I heard that Catholics...


#1

For all the non-Catholics on the board, please enlighten me on some of the things that we Catholics do/believe that seem extremely odd/strange to you. Perhaps we can help clear up some of the misconceptions. :slight_smile:


#2

GREAT THREAD! :thumbsup:


#3

[quote=kparlet]For all the non-Catholics on the board, please enlighten me on some of the things that we Catholics do/believe that seem extremely odd/strange to you. Perhaps we can help clear up some of the misconceptions. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

You seem pretty normal to me. The only odd thing about my catholic in-laws is their propensity to build an incredibly large collection of Christmas knick-knacks (including an animatronic deer head that sings “Jingle Bells” when you squeeze it’s nose.)

ken


#4

Let’s see… I heard that Catholics were illogical and superstitious.

However, I don’t agree with that statement. :slight_smile:


#5

[quote=II Paradox II]You seem pretty normal to me. The only odd thing about my catholic in-laws is their propensity to build an incredibly large collection of Christmas knick-knacks (including an animatronic deer head that sings “Jingle Bells” when you squeeze it’s nose.)

ken
[/quote]

Hey, II Paradox II, those animatronic deer heads are clearly mentioned in the Apocryphal books. (No, no, I’m just kidding) :wink:


#6

[quote=Newvert]Hey, II Paradox II, those animatronic deer heads are clearly mentioned in the Apocryphal books. (No, no, I’m just kidding) :wink:
[/quote]

My first Christmas at their house was pretty interesting. My more nominalistic family gets by on a fairly simple tree and a few gifts (and even those gifts tend to be austere and functional…).

Needless to say, the profusion of decorations, animatronic Christmas toys (there were quite a few), gingerbread houses, nearly a hundred gifts and more food than I can ever imagine eating was a shock to the system. :smiley:

ken


#7

[quote=II Paradox II]My first Christmas at their house was pretty interesting. My more nominalistic family gets by on a fairly simple tree and a few gifts (and even those gifts tend to be austere and functional…).

Needless to say, the profusion of decorations, animatronic Christmas toys (there were quite a few), gingerbread houses, nearly a hundred gifts and more food than I can ever imagine eating was a shock to the system. :smiley:

ken
[/quote]

I know some places like that. But just think, at least it’s seasonal. You don’t have to suffer singing fish plaques all year round. :dancing:


#8

I will point out a few that I have heard,

We worship mary, the pope and dead people

We pray to statues

We make up stuff just so we can feel happy

We arn’t Christian

We listen to old men in Rome that don’t know anything about the “real” world

Some of the stuff that the Church teaches just arn’t fun and are meant to keep you from having fun

That was just a few if I remembered all that I heard then I wouldn’t be a very happy person


#9

i am not trying to be accusatory. here are a few things (and mostly these deal with individual catholics and not the church itself, but since nearly all of the individual catholics i have come into contact with fit these statements it makes me wonder. i mean, can’t we judge a tree by the fruit it produces?)(also, i was raised catholic, left at 19, am now a protestant minister who is considering coming back to catholicism. i have lived in 5 different diocese and have had scores of catholic friends and relatives so i am not just talking about a few people, this is coming from close interaction with hundreds of people in different parts of the country, i am also not trying to sound mean, i’m just relaying my experiences)

-the catholics i know (save a few) do not really know what they believe (improperly catechized) and no one (including the priests) seem to care

-the argument that the protestant stance of “once saved always saved” lends credence to a lack of moral character seems to backfire on catholics as the most hypocritical people i know seem to be catholics. they are the ones in church on sundays after going to the strip bar saturday night. i’m not saying that protestants don’t do this also, it just seems that i have seen a higher degree of holiness in protestant churches than catholic.

-with all the talk about unity in the catholic church, i just don’t see it. there is no real community in the parishes i’ve seen. it is so individualistic. people want to come on sunday and leave and only interact with others when they offer the sign of peace. this doesn’t ring of acts chapter 2 to me.

-tithing. why do most catholics not tithe (again most of the hundreds that i know, you might tithe and know plenty who do and i will not dispute that). a little example would be when i was growing up, my family gave 3 dollars a week (my sister, my brother and i got to put it in the basket). most of my friends had the same experience.

