Is what I'm saying Catholic?

I’ve been having a discussion with a few Protestants, and one of them insists that what I’m saying isn’t really Catholic. He seems to think Catholics believe in salvation by works, that we worship Mary, etc. So, I’ve come to the Catholic Answers forums to ask: is what I’m telling him really Catholic? Or am I really telling him Protestant beliefs and labeling myself Catholic?

What I disagree with in your comment is that 1) theology somehow makes us less able to love Jesus 2) Catholicism is about rules or regulations and 3) all we need to do is have a relationship with him and not worry about what “denomination” we’re in.
To the first, theology doesn’t separate us from God. Quite the opposite. Just like knowing my wife draws me closer and closer to her, knowing about my God draws me closer and closer to Him. The most poetic language ever spoken about mans relationship with God probably came from St Augustine and St Therese of Lisouix, both of who are Doctors of the Church (there are 33 “doctors” of the Church, with Doctor referring to a great theologian).
Here are a few quick quotes from St Augustine: “our hearts remain restless Lord until they rest in thee.” "Let me know You, O Thou who know me; let me know You, as I am known. O Thou strength of my soul, enter into it, and prepare it for Yourself, that You may have and hold it without spot or wrinkle. "
newadvent.org/fathers/110110.htm
2) Catholicism isn’t about rules, regulations, salvation by good works, or earning our way into Heaven. We are saved by Grace Alone. Let me repeat that. Yes, we are saved by Grace Alone. We can’t earn our way into Heaven. We are saved by Grace Alone. I don’t know why Protestants constantly accuse us of believing that we have to earn our way into Heaven. The Catholic Church officially condemned works-righteousness as a heresy called “Pelagianism” in 418 AD.
ewtn.com/library/answers/capelagi.htm
newadvent.org/cathen/11604a.htm

  1. As far as having a relationship with Jesus; I agree. I was a Protestant for over 10 years, and I was on fire. But the “fire” of Pentecostalism and Protestantism is nothing compared to the fire of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.
    But just as I have a relationship with my wife, there is a structure to it. The structure of the relationship is the “religion.” Many evangelicals have a problem with the word “religion” and think “relationship” and “religion” are somehow opposed to each other. Yet James 1:27 refers to our relationship with God as “religion.”

But I agree that we have a relationship with Jesus. No doubt. But there is no intimacy greater than the Eucharist. I love the music, singing, preaching, etc that happens in Protestant circles. But there is nothing like the Eucharist. No song, music, preaching, or charistamtic worship service can match the Eucharist. The difference is the difference between a husband having intense emotional singing, reading, and hearing sermons about his wife (Protestant worship service) vs actually having physical intimacy with her (the Eucharist).

  1. I agree that denominationalism is wrong. In fact, Paul explicitly condemns it in 1 Cor 1 and 3. The reality is, denominationalism didn’t exist until 1517. Jesus prayed that there would be unity in the Church in John 17. Peter said that the Church needs to be of “ONE MIND” in 1 Pet 3:8. Jesus said in John 17 that if we are not unified, then the world will not know He was sent by the Father. And what came directly after the Protestant Reformation? The “Enlightenment” and secularism.
    Scripture says we must have true unity. When a Lutheran says we receive the Holy Spirit at baptism and an evangelical says baptism is just a symbol that doesn’t "do’ anything; they can’t both be right. When a Catholic says that the Eucharist really is the body blood soul and divinity of Jesus; and a Calvinist says it’s just a symbol, they can’t both be right. There have been arguments for 500 years among Protestants, and they can’t figure out their differences.
    You don’t see that in Catholicism. We follow the model in Acts. Acts 1, the Apostles appointed Matthias as a Church ruler called an Episcopate (English word is “Bishop”). Likewise Paul ordained Timothy a Bishop. SO what happened when the apostles had a disagreement? In Acts 15 they met together in a Council and made a definitive declaration one what was true and what was false.
    Jesus passed this authority onto His Church in Matthew 16 and Matthew 18. He said “whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven, whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”
    The purpose of the Church is so that we can have a correct interpretation of the truth, so we are not fighting amongst ourselves for 500 years and violating Christ’s commandment to be unified.
    And do you know what the Church called itself for the first 1,500 years of Christianity? Remember that Acts says we were CALLED Christians, but we didn’t call OURSELVES Christians. Let me give you the earliest surviving writing of what Christians called themselves:
    “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”
    St Ignatius of Antioch, 107 AD

I invite you to actually check out what Catholicism teaches. We don’t teach that we can earn our way to Heaven. We don’t worship Mary or the Saints. Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. We don’t deny that we need a personal relationship with Jesus. We don’t believe the mass is Christ being re-sacrificed again and again. etc etc.

