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Courage to Be Catholic
Streams of Mercy ^ | May 2007 | Heidi Hess Saxton

Posted on 04/25/2008 12:06:53 PM PDT by NYer


Several years and another lifetime ago (when I was single), I used to attend CBA (Christian Booksellers Association Convention) each summer, to meet with authors. At the first convention I attended, shortly after I joined Servant, I was particularly nervous about one meeting -- breakfast with Elisabeth Elliot and her husband Lars. Elisabeth is a veteran missionary and evangelical radio personality, a revered spiritual icon in evangelical circles (My mother nearly fainted when she found out I had met Elisabeth. "Oh, dear ... you didn't tell her where you go to church now, did you Heidi?")

In point of fact, I had mentioned it -- but only after Elisabeth peppered me with questions until I couldn't evade them any longer. I wasn't ashamed of being Catholic, but I was a bit nervous about the possibility that Elisabeth might lecture me (like so many others had) about turning my back on the "faith of my fathers." In the eyes of this great faith warrior, I did not want to look like a slacker. And so, I decided not to bring up the subject. Anyway, I told myself, it's not like someone as famous as Elisabeth Elliot would care two bits about my little story.

I was wrong. We had just settled down over our pancakes when Elisabeth opened the conversation with, "So ... you haven't always been Catholic, have you dear?"

That mouthful of pancake was thoroughly masticated before I responded, cautiously. "Why do you ask?"

"You mentioned that you used to work for Bethany House, and they are certainly not a Catholic publisher."

Still I hesitated... A little impatient, she continued. "Do you know my brother, Thomas Howard? He entered the Catholic Church some years ago. I only wish I had his courage."

I nearly choked. This comment from a woman who had courage enough to set up housekeeping for herself and her daughter among Aucas of Ecuador, the very Indian tribe who had martyred her husband and their associates in cold blood. Not only was this august personage not going to scold me, she admired the decision I had made to enter the Church, as her dear brother had! After she had sung the praises of the Catholic Church for several minutes, I worked up the nerve to ask Elisabeth why she did not follow in her brother's footsteps.

"Cowardice, I suppose. My listeners and readers simply would not understand."

That, I understood. I understand it even better now, in light of the recent hubbub surrounding the reversion of Dr. Francis Beckwith, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society. Despite the fact that it meant losing the respect and fellowship of his colleagues, not to mention his livelihood, Dr. Beckwith's courageous position was unequivocal: unless there is a serious theological reason not to, the default position of every believer must be to belong to the historical Church founded by Christ.

Why? In his book The Night is Far Spent, a collection of essays by Thomas Howard newly published by Ignatius Press, Dr. Howard offers five reasons for this "fallback position," which he outlines as the five "marks" of the church: her antiquity, authority, unity, liturgy, and sacraments. He writes:


What is at stake here is the rock-bottom question as to what worship is, and how you do it.... [W]orship is the thing we were created for -- to know God, and knowing him, to bless him and adore him forever....

To worship God is to ascribe worth to him. It is an activity distinct from teaching, and from fellowship, and from witnessing, and from sharing. It is an act, not an experience. ... Our task in worship is to offer the oblation of ourselves and our adoration at the Sapphire Throne.

Obviously this is a daunting and an august task. Fortunately we are not left to our own resources, nor to the whim of the moment, nor even to our own experience. The faithful have been worshipping God since the beginning, and there is help for us. All of us, even those of us who come from the so-called free churches ... are accustomed to borrowing secondhand, canned words to assist in worship. I am speaking of hymns. When we sing "Amazing Grace" or "O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing," we are borrowing John Newton's or Charles Wesley's words. And we discover that, far from cramping or restricting our worship, these secondhand words bring us up to a level quite unattainable by our own spontaneous efforts. They take us away from ourselves. (p.254-255).

