We already know the Whore isn't the Church. As previously discussed the Whore existed in John's time, 'carried by the Beast', five of whose heads had already fallen. Neither Vatican City nor Christian Rome existed in John's time.
Revelations is notoriously dense and symbolic. We're not to iron it all out on this thread. But let's try to add some clarity to this 2000-year old jigsaw.
This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain only a little while.
Note that Revelations doesn't mention seven hills. The word used is oros, which means mountain.
Mountains are often symbols of rulership or depicted as seats of authority in Scripture.
Why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign?
or the famous Daniel prophecy of the statue prefiguring the Kingdom of God
But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
or this from Amos:
Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation.
In Revelations the identity is definite. The text mentions 'seven Mountains' that 'are also seven Kings'. Not Kingdoms, but Kings.
Do these Mountain/Kings refer to Emperors of Rome? If they are - then which Emperors are we talking about? The ones that the Whore was 'carried by', whatever that means?
As for the Whore: in the OT the term 'whore' or 'harlot' - when used of Jerusalem or of the Jews - refers to apostacy from God. For instance: see Ezekiel 16 or Isaiah 1:21 or Jeremiah 3.
In Ezekiel Jerusalem is charged with fornicating with the Assyrians, the Eygptians, the Philistines and the Canaanites.
In Jeremiah Judah and Israel are charged with adultery 'with stones and trees' - i.e with the worship of foreign Gods.
It's no great stretch then to identify the Whore of Revelations with apostate Jerusalem once again. But this time the apostacy does not lie in worshipping foreign Gods, but in refusing the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ.
Moreover the apostates shared/adopted this repudiation of Christ with or from those around them. In this sense they are indeed fornicating with 'the kings of the land'.
If the Whore is a reference to apostate Jerusalem - or alternatively to an evil being that tempts us all to Apostacy - then her sitting on the Beast would not indicate a geographical location but some form of alliance between apostacy and paganism - or alternatively between separate demonic beings. Whatever affinity of people and tutelary demon these terms 'Beast' and 'Whore' in fact refer to, we do know that they are united in persecuting the Church.
All of this is tentative, like most exegesis of Revelations. However the narrative of the 'Ten Horns' puts us on surer ground.
The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but will receive one hour of authority as kings, along with the beast. These kings have one purpose: to yield their power and authority to the beast.
They will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will triumph over them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and He will be accompanied by His called and chosen and faithful ones.
What are the Ten Horns? There were ten distinct persecutions of Christians spanning from 64 AD to 313 AD. Each one was begun by a separate "King" - a separate Emperor of Rome. These ten persecutions were identified by the fourth century Church as the Ten Horns of the Beast from Revelation. They were also likened to the ten plagues of Egypt.
The Persecutions make for a long, ugly list. But Christ triumphed over each one of them.
1. The Persecution under Nero in 67 AD
During this first great persecution Nero devised new and increasingly gruesome punishments, including sewing animal skins to Christians and releasing wild dogs to eat them alive. He also put shirts dipped in wax on some of the Christians and then lit them on fire, using them to illuminate his gardens for his invited guests.
Paul and Peter died in this first round of persecution.
2. The Persecution under Domitian in 81 AD.
His persecution of Christians stemmed from their refusal to worship him as a god. He also ordered the deaths of the entire lineage of David.
Domitian famously tried to boil John alive, but when John miraculously survived he was banished to Patmos, where the Revelation took place.
3. The Persecution under Trajan in 108 AD.
Ignatius was the most famous of the martyrs of this persecution.
4. The Persecution under Marcus Aurelius Antonius in 162 AD.
The tortures used were apparently so brutal that (it is said) the pagan onlookers would shudder with horror at the sights. Some of them became converts at 'a faith which inspired such fortitude.'
Polycarp and Justin Martyr were martyred during this persecution.
5. The Persecution that commenced with Severus in 192 AD.
Many who died under this persecution were killed during games at the amphitheaters.
6. The Persecution under Maximus 235 AD.
During this time Christians were martyred without trial. Their bodies were cast into pits 'as many as fifty or sixty at a time'.
7. The Persecution under Decius in 249 AD.
The first victim of this bout of persecution was Fabian, Bishop of Rome. Many more victims soon followed. A new set of imaginative deaths were devised for those who would not renounce Christ
8. The Persecution under Valerian in 257 AD. This emperor likewise invented new ways of persecuting Christians. At the end of which Sapor, King of Persia, captured and enslaved Valerian, and ended up gruesomely torturing him. May God have mercy on his soul.
9. The Persecution that began under Aurelian in 274 AD
I couldn't find out much about this one.
10. The Persecution under Diocletian in 303 AD.
This one was peculiarly terrible. On February 23rd Diocletian tried to destroy Christianity in a single day. Churches were raided and burnt to the ground. Countless Christians were martyred in horrible ways. The Christian city of Phrygia was burned to the ground with all its inhabitants.
The torture and martyrdom was so severe that several pagan governors accused the Imperial Court of impropriety.
Because of their entreaties, some Christians escaped death, but not before having their ears cut off, right eyes poked out, noses slit, limbs maimed, and finally branded with red-hot irons.
And there we have it. The Ten Horns are the Ten Great Persecutions. The Whore and the Beast are the peoples, and/or the literal demons - that animated these persecutions.
The Ten Persecutions were very terrible, but the Lamb triumphed. May Christ so triumph in us, especially if we are brought to martydom. Amen.
To this day, the names of the more famous Saints martyed in these persecutions are read out as part of the full liturgy of the mass.
Now Chuckles - to the rest of your post. It's very late here, so I will have to give short answers. I'm fading fast, and each one of these deserves a thread to itself.
We don't celebrate the Mosaic festivals because they are part of the Old Covenant. Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant and gave us the New Covenant.
We celebrate Easter, not Passover, because Passover is subsumed within Easter. The Passover is the foreshadowing of Christ's Passion. The Blood of the Lamb protecting God's people from the destroyer - it's evident that Christ's Passion of Christ is the fulfillment of the Passover.
The Church does indeed declare some attempts at marriage null and void. For instance due to consanguinity or due to people already being validly married.
The Church does not worship Mary, though it certainly worships her Child.
The Church does not worship idols. An idol is an created thing that is worshipped as if it were a God.
Creating images (as opposed to idols) is not proscribed. Looking at an image of your loved ones is not idolatry. Worshipping that image, believing that that image were a God - that would indeed be idolatry.
If simply making images were wrong, then there are lot of cat videos on Youtube that need furious denunciation.
Prayer is not worship. "I pray thee" or "I prithee" literally means "Please".
If you ask someone for help, you are - quite literally - praying to them. But you are not worshipping them, unless the being that you are praying to is God.
I see FReepers making prayers of each other every day: for instance when they start a prayer thread and ask other Freepers for prayers.
It may ease your mind to learn that Bergoglio is not the Pope. Benedict broke a critical piece of Canon law when he attempted to resign the Papacy. His resignation was impaired by serious error. The result is that Benedict is still the Pope.
This is why Bergoglio publicly stumbles from error to error. It is because he is not the Pope. Until everyone understands this, his stumblings and heresies will remain a source of deep scandal.
I pray that God will resolve the matter soon. Hence my tagline.