Pilgrim Chronicle

What's a nice guy like me doing in the Catholic Church?

Transience and permanence

Posted by Kevin on February 28, 2013

I was just watching the EWTN coverage of Pope Benedict leaving the Vatican for Castel Gandolfo.  As his helicopter flew over Rome you could see the Coliseum passing below.  The successor of Peter flying above the ruins of the place where Christians were fed to lions.  Rather symbolic, that.

I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  Matt. 16:18

 

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Either/Or vs. Both/And

Posted by Kevin on January 20, 2013

The biggest objection that Protestants have toward the Catholic Church is that Catholicism teaches things contrary to what the Bible says.  I would argue that it is more accurate to say that Catholicism teaches things contrary to Protestant interpretations of the Bible.  Part of the misunderstanding is due to the fact that there are some differences in approach to interpretation.

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More on interpretation and authority

Posted by Kevin on January 20, 2013

Jennifer writes,

“We reject the Church’s authority only to replace it with another authority: what the scholars we trust say are the rules for interpreting the Bible, and who we decide has correctly applied these rules to arrive at the correct interpretation.”

I guess I take exception to trusting any said ‘church’ or ‘scholar’ for any interpretation. To say one source is better or worse than the other is false. It is also naive to think we are not influenced by any person. Our beliefs have to be based on God’s word alone, but we will always be influenced as to how we interpret them.

Choosing an established church, whether you believe it’s the “one true church” or not, to guide you in your conclusions and interpretations to scripture is in my opinion just as equal to trusting a scholar.

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More on the Magisterium and Infallibility

Posted by Kevin on December 10, 2012

I just came across this explanation of when the Magisterium of the Church does and does speak infallibly.

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Apostolic authority

Posted by Kevin on December 6, 2012

Lisa asks:

Could you explain a little more about why Catholics consider the magisterium infallible? Seems to me that putting one’s trust in one man’s (the pope’s) interpretation of the Bible is no different from the Protestant way of interpreting the Bible.

Good question, Lisa.  I asked that one myself.

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That’s your interpretation

Posted by Kevin on December 2, 2012

I think for me the single biggest problem in my faith before entering the Catholic Church was that I didn’t know when to stop asking questions.  (Now, as a Catholic, I can still ask all the questions I can think of, but they tend to result in answers more than confusion.)

Let me back up a little.  After no religious upbringing in my first decade, our family became involved with a fundamentalist Baptist church.  They were the ones who cared enough about our immortal souls to knock on our door and invite us to church.  The local Catholic priest, shamefully, exerted more energy warning people against sending their kids to this Baptist church than he did inviting people to his Catholic parish.  The message of Christ resonated with me and I jumped aboard with both feet and learned all I could.  The thing with fundamentalism is that they are all for learning, but up to a point.  The essence of fundamentalism, I think, is the maintaining of feelings of certitude by rejecting any information or question that brings their beliefs into doubt.  I had this rather unfortunate habit of thinking and asking questions beyond the level that permits Baptist fundamentalist certitude, and so by my late teens it became apparent that I didn’t fit in.  By my early twenties and for the next twenty years or so I would identify myself only as a Christian, in the “mere Christianity” sense as C.S. Lewis put it.  I held to the eight or ten points of non-negotiable doctrine that most evangelical or “Bible Christians” would hold as the essence of authentic, Biblical Christianity.  I held a lot of the so-called secondary issues rather tentatively.

Even then, there were problems.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Continuity and visible unity

Posted by Kevin on December 2, 2012

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.   Jude 3

[T]hat they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.   John 17:21

Martin Luther started something he never intended to with consequences he likely never imagined.  In taking on the Pope and the Bishops he intended to reform the Church, but the result was a progressive, exponential splintering of the church.  Luther held that Christian truth is determined by the Bible alone: sola scriptura. But very quickly disagreement arose as to what the Bible truly taught on this or that topic, and just as Luther had separated himself and his followers from the Catholic Church, the new Protestants began separating from each other both theologically and ecclesiastically.  Today it is impossible to even count all the different Protestant denominations and teachings, because old ones are dying and new ones are arising, and countless congregations are non-denominational and autonomous.

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Brief intro and overview

Posted by Kevin on December 1, 2012

The following is from an email I sent a while back in response to a friend asking why I and my wife became Catholic.  I am reproducing the relevant part below as a brief overview and introduction to some of the issues involved.  Alterations or explanations are in italics.

On to the Big Question. To do the question justice would probably require writing a whole book. Others who converted have done exactly that and even their books only scratch the surface. Hopefully I can hit the highlights and not be typing til the cows come home…    Read the rest of this entry »

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And so it begins

Posted by Kevin on December 1, 2012

For the second time now I have had a friend express curiosity regarding my decision to be received into the Catholic Church.  I think that the question deserves a serious answer, but at the same time I cannot adequately distill and summarize the many thousands of pages I have read, questions and thoughts I have entertained and challenges posed and answered into a few blog posts and do it all justice.  On the other hand, a blog would be better suited than a comment box on Facebook.  We’ll see how it goes.

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