Continued from yesterday, how I stumbled my way into the Catholic faith.
In my hockey example from yesterday we were left with Detroit fans thinking one thing and Colorado fans thinking something else, but who decides who’s right and who’s wrong? Well, in the hockey world the referee on the ice makes the initial determination by deciding to call a penalty or not. Then the league will review the play to see if additional measures are needed, such as a suspension. In this case, Lemieux was called for a penalty by the on ice official, and suspended for two games by the league. Case closed. Dirty play, right? Not so fast, Avalanche and Lemieux fans will still say it’s not a dirty hit regardless of the league ruling. And they will make that determination watching the exact same video that all sane people use to prove it was dirty. So, again, only Lemieux knows for sure.
But, what if Claude Lemieux had formed the NHL. What if he had gone out and picked twelve Canadians and told them they would form a league, and that league would continue until the end of time. Through lockouts, player strikes, bad calls in Stanley Cup finals. He would teach the twelve Canadians everything he knew about hockey, and he knew the game perfectly. He would commission them to go out and expand the league as they saw fit, even to far away lands like Tampa and Dallas. To forgive or punish plays based on their discretion, because he had given them the authority to do so. Then, these men passed the teachings of Claude Lemieux on to other men because, after all, the league had to last until the end of time. It could not just fade away with the death of the twelve Canadians. Then, those men passed it on to others, and so on, and so on, until today. Would that league have the ultimate authority and knowledge to rule on the hit, and what Claude Lemieux meant when he did it?
Now, I know this isn’t a perfect example. Claude Lemieux can’t start the NHL and then many generations later be penalized by the same league, I’m aware of that. What we have in Christianity, however, is somewhat similar. I came to believe the Catholic Church’s claim that Jesus founded a Church, and that Church has handed down the teachings of Christ from generation to generation for 2000 years. At about the 1500 year mark there were some folks who were getting very upset with some people within that original church, with some valid reasons, and decided to start their own Church. Now, that split church is about 30,000 different churches, molding the teachings of Christ to be just about anything under the sun. If you can dream it, you can find a church that will say that it’s OK for you to do it. On the other hand, that original Church is still here, still teaching the same things about Christ as it was 2000 years ago. There is tons more that goes into this particular argument, but in a nutshell that’s it. One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church – in my belief there is only one that fits the bill.
Later I’ll explore how I came to that belief. To be continued…