[Notes on the Legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church, and its Crimes]
Journal of The Theosophical Society, June, 1884
Article Selections from “Unpublished Writings of Eliphas Levi” | Notes by H.P.B.
. . . Pope. We do not want to save ourselves, and God will preserve us if it is necessary, in the midst of the flames, like the children in the fiery furnace; and it is you, Satan! who will burn in the eternal fire.
Sphinx. Why do you call me Satan? Satan means calumniator, and I never calumniated any body; but who has calumniated God by representing him as an eternal hangman who kills his weak creatures? Who has calumniated Nature by saying she was perverted and criminal? Who has calumniated humanity bu denying the virtues of ancient sages and declaring her inherently devoid of any good? Who has calumniated, accused, condemned, tortured and burnt so many great men for no other cause as because they had reasoning powers?1 . . .
1. According to the statement of Llorente (see American Encyclopaedia) from 1481 to 1808 there were burnt alive 31,912 persons; burned in effigy 17,659, tortured and imprisoned 291,456. All that in the name of “Jesus Christ” and by the supreme authority of the Pope, who appointed the “apostolic” judges of the inquisition. This is not “attacking Christianity,” but simply stating historic facts.
. . . Sphinx. . . . I do not seek to destroy you; on the contrary, I wish to instruct and transform you for the purpose of preserving you. I desire that instead of being the blind despot of the ignorant, you may become a light for the wise, and therefore you must become reconciliated with science, and march at the front of civilization.
Pope. You know that I shall do no such thing.
Sphinx. The civilization will then march over you and select another guide.
Pope. And what sort of a legitimate guide could the children of the church accept, if it were not the successor of Peter?2 . . .
2. Éliphas Lévi being a Catholic, still cherishes the idea that the Pope of Rome is really the successor of Peter, who was made Bishop of Rome by Jesus Christ. If it is admitted that Peter really was the first Pope, then it follows logically that the “Roman Catholic” church is really the only Christian church that has any legitimate existence, and all the so-called protestant churches are only so many heresies that ought to be rooted out; but biblical criticism has shown that Peter had nothing whatever to do with the foundation of the Latin church. “Petroma” was the name of the double set of stone tablets used by the hierophant at all initiations during the final Mystery; and the designation “Peter” (in Phoenician and Chaldaic, an interpreter) appears to have been the title of this person. The majority of critics show that the “apostle” Peter never was in Rome,—and besides it is almost certain that the real “Jesus” of the gospels, whose name was “Jehoshua, the Nazarene,” lived a hundred years before the Christian era.