A Couple Concerns

I’m disturbed with how the Church uses their money. They spend more on themselves, and less on those who truly need it. The Church is incredibly wealthy. Also, Jesus often spoke against the wealthy.

Proverbs 28:11
The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.

Matthew 19:24
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Mark 10:25
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
**
Luke 16:19-31 **
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

How can a Church with so much wealth, which glorifies and exalts themselves be the true church? I personally keep thinking that Catholics are like modern Pharisees. Think about it. Catholics with high positions (especially the Pope) in the church love to walk in flowing robes, have the most important seats in various places, and the place of honor at banquets. They make lengthy prayers (the rosary), and did devour widows’ houses (celibacy was made mandatory, if I remember correctly, due to money issues when a priest died).

Luke 20:46-47
"Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.
They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely."

Matthew 23 also makes me think of Catholics as modern Pharisees.

I also see that giving yourselves authority lets you interpret the Bible and mend it the way you wish to see fit. Scripture can speak for itself, for it was written in man’s language, for man to interpret. In Acts, a man bowed to Peter and adored him. Peter rebuked him saying, “I am just a man”. I believe Peter would be disgusted with the way the Pope is venerated and, yes, worshiped (whether it is called worship or not, it is). The Pope does nothing to rebuke men who honor him, which Peter would be ashamed of.

http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/333/engpope1bmbayer740374g.jpg

http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/8270/bow2pope2.jpg

http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/7103/williamsandthepope.jpg

http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/3343/popeworship.jpg

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http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/9003/popebenedictxvi.jpg

http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/4184/vaticanbiblio1.jpg

This is not an attack on the church. Just my personal feelings and concerns. I assure you that in this I am hoping that I am and trying to be humble in my approach. Thank you.

A Church with “so much wealth”?

You do realize that “The Church” does not **own **for itself things like St. Peter’s, the various art works, that are considered ‘wealth.’ Heck, the Pope does not own the chalices he uses nor the vestments he wears. They are gifts. . .often gifts made many years ago, freely. . .for the use of the Pope, or bishops, or priests, but not for them to own.

Pope John Paul II died recently. You can Google his last will and testament to find that he had virtually NOTHING to leave. Had he owned any of the vast ‘Church wealth’ wouldn’t you expect that there would be SOMETHING legally detailed as to whom it would next pass? Wealth has to be accounted for, doesn’t it, if it is OWNED by someone, when that person dies?

Now suppose–just suppose–that all the Catholics in the world said to Pope Benedict: Despite what may have been the intentions of those who donated art or other ‘wealth’ throughout the ages for all of us to enjoy, WE right now want all that stuff ‘sold’ and given to the poor. And suppose that we ‘insisted’ on it even though there is absolutely no legal documentation that gives us the right to do so, and all the putative buyers agreed, and there were no lawyers getting in on the act either. . .

OK. Now. . .A. Where are you going to find the people to buy, say, the Sistine Chapel?
B. OK. . .somebody has bought the Sistine Chapel for say $60 million dollars or so. Now. . .not only will that person either wind up charging people to see what had once been theirs to see freely, or that person won’t let any but a ‘chosen few’ see beautiful art which was meant to be for the people of God and not for the greed of a few. . .but. . .even $60 million is only going to go so far.

So . . .it’s 5 years later. Maybe, out of all the so-called ‘wealth’ of the church, distributed to all the needy (and of course many people will call themselves needy, too). . .say out of 7 billion people on earth, a conservative estimate would put at least half as poor by our standards, yes?

3 and 1/2 billion people. If the church’s net worth was 7 billion dollars (7 billion, that is quite a lot, I really doubt you’ll get even so much because we’re talking of 'wealth and not of going into every parish church and melting down chalices) that works out to a whopping TWO DOLLARS per person.

Two dollars a person. Meanwhile the wishes of thousands are disregarded, the treasury that was meant for all people is now in the hands of a privileged few. . and for what?

