now over 36,400 non-Catholic ecclesial communities as of 2003.
This is an increase of 2580 in just two years over the 33,820 reported in 2001,
by the World Christian Encyclopedia, a Protestant publication.
The meaning of Paganism broadly includes all religions other than the true one founded by Jesus Christ, and narrowly, all except Christianity, Judaism, and Mohammedanism. So to put it simply, a Pagan in the narrow sense is one who is not a spiritual descendant of Abraham. By simple deduction, it is obvious that anyone who accuses the Catholic Church of Paganism, will have to prove that the Church is not Christian, and that it was not founded by Jesus Christ. Since the contrary of truth cannot be proven, both conditions are impossible to meet by the accusers.
Here are some of the outlandish charges they have invented over the years:
One of the false charges of Paganism...
The Catholic Church which is known as the Roman Catholic Church was founded by the Roman pagan Emperor Constantine, therefore it must be "pagan" since he was pagan. When challenged by Catholics to show "proof" of this charge, they offer the Edict of Milan, issued by Constantine in 313 A.D.. The Edict of Milan says nothing about founding the "Roman" Catholic Church or of any other church. It merely allowed Christianity to practice the faith openly without fear of Roman persecution, which it endured from the time of the crucifixion, for almost 300 years. Genuine historical records show that Emperor Constantine was a pagan when he issued the Edict in 313, and was baptized into the Catholic Church just before he died in 337. Since he was not even a baptized Christian in 313, how could a pagan have founded any Christian church?
The basis of this false charge is the word "Roman" attached to the Catholic Church, and nothing more. I would suggest that perpetrators of this false charge research the origin of the title "Roman Catholic Church". They will find that it was used for the first time about 1200 years after the death of Constantine, by the Anglicans of Henry VIII, who wanted to retain the title "Catholic Church" for themselves.
What better way could the Pagan Roman Empire be converted to Christianity than by GOD implanting His Church within their midst? Isn't this exactly what happened? Rome is now the center of Christianity, thanks to the Catholic Church.
Another one of the false charges of Paganism...
The Catholic Church is a pagan society, and the proof is in the pagan symbols which permeate the entire Church. For one example, they have an Egyptian obelisk, a symbol of a pagan society, being encompassed by the very "arms" of the Vatican, and here is the visible proof...
The obelisk is located in the center of St. Peter's Square in Rome. It is 83 feet high and weighs 331 tons. Detractors invariably only give half of the story while conveniently omitting the parts which destroy their false charges right from the start.
Well, here is the rest of the story of this obelisk which they purposely omit:
This obelisk is not inscribed, which is unusual because almost all obelisks were inscribed to honor the Pharaoh of the time. Because of this, no one knows from where it originally came or who created it. History shows that Emperor Augustus Caesar (27 B.C-14 A.D) had it erected in the Julian Forum in Alexandria, where it remained until 37 A.D.. In that year Emperor Caligula (Caius Caesar) had it moved to the Circus in Rome.
It is known that in the Roman Circus, many Christians including St. Peter were martyred.
At the end of the 16th century, Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590) decided to use obelisks as markers for pilgrims who visited Rome. He had them placed in front of major Basilicas so that they might be visible from afar. He directed that this obelisk, pictured below, was to be re-erected in the colonnaded square in front of the Basilica of St. Peter, where it remains to this day. He Christianized it by having a bronze cross mounted on the top. On the base of the cross is inscribed, "Behold the Cross of the Lord! Depart ye hostile powers! The Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed! Christ conquers, Christ is King, Christ is Emperor! May Christ protect His people from all evil!"
It is a fitting tribute to St. Peter. No doubt it was one of the last things the first Bishop of Rome must have seen before his martyrdom. The obelisk represents the triumph of Christianity over the paganism from which the obelisk came, and this is one of many in Rome.
Here is a closer look showing that it has no inscriptions, and the cross is seen at the very top.
Besides the many obelisks still in Egypt, there are
others scattered around the world. They are in London, Dorset, and Durham, in
England, Paris France, Istanbul Turkey, Florence, Rome, and Urbino, in Italy,
and in our own United States in Central Park in New York City. Also there is the
Washington Monument in our national capitol of Washington D.C.. Although it is
not of Egyptian origin, it certainly was patterned after Egyptian obelisks. Does
this mean that all of these countries worship pagan gods? Well, those who say
the Catholic Church does, will have a hard time convincing the masses in those
countries that they do as well.
Here is the obelisk on display in Central Park in the center of New York City. Note the inscriptions impressed upon it. It is called Cleopatra's Needle and is a twin of another one in London. Do all New Yorkers and Londoners worship pagan gods simply because they display these obelisks? I would have to say, that the detractors of the Catholic Church would be forced to say "yes" wouldn't you agree?
