Why do Catholics refuse to concede that their church became doctrinally corrupt in the Middle Ages, necessitating the Protestant Reformation?
Catholics refuse to concede such a thing out of faith in Jesus Christ. Christ solemnly pledged that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His Church (Matt. 16:18), and He solemnly promised that after His Ascension into Heaven He would send His Church “another Paraclete… the spirit of truth,” to dwell with it forever (John 14:16-17), and He inspired the Apostle Paul to describe His Church as “the pillar and ground of the truth.” (I Tim. 3:15). If the Catholic Church (which Protestants admit was the true Church of Jesus Christ before Luther’s revolt) became doctrinally corrupt as alleged, it would mean that the gates of Hell had prevailed against it – it would mean that Christ had deceived His followers. Believing Christ to be the very essence of truth and integrity, Catholics cannot in conscience believe that He could be guilty of such deception. Another thing: Catholics cannot see how the division of Christianity into hundreds of rival camps and doctrinal variations can be called a “reformation” of the Christian Church. In the Catholic mind, hundreds of conflicting interpretations of Christ’s teachings do not add up to a true interpretation of Christ’s teachings.
Author: Paul Whitcomb
Nihil Obstat: Rev. Edmund J. Bradley Censor Deputatus
Imprimatur: Timothy Manning, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Vicar General
April 13, 1961