Protestant apologist can't answer the question

A well known Protestant apologist was challenged on his argument that Catholics need an interpreter of the Pope. When the catholic caller points out that the Pope can clarify any misunderstandings, he avoids the question and brings up the Immaculate Conception instead.

youtu.be/AtnBRFHV-TE

changing the topic is often the response when a person (any person) doesn’t know an answer and doesn’t want to admit that they don’t have a good answer.

Hallmark of a good Apologist is the ability to say, “I don’t know, let me research the question.”

Whoa. That is another issue entirely. Dodging the question will never solve anything

May I ask who this well known Catholic apologist is?

I’m a little curious about that too

Do you mean to ask who the well known Protestant apologist is? The Protestant apologist is Hank Hanegraaff.

The “Catholic apologist” here isn’t well known at all, since, it’s me! I appreciate being referred to as a well known Catholic apologist though. Haha

I was referring to the well known Protestant apologist you were talking about. I have never heard the name, but I don’t know a lot of Protestant apologists.

I don’t know who he is either.

I think it might be valuable, for the sake of clarity, to know what kind of apologist the guy is. To say he is “protestant” really tells one nothing.

Jon

Not only can a Pope clarify his own words, he can authoritatively clarify the words of any of his predecessors.

So, for example, if some completely new birth control method is discovered, Pope Francis can say whether the teachings of Pope Paul-6 in Humanae Vitae apply.

He’s the “bible answer man” on national radio. Very well known.

He’d probably be classified as an arminian evangelical protestant.

I’ll be the first to admit that I did not know his real name but I knew Bible Answer Man

It doesn’t sound to me like he avoids the question at all; he answers it quite clearly.

The apologist points out that if the pope is wrong when interpreting a teaching or something in scripture, and especially if he speaks “ex Cathedra”…no one does or can challenge what he says, even if he is indeed wrong.
Therefore, Catholics will follow wrong information for a long, long time until he or another pope corrects it…if indeed, he or they do.

So it would be wise for the pope to have interpreters.

He brings up the Immaculate Conception as a good example of popes and Church fathers contradicting and disagreeing with each other. Pope Pius 9th taught the immaculate conception of Mary while Aquinus opposed the doctrine.

Perhaps the pope can clear up misunderstandings…but it can take centuries for him do so, if he does.
Sixth-century Pope Gregory claimed that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute when there was no biblical evidence for this.
This was akin to slander.
For at least 1500 years, the pope smeared the woman’s reputation–a woman who helped Jesus and was faithful and loyal to him in the end, when his apostles fled out of fear.
Recently, the Vatican I think has cleared it up. But the damage was already done.

Pope John Paul II made many apologies for the wrongdoings and words of past popes-- he apologized to Jews, Galileo, women, people convicted by the Inquisition, Muslims killed by the Crusaders and to those who have been abused by priests.

In other words, popes can make mistakes. They are human.
So it would be good to have someone “interpreting” their words and ideas.

And if a pope can correct misunderstandings…so can different denominations.
And they have.

The apologist says around the 7-mins mark that he doesn’t understand what the caller is saying or asking…and I agree.
The caller’s observations didn’t make sense to me; I stopped listening at the 8-minute mark.

.

So he didn’t answer the question. The question wasn’t whether or not the pope is wrong-- that depends upon your presupposition as a Catholic or protestant-- the question was specifically about equating sola scriptural needing an interpreter vs a Catholic needing an interpreter of the Pope.

I poibt oit that the analogy between the two doesnt work. The pope can speak up and clarify, while The bible can’t. This is so obvious i dont know how anyone can miss it.

When Calvin and Luther disagreed, the bible couldnt speak up and say which peraon was right. Insread they split into a gazillion denominations. But when , say, Calvin and Aquinas disagree, the church can speak up and say who is wrong. And if the statement that Calvin is wrong is misunderstood, the pope can clarify.

Therefore, Catholics will follow wrong information for a long, long time until he or another pope corrects it…if indeed, he or they do.

This presupposes that the Pope is teaching faulty information. The question wasn’t over whether the pope teaches faulty information, but about the need for an interpreter in sola scriptural vs the magisterium.

So it would be wise for the pope to have interpreters.

That’s the entire point. The pope can clarify when there’s a misunderstanding or controversy. The bible can’t speak out and clarify in either case.

He brings up the Immaculate Conception as a good example of popes and Church fathers contradicting and disagreeing with each other.

Exactly. Rather than answer why the Pope can’t clarify when misunderstood, he brings up the Immaculate Conception. But that wasn’t the question. The question was over whether or not the popes can clarify when there’s a misunderstanding.

I pointed out to him that the Pope has the final word, and when aquinas disagreed with the pope, he was wrong. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. When Luther or Calvin disagreed, no one knew who was right, and the bible couldn’t speak up and say who was wrong. The pope can.

Pope Pius 9th taught the immaculate conception of Mary while Aquinus opposed the doctrine.

This isn’t a question of interpretation, bit a question of authority. The same thing applies either way. Peter has the final word, every time.

Perhaps the pope can clear up misunderstandings…but it can take centuries for him do so, if he does.

That’s simply an assertion. Prove it. The church has councils pretty quickly after huge controversies. Arianism, iconoclasm, protestantism, etc were all handled within decades of their disagreements. 500 years later protestants still can’t figure out if Calvin or Luther were righr. This is so obvious, I don’t know where you got that objection. It sounds like you just pulled that out of thin air, honestly.

