For immediate release.
As Cardinals meet to elect the next
Roman Catholic Bishop of Rome what should we expect of the new occupant of
this high profile office?
The backdrop to the present appointment
is that the Papacy has established itself as a world political power, has claimed
supreme spiritual authority and has asserted a degree of authority throughout
the world. It is astonishing that so many world leaders have appeared to collude
with this deception.
The political aspirations of the Roman See are deeply unspiritual and antithetical
to the teaching of Christ. (Jesus told his disciples not to lord it over others,
but that they should be the servants of one another – Mark chapter 10
verse 42ff.) A new Bishop of Rome must renounce these political aspirations
and all claims to jurisdiction beyond the See and of Rome.
The doctrine of Papal infallibility, largely a 19th Century innovation, has
been part of the way in which the Roman See has propped up and spread its own
authority. Whilst the Second Vatican Council did water down the doctrine slightly,
it is a claim that has done great damage.
Papal infallibility is intimately connected to the Roman Catholic teaching
regarding Mary because its primary purpose has been to make the two ‘Marian
dogmas’ infallible statements, which it is apparently heretical to deny.
These two teachings, concerning the Immaculate Conception (that Mary was conceived
without sin) and the Bodily Assumption (that Mary was taken bodily into heaven),
were both late inventions with no authority in Scripture nor precedent in early
The practical outworking of this is a devotion to Mary, now endemic in the
Roman Church, which was encouraged by Bishop John Paul II, and was evidently
the focus of his own faith. This contrasts sharply with the teaching of the
Lord Jesus Christ who, when the crowds spoke to him about how blessed his mother
was responded by saying ‘Blessed rather are they who hear the word of
God and obey it.’ (Luke chapter 11 verse 28). From early days Christians
have been marked by their exclusive devotion to Christ.
These matters are not academic or
theoretical, they concern the heart of religion, how we come to God and how
we should live as His people today. We learn from the Bible that it is through
faith in Christ alone that we can stand before God. Though we are far from
perfect, through faith we can have a righteousness which is not our own, but
His (Philippians chapter 3 verse 9 & Romans chapter10 verse 9). Therefore
Christians have assurance and confidence that dying in faith we depart to be
with Christ (Philippians chapter 1 verse 23). The Roman Church has deprived people
of this confidence and instead made them dependent upon its own practices and
priests. The doctrine of purgatory, another invention of the Church, is part
of this system, and alongside it go the widespread practices of prayer to the
saints, masses for the dead and even indulgences. The assumption of all these
things is that they will help to speed the dead to heaven. They all pander
to the deep-rooted human desire to want to make ourselves right with God by
our own strength, they therefore lead people away from the simple gospel call
of faith in Christ alone.
In view of these errors it has been
with great sadness that we have witnessed so much lack of discernment in recent
days from religious and political leaders.
As loyal Anglicans we unreservedly affirm the official teaching of the Church
of England which our Bishops and Monarch have sworn under God to uphold. In
• We affirm that salvation is to be found in Christ alone (Article
• We denounce the doctrine of Purgatory, and all that goes with it, as a
gross deception which leads people away for simple faith in Christ (Article
• We affirm that the Church of Rome has erred (Article
• We declare that the Bishop of Rome has no jurisdiction in this realm of
Our sincere hope is that the Roman Church would be reformed, renounce its
gross errors and past deceptions, and accept the plain teaching of God’s