Are we going to hell?


#1

I see all this talk about loving all Christians, but when it it comes to Communion there is all this talk about not taking it in Protestant Churches, and not allowing non-Catholics to receive in the Catholic Church. I guess I’m confused about the phrase"not in full communion or unity with the Church." I thought all baptized Christians were asked to"do this in memory of me." Does it all depend on how one interprets the Bible or which t(T)raditions one believes or practices? I also am confused about the sacraments. Why only 7? Does that point back to my last question? I guess I just am in a dark spot in my spiritual journey. I used to believe in the Catholic Church, but now I don’t know. I sometimes think nobody has it right so pick your poison. Yes I have read good books on why Catholics do that and such, but I guess it comes down to the history. I’m not talking about inquisitions, but more about Apostolic succession and the political climate of Rome causeing the Pope to become to powerful. What about the other Bishops? If the keys were given to Peter,why do they have to be handed down? Were they not handed down by all early Christians and martyrs. I guess I am just looking for concrete historical evidence for Apostolic Succession, or does it just come down to Faith?- Thanks


#2

I found the writings of the Church Fathers revealing. You find the same Catholic Church in their writings as you find to this very day. The earliest of Christian writers certainly understood Christ’s calling as it pertained to the “keys”.

Raw Patristic writings may not be easy reading if you do not have a passion for History. You may start with “The Teachings of the Church Fathers” by John R. Willis, S.J., Ignatius Press. This book is indexed by topic so you may focus on a particular interest. Don 't forget Catholic Answers! I found a wealth of insight on that web sight. It’s a great place to start!

Your particular journey depends on your starting point. I hope the Spirit leads you to truth. By all means do seek. Pray that you find the strength to submit to where God may be leading you. I’ll do the same.

I can only speak for myself. I was a Lutheran Mo Synod and ended up finding Truth in the Catholic Church.


#3

Well, there is an awful lot of buckshot in that salvo, but I’ll try to pick out a few pellets!

Inter-communion: It’s basic respect. I (catholic) believe that Christ established the Eucharist. He gave us this sacrament which is his very body and blood to nourish us spiritually and give us the grace we need to be sanctified as we journey through life. He commissioned 12 apostles to stand in his place and bring this miracle into the world in the eucharistic liturgy and to pass on the mission to other men whom they found to be trustworthy and faithful to the gospel.

My evangelical friends believe that communion is a symbolic remembrance of Jesus last meal with his apostles and a way in which we are reminded of how he willingly went to the cross for our sins. They do NOT believe that the bread itself becomes Christ, they toss the leftovers in the trash with no second thoughts

We two groups believe quite differently about what Jesus intended communion to be. It would be a mockery to pretend that those differences don’t exist. Inter-communion would send the message that the differences in belief are no big deal. They ARE a big deal. One group is wrong. The other is faithfully following the directions of Christ. History and writings of the early fathers are pretty clear on which group is which.

The problem that seems to grieve you is the shallowness of our culture today. “Feel - good” unity based on no philosophical foundation is valued higher than real respect for the uniqueness of our own convictions. Contrary to common belief today, you CAN believe in the truths of the catholic faith, believe that all others fall short in one way or another, but avoid being contemptuous and disrespectful of other cultures and religions. I recommend Geore Weigels John Paull II biography before you really hit the books on the deep stuff. Its a great real world example of what I just said above.