And now comes "the rest of the story", as Paul Harvey
Most people, when looking at the underside of a dome such as the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, see a circle with supporting members radiating out in all directions, an architectural feature of most domes. Non-Catholic accusers of pagan worship see it as just another symbol of the sun.
The picture above is of a monstrance, and in the center is the Blessed Sacrament. Many monstrances have radiating lines for all 360 degrees around the center, and they do remind us of a sunburst, and for a very good reason.
Those who make these charges claim to know the Bible, when in fact they do not, for in the "sun" is depicted the "SON" in glory and brightness.
"The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the
firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to
night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice
is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to
the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his
chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the
end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and there is nothing hid
from its heat."
The tent or tabernacle was the dwelling place of GOD, and of course the bridegroom prefigures Jesus Christ.
"For the Lord God is a sun and
a shield, he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from
those who walk uprightly."
"But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings."
Did you notice that the word, "Sun", is capitalized? Is it a misspelling of "Son", or is it on purpose?
This verse is a clear reference to the second person of the Holy Trinity as figured by the Sun.
I have just listed two clear verses which symbolize GOD as the Sun. Now why do those who accuse the Catholic Church of pagan sun worship ignore what Scripture clearly has said?
"Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie
to David. His line shall endure for ever, his throne as long as the sun before me."
"So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west,
and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will
come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. And he will come
to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the
"The sun shall be no more your
light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but
the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your
sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw
itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning
shall be ended."
"Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name..." Jeremiah 31:35
"And he brought me into the inner court of the house of
the Lord; and behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch
and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the
Lord, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the
sun toward the east."
The East, the direction of the sunrise, has great significance in Scripture...
"Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east; and the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was like the vision which I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like the vision which I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple."
"And those to encamp before the tabernacle on the east, before the tent of meeting toward the sunrise, were Moses and Aaron and his sons, having charge
of the rites within the sanctuary, whatever had to be done for the people of
Israel; and any one else who came near was to be put to death."
Numbers 3:38. See also Isaiah 41:2, 43:5, and Ezekiel 11:23,46:12.
"Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we
have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him... When they had heard
the king they went their way; and lo, the star which
they had seen in the East went before them, till it
came to rest over the place where the child was."
"For as the lightning comes from the
east and shines as far as
the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man."
We shall look to the East where the sun rises, and the Son also rises.
"And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace."
"In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt which speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts. One of these will be called the City of the Sun. In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border."
The City of the Sun in Egypt was Heliopolis, located north of modern Cairo. Helio is the Greek word for 'sun'. Heliopolis was the center of worship for the Egyptian sun god Ra until about 2100 B.C..
Heliopolis is about 100 miles from Alexandria, which saw Christianity rise through the efforts of St. Mark. Alexandria spawned theologians Clement of Alexandria, and Origen. It was governed by several Catholic Bishops such as Athanasius and Cyril.
"And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."
" For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the
Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name
a clean oblation, for my name is great among the Gentiles, says the Lord of
"So perish all thine enemies, O Lord! But thy friends be
like the sun as he rises in his
"Then the righteous will shine like
the sun in the kingdom of
He who has ears, let him hear."
"And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone
like the sun, and his garments became white as
"It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness
over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn
in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my
spirit!" And having said this he breathed his
Did you see the message here? The sun's light failed...The Son, the light of the world, died.
"And very early on the first day of the week they went to
the tomb when the sun had risen."
In this verse is yet another connection which many miss. The sun had risen, and on a Sunday...
The Son had risen, and on a Sunday.
"At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven,
brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who
journeyed with me."
"In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and
his face was like the sun shining in full
"Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven,
wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the
sun, and his legs like pillars of
"And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed
with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on
her head a crown of twelve stars."
"Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that
fly in midheaven, "Come, gather for the great supper of God...""
"The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light. To them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen"
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not
walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Just as the physical sun casts off physical darkness, so does the spiritual Son cast off spiritual darkness.
"I have come as light into the world,
that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness."
have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root
and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."
"And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the
Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its
light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the
kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it."
"And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp
or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and
they shall reign for ever and ever."
The light of the sun in this life, is replaced by the light of the Son in the next.
After absorbing the meaning of all of these verses, what
was that false charge again?
It seems to have been evaporated by the sun = Son connection throughout the Bible, hasn't it?
As a final note on this subject of "pagan" sun worship, here is a picture of the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Now, for all of those who venerate the cross of Jesus
Christ, are they venerating a pagan symbol? Those who accuse Catholics of pagan
worship cannot have it both ways.
"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not associate with them, for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light."
"But these men, like irrational animals created by nature
for capture and destruction,
deride what they do not understand, and will perish in their own corruption, receiving thereby the recompense of their wrongdoing."
2 Peter 2:12