[quote="ConsciousCoward, post:8, topic:235562"]
Please, please, please don't take my story as an insult to Catholicism. Some of my best friends are catholic. It's just an experience that I personally had that made me more sure I wanted to help people, but the setting changed the meaning.
I went to the Vatican while in Italy, and I was...overwhelmed. Everything there was beautiful, and the chapel was huge, the walls lined with statues and sculptures and various one-of-a-kind decorations. Almost certainly the most beautiful building I've ever seen. Which makes sense, I suppose, since it's the center of the most prominent religion in the country (world?), though ultimately decorations don't make the church. The artist in me was speechless.
There was something that bothered me a lot, though. Just outside, in the Vatican City, there were beggars and gypsies, just like everywhere else in Italy. Gypsies choose their lives, I will confess, but I saw a woman on the sidewalk. Her body was shriveled, not much more than skin and bones. She couldn't really stand, so she was laying on the side of the road. The hat she used as a begging plate was nearly empty, and she couldn't even really lift her head to talk. I tried to get the attention of our guide, but she told me it wasn't my business to worry about her, and that I should just enjoy the city. I couldn't get anyone else to help, because I don't speak Italian and I really didn't have money. I gave her my ten euros that I had, but I'm sure she didn't live long. She was already almost all the way gone.
I can't help but think that if one piece of art or one statue, just one, was sold from the Vatican, they could feed all the hungry beggars around the city for a while. I don't mean Rome, I've just been talking about the Vatican City.
I know the abuses of boys by a few priests isn't reflective of the whole church. But I can't understand why at the center of the church, they would allow people to starve. That does reflect on the whole church, because it's the same city as the leaders are in. Not all Catholics are guilty of disregarding the hungry or homeless, but I was horrified to see that it seemed like the ones in the Vatican City were.
I know we probably won't last. If I go out of country to do mission work for a year or more and she doesn't follow, we wouldn't have much communication. I don't think we could do it. But I was wondering about this particular question.
I suggest if you have no hope it will last between you and your girl friend you break up today, instead of letting her become more attached to you. The longer it goes, the more you will break her heart. And by the way, why could she not go with you into the mission field? it doesn't interest her?
Brother, do you realise that the R.C. Church is the biggest charity organisation in the world? There are so many Catholic hospitals and organizations everywhere, even in Protestant countries.
Gypsies and Romas go to western Europe in groups to do organised begging in all big cities. You cannot know how long the woman has been there.. They travel around the cities and the most miserable ones are often used by the group to beg.
We have much corruption among ourselves in all of the world and much neglect and helplessness. I would say that there are many Evangelists in New York that could sell their big cars and fancy suits - which the say God gave to them -. in order to save a few poor people off the street. But I don't expect that from them, and I don't blame protestantism per se for the generel signs of original sin..
In the Catholic countries like Malta and Ireland and Poland the abortion is still illegal. The more Catholic a place is, the higher is the resistance against abortion. Many Protestant countries are not doing so well in that aspect. Does that mean that all protestants should go into a demonstration tomorrow?
Having grown up in a Protestant culture I was shocked how the leaders of that church condoned abortion, gay marriage, remarriage and all kinds of unbiblical things.
During the Nazi regime in Germany the most anti-Hitler regions in Germany were the ones where there were most Catholics.. and I can continue with these examples. But what will it all serve?
We all have a responsibility but the world will not be perfect until heaven.
My Church has a coherent social teaching on every ethical issue because the happiness of people matter to it. Does yours?
As a person who wants to go into full time ministry you should have a special interest to look into the actual teachings of different churches and denominations. Its worth it to make a thorough examination, since you will give yourself fully in the service of your denomination. You will not escape original sin anywhere, but you should study the actual doctrines and ask about which church is most true to its roots historically, logically, biblically etc.
God bless your search that I hope continues with or without the involvement with a girl:)
Grace - former Protestant