Is Cannon Necessary?


#1

Why have a bible at all? For the first 3 centuries after Christ’s loving sacrifice there was no canonized New Testament. Christians discussed, debated, reasoned and felt the Word in an effort to understand Christ/the Word. They followed a model similar to the Jewish model of constant updating and renewal rather than top-down commands from those who claim to speak for God.

There were many versions of the canonical and non-canonical texts for centuries after Christ’s sacrifice. Did the God’s message suddenly become fixed, static, and knowable in the 4th century? Were the Christians that lived for the first three centuries without a canonized text misguided while the pagan emperor and a small circle of men knew better than those who had lived for centuries before?

I sometimes wonder if the movement towards standardizing Christ, his teachings and the Father did more harm than good. Christ taught through interaction and discussion, why has the church abandoned Christ’s model? When He directed his followers to spread his teachings He told them to go to these places and to discuss issues with people. To me, His model is much better because to requires interaction and reaching out to and understanding with those who believe differently. The focus was on bringing the Light and the message of salvation to others. The cannon reflects this method of spreading the gospel. Some of the texts are representations of the ongoing attempt to understand Christ’s teachings! Think of the letters to different groups. These are snapshots of a debate or process of understanding. Think of it this way. In the beginning the Word was with and was God. The Word became flesh and suffered that we may be forgiven. Do we think the Word, the Creator and the Lamb can fit into a book? The answer must either be, no so the book is not a complete description of Him OR Yes, the book does fully illustrate/explain him. if the book is a complete description of Him, it must necessarily be infititely complicated and as far from out ability to comprehend as He is. Either way how can we use it as a basis to speak for Him and tell our brothers and sisters what He thinks of them and their actions?

Further, it is better to study God through man’s 1600 year old initial attempt at a complete understanding of Him or by continuously studying His creation and those He created in his image?

Since we Christians have adopted a single, complete, unchanging canon it seems, the focus has partially shifted to bringing condemnation and judgement based on violations of man’s written interpretation of the Word while steadfastly refusing to entertain the distinct possibility that man’s interpretation might be flawed due to our limited ability to under Him. It has routinely become a weapon to justify atrocities and injustice because of the flawed belief that the Bible is accurate and complete AND we understand it well enough to tell others of their sins and offenses against God and the punishment God has reserved for them. Or to tell believers in Chist that, despite their professed belief, they do not qualify for forgiveness. Some of us even truly believe that we know how the world will end because we’re so smart and so righteous that we know God’s mind.

does this human-induced rigidity lead to wasting time defending and debating inaccuracies or seeming inconsistencies in the text? Does a never-changing text make Christianity look foolish by limiting our ability to incorporate newly developed knowledge and contemporary discoveries? Every judgment, condemnation, or defense of the TEXT or trying to use the Bible to discredit scientific understanding is time spent NOT spreading the message of salvation. The same can be said for time spent telling Gays that their sinners or telling AIDS-ridden African nations that the church’s stance on condoms outweighs the millions of lives that could be saved by using condoms. IS telling people they have to choose between God and ever having a loving relationship or protecting themselves from a horrible disease spreading the message of salvation? I find it hard to say yes.

Is the process of discovery and discussion (with Christians a nonchristians) and reason and attention to the soft voice of the Holy Spirit more important than the proper translation of this word or that word? Why do we defend not the bible, but our current understanding of it so vehemently? Why cannot Christianity be more of a process aimed at understanding or growing toward God rather than a fixed set of laws, punishments and labels?

Finally, given the clear atrocities committed in the name of God and justified by the text, should we promote a less dogmatic absolutist stance regarding the rightness of our understanding of the Bible and the wrongness of everyone else’s? That is not at all to say that we should throw our foundation texts out. Rather it is to suggest that we admit and embrace our limited ability to understand them and to acknowledge that God reigns supreme and not out current, entrenched beliefs about him. Is it not hubris to think we know without a doubt what a particular verse means? Is it not sinful to take that arrogant understanding and use it to judge others and tell them they are disappointing God?


