The Instigator
Tophatdoc
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
Juris
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Roman Catholic Church has Become Weak

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Tophatdoc
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/30/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,005 times Debate No: 43150
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (2)

 

Tophatdoc

Pro

This debate is about whether the Roman Catholic Church has become weak. I as the Pro side, will be arguing that the Roman Catholic Church has become weak.

Debate Structure:
Round 1) Acceptance only
Round 2)Opening Arguments
Round 3)Rebuttals
Round 4)Closing Arguments. No new evidence is allowed to be presented. Otherwise it is an automatic forfeit of all points.
Juris

Con

Challenge accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
Tophatdoc

Pro

I would like to thank Con for accepting this debate. I as Pro will be arguing that The Roman Catholic Church has become weak. First the following definitions need to be defined.

Weak[1]- “1.Lacking physical strength, energy, or vigor; feeble.”
“3. Lacking firmness of character or strength of will.”
[1]http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

Church[2]- “2. often church”
“c. “a congregation”
[2]http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

The Roman Catholic Church has become weak in several ways. The Church has become weak physically, politically, and spiritually.

1. The Catholic Church has become weak physically.

The Catholic Church at one point in history used to be able to exercise force to protect their interests. This started back in the period of the Crusades in the 11th century. The Catholic Church would have military orders to uphold their causes[3]. The most well known military orders were the Templar Knights, Knights of Santiago, and the Hospitallers of St. John. The military orders fought against pagans and Muslims depending upon the Crusade. In today's time, the Catholic Church has been reduced to a dwindling number of military orders. Those military orders don't fight in wars or experience combat. Instead the military orders are symbolic. The Catholic Church is incapable of waging wars like the Northern Crusades, the Reconquista, and the Crusades for the Holy Land. Therefore, they have become physically weak compared to the Church's history.

[3]http://www.newadvent.org...


2. The Catholic Church has become weak politically.


The Catholic Church has been rendered impotent in terms of their political influence. At one period of time, the Catholic Church was capable of coronations, excommunications, and Crusades. Coronations and blessings from the Catholic Church would allow sovereigns to be seen as legitimate. At one time in history, the Pope would be able to give a king respect by having a coronation. Or how a bishop would give the Catholic Church's blessing to a marriage of a king or queen. A good example of this would be how Pope Urban II excommunicated Philip I for his adulterous behavior[4]. If the Pope excommunicated someone of significance into today’s time it would be inconsequential.


The Pope can not call for a crusade against the opponents of the church. Well perhaps, he can call for it but no one with power will respond. In the past, Kings and Princes would of rushed to the Pope's aid. But not anymore. The Catholic Church and the Pope weakened politically to a point of being acknowledged for token appreciation.

[4]http://europeanhistory.boisestate.edu...

3. The Catholic Church has become weak spiritually.


The Catholic Church has shown that they are not able to stick to their beliefs. Instead they have been pressured into conforming to secular beliefs.An example of this would be how before the mid-century, all non-Catholics went to Hell according to Catholic Church[5]. This included other Christians as well. The Vatican II, in 1965 changed this doctrine.The Catholic Church reacts and does not create official stances any longer. Therefore they have become weak spiritually.


[5]http://www.religioustolerance.org...

Juris

Con

Arguments

Parameters must be set. This includes the period or time which will cover this debate. To use the time where the church has military control is very limited in scope and favoring my opponent’s side, otherwise, I could also use the time where the church was just starting and still weak and say that it has really become powerful. So with this, time frame must not be biased.

I will argue that the Roman Catholic church has not become weak for the following points:


1. The membership of Roman Catholic Church has increased a lot which means that its influence has also expanded. It has now approximately 1.2 billion members1. With that number, it is clear that its power and influence have increased, instead of weakened. With the growing population, Catholics are also increasing. Today, the Catholic Church has more vast influence with its members compared before where the membership was low.


2. Roman Catholic Church was very weak and hated before, but now it is respected by many. In the beginning Christians were persecuted because their belief was contrary of that in the Roman Empire. Until Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity, the church was never in existent in such a way that it is today, thus rendering it weak before but strong today.

