Is St Thomas Proof for Catholicism?

I am trying to develop a “St Thomas Proof” for Catholic Christianity. This is the premise:

The Apostle Thomas established the church in India that survives to this day (and is now in communion with the Catholic Church). Since St Thomas established a church in India, which was far away from the Holy Land and Rome, and the current India church is clearly Catholic, this provides proof that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of truth passed on from the apostles.

Some question whether Thomas himself actually evangelized India; and it is a question that is open to debate?

Some claim that he did not leave them with one written word of New Testament Scripture?

Some claim there’s no reasonable basis to claim that Thomas didn’t bring any New Testament Scripture with him?

Some claim the Indian Orthodox church (also known as the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church) uses the so-called Liturgy of St. James. That liturgy includes the reading of the gospels?

Some claim the Malankara church was out of communion with Rome for centuries (whether it is now in full communion is an interesting question in itself). Isn’t it odd to point to a church that was apart from communion with Rome as though it were an example of authentic Christianity?

Did St. Paul have more authority to pass on the faith than St. Thomas?

Please provide additional arguments to support this proof and provide counter arguments for claims against the proof.

God bless.

The St Thomas Christians were heavily involved with the Eastern Orthodox, you couldn’t argue they were isolated from the time of St Thomas, the first few centuries they had a lot of contact with the East, especially Syria etc.

There was a lot of tension when the Portuguese attempted to unite them with Rome, even doctrinal tension. They were Nestorians, and did not believe in the hypostatic nature of Christ in the way we do. So it would not be correct to say, as you have said, that they were clearly Catholic. In fact they were clearly officially heretics.

I think we need to be careful here, just because a church may have common elements with Catholicism that protestants, for example, generally do not have this does not make them Catholic. Of things that are vital we have more in common with many western protestants. Most protestants (who know anything about Christ’s two natures) agree with us on the hypostatic union.

They also did not acknowledge anything about the papacy and they could not be called Catholic at all.

No it would be a lot more accurate to call them (until a branch of them united with Rome and conformed their beliefs to the Papacy) to call them Eastern Orthodox.

I don’t know too much about this, but I do know today that Parts if India are truly Catholic. We had an Indian priest from one area, and he was very devout and orthodox. He’d put some if our American priests to shame. I also foster a girl from the area St.Thomas evangelized and they have a big celebration on his feast day.

Furthermore, I believe that the Apostles didn’t have much written down as they personally witnessed when Jesus was living and probably preached from that. If they had anything it would be some if the OT scripture and prophesies.

I think the better argument is for liturgy and sacraments. ALL ancient churches, even those far apart or out of authority from Rome, believe in seven sacraments and liturgy. So Protestants who claim that stuff was invented later don’t have a leg to stand on.

That may be the approximate length of your proof though.

All of the apostles were sent out to spread the faith.

However, the Christians were first called that name in Antioch.

Peter, appointed by Jesus, went from Jerusalem to Antioch to Rome. He appointed Linus and Clement as successors.

Paul went from Damascus to Rome.

Even Ignatius of Antioch, who wrote about Eucharist, bishops, the word Catholic, etc., was martyred in Rome.

I think those are greater proofs.

Quick clarification: Not all the ancient churches had a clear “seven sacraments” it was not common to codify these at all actually. The Orthodox do not traditionally number them and call all sorts of things “mysteries” or sacraments in the sense that they are means of imparting God’s grace (including prayers hymns etc.)

It is a distinctly Western thing to number them as seven ans it was not as clear cut as that in the early Church. I think it unlikely that the 2nd century Christian children were learning that there were seven specific sacraments in their catechism classes. That doesn’t mean that they did not believe in the sacraments, but it was not nearly so precise as all that.

The tension it seems to me is very important to the case. I have heard the claim that when the Portuguese arrived a good number of them, upon learning that the Chair of Peter still existed, wanted to be joined to it. I also heard the claim there was coercion. The fact that not all went along with the union doesn’t tell us much as in such matters almost never do all agree. The fact that even some does probably say something.

SirEwenii makes an important clarification. I agree with your statement if modified to say at least seven sacraments. As I understand it the issue in the ancient churches isn’t are there less than seven sacraments but are there more.

I agree with your point. Of course we could also say that second century Christian children weren’t being taught the Trinity or at least the word. Church teaching has been clarified and given greater precision over time. And often there were those who disagreed with the clarification. So it isn’t that concerning an issue you’ll always find a unified voice from the past. This is why authority is such a big deal.

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