Catholic beliefs changing


#1

I know this has been hashed over again and again. But, as you guys know, I am having a few problems with my girlfriend.

I was trying to show her how Catholic doctrine has never changed.

She went out and bought “Christianity Through the Centuries”, citing it a few times.

Of course, that got into Church Authority and all that. But she refuses to accept doctrine has not changed. I used the example of having to clairfy and explain things because the people didn’t understand…that doesn’t mean change. But she didn’t want to hear that.But she said “obviously all of them didn’t if it had to be clarified”

One she had a problem with was “the roman church didn’t accept transupstantiation officially until the council of trent, it wasn’t even officially defined until then”

“831, paschasius radbertus began to teach the miracle of the mass…that guy started the idea of transubstantiaion”

So I quoted Ignatius to her…“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110])

(One thing I wanted to say but didnt think of at the time…since this guy believed it…doesn’t that mean in 831 that guy couldn’t of “invented” the idea?)

But she came back with “Ever play the telephone game?”

I knew what she meant. Tell one person one thing, but the time the 10th person hears it, it is completely different.

Help?

Adam


#2

Seems to me the Holy Spirit protected our Church Fathers between the time of St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Magisterium at the council of Trent.

Can she explain how this isn’t an example of doctrine not changing? If it was just humans involved, I agree that the telephone game would have come in to play.


#3

[quote=Unfinished]I know this has been hashed over again and again. But, as you guys know, I am having a few problems with my girlfriend.
[/quote]

That’s not surprising when she doesn’t want to believe what you are telling her.

I was trying to show her how Catholic doctrine has never changed.

She went out and bought “Christianity Through the Centuries”, citing it a few times.

Sounds like she wanted to bolster what she already thought instead of look into the Catholic perspective. Unless and until she is willing to do that, you may as well say nothing.

Of course, that got into Church Authority and all that. But she refuses to accept doctrine has not changed. I used the example of having to clairfy and explain things because the people didn’t understand…that doesn’t mean change. But she didn’t want to hear that.But she said “obviously all of them didn’t if it had to be clarified”

Right here she shows she hasn’t a clue what constitutes doctrine or how it is developed, and really doesn’t want to know.

One she had a problem with was “the roman church didn’t accept transupstantiation officially until the council of trent, it wasn’t even officially defined until then”

“831, paschasius radbertus began to teach the miracle of the mass…that guy started the idea of transubstantiaion”

So I quoted Ignatius to her…“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110])

(One thing I wanted to say but didnt think of at the time…since this guy believed it…doesn’t that mean in 831 that guy couldn’t of “invented” the idea?)

But she came back with “Ever play the telephone game?”

I knew what she meant. Tell one person one thing, but the time the 10th person hears it, it is completely different.

Help?

Adam

I really don’t understand how a solid quote from the 2nd century could possibly be miscontrued as an example of the “telephone game.” Did you tell her that Ignatius personally knew the Apostles? That Peter himself made him bishop of Antioch? Or wouldn’t that cut any ice with her?


#4

Dear Unfinished. She seems to be deliberately resisting the obvious. To demonstrate that the early Church believed in the Real Presence, and then to demonstrate how the doctrine was clarified over the centuries in response to challenges to the doctrine, ultimately being defined in the term “transubstantiation,” is not a demonstration of change but a demonstration of deeper understanding.

Does she think that the Trinity did not exist before it was defined? Does she think that the hypostatic union did not exist before it was defined? Does she think that Ignatius believed less in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist than Thomas Aquinas because he did not have a word pasted to the doctrine?

She may need time in order to come to grips with the fact that Catholic thinking is actually reasonable.


#5

I believe that Jesus is the Promised One (from the Old Testament scriptures), the one who leads us to God’s kingdom.

I believe the Catholic Church is the institution Jesus intended to leave as the repository of this faith.

I don’t believe any pope from Peter to John Paul ll (nor any Saint, bishop, priest, sister or brother) has understood and taught the faith perfectly since then. Wouldn’t they have had to be the Second Coming in order to do that?

I believe that Jesus would still have us accord the leadership of the Catholic Church the respect of its position, and also I have to admit that I don’t understand the faith perfectly so I rely heavily on Church teachings as well as scripture.

None of this shakes my faith. Nor does the idea that Cathlic leaders have come to different understandings of matters of doctrine. It isn’t the heirarchy of the Catholic Church that we should put our absolute faith in. It is God and His kingdom that we should seek above all else. This is what the Catholic Church teaches.

