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How Do We Know It’s the True Church? - Twelve Things to Look For
On This Rock ^ | Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Posted on 03/28/2008 1:40:20 PM PDT by NYer

My conversion to the Catholic faith began in the world of Protestant fundamentalism. After being brought up in an independent Bible church, I attended the fundamentalist Bob Jones University. While there I became an Anglican; later, I went to England to become an Anglican priest.

My pilgrimage of faith came to a crisis in the early 1990s as the Anglican Church struggled over the question of the ordination of women. By instinct I was against the innovation, but I wanted to be positive and affirm new ideas rather than reject them just because they were new. I decided to put my prejudices to one side and listen as openly as possible to both sides of the debate.

As I listened I realized that from a human point of view, both the people in favor of women’s ordination and those against it had some good arguments. Both sides argued from Scripture, tradition, and reason. Both sides argued from practicality, compassion and justice. Both sides honestly considered their arguments to be persuasive. Furthermore, both sides were composed of prayerful, church-going, sincere Christians who genuinely believed the Holy Spirit was directing them. How could both be right?

From a human point of view, both arguments could be sustained. This led me to a real consideration of the question of authority in the Church. I realized that the divisions over women’s ordination in the Anglican Church were no different, in essence, than every other debate that has divided the thousands of Protestant denominations.

Some groups split over women’s ordination; others split over whether women should wear hats to church. Some split over doctrinal issues; others split over moral issues. Whatever the issue and whatever the split, the basic problem is one of authority. If Christians have a sincere disagreement, who decides?

Wobbly Three-Legged Stool
Evangelical Protestants say the Bible decides, but this begs the question when the two warring parties agree that the Bible is the final authority. They eventually split because they can’t agree about what the Bible actually teaches. I had moved away from the Protestant understanding that Scripture is the only authority, and as an Anglican, believed that authority rested in Scripture, tradition, and reason.

Anglicans call this the "three-legged stool." By turning to Scripture, tradition, and human reason they hope to have a secure teaching authority. I came to realize, however, that this solution also begs the question. Just as we have to ask the Protestant who believes in sola scriptura, "Whose interpretation of Scripture?," we have to ask the Anglican, "Whose reason and whose tradition?" In the debate over women’s ordination (and now in the debate over homosexuality), both sides appeal to human reason, Scripture and tradition, and they come up with wildly different conclusions.

In the end, the Anglican appeal to a three-legged stool relies on individual interpretation, just as the Protestant appeals to sola scriptura. The three-legged stool turns out to be a theological pogo stick.

A Son of Benedict Speaks
About this time I had a conversation with the Abbot of Quarr Abbey (a Catholic Benedictine monastery on the Isle of Wight). He listened to my situation with compassion and interest. I explained that I did not want to deny women’s ordination. I wanted to affirm all things that were good, and I could see some good arguments in favor of women’s ordination. He admired this desire to affirm all things but he said something that set me thinking further:

Sometimes we have to deny some lesser good in order to affirm the greater good. I think you have to deny women’s ordination in order to affirm the apostolic ministry. If the apostolic authority says no to women’s ordination, then to affirm the greater good of apostolic authority you will have to deny the lesser good of women’s ordination. Because if we deny the greater good, then eventually we will lose the lesser good as well.
He hit the nail on the head. His words led me to explore the basis for authority in the Catholic Church. I already had read and pretty much accepted the Scriptural support for the Petrine ministry in the Church. I also had come to understand and value the four-fold marks of the True Church—that it is "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic." As I studied and pondered the matter further, however, I saw twelve other traits of the church’s authority.

These twelve traits—in six paired sets—helped me to understand how comprehensive and complete the Catholic claims of authority are. I came to realize that other churches and ecclesial bodies might claim some of the traits, but only the Catholic Church demonstrated all twelve fully.

It Is Rooted in History . . .
What are the twelve traits of authority, and how do they work? We have to ask what a group of Christians who were deliberating a difficult matter would need to make their decision.

First of all, it seems clear that their decision would have to be made from a historical perspective. It was not good enough to decide complex moral, social, or doctrinal issues based on popularity polls or yesterday’s newspaper. To decide difficult questions, a valid authority has to be historical.

By this I mean not only does it has to have an understanding of history, but itself must be rooted in history. In addition, the authority has to show a real continuity with the historical experience of Christianity. The churches that have existed for four or five hundred years can demonstrate this to a degree, but only the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) Church has a living link with history that goes back to Roman times—and then, through Judaism, back to the beginning of human history.

. . . and Adaptable
The historical link is essential, but on its own is not sufficient. Historical authority has to be balanced with the ability to be up to date. An authority that is only historical becomes ossified. It never changes. An authority that cannot be up to date is not only rooted in history, it is bound by history. A valid authority structure needs to be flexible and adaptable. Christians face complex modern moral and doctrinal dilemmas. A valid authority system draws on the wisdom of the past to rule properly on the questions of the present.

It Is Objective . . .
A third quality of a valid authority system is that it needs to be objective. By this I mean it needs to be independent of any one person’s or group’s agenda, ideology, philosophy or self-interest. A valid authority transcends all political, economic, and cultural pressures. The objective quality of this authority system also allows it to make decisions that are unpopular or that go against the spirit of the times and majority opinion.

An objective authority is based on certain universal basic assumptions, immutable principles, and observable and undeniable premises. From these objective criteria the valid authority system builds its teaching.

