Socially Catholic Evangelical Protestant

A Socially Catholic Evangelical Protestant, that's me.

terra.jpegBlogger Terra Mork (pictured right) has written 2 great posts, "Confessions of a 'socially Catholic' Protestant: Part I" and "Confessions of a 'socially Catholic' Protestant: Part II," which pretty much describes my thinking to a tee. I want to thank Terra for developing thoughts and putting into words what I could not. I feel so much more.... together, complete.

I could site almost everything Terra wrote but will highlight...

From Part I...

In the last year, I have been richly blessed with many new friendships in the Catholic pro-life community. Their devotion to the cause is infectious and inspiring. Through a variety of interactions, many of my false conceptions about Catholics have been corrected, while at the same time, my Protestant convictions have been reaffirmed. I am not alone in this experience, David Neff writes in the introduction to The Gospel of Jesus Christ: an Evangelical Celebration, that:

... through collaboration with Catholic and Orthodox activists in the prolife movement, many evangelicals have discovered a genuine appreciation for and developed friendships with them. This deeper friendship has required that Protestants know their Protestantism (and that Catholics know their Catholicism and the Orthodox, their Orthodoxy)....

apostles creed 2.jpg

In fact, it might surprise some Protestants to realize on how many things we do agree on: the divine and human nature of Christ, the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection, etc. The entire Apostles Creed could be agreed upon by many Catholics and Protestants alike.

So where does that leave us? Can we all climb comfortably back inside that big tent?

Again, not so fast!

The fundamental difference between Roman Catholicism, and orthodox Protestantism is found in the Reformers' favorite word: sola, or "alone". The easy, and admittedly over-simplified way to view the two faiths is through the lens of the Reformation's five Solas:

Orthodox Protestants: Saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Special revelation is found in scripture alone, and glory is due to God alone.

Catholics: Saved by grace, through faith, in Christ. Special revelation is found in the scripture, and glory is due to God.

From Part II...

The whole thing. I can't pull anything out. I hope you'll read the entire post.

Thanks to Terra, I now understand myself a little better. She spoke in Part II of being "converted" to "Catholic social values," such as its teaching on contraception and IVF, etc. So was I.

obama notre dame 7.jpgNow that this has happened there are certain elements of the Catholic faith, as Terra described, that are also mine. I now understand why I took Obama's speech at Notre Dame so personally, for instance. I was as sickened and offended about that as my Catholic friends, because the ND administration and Obama violated that part of the Catholic faith, its social teaching, that is now mine.

That said, I realize, as Terra wrote, "Either you are a bona fide Catholic, or you are not. I am not." I am not either. And I never will be. Ultimately, as Terra wrote:

Given the virtue of its integrated approach, it is not surprising that many former Protestants are first attracted to Catholicism because of the church's teaching on relationships and sexuality. Though I can sympathize with this sentiment, and remain grateful for the contributions Rome has made in clarifying the issues of human life, I cannot embrace the core doctrines of Catholicism with any peace of mind.

My own "faith journey" has consisted largely of seeking an answer to my problem of guilt - the reality of my own sin and my inability to repay my own moral debt. I learned early on that I could find no hope in "thinking positive", denying my guilt, or "trying harder" to satisfy the demands of a holy God.

grace alone.jpg

My sole relief, and continued assurance of salvation comes only through understanding the biblical doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, as defended emphatically by the apostle Paul in Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. ("For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law." Romans 3:28) Having tried - and failed - to make my salvation secure by relying on my own works of righteousness, I see nothing to gain, and much to lose in a conversion from "grace alone", to "grace plus works".

This was the deal breaker for Luther, and it is for me. I write this not to start a quarrel. I don't want to quarrel about this. I won't quarrel about this. I lost one friend over this disagreement, and I won't lose any others. That quarrel is 500 years old and is irreconcilable. I understand Catholic teaching on grace and works and simply disagree. I write this so as not to raise the hopes of my Catholic friends that I may someday convert (as well as reassure nervous Protestant friends).

That said, I much more identify with Catholic social teaching than Protestant social teaching.

So I'm some sort of half-breed. But in my mind I carry the best attributes of both parts of my Christian heritage.

Fittingly, in closing, here's the Apostles Creed set to music by well-known Protestant songwriter and singer Rich Mullins, who was also attracted to the Catholic faith and frequently attended daily Mass right before he was prematurely killed at age 41 in 1997 in a car accident not too far from me...

BTW, Terra has graciously agreed to check in at the comments section of this post, which I really appreciate.


Comments:

Can a Protestant knowingly disobey God and be saved?

Posted by: truthseeker at May 17, 2010 11:54 PM


And to clarify, I mean a lifetime of disobeying God and seeking his/her own lusts and glory all the way till death.

Posted by: truthseeker at May 17, 2010 11:56 PM


I would say that it is only through the mercy of God that I can be saved. Is that more Catholic or Protestant?

Posted by: truthseeker at May 18, 2010 12:09 AM


Fr. Corapi says all grace emanates from the beams of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Posted by: truthseeker at May 18, 2010 12:11 AM


What of the people Jesus forgave on the cross. They did not have faith in Jesus and yet Jesus saved them.

Posted by: truthseeker at May 18, 2010 12:17 AM


Truthseeker:

An orthodox Protestant would say that you are saved by faith alone, but not by faith that IS alone. In other words, if someone professes faith, but shows no fruit of true regeneration, then chances are, they do not have saving faith. When someone truly trusts in Christ for their redemption, they receive the Holy Spirit and are made a new creation. Out of God's work of justification and sanctification will eventually flow good works: not the basis of salvation, but the evidence of it.

Posted by: Terra Mork at May 18, 2010 12:30 AM


First of all, I'm delighted to hear that Protestants and Catholics can agree on life issues. It's great that in the pro-life community we can work together. As a Catholic, that's great to hear.

But then there's all this other stuff you say about doctorine differences. That part seemed like a slap in our (Catholics') faces.

"Catholics are great EXCEPT..."

Maybe I'm missing the point here, but I really don't get it.

On one hand we Catholics are praised for being pro-life, then told why you'd never be a Catholic. Why not just leave it at the fact that you're glad pro-life Catholics and Protestants could work together in the pro-life movement? What was the point of bringing up the age-old arguments?

Like I said, delighted to work with fellow pro-lifers, glad to know we're all devoted to the scantity of life, but the rest just didn't seem to fit.

God bless.

Posted by: Mother In Texas at May 18, 2010 12:50 AM


Sounds like me too.

After spending years with phonies, I'm drawn closer to my Catholic bretheren.

Posted by: PhilSchembri is HisMan at May 18, 2010 12:50 AM


I love Rich Mullins songs and his Creed is wonderful!

I also want to add that the Catholic view is not grace plus works -- that is a distortion/ misrepresentation of the Catholic view.

Please whoever believes that - please get a hold of some good Catholic books or read from good links on the internet. If you are going to disagree with something, at least disagree with what the church teaches and not what someone with a misunderstanding/ misrepresentation teaches.

thanks and God bless.

Brian

Posted by: Brian at May 18, 2010 12:53 AM


Jill,

I agree that a war over a 500 year-old rift is a decidedly BAD idea. God is a lot bigger than our differences.

While I always try to keep in mind the differences between Protestants and Catholics in my writing and speaking in the pro-life movement (for purposes of clarity), I am struck by how much we are united where God has repeatedly said it counts most.

This great tragedy of the second half of the twentieth century, and the dawn of the twenty-first has done more to united us in 37 years than all of the silver-tongued scholars of Rome and Protestant theologates ever could have dreamed. We have accomplished more in less than half a century in this regard than in the entire preceding 450 years.

Think about that. The great derivative benefit of fighting united against Satan is that we have met on the battlefield as members of an extended clan in love and kinship, finally marshalling our forces against the enemy instead of one another. No amount of theological aggiornamento could ever come close to the unitive power of this great movement.

We have finally moved past words and have begun to live the Christian virtues with one another. But for this great tragedy we find ourselves battling, could we ever have embraced so fully, so authentically in our lifetime, or even those of our great grandchildren? I suspect not.

When I look at you, I don't see a Protestant, I see a sister and a good friend.

Mission accomplished.

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 18, 2010 12:59 AM


Mother in Texas:

I hope you will read the whole blog for an explanation as to what is unique about the way the Catholic church expresses pro-life values.

Rather than being a "slap in the face", I consider pointing out differences to be the most respectful thing we of differing faiths can do. It's about being honest, loving, and genuine with one another. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Posted by: Terra Mork at May 18, 2010 1:00 AM


There's a lot of nuance in the Catholic position on faith and works. The idea of the primacy of acceptance, for example, relegates works to a secondary category. To explain:

"[F]rom the point of view of the Christian faith, man comes in the profoundest sense to himself not through what he does but through what he accepts. He must wait for the gift of love, and love can only be received as a gift. It cannot be “made” on one’s own without anyone else; one must wait for it, let it be given to one. And one cannot become wholly man in any other way than by being loved, by letting oneself be loved. That love represents simultaneously both man’s highest possibility and his deepest need, and that this most necessary thing is at the same time the freest and most unenforceable, means precisely that for his “salvation” man is meant to rely on receiving. If he declines to let himself be presented with the gift, then he destroys himself.

Activity that makes itself into an absolute, that aims at achieving humanity by its own efforts alone, is in contradiction with man’s being...The primacy of acceptance is not intended to condemn man to passivity; it doesn’t mean that man can now sit idle. On the contrary, it alone makes it possible to do things of this world in a spirit of responsibility, yet at the same time in an uncramped, cheerful, free way, and to put them at the service of redemptive love."

It's pages 201-203 of Pope Benedict XVI's Introduction to Christianity. Highly recommended. (He is not, of course, equating "secondary" with "unimportant", and I daresay I don't think an Evangelical would either.)

I'm glad for Jill's goodwill towards Catholics and especially Catholic teaching. There should be more of that. I would continue to challenge the thought that she "knows the Catholic teaching". I'm sorry she lost a friend over it; I pray that my Catholic brethren might be more patient and have Jill's goodwill when dealing with our Protestant brethren -- for brethren they truly are.

Posted by: Marc at May 18, 2010 1:01 AM


After spending years with phonies, I'm drawn closer to my Catholic bretheren.
Posted by: HisMan at May 18, 2010 12:50 AM
Thanks for those kind words.

Posted by: truthseeker at May 18, 2010 1:03 AM


Mother in Texas, as I wrote, I mentioned the "age-old argument" so as not to mislead either Catholic or Protestant friends that I might be converting.

But that the pro-life issue can bring harmony to the dichotomy is a great thing. Catholic teaching on the Life issue has greatly enriched my Christian walk. It has taken my Bible reading and understanding to new places, which has brought me great joy. It has also increased my understanding and appreciation of God.

Catholic teaching on the Life issue, particularly contraception, has changed my life.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 1:08 AM


Terra,

I think George Nadal's response was better than mine, but in some ways I think our responses say SOME of the same things: it's better for the sake of the pro-life movement that we focus on what we have in common rather than going over what we don't.

As a Cradle Catholic (who has asked a TON of questions over the years over her Catholic faith and the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism) I'm well aware of the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, but I'd rather unite with fellow pro-lifers to defend life than go over what we don't have in common. I don't think it does anybody any good.

Posted by: Mother In Texas at May 18, 2010 1:13 AM


Recommended reading:

Contraception: Why Not?
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html

Contraceptive Contradictions
http://www.ncbcenter.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=297

The Connection between Contraception and Abortion
http://www.goodmorals.org/smith4.htm

Posted by: Victor Panlilio at May 18, 2010 1:18 AM


Jill,

That's terrific, and I'm delighted...but as I told Terra, focus on THAT instead of bringing up the differences.

What I mean is: Focus on what we have in COMMON rather than what's DIFFERENT. I think as fellow pro-lifers that's more important than what we don't have in common.

Like I said, maybe I missed the point.

Posted by: Mother In Texas at May 18, 2010 1:18 AM


No Christian should be afraid to speak openly about their faith in Jesus Christ. Forget about right or wrong and courageously shout YOUR faith in Jesus!

Posted by: truthseeker at May 18, 2010 1:20 AM


Mother in Texas,

I was fully explaining a unique position, so beautifully coined and made clear by Terra: Socially Catholic Evangelical Protestant.

Part of explaining this hybrid is explaining the good brought from both "parents," so to speak.

The flip side of the positives I wrote about Catholic social teaching is a condemnation of Protestants on this point. You didn't notice that because you're a Catholic.

If I agreed with everything in the Catholic faith, well then I would have no reason to be a Socially Catholic Evangelical Christian, would I?

People have to understand this is a unique position.

And what I'm describing is a movement by Protestants (at least 2!) toward embracing a portion of the Catholic faith, which is a great thing. God bless Gerard, he got that.

And God bless you, too, as we continue to talk this through... :)

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 1:35 AM


Jill, I know of a handful of other Protestants in the same boat, so I would estimate that takes the count of the "movement" up to at least 10 of us! :)

Posted by: Terra Mork at May 18, 2010 2:09 AM


Jill,

It's not what you call yourself or even explaining your position that I had a problem with. Since I can't seem to find the right words to explain what I was objecting to (and I've written several drafts of this response already and rewrote), I'll just say here, in the pro-life movement, it doesn't matter I'm Catholic and you're Protestant, what matters is that we both defend life.

God bless to you too. I've loved your blog and I intend to keep reading it because the pro-life movement is important to me and you help me keep up to date on what concerns me as a pro-lifer.

Posted by: Mother In Texas at May 18, 2010 2:13 AM


Jill,

Being a father has radically changed my understanding of God. When Jesus asked the fathers which of them would hand his son a stone or a scorpion if the child asked for bread or fish, when He reminded us that if we with all of our sins know how to give our children what is good, how much more will the Father give good things to any of us who ask...

That has caused me to reflect on my passionate love for my children and my desire to do all that I can for them. And here is Jesus telling us that the Father in Heaven loves us infinitely more.

The intolerable sin in my home is people being mean to one another. The children would rather walk on hot coals than deal with my displeasure on that score. They have become the best of friends. I can only imagine what this horrific rift in Christianity has done to displease God, especially when Jesus prayed in John's Gospel, "That they may be one Father, as You and I are one."

Paul tells us that we'll pass from glory to glory in Heaven, which is a great comfort to me. It means we get to relax and enjoy one another here, and get all the answers there. All we need to do is love one another here and respond to the grace the Holy Spirit gives each of us.

It comes back to my understanding of Fatherhood. If the children are at each other's throats over who loves Dad the best, they're all getting a time-out, because they can only love me as their unique personalities permit. And I can't love them one more than the other, but differently according to each unique relationship.

I'm glad that Catholic social and sexual teaching has changed your life. My Protestant friends got me into reading scripture in 1975. Catholics are rapidly catching up in this area, but HT to the Evangelicals. Can you think of anything that pleases the Father more than such openness to the life each of us has to give the other?

We'll never resolve the grace alone issue academically. But we see the fruits in one another's lives, so it really is academic in the final analysis.

At the end of John the Apostle's life, when his disciples were clamoring for new teaching, he repeatedly tells them in his letters, "Little children, love one another."

Back to the future. We're there.

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 18, 2010 2:17 AM


Yes, I'm Catholic and the good Lord willing, will be until I die or when he comes back again. Mother Teresa and Saint Damien of Molokai, Hawaii are probably my two favorite heroes. Corrie Ten Boom from the Hiding place is one of my favorites too and she is not Catholic. Randel Terry is one of my heroes too and list goes on and on. Of course my biggest hero is Jesus Christ. Jesus said to Saint Peter, upon this rock, I will build my church and the church became the Christian church which later changed the name to the Catholic Church which means universal church. The first Pope of the Christian/Catholic church was St. Peter. Our current Pope Bennedict the 16th said recently that it's going to take the Holy Spirit to unite Catholics and non Catholic Christian back into the Catholic Church. So, with prayer, I'm asking my non Catholic Christians to check out the good Catholic web sites like EWTN, U.S. Bishops...(CNA) and The Wanderer Newspaper, www.thewandererpress.com and many others and stay away from the goofy Catholic web sites like the ones that the current Notre Dame president visits. I love the Catholic teaching on purgatory and the visits to earth from our savior's blessed Mother, The Virgin Mary when she appeared in Mexico and Fatima, Portugal. You know in Fatima, seven thousand people witnessed the sun dancing in the sky. When Mary visited the young children, she alway gave the glory to her son, Jesus. I also like the teaching on mortal and veniel sins. Please read a good solid Catholic bible, James Chaper two, verses 14 to 26 about faith and works. On judgement day, Jesus is going to ask us, did you help out the poor starving people, did you visit the sick and the lonely. Did you help the most helpless people, the unborn children? If you did, Jesus will say well done good and faithful servent. Come into my presence. Please forgive my spelling mistakes. This is what I believe and I like it. God bless you all in the power and love of the name of Jesus. The name above all names, the King of Kings! Aloha my Christian and non Christian friends.

Posted by: Tom McCann at May 18, 2010 2:59 AM


As a Catholic I am sad for my Protestant brothers/sisters because what sets us apart is the sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When I go to Mass daily and Sunday I am receiving the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This is transforming. When I go to confession and hear the priest say, "I absolve you from your sins in the name of.." I can FEEL God's grace pour into my soul. This is what helps get us to heaven. God's Church is a to save souls not offer fellowship and sing songs. Protestants are not getting the full meal. My best advice is to study the early Church fathers. They will lead you to Christ's Church. Jesus the divine founder of the Church did NOT want His Church divided and weakend. We must unite brothers and sisters in Christ!

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 6:17 AM


Hey Truthseeker.

"Can a Protestant knowingly disobey God and be saved?"

No, no one can knowingly disobey God and be saved (assuming he does not repent). This is not just true for Protestants, but Catholics as well. Willing disobeying God i.e. rejecting the truth that you are aware of is the very definition of sending yourself to hell.

Notice however that we mention the truth that one is AWARE of. There is such a thing as invincible ignorance; that is, one may not be aware of certain truths that God wishes them to know, but this is through no fault of their own. The bottom line is that we can never judge the state of someone's soul- this is God's work. We can only teach them the truth in love. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino at May 18, 2010 6:40 AM


(what Gerard said...)

Posted by: Jasper at May 18, 2010 6:48 AM


BobbyB: I agree that only God can judge a man's heart, but we must not shake off the awesome responsibility to spread Christ's Gospel. We have free will to accept or reject God. Martin Luther did much damage to God's Church because instead of reforming it from the inside like Theresa of Avila and St. Francis Assisi, he dismantled it. Yes, reform was needed but not by branching off to form another Church. Disobedience! Now we have like 2000 denominations of Christian faiths. How can 2000 plus denominations be united? We can't and the Catholic Church remains under contsant attack by satan. I actually find it comforting to know satan is attacking the Church. Why? satan attacks the Truth and the Catholic church has the fullness of Truth. Other Protestants have partial truths but in this day and age we need the full meal deal! Come on, Jill, get on board!

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 6:56 AM


Jill,
This post causes such a mixed bag of feelings for me. I'm encouraged to hear that Catholic social teaching is being more widely accepted among Protestants, and the life issue will always bind us together, thank the Lord!

However, once again, the Catholic teaching on grace, faith, salvation, etc. is being misrepresented. Nowhere is Catholic doctrine will you find the teaching that says we are saved by our own works. Nowhere in Catholic doctrine will you read that anyone other than God deserves the glory.

Remember the "sola" concept was something of an invention of Luther's, and was a word he added to many Protestant translations of the Bible. (It's often not found anymore.)

For those who take their instruction strictly from the Bible, where does that leave James 2:14, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save him?"

And "Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." James 2:18

In fact, the entire book of James was so troubling to Luther and his "sola" ideas that he wanted it thrown out of the Canon of scripture completely. Thank goodness he was not successful.

I have often found troubling the notion of many Protestant denominations that a person is "once saved, always saved." That simply saying a sinner's prayer and asking Jesus into their hearts is all it takes to reach Heaven, regardless of how the rest of their lives are lived. Nonsense.

We are all "working out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Phil 2:12

I am saved by the blood of Jesus; I am being saved each day as I choose to follow Him over and over, in big and small ways; and I hope to be saved by His great mercy when I leave this world. My hope, my assurance, is in Christ and His great love for me. I must follow and I must show my faith in every area of my life, in every deed, good work, and truthful word.

Anyone honest enough to want to know what Catholic teaching ACTUALLY says about salvation, etc. must go to the Catechism and read it.

All that said, I have to agree with something Gerard said, that when I look at you, I simply see a valiant warrior sister in Christ. You remind of a modern-day Joan of Arc. There is no doubt what motivates you and that you do what you do out of love for Jesus and His littlest ones. It's an honor to work along with you. You have many, many friends and fans in the Catholic community.

Bless you.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 18, 2010 7:16 AM


I would expand this to say that the pro-life movement is not only a vehicle for greater understanding between Catholics and Protestants, it can also be a vehicle for greater understanding among ALL religions. SecularProLife.org has produced friendships between atheists and Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists, etc. The struggle to protect unborn children unifies us all.

Posted by: Kelsey at May 18, 2010 7:20 AM


Hi Jill,

I think I understand your thinking. Does it come down to a difference in our belief in Purgatory?

Posted by: Kristen at May 18, 2010 8:00 AM


Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 6:17 AM

While I might disagree with you on a few of the particulars, I agree with the overall gist of your post: many Protestants could use a good deal more of the ritual that the Catholic church has never given up. There's a lot to be said for being able to, for example, look at a sin you've committed, acknowledge it is wrong, confess it--out loud, and then be told--out loud--that you are forgiven! I've sometimes wished that Protestants had an analogous practice to several things that I see in the Catholic church, because these rituals keep the fundamentals of the faith fresh in a person's mind.

All of which to say, I've been noticing, as I read the writings of other members of the pro-life movement, that I, as a Calvinist Evangelical Protestant, have much more in common with Catholics than I had thought that I did. And not just with regards to being pro-life. I'll read Dr. Nadal's blog, for example, and find myself noticing some doctrinal points I might disagree on, but far more on which I can solidly agree with. I have found that so refreshing and encouraging. I've learned that since I am human, and have no doubt made errors in my own thinking about God and the Bible in ways I'm not yet aware of, there are lots of people out there who have surely gotten the same points correct. If I am open to learn from them, I can improve on my understanding. And I've gained a deeper understanding of the meaning of "the Body of Christ." I can not thank all the Catholics, and members of other denominations, enough for those two gifts.

Posted by: Keli Hu at May 18, 2010 8:05 AM


@Linda (6:17 a.m.) Just to clarify, for Protestants, Communion is a sacrament, as is baptism and the pronouncement of absolution. We do not just sing songs and have fellowship. Our songs are worship and praise, offered up to God with thankful hearts (we enter His courts with thanksgiving and praise). I take the blood & body of Christ every week and can assure you no one in my church takes it lightly.

