Priests, the truth and a hypothetical


#1

I was talking with my girlfriend yesterday who is Protestant. I had worked out a very strong (or what I thought was a very strong) argument in favour of Apostolic Tradition. I was ready to take on any verse that was flung at me, I knew it all I thought. But she brought up a very good hypothetical situation that involves priests to which I had no answer to. I would appreciate some help in explaining this, not just because she wants to know, but I do as well.

For the sake of argument, let me suggest that there is a Catholic church in a town. Let’s also assume that there is a priest there who has his own agenda. He might teach a few things that the Catholic Church believes, but there are times when he (either privately or in mass) states things that are not in line with the Church’s views, either scripturally or Traditionally. Basically he is a heretic in priest’s clothing. How are those people in the Church, supposed to know what the difference is between the truth the priest gives and his own interpretation or psudo-truth?

The reason I find this to be interesting is because it has actually happened to me. I went through RCIA and the priest who helped us had many things to say that…well…didn’t line up with Catholic beliefs, and I wouldn’t have known any better unless I questioned it and went online here and found out the truth. But assuming that I can’t go online…how, if the Church is supposed to be the pillar of truth, can someone do such a thing?

I know the arguments that say the one or many priests will never bring the Church down, but if I am attending a mass by a priest that is in error, how am I supposed to know that what he is telling me is in error? Is it my job as a Catholic to constantly question everything a priest says and to verify it?

I’m not sure if I am explaining this question right…I guess a simpler way to sum it up would be, why should we put so much faith in something where there is a chance that (even though it won’t bring down the church) what someone is saying will be wrong because they have their own personal agendas? And what happens if we believe it?

I probably totally failed to ask this correctly…but any help thus far would be great!


#2

I think ultimately, we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves. Certainly, if you are a motivated Christian you will read and cross reference information all the time. You will own, read and study a Bible. You will own and study a Catechism. Your priest should not be the only source of information avaliable to you.

However, Priests are in a position of massive trust. It must be extremely unusual to come across one who preaches against the magesterium of the Church. I certainly never have, but if you do, remeber that Priests are human, like us and like St. Peter and capable of making mistakes and acts of poor judgement as we all are.

In short, we should none of us rely on a single source of information. The Church is a bigger place than that!

:slight_smile:

Peace be with you!


#3

[quote=FightingFat]I think ultimately, we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves. Certainly, if you are a motivated Christian you will read and cross reference information all the time. You will own, read and study a Bible. You will own and study a Catechism. Your priest should not be the only source of information avaliable to you.
[/quote]

True. But if you are constantly told “the Church is right” from when you were a child not many people will go and check things. If I was a true believer I wouldn’t check anything. If we should read our own Bible and our Catechism, that suggests that we are allowed to interpret it on our own to try to find out if what the Priest is saying is true. I didn’t think that was a good idea…it sounds like a Protestant viewpoint there. Do you see where I am coming from with that? Maybe I just don’t understand what you are saying?

[quote=FightingFat]However, Priests are in a position of massive trust. It must be extremely unusual to come across one who preaches against the magesterium of the Church. I certainly never have, but if you do, remeber that Priests are human, like us and like St. Peter and capable of making mistakes and acts of poor judgement as we all are.
[/quote]

And my question then is…how do we know when they are making mistakes?

[quote=FightingFat]In short, we should none of us rely on a single source of information. The Church is a bigger place than that!

:slight_smile:

Peace be with you!
[/quote]


#4

[quote=zachattack05]I was talking with my girlfriend yesterday who is Protestant. I had worked out a very strong (or what I thought was a very strong) argument in favour of Apostolic Tradition. I was ready to take on any verse that was flung at me, I knew it all I thought. But she brought up a very good hypothetical situation that involves priests to which I had no answer to. I would appreciate some help in explaining this, not just because she wants to know, but I do as well.

For the sake of argument, let me suggest that there is a Catholic church in a town. Let’s also assume that there is a priest there who has his own agenda. He might teach a few things that the Catholic Church believes, but there are times when he (either privately or in mass) states things that are not in line with the Church’s views, either scripturally or Traditionally. Basically he is a heretic in priest’s clothing. How are those people in the Church, supposed to know what the difference is between the truth the priest gives and his own interpretation or psudo-truth?

