Catholic Church Same Today As It Was In Early Christianity
Debate Rounds (5)
I respectfully challenge an opponent to disprove these claims about the Catholic Church using Historical facts. For example, using early Christian writings, Church Council documents, Archaeological findings, etc. Thank you.
May Our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and fill your soul with His love and grace.
The framework for this debate, I only need to prove that today, the catholic church is not the same as when it began. If I can prove that in one way, it has changed, then I win this debate. I would also like for my opponent to clarify when early christianity is defined as.
I'll start with my case and go onto their points
a)the catholic church now accepts scientific teachings as facts. They have changed to accept evolution now and earlier, the rejected it.
b) The also concur that a geocentric theory of the universe is false. And they now accept that the heliocentric theory is true
c) They are also less violent in their convictions. I mean it's not like we've had a crusade after a while. Also, we no longer hang adulterers and hethens. If it truely was consistant, I would be executed for even taking the con side of this debate.
d) there are less frequent and less violent exorsisms. Now people don't actually believe that you can be possessed by the devil
e) They no longer cotrol all actions of christianity. They used to be the embodiement of christianity. Now it is all over the place. Where I'm from (the south) the baptists are the church.
All points will be extended in my next speech
Now onto his points.
1) Ok, Then it isn't the same
2) If what he claims is true, then Martin Luther was a liar and actually supported the church. And to claim that everyone believes the same is untrue.
3) First of all, the fact that you would say something so arrogant is not only offensive, but is unprovable, because we do not know what god says. There is no existing warrant for this claim and it has no relevence to this debate. disregard it.
By the way, my use of the term 'early Christianity' is meant to designate the time period (roughly) from the lifetime of the early Apostles until 4th - 5th Century AD.
Let me begin by stating I acknowledge that the Catholic Church has changed! Let me explain. The Church is considered (by theologians) to be a living body composed of members, very much like a human being. Now a living person develops from infancy/childhood to full maturity/adulthood, yet remains essentially the same person. So too with the Church. She has developed from 'infancy' (early Christianity) unto 'full maturity' (Middle Ages to the present). However, this ongoing development has never caused a break in her essential character. Moreover, I hold that the Church has never changed or retracted any of Her officially held beliefs throughout Her 2000 year history. If my opponent can prove that the Catholic Church has not held fast to what it has always taught and believed regarding doctrine - of which it claims to be an infallible guide - then my opponent wins the debate. Likewise, if my opponent can prove that the Chair of Peter cannot trace itself back historically to the first Pope in an unbroken line of succession, then the entire Catholic claim of Apostolic succession is a fraud and he also wins this debate.
I will briefly comment on the points that my opponent has brought forth in the first round, (even though I believe they are 'straw man' arguments which have no bearing on the arguments I have put forth earlier).
A) It is a misconception to say that the 'Catholic Church' believes in Evolution. What is fact is that in the past 100 years the Church has praised the scientific research behind the concept of Evolution - in so far as it is compatible with Church teaching. Pope Pius XII officially responded to Darwin's 1859 treatise when he wrote that "the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid.. research and discussions to take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution."  Pope John Paul II assigned the 'ultimate meaning' of evolution to Theology. 
The Catholic Church has never included evolution in its official set of beliefs nor in Her catechism.
B)The Catholic Church never officially taught that the sun revolved around the earth! What the Church did was forbid the teaching or defense of heliocentrism until theologians could later review and decide upon that view. Furthermore, a 17th century 'Advisory Committee' of Catholics issuing a statement endorsing geocentrism and condemning heliocentrism does not constitute the Catholic Church.
Note: The Church recognizes Science to be outside Her area of expertise. Catholics can believe it if it does not undermine doctrine. Pope Leo XII wrote "no real disagreement can exist between the theologian and the scientist provided each keeps within his own limits. . ." 
C)The Crusades were not an 'act of aggression' against 'innocent people'. The Catholic Church did not hang people for committing adultery (but has consistently taught against it). People were not executed during the Spanish Inquisition for disagreeing with the Catholic Church. These are all lies and myths that have notoriously been perpetuated by the 'anti-Catholic' establishment for over four centuries up to the present day. They can be refuted using historical evidence. Nice topics for debate, yes, but irrelevant to this one.
