There are a great many misconceptions, fallacies and out right lies about the Catholic Church it’s a wonder anyone remains Catholic. Except Christ promised his Church would prevail through all times to the end.A proper understanding of what Christ taught and what the word Catholic means should put an end to all the quarrelling except we are sinners. Pride it is said, is the greatest of all sins and the source of the original sin in the Garden of Eden. Pride is what made man eat of the forbidden fruit, thinking he new better then God. Nothing has changed, man still thinks he knows better then God. Christ clearly established a One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The word Catholic is derived from the Greek word meaning universal. The word universal has two ideas, the idea of one and the idea of ALL.
Just before his ascension he said to his Apostles; “Go ye and teach ALL Nations, baptising them in the name of the Father an dof the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo I am with you ALL days even to the consummation of the world” (Matt 28:19-20) Why would Christ need to bother with establishing a Church if what he taught would be so clear to man? Why would Christ have prayed that his Church be one as he was one with the Father?
These are just a few of the common fallacies and misunderstandings of Catholic teaching. It is worth noting that the first amongst these fallacies, “The Bible Alone”, is a circular argument, as the whole of Christianity is indebted to the Catholic Church for possessing the infallible Canon of Scripture. The rest are the result of mis-interpretations of scripture. The unavoidable conclusion is the person charging the Catholic Church with being in error, relies on the infallibility of the Catholic Church to provide the very scripture to which they depend on to make their claim.
Sola Scriptura (The Bible Alone)
Scripture tells us that Christ left a Church with divine authority to govern in His name. (Mt 16:13-20, 18:18; Lk10:16). Christ promised that this Church would last until the end of time (Mt 16:18, Mt 28:19-20;Jn 14:16). The Bible also tells us that Sacred Tradition is to be followed alongside Sacred Scripture (2 Thess 2:15, 3:6).
The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is not found in Scripture. In fact, the Bible tells us that we need more than just the Bible alone. The Bible confirms that not everything Jesus said and did is recorded in Scripture (John 21:25) and that we must also hold fast to oral tradition, the preached Word of God (1 Cor 11:2; 1 Pet 1:25).
In 2 Pet 3:15-16, we are warned that Sacred Scripture can be very difficult to interpret, which strongly implies the need for an authoritative interpreter. Finally, 1 Tim 3:15 reassures us that the Church is “the pillar and foundation of truth.”
Common Sense will tell you that any written document meant to play a crucial role in determining how people live must have a living, continuing authority to guard, guarantee, and officially interpret it.Otherwise, chaos reigns as everyone interprets the document according to his personal whim. For example, the Founding Fathers of this country put together a magnificent document to be authoritative in determing how this country would be governed: the U.S. Constitution. They also established a living, continuing authority to guard, guarantee, and offically interpret the Constitution: the Supreme Court.
The Founding Fathers knew that without a living authority the Constitution would lead to endless divisions as every one acted as his own interpreter. God certainly has more wisdom than the founders of this country. He would never have left a written document to be the only rule of faith without a living authority to guard and officially interpret it. Where does it say that in the Bible? The Bible itself doesn’t tell us to follow only It. In fact, it clearly states that much has been written and that there is tradition of early church fathers and aposites to study, learn, and to follow. Remember, the New Testament wasn’t even finished until after Jesus left.
The early church fathers that assembled the bible where Catholic, “greek meaning, Universal” and it took some time to determine what books were to be in the Bible. There were many other gospels and letters that were determined to be un-inspired. So, if you want to follow the Bible alone theory, why wouldn’t you follow what the early Church fathers did in addition to the Bible? You’re relying on their authority that the books of the Bible are indeed inspired. What did the people do before the Bible was written? For almost 400 years there wasn’t even a Bible to read and hundreds of more years before it became readily available to the general public. Followers of Christ, Christians as they would call themselves, would meet in someone’s house. The leader of the assembly would read the sacred writings-letters of Paul, parts of the Good News from Mark, Matthew, Luke, or the most recent Gospel by John. How do you interpret the Bible? The Bible has been translated from Greek, Aramaic, (the language Jesus spoke) and Hebrew, and we rely on teachings of the original Church to interpret it for us. The Catholic Church has given us its infalible teachings from the Bible. Where do Protestant and other Christian denominations get their teachings from? You’re left to your own interpretation or local Pastor. Who would you rather rely on, a Church with teachings and doctrine that can be traced back to the time of Christ, yourself, (to suit your individual needs) or, your Pastor?
You can not read the Bible line by line and make interpretations. The Bible must be read in context, something many people don’t take the time to do. Taken line by line, you can arrive at any meaning you want.
The Teaching Authority
Without a teaching we are left with confusion. Someone or institution most be the ultimate arbiter otherwise we are left to our own individual feelings. Logically this has to be true otherwise we have different doctines. Biblically we can see this authority given to the Apostles with Peter as the leader.
Most obvious-“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).
Why do we confess to a Priest?
