Throwback Thursday: “And she’s buying a stairway to Heaven.”

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on August 24th, 2015 and has been revised.


Members of a legalistic, works-righteous religious system like Catholicism can never truly rejoice about their spiritual state. It’s a never-ending treadmill; do good works, sin, confess, do good works, sin, confess, etc., etc., right up to the day they die. Catholics hope they can time it right by dying immediately after confession when their slate will supposedly be clean.

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ Who takes away ALL of the sin of those who accept Him as Savior by faith alone.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

Catholics differentiate between “venial” and “mortal” sin although they would be hard pressed to tell you where one ends and the other begins. Catholics are taught that when they confess their mortal sins to a priest the eternal punishment is removed, but even after saying the prescribed rote penitential prayers some of the “temporal” punishment remains. Catholics are told they can reduce the temporal punishment they’ve accumulated through good works in this life. But whatever temporal punishment remains at the time of death will be meted out in “purgatory” (as long as there was no “mortal” sin on the soul). Somebody call a canon lawyer!

Catholics are taught they can erase big chunks of temporal punishment by doing good works, doing penance, and receiving indulgences. The Catholic system says its members can take years off or even completely wipe away all temporal punishment accumulated up to that point by receiving prescribed indulgences. Where’s that canon lawyer!!! Catholicism has more rules than Carter has pills. Believe me when I tell you that 95% of Catholics would be clueless if you asked them what “temporal punishment” was.

But let’s take a look at one particular indulgence. There is a Catholic myth/tradition that “saint” Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, removed the 28 marble steps, the “Scala Sancta” (Holy Stairs), leading to Pontius Pilates’ praetorium in Jerusalem and had them brought to Rome where they were reassembled proximate to the Lateran Palace. Jesus supposedly descended these steps after being judged by Pilate and there are 4 places on the stairs, encased in gold-framed glass, where drops of Jesus’ blood allegedly fell. Take note that Helena is said to have transported these steps to Rome 300+ years after the death of Christ.

In 1908, pope Pius X granted a “plenary” (full) indulgence to all who ascended the stairs on their knees after confession and communion. A plenary indulgence allegedly removes all temporal punishment that would otherwise have to be expiated in purgatory. Indulgences were a HUGE money-making machine for the church for centuries. The church claims that it never “officially” sold indulgences, although church clerics such as the infamous Johann Tetzel certainly did. Pilgrims continue to flock to Rome to climb these 28 steps on their knees.

Incidentally, biographers state that it was while ascending these steps on his knees in 1511 that a particular Bible verse flashed through Martin Luther’s mind: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Praise God!

Watch poor, deluded Catholics climbing the Scala Sancta on their knees in the 1-minute video below:


49 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: “And she’s buying a stairway to Heaven.”

    1. Sally, we could climb 10,000 steps on our knees and we would be no better off. Salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Attempting to merit salvation via asceticism is the religion of Cain, i.e., “Look what I have done, God,” when we have not a single plea of our own. If we could merit our salvation, as Catholicism prescribes, Jesus Christ would not have had to die on the cross.

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      1. Hi brother check out these Bible verses that many Catholics have never read. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. – Romans 11:6

        What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” – Romans 4:1-8

        Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, – Romans 5:1

        Those who climb those steps say look at me t I can work for my salvation here God here’s 100 200 million dollars no it’s always the empty hands of faith that He accepts. If they can climb those steps and work for salvation then why did Jesus come and die I’m sure you have asked them that question before right?

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      2. Thanks for the good Bible passages, brother! Yes, pious Catholics barter with God thinking to themselves that He must let them into Heaven because they did some pious things like ascend those 28 steps on their knees.

        RE: If they can climb those steps and work for salvation then why did Jesus come and die?

        Catholics respond to that question by saying that Jesus opened Heaven’s doors by His death on the cross, but that it is now up to each person to merit their entry through the doors. They qualify that by saying it is sacramental grace that gives them the ability to avoid sin so as to merit. They’re aware of the “salvation by grace” verses and passages in the Bible so they “get around” those by claiming sacramental grace helps them merit salvation.

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      3. Their position is full of holes I mean we have always said to them and others if you can work for salvation then why did Jesus come and die but we can’t work for our salvation so that’s why He came came to die on the cross once for all time never to be repeated again.

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  1. Romanists ignore the clear teaching of scripture and the witness of the early church.

    Romans 3:28
    28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

    Eph 2:8-10
    8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    Titus 3:5
    5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

    John Chrysostom: What does he mean when he says: “I have declared your justice?” He did not simply say: “I have given,” but “I have declared.” What does this mean? That he has justified our race not by right actions, not by toils, not by barter and exchange, but by grace alone. Paul, too, made this clear when he said: “But now the justice of God has been made manifest independently of the Law.” But the justice of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ and not through any labor and suffering. FC, Vol. 68, Discourses Against Judaizing Christians, Disc. 7.3.2 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1979), pp. 186-187.

