Are United Methodists anti-Catholicism?

First a little bit of background. I am a devout cradle Catholic who is very active in my Parish and Faith community - as is my husband and family. My husband and his siblings were brought up Catholic as well. One of his sisters did not practice her Catholic faith; hence her children were not raised in any faith. Now one of her daughters, as an adult, married a young man who is Methodist, and is a journeyman Preacher/Pastor - please pardon my lack of knowledge of appropriate terminology for titles.

In my minds eye this young man surely has it out for us Catholics. He often writes on his social network - statements such as: “Religion and Faith are NOT Catholic” or most recently - and he has since deleted the post, so I am unable to quote it exactly, but it was to the effect that Catholics support Molestation. He also often writes in a curious riddle form of statements.

Jeremiah’s negative and public remarks about Catholicism or any Faith causes me to question his readiness to actually lead this new church in MN. These remarks are frustrating, and while I have diplomatically defended my Faith and the Genius of Catholicism.

Not only a pastor - but as a family member, he avoids his wife’s extended family and if present physically - he is very cold - vs. warm, welcoming, inviting. I realize he is human, and for that matter still a young man - but I guess my experience with many Priests and Deacons - young and old that I have crossed paths with in my lifetime - have come across as humble, welcoming and outwardly loving.

I am trying to understand this and while I can’t imagine it being the case - his behavior drives me to ask whether this a normal behavior of United Methodist pastors/leadership toward Catholicism and Catholics.

If yes, please try to help me understand why.
If no, then please help me discern whether I work to identify the Methodist leadership who oversees what he is doing and who is financially funding his new church and living arrangement?

No, this is not typical. United Methodists are, generally speaking, among the less anti-Catholic of the Protestant traditions. But they are a very large denomination and spread a broad tent, so you get all kinds. Probably liberal anti-Catholics are more common than conservative ones in the UMC, especially in MN.

Methodist clerical terminology is extremely complicated–don’t worry about not getting it right. My wife (former Methodist, now Episcopalian) and I (Episcopalian, in RCIA, considering becoming Methodist rather than remaining Episcopalian if I once again drop out of RCIA) often joke that Methodists are more like Catholics in polity than Episcopalians are. (Not talking about the doctrinal parts like apostolic succession, but the centralized structure, the bureaucracy, etc.)

My experience of Methodist and Catholic clergy is the opposite of yours. Many Catholic priests I’ve met seem to me to have something “artificial” about them and to be rather remote, or to be trying too hard to be genial without quite pulling it off. (This is not true of all, by any means–the priests in my former town of Huntington, IN were not like that at all. I’ts something I’ve encountered more in the South and to a lesser extent in the Northeast, and probably it’s based more on the stiff pulpit manner of many priests than on anything else, which isn’t a fair judgment.) Methodist clergy are generally speaking warm and friendly–in fact, usually that’s thought to be their greatest flaw, if anything. They stereotypically value being “nice” more than anything else.

One way in which Methodist and Catholic clergy are similar (in contrast to Episcopalians) is that they are appointed by the bishop. Traditionally they are moved around every few years, though the terms have grown a bit longer. This often makes them very lonely and causes difficulties in their family life.

Do you know if he went to seminary? There are “local pastors” in the UMC who have less theological training and are not considered ordained “elders” (i.e., presbyters, corresponding to Catholic priests), although they are (oddly) allowed to administer the Sacraments. If so, where?

I am really not sure it’s a good idea for you to get involved. These are, if I followed you, basically your step-in-laws. You are likely to antagonize them. What exactly are you trying to accomplish?

Can you reach out to him directly and tell him that he has deeply hurt you and made you question just what Methodists believe about other Christians?

You might suggest to him that he read John Wesley’s “Letter to a Roman Catholic.”. Especially this bit:

In the name, then, and in the strength of God, let us resolve, first, not to hurt one another; to do nothing unkind or unfriendly to each other, nothing which we would not have done to ourselves. Rather let us endeavour after every instance of a kind, friendly and Christian behaviour towards each other.

Let us resolve, secondly, God being our helper, to speak nothing harsh or unkind of each other. The sure way to avoid this is to say all the good we can, both of and to one another ~ in all our conversation, either with or concerning each other, to we only the language of love, to speak with all softness and tenderness, with the most endearing expression which is consistent with truth and sincerity.

