Intrigued by Catholicism, but just can't convert for many reasons


#1

Hello... I'm a Protestant from New Mexico.

Sorry this is long and unfocused, but my mind is in such conflict about all areas of Catholicism.

For the past few years I've been more and more intrigued by the Catholic Church. I like the intellectual edge it has, and its claim to be the original that Jesus founded. But the more I look into it and ask around, the more I get confused. And because of this confusion, it just makes it impossible to pull the trigger and convert. Here's some reasons why:

  • The Vatican says we should vote against gay marriage and abortion rights. The Vatican says one cannot be pro-choice and Catholic. But I can always find another liberal parish that disagrees.

  • Why should the Church continue to hold such positions, then? Even when so many Catholics disagree with the Vatican? Even when social conservatism is dead now with the reelection of Obama, and gay marriage winning by popular vote in three US states? Isn't the Church least effective when it meddles with politics the most? Doesn't the fact that Jesus said "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword," while also being called Prince of Peace, mean that Jesus never came for social and political peace, that he was never a political reformer?

  • Since so many Catholics disagree with the Vatican, doesn't that make the Church less effective? Shouldn't the Catholic Church just tolerate political dissent like the Protestant churches, and not advocate any political position in particular? Why are abortion, gay marriage, cloning, euthanasia, and (I forgot the other) such immutable issues for Catholics? Yes I've heard natural law and moral issues. But aren't civil rights important?

  • But then again, if the Catholic church were to liberalize politically or tolerate political dissent, what would it then offer that I can't find in a Protestant church?? Protestant churches are okay with political diversity because they know it's secondary to the main mission of preaching the Gospel. Politics doesn't save us after all, right?

  • For every worship-related reason why the Catholic Church is so great I can always find a reason to counter that. For example, some love the liturgy, but others cannot get anything out of the old liturgical style of worship, because it's just empty rituals to them. And why should communion be reserved to only Catholics, isn't that offensive? And if confession is so important why do most people not do it, and live a life of "Catholic guilt"?

  • In general, why are Catholic churches so dead and boring? Isn't the faith "more alive" in a Protestant church? I appreciate that Protestant churches have more entertaining music, are more welcoming, will say hi to you if you're new, and will ask you to fill out a welcome card so they can get back to you! Even if it's annoying and in your face, it at least shows they care! Where are the people that care in a Catholic church, besides the nuns (many which give me platitudes of advice when I talk to them)? I just get the sense that the Catholic faith is so personal, but why can't Catholics get involved with the lives of others, form small groups, and talk about faith with each other? I get the sense that there's a disconnect between priests and nuns and laypeople, because they live a life of cloistered study. Where are the laypeople that care and I can talk about faith with?

  • In general I just don't see Catholics practicing their faith, the way Protestants do. The Catholic Church does have the edge intellectually, but why doesn't that translate into a growing, vibrant church? All I see is a moribund, boring church with inconsistency in the beliefs among members. In fact, Catholics who convert to Protestantism complain that the Catholic Church is just a bunch of rote rituals with no meaning. Maybe they need to stop sticking to tradition just to stick to it, adopt more contemporary worship, be more welcoming, and not be so politically involved, so they can convert the younger generation??

Sorry this is long and unfocused, but my mind is in such conflict about all areas of Catholicism. The Catholic Church has such potential, but right now Protestant churches have the edge in how "alive" their faith is. I just don't see Catholics stepping up. Why don't the bishops just excommunicate people left and right anymore? I do need to figure out where my faith is gonna turn next, so I appreciate your help.


#2

Although I cannot answer every point you mentioned in your post at this time, I see a big portion of it is, essentially, "why officially hold such views if a majority [whatever percentage that may be] hold an opposing view?"

First, you may want to look for a source to your claim. Of course, more liberal places in the world will agree with liberal issues on abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, etc. More conservative places, likewise, will agree with conservative issues. However, I hardly think "most" Catholics support gay marriage, etc. It really depends on where and who you poll - it has been shown that those who are only Catholic-in-name, who never go to church, are more prone to agree with liberals than those who go to weekly Mass and who are more than Catholic-in-name, but Catholic-in-action.

But the main reason the Vatican won't change its view? First, objective truth cannot change no matter the popularity vote. For example, even if 100% of the population on earth believed murder and rape were perfectly alright, that would not change the fact that these two acts are still wrong.

