For Catholic apologeticians re "saintly" protestants


#1

Looking for comments.

How do you reconcile the existence of "saintly"persons who nevertheless steadfastly remain protestant with the fact that the Catholic church’s is the one true church instituted by Christ?

The protestants reject the sacraments, they are in a state of heresy, and even actively try to convince Catholics to convert to some form of protestantism. Yet, some seem to be wonderful, even saintly Christians that would put the best Catholic to shame. If the Church is what it claims to be, then how is it that some people can become wonderful Christians without it.

And I don’t think it’s an adequate response to simply say that God can do whatever he wants, because that begs the question.

On the other hand, this could be turned around and asked of protestants about saintly catholics as well.


#2

Who do you have in mind?

Maybe those people simply lack that necessary grace. Original sin darkens our intellects and wills, so perhaps they simply haven’t received the necessary grace to overcome pride or whatever else may be keeping them where they are. Maybe they just never heard the Catholic position articulated—who knows?

As for your question, “If the Church is what it claims to be, then how is it that some people can become wonderful Christians without it”? Well, what do you mean by “wonderful”? I don’t think rejecting Christ’s Church is wonderful by any means. Do you mean “nice”? I know some nice atheists.


#3

We Anababtists don’t have “saints” per se but we do have martyrs we look to as guides to live a Godly life. A great exsample from my church (Mennonite) Is Dirk Willems.

Dirk Willems was racing across the thinly frozen pond. He was racing for his life. He knew that returning meant death. Dirk was an Anabaptist (a sixteenth-century name for many Mennonites), and Anabaptists all over Europe were being tortured and put to death. If the guard caught him it would be his life. So he ran as fast as he could. But he was weakened, in fact quite thin and light, from his stay in prison. He was so light that he made it over the thin ice of the pond, the “Hondegat.” But his pursuer, stronger and heavier, did not make it across. The ice cracked, the guard fell in, and soon the cold water swirled above his head. He was gasping as he tried to get out, but the ice kept breaking. The guard was sure he would drown in the icy waters.
Suddenly he saw a hand reaching for him and a voice telling him to hold on and to be calm. Slowly but surely Dirk pulled him from the water and to the safety of the pond’s edge. Soon the exhausted guard realized that it was Dirk who had saved him. The prisoner trying to escape had come back to save the guard. The guard, exhausted but happy to be alive, had no choice but to take Dirk back to prison.

Some weeks went by as Dirk languished in prison. One day the guard heard the judge in the courtroom next to the jail handing out the sentence. “Whereas Dirk Willems, born at Asperen, at present a prisoner has . . . confessed, that at the age of fifteen . . . he was rebaptized in Rotterdam, at the house of one Pieter Willems, and that he further, in Asperen, at his house, at diverse hours . . . permitted several persons to be rebaptized . . . therefore, we the aforesaid judges . . . do condemn the aforesaid Dirk Willems that he shall be executed with fire, until death ensues.”

For more look up “Martyrs’ Mirror” , A book that goes over the history of Mennonites who gave their lives for their faith.


#4

[quote=Mr. Ruggerio]Looking for comments.

How do you reconcile the existence of "saintly"persons who nevertheless steadfastly remain protestant with the fact that the Catholic church’s is the one true church instituted by Christ?

The protestants reject the sacraments, they are in a state of heresy, and even actively try to convince Catholics to convert to some form of protestantism. Yet, some seem to be wonderful, even saintly Christians that would put the best Catholic to shame. If the Church is what it claims to be, then how is it that some people can become wonderful Christians without it.

And I don’t think it’s an adequate response to simply say that God can do whatever he wants, because that begs the question.

On the other hand, this could be turned around and asked of protestants about saintly catholics as well.
[/quote]

Protestants have a portion of the truth, and godly Protestants, as you have described, have taken that portion of truth to heart and surrendered themselves to God. While the fullness of truth is certainly important, the degree to which we surrender ourselves to loving and obeying God is the true measure of spirituality.

Certainly such Protestant Christians would be even more blessed to enter the fulness of Christianity, but that does not discount the fact that they are obedient to a portion of Catholic faith. God blesses them for that.


#5

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272 819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

And further, from the Catechism:

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist."324


#6

When you try to convert someone to a new religion, you don’t generally take on their entire religion at once. For example, you just take on the question, “How can there be good Christians if Catholicism is the only religion?” and not “The Catholic church is entirely wrong.” You know the best way to bring doubt in a person’s mind is by one small question at a time.

So, I pose this question to you: Do you think the devil converts more people by bringing up small doubts in their mind one at a time or by trying to get them to doubt their entire faith at once?

The more logical way is to bring up single problems at a time, which can clearly be seen by all the many off-shoots of Catholicism, such as Protestantism. And then the many off-shoots of Protestantism. And then the many off-shoots from the off-shoots. This can also be seen by the many different bibles out there.

Hence, there can be good Christians who believe most of the true facts from the Catholic church and thus live their lives in accordance with God’s word.

