Stress-testing the
mind of Christ

Where a recovering ex-atheist rams the Bible into other worldviews to see what breaks (note: Scripture cannot be broken)


proofs
A simple proof that the Roman Catholic Church is illegitimate

A 5 (and a bit) step argument showing that the Catholic Church is not a legitimate Christian church because its leadership does not meet certain basic biblical requirements.

As you may know, for at least the past thousand years some Catholic priests & bishops have sexually abused underage children. Furthermore, since the 19th century, the Vatican’s official policy has been to cover up sexual abuse by priests & bishops, rather than to discipline or excommunicate them (indeed, it has sometimes promoted them). As per Thomas Doyle’s very even-handed overview at http://www.richardsipe.com/Docs_and_Controversy/2010-03-04-solicitation.html, it is actually the case that since 1922, the Vatican’s official policy has been to conceal all abuse investigations under complete secrecy, and to discipline members of the clergy with penalties seemingly up to and including dismissal from office (but not excommunication; this was reserved for victims who did not report abuse). This requirement of secrecy has ensured the continuation of abuse, both in specific cases and as a general historical pattern—especially since, as the spate of court cases post 2002 have shown, the policy of investigating and disciplining abusers was in practice replaced by intimidating victims into silence, hushing up allegations, etc.

These facts are now well documented and, I believe, beyond dispute—see for example ‘Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God’ by documentarian Alex Gibney. And I think they furnish us with the material for a very strong argument against Catholicism’s Christian credentials

Edit 2012-11-20: as well as the insertions above indicated by underlining (previous text is struck through), I have also updated the argument below to clarify that it is leadership or governance which is at issue here in establishing a minimal condition for a legitimate Christian church.

  1. a. Where possible, a legitimately Christian church leadership would uphold biblical requirements of its priests & bishops—that they must be above reproach, lovers of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, and well thought of by outsiders (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9); while simultaneously protecting and rescuing the weak (Psalm 82:3)

    b. If a legitimately Christian church leadership would do this, how much more would a church leadership do so that was officially instituted by God, directed by the Vicar of Christ, and guided by the Holy Spirit

  2. It has been possible in many cases for the Catholic Church’s leadership to uphold the biblical requirements of its priests & bishops; and to protect and rescue the weak (underage children) from them
  3. In these cases, the Catholic Church’s leadership has not only failed to uphold the biblical requirements of its priests & bishops; and to protect and rescue underage children from them, but it has knowingly and systematically worked toward the opposite goals
  4. Thus the Catholic Church’s leadership does not, where possible, uphold biblical requirements of its bishops; nor fulfill the requirement to protect and rescue the weak
  5. a. Therefore, the Catholic Church’s leadership is not a legitimately Christian church leadership

    b. Therefore, how much more is the Catholic Church’s leadership not officially instituted by God, not directed by the Vicar of Christ, and not guided by his Holy Spirit

Given that the Catholic Church’s leadership claims to be not merely a legitimate Christian church leadership, but in fact the leadership of “the One True Church”, I think there’s plenty of fodder there to create an even more damning argument to prove it satanic by definition. But what we have so far is quite enough to know that one ought not believe that Catholicism is a legitimate form of Christianity.

Further reading

I found these sources particularly helpful in addition to Thomas Doyle’s paper, which I linked above:

15 comments

  1. James

    Who restrained Calvin from torturing and even murdering other Christians and acting like a general tyrant in Geneva? No one. In fact, Reformed Christians today generally excuse or overlook his behavior.

    http://www.a-voice.org/tidbits/calvinp.htm

  2. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    James, assuming you’re not just using this post as a soapbox for your pet talking point, I’d assume you’re trying to mount a tu quoque argument. But that fails at two levels:

    1. Even if your tu quoque goes through, it doesn’t show that my argument is wrong. It only shows that I am a hypocrite. Tearing down my position doesn’t rebuild the Roman Catholic position.

    2. It’s hard to see how you can make a tu quoque at all given the structure of my argument. Even if I grant that Calvin was a mini-Hitler—revisionism at its finest—how would you fit that into the argument to show that Calvinism (or Reformed Christianity more generally) is an illegitimate church? For one thing, neither Calvinism nor Reformed Christianity is a church at all; it is a doctrinal position. For another thing, even if Calvinism were a church, and Calvin failed in the relevant ways as per my argument, that doesn’t go any way toward showing that the “Calvinistic Church” has failed in those relevant ways—which is a requirement for the argument to go through.

