A Christian pen pal has expressed serious concerns over my salvation because I am Catholic. His exact words were, " There is absolutely no doubt that the Bible identifies the Catholic Church as Mystery Babylon and the first beast (kingdom) of Rev 13 and the little horn of Daniel 7." I know this is not true and would be so grateful if I could hear others’ opinions on how to refute this, as charitably as possible. Thank you so much, and God Bless!
Since he is making the accusation, it would be up to him to prove his point, dont you think? Refuting general statements is hard. It would be much easier to refute specifics. Just my:twocents:
Well, his letter to me was quite lengthy… He wrote that the Bible speaks of a church that would persecute the Christians for “1260 years”, and how the Catholic Church tortured and/or murdered over sixty million Christians. Then he goes on about history identifying Popes that were extraordinarily evil. You are right about generalities… it doesn’t make sense to refute them, and my pen-pal should be more specific. I could ask him to elaborate. I just wondered if there was a way for me to learn more about why some non-Catholics interpret Revelation in this way. I just don’t know enough about Revelation but am trying to learn.
First, ask him where he gets the number “1260 years” Second, explain that in order to have murdered 60,000,000 Christians, the Church would have had to kill every man, woman and child in Europe, imprt a bunch more in, and kill all of them. Ask him for his sources. If any are published by Chick Publications, they can be dismissed outright (do a search for Jack Chick at Catholic Answers an you wil very quickly see why). I would also read everything you can find on CA about Revelations. Search “Revelations” “Whore of babylon” “Mystery the great” etc. I had to deal with the same situation on Facebook earlier today and yesterday. Insist he stay on topic. A common tactic is to change the subject when thay have run into a brick wall. Also check out www.biblechristiansociety.com (.org? I am not sure which…I can’t rmember.) That site has a wealth of information, with all the arguments based soley on Scriptures too! God Bless.
Thank you so much!
When we try to prove to them that the Catholic Church is the one founded by Christ, they always say “The name Catholic is not in the bible” So, ask him where it says “the Catholic Church” is the whore. Actually it does not identify any church by name. The 60 million is also nonsense. Actually the Protestants were far better at killing large numbers.
Below is a link from Catholic Answers to also help:
I’ve had some of these conversations and here is some stuff from my most recent. I just copied and pasted from some of these emails so some stuff might repeat. A lot of this was taken from my Navarre Bible. Some of it was taken from other places, some of it is just common sense when you read Scripture as a Catholic. I am no theologian, this was just my humble effort. Peace.
From the Navarre Bible:
"Another feature of the historical background is the persecution of Christianity by Rome. The more emperor-worship increased, the more difficult it was for Christians to stay loyal to their faith. With Domitian (81-96) the situation worsened, because those who refused him divine honors became liable to the death penalty.
From five of the seven cities to whose churches St. John writes we have positive evidence of emperor-worship: Thyatira and Laodicea are the exceptions. Additionally, Ephesus had its famous temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis (Acts 19:28). In Smyrna, St. Polycarp would later suffer martyrdom for refusing to acknowledge Caesar as Kyrios, Lord. Pergamum saw the martyrdom of Antipas, “my witness, my faithful one”. As time went on, Christianity continued to spread, but opposition and violence towards Christians also increased. This grieves St. John and, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he tries to make the faithful see that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, will ultimately triumph over his enemies. In the meantime, however, the great struggle must go on, a struggle which involves Christians in every epoch of history. The enemy often gains the upper hand, but his victory is merely temporary and apparent. In fact things are quite the reverse of what they seem: martyrdom and suffering may appear to overwhelm Christians but really that experience guarantees their victory."
As the Navarre Bible explains in its commentary, "In verse 9, St John warns the reader that what he is writing has a deeper, hidden meaning, rich in wisdom. He is inviting the reader to interpret what he is reading, to discern an implicit, concealed meaning: the harlot is the city of Rome, as is fairly plain from the reference to the seven hills on which the harlot is seated.
