By their fruit, you shall know them

Greetings to all of you, in the name of Christ Jesus!

In my continuing journey, I have encountered another difficulty of sorts. This time, it’s not a matter of doctrine or discipline. It’s a matter of that biblical saying, “By their fruit, you shall know them.”

You see, in recent days, I have been reminded of all my friends from Campus Crusade for Christ back in my college days, and who are still my friends to this day. Sure, many of the people attending our meetings and such were probably nominal Christians, but those who were my best friends were all determined to serve Christ. They went on mission trips, took part in on-campus evangelism, spoke at our meetings, held Bible Studies, and earnestly sought the will of God.

These people were, so far as I know, all Protestants. I don’t know what their thoughts on Catholicism were, as the subject rarely came up. At any rate, I never heard any “The Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon” talk coming from any of them. They just wanted to see people come to Christ.

I can’t help but contrast these people with (almost all of) the Catholics I know. They seem to see nothing wrong with premarital sex, they don’t seem to have problems with divorce, and their overall morality seems to be no different from that of the world.

So, as I stand here on the fence, as it were, I see a love for God and a desire to do His will back on the Protestant side (where I came from), and I see a severe amount of wordliness on the Catholic side. I feel like if I come all the way across the fence, I’ll be leaving the company of the godly for the company of the wordly.

Now, I know I’m comparing good Protestants to bad Catholics, so this isn’t really a fair comparison. It’s just that, at this point, it’s the only comparison I can really make. When I get back to the States and start going to a Catholic Church, I’m sure I’ll meet some good Catholics. Right now, though, I’m in a very difficult position.

So far as I can tell, the idea on this board seems to be that a bad Catholic is better than a good Protestant (because they have the Eucharist, etc…). I’m not sure that’s true, though. Ultimately, it seems to me that God is more pleased by the Protestant who tries to serve Him than by the Catholic who does not. Of course, if Catholicism is true (and those of you who have read my posts know I’m just about convinced that it is), then obviously the Catholic who does the will of God would be in a superior position to either of the aforementioned two.

So, I guess the biggest obstacle for me is not Mary, the Communion of Saints, Purgatory, Papal Infallibility, Clerical Celibacy, Transubstantiation, or any of the usual objections (though I’ll be honest and say I’m still not quite confortable with all of these…getting there, though). It’s the fact that I see a greater love for God and a desire to serve Him back in the land of Protestantism, fragmented though it may be.

Any converts deal with this issue? I think what I really need to do is meet more practicing Catholics, not just “cultural Catholics.” As always, I ask for the prayers of everyone on this board as I make this journey. May God bless you all!

Dear Iambic,

We are all sinners. I’m afraid you’ll find both the good and the bad in any church you attend. Please do seek out practicing Catholics. Some in the church, truly do not understand the grace, beauty and truth of the Catholic faith. Prior to reverting, I truly did not understand, what a wonderful gift Christ has given us in His church.

Look at the example of the Saints. Read their stories and see the fruit. See how the Catholic church has spread the Gospel of Christ throughout the world to literate and illiterate people alike. That too is fruit.

Perhaps it is of the nature of our culture. A culture that fosters individualism and acheivement and power. These things do not promote the love, Christ has in mind for us. As sinners, it is easy to believe the lies and follow or keep up with the “Jones’”. We fail, but Christ will not fail us.

In Matthew 13, in the Parable of the Weeds, Jesus teaches that the “weeds” will grow up with the “wheat”. And so it is, the good and bad together.

Know and believe your faith, teach the true faith. Perhaps God is calling you to be a part of the solution.

May God bless you richly.
Grace & Peace!

You hit the nail on the head with “cultural Catholics”. Many “cultural Catholics” whether they go to church or not, still identify themselves as such. Others, when they fall away, just don’t mention it.

For me, a revert, it is helpful to look at the Bible for my example of what I should expect, and not expect from God’s people.

Peter, the first Pope appointed by Christ Himself, denied Christ, had to be reprimanded by Peter for teaching the truth but not living it. The Bible tells us to let the weeds grow with the wheat. We should expect to see both in a Church.

There is also a difference in how Protestants and Catholics view talking about things. I have found that there are many Catholic Christians doing God’s work close to home in the churches, nursing homes, for their neighbors, in a up close and personal way. But you never hear about it in passing because they would consider it boastful. They just do it and God only knows about it.

Protestants tend to view talking about all the things they are involved in as giving the Glory to God. They shout to the heavens what they are doing because it shows how great God is, not how great they are.

This is a cultural difference as well as a theological one. Protestants believe good works naturally flow out of a follower of Christ. Catholics believe each good work is a decision to keep following Christ.

I have to go. I hope this helps a little.

God Bless,
Maria

oops, about 10 minutes after but there were no replies when I started. guess I am just a slow typer. Sorry for a few repeats of advice.

My two best friends in the world are Bible Christians, my two best friends from grade school were brought up Catholic with me. If I were to compare them, the Catholics would come up miserably. But the difference is not in the Catholic or not Catholic. The BC’s are where they are because they were in that place in their lives where they went looking, and they found something that fed them. Did it (or does it) feed them as fully as they could be fed? I don’t believe so. My Catholic friends aren’t necessarily fallen away, but they were “told by their parents” to believe as they do. They also have not hit points in their lives where they’ve been confronted with the need to find out what it means to them. At some point you have to choose for yourself what you believe, to make it your own. The BC’s have done this, so of course they’re going to be much more vigilant. My Catholic friends were brought up Catholic, but the Catholicism in my friends was not chosen by them (or at least, has not been yet). Does this change what their baptism did for them? No. Does it change the fact that Catholicism is the fullness of the faith? No. Does God love them any less? No. The way someone acts OR represents the Church has absolutely no power over changing it, or the fact that it’s true, in and of itself. Just like how some Christians act or are portrayed in the media (bombing abortion clinics, cheating televangelists, etc.) have a ton of power over human perception of Christianity, but no power over the fact that Jesus is God, that He came to save us, that He died on the cross, etc. etc. etc. Does that make any sense? I, for one, am glad you see this behavior in these Catholics, b/c that just gives you the opportunity to help them!!!

Those bad Catholics you know are going to be more severely judged. Because they betray the only true faith. Still, it is better to be a bad Catholic than a good Protestant. What about bad Protestants? Do they not exist?

[quote=The Iambic Pen]I can’t help but contrast these people with (almost all of) the Catholics I know. They seem to see nothing wrong with premarital sex, they don’t seem to have problems with divorce, and their overall morality seems to be no different from that of the world.
[/quote]

Because of the sheer numbers of Catholics, you’re going to get lots of people that are just there because they were born there. How many Protestants have to actively choose their denomination, or whatever?

Also remember that Campus Crusade isn’t a valid selection for determining Protestants in general. If you went to a Pro-Life group, you’d find plenty more orthodox Catholics than if you just pulled the average joe off the street. Likewise with the Campus Crusade and Protestants.

So, as I stand here on the fence, as it were, I see a love for God and a desire to do His will back on the Protestant side (where I came from), and I see a severe amount of wordliness on the Catholic side. I feel like if I come all the way across the fence, I’ll be leaving the company of the godly for the company of the wordly.

Now, I know I’m comparing good Protestants to bad Catholics, so this isn’t really a fair comparison. It’s just that, at this point, it’s the only comparison I can really make. When I get back to the States and start going to a Catholic Church, I’m sure I’ll meet some good Catholics. Right now, though, I’m in a very difficult position.

The Church is a hosptial for sinners, as the saying goes. As it goes, though, Catholics produce plenty of fruit. One of the priests at my parish recently made a split second decision to give one of his kidneys to some parishoner.

