The Counter Reformation
The Threefold Effort to Destroy Protestant Bibles
THE JESUITS (1534)
First, we will consider the Jesuits:
"Throughout Christendom, Protestantism was menaced by formidable foes. The first triumphs of the Reformation past, Rome summoned new forces, hoping to accomplish its destruction. At this time, the order of the Jesuits was created, the most cruel, unscrupulous, and powerful of all the champions of Popery . .
"To combat these forces, Jesuitism inspired its followers with a fanaticism that enabled them to endure like dangers, and to oppose to the power of truth all the weapons of deception. There was no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. Vowed to perpetual poverty and humility, it was their studied aim to secure wealth and power, to be devoted to the overthrow of Protestantism, and the reestablishment of the papal supremacy.
"When appearing as members of their order, they wore a garb of sanctity, visiting prisons and hospitals, ministering to the sick and the poor, professing to have renounced the world, and bearing the sacred name of Jesus, who went about doing good. But under this blameless exterior the most criminal and deadly purposes were often concealed. It was a fundamental principle of the order that the end justifies the means. By this code, lying, theft, perjury, assassination, were not only pardonable but commendable, when they served the interests of the church.
"Under various disguises the Jesuits worked their way into offices of state, climbing up to be the counselors of kings, and shaping the policy of nations. They became servants, to act as spies upon their masters. They established colleges for the sons of princes and nobles, and schools for the common people; and the children of Protestant parents were drawn into an observance of popish rites."Great Controversy, pp. 234-235.
Ignatius Loyola was totally dedicated to the Church of Rome. He had a fanatical drive to aid the pope and destroy Protestantism.
"Ignatus Loyola came forward and must have said in substance to the Pope: Let the Augustinians continue to provide monasteries of retreat for contemplative minds; let the Benedictines give themselves up to the field of literary endeavor; let the Dominicans retain their responsibility for maintaining the Inquisition; but we, the Jesuits, will capture the colleges and the universities.
"We will gain control of instruction in law, medicine, science, education, and so weed out from all books of instruction, anything injurious to Roman Catholicism. We will mould the thoughts and ideas of the youth. We will enroll ourselves as Protestant preachers and college professors in the different Protestant faiths. Sooner or later, we will undermine the authority of the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, and also of those Old Testament productions which have dared to raise their heads against the Old Testament of the Vulgate and against tradition. And thus will we undermine the Protestant Reformation." B. G. Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, pp. 59-60.
Ignatius Loyola was guided by demons. He had a favorite place in the woods near Rome, where he would go for private sťances.As he sat there with his writing materials, an angelic being in glowing light would appear and instruct him how to train his workers and clarify the work he was to do.
Wilkinson explains the training program for Jesuit agents:
"Their complete system of education and of drilling was likened, in the constitution of the order itself, to the reducing of all its members to the placidity of a corpse, whereby the whole could be turned and returned at the will of the superior. We quote from their constitution:
" As for holy obedience, this virtue must be perfect in every point, in execution, in will, in intellect, doing what is enjoined with all celerity, spiritual joy, and perseverance; persuading ourselves that everything is just; suppressing every repugnant thought and judgment of ones own, in a certain obedience . . and let every one persuade himself that he who lives under obedience should be moved and directed, under Divine Providence, by his superior, just as if he were a corpse (perinde ac si cadaver esset) which allows itself to be moved and led in any direction (R.W. Thompson, Ex-Secretary of Navy. U.S.A., The Footprints of the Jesuits, p. 51).
It is well to understand how Jesuit teachers operate; for they are scattered throughout secular, Catholic, and Protestant universities:
"They early realized the vast importance of directing higher education as a means of gaining control of the lives of the ablest and best-connected young men and making trained intellect subservient to their purposes . . The marked ability of the Jesuit teachers, their unsurpassed knowledge of human nature, their affability of manners, and their remarkable adaptability to the idiosyncrasies and circumstances of each individual, made them practically irresistible when once they came into close relations with susceptible youth."Albert Henry Newman, Manual of Church History, Vol. 2, pp. 374, 383.
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was deeply impressed with Jesuit schools, and wrote, "Such as they are, would that they were ours" (quoted in Will Durant, Story of Civilization, Vol. 6, p. 915). Once a Jesuit professor gained the friendship of a student, he would gradually work to win him fully over.
