Definitive Roman Catholic positions


#1

Hi everyone,

I’m new around here. I’m not catholic, and I consider myself a Christian only. I signed up mostly with the intent to ask this one question, but I may stick around a while, if everyone is okay with that. :slight_smile:

I’ve had lots of discussions with catholics, and I’ve read even more discussions. Probably the most common complaint I hear from catholics against protestants during these discussions is that the protestant doesn’t really understand catholic doctrine.

Often I’ll see a protestant quote from a catholic source, or cite instances of worship practices, but the catholic will often respond that these sources are not definitive catholic positions.

So, my question is:

If I was going to have a discussion with you, a catholic, what sources would you consider definitive for me to cite in order to “get it right?”

The last thing I want to do is have an incomplete or improper understanding of catholic doctrine when I discuss with catholics. Help me not to be offensive!

in Christ,

Matt14


#2

You should read The Catechism of the Catholic Church. That has all the answers.


#3

Okay, great. So if I brought up a practice taught in the catechism, no catholic would say, “We don’t really practice or condone that?” Is there a chance this may still happen, even quoting from the catechism?

Here’s what I’ve purchased recently as sources for my study:

**1. A Biblical Defense of Catholicism [Paperback]
By: Dave Armstrong

  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church [Mass Market Paperback]
    By: U.S. Catholic Church

  2. What Catholics Really Believe-Setting the Record Straight: 52 Answers to Common Misconceptions About the Catholic Faith [Paperback]
    By: Karl Keating**

Would you consider these all good sources?


#4

[quote=Matt14]Okay, great. So if I brought up a practice taught in the catechism, no catholic would say, “We don’t really practice or condone that?” Is there a chance this may still happen, even quoting from the catechism?

Here’s what I’ve purchased recently as sources for my study:

1. A Biblical Defense of Catholicism [Paperback]
By: Dave Armstrong

2. Catechism of the Catholic Church [Mass Market Paperback]
By: U.S. Catholic Church

3. What Catholics Really Believe-Setting the Record Straight: 52 Answers to Common Misconceptions About the Catholic Faith [Paperback]
By: Karl Keating

Would you consider these all good sources?
[/quote]

There is always a chance someone might misinterpret it…happens all the time with the Bible.


#5

Another good question many Protestants ask is: “What scripture verses has the Church cited that must be interpreted primarily as defining certain doctrines and dogmas?” There are only 15 of these. The person who compiled this list did not give exhaustive explanations for each one, however. But, it can be a starting point for discussion–an easier one than the whole of the Catechism, at least. :wink:


#6

[quote=miguel]Why don’t you just ask your question? We’re all dying to hear it.
[/quote]

I’m not sure I understand your post. I asked my question in the first post of this thread. :slight_smile:


#7

[quote=Matt14]I’m not sure I understand your post. I asked my question in the first post of this thread. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Sorry. I corrected my original post.


#8

[quote=Della]Another good question many Protestants ask is: “What scripture verses has the Church cited that must be interpreted primarily as defining certain doctrines and dogmas?” There are only 15 of these. The person who compiled this list did not give exhaustive explanations for each one, however. But, it can be a starting point for discussion–an easier one than the whole of the Catechism, at least. :wink:
[/quote]

Wow, thanks for that link. That’s a great page. I did not know that there were only 15 passages that MUST be interpreted in a certain way according to the catholic church. Does this mean the rest is “open to interpretation,” but only among the priesthood?


#9

a good short guide to scriptural basis for Catholic teaching and practice is Where is That in the Bible by Patrick Madrid.


#10

[quote=puzzleannie]a good short guide to scriptural basis for Catholic teaching and practice is Where is That in the Bible by Patrick Madrid.
[/quote]

Thanks puzzleannie! :slight_smile:

I’ll put that on my reading list.


#11

[quote=Matt14]Wow, thanks for that link. That’s a great page. I did not know that there were only 15 passages that MUST be interpreted in a certain way according to the catholic church. Does this mean the rest is “open to interpretation,” but only among the priesthood?
[/quote]

It means that these verses in particular, and all others, many be interpreted for devotional purposes but not for doctrinal purposes by just anyone. The Magisterium (all the bishops together with the pope) decide matters of faith and morals. But anyone may read the Bible for personal devotion and study. :slight_smile:


#12

[quote=Della]It means that these verses in particular, and all others, many be interpreted for devotional purposes but not for doctrinal purposes by just anyone. The Magisterium (all the bishops together with the pope) decide matters of faith and morals. But anyone may read the Bible for personal devotion and study. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Okay, gotcha. :wink:

I’m learning Latin too, so I guess the “Magisterium” must be the teachers or teaching body, something like that?


