Michael Scheifler and Pope Vicarius II

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Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy by Patrick Madrid

Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy by Patrick Madrid

A reader asked me to update my answers to cover new claims on Michael Scheifler’s website, Bible Light.

First, readers should read this post:

Vicarius Filii Dei and 666

And this one:

More Vicarius Thrills – the numbers of the beast and the men who flub them

And this one:

Bacchiocchi, 666, and Vicarius Filii Dei

We’ve previously noted the following:

  • The Decretum of Gratian, quoting the forged document known as the Donation of Constantine, uses the words “vicarius filii dei” as a descriptive term, not a title.
  • Crossing the Threshold of Hope” by Pope St John Paul II, contains words that, when translated into Latin, cannot be translated as “Vicarius Filii Dei” as Scheifler claims.
  • Our Sunday Visitor, 1915, once did say that such a title was written on a mitre, but withdrew their claim and issued a correction. It was a case of them thinking Adventists were honest, and not double checking Adventist “fact”. An early example of people falling for fake news.
  • The pope’s mitres have never had the words “Vicarius Filii Dei” on them, and Adventist scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi defends the Catholic Church against this false claim, calling persistence in it “the blinding effect of tradition”.

Patrick Madrid pointed out the faulty translation of the words from “Crossing the Threshold of Hope“.

What is Scheifler’s response to the correct translation of the Latin in Pope John Paul II’s text?

[Sheifler to Patrick Madrid, emphasis is Scheifler’s:]
As to your assertion that Represents the Son of God translates to Filium Dei Repraesentat, but not Vicarius Filii Dei, Pope John Paul II in his Crossing The Threshold of Hope says (emphasis is mine):

[pg. 3] The leader of the Catholic Church is defined by the faith as the Vicar of Jesus Christ (and is accepted as such by believers). The Pope is considered the man on earth who represents the Son of God, who “takes the place” of the Second Person of the omnipotent God of the Trinity.

[pg. 13] The Pope is not the only one who holds this title. With regard to the Church entrusted to him, each bishop is Vicarius Christi.

It is not difficult for everyone to see that the Pope himself equates the word Vicarius/Vicar to “represents” in the title Vicar of Jesus Christ / Vicarius Christi. This is something so obvious, that even without the papal support cited above, I am frankly astounded that you think you can legitimately claim Vicarius Filii Dei does not also mean “represents the Son of God”.

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II

Here we see Scheifler avoids the plain fact that “represents the Son of God” translates as something other than what he wants. He instead then says that “the Pope himself equates the word Vicarius/Vicar to “represents” in the title Vicar of Jesus Christ” He’s trying to force a link between the two words, “represents” (a verb) and “vicar” (a noun) so that he can, in his next sentence, simply repeat his phony translation.

Sorry, that doesn’t work. 1 – Scheifler has failed to translate properly. 2 – Scheifler has failed to produce a title of any sort.

Two new sources

Two documents have since been added to the list of documents from which Adventists try to create a title:

Rivi Muniensis, an Apostolic Constitution by Pope Paul VI, 9 Aug 1965:

Latin: “Qui summi Dei numine et voluntate principem locum in Christi Ecclesia, obtinemus, adorandi Filii Dei hic in terris Vicarii Petrique successores, …”
English: “We who the supreme God providentially wills, and maintains, in the principle position over Christ’s Church, the worshipful Son of God’s Vicar(s) upon the earth, Peter’s successor(s), …”

Bafianae, an Apostolic Constitution by Pope Paul VI, 11 Jan 1968:

Latin: “Adorandi Dei Filii Vicarius et Procurator …”
English: “As the worshipful Son of God’s Vicar and Caretaker …”

These are of the same type of evidence as found in the Decretum of Gratian – although legitimate, they do not establish a title, or even use the phrase “Vicarius Filii Dei” as a title. Evidence for that is twofold – 1) the official list of papal titles was never updated to include this, so it remains a non-title; and 2) a title will retain the same word order whenever used as such, while changing case to reflect grammatical context. “Vicarius Filii Dei” is not a title, but merely a description, when used as “Dei Filii Vicarius” and “Filii Dei … Vicarii” with words added in the middle.

So, still no title, out of all this hard word digging up words and converting verbs to nouns. Scheifler spends a lot of time on words that fluff out his argument to make it sound good. He repeats himself saying that “Vicarius Christi” and “Vicarius Filii Dei” mean almost the same thing, which gives him license to use them interchangeably. But still, no actual title. Just a description.

Yet Adventists like Scheifler persist in trying to squeeze blood out of a stone. Adventists – please try to deal with facts, not your tradition. By carrying on with this nonsense, your witness then only serves to witness against you as an apologist for Adventism, and people won’t take you seriously.

Further reading:

Vicarius Filii Dei and 666
Bacchiocchi, 666, and Vicarius Filii Dei
More Vicarius Thrills – the numbers of the beast and the men who flub them
The Pope Is Not The Beast of Revelation 13

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