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Why do Catholics leave, and what can be done about it?
cna ^ | April 19, 2012 | Father Robert Barron

Posted on 04/19/2012 11:58:25 AM PDT by NYer

I saw an advance copy of a survey by William J. Byron and Charles Zech, which will appear in the April 30th edition of “America” magazine. 

It was conducted at the request of David O’Connell, the bishop of Trenton, and its focus was very simple:  it endeavored to discover why Catholics have left the church.  No one denies that a rather substantive number of Catholics have taken their leave during the past 20 years, and Byron and Zech wanted to find out why.  They did so in the most direct way possible and asked those who had quit.

The answers they got were, in many ways, predictable.  Lots of people cited the church’s teachings on divorce and re-marriage, gay marriage, contraception, and the ordination of women.  These matters, of course, have been exhaustively discussed in the years following Vatican II, and I’d be willing to bet that anyone, even those vaguely connected to the Church, could rehearse the arguments on both sides of those issues.  But there just isn’t a lot that the church can do about them.  No bishop or pastor could make a policy adjustment and announce that divorced and re-married people can receive communion or that a gay couple can come to the altar to be married or a woman present herself for ordination.

What struck me about the survey, however, was that many of the issues that led people to leave the church are indeed matters that can be addressed.  Many of the respondents commented that they left because of “bad customer relations.”  One woman said that she felt “undervalued by the church” and found “no mentors.”  Many more said that their pastors were “arrogant, distant, aloof, and insensitive,” and still others said that their experiences over the phone with parish staffers were distinctly negative.  Now I fully understand that parish priests and lay ministers are on the front lines and hence are the ones who often have to say “no” when a parishioner asks for something that just can’t be granted.  Sometimes the recipient of that “no” can all too facilely accuse the one who says it as arrogant or indifferent.  Nevertheless, the survey can and should be a wake-up call to church leaders—both clerical and non-clerical—that simple kindness, compassion, and attention go a rather long way.  I distinctly remember the advice that my first pastor—a wonderful and pastorally skillful priest—gave to the parish secretary:  “for many people, you are the first contact they have with the Catholic Church; you exercise, therefore, an indispensable ministry.”  One respondent to the survey observed that whenever he asked a priest about a controversial issue, he “got rules, and not an invitation to sit down and talk.”  Unfair?  Perhaps.  But every priest, even when ultimately he has to say “no,” can do so in the context of a relationship predicated upon love and respect.

A second major concern that can and should be addressed is that of bad preaching.  Again and again, people said that they left the church because homilies were “boring, irrelevant, poorly prepared,” or “delivered in an impenetrable accent.”  Again, speaking as someone who is called upon to give sermons all the time, I realize how terribly difficult it is to preach, how it involves skill in public speaking, attention to the culture, expertise in biblical interpretation, and sensitivity to the needs and interests of an incredibly diverse audience.  That said, homilists can make a great leap forward by being attentive to one fact:  sermons become boring in the measure that they don’t propose something like answers to real questions.   All of the biblical exegesis and oratorical skill in the world will be met with a massive “so what?” if the preacher has not endeavored to correlate the “answers” he provides with the “questions” that beguile the hearts of the people to whom he speaks.  Practically every Gospel involves an encounter between Jesus and a person—Peter, Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, Zacchaeus, etc.—who is questioning, wondering, suffering, or seeking.  An interesting homily identifies that longing and demonstrates, concretely, how Jesus fulfills it.  When the homily both reminds people how thirsty they are and provides water to quench the thirst, people will listen.

A third eminently correctable problem is one that I will admit I had never thought about before reading this survey.  Many of the respondents commented that, after they left the church, no one from the parish contacted them or reached out to them in any way.  Now again, I can anticipate and fully understand the objections from pastoral people:  many Catholic parishes are huge—upwards of three or four thousand families—and staffs are small.  Yet, just as major corporations, serving millions of people, attend carefully to lost customers, so Catholic parishes should prioritize an outreach to those who have drifted (or stormed) away.  A phone call, a note, an e-mail, a pastoral visit—anything that would say, “We’ve noticed you’re not coming to Mass anymore.  Can we help?  Can you tell us what, if anything, we’ve done wrong?  We’d love to see you back with us.”

