Catholicism series is weak to me

I am watching the series called catholicism at my church, I’m up to lesson 6, and I find it
to be shallow with new age undertones. For me, if the purpous of the series is to convince
catholics and non catholics of the fact that the catholic church is the one true church, it fails
badly. As I told my small group"if other relgions have truth in them, then if your not a christain
or catholic, why switch to catholcism"? So far this series is not giving people a reason.
So I would like to get other peoples opinions about this series. :knight2:

I had problems focusing and staying with this series also, even though I have the greatest respect for Fr. Barron. I’m not sure what he wanted to accomplish, but it failed to hold my interest, so I did not finish watching them. :frowning: He mentioned that it cost a lot of money for production as funding became available for his travels. Maybe some folks enjoy it?

Im sorry yall didnt enjoy it. I loved it and have watched them all through more than once. It isnt meant to be the deepest theological study or anything, just a sweeping overview of the faith and in that I think it is a big success.

As per the OP of course other religions have some truth in them. For example Islam believes there is one God, they are correct. Is all of Islam correct? Of course not but there are aspects of truth in it. You become Catholic to have the fullness of truth.

Then you would characterize Vatican II as “shallow with new age undertones”? That’s where he’s getting the concepts that he’s discussing…

As I told my small group"if other relgions have truth in them, then if your not a christain or catholic, why switch to catholcism"?

Other, non-Catholic or non-Christian religions may say true things; but only in Catholicism is one guaranteed to find truth. And, in Catholicism alone does one find the fullness of the truth. That, it would seem, is sufficient reason!

(Imagine if we were standing before a row of restaurants, and I told you, “it’s possible that you might find a bit of good food in any of these restaurants; but, only in this one here can you be certain that you’ll find an entire meal full of good food.” If you believed what I was telling you, you mean you wouldn’t be convinced to go to that restaurant and that restaurant alone? :wink: )

I loved the series. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

Try to realize that not everyone is where you are in your Catholic faith. You have to recognize that quite a few people are hostile to the Catholic Church and would never watch a more theologically-hard-hitting series.

Everyone has to get started somewhere, and this series does a marvelous job of attracting the interest of people who have never given Catholicism a serious thought, including fallen-away Catholics who haven’t been near a Mass in years!

It also does a good job of inspiring Catholics who are faithful and committed. It reminds us all of the beauty and wonder of Jesus Christ and His Church.

For people like my parents-in-law, who are life-long evangelical/Pentecostal Protestants, this series attracted them precisely because it was low-key theologically and non-condemning of other religions.

For Catholics who have been away from their Church, the series does a great job of drawing them back because it shows a very sweeping and beautiful picture of world-wide Catholicism.

There are several ways to woo people. One way is to charge into a battle and present apologetic after apologetic about the truth of your religion. This will win some people who prefer a hard-hitting approach. The wonderful apologist, Tim Staples, uses this approach, and it’s very effective, although I personally think that not everyone is ready to hear Tim Staples and some people will be more offended than convinced.

Another way to woo people is to go slowly and gently, holding out attractive bait, and avoiding arguments and debates. This approach will be much more effective with many people, and it’s the approach that Father Barron uses in his series. Father Barron’s series can help people to at least set foot in the door of the Catholic Church and get them ready to hear more hard-hitting apologists like Tim Staples, and eventually to attend actual Masses with actual priests.

But everyone has to start somewhere, and Father Barron’s series is a lovely place to start.

I’m not sure what you see as “New Age” in the series, and I’m wondering if you are put off by the presentations of Catholicism in other countries, in which Mass definitely looks different than it does in the United States. :confused: Perhaps you could give some examples of things that you considered “New Age.” Thanks.

I agree with you. The series was not meant to be a deep theological study, although Father Barron does mention St. Thomas Acquinas’ thoughts many times.

The series is beautifully produced, and can awaken one’s interest in the truths of the faith.

I really loved this series or what I could get of it on PBS and EWTN. I just ordered the DVD set so I can review some of the episodes I missed. I found it full of nuanced teaching. I have never heard an exposition of the Trinity quite like his explanation. I liked that he neither watered down Catholic belief nor bashed others for not believing the same. It is a real art to address some of the complex topics Fr. Barron discussed without talking down to people or making it really obtuse. I thought he talked about Catholic concepts with “complex simplicity” to coin a oxymoron.