Also, the Church is not a democracy on what is right and what is wrong, nor will it ever be a democracy. If it were, then Jesus Christ would have been nothing more than a heretical, blaspheming rabbi! After all, democracy is what led the crowd to shout "Crucify him!" and "Free Barabbas!" (cf. Matthew 27:16-30)


#3
  • The Vatican says we should vote against gay marriage and abortion rights. The Vatican says one cannot be pro-choice and Catholic. But I can always find another liberal parish that disagrees.

So? You want to know about Catholicism, consult the Vatican. You want to know what some person in New Mexico thinks, ask him. Simple. Done.


#4
  • Why should the Church continue to hold such positions, then?

Because they are true.

If you don't understand that, forget everything else you wrote and concentrate on this one thing. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. We cannot deviate from the way, so we do not modify the practice of the religion. We cannot forget or hide the truth, so we proclaim that which is right and true whenever we can, to anyone we can. Only by being honest about who we are, what we believe, and how we worship can we inherit eternal life.

Being Catholic has always been unpopular to Americans. It's going to become much, much moreso. Cardinal George famously said "I expect to die in my bed. I expect my successor to die in prison. His successor will die a martyr in the public square." The Church won't change any teaching, and the world is going to hate the Church for it. This is the job the Church is charged with, to say the truth to the world, always.


#5

Allow me to, very briefly, comment on some of your other points

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]
And why should communion be reserved to only Catholics, isn't that offensive?

[/quote]

[BIBLEDRB]1 Corinthians 11:27[/BIBLEDRB]

Protestants, by their belief that Christ is not present in the Eucharist, are not worthy to eat his Flesh and drink his Blood, as their belief is severely deficient.

  • In general, why are Catholic churches so dead and boring?

Who says these are boring? ;)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mWpA6NFcCP0/T3ghUUHnRSI/AAAAAAAAGsk/um7tyskwr0E/s400/IMG_0531.jpg

http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s279/desniza/PopeBenedictXVISistineChapel.jpg

Isn't the faith "more alive" in a Protestant church? I appreciate that Protestant churches have more entertaining music,

But to whom is it entertaining? The liturgy is not man-centered, and wants you to "feel good" about yourself. It isn't meant to be happy and gooey and smiley, making you feel all fuzzy inside. It's not about man, but about God himself. We do not focus on ourselves during the liturgy, but focus on God and only God.

are more welcoming, will say hi to you if you're new, and will ask you to fill out a welcome card so they can get back to you! Even if it's annoying and in your face, it at least shows they care! Where are the people that care in a Catholic church, besides the nuns (many which give me platitudes of advice when I talk to them)?

A very generalizing statement. Plenty of Catholic churches are welcoming, and plenty of Protestant churches are very xenophobic and unwelcoming.

I get the sense that there's a disconnect between priests and nuns and laypeople, because they live a life of cloistered study.

Nope. Only monks and nuns - and certain kinds of monks and nuns, not all - live cloistered lives. The mendicant order of friars, such as the Dominicans and Franciscans, are very active with the world, and by no means live a "cloistered study." Parish priests, by definition, live in a parish in a diocese. They live in a town with the people, not in a far off mountain like hermits.

Where are the laypeople that care and I can talk about faith with?

You can always start here. ;)

More to come, when time is available!


#6

I am not going to debate any of your questions with you, which, it seems to me is what you want to do. If you are sincere in wanting an answer to your questions, I suggest that you go to any Catholic Rectory and ask to speak with a priest. Take with you a print-out of your questions as posed on this forum and ask the priest for a reply.
In all probability you will not accept all of his answers, but they will be more complete and authorative than any you will get on any internet site.
If, of course you are only looking for a debate with a view towards proselytization, you may get a debate here, but it is unlikely that you will convert anyone.


#7

Have you ever considered speaking to a priest at the local Catholic church? I'm positive he could give you answers to the questions you've mentioned here and explain why this or that is the way it is.

But quite honestly, when I read this, it sounded like you were going off on things based on personal opinions and broad assumptions rather than facts. I would suggest you speak to a priest, pick up a book on the catechism and really learn the "whys" of the Catholic faith.

