Authority, the issue that decides all


#1

Greetings! I return again to this forum after a long absence with what I believe to be the ultimate deciding issue when it comes to all of these often (to me) troublesome Catholic beliefs. The issue is, of course, the issue of authority. If the Catholic Church throughout history has spoken with the authority of Christ, its doctrines should be believed and supported, whether they are understood or not. 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. Obviously, I would ask God to reveal to me the reasons for these beliefs in His perfect time, but until that happened, I would still believe them on faith.

So, this is where I stand today. I have a far greater understanding of Catholic doctrine than I did nearly a month ago when I first discovered this forum. However, I still find it difficult to accept many doctrines of the Catholic Church. 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. This is where the teaching authority of the Catholic Church comes in. 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!

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!


#2

Hey IP!

Glad to see you still around and still asking the good questions! You are always in my prayers as you seek the truth.

These articles should give you good info on the issue of authority.

What’s Your Authority? may also help some as well as this one on Proving Inspiration.
Pax tecum Bro!


#3

[quote=The Iambic Pen]it’s hard for me to suddenly place so much trust in an institution which I have long been taught is false.
[/quote]

You do not do that. You place your trust in Christ, in the Holy Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, in the Holy Tradition, in the Holy Magisterium. You share the same communion of the martyrs and saints, known and unknown. You are a member of the new chosen people. You embrace the same Cross the Holy Mother of God embraced that Good Friday… Authority in the Catholic Church is a burden, it is a service. The Pope is the root of the Church’s unity; he is the defender of the Faith.


#4

remember, the church dosen’t teach you something that is to be bound on your conscience to be mean or arogant, or bossy. they teach it because it’s true.


#5

155 In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace: "Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.


#6

What great answers! :slight_smile:

I’ll certainly pray for you, Iambic Pen!

If you go to www.biblechristiansociety.com , John Martignoni has some absolutely fabulous CD’s and one of them is specifically responding to your questions. Apostolic Authority and the Pope.

But, ALL of those CD’s are worthwhile. :thumbsup:

Elizabeth


#7

You are in my prayers.
The link below gives you everything CA has on Church and papal authority. I would also recommend Faith of the Early Fathers by Jurgens

catholic.com/library/church_papacy.asp


#8

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Greetings! I return again to this forum after a long absence with what I believe to be the ultimate deciding issue when it comes to all of these often (to me) troublesome Catholic beliefs. The issue is, of course, the issue of authority. If the Catholic Church throughout history has spoken with the authority of Christ, its doctrines should be believed and supported, whether they are understood or not. I trust the Bible, and there are certainly teachings within which I do not fully understand.
[/quote]

If you trust the Bible, then you willy-nilly trust the people who compiled the Bible. For the New Testament, these are the people who decided there are inspired Christian documents. These are the people who selected from many documents those which were inspired, and left out many others.

In other words, the Catholic Church.

The Church did that based on the Magisterium – the authority to teach, handed to the Apostles by Christ, and passed on by them to their successors.

If you can’t believe this, you can’t believe the Bible (or at least the New Testament), because that’s how it was created and compiled.


#9

I try to think of it this way.

The Church has been around for 2000 years. Those that began the Church walked with Jesus Himself. They taught (ordained) their followers. These followers and many more faithful to the teachings of Jesus as handed down to them began writing and trying to answer the thousands of questions and heresies. This has gone on for centuries. Some of the greatest minds in history have expounded on what the Aposltes left to us. These great minds were more often than not priests and bishops of the Church that Christ founded through the Apostles.

Therefore, why would I think that my pea-brain could understand and expound the scriptures or the traditions of 2000 years any better than those of the Church before me? Especially if I’m not so trained. These people of the past were trained to teach theologically and scripturally - they dedicated their entire lives to nothing but. They knew/know what the social and cultrual implications are/were - things we are not used to thinking about. We tend to put our 21st century understandings to words and phrases. How can we know now what was meant then? I am not linguist either. These people are. I would have to take myself out of society and place myself in a theological institute to get a complete understanding of our faith. I can’t do that! I’m just glad the Church has been there throughout the centuries to bring that information to me so easily!

