Rome’s Forgeries

November 11, 2015 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,

The following is excerpted from the upcoming new edition of THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCHES FROM A BAPTIST PERSPECTIVE.

Since there is no authority for the papacy in the New Testament, it must be found elsewhere. This problem was solved with the forgery of official documents promoting papal supremacy.

The Donation of Constantine

a. The Donation of Constantine was a shameless forgery claiming that Constantine I gave the bishop of Rome supremacy “over all the churches of God in the whole earth.”

(1) The Donation was supposed to be a reward from Constantine to “Pope” Sylvester for healing him of leprosy.

(2) It granted the pope a crown, royal robes consisting of a “purple mantle and scarlet tunic,” and “all the pomp of our imperial eminence and glory of our power.

(3) It donated to the pope “the city of Rome, and all the provinces, places and cities of Italy and the western regions.”

(4) It gave Catholic clergy the authority to ride on white horses and to wear white sandals like the Roman Senators.

b. This brazen lie was invented to strengthen the pope’s claim to northern Italy and his authority as both a civil and spiritual ruler.

(1) It was used by Pope Stephen III (752-57) to help convince Emperor Pepin of the Franks to take some 20 cities by force of arms from the Lombards and to hand them over to him (the pope).

(2) Pope Adrian I (or Hadrian) referred to the forgery in a letter in 774 to Charlemagne, Pepin’s son.

(3) The forgery was used by other popes until it was publicly exposed during in the 15th century.

2. The Decretals of Isidore

a. The Decretals of Isidore claimed to be a collection of letters and decrees by bishops of Rome and church councils in the early centuries after the apostles, which were allegedly compiled by Archbishop Isidore (560-636).

(1) The Decretals claimed that the pope was supreme from the beginning of the church and that everything is subject to him.

(2) The decretals claimed that Peter ruled as a pope in Rome and had authority over all of the apostolic churches.

b. Pope Nicholas I (858-67) promoted this forgery, claiming that popes “held the place of God on earth” with power over kings and even the right to command massacres of those who oppose him.

3. To the Decretals of Isidore were added many other decrees by various popes, including Innocent III (1198-1216), Honorius III (1216-1227), Gregory IX in 1234, Boniface VIII in 1298, Clement V in 1313, and John XXII in 1340.

4. The phony Decretals form the foundation of Rome’s canon law. In a nutshell, the Decretals state that all authority is given to the pope, that kings are subject to him, that all laws must conform to his will, that kings are required to destroy all heretics from their territories, that the pope has the right to depose kings who do not obey him, that citizens do not have to obey kings or magistrates who are not subject to the pope, that all heretics are to be punished, etc. etc.

Following are some statements from the Decretals:

“It does not belong to the Emperor to judge the actions of the Pope” (Corpus Juris Canonici, decreti, pars i. distinct. xcvi. can. viii).

“The Emperor ought to obey, not command, the Pope” (Corpus Juris Canonici, decreti, pars i. distinct. xcvi. can. xi).

“We ordain that kings, and bishops, and nobles, who shall permit the decrees of the Bishop of Rome in anything to be violated, shall be accursed, and be for ever guilty before God as transgressors against the Catholic faith” (Corpus Juris Canonici, decreti, pars ii. causa xxv. quest. i. can. xi).

"The Bishop of Rome may excommunicate emperors and princes, depose them from their states, and assoil their subjects from their oath of obedience to them” (Corpus Juris Canonici, decreti, pars i, distinct. xcvi. can. x., and Decreti, pars ii. causa xv. quest. vi. can. iii. iv. v).

“The Bishop of Rome may be judged of none but of God only” (Corpus Juris Canonici, decreti, pars ii. causa iii. quest. vi. can. ix).

“[A heretic is one] who, in whatever way, or by whatever vain argument, is led away and dissents from the orthodox faith and Catholic religion which is professed by the Church of Rome” (A Decretal of Pope Gregory IX, Decret. Gregorii IX. lib. v,. tit. vii. De Hereticis).

“And all heretics, of both sexes and of every name, we damn to perpetual infamy; we declare hostility against them; we account them accursed, and their goods confiscated; nor can they ever enjoy their property, or their children succeed to their inheritance; inasmuch as they grievously offend against the Eternal as well as the temporal king” (A Decretal of Pope Honorius II, Quinta Compilatio Epistolarum Decretalium Honorii III. P. M. Innocentii Cironii, Juris Utriusque Professoris, Canonici ac Ecclesiae, et Academae Tolosanae Cancellarii, Comp. v. tit. iv. cap. i. p. 200; Tolosae, 1645).

“Those are not to be accounted homicides who, fired with zeal for Mother Church, may have killed excommunicated persons” (This oath, in its more ancient form, as enacted by Gregory VII, is extant in the Gregorian Decretals. Since his time it has been considerably enlarged and made more stringent,—illustrative of the encroaching spirit of the popes. See Decret. Gregorii, lib. ii. tit. xxiv).

5. Roman Catholic Canon law, with all of the Decretals exalting the pope’s supreme authority, was republished in the 1870s by Pope Pius IX. Though it has long been known that Catholic Canon Law is founded upon forgeries and thus is fraudulent, not one line of it has ever been rescinded or renounced.

6. No pope has publicly renounced the Donation of Constantine or the Decretals of Isidore.


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