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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.
 


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
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To: MarkBsnr
Nice non-apology. Shall you describe the nails sliding in next?

Didn't you say you won't post to me???  I guess you make exceptions sometimes...

351 posted on 04/22/2012 5:02:56 PM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: Natural Law
For your own sake forgive him and pray for him, he needs it
352 posted on 04/22/2012 5:17:53 PM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: Natural Law
God is not limited to words in a book.

You still on that mantra? LOL! It shows one with absolutely NO concept of the supernatural - you are purely on the natural level. I laugh whenever I see it - it's like having a big arrow pointing towards your words "I'm clueless to the ways of God"! Just the way the Vatican/RCC wants it.

Colossians 1:15
"Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is SUPREME over ALL creation.."

Col.1:16
"For by HIM all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL things were created by Him and for Him." (The WORD spoke it all into existence)

Col.1:17
"He is BEFORE all things, and in Him ALL things hold together".

John 1:1 "In the beginning was THE WORD, and THE WORD was with God, and THE WORD was God."

THE WORD that you discount as a book HOLDS the universe together. Jesus, GOD'S WORD REIGNS, always has and always will! Pushing the RCC man-made doctrine and tradition FAILS BIG TIME!

It's ALL about JESUS, THE WORD!

353 posted on 04/22/2012 5:57:47 PM PDT by presently no screen name
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To: Iscool

I do not debate with those who post lies about me on FR.


354 posted on 04/22/2012 6:44:34 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
I do not debate with those who post lies about me on FR.

Nice way of finessing the RF posting guidelines.

355 posted on 04/22/2012 7:03:33 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: presently no screen name
"You still on that mantra?"

A A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words repeated to effect a transformation. Here is mine:

In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....

I never get tired of hearing or saying that. Do you?

356 posted on 04/22/2012 7:13:24 PM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: metmom
"I don't know what it is that Catholics are thinking...."

I realize that.

"...if they feel they have to do something to get it, it's not grace and it's not from God.

We don't. Maybe you do know what we are thinking after all.

Peace be with you.

357 posted on 04/22/2012 7:19:52 PM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: editor-surveyor
Liturgy is man’s replacement for God’s commandments.

With all due respect, BALONEY! There is not one iota or smidgen of truth in your statement there, editor-surveyor.

The actual definition of "liturgy" is "a prescribed ritual for public worship". Virtually every Christian Church I've ever attended employ some form of prescribed ritual for their public worship services. For example, Baptists and Non-Denominational churches usually have services scheduled on a certain prescribed specific day and time every week, and follow a fairly strictly prescribed liturgical pattern, usually including prayers, Bible-readings, hymn-singing, sermon-preaching, taking up a collection, etc., and often in the same exact order every week.

"Holy Roller" Protestant churches usually include those Baptist elements, and add a lot of arm waving toward the sky and rhythmic swaying, much bellowing out of various "prophecies", people being "slain in the spirit" (falling down and lying completely still, or squirming and rolling around ecstatically on the floor), speaking in tongues (often saying things that always seem to sound something like "shimminy, shamminy, shimminy shoo, shibboleth, shabboleth shippity pooh..."), and so forth. Other Protestant denominations' public worship services usually resemble these liturgical formats to one degree or another. Some are more explicitly liturgical and structured than others, but most Christian denominations use some form of liturgy in their public worship services.

The actual truth is that the Catholic liturgy expresses great honor and respect for God's commandments. The liturgy is an adherence to, and celebration of God's commandments. Prior to many Catholic celebrations of the Mass in most Catholic Churches, the "Sacrament of Reconciliation" will often be offered. To participate in that healing Sacrament, individuals are supposed to first make a sincere examination of their conscience, and they most often start that examination by stepping through the "Ten Commandments" and the "Beatitudes" (and other moral directives of Jesus Christ).

(To see just a couple quick examples of how Catholics use God's commandments to examine their consciences before taking advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, check out these web sites.)

