In Light of the Pope's Remarks: Catholicism of the Middle Ages and Reformation


#1

The church sees itself as the true church that possesses the whole truth. They see Protestants as not possessing the full truth and flawed. However, they think that Protestants can be Christians and go to Heaven. Isn’t this a different stand than the church in previous centuries? Weren’t people who attempted to break away from Catholicism or critisize it executed, tortured and more? Why the change? Isn’t the church’s stand much more relaxed now? If so, doesn’t this show that the church changed its views? If it changed its views, how can it have had an unbroken tradition on this issue?


#2

Good question. The church used to deal rather harshly with scientists such as Galileo who dared to suggest that the Earth may not be the center of the Universe, and that perhaps the Sun didn’t actually revolve around the Earth. That’s changed too.


#3

ANother reason why the pope is in fact NOT infallible…


#4

A. Before Protestantism reared its head, the ones who ‘disagreed’ with Church teachings were pagans and Jews (for whom the Church sought conversion) and heretics (who, having once been believers, and **rejected **Church teachings, were infinitely more dangerous and stood in more danger of damnation. We tend to forget this today). We also tend to think that people ‘then’ had the same kinds of ideas about things like ‘tolerance’ that we do today. They didn’t. The only reason we ‘tolerate’ today was that for the first 100-150 years of Protestantism, we had so much fighting that we would have annhilated each other if we hadn’t stopped. In places where the Protestant groups got large enough (see England), the ones who were tortured and killed and burned etc. were --surprise! The Catholics. So before condemning the Church for its treatment of non Catholics, look very deeply into the long history of how Protestants treated Catholics and indeed other Protestants. Ask any Quaker about his early church history and you’ll see what I mean. Quakers were imprisoned and even killed for their beliefs–not by Catholics, but by other Protestants.
B. The ‘torturing for disagreeing’ and the whole "Gallileo’ debate have been done to death on other threads and indeed, please consult the **library ** right here at Catholic Answers as good Catholics and other Christians still seem to have the same old misinformation trotted out to them.
C. Infallibility is not the same as impeccability. Again, please consult the library. If you can’t even understand what you’re charging a Catholic/The Church with, then we can’t even respond to you. It becomes a strawman argument.

While I think this topic could be worthwhile, I suggest that before we start discussing the Catholicism of the Middle Ages and the Protestant Rebellion that we actually know that there is more than one ‘side’ and that what ‘everybody knows’ about the Inquistion and Gallileo etc. is quite often incomplete at best and inaccurate at worst.


#5

For 1500 years there were no Protestants. There was just the Catholic Church. And often, secular rulers–kings and emperors, viewed heresy as not just a personal religious matter, but as a threat to the state itself.


#6

Prior to the 1500s, There wasn’t “only” a Catholic Church. There was Eastern Orthodoxy in the East.

I agree that many secular rulers had a large role in punishing those who questioned Catholicism during the Reformation. I also agree that their motives were not only spiritually driven, but politically driven as well. One such person was Mary I of England.

The church was known to excommunicate or threaten to excommunicate those who disagreed. Think Henry VIII. The church was also known not to aggressively step in or speak against the Inquisition. They also did not come forward to stop executions or persecution of differences. They did not take the stance of the church today of non Catholics being Christians. Did they? Am I missing this?


#7

I don’t think I would use the term whole truth. This would imply that all truth is contained within theology. It is like saying that the bible is the source of all truth. The Catholic church’s position is that the full deposit of the faith left by the apostles and taught by Jesus Christ has been preserved within the Catholic Church. We often speak of the fullness of the faith.

During the Protestant Reformation, the reformers threw out many things that they felt were not part of their reformed theology. To a Catholic this has reduced the fullness of the faith. I don’t think any Catholic would say that a Protestant person was flawed any more than a Catholic person. We do believe however that Protestant theology is flawed.

The Catholic Church believes that it is up to God to determine who will go to heaven. This fundamental belief has not changed. This raises the question about salvation outside the Catholic Church. I have quoted the catechism on this below:

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

819 “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth” are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.” Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”

So in essence, the separation between Protestantism and Catholicism was so long ago that now many people grow up with only a Protestant viewpoint of faith. Whereas before reformers like Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, who were all trained Catholics could not in good conscience say that they did not reject the Catholic faith with full knowledge; now many people have never studied the Catholic faith well enough to make an informed decision to accept or reject. These people cannot be faulted and the Church leaves open the possibility that they will be saved. Please do not think that I am implying that the Church is judging you in any way. If anything, the current stance is that it is impossible to judge.

I think you might want to study on how the Catholic Church views infallibility and changes in viewpoint. There is no moratorium on changes in the Catholic Church, only changes in formally proclaimed dogma on faith and morals. Papal bulls of excommunication can be and have been changed without contradicting the dogma of the Church.

God’s Peace be with you.


#8

You said-
“So in essence, the separation between Protestantism and Catholicism was so long ago that now many people grow up with only a Protestant viewpoint of faith. Whereas before reformers like Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, who were all trained Catholics could not in good conscience say that they did not reject the Catholic faith with full knowledge; now many people have never studied the Catholic faith well enough to make an informed decision to accept or reject. These people cannot be faulted and the Church leaves open the possibility that they will be saved. Please do not think that I am implying that the Church is judging you in any way. If anything, the current stance is that it is impossible to judge.”