  3. John

    It’s impossible to perfectly fulfil the requirements of 1 Tim 3, just as its impossible to perfectly fulfil all God’s laws. The question then is merely a matter of degree. Then there are questions of procedure and opinion. (Someone makes some claim against a priest. How much evidence, before you act?) If one “outsider” doesn’t like you, is your career over? Is any accusation grounds for ousting? Does one bad priest in a thousand constitute a bad class mark?

  4. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    John, my argument explicitly makes room for our inability to perfectly adjudicate the requirements of bishops. Notice that I clearly qualified this ability with the phrase where possible.

    What you seem to be suggesting is that a history of 1,000 years of child abuse, and an official policy to cover it up rather than deal with it biblically, is just a matter of not being able to perfectly fulfill the requirements of 1 Timothy 3. That it’s just a matter of degree. But if that is the only response you have, I don’t really need to say any more, because it is plainly absurd.

  5. M Byerley

    My apologies up front as this response maybe slightly disjointed as I have been following the Facebook discussion as well as reading the above Statement of proof.

    My First response would be a word of caution to you, not out of malice but rather out of sincere concern and trepidation for the path that you have chosen to tread.

    As a Reformed Baptist I’am well aware of your knowledge of scriptures and your ability to reiterate them. However, Knowledge and Understanding are two very different distinct virtues. One may have knowledge but without Counsel and Wisdom, it is but that and no understanding will befall you. One would be as Christ referred to as one Who has eyes yet does not see.

    My first question I wish to ask of you is: Have you studied Theology, History, Philosophy, or any other widely accepted forms of Biblical Study?

    If you have than you would be acquainted with the various methods of interpretation; including Historical context, Literal sense, Spiritual sense, Sociological context, Narrative context, Traditional context and semiotic use. These are insufficient in their own right, but combined form the full spectrum of place, time and meaning underpinning the whole compilation of works from start to finish.
    Fail to understand these and one fails to understand the Bible.

    My Second question is: Have you ever truly and unbiasedly (in the endevour to really understand) studied the religions of others. For example, Islam, Buddhism, Washaat, Ancient Egyptian religion, Jehovah Witness, Mormon, etc?

    If you have, than you would be aware that every single religious structure has it’s flaws and it’s dark histories. None are blameless, at least not where the people are concerned. Assessing the righteousness of a Religious philosophy on the merited actions of it’s ALL members is a desired but imperfect approach for the simple reason that humanity is not perfect.

    My Third question is: Have you researched the individuals and the actual event of the case you reference?

    If you have, than you would know that the producer of the documentary you reference has very little credential on the subject matter, albeit he has a good reputation for constructing documentaries. He is also not an unbiased observer of the matter. You would also be aware that as much as the claim was that the Catholic Church did nothing to remedy the circumstance, the Civil law never laid charges either.

    A recommendation on using scripture passages, when you use them concentrate on those in the gospels. As mentioned by Christ himself Matt 19:6-8 “Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce and put away? He said to them: Because Moses by the reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives. But from the beginning it was not so.” IS this then a conflict in scriptures? No , it is not as Christ was well aware that his teachings were of what SHOULD be but that this world is far from perfect and would require continuous prodding and guidance in the right direction, and that change occurred progressively.

    The same passage that you quoted 1 Tim 3:2 “It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,” Yet in Matt 19:10-12 “His disciples say unto him: If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry. Who said to them: All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given. For there are Eunuchs who were born so from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.” The comment in Timothy seems at odds with the directive given by Christ himself in that according to Timothy it is virtuous to have a single Wife as a clergy man and yet Christ quite bluntly states that it is more virtuous to be celibate, and mentioned on multiple occasions that one should leave all to follow HIM. One should keep in consideration that Christ was instructing for the perfect, Timothy was instruction a community in accordance with the law of the day (Jewish Law) based in the traditions of the old testament which was fulfilled by Christ. Which of these 2 statement was the correct instruction, both that of Christ is just the more perfect.

    Therefore ALL men should strive for the perfect but the reality is that we live in an imperfect world that has inherent social, historical and often traditional frameworks within which we are all bound.

    One parting thought. Please read Matt 7:1 -5 Mark 4:24, Luke 6:37-41. Christ did not mince his words as to what he thought in regard to these passages. You are not doing yourself any favours, you are denying your-self opportunities for growth in true understanding. You are a Reformed Baptist, live up to you being Reformed.

  6. Peter

    Bnonn, you have an interesting logic. I wonder if your motivation for writing this was a wonderful discovery that the Catholic Church is satanic, or an attempt to get your sister to tell you to go pootack yourself. Congratulations on achieving the latter most soundly. You’ll need to tell me your secret on that one. Unfortunately the former is rather lacking.

