Talking to Ex-Catholics


#1

I occasionaly but heads with ex-catholics and they tell me how horrid they had it in the Catholic Church and try to save me from it. They are really aggresive and mean. They will come up with the usual things about confession, Calling a Preist Father, Marian “Worship”, and so on and so forth, excpecting their past experiance as a former Catholic (the truth to that I don’t know) to carry the ultimate weight. You know, I was Catholic, I was there arguement. And these people seem scincer enough in their beleif that the Catholic Church is the Anti-Christ and all these horrid things. How would I best talk to these people? And How would I best prove things to them (i.e. that we aren’t the anti-christ, we don’t worship mary, Confession is legit, ect.)? How can I get past the “I was there I know what goes on behind the scences and the masqurades”)?
Thanks for the Help and God bless.


#2

The folks you describe are those who insist there is some sort of “secret teaching” that isn’t in the Catechism or the writings of the Early Church, etc.

The trouble with the idea of “secret teaching” is that it’s secret. How is the laity supposed to find out about it? How are we supposed to know we should worship Mary if that teaching is secret?

Ask them how they found out about the secrets. They won’t have a very good answer.

Here’s what usually happens: someone leaves the Church for reasons that have little to do with doctrine (often an irregular marriage situation, or maybe they don’t like what the Church says about birth control or women priests, etc). They don’t feel comfortable going to another “denomination” because they are at least Catholic enough to realize these all evolved from Catholicism. So they go to non-denominational churches where anti-Catholic propeganda is common. THIS is where they learn the “secrets.”


#3

I think you need to take one problem at a time. If they come at you with a whole list of things tell them to pick one and discuss it with them. Try to get an idea of what caused the individual to leave, it can’t be Mary worship because we don’t worship Mary. They might not have understood the doctrine then, and still don’t, so showing them what the Church actually teaches may get them to look at other doctrines they don’t understand. Ask them to tell you what they were taught and tell them, or show them with a catechism, what the Church teaches. Then they can see that they didn’t know the Church as well as they thought (think). This was huge for me when I was an ex-Catholic (I wasn’t a member of another church though so I didn’t have opposing doctrines to make things difficult :)).

If they have an open and mature attitude and really care about your salvation they will try and meet you where you are (just like you need to do with them) and you can have very fruitful discussions.

If they don’t want to know or even hear your side there’s nothing to do but pray for them. Personally, I think that most ex-Catholics that try to “save” practicing Catholics are looking for validation for their decision to leave the Church. Someone has pointed out that you see alot of ex-Catholics hostile to the Catholic Church, but when Protestants convert they are not hostile to their ex-churches. The difference between coming into the fullness of Truth and rejecting it I think.


#4

To be honest, ex-Catholics (the ones who turn to some variety of Protestantism in particular) are tough. I think, deep down, they know they have rejected the True Church, and this inner conflict makes them turn on the Church as a way of salving their conflict, justifying their desertion by making the Church out as some hideous institution. You seldom see this in ex-Protestants who have converted to Catholicism. The explanation is that once a person is “home”, one is secure: there is no inner conflict anymore. One can simply be grateful for whatever roads led there.

I wouldn’t waste too much of your time, depending how hostile they are. If they’re polite and willing to conduct a rational discussion, then that’s fine—just remember that the priority is winning souls, not arguments (one can do both…). If, on the other hand, they go for insults; or don’t accept your reasoned explanations; or answer by using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS; or QUOTE BIBLE VERSES AT GREAT LENGTH IN CAPITAL LETTERS,INSTEAD OF ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS, then by all means walk away from such people. You cannot reason with unreasonable people, and some of these ex-Catholics are loony (I know, 'cause I’ve dealt with some).


