Coming back together


#1

I was talking to a protestant friend of mine last night, and he and I were seeing eye to eye more than we ever have. It seems that the state of the world has made it easier for a protestant and a Catholic to forget some of the things that divide us. This got me thinking about unification of the church. I actually know some people who think that this is possible. I was wondering what you all thought on the subject. Do you think it is possible? What would it take to make it happen?
Cheers!


#2

Only by the grace of God. I seriously doubt that any major protestant denomination will ever convert en masse. Some Eastern Orthodox Churches have joined the Catholic Church as recently as 1930, so there is (slightly) more hope with them.

The Church is already unified, as it exists as a unity within itself and loses nothing essential in its role in salvation through the defection of some people. While we definately want all to enter the Barque of Peter, the Church lacks nothing as-is.


#3

I agree with you. Still, I think that we might be close with a couple of the groups. I have some Lutheran friends that think that it might happen within the next few years with their church. Maybe the first to leave will be the first to return. Who knows?


#4

For protestants to start beliving the teaching of the Church about Mary and the Eucharist.


#5

I believe that the only way any protestant or protestant church would come home to the Catholic Church is if they become convinced that the Catholic Church was indeed founded by Christ and was given His authority on earth. If they believe in the authority of the Church, then everything else falls into place (teachings on Eucharist, Mary, Purgatory, etc). As a Catholic, I believe everything the Church teaches, but there are a few issues/teachings I don’t understand. However, because I believe in the authority of the Church, I am willing to accept those teachings on faith and I know I will come to understand those teachings in due time.

There may be different ways protestants could come to the understanding of the Church’s authority. Some of the great modern converts, Scott Hahn comes to mind, were convinced of the Church’s authority through scripture. Others became convinced when they studied history and realized it wasn’t Constantine who founded the Church :rolleyes: .

I think that the best way we can help our protestant brothers and sisters in Christ is to do exactly what we are all doing… learning the details of our faith, sharing the Truth, and living our lives as good Christians.


#6

Each Protestant really has to accept the Catholic Church at an individual level. There’s really no way to consider any Protestant group a monolithic entity of its own as even the basic doctrines of each one are open to interpretation by its members.


#7

As mentioned above, I think individual Protestants will continue to convert to the Catholic Church …just as individual Catholics will continue to leave the Catholic Church to become Protestants. As for wholesale reunion of Protestant denominations with the Catholic Church? I don’t see it happening. The Orthodox…maybe…Protestant Churches…no. One exception might be certain of the “splinter” Anglo-Catholic denominations…some of them are more Catholic than the Pope.


#8

I think all things are possible with God. But I do not think a total christian reunification is probable. There will always be pieces who leave, and pieces who will seek to return, just as individuals come and go - because the church is filled with fallible human beings. That being said, I pray that one day we may all be one in Christ, both visibly as well as invisibly.

Peace,
-Robert


#9

Cardinal Ratzinger, before he was Pope Benedict XVI, was once asked this very thing, if now would be a good time to discuss reunification with the Lutheran church. He smiled, and asked, “Which one?”

Personally, I think that, due to the inherent characteristic of Protestant denominations to splinter every time a member or group of members dislikes the way the denomination is headed, it will never happen en mass. For every group that establishes some kind of understanding, no matter how slight, with the Catholic Church, a certain percentage of it’s members will consider it a threat to their idea of Christianity, and move off to start a “renewal” movement.

I think it more likely that Protestantism, as a movement (whose roots are only a few hundred years old), will gradually, but eventually, dry up and become a historical footnote, as the mainline “Reformation” denominations are becoming even now, each of which had it’s day. The Catholic Church has seen 'em come and go, and will still be here when Our Lord finally returns.


#10

:amen:


#11

I was talking to a non-catholic friend of mine also about Catholicism. At the end of our conversation I actually got him admitting that there was biblical evidence (not that he whole heartly believed it) for purgatory, praying with those in heaven and the Real Presence. Those are pretty big steps for any non-Catholic to admit.


#12

If your friend is an Anglican or Lutheran, the Real Presence is not a problem (not that they are likely to agree with transubstantiation). IMHO, the biggest obstacles for Protestants are: (1) Marian Doctrines, (2) Papal authority and infallability, and (3) faith/works (although this historical dispute one is actually coming together a bit).


#13

My friend is a non-denominational christian who believed that the Eucharist, Mary devotion and purgatory were unscriptual. Now, although he doesnt completely agree with the teachings, he admits that they are infact biblical and it is causing him to re evaluate his beliefs. And I didnt even have to get into it with him about sola scriptura.


#14

The Early Church Fathers are having a tremendous impact in the Evangelical communities. My Evangelical brother has been studying in a Baptist seminary in Boston, and they have been studying the ECFs. He began to realize that the very highly edited version they were using was incomplete and showed only what the Baptists wanted him to see, so he went and bought the 3-volume “The Faith of the Early Fathers” edited by William Jurgens. He read up to the early 4th century (pre-Nicea).

