Israel Zolli the chief rabbi of Rome during WWII who converted to the Catholic Faith through much study and a vision of Christ, was asked, " why did you not join one of the other sects of Protestantism? " to which he replied,
""Because protesting is not attesting. I do not intend to embarrass anyone by asking: 'Why wait 1,500 years to protest?' The Catholic Church was recognized by the whole Christian world as the true Church of God for 15 consecutive centuries. No man can halt at the end of those 1,500 years and say that the Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ without embarrassing himself seriously. I can accept only that Church which was preached to all creatures by my own forefathers, the Twelve who, like me, issued from the synagogue.”
I do not understand the reasoning for being Protestant. If the reasoning for being protestant is because the original church went astray and protestantism is returning to the true roots of the Christian church, then why doesn't protestantism look anything like the first and second century church? It is not that the disciples of the apostles and their disciples would have had slight differences in understanding from modern Protestantism, it's that, it is not even close. Modern protestantism looks like a completely different faith. If protestants are trying to return to the original church then why do they not use the thousands of documents the early church wrote in defense against heresy in order to defend their faith?
Documents that were written hundreds of years before the Catholic Church put the Bible together?
Protestantism cannot prove that it has returned to the true roots, it can only trace its roots to an understanding of scripture developed during the reformation. A concept of scripture called Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura that is easily proven false when proper hermeneutics are applied to scripture.
This process has caused a tragic entropy of thousands of denominations that will continue to divide ad nauseam while Jesus prayed that we should all be one. 2000 years ago, God established His one church in which his covenant was to be lived in obedience to the faith, as helps against our fallen nature. 1400 years later, man established scripture alone and faith alone, while in fallen nature. The tragedy of division was inevitable. There is only one church founded by God and all others are founded by man. There is no where in scripture where man is given the right to form a different church or a different doctrine.
The disciples taught the exact opposite of faith alone and scripture alone and this is proven by those who were taught by the apostles teaching the exact opposite. What is not taken into consideration is that those who are raised in the protestant tradition see scripture according to the environment they were raised in or if they are fallen away Catholics never studied scripture from a Catholic perspective. Of course to a point protestants can say the same thing about Catholics but there is a major problem with attempting this. The environment and understanding that Catholics have goes uninterrupted back 2000 years to the same generation as the apostles. You can try to say that what I say is not true and that the Catholic Church was started by Constantine but this would be another false protestant tradition of anti Catholicism. To give just one example; the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist was present throughout the church spread across the east and west back to the first century. If Constantine created the Catholic Church then what was the name of the church that taught the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist since the beginning of Christianity?
When you examine the geographical map of the early Christian world you will see that countries went from paganism to Catholicism. There were no countries going from paganism to Protestantism. It did not exist.
The Didache which teaches multiple forms of baptism and that the Holy Mass was a sacrifice, was present 30 years before the death of John the apostle. This can be seen as the proto-catechism of the universal church.
The church fathers defended the true interpretation of scripture from the faith taught directly by the apostles, over 300 years before the Bible was put together in its final form.
I cannot over emphasize this, if protestantism was true then why can't protestants use the church fathers to defend their faith? This is the Elephant in the room that has to be ignored. Paul told Timothy, " what I have taught you pass on the other worthy men who will in turn teach others."We have documents from those who the apostles believed to be worthy and they were defending the same Catholic faith the Catholic Church lives by today. Ignatius, Polycarp, and Clement were actually in the same generation as Timothy. They are in the generation taught by the apostles that is supposed to pass on what the church was taught to other worthy men so that they could teach others. So by the generation after Timothy we see the same doctrine that Timothy, Ignatius, Polycarp, and Clement taught and much more details as truth is defended against heresy.
They obviously trusted Ignatius, Polycarp and Timothy because they made them bishops of God's church. Timothy was bishop of Ephesus, Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna, Ignatius was bishop of Antioch, Clement was bishop of Rome and according to Tertullian, Clement was ordained by Peter. Of course Titus was bishop of Crete.
Teachings of the Apostles Syriac
And by ordination to the priesthood, which the apostles themselves had received from our Lord, did their Gospel wing its way rapidly into the four quarters of the world.
Irenaeus of Lyons Book 4 ch 8.3 (120-180 ad)
And all the apostles of the Lord are priests, who do inherit here neither lands nor houses, but serve God and the altar continually.
It is also illogical to ignore these Fathers or think that what they taught was not true because when you do you enter into a position of dishonesty and build your foundation on sand. Willful ignorance is very dangerous to the soul. Name someone involved who was responsible for preserving scripture, telling us which books were authentic and which were not, or who was involved in putting together the Bible who did not live by the Catholic faith? Augustine was arguing for the inclusion of Hebrews and Revelations in his day so obviously the issue still needed to be settled then.
Can you find anyone living your image of faith from the end of the Biblical age until the 14th century? For Protestants, the honest answer is no. " Father I pray that they may be one as you and I are one so that the world may know that you have sent me." Tragic.
In the manuscripts from the council of Carthage we see why the Bible was put together in the first place. It was put together by the Catholic Church so that an authoritative canon, which means rule, can be present and read in church in unity with the universal church spread throughout the world. It was put together by divine providence for the Catholic Holy Mass."
By divine providence, you have a Bible because God established the Holy Mass.
The early martyrs went to their deaths professing salvation through Christ, their baptism as salvation from original sin, redemption, justification, sealing...defending the Eucharist, and the priests under the penalty of torture refused to stop celebrating the Holy Mass, the true Passover for the general redemption of the world.