. . . and Flexible

For the authority to be valid, however, it cannot rely on abstract principles and objective criteria alone. The valid authority is suitably subjective in applying objective principles. In other words, it understands that the complexities of real life and the pastoral exigencies of helping real people demand a flexible, practical, and down-to-earth application. The Catholic authority system does just that. Throughout the Code of Canon Law, for example, we are reminded that the law is there to serve the people of God in their quest for salvation.

Individual Christians, or particular Christian groups, often fall into one side of this pair or the other. The rigorists or legalists want everything to be objective and "black and white" all the time, while the liberals or sentimentalists want every decision to be relative, open-ended, and flexible according to the pastoral needs. Only the Catholic system can hold the two in tension, because only the Catholic system has an infallible authority which can keep the two sides balanced.

It Is Universal . . .
An authority that can speak to all situations can only do so if it comes from a universal source. This source of authority needs to be universal not only geographically, but also chronologically. In other words, it transcends national agendas and limitations, but it also transcends the cultural trends and intellectual fashions of any particular time. Every church or ecclesial structure other than the Catholic Church is limited, either by its historical foundations or by its cultural and national identity.

For example, the Eastern Orthodox find it very hard to transcend their national identity, while the churches of the Reformed tradition struggle to transcend the particular cultural issues that surround their foundation. The national, cultural, and chronological identities of other ecclesial bodies limit their ability to speak with a universal voice. When they do move away from their foundations they usually find themselves at sea amidst the fashions and trends of the present day. They also find that they lose their distinctive identities when they drift from their foundations. A universal authority system, on the other hand, transcends both chronological and geographical limitations.

. . . and Local
However, this universal authority needs to be applied in a particular and local way. An authority that is only universal remains vague, abstract, and disincarnate. For a universal authority system to be valid, it also must be expressed locally. Catholicism speaks with a universal voice, but it is also as local as St. Patrick’s Church and Fr. Magee on the corner of Chestnut Street. Not only does the universal Church have a local outlet, but that outlet has a certain autonomy which allows it to be flexible in its application of the universal authority. Catholicism travels well, and because of the universal authority structure, it can allow far more varieties of enculturation at the local level than churches which are more bound by the time and place of their foundations.

It Is Intellectually Challenging . . .
The fourth pair of characteristics that demonstrate the validity of the Catholic authority system include its intellectual satisfaction and its accessibility. If an authority system is to speak to the complexities of the human situation, then it must be able to hold its own with the philosophical and intellectual experts in every field of human endeavor. What other ecclesial system can marshal experts from every area of human expertise to speak authoritatively in matters of faith and morals? Time and again, the Catholic Church has been able to speak with authority about the spiritual dimension of economics, ethics, politics, diplomacy, the arts, and philosophy.

This authority must not only be able to hold its own with the intellectual experts in all fields, but it must be intellectually satisfying and coherent within itself. A unified and complete intellectual system must be able to explain the world as it is. Furthermore, this intellectual system must continually develop and be re-expressed—always interpreting ageless truth in a way that is accessible for the age in which it lives. This intellectual system must be an integral and vital part of the religion, while also being large enough to self-criticize. Only the Catholic faith has such an all-encompassing, impressive system of teaching.

. . . and Accessible to the Uneducated
Nonetheless, while the authority system must be intellectually top notch, the religious system must also be accessible to peasants and the illiterate. A religious system that is only intellectual or appeals merely to the literate can speak only for the intellectuals and literate.

Some denominations appeal to the simple and unlearned, but have trouble keeping the top minds. Others appeal to the educated elite, but lose the masses. Catholicism, on the other hand, is a religion of the greatest minds of history and the religion of ignorant peasants. It is a religion that is complex enough for St. Thomas Aquinas and simple enough for St. Joseph Cupertino. It has room at the manger for both the magi and the shepherds.

It Is Visible . . .
As a Protestant I was taught that the Church was invisible. That is, it consisted of all people everywhere who believed in Jesus, and that the true members of the Church were known to God alone. This is true, but there is more to it than that. Invisibility and visibility make up the fifth paired set of characteristics that mark the truly authoritative church.

The Church is made up of all people everywhere who trust in Christ. However, this characteristic alone is not satisfactory because human beings locked in the visible plane of reality also demand that the Church be visible. Even those who believe only in the invisible church belong to a particular church which they attend every Sunday. Those who believe only in the invisible church must conclude that the church they go to doesn’t really matter.

. . . and Invisible
The Catholic system of authority recognizes both the invisible dimension of the Church and the visible. The Church is greater than what we can observe, but the church we observe is also greater than we think. The invisible Church subsists in the Catholic Church, and while you may not be able to identify the extent of the invisible Church, you can with certainty point to the Catholic Church and say, "There is the Body of Christ."

A few small Protestant denominations claim that their visible church is the true church, but their claims are ludicrous because they have none of the other twelve traits of true authority. Because it has all these traits, only the Catholic Church can claim to be the living, historical embodiment of the Body of Christ on earth.

It is Both Human and Divine
Finally, for the church to speak with authority it must be both human and divine. An authority that speaks only with a divine voice lacks the authenticity that comes with human experience. So Islam and Mormonism, which are both based on a book supposedly dictated by angels, are unsatisfactory because their authority is supernaturally imposed on the human condition.

On the other hand, a religion that is purely a construct of the human condition is merely a system of good works, religious techniques, or good ideas. Christian Science or Unitarianism, for example, is developed from human understandings and natural goodness. As such, both lack a supernatural voice of authority.

The Judeo-Christian story, however, is both human and divine. The voice of authority is always expressed through human experience and human history. Divine inspiration in the Judeo-Christian tradition is God’s word spoken through human words. This incarnated form of authority finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who hands on his totally incarnated authority to Peter and his successors.