#2

The Canon of Scripture excludes error. That is at least as important as including inspired texts.


#3

I recommend that you read the Catechism sections on Sacred Scripture…You need to :fine tune" your understanding of what Sacred Scripture…what the Bible actually is in its Essence.

**To quote Saint Jerome & St. Paul in Phil 3:8 : ** Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ

You really have presented a lot of thoughtful and interesting ideas and issues and recommendations…God has considered them all…each and everyone of them…in all aspects of your thoughts and recommendations…and has decided to do it another way…Here is his decision:
Pax Christi

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
SECOND EDITION

II. INSPIRATION AND TRUTH OF SACRED SCRIPTURE

105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. "The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit."69

"For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."70

106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. "To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more."71

107 The** inspired books teach the truth**. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as** affirmed by the Holy Spirit,** we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."72

108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living”. 73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, **Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”**74

V. SACRED SCRIPTURE IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH

131 "And such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigor, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life."109 Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful."110

132 "Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture."111

133** The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.112**


#4

Very good point.


#5

Whose error? Are we incapable of erring when interpreting scripture? Certainly not. The perfection of scripture does not rule out our mistaken interpretation OR the necessity that our interpretation changes as we grow and gain a fuller understanding of Creation, ourselves and God.


#6

The Church grows and the Spirit of Truth has many things to tell us for us to better understand the thoughts of God.

Did it not take some time before the Spirit revealed to s. Peter that the Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles? Was a Council not called in Jerusalem in order for the whole Church to agree on that matter?

Also, did it not take some time for Scripture itself to be slowly written? I refer to the letters of the apostles and the Revelation to John.

Yes, the Canon of Sacred Scripture became fixed, static, and knowable when Holy Church defined it. Nothing can be added, and nothing can be removed from that Canon. I am not sure what you are trying to say when you speak of “the pagan emperor and a small circle of men”. That is not how the Canon was defined - that, also, is an argument in odor of protestantism.

In the centuries before 419 A.D., there were many, perhaps hundreds of writings, and some forgeries that had to be sorted out and decided upon as to if they were canonical (canon = rule or official list) or not. Also, the early Catholic Church was scattered out in communities over a wide geographic area.

The Synods of Hippo, 393 A.D. and Carthage (397 A.D.,and later, 419 A.D.,) gave us the canon of Sacred Scripture as Catholics know it today. Although these were just local councils, Saint Augustine did insist that the list given by these councils be sent to Rome for approval. Pope Saint Siricius (384-399 A.D.) approved the canon just as his papal predecessor Pope Damasus I had done in a Synod of Rome in 382 A.D. with a formal writing.

The Council of Toledo, A.D. 400, reaffirmed that only those Scriptures which the Catholic Church has received, ought to be held in authority or venerated.

A friend of Saint Jerome, Saint Exuperius of Toulouse, a Gallican bishop, wrote to Pope Innocent I in a formal letter requesting the list of canonical books. The Pope replied - honoring Saint Exuperius - with a letter listing the canonical books: Consulenti Tibi (405 AD). This list is also the same as the canonical list that Catholics have today.

The Biblia Sacra Vulgata was completed by s. Jerome about 406 A.D. About 1000 years later, the Council of Trent, Session Four (April 16 1546) would reaffirm that are to be accepted as sacred and canonical the books as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the Latin Vulgate.

The Ecumenical Council of Florence again affirmed the list of inspired books in 1442 A.D., (“Decretum pro Jacobitis” by Pope Eugenius IV), a whole hundred years before Trent.

The canon of the Bible was solemnly defined and made dogmatic by the Fourth Session of the Ecumenical Council of Trent by the Decree “De Canonicis Scripturis” on April 8th, 1546. Pope Pius IV formally confirmed all of its decrees in 1564 A.D.

In the light of your last few paragraphs reporting your own personal considerations and judgments about Sacred Scripture, we must also remember what Holy Church has established under the infallible charism of truth:

If anyone, however, should not accept the said books as sacred and canonical, entire with all their parts, as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate edition, and if both knowingly and deliberately he should condemn the aforesaid traditions let him be anathema.