The problem of Catholics leaving the church is, obviously, serious and complex, and anyone who would suggest an easy solution is naïve.  However, having listened to a representative sample of those who have left, parishes, priests, and church administrators might take some relatively simple and direct steps that would go a long way toward ameliorating the situation.
 


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To: Iscool; MarkBsnr
Romans 2: 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”:[a] 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.

But that passage in no way refers to those who have been born again, for it's talking about those with impenitent and hard hearts. That's not someone who has repented and been born again.

So those who haven't repented and received new life in Christ WILL be judged by their works, as it's the only thing left for them to be judged BY.

301 posted on 04/22/2012 7:21:05 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: Natural Law
Galatians 2:20-21 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Galatians 3:1-29 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.


302 posted on 04/22/2012 7:30:42 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: boatbums
2 Corinthians 6:2 2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
303 posted on 04/22/2012 7:35:28 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom
"But that passage in no way refers to those who have been born again, for it's talking about those with impenitent and hard hearts. That's not someone who has repented and been born again."

Is it then your contention that those who are indeed reborn from above are incapable of inpenitence or that penitence is no longer necessary for them? Or are you saying that those who are reborn are no longer capable of sin?

304 posted on 04/22/2012 7:39:06 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: boatbums; MarkBsnr; smvoice; bkaycee; RnMomof7; 1000 silverlings; Alex Murphy; blue-duncan; caww; ..

I am not surprised in the least that the writer of the article makes it sound like people only leave for personal reasons and not theological ones.

It is, after all, written from a Catholic perspective. To admit to the fact that most people leave for theological reasons would be to admit that there is something wrong with them theologically.

That then leaves the Catholics who absolutely insist that people only leave for personal reasons able to feel smug about themselves and their church as they can then accuse, or imply, that everyone who states that they leave for theological reasons is lying.

After all, they even have a *study* to prove it.


305 posted on 04/22/2012 7:41:03 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: boatbums; metmom; RnMomof7
Yes, let's return to the subject at hand. I disagree, of course, with your premise that those who leave Catholicism do so for "personal reasons" - since I left purely for theological ones as have most of those here who have testified of leaving.

Most of the testimony here of the failed Catholics involve personal reasons, the rest involve the insistance on the authority to form one's own theology as one wishes and whenever one wishes.

Later on, he started going back to the Catholic Church, but NOT for "theological" reasons, but because he said he liked how all the priests he met on the golf course drank and told dirty jokes back at the bar.

If Einstein drank and told dirty jokes at the bar, would that make him wrong?

As to your insistence on continuing to misstate Smvoice's comments, all I can say is NO ONE has said anything about "rejecting the Gospels and the acts of the Twelve. It is to Paul in whom lies our salvation".

That is the constant theme of the antiCatholic. You have participated in that theme as well, although nowhere near the level that some others practice. I will challenge you to deny that I have had postings to me that state that the Gospels were for the Jews only and that Paul's Epistles are bruited about as the only formula for salvation. Your cohorts might be able to shed some light on the situation.

If, after all these many times, you STILL do not get that, I would suggest that you refrain from trying to engage in further dialog until you have done some more reading about the subject. I can suggest a few links for you that can help you to sound less uneducated about the topic. Let me know.

I have done what I consider to be sufficient reading on the subject. If you have more, then I would certainly entertain the notion of further education. I value your opinion, certainly much more than some of the folks that you hang out with.

306 posted on 04/22/2012 7:48:09 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: metmom
"To admit to the fact that most people leave for theological reasons would be to admit that there is something wrong with them theologically."

The fallacy in that statement is the presupposition that the Church would accept that any theologically based decision to leave were made on valid grounds and not merely a vain or errant rejection of authority or a rejection of divine truth. Care to wager on how often that happens?

307 posted on 04/22/2012 7:49:28 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: smvoice
"Paul was a functionary of the Church- a loud and mouthy and pushy Herb Tarlek. With a loud plaid coat and wide tie and a blinding white grin.".

Let this be your last description of the Apostle Paul that resonates through your posts about how much the Catholic Church respects Paul. That he was a great apostle.