After his resurrection, Jesus passed on his mission to forgive sins to his ministers, telling them: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you . . . Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:21)
If God sent his son to forgive us our sins why is it so unreasonable to think Jesus gave his authority to others to forgive our sins? In the early Church, sins where often confessed in public and often in private, but was never limited to silence with God alone.
So in other words, we confess to a priest, not because he himself has the power to forgive sins, but because he acts as an agent, in the name of God, and forgives sins in His name.
The fact that the priest is a sinner, as are all men, does not affect the power which he exercises. The power comes to him from his office. The same is true with a President or with a judge in our civil courts. The private lives of these individuals does not affect the authority which they have under the Constitution.
Catholics believe, as Christ taught, that the Eucharist is his “literal” body and blood.
Is Christ only present “symbolically” in the Eucharist?
Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist on the night before He died, i.e., on the first Holy Thursday, when He changed bread and wine into His Body and Blood; and then commanded His Apostles to do what He had done in commemoration of Him.
“And while they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed and broke, and gave it to His disciples, and said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ . . . And taking a cup, He gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, ‘All of you drink of this; for this is my blood of the new covenant’.” St. Matt. 26:26, 28
Our Lord meant literally to change the bread and wine into His body and blood instead of leaving us a mere symbol or memorial of His passion. We know this from the words of His promise to do this in St. John’s gospel, Chapter 6. The important words of this chapter are: John 6:52, “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
John 6:54, “. . . unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of man, ye shall not have life in you.” John 6:56, “For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed.”
These, and other texts must be taken literally because the entire context demands it; and because any other interpretation would involve us in absurd consequences. The words’ “Eat my flesh and drink my blood” in a figurative interpretation would mean to “persecute or hate bitterly.” In this sense, it would mean that our Lord would promise those who hate Him, eternal life and glorious resurrection.
The grammatical construction of the phrases, “This is My Body,” and “This is My Blood,” does not admit of a figurative or symbolic meaning. When the verb “to be” is used, the antecedent must always be identical with the consequent, i.e., “This” must be identical with “My Body.” Therefore, there must have been a change of substance.
The Apostles understood Christ to speak literally.
“The cup of benediction which we bless, is it not the sharing of the blood of Christ, And the bread that we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?” 1 Cor. 10:16
“Therefore, whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of blessing which we bless, unworthily, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.” I Cor. 10:27
This has been the continuous belief of Christianity until the time of the Reformation. What did the early Church Fathers think about the Eucharist ? St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons and a pupil of St Polycarp had been taught by St. John the Apostle. His comment, (around 195 A.D.): “He (Jesus) has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be His own blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.”
St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple and contemporary of the Apostle John. His comment, (around 110 A.D.) concerning certain heretics: “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again.”
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in the middle of the fourth century, (350 A.D.) at a catechetical lecture commented: “Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faithmake you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.
St. Justin Martyr wrote in his apology to the emperor at Rome (around 150 A.D.): “We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blodd and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and the Blood of that incarnated Jesus.”
Many Non-Catholic Christians believe in Sola Fide or Faith Alone, the idea that all one needs is faith alone for salvation and no good deeds or works are necessary to bring one to salvation.
Many misinterpret the Catholic churches teaching by thinking Catholics believe good works can save someone. What the Church actually teaches is that works come from faith, works can not replace faith. In other words, if you have true faith, that faith will naturally bring someone to doing good works. You can not have true faith without works. You can not claim to love Jesus Christ with all your heart and accept him as your personal savior, yet do nothing in his name.
Purgatory is one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Catholic church. In simple terms, “Purgatory” is a temporary state for the purification of souls to enter heaven. It is not a last chance to enter heaven. All souls who go to purgatory will go to heaven. Not all souls will go to purgatory.
If heaven is this most awesome place that we can’t even begin to imagine as humans,then what would make us think that anyone of us, no matter how perfect we live our lives on earth, will go directly to heaven?
The word purgatory doesn’t even exist in the bible so it must be a man made idea. The word trinity isn’t in the bible either, yet those doctrines are clearly taught in the bible. So is “Purgatory”.
In Matthew, 12:32, Jesus implies that some sins can be forgiven in the next world, (as an imperfect human here on earth I sure hope so) but there is no sin forgiven in hell and there is no sin in heaven so there must be a purgatory, (or, call it what you want).
Discussion on Mary can be long and complicated, but lets clear up one thing. Many Non-Catholic Christians think that Catholics adore and worship Mary. We do not adore or worship her, we venerate and honor her, after all she is the Mother God.
We do NOT pray to Mary, we ask her to pray for us and bring our prayers to her son Jesus our One Mediator
How can she be the Mother of God? Doesn’t that mean she was before God then?
Mary gave birth to Jesus the son of God. By being the mother of Jesus, Mary is also the Mother of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity. As defined by the trinity, Jesus is truly God, made Man. Then Mary is the Mother of God. Obviously Mary did not exist before God. Jesus is the son of God from all eternity who became also the son of Mary in time.