Sixth-century Pope Gregory claimed that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute when there was no biblical evidence for this.
This was akin to slander…

Study some art history. Mary Magdalene wasn’t slandered or insulted for her past. She was praised in order to show that God can take any sinner and turn them into a saint. And examples of this are painted all over cathedral walls through church history.

But again, I don’t see what this had to do with the pope being unable to clarify when there are misunderstandings.

Pope John Paul II made many apologies for the wrongdoings and words of past popes

No, he apologized for the wrong actions of people in the past. Peter was infallible even though he sinned. JP2 never apologized for the teachings or said past dogmas were wrong, or that he’s incapable of clarifying things when there’s a controversy or misunderstanding.

Again, I don’t see what this has to do with the pope being able to clarify controversies.

In other words, popes can make mistakes. They are human.

Peter was infallible when teaching but was a sinner in his personal life. Again, I don’t see what this has to do with the pope being unable to clarify when there are misunderstandings.

So it would be good to have someone “interpreting” their words and ideas.

For the zillionth time, they do. The bible can’t do the same for protestants.

And if a pope can correct misunderstandings…so can different denominations.
And they have.

Sorry, but youre conflating two wildly different claims. The catholic says god prevents the church from falling into error when teaching. The Protestant says only the bible is infallible.
So when Luther and Calvin disagreed, how did the bible speak out and clarify who was right? Neither Luther or Calvin, by their own admission, could claim more authority than the other.
But the pope could clarify, and he did, at the council of trent.

Again, I don’t see what this has to do with the pope being unable to clarify misunderstandings.

The apologist says around the 7-mins mark that he doesn’t understand what the caller is saying or asking…and I agree.
The caller’s observations didn’t make sense to me; I stopped listening at the 8-minute mark.

.

I followed his red herring about the immaculate conception. I should have kept him on topic about the question of interpretation.

In the part you referenced, I was making an analogy and he cut me off. I was pointing out that the immaculate conception was already believed before but was dogmatically declared in the 19th century. Likewise with homosexuality today there is controversy, and the pope could give an infallible teaching on homosexuality right now, dogmatically, in 2015. That doesnt mean we never taught homosexuality as a sin before the dogma was given. The same thing is true of the Immaculate Conception.

I was giving the analogo between the two but he cut me off before I could finish.

Either way, I shouldn’t have followed his red herring down the road of the Immaculate Conception and away from the initial question of the popes supposed inability to clarify misunderstandings.

He had the director of the CRI call me back privately the next day to ask more about it. He asked me to call back on the show about it again. Ill watch out for red herrings next time and ask him to keep on track about the question of the ability for the pope to clarify when there are misunderstandings.

Sorry, I wrote the last response on a phone and the small buttons caused some typos. No idea why it didn’t fix them.

I really don’t think he avoided your question at all. He gave you his reasons pretty clearly.

I would argue that the priest at your local parish may be called an interpreter of the Pope. So the fact that we have people interpreting the pope is no big deal.

The pope has stepped in only very rarely to solve a theological problem that would otherwise break the church up - where he had to make doctrine.

But most of what the Popes say is intended to be interpreted by other people, even individuals.

I have many of John Paul II’s books and he writes very humbly and says that what he is writing is meant to be his own opinion and that hey wants you to understand the reasons for what he believes, and he draws you into his thinking and spirituality as you become to think along with him.

Your line of questions reinforce the Protestant notion that Catholics are robots and just believe whatever the Pope says,

Sorry dude. You did more harm than good.

I disagree with you. The OP’s point is that if the Pope says X, and a priest starts teaching Y, the Pope himself can show that priest where he said X and not Y. The Bible can’t physically say “John 6 teaches about the Eucharist, so quit not believing!”

There needs to be a central body to read the texts and decipher what they mean, whereas a Pope can just say “This is what I meant when I said X” and that was his point.

As a former Pentecostalist, I seems to me that Hank believes that anything that comes out of the Pope’s mouth is on the same level as doctrine/dogma, but that’s not the case, hence the Pope’s words need no interpreter, unlike the Bible, which is a document, not a person with authority to speak for God in matters of faith and morals. When Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote, while Pope, that these were his words only, he merely wanted to make it clear that he was not speaking ex cathedra so there would be no misunderstanings. The Pope, whoever he is, can speak for himself–he needs no one to interpret his words for him, unlike a document, such as the Bible, which cannot do so.

Also, I bolded your statement that the Pope makes up doctrine. Ah, no. The Pope does no such thing. :slight_smile: The teachings of the Church are not made up by anyone. They are the teachings of Christ which the Church is obliged to share with the world. What the Magisterium and the Pope do is determine if a theological theory is part of revealed doctrine and/or if it rises to the level of a dogma. I’m sorry to nitpick, but many a Protestant has the idea that the Pope or the Church simply make up doctrine as they go along, which is simply not the case.

It’s difficult because the OP’s video did not include the original point from Hank that he was questioning. So we may be talking around each other here.

Listening again, Hank seems to say that the point he made was: ‘If the laity cannot rightly interpret the scriptures, then how can the laity rightly interpret the Pope’?

Is that the question that the OP was answering on the phone call?

I thought the question was just the old one about why do you think that the pope is infallible. But it wasn’t clear, and Hank himself said he didn’t remember what the point was, so lots of confusion here regarding what the question is?!?

Perhaps you guys are just talking past each other answering different questions.

Anyone can state a mistruth in error and everyone does it.

My understanding is that the only time a Pope speaks infallibly is when he is speaking with all bishops around the world and that the only time this happens is at a council.

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.