Historical Debate


#1

First, let me state that this topic is very controversial, so please keep an open mind when replying. I’ll preface my statements by saying I am a lifelong, practicing Catholic. However, I don’t subscribe to the belief that “I am a Catholic, and, therefore, my beliefs are always right”. I try to keep an open mind and see things from others prospectives. I am also a student of history. History is a great teacher. Based on one of my previous post, most (if not all) people here agree that the Catholic Church was the first Christian Church. Also, I believe that most open-minded Catholics would agree that the Catholic Church has changed in many ways since its inception. From “minor” changes (bowing the head before Communion) to more “major” changes (Latin Masses, not having the Sacristine in public view, Fasting rules, etc.). As a student of history, I’ve come to believe that just because someone did it first, does not mean that they are always right. What I am getting at is maybe our Christian brothers and sisters split with the Catholic Church, not because they wanted a change, but instead because the Catholic Church changed. As an example, the Jewish people were/are God’s chosen people. However, about 2,000 years ago God sent His only Son. Some Jews believed in Him, many did not. Those who did splinter off from the Jewish faith became the first branch of Christians. Why? Because they believed that the rest of God’s chosen people were wrong - we changed. Took a different road, so to speak. Likewise, it is possible that the same thing happen within Christianity and the Catholic faith later in history. People (protestants) believed we were going down the wrong path and tried to correct it and when the Church refused, they in turn took a different road. Again, please keep an open mind; after all we are all Christians.


#2

You have opened a real can of worms here. I will pray that you will not be savaged by some of the cranks and bigots who tend to frequent these forums. As a fellow-historian, i find your comments so interesting, and would like to comment later.


#3

I’d suggest that you study the history of the reformation–I believe that Crocker’s “Triumph of the Cross” would be helpful.

Luther, Knox, Calvin, etc. were not “protesting” foreign elements to the Mass and the faith, not to begin with, and certainly not to end with. Root causes of the Protestant Reformation include anti-clericalism (and the “foreign elements” we hear about were intended to cloak or mask that anticlericalism), the despotism of princes, nationalization, xenophobia, politics (read Maciavelli), greed (ever wonder who benefited from the dissolution of monasteries), and power struggles. There was a lot of disinformation, misinformation, and plain old lying going on, not least to the poor average Joe, Jaques, Iago or Johann just trying to make a living in conditions that we can barely fathom today.


#4

[quote=mjf150]First, let me state that this topic is very controversial, so please keep an open mind when replying. I’ll preface my statements by saying I am a lifelong, practicing Catholic. However, I don’t subscribe to the belief that “I am a Catholic, and, therefore, my beliefs are always right”. I try to keep an open mind and see things from others prospectives. I am also a student of history. History is a great teacher. Based on one of my previous post, most (if not all) people here agree that the Catholic Church was the first Christian Church. Also, I believe that most open-minded Catholics would agree that the Catholic Church has changed in many ways since its inception. From “minor” changes (bowing the head before Communion) to more “major” changes (Latin Masses, not having the Sacristine in public view, Fasting rules, etc.). As a student of history, I’ve come to believe that just because someone did it first, does not mean that they are always right. What I am getting at is maybe our Christian brothers and sisters split with the Catholic Church, not because they wanted a change, but instead because the Catholic Church changed. As an example, the Jewish people were/are God’s chosen people. However, about 2,000 years ago God sent His only Son. Some Jews believed in Him, many did not. Those who did splinter off from the Jewish faith became the first branch of Christians. Why? Because they believed that the rest of God’s chosen people were wrong - we changed. Took a different road, so to speak. Likewise, it is possible that the same thing happen within Christianity and the Catholic faith later in history. People (protestants) believed we were going down the wrong path and tried to correct it and when the Church refused, they in turn took a different road. Again, please keep an open mind; after all we are all Christians.
[/quote]

If you are truly a student of history, then all you need to do is learn what Protestant believe, what Catholics believe, then read the Church fathers. That will clearly show who has strayed from what has always been taught.


#5

I will have to think on your question a little longer before I attempt any comprehensive answer. Concerning Judaism at the time of Christ, it has been estimated (give me some time to find the article) that there were about 6,000,000 Jews in the Empire at the time of the crucifixion. One century later, there were about 1,000,000. They weren’t all killed in the uprising of 70 A.D. The majority of the first century Jews became Christians. Someone with better sources can shoot me down on that, but I’ll throw it out there for now.