Built upon the Rock
Some Churches may exercise some of the twelve traits, but only the Catholic Church is able to field all twelve as a foundation for decision-making. When the Catholic Church pronounces on any difficult question, the response is historical, but up to date. It is based on objective principles but applies to specific needs. The Church’s authority transcends space and time, but it is relevant to a particular place and time. The response will be intellectually profound, but expressed in a way that is simple enough for anyone to apply. Finally, it will express truths that are embedded in the human experience, but spring from divine inspiration.

This authority works infallibly through the active ministry of the whole Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that it is Christ who is infallible, and he grants a measure of his infallibility to his body, the Church. That infallibility is worked out through these twelve traits, but it is expressed most majestically and fully through Christ’s minister of infallibility: one person—the Rock on which the Church is built, Peter and his successors.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: convert
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Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the author of ten books on the Catholic faith. He is chaplain of St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina, and is on the staff of the parish of St. Mary’s, Greenville. Check out his Web site and blog at www.dwightlongenecker.com.
1 posted on 03/28/2008 1:40:21 PM PDT by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

12 .... like the Apostles :-)


2 posted on 03/28/2008 1:41:00 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
Jesus referred to Peter as "petros" Greek for stone or pebble. "This Rock" (Jesus Himself, he used the Greek word, "PETRA."

Jesus is THE ROCK, the Petra, Peter is one of the stones, the petros.

3 posted on 03/28/2008 1:53:01 PM PDT by zerosix (native sunflower)
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To: zerosix
Jesus referred to Peter as "petros" Greek for stone or pebble. "This Rock" (Jesus Himself, he used the Greek word, "PETRA."

These are greek terms. Greek was the language of commerce in first century Palestine. Jesus and Peter spoke the everyday language of Aramaic.

4 posted on 03/28/2008 1:59:35 PM PDT by ladtx ( "Never miss a good chance to shut up." - - Will Rogers)
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To: zerosix
Do we really have to go over this one more time?

Jesus referred to Peter IN HEBREW as "Kepha" which was translated directly into Greek as "petra." When translated as a name it was rendered "Petros" because of grammatical gender: "petra" in Greek is feminine, while Peter's name had to be given as the masculine "Petros."

5 posted on 03/28/2008 2:03:51 PM PDT by Petrosius
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To: NYer

“Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).


6 posted on 03/28/2008 2:05:12 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words". ~ St. Francis of Assisi)
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To: big'ol_freeper

Quote was from St. Ignatius of Antioch...forget to add that.


7 posted on 03/28/2008 2:07:31 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words". ~ St. Francis of Assisi)
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To: NYer

...and it would not let the magesterium hide the fact that the priests were abusing children, and would kick out those that support and help legislation that is not Christian, such as abortion.

It would actively discipline those that failed to uphold the truth of the Gospel, and would not exalt and beautify those that hold to “helping muslims be better muslims and hindus being better hindus” rather than trying to covert them.

It would try and distance itself from the Muslim anti-christ Mohammed and the satanic Allah.

And it would follow the written Word of God, rather than have an ever changing tradition.


8 posted on 03/28/2008 3:33:02 PM PDT by Ottofire (Psalm 18:31 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?)
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To: Ottofire
...and it would not let the magesterium hide the fact that the priests were abusing children, and would kick out those that support and help legislation that is not Christian, such as abortion.

So there's a thirteenth thing that, we now know, we have to look for...coloring books...


9 posted on 03/28/2008 4:12:07 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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To: Ottofire

Touche’! killer post.


10 posted on 03/28/2008 4:20:20 PM PDT by joebuck (Finitum non capax infinitum!)
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To: Ottofire
1. What does the Magesterium have to do with hiding priests who are sinners?

2. Those who support abortion in deed or word are subject to self excommunication.

3. We don't "discipline" those that fail to uphold the truth of the Gospel (sinners), we forgive them if they repent.

4. Have you ever been to Calcutta? Give the entire Mother Teresa quote: "There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people. We have among us 475 souls - 30 families are Catholics and the rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs—all different religions. But they all come to our prayers."

By the way, ask Chris Hitchens if she tried to convert them.

5. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15

6. I don't think it's really possible for you to understand the Church without benefit of the Sacraments.

11 posted on 03/28/2008 4:34:06 PM PDT by LisaFab
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer
Evangelical Protestants say the Bible decides, but this begs the question when the two warring parties agree that the Bible is the final authority. They eventually split because they can’t agree about what the Bible actually teaches.

That first hand experience is one of the main reasons I went home to the Catholic Church.

13 posted on 03/28/2008 6:20:57 PM PDT by Barnacle
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To: NYer

Thanks so much for the ping...


14 posted on 03/28/2008 6:32:59 PM PDT by andysandmikesmom
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To: sandyeggo

Maybe a "going somewhere", just a little, under the interest of adaptibility & flexibility? Those two traits being hallmarks the writer speaks of...

otherwise;

It's already done a lot of "pogo stick"-ing around, in previous centuries. Some current articles of faith, decreed to be part of "the faith", were argued [vehemently at times] for many centuries before a much later arriving Pope decreed which side of the long-standing debate would be accepted.

Not only accepted, but made one no one can even merely cast doubt or dispersions upon, under threat of excommunication, with a little extra threat of damnation thrown in for good measure! Let's see...was this a doctrine that had previously been called "heresy" by an earlier pope or two...or was that term bandied about only in the council of bishops...?