I'm not sure what Catholics you are hanging out with who seem to be not practicing their faith (btw, how does a Protestant practice their faith? Just curious.) but just as with any other religion, you will have some who stray. That doesn't mean the entire Catholic community is that way. And I don't know of any Catholic churches anywhere around here that are "dead and boring" as you so kindly put it!


#8
  • Since so many Catholics disagree with the Vatican, doesn't that make the Church less effective? Shouldn't the Catholic Church just tolerate political dissent like the Protestant churches, and not advocate any political position in particular? Why are abortion, gay marriage, cloning, euthanasia, and (I forgot the other) such immutable issues for Catholics? Yes I've heard natural law and moral issues. But aren't civil rights important?

I can assure you that far more Catholics agree with the Magisterium than don't

  • But then again, if the Catholic church were to liberalize politically or tolerate political dissent, what would it then offer that I can't find in a Protestant church?? Protestant churches are okay with political diversity because they know it's secondary to the main mission of preaching the Gospel. Politics doesn't save us after all, right?

The Eucharist, the fact that it was founded by Jesus, the Eucharist, much more consistent beliefs, the Eucharist...

  • For every worship-related reason why the Catholic Church is so great I can always find a reason to counter that. For example, some love the liturgy, but others cannot get anything out of the old liturgical style of worship, because it's just empty rituals to them. And why should communion be reserved to only Catholics, isn't that offensive? And if confession is so important why do most people not do it, and live a life of "Catholic guilt"?

Communion is reserved to Catholics because it IS Jesus. Even Catholics aren't allowed to receive it with a mortal sin on their soul.

  • In general, why are Catholic churches so dead and boring? Isn't the faith "more alive" in a Protestant church?

To be honest, I feel the exact opposite way. I've been to UCC services (not going to generalize to all Protestants) and my view of them is "People get together, someone reads from the Bible, same person talks about it, they say a few prayers, and they pass around some bread that represents Jesus. Oh, and songs." I like that Catholic Masses are the same no matter where you go. Anywhere I am in the world, even, be it at home, at college or on vacation, I can always go to Mass. No matter what parish it's at, I can still receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Oh, and the music's also pretty good. I particularly enjoy the Mass of the Sacred Heart, which is the setting my Newman Center uses.

Also, "dead" can be a good thing. One of my favorite memories I have from church is the time last week I showed up for Confession and it would up being during Adoration. It was beautifully quiet (and not from lack of people :rolleyes:)


#9

The only reason to ever convert to a faith is because of that faith, not social or political reasons. Only the faith is (supposed to be) the same from place to place, though you might find a particular parish to be more or less ‘liberal’ (socially) than another. Those other things don’t matter in the end. So ask yourself: Is this the faith I want to live, not are these particular people this or that, or is the music like this or like that, etc.


#10

I'm sorry I can't really answer the political questions you have. I am just a poor speaker when it comes to politics. That and I don't really like them. So sorry about that, but I will try to answer some of your other questions. :)

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]

  • For every worship-related reason why the Catholic Church is so great I can always find a reason to counter that. For example, some love the liturgy, but others cannot get anything out of the old liturgical style of worship, because it's just empty rituals to them. And why should communion be reserved to only Catholics, isn't that offensive? And if confession is so important why do most people not do it, and live a life of "Catholic guilt"?

[/quote]

To be honest, I feel no matter what subject you find to talk about (whether about Catholicism, politics, or what boat to buy, etc.), there will always be someone who doesn't agree or like something about it. That's the thing with opinions - it doesn't mean one is right or wrong, just that they have a belief in something.

When in comes to liturgy, I think those that complain the rituals are empty or that they can't get anything out of them are not really trying to understand or even find out about why those rituals are in place. Catholic tradition is so rich that many don't realize the history behind them. I would suggest you read more about them. :)

Communion or Eucharist is only reserved to Catholics because of what we believe it becomes. It is no longer bread and wine - it is transformed into the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The process is known as transubstantiation.

I know Catholic guilt is a common phrase, but I don't really understand it myself. But I think more Catholics don't participate in the sacrament of reconciliation because they are afraid - of what will be thought of them, of their sins, etc. - not necessarily that they don't or can't do so.