#5

The good thing about ex-catholics is that they are usually just as poorly catechized in their new beliefs as they were in their Catholic ones. Try to keep them to one argument at a time. Also, i definitely agree with the above poster who said that the reason they left was NOT over something like Marian doctrine. Unless someone from another church got ahold of them with some propaganda. Usually it was some emotional issue, like they heard some priest told a woman to keep having kids even though it would kill her, or that their best friend was gonna go to hell because she had an abortion. Sometimes these people are so closed that the best thing to do is walk away. If they really want an intelligent debate, they’ll be calm. If not, they are just rabidly and angrily attacking you because they don’t want to feel wrong for ditching out on God’s one true Church. :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

My sister and I left the church at roughly the same time in our lives…just out of high school while in college. We were not well catechized in the faith so our foundation in the Church was weak. She bounced around to several Protestant denominations starting with Lutheranism and is now some kind of evangelical. I left for a life of sin. Now that I’ve come home to the faith, I’ve talked to my sister about the reasons we both left in the first place. It’s interesting how much she resists accepting the truth. No doubt hee many years in Protestant churches reinforced her bias against the faith. She has never been able to answer one simple question…“Given that we know the reason we left the faith was because we really didn’t know much about it to begin with…as a Protestant…what exactly are you still protesting?” I rejoice that she has found some relationship with Christ and continue to pray for her conversion, but my experience is that ex-Catholics have a hardened heart that is often difficult to penetrate. I believe the fact that I didn’t leave for another formal religion, but rather lived a pagan existence made it easier for me to accept the truth once I spiritually pulled my head out of the sand. As I reflect on my life away from the faith, even then, as poorly instructed in the faith as I had been, deep inside I still knew that the way I was living my life was not what God had in mind. I sense that same feeling from my sister, though she resists ever going in that direction. I believe your best offense in this situation is prayer, prayer, and more prayer.


#7

StCsDavid, congrats on coming back and I will pray for your sisters conversion.


#8

[quote=StCsDavid]My sister and I left the church at roughly the same time in our lives…just out of high school while in college. We were not well catechized in the faith so our foundation in the Church was weak. She bounced around to several Protestant denominations starting with Lutheranism and is now some kind of evangelical. I left for a life of sin. Now that I’ve come home to the faith, I’ve talked to my sister about the reasons we both left in the first place. It’s interesting how much she resists accepting the truth. No doubt hee many years in Protestant churches reinforced her bias against the faith. She has never been able to answer one simple question…“Given that we know the reason we left the faith was because we really didn’t know much about it to begin with…as a Protestant…what exactly are you still protesting?” I rejoice that she has found some relationship with Christ and continue to pray for her conversion, but my experience is that ex-Catholics have a hardened heart that is often difficult to penetrate. I believe the fact that I didn’t leave for another formal religion, but rather lived a pagan existence made it easier for me to accept the truth once I spiritually pulled my head out of the sand. As I reflect on my life away from the faith, even then, as poorly instructed in the faith as I had been, deep inside I still knew that the way I was living my life was not what God had in mind. I sense that same feeling from my sister, though she resists ever going in that direction. I believe your best offense in this situation is prayer, prayer, and more prayer.
[/quote]

Ahh come on… We evangelicals aren’t so bad :wink: However I do think in many cases where protestants are critical of Catholism it is a result of being misinformed. Charitably pointing out their misconceptions is the best way to go about it. I have to do the same thing with some Catholics who have really odd ideas about Protestants and evangelicals.

As for myself, being on this forum has cleared a lot up for me about Catholism and I believe that Catholics are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I still disagree with many Catholic teachings, but at least I am disagreeing with what Catholics actually believe and practice as opposed to what I thought they did (i.e. many Protestants’ views of Catholism are a result of exaggeration and blowing things out of proportion). HTH


#9

[quote=Vincent1560]Ahh come on… We evangelicals aren’t so bad :wink: However I do think in many cases where protestants are critical of Catholism it is a result of being misinformed. Charitably pointing out their misconceptions is the best way to go about it. I have to do the same thing with some Catholics who have really odd ideas about Protestants and evangelicals.