As for "once saved, always saved", in John we see those who fell away described as never really being with them in the first place. Hebrews 10 paints a dismal picture for those who, having had the knowledge of truth, trample underfoot the Son of God and consider an unholy thing the blood with which they were sanctified before...I think in particular of a Presbyterian deathscort who bragged to me (I was sidewalk counseling) he was clergy. Is there hope for him? I'd have to believe he went through seminary in the era that was spewing out priests and pastors alike that rejected central tenets of the Christian faith (the virgin birth, the divinity of Christ, the bodily resurrection, His promised return)--Hal Lindsey in The Late Great Planet Earth cites a survey conducted amongst all seminarians at the close of the 60's and the numbers would shock us all how many rejected these---what were these men doing in seminary if they didn't believe this? Never should have been ordained.

So I hope that this deathscort was like those 'never really with us' to begin with, and the principal we use in the pro-life movement, "Where there's life, there's hope" applies to his salvation as well. I know tone is hard to communicate in writing; I just wanted to clarify what I perceived as misconceptions in that post.

Posted by: klynn73 at May 18, 2010 8:31 AM


Jill and Terra,
I am a Catholic converted from Lutheren. I have asked many questions. It is faith alone. Works are a measure of the growth of ones faith. So that faith without works (action) is dead.(Hmm, Living God, Breath of Life. You, Jill and Terra, do not have a dead faith). That is one reason why, prior to confession, I am encouraged to examine what I have been doing. My actions. The more I understand right from wrong, the more I am responsible for my actions, the more I realize how much I need God. I keep making mistakes. Hey, Israel had the commandments in writing for a couple of thousand years B.C(hrist). They kept making mistakes too. Here we are today. It lends to hope. You can love the sinner and hate the sin, but it is not easy.
On confession, that was a tough one for me, personally. I can not express in words how wonderfully clensed I feel, having confessed everything. It's like, after camping for two weeks, a great shower times one hundred (or more except I don't recall tears after the shower).
David

Posted by: David Nordmark at May 18, 2010 8:35 AM


Hey Kristen: Read Terra's 2 posts and you'll understand the major area of difference as well as the multiple areas of agreement.

Keli Hu: Totally agree. Amen.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 8:38 AM


Why not just leave it at the fact that you're glad pro-life Catholics and Protestants could work together in the pro-life movement? What was the point of bringing up the age-old arguments?

I wholeheartedly agree. Same for prolife Jews, atheists, etc. Let's just focus on the issue at hand.

Posted by: Phillymiss at May 18, 2010 9:14 AM


It might surprise some Protestants that Catholics believe in the divine and human nature of Christ, the virgin birth, and the bodily resurrection? Seriously? What else are some Protestants surprised about, Jews following the Ten Commandments?

Protestant religions are descended from Catholicism, not the other way around. OF COURSE Catholics believe in the basic elements of Christianity.

Posted by: Marauder at May 18, 2010 9:17 AM


I'm a Catholic, and one of my favorite quotes is from Queen Elizabeth I, "there is but one Lord Jesus Christ, the rest is trifles."

Posted by: Sara at May 18, 2010 9:28 AM


Phillymiss, please read my comments at 1:08a and 1:35a for the answer to your questions.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 9:28 AM


Thanks for your honesty here, Jill. It's great that you can embrace the truth of Catholic social teaching and also be aware for yourself where you still stand on doctrines of faith. Never say never though, as you may find that a careful and prayerful examination of Catholic faith teaching would prove it to be the rich source of truth from which its social teachings spring.

Posted by: Suzanne at May 18, 2010 10:07 AM


Jill,

I am so glad you put this into words. Growing up the granddaughter of a missionary baptist preacher, I was always taught that everything other than missionary baptist was wrong. Even other types of baptists. Understand, my family loved the Lord and they meant well, but they only saw the Bible through their denominational views.

When I hit 17, I left their faith and was angry for a while at God. But He knew I needed Him and He brought me back. I began to read the Bible for myself and, over the years, His Spirit has brought me into a fuller understanding of Him and His truth. I'm sure this will continue over my entire life.

Since having my first child, God has spoken to me (and my husband) about His feelings about children, contraception, etc. The social issues you mention. My 'protestant friends' are often the very people who most disagree with our desire to have a large family. ('When am I going to 'get fixed'? -- I'm not broken);)

I see God reaching into all the different denominations and pulling aside those who will listen. He is not confined to four walls or denominational creeds or practices. Yes, His Word is Truth, and He will not act contrary to His Word, but He is not hampered by our failings or misunderstandings. He can and will lead us in all truth if we just follow Him and He will do it at His pace because He knows how much we can handle at any one time.

I would neither call myself catholic or protestant. I understand the purpose of labels, but I disagree wholeheartedly with religion. Religion is what has brought us the number of denominations we have. People have clung to their religious rituals (my family included) instead of pursuing the God who wants a real relationship with us. Religion is man trying to figure out how to reach and please God and coming up with his own ways of doing that. A relationship with God comes from listening to what God has to say and trusting Him enough to do it.

My beliefs did not come out of the reformation. Martin Luther did not invent them.
I heard the words of a Young Carpenter walking by the Sea of Galilee. He told a few fishermen to 'Follow Me'. I took his advice and have never regretted it.

Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 10:18 AM


I was raised fundamentalist Baptist, converted to Catholicism and was Catholic for many years. I have now returned to my Baptist roots precisely for the reasons that Linda talks about.

Good works please God. But they do not absolve sin. Eating a wafer of bread does not absolve sin. We need no mediator (priest) to absolve us from sin because Christ is the only mediator we need. When He died on the cross the veil in the temple was torn in two showing we no longer needed a human priest to go between us and God.

There is something really prideful about thinking that the way you live your life can somehow make you perfect enough to go to heaven. We are ALL sinners. There is none righteous, no NOT ONE! The Bible clearly says ALL have sinned. Salvation is placing total dependence on Christ alone for salvation. If you are placing even a small bit of faith in how "good" you live your life then you are still thinking that something YOU do can get you to heaven and that is pride. The Bible says "For by GRACE are ye saved, through FAITH; and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT OF GOD not of WORKS lest any man should boast!"

God's salvation is a gift. But like any gift it must be taken from the giver's hands. God will not force it on you. All you have to do is accept the gift.

That being said I was a penpal with Fr Paul Marx when I was a kid. He greatly influenced me for life. How many busy religious men like him would take the time to personally respond to every letter I wrote with all my questions? He was very compassionate, patient and encouraging. I really admire the zeal most Catholics have for life. I wish more protestants would get on board knowing they will give an account of their lives to God someday. I don't want God to ask me why I stuck my head in the sand why babies all around me were being butchered.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 18, 2010 10:18 AM


I am a cradle and devout Catholic and I, too, wonder what the purpose of this article was. I am staunchly pro-life and this is why I read your blog but I do not want to be put on the offensive (or the defensive, I guess) when it comes to matters of defending my Faith. You say you don't want to debate it or get into an argument about why you aren't Catholic, so why mention it at all? Leave it at the pro-life, IVF, and contraception issues and walk away.

Posted by: KellyO at May 18, 2010 10:21 AM


No offense, but I take it with a grain of salt when a non-Catholic says they "understand" any point in Catholic doctrine. I've yet to find someone who claims that and actually has it right. I say this as a former protestant who "understood" much about Catholic doctrine myself.

Posted by: PHernandez at May 18, 2010 10:24 AM


I lost one friend over this disagreement

That's very sad to read :( I pray that the One who makes all things new will lead you both down a path toward reconciliation.

Posted by: Fed Up at May 18, 2010 10:31 AM


Thanks, Suzanne, Heather, and Sydney and so many others for your honest yet considerate and respectful dialogue.

The point of my post was that there is a well known schism between the Catholic and Protestant faiths that has gone so far as to literally create wars, even in my lifetime in Ireland.

But there has arisen a bridge between our faiths, which is Catholic social teaching, as Gerard commented earlier:

This great tragedy of the second half of the twentieth century and the dawn of the twenty-first has done more to unite us in 37 years than all of the silver-tongued scholars of Rome and Protestant theologates ever could have dreamed. We have accomplished more in less than half a century in this regard than in the entire preceding 450 years.

Catholic social teaching has done more to develop my faith during the past 11 years than any other Christian teaching, which is really amazing. It has provided my 3rd major adulthood growth spurt, for which I am so thankful. Catholic social teaching has been a Damascan experience for me.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 10:31 AM


Thank you, Jill, for your openness to Catholic teaching and for being willing to acknowledge this publicly.

"Eating a wafer of bread does not absolve sin." Sydney, I'm sorry, but at least for me as a Catholic, this statement is very offensive. It is one thing to engage in sincere discussion about Catholic faith in the Eucharist as the real Body and Blood of Christ, and it's origin in John 6. It is another to simply give a closed-minded slap in the face to the beliefs of all Catholics (well, actually you only poke at an imagined Catholic faith, for Catholics do not believe the Eucharist is merely a "wafer of bread"), with no indication of interest in genuine discussion. Why would you even make a statement like this if you don't intend to offend and put Catholics down simply for being Catholic?

I hope you didn't mean to offend. But, as a brother in Christ, I am letting you know that this way of falsely representing what Catholics believe about the Eucharist (that it is merely a wafer of bread) is, to us, very condescending and inconsiderate. For one who receives the Body and Blood of the Lord with full faith that this is indeed truly Christ, it is none other than an attack on Christ Himself.

Please know I say this not trying to stir up trouble or out of any spite or disrespect (I also am a convert to Catholicism). But I assume you would want to know the effect of your words on others, in the spirit of being honest and truthful with each other. I also second what Gerard said. But I might add that part of being a real family is being honest with each other, in charity and without malice, about things (and this can include words) that truly offend and thus can wound the familial bonds that already exist. Peace!

Posted by: Scott Johnston at May 18, 2010 11:15 AM


Sydney,

Sadly, after reading your comment, it is clear that you haven't the faintest idea what Catholic doctrine really teaches; you don't understand the sacrament of the Eucharist or Penance, and your remarks concerning a wafer of bread were rather smug. If you see the sacrament of Eucharist as merely a wafer of bread, then my dear, you have missed everything entirely.

Please refrain from perpetuating such distortions of Catholic belief.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 18, 2010 11:32 AM


Jill, for the first time, you have disappointed me. And I have to say that I am also feeling pretty dis-respected after reading your comments and those of others here.

Please take the time to learn more about what the Catholic Church teaches, and don't try to dismiss us with a 20-word inaccurate, oversimplified summary. The Catholic faith is deep and rich. There's a reason the Catechism of the Catholic Church has so many pages in it, with so many scriptural citations, and with so much support from the writings of first and second-century Christians who were taught by the Apostles. There's a reason why it takes a year (or more) to join the Catholic Church. The sacraments, which is what Protestants walked away from, were given to the Church by Christ, and they are the key to life in Him. All of our social values, which you greatly appreciate, are rooted in those teachings and in those sacraments. But you will never understand that if you continue to try to reduce our faith to superficial slogans.

Posted by: Bill at May 18, 2010 12:02 PM


"Eating a wafer of bread does not absolve sin."

Hey Sydney, I'm not Catholic (not even Christian) but I looked into Catholicism quite seriously for a year or two (starting with that epic purgatory debate here some time ago - MK is a kind soul) and I'm actually am pretty sure you can't take communion until you've been "absolved" of sin. If you have committed a mortal sin but haven't gone to confession, then it's actually a sin to take communion. It's like...compound sins, kind of. :)

Of course this only applies if you KNOW that it's a sin to take communion without having confessed your mortal sins, and you do it anyway.

Posted by: Alexandra at May 18, 2010 12:07 PM


Sydney,

Regarding Priests as mediators. Jesus Himself gave the Apostles the power to forgive sins, and hold them bound. We see St. Paul exercising this authority with the incestuous mother and son in 1 and 2 Corinthians. When recalcitrant, he held their sin bound against them and excommunicated them. When they repented, he loosed their sin.

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 18, 2010 12:08 PM


People have clung to their religious rituals (my family included) instead of pursuing the God who wants a real relationship with us. Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 10:18 AM

What appears as ritual, meaningless action to some can actually be very powerful relationship-building with our God, although I respect that you may not perceive it as such. As a former Protestant, I embrace the practices and sacraments of the Catholic Church because they aren't mere rituals but a efficacious means to live my faith more deeply and grow in my relationship with the Most Holy Trinity.

Religion is man trying to figure out how to reach and please God and coming up with his own ways of doing that. A relationship with God comes from listening to what God has to say and trusting Him enough to do it.

Some of the actions you probably consider "ritual" do in fact originate from "listening to what God has to say" and "trusting Him" to mean what He said about the Eucharist, power to forgive sins, etc. Even the Catholic practice of repetitive prayer can be seen in the psalms. Then there's the example of Our Lord Himself, who repeated the same prayer three times in the garden.

These are but a few examples. Please don't insult as mere "ritual" what are in fact powerful, grace-filled encounters for many of us :)

"Eating a wafer of bread does not absolve sin."
Posted by: Alexandra at May 18, 2010 12:07 PM

She's probably thinking of venial sin. BTW, are you the one who had a friend in a serious accident? How's she doing?

Posted by: Fed Up at May 18, 2010 12:15 PM


Sydney M., I deeply love and respect you for your devotion to the pro-life cause. I'm sorry you're being subjected to the vitriol of some here.

Nevertheless, I'm amazed that after have spent "many years" in the Catholic Church, you could mis-state Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist as you did. No, Catholics do not believe that receiving the Eucharist forgives sin. Rather, because of the nature of this close union with Jesus, you must have confessed and had your serious sins forgiven before receiving it.

I do respect your beliefs, but you were misinforming others by stating what you did, so forgive me for stepping in. And do study the Catechism of the Catholic Church if you want the facts.

Posted by: Lori Pieper at May 18, 2010 12:28 PM


I think everything can be summed up by God IS love. Sin is thus a lack of love. I've found religion is for us as we try to understand what is LOVE. Our religions seem to be part of our meager efforts to internalize and externalize our understandings. Above all, I think God is going to judge us on how we have loved, family, friends, enemies regardless of our religions. This has helped me to love, accept and respect those I meet wherever they are in their walk towards God and find a fullness and completeness of the revelation of God's love in the Catholic faith.

One of my favorite blogs apart from yours Jill :) is

www.conversiondiary.com

It is the blog of a former atheist, feminist, prochoice, who intellectually decided to believe in God and how it has affected her life as she put into practice the christian belief and practices. Her faith came after her decision to live as if she had faith.

I found some very interesting tidbits of such in Akiane's blog regarding some eastern religions. (A child prodigy- artist, poet, pianist)

http://akiane.com/blog/?p=93

"The Enlightenment is not only about the Hindu worship and prayer, but about all of us finding our own way to spiritual enlightenment, peace and contentment.
Respecting the differences of our spiritual crossroad paths demonstrates maturity and is part of reaching the enlightenment.
Everybody needs time to reflect and contemplate, and the most inspirational and peaceful place to do so is the nature.
Through the Swami’s focus on beauty, wisdom and love everything is reviving, both spiritual and physical thirst is getting quenched, and the scorched hill is releasing its first flower as a symbol of rebirth."


Posted by: chantal at May 18, 2010 12:37 PM


I've only read parts of the thread but it's fascinating.

I too am a Socially Catholic Evangelical Protestant. I'm totally convinced that God in His Wisdom has orchestrated the whole thing according to His Plan to get His work done.

I believe many Protestants are not as socially responsible as they could be because of the emphasis on seperation from the world. A lot of us were so goofed up we needed a strong break with old friends & habits and tend to live too isolated. Consequently, we need to be reminded that we're supposed to be the salt and light of the world.

Many Catholics, on the other hand may not perceive the world as evil and dangerous as Protestants because they believe in Purgatory. If they get it wrong down here, it might cost them a few more years of nominal suffering but they'll make it to Heaven in the end.

I'm not saying (nor do I think this is the proper forum to debate) which belief is right or wrong.

Let's celebrate the Catholics for their strong Pro-Life burden and stedfast work and the Protestants (those of us who are awake) for their sense of urgency...

and let's call the rest of the country to repentance.

Posted by: Ed at May 18, 2010 12:39 PM


Fed Up,

Sorry that I wasn't clearer. I wasn't refering to catholic ritual in particular. In several churches I have attended, it was ritual to start at 10:00 on Sunday morning. One church actually made it their goal for the New Year- to start on time. If someone had come in needing help, they would have had to wait till the end of the service and that negates the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Protestant churches have many man-made rituals. My problem is not with ritual in general and I agree with your point. It is ritual because of denominational view or legalism that I object to.

From my experience, I find that there are a lot of people in the churches of all denominations that do not know Jesus. They attend for social reasons or because it makes them feel good, etc. These people do not have the leading of the Holy Spirit and can only cling to their rituals and religion. They don't have the ability to discern truth from man made rules.

This is the ritual and religion that I was talking about. Not the practices that come from a relationship with a real and living God.
:)

Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 12:42 PM


I find Catholic Answers article By Faith Alone? to be a worthwhile read for Catholics and non-Catholics.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at May 18, 2010 12:44 PM


Sydney I checked the Catechism and I was actually quite wrong myself. The need to approach the sacrament after having confessed is listed, but the Eucharist also has the effect of forgiving sins.

"1393 Holy Communion separates us from sin. the body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is "given up for us," and the blood we drink "shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins." For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins."

You still made a mistake in supposing "eating a wafer of bread," as though Communion were simply an outward action with an ordinary piece of bread, has this effect. No, Christ himself forgives our sins.

Posted by: Lori Pieper at May 18, 2010 12:45 PM


"It would be easier for the world to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass."

-Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Posted by: Praxedes at May 18, 2010 12:48 PM


Hi Ed.

"Many Catholics, on the other hand may not perceive the world as evil and dangerous as Protestants because they believe in Purgatory. If they get it wrong down here, it might cost them a few more years of nominal suffering but they'll make it to Heaven in the end."

I understand what you're saying here and while there probably are many Catholics who think this way, this is very dangerous thinking (obviously I'm not saying you think this). Purgatory is a gift from God. In other words, dying and going to purgatory is NOT the ordinary means of salvation. By God's grace, he gave us purgatory, but we should not shoot for purgatory or think of it as a way to commit really small sins. No, Jesus says in Matthew 5:48 to be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect. True Catholic theology recognizes that this was not a suggestion- it was a command, a divine command from God himself. Since God never commands the impossible, we indeed are expected to be perfected in this lifetime. Purgatory is for those who fail at becoming perfected in this life, but non-perfection is NOT what a Catholic should be striving for. It should make one question their motivation to be with God if they're willing to commit small sins or not strive everyday to love him more and draw closer and closer to him in an attempt to be perfected. I would very much question whether or not a Catholic like you described above really loves God with their whole heart, mind, soul,and strength.

So just to summarize, Ed, I want to make sure that you know that authentic Catholic teaching would condemn the kind of attitude you have described, even though I am sure many people fall victim to it. Thank you for pointing it out. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 12:50 PM


Oh, I love it, Praxedes!

I didn't realize how many regulars here are Catholic...

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 12:52 PM


I find that there are a lot of people in the churches of all denominations that do not know Jesus. They attend for social reasons ...
Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 12:42 PM

Ah, now I understand what you were getting at. I apologize for misunderstanding your comment! Thank you for your very kind response. Peace :)

Posted by: Fed Up at May 18, 2010 12:52 PM


I was a lukewarm catholic that married a non-denom christian. When I learned about our differences as you have discussed in this blog, I was very intrigued. That led me to find out what it is all about. As a result I have joined Parish activities, accumulated a personal library which I have proudly read every book, and learned as much as I can from topics of where the bible came from, the crusades, the reformation, Calvin and Luther, The Church Fathers, the Greek orthodox, the septuagint, the vulgate,the Asuza revival. My wife somehow made me closer to God, a true Roman Catholic (with a big C). and the more I learn is when I realize I know so little.

Posted by: don at May 18, 2010 1:03 PM


Ed,

No, you're wrong. Catholics actually do see a lot of evil in the world.

In fact, a lot of priests I know preach about the evils in the world and our responsibilities as Catholics to defend life, stand up for truth, preach the Gospel and devote ourselves to following Christ.

To Jill and Terra--I apologize if I came off antagonistic. There are reasons why I was upset, and George Nadal, Bill, Jennifer, and Scott all touched on what was bothering me about this post.

Like I said, I have loved this blog for the pro-life news it reports on, this is the only post I really have ever had a problem with and I intend to keep reading the blog despite how I feel about this post because it does report very well on important pro-life news.

For me, when it comes to being pro-life I'm happy to work with my Protestant (or whatever a person is)brothers and sisters because regardless of what differences we have, if we're willing to put aside those differences for the sake of defending life, so much the better.

Posted by: Mother In Texas at May 18, 2010 1:20 PM


I was baptized Catholic as a baby and confirmed when I was 16. At 23 I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in a Pentecostal Church. I'm thankful for my Catholic upbringing. I'm very thankful that I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I think we will be judged by what we know. And although I am a pro-lifer being a pro-lifer is not what saved my soul. So I'm a Christian first and not ashamed of my God or my testimony and believe in my heart of hearts that if the Church had been fighting the abortion issue at least those in key places RoevWade would have been overturned a long time ago and/or would have very little effect on society as we know it.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 18, 2010 1:23 PM


P.S. Although, Bobby is right, there probably are Catholics who think the way Ed described, what I should've said was that No, not ALL Catholics think that way. Sorry for not making that clear.

Posted by: Mother In Texas at May 18, 2010 1:24 PM


I wasn't aware it was proper to pick and choose which doctrines of Faith one ascribed to, If you're a Protestant who disagrees with your church on social issues, are you a PINO?

Posted by: Hal at May 18, 2010 1:29 PM


I am with you, Jill and Terra. I appreciate the Catholic Church on so many levels, and the teachings therein have changed the way I live my life, even though I strongly disagree with other points (which my fingers are itching to delve into here, but I will refrain from doing so). :D

I would hope, however, that those who feel insulted would understand that there are also many Protestants who come here for life-related news. I've read through countless posts on how the Catholic Church is the only way of salvation, and (even on this thread) how we need to come back to the "true faith." I've *chosen* to not take it as a personal affront to me and my faith in Jesus Christ. So, we could all get offended if we wanted to. I read Catholic blogs, I have worked in a Catholic bookstore, and I have repeatedly been told (to my face, in fact) that because I am not Catholic, I am foolish and I am in danger of hellfire. By devoted Catholics.

So, please, let's not act as if anyone here is trying to disrespect the Catholic Church. That just isn't the case. Instead, for a Protestant to say how greatly they respect the Catholic Church should be taken as a huge compliment. It is meant as one.


Posted by: Kelli Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 1:32 PM


Hal,

They typically just call us irresponsible. :)

Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 1:36 PM


Cranky Catholic, in addition I would recommend A Handbook of Catholic Apologetics by Peter Kreeft - which, as far as I could tell (though my memory is not so good) is basically A Handbook of Christian Apologetics with some added sections on Catholic/Protestant questions (as opposed to theistic/atheistic or Christian/Non-Christian questions, which make up the rest of the book).