#13

[quote=Matt14]Wow, thanks for that link. That’s a great page. I did not know that there were only 15 passages that MUST be interpreted in a certain way according to the catholic church. Does this mean the rest is “open to interpretation,” but only among the priesthood?
[/quote]

It’s certainly not a free-for-all. We Catholics have an obligation to find out what the Church teaches. A great source is the Catechism. You’ll notice that it is heavily footnoted with biblical sources as well.


#14

[quote=Matt14]Okay, gotcha. :wink:

I’m learning Latin too, so I guess the “Magisterium” must be the teachers or teaching body, something like that?
[/quote]

“Magisterium” means “teaching authority of the Church” and does not refer to a particular council or person.

BTW, Della’s link is great for the information it provides but be careful of that web site – it’s put up by people who reject the Pope. That, by definition, puts 'em outside the Church, even though they might be quite sound about other things.


#15

[quote=thistle]You should read The Catechism of the Catholic Church. That has all the answers.
[/quote]

Even if you don’t read it, keep a copy nearby…it has a good index so you’ll be able to look up whatever particular topic you’re trying to learn about.

But, definitely, that’s the place to start. It’s the Cathlolic Handbook, so to speak, and everything in there has references as to what the teachings are based upon - which passages of scripture, which vatican council documents, which Doctoral letters, etc. - so you can look those up yourself as well if you want to delve further.

Also something to note about the magesterium:

We have been promised by Christ that the Church cannot error in teachings on faith and morals because He has promised the Holy Spirit will guide them in these matters. Therefore, with regard to teachings on faith and morals, all Catholics can trust with confidence that the Holy Spirit will not allow the Church to err. One bishop speaking on his own, or one cardinal, one priest can err in a teaching of faith and morals…but when the body of bishops, cardinals, priests gather to reflect upon a certain teaching and the Pope concurs with the outcome that teaching is protected by the Promise.

That’s a real sticking point for many not-so-devout Catholics. Takes a while to digest and truly comprehend. It’s difficult for them to trust completely. Whenever there’s an uproar by the ‘faithful’ against a Church teaching I think about how many original Christians walked away from Christ after He instituted the Eucharist. They just couldn’t accept that bread and wine would become his body and blood - they couldn’t bring themselves to accept and continue to follow Christ after that. It takes the grace of the Holy Spirit to help us with these matters.


#16

[quote=miguel]It’s certainly not a free-for-all. We Catholics have an obligation to find out what the Church teaches. A great source is the Catechism. You’ll notice that it is heavily footnoted with biblical sources as well.
[/quote]

Thanks. I will make sure the catechism is my main source. :slight_smile:


#17

[quote=mercygate]“Magisterium” means “teaching authority of the Church” and does not refer to a particular council or person.

BTW, Della’s link is great for the information it provides but be careful of that web site – it’s put up by people who reject the Pope. That, by definition, puts 'em outside the Church, even though they might be quite sound about other things.
[/quote]

I appreciate that info. I’ll probably stick as close as possible to the catechism as I learn about catholic beliefs.


#18

[quote=Matt14]Okay, gotcha. :wink:

I’m learning Latin too, so I guess the “Magisterium” must be the teachers or teaching body, something like that?
[/quote]

Yes. The Magisterium is the living organ of Sacred Tradition that interprets the words of Scripture and the teaching of the Apostles passed down to us through various means, such as the writings of the Early Church Fathers. You would find them of great interest, if you want to understand the beginnings of the Church and what the Church believed in the first 3 to 6 centuries.

Another important issue is the development of doctrine. For that I can recommend no one more than Cardinal John Henry Newman.


#19

[quote=YinYangMom]Even if you don’t read it, keep a copy nearby…it has a good index so you’ll be able to look up whatever particular topic you’re trying to learn about.

But, definitely, that’s the place to start. It’s the Cathlolic Handbook, so to speak, and everything in there has references as to what the teachings are based upon - which passages of scripture, which vatican council documents, which Doctoral letters, etc. - so you can look those up yourself as well if you want to delve further.
[/quote]

Awesome, thanks!

BTW, are Karl Keating and Dave Armstrong respected Catholic authors? Are there others you would recommend more highly?


#20

[quote=YinYangMom]Even if you don’t read it, keep a copy nearby…it has a good index so you’ll be able to look up whatever particular topic you’re trying to learn about.

But, definitely, that’s the place to start. It’s the Cathlolic Handbook, so to speak, and everything in there has references as to what the teachings are based upon - which passages of scripture, which vatican council documents, which Doctoral letters, etc. - so you can look those up yourself as well if you want to delve further.
[/quote]

Good advice, YinYangMom. And if he gets to be a real maven, he can get a copy of the *Companion to the Catechism of the Cahtolic Church, *which has the complete quotations from the cited works.

I just discovered Catholicism for Dummies. It’s a good vademecum – not as dense as the Catechism but good for a basic introduction.


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