Seen on the web: Catholic – Orthodox – or other?

Comment by JefZef

Years ago, some of my best friends left the Church to follow, what they believed to be, a more “biblical” path.  Their incessant character assassinations of Catholicism led me to investigate their claims.

I’m not a scholar or theologian.  This may seem simplistic to some, but in the end, it was the mere existence of Eastern Orthodoxy that provided, what to me at least, was the greatest worldly proof that Catholicism is the one, true Church instituted by Jesus Christ.

I began by temporarily removing the Catholic Church from the equation and looking only at the two schisms, one in 1054 and the other in 1520, and examined their fruits in the modern age.  They are profoundly different.

On the one hand, you’ve got one multinational Church, united under one Patriarch, that has remained unified and consistent in its doctrine, liturgy and traditions for nearly a millennium.

On the other hand, the Protestant Reformers couldn’t agree from day one.  There were Radical Reformers (Calvinists and the like) and Magisterial Reformers (Lutherans and Anglicans).  All of which have splintered into the 25,000+ denominations we have today.

All of these schismatics are Christians and none of them are Catholic, so why has one remained unified and consistent, while the others have fractured and splintered into so many varied parts as to be nearly unrecognizable as one religion? What is it that the Orthodox Church has that the Reformers do not?

I think the answer lies in the Apostolic priesthood.  Because the Orthodox retained a valid, Apostolic priesthood and all seven Sacraments, as well as a devotion to Mary, they had the perpetual protection of the Holy Spirit to keep them from chaos, confusion and division. Without that divine protection, I don’t think it would have been possible for them to last a century, let alone a millennium. A thousand years of consistency is just not possible for humanity alone. We are not even consistent in our interpretation of the US Constitution after two hundred years.

If I had any useful math skills, I’d try to calculate the odds. Two separate Churches agree on 99% of their doctrines then go their separate ways. After 50 generations apart, they come together in 1965 to discover that the only doctrinal difference they have is the very same 1% that they had a thousand years before. How does that happen, when Calvinists couldn’t last one generation, and Pentecostals can’t even do it on the same day in two churches a mile apart from each other?

In the end, I was left with, not 25,000 denominations to choose from, but two.  Since Jesus clearly gave authority to Peter and not to Andrew, the choice was obvious.  The current custodian of the keys to heaven is Pope Benedict XVI.

Link to original article

1 Comment

  1. That is a very pleasing article because the author acknowledges the Eastern Rite which is refreshing as many so-calleds Catholic authors on this and many such blogs fail to appreciate these churches existance at all.
    However the author is mistaken to conclude the argument is about St Peter verse St Andrew or other apostle. The schisms were politically based and the Eastern and Orthodox Churches are co-equal with the Roman Church and not of some lesser identity. Their Bishops are fully recognised and recognize the primacy of the Pope though not his universal primacy. They number over 20 seperate churches that include the Greek and Russian Orthodox, The Armenians and The Copts and various others in the middle east.
    Unlike the Reformation they were breached from Rome by schism and not be accused heretical format which basically means they did not deny Sacramental graces etc. On the other hand, the western Protestant churches grew up with the printed word and the failure of Church authorities to appreciate that the common people may want a say in Clerical governance. Hence Luther was able with some justification to point out that the Church was acting in a godless fashion and needed reform. Of course that argument was also expressed by Catholic writers suchas Erasmus and Thomas Moore but the Reformation did come about because the new reformers insisted on a speedy change that often suited the mentality of the day.
    Today the continued reformation amongst many “low” churches allows for old fears of papal glorification or popery. Such claims maybe bizarre but for the uneducated and easily led they can be unifying against a common enemy even if it is imaginery.
    The fact that some of the authors friends had left the Church of Rome to join such modern movements is a tragedy but reflects as much upon the ignorance of people as upon any faithfulness. At least the author had investigated the possibility of what they have joined as authentic religion and by Gods grace has seen it as absurdity.
    Nevertheless we must not assume that all Protestant belief and Protestant Churches are the same any more than all Catholics think and do the same. Their is GOOD as well as bad in each and as long as we are always able to recall the plank in our own eye before we prejudge our neighbour we shall not go far wrong.

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