It's a bit cursory on some Catholic aspects - it mostly just deals with some of the bigger questions, doesn't really delve as much into some important topics like Mary, etc - but it's a good starting point if you find yourself completely baffled by how/why people might believe the things they do.

Posted by: Alexandra at May 18, 2010 1:57 PM


Alexandra, count me as one of the "completely baffled."

Posted by: Hal at May 18, 2010 1:59 PM


Kelli, what would you call mis-representing (by distortion or by superficial panning) the teachings of the Catholic Church and the beliefs of 1.3 billion Catholics, if not disrespect?

I think I will stick to the Catholic pro-life blogs from now on. Who needs this?

Posted by: Bill at May 18, 2010 1:59 PM


Bill,

I see what you are saying regarding Catholic thought being summed up in one paragraph. I've been at studying the scriptures, catechism, theology, spirituality for a lifetime and have barely made a dent, so rich is our heritage.

However, I know that it wasn't Jill's intent to give offense. Nor was it her intent to treat our heritage blithely. Given the nature of the medium where we all congregate, post need to be digested in one sitting.

Jill was summarizing what has been a lifetime's effort for her too, an effort at not only understanding her faith, but ours too, and it cost her a friendship in the process.

It wasn't her faith or ours she was reducing to a paragraph, so much as it was the chapter headings of the issues that divide us. And they are voluminous chapters to be certain. Beyond that, the arc of her post was a celebration of the bridge building that has occurred between our respective faiths.

I agree with you that Catholic social teaching is rooted not only in Sacred Scripture, but also in Sacred Tradition. The roots are many, to be certain. Nevertheless, the severing of some roots does not doom the plant. It receives adequate hydration and nutrition from the living roots that exist.

Yes, our Evangelical brothers and sisters are missing the Eucharistic context of all that we do, as the Eucharist is the source and summit of all Catholic theology and life, because the Eucharist is Jesus Himself. But Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to Protestants and fills their lives, animating them and perfecting them through their own traditions.

As you're well aware Bill, there is not one real presence at Mass, the Eucharist, but two.

God is literally truly present in the reading of His Word, as God IS His Word. In the reading of the Sacred Scriptures God is really and truly present among us as surely as He is in the Eucharist. Our Evangelical brethren show all of the fruits of having encountered God in the real presence of the Word.

Finally, as for being disrespected, I can only say the following. Jill has in many ways mentored me in my emerging pro-life scholarship and advocacy. She has done so most generously and with great respect for my Catholicism. Her counsel to me has been thoroughly imbued with a scriptural and spiritual wisdom that rivals any I have ever encountered in the Church.

This is simply stunning progress between our faiths in less than four decades. We can't have the whole enchilada in one generation. That we have orders of magnitude more unity and understanding than the previous generations COMBINED have had over 4 1/2 centuries is more than enough for me.

Please Bill, let's rejoice in all of the good that we share. Luther and Tetzel should have been so lucky.

God Bless

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 18, 2010 2:00 PM


Hi all,

A suggestion for those interested in evangelizing:

"Catholic Christianity" by Peter Kreeft cross references both Scriptural passages and the Catechism with core beliefs of Catholic Christianity. Excellent conversation starter between Catholics and Protestants, IMHO.


Posted by: Janet at May 18, 2010 2:02 PM


Hahaha Hal. :)

I'm not really among the baffled - I get it all pretty thoroughly, I think. I just don't believe it.

Posted by: Alexandra at May 18, 2010 2:05 PM


Gerard, thank you for your lengthy and thoughtful note.

I was in pro-Life before I started reading this blog, through Catholic Pro-Life and through the Knights of Columbus, including earning the pro-Life wings under the Texas Knights (same ones Father Mitch Pacwa wears). Jill's blog has mainly provided me with links to news. I can get all of that from the many Catholic pro-Life blogs. I think it is recognized by all that Catholics (and the Knights) are the backbone of the pro-Life movement. They are sufficient for me, and they present no distractions (such as the present thread).

I wish Jill well and I have no hard feelings toward her. I am just very disappointed by the distortions, misrepresentations, and in a couple of cases the disdain in this thread, as I said.

Posted by: Bill at May 18, 2010 2:12 PM


* There is no teaching that is not supported by Scripture and the writings of our early Church Fathers.

* Catholics that differ with the Church on certain teachings are no different than Protestants that protested and left the Catholic Church. It is illogical to think that God is giving them the correct answers while hiding it from His Church. What is the likelihood that the Catholic Church has gotten her teachings wrong for over 2,000 years while modern, liberal Catholics have discovered the real truth?

* Honoring Mary is a Catholic custom from earliest times. The tradition to go to her, the Mother of Our Savior, is rooted in both the Old and New Testaments.

* Scandal in the Church is not proof of error in Catholic teaching. It is the teachings of Jesus Christ through His Church that we are following and not just mere humans that can fail us. Jesus made that clear when he chose Judas to be a part of his inner circle. There was nothing wrong with the seminary Judas attended, yet he betrayed our Savior. Why did Jesus include him as one of his followers if he knew this would happen? Could it be to show us that there will always be sinners in the Church but that will never destroy the teachings Jesus gave us?

Posted by: David G at May 18, 2010 2:31 PM


I estimate 95% of our pro-life Sidewalk Counselors and prayer participants here in Sacramento are Catholic, despite our extensive outreach and invitation efforts to the Protestant community. Is this observation nation-wide? If so, what is the explanation and how can we do a better job at inviting and sustaining the pro-life participation of our Protestant brothers and sisters?

Posted by: Wynette in Sacramento at May 18, 2010 2:42 PM


Jill-
Hope you are o.k.. This to shall pass.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 18, 2010 2:56 PM


I owe Gerard Nadal an apology. I've been calling him George. I'm sincerely sorry. I just realized my mistake. I have NO idea where I got George from.

Posted by: Mother In Texas at May 18, 2010 3:00 PM


Kelli,

Please allow this Catholic to apologize to you for any other Catholic who has told you you're in danger of hellfire. That certainly isn't accurate Catholic teaching.

Ironically, I have been told countless times by many different Protestants that I'm not saved, I don't know Jesus, I have no personal relationship with Him, and I do not have the Holy Spirit, and I'm lost and deceived. (sigh)

Ignorance, it seems, know no bounds or denomination.

I love my brothers and sisters in Christ. Especially the ones who fight for the sanctity of life. We need each other.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 18, 2010 3:08 PM


Bill,

Thanks for the reply. So we're brother Knights! I'm 4th degree, and the pro-life chairman of my council, but I never heard of the wings. What are they and how does one earn them and encourage other brothers to do the same?

Look, I write a Catholic, scientific pro-life blog. If Jill and I were the only two pro-life blogs on the planet and you could only read one, I would beg you to stick with Jill. There is a depth and breadth of news and commentary here that is simply unrivaled anywhere else. And Jill shows all of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

In regard to other folks not understanding us, of course they don't fully get us. If we're honest Bill, most Catholics are pretty ignorant of their own faith. Yet, I've seen more knowledge of Catholicism in non-Catholics here than I see in many people who attend weekly Mass.

Prayer is the key Bill. If we start with genuine prayers of praise and thanksgiving for this unprecedented fellowship and common cause, our differences, though still large, diminish in their negative influence over our regard for and treatment of one another.

For this thread to sour you on Jill would be a tragedy Bill. Stick around brother. Don't collapse back into the parochialism of the past 450 years.

Pro-life is the only viable ecumenical forum to ever have emerged, precisely because it has bypassed the quicksand of dogmatic differences.

God Bless

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 18, 2010 3:31 PM


Mother in Texas,

Call me anything you want, just don't call me late for dinner ;-)

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 18, 2010 3:37 PM


Hal-
So now you are aware. Had I subscribed to that philosphy and thought oh no I can't visit other churches because I'm a Catholic I doubt I would be here today. The Gospel is preached in many churches and what is important to one denomination might not be as important to another denomination if there preaching the gospel there part of the Body Of Christ. Had it not been for Pentecostals I don't think I would have made it and/or could not grown into the person God intended me to be. Had it not been for Catholic and Pentecostal friends taking care of my son would have been a lot harder. Have you ever heard the story of the elephant different people looking at the same elephant saw different things but all pertained to the elephant. That's like the bodie of Christ it doesn't always agree but if you look at the different denominations you will also see similarities. Hope this helps.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 18, 2010 3:40 PM


Hi Myrtle,

"Have you ever heard the story of the elephant different people looking at the same elephant saw different things but all pertained to the elephant."

Everyone has it wrong in the elephant analogy. They all have been given partial truth, and they completely misinterpret that partial truth. This is why the elephant analogy is not accurate when it comes to the Christian faith because it implies that all denominations are wrong and that God is playing some sort of game with us where he gives us a hint of truth that we completely misunderstand. I am much more inclined to believe (though I obviously do not) that Calvinism or Lutheranism or Methodism contains the truth which God intended to reveal to us rather than believing that scattered tidbits about which only contained partial and half truths. Ultimately, the elephant analogy is an apology for religious pluralism which a Christian can not accept.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 3:48 PM


Myrtle,

Thanks, I'm ok! (After all, I started this... :)

I've been reading comments the last 4 hours when it was safe to while driving to a speaking engagement. I've been very pleased with the respectful tone of the conversation. I love that.

I suppose it's human nature to focus on our differences when the whole point of this post was to acknowledge our differences while sharing Terra's revelation that a bridge has been built between Catholicism and Protestantism through the pro-life movement. I wrote my post in gratitude.

I cannot explain what a watershed time the past 2 days has been after reading Terra's post.

I will admit I'm upset by Bill's comments. I don't want Bill to leave, and I hope Bill will change his mind. The irony is I know what good work the Knights do because my oldest son is a Knight. His church has invited me to speak this October, which kind of gets back to the point of this post.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 3:49 PM


Wynette, most of the prolife people here in Philadelphia are culturally conservative Catholics. When I go to a prolife event, someone invaribly asks me what parish I belong to, and I'm not Catholic! They give off the impression that they want only 1) Catholics or 2) Evangelical Christians (second best) to "join" the prolife movement. I don't care if someone is a Catholic or even Christian, just focus on the issue. The Philadelphia prolifers generally do not try to be inclusive, which is why I rarely attend prolife events here anymore.

Also, many of them live in the suburbs and often talk about how terrible the city is. In a city that is over half minority, this comes across as racist. Hey, I've lived here for twenty years, and I haven't been mugged or shot yet!

I once knew a Muslim woman (a convert from Catholicism) who was very prolife. She wore Muslim garb and when she would show up at different events, people would give her strange looks and talk about her religious beliefs. She was actually a very nice person, but after awhile she stopped being active in prolife and I lost contact with her. I'm sure she felt uncomfortable and even unwelcome.

Anyway, have you tried to talk to pastors in the area, done any outreach? That may help. Just try to include, not exclude!

Posted by: Phillymiss at May 18, 2010 3:50 PM


Catholic Christian - If all scripture is inspired, then we need to find out what books and letters
constitute inspired scripture. Does the New Testament tell us that?

Protestant Christian - Well...no.

Catholic Christian - So how do you know which books and letters are scripture?

Protestant Christian - Well the Church has always believed that there were certain books and
letters that had authority.

Catholic Christian - Really? How do you know that?

Protestant Christian - Well, if you study history you'll learn that the earliest Christians viewed
most of the New Testament as we know it today.

Catholic Christian - Hold on. I thought you only go by what's in the Bible?

Protestant Christian - I do.

Catholic Christian - But if you only go by what's in the bible, why do you resort to history in an
effort to explain which books and letters are inspired?

Protestant Christian - Because history tells us that that's what Christians have always believed.

Catholic Christian - But history also tells us that Christians have always believed apostolic
succession. Why do you accept Christian history when it comes to sacred scripture and reject it
when it comes to apostolic succession?

Protestant Christian - Because apostolic succession is not in the Bible.

Catholic Christian - Neither is the notion that there are 27 inspired books that form a definitive
body of literature for all Christians. Right?

Protestant Christian - Um....

Catholic Christian - Can I ask you another question?

Protestant Christian - Sure.

Catholic Christian - If Christians of the second century largely knew which books and letters
comprised the New Testament without the New Testament listing them, then where did they get
this information?

Protestant Christian - From the apostles and early believers.

Catholic Christian - So, basically you're saying that they passed this information down orally?

Protestant Christian - Um....I suppose.

Catholic Christian - But I thought you were opposed to oral tradition.

Protestant Christian - I'm opposed to oral tradition that is not in the Bible.

Catholic Christian - That doesn't make sense, though. The New Testament books are not
mentioned in the Bible nor is the idea of a definitive literary body of Christian writings. For that
information you trust the testimony of the Church. I sense an inconsistency here. How can you
say that you reject oral tradition when you come by your knowledge of scripture via oral
tradition?

Posted by: David G at May 18, 2010 3:51 PM


Posted by: Alexandra at May 18, 2010 1:57 PM

Hi Alexandra,

I'm sorry, I posted the title of a Kreeft book for suggested reading not even realizing that you had already posted the title of a different Kreeft book. (I hope you didn't think I was implying my choice was "better". Your title, in fact, is probably a better one because it was published more recently. :)

Since this topic can be a heated discussion, and I don't have much free time today, I thought I would just pop in and pop out quickly. Take care!

Posted by: Janet at May 18, 2010 3:51 PM


Janet and Alexandra,

So it turns out that Kreeft wrote more than one book that is worth reading...

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 3:53 PM


Bobby,
LOL!

Posted by: Janet at May 18, 2010 3:55 PM


Remember, we were all one for 1500 years. We will all be one again as well.

And now for the conclusion of above:


Protestant Christian - The Catholics were involved in inquisitions!

Catholic Christian - I know. But let's stay on the issue in question. How do you know who wrote
the gospel that we commonly attribute to Matthew?

Protestant Christian - I'm not sure.

Catholic Christian - Well, we know this by the testimony of the Church fathers. In fact, to
Mathew's gospel could be added Mark, Luke John and John's three letters. All those writings
lack autographs. Why do you trust that they were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

Protestant Christian - Because the Church has always believed that.

Catholic Christian - Why do you trust the Church's oral tradition on the authorship of the gospels
and epistles, but distrust her when she speaks of apostolic succession?

Protestant Christian - Because apostolic succession is not taught in the Bible.

Catholic Christian - Point me to the chapter and verse in the Bible that lists 27 books/letters as
the inspired literary corpus for Christians.

Protestant Christian - I can't do that.

Catholic Christian - But you said that we should expect to find all important matters in the
scriptures, that Christ would certainly see to it that such things were written down in holy
scripture if our very lives depended on them.

Protestant Christian - The fact of the matter is that the 27 books which the Catholic Church
officially counted as NT scripture near the end of the 4th century had already been recognized as
such by millions of Christians for hundreds of years!

Catholic Christian - Did those millions of Christians recognize apostolic succession?

Protestant Christian - Yes. But that's a false teaching.

Catholic Christian - How do you know?

Protestant Christian - Because it's not in the Bible.

Catholic Christian - But if millions of Christians for hundreds of years recognized the 27 books
which the Catholic Church officially counted as NT scripture near the end of the 4th century even
though these books and the notion of a an inspired body of literature are not mentioned in the
Bible, then that means millions of Christians for hundreds of years did not limit their beliefs to
things found only in the Bible. Right?

Protestant Christian - I'm not sure.

Posted by: David G at May 18, 2010 3:55 PM


LOL Bobby, I'd say almost anything Kreeft wrote is worth reading!

Janet, no worries! I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many recommendations, especially when it comes to books and music. I've only just recently popped back in after a prolonged absence, myself, so I know how it is to just skim comments and miss key points.

Posted by: Alexandra at May 18, 2010 4:14 PM


"I'd say almost anything Kreeft wrote is worth reading!"

Yup, no doubts there.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 4:28 PM


That's what I get for not previewing it. Theirs a comma after friends and how did I misspell body.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 18, 2010 4:31 PM


Only hopping on this one to say HI ALEXANDRA!! :)

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 4:41 PM


Gerard -- I am also 4th Degree. The pro-Life ACE Wings are only available to Knights in Texas (Father Mitch became a 4th Degree Knight while he was assigned here, so the Team awarded him his wings). ACE = Pro-Life without Apology, without Compromise, and without Exception. It takes public commitment over the course of 12 months to earn them. Details: http://tkofc.org/uploads/downloads/9_Ace_Pro-Life_Award.pdf

Jill and Gerard, I am grateful for fellowship and cooperation. I don't think it is being parochial to be offended by some of the remarks and misrepresentations that have been made here, however.

Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, "There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics 'adore statues;' because they 'put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God;' because they 'say indulgence is a permission to commit sin;' because the Pope 'is a Fascist;' because the Church 'is the defender of Capitalism.' If the Church taught or believed any one of these things, it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do."

I think that's what is going on here. Not hatred (I hope, though some of the comments make me wonder), but ignorance of the truth, starting with the initial post and the referenced comments from the other weblog.

By the way, the quote from Bishop Sheen can be found on the weblog of a former Baptist who converted to Catholicism. Some might find what he has to say illuminating. Read it at http://www.ourcatholicfaith.org/ (I grew up Catholic in the South, so my experience was the converse of his, including being the object of some extremely un-Christian behavior).

I wish this thread had never happened.

Posted by: Bill at May 18, 2010 4:43 PM


Hi Bill. I admire your zeal to defend the faith. But I also feel for Jill. I remember what it was like to embrace certain Catholic teachings, even certain devotions, but not want to become Catholic. It's a difficult thing to describe if you've never been in that position. And it can present a lot of problems that might not be readily apparent to a cradle Catholic. I don't know how it is for Jill, but for me, it was extremely uncomfortable at times. Not just for me, but for some of the other non-Catholics in my life too.

In one of your comments, you said to Jill, "Please take the time to learn more about what the Catholic Church teaches...." Are you now unwilling to give her time to learn more? Like you said, "There's a reason why it takes a year (or more) to join the Catholic Church." If it's a lengthy process for those committed to full communion, imagine how much longer it takes someone who is not committed to full communion to understand these things. Isn't it wonderful that Jill is putting forth an effort to understand what so many other protestants have no desire to understand?

Jill's blog has mainly provided me with links to news. I can get all of that from the many Catholic pro-Life blogs...They are sufficient for me ...
Posted by: Bill at May 18, 2010 2:12 PM

Have you considered that perhaps you were led here to contribute something instead of getting something? For example, now I know what Fr Mitch sometimes wears on his lapel. Question answered thanks to Bill. Just food for thought :) Peace.

Posted by: Fed Up at May 18, 2010 4:54 PM


Bill,

I'm trying to understand your position, but I'm having a hard time. I live in a town that has about 50 'protestant' churches and only one catholic church that doesn't have a lot of members. Obviously you can see that I have been surrounded by 'protestant' beliefs. I had never even met someone who was catholic until I attended 40 days for life, and that was this year. (I'm 26.)

I dislike discord and am not trying to create any. I have been enjoying this discussion from the perspective of a learner. I can see your frustration at being misunderstood, but so are all Christians- protestant and catholic alike.
My question is: am I supposed to feel upset any time someone disagrees with me or misunderstands me. I assure you, I am outside the realm of mainstream both inside and outside the church. I fit in nowhere- (sometimes I do it deliberately,) but I don't take offense.

Maybe I am missing something, some key point that would allow me to see why it bothers you and so many others so much. I trust God to lead me wherever He wants me. Maybe you believe that God only leads people to the catholic church. I would disagree but it wouldn't upset me one bit. If you love God and I love God and we love one another... I don't see the issue. People who are indwelled with God's Spirit will know their sisters and brothers in Christ. I have met those people in all denominations.

Again, I am genuinely seeking to understand your point of view. Please don't take offense.

Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 5:01 PM


Jill,
I'm very thankful for all my friends in Christ and your blog has truly been a blessing! We are united for LIFE. Here and beyond.... :)

* * *

Fed Up @ 4:54,
Nicely stated. We're learning every day, for the rest of our lives, if we are open to it. Peace to you too.


Posted by: Janet at May 18, 2010 5:06 PM


I really love this blog so much! Thank you Jill for all your great articles. Some of my best friends and even some family members are Protestant and thanks be to God, we have learned to dialogue about our differences without getting angry.

Fr. John Corapi talked about (I think it's in his Easter Triduum series) how wherever there is a church that has perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Planned Parenthood Clinics have fleed. Wouldn't that be something if perpetual adoration churches were on every street that an abortion clinic was. Where Jesus is, the Evil One flees.

Posted by: doe at May 18, 2010 5:07 PM


Fed Up,

Exactly. I have never been exposed to catholic beliefs until I came to this blog. I wouldn't have stayed if it had been exclusively catholic. I would have felt left out or out of the loop. But I am glad to discuss and even disagree with ALL the different types of people on here. It broadens our worldview and creates compassion for those you previously misunderstood.

Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 5:08 PM


Bobby-
Your absolutely right. I googled it and saw my error. And I was all set to prove you wrong. I hadn't read that story since I was a child and just accepted the interpration and thought it could be applied to the Body of Christ as well. But it doesn't. What do you think would be a better analogy to describe the Body Of Christ.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 18, 2010 5:09 PM


I have been reading this blog as I study for STEP1 of the boards (yikes!). When I saw the original post, I have to say, I was bracing for the worst. But with only a few exceptions, I have seen only love and a true desire for understanding which makes me very proud to be a regular here and counted among you--Catholic and Protestant.

I just want to echo some things others have already said:

I, too, take it with a grain of salt when a Protestant says, "I understand Catholic teaching on..." because in my experience their understanding has always been incomplete (as is mine since I am always learning so much more about my faith. I just don't have the hubris to assume I know it all enough to reject it. Instead, I take comfort in the fact that Christ established this Church so if there is something I disagree with on the surface, instead of rejecting it, I investigate further. To date, I have yet to be disappointed :))

There is no way I could improve on Pope Benedict's quote about faith and works, except by maybe adding a parable.
One man says multiple times a day that he loves his wife. He tells her all the time. But they do not make love and he does not help her around the house.
A second man says he loves his wife and he also helps her with the dishes, buys her flowers, and makes love to her.
Which man truly loves his wife? If we truly love Jesus, it would be apparent in our works. We are not saved by our works, but our works are an outward sign of our love and faith. If we have no works, the we have no faith because love and faith in Jesus necessarily motivates us to work for His kingdom.

Peace, and God love you, Jill.

Posted by: Scott at May 18, 2010 5:36 PM


Jill,
Ever since I read your testimony in the U.S. Senate about your experience at Christ Hospital, I have been an admirer of you for your courage in defending all unborn babies, especially those with Down syndrome. Your courage and dedication to the pro-life cause have inspired me. Your blog has been a blessing to me as I try to keep up with pro-life issues.