How could I be so arrogant as to think that “MY” interpretation of things hard to understand is better than what has been taught by these people for centuries? I absolutely love the idea that if I just cannot make sense of something from scripture or Tradition, I can turn to the people that Jesus commissioned to teach it, defend it and explain it definitively!

What the Church teaches is what Jesus and the Apostles originally handed down to their successors - what a load off of me - I don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Anything that puzzles me, I can turn to the Church for her wisdom and understanding to guide and counsel me!

What a relief!

Once you get past the “book” stuff or logical stuff about the authority of the church then you can really relax and concentrate on the beautiful devotions the Church brings us to help get us close to Christ and to keep us close! That’s the best part! You can really enjoy the Mass - the closest thing on earth to heaven!, Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacraments, the saints…I could go on!

Hurry and come home!


#10

Hello, IA, and wecome back!

This is all anecdotal, but these are my hangup with NOT believing in the authority of the Church:

  1. I have a very hard time believing that God intends Christianity to be divided in the manner it is today. Would He truly wish us to be so fractured? Imagine what awesome goodness Christians could bring to this world if we were one! I personally know of atheists who see the divisions in Christianity as a major reason they cannot embrace the Gospel. Does God want that? I just can’t believe that He does right now.

  2. If the Body of Christ not to be divided, then there must be a way for those seeking God’s Truth to find it! I know there are thousands of people who earnestly seek God through the Bible alone, and yet so many of them find slightly different versions of the truth, which leads to denominational division. This to the level that some call others apostate and condemned! Thus there must be some other unifying foundation upon which we can base our faith, because unity is of God, and sola scriptura does not beget unity.

  3. The only Church that preaches something other than sola scriptura while also espousing doctrine that is in harmony with Sacred Scripture is the Catholic Church. It is the only truly Christian church that has a legitimate claim to authority derived from Christ Himself.

Add to that the constancy of doctrine (not always clear, but never completely erroneous or contradictory), perpetuity of the institution while countless kingdoms have come and gone, and the testament of the lives of the saints, and I cannot personally believe that there is any other real home of Truth.

I believe it so strongly right now that if it is NOT true I would have a hard time accepting Christianity at all. Scary, I know, but when I can’t even honestly reconcile protestant beliefs with the Bible, the basis of their faith, I don’t know what I would do.

Besides, along the lines of Pascal’s wager, if I am wrong and it is God’s desire that there be many denominational paths to Him, I would still be in His Grace as a Catholic because, ultimately, I am devoted to Christ. But if the Catholic Church was the true Church and I disregarded it for something else, my soul could be at risk.

So I choose faith in Christ illuminated by the teachings of the Church. The rest is in God’s hands.

Peace,
javelin


#11

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Greetings! I return again to this forum after a long absence with what I believe to be the ultimate deciding issue when it comes to all of these often (to me) troublesome Catholic beliefs. The issue is, of course, the issue of authority. If the Catholic Church throughout history has spoken with the authority of Christ, its doctrines should be believed and supported, whether they are understood or not. 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. Obviously, I would ask God to reveal to me the reasons for these beliefs in His perfect time, but until that happened, I would still believe them on faith.

So, this is where I stand today. I have a far greater understanding of Catholic doctrine than I did nearly a month ago when I first discovered this forum. However, I still find it difficult to accept many doctrines of the Catholic Church. 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. This is where the teaching authority of the Catholic Church comes in. 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!

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!
[/quote]

Keep in mind how many Catholics make mental reservations about all sorts of Church teachings. It should be easy to say “the Catholic Church has this authority, therefore they are correct,” but the mind finds ways to weasel out of such things. Therefore, you must do your best to reconcile the beliefs individually and as part of the Church’s authority.