-back to the unity, i started a thread about this but i will shortly put it here as well. the catholic church (at least in america) doesn’t seem that unified. each parish does something different. just look at all the catholics fighting with each other in these threads…and they say they are unified? this is a huge stumbling block for me.

i still have questions on some doctrinal issues, but i am seeking answers from orthodox catholics i trust, but these are other things causing me to question because, again, we can judge a tree by it’s fruits and i haven’t seen a lot of good fruit coming from many catholic churches. i know protestants have their problems too and i know that truth is truth and that the church is full of sinners. i am just answering the threads question. thanks


#10

Interesting observations, BengalFan. My wife and I have been considering some of these same issues as we take the first steps from the Lutheran and Episcopal background to the Catholic Church. This particular discussion is highlighted today because of the news that the Archdiocese of Portland has just declared bankruptcy due to the sexual allegations (and associated civil suits) against it. I guess the bottom line is that we are all fallen creatures (Romans 3:23), but I understand that this answer is not what you are looking for. While I believe that the Catholic Church is on track theologicaly, I agree that a “revival” of sorts may be needed in the church. One aspect that bothered me, which I took to our priest, was how so many people rush out of Mass early. To me that shows disrespect and arrogance, but I understand that “cradle Catholics” just may not have ever given it a moment’s consideration.

Having attended Catholic schools, I could certainly let the lives of some of the Catholics I have known be a barrier to Christ’s leading. I was reading just the other day, though, of Saint Augustine’s miserable years in school and it struck me that you can’t let fallen people and rotten role models block God’s will. There are also wonderful, devout, and genuine Catholics all around us (especially here!). You might want to read Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s book *Rome Sweet Home. *Although, I have a few small disagreements with them on different areas, I recall this being an issue Scott raises in the book. If I didn’t have a short lunch break to deal with, I’d write more. Hope your spiritual journey leads you to peace.


#11

-… the catholics i know (save a few) do not really know what they believe (improperly catechized) and no one (including the priests) seem to care Some fall into the category of not seeming to know, but being quite impressive when quizzed. Priests care a lot - especially the younger ones. Everyone every year has the opportunitiy to participate in RCIA.

-… it just seems that i have seen a higher degree of holiness in protestant churches than catholic. My impressions of the morals of some non-Catholics that I know in business would amaze and astound you. Some of the moralities of the strip club set have something to do with class distinction. Is that worse than cheating people in business transactions of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then going to Church on Sunday?

-… this doesn’t ring of acts chapter 2 to me. I found that within most parishes, there are some “core” groups; ironically these groups are the ones who participate the most in Church activities other than Mass.

-tithing…most of my friends had the same experience. Tithing is an OT concept or duty that was based in Mosaic law. The NT model is that we are to support our Church because we love God and want to further His work through lovingly sharing our resources, not out of a sense of obligation, but out of the joy of love. Some probably should support the Church more, but many not only give to Church but to Her charities, which counts, also.

-back to the unity…this is a huge stumbling block for me. As a Catholic in the Bible Belt, I can assure you that this is most often not the case in my parish, where we are more of the minority, and we must coordinate our numbers and resources to make an impact on social issues, etc. Within all groups, there are those that are more tribal tham others, and will always seek to attempt to divide. These people should be given responsibilities accordingly.

i am just answering the threads question. thanks
I believe we must find a Faith that represents a framework, on which we can develop our Spritual Life. I believe that by selective emphasis on some concepts in Scripture, many Faiths fall short of the complete Faith experience that Scripture instructs for Christians. I believe that the Catholic Church represents the fullness of the relationship to which we are called by God.

Priests are entirely over-worked these days; there are just not enough of them. So where, we can, we laity need to step up to the plate in some of these areas where we can.


#12

-the catholics i know (save a few) do not really know what they believe (improperly catechized) and no one (including the priests) seem to care

This is unfortunately far too common in the Church. You make the point that we can judge a tree by its fruits, and you’re correct. But in Christ’s cursing of the fig tree, He cursed it not for bearing bad fruit, but no fruit at all. In the Church there is both good and bad fruit, and it will always be this way. Christ told the parable of the harvest, where the wheat and the weeds grew up together, and were separated at the end.

-the argument that the protestant stance of “once saved always saved” lends credence to a lack of moral character seems to backfire on catholics as the most hypocritical people i know seem to be catholics. they are the ones in church on sundays after going to the strip bar saturday night. i’m not saying that protestants don’t do this also, it just seems that i have seen a higher degree of holiness in protestant churches than catholic.

