Monday, September 14, 2009

A den of robbers; seekers of filthy lucre

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 5 - Papal Corruption of Church Government
11-19 - Corruption prevails among church officers
11. As to bishops and rectors, real offices, they think "that he who has never seen a sheep of his flock is the shepherd of it."
12. Gregory complained of this already, and Bernard did, too.
13. Roman church officers are "a robber's den in which thieves riot... brazenly without law and restraint." "Their rule is the despotism of Antichrist." Bishops are mostly "rude asses who do not grasp even the... rudiments of faith, or sometimes big boys fresh from their nursemaid."
14. They are "notorious in excess, effeminacy, voluptuousness... skillful in every deceit, fraud, treason, and treachery.... arrogance, pride, greed, and cruelty.... The world is so wearied with bearing these abuses that there is no danger that I should seem to exaggerate unduly." 99 out of 100 would be excommunicated or deposed in the ancient church.
15. Deacons served only in trifles around worship ritual, not care of the poor and alms. It's just a "step toward the priesthood.... Today the poor get nothing more of those alms than if they were cast into the sea."
16. They steal from the poor; "the entire administration of church property has plainly turned into sacrilegious plundering."
17. They try to excuse their lavish excess from Ps 72:10-11; Isa 52:1; 60:6-7.
18. Buildings, statues, vessels and vestments come before care of the poor.
19. As Jerome said, "the glory of the bishop is to provide for the poor; the disgrace of all priests, to seek after their own riches."

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