Talking with a very learned and devout Protestant minister over the weekend, the subject of the Western Schism came up–when three men simultaneously were claiming right to the papacy … After discussing our respective positions concerning the Protestant and Catholic churches for over two hours, we ended on this note, with my admitting my historic ignorance in this area.
He was formerly going to be a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church when he decided that the decision was not in line with God’s Will. He, of course, was quick to then turn to the Catholic Church, but to him it was full of contradictions within the papacy, schisms, and its doctrine was based on speculation and philosophical notions … To him, based on Revelation, the perfection of the Church was not to occur until Christ’s return, as the Marriage of the Lamb to his Bride is seen as an event yet to be realized. Therefore, he says, the Church is bound to have divisions and dissent, just as the Early Church had … It currently, he continues, is an imperfect Institution, not fully unified to Christ.
He also brought up the fact that His Holiness has recently done away with certain edicts that were established by Pope John Paul II. He asked how the Pope, who was infallible, could be over-rode like that. He also asked why it was that the Church has yet to establish an official doctrine concerning Co-Redemptrix if she was certain it was God’s Will. I pointed out the Church’s attatchment to its communion with Protestant churches and he asked why distressing them was more important than presenting Truth. What’s more, he questioned Mary’s role as “Co-Redemptrix” on the grounds that the pre-fix “co-” assumes one perfectly capable of taking over. A co-pilot, he said, though subordinate to the Pilot, could, of course, assume role as Pilot, being totally qualified. By very definition, he said, this doctrine is in err, then.
He also predicted it be only a matter of time before the papacy allows priests to marry, that such a step was inevitable, and that when this happens, it would prove another doctrinal contradiction to add to numerous alleged others.
Despite stating much of this matter-of-factly, I think most of you know how skeptical I am about … well, a good deal, if not all, of his points. But some (many) were quick to cut me. Could anyone help me out here in understanding a Catholic perspective on these matters, being fully aware of the Protestant take on it?