Judging the Church by its fruit.


#1

Catholics commonly say to Protestants, “with all the denominations out there, each interpreting the scripture their own way, how do you know which is right?” The bible gives us a way to know:
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:16-17
I wonder how Catholicism’s fruit should be judged. Europe comes to mind. It has a long history of Catholicism.


#2

With the clergy scandals, I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about the “fruits” of the catholic church. :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

What about all the Catholic hospitals?

What about St. Vincent de Paul Societies that help the poor and hungry every day?

What about Catholic Charities that help counsel women in crisis pregnancy?

What about all the Catholic missionaries throughout the world?

What about the Catholic chaplains that serve in the military?

What about those who pray for the needy, lonely, depressed, hungry, etc., during their holy hours of Eucharistic adoration?

What about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered every day, maybe every hour, somewhere on the earth with prayers for the whole world?


#4

If we were all perfect we wouldn’t need Jesus.

By the standards in the first 2 posts, no church teaches anything right… we all have sinners.

Ad hominem attacks just do not work.


#5

Are you talking about recent times or the whole history of the Church? One could write a book about the good fruits of the Catholic Church. Could we narrow it down a bit?

How about the Catholic martyrs in the 20th century:
Sacred Scripture tells us that God does not try anyone beyond his strength. If so, the Lord seems to have had a very high opinion of Catholics in the century that just ended. More Catholics were probably persecuted, tortured, and martyred than in any previous century.

Martyrdom is not a common notion today, even for Catholics. The recent retrospectives on the past century, for example, highlighted political or social events. But thousands of Catholics were martyred in the 20th century either for refusing to deny their faith or because Catholicism threatened dictatorial regimes like Nazism or Communism. The stories of these brave men and women, almost all of whom peacefully accepted their deaths, forgiving their persecutors, need to be recovered because they are a living witness to a permanent feature of authentic Christian life.

More: catholicherald.com/royal/royal1.htm

You specifically mentioned Europe, how about the 700 Catholic martyrs who died in Germany in the 20th century:

geocities.com/orthopapism/ahn1.html

And how about the Saints in the 20th century:

stthomasirondequoit.com/SaintsAlive/id728.htm

Here is one excerpt, St. Maximilian Kolbe:

Because he publicly acknowledged himself to be a Catholic priest, Fr. Kolbe, despite his physical frailty, was saddled with the heaviest and most degrading tasks. On one occasion he was severely beaten and left for dead. But he constantly sacrificed himself for those around him, and was their sole comfort. A Protestant camp doctor later said, “In Auschwitz, I knew of no other similar case of such heroic love of neighbor.”

One evening in the summer of 1941 a prisoner managed to break out. The vicious camp rule declared that if any escapee was not caught, ten other prisoners would be killed in reprisal. Now the commandant lined up his prisoners and selected ten victims at random. One of them, a Polish soldier, Sgt. Francis Gajowniczek, cried out in anguish, “What will happen to my family?” Thereupon Fr. Maximilian approached the commandant, doffed his cap politely, and said, “I am a Catholic priest from Poland. I would like to take his place, because he has a wife and children.”

Surprisingly, Commandant Fritsch consented. So Kolbe and the other nine were locked up in the starvation bunker. For two weeks they suffered excruciatingly. But led by the priest, they raised their voices not in pain or blame, but in singing hymns and reciting the rosary. Only the priest and three others were still alive on August 14. They were killed that day by lethal injection.


#6

Why specifically Europe? You do realize that there are 23
"seperate" churches which make up the Catholic Communion - ie, the Roman Catholic Church?


#7

This all bears down of perspective and can be twisted just to fit someones point of view. A very useless arguement as if you show all the good the Church does they will seek out all the bad things people have done and say the Church is wrong.

It is easy to ignore charities, hospitals and schools and just point to negatives.

If their church is growing they will say that is the fruit, which just becomes a numbers game then. This would then “prove” that Mormonism is right also as it is growing and prosperous.

A lot of health and wealth gospels use the “judging the church by its fruit” passage, I would really stress more that it is more important to look for truth than just look at appearance or a subjective view.

God Bless
Scylla


#8

[quote=Angainor]Catholics commonly say to Protestants, “with all the denominations out there, each interpreting the scripture their own way, how do you know which is right?” The bible gives us a way to know:By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:16-17

I wonder how Catholicism’s fruit should be judged. Europe comes to mind. It has a long history of Catholicism.
[/quote]

The Pope, along with the Bishops in union with the Pope are infallible along with Sacred Tradition.


#9

[quote=gelsbern]With the clergy scandals, I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about the “fruits” of the catholic church. :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

I had to read your reply three times…I thing you’re trying to be funny and kinda “tongue in cheek” in a wierd funny bad taste sort of way.


#10

[quote=Didi]What about all the Catholic hospitals?

What about St. Vincent de Paul Societies that help the poor and hungry every day?

What about Catholic Charities that help counsel women in crisis pregnancy?

What about all the Catholic missionaries throughout the world?

What about the Catholic chaplains that serve in the military?

What about those who pray for the needy, lonely, depressed, hungry, etc., during their holy hours of Eucharistic adoration?

What about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered every day, maybe every hour, somewhere on the earth with prayers for the whole world?
[/quote]

Not only that, but the Catholic Church also is the only Church to constantly, without waiver, hold firm to the sanctitiy of life!


#11

[quote=Semper Fi]Why specifically Europe? You do realize that there are 23
"seperate" churches which make up the Catholic Communion - ie, the Roman Catholic Church?
[/quote]

I’m curious about the reference to Europe as well. Especially because much of Europe is Protestant. Could you please explain this statement “I wonder how Catholicism’s fruit should be judged. Europe comes to mind. It has a long history of Catholicism”? The implication is not readily apparent.


