Skip to comments.Keeping the flock faithful (Catholic priests in battle with Evangelicals for their flock)
Posted on 01/05/2008 7:06:01 AM PST by NYer
WIMAUMA - Father Demetrio Lorden walks into the garage of a concrete block house, slips on his robe and vestments, and unpacks a gold chalice.
He tests a microphone, and as dogs howl nearby, a small group of Hispanic workers and their families launches into a discordant song of praise.
Lorden calls this his "evangelism Mass," the one he has every Monday night in houses and mobile home camps of the Wimauma immigrant community.
Like other Catholic priests with Hispanic members, Lorden is trying to fend off competitors for the parishioners in his pews.
Protestant evangelists - people just as dedicated as he is, but with a quite different approach to Christianity - are aggressively recruiting on his turf. Some target workers as they labor in the fields; others approach them in their homes or at local bodegas, grocery stores.
Catholic priests like Lorden are responding with outreach and Bible studies, hoping to hold on to this large and growing population.
"Hispanic immigrants need to know someone is there caring for them," said Lorden, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe church. "But one of the things that pushed me to do that fervently and constantly was because ... other churches and denominations are visiting them and proselytizing them."
Sometimes Lorden's home-based Masses are the only contact workers have with the Catholic church, said Alejandro Lopez, 34, a construction worker who attended Lorden's service on a recent Monday night.
For those who can't make Sunday Mass because of work, Lorden's service helps sustain their faith, especially during hard times, Lopez said.
"It makes you feel better," he said.
The majority of Hispanics in the United States, or 68 percent, still call themselves Catholics. Of those who leave the Catholic church, most become Pentecostal or evangelical Christians or they leave religion all together, according to a national study released this year by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Some Catholic priests acknowledge that Protestant sects like the Pentecostals have responded faster and more aggressively to immigrants with aid and tight-knit worship circles in Spanish.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, the Rev. Jose Luis Correa, a Pentecostal pastor in Dover, handed out pamphlets with some church members as they walked through the parking lots of small Hispanic grocery stores or food stores with Hispanic patrons.
Then, they visited a mobile home park nestled between strawberry fields and railroad tracks. Many residents did not answer the door or weren't home. Others politely took the pamphlets and said they would come to church.
Sometimes, Correa said, he approaches them in the fields with water. Often he brings them clothes and food.
"We tell them we believe God will provide for their needs," said Correa, of Assembly of God or Templo Cristiano. "You're not going to reach them by being on a pulpit or sitting in an office."
Correa tackles their personal problems: marital disputes, alcoholism - a service sometimes lacking in the Catholic church.
For some immigrants like Edin Gonzalez, a 25-year-old Guatemalan carpenter who left most of his family behind, the church has become an instant community.
"It's like my second home. It's my family," he said.
* * *
When Hispanic converts from the Catholic church join Protestant sects, they let go of their attachment to the saints, religious images and Mary, the mother of Jesus, Correa said.
"We don't worship idols," he said.
Catholic priests bristle at the accusation and say Protestant evangelizers are tearing Hispanics away from their culture and faith.
"There's almost like a whole campaign to bring down the blessed Mother like she's the anti-Christ," said Father Carlos Rojas of St. Clement Catholic Church in Plant City.
Rojas, of Puerto Rican decent, said Hispanic Catholics, particularly Mexican Catholics, are very devoted to Mary.
They believe Mary, known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, appeared to a Mexican Indian peasant named Juan Diego in 1531. Juan Diego's story contributed greatly to Catholicism's spread in Mexico.
Recently, in a mix of religion and culture, St. Clement held a three-day festival and a two-day vigil to mark the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe that included Aztec dancers, mariachi bands and statues of the Virgin Mary.
The festival, which took place at the Plant City Stadium, drew 3,000 people, the first time it was held on such a large scale.
And it was yet another effort to cement the Catholic church's historical presence in the Hispanic community.
St. Clement, like other Catholic churches, started a Bible study for its Hispanic members in part to counter Protestant evangelizers, shifting from a tradition that left Bible readings and interpretations to priests.
"When you are entering into dialogue with other religions and people who are attacking the Catholic church, there is a need to have Bible studies," Rojas said. "If you are asked this question, here is a way you can respond."
Juan Gomez, pastor of the Church of God, a Protestant church in Wimauma, said his members don't attack Catholics. They just worship differently.
"We believe that (Mary) was a beautiful woman of God, but in terms of redemption, Christ is the one in terms of intercession, Christ is the interceder, not Mary, as they believe," said Gomez, who converted from Catholicism to the Church of God at 15 after immigrating to Ruskin from Mexico.
Gomez said he questions the Juan Diego story and the Catholic blending of religion with Hispanic culture.
But ultimately, newcomers aren't forced to stay in his church. If they don't like the spirited form of worship and Bible study, they go elsewhere.
