Monday, February 11, 2013

Yet another reason Catholics have a pope... that disputes need to be settled definitively.

We all know that truths about anything, and God in particular, are complicated, full of nuance, and generally not straightforward. Add to that pre-conceived notions, ulterior motives, and the human desire to be right and simple questions become quagmires of back-and-forth bickering.

Sadly, we see this all too often in Christianity. In general it’s pretty easy to find Bible verses that support or oppose a particular belief and most of the “discussions” I’ve been a part of quickly start looking like kids on the playground saying “my dad can beat up your dad”. Nothing is resolved and outsiders looking on generally roll their eyes and walk away.

For example, Christ tells us that if we have a disagreement we should take it to “the church” (Mt 18:17). Without the pope (representing the ability to make decisions binding on all the faithful) then where does that leave us? Without the pope we have to decide whose church to ask. If yours sides with you then what do I care? If mine sides with you then I’ll go down the street or start my own church. Without an authority how do we stop the cycle of simply promoting our own ideas?

That we need an authoritative, earthly head to definitively settle questions of faith and morals is yet another reason why Catholics have a pope.

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