Let all, therefore, understand in what order and in what manner the said Synod, after having laid the foundation of the confession of Faith, will proceed, and what testimonies and authorities it will mainly use in confirming dogmas, and in restoring morals in the Church…

Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod taking into consideration that no small benefit can accrue to the Church of God, if it be made know which one of all the Latin editions of the sacred books which are in circulation is to be considered authentic, has decided and declares that the said old Vulgate edition, which has been approved by the Church itself through long usage for so many centuries in public lectures, disputations, sermons, and expositions, be considered authentic, and that no one under any pretext whatsoever dare or presume to reject it.

Furthermore, in order to curb impudent clever persons, the synod decrees that no one who relies on his own judgment in matters of faith and morals, which pertain to the building up of Christian doctrine, and that no one who distorts the Sacred Scripture according to his own opinions, shall dare to interpret the said Sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which is held by holy mother Church, whose duty it is to judge regarding the true sense and interpretation of holy Scriptures…


#7

[quote="Swc651, post:5, topic:329738"]
Whose error? Are we incapable of erring when interpreting scripture? Certainly not. The perfection of scripture does not rule out our mistaken interpretation OR the necessity that our interpretation changes as we grow and gain a fuller understanding of Creation, ourselves and God.

[/quote]

It excludes error in bringing together the Canon of Sacred Scripture.

The interpretation of Sacred Scripture is a privilege of the teaching authority, the Magisterium - not ours. It is the Lord who gives light to the Church to understand Scripture, and we must conform our understanding to that which the Church presents, for that, too, is free of error - as every teaching on faith and morals.


#8

This argument is not proper for a Catholic to hold. This simply shows that you either do not know fully or are unwilling to profess the orthodox Christian faith as it ought to be held by all disciples of Jesus Christ.

Why cannot Christianity be more of a process aimed at understanding or growing toward God rather than a fixed set of laws, punishments and labels?

That is not what orthodox, apostolic Christianity is. That is what your personal Christianity is, apparently.

Finally, given the clear atrocities committed in the name of God and justified by the text, should we promote a less dogmatic absolutist stance regarding the rightness of our understanding of the Bible and the wrongness of everyone else’s? …]Is it not hubris to think we know without a doubt what a particular verse means? Is it not sinful to take that arrogant understanding and use it to judge others and tell them they are disappointing God?

Again, your lack of understanding or refusal to believe in the charism of truth that the Church of Christ has received - which does not make her impeccable, but it does make her infallible in teaching faith and morals - is beyond discussion. The chief priest and counsel of elders also found it quite arrogant and sinful when Christ affirmed that He was the Son of the Living God, in fact that He was making himself equal to God. But that was not a point to be put into discussion - Christ’s divinity was a stumbling block, and yet He affirmed it. The same can be said of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist - when Christ taught that, many disciples stopped following him, and He turned to the twelve and asked calmly: are you going to leave me too? Some things are not open to discussion. We have had heretics and nonbelievers ever since the days of Pentecost, in fact we have had one amidst the chosen twelve, and even as Christ preached some wanted to throw stones at Him.

The same is true for the Apostolic Church. It is of divine origin, a divine institution. Its head is Christ, and is guided by the Holy Spirit. It does not err on matters of faith and morals. In its net we have good fish and bad fish. Bad plants have grown along with good plants. But it is still the city on the hill that cannot be hidden, the rock on which whoever stumbles upon will be shattered, and on whom whoever builds will be called a wise man and overcome storms.

Clearly you are facing a time of trial in your faith for the Church. Make no mistake: the Christian Profession of Faith is not just about our Lord Jesus Christ. We also profess other things, among which is our belief in the Church, which is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic - with the implications that this has. Scripture (and all the Church Fathers) remind us that it is the Church of the living God, pillar and foundation of the truth. I advice that you discuss these matters under spiritual direction, because the voice of the spirit that is against Christ seems to be very loud now, and it is very dangerous to listen to that very clever voice and be led away from the Church. I made that mistake, and people suffered for that reason, including myself. Do not make that same error.


