[quote=The Iambic Pen]I trust the Bible, and there are certainly teachings within which I do not fully understand. Yet, I believe. If I had the same trust in the Catholic Church, I would without hesitation accept all Catholic doctrine and teaching.
One way I look at it, is that the early fathers of the Catholic actually put pen to paper to transcribe God’s will into human words for us. To me, that gives the Church a bit of a leg up on the competition to interpret it, keys or no keys. Now whether she does so faithfully or gets swayed by worldly concerns is another matter, one about which I am less qualified to opine.
I have come to understand that the primary obstacle to me believing these doctrines is the issue of authority. When these various beliefs are explained to me, I can see clearly how someone could believe them, but it is harder to see why someone must believe them.
I think this is one of the most often abused concepts I’ve seen on this forum. We are commanded and required to do something that only has meaning if done voluntarily. If the teachings of the Church are the fullness of truth, then I understand her belief that anything short of full assent just isn’t the Full Meal Deal.
That said, there are very good reasons one person does not believe what another person says to believe. A person can try to explain or demonstrate a belief, or even “prove” it based on acceptably common criteria. To say I “must” believe it in a mandatory sense, suggesting that I have complete conscious control over the innermost beliefs of my brain and that by not flipping them over to Your Way Of Thinking quickly enough I am being obstinate or offensive.
Some of the things we “must” believe seem odd, though. For example, the virginity of Mary after Christ was born is a fact which I cannot for the life of me see how knowing about it helps me in my faith life in any way, other than to see if I can answer the question right when asked.
This is where the teaching authority of the Catholic Church comes in.
“Teaching authority” is fine, for those who follow the letter. What really matters is What Students Learn.
Who cares if the Church is 100% right, if she only gets her message through to 10 people on the planet?
Personally I think she has the right to run things her way, and if her way is to say the pope is infallible on faith and morals, so be it. Somebody has to set the rules, and faith and morals are subjective and relative so let the pope be the current standard bearer.
For myself, I can take it or leave it. More likely I’ll spend my whole life not completely convinced – after all, if there isn’t doubt there cannot be faith. If there is no doubt, then there is knowledge which doesn’t require faith. If nobody believes the Church or wants to support her despite their concealed or open disbelief, then her teaching authority would be trumped by student resistance and she would become history after one generation.
I have read passages about the “keys to kingdom of heaven,” and “binding and loosing,” and the continuing of the apostolate by the selection of Matthias to replace Judas, all of which could imply a continuation of authority. Still, it’s hard for me to suddenly place so much trust in an institution which I have long been taught is false. Please pray for me that I will make all the right decisions and learn what is true. Thanks!
Same problem, different reason.
It’s hard for me to let go and 100% trust an institution whose apologists are as rabid as some are about using strong-arm tactics to “enforce” unity of beliefs. If these people were better listeners, they might learn why people resist them.
So, to actually put a question in here, would you all please direct me to some good information on the issue of authority? I thank you all for you help in this matter! God Bless!
I have an audio file for you to listen to. I’ll PM you on where to find it.
As of this moment, I don’t think I really know whether I’m fully assent or not. I’m much more interested in the interrelationships of the members of the Church, and bringing about unity in ways that do not first require complete mental unity. Gee whiz, I taught Algebra among other things. I know what it’s like to be an anal-retentive purist about something wonderful, around kids who don’t care about math at all. To be an effective teacher, you have to find out where your students’ heads are and take them from there to where we are. That’s why Christ ate with sinners, I imagine, and why Paul became like those he was around.
Good luck to you. I enjoy your posts. I think you would make a great Catholic apologist, because of your resistance to verbal dominance.