The reason I find this to be interesting is because it has actually happened to me. I went through RCIA and the priest who helped us had many things to say that…well…didn’t line up with Catholic beliefs, and I wouldn’t have known any better unless I questioned it and went online here and found out the truth. But assuming that I can’t go online…how, if the Church is supposed to be the pillar of truth, can someone do such a thing?

I know the arguments that say the one or many priests will never bring the Church down, but if I am attending a mass by a priest that is in error, how am I supposed to know that what he is telling me is in error? Is it my job as a Catholic to constantly question everything a priest says and to verify it?

I’m not sure if I am explaining this question right…I guess a simpler way to sum it up would be, why should we put so much faith in something where there is a chance that (even though it won’t bring down the church) what someone is saying will be wrong because they have their own personal agendas? And what happens if we believe it?

I probably totally failed to ask this correctly…but any help thus far would be great!
[/quote]

Individual priests are not part of the Magesterium, AFAIK. Only the bishops. If people are concerned about things they are hearing from their priest, it is the Bishop who is ultimately entrusted with transmitting the True Deposit of Faith, and so any questions should be forwarded to his office.

In the event that the laity simply don’t know any better, I don’t believe they will be ultimately culpable for believing what they are taught by their priest, even if it is in error. Our local priest is our local shepherd, and we should feel safe trusting them on Church teaching as much as we can.

If we think they are in error, though, there are many other sources of information, and always a Bishop who has ultimate jurisdiction.

Hope this helps. The most serious sins are by those who abuse the trust of others by spreading lies. I fear for their souls.

Peace,
javelin


#5

[quote=zachattack05]True. But if you are constantly told “the Church is right” from when you were a child not many people will go and check things. If I was a true believer I wouldn’t check anything.
[/quote]

There should be no feeling of a “need” to “check on” what our priest is teaching. However, if we have been true to our faith and hear something that doesn’t sound right, we should humbly request help in understanding.

[quote=zachattack05]If we should read our own Bible and our Catechism, that suggests that we are allowed to interpret it on our own to try to find out if what the Priest is saying is true. I didn’t think that was a good idea…it sounds like a Protestant viewpoint there. Do you see where I am coming from with that? Maybe I just don’t understand what you are saying?
[/quote]

We should certainly be reading our Bibles and the Catechism, and interpreting them ourselves the best we can. We don’t do it to try to challenge our priest, but to learn from the Word of God. That only becomes a problem when we ignore the Church and turn ONLY to our own understanding of the Bible, as protestants do. How would you know if you are reading it any more correctly than your priest?

What this can do is help raise the important questions, motivating you to look to official Church documents (such as the Catechism) for answers.

[quote=zachattack05]And my question then is…how do we know when they are making mistakes?
[/quote]

This is why self-study of the Bible and other writings approved by the Church is important for everyone. We cannot expect to be strong in our faith if we are Sunday Christians only.

Peace,
javelin


#6

Javelin,

Good points. I’m sorry if my ignorance is showing through, but the RCIA program I went through was very substandard in my book. There was not much instruction and in all honesty by the time I was baptized I wasn’t sure exactly what it is that I was believing in. There was nothing that was really given to me other than a bible and a certificate. I really would like to go back and tell the lady who ran the program that I want to help explain things…but I doubt with me not even being a Catholic for a year would enjoy that. Quite sad if you ask me :frowning:

Anyway…thanks for the help. Any other help will be appreciated as well, especially on the process that happens if you discover a priest is teaching something that is incorrect, what do you do and what happens?


#7

Unless we know our bibles we wouldn’t necessarily know that someone is in error. But we are told of the many benefits of reading scripture and growing in the knowledge and grace of Christ. Paul was encouraged by the fact that the Berean’s were checking out what he had been teaching them;

Acts 17:11
11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Paul did not get angry because they were checking up on him, on the contrary he applauded their efforts. We will know truth from error when we become intimately familiar with God’s word.

2 Tim 2:15
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.


#8

Hello Zach,

Here is a biblical example of the question you are asking. God’s authorized Church leaders, the Pharisees, used God’s law to stone blasphemers and those who work on the Sabbath, to murder Jesus. Yet Jesus tells His followers to obey God’s authorized Church leaders, the Pharisees.

