Dad hates the Church and the Pope

I am a recent convert (December 2009) and come from a family of hardcore Calvinist Protestants. He has practically ostracized me since I married a Catholic and have converted after much historical study and living up to Cardinal Newmans true statement “to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”

So in a discussion with my father the other day about the Pope (whom he cannot stand), he said the following:

“I’m typing on my phone so it’s too cumbersome to go into how in-Biblical he and Roman Catholic doctrine is. One of the first ones that comes to mind is the RC doctrine that says Jesus’ death was insufficient for our Salvation and that you can’t get to Heaven without the RC Church. The non-sensical issue is illustrated by his hypocritical attitude that the USA should let anyone and everyone who wants to to come into and live in this country while he, in the Vatican, maintains the highest border wall and strictest immigration policy on the planet.”

He then provides the following link from John Ankerberg website:

This discussion is all over the place, and it’s very frustrating:confused:. Does anyone have anything to add or any helpful advice, or insight? Thank you. :thumbsup:

Wait, you’re doing apologetics by text messages? With your dad? Your dad is better at texting than me (also a dad). Your dad is cooler than me.

[quote=SuperSailors’ dad] One of the first ones that comes to mind is the RC doctrine that says Jesus’ death was insufficient for our Salvation

Uhh, I’m pretty sure that is heresy.

CCC 613 Christ’s death is the unique and definitive sacrifice

Christ’s death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”,[sup]439[/sup] and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the “blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”.[sup]440[/sup]

CCC 614 This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices.[sup]441[/sup] First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience.[sup]442[/sup]

__________439 Jn 1:29; cf. 8:34-36; 1 Cor 5:7;* 1 Pet* 1:19.
440 Mt 26:28; cf. Ex 24:8; Lev 16:15-16;* 1 Cor* 11:25.
441 Cf. Heb 10:10.
442 Cf. Jn 10:17-18; 15:13; Heb 9:14; 1 Jn 4:10.

and that you can’t get to Heaven without the RC Church.

Uhh, pretty sure that is heresy. The ordinary means of salvation (according to the Catholic Church) has nothing to do with being formally associated with the Church. It is all about the Grace of Christian Baptism (and the Church teaches that most protestants (those who use the Trinitarian form) practice valid Christian Baptism.

CCC 1263 For the forgiveness of sins . . .

By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.[sup]66[/sup] In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

__________66 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1316.

The non-sensical issue is illustrated by his hypocritical attitude that the USA should let anyone and everyone who wants to to come into and live in this country while he, in the Vatican, maintains the highest border wall and strictest immigration policy on the planet.

Is this REALLY something he complains about? Vatican City is possibly the smallest sovereign nation earth. It comprises a territory of 110 acres (0.17 square miles). The state of Rhode Island (the smallest state in the US) has 1,214 square miles (more than seven thousand times larger than Vatican City).

The United States comprises 3,805,927 square miles, which is 22,387,806 times larger than Vatican City.

Vatican City has 842 citizens. It recently accepted a family of four Syrian refugees, growing its population by nearly a half percent. It has announced plans to accept another family, which would grow its population by about 1 percent.

Eight or nine people might not sound like a lot, but Vatican City is tiny. If the United States accepted a proportional number of refugees as measured by land mass, it would take in 2,487,533 people.

The population of the United States is 321,605,012, which is 381,954 times larger than Vatican City. If the United States took in the equivalent proportion of nine people in Vatican City, it would take in 3,437,586 Syrian refugees.

So, how many Syrian refugees has the United States actually accepted? Fewer than 1,000. But we’re “scaling up” to all of 10,000 according to CNN:

President Barack Obama has ordered his administration to “scale up” the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States in the coming year, directing his team to prepare for at least 10,000 in the next fiscal year, the White House said Thursday.

By the way, the “wall” was constructed in the Sixteenth Century to keep out hostile Italian princes, not refugees. In WW2, Vatican City was completely surrounded by a hostile nation.

Amen! God Bless, Memaw

Your father’s attitude brings to mind the quote from the venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen:

There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.

He was a very astute judge of human nature and the human condition, and had a quick wit. Several other of his notable quotes (or zingers) are all over the internet at places like

With no offense or malice intended towards your dad regarding the highest wall or the strictest immigration policy, he should be reminded what life was like under the tyranny of John Calvin in the city of Geneva. True, Geneva was a fortified city long before the likes of Calvin showed up, but he used the walls of the city to keep the inhabitants INSIDE that place rather than any concern of any barbarian invasion. As a Calvinist who presumably knows his stuff, surely he would know that already.