#4

[quote=carter8]I see all this talk about loving all Christians, but when it it comes to Communion there is all this talk about not taking it in Protestant Churches, and not allowing non-Catholics to receive in the Catholic Church. I guess I’m confused about the phrase"not in full communion or unity with the Church." I thought all baptized Christians were asked to"do this in memory of me."
[/quote]

the apostles specifically, the first bishops, ordained by Christ himself, were ordered to “do this in memory of me” namely to make present his sacrificial action and resurrection which he anticipated at the last supper, through continually offering the bread and wine, blessing them, saying the words of consecration, and offereing them to the faithful.

those who have voluntarily separated from the Church which preserves apostolic succession and which continually offers and participates in Christ’s one sacrifice, have done so, historically, on grounds related to this very action, this very command, and the priesthood itself, and the authority by which Christ commanded the apostles and their successors to consecrate this Eucharist.

by definition they reject the notion of sacrifice and the priesthood that makes it possible, therefore they cannot partake in something in which they do not believe. Whether or not an individual believes in the Real Presence is immaterial, whether the Real Presence is effected through the words and actions of the priest is what matters, and that can only happen if the priest is acting in persona Christi, with authority that comes from Christ.


#5

My apologies to everyone. I am not trying to send out “buck shot”, but find answers that make sense to me. My journey was: baptized Lutheran, raised nothing(in New York), moved to Georgia, still nothing, late teens I became Mormon, left that after a year, went to baptist, methodist, just about every where, then my step dad told me he was going back to the Catholic Church, but he was suprised to find that I beat him to the punch and was going to RCIA, I was the first to become Catholic, then my whole family, but then I found myself going back to a Lutheran Church, and that’s where I am at now. It may seem that I can’t make up my mind, this is true when it comes to a denomination, but I am a die hard Christian who shares the Gospel when I have opportunities. I am now married with a 15 month old son and my parents are on my case about not raising him Catholic. I just don’t know what to believe anymore.


#6

P.S.- I am really perplexed about Apostolic authority, because I just don’t see it historically occuring. We have a lot of conjecture, (especially for the time immediately after Peter and Pauls death)but no real substance.


#7

[quote=carter8]My apologies to everyone. I am not trying to send out “buck shot”, but find answers that make sense to me. My journey was: baptized Lutheran, raised nothing(in New York), moved to Georgia, still nothing, late teens I became Mormon, left that after a year, went to baptist, methodist, just about every where, then my step dad told me he was going back to the Catholic Church, but he was suprised to find that I beat him to the punch and was going to RCIA, I was the first to become Catholic, then my whole family, but then I found myself going back to a Lutheran Church, and that’s where I am at now. It may seem that I can’t make up my mind, this is true when it comes to a denomination, but I am a die hard Christian who shares the Gospel when I have opportunities. I am now married with a 15 month old son and my parents are on my case about not raising him Catholic. I just don’t know what to believe anymore.
[/quote]

That’s rough. I see your sincerity, and I hope you find rest.

If you’d like to, we can go over whatever problems you have with the Catholic Church one by one. If it is doctrinal problems, the people here would be happy to help. And one at a time is typically most helpful, it lets us concentrate.

God bless,
Rob


#8

[quote=carter8]P.S.- I am really perplexed about Apostolic authority, because I just don’t see it historically occuring. We have a lot of conjecture, (especially for the time immediately after Peter and Pauls death)but no real substance.
[/quote]

Apostolic succession comes from all of the Apostles, not just Peter and Paul. The papacy comes through Peter, but that’s another issue. Have you read this tract yet?

As another interesting aside, I’ve been looking into the Lutheran view on the priesthood of all believers, and since I reject it, the only way I can possibly see the authority to consecrate the Sacrament is in the conferral of Holy Orders, it kind of proves apostolic succession for me in a backwards, twisted, convoluted way. :smiley:


#9

[quote=carter8]P.S.- I am really perplexed about Apostolic authority, because I just don’t see it historically occuring. We have a lot of conjecture, (especially for the time immediately after Peter and Pauls death)but no real substance.
[/quote]

Hello carter8,

Wow! I could not disagree more with your assertion that we don’t have much historically concerning Apostolic Succession! In my view we have far more than conjecture and much substance.

Have you read “The Faith of the Early Fathers” by William A. Jurgens? It is a compilation of the known writings of the the early Church Fathers, a few of which walked with Apostles.