Father Barron has a great gift for teaching, and since it was on PBS in many areas many non-Catholics who watched it may have learned something new.

I havent watched too much of it, But I enjoy the fact that he travels and showcases the Faith to us… Gives us a better idea of the magnitude we profess

The concept that there is truth in other religions is not “new age.” It’s straight from Vatican II:

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.

Think of what would be true if this were not the case: All religions besides Catholicism are 100% false. They teach that it is wrong to murder someone? Sorry, it must be false because they’re not Catholic. Such a position is untenable and unnecessary. Recognizing that other religions contain some truth takes nothing away from the fact that the fulness of Truth (that is, Jesus Himself) is found in the Catholic Church.

I’m not sure what you were expecting from the series. No one series is going to be all things to all people. The purpose of the series is to present the beauty of Catholicism in a way that even non-Catholics and non-theologians can appreciate. I think it does that very well.

I really loved the series!!!:thumbsup:

It was given to me to watch when my faith was failing…again…still is:confused:. I do find that when I need ‘reminding’ that the Catholic church is good, I watch an episode. The series made me remember the good things, and I found myself falling in love with so much, the saints, Our Lady, Jesus, all over again. There is truly so much beauty in the church, I do believe it has a lot to offer people. I love Father Barron and found him to be surprisingly modern and I could really relate to that.:smiley:

As previous people have stated the concept that there is some truth in other religions but the Catholic Church contains the fullness of truth is not “new age” but from the teachings of Vatican II.

Second, you give no indication of what your “small group” consist of? Is it An RCIA group? Is it a parish group? For what age bracket? That information is important if you want other people’s opinion on the suitability of the material.

Third, as other posters have said, people come to the Church from various backgrounds, experiences, and educational knowledge. For example, an RCIA program can have people who have read tons of theology books and documents and are “ready” to take that step of conversion, and for others RCIA is an inquiry without much formal knowledge but faith has drawn them to that moment. I have seen many posts on this forum by individuals who are disappointed that their RCIA was not the equivalent of masters of divinity course! Can most programs be improved? Of course, but there is a definite attitude among some people to “beat up” the RCIA people. I am not saying that this is your attitude, but many people lose sight of the fact that RCIA is a steeping stone to a lifelong process of faith.

Fourth, for cradle Catholics this series can be a “renewal” of the majesty of their faith and/or an “eyeopener” of a faith that they may have taken for granted or have wandered away from. A typical parish may have 20 25 hours a year in religious instruction for children and most end their formal “education” in the faith with Confirmation as a teenager. If there has been no support or encouragement in the home, as Jesus said, how can we expect the seed of faith to grow?

Just some thoughts

:thumbsup: I think you summed up the intent and purpose of the series perfectly.

To me, this was more of a subtle apologetic than a catechetical or evangelization effort, although it can serve to open the door to evangelization in some ways.

I have a degree in Catholic theology and am presenting the Catholicism project to my deanery this October for the Year of Faith. Having watched it, I found lots of complex theological concepts embedded in Fr. Barron’s easy and gentle style. I think he presents some deep theological ideas with great lucidity and is to be applauded.

The series presents the sites, the sounds, the smells and the emotions of the faith as well as the concepts and should provide a springboard for nominal Catholics to develop a deeper relationship with the Trinity (I hope & pray).

Not very familiar with this series, but I think the point you raise is an important one.

The Church’s traditional teaching has been “Outside the Church, there is no salvation”. However, this statement was made at a time when the knowledge of vast non-Christian parts of the world was still far in the future. Furthermore, it was made in the context of a Western Christendom where the Christian faith was not only a religion, but a culture and a way of life.

The discovery of the “New World”, as well as the exploration and colonization of large portions of Asia and Africa, changed this. In the meantime, Western Christendom was slowly and tragically dismantled, beginning with the Protestant “Reformation” and its aftermath, and the rise of secularism and classical liberalism following the French Revolution. By the 1950s-60s, it was clear that things would never be the same as they were 600-700 years ago, at least for quite a while.

