There are many, many truly good and holy men and women who are not Catholic Christians, and there are many Catholic Christian men and women who are quite wretched in action, truly. I do not seek, in this article, to say that only Catholics are good or will be ‘saved,’ but rather, I seek to demonstrate why and how Catholicism has the fullness of Christianity, though many Christian churches have borrowed a lot of good from the Church. As this subject is much too broad to be one post, it shall be approximately ten posts. Stay tuned. Related or unstated biblical passages are below.
Point One: The Bible came from the Catholic Church.
Many of the early church fathers (leaders of the Christian faith in the time immediately after Christ’s death), evangelized and taught without the Bible which had not yet been penned. It would not be officially completed for nearly 300 years, though, books of the New Testament began to be written in the 1st century AD. No, I’m not saying the Bible is unimportant. I’m saying that it isn’t the sole leg upon which the faith stands.
When considering the place of the Bible in faith, you must consider Christianity predates the Bible, though, the Bible is part of its complex deposit of faith (The body of revealed truth in the Scriptures and tradition proposed by the Roman Catholic Church for the belief of the faithful).
Christianity, also known as the Catholic Church until the 1500’s, was founded by Jesus, on Peter (First Pope), as described in Matthew 16:17-19 (see below), and further, is the organization that sought to determine which texts were divinely inspired and to be used in teaching the Faith (Something you can do if you have the power to ‘bind and loose’ given by Christ).
It was not until the Councils of Hippo in around 393AD and Carthage from 257AD-397AD, that the Catholic Church defined which books made it into the New Testament and which did not, based upon the criterion of divine inspiration. How, then, without a Bible, were the early Christians, Christian!? There was a Church, the Bride of Christ, and the Holy Spirit that guided them, of course!
Another consideration to make about Christianity, when seeking the truth, is that until the 1500’s, all Christians were, more or less, Catholic. When sects and denominations broke off, they did, indeed, remove books, make doctrinal changes, and promote hatred of the Catholic Church, a spirit you can still find in many denominations (None of these things did they have the authority from Christ to do)! Do you imagine the True church would preach hate from the pulpit? Really? REALLY?! Something, something ‘whore of Babylon,’ amiright?!
The Roman Catholic Church is not the only church in communion with the Chair of Peter. There are currently 6 rites within 23 churches that contain the fullness of Truth and are in communion with the Holy See, that is they are promoting the fullness of Truth and Christianity. You do have options, if you so please; however, none of these 23 are protestant churches.
You may have heard that Catholics inserted books. Those hinky Catholics, always pulling the wool over our eyes! Simply put, this is a fallacy. A rudimentary peek into history will show that the early Christians in the first few hundred years were decidedly Catholic in their beliefs, worship, and they reference the Septuagint (the complete 73 books). Many people are converted after reading the writings of the Early Church Fathers, finding that they were not these ‘Solo Scriptura,’ Bible thumpers. Why was it that, suddenly, in 1500’s, there were changes to be made? This is a complex answer, but I assure you, it is not because God, and the Truth changed. God is immutable. Further, there are many, many, many, many manuscripts containing the complete 73 books prior to the 1500’s. It would be easy to make my own truth, if I could just remove whatever did not suit it!
The Bible did not simply fall from Heaven. To take the Bible, and then, say you need not the very Church who gave it to you is sort of laughable, in a bad way. Many will subscribe to this religion of ‘sola scriptura’ or ‘bible alone’ saying that their relationship with Jesus is private, and their own knowledge is suitable to read. Do you really believe that someone who is reading the Bible, who has no knowledge of Jewish customs, expressions, nor culture in biblical times, who does not speak Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew, and who is not even considering the WHOLE book, is going to always come to the correct conclusion, especially when the book does not say that you should do this? If they don’t speak Greek and Hebrew, then they are reading a translation. Is the translation good? How do you know?
Translation is wonderful because it allows us to read the Word of God, but truly, we have to be weary about what we take away from it on our own. We must be informed by divine teaching. Do you think Christ would imbue you with a spirit of pride to say, “I know enough to get the right message on my own! I disagree with the Church He founded, and it pleases him that I have seen the truth they do not!” That doesn’t sound like Christ. Sounds like somebody else…
I am not implying that non-Catholic Christians are all evil. They are, rather, misinformed. As Fulton Sheen has said,
“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 former atheist, I cannot stress the truth of this statement enough. I considered many faiths. I did not presuppose Catholicism was correct at all! Rather, I presupposed it was wrong. I went to Catholic school, I went to catechism classes, I went to mass every Sunday, and received the sacraments, and, yet, I emerged with no idea about the Truth or what the faith was, at all! I hated the church. How many people do this and never realize that, like me, they never really knew anything about the faith? Thank Vatican 2 for the changes to education. (This is a story for another time.)
These misled Christians are not meaning to be errant or negligent, rather; they are the result of misinformation, false education on the history of Christianity, and a pulpit preaching hatred toward the one, true church Jesus described. Yes, He described a church! Go to the early church fathers. Go to the early Christians who knew the apostles. You will be surprised what you may find. The bigger question is, truly, if you find what I am saying to be true, will you have the humility to follow the Truth?
Edit: Part 2 is up now!
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
“If you forgive the sins of any; they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:23