Catholic in a Lutheran world

I am a lifelong Catholic, attending Mass regularly, but also employed as a Parish Administrator for the past 20+ years at a Lutheran Church. Until recently, I have never felt that the slight differences in religious doctrine were a problem. My Lutheran friends always respected my views and I theirs. However, I have seen some major changes in the ELCA recently in regard to same sex marriage (which in all honesty I saw coming for a few years now) and I am unsure if, as a practicing Catholic, I can continue to work for this church. I am really struggling to be a loving person but at the same time, my background and religious upbringing, as well as my personal understanding of my faith, is telling me that this church is heading in a completely different direction - one I’m not sure I accept. I do plan to make an appointment with my parish priest for a discussion on this topic, but meanwhile was looking for some additional input, hopefully from others in similar situations. Anyone?

I believe you nailed it with “my personal understanding of my Faith…one I cannot accept”.
It is difficult when we have parts of our life that become contradictory to our belief and we must choose (sometimes painfully) to extract ourselves from the situation. I think you already know this is only going to escalate to a point that you feel uncomfortable. We are cautioned as Catholics in standing silent when we see a sin against God being committed. I also think you already know the answer to your future. God Bless you, I will pray for you.

Personally I feel it is rather unusual that the Lutheran Church should employ you, a Catholic, as their Parish Administrator. Thus it is unusual for a Catholic to take such a position. I take it as far as you are concerned the job is a means of livelihood and if it is so, it would be quite unfair for us to tell you to quit.

My personal general principle is not to live and work, unless I cannot help it, in a place that would somehow expose me greatly to its culture and belief which is opposed to mine. I would consider your job to be in that situation.

May God bless you.


I think that you should be quite blunt with your Lutheran bosses about the anti-Christian direction that they are taking. If they refuse to repent, you should look for a different job. You are not alone, this has split many protestant congregations.

I think it says a lot about you and this Lutheran Parish that you could participate/work for so long together.

I worked with a youth ministry at an Evangelical Free denomination shortly after being Baptized into the Catholic Church. It’s good to appreciate all the similarities which these Christian communities have. AND EVEN FLOURISH IN SOME AREAS!

In the end, if you are a genuine Catholic, there will come a crossroad. I did not make a big issue of mine. I spoke my peace and it doesn’t help to insult. Let the good communion you had be a healthy memory for all.

My LCMS pastor says our synod is in continuous communication with the ELCA hoping they will return to the morals and values that our cofessions stand on…which is Biblically sound in Christ.

I think you should take it the same way the first Christians did.
We have to live in society.
Those were really happy times, when everybody in the town was a catholic…
Somehow somethings must change in our attitudes and the way we live our lives in between nonbelievers. But I can’t say how or what. Maybe somebody can point some readings from the early Fathers of the Church?

Does ELCA hold to the Augsburg Confession?

The ELCA generally holds a quatenus (insofar as, or qualified) subscription to the Augsburg Confession. This means they follow it insofar as they understand it to align with Scripture. Add this to the fact that the ELCA believes the Bible to contain God’s Word, rather than to be the inspired Word of God, and we find another level of wiggle room. In the ELCA, this translates to a wide variety of people calling themselves Lutheran; a minority who follow Augsburg to the ‘T,’ and a majority which simply cherry-picks agreeable portions, and excuses unsavory bits as a “product of the times” or at odds with the [novel] interpretations the Historical-Critical method and general American Protestantism. So to answer your question simply… no, the ELCA doesn’t really hold fast to the Augsburg Confession.

Other Lutherans, who call themselves “Confessional,” take a quia (because, or total) subscription to the AC. They follow it entirely, because they believe it to rightly reflect Scripture, which, in contrast to the quatenus camp, they believe to be the inspired Word of God. There is no mistaking what a Confessional Lutheran believes.

OP, you have my prayers - I’ve had my fair share of working with a conflict of conscience. It’s never pleasant. Jeremiah 29:11.

Who exactly would he ask to repent? The decision of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to welcoming same-sex couples and clergy in committed, monogamous relationships and to allow its pastors to perform same-sex marriages, etc. is based on majority votes taken by voting members from its congregations at its 65 Synod Assemblies and its Churchwide Assembly. Also, individual congregations and their pastors and church councils have much more autonomy than Catholic congregations do. So there is no one Lutheran “boss” in the ELCA who could be asked to repent. The ELCA is a democracy, not a kind of monarchy like the Catholic Church. :shrug:

Right. If the Catholic Church was a democracy, they would probably be marrying same sex couples too.

A kingdom who serves a king cannot be a democracy, right?

I attended an assembly of one of the ELCA’s 65 synods earlier this year and our bishop praised the decision of the ELCA in 2009 to allow its congregations to call and ordain gay and lesbian clergy in committed and monogamous relationships. Most of the more conservative congregations in opposition to that decision have already left the ELCA, so I don’t see any possibility of a change in course on this issue.

Thank you so much.

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