D) The number of exorcisms performed by the Catholic Church today as compared to yesterday has no bearing on whether or not the Church has historically remained steadfast on matters of belief/doctrine over the centuries. If some people do not believe in the devil, demon possession, the Eucharist, Baptism, Marriage, or other tenets of the Faith anymore, I respond that it has no historical bearing on what the Church as a body has always consistently taught and believed on these matters. Furthermore, 'people' does not constitute the Catholic Church. (More on what is meant by the 'Catholic Church' in another round, time permitting.)
E) I agree that the Catholic Church has had greater or lesser influence both socially and politically at various times and places throughout Her history. But She Has continued amongst these vacillations undivided in unity and government. The Church is not out to win a popularity contest, only to pass on the Faith to the next generation pure and undefiled. In the south, I agree that there aren't nearly as many Catholics as there are Baptists. This again, is another 'straw man' which proves or disproves nothing.
In R3, I will attempt to prove that what I have claimed in R1 about the Catholic Church is indeed historically verifiable, accurate and true. God bless.
 Pope Pius XII; 1950; Humani Generis
 Pope Leo XIII;Providentissimu
1-If I can prove in one way that it is not the same, then I win this debate.
2- My opponent refers to the church as if it were a thing, it is not. It is a community of people. Therefore, I will target the people of the church.
3- I will accept my opponents challenge of change in doctrine but first
rd2a- I win- My opponent established early christianity as 4th century to 5th century. First of all, The church split in two, The eastern orthodox and the roman catholic church. And neither group held all of the original ideas. And this was in the year 1054 AD I win this debate, because the original catholic church no longer exists. Vote con
rd2b-Extend how a church is a community, Then automatically, because one member dies, then it is not the same, because they have just lost a fraction of their ideals.
But even if you don't buy that, I'll move onto my own points
A) The church RENOUNCED its position on the origin of man and went to an evolutionary doctrine. This is Not the same, because the idea of evolution wasn't around during beginning of christianity http://en.wikipedia.org...
kick point b
C) OH YOUR GOD! did you really just say that the crusades were good? And on the spanish inquisition- REALLY? just look at this source.
D) 1. If you BELIEVE that you can cast out demons, and then CHANGE, you have changed your belief,
2. Ok then what constitutes the church? and if you say god, I want proof.
E) just extend arguments and explain how it was a straw man.
Now extend my offense on his position of the church.
Argument 1: The Catholic Church of Today Professes the Same Faith As It Always Has in the Past.
Proof#1: Historically, there is a way to determine exactly what has been professed and believed at any given time. It is by comparing Her 'Creeds' or professions of faith. These Creeds are highly significant from a historical standpoint in that they almost 'spell out' what Catholics were required to believe in when a particular Creed was drawn up. Here are the names and dates of the principle Creeds.
Apostles' Creed 2nd century
Nicene Creed 325 A.D.
Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed 381 A.D.
Epiphanian Creed; 4th cent
Antipriscillian Creed 4th century
Athanasian Creed 5th century
Creed of XI Council of Toledo 675 A.D.
Leonine Creed 1053 A.D.
Tridentine Creed 1564 A.D.
When comparing Creeds to each other, it is evident that they are very similar. While certain doctrines are emphasized more in some Creeds than in others, they essentially profess the same doctrine. This fact alone is powerful historical evidence that the Catholic Church of 1900 years ago professed and taught the exact same Faith as She does today.
Proof #2: Most of the articles of faith in the Apostles' Creed Catholics profess today are listed within the first century A.D.,in the 7 letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (died c.107 A.D.). 
Proof #3: The Earliest Christian writings point to modern day Catholic beliefs: The Real Presence, ; rite of Baptism with water ; Virgin Mary was a 'virgin undefiled' and 'exempt from sin and corruption' 
Argument 2: The Catholic Church Has Remained United and Universal In Belief From Its Origin Up to the Present.
Proof #1 - Unity: St. Irenaeus, in the second century, singled out a Church where, although its members are scattered throughout the world, she teaches as though she possesses but one mouth':
"As I have already observed, the Church... although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same." - 'Against the Heresies" Book I Ch 10.2
Early Christian writers pointed out that the 'Church' which teaches a uniform body of doctrine is: 1) the Church 'whose supreme ruler is known as the Bishop of Rome', and; 2)'the Church which is known as the 'Catholic' Church' 
Proof #3 -All nations, one belief: The Roman Catholic Church possessed a Universality of place by the 2nd century. She has spread to 'all nations' and has never found language or race to be an obstacle/ barrier to Her spread. Neither has She ever splintered off into many different autonomous groups (like the Eastern Orthodox or the Anglicans, for example), but has remained one in perfect unity under a supreme head.
