Faith in humans
I recently emailed my husband some of the comments here talking about discovering God through the Church as opposed to Sola Scriptura. I've mentioned before that he was raised Baptist. The comments I emailed him touched on one of the bigger stumbling blocks we're both facing when considering becoming Catholics. Here's an excerpt from his email:
[Referring to the second comment here.]
Great stuff. Thoughts:
1 - He says the Catholic Church is authoritative. I have trouble elevating humans over the written rules. To me that would be like saying "The Supreme Court is a higher authority than the Constitution." The Supreme Court's job is to interpret the Constitution. But the Constitution is the highest law of the land. Anything else would be dangerous and would render the Constitution void and pointless.
2 - I'd like to hear what this commenter has to say about the checkered parts of the history of the Catholic church. If a person is to follow the church, should it matter that there have been bad popes and bishops? My own feeling is that what keeps things on an even keel is that there are written rules which sooner or later you have to come back to and adhere to. And that militates for the idea that the written rules is the ultimate authority and source of wisdom.
To quote him:
*Each Generation of bishops was succeeded by another generation of bishops, and this continues until today.
*These successor bishops, with the successor of Peter at their head, are guided by the HS (as promised by Jesus) and responsible for ensuring, and protecting the truth of the faith from generation to generation. This includes guiding the faithful in the meaning, mode, and understanding of the words of scripture.
*The Church as lead by the Bishops, with the successor of Peter at the head is AUTHORITATIVE in the life of the believer
To me this idea of tracing the lineage is dangerous because if one evil person got into the mix (and surely that has happened - aren't all humans evil to some degree?) then are all appointments thereafter invalidated? What makes you think the lineage will ever get back on track? And how can you tell when/if it does?
These are good points, and they're issues that I'm also struggling with. Anyone have any thoughts on this?