Man-made rules?


I was raised protestant, and am working on converting to Catholicism. I have been reading alot of materials to come to an understanding of all the different things that I didn’t know about at all from my protestant upbringing. I am getting over most of the hurdles. My one sticking point, or questioning item is in regards to the many rules followed in the Church. I worry about the Paul’s statement of following man-made rules - referring to all the rules added by the Pharisees. I wonder if we have some of the same in the Church? Things that I did not know about as a protestant such as: rules regarding attendance at “certain” times, confession, eating rules, etc. I know that some are just disciplines, yet I “think” even these become a sin if not followed? Can you clarify for me a bit and/or put my mind at ease on this issue?:shrug:


There are man made rules in every Church. For example, in the Baptist Church, people are not allowed to drink smoke, dance, or play cards. In my room mates Church, they are not allowed to watch movies or wear shorts. In some Protestant Churches, a 10% tithe is required even the New Testament only says to give what you think is best. The question one must ask onself is if the man made rules glorify God and conform to his will. The rules that Catholic Church develops in her cannon law are either directly taken from scripture and tradition (i.e the word of God) or are historical devlopments created by the Church to deal with problems that have arisen over time. The Church, in her wisdom, guided by the Holy Spirit, devlopes these laws in accordance with God’s laws and the the two greatest commandments: Love God and love your neighbor. The rules that Jesus condemed were the specific man made laws of the Pharisees that did not jive with God’s will or charity. He did not condem all “man-made laws”, only those that make null the word of God.


There are no man made rules in the Catholic Church. All the “rules” are God made-passed to us by the Holy Spirit via the magestrium of the Church Jesus founded.


Keep in mind that God gave His people, the Jews, plenty of rules (did any pagans have so many?). So rules are not antithetical to True Faith.


There is a difference between rules made for good and those made for bad… Rules are made for order and good.

On the other hand, it is bad to make a rule that only allows white people in the Church. Like the Pharisees rules can be designed for evil purposes, there might be a bigoted or selfish person who might do this, and this is what man made rules do. They bind people to do wrong.

It is good to make a rule that allows for all to be able to come into the Church, or that we should respect God in a certain way.

An example of this is the fast, before we consume the Eucharist, out of respect for God and to foster an awareness of the respect we must have for Jesus, we fast before we consume the Eucharist. Some will fast from the night before even though it is not required, only one hour is required.

These rules that we follow are very small and are all geared toward focusing us toward a relationship with God. Such as respecting the day He was born by celebrating it on Christmas.
Sunday Mass, celebrating Jesus’s life, etc… Everything must be ordered to God.

Now an obstinant rejection of these rules in order to please oneself is sinful as it is placing human desire above obedience.
Now if there is a rule such as a fast and you are sick you are perfectly able to eat, or if you make a mistake and accidently eat a bagel that is not a sin. The Church always recognizes that Salvation is the ultimate rule which overides others.

Sin is intentional, replacing of human above God.

In Christ


I think it is important to remember that even as Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocritical behavior and distortion of the Scriptures, He turned right around and told the Jewish people to do as they say, just not as they do. God has always instilled order through His Church. Jesus NEVER told people not to obey the Church elders, even if they were hypocritical and their rules were “bad”.

Following the rules of the Church is an act of humility and obedience, and a recognition of the authority placed over us by divine providence.


Not only that, but look closely at what Jesus was, in fact, rebuking these particular Pharisees for. He was not condemning them for keeping rules per se — without rules, ANY collection of people, large or small, will slip into chaos – but for creating or manipulating rules that negated the word of God. That’s why he used the “Corban” example: the Pharisees were trying to evade fulfilling a moral good --taking care of one’s parents-- by replacing it with a purely ritualistic practice, in this case, dedicating the money to the Temple.

People throw the Pharisee example around a little too freely, I think, while really missing the entire point of the biblical episode.