I hope you and your girlfriend find peace in your understanding of your faith. I think it is cool that you can share the thoughts with her.

peace

-Jim


#6

Unfinished, I was in a very similar situation to you about 6 months ago. Since then, with much hard work, patience and prayer, my girlfriend is slowly but surely beginning to understand the Truth of the Catholic Church. This is something that can’t happen overnight, but as it is often said, apologetics is about planting seeds. Keep on going with the example of the Eucharist, as it is a fantastic example of a doctrine that has been held since the time of the Apostles in the Catholic Church and that is rejected by Protestants today. Ask her to prove to you that this doctrine has changed over time, as you have given her evidence that it has remained the same. The best argument she will be able to come up with is that the language has changed (for example, the introduction of the word, “transubstantiation”). This is the way to counter that arguement:

The word “trinity” and the associated doctrine was not defined until centuries after Christ’s death. Yet, if you were to go and find St Paul during his ministry and tell him those definitions, he would think about it for a sec and say “yeah that’s about right, that’s what Jesus taught me”. Your girlfriend must believe this is true to be a Christian (um, she is a Christian, right?). In exactly the same way, if you were to go up to Ignatius of Antioch (or Paul, or any of the Apostles) and tell him the definition of the word “transubstantiation”, they would all say “yeah that’s it, you’ve really knocked that one on the head”. This is the very essence of development of doctrine.

On another matter, for me the thing that really made my girlfriend stop and think was the question, how does she know which books belong in the Bible? That is a very tough question for a Protestant to answer (basically, they can’t). If you haven’t done so already, do some research into how the Bible came to be, and try to check out some common Protestant objections and research the answers to these objections. Try to make her understand that the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura uses circular reasoning, in exactly the same way as Muslims with the Koran and Mormons and the book of Mormon.

Good luck, God bless and you are in my prayers :thumbsup:


#7

I tried to teach her about the Bible.

I asked “Yes, God gave it to us. How did he do it?”

“Humans”

So the Catholic church’s Bishops declared what is in the Bible.

“Yes, but they were wrong about a lot of stuff.”

So the Bible could be wrong?

“No.”

Why not?

“It is the irrenent word of God”

How do you know? Is it listed? Did it drop from the sky?

“The Holy Spirit gave it to us.”

What did he use?

“Humans.”

uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh. See what I mean? Maybe I am just THAT bad. It was more detailed than that, but that is pretty much what it came down to.

Thanks for the help guys.I will give the Trinity whirl a try tomorrow when we speak again.

She said she looked at Catholic.com, and I believe her, but for some reason I think she did it just to find out what to try and refute. Please pray for God to change her heart.

Adam


#8

Ask her what Jesus meant when He told His apostles some of them would not die until they had seen the Kingdom of God. He was talking about all of them except Judas seeing the Church established. Then the parable of the weeds and the wheat to top it off, for it shows the one chuch being made up of the good and the wicked.
I have found that although most protestants know the Bible well, their understanding of the parables of Jesus leaves them either defensless or at least wavering on the more difficult ones that refer to the church. Their interpretation has many many holes to be exploited.

Stop being on the defense and start questioning her on her religions history, for all history contains a human element and therefore problomatic situations and sinners. :thumbsup:


#9

[quote=Unfinished]She said she looked at Catholic.com, and I believe her, but for some reason I think she did it just to find out what to try and refute. Please pray for God to change her heart.
[/quote]

I wouldn’t worry about this. In fact, I think it is fantastic! The arguments given at catholic.com in the library are very well reasoned and referenced. I only think this could be a good thing as you’ve enabled her to find out what Catholicism really is. Good work!


#10

Della,could you please show mere where I can find that Peter appointed Ignatius as bishop himself? I think that would really help my case.


#11

Atreyu, could you show me when the doctrine of the trinity was "defined’? Thanks! :thumbsup:


#12

[quote=Unfinished]Della,could you please show mere where I can find that Peter appointed Ignatius as bishop himself? I think that would really help my case.
[/quote]

Theodoret (“Dial. Immutab.”, I, iv, 33a, Paris, 1642) is the authority for the statement that St. Peter appointed Ignatius to the See of Antioch

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, of course the Catholic Encyclopedia also says, Theodoret “As an ecclesiastical historian, however, he is inferior to his predecessors.”

It is also worth nothing that Theodoret lived 350 years after the fact…that may not be too convincing to her…but then again it might.
BH


#13

There are 3 stages in the process of teaching the the fullness of the deposit of the faith.

Revelation - from the Holy Spirit through the Church Fathers
Declaration - a moment in time by the Holy Father
Clarification - centuries of presenting to the generations of faithful the treasures within the teachings of the Church.

Seems to me that those outside the Church and even some within use the years of clarification as proof of ever changing beliefs.

Our beliefs do not change.


