Recently, I had a discussion with someone who insisted that Catholic truths are not Biblical because of this and that. Oh, you’ve probably already heard of those arguments. The internet is teeming with those arguments propagated by those who know the Bible from cover to cover.
I’m not going to present my counter-arguments, rather I wish to say that Catholic truths, unlike Protestant truths, didn’t originate from the Bible nor are they based on the Bible. Rather, they originated and are based on self-sacrificing love, the kind of love which Catholicism teaches God is. One does not need to know the Bible thoroughly to understand, accept and propagate this kind of love.
Further, Catholicism isn’t a religion of the Bible, instead the Bible is a book of Catholicism which must be read, interpreted and understood with the lens of self-sacrificing love. That’s why no anti-Catholic Bible interpretation will ever correctly deny Catholicism. The only way to deny the Roman Catholic Church is to deny love.
That said, based on my observations and experiences while dealing with Protestants, it can be difficult to promote Catholicism because of the differing ways these two religions organize their teachings. Protestantism starts with the Bible then proceeds from there, one thing leading to another in a neat outline. In contrast, Catholicism is like a web of ideas circling around the heart or center which is self-sacrificing love.
To make things even more difficult, the Protestant outline of ideas is 2 dimensional where the top of the outline proceeds to the bottom or vice versa depending on how one is arguing. Meanwhile, the Catholic web of ideas is 3 dimensional where there are several layers of webs some parts of which can be connected to other webs in various ways. Thus, Catholic arguments cannot be presented as neatly as Protestant arguments. They can also sometimes seem circular.
For example, the Papacy can be argued as based on the Bible, but how do we know that the Papacy is the correct interpretation of Jesus proclaiming Peter as rock? Well, because that’s the correct interpretation according to the Catholic Church. But who says that the Catholic interpretation is the correct one? The Church herself!
I think a better way is this: instead of being drawn into the argument without immediately denying the Protestant premise that the Bible is the basis of truth, Catholics must nip this in the bud and say that Catholicism is not based on the Bible, rather the Bible is based on Catholicism. Also, that Catholicism’s center or heart or foundation is not the Bible but self-sacrificing love. If you think about it, that’s another way of saying Catholicism’s center or heart or foundation is God Himself, for who is God but self-sacrificing love?
Put a different way, Protestantism is based on the Bible, but Catholicism is based on God Himself. Ain’t that awesome!