I am newly Confirmed and so proud of my faith! I have very close friends who are non-denominational Christians. I think it’s great that we are Christian sisters. However, as I have recently been exploring more and more about Christ’s Church and the beliefs of His Church, I have been feeling more and more tension towards my friends. It is obvious where we disagree on things. For example, my friends have said that we shouldn’t have to “report” our sins to a priest. They also have said that Catholics added things to the Bible and the age-old accusation of worshiping Mary.
It has never got outwardly tense, but in my heart I can feel myself becoming resentful. I don’t want to feel this way! But it feels like they are trying to lead ME to “the truth” by inviting me to Campus Crusade for Christ meetings, and I feel like I already know the truth because I am part of His Church that HE created. Part of me feels like it’s a “I’m right, they’re wrong” situation. I know it shouldn’t be that way, and I know there are many things that we probably agree on.
How can I stop feeling so resentful towards their difference of beliefs and how can I present my beliefs in a calm, respectful manner? How do I explain certain things to them, such as why we ask Mary to pray for us, or why we believe Maccabees, etc. are sacred scripture? I’m really starting to feel frustrated!
I am also feeling resentment because I have recently heard both professors and media persons misrepresenting the Catholic faith. They do so out of ignorance, and most likely have no idea that they are injuring those who espouse this faith.
It is important that you avoid such meetings. Find a Catholic source of teaching and fellowship, or a bible study that will not be laced with heresies.
Of course they are excited that you want to live your faith, and will try to influence you by what has been meaningful for them. You must be able to smile, give them a blessing for inviting you, and say that you have other arrangements.
In fact it IS that way. All Protestants are distinguished by how much, and to what degree, they have departed from Catholic faith. But, as the Catechism says, they cannot be charged with the sin of separation because they are only acting in the tradition of truth they have received. They inherited a trucated faith, and practice it to the best of their ability. Jesus only founded ONE CHURCH, and all those communities, including Campus Crusade, were founded by people who could not tolerate what they believed was Catholic faith.
Most people that oppose Catholicism do so because they are mislead about what the Church believes and teaches. It is your duty to educate yourself about the differences and 1 Peter 3:14-17 Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
The best way to heal resentment is to pray for the other person(s).
If you stay here on CAF, you will be amply prepared to explain your faith to others. It is also important right now that you immerse yourself in your Catholicism. Find a Catholic radio station in your area where you can get good, solid Catholic teaching. Participate in what your parish and diocese have to offer for your faith formation. Your anger is telling you that an injustice is occurring, and you can take some steps to correct it by informing yourself.
I would recommend that you not try to answer these questions right now, but just say you are not ready to discuss it. In the meantime, avail yourself of the apologetics materials here on the site, so that you can be well prepared.
The Holy Spirit is truly shaping you to defend your faith, and it is your place to become equipped for the work. God bless you!
Thank you so much for addressing all parts of my question so quickly! I am in the process of trying to find Catholic groups to study the Bible with. I have gone to Campus Crusade a couple times… and the atmosphere really turned me off!
When my friends said that Catholics added things to the Bible, I tried to defuse the situation by saying, “It’s so crazy how the same book has many different translations and interpretations.” I don’t want my friends to think I feel entitled because I’m Catholic. I must admit, I do find myself discussing religion quite a bit now with my boyfriend because I feel SO excited to finally be in full communion with the Church. It’s like falling in love… you just want to talk your love all the time… and for me, that love is Jesus!
Kudos to you for not being “sucked in” to your friends’ “group,” for being strong enough to know you are justified in your beliefs, and for seeking out friendly voices for guidance.
You are clearly smart enough not to fall into the trap so many other Catholics do, and I applaud you. I encourage you to look all over this website, and you will learn MANY things you were never taught in CCD, or even at Sunday Mass. One hour a week just isn’t enough time to learn all you need. I’ve only been here a short time, and I am amazed at how much I have learned!
In MY OPINION, Catholicism is like school, Cub Scouts, or anything else… YOU GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT.
EDUCATE YOURSELF. This is a GREAT place to do it. We need more and better educated Catholics to make our world a better place. Enjoy the journey… it’s worth it!
I attended CC for many years in college, and enjoyed it a great deal, but got filled with a number of wrong ideas (I did not learn until later). Is there a Newman Center near you, or a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students?)
This is a common misunderstanding of Protestants. The do not realize that their spiritual ancestors removed books from the Bible because they wanted to reject the doctrine that was supported in those textes (like Macabees). It is interesting to ask them “who decides which books ought to be in the bible, and when were those decisions made?”. Most evangelicals “assume” the canon of scripture, and have no knowledge of the history of it.
You will also hear that Catholics “add” to the Bible because we accept Apostolic Teaching that is not constrained to the Scripture, such as the Sacraments, priesthood, liturgy, and many other things we have received from the Apostles. Most Protestants have lost these because their ancestors separated themselves from the apostolic succession over 500 years ago during the Reformation.
There is nowhere in the Bible that it says all the Truth taught by the Apostles are confined to the Bible. Yet, this doctrine, that was created during the reformation, is embraced today as if it was believed by the Apostles (which it was not).
This will be unavoidable. The reason this happens is because the Catholic Church makes claims that no other ecclesial community makes. We claim to be the only Church founded by Christ (all others being started by men beginning some 1500 years later). We claim that the Church is Divine, because her Head is Christ, and she is ensouled by the Holy Spirit, and therefore, is without error. We claim that she preserves the revelation of God in Christ by a power of the HS protecting us from falling into error. These claims are downright wrong to some, and offensive to others, and almost always make us look like we think we are entitled. We ourselves know that all we have is only from God, and that the Catholic Church is entitled because He has entitled her, but to others it often appears we are arrogant because we believe what the Apostles taught in these matters.
