The Roman Church of
The Roman Catholic Church was founded by the Roman Emperor,
Constantine, in 313 A.D.???
That is what some anti-Catholics will tell you.
When you ask them for "proof"
of what they say, they will refer to the "Edict of Milan" issued by Emperor Constantine in
This false charge is riddled with errors. Let us examine them one at a time...
1. They use faulty reasoning by saying that since the Catholic Church is called
the "Roman Catholic Church", it must have been founded by a Roman Emperor,
namely Constantine. They point to the "Edict of Milan", issued in 313 A.D., as "proof".
Now if anyone would just read the "Edict" for themselves, they would find that
it merely gave Christianity the freedom to practice the faith openly and with no
fear of persecution from the Romans. After all, for centuries Christians were
persecuted mercilessly by the Romans from the very beginning. It was the Romans
who nailed Jesus Christ to the cross and it was a Roman soldier who thrust a
spear into His side. Do you recall the Roman Circus and all of those hungry
Nothing at all is said in the "Edict" about Constantine founding the
"Catholic Church", which is not even mentioned by name in the document, and the
persons who perpetrate this false charge cannot provide any other genuine
historical document which supports it.
2. Their second error is the fact that the term,"Roman Catholic", was not even
coined until about 1200 years later in the 16th century, by Protestant reformers, especially Anglicans,
because they wanted to retain the name "Catholic" for themselves.
3. Their third error is their failure to read, and to accept, the documents of the Church Fathers and other Church writers. Hundreds
of these documents clearly contain the words "Catholic Church", and are dated
from 107 A.D.. That date is hundreds of years before Constantine's
"Edict" was issued. Genuine historical writings in which the words "Catholic
Church" appear, are in every century from 107, up to and beyond the Reformation,
and to this very day.
The sheer volume of these genuine historical documents is so
overwhelming, that it is a continuity that cannot be denied.
Saint Augustine alone,
mentioned the Catholic Church by name over 300 times in his writings. Just to
mention a few more, so did Saint
Athanasius and Saint Jerome mentioned the Catholic Church by
name many times. These are just three examples out of scores of early authors.
4. Their fourth error is in trying to show that the "Catholic Church", and the
"Roman Catholic Church", are two different Churches, when in fact they are one
and the same.
5. Their fifth error is their interpretation of, for example, the Russian
Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, etc. They try to show divisions
such as Roman, Russian, Ukrainian etc. They fail to realize that there are many
Catholics in these, and many other countries, and they are not separate Catholic
Churches, but are united to the one Holy Catholic Church. The names just
distinguish them from the Orthodox Churches in those countries. It would be
proper to say, "the Catholic Church in Russia, the Catholic Church in Ukraine",
6. Their sixth error is tagged to the first error in that anti-Catholics try to
peg the Catholic Church as an "apostate"* or a "Pagan Church", since they charge that it "was
founded" by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine. If the detractors insist on
this false charge, then they will have to admit that the very Bible which they all use, came
from that same "apostate" or "pagan" Church, and it was provided by that Church
scores of years after Constantine died.
*Calling the Catholic Church an "apostate
Church" is tantamount to calling Jesus Christ a liar
(1John 5:10), for Jesus
promised in Matthew 28:20, that He would be with His Church every day in every
century until the end of time, and with no gaps. He also promised that the Holy
Spirit would be with His Church forever, in John 14:16-17, and that His Church
is the final authority, in
Matthew 18:17, and that He would not orphan His
Church, in John 14:18.
Saint Paul wrote in Ephesians that, "Just as Christ
is head of the Church, being Himself savior of the body." Ephesians 5:21
who or what is the Body of Christ? It is His Church. Ephesians 1:22-23
since Jesus Christ is the Savior of His Church, could it ever become an
Saint Paul also said that it is the Church which is the
"pillar and foundation of the truth",
in 1Timothy 3:15. He did not say it
was the Bible.
So someone please tell me then, how the Church which Jesus
Christ founded could ever apostatize?
7. Their seventh error is in failing to read the history of Constantine (285-337) which is quite
interesting, as he was a pagan Roman Emperor who was baptized into the
Catholic Church just before he died in 337. If he had founded the Catholic
Church in 313 as some claim, then why did he wait until 337 before joining it?
How could he have founded a Church to which he did not belong? How could a
non-baptized pagan found a Christian Church? Who would join it?
was Saint Helena who journeyed to the Holy Land in search of the true Cross of
Christ. She found it in a miraculous way, but that in itself is yet another
Written by Bob Stanley, July 6, 2001
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