Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sampling Catholic Unity

In most of my past posts on Catholicism I have tried to stick with you using quotes from official Church documents. While I believe it is best to confront the errors of the Church of Rome with her own official teachings, I believe there is still value in providing statements from lower level leaders and laypeople.


Because the Roman Catholic Church (and especially her e-pologists) claims “unity” as one of its hallmarks. That is why you will hear the Catholic e-pologists bring up nonsense like “there are 30,000 Protestant denominations” or “sola scriptura leads to chaos, even Luther thought so” and the like. The Catholic Encyclopedia makes this claim against Protestants:

"That the mark of unity which is distinctive of and essential to the true Church of Christ is to be found in none other than the Roman Catholic Church, follows naturally from what has been said... Between no two of the hundreds of nonCatholic sects is there a common bond of union; each one having a different head, a different belief, a different cult. Nay more, even between the members of any one sect there is no such thing as real unity, for their first and foremost principle is that each one is free to believe and do as he wishes. They are constantly breaking up into new sects and subdivisions of sects, showing that they have within themselves the seeds of disunion and disintegration. " Source

The implication is then, that Catholics are united in their own beliefs and actions. If this is true, then we should be able to assess the statements of individual Catholics as representative of their church as a whole. Especially those in some position of leadership (priests, cardinals) and those who present themselves as representatives of their church (catholic apologists/e-pologists, book authors)

I know this idea won’t sit well with Catholic e-pologists because they KNOW that the members of their one true church have opinions that run the gamut from universalism to hardcore traditionalist (all non-Catholics will go to hell). But you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Either drop the fa├žade of unity or be prepared to embrace a sampling of your “unified” representatives.


MikeL said...

The unity of Catholicism is based on the doctrines themselves, not on individuals. Using the words of dissenting and ignorant Catholics does not prove your contention.

Carrie said...

You have proven my contention. There is no unity at an individual level.

Unity of doctrine means everyone agrees with the doctrines.

kmerian said...


If that is what you want to do then that is your choice. But then keep in mind that you cannot object when the same standards are applied to you. Every church has members that run the gamit of beliefs. And if you are going to use the words of every catholic as official catholic doctrine, then you cannot object to using the words of every protestant as representative of Protestantism

Carrie said...

And if you are going to use the words of every catholic as official catholic doctrine,

You guys seem to be missing the point.

It is not my intention to use the words of Catholics as representative of official doctrine. What the words of individuals show is that there is not a unity of belief and actions amongst Catholics as is often claimed (and used as a claim of defectiveness amongst Protestants).

If Catholics were truly unified, their words and actions would accurately reflect the teachings of their church.

Since you all admit that a sampling of individual Catholic beliefs will not reflect official church doctrine, then you must also admit that there is no more unity of faith and actions than amongst Protestants.

kmerian said...

We are unified in that there is a core set of beliefs (dogmas) that all catholics believe. There will always be people who disagree on this aspect or that one. But, our beliefs on these dogmas are resolute. Protestants, on the other hand, cannot agree on any aspect or teaching. They all claim Sola Scriptura, but that is all.

Anonymous said...

Kmerian, let's see...Protestants agree on "cannot agree"...

Except on the basic principles of the Protestant Reformation (else how can they be "Protestant"?).

Let's start with the Nicene Creed. Then let's move to justification by faith alone, the deity of Christ, the death and resurrection, the authority of Scripture.

Would you care to reword your mischaracterization?

kmerian said...

Well the Churches of Christ and some non-denom churches reject all man made creeds. So no unity there. Yes, all claim to follow "justification by faith alone" but many differ on its interpretation. Even Catholics agree with Protestants on the deity of Christ. And as I said, they all claim adherence to sola scriptura. But once again differ in interpretation

Gojira said...

"There will always be people who disagree on this aspect or that one. But, our beliefs on these dogmas are resolute."

