Great theologians -- poor administrators

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by CatholicConvert, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. CatholicConvert

    CatholicConvert
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    In another thread, now unfortunately locked, Joseph Botwinick gave me this response:

    I realize that it is very hard to separate the Faith itself from the people who administer that Faith, but it is really necessary. Our Lord's promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church was not given to individuals. It was given to the Church, which ontologically must include orthodoxy of doctrine.

    In going back through the OT, we can find many, many examples of great leaders who had the proper faith in God, but who had repeated moral failings. Such men include Abraham, Eli the priest of God, Elijah, King David and Solomon.

    Think with me about all the kings of Israel who were "wicked kings". They maladministered the kingdom of God, but did that change the truths which had been given to Israel? Did it invalidate the sacrifices of the priests.

    I must believe that doctrine has been kept separate from personal failures. Certainly there were a number of evil men who obtained the papacy, for whatever reason they had, and yet we find that they did not change the intrinsic moral and doctrinal teachings which mark the Church. Don't you wonder why? Since they were living scandalous lives, wouldn't it have been easy to come out and make an "infallible pronouncement" that God didn't mean having four or five mistresses on the side when He gave the commandment against adultery.

    How could a man be a great theologian and yet be a coward? Well, aren't we all that way in some ways? Don't we all have parts of us which are very noble and courageous, and other parts which make the most boneheaded decisions and cowardly answers you could possibly make.

    I think the answer is that JPII is human. And we humans will not be perfected until glory.

    It would really be nice if the Church could be run perfectly, but it just doesn't seem that such will happen this side of the grave.

    Anyhow, I hope Brother Joseph reads this answer.

    Brother Ed
     
  2. MikeS

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    Brother Ed, your comments were excellent! Let me just offer one further insight. If the leaders of the Church did act with perfection (as opposed to teaching with perfection, which they do as promised), then that would be such a strong and clear sign from God that it would largely take away our free will to believe or disbelieve in Him. It would be much, much more difficult to ignore the existence of God and the divine nature of the Church in that case. It would be much the same if God suddenly came into all our TVs every night for a week.

    God refuses to compel us to believe in Him, whether by force or by undeniable signs. There is something profound about our leap of faith into the arms of the Lord, and He will not deny any of us our choice to make or not make that leap. The Truth is surely there for all to see, but it is nebulous enough that we are still allowed the option to turn away.
     
  3. Lorelei

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    Can you find any examples from the NT?

    ~Lorelei
     
  4. CatholicConvert

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    Loreli --

    Give me something hard.

    Let's see.........uummmmmmmmmm....


    How about

    Lu 1:5 ΒΆ There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

    6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.


    Walking BLAMELESS, and yet Zacharias turns around and disbelieves the message of God and is struck dumb until the birth of John.

    How about

    Mt 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

    This is the most perfect example. Our Lord Himself shows that while the Pharisees were screamin' hypocrites in regards to their own conduct, what they were teaching, He admonished the people TO DO!!!

    How about the believers in Corinth? What of those church leaders whom St. Paul challenged for their "prattling words" against him?

    Scripture is JUST FILLED with evidence of the brokenness of humanity, and this brokenness manifests itself in sin and wickedness. But the failures of those in the Church does not affect the doctrines themselves. There is a big difference.

    Cordially in Christ,


    Brother Ed
     
  5. Lorelei

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    None of those examples were of people who were in a position to define the doctrine of the church (surely you do not claim that the Pharisees are part of the church do you? That was still law before the outpouring of the Holy spirit), nor did any of them claim such authority to do so.

    The church in Corinth was reprimanded for their doctrine as well as their conduct. This shows me that their doctrine was not infallible. You will find no examples of Paul correcting people for thier misconduct and doctrine while he himself had "repeated moral failings." In fact Paul said that a church overseer should be "above reproach." (1 Tim 3:2) Never did he say, just keep the doctrine and the man separate.


    ~Lorelei
     
  6. CatholicConvert

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    The Pharisees were the definers of doctrine for the Old Covenant Church. As such, they qualify, and are probably the best example.

    Don't you find it interesting that those who were "evil popes" did not try to change doctrine to fit their immorality or excuse it?

    And if we do not have an infallible magisterium and papacy to define and defend doctrine, WHAT then is the alternative -- the HUNDREDS of doctrines and the doctrinal and moral chaos of Protestantism? Seems to me that the confusion over doctrine is not in the Catholic Faith, but outside of it.

    Cordially in Christ,

    Brother Ed
     
  7. Lorelei

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    And they crucified Christ and killed those who chose to follow him. I guess I can see the comparison between them and the Catholic Church, but not between them and the NT church.

    If you choose to live under the Old Covenant then that is fine, but it will not save you, nor does it make you a member of the church. Surely you realize there is a difference? The Word NEW means just that, we are no longer under the old covenant, we are under the New one. Maybe your lack of understanding that fact is part of the problem?

    If the Pharisees were sitting in heaven with Jesus right now for teaching rightly but living wrongly, then you might have a point, that did NOT happen!


    No, they just changed the doctrine of the Bible to include thier own doctrinal infallibility clause, so they don't have to.



    That's because you are not allowed to question the doctrine, those who do are thrown out. If anyone questions the authority of the church, are they not considered "anathema"?

    Many churches that exist today were born out of dissention from the Catholic Church. There is just as much confusion on your side as on the Protestant side, but since they are not allowed to question it within the Catholic Church, they leave it (either by choice or by force).

    It is your choice to believe the Church over individuals who have questioned it, but your only reasoning for doing so is because the church tells you to. You have no ability to decide on your own, you cannot even use the Bible to determine if they are or are not in the wrong. Blindly follow them if you will, that is your choice, but do not pretend that the Bible gives examples of people blindly following immoral men because God insists it is right. You will find no such example in the Bible.

    ~Lorelei
     
  8. Lorelei

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    Read Matthew 23, Jesus says of the Pharisees that they are hypocrites , over and over again. He tells us of this "Brood of Vipers" that:

    1. They will not enter the kingdom (v 13)
    2. Says they are a son of hell (v 15)
    3. Says they are full of hypocrisy and wickedness (v 28)
    4. They kill and crucify and flog God's prophets, how shall they escape being condemned to hell? (v 33-36)

    And this is the example we are to blindly follow? No, we are warned about such men!

     

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