Anyways, I hope that clears up some of your misunderstandings about Catholicism. I invite you to learn about the Eucharist, and question why you are still protesting the Catholic Church. After all, that’s what the term "protest"ant means!

yes, what you are saying is cahtolic

the problem lies in the relation of works to faith, protestants believe in faith alone. or at least they say they do.

but we know hat Jesus in the gospel of matthew did said that works were necessary for salvation, in a way, not that you can “earn” your way to heaven because no work we do is really that good by God’s standards but because works are the way to demonstrate our faith. faith is believing in jesus yes but also loving him. and he said that by loving others we love him.

using your exampoe, you have a relationship with your wife, you tell you love her but you don’t show any gestures. no gifts, no sacrifices made, no bback rubs, no cooking her dinner sometimes or going to the movies, is she really going to feel loved? not a perfect analogy but i’m sure you get the point.

hope that helps a bit

The way I describe faith v works:

As Catholics, we agree that we are saved by faith, and not by works. It’s just that the Catholic definition of salvific faith necessarily includes good works. Again, following the whole sentiment about “Faith without works is dead”.

Ya done good!

“There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.” ~Bishop Fulton Sheen

Keep spreading the truth about what we believe because many people have bought into the lies people tell them about us. This place is a great source for finding answers.

God bless!

I would say you are most right:)

we are not saved by faith or works.

We are saved by God’s grace alone but it is a grace that we need to cooperate with it through our faith and our works. A lively faith. It involves a sacramental life (which gives and sustains grace)

from fisheaters.com

We refute the idea that all one needs to do in order to be saved is to say “The Sinner’s Prayer” (though it is a nice prayer, as far as it goes); we believe that we are to work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12) lest we be cast away (I Corinthians 9:27) – but always with the knowledge of God’s Fatherly Love and Mercy for us, His adopted children. Likewise, we reject the idea that one can work his way into Heaven or that any Christian’s works have salvific merit outside of Christ’s grace. Neither faith alone, nor works alone, nor faith and works together saves us or puts God into debt to us; He owes us nothing! Neither getting on your knees once and saying the “Sinner’s Prayer,” no matter how sincerely, nor a lifetime working at soup kitchens, but without faith and the Sacraments, will save you. It is His grace alone that saves – a grace we accept in faith and by doing His will!

Though we believe in predestination (Ephesians 1:11), we see it as an inscrutable Mystery, and we reject any ideas of predestination that deny the free will of man or which make God the Author of sin by seeing Him as also predestining some souls to go to Hell (i.e., as in any idea of “double predestination”). We assert that we are created by God in His image, that He created us freely able to choose Him or to choose sin, and that predestination beyond recognizing His omniscience, would render His divine plan meaningless. We believe that free will exists both before and after justification. In other words, a person who enters the Covenant may freely leave it and lose his salvation (2 Peter 2:20-21). While we do believe that whom God elects, He will save, we don’t presume to know who the elect are (I Corinthians 4:4)! This is a Mystery of God that we can’t presume to know, let alone base an entire theology and soteriology on.

He’s inserting words into your mouth and refuting what you’re not saying.

We are saved by ONLY one thing - the Grace of Christian Baptism. A person who is Baptized and soon dies is assured salvation.

We can forfeit our salvation through mortal sin. We can be fully restored by Sacramental Confession.

Eucharist fortifies us to resist mortal sin, but cannot restore us if we are not in a State of Grace.

Baptism and Confession are a “work,” but not the type of works that protestants think of.

Faith is shown through works. How can one claim faith but do no works? Either the sacraments/going to church, or works of service to the community? Unless one is bedridden and/or severely disabled (or too young to understand what’s going on, as in infants and toddlers), faith and works go hand-in-hand. It’s a both/and not an either/or situation. :thumbsup:

  1. I agree that denominationalism is wrong. In fact, Paul explicitly condemns it in 1 Cor 1 and 3. The reality is, denominationalism didn’t exist until 1517.

I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you say denominationalism didn’t exist until 1517. Haven’t there been arch-heretics and their followers all throughout the history of the Church? Protestants, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, were merely some of the more recent ones.

YES EXACTLY!!!:thumbsup:

Looks good. My only clarification is point#2:

  1. Catholicism isn’t about rules, regulations, salvation by good works, or earning our way into Heaven. We are saved by Grace Alone. Let me repeat that. Yes, we are saved by Grace Alone. We can’t earn our way into Heaven. We are saved by Grace Alone. I don’t know why Protestants constantly accuse us of believing that we have to earn our way into Heaven. The Catholic Church officially condemned works-righteousness as a heresy called “Pelagianism” in 418 AD.

Catholicism isn’t about salvation by good works, but rather maintaining salvation by keeping faith through good works. In our doing good works, we make an assent of our will to follow the lead of the HolySpirit to do the work. This assent keeps our faith a living one.

In addition, Trent says these works are meritorious toward attaining eternal life, and a cause of increase in righteousness. (Canons 24 & 32, especially 32)

But this is not an earned merit, but a gifted merit. (Remember that merit is worthiness to receive a reward.) It is our assent to do works which is how we accept the gifted merit.

So through our assent to work, we gain the merit that God wants to give us as part of the work.

Why is this merit not earned? Because there is nothing we give God to obtain it. God has worked in us both to will, and to do. Our will assent is only our lack of rejection of God’s work in us to will.

Hope this helps

peace
steve

Wouldn’t saying the Sinner’s Prayer be a work?

Kep1983, I thought what you said was great, and the addition of Angel1’s extension of your analogy would clarify that one point.

You don’t need faith to be saved. Babies don’t have faith.

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