St. Irenaeus enumerates the countries to which the Church has spread in the second century.  St. Ignatius of Antioch, in the first century, calls the Church 'Catholic' or 'universal' for the first time. 
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c.313-386) and St. Augustine state that the 'Catholic' Church has 'spread throughout the whole world', by the forth and fifth centuries.  Has this universal spread of Catholicism continued throughout the world from the 6th century up to the present? Yes! The Church's spread and influence continued to became more and more wide spread than ever beforein history. For example, a Harvard historical scholar points out that in the 11th century: 'religion meant the creed of the Catholic Church which had occupied the position in most of European countries". 
Catholics believe that Christ Himself implied His Church would be One in unity when He prayed: "That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us.."(John 17;21)
 St. Ignatius of Antioch, (Letter to the Smyrneans, 6), the Didache (AD. 70,) chapters. 9,14) http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com...
 Didache 7:1; Justin Martyr, First Apology 61; A.D. 151; Tertullian (The Crown 3:2; A.D.211)
 Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 100; A.D.155; Hippolytus A.D. 235
'Against the Heresies" Book 2 Ch 3.2;Cyprian Epistola 55 and 76;
Against the Heresies; Bk 1 Ch 10.2
Letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans ch. 8, written about the year 110. "Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."
 Contra Celsum Bk II, 13; Catechesis 18;23
 Emerton; 'The Correspondence of Gregory VII':Select Letters From the Regstru
boredinclass forfeited this round.
My opponent seems to think that if he succeeds in proving that the Catholic Church has not changed in any and every single way, then he wins this debate. However, I have never claimed this at all. Moreover, my opponent has yet to bring forth any evidence or historical rebuttal against the original arguments in my opening challenge.
Let us define ‘Catholic Church': "The congregation of all baptized persons who share the same faith, the same sacraments, under the authority of the hierarchy, particularly the pope and the bishops"  More than simply a ‘community of people', the N.T. makes it clear that the Church - apart from being an organization - is also a spiritual organism - a Mystical Body composed of members linked together through baptism. "So in Christ we who are many form one BODY, and each member belongs to all the others". 
My opponent said: 'If one member dies, then the Catholic Church is not the same anymore.' This is true in the sense that change means development. But not in every sense. The Church is composed of both 'living' and 'dead' members and remains essentially the same body, even though one of Her members should die or split away. When a tree sheds or loses one of its leaves, it still remains essentially the same tree. The tree is also continually rejuvenating itself by growing new leaves. As does the Church, by continually receiving new members while remaining essentially the same 'tree'.
My opponent states that the Catholic Church 'split in two' in 1054 AD and thus the Church is not 'the same' anymore. This is false. A careful look at Church history will conclude that it truly was the Eastern Orthodox which had deliberately chose to separate themselves from the Authority of Rome. The early Church was unanimous in declaring that the ultimate authority within the 'Catholic' Church was the 'Bishop of Rome' . The Eastern Orthodox have splintered into dozens of nationally autonomous and independent 'churches', similar to Protestant churches, since the Schism. With no visible head, the broken up Orthodox 'churches' have not held an Ecumenical Council since 1054. The 'tree' simply had a member cut off Her in 1054, (unfortunately) but still remained the same united Catholic Church.
My opponent argued that the Church renounced its position on the origin of man and went to an 'evolutionary doctrine'. I respond, and your source is the Sunday Herald? The Church has never ‘renounced' its position nor has She ever taught evolution. In fact, She warns us not to hold evolution as proved, nor use it to explain the origin of all things; .
Here is the official Church position on the origin of man:"‘The literal historical meaning of the first chapters of Genesis can not be doubted with regard to: the creation of all things by God at the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from the first man;... the degradation of our first parents from that primeval state of innocence; and the promise of a future redeemer."
Fact: Pope John Paul II did NOT renounce official church teaching in 1996, when he stated in a letter that evolution is ‘more than a hypothesis" 
C) Regarding the Crusades: My opponent offers no proof for his accusations (which is entirely off topic anyway). I read the web source he linked to, which attempts to prove how 'evil' the Catholic Church was during the Crusades, Inquisition, etc. With no source proof or historical references to back up its claims, it is a purely speculative read based entirely upon the web author's own personal opinion.
