JW dispute unbroken line of papal succession

Hi All, may God Bless you. My JW friends say the Catholic Church admits there is no definitive line of succession from St. Peter to the present day pope. They quote Jesuit John McKensie professor of theology Notre Dame 1969 and New Catholic Encyclopedia 1967.
Is there a strong Catholic response to these points or is it just “it’s reasonable to assume” which to me is not a very strong argument. I understood the church was definite about the line of succession and I have strenuously argued this point. Cristo

To start off, here are the two quotes they use:

John McKenzie - “Historical evidence does not exist for the entire chain of succession of church authority.” — The Roman Catholic Church (New York, 1969), p. 4.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia - “ . . . the scarcity of documents leaves much that is obscure about the early development of the episcopate . . . ” — (1967), Vol. I, p. 696.

Reading and learning…

:popcorn:I’ll be watching because I have seen lists of all the popes from Peter up until today but I don’t know where to find it.:confused:

Maybe folks should stop trying to punch holes in the Catholic Church, as if they ever really succeeded, and focus more on defending their own false religions.

I don’t know if this will help but I did find this.

newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

Here is a list of all the Popes and even includes the anti-Popes.
gcatholic.org/hierarchy/pope/index.htm

Looks pretty good to me… Obviously we do to have months and days for the early Popes, but we have a good idea regarding years.

While we might not have all the records to prove it without a shadow of a doubt, no one has proof to prove the opposite either.

God bless

You can get all the information you want about this on ,catholic.com the CAF site. God Bless, Memaw

AMEN. Even some Catholics like to take punches! God Bless, Memaw

I just looked up the second quote in my copy of the Catholic Encyclopedia, and look what the "…"s are hiding: “While the scarcity of documents leaves much that is obscure about the early development of the episcopate, there is no doubt about the fact that from the 2d century to the Protestant Reformation Christianity unanimously recognized in its bishops the divinely-established successors of the Apostles.”

Sounds like pretty solid historical evidence to me! I think the JWs used the wrong quote, or maybe they just figured nobody would ever look it up in context.

They have a tendency to see things their own way. They even change the bible to make it fit their beliefs. I would be very wary of claims coming from a JW.

I’d ask them to identify where the line is broken. Certainly, Pope Francis followed Benedict XVI, who followed JP2, who followed JP 1, etc, etc. Ask them where the line begins, if not at Peter.

These people actively debating you will not give an inch and do not relate to Revelation like we do.

You can throw all the documented facts to them and they will ignore it.

I was once left by my parents in the hands of the Jehovah’s Witnesses for several years until I could get out and return to the Church. As such I am very familiar with this very argument.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are well-known for manipulative twisting and selective misquoting of “facts” and “blurbs” from other sources to promote their ideals. In fact they are officially instructed that they do not need to check out the original sources they have quoted for them in Watchtower publications, so most know only the “facts” as filtered by their Governing Body.

As to quoting from John L. McKenzie in this instance, the Watchtower writers are quite aware they are being deceptive in doing so but the rank and file, forbidden–and disinterested–to check up on this themselves does not. McKenzie, while a preeminent scholar, made quite a few hypothetical statements in his day that questioned things like apostolic succession and the Bible’s inerrancy. While it is the job of a theologian to “question” in a search for answers and to support the teachings of the Church, many have confused his statements with (as well as treated his theories as) official proclamations from the Church–which they were not. Some feel his theories pushed too far, in fact, and there are many Catholic clergy and teachers who do not endorse his work because of it.

In the end, the above statements presented by the Jehovah’s Witnesses are selected, not approved dogma, representative of the type of theological hypothesis McKenzie was involved with and nothing more. The problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses is that their theology does not allow them to pursue healthy doubts or use critical thinking, and therefore they equate the work of McKenzie as authoritative as they do not understand nor are allowed to use a critical approach in their day-to-day life.

Lastly, this type of argument used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is known as a “logical fallacy.” It even has a specific name: argument from authority.

An “argument from authority” is a bad argument because it treats the statement of an “expert” as fact or truth on the basis that it comes from said authority. In reality it is supportive data that proves a statement as true, not the fact that the statement was uttered by an “expert.” One has to test the statement to see if it is true and only then, on the basis of the data–NOT the expert’s utterance–can the statement be accepted. Therefore to use such an argument is dishonest, fallacious, non sequitur, and a sure sign that the person presenting it is not using real logic.

With such groups, you really get no where. They will simply ignore whatever facts you give them. That leaves you feeling worse than before.

Anybody who can reason with them where they can open and hear, let us know.

God bless!

I like your post up to this point. But your next statements, the ones I’m about to quote, have a few problems, in my opinion.

Lastly, this type of argument used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is known as a “logical fallacy.” It even has a specific name: argument from authority.

An “argument from authority” is a bad argument because it treats the statement of an “expert” as fact or truth on the basis that it comes from said authority. In reality it is supportive data that proves a statement as true, not the fact that the statement was uttered by an “expert.” One has to test the statement to see if it is true and only then, on the basis of the data–NOT the expert’s utterance–can the statement be accepted. Therefore to use such an argument is dishonest, fallacious, non sequitur, and a sure sign that the person presenting it is not using real logic.

In classical logic, an argument from authority is not considered fallacious, but merely inconclusive. The reason it is not considered fallacious, but rather reasonable as far as it goes, is because an expert is likely to have reliable knowledge about his or her area of expertise, and shouldn’t be considered a liar unless there is evidence of bias or maliciousness.

