Although this is technically not a “false teaching” since it doesn’t actually pertain to doctrine, I feel it is an important issue to address, as well as one that in some ways lays the foundation of what I hope will be a continuing series of articles addressing the false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Thanks to the Roman Catholic church, there is a misconception that is commonly held by almost every person. That misconception is that the Roman Catholic Church and the catholic Church are the same thing. This is untrue, as they are two very different things. The word catholic simply means universal. That’s all. Nothing less, and nothing more. When you see the phrase “Roman Catholic Church” it means the “Universal Roman Church”; and the phrase “catholic Church” means the “universal Church.”
A few things I'd like to point out. First, you may have noticed one obvious difference between the two phrases, and that is the use of a capital “C” versus a lower case “c”. The capital “C” in Roman Catholic Church is a title, a noun. “Roman Catholic Church” is the title of a particular church, one which finds it home and origin in Rome. The lower case “c” in catholic Church is an adjective, not a title or noun. As already noted, it means “universal” and it describes an attribute of the Christian Church. The term “Christian Church” is also a title of a particular church, namely the church that is made up of Christians, or followers of Jesus Christ. This means that every single believer over the past 2,000 years, belongs to the catholic, or universal Christian Church. The use of a capital “C” or a lower case “c” differentiates these two churches.
The second point is that as also already noted, the Roman Catholic Church has its origins in Rome. Not modern day Rome, but the Roman Empire, which existed in full from 753 BC to 476 AD. The Roman Catholic Church is the modern day remnant of the religious branch of the Roman Empire. Prior to 380 AD, when Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire, the Christian Church existed alongside the official pagan Roman state religion. Also prior to 380 AD, this pagan Roman religion was subsidized by the state. The state paid for and built the Roman temples and places for the worship of their many gods, as well as supporting all the pagan Roman priests. In 380 AD all of that changed and Christianity became the official state religion. In short, this meant all the pagan Roman priests, and etc., were out of a job. They would no longer be subsidized and supported by the state. In order to maintain that support, the pagan priests became “Christian” priests and the pagan houses of worship became “Christian” churches, ostensibly for the worship of the Christian God, Yahweh.
Following their incursion into the Christian Church, the Romanists began to place themselves in positions of control, beginning with the leader of the Christian church in Rome. This continued on throughout the years, decades, and centuries until about 1563 by which time the professing Christian Church had become almost entirely Romanized, although, there was still a remnant of faithful Christians. Beginning in the 15th century, a reformation of the Christian Church began when men such as John Wycliffe and Jan Hus boldly stood against the Romanization of the Church. Of course, the Romanists denounced them as heretics and sought to murder them. They succeeded in murdering Hus, but failed with Wycliffe. So incensed by his efforts to bring the Church back under the leadership of Christ rather than the leadership of the Pope, that after he died of natural causes, the Romanists dug him and burned his bones and scattered the ashes in a river! Talk about vindictiveness!
From 1545 to 1563 the Romanists held the infamous Council of Trent, which they used to officially establish many of the unbiblical doctrines they sought to impose upon the Christian Church. Of these, one of the most heretical is the doctrine of salvation by faith plus works, which is a direct contradiction of Biblical teaching. In fact, they went so far as to curse anyone who taught justification was only by faith. Of course, since God Himself teaches justification by faith in His Holy Word, the Romanists effectively cursed God with their decree. At this point the Roman Catholic Church, as a separate church from the catholic Christian Church, was born. Just as before 380 AD, there are now two separate and distinct churches, one Christian and one Roman. Removing the word “Roman” from the title of their church, the Romanists have blurred the line of distinction between the catholic Church and the now called Catholic Church. This is the same tactic later used by the Mormons when they changed the name of their church from “The Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-Day Saints”, to simply “The Church of Jesus Christ.” Both groups are attempting to make themselves appear to be Christians; but the reality is, they are not. They are false religions. I will admit, however, that simply changing the name of their church in order to deceive people into thinking they are Christian is far better than their previous methods. These previous methods included theft, torture, slavery, rape, sexual and physical abuse, other forms of intense oppression, war, and even murder. All used by the non-Christian Roman Catholic Church at various times over the past 1,000 years in their ongoing effort to force people to convert to Roman Catholicism.
Please understand the difference between these two different churches, and do not allow yourself to be deceived by the Roman Catholic Church. It is decidedly NOT Christian. Please do not mistake them for Christian. The Roman Catholic Church teaches a different gospel, one of salvation by faith PLUS works; a different god, one who demands people pay at least partially for their own sins in purgatory -- both financially, as well as through physical suffering; and a false Jesus, one who did not die once for the sins of many as God stated in His Word (Heb.9:26-28; 10:10; 1Pet.3:18; Rom.6:10), but who must be re-sacrificed virtually daily by Roman priests around the world (CCC 1367, 1376, 1382).*
*Note: The Roman Catholic Church teaches, via both tradition and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice. Though semantically not a second sacrifice, not a re-sacrifice, it is, nonetheless, a perpetual sacrifice. In other words, for the Roman Catholic Church, Jesus Christ is continually on the cross shedding His blood as a perpetual sacrifice for sin. And though they claim in their teaching that it is an unbloody sacrifice, the fact that they believe the cup holds the actual physical blood of Jesus refutes that claim.