A question for Catholics


If the Roman Catholic church gave us the Bible, why were the two synods of Hippo (393 AD) and Carthage, (397 AD) African councils, and not initiatives of Rome?



I’ll leave the detailed answer to those more qualified than I. The simplified answer, from my point of view, is that in the 4th century there was only the Catholic Church. I’m not sure when the term “Roman” Catholic came into common usage, or why, but I believe it was many centuries later. Whether you call it the Roman Catholic Church, or just plain ol’ Catholic Church, it was the same Church. The Bishop of Hippo was a Catholic, as were the other Bishops. Whether the councils were held in Africa or elsewhere really is beside the point, I think.

Are you suggesting that these councils were local, ie not representative of the entire Universal Church?


Hippo and Carthage were part of the Roman Empire at the time. They may have physically been in Africa but both cities would have considered themselves cities of the Empire and their citizens - citizens of the Empire.

Rome, itself, was up to its eyeballs in barbarian invasions at this time - mass movements of entire peoples across Europe. It was so bad that in 410 AD the legions had to be withdrawn from Britain to the continent.

Both Hippo and Carthage would have their turn at being invaded in 429 by the Vandals from which we get the word vandalism. Both cities in the 390’s were basically peaceful and prosperous - ideal for hosting a council.


One of those questions that seems to beg an agenda- why do you want to know? What do you think? Let’s be open and discuss!


The historical Church was united, all the Bishops under the Bishop or Rome who later became the Pope. It matters not where these leaders met because they were all part of the Catholic Church.

It was not necessary to call the Church the Roman Catholic Church because Everyone was Catholic, hence, not need to designate it as Roman Catholic. As Christianity became divided it was necessary to call the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic because it still was in Communion of Rome.

Anyways the Bishops using Apostolic Tradition that is still used in the Catholic church today decided the Christian cannon. So just because the council didn’t take place in Rome does not mean it wasn’t the Catholic Church.

OK so if it wasn’t the Catholic Church who did set up the Cannon???


You will never see nor hear the Vatican refer to itself as the Roman Catholic Church, only when in documents there are other rites of the catholic church listed, just to distinguish itself and that is it. It is the Catholic Church which they are the ROMAN/LATIN RITE. The term “Roman” Catholic came out of the deformation, specifically the anglicans.


Actually I recently found it goes back a little further:

Council of Laodicea (c. 360) A local council of the church in union with Rome produced a list of books of the Bible similar to the Council of Trent’s canon. This was one of the Church’s earliest decisions on a canon. Council of Rome (382) Local church council under the authority of Pope Damasus, (366-384) gave a complete list of canonical books of the OT and NT which is identical with the list later approved by the Council of Trent. Council of Hippo (393) Local North African Church council in union with and under the authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list of OT and NT canon (same as later approved by the Council of Trent) Council of Carthage (397) Local North African Church council in union with and under the authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list of OT and NT canon (same as later approved by the Council of Trent)



Is this just a hit and run posting? I think everyone has answered it for you. The Church, the Catholic Church is made up of many ‘rites’ (like your Episcopalian comes from our Roman rite with variations) and Protestants, out of enmity in the 16th century, started calling Catholics in Europe “Papists” or “Romanish” or “Roman Catholics.”

We took it to heart. We are Catholics with our sisters and brothers of other rites: but for many of us, we are Roman Catholic in our liturgy and in the worship of God through our Sacraments and Rite.

All councils have bishops attending. The Pope, as we know call that position for the past 1800+ years is the Bishop of Rome. The pope NEVER calls a council, or synod, without consulting with his bishops and with them, collegially, agreeing to meet on specific items and issues.

I hope you wanted an answer. I think we’ve given it our best shot.

Michael Francis: stick your fork into this thread: she’s done.


I merely have questions, whats wrong with questions? For example. If the Orthodox church gave the world the Bible, being infallible, then why did the eastern churches reject or question the inspiration of Revelation, then later accept it? Conversely, the east accepted as scripture books that were later rejected. If the Orthodox church really is illuminated by the Holy Spirit so that men can trust her as “God’s organization”, why was she so wrong about something so simple?


Why are you targeting the Orthodox Church now?

