, instrumentum salutis praevalidum ac perpetuum in Pontificatu romano Dei iussu esse quaerendum.  − La Civiltà Cattolica, Vol. IX, 1903, pg. 614.

Pope Leo XIII
  Pope Leo XIII wearing his 1887
neo-gothic tiara

1903 Medal commemorating the 26th year of the reign of Leo XIII.

Pope Pius X

Pope Pius X wearing the 1834 tiara
of Pope Gregory XVI

Photo copyright 1914 by Underwood &Underwood

Does the pope speak?
It is Jesus Christ who is speaking!

"The Pope is not simply the representative of Jesus Christ: On the contrary, he is Jesus Christ Himself, under the veil of the flesh, and who by means of a being common to humanity continues His ministry amongst men ... Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ Who is speaking. Does he teach? It is Jesus Christ Who teaches. Does he confer grace or pronounce an anathema? It is Jesus Christ Himself Who is pronouncing the anathema and conferring grace. Hence consequently, when one speaks of the Pope, it is not necessary to examine, but to obey: there must be no limiting the bounds of the command, in order to suit the purpose of the individual whose obedience is demanded: there must be no cavilling at the declared will of the Pope, and so invest it with quite another than that which he has put upon it: no preconceived opinions must be brought to bear upon it: no rights must be set up against the rights of the Holy Father  to teach and command; his decisions are not to be criticized, or his ordinances disputed. Therefore, by Divine ordination, all, no matter how august the person may be — whether he wear a crown or be invested with the purple, or be clothed in the sacred vestments: all must be subject to Him Who has had all things put under Him."

Source: Evangelical Christendom, Vol. 49, January 1, 1895,  pg. 15, the organ of the Evangelical Alliance, published in London by J. S. Phillips. (See also Index page, pg. 14)

Frequently quoted, this blasphemous claim is attributed to the inaugural sermon (given in St. Mark's) of Cardinal Giuseppe Melchior Sarto, Patriarch of Venice (1893-1903). His elevation to Cardinal and Patriarch, in June of 1893 by Pope Leo XIII, was contested and delayed for 18 months by the Italian government, who claimed the right of exequatur, but withheld their approval. (See Evangelical Christendom, Vol. 48, May 1, 1894, pg. 142.) During that time, Cardinal Sarto was even denied entry into the city of Venice. King Humbert finally relented September 5th of 1894, giving his assent to the appointment. In his first pastoral letter to the Venetians, Cardinal Sarto then wrote:

"Harmony between the different social classes must be re-established; peace must reign on earth. This is the task I intend to perform for you; this is the duty I promise to fulfil that all may once again be subject to the dominion of God, Jesus Christ and His Vicar on earth."

Source: Saint Pius X, The New Italian Life Of The Saint, by Fr. Hieronymo Dal-Gal, translated and adapted by Rev. Thomas F. Murray, M.A., fourth revised impression, published by M. H. Gill and Son Ltd., 50 Upper O'Connell Street, 1954, pg. 104.

Dal-Gal continues:

"On the afternoon of November 24th 1894, a steamboat of the Royal Marine carried Cardinal Sarto over the peaceful waters of the Grand Canal, stopping in the close vicinity of the Golden Cathedral of St. Mark. All the bells of the city announced the joy and triumph of the multitudinous throngs lining the canals and crowding at the windows of the palaces. They waved their white flags beneath the rich marble balconies and shouted a prolonged chorus of jubilation as the Cardinal in his scarlet robes passed by, blessing them as a father does his children. ... Midst such festivity, flourish and magnificence did the humble Patriarch enter the city of the Doges; ... [pg. 107] Cardinal Sarto's first real meeting with the Venetians took place the following morning when he celebrated Solemn High Mass in the Cathedral of St. Mark and addressed his first words to them from the pulpit. The Cathedral was brilliantly illuminated, and a huge crowd of people hastened to take a closer glance at their new Patriarch and listen to his words."

Source: Ibid, pgs. 106 & 107.

As first reported by Evangelical Christendom, the Cardinal's homily was, in context, boldly asserting the Pope to be the sole authority to appoint the Princes of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Sarto later became Pope Pius X (1903-1914). His sermon was also cited in:

  • Catholique Nationale, July 13, 1895 (Reported in the Protestant Church Review of October 3, and November 14th, 1895, and the India Watchman, in The Friend, A Religious And Literary Journal, Volume LXIX, 1896, Philadelphia, pg. 154.)
  • Daniel and the Revelation: The Chart of Prophecy and Our Place In It, A Study of the Historical and Futurist Interpretation, by Joseph Tanner, published in London by Hodder and Stoughton, 1898, pages 153, 154.