   Typical Examination of Conscience Using Ten Commandments

   The Sacraments of Healing (using the Ten Commandments for an examination of conscience before confession)

In 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 (RSV-CE), Paul describes the words and actions of Jesus during the "Last Supper". Unless you can read these words and somehow believe that this sacred ritual was never to be repeated again, or that it was not to follow the pattern of words and actions taught them by the Lord, you have to admit that this is a formula for a "prescribed ritual for public worship" directly given by Jesus to his apostles. In other words, it was, without a doubt, a form of formal liturgy, given by Jesus himself. If Jesus promotes a form of liturgy, is that somehow replacing "God's commandments"? (Here are those texts.)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,
24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.
28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

1 Corinthians 11:23-29 (RSV-CE)
Remember, Paul is describing and recommending this formal liturgy long after the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, and after Paul's dramatic public encounter with the risen Jesus. Remember also that, long prior to all that, YHWH set up specific liturgical forms of worship for the Children of Israel, as extensively documented in the Old Testament. Also, Jesus and his family participated in the liturgical forms of worship prevalent in the Holy Land in their days there, and Jesus was also known to read from the Sacred Scriptures in the Synagogue during their public liturgical celebrations.

So, I would strongly recommend you distance your astute self from your comment with prudent but unfettered haste. Your comment sounds interesting, but lacks any truth or merit.
358 posted on 04/22/2012 7:21:58 PM PDT by Heart-Rest ( "The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15))
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To: boatbums
You do realize that the SAME Holy Spirit inspired the writers of those Psalms, right?

Catholics believe the Holy Spirit inspired all of the writings that make up "the Bible". (Are you aware that Catholic priests and religious and many lay people regularly pray the "Liturgy of the Hours", aka "The Divine Office", which largely consists of praying, singing, or chanting the various Psalms several times every day, to consecrate various hours of the day?)

While all Old Testament writings are inspired and unquestionably useful, many commands and directives in the Old Testament no longer apply directly to Christians today (not just the animal sacrifices). For example, some people were commanded to militarily invade and conquer the "Promised Land", then inhabit that land, and others were explicitly commanded to NOT enter that same promised land. Most Christians today do not feel directed by those same commands to either settle in that promised land, or to stay out of that promised land, simply because of those early Biblical commands. Those ancient directives may still be instructive in various ways, but they (and many other directives given back then, not just those concerning the animal sacrifices) no longer directly apply to Christians today in a literal way.

Regarding your various references to Bible texts about "faith", do you believe those references refer to a "living faith", or to a "faith that is dead"? Do you know that a New Testament Christian writer inspired by the Holy Spirit said that faith without works is dead?
359 posted on 04/22/2012 7:24:03 PM PDT by Heart-Rest ( "The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15))
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To: firebrand
"Do me a favor if you answer this reply: don’t nitpick but deal with the basic issue."

Well, firebrand, I think we should each decide for ourselves what to post here and how to post it (within the Robinson guidelines of course), not dictate to other posters here what or how they should or should not post. With a friendly smile, I gently urge you to take care of your own posts, and I'll try to take care of mine.    :-)     That said, I really don't think I ever "nitpick". I just see a point I want to reply to, and do my best (with all my limitations) to address that point, sometimes using simple illustrations to try to get my own point across.

I probably shouldn't assume here, but I am going to assume anyway that you would draw the line SOMEWHERE (as to what kind of dancing you would approve of for a Christian worship service). (For example, if you do a Google search on "stripping for Christ", you will see a bunch of web sites about that type of activity, which was featured in some other news story I once saw somewhere else. I would certainly not open those links that come up on Google, nor would I recommend that anyone else open them either, but I am just pointing out that such things do exist.) I don't think you would find that kind of "worship dancing" appropriate, would you?

Now, at a church I formerly attended, we once had a misguided priest who had a large group of attractive and young but very physically mature women doing some kind of dance in the front of the Church during Mass, wearing less than fully modest clothing. To many of the men in the congregation that day, it was more of a temptation to "lust in the heart" than an innocuous form of "dancing praise". To my mind, that kind of dancing was completely inappropriate for any kind of Christian worship service.

   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

"There is a tendency among Catholics to move toward more and more rigid formularies in their religion—adopting a whole new language for instance—and it is my considered opinion that in trying to be perfect to some kind of letter, they are building barriers to the spirit of the law and distancing themselves from the blessed simplicity of a living relationship with Jesus."

The "whole new language" is simply an effort to bring the United States up to speed with the language used by the rest of the Catholic world (based on more accurate translations of the Latin prayers of consecration). If you were getting an inheritance from a Lithuanian uncle written in Lithuanian, you would want the interpreter to be accurate, and give you the equivalent of $50,000 as stated in the will, rather than have their interpretation be nebulous and inaccurate, and give you "about 50 bucks", wouldn't you? I think the new, more accurate translation of the prayers of consecration are also more solemn and beautiful, and I welcome them.

