*]Which synod are you apart of?
I was ELCA, and – if I could answer for relatives who are still Lutheran but don’t use Catholic Answers – they moved to Evangelical Lutheran Church - Wisconsin Synod.
*]What is the difference between the Catholic view of Mary as opposed to yours or your Church’s
Mary was never an important part of my upbringing, and I think, outside of what scant references exist in the liturgy, that Mary isn’t all that more important to my still-Lutheran relatives than other Protestants
*]Does your synod ordain married priests and women?
My family quickly left the ELCA church we attended because of this. Despite being in an overwhelmingly rural, conservative county, our ELCA church – surrounded by cornfields ten minutes from the city – hired a female pastor. I didn’t mind, but my family was deeply upset. They now go to a Wisconsin Synod that is strictly male-only. I’m unsure about the marriage element, but I think their current pastor might be married.
*]Does your synod ordain gay clergy?
I believe our former ELCA congregation was gay-affirming. My family’s current Wisconsin Synod does not.
*]What’s the difference between your view on Jesus’ mother Mary, as opposed to the Catholic Church’s? In Catholicism we have several dogmas. We have several distinct beliefs about Mary. She was born without sin (immaculate conception), stayed a virgin all her life (perpetual virginity), ascended bodily into Heaven (the assumption).
*]Can you pray to Mary and the saints?
*]Do you pray the Hail Mary?
All three of these go back to the original Mary question. I cannot remember Mary being mentioned at all – or having any important outside of the occasional Christmas reference – as a child being raised Lutheran. Outside of Christmas, there are no images or statues of Mary in my Lutheran relatives homes. Only images of Jesus, and Protestant crosses.
*]Do you pray the rosary?
I was never taught to. I believe my grandparents have prayer beads.
*]Do you believe in saints?
I was raised to believe anyone could be a saint, as a Saint was someone who had Faith in Christ and lived it to a degree others mostly didn’t. Those who succeeded in living in the world while not belonging to it.
*]Do you believe in a literal and eternal Heaven and Hell?
My Lutheran relatives of both ELCA and Wisconsin-Synod definitely do. I was raised to, but do not.
*]Are you beliefs on moral issues (such as abortion, gay marriage, birth control etc.) similar or different than the Catholic Church’s?
My family, when they attended the ELCA and now attending the Wisconsin-Synod, will mostly agree with Catholic moral theology on every count.
With regards to the Mary, Saints, and Praying to Saints question: as a Bahá’í, I do believe we can pray to Mary or any great Female figure in the various religious eras; our Guardian prayed to Bahíyyíh, our Prophet’s Daughter, for intercession on his behalf. We do believe in the power of praying to saint-like figures as manifestations of God’s attributes or embodiments of Faith, and we definitely recognize the difference between Worshiping God and praying to or asking for the intercession from Saints.