OK, first, I’m glad we are friends, though disagreeing on some things, but agreeing on many, many things. :-)
“Namely, here you’re dealing with a Church which still has its pure doctrine — FOR the truths of Scripture, AGAINT birth control, AGAINST abortions, AGAINST the deconstruction of sex, gender and marriage -— and still has to fight the usual opponents, i.e. dissenting clergy and their millions of enthusiastic supporters.”
I will only respond in this way...
What good is it to pretend that most members actually believe and are Christians, when they WIDELY reject the teaching of the church in practice? .
What results is truth mixed with heresy and pagan practice that becomes a buffet. You can argue that the Church is teaching many truths, but if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it fall - or rather, the fall of the tree is ignored not only by the whole world, but by the very membership it claims - what difference does it make?
To whit (always wanted to say that)...
In my local area, I attend a local church that has grown from about 5,000 members who show up every weekend to worship God, and serve others all week to more than 13,000 members who do the same. That membership number includes 5 churches planted during the past 7 years. Most of these people began life far from God, failed, were invited by a friend to come, were welcomed and accepted, attended, came to a point where they entrusted themselves to Christ for salvation, decided to follow him and want to honor him with their lives. In other words, these are not just people who showed up here from other churches. These are tattooed, worldly people, much like those Christ came to heal, and like those mentioned in the Bible, see their failure and deep need and WANT HIM.
I write none of that to say big is better, etc. Just to contrast with what follows...
My neighbors, nice couple we do things socially with and enjoy, who are sincere Roman Catholics, and I believe are true believers, go to a local church that has a “membership roll” of about 2600 - the vast majority of who never show up at church (about 300 show up) - let alone weekly, but are counted as members. Again, nothing wrong with the number, but with the impact in members lives. As this local RC church shrinks, I have to ask, does it have a pulse? If it is not growing, is it really alive with His new life? I simply do not know the answers. I am raising questions only.
Now, for the Round Robin Quick Round:
“Find another Church which hasn’t given in, hasn’t changed its doctrines to accommodate serial polygamy (divorce/remarriage)”
I find “annulment for so many reasons after exchanging vows to be identical in practical terms to divorce/remarriage. Say what you will about what the Church believes, I don’t find it in the lives of the majority of the membership. Heck, you can find lots of RCs around the world shacking up after divorce. So, yea, teaching is great, but if it doesn’t lead people to abandon their own worthiness by works, entrust themselves to His Gospel of Grace alone, and live a changed life, you are talking about abortion of the truth.
Some I would accept, some I would reject. Bigger conversation.
“sodomy (perverted sex acts, whether by homosexuals or heterosexuals),”
Again, culturally, it appears RC members have largely come to accept this - at least in surveys. Mainline Protestant churches (that are shrinking and merging to share expenses), seem to accept it. Evangelicals that are true to His Word do not. Admittedly, you can probably find some members of every church that accept cultural norms. To the degree that members do not know His Word and accept it as the Word of God, is the degree to which they believe whatever feels good.
“infanticide -abortion, even in the so-called “hard cases”
“Find me another Church with clear-cut doctrines against human embryo experimentation and manipulation; against alternative reproductive technologies; against euthanasia and the intentional programming of death.”
Sure. BUT, show me a membership that actually lives out that teaching. Teaching is great. If it doesn’t make disciples who have learned “to obey all I commanded you”, may I ask what difference it is making? THAT was the Great and Final Commission Christ commanded. The Church must preserve the truth, but it isn’t to be a time capsule. It is to make disciples.
Now, please realize I am not JUST saying this about the Roman Church. I would say the identical things about ANY Church, if they are true but you are asking specifically about the Roman Church.
As an add on here at the end, I have to note that I disagree with some of your explanations. I find plenty of examples of Catholic practice that adopted/adapted pagan practice and made it into accepted tradition. Let’s set that aside.
So... there’s your well, my friend.
Most of what you're saying here, is that it's a damn shame that
And to that I say, "Amen, Brother!"
Substitute the word "Christian" (or Bible-church, or Presbyterian, or Evangelical, or What-have-you) for "Catholic", and to that I say, "Amen x5."
Have a nice afternoon. Bigger missive coming!
Do enjoy that Michael Voris link I sent.
Now, some more of your particulars:
"I find annulment for so many reasons after exchanging vows to be identical in practical terms to divorce/remarriage."
I see you don't have much experience with Marriage Tribunals. I go through it every year with each new batch our RCIA students (adult converts) who have got busted-up marriages in their pre-Catholic backgrounds, and have to get it all squared away before they can receive the Sacraments. It is HARD to go through with a Petition for Annulment. And it doesn't always work out. Often the Tribunal finds "for the Bond" --- meaning, they find that the first marriage WAS validly made, and therefore the civil divorce and the remarriage were NOT valid. And that is a painful situation: people are told they are objectively living in adultery, because their first marriage which they contracted before their conversion, really was a valid marriage.
A valid marriage vow is binding until the death of one of the spouses. 'Nuff said on that.
"Say what you will about what the Church believes, I dont find it in the lives of the majority of the membership."
Here's a list of some of the stuff Paul found in the churches he planted: "discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder... they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain."
And on and on. Paul sure could rant on his churchpeople's shortcomings!
The point being: the Church always had problems, major problems, with people not holding onto and living the truth.
Yet we are called and empowered to do better, all of us. As just one example the Catechism says this about homosexuals:
#2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.That applies to any sin. Including yours and mine.
"Evangelicals that are true to His Word do not [accept the prevailing cultural rot on sex.]
Of course not, Neither do Catholics who are true to His word.
"Admittedly, you can probably find some members of every church that accept the cultural norms."
Find me another Church with clear-cut doctrines against human embryo experimentation and manipulation; against alternative reproductive technologies; against euthanasia and the intentional programming of death. "Sure. BUT, show me a membership that actually lives out that teaching."
Read the Lives of the Saints. Or come to my parish!!!
"Now, please realize I am not JUST saying this about the Roman Church. I would say the identical things about ANY Church, if they are true but you are asking specifically about the Roman Church."
OK, back to the raised beds! In with the onions! Peas be with you!