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Raney Heald wrote:

Hey Mike,

  • How are you?

Hope all's well. I was reading an (admittedly) anti-Catholic site, which I occasionally do in my search for answers. Usually, they tend to defeat themselves when they accuse the (RCC) Roman Catholic Church of things which I am well aware to be false or where they are at least uninformed about what the Church teaches.

However I was reading an article basically along the Hislop line of "the whore of Babylon".

Generally, these articles are dismissed out of hand by me but this person, with the unlikely name of Ian Paisley, referenced a document called the "Caeremoniale Romanum" and alleged that it contained a liturgy, or ceremony perhaps, for the installation of a newly elected Pope. He then claimed that the new Pontiff is placed on the altar and "worshipped" by other bishops; his feet and face are kissed and he is afforded "adoration".

  • Are you guys familiar with this charge?

There does seem to be a document with that title.

  • Would you know where I could find a copy, hard or digital, just to satisfy my own curiosity?

If what he says is true, and I highly doubt it, that would be quite disturbing. The article deals with far more "proofs" of Rome's "apostasy" than what I have referenced. While these types of things smack of nothing more than a strange obsessive hatred of the RCC, they do somewhat concern me. I at least want to settle for myself their unworthiness.

Any help you could give me in this would be greatly appreciated.

Peace!

Raney Heald

  { Could you shed some light on this attack and who Ian Paisley is? }

Mary Ann replied:

Raney,

The "coronation" or installation of a Pope is public, and these days is televised. The only part not published is the part immediately after the election, while they are all still in the Sistine Chapel.

One token of respect and submission immediately after the election used to be that the cardinals kissed the foot of the pontiff. This was a custom taken from the Romans, but also used among the Muslim sultans.

As for "adoration", this is, strictly speaking, given to God alone. The Latin word "latria" (derived from Greek) designates the worship due to God alone. The word "adoration" has many meanings, not least as used:

  • romantically ("I adore you, dear."), and
  • metaphorically ("I adore ice cream.").

Loosely, it means any extreme like or respect. It is also one translation of "latria" — but the Church uses Latin terms very technically, and the Latin for divine worship is "latria."

In any case, we know we don't adore the Pope. As for your source, he was the head of an
Anglo-Irish Protestant group, the Orangemen, that is virulently anti-Catholic.

Mary Ann

Raney replied:

Hi, Mary Ann —

Thanks so much for your answer. I understand the difference between veneration and adoration which is why I was wondering if this guy's information was right, concerning the document he referenced, or whether it was just more of the usual [foolishness|ignorance]. I couldn't find the actual document (or book) on-line, though I found quite a few sites, Catholic and non-Catholic, that mentioned it. Therefore, I thought I would ask if you guys had any information or ideas.

Though I've been Episcopalian for the last thirty years, I was raised in the United Methodist Church. As a Methodist, I never heard anything remotely anti-Catholic though we were certainly non-Catholic. When and if the Church was ever mentioned, the usual phrase was "Our Catholic brothers and sisters", but, I grew up in the South with a lot of Baptists and fundamentalists
so I certainly heard my fair share of propaganda. I guess when I hear things like the stuff from
Mr. Paisley, it activates some of those old second-hand reactions. In the back of my mind,
I wonder: "Could they have really been right all this time?", even though I know better. I don't know if any of you guys are converts, but I'm finding that taking that last step is proving a bit more difficult than I expected, even though as an Anglican, I've accepted and held many traditionally "Catholic" doctrines and practices for years.

When these guys bring up John's Apocalypse and the "Whore of Babylon" imagery, with the scarlet vestments, gold chalices, etc. it is pretty easy to call to mind Papal Masses on T.V. and think:

  • Wow, is this what John's talking about?

I want to reiterate that I don't believe that at all, but I have to admit it makes me wonder.
I recognize the inconsistency of my statement; this is why it's so confusing. Last night as I read that stuff from Paisley, the hair on my neck was standing up and I had a ringing in my ears. LOL.
It was a reaction of fear. I suspect that many potential converts experience the same thing to some degree or another.

Please don't dismiss this fear as simply unreasonable; I think of myself as a rather reasonable informed person.

Raney

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Raney —

The Journey Home web site might address this common last-minute reaction to conversion.
I have heard it talked about on their T.V. show.

  • It could be the devil.
  • It could be all our subconscious fears finding an external target or outlet.
  • It could be natural fear at what is, after all, a leap of faith not a logical deduction of reason.

Mary Ann

Raney replied:

Hey, Mary Ann —

Thanks again for the timely response. I really enjoy hearing from all of you. After I had sent the last e-mail, I was thinking about The Journey Home and how several guests, including Marcus himself, have commented that, even after years in the Church, every now and then something still gives them a left over "Protestant shudder". LOL. At least I'm not alone!

I hope that no one from the AskACatholic team takes any of my questions as an attack. I don't believe anyone has; my questions are just sincere attempts to clarify and understand the faith.

Your answers have been so thorough and quick that I get the feeling everyone truly wants to help and the love you all have for the Church and its truths is so evident ... Well, great job!

Thanks and Peace,

Raney

Mary Ann replied:

Thanks!

Mary Ann

Eric replied:

Hi, Raney —

There are a lot of ancient customs that could easily be misinterpreted by Americans, who have not grown up in a monarchical culture. Americans might be horrified or disgusted by them but, in the context of the culture, they are beautiful. (They are also biblical; see 1 Kings 1:16f, 1 Samuel 25:23, 1 Samuel 24:8, 2 Samuel 15:5, 2 Samuel 24:20, 1 Kings 1:53, 2 Kings 4:37, and
1 Chronicles 21:21).

For example, in the Orthodox church, there is a custom of kissing a priest's hand when you greet him. The deacons also kiss his hand when they receive Communion from him. It's a sign of respect within the culture but it doesn't fit well into our American culture. Similarly, the genuflection arose as a symbol, in the West, of the obeisance of a serf to his lord. Thus, we use genuflection on the right knee, as a symbol of veneration for the Blessed Sacrament, but we use a genuflection on the left knee, as a symbol of honor towards our bishop. Even though we don't worship our bishops and distinguish the two gestures, someone not in the know (or malicious) could easily think we do worship our bishops. Heck, if they wrongly think we worship statues because we "bow down to them", it doesn't surprise me that they think we worship the Pope.

In any case, worship of human persons is manifestly not part of (and contrary to) the Catholic faith, and you'll never find any written, official documentation that proves otherwise. All you have are these unsubstantiated, impossible-to-disprove rumors of secret events viewed through a hostile lens. People who believe such crap are usually closed to the truth and will never be convinced. They want to believe a lie.

There is a book known as the Caeremoniale Romanum. It would probably be hard to get and probably wouldn't be in English, but if you want to settle this, obtaining a copy of this book would be key. There is an older one, probably one that would suffice (except it's in Latin), at:

If you can disprove it here, it definitely disproves it. It may be a slam dunk, though; I see nothing about papal elections at all in this book. The book is mostly about episcopal services, high Masses, ordinations, installations of bishops, and so forth. There is an interesting section
(Caput I, XVIII) about observations of reverences, genuflections, and so forth for bishops and canons, but this doesn't look particularly to Papal elections. Let me run this past a friend and see if he can see anything I don't see.

[A few days later Eric followed-up.]

A couple of us have looked over this Caeremoniale Romanum and we can find no section on Papal elections, or anything referring to the Pope.

We suggest you challenge your interlocutors to come up with an on-line copy and a reference to what they claim is in here, because we just can't find it.

Eric

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