I’ve been talking to a Baptist raised friend about Catholicism for a while now and one thing that seems to be keeping them from attending mass with me is that they say Catholics and mass has too many rules and it takes away from focusing on God. She has also supplamented this statment by using a bible reference to where Jesus said he came to do away with all the rules and that religion is supposed to be easy. I’m not exactly sure what book or verse she is referring to as she can’t remember either. I don’t really know how to tackle this one and was hoping some of you wondorfully bright people could give me some advice.
Sounds like they have a problem with how God does things. It was God that made the laws,the Jewish faith…Jesus was a devout Jew.
Matt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
When you look now at the Catholic church, all the rules/regulations are now understood by the Revelation of Christ. It is all about Love. The rules/regulations/rituals now make sense because Christ came and gave the law of Love which is the perfection and culmination of all of the old!
Any organization that contains a billion people is bound to be complicated. Heck, even a yearly Thanksgiving dinner with extended family is complicated.
Also, a lot of rules are the result of experience. The more experience a church or organization accrues of how things can go wrong in particular ways or of the need to protect the rights of different individuals, the more rules there will be. For instance, there are rules about child protection now and programs to ensure conformity with those rules, that didn’t used to exist. Sure, there are churches that manage to get by without a lot of rules, but they do blow up from time to time. (Your Baptist friend, if she’s been Baptist for a while, will almost certainly know a number of stories of churches blowing up in a variety of different ways, often because they didn’t have enough rules, or the rules weren’t good, or weren’t enforced.)
Do they realize God gave the law to the Jews and it had far more rules.
Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.
The reason your friend cannot think of the verse saying that Jesus came to do away with the rules and make religion easy, is because THERE IS NO SUCH VERSE NOR ONE CLOSE TO SUCH A VERSE!
Remember what Jesus said to the man that wanted to bury his father before following Jesus? He said he could not and had to come now and follow him. The man didn’t do it. That is not easy religion,
What about the man that Jesus said to sell all his possessions and give to the poor (after Jesus told him to keep the commandments), The man was rich and refused…Jesus said the man would not go to heaven for it. That is not easy religion.
I used to be baptist, I get what your friends are saying and where they are coming from … but they could not be more wrong.
Jesus wants us to radically transform our lives like the men in the stories and follow him. The church’s rules are aids to us in transforming and sanctifying our lives, and following Christ.
The Jews had 613 commandments. Christ’s Church is much simpler. Being a Christian is never supposed to be “easy”. Christ certainly never said that.
I actually find the Church to be quite simple. IMO, Christianity isn’t an easy path because **people **are complicated.
What rules? The only focus of the Mass is God, in the Eucharist. I’m not sure what protestant edited verse used out of context she’s reffering to either.
I believe the Code of Cannon Law has 1,752 rules/laws (or around that number). Certainly, not less then what the Jewish religion had!
Good way of looking at it!
I started attending Mass with no Christian background whatsoever and no Catholics around to explain things, and it was bewildering. Sit, stand, kneel, talk - I never knew what I was supposed to be doing.
Perhaps explaining the Mass to your friend and providing them with a Missal so that they might follow along during a Mass would prove more helpful than explaining why we have these “rules”. Explain that a Mass is communal prayer, and that there is no obligