The Western Schism ...?


#1

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?


#2

Three men claimed to be pope, but only one was validly elected. It matters not a whit what the other two claimed.

catholic.com/thisrock/1993/9306iron.asp

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.

Okay. But that is not what it should be. Protestantism isn’t helping, is it?

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.

Not everything the Pope says is infallible. One Pope can change a directive of another Pope.

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.

Where does he get the idea that the Church is certain that it is God’s will? As for his definition of “co-”, when would a co-pilot take over? When the pilot was incapacitated? That’s not going to happen with Jesus, is it? Therefore, that arguement does not apply. As for the definition itself:

co-
pref. [LIST=1]
*]Together; joint; jointly; mutually: coaptation.
*]Subordinate or auxiliary: coenzyme.
*]To the same extent or degree: codominant.[/LIST]Mary did work together with God to bring about our salvation - it’s called the Incarnation. She’s also subordinate to Jesus in this. Only the third meaning has any possible problem; but the definitions are listed in order of importance. The Church is not suggesting that Mary participates in our salvation to the same extent that God does.

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.

Your friend does not understand the differences between doctrine and discipline. The Church is free to change its disciplines whenever it chooses.

Ask him if his prophecy does not come true, can you stone him as a false prophet?

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?

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


#3

Did he say what these changes are? I’m curious.


#4

I must say that the Protestant learned Minister is very logical in expressing his thoghts.
Thanks


#5

Since at the time of this incident there was one legally elected pope and two others who fraudulently claimed be Pope it is obvious that the legally elected Pope was the only Pope that existed at the time. For example if two people show up claiming to own my house… and I am the only one who legally obtained a title to it and paid for it, this is not a reflection on me nor on my ownership of the house. It is a reflection on the crooks who are trying to steal my house.

Further, if this man has an issue with schisms, differing claims of authority, etc. Than how does he reconcile the issue that every one of the more then 30,000 Protestant denominations claims that they are the only one who is the true Church. This is no different then the three men who claimed to be the Pope. There is only one Church that is the real church, all others are fraudulently claiming to be the right one. Which is the read Church? Which Church is the keeper of the key from St. Peter?

If he is going to reject a religion because of schisms then there is no Protestant denomination that he should accept. Islam has schisms so he cannot join that. WHat is he going to do if he applied this restriction to all other relgions, not just the CC? He’s have to start a new religion… wait that would just be one more schism… :shrug:
Papal contradictions - I don’t just want to assume that I know what he considers to be papal contradictions so can you tell us of any examples he gave on this.
To say that doctrine is based on speculation and philosophical notions is to say that there is some interpretation that was used. All of Protestantism use interpretations of scripture and what God/Jesus wanted. They have to, the guide book is that clear on all things. So once again he would have to reject his own denomination for the same thing.


#6

Again I have no idea what the new Pope has over turned. But it is not doctrine and dogma. The Pope is only infallible in matters of doctrine and morals.
For example the Pope cannot change the ten commandments and that Catholics must believe them. This is doctrine that cannot be changed. When the Pope says this he is infallible. On the other hand, a long time ago a Pope told Catholics to not eat meat on Fridays as a form of fast and penitence. This is not doctrine, this is a Pope leading the followers in ways that will help them remember to contemplate and ask for forgiveness of their sins. If at some point, as has happened, this form of fast/penitence has no meaning to the followers then it is reasonable for the current Pope to end this form of fast/penitence and find something that has more meaning to the current flock. This is not a matter of infallibility.

Because the Church is still studying this topic. The church moves slow on all things… No rash decisions. As they study topics, new insights become clear.

The CC is not all that concerned about distressing Protestants. The CC is focused on presenting the Truth. That is the core of the CC. And part of that Truth is that Protestants teach some huge untruths… if a person wants to argue with me on this one… first tell me which of the more than 30,000 sects of Protestantism has the Truth and by what authority they have that truth. Protestantism is not ONE truth because it is not one church… It is 30,000 small churches that all disagree with each other as well as disagree with the CC and Orthodoxy.

