Like a pharisee?


Hi all. I hope I am posting in the write correct forum:

Just briefly: I was raised Catholic but didn’t own my faith until my early twenties when I discovered the Catholic Church was the TRUE church. I could finally hang my hat and welcomed EVERYTHING the Church taught. Thus, I no longer rebel against the “rules”. I actually like clear cut rules to guide me, knowing what is right and wrong.

It also made it very difficult to see liturgical abuses, those not disposed to do so receiving communion, and rogue clergy preaching false doctrine. Very, very painful.

Now that we have Pope Francis, I find myself cringing internally. I recognize that the media posts very skewed and ignorant stories about him and I try carefully to read only trusted, Catholic postings. I also recognize that his political and socioeconomic rules do not fall under the realm of faith and morals.

I find myself now feeling like a pharisee…and actually feeling bad for them. As I read the Old Testament and the astronomical number of dictates prescribed by God as well as his instant justice of even death for those who disobeyed, how can one not take the law as seriously as the pharisees did?

(Numbers 15:32-36)–“Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. 33And those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation; 34and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him. 35Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36So all the congregation brought him outside the camp, and stoned him to death with stones, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

So, yeah, I’m feeling a plethera of emotions and I’m not sure what think. Can someone help?

Thank you and God bless,


As a more liberal Christian, I honestly think that there is a very important role for liturgy and ritual. It’s how we connect to the Divine, and I do believe that in terms of liturgical expression, there ought to be a strict dignity under which the offices of the Church are executed.

In terms of God’s law, the Torah laws were given for the Jewish People. Judaism itself affirms 7 Noachide Laws (Ethical Monotheism) for Non-Jews, which seem to be summarized by the Acts Council in the NT.

God did give many laws and details for how the Temple and the Mishkan were to be constructed, and how the services were to be carried out. Catholics do not believe that these will be reinstated, whereas Premillenial Dispensationalists do believe that the Temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices reinstated as a thanksgiving offering.

I mention this because I notice a grave hypocrisy among many conservative Christians in terms of their sexual politics. They will be the first ones to cite Leviticus as a proof text in favor of declaring homosexual sex anathema, yet the same people ignore the laws in the same book on all matters of ritual purity, kosher eating, Sabbath observance, etc.

I suppose that’s why I have much in common with Reform Jewish rabbis; our religious worldview is that ethics and worship of the heart trump legalism. Conservative Christians who fixate on gays, abortion, subjugating women selectively quote Pentateuch Scriptures, while ignoring the Prophets and Gospels. They have more in common with the Orthodox Jews, it seems. Citing the Pauline Scriptures selectively and legalistically is a grave error.


They will be the first ones to cite Leviticus as a proof text in favor of declaring homosexual sex anathema, yet the same people ignore the laws in the same book on all matters of ritual purity, kosher eating, Sabbath observance, etc.

You’ve come to a good forum then. You will find a more holistic view that explores and respects the line that runs through the OT and NT. I hope you can ask some good questions… It’s not like the issue you mention has never been addressed (and addressed very well). Actually I think it was Jesus who chose to dismiss some of those laws, since He was their point.

Tezza - You are not alone. However, the issue with the Pharisees was not that they simply were zealous for the Law, they created their own customs to protect it and treated those customs as being just as important as the Law itself, even when they contradicted the point of that same Law. And then they tried to trick God about His own Law. Then they killed Him. Etc.


The Sadducees killed Jesus, not the Pharisees.

Jesus says that He is the fulfillment of the Law, not the abolition of it (Matthew 5:17)


Thank you. That helps a bit.


I can’t speak for all Christians, but I oppose Abortion because I believe the unborn fetus/embryo is a human life created equal and endowed by the creator with the same unalienable human rights as everyone else.

Even if The Church or The Bible allowed abortions, I would still appose them. Even if I wasn’t Christian, I would still oppose abortion. That’s because there are non-religious reasons for opposing abortion.


The Sadducees killed Jesus, not the Pharisees.

Jesus says that He is the fulfillment of the Law, not the abolition of it (Matthew 5:17)

John 18:3

Mark 17: 14-23

The first point is silly, since everyone was pretty much on board, the second is complex. It’s a big discussion for another thread (which I think is today’s featured apologetics post?)…

  1. We are not under the Torah (the Law).

  2. The Pharisees that received corrective words from Jesus were focusing on one aspect of the Law while rejecting the more weighty aspects…they were paying tithes on mint but robbing widows…

Following Christ faithfully …being faithful in his Church and to his Church is not being a like a those Pharisees…


Jesus Christ came in order to offer mercy. The ancient Hebrew people of the Old Testament were lost wondering what they did wrong to end up exiled in Babylon. The Old Testament shows us the relationship between humanity in that time period in history to their creator, God the Father. God the Father saw that the ancient Hebrew people did not understand how deeply He loved them, so God the Father came to earth in Jesus Christ, His Son, to teach us how to love.

This year in the Catholic Church is the year of mercy. In order for us to be true to our Catholic faith we must trust our Pope to guide us. We must know that he is faithful to the Holy Spirit which has kept the Catholic Church alive for over 2000 years. If the Pope calls for us to act with mercy, we are to be obedient, not rebellious. Pope Francis is our leader, not some ancient king or prophet from the Hebrew tribes.