Perhaps Bishop Fulton Sheen can encourage you from the distant past.

[size=3][FONT=&quot]There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church - which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics “adore statues”; because they “put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God”; because they say “indulgence is a permission to commit sin”; because the Pope “is a Fascist”; because the “Church is the defender of Capitalism.” If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

[/size] If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine. [/FONT]

[/FONT]Radio Replies

  1. I’m pretty sure that bringing up Jean Calvin would be a little bit off-topic. Amusing for you, maybe, but not useful to either of you.

  2. When your dad texts you five zillion objections at once, ask him to pick one, or to number them so that you can answer them in order. Don’t be afraid to say you’ll have to look something up, or that you don’t know what he’s talking about but you can find out.

  3. Yes, thinking Jesus’ sacrifice was insufficient is a heresy.

However, St. Paul did say something in Colossians 1:23-24 that sounds a little similar, although he didn’t mean it that way:

“…This is the Gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a minister; and who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and in my flesh I fill up what was lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for His Body, which is the Church.”

So if your dad has a problem with Paul’s figures of speech, he needs to take it up with Paul.

Look, Jesus warned us that if we wanted to follow Him, we had to take up His Cross and suffer and die. We are His Body, and so we are mistreated and sacrificed just as His Body was sacrificed on the Cross.

Jesus died once for all; but so long as members of His Body are in the world, His Body is going to be on the Cross, and that means us Christians. So yes, Paul and the rest of the martyrs and the rest of us Christians do “fill up” or “complete” what He did, circa AD 33, because that is what we signed up for – to suffer and die like the rest of His Body, and thus to live forever in Him as His Body.

And if your dad has a problem with Jesus teaching that He’s the Vine and we’re the branches, or that the Church is His Body, or that Christians have to suffer, he’ll have to take it up with the Vine.

But I’m sure your dad doesn’t disagree with Paul or Jesus; he just has heard something said in a weird way in order to discredit Catholicism, or misunderstood by somebody somewhere back.

To put that area in perspective, it is less than the area of 21 American football fields (including end zones, but excluding any sideline area).

There are 31 professional NFL stadiums in the United States. The turf on our football fields alone is 50% larger than all of Vatican City!

Proportionally speaking, Vatican City has accepted FAR MORE refugees than the United States or any other nation.

That sounded wacky, so I double-checked my math. Vatican City is actually the area of 83 football fields.

Vatican City is 110 acres, which is 532,402 yd[sup]2[/sup]. An American football field (including two ten-yard end zones, which are in-bounds part of the field) is 120 yards long and 53.33 yards wide, for an area of 6396 yd[sup]2[/sup]. Thus, 83 football fields. Which is more than the NFL, but is dwarfed by the area of NCAA college fields.

Other comparisons: You could fit Vatican City into the National Mall (Washington DC) six times, and into New York’s Central Park almost eight times. The Walt Disney World Resort is 235 times larger than Vatican City. Vatican City would comfortably fit inside the Magic Kingdom alone. You could fit almost two (1.85) Vatican Cities inside the infield of the Daytona Speedway.

If Vatican City were a circle, it would have a diameter of 823 yards (less than a half-mile, about the length of 2.5 football fields). At a leasurly pace of 3 MPH, you could walk from one end to another in 9.4 minutes.

Vatican City is the sixth most densely populated country in the world. That’s pretty dense, especially considering that so much of its land is set aside for worship and pilgrims. St. Peter’s Basilica alone (just the building, not the courtyard) takes up 7.6% of Vatican City.

Mr. Filmer I appreciate your input. Whenever I try to have a civil theological debate with him it soon blows up to a criticism of the Church. It’s just really frustrating and I’m the first convert to Catholicism in our family going back several generations. When I go home for Christmas, it usually does not sit well with him that we go to mass on Christmas Day and New Years.

We have been “debating” via facebook messenger since the Pope came to visit the US, and the link I provided with the John Ankerberg article is the last thing he sent me. I am stationed (Navy) in Okinawa Japan, and he is in Mississippi. I think he got frustrated since I bring up good points (at least I think so) without resorting to bashing Protestantism, and he hasn’t responded since.

I am also a father of 3 and am raising my children in the Church, which doesn’t go over well with my parents as well. I have asked them to respect my choices, but they haven’t so far.