So far as I can tell, the idea on this board seems to be that a bad Catholic is better than a good Protestant (because they have the Eucharist, etc…). I’m not sure that’s true, though. Ultimately, it seems to me that God is more pleased by the Protestant who tries to serve Him than by the Catholic who does not. Of course, if Catholicism is true (and those of you who have read my posts know I’m just about convinced that it is), then obviously the Catholic who does the will of God would be in a superior position to either of the aforementioned two.

God judges people individually, Iambic Pen. I wouldn’t worry myself about who pleases God more, the good Protestant or the bad Catholic. You can rest assured that lukewarm faith is not a good thing and that to whom more is given, more is expected.

Iambic Pen:

Hello bro. I’ve read your posts these past few months. It looks like your journey in getting to know the CC has been an interior roller coaster.

I just want to say a few things. Every catholic is a bad catholic. We all fall way short of the way Christ led us. But the paradox is Hope. We get up, try again. Beginning again is part of our faith. This process is the human process. God allows for this. So, when you say you see more bad catholics and more good protestants, please take caution. We don’t know what is in the heart of each person. It’s a great presumption for us to say: He’s bad. He’s good. Only God knows.

Regarding the fruits. Look at the fruits of the ones who love the faith, lately by Mother Teresa, Our Beloved Late Pope John Paul II, St. Pio, Mother Angelica. 1 billion people in the church. If all were saints NOW, gosh, this place would be mistaken for Heaven. That’s why the saints are elevated, because these are the ones who have loved God and have borne fruit.

Lastly, if you’ve come to see the Holy Eucharist as the body and blood that Christ gave, it is by grace that you see this. God did not by accident reveal this to you only to leave behind.

May Christ grant you and us all faithm, hope and charity.

in XT.

Hello Iambic,

I don’t have time for more than a quick comment (and the other replies you’ve received are better than anything I could say anyway), but I did want to point out how subjective one’s experience is: in my case, most of the Evangelicals that I know personally are (barely) lukewarm—don’t attend services, work like a dog on Sunday, don’t read Scripture with any frequency, and for all practical purposes are secular. The parish I attend, however, is full of enthusiastic, orthodox Catholics who are actively challenging the culture. If I were to base my church identity solely on the fruits that I see, I would not be an Evangelical. However, I base my church identity on what I see as Truth, not my subjective experience.

Read the lives of the saints—that’s fruit for ya!

You have made a point which I encountered on my way back into the Church.

One thing I have noticed is that Catholics stress that Protestants are separated bretheren. Since this is very different than many Protestants view of Catholics (which sometimes ranges from Catholics not being Christian to just not having good relationships with Christ because they follow “traditions of men”)

This emphasizes an overall attitude of Protestants by and large trying to evangelize even to Catholics and much Catholic evangelization being focused in non-catholic countries. On the other hand if I just attend a school here there is a good chance someone will try and save me. (many catholics believe protestants are already saved unless they reject the truth of Catholicism so unfortunately they are kinda soft on evangelization)

In addition many Catholics who fully give themselves to Christ can be found in monasteries or convents in lives devoted to prayer. I would visit one to see how some people dedicate their lives in service to Christ.

Only God knows the heart ultimately and He judges not by how loud or vocal we are about the faith, some of the most faithful Catholics are little old ladies who quietly live holy lives.

You can look at Hospitals, Orphanages, Schools, Saints, the lives people lead, EWTN and a host of other fruits of the Catholic Church, plus all the quiet lives that only God knows.

But does good fruit illustrate truth in every situation.

I am not saying Protestants are bad in any way when, I illustrate the good in Catholicism, there is good fruit in other things also, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are true. Mormonism is quite vibrant, it is one of the most financially successful churches out there, or Islam has many very devoted, adherents.

It is easy to judge others and even make our own requirements on what it is to be a good Christian. The fruits are manifest in many ways.
God Bless,
Scylla

[quote=The Iambic Pen]By their fruit, you shall know them.
[/quote]

Scott Hahn makes the statement in one of his tape sets that it’s THEM that you are seeing via their lukewarmness, not the DOCTRINE, which is what really matters.

