why should we put our faith in the Catholic Church’s authority
Quadratus writes (circa 123 A.D.) that in his day there were still persons around who had been cured or raised from the dead by Jesus – prime witnesses. [Eusebius, *Church History, 4.3, 1.2; See Free From All Error, Fr W. Most, p 12]
- The documents of Scripture are HISTORICAL – it is absurd to claim that Scripture is inspired without the authority of God to know that it is inspired.
- However, HISTORICALLY, the documents of Scripture relate that the man Jesus claimed to be sent by God, claimed to be God, proved His claim by His miracles and His Resurrection, established His Church on St Peter to continue His teaching until the end of time.
- HIS CHURCH, HISTORICALLY ESTABLISHED, then teaches what writings form God’s Word and that all of those writings, and no others, are inspired by the Holy Spirit. No one else can decide what books are inspired or has any authority to do so.
Also how would you respond to the following accusations:
1.) The Catholic Church has changed throughout history, except only she decides which changes are “important” and which beliefs are infallible, usually after the fact.
The Catholic Church has never contradicted any doctrinal or dogmatic teaching, and cannot. The understanding of a teaching may develop, which is quite different.
A “tradition” means an inherited pattern of thought and action.
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 05-27-2009 (EWTN):
The small “t” traditions are practices that can change over time. For example, the language of the Mass, whether or not altar girls are permitted, whether both species are permitted at Mass or not (Precious Blood), are all small “t” traditions that can change.
The **Tradition **followed below is that of St Paul who tells us over and over again that much of Christian teaching is to be found in Tradition.
‘As a source of Christian truth, that divine **Tradition **which is the collection of doctrines taught by Christ and the Apostles, but which were not written in the New Testament. They have been written in various “Creeds,” and “Professions of Faith,” and are supported by the unanimous consent of the Fathers who lived in the first centuries and knew the Apostolic teaching. St. Paul said to Timothy, “The things you have heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men who will be fit to teach others also.” 2 Tim. 2: 2. The early ecclesiastical writers recorded the teachings of these “faithful men”; and those teachings are an authentic source of the revelation of Christ to be transmitted to posterity.’
Thus from Vatican I Pastor Aeternus Chapter 4
“On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff
9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the Tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.”
2.) The Church might have a unified teaching but her members are far from united to that- and such it has always been throughout history. Thus the Church is united on paper only. It would be comparable to say that the same amount of people who are unified to the teachings of the Church are more or less equal to the amount of people who are unified in the core doctrines of the reformation.
It is ludicrous to compare the thousands of Protestant sects all teaching something different, with the teaching of Christ’s Church.
3.) Catholicism does produce sanctity, as do other christian and even non christian churches (such as the Mormans) and as the other churches do she also produces great sinners.
As Christ was betrayed by Judas, does that make His teaching erroneous?
No other sect or religion has the full teaching of Christ given only to His Church – so whether it is divorce or contraception or euthanasia or polygamy, no other sect or religion has the fullness of Christ’s truth.