Others have answered this. I’ll leave it to them.


#7

Actually the CC already allows married priests under several circumstances.
There are other groups of Catholics who are in Communion with Rome but who keep many of their own traditions. The Byzantine Catholic Church (BCC) is one of them. There are Byzantine Catholic Bishops who served in the Vatican. They have married priests. My husband is looking into becoming one. The CC has been allowing married ministers, under some circumstances, to become Catholic priests. Right now about 1/3 of all Catholic Priests are married so they are not servicing in the capacity that normal priests do. But more and more they are being called on to help out. I believe that this change with come with time… its just sneaking up on us.
Unmarried priests is not doctrine, it’s a discipline. In the BCC only unmarried priests can be Bishops and can be parish priests because of the requirement that they put the Church before anything personal. A married man, even a priest, must first take care of his wife and family. So the married priest serve in the secondary roles. This give them the time for their wife and family. Remember that the apostates and ECF’s were all married.

Hope this helps.


#8

Read my response above… he is very illogical actually.


#9

Of course the Orthodoxy see the RC as having strayed in the matter of the Filioque (etc) in spite of attempts by the Orthodox Church to straighten them out and bring them back to the fullness of truth. At that point I gues the RCC went into schism form the original church.

The above is sort of tongue in cheeck but I was reading Tolstoy and this was his point about the numbers of Christian sects claiming to have The Truth and either be the orginal church or the restoration of it.

I agree with what someone above said about the infallibaility issue. The Protestant demonstrates the typical ignornance of what the terms means. It does not mean every opinion by the Pope over each snack he has is an infallible statement as to the inherent worth of the snack for loyal Catholics.

I do wish they would dump they idea of co redemptrix. I have heard what are attempted to be explanations of it to make it not what it appears. It is not RCC doctrine and I would drop the idea (at least the term). WHen people here co redemptrix it has a logical meaning that has nothing to do with what some Catholics are trying to explain it as and when you add that to Protestants seeing stautes of Mary paraded in South America and people attaching money to it …this just comes across as Pagan.

It is interesting that as with all Christians we sometimes hold back part of our life no matter what our faith is. Protestants (and Catholics) whose thought life is not in accordance with scripture and church teaching (lust, pornography, not paying just wages, cheating and so on). In addition, I once heard a statistic (in fairness I do not have it) that indicated most Catholics practice birth control in clear violation of Catholic doctrine (ie not the Natural Family planning that is 99% effective - my wife used to teach it) but taking the pill or using other means to avert pregnancy. The article said that many Catholics give a polite nod to the doctrine and then go ahead and practice Birth Control behind closed doors and still consider themselves loyal Catholics.

PS (ie an off topic aside) We used Natural Family Planning and it was easy (had a chart with stickers for fertile days, etc), and worked without a problem. We had exactly the one child we wished to have and an active sex life and NO artificial contraception that would have been at variance with the teaching of the RCC.

Rev North


#10

This is all very, very helpful. THANKS!

He also brought up (actually I think it was our youth pastor, rather) indulgences. (Surprise!) :smiley:

I must admit, I have wondered about this myself.

“The current Pope (Leo X?) was trying to raise money for St. Peter’s Basilica, and so he instituted indulgences in order to raise the money for the structure …”

This is the Protestant argument I’ve heard. I was also asked, “Why doesn’t the Catholic Church use indulgences anymore?”

Considering this is so important an issue to Protestants, could someone help and explain the Catholic perspective on this, as well?


#11

It does.
catholic.com/thisrock/1994/9411fea1sb2.asp

catholic.com/thisrock/1994/9411fea1sb4.asp


#12

Look at the links JimG gave above. The RCC does still use indulgences. My Cathlic study bible says that for each house I spend reading and studying scripture I get indulgences.

It is the particular of indulgences that you might want to find out more about. The links should help.


