The Authority of the Catholic Church


#1

I’m not sure I’m going to word this very well. I really wanted to make some kind of poll, but I think my wording of the poll would be pretty dismal.

My question targets fellow non-Catholics, but anyone, of course, is welcome to chime in.

Let me begin by saing this: The Catholic Church has rules and teachings that have been proclaimed over centuries and Catholics are required to obey the Church and believe her teachings right? It’s also my understanding that the faithful are free to interpret the Bible as long as it’s within the parameters of what the Church has already taught. If I’ve got this wrong, someone please tell me.

Some non-C’s I’m sure dislike this, saying the Catholic Church is cultish and won’t leave room for individuality and is controlling and so on and so on. But for me, I think it would be a comfort to have something so old and so established to lean on. Not everyone is a theologian. Not everyone can be a theologian. And going futher, not everyone has time to throw themselves into study of scripture, tradition, early church fathers, commentaries and all that. Some of us are just regular. Some people have children and families and demanding jobs. While I believe everyone should “excercise” spiritually, by prayer, Bible reading, etc, let’s face it, everyone can’t lock themselves away and pore over theology for 8 hours a day.

Is it a comfort to you Catholics, knowing that if you don’t have time to figure it all it, that’s okay because the Church already has? (And I say that loosely…of course nobody has figured it all out…you know what I mean). I think I would find it comforting, believing the interpretations of the Church are accurate and knowing that there are boundaries when I believe the Holy Spirit is “leading me” into some truth in my private bible reading.

Non catholics? Whatchoo think? Comforting? Horrible mind control? Something else?


#2

Hi there, I am a convert to Catholicism and I will tell you about my views, etc.

Well, let’s see. I love the vast history of the Church. When I was being raised a Baptist, I didn’t know that the Early Fathers had writings and that they even existed. Theology was not even 200 years old. The pastor was set up as being infallable and I had trouble with that.

I seemed to think that nothing was kept or saved except, of course, the Bible – and that Catholics added books, not that protestants removed books. I really felt lied to about the scripture thing. Non-Catholics may not like the reason we include the books, but it wasn’t like we found them laying around many years after the Canon was decided. to me, that little issue, was so symbolic of the greater loss of revisionist history.

I kind of introduced the Early Fathers to my still fundamentalist mom by saying, “you know those churches that the Epistles were written to? Well we call those people the Early Fathers.” I know that isn’t 100% accurate, but for someone who thinks that theology has only existed since the 1800’s – I didn’t want to push too hard. She actually seemed to accept that it was OK to have their writings. I am hoping she will thereby get my brother to read them. He is reading St. John of the Cross – from a protestant devotional series, but he loves that Saint.

I had entered the Church very much as a Cafeteria Catholic after leaving the Baptist faith and God behind for a few years of misspent youth. I met my husband as I was bottoming out from my decdent lifestyle and he was sincerely Catholic, but not at all pushy about it like the Baptists seemd to be – at least the group, I was affiliated with by family.

As I have learned about our faith – the catechism – what a gift! – and the prayers of the Saints and their writings – truly awesome.

When one comes down to what authority one bases their beliefs about scripture on and what the rules of proper prayer and behavior are – well, I do accept the Catholic Church as the church founded by Jesus and that Holy Spirit is our guide to learning the truths.

The more I have learned about the Holy Spirit and Our Lady – oh the years I wasted not being aware of her great gifts of grace and her desire for us to know her Son well – I have fallen in love with Jesus and His Church all the more.

I know the protestants don’t appreciate Mary – but really – if you get over those silly prejudices and learn how much Satan doesn’t want you to know the One who will crush his head under her heel – you will have no trouble with our faith and the rules.

I don’t grate under the weight of the law. I have a Savior who is meek and humble of heart…
… may my heart be just like His.** +**

As our new Holy Father has said “Truth is not determined by popular vote” (OK that isn’t a direct quote and I propably have paraphrased him) and is attributed to leading the phrase “*Cafeteria will remained closed indefinitely.” *


#3

I’m Catholic and can say what you’ve written above is pretty accurate. We believe in the authority of the Church based on Scripture. Our Lord told the Apostles to teach His word and anyone who didn’t believe would be condemned. He also said His Church would never fail and that He would be with it to the end of time, and that He would send the Holy Ghost to abide with the Church forever. He also tells us “And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican” Matt 18:17. These are just a few examples.
So since Our Lord said He would be with His Church always, that it would never fail, and that we must hear the Church and believe or be condemned, Catholics believe that how can Our Lord insist we believe what the Church teaches with threat of condemnation if it could contain error? That would be setting us up to fail.
The Church is guided by the Holy Ghost and it is our authority per the words of Scripture. It HAS to be our authority as we can clearly see interpreting on our own has only gotten us thousands of opposing denominations all claiming they have it right. We NEED an authority or we are lost.

Nice job on your write up!

BH
protestanterrors.com


#4

[quote=Curious]Let me begin by saing this: The Catholic Church has rules and teachings that have been proclaimed over centuries and Catholics are required to obey the Church and believe her teachings right? It’s also my understanding that the faithful are free to interpret the Bible as long as it’s within the parameters of what the Church has already taught.

[/quote]

That’s more or less correct. Jesus Christ founded His Church, which Scripture says is the Pillar and Foundation of TRUTH, in order to lead us to Him and Salvation. It is the Church which delivered this TRUTH down through the centuries when there was no New Testament, there were only fragments. The New Testament was determined, by the Catholic Church at the Councils of Hippo and Carthage in the 300’s. So there was no New Testament until then, only the Church and it was the Church, with the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit, which delivered this TRUTH which we now call the New Testament.

Some non-C’s I’m sure dislike this, saying the Catholic Church is cultish and won’t leave room for individuality and is controlling and so on and so on. But for me, I think it would be a comfort to have something so old and so established to lean on. Not everyone is a theologian. Not everyone can be a theologian. And going futher, not everyone has time to throw themselves into study of scripture, tradition, early church fathers, commentaries and all that. Some of us are just regular. Some people have children and families and demanding jobs. While I believe everyone should “excercise” spiritually, by prayer, Bible reading, etc, let’s face it, everyone can’t lock themselves away and pore over theology for 8 hours a day.
Is it a comfort to you Catholics, knowing that if you don’t have time to figure it all it, that’s okay because the Church already has?

It is good to know that Christ has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and protected His Church so that it can lead people to Him.

May the grace of God, the love of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.

Your brother in Christ.


#5

As a Catholic who came back to the Church from an Evangelical church I feel that it is liberating to have a sort of standard understanding to base your faith off of. If I have a question it doesn’t then just become the opinion of my pastor which resolves it but there is a 99.99999999% chance that someone in the Catholic Church has addressed it before.

I like to think of it in this way, my understanding is not hampered but enhanced of scripture as now I have the advantage of standing on the shoulders of giants for a better understanding. (borrowing\paraphrasing from Sir Isaac Newton)

And yet another perspective is this we don’t have to reinvent Christianity each generation, or conform it to a new understanding.

Outside the church I kinda felt like we based some of our theology\ practices partly on disagreeing with the Catholic Church instead of going to the absolute truth regardless if it agreed with the Catholic Church.

But back to Catholicism, I feel freed as it gives me a framework to build my knowledge off of.

God Bless
Scylla


#6

I wonder if there were one single Protesant church like the Catholic church, and it too required submission to such and such teachings and traced the lineage to way back…would prots find that comforting? Or disconcerting? I might take this question to a prot board as well…if I can stand it.


#7

[quote=Curious]I wonder if there were one single Protesant church like the Catholic church, and it too required submission to such and such teachings and traced the lineage to way back…would prots find that comforting? Or disconcerting? I might take this question to a prot board as well…if I can stand it.
[/quote]

I think that is an excellent idea. I would love to know what Protestants would think about this. Very interesting perspective. Thank you.


#8

[quote=scylla]But back to Catholicism, I feel freed as it gives me a framework to build my knowledge off of.
[/quote]

scylla,

I am a cradle Catholic, and I love that quote!!! That sums it up for me in a nutshell on how it feels to be a Catholic … there actually exists absolute truth, not just subjectivism or relativism.

Peace,
Catholicious


#9

I think that is an excellent idea. I would love to know what Protestants would think about this. Very interesting perspective. Thank you.

Thank you Elzee. I was hoping that some of this board’s protestant members might comment, but if not, I might take it elsewhere. I’m really curious about that.


#10

I am a cradle pre-Vatican II catholic and have always had a problem with the “Authority” of the church. The church claims to have the sole authority to interpret scripture. When asked where this authoroty comes from the answer is -the scripture. This sounds pretty circular.

Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the authority of Jesus rather than the authority of the church. It seems that Jesus has taken a back seat to Mary and the church in catholicism.


#11

[quote=hermit]I am a cradle pre-Vatican II catholic and have always had a problem with the “Authority” of the church. The church claims to have the sole authority to interpret scripture. When asked where this authoroty comes from the answer is -the scripture. This sounds pretty circular.

Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the authority of Jesus rather than the authority of the church. It seems that Jesus has taken a back seat to Mary and the church in catholicism.
[/quote]

How so?

The Last I heard, the Church preaches that Jesus is our Savior.

Every message that Mary has given can be summed up in three words: “Listen to Him!”

She’s like any other typical Jewish Mother: “Have I got a son for you!” (This last quote has to be said in Yiddish).

NotWorthy


#12

[quote=hermit]I am a cradle pre-Vatican II catholic and have always had a problem with the “Authority” of the church.

Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the authority of Jesus rather than the authority of the church.
[/quote]

If you are a pre Vatican II Catholic, as I am also, then you know the Magisterium exerted it’s influence much more heavily before Vatican II.

The Church was established by Jesus Christ, who gave it His Authority when He said “whatsoever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, whatsoever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven”. Also, the giving of the Keys of the Kingdom in Heaven is an ancient Hebrew metaphor for the giving of authority.

Something like a king preparing for an extended absence would give the keys of the kingdom (i.e. the authority to govern) to his prime minister until he returns. So did Jesus, the eternal King, gave the Authority to the Apostles and their successors until He returns in Glory.


#13

[quote=Curious]Is it a comfort to you Catholics, knowing that if you don’t have time to figure it all it, that’s okay because the Church already has? (And I say that loosely…of course nobody has figured it all out…you know what I mean). I think I would find it comforting, believing the interpretations of the Church are accurate and knowing that there are boundaries when I believe the Holy Spirit is “leading me” into some truth in my private bible reading.
[/quote]

Curious,

I find it extremely comforting. When I converted I found that the Catholic Church had answers to questions that the Protestant denominations hadn’t even asked yet.

  • Liberian

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