History of the Catholic Church


#1

I’ve posted on here before, and I have another question. I’ve recently had the reason to question my faith and some of the beliefs we have as Catholics. Something that I need clarification on is this: Why is it that years and years after the Bible, the Catholic Church defined the existence of Purgatory in the Decree of Union drawn up at the Council af Florence in 1439, and again at the Council of Trent? If it is something that is true and something that is so important, that Jesus wants us to know, why did it not happen until 1439? I know that the Catholic Church does not “make things up” so-to-speak, and that whatever we believe there is back up for. But on this, i’m confused. I’m also aware that there are things non-Catholics think Catholics believe, but sometimes they are mis-informed of our faith…but I don’t think this is a piece of mis-information. Any help on this would be GREATLY appreciated.


#2

IMO it’s kind of like the First Council of Nicea. It comes in response to difference of beliefs and how the Church should address the issue.

The Council was called to form one unified doctrine. There were divergant doctrines ( Arianism in the case od Nicea) Why it took a while because there was evidently a general understanding but no set doctrine. It wasn’t until the Council formaly addressed the doctrine that it was put down and agreed upon by the Church Hierarchy.

The Church has a history of being very slow to change. They don’t just jump on every “New” idea that comes around. In a way that is good. In other ways it is bad. ( althought after 2000 years of criticism the Church can handle it)

There are others here that can explain it better than I. But I thought I’d just throw in my .02.


#3

[quote=buflineks]IMO it’s kind of like the First Council of Nicea. It comes in response to difference of beliefs and how the Church should address the issue.

The Council was called to form one unified doctrine. There were divergant doctrines ( Arianism in the case od Nicea) Why it took a while because there was evidently a general understanding but no set doctrine. It wasn’t until the Council formaly addressed the doctrine that it was put down and agreed upon by the Church Hierarchy.
[/quote]

But why would something so important not be written down in the original doctrine? Especially when concerning our salvation?


#4

Generally the councils defined doctrines which were being misunderstood or disputed. The doctrines around purgatory hadn’t been addressed in earlier councils because they had not been called into question enough for the bishops to feel the need to clarify them.

In other words, there was no need to declare purgatory in councilor documents prior to Florence because it had simply been accepted as part of Sacred Tradition.


#5

Also keep in mind that Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church into all truth, he didn’t say when.

So when any Christian tells you that when they pray, the Holy Spirit reveals to them the true meaning of the scriptures (or so they think), that is precisely what happens to the Church over time. Much prayer, deep theological study, and greater understanding of the scriptures leads the Church to use its binding and loosening authority to teach truths.

Make sense?


#6

[quote=beachieca]I’ve posted on here before, and I have another question. I’ve recently had the reason to question my faith and some of the beliefs we have as Catholics. Something that I need clarification on is this: Why is it that years and years after the Bible, the Catholic Church defined the existence of Purgatory in the Decree of Union drawn up at the Council af Florence in 1439, and again at the Council of Trent? If it is something that is true and something that is so important, that Jesus wants us to know, why did it not happen until 1439? I know that the Catholic Church does not “make things up” so-to-speak, and that whatever we believe there is back up for. But on this, i’m confused. I’m also aware that there are things non-Catholics think Catholics believe, but sometimes they are mis-informed of our faith…but I don’t think this is a piece of mis-information. Any help on this would be GREATLY appreciated.
[/quote]

**This verse clearly says that everything is NOT in the Bible, and that understanding and discernment by the Church will increase over time. **

John 16:12-13, “Many things yet I have to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. BUT WHEN HE, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, HAS COME HE WILL TEACH YOU ALL THE TRUTH. FOR HE WILL NOT SPEAK ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY, BUT WHATEVER HE WILL HEAR HE WILL SPEAK, AND THE THINGS THAT ARE TO COME HE WILL DECLARE TO YOU.”

The following is from an encyclopedia of religious knowledge by Philip Schaff a Bibical Historical scholar whom is not a Catholic.

“PRAYER FOR THE DEAD: Existence among the Jews in the second century before Christ is proved by II Mace. xii. 43-45, in which passage it is stated that not only prayer but sacrifice for the dead was offered by Judas, and the manner of statement shows that the deed was not unusual and was reckoned praiseworthy.
There can be little question that from Judaism the practise passed over to the Christian Church. Attempts have been made to justify the custom by reference to the teaching of Jesus in such passages as Matt. xii. 32, but such inferences are regarded as strained. A more secure scriptural basis is afforded by the famous passage I Pet. iii. 19-20, cf. iv. 6, which is, however, sometimes brought into a forced connection with Zach. ix. 11. Combined with the vogue given by Jewish custom and the affection and hope which reached beyond the grave, this passage gave sanction to the practise in the early Christian Church. Tertullian is the earliest Christian writer who makes reference to prayers for the dead as customary (De exhortatione castitatis, xi.; De anima, Iviii.; De monogamia, x.; De corona, iii.; Eng. transls. in ANF, vols. iii. iv.). Similar testimony is given by Amobius (Adv. gentes, iv. 36), Cyprian (Ep. i. of Oxford ed., 1xv. in ANF, v. 367), Cyril of Jerusalem (Mystagogikai catecheseis, v. ? 7), Augustine (“City of God,” xxi. 13; De cura pro mortuis, i. and iv.), Chrysostom (Commentary on Phil., hom. 3), Dionysius the Areopagite (Hierarchia ecclesiastics, last chap.), and Apostolic Constitutions, VIII., ii. 12, iv. 41 (where the liturgical form is given). By some of these Fathers the custom was regarded as of apostolic institution. That the practise was strengthened by the idea of the solidarity of the Church as including the living and the dead is not unlikely, and a lingering influence of the classical Hades (q.v.) as a sort of middle state may have had its influence. The general practise of the early Church is further evinced by mortuary inscriptions in the earliest Catacombs. In view of all this it is not surprising that the prayer for the dead entered the liturgies, appearing in those of St. Mark, St. James, the Nestorian, Ambrosian, and Gregorian, and the Gallican. The development of the doctrine of Purgatory (q.v.), which in order of time followed the custom, fixed more firmly, if possible, the custom, and there developed in the West the Office (or Mass) for the Dead and the Missa de sanctis, The offering of these prayers was from the earliest times particularly connected with the Eucharist. At the Reformation the practise fell into disrepute among Protestants, largely on the initiative of Calvin, and practically the entire Protestant Church rejects the custom. The Book of Common Prayer retains traces of the practise, which has not been expressly prohibited in the Anglican Church, and is indeed followed in certain parts.”