D) The Catholic Church never lost its belief that Her lawfully ordained ministers can cast out demons by the power of God. If some members, including priests, do not believe in the devil or in the Rite of Exorcism anymore, it does not change what the Catholic Church has always taught and believed on this manner.
My opponent asked me why I thought most his arguments thus far have been 'straw men'. Because I believe they have ignored, misrepresented and averted the three original arguments I brought forth about the Catholic Church in R1, which was what I originally sought to debate. Definition of 'straw man' here: http://brainz.org......
Again, thus far my opponent has failed to bring forth any historical proof or solid rebuttal against my three original claims about the Church in R1.
In the next round, I will put forth the historical proof for the Catholic claim of Apostolic succession, and also discuss 'Papal Infallibilty' if time/space permit. Thank you.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church
]Romans 12:5;1 Corinthians 12:13 -28; Ephesians 4:1
 Pope Pius XII's Encyclical Humani Generis; 1950; (para 5.6)
The Pontifical Biblical Commission decree; Pope Pius X; June 30, 1909
On my framework, that if I prove that in one way the catholic church is not the same, I win. My opponent has yet to provide a counter-framework, and since I prove that there is a change, then I win.
Also, I don't have to answer his points, because like my framework says I only need to prove one way
Ok, under his definition of the catholic church, there is no constant church. Because there are many different beliefs in a church. And, the catholic church is a community
Ok, for my argument "'If one member dies, then the Catholic Church is not the same anymore.'", he conceded that it has changed by developing. He never defines same, and since I do, then I win.
ok, one of his main points was that if the catholic church reamained unified, then they are still the same, but if the eastern orthodox church seperated, then it could not be unified, therefore it has changed and I win
point c) they sent children to die, the catholic church no longer sends people to die for stupid reasons, i win on this, because his claim is that the spanish inquisition wasn't horrible, this is sixth grade history, spanish inquisiion, crusades= BAD
D) ok, he concedes that alot more people do not believe in exorsisms, the point is that if people are not unified in the beleif, then it is not the same thing
ok, on the evolution debate. His source is 61 years old, mine is from 2 years ago, you should give this argument to me. also, their official stance is 102 YEARS OLD!! you cannot weigh it because times have changed since then, and his source saying that the pope never announced evolution is still 15 years old, all my evidence is much more credible and like i said his sources are uncredible, so they have changed their stance on evolution, therefore they are not the same
ok, so quick note for my opponent, your source doesn't say anything about straw man, but, (a straw man is a logical fallacy in which you attack the weakest argument)
ok, first of all, if he wanted me to only debate the 3 points above, he should have established that in rd 1
second, he should have fit a more loose definition example "the catholic church is mostly the same", but he didn't therefore, I can and should attack every argument no matter how weak
i look forward to the last round, and vote con
Complete list of popes throughout the centuries: http://ww.newadvent.org...; http://en.wikipedia.org...
The Vatican's current list in the 'annuario pontificio' is confirmed by ancient Christian writers who made catalogues of the successors of the See of Rome from the time of St. Peter to their present day. St. Irenaeus of Lyons records the succession of Popes in c.178 AD. , St. Optatus in 366 AD , and St. Augustine in 400 A.D.  From the 5th - 20th centuries, papal succession lists are even more complete.
Here is an excellent list of Papal ordinations of Catholic primary bishops from the 1st - 20th centuries http://www2.fiu.edu... Primary bishop ordination lines from 492 to 2010 AD here: http://www2.fiu.edu...
The Archaeological evidence is also strong. For example, you can visit the catacombs outside of Rome and see the actual room (discovered in 1854 by J.B. De Rossi) where early Christians buried the the remains of 9 Popes from 235 AD to 283 AD. In Rome, one can visit the tombs of more than half the Popes throughout history. These Popes existed and their remains are a testament to the fact that Catholic rulers go back to the earliest days of Christianity. In fact, there is more historical/archeological evidence for St. Peter's successors then there is for the existence of men like Alexander the Great, who's first biography was written 400 years after his death.
Conclusion: whether one believes in the Catholic claim of Apostolic succession or not, history and archaeology both prove that the successors of the Bishop of Rome can indeed be traced back to the 1st century AD.
On to addressing my opponent's points..
From the beginning of this debate, my opponent has attempted to place false arguments into my mouth, knock them down, and then claim 'victory'. This is a 'straw man'. Of course, I never said what he claims. Either he has deliberately twisted the framework of this debate to favor his views or has misunderstood my views. I have argued all along that the Catholic Church has 'stayed the same' only in three important respects, NOT in any and all respects. I even agreed with my opponent that the Church has changed in some respects.