I don’t know why Catholics are not more “Evangelical,” but I think it has to do with formation and education - or lack thereof. I was raised by some of the hardest-nosed-hair-pullingest Nuns ever to walk the planet, but I would still have to categorize the religious formation I received as marginal at best. However, should you convert and get involved with a Catholic Paris, you might be surprised!!! There is always plenty of stuff going on.

gracelife:

Perhaps it is of the nature of our culture. A culture that fosters individualism and acheivement and power. These things do not promote the love, Christ has in mind for us. As sinners, it is easy to believe the lies and follow or keep up with the “Jones’”. We fail, but Christ will not fail us.

That is certainly true. America is very individualistic, and everyone tries to do everything their own way.

Know and believe your faith, teach the true faith. Perhaps God is calling you to be a part of the solution.

I hope and pray for this. Just last night I was praying that God would use me in whatever way He desires to bring the church back together. If we could truly be one in truth and one in faith, what a witness it would be to the world!

MariaG:

You hit the nail on the head with “cultural Catholics”. Many “cultural Catholics” whether they go to church or not, still identify themselves as such. Others, when they fall away, just don’t mention it.

That’s true. And, to be fair, I encounter many people who label themselves Protestants (though they usually just say Christian), who are just as wordly as any atheist.

bookgirl:

At some point you have to choose for yourself what you believe, to make it your own.

And I guess this is the point where I find myself. I was raised Protestant, and it never occured to me to look elsewhere. Now, as I’ve begun to actually study, I find things were not quite as they seemed.

The way someone acts OR represents the Church has absolutely no power over changing it, or the fact that it’s true, in and of itself.

True.

Just like how some Christians act or are portrayed in the media (bombing abortion clinics, cheating televangelists, etc.) have a ton of power over human perception of Christianity, but no power over the fact that Jesus is God, that He came to save us, that He died on the cross, etc. etc. etc. Does that make any sense?

Yes, it makes sense. And, despite my issues with “cultural Catholics,” I believe very much that a faith should be judged by its actual teachings and by those who actually practice it, not by those who don’t.

barsapp:

Still, it is better to be a bad Catholic than a good Protestant.

I guess I still take issue with this. I guess it would be helpful to define exactly what a Catholic is. Personally, I believe that a Protestant who earnestly tries to serve God, based on what he or she believes is right (incomplete as it may be), is more right in the eyes of God than the Catholic who was baptized as an infant and yet lives completely contrary to the faith.

What about bad Protestants? Do they not exist?

They certainly do, and I’ve known many. So, I know my comparison of good Protestants to bad Catholics wasn’t fair. It’s just that, at this point in my life, it’s hard for me to compare good Protestants to good Catholics, as I know so few of the latter.

RobNY:

Because of the sheer numbers of Catholics, you’re going to get lots of people that are just there because they were born there. How many Protestants have to actively choose their denomination, or whatever?

I guess the difference with Protestants is that they don’t really see the importance of denominations, so making a change isn’t something that is really theologically thought out. This does happen sometimes, though, as in the case of people leaving the Episcopal Church due to its stand on homosexuality.

Also remember that Campus Crusade isn’t a valid selection for determining Protestants in general. If you went to a Pro-Life group, you’d find plenty more orthodox Catholics than if you just pulled the average joe off the street. Likewise with the Campus Crusade and Protestants.

True. I’m sure there were many more Protestants on campus who never participated in any groups or even went to church.

God judges people individually, Iambic Pen. I wouldn’t worry myself about who pleases God more, the good Protestant or the bad Catholic. You can rest assured that lukewarm faith is not a good thing and that to whom more is given, more is expected.

True again. This is why I want to believe what is true, and I never want to have a lukewarm faith. Not only do I want to believes what is true, I want to pass this belief on to others. This is why I want to resolve all my difficulties as soon as I can. Perhaps God is teaching me to be patient. :slight_smile:

continued…

continued from previous post…

AquinasXVI:

Hello bro. I’ve read your posts these past few months. It looks like your journey in getting to know the CC has been an interior roller coaster.

