Independence Day and Protesting
Thank God for the freedom we have in the United States. We have no state or authority over us telling us where and how to worship God. One of the reasons that the papacy is so distasteful to many American christians resides in this same "spirit of independence." The tyranny experienced by our founding fathers left a very bad taste in their mouths for anything "royal" or papal for that matter. The first thing they did was draft a Constitution and create a system, the Supreme Court, where by its interpretation could be living and "timeless." This is analogous in some ways to us having the Bible and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church being present for all time to help interpret it. The Constitution, if left to individual interpretation, without the authority of the US Supreme Court to guide the proper interpretation would have led to complete chaos and a country completely divided into many disputing factions.
Now, getting back to the topic of Independence, there used to be a distinct sense in the US that Catholics would be more loyal to the Pope than to their own president. The election of JFK fueled these fears, but that fear was certainly unfounded! A Catholic's "loyalty" to the Pope is more a spiritual than political one. We are loyal in the sense that we believe that the Bishop of Rome has been given authority by Christ to speak in areas of faith and morals . Therefore, as a practicing Catholic, I should live in accordance with the teachings of the Church, not picking and choosing which teachings I like or think are easy to adhere to.
When I, as a Catholic, choose to not accept the teachings of the Church, I am basically asserting my independence from this Church, protesting so to speak. Sadly, the spirit of independence has greatly influenced American Catholics in a negative sense where many no longer feel compelled to following the teachings of the Church.
Imagine if the early Christians took the apostles teachings and separated out which ones they wanted to follow! Imagine if each congregation in Galatia, Phillipi, Colossae, Corinth, Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome were able to choose which teachings they were comfortable with and which ones they could reject or ignore. The result would have been chaos and there is a very good possibility that the church would have fizzled out within one or two generations. The writings of the early church fathers are replete with the notion that there needed to be absolute loyalty to the apostles teachings. It was also clear to the early church fathers that the bishop of Rome had the primacy over all other bishops and that is where the "theological buck" stopped.