How should we feel about Protestants?


#1

Suppose we meet a Protestant. Or, suppose a person we know manifests one day their denominational belonging. How should we respond?

  1. Interiorly: glad that they seek God.
  2. Interiorly: alarmed that they may propagate error.
  3. Exteriorly: cool or indifferent to the fact.
  4. Exteriorly: enthusiastic that they pray to God.

#2

Wow - I got to be the first one to vote on the poll…

I voted happy on both accounts.


#3

I voted the same as you. After all, Protestants are Christians.


#4

Thanks for helping me understand.

So for example, suppose someone says, “I’m a Baptist.” Should you express outward enthusiasm? Give me some example sentences. I need some help with this because my first feeling is always one of conflict and disappointment. But the Church is encouraging us to have a different mind now. I feel out of step. At least, I feel apprehensive somehow, because I know I feel called to be more active in the Church, and there is this dispute about ecumenism. I worry that I don’t see it properly.

How does any of this fit in with not bearing the yoke with unbelievers?

Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? 2 Cor 6:14

Is that related in some way?


#5

I don’t see a conflict here because Baptists are Christians. You need to look at a few more verses here to get the big picture. From the Douay-Rheims Version, “2Co 6:14 Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever?
2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God: as God saith: I will dwell in them and walk among them. And I will be their God: and they shall be my people.
2Co 6:17 Wherefore: Go out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing:
2Co 6:18 And I will receive you. And will be a Father to you: and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” St. Paul is talking about pagans. Baptists are different than non-Christians. As Catholics, we need to try to show Baptists the fullness of the Catholic faith. We cannot do that if we never talk to Baptists.


#6
  1. Interiorly: glad that they seek God.
  2. Interiorly: alarmed that they may propagate error.
  3. Exteriorly: enthusiastic that they pray to God.

They’re not all mutually exclusive, so 3 of the 4 apply for me.


#7

I think that we must guard ourselves agains the heresies contained in protestant doctrines. And dont fool yourselves- they are in error, in many ways. If they werent in error, they would still be Catholic.


#8

Yes, that’s right. Objectively they are in error. I mean to say that the objective content of their beliefs is contrary to the revealed truth as preserved by the Catholic Church, which is the church that Jesus Christ founded. etc.

Are they in error subjectively? By this I mean, do they inwardly know that they are in error? I have often thought that they do know, that they have a nagging conscience somewhere that human respect dissuades them from acknowledging. But, they nonetheless have all sorts of enthusiasm for Jesus Christ and the Bible, or what they have of the Bible. So,…

The question is, how, in a relationship, does one build on that? I have always sort of avoided the matter, or tried to provide them with Catholic literature. Frankly this approach is not successful for me. I think they resent it. They believe their faith is sincere, and they in many cases have invested a lot of time in it. And, my “example” is, well, anyway who among us is absolutely so holy that we just shine above all? And once we declare our faith they look for the slightest fault anyway.

So how would it be instead to be sort of, enthusiastic about the subject? For example, someone might mention something about the Bible, and I might say “Oh, what denomination are you?” (Possibly an erroneous question because “Catholic” is not a denomination, although alas it is increasingly assumed to be one.) And suppose they say, “We’re Episcopalian.” Now they invest time and energy in being Episcopalian. Objectively yes, there are errors in their stance. But perhaps I should say something favorable about them, or about Christianity, or about the importance of faith-- striving instantly for common ground, rather than recoiling at the thought that, ‘my gosh, they got close to religion and haven’t become Catholic yet!’

My feelings are getting in the way of spreading the faith, perhaps.


#9

I feel we need to be alarmed interiorly about Protestants for spreading false doctrine and IMHO fostering or on some level contributing to the spirit of relativism that is so pervailant in society and hence we need to be indifferent. Protestantism is riddled with error do they have kernals of truth in them yes they do preach Christ after all. Are they complete and full Christians in the Catholic sense? No they need to be evangelized dialouge needs to be opened with them and they need to be shown how and why they are in error.


#10

Some Protestants protest (sorry) strongly against relativism. I realize that in a way they contribute to it but they do fight some aspects of it.

