Why Do We Need Authority?

The Petrine ministry is right there, front and center, in accord with all the apostles together, and their successors, the bishops, together with Peter and his successors.

 What is your best elevator pitch for the need for and validity of the authority of the Catholic church?

Oh my goodness. We could do this for a couple of hours, brother, but I will . . . let me put it this way. There’s so many ways we could tackle this, but I can remember at, in my own odyssey to the Catholic faith, when I started getting into some of the controversies in the early church, how we came to see which books of the Bible are in fact the Bible, how we came to see the truth of the divinity of Christ.

The Trinity took us 700 years, of course, and even beyond 700 years, there are still nuances and definitions that continue, just incredible, right? It really hit me that I look at the Catholic Church and what I see is exactly what St. Paul says in Ephesians 4 5, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has taught one Lord, one faith, one baptism, never on any definitive teaching has there ever been a contradiction, development, absolutely. Never a contradiction. There’s no human explanation for that. You look at the Protestant communities. Oh my goodness And this isn’t to put anybody down.

This is just a fact you’re talking about tens of thousands of denominations Now we really don’t know how many denominations there are there’s fights over that because nobody really knows. There are so many of them. And I remember as I’m learning this and I’m being honest and I’m looking at this.

Oh my gosh, when Jesus prophesied in John 10:16, he said, there shall be one shepherd, one fold, right? One fold, one shepherd. Is that really his Protestantism fit? Does that fit into Jesus prophecy of one shepherd and one fold when we have tens of thousands of denominations? And yet, when I look at the Catholic Church, this is extraordinary.

We’re fighting in the Catholic Church over one footnote, the famous amoris laetitia footnote 351. People are fighting and I’m going, oh my gosh. Sometimes I have to bring perspective to my Catholic friends. If you understood, I was in a church in a, in an ecclesial community where we had pastors who disagreed on the nature of the Trinity, okay.

Is Christ the eternal word who became the son or is he the eternal son? We had disagreements on the nature of baptism: do you dunk, do you pour, do you squirt? In the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, in the name of the Lord. I had one pastor, a dear friend of mine, who used to baptize, I kid you not, he would say, I now baptize you in the name of Jesus, in the name of the Father and Son of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of the Lord.

At least you covered all his bases there, but my point is, that the level of disagreement and such in Protestantism over the most essential matters of our faith is mind boggling. But when I was raised there, it’s like that’s just the way it is. That’s what, that’s all we have.

It was all I knew. But when I dove in and I started looking and reading and I dove deep, I was reading the Christological controversies, Trinitarian. Controversies and more and then getting into the Eucharist, the nature of the Eucharist, and you look at the battles there in the 9th century, 10th century, 11th century, leading up to, transubstantiation and such.

It is Just beautiful. It is. I think it was Frank Sheed who said, theology is a symphony, right? And that’s what I discovered is an absolute sympathy, a symphony of such beauty. And there’s not one instrument that is in discord in the slightest bit when it comes to, again, the definitive teaching in the church.

Folks, this is what I see described in the New Testament. When Jesus talks about the church, what does he say in Matthew 18, 15 through 18? If your brother offends against you, go tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you’ve gained your brother, if he won’t, you take one or two with you, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established.

If he will not hear them, tell it to the church and the one who fails to hear the church is to be as a heathen and a publican for whatever you – that is the church plural – whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven Whatever you loose on earth shall literally shall have been loosed in heaven We need to kick out some instruments every now and then yeah, you’re not part of the symphony get out of here It’s causing too much discord yeah Absolutely.

But the point is that according to Jesus the church has the final say. We see that in action in Acts chapter 15 with the first major heresy that threatened to tell the tear the church apart. And how did they deal with it? They didn’t get their Bibles out and argue. They had a council. Peter spoke.

The matter was settled, and letters, epistles, or the dogmata in Acts 16, verse 4, are sent out to all the troubled communities, and we had unity, and that has been the church for 2, 000 years. Really, what I discovered, brother, is that the model of sola scriptura, or even the model of our Orthodox friends, where they emphasize the ecumenical council, and God bless them for that, Because there’s light years closer to us, right?

The Petrine ministry is right there, front and center, in accord with all the apostles together, and their successors, the bishops, together with Peter and his successors. That’s the only model that you see in the New Testament that produces that unity that Jesus talks about, says there would be. What I mentioned before that Paul describes as one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

That is the model that has worked for 2, 000 years. The proof is in the pudding.

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