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Apologetics

The Church and The Papacy

Questions and answers about the Church and Papacy. As Catholics, do we have to accept everything the Church teaches?

CatholicsComeHome.org is a wonderful website with resources that answers questions about Catholicism. Here’s highlights from a Q&A article from them about the Church and Papacy:

Why do Catholics believe the Catholic Church is the one true Church, founded 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ himself?
The Catholic Church is the only church today that can claim to be the one church founded by Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. Other denominations can trace their origins back to various human founders at a later date in history.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said to Peter, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” Jesus handed the authority to guide the Church in His name to Peter and the apostles, to be passed down through the centuries.The Church is the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23). Christ established only one Church—one body—so that there would not be multiple “bodies” with conflicting doctrines. After all, God cannot contradict Himself. Christ also wanted His Church to be visible, so all may see that the Church is indeed one, just as Christ and the Father are one (John 17:22).

Where does the Pope get his authority to lead the Church on earth? What do Catholics believe about ‘apostolic succession’?
Christ tells Peter that he is the rock on which He will build His church.When Catholics use the term apostolic succession, they are referring to the line of bishops that stretches all the way back to the apostles—to Peter—the first Pope. Apostolic tradition (the authentic teaching of the apostles) was handed from Christ to the apostles, and from them to their successors. This unbroken line of popes (the bishops of Rome) and all other bishops have guided the Church for the past 2,000 years, just as Christ intended (Matthew 28:19-20).Christ sent His apostles out into the world with authority to teach and heal (Luke 9:1-2) and to forgive sins (John 20:23). This God-given authority is exercised by the bishops within the Catholic Church to this day.

As Catholics, do we have to accept everything the Church teaches?
It is important to realize that if you want to call yourself Catholic, but you want to pick and choose for yourself which of the Church’s teachings to accept and which to reject, you give everyone else who calls themselves Catholic the right to do the same thing… When you choose to throw out certain teachings you don’t like, you undermine the authority that Christ gave to the Catholic Church, and you start to follow the “catechism of your own church” rather than the teachings of Christ’s Catholic Church. If we don’t believe in all of it, if we each appoint ourselves Pope and throw out a doctrine here or a doctrine there, then our faith is no longer Catholic. Yes, it can sometimes be a challenge to follow all of the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church that carries on His teachings, but we should see those seemingly difficult teachings as traffic lights that help guide us on our journey and keep us from getting into accidents that can damage us and prevent us from living lives of happiness and grace.

How come I don’t feel like I was being fed in the Catholic Church?
Sadly, some former Catholics today have expressed a sense of emptiness in their spiritual lives. They may have gone to Mass on Sundays and found themselves just “going through the motions”. They may not have felt close to the Lord, or welcomed in their home parish. They may have thought the music wasn’t as good as it could be, or discovered that the people around them weren’t as friendly as they hoped they would be. All in all, those feelings may have led to some sensing like they were just not being fed in the Catholic Church.Sometimes, these feelings cause people to decide to drift away from the Church. Maybe they choose to just stop practicing their faith altogether, or they go to a local non-Catholic church that seems more exciting and upbeat.But the solution to the problem of not being fed actually lies in the Catholic Church. Whether or not the music or preaching or programs are the way we may wish them to be, it is in the Catholic Church that we find the one and only place where we can be truly fed with the Bread from Heaven: Jesus Christ, in the Holy Eucharist. Our closest encounter Jesus is when He gives Himself to us, at each and every Mass in the Eucharist. It doesn’t get any more exciting than that.
Once we realize that our deepest yearning can only be fulfilled in the Eucharist, we will begin to see that it is in the Eucharist that we find the true life and liveliness of our faith. Only the Catholic Church can feed us with this food that fully satisfies, and only with this food—the Eucharist—will your yearning be fulfilled, and your restlessness ended.

CatholicsComeHome.org The Church and The Papacy

Check out their website for more categories of questions about the Eucharist and Mass, the sacraments, and Mary and the Saints.