As for myself, being on this forum has cleared a lot up for me about Catholism and I believe that Catholics are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I still disagree with many Catholic teachings, but at least I am disagreeing with what Catholics actually believe and practice as opposed to what I thought they did (i.e. many Protestants’ views of Catholism are a result of exaggeration and blowing things out of proportion). HTH
[/quote]

That is one of my weaknesses in that having zero experience in the Protestant faiths I honestly don’t see how most Protestants get from point A to pont B without seeing the truth in the big C (as in Catholic Church.) How would you answer the question, “What are you still protesting?”


#10

[quote=StCsDavid]That is one of my weaknesses in that having zero experience in the Protestant faiths I honestly don’t see how most Protestants get from point A to pont B without seeing the truth in the big C (as in Catholic Church.) How would you answer the question, “What are you still protesting?”
[/quote]

To give a short list of my most serious areas of disagreement (there are others). Please note, I don’t mean this as a polemic, I am merely answering the question.

  1. Papal Infallibility
  2. Belief that Mary was perfect and sinless
  3. Veneration of and prayer to saints and Mary
  4. Catholic Church’s assertion that its leaders are capable of determining (with infallibility) who is in heaven (i.e. making someone a saint)
  5. Belief that one can lose salvation by commiting a “mortal sin”
  6. Not maintaining the spirit of the Law of Liberty as described by Paul (i.e. requiring a celibate clergy)

I believe that the aforementioned are either directly contradicted by scripture or fall into the category of legalism.


#11

[quote=Vincent1560]To give a short list of my most serious areas of disagreement (there are others). Please note, I don’t mean this as a polemic, I am merely answering the question.

  1. Papal Infallibility
  2. Belief that Mary was perfect and sinless
  3. Veneration of and prayer to saints and Mary
  4. Catholic Church’s assertion that its leaders are capable of determining (with infallibility) who is in heaven (i.e. making someone a saint)
  5. Belief that one can lose salvation by commiting a “mortal sin”
  6. Not maintaining the spirit of the Law of Liberty as described by Paul (i.e. requiring a celibate clergy)

I believe that the aforementioned are either directly contradicted by scripture or fall into the category of legalism.
[/quote]

I won’t debate you in this thread as there are plenty of arguments on CA for all of your disagreements. Faith is a gift, and I mean no disrespect when I say I will pray that one day you will receive it and experience the love of our Lord in the Eucharist in a way that you cannot experience without this gift of faith. We are brothers in Christ, and I rejoice in that.


#12

Hey Vincenzo!

Your #6 is not “set in stone.”

A celibate priesthood is a DISCIPLINE… not doctrine. The Catholic Church could change this at any time they please. In fact… the WESTERN RITE (Latin Rite)… or what you and I call the “Roman Catholic Church” are the rite that practice this discipline… the EASTERN RITES … or Byzantine… and such… .they can have married priests!

Just FYI.

God Bless, Vince.

  • From another Vince

#13

[quote=RattleSnake]Hey Vincenzo!

Your #6 is not “set in stone.”

A celibate priesthood is a DISCIPLINE… not doctrine. The Catholic Church could change this at any time they please. In fact… the WESTERN RITE (Latin Rite)… or what you and I call the “Roman Catholic Church” are the rite that practice this discipline… the EASTERN RITES … or Byzantine… and such… .they can have married priests!

Just FYI.

God Bless, Vince.

  • From another Vince
    [/quote]

Well than I hope they do change it because it is clearly requiring more of the priesthood than God did if you believe Paul’s letters to be the word of God. And requiring more of someone than God does is the definition of legalism (something explicitly warned against)


#14

[quote=Vincent1560]Well than I hope they do change it because it is clearly requiring more of the priesthood than God did if you believe Paul’s letters to be the word of God. And requiring more of someone than God does is the definition of legalism (something explicitly warned against)
[/quote]

Ouch! I would look this up in the tracts and on the Ask an Apologist forum. I think if you look into it, you will see why the Church has this discipline.