    Firstly, you are making a definition of a Christian Church something that suits your agenda. You make no claim to an authority on defining a “Christian Church”, simply that the Catholic Church does not measure up. That is rather like tying a wooden decoy duck to a tree so it won’t fly away, before taking a step back, shooting the crap out it, and proclaiming yourself a wonderful hunter!

    Secondly, and this is quite a wonderful case of cherry picking, the definition you do make of a Christian Church, despite vast amounts of PRIMARY evidence to the contrary, is chosen simply to ensure your conclusion seems true. And I’m afraid I can’t argue with you on that. If you’re the one making the definitions then you’ll quite often find yourself agreeing with…yourself.

    Thirdly, and specifically, as part of your definition of a Christian Church you use a requirement for the conduct of bishops. This is simply wrong. Of course all churches require a certain conduct of its members. It is up to the members themselves to live up to that. Insofar as they success or fail to live up to those ideals is not a measure of how true the church is, but how well that individual conforms to what that church teaches.

    This is where your argument really falls down. Because if a measure of a Christian Church is the behaviour of it’s members, then ALL churches fall short. But the Catholic Church has been around for at least three times longer, and is substantially larger than any other and therefore has a far more impressive collection of pathetic individuals to throw cheap shots at.

    Fourthly, you use a secondary source as a basis for your argument (that doco). It must be good I’m sure, because there is such a collection to choose from. (side note – you’re so spoiled for choice on the topic, just how did you manage to pick just one doco to base such vast claims on? It must be a whopper of a doco.) However, none of these docos, books, pithy blog posts, etc, do anything to change the fact that the Catholic Church has very exacting standards for Her priests and bishops, and they completely contradict your brilliant doco. Here’s one – http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19351220_ad-catholici-sacerdotii_en.html there are some wonderful points in this one http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_24061967_sacerdotalis_en.html and the list can go on and on and on.

    The point being that these primary sources contradict completely your brillo doco. Moreover these documents, which were published in the last century or so, reflect those written in the last couple of thousand years.

    I suggest that the existence of a couple of thousand years of clear and consistent teaching makes it highly improbable that the Catholic Church secretly encourages the opposite.

    Lastly, I’ll say this. If your logic follows that if that many Catholic priests abusing children negates the possibility of the Church being a Christian Church, then by the same logic YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN.

    How do I make this claim? It’s a simple proof Bnonn. The rates of Catholic priest’s abuse of children is less than, but in a similar order of magnitiude to the abuse of chilldren by leaders of other Christian Churches (which, sadly, roughly equates to the child abuse in the general population). By following your same logic there is an obvious systemic pattern of abuse which negates your church’s right to call itself a Christian Church. Sorry about that. But the simple logic speaks for itself.

    Oh. Just one more tiny little thing. You are more likely to be a child abuser than a Catholic priest. You’re not actually a satanist are you?

  7. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    M Byerley:

    Assessing the righteousness of a Religious philosophy on the merited actions of it’s ALL members is a desired but imperfect approach for the simple reason that humanity is not perfect.

    I agree, but how is this relevant to my argument?

    Have you researched the individuals and the actual event of the case you reference?

    My research is ongoing, but I have seen enough evidence to conclude that there is a systemic pattern of sexual abuse within Catholicism, enabled by an official policy of complete secrecy around such events, and an unwillingness to investigate and discipline abusive clergy. Indeed, not merely an unwillingness to do the right thing, but a positive willingless to cover up what has happened and thus ensure that the abuse continues wihle victimes receive no pastoral care, nor legal compensation.

    If you have, than you would know that the producer of the documentary you reference has very little credential on the subject matter, albeit he has a good reputation for constructing documentaries.

    Since a documentary is a form of journalistic reporting, what you are conceding is that Gibney has a good reputation as a journalist. That being the case, why should I not trust his documentary? He is reporting expert testimony and eyewitness accounts—he doesn’t need a degree in Canon Law to do that.

    A recommendation on using scripture passages, when you use them concentrate on those in the gospels.

    Much as this is also irrelevant, I cannot let it pass. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for correction, reproof and training in righteousness. Why would you even make this outlandish suggestion?

    One parting thought. Please read Matt 7:1 -5 Mark 4:24, Luke 6:37-41.

    You must know I am familiar with these passages, just as you must know that Christ is saying we will be judged by our own yardsticks. Since I don’t sexually abuse children, nor cover up the sexual abuse of people I know, I’m quite comfortable with that.

  8. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Peter:

    Firstly, you are making a definition of a Christian Church something that suits your agenda.

    You seem to be having trouble following along. Perhaps my argument was simply unclear, so I have edited it now. In any case, I haven’t defined what a legitimate Christian church is. I have established two conditions of a legitimate Christian church leadership: namely (1) that it will, where possible, ensure its bishops meet the biblical standard required; and (2) that it will protect the weak (especially within its own congregation).

