Expert Answer Forum
Priest teaching QUESTION from Bill March 23, 2000 I have been asked by many Catholics recently why they hear so many different teachings from different Priest. A lot of what I have heard was teachings that are not true to Catholic doctrine. What should I tell them when a Priest teaches his own doctrin? These people try to use this to say we are like the non-catholics with our own divisions.
Thank you and God Bless Bill
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 26, 2000 Dear Mr. Bill:
What you are describing is a shameful truth. It is a scandal!
Unfortunately it is true that many priests are rebellious and are teaching error. As a result it can certainly appear that the Catholic Church is suffering from the same split-itis that Protestant Churches suffer from.
But in fact we are not. The Teaching of the Church remains the same despite the rebels.
In Protestant circles that is not the case. When such disagreements occur a sub-group will go off and start another church.
That has happened among Catholics too. The Eastern Orthodox are an example, the Old Catholic Church is another example. But the Catholic Church as a whole remains intact and the schisms remain few on an organizational level as opposed to the epidemic of splits seen among Protestant Churches. And we need to be clear on the distinction. Priests who teach error are not the same as a priest who teaches error, and then splits from the Church to start his own Church.
This distinction needs to be explained. But any explanation must also be within the context of reminding people that human beings sin. The priests who are teaching error are sinning. The bishops who do not censure these priests are sinning. They are commit GRAVE sin.
But an individual's sin in not a reflection of the whole. For example, are we to say that the Assembly of God Church is an adulterous Church because Jimmy Swaggert committed adultery? Of course not! or that the Disciples of Christ are a wacko suicide cult because Jim Jones happened to be a Disciple of Christ minister at one time? Of course not!
Well neither can be place sins upon the Catholic Church herself that are committed by her naughty children.
Why do these priest do this? Sin!
When people ask, explain these notions. If they don't accept these truths, then write them off as anti-catholic bigots and walk away from them.
For in reality, the Catholic Church is ONE despite these rebels.
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