...to be continued :)


#11

The Church is a Monarchy with Stewardship, not a democracy. And the issue of “boringness” is usually due to the relationship with Christ of the people you speak of. Oh, by the way, joy can be solemn as well as upright.

The Church doesn’t bow to the present age, and does not belong to it. The mass is not a prayer meeting or a praise music festival, and while those are good, they are not the center of Catholicism.

There is more to say, but I’ll leave it to others to say it.


#12

None of the rest matters. I know it seems so very important to you, but it’s all irrelevant.

The only important thing is this: since the original Pentecost, the Church has retained, protected and taught the True Deposit of Faith.

You will live forever. What you do here matters in terms of how you spend your Eternity. We are never alone for we are surrounded by the constant presence of Saints and angels, of Jesus and His Mother, and we are in constant dialogue with these persons and actual help is exchanged between us and them.

And every day in every Catholic church around the world a miracle happens. Time/space and Eternity meet on the altar and simple elements of bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood, the Soul and Divinity of my Lord and my God Jesus Christ. For you. He comes for you and has been calling you, apparently.

And that’s all that matters. All else is just the nattering of humans who keep missing the point: love one another.


#13

I used to feel many of the same things when I was considering the Church. So, in the face of all the things you just stated, why, then, am I now a Catholic?

*Because it's TRUE. *

I did not end up converting because of the music, or the people, or the atmosphere, or the "warm fuzzies" that I may or may not feel, but *because the Catholic Church teaches what is real, and good, and true. *

I pray that you will find the Truth you seek. :gopray2:


#14

I will pray for you on your journey, clearly you have put so very much thought into your faith life. That is wonderful! God bless you for asking so many questions, questions are good and with an inquiring mind like yours I beleive God is leading you to very wonderful things.

So many things about what you wrote struck me, however I will only comment on one small thing for now. You mentioned the enthusiasm you have found in protestant churches vs. the perceived lack of it in Catholic churches and I think there are two reasons you seem to be observing that. One, protestant faiths are not required to attend Sunday services in the the way Catholics are.....so you see the lukewarm protestants who are not "in the mood" simply stay home in bed! It's no wonder their churches are filled with enthusiasm because the ones that were in a bad mood just stayed home. In addition Mass is most definately uplifting, however not in the same way that other services are. When I attend Mass I find myself so deep in prayer at times I am unaware of all that is around me. Mass is the deepest and most spiritual experience I have ever had or could ever expect to have, my head bows and I experience the very Body, Blood, Sould and Divinity of Jesus Christ.....no smile, nice song, greeting card or welcome sign could ever make me feel as wonderful as that.

However we indeed are humans and sinful and so without a doubt need to be better Christians! Remember too when you attend ANY church that you are not at a Museum for Saints you are at a hospital for sinners. God bless you.


#15

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]
Why should communion be reserved to only Catholics, isn't that offensive?

[/quote]

Communion should be reserved to only Catholics (in a state of grace, mind you) as the majority of Catholics (I've encountered some that don't, unfortunately) believe, at the consecration, the Eucharist becomes the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. If you believe that, and you are in a state of grace, you are eligible for Communion (I believe, someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong). Protestants generally do not believe that, rather believe the Eucharist is a symbol of Jesus' Body and Blood. Therefore, they are not eligible.

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]
- In general, why are Catholic churches so dead and boring? Isn't the faith "more alive" in a Protestant church? I appreciate that Protestant churches have more entertaining music

[/quote]

I have to say that I found this quite shocking. I find Catholic churches (even during Mass) to be solemn, sacred places; with no need for "entertaining music", personally, I find the hymns entertaining as they are beautiful songs praising God. I've never gone to a Protestant church (not sure if I ever will), so I'm not sure about the exact manner of things, but from what you've said, I disagree - Catholic churches are not "dead" nor "boring" and frankly, I'm surprised you say so because, with the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, there is no need to be entertaining - the entertainment is already there.

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]
...are more welcoming, will say hi to you if you're new, and will ask you to fill out a welcome card so they can get back to you! Even if it's annoying and in your face, it at least shows they care! Where are the people that care in a Catholic church, besides the nuns (many which give me platitudes of advice when I talk to them)? I just get the sense that the Catholic faith is so personal, but why can't Catholics get involved with the lives of others, form small groups, and talk about faith with each other?

