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Elizabeth Grimm wrote:

Hi, guys —

My voice teacher is a fallen away Catholic and has now become a Bible-busting fundamentalist sort. His issues with Catholicism stem from . . . well, it's complicated. He basically thinks:

  • That the Bible is the sole basis for religion.
  • Catholicism is full of corruption, yadda, yadda.
  • Indulgences are a crock of doo doo.
  • There's no reference to Purgatory in the Bible (which I know is untrue because it's actually referred to all over the place, is it not?), etc, etc.

I'm sure the list goes on.

  • I guess my question is, is the Bible the Christian's only resource of Truth?
  • Why does there have to be a Church? or
  • What is the purpose of the Church?

He says the last two sentences in the Bible make clear that nothing can be added to the Bible and you'll go to Hades if you add to this book. It seems to me these last lines refer only to the prophesy of the Apocalypse — not to the whole Bible.

I think some anti-Catholic guru has gotten a hold of him, but as you may have already surmised, my incoherence gets in the way of any sort of defense of the Truth.

Help.

Yours in Christ,

Elizabeth
  { Can you help me reply to these accusations against the Church by my voice teacher? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Elizabeth!

Thanks for the question.

These articles written by James Akin and Mario Derksen may help.

James does a very good job. Please print this information out and share it with your voice teacher.

You said
Catholicism is full of corruption, yadda, yadda.

I once heard either a revert or convert to the Church say the three main reasons why non-Catholics don't understand the Church are:

  • ignorance
  • personal bias
  • bad examples

I can't read your teacher's heart but he is going to have to think of each of these areas. Let me address each:

Ignorance — he can eliminate this if he wants, It's right in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which he can find at any Catholic bookstore or even secular store.

Personal bias — only prayer personal and personal sorrow for his sins can help this. With time hopefully he will be able to be received in the Church and go to Confession.

Bad examples — This is a problem within our Church, but I would share with him,
"Don't leave Peter because of Judas behavior!"

Finally, remind him, the Bible is not the pillar and foundation of Truth, the Church is!

1 Timothy 3:15

Then ask him:

  • Can his congregation traces its historical roots back to 33 A.D. like the Catholic Church can?

If not, why should anyone join his group seeing both Jesus and St. Paul warned us not to follow future preachers.

Hope this helps,

Mike Humphrey


The purpose of the Church from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

751 The word "Church" (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to "call out of") means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose.[139] Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people.[140] By calling itself "Church," the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is "calling together" his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means "what belongs to the Lord."

752 In Christian usage, the word "church" designates the liturgical assembly,[141] but also the local community[142] or the whole universal community of believers.[143] These three meanings are inseparable. "The Church" is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ's Body.

"The keys of the kingdom"

551 From the beginning of his public life Jesus chose certain men, twelve in number, to be with him and to participate in his mission.[280] He gives the Twelve a share in his authority and 'sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal."[281] They remain associated for ever with Christ's kingdom, for through them he directs the Church:

As my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.[282]

552 Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve;[283] Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Our Lord then declared to him: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it."[284] Christ, the "living Stone",[285] thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it.[286]

553 Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."[287] The "power of the keys" designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: "Feed my sheep."[288] The power to "bind and loose" connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles[289] and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.

Mission - a requirement of the Church's catholicity

849 The missionary mandate. "Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be 'the universal sacrament of salvation,' the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men":[339] "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age."[340]

850 The origin and purpose of mission. The Lord's missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: "The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit."[341] The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love.[342]

851 Missionary motivation. It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on."[343] Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth";[344] that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.

852 Missionary paths. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist, "the principal agent of the whole of the Church's mission."[345] It is he who leads the Church on her missionary paths. "This mission continues and, in the course of history, unfolds the mission of Christ, who was sent to evangelize the poor; so the Church, urged on by the Spirit of Christ, must walk the road Christ himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice even to death, a death from which he emerged victorious by his resurrection."[346] So it is that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians."[347]

853 On her pilgrimage, the Church has also experienced the "discrepancy existing between the message she proclaims and the human weakness of those to whom the Gospel has been entrusted."[348] Only by taking the "way of penance and renewal," the "narrow way of the cross," can the People of God extend Christ's reign.[349] For "just as Christ carried out the work of redemption in poverty and oppression, so the Church is called to follow the same path if she is to communicate the fruits of salvation to men."[350]

854 By her very mission, "the Church . . . travels the same journey as all humanity and shares the same earthly lot with the world: she is to be a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God."[351] Missionary endeavor requires patience. It begins with the proclamation of the Gospel to peoples and groups who do not yet believe in Christ,[352] continues with the establishment of Christian communities that are "a sign of God's presence in the world,"[353] and leads to the foundation of local churches.[354] It must involve a process of inculturation if the Gospel is to take flesh in each people's culture.[355] There will be times of defeat. "With regard to individuals, groups, and peoples it is only by degrees that [the Church] touches and penetrates them and so receives them into a fullness which is Catholic."[356]

855 The Church's mission stimulates efforts towards Christian unity.[357] Indeed, "divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing in practice the fullness of catholicity proper to her in those of her sons who, though joined to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all its aspects."[358]

856 The missionary task implies a respectful dialogue with those who do not yet accept the Gospel.[359] Believers can profit from this dialogue by learning to appreciate better "those elements of truth and grace which are found among peoples, and which are, as it were, a secret presence of God."[360] They proclaim the Good News to those who do not know it, in order to consolidate, complete, and raise up the truth and the goodness that God has distributed among men and nations, and to purify them from error and evil "for the glory of God, the confusion of the demon, and the happiness of man."[361]


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