These, among other factors, led the Church to clarify (NOT re-interpret or revise) the doctrine along the following lines:

  1. There are elements of truth (with a lowercase “t”) in other religions. For example, most Eastern religions, though they have an erroneous concept of God, do generally acknowledge that God exists - which is a step up from atheism or agnosticism. Similarly, Judaism, though it does not accept the divinity of Christ or the Trinitarian nature of God, does accept that there is one God, who has revealed Himself in the Old Testament scriptures - and this is a step up from polytheism, pantheism or pan-entheism.

  2. However, the fullness of Truth (with a capital “T”) resides within the Catholic Church, which was founded by Christ and against which the gates of Hell shall not prevail. Insofar as other religions resemble the Catholic faith, they do contain elements of truth (lowercase “t”) but not The Truth (capital “T”).

  3. It is possible that there exist men and women of good will, who do believe that God exists and who seek Him, but who (through no fault of theirs) do not hear the Gospel. Since Catholics do not believe in “double reprobation” or “predestination to damnation”, the logical assumption is that at least a small portion (a “remnant”, if you will) can possibly be saved. However, if they are saved, it is through Christ, as “unknown” members of His Church. They are saved in spite of being outside the Church, not because their religions contain elements of truth. Though Vatican II made this explicit, it is at least implicit in some older teachings - such as the Baltimore Catechism (where the conditional and uncertain nature of such salvation is also spelt out) and the Fatima Prayer (“Lead all souls to heaven” - not “all Catholic souls”).

  4. Membership in the Church is not a “ticket to salvation”. There are, unfortunately, some (or even many, according to some interpretations) in the Church who belong to it in letter, but not in spirit - and if they fail to recognize it and repent, they too will face eternal punishment. This, to my mind, is why Lumen Gentium said that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church: the Catholic Church contains the fullness of Truth and salvation, but not all Catholics are necessarily among the elect.

It is true that some over-enthusiastic “ecumenically” or “liberally”-minded folks have gone beyond these bounds, and have espoused a soft form of “Christian Universalism” - but this is certainly not authentic Church teaching, either pre- or post-Vatican II!

With this in mind, you might want to give the series a second try, and see if your concerns were truly justified. All the best! :thumbsup:

We checked out a study of the Gospel of Matthew by Jeff Cravins and it really makes you understand how the Catholic Church is the authority of God through the Eucharist. I highly recommend it for those who want biblical understanding of the Catholic Church.

The answer should be obvious… it is because Catholicism is the fullness of the truth. Are you sure you’re not just missing this in the series?

I thoroughly enjoyed the series, though I’ve not been able to really sit down and “go through it”. I look forward to one day owning the boxed set with the book and all…

I noted nothing in it that was “new-agey” in any way…:shrug:

Your response to it simply shows that there is no one approach that is going to appeal to everyone.

Can’t say that I really saw the series as one of trying to convince people to become Catholic, but rather to explain the Church and correct some misunderstandings that are common among non-Catholics. To me the series was more about enticing people who are not Catholic to take a closer look…

:twocents: duly deposited


I had a little trouble watching it at first myself. As someone posted earlier, maybe you’re just further along in your faith than a lot of people. There are roughly 2.3 Billion catholics worldwide. Think about how many are NOT at your level. I liked it more when I thought about it this way: It’s for people who don’t really understand their beliefs or are just in the basics or aren’t catholic at all. Maybe it makes them want to learn more about their own beliefs or catholicism in general. I tell you, if you are not a firm Christian, there are some “over zealous” people, we’ll say, who can turn people off from Christianity. And when you break it down to Catholicism, there are even more prejudices and misconceptions. I think maybe they were trying to show people we’re not what you think we’re about. It has to be a little watered down for TV so we don’t scare people off. If nothing else, it is beautiful to watch. But if it reaches 100,000 people, maybe 1,000 will be saved, or convert to catholicism! Wouldn’t that be grand! Even if it was only 1 we could still say it did it’s job.:smiley:

Isn’t that the estimate for the number of Christians worldwide? Of course, we would like them all to be Catholic!

It is said that roughly half that number are Catholics, and that Roman Catholicism (ex the Eastern Churches) is still the single largest “denomination” among world religions.

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