The Volumes contain the letters of St Clement of Rome AD 80 and St. Ignatius of Antioch AD 110 both of whom walked with Apostles among others. The last “Patristic” writings are those of St John Damascene around AD 749.

It is impossible to read St Ignatius AD 110 and conclude the Baptist Church, for example, was remotely similar to the early Christian Church. The letters are full of exclusively Catholic beliefs concerning the heirarchy of the Church, the beginning of which is recorded in Acts and the Apostolic Letters of Peter and Paul. This is precisely Apostolic Succession in action.

My good brother, they are not subtle, they pretty much wack you over the head with the Church basically just as we know it today. Apostolic Succession, if not totally apparent to you in Matthew and Acts, was certainly clear to the earliest Church Fathers who were directly taught by the Apostles. I am sure you will agree if you read them yourself.

The story of the formation of the Canon of the Bible itself witnesses to the Catholic Church and Apostolic Succession. These writings are ripe with snipets of the actual debate that formed our New Testament.

Consider that the letters held in Scripture today were written to a particular city or group of cities. There is evidense that the Bishops of the various cities shared and excahnged hand written copies of these treasured letters with Bishops of other cities. These letters, we know from the writings, were read aloud at gatherings, the earliest from of the Mass, along with the Old Testament Scriptures.

Overtime, the authenticity of certain letters became clouded. The evidense of this is the debate concerning which of the letters were suitable for reading during gatherin gs. In fact, this was a hotly debated subject for 400 years and even beyond among Bishops. Some letters were widely accepted while others were rejected by certain Bishops.

Contrary to many Protestant views, the Pope does not dictatorially intercede to establish unity among the Bishops or force them into some dogmatic belief. This has never happened and is contrary to the Office and Infallibility.

In the case of the New Testament Canon, the Bishops through the early ages argued the matter for centuries before agreeing to some great degree at the Council of Hippo in AD 393 and Carthage in AD 397.

So you see; Apostolic Succession was alive at the earliest stages of the Church. It had it’s hand in the establishment of the Canon of the New Testament which all Christians hold as Truth.

We have more than just conjecture in my view. These “patristic” writings have been scientifically examined and held to modern standards of historic authenticity. They are widely used by Catholic, non-Catholic, and secular researchers. I encourage you to fill in that gap you perceive. I think reading the “Faith of the Early Fathers” may do just that.

I hope my words encourage your personal journey. This was part of my journey from the Lutheran to the Catholic Church. It was not without anguish.

Above all, pray, my brother! Let the Spirit lead you. Open your heart and mind to the calling of Christ.


#10

This might help you understand the Catholic stance on this: “Who Can Receive Communion?” catholic.com/library/Who_Can_Receive_Communion.asp

It will show you that the reasons against intercommunion are protective and not meant to deride Protestants in any way.


#11

I suppose you could ask yourself;
What would you do IF IT WERE Christs living Flesh?
Would you remain indifferent while you consumed His Flesh?
He told you before he gave you his flesh to eat, that if you ate it
you would have everlasting life.
That if you didnt eat it, you would have no life in you.

Then the Apostle tells you, that if you do not decern His body in
the eucharist, you bring judgement on yourself.

Non-Catholics who take the Catholic Eucharist, consume Christs Flesh and at the same time tell themselves it is nothing.

I suppose you must ask yourself;
What would you do IF IT WERE Christs living Flesh?

And do that.


#12

I believe there are traditions handed down, and I don’t believe in sola scriptura. I am at a stand still. Many Catholics take communion without “discernment”. I know quite a few myself. I think the succession of Popes is clouded do to many persecutions that occured. That is where I have trouble with Apostolic succession. I have read the early Church fathers writings. Maybe I need to read them again, but nothing hit me upside the head the first time. I think what got me interested in the Church in the first place was that there was some order to things and sola scriptura was not the rule. Sacraments? I don’t think they are neccessary for salvation. I think they should be called mysteries and that there could be many more. I think if we forgive we shall be forgiven. I believe that the Lord’s prayer sums a lot up. I think if we truly repent then we are forgiven. Now I don’t believe in once saved always saved; one must truly repent. Many times I went to confession and quite frankly there was nothing that was filling me with conviction that I had to confess, nor did I feel any better saying the rosary or doing Eucharistic adoration as penance. I don’t feel guilty when I don’t go to Church. I am truly at a crossroads trying to find the right direction. God draws straight with crooked lines.


