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Fr. Barron comments on Protestantism and Authority – http://www.wordonfire.org

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25 COMMENTS

  1. None of my protestant family will listen to my links of Fr. Barrons links so I posted “Do not listen to anything this man says I’m warning you!” Mabey like wolves they will come to clicking on his links to snatch me away like a pack of wolves on a wounded lamb!

  2. Thank you, you continue to be a true shepherd of the Catholic Church! I am blessed to be part of your video series on Catholicism at our church in Leawood, KS. The greatest gift you have given us is your ability to take an enormous amount of Church history and tradition and put it in simplified terms for all to understand as food to the soul. You are a blessing to all of us.

  3. Sadly I find myself booing the referees for their lack of connection to the common person and ivory tower theology. I feel there has been way too much referee over-direction. Meet us at the well!

  4. The other option for authority is simply ignore it and deny the truth of what is proclaimed. I believe that some of the Catholic political leadership have espoused and promoted the HHS Mandate in spite of the Bishops pronouncements. I suggest to you that we need a ‘watershed moment’ where the USCCB publicly excommunicates one or more people. This would cement in all minds the authority of the Magisteriate. I know that God will ultimately win this this issue. That said however, this mandate is more than a political issue; it is also a cultural issue that hinges on the authority of the Bishops.

  5. Fr. Barron quotes John Henry Newman saying “There has to be a living voice that can determine the truth of things…” – as Barron puts it, an “umpire” of sorts or “referee”.

    Hebrews 4:12 says that the Bible – the Word itself – is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

    Psalm 119:105 says “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my Path”.

    But that’s not good enough for the Catholic Church?

    Jesus himself, in John 14-16 talks about how the Helper – that is the Holy Spirit – the Trinity Himself in Spirit form – will be our guide.

    It seems to me that God already put in place the “umpire” or “living voice”. And it has always been part of His plan. Check this out:

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” – John 1:1-4

    Fr. Barron even says that there is a place where the umpire/referee analogy breaks down, but that’s covered under this “guarantee of the Holy Spirit”. The “guarantee of the Holy Spirit” idea is totally new to me. Is he really saying that one person’s spoken word must be taken literally as the very Word of God? Yet he also says that the church can overuse its authority. Is that his way of saying the church (and I take by inference he means Catholic leadership) can be wrong? Isn’t history full of occasions when the Catholic church has changed a position previously spoken into authority by a Catholic leader? How does that work? Was the previous guarantee not really a guarantee, or is the guarantee of the new leader the fake one?

    I go back to Hebrews 4:12 and 1 John 1 as my answer. God already initiated a plan that includes a true Umpire who will never be wrong, who is always guaranteed to be right. It’s Him – in the flesh, in the Word, and in Spirit Form. And He is accessible to all. Or at least that’s the way He puts it in John 3, Jeremiah 29, and all throughout scripture.

    • “But that’s not good enough for the Catholic Church? [referring to Hebrews 4:12 & Psalm 119:105]”

      Yes, it is good enough for the Church, but the Church goes beyond the Bible because She knows not all of the answers to life are in the Bible.

      “Jesus himself, in John 14-16 talks about how the Helper – that is the Holy Spirit – the Trinity Himself in Spirit form – will be our guide.”

      I do not understand the “Trinity Himself in Spirit form” part. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity. I understand that the H.S. proceeds from the Father & the Son, but that is not the “entire trinity in spirit form” (my words). As far as I know, there is no trinity in spirit form *completely* because Jesus is a man.

      The “Word” in John 1:1-4 is a reference to Jesus.

      “Is he really saying that one person’s spoken word must be taken literally as the very Word of God?”

      No, he is not saying that (and if he is, he shouldn’t be). In referring to the “guarantee of the Holy Spirit,” I think Fr. Barron is indirectly referencing papal infallibility. Contrary to popular belief, papal infallibility does NOT mean the pope is incapable of sinning. Papal infallibility refers to the the doctrine that in specified circumstances the pope is incapable of error in pronouncing dogma (ex: Mary’s Assumption into Heaven). That’s an example of the guarantee of the Holy Spirit–that the Church will never error in such heavy, important matters.

      “Yet he also says that the church can overuse its authority. Is that his way of saying the church (and I take by inference he means Catholic leadership) can be wrong?”

      I am not sure what Fr. Barron is intending to say, but I answer yes to your question. The Catholic Church is full of sinners (i.e. all of us) and so when it comes to certain things, She will make errors.

      “Isn’t history full of occasions when the Catholic [C]hurch has changed a position previously spoken into authority by a Catholic leader?”

      I’m not sure, but it depends on the topic and how much authority that person has on said subject.

      “Was the previous guarantee not really a guarantee, or is the guarantee of the new leader the fake one?”

      I refer back to papal infallibility and my answer right above.

