Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Catholic Church Is NOT the "Whore of Babylon"

Persuaded recently by a Facebook group in which I am involved, I have done some research on the identity of the "Whore of Babylon" from the Book of Revelation. It is a popular theory among anti-Catholic Protestants to identify the Whore with the Catholic Church. What follows is evidence of much more plausible conclusions. I hope this collection will be of help to you in making up your own mind regarding the identity of this mysterious woman.

Whether the Whore be Jerusalem or Rome, She is clearly not the Catholic Church.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

The "Whore" Is Pagan Rome:

The "Whore" Is Jerusalem:

The "Whore" Is Jerusalem and the "Beast" Is Rome:

The "Whore" Is Both Rome and Jerusalem, or Satan, or Any Force Against True Religion:

The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible provides some help in making sense of all of this data. After surveying the case that is made for identifying the Whore with Rome and Jerusalem, the authors conclude:
  • What is curious about the above is the strength of both interpretations. Some details seem to fit a description of Rome, while others are more clearly applicable to Jerusalem. This being the case, one might argue that these opposing views are not mutually exclusive but that both are legitimate in different ways.

    In our judgment, a stronger case can be made for Jerusalem as the city whose demise is apocalyptically presented in Revelation. But this does not mean that other readings of the book are thereby ruled out. Jerusalem was the first city to fit the description in Revelation, but it is by no means the only city. What was true of apostate Jerusalem -- that it became a center of godlessness, violence, and corruption to the point of defying God and shedding the blood of his servants -- holds true of countless cities down through the ages. History is clear that Rome stood next in line to carry on the legacy of Jerusalem by its ruthless persecution of Christianity, so Revelation's warnings of divine judgment apply to it as well. Indeed, Rome's blood guilt is very much part of the message of the book, even in its literal sense (e.g. 13:7). So even if John intended us to think first and foremost of Jerusalem, God's judgment serves as a warning to any and every city thereafter that would choose to turn against the Lord and his disciples.

    Thus, when one surveys the history of interpretation, it is not surprising to learn that Rome and, indeed, many other earthly powers, political as well as religious, have been identified as the Babylon of Revelation. We must not restrict the meaning of apocalyptic events to exclude later historical applications. Revelation's theological message is a timeless message, and its pastoral application is one of perennial relevance. It was as meaningful in the first century as in every century since, even to the end of time. ("The First, Second, and Third Letters of St. John and the Revelation to St. John", pg. 59 [line breaks are mine])

4 comments:

Gwen, The Vintage Seamstress said...

Awesome grouping of info! Kudos! When I was a protestant I heard that a lot and it always made my skin crawl. Now that I am Catholic I love reading about this subject. I think I was always Catholic in my heart even back in the little country church.. I don't think my stance was much appreciated back then! lol

Nicholas Hardesty said...

I'm glad I could help!

Wade St. Onge said...

Nicholas, how on earth did you find that fifth link from the fourth section? That's something I wrote 10 years ago and practically forgot about! It's crazy what you'll find when you google your own name ...

Thanks for linking to it! I'm rather flattered, actually.

Nicholas Hardesty said...

No problem! I just did a google search for "whore of babylon" and then started wading through them all. I thought your article was a worthwhile contribution.

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