After decades of viscious Catholic-bashing, he now admits that the “primitive church” in post-apostolic times:

celebrated the holy sacrifice of the mass,

believed in the Real Presence of our Lord in the eucharist,

was led by bishops, priests and deacons,

recognized a ministerial priesthood distinct from the universal priesthood of the baptized,

practiced infant baptism,

believed in original sin,

and was called “Catholic”.

He still suspects that the modern Catholic Church has created some new doctrines that were not believed in the early church. But it is a huge leap from where he was a few years ago. He now actually admits that I might be a Christian.

Thank God for the ECFs!
Paul


#15

I find very, very few protestants who are terribly familiar with the early church fathers or anything before the 16th century, for that matter.

For me, Scriptural support didn’t do it for me. I had to go back and study my own denomination (Baptist at the time) and its history… and keep going… and going. Well, it didn’t go very far before the Church sure looked Catholic to me. In fact, nothing even remotely resembled Baptist theology or worship. That is something that no honest person can deny.

-Michael


#16

The problem is that they do not want to realize that the Fathers taught something completely different from what they are doing. And often they take clips of the Fathers(Just like the Bible) without considering the event around it, which the Church has infallibly taught.

They do not want to realize the essence of Tradition and the Magesterium. Tradition has always taught that Mary was ever-virgin and they disagree with it because of what they think. Only the people near her time know and we go with what they say. They completely misinterpret the meaning of the verse saying that Mary had other sons and daughters. But there is hope:)


#17

I disagree vehemently with you people who say, “a near total reunion will never happen.” You people are completely ignorant of the vast ocean of fully approved Private Rev that prophesies of an great *intermediate *apostasy in the age of the Church that will have an associated minor tribulation, the result of which will be to “apocalyptically” manifest to ALL non-Catholics, from Muslims, Orthodox, and Protestant, to the full apostates, the full and true nature of the darkness of whatever error they have, in such a manner that Christian reunion will occur on a near total scale, and that such reunion will “enable the world to believe” (as Christ prays in John 17:20-23), hence, bringing about a glorious restoration of Catholicism.

Here’s the quote from EWTN that shows the overwhelming evidence for this, as also following from Desmond Birch’s 23-year research volume Trial, Tribulation and Triumph:

ewtn.com/expert/answers/endtimes.htm

Approved Catholic mystics (Venerables, Blessed and Saints, approved apparitions) throw considerable light on this order, by prophesying a minor apostasy and tribulation toward the end of the world, after which will occur the reunion of Christians. Only later will the entire world fall away from Christ (the great apostasy) and the personal Antichrist arise and the Tribulation of the End occur.
Although this is not Catholic doctrine, arising as it does from private revelation, it conforms to what is occurring in our time, especially in light of Our Lady of Fátima’s promise of an “Era of Peace.” This “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart” (other saints have spoken of a social reign of Jesus Christ when Jesus will reign in the hearts of men) would seem to occur prior to the rise of the Antichrist. The optimism of the Pope for the “New Evangelization” and a “Civilization of Love” in the Third Millennium of Christianity fits here, as well. This would place us, therefore, in the period just before the events spoken of in the Catechism, that is, on the verge of the evangelization of the entire world. Other interpretations are possible, but none seem to fit the facts as well, especially when approved mystics are studied, instead of merely alleged ones.

I do not believe God would be fully justified in ending the world unless He first vindicates the Church’s Revelation and makes it efficacious in history. Because otherwise, the world has a partially legitimate excuse for the current apostasy, considering the unimaginable atrocities done in the name of the monotheistic religions.

I elaborate considerably on these issues on my site:

On the Disunity and Unity of Christians and Christ’s Plan for the Redemption

The Two Witnesses and the 'Witness" of the Church


#18

Ok, stuff like this is tends to affirm those sola scriptura tendencies in me. Where is the basis in Scripture for wild revelations such as this?


#19

actually, I’m sorry for being rude above: :frowning:

I disagree vehemently with you people who say, “a near total reunion will never happen.” You people

I mean to say, I politely disagree with my brothers and sisters who do not believe it likely that Christians will ever be nearly reunited. Please accept my apologies.

In the Love of Our Lady,
scott


#20

well, this is UNSETTLED stuff. I do not at all mean to say you MUST believe my views (or derivatively the great number of mystics who prophesy of this). You may disagree at this point. The Catholic Church has not settled this issue. It seems apparently to be a part of what will be the “mystery of iniquity”. The Church prays for the increase of the unity of Christians, but doesn’t say if and to what degree any reunion will take place.

But, you have asked, “where is the basis in Scripture.” Again, I don’t think the Scriptures can as of yet be said to say one way or another. hence, it’s unsettled. But for my arguments, based on Scripture, again, read the articles I underlined. I think they make a good case:

On the Disunity and Unity of Christians and Christ’s Plan for the Redemption

The Two Witnesses and the 'Witness" of the Church

blessings!
scott


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