"It is probable that more time was employed in molding their religious and moral characters into complete harmony with the ideals of the [Jesuit] Society than in securing a mastery of the studies of the course . . Large numbers of the most desirable young men who entered their schools, with no intention of becoming members of the Society, were won by the patient efforts of those in charge." Op. cit., Vol. 2, p. 374.
The Jesuits have a special dispensation from the pope, that they do not have to wear any special religious clothing or sleep in a monastery at night. This makes it possible for them to enter many different walks of life and carry on their work for the pope.
"It is the same today. The 33,000 official members of the Society operate all over the world in the capacity of her personnel, officers of a truly secret army containing in its ranks heads of political parties, high ranking officials, generals, magistrates, physicians, faculty professors, etc.; all of them striving to bring about, in their own sphere Gods work, in reality, the plans of the papacy."Edmond Paris, Secret History of the Jesuits, p. 30.
Their reputation for subterfuge, lying, espionage, subversion, and worse, is well-known to the student of history.
"It is permitted to an individual to kill a tyrant in virtue of the right of self-defense; for though the community does not command it, it is always to be understood that it wishes to be defended by every one of its citizens individually, and even by a stranger . . Thus, after he has been declared to be deprived of his kingdom, it becomes legal to treat him as a real tyrant; and consequently any man has a right to kill him." Suerez, a later high-ranking Jesuit leader, quoted in Newman, Manual of Church History, Vol. 2, p. 380.
Thomas B. Macaulay, a well-known 19th-century thinker and writer, said this:
"It was in the ears of the Jesuit that the powerful, the noble, and the beautiful, breathed the secret history of their lives. It was at the feet of the Jesuit that the youth of the higher and middle classes were brought up from childhood to manhood, from the first rudiments to the courses of rhetoric and philosophy. Literature and science, lately associated with infidelity or with heresy, now became the allies of orthodoxy. Dominant in the south of Europe, the great order soon went forth conquering and to conquer. In spite of oceans and deserts, of hunger and pestilence, of spies and penal laws, of dungeons and racks, of gibbets and quartering-blocks,
"Jesuits were to be found under every disguise, and in every country; scholars, physicians, merchants, serving men; in the hostile court of Sweden, in the old manor-house of Cheshire, among the hovels of Connaught; arguing, instructing, consoling, stealing away the hearts of the young, animating the courage of the timid, holding up the crucifix before the eyes of the dying. Nor was it less their office to plot against the thrones and lives of the apostate kings, to spread evil rumors, to raise tumults, to inflame civil wars, to arm the hand of the assassin.
John Adams wrote this to Thomas Jefferson:
"I am not happy about the rebirth of the Jesuits. Swarms of them will present themselves under more disguises ever taken by even a chief of the bohemians, as printers, writers, publishers, school teachers, etc. If ever an association of people deserved eternal damnation, on this earth or in hell, it is this Society of Loyola."John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, quoted in Edmund Paris, Secret History of the Jesuits, p. 75.
We will return to the Jesuits later, as we view more of their effort to take over England and destroy its precious heritage: the King James Bible.
THE COUNCIL OF TRENT (1545-1563)
It is a remarkable fact that the Roman Catholic Church remained in such disorder for centuries, that it never got around to codifying its doctrines.This was due to the fact that the prelates, bishops, and priests were sensual and pleasure-loving while engaged in continual rivalries as each group struggled for power.
In such a state of affairs, it was little wonder that papal leadership had never gotten around to defining their beliefs. They were too busy with wine, women, and politicking.
But the 16th-century Reformation frightened Rome to its core. Something had to be done to stop this. Part of the solution was to convene a church council to define their doctrines, so they would be in a better position to attack the Protestants.
The Council of Trent (1545-1563) was held off and on over a period of years and gradually muddled its way through a number of enactments.
Here are several statements about the work of this council:
The pope wisely set the Jesuits in charge of infusing the council with their strange logic, which could prove black to be white, and white black.
Popes always fear church councils, because they sometimes put popes to death! But Paul III wisely sent the Jesuits to be his agents, to make sure everything went well during the sessions.
"The Council of Trent was dominated by the Jesuits. This we must bear in mind as we study that Council. It is the leading characteristic of that assembly. The great Convention dreaded by every Pope was called by Paul III when he saw that such a council was imperative if the Reformation was to be checked. And when it did assemble, he so contrived the manipulation of the program and the attendance of the delegates, that the Jesuitical conception of a theocratic Papacy should be incorporated into the canons of the church."Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, p. 63.