I also greatly admire you for your openness to accept Catholic teaching on contraception and your love for Catholic social teaching. I remember reading your two-part (I think?) "conversion" to that particular Catholic teaching. How difficult that must have been to be open enough to consider this teaching. I also remember the wonderful tribute you wrote about Pope John Paul II when he died.

It has really been a blessing for Catholics and Protestants to work together side-by-side on the life issues and be great friends!

I hope you will keep yourself open to seeking the truth on other Catholic teachings and perhaps experience a fourth Damascus experience. :-) But if not, please know that there are many Catholics who love you and greatly admire you for your courageous work!

Posted by: Eileen at May 18, 2010 6:02 PM


I knew there were a lot of Catholics because I grew up Catholic. The beauty to me of the Catholic faith is their committment to works. Had I not grown up Catholic I don't know if I would have made it for the long haul taking care of Daniel. The extent to which family is stressed helped me with that. I love the zeal of the evangelicals that's how I was delivered from things that were really not good for me to begin with. And when I received the Baptism of The Holy Spirit I found the God that I knew as a child but in a very real and tangible way. I'm so glad that Jill is Protestant and also embraces the teachings of the Catholic faith. When I found this site quite by "accident" it was like coming home to me.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 18, 2010 6:07 PM


Hi Myrtle.

Thank you for your humility. It is absolutely fine to not remember certain things correctly or be mistaken about something. I do it all the time!

I think the best way to describe what we mean by the Body of Christ can be found by no less an authority than St. Paul in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 12. There St Paul likens the body of Christ to an actual human body. An entire body has many parts, all with different functions. Yet all are needed to make up the whole, complete body. Can the hand say to the foot "I have no need of you"? Of course not. Or do we dismiss the ear because it is not an eye? No. Each part plays a unique role, and all are essential to the well-being of the body as a whole. So I would just basically appeal to St Paul. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 6:34 PM


If I can just throw this out there, I think the whole "putting a formula to your theology" practice is really bad i.e. phrases like faith alone, scripture alone, faith plus works, etc. While it is noble to try and coalesce one's beliefs into a neat little formula, it is simply a recipe for disaster. I can't tell you how many times I have read really good, solid Catholics who can not at all articulate the Protestant doctrine of scripture alone precisely because they are caught up in understanding the doctrine based only on the two-word formula. Similarly, describing Catholic teaching on justification as "faith plus works" only serves to confuse, not to mention the fact that it is just inaccurate. Unfortunately, these doctrines are deep and complex, and there is no simple way to describe them in a few short words. If we really want to understand where we are coming from, we need to get past formulas and sit down and take some serious time to really understand what others are claiming.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 6:43 PM


On a personal level I have nothing against Catholics, but I can't just pretend that they don't believe what they believe and that we're all just Christians. Catholicism holds that Protestants like me will not go to Heaven, plain and simple, and that faith alone isn't enough for salvation, but that you need to engage in a variety of strange rituals here on earth to be saved. I'm sorry, but Catholicism is no more Christian than Judaism is.

Posted by: Eric at May 18, 2010 6:57 PM


Eric,

Your comment is just so insulting. And frankly, you are simply wrong. Catholicism does NOT say that Protestants will not go to Heaven. I have no idea how you came to that conclusion, but it obviously wasn't by reading the Catechism.

Do you think Christian churches simply fell out of the sky in the year 1500? Where had the Christian faith been up to that time? Who was carrying on the faith handed down from the Apostles, the men who walked with Jesus? The entire deposit of the Christian faith and all the Church father's letters and teachings were lived out every day within the Catholic Church. It still is today.

Please do not be so ignorant as to say that Catholics are not Christians. I am a lifelong Catholic who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and serves Him gladly. He is Mighty God, Savior, Redeemer, the Word made flesh, and without Him, I have no life whatsoever. I am, humbly and gratefully, a Christian by the grace of God. I will love and serve Him til the day I die.

I would never presume to tell you or any Protestant that they will not make it to heaven. Do not presume to tell me I am not a Christian.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 18, 2010 7:23 PM


HI Eric.

"Catholicism holds that Protestants like me will not go to Heaven, plain and simple"

This statement is extremely inaccurate. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (paragraphs 846-848):

846 How are we to understand this [Outside the Church there is no salvation] affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."

We have no idea who goes to heaven and who doesn't. That is God's business, not ours.

"...and that faith alone isn't enough for salvation, but that you need to engage in a variety of strange rituals here on earth to be saved"

Again, like I mentioned above, these little formulas really don't do much good. The more I study the whole "faith vs. works" controversy, the more I realize that it really isn't about what most people think it's about when we boil it right down. Many people mean many different things by "faith alone." What in particular do you see as being problematic? I don't mean to be rude or condescending, but my guess is that, given the wild inaccuracy about what you claimed Catholics believe about the salvation of Protestants, I have very little reason to believe that you understand the means by which Catholics attain their salvation. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 7:26 PM


Actually, here is something I have never been able to get a decent answer for: Eric, you mentioned that Catholics aren't Christian. That's fine, I totally understand that you are being true to the gospel as you understand it, but what would you say it is that makes a true Christian? What is it that disqualifies Catholics from being Christian? God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 7:29 PM


Bobby,

If what most protestants think about the catholic faith is not true, could you tell me what you do believe about salvation. I've gathered bits and pieces, but am not sure of the whole picture.

Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 7:54 PM


By the way, Bobby, I would love to have a more indepth conversation on the catholic faith. Whether on a blog forum or e-mail, I would be interested in carrying on this conversation with as many people as can peaceful discuss their faith.

Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 8:02 PM


my brother in law was raised Lutheran and is a oonvert to the Catholic faith (he joined right before his and my sister's eldest was born). He had said the only hold up for him was purgatory....which is very misunderstood by our Protestant Bretheren.


I am a lifelong Catholic and I would never leave. I am a Godmother to my brother's 2nd daughters, so have a big responsibility.

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at May 18, 2010 8:44 PM


The definition of thread derailment is when the conversation has nothing to do with the original post.

This derailment is so bad I'm thinking of calling in the NTSB for a federal investigation.

This started out by Jill actually celebrating the fact that she, an Evangelical Protestant, has actually done the unimaginable and had her life radically changed by Catholic Social (and moral) teaching, especially as regards birth control.

Good God Almighty, I wish I saw as much acceptance of Humanae Vitae by many of my fellow Knights of Columbus, Holy Name Society members, and fellow parishioners.

This was supposed to be a party, not an Irish wake!!

Jill tried to tamp down any potential rumors among Catholics that she might be on the way to converting, and assuring the same among her fellow Protestants. She reformulated the headline issues as she sees them. Repeat:AS SHE SEES THEM!!!

Of course Jill doesn't grasp many of the nuances of Catholic Faith. She's been busy with fidelity to the community in which God has planted her. But she retains what she HAS learned of Catholicism like a steel trap.

Of course I don't grasp many of the nuances of Protestantism, or even the fundamentals of Calvinist predestination. The reason is simple. I've been rather busy being a Catholic, but have made a good faith attempt at fellowship and understanding of Protestant theology and spirituality. I need to have a nice long dinner with a Calvanist to really work through that one.

Similarly, Jill has stated her good faith efforts, efforts that have cost her a friendship along the way.

But again, she was rather excited to be sharing with us Catholics her acceptance of the very elements of our faith that have emptied our pews. People haven't left over the Eucharist, works or confession. They left over what Jill has embraced: Humanae Vitae.

I don't think it a very noble bearing for Catholics to get all pissy because Jill might not have stated our differences to our liking, whilst ignoring her embrace of some of the most difficult to live dimensions of magisterial teaching.

Again, this isn't an Irish wake (I'm half Irish and have seen some doozies). This is a celebration of our sister having built a bridge over the great half-millenial divide. In looking at the bridge, we necessarily see the opposite shore, though not so clearly.

Just as well. The focus here was supposed to be on the ribbon-cutting for the bridge, not the toxic waters that it spans.

From this Roman Catholic, I'm awestruck.

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 18, 2010 8:47 PM


The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ the God-Man. He gave his authority to Peter and his apostles (Bishops). Gospels were written in 60 AD until then we had oral tradition. They practiced the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass since the beginning. Only in Catholic Church are there incorrupt saints (bodies don't decay even after hundreds of years). There are many miracles of the Most Precious Body. (these are not just wafers and they do forgive sins and prevent us from future sins). Priests who during consecration held up the host and it turned into flesh. (heart tissue, no less). I think the first one was in 1400's. Catholic saints are the only ones to experience the stigmata (wounds of Christ). St. Francis Assisi being the first and recently Padre Pio. The Blessed Virgin Mary has been appearing to Catholics all over the world since the first century. She appeared in Lourdes, Fatima, Ireland, Rhwanda (before genocide) and countless other Church approved ones. The Catholic Church has 2000 years of history and the promise of Christ Himself who told us the gates of hell will not prevail against it. My Protestant friends in Christ, please seek the fullness of Truth. You need the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and His sacraments especially if you are batteling satan in the pro-life movement. This a is spiritual battle, no less.

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 9:06 PM


Hey all...I have been gone for the day but I see there are quite a lot of comments on this thread. I wasn't trying to be smug or offend anyone so if I did come across that way I apologize.

I went through RCIA and the priest absolutely told me that sacraments forgive your sins and "earn" you heaven. He did say that communion is like "eating God's grace" and will cover your sins for a time. If that is not Catholic doctrine, I apologize for misrepresenting but that is what was taught to me BY A CATHOLIC PRIEST. Maybe you can educate me a little as to what the Catholic church actually teaches? :-)

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 18, 2010 9:08 PM


I ditto Gerard's comment. And I also just realized that my last, hastily written comment could be construed as to be accusing others like Jill of hubris, or pride, for disagreeing with Catholicism.

I did not mean to insinuate this. I suppose it would be prideful for people like cafeteria Catholics to decide they don't like the Church's teaching on contraception, for example, and leave it at that without actually looking into the matter and attempting to understand where the Church is coming from. Or it would be prideful for a Protestant to not be open to learning more about Catholic teaching and still feel the need to denounce it. I do not believe hardly anyone who has posted here fits this bill. Instead, I am very proud at the open minds willing to hear other ideas.

I am also very glad that no one has brought up the failings of some of our priests and bishops as reasons to denounce Catholicism. I mean, this could easily have descended into anti-Catholic slurs about pedophilia, but I am glad that people here realize that the failings of the human beings who make up the Church is not the same thing as the teachings of the Church. Thanks for keeping it real and honest. And thanks for giving Humanae Vitae a chance--far too many Catholics don't.

Posted by: Scott at May 18, 2010 9:17 PM


The Catholic Church does NOT say who is in hell or heaven. They don't even say Judas is in hell (but that does not mean noone is there). When the apostles asked Jesus this same question His response was only, "Strive to enter." It is not for us to know the statistical numbers of heaven or hell but rather seek God always and repent. Can a Muslim and Jew and Buddhist be in heaven? Of course! This is where Catholics differ from a few Protestant denominations. If a man who lived a loving and beautiful life as a Hindu dies, he will meet Jesus Christ. We know He is our Judge. It is like the heart surgeon who saves your life in the hospital. You don't need to know his name really. He can still save you. The Hindu will meet Jesus upon death which is where we all receive our immediate personal judgment.

Does God's grace work outside the Church? Absolutely, but I don't want to get too far away from the Church (He Himself) created for the salvation of souls. The Catholic Church is like an old battered war ship with barnacles all over it. It has seen 2000 years of battles. But where is that ship going? You want to be on that ship!

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 9:31 PM


The way I understood Jill's efforts in posting this article, (and what I believe Terra was expressing) is that Catholics and Reform not only have unity in Christ (tho some hold a differing opinion), but we also have unity in purpose centered on what Christ desires most - which is love for our neighbor: all who suffer from abortion - the children and their parents.

Within this unity of purpose is also a growing understanding and appreciation for various aspects of the core principles of Catholicism. Like Gerard, (who has provided a reasoned and loving response), I saw this as a very good thing.

Yet, apparently comments throughout the day have inflated some egos and bruised others. Pride is an awful thing. It hardens hearts and turns away love. None can understand God's purposes for bringing about change, and His intent may well prove a prescription to deflate such pride. We do know through Romans 8:28 that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to his purpose. Do you love God? To what purpose have you been called?

If those who truly believe salvation through Christ is unmet to those who think differently, then perhaps only the true love of Christ for the lost should be expressed to them. For either side wouldn't this be more Christ-like? And if it means suffering - then wouldn't that be worthwhile to win the lost to Christ?

What do we have left to lose, but foolish pride?

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at May 18, 2010 9:34 PM


"Catholicism holds that Protestants like me will not go to Heaven, plain and simple"

Hey Eric, your comment reminded me of a joke our priest told a few months back on the order of:

A Protestant went to heaven and St. Peter was showing him around. St. Peter took the Protestant through big doors explaining what was going on in each room.

After awhile, the two were nearing another door that was closed. St. Peter whispered and asked the Protestant to tiptoe and be extremely quiet near this door. The Protestant whispered back and asked "why?"

Pete answered, "That's where the Catholics hang out and they think they're the only ones here."

There was loud laughter by the older crowd.

I retold this joke to my HS religious education class later in the week and none of the young people laughed because they didn't get it. I admit I am a crappy joke teller but that's not the reason they didn't understand it. This mindset is fading in my area (and I hope everywhere else as well). I believe my generation was at the tailend of this kind of thinking (I'm 43). I do remember a few Catholic leaders who had the mentality that Catholics were all that (and a bag of chips) but they were in the minority (unfortunately these types usually make the strongest and longest lasting impression).

Anyway, Jill, I loved your post although I admit it made me a bit nervous when I first read it. Your site really is a safe harbor in a crazy world. Thanks.

Posted by: Praxedes at May 18, 2010 9:34 PM


Gerard, I so appreciate you. :)

My Protestant friends in Christ, please seek the fullness of Truth. You need the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and His sacraments especially if you are batteling satan in the pro-life movement. This a is spiritual battle, no less.
Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 9:06 PM

Linda, I realize you are sincere and well-meaning, but this is what I was referring to in an earlier post about being told we as Protestants are somehow deceived or that we don't have the "fullness of Truth."

The Truth is the person of Jesus Christ. Period. He is God's Word, and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him. On this, I hope we can all agree.

Many Protestants are blind to the spiritual battle going on, but many of us are not, especially those of us involved in the pro-life movement or other para-church ministries. We also receive/practice the sacraments laid down in Scripture by Christ Himself, which are communion and baptism.

Please understand I mean this in the kindest way: when you reference Marian apparitions, stigmata, etc, believe me when I say you are doing more to alienate Protestants than to draw them in. Let's focus on what we DO have in common than what we don't. Otherwise, I'm afraid this thread could turn tense rather quickly... :)

Posted by: Kelli Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 9:41 PM


Linda...there are Catholics going to heaven. There are Catholics going to hell. There are Baptists going to heaven. There are Baptists going to hell. I personally know Jews who I am quite sure based on Scripture are going to heaven...why? Because they trust JESUS for salvation. To me, when you say "Jews" I think ethnicity, not religion. I know muslims who found Christ. I know Buddhists who found Christ. But someone who does not come to the Son cannot possibly then have access to the Father. John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO MAN comes to the Father BUT BY ME."

It is a lie of Satan to think that someone who practices some religion devoid of Christ, who does not have a heart relationship with Jesus Christ, can somehow live a good life and get into heaven. See thats "works" again (I lived a good life so I get into heaven.Look at me and what I did. I am such a good person.) No one can live a life good enough to get into heaven on their own because Jesus is the standard and Jesus is PERFECT. No other human being can ever or ever will be perfect! The Bible tells us that clearly. Thats not me being "judgy" thats me taking Christ at His word!

Thats also why we have been COMMANDED by Christ to go into the world and preach the gospel unto every nation. So many people don't know Christ! We have to tell them so that they aren't doomed to an eternity in hell.

Anyone who thinks because they are Catholic or because they are protestant that they are going to heaven is fooled. Your religion will not save you no matter what it is. Jesus saves.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 18, 2010 9:59 PM


Kelli: Thanks for your words of wisdom but I am seeking to help unify Christians. We have to stop worrying about being poitically correct all the time. (I'm afraid the post will become tense). Please help me understand what is threatening about this type of discussion? Are we not learning more about each other's faith? Why does it bother you that Catholic saints have the stigmata? Would you not find it reassuring for us to learn about the many Marian Apparitions? It is one of God's most beautiful consolations. Be open to how God reaches down to us and draws us back to Him. He put the stars in the sky, I think He can turn a host into human flesh. Open your eyes and learn more about these wonders! I know there are very many wonderful Protestants out there (the US is mostly Protestant)who love Jesus Christ. Most people I know in the pro-life movement are Catholics but I am encouraged by the new wave of Protestants getting behind this attack against the dignity of human life. My comments are not meant to divide and I think it is a healthy dialogue, IMO. I am happy to hear Protestants discuss their faith too. God Bless!

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 10:08 PM


HI Heather.

I don't think I said that what most Protestants think about the Catholic faith is not true, but that trying to encapsulate it in a little formula is not a good idea. I"ll answer your question tomorrow, though. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 10:10 PM


I don't care if Catholics think I am going to hell or whoever thinks what of me. Its okay. I know I am a sinner. I know Christ forgave my sin. Thats all I need to trust in, not other's opinions of me.

I think Eric's comment is something a lot of Protestants think because, for example, my step-dad was Catholic and married his first wife who was protestant (this was in the 60's) He was promptly excommunicated and told they would both burn in hell. That mindset used to be very strong in the Catholic church. It might never have been doctrine (?) I don't know...I know that mindset is fading as I have been to many many inter-faith weddings (Catholic/Judaism etc... and a Catholic/muslim wedding...that one was weird.)

I also really appreciate Catholic teaching on contraception although my Catholic husband won't live it! :-( It totally makes sense to me. I was given a great CD on Catholic teaching on contraception by the priest who married my husband and I. It was a woman teaching the Church's doctrine on it. I think she was a doctor too who was explaining the dangers of contraception. I cannot recall her name, but that always made so much sense to me!

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 18, 2010 10:15 PM


Sydney,

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO MAN comes to the Father BUT BY ME."

Agreed. But I believe that St Paul in Romans 2 tells us that the unevangelized are judged by a different standard than we are. He tells us that the law of God is written on all men's hearts, that they do by instinct what we do by the light of revealed truth. Read it in light of the quote from John.

It's true that no one comes to the Father but by Jesus, meaning His death which opens the gates of salvation to all humanity:

"If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me."

Paul in Romans 2 gives us the key to understanding these two quotes from Jesus. It is simply unimaginable that God would make billions of humans burn in hell because they didn't get themselves born in a place where they were fortunate enough to have the gospel preached. Romans 2 answers all of this.

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 18, 2010 10:17 PM


"I think she was a doctor too who was explaining the dangers of contraception. I cannot recall her name, but that always made so much sense to me!"

Janet Smith?

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 10:17 PM


Linda-
The host does not forgive sins and it states specifically that those that stay in their sin and consume the host will actually not benefit from partaking of communion. And humbly of course but I would never consume my Saviors body or blood. He said very clearly do this in remembrance of me. He did not say he would be there. He gave his body once and shed his blood once and what I do with that is my responsibility not his. My professor at school said the same thing at school and I had to same something. I'm hopeing that anyone whatever you profess to be when dealing with your eternal soul if your intent is to be a Christian search the scriptures and see for yourself what is needed for salvation.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 18, 2010 10:18 PM


Syndey: Amen, sister!I love the fire. What do we know about God's mercy? Well, Jesus told St. Faustina (Divine Mercy Nun) that He has an ocean of mercy for us, all we have to do is ask. God alone judges us or condemns us. To think good people (unfamiliar with Christ) will somehow be left out is underestimating God's mercy and love. God by His very definition is Love. Hell is created by God out of love for those who refuse to accept Him. Yes, we need to spread the Gospel as Christ instructed us but let's not think only a few are saved. We should leave that up to God. We need to focus on ourselves and our sins, live the Gospel and when necessary use words. (St. Francis). See, now isn't this fun?

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 10:21 PM


I went through RCIA and the priest absolutely told me that sacraments forgive your sins and "earn" you heaven. He did say that communion is like "eating God's grace" and will cover your sins for a time. If that is not Catholic doctrine, I apologize for misrepresenting but that is what was taught to me BY A CATHOLIC PRIEST. Maybe you can educate me a little as to what the Catholic church actually teaches? :-) Posted by: Sydney M. at May 18, 2010 9:08 PM

Hi, Sydney M. 1394 of the catechism states:

"As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him:

"Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world. . . . Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God."

Remember, too, that earlier in the Mass there is a communal penitential rite. I do not presume to know what your priest was trying to convey, but I am wondering if he was instructing about grace conferred by the sacraments. You might want to google "sacramental grace" to see if anything you read makes sense in light of what he spoke about.

Peace :)

Posted by: Fed Up at May 18, 2010 10:25 PM


"when you reference Marian apparitions, stigmata, etc, believe me when I say you are doing more to alienate Protestants than to draw them in"

With all due respect Kelli, your above statement could also make some Catholics feel alienated as well. I have a deep love, respect for and close relationship with my Spiritual Mother, the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God. She is the one who led me into a deeper union with Jesus. I also believe in some Marian apparitions and stigmatas and therefore respectfully agree to disagree with you.

I apologize if this makes you or others feel alienated but I'll never stop professing my beliefs because it may alienate others or make some uncomfortable. To steal a word from Sydney, please know that this is not me being 'judgy' but putting Christ first in my life, where he belongs.

God Bless You.

Posted by: Praxedes at May 18, 2010 10:30 PM


Gerard...I will find the verses but can't recall them exactly tonight.

God doesn't "make" billions of humans burn in hell. They do that by their sin. The Bible says "light begets more light" Romans 1:20, creation points to its Creator.

If natural man looks at creation and desires to know the Creator (even in some third world country with no TV and no written language and no knowledge of Jesus) GOD IS BOUND BY HIS WORD to send someone to tell them the good news of the gospel.

Think of Philip and the Ethiopian. (Acts 8) The Ethiopian was pondering God and God told Philip to go to the DESERT and find this man and tell him of God. God knows all men's hearts. If they desire the truth of the gospel, even if they don't know what it is, God is BOUND to send someone and HE WILL.

If God lets billions of humans with unrepentant sins into heaven, how will it be heaven anymore? Why did Christ die on the cross at all if merely having good intentions is enough to get you into heaven anyways? What you are saying is just not biblical.

Romans 2 is referring to something Jill posted in another story. That we are all born with a moral code. Even so, we often fail our own moral code. Think of women who have abortions even while saying they think abortion is wrong.

If someone doesn't know the Bible, they still fail their own moral code and do things they KNOW are wrong. Therefore, God will judge them on that. This chapter is NOT saying "Hey its okay if they don't know Christ. They will still go to heaven."