I also see following God's rules not as some kind of bothersome restriction of my freedom, but rather as the only genuine kind of freedom there really is. Look at it this way -- if an auto manufacturer tells you to only fill up the gas tank with gas, and you decide that you prefer the smell of maple syrup to gas, or you think it will be cleaner if you fill the tank with water, or something like that, you will be free to do that, but you will not be free to get anywhere. You will be sitting there with your nice-smelling maple syrup, or clean water, but you will not be free to go anywhere - your car won't run very well or for very long, following such short-sighted rule-breaking.

God knows far better than you or I do what is best for us, and ALL his rules reflect that. And Jesus solemnly promised to build his Church, and he kept that solemn promise. He also had a long-term future purpose for building that Church, and his purpose is being served by his Church, whether you agree with it or not. A toddler may want to run out and play in the street, and might think it is more fun, but mom and dad know better. If they make a rule for the toddler to not play in the street, it will be much better for that toddler to obey that restriction in the long run. Likewise, God knows what is best for us, whether we believe that or not, and God solemnly promised to be with his Church always. God does not lie.
360 posted on 04/22/2012 7:27:39 PM PDT by Heart-Rest ( "The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15))
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To: boatbums
"It’s either/or, it can’t be both."

Where in Scripture does it say that?

Allow me: Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.


   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Seriously, boatbums, I know of NO Catholic who would in any way argue with that text. But what does it say? It is like saying your house is based on a foundation. The walls, floors, windows, doors, etc., are NOT the foundation, but they are part of the house, BASED ON that foundation. If all you have is the base or foundation, you do not have a house. To make a "house", you must accept the Grace God has given you, and then God expects YOU to do something with that Grace He freely gave you, that is, to freely cooperate with God and God's will in your own voluntary genuine response.

When Jesus says the following in Matthew 25:31-46, do you think he is judging these folks merely on "Grace", or is he judging them also on what they went on to freely choose to do with the Grace he freely provided them in an ongoing way in their future after receiving that Grace?

31 "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
40 And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
44 Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'
45 Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'
46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Matthew 25:31-46 (RSV-CE)
I've heard some people claim that the response of Jesus to the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus proves he (the thief) was not required to do anything with the base/foundation of faith and grace given him by God, but the truth is, he accepted that Grace, and he played a very small part, but helped to make a short but very eloquent statement, which the Holy Spirit saw fit to have included in the Holy Written Word of God, and it has provided input to countless Christian books and sermons ever since. Without realizing it, that thief also became a Christian songwriter during his brief time on the cross, composing the lyrics to a very popular current Christian hymn, "Jesus remember me, when you come into your kingdom...". This tiny, little (but lasting) action and short but eloquent witness and public testimony (he even preached a short sermon to his fellow criminal on the other cross from his own cross), were more than most of us will ever do, and he has been, and will be remembered here on earth far longer than most of us or our actions will. He accepted God's freely given Grace, and then, to the best of his ability, went on to do the will of God (involving works) in the very brief time he had left.

We certainly need God's Grace in order to be saved, and we certainly cannot save ourselves, (and no Catholics I know think they can) but we CAN LOSE ourselves and our salvation by our free choices and activities or inactivities, as Jesus plainly said.     Jesus did not lie.

The only way we know that we've truly accepted God's free gift of grace, and God's free gift of faith, and God's free gift of salvation, and that we truly know Jesus, is by keeping his commandments. If we don't keep his commandments but claim we know Jesus, we are lying. (See what the Bible says about it)
And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:3-4
Think of that -- anyone who claims they know Jesus, but then disobeys his commandments, is a liar (according to the Bible), and you know who the father of all lies is, and whose side those liars are on, until they repent and start keeping those commandments and doing those works Jesus instructed all of us to do.

You can't just look at some selected texts in the Bible, and not all the others. You have to look at ALL of them, and it takes great discernment to perceive the whole picture. The Church founded by Jesus Christ performs the overseeing teaching authority function for that discernment best, with authority given from God, under the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the gates of hell shall never prevail against his Church, just as Jesus Christ solemnly promised.