These reflections on worship contrast strangely with the protestations of many of those who leave the Church for what they perceive to be greener (certainly noisier) pastures. "I feel closer to God there ...," they say, or "the people are so much friendlier, and they have more to offer in the way of children's programs." Thinking they can choose a church the same way we can choose a new school or a new home, they rely on subjective factors of preference and comfort, rather than the single most important consideration of all: Which is the most authentic expression of the Body of Christ as He originally envisioned it? Not, "which is more entertaining?" but "Which leads me with surest steps along the pathway to holiness?" Not, "Which makes me feel good?" but "Which is most effective in treating my spiritual ills?" Not "which has the best music," but "which draws me closest to the sacramental presence of the Living Christ?"

Can you enter heaven without professing membership in the Catholic Church? Yes, the Church has always taught that there is hope for those outside her "visible boundaries" -- a hope that is based on the treasury of truth and faith that has been preserved by the Church for two thousand years. In the same way, a group of tourists who fall off a cruise ship hope that the lifeboat that has been tossed down will save them. The lifeboat (part of the equipment of the larger ship) may indeed save them; but how much better if they had never fallen overboard!

Holy Spirit, pour out your restorative presence among your people.
Unite us once more, we humbly pray,
with all our brothers and sisters in the faith,
for the glory of God and the benefit of all.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world!


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: baptist; catholic; elliot
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1 posted on 04/25/2008 12:06:53 PM PDT by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Friday afternoon ping


2 posted on 04/25/2008 12:07:48 PM PDT by NYer (Jesus whom I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God. - St. Athanasius)
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To: NYer

I could never be anything else. Born Catholic/die Catholic. The best gift my parents gave me!


3 posted on 04/25/2008 12:15:05 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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there are many souls wrestling with that fear right now....when the time is right, they will come home to the truth....

they need to throw away the pride and the fear of what others will say...

God bless His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church.


4 posted on 04/25/2008 12:19:46 PM PDT by raygunfan
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To: notaliberal

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.


5 posted on 04/25/2008 12:20:05 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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To: NYer

Nice post


6 posted on 04/25/2008 12:23:53 PM PDT by brooklyn dave (Christos Anesti Alithos Anesti Christ is Risen He is truly risen indeed)
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To: raygunfan; All
there are many souls wrestling with that fear right now

Thanks for the reminder!


Are you a non-Catholic pastor or layman with interest in the Catholic Church?

The purpose of The Coming Home Network International (CHNetwork) is to provide fellowship, encouragement and support for pastors and laymen of other traditions (Protestant, Orthodox, etc..) who are somewhere along the journey or have already converted to the Catholic Church. The CHNetwork is committed to assisting and standing beside all inquirers, serving as a friend and an advocate.

Image link to the Coming Home Network


7 posted on 04/25/2008 12:26:21 PM PDT by NYer (Jesus whom I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God. - St. Athanasius)
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To: NYer
[W]orship is the thing we were created for -- to know God, and knowing him, to bless him and adore him forever....

Not to hijack the thread or anything, but how does modern schooling prepare children for life if "the thing we were created for [is]-- to know God, and knowing him, to bless him and adore him forever"?

Other consequences follow for the believer who comes to this understanding.

8 posted on 04/25/2008 12:27:50 PM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: notaliberal
Born Catholic/die Catholic.

Me too. Although when asked if I have been a Catholic my whole life, I am obliged to reply, "Not yet."

9 posted on 04/25/2008 12:28:36 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (It takes a father to raise a child.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

I have found those recently converted to Catholisism to be the most appreciative of our faith. A lot of us are like spoiled kids who completely take for granted the precious traditions that God gave us. At least I did.

The blessed Mary is such a wonderful role model for us and no, she is not just like any other woman. Girls need that image of the ideal woman now more than ever.


10 posted on 04/25/2008 12:38:55 PM PDT by mgist
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To: mgist

I never took my faith for granted. I am so grateful to my parents for instilling in me the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother. I had the best life growing up in the United States Military and a Catholic household! Couldn’t get any better than that!!!


11 posted on 04/25/2008 12:50:37 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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To: mgist
Check out this quote from the WPost article on Beckwith. It's a comment one of his prot friends wrote on his blog after learning of his return to Rome:

"This is a sad day for all true sons and daughters of the Protestant Reformation, for all who lived and died for its truths," Douglas Groothuis, a professor at the evangelical Denver Seminary, said in a posting on Beckwith's own blog, adding sternly: " . . . you are embracing serious theological error."