Thank you for the insight, I had no idea of the immense number of Syrian refugees there really are. :eek:

Mintaka thank you for the input. I will have to keep mind next time to not be overwhelmed by the bombardment of multiple accussations and ask that it is kept orderly and perhaps numbered, so a response may be formulated in a coherent way.

If you have a chance, ask him to name his #1 objection to the Church. Something specific (“it doesn’t follow the Bible” is too vague - which non-Biblical idea is he thinking of?)

Don’t let him answer right away. Ask him to take some time to think about it. You want his all-time #1 objection.

Given what you’ve said so far, he probably is gonna cite something the Church does not actually teach (and what the Church would call heresy, not doctrine). That makes it really easy, because we have the Catechism, which is an authoritative source of actual Church doctrine.

But you’re taking a risk. He might say Immaculate Conception (if he does, make sure he’s talking about Mary’s conception, not Jesus.’ Protestants mix up Immaculate Conception and Virgin Birth (no, it does not mean the birth of the Virgin)). IC has been discussed here MANY times, and there’s simply no such thing as an argument that is sufficiently persuasive to a determined protestant. It’s hard to even make a dent. Indeed, many Catholics believe in IC simply because the Church teaches it, and would not believe apart from Her authority (I was that way for years following my conversion).

Well I’m not really a good converter guy. I mean I was a convert so I know about it from the inside (and I know all about family being up in arms about it. My parents refused to visit or talk to me for a while afterwards.). But I don’t know how to convert other people. The only thing I could offer is to tell your dad that we love him. And we miss him. And we can’t wait until he comes home. Or maybe that would just make him mad. I don’t know.



To be honest, I think attempting to one-up him on any theological discussion is asking for trouble. As others have mentioned, your father likely does not hate the Catholic Church, he hates what he thinks it is.

I would try to demonstrate some of the easier theologies and make the Church less foreign to him. You may even mention that you feel ostracized. Quite frankly, there is more in common with his beliefs and the Church’s teachings than he realizes.

Visit steve rays website and check out 6 ways to discuss religion w/ non Catholic family

Get it together one subject at a time.

Try not to do the doctrinal dance most anti-Catholic try to get you to do. stick to the subject you are prepared for.

Be aware that your dad may be taking your conversion as a personal rejection of him. (I know I will if it happens to me).

Personally, I would start with a historical approach.

I would ask him when exactly the Catholic church was corrupted…

if he gives you a date like 325 ( Constantine ).

then you can ask him how do we know the bible isn’t currupted since the canon came after that?

In my opinion this is a catch 22… Matthew 16:18 says “on this Rock i will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”

so historically speaking there should be a church from the time Jesus said these words until today… when you look back at History there was no such thing as Sola Fide until the Protestant Reformation, and there wasn’t sola scriptura either.

Share with him, and the rest of your family…this article and make it topic of conversation…they may yet find Calvin very catholic…

I think it is important to understand first your Dad’s point of view, which I take from the link you provided:

*“Complete salvation is secured solely by personal faith”

“According to the Bible, activities such as baptism, penance and other sacraments contribute nothing to the salvation of a believer”

“What this means is that in an instant of time a person has passed over from spiritual death to spiritual life, and that nothing else is required for them to go to heaven. (Please read Jn. 5:24.) Once justified, a person can never lose her/his justification. (Please read Rom. 8:30-38; 11:29.)”

"At the moment of saving faith a person has also been regenerated—God has made him alive spiritually and imparted eternal life to him. Regeneration does not occur at the point of baptism, rather it occurs at the point of saving faith. "

“Thus, a person does not need to fear he or she may lose their salvation from the commission of mortal sin or by any other cause.”*

So keep in mind that your Dad believes this to be true. He therefore sees no reason for the Church. All he needs is his personal relation with Jesus, and he is saved - forever.

He sees the Church as not just unnecessary, but in fact causing harm.

OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved) is a powerful notion and he is not going to give it up easily.

Personally, I find OSAS to be obviously a feel-good, man-made concept.

You should address with him your reasons for why you are not comfortable with OSAS. Save the discussion on the Church for later. He has to first realize why YOU are not willing to declare your OWN salvation for yourself.

Forget the tangled logic and scripture versus taken out of context that are required to find OSAS in the bible. Realize that it is really a heretical doctrine, but also realize that your Dad really does believe it.

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