#7

"So when any Christian tells you that when they pray, the Holy Spirit reveals to them the true meaning of the scriptures (or so they think), that is precisely what happens to the Church over time. Much prayer, deep theological study, and greater understanding of the scriptures leads the Church to use its binding and loosening authority to teach truths.

Make sense?"

Yes…it does make sense. However, here is my understanding of what you wrote:
When the Holy Spirit reveals to Christians the true meaning of the scriptures based off of what they think, the Bishops, Cardinals, the Pope and anyone else involved in the decision making of the doctrine, bases the “truth” off of what they think as well. To me, it seems like it may not really be the truth if they’re using their authority to “bend-the-rules” when it comes to changing the doctrine. That doesn’t seem right to me…does it to you? Sure, they may have a greater and deeper understanding, but using their authority to teach what they “think” is the truth hundreds of years after the basics are introduced in the Bible seems to go against a lot of things. I’m not sure that I explained this clearly, but maybe you get the point??


#8

Just because a doctrine may not be “defined” until some particular council or document does not mean that it was not taught and believed from the beginning.

The memorial markings on the ancient catacombs evidence a belief in purgatory, as does St. Augustine in his writings.

The role of the Apostles and their successors is to pass on what was handed down to them from Christ. They did not immediately sit down and write a complete list of doctrines. There was no need to “define” or to defend many doctrines until such time as they were doubted or attacked.

I recommend this article about purgatory.


#9

[quote=Trento]**This verse clearly says that everything is NOT in the Bible, and that understanding and discernment by the Church will increase over time. **

John 16:12-13, “Many things yet I have to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. BUT WHEN HE, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, HAS COME HE WILL TEACH YOU ALL THE TRUTH. FOR HE WILL NOT SPEAK ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY, BUT WHATEVER HE WILL HEAR HE WILL SPEAK, AND THE THINGS THAT ARE TO COME HE WILL DECLARE TO YOU.”
[/quote]

I disagree. First off, the New Testament was written by the apostles through the Holy Spirit. Second, Acts 1:1-2 states that Jesus instructed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit.

If this is the case, the Holy Spirit was upon the Apostles when they wrote the books. Given that, John 16:12-13 states that when the Holy Spirit comes he will tell the Apostles everything that Jesus hadn’t told them. So, there is no way that this verse says that everything is not in the Bible. If anything, it supports the claim that everything God wanted to be in the Bible is actually in the Bible.


#10

[quote=Trento]**This verse clearly says that everything is NOT in the Bible, and that understanding and discernment by the Church will increase over time. **

John 16:12-13, “Many things yet I have to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. BUT WHEN HE, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, HAS COME HE WILL TEACH YOU ALL THE TRUTH. FOR HE WILL NOT SPEAK ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY, BUT WHATEVER HE WILL HEAR HE WILL SPEAK, AND THE THINGS THAT ARE TO COME HE WILL DECLARE TO YOU.”
[/quote]

I disagree. First off, the New Testament was written by the apostles through the Holy Spirit. Second, Acts 1:1-2 states that Jesus instructed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit.

If this is the case, the Holy Spirit was upon the Apostles when they wrote the books. Given that, John 16:12-13 states that when the Holy Spirit comes he will tell the Apostles everything that Jesus hadn’t told them. So, there is no way that this verse says that everything is not in the Bible. If anything, it supports the claim that everything God wanted to be in the Bible is actually in the Bible.


#11

[quote=BenQ] If anything, it supports the claim that everything God wanted to be in the Bible is actually in the Bible.
[/quote]

You’re right. Everything that God wanted to be in the Bible IS in the Bible. God can do such things when He wants. I doubt few here with disagree with you there, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Fortunately, God also wanted the world to live on and grow after the Bible was written for a greater understanding of the Faith, hence we are lucky to be able to share in the Church.


#12

[quote=ChiFaithful]You’re right. Everything that God wanted to be in the Bible IS in the Bible.
[/quote]

What I meant by that was that the scripture clearly states that when the Holy Spirit comes then they would know the things Jesus was not yet telling them. So, since they were inspired by the Holy Spirit when they wrote the books, they had to have known everything Jesus was talking about. Jesus said when the Holy Sprit comes then you will understand. The Holy Spirit came; they understood.


#13

It seems like the thread ended a while ago, but I’ll throw in something anyway. In response to your last post, about how the Church heirarchy, though possessing greater knowledge and more experience and what-not, could have “bent the rules” so to speak," makes perfect sense…except you are forgeting one crucial thing: the Christ made a promise to His Church that the gates of Hell would not prevail against Her.


#14

So in other words, the Church cannot profess false doctrine, because Jesus said so.


#15

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