Oh, and it gets better [worse, actually] for all this was in context of a doctrine that admittedly, according to the "RC Church", has no real clear scriptural support, and most certainly absolutely NO explicit scriptural support. Which is much as to the why, it had been argued for so long, for so-oo many centuries.This doctrine I speak of here, is a real doosy, too. Significant...

That being said, I for one can STILL see how a guy could get disillusioned with the Anglican Church, and find better peace and security in the RCC. I do mean that seriously...and I'm no Catholic, either. But then I bet you knew that, huh?

15 posted on 03/28/2008 8:40:27 PM PDT by BlueDragon (here's the thing; do recognize the bell of truth when you here it ring, c'mon and sing it children)
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To: BlueDragon; sandyeggo
These people are going to Catholicism!! Something to think about!

How Do We Know It’s the True Church? - Twelve Things to Look For [Fr. Dwight Longenecker]
"Have you not read?" The Authority behind Biblical Interpretation [Robert Sungenis]

New faith pulls Hot Springs family together (Baptists join Catholic Church at Easter Vigil) [Danny Morrison and family
SciFi Writer, John C. Wright, Enters Catholic Church at Easter Vigil (conversion story)[John C. Wright]
"What is Truth?" An Examination of Sola Scriptura [Dwight Longenecker’family]
LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM [Fr. Brian Harrison]
Pope baptizes prominent Italian Muslim [Magdi Allam]

My Journey of Faith [Marco Fallon]
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church [Robert Koons]
Thousands in U.S. to Join (Catholic) Church - Many Feel They Have Found a Home
TURN ABOUT (Carl Olson, former Evangelical and Monday's guest on EWTN's Journey Home)
Former Southern Baptist Pastor Now a Traveling Crusader for the Catholic Church [Michael Cumbie]

All Roads Lead To Rome (A Southern Baptist's Journey into the Catholic Church)[John David Young]
Allen Hunt, Methodist Minister ...Journeys Home (Catholic, Re: Real Presence)
The Challenges and Graces of Conversion [Chris Findley]
An Open Letter...from Bishop John Lipscomb [Another TEC Bishop Goes Papist]
Unlocking the Convert's Heart [Marcus Grodi]

His Open Arms Welcomed Me [ Paul Thigpen}
Why I'm Catholic (Sola Scriptura leads atheist to Catholic Church)
From Calvinist to Catholic (another powerful conversion story) Rodney Beason
Good-bye To All That (Another Episcopalian gets ready to swim the Tiber)
Bp. Steenson's Letter to his clergy on his conversion to the Catholic Church

Bishop Steenson’s Statement to the House [of Bishops: Episcopal (TEC) to Catholic]
Bp. Steenson's Letter to his clergy on his conversion to the Catholic Church
Bishop Steenson Will Become a Roman Catholic
Married man considers turn as Catholic priest
Pavarotti returns to the Catholic faith before dying

Searching For Authority (A Methodist minister finds himself surprised by Truth!)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part VI: The Biblical Reality (Al Kresta)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part V: The Catholics and the Pope(Al Kresta)
The Hail Mary of a Protestant (A true story)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part IV: Crucifix and Altar(Al Kresta)

Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part III: Tradition and Church (Al Kresta)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part II: Doubts (Al Kresta)
Conversion Story - Rusty Tisdale (former Pentecostal)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part I: Darkness(Al Kresta)
Conversion Story - Matt Enloe (former Baptist) [prepare to be amazed!]
THE ORTHODOX REVIVAL IN RUSSIA

Conversion Story - David Finkelstein (former Jew)
Conversion Story - John Weidner (former Evangelical)
12 Reasons I Joined the Catholic Church
Conversion Story - Tom Hunt
The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism: The Converts

John Calvin Made Me Catholic
Journey Home - May 21 - Neil Babcox (former Presbyterian) - A minister encounters Mary
Going Catholic - Six journeys to Rome
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church
A Convert's Pilgrimage [Christopher Cuddy]

From Pastor to Parishioner: My Love for Christ Led Me Home (to the Catholic Church) [Drake McCalister]
Lutheran professor of philosophy prepares to enter Catholic Church
Patty Bonds (former Baptist and sister of Dr. James White) to appear on The Journey Home - May 7
Pastor and Flock Become Catholics
Why Converts Choose Catholicism

From Calvinist to Catholic
The journey back - Dr. Beckwith explains his reasons for returning to the Catholic Church
Famous Homosexual Italian Author Returned to the Church Before Dying of AIDS
Dr. Francis Beckwith Returns To Full Communion With The Church
laetare (commentary on ordination of married Anglican convert to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles) Father Bill Lowe
Catholic Converts - Stephen K. Ray (former Evangelical)

Catholic Converts - Malcolm Muggeridge
Catholic Converts - Richard John Neuhaus
Catholic Converts - Avery Cardinal Dulles
Catholic Converts - Israel (Eugenio) Zolli - Chief Rabbi of Rome
Catholic Converts - Robert H. Bork , American Jurist (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Converts - Marcus Grodi
He Was an Evangelical Christian Until He Read Aquinas [Rob Evans]

The Scott Hahn Conversion Story
FORMER PENTECOSTAL RELATES MIRACLE THAT OCCURRED WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
Interview with Roy Schoeman - A Jewish Convert

16 posted on 03/28/2008 8:55:29 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Ottofire
..and it would not let the magesterium hide the fact that the priests were abusing children, and would kick out those that support and help legislation that is not Christian, such as abortion.

I don't think you really understand what the Magisterium is. It is not a "group of church men".

17 posted on 03/28/2008 9:52:08 PM PDT by murphE (I refuse to choose evil, even if it is the lesser of two.)
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To: NYer
Excellent list!

