In 3rd century A.D the Church was in turmoil because of one heretical teaching being promoted by Arius. Arius taught that Jesus Christ was only a human being and not God, he cited passages from the Bible that shows that Jesus Christ was a human being just like us. What Arius did not understand was that Jesus Christ was true God and true Man. Possesing both natures, Divine and Human, Christ is able to perform two modes of operation one belonging to the Divine nature and the other one from his human nature.
Catholics follow man-made pagan traditions
The Catholic Church strictly prohibits any rituals or practices of pagan origin. What Catholics are following are Traditions that were handed down to us by the Apostles and early Christians. Holding on to these Traditions was firmly commanded by St. Paul;
Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle. 2 Thessalonians 2:15
We often hear from people with Evangelical and Born Again Background the slogan “I hate religion, but loves Jesus Christ”. They usually utter this statement over and over again to emphasize their belief that faith in Jesus Christ and religion are in total opposite with each other. With an evangelical or born again mind set it is either choosing between Jesus Christ and Religion, you can’t have both, that as if Religion and faith in Jesus Christ are like oil and water.
The culprit behind the dichotomy between Christ and religion are protestant pastors that have somehow twisted the definition of religion. Born Again pastors associate religion with rituals, man made traditions, superstitious beliefs and unbiblical practices. It is by this definition that lead people to believe that religion is something sinister or worst came from the devil himself.
In order to clear the air we have to define religion in its strictest sense. Contrary to what ministers of other denominations are saying about religion, religion is defined as:
According to Cicero’s well-known etymology of the term, the Latin word religio is derived from re-ligare, meaning “To be attentive”, “to ponder and observe’, “to keep together”, as opposed to negligare (to neglect, undermine). Thus, religion means the conscientious fulfillment of duty, awe of higher power. The later apologist Lacantius (ca. 260-340 C.E) believed that the word derived from re-ligare, meaning “to bind, hold together” a close and lasting relationship to the divine. Rene Latourelle et. al, Dictionary of Fundamental Theology, p. 819, 1994.
According to the two-fold definition given by Cicero and Lacantius religion is a conscientious fulfillment of duty by having a close and lasting relationship towards a higher being, which we call God. The definition provided by Born Again and Evangelical pastors on religion is not based on factual and correct etymology of the term but on their own bias against rituals and traditions.
Since religion is properly and strictly defined as a conscientious fulfillment of duty by having a lasting relationship with God, then how can people hate it or separate it from our faith in Jesus Christ? In John 14:6 Jesus Christ said;
I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me
Since religion entails us to have a close and lasting relationship with God, and it is only through Christ that we can know the Father. Therefore, our faith in Jesus Christ and religion must be in complete harmony with each other. This fact is not only an outcome of didactive reasoning but also a biblical fact as witnessed by St. Paul. In his letter to Timothy St. Paul said;
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16 RSVC
Take note of what St. Paul has said “mystery of our religion”, this indicates that St. Paul himself is a part of and/or a member of a particular religion. In the succeeding sentence he provided evidence about the mystery of the religion where he belongs. If religion is such a bad thing as what Born again pastors wants us to think then St. Paul should have warned Christians not to be a part of a particular religion. Clearly, protestant pastors are wrong about religion, they simply do not understand what religion really is.
Next time if someone tells you that they “hate religion, but loves Jesus Christ” ask them to define what religion is, and ask them where in the Bible did Jesus Christ or any of his apostles condmned religion.
One of the penultimate teachings of various Protestant sects is the belief that we do not need a religion nor be associayed to any religion in order to be saved. For them accepting as a personal saviour is enough, no need to have a religion or follow a system of belief. This belief of theirs is somehow ironic for they believe that;
1. A person must convert to them or be a member of their church in order to be saved.
2. That they are the only ones who are going to be saved and anyone outside their fold will go to hell.
The reason for this odd doctrine of Protestants is actually aimed to avoid discussions relating to the history of the Christian faith, for they know that they cannot trace their history to the time of the Apostles and of Jesus Christ.
Their belief that no religion is necessary contradicts that statement of St. Paul who himself admitted that he belongs to a particular religion. In 1 Timothy 3:16 St. Paul said,
“This is the mystery of OUR RELIGION. . .” 1 Timothy 3:16
Take note of what he said “OUR RELIGION” this is a clear admission that he belongs to and associates himself with a particular religion. If that is so, who are we going to believe the Protestants or St. Paul himself? If this great apostles belongs to a religion it simply means we too should have a religion, a religion that Jesus Christ himself personally and historically founded.