#9

The one question you have not asked, Swc651 is why the Church compiled a canon of Scripture. The answer is simple. It wasn't to codify doctrine or dogma since these were taught before Scripture was organized into a set number of books, as you cited. It was for the Liturgy of the Word within the Mass and daily prayer life of the Church.

Up until the time the Scriptures, especially the NT books, were gathered and given approval, churches used whatever books they had. Many were passed around and used without any supervision by the Church. So, the pope decided to compile a list of books for use in the liturgies of the Church that would be considered inspired. Many were looked at quite carefully, including the Didache, but only those that met a set criteria were put on the list.

This does not mean we cannot and do not draw from many sources to understand God's truths. Anything that aids our understanding of God and his work among men is fine for inspiration and devotion and in the search for truth. However, only the books in the canon are considered the inspired word of God. That is the distinction that matters.


#10

I was in the middle of posting a different response to your previous post. Yes, I am questioning things and it is hard for me. But, I am not doing so out of malice or sin. Why am I not allowed to say what I don’t understand and what doesn’t make sense for me? How else am I supposed to understand?

I can’t reconcile the infallibility of the Church with reality. It is also killing me that I feel that the Church stands between me and Christ sometimes. I am constantly told not to go to Jesus for important things but to instead go to a man. Why? Because that man says he is infallible and even has the Book to prove it. Of course, he had a huge hand in determining whether the book gave him that power, but that’s OK because he is infallible. I just feel like I am being led in a circle that always ends up with the same result: to have faith in man as a substitute for communion with the savior. Every time I try to talk about it, I am told that questioning man is questioning Christ! But I am not! I am questioning what the flesh and blood sinner in front of me is telling me I must believe. I feel like my head is going to explode.


#11

I understand what you are saying. I am asking WHY the Church closed the Book. Why did it take unto itself and remove from all others the privilege to investigate the Word? I’m scared of the answer is all. If the Church was infallible 1600 yrs ago and since, then all of the death and destruction throughout the millennium and a half since is not the work of man, but the work of Christ. I can accept that Man creates evil, but not the the other.

And if the Church is infallible and has been since inception, why has it changed? Since we don;t conduct inquisitions anymore why can we not stop preaching hate? Why do I have to love my mother but hate her actions? Why can I not just say that I love my mother and refrain from judging her actions? Did Jesus not say He is the only judge?

I don’t want to look at those around me and see sin. I want to see the love of Christ, but it is getting harder because I am being told to love the sinner but hate the sin. I just cant anymore.

Also, that it took


#12

If being led away from the Church is falling from Christ, does this mean my American cousins are not good Christians? This the stuff that is making my head feel like it’s going to explode. To accept one thing I have to accept something seemingly terrible along with it.


#13

So what reality conflicts with the infallibility of the POPE and the Magisterium of the Church?
How can the representative of Christ here on earth chosen directly by Him stand between you and Him? That does not make sense!!!
Go to Jesus for important things? What? Confess your sins and be granted absolution?

Again Jesus Himself showed the Apostles how you can gain your forgiveness in such matters and it is not the man that forgives you he is empowered by Jesus to forgive your sins by Him. The man can only act as Jesus commanded him to act. And you if you are a true follower of Jesus will do as HE willed.
If you question this you are in fact questioning Jesus Himself for He commanded His followers to do this for all time.
Imagine that the Apostles had not written the canon and we could only rely on the Tradition which is the word handed down though the ages, how would you feel?
Would you believe a bunch of men saying you need to do this or that in order to attain salvation?
Well that is precisely the way things were up to the year 270 after Christ death and resurrection.
Many people were led astray because false prophets came up with heresies.
Did the promulgation of the canon improve things? I don’t know and yet if the Church deemed important to promulgate it who am I to question that?
I just thank God for the ispiration to seek and preserve the canon for us.
Perhaps you need to ask the Holy Spirit to have the wisdom and the humility needed to see how important it is for us to have it but more important to have the True Church to guide us till the end of times.

Peace


#14

I would never dare to say that you are doing it out of malice or sin. I do not doubt your good faith.

