Q. I had a discussion yesterday with a Protestant friend of mine and I was maintaining my belief that the Catholic Church has not changed its doctrine. But he mentioned that ST Irenaeus was clearly for the doctrine of election and so was the Catholic Church and this doctrine changed years after to what we believe today that Jesus died for everyone.
A. The fact that a Saint, even one as great as St. Irenaeus, taught something does not mean their teaching was infallible or that it is what the Church taught. Besides this,all kinds of heresies were taught for centuries by Catholic Heretics. But these were opposed by the Pope and the Magesterium. Ask your friend for the citation or where it can be found that the Church taught limited atonement, predestination and/or the doctrine of election. I do not believe she will be able to prove it.
The Sacred Scripture:
I Tim 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
So Timothy either lied, or this scripture is not infallible, or God was impotent to do His part to atone for all men. None of these are good choices.
The Catholic Church has always taught that NOT everyone will BE saved but as far as I know it has never taught that Christ died only for the elect. So, I would love to have your friend try to prove the contention that the Church has changed her doctrines.
Q. My friend was very clear that since the doctrine of the Catholic Church changed, that its not the same Catholic Church that I believe in. I had no answer to this and I really hope that I do find the answer
A. The Catholic Church has NOT changed. Our understanding of the teaching of the apostles has deepened and developed over the centuries. Just like an acorn planted in the earth grows into a giant tree. It did not become a different tree but the giant oak looks very different than an acorn. The Catholic Church never changed. Your friend contends that it has. He says he has proof that is has but this proof needs to be presented so that we can all judge for ourselves. We cannot just take his word for it.
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