What do you think? Is this not a close representation of the senario that you are describing? How do you understand Jesus call, before His death, ressurection and authorization of St. Peter’s leadership, to obey the Pharisees?

**NAB MAT 23 **

Then Jesus told the crowds and his diciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teachers; therefore, do everything and observe everything they tell you. But do not follow their example.”


#9

Also, look at the examples of the Apostles- they certainly were not perfect, and needed to be corrected by Jesus now and again. Thus doesn’t invalidate their position, it just reinforces their humanity.


#10

[quote=zachattack05]Javelin,

Good points…
Anyway…thanks for the help. Any other help will be appreciated as well, especially on the process that happens if you discover a priest is teaching something that is incorrect, what do you do and what happens?
[/quote]

I’m sorry your RCIA program was not very thorough. In all honesty, my CCD classes prior to my confirmation were horrible. I didn’t really know anything much about the Catholic faith. From what I’ve heard, there was such uncertainty after Vatican II regarding catechesis that people pretty much tried to figure it out on their own, and left an entire generation of Catholic kids and converts with little to no quality faith instruction.

So, sadly, you’re not alone. :frowning:

If you do believe that your priest is teaching something incorrectly, you have several options, and none are a “one size fits all” solution. There have been entire long threads on this here in the past. Here, briefly, is my opinion:

  1. Ultimately, it is the bishop’s responsibility to ensure that the priests in his diocese are true to the Gospel. Each diocese should have an established reporting protocol for bringing such questions to the bishop. He would be your final authority for any such questions.

  2. I believe, however, that you should use the Biblical example of asking him in person, then with a few others, then bring the matter to the Church’s authority.

First, approach your priest individually and privately, asking him to clarify something he said that you weren’t sure you understood. Try to learn if he actually said something in error and if he knows that it is in error. If you are comfortable citing the Catechism or other sources that call his statements into question, feel free to humbly ask him about those sources. Bottom line: always be humble and ask questions – never accuse or condemn.

If you find he is in error and either will not admit it or does not see it, try approaching him again with other parish leaders, and bring support for why you think he is in error.

If he is still obstinate, document as much as you can and present it to the Bishop. At that point it is out of your hands.

As you can see, this could be a tough road if the priest fights it, so it should only be taken that far if it is a serious matter. You certainly don’t want to create a scandal over something very minor. But if it is serious, and others in the parish are also concerned, and the priest is unresponsive, it is completely appropriate to bring your concerns to the Bishop.

This is just my opinion, and I’m sure others would choose different approaches. Ultimately your approach depends on your personality, your priest’s, your relationship, and the atmosphere of your parish.

Hope this helps.

Peace,
javelin


#11

I don’t think I emphasized enough that obedience is important.

We should definitely listen to our priests, and only dissent when we are nearly certain they are incorrect. Even then, though, we should persist in obedience as long as our conscience allows while we search for the real truth. We must always be willing to acknowledge that we were in fact wrong.

Peace,
javelin


#12

Steven,

You said in your post:

Then Jesus told the crowds and his diciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teachers; therefore, do everything and observe everything they tell you. But do not follow their example.”

This is kinda what I am talking about. My girlfriend is questioning how we, as Catholics, know if the Church is right regarding Tradition. (I am a bit more awake now and can kinda reword my question.)

Here is how the argument looks:

Tradition was handed over to the Apostles by directly viewing and hearing what Christ said and did. Correct?

Now, the Apostles are human…they are not perfect. Correct?

If the Apostles were human and were not perfect, there is the possibility of error. Correct?

If the Apostles purposely, or by accident, handed on a Tradition to another person (such as Timothy or even special knowledge and position such as Linus) who is also human, that opens the item handed down to additional error, the error by the original Apostles and the new generation. Correct?

My argument is with the last portion. I understand that Christ promised us that his word (that is spoken word) would be with us until the end of time…what I need to overcome this argument is proof (scriptural preferably…I’m dealing with a protestant) that not only will the word stay with us, but that when someone is preaching the word (either a priest, bishop, pope etc…) that what they are saying about the word, and the word itself is actually the truth. That it cannot, and does not contain error.

