The Catholic Defender: Simon Magus
There is an old cult like heresy that is being packaged in a new age style that models themselves after pre-Jerusalem Council (49 A.D.) Nazareans.
These were Jewish Priests who had converted to the Catholic Faith who tried to influence the infant Church to follow the Old Testament Law.
So, they are trying to bring back the Old Testament Sabbath, they reject the Trinity as they reject the Catholic teaching on God.
They deny the name of Jesus. They are really a non-Christian sect.
One of the things they continue to attack the Catholic Faith is the foundation of the Apostles.
They vehemently deny St. Peter ever being in Rome. They also are spreading their false teaching that Simon Magus was the first Pope.
Satan has always attempted to confuse and mislead, this is another attempt to attack the Papacy.
Simon Magus was baptized into the Faith by the Apostle Philip, he was captivated by the teaching of the Apostles.
From the book of Acts 8:9-24, it says, "But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” But Peter said unto him, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee, for I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” Then answered Simon, and said, “Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”
This figure, Simon Magus, is being used by these small cults to attack the foundation of the Catholic Faith.
Unfortunately for them, there is no truth to their assertions. During the Reign of Claudius people believed Simon performed miracles using magic acts, he was not utilizing the Holy Spirit but demons.
There is a lot of confusion even coming from those of the time. The Jewish Philosopher and historian, Josephus writes of a magician in the Court of the Roman procurator, Felix whose name was Simon.
It has been debated by scholars that this Simon was the same Simon Magus found in the bible. Is that true? Josephus writes of a "Simon" who was Jewish, Simon Magus was a Samaritan?
St. Irenaeus identifies Simon Magus as being one of the founders of Gnosticism and the sect of the Simonians.
St. Justin Martyr and St. Irenaeus both believed that Simon Magus went to Rome claiming that he was Christ.
A statue was erected that is claimed to be that of Simon Magus. It was even named "To Simon the Holy God"? Was this statue of Simon Magus, or perhaps another Simon called "Semo Sancus", a Sabine deity?
According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter and Paul a formal debate was scheduled at which Simon Magus would debate Saints Peter and Paul before the Emperor Nero. Simon Magus tells Nero to have a lofty tower of wood erected on which Simon Magus will ascend. Then, the angels of Simon Magus will carry him throughout the air. By this miracle, says Simon Magus, he will prove that his words are true and the Gospel of Peter and Paul is false. Nero complies and the tower is built.
The next day, many gather to see this spectacle. Paul shows deference to Peter as Pope saying, “It is my part to bend the knee, and to pray to God and thine to produce the effect, if thou shouldst see him attempting anything, because thou wast first taken in hand by the Lord.” Paul then kneels in prayer.
Simon Magus then ascended the wooden tower crowned with a laurel, stretched out his hands and began to fly to the astonishment of all. Nero immediately proclaimed to Peter, “Simon is true, but you and Paul are liars!”
Then Peter, looking steadfastly upon Paul, said: Paul, look up and see. And Paul, having looked up, full of tears, and seeing Simon flying, said: Peter, why art thou idle? Finish what thou hast begun; for already our Lord Jesus Christ is calling us. And Nero hearing them, smiled a little, and said: These men see themselves worsted already, and are gone mad. Peter said: Now thou shalt know that we are not mad. Paul said to Peter: Do at once what thou doest.
And Peter, looking steadfastly against Simon, said: I adjure you, ye angels of Satan, who are carrying him into the air, to deceive the hearts of the unbelievers, by the God that created all things, and by Jesus Christ, whom on the third day He raised from the dead, no longer from this hour to keep him up, but to let him go. And immediately, being let go, he fell into a place called Sacra Via, that is, Holy Way, and was divided into four parts, having perished by an evil fate.
Nero waits three days to see of Simon Magus will return to life. The magician, of course, does not rise again from the dead. In consequence, Peter and Paul fall foul of Nero. The two Apostles then receive their glorious martyrdoms.
It really doesn't take much thought to see what these cults are trying to do. They want to tie Simon Magus with all the legend surrounding him and his early cult to the Papacy.
Cults like this want you to believe that Catholics worship the Pope, that the Pope declares himself to be God. If you check out our debates on May 4th and May the 11th, 2012, you can hear George Lujack claim that the Popes call themselves "god".
Simon Magus is remembered as the "Father of Heretics", his attempt to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit became a known sin called Simony.
According to Catholic Answers, they write: " Simony is the sin of attempting to buy or sell an office of the Church or a sacrament. The word "simony" does indeed come from the name Simon, but not from the name Simon Peter. It comes from the name of Simon the magician, who had heard the preaching of Philip in Samaria and had accepted baptism.
In Acts 8:9-24 we find the account of this Simon, who offered money to Peter in exchange for the power to lay hands on people to confer the Holy Spirit. From Peter came an immediate and sharp rebuke. Ever since, the notion of buying an office of the Church or of buying grace has been referred to as simony."
Early Church Father, Hippolytus addresses the free love doctrines of the Simonians who held to their images of Simon and his wife Helen as to Zeus and Athena.
Hippolytus would write, "if anyone, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, shall call them by those names, he is cast out, as showing ignorance of the mysteries."
There is no Early Church Father that speaks well of Simon Magus. There are various legends about his death. The Catholic Faith was founded by Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the First Pope. St. Peter was crucified upside down at Vatican Hill in 67 A.D. Jesus foretold that St. Peter's death would glorify God.