[To unite the entire empire, Emp. Constantine fused three (3) major religions in Rome to form the Roman Catholicism – Mithraism, Sol Invictus and Christianity.]
The premise of this statement suggests that the origin of Catholicism is not Jesus Christ but rather the outcome of uniting three different religions and Catholicism is distinct from Christianity. Such a claim is not historically accurate, it fact it exposes the gross ignorance and lack of scholarship by the person who uttered this statement. It is impossible that Catholicism is an outcome of uniting three religions because 1. Catholicism and Christianity are one and the same, and 2. Catholicism already exists even before Constantine was born. John Schwarz a Protestant authors admits that Catholicism can trace its origin into the time of St. Peter and Paul;
The Church in Rome [Catholic Church] was by far the most important church in Christendom: it was situated in the ancient imperial capital of the empire; it had the largest congregation of Christians; and its roots went back to Peter and Paul, the two greatest saints of the Church.
Common sense tells us that since the roots of Catholicism can be traced back into the time of St. Peter and Paul then the premise that Catholicism is a fusion of three distinct religions is wrong. How can Catholicism be a product of uniting three different religions if it already exists prior to the allege unification of Constantine? The statement also draws a distinction between Christianity and Catholicism, such a distinction do not exists because Christianity is Catholicism and Catholicism is Christianity, Roman Catholicism traces its history to Jesus Christ. The cause of dichotomy between Catholicism and Christianity is a lack of scholarship and knowledge of history akin to all those who opposes Catholicism.
[321 AD: Emp. Constantine declared (1) Sunday, “the day of the Sun” as the day of worship, and (2) moved the birthday of Jesus Christ from January 6 to December 25, the “Natalis Invictus” on Winter Solstice.]
This is another ploy to convince the readers to believe that Constantine has an internal contribution in shaping Catholicism. In fact Constantine’s only contribution to Catholicism is the Edict of Milan which gave Christians a freedom to exercise their belief in public, made Christianity the state religion. However, Constantine made no contribution in its doctrine and practices. Sunday as the day of worship was universally accepted by Christians even before the birth of Constantine. Philip Schaff a noted historian wrote;
“Sunday… was adopted by the early Christians as a day of worship… Sunday was emphatically the weekly feast of the resurrection of Christ, as the Jewish Sabbath was the feast of creation. It was called the Lords day, and upon it the primitive church assembled to break bread. No regulations for its observance are laid down in the New Testament nor, indeed, [sic.] its observance even enjoined. Yet Christian feeling led to the universal adoption of the day, in imitation of the apostolic precedence. In the second century its observance was universal.” Encyclopedia of religious knowledge 1891 Ed., vol.4, Schaff- Herzog
It is a baseless claim that it was Constantine who declared Sunday as the day of worship, how can he make such a declaration when Sunday was already universally accepted by Christians as the day of worship centuries prior to his allege declaration? Admittedly there is scarcity of information on how the Birth of Christ fall on December 25 there are a lot of theories surrounding this date, but one this is for sure Constantine has nothing to do with it. Biblical scholar Andrew McGowan stated that “The December 25 feast seems to have existed before 312—before Constantine and his conversion, at least.”
The earliest record of mentioning Christ’s birth on December 25 is on a fourth century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.” A close analysis of historical data will mostly debunk the accusations made by those who opposed the Catholic Church, they do not mind at all digging up the truth for them as long as it will put the Catholic Church in bad faith they will not hesitate to hurl it against the Catholic Church.
[325 AD: Emp Constantine convened the Council of Nicea Four (4) highlights: 1. Easter Sunday was established at the onset of spring 2. redefined the authority of the church, thus given more power 3. established the “Holy Trinity” as three (3) persons in one (1) god, and 4. voted Jesus Christ as god – an apotheosis.]
This is another attempt to discredit the Catholic Church by making the readers think that Constantine was responsible for the decrees and teachings of the Council of Nicea. But first we have to have a brief background about the Council and what is Constantine’s contribution in this great council of the Church. The council was convened due to the confusion that swept through the entire Christendom, a man named Arius started to teach that Jesus Christ is not God and his heretical teaching is spreading like a wild fire. So a council was necessary to settle the dispute and defend the orthodox Christian faith the Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.