The beast’s seven heads also stand for seven kings. From what the author says, we can deduce that he is referring to seven emperors. The sixth, alive when St John is writing, would be Domitian, and the first five would be Caligula (37-41), Claudius (41-54), Nero (54-68), Vespasian (69-78), and Titus (79-81); with Nerva (96-98) as the seventh. The beast is number eight, though it can also be taken as one of the seven, for it will be as cruel as one of them–Nero. The ten kings stand for those whom Rome established as kings in the nations it conquered, rulers subject to the emperor.
The description of Christ as the Lamb forms a contrast here with the beast. Through his death and resurrection, this humble figure has been made King and Lord of the entire universe (Acts 2:32-36) and already truly reigns in the hearts of Christians. Therefore his victory over the powers of evil, no matter how strong they be, is assured."
So, how can the woman or harlot be Rome? As the commentary states, "An angel joins the seer to explain the vision to him. Again the imagery used is very evocative of the Old Testament (something St John’s audience would be intimately familiar with): the great harlot recalls the cities of Tyre and Nineveh, which Isaiah and Nahum described as harlots (Is 23:16-17; Nah 3:4). As explained in 17:15, the “many waters” are the peoples ruled by the great harlot.
Revelation Chapter 17
1 Then one of the seven angels who were holding the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come here. I will show you the judgment on the great harlot who lives near the many waters.
2 The kings of the earth have had intercourse with her and the inhabitants of the earth became drunk on the wine of her harlotry."
3 Then he carried me away in spirit to a deserted place where I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names, with seven heads and ten horns.
4 The woman was wearing purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held in her hand a gold cup that was filled with the abominable and sordid deeds of her harlotry.
- A woman wearing purple, adorned with gold, precious stones, pearls, and drinking from a gold cup. Does that sound more like the RCC or does it sound like the Roman Empire and its Caesars? Purple is the color of royalty (the pope is no king, but the emperor is). I also guess this vision occurred either during advent or lent since that’s when priests wear purple vestments.
5 On her forehead was written a name, which is a mystery, “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.”
- This verse is very useful because it identifies the woman, not as an individual, but as a city. The use of “harlot” to describe a city is biblical. As I pointed out in my last email, the cities of Tyre and Nineveh were described as “harlots” in the OT. But even if the reader didn’t know that, labeling the woman as “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots” would be sufficient to establish that this means a city. If a mother has an offspring, the offspring is of the same being as the mother. In this case, the mother is a city so an offspring would also be a city.
6 I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the holy ones and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her I was greatly amazed.
- Verse 6 is also rather helpful. Who was persecuting and killing Christians? Who killed the martyrs? Was it the pope and the RCC or was it the Roman Empire? Read the Bible and see who was killing the holy ones and the witnesses to Jesus. The holy ones have had a history of being persecuted and tortured and put to death, but it was not the Church that was doing this, it was the pagan empire that ruled the world, the Roman Empire.
7 The angel said to me, "Why are you amazed? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns.
- Oh, good, Revelation even unveils the mystery of the woman. Ironically, apocalypse or revelation means to unveil something that was previously hidden. I wonder what the early Christians in the churches that this was addressed to understood this book to mean.
8 The beast that you saw existed once but now exists no longer. It will come up from the abyss and is headed for destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world shall be amazed when they see the beast, because it existed once but exists no longer, and yet it will come again.
- The beast (not the woman) existed but no longer exists (this is in approx 96 AD). Some think this refers to Nero (google him if you’d like more info).
9 Here is a clue for one who has wisdom. The seven heads represent the seven hills upon which the woman sits. They also represent seven kings:
- Rome sits on seven hills, the Vatican does not sit on any of them. Pliny the Elder, who lived from 23-79 AD, described Rome as “complexa septem montes” or “nestling on seven hills”. This was a way to describe Rome in the time that Revelation was authored.
10 five have already fallen, one still lives, and the last has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain only a short while.
