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Anti-Catholic Fallacies

1. "Protestants know the Catholic argument is correct, but use the Protestant opposition to the Catholic position because they can convince and convert." A Catholic once debated a Protestant, and the latter argued that Peter was not the rock in Matthew 16. The Catholic was aware that many Protestants acknowledged that Peter was the rock, so the Catholic asked the Protestant after the debate if he really thought Peter was the rock. The Protestant responded by saying, "Yes, of course".

Protestants use a myriad of arguments against the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church. Some of these Protestants know the Catholic response to their arguments, and know those responses refute their objections, forcing them into a different line of argument, but make use of the arguments anyway because they know Catholics who do not know better will "buy it". For instance, Fundamentalists will cite Exodus 20:4 against the making of all statues, when some of them know very well that God commanded the making of statues elsewhere in the Old Testament. When knowledgeable Catholics bring this to their attention, the Fundamentalists are forced to take their argument further and say that it is the veneration of those images and the making of images that were not directly commanded by God that is the problem. However, they will try to get away with the simple citation of Exodus to debunk the simple possession of statues by Catholics.

2. "Protestants interpret Scripture literally and superficially, without deriving its true meaning."A good example is John 2, where fundamentalists say Jesus insulted His mother by calling her "woman". In fact, in the Jewish culture at the time, the word "woman" was entirely courteous. However, when interpreted according to a twenty-first century mentality, it seems like an insult to Mary. This is the problem with private interpretation without the background knowledge truly needed to interpret the Sacred Text (it must be said that when it comes to difficult passages, that is when fundamentalists look at the Greek original, the context, the mindset of first-century Palestinians, etc.). When Jesus said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me" (Matt. 27:46), He was not saying that God had forsaken Him, as certain Modernist Scripture scholars would assert; rather, He was citing the first verse of Psalm 22, because Psalm 22 was a Messianic psalm that was fulfilled in Jesus. At the time, the Jews often cited the first sentence of a psalm to refer to the entire psalm. In this case, Christ was citing Psalm 22 in order to say, "The Scripture says that I am the Messiah".

3. "Fundamentalists do not understand Catholicism and make attacks on caricatures and distortions of Catholic teaching rather than on Catholicism itself." Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that not one hundred people hate the Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly believe what the Catholic Church is. For instance, some fundamentalists believe that an indulgence is a permit to indulge in sin, or that an indulgence forgives sin. Neither is true, but fundamentalists often caricature or distort the Catholic teaching, and then attack the caricature or the distortion, not the actual teaching.

Related to this is the fundamentalist appeal to sensationalism. These are usually one-liners that are outlandinsh, in an attempt to make Catholicism appear foolish. These are deliberate exaggerations, and have no basis in Catholic teaching. Mary is highly honored in the Catholic Church, so fundamentalists say that Mary is considered a fourth person in the Trinity. Catholics honor the Pope and follow his teachings, so fundamentalists say that, for Catholics, the Pope takes God's place. They say the Holy Spirit is not welcome where there is liturgy rather than spontaneous worship, but the Bible never says that the Holy Spirit does not work in people who put their heart into worshiping at the Mass. None of these statements make much sense–they do not appeal to rational thinking.

4. "Fundamentalists are guilty of dualism–they pit two things against each other, when they are actually complimentary rather than contradictory." Fundamentalists say, "Jesus saves, not the Church, the sacraments, or the saints". Yes, Christ alone saves with His grace, but on the other hand, how does grace come to us? Jesus saves us with His grace, His grace that He bestows upon us through the sacraments, and through the Church. And how do fundamentalists believe they receive God's saving grace? Not until He says the sinner's prayer and accepts Christ as Lord and Savior. Would that mean that we would be right in saying that "Christ alone saves, not the sinner's prayer". No, because the sinner's prayer is only the channel through which Christ saves, just as the sacraments are the vehicles through which Christ saves. So the argument is not whether it is Christ or something else that saves–in that, both Catholics and Protestants agree. The argument is whether Christ saves through the Church and the sacraments or through the sinner's prayer.

They also say, "The Bible is our authority. Why do you put a man (the Pope) over the authority of Scripture?" But a Catholic could easily respond by asking the Protestant why he puts a mere book (the Bible) over Jesus? He would respond by saying that the Bible is the Word of God, and I would reply that the Pope is the vicar of Christ. They would respond that they follow the infallible words of Scripture rather than what they say are the opinions of a mere man. But, in reality, they are not following the infallible words of Scripture, but rather their own fallible interpretation of it. In other words, they are the ones that follow the opinions of a mere man–whether that man is Luther, or Calvin–who interpreted the Bible differently, or their pastor, or themselves. I would respond that in following the Pope, we truly follow the infallible Scriptures, because the infallible Pope defends the true interpretation of Scripture that the infallible Church has taught consistently and without change for 2000 years. Since the Bible requires a human interpreter, the Bible cannot be our authority; rather, the person who interprets it becomes the authority, and a fallible one at that. With so many conflicting interpretations, one wonders if Protestants know anything for certain. They say they agree on the essentials, but they do not agree on baptismal regeneration or "once saved, always saved", and even if they did, if they are wrong about secondary issues, what makes them so sure that they are right about primary issues?

5. "Fundamentalists reject or dislike a Catholic belief or practice, then attempt to come up with as many sensible arguments as they can, without realizing that the belief or practice is biblical, or that the belief or practice is actually hypocritically believed or practiced by the fundamentalists themselves." Protestants first rejected the intercession of the saints, then searched for Biblical support. They came upon 1 Timothy 2:5, and used it to try and show that the invocation of saints was a violation of the passage–that only Christ could intercede for us because He is the one mediator. What Protestants did not realize, however, was that asking others to pray for us is supported by the Bible, and that they themselves engaged in the practice. If asking those in heaven to pray for us was refuted by the passage from Timothy, then so was asking those on Earth to pray for us. This passage would have never been interpreted this way had Protestants not been looking for ways to debunk the Catholic practice.

With so many errors and falsehoods, can anyone other than a Catholic be trusted to give the Catholic side?

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