Yeah, I imagine it’s probably weird for all of you to see me post about my enthusiasm with Catholicism, and then post again a few days later with my doubts. So, I guess it is a bit of a roller coaster. I ask that all of you would pray that God would guide me to where He wants me to be. :slight_smile:

So, when you say you see more bad catholics and more good protestants, please take caution. We don’t know what is in the heart of each person. It’s a great presumption for us to say: He’s bad. He’s good. Only God knows.

And that is certainly true. I really don’t like to label anyone as a “bad person,” though I’ve encountered a few here in Iraq that I would be tempted to label as such. Still, God loves them too. I must never forget that.

Sherlock:

I don’t have time for more than a quick comment (and the other replies you’ve received are better than anything I could say anyway), but I did want to point out how subjective one’s experience is: in my case, most of the Evangelicals that I know personally are (barely) lukewarm—don’t attend services, work like a dog on Sunday, don’t read Scripture with any frequency, and for all practical purposes are secular. The parish I attend, however, is full of enthusiastic, orthodox Catholics who are actively challenging the culture. If I were to base my church identity solely on the fruits that I see, I would not be an Evangelical. However, I base my church identity on what I see as Truth, not my subjective experience.

I guess everyone is affected by their experience. As I said, my problems with Catholicism aren’t really with doctrine (even if some of them are still a little weird… :slight_smile: ), it’s with my lack of personal relationships with committed Catholics.

scylla:

In addition many Catholics who fully give themselves to Christ can be found in monasteries or convents in lives devoted to prayer. I would visit one to see how some people dedicate their lives in service to Christ.

I would love to do so. Anyone know of any in Georgia or the near vicinity?

Only God knows the heart ultimately and He judges not by how loud or vocal we are about the faith, some of the most faithful Catholics are little old ladies who quietly live holy lives.

Yep.

maesoph:

Scott Hahn makes the statement in one of his tape sets that it’s THEM that you are seeing via their lukewarmness, not the DOCTRINE, which is what really matters.

Yes, and doctrine certainly is what really matters.

should you convert and get involved with a Catholic Paris, you might be surprised!!! There is always plenty of stuff going on.

That’s good to know. I would very much like to do more than just go to church on Sunday.

Well, thanks again to all of you for putting up with my often illogical objections. May God bless you for your kindness and help!

continued from previous post

AquinasXVI:

Hello bro. I’ve read your posts these past few months. It looks like your journey in getting to know the CC has been an interior roller coaster.

Yeah, I imagine it’s probably weird for all of you to see me post about my enthusiasm with Catholicism, and then post again a few days later with my doubts. So, I guess it is a bit of a roller coaster. I ask that all of you would pray that God would guide me to where He wants me to be. :slight_smile:

So, when you say you see more bad catholics and more good protestants, please take caution. We don’t know what is in the heart of each person. It’s a great presumption for us to say: He’s bad. He’s good. Only God knows.

And that is certainly true. I really don’t like to label anyone as a “bad person,” though I’ve encountered a few here in Iraq that I would be tempted to label as such. Still, God loves them too. I must never forget that.

Sherlock:

I don’t have time for more than a quick comment (and the other replies you’ve received are better than anything I could say anyway), but I did want to point out how subjective one’s experience is: in my case, most of the Evangelicals that I know personally are (barely) lukewarm—don’t attend services, work like a dog on Sunday, don’t read Scripture with any frequency, and for all practical purposes are secular. The parish I attend, however, is full of enthusiastic, orthodox Catholics who are actively challenging the culture. If I were to base my church identity solely on the fruits that I see, I would not be an Evangelical. However, I base my church identity on what I see as Truth, not my subjective experience.

I guess everyone is affected by their experience. As I said, my problems with Catholicism aren’t really with doctrine (even if some of them are still a little weird… :slight_smile: ), it’s with my lack of personal relationships with committed Catholics.

scylla:

In addition many Catholics who fully give themselves to Christ can be found in monasteries or convents in lives devoted to prayer. I would visit one to see how some people dedicate their lives in service to Christ.