(I have to relinquish the computer again right now. Will try to check back later or tomorrow for any reply.)
361 posted on 04/22/2012 7:31:25 PM PDT by Heart-Rest ( "The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15))
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To: Heart-Rest

>> The actual definition of “liturgy” is “a prescribed ritual for public worship”. <<

.
Which is nowhere to be found in God’s word!

.
>> In 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 (RSV-CE), Paul describes the words and actions of Jesus during the “Last Supper”. <<

And none of that is prescribed for anything public. It was to be done in one’s own home during the passover meal.

Why don’t ytpou try reading God’s word instead of human nonsense published by human corporations (mistakenly called churches).

Enjoy your balony sanswich. (as often as you wish, it still won’t please God)


362 posted on 04/22/2012 7:34:34 PM PDT by editor-surveyor
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To: editor-surveyor
"Why don’t ytpou try reading God’s word instead of human nonsense published by human corporations (mistakenly called churches)."

I don't know where your mind was poisoned, but you have to let go of that if you are ever going to live the beatific life God call you to.

Peace be with you.

363 posted on 04/22/2012 7:52:26 PM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: Natural Law
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.

I never said I was looking for "peaceful coexistence" with the Catholic Church. To do so would be as if the Church retained its temporal power it exercised in the centuries past where the Pope was esteemed the same as King and I needed some semblance of "protection" from persecution. Those days are gone - thank God - and, as a former Catholic, I choose to participate on these threads to give a voice to those like me. I do not pretend that the institutional Church would EVER bend to change its false doctrines simply because Scripture says that will be the state in the end times. All I sincerely desire is that the Holy Spirit, using the occasion of these threads, will touch someone's heart and their spiritual eyes will be opened to the glorious truth of the gift of God which is salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.

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.

Perhaps you should ask those within your fold who post so many "Catholic topic threads" why so many of them want to provoke a response from former Catholics by stating things that are anti-Protestant. I get it that it would be just peachy for you guys to say whatever you want about "Protestants" - whether true or not - and have no one challenge you, ever. Well, thank Jim Robinson, this site is NOT an arm of the Vatican and open discussion is encouraged. If such an atmosphere is too disturbing for you, there are the Caucus threads or outside Catholic-only sites you can flee to. No one forces you to read these.

Maybe if you changed your view that we only "haunt" these threads out of hate, obsession, anger or bitterness into the true motives we have offered multiple times, you could begin to appreciate the value it brings to these discussions. Just as former Mormons participate on the LDS threads because they have that connection, why not choose to accept that we have that same kind of calling on threads that are Catholic based. After all, it is the Gospel that we are endorsing and not one "religion" over another and what we defend is Holy Scripture against man-made constructs that counter God's word.

364 posted on 04/22/2012 9:23:00 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
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.

One more thing I wanted to add. This thread's title is "Why do Catholics leave, and what can be done about it?". Now, to me, that is an open invitation to people like me - a Catholic who left - and, if the poster was looking for serious and genuine answers to the question posed, why then are we being criticized for providing those answers? Was there a preconceived idea about the "why?" and anyone who offered something outside that answer is deemed only responding out of anger and bitterness or for "personal" reasons? If that's the case, then the choice is clear - stop posting threads that may get you answers you may not like or deal with it and accept that there ARE legitimate reasons for some people.

365 posted on 04/22/2012 9:37:55 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums
"Now, to me, that is an open invitation to people like me - a Catholic who left - and, if the poster was looking for serious and genuine answers to the question posed...

Which is why I begged the question, but please tell me that you don't believe that the participation by the usual suspects in this thread is an isolated response to the prompt.

I posed the question because of my involvement in RCIA I am on the other side of the issue, working with those who are entering or returning to the Church. Their experiences are so radically different than the bitter tirades and urban legends I see daily on these threads.

366 posted on 04/22/2012 9:54:56 PM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: Heart-Rest
Regarding your various references to Bible texts about "faith", do you believe those references refer to a "living faith", or to a "faith that is dead"? Do you know that a New Testament Christian writer inspired by the Holy Spirit said that faith without works is dead?

Regarding your words prior to this paragraph, yes, I am well aware that we are under a new covenant with God, one of grace and not of the law. Much of the Old Testament laws and ordinances were given to Israel and, though they STILL needed faith to be redeemed, their relationship and earthly life with Almighty God hinged upon their obedience and submission to His rules. The Old Testament is STILL relevant in many ways to us today because it describes the nature of God and His ways and He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow - He changes not.