      “God already initiated a plan that includes a true Umpire who will never be wrong, who is always guaranteed to be right. It’s Him – in the flesh, in the Word, and in Spirit Form. And He is accessible to all. Or at least that’s the way He puts it in John 3, Jeremiah 29, and all throughout scripture.”

      In my opinion, it is not good to think of Jesus as an umpire. Yes, He is only one who can make judgements of others, but he doesn’t act as an umpire does (i.e. acting only on what he sees). Jesus sees everything at once and so is incapable of error. No matter how much knowledge the Catholic Church–or any Protestant Church–has about anything, there will always be some degree of disagreement on certain matters because of how each church approaches things.

      I believe Pope Benedict once said that the Catholic Church contains the *fullness of Truth,* that is to say, whatever (T)ruth is knowable, the Catholic Church believes and supports it. I think Fr. Barron’s umpire analogy is best thought of as going along with that sentiment. The Church “umpires” the marketplace of ideas because She “sees things the best” as an umpire does, but like an umpire, is human and makes mistakes from time to time.

  6. Great insights Fr Barron! I’ve always loved your videos.
    I have a question though. This topic has been raised one too many times I’m sure, but i somehow still don’t have the answer for it.
    Firstly, I’m a Catholic, and I don’t have any plans to be otherwise. But I still wonder about the doctrine of papal infallability. You also mentioned in the video, that God guarantees Holy Spirit to the Church and its Living Voice (namely Pop as the Vicar of Christ) that would preserve their words and decisions from errors.
    How do you see previous Church’s dark age? Especially when the Church made decisions, what I see as errors, such as the indulgency letter scandal, the excommunication of Gallileo who was a Catholic but stands from the science point-of-view striving to express the truth while the Church remains with our theological point-of-view. Am I mistaken? Or is it not our place to judge such as errors?

    • Hi, I am not sure whether my thought can answer to your enquiry here, but when we see the Church’s dark ages, we tend to focus on the rise of protestanism. However, at the same time, there were numerous voices within the Church herself to correct what were wrongs. Remember how many saints with great thoughts were there during the dark ages. I believe these are also the voice of Holy Spirit to keep the Church and the Pope as her “referee” to be back to the right track. We have known that even until today, the Catholic Church would still remains the same as 2000 years ago in term of faith, yet evolving accordingly to match the new challenges which are practical stuffs, such as IVF, etc. Excuse my broken english, I am not a native English speaker. Gbu.

      • Thanks Charles.
        I agree with your statement. Despite my own judgement about the errors of dark ages, God must have had plans for them.

        GBU =)

  7. Great insights Fr Barron! I’ve always loved your videos.

    I have a question though. This topic has been raised one too many times I’m sure, but i somehow still don’t have the answer for it.
    Firstly, I’m a Catholic, and I don’t have any plans to be otherwise. But I still wonder about the doctrine of papal infallability. You also mentioned in the video, that God guarantees Holy Spirit to the Church and its Living Voice (namely Pop as the Vicar of Christ) that would preserve their words and decisions from errors.

    How do you see previous Church’s dark age? Especially when the Church made decisions, what I see as errors, such as the indulgency letter scandal, the excommunication of Gallileo who was a Catholic but stands from the science point-of-view striving to express the truth while the Church remains with our theological point-of-view. Am I mistaken? Or is it not our place to judge such as errors?

    • Obviously I’m not Fr. Barron, but I’ll try to address your questions.

      As I said in the post above, papal infallibility is the doctrine that in specified circumstances the pope is incapable of error in pronouncing dogma. In this context, this means that even though there were many mistakes made by the Church (such as letters of indulgence and Galileo’s discoveries), She *was not speaking as an authoritative voice in the sense of DOGMA*. I emphasize the word dogma because that’s the key difference between using papal infallibility and simply “having a position” on something.

      Dogma is something that is incontrovertibly true and in the Church’s case, something that one *must* believe if one wants to (accurately) call oneself Catholic.

      Check this book out, it might help: http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Philosophers-James-Hannam/dp/1848311508/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=I17U4BUAZK59PB&colid=203XL7VWITLFR

  8. As a comment of the video, and to the authority of one Pope, Read Acts 15.

    It is an example of Peter speaking in authority on the heresy of the continued requirement of the circumcism to be saved. Paul and Barnabus had to go to the apostles and elders for resolution of the matter. To go speak in a council of elders. Peter speaks in authority when he says “we believe”. Notice how they fall silent after. Later James speaks, but in first person.

    For more detail on the apologetics, get Tim Staples “Why Be Catholic” DVD at shop.catholic.com

  9. In this analogy, the Holy Spirit becomes a secondary source, backing up the Pope. But this analogy begs the question. Who has the Holy Spirit, and why? Does anyone have a monopoly on Him? Protestants like me will argue that we have the Holy Spirit, and so we have the power to read the scriptures and determine them for ourselves – as the scriptures themselves guarantee (Acts 17:11).