I would love to do so. Anyone know of any in Georgia or the near vicinity?

Only God knows the heart ultimately and He judges not by how loud or vocal we are about the faith, some of the most faithful Catholics are little old ladies who quietly live holy lives.

Yep.

maesoph:

Scott Hahn makes the statement in one of his tape sets that it’s THEM that you are seeing via their lukewarmness, not the DOCTRINE, which is what really matters.

Yes, and doctrine certainly is what really matters.

should you convert and get involved with a Catholic Paris, you might be surprised!!! There is always plenty of stuff going on.

That’s good to know. I would very much like to do more than just go to church on Sunday.

Well, thanks again to all of you for putting up with my often illogical objections. May God bless you for your kindness and help!

Iambic,

In Campus Crusade for Christ, you found the “best” of the crop – kids on fire for Jesus. But if you look at the statistics across the nation (Evangelical groups know this very well) you will find that the incidence of premarital sex & pregnancy, divorce and overall morality among church-going, born-again, “saved” Protestants is scarcely better than the national average.

This isn’t a Catholic versus Protestant issue. We’ve ALL got a problem trying to live the Christ life in this culture, and people like you and your Campus Crusade friends, and the folks on these forums are trying to be part of the solution.

Iambic,

As with many of your questions, you have already thought it through so thoroughly that you have found your own answer.

Among Protestants, particularly evangelicals, is it much easier to “self-sort” or “self-select” into a community that matches your religious temperament. If you are on fire for Christ, it is not hard to find a church where you can surround yourself with people just like you. The same would apply if you were looking for a group that is active in missionary work, or one that is big on feeding the poor, or one where people speak in tongues, or one with great music, or one with fantastic light shows, etc.

Catholics primarily sort themselves into local churches based on geography, rather than those other factors. In a city, most Catholics have a choice of a couple parishes in easy driving distance, and they may gravtitate toward the one with better music, or a more liberal priest, or a more conservative priest, or the one with kneelers and stained glass, or the one with better outreach, etc. But still, each of those parish churches is going to have a very wide range of parisioners from cultural Catholics to the Easter and Christmas types, to the hypocrites, to the folks who are active only on a donuts and bingo level, to the ones who serve in the ministries, or meet for adoration, etc.

At mass, very few Catholics will make an effort to prove that they stand out from the crowd. At mass, most “go with the flow” and the intensity of their faith and devotion (or lack thereof) is kept on the inside.

What I’m trying to say is that mass is absolutely where you go to love and worship God. But it’s not a venue in which you’ll be able to measure other people’s “love for God” or their “desire to serve Him.”

I think that what you’re looking for is going to be found outside the mass, either in small groups within the parish, or in larger organizations. For example, if you want to serve the poor, take a look at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. They’re almost everywhere. Or if you want a more emotional worship experience, maybe the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is for you. Or if you want deeper prayer and contemplation maybe it’s a local rosary group, or some people who get together or pray the Liturgy of the Hours, or maybe its Eucharistic adoration. Maybe you’d want to get involved with the Pro Life League. Or maybe work with the youth group. Maybe you’ll be drawn to help other converts through RCIA.

For some people being Catholic is just about where you go on Sunday. For others, that is just the beginning. There’s so much more than the few things I listed. If you let this community know what you’re looking for, they will help you find it.

–Bill

First of all, I want to applaud your effort to discern from so many different fronts (intellectual, spiritual, doctrinal, and even cultural). You are using all God’s gifts to you to find Truth. It is both great witness to others as well as a great worship and praise of your Creater, Lord, and Savior.