- I previously addressed this point with the timeline of Roman emperors. This fits perfectly with the Roman emperors, but doesn’t fit with the RCC.
11 The beast that existed once but exists no longer is an eighth king, but really belongs to the seven and is headed for destruction.
- One of the 7 is Nero, and many thought he would return.
12 The ten horns that you saw represent ten kings who have not yet been crowned; they will receive royal authority along with the beast for one hour.
13 They are of one mind and will give their power and authority to the beast.
14 They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and king of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful."
15 Then he said to me, "The waters that you saw where the harlot lives represent large numbers of peoples, nations, and tongues.
16 The ten horns that you saw and the beast will hate the harlot; they will leave her desolate and naked; they will eat her flesh and consume her with fire.
17 For God has put it into their minds to carry out his purpose and to make them come to an agreement to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God are accomplished.
18 The woman whom you saw represents the great city that has sovereignty over the kings of the earth."
- Verse 18 is even clearer in your chosen translation if you’d rather use the KJV. “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” The woman is Rome. The harlot has been not only described but has even been plainly defined. Rome, at the time this was written was the great city. In human history, there has never been a greater empire than Rome. The RCC is not a great city, doesn’t reign over kings or other world leaders and only loosely fits the geographical description given in chapter 17. The Vatican doesn’t sit on the seven hills, Rome does!
Again, when this was written, it made perfect sense. All of the descriptions fit perfectly with Rome and the Roman Empire. Christians were being persecuted and had to worship in secret (often in catacombs).
Let’s look at Chapter 18:
1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth became illumined by his splendor.
2 He cried out in a mighty voice: "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a haunt for demons. She is a cage for every unclean spirit, a cage for every unclean bird, [a cage for every unclean] and disgusting [beast].
3 For all the nations have drunk the wine of her licentious passion. The kings of earth had intercourse with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her drive for luxury."
- These words are reminiscent of OT passages foretelling the destruction of hostile cities (Isaiah 13:21-22; 21:9; Jer 50:30; Ezek 43:3-5). Part of what brought about the ruin of Rome was unbridled sexual indulgence. Does that sound more like pagan Rome or more like the RCC where priests take a vow of chastity? What sounds more like Sodom and Gomorrah, pagan Rome roman-empire.net/society/soc-household.html or the RCC?
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Depart from her, my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues,
Jer 51:6: “Flee from the midst of Babylon, let every man save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance.”
Or Jer 51:45: “Go out of the midst of her, my people! Let every man save his life from the fierce anger of the Lord!”
Did the Babylonian Empire and Babylon have more in common with Rome and the Roman Empire or with the Catholic Church? Intellectual honesty required.
5 for her sins are piled up to the sky, and God remembers her crimes.
6 Pay her back as she has paid others. Pay her back double for her deeds. Into her cup pour double what she poured.
7 To the measure of her boasting and wantonness repay her in torment and grief; for she said to herself, ‘I sit enthroned as queen; I am no widow, and I will never know grief.’
8 Therefore, her plagues will come in one day, pestilence, grief, and famine; she will be consumed by fire. For mighty is the Lord God who judges her."
9 The kings of the earth who had intercourse with her in their wantonness will weep and mourn over her when they see the smoke of her pyre.
10 They will keep their distance for fear of the torment inflicted on her, and they will say: “Alas, alas, great city, Babylon, mighty city. In one hour your judgment has come.”
11 The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn for her, because there will be no more markets for their cargo:
- I’m not certain that merchants would weep if the RCC collapsed, but I am certain that they did when Rome fell. Ships carrying valuable cargo, spices and such were turned away. Study the Dark Ages and see how huge of an impact this had on the area that had been the Roman Empire.
12 their cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; fine linen, purple silk, and scarlet cloth; fragrant wood of every kind, all articles of ivory and all articles of the most expensive wood, bronze, iron, and marble;
- Again, see Rome before the Dark ages with its great structures, wealth, etc.
