Defense of Catholicism in regards to common complaints from Protestants

Whilst having a discussion online, I tried attempted to look into biblical references that were in favor of Catholicism and also those that out-right denounced many of the ideas found in Protestantism.

Basically, I found three issues. The first two are simple enough to understand, yet I can’t quite reconcile the third - due to my own ignorance.

Firstly, the issue of Protestants with Apostolic Tradition. It’s simple enough to understand and to find biblical references to it. Whilst it seems that many Protestants (or at least those I talk with) argue against it, there’s too much evidence to support it in my view.

Secondly, the issue of Apostolic Succession. Again, we have direct support of it found within the Bible. We see that Christ gives this Gift to his Apostles. We also see the Apostles filling the position that belonged to Judas, and then again the warning to Timothy to take care in the ordination of others (Further passing along the apostolic succession) and indeed the call to pass along.

Now, I think i’m fairly right on those areas. What stumbles me is this. Does Apostolic Succession continue to exist today despite ‘false’ popes and wrongly ordained bishops (Anti-Popes and such)? If a bishop does not have a rightful claim to apostolic succession, would then any Bishop he ordained fail to have that gift also? Is it as simple as God fixes any errors due to the failings of man?

I hope I haven’t made any incorrect assumptions here, or failed to explain myself adequately.

A handful of perhaps invalidly ordained bishops do not interrupt Apostolic Succession.

If a bishop does not have a rightful claim to apostolic succession, would then any Bishop he ordained fail to have that gift also?

This is one reason why almost every bishop is consecrated by at least three bishops. There are very few, if any, validly ordained Catholic bishops who could have any doubt about their lines of Apostolic Succession.

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.

As I see it, if for any reason the Apostolic Succession ceased to exist, it would mean that the gates of hell prevailed against the Church, founded by Christ. Which is a contradiction to the Gospel.

Our current idea of apostolic succession did not exist in the early Christian church?

In fact our tradition of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons was not present in the early Church.

Neither were pastors, other denominations, the Bible, ,the Catholic Catechism or the Westminster Confession as we have them today.

I also note that there have been a number of “corrupt” and incompetent US Presidents.

Would American members of this forum suggest the presence of these less than shining lights of the US Presidency invalidate the Presidential succession or the continuation of the United States.

I also find that at one time there was a Confederate President, which could be seen as an anti-Pope in US politics.

God may have His best laid plans, but we’ve got human nature on our side to stuff things up.

AMEN, God Bless, Memaw

Read the writings of the Early Church Fathers!! And of course, the Acts of the Apostles!. God Bless, Memaw

This is a theoretical that in practice is so remote that it is almost not worth discussing. If you look up some bishop ordinations on youtube, you’ll see that there are at least three, and usually many more bishops who are participating in the ordination. Each of these men are conferring Holy Orders upon the new bishop, and each of them had the same done to them. So even at a miminum of 3 bishops, with each having the minimum 3 bishops ordain them, you would have to have only 1 of 9 bishops to have been valid. So it gets to the point where it is completely impossible for Apostolic Succession to have failed for the newly ordained bishop.

For other denominations who separated from the Church, like the Anglicans, their Apostolic line died out within 1-2 generations. The reason for this is that they substantially changed the nature of the ordination, so that they were not conferring the Sacrament because their intent and form were faulty (they denied the sacrificial nature of the priesthood, IIRC). So those who were attempted to be ordained, they never were because they didn’t properly perform the sacrament. As such, once the first generation of bishops died out, no validly ordained bishops remained to carry on the line.

Hope that helps.

Thanks guys. I guess it seemed like a much larger issue in my head. I suppose that’s usually the case.

, Clement of Rome writes this in his Epistle to Corinth…around AD 90 writes:

1Clem 42:4 So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their firstfruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe.

1Clem 44:2 For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration.

57:1 Do ye, therefore, that have laid the foundation of the sedition submit yourselves to the presbyters, and be chastised to repentance, bending the knees of your hearts.

I always like the approach of St. Francis de Sales regarding Protestants.

“The declared enemies of God and His Church, heretics and schismatics, must be criticized as much as possible, as long as truth is not denied. It is a work of charity to shout: ‘Here is the wolf!’ when it enters the flock or anywhere else.”
–St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part III, Chapter 29

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