I wonder if Groothuis thinks that this kind of comment will change Beckwith's mind?

12 posted on 04/25/2008 12:52:10 PM PDT by mbraynard (You are the Republican Party. See you at the precinct meeting.)
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To: mgist

My father was a convert & he truly was appreciative. I have all the respect for any Christian but I was born & will remain Catholic After being exposed to others I still see it the most “earthy” for lack of any other word to describe it.


13 posted on 04/25/2008 12:53:15 PM PDT by Digger (If RINO is your selection, then failure is your election)
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To: notaliberal

You could be in the Knights of Columbus. Now fill out Form 100. You’ll be glad you did!


14 posted on 04/25/2008 1:03:21 PM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: NYer
Here's another good resource ...
15 posted on 04/25/2008 1:06:29 PM PDT by al_c (Avoid the consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity)
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To: massgopguy

No, I am female!


16 posted on 04/25/2008 1:07:50 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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To: massgopguy; notaliberal
You could be in the Knights of Columbus. Now fill out Form 100. You’ll be glad you did!


17 posted on 04/25/2008 1:08:57 PM PDT by al_c (Avoid the consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity)
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To: notaliberal
No, I am female!

That just might be an issue. ;o)

18 posted on 04/25/2008 1:09:46 PM PDT by al_c (Avoid the consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity)
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To: 353FMG; Always Right; Antoninus; ArrogantBustard; CTK YKC; dan1123; DogwoodSouth; FourtySeven; ...
50 Days of Easter 2008 Celebration ping, dedicated to converts to the Catholic faith. If you want to be on the list but are not on it already, or if you are on it but do not want to be, let me know either publicly or privately.

Happy Easter. Christ is risen!

Alex.


Previously posted conversion stories:

Anti-Catholicism, Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Hauled Aboard the Ark
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part I: Darkness
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part II: Doubts
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part III: Tradition and Church
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part IV: Crucifix and Altar
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part V: The Catholics and the Pope
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part VI: The Biblical Reality
His Open Arms Welcomed Me
Catholic Conversion Stories & Resources
My Personal Conversion Story
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church
Catholics Come Home
My Journey of Faith
LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM
"What is Truth?" An Examination of Sola Scriptura
"Have you not read?" The Authority behind Biblical Interpretation
The Crisis of Authority in the Reformation
Our Journey Home
Our Lady’s Gentle Call to Peace
A story of conversion at the Lamb of God Shrine
Who is Mary of Nazareth?
Mary and the Problem of Christian Unity
Why I'm Catholic
A Convert's Response to Friends
My Story

Also see:
Sheep That Go Astray
Pope Benedict Goes to Washington Ecumenical Meeting at St. Joseph's Church, New York
Orthodox and Catholic Churches are allies, (Orthodox) Bishop Hilarion says

19 posted on 04/25/2008 1:15:11 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: NYer

Elizabeth E is a precious saint by any measure.

Have had the honor of meeting her and asking her as many questions as I could think of at the time.

Reportedly she has Alzheimer’s and could use our prayers.


20 posted on 04/25/2008 1:34:14 PM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: notaliberal
I could never be anything else. Born Catholic/die Catholic. The best gift my parents gave me!

Me too. I get a lot of flak from people, which just makes me prouder.

21 posted on 04/25/2008 1:35:00 PM PDT by Catholic Canadian ( I love Stephen Harper!)
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To: notaliberal
Dear notaliberal,

“’You could be in the Knights of Columbus. Now fill out Form 100. You’ll be glad you did!’

“No, I am female!”

Are you married? I could send your husband a Form 100.

;-)


sitetest

22 posted on 04/25/2008 1:38:53 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: NYer
The Courage to Be Catholic, from:

To:


23 posted on 04/25/2008 1:45:43 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion." -M. Kolbe)
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To: sitetest

On a membership drive, are we??


24 posted on 04/25/2008 2:04:59 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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To: Quix

Thanks for you post about the current status of Elizabeth. My cousins are dealing with my aunt’s Alzheimer’s. She finally had to be moved into a home last week, so I understand the scourge of that disease. Prayers for all who are affected by such a terrible burden.


