The best way to prepare for a debate is to know your opponent’s arguments better than they do. As a Catholic evangelist it helps me to know what other faith traditions are claiming. I probably spend too much time reading opposing views than what I should be. There is no shortage of anti-Catholic thought in this world today. The common thread among all of it is a great misunderstanding of the actual teaching of the Catholic Church. Misconceptions and falsehoods both abound and remain even when the light of truth shines brightly. For those who hate the Catholic Church there is not enough proof to sway them. Those open and seeking the truth always find their way home to this Church. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said it best.
“There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
As a Catholic apologist I am obligated to know and pass on only the true teachings of the Church. I do not have the right to pass on my opinion as official teaching. Indeed, all Catholics are required to believe all official doctrine of the Church. This faith is not a strawberry field where we get to pick and choose the fruit that is most pleasing to us. That doesn’t mean that we can’t question what we are taught. Questioning a teaching is good because it shows our desire to understand. We are called to accept and seek to understand and not reject because it doesn’t jive with my personal thought.
I also spent a great deal of time reading other Catholic writers. There is some great stuff out there and a wealth of knowledge and insight. The more I can expose myself to the truth the deeper it ingrains within me. The problem is that among the wheat there is an increasing amount of chaff. The number of anti-catholic Catholics seems to be on the rise. It is bad enough when a Catholic stands up in Mass and says, “I believe…” and then gets to the parking lot and says, “But the Church is wrong on…” It is much worse when a Catholic apologist starts spewing his or her personal anti-catholic opinion as Church teaching.
There are wolves among the flock that do their best to divide and conquer. I am sure in their hearts they truly believe that they are trying to save the Church. I also believe Martin Luther thought the exact same thing. The Church that Jesus created has lost her way and it takes the personal revelation of the individual to bring her back on course. This is the apostasy that wasn’t.
My question to all of the anti-Catholic Catholics is this: Do you love Jesus? Do you trust him to be true to his word? Church teaching on this is very clear and is not open to debate or to personal choice. If you do not accept this teaching you are not Catholic no matter what you call yourself or what Mass you attend on Sunday.
1: Jesus started the Catholic Church.
2: He appointed the Twelve as the official leaders of that Church. These men became the original bishops of the Church.
3: He appointed one of the Twelve to lead the rest. His name was Peter and he was the first Pope.
4: He passed on the authority the Father gave to him to these men who in turn passed it on to their replacements. This became the Magisterium.
5: He promised to be with his Church until the end of the age and that even the gates of Hell would not prevail over her.
6: Because of that promise we believe that he guides the Church through everything she does and will not allow her to fall into apostasy.
Let me repeat that – We believe that Jesus will not allow his Church to fall into apostasy.
When you form an opinion contrary to official Church teaching examine closely where the inspiration for that opinion came from. I will guarantee you that it did not come from Jesus. The alpha wolf is hard at work. Don’t allow yourself to be separated from the flock that the good shepherd has given his life for.