Posts Tagged ‘Catholic’

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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The One True Church

Posted: September 7, 2012 in Church History
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What is truth? Is there one true religion founded by God? Is there a single church established by Jesus Christ? 20120907-210912.jpg These are hard questions that Christians must ask — and answer — if they are to find the full joy and love of God the Father through the Son.

During my time outside of the Catholic Church, I became convinced that truth was relative. I knew that the church I was attending wasn’t doing it for me. The best way I could describe it is to say that my flame wasn’t being fanned. The fire was lit, but it wasn’t burning very bright. I also knew, intuitively, that this shouldn’t be how a deep love for God should be expressed.

Truly, Madly, Deeply

As a happily married man, I know all about love and what it should feel like. The longing, the desire, the need. I want to be with my wife all the time, at all hours of the day. I need her. I desire her. I long to spend as much time with her as possible. I also knew that, if marriage was an extension and expression of God’s love for us, a profound love of God should manifest itself similarly. But I wasn’t feeling that.

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No discussion of Catholic teachings and practices would be compete without mentioning saints.

20120903-175220.jpgFive hundred years removed from the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, the Saints of the church are the subject of mass confusion, false accusations, and charges of paganism and polytheism against the Catholic faithful.

What Saints Aren’t

Perhaps the best place to start, then, is to talk a little about who the saints aren’t. They are not demons. They are not lesser gods. They are not subjects of worship or adoration. And they most certainly are not unbiblical or unorthodox.

So What is a Saint

So who exactly are these saints, then? The word “saint” is a shortened and transliterated form of “sanctified,” which means “set apart.” In English, as in other languages, we understand this to mean a holy person. In our Christian understanding, anyone who is in Christ is a saint.

Saints are all around us; our family, our friends, the people with whom we worship. If they are truly in Christ, then they are bound for heaven and are therefore a saint in the sense that they are a faithful believer. On this point, almost all Christians agree.

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All across Christendom, there are a variety of thoughts and ideas of how the church, the body of believers, should be organized.

20120903-162104.jpgMainline Protestants, such as Lutherans and Anglicans, favor an episcopalian model; that is to say that they recognize, at least on some level, the necessity of an ecumenical body to safeguard faith. They maintain that the scripture alone are the sole authority, but they also acknowledge the importance of the uniformity of interpretation of these scriptures.

Maintaining Doctrinal Unity

In many respects, these churches maintain much of the identify of their Catholic origins. They’ve downplayed the role of tradition, but they still maintain it’s value as a teaching tool, if not an authority. For these churches, the question of church organization comes down to the degree of authority that a governing body has.

Even mainline fundamentalist churches, such as Southern Baptists, appreciate the efficacy of a convention to act as a source of doctrinal guidance. Though the Southern Baptist Convention encourages the self-governing model of church organization, it exists to help maintain a consistency of theology among those churches.
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The great Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman is often quoted as saying “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.”

20120903-103549.jpgCardinal Newman should know. He began his religious career as a prominent priest in the Church of England. He set out with the purpose of reforming the Anglican Church and returning to it the doctrines, practices and beliefs of the early Christian church. As he studied history and the beliefs of Christians throughout history, he became compelled to enter into full communion with the church of Rome.

He is not alone. Countless bible-believing Christians year after year are faced with the same wonderful truth when they study history. Despite what many fundamentalist churches teach and what so many non-denominational Christians want to believe, the historical evidence is overwhelming that the Catholic church is in fact the very same church that has continued through the ages, from before Jesus’ death on the cross even until today.
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