It is R5, and my opponent has yet to bring forth one historically solid rebuttal against any of the three claims I made about the Catholic Church in R1, which was the framework for this debate. Even though I considered the topics he has brought up thus far to be largely irrelevant (like the Crusades), I still respectfully addressed and countered.
My opponent erroneously concludes that millions of Catholics can and have believed different things, therefore the Church has 'changed'? This is false. Catholics must believe in ONE set of (unchanging) doctrines. If any 'Catholic' deliberately denies even one article of faith, that person ceases to be Catholic and is a heretic.  Fact:Catholics of every age have admitted to the exact same articles of faith as Catholics today.
The Orthodox were the ones who split into 'independent' groups with no centralized head since 1054 AD, not the Catholic Church. She has remained unadulterated and 'the same' in the sense that Catholics continue to profess the exact same doctrines and have the same unity of govern't as they did before the Schism.
One cannot judge the entire Catholic Church on the basis of a few 'bad apples' or disbelievers, then claim that the Church has 'changed her doctrinal teachings'. We do not judge the entire medical profession based on a few 'quacks', nor judge the entire Law profession on the few who engage in malpractice.
My opponent argues that his source is more 'credible' than mine because it is more recent. Yet he cites the opinion of a newspaper article on the words of the Pope! I have cited official Church documents outlining exactly what Church teaching is on the subject - and NOTHING has changed in 100 years, so 'recent' does not mean more credible. Evolution is not an officially held Catholic belief and my opponent cannot prove otherwise. Also, non-Catholics very often do not understand the doctrine of 'Papal infallibility'. Not everything the Pope says or does is official Church teaching or is even right. He is believed to be protected from error only under certain conditions.
Conclusion: The Catholic Church has never retracted/went back on any officially held pronouncement or dogma. My opponent has failed to refute the historical facts I presented during this debate; esp in R2 where I showed how the Church's officially held teachings regarding faith and morals have indeed remained essentially the same for over 1900 years.
Adversus haereses Bk III 3.3
 De Schismate Donatistarum Bk. II 1-3
 Ep. 53 ad Generosum
 Catechism of C. of Trent
>> Catholics must believe in ONE set of (unchanging) doctrines. If any 'Catholic' deliberately denies even one article of faith, that person ceases to be Catholic and is a heretic.  Fact:Catholics of every age have admitted to the exact same articles of faith as Catholics today.
-This is not only impossible but just stupid, he's basically telling you that every true catholic has never lusted, and has never had pre-marital sex. Please it's only human to do these things, so common sense would tell you that there is no true catholic church.
>>my opponent has yet to bring forth one historically solid rebuttal against any of the three claims I made about the Catholic Church in R1, which was the framework for this debate
-like I said, there is no way all catholics can be unified, I didn't use evidence, I used logic
>>She has remained unadulterated and 'the same' in the sense that Catholics continue to profess the exact same doctrines and have the same unity of govern't as they did before the Schism
-Then why are there so many heretics? If it has true governing, why has it no control over all christians? The answer is- it doesn't
>>My opponent argues that his source is more 'credible' than mine because it is more recent. Yet he cites the opinion of a newspaper article on the words of the Pope! I have cited official Church documents outlining exactly what Church teaching is on the subject - and NOTHING has changed in 100 years, so 'recent' does not mean more credible. Evolution is not an officially held Catholic belief and my opponent cannot prove otherwise. Also, non-Catholics very often do not understand the doctrine of 'Papal infallibility'. Not everything the Pope says or does is official Church teaching or is even right. He is believed to be protected from error only under certain conditions.
-ok, one my source is a report on local catholics teaching evolution, two- he says nothing has changed in the past 100 years. I could make an entire list of things that have changed, but the facts point that 100 years ago, it was a crime to teach evolution in school, evolution was a secondary idea, and many scientists denied its existence, also he says popes aren't always right, then how can you trust his source? he says that his source is potentially uncredible.
In conclusion, you should vote con, because my opponent drops my arguments, and never establishes the rule of debating his three points. all of his sources are extremely outdated, vote con, because the catholic church clearly has changed and is no longer the same church as it was at the dawn of christianity.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by innomen 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Well, pro clearly caved because of a semantic error, con got a little nasty and forfieted. Remove the semantics of "same" and i think pro would have done better.
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