How Do We Know It’s the True Church? - Twelve Things to Look For
 
It Is Rooted in History . . .
. . . and Adaptable
It Is Objective . . .
. . . and Flexible
It Is Universal . . .
. . . and Local
It Is Intellectually Challenging . . .
. . . and Accessible to the Uneducated
It Is Visible . . .
. . . and Invisible
It is Both Human and Divine
Built upon the Rock

18 posted on 03/28/2008 10:00:33 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: murphE; All

>I don’t think you really understand what the Magisterium is. It is not a “group of church men”.

____
“The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.” ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. 1997, pt. 1, sect. 1, ch. 2, art. 2, III [#100]
_____
Thus the Bishops that covered for the abusive priests were part of the Magesterium were they not? Not that by their obsfucation in hiding and moving the pedophiles that they were teaching much doctrine, besides by their actions that their flock was merely something best kept in the dark. I agree that they are not impeccable. I would just hope they could actually CARE about those under their watch as shepherds, rather than being the politicians that they turned out to be.

They showed that they, like the Renaissance Popes, were just worried about temporal power more than their own people, and THAT is not a sign that they belong to THE ONE TRUE CHURCH (caps for emphasis, not yelling). It is a sign that they are of the world, not of Christ.

What is funny, in the world with real politicians when they are caught doing such as the bishops did, the politicians are sacked. But in the One True Church, they are allowed to continue doing their job. In the real world, there is accountability.


19 posted on 03/28/2008 10:30:43 PM PDT by Ottofire (Psalm 18:31 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?)
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To: Ottofire; murphE; sandyeggo; Salvation
The charism of infallibility is fully engaged only in definitive Magisterial teachings on faith and morals. This can occur in either...

The Magisterium is the teaching office of the Catholic Church. It is exercised by the Pope alone when he teaches officially, or by the whole "college" of bishops together with the Pope.

The main job of bishops is to teach the Gospel. They do so with a special assistance of the Holy Spirit himself so that we may hear a faithful, accurate proclamation of the one true faith.

Although individual bishops may err in their official teachings about faith and morals, the Magisterium as a whole never does. Nor does the Pope, by nature of Christ's special creation of Peter's office as one that "confirms the brethren" in the faith.

Thus the Bishops that covered for the abusive priests were part of the Magesterium were they not? Not that by their obsfucation in hiding and moving the pedophiles that they were teaching much doctrine, besides by their actions that their flock was merely something best kept in the dark.

The Catholic Church, like all of the others, is made up of sinners. God, in His mercy, however, preserved it from error. The Bible says that the Church is the pinnacle and foundation of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15) and the final arbiter on questions of the Christian faith (Matt. 18:17). It is through the teaching authority and Apostolic Tradition (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:2) of this Church, who is guided by the Holy Spirit (John 14:16,26; 16:13), that we know of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, and the manifold wisdom of God. (cf. Ephesians 3:10).

20 posted on 03/29/2008 6:18:03 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Ottofire
The Magisterium is the teaching authority, not the churchmen who exercise or (choose not to exercise) that authority.
21 posted on 03/29/2008 7:24:13 AM PDT by murphE (I refuse to choose evil, even if it is the lesser of two.)
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To: NYer

>The Catholic Church, like all of the others, is made up of sinners. God, in His mercy, however, preserved it from error. The Bible says that the Church is the pinnacle and foundation of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15) and the final arbiter on questions of the Christian faith (Matt. 18:17). It is through the teaching authority and Apostolic Tradition (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:2) of this Church, who is guided by the Holy Spirit (John 14:16,26; 16:13), that we know of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, and the manifold wisdom of God. (cf. Ephesians 3:10).

Wow! So these sinners who make up the Elders/Bishops in your church do not stand to the scrutiny that Paul suggests Elders/Bishops should, yet they maintain their lofty status in said One True Church, all the while putting on the Alter Christus title and having people kiss their rings. Those hands have covered the abuse of children of your own parishes.

The men that your church has placed over you, that have allowed the abuse to continue, should have been removed from office and that lack of church discipline shows that the church hierarchy is not doing its job, but rather just worried about the temporal consequences of their actions. These are not men of God. I shudder for their souls and those that allow them to continue in their offices. This is a millstone around the Catholic Church’s neck. Flee from this monstrosity, this abomination that calls itself the One True Church.

Church discipline IS a sign of Gods church, and the Catholic church has shown it favors political expediency instead.


22 posted on 03/29/2008 7:39:52 AM PDT by Ottofire (Psalm 18:31 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?)
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To: Ottofire
This letter to the editor was in this morning's news cycle....
Dear Editor: I read in The Capital Times that the Catholic Church has just added a number of new sins that address pollution, mind-damaging drugs and social injustice. This is appropriate to keep up with the times.

However, the Catholic Church is deafeningly silent on the issue of clergy sexual abuse of children.

No one connected with the church that I know of has addressed that issue with the laity. Is it a sin to knowingly assign pedophiles to a round of parishes? Is it a sin to pay victims to keep their mouths shut and then have them sign a statement that if they ever tell about their abuse to repay the money with interest?

I am sure there are scores of Catholics who would like answers to these questions.

Possibly Bishop Robert Morlino could provide answers on a compact disc and send it to all the parishes in the Diocese of Madison.

He could require that the CD be played at all Masses on a Sunday of his choice. He could then require that all priests not express any disagreement with whatever he says or suffer dire consequences.

This action by Bishop Morlino could put these questions to rest once and for all. At the present time, all the Catholic faithful are getting is a lot of papal bull.

