Editorial Board | Echo
The Catholic church has been in and out of media headlines since 2002, when the Boston Globe investigative team, Spotlight, broke several sexual abuse scandals that the church had covered up.
As more stories of victims have surfaced since that time, the public image of the Catholic church has continued to be tainted. But aside from these scandals, what do Protestants actually know about the Catholic church?
"I think a lot of people just don't know a lot about the Catholic church," sophomore Hannah Wallen said. "So I think it's easy to criticize something you choose to not inform yourself on, but if you want to inform yourself on it, you totally can."
Part of the Historic Christian Belief course, a general education class all Taylor students are required to take, teaches on Catholic theology, along with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant theology. Joseph Pak, associate professor of biblical studies, is an instructor for the Historic Christian Belief course and has experience with Catholic theology through this course.
According to Pak, Catholicism is very diverse, much like Protestantism. Protestants and Catholics also share the same Bible, aside from the Apocrypha, which are seven additional books included in the Catholic Bible.
"I don't think those seven additional books undermine or contradict the rest of the Bible," Pak said. "So . . . they build the same Bible. So are there Bible-believing, evangelical, godly Catholics? Yes."
Pak teaches about the similarities and differences in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant theology, and tries to point out what can be learned and emulated from the other groups.
Junior Pat McNamara grew up in the Catholic church, and is really grateful for the work the Catholic church has done when it comes to taking care of the poor and oppressed. He understands that there are differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, and many people don't quite understand those differences.
"Some people think Catholics aren't Christian, but I find most people in evangelical circles have had minimal interaction with true, faith-filled Catholics," McNamara said. "This leaves a sense of mystery around the Pope, Saints, and Mother Mary and other areas where Catholicism differs from most Protestant churches."
Pak acknowledges that some Catholics are offended by the way Protestants view them, as people who need salvation. He is wary of that assumption because it is not people's job to judge who are truly Christian or not. In the end, the Catholic church believes the Bible, believes in the same God, and can trace its roots all the way to Jesus and the apostles.
The Editorial Board agrees that the Catholic church is part of the body of Christ, and that should affect our attitudes toward it.