I think Karl Keating addressed this a little bit in Catholicism and Fundamentalism, namely that Protestantism has a persistant streak of Puritanism going all the way back to the Reformation. What he means by that is that the Protestant church bodies are constantly trying to go back to what they perceive as the purity of the 1st century church. The most common complaint about Catholics by Protestants is that we add encrustations and unneccessary additions to the purity of the Gospel. I think the question is not, why did the Church change, but why should we expect the Church Christ founded NOT to change, not to explore some facets of the faith deeper, not to develop in its doctrines in the properly understood restricted sense of the word. There is no church on this planet that looks exactly like the 1st century church, nor will there ever be again.

I think what you are driving at is asking why we should give primacy to an opinion because it came earlier in Church history. I think there is a certain sense that those who were closer to the situation in 1st-century Palestine, who were Apostles or who were taught by the Apostles would be more likely to have an accurate sense of what Jesus taught. Think of it kind of like a game of Telephone - the more links in the chain that you have to string together, the more likely it is for error to creep in. Anyone else want to venture an opinion?


#6

To add to this… It all hangs on what you believe the Catholic Church is. Is it just a man made institution or is it from God. If it’s a man made institution then you can be a Luther, or a Calvin. If it’s from God you hold on to it. I believe there is a scripture, which pretty much addresses the same thing. :dancing:


#7

[quote=RSiscoe]If you are truly a student of history, then all you need to do is learn what Protestant believe, what Catholics believe, then read the Church fathers. That will clearly show who has strayed from what has always been taught.
[/quote]

This needs to be repeated periodically in the course of this thread.

Peace in Christ…Salmon


#8

Does the truth change?


#9

I was thinking about the point that some of the Jews split to worship Jesus Christ, so I interpreted that there was a question like, “So who’s to say there isn’t another ‘valid’ split going on here?”

And the answer to that would be, Christ is the final convenant, so His truths are the ones to be obeyed (hence some of the other excellent comments here to determine who has strayed and who has not, and that the Church is what Jesus commands today, not a group of humans).

In the OT God never said this was the last convenant, in fact there were what, about 5 different ones? We have seen the last Convenant.


#10

[quote=INRI]Think of it kind of like a game of Telephone - the more links in the chain that you have to string together, the more likely it is for error to creep in. Anyone else want to venture an opinion?
[/quote]

All it takes is the second person to misinterpret what is said.


#11

[quote=INRI]Think of it kind of like a game of Telephone - the more links in the chain that you have to string together, the more likely it is for error to creep in. Anyone else want to venture an opinion?
[/quote]

I’ve never liked this analogy. The Telephone game that we all played in 1st grade was just that, a game there is no implied assistance from the Holy Spirit in the game. With the Magisterium there is the never-ceasing assistance from the Holy Spirit which makes it far from a game and far from blind repetition.


#12

[quote=Matt16_18]Does the truth change?
[/quote]

The truth does not change, however people do, and the Church is full of them. Changes in the church do not mean changes in what we believe, but rather a deeper understanding, or a change in practice which better benefits the Christians of today. The change that occurs in the church occurs so that we can become closer to God, it does not change the truth about God that the Chruch has always known.


#13

[quote=Sanctus]I’ve never liked this analogy. The Telephone game that we all played in 1st grade was just that, a game there is no implied assistance from the Holy Spirit in the game. With the Magisterium there is the never-ceasing assistance from the Holy Spirit which makes it far from a game and far from blind repetition.
[/quote]

Also, when you look at the belief of today, doctrinally we have not changed. This should in itself show that the Church is guided by the HS and also is very careful when changes do occur. No Catholic wants to destroy the truth of the faith, especially those in the Magesterium.


#14

What God did and said is perfect, what man interprets (or misinterprets) is not. Not matter how much creedence we would like to give ourselves, our predesessors, and our leaders, the fact is they are not beyond making mistakes when it comes to understanding God. One of mankinds biggest mistakes and downfalls is trying to expand too much upon what God said or did. In todays world we don’t have to look very far to see the evil that men do in the “name of God” (or Allah). From killing doctors, who perform abortions, to flying planes into buildings, in the case of misled Muslums. If we take God’s Word in it most true form (the Bible), then we leave ourselves less room for misinterpretation, however, when we begin to add in other books written about religion and by man, we can be easily misled. This includes books written by Catholic and Protestant leaders.


#15

The more that we claim to know about God, the furthur we risk distancing ourselves from His true identity. We, as humans, tend to try to explain as much as possible about things we can’t possibly grasp. We expand upon facts that we have and sometimes add to it information that may not me true, just because it helps to prove our interpretation. We as humans have an ugly habit of recreating God. Case in point: How many of you have a painting of a Jewish-looking, Middle-eastern Jesus hanging in your home or Church? How many are in the Vatican, for that matter? This is just another example of how man twist the image of God to fit his own interpretation.