Philip Neis

Madison


23 posted on 03/29/2008 9:47:47 AM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo

Ah, another one of those threads with a pyroclastic flow of anti-Catholic hate.


25 posted on 03/29/2008 9:53:51 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: Petronski; sandyeggo; BlueDragon

Nothing like the private tirade I got! LOL!

Things need to be answered here, so others can see (and hear.)


26 posted on 03/29/2008 9:58:33 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

Good post!


27 posted on 03/29/2008 9:59:48 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: NYer
one person—the Rock on which the Church is built, Peter and his successors.

This is a false premise based at best on ignorance of the Holy Word of G-d.
Matthew. 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my church,

Jesus said unto Peter; “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church”



One method of Hermeneutical understanding of Matthew 16:18
is to do a word study of all the scriptures which were then known
as the Holy Word of G-d when Yah'shua spoke these words.
This will allow one to understand that all of the Holy Word of G-d
was inspired by YHvH; the whole counsel of G-d.

The only conclusion that one can come to unless you are
predisposed to believe in man's tradition over the Holy Word of G-d
is that Yah'shua was speaking of himself as the "Rock "
e.g.



Genesis 49:24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed
[Or archers will attack...will shoot...will remain...will stay] supple,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

Deuteronomy 32:3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock , his works are perfect, and all his ways are
just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

Deuteronomy 32:15 ..... He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Saviour.

Deuteronomy 32:30 How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten
thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless
the LORD had given them up?

Deuteronomy 32:31 For their rock is not like our Rock , as even our enemies concede

Deuteronomy 32:32 Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters with bitterness.

1 Samuel 2:2 "There is no-one holy [Or no Holy One] like the LORD;
there is no-one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

2 Samuel 22:2 He said: "The LORD is my Rock , my fortress and my deliverer;

2 Samuel 22:3 my God is my Rock , in whom I take refuge, my shield and the
horn [Horn here symbolises strength.] of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my saviour — from violent men you save me.

2 Samuel 22:32 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?

2 Samuel 22:47 "The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock ! Exalted be God, the Rock , my Saviour!

2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me:
'When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,

Psalm 18:31 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?

Psalm 18:46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock ! Exalted be God my Saviour!

Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 42:9 I say to God my Rock , "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"

Psalm 78:35 They remembered that God was their Rock , that God Most High was their Redeemer.

Psalm 89:26 He will call out to me, `You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Saviour.'

Psalm 92:15 ..... "YHvH is upright; he is my Rock , and there is no wickedness in him."

Psalm 95:1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Psalm 144:1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock , who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.

Habakkuk 1:12 O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy
One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to
execute judgment; O Rock , you have ordained them to punish.

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai

30 posted on 03/29/2008 10:18:14 AM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: Salvation

Nothing speaks of Christ’s love like a cowardly anti-Catholic hatemail.


31 posted on 03/29/2008 10:23:33 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: Petronski

LOL! I read one line and deleted it. I have no idea what the rest of it said.


32 posted on 03/29/2008 10:25:45 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

About Fr. Longenecker, I think we can be sure two things are true:

a) He does in fact exist.

b) He has never lied about being a nun.


33 posted on 03/29/2008 10:26:47 AM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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To: Petronski

I don’t hate Catholics but I will never be one.


34 posted on 03/29/2008 10:30:03 AM PDT by lonestar
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To: lonestar

Were you baptized a Catholic?


35 posted on 03/29/2008 10:33:02 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
The New Testament provides the best attributes of the church of Jesus Christ, such as the following:

Ephesians 2
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

The church of Jesus Christ should have apostles and prophets.

36 posted on 03/29/2008 11:34:26 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: Salvation
Were you baptized a Catholic?

No. I have relatives and friends who are Catholic but I will never be one.

I know that to God I'm as important as the Pope.

37 posted on 03/29/2008 11:40:52 AM PDT by lonestar
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To: lonestar
I know that to God I'm as important as the Pope.

Well, at least that is something you and the Pope can agree on! :-)

38 posted on 03/29/2008 11:58:11 AM PDT by TheDon
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Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: lonestar

**I know that to God I’m as important as the Pope.**

Strange, have you received the Sacrament of Holy Orders?

The Sacrament of Confirmation?

The Sacrament of Baptism?

These three sacraments the Pope has received, and he is forever elevated in God’s judgment because of them.

Sorry to disappoint you, but as Catholics, we need to look at the facts.


40 posted on 03/29/2008 1:27:13 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
These three sacraments the Pope has received, and he is forever elevated in God’s judgment because of them.

Sorry to disappoint you, but as Catholics, we need to look at the facts.

I respect your right to your opinions but none of that means anything to non-Catholics.

I repeat, to God we are all as important as the Pope.

41 posted on 03/29/2008 1:51:30 PM PDT by lonestar
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To: lonestar

**I respect your right to your opinions but none of that means anything to non-Catholics. **

It will someday.

Pray for peace.


42 posted on 03/29/2008 1:55:16 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: XeniaSt; TheDon; Salvation; sandyeggo
One method of Hermeneutical understanding of Matthew 16:18 is to do a word study of all the scriptures which were then known as the Holy Word of G-d when Yah'shua spoke these words. This will allow one to understand that all of the Holy Word of G-d was inspired by YHvH; the whole counsel of G-d.

