I raised five serious theological issues I have with the Roman Catholic Church (Immaculate Conception of Mary, Supremacy and Infallibility of the Pope, Transubstantiation, Forced Celibacy of the Clergy and the claim to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church)Like Archer said in his Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties Inerrerant is not impecable with regard to the Scriptures. We can use the same view with regard to Infallibility. Infallibility does not equal impeccability. What it does mean is that the Pope can not make a declarative teaching on Faith and morals that contradicts the Deposit of faith. The Pope is in a community and cannot go against the deposit. His teaching is reflective of that deposit of faith. community members will verify if the Pope teaches something in error. But most likely any error that may be in germ from will be weeded out before any declaration from the council of Cardinals. In other words the Pope cannot teach against the deposit of faith.
Transubstantiation: Also terms must be properly understood in order to obtain an understanding what is being said here. Read Thomas Aquinas and understand the classical understanding of what substance means. In an attempt to define what it could not be. The protestants at the time denied that it was the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. But the deposit and writings of early Christians such as Ignatius and Justin verify that the elements are no longer just plain elements but have Mystically become the body and blood of Jesus. Therefore this doctrine cannot be taken to mean that these elements are meerly symbolic but in fact are the body and blood of this same Jesus Christ.
Immaculate conseption of Mary. The Catachism defines what it means when it says "everything we believe about Mary come about from what we believe about Jesus" Remember there is the deposit which has been passed down and we can see as early As John Chrysostom a particular view about Mary has existed throughout church history. In order to understand the Immaculate conseption you must first understand what Catholics believe about Jesus. The dual nature of Christ lends itself to Theotokos. Mother of God. The incarnation is about God becoming man. Mary did not give birth to just a man that became possesed by the Son. No she gave birth to Jesus who is man and the divine son. To say anything else lessens Jesus. Next you have to understand what Catholics mean by original sin. A quick review of St. Augustine can reveal that to you. But in order for Mary to give of herself in total obedience God's grace overshadowed her from her conseption. More can be said on this but you would have to list your particular disagreements. (I didn't read your entire article.) We See Elizabeth say of Mary "Mother of my Lord" etc...
As far as the one holy catholic and apostolic Church a quick review of Eusibius should give you insite into this consept. There are an apostolic succession of Bishops that have been passed down through the ages to this very day.
Forced Celebacy for the Chruch was devoloped initially because of abuse such as heredity in titles and land and wealth. It continues because... well there are many reasons not the least because they take Paul seriously when he says I wish you were as I. The Church wants total devotion to the lord for its clergy. Not a bad request. What are you willing to give up to do what Jesus calls you to do? I must say I never became a priest because I know I would have burned with desire an rahter have that problem I followed the Lord into sacramental marriage and raise children that honor him.
Quoting St. Anselm: For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this I believe - that unless I believe, I should not understand.
Ivan's Response to Sambos671's Rebuttle
Sambos, thank you for the clarification of terms, it's definately very helpful.
I see your point about the distinction between infallibility and impeccability. How do we apply this in regard to the more corrupt popes listed? As James states that faith not backed up by action is no faith at all, these particular popes seemed to do everything in their power to actively oppose faith. also, what about Pope Honorius I who was declared a heratic both by the sixth Ecumenical Council and Pope Leo II? That particular episode shows pretty clearly that the Church doesn't always quickly catch heretical decrees.
On transubstantiation, I think you would be surprised at how many Protestants agree (though, I tend to appreciate the Eastern Orthodox explanation of the Mystery of the Eucharist more). For me, this wasn't so much of a "theological problem" as it was a "theological question".
In regards to the immaculate conception, I totally agree that the point is that Jesus is fully human and fully Divine. But being born to a woman guilty of sin doesn't lessen His Divinity, it fulfills His humanity, which is necessary for Him to totally identify with us (if I understand Athanasius' On the Incarnation correctly). To take the burden of our sins on His shoulders and to experience the rejection that goes along with that, He had to be born into a sinful world, to a woman guilty of sin though still given God's grace.
Finally, I agree with your assessment in regard to the value of celibacy. I just don't think it should be forced, and I think the 1 Timothy passage cited in the essay supports that assertion.