The argument I can see coming from this however is that if and when a person speaks the word of God/Jesus and no error is possible, how can you explain Martin Luther? I think he was a priest, was he not? Maybe just a theologist? I can’t remember.

Anyway, I do believe that is a better way of posing the argument my girlfriend was giving me…I just don’t know what to say. I told her that “Jesus promised us that his word would last until the end of time!” but her rebuttal is “Yes, His word will, but that’s all. He doesn’t say anything about someone adding unimportant or making up ‘traditions’ and adding it to His word.”

I think she is basically arguing that the Traditions we have are “unimportant” or open to error because…well, I really don’t know. Probably because the Traditions were not written down in the time of the Apostles (or were they?) and because they were not and because things were added later on (like the infallibility of the Church was said AFTER Luther broke away) they either cannot, or are not correct, and if they are not flat out wrong, they are open to human error for self-gain etc…"

Any insight?


#13

Because he is not the only priest who was ever there, and families of the faithful remember what the previous faithful priests had taught. They have made the faith part of their lives, and a new priest teaching something contrary to them will throw red flags.

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.

The Church is indeed the pillar, based on Peter. We are first of all united to the Pope, who is the actual one preserved from error. All others are obliged to submit to him in unity.

Of course, if you are a convert and have no family, then you would seem to be dependent on the priest. But you can’t tell me that you just suddenly decided to become Catholic and went to this parish. In the olden days, there was much more to personal contacts. Nowadays, even if you did go alone, it was surely as a result of at least reading about it. And if you have access to reading, then you have access to a lot more information than you will ever get in RCIA. Thus, you were already born in an environment suitable for handling the scandal.

It is definitely your job to test the spirits.

1 John 4:1 Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

And if you come across a new priest, then yes, you must test his words against all you already know to be true.

Scriptures warn us of such false teachers in numerous places.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be among you lying teachers, who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

This implies that we have to deal with it.

Again, the faith is not in the local priest as an isolated entity. It is in the local priest insofar as he is united to your bishop, who has actual jurisdiction over your soul. And with the bishop insofar as he is united to the Pope.

It is the obedience of Faith, and thus presupposes that they are united with the Pope. If that fails in the person, then you must revert to the higher authority.

This can indeed happen.

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted, and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Since those who are seduced will be punished, it follows that it is possible to not be seduced. And thus it follows, also in conjunction with previous verses, that we must indeed test the spirits and be wary of false apostles and lying teachers.

But again, you are not totally helpless, are you? :slight_smile: Those who do not have access to technology can still be preserved by the faith of families. And if someone is isolated from technology, how did they come across the Faith?

I would contend that the means by which someone is brought to the faith to begin with will itself contain the means by which to be preserved, if one so chooses to serve God.

hurst


#14

A priest does not invalidate the sacrament by his faith or lack of faith. Christ is the one who actually performs the miracle.

A priest is not a part of apostolic succession. The Bishops recieve apostolic succession.


#15

I think the argument that she was giving was “how can you follow a religion that has the potential to be incorrect because of human error?”

I guess I just failed to realize, and therefore didn’t say, that the Catholic Church has never been wrong. The Church itself is perfect. The individuals in it are not, and because of that there is the possibility for error, but we were promised that even if the error showed up it wouldn’t destroy the Church…and it hasn’t.

I guess the other argument that I could point out is that, not only are the people in the Catholic Church wrong sometimes, but so are people in the protestant faith.

I guess it’s kinda amuzing to me that someone would follow a faith based COMPLETELY off of how THEY interpret things. My guess, and correct me if I am wrong, is that 100% of protestants fail to understand the whole truth for many reasons:[list]
*]They do not know Church history (at least all of it). If they did they would have located the documents that support the Catholic Faith and not protestantism.
*]100% of the protestant faiths are creations of human beings, humans with error.
*]It’s comfortable. Being a protestant puts you in control of what is important and not important in your salvation. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
[/list] Maybe it’s a lost cause? I don’t talk to my girlfriend about this stuff to try to “convert” her. Maybe I do…I don’t know. It’s not the desire to win an argument I guess, it’s more to show her the way to the truth…is it so normal for someone to be so resistant to the truth? I would think that people would want it!