The only conclusion that one can come to unless you are predisposed to believe in man's tradition over the Holy Word of G-d is that Yah'shua was speaking of himself as the "Rock "

Peter’s preeminent position among the apostles was symbolized at the very beginning of his relationship with Christ. At their first meeting, Christ told Simon that his name would thereafter be Peter, which translates as "Rock" (John 1:42). The startling thing was that—aside from the single time that Abraham is called a "rock" (Hebrew: Tsur; Aramaic: Kepha) in Isaiah 51:1-2—in the Old Testament only God was called a rock. The word rock was not used as a proper name in the ancient world. If you were to turn to a companion and say, "From now on your name is Asparagus," people would wonder: Why Asparagus? What is the meaning of it? What does it signify? Indeed, why call Simon the fisherman "Rock"? Christ was not given to meaningless gestures, and neither were the Jews as a whole when it came to names. Giving a new name meant that the status of the person was changed, as when Abram’s name was changed to Abraham (Gen.17:5), Jacob’s to Israel (Gen. 32:28), Eliakim’s to Joakim (2 Kgs. 23:34), or the names of the four Hebrew youths—Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 1:6-7). But no Jew had ever been called "Rock." The Jews would give other names taken from nature, such as Deborah ("bee," Gen. 35:8), and Rachel ("ewe," Gen. 29:16), but never "Rock." In the New Testament James and John were nicknamed Boanerges, meaning "Sons of Thunder," by Christ, but that was never regularly used in place of their original names, and it certainly was not given as a new name. But in the case of Simon-bar-Jonah, his new name Kephas (Greek: Petros) definitely replaced the old.

Now, take a look at the scene. Not only was there significance in Simon being given a new and unusual name, but the place where Jesus solemnly conferred it upon Peter was also important. It happened when "Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi" (Matt. 16:13), a city that Philip the Tetrarch built and named in honor of Caesar Augustus, who had died in A.D. 14. The city lay near cascades in the Jordan River and near a gigantic wall of rock, a wall about 200 feet high and 500 feet long, which is part of the southern foothills of Mount Hermon. The city no longer exists, but its ruins are near the small Arab town of Banias; and at the base of the rock wall may be found what is left of one of the springs that fed the Jordan. It was here that Jesus pointed to Simon and said, "You are Peter" (Matt. 16:18).

The significance of the event must have been clear to the other apostles. As devout Jews they knew at once that the location was meant to emphasize the importance of what was being done. None complained of Simon being singled out for this honor; and in the rest of the New Testament he is called by his new name, while James and John remain just James and John, not Boanerges.

43 posted on 03/29/2008 1:57:49 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Ottofire; Alex Murphy; murphE
The men that your church has placed over you, that have allowed the abuse to continue, should have been removed from office

Who says they haven't? Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Each one is entitled to a trial. Those priests found guilty are defrocked. What's your point?

As my father has often said, God made one perfect man and they crucified him. No one is perfect, not the priests, bishops, cardinals or the pope. The Church is Christ's bride (Ephesians 5:29) and has "no spot, wrinkle or blemish" (Ephesians 5:27).  Christ stated that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church (Matthew 16:18) so how can the Church commit error?  Individual clergy may commit sins, even popes commit sins because in the Church there are both "weeds and wheat" (Matthew 13:30).

The Catholic Church holds true to Christ's teachings, which is not necessarily so with other professed christian Churches. According to Scripture, Christ wanted us to be one (John 17:22-23).  We are all as a Church to be of one mind and to think the same (Philippians 2:2; Romans 15:5).  There is only to be one "faith" (Ephesians 4:3-6), not many.  For the Church is Christ's Body and Christ only had one Body, not many.  Also, since the Church is Christ's Bride (Ephesians 5:29), can Christ be married to more than one wife (essentially a spiritual form of the the sin of polygamy)?  No, Christ can only have one wife (i.e., one Church, not many).

I don't know what point you and Alex are trying to make but ...

Report: Protestant Church Insurers Handle 260 Sex Abuse Cases a Year

.... let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

44 posted on 03/29/2008 2:14:44 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: Ottofire; Alex Murphy; vox_freedom
It is scary that no one on this forum that is Catholic even says anything about it. It is their children. Instead they keep quiet about it, and like sheep allow this to continue.

That's not accurate. I realize a few Catholics on this forum would like to down play it, but most Catholics here are the harshest critics of the bad Bishops and Cardinals. Of course some of the most outspoken Catholics were the traditional Catholics, and many of those people were banned from FR during the last reign of terror.

Unfortunately their presuppositions cannot allow that possibility to even be brought up. The authority cannot even be questioned.

This is not accurate either. Although defined doctrine, and the authority to define doctrine cannot be questioned, sinful, negligent, unjust and evil behavior of church men most certainly can be questioned and is questioned.

45 posted on 03/29/2008 2:44:15 PM PDT by murphE (I refuse to choose evil, even if it is the lesser of two.)
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To: Salvation
It will someday.

I doubt it.

The Pope-mobile will be parked OUTSIDE the Pearly Gates and Popes will walk through like the rest of us.

I have been to the Vatican---"When in Rome...".

46 posted on 03/29/2008 2:58:04 PM PDT by lonestar
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To: Ottofire

“It is scary that no one on this forum that is Catholic even says anything about it. It is their children. Instead they keep quiet about it, and like sheep allow this to continue.”

Oh Pleeze. This is a central address of every parish and every church at this time.


47 posted on 03/29/2008 3:12:36 PM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: Salvation
To freeper whom calls himself "Salvation", I found this to be disturbing;

Going back to my own "sent" box, that first line you deleted was as I wrote;

I guess I overestimated the depth & breadth of your own faith. I'll not make that same mistake twice.
Excuse me, but your post #16 addressed to myself and one other, was an attempt on your part to proselytize me to the RCC, was it not?

