A mixed bag; but the ultimate flaws are ultimate

What I've said just below should not be taken to mean that I think Roman Catholicism is totally bad. There are many good aspects, both historically, and today.

Just as a small personal example, I used to love to go and sit in an empty Catholic church and pray. The sense of worshipfulness was quite striking. Very much in Catholicism lends itself well to personal devotion.

Historically, the Catholic Church contributed much, first to the preservation of culture (following the fall of Rome), and later, to the development and growth of the culture that we know now. Universities, hospitals, our legal system -- in fact, many of the good aspects of western culture -- all were shaped in good ways by the Catholic Church. Today, as American Christians, whether you are a conservative Protestant or Catholic, you applaud the naming of Catholics like John Roberts or Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, for example.

However, I believe that Catholicism is flawed at a very fundamental level. Writing in the preface of his "Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity," the Anglican bishop Paul Barnett says he was "surprise(d) at the degree to which the story of the New Testament can be recovered by standard methods of research and analysis." (pg. 10).

On the other hand, a close examination of such Catholic doctrines about such fundamentals as the papacy and Marian doctrines and dogmas do not support this kind of examination, and in fact, these doctrines, as expressed historically by the Catholic Church, are in full retreat.

Over the next several weeks and months, I hope to explore the kinds and extents of these various retreats in more detail.

No comments: