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Authority and Narrow-Mindedness

  /   Thursday July 24, 2003  

Yet another Busted Halo post:

To say that “anyone who is not Catholic is evil” would be for me to make a personal judgment that I cannot make. I can, however, critique their ideas about God when they are out in the open, such as on this forum. A person can have wrong ideas about God and not be aware that their ideas are wrong and therefore not be at fault. Therefore, it is possible to say that one is in error without attributing personal evil to them.

There is a quote often attributed to Dostoevsky, author of The Brothers Karamazov, “If God does not exists, everything is permitted.” Indeed, in such a world, your view of authority would be correct. However, ultimately, all true authority comes from God. Does this mean that Hitler had the authority to do what he did? No, he did not. This was clearly an abuse of authority. So was the child molestation. Just as using our freedom to sin is an abuse of our freedom, using authority to do evil is an abuse of authority. It can be done, but it’s wrong.

You call me narrow minded because I hold that the truths taught by the Catholic Church are exactly that. However, I could just as easily call you narrow-minded in that you are not open to the idea that the Church teaches truth. It would be only natural to, upon having accepted something as true, to believe what contradicts it as false. For example, since I believe that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead as truth, I could not also believe that, at the same time, Jesus did not bodily rise from the dead. Two contradictory statements cannot be true at the same time. The acceptance of one statement makes accepting its opposite logically impossible.

Now, suppose that God himself called people together and manifested himself to them. In so doing, he taught them about himself and the life they were to lead, and he gave them the authority to teach in his name. He said that whatever they would bind on earth would be bound in Heaven and vice versa. In this case, he gave them the authority to proclaim what he has said authentically and the power to do it.

However, interestingly enough, neither these apostles nor their successors were ever protected from themselves going against the teaching. However, they were never able to change the teaching to go along with their behavior. For example, child molestation is very much against the Church’s teaching. Those priests have not had any influence on Church teaching. Although many have been forbidden to use them, they do not lose their ability to say Mass because their ability is not based on their personal holiness but their ordination.

Therefore, I view the sins of some of our Popes and other clergy not as an argument against the ability of the Church to teach truth but as an argument for it. If the Church were not given divine authority, then someone could easily have changed the teaching to condone his/her behavior. That’s why people can tell me all day long about child molesters, the Inquisition, the Crusades, Galileo, or anything else (all of which, except for child molestation, have another side to the story) without losing faith.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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