ArticlesVal's Messages

The Priest Who Found Christ

A note from Val:  To my Catholic friends,  I was born and raised in the Catholic Church, and many times in my youth I prayed to Mary, St. Christopher, St. Anthony, St. Philomena, and others, but I was never taught to go directly to Jesus in prayer.  Looking back, I remember nuns who came to church to teach catechism.  There was one nun in particular who was so sweet and pure in her mannerisms that I, at the age of about 10, found myself falling in love with her.  She would talk about heaven as if she was a frequent visitor and her description would make anyone anxious to go there.  I don’t remember her name but I will never forget her views of heaven.

I also remember a priest who taught from the Bible and did so with so much clarity and zeal that he inspired me to someday teach from scriptures and hopefully, with that same zeal. 

The nuns taught us Catholic doctrine but there was one thing they said that made sense at the time, but later proved to be wrong.  It was in their teaching that if a child wants something he/she will usually go to their mother with their request, and in turn, the mother would go to the father asking him to fulfill the desire of their child.  The father may turn down the child but would grant the request if the mother intervened.  The nuns likewise taught that prayer would be granted if we went to Mary and she, in turn, went to the Father.  After gaining a deeper understanding of the Bible, i.e., 1 Timothy 2:5, I realized the nun’s teaching was incorrect and began to wonder how many more mistakes I had been told by the nuns and priests. 

I guess you could say I had a “revelation”.  Many others have had revelations and one, in particular, a priest, who became so aware of falsehoods within the Catholic doctrines that he eventually left Catholicism and wrote of his experiences.  Please don’t misunderstand my reason for publishing this on our web page.  I love Catholics.  My mother was a lifelong Catholic and in fact, was also a supporter of this ministry.  I still have respect for Catholics and in no way would want to offend anyone. It is up to each individual, however, to weigh the evidence presented in this testimony for themselves.    So, the following is the testimony of Joseph Zachello, the Priest Who Found Christ:

The Priest Who Found Christ – Joseph Zachello  (Pronounced Za-kel-lo)

I was born in Venice, northern Italy, on March 22, 1917. At the age of ten, I was sent to a Roman Catholic Seminary in Piacenza, and ordained a priest, after 12 years of study, on October 22, 1939.

Two months later Cardinal R. Rossi, my superior, sent me to America as assistant pastor of the new Italian Church of “Blessed Mother Cabrini,” in Chicago. For four years I preached in Chicago, and later in New York. I never questioned if my sermons or instructions were against the Bible. My only worry and ambition was to please the pope.

It was on a Sunday, February 1944, when I turned on the radio and accidentally tuned in on a Protestant church program. The pastor was giving his message. I was going to change the program because I was not allowed to listen to Protestant sermons, but interested. I do not know why I kept listening.

My old theology was shaken by one text from the Bible I heard over the radio: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” Therefore, it was not a sin against the Holy Spirit to believe that one was saved.

I was not yet converted. but my mind was full of doubts about the Roman religion. I was beginning to worry about the teachings of the Bible more than about the dogmas and decrees of my pope. Poor people were giving me, every day, from $5 to $30 for twenty minutes of ceremony called Mass, because I promised them to free the souls of their relatives from the fires of purgatory. But every time I looked at the big crucifix upon the altar, it seemed to me that Christ was rebuking me. saying: “You are stealing money from poor, hardworking people by false promises. You teach doctrines against my teaching. Souls of believers do not go to a place of torment, because I have said, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest in their labour, (Revelation 14:13). I do not need a repetition of the sacrifices of the cross, because my sacrifice was complete. My work of salvation s as perfect, and God has sanctioned it by raising Me from the dead. “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).

If you priests and the pope have the power of liberating souls from purgatory with Masses and Indulgences, why do you wait for an offering? If you see a dog burning in the fire, you do not wait for the owner to give you $5.00 to take the dog away from it.”

I could no longer face the Christ on the altar. When I was preaching that the pope is the vicar of Christ, the successor of Peter, the infallible rock upon which Christ’s church was built, a voice seemed to rebuke me again:

“You saw the pope in Rome: his large, rich palace, his guards. men kissing his foot. Do you really believe that he represents Me!  I came to serve the people; I washed men’s feet: I had nowhere to lay my head. Look at me upon the cross. Do you really believe that God has built His Church upon a man, when the Bible clearly says that Christ’s Vicar on earth is the Holy Spirit, and not a man? (John 14:26)  “And that rock was Christ.” If the Roman Church is built upon a man, then it is not My Church.

I was still preaching that the Bible is not a sufficient rule of faith but that we need tradition and dogmas of the church to understand the Scriptures. But again a voice within me was saying. You preach against the Bible teaching; you preach nonsense. If Christians need a pope to understand the Scriptures what do they need to understand the pope? I have condemned tradition because everyone can understand what is necessary to know for personal salvation. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life through His name.” (John 20:31).

I was teaching my people to go to Mary, to the saints, instead of going directly to Christ. But a voice within me was asking. Who has saved you upon the cross? Who paid your debts by shedding His blood? Mary, the saints, or I, Jesus? You and many other priests do not believe in scapulars, novenas, rosaries, statues, candles; but you continue to keep them in your churches because you say simple people need simple things to remind them of God. You keep them in your churches because they are a good source of income. But I do not want any merchandising in my church. My believers should adore Me — Spirit and Truth. Destroy these idols; teach your people to pray, to come to Me only.”

Where my doubts were really tormenting me was inside the confessional box. People were coming to me, kneeling before me, confessing their sins to me. And I, with a sign of the cross, was promising that I had the power to forgive their sins, I, a sinner, a man, was taking God’s place, God’s right, and that terrible voice was penetrating me, saying, “You are depriving God of His glory. If sinners want to obtain forgiveness of their sins they must go to God and not to you. It is God’s law they have broken. To God, therefore they must make confession; to God alone they must pray for forgiveness. No man can forgive sins, but Jesus can, and does forgive sins. “Thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5).

I could not stay longer in the Roman Catholic Church, because I could not continue to serve two masters: the pope and Christ. I could not believe two contradictory teachings: tradition and the Bible. I had to choose between Christ and the pope, between tradition and the Bible; and I have chosen Christ and the Bible. I left the Roman priesthood and the Roman religion in 1944, and now I have been led by the Holy Spirit to evangelize Roman Catholics and urge Christians to witness to them without fear, in order to gain their Roman Catholic friends to Christ.

Friend, if my testimony has touched your heart, and you realize your need of Christ’s salvation from sin, as I did, and His forgiveness and peace, will you with a broken heart call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive and save you now, for He said: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37).

(Source: Pilgrim Tract Society Inc., PO Box 126, Randleman NC 27317. Write to receive free samples of tracts and the Pilgrim Gospel Messenger.)