#12

[quote=scylla]If their church is growing they will say that is the fruit, which just becomes a numbers game then. This would then “prove” that Mormonism is right also as it is growing and prosperous.

A lot of health and wealth gospels use the “judging the church by its fruit” passage, I would really stress more that it is more important to look for truth than just look at appearance or a subjective view.
[/quote]

Those are very good points, that should never be forgotten. Growing in membership is worthless if it is an empty growth.


#13

[quote=Didi]What about all the Catholic hospitals?

What about St. Vincent de Paul Societies that help the poor and hungry every day?

What about Catholic Charities that help counsel women in crisis pregnancy?

What about all the Catholic missionaries throughout the world?

What about the Catholic chaplains that serve in the military?

What about those who pray for the needy, lonely, depressed, hungry, etc., during their holy hours of Eucharistic adoration?

What about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered every day, maybe every hour, somewhere on the earth with prayers for the whole world?
[/quote]

These are all very good things, to be sure, as well as things like Boy’s Town.

These are all examples of great good in the physical world. I wonder how good Catholicism does for the layity’s spiritual health. I wonder because I get the impression there are vast numbers of people who call themselves Catholic but appear to be spirtually asleep (present company excepted of course). I always figured this was because of the top down structure of Catholicism. It seems too easy just to show up to Church to find out when to eat fish or whatever then proceed to go through the motions.

Maybe my impression is wrong, that’s why I started the thread.


#14

[quote=Eden]I’m curious about the reference to Europe as well. Especially because much of Europe is Protestant. Could you please explain this statement “I wonder how Catholicism’s fruit should be judged. Europe comes to mind. It has a long history of Catholicism”? The implication is not readily apparent.
[/quote]

I mentioned Europe because it has a long history of Catholicism and I figured it might be a good “test case”.


#15

What about all univeristies that were founded by religious orders. How about development of music, art, literature? These things cannot be forgotten


#16

[quote=Angainor]Catholics commonly say to Protestants, “with all the denominations out there, each interpreting the scripture their own way, how do you know which is right?” The bible gives us a way to know:
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:16-17
I wonder how Catholicism’s fruit should be judged. Europe comes to mind. It has a long history of Catholicism.
[/quote]

Angainor,

The passage you quote from Matthew is referrring to false prophets and has nothing to do with the Church. What you are clearly inferring is that not everyone in the Church, including some of Her leaders, are holy or good people. So, according to the verse that you quoted, the Catholic Church cannot be true because it produces bad fruit. This reasoning is faulty because as I explained, this passage is speaking of individuals and not the Church.

I’ve got a better one for you: As we know, when Jesus talks about the Church to come, he often times refers to it as the Kingdom of Heaven. Well, Jesus guaranteed us that the good would be with the bad:

24 Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, 'No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'
Matthew 13:24-30

If our Lord promised us that this would be the case, how dare we expect anything else.


#17

[quote=jaz1976]The passage you quote from Matthew is referrring to false prophets and has nothing to do with the Church.
[/quote]

An old testament prophet was the interpreter and supernaturally enlightened herald sent by Yahweh to communicate His will and designs to Israel. Catholicism puts itself forward as the interpreter and supernaturally enlightened herald sent by Jesus to communicate His will and designs to the Christendom.

I think it is perfectly appropriate to apply Matthew 7 to Catholicism. It is taking on the role of Prophet. To try to determine if it is a false Prophet, one should look to its fruits.

[quote=jaz1976]What you are clearly inferring is that not everyone in the Church, including some of Her leaders, are holy or good people. So, according to the verse that you quoted, the Catholic Church cannot be true because it produces bad fruit. This reasoning is faulty because as I explained, this passage is speaking of individuals and not the Church.
[/quote]

I know there are many good people who are Catholic. What is not clear in my mind is if those people are good Christians in spite of the institution of Catholicism instead of because of it.


#18

[quote=Angainor]What is not clear in my mind is if those people are good Christians in spite of the institution of Catholicism instead of because of it.
[/quote]

All the great saints in the Catholic Church were very faithful to the Church.


#19

[quote=Angainor] What is not clear in my mind is if those people are good Christians in spite of the institution of Catholicism instead of because of it.
[/quote]

Hello Angainor,

I read on your profile that you are Lutheran. Perhaps you could speak of some of the Good Fruits of your church.

My sister, who I love dearly, is Lutheran. She seems like a very decent, hardworking person. But I got to ask, is she a decent hardworking individual because of the Lutheran church or in spite of it. I just thought that I would turn the question around.


#20

Then judge the Church by its fruits. Look at what it teaches, there you will find its fruits.

Are there people within the Church who do horrible things? Sure enough. There will be wolves in sheep’s clothing along with the actual sheep. Do you not read what Jesus told us?

But please point out to me where people who are actually in line with her teaching bear bad fruit. You’ll be hard pressed to find them, because if they are in line with them, it is impossible to bear bad fruit…

Think of the holiest people in the last decade, who immediately comes to mind? Pope JP2, possibly? Mother Theresa, possibly? Both Catholic.

Even in the most dire time in the history of the Church, like the 14th and 15th centuries, the holiest of people were those who held the line on Church teaching (even when the Church was muddled with temporal affairs). St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Joan of Arc come to mind. The point is the salt of the earth still came from the Church, and were authentic Catholics.

Again, I implore you to show me someone who obeys the teaching authority of the Church that bears bad fruit. The fact is, they don’t exist.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.