Archive for February, 2013

In my conversations with Protestants and fellow Catholics, in my own experience leaving and returning to the Catholic faith, and especially in watching my wife on her journey to Rome, one thing has become painfully clear. 20130218-213114.jpgMost faithful Catholics simply do not understand Protestant reasoning. Moreover, they fail to grasp the degree to which anti-catholic sentiment truly reaches. Even for those who recognize on some level the opposition to Catholicism, too often they can’t wrap their brains around the notion that many catholic practices that they assumed were universally held would actually be repulsive to some otherwise faithful Christians.

A clarification is in order. In using the term “anti catholic,” I don’t mean to imply that fundamentalist Christians hold any hatred or malice toward Catholics (though undoubtedly, some do hate what they believe the church teaches and practices). Rather, I simply mean that they are opposed to the catholic faith. At times, vehemently so.
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Offending Judas

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for many fundamentalists is the beautiful but opulent churches that are so commonly associated with the Catholic faith. 20130217-194846.jpgThe common refrain goes along of the lines of “look at all that money they wasted on building a church when they could have put it to use helping the poor.”

“Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people? “Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” (John 12:3-8 NASB)

Those who would criticize the Catholic church for its supposed vast riches and it’s use of large sums to built huge, ornate churches sound very much like the Apostle Judas, who criticized Jesus for allowing himself to be “pampered” with scented oil. Specifically, Judas lamented the fact that the oil could have been sold and given to the poor. That argument sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it?

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Non Catholics and, sadly, some Catholics, are very adept at either purposefully or unknowingly misrepresenting a host of church customs, beliefs and traditions. 20130216-205754.jpgOf those practices most often misunderstood by non-Catholics, the sacrament of confession has got to be at the top of the list.

License to Sin?

Many non-Catholic Christians wrongly believe that the practice of confession is, in effect, a “license to sin,” effectively allowing unscrupulous Catholics to, as a close colleague of mine once put it, “rape, pillage and plunder to their hearts’ content during the week” as long as they confess it on the weekend. Catholics, for their part, often do little to correct — and much to reinforce — this notion by jovially saying things like “that’s okay; I’ll just confess it later.”

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