Monday, February 11, 2019

Dialog with Catholics

The formulated dialog below is based on or derived from many Catholic assertions and responses I have engaged in (by the grace of God) or seen over many years as regards Catholic unity.

RC: Hi, I am a devout traditional Roman Catholic. Would you like to hear me tell you why your church cannot be right since you are so divided because of personal interpretation, instead of submitting to the one true church under the pope, under whom the church has unity.

Bible Christian: So instead of ascertaining what the NT believed by examination of the only wholly inspired record of what the NT church believed (especially Acts thru Revelation, showing how it understood the gospels), then 'the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors," "to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff," "of submitting with docility to their judgment?"


RC: That does not mean we must submit to everything modern popes and councils tell us.

Bible Christian: What is your basis for deciding which teachings require assent?

RC: We are to examine the historical teachings of The Church, which many teachings of Vatican Two and modern popes contradict.

Bible Christian: So you disagree with historical papal teaching such as teaches that for RCs there are to be, "no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed... not only in person, but with letters and other public documents;" and 'not limit the field in which he might and must exercise his authority, " for "obedience must not limit itself to matters which touch the faith: its sphere is much more vast: it extends to all matters which the episcopal power embraces," and not set up "some kind of opposition between one Pontiff and another. Those who, faced with two differing directives, reject the present one to hold to the past, are not giving proof of obedience to the authority which has the right and duty to guide them." (Sources Cardinal Burke: Here’s What the Formal Correction of Pope Francis Will Look Like)

RC: That does not mean we must submit to everything modern popes and councils tell us. You need to submit to the One True Church to understand what these mean.

Bible Christian: But Catholics disagree on what such requirements entail .

RC: We can tell by examining historical teachings of The Church.

Bible Christian: Then that essentially makes you like a Bible Christian, ascertaining what valid church teaching is by examination of the historical sources, even if for you it is not primarily Scripture. Thus Catholicism itself abounds with divisions.

RC: Those who disagree with The Church are not real Catholics.

Bible Christian: But both publicly known liberal RCs as well as Traditionalists are overall manifestly considered as members by your church and pope in life and in death.

RC: The pope is not a true faithful Catholic.

Bible Christian: Are you saying you reject the pope as being pope? Those are whom your church calls schismatic as a class?

RC: Some do go that far, but the pope has not changed any dogma.

Bible Christian: So only infallible teachings require assent, while others can be disputable? And did not Vatican Two show how some parts of dogma can be interpreted differently to some degree.

RC: We can tell by examining historical teachings of The Church. We need not submit to anything that is not consistent with these teachings, and there are different magisterial classes of teaching, with different degrees of required assent.

Bible Christian: In any case, how do you know which magisterial class each teaching falls under.

RC: It is not that hard.

Bible Christian: Really? I recall a poster who was faced with this on a RC forum and thus asked in exasperation,
rrr1213: Boy. No disrespect intended…and I mean that honestly…but my head spins trying to comprehend the various classifications of Catholic teaching and the respective degrees of certainty attached thereto. I suspect that the average Catholic doesn’t trouble himself with such questions, but as to those who do (and us poor Protestants who are trying to get a grip on Catholic teaching) it sounds like an almost impossible task.

But the solution (before Francis) he was given was just obey everything:
Well, the question pertained to theology. The Catholic faithful don’t need to know any of this stuff to be faithful Catholics, so you are confusing theology with praxis.
Praxis is quite simple for faithful Catholics: give your religious assent of intellect and will to Catholic doctrine, whether it is infallible or not. That’s what our Dogmatic Constitution on the Church demands, that’s what the Code of Canon Laws demand, and that is what the Catechism itself demands. Heb 13:17 teaches us to “obey your leaders and submit to them.” This submission is not contingent upon inerrancy or infallibility. - Catechism "infallible?"

RC: That is correct, correctly understood.

Bible Christian: But in the light of your conditional assent, this means you are the arbiter of what valid Catholic doctrine is, and means.

RC: There is some room for interpretation.

Some is the problem. As another post wryly observed,

The last time the church imposed its judgment in an authoritative manner on "areas of legitimate disagreement," the conservative Catholics became the Sedevacantists and the Society of St. Pius X, the moderate Catholics became the conservatives, the liberal Catholics became the moderates, and the folks who were excommunicated, silenced, refused Catholic burial, etc. became the liberals. The event that brought this shift was Vatican II; conservatives then couldn't handle having to actually obey the church on matters they were uncomfortable with, so they left. ” Nathan, Against The Grain

RC: What some Internet posters says does not determine reality. The magisterium does.