If you think it would be helpful, possibly mention the beliefs you have trouble with, and maybe someone can concentrate on one that they’re particularly knowledgable about so as to aid you, that way you can attack it vigorously from both directions, which are, in my mind, equally as important.

-Rob


#12

Someone else mentioned a cd by John Martignoni, I’d also like to suggest his ‘One Church’ cd. It is truly awesome and he is very deliberate and methodical in his explanation.

Actually - I have all of his cd’s and they are all really, really good. Please consider ordering them. The One Church cd, and the ones on the Rapture and the Communion of Saints are my favorties. God bless you, and you are in my prayers as you contemplate coming home.


#13

Hey Iambic Pen I always enjoy reading your posts. One website that has really helped me in the past few months is Gary Hoge’s website. Gary Hoge was a convert from Protestantism, and I find that he is a very logical person (logic is good), and he deftly discusses many different topics of the Catholic faith. Some of the more interesting things on his websites are the transcripts of the discussions he has had with other people, in particular, Protestants.

He claims that he himself is not a scholar but I think he is still very well informed! I hope it helps.

God bless,
Stu.


#14

catholic.net/linksframe.phtml?link=http://www.scripturecatholic.com.

This is a good reference sheet. :thumbsup:

Keep up the good work. :clapping:


#15

Keep searching!!! :slight_smile: :thumbsup:

'Praying for you

+Hugo


#16

of course we’ll pray for you, the iambic pen! may God Bless you always!!!


#17

[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.

[/quote]

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.

Alan


#18

Thanks for all of the information! Sorry I am once again so late in responding to my own thread. The internet here is notoriously unreliable. Still, it’s a blessing to have it at all, so I don’t complain. :slight_smile: In my offline hours, I have been reading Pope Fiction, by Patrick Madrid. I’m sure some of you have probably read it. Anyway, it addressed a lot of the objections people have had to the papacy over the years. It also did a very good job of explaining the issue of authority to me.

I now find myself not really being faced with any significant intellectual objections. But, as Paul Thigpen said in the first chapter of Surprised by Truth (which I just started reading this morning):

…Protestant ways of thinking were so deeply ingrained in my mind that I found it impossible to reason my way out of them.

Catholicism has never really been a part of my life. I have known very few Catholics (at least serious ones), and I have never even been inside a Catholic church. So, I am very much an outsider when it comes to approaching this. Still, I find that my initial curiosity has begun to give way to acceptance. I can’t say that I really expected this to happen, but perhaps I did. When I read the following statement (again by Paul Thigpen) I found myself in agreement:

But in quiet moments, I sometimes felt a longing sweep over me. It washed across my heart whenever I heard a recording of tranquil Gregorian chant or Schubert’s aching “Ave Maria.”

Now, I’m not suggesting that feelings are sufficient reasons for conversion, but I do believe God speaks to us in many ways. I’m still not sure where this journey will take me, but with God as my guide, I will not be led astray.

God Bless!


#19

Iambic…
Please…I am not being flip…I am being honest,
STOP THINKING WITH YOUR HEAD AND LISTEN TO YOUR HEART!!!
You are trying to totally reason out faith. The very nature of faith is to believe without PROOF. There is an old joke: How much faith does an angel have? The answer is none, they have seen God and know he really exists, they have no need for faith. I read your posts and I see that you are an intelligent person, you want proof to exist before you commit to believe. That is precisely why this is so hard for you. Your heart is seeking but your mind is objecting. Listen to your heart…You will never ever regret it I promise!


#20

Hey IP!
I have 2 of the Surprised By Truth books and have read a third one and I must tell you as a Catholic coming home to the faith after long years away. I found myself in tears sometimes while reading that first one as I realized what I had been born into and abandoned. It’s so good to be home!

You are in my prayers. :slight_smile:


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