Join Tim Shaughnessy and Tim Kauffman on this week’s episode of Semper Reformanda Radio as they discuss the Roman Catholic practice of venerating relics. Tim Kauffman leads us in a discussion of the different classes of relics and explains that this was not part of the worship of the early church. The practice of venerating relics is a novelty of the late 4th century. Tim Kauffman does another fantastic job of explaining why the Roman Catholic system is built on a house of cards.

As always we want to thank Tim Kauffman and recommend his blog to our listeners.

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Christianity/ Religion


  1. Luke Webster 5 years ago

    Great episode guys.

  2. Timothy F. Kauffman 5 years ago

    Thanks, John. Our criticism of Roman Catholicism is based on Roman Catholicism’s own claims to antiquity. As such, we evaluate their claims against actual data. Our analysis shows that their novelties originate in the late 300s. Copts in Alexandria—while claiming apostolicity—came out of the post-Chalcedon schism in 451, so by the time they broke off, they had already owned these same late 4th century errors. Eastern and Oriental orthodox also claim apostolicity from Antioch, but even some of their own defenders see the 1054 schism as their point of departure from Rome.

    When Theodosius II declared the state religion to be the faith of Damasus of Rome and Peter of Alexandria, it was Damasus who was identified as the pontiff of the new religion. Two years later, Emperor Gratian formally renounced the title Pontifex Maximus, and the same year, Damasus claimed that Rome was the supreme apostolic see, and Alexandria (eventual home of the Copts) and Antioch (home of Eastern orthodoxy) were subsumed under Rome. These came to be known as “the three Petrine Sees” (of which Rome is ostensibly the chief), a title under which Rome still subsumes the prerogatives of the Sees of Antioch and Alexandria. Thus, Romanism traces to the latter part of the 4th century. The rest come later.

    Since we can identify the point of origin of most of their collective errors prior to their departure from Rome, it is sufficient to expose the origins of their collective errors as the latter 4th century Roman novelties that they all are. (It is worth noting, by the way, that even the Byzantines were called “Romans” by their detractors, long after the 4th century.) And because Antioch and Alexandria took those errors with them when they separated from Rome, a rebuttal of late antique Roman errors will equally address the errors of the Copts and Orientals.

    It is true that “many a Protestant has been led astray to Eastern Orthodoxy,” but I would say that phenomenon may be attributed not to a focus on Roman Catholicism, but to a focus on the era of the Reformation. When the point of departure is taken as the 16th century, very much that preceded it is granted the presumption of orthodoxy (Mary’s virginity in partu, Mary as Mother of God, Mary as Mother of the Church, Christ’s “real” presence in the communion bread, the Mass Sacrifice)—some of which the Reformers themselves retained. Part of the stumbling block for those who wander back into Oriental or Coptic “orthodoxy” is the realization of just how far back those novelties go. How can they resist icon and relic veneration, incense and candles when Mariolatry and the Mass sacrifice are shown to be as ancient? When the point of departure is shown to be the latter part of the 4th century, however, all of them crumble together as the Roman novelties they plainly are.

    It is not our intent to ignore the Copts and Orientals. It’s just that when you go back far enough, we can find them all paying deference to Rome and the new Roman religion, and in the latter part of the 4th century they had not sufficiently differentiated among themselves to justify treating them as anything other than a collective departure from the truth.

    That’s all to say that the Copts and Orientals make the same arguments for apostolicity that Roman Catholics do, and the arguments we make here are just as good at refuting Eastern and Coptic relic veneration and Mariolotry as they are in refuting the same practices in Rome.

  3. John Bitondo 5 years ago

    The veneration of relics is not unique to the Roman Church but is part of the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic and Oriental Orthodox Churches. I do recognize the Roman Church is the largest but we do a disservice by not including these other “Catholic” Churches in the discussion in regards to sound doctrine. many a Protestant has been led astray to Eastern Orthodoxy because of the lack of criticism in favor of Roman criticism.

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