From Death to Life – Carlo Fumagalli

My life was tossed about by different opinions and driven here and there by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14), until I found Jesus the Rock and Cornerstone (Matthew. 21:42, Acts 4:11, Ephesians. 2:20, I Peter 2:6-7), or rather, until Jesus, my glorious Lord and Savior, found me. I can now say with David, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord” (Psalms 40:2-3).

Born in Italy

I was born at Olgate Molgara near Como in 1934. When I was nine years of age I went into the Archbishop’s Seminary of Milan at Masnago in the province of Varese. Five years later I joined the Missionaries of The Consolata of Turin with whom I went to their high school then the Noviciate and I did a two-year course of philosophy and four years of theology.

In the Higher Seminary of the Consolata at Turin (as is the case in every other Catholic seminary and college) the study was based on Aristotle’s Greek philosophy that, with theology, was a pre-requisite for all the higher academic grades in Holy Scripture. Roman Catholic theology is thus built up around pagan philosophy. The Bible in turn is influenced and pervaded by an adulterated theology. This approach to the Bible is obviously wrong since the Word of God cannot be linked to or influenced by any human philosophy or doctrine (see Colossians 2:8, II Timothy 2:9).

Ordination and the U.S.A.

After my ordination as a priest in 1961, I was assigned to teach in the Seminary of the Consolata of Bevera (Brianza Castle). In 1966, I was nominated as the spiritual director of the seminary and I continued in this office until 1968, when I was offered the opportunity of going to the United States for further studies, but prior to doing so, I went to London for a few months where I attended a theological college.

In September 1969, I started to attend the department of anthropology of the State of New York University in Buffalo. Faced with spheres of study, and research new to me, which included the customs, culture, beliefs, social structures, and differing systems of economics, politics, and religion, as well as archeology and evolution, my mind became full of fresh questions and problems. I studied various social and cultural aspects and discovered among other things that Catholic sacraments and the practice of magic have substantially the same characteristics. Using a certain rite and formula, both of these guarantee a specific result.

Yoga, Africa, and Beyond

Finding it difficult to get into fruitful discussion with other priests to deal with new questions that arose in my mind, I began to explore other areas of thought. I started to attend a course on “mind control.” This opened the door to the fascinating and unexplored world (by me) of the occult, which in today’s pseudo-scientific terms is call “parapsychology.” I was at the time practicing Yoga and doing research into oriental religions. In spite of having many reservations in these areas of study I hoped to find at least some of the answers to the many questions in my mind. I followed two academic courses to get my BA and MA degrees and then took the difficult and demanding examinations for my Ph.D. in which I was successful. I then made a proposal that I should do research in Africa which was accepted but before going I spent several months in Italy where I asked my superiors in Rome for a period of release from my duties as a priest so that I could have time for reflection. My superiors tried to convince me that my present crisis was only passing and that everything would soon be back to normal for me.

It was while I was in this state of mind that I went to Africa where in November of 1974 I began my researches among the Samburu tribe of Northern Kenya. My aim was to carry out a complex research into the culture, social life, and the economic system of the tribe. At the same time, I studied the history and life style of the area to identify the critical factors making for social and economic changes in the tribal societies as colonial and national governments influenced them.

Out of Africa and Catholicism

Away from outward pressure and enforced routine I had time to think about my own problems also and to take into account the disturbance in my own heart since I was very dissatisfied with the life I had been living. I knew in my heart that my only honest decision would be to leave my religious institute and the priesthood. I decided to do so early in 1975. I then felt a great peace and real sense of liberation. I understood that I had been liberated from one of the greatest bondages and types of slavery that exist -that of the Roman Catholic religion and the institutional church.

In February 1976, at the close of my research in Africa, I returned to the United States. Having got free from the yoke of the Roman Catholic Church, and all my obligations to it, I decided to follow my own way, which made me an agnostic. I planned to follow the career of a university professor. In September 1977, I received a doctorate in Anthropology, and in November of the same year, the Roman Church released me from all my duties as a priest.

The Occult and Then the New Testament

I continued my research especially with regard to the occult and oriental religions. I felt in my heart a great emptiness that nothing could fill; there was a great hunger and thirst for truth, love, and righteousness, which nothing could satisfy. I had separated myself almost entirely from every form and practice of traditional religion. Every day, however, I read a little passage from the New Testament.