    Secondly, and this is quite a wonderful case of cherry picking, the definition you do make of a Christian Church, despite vast amounts of PRIMARY evidence to the contrary, is chosen simply to ensure your conclusion seems true.

    It would be nice if you could describe what this vast amount of “PRIMARY” evidence is that I am supposedly contradicting, so as to respond to it. As regards choosing a “definition” (again, your strawman) that will ensure my conclusion seems true, apparently you’re not familiar with how logical argumentation works. Obviously in order to show that something is false in some way, one needs to hold it up to some standard of truth and then show that it doesn’t meet that standard. Yet the way you describe my process suggests you think I am guilty of some kind of fallacy.

    Of course all churches require a certain conduct of its members. It is up to the members themselves to live up to that. Insofar as they success or fail to live up to those ideals is not a measure of how true the church is, but how well that individual conforms to what that church teaches.

    This is a truly astounding way of avoiding the problem. What you seem to be saying is that the Catholic Church does not, and should not, have any form of leadership with authority to enforce orthodoxy and orthopraxy by disciplining errant members. Since that is patently false from both a biblical and especially from a Catholic perspective, I suggest you try again.

    This is where your argument really falls down. Because if a measure of a Christian Church is the behaviour of it’s members, then ALL churches fall short.

    Like other Catholics here, you are seemingly incapable of correctly representing my argument. This is a worry since it is by no means complicated. For the last time, I am not measuring the Church by the conduct of its members. I am measuring the Church by how well its leadership enforces some minimal biblical requirements when it has the ability to do so.

    the fact that the Catholic Church has very exacting standards for Her priests and bishops, and they completely contradict your brilliant doco.

    Yet this only exacerbates the Church’s guilt, since it recognizes biblical standards in principle, but then repudiates them in practice by covering up hundreds (possibly thousands) of sexual abuse cases. I find it very strange indeed that you would try to defend the Church by proving how hypocritical it is.

    I suggest that the existence of a couple of thousand years of clear and consistent teaching makes it highly improbable that the Catholic Church secretly encourages the opposite.

    Actually you are correct; the characterization of the Church as having an official policy to cover up abuse is a little tendentious, and I have now edited my post to reflect this. It is more accurate to say the Church has an official policy of maintaining complete secrecy regarding abuse. Needless to say, this enables abuse to continue unchecked. Moreover, there is clear evidence in hundreds of court cases (especially in the US) that, regardless of the official policy on how to deal with abusive priests, what actually happens is that victims are intimidated into silence and abuse continues without any kind of investigations or disciplinary action. It is also evident this problem has persisted with the full knowledge of the Church’s leadership.

    Lastly, I’ll say this. If your logic follows that if that many Catholic priests abusing children negates the possibility of the Church being a Christian Church, then by the same logic YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN.

    I’m glad you said this because it perfectly illustrates how empty of salvation Catholicism really is. As a Catholic, you think that my being a Christian is contingent on, or decided by, my affiliation with a legitimate Christian church. Whereas, of course, my being a Christian is actually a matter of whether I am completely relying on Christ’s atoning work for my salvation.

    That said, if you could replicate my argument to show that the church of which I am a member does not have a legitimate Christian leadership, I should be exceedingly surprised. I attend Trinity Reformed Baptist in Hamilton, New Zealand, btw.

  9. M Byerley

    Dear Dominic,

    “Assessing the righteousness of a Religious philosophy on the merited actions of it’s ALL members is a desired but imperfect approach for the simple reason that humanity is not perfect.”

    You agree with this which is a welcome.

    This premises is very important to your argument as you have taken it upon yourself to judge the legitimacy of the Roman Catholic doctrine (Church) on the actions of a select few of a vast number of members who hold this believe dear. You even go so far as to pronounce it Satanic based on this. This is one damning accusation to lay on the basis of the actions of a minority. You condemn every member of this collective to be satanic, based on your argument. Your statements and conclusions can not be read any other way

    By definition ‘Church’ is not a structure, a constitution or a doctrine but a collective of individual members sharing the same spiritual outlook. The merit of this collective is not dependent on the faith or adherence of any one of its members to this faith. If it did than the sin of your brother and of your father would be held against you, which would make Salvation unattainable, and Christ came to safe ALL.

    If the surety, continuity and legitimacy and merit of the Catholic (Church) was dependent on its leadership than let me assure you it would have ceased to exist already a very longtime ago and would have been divided and ripped to pieces long before now. At one point the Early Catholic Church even had 2 Popes, and on many occasion its leadership has been in erroneous ways. However, the Catholic (Church) has remained much unchanged in doctrine and theology. If then the traditions, theology, practices and doctrines have remained unchanged, and you declare the Catholic (Church) Illegitimate you consign every faithful member both now and past to the category of idolatry.

