Let’s pretend for a moment.
Let’s pretend that I look at all the doctrine publicly promulgated by the Catholic Church, read my way through the Catechism, a few papal encyclicals, some Canon Law, and I conclude that in everything the Catholic Church appears to teach in accordance with the truth. Not only this, but I also look at the fruits that this doctrine bears in the good works carried out by Catholics in the world, and the love they have for God and one another, and I look at the marks Jesus says His Church will have in the Bible and see that the Catholic Church conforms to all of them.
Now let’s say that conclusion leads me to put my faith in the Church as the infallible teacher that Christ established through Peter and the apostles to proclaim His gospel on earth.
So far, so true.
Now, let’s just pretend that somewhere hidden deep in the vaults of the Vatican was a document no ordinary Catholic is allowed to see that says that Satan is the true lord whom the Church serves, and only preaches an exact copy of true Christian doctrine and encourages good works to ensnare God’s elect.
If I’ve put my faith in the Church on the basis that it teaches God’s word, and all I’ve ever seen of what the Church teaches says that it’s God’s word, and I believe in the Church because I want to please God, and even if I ask my priest or a bishop or even the Pope “is there anything else to our faith?” and they answer “no, that’s it.”
Would I be saved?
Or, to put the question another way, is it ever right for a human being to completely surrender his/her freedom of conscience to another person/organisation to formulate beliefs for him/her that he/she has no knowledge of.
Let me just clarify - I do not believe that the Catholic Church is the instrument of Satan, however, I do still have some issues with the idea of trusting not only in all the doctrine I’ve read and understand, but in any doctrine that the Church has ever, or could ever, promulgate, now or in the future, without knowing that I have assented to it.