    If Fr. Barron believes the Pope and his councils have always been “preserved from error,” he is shockingly ignorant of the ungodly abuses of Papal power in history.

    Protestants aren’t perfect – but they are united on the essentials of the Bible such as Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the fact that believing in Jesus is the only way to heaven. It is the diversity of various styles and traditions in the Protestant tradition that allow for thousands of “denominations” who still all hold to the essentials of the faith.

    It is no answer to point out that there are some who claim to be Protestant Christians do not believe the essentials of Christianity any more than it would be fair to point out that there are derelict Catholics who do not follow Catholicism. As believers in Christ, we are not judged based on how we label ourselves, or based on which church’s leadership we choose to follow, but on how our lives line up with what is written in scripture and how we obeyed the Holy Spirit’s voice within us. He is the referee – and the star Player.

  10. Great insights!. History shows many society’s having all types of Paradigm shift’s, and those shifts often times are due to cause and effects, of thinking. thinking. The Church was dealing with all kinds of moral shifts, and governments there are so many different treatments of people, tribes, cultures so many circumstances and back grounds. Every human culture has leadership, authority, and some kind of order for them to be called civilized, It does not mean that they are civilized however. We need to recognize a problem.. Man is still learning how to be civilized., and what code of ethics and morals it will adhear to.. When People are taken advantage of, or injured. they become defensive and find other path ways, often times throwing the whole system out, due to a few people dealings so they seek a new one.. I believe the Living voices of the early fathers show them navigating difficult moral issues and economic issues as well those issues did not get resolve.. Seldom do you see a conflict result in unity. but, it is possible…it is I think what the church is striving for, A communion in Humanity, getting every one on the same team , this is going to take some time, to heal old wounds and relationship building, Helping others to recognize What kind of Umpier do we see today. What is the truth behind his spirit, and then his behavior.. We are still evangelizing today to change hearts doesn’t mean we don’t look at our past. it means we learn and grow and stand on Faith, of our guide post the Pope. Faith and Trust that we have in commission a great umpire, the Pope, I can see he has the best intrest of the whole human race at hand. you can see in his behavior and treatment of others cultures and oppinions, his past shows him to be wise he truly strives to understand our living human family, So lead with the facts of the day, as we begin with the End in Mind to evangelize That includes everyone on our team, Peace be with all leaders in there efforts. Peace be with all people who strive to know God.

  11. This is outstanding. When I regrettably walked away from our Holy Mother Church several years ago, this Alister McGrath was one of the authors whose books I found very compelling at that time. Now that I’m Home again in communion with Christ’s own Church (and His vicar!) it is really edifying and refreshing to see the arguments I once fell for answered with unassailable Catholic logic and truth! 🙂

  12. « ungodly abuses of Papal power »

    Popes are still human, and therefore not immune from sin. But the bad behavior of certain popes doesn’t invalidate their *teaching* authority. Indeed, no pope in history has ever changed the doctrine of the Church to teach error. That’s the difference: we believe in papal infallibility; not papal sinlessness.

  13. My family was investors in the first protestant colony in America along with the 53 or 54 other people who invested in the “New Netherlands Trading Company”, one of my family members was commander at I think the same fort John Smith was a few years after he first established the first colony, Then many of my family members were officers in the revolutionary war, their sons all set out to establish the territories ect, whatever authority that was established in the other countries was not established in America, that is a natural fact, though mainstream american at that time were protestant the officials who were leaders of the first government would not honor any one religion . They could not fight for a religious cause, but the precepts of the good fight no one could deny is the only true fight that is good. So for legal purposes religion is not applicable when it comes to authority over the world, think of it this way there was no houses america was nothing but wilderness and fruited plains, 10 people who didn’t believe work on cutting down the trees , 10 people who do believe but are protestant build a mill to mill the wood, and 10 people who are catholic grow crops so people can eat, then they all work together to build a government building, even those who didn’t believe had done all the others had done here earthly and there was no way one person could be a higher authority over them because of what work they had done, nothing in the old world was why anything came about , the new government was in a new land , but what was universal that good is good and bad is bad, it’s bad to steal a box of nails , had to make a law against that definately its a good fight to stop nail thieves, so thus they had to create a just way to rule the world , the mystery of our faith is how God created all things good and there is no good in any man except God and his righteousness, I believe its in the scriptures that the Bishops are not supposed to Lord authority the same way the Governors of this world do but are supposed to uplift instead of condemn , can you see how there is a difference of how church authority and authority over the world are but all things were created through christ and his cause really is to fight the good fight against what is bad, he didn’t come to bring peace to the world but put a sword to it, we have to pray and have faith that the bad things people try and make good like abortion, gay marriage ect wont become part of our nations laws, but we don’t have to worry because bad is bad and good is good its all earthly fact as much as it is Christ created all things that exist . God’s fight is his own cause , but its not just about ceremony and sacrament,

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