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 18, 2010 10:34 PM


Bobby,

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you specifically said that what most protestants think about the catholic faith is not true. I mentioned that because it seems to be the theme of many comments on this blog.
In advance--Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. :)

Posted by: Heather M at May 18, 2010 10:35 PM


Myrtle: Thanks for your insights. I appreciate it. I believe Jesus makes it very clear in John CHPTR: 6(The Bread of Life Discourse) "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you." He restates it like 6 times, I think. He makes it pretty clear that we are suppose to eat His flesh and drink His blood. In fact, many disciples left Him over this teaching. He did not say, Eat this as a symbol. He was very specific about this one. It is important to get it right. All the early apostles and church fathers knew this. This is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. We tend to get a little twiggy when people call it a wafer.
God is outside of time, so His death on the cross is like someone pouring a pitcher of water on a table. It continues to flow through time and space. Christ is not being recrucified, we are being permitted to stand at the cross and be there with Him during the greatest act in all of human history. Kinda cool, huh?

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 10:38 PM


Hey Linda. Thankyou :-) But don't forget the Bible says " Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way THAT LEADETH TO DESTRUCTION, and MANY there be that find it. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way , which leadeth unto LIFE, and FEW there be that find it."
(Matthew 7:13, 14)

Good night everyone! God bless you all. :-) I will catch up with this thread tomorrow!

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 18, 2010 10:45 PM


Sydney: I think you are beginning to understand purgatory concept, huh? The story about Phillip and the Ethiopian is a story about how we need others to teach us about the Gospels/Jesus. Specifically the teaching arm of the Church (The Magisterium)to open are eyes. The Bible has so many layers and parallels that one person could never grasp it all by himself. We need teachers and leaders. God always provides us shepherds like priests, bishops, Magisterium etc. God is faithful and never abandons us.

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 10:48 PM


"It is a lie of Satan to think that someone who practices some religion devoid of Christ, who does not have a heart relationship with Jesus Christ, can somehow live a good life and get into heaven. See thats "works" again (I lived a good life so I get into heaven.Look at me and what I did. I am such a good person.) No one can live a life good enough to get into heaven on their own because Jesus is the standard and Jesus is PERFECT. No other human being can ever or ever will be perfect! The Bible tells us that clearly. Thats not me being "judgy" thats me taking Christ at His word!"

That's not "works," at least in the Catholic understanding. It is not by being good that those people "earn their way" into heaven. Not at all.

But God made all of us with a longing for Him in our hearts. We can only love others because we were first loved by Christ. It is that love placed by Christ in their hearts which allows them to love others.

Imagine a Hindu lived a loving life with no (or a mis-) understanding of Christ. I believe he is still able to partake in the Great Feast when he dies. Not because he "earned" it, but because he had Jesus in his heart without knowing it. The presence of Jesus in him is evidenced by the fact that he was loving on Earth. He is able to love because he was first loved by Christ. He will enter the gates of heaven, see Jesus, who may say, "I am He you were seeking but were not able to find on Earth." And the Hindu would say, "my Lord and my God." He enters heaven by Jesus' grace. By Jesus alone. And I mean, be honest. Do you really think God sends those away from Him who simply weren't lucky enough to know Him on Earth? Won't there be a veil lifted from all of our eyes when we die such that we come to a fuller understanding of He Whom we are pursuing?

Posted by: Scott at May 18, 2010 10:50 PM


Scott: Beautiful words. God has written the desire for Him into our hearts. St. Augustine,"My heart is restless until I rest in Thee."(My favorite quote). So, when a Hindu or Buddhist acts in a loving manner he/she is responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit (even if he does not know it). Thinking Christianity is like a special club with selected members underscores a human person with a soul who lives a generous and loving life in a tribe in South America. Will God not reward his love with love?

Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 11:00 PM



It seems that there are at least two main dynamics at play here. One is the "all hands needed on deck" sense of urgency that is pulling us together. At the Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Chicago for example a few weeks back the Bishop of Oakland remarked how the fight for traditional marriage in California brought faith communities together in a common effort. A few decades ago those same parties would be happily fighting doctrinal battles against each other. A world beset by rampant moral decay and hurtling towards physical destruction in the form of abortion, incessant warfare, and environmental degradation has a way of getting our attention.

The second thing bringing us closer together is that true believers in Christ never stop trying to heal the wounds in the Body of Christ. Could some of this be the result of those efforts?

Posted by: Jerry at May 18, 2010 11:00 PM


With all due respect Kelli, your above statement could also make some Catholics feel alienated as well. I have a deep love, respect for and close relationship with my Spiritual Mother, the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God. She is the one who led me into a deeper union with Jesus. I also believe in some Marian apparitions and stigmatas and therefore respectfully agree to disagree with you.

I apologize if this makes you or others feel alienated but I'll never stop professing my beliefs because it may alienate others or make some uncomfortable. To steal a word from Sydney, please know that this is not me being 'judgy' but putting Christ first in my life, where he belongs.

God Bless You.
Posted by: Praxedes at May 18, 2010 10:30 PM
**********************

Hi Praxedes,

I am not questioning the sincerity of Catholics on this board or elsewhere, but when I stated that reiterating the above would serve only to alienate Protestants, I said it in the context of this thread being about what we have in common. Linda's suggestion that I venerate Mary is not going to do that. Praxedes, I have met many sincere Catholics who, like you, have stated that Mary led them into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. As a Protestant, I really don't know what to say to that, because we disagree on that issue at the most basic level. I am, however, happy that you are a follower of Jesus Christ.

FYI, I have read books on the Marian apparitions. As I said, I worked at a Catholic bookstore. I have seen videos on Medjugorje, Fatima, the stigmata, etc, made by Catholics. And I remain a Protestant.

Other videos I watched (from that same bookstore) changed my life tremendously: the pro-life videos such as "Hard Truth" and "Silent Scream." I'm so thankful they had those videos on hand, or how might my life be different?

We have to stop worrying about being poitically correct all the time. (I'm afraid the post will become tense).

I didn't say you were politically incorrect. What I'm saying is it seems you're implying that the Protestant faith is not as valid as your "true faith." And yet we are said to believe in the same Lord and Savior.

Why does it bother you that Catholic saints have the stigmata? Would you not find it reassuring for us to learn about the many Marian Apparitions?

As I stated, I learned and researched a lot in the past. I won't list my reasons here as to why it "bothers" me, out of respect for the Catholics who post on this board. Let me just say that reverence of the saints, Marian veneration/apparitions, and stigmata are not likely to be the best common ground with which to begin evangelizing Protestants, if that is what you're seeking to do.

Be open to how God reaches down to us and draws us back to Him.

I am very much open to this. I also believe, that in the light of Matthew 16:4, we need to be cautious with all "signs and wonders" whether they be of Catholic or Protestant nature.

Open your eyes and learn more about these wonders!
Posted by: Linda at May 18, 2010 10:08 PM

Again, Linda, my eyes are very much open.

Have a great night, everyone. I have to finish getting school ready for my kids in the morning! :) May God bless you all.

Posted by: Kelli Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 11:03 PM


"If God lets billions of humans with unrepentant sins into heaven, how will it be heaven anymore?"

Hence Purgatory: the process of cleansing before entering heaven. I think it's safe to say most people die with unconfessed sins or not entirely clear consciences. Without working through this via the power of God's grace, we really wouldn't fit well in heaven. We would bring our sin or the effect of our sin along with us.

Another thought experiment: What if you really disliked somebody who wronged you. You couldn't find it in your heart to forgive them. They died. Then you died. By God's grace you both are in heaven and you meet them there. If you haven't had the opportunity to work through the spots of hardness in your heart, you would not be ready to greet them with full love and joy. You would think, "why is HE here?!" or at least you would feel something holding you back from greeting them in a full loving embrace if you hadn't had the opportunity to work through that in Purgatory. Cleanse it away in Christ's blood. It's really a happy concept. (but I may not have it perfectly right as I am still learning much of this right now myself)

Posted by: Scott at May 18, 2010 11:04 PM


Linda-
I'm searching the scriptures. I know for sure before you take communion you don't take it expecting it to absolve you of your sin. Scripture is very clear on that. It goes on to say that's why they had sick among them because they did not discern the body and blood of Christ. The rest I will research. And I would never call the host a wafer either. It's good to search the scriptures. I will research later. Now I have to see about Daniel! :)

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 18, 2010 11:04 PM


It seems that there are at least two main dynamics at play here. One is the "all hands needed on deck" sense of urgency that is pulling us together. At the Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Chicago for example a few weeks back the Bishop of Oakland remarked how the fight for traditional marriage in California brought faith communities together in a common effort. A few decades ago those same parties would be happily fighting doctrinal battles against each other. A world beset by rampant moral decay and hurtling towards physical destruction in the form of abortion, incessant warfare, and environmental degradation has a way of getting our attention.

The second thing bringing us closer together is that true believers in Christ never stop trying to heal the wounds in the Body of Christ. Could some of this be the result of those efforts?

Posted by: Jerry at May 18, 2010 11:09 PM


"I have met many sincere Catholics who, like you, have stated that Mary led them into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. As a Protestant, I really don't know what to say to that, because we disagree on that issue at the most basic level."

Kelli, would you mind elaborating a little? I'm sincerely interested. What is it about Mary drawing someone closer to Jesus that you disagree with at the most basic level? What's the trouble? Thanks.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 18, 2010 11:44 PM


Sorry, no, Jennifer, I really don't care to elaborate. It would be too lengthy and I'm afraid, too contentious. Have a good night. :)

Posted by: Kelli Author Profile Page at May 18, 2010 11:50 PM


Whew! What a day of comments.

I loved the video. Our family lived in Wichita the year Rich Mullins was killed. His music is deeply moving (and the dulcimer so beautiful!) and it always gives me the chills.

I was raised in a very consciously Christian (Baptist) home and declared Christ as my Savior, yet walked in sin and rebellion. At age 19 in 1988, our merciful God took my heart unto himself and made me his child. He took my stone-cold heart and gave me a heart of flesh and turned my life completely around. He gave me a reason to live when all I knew was a desire for revenge.

Very shortly after making me a New Creation, He brought me into the pro-life movement upon seeing Rescuers blocking abortion mill doorways in Atlanta, GA on the 700 Club TV show. I knew that's what I had to do, too.

I don't have a lot of point to this except to say that for the first time in my life, I saw Christians of all flavors joining together to save the lives of moms and babies and give their collective all to lead these lost women (and their boyfriends or families) to hope and salvation through Jesus Christ.

We would all lock arms and peacefully block those doors while singing "Our God is an Awesome God" together. In jail, the Catholics would partake of the Eucharist and the Protestants would enjoy Communion. And we would love one another and share half-moldy L.A. County Jail baloney sandwiches together.

During my years with Rescue, some wonderful Southern California Catholics became such very dear friends. With all the work the Lord blessed us to do in His name, those dear ones still hold a tender place in my heart. I also remember women like Joan Andrews Bell of the Rescue movement, for whom I have great respect (even though I'm not a pacifist and even though I believe women are to be keepers at home -- controversies for another day!).

I have many doctrinal and philosophical issues with my Catholic friends. Hey -- I have many doctrinal and philosophical issues with my Protestant friends! And I'm not ecumenical. I have strong convictions and beliefs about the doctrine I believe to be Biblical.

But I also believe (as a previous commenter here mentioned) that there will be Catholics in Heaven and Catholics in Hell. There will be Baptists in Heaven and Baptists in Hell.

We must ALL take stock and examine ourselves in light of the book of 1 John (especially Chapter 2). This passage strips a lot of things away and tells us how we can KNOW we are truly saved and abiding in Christ Jesus. And don't forget what James 1:27 tells us about what God considers pure and faultless religion to be! (Be sure to open your Bibles, everyone, and read those passages. And as Dr. Voddie Baucham says, "If you can't say 'Amen', you'd better say 'Ouch'! :) )

From this Calvinist, Reformed Baptist / 110% No Exceptions Pro-Lifer / Faith Without Works is DEAD / Believer that the LORD opens and closes the womb and that not even NFP should be used (No roten tomatoes, please!) -Christian to all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ here ~

I love you!

~ Ruthanne

Posted by: Ruthanne at May 18, 2010 11:56 PM


Sydney (I know you are probably gone now), but I would like to say that you are not mis-stating Catholic doctrine in its details -- although I originally thought you were -- but you are still kind of missing the point of the doctrine when you say that the sacraments "earn" us heaven. No, it is Jesus Christ who earns us heaven, but the sacrament is our encounter with Him and his grace.

Goodnight and God bless!

Posted by: Lori Pieper at May 19, 2010 12:05 AM


No "roten" tomatoes, please... or "rotten" ones either, for that matter!

: P

~ R.

Posted by: Ruthanne at May 19, 2010 12:07 AM


Great thread.

I'm convinced that it is not important at all that we believe the same. In fact, I believe it accomplishes God's diverse purposes when we don't believe in God the exact same way. I believe He designed it that way.

Consider the Baptists who believe Mt 7.13-14 where Jesus said that narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and few there be that find it. Those Baptists are great soul-winners. They have a gift and a burden and a zeal for evangelism.

How about the Catholics? Does their greater respect for Mary the Mother of Jesus engender in them a greater appreciation for a mother's love and a subsequently stronger Pro-Life fervor?

Rather than slipping into the trap of debating our differences, we should really celebrate and encourage each other in what we agree on.

Scripture teaches that we only know in part, in other words, neither Catholic nor Protestant has perfect or complete knowledge. We're both just trying to make it through the best we can with the knowledge He's given us. As Paul said, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love). 1 Co 13:12–13 KJV

And His Grace makes up for what we lack.

So let us each run the race Christ has given us to run in the place of the Body of Christ we have been set, by the Author and the Developer of our Faith, the Captain of Our Salvation...

The Lord Jesus Christ!

The Number One Hero of the Pro-Life Movement!

Posted by: Ed at May 19, 2010 12:13 AM


Hi All!

Wow! There is a lot of discussion going on! In concurrence with Jill, I'm not going to quarrel or debate any further over doctrinal issues, which I've accepted Protestants and Catholics will not agree on. Actually, I prefer "not agreeing" over "relativistic mush" when it comes to theology.

I am so grateful, and indebted to my many Catholic friends who have welcomed me in to the pro-life community. Within those friendships, it has always been clear that we disagreed over parts of our theology, but that never led to a disrespect towards one another.

Quite frankly, if being honest with a friend about my beliefs leads to division, then maybe that wasn't the healthiest friendship in the first place.

Thank you to everyone who has read and commented. And just to be abundantly clear, I pointed out the differences between Catholics and Protestants in my blog out of a sense of moral obligation, not in a desire to spread dissention.

When we believe something to be an essential truth, do we not have the duty to proclaim it, with love and respect? I fail at this commission daily. I hope I have not failed here.

Posted by: Terra Mork at May 19, 2010 1:13 AM


If what most protestants think about the catholic faith is not true, could you tell me what you do believe about salvation. I've gathered bits and pieces, but am not sure of the whole picture. [Heather M]

Heather, I would like to attempt a comment in response. Thank you for being so open. And I would like to say that a brief statement of what Catholics believe about salvation is not really possible. At least, not without leaving holes open that someone will misinterpret. The best response to this, really, is to answer by saying, that the teaching of the entire New Testament is what Catholics believe about salvation. All of it, not just certain pieces, is true about our salvation.

So, my remark here makes no pretenses about being a complete answer to what Catholics believe about salvation. But I want to at least try to shed a little bit of light on an aspect of the Catholic understanding of salvation that I think is easily missed by non-Catholics (and sadly, by many Catholics as well). To what do I refer? It is just how real the Catholic understanding takes our relationship to God as being children. . . Children who are loved perfectly by a loving God, our Father in heaven.

And why do I focus on this? It has a great deal to how a Catholic thinks about "works" (a term, by the way, which we Catholics ourselves tend not to even use amongst each other). A well-catechized Catholic does not think of charitable deeds (good works) as things that earn us our way into heaven. And a well-catechized Catholic also does not think of charitable deeds as merely things that give honor to God and provide external evidence to the world that one's faith in Christ is the real deal (though they are indeed these things). Neither of these approaches are what primarily fill the heart and mind of a faithful Catholic when thinking about doing good things for Jesus.

What, then? I would describe it something like this. Because God is literally a real, genuine Father to us, and because He loves us with a complete and total fatherly love, He wants us to become, during this life, the very best (i.e. most loving) human beings that we can be. Now, any good father wants the very best for his children. God our Father, wants more for us than the bare minimum. He wants us all to become saints--in other words, He wants us to become, each in our own special way--like Jesus--to love others with a Christlike heart. Why? Because becoming more like Christ (only by grace) transforms us into the very best human beings that we could possibly by. And when we are more like Christ, when we allow his heart to form our hearts, we will find ourselves loving others more, doing more for others, serving others, sacrificing for others more. Is this because we want to fill up our punch-cards to earn the ticket to heaven? This is very foreign to this way of thinking.

No. The ardent, faithful Catholic wants to serve other human beings with a heart full of love, because this is what Jesus did. And we want to be like Him. But in order to do this, we must have His grace within us.

God wants us to become all we can be. He provides us sure avenues (the sacraments) to receive the oceans of grace that we need from Him in order to be more and more transformed so as to be more like Christ in the way we serve and love others. And the more we love and serve others, the more we are able to love and serve others. Grace is always primary, but we genuinely participate in this process of becoming gradually, more like Christ as we strive to be like Him each day. Only by grace is this possible. But our Father allows us the incredible dignity of actually being able to freely embrace with our own will to take His hand and allow Him to shape and transform our hearts in and through the loving actions that we do for others.

So, I hope this is at least a little bit helpful. A faithful and well-formed Catholic does not think at all about earning heaven. It's just not in our mindset to think that way at all. Our perspective is more like that of a grateful and much-beloved child who wants to allow our perfectly loving Father to shape us into who He wants us to be. And if we do this, cooperate day by day in this way in the ongoing transformation of our hearts, we end up becoming the most genuinely joyous and peace-filled human beings that we could possibly be. That's not primarily why we do it--but it is a gift that comes to everyone who truly welcomes the grace to strive to be more like Christ every day. And this is not the peace of the world, but the peace of Christ.

Also, we Catholics want to do good deed for others because it is another way in which to become closer to Jesus, our beloved Savior, in this life. The more like Him we become in this life (loving others sacrificially, selflessly), the closer our hearts become to His. We experience a deeper, more intimate, more personal relationship to Jesus, the more we allow grace to give us what we need to love others selflessly. The more conformed to Him our lives become, the closer to Him we become.

So, it's about letting ourselves be loved as children by a Father who doesn't just want the bare minimum for us, and who will shape our hearts to be able to love more like Christ if we allow Him to do so. And it's about being so drawn in love to Christ, that we want to be more like Him, knowing that the more we follow His example, the closer to the secrets of His heart we will be. And by living this way, by grace, it so happens that we also experience the greatest level of human fulfillment, peace, and inner joy that can be had in this life.

Is this merely about earning heaven by works? Absolutely not! Rather, it's about love, being children who trust our hearts to be formed by our Father, closeness to Christ, and giving glory to God by loving others in the name of Christ. For every time we do good for others because of Christ, we give honor and glory to Him, not only here, but in a way that has ripples for all eternity.

Sorry for any repetition. It's sort of like the difficulty one might have asking a child who loves his father deeply, "why do you want to be like your dad?" Because the child loves and completely trusts his father and would not imagine any other way. We want to please our Father because we totally trust and love Him. And we know that the way to do this, is by following the example of His son, by imitating Him. He is our elder brother, we follow Him on the path to authentic human fulfillment, to the full flowering of love, to the discovery of the fullness of what it means to be human, ultimately to our true and final home. All by grace. But by a sort of grace that enables us to cooperate as full human persons---with our free wills engaged, and our human actions engaged as well, for the good of others.

This, after all, is the very meaning of what it means to be a human person! Human persons, as created by God, are most fully alive as human persons when we give ourselves away in selfless love to other persons. Jesus did this perfectly. And He unleashed the graces that make it possible for us to do this as well, more and more, until he calls us home.

The command Jesus gave to "love one another as I have loved you" is so much more than just giving a way for people to recognize that they have genuine saving faith. This demotion is demeaning to love. Love is more than just an indication of faith. It's what every human being owes to every other. It's what we were made for. It's the core of why we exist. And no, because of sin, we can't love on our own like Jesus loved. But, with grace, we can indeed become gradually remade interiorly so that even though sin's effects are not eradicated, it has less and less a hold on our hearts.

In fact, I would suggest, that many of our beloved Protestant pro-life brethren, actually are active in the defense of the innocent unborn, in part because they realize the above on some level in their hearts. Do I think that non-Catholic Christians who defend babies in the womb do so simply to show that they have real faith in Christ? Is it merely because they think Jesus wants them to? Perhaps. But I think it is also because they love Jesus Christ, and realize that allowing this love to flow out into loving, self-giving actions for others also has eternal consequences. Not in terms of earning heaven, but in terms of being made more like unto Christ, drawing nearer to Him, of being clay in the hands of our trusted Father who created us not only to exist, but to be, to do, to live--in a fully human way. And this way is the path of living like Christ through grace.

All praise to Jesus Christ, for by His Holy Cross He has redeemed the whole world, and released the graces into the world that we need in order to embrace the full reality of what it means to be a human person--that is, a creature who freely chooses to love others, no matter what the cost.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at May 19, 2010 1:21 AM


Linda-
O.K. I searched the scriptures and am persuaded in my own heart and mind of what I believed about the host. After receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit I fell in love with the word of God because I wanted to know more about my God and my Saviour. I believe that when you partake of communion you are doing this in remembrance of him. You are right in mentioning the scripture in John 6 but the bible states clearly that by two or three witnesses let every word be established. In regards to the last supper there were more scriptures that I believe supported what I already believed the greatest proof for me was Hebrews 7:27,Hebrews 9:27 Corinthians 11:24,25 and Matthew 26,27,28,29 notice how Jesus says I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom. Now if he expected his blood to be present during Holy Communion he would not have refered to it as fruit of the vine (wine) he would have said we will sit down and drink my blood. After I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit the book of Hebrew was my favorite book for a long time. I think if you read it you will see that the sacrifice was made once and cannot and should not be made daily. Thank you because it's seldom I feel like researching anything. This was also a reminder to me that I need to go and take communion. God bless you.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 19, 2010 1:50 AM


Sydney, According to the Holy See;
Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life:1 they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.

And about the Eucharist in particular,
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'"135

Posted by: truthseeker at May 19, 2010 2:49 AM


notice how Jesus says I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom.

Hi myrtle. Former Protestant pastor Scott Hahn has some interesting thoughts on Jesus postponing the 4th cup of the passover meal until he is on the cross the next day. You can get the gist of his thought if you start at the 5th paragraph of this link. Peace.

http://zuserver2.star.ucl.ac.uk/~vgg/rc/aplgtc/hahn/m4/4cp.html

What is it about Mary drawing someone closer to Jesus that you disagree with at the most basic level? What's the trouble? Thanks.
Posted by: Jennifer at May 18, 2010 11:44 PM

Hi Jennifer. If you would like, I can tell you what my roadblocks with Mary were and the difficulty I had. But only if I can do so with the understanding that I am speaking only for myself and am not implying anything whatsoever about Protestants who are commenting on this thread.

