I was raised and remain a Catholic. My older sister has left the church and joined a non-demoninational church. She has become a deacon in that church and now believes that we as catholics will not go to heaven because of our beliefs or until we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. She said she never understood our catholic faith but refused to seek out answers to her questions. I know she would love it if I joined her church. But I feel incomplete when I do go as they do not have the eucharist except on special days. What can I do to make her see that she is wrong.
First of all, you are right not to join the other church, since in fact they do NOT “have the eucharist” AT ALL. They have communion on those special days, but because they have no valid priesthood, the communion bread does NOT become the Body of Christ. No priests, no Body. Priesthood is transmitted only via the apostolic succession.
To answer your question: since the other church believes in the Bible, you can use use it to present the faith to her. I’d start with scriptures that only make sense as a Catholic, beginning with 1Co 11 (concerning the Body of Christ) and in Malachi (concerning the “offering” that will be made in every place; only the Catholic Church has sacrifices all over the world).
Good luck and ICXC NIKA!
Sounds like your sister has been effectively evangelized by the anti-catholics. Assuming that she is actually interested in having a discussion and not just in talking AT you, I’d suggest that you try to get her to read some of the terrific books that have been written by people who have come through that experience and into the Church - Mark Shea’s By What Authority?, Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home, etc. If nothing else try to get her to read Catholic and Christian by Alan Schreck.
Now in order to do this you may need to agree to read some books of her choosing - maybe set up a “sisters reading group” where you alternate months. And she’ll undoubtably choose books that will try to prove that Catholics have got it wrong - which is, after all, only “fair” in this situation. So you will need be prepared to parry all kinds of statements against the Faith - fortunately you have Truth on your side, and you can always come here and ask questions. There’s nothing new in any of these anti-church statements, so the answers are out there, too.
And never be afraid to state flatly that you DO accept Jesus as your personal Savior - that is absolutely what we as Catholics do. And we ask Him to “come into our hearts” every time we receive the Eucharist (or we do if we are believing what we say). The difference, of course, is that we also understand that He doesn’t just want to sit there inside our hearts, He wants to DO SOMETHING (“It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me,” St. Paul said). And He was quite specific about some of the things He wants us to do. Like submit to those in authority, and eat His Body and drink His Blood. And, yes, go into all the world and preach the Gospel!
I recommend the book Where is That in the Bible? since she will inevitably begin at some point to ask you where certain Catholic beliefs fit in with Scripture. All passages used by Patrick Madrid are RSV, a commonly used translation that avoids the issue of the translation itself becoming a stumbling block.
Remember that the Word of God came to earth Incarnate, not in printed text form.
Continue to learn more about the Catholic Church and what it does teach. Get a copy of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. It is simple to follow, written by the United States Bishops, and references the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I also have a copy of The Catholic Source Book to serve as a quick reference.
Make a Cursillo if you have the opportunity. Cursillo stands for short course in Christianity. It is a lay movement that started in Spain because of a lack of catechesis. You are not alone when it comes to not knowing your Faith as well as you might. Cursillo does not end with the weekend, but involves lifelong formation and accountability with other Cursillistas who will help keep you on track.
I would second that they do not have the “eucharist” but only communion on special days. (ex-protestant here). Also, she needs to be reminded that we do believe in Jesus and accept him as “Lord and Savior”, if not, why would we be partaking in Eucharist (the physical part of taking in our Lord)?
Remember also that even if you attend her services, you may not receive communion at a non-Catholic church. Our receipt of the Eucharist is not only a statement that we believe that we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, we affirm our own membership in Body of Christ and in that the Church holds to be true. To receive in a non-Catholic church is to consent to a unity that does not exist.
I would advise you to NOT go to her church. She is “getting” something there that maybe she needs, but you don’t have to be drawn into it.
If you can pin her down, sometimes the episodes of “Journey Home” on EWTN address how certain people find their way into or back into the Catholic Church.
In the meantime, if she goes for it, you could ask her what her objections to the Catholic Church are, and then work on them, one by one.
In 1 Peter it says:
3:13 * Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good?
3:14 But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them,
3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
3:16 but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.
3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.
So…with gentleness and reverence, you might try to tunnel down on her misconceptions of the Catholic Church. e.g. Who said that? Where does it say that? You know, try to get her to defend her misconception, to the point where you may be able to show her that she is wrong. If you can do this once every three months, you may be able to win her back eventually.
I know a popular priest whose sister left the church for some other strange group. You just never can tell where this sort of thing is going to happen.
Oh sweetie, do not contemplate joining her church. I don’t know what church she belongs to, but I reccomend doing a little bit of historical research and finding out which “man” invented her Church. Only the Catholic Church was founded by Christ. As her why she rejects the Church that gave her the bible she reads and bases her faith from.
I strongly recommend doing more research on your own faith, before you try to deal with hers. Speaking as a former Protestant, they have lots of beliefs that are misconceptions or downright lies about Catholicism, errors invented in the 16th century AD, 1500 years after Christianity began. But they can quote Bible passages to back their positions up, because they interpret it for themselves (incorrectly, many times). So you’ll be going into the situation unarmed unless you really know what your own faith teaches. And, preferably, the Biblical supports for some of the most contentious dogmas of the Church, such as the Marian dogmas.
It would be a good idea to read through some of these tracts:
Also, go to the Library section in catholic.com and enter the links that provide tracts on the Authority of the Papacy, Scripture and Tradition, and the Virgin Mary, and read up. It’s important to know the arguments before you get into an actual discussion. Your sister didn’t know what she thought, so she was swept away from the true Church. Though she may return. But you need to read up on your faith and know what Protestants think before she tells you what she thinks, or she’ll catch you off guard. The library of tracts in catholic.com is a great place to start.