    The information you have provided was indeed very noteworthy, it stipulated very clearly that the documents referred to were instructions (much like 1 Timothy). If you recall I made reference to the apparent disparity within the scriptures.

    “The same passage that you quoted 1 Tim 3:2 “It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,” Yet in Matt 19:10-12 “His disciples say unto him: If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry. Who said to them: All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given. For there are Eunuchs who were born so from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.” The comment in Timothy seems at odds with the directive given by Christ himself in that according to Timothy it is virtuous to have a single Wife as a clergy man and yet Christ quite bluntly states that it is more virtuous to be celibate, and mentioned on multiple occasions that one should leave all to follow HIM. One should keep in consideration that Christ was instructing for the perfect, Timothy was instruction a community in accordance with the law of the day (Jewish Law) based in the traditions of the old testament which was fulfilled by Christ. Which of these 2 statement was the correct instruction, both that of Christ is just the more perfect.”

    This was not to question the validity or the value of the various parts of the biblical books it was to highlight that there is a difference between directive and instruction. Christ gave directives, all others give instruction. Only the earthly representative (successor to Peter) of Christ has the authority for directive as bestowed by Christ himself. These directives are constituted as Theological and Doctrinal matters and are only infallible if proclaimed ex-cathedra. All other matters are merely instructions, they are as valuable and important as directive but not perfect and not infallible.

    Also the documents quoted do not state a policy of cover-up simply a policy of silence during proceeding of the inquiry and investigation, which is no different to that imposed by courts of law on all participants of a trial. With very good reason for protection of all concerned and for unbiased an uninfluenced discernment of facts.

    It also quite clearly portrays the Church which you denounce for not doing anything, quite clearly attempting all they can to eradicate the behaviour through multiple public acknowledgements and various correspondence to admonish the clergy and religious. The fact that so many have been brought to trial should be a testament to the support given not the obstruction to justice.

    Excommunication is not imposed or exacted by the Catholic (Church). Excommunication by the very nature of its definition is incurred and imposed on oneself, through the action of publicly proposing a conflicting Theology and Doctrine at odds with the Infallible Theology and Doctrine of Christianity. It is very simply based on the premise that an individual who does not share the Theology and Doctrine of the Catholic Faith can not truly be called a Catholic as they are by their variance of opinion not in communion with the remainder of the member that profess that collective believe, thus not a member of the ‘ Catholic Church’. When the Catholic Church pronounces Excommunication it is painfully and publicly acknowledging the public state of an individuals position in relation to the Collective community of the Church.

    Maybe I can clarify the rather strange pronouncement of the documents as well, in regard to Excommunication in relation to the events. Although grave and a mortal sin it is not an opposing Theology or Doctrine being proposed, but a breakdown in the order, discipline and misguided judgement, and inability to stay on the right. Therefore based on the clarification above can not constitute as Excommunication, however those who do not speak out have theological and doctrinal obligation to speak out (this is very old Christian and Jewish Law). Hence, one who bears witness but holds their tongue is deemed at greater fault, for that which they sin against is a much higher decree (Theology and Doctrine).

    This does not justify the actions and behaviours of the perpetrator for they are completely culpable of their own fault and must suffer Justice in accordance and measure of the law.

    I am not going to Qualify or quantify whether the the Church you choose to follow has legitimate leadership or not as this would be a grave disrespect to the many faithful it would implicate unnecessarily. As previously stated non are blameless all have skeletons, but to judge one faithful by the actions of a minority or even if it was a Majority would be Gross injustice indeed, to that on individual who is righteous.

    The Judgement you pass is not against only those Priests who abuse children but those who through not fault of their own are associated with this horrendous crime by default of membership to the same community. It is This Judgement that I warn you of, the Judgement on the collective for the action of one, lest it shall be visited upon your own head (Hypocrisy).

    I hope you find this of value. Kindly.

  10. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    M Byerley:

    This premises is very important to your argument as you have taken it upon yourself to judge the legitimacy of the Roman Catholic doctrine (Church) on the actions of a select few of a vast number of members who hold this believe dear.

    Since you don’t seem to understand the basic thrust of my argument enough to accurately represent it, and instead are resorting to this strawman even after I’ve carefully clarified the point to you, there doesn’t seem any point continuing this discussion.

    This is one damning accusation to lay on the basis of the actions of a minority.

    You conveniently omit that this minority comprises the upper leadership of the organization, including the Pope himself, who is implicated in covering up molestation and enabling molesters.