Posted by: Fed Up at May 19, 2010 2:51 AM


I am a protestant by birth (very loosely raised that way.) I became Roman Catholic at age 33. I dropped out at 40. I attended a healing mass (Roman Catholic)at 41 and was immediately born again for the first time. I became an AOG member, not sure what they stand for but salvation is pretty key there, not so great on active Pro-Life activities either, may offend a tither or two? Have defended the Roman Catholics to many protestant friends who don't know we all belong to the same devine boss. Many friends in the Rite To Life association (mostly Roman Catholic.) Can't figure out why the Roman Catholics were 50% at the polls and protestants were 75% Pro-Life at the polls. People accuse me of being a single issue voter. I am. Life is the key issue here, not labor. If you were living in the North before the Civil War would you be a single issue voter? Yes. I like the big tent theory and it applies to all who believe in one true and living real God. -Bill

Posted by: Bill Donson at May 19, 2010 6:31 AM


FedUp:Yes,refer Myrtle to Scott Hahn, great idea. This explains the 4th cup. He did not need to restate it again because He made it clear to His apostles WHAT He was talking about (His Body and Blood).
I love the part in Sacred Scripture (which was compiled by the Catholic Church under the direction of the Holy Spirit. FYI)of the Road to Emmaus. After Jesus rose from the dead, He speaks to His disciplies and opens their eyes to Scripture. "Our hearts were burning etc." Then he breaks bread (Eucharist) with them and THEN did they recognize Him. What was the first thing Jesus did AFTER He rose from the dead? He said Mass! The first part (Liturgy of the Word) and second part Litrugy of the Eucharist. They did not recognize HIM until after he consecrated the Bread. This is Christ showing us how to "see" Him after His reseurrection.
Kelli: My apologies if I offended you (not my intention). You obviously love Christ very much. However, we cannot ALL be right about which Church Christ founded. All religions are not created equal. Impossible, one has to be the true Church. Thus, why I said there are elements of truth to Protestant Churches. However, they defected away from Catholic Church in disobedience during the Reformation. Protestant Churches were started by MAN not God. Jesus plainly gave the keys to Peter. I am not trying to offend anyone here, just pointing out that we cannot all be right. I (Personally) don't think these differences will keep us out of heaven but they are differences, no less.
I disagree with Ed. We are all called to ONE Church serving Him in different ways (Body of Christ, He is the head.)We are stronger united not divided. God did not give His authority to split His Church. I recommmend Protestants to learn which denomination they are in. When did it start? Who started it? Find out about the early Church Fathers and what they taught. Christianity was handed down to you by them. Please noone take offense, just discussion. God Bless!

Posted by: Linda at May 19, 2010 6:35 AM


I just have to say this to my Protestant friends in Christ. I want you to consume the flesh and blood of Christ because it is the MOST powerful thing in the world. It forgives sins and transforms us! It is like going into battle with only a helmet on. The Catholic faith has the helmet (Sacred Scripture), the sword, (confession, sacraments there are 7) and the shield, the most Holy Eucharist. If we are going to do battle with satan in the pro-life movement, we need to be properly armed. It takes tremendous humility to fight the ancient adversary. I can see by these posts many of you are God-fearing people with love in your hearts. Out of love only (not pride) I call you to a greater test. Christ wants you in His Church he founded on St. Peter the rock.

Posted by: Linda at May 19, 2010 6:50 AM


Again, thanks to all for the respectful, loving comments. I agree with one Catholic commenter that I've found it amazingly wonderful that no one has degenerated the conversation to accusations about moral failings.

Thanks to Gerard for the 8:47p comment. Thanks to Kelli and Terra in particular for their restraint. Thanks to our Catholic scholar and my dear friend Scott J. for his input. I was heartened that Bill came back, so I hope he will stay.

I doubt anyone will listen to me... :) but I'd really like to discuss and debate Catholic social teaching. My eyes gleam at the prospect! Are there any Protestants or Catholics out there disturbed by Catholic teaching against contraception? IVF? In vitro? Sterilization?

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 19, 2010 7:00 AM


Linda-
I checked the link out. It takes at least one scripture out of context. I think if you read the book of Hebrew you'll have a better understanding of the sacrifice he made and the explanation of it being a complete sacrifice on Calvary and the admonitions also. I hope your not offended if Jesus himself appeared to me and told me something that did not resonate in my spirit, I would check it out in his word. And again I would go with the scripture that says out of the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. His word is his witness to his church.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 19, 2010 7:26 AM


Hi Heather.

Out of respect for Jill's request that we discuss Catholic social teaching, I'd like to postpone our discussion about salvation. I would love to discuss this with you via email or on another thread (even another blog if you wish). You find my email on the sidebar of Jill's blog under the heading "Team" (I'm a moderator here). God love you, Heather.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 19, 2010 8:19 AM


since part of this article was about how protestants and Catholics can come together on pro life issues (well, at least abortion anyway).....anyone who watches the March for Life coverage on EWTN will see that we also join with our Jewish 'cousins' and Orthodox Christian 'cousins' on this matter. That's the one time when we put aside our doctrinal differences and can agree that Abortion is WRONG. I really like seeing the Rabbi make his comments on that day.


Posted by: LizFromNebraska at May 19, 2010 8:32 AM


St. Paul wrote:

"Obey your prelates, and be subject to them"(Heb. XIIII, 17)"

He also referred to himself as a father to his followers in Corinthians.

Contradictions abound for those who rely on Paul's statements regarding faith, while ignoring nearly all of what else he said.

If you can get to heaven following Father Luther (a Catholic priest in the 1500s), God bless you! I cannot. I have to have the fullness of the faith in order to stay close to Jesus.

Posted by: St. Paul The Catholic at May 19, 2010 8:44 AM


Nowhere did Christ ever commission women to teach in His name and with His authority. St. Paul explicitly forbids women to attempt to exercise such functions. People who would ordain women in the Church seem to believe that they know more about Christianity than St. Paul. 1 Cor. XIV,34 -35, says: "Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith. But if they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a shame for a woman to speak in the Church." America is today a marvelous example of how people obey the Bible. 1 Tim. II, 11-12 says, "Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man; but to be in silence."

Faith alone? Satan believed in God, and even quoted Scripture to Jesus Himself. Satan has more faith than many today, but he does not express that faith through works of mercy, charity, or goodness. Instead, he does the opposite, which is little worse than those who do nothing at all.

A faith which does not manifest itself through works of evangelization or mercy is without merit.

If you evangelize, preach, or perform any other faith-filled action, you are committing WORKS.

Lets stop the verbal gymnastics. We are all baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and therefore are all in the same Church.

Posted by: Women Priests and Bishops? at May 19, 2010 8:49 AM


Perhaps the clearest Biblical support for oral tradition can be found in 2 Thessalonians 2:14(15), where Christians are actually commanded: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle." This passage is significant in that 1) it shows the existence of living traditions within the Apostolic teaching, b) it tells us unequivocally that believers are firmly grounded in the Faith by adhering to these traditions, and c) it clearly states that these traditions were both written and oral. Since the Bible distinctly states here that oral traditions – authentic and Apostolic in origin – are to be "held" as a valid component of the Deposit of Faith, by what reasoning or excuse do Protestants dismiss them? By what authority do they reject a clear-cut injunction of St. Paul?

Posted by: Oral Tradition = Scripture at May 19, 2010 8:52 AM


If anything at all can be said with certainty about Martin Luther, it is that he was deeply and chronically troubled by a combination of doubts and despair about his salvation and a sense of utter impotence in the face of temptation and sin. Luther himself notes, "My spirit was completely broken and I was always in a state of melancholy; for, do what I would, my ‘righteousness’ and my ‘good works’ brought me no help or consolation." (47)

In light of this reality, one must assess Luther’s psychological and emotional frame of mind in terms of their impact on the origins of his Sola Scriptura doctrine. Even a cursory examination will demonstrate that this doctrine was born out of Luther’s need to be free from the guilt feelings, despair and temptation which "tortured" him.

Considering that Luther himself admits to an obsessive concern with his own sinfulness, as well as an inability to resist temptation, it seems reasonable to conclude that he suffered from scrupulosity, and even Lutheran scholars will admit to this. (48) Scrupulosity means that a person is overly anxious about having committed sins when there is no real basis for such anxiety, and a scrupulous person is one who often exaggerates the severity of his perceived sinfulness, with a corresponding lack of trust in God. It is also relevant to note that scrupulosity "often seems to be based on some psychological dysfunction in the person." (49)

In other words, Luther probably never had a moment of emotional or psychological peace, since the voice of "conscience" always pricked him about some matter, real or imagined. It would be quite natural for someone so plagued to seek refuge from that voice, and for Luther that refuge was found in the doctrine of Sola Fide, or salvation by "faith alone."

But since the avoidance of sin as well as the performance of good works are necessary components for our salvation, and since these facts were steadfastly taught and defended by the Catholic Church, Luther found himself diametrically opposed to the teaching authority of the Church. Because the Church asserted the necessity of doing exactly what he felt incapable of doing, Luther made a drastic decision – one which "solved" his scrupulosity problem: he rejected the teaching authority of the Church, embodied in the Magisterium with the Pope at its head, and claimed that such was contrary to the Bible. In other words, by claiming Sola Scriptura to be true Christian doctrine, Luther dismissed that authority which compelled him to recognize that his own spirituality was dysfunctional.

Posted by: Poor Marty at May 19, 2010 8:57 AM


Poor Marty/Oral Tradition/Women Priests,

I appreciate your strong defense of the Catholic faith, but we'd like to try and keep this thread on topic concerning Catholic social teaching and Protestants accepting or denying it. Thank you for understanding. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 19, 2010 9:07 AM


Fair enough, I understand.

Bye now, and God love you!

Posted by: Poor Marty at May 19, 2010 9:44 AM


"Bye now, and God love you!"

Oh, I love it! I see you know exactly where I got that phrase from... :)

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 19, 2010 10:02 AM


Not to ignore Jill's request but I just want to quickly touch on a couple comments.

I would like to know where in the Bible it talks about purgatory. It doesn't. Jesus never taught purgatory. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man died and IMMEDIATELY lifted up his eyes in hell. St. Paul says that for a believer in Christ, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

To believe in purgatory is to believe that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross isn't enough. Or, for some person who has never repented and trusted Christ, that somehow their suffering in purgatory is equal to Christ's perfect sacrifice on the cross. It isn't. We could burn in hell forever and it would not erase the debt of our sins. Only Christ's blood can do that.

Bill says he likes the big tent theory and that if we believe in the one and true God. Only problem with that, is that Hindus don't. They believe many Gods. Muslims believe in Allah who is NOT Jehovah. The Koran speaks of Allah who is absolutely opposite of Jehovah. Jews who practice Judaism believe in the true God but have rejected His Son.

It is not enough to just believe there is a true God. The Bible says at the judgement many will say "Lord! Lord!" and Christ will say "Depart from me! I never knew you."

God is most loving, forgiving and merciful but somehow want to sugar coat His judgement and His holy nature. He cannot tolerate sin. He cannot. Something HAS to be done with our sin. He sent the answer...Jesus Christ. To think someone can get into heaven separate of Christ is not scriptural and is a lie from hell.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 19, 2010 10:08 AM


I meant "gods" not Hindu "Gods". Sorry.

I also just hope you'll think about this. If purgatory is good enough to purge our sins, then why was it necessary or Christ to come, be tortured and brutalized and die an agonizing death on the cross? Why would He come and put himself through that if purgatory is enough?

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 19, 2010 10:12 AM


I'm sorry for my contribution to the derailment of this thread. I have just been fascinated to find out that the differences in catholic/protestant religious beliefs are not so different.
I've spent the last 7 years researching what I believe and why, through scripture, books, and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, but I am always interested in seeing things from someone elses point of view.

Scott:
Thanks so much for taking the time to try and answer my question. I still don't really understand, because as a non-catholic (I am also not protestant, but will be labeled as such anyways) that is exactly what I believe about the purpose of salvation, as well as my 'protestant' friends who actually walk the walk.
I don't believe you can lose your salvation and I don't believe you work for it. I believe like you, that good works or fruit come out of a heart overflowing with the love of God. When we are filled with His love we desire to love others and serve them. His love is not something we attain through our own strength, but through the strength of the Holy Spirit.

I believe salvation comes by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When He brings us to the knowledge of truth, then we can choose to repent of our sins and choose to follow Christ or reject Him.

Anyway, I'm not exactly sure where our differences lie. If someone could provide a forum, I'd love to continue discussing this with all the people on here that are interested.

Linda,
I may disagree with you, but I appreciate your heart of love for me. It says so much that you desire for me to experience Christ the same way you do. Just don't be too sure that I don't. :)

Posted by: Heather M at May 19, 2010 10:17 AM


Sydney,

Hold onto those questions/objections to purgatory because they are good points, and I would love to address them sometime. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 19, 2010 10:21 AM


Sydney, just really quick:
1. Those in hell do not pass through Purgatory first. Those in Purgatory all eventually go to heaven.

2. Purgatory, to my understanding, is not for the redemption of your sins, or even to make things right with God, (Christ did that) but to wash away the effects of your sin. Take confession, for example. You are forgiven by God, but the effects of your sin remain. You may no longer be destined for just punishment for your actions by God, but your actions still caused harm to yourself and others. Purgatory is to make up for the effects of your sin. To wash away the impact it had on you and others so that you won't be bringing that with you into heaven. But then again, since I am still learning, I might not have it completely right.

Posted by: Scott at May 19, 2010 12:32 PM


Purgatory:

Prayers for the Dead: 2 Maccabees 12 38-46 (After being part of the Bible since the earliest times and at least since the 4th century, a Catholic priest named Martin removed it in the 1500s, inexplicably)

Christ's words: Matthew 12: 32

Nothing defied in Heaven: Revelation 21: 27

The Church proves the Doctrine of Purgatory through use of Scripture, specifically how Judas Maccabeus sent 12,000 drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead.

Christ Himself said: "And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak."

And, "nothing unclean will enter heaven, nor anyone who does abominable things or tells lies"...kind of also shoots that faith alone stuff in the foot too.

Purgatory is a good thing, a merciful act by God to ensure that the righteous may enter the Joy of Heaven even if they still have sins here on earth. They cannot see God without being purified, and this is medicine to do it.

Posted by: Poor Marty at May 19, 2010 1:05 PM


Poor Marty: The way I try to describe Purgatory to non catholic Christians is this: it is like a purification rest stop on the way to Heaven. If one is in Purgatory, they will eventually reach Heaven. They just need cleansed of minor sins before reaching the glory of Heaven. Make sense?

I knew it was in Maccabees, but wasn't sure of the exact chapter/verse, thanks for that information.

Posted by: LizFromNebraska at May 19, 2010 1:11 PM


Anyone- If you want to learn more about Martin Luther's life google his name.

Poor Marty-
I find your whole attitude towards Luther very dismissive. His contributions to the kingdom of God stand. He loved the word of God and that makes a lot of people nervous. The saddest thing to me about Luther was that he loved the Catholic Church he just loved scripture more. If you study his illness in the context of what he was going through I think you will get a better understanding of his contributions. His love for the Catholic Church did not stop them from giving this man a lot of grief. Martin Luther was a mighty man of God he faced a church that was very powerful and in the end never renounced the word of God. I have a question for you Marty the practice of the church in that day of collecting indulgences do you think that might have contributed in any way to his condition? If you research thoroughly his life story you'll find that when he started preaching people flocked to hear the word of God. He was happy and his audience happy so why wasn't the Church happy?

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 19, 2010 1:16 PM


Heather: Please don't think that I believe you don't somehow experience God. As I stated before God's grace is not in a box only for Christians. God calls all men to Himself(even the Gentiles). He gave His Church as a gift out of love on the cross when the sword pierced His Most Sacred Heart and out flowed blood and water (Baptism=water, His Blood=The Eucharist).

Sydney: Try 1Cor 3:15 and 1Peter 1:7 The Church Councils (guided by Holy Spirit) formulated her docrtine of faith on Purgatory.
In regards to purgatory, you ask a great question about why the brutal sacrifice of the cross. Try :http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p122a4p2.htm#II
Thanks to all my friends in Christ for understanding my zeal for my faith.

Posted by: Linda at May 19, 2010 1:27 PM


we'd like to try and keep this thread on topic concerning Catholic social teaching and Protestants accepting or denying it.
Posted by: Bobby Bambino at May 19, 2010 9:07 AM

I have enjoyed this discussion but don't want to further derail it. Maybe Jill would consider creating an open thread for ongoing dialogue about the various differences among our faith traditions? If we promise to be respectful? Pretty please? :-D

Posted by: Fed Up at May 19, 2010 1:42 PM


Myrtle: Yes, indulgences were definately a big problem in Catholic Church(at that time in history). Luther was correct that alot was going badly in the Church and a much needed reform was in order. However, a REFORM was needed NOT branching off from the Church that Christ founded. Even today there is alot of sin within the Church(sex abuse scandals). This does not mean dismantle the Church. It means correct it and continue on with the business of saving souls. God always raises up great saints during these times. For example, St. Franics of Assisi(the stigmatist) God appeared to him and told him to rebuild HIS CHURCH. St. Francis thought he actually meant the physical falling down building of the Church. So, he began a renovation project. Finally God conveyed to him that he meant the spiritual body of the Church reformed not the physical Church. (That cracks me up!) Luther could have been a great reformer like Francis or St. Theresa of Avila but he divided Christ's Church instead and now centuries later, we still debate it. So, was it a good thing?

Posted by: Linda at May 19, 2010 1:42 PM


On the topic of the social teachings of the Catholic Church, here are a few excellent readings of Catholic teaching:

An introduction to dignitas personae
http://tinyurl.com/2673z5v

The Catholic document, dignitas personae, which teaches about the dignity of life and bioethical issues
http://tinyurl.com/4fkxm2

Posted by: Scott Johnston at May 19, 2010 2:02 PM


"Are there any Protestants or Catholics out there disturbed by Catholic teaching against contraception? IVF? In vitro? Sterilization?"

Posted by: Jill Stanek at May 19, 2010 7:00 AM

I'm good.

Regarding sterilization.... It's expensive, and there are times when the surgery is not effective. I think if it is God's will that a woman has a baby, a few stitches aren't going to get in his way.

Re IVF.... We are at the risk of treating babies as commodities. It's a slippery slope.

Posted by: Janet at May 19, 2010 2:59 PM


Linda-
Read up on Luther's life I think God sent him they just ignored God's messenger. And I believe the Church consist of anyone that has put their faith in Christ. I love reading about the lives of the saints too. What Saint have you learned the most from? St. Theresa has really helped me.

On Catholic Church teaching: I think a couple (married folk) should be able to use the type of contraceptions they choose to use as long as it doesn't hurt babies and should be able to do so without negative government inteference.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 19, 2010 3:54 PM


"Socially Catholic Evangelical Protestant"

I'm having trouble with this moniker. I picture old people, a church basement, bingo cards, donuts.....

Seriously, LIFE issues are theological issues, not social ones, IMHO.

Posted by: Janet at May 19, 2010 3:58 PM


Additionally,
Catholic Protestant is an oxymoron. It's time to choose a side. :)

Posted by: Janet at May 19, 2010 4:00 PM


Scott Johnston at 1:21am,

What a beautiful explanation of how much God loves us and wants us to be in relationship with Him - to know, love, and serve Him and be happy with Him for all eternity. Brought tears to my eyes. This has been such a wonderful dialogue and I hope Jill can set up another forum, as someone else had asked/suggested.

Hope you all don't mind me commenting on the purgatory issue - only because I've had non-Catholic brethren ask me the same thing. I've done so much reading and still have SO much more to learn, but it's my understanding that the even though the word "purgatory" is not in sacred scripture, it is implied, as cited by Poor Marty referring to 2nd Maccabees. Purgatory means purification or purging. It has been pointed out by biblical scholars that the word Trinity is not in Sacred Scripture either. But, as Christians, we know that examples of the Blessed Trinity are throughout the scriptures.

Jill, as a Catholic, it was very difficult accepting the church's teaching against contraception, etc. I've read somewhere that about 90 percent of Catholics do not obey this teaching. I'm not sure about non-Catholics. I did not realized that to be a faithful Catholic, I cannot cherry-pick what I can believe and not believe. We have to accept everything Holy Mother Church teaches, not just some things. Even when we struggle with an issue (like birth control, IVF, etc.), we have to submit and believe in faith, that as someone once said, The Church (our Mother), and Christ's Bride, knows best. Have you thought of putting forth some type of survey or reasearch and then publishing it on your website? From my experience, I was not completely formed in the Faith, so went into the contraceptive mind-set and bought into what the culture was telling me I should do, without even studying the reasons not to. I think this is probably the case for most Catholics. This has been awesome reading! God Bless all.

Posted by: doe at May 19, 2010 4:10 PM


Myrtle: The Fulfillment of all Desire by Ralph Martin. A must read for you since you enjoy reading saints lives. I love Padre Pio, Saint Augustine, Saint Faustina, St. Therese the Little Flower, John of the Cross, of course JPII. I just read a book on his miracles. He kept it quiet but there were so many healings from him while he was alive. Cancers, blindness, demonic possessions, the list is endless. A truly remarkable Holy Father. We are so blessed to have known him!

Sometimes contraception has abortifacient qualities to them like low estrogen bith control pills. Fertility is not an illness that requires medication. It is one of the BEST gifts God gave to women. A couple can practice NFP (Natural Family PLanning) that is as effective as the pill when used correctly. It respects the female body and stats show couple who practice this method have a divorce rate of 5%. Not too shabby!

Posted by: Linda at May 19, 2010 4:13 PM


Fed Up, 1:42p: Well, as you can see people aren't listening to me... :) (which would have shocked me anyway). But thanks for asking.

Almost 200 comments into it, I want to say again I've been very happy with the tone of this conversation. I think Kelli and the mods have only had to delete one post. (Marissa - try that again and you'll be banned.)

I'd really like to stick to the topic, and I appreciate Bobby and Kelli's attempts to stay on task. But I'm not a blog dictator, so if the conversation continues to swerve off in this or that direction, so be it.

Just continue to stay respectful, please, or we'll have to close comments. Thanks.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 19, 2010 4:24 PM


Doe, obedience to the Church is what alot of Catholics have problems with. If Catholics just practiced their faith, the world would be an entirely different place. I am convinced there would be no abortions on demand etc, if Catholics held tight to the teachings of Mother Church. I, myself, fell into contraception mentality, even my husband got sterilzed. Of course after my re-version back to my faith, I realized how painfully wrong I was. After a good and tearful and very healing confession, I moved forward. My husband has reversed but we have not been able to conceive again. We have 3 wonderful kids but I have a pain in my heart for all the children that we should have had. Curiously, my husband has been suffering from an auto-immune disease that is not genetic. We know it was the result of the sterlization. Sperm and blood are never suppose to meet in the body. Now we live with chronic health problems as a result of our disobedience to God. I know we are fogiven but it remains a scar.