It's amazing how much the Baahble Bleevers (tm) don't actually read the Bible, isn't it? Why don't you read what Paul describes himself as, and get back to me? Scripture is plain and failed Catholics are wrong.

308 posted on 04/22/2012 7:53:35 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: CynicalBear
Oh now that’s a hoot. A Catholic trying to explain how others are using the Bible wrong. I’m sure that right after the tell us how we interpret the Bible wrong they will explain how the Bible contains the story of the bodily assumption of Mary or that she was installed as queen of heaven.

Non Catholics normally use the Bible wrong. The difference is that private interpretation is Scripturally forbidden.

The whole Mariology thing is partially extra Scriptural, yet believed from the first century by the Faithful. Same as iconology. St Luke was the first to write (paint) an icon - that of Mary - and yet we have the Protestant iconoclasts (born of Islam) who wail and gnash their teeth against icons to this day.

309 posted on 04/22/2012 7:59:37 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr; Gamecock; smvoice
It wasn't his job. He said what his job was: to sell this new religion. Paul was a functionary of the Church - a loud and mouthy and pushy Herb Tarlek. With a loud plaid coat and wide tie and a blinding white grin.

Another one for you homepage, gamecock.

310 posted on 04/22/2012 8:00:44 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: smvoice
Let this be your last description of the Apostle Paul that resonates through your posts about how much the Catholic Church respects Paul. That he was a great apostle.

Paul, who Jesus said was His CHOSEN instrument to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, whom God used to pen Holy Spirit breathed Scripture as Peter himself declared.

Just goes to show that nobody is safe from the Catholic church.

311 posted on 04/22/2012 8:03:21 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom
Your error lies in the continued assertion that Scriptural references to works are not referring to Mosaic Law, but to the conduct, those spiritual and corporal works of mercy Jesus commanded us to do.

New Testament works are not some mindless or heartless act ritually performed to demonstrate obedience, they are evidence of cooperation with grace and of faith and they confer further grace. Faith itself is a work because it is awillful act.

If the only evidence of your conversion is your own proclamation that you are saved then grace is probably running a deficit in you.

312 posted on 04/22/2012 8:04:51 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: metmom
It wasn't his job. He said what his job was: to sell this new religion. Paul was a functionary of the Church - a loud and mouthy and pushy Herb Tarlek. With a loud plaid coat and wide tie and a blinding white grin.

Another one for you homepage, gamecock.

And you object to this description why? Scripturally, Paul describes his mission and the altercations that he gets into. I'd suggest that if you were serious about Christianity that you'd actually read Scripture instead of merely posting it in a gotcha game, when you think of it.

313 posted on 04/22/2012 8:05:51 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: metmom
One mustn't appear to steal the limelight from the first pope, regardless of the number of New Testament books one has written, apparently. Paul invariably leads to bizarre paroxysms for some, on the FR religion forum.
314 posted on 04/22/2012 8:07:17 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: metmom
Paul, who Jesus said was His CHOSEN instrument to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, whom God used to pen Holy Spirit breathed Scripture as Peter himself declared.

Paul never claimed that he was the replacement for Jesus, or the successor, as you guys claim.

315 posted on 04/22/2012 8:07:17 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: boatbums
That another interprets correction or disagreement over doctrine as "anger, malice or hate", when the comment is not a personal attack, is not something that can be controlled and has to fall back on the one who feels his ox is being gored, to coin a phrase.

It's projection, plain and simple.

316 posted on 04/22/2012 8:07:32 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: RegulatorCountry
One mustn't appear to steal the limelight from the first pope, regardless of the number of New Testament books one has written, apparently.

Very good. Quantity is the edge in Protestant theology. Where does Moses fit into this thinking? And why does Isaiah keep coming up (he wrote less than Peter)?

317 posted on 04/22/2012 8:09:10 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Natural Law
Is it then your contention that those who are indeed reborn from above are incapable of inpenitence or that penitence is no longer necessary for them? Or are you saying that those who are reborn are no longer capable of sin?

Of course we sin...We all sin...However;

 Rom 5:13  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

We are not under the law, we are under grace..