As for Christians being better people than Catholics, that one would be hard to measure unless you were God. I will admit, though, that there are people who called themselves Catholic in both Heaven and hell (and Purgatory). There are also people who didn’t call themselves Catholic in Heaven and hell (and Purgatory). It’s not so much what religion you are as the contents of your inner being, known only to God. We can only try to live sinless lives and contnue to strive for the truth, in this case, the Catholic church. :smiley:


#7

You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I really believe that this one Church of Christ (at least, I think that is what he is) member is going to spend little to no time in Purgatory. I really do. He is SUCH a saintly man (not perfect, but, he is young still & I believe that as he ages, he will do nothing but get wiser and more understanding of God) and he TRULY loves Jesus & his fellow man. He is non-confrontational and never tries to evangelize to me (which is more than I can say for the reciprocal, unfortunately. :frowning: ) He loves ALL Christians and all people AND, he tries constantly for his spiritual health and knows what to do to avoid adverse conditions (when he does perceive them…sometimes, occasionally, he doesn’t walk away…and, the example there is from a while ago). He prays more than some I know. I just really feel IF he cannot ever accept Catholocism, he is not hostile towards it or to it’s members and he loves Jesus to the best of his ability and he acts this more than he says it.:slight_smile:


#8

[quote=MariaGorettiGrl]As for Christians being better people than Catholics
[/quote]

Catholics are Christians- it is important to never make your statements appear that we believe otherwise. Say “Catholics and non-Catholics”, or “Catholics and Protestants”, or something like that.

I know plenty of saintly protestants- imagine what would be accomplished if they were Catholic and had the Sacraments to strengthen them, and the fullness of truth to guide them more fully.


#9

How do you reconcile the existence of "saintly"persons who nevertheless steadfastly remain protestant with the fact that the Catholic church’s is the one true church instituted by Christ?

While it is possible for Protestants to experience Christ in their faiths, they cannot experience the fullness of faith that He intended for us in His Church. The fact that someone is “saintly” or “good” outside the Church does not need to be reconciled with the truth of the Church. That which is true in their faith is that which is Catholic and has not been removed from their version of faith.

I think of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and how much more of Christ there is to experience in His Church than just the shadows of Catholicism that you find in Protestant faiths.


#10

[quote=Mr. Ruggerio]How do you reconcile the existence of "saintly"persons who nevertheless steadfastly remain protestant with the fact that the Catholic church’s is the one true church instituted by Christ?
[/quote]

I admire their saintliness and wish my own was that good.

I am all wrapped up in Catholic apologetics, and feel a compulsive need to learn more… more… more…

It’s such a distraction for me. God Bless those saintly people who are so focused on DOING God’s work and SHARING God’s love that they are unconcerned about petty little details.

I’m sure they will be far ahead of me in line at the Pearly Gates.


#11

Fortunatly, we are not allowed to judge these Protestants, or anyone for that matter. That’s God’s job. Our job is to continue to spread the good news that Christ is with us, today, not just in spirit, or word, but in the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Eucharist. No matter how saintly a Protestant is, he or she misses out on that. For them, God’s reward is after life ends. For us, it’s in the here and now and in the here-after. Whle only a veil seperates us from a beatific vision of our Lord, they have a much thicker barrier that can only be broken down after death. While we have communion of the saints, they see them as distant relatives.

We pray that they one day experience the grace to see the truth of our Catholic faith…for only God can change a person’s heart.


#12

Catholics are Christians

You’re right. My bad! :stuck_out_tongue:


#13

The same question could also be applied to protestants how about all thos holy catholics?
Comparing catholic saints to protestant saints is akin to comparing Mount Everest to a Mole Hill. But that being said there have still been many holy protestants thoughout thier history Detitrich Benhoeffer and Corrie Ten Boom during World War 2.
Billy Graham today, The Wesley Brothers, Martin Luther King had many admirable qualities (ok I know he wasn’t a saint). But the point here is that people can respond favorably to the graces that they receive from God. IF they coopreated fully with the grace they do recieve Protestants are capable of being great witnesses of the Christian religion concerning they only have one sacrament- baptism and we have seven they often do more with less than we who have the fullness of the faith and neglect our gits or just don’t get enough out of the graces that we should.
Also thier are holy people from other faith traditions such as Gandhi - I mean what does a protestant do there he doesn’t even have Jesus or the Jewish montheistic God to receive graces from. From a catholic point of view he can still recieve grace from God and be have salvation. But a protestant denies any truth in Hinduism and thus will have a hard time answering the merits of Gandhi are they God derrrived or just wasted good works? I think most catholic theologians would come down on the side that Gandhi cooperated with all the graces God gave him and got all that he could have from his religion and his desire was to do the work of God even if he was not intellectually a convert. Few British Christians treated Indians with any Christian dignity so Christiantiy as it was practiced by the Imperialist would have been a stumbling block for Gandhi.
Gandhi one said he would be a Christian if only if he would see Christiantiy practiced by its adherents. Something he never saw by the Imperialist Biristh officers and the rich coloniast.
Perhaps if he met Mother Teressa things might have changes but we will never know.


#14

Maccabees brought up a point that I considered after reading the OP’s question. I have, personally, come across good people that follow completly different religions then mine. I’ve had a couple of Buddhists friends that struck me as very spiritual, caring individuals.

These people’s goodness don’t make me doubt my faith or the truth of the fullness Catholic church. I think that Catholism accepts more readily that some people in other religions can have a relationship with GOd. WHen I was Protestant(I was fundamentalist) the existence of people like Gandhi troubled me. Apparently, it troubles some fundamentalist Protestants also. I have come across some very hateful sites that don’t hesitate to put Gandhi in hell.:mad:

There is a verse in Romans, I think, that speaks on this subject, but for the life of me, I can’t find it.:confused: Do any of you know the verse or verses that I speak of.


#15

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