Are the poor no longer poor? Not hardly.** And in fact they’re worse off because poverty doesn’t just consist of lack of money. . .they are poorly for having lost a GIFT that is being held in trust for them. They and their descendents are robbed of being able to see and know the gifts of others before them. And the originals who gave the gifts are robbed of THEIR intention for how the gifts were to be distributed and used.**

The Church is one of the most philanthropic institutions on earth and it is NOT the ‘bastion of wealth it is painted.’

And when is Mr. Schiller going to see off his Crystal Cathedral, or the Mormons donate their Tabernacle, the Muslims sell their mosques, the Anglicans their cathedrals and works which themselves were stolen from the Church in the 16th century, or even any other Christian group going to sell all ITS assets and wealth and send THOSE funds to the poor, might I enquire? I’m sure that when we hear that Canterbury Cathedral is being sold for the poor, and Hagia Sophia sold for the poor, the Morman Tabernacle,Crystal Cathedral, Bob Jones University, etc. are being sold ‘for the poor’ that the Catholic Church will not be, pardon the phrase, ‘left behind.’ But I think we’ll be having a long wait for other churches who are, and I’m sure you’ll agree, ‘wealthy enough’ (by your standards) that they should have been selling off all THEIR wealth ages ago. . .

I’ve read many of your postings and am not convinced that you are genuinely interested in learning about the Catholic faith, but in charity, I will throw in my $.02.

Worship of the Pope.

You said, the Pope is venerated and worshiped, whether it is called worship are not.  You must be able to read people's mind in order to make this statement.  Kneeling, kissing a hand; how is that worship?  This question comes up all the time from Protestants who say that Catholics worship statues and images.  When I pray before an Icon of Christ or the Theotokos, I am not praying to that Icon.  That Icon is a sacred image; it helps me to focus my mind and prayer to God.  For anyone to say that I worship an Icon because I am praying while standing before it supposes that they know what is in my heart and mind.  Kneeling and kissing the hand of the Pope is a sign of respect for the office that he holds; not worship to a man.

Interpretation of Scripture:

You said, “I also see that giving yourselves authority lets you interpret the Bible and mend it the way you wish to see fit. Scripture can speak for itself, for it was written in man’s language, for man to interpret”. There are so many things one could talk about here. The heart of the Protestant movement is personal interpretation of scripture. Well, if scripture is so clear and can speak for itself, how come we have over 30,000+ different protestant denominations each with a different take on scripture? Whenever a dispute arises over scripture what do Protestants do to resolve it? They split and form a new church. Jesus gave his Church the keys to the kingdom of heaven saying to Peter I give you the Keys to the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth is loose in heaven.

Additionaly, for the first 350 years of the church there was no Bible. It was the Catholic church, inspired by the Holy Spirit that compiled the Bible. For the first 350 years or so, many followers of Christ went to their death based on the teachings of the Church. It wasn’t until Martin Luther came along that anyone believed in personal interpretation of scripture.

Wealth of The Church

How much is the Church worth? As far as I know, that number is not determined. Does the Church have art and treasure worth millions or even billion? Yes. Does the church have land holdings, buildings, etc worth millions or billions? Yes. So what do you propose the church do? Sell all the art, buildings, land and give it away? Ok, now what? You have no churches to celebrate liturgy, no art, nothing.

 Do you know how much money a religious order brother or priest makes?  Nothing.  They depend on the order to provide shelter, food, transportation.  They take a vow of poverty.  Do you know how much money a priest in a diocese makes? A publication listed priests in the diocese of San Jose as receiving a stiped of $32,000 per year.  Far from being a modern Pharisee.  

 If you are genuinely interested in learning about the Church, take time to study the Cathechism and read writings of the early church fathers.  Look at what the church fathers say about things like marriage, Eucharist, Baptism, Confession, Salvation, etc.  Read these things with an open mind and ask yourself where can I find a church like this.  You will find it in the Catholic Church.

Good luck on your journey.

