The news of my renunciation of Papism spread quickly in the wider ecclesiastical circles. Nevertheless, only when it was enthusiastically embraced by the Spanish and French Protestants, did my position become difficult. I dealt with numerous insulting and threatening anonymous letters in my daily correspondence. My accusers claimed that I was conspiring to create an anti-Papist public opinion among the faithful. They claimed that I was striving to lead to "apostasy" a number of Roman Catholic priests, who were considered "dogmatically weak" because they showed publicly their compassion and interest in my ordeal. All this led to my decision to abandon Barcelona and move to Madrid, where I received hospitality from the Anglicans. Through them, I began to develop relations with the Ecumenical Council of Churches.
Despite my precautionary moves, my presence did not remain unnoticed. After each one of my sermons in different Anglican Churches, a great number of the listeners expressed the desire to meet me personally and discuss in private various matters of conscience. Most of those who sought to converse with me questioned the scandalous coexistence of so many different Christian churches that anathematized one another, each one claiming that only she was the authentic representative and heir of the Early Church. Thus, quite unintentionally, I began to attract a circle of followers, mostly non-Papists, which expanded by the day. This made me all too visible to the local authorities, especially since among those who visited me privately were some Roman Catholic priests, notorious for being "rebellious against the Church and followers of a libertarian idea concerning the primacy and the infallibility of the pontiff of Rome."
The fanatical hatred of some Roman Catholics, who acted more Papist than Christian, would fully surface on the day I gave a public response to an extensive and notable ecclesiological treatise sent to me by Action Catholique. The treatise was a "final attempt" to make me come to my senses and denounce my "heretical obstinacy." It was apologetic in character and sported the expressive title "The Pope, Representative of our Lord upon the Earth." It could be summarized as follows:
On account of the infallibility of His Holiness, the Roman Catholics today are the only Christians who can be certain in what they believe.
With no qualms whatsoever, I answered them via the columns of a Portuguese book review newspaper:
In reality, on account of this infallibility, you are the only Christians today who cannot be certain what His Holiness will compel you to believe the day after tomorrow. I concluded my response with these words:
With a little more effort on your part, you will succeed in having our Lord become the representative of the pope in heaven.
A short while later, I put an end to this contention with a threefold study published in Buenos Aires, which exhausted the subject of papal primacy in the most objective manner.1 This volume was a collection of all the works of the Church Fathers from the first four centuries, which directly or indirectly refer to the so-called "verses of the primacy."2 In this manner, I proved that the Papist teaching on these Scriptural verses is diametrically opposite to the exegesis of the Church Fathers, whose scriptural interpretation constitutes the ONLY authentic rule for the correct understanding of the word of God.
FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER 7
1. The Scriptural Verses of the Primacy and their Patristic Interpretation, Buenos Aires, 1951. 2. As known: Matt. 16:18-19, John 21:15-17, Luke 22:3132.
Page created: 20-5-2011.
Last update: 20-5-2011.