#15

[quote=bear06]Ouch! I would look this up in the tracts and on the Ask an Apologist forum. I think if you look into it, you will see why the Church has this discipline.
[/quote]

If you can explain to me why the Catholic Church felt it had to ADD RESTRICTIONS to what God through Paul set down I would be very interested in hearing it. If it is really better to have a celibate clergy than Paul made a mistake in his epistles which would make them fallible. I don’t really see a way around this. It would be the equivalent in my mind of The Catholic Church deciding “you know what, you really should get circumcised in order to be a member of the kingdom.” I also think that the current priest shortage is evidence that this legalism is hurting Catholism.


#16

[quote=Vincent1560]If you can explain to me why the Catholic Church felt it had to ADD RESTRICTIONS to what God through Paul set down I would be very interested in hearing it. If it is really better to have a celibate clergy than Paul made a mistake in his epistles which would make them fallible.
[/quote]

Um, excuse me, but do you believe that 1Cor (7:32-38) is not *really *one of Paul’s epistles? Do you *really *believe this passage is not part of the Bible? Was it some later “invention” by Catholics?

Where does Paul advocate for a married clergy? You say, “If it is really better to have a celibate clergy th[e]n Paul made a mistake in his epistles.” This presumes that Paul advocated a married clergy (or else no “mistake” could be possible). Would you care to cite that?


#17

[quote=Vincent1560]Well than I hope they do change it because it is clearly requiring more of the priesthood than God did if you believe Paul’s letters to be the word of God. And requiring more of someone than God does is the definition of legalism (something explicitly warned against)
[/quote]

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body to get a better understanding of this issue. Christopher West has also done a nice job in his book explaining Theology of the Body. There’s more to this than it appears you are currently aware.


#18

[quote=DavidFilmer]Um, excuse me, but do you believe that 1Cor (7:32-38) is not *really *one of Paul’s epistles? Do you *really *believe this passage is not part of the Bible? Was it some later “invention” by Catholics?

Where does Paul advocate for a married clergy? You say, “If it is really better to have a celibate clergy th[e]n Paul made a mistake in his epistles.” This presumes that Paul advocated a married clergy (or else no “mistake” could be possible). Would you care to cite that?
[/quote]

Of course I agree that celibacy is a blessed gift. But it is a gift, you need to read chapter 7 in context as Paul writes **“For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.” 1 Corinthians 7:7 **Paul knows the blessings of celibacy and as a loving Christian wishes that all could partake in this gift, however the chapter clearly shows that he understands celibacy to be a GIFT that not everyone has. Obviously spiritual gifts can benefit a minister, but should we require all ministers to have the gift of prophecy or tounges? Obviously Paul does not think so. Read 1 Timothy Chapter 3. Paul clearly does not believe bishops or deacons should be expected to be celibate, infact the expectation is the opposite. He does however give a clear and extensive list of traits and virtues that such persons must have before becoming Church leaders. Possessing the gift of celibacy is not one of them. Adding celibacy to Paul’s list of requirements is legalism. The one time Paul rebuked Peter was when he was complicit in adding non-necessary requriements to the converted gentiles, “…I said to Peter before them all, 'if you being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews (read observe kosher laws)” Galatians 2:14 Trying to be more holy by adding rules and burdens onto the scriptures is not holyness but pride (In effect we are claiming to know better than God in my opinion). We cannot earn our way into heaven or perfect ourselves, leave that to the Savior :thumbsup:


#19

[quote=Vincent1560] Adding celibacy to Paul’s list of requirements is legalism.
[/quote]

Poppycock! Celibate clergy in the Roman Catholic Church is simply a discipline–it’s a gift, remember? Eastern Catholic and Orthodox clergy are permitted to be married (if they are wed before ordination).


#20

I take it easy when an ex-Catholic makes his initial thrust with the usual accusations. But my response usually includes: Where did you get THAT idea?

If the conversation goes longer than 30 seconds, I add: You say you were raised Catholic, but you must not have been paying attention, because if you were, you would know that a lot of what you say about Catholic teaching isn’t true.

After several contacts with the same person, I have got as far as saying, “I sure wish you would stop telling people you were raised Catholic because you sure have a lot of incorrect ideas about the Catholic faith.”


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