#13

Here is an interesting link about indulgences which shows a historical perspective. I would like to add that the Church does still have use of indulgences. Keep in mind that an indulgence is solely used to remit temporal punishment for a sin that has already been forgiven. It has nothing to do with salvation or “selling God’s forgiveness” or any of those non-sensical protestant arguements. It is to lessen the punishments of purgatory for yourself or those already in purgatory (indulgences cannot be applied to other living people). Trying to “pay to the last penny” before we die, so to speak. By the way, for the record, those who are in the state of purgatory are already saved, but in a state of purification.

To this day, there are conditions for gaining an indulgence. One must give a Sacramental Confession, recieve Holy Communion, and say prayers for the intentions of the Pope. In addition, one must perform a prescribed pious work. This could be reading the Bible for a half hour or saying a variety of prayers or spending time in Adoration. In the days of Martin Luther, one of the pious works was to make a donation to the building up of St. Peters Basilica. I think that is as charitible of an act as saying prayers–if it is done in the right spirit. The problem was that some priests misrepresented indulgences, particularly to the poor and illiterate. I believe that for some, the emphasis was more on the pious work of donating money, rather than the penitential heart. Luther was right to say there were problems with how indulgences were being gained and how some of the clergy was representing them. I know this because the Council of Trent repented of some of these practices and clearly redefined the practiced. Unfortunately, as the link indicates, Luther and friends threw the baby out with the bathwater. However, as much as some clergy misrepresented indulgences back in the 1500’s, it was never a teaching of the Catholic Church that indulgences could be ‘sold’.

It is interesting to me how protestants can chide Catholics about the “selling of indulgences” when they turn around and seemingly sell “blessings of God”. You know, those pastors who say the more you give to the church, the more God will bless you. I have seen that with my own eyes and here is an interesting comparison on this phenomenon and the scandal with indulgences.


#14

Hi
You have tried to expalin away.
Thanks

I understand that NTBible does not come from Jesus; it is mostly the workings of Church.


#15

Yes I did try to explain some of his lack of logic. You see, he gave reason after reason of why he could not be a Catholic. Yet every reason he gave fell into one of two catagories.

  1. His assumptions about Catholicism were wrong. So while he thought he was rejecting Catholicim based on the reality of the RCC, the fact is that he was rejecting the RCC based on things that are not true.

  2. Many of his reasons were true Prodestants… infact many of them were not true for Catholics but only true for prodestants… so he rejection of RCC based on that is totally illogical… instead he should have been rejected Protestantism based no what he said.


#16

Your Protestant friend is depending mightily upon his own opinions about important things that are best left to people who know an awful lot more than he could ever hope to know.

I’ve noticed this about Protestants. They’ve got this urge to “understand” everything before they can submit to it. The problem is that they can never really understand much of anything. They submit to the Trinity without being able to comprehend Trinity, and fail to give credit to the Fathers who defined it for us many centuries ago. What makes them think they understand Trinity? No one else does! So why do they need to understand anything else the Church teaches? Shouldn’t it be enough to recognize the logic that Jesus established a visible, authoritative Church, led by Apostles and their successors, guided by the Holy Spirit and made infallible unto all Truth? Submit to those teachings, and learn from them, or forever be spinning around trying to understand the incomprehensible!


#17

Not to get off topic but I LOVE your id. Very cool!!


#18

Indulgences are still a very real Catholic thing. They never went away, and they weren’t new to the Church just prior to the advent of the Reformation. There apparently was a bit of abuse of indulgences, and Luther latched onto this as part of his major objection to the authority of the popes. If you browze thru Luther’s 95 theses, you can see that papal authority and indulgences are the major items.

According to my reading, it appears to be true that the need for money to rebuild the Vatican was a significant cause of the abuse of indulgences, assuming that this abuse was real, which I by no means accept at face value. This rebuilding was brought about by the years of neglect while the popes were living in France. The original buildings became uninhabitable and unsalvageable.


#19

I’m not surprised.


#20

Your minister friend’s views of Catholicism are replete with error.

If I wanted information about your church, I wouldn’t go ask my priest.


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