Re the Bible, Infallibility & the Church
A NOTE TO THE READER:
Last summer I sent a letter to my maternal family, including my parents, challenging them to take Catholicism seriously and examine my website. The text of this epistle can be found in the Letters & Admonishments section under the title Re Myself & Conversion to the Catholic Church (for my Maternal Family). Along with copies of this letter for my parents I sent them each short handwritten notes explaining to them the reason all social contact had ended between us & them. Due to the complexity of our debate in 2007 (as chronicled in the book, The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down) & their disdain for the Catholic Church, not to mention our great distance from them while we were in New Mexico, I was not entirely certain they understood why. I also wanted them to know that I would help them if they were in dire need and it was possible for me to do so. This, then, apparently led to, or accelerated, their lengthy rebuttal against another of my books, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, a couple of months later. Which, in turn, upon the occasion of my father’s birthday, led me to send a card pointing out to him what everything between they & I boils down to, religiously speaking:
To wit, are they personally infallible, or is God’s Roman Catholic Church infallible? Can they, personally, never be wrong when interpreting the Bible about things that really matter, or is Jesus’ Roman Catholic Body the Only One that can guide us into comprehending what God means to say in Sacred Scripture without any possibility of being wrong?
This is the bottom line. And if a pagan, heretic or other kind of worldling shows himself to be viciously obstinate when it comes to acknowledging all of the historical, scriptural & rational evidence on behalf of Catholicism, then this alone is where, humanly speaking, you have a real crack at persuading him. You as a real Catholic may have to rebut his attacks elsewhere sometimes, and even though it may not get through to him… but only this issue --- the matter of infallibility --- is where you’re going to be able to crash through his defenses and so bring total logical annihilation to his antagonistic position.
In short, the viciously obstinate worldling has nothing to stand upon. He may not want to admit that the Catholic Church is infallible… but if he’s not infallible, then never can he prove with absolute certainty that God’s Roman Catholic Church is not, either!
The words in the two letters which follow are exactly as I wrote them, with only a few stylistic tweaks in the textual font.
+ + + 1. Letter of 5 November 2008 + + +
My Dear Father,
As I write these words, you are about to begin the 70th year of your existence, which is the general length of life now allotted Man upon the Earth by our Creator. I do not know how much longer I shall have your physical presence in this world, but I thank you for giving us your latest home address.
Meanwhile, your hatred of the Catholic Faith is so great that you cannot --- leastwise, Mother cannot --- refrain from attacking Jesus’ Holy Roman Church in my sight. This is why we never see one another anymore. Yet this hatred could not survive if you did not think yourself ‘infallible’; or, to be really exact, if you did not insist that you cannot ever be wrong in understanding those things in your bibles that must be gotten right. As a result, if you can’t be wrong, then Catholicism has to be terribly wrong, hasn’t it?
Dear Father, several times the two of you have assured me that you don’t pretend to be infallible. You only say that the Bible is infallible. But the Bible isn’t a person, is it? It is simply words strung together. And those words are often about things which are “hard to be understood,” as St. Peter informs us in 2 Peter 3:15-17. (DRC) Consequently, it is mere men who must interpret these words so as to understand the Mind of God correctly. How, then, do you & Mother know that you always interpret them correctly when you personally don’t even claim to be infallible?
Please think it through. What man doesn’t want to think that he interprets the Bible correctly? Yet if always correct about the things in the Bible that truly matter, then either he, or someone he’s relying upon, is infallible when it comes to interpreting the Bible… isn’t he? But you & Mother rely on no one except yourselves to interpret the Bible, while at the same time you will not admit that you could ever be wrong interpreting the Bible when it comes to something that really matters. Ergo --- and whether you realize it or not --- you claim to be infallible.
This is why it’s useless for me to debate you any further regarding Catholicism. Until you admit that you are not infallible when interpreting the Bible, then you will continue to blaspheme God’s Catholic Religion since I, a real Catholic, dare to tell you that you are not. The best we could hope for, short of this admission on your part, is that you would keep your lips silent concerning the Catholic Faith in my hearing, allowing us to communicate in relative peace about mundane topics.
Yet time runs out again for you & I.
For it looks like my family will be moving to eastern
-your son, Paul
A 2ND NOTE TO THE READER:
My father then responded with a rather polite letter (my parents’ tone in the rebuttal against Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus had moderated since their more belligerent attacks during 2007, and my father tends to be a soft-spoken man), but he ducked the main point and key issue entirely. I therefore called him on it, driving the point home further. This, too, dear reader, can be your wake-up call. Because if you’re a heretic or other kind of worldling, then upon what do you base your condemnatory judgment of the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings? Simply that you don’t like them?
Yet how do you know that they’re wrong?
This is a fundamental question of epistemology --- of how anyone can be sure of knowing what he thinks that he knows. And this is why infallibility is so crucial. There are a lot of things that are easy to know and that no one bothers to doubt. There are also a lot of things that are controverted, but aren’t really that important. Yet what about the things that do matter, that are contested, and that are absolutely imperative to get right? Ah, well, then, we had better have a way of getting these things correct… and without any possibility of being wrong.
+ + + 2. Letter of 27 November 2008 + + +
My Dear Father,
You have proven my point:
You will not admit that you could be mistaken about things in the Bible that must be gotten right.
Yet if not infallible about what God means the Bible to say, then why should anyone trust your opinion in the matter? You could be misinterpreting the scriptures --- you could be wrong!
