One of the big complaints I heard about the Catholics when I left the Catholic Church was "Catholics just blindly follow the pope." Naturally, I had to think about that. In the new religious circles I hung out in I found myself agreeing that the Holy See did seem to be the prime interpreter of Holy Scripture. Thye other part of that complaint was that Catholics were not scripturally based. Well, I was able to convince myself that it seemed true. I knew that I did not read the Bible growing up, so therefore, it must be true.
Oh, there is so much false about those complaints and my going along with those complaints. First of all, the richness and the stability of the Catholic Church comes from the fact that it is the Holy See who interprets Scripture. I think that many people forget their Christian history. First of all, our New Testament did not get put together immediately following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact it was through the Holy See that the canon of Scripture was decided. It was decided through the teachings handed down through an episcopal and apostolic succession. This episcopal and apostolic succession is better known today as tradition. The Holy Spirit was promised to the Church so that this "tradition" would be sure and certain it its practice and interpretation.
When I decided I need to return to the Catholic Church it was through the knowledge that those complaints about the pope and the Holy See were misinformed. When I had first left the Church, I bought into the idea that I could interpret Scripture according to my own feelings about life and God. The problem is that the 'winds of doctrine" from so many theologians were spinning around the world. There were so many schools of thought and many of them allowed the every changing whims of society to be reflected in the theology du jour. let me say that again...most theologies today have allowed the whims of society to shape the theology, rather than allow the theology to shape the society.
It dawned on me when I began my return to the Church that just like a child who doesn't get his own way, he will cry and complain how unfair or unjust the parent is, so it is with society and the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has taken heat on many of its stands. The Church has been called unable to change and a dinosaur. The fact is, the Church has not allowed society to be the arbitor of Scriptural interpretation or moral decisions. And while society has been in flux trying to find itself, the Church has remained and will remain the ROCK. Hmmmmm, the ROCK... now where did I read in the Bible something about the ROCK?