[/quote]

I'm not sure what churches you've gone to, but there are quite a few nice, friendly people who care at my parish. I once sat in front of this elderly woman (not too elderly, I'd say around mid 60s) when I first started going to church (around mid-July of this year) and she smiled at my mother, my sister, and my sister's son (my nephew), saying that "Grandma has that magic touch" when my nephew quieted as my mother held him. Since then, I've started going by myself (being dropped off and picked up) and one day I sat down in a pew and the same elderly woman sat next to me. She put a hand on my arm and said, "You came alone?" with a smile. This Last Sunday, we sat next to each other again and as I was putting my kneeler back, she held my hand for the Our Father. I considered that so very nice of her to do, especially when I didn't think she'd remember me; yet, she did and was friendly as could be to this little boy (well, 14 year old small in height boy :p) who was sitting by himself at church she saw only a few times before without speaking.

It might not be very significant, but I just wanted to show you that there can be very friendly people at Catholic churches - not every one goes to Mass, doesn't interact, and leaves after Communion without saying a word to others (or as directed in the Missal, for that matter).

I just thought I'd share my thoughts. God bless.


#16

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]

  • In general, why are Catholic churches so dead and boring? Isn't the faith "more alive" in a Protestant church? I appreciate that Protestant churches have more entertaining music, are more welcoming, will say hi to you if you're new, and will ask you to fill out a welcome card so they can get back to you! Even if it's annoying and in your face, it at least shows they care! Where are the people that care in a Catholic church, besides the nuns (many which give me platitudes of advice when I talk to them)? I just get the sense that the Catholic faith is so personal, but why can't Catholics get involved with the lives of others, form small groups, and talk about faith with each other? I get the sense that there's a disconnect between priests and nuns and laypeople, because they live a life of cloistered study. Where are the laypeople that care and I can talk about faith with?

[/quote]

Maybe, the reason why you feel Catholic churches are "so dead and boring" because you are looking at it from the wrong perspective. You are trying to fit what you think the Catholic church is into what you know about Protestant churches. Protestant churches tend to have more entertaining music, tend to be more welcoming, and tend to be more likely to say hi if you're new for a wide variety of reasons. Some of that comes from being a small congregation - they know everyone and therefore those who are "new" are noticed more easily. The music tends to be a pastor's personal preferences, same as those in Catholic churches (whether that's right or wrong, I'll leave to others to debate).

The people that care about the Catholic faith are all around the country and all around the world. You just need to be willing to seek them out. Have you approached anyone other than clergy or religious? Have you gone to the parish office to seek out groups or information about the Catholic faith? If you want to meet people who really care about their faith, you should go to the parish life events. Find an adoration chapel, seek out if they have a bible study or faith formation, attend a session of the rosary. That is where faith is alive. But faith is also what you make of it. If you only put a half-hearted attempt into faith, that is all you will get back. But Catholics have these groups that you are talking about.

At the same time, I'll be honest with you - the Catholic community could do more to reach out to others. Not that it isn't being done, but that faithful Catholics need to become more involved. I think people forget that being a Catholic isn't just a religion - it's a lifestyle. Our thoughts and actions should reflect who we are as Christians and as Catholics. This could be partly a disconnect between the laity and religious, but it is also within the laity itself and even the religious. If we are a community, we should act like one. :thumbsup:

But to your last question (of this quote), the laypeople you can talk to about faith are all around you. You must be willing to seek them out. My greatest suggestion is to go to the parish office and ask to talk with either (or both) the Director of Religious Education/person in charge of faith formation or the priest and ask about talking with a lay person about faith. It's worth a shot. :)

...to be continued (one more I promise :))


#17

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]

  • In general I just don't see Catholics practicing their faith, the way Protestants do. The Catholic Church does have the edge intellectually, but why doesn't that translate into a growing, vibrant church? All I see is a moribund, boring church with inconsistency in the beliefs among members. In fact, Catholics who convert to Protestantism complain that the Catholic Church is just a bunch of rote rituals with no meaning. Maybe they need to stop sticking to tradition just to stick to it, adopt more contemporary worship, be more welcoming, and not be so politically involved, so they can convert the younger generation??