    Clement of Rome: Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognize the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, “Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven.” All these, therefore, were highly honored, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ANF: Vol. I, The Apostolic Fathers, First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Chapter 32.

    Theodoret of Cyrrhus commenting on Ephesians 2:8-9: By grace, in fact, you are saved through faith(v.8): the grace of God regaled us with these good things; we had only faith to offer, but divine grace worked with it. He went on in this vein: This is no doing of yours: it is the gift of God, not from works lest anyone boast (vv.8-9): we have not believed of our own volition; rather we made our approach when called, and when we did he did not require of us purity of life―instead, he accepted faith alone and granted us forgiveness of sins. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 39.

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  2. Oh Lord, my heart breaks for them! As a youth I traveled in Spain & Portugal and happened upon the Shrine of Fatima. Even with a superficial faith at the time I was aghast to see followers on their knees for miles, inching their way to the shrine. 😢
    Press on brother.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa Beth, for sharing your experiences. Most people in America, including most Catholics, are not aware of the severe aceticism and penitential disciplines practiced by pious Catholic pilgrims in other parts of the world.

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    2. When I climbed those stairs I was not “working towards” my salvation. I only felt a great love for our Lord, knowing how he must have felt as he ascended those stairs to be judged by Pontius Pilot.
      I felt again, that overwhelming sense of love and gratitude towards the Lord while praying in the garden of Gethsemane. O, how He loves you and me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sally, I understand what you’re saying but your church claims to confer a “plenary” (full) indulgence for all those who ascend those 28 steps on their knees, meaning all of the temporal punishment that they accumulated at that point would be removed that would otherwise have to be expiated in purgatory over X amount of time. All of that is part of Catholicism’s works-salvation system. I imagine the majority of souls who ascend those 28 stairs on their knees are aware of what they supposedly merit, according to their church, in return for their effort. A believer who has been saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone would not want to be a part of it.

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      2. Thanks for the explanation, Tom. At the time I climbed the steps I had no idea what a plenary indulgence is, and actually I still don’t. But you are right, probably many people ascending those stairs are aware of what they “supposedly” merit.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, sister! Catholicism is full of ascetic disciplines of this type. Blatant works righteousness. This stuff isn’t practiced in the U.S. as much because the American Catholic church had to make accommodations to the “Protestant” culture.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Yup, sad, Bonnie. Most Catholics these days can’t be bothered going to obligatory mass on Sunday, let alone putting themselves through this self-torture, but there are still many pious Catholics trying to merit their salvation via these old ascetic disciplines.

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  3. Wow Thursday already. I just saw your comment about your phone interview today. I just prayed for that result being in God’s hand and also for God’s favor for your job interviews, both past and future (Tuesdays) and for the job fair tomorrow. Providentially I’m also praying for our church members’ job search and also for the difficult situations in their work

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks, sister! I went through a couple months of “career transition” training and really didn’t start applying to job postings until December, which is the worst time of year to be job hunting. But things seem to be percolating now.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks, brother. There were several news stories this week about New York State once again leading the nation in people leaving. It’s even worse here in Western New York. Jobs are scarce here.

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      3. Right, and they can’t undo it, the bureaucracy won’t relinquish any of its power. It’s like the fable about the goose that laid the golden egg.

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    1. RE: I remember that defeated feeling that

      Me too. There are times when I take my salvation in Christ for granted and I’m not as grateful as the day the Good News!!! light came on in my head. Then you see those deluded souls climbing those 28 steps on their knees. Argh! Makes ya’ wanna tell somebody about the real Jesus!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: All they are getting is sore knees

        I couldn’t even do that. My knees aren’t what they used to be. No indulgence for me! Oh, well. I’ve got Jesus!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Amen! Question: Does a person get partial indulgence credit if one of their knees gives out after 27 steps or do they have to do the full 28 for it to count? Argh! The calculus of Catholicism!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. While reading this I was thinking of the movie about Luther. And you confirmed it in the end! Wow this is so soo sad and unbiblical idea of works, salvation and grace and not to mention not understanding our sinfulness and justification by grace alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup, Luther came to Rome in 1510-1511 expecting to find holiness but instead found corruption and superstition. These 28 stairs are a very graphic example of Catholicism’s works-righteousness false gospel.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for clarifying, Crissy. You had my brain neurons misfiring, as in “Say what?” 🤯 Yup, the superstition and religious fetishes are waist deep in Catholic South America and the Caribbean. Praying for your continuing recovery, sister!

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