Questions From Readers
▪ Why did The Watchtower of September 15, 1988, indicate that Protestantism has defiled herself even more than Roman Catholicism?
This was said because it fits the prophecy and the facts. In the book of Ezekiel chapter 23, the figurative Oholah and Oholibah were described as immoral sisters. The ten-tribe kingdom of Israel was represented by Oholah, whereas Oholibah denoted the two-tribe kingdom of Judah. In discussing these symbolic women, The Watchtower of September 15, 1988, said on page 21:
“For pursuing a more sinful course than her sister [Oholah, or Israel], Oholibah (Judah) suffered national calamity at Babylonian hands in 607 B.C.E. Her children fell by the sword or were led away captive, and she was disgraced among the nations. Like Oholah and Oholibah, Christendom commits spiritual adultery, a sin in the sight of the God she claims to worship. Protestantism, with her many denominations, has defiled herself with the commercial and political powers of the world even more than her elder sister, Roman Catholicism. Thus, Jehovah will see to it that all of Christendom is destroyed.”
Beginning with the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E., Emperor Constantine fused the pagan Roman state cult with apostate Christianity and became the head of the new Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church thus can trace its existence to the fourth century of our Common Era. Protestantism had its start in the Reformation of the 16th century. Hence, as Oholah (Israel) was older than Oholibah (Judah), The Watchtower appropriately called Roman Catholicism the elder sister of Protestantism.
Yet, why can it be said that “Protestantism . . . has defiled herself with the commercial and political powers of the world even more than her elder sister, Roman Catholicism”? Because the facts match the prophecy, which states: “When her sister Oholibah got to see it, then she exercised her sensual desire more ruinously than she, and her prostitution more than the fornication of her sister.”—Ezekiel 23:11.
As parts of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, both Catholicism and Protestantism have been deeply involved with the commercial and political elements of this world. (Revelation 17:1-6; 18:1-19) True, an individual Protestant denomination may have less influence than the powerful Roman Catholic Church. But the many Protestant churches combined outstrip the one Catholic Church in power and influence. For instance, Protestantism exerts great influence in certain prominent industrial countries, with some Protestant clergymen seeking high political office. So this is one way in which Protestantism, with its many denominations, has defiled herself even more than Catholicism.
In yet another way, however, Protestantism has “exercised her sensual desire more ruinously” and is more reprehensible than Catholicism. How so? Well, the Reformation gave Protestantism at least the hope and prospect of greater spiritual enlightenment. In fact, some reformers made sincere and notable moves in this regard. But when everything was said and done, such unscriptural doctrines as the Trinity, immortality of the human soul, and hellfire continued unchanged among the Protestants. Like the Catholics, they have also been guilty of engaging in creature worship and of putting the traditions of men in place of Biblical truth.—Matthew 15:1-9; 23:9, 10.
Of interest in this regard is what was stated in Vindication, Book One, back in the year 1931. On page 309, this Watch Tower publication (now out of stock) said concerning Ezekiel 23:11-13: “Protestant ‘organized religion’ saw how Roman Catholicism had defiled herself with the commercial and political powers of this world, and said much against the Catholics for that reason; but then Protestantism went and straightway did likewise, and even worse. . . . Both have taken the same course; but Protestantism had had more enlightenment than Romanism, and therefore is the more reprehensible.”
[Picture on page 30]
Constantine fused apostate Christianity with the pagan Roman state cult, thus becoming head of the new Catholic Church
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Mrs. F. F. Thompson, 1926. (26.229)