    You condemn every member of this collective to be satanic, based on your argument. Your statements and conclusions can not be read any other way.

    Remarkable, considering that isn’t what I said at all. How exactly did you get from my view that the leadership of the institution is satanic, to your conclusion that every single member of the institution is satanic?

    The comment in Timothy seems at odds with the directive given by Christ himself in that according to Timothy it is virtuous to have a single Wife as a clergy man and yet Christ quite bluntly states that it is more virtuous to be celibate, and mentioned on multiple occasions that one should leave all to follow HIM.

    Since I have made no comment on the issue of marriage or celibacy I have no idea why you raise it. It is utterly irrelevant to my argument, which is with regard to bishops being above reproach.

    Christ gave directives, all others give instruction.

    Obviously false, assuming there is even a meaningful distinction between these terms. And again utterly irrelevant. Stay on topic—it isn’t helping anyone to have to read through screeds of pointless verbiage.

    It also quite clearly portrays the Church which you denounce for not doing anything, quite clearly attempting all they can to eradicate the behaviour through multiple public acknowledgements and various correspondence to admonish the clergy and religious. The fact that so many have been brought to trial should be a testament to the support given not the obstruction to justice.

    Either you are simply ignorant of the facts, or you are deliberatlely misrepresenting them for the sake of partisanship. Either way you shouldn’t be making these sorts of comments.

    Excommunication is not imposed or exacted by the Catholic (Church).

    Another obviously false statement, since excommunication is listed as a penalty on the victim for not coming forward in cases of molestation.

    Hence, one who bears witness but holds their tongue is deemed at greater fault

    In that case, Benedict XVI should be summarily excommunicated, since he was the cardinal with oversight of all sexual abuse claims that came through to the Vatican, and was obviously privy to a vast number that he then kept quiet (see for example the case of Fr Lawrence Murphy). But the Catholic Church has one set of rules for laity, and another for clergy. That is a classic marker of a cult.

  11. nyptsc

    If u are trying to prove its illegitimate, just take a look at the claims of the RCC and compare its actions and achievements.

    Claim: Infallible interpreter (of scripture and presumably traditions), true shepherd etc.
    Action/achievement:
    -Interpreted anything between 0-7 passages infallibly in 2000 years. When the atheists/muslims/Christ-mythers attack the Christian faith, they typically dont stand up and defend and leave it all the “defective” church apologists to defend the faith. Apparently, it did produce some list of movies all RCC members should see and some RCC newspaper actually wrote some random article recently about Homer Simpson being Catholic. So, they need to use their time better, such as start interpreting scripture or standing up for Israel etc.
    -A Muslim apologist (Ahmed Deedat) actually challenged JPII to a debate in 1984 and JPII declined. An American evangelical (“a defective church/not true churches at all” according to Benedict 16th) had to deal with the Muslim apologist. Deedat later distributed a pamphlet called “His Holiness plays Hide and seek”. In fact, in Christian-Muslim apologetics debates, which branch of Christianity stands up strongest against Muslims? I dont see many from the Eastern/Western churches who are sacramentalist standing up. In addition, lets take a look at the size of the RCC population to the evangelical population and you will see that there is little excuses. Had it been an evangelical apologist/textural critic/Greek scholar etc instead of Ahmed Deedat that made the challenge, would the Vatican had accepted the challenge? If it didnt, how will the world react?
    -Bart Ehrman produced a thesis years ago and there was a grand total of zero apologists/Popes/Magisterium members/scholars/priests from the One True Infallible Church debating AND refuting him (not too sure if any even tried to refute him). Guess who did debate and refute him? The evangelical defective non-churches.
    -Never provides a list of ex-cathedra statements or infallible traditions. A complete list or infallible list would be helpful right now so we dont have to rely on Ludwig Ott or some other scholars works. Even if it did provide such a list, it would become the 3rd Testament of a bigger Bible and would be perhaps 50-100 volumes of fine print, which contradicts notions of a *simple faith which could be *once (unlike Cardinal Newman’s oak tree theories) delivered to the saints, and would mean that all the apostles (let alone their successors) would have to have ultra super memories to pass it all on complete (since some dogmas/traditions dont appear in their modern form in the early church writings, it must have been transmitted by memory, or been corrupted). The RCC apologists will say that the Vatican does not need to provide such a list. Why not? Look at the knowledge of the typical RCC member who probably doesnt even know some of the essential dogmas needed for salvation. If they dont provide such a list soon, I think they are ignoring their duties as supreme pastor of the flock and is not feeding the flock and if they know that they should do it and dont do it, its sin according to the Bible.
    -The modern RCC has compromised on the destiny of the unevangelised people. The Assisi world religions conference in 1997 or around there had Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist/Animist/Liberals/Cultists etc. In some rooms, crucifixes were covered to help not offend the idolators and other cultists. The compromises of Vatican II has lead to many breakaway sects that seem far more strict and inviting to me, than the modern RCC. Its strange that no one is saying that tradition, like scripture can cause divisions. In fact just look at the top RCC American apologists and you will see division/disagreement. At least they “kind of” got rid of Ex Ecclesia Nulla Sallus when dealing with other Christians. If the Pope is the true successor of St Peter, it implies that St Peter would have covered crucifixes etc, had he been the Pope right now and if St Peter did that, would Paul have opposed him to the face again?
    -The RCC has not made its position on creation clear enough. If there was something to be infallibly interpreted for this world, for both scientific community and the Christian/Muslim/Judaism community, it would be the creation of the world. Why not just once and for all speak Ex-Cathedra about if evolution or creation is true and put the atheists/evolutionists etc to shame with the force of the infallibleness. A RCC epologist was cross examined with a similar question in a debate and he says the Vatican holds no single position. If the scripture is there and the infallible interpreter is there, why not interpret it, knowing you will never be proven wrong? or are they affraid some scientist might one day prove them wrong?
    -The RCC has not made its position on Bible inerrancy clear enough. A true Catholic would demand an infallible pronouncement on this matter because the fundamentalists and many other Christians vehemently hold to Bible inerrancy. Surely Peter would hold to Bible inerrancy. In fact, in the early church, surely the only ones who dont hold inerrancy views would be the non-Christians. Is the Vatican going to join that club? If they make an infallible declaration on inerrancy and an Atheist refutes inerrancy and makes the Pope look fallible, at least the Evangelical inerrancy apologists will come to the rescue.
    -If the RCC is the true church, why is it that compared with even Liberal evangelical churches, the proportion of informed members, who actually read and know the scriptures, is so low. Surely, if Peter had been the Pope, or if the Vatican was ruled by the Apostles from AD33 to now (I’m assuming that they can live 2000 years), this would not be the case. Look at the church service of Paul in the Bible, he read scripture. I am told that some RCC services have no readings, no homilies etc. Apologists play with this fact. On the one hand, they say there is little division among the 1.2 billion catholics. When they are questioned further, they say that those who are ignorant/liberal are not true Catholics. When questioned about their apologists being divided, they say its not a true division or that the division is not significant. In addition, they help me slam dunk my point about infalliblity, because the apologists are not turning to some infallible person/magisterium to sort it all out. Is the Vatican willing and not able? or able but unwilling? By the way, how can we infallibly know if the top American RCC apologists/pop-apologists/theologians are actually defending what the Vatican actually teach? A true non-lukewarm Catholic would demand an infallible pronouncement on the apologetic activity. If he sent an email to the Vatican, would they actually be bothered making an infallible declaration? or is the matter too small and they are happy to leave millions as divided as the rest of Christendom?
    -The Vatican website has so far failed its job. There is not too much apologetic material and one wonders if a mad fundamentalist textural critic/Greek language scholar/super debater and apologist goes to the Vatican and refutes all the theologians/popes/nuns etc there in dialogue, how will the world respond? what if the Magisterium loses faith after such a dialogue? and would they even accept such a dialogue in the first place? Does the Magisterium have what it takes to stand in a debate? A Catholic may ask me or some random small denomination that question, but my point is, I or other churches are not claiming the possibility of infallibility in our arsenals (and if they did ask me that question, they are just trying to dodge it).
    -If the Pope is the true shepherd, what is up with all the splendor and the riches? Why doesnt he just sell that tripple decked crown etc? He could have perhaps 10,000 people with that money for a day. Is that crown (let alone the rest of the rich garments) even neccessary? Would Peter have approved of such (let alone the kissing of his ring?).
    -[Sidenote] Is it a co-incidence that not a single Superpower nation in the modern world is a Catholic-majority nation? Why is it that the Barbarian Germanics who were quite uncivillised in Roman times, became the strongest WWII nations after the Reformation? France and Italy were both embarrassing in WWII. The defective churches have outdone the true church in making its citizens work hard and build strong nations. Also, the Catholic nations are losing in the Olympic medal counts, though they do tend to win in football a lot. If you say that America is not a Protestant-majority nation, its certainly not a Catholic nation as according to some apologists, ignorant Catholics are not true Catholics, so America’s protestant-catholic ratio is not 5:3 but more like 6:1. Of course, this nation superiority thing is more of a side note and is not 100% proven, though there are some theories about a “Protestant/Puritan work ethic” as having caused the Protestant nations to be traditionally stronger.
    -The typical RCC member is not as on fire as the evangelical or even Atheists when it comes to evangelism. Of the tens of gospel tracts I have seen at University, I have utterly failed to see any Catholic ones. I really would like to see some Catholic tracts and see how long it would be, if its supposed to contain all pieces of salvation info on it. My point here would be that the supreme shepherd should have at least made it compulsory for homilies around the world to contain such info so its members would be on fire preaching the gospel.

