I don’t want this to sound wrong, but keep in mind I attended 13 years of Catholic school and taught CCD for years. I now belong to an Evangelical Free church which main goal is to teach scripture so people would hear the truth of the gospel and accept that truth and be saved.
I would have never guessed that a Catholic pope would be the one to start a revival. In all my years as a Catholic the Catholic Church was presented around the gospel. The Pope Francis is speaking in God’s language, not Catholic language. I pray this trickles down to the Bishops, Archbishops, Priest..... All that I have read and seen tells me this man is truly a man of God who has God’s word in hearts and lives it out. God bless him!
Nice words about the Pope. It seems many Protestants/non-Catholic Christians have a similar impression (”he’s not ‘Catholic’, he’s more a man of God).
I appreciate what you’re saying here; I would challenge you though to perhaps re-investigate what it means to be Catholic. I think if you do so with an open, objective heart and mind you will find what you thought it was to be Catholic before (when you grew up Catholic and taught CCD) was not real Catholicism, just a bunch of rules. And you will find true, authentic Catholicism is more close, dare I say an even richer form of Christianity than you are currently experiencing in the Evangelical Free church.
I suggest this simply because from my personal experience what I just said is so, and thus for love for you I suggest you may be missing out on something much greater than your current church can ever offer. Thus it’s a suggestion of utility, usefulness for your life, and that’s it. Not a “my Church is better than yours” and certainly not a “if you don’t believe as I do you’ll go to Hell”.
For me the Church is infinitely more useful than any drug, entertainment, and most of all more helpful for my life than any other faith system the world has to offer.
Just something to consider.
I'm asking because my experience is quite otherwise. When I was preparing for Confirmation (that would be 50 years ago) we were told that if we didn't yet have a personal Bible of our own, we should ask our parents for one for our birthday or Christmas. Our teacher, a SSJ nun, stuck with the motto "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. - St. Jerome." (See, 12-year-olds do remember some things!)
Things took a sharp downturn when I was in about 11th grade and the demolition of the Sacred Liturgy had hit full force: late 60's, everything had lost its muscle tone and gone sloppy: Sacred Liturgy, Sacred Scripture, sacred anything, out the window.
Still later, it depended on your your Diocese. I don't know how I could have survived as a Catholic in Seattle, Milwaukee or Raleigh; but Catholics who did, did so in parishes where both the Church and the Scripture counted for a lot.
I realize I'm meandering a bit, but here's what strikes me: if I'm understanding you correctly, you seem to be saying that when you were a Catholic, it seemed things were too much "Church" and not enough "Christ". By my experience has been that "Church" and "Christ" fare for better or for worse, together.
Meaning: in a parish where the "Catholic identity" was weak, the Gospel was weak: people were out there pursuing "human development" or "social justice" or "personal wellness" or "holistic spirituality" or some such, but it was neither particularly Catholic nor particularly Jesus Christ.
But if a parish was strongly Catholic, it was also strongly "Come to Jesus".
It's a big Church, so I hesitate to make generalizations based on the tiny slice known as "my own experience."
But do you see where I'm coming from?
Thanks again for your good remarks. You can see I'm turning them over in my mind!