In Publications of the Catholic Truth Society, Volume 29, 1896, The Catholic Truth Society of London published a booklet by Rev. Sydney F. Smith S. J. titled Does The Pope Claim To Be God. On pages 10 and 11 it reveals that Cardinal Sarto was queried about the alleged homily, and that he gave the following reply in a letter written sometime before Jan. 10, 1896:

"... I have read all the homilies I have made since my coming here in Venice, and only in the sermon for the anniversary of the election of the Holy Father, I said these exact words: 'The Pope represents Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore is a loving father. The life of the Pope is a holocaust of love for the human family. His word is love. Love, his weapons; love, the answer he gives to all who hate him; love, his flag, —i.e., the Cross, which signed the greatest triumph on earth and in heaven.' ... &c."

The Pope at the time, Leo XIII, was elected on February 20th, 1878, so the date referred to by Cardinal Sarto for his homily celebrating the Pope's anniversary would have been on or about February 20th of 1895, while the blasphemous homily attributed to him was given at the first Mass he celebrated in St. Mark's, which was on Sunday November 25th, 1894, some three months earlier. Note that the above article in Evangelical Christendom was already in print and on the street some two months before Cardinal Sarto gave the sermon he offers as the genuine one!  I find that very curious indeed.

Clearly when Cardinal Sarto was contemplating his reply, he was not aware of the Evangelical Christendom article of January 1st, 1895, that essentially pinpointed the homily as the one he gave the day after he had so triumphantly entered the city of Venice as its new Patriarch, a mere five weeks earlier. And who would need to check their records in order to ascertain if they had ever given such a sermon and made such claims? I would suggest that rather than being a credible denial, Cardinal Sarto (Pius X) offered an evasive and inadequate reply that does not exonerate him, rather it tends to support the reported blasphemous homily as being completely genuine.

A new and revised edition of Rev. Smith's booklet titled Does The Pope Claim To Be Divine? published in 1929 makes no mention of, or defense of, Cardinal Sarto's homily. Very curious indeed.

The Pope is the ruler of the world.

Pope Pius X shown wearing the
1887 neo-gothic tiara of Pope Leo XIII

Tell us we are Catholics first and Americans or Englishmen afterwards; of course we are. Tell us, in the conflict between the church and the civil government we take the side of the church; of course we do. Why, if the government of the United States were at war with the church, we would say tomorrow, to hell with the government of the United States; and if the church and all the governments of the world were at war, we would say, to hell with all the governments of the world. * * * Why is it that in this country where we have only seven per cent of the population, the Catholic church is so much feared? She is loved by all her children and feared by everybody. Why is it the Pope has such tremendous power? Why, the Pope is the ruler of the world. All the emperors, all the kings, all the princes, all the presidents of the world are as these altar boys of mine. The Pope is the ruler of the world.

Source: The Western Watchman, a paper published in St. Louis by Father D. S. Phelan, June 27th, 1912.



The above photo, which is probably the first of a papal coronation, is from page 8 of the October 14th, 1914 edition of the newspaper The Humeston New Era, of Iowa.

Coronation Tiara of Pius XI

Rome. Feb. 6.―The Papal tiara which will be worn by the successor of Pope Benedict XV, is a magnificent sample of the goldsmith's and jeweler's work. It is formed on a basis of very fine felt covered with a kind of silver mesh on which there are three crowns. Each of which consists of a gold band of extremely light construction, set with jewels and edged with two rows of pearls.

There are 90 pearls in each row, making 540 pearls in all.

The first crown is, in addition to the pearls, adorned in the order given with 16 rubies, three emeralds, a hyacinth, an aquamarine, three rubies, a sapphire, and eight gold points with five garnets and two Balas rubies. The second crown has 10 emeralds, 8 Balas rubies, one chrysolite, two aquamarines, six small rubies and three sapphires.

In the third are 16 small Balas rubies, three larger Balas rubies, four sapphires, three hyacinths, three aquamarines, one garnet, eight gold floral ornaments each with two emeralds, one Balas ruby, a chrysolite and eight gold points, each adorned with a garnet.

The top of the tiara is covered with a layer of thin gold, in which there are set eight rubies and eight emeralds. The gold covering is surmounted by a golden globe enameled in blue on the top of which is cross composed of 11 brilliants. Finally the fanions of the tiara, which will bear the arms of the new Pontiiff, are adorned with topazes, emeralds, and other jewels.

Altogether, without reckoning the six rows of valuable pearls, there are 146 jewels of various colours and 11 brilliants. - Reuter

Source: The Daily Gleaner, Kingston Jamaica, Tuesday March 14th, 1922, page 4.


Tiara of Pope Gregory XVI (1834)
as personalized by Pope Pius IX
Photo: Papal Sacristy, The Vatican

Papal Sovereignty Claimed Over All the People of the World.