.
Rom 4:8  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Thank God for Jesus...



318 posted on 04/22/2012 8:13:49 AM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: metmom

I’ve tried to make numerous replies but I am not allowed for some reason...I am being treated as a new member with no posting privileges...

I am not allowed to even contact the moderator...Don’t know what going on...Been blocked somehow for some reason...


319 posted on 04/22/2012 8:14:45 AM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: metmom
Galatians 2:20-21

Galatians 3:1-29

You guys are great. It is to Paul to whom we must turn. Jesus is simply an amulet or magic phrase that Paul invokes. What manner of Christ is there in your Christianity? Why don't you lecture me again that we must forget the Gospels because they were only to the Jews, and eliminate Acts, except for the parts played by Paul?

320 posted on 04/22/2012 8:19:28 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Natural Law
Is it then your contention that those who are indeed reborn from above are incapable of inpenitence or that penitence is no longer necessary for them? Or are you saying that those who are reborn are no longer capable of sin?

Penitence is a Catholic construct. It has no Scriptural basis.

As one grows in their faith and God reveals more areas in their lives where there is sin, then, yes, they do need to repent of those, but that is not a matter of salvation. Salvation is already a done deal.

Are you not familiar with Romans 7?

Romans 7:1-6 Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 7:13-25 13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

You know, the Pharisees thought the way most Catholics did, that by keeping the Law they were somehow pleasing God and earning salvation.

But they were wrong because God looks on the heart. IN spite of David's sin of adultery and the murder of Uriah, God still called him *a man after God's own heart*.

You know, really, God does not expect perfection out of us. He knows what we're made of and what we have to deal with.

If our heart is right with God, that's what He wants. He doesn't demand the perfection out of us that the Catholic church does.

The Catholic church really needs to learn what the loving heart of God is all about, and it's not about keeping people in bondage to rules and regulations and going to confession and saying the rosary, and doing the sacraments and penance, and holy water and all sorts of other things that it teaches are necessary to earn favor with God.

What a taskmaster Catholics serve.

Read the Bible and learn to know the God of Scripture.

321 posted on 04/22/2012 8:23:05 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: Natural Law
Your error lies in the continued assertion that Scriptural references to works are not referring to Mosaic Law, but to the conduct, those spiritual and corporal works of mercy Jesus commanded us to do.

Jesus set the bar even higher that just outward keeping of the Law, demanding a right heart attitude.

If the Mosaic Law didn't save because men couldn't keep it, what kind of Jesus do you preach who would make it even more impossible for men to be saved by works and then demand that we do it?

322 posted on 04/22/2012 8:25:44 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: MarkBsnr
Paul never claimed that he was the replacement for Jesus, or the successor, as you guys claim.

Nobody said he is or that he claimed that.

Good grief, I don't know where you get your ideas from about what we're saying but it sure isn't from reading our posts or Scripture.

323 posted on 04/22/2012 8:28:18 AM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom
Paul never claimed that he was the replacement for Jesus, or the successor, as you guys claim.

Nobody said he is or that he claimed that.

Good grief, I don't know where you get your ideas from about what we're saying but it sure isn't from reading our posts or Scripture.

You are correct inasmuch as it is not Scripture. It is from the posts from you guys. Did you not inform me that the Gospels were for the Jews only?

324 posted on 04/22/2012 8:30:50 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Natural Law
Deception is your friend - and wallowing in it brings it's consequences. Prayers from idolaters and deceivers fall flat.

There is no discussion for the line is drawn as God's Word tells those that believes HIS WORD ALONE REIGNS .. "For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?". NONE!

Thank You God, as YOUR WORD ALONE reigns. And those in darkness have their man made doctrines and traditions.

325 posted on 04/22/2012 8:38:22 AM PDT by presently no screen name
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To: metmom
What a taskmaster Catholics serve.

We serve the Lord God Almighty, not the image in the mirror. Nor do we serve what we extract from our navels. God truly is an awesome God. He is not buddy Christ whom we swap beers with or borrow lawnmowers from on alternate weekends.

326 posted on 04/22/2012 8:45:12 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: metmom
"Penitence is a Catholic construct. It has no Scriptural basis."