Father, this is the bottom line. It doesn’t get any nittier or grittier than this. You can’t afford to admit that you might be wrong when it comes to interpreting the Bible on things that are truly crucial… like, say, about how to get into Heaven. Because to do so is the same as admitting that Roman Catholicism might be right.
After all, if you can be wrong, then it’s entirely possible the Catholic Church is right --- isn’t it?
Dearest Father, God must enable someone to be infallible about matters of salvation or else no one can be sure about anything in this life when it comes to Heaven & Hell. You & Mother refuse to admit that you could be wrong while interpreting your bibles in things that are critical to get right. Therefore, the two of you are pretending to be that infallible someone. Others do likewise.
The problem is, who are we to believe when those who oppose the Church of Rome can never agree, down through the centuries and across the wide world, about what God intends His Bible to say on the things that are truly important?
You can’t all be right when everyone contradicts!
My dear father, it doesn’t matter that I’m not infallible. I’ve never claimed that I was. All I’ve ever dared to say is that Jesus makes His Catholic Body infallible --- “which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15b KJV) --- and that I’ve got the rock hard facts to back it up.
Now, you please tell me… how can a “pillar and ground of the truth” be fallible? How can something that holds things up and keeps them from falling or collapsing --- which is what pillars or the ground do! --- let truth fall into a ruin of falsehoods?
Yet this is what your ‘born again christianity’ requires. You won’t come straight out and say you’re infallible. Hence, you could be mistaken & your spiritual beliefs based on lies. There’s no way for you to be sure this can’t be the case since you aren’t infallible.
Nevertheless, you act like you’re infallible by pretending that you couldn’t possibly be wrong when interpreting your bibles in things that really matter. All so-called ‘christians’ do the same. So, then, the question which must be answered becomes:
How can every one of you be ‘infallible’ and call each other ‘christians’ when none of you, down through the centuries and across the wide world, can wholly agree about the things that are truly important?
This by itself proves your lack of infallibility. It also proves that you can’t be Christian. Because how could all of you be Christian and thus following Christ when none of you can wholly agree on what Christ taught His followers about truly important things?
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church does dare to come straight out and say that She is infallible, and does dare to distinguish very carefully about who is really a follower of Christ and who is not. Indeed, no one else in the world does precisely the same. This alone is a huge piece of evidence on Her behalf since God could not have sensibly put a Church on earth that is “the pillar and ground of the truth” and then hid this firmness of Her infallibility from sight, leaving men to wonder in the darkness of their minds if any spiritual teaching or religious belief can ever be truly certain.
That is to say, God’s Church on earth must boldly proclaim Her absolutely certain infallibility so that everyone can know that it exists & see where to find it!
As Jesus said:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15 KJV, emphases added)
This candle that “giveth light unto all that are in the house” is the Catholic Faith, my dear father, being “the truth” (John 14:6 KJV) that Jesus taught. And “the house” filled with “light” is thus “the house of God, which is the church” (1 Timothy 3:15b KJV), which, in turn, “…is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23 KJV. All emphasis added in verses quoted.)
Nor is it a light that only I can see. You can see it, too. That’s the point of light shining in a house --- that the inhabitants of the house might see and hence know where to walk. Your fallible ‘born again christianity’ & biblical opinions that can be wrong cannot do this, my dear father. Only a real Christianity can.
But, of course, you must first enter the house in order to use this light properly. Yet even before entering, a person can nonetheless clearly see the light of this house shining like a city upon a hill. In other words, the teachings of Jesus’ Catholic Church are simple & easy to understand for those who take time to look and truly want to figure it out! And it begins with the sureness of infallibility.
Father, we ranged far & wide in our debate last year over the Catholic Religion, a debate recorded in the book, The Dogma of Baptism Upheld & the Lie of ‘Faith Alone’ Cast Down. I have ranged even further in my other compositions, such as Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, Catholic Ritual Defended, The World Offended, and in Roman Catholic Church. These are all on The Epistemologic Works website, the former in the Books & Articles section and the last one in the Questions & Answers area. Still other writings abound at the site, and yet more will arrive as Heaven grants me time, strength & wisdom.
The point is, I have considered as you bid me and found your ‘christianity’ to be terribly astray. I did this all the way back in 1997. Notwithstanding, you disdain to take my evidence seriously since you think it impossible for you to be wrong about the things in the Bible that really matter. Yet herein lays the crux…
For who has God made infallible? You, or His Church? And can the continually changing fads, ever evolving doctrines & always shifting opinions of ‘born again christians’ possibly be a ‘church’ that is infallible, His “pillar and ground of the truth”?
This is what lies at the bottom of everything. And until you admit that you’re not infallible interpreting the Bible on things that are crucial, it is fruitless debating anything else. I remain very sincerely your son with the love of Christ’s Cross & Mary’s Immaculate Heart for your wayward soul,
P.S.: We are moving to eastern
And please remember, Father, that the separation between you & I is not total. I cannot affiliate with you religiously, of course, as you already well know, and social association is well nigh impossible due to Mother’s perpetual assaults on the Catholic Faith, but should either one of you suffer serious misfortune or grievous illness, then, provided that it is possible to do so, I will come to your sides to offer whatever help that I can. And always, come what may and given the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary’s assistance, I will be at your sides to usher your souls into the Catholic Church if ever you relent in your rebellion against God’s Saving Truth.
+ + +
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