67. ... the hand of God, who guides the course of history, has set down the Chair of His Vicar on earth, in this city of Rome which, from being the capital of the wonderful Roman Empire, was made by Him the capital of the whole world, because He made it the seat of a sovereignty which, since it extends beyond the confines of nations and states, embraces within itself all the peoples of the whole world. The very origin and divine nature of this sovereignty demands, the inviolable rights of conscience of millions of the faithful of the whole world demand that this sacred sovereignty must not be, neither must it ever appear to be, subject to any human authority or law whatsoever, even though that law be one which proclaims certain guaranties for the liberty of the Roman Pontiff.

Source: Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Letter UBI ARCANO DEI CONSILIO (On the Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ), December 23, 1922.

Pius XI Pontifex Maximus

11. Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"?[25]


The above medal celebrates the Lateran Treaty of 1929, by which Vatican City was formally recognized again as a political state, with the Pope as its absolute monarch. A bust of the pope is on the front, and on the reverse is the apostle Peter, with the keys of authority, depicted as having global dominion from his seat, the Vatican City, Rome. As the successor of Peter, Pius XI was symbolically depicted by this medal to be the ruler of the world, and Vatican City to be its capital, as plainly stated in his encyclical of 1922, cited above.

Tiara of Pope Pius XI (1922)

Pius XI enthroned in St. Peter's, wearing the tiara from the people of Milan in 1922.

The papal medal shown below, also dated 1929, depicts Pius XI wearing his 1922 kingly triregno tiara.

Pius XI Declares the Roman Catholic Priest "another Christ".

12. ... Thus the priest, as is said with good reason, is indeed "another Christ"; for, in some way, he is himself a continuation of Christ. ...

Source: Pope Pius XI, Encyclical AD CATHOLICI SACERDOTII (On the Catholic Priesthood), promulgated on 20 December 1935.

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Pius XI wearing the 1834 tiara
of Pope Gregory XVI

Submission to Papal Authority
Must Extend Beyond Infallible "Ex Cathedra" Decrees.

Pope Paul VI Medal

25. ... This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium [teaching authority] of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown is such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking. ...

Source: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964, published by St. Paul Books & Media, Daughters of St. Paul, 50 St. Paul's Ave., Boston, Ma. 02130.

Pontifex Maximus: a Pagan Title of the Roman Emperor.

Pope John XXIII

[p. 306] The Edict of Milan (313), issued jointly by Constantine and Licinius, proclaimed liberty of conscience and showed partiality for Christianity. His policy at first was not to interfere with pagan worship, but by filling the chief offices with Christians and surrounding himself with Christian teachers to make the condition of Christians enviable… He … [p. 307] enjoined the civil observance of Sunday, though only as the day of the Sun, and in connection with an ordinance requiring the consultation of the soothsayer (321)…As the Roman emperor was Pontifex Maximus of the pagan State religion, he would naturally assume the same relation to Christianity when it became predominant. This headship the gratitude of the Christians heartily accorded. In all of his dealings with Christian matters the supreme motive seems to have been that of securing unity. About doctrinal differences he was almost indifferent. But he dreaded dissension among those on whom he depended for the support of his government.

John XXIII wearing the 1877 tiara of Pius IX
Photo by Felici, Roma

Source: Albert Henry Newman, A Manual of Church History, Vol. 1 (rev. ed.; Philadelphia: The American Baptist Publication Society), pp. 306, 307. Copyright 1933 by The Judson Press, Philadelphia.

Tiberius - Pontif Maxim

Above you see a Denarius or "Tribute Penny" minted at Lugdunum (Lyon) during the reign of Emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.) The obverse with Tiberius' bust is inscribed TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS. The reverse is inscribed PONTIF MAXIM and depicts the emperor's mother Livia as Pax (peace) holding an olive-branch and long vertical scepter. This is the type of coin mentioned in Matt 22:19, Mark 12:15, and Luke 20:24. If someone had asked the apostle Peter who the "Pontifex Maximus" was, he would likely have shown them a tribute penny like that above and replied "The Roman Emperor". Peter would not have known of any other application of the title.

Now below is a very similar papal medal proclaiming Pope John XXIII, the claimed successor to Peter, to be the reigning "Pontifex Maximus" on the front (appropriately wearing the triregno crown) and "Obedience and Peace" on the reverse.

Pope John 23 - Pontifex Maximus

Obedience and Peace

Photo: Maryknoll Fathers, Maryknoll, N.Y.

Pope John XXIII waves to the crowd after his coronation with the 1877 tiara of Pius IX.