Not to mention, the Pharisees had hearts that had hardened. (Yes, that’s a lot of Hs). Jesus knew this.

There issues was less their zeal for the law (or out Faith and its precepts today) that the fact they loved the law more than their fellow men or God himself, frankly. I have never seen a Pope who decried a loyalty to the Presepts of teachings of our faith. But to do so while eschewing the humans that make up the faith itself (and for whom the faith ultimately exsist) is missing the point.


You are not alone. I have been greatly toubled of late. There seems to be a tendency to label anyone who defends the Church’s doctrine or historical practice as an obstacle to “mercy” and a Pharisee.

Most troubling of all for me was Pope Francis’ speech at the conclusion of the recent synod. It was very, very harsh. And, all people were doing was standing up for what both St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had recently re-affirmed concerning the Church’s sacramental practice. Yet, they were labeled as unmerciful Pharisees, as cold-hearted, as “scholars of the law” and “scribes” and as perfering to “sit on the judgment seat of Moses” and lord it over the people. Well, I have to ask: Was he not in effect casting those aspersions at St. John Paul and Benedict, since they had very recently reaffirmed the historical practice of the Church? As someone who regards St. John Paul and Benedict as two of my greatest heroes of the faith, this is very disturbing to me.


My understanding is that the Pharisees had many problems:

  1. They had added an incredible level of minutia to the law of Moses - so much so that it had become very difficult for everyday people to comply - yet they refused to cut people any kind of a break.

  2. They followed the letter of the law while circumenting its intent.

  3. They believed that if they followed the law perfectly they would be justified, regardless what was in their hearts.

  4. They treated “sinners” as pariahs rather than reaching out to them to try to help them return to a right relationship with God.

  5. Their hearts were so hardened that they did not recognize Jesus as the Christ, even though everything in the Scriptures pointed to him.

As a side-note, I have read that the Pharisees believed that the Messiah would come only when all Jews in Judah complied perfectly with the law. Thus, their obsession with following the law in minute detail and their treatment of those who did not follow the law as pariahs and even traitors. For the Pharisee, “sinners” (i.e., those not following the law) were actually preventing the Messiah from coming. This would also explain why they scoffed at the idea that Jesus was the Messiah. Not only was it obvious that Israel was full of sinners - Jesus actually associated with them!


Thank you. It makes sense. I suppose the association I make is because I cringe when Pope Francis does precisely what Jesus did-in meeting with the sinners where they are. I know the scandal it creates, though Jesus created the same scandal (on a less global scale-at least at that time). I wish I rejoiced at his choices to be like Christ, instead of wonder how many Catholics will be alienated, or how many will misinterpret the teachings of the Church. I guess it’s really a matter of trust in God’s providence and his promise to protect his Church. Can anyone tell I’m a worrier?:smiley: Working on it, with God’s grace.



But there is NO GOOD REASON to FORCE YOUR WILL on someone else.

Caps just for emphasis. I admire anyone who can argue convincingly as to why abortions should not occur.

I applaud people who can console and understand, and allow a woman to make her own choice, without manipulating… especially Emotionally manipulating, which is akin to Emotional Rape in God’s Eyes, so God tells me… without manipulating people to their personal will, but the legal restrictions need to stop.

If you vote some into office who wants to make abortion illegal, for the sole purpose of trying to make abortions illegal because You want them to be, you’re going against God’s Will, for Free Will, for All God’s Children.

The lifetime of experience of a woman old enough to have children, outweighs the life experience of a small bundle of cells, soul attached, or not. God would not make such a design that souls without life experience would be damned, or whatever **** some people have used to try to justify their hatred.

No Offense BornInMarch. I more or less agree with you <3 =)

Someday, if not already, hidden behind patent laws and such, we could probably simply move an embryo to someone who wants a child but can’t normally have one naturally.


The Maverick Jesuit


Strong opinion. If an abortion is equivalent to murder, well there is no justification for it. People have the right to use their free-will as they choose.


Abortion is NOT equivalent to Murder.

Get that thought out of your head. Holy Spirit Warns.

P.S. If I’m breaking forum rules, I’ll try to rephrase what I say, but God makes me do this.


I did not say it was. I said if.


why so aggressive? People who oppose abortion are not evil. What Holy Spirit warns? People who oppose abortions are not controlling. Your opinion about God is just as valid as anyone else.


Well then Cratus and Lynx, to get back to the subject.

Tezza, between your early and later formation it sounds like your awareness of rules has overshadowed the things like building each other up in our calling (spiritual trading), Holy Spirit power, indwelling Jesus.

For me, though I kind of spiralled away from and towards the Church like you, in my family of origin we have only ever been sketchily aware of rules but highly aware of grace - quite a bit through Protestant friends. (I don’t mix up communion.)

When Jesus talks about leaving our father and mother He is inviting us to constructively critique our background to double check that it isn’t getting us in a bind. Scruples on our own behalf or on others’ isn’t part of His intended destiny for us.

Your desire to keep working on this is precious - don’t let the lamp go out!


I don’t have an "opinion"about God, I have the Actual God helping me.

You could ask God your self. S/He who has ears, let them hear.

Apologies if anyone reads “aggressive” into my posts. I will try to speak softer.

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