Throughout the Council of Trent, the single, most important, most basic dogma could not be settled. It was this: What was the basis of Roman Catholic authority? It could not be said that it was the Bible; for then the power would be taken out of the hands of the papacy, and they could not let that happen!
Some type of reasoning had to be worked out, on which the supremacy of the pope and the councils could be firmly planted.
In the present authors book, Beyond Pitcairn, pp. 132-134, how that was done is carefully explained. You will want to read it carefully.
Astoundingly, the reasoning went like this: centuries before, the papacy changed the Bible Sabbath to Sunday; therefore it had the authority to command all other things, above Scripture!
That is surely Jesuitical thinking! Since we got away with earlier having changed the Law of God, without being struck dead by Heaven for so doing, it must mean we have the authority to do anything we want to do! Apparently, not even God dares to oppose us.
THE RHEIMS-DOUAI (DOUAY) BIBLE
Because of Tyndale and those who followed him, every plowboy now had a Bible, and Rome needed a Bible of their own. This was difficult, since they knew nothing about the book.
In previous centuries, the priests merely recounted the legends and fables of the church for the hearing of the ignorant. But, now that the Bible was available in the language of the people, the extent of their ignorance was becoming embarrassing. Something had to be done.
William Allen, a leading English Catholic, well-aware of the problem, appealed to the pope for permission, to produce a new translation, in English, which the priests could use to oppose the Protestants. He wrote this:
There was an urgent need for an English translation which could twist the Scriptures and add notes which could twist those difficult to change in the text.
For example, the Bible speaks of "repentance." But Catholics do not repent; they only do penance. So Catholic translations were needed which carefully make this switch to "penance" in every verse in which "repent" or "repentance" would otherwise appear. Very clever? Yes, very clever.
In 1568, the same year that the Bishops Bible came off the press, the Jesuits worked with some English Catholics who had fled from England, and started a English college at Douai, in Flanders. This French city was the seat of a university, founded by Philip II of Spain in 1562; and the English college, now part of it, became the continental center for the training of English agents, spies, teachers, and translators.
The founder of this college, William Allen, had taught at Oxford and been a canon [high-placed church official] under Bloody Queen Mary.
Working with the Jesuits, Allen conceived the idea of producing an English Bible at Douai, France, which would contain Roman Catholic teachings.
The actual translation of the work was carried on by Gregory Martin, another Oxford graduate.
In 1578, warfare erupted partway through the New Testament translation, and the entire project had to be moved to the city of Rheims, where the New Testament was published in 1582. It included controversial pro-Catholic and anti-Protestant notes in the margins.
In 1593, more political problems caused the college to move out of Rheims and back to Douai again, where the Old Testament was published in 1609-1610.
This is why it is called the Rheims-DouaiBible. (Douai is also spelled "Douay.")
This Bible never sold as well as the Jesuits planned, so only three editions of the New Testament were printed between 1582 and 1750, and the Old Testament only once.
The title page of this Bible said this:
That Latin was, of course, Jerome's Vulgate.
A relatively long Preface at the front apologized for the issuing of the Bible, declaring that it was only being done because there were so many heretical and false versions. To counteract these menaces to the Church of Rome and to vindicate the good name of Roman Catholic scholarship was given as the reason for the flood of controversial notes throughout the book.
The translation is extremely literal, even where the Latin is obscure and confused. The confusion is faithfully carried over into English. This stiff, formal, wooden style was excused in the Preface:
"We presume not in hard places to nullify the speeches or phrases, but religiously keep them word for word, and point for point, for fear of missing, or restraining the sense of the Holy Ghost to our fantasy."
This Catholic Bible was heavily worked over about a century later.
"The Rheims-Douai Version was subjected to notable revision in the eighteenth century by Bishop Challoner of London and Archbishop Troy of Dublin. This and subsequent work was so far-reaching that it has been at times remarked with exaggeration that scarcely a word of the original translation remains." I.M. Price, Ancestry of Our English Bible, p. 301.