Bible Christian: Which is the problem at issue. You want Bible Christians to submit to Rome rather than ascertaining the veracity of Truth claims based on what the most ancient wholly inspired sources say, and in which we do not see Catholic distinctives, while you judge the validity of church teaching based upon what your historical sources say.

RC: There is no contradiction btwn Scripture and Church teaching.

Bible Christian: So says your church, but which does not make it so, while absence of contradiction will not suffice as warrant for doctrine.

RC: You cannot correctly understand the Bible apart from Church Tradition.

Meaning what your church says Tradition and Scripture consist of and means, based upon the premise of the ensured veracity of your church (supreme magisterium), assurance of which itself rests upon that premise.

RC: Church Tradition provides more of the word of God, which is not restricted to the Bible, and supports the Catholic Church. Jesus did not commission the church to write a Bible, but to preach. The apostles preached what Christ taught before it was written, and enjoined obedience to their oral traditions. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

Bible Christian: Actually,

1. Writing is God's writing is God's chosen most-reliable means of preservation. ( Exodus 17:14; 34:1,27; Deuteronomy 10:4; 17:18; 27:3; 31:24; Joshua 1:8; 2 Chronicles 34:15,18-19; Psalm 19:7-11; 119; John 20:31; Acts 17:11; Revelation 1:1; 20:12, 15; Matthew 4:5-7; 22:29; Luke 24:44,45; Acts 17:11)

And as abundantly evidenced , as written, Scripture became the transcendent supreme standard for obedience and testing and establishing truth claims as the wholly Divinely inspired and assured, Word of God. And while oral tradition failed to restore faith, reading and hearing the written word is shown to have done so. (2 Kings 22,23)

And which standard the Lord affirmed by His many references to the written word, and opening the minds of the disciples (not just apostles) to them, not traditions. (Luke 24:44,45) Thus if what Christ taught was to be preserved, then it would be by writing. And the veracity of oral preaching by even the apostles was subject to testing by established Scripture, (Acts 17:11) and not vice versa.

2. The apostles could and did speak as wholly inspired of God, and also provided new public revelation thereby, neither of which your popes and councils claim to do. And the wholly inspired word of God is not simply true, but as Hebrews 4:12 says.

3. The inclusion in wholly inspired Scripture from tradition, such as the names of Jannes and Jambres being who withstood Moses, (2 Timothy 3:8) provides assurance that such is Truth. Therefore, why should we believe what uninspired Catholic men say is the word of God?

RC: Without the Catholic Church you could not even tell what Scripture consisted of, and have the canon. And the promise of the Lord that He had more more to reveal to the apostles and thus their successors, and lead them into all Truth, (John 16:12-15) never leave them, and that the faith of Peter would not fail, (Luke 22:32) promise infallibility and which is required to provide for and preserve faith.

Bible Christian:

1. Rather than needing an infallible magisterium, common souls had ascertained both men and writings as being of God before Catholicism ever imagined it was essential for this, resulting in an authoritative body of inspired writings by the time of Christ. And sometimes the common people correctly were in dissent from the historical magisterial stewards of Scripture. Thus did the church begin in dissent (Mk. 11:27-33; Jn. 7:45-49) from those who sat in the seat of Moses, (Mt. 23:2) and thus Scripture provides for the establishment of a canon, and recognition of what is of God without a infallible magisterium.

2. The premise of ensured perpetual magisterial infallibility is novel and unScriptural. Nowhere do we see such promised or exampled, so that whenever it spoke to all the body on faith or morals then it could not err. Instead, authority did not require or infer doctrinal or moral infallibility, and required submission to authority was always conditional upon lack of real conflict with submission to God.

3. God has ever been leading His own into all Truth, and Scripturally/historically this was often thru men whom the magisterial powers persecuted, though their fallible authority remained (thus the church began upon dissidents, apostles and prophets). And assurance that something is part of the "yet many things to says."

4. The prayer to Peter that his own faith fail not, cannot be understood as precluding any failure, which Peter soon demonstrated, let alone being a promise of perpetual protection from error for his office when speaking according to a devised criteria, which is reading into the text that which is not there.

You need to read the church fathers. To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.

Actually, the uninspired words of men cannot be determinitive of what the NT church believed, and are not even for Rome, while the EOs have some substantial disagreements with the church of Rome over what Tradition teaches.

And what being deep in history reveals is that of the progressive degeneration of the NT church into Catholicism, if not total apostasy. Newman himself, whose statement you refer to, himself provided testimony, that It does not seem possible, then, to avoid the conclusion that, whatever be the proper key for harmonizing the records and documents of the early and later Church, and true as the dictum of Vincentius [that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all] must be considered in the abstract, and possible as its application might be in his own age, when he might almost ask the primitive centuries for their testimony, it is hardly available now, or effective of any satisfactory result. The solution it offers is as difficult as the original problem. (John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, p. 19)

Which necessitated his specious art of the Development of Doctrine due to lack of “unanimous consent ” of the fathers (while making use of forgeries ).

