(A) Question: Why does the Catholic church get to ignore certain prescriptions and traditions advocated by Paul, and choose to apply others? Is that not arbitrary? Was Paul not a prophet of God, or was he merely espousing his own biases and prejudices? If he was merely stating his subjective opinion, why listen to anything he had to say?
Doesn’t the Catholic church choose its own humanistic values over the requirements of God? Doesn’t the Catholic church only follow the Lord’s commands when the commands agree with the church’s humanistic values? - but when, for instance, the Lord commands women to be silent in the church, the Catholic church ignores this prescription because it wants to be nice to women:
“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. 36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.” (1 Corinthians 14 34-38)
Paul says there are special circumstances when women may speak, but generally the Lord revealed to Paul that women must be silent. Doesn’t the Catholic church disregard this mandate because they think they have the patent on morality, and consider God immoral in this instance? They appear to, but is a rule right because God says it, or does God make the rule because it is right to do so? In other words, do you get to say which of God’s laws are moral, depending on which ones you like and agree with - depending on which ones agree with your own subjective morality? Clearly, theologically, it is right because God says it, regardless of whether you like it or not:
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? 8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38 4-11)
A Jew, for instance, does not follow a particular dietary law because he likes it, but because to him it is God’s word. Why, then, do Catholics permit women to speak in their churches, if Paul says God revealed to him women must be silent?
This is also true of traditions. Doesn’t the Catholic Chuch arbitrarily pick and choose which traditions from Jesus’ time it wants to pay homage to? For instance, it likes that the church was built on the rock of Peter, so it keeps the tradition of the pope, but its humanism doesn’t like having slaves, even though this is an institution Paul firmly believes in: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. (Ephesians 6:5).”
If we are being consistent, and if we ignore the tradition of slaves, and the law that women must be silent in church, doesn’t Protestantism overcome Catholicism, and shouldn’t we also ignore the tradition of the pope, since women can never be pope, and that contradicts the value of equality? Shouldn’t Catholics also become Protestants and ignore the prescription against homosexuality in Corinthians, if the Pauline letters are all just the biases and prejudices of Paul?
But here’s the problem: Either homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor6:9), or Paul was just espousing a prejudice, and if that’s the case, then the whole of the Pauline corpus becomes suspect. Either women must not talk in church, or it is just a bias of Paul, and all the letters become mere opinion.