13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine, olive oil, fine flour, and wheat; cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human beings.
This one is fairly revealing as well. Aside from incense and wine and a small amount of olive oil, what exactly does the RCC share with this description? Take cinnamon for instance: It was commonly used on funeral pyres in Rome, and the Emperor Nero is said to have burned a year’s supply of cinnamon at the funeral for his wife in 65 AD. I don’t think it has any known connection to the RCC.
Horses and chariots? I haven’t seen a pope riding a chariot in my life, but I can imagine that chariots were probably used in ancient Rome. Again, the people who were around when Revelation was written knew what was being referred to. Intellectual honesty required.
14 “The fruit you craved has left you. All your luxury and splendor are gone, never again will one find them.”
15 The merchants who deal in these goods, who grew rich from her, will keep their distance for fear of the torment inflicted on her. Weeping and mourning,
16 they cry out: "Alas, alas, great city, wearing fine linen, purple and scarlet, adorned [in] gold, precious stones, and pearls.
- I’m going to stop here, but if you continue to read chapter 18, you’ll see nothing that matches well with the RCC, but instead aligns perfectly with the Roman Empire.
It’d be a good exercise to list what we know of the harlot and then place a checkmark everywhere it matches with the RCC and everywhere it matches with the Roman Empire. For fun, and as a control group, also check everywhere it matches the USA. If you perform this exercise with intellectual honesty and historical accuracy, the results will not even be close.
It wasn’t until I was about 40 that I first came across the Protestant belief that the Catholic Church was founded by the Emperor Constantine. Later I heard how the early Christians hid in the catacombs to escape from the murdering Catholics.
Quite frankly, this leaves me flabbergasted. I can only suppose people like this get their version of history from anti-Catholic sources and never bother to read the writings of the Apostolic and Early Church Fathers for themselves, relying totally on what they hear from the Jack Chicks of this world.
This is why I began studying the Bible more and started reading the ECFs, to at least be able to question their beliefs, refute them from Scripture (by asking a question… “But, if that is true, then why does Scripture say…”) Ask lots of questions. Get them thinking. Always take Catholic teaching back to its Scriptural root, then back it up with a reference to writings of the 1st & 2nd century.
[quote=Kipling]I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
As CWBetts suggested, put the onus for proof back on your friend.
People are more avaricious, unmerciful, unchaste, brazen, and evil now than they formerly were under the papacy. Why is this? Simply because people do not accept the Gospel (Predigt) with joy, but everybody ignores it and is more interested in money and possessions than in the blessed treasure which our Lord Christ brings us.
- Martin Luther, Advent Sermon of 1533.
What Luther Says (WLS), Ewald M. Plass, vol. 2, p. 574, no. 1745
City on Seven Hills?
Let’s take a closer look at the passage in Revelations first. The context of the verse that the Apostle John recorded a vision for us concerning the seven-headed beast is as follows:
This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. (Revelations 17:10-11).
We have seen that many have identified Rome with the seven hills. However, it should be noted that Rome wasn’t exactly founded on seven hills. Ancient Rome was built on only one of the hills, namely the Palatine Hill, which was only about 70 meters high (230 feet). The other hills are from 12m to 82m (40 to 270 feet) high. However, the city did enlarge to cover seven hills. Note that the Vatican on Vatican Hill is not one of these seven hills.
It might seem, therefore, that Rome is the identity of the city on seven hills. However, this ignores the fact that there are actually many other cities in this world that are also built on seven hills. We list some here:
*] Jerusalem, comprising of Scopus, Nob, “Mount of Corruption” (or “Mount of Offense”), the original Mount Zion, Ophel Mount, Fort Antonia, the new Mount Zion.
*] Istanbul (known as Constantinople before Turkey renamed it).
*] Amman, capitol of Jordan. Today, however, Amman covers some 19 hills.
