Sunday, April 14, 2013

From a discussion on John 20:23

  1. Russell said...
    Hello again De Maria, 

(Part 1)

Just a few comments before getting into the topic of the priesthood.

We were speaking of “implying” and you said:

“On the contrary, although the Bible ‘implies’ that the Church is the ultimate authority, the Church does not teach that the Church is the ultimate authority. The Word of God, is the ultimate authority, in Tradition and Scripture. The Church is merely the servant of the Word of God.”

Since the church is NOT the final authority, wouldn’t the Bible be in error (according to your argument) to “imply” that the church IS the final authority?

    Of course, one can certainly teach a truth implicitly, or by “implication.” If the Bible implies something, then that something must be true. But you’re telling me that the Catholic Church teaches XYZ, but that the Bible teaches / implies the contrary. So, which one is wrong? If you say that neither is wrong, you’re just playing a game of semantics.
    No. Because a subject is difficult to explain does not make the Scripture nor the Church in error. Nor does it make me a liar (which is what you are "implying" by accusing me of "playing a game of semantics").

    First, there are more than one type of authorities. There are authorities who are "the source of information". For instance, we can say that a doctor is an "authority" in his field. That doesn't mean he enforces laws. That means he understand his field well enough to explain it to others.

    Then there are authorities, such as judges and police. They judge and enforce the laws of their jurisdiction.

    Second, there are also limits and sphere of authority. Frequently, they are described as jurisdictions.

    Now, when the Bible implies that the Church is the "ultimate" authority over the disciples of Christ, it is within the jurisdiction of those who are still living on this earth. So the Bible is right. And that is what the Church teaches as well.

    Now, when the Church teaches that She is not the "ultimate authority" but the Word of God. She is simply the servant. She means that the Word of God, in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, is the source of all moral truth and knowledge. This the Church teaches both in Her extra biblical doctrines and in the New Testament Scriptures which she also wrote.

    And finally, the Church teaches that God is the ultimate authority over all creation. In every sense of the word.

    I hope that helps.


    De Maria
  2. Russell said...(Part 2)

You said:

“The point is, that the Word of God says the Pope and the Church are infallible. Not any single individual. Therefore, whatever is taught by individuals, the Church tests and holds on to what is good… Again, we follow the Church which Scripture calls the Pillar of Truth. Not the teaching of scholars, no matter how brilliant the world considers them.”

So, why bring up the church fathers at all, since they are not infallible, and since they are (according to the New Catholic Encyclopedia) “difficult to interpret on this score”?

    These are the lessons of the Fathers which the Church has accepted.

    In fact, you quoted some of the fathers early on in your main article in responding to my article. No doubt you will say that the fathers “complement” the teachings of the Church on this topic. But then again, some of the fathers CONTRADICT the Church’s teachings and each other on it also. It is a matter of picking and choosing which fathers will be on your side (Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox are all guilty of it). But which fathers are right?

    The writings of the Fathers which the Church has selected are right.

    You will rarely find a Catholic quoting a Father which has contradicted the Church. Usually, it is Protestants who triumphantly cry out, "See, this Church Father teaches that Mary sinned!" But the simple answer is very Scriptural, "test everything, hold on to the good." The Catholic Church has been doing that for centuries.

    To say it can only be the ones who side with the infallible Church, is simply more circular reasoning.

    Then why do you hold to the 66 book Bible? There are literally hundreds of New Testament books which the Church filtered out because they don't teach the Catholic Truth. And Protestants winnowed out 7 more because they don't agree with the teachings in the deuterocanonicals.

    As for "circular reasoning". Catholics believe in Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. Protestants claim only the Scriptures. The more circular logic is practiced by Protestants.

    You said:

“There is uncertainty only for those who don't believe the Word of God which says ‘hear the Church’ (Matt 18:17) and ‘the Church is the Pillar of Truth’ (1 Tim 3:15). For those who believe these verses, there is no uncertainty.”

The uncertainty we’re dealing with here is not about these Bible verses, but about the teachings of the fathers. If you stand by your statement that uncertainty is “only for those who don’t believe the Word of God,” then the writers of the New Catholic Encyclopedia do not believe the Word of God, since they, themselves are expressing uncertainty. Please read it again: 
    “GREAT DIFFICULTY is caused by varying terminology and practice… IT IS NOT ALWAYS CERTAIN what sort of confession was required…” 

    What makes you think I'm here defending the Catholic Encyclopedia. Where ever, anyone, the Catholic Encyclopedia, Protestants or anyone, contradicts the Catholic Church, it is the Catholic Church which is right and they who are wrong. The Catholic Church is God's infallible instrument in this world.

    You said that Catholics and Protestants read Scripture differently, and brought up Tradition several times as the key to “rightly dividing the Word.” That’s a “whole nother topic” that we can hopefully discuss.

    God willing.

    There’s a lot more I could respond to, but I agree with you that we should let the reader decide whose claims are more reasonable, and leave it at that.

I intend to go to your “priesthood” article and address that topic very soon. I’ll see you over there.

    Looking forward to it. I appreciate your polite tone also. Sometimes, religious discussions shed more heat than light. 

    In His Name,

    De Maria

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