Second, during your discernment, please be watchful for Satan in this process. He will lie to you and try every trick to thwart your journey to become closer to God. Could your various “hurdles” be thoughts and issues that he raises? I’m reminded of one of my own hurdles when I was feeling troubled and I went to my Pastor to discuss it. He told me that this was not of God and to beg God to remove this from my thought and heart. Whether it be a comparison of “good Catholics” vs. “bad Protestants” or vice versa as you are doing, this is a false comparison. Even a comparison of “good Catholics” vs. “good Protestants” is a false comparison. Your comparison is: will your becoming Catholic bring YOU into a more personal and intimate relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit?

Third, I too went back and read some of your posts in this and other threads. IMHO, it appears that you have intellectually bridged so many gaps that separate the Catholic Church from so many of our Protestant brethren. Unfortunately, your heart is burdened by fear and to some degree this fear is rational. You know that if you convert you will not be able to turn back. I’m not one to recommend Scripture as IMHO it appears presumptious that the Holy Spirit is talking thru me but I’m going to do so. :slight_smile: Add Psalm 27 to your daily reading as you contemplate this conversion that will last for all eternity.

Finally, with regard to your perception that Catholics think that a bad Catholic is better than a good Protestant. I for one do not necessarily hold that view. I have faith and confidence that salvation is possible for anyone who loves Jesus and lives a life based on this love. However, based on my own personal experience, I fear more for the soul of a Protestant than a Catholic and this fear is not based on doctrine issues. While never leaving the Church totally, I once went thru what I now call a Protestant phase because I began to search out spiritual matters in non-denominational environments. These environments were very good at being welcoming, alot of hugging and great songs and I thought that this was what Christianity really was about.

But, when hard times struck, the reservoir was not filled because the “environment” only gave me a partial relationship with God and my faith was shaken. Out of desparation, I knew not where to turn because the hugging and singing seemed empty. Fortunately, between my place of work and home was a Catholic Church and in my despair, I began to either stop for a short prayer or even began to attend daily Mass. It was there in the Eucharist where I found Christ totally as He came to be with me in his Body, Soul and Divinity. And in His coming in His total perfection, I didn’t have to see Him thru a prism that was clouded by the imperfections, sinful nature, and baggage of my non-denominational brethren. It was in the Celebration of His Glorious Passion that I came to understand how He too was sharing my suffering. And thru the graces that come from the Eucharist and Confession, I was brought home to God.

My point is that because our Protestant brethren have to find Christ through imperfect messengers there is greater opportunity for Satan to do his work. But in the Eucharist and other Sacraments, Christ is evident in his perfection. For this reason, I fear more for Protestants. I think that many of the other posters who seem to imply that bad Catholics are “better” are subconsiously experssing their faith in the graces given to these people will ultimately lead to a reconversion and ultimately salvation.

mercygate:

In Campus Crusade for Christ, you found the “best” of the crop – kids on fire for Jesus. But if you look at the statistics across the nation (Evangelical groups know this very well) you will find that the incidence of premarital sex & pregnancy, divorce and overall morality among church-going, born-again, “saved” Protestants is scarcely better than the national average.

This isn’t a Catholic versus Protestant issue. We’ve ALL got a problem trying to live the Christ life in this culture, and people like you and your Campus Crusade friends, and the folks on these forums are trying to be part of the solution.

All of that is true, and it is my hope that those in the church, as well as those who are temporarily separated from it, will work to be more like Christ in all we do.

Mot Juste:

As with many of your questions, you have already thought it through so thoroughly that you have found your own answer.

I do seem to have a habit of doing this. Perhaps for my next thread, I’ll have “The Iambic Pen debates himself.” I don’t know if that’s such a good idea, though, as it might prove confusing… :slight_smile:

What I’m trying to say is that mass is absolutely where you go to love and worship God. But it’s not a venue in which you’ll be able to measure other people’s “love for God” or their “desire to serve Him.”

True. In the times I’ve been to mass here in Iraq, I have seen that it’s not exactly a very demonstrative time.

