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WHY DOES THE POPE WEAR A HAT?

Curtis Pugh

Poteau, Oklahoma

            Every reader is probably familiar with the variety of head coverings, hats and caps worn by the pope. Why does he do that? Does he not know what the Bible says about a man wearing a hat when he prays or preaches? Paul made it clear that men are not to wear a head covering at such times. He wrote: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head,” (1 Corinthians 11:3-4). Each Christian man's head is Christ. To cover his head like a woman is supposed to do, is to dishonor Christ who is the man's head. (For women read verse 5 of this same chapter). The fact that Roman Catholic clergy wear hats is not an insignificant matter because the honor of the Lord Jesus is at stake.

            The Douay-Rheims Bible is a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible. Here is how the above quoted two verses are worded in that translation: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head.” Instead of “dishonoureth” the Catholic Bible has “disgraceth.” Otherwise the Catholic Bible and the King James Bible are the same. So the pope's wearing of hats cannot be a matter of misunderstanding based upon a mis-translation. Their Bible says the same as ours.

            Well, then, is it that the pope is ignorant of the Bible? He may well be, but what about the myriad of Catholic scholars? The pope of the Catholic church cannot plead ignorance in this matter. He can read his own church's translation of the Bible. You and I can read those two verses and understand them. They are not at all difficult to understand. So, we ask in our title, “Why Does the Pope Wear a Hat?” In the light of the clear teaching of the Word of God, why do the pope and the bishops and priests and other men in the Catholic church make it a rule to wear a head covering of one kind or another when they pray and preach?

            Historically it can be demonstrated that the double miter often worn by the pope came from paganism. It is obvious when viewed from the side that it represents the open mouth of a fish and honors Dagon, the fish god. Dagon is mentioned by name seven times in the Old Testament. But other kinds of hats are worn by the Catholic clergy as well. Why?

            Our point is this: the Roman Catholic Church does not care what the Bible says. They pretend to follow the Bible, but in reality they are as one man said, “a stew.” Old Testament priestcraft is blended with pagan gods and goddesses under Christian (biblical) names in their society and system. The reasons they wear hats may never be fully known to us, but the fact that they do so in the light of the Scripture proves to all the world that they do not care what the Bible says. They are not subject to the Bible. Rather they use it when it suits them in furthering their ends. To them the Bible is like a salad bar or a buffet. They take what they want or like from the Bible and leave the rest behind.

            The Roman Catholic position on the Scriptures is this. They say the Bible is neither sufficient nor perspicuous – the Bible is not enough and is not clear. So they claim the exclusive right to supplement the Bible with traditions and with the pope speaking ex-cathedra. When he does this, he is infallible, they say. The traditions of their church are equal with the Bible, according to them. And the words of the popes when speaking ex-cathedra contain no error. What they are saying is this – the Bible is not clear or understandable by the ordinary person, so Catholic Church councils and popes have the exclusive right to interpret the Bible. They have the exclusive right to tell you that this or that passage does not mean what it says, but instead means something entirely different from what it says if they say so. And loyal obedient Roman Catholics must believe them instead of the Bible.

            One of the Catholic arguments for disregarding the Bible is to argue that the Catholic Church existed before the New Testament Scriptures. So they claim they are responsible for the Scriptures and that it is their teaching that gives the Scriptures authority. The facts are otherwise. The New Testament was completed about A.D. 100 and the Catholic system did not exist at that time. In fact the Catholic Church cannot furnish an accurate date for their beginning. What happened is that dis-fellowship between sound anabaptist or Baptist churches and some of their own churches took place over several years. Gradually these unsound former Baptist churches evolved or devolved into the corrupt pagan works-mongering system that exists today. There was no Catholic church in the first Christian century and so the Catholics could not be responsible for giving authority to the Scriptures.

            To sum it all up, Catholic clergy wear hats because they do not care what the Bible says. This is obviously the case. As far as I can learn no pope has spoken ex-cathedra on the subject of the wearing of hats. They just do it. By doing so they disgrace or dishonor Christ because they want to do so. They claim their traditions are equal with the Bible and they claim to have the right to tell the world what is to be believed whether or not they contradict the Bible.

            There are others who equally disregard the Bible. Here in Oklahoma we have some groups that call themselves “Cowboy Churches.” In newspaper photos their preachers are shown standing in a dirt floored area preaching to people sitting in the bleachers. The idea seems to be that you can come to church fresh from the barn lot with manure on your boots and jeans and be acceptable. The preachers at these churches are dressed in jeans and western shirts, holding a Bible and preaching – complete with western hat on at the time. They are like the Catholics in that they cover their heads when preaching and praying and so dishonor Christ. So doing whatever you want to do regardless of what the Bible says is not limited to the Roman Catholics.   

            There are others who believe and do whatever they want to do regardless of what the Bible says. Protestant baby-baptizers, like Catholics, know that there is not a single Bible verse that supports infant baptism, but they do it anyway. They just do not care what the Bible says. Invitation-system Baptists know that there is not a single instance in the Bible where anybody ever invited a person to come forward in order to be saved, but they do it anyway. They do not care what the Bible says. All sorts of “evangelicals” tell people to do this or that or the other religious thing and they will be born again. They do this even though the Bible never tells us what to do in order to be born again. It is easy to be devoted to a system and not care what the Bible says. Easy, that is, if you do not care what the Bible says.

            The question comes to mind: are these professing Christians who do not care what the Bible says “of us” or did they go “out from us?” We know the Catholics did that very thing. We know that the Protestants came out from the Catholics. Whatever their history, those who disregard what the Bible says are “not of us.” That being the case, some Baptists are not “of us” either. And there are Baptists this very day who are step by step in process of leaving us. Consider that last statement in the light of what John wrote. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us,” (1 John 2:19). So when the pope wears a hat, or a cowboy preacher does the same thing – or anyone disregards what the Bible says, it is because they do not care what the Bible teaches. They are not committed to following the Bible, but rather their own system and traditions.

            But there are some people who believe and say that what the Bible says does make a difference. They say that it is important in all its teachings and patterns. God has always had such a people. Back in ancient Israel God had worked in some folk and they thought His Word was important. The prophet Isaiah wrote about them in these words: “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed,” (Isaiah 66:5). Are you one of those who “tremble at his word?” In spite of mistreatment and mockery from the religious liberals and Bible-deniers popular with the world, does it matter to you what God says in the Bible? Are you concerned about being obedient to the Bible? You are not alone. God has today a remnant of people in whom He has worked. These believe that following the Bible is the way to please God. They endeavor to do that very thing in their daily lives and in their religious observances. May their tribe increase!


Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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