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These dates are in many cases approximate.  Many of these heresies were present in the "Church" many years before their formal acceptance.



1. Prayers for the dead and the sign of the cross began 300 years after Christ


2. Wax candles were introduced about


3. Veneration of angels and dead saints, and the use of images, about


4. The mass, as a daily celebration, adopted


5. The worship of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the use of the term, "Mother of God", as applied to her, originated in the Council of Ephesus in


6. Priests began to dress differently from the "laity" in


7. Extreme Unction


8. The doctrine of Purgatory was first established by Pope Gregory "the Great", about the year


9. The Latin language, as the language of prayer and worship in churches, was also imposed by Pope Gregory I, 600 years after Christ

The Word of God forbids praying and teaching in an unknown tongue. (1 Cor. 14:9)


10. The Bible teaches that we pray to God alone.  In the primitive church, never were prayers directed to Mary, or to dead saints or angels.  This practice began in the Roman Church about

(Matt. 11:28; Lk. 1:46; Acts 10:25,26; 14:14-18)


11. The Papacy is of pagan origin.  The title of pope or universal bishop, was first given to the bishop of Rome by the wicked emperor Phocas, in the year

This he did to spite Ciriacus, bishop of Constantinople, who had excommunicated him for his having caused the assassination of his predecessor emperor Mauritius.  Gregory I, then bishop of Rome, refused the title, but his successor, Boniface III, first assumed the title "pope."

Jesus did not appoint Peter to the headship of the apostles and forbade any such notion. (Lk. 22:24-26; Eph. 1:22,23; Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 3:11)

Nor is there any mention in Scripture, nor in history, that Peter was ever in Rome, much less that he was pope there for 25 years; Clement, 3rd bishop of Rome, remarks that there is no real 1st century evidence that Peter was ever in Rome.


12. The kissing of the pope's foot began with Pope Constantine in

It had been a pagan custom to kiss the feet of emperors.  The Word of God forbids such practices. (Acts 10:25,26; Rev. 19:10; 22:9)


13. The temporal power of the popes began

When Pepin, the usurper of the throne of France, descended into Italy, called by Pope Stephen II, to war against the Italian Lombards, he defeated them and gave the city of Rome and surrounding territory to the pope.  Jesus expressly forbade such a thing, and He Himself refused worldly kingship. (Matt. 4:8,9; 20:25,26; Jn. 18:38)


14. Worship of the cross, of images and relics was authorised in:

This was by order of Dowager Empress Irene of Constantinople, who first caused the eyes of her own son, Constantine VI, to be plucked out, and then called a church council at the request of Hadrian I, pope of Rome at that time.

Such practice is called IDOLATRY in the Bible, and is severely condemned. (Exod. 20:4; Deut. 27:15; Psalm 115)


15. Holy water, mixed with a pinch of salt and blessed by the priest, was authorised in


16. The worship of St. Joseph began in


17. The College of Cardinals established in


18. The baptism of bells was instituted by Pope John XIV, in


19. Canonization of dead saints, first by Pope John XV in

Every believer and follower of Christ is called a saint in the Bible. (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2)


20. Fasting on Fridays and during Lent were imposed in the year:

Imposed by popes said to be interested in the commerce of fish.  A bull, or permit to eat meat, some authorities say, began in the year 700.  This is against the plain teaching of the Bible. (Matt. 15:11; 1 Cor. 10:25; 1 Tim. 4:1-3)


21. The mass was developed gradually as a sacrifice; attendance made obligatory in the 11th century.

The Bible teaches that the sacrifice of Christ was offered once and for all, and is not to be repeated, but only commemorated in the Lord's Supper. (Heb. 7:27; 9:26-28; 10:10-14)

This is a blasphemy and a sign of the apostasy and of the antichrist predicted by Paul. (2 Thess. 2:2-12; Rev. 17:1-9; 13:5-8,18)


22. The celibacy of the priesthood was decreed by Pope Hildebrand, in the year

Jesus imposed no such rule, nor did any of the apostles.  On the contrary, Peter was a married man, and Paul says that bishops could have a wife and children. (1 Tim. 3:2-5,12; Matt. 8:14,15)


23. The rosary, the mechanical praying with prayer beads, was introduced by Peter the Hermit, in the year 1090.  Copied from Hindus and Mohammedans


24. The Inquisition of heretics was instituted by the Council of Verona in the year

Jesus never used force to spread His religion.


25. The sale of indulgences, commonly regarded as a purchase of forgiveness and a permit to indulge in sin, began in the year

Christianity, as taught in the Bible, condemns such a traffic.