However, there is a major difference between searching for the truth (which is good and holy) and impugning the revealed truth (which is an offense against the Holy Spirit). To try to understand things that don’t make sense to you is commendable. To question things however can be very dangerous. We are up against very, very clever enemies. Never forget that. It’s not just you thinking of things. Thoughts will come, and some of them are from your own mind, but other (especially the more subtle and seemingly truthful ones) are not. That is why I suggest that you address these thoughts with a spiritual director. It’s not about being immature, it’s about realizing this is a major thing that is happening, and that if you don’t do things properly you won’t understand - you’ll simply embrace the error that appears more truthful and refuse entirely to listen to the truth. God forbid that you ever arrive at that point - but the farther we walk away from the Church and grow to dislike and distrust her, the closer we get to that point. I would never have gotten out of that, hadn’t it been by a special and most undeserved grace that made me realize how mistaken I had been.


#15

I can’t reconcile the infallibility of the Church with reality. It is also killing me that I feel that the Church stands between me and Christ sometimes. I am constantly told not to go to Jesus for important things but to instead go to a man. Why? Because that man says he is infallible and even has the Book to prove it.

See, this is exactly what I mean. The infallibility of the Church is a very real thing - would the Church had stood for two thousand years, arriving to this time of convulsion with still over a billion faithful, standing as the greatest charitable institution in the whole world, with over a million people who have renounced all that life entitled them to have and embraced consecrated life, some of them even vows of poverty and travelling to the most poor or dangerous places in the world? If you were a sick man in the middle of a small African town and a missionary came to bring you some water, food, and medicine, would you feel that the Church stands between you and Christ? No - it is only when we don’t need the Church that we feel that way. Have you forgotten that we are all members of Jesus’s body? Have you forgotten that Jesus is not an abstract deity but a living God, and that we find Him reflected in each of us? Jesus appointed shepherds over his flock, because the flock cannot take care of himself. He specifically told the apostles: as the Father sent me, so I send you - and He gave them a power above all other power, that of forgiving sins in such way that they are truly forgiven, because it is He who acts, and the man is a mere instrument. This was foreseen in the days of the Old Covenant, and made clear in the New Covenant especially as Paul reminds us that all priests now share in the priesthood of the eternal High Priest, Christ.

No man claims to be infallible. It is Christ who told us that He would give us the Spirit of truth which the world cannot receive. It is not a book that proves it, for the book simply writes down what Christ said. Others, such as the Church Fathers, who had no access to that book, heard the teaching directly from the Apostles or their immediate successors. This is the faith of the Church. If the Church can be mistaken on matters of faith and morals, then who can know the truth? Is this what God wants for His children? To wander around with no guide? Did He not say: I will not leave you orphans?

If you believe in Christ, then you must realize that He is not a liar, but Truth itself, and that He loves us, even to a degree that we are unable to comprehend. He would not appoint shepherds over us only to then change His mind and let everyone, according to their time and culture, determine what is right and wrong, reinterpret Scripture, re-establish morality, redefine faith. That is relativism, and it has only brought despair and death to the world! Look what it is doing to you. Is it bringing you peace, the peace that Christ said He would give us, or is it taking it away from you and giving you in return anguish, worries, distrust in the Church, in Scripture, and even in Christ?

You must relax and remember that God is in control. He is in control.

Once you acknowledge that, we can definitely agree that the Church is a hospital of sinners, that we’ve had saints and demons (even amidst the twelve chosen by Christ), and that we all make mistakes in understanding God’s will.

Then you must recall that it is not men, sinful creatures of flesh and a fallen nature, who interpret Scripture and God’s mind. It is the Spirit of truth, and the charism that Christ gave to the Church. That Spirit cannot be mistaken. That Spirit is love and peace.

When the apostles traveled to far regions and spoke of Christ and His teachings, they had no book, and they were human beings, regular human beings with their own struggles and crosses. They all admit it, even in writing. Why would people listen to them? Because they received what the Church Fathers term the infallible charism of truth. They spoke, or rather, Christ spoke through them.