I don’t agree that OSAS lends itself to immorality. There are definitely many many Protestants who are more upstanding than many Catholics. My argument against OSAS is that it makes no sense in light of scripture. St. Paul talks about working out his salvation in “fear and trembling”. This certainly doesn’t sound like someone who is sure of being saved.

-with all the talk about unity in the catholic church, i just don’t see it. there is no real community in the parishes i’ve seen. it is so individualistic. people want to come on sunday and leave and only interact with others when they offer the sign of peace. this doesn’t ring of acts chapter 2 to me.

I believe this is because you are looking at a snapshot of the Church in one of the most disrupted times in its history. The Catholic Church, in the course of 2000 years, has had many ups and downs. Without a doubt it was never more individualistic than it is today. I think the problem you have with seeing a united Church is that you are thinking of the Church solely in terms of those who attend it. In a way, this is true. After all, we are the Body of Christ. However, those who do not follow the Head are not truly members of the Body. Or perhaps some are, but they are diseased members. The thing that makes the Church united is its authority, not its members’ adherance to that authority. Every pope and bishop is a direct successor to the Apostles. That is the unity of the Catholic Church.

(continued)


#13

(I’ve got to start writing shorter posts!)

-tithing. why do most catholics not tithe (again most of the hundreds that i know, you might tithe and know plenty who do and i will not dispute that). a little example would be when i was growing up, my family gave 3 dollars a week (my sister, my brother and i got to put it in the basket). most of my friends had the same experience.

This one’s pretty easy. The Church does not require tithing. It does however teach that avarice is a grave sin. Some believe and are generous. Others are not.

-back to the unity, i started a thread about this but i will shortly put it here as well. the catholic church (at least in america) doesn’t seem that unified. each parish does something different. just look at all the catholics fighting with each other in these threads…and they say they are unified? this is a huge stumbling block for me.

I’ll be blunt. The bishops in America, with the exception of maybe 3 or 4, have been terrible shepherds. They have the authority to bring the churches back in line, but have not. This is a big problem and I understand anyone who sees this as a stumbling block. However, the Church does not condone any of this. It just hasn’t figured out how to fix it yet.

I hope this has been helpful. Ultimately, the Church must be judged not on what its members do, but on the message it brings to the world. Christ promised St. Peter that He would give him the keys to the kingdom, and that against His Church, “the gates of Hell will not prevail”. The Catholic Church is the only Church which has never once in its history changed its doctrine. It is the only one that has stood the test of time. Therefore, I believe it is the only True Church.


#14

[quote=kparlet]For all the non-Catholics on the board, please enlighten me on some of the things that we Catholics do/believe that seem extremely odd/strange to you. Perhaps we can help clear up some of the misconceptions. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

You worship Mary and pray to statues. :wink:

Mel


#15

Melchior:

We HONOR Mary (not worship). The commandments ask us to honor our father and our mother. God is our Father, Christ is our brother, Mary is our mother. Mary is not a goddess, therefore I don’t worship her as I do God, but I honor her.

Catholics don’t pray to statues. Statues are a physical representation of God, Mary or the saints. Photographs are physical representations of our parents and friends, we can bring out our photos, talk about the people in them, even kiss them–but we aren’t kissing the ink and paper, we’re kissing a representation of our parents or friends.

Likewise, with statues we have a physical representation of someone with whom we talk (pray). We pray to the saints, not to perform for us, but to PRAY WITH US. They are in the beatific vision. They are right there with God. We ask them to bring our prayers to God. Now, of course we can pray directly to God (and we do. Catholics pray the Our Father on a very regular basis, you know). But “where two or three are gathered in my Name”, and all that. Don’t you ever pray as a group? Pray as a family? Then why not pray with the “clouds of witnesses” that are our family in Christ? Only Jesus is our mediator, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. . .but He didn’t say, “pray ONLY one way”. And certainly the Bible considers it praiseworthy to pray for and with others, and Christians did so, praying not only with and for those who were alive, but also those who had “fallen asleep” in Christ–the early martyrs and the saints.

Any other problems?