#13

[quote=carter8]I believe there are traditions handed down, and I don’t believe in sola scriptura. I am at a stand still. Many Catholics take communion without “discernment”. I know quite a few myself. I think the succession of Popes is clouded do to many persecutions that occured. That is where I have trouble with Apostolic succession. I have read the early Church fathers writings. Maybe I need to read them again, but nothing hit me upside the head the first time. I think what got me interested in the Church in the first place was that there was some order to things and sola scriptura was not the rule. Sacraments? I don’t think they are neccessary for salvation. I think they should be called mysteries and that there could be many more. I think if we forgive we shall be forgiven. I believe that the Lord’s prayer sums a lot up. I think if we truly repent then we are forgiven. Now I don’t believe in once saved always saved; one must truly repent. Many times I went to confession and quite frankly there was nothing that was filling me with conviction that I had to confess, nor did I feel any better saying the rosary or doing Eucharistic adoration as penance. I don’t feel guilty when I don’t go to Church. I am truly at a crossroads trying to find the right direction. God draws straight with crooked lines.
[/quote]

Sometimes we don’t necessarily *feel *a certain way to receive a sacrament. We have confusing times and dry times that we seem like we are just going through the motions. There are times mass is boring and we daydream. That doesn’t mean we are not celebrating the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist or receiving Absolution in the sacrament of Reconcilliation.

When I was a young mother I went through a similar time of confusion about what was the real truth. All I wanted to do was follow God and understand the truth. It brought me back home to the Catholic Church eventually, after some difficult times.

If you are truly seeking the truth, and I have no doubt you are, then you will find it. Keep praying about it to the Holy Spirit. My mom gave me a valuable piece of advice during that time: “Before you leave the Catholic Church, find out from the Church exactly what you are leaving.” For me it was more of an intellectual understanding than an emotional one.

I’ll pray for you.


#14

Denise is right about one thing: going to Church was never an emotional event for me. I never went to to Church to “feel”(though I remember going to Assembly of God Church and they prayed over me so I could speak in tongues, which never happened, so I eventually left)but at times wanted to feel. However what has made it that way to some extent is the intellectual aspect; trying to find the truth. I want to be able to stand up like all of you have and become apologetic. I used to be that way too. I think once I became Catholic everything went boring and dry, and I found myself questioning myself, and others.


#15

[quote=carter8]Denise is right about one thing: going to Church was never an emotional event for me. I never went to to Church to “feel”(though I remember going to Assembly of God Church and they prayed over me so I could speak in tongues, which never happened, so I eventually left)but at times wanted to feel. However what has made it that way to some extent is the intellectual aspect; trying to find the truth. I want to be able to stand up like all of you have and become apologetic. I used to be that way too. I think once I became Catholic everything went boring and dry, and I found myself questioning myself, and others.
[/quote]

For me, returning to Catholicism was more of an intellectual pursuit, as well. I find that the more I learn, the more I want to learn. You say since becoming Catholic you’ve become bored. Have you continued your studies since coming into the Church? I occasionally will sit and read the Catechism on line, and just get lost in it for a good length of time. There is so much to learn, and so much history to discover!


#16

Hello Carter8,

You read the Fathers extensively? And nothing struck you? Honest questions my brother. I do not wish to offend you. But, nothing you studied helped you confirm Apostolic Succession? Have you read the Letter of St Clement of Rome to the Corinthians?