[/quote]

You shouldn't expect to see Catholics practice their faith they way Protestants do because they are different denominations. The rituals, the worship practices, even the music, are formed on their particular view of Christianity. Catholic rituals, practices, etc. come from a rich tradition and history that dates back to the early church.

Once again, I don't think you're seeing the Church growing into a vibrant church because you are looking at it from the wrong angle. You're looking at dissenting Catholics and those who don't take their faith seriously. Look for those who care about their faith. You'll find passion and fire there. In particular, talk to those who recently converted to Catholicism - those are some people on FIRE for Christ. :)

Those who have converted from Catholicism to Protestantism who say they left because of the rote rituals that have no meaning are not really understanding or wanting to understand why those rituals are important. They are looking for faith to be entertaining (which the Catholic faith is! I don't know where some have gotten the idea it's boring. :p), they are looking for it to be new, to be fresh. I don't think they honestly know what they wish for faith to be like. But I can tell you that Catholicism is not and should not change to fit our society's current whims. If we went with that, the darker this world will become. The Catholic Church is the light in these times of darkness.

As a final parting thought: If you want to seriously consider Catholicism, seek always ways to understand the reasons why the Church holds certain views about all of the topics you are conflicted about. You will come away with so much more knowledge and appreciation for the ancient traditions the Catholic church holds and teaches. May God bless you on your faith journey. :)


#18

The most basic questions to be answered by each person:

  1. Do I believe that Jesus Christ is indeed the Living Son of God?
  2. Do I believe that Jesus Christ told the truth?
  3. What is the plain meaning of Matthew 16, 15:19?
  4. What is the plain meaning of John 14, 6, 15:17, 26?
  5. What is the plain meaning of Luke 22, 19:20?
  6. What is the plain meaning of John 20, 21:23?

Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church and put Peter in charge with the Holy Spirit to remind His Church of all Christ taught.

Jesus Christ gave the Apostles the power to convert bread and wine into His Body and Blood.

After His resurection, Jesus Christ gave His Apostles the power to forgive sins.

These powers are handed down from the Apostles. They cannot be taken on by volunteers no matter how well meaning they may be.

If one understands this much, there really isn't any good reason to refuse to become a Catholic. The Church - the Mass and the Sacraments - is what it is really all about.

If we believe that Christ is indeed the Living Son of God, would we not want assurance that our sins are forgiven? Would we not want to receive Christ in Holy Eucharist?


#19

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]

  • The Vatican says we should vote against gay marriage and abortion rights. The Vatican says one cannot be pro-choice and Catholic. But I can always find another liberal parish that disagrees.

It doesn't matter what individuals in disobedience say, no matter what habit they wear. Holy Church has very clear teachings on life, based on 20 centuries of tradition, which exclude as intrinsic evils homosexual unions and the murder of unborn infants. To say otherwise is to be in heresy, and to persist in this saying can lead to automatic excommunication. These "liberal" members of the Catholic Church should be more careful when they pass their own disobedient ideas as Church teaching.

  • Why should the Church continue to hold such positions, then? Even when so many Catholics disagree with the Vatican?

Because it is the truth, and it is God's revelation. Because it is God's will that His Church - unlike other communities that separated from it - does not accept compromise and does not adapt to moral and cultural relativism, but upholds the divine teachings and the sacred tradition consistently, today with presidents and senators like yesterday with emperors and kings, today with "Catholics who disagree" like yesterday with heretics and schismatics. Christians throughout time have been martyred for continuing to hold positions even when many disagreed with the Holy See and when it was very unpopular and very politically incorrect to do so - indeed, they were tortured and murdered for this reason. Many Catholics will be willing to stand up against abortion and sexual immorality when this means ending in jail. In fact, this is already happening around the world, though you hardly hear it in the media. Surely we won't find many protestants by our side, in prison.

  • Since so many Catholics disagree with the Vatican, doesn't that make the Church less effective? Shouldn't the Catholic Church just tolerate political dissent like the Protestant churches, and not advocate any political position in particular? Why are abortion, gay marriage, cloning, euthanasia, and (I forgot the other) such immutable issues for Catholics? Yes I've heard natural law and moral issues. But aren't civil rights important?

