I’ve always wondered this question and haven’t gotten a good answer to it.
*note: I haven’t done much research on it so…that’s probably why I haven’t gotten a good answer haha.
But anyways, if a person is called to be a religious, or married, or the single life, as Catholics, we believe that to be a vocation; a calling by God.
When a Protestant becomes a preacher, he also feels he was called. So my question is, since we believe the Catholic Church is the One True Church, does God call people to be ministers outside of His Church? Does he call people to be Baptist Preachers, or Assembly of God missionaries?
I think it’s a pretty interesting question…I’m looking forward to comments!
God calls us where we are. The beginnings of the Charismatic Renewal produced fruit in both Catholic and Protestant circles:
On January 1, 1901, Pope Leo XIII prayed to the Holy Spirit. He sang the Veni Creator Spiritus by the Holy Spirit window in St. Peter’s Basillica in Rome. That same day, in Topeka, Kansas, at the Bethel College and Bible School, the Holy Spirit came upon a group of Protestants who had been praying to receive the Holy Spirit as the early Church did in Acts chapter two. Agnes Ozman prayed in tongues, and people began to welcome the Holy Spirit to work in them as in the early Church with healings, miracles, deliverance, and power to effectively evangelize and help people convert to Jesus Christ. …Following the 1901 outpouring of the Holy Spirit, in 1906 a revival began on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. From here, word spread that people were experiencing God as on the day of Pentecost, and people came from near and far seeking to learn more about it. Pilgrims whose hearts were touched and filled anew with the Holy Spirit, also would experience Pentecost in their own lives, and go forth to share this with others.
We are called to do what is right and good. We are to choose what is right in humility and obedience. We proclaim what we know but are to be loving. All this finds its union in the higher truth of the union of the person with God. We need to be willing to sell all for God or die for God, but God doesn’t always ask this of everyone.
Interesting question… I think that God has a tendency to meet people where they are at. That is not to say I don’t think every Christian should be Catholic, but the way that I see it, if people are acting on their deepest convictions, what more can you ask of them? I know quite a few people who are amazing and definitely are trying to follow God wherever He leads… but if they aren’t convinced that God is leading them to the Catholic faith, then it would be dishonest of them to convert to the faith; they would be acting AGAINST what they believe God is calling them to! It is definitely an interesting question, though.
In my opinion it is possible for non-Catholics to be called by God - simply because God is calling everyone to Himself and wants everyone to achieve eternal salvation because He loves us so much. Where the problem lies is that people sometimes don’t interpret the call quite right because of the state of belief that they hold, so a person can be called to ministry but ends up in the ‘wrong’ one (i.e. a non-Catholic one), teaching the wrong things because he himself was taught wrong in the first place. But he is, at least, doing his best, as he sees it, to answer that call, which is certainly something to honour, at least in my book anyway.
Obviously some entirely inappropriate people think they have a call when they don’t. I expect this can happen in the Catholic Church as well as others. One hopes that, for us at least, the seminary system is sufficiently effective in weeding out the idiots and the loonies!
We are all called by God where we are! All who accept Jesus eventually join the Catholic Church, even if it is immediately prior to the moment of death, because the Catholic Church is the Body of Christ!
From the Mass readings today, St. Peter says;
"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
19 And we have the prophetic word made more sure (that is altogether reliable (NAB)). You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:16-21)**
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!
But isn’t a calling alittle different to a protestant than a Catholic?
What I mean is, when a protestant is called to serve God, and I believe they are, he doesn’t neccessarily have to give all of his life to Him like a Catholic becoming a religious or a priest does. A protestant minister can also be called to marriage and fatherhood at the same time, so his service to God is somewhat more limited. Many protestant ministers also hold seperate jobs in the world, again meaning he doesn’t, or can’t, give all to Him. He also normally has to be interviewed by the congregation to see if they like his preaching style and substance, so he could actually be a “minister”, but not have a job at times. I also believe in many cases, the theological training a protestant recieves is not as thorough or as long as a Catholic studying for the priesthood is.
So, while a protestant is called, he is still able to live in the world like anybody else and I believe that is a pretty huge difference. IMHO, it’s a far different experience for the protestant that is called than the Catholic…
Do you ever watch EWTN the Journey Home? Some of the most amazing stories of people who were ‘twice called’-- into the church, and into priesthood, sometimes, the call to priesthood comes before the call to the Church.
The couple last week had been lukewarm Catholics, then both very involved in a Nazarene church, then gradually came home.
One thing the man said (he had been a pastor at the Nazarene church) was that his kids were neglected because of the time spent by both parents in their church! A very good argument for maintaining celibacy.
Some of the men on this program have remained married priests, some have had to find another ‘job’, which was Marcus Grodi’s purpose in founding his journey home network.
I love that program, and always learn a lot, always come away uplifted.
There seems to be a little misundersanding about a Calling.
The Call comes from the Church, while we may have a feeling that we may have a calling there is no Call present until we are actually comes to us from the Church through a bishop or religious superior.
So in the Catholic understanding, no God does not call those outside of the Church.
I guess I am not quite sure that I agree with this. While the official call to priesthood or religious life might have to come from a religious superior or a bishop it does seem that God calls us- even those of us who do not have a direct relationship with a religious superior or a bishop- to different things. The bishop barely knows I exist. God knows. God is the One Who calls me to holiness and to the various good works He has prepared for me ahead of time. It would seem to me to be much the same for the majority of people on this planet who are not called to religious life or the priesthood.
I have known many ministers in protestant denominations who are doing their best to seek God, and who have personally witnessed his working through them to reach others. I have talked with protestant ministers who are somewhat senile- and hear them speak with perfect clarity, and listen with perfect understanding- something that they can’t normally do anymore. I think there is something real about their calling- even though they are not Catholic.
Even within the Church there are callings that are not the priesthood and not religious life- we are all called to use our gifts for the good of the Body of Christ. Thus, it would seem to me that God could be authentically calling a protestant pastor to the good that he does in spreading the Word of God. The good he does will depend on his obedience to the grace given him, just as it is for all of us. Once again, the bishop does not even know me- that does not mean I don’t have a calling in life. There is life outside of priesthood and religious life you know!
We are all called to humble obedience. That is how to answer those who feel a “call” when the Church has closed the door.
I think you have to distinguish between Call and call. Call with a capital C seems to mean to religious life or the priesthood. When I was answering, I was thinking that this was meant more as a general question, as in, Christians of any “variety” for lack of better word being open to the Holy Spirit in any given situation that may occur in life… for instance, I might say “I feel called to help so&so in any way I can” or “I feel like God might be calling me to participate in homeless ministry” or things like that. :o And then of course there is being CALLED, as in, a religious vocation… and in that sense I do think that what someone “feels called to” is confirmed or denied by the Church.