That same Spirit speaks through the Church when teaching us the faith and the tenets of morality. The world was a wretch when Christ came down to us - even the most brilliant civilizations were tarnished by the worst immorality, the greatest crimes. The Church brought to the world things that we now take for granted - charity, mercy, human rights, the dignity of the virgin, of the wife, of the mother, of woman, the respect for children, the care for the widow, the orphan, the elderly.

How was this accomplished? Nobody else in the history of mankind ever did anything like this - and two thousand years later, here we are, you and I, a drop in an ocean of believers, walking out there in a world that is more than ever in the grip of the evil one, bringing hope, love, and concrete help…and it all begun with a handful of people who walked around telling that their beloved master had risen from the dead and was in fact God. Who would ever believe that? Yet here we are.

I do understand your concerns. They are reasonable. God said: I no longer call you servants, but friends, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. You are a friend of God, a brother of Christ, a child of the Church. You deserve to know and understand.

But how will you know and understand, if you question the authority of those who God has appointed to teach us and chosen to bear a Spirit that does not err when teaching about faith and morals?

How will you learn the will of Christ if you don’t listen to His spouse, the Church? How will you hear His voice, if you refuse to listen to the shepherds? I know what you feel. I’ve been there and I have friends who’ve been there. Just seek the truth in the Church. Go to your priest, tell him how you are feeling, ask all the questions. Don’t distrust the Church, otherwise I tell you, nobody else will be able to provide the answers your soul needs.


#16

Also, this is where I get really confused. If this is true

"108 Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book." Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, a word which is "not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living". 73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures."

then why do we take our interpretation of God's word into the world and tell others that they are sinning and living in unholiness? Why do we tell gays that we hate their sin because God forbids it? If the world is different now than it was when the words we use to support our condemnation of homosexual acts were written, how can we claim they must have the same meaning today as 1600 yrs ago?

This one confounds me too.

"For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."

The Church chose which books made up the Bible 3 centuries after Christ lived. There were many versions of the Gospel not included and other versions of the books that were included. Many of those versions protested the establishment of a centralized authority created for the purpose of telling us God's will. Why did the Church decide to use the version that painted Judas as a traitor rather than as one asked by jesus to turn him in?

Taking the Church's word on faith that they chose the right interpretations and those interpretations just happened to give the Church incredible authority is not faith in God, but faith in


#17

[quote="Swc651, post:12, topic:329738"]
If being led away from the Church is falling from Christ, does this mean my American cousins are not good Christians? This the stuff that is making my head feel like it's going to explode. To accept one thing I have to accept something seemingly terrible along with it.

[/quote]

It means they are not in full communion with the Church of Christ. They do not know the fullness of the truth. They do not have access to the Sacraments that give life to our soul - especially Confession - and they do not have access to the Holy Eucharist in which Christ is truly, really present.

Are they not good Christians? To be a good Christian is to love God with all our selves and our neighbor as much as He loved us. Nobody is good except God, but everyone - even non-Christians - are called and can be "good Christians" by doing God's will.

However, how can I do what is best, if I do not know what is best? If there are errors in the doctrine I follow, if teachings of critical importance are missing, how can I truly do what is best?

All Christians, even those in ecclesial communities not in full communion with the Church, are called to do God's will and can do so. The road is harder, however, when errors are present that distort the truth and the Sacraments are not there to strengthen us and bless us. Christ takes care of each and everyone of His little brothers, even nonbelievers benefit of His immense love. But it is the Catholic Church that has been appointed to treasure the orthodox apostolic faith, she is the light and the city on the hill which cannot be hidden. If she was not there, we would not have Christianity, only tens of thousands of communities who disagree on what the Bible teaches and on what God's will is.


#18

[quote="JerryZ, post:13, topic:329738"]
So what reality conflicts with the infallibility of the POPE and the Magisterium of the Church?