Early in March 1979, I started to read a certain book…with a critical mind…. I suddenly concluded from reading the book that the Bible must be true and that it could have come only from God. In those same few minutes, I became convinced that I was a sinner and that I could never save myself. I understood vividly that Jesus died on the cross for me and that the only way to be saved was to ask Him definitely to forgive my sins and to be my Lord and Savior. This I did.

I Found Life in Christ

Jesus’ response to my cry was immediate and very wonderful. In that very moment I had the experience of divine grace that was purifying me from all my sins, filthiness and wickedness. Weeping for joy I just had to kneel down as I experienced the power of the love and redemptive sacrifice of Jesus who had saved so great a sinner as myself. I had become a child of God (John 1:11-13), born anew into the life of the Spirit (John 3:3-7) by the incorruptible seed of the Word of God (I Peter 1:23). I had received the certainty that I was saved (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 8:16) and I had had a taste of the wonderful spiritual banquet that Jesus promised to all who receive Him (John 1:12-13).

The great question I asked myself was, “Since the message of salvation is so easy, how is it that no one has ever told me about it?” Nothing of all my years of study, the sacraments I had taken, and confessions I had made had served in the slightest in my salvation, but Jesus had saved me when I recognized that I was a lost sinner and called on Him. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). True believers who are saved are those who as living stones have entered to become part of the spiritual house whose foundation and cornerstone are Christ Himself (I Peter 2:5-8, Ephesians 4:15-16, 5:23, Acts 4:11). Believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit proclaim the Gospel with confidence (Acts 4:29-31)

From that day, I have felt as if a fire was burning within me and the Lord has given me such a hunger and thirst for His Word, which I now know to be the only fountain of truth. Thus, the greater part of my time since has been put to studying the Bible.

I started to witness about my salvation to American friends and to Italian relatives but most of them did not want to know anything about it. I realized that henceforth my only course was to follow Jesus and obey His Word. I gave my career as a university professor and decided to give the whole of my life to the service of the Lord. Three months later in obedience to the Word, I asked to be baptized in water. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and his baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Matthew 16:15-16)

The Gospel to Italy

Early in 1981 the Lord showed me clearly that I was to go to Italy to take the Gospel of salvation especially to Roman Catholics and to priests and so I went to Italy in the middle of March 1981.

As I studied earnestly I realized that I had had many false beliefs, doctrines and practices due to a lack of solid grounding in the Word of God. The Roman Catholic Church uses, manipulates, and twists the Word of God to suit its own convenience, but it neither believes nor obeys it as supreme and unfailing truth. Down through the centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has taken from and added to the Word of God according to its own wishes concerning doctrine and faith, thus creating a system incorporating a number of heathen practices such as the worship of images, statues, relics, the devotion to the Madonna and the saints, prayers and Masses for the dead, rites and liturgies, the granting of blessings, the use of confessions and the sacrifice of the Mass. This Church has also formulated doctrines and dogmas, which are entirely contradictory to Scripture. Among these are transubstantiation, purgatory, indulgences, the immaculate conception, the ascension to heaven of Mary, the temporal power of the popes and of the Church, the claim that the pope is the successor of Peter and the representative of Christ on earth, and children receiving new birth by being baptized, etcetera. The Roman Church has in fact broken the commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Exodus 20:4-5). Everyone should read with fear the trembling what Scripture says about images and idols and those who worship them (Exodus 20:3-6).

The Mass and its Meaning

Central to Catholic doctrine and practice is the Mass. In the Mass, the Catholic Church claims to have the actual physical body and blood of Jesus Christ. The process by which the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Christ is call transubstantiation. The word means change or transfer of one substance into another with only the externals looking the same. This teaching was made a necessary dogma of the Catholic Church at the Lateral IV in 1215. Its meaning was further explained by the 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas. The council of Trent in 1551 decreed an eternal curse on anyone who does not believe in transubstantiation. In believing this doctrine Catholics hold to the real presence of Jesus in thousands of different places at the same time. In Scripture what is taught is the spiritual presence of Christ at the Lord’s Supper. Furthermore, worshiping the bread as if it were God is the height of idolatry for the bread is the work of human hands. The worship, which Gods commands, is to be in spirit and in truth. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshiper shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit;: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

The Catholic Church teaches, in fact, that every time the Mass is carried out, the body and blood of Jesus are immolated[1] for the sins of the world. The Bible, however, says that Jesus offered “one sacrifice only” for sin by His body (Hebrews 7:27, & 10:11-14) and that there is no further need of any offering for sin. “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:18).

