I realize that I am not the first person in history to attempt this, and I pray I won’t be the last, but The Lord has called me as a member of the Catholic laity to open dialogue with our separated Christian brothers and sisters. I am in a unique position and have access to Lutheran and Presbyterian ministers, some non-denominational pastors and even a Baptist minister. I am reaching out to this forum for both prayers and advice. Will you join me in praying for increased unity? Will you pray for me that I speak the Truth with only love, humility and charity? If any of you have done this sort of thing ‘live time’ as I am about to begin to do today, do you have any advice? Pitfalls you have witnessed, etc? I feel like I am better prepared to defend the Church than I am to promote unity! I do not seek to start arguments, but do wish to speak the Truth to others. Anyway, I would appreciate your prayers and support as I embark on this mission. Thank you!
Yes, I have. And overall, it is great. Not in the sence that I converted anyone to Catholicism, but that many walls were torn down in the understandings of Catholic Faith.
I highly recommend letting love for Jesus overshadow everything. Do not share the Faith in order to get an immediate conversion, but be eager to find the common Communion we have.
Some good chapters to reference in the Catechism are 818, 819, 839 (hopefully I remembered those right!) where the discussion about unity and salvation exist within seperated communities of Christians.
And this is a cool quote from the prologue:
25 To conclude this Prologue, it is fitting to recall this pastoral principle stated by the Roman Catechism:
The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.19
I will gladly join you in praying for unity. I will also pray for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you in your journey.
Thi sis good advice. I meet with a local ministerial association monthly. Give no thought to converting anyone, especially a pastor. Rather, What can you learn from them about your own faith, Jesus, scripture, the church and yourself. Enter with humility not a triumphal superiority
This is good advice. I meet with a local ministerial association monthly. Give no thought to converting anyone, especially a pastor. Rather, What can you learn from them about your own faith, Jesus, scripture, the church and yourself. Enter with humility not a triumphal superiority
Best advice I could give you is to contact the Coming Home Network, you can go through EWTN to get it. Or talk to one of the apologists here on the Catholic Answers forum.God Bless, Memaw
Update. My first meeting to promote unity went…about as good as could be expected for my first attempt. Sat down with a Presbyterian pastor for about two hours. Lightly discussed everything from baptism to Eucharist to justification and sanctification. We were surprisingly close on baptism. He just couldn’t let go of the Calvinist idea that we can actually accomplish any bit of our personal salvation. But he agreed that baptism is decreed as a requirement by Christ Himself, and thus we should trust that Christ knows why He declared that we must do it. And he confirmed that this is the teaching of the Presbyterian church of America (the more conservative group, a.k.a PCA), but that it is rarely verbalized because most pastors do not know how to convey the message that baptism is required while also holding to the belief that baptism accomplishes nothing! I could see the wheels turning in his mind as those words came out. We were not quite as close on the Eucharist, but we were not so far away that it seems hopeless.
On justification/sanctification, I dropped the ball a bit. I discovered that I am not quite as prepared as I need to be to dive deep into these topics, and the pastor was very well versed. This is an area where I will need to get better in the future.
I ask that you continue to pray for me as I move forward. I also ask that you pray that my new, young, priest is as open to my idea as my last one (it was time for the bishop to ‘reshuffle the deck’ last month). I do not want to continue doing this without a strong parish priest to guide me when I run into conflicts or when I am faced with a question that requires a deeper thinker than myself.
Thank you all for your support, and I will report back after my next meeting!
Peace in Christ
Hey, you had some good fellowship, right? Some good honest common ground found. That’s the joy we need to embrace.
Something I was thinking about last night, was that the Church, in the Catechism, calls the Lord’s prayer a mini gospel (i cant find it at the moment).
While Baptism brings the personal forgiveness of our sinfull nature and all actual sins because of the goodness of God and His Will to associate Himself with man, the Lord’s prayer also gives a condition in which we remain in His forgiveness… as we forgive those who trespass against us
So there is always the difficulty with conveying to our Protestant brother and sisters that God’s redemption is free, yet not without conditions that we participate in order to be justified.
It has been many years since I discontinued the practice of worshiping with my separated brothers and sisters at their churches. It was a practice encouraged bya parish priest, done as form of learning and evangelization. Often only the pastor would know that I was Catholic. We would have great discussions about Faith.
I never tried to convert anybody to Catholicism. Instead, I looked for commonality. What do we share as members of Body of Christ? As I discuss my faith with members of other denominations, and they discover that I am Catholic, I disabuse them of misconceptions they have about what Catholics believe.
The strongest anti-Catholic sentiment I have encountered has come from Baptists who seem to know a lot about Catholic history. This led me to read the Vatican II documents as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I gave one a flyer available at the back of my parish church with scriptural references to many Catholic teachings that she questioned.
Get a copy of Where is thatin the Bible in order to respond to those who insist on solo scriptura. Carry a copy of St. Ignatius RSV translation of the Bible. This is a universal translation accepted by most denominations. This way you will avoid the natural objection to the very Catholic NAB when sharing the Biblical basis for Catholic teaching.
Also get a copy of the Catholic Answer Bible. This will be NAB with the scriptural references to Catholic teaching. Above all avoid confrontation and argumentation.
It is love that unites!
And Jesus Christ is Love Incarnate.
It seems that it is love that will unite!!