here are some of my personal objections to submitting to rcc. do any of you have solid answeres that don’t depend on appealling circularly to rcc authority? i.e, can you establish rcc authority by answering these objections and misconceptions.
concerning the broader question of the roman catholic church’s identity claims, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts. first we have to understand what it is they exactly claim to be. rather than use one word, I think it is better to identify the particulars. The catholic church identifies its pope, cardinals, and bishops as being the succesors of the apostles–both the 12 and those who were appointed outside the 12 such as Paul. as such, we should expect that the bishops should provide infallable teaching. this is in affect another claim of the catholic church. the church as a whole and especially its leadership(collectively) are the infallable gardians of the apostolic tradition and the interpreters of how to practice that tradition in the context of various times and cultures. in essence the claim is that the catholic church and in particular its leadership is the “pillar and bullwork of the truth”–an institution where only truth is permitted to have sway and anything false, depraved, or immoral would quickly be delt with. The roman institution is thought to be the natural and visible identification of the mystical body. in other words, as I am a soul with a body by which I can act and be identified, so the catholic church is a group of people spiritually joined in Christ identified in-seperably by their visible participation in the functions of the roman catholic institution–in particular the sacriments.
to examine these claims one must check several points. one is the claim to apostolic succession. this is a matter that will delve into the history of the popes. as yet I hav’nt done the homework yet. however, there are rhumors of vatican curruption that would make nero blush. in addition, it is well known historically that the catholic leadership has invited political influence in terms of manipulating governments and playing the role of polical superpower. even today, popes are appointed with a watchful eye on world politics. It was said by clergy during the last papal apointment that no american cardinal would likely be appointed in the current world order because of the political liability. this makes perfect sense in the context of catholic history as far as I know, but it does’nt have the ring of Christ, “my kingdom is not of this world, if it were of this world, my servants would fight for me.” A while back I discovered a book that details the breaks in the supposedly unbroken line of popes. in some cases catholic civil war broke out over disagreement as to who was the rightful successor to peter. bribing and political posturing have also been a part of the conclave.I lost the info about the book so I’ll have to look this up again.
another aspect to be checked is the strength with which corruption of the teaching or practice is contested. if the church is really the pillar and bullwork of truth, I would expect that heresy would be dealt with in the same way that the 1st century apostles dealt with it–directly, persuasively, quickly, sternly and without regard for the comfort of the perpetraters at the expense of the safety of those who could potentially be led astray. the catholic church has a history of dealling with things in just the opposite manner–let centries go by while the common people are forbidden from reading the word of God in their own language or of celebrating the mass in their own language until at last in the twentieth century a “conciliatory vatican” capitulates to the long popular view that everyone should be allowed to study the scriptures in their own language if still within the guidance of the church. not to mention that “conciliatory” flies in the face of the medival blind eye to the burning of non-catholic, and fringe-catholic, christians. follow the power and you will understand catholic interpretation of the tradition. this is the picture of a pillar and bullwork being tossed about by whatever global climate it faces and not the picture of a church that holds its ground on truth whatever the political cost. obviously I have a lot of historical details to caugh up which will come in time. however it was protestants and inside reformers who corrected the church on the point of hiding the scriptures from common people. and it was only after centuries of protestentism taking hold and eventually owning large influence in the global climate on christianity that the vatican finally came to full repentance.