Penitence is a regret or remorse for wrongdoing. It, along with confession, constituted repentance. Do you ever regret your sins or, in your theology, is there no need?

"He doesn't demand the perfection out of us that the Catholic church does."

We are called to become Christ-like. Is Jesus not perfect?

"Read the Bible and learn to know the God of Scripture."

Do you presume that I do not? I encourage you to not simply sit down with your bible and a cup of coffee and bag of cookies and start reading, but rather to learn and practice Lectio Divina as the Early Church Fathers did. If you begin with the Gospels and practice it diligently you will hear the voice of God through the human authors.

327 posted on 04/22/2012 8:59:20 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: presently no screen name
"HIS WORD ALONE REIGNS"

The Logos reigns. Scripture testifies to that, but God is not limited to words in a book.

328 posted on 04/22/2012 9:02:44 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: MarkBsnr
Quantity is the edge in Protestant theology

Oh, that's a good one, lol. Reams and reams of veritable Greek choruses posted here from Semi-Chrysanthemum, Cryptosporidium and who knows who else, not one iota of which is inspired scripture, but it's Protestants who are impressed by quantity.

There are times when it's tedious to wade through FR because of such yards-long scrolls being posted here.

That's very funny, MarkBSnr.

329 posted on 04/22/2012 9:21:48 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry
Oh, that's a good one, lol. Reams and reams of veritable Greek choruses posted here from Semi-Chrysanthemum, Cryptosporidium and who knows who else, not one iota of which is inspired scripture, but it's Protestants who are impressed by quantity.

If you remember, you were the one who posted to the effect that Paul, simply because of quantity, was the most valid.

330 posted on 04/22/2012 9:24:50 AM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr

That appears to be an issue from your perspective, not mine, MarkBSnr.

I’m not the one who denigrates an Apostle of God.

You are, when it comes to Paul.

I cannot describe this behavior as anything other than unhinged, coming from a professing Christian such as yourself.

You should be ashamed.


331 posted on 04/22/2012 9:34:06 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry
"Oh, that's a good one, lol. Reams and reams of veritable Greek choruses posted here from Semi-Chrysanthemum, Cryptosporidium and who knows who else, not one iota of which is inspired scripture, but it's Protestants who are impressed by quantity."

It is Protestants who tell us we must "rightly divide Scripture" but when Catholics go further apply the advanced calculus of reason to further reveal the infinite detail of God's perfection we are told we go too far.

The problem is not what rubric we do or do not use, it is that so few of us go far enough to complete the circle and return to the simple truth of the Gospels and the Two Greatest Commandments.

If we love God with all of our hearts, minds and souls and love one another as He has loved us Faith, Grace and Works will abound and His kingdom will be on earth as it is in heaven.

May the peace of Christ be upon you.

332 posted on 04/22/2012 9:34:25 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: Iscool
Your one-upance to the Twilight Zone posts (212 and 249) was way over-the-top with its language imagery. The Admin Moderator on duty removed your post and put you on what we call "mute" which means each of your posts will now be reviewed by the mods on duty until they are confident that will not happen again.

Since you cannot Freepmail while on mute, if you wish to apologize to the Admin Moderator or Jim Robinson then I suggest you simply ping them.

BTW, the potential for over-the-top come-backs in emotionally charged religious debate is why even mild potty language is not tolerated on the Religion Forum.

333 posted on 04/22/2012 10:28:07 AM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Natural Law
It is Protestants who tell us we must "rightly divide Scripture" but when Catholics go further ...

Addition and multiplication are not dividing. Advanced calculus based upon such fundamentally erroneous assumptions will itself be erroneous.

Your parting wish contains a lovely sentiment, and may you too experience the peace of God in your life, but the phrasology used sounded too uncomfortably like the Muslim "peace be upon him" for my taste.

334 posted on 04/22/2012 10:52:50 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry
"Addition and multiplication are not dividing."

No where are we commanded to divide the Word from anything other than that which is false or of the Old Law. We have been released from the Old Law and are to live in the Spirit (Rom 7:6). The attempts to parse Scripture between what is for the Jews and what is for the Gentiles is not Scriptural.