RC: How can you be sure that what you believe is True?

Bible Christian: Like as 1st century souls ascertained that man in a hair garment who are locusts and wild honey "was a prophet indeed," (Mk. 11:32) and that an Itinerant Preacher and preachers of His "sect" were of God, but the weight of Scriptural substantiation in word and in power.

What is your basis for assurance that something as the Assumption is the word of God.

RC: In the words of one famed apologist, "...the mere fact that the Church teaches the doctrine of the Assumption as definitely true is a guarantee that it is true." (Karl Keating, founder of Catholic Answers; Catholicism and Fundamentalism San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988, p. 275)

Bible Christian: What then, is your basis for assurance that the RCC is the one true and infallible church.

RC: I was persuaded by Tradition, history and Scripture that the Catholic Church was this church and to submit to it, whereby I found assurance that it was.

Bible Christian: Because it says it is, and as the one true church it must be right. However, how could you be persuaded by Scripture if as Catholic Encyclopedia asserts, "no matter what be done the believer cannot believe in the Bible nor find in it the object of his faith until he has previously made an act of faith in the intermediary authorities..." (Catholic Encyclopedia>Tradition and Living Magisterium) And Cardinal Avery Dulles: "People cannot discover the contents of revelation by their unaided powers of reason and observation. They have to be told by people who have received in from on high." (Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, “Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith,” p. 72);

RC: As the Catholic Encyclopedia also states, when we appeal to the Scriptures for proof of the Church's infallible authority we appeal to them merely as reliable historical sources, and abstract altogether from their inspiration. (Catholic Encyclopedia>Infallibility) Whereby, aling with other evidences, the subject can see that submission to the Catholic church is warranted, and thereby also know what Scripture correctly consists of and means.

Bible Christian: So one is unable to ascertain what writings are of God but such can ascertain that the Catholic Church is the one true church of God?

RC: That is correct.

Bible Christian: The fact that souls could ascertain writings as being of God before there even was a church has already been stated, thus negating one of your premises, while Bible believers find just the contrary to the premise that seekers of Truth find warrant to submit to Rome.

RC: That is because they must submit to the Catholic Church in order to correctly understand Scripture.

Bible Christian: Which is simply not how the church began, as is clearly evident. While you may have made a fallible decision to submit to Rome based on some perceived warrant, rather than your assurance being based on the weight of Scriptural substantiation, it is really based on the novel and unScriptural premise of ensured perpetual magisterial infallibility. For Rome has presumed to infallibly declare she is and will be perpetually infallible whenever she speaks in accordance with her infallibly defined (scope and subject-based) formula, which renders her declaration that she is infallible, to be infallible, as well as all else she accordingly declares.

After conversion then a faithful RC is not to seek to ascertain the veracity of church teaching by examination of the inspired words of God, for to do so for that reason would be to doubt the church which you have placed your faith into as the unique instrument of God.

Thus as Stapleton asserts,

Once he does so [enters the Roman church], he has no further use for his reason. He enters the Church, an edifice illumined by the superior light of revelation and faith. He can leave reason, like a lantern, at the door. Therein he will learn many other truths that he never could have found out with reason alone, truths superior, but not contrary, to reason. These truths he can never repudiate without sinning against reason, first, because reason brought him to this pass where he must believe without the immediate help of reason.” — (John H. Stapleton, Explanation of Catholic Morals, Chapters XIX, the consistent believer (1904);

RC: You conclusions are in contrast to the many learned Protestants who have crossed the Tiber and become Catholics.

Bible Christian: Which is actually contrary to the Biblical model, in which the common people overall recognized what the learned would not, and which is how the NT church began. while the learned rejected the Christ of Scripture.

Those who become RC usually do so as a result of engaging in the error of understanding the Scriptures by the dimmed light of the uninspired words of post-apostolic men, which testify to the progressive accretion of traditions of men unseen in the only wholly inspired record of what the NT church believed (including how they understood the gospels), producing the most manifest deformation of the NT church.

RC: Whatever. Its apparent that you are driven by anti-Catholic bigotry, and who cannot be convinced due to your hatred of the Catholic Church. Probably the mother of God as well.

Bible Christian: Actually I am to go wherever the Truth leads, and which did lead me out of the RCC as i sought to know and serve Him. And frankly, rather than being able to convince objective seekers, I find your overall position untenable and even absurd, arguments to be specious.

RC: I find your comment offensive, and am reporting you to the moderators for being rude