WRT "faith" being a living faith versus a dead faith...the faith that saves is the kind of faith that is demonstrated by actions. REAL faith is such that, like love, it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Genuine faith not only acquires the gift of eternal life, but it also gives us the Holy Spirit who indwells us until the day we arrive in Heaven. The indwelling Spirit creates within us a new spirit nature that the works that God has prepared for us to do can be done through His power. That is how James described we can tell if another's faith is real or not - by their "works" or actions.

But it should NEVER be misconstrued that our works or deeds are what earns or merits God's gift of eternal life. That is ONLY by grace through faith and not by works - so that no one can boast. We do nothing that can deserve heaven with Almighty God because we all have sinned and miss the mark of God's perfection. The payment for sin is death - NOT good works, deeds, penance, money, etc. - and the blood of Jesus Christ is what has made that payment in our place.

367 posted on 04/22/2012 10:15:02 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
Which is why I begged the question, but please tell me that you don't believe that the participation by the usual suspects in this thread is an isolated response to the prompt. I posed the question because of my involvement in RCIA I am on the other side of the issue, working with those who are entering or returning to the Church. Their experiences are so radically different than the bitter tirades and urban legends I see daily on these threads.

I can only speak for myself, sorry. I can not see into other's hearts any better than you can so our only choice is to take people at their word when they respond on these threads. As you know, there are a few that I have bumped heads with as well, so, I do not expect that everyone thinks like me in all things. What I CAN do is try to treat each person with respect and try to be as gentle as I can. I, too, have had to learn this lesson the hard way and the adage upon attracting flies to honey vs. vinegar is a valid one.

I would suggest that those you are relating to in RCIA classes are, as you said, those new or returning to the Catholic Church. If you had known them when those that left first left, perhaps some of them would also have had "bitter tirades" and/or "urban legends" to give as their reasons. But they are returning for reasons as well. Not all people - though I sincerely hope you don't think this - leave for these reasons. I have shared my testimony about why I did and I stand by it. Though it happened over forty years ago, I STILL know I made the right decision and the Lord affirms it every day.

Though I know some Traditionalist Catholics do not agree with Vatican II, I think the part about accepting the truth that people CAN have a legitimate Christian experience apart from Roman Catholicism is a good start. I have said many times that I don't deny genuine Christians are part of the RCC. It would be a huge, positive step if some here adopted that kind of understanding, as well.

368 posted on 04/22/2012 10:49:14 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: MarkBsnr; All

http://eternalsecurity.us/


369 posted on 04/23/2012 12:34:41 AM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: metmom
I do not debate with those who post lies about me on FR.

Nice way of finessing the RF posting guidelines.

It is not about finessing. I do not debate with those who post lies about me on FR.

370 posted on 04/23/2012 4:30:18 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
I don’t debate with posters who claim I lie.

I have never ask you to participate in a debate with me...So get over it...

I don't know if you lie or not...I really don't care...I don't recollect ever accusing you of lying...Perhaps I did...

If I did, it was merited...I don't  make false accusations...

If you want to discuss scripture, fine with me...But you are wasting a lot of bandwidth constantly posting these false personal accusations...

Quit making it personal...

371 posted on 04/23/2012 5:48:51 AM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: Natural Law
In the beginning was the LOGOS and the LOGOS was with God and the LOGOS was God....

I never get tired of hearing or saying that. Do you?

There must be some point to this exercise but I don't get it...

If the Logos was in the beginning, then the Logos was with Theos...

Why are you using a Greek word for Word and using an English word for God??? And why are you using one Greek word while the rest of them are in English???

372 posted on 04/23/2012 6:00:01 AM PDT by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the WHOLE trailerpark...)
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To: Iscool
"Why are you using a Greek word for Word and using an English word for God???"

Logos does not mean "Word". It means so very, very much more than words.

373 posted on 04/23/2012 6:48:44 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: Iscool

I do not debate with those who post lies about me on FR.


374 posted on 04/23/2012 9:52:19 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
"Those days are gone - thank God - and, as a former Catholic, I choose to participate on these threads to give a voice to those like me.

Why? If you have a clear conscience why bother yourself with the opinions of those you believe are still in error? If you didn't somehow still mentally measure yourself against the Church why not shake off the dust from your sandals?