Now something considerably less Muslim - Pax et bonum.

335 posted on 04/22/2012 11:17:40 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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Comment #336 Removed by Moderator

To: Iscool

Nice non-apology. Shall you describe the nails sliding in next?


337 posted on 04/22/2012 1:02:29 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: RegulatorCountry
That appears to be an issue from your perspective, not mine, MarkBSnr.

No. You posted to the effect that Paul should be paid the most attention to because he wrote the most of what wound up in Scripture. Your perspective, not mine.

I’m not the one who denigrates an Apostle of God.

By treating Paul as a god, replacing Jesus? That to me is denegration - of the Lord God Almighty. I think that that is of higher concern than denegrating a man.

I cannot describe this behavior as anything other than unhinged, coming from a professing Christian such as yourself.

I only have your own posts to go by since I have no idea of who you are outside of FR.

You should be ashamed.

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Ioanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Ioannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes Sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum. Amen.

338 posted on 04/22/2012 1:09:19 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr; Iscool
"Nice non-apology. Shall you describe the nails sliding in next?"

For your own sake forgive him and pray for him, he needs it. Forgiveness is not a simply a gift we give those who have sinned against us. It is a gift that Jesus has given us that imparts Grace on us and and frees us from the slavery of anger.

339 posted on 04/22/2012 1:22:18 PM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: Natural Law
If we truly live the two Greatest Commandments the "doctrinal issues" will take care of themselves.

I certainly agree that all things must be done in the spirit of love so please don't construe my next comment as a personal attack.

If the Roman Catholic Church really teaches your viewpoint, then I do not see how, in light of the Inquisitions, Crusades and other persecutions of "heretics", it can then - when such actions are no longer "legal" - warn everybody to "let the doctrinal issues take care of themselves" with a straight face. It also contradicts Scriptural instructions for the man/woman of God to to be able to teach, preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine (II Tim. 4:2) and hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9). We are also urged in Jude 1:3, "to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people". That is what most of us here are doing - contending for the faith, the faith that has been entrusted to ALL God's people so that souls are won to the Lord in the Biblical truth.

340 posted on 04/22/2012 1:44:14 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: Natural Law
For your own sake forgive him and pray for him, he needs it.

Wisdom, and I thank you for it.

Forgiveness is not a simply a gift we give those who have sinned against us. It is a gift that Jesus has given us that imparts Grace on us and and frees us from the slavery of anger.

In my haste, I overlook that all too much.


341 posted on 04/22/2012 1:44:30 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: metmom
I Timothy 1:3-11

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

342 posted on 04/22/2012 2:05:36 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: MarkBsnr
Most of the testimony here of the failed Catholics involve personal reasons, the rest involve the insistance on the authority to form one's own theology as one wishes and whenever one wishes.

You certainly have the right to your own opinions but you cannot read others hearts so you don't have a right to make your own facts. Seeking for the truth of the Gospel found in the Bible and discovering that the Roman Catholic Church does not teach what Scripture clearly states is not forming "ones own theology as one wishes". I'm sure it must give you small comfort to convince yourself of that, but as the Reformers sought to do - to RESTORE the church back to true gospel - it is much too late to convince those of us here that our experiences are invalid. God has already confirmed the truth by His Spirit within us.

As to your education on the differences between Israel and the Church, the following may help to make these points more clear.

    It may safely be said that the Judaizing of the church has done more to hinder her progress, pervert her mission, and destroy her spiritually than all other causes combined. Instead of pursuing her appointed path of separation from the world and following the Lord in her heavenly calling, she has used Jewish Scriptures to justify herself in lowering her purpose to the civilization of the world, the acquisition of wealth, the use of an imposing ritual, the erection of magnificent churches, the invocation of God's blessing upon the conflicts of armies, and the division of an equal brotherhood into "clergy" and "laity." (http://www.biblebelievers.com/scofield/scofield_rightly01.html)

343 posted on 04/22/2012 2:58:47 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: NYer; All

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd


344 posted on 04/22/2012 3:03:35 PM PDT by mware (By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West)
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To: boatbums
"If the Roman Catholic Church really teaches your viewpoint, then I do not see how, in light of the Inquisitions, Crusades and other persecutions of "heretics", it can then - when such actions are no longer "legal" - warn everybody to "let the doctrinal issues take care of themselves" with a straight face."