25 posted on 04/25/2008 2:54:11 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words". ~ St. Francis of Assisi)
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To: big'ol_freeper

Thankfully, Mother had a heart attack as Dad held her on the toilet after many years of Alzheimer’s. She never had to be in a home other than her’s. Which was a great fear and point of anger for her—the idea she’d have to be at some point.


26 posted on 04/25/2008 3:16:49 PM PDT by Quix (GOD ALONE IS GOD; WORTHY; PAID THE PRICE; IS COMING AGAIN; KNOWS ALL; IS LOVING; IS ALTOGETHER GOOD)
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To: NYer
"Cowardice, I suppose. My listeners and readers simply would not understand."

I stopped here. What a pity. What a pity. Always dug Elisabeth Elliot.

27 posted on 04/25/2008 3:22:32 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (media is now a double-edged sword; it's no longer a billy-club in the hands of the big goons.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

It is a shame that many keep themselves separated from the fullness of faith found in the Catholic Church when their love of Holy Scripture points squarely to His Church.


28 posted on 04/25/2008 3:26:00 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words". ~ St. Francis of Assisi)
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To: big'ol_freeper
It is a shame that many keep themselves separated from the fullness of faith found in the Catholic Church when their love of Holy Scripture points squarely to His Church.

It's ridiculous. Imagine how it must pain Holy Mary to hear someone say, "well, my listeners just wouldn't understand."

Ever balk at the Catholic Church causes me to love Her more.

29 posted on 04/25/2008 3:33:37 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (media is now a double-edged sword; it's no longer a billy-club in the hands of the big goons.)
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To: annalex

First of all, I don’t even know what “pings” are. I am not on the computer that often so you can take me off your list. If I see anything interesting to me regarding Catholic theology I will read it anyway and respond if I feel the need to do so.

Thanx for asking Alex — yoo’re doing a good job. Christ has risen! You bet He did!


30 posted on 04/25/2008 3:39:35 PM PDT by 353FMG (Don't make the mistake to think that Government is a Friend of the People)
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To: big'ol_freeper
Some of us do so as a matter of conscience because we cannot reconcile what we find in Scritpure, with the teaching of the Church. Or we investigate the history of the Church and find nothing there to account for things the Church teaches today.

I've wrestled long and hard with crossing the Tiber. But I adhere to my Protestant faith out of reason and conscience. I have investigated many aspects of the Church's teachings, specifically the ones I disagree with most - and checked what the Church's Catechism had to say on many of them. I find that my concerns are valid on most counts.

I love much about the Church, it's history, it's liturgy, the Eucharist. But I disagree on too many other points. There are things taught by the Church I simply cannot agree to out of intellectual honesty and simple reason.

31 posted on 04/25/2008 3:42:28 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: notaliberal

“I could never be anything else.”

My mind cannot grasp existence outside the Catholic Church. I do not wear my religion on my sleeve (perhaps I should) but I hope and pray that many convert to see things my way.

If they don’t, I still wish them eternal salvation.


32 posted on 04/25/2008 3:48:44 PM PDT by 353FMG (Don't make the mistake to think that Government is a Friend of the People)
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To: Boagenes
There are things taught by the Church I simply cannot agree to out of intellectual honesty and simple reason.

How about a litany of those reasons?

33 posted on 04/25/2008 3:49:25 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: 353FMG

Thank you for the kind words.

I seeded the list originally with everyone who responded to the first few conversion threads. You are off now, and God bless you.


34 posted on 04/25/2008 3:58:09 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

bttt


35 posted on 04/25/2008 4:23:17 PM PDT by xone
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To: the invisib1e hand

She probably was more worried about them (wrongly) than about herself - that is, she was probably afraid they’d feel abandoned, deceived, etc. Of course, some of them might have; but others would have started thinking...

Prayers for her in any case. Alzheimers in anybody is a horror, but in a person who was recognized as brilliant and gifted in her field, it must be twice as hard. Muriel Spark, the British philosopher/novelist (and Catholic convert), had it, and IIRC, her husband wrote about it later.