If that is so, as it surely must be, the original Rheims-Douai must have, indeed, been terrible. In order to write the missionary book, The Magnificat, for Roman Catholics, the author found it necessary to use the Rheims-Douai for the books many Scripture quotations. The current Rheims-Douai is extremely difficult to read and understand, and it surely does contain Roman Catholic errors, as the examples below will demonstrate:
According to the Rheims-Douai, we need to confess our sins to fellow human beings:
"Confess therefore your sins to one another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved."James 5:16, Rheims-Douai.
All Roman Catholic Bible translations have been altered doctrinally. If you are giving Bible studies to a Catholic, you will need to use one of these Bibles. But they are somewhat difficult to work with and are based on a Latin translation (Jerome's Latin Vulgate), which itself had serious flaws.
One small example is the omission of the ending of the Lords prayer in Matthew 6:13.
In the margin of older editions of the Rheims-Douai is found a note that the number, 666, refers to Martin Luther and also to the anti-christ, of whom he is the forerunner.
Did you know that Catholic teaching about Mary destroying Satan is written right into their Bible? According to their translation of Genesis 3:15, it is Mary who destroys the serpent; she, in turn, is unable to do even the slightest damage to her immaculate body:
"I will put enmities between thee and the women, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."Genesis 3:15, Rheims-Douai.
Consider this strange translation:
"Let us all hear together the conclusion of the discourse. Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is all man."Ecclesiastes 12:13, Rheims-Douai.
The following example totally ruins the only verse in the Bible which defines sin (GC 493:0)!
"Whosoever committeth sin commiteth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity." 1 John 3:4, Rheims-Douai.
The translators garbled that wonderful verse into a tautology: The definition of sin is said to be sin! I checked on this in Jerome's Latin Vulgate, and found exactly the same as in the Rheims-Douai.
It should be mentioned that, if you will read in the authors book, The Magnificat, you will occasionally find the RSV quoted. If you look up each verse quoted from the RSV in the Rheims-Douai, you will find a problem. At times we quoted the Revised Standard Version because, in the early 1970s, it was officially accepted by the Vatican as a Bible which faithful Catholics could read. From what we understand, they hardly do read it; but the commonality of a single translation has simplified post-1965 efforts, by Catholic and Protestant officials, in their ongoing meetings at Geneva (WCC headquarters), to draw closer together. Much more on joint Catholic-Protestant Bibles later.
The book, The Magnificat, deserves wide distribution among faithful Catholic believers.
All faithful Roman Catholics are required to swear allegiance to the pope and the Tridentine Profession of Faith (1564) which says, in part:
Yet Roman Catholics are carefully taught to avoid the Bible. It is Mary, the Rosary, the Confessional, and the Mass that are important. Rarely does a Catholic read in any Bible.
Those people need our help.
About 1582, when this Jesuit New Testament was launched to destroy Tyndale's English Version, the Jesuits dominated 287 colleges and universities in Europe.
Later in this book we will learn that Roman Catholic Bibles continued to be translated from Jerome's inferior Latin Vulgate, until the mid-20th century, when, for the first time, one was translated from something else. And what was it translated from? A modern critical Greek Text. No Catholic Bible has ever been translated from the Majority Text!
We earlier said that three agencies were used to destroy the Reformation and its followers: The Jesuits, the decisions of the Council of Trent, and the production of Catholic Bibles with their various mistranslations and errors.
However, three centuries after the Reformation began, a fourth agency would be started: a direct attack on the integrity of the text and transmission of the Bible. At the beginning of this book, we read about this attack. Then we read about events of earlier centuries.
We will now move past the earlier Reformation centuries, and into centuries closer to our own time.
THE JESUIT EFFORT
TO REGAIN ENGLAND
Let us now turn our attention to the efforts of the Jesuits to take over England. We viewed some of those effects at the beginning of this book. It is clear that there was a mastermind agency behind, what culminated in, the Oxford Movement and the work of Westcott and Hort. That agency was the Jesuits.
We already noted how, just six years after the end of the Council of Trent, in 1569, the Vatican agent, William Allen established a college in Douai (at that time in the Spanish Netherlands). A second school was established in Rome ten years later (1579); this one was for the training of Jesuit missionaries to Britain.
During these training sessions, the agents were not only taught every lying, diabolical method which the Jesuits could invent, but they were stirred to a heat of anger against the Protestants. Allen speaks:
Temporary confusion reigned when Calvinist troops besieged and took the town of Douai in 1578. The Jesuit college managed to carry all its translation work in Rheims until 1593, when a military reversal permitted the school to return to Douai.
