order to understand the teaching of Conservative Catholicism, which the
new Pope, Benedict XVI, advocates, we must understand that traditional
Catholicism bases its theology more on the teachings of Paul ... rather
than the Teachings of Jesus. And the background of how Paul
manipulated the Gospels and the Life of Jesus in the scriptures is
originality lies in his conception of the death of Jesus as saving
mankind from sin. Instead of seeing Jesus as a messiah of the Jewish
type human savior from political bondage he saw Him as a salvation-deity
whose atoning death by violence was necessary to release His devotees
for immortal life. This view of Jesus' death seems to have come to Paul
in his Damascus vision. Its roots lie not in Judaism, but in
mystery-religion, with which Paul was acquainted in Tarsus. The violent
deaths of Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and Dionysus brought divinization to
their initiates. Paul, as founder of the new Christian mystery,
initiated the Eucharist, echoing the communion meal of the mystery
religions. The awkward insertion of eucharistic material based on I
Corinthians 11:23-26 into the Last Supper accounts in the Gospels cannot
disguise this, especially as the evidence is that the Jerusalem Church
did not practice the Eucharist.
Paul's missionary campaign began c.44 in Antioch. He journeyed to
Cyprus, where he converted Sergius Paulus, the governor of the island.
It was probably at this point that he changed his name from Saul to
Paul, in honor of his distinguished convert. After journeys in Asia
Minor where he made many converts, Paul returned to Antioch. His second
missionary tour (51-53) took him as far as Corinth; and his third
(54-58) led to a three-year stay in Ephesus. It was during these
missionary periods that he wrote his Epistles.
religion had the advantage over other salvation-cults of being
attached to the Hebrew Scriptures, which Paul now reinterpreted
as forecasting the salvation-death of Jesus. This gave Pauline
Christianity an awesome authority that proved attractive to Gentiles
thirsting for salvation. Paul's new doctrine, however, met with
disapproval from the Jewish-Christians of the
Jerusalem Church, who regarded the substitution of Jesus' atoning death
for the observance of the Torah as a lapse into paganism.
Paul was summoned to Jerusalem by the leaders James (Jesus'
brother), Peter, and John to explain his doctrine (c.50).
At the ensuing conference, agreement was reached that Paul's Gentile
converts did not need to observe the Torah. This was not a revolutionary
decision, since Judaism had never insisted on full conversion to Judaism
for Gentiles. But Paul on this occasion concealed his belief that the
Torah was no longer valid for Jews either. He was thus confirmed in the
role of "apostle to the Gentiles," with full permission to
enroll Gentiles in the messianic movement without requiring full
conversion to Judaism.
It was when Peter visited him in
Antioch and became aware of the full extent of Paul's views that a
serious rift began between Pauline and Jewish Christianity. At a second
conference in Jerusalem (c.55), Paul was accused by James (Jesus'
brother) of teaching Jews "to turn their backs on
Moses" (Acts 21:21). Again, however, Paul evaded the charge by
concealing his views, and he agreed to undergo a test of his own
observance of the Torah. His deception, however, was detected by a group
of "Asian Jews" (probably Jewish Christians) who were aware of
his real teaching. A stormy protest ensued in which Paul feared for his
life and was rescued by the Roman police, to whom he declared for his
protection that he was a Roman citizen. This surprising announcement was
the end of Paul's association with the Jerusalem Church, to whom the
Romans were the chief enemy.
that Peter brought the Gospel to Rome. But the connection back to Paul
is clear. Mark and in particular Peter being one
of the original twelve, directly disobeyed Jesus. But what did
Jesus have to say? "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded
them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of
the Samaritans enter ye not..." (Matthew 10:5) This
was missing from Luke and Mark, Paul's followers. In other words,
Jesus had no intention of starting a new religion. Instead, His
goal was to expand the concepts already taught in Judaism. His
teaching (Matthew 6:5-6): "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be
as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues
and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men....when
thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door,
pray to thy Father which is in secret ..." In other words,
the Radical Jesus taught our relationship with God is personal ... not
to be shared with a priest, minister, rabbi or even those we love.
Paul was very clever in maneuvering his own personal biases and opinions
into the scriptures ... and both the traditional teachings of
Christianity and Catholicism have embraced his theology ... even though
it is antagonistic to the Teachings of Jesus ... "love one
another" ... "judge not, lest ye be judged" ...
"fear not little flock for it is the Father's good pleasure to give
to you." Jesus taught that God Is Love and Love Is God ... He
did not set up rules and regulations for us to live by ... "it
rains on the good and the bad alike" ... He accepted that we too
are intelligent beings and can make intelligent choices ... nor did He
teach that the Sabbath was for God ... He taught that it was for
man/woman. Jesus stated that there should be no
"divorce" ... but the concept of "divorce" in His
era was very different than it is in the modern world.
Radical Jesus never mentioned homosexuality or any other list of mortal
sins that possessed the mind of Paul. Jesus never taught that
women were subservient or less than men. Jesus never taught the
confessing of sins to a priest or the handing over of our personal power
to anyone ... He taught that God and God alone is the One and Only
Authority that we are to obey ... not the church ... not the Pope ...
not the tele-evangelist, priest, minister or rabbi. Jesus was
radical, passionate about the Love of the Father for His Creations ...
Paul was not ... and neither are those who base their faith, hope and
trust on his teachings ... for his teachings are the teachings of the
world ... which are the antithesis of the Teachings of Jesus, "be
in the world but not of the world." Only a few truly followed
the Master Mind Jesus ... and in the end there were fewer still ... the
world was against Him ... and those who love the power of the world ...
sided with the world ... and the theology of Paul. Will this Pope,
Benedict XVI, finally lead Catholicism back to the Teachings of Jesus
... or will he continue to hold Catholicism in the bondage and judgments
of Pauline Christianity?
So It Is!