"Catholicism too Legalistic"


#1

I have a Protestant friend who says this about our faith. I never thought this was true, but reading some of the subjects discussed here at this site makes me wonder. My fellow parishioners seem far different from what I read here, I don’t hear too much agonizing over the details of canon law or liturgy amongst my friends.

To non-Catholics our Church does appear to be too structured, with too much red tape. My friend attends a spirit-filled Church that is full of life and love, she’s says. She tells me that she would never feel comfortable in the Catholic Church with it’s complex rules and formal liturgy. I have no answer for this. She tells me that Jesus came to break down the stranglehold of legalism and that the Catholic Church has made everything too complex and legalistic.


#2

Jesus broke down the “legalism” - to use your term - of the wroks required under the Old Law, but that’s not all He did. He also instituted the hierarchy.

The notion of rules, or better put, structure and order, is not counter to communing with God, it is necessary. Ask your friend, and yourself, is God not orderly? Read Genesis 1 and 2 again. Read the Ten Commandments. Order and rules come from God. Consider the fact that they are actually a necessary components to living in an authenticly Spirit filled way.

Without them what happens? Abortion is OK in some Christian communities. Homosexual “marriage” is promoted in others. Without the strcuture and order Christ willed for His Church, this is where things go…


#3

We worship at Mass. Mass is a long prayer we pray together.

We go to concerts and the movies to “entertain” ourselves. But for that one hour it is about offering ourselves in prayer to God.

[LEFT]The opposite of organized is chaos.[/LEFT]


#4

Sometimes people have questions and want answers. When the Church stops thinking, it spits off into groups who try to suit themselves.

To non-Catholics our Church does appear to be too structured, with too much red tape. My friend attends a spirit-filled Church that is full of life and love, she’s says. She tells me that she would never feel comfortable in the Catholic Church with it’s complex rules and formal liturgy. I have no answer for this. She tells me that Jesus came to break down the stranglehold of legalism and that the Catholic Church has made everything too complex and legalistic.

Now might be a good time to find out where her church stands on artificial birth control, divorce, etc. and why. . . . . .


#5

The idea that worship must be “spirit-filled” – i.e., moving and stimulating – in order to be Spirt-filled is absurd. The truth is not about feeling good or feeling loved or feeling anything; it’s about being good and being loved and being everything we’re called to be, regardless of “feelings”. We’re not called to a life of “spirit-filled worship”; we’re called to a life of love, sacrifice, and obedience of God’s commandments.

To judge a faith based on the feelings it generates is a recipe for disaster, because our emotions too often overpower our reason. We need structure and order – it’s a need ingrained in our nature.

Peace,
Dante


#6

The actual practice of the liturgy ain’t that complicated:

A=Adoration (Things like the Gloria)
C=Contrition (Kyrie, etc.)
T=Thanksgiving (Eucharist, etc.)
S=Supplication (Prayers of the people)

I’ve heard plenty of Protestants use the ACTS model of prayer.


#7

Ask your friend what she thinks about the writings of Paul. Talk about legalistic. And Protestants proclaim to be such adherents to Paul.

Protestant denominations can’t even come together on a unified interpretation and application of Paul’s teachings, much less an effective one on Jesus’ teachings. I always question the “spirit” angle professed by people like your friend. Thier idea of “spirit” seems more like emotionalism driven through physical activity.

I can get the same “spirit” they talk about by a good work out at the gym.

Be glad you have the rules to follow and live within. Because in following them you will find freedom from sin. And communion with God. That was Jesus’ promise. That is the New Covenant.

I like the idea of re-reading Genesis 1 -2 again. Good idea.


#8

“Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground.”–G.K. Chesterton

The walls are there to keep us safe from all the shifting winds of false doctrine out there.

I’ll bet that with a little bit of questioning, you can show your friend that her church is full of legalisms. For example, I’ve never heard of a church service that had no structure whatsoever. I’ll bet there are regulations regarding marriage. I’ll bet there are regulations regarding who can join (can someone who denies all that church’s beliefs and openly blasphemes God be a member?)