26. The dogma of Transubstantiation was decreed by Pope Innocent III, in the year

By this doctrine the priest pretends to perform a daily miracle by changing a wafer into the body of Christ, and then he pretends to eat Him alive in the presence of his people during mass.  The Gospel condemns such absurdities; for the Lord's Supper is simply a memorial of the sacrifice of Christ.  The spiritual presence of Christ is implied in the Lord's Supper. (Lk. 22:19,20; Jn. 6:35; 1 Cor. 11:26)


27. Auricular confession of sins to a priest at least once a year was instituted by Pope Innocent III, in the Lateran Council, in

The Bible commands us to confess our sins directly to God. (Psa. 51:1-10; Lk. 7:48; 15:21; 1 Jn. 1:8,9)


28. The adoration of the wafer (the host) was decreed by Pope Honorius in the year

So the Roman Church worships a god made by human hands.  This is idolatry and absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. (Jn. 4:24)


29. The Bible forbidden to "laymen" and placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in

Jesus commanded that the Scriptures should be read by all. (Jn. 5:39; 1 Tim. 3:15-17)


30. The scapular, invented by Simon Stock, an English monk

It is a piece of brown cloth, with a picture of the Virgin, and supposed to contain supernatural virtue to protect from all dangers those who wear it on the naked skin. This is fetishism.


31. The Roman Church forbade the cup to the "laity",  by instituting the communion of one kind in the Council of Constance in the

The Gospel commands us to celebrate the Lord's Supper with both bread and the fruit of the vine. (Matt. 26:27; 1 Cor. 11:26-29)


32. The doctrine of Purgatory was proclaimed as a dogma of faith by the Council of Florence in

There is not one word in the Bible that would teach the purgatory of priests.  The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sins. (1 Jn. 1:7-9; 2:1,2; Jn. 5:24; Rom. 8:1)


33. The doctrine of seven sacraments affirmed in

The Gospel says that Christ instituted only two ordinances, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. (Matt. 28:19,20; 26:26-28)


34. The Ave Maria

Completed fifty years later, finally approved by Pope Sixtus V, at the end of the 16th century.


35. The Jesuit Order founded by Loyola


36. The Council of Trent, held in the year 1545, declared that Tradition is of equal authority with the Bible

By Tradition is meant human teachings.  The Pharisees believed the same way, and Jesus condemned them, for by human tradition they nullified the commandments of God. (Mk. 7:7-13; Col. 2:8; Rev. 22:18)


37. The apocryphal books were added to the Bible also by the Council of Trent in

These books were not recognised as canonical by the Jewish Church. (Rev. 22:8,9)


38. The Creed of Pope Pius IV was imposed as the official creed:

True Christians retain the Holy Scriptures as their creed, which is 1500 years older than the creed of Roman Catholics. (Gal. 1:18)


39. The Immaculate Conception of the virgin Mary was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in the year

All men, except Christ, are sinners.  Mary also needed a Saviour. (Rom. 3:23; 5:12; Psa. 51:5; Lk. 1:30,46,47)


40. The Syllabus of Errors, proclaimed by Pope Pius IX

This condemned freedom of religion, conscience, speech, press, and scientific discoveries which are disapproved by the Roman Church; asserted the pope's temporal authority over all civil rulers.


41.Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of Papal  Infallibility

This is a blasphemy and a sign of the apostasy and of the antichrist predicted by Paul. (2 Thess. 2:2-12; Rev. 17:1-9; 13:5-8,18)


42. Pope Pius X condemned, together with "Modernism", all the discoveries of modern science which are not approved by the Church.


43. Pius XI reaffirmed the doctrine that Mary is "Mother of God"

This doctrine was first invented by the Council of Ephesus in 431. This is a heresy, contrary to Mary's own words. (Lk. 1:46-49; Jn. 2:1-5)


44. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary (her bodily ascension into heaven) was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII……………………………………………………………………………….........................


45. Mary proclaimed the Mother of the Church by Pope Paul VI:…………………………………


The Roman Catholic institution claims that it never changes; and yet through the centuries it has invented new doctrines which are contrary to the Bible, and it has practiced rites and ceremonies taken bodily from paganism.  Some scholar has found that 75% of the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Church are of pagan origin.

  The Roman Catholic cardinal, John Henry Newman, in his book, The Development of the Christian Religion, admits that "... temples, incense, oil lamps, votive offerings, holy water, holidays and seasons of devotion, processions, blessings of fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure (of priests, monks and nuns), images... are all of pagan origin..."  (page 359).

  This list of human inventions utterly demolishes the claim that the Roman Catholic "Church" is the true Church of Christ!

"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev.18:4).  All true Christians will remain faithful to Christ as taught in the Bible.

This list of Roman Catholic heresies was compiled many years ago by Stephen L. Testa, and has been reprinted many times.  It has been slightly revised for this publication.

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