Welcome to the forum, and welcome home to the Catholic Church. One thing to understand is that Paul was referring to hypocritical behavior and rules, not that there should be no rules. God gives the authority (in Scripture) to make these rules to the leadership of His Catholic Church. He does not give this authority to make rules to you, I, or any other denominational leaders. Some attack this authority in an attempt to validate their own authority. I’m sure you’ve run into this before. After all if they admitted that the Catholic Church alone has this authority, their own authority falls apart.


Rules? There are rules? Of course there are rules. Every church has them. What is important is why. Why do Fundamentalist women have to wear skirts and never cut their hair? Why do Catholics go to church every Sunday? (These are rhetorical… don’t answer). If you look into the rules, there is a biblical basis for them. What I find so amusing is people always think Catholics have so many more rules… yet when I visited a Lutheran Church, you had to sign in so they could take attendance! At a Fundamentalist church you had to wear a skirt…not a dress, a skirt, and it had to be at least mid calf. Catholics have neither attendance nor specific dress codes… yes there is a dress code… usually something about no shorts or gym clothes… (not a problem in my parish they keep it so cold in the summer I take a sweater). At my friends Baptist church they had to fill out a financial disclosure form to join, and the Church told them how much to contribute!:eek: There are rules but I guarantee that the rules are different…very different than what you are used to.


Chewing gum is morally neutral. Until you become a pupil at a school where the headmaster has banned this habit. Then it’s a moral issue.

All organisations, schools, Churches and workplaces, have some rules like this that they enforce. Most are extremely petty, but then often it is the petty things that have the biggest impact on day to day life. The Church is no different. When the rules become over-emphasised to the point that the real goals of the organisation are obscured then you have a problem, which was something Jesus spoke about.


The thing about “all those rules” is that they accomplish what the Church set out to accomplish - to bring us closer to Christ!

None of the rules and regulations that the Church has placed on me has brought up a wall of separation between me and the Lord!

God Bless Mother Church!!!


At the risk of answering, I go to Mass simply because I want to. The question is, Why should a Catholic ever go to Mass simply because they HAVE to. If they are, then they are missing the boat.

Some day when I’m Pope, I’m going to eliminate the phrase, “Holy Day of Obligation”!!!:dts:


At the risk of answering, I go to Mass simply because I want to. The question is, Why should a Catholic ever go to Mass simply because they HAVE to. If they are, then they are missing the boat.

Some day when I’m Pope, I’m going to eliminate the phrase, “Holy Day of Obligation”!!!:dts:


At the risk of answering, I go to Mass simply because I want to. The question is, Why should a Catholic ever go to Mass simply because they HAVE to. If they are, then they are missing the boat.

That is a great answer.

I also go to Mass because I want to. The Mass has a beauty of its own and once you learn the purpose for every part of the Mass up to the Eucharist - the actual partaking of the body and blood of Christ, then I feel confident that you will also wish to attend Mass as opposed to feeling forced to attend by some abstract regulation.

I mean, what is a rule? It is nothing but what we accept it to be. Right?

There are times when people do not accept the rules because the foundations for them do not make sense any longer. In the 1960’s a lot of people in the South began questioning rules that said non-whites had to use a separate restroom, attend separate schools, sit at the back of the bus, and generally be treated much more poorly.

So rules need a foundation that is justified to be accepted, otherwise no one will follow them.

It is important to remember that the Mass is for God and by attending and participating it benefits you as well. But, it is not simply for one’s entertainment or selfish benefit.


Thanks Vaclav.

With that being said, I used to go because I had to. It built in me the habit of going, whether I felt like it or not. I just knew I should.

But somewhere along the path, like you, I came to (only begin to) realize what is going on in the Mass. Since then, my day is centered around which daily Mass in the area best fits my schedule.

You could almost say I go because I have to. But the need comes from within my soul - not because of any “rules from Rome”.


Does this include the rule that it makes a marriage invalid if someone kidnaps a woman for the purposes of marriage, but there is no such rule about kidnaping a man for the same purpose? :stuck_out_tongue:


Kidnap a man? That is pure fiction. I cant see it ever happening.


Sounds like a quasimodo made rule to me


Agreed… but the point I was making was that it is an obligation because of the 2nd commandment… in other words, there is a reason that has a very firm basis.



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