Thanks for joining me today as we continue our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018).
Claim #7: I am a Catholic because the Catholic church has been infallibly right about everything she has ever claimed to be infallibly right about.
In this, the book’s longest chapter, Kreeft lists twenty-two Catholic doctrines/policies which he claims the RCC is infallibly right about. I’ll summarize them and respond to them as briefly as I can. Excuse the length, but there’s no getting around it. It’s actually a VERY revealing list.
Claim: The RCC has been right about church-state relations, following a balanced course.
Truth: As history records, Roman Catholicism conflated church and state to an extreme degree.
Claim: The RCC has been right about war, espousing non-violence, but also allowing for just warfare.
Truth: As history testifies, the RCC encouraged military conquest of non-Catholic peoples, which included forced baptisms. As mentioned in our examination of the previous chapter, RCC history includes systematic anti-Semitism, the Inquisition, and the relentless persecution of Protestants.
Claim: The RCC has been right about the Trinity.
Truth: That is true, although the RCC ultimately denies the offices of Jesus Christ by substituting sacramentalism and merit for Christ the Savior. It also substitutes priests, Mary, and saints for Christ the Mediator. It’s a false paradigm to view the early church councils and their defense of the Trinity as Roman Catholic in the sense that Roman Catholicism has been understood the last 1000 years.
Claim: The RCC has been right about Christology.
Truth: The RCC does correctly teach that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, but also teaches he is locked away in RCC altar tabernacles as consecrated eucharist wafers.
Claim: The RCC has been right about the church being both visual/institutional and the spiritual Body of Christ.
Truth: The RCC is 100% institutional. No Catholic is genuinely born-again by following the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.
Claim: The RCC has been right about the sacraments.
Truth: The RCC’s sacramental salvation system (baptismal regeneration, communion, confession, confirmation, marriage, last rites, ordination) is a religious ceremonial ladder. Lots of ritual, but no genuine acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.
Claim: The RCC has been right about Protestants, acknowledging they’re “separated brethren,” but lacking the full revelation of God.
Truth: The RCC flip-flopped on Protestants, viewing them as heretics prior to the Second Vatican Council. Evangelical Christians rightly view Scripture as their sole spiritual authority while RC-ism’s elevation of “sacred tradition” and its magisterium (papal and episcopal teaching authority) over Scripture has led to a myriad of heresies, fanciful myths, and superstitions.
Claim: The RCC has been right about man, avoiding spiritualism, materialism, and dualism.
Truth: The RCC is up to its eyeballs in church-sanctioned spiritualism (praying to dead saints) and materialism (no other church or religious institution compares with the worldly grandeur and pomp and ceremony of Roman Catholicism).
Claim: The RCC has been right about man being neither sinless or saintless.
Truth: The RCC views man as basically good, but “wounded” and the church, like a field hospital, helps him get back on his feet and achieve his mission (salvation). In contrast, God’s Word says there is none righteous. We are all depraved sinners and salvation is only by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
Claim: The RCC has been right about affirming both predestination and free will.
Truth: The RCC is semi-Pelagian, “affirming” God’s grace (via the sacraments) as part of its salvation plan, but likewise affirming works and merit as the other component.
Claim: The RCC has been right about “grace always being absolutely prior to nature, but also validating, using, and perfecting nature rather than rivaling it or demeaning it.”
Truth: Catholics believe God uses nature (physical, material) as the means to salvation (e.g., the institutional church, priests, church buildings, sacraments, sacramentals, etc.). Gospel Christians know salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone as revealed in God’s Word as illuminated by the Holy Spirit. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” – John 6:63.
Claim: The RCC has been right about justification requiring both the root of faith and the fruit of love (obedience, charity, works).
Truth: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” – Ephesians 2:8-10. Evangelical ecumenists who misguidedly believe the RCC teaches the genuine Gospel need to take Catholics, like Kreeft, at their word.
Claim: The RCC has been right about morality, avoiding Jansenist and Puritan rigorism at one extreme and relativism and pragmatism at the other extreme.
Truth: The RCC is wrong because it teaches morality saves a person. Since Catholics believe they must ultimately merit their salvation, one would think they would want to outdo the most rigorous Jansenist. While there definitely was a lot of that in RC-ism (see monasteries, convents, and self-mortification practices), a great many Catholics today are not moralists to any degree (56% support abortion in all or most cases and 75% are in favor of unmarried cohabitation).
Claim: The RCC has been right about its enemies being both on the political Left (communism) and on the Right (fascism).
Truth: RC-ism has been a supporter of both the extreme Left (see Liberation Theology) and the extreme Right (see Fascism in 1920s-40s Europe and Clerico-Fascism in South America).
Claim: The RCC has been right in opposing totalitarianism in the East and consumerism and materialism in the West.
Truth: As stated above, the RCC was a friend and ally of 1920s-40s European Catholic fascist dictators, including Franco (Spain), Salazar (Portugal), Mussolini (Italy), Pavelic (Croatia), the Sanacja regime (Poland), Petain (Vichy France), Dollfus (Austria), and Degrelle (Belgium). As for materialism, one need only research the extravagant residences and other assets of popes and Catholic prelates throughout history.
Claim: The RCC has been right about Islam being both a heresy and a noble religion that worships the same God as Jews and Christians.
Truth: The RCC didn’t acknowledge Islam as a legitimate religion or that Allah is allegedly the same God as Yahweh/Jehovah of the Bible until the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Kreeft’s (and Catholicism’s) blatantly heretical claim above “should” give long pause to Rome-friendly, evangelical ecumenists.
Claim: The RCC has been right about Judaism, allowing that Jews worship the same God as Christians and can also merit salvation, but will become more Jewish/better Jews when they convert to Catholicism.
Truth: “Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” – 1 John 5:10-12.
Claim: The RCC has been right about birth control.
Truth: There is nothing sinful with using non-abortifacient contraceptives. Life does not begin until conception. Catholic sources report that 98% of Catholic women have used some form of artificial birth control.
Claim: The RCC has been right about divorce.
Truth: Divorce except for adultery is certainly a sin, but Catholicism skirts around divorce with its fraudulent marriage annulment process.
Claim: The RCC has been right about spiritualism and materialism.
Truth: Huh? Kreeft already crossed this road.
Claim: The RCC has been right about both the dignity of homosexual persons and the indignity of homosexual acts.
Truth: Through the efforts of progressive Jesuit, James Martin, and others, the RCC is gradually coming around to accepting practicing LGBTers as members in good standing.
Claim: The RCC has been right about the destructiveness of the sexual revolution.
Truth: The RCC upholds morality without genuine salvation in Christ by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Roman Catholic priests, who admonish their parishioners at every mass to continue in meriting their salvation, have fueled a twenty-year-long sexual abuse scandal of tsunami proportions.
Kreeft began this chapter by asserting that the claims he would present were infallible teachings of the RCC. Kreeft is being underhandedly deceptive. Actually, no Catholic prelate would view these 22 claims as infallible save those referring to the Trinity, Christology, and the sacraments. Catholic theologians can only agree on three papal declarations as being infallible: 1) the immaculate conception of Mary (1854), 2) the declaration on papal infallibility (1870), and 3) the assumption of Mary into Heaven (1950).
Whew! I’m bushed! Kreeft made a bucketful of audaciously false claims, but his bucket does not hold any water.
Next week: Claim #8: I am a Catholic because of cathedrals