By the year 1585, a total of 268 graduates had secretly infiltrated England (Manschreck, History of Christianity, p. 114).
The two leading Jesuit agents were Robert Parsons and Edmund Campion who entered England in 1580, disguised as English military officers. Their assigned objective was the overthrow of Queen Elizabeth.
"Under diverse disguises, they spread from county to county, from country house to castle. In the evening, they would hear confession, in the morning, they would preach and give communion; then they would disappear as mysteriously as they had arrived."Edmund Paris, Secret History of the Jesuits, p. 43.
These agents appeared to be working men or tradesmen, anything to hide their identity. Their many disguises included "the cassock of the English clergy"(Green, English People, p. 412).
A favorite method was this: Bright young men, after learning spy methods at a Jesuit training school, were sent to Oxford or Cambridge, where they graduated into the ministry or government positions.
This method is still used today, throughout the Protestant denominations. You can always tell when a denomination has been successfully infiltrated, and the agents have attained important positions: That denomination no longer speaks negatively about Rome! Even more sinister is the fact that once Jesuit agents have penetrated high positions in the colleges and executive positions of a church, they are able to make sure that incoming agents are hired and rapidly advanced.
It has been estimated that Jesuit agents won over 20,000 converts, within a year after their arrival in England (Durant, Story of Civilization, Vol. 7, p. 21).
Soon the English authorities came upon literature everywhere, inciting the people to assassinate the queen. An intense investigation followed. While Parsons managed to escape to the Continent, Campion was captured and tortured in the Tower in order to obtain names of fellow conspirators. But, good Jesuit that he was, Campion did not relent. On December 1, 1581, he and 14 others were publicly hanged.
Desperately determined to reconquer England and return it to the darkness of the Dark Ages, Pope Gregory XIII in 1583 and his counselors devised a plan to invade from three sides at once: Ireland, France, and Spain.
But British agents discovered the plot and counter-measures were so well put in place, that the scheme was abandoned.
The next scheme was under the direction of John Ballard, another Jesuit agent. In 1586 he was arrested for plotting to cause a general uprising of England's Catholics, which would overthrow Queen Elizabeth and bring Mary Stewart of Scotland to the throne. He and 13 others were hanged.
Over the next 15 years, 61 priests and 49 laymen were hanged for conspiracy against the throne.
When Mary Stuart (Elizabeth's half-sister) was implicated in the plots in 1587, she was beheaded.
In the estimation of Pope Sixtus V, that was the final straw. Within weeks after Mary's execution, he pledged 600,000 gold crowns to Philip II, if he would invade England with a mighty convoy of ships.
By this time, William Allen (the one who started Douai College) was a cardinal, and he was ecstatic at the news. Surely, in his words, England's "usurping heretic" queen would be deposed and slain.
We will not take the space here to describe the preparations, sailing, and battles of the Armada. It is a remarkable story.
On the morning of May 29, 1588, over 27,050 sailors and soldiers set sail from Lisbon aboard about 130 ships; each vessel had an average weight of 445 tons. This was the largest fleet in maritime history.
Before the Armada arrived off the coast of England, Sir Francis Drake assured the queen:
English losses from the sea battle totaled 60 men and no ships. Not a single ship received a hole below the waterline.
God used the winds to destroy the Spanish fleet; and only 51 ships with 10,000 survivors limped back into Lisbon.
By this time, Philips kingdom was near bankruptcy and he appealed to the pope to send the promised 600,000 gold crowns. But the pope replied that he did not need to, since Philip had not taken England. Not one gold crown was sent to Philip.
With the Armada lost, the Jesuits returned to their standard methods of takeover: infiltration of agents. To this, they decided to add a new feature: Somehow devise a way to destroy the English Bible. Was it not the basis of the hated Protestant faith, the earthly source of all their strength?
"It is the same today. The 33,000 official members of the Society operate all over the world in the capacity of her personnel, officers of a truly secret army containing in its ranks heads of political parties, high ranking officials, generals, magistrates, physicians, faculty professors, etc.; all of them striving to bring about, in their own sphere Gods work, in reality, the plans of the papacy."
Edmond Paris, Secret History of the Jesuits, p. 30