36 posted on 04/25/2008 4:26:57 PM PDT by livius
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To: livius
I missed the Alzheimer's part.

And I'm not castigating her. Her motives are not known to me.

37 posted on 04/25/2008 4:28:47 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (media is now a double-edged sword; it's no longer a billy-club in the hands of the big goons.)
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To: notaliberal

Always. I’m the Grand Knight. ;-)


38 posted on 04/25/2008 4:45:02 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: notaliberal; massgopguy
No, I am female!

Not a problem! Most KofC Counciles have a women's auxiliary, of which I am a member.

Pssst ... the women are the backbone of the Knights and keep them afloat with their fundraisers :-)

39 posted on 04/25/2008 4:50:55 PM PDT by NYer (Jesus whom I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God. - St. Athanasius)
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To: sitetest

My hubby needs one of those forms. I hear the life insurance is great! :o)


40 posted on 04/25/2008 4:55:43 PM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: samiam1972
Dear samiam1972,

If you're serious, ask around at your parish if they have a parish-based Council, or what Council serves your parish. Councils are the basic unit of membership, and every Knight belongs to a local Council. The pastor should know your Council. Also, you can find out somewhere on the Knights’ website: www.kofc.org.

If you're serious and run into any difficulty finding the appropriate Council, let me know, I'll ask you to e-mail me some info, and I'll hunt it down.

Vivat Jesus!


sitetest

41 posted on 04/25/2008 5:11:51 PM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: Boagenes

I will pray for you that your eyes may be fully opened then. You obviously have a desire to be in full communion with your Savior.


42 posted on 04/25/2008 5:14:28 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words". ~ St. Francis of Assisi)
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To: NYer

I had no idea Thomas Howard was Elisabeth Elliot’s brother! Fascinating. Such outstanding people must have had a remarkable education and upbringing, and saintly parents.


43 posted on 04/25/2008 5:34:37 PM PDT by Tax-chick (When my mothership lands, you're all toast.)
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To: samiam1972

Knights of Columbus life insurance policies are comparable in price and quality with the major highly-graded insurers. And they come right to your house when you’ve had a baby :-). Which reminds me that we may have forgotten to insure Vlad! (A Whole Life policy is actually cheaper once the child’s reached 2 or 3 :-).


44 posted on 04/25/2008 5:39:34 PM PDT by Tax-chick (When my mothership lands, you're all toast.)
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To: A.A. Cunningham
How about a litany of those reasons?

Okay.

Prayers to Mary.

Prayers to Saints.

Confession to a Priest instead of directly to God.

The Immaculate Conception.

The Assumption of Mary.

The "Hail, Mary" recited as a prayer or mantra.

The Marian doctrines - specifically all of the "cooperation" or "Co-Redemptrix" stuff.

Purgatory.

Justification (though I think the Lutherans and Catholics are coming together on this one).

45 posted on 04/25/2008 5:47:28 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: Boagenes
The Marian doctrines - specifically all of the "cooperation" or "Co-Redemptrix" stuff.

I'll let others answer the others, but the second part of the above is not dogma. But it is through Mary's "Ave" that the life of Jesus Our Saviour began on Earth. The unique character of that is undeniable.

46 posted on 04/25/2008 6:19:58 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion." -M. Kolbe)
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To: Pyro7480

I don’t think anything I said denies that.


47 posted on 04/25/2008 6:24:00 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: sitetest

I am truly impressed... a Grand Knight! My Father was a member of the Knights and always did a lot for our church and the school. As a matter of fact, he was given a certificate of recognition from John Paul II for his tireless work in the Church! (and he was a convert!) It’s hanging on the wall in my bedroom. My Father has since passed.


48 posted on 04/25/2008 6:42:35 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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To: Boagenes

Oops, not “Ave,” (which is “Hail”), but “fiat” (”be it done”).


49 posted on 04/25/2008 6:46:28 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion." -M. Kolbe)
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To: Boagenes

Have you ever listened to Father Corapi’s Lectures?


50 posted on 04/25/2008 6:49:07 PM PDT by notaliberal (Christ Our Hope!)
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