"...the Catholic Church believes she has never erred in matters pertaining to
faith and morals; it has nothing to do with historical opinions. To quote the
Wikipedia entry, "in Catholic thought, the exemption of the Roman Church from error extends only to its definitive teachings on faith and morals: not its historical judgments." In other words, those teachings that are not held to be divine revelations but are free from error and essential to proper belief."
Kim: "But those horrible things were done by the Church. They certainly weren't actions that were borne of true faith. And they certainly weren't moral actions!"
This is quite obviously ridiculous. No-one can live out this kind of mentality in real-life without being thought insane. If I were to shoot a classroom full of kindergaarten kids, I wouldn't have any kind of defense for my actions. I wouldn't be able to say, "well, that was just my body, my fleshliness. My mind was pure apart from the actions of my body. I've told myself over and over again that I shouldn't shoot children, but my body didn't listen." That kind of talk would have me implicated on not only charges of mass murder, but also have me committed for irremediable insanity.
Let's stick with one topic, shall we? It's one thing to bellow-out that I've got my definitions mixed-up, muddled-up, and back-asswards. It's another thing to counter that alleged confusion with a new topic: the infallibility of scripture. We can go that direction if you'd like, but let's examine the course I set out already: the supposed impeccability of the Catholic Church. One thing at a time, as is so often quoted.
"In other words, all Christians can (or should be able to) agree that the Bible, being the Inspired Word of God, is inerrant. Catholics state that in a similar manner to God's transmitting the inerrant Scriptures to us, He preserves the Church He founded free from similar error, as it continues to ponder and grow in its understanding of those once-for-all revealed truths."
First, the scriptures are not inerrant. They're full of discrepancies, forgeries, and overt contradictions. But we can move that to another debate, if you'd like.
Second, Catholics often cite Matthew 16:18 for a dual purpose: to establish the Petrine supremacy, and to allege the impeccability of the Church. Peter is taken to be the 'rock' that Jesus is referring to, and the extention from there is simply that the Church Peter presided over -- the Catholic Church (!) -- would be free of error because Jesus established the Church through Peter. Therefore, since Jesus cannot sin, the Church that he founded, the one that is his body, cannot sin. Just the people within it.
Let's look at this in another way. If the people comprise the Church, which is the body of Christ, and because the Church is the body of Christ it cannot sin in matters of faith and morals, then every time an individual sins, that individual has somehow gone rogue. In an actual body, some cells do go rogue, and they are attacked by the white blood cells and destroyed. If they're not destroyed, if they're left unchecked by the immune system, they sometimes become cancerous and kill the body. So, perhaps the Inquisition was an immune response to the rogue members within the body of Christ, right? Perhaps the Reformation was/is a cancer due to the failure of the Catholic immune response?
If you answer 'yes', then you admit the imperfection within the body of Christ, and thus the notion of impeccability becomes flacid.
It absolutely does not! The Catholic Church is beholden to a watching world. She must not close herself off in some hermetic seal officially pronouncing what is to be believed by humanity, and then claim immunity when challenged on her integrity. If the practice of Catholicism is not weighed against the reasonable dictates of a functioning conscience, then it is a force for evil in the world.
More, because Catholicism has "covered up" the sex abuse scandals, I'd say that it has handled the sinfulness in its members with the maximum grace. That's the problem, however! If we define 'grace' as giving what is undeserved, then "covering up" for licentious virgins in collarinos is giving to them what is not deserved: nothing. As far as I'm concerned, they should be strung up by their eyelids and kicked in the balls 'till they blink. In all seriousness, however, these abusers have stepped outside the pale of human decency, period. They should therefore be handed over to the civil authorities for court action and dealt with accordingly.