It sure sounds like it to me. All of your posts question and criticize the Church and then talks about how “I’m thinking of becoming Catholic.”

Haven’t you got your answer* yet*?

Byzcath,

I’m sorrowful of your unkind worda. I guess me shelling out $70 for Catholics books and wasting my time on here isn’t true interest, huh? People like you ought to learn some respect.

I post my threads so my misconceptions and beliefs may be corrected. I apologize for notging I’ve done or said. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, people like you who make such judgments are the people keeping from the Church. You do not help the image of the churcg, as you make it seem less Christian.

Let’s hope you’re just a not so great representative of your church…

Let’s see; you say Catholics worship the pope, twist scripture to our own ends, have oodles and oodles of money that we don’t give to the poor and call us modern day pharisees. Yet, you get offended when ByzCath calls you on it, saying "Let’s hope you’re just a not so great representative of your church." Why should we take lies about our Church lightly?

Thanks Tim…

IMHO, you don’t sound that interested in having your misconceptions and beliefs corrected. Please understand that people will get annoyed if they think they are being attacked, and continuing to attack them will only make them convinced that they are attacked. Don’t you think the words I’ve bolded might be considered an attack, that you went from attacking their Church (and mine too, btw) to attacking them?
Besides, looking for more information doesn’t necessarily lead to taking it in to heart and using that information the way it’s meant to be used. I’m quite sure there are many many others who have spent far more money and time than you just to find things with which to attack the Church.

Like it or not, I do. I apologize if I come of like an ***. I’d like an apology for the accusations made against me. Hopefully none here are proud.

Yes, Tristan. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Live what you proclaim.

Seriously? Why do you guys have to be so mean? Instead of judging me and bashing me, why don’t you address the problems I have so I can enter the Church without a doubt.

Thanks. Thanks for making me feel like dog ****. It helps…

Tristan, your posts are the equivalent of the “do you still beat your wife?” question. You start off contentious. What if I said to you, "you look like you are an alcoholic and you also beat your wife; show me the truth." Wouldn’t you take offense? Wouldn’t you be angry that someone made an unfair, rash judgment about you? Why do you think we should take your unfair, rash judgments about the Church with a smile and our tails between out legs? Your retort is that we’re “judging” and “bashing” you. Well, we’re not; we’re pointing out your errors. If you are serious about entering the Church then you need to enroll in an RCIA program that will (hopefully) answer your questions. Posting inflammatory statements on an internet forum is hardly the way to seek “truth.”

P.S. Your use of obscenities does not make you anymore sympathetic.

Tristan:

Nothing in my reply was an attack on you. I was responding to your misconceptions and accusations about the Church. I didn’t take anything you said personally; likewise, you shouldn’t either. As for me being a great representative of my church, it is our duty to respond to outrageous accusations about the faith.

When you say that we worship the pope, I feel compelled to point out that is not the truth. Most translations of Acts 10:25 say that Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet and worshipped him. I am confident that anyone who falls at Pope Benedicts feet and trys to worship him would receive the same rebuke that Peter gave in Acts 10:26.

If you have a copy of the Cathechism, read it and nowhere will you find that Catholics worship the pope, statues, icons, saints. For example in section 2132, you will find information on veneration.

Or in sections 109-119, you will see what the Catechism says on the interpretation of scripture.

My humble suggestion to you is to read the Catechism, seek the counsel of a devout & orthodox priest and learn the true faith. And I’ll say it again, see what the early church believed and practiced. They believed in confession, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, apostolic succession, and the beliefs and teachings that the Catholic Church still professes 2000 years later.

Again, good luck on your journey.

Byz,

There’s no luck. Only blessings…

I apologize for the way I came off. I apologize.

Nothing wrong for Church accumulating wealth. Jesus Himself was presented gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankensense.