But how does it follow, in any case, that we need to be indifferent? For example, if, as you say, we must open a dialog with them, how does indifference help? If someone is indifferent to you, are you more likely to take an interest in what they have to say?

Protestantism is riddled with error do they have kernals of truth in them yes they do preach Christ after all. Are they complete and full Christians in the Catholic sense? No they need to be evangelized dialouge needs to be opened with them and they need to be shown how and why they are in error.

Can you give me some sample sentences?


#11

Many Protestants today are only Protestant because that’s how they were raised. There are a few people who change religion as adults, but most people belong to whatever religion their parents were, so we need to witness to them in charity and show them the truth of the Catholic faith.


#12

Perhaps indifferent isn’t the right word we shouldn’t show any sort of approval or ethusiasim for their “churches” “oh you go to {insert denom church here} that’s nice. what did Pastor so and so talk about in their sermon last Sunday?” But we should show the errors of the various denoms.


#13

Have you had any successes with this overall strategy, of not showing enthusiasm for their churches and showing them the errors of their denomination? How many people have you brought into RCIA this way?


#14

I think that my feelings about Protestants have always been colored as follows, in addition to what I’ve mentioned: I always am preoccupied that they are interested in taking away my Catholic faith, and in tricking me into seeing Christianity in a way that runs counter to it.

I suppose a Protestant is interested in trying to get me to see Christianity their way. But, should this cause me to be cold about their faith? Can I be warm toward their faith despite motives they may have?

Should I see myself as trying to get them to change their faith, or should I confirm what is good, answer questions they put to me, and pray to be a good example (and say some hail maries for them!)?

It isn’t that I worry that they will actually trick me; rather, it bothers me that they should see me as a target to be changed. Perhaps I am just uncertain that I can explain my faith properly (1 Pet 3:15).


#15

Among those I know are many from many traditions within the Christian faith.

We never need to raise these issues that seem to be so troubling to you.

There is never argument or comparison or proseletysing etc.

Each is in Christ Jesus.

Each cares for Jesus and for each other, simply.

Relationships are very simple.


#16

Argument certainly never earns mutual respect. At least, I have had zero success with it. The fact is that for the Protestant, being in church is a thousand thousand times more meaningful than losing, or winning, an argument could ever be. However, comparisons will occur. For example, if, as a Catholic, I am visiting Protestants on a Sunday, I will be popping off to Mass. This fact invites comparisons. When I take out my breviary or anything I happen to be reading, again there will be an opportunity for discussion. One must learn to handle these circumstances graciously. It is this which my feelings tend to impede. I am wont to become a bit nervous or irritable, sort of ‘thin’. If I can adjust my deeper way of seeing, then these problems may dissipate. After all the Church is calling for us to have a warmer relationship, isn’t that so?


#17

Jesus says, “when you pray, go into a closet by yoursef and pray to your Father in secret…”

There is courtesy and mutual respect here.

If I have Roman Catholics visiting I know they will go to mass and I usually go with them, having found out where and when there is Mass.

Can you not see that you are making problems here?

And there are ways to pray the Offices without doing as you suggest…without causing the confrontations you say you worry about.

Universalis I think gives advice re this.

This is no big deal really…


#18
  1. Exteriorly: alarmed that they may propagate error.

Catholig


#19

I’m protestant…so never voted… but I have two questions:

  1. How are protestants to see their ‘errors’ when Catholics d not communicate with them in a friendly manner?

  2. I have often been accosted by various groups selling their ideas to me, but never by a Catholic spreading their full truth…why is this?

To my understanding Catholics feel that protestants cannot know the full truth because they are out of communion with the church itself and the paths of tradition…don’t Catholics feel they should evangelise?

S


#20

Abira, I agree that catholics should do more to spread the faith. And I also agree that it should be done in a friendly manner. :wink: I certainly try to communicate my faith, and the fullness of truth present in the Catholic Church.

As for catholics not accosting you by selling their beliefs we don’t exactly go for that door to door missionary stuff. Instead we wait for them to come to our’s :smiley:

Catholig


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