The strongest evidence for Roman Catholicism summed up in two sentences are: “The Catholic Church is the only true Church on earth because it was founded by Jesus Christ. It is trustworthy because its offices are so divinely guided by the Holy Spirit that they can never go astray.”
This narrative is drawn from the Catholic catechism:
“The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit: in the Scriptures he inspired; in the Traditions, to which the Fathers are always timely witnesses; in the Church’s Magisterium, which he assists…” (8:2:688)
“Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church (par. 4, sec. 892).
This is the typical circular argument of Rome: “We are divinely guided because we say so!” Catholics assert that Protestantism lacks this guidance, hence is not divinely protected from errors unlike the holy Catholic church. But history and current realities, however, present a starkly different picture.
For centuries, the popes, bishops, church fathers, doctors and priests of Rome largely adhered to the historicity of Biblical narratives, reality of Bible prophecy, inspiration and traditional authorship of Scripture. But right from the mid 20th century, a paradigm shift began to emerge among Rome’s hierarchy.
Modern Catholic scholars have embraced modernist and liberal positions that deny the historicity of the Bible, the reality of Bible prophecy, the inspiration and traditional authorship of Scripture. Robert Sungenis, a Catholic apologist, captures how terrible the state of affairs is among Rome’s scholars and clergies:
“I could not recommend any of them to you. To a man (and woman) these teachers believe the Bible is riddled with historical and “religious” errors … For them, the Bible is mainly the work of man, and only a few parts were actually inspired by the Holy Spirit. They do not believe most of the historical narratives in Scripture ever took place (e.g, Adam and Eve, Noah) and they believe much of the Gospels were made up by either the evangelists or the generations that came after them.
“They question the resurrection of Christ, the immaculate conception of Mary, the infallibility of the pope, the existence of the devil or hell, and many other cardinal doctrines of the historic Catholic faith.
“In brief, these lectures are indicative of the sad state of affairs in Catholic academia and scholarship today. Today’s Catholic scholars took over where the Protestant liberals left off at the turn of the 20th century, and they are much worse than the Protestant liberals ever were. They simply do not have the traditional faith of our Fathers and medievals any longer.”
This is the true state of Catholicism today, and it poses a dilemma for its apologists. On the one hand, they defend Rome’s dogmas but on the other, Rome’s hierarchy has relinquished much of its theology.
An average Catholic in the pew is made happy by being told his/her Church has the deposit of truth from the apostles, but the higher ups know better; they know that those deposits have long been emptied onto the sidewalk and the treasury is filled with husks.
Right from the time of Augustine down to the Middle Ages, Rome’s position was that “outside the church there is no salvation.” The Council of Florence (1442) officially declared that “no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”
But at the turn of the 20th century, a significant shift took place in Catholic theology from exclusivism to inclusivism:
“In other words, Catholic belief moved from holding “outside the church no salvation” to “without the church no salvation.” During the first half of the twentieth century, Catholic theologians came up with ingenious concepts to include within the church any trace of salvation outside it: saved non-Christians belonged to the “soul” of the church; they were “attached,” “linked,” “related” to the church; they were members “imperfectly,” “tangentially”, “potentially” (Paul Knitter, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 1984, 8:50).
This is at 180 degrees of separation from what the Bible says about the unsaved (Jn. 3:18, 36; Eph. 2:1-2 etc). To maintain their apple cart, popular Catholic apologists are frozen up at different eras. Some in the Victorian period; some in pre-Vatican II whilst others follow wherever the current pope blows.
Their own theologians and scholars are their own enemies and this should make a truth-seeking Catholic ask some pertinent questions.
In the final week of April 2017, the tweets from Pope Francis @pontifex said:
April 26: Let’s promote friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions in order to build a world of peace
April 27: Please pray for my journey tomorrow as a pilgrim of peace to Egypt
April 28: We are called to walk together, in the conviction that the future also depends on the encounter of religions and cultures.
These tweets preceded Pope Francis’ ecumenical visit to a Coptic church and Al-Azhar mosque in Egypt. On April 9 2017, two suicide bombers attacked two Coptic churches, St. George and St. Mark, killing 45 people.
During his visit, Francis embraced the Grand Imam of the Al Azhar mosque, Ahmad al-Tayeb who urged the West (read: Christians) not to hold Islam accountable for the crimes of any small group of followers. If Islamic terrorism is executed by just “a small group” of Muslims why has it persisted in Egypt for centuries?
In his inclusive message, the pope called on Muslims to denounce violations of human dignity and human rights, and expose every form of hatred in the name of religion and to condemn these idolatrous caricatures of God. But such these vices are enshrined in Islam and no amount of pussyfooting with alter them.
You see, Pope Francis is toeing the very politically correct lines as the godless liberal crowd. Barely a month after his visit to Egypt, on May 26 2017, at least 28 Coptic Christians were again killed and dozens more wounded by Muslim jihadists. Nothing changed.
The armies of Allah are completely deaf to jaded ecumenical tropes. After a French Catholic priest was murdered by ISIS members while celebrating Mass in 2015, Pope Francis, instead of denouncing Islamic violence, deliberately gave a carefully worded talk that avoided using the terms “Islam” and “terrorism.” When a journalist questioned him on his politically correctness , Pope Francis replied:
“There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must also speak of Catholic violence … and no, not all Muslims are violent, not all Catholics are violent … I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists … We have them. When Fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language – the Apostle James says this, not me – and even with a knife, no? I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence” (Catholic Online 8/3/2016).
There are a number of howlers in this response, but the most obvious (and annoying) of them was his utilizing an absurd moral equivalence argument to justify Islamic violence. This is simply reprehensible.
Interestingly, after this interview, ISIS publicly replied Pope Francis and others who argue that Islam is a peaceful religion, calling them liars “delivering a false narrative.” They reiterated that Christianity is “a religion of polytheism” and warned that there will be more of their terror attacks.
When one considers the moral and spiritual background of Islam and how the popes have sweetly flattered it for decades, a truthful Catholic must admit that these men are spiritual blind bats influenced by lying and deceiving spirits.
The Magisterium is supposed to be a quality control system divinely guided to safeguard truth – not corrupt, subvert or deny it. But when that institution is found blighted with apostasy, theological detours, moral depravity and outright deception, then it is evidence that it’s not guided by the Spirit of God.
One thing is clear, however, the Holy Spirit of God will never lead a person to deny the cardinal truths of Scripture or pray to a strange god. He “convicts the world of guilt, in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement” (Jn. 16:8).
But a counterfeit spirit makes people smother truth, support sin and avoid calling evil by its name. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, he “guides into all truth” (Jn. 16:13), He doesn’t lead people to embrace false religions like Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism in dubious interfaithism.
The world cannot accept the Holy Spirit “because it neither sees Him nor knows Him” thus, He doesn’t make one seek worldly approval as Rome’s hierarchy constantly does (Jn. 14:17).
You can’t be a friend of God and be loyal to the debased system of the world at the same time. Like some other pseudo-Christian organizations, Roman Catholicism is very much of this world and is under the influence of its spirit. Those who truly want to serve the Lord would have to come out of it.