Let us, thirdly, resolve to harbour no unkind thought, no unfriendly temper towards each other. Let us lay the axe to the root of the tree; let us examine all that rises in our heart, and suffer no disposition there, which is contrary to tender affection. Then shall we easily refrain from unkind actions and words, when the very root of bitterness is cut up.

Let us, fourthly, endeavour to help each other on in whatever we are agreed leads to the Kingdom. So far as we can, us always rejoice to strengthen each other’s hands in God. Above all, let us each take heed to himself (since each must give an account of himself to God) that he fall not short of the religion of love, that he be not condemned in that he himself approveth.

Wesley was by our standards today somewhat anti-Catholic himself, at least in some of his statements. But this is still a pretty remarkable document for its time, and one that not only young Pastor Jeremiah but all of us on this forum would probably do well to take to heart :smiley:


I think this is unusual for a Methodist based on my experience talking with my parents who are still Methodists.

Perhaps he just needs to read a good Catholic book or two?

I came from the UMC and am currently working to enter the Catholic Church. My experience is that no, that much bias is not the norm. Many of the liturgical things we did in the UMC were very similar to what we do in Mass. The UMC pastor I had might make a slight joke about the differences between the UMC and RC, but it was pretty mild and not vitriolic. That said I do have some *big *issues with the UMC which is why I left, but I did not see overt bias in the UMC I attended.

I agree, based anecdotally on a couple of Methodist friends of mine and Methodists I know of, they seem quite tolerant of other Christians as well as Jews. I don’t know about the leadership though.

Methodists are pretty much dead center moderates. They aren’t especial anti catholic like continental Freemasons or westbero baptist church. I would say southern Baptists are a well established group with more anti catholic in them than methodists.

A Methodist friend of mine used to say Methodists don’t get upset, even about the things they should get upset about.

The thing is though from the time of Luther onward this sort of rhetoric has existed and will exist in various forms.

In the case of this young man, I seriously wonder if he was raised Methodist, he may have grown up in another faith tradition that was very anti catholic. The effort to change from one denomination to another is very slight but the upbringing one went through doesn’t go away easily. Even in mainline protestant groups there are now ways to become a member of there clergy without much/any formal seminary training. So he wouldn’t unlearn any of this.

Don’t try and argue/reason with him unless you discern he is seriously wanting to learn/listen. You will only drive him deeper. Instead live at peace as much as you can. You see I was once a very rabid anti catholic. My whole world view I was taught had the Catholics persecuting me and my kind in the “end times”. Yet over time I came to see the folly and a couple years ago became Catholic. A part of that was seeing how Catholics really are/live and seeing the incongruity of that with the absolute tripe I was taught as a youth.

I sent my daughters to a First United Methodist preschool in our town…nicest people, friendliest and loving pastor. I think this is more the norm.
Good people. :thumbsup:

Sounds like he has an axe to grind.
I feel for his membership. :frowning:

The United Methodist Church, founded in 1968, has been in constant conflict between liberals and conservatives ever since. (Of course, some would say the same about the Catholic Church.) Because of the great variation, it is difficult to describe any opinion as typical of the UMC.

Perhaps find a better Methodist minister and see if he would talk with your son-in-law.

Just be sure that your daughter won’t suffer from any of this.
Make sure she doesn’t get a barrage of verbal ranting in the car
after leaving your home.

also get advice from your Priest on the matter.

but most of all Pray for Him & your daughter.

God Bless.

To be sure, ALL PROTESTANT CHURCHES ARE ANTI-CATHOLIC. If they weren’t they would be Catholic. Every Protestant church rejects the Magisterium and Tradition in favor of scripture alone (pick your flavor). You will find varying degrees of hostility towards Catholicism within each group.

That having been said I have found UMC to be one of the least anti- Catholic organizations around. It does surprise me that a UMC minister would act towards Catholicism they way you would expect a Baptist to act.

I wonder if he feels threatened by his wife’s family religion because he may be concerned that she may decide to return. Which would make things awkward for him as a Protestant minister. Protestant ministers are supposed to be married with a very visible wife. If she dosen’t belong to the church he’s pastoring that can be a big problem for him. It could even kill his chances of Pastoring a church. Perhaps, she is already expressing a desire to return to the Catholic church which is causing him to lash out at.

I agree with the many posters who said this fellow’s actions are NOT the norm for most UMC members, including the leadership.