I think this is a reasonable argument to explain how the church became more “relaxed” in their approach to Protestants. However, has it actually been put this way officially by the church? Was 818 of the catechism in place during or prior to the Reformation?

You said:
“I think you might want to study on how the Catholic Church views infallibility and changes in viewpoint. There is no moratorium on changes in the Catholic Church, only changes in formally proclaimed dogma on faith and morals. Papal bulls of excommunication can be and have been changed without contradicting the dogma of the Church.”

So, are you saying that people’s actions are not necessarily related to the actual theology of the church? Could you clarify your point. I was a bit confused.


#9

This is exactly my point. What consisted of heresy in yesteryear is not considered that today. If it was heresy then, it should be heresy now. Political correctness and a current social climate shouldn’t have an effect on what is right and wrong. Even if Catholics and Protestants thought it was best to decide to live in peace, it shouldn’t have altered their condemnation of other’s beliefs. In the past, Catholics saw Protestants and those who were critical of Catholicism as Hell bound. They don’t today. This appears to be a change in their approach and beliefs. I agree that Protestants had a huge role in persecution and that Catholics are often wrongly accused as being the only culprit. Protestants were not the little beaten up lamb and exhibited their own share of nastiness. I think what seems to upset people most about the inqusition etc. is that the church didn’t appear to denounce it. Am I wrong? Were they in support of it? What do you think has been reported inaccurately?


#10

Those who commit the sins of heresy and schism and do not repent are damned. But, someone born into a community created from these things is not necessarily guilty of these sins.

As for being punished phyiscially, this was done by the civil goverment. Many heretics created incredible amounts of social disorder. Just as today when people who stir up disorder and anarchy are punished physically by the state, so were those criminals in those days.


#11

As for being punished phyiscially, this was done by the civil goverment. Many heretics created incredible amounts of social disorder. Just as today when people who stir up disorder and anarchy are punished physically by the state, so were those criminals in those days.

Being a Missourian I can point to my state’s early history as being an example of that. The LDS weren’t ‘persecuted’ for their religious beliefs as they were for the problems their leaders and the fanatics who followed them caused.:shrug:


#12

:shrug: - at least, that’s what I think :slight_smile: It’s best to leave the intellectual stuff to the Vatican; if it wants us to believe X today, & not-X tomorrow, well, fine. Catholic doctrine is to be believed, not understood. So if the Pope wants to change any more doctrines while he’s about it, well, he’s welcome to do so. :smiley:


#13

A. Galileo got in trouble for proclaiming theology rather than science. He simply didn’t have the means to observe and prove his theory, but that didn’t stop him from trying to plug his theory as bald fact.

B. Galileo was also wrong because he thought the Sun was the center of the universe. Good thing the Church didn’t sign on to that.

The Galileo Controversy


#14

The reformers all started out Catholic, so yes they were excommunicated and their theologies were considered to be heresies. Todays Protestants and those going back to the 1600s were never raised Catholic. So they can not be judged according to the standards that the reformers were. I wouldn’t say there was so much a change as a clarification. There had never been anything like the Protestant Reformation until that time.


#15

It would appear that some have not understood that my post regarding Galileo was meant as an ironic response. It appears the subtlety was missed, at least by some. I’ll not name them out of charity. And I’ll desist, at least with subtlety.


#16

Was 818 of the Catechism in existence then? The Reformation and Middle Ages eras?

Oh, how can something be a heresy one day and not the next? If it’s wrong it’s wrong. Are you saying that the Reformers were wrong in their theological leanings to go to Hell, but later followers did not necessarily have to go to Hell for following those theological leanings? What’s the difference? The problem shouldn’t be who started it and when, but what is being followed. A theological stance that is wrong has to prevent everyone from damnation or no one. It’s a black and white issue. This sounds like a politically correct way to dance around what was once a black and white difference between Catholics and non Catholics. This is a major change on the part of the church that has been altered with ten dollar phrases to fit modern society.

I can somewhat see your point IF the church had the viewpoint THEN as expressed in 818 of the catechism (mentioned by an earlier poster). Is this why the Eastern Orthodox were originally seen as heretics and they excommunicated each other and now have mutual respect? To me, a fine line is being drawn. It very much looks like people gradually change their theological views with their societal views.


#17

Will you believe them if they tell you gay marriage is ok? Abortion?


#18

Why is creating schism and heresy different from following it? If the theology is flawed, it’s flawed no matter which is in question. The message is the error. Not the means of discovering it.

Which individuals do you speak of who were killed for disrupting social order? The ones I know of had personal heresy and personal religious beliefs as part of the accusation. They didn’t want people peacefully congregating and practicing anything different. Protestants later did this too.


#19

It has always been the case that only God knows who is “hellbound” and who isn’t.

If there was never “certainty” that any one person was “hellbound” or not, then any statement that any one person was truly “going to hell” would be an opinion, and an opinion of “probability”, such as “this person is MORE LIKELY hellbound than not”.

The fact that some people “misunderstood” these “probablistic” statements as statements of “certainty” is a problem for the “misunderstander”, not the Church.

Just as God allows us “reasonable” arguments for NOT believing in Him, and thereby guaranteeing our “free will”, He allows us to say, or hear, that “we know another’s fate absolutely”, so as to show our foolishness.

Mahalo ke Akua…!
E pili mau na pomaikai iaoe. Aloha nui.


#20

Traditional Gal ~ just curious ~ is this a question that originated in a recent “Contending with the Cults” Sunday school class?


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