Civil rights are important, but who decides which are they? Who is the teaching authority? Is it the state? Is it a state? Is it a culture at a given time? Who do we accept as the defender of timeless truths, the Church of Christ that has been solid in its faith and tradition for 20 centuries, or some baby culture fallen prey of relativism and atheism? Or perhaps we should be "tolerant", like schismatics and heretics are, turning our eyes away from Antichrist's work of destruction of the family and of the Church? Surely it would be very convenient to do so. But instead we do what is right and uphold what is true, because to us was given the authority to teach, not by the people, but by God.

  • But then again, if the Catholic church were to liberalize politically or tolerate political dissent, what would it then offer that I can't find in a Protestant church?? Protestant churches are okay with political diversity because they know it's secondary to the main mission of preaching the Gospel. Politics doesn't save us after all, right?

**Well, according to protestant communities, we are already saved, right? We just need to try and find comfort, to take it easy, to "chill", to "stay cool"...no need for penance and mortification, no need for good works, no need to fight and be persecuted in defense of Matrimony (which ceased to be a Sacrament in protestantism) and the life of the unborn, no need to be coherent with 20 centuries of sacred tradition, no need to be coherent to the very Scriptures that condemn abortion, sexual abomination, euthanasia, and all sorts of works of evil.

Unfortunately, preaching the gospel is not enough**. We need to live the gospel, because our faith is shown by our works, and we shall be judged not according to whether we "accept Jesus as savior", but according to what we did to the least of our brothers.

[/quote]


#20

[quote="CaliLobo, post:1, topic:307998"]
- For every worship-related reason why the Catholic Church is so great I can always find a reason to counter that. For example, some love the liturgy, but others cannot get anything out of the old liturgical style of worship, because it's just empty rituals to them.

I don't think you know what you are talking about here.

And why should communion be reserved to only Catholics, isn't that offensive? And if confession is so important why do most people not do it, and live a life of "Catholic guilt"?

*Communion, as you call it, unlike in "protestant" communities who lack apostolic succession, is the very Body and Blood of Christ, and as such is reserved to those who know what it is and are properly disposed to be united with Christ. Do you even know what the Holy Eucharist is? What Sacred Scripture says of it? Learn, and then you'll understand why heretics may not partake of it. As for confession, again you don't know what you say. It is a precept of Holy Church to confess at least once a year, and many of us confess monthly, or even every two weeks. *

  • In general, why are Catholic churches so dead and boring? Isn't the faith "more alive" in a Protestant church? I appreciate that Protestant churches have more entertaining music, are more welcoming, will say hi to you if you're new, and will ask you to fill out a welcome card so they can get back to you!

Holy Mass is the Last Supper, is Calvary. We don't go there to have fun, we go there to offer ourselves up with Christ, who is dying outside of time, once and forever, for the sins of all. Surely Mary and John did not find entertaining music, but the blasphemies of the people and the sorrows of the dying Christ, and surely the Roman soldiers who pierced His heart were not very welcoming. We don't go to Church to chill, it's not show business for us.

I just get the sense that the Catholic faith is so personal, but why can't Catholics get involved with the lives of others, form small groups, and talk about faith with each other?

We have plenty of that in every Parrish. We have adult groups, men groups, ladies groups, young groups, retreats, religious secular orders, adoration of Our Lord...we get together to do works of mercy, to visit the sick and feed the homeless...

  • In general I just don't see Catholics practicing their faith, the way Protestants do.

Really? And what exposure have you gotten to the Church to say this? To me, as a practicing Catholic, that is a joke. But I am not laughing, I just feel sorry that you see it that way.

All I see is a moribund, boring church with inconsistency in the beliefs among members. In fact, Catholics who convert to Protestantism complain that the Catholic Church is just a bunch of rote rituals with no meaning.

But 1.2 billion Christians strong, unlike the "vibrant" protestant "community" of approx. 800 million people spread around 20,000 denominations, each following their own doctrine, and "more or less" doing what Christ told us to do in matters of faith and morals.

The Catholic Church has such potential, but right now Protestant churches have the edge in how "alive" their faith is.

Why, because the community events have better music? Please. Nothing can compare to what Holy Church is doing. As for "potential", hey, all protestant communities separated from the Catholic Church at one point or another...the Bible, well, we put it together. Protestants have only taken away chunks of tradition, bit by bit, falling from error to error. But Noah only built one Ark, and outside of it, ultimately, there was nothing left. Only one house was built on the rock.

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