#14

Unfinished,

If your gf is a “Bible-only” kind of gal, you might point her to John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you intoall the truth.” Does Jesus put that guidance into a time box? Does he say you will be guided into all the truth all at once? Will it happen on the day of Pentecost? Will it be in a year? Before the death of all the apostles? He gives no indication at all of how and when the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be given. Nor does he indicate that that guidance will come to an end.

In John 16, Jesus is speaking to the 11, not to a general audience. In that same discourse (Jn 17) Jesus prays to the father that “these” (the 11) “may be one.” Therefore, we understand him to mean that the Holy Spirit will be sent in a special way to the 11, and to those who take their place in the Church Jesus promised to build. They, in their unity, will be guided “into all the truth” by the Holy Spirit. Jesus frequently states that his hearers, even the 12, do not understand him fully. And in John 16:12 he tells them, “I have yet many things to say to you, but youcannot bear them now.” Surely, he will explain some of these things during the 40 days following the Resurrection. But in that same passage (16:7) he told them that the Holy Spirit will not come unless he leaves them . . .

Thus, the idea that the development of doctrine is equivalent to a change in doctrine is clearly at odds with Scripture.


#15

[quote=mercygate]Unfinished,

If your gf is a “Bible-only” kind of gal, you might point her to John 16:13, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you intoall the truth.” Does Jesus put that guidance into a time box? Does he say you will be guided into all the truth all at once? Will it happen on the day of Pentecost? Will it be in a year? Before the death of all the apostles? He gives no indication at all of how and when the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be given. Nor does he indicate that that guidance will come to an end.

In John 16, Jesus is speaking to the 11, not to a general audience. In that same discourse (Jn 17) Jesus prays to the father that “these” (the 11) “may be one.” Therefore, we understand him to mean that the Holy Spirit will be sent in a special way to the 11, and to those who take their place in the Church Jesus promised to build. They, in their unity, will be guided “into all the truth” by the Holy Spirit. Jesus frequently states that his hearers, even the 12, do not understand him fully. And in John 16:12 he tells them, “I have yet many things to say to you, but youcannot bear them now.” Surely, he will explain some of these things during the 40 days following the Resurrection. But in that same passage (16:7) he told them that the Holy Spirit will not come unless he leaves them . . .

Thus, the idea that the development of doctrine is equivalent to a change in doctrine is clearly at odds with Scripture.
[/quote]

I might end up using this.

I checked new advent and while it says the Trinity was believed always, and its first use of the term “Trinity” came about in the 2nd century, does anyone know when the Catholic church offically defined it? If I could find proof of that, it will proof that beliefs exsisted before they were defined.

Adam


#16

[quote=Unfinished]I might end up using this.

I checked new advent and while it says the Trinity was believed always, and its first use of the term “Trinity” came about in the 2nd century, does anyone know when the Catholic church offically defined it? If I could find proof of that, it will proof that beliefs exsisted before they were defined.

Adam
[/quote]

Hm. I am impressed that you were able to read that whole article in just a few minutes. Your best resource for a formal declaration would be The Athanasian Symbol, which appears to derive from principles hammered out at the Council of Alexandria in 361 a.d.


#17

[quote=mercygate]Hm. I am impressed that you were able to read that whole article in just a few minutes. Your best resource for a formal declaration would be The Athanasian Symbol, which appears to derive from principles hammered out at the Council of Alexandria in 361 a.d.
[/quote]

lol. I didn’t read read the whole thing. Just about the first fourth and then scanned the rest for things like “doctrine” or “defined”. Maybe I could of missed it :stuck_out_tongue:

and thanks for that link :thumbsup:


#18

Check the evolution of both the Church’s position on Slavery, and on Salvation outside the Church.


#19

Sometimes it can be helpful to explain how the Church grows organically. Like a flowering plant it becomes fuller and more beautiful with time.


#20

Truth does not change, but doctrine does develop. The problem is that we’ve come to think of development as change in the sense of either repudiating what went before or adding something foreign. However, as Chesterton points out: “But that is not the natural meaning of the word Development. When we talk of a child being well-developed, we mean that he has grown bigger and stronger with his own strength; not that he is padded with borrowed pillows or walks on stilts to make him look taller. When we say that a puppy develops into a dog, we do not mean that his growth is a gradual compromise with a cat; we mean that he becomes more doggy-like and not less.” (From St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox).

Catholicism has always believed in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The use of the word Transubstantiation merely helps us understand the concept. Our understanding of this truth has developed; that is, it has grown. But the truth remains the same. It’s just like children developing a greater understanding of God as they grow older. God doesn’t change, but our understanding of Him does.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.