The Church’s influence has become global and universal. It has a say on different issues and even influence them. Many political leaders and others who are in position listen to them to some extent. The Pope who is the leader of the Church is well respected and loved. Though he has no longer state power, it does not imply that his scope of influence has weakened. Power and influence do not pertain exclusively to political power which leaders of the Church have lost. Power could also be spiritual power which the Roman Catholic Church has become so powerful.


It is clear that Roman Catholic Church has become strong compared to its early days because unlike before, it is now respected and loved, it has many members now which means an increase of influence, and though its political power has changed not vanished as compared when it is still in medieval times, its spiritual power has increased greatly while still having influence in political sphere.

1 http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
Tophatdoc

Pro

"To use the time where the church has military control is very limited in scope and favoring my opponent"s side, otherwise, I could also use the time where the church was just starting and still weak and say that it has really become powerful. So with this, time frame must not be biased."

This is inherently a comparative debate. "The Roman Catholic Church is weak" implies that the Church was stronger in the past. Therefore Con can't compare it to the earliest period of the Church. Con must show how the Roman Catholic Church has not become weak in the present time. I am arguing the Catholic Church was at their strongest point between the period of the Council of Clermont(late 11th century) and the Protestant Reformation(early 16th century). That is roughly below five centuries about. However, I am also addressing how the Catholic Church has continued to become weaker.

"The membership of Roman Catholic Church has increased a lot which means that its influence has also expanded. It has now approximately 1.2 billion members."

I would agree, that the Catholic Church has had a larger membership but that is not what is being disputed in this debate. The Catholic Church may have more influence because they have a larger membership.But the Catholic church is not capable of exercising their influence at all. Therefore, the Catholic Church has become weaker.

In the past the Catholic Church had a smaller membership and was fully capable exercising their influence. The Catholic Church was capable of demanding what they wanted and pressuring those who would resist their influence. That is not the case in today's time. The Catholic Church does not have any political clout in the present time either.

Clout: "2.power or influence, esp in politics"
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

No one of significance has to follow the orders of the Catholic Church.

"Until Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity, the church was never in existent in such a way that it is today, thus rendering it weak before but strong today."

Legitimacy in this situation has nothing to do with strength or weakness. Legitimacy has to do with whether one will be respected and acknowledged.Rather than being persecuted and hunted down. Emperor Constantine I allowed the Church to be recognized. Recognition and strength are completely separate in this situation.

"The Church"s influence has become global and universal. It has a say on different issues and even influence them. Many political leaders and others who are in position listen to them to some extent. "
There is no requirement to listen to the Catholic Church. In the past, there was a requirement to listen to the Catholic Church and the Pope; or be prepared to suffer excommunication or a crusade.

"The Pope who is the leader of the Church is well respected and loved."

The Pope is not as loved as he was in past. Otherwise people would do as he wishes with no questions asked.

"Power could also be spiritual power which the Roman Catholic Church has become so powerful."

If this is true, the Catholic Church wouldn't have had to change their beliefs. Their followers and supporters that disagreed would change their beliefs to the Catholic Church's teachings. But that is not the case. The Catholic Church has conformed to the wishes of others.

"It is clear that Roman Catholic Church has become strong compared to its early days because unlike before, it is now respected and loved, it has many members now which means an increase of influence"

The Catholic Church has become drastically weaker since the Protestant Reformation. The Pope used to have the power to hold coronations for kings and queens. Not any longer. I will just Niccolo Machiavelli for this one. "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.[1]" The Catholic Church is no longer feared because it has become weak.

[1] The Prince- Niccolo Machiavelli
Juris

Con

Rebuttals:


Pro thinks that by just proving that the Church had political powers in the middle ages that he will win this debate. He believes it is that easy. But the problem with that, however, is that no body is contending whether the church had political powers, because it is a fact that it had it before. The question is that whether losing political power today constitutes a weakening image of the church, to which I say, no.



