Anti-Catholics on Early Church Fathers

I’ve read a bunch of pages from with quotes from pre-Constantine saints, and a lot of them defend many of the things we believe in… like for example, St. Irenaeus spoke of Rome’s primacy in his book “Against Heresies”.

But I wonder how many anti-Catholics have actually read any of the works of these saints, and how would they have reacted to them. I’m pretty sure if they did, a lot of them would say it’s either written by someone else from a later century, or that the name “Rome” only refers to the whole empire instead of the capital. Ever wonder about that?

We must understand that St. Irenaeus’ concept of the primacy of Rome is completely different from how we understand it today.

With that regard, what do you mean by “anti-Catholic”? If they are against the Catholic faith as it is during their time, they wouldn’t be saints. They’ll be thrown out of the Church as heretics. So if they say something that is not consistent with what you believe today you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself, why is your faith today different from the faith they held in the early Church? Did something change? If so, how can you be sure that the faith you have is the Apostolic faith?

The writings of the fathers have drawn over a lot of very educated protestants over the years.

With respect to rapid anti-catholics, I’d probably chalk it up to plain ignorance (innocent or willful). A neighbor attends a UCC church…they are apparently still using that old line about Constantine founding the Catholic Church. And this is coming from a hyper-liberal outfit like the UCC. Historical knowledge is very low in the US, particularly about what occured before the US revolution.

I would say many haven’t. I mean Martin Luther after the ‘reformation’ believed the perpetual virginity of Mary as biblical. Most Protestants act as if it is some far out belief to believe that about mARY.

I’m talking about the anti-Catholics of TODAY (Fundamentalists, Nondenominationals, and other “Bible Christians”). Just wondering if any of them anti-Catholics actually read some of those works and quotes by the saints/early church fathers… because some of the quotes made by these early fathers prove that Catholicism was not a 4th century invention. If these anti-Catholics did read those works, then I wonder how they would have responded. Are we clear?

Or pre-Brittany Spears.

Sorry I think I confused your original point.

But again, even if they read it, are you sure they will understand it the way you understand it? Also, to know the true faith it is not enough to just read the Fathers, through it is one of the pillars of such practice. We must see how such teachings are applied to the faith in their time and forwards. We need to compare also the teachings of one Father with another. We can’t base our belief just because one saint said so. So is the expectation that the Fathers will convince anti-Catholics to believe otherwise? There is no guarantee.

Short answer they don’t. They are told the ECFs were infected with paganism and thier views are “Catholic” (HORRORS :eek::eek::eek:). They are told to avoid them.
Ignorance keeps people in bondage. Knowledge frees them.

In my limited experience in the evangelical world, laymen are NOT encouraged to read the EF. They tend to treat the EF the exact same way they accuse catholics of treating Scripture “Oh, that’s complex stuff you shouldn’t mess with unless you have the scholarly language skills and broad context to avoid misunderstandings. Leave it to the experts and they’ll excerpt the safe quotes for you.”

At least it’s logically consistent with their basic principles. Many of them really believe that the Bible is the entirety of what christians need to know about revelation and that ANY external interpretation is private and totally fallible. It doesn’t seem to bother too many of them that an infallible Scripture is not terribly helpful if there isn’t ANYBODY you can totally trust to explain it to you infallibly…

Some anti-Catholics read them but they ignore their works as:

biased, false, heretical, or not guide by the Holy Spirit.

Yet amazingly those same folks have no problem reading the writings of anti-Catholics? Double-standards!

As a previously 27-year evangelical, I had never heard of the ECF before attending RCIA out of curiosity. I would wager even most Catholics have never read them. They’re not exactly easy to read. You must realize - if you’ve lingered here long enough - there are a handful of well-read Catholics (priests, lay-religious, history buffs) but the vast majority of questions are from every-day Catholics asking about Catholic doctrine/history, prayer requests…etc.

That’s not to dismiss Catholics as not understanding their history. They embrace the Church and its Tradition with much faith. It’s a beautiful thing that the Church has provided an environment where faith can flourish to such an extent that the ugly theological debates and questions are mulled over by the more intellectual and spiritual of our Church. :slight_smile:

On the flip side I know plenty of “Bible Christians” that have never read the Bible all the way through. :wink:

And as an aside, most Protestants I know are not anti-Catholic. They’re just “not” Catholic. My great friend and Wycliffe missionary attended a men’s spiritual group with me Tuesday night at my parish, and had I not mentioned ahead of time that he was not Catholic nobody would have ever known. We had such a great time pondering the open discussion of religion in the public forum. :slight_smile:


Here’s a video on YouTube about why Evangelicals are becoming Catholic. The two Protestant hosts of the show discuss how they get their faith from the Bible, NOT from history.

These men, and other anti-Catholics, DON’T go to history, because they have NO leg to stand on there. There WAS no Protestantism back then, and if they ignore the history, they think they can win a debate, and justify their stance.

At 6:46 in the video, when one of them suggests that he doesn’t recomend reading the early fathers, it screams volumes. I have this video bookmarked on my computer. I love it.

One of the common misconceptions about Protestants is that they are against the early church fathers. It is true that reading the church fathers is not common in lay Protestant circles, but in my years as a Catholic I never heard of anyone reading them, either. The church fathers are required reading at the vast majority of Protestant seminaries. I spent a season as a part time student at a Protestant seminary. I read and wrote papers on many of the early church fathers while studying church history. Protestantism is built on the shoulders of the teachings of the apostles, the church fathers, the councils, and 1500+ years of shared theological history with the Catholic church. (There are a few very loud but misinformed Protestants who eschew tradition and the church fathers. They do not represent orthodox protestantism.)

What I found when reading the church fathers is that each one had his quirks. This one would be right on about subject A but get a little wrapped around the axle on subject B. The next one would come along and correct on subject B but mess up subject C. The beauty of the study was to watch the way God worked through these flawed people to weave a consistent ribbon of truth about his revelation–God’s Word, Jesus Christ.

I think that when such people read and quote the fathers they do so very selectivly. Leaving out teachings like baptism forgiveing sins, and the Holy Eucharist being the true body and blood instead of only symbols.

The OP isn’t claiming that all protestants are “anti-catholic.” I suspect that you and your classmates aren’t. “Anti-catholic” describes that segment of the protestant community who believes the rhetoric in which catholicism is a fundamental perversion of christianity and that catholics shouldn’t be considered christians at all. I doubt that describes you, eh? :wink:

That group of people can only hold their position if they are ignorant of the history of christianity. Thus, reading the EF is an unpleasant business, at best for them.

Er no, there was no ‘shared’ history, theological or otherwise. That was Catholic history.

Not all non-Catholics are “anti Catholic.” So, your thread title may be problematic.

I didn’t say ALL of them are.

Good to know. :slight_smile:

Since, I’m not anti Catholic, you aren’t looking for my response.


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