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"Final authority of the Church"?
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Author:  mea [ Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  "Final authority of the Church"?

Non-Catholic Christians are fond of having statements of faith for their groups/organizations, and the SOF will usually include something about the Bible being the "final authority." Homeschool groups, in particular, tend to include that statement specifically to exclude Catholics. And yes, I can say this, because I knew some of those groups personally. :(

So, what would be the "final authority" of the Catholic Church? Is it the Pope? Or the Magesterium? Is there a "final authority"? And I'm not even sure I'm using "Magesterium" correctly, :). But how would I express that to a non-Catholic Christian? Not that I'm assuming that a non-Catholic Christian would even get it (not sure I would have three years ago). :roll:

Author:  Doom [ Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "Final authority of the Church"?

The Church is the 'final authority', as expressed either by the Pope himself or by the bishops in an ecumenical council.....the problem with saying that book is the 'final authority' is that a book is not a personal agent, a book cannot make a decision...only human beings, claiming to be relying on that book can make decisions....so I don't care what anybody says, when you have a person saying 'we are doing this because that is what the Bible says so' that PERSON is claiming to be 'the final authority' because he is the one making the decision....in order to try to get around this very obvious difficulty, Protestants often claim that he Bible is 'self interpreting' and that therefore its meaning is 'plain' and no interpreter is needed...which stops working the instant two people disagree about what a passage means.

Author:  TreeBeard [ Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "Final authority of the Church"?

Doom's post is the long and the short of it.

***************************************

One of the greatest statements as to why the Bible cannot be the final authority is that of Cardinal John Henry Newman:

"... if the revelations and lessons in Scripture are addressed to us personally and practically, the presence among us of a formal judge and standing expositor of its words, is imperative. It is antecedently unreasonable to suppose that a book so complex, so systematic, in parts so obscure, the outcome of so many minds, times, and places, should be given us from above without the safeguard of some authority; as if it could possibly, from the nature of the case, interpret itself. Its inspiration does but guarantee its truth, not its interpretation. How are private readers satisfactorily to distinguish what is didactic and what is historical, what is fact and what is vision, what is allegorical and what is literal, what is idiomatic and what is grammatical, what is enunciated formally and what occurs obiter, what is only of temporary and what is of lasting obligation? Such is our natural anticipation, and it is only too exactly justified in the events of the last three centuries, in the many countries where private judgment on the text of Scripture has prevailed. The gift of inspiration requires as its complement the gift of infallibility.

Where then is this gift lodged, which is so necessary for the due use of the written word of God? Thus we are introduced to the second dogma in respect to Holy Scripture taught by the Catholic religion. The first is that Scripture is inspired, the second that the Church is the infallible interpreter of that inspiration."

Author:  mea [ Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Final authority of the Church"?

Doom wrote:
The Church is the 'final authority', as expressed either by the Pope himself or by the bishops in an ecumenical council.....the problem with saying that book is the 'final authority' is that a book is not a personal agent, a book cannot make a decision...only human beings, claiming to be relying on that book can make decisions....so I don't care what anybody says, when you have a person saying 'we are doing this because that is what the Bible says so' that PERSON is claiming to be 'the final authority' because he is the one making the decision....in order to try to get around this very obvious difficulty, Protestants often claim that he Bible is 'self interpreting' and that therefore its meaning is 'plain' and no interpreter is needed...which stops working the instant two people disagree about what a passage means.

I understand what you're saying, and I agree with you (now :D ). What I want to know is how to respond in simple terms to someone about who I believe is the "final authority," rather than explaining that the Bible is a book not a personal agent and so on. That would be a fruitless discussion under those circumstances, e.g., a group requiring its members to sign a statement of faith which says that the Bible is the final authority.

Author:  Lisa1515 [ Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Final authority of the Church"?

mea wrote:
Doom wrote:
The Church is the 'final authority', as expressed either by the Pope himself or by the bishops in an ecumenical council.....the problem with saying that book is the 'final authority' is that a book is not a personal agent, a book cannot make a decision...only human beings, claiming to be relying on that book can make decisions....so I don't care what anybody says, when you have a person saying 'we are doing this because that is what the Bible says so' that PERSON is claiming to be 'the final authority' because he is the one making the decision....in order to try to get around this very obvious difficulty, Protestants often claim that he Bible is 'self interpreting' and that therefore its meaning is 'plain' and no interpreter is needed...which stops working the instant two people disagree about what a passage means.

I understand what you're saying, and I agree with you (now :D ). What I want to know is how to respond in simple terms to someone about who I believe is the "final authority," rather than explaining that the Bible is a book not a personal agent and so on. That would be a fruitless discussion under those circumstances, e.g., a group requiring its members to sign a statement of faith which says that the Bible is the final authority.


I had a conversation like this with my non-denominational friend once. My response was, "what was the final authority before the Bible was written, published and distributed?"

Besides, as Doom says, the Bible being the final authority means nothing. You and I can read the same passage and I think it means one thing and you think it means another. Which is it? It makes no sense to me at all. I wouldn't bother to engage in these types of conversations.

Lisa

Author:  St Veronica [ Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Final authority of the Church"?

Further the Bible says if you have a disagreement with your brother and you can't resolve it then you need to take it to the Church....THE Church not a Church. If you are of two different denominations who do you take it too? Which Church? A Church you aren't a member of is going to be your authority as far as you are concerned.


SV

Author:  kage_ar [ Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Final authority of the Church"?

mea wrote:
Doom wrote:
The Church is the 'final authority', as expressed either by the Pope himself or by the bishops in an ecumenical council.....the problem with saying that book is the 'final authority' is that a book is not a personal agent, a book cannot make a decision...only human beings, claiming to be relying on that book can make decisions....so I don't care what anybody says, when you have a person saying 'we are doing this because that is what the Bible says so' that PERSON is claiming to be 'the final authority' because he is the one making the decision....in order to try to get around this very obvious difficulty, Protestants often claim that he Bible is 'self interpreting' and that therefore its meaning is 'plain' and no interpreter is needed...which stops working the instant two people disagree about what a passage means.

I understand what you're saying, and I agree with you (now :D ). What I want to know is how to respond in simple terms to someone about who I believe is the "final authority," rather than explaining that the Bible is a book not a personal agent and so on. That would be a fruitless discussion under those circumstances, e.g., a group requiring its members to sign a statement of faith which says that the Bible is the final authority.


If they admit that the Church can be the final authority, then, they must be Catholic - so, you are not likely to get much understanding from the other side of the fence.

Author:  Dionysius [ Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Final authority of the Church"?

Quote:
when you have a person saying 'we are doing this because that is what the Bible says so' that PERSON is claiming to be 'the final authority' because he is the one making the decision


The above quote by Doom is the logical answer.

Realistically there is no "final" authority, as if the Church was a democracy that debates interpretations on Scripture in little local lower courts, and when these lower courts can't decide, then appeal to the final higher courts-the "final authority" in the Church. That doesn't make sense.

There is only the defectibility that is guaranteed to the Catholic Church alone, which is not a final authority-but is The only Authority to accurately judge and needs no persons to interpret the Bible for Her; nor does She teach that we should try to decide on our own, and then, if at the local level, can't come to any agreement on interpretation, go to the "final" authorities.

Anyway, this notion of final authority needs to be interpreted in a Catholic sense-and it can be...BUT, when your talking to a protestant, they will most likely view this final authority notion in a purely democratic way which is not at all Catholic.

If the protestant revolutionists can't see this, we should not be surprised- we can only pray for them.

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