Here’s what I don’t understand. An agnostic or atheist or radical libertarian treats the Church’s claims with skepticism because he has declared himself immune from her authority. Fine. On its own terms that makes sense. But how can a Catholic — and still more a Catholic priest — make use of this skepticism? More to the point: having picked up the tool of skepticism to undercut doctrine A and doctrine B, how does he put it down again to accept as valid doctrines C through Z? If I claim the Church is wrong about, say, the sacrament of Orders — whereas the common opinion of my own social class in my own time has it right — how can I know the Church is a reliable teacher regarding those doctrines I cherish, such as the duty of charity, or the universal destination of goods, or the Resurrection? How can I know these doctrines won’t themselves be exposed as frauds twenty years from now? How can I acquit myself of that self-serving arbitariness I impute to the apostles and the Church fathers?
I have often wondered the same thing. They dig out the foundation of the Catholic faith and then want to stand on empty air proclaiming themselves Catholics. If the Church can get foundational things wrong then only a fool would follow her. The only reason to be Catholic is because it is true – that’s it. I just don’t understand what their ecclesiology can possibly mean other than just being a form of Catholic tribalism. If I believed what they believed of the Church I would denounce the Church as evil and would want no part of it. The Protestant so-called Reformers were at least honest in realizing their theology of the Church was quite at odds with the Church.