You can’t have a “spirit-filled Church that is full of life and love” without rules.


#9

Jesus said, “If you love me, then keep my commandments.” He did not say, “If you love me, then sing Kumbaya.”


#10

This resonates with the concept of hortus conclusus. The Garden of Eden was a hortus conclusus – a closed garden; it had walls.

The reasoning behind a hortus conclusus recognizes that humans learn progressively, not all in one lump. To learn, we need to respond to something which is already there: a boundary condition.

The Magisterium is something which is already there. Moreover, it is Truth not error. And therefore any learning we do will be built on a solid boundary condition.


#11

good one


#12

Agreed, but he also didn’t say NOT to sing “Kumbaya”. :wink:

Peace,
Dante


#13

Well, I guess we could sing Kumbaya if we kept His commandments.

z.about.com/d/animatedtv/1/0/l/G/SPboysatcampfire_small.jpg


#14

What is the definition of too legalistic?

What is not legalistic enough?

These are just words used to polarize and modify a person’s thought, not a representation of truth.

If she cannot define what is “too” and at what point is “not enough” then this really means nothing. They are just words used to make a person feel bad at the appropriate time to make them agree to the point.

Like “Pro-Choice” isn’t that good? Don’t you want a choice, do you really want to deny freedom? Are you really “anti-choice”.

Many words like this are used to form your mind to accept viewpoints not to represent truth. The people who adopted these phrases don’t care about truth, but about promoting a prejudice or concept. Your friend probably doesn’t know this but thinks that they have a point, ask your friend to examine this phrase and see if it really means anything.

God Bless
Scylla


#15

I have a Protestant friend who says this about our faith. I never thought this was true, but reading some of the subjects discussed here at this site makes me wonder. My fellow parishioners seem far different from what I read here, I don’t hear too much agonizing over the details of canon law or liturgy amongst my friends.

Someone posted this before. I don’t mean to not give credit to whoever did it, but I don’t remember. I just saved the post because I thought it was great.

  1. Go to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days (that’s not very hard - and if you end up in a situation where it really is too hard, hey, guess what, the obligation disappears).

  2. Follow the laws of fasting and abstinence, which again, are not too hard, and again, if they really are too hard, then they don’t apply to you, anyway.

  3. Receive Holy Communion once a year, during the Easter season. That’s easy, right? You probably receive it more often than that, already.

  4. Go to Confession once a year, and any time you have a mortal sin to confess. That’s kind of scary, but once you get into the Confessional, the priest helps you - it’s not too bad; it’s just a conversation. And the best part about it is that you receive Absolution for all of your sins - the priest forgets all about them as soon as you leave the Confessional, and so does God.

  5. Support your parish priest to the best of your ability. Your ability, not someone else’s ability. Again, easy stuff.

Everything else depends upon your state in life.

If you are married, you have to follow the laws of marriage. They can appear to be complicated, but in reality they are very, very simple - love your spouse, take good care of each other, and be open to the idea of having children together.

If you work, you have to follow the laws of economic justice - which can, again, seem pretty complicated, but when you boil them right down, they’re about giving a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage, taking good care of your employees, and making sure your work is the kind that helps other people, instead of hurting them in some way.

In all things, God first.

There’s really not that many “rules” to Catholicism at all.

To non-Catholics our Church does appear to be too structured, with too much red tape. My friend attends a spirit-filled Church that is full of life and love, she’s says. She tells me that she would never feel comfortable in the Catholic Church with it’s complex rules and formal liturgy. I have no answer for this. She tells me that Jesus came to break down the stranglehold of legalism and that the Catholic Church has made everything too complex and legalistic.

Hah! So spirit fulled churches are free from this? When so many times you have to follow the unwritten rules of no smoking, no drinking, no gambling, no secular music, no rated R movies, no whatever else the pastor decides is wrong.


#16

It seems to me that God also might be “too Legalistic”, because in Genesis chapter 26, it says:

Genesis 26:1-5
… And Isaac went to Gerar, to Abim’elech king of the Philistines.
And the LORD appeared to him, and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfil the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give to your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves: **because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” **


closed #17

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