"We try to bring people to a deeper relationship with Christ," he said. "It will always be up to the people."
Saundra Amrhein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2441.
Clear differences between the two
The battle for Hispanic faithful continues to brew between Catholics and Protestants, with both sides increasingly stepping up their recruitment efforts. Among the Protestant denominations, the Pentecostals have been particularly aggressive. Here are some major differences between Catholics and Protestants.
|PROTESTANTS vsCATHOLICS |
Believe the sacrament, or communion, is symbolic. Believe the sacrament istransformed into the body and blood of Christ.
Have no supreme hierarchy such as a pope. Believe in the infallibility of the pope.
Many churches, particularly Pentecostals, embrace aspirited worship style. Embrace a liturgical worship style.
Allow women to pastor and become bishops. Allow only men to become priests and bishops.
See no need for a priest to serve as a mediator between them and God. Revere Mary and the saints and ask them for intercession. Require confession before a priest.
Source: Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg
But Protestant churches do have the Eucharist - maybe not in the same way the Catholic Church does, but they have some kind of Communion.
You win people to Jesus with love...not by attacking them and their beliefs.
Huh? Prove it! Scriptural references, please.
Jesus wouldn't hear it anyway...Because you pray to Mary or a dead person instead of God and you don't even have a clue whether that dead person is in heaven or hell...And you don't believe in a literal heaven or hell anyway...
Where do you come up with these falsehoods?
Bravo! Great response.
Islam is one of the many offshoots of Arianism, a heresy that the Church has fought against since the beginning (essentially, it denies the Trinity and says that Jesus is not the Son). Oddly enough, Protestants frequently hold up Arians and other Arian-influenced heretics as what they refer to as the true (but submerged) Church that limped along in the shadows and didn’t emerge for 1400 years until the advent of Luther.
Islam a syncretist cult. It is a distortion of both the Old and New Testaments, but it says it “accepts” them. Incidentally, Muslim doctrine is that all people are “born” Muslims and therefore Islam predates Christianity and Judaism. Obviously, this is no more true than the loony ravings and historical theories of Joseph Smith, but it’s what Muslims use to convince the ignorant.
Thank you for all the information and links. You’ve given me a lot to think about.
I know the Catholic-Protestant differences can get people stirred up. I didn’t want this thread to turn into a bunch of rants: “Because they’re WRONG!” “No, YOU’RE wrong!” I was just intellectually curious about the difference.
I just meant that Catholic services mention Mary more than Protestant ones do. I’m most familiar with the Episcopal church, and I have seen a statue of Mary in one Episcopal church, but only one, and not seen statues of Mary in any other Protestant churches (except Nativity scenes at Christmastime). That’s what I meant about “more emphasis on Mary.”
I will follow Christ. I will pray you lay down your twisted hatred and come home to Christ and his Church.
CC, thank you. You were the only person to simply ask a reasonable question.
I agree that for folks brought up in Protestantism, there will be puzzlement over Mary. And I think it’s wonderful that somebody just asks about it, and somebody else just answers it.
Only in the mind of (some) Catholics...
Among the problems that Protestants have is that they do not understand the difference between truth and the expression of truth, between accuracy and precision, and they do not understand the notion of context.
Ha...So marshmallow was accurate but not quite precise, eh??? Nice try...But no cigar...
Here it is Saturday, and my guess is that marshmallow was understandably careless in his or her choice of words.
We haven't heard again from marshmallow so I doubt that is the case...
Make the most of it. I stopped using that sort of gambit in adult discussions back in 1962 when I was 14.
I find it interesting as well as typical, the length at which you guys will go to defend yourselves, even when you know one of you is wrong...And then you resort to insults when you can't defend yourself...
And that's typical as well, isn't it...
You are very welcome. Running my mouth (or keyboard) gets me out of taking out the garbage. ALWAYS a good thing!
as for the rest, it's typical Protestant dodging and weaving. For such arguers the mere fact of the attack (whatever the content) is victory, and a reply (again, whatever the content) is evidence of defeat. And a vigorous defense to a vicious unreasoning attack is evidence of an even more severe defeat.
Yo! marshmallow! did you goof, as I said, or did I, or what? Iscool here thinks that if we contradict each other on a minor matter that is proof that snake-handlers in West Virginia are right about us. That's what passes for thought in some circles.
Would you prefer a slow fire or a hot one, when we -- full of regret, I assure you -- finally dispose of your case?
Seriously, you made me feel good. 'Preciate it.
I disagree. That statement tells you EXACTLY on which planet you can find Trenton. :)
Here's a different example: "The United States is located on the North American continent." Not very many people would dispute this, but strictly speaking, it's not a true statement. Most of this country is indeed located on the North American continent, but then there's also Hawai'i sitting out there in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. So the statement is "almost accurate", but it is inaccurate nonetheless, and this is due to nothing more than its lack of precision.