Expert testimony is therefore accepted as evidence in courts of law, and lawyers regularly appeal to them – it is not fallacious to do so, but, as any lawyer will tell you, they shouldn’t be the only piece of evidence you have on your side. Expert testimony is like “minor evidence.” Professionals in logic do not consider arguments from authority fallacious, but rather somewhat weak.

At least, that is my understanding of this point.

There is a list at the back of my Catholic Edition of the New Living Translation of the Bible.

Pope Francis is the 266th pope.

There is a difference between legal testimony during a court case from an expert in a field and the non sequitur “argument from authority.”

In a court of law one is hearing testimony from an authority or expert. In the other case the argument is based upon or considered ended or proven by the quote from the expert or word from an authority figure.

In a court of law the testimony from an expert can and usually is countered by another expert from the opposing side in order that no argument can be based upon untested words. This is a way to keep from ending up falling for failed logic.

In the case with Jehovah’s Witnesses, the argument will be something like this…

JW: Our translation of the Bible is dependable because scholars who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that it is. (Several quotes or blurbs from reviews by scholars might be pointed out). So you see? The New World Translation is approved by scholars!

This is an example of an “argument from authority.” Just because several scholars may have made statements in favor of the JW Bible does not mean the statements by the scholars prove the Witnesses’ argument: “The New World Translation is approved by scholars!”

Like a court case, opposing views need to be heard. However these “opposing voices” are never introduced by the JWs in their preaching work. Instead of allowing for time to validate the findings of the experts quoted, the JW goes on believing the argument is settled and that they have proved their point because “experts say so.” That is the “argument from authority” that I was mentioning.

Besides, I did not make up non sequitur arguments. There are many, such as the “straw man technique,” the infamous “red herring,” and others. “Argument from authority” is one of them. The science of logic is part of apologetics. So you may want to argue with an apologist and tell them you disagree with arguments from authority as being labeled non sequitur if you have further disagreements. I was not offering a personal opinion, though I do understand where you are coming from and where the confusion between our two views arises.

The title “Pontifex Maximus” was originally annexed to the Roman pagan high priests when the Republic was in existence, before Emperors!

Historical and Empirical Fact 1

When Augustus was Emperor, the title “Pontifex Maximus” was annexed to him, so that from the time of the Emperor Augustus to the time of the 4th century Emperor Gratian all Emperors were the pagan Roman high priests and all the authority, rights and power such office dictated…!

Historical and Empirical Fact 2

No Roman bishop prior to and including Damasus was ever called Pope or Pontiff or Pontifex Maximus in the traditional sense, all Bishops of the various “sees” i.e. jurisdictional areas under their control were called “papa” i.e. “pope” i.e. Alexandria, Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, Athens and so on, no one bishop (papa/pope) dominated, all were as equal as each other!

Historical and Empirical Fact 3

In the late 4th century CE the Roman Emperor Gratian threw out the pagan (annexed) title “Pontifex Maximus” as it was not fitting, that a Christian Emperor to hold such a pagan title…!

Historical and Empirical Fact 4

The bishop of Rome at the time was called Damasus and without any scruples grabbed the pagan title for himself and his successors and from his time, the bishops of Rome were now “Pontifex Maximus” and it was as time passed, that Roman bishops began to demand that the other “sees” (bishops) accept the Roman bishop as the heads of all bishops, this was opposed, but in the end, with the power of the Roman political system behind it, the Roman Primate was declared bishop of bishops, over the other Primates!

Peter was never the first so-called “Pope” as he was the “Petros” (masculine) and means a small rock, easily lifted, whilst Christ was the actual “Rock” it being “Petra” (feminine) and meant a massive stone, not easily lifted, a cliff edge of rock, also at least 39 so-called Catholic “Popes” were married and one a confirmed heretic and another suspected of heresy, which poses a problem for so-called “papal Infallibility”!

Much of what is written on here about JWs is untenable!

An example of Catholic mentality!

Take the term “God”, Catholics say that God is one but is constituted of three persons!

However, the term “God” is used with singular personal masculine pronouns (absolutely no exceptions) such as “I, you, who, he, him, his…” this is so in both the OT and NT, such usage of the pronouns is a compelling piece of evidence in itself, that “God” is constituted of one person in the “one God” and not three persons in the “one God”, otherwise, why not a single use of any plural pronoun or pronouns and trying to use Gen 1:26 will not work, as v 27 uses the masculine personal pronoun “he” for the term “God” and the expression in v 26 “…let us make man in our image”, the term “make” is the Hebrew term “asah”, whereas, the term “bara” (create) is only ever used of the Father in the creative process, the two terms are not the same, the term “asah” can and is applied to both Father and Son, but only “bara” of the Father, as we also see in the NT, where “ek” (out of/from…) or “ktizo” (create) is only used of the Father, never the Son, but the preposition “di” (a contraction of “dia”) is used of both Father and son (John 1:3; Rom 11:36) it is used of the Son in the ordinary sense of “through, by-means of, instrumentality, causal instrument…”, but of the Father, in the sense of Final Cause, Efficient Cause, Hypo…"

Also, if the Trinitarian “Holy Spirit” is also a person, such as is the Father and Son, of which singular personal pronouns are used e.g. “I, you, who, he, him, his…”, many, many times, just why is there not a single use (in the original Greek, not biased translation English) of any personal pronoun used of such so-called “Holy Spirit”!

If any Catholic wishes to answer, please tell me which translation you use, with chapter and verses, and how you reached your conclusion!

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