Not sure how to respond to my protestant friend

A few months ago my protestant friend was questioning my Catholic faith and its silly old traditions as she put it. Of course I Quoted Thessalonians 2-15 of which she replied that the tradition is the Bible, I said to her it can’t be because the Bible wasn’t a tradition when it was written. We then got onto the subject of the body and blood of Christ and she said “you Catholics believe its really Jesus don’t you”. I then quoted John Chapter 6 and got the usual protestant reply -“he was only speaking symbolically”. I continued by discussing Eucharistic miracles and she said “well have you ever seen it with your own eyes?” i said it just takes faith to believe.

Anyways she finished the conversation by saying that why do we have all the different churches why cant we all be one, I left the discussion at that and continued with just general conversation. We ended our time by her inviting me to her prayer group of which I have attended once or twice but I prefer not to go.

Once or twice over the past couple of months she has invited me to go to the prayer meeting and she mentioned that she’s doing communion now. Yesterday she was quite insistent that I should go because I’m Catholic and they’re having communion.

So how do I respond to this without being too critical or dismissive of her or risking offending her you know stretching the friendship ruining any ground that I may have made.

Tell your friend that it’s her turn to come to Mass (or Scripture Study, if you have it) with you! :slight_smile:

Seriously, has she visited your church at all?

If she has email, Catholic Answers has a lot of short articles about topics your friend is probably questioning.

If one of my Protestant friends was inviting me to a prayer meeting where she’d be having communion, I’d explain to her that my beliefs about Communion were too different from hers to share. It sounds as if she’s wanting you to validate her statement about all churches being one. You can tactfully explain to her why you wouldn’t be comfortable. She should accept that and respect your feelings on the matter. It seems you have shown her a lot of respect, and she should reciprocate.

It does seem that she is somewhat open, all in all.

Gotta love the Fathers of the Early Church. Justin Martyr (writings estimate from AD 150-160) had this to say.

Excerpt from First Apology

CHAPTER LXVI – OF THE EUCHARIST.

And this food is called among us Eukaristia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me,** this is My body;” **and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

If you genuinely don’t want to go, then you should not worry about it.

I have participated in a non Catholic bible study group. They used a guided series by Pastor Mark Driscoll. He is not exactly Catholic friendly. But I wasn’t so worried about him as just having some good Christian fellowship with some friends. Some things came up and I gave a little attention to those types of accussations. But I think it’s best to say something short and to the point and then move on. If they persist, you can say some more but express that you would rather fellowship about constructive things.

As for Communion with them, you should not take the mere bread and wine (or whatever they use). I would attend if you enjoy their fellowship, but quietly pass on their communion. If questioned why I won’t take it, I would reply that it is a communion at odds with the Church, and I am not at odds with the Church.

If you want to decline and aren’t sure how, you can just say “Thank you for inviting me, but I’ll pass this time”… you should not be rude or judgmental.

I was attending a protestant bible study and one of the members asked why it is that “their” church would permit me to receive communion, but “my” church would not allow them to receive. My response was basically to ask why, if he did not believe what I believed about the Eucharist, he would even desire to receive it.

So I think if you can explain that, unfortunately, there are MANY things that you can agree on but there are several you cannot. I think this statement can be used both ways:

“Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion.”

Yes but you have to remember the Great Apostasy had already begun by then. :cool:

I want to do :clapping: - but I want it to be a slow clap.

This is pretty much what I would have said.

In my experience, Aussies are quite direct and plain spoken. If that fits the two of you, then tell her that you cannot participate in any sort of communion in her group, as that would amount to idolatry, and Catholics are not idolaters. At mass, you receive the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. To believe that what remains only bread and wine/juice is somehow God is idolatry.

She may very well remind you of the symbolic nature of their communion. I would ask her if cannibalism is a sin. Then, ask her if drinking blood was a sin in the Old Testament. After she answers yes to both, then ask her why Jesus would command us to sin symbolically.

Also in the following exchange its clear that everyone involved understood Jesus to be teaching what the catholic church teaches about the real presence in the Eucharist. Jesus even ask the apostles “Does this offend you”?

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

The elephant in the bible Christian living room is the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Same Eucharist. Same Sacraments. Same hierarchy. Same history dating back to Christ. Yet, only the Catholic Church is wrong. I smell hypocrisy or ignorance. Neither is a virtue.

I would respond by saying that our Mass includes special Eucharistic prayers spoken by an ordained priest over the communion bread that change the bread into the Body of Christ. So my participating in any other Churches communion would not be in line with my faith.