Revelation was questioned up to 350 AD. After that, we still see disagreements all the way up to St. John Damascene in the 8th century. It is not as simple as you seem to think. At this time, there is still one Catholic Church. I’ll let someone else answer this question. Better yet, why don’t you move this question to the Eastern Christianity forum…

Prayers and petitions,


Very simply, whenever factions have rejected the authority of Peter as it is manifested in the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, they have entered rough seas. The eastern Orthodox, while remaining identical in nearly every theological respect to the west, have been hurt by their lack of unity of authority. During the communist era, they were unable to resist state domination.

The Protestants in the 16th century managed to get their religious revolution sanctioned by various secular rulers across Europe (think Henry VIII), but the ultimate fruit of that revolution has been its atomization of into thousands of sects which manifest thousands of bizarre heresies. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has continued as before. Intact, structurally sound, active in the world, with a consistent voice always speaking the words of Christ to an increasingingly secularized, Protestantized population. That doesn’t mean that the Catholic Church is immune to internal strife, or affected by surrounding world turmoil. But, if you take a historical look at the goings on from, say, Napoleon, through the rise of the European nation-states, like Italy and Germany in the later 19th century, and how the Catholic Church survived all of that and yet retained its structure and voice, you might have to admit that the hand of God is guiding it along very nicely.


If the Roman Catholic church gave the world the Bible, being infallible, then why did Rome reject or question the inspiration of James and Hebrews , then later accept it? Conversely, Rome accepted as scripture books that were later rejected. If the Catholic church really is illuminated by the Holy Spirit so that men can trust her as “God’s organization”, why was she so wrong about something so simple? Should not the “Holy See” have known?


  1. Again: – “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?”

Martin Luther (excerpt from his 95 thesis)


Onto another target, I see!:rolleyes: Keep your posts to the original question, or start another thread.


Well then, it appears that you have a distinctly Protestant agenda. I outlined the dangers for sects that distance themselves from the authority of the Pope, and you replied with an apparent exerpt from Luther that bears no resemblence to what I’d written.

The fruits of Luther and Calvin are easy to see in the world today. Their complaints about the wealth of the Pope may have had some validity in 1550 (that is arguable), but they do not have any validity today. Therefore, one wonders why the spiritual descendents of Luther and Calvin don’t try to reverse the sad fracturing of Christianity by rejoining the Catholic Church.

Are you going to maintain the sad divisions by calling on 500 year old arguments? Or are you going to face contemporary realities, and get with the Program?


Why don’t you provide us with some details regarding this “reject(ion) or question(ing) the inspiration of James and Hebrews”?

Also, why don’t you explain which books “Rome accepted as scripture… that were later rejected.” Once you give the details, then maybe we can start to converse.


Rome was/is made up of actual people. The Catholic Church is made up of actual people. The pope is an actual person. People are human. They question things (like you are doing now). They make mistakes. I imagine decisions such as these were not as simple as you may think. Even with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, one can question and make mistakes. One can pray on a matter and change one’s mind. I believe the Holy Spirit is with me; does that make me perfect? Of course not.


The Church Fathers believed what Paul said in Eph 3:3-5, that the scripture could be understood by merely reading it. They indicated that the scriptures themselves were clear, so clear, they even criticized the heretics for getting it wrong. If those outside the church and common pew dwellers are unable to understand the Bible themselves as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches teach, then why did the apostolic fathers expect the heretics to understand the Bible with their own human skills? (Tertullian, The Flesh of Christ, ch 20), (Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word, 56), (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 1, 35), (Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 7, 16)


I have no agenda, I am merely trying to learn more about the Catholic faith, however if someone calls me a “heretic” am I not permitted to respond. As I do not consider myself or the Protestant Churches heretics. All I am seeking is intelligent answers to my questions, if you care not to respond than don’t.



I think you have some very good and relevant questions that deserve answers. I think part of the problem here is the answering a question with a question, or not truly discussing, which is leading this off in tangents.

Stick with one topic per thread, and if something else comes up that is off topic, stick it in a new thread for discussion. We are not all in the same room together - it gets very difficult to stay on topic when the topic keeps changing.

This may help you in getting the answers you are looking for.


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