But as you said, some people use these words differently, and YMMV. Unfortunately, that can sometimes make discourse pretty difficult.
Here I am. Don't worry, I'm not hiding.
I've been waiting for you to make good on this empty boast:
"I have read numerous times on these threads where Catholics do not believe in a literal heaven or hell...And I bet it wouldn't take me long to find something put out by your church that agrees with that statement..."
Are you referring to Jesus??? And I'm not trying to get anywhere with you...
But at the same time, claiming you belong to the church that Jesus founded gets you no where with me...Ha...So stick that in your eye...
Speaking as an ex-Piskie, Episcopalians vary quite a lot. My former ECUSA church was "more Roman than Rome" - "up in the rafters with the bats" as my dad says. But you can have ECUSA churches that are indistinguishable from mainline protestant, and others that are roof-raising charismatic/evangelical. As to why, it's a long story, but it was political back in England.
So it wasn't a great change for us. But I would say there is more Marian devotion in our Catholic parish than there was in our former ECUSA church.
Perhaps it's a little easier to understand if you think of the Blessed Virgin not as standing somehow between you and Christ, but as somebody that you approach respectfully and ask to stand beside you as you pray to her Son. And because she is full of grace and was worthy to bear her Son, she is a model for me to "do whatever he tells me to." Same with the other saints - although Mary is first and foremost of the saints - when I, a lazy and rotten sinner, have the overwhelming chutzpah to approach the Godhead, I feel a little better if I have some good and holy friends by my side to offer moral support.
What your saying is that my statement about Trenton (which, of course, theologically, we call "Hell") is precise because the degree of precision of the locating term was sufficiently broad. Am I right?
I gotta think this over.
It was not an attack...It was not vicious and it was not unreasonable...
And I was not trying to defeat anyone...You defeated yourself by trying to defend yourself...
You are taking this far more seriously than I am...
You might not be aware, but there are several Christian Churches that should not be considered Protestant. These churches either began after the Reformation, or their Christian ancestors were never a part of the Roman Church.
I call ‘em like I see ‘em.
“Foaming at the mouth hatred of Christ gets you nowhere with me.
Are you referring to Jesus??? And I’m not trying to get anywhere with you...
But at the same time, claiming you belong to the church that Jesus founded gets you no where with me...Ha...So stick that in your eye...”
That’s what I mean. Let go of your hatred of Jesus Christ, his Church, and other Christians. Stop doing Satan’s bidding. I will pray for you to find the love of Christ in your heart.
So it goes. Leave it to Christians to find things to tangle about. "See how they love one another."
LOL! Someone doesn't have a very high opinion of New Jersey! :) Anyway, whatever I'm trying to say, I hope it's not as circular as that. The statement is precise in that there is no confusion or ambiguity, regardless of how broad or narrow the claim might be. It seems that we're talking about different meanings of "precise", and I think that's what led to such a circular definition.
“some kind of Communion”
“Some kind of communion” is not the Body and Blood of Christ, nor the Real Presence of Our Lord.
It is a reminder of the need to pray for the unity of all Christian believers to “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism”.
As for the rest, I hope I didn't convey that I was thinking you were circular. Not at all.
I guess MY usage is that accurate is equivalent to "true" while "precise" is about we might call "exactitude". So by that usage a thing could be precise but inaccurate, and one reason we called it "inaccurate" MIGHT be that it attempted too great a degree of precision. For example: ".22 calibre" is accurately said to be 22/100s of an inch, but calling it, um 220000/1000000s of an inch might be inaccurate because the attempt at precision went too far and a bullet which was 219999/1000000s of an inch would often be found in a box of .22 longs. Also calling .22 calibre 38/hundredths of an inch would be inaccurate. Calling them both "less than 1/2 an inch" would be accurate, but not very precise.
I'm NOT saying I'm right here. I'm just trying to convey what I, possibly mistakenly, mean by the terms.
One reason I'm not perfectly (or precisely) confident in my use of the terms is that this summer I was a "special teacher" for a totally cool class of underprivileged but smart as whips kids doing science. My contribution was to shoot up my falling apart American Heritage Dictionary, the one with the picture of Marilyn Monroe as the illustration for decolletage -- it broke my heart when it started falling apart. It was quite dramatic, even though I had to shoot it up at home, because guns aren't allowed on the university campus in case someone might save a life with them.
I shot 4 Full Metal Jacket and 4 Hollow Points - the ones I used as a deputy. The FMJs ALL went through and through, while the HPs all failed to penetrate the entire dictionary but sho' tore up what they DID penetrate.
We also did the math to show a fast ball packs more energy than my .357 Sig rounds do.
ANyway .... the teacher seemed to go with your usage rather than mine. SO what do I know?
Pray for the unity of all believers in Christ so that the Church and truly be “one”.