#16

[font=Comic Sans MS]If I may, I would like to reply. I too have questioned the changes of the Catholic Church. I am a Cradle-Catholic and have always accepted things as they were, never questioning. Because of my recent curiosity of these changes and of the research that has resulted, I have discovered that the changes made were not changes that compromise the morality of Catholics. That, in my opinion, is the most important fact. I could be wrong, so please keep an open mind of my reply. Now, I have read many things that lead a person to believe that eventually there will be changes in the church that may compromise the Catholic faith’s moral teaching. Some would say it is already happening. The Catholic faith itself it true. The humans that make up that faith do make mistakes. Let’s just hope and pray that the Holy Spirit continues to guide them and us down the right path. [/font]


#17

In reality, Christianity is not a “split” from Judaism, but rather it’s fulfillment. Jews anticipated a Messiah, and many if not most, recognized him when he arrived, even though he was not exactly what they had imagined.

Jesus was Jew, all the apostles were Jews, as well as all the first converts, who were converts in the sense that they recognized Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. After the ascension, the Christians continued to worship in the temple and in synagogue until they were kicked out. The first Christian controversy arose about whether or not Gentile converts must be circumcised and follow the rabbinic laws.

Catholic worship has more in common with Jewish worship than it does with Protestant worship, because it was derived from it. It is a continuation of the Jewish worship into the new covenant, expanded to accept all mankind.

After the fall of Rome, the western and part of the eastern world became united to a great extent under the Catholic Church. There was, after all, only one Christian church.

The protestant reformation tragically divided Christendom: divided it doctrinally, divided it politically, divided it culturally, destroyed its unity. The results are still evident today. It was not required for reform. What’s needed for reform are people like Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Sienna, and numerous others who started new religious orders and reformed the church from within. Christ told Frances in a vision, “Rebuild my Church.” and he took him too literally, scavenging stones to rebuild the little church at San Damiano. But Christ had a larger rebuilding in mind, and Francis undertook that too, without splitting the unity of the Church.


#18

you didn’t say whether or not you believed in the truths in the Bible… I assume you do… if you do, then what you profess flies in the face of scripture and tradition…

Read the gospel of Matthew… (especially the part where Peter is given the keys)…

Where did the gates of hell prevail…?


#19

[quote=mjf150]The more that we claim to know about God, the furthur we risk distancing ourselves from His true identity. We, as humans, tend to try to explain as much as possible about things we can’t possibly grasp. We expand upon facts that we have and sometimes add to it information that may not me true, just because it helps to prove our interpretation. We as humans have an ugly habit of recreating God. Case in point: How many of you have a painting of a Jewish-looking, Middle-eastern Jesus hanging in your home or Church? How many are in the Vatican, for that matter? This is just another example of how man twist the image of God to fit his own interpretation.
[/quote]

mjf150,

It is not a matter of how man interpretes images or teaching to their own likeness. The Catholic Church is against that, that is what the protestants try to do. The idea with Catholicism is that they take what was taught and understood by the early Christians and make it more understandable for Christians of today(I think this was highlighted already). Actually there really are no changes in doctorine at all, just changes on how we understand and look at it. example: Jesus has always died on the cross and our sins were forgiven, no matter how you have come to understand why it is that by Jesus dying on the cross = forgiveness of sins it will still be true.

God Bless


#20

By and large, the idea that Protestantism was an attempt to “get back” to the “pure” Christianity of the early Church, and to clean away the encrustrations of tradition, was always a piece of spin.

It was based on the misconception of looking on the Church as described in “Acts” and Paul’s letters through sixteenth century eyes - and today through 21st century eyes. Paul and Luke describe no masses, no rituals, no cathedrals, no prayer to Saints, no decoration in churches. Does this mean these things did not exist, even in rudimentary form in the original church? The “reformers” said No, they didn’t exist. But they could only say this by ignoring key bible passages, and by ignoring the evidence we have that the early Church practiced all these things.

In fact the idea, that the Protestants were correcting abuses that had crept into the Church, was always a shaky proposition. The protestants’ doctrines came directly from their belief in Salvation by Faith Alone - which meant no church and sacraments were needed. They also needed to deny the authority of the Church and use its wealth to pay off the secular rulers who supported them. Therefore they had to denigrate its organisation and validity.

It was primarily to carry along the general public of Germany, Switzerland, Britain and Scandinavia, that the idea was put about by the protestants that they were merely **restoring ** the church to some earlier purity, rather than changing it. Most people knew little of history, so when the reformers told them that the Catholic Church had “added” all these extra doctrines and practices (allegedly only a couple of hundred years before), a lot of people believed them.

People who would not have accepted new doctrines, swallowed them when told (falsely) that these were old doctrines, rediscovered.


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