Can anyone address the Peter problem? This:

Acts 10:25-26 ESV
(25) When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.
(26) But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”

Also, I wrote this on a Protestant site a while back (Can someone refute it?):

"John 1:42 KJV
(42) And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

What does Cephas mean? St. John tells us, “a stone”. Interesting. Peter was just a little stone. Let’s look back on the Scripture I posted above which Catholics use to “prove” Peter was the first Pope:

Matthew 16:18-19 KJV
(18) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(19) And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

So, because Peter’s name means, “stone; rock”, and Jesus said “upon this rock I will build my church…”, Catholics say that their Church was built upon Peter, their Pope. They’re forgetting something…The original Greek.

The word for “Peter” is ??? (Petros). The word for “rock” is ??? (petra). Not only are these different words, but they have different genders (Greek words have gender) and different meanings! “Petros” means “a piece of rock”, aka a stone (like John said). What does “petra” mean? “Petra” means “a mass of rock”, aka a really big rock. Peter is a little stone. The church can not be built on him! Peter even tells us that we are little stones too (1 Peter 2:5). In more clear words, Jesus said, “You are Peter, a little stone, and upon this big rock I build my Church”. So who is this big rock? Who is Petra!? Well, Scripture tells us!"

Ephesians 2:20-21 KJV
(20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
(21) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Romans 9:33 KJV
(33) As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Chief Corner Stone, the stumbling stone laid in Zion and the rock of offence. Jesus is the One who the Church is built on! Christians are all little stones on this huge, massive Rock!

So, in even more clearer words, Jesus said, “You are Peter, a little stone, and upon this big rock, Myself, Jesus, I build my Church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.

Even Pope Gregory, one of Rome’s own Popes, said, “The Son of God is the Rock from which Peter derives his name. And it is upon Jesus, upon whom, the church would be built.”

So, what about the verse after this one? It says, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

What is Jesus our Lord talking about? I’d like to go to Albert Barnes’ Commentary once more:

Albert Barnes:
“And I will give unto thee …” – A key is an instrument for opening a door.
*He that is in possession of it has the power of access, and has a general care of a house. Hence, in the Bible, a key is used as a symbol of superintendence an emblem of power and authority. See the Isa_22:22 note; Rev_1:18; Rev_3:7 notes. The kingdom of heaven here means, doubtless, the church on earth. See the notes at Mat_3:2. When the Saviour says, therefore, he will give to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he means that he will make him the instrument of opening the door of faith to the world the first to preach the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. This was done, Acts 2:14-36; 10. The “power of the keys” was given, on this occasion, to Peter alone, solely for this reason; the power of “binding and loosing” on earth was given to the other apostles with him. See Mat_18:18. The only pre-eminence, then, that Peter had was the honor of first opening the doors of the gospel to the world. *

Many Catholics tell us, "Well Jesus spoke Aramaic. So he probably used “kephas” in this. The problem with this is that they are relying on probability, while the Greek is sufficient and true.

Thanks.

And, don’t forget that the Church invented hospitals. It banned usury (high-interest loans).
Chivalry and the idea that the rich has a responsibility to the poor came out of Christianity. Actually, most ideas of civilization (the ones you don’t see in the Middle East and Orient, for example), came from the Church.

One can spot a non-Christian organization by whether or not they help those who are not one of them. Mormons, Masons, JW’s, even some Jews would leave you starving on the street. Not a Christian, and, certainly not a Catholic. That would be a sin.

The Church’s enemies will try to convince you that it is the source of all evil when in fact it is the source of all that is good. Our perspectives are so prone to suggestion. We must truly study for ourselves, and not rely on others’ opinions.

Tristan just an observation but maybe you need to slow down a bit. It might bring you more peace if for now you write down these questions & put it in a God box.

Make some priorities this can be so overwhelming. But, also there are some good shows on EWTN who are converts like Dr Scott Hahn and have asked all these questions that are making you spin around in a circle.

It is probably best to let God do this in His time & His way…all of your questions will be answered but try to let go & let God a little bit.

It just looks like you’re driving too fast…

Perhaps I am. I’m a bit over zealous. My apologies. I’d rather not live in darkness, though.

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