That's a miracle if you like.
Look upon it as an attempt to cut down on some misunderstandings created by generalizations about "Protestants".
So far in this thread I've read that not only don't we disbelieve in the real presence, but we refuse the Eucharist. We have female ministers, we don't believe in the Trinity (since we claim descent from Arians & it seems we have Luther to thank for that), we all seem to teach that artificial birth control is okie dokey, our understanding about the catholic church is wrong & confoozled, seems we do not understand the difference between truth and the expression of truth, between accuracy and precision, we do not understand the notion of context . .
Back in post #18, Campion wrote: I have a suggestion. Why don't you let us describe our own beliefs, instead of trying to tell us what we believe (and getting it wrong).
We're told what we believe all of the time & here it began with the article that began this thread.
THAT’s a big 10-4.
Maybe the term has outlived its usefulness. The use here on FR got my attention because I was brought up in an organization which called itself the "Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America" and did so until after I was ordained, I think.
And, as I've said on FR before, it was at an acolytes festival at "Smoky Mary's" in NYC that I first saw candle racks and people praying to, ah, idols.
I've found that some Protestants on FR don't take kindly to that's being called "protestant", but that's what the piskies thought they were back then.
Thank-you and God Bless.
You mean there's nothing like a slide fit with statements? If I tell you someone is an thin as a rail, it could be an accurate statement, yet it lacks precision.
But yeah, I think that's right by my questionable lights.
The Lutheran Church doesn't offically consider itself "Protestant". We're Reform. If someone calls me a protestant, I don't figure it's any big deal.
I think most Baptists are bothered when someone calls 'em "Protestant", specially those who claim their roots go back to John the Baptist.
A thread seeking to reach an agreement on what is the definition of “”Protestant” with the sub-thread of who gets to make the call should be a good one.
Your example would be more of a press fit. A slide fit allows for movement. Picture a hinge. The pin & the dealybobs that move around it would have a slide fit. The term is used for some kinds of bearings.
No comparison. < g >
I'm not surprised, since I'm approaching this from an empirical/scientific view. From this view there is such a thing as absolute accuracy and absolute precision, but beyond that, things that don't achieve these ideals might be relatively more or less accurate or precise. Anyway--since you like talking about guns :) --perhaps this analogy might help:
Suppose you're shooting at a target, and you have impeccable aim, so you hit the bullseye every time: This is both accurate and precise. However, perhaps the scope isn't calibrated properly, so you might end up missing the bullseye while still hitting the same point consistently: This is precise but not accurate. On the other hand, if your aim is lousy then you'll be all over the map: This is neither accurate nor precise. Also, with this lack of precision, accuracy is impossible (you might get lucky with a shot, but you won't be able to do it consistently).
Now I'll admit that I'm not sure how well this can be applied to pure philosophy, since this understanding is generally applied to empirical data and not to abstract logic. But I can try! :)
“And was Jerusalem builded here // Among these dark satanic mills.”
I keep searching Youtube for ELP’s Jerusalem.
The Very Reason Why I carry .45 ACP . . . or .455 Webley. Big cross-section, heavy and slow wins out over small and fast, at least on energy delivered to the target. The great advantage to the Webley Mark VI is that if you run out of rounds, the revolver makes a great club (it must weigh 4 pounds empty and it's bigger than a breadbox).
Apropos of firearms stuff . . . we were out doing Cowboy Action Shooting today, only my second match, I was a little faster than the first time (but missed more). I've always been a 1911A1 and Garand and Rem 1100 person, so I had to learn to shoot single action revolvers, a lever action rifle, and a double barrel shotgun with no ejectors . . . which of course necessitated several visits to the gun shop < aw rats! >
Prayers and bed for me, guys. Bless you all.
So far in this thread I've read ... we don't believe in the Trinity (since we claim descent from Arians & it seems we have Luther to thank for that)
I'm no scholar on Luther, but I've never read anything that would suggest he had Arian sympathies. That would be news to me!
That's a simile: It's meant to express something comparatively, but it's not literally true. Although I'm sure most people would understand what you meant if you said that. ;)
The ordinary, garden-variety Catholic daily Mass mentions Mary exactly once.
Mass on Sundays and major holy days (except those holy days which are specifically related to her) mentions her twice, but the second reference is in the Nicene Creed. One hopes that most Christians won't quibble with the idea that Jesus "by the power of the Holy Spirit, was born of the Virgin Mary". :-)
The Lutheran Church confesses the Nicaean, Apostles & Athanasian Creeds, so that would be a big NO on Arian sympathies.
That's because the Anglican Communion has its roots in the Reformation (I say this practically, but I know there are many Anglicans who would disagree). Anyway, when you call denominations that weren't born from the Reformation "Protestant", it probably strikes them as odd because they don't see themselves as protesters.
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