Trust This Church? | Fr. Walter Brandmüller | From the Introduction to Light and Shadows: Church History amid Faith, Fact and Legend
Occasionally the Church is compared with Noah's ark: only his sons and daughters, only those animals that Noah took with him into the ark were saved from the great flood. In a similar way, the Church is supposed to be man's only rescue from the final catastrophe.
When discussion turns to the Last Things, to man's eternal fate, then the question assumes the utmost urgency: To whom can he entrust his eternal fate and himself? What can he rely on in life and death? Now, since the Church makes the exclusive claim to be the saving ark, this claim must be so solidly established that it does not mean a leap into uncertainty when man puts his trust in this ark.
Questions About Questions
To many of our contemporaries, such trust in the Church appears to be nothing less than an unreasonable demand upon sound common sense. Aren't there countless facts (the objection goes) that demolish the credibility of the Church? Many people have read the numerous books or seen the television programs that deal with the subject of the Qumran community and seem to offer proof that the beginnings of Jesus of Nazareth and of Christianity ought to be portrayed in a completely different way from what is recorded in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. Many have also seen the earthenware receptacle containing human remains that was found in Jerusalem, on which the names Joseph, Mary and Jesus were inscribed. Isn't this compelling evidence that Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead and that Mary was not taken body and soul into heaven? With that, however, the foundations of the Christian faith crumble into dust and ashes! Many people today suspect that this is so.