There are many different religions in our world. Society tells us that all of these religions are equal, because they all work towards the same goal. Ignoring the fact that not all religions actually work towards the same goal, I would like to discuss one reason why of all religions Catholicism is the only one that can claim to be the true religion founded by God Himself.
In previous posts we have addressed the inerrancy and reliability of Sacred Scripture, the development of the New Testament, the authority of the papacy, the error of sola scriptura, and many other topics which prove the truthfulness of Catholicism. There is another point, however, which I wish to examine here.
One of the oddities I noticed very early on about Protestants is that they often view their denominations as interchangeable. For example, I once knew a Southern Baptist man who married a Methodist girl. He decided to begin attending his wife’s Methodist church. When I expressed surprise at this the man’s grandmother (who was my employer) said, “Oh, it’s okay! Methodists and Baptists are both Christians. It’s all the same!”
These Protestants didn’t seem to understand my shock at such an idea. They could not, because the Protestants (with a few exceptions) tend to overlook their differences. They believe that Christianity may be outwardly divided, but that does not matter. Spiritually, most Protestants believe, all Christians are the same. Hence, all Christian denominations lead to Heaven. We are united by our basic beliefs in the Holy Trinity, Incarnation, Jesus’ redemptive and sacrificial death, etc.
For Catholics, however, it is not that simple. Jesus founded only one Church. While all other denominations are deficient, their adherents do have the opportunity to go to Heaven. Yet, anyone who willfully and knowingly rejects the Catholic Faith does risk damnation. This is because the Catholic Church alone was the Church founded by Jesus Christ. It alone has retained the complete truth handed down by Christ and His Apostles.
This is one way to look at it. There is, however, another way in which to examine the truthfulness of the Catholic Faith. Because the Catholic Church claims to have been founded by God Himself, we are either correct, or we are liars. If correct, the Catholic Church is the True Church. If wrong, then the Catholic Church is diabolical.
There is no better example of this than the Holy Eucharist. The Catholic Church teaches that, at the consecration during Mass, the bread and wine become the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. This is known as Transubstantiation (the Real Presence).
Now, if the bread and wine really are the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus at the moment of consecration, then the Catholic Church must be what it claims to be. There would be no way for priests and bishops to consecrate the elements without having received such authority from Jesus Christ Himself. So, if Transubstantiation is true, the Catholic Church is exactly what It claims to be.
If Transubstantiation is false, the Catholic Church is not only mistaken, but it is diabolical. Since Catholics believe in the Real Presence, we worship the Eucharist. If what we believe is true, then such adoration would make sense, and would only be proper. If the Catholic Church is wrong, however, then our adoration of the Eucharist is nothing short of rank paganism. It would be equivalent to worshiping an idol of stone, wood, or gold.
Before you simply discount the Catholic Faith, consider how many brilliant thinkers have been Catholics. Some of the greatest minds have accepted the Catholic Faith. We have given the world the likes of Michelangelo, Raphael, Galileo, Copernicus, Vivaldi, Pasteur, and many other of the world’s greatest minds in science, art, architecture, and music! Could so many great thinkers be so easily discounted on such a serious issue? After all, it was a matter of choice between truth, and diabolical error.
Peace in Christ,
David J. Pollard
American Catholic Solidarity