*Crusades, killing of christians during the inquisition simply because they werent the right kind of christian according to the Pope, condeming condoms when condoms could help prevent millions of HIV infections and AIDS deaths; serious sexual misconduct by crhist's representatives (see Africa, not just the overly publicized other stuff). *

How can the representative of Christ here on earth chosen directly by Him stand between you and Him? That does not make sense!!!
Go to Jesus for important things? What? Confess your sins and be granted absolution?

Does not my confessor have the right to decide whether I am absolved? Does not the confessor decide my penance?

Perhaps you need to ask the Holy Spirit to have the wisdom and the humility needed to see how important it is for us to have it but more important to have the True Church to guide us till the end of times.

THIS. Does this not elevate the Church above the Holy spirit?

Peace

[/quote]


#19

[quote="Swc651, post:11, topic:329738"]
I understand what you are saying. I am asking WHY the Church closed the Book. Why did it take unto itself and remove from all others the privilege to investigate the Word? I'm scared of the answer is all.

[/quote]

No need to be afraid. :) The main criteria for a writing to be part of the canon was it had to have a direct connection to one of the Apostles--those who heard Christ speak in the flesh. This was a guarantee that heretical ideas would not invade the canon of Scripture. I think this was very wise and sensible.

If the Church was infallible 1600 yrs ago and since, then all of the death and destruction throughout the millennium and a half since is not the work of man, but the work of Christ. I can accept that Man creates evil, but not the the other.

Infallibility is not impeccability. Impeccability means someone who cannot sin. The Church has never claimed that its leaders could not sin and make personal mistakes. Their charism of infallibility does not mean this at all. There were many wrongs done by leaders in the Church, but they are not the whole of the Church nor has the Church changed any doctrine or dogma.

And if the Church is infallible and has been since inception, why has it changed? Since we don;t conduct inquisitions anymore why can we not stop preaching hate? Why do I have to love my mother but hate her actions? Why can I not just say that I love my mother and refrain from judging her actions? Did Jesus not say He is the only judge?

Who is preaching hate? And why do you have to "not judge" bad actions as bad no matter who commits them? It makes no sense to say that the Church has been bad, but the people in it haven't been or shouldn't be judged by their actions. Not judging others does not mean blinding ourselves to sin. Rather it means being merciful to others because we ourselves are also sinners. Do you see the difference? :)

I don't want to look at those around me and see sin. I want to see the love of Christ, but it is getting harder because I am being told to love the sinner but hate the sin. I just cant anymore.

Also, that it took

Of course you can hate sin and love the sinner. Why ever not? People aren't their sins--but we are all sinners. You surely don't think of yourself as perfect, nor do I. So, what does that mean? It means we both sin from time to time. It doesn't mean we can't love or be loved. It means we have to be kind to one another and treat each other with even more love and respect so we can help each other. That's what Christ meant by not judging one another, not that we cannot see sin when it's right in front of us.


#20

When the Church says love the sinner and hate the sin it is saying that you love all sinners (just like Jesus loved them) however that does not mean you are to condone sin or even worse imitate the sinful behaviour.
When He commanded us to not judge others that is not a command to allow any behaviour or sin.
How are we to know weather something is sin or not if we do not excercise our intelligence and make a “judgement” about it.
What we cannot do is judge other people’s salvation or damnation, we leave that to God for His is the last word on that.

Remember also that Jesus said that for His sake people would be separated and even be killed “father against son and son against father”.

To be a true Christian you have to forgive others and strive not to be pulled into sinfull actions, thoughts and behaviours.

Also I would like to understand where did you hear that the Church spreads hate?
Why don’t you try to do some research into what really took place in the inquisition?
You also need to learn the conditions of the place where this actions took place.
Further you also need to understand that the Church herself was not the one conducting the killing. That has for the most part being carried out mostly by temporal powers. (monarchs, chieftans, etc.)
Even the crusades that many protestants and atheist blame on the Church where actually managed by temporal powers. Because the Church DOES NOT HAVE ARMIES :rolleyes:

We have armies of praying people since the beginning.

Also this question of yours about closing the Book baffles me. Who could add more to it?
The 4 Gospels were written by people that were directly influenced by Jesus and His direct apostles. Is it possible that anyone can have direct knowledge of Jesus after that?


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