Being Reconciled with God

Contrary to the Catholic doctrine that distinguishes between venial (trivial) sins and mortal sins which merit death, the Bible teaches that all sins merit death. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Because He loved us so much Jesus, who had never known sin, on the cross bore all our sins so that in Him we might be justified and reconciled with God. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:20-21). As it was for Abraham, so for every man who sins, the justification and remission of sins are obtained by faith in Jesus. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:5-8).

The Catholic Church has replaced the Bible doctrine of salvation by a number of doctrines, practices and the doing of good works that cannot in any way bring salvation. The Bible teaches: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians that “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Again in the letter Titus 3:5 it says: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

The saved Christian produces good works just as branches of the vine, by its nature produces grapes. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” He does not do this in order to be saved but because he is part of the true vine and is living in Jesus (John 15:1-5).

Only Jesus Can Save Us

As Jesus said to Nicodemus, to be saved one needs to be born again by the Spirit (John 3:3-7), which is only obtained by believing in Jesus. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). The Gospel of John says: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Again it says that Jesus is the only door for the sheep. It is only by entering through Him that anyone can be saved. “The Jesus said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7).

Jesus assures us that if we build on His words our house will stand and withstand every test; but if we build on any other foundation, that house will fall with a crash (Matthew 7:24-27). Jesus is the cornerstone who saves those who accept and believe in Him but He is a stumbling block for those who build their life and hope of salvation on anything else (I Peter 2:6-10).

Ultimate Authority – God’s Written Word

In the Old Testament the Scribes and Pharisees (the educated and leading class among the Jewish people) had nullified the Word of God by their tradition (Matthew 15:1-9) and even though they had the Book of the Law and used it, their interpretation and teaching had altered it and falsified its meaning: “How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them” (Jeremiah 8:8-9). In the same way the Catholic Church’s assertion that tradition has the same authority as the Bible, has created the basis for introducing and extending doctrines and practices that are in utter contrast with the Word of God.

In order to justify and defend itself, the Roman Church has repeatedly persecuted those who proclaimed and followed the Word of God in its purity and integrity. In past centuries it has used every means and scheme to limit and hinder the spread of the Bible and it now continues to reserve to itself the authority and the sole right to interpret Bible through the teaching of the Church and its clergy.

The Holy Spirit Teaches Us

The Bible stresses that only the Holy Spirit can enable us to understand the Word of God, reveal its origin, its divine inspiration and its meaning. (John 14:26, 16:13-14, I John 2:26, Luke 10:21-22) At least three times the Holy Spirit warns against adding to or taking away from the Word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19). The Catholic Church has therefore no right or authority to interpret or manipulate the Scriptures. The Word of God shows, and establishes, what the true Church of Christ is, and what the false and unfaithful church is.

The term “Church” comes from the Greek word “Ekklesia” which means all those who are called out of the world and from all its systems and ways. (See II Corinthians 6:14-18). The Catholic Church, by its religious-political and organizational structure, remains a worldly system that is forever destined for destruction (Daniel 7:26-27 and Revelation 18). What God has decreed, He will do. The Lord says: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it (Isaiah 46: 9-11).

A Personal Word

My dear friend, whoever you are and in whatever condition you find yourself, if you really have the truth and you soul’s salvation at heart, seek the answer to all your questions, problems and doubts at the feet of Jesus. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Search the Scriptures. Read the Bible with attention and you too will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). The final invitation is this, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Accept the invitation of Jesus.

Have you really been born again? Remember, dear friend, the new birth does not come through baptism, nor by any other rite or sacrament, but only by a personal contact with Jesus (John 3). Ask God to convict you of sin and save you based on Jesus’ finished sacrifice alone.

According to the Bible, the world is rapidly approaching the most terrible and disastrous years in its history. The only way to escape the anger and judgment of God on this sinful and evil world (Revelation 14:6-9, chapter 16, and 19:11-21) and from the torments of the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15) is to believe on Christ Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. “Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).

[1] Vatican Council II Eucharisticum mysterium Section 3 “For in the sacrifice of the Mass our Lord is immolated . . .”