#16

Thanks for this frank and honest post. I have some reflections:

Part 1 of 2

  1. I am a re-vert back to the Catholic faith. I had spent a few years with various different Protestant groups in my college years. I have great respect and admiration and grattitude for my time spent with them.
    However, as one might argue that Catholics are some of the most hypocritical people, I would offer that, in the past, some Protestants have struck me (in a similar surface level way) as the most proud and self-righteous people out there (proud with regard to their personal knowledge of Scripture, their presumed superior sprituality–the spontaneous nature of their prayer over what they perceive as the rote recitation of liturgical prayer, etc.). Sometimes I am astonsihed by some people’s lack of scope–disregarding the wider data of other cultures and the long stretch of history (for example, the rich spiritual tradition of tried and true spiritualities and modes of prayer), chooosing rather to judge the faith of others based on their own subjective experience and assumptions (for example–“oh, he is just repeating prayers, that must be vain repetition,” etc.)
    Again, however, I do not ascribe this to all or even most Protestants. But, it is a ‘gut-reaction’ that I have had when I hear many Protestants speak. So, perhaps you can give it as much credence as a Catholic would give to your generalizations.

  2. The universal nature of the Catholic Church is real. Although there are partisans and would-be heretics or schismatics, the fact is that it is far easier to identify them as such in the Catholic Church. One could disagree with the Church, but it is far more clear what the Church teaches on a given matter–and you are either in communion with that or you are not (and you know this by consulting Scripture, Sacred Tradition stretching through history, and the Magisterium who is the protector and guide for interpreting both). Appeals solely to Sacred Scripture (which is easily interpreted in a myriad of different ways) lead to a far more limited catholicity among our Protestant brothers. There are nuanced differences with regard to the liturgy, for example, but we do have one standard for worship. Also, things may appear a bit more heated now that we are in the still recent wake of an ecumenical council (it is always the case after a council in the history of the Church).

God bless. Chris Bears Fan (we both have it tough).


#17

PART 2 OF 2 (sorry this is so long)

  1. you are right on much of your critique with regard to lack of community and many who rush out on the Mass. There is a need for renewal in the Church, especially in catechesis. HOwever, part of this also has to do with our materialistic commuter-culture which is increasingly more private–and which invades the Church.
    4.I am a seminarian studying to be a priest. I would wager that I have known and met more priests (and those preparing for priesthood) than you have and I would have to strongly disagree. Priests are overworked, and spread too thin, but the vast majority of the ones that I know care deeply for the faith of those whom they have given their life to serve. The comment about the responsibility of the laity is right on. We all have a universal call to holiness, and we all need to be responsible for cultivating that in ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

God bless. Chris


#18

i appreciate all the responses my post got. and i agree with all of what you said. thanks for the honest and charitable responses.

a few incidentals: i have read “rome sweet rome” (and many many others) thanks though for the suggestion it is a good one.

i think melchior was joking :smiley: , although i do think that some improperly catechized people put mary too high (i know, how can you put her too high). they give her qualities that the church doesn’t. i’m not accusing the church with this one (other than lack of education) it seems most problems in the church come from it’s members not know what the church believes. instead of RCIA classes normally held on a weeknight, why not take something from the protestants and do “sunday school”?

my other qualm is with something that was said earlier. “the priests are too busy”. i just don’t understand how a man without a family or wife can be too busy. most protestant ministers i know (including myself) are married and still have time when their congregants need them. i have gotten calls at 3 in the morning and am never bitter about it. i am not trying to criticize the priests just that they could learn something from some (i say some because there are plenty of protestant ministers who are not good examples) of their protestant counterparts in how to minister to the individual and not just a parish.


#19

I have a question and please do not take it as an offense; I really would like to know.

Why do Catholics build such immense structures and where do they get the money to do such a thing? I am not talking about in Europe or large cities, I am talking about in small cities and relatively small suburbs. Does the congregation pay that much money or does the Church borrow from outside sources?


#20

I have a question and please do not take it as an offense; I >really would like to know.

Why do Catholics build such immense structures and where do >they get the money to do such a thing? I am not talking about >in Europe or large cities, I am talking about in small cities and >relatively small suburbs. Does the congregation pay that much >money or does the Church borrow from outside sources?

No offense taken : )

I believe that it is the individual parish community that is responsible for the size of a Catholic church. If that community is well-off, they will fund the building of a large and sometimes elaborate building - that is what I have observed when comparing poorer parishes to richer ones. I know of one parish in my town that has a very expensive tabernacle made of pure gold because a woman left the parish some money for that particular purpose in her will.

On the other hand, the very biggest church structures in my town are not Catholic. There is one extremely large Fundamentalist/Evangelical church (whose outspoken pastor is a former Catholic and now anti-Catholic) that dwarfs all other churches in the area.


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