It's going to drive me crazy if I don't post something. Do I have time to be undertaking this right now? No, so I'm going to be exhausted tomorrow. In lights of posts on several other blogs, including the Veritas blog, the Fly's blog, Pontifications, and several others, I'm going to have to say somehting or I'll go mad. Several specific points have been brought up, and most of these I will not be addressing tonight; I do have plans to address some of them directly in future posts, so hang tight.
Instead, a question arises as to whether the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church on earth. My opinion is no, it is not: because that excludes the smaller rites that are also a part of the Catholic Church. (Ok, so I'm a bit of a smart-@ss tonight). Honestly though, what does this mean? That the other denominations are wrong?
Not exactly. Rather I personally believe that they all contain at least a part of the truth, some a very large part, others a smaller part. Before you get to attacking this position, hold on for just a moment. About the only semblance of consistency between all of the Protestant denominations that is not also something in common with the Catholic Church is the position that the Catholic Church is wrong. But somebody has to have it right, don't they?
Well, each person reading here must believe that he or she has got it right. In other words, each of you reading this most likely believes that your particular beliefs are correct. Ok, maybe a few don't, but in your case you are probably at least trying to find a set of beliefs that you can then justify as correct. Now, we know that some set of beliefs must exist that is correct. That's just the way the universe works: somebody (a hypothetical person or a real person) has the set of ideas about "the way things are" which actually (correctly) explains or predicts exactly "how things are."
This also means that there are a lot of somebodies whose belief systems are not correct, or alternatively, are not complete. Now, as far as I know, all of my readers are Christians. Thus, we all essentially share a set of beliefs. Where we differ are on smaller points of belief: the reality of Transubstantiation, authenticity of the Deuterocannonicals, free will vs. predestination, authority of the Church, etc.
Now, in general, every one who has commented that they disagreed that the Catholic Church is the one true Church on earth has ineveitably made some comment about the corruption in the Church proving that it can't be the true Church on earth. But this is a fairly weak claim for stating that Luther was right: there was plenty or corruption on the Protestant "side" of the Reformation. Thus, following this logic, both sides are wrong.
Furthermore, corruption of individuals is not equivalent to corruption of doctrines. Remember, doctrines are basically about "the way things are." Thus, to claim that a doctrine is incorrect because some of the people supporting it are corrupt is really just an ad hominem attack. As an example, take Operation Iraqi Freedom. Does the fact that Hillary Clinton and John Kerry voted in favor of going to Iraq mean that doing so was wrong? No. It merely means that some people were using this to their own ends. So it was with many of the doctrines of the Church. The fact that clergy were getting rich off of various doctrines doesn't mean that those doctrines are necessarily false.
*Note: I will be posting more on this subject later. I will then address some more specific points, many of which may be big enoguh to warrant their own seperate psots. But right now, it is late and I am tired.
Update: For those interested, here is a website which attempts to compare the beliefs of several denominations to some of the Catholic Church's beliefs. I will also attempt to find some other sources on this.