Your gleeful giggling here concerning my private reply to you, is extremely rude.

My answer to your spamology method of either;


continued as follows;

As you wrote;

No brother, not me. For I’ve encountered the Lord more directly. He does indeed live.

I assume those people who went to the RCC, either “back” or from some non-Catholic church setting, went because they were not finding the Spirit, either in their church, their fellow members, their pastors, or in their own practices and life experiences?

I’m fortunate enough, to have not suffered any of those lacks, though I can think back on some pretty dry spaces or spells.

Christ lives, and His Spirit does move, outside of the narrowly defined confines of Papal authority, at least those confines as they are understood or defined by many. I bear witness, as do millions of others to that [that the Lord lives, and His Spirit moves among mankind].

I doubt He wants me to go there [to the RCC]. I could never preach or be at peace with, those few aspects, here and there in and amongst the various claims made by those of the RCC, that I KNOW even from first hand DIRECT EXPERIENCE with the Lord, just aint right.

In much that various voices from among the RCC proclaim the RCC to be God’s truth, and God’s only truth; There is far too much mixture of man’s doings, thinkings or understandings, bundled up with the Spirit, served up as “pure Lord”. It makes me sick. I can’t [spiritually] eat of it.

I’m not having to depend upon doctrine with this. Or Scripture. Or teachings. Or what any claiming “authority” told or spoke to me. For in some regards and aspects, I have the authority from having been in His presence directly. You know, sort of like the first apostles did?

Our Lord is a Spirit. Those whom worship Him must worship Him in Spirit, and in truth. I most certainly have the “authority” to bear witness of those things I have received and experienced of Him...outside, so to speak, the RCC.

The RCC would forbid me to worship, save but in the manner they are accustomed to, and demand I submit all to them, and their authority over all things relating to my own relationship with the Lord.

How could I do such a thing? I’ve already a relationship with Him, arising outside of their “Church”.

(yeah, I know, there are many among the RCC’s whom will claim that isn’t possible. They’ll say, “he has a devil” smugly, while smirking along with their fellows. hey, I saw that, just yesterday, on another FR thread ——don’t try to tell me it doesn’t happen.)

Well then, how many demons have the priesthood cast out recently? healed the sick? raised the dead? shoot, I’ve had a dead bird come to life, right in my hands! how many of ‘em have done all those things???.

Some of them may have. Yet they would forbid me to even speak of such things. And forbid me to in anyway challenge doctrines which even by the admission of the RCC are not scripturally based. If I persisted, they’d punish me with “excommunication”, and threats of damnation earned for having the temerity to openly question them, not buying or accepting their “story”.

Sorry, though I don’t know everything, I do know too much. So I couldn’t join the RCC, or stay very long. Not honestly.

For they’ve already forbidden my sort. I understand why, and forgive them. It’s too easy for one to misuse spiritual freedom, or authority. Many will, if given a taste of it. Seeing such things occur down through history, they decided it best to not allow the spirit to “move”, but under the strict confines of their own managerial authority. And so they built up doctrines to support the idea.
It’s not all bad, I guess. It works for them. I guess.

But not for me. I KNOW. Not “think” or believe, or imagine, but know, with this being born out also, by long personal experience. I am not alone in this, either.
Many others bear witness, experiencing much the same, as the Word supports also, shall occur among those the Lord makes and allows to be His own.
This three-fold cord [contained above] shall not be broken. Not easily, not quickly, nor of the Lord’s first level desire, as I understand it.

As Christ said to his disciples, when they encountered a man casting demons out of a person,
but that man would not follow the disciples, when they told him that he should follow them;
Christ told his disciples;
“forbid him not”
“he that is not against us is for us”
“I have sheep you know not of”

I do wish those in the RCC well. That they would be lead, and comforted by His Spirit.
That they be of help and real comfort to one another, as is one of the beautiful parts of the tradition.

Without the efforts of the [RC]Church to safeguard the Word, in it’s texts and meanings, then where would we be?
I honestly say this, even though I simply don’t buy into SOME things plainly arising from RCC “tradition”
which either lack or have only a gauze of actual scriptural textual basis.

But I do thank them, anyway. And I look forward to checking in upon such things as are not so much RCC-centric,
but may be of good teaching, doctrine, or practice in a more general Christian sense. If there be any.

For such things as may be disagreeable, looking towards the history of the RCC, it’s traditions and practices, and how those arose,
then one can always look to the how and why of what occurred, even if it is but to see what things to avoid (typical human nature, will come up with the same or similar problems, over and over...)
...for that Church, the RCC has gone through a lot!
Going through all that they have, is part of how they came up with so much goofy and weird practices.

I’m sorry if that part offends you, but there it is.

I know, I know, there will be folks come along and tell me that RCC “TRadition” is all pure Spirit of the Lord,
or derived COMPLETELY from and by the Spirit (or some similar tale)
but to those of us whom have otherwise drank
from the fountain of the pure goodness of His Spirit -— that assertion,
no matter how many times or ways it is repeated, will simply never convince.

48 posted on 03/29/2008 3:26:08 PM PDT by BlueDragon (here's the thing; do recognize the bell of truth when you here it ring, c'mon and sing it children)
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To: Petronski

What is about people who tell what we believe and they have it wrong!

I can’t imagine the utter hubris!


49 posted on 03/29/2008 3:31:28 PM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: OpusatFR
The ones who hate a church manufactured by their own minds?
50 posted on 03/29/2008 3:34:26 PM PDT by Petronski (Nice job, Hillary. Now go home and get your shine box.)
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