    I will throw in more points later if I can be bothered about it. I am quite new to such topics and so am an amateur. Hopefully I didnt strawman anyone, though I am inexperienced at such topics. I find it strange that Catholics apologists use the term “anti-Catholic” to describe Protestants who attack them. If you look at the range of world views evangelicals engage in (Muslims, JWs, Mormons, Atheism etc) and compare that to the Catholic apologetic websites (where 80-90% of the time, the only material is against Protestants, and by the way, often the anti-cult material on those websites contain protestant writings), then it would make sense that the typical Catholic apologist is more anti-Protestant than a Protestant apologist is “anti-Catholic”. Funny how I dont see protestant apologists emotionally accuse Catholic apologists as “anti-protestant”. Hopefully I will get some responses. I do expect people to accuse me of strawman or not knowing what the RCC actually teaches. Its one of they favorite weapons against criticism. Hopefully they will be correctly representing the RCC’s teachings in their response to me, though I wont know infallibly unless the Magisterium helps out.

  12. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    I appreciate you put a lot of thought into this comment, and I think many of your points have merit, but please stay on topic. This post is about one particular reason to think Catholicism is illegitimate—not every reason you can think of.

  13. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    One other thing Peter:

    The rates of Catholic priest’s abuse of children is less than, but in a similar order of magnitiude to the abuse of chilldren by leaders of other Christian Churches (which, sadly, roughly equates to the child abuse in the general population).

    As this article on ABC documents, written by the author of ‘Breaking the Long Silence: Reports of Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church of Australia’, the situation is quite the opposite:

    There are comparatively few allegations of child sexual abuse by ministers of religion in other churches. There are some, as there are in all other organizations involved in work with children and young people. With colleagues I have done a study of the prevalence of abuse in the Anglican Church across Australia. I have some knowledge also of what has happened in other churches. Reliable statistics are not available, but in my opinion, and based on the available data, there has been around six times as much child sexual abuse by clergy and religious in the Catholic Church as there is by ministers of religion in all the other churches in Australia combined—and I would regard that as a conservative figure.

  14. Pedro Corso

    Hi Bnann. I’m from RCC, so I’m whilling to discuss this argument with you. It’s a very simple argument indeed.

    I do not quite believe on the proofs given by you, but that’s just me. Let’s just assume they’re correct, and see the problems caused by your silogism:

    If you’re considering that the Catholic Church’s leadership is fallible, so there are some more questions for you to answer. Firstly: if the Catholic Church’s leadership is fallible, then you accept the possibility of evil being able to infiltrate it. I know this just seems silly, but the Church isn’t just about this world. It’s main leader remains untouchable. Even if the body is sick, the head (Jesus) remains sound.

    And secondly, for your argument to be 100% true, you need to prove that every single generation of the Catholic Church’s leadership falls into your argument’s conclusion, which is unlikely. If you cannot prove that, then your conclusion is reduced by only saying that some selected generations used their leadership powers in an illegitimate way, and thus it’s possible for it to become legitimate again.

    I’d just like to know if you accept those two things I pointed out here. If yes, your argument is merely circumstantial, and it can vary from true to false as the time goes. The same could be applied to every christian institution, as it’s leadership could get corrupted by the evil at any time, or maybe it already is.

  15. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Hey Pedro :)

    Firstly: if the Catholic Church’s leadership is fallible, then you accept the possibility of evil being able to infiltrate it.

    Sure. That’s kind of the point of my argument: to show that Catholicism is not what it claims to be, because it is an evil institution.

    secondly, for your argument to be 100% true, you need to prove that every single generation of the Catholic Church’s leadership falls into your argument’s conclusion, which is unlikely.

    I’m not sure why I need to do this? My concern is simply to show that the RCC is not legitimate now. I wasn’t trying to prove that it was never legitimate. I think that is an implication of my argument, but it would take extra reasoning to actually show that.

    That said, at the point where one bishop of Rome becomes illegitimate, so does the claim to an unbroken succession back to Peter. So if there are evil bishops of Rome in the church’s history, who were not above reproach and did not protect the weak—and there surely were!—then the illegitimacy of the Roman Church, along with its claim to unbroken succession, begins there at the very least.

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