Don’t engage him, especially in public or during family gatherings, because as many of us know from experience, an anti-Catholic person can say one sentence that will take us an hour to defend/refute. It’s hard to do even for professional apologists. Instead keep your cool and ask him to schedule you in for an appointment at his office for you to come in and discuss that issue. Since he asked, it’d be hard for him to decline and still look sincere.

But anyway, I’ve found UMC members to be pretty great. Sounds like this fellow has an axe to grind.

I was raised in UMC and I can tell you from direct experience that they are probably the least “anti-Catholic” denomination. UMC is a big tent and the leadership (their bishops) would fall mostly in the liberal side of Protestantism. When I was being confirmed in the Church, we were taken to the nearest down the road Catholic Church, the priest spoke to us and this was done to teach us tolerance of other Christian groups. With that
being said about UMC, there are other Methodist groups such as Free Methodists and various Weslyan churches. Free Methodists are very conservative in their views and the one I knew from college, was rather anti-Catholic. The other Weslyan groups would be more similar to evangelical in theology and thinking. Are you sure that this guy was UMC or was he Free Methodist? I don’t think you are familar with all the different groups with in the Methodist rabge and I would have a hard time believing that this person is UMC.

Just because a Protestant is not Catholic, does not mean that they are anti-Catholic. This sort of rhetoric does not enhanse our conversations with our fellow “separated” Christians. I wish Catholics on CAF would stop this kind of talk because it closes doors and not open them to to others. I know that this kind of open door is what initially drew me to the Catholic Church not this kind of firebrand talk.

The Catholic Church has a set magisterium and catechisis. UMC does not. Yes, I can attest to conflict withing UMC between liberal and more conservative/evangelical. The religious ed director I had didn’t even believe in the virgin Birth of Jesus. I think the lack of center and consitency is what lead me down the road to the Catholic Church. But I want to say that some of the nicest people, the most giving and caring people that really try to live out their faith in everyday action can easily be found in UMC and that heritage of trying to understand and have compassion or even “tolerance” is what I did learn and take with me. And to that I am most grateful.

I once read here that the Methodists are the American version of the Church of England, which is the English version of the Catholic church (in summary, formed to make King Henry’s life easier). So they share roots with us, maybe closer roots than most denominations. My husband is Methodist, and doesn’t have a bit of anti-Catholic in him. You might gently, simply, point out he doesn’t “sound very Methodist”, or something to that effect. Sometimes, we all need a reality check.

The ties to Anglican are in the fact that John Wesley was an Anglican priest and Methodism came about due to his preaching. While, I think liturgies can vary in UMC, I did grow up with a “high liturgy” which would have been truer to it’s Anglican roots. UMC though is not a part of the Anglican tradition and denomination. We had a similar type liturgy to the Catholic Mass, we did say the apostle creed. Communion though was only once a month while in Anglican I think it is every Sunday.

Rob, I am a convert from Presbyterianism and I am married to a Protestant. We switch churches every week.( I go to Saturday mass on her week and don’t take communion in her church) I live in the city that houses the assemblies of God head quarters and most of my friends are not catholic. I am well aware that most protestants are not anti catholic in the sense that they are hostile to it. Most have a agree to disagree attitude. I am simply pointing out that protestantism exists to be anti catholic. Every denomination denies the authority of the Pope, believes in salvation by faith Alone and sola scriptura. These beliefs are contrary to the truth of catholiism and are therefore anti catholic. Most protestants are not anti catholic but Protestantism is and breeds anti catholicism.

Please " To be sure, ALL PROTESTANT CHURCHES ARE ANTI-CATHOLIC. If they weren’t they would be Catholic. Every Protestant church rejects the Magisterium and Tradition in favor of scripture alone (pick your flavor). " WHAT A STUPID COMMENT"

the above comment is another nasty example of denominational bias-the Methodists seem to be as mellow a denomination as one can find in my area-never have I heard of any anti-Catholic vitriol erupting from this main line Christian Church

disagreeing with or following different dogma DOES NOT MAKE ONE ANTI ANYTHING- my denomination respects the Catholic Church we even at times have prayed for the new Pope

this individual Methodist Pastor seems to be a deviation from the norm

Even given your experiences and relationships, capitalizing this and even stating this is firebrand talk. I think you of all people should know that this closes doors. I wouldn’t call Protestanism breeding anti-Catholicism any more than Orthodoxy or any other religion. Just because someone isn’t Catholic no matter what faith they are, doesn’t mean that they are anti-Catholic or what they believe is anti-Catholic. The same logic can be said around the Orthodox and other religions too.

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