Posted by: Linda at May 19, 2010 4:28 PM


Linda,

This is part of the Christian life. As Jesus said, whoever wishes to follow me must deny himself daily and carry his cross. Not being able to conceive again must be a terribly painful cross, but in your suffering comes power. As St Paul says "when I am weak I am strong." Continue to joyfully carry your cross, giving praise to Jesus' name. You are in my prayers. God love you and your husband.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 19, 2010 4:35 PM


Jill,

What better place to start to bridge the canyons that still exist in the body of Christ than the defense of LIFE? All else aside, the fact that Catholic social teaching is catching on among Protestants is huge. And very, very exciting. Now, if only we could get all CATHOLICS on board with their own Church teaching! (sigh)

If Catholic social teaching regarding birth control, IVF, etc. seems hard for so many to accept, it is merely an indication of how self-centered our lives have become in our society, and how empty sex has become for us.

I don't say that flippantly, because I have had to do my own wrestling with what the Church teaches as morally right, but after learning, reflecting, and praying, I saw the wisdom and logic and selflessness of it, and I realized it was the only way. Any other way leads to life being a commodity to be bought and sold, and destroyed at will. Which is precisely what we're living with today.

We must return to the belief that sex is sacred because life is sacred and the two cannot be separated. We must return to the conviction that all human life is sacred and a gift from God, even if it's not "perfect" or "planned."

That is the gift that Catholic social teaching has to offer the world, and I am very grateful and overjoyed when I hear that people understand it, no matter what their religious stripes.

God bless you, and thanks for your transparency.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 19, 2010 4:53 PM


Linda,

I am so sorry for the pain you have suffered, and you are not alone. As Bobbi pointed out and of course, the words of our Blessed Lord, whoever follows me must deny himself and take up his cross... I will pray for you and others who carry their own crosses, because we all have them. One of my favorite quotes happens to be from St. Padre Pio. I think it's like this - "The cross will not crush you, if it's weight makes you stagger, it's power will also sustain you."

And Jennifer, that was so beautifully put, that we must return to the belief that the sexual act is sacred (as being between husband and wife) because life is sacred. God Bless...

Posted by: doe at May 19, 2010 5:52 PM


And Jennifer, that was so beautifully put, that we must return to the belief that the sexual act is sacred (as being between husband and wife) because life is sacred.
Posted by: doe at May 19, 2010 5:52 PM

I second that Doe.

http://justwanttoloveyou.blogspot.com/2010/05/becoming-one-part-v.html

Posted by: Heather M at May 19, 2010 6:46 PM


Linda- I will pray for you. I have a gift to pray for couples who are unable to conceive. In the past when I've prayed for couples they have not had any biological children at the time. You will be the first I pray for that already have children but that's o.k. I will still pray for you. And when he says Moma I want to go to the Protestant church down the road you just smile and let him. I agree I believe too that marriage is sacred and when people have sex outside of marriage that's exactly what it is. Lovemaking is for married folk.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 19, 2010 7:19 PM


I know many of you Catholics have probably seen this, but if not, it is a beautiful ad about the Catholic faith. (See "Epic" commercial, 2nd graphic down, to the right of the welcome video)
http://www.catholicscomehome.org/

There is also a pdf that lists resources of the facts mentioned in the ad:
http://www.catholicscomehome.org/assets/pdf/Epic_proof.pdf

Even if you are not Catholic, it may put the Church in a different light, even if you don't accept all her teachings.

Posted by: Eileen at May 19, 2010 8:43 PM


Thanks everyone for your kind words and prayers. I am humbled.

Posted by: Linda at May 19, 2010 8:44 PM


Wow, you're right, Eileen. That "Epic" commercial is really good!

Question: Who here uses artificial birth control in their marriage and still is pro-life?

Do you feel that it is consistent to practice artificial birth control and also be pro-life?

Do you think that there is a link between the advent of the pill and the legalization of abortion?

Do you think that the contraceptive mentality has reduced children to be seen as a commodity or a "right" to be had when you want them how you want them instead of as a gift?

Do you think that the contraceptive mentality has fueled the "free love" movement, leading to more sex outside of marriage and out of marriage pregnancies?

Do you think that artificially (yet incompletely) separating sex from the creation of children causes people to believe that sex and procreation can be separate and thus seek to satisfy their sexual urges without considering the possibility of pregnancy--and then to seek an abortion once they are proven wrong and are shocked by an unwelcome pregnancy?

Wouldn't this kind of view of sexuality--that it can be separated from its procreative function--necessarily lead to abortion?

If you use contraception in your marriage and still are pro-life, how do you answer these questions?

(Just trying to get this thread back on track)

Posted by: Scott at May 19, 2010 9:42 PM


Hi folks,

A wee bit of history - many, many moons ago Jill started this site and I was one of her first commentors who stuck around. I thought that maybe I could help her because I had pro-life credentials up-the-you-know-where. Bobby Bambino, Jasper, Janet, HisMan, and MK, came after some time. Before their wonderful posts, Jill and I manned the front lines together, one Protestant and one Catholic(me)! I also had some unusual gifts ... a seminary education; working decades with teens; and genetic disability that would likely be life-shortening ... my personal involvement in pro-life concepts. [It is difficult to seek life and not give in to a physical body that seems to want-to-die.]

Jill (bless her) accepted my inputs. So I tended to welcome new people and give them a big hug. It became a special point-of mine to help people feel relaxed and wanted at this site. Its funny to remember posting after HisMan and not be intimidated by the strength (and surety) of Phil's posts [for Janet's sake].

This process has been slow ... but it has been blessed with unbelievable magnificence - Gerard Nadal's posts being the latest of these.

Even by now, we have not covered all the topics thoroughly enough IMO. I understood that many Catholics-American have a profound 'rigidity'/conservative-bent when it comes to engaging their faith. So I tended to utilize many of St. John's and St. Paul's more mystical words. [In doing so, I lost many, but thankfully not Janet.]

An old friend upon preaching said Christ's glorified body still was wounded. Jesus enters heaven WITH HIS WOUNDS. We do not know how much value He places on having the exact correct dogma, but we all are taught 'that by His wounds we are healed'.

It is my belief therefore that this site (with all its 'woundedness') is exactly what Jesus wants from us. It is this same flaw that welcomes me Home and this flaw that receives victims like those abused and those aborted.

Posted by: John McDonell at May 19, 2010 10:20 PM


Scott,

You posed some great questions that all people, no matter what their religious tradition, or maybe even those that do not have any religious beliefs should ask. Regarding the procreative and unitive aspect of the sexual act (in marriage of course), there are those couples who for whatever reason cannot conceive a child. This could be a heavy cross for those that want a child/children. So, the marital embrace, in all fairness to those couples that cannot conceive, can still bring great intimacy just as it can to couples who can conceive. Great questions!

Posted by: doe at May 19, 2010 11:37 PM


And Heather M:

Thanks for posting your blog. What a beautiful family you are and your writings are also beautiful. I still need to read more, though. Thanks so much. :)

Posted by: doe at May 19, 2010 11:41 PM


Scott...I will answer your question.

I am Baptist and my husband is Catholic. I regularly go to church (and was faithful to mass when I was also Catholic) my husband has not set foot in church since our son was christened.

When we got married the priest tried to persuade us to take a NFP class. I got the book and read it and really just wanted to learn more but my husband was scared and said no way.

We used the pill in the beginning part of our marriage. I got pregnant on it but fortunately found out I was pregnant through blood work at 13 days so I stopped taking the pill early enough I didn't miscarry or cause damage to my son.

After I stopped nursing I did go back on the pill but by then I had heard the pill could cause an abortion. I asked my ob/gyn about this and he flat out lied and told me the pill never causes an abortion. When I did my own research and discovered how dangerous the pill is for me as a woman, and to any children I could conceive I stopped taking it. My husband wasn't happy at first but when I explained why he came around to my line of thinking.

I won't use any hormonal birth control but my husband is still extremely resistant to the idea of NFP so we use condoms. I don't mind it. Not to be gross but its a lot cleaner for a woman and my husband doesn't mind so I don't see the problem. I still would like to learn about NFP but my husband just gets very defensive when I express my interest in it. I have no idea why.

We were recently trying to conceive for 7 months with no success. Docs say we are both healthy and everything is fine and stop worrying about it so much. Then my husband lost his job unexpectedly so now we aren't trying :-(

I know he will get another job and I know God will take care of us. I do take comfort in the fact that condoms do have a 15% failure rate. :-) Hey I can hope....and pray.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 19, 2010 11:45 PM


Sydney,
Many times lost job-baby cause the extra time toghether :

Posted by: truthseeker at May 20, 2010 4:46 AM


Sydney,
Many times lost job=baby cause the extra time together : .

Posted by: truthseeker at May 20, 2010 4:47 AM


Posted by: John McDonell at May 19, 2010 10:20 PM
-------

Great comment John - thanks!

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at May 20, 2010 5:54 AM


Sydney: My prayers for finding a great job and hopefully quickly for your husband. It can be challenging when your spouse is not on the same page spiritually. I would suggest a cd called the biology of the theology of the body and ask him to listen with you.(Vicki Thorn). Also, Contracpetion Why Not, by Janet Smith. Of course prayers to St. Joseph for his intercession. He never lets me down with my husband.
My husband was not Catholic when we meant which was not a problem because I was not going to Mass regularly except during Holy Week. (the power of the cross) He converted and came into the Church about 3 years ago and I see how better of a husband and father he is as a Catholic man. Praise God!

John Mc: How about giving some rigidity/conservative (sounds like a disease!)Catholics some slack. We are just trying to follow the orthodoxy of the Church as handed down to us by the Church fathers. Does the Bible say if you are lukewarm I spit you out? Does Jesus not say something about salt losing it's flavor?

Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 6:12 AM


Quick question for my non-Catholic friends: What does your religion say about abortion? I was appalled to learn some Christian denominations accept it? Thanks! I tend to live in a very Catholic world and I don't know enough about particulars in Protestant denominations.

Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 6:20 AM


Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 6:20 AM
------

Linda - it appears you've come round to the basis for Jill's post. And please remember - you're questioning non-(Roman) Catholics. Be patient and continue to inquire, because a short answer will not meet the breadth of the question you asked.

You are drawing a distinction regarding one's "religion" - which could be defined as "a system or set of beliefs upon which one tries to live". This could be construed as a dividing line (within the context of your question). While it's important to set-apart one understanding from another, it's not always clear that groups or individuals within a congregation (denomination) always subscribe to the tenants of formal declarations.

Your question is best answered by what is practiced and not by what is stated. A declaration may be valid, but each person is responsible for the practice - yes?

God's Word is clear that killing innocent children is wrong. I could cite many verses, but all that would do is back up what was expressed in Humanae Vitae, which I think was expressed with great clarity, and is worthy of adherence by all Christians.

The individual's degree of faith is critical to how they practice their "religion". I personally know children who live today without their birth mothers, who refused to abort or harm their child when facing cancer. These women were non-Catholic believers in Christ, and their faith (as well as their families faith) was very strong.

Practicing your faith becomes more difficult when a medical situation doesn't provide an optimal outcome, such as an ectopic pregnancy, where both mother and child will be lost if no measures are taken. In such cases, one is not aborting the child, but saving the life of the mother. See the moral rule of double effect.

Some denominations expand the options for abortion beyond the life of the mother medical exceptions and outside of no-win conditions. Where options are elective, it is no longer a matter of faith, but becomes an act of man.

All that said - you must also deal with the individual's lack of faith when it comes to "covering" sin. Many pastors will preach Life, but when confronted with an unapproved pregnancy, will willfully sin. They also safeguard this option when it comes to the polls.

Sin is not "religion" based. No religion is immune from it, including Roman Catholicism.

Your question is not easily summarized, except to say that only Christ can and has redeemed us from the despair we venture.

As you would agree - faith is expressed through deeds, and so declarations to have any meaning, they must come back to that reliance upon Christ.

BTW - while we need some way of labeling groups, I tend to shy away from using "Protestant" except where people self-identify as such. I also understand Catholic to mean it's Latin meaning, which is the universal body of true believers, which is really only visible to the Holy Spirit. FYI - I personally identify as a follower of Messiah Y'shua, which is Hebrew for Christ Jesus.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at May 20, 2010 7:55 AM


John M, hi! I always smile when reading your posts. Yes, John was my first bud here, back in the day when I got 15 visitors my first month. He was and is a real encouragement... my first moderator... :)

I appreciate all our moderators so much. They're here purely out the of the goodness of their hearts and their devotion to the sanctity of human life. They are very diligent. A lot goes on behind the scenes.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 20, 2010 8:00 AM


Sydney M,

For as orthodox a Catholic as I am, I'm also a 'bloom where you're planted' individual. Your return to your Baptist roots has no doubt kept your faith alive. A very good thing!

As I have read your commentary, it has become evident to me that you were woefully misled by the Priest who prepared you for reception into the Church.

I'm not a bit surprised.

The Church has some difficult crosses that it bears, the greatest of which are the renegade Priests and Religious that have substituted their own will for the teaching of the Magisterium. They have caused great harm to the Body of Christ in the process; not only by scandalizing and misleading Catholics, but by short-circuiting ecumenical progress in filling the heads of non-Catholics with a lot of trash instead of the truth of who we are.

These renegades are rank narcissists whose presence has been too long tolerated by the Bishops. Their religious orders are dying out and God is raising up new communities in their place.

I ask that you take this in from one who genuinely admires you, but sees where you have been lied to. By all means stay where you are and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. But accept the rejoinders of Catholics here who see how badly you were misled in your catechesis.

My prayers for your husband's job searching. However, this is also wonderfully productive time for the two of you in your marriage. Men need a great deal of patient understanding and love at a time like this, as our whole reason for being (protector/provider) seems lost when we lose a job. That understanding and love only strengthen the bonds moving forward.

God Bless

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 20, 2010 8:28 AM


Hey Linda,
my poststend to be not that difficult, but I must confess some woukd be a great affront to mucch of what is now stressed when one says Catholiccccc, when they really mean the American version of our faith.

There is quite another way of explaining he Christian message, that is a challenge for all people: believes or no. Perhaps a wee demonstration: we enter heaven when? Typical answer - at death (in the future). But God IS ... He is NOW ... I AM is the name of God and we enter Him (go to Heaven), now. We enter at baptism not at death.

Think about this .... 'the future' is in human heads and s called imagination. Heaven is God's presence and as such is 'now'.

Another example: God tends to hide in plain sight. A person can read and read the New Testament for years and still miss so much. He uses very strange words to describe His particular type of love, He says: we are to believe/live 'in' Him. Huh? We are to be 'as one' ... a command, not a suggestion..

Posted by: John McDonell at May 20, 2010 10:35 AM


Chris A: I will stop using word Protestant maybe and just say Non-Catholics. I meant no offense. It is disappointing to me to hear there is no clear defintive response from Non-Catholic religions on abortion. IMO, abortion is wrong in all cases as Catholics are taught. If you make the lines fuzzy on that issue, it will give people to much latitude and put their souls in jeopardy. We need clear definite guidelines here. If you start adding rape, incest, mother's health, what happens is excuses to give people to commit murder. Just because the child is an inconvenience does not make it disposable. Satan's favorite color is gray. Morality is not an essay question, it is choice a or choice b. If that makes me a right-wing conservative nut, then so be it. Explain a bit more about your religion, if you don't mind. I am unfamiliar with the name.

John Mc: I apologize but your post was confusing to me. Come again?

Gerard: I agree the poor cathechesis Catholics received in this country was shameful. Our Catholic institutions are no longer Catholic. The good news is more traditional orders are flourishing. (habit-wearing nuns etc.)Love without Truth is abandonement.

Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 11:43 AM


Hi Linda,

I know this'll cause all kinds of problems for some believers ... and because I stress some weird thinking, I am not ORTHODOX and do not eeven pretend to be. But hey, I'll defy anyone who believes that I am not Christian, nor Catholic.

The basis of our Catechism is question:answer(logic) and so it appeals to common sense. Such only seems adequate when not measured by some of the Gospel demands. We are asked to live 'in' Jesus .. we can enter into Him, much like being in a room. We are to live in Him and He in us. We are to be Our-Abba's/Our-Daddy's adopted children! I do not know about you, but attempting to express such magnificence in words tends to severely restrict my heart and words are but mush.

I also must concede, that this method is not for everyone, and may even be offensive to others who demand an authoritarian-God. Please remember that Jesus was killed because He taught profound intimacy in God as His Wat.

Posted by: JohnMcDonell at May 20, 2010 12:13 PM


John Mc: I thought Muslims believe in the authoritative God while Christians are taught to call God "Father." As a parent I have to sometimes tell my children "No" for their own good. It is because I love them that I tell them no no. I am very much aware of God's profound mercy and love but I also know He will be giving me the particular judgment one day in which I will be held accountable for all sins. Yes, God is merciful and love and just.

Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 12:31 PM


It is very simple, Linda.

Do you call your Father 'Dad' or "Father'? To a little one, there is an immense difference. And this intimacy (of informality) is maybe ... what we are called to.

An example: Your Dad is President of the United States. To you he is 'Dad'; to everyone else he is 'Mr. President'.

I come from a rather large (7 kids) family, I suspect my concept of what a 'brother' or 'sister' means is much more informal-(closer) than the formality imposed if I was a teamster-union-brother. Imagine calling your priest/bishop by their first name, as you would your brother, instead of 'Father' ... which is explicitly forbidden by Jesus. And why do we call 'Jesus' by His first name but cannot use His servant's first name to their face?

Posted by: John McDneell at May 20, 2010 1:34 PM


Sydney-
The best thing you can do when your going through a hard time is tithe. God always takes care of me. But when I tithe I see things happen that I know only God could do. Also when I tithe I have a sense of expectancy. Also find out what programs you have in your community that provide assistance. Usually there is some type of energy assistance program. Also when something as major as a job loss happens you tend to look at what you can see. Use this time to see through eyes of faith. Don't be embarrassed if you need to get governmnent assistance. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you and your family are eating healthy and getting enough exercise. Be blessed. You are in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be.

Posted by: myrtle miller at May 20, 2010 2:52 PM


"Quick question for my non-Catholic friends: What does your religion say about abortion? I was appalled to learn some Christian denominations accept it? Thanks! I tend to live in a very Catholic world and I don't know enough about particulars in Protestant denominations."
Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 6:20 AM

Each Protestant denomination comes to a decision on this issue on their own. Some are pro-choice (like the PC[USA]), some are pro-life (like the PCA), and some don't have a position one way or the other (I don't know any examples, but I'm sure they're out there). So, yes, there are pro-choice denominations out there, unfortunately.

I am PCA, which stands for Presbyterian Church in America. It's not a mainline denomination, and you'll find most PCA churches in the Southeast United States. Theologically and doctrinally we're very big on the Bible as the first and only rule for faith and practice. After that, the Westminster Confession and Westminster Catechisms are the major guides, and we tend to be big fans of Luther and Calvin. And Zwingli, which, amusingly enough, sometimes results in the PCA rehashing a lot of the same debates those three men had with each other. We also like John Knox, but since he ran around carrying a big, whacking sword nobody argued with him. :) Modern PCA theologians include Steve Brown and RC Sproul.

All of which to say, you'll find a lot of PCA people arguing a very Bible-only-based faith, and I honestly believe you can not read the Bible with a view to understanding what it's actually saying--not what you want it to be saying--and come away with a pro-choice argument. So, my denomination did take a position: we are pro-life because God, through the Bible first and through general revelation second, has told us that that is the moral position.

Posted by: Keli Hu at May 20, 2010 3:48 PM


John Mc: We call priests Father so and so because they are our spiritual fathers. Also out of respect for their ministerial priesthood. Is that what you mean? Thanks.

Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 4:39 PM


Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 11:43 AM
-------

Linda - I think you have to do some more research when it comes to double effect and doing good for the mother's life. I could be mistaken, but I believe the principle of double effect is within Catholic teaching.

There are clearly defined guidelines, and double effect doesn't come into play for elective (non-medical) reasons and is also not allowed when conditions favor viability of the child (that is, imminent death of either mother or child is questionable.)

I strongly suggest you do more research in this area. I don't want to duplicate or copy content into here, when it has been very thoughtfully and completely described elsewhere. At some later point we can discuss God's grace during such trials.

Also, here's some writing I did the issue of grayness when it comes to the abortion issue:

http://www.thrufire.com/blog/?s=Adam+Hamilton

Some background - Adam was born at the expense of his mother's life. He approached the topic from a different perspective. While I disagreed with his conclusions, I don't doubt his sincerity. That said, he is not answerable to me, but to God.

Y'shua is how you say Jesus in Hebrew. Though confirmed a Roman Catholic, after drifting away from the church during my later teen years, I was brought back to faith and truly born again through the outreach efforts of Messianic Jews. This has lead to a deep study of Torah (5 books of Moses), Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings - Psalms, Chronologies etc.) as well as the
Brit Chadashah (New Testament).

Within the New Testament, you'll see Christ refer to the Law and the Prophets. That's the TNK.

When God caught my attention through the witness of the Jewish believers, he also opened my eyes to how Y'shua is woven throughout the Old Testament. There is an incredible richness and depth to your faith when you see the foundations for all the traditions, and understand not only the role and significance of each one, but also how Christ and His plan of salvation are depicted in them.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at May 20, 2010 5:28 PM


Much was taught to me through my Catholic School and the Church. In my late teens/20s however, I was convinced it was not me who needed change, but the Catholic Church. I obeyed teachings that didn't interfere with my own selfish lifestyle and in the process became my own worst enemy.

Had I truly followed all church teachings, my attendance at the School of Hard Knocks wouldn't have been nearly as painful or long. My classmates at HKS influenced me and I then shared and spread this 'wealth' to others. The Church did not fail me, I chose not to listen and learn and was unconvinced the Church knew anything about contraception issues (after all priests and nuns are celibate right so what could they teach me?).

It wasn't until I recieved my master's degree from HKS that I realized where I belonged all along was just the place I had run from.

I was welcomed back Home with open arms.

Posted by: Praxedes at May 20, 2010 7:36 PM


Chris A: Yes, good point on double effect. Father Euteneur explains it best here with regard to Catholic teaching and attempting everything to save both mother and baby. They obviously have pretty strict rules in reagards to this in order to avoid abuse, as you can imagine!
http://hli.org/index.php/abortion/400?task=view

Reminds me of St. Gianna Molla. http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20040516_beretta-molla_en.html

Chris, I agree with you about the Old Testament. I completed my first Catholic Bible Study called The Bible Timeline by Jeff Cavins and it was so incredible. It traced our salvation history following the bloodline of Christ and the Israelites. You really need to understand the Old Testament to appreciate the New. I agree with you on that. Alot of rich material. What struck me was the faithfulness and patience of God during the Old Testament times. I can really understand your attraction to Judaism.