*] **Mecca, comprising of Jabal abu Siba, Jabal Safa, Jabal Marwah, Jabal abu Milhah, Jabal abu Ma’aya, Jabal abu Hulayah and Jabal abu Ghuzlan **
*] Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
*] Kampala in Uganda, comprising of Mengo, Lubaga, Namirembe, Old Kampala, Kibuli, Nakasero and Makerere.
*] Lisbon in Portugal.
*] Sheffield in England.
*] Edinburgh in Great Britain.
*] Nevada City in USA.
*] Cincinatti in USA, comprising Mt. Adams, Mt. Auburn, Walnut Hills, Fairview Heights, Clifton Heights, Vine Street Hill, Price Hill, Fairmount, Mt. Lookout, Mt. Hope, Mt. Echo, and Mt. Storm.
I think the article was based to discredit Dave Hunts arguments against the Catholic Church. However one Ex-muslim Terrorist married to a Mexican Catholic set straight all his arguments on one of their TV discussions.
His point focus mainly with this arguments:
Just a thought on Revelation 17
1"Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters.
2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the WINE of her adulteries."
What affects inflation rates throughout the world? Can we say the rise and fall of energy can drastically affect this? Will OIL prices affect world economy?
How come all governments of the world is remote on the idea of promoting the use of renewable source of energy?
Can we say that most of the countries of the world are addicted to oil?
Where do we get most of our oil now?
3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a DESERT. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
Can we say that we are getting most of our energy source from the desert place literally? Can we say that the Wine of the Harlot (OIL) is being used to defy everything that was said about Jesus in the Bible. Can we say that the rise of the whore’s religion is now being felt throughout the world?
4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.
Do we see that this city in the desert is presently embellish with Gold, precious stones and pearls right now?
5 This title was written on her forehead:
BABYLON THE GREAT
THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Where is Babylon anyways? Is it in a tropical country?
6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.
How many times do we hear of Christian martyrs dying under terrorism? How free are the Christians, in proclaiming the Good news of our Lord Jesus Christ in these desert places? How many have died because they were harassed, sanctioned, threatened by the authorities and people because its against their desert law? How about the desert people who came to know the Lord Jesus who were killed and cast out by their own people because they embraced Christianity?
How about Oil Money being used to fund the destruction of the Jewish and Christian faith?
Can we safely say that the revelation 17 says who is the whore literaly?
To all of you…
I can’t thank you enough for all your help! As a new member, I am amazed and overwhelmed by the generous outpouring of your time, just so that I could continue to educate myself and engage in kind discussion with my non-Catholic pen-pal. You have given me much to consider and I am enormously grateful. I pray for God’s Blessings upon all of you.
Peace and Thanks again!
The concept of Mystery Bayblon, as opposed to the Whore of Babylon, can be traced to Alexander Hislop.
He was a preacher turned archeologist who set out to prove that Roman Catholicism was pagan from time immemorial. He found similarities in some prononciation of Gods to Catholic symbolism, ignored eveything that did not match and then said this proved that the Catholic Church had its roots in ancient Babylon and Egyptian paganism. It was bad science but good propaganda for people anxious to demonize Catholics.
Most of what you see in writngs today will trace back to his book, even if you have to go through more than one other source.
It’s improper to read Revelation in such a literal way (this has been the source of all sorts of absurdities in Christianity).
Reading this sort of stuff just makes me appreciate John Calvin more and more every day:D
“Babylon” is a code word that Peter and John both used to signify pagan Rome, the seat of the Roman Empire that persecuted the Church, murdered thousands of Christians and defiled the Jewish temple.
When Peter was in Rome, he wrote of the Church in Rome as the Church in Babylon:
With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark.
- 1 Peter 5:12-13
Likewise, John used the word Babylon to signify Rome (and the pagan Roman Empire) in the Book of Revelation.
Most of the misunderstanding of the Book of Revelation arises because people these days don’t know anything about ancient history, so they have no historical context into which to place the events reported in the New Testament. The bible cannot be properly understood if read in a vacuum.
