Friday 16 September 2016
WHY BE CATHOLIC (3)
BE CATHOLIC BECAUSE IT IS THE FAITH ESTABLISHED BY GOD HIMSELF
[a] While philosophical systems, sociological/psychological theories and religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism and Islam might claim to have been inspired by God, none actually claim to be established by God. Carl Rogers might claim Person-centred psychology followed from the fact that all God created was good, but it still originated with Rogers and not with God, just as Buddhism originated with Buddha Shakyamuni; Sikhism with Guru Nanak Dev; Islam with Mohamed. Uniquely, Catholicism originated with God Himself while on earth as Jesus Christ. Catholics are not only the the one Faith that can claim to have been established by God in person, but the only Christian established by God in person, since Catholics alone can trace their line of Pastors (Bishops and Priests) back in unbroken succession to Jesus Christ, who claimed to be God and proved it by rising from the dead. This makes Catholicism unique.
[b] Protestants are Christians who left the Catholic Church in the 1500’s under Martin Luther, John Calvin, Urich Zwingli and Henry VIII. They are still Christians and our brethren in Christ, but are akin to children who left home after a disagreement. They have taken a few family treasures with them (the scriptures, baptism and marriage), treasures which belong to Catholicism and it is by these that Protestants might be saved, since “it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone that salvation can be gained”. These Protestant ecclesial communities are indeed “used by God as means of salvation, their power deriving from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church”. Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, Vatican Council II teaches that “the Church is necessary for salvation... Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (Catechism, #819; 846)
[c] Protestantism and non-Christian religions, since they were not established by God Himself, do not carry the authority and guarantee God gave to the Catholic Church that “He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10v16). And yes, Protestants may be saved by the Catholic ‘property’ (the family treasures) they took with them at the Reformation (Scripture, Baptism and Marriage); while non-Christians may be saved (John 10v16; Acts 17v26-28) by their sincere search for Truth (which is Christ: John.14v6). However, Protestantism and non-Christian religions, since they are not established by God and not promised His protection or given His authority, are constantly liable to teach errors -yet God is Truth (John.14v6). Thus, Protestantism and non-Christian religions can lead souls away from God –so the only safe path to Heaven is a well-lived Catholicism.
N.B. Child abuse by Catholic clergy is appalling because it is abuse of the most innocent by those established by Christ as good shepherds in his stead (1.Pet.5v2), but just as we cannot judge the NHS by a Dr Shipman or Nurse Allit, so we cannot judge the Catholic Church by traitorous priests.