The Council was attended by bishops from all over the world and since the pope was already old and ailing he sent a priest to represent him in the council. Against Arius it was St. Athanasius who defended the orthodoxy of the Christian faith arguing from the Scripture and history that Jesus Christ is God. So, what is the role of Constantine in this council? According to a Christian historial P.C Thomas he wrote that;
for the first few centuries the emperors played a prominent part in summoning and conducting the Councils. In those early years the bishops were poor and they needed the support of the emperor for their transportation and lodging. Furthermore, the emperor considered themselves protectors of the Church and took upon themselves the duty in bringing peace in the Church.
This is the contribution of Constantine in the Council of Nicea to provide logistical support for the bishops. If we know our history we can easily debunk the allegations against the Church.
 John Schwarz, A Handbook Of The Christian Faith, p.153
 The Philocalian Calendar
 P. C Thomas, General Councils of the Church, Introduction
Q. It was said that Catholicism in the Philippines can be traced back into St. Paul, but how can that be St. Paul never went to the Philippines?
A. Yes, it is true that St. Paul didn’t reach Philippines during his ministry. However, Catholicism in Spain was personally founded by St. Paul (Romans 15:24) and in 1521 Ferdinand Magellan went to the Philippines together with Spanish friars and consequently founded Catholicism and converted the local population.
In light of the said facts we can safely assume that Catholicism in the Philippines can trace it roots to St. Paul
Protestant propaganda has somehow affected the mentality of some Catholics, they no longer believe that the Church is necessary for salvation. What they thought is that having faith in God and doing good works are enough to attain salvation. If confronted with the truth that the Church is necessary for salvation they are quick to dismiss this fact by saying that the Church is silent about such a teaching. But the reality is the Catholic Church is not silent about it, here are some of the teachings of the Church regarding the necessity of the Church for salvation. Every Catholic must know the official teachings of that Church so that they will not be influenced by heretical teachings of the Protestants.
This Church was founded not by man, but by the immortal God Himself, who built her upon a most solid rock. The Highest himself, says the Prophet, hath founded her. Hence, she is called the inheritance of God, the people of God. The power which she possesses is not from man but from God. . .We are, therefore, bound to believe that there is one Holy Catholic Church. With regard to the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we not only believe in them but also believe in them. [The Catechism of Trent, Article IX]
For although it is evident from the word of the Lord Himself in the Sacred Gospel [Cf. Matt. 16:18] where the Church is established, let us hear nevertheless what the blessed Augustine, mindful of the opinion of the same Lord, has explained. For he says that he Church of God is established among those who are known to preside over the apostolic sees, through the succession of those in charge, and whoever separates himself from the communion or authority of these sees, is shown to be in schism. And following additional remarks, he says: “If you are put outside, for the name of Christ you will also die, Suffer for Christ among the members of Christ, clinging to the body, fight for the head”. [Dilectionis vestrae to the schismatic bishops of Istria, 585]
And here, beloved Sons and Venerable Brothers, we should mention again and censure a very grave error in which some Catholics are unhappily engaged, who believe that men living in error, and separated from the true faith and form Catholic unity, can attain eternal life. Indeed this is certainly quite contrary to Catholic teaching. . .The Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church is well-known: and also those who are persistently separate themselves from the unity of the Church, and from the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, to whom “the guardianship of the vine has been entrusted by the Savior.” cannot obtain eternal salvation. [Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, to the bishops of Italy]
This Holy Council first of all turns its attention to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. [Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium No.14]
For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. [Second Vatican Council, Decree on Ecumenism No3]
These are few quotations from Magisterial teachings that proves the the belief that the Church is necessary for salvation is an official teaching of the Catholic Church. The Church gives three reasons why the Church is necessary for salvation.
1. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. Henceforth, his followers should be in this Church (Acts 2:47, Eph. 5:23)
2. The origin of the authority of the Catholic Church is not human but divine (Mt. 16:17-19)
3. It is only through the Church where sanctifying grace is being dispense through the Sacraments.
The belief that the Church is necessary for salvation was not invented by the Fathers of the Church but in fact it is based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition.