The Authority of the Catholic Church


I was in a Catholic Bible Study class and the issue of ecumenism came-up. Many were questioning the Catholic Church’s seemingly lesser efforts since the immediate post-Vatican II period to bring all Chirstians together. This sentiment lead to the emphasis by some of the similarites of the various denominations and less on the dogmatic proclimations of the Catholic Church which some felt impeded unity. How can one argue for the Catholic Church’s authority to define dogma? Many bible versus can be brought-up but others have contridictory interpretations. I firmly believe that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus and has the authority to define dogmas through Christ but how does one argue that we have this authority if our sources are bible versus that have to be intepreted?


Maybe I am not understanding your question properly, but I will say this. The Source for the authority ofthe Church is no the Bible, but Jesus. Jesus commissioned the Apostles, and they in turn chose faithful men who were able to teach to succeed them. The Authority of the Seat of Moses (to teach) was given to Peter, and he has passed that on to his successors. This is reflected in the Bible, but does not proceed from the Bible.




Thank you. You understood what I was asking about in my confusing way. Jesus did found his chruch on Peter long before the New Testement was written and its the Church of the Apostles that compiled the New Testement, not the other way around.


I like to point out what the Church looked like in the bible. Was it a community that had no central teaching authority but relied on 'a most popular enterpretation as a guide? No, it had certain individuals who were especially appointed to be teachers and the faithfull were taught to submit to their teaching. Did it claim there was no Church teaching the fullness of truth? No it claimed that what it taught came from God and that it is the True Faith . Did it teach to resolve disputes among the faithfull by consulting the Scriptures? No, it taught that anyone who didn’t submit to the judgement of the Church were to be treated as no longer members of the faithfull.The Church in the Bible relied on it’s Magisterial teaching and Sacred Scripture as a teaching tool and was supported by a Sacred Tradition going back to Jesus validated by the laying on of hands.


Thank you for your reply. I thought your point about the first Magisterial rulings by the early apostles to be a very important point. There was an authority established by Jesus long before the New Testement was written.


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