I never said that the doctrinal issues would be dissolved or disappear. Neither did I say that ecumenicalism is a form of negotiation or capitulation or that the Church's doctrines were invalid, only that they are secondary to the two greatest commandments.

As I see it, too often non-Catholic individuals and institutions are not looking simply for a peaceful coexistence with the Church. They demand more than indifference, tolerance or acceptance on behalf of the Church. They demand an endorsement even to the point of demanding that Church doctrines change to accommodate their needs and see an unwillingness to compromise as threatening and hostile.

What I have trouble understanding is the preoccupation with the Catholic Church, especially by the former Catholics. They haunt Catholic topic threads and demand an endorsement of their exegesis and new and often home-spin doctrines from the active Catholics, and ridicule, often very incorrectly, what they believe to be Catholic doctrine and dogma. Unfortunately, like too many active Catholics, the former Catholics are poorly catechized and too often hate the Church for completely invalid reasons. Like some scorned ex lovers they are obsessed with their former beliefs and rejection. While the Christian world is under attack by secular humanists, atheists, radical Islam and the like they spend their every waking moment defending their decisions by biting at the ankles of their biggest champion.

If we can get back that break through maybe we can continue to move toward Christian unity.

345 posted on 04/22/2012 3:12:59 PM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: metmom; Natural Law
Jesus set the bar even higher that just outward keeping of the Law, demanding a right heart attitude. If the Mosaic Law didn't save because men couldn't keep it, what kind of Jesus do you preach who would make it even more impossible for men to be saved by works and then demand that we do it?

I think what Natural Law is trying to state is that the "law" - meaning the Mosaic laws of the Old Testament given to the Jews is NOT the "works" Jesus supposedly commands must be done to acquire His grace. The Catholic Church calls them "corporal works of mercy" AKA the beatitudes, etc. Of course, Paul also addresses this when he stated by Divine inspiration:

Titus 3:4-7
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

346 posted on 04/22/2012 3:19:17 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: MarkBsnr; CynicalBear
The difference is that private interpretation is Scripturally forbidden.

Perhaps you could share with us where this is located in Scripture?

If you are referring to II Peter 1:19-21, let's look at that:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

It is clear that this is speaking of the prophets whom God used to pen Holy Scripture not writing what they understood or privately interpreted, but spoke what God gave them by the move of the Holy Spirit. Got anything else?

347 posted on 04/22/2012 3:27:51 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums; Natural Law
I think what Natural Law is trying to state is that the "law" - meaning the Mosaic laws of the Old Testament given to the Jews is NOT the "works" Jesus supposedly commands must be done to acquire His grace. The Catholic Church calls them "corporal works of mercy" AKA the beatitudes, etc.

I don't doubt for a minute that Catholics teach and believe that Jesus replaced the Law He gave Moses with other works designed to procure grace. But grace is not received by works or it would no longer be grace. What is earned for what we do is wages. When we get what we don't deserve, that is grace.

The whole concept is not only unscriptural, it is anti-Scriptural. It is directly contradicted by the clear teaching of Scripture.

Jesus Himself says that only believing is enough to save one.

John 5:21-24 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

348 posted on 04/22/2012 3:38:57 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom
"But grace is not received by works or it would no longer be grace."

I'm sure you are convinced that the Church is wrong is all areas, but in this case you wrong. The Church teaches that Grace is the gratuitous gift of God, that Grace is the help God gives us to respond to His call.

You are correct in one respect, though. Contrary to your earlier posts there are wages, the wages of sin (Romans 6:23).

349 posted on 04/22/2012 4:13:13 PM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: Natural Law
Romans 3:24 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

What God gives is grace FREELY given without the works of the Law or any other law men decide to institute among themselves.

I don't know what it is that Catholics are thinking they're receiving from whom but if they feel they have to do something to get it, it's not grace and it's not from God.

350 posted on 04/22/2012 4:59:47 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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