To rebut his overall argument, the parameters of this debate regarding weakness, in the name of fairness ,are the following:


1. The current level of adaption to the changing times
2. The current quantitative characteristics
3. The current influence it has towards the political and social aspects.



Pro tried to focus only on the (#3) political and social influence of the church. By doing so, he became blind and biased in this debate that instead of attacking a wider scope, he focused just on limited part of the debate. His argument can be summed up with this statement: The church does not have political powers unlike in the middle ages, so I win. But this not the case.



In round 2, I have proven that the Church has survived in the changing time where others failed, its growing population is ever increasing which results to increase in influence, and that it still have political influence today. All these things point to one thing: The church has not weakened.
Debate Round No. 3
Tophatdoc

Pro

Here is my response to a few of Con's points. There will be no new evidence provided because this is Round 4.

"The question is that whether losing political power today constitutes a weakening image of the church, to which I say, no."

The debate resolution can speak for itself: "The Roman Catholic Church has Become Weak." There is nothing about political weakness in particular. See round two where I provided the definitions of the term weak as well. As Pro I have provided how the church has become weak in several different ways.

"By doing so, he became blind and biased in this debate that instead of attacking a wider scope, he focused just on limited part of the debate. His argument can be summed up with this statement: The church does not have political powers unlike in the middle ages, so I win. But this not the case."

Con is asserting a farcical statement late in the debate. In round two , I provided three forms of weakness to show the Catholic Church has become weak. I showed how according to the strictest definition of the term, "weak ," the Roman Catholic Church has become the embodiment of it. The most common definition of the term "weak" applies to "physical prowess." Con has intentionally ignored two out of three of those weaknesses which included physical and spiritual weakness. Instead he has focused on responding to the political weakness. As Pro, I have acknowledged all of his claims and responded in turn. So it is not I who is blind and biased.

"In round 2, I have proven that the Church has survived in the changing time where others failed, its growing population is ever increasing which results to increase in influence, and that it still have political influence today. All these things point to one thing: The church has not weakened."

Survival has nothing to do with strength. I refuted this point in Round 2 when I discussed legitimacy.

This is the final round so let us summon the points I have presented to confirm the resolution that has been proposed.

1. This debate is inherently a comparative debate about the Roman Catholic Church's past compared to the present circumstances. We are debating the strength of the Roman Catholic Church. Con has yielded to provide any evidence on how the Roman Catholic Church is stronger than in the past. Instead, Con has provided us with the evidence in a dramatic rise in membership. I refuted this point in the third round.

2. All three forms of weakness that I discussed in the second round stand. The three forms of weakness included physical weakness, political weakness, and spiritual weakness. Con has failed to refute them, nevertheless acknowledge them. Two out of three of them weren't even discussed thoroughly. One of the two, spiritual weakness was glazed over by Con which was spiritual weakness in round two. But Con provided no contrary evidence to my second round claim of how the Catholic Church conforms their beliefs according to the wishes of others. Therefore, all three points of weakness stand as is.

See Round Two.

3. The Roman Catholic Church's survival has nothing to do with strength or weakness.

See Round Three.

4. A larger membership in the Roman Catholic Church has not brought about more strength. The Roman Catholic Church is incapable of calling a Crusade. It does not matter if they excommunicate someone from the Church.

See Rounds Two and Three.

I would like to thank Con for participating in this debate. If you believe that I have shown the Catholic Church has become weak according to the strictest definition of the term weak, Vote Pro. If you believe that all three forms of weakness that I showed validated the decline of Roman Catholic Church's strength, Vote Pro.
Juris

Con

I'll make this short.

1. Pro assumed that all he has to do is to prove that the church had political powers before, then that's it the debate is over. He also assumed that only political power is the criterion for judging whether the church has weakened. This is not the case, however. Adaptability to changing time and growing membership are other factors which he failed to sufficiently rebut.

2. Pro failed to understand clearly this debate. It goes like saying, "hey the church had political powers before, but today it does not have it, so Shut up Con because I win." He set his own biased criterion which I challenged by giving 3 criteria (in previous round)

3. I was able to support my claim that the church has not weakened because it has survived in the changing time, it has increased its membership, and it still has influence on political sphere.

