Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Catholicism

After describing ways in which Catholicism accommodates a great variety differences, Peter Berger identifies what he describes as the "the very core" of Catholicism:
.... What the Church cannot do is allow any challenge to the authority of its hierarchy, from the Pope on down. It is that authority, I would propose, that is the very core of Roman Catholicism. To give it up would be to give itself up. It seems to me that progressive Catholics and their Protestant friends have never quite understood this.

My late friend Richard John Neuhaus, while he was still a Lutheran getting ready to move to Rome, said something very insightful. He said that there was a basic division between two groups of Christians—those who regarded the church as a vehicle for faith, and those who regarded it as an object of faith. When he was clear in his mind that he belonged to the latter group, he was ready to plunge into the Tiber. [more]
I remember telling a good friend, a Catholic who disagreed with a number of the teachings of his church, that the "teaching authority" of the church was central — that if he didn't accept it, he was really a Protestant. That made no sense to him. [Please don't assume from this post that I question the Christianity of Catholicism.]

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