The exerpt below is from "The Faith of the Early Fathers Volume 1, Jurgens, The Liturgical Press.The letter clearly mentions the order set by the Apostles.

St Clement to the Corinthians AD 80 (96/98?). …“The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; and Jesus Christ was sent from God. Christ, therefore is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both of these orderly arrangements, then, are by God 's Will.”… “Our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of Bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowlege, they appointed those who have already been mentioned, and afterwords added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry.”

Who was St Clement of Rome? Again, from Jurgens"Faith of the Early Fathers, “The various early lists of Bishops of Rome make Clement either the first, second, or third successor of St. Peter.” That is, he was the Pope, as we call him now.

The letter was sent to admonish the Corinthians over some matter concerning a revolt against the presbyters and strengthen them. It is not clear if advice was sought or if they just heard of the troubles from travelers.

Key to this letter is that St Clement of Rome asks them to accept “our council” in a loving way. He also then gives them a warning to not disobey or suffer sin.

I ask, when did the succession of these Bishops officially end if we are to reject Apostolic Succession? Do you see any parallels in Acts or Pauls letters?

Further, ask yourself,… Why did St Clement of Rome involve himself in this matter so forcefully that he considered it a sin if they did not comply? Did St Paul ever make similar assertions?

Also, why would St Clement involve himself so forcefully if he did not believe he had the authority to do so?

I ask you, would the Church in Corinth be justified in rejecting the advice given in a letter from Paul himself? I’m sure you may agree the answer is " of course not". In the same way, they should receive a letter from the Apostle’s successors.

I suggest you go back and study again if nothing struck you. Perhaps a more complete volume of Patristic texts would be of greater value? I find the 3 Volume set by Jurgens to be adequate.

There are many other early Patristic letters that confirm Apostolic Succession in action in the early Church. This Letter of Clement to the Corinthians is beleived to be among the oldest known.

Also, read Acts and the Letters of St Peter and St Paul. What do you find concerning the commissioning of presbyters? Have you considered Old Testament parallels to the Church heirarchy?

I hope your journey proves fruitfull. Above all, it is your journey. Please do not take offense to my urgings. I am quite sincere in my yearning for you to see the truth.

Remember, pray for the Spirit to guide you. Open your heart to His calling.

Ps I have 4 children including a 22 month old girl and 2 month old girl, 4 year and 6 year old boys. Children do change our perspective on life, beyond a doubt. Congratualtions on the birth of your child.


#17

For 2000 years the Church has had “closed communion” The idea did not arise out of the reformation, it has been church teaching since there have been Christians. In order to recieve Eucharist in the Church, several things have always been necessary:

  1. Baptism
  2. a life of conversion and grace (metanoia)
  3. belief in what the Church teaches (kerygma)
  4. unity with the local Bishop (koinonia)

Non Catholics may not recieve because they manifestly lack the kerygma and koinonia. Without the sacrament of confession they possibly lack metanoia as well. Some who call themselves “Christians” lack baptism as well. (e.g. JWs, Mormons etc.)

No hard feelings; it is just the way it has been for 2000 years.


#18

Believers or non-believers, please obtain and wear the Brown Scapuar (you can find various apostolates who will send you one for free, like this one. It is one of the greatest sacramentals the Church has, and Our Lady has attached an unprecedented blessing attached to it in that, “whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire” - given that it is worn virtuously.

Given what Jesus (in the Scriptures), Mary (at Fatima) and the Saints have said (throughout history) with regards to the innumerable souls who choose Hell, it would be wise to humble oneself and accept all the help that Heaven gives us. Thank God for Mother Mary!

Mary, our Mother, is our powerful advocate, being the Mother of God, the New Arc of the Covenant, and the Queen of Heaven. Please spread devotion to the rosary and the brown scapular for the sake of salvation of souls, for Mary said, “Through the Rosary and Scapular I will save the world.”

God bless you all!
TTM


#19

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