#16

zachattack05,

I’m no expert, but here’s my :twocents::

I think it would help if you first explained what infallibility is, and what it is not. Infallibility is a charism of both the Magesterium of the Church acting as a whole, and in special instances a charism of the Pope individually. There are many good articles here for a more educated answer than mine:

catholic.com/library/church_papacy.asp

Basically, the Magesterium (which is the collection of all bishops in union with the pope) is infallible in the teaching of matters of faith and morals (not science or history) when the Magesterium is acting as a united body. This generally happens at ecumenical councils (such as Vatican II) where all the bishops gather with the pope and draw up official documents and statements of doctrine.

One criteria for an infallible teaching by the ordinary Magesterium is something being a “constant and universal” teaching of the Church. Since some doctrines are not formally addressed at a council until serious questions or heresies arise because of it, the Magesterium considers the history of the doctrine to affirm its rightness. For example, if the doctrine of the trinity were not yet officially defined by the Church and was coming under attack, the Bishops could plainly see that, although not formally defined, the doctrine has been faithfully and constantly believed and taught throughout the Church’s history.

A recent example of such is Pope John Paul II’s declaration on an all male priesthood. In his proclamation, he affirmed that the Church has constantly and universally believed that it has no right to ordinate anyone but a man, in keeping with Jesus’ own example.

The same could not be said for priestly celibacy, which is partly why it is considered a discipline, not a doctrine.

Moving on. The Pope, by virtue of his office, has a special charism of infallibility, which has only been officially used a couple times in history. This charism does not say the pope will not sin, or that he will always teach correctly on everything. It is simply a means God can use to make something clear to the faithful that may not have been earlier.

That is, in a crude nutshell, what infallibility is. Infallibility is the result of Jesus’ promise to Peter that “the gates of hell will not prevail” against the Church. Satan is the father of lies, and if the Church were to ever officially spread lies it would be serving Satan, not God, and hell would have prevailed against it (Matt 16:18-19). If we could not trust the apostles to accurately transmit the Gospel to the next generation, who can we trust? Jesus promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them in Truth, and we believe it does to this day, through Christ’s Church.

So, back a bit to the original question – how does infallibility relate to one’s priest, or even Martin Luther, who was a priest? It does not, for they are not the Magesterium, nor are they even technically a part of it (I don’t think). They can, and many do err in various ways, even when teaching on faith and morals. They are human – it happens. Even individual bishops are fallible, and err. If you want to be sure of something you need to go back to infallible documents. The catechism (though many don’t believe it is an infallible document as a whole) obtains nearly all of its doctrinal teaching from infallible sources, so it’s the best single resource for true doctrine (which is its intention).

Hope this helps a bit. Honestly, the question of apostolic succession and infallibility is the crux of the protestant argument. They only really hold sola scriptura because they don’t think they can trust people in the Chruch. If they come to understand that the Holy Spirit protects the Church from doctrinal error, and that the Church leadership is defined by valid apostolic succession, they would become Catholic.

They would have no choice.

Peace,
javelin


#17

I think the argument that she was giving was “how can you follow a religion that has the potential to be incorrect because of human error?”

Her religion has just as much potential to be in error, and actually quite a bit more.


#18

Javelin,

I guess I can kind of see where you are coming from. I am going to kinda think out loud here and see if I can make any sense of this at all. Tell me if you notice a flaw in my thinking or understanding.

In order to understand the reason why we can be sure the Catholic Church is correct on doctrine we need to understand infallibility.

Now, infallibility comes because Christ said that Hell would never overcome his church, because he said that there must be a way for Christ to communicate with the Church, and I guess because humans are kinda thickheaded sometimes they need to actually hear it from someone. Hence the Pope? He’s there to communicate the will of God?

I guess my question then is this:

Hmmm…Looking at everything from a strictly historical point of view for a moment, we would not know that the Bible, the Church, and those documents that we base our beliefs on are true.

So…I guess what I am curious to know is…how do we know those documents are true? I think I heard the argument once…but I can’t remember it. I think it went like this:

The Bible (purely as a historical document) stated that Christ lived. We know he did from valid historical documents. We also know that he spoke to people, and he called them Apostles. We know from other valid history records that these people existed. The Apostles claimed to write things (the things in the Bible) and well…that’s as much as I can remember. Any additions?