I think that what you’re looking for is going to be found outside the mass, either in small groups within the parish, or in larger organizations. For example, if you want to serve the poor, take a look at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. They’re almost everywhere. Or if you want a more emotional worship experience, maybe the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is for you. Or if you want deeper prayer and contemplation maybe it’s a local rosary group, or some people who get together or pray the Liturgy of the Hours, or maybe its Eucharistic adoration. Maybe you’d want to get involved with the Pro Life League. Or maybe work with the youth group. Maybe you’ll be drawn to help other converts through RCIA.

All of those things sound good. Evangelical churches are well known for having activities outside of Sunday services, and it’s nice to see Catholics have those things too.

For some people being Catholic is just about where you go on Sunday. For others, that is just the beginning. There’s so much more than the few things I listed. If you let this community know what you’re looking for, they will help you find it.

Actually, what would be really helpful is if someone could let me know about churches in the Savannah, Georgia area. Can anyone recommend any? That’s where I’ll be when I get back to the U.S. in a few months. I’ll actually be closer to Hinesville, Georgia, but Savannah is the nearest decent sized city, so people are probably more familiar with it.

God Bless!

I am a convert. I strive to grow closer to Christ everyday. There are many, MANY different venues to suit just about any type of personallity within the Church (with regards to spirituality, and producing fruit), many different lay groups will help to open doorways to different ways that one can “produce fruit.” (Knights of Columbus, Regnum Christi, etc., etc.)

I want to take this opportunity to quote from the CCC: (not so much a generic quote on “producing fruit” but more of a specific one.)

**1039 **In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life:

All that the wicked do is recorded, and they do not know. When “our God comes, he does not keep silence.”. . . he will turn towards those at his left hand: . . . “I placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in heaven at the right hand of my Father - but on earth my members were suffering, my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence.”

(Emphasis mine.)

Orionthehunter:
You posted while I was replying to the other posts, but I had to go ahead and reply to your post right now, because you raised some very good points.

during your discernment, please be watchful for Satan in this process. He will lie to you and try every trick to thwart your journey to become closer to God. Could your various “hurdles” be thoughts and issues that he raises?

I appreciate you mentioning this very much. I am sure this is the case. I know I shouldn’t base my decision on feelings, but I will say that when I am the most sure about Catholicism, I also feel the closest to God. It’s when the doubts about Catholicism creep in that feelings of anger toward God Himself creep in. Satan is insidious and clever, but God’s power and love are infinite. I must never forget that.

Whether it be a comparison of “good Catholics” vs. “bad Protestants” or vice versa as you are doing, this is a false comparison. Even a comparison of “good Catholics” vs. “good Protestants” is a false comparison. Your comparison is: will your becoming Catholic bring YOU into a more personal and intimate relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit?

And this really is the point. If becoming a Catholic is what God wants me to do, then that is what I should do, regardless of what my friends believe. And, who knows? Perhaps my conversion could influence them to follow me into the Church.

Add Psalm 27 to your daily reading as you contemplate this conversion that will last for all eternity.

I will read it. Thanks!

My point is that because our Protestant brethren have to find Christ through imperfect messengers there is greater opportunity for Satan to do his work.

True enough.

I think that many of the other posters who seem to imply that bad Catholics are “better” are subconsiously experssing their faith in the graces given to these people will ultimately lead to a reconversion and ultimately salvation.

That makes sense, and I’m sure that’s what they’re referring to. I guess the problem I have is that many “cultural Catholics” are not even subconsciously expressing their faith. As someone in my platoon said, “I’m Catholic, so I’m not very religious.” Or, as another Catholic I know said, after taking God’s name in vain, “It’s okay, I’m Catholic.” Now, they were probably both joking, a possible way of dealing with their awareness that they were not where they should be, but it is disheartening to hear such things.

Thank you very much for your post! God Bless!

[quote=The Iambic Pen] then obviously the Catholic who does the will of God would be in a superior position to either of the aforementioned two.
[/quote]

You have answered your own question IP! Once you have completed your journey home, you must strive to be a Catholic who does the will of God. :slight_smile:

Peace and blessings,
Mickey

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