Hmmmmm....very odd. The majority of Catholics I am aware of do not believe the church position on birth control is accurate. Many that I have met do not really believe in transubstantion. I have met a few Catholics who do not think that the Immaculate Conception is true. Everyone of them can be found in Catholic church every Sunday. Usually the standard reply is that they aren't true Catholics. That, though, is a double standard, and is shown by the Catholic responses on this very thread in regards to Protestantism. regardless, when the Catholic church infallibily interpretes all of scripture then there might be an actual argument against what was said on this thread concerning sola scriptura and unity. But let's face it, the church dogmatically imterpretating all of scripture so the Catholic will not have to go by a private interpretation is about as likely to happen as the Catholic being given an infallible understanding of what their infallible magisterium teaches so there would never be any misunderstandings.

Carrie said...

We are unified in that there is a core set of beliefs (dogmas) that all catholics believe.

That most certainly isn't true. Most Catholics I know are universalists at heart.

Young adults’ lack of participation problem for U.S. Catholic Church, study says:

"Reporting mainly on a 2005 telephone survey of nearly 900 Catholics by the Gallup Organization, the study compares results of that survey with similar surveys taken in 1987, 1993 and 1999 and with other sociological studies of Catholics conducted by the authors in recent years.

One of the main results of the new survey was to confirm and reinforce earlier findings that younger adult Catholics tend to have a looser, more tenuous relationship with the church than their older counterparts. The younger Catholics are less likely to accept church teachings on issues of sex and marriage or to consider the church's teaching role important in such matters, for example, and they are less likely to attend Mass regularly or to consider Mass attendance important for being a good Catholic."

""As long as they believe in God, Jesus' incarnation and resurrection and Mary as the mother of God and as long as they do whatever they can to love their neighbor, they do not feel obliged to attend Mass every week, go to confession every year, or even marry in the church," it adds."

"...the evidence suggests that most young adults "are only loosely tethered to the church," it says.

It adds: "Barely half say they would never leave the church. ... Only one-fourth go to Mass on a weekly basis. Less than half believe that the teaching authority claimed by the Vatican is very important. A majority disagree with church teachings related to sexual and reproductive issues. ... And if a sizable number of young adults report that they do not understand their faith well enough to explain it to their own children, they have a problem, and so does the church.""

Carrie said...

Another survey on Catholic beliefs:

Catholic beliefs and practices: the challenge ahead for Australia

"Among younger Catholics, only 6.8 per cent of 20-24-year-olds attended regularly (down from 7.2 per cent in 1996) and 5.6 per cent of 25-29-year-olds (down from 7.0 per cent) attended."

"In the case of acceptance of the Church's doctrinal and moral teachings, this tends to parallel Mass attendance patterns among the different age groups.

The National Church Life Survey of May 2001 included a random sample of 261 Catholic parishes from about 1,400 across Australia. From the 255 parishes in the sample which actually took part, 78,255 completed questionnaires were received.

Some versions of the questionnaire contained a series of questions about central Catholic doctrines and moral teachings and were completed by 10,805 Catholic attenders from the national random sample of parishes.

The three belief items dealt with views about the virgin birth, the Eucharist and the nature of God, while the morality items concerned abortion and pre-marital sex.

Acceptance of the virgin birth among Mass attenders was broadly similar across age groups, ranging from 73 per cent for 18-24-year-olds to 81 per cent for those aged 56 or over.

The differences between age groups were more pronounced in the case of belief in the Eucharist truly being the Body and Blood of Christ. Only 46 per cent of 15-17-year-old Mass attenders accepted this doctrine, whereas 81 per cent of those aged over 56 did so. In between these groups the level of belief rose with age.

Belief in God as the Holy Trinity again reflected age differences, with 51 per cent of 15-17-year olds accepting it, increasing to 78 per cent for over 56-year-olds."

I don't think you need to be a statistician to see 100% (all) is not even close to being listed above.

Carrie said...

"70% of Catholics believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist"

pilgrim said...

Check out Modern Reformation--PResbyterians, Reformed, Baptists, Lutherans, and even Anglicans get together and agree on the gospel--that's the important thing, and that unity is as strong as the unity the Catholics here are claiming.