I have seen both Catholics and non-Catholics state that these forums are a place to debate. They are not. Debates have winners and losers. The truth was established before the beginning of time and nothing anyone on these threads can do will change it. All that can be done is to deny and hide or proclaim and illuminate the truth. The truth will always win out and when the truth wins, everybody wins. All I hope to achieve is to make sure that the teachings of the Church are clearly articulated and explained when challenged or misstated.

375 posted on 04/23/2012 9:53:21 AM PDT by Natural Law (The Pearly Gates are really a servants entrance.)
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To: Natural Law
Why? If you have a clear conscience why bother yourself with the opinions of those you believe are still in error? If you didn't somehow still mentally measure yourself against the Church why not shake off the dust from your sandals?

My participating on Religion Forum threads is evidence that my "conscience" isn't clear? That may be your opinion but it is not factual. Again, you cannot know anyone else's heart, so you might want to quit trying to do so. I measure myself by the Word of God and, since I cannot know the effect my posts may have on those reading them, I will continue to do so as the Lord leads me.

I have seen both Catholics and non-Catholics state that these forums are a place to debate. They are not. Debates have winners and losers. The truth was established before the beginning of time and nothing anyone on these threads can do will change it. All that can be done is to deny and hide or proclaim and illuminate the truth. The truth will always win out and when the truth wins, everybody wins. All I hope to achieve is to make sure that the teachings of the Church are clearly articulated and explained when challenged or misstated.

To you they may not be "debates" in the classical sense, but they come as close to them as an online forum can, in my opinion. The truth DOES win, and it wins when those who sincerely seek to know it have it illuminated to their hearts by the Holy Spirit. No matter your reasons for also participating on these forums, you seem to believe that YOU are right - since you claim your Church is the ONLY true one - so there will usually be those who disagree and aren't afraid to state why. Again, if you find that difficult to deal with, no one HAS to have your presence here.

In an earlier post, you mentioned "urban legends" and "myths" that you contend you are here to dispel. As I pondered your choice of words last night, it occurred to me that quite a bit of Roman Catholicism IS based upon legends and myths. Take a gander at some of the proclaimed histories of Church "saints" sometime - they'll broaden your definitions of myths and legends!

Finally, I have no need to explain my motives to you and I'll take your advice about "shaking the dust off my sandals" with the same consideration I have about the reasons given for not "haunting" the Catholic threads. In other words, I'll ignore them.

376 posted on 04/23/2012 3:05:29 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: RnMomof7; NYer; D-fendr; netmilsmom; Cronos; St_Thomas_Aquinas; miss marmelstein

377 posted on 04/23/2012 4:08:09 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Special active ingredients)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

LOL! Wilder - you just made me snort ice cream out of my nose. Ow oww...


378 posted on 04/23/2012 4:13:25 PM PDT by Sirius Lee (Sofa King Mitt Odd Did Obamneycare)
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To: Sirius Lee; dangus; NYer; Salvation; trisham
Heh.


379 posted on 04/23/2012 4:47:56 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Special active ingredients)
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To: presently no screen name

Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. It’s impossible for Jesus to be angry. Only satan would want others to think it’s possible. Anyone who confesses JESUS is The Word and The Word alone reigns surely, that’s enough for satan to be angst all the time. Because how can he deceive those who believe The Word ALONE reigns, he can’t so he tries with with his doctrines of demons and tradition.

Psalm 2

1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

The Son can indeed get angry and men can perish even at a place when the Son is only mildly vexed. The Son is longsuffering as is the Father. The Son in anger drave the money changers out of the temple with a whip of corded rope...they were fortunate that he didn’t out and out kill them! Thus we learn that Christ is merciful even in his just wrath!

KISS THE SON!


380 posted on 04/24/2012 12:37:20 PM PDT by mdmathis6 (Kiss the Son!)
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To: mdmathis6
The Son can indeed get angry

Righteous anger - that evil is incapable of! You should know the difference. God hates evil and HIS own do, also! And anything not of HIM is evil - like man made doctrines.

KISS THE TRUTH, not the catechism or the koran.

381 posted on 04/24/2012 1:23:21 PM PDT by presently no screen name
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To: presently no screen name
Righteous anger - that evil is incapable of! You should know the difference. God hates evil and HIS own do, also! And anything not of HIM is evil - like man made doctrines.

Very good. And we can expect your rejection of the Reformation when?

KISS THE TRUTH, not the catechism or the koran.