With all the above reasons that I should win.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FluffyCactus 3 years ago
FluffyCactus
I would vote if I could. Pro's categories are misleading. An ecclesial community cannot be 'physically' strong or weak. It is not an actual biological body and cannot manipulate surroundings. To say it is or has been physically strong is incorrect. By definition, it cannot physically interact with the world. It's members can physically interact with the world through individual action. But the church as an institution cannot.

To those in the comments who think the pope has "changed the tradition" as it were; you are very wrong. He has not gone against the tradition or teachings of the Catholic church. He also maintains that Christ is the only salvation. The media vastly misrepresents the Pope, consistently. That's why the Vatican always has to clarify things.
Posted by TheBigBambino 3 years ago
TheBigBambino
@bubbathedown
The pope has NOT taken up a pro-gay stance. This is simply a misconception brought to you by the media.
What he said in his speech " Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?" the pontiff said, speaking in Italian. "You can't marginalize these people." is consistent with Catholic teaching, as Catholics belief Christ is the only judge.

"Vatican experts were quick to point out that Francis was not suggesting that the priests or anyone else should act on their homosexual tendencies, which the church considers a sin. " Homosexual act (not temptation) is a sin. If Pope Frances had taken up a pro-gay stance, he probably would have changed the Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Posted by bubbatheclown 3 years ago
bubbatheclown
In weak, pro probably means that the Catholic Church has given in to external pressure, lacks the influence it used to possess, maybe declining membership etcetera.
However, pro should be more specific. For instance, take the pro-life position of the Catholic church. There are many Catholic churches through the United States that campaign strongly against abortion. They also provide many food ministries and there are many catholic churches. These average catholic churches are not weak at all in these respects.
However, with no disrespect intended towards Catholicism, its leadership is completely messed up. The new pope (Pope Francis the First) is refusing to follow millenia-old church doctrine, such as Jesus Christ being the only Way to salvation. The Pope has also taken up a pro-gay stance, which is also against millenia of church doctrine because the New Testament denounces homosexuality. In these respects, the leadership of the Catholic Church is weak.
Posted by TheBigBambino 3 years ago
TheBigBambino
Perhaps he is referring to political influence?
Posted by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
So you're going to argue that the members of the Catholic church have become physically weaker?
Posted by Tophatdoc 3 years ago
Tophatdoc
@EndarkenedRationalist , maybe I should of been clear with the definition of church.

2. often Church: c.A congregation
Congregation:a group of people assembled for religious worship.

@Sukhmeet, the Catholic Church is the largest it has ever been compared to the period before the Reformation. There is a significant number of more members than in previous centuries.
Posted by Sukhmeet 3 years ago
Sukhmeet
You are clearly going to win, everyone knows the Catholic Church has fallen since the Reformation
Posted by EndarkenedRationalist 3 years ago
EndarkenedRationalist
Well, a church is incapable of performing physical tasks in the first place, so that definition can't apply.
Posted by Tophatdoc 3 years ago
Tophatdoc
Strictly according to definition: "lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength and energy."
Posted by EndarkenedRationalist 3 years ago
EndarkenedRationalist
"Weak" in what sense?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by GarretKadeDupre 3 years ago
GarretKadeDupre
TophatdocJurisTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The spelling & grammar of both sides was a joke. Pro won because the definition of strong that Con effectively conceded too said "ESPECIALLY political power" and Pro won in that regard. Con DID point out that the Church started off weak, but Pro's point that the Church has become relatively weak was more convincing to me.
Vote Placed by janetsanders733 3 years ago
janetsanders733
TophatdocJurisTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Good job to both debaters. However,I think that Pro did slightly better because he focused on the topic of the debate, and that is referring to political, spirtual, and power. Con seemed to focus more on the spirtual issue, but I think Con also did a good job of defending the growth and spirtuality. Very tough debate, but I think Pro stuck it out in the end.