Then you might find this interesting:
CONSTANTINE AND THE ROMAN CHURCH.
Those who think that the Roman Emperor Constantine (280-337) gave the Church of Rome a status, a teaching and governing authority that she didn’t already have before, are gravely mistaken. Though the Roman Church did gain more social and visible prominence because of Constantine’s favoring of the Christian faith, she did not gain any more spiritual and moral authority than what, as we have seen, she had since St. Paul acknowledged her preeminence and authority in his inspired letter.
What makes this fact even more significant is that those who think that it was Constantine who started the “Roman Catholic Church” in the fourth century by giving the Church of Rome and its bishop a special status and authority not only ignore the facts just presented above, where the Church of Rome’s authority is well established and attested to long before Constantine was even born, but they also fail to recognize another very significant historical situation:
By the end of the second century - over one hundred years before Constantine’s reign- the city of Rome had begun to lose its social, economical and, more significantly, political prominence. In other words, the city itself was in decline as the center of the Empire long before Constantine took the throne. Soon after the third century was under way Rome was no longer the administrative center or capital of the Empire. It no longer was the ‘seat’ of the Emperors. By the middle of the third century not even Italy itself - let alone the whole Empire - was administered from Rome. It was administered from Milan. Milan had become the center of economic, social, and political affairs.
… In 324, when he had became [sic] sole Emperor, Constantine decided to move to Byzantium where he had the city named after himself -Constantinople.
My point: since Rome had lost its prestige well before the time of Constantine, why would it be set up by Constantine as the visible, governing Christian authority (backed by his imperial authority) when he didn’t even set up his seat of authority there? Why didn’t he set up the Bishop (Patriarch) of Constantinople, where he could keep a closer watch and have greater and more immediate influence upon it if he was the one who had established the Roman Catholic Church? Why choose the bishop of a city that was losing its social status, and was no longer the social, cultural, or economic center of Italy, let alone the entire empire, to be Christendom’s most prominent bishop? Why not choose the Bishop of Milan?
IF Constantine did establish the Roman Church with her authority, THEN it didn’t make any practical sense. He would have been a fool for doing such and yet run his administrative duties where travel by boat was around 1000 miles away! The reason none of this happened is because Constantine DID NOT establish the Roman Catholic Church. The Church of Rome whose Faith, St. Paul declares, is “proclaimed throughout the whole world” (Rom. 1:8), already had this authority.
Another way to see this is to ask the following:
If Constantine did set up the Church of Rome and her authority why didn’t the “authentic” Christians of that time speak up about this “innovation”? It couldn’t have been because there would have been serious repercussions because the Christian faith was made legal by Constantine.
If anything, Christians were free to speak out for the first time. Yet none did.
Even more significant, the early Church was quite conservative and didn’t allow innovations and novelties too easily out of concern for guarding the sacred trust (2 Tm. 1:14), the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jd. 3). Yet no one spoke up simply because Constantine did not establish or even give the Church of Rome any authority she didn’t already have.
These facts, and the consequences that flow from them, cannot be ignored. Yet they are ignored by many who claim to hold on to the “historic Christian faith,” yet still claim that Constantine gave the Roman Church its status of primacy.
The Roman Catholic Church: A Divine Institution or a Human Invention? The Biblical and Historical Witness, (2006), Adam S. Miller, Tower of David Publications, pp. 57- 60.
There are two editions of this book -1997 and 2006. Notice the difference in titles:
Also, the 1997 version was much smaller - a booklet of about 30 pages.).
I highly recommend this book (printed or downloaded version); I found it quite interesting and instructive.
It might seem, therefore, that Rome is the identity of the city on seven hills. However, this ignores the fact that there are actually many other cities in this world that are also built on seven hills. We list some here:
Rome actually sits on NINE hills–but who’s counting?
When confronted with the sort of scenario described in the OP it would be tempting to ask the person making such a statement what the status of THEIR church was 500-600 years ago.