Why I’m Not, And Never Will Be, a Roman Catholic (Reason 1 – No Unanimus Consent of Ultimate Authority)January 17, 2011
This is the first of many reasons to come as to why I am not a Roman Catholic and why I reject the official teachings of the Church. The major reason is because their gospel has not only changed, but is outright heresy – which I will get to on another post. I plan on having many of these be simple segments as to what I, and many others, find to be gigantic theological, historical, and practical inconsistencies on Rome’s part.
The first reason is the issue of ultimate authority. Is it Scripture, which is God-breathed, or also a Magisterium and Papacy made up of finite, sinful, humans whereby the Pope is only infallible when conveniently speaking in ex-cathedra mode?
Rome uses circular reasoning when it comes to why their Papal authority is infallible. Popes are infallible because they are infallible. It can’t be assumed that this authority ultimately/soley comes from Scripture, namely Matt 16:18, because then the Roman Catholic is caught in the problem of assuming that Matt is inspired before there is a Papacy to determine what is inspired! Rome can’t say Matt is inspired, thus authoritative, until there is a Papacy. In other words, does the Church authorize the canon, or does the canon authorize the Church? It’s a very circular problem. Rome must hold that the Church’s Papal authority is ultimately founded upon neither the Church or upon the canon, but rather “tradition”.
Yet, an honest look at history shows that this “tradition” never existed in history either. Peter being the rock in Matt 16:18 is not the unanimous consent of the early fathers, which Trent and Vatican I allude to. William Webster, in his book ‘The Matthew 16 Controversy: Peter and the Rock’, documents how the majority of early church fathers did not interpret Matt 16:18 the way Rome currently does.
Even Augustine wrote a book at the end of his life in which he retracted many of his earlier beliefs, titled ‘Retractiones’, and he stated that Peter is not the “rock” in Mat 16, rather Jesus Christ is. He didn’t even clarify that it’s Peter’s faith, but is Christ himself. According to Trent, if Augustine believed what he did back then today, he would be anathematized – along with myself and all who reject Rome’s current interpretation. This means the majority of the early fathers would be anathematized today as well if they still held to the beliefs they had back then.
So the claim to ultimate authority cannot be based on Scripture, nor history. To claim ultimate authority, apart from revelation which comes directly from God, is a very tricky and fallible endeavor. How do ultimate authority claims hold up in argumentation with others who also have ultimate authority claims?
Can you imagine having two religions which start with the circular reasoning, “my Church is true because my Church is true”? Imagine if we lined up a Roman Catholic with a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness (which all claim their popes/prophets to be ultimate authorities) and had them debate the topic of ultimate authority.
It would go something like this:
Roman Catholic: “Our Church is correct because our Church is correct.”
Mormon and/or JW: “That can’t be true because our Church is correct because our Church is correct.”
Roman Catholic: “Well you see… that can’t be true because our Church is correct because our Church is correct.”
Mormom and/or JW: “You’re Church is in error because actually our Church is correct because our Church is correct.”
And on and on it would go, forever and ever until Christ returned to condemn them all.
We need to look at consistency. We need to be open and honest with history, and theology. We can’t just go by “it is because it just is.”