Umm, imaginative imagery aside, we Catholics worship God, as opposed to the ruins of the Reformation or the rubble of the Restoration. When may we expect your rejection of those creations of satan? We welcome all souls into the Light of Almighty God.

382 posted on 04/24/2012 5:40:00 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: presently no screen name

When one kisses the Son he has kissed the truth.

Yeshua said to him, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Way and The Truth and The Life; no man comes to my Father but by me alone.”
John 14:6 (The aramaic bible in plain English)


383 posted on 04/27/2012 9:42:53 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Kiss the Son!)
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To: presently no screen name

But of course righteous anger! Some, however, see Christ as a cool uncle who says” hey as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else, everything you do is cool with me!”


384 posted on 04/27/2012 9:50:33 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Kiss the Son!)
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To: presently no screen name; MarkBsnr

“not the catechism”

By the way I’m not Catholic...but there are a few very righteous Catholic priests i have known and respected...if stuck with them on a deserted Island or back around 600 ad or so, I wouldn’t have had much choice now would I?


385 posted on 04/27/2012 9:55:56 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Kiss the Son!)
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To: Natural Law; metmom; MarkBsnr
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." - 1 John 5:13

St. John did not say you WILL or SHALL eternal life. He said you MAY or MIGHT have eternal life. You need to ask yourself why that is a conditional statement.

John said nothing of the sort. MAY KNOW is vastly different than MAY or MIGHT HAVE.

You, the language expert, surely know better.

386 posted on 05/08/2012 10:46:31 AM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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To: metmom; Natural Law
St. John did not say you WILL or SHALL eternal life. He said you MAY or MIGHT have eternal life. You need to ask yourself why that is a conditional statement.

Ahem, John said that you MAY KNOW that you HAVE eternal life, not that you MAY HAVE eternal life.

Do try some reading comprehension lessons.

Sorry mom, I am a day late and a penny short on this thread. My belated reply echo's yours.

FWIW I believe Natural Law 'comprehends' very well. It is simply the semi-professional Apologists way to muddy the water.

387 posted on 05/08/2012 10:57:09 AM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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To: miss marmelstein; Natural Law
Thank you for your eloquent post!

I often wonder how anti-Catholics travel when they travel to Europe. Do they avoid Notre Dame Cathedral or St. Marks in Venice? Avoid all the Italian art museums because they may see a beautiful representation of Christ? Several months ago I was on a Catholic thread where someone actually thought the Sistine Chapel was sinful. These folks are out of their tree!

Thank Thomas Aquinas.

388 posted on 05/08/2012 11:11:12 AM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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To: OLD REGGIE

Hey, no problem. It is a good point and doesn’t hurt to reiterate it in case someone missed it the first time around.


389 posted on 05/08/2012 11:43:42 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: MarkBsnr; RnMomof7
My church looks more like the NT church than Rome does..

Rome is a city, not a church.

And the Pope is the Bishop Of ????????????????

390 posted on 05/08/2012 1:47:07 PM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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To: MarkBsnr; CynicalBear
Non Catholics normally use the Bible wrong. The difference is that private interpretation is Scripturally forbidden.

Not so. PROPHESY! There is a difference,

391 posted on 05/08/2012 2:33:06 PM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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To: OLD REGGIE
And the Pope is the Bishop Of ????????????????

The diocese of Rome. There is a bishop heading every diocese. But surely you know this.

The city of Rome is not the diocese of Rome. And surely you know that too.

392 posted on 05/08/2012 6:47:43 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
And the Pope is the Bishop Of ????????????????

The diocese of Rome. There is a bishop heading every diocese. But surely you know this.

The city of Rome is not the diocese of Rome. And surely you know that too.

You know and I know that I know the distinction. Still, the Catholic Church is frequently identified with Rome especially prior to 1870 when they lost their last armed war.

Perhaps it would be better to eliminate all "official" identification with "Rome", "Roman" or the like.

For example:

CCC
2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm The ROMAN Pontiff.

393 posted on 05/09/2012 2:27:46 PM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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To: OLD REGGIE

The frequent command to the early Christians, especially from Paul - repeatedly - is that they are required to believe what they are taught - both by the printed word and by the spoken word - by the Church.

The Pharisees received the reprimand from Jesus that they searched the Scriptures, yet did not understand them.