I would read more about her church and study the differences. There is much good literature out there so that we don’t get tongue tied. Read about the basic fundamental differences between Catholicism and other Christian faiths; some have more differences, some have less. Learn the differences. Learn the common ground.

I might go with her some time and expect that she would also go to my church with me. However, she could not take Communion at my church without certain sacraments of initiation. And those would be my words, agreeing to disagree with our religious choices, I would be respecting hers and expecting her to respect mine. If we can’t respect, we can’t pretend.

The Bible doesn’t even describe itself, so that’s not possible.

We then got onto the subject of the body and blood of Christ and she said “you Catholics believe its really Jesus don’t you”. I then quoted John Chapter 6 and got the usual protestant reply -“he was only speaking symbolically”.

She has already admitted, without realizing it, that the Bible is not sufficient for the Christian faith. Whether or not Christ was speaking symbolically, the Bible allows for two possible, but opposite, interpretations. Therefore it cannot tell us which interpretation is right.

So we have to look elsewhere for evidence to see which interpretation is most worthy of credence, and what better than the constant belief of the early Christians? Ignatius, Justin, Ireneaus, Tertullian, Origen, Clement of Alexandria all say that the bread and wine are changed into the flesh and blood of Christ.

The only ones who denied it were the Donatists, who flourished after their time, and of course the Gnostics, who borrowed from Christianity whatever suited there purpose and were very much separated from the Church.

We ended our time by her inviting me to her prayer group of which I have attended once or twice but I prefer not to go.

There are probably better ways to cultivate your friendship with her than seemingly diluting your faith.

So how do I respond to this without being too critical or dismissive of her or risking offending her you know stretching the friendship ruining any ground that I may have made.

Perhaps you can invite her to read more about the early Christians, if she is a reader. Volume 1 of the Faith of the Early Fathers by William A. Jurgens is a good introduction.

But I’d suggest NOT to initiate apologetic discourse. It’s aggressive and off-putting for most people and doesn’t persuade them.

Sorry for the double post, but I meant Docetists, not Donatists. :rolleyes:

Can you friend explain why she even believes that the New Testament is correctly assembled? There are 27 books she deems infallible; who said they were? The answer of course is the Church. That is, she, by default, believes in the Tradition of the Table of Contents of the New Testament. This is just one example of why the Church teaches that authority rests on both Scripture and Tradition (and the Magisterium).

There are countless NT passages that support the Church’s stance that the Apostles and early church relied heavily on the ORAL, not written, traditions handed down from the Apostles through the early bishops.

--------------------- yeah, totally start an argument with your friend and make yourself out to be better. That’s very Catholic. Not. Why can’t people answer these questions briefly and with kindness and keep your friendship. We all live together even though we are not all the same. You know?

…and avoid all that judging!!!

As to her statement about your silly “traditions” some of her beliefs on that are not really her fault. The NIV translates the Greek word paradosis as “tradition” anytime it’s given in a negative context but then translates the same Greek word as “teaching” when given in a positive context. Here are the examples.

• Matthew 15:2 Why do your disciples break the tradition of …

• Matthew 15:3 … of God for the sake of your tradition

• Matthew 15:6 … sake of your tradition

• Mark 7:3 … holding to the tradition of the elders …

• Mark 7:5 … according to the tradition of the elders instead …

• Mark 7:8 … holding on to the traditions of men.

• Mark 7:9 … of God in order to observe your own traditions!

• Mark 7:13 … by your tradition that you have handed down …

• Galatians 1:14 … zealous for the tradition of my fathers …

• Colossians 2:8 … on human tradition

All negative mentions translated as “tradition.” Now compare that to these translations.

• 1 Corinthians 11:2 … holding to the teachings

• 2 Thessalonians 2:15 … hold to the teachings.

• 2 Thessalonians 3:6 … the teaching you received from us.

Now replace the word “teaching” with “traditions” and you would have an accurate rendering of the Greek. But of course the translators of the NIV had an agenda and it shows in their translations

• 1 Corinthians 11:2 … holding to the traditions

• 2 Thessalonians 2:15 … hold to the traditions.

• 2 Thessalonians 3:6 … the traditions you received from us.

Puts the idea of tradition in an entirely different light doesn’t it? Unfortunately most Protestants will never know and many wouldn’t care if they did.

But of course the translators of the NIV had an agenda and it shows in their translations.

I just can’t get off this statement. This just shows the skewed view she has. NOW, if she had said Bingo…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.