The Providence of God and What it means to be "the true Church"

God knows all things at once. That is one philosophical way of putting it. He knows everything that will happen before it happens. He also is an all-powerful, personal, interactive God. He loves his creatures and wants to guide them to their true end.

Looking at the Christian world today, there are many churches, denominations, communions, viewpoints, etc. There is just as many non-Catholic Christians as there are Catholic Christians. I have heard it said that there are as many as 30-40,000 denominations. Even if this is an overestimate, the idea is this: God knew what would happen. He knew about the Reformation. He knew at this time in history there would be so many gatherings of Christians who did not agree on everything, so many denominations. Because God knew this, I wonder how reasonable the Catholic conception of what it means to be Church. The Catholic Church is willing to say parts of the Church exist outside of the Roman Catholic Church, though imperfectly. But what if a visible society is not the true nature of the Church. Seeing that there are so many different Christian groups, and knowing that God knew things would be this way, is it not more reasonable to see the Church existing equally everyone amongst those who follow Christ? At least, does it not make sense that our current understanding of the Church is off?

Just because God knows something is gonna happen doesn’t make it somehow right.

God knows about ISIS and Hitler and Stalin and all sorts of things that aren’t right, or aligned with his divine will.

He permits these things. That doesn’t mean he somehow agrees with them.

It was never Our Lord’s will that people leave the Church that he personally established and set up shop elsewhere. Just because many people did that doesn’t compel God to endorse it in any way.

Yes, guide them. He doesn’t force anyone to that end.

Think of the story of the prodigal son. Was that son who left the family still part of the family? Yes. Yet he seperated from his family. What did the father say about that son while he was separated from the family?

[emphasis mine]

Lk 15: 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’c] 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; 23 and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; 24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.

As we see in the story, being separated from the family, doesn’t mean that separated brother is safe and okay. He’s anything but safe and okay. He’s dead to the father. Because while separated he has lost all the benefits of being in the family. And let’s not forget who is telling the story…it’s Jesus. And that points to the big picture.

Jesus established One Church in the first century THAT is His family. And He wants perfect unity in it. John 17:20-23

So like the prodigal son,all people have the choice, whether to be in the Catholic Church or not. There is no such thing as separate but equal. Those who choose to separate from it or won’t enter it, will not inherit the kingdom of God. 846

First of all, there’s still about 350 million more Catholics than non-Catholic Christians (1.1 Bil to approx. 750 mil).

Secondly, while protestants aren’t technically within the Church, many–actually most, I’d say, are ‘people of good will’ who believe and praise the One True God and the Blessed Trinity, and who uphold the same Christian ethics (e.g.–the beatitudes, charity, etc).

Third, while there is certainly division, the Lord still uses these folks for the advancement of His Kingdom, and in the service of His Holy Will.

Fourth, no, I don’t believe that it renders our current understanding of ‘the Church’ as erroneous. She is what the Good Lord gave us; she is as the Lord gave her to us–(note the similarities between the Apostolic Churches of the East and ours (i.e.–Latin Rite Catholic)–the Sacraments, the Liturgy, the Communion of Saints, etc.–now contrast that to the confused mess that Protestantism offers (as you noted)).

God develops His Kingdom and furthers His Will in spite of Protestantism, not because of it.

…and ultimately, His Will will prevail, and His Church will triumph!

The suggestion here is that because God permits things, then He must also intend them. It’s like saying because God knew man would sin, and created him anyway, then perhaps our understanding of sin is maybe unreasonable.

Just because God knows something, and permits it, doesn’t mean He intends it, nor does it even mean it’s part of His plan. It just means people sin, and God lets us.

That’s not what the Catholic Church teaches. For example, all the Saints are part of the Church, but they are not part of the “visible society.” Nevertheless, a visible society is a necessary character of the true Church, otherwise how could the Church be the light to the nations? Moreover, that society must be united, one, for that is what Jesus desired for it. He prayed to the Father for that.

Why is that more reasonable? Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.” Ask yourself, if two Christian groups teach opposing doctrines, then how can they both “equally” be the Church, since at least one of them must be teaching an untruth (a non-Christ)? The Catholic Church teaches it holds the fullness of truth; that is, She has the fullness of Christ, and therefore it is through her that one is most capable of approaching the Father.

I don’t see any reason to think that.

As for the reality that it is a visible and united in doctrine body of believers under Jesus Christ who left His Vicar, the Pope, in charge see

use “edit” drop down menu,
and the “find” feature,
to search for the word “visible”


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