Paul spoke of the Bereans who used Scripture to see whether Paul’s words were true. But the emphasis is on the teachings of the Apostles and their designates - the Church. Nowhere does it say that it is sufficient to read Scripture to be a Christian believer.

It is profitable, to be sure. Yet the example of the Ethiopian eunuch shows us once again that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of truth”. Otherwise we have Luther’s every milkmaid creating new doctrines overnight at whim.


394 posted on 05/09/2012 6:12:22 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: OLD REGGIE
You know and I know that I know the distinction. Still, the Catholic Church is frequently identified with Rome especially prior to 1870 when they lost their last armed war.

There is the Roman Catholic branch as distinct from, say the Melkites. Yet the Pope is the patriarch of the Latin branch, as opposed to the Constantinople branch, or the Russian Orthodox branch. Who identifies the Catholic Church as Rome? Catholics? Or antiCatholics? Or non Catholics without opinion? The Pontiff (bridge builder) is simply the first amongst equals of the bishops. The only real squabble we have is the definition of first amongst equals. I pray that that is settled in my lifetime.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm The ROMAN Pontiff.

Sure, and the diocese I was born and raised in is the diocese of Hamilton. The bishop is the bishop of Hamilton. The bishops of the early church started to be associated with a city or area in the first century. The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is no different from the patriarch of the Roman Catholic Church.

395 posted on 05/09/2012 6:21:38 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
It is profitable, to be sure. Yet the example of the Ethiopian eunuch shows us once again that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of truth”. Otherwise we have Luther’s every milkmaid creating new doctrines overnight at whim.

Better the milkmaid than a group of power hungry men who claim Infallibility for themselves and the organization they control.

396 posted on 05/10/2012 1:08:47 PM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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To: MarkBsnr
You know and I know that I know the distinction. Still, the Catholic Church is frequently identified with Rome especially prior to 1870 when they lost their last armed war.

There is the Roman Catholic branch as distinct from, say the Melkites. Yet the Pope is the patriarch of the Latin branch, as opposed to the Constantinople branch, or the Russian Orthodox branch. Who identifies the Catholic Church as Rome? Catholics? Or antiCatholics? Or non Catholics without opinion? The Pontiff (bridge builder) is simply the first amongst equals of the bishops. The only real squabble we have is the definition of first amongst equals. I pray that that is settled in my lifetime.

Don't count on it as long as your "first among equals" believes all other "equals" are, or must be, subject to him.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm The ROMAN Pontiff.

Sure, and the diocese I was born and raised in is the diocese of Hamilton. The bishop is the bishop of Hamilton. The bishops of the early church started to be associated with a city or area in the first century. The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is no different from the patriarch of the Roman Catholic Church.

There are some who commonly refer to the Catholic Church (Latin variety) as "Rome". Your constant acknowledgement of "Rome" as synonomous with "Catholic Church" indicates you have no real misunderstanding of the term. Is it simply a case of Tilting at windmills?

397 posted on 05/10/2012 1:25:13 PM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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To: OLD REGGIE
Better the milkmaid than a group of power hungry men who claim Infallibility for themselves and the organization they control.

We are the ones who were handed the Deposit of the Faith all the way back to the Apostles who were taught it by Jesus; thus we believe, backed by Scripture.

St. Paul did not teach personal interpretation - he taught that the Church is the authority which was given by Christ. Timothy did not teach from tracts; he taught orally and with the full authority given Church clergy.

398 posted on 05/10/2012 5:45:44 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: OLD REGGIE
The only real squabble we have is the definition of first amongst equals. I pray that that is settled in my lifetime.

Don't count on it as long as your "first among equals" believes all other "equals" are, or must be, subject to him.

It's too bad that the Orthodox were driven away from FR. We could ask them their viewpoints.

There are some who commonly refer to the Catholic Church (Latin variety) as "Rome". Your constant acknowledgement of "Rome" as synonomous with "Catholic Church" indicates you have no real misunderstanding of the term. Is it simply a case of Tilting at windmills?

No, it is a case of acknowledging idiots' viewpoints. Many people refer to bison as 'buffalo'. It does not make it so.

399 posted on 05/10/2012 5:49:41 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
We are the ones who were handed the Deposit of the Faith all the way back to the Apostles who were taught it by Jesus; thus we believe, backed by Scripture.

Have fun in your fantasy world.

400 posted on 05/11/2012 2:52:08 PM PDT by OLD REGGIE (I am a Biblical Unitarian)
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