I guess what I am getting at is this:

The office of the Pope can not be infallible unless we know it is infallible for sure. Where does that knowledge come from? It can’t come from the Pope. He can’t declare the office to be infallible. If he did, we are no different than protestants who claim the Bible can prove it’s own infallibility. It can’t. If all it takes is someone saying “This office is infallible” and the Bible “this is the Word of God” then what stops me or anyone else from just saying “this post on this message board is the Word of God…now go listen to what it says!”

Thoughts?


#19

[quote=zachattack05]I think the argument that she was giving was “how can you follow a religion that has the potential to be incorrect because of human error?”

I guess I just failed to realize, and therefore didn’t say, that the Catholic Church has never been wrong. The Church itself is perfect. The individuals in it are not, and because of that there is the possibility for error, but we were promised that even if the error showed up it wouldn’t destroy the Church…and it hasn’t.

I guess the other argument that I could point out is that, not only are the people in the Catholic Church wrong sometimes, but so are people in the protestant faith.

I guess it’s kinda amuzing to me that someone would follow a faith based COMPLETELY off of how THEY interpret things. My guess, and correct me if I am wrong, is that 100% of protestants fail to understand the whole truth for many reasons:

[list]
*]They do not know Church history (at least all of it). If they did they would have located the documents that support the Catholic Faith and not protestantism.
*]100% of the protestant faiths are creations of human beings, humans with error.
*]It’s comfortable. Being a protestant puts you in control of what is important and not important in your salvation. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
[/list]
[/quote]

I’m not sure you can characterize all protestants this way, because
A) There are many who have studied Church history quite a bit
B) They believe their religion is founded on the infallible Word of God, the Bible, so they would not call them "creations of men"
C) I wouldn’t ever accuse anyone of believing what they do simply because it is comfortable, as if it were not important to them and they never really thought about it deeply.

I think that your initial points were right on. First, we have faith in the Church because she is the Body of Christ, and His bride, and He therefore solemnly protects her, as would any dutiful husband. We do not place our faith in the men who lead the Church – we place it in Christ who is the head.

Second, the testament of sola scriptura is division. There is less doctrinal unity across protestant denominations and churches than there is in Catholic parishes, despite the fallibility of individual priests. This is why the Bible itself admonishes relying on private revelation.

Last, most protestants don’t realize that they live in a powerful tradition of their own. They talk about how “bad” Catholic tradition is (in their opinion), while steadfastly perpetuating their own tradition. How did they arrive at their understanding of the Bible? Solely through individual study? For the vast majority, no way. They were taught by someone, or even just through commentary that they got along with their Bible. The people who taught them, or wrote that commentary, learned what they believe about the Bible from someone else, and so on and so on. That is tradition! Yet their traditions can only be traced back to men – mainly Luther, Calvin, and the other “fathers” of the Reformation.

Whose tradition do you want to follow, the traditions of people born nearly 1500 years after Jesus, or the traditions passed on through sacramental holy orders that can be traced back to the Apostles and Jesus Himself, and restated countless times throughout the Church’s 2000 year history?

I know my answer.

Peace,
javelin


#20

[quote=javelin]Last, most protestants don’t realize that they live in a powerful tradition of their own. They talk about how “bad” Catholic tradition is (in their opinion), while steadfastly perpetuating their own tradition. How did they arrive at their understanding of the Bible? Solely through individual study? For the vast majority, no way. They were taught by someone, or even just through commentary that they got along with their Bible. The people who taught them, or wrote that commentary, learned what they believe about the Bible from someone else, and so on and so on. That is tradition! Yet their traditions can only be traced back to men – mainly Luther, Calvin, and the other “fathers” of the Reformation.

Whose tradition do you want to follow, the traditions of people born nearly 1500 years after Jesus, or the traditions passed on through sacramental holy orders that can be traced back to the Apostles and Jesus Himself, and restated countless times throughout the Church’s 2000 year history?

I know my answer.

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

I know my answer as well. But I guess what protestants would say is this: "Who cares who hands you a Bible or reads it to you or who wrote the commentary in their Bible. The fact is they got the Bible and once they got it they understand it, or can understand it, on their own.

I don’t buy that…but how do you argue with that?


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