Thanks, Keli Hu, for your information. I really am clueless about non-Catholic Christians.

Prax:Your story sound so familiar............

Posted by: Linda at May 20, 2010 8:52 PM


Gerard...thank you for your really warm kind words! I understand what you're saying. There is much I don't know and I admit it.

Myrtle Miller...I heard an evangelist preach the same exact thing! Thank you for bringing it back to my mind! I lost my job one year ago and when I did the Lord increased my husband's salary by double! not only that but God provided for us in so many miraculous ways...it would take forever to recount them all. But I see God has always supplied our needs... and even some of our wants! I know I will tithe in faith that all the earth and the riches thereof are Gods and He will take care of His own.

Linda, I have never understood how any Christian church could support abortion.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 20, 2010 11:06 PM


Syndney: Great advice from Myrtle. There are 3 things that Janet Smith (Contraception Why Not)says to do to never get divorced. 1) Practice NFP
2) Tithe (put God in HIs proper context) 3) Pray with Spouse and attend Church. Isn't God so generous?
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html
http://www.janetsmith.excerptsofinri.com/
Also, I am not trying to pick on non-Catholic Churches about abortion policy. We know how well some Catholics politicans practice their faith (Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, John Kerry, The Kennedy clan). I jusy wondered if there was offical Church teaching in regards to it. There was a letter to the editor recently in my local newspaper about Methodist faith and acceptance of abortions. I was stunned to see their lame excuses for permitting it for mother's well being, whatever that means!

Posted by: Linda at May 21, 2010 6:04 AM


For the most part I tend to agree with Roman Catholic teaching. Probably more than the vast majority of Catholics.

Therein lies much of the problem--why would someone join a church because they agree with its teachings when the vast majority of those in the church, including the leadership, do not agree with that teaching?

For the most part, while I don't always agree with Catholic teaching, I understand it better and better, and the better I understand it the more it seems correct, or a minor difference--not rank heresy.

If I absolutely had to avoid conception--if my life depended on it, or my children would face certain death--I would probably use NFP. But I don't think it should be used lightly. And in fact, that is the position of the Catholic church, but you'd never know it to look even at some of the more devout Catholics who claim to understand and follow the teaching of the church. It seems like many still want a preset number of children, or don't want to upgrade their vehicle to a van, and yet they claim license from their Church to practice NFP. I don't think the cost of Catholic school tuition, or the desire to make sure each child has their own extracurricular activities, or not wanting to seem weird for having so many kids, qualifies as a grave reason to avoid conception. Yet the Church doesn't even seem to be trying to correct that mindset among the faithful, because it's so busy trying to correct the rank heresy it has allowed to flourish among its congregants.

I don't believe that practicing NFP is how most marriages are supposed to work. I also don't agree with practicing NFP for child spacing, which is the position of the church. I believe God intended man and wife to live in a one flesh relationship where they regularly give all of themselves to each other, and where the possibility of new life is never something to be avoided, but rather a cause of rejoicing. If we want to have God's heart toward children, we must start from a position of loving and desiring children, and wanting to welcome them if possible--and if from there we decide that we must avoid conception for a time, it may be a Godly decision. But if we start from a position of fearing children or pregnancy, we do not imitate the mind of Christ, and our excuses to prevent new life will not hold water with God. And even in the hard places--no matter how hard, even death--we weigh the creation of a new soul that would live forever against something temporary, for death is not forever. So I do not believe the decision to join with God and create new life is ever wrong, especially when made prayerfully. (As opposed to trying to create new life by joining with doctors and putting your trust in medical technology. IVF is not safe for or respectful of children, so I don't see how God could endorse it.)

I understand the Church's desire to teach NFP to those who desire not to have children, as it is better than most of the alternatives. But it is possible to use NFP with a contraceptive mentality.

I think the Church's teaching that Mary and Joseph remained celibate, yet holding them up as an example of how marriage should be, is misguided. If one believes Mary and Joseph never consummated their marriage, then it behooves that person to say it was a special type of marriage, instituted by God for the purpose of raising His Son in a family with an Earthly father--not that the best marriage in history was celibate, so Christians should abstain from sex in order to avoid children. (I have definitely heard that, here I think, though the second part was implied). I think that this view may be part of why some Catholics treat NFP so lightly. But the marital union is of paramount importance in marriage--it binds, it unites, it connects. And why did the Lord God make them one? Because He desired Godly offspring. How then should we say "We will marry, but not unite our bodies, or not do so all the time." And why? "Because we do not desire offspring." I also believe that fertile times are when sex is most enjoyable, and likely also most unitive, especially for women. I would say that abstaining during infertile times (which is, by the way, commanded in the Old Testament, and the source for the Ecclesiastes line about "a time to embrace and a time to refrain") would be much better for one's marriage than abstaining during fertile times.

Catholics--as a body--don't live their faith. Protestants don't either, but they don't have the problem of generations of unbelieving people in their ranks to nearly such a degree. They don't tolerate clergy who go against the teachings of the church. I actually don't call myself a Protestant--I'm not protesting the Roman Catholic Church. I'm a Christian, and it happens I attend a Baptist church where I am a member.

(To the person who asked about denominational differences on abortion--Linda I believe--most Protestant churches don't attempt to have positions on everything. So some are silent on abortion. If they specifically allow abortion for any reason but saving the mother's life, they aren't Christian. There's no such thing as a Pro-choice(-to-dismember-babies) Christian. My church does not have a position, say, on birth control (officially anyway). I am free (as far as their dictates go) to interpret the Bible as I believe correct and do as my conscience dictates, and to speak about it to others in my church, and to urge them to follow sound doctrine.)

Oh, and the Catholic Church does not hold to the teaching--since the earliest days of Christianity and even of Judaism--that the Earth was created in six literal days by the voice of God. And that's a hill I'm willing to die on. But neither does my church.

Honestly, anything I haven't mention here is in my opinion a minor difference at most, and often just a misunderstanding of how we both believe the same thing, or else the Catholics are right. The long post someone wrote on the Catholic view of works makes me think that is another area where we only think we disagree; as far as I know you have articulated the position of most faithful Protestants as well, so our differences must be mostly semantics.

This is an awesome thread.

Posted by: ycw at May 21, 2010 6:46 AM


ycw: http://www.catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp

Try this link about Mary's virginity.

Regarding NFP, couples can choose to prevent pregnancy as long as they ultimately remain open to life. That is what NFP does, it is your free will to procreate or not but you allow God's will to still remain ever present by not using any artifical means to stop it. It is highly effective as pill when used accurately. Essentialy you are in syn with your bodies fertility cycle. I also suggest reading Janet Smith just to hear her thoughts. I included link above.

Posted by: Linda at May 21, 2010 7:00 AM


I think that in our sex-saturated culture it is hard to comprehend and believe in Mary and Joseph's Holy marriage.

I'm hoping and praying in the near future our culture will have a hard-time comprehending and believing how it treated our unborn children.

Posted by: Praxedes at May 21, 2010 7:31 AM


Linda, I feel like you didn't read anything I said. You're answering the questions you expected me to ask because I'm not Catholic. I don't use birth control. I never expect to use birth control or NFP unless I have a really, really good reason. I don't believe that if NFP is really as good as the pill, one who practices it is remaining open to conception. Why is it okay, in your opinion, to prevent God from bringing new life from one's womb for trivial reasons? How is avoiding conception for the sake of one's preference or convenience Godly?

As for the Virgin Mary, I have heard the argument on why/how it is that she remained a virgin before, according to Catholic thought, though the site you linked to is very thorough, thank you. My argument was simply that if indeed the marriage of Mary and Joseph was a special sort of marriage, which did not involve marital union, it should not be held up as an example for Christians in normal Christian marriage to follow. And I do not hold that marriage or the marital union is defiling; marriage was instituted by God, as was the marital union. It is normative, as the first two people God created entered into marriage and lay with each other. To say, then, that God finds marriage to be a defilement is without cause. Paul calls celibacy better, and I do not argue that; but God called marriage very good. God intends us to call the world to Him, and to work for His purposes in the world, but He also directs us to use our bodies as they were intended, and to reflect the submission of the Church to Christ, and the giving of Christ's whole self for the Church--and the marital union is part of that reflection. Sex is not an optional accessory of marriage. Nor is bearing children. Though sometimes a marriage will not bear children, and this does not mean it is not blessed, it is not what God has set up as normal. That God chose a perpetual virgin for His earthly temple is possible--I have not closely studied this. But to tell married couples in normal marriages that they can or should live celibately is no part of God's word. The union of Christ and the Church is not sterile. The Union of Christ and the Church is not abstained from on occasion so that new believers are not gathered to Jesus. We don't evangelize only until the seats are full on Sunday morning, and then stop sharing the gospel (but still accept anyone who walks in the door).

Posted by: ycw at May 21, 2010 7:38 AM


Linda, I notice that you think the number one thing you think a couple can do to not get divorced is practice NFP. Really? The number one way? Shouldn’t worshipping together be first?

I don’t practice NFP because I want all the children God sends me, regardless of timing. My husband and I worship together and tithe. We are mutually open to any blessings God may send us—therefore we are headed for divorce? I don’t think so. NFP may be better than birth control or sterilization, but it’s not the ideal, and it’s not what God set up. I do not believe God wants us to avoid having children when He calls them blessings, and I see no support for using NFP rather than being open at all times in Scripture. God did not command it even when the Israelites were being exiled, or when the Pharoah was killing their sons, or when there was famine. Why would He command it today when a couple couldn’t give each child their own bedroom?

Posted by: ycw at May 21, 2010 7:48 AM


"Probably more than the vast majority of Catholics. Therein lies much of the problem--why would someone join a church because they agree with its teachings when the vast majority of those in the church, including the leadership, do not agree with that teaching? "

Isn't it bizarre, ycw?

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 21, 2010 7:49 AM


Interesting to note that the “social teachings” of the Catholic Church are driving some (nominal) Catholics away, whereas the most conservative non-Catholic denominations are the ones that are growing. I’m not saying anything about what it means—probably just that the Catholics’ ranks are swollen with those who are not followers of Christ, whereas those who are entering the evangelical churches are searching for Truth. But perhaps it is a sign that union is coming?

Posted by: ycw at May 21, 2010 7:52 AM


"Interesting to note that the “social teachings” of the Catholic Church are driving some (nominal) Catholics away, whereas the most conservative non-Catholic denominations are the ones that are growing. I’m not saying anything about what it means—probably just that the Catholics’ ranks are swollen with those who are not followers of Christ, whereas those who are entering the evangelical churches are searching for Truth."

Oh, ycw, I couldn't agree with you here more! This is why I feel so much closer as a brother in Christ to someone like you or Jill or Bethany who is not a Catholic but holds to the fullness of the moral law (even when it is unpopular) than I do a Catholic who rebels against the Church's teachings on birth control or divorce or homosexuality or IVF because rebellion in those areas almost always implies rebellion in other areas. What I think it shows is that those strong non-Catholic Christians who uphold the moral law are submitting themselves to God's will as far as they know it, without want for their own will. This is what the Christian faith is all about- loving God and emptying yourself of your own will and submitting to his. This is why I have a lot of hope for my non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 21, 2010 8:01 AM


Just for the record--
I was baptized Catholic as a baby. I don't know what if any measure of grace that conferred, but I don't argue it was meaningless. My parents are not Christian; it was arranged by a great aunt.

I became a Christian due to the influence of the young man who would become my husband during college. He had no business starting a relationship with me, but God used him. I do not know if there was another way--there had to be because God does not need sin to do His will--but I came to faith from attending a Baptist church and was also baptized as an adult, in what I believe is obedience to God's commands.

And I have learned a lot about Godly Catholics online, including from this site. But I never would have known they existed from "real life" alone.

Posted by: ycw at May 21, 2010 8:06 AM


God love you too, Bobby. If the Roman Catholic Church were full of believers like you, there probably would never have been a schism. But right now God has allowed this situation where thousands of denominations are teaching in His name. Right now, until God speaks, I am staying where He planted me, because it seems to me like the soil is pretty poor everywhere.

God is not in the business of saving or condemning denominations. God is in the business of saving people. I will not find a perfect church (if I could it would cease to be perfect when I entered, as the saying goes). God's grace is sufficient for me. I follow the commands He has made clear to me through His Word--I have been baptized, I take communion, I (try to have the courage to) speak his truth, I tithe, I pray, I (try my best to) raise my children in His ways. If God ever made it clear to me that this could be done better through another church, or simply that He wanted me elsewhere, I would follow Him--I hope.

And we should all strive to better understand each other, and decide matters to our own satisfaction, and be sure in what we believe.

To God be the Glory.

Posted by: ycw at May 21, 2010 8:27 AM


I think that those who do not join the Catholic Church show it much more respect than those who join/stay but reject much of its teaching.

Posted by: ycw at May 21, 2010 8:31 AM


Amen.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 21, 2010 8:36 AM


YCW: Wow, what great thoughts! I numbered NFP #1 just because it came to my mind first. There is no more emphasis on one or another.
Sorry, if I did not read your post more clearer. I believe we need to have an open, loving attitiude for children. I know big families are a blessing (I am from one). However, I cannot tell another family what is appropriate # of kids to have. This is b/w them and God. Discerning God's will for a family size is definately a whole other discussion. At one point in my life (for health reasons) I was advised to not get pregnant, so we used NFP and abstained during fertile times. The Marriage act is two-fold it is unitive and procreative. I really encourage you to read JPII Theology of the Body. Chris West has a great book about marriage and sexuality. As he so eloquently puts it, God has invited us to a banquet of human sexuality and we are eating out of the dumpster (abortion, contraception, homosexuality, pornography).

I feel frustration with nominal Catholics who don't know what they have. When we are at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, heaven and earth meet. As St John tells us in Revelations we are viewing heaven. This is what we will be doing in heaven , worshiping God. So, we better start practicing now!Many people come and just go through the motions (myself inlcluded) but after studying at Bible Studies and realizing the amazing beauty of my faith, I am awed. I just wish we could get some awesome Christians like you on board! Look out, we would blow them away!To His Glory!

Posted by: Linda at May 21, 2010 11:39 AM


"I think that those who do not join the Catholic Church show it much more respect than those who join/stay but reject much of its teaching."

I second Bobby's Amen!

Posted by: Praxedes at May 21, 2010 12:18 PM


ycw,

Loving what you said!

I really feel like God is calling those who will listen 'out' of the traditional churches and teaching them to return to New Testament teaching. God physically called us out and now we are learning more about planting house churches. Others may be lead to stay in their present church and shine a light to their own congregations. More and more I see a need for people to be missionaries IN the church, not just out of it. So much of the world has been swept through the church doors.

If you have never heard of an 'organic church', you can google it if you are interested. Frank Viola has written a series on it and has a website about it. Organic simply means that the church is alive- the body of Christ. It was never meant to be institutional and focus more on tradition than Christ Himself.

Imagine giving someone a copy of the Bible who had never seen or heard of church, didn't know what churches were like here in America, etc.
If he started a church with his people based on the writings of the New Testament, it wouldn't look anything like the churches we have today. So many churches just go through the motions, following only what they have been taught from other 'christians' and never digging into scripture to find out what Christ really had in mind for us. It is hard to even read scripture with open eyes because we tend to interpret it by what we have been taught. We could use a lot more christians like the Bereans who diligently searched out scripture so they would not be lead astray.

It is so good to hear that so many are living their lives with a desire to become more like the One who shed His blood for us. May we all be the people that Christ desires for us to be.

Posted by: Heather M at May 21, 2010 3:48 PM


yep, I used to have such cognitive dissonance trying to reconcile my Catholic convictions on morality with the fact that I was an Evangelical Protestant. And then I got a Catechism and learned there was nothing to reconcile- I was just Catholic but didn't yet know it. I firmly believe anyone who claims to be torn yet opens their mind a square inch and gets educated will come to this conclusion.

Posted by: Jacqueline at May 21, 2010 4:52 PM


I wonder if Sensus Fidei knows how many people she is driving away? I wonder if that makes her sad too?

Posted by: ycw at May 21, 2010 8:13 PM


YCW...I agree with your above post. If it wasn't for this site and discussions I have had with Bobby and with Gerard I would never have believed there were Catholics that knew any part of the Bible whatsoever. My in-laws are awesome awesome people but my mother-in-law has not been to church since my son was christened. My husband doesn't go. My father-in-law goes but doesn't know a thing about the Bible or even about the doctrine of the RCC.

My sister-in-law loves to go to mass and light a candle and pray and yet she turns around and supports gay marriage and votes for pro-abort Obama. She is a HUGE Obama lover. It boggles my mind!

My friends who are Catholic are so immoral but then turn around and love to throw the "Catholic" card. At weddings and funerals of friends they rush up to receive communion even while living unrepentant wicked lives. I don't understand what is going through their heads.

I always thought Catholics were "playahs". They like to go to mass, go through the motions, feel a little holy then go live like the Canaanites the rest of the week. Two-timin the church so to speak.

Only "meeting" Gerard and Bobby has convinced me there are some Catholics who actually take their faith seriously.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 21, 2010 9:32 PM


Sidney,

"My friends who are Catholic are so immoral but then turn around and love to throw the "Catholic" card. At weddings and funerals of friends they rush up to receive communion even while living unrepentant wicked lives. I don't understand what is going through their heads."

Have you ever asked your friends what is going through their heads or expressed your concern about their lifestyles? I can guarantee you that while you are busy noticing some Catholics who are "rushing up to receive communion even while living unrepentant wicked lives", there are a few Saints mixed in rushing up to Love and Be Loved by Jesus and taking His Love into the world to share with others.

Maybe you don't know any Catholics (other than Bobby and Gerard) who take their faith seriously because you choose immoral 'Catholic' friends who don't take their faith seriously.

The number one excuse I hear from Catholics for their not attending church weekly is that the church is filled with hypocrites and immoral Catholics(the same reason I rationalized to myself when I wasn't attending church or living my faith).

A priest one time explained this rationalizing to me by saying on the order of "church is where satan works the hardest. There's not much for him to do outside of it." Now when people tell me they don't attend church because of all the Catholic hypocrites there, I reply "yeah, I know that's where I hang."

Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." I'm one of the sick who needs Dr. Jesus.

Posted by: Praxedes at May 21, 2010 10:38 PM


Praxedes...I was referring to my friends only who were rushing up to receive communion. I wasn't referring to all the Catholics there.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 21, 2010 10:51 PM


Well, it looks like I'm not too late to join this- read it and then had a crazy week.

Jill, thanks for posting this, and opening up the idea. I'm happy about where we're at in terms of Protestant/Catholic relationships being stronger than ever because of the pro-life movement. Its a blessing, no doubt. Praise God!

And I agree with Bobby and Gerard in that I find great fellowship with non-Catholic Christians who embrace the gospel and fight for what is right.

I have a problem with one thing about this post, I must admit it. Jill's description of how Catholics view salvation is not accurate, as several have pointed out by now. I would encourage folks to search out the Catholic teaching on salvation to go to Catholic sources. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is stop #1. While there, pro-lifers can continue to appreciate the social teachings as well. :)

The bad fruit of anti-Catholicism is still very present in our country. Misinformation from the goofy to the insidious abounds, handed down from generation to generation. Even intelligent people of good will and proven character like Jill can still be fuzzy on what Catholics believe.

So, please go to Catholic sources if you want to know official teachings.

Posted by: Mary Ann at May 21, 2010 11:55 PM


Seems a lot of the comments center around bad example of Catholics... I was raised Catholic, left and considered myself Protestant/nondenominational, then came back 15 years ago.

After time around tons of Christians of every kind, I found sinners and hypocrites everywhere, including the mirror.

At the end of the day, the reason I'm a Christian is because of the amazing, singular Divine Person of Jesus. So I came back to the Catholic Church because history and the Bible convince me that He started it. And if He started it, that's where I need to be, because I love and trust Him. John 17 really convicted me of this.

And for any weaknesses in the Church, Christ Her Groom and (to a lesser degree, obviously) the Saints through the ages makes the Church shine brighter than any other institution.

One clear example of that is the social teachings. They are written by human beings guided by the Holy Spirit, and drawing from millenia of Christian tradition.

Posted by: Mary Ann at May 22, 2010 12:16 AM


I'm deeply humbled by your kind words, Sydney.

You mention Catholics and the bible. Yes, this is a HUGE problem. I am teaching seventh grade catechism this year, and I have the kids bring their bibles to class. Anything we go over, we always look for biblical support. I try to saturate them in scripture, but it is difficult. The first day of class, people couldn't name the four gospels, they didn't know what the first book of the bible was, or even what testament the book of Matthew is located in. Hopefully they can answer those questions (and a few others now) but it just goes to show how demphasized the bible is in much Catholic culture which is a sad, sad thing. God love you.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 22, 2010 8:02 AM


Praxedes,

"The number one excuse I hear from Catholics for their not attending church weekly is that the church is filled with hypocrites and immoral Catholics."

Another one I often hear is "I don't get anything out of mass." This of course points to a HUGE defect in catecesis, where for some reason we think that the mass is supposed to be about us getting something out of it, whether that be an enjoyable sermon, entertainment, warm fuzzy feelings, etc. We've completely missed the point that the mass is all about HIM; about worshiping HIM.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at May 22, 2010 8:07 AM


I've heard this one too Bobby. Catholics have actually told me that if the Mass were "more entertaining" like other churches they would probably attend more and I have to bite my tongue from asking why they aren't going somewhere else then. I agree that we need to spend more time telling others (especially the young people) about the parts of and importance of the Mass.

Another excuse I often used and now hear others use is, "I can get just as much out of spending time with my Christian friends and family or spending time with nature as I can out of going to Mass." I do reply to this one by saying that the Eucharist will probably not be ministered on a nature hike.

I re-read what I wrote up a ways and I am sorry Sydney for being short with you. I have no excuse especially when your comments are legitimate. I often focus on the negatives people say about Catholicism rather than the positives and need to pray that I become a better example to others. Please forgive me.

Peace be with you.

Posted by: Praxedes at May 22, 2010 8:53 AM


I'm really having a hard time with the 'nice'-tone here. Part of this difficulty IMO is that modern religion has got comfortable with being near to God but think His flames will scorch them, if they venture nearer ... they limit their belief to a book or books, whether they be scripture and/or the catechism and are not drawn to God Himself. Many decades ago I heard a little story about St. Jerome. He was the first-ever scripture scholar and was asked the difference between justice and charity for a Christian. He answered: 'Justice is met when what is given is in excess of what one needs to survive; charity BEGINS when what is given is from what is needed to survive.

This still haunts me, but in it I found a challenge to live far beyond what makes sense ... as what is drawn most-often from the questions posed.

Posted by: John McDonell at May 23, 2010 1:29 PM



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