Unity with the Roman Pontiff
Necessary to Salvation

   "Into this fold of Jesus Christ, no man may enter unless he be led by the Sovereign Pontiff; and only if they be united to him can men be saved, for the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and His personal representative on earth."

(3). Hoc in Iesu Christi ovile, nonnisi Summo Pontifice ductore, quisquam ingredi potest; et homines turn solummodo, cum ei coniunguntur, tuto possunt salvi fieri, quandoquidem Romanus Pontifex Vicarius est Christi, eiusque in terris personam gerit.

Pope John XXIII, homily to the Bishops and faithful assisting at his coronation on November 4, 1958.

Pope  John XXIII wearing the tiara given to him by the people of Bergamo Italy in 1959.

by Fausto Vallainc and Giovanni Fallani
Press Office of the Ecumenical Council.

A papal mitre (left) and the 1959 tiara of John XXIII (right)in procession during the Second Vatican Council.

1959 Tiara of Pope John XXIII


Papal Rome a Continuation
of the Roman Empire

[p. 269] Whatever Roman elements the barbarians and Arians left … [came] under the protection of the Bishop of Rome, who was the chief person there after the Emperor’s disappearance… [p. 270] The Roman Church in this way privily pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation; the empire has not perished, but has only undergone a transformation… That is no mere “clever remark,” but the recognition of the true state of the matter historically, and the most appropriate and fruitful way of describing the character of this Church. It still governs the nations… It is a political creation, and as imposing as a World-Empire, because the continuation of the Roman Empire, the Pope, who calls himself “King” and “Pontifex Maximus,” is Caesar’s successor.

Source: Adolf Harnack, What Is Christianity? trans. by Thomas Bailey Saunders (2d ed., rev.; New York: Putnam, 1901), pp. 269, 270. [Ernest Benn Ltd., London, has recently published a new edition of this book.]

The Papal title of Pontiff originated with the Caesars of Rome, which declared Caesar to be the head of the Sun worshipping Pagan church. This title was adopted by the Bishop of Rome with the demise of the Roman empire, and it makes the Pope the head of the pagan church of Rome.

Pope John Paul II claims to take the place of Jesus Christ on Earth.

From "Crossing The Threshold of Hope", by Pope John Paul II, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., copyright 1994 by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, ISBN 0-679-76561-1, First Chapter, "The Pope": A Scandal and a Mystery -

First Chapter: "The Pope": A Scandal and a Mystery:

The Pope is considered the man on earth who represents the Son of God, who "takes the place" of the Second Person of the omnipotent God of the Trinity. [pg. 3]

The Pope is not the only one who holds this title. With regard to the Church entrusted to him, each bishop is Vicarius Christi. [pg. 13]

If you translate "represents the Son of God" into Latin, the official language of the Church, you get Vicarius Filii Dei, which in Roman Numerals will add up to 666. John Paul II also claims to "take the place" of Christ, which in Latin is Vicarius Christi, which has precisely the same meaning as the word AntiChrist.

Acts 10:25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
Acts 10:26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

Pope John Paul II with prostrate Bishops

While Peter prohibited Cornelius from prostrating himself before him in worship, Peter's claimed successor;  Pope John Paul II, in striking contradiction, has his new Bishops prostrate themselves before him in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, at the alleged tomb of Peter, during their ordination ceremony.

Passional Christ and Antichrist

Passional Christ and Antichrist

Christ washes his disciples feet. The Pope demands his feet be kissed.

The above woodcuts are from Passional of Christ and Antichrist of 1521, illustrated by Lucas Cranach with captions by Martin Luther. These were the themes of other illustrations:

Christ fled from an earthly crown — Antichrist ever seeks earthly dominion
Christ is given a crown of thorns — Antichrist wears a triple crown of gold
Christ paid taxes — The Pope is exempt from taxes
Christ lived in humble poverty — Antichrist fares sumptuously
Christ was bowed to earth with the cross — The Pope is carried about in state
Christ rode into Jerusalem on a humble ass — Antichrist rides a beautiful, caparisoned steed
Christ sought neither silver nor gold — Antichrist rules cities and empires
Christ's kingdom was not with observation — Antichrist subjects the whole world
Christ drove out the moneychangers — The Pope sells indulgences.
Christ ascends to heaven — The Pope will descend into hell

Martin Luther summarized in a later edition of Passional of Christ and Antichrist:

"Christ and the pope are here presented opposite each other. Please note the case of each. It will not be difficult for you to decide whether or not the pope is the Antichrist, who is against our Lord Jesus Christ."

At left: Pope John XXIII enthroned during the opening ceremonies of the Second Vatican Council.

2 Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2 Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Clearly, in light of the above evidence, this passage speaks of the Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church.

John XXIII Pontifex Maximus
Photo: Maryknoll Fathers, Maryknoll, N.Y.