Congratulations on your Confirmation, and your joyful devotion to your faith:)
If your friends ask you about Reconciliation, just make it clear that you believe, just as they do, that you are confessing your sins to Jesus, and that you seek advice from a priest (just as they would a pastor) to prevent you from falling into a habit of committing the same thing over and over again. If they won’t accept that, they are just looking for an argument or a chance to proclaim that they somehow know better what you believe than you do, and you have to ask yourself if they are truly your friends. True friends are willing to listen to your beliefs, rather than tell you what you should believe, and they won’t believe anti-Catholic lies.
If they question the number of books in your Bible, calmly state that Martin Luther was actually the one who removed books from the Bible, not the Catholic Church that “added” books. If your friends want to criticize the Church, they should be willing to hear the Catholic side of the story, and, if they aren’t, that should be another warning sign that you need to find more respectful friends.
If they put up a fuss about you “worshiping” Mary, just tell them that you ask her to pray on your behalf just as you would ask them to pray for you. Again, if they insist on accusing you of idolatry, you should focus on interacting with Christians who are willing to see you as a sister in Christ.
If you find yourself becoming resentful and you feel tense, rather than relaxed, around your friends, you may need to consider whether your friendship is actually a friendship. Friends should not make us feel tense or resentful. They should be a source of joy and comfort in our lives. Right now, it may be best if you and your friends instituted a mutual ban upon discussion of religious topics, and a focus on common interests besides religion (if there are any other common areas). If your friends only want to be your friend to take you to their religious meetings (in an attempt to convert you), you may have to drift away from them.
However, if you find that you are very happy when you connect with your friends about things besides religion, you may consider eventually talking to them about your religion again. When and if you do talk to them about your religion again, try to emphasize the common ground in your belief systems, and, whenever possible, try to use language that they would understand. A bit of a language gap sometimes causes tension between Catholics and Protestants (especially of the evangelical or non-denominational stripe).
At the end of the day, remember that you only need to “justify” yourself to God, and not to your friends, and that there will be plenty of evangelical and non-denominational Christians who will accept you as the sister in Christ that you are:thumbsup: Don’t let your heart be hardened by the lies that some people have, unfortunately, been made to believe are true.
Thank you EVERYONE for your responses!! I will definitely take your advice to heart.
I was actually confirmed at my local Newman Center. They are the reason I fell in love with the Catholic faith. They were so different than the church I went to for CCD growing up. They are everything a good parish should be. I will look more into what enrichment opportunities they have there.
My friends are actually my roommates and best friends. Religion is the one thing we disagree on. I try to keep it positive by ensuring them that there are things we have in common. They were very supprtive during my RCIA process, and even attended my Confirmation. It just gets a little tense when we discuss certain doctrines of belief. Maybe I should just steer clear of the subject…
What threads do you suggest I look at to help me beef up on my knowledge of the faith? I want to be as immersed as possible, not someone who just talks out of their behind.
You are right, it is appropriate to be circumspect and to focus on your shared beliefs. By doing this, you can easily change the subject when doctrinal differences come up that you are not yet ready to enter. You can always say “I need to research that topic so I can understand it better! Can we talk about it more later?” It is also fine to say you don’t know, or “I sure to have a lot to learn about faith and doctrine”.
You can enter any search terms here to find threads, as all these things have been discussed at lenght here. If you want a more organized summary, I suggest:
You can also put search terms in there. The Catholic Catechism, which is also free online is a good resource, but you might consider getting a copy for yourself.
Take your time, because you are not going to grasp 2000 years of history and doctrine immediately. Once you are clear on your own faith, you can move on to understand how Protestants have departed from it.
Messages posted to this board must be polite and free of personal attacks
You may be able to realize that your post could be seen as failing in charity.
Most evangelicals have an agenda, which is to bring individuals into their understanding of right relationship with God.Since some of them have been taught that Catholics have been deceived, they feel a moral obligation to pursuade such lost Catholics to believe the Truth as it has been revealed to them in the Word of God.
Wow. What an over the top statement. This may be true of some, but most Protestants try to follow the Gospel to the best of their ability and are not intentionally devious. I am learning that my misunderstandings of Catholicism is just that- misunderstanding of what the church teaches. I have a growing respect for the Catholic faith. I have no idea where this will lead me, but I am learning.
I was being a little sarcastic, but I don’t know any protestant with an interior life… It even appears an oxymoron to say it, protestant interior life? I personally haven’t seen it in any and I know a lot of reputable protestants, but I don’t think I know one that has entered the second conversion of the spiritual life at all… Even looking in history I can’t see it in any of their so called “greats.” Protestants are like the little kitten that wants to get to the mothers milk at best, but can’t because, well, they never get close enough to receive her nourishment.
I think it’s just because most protestants I’ve met don’t believe in sanctification. My spirituality is modeled on a devout catholic priest, who has been a close mentor for many years and many others in holy orders, so even the best Lutheran Pastor in town really looks like a silly goose when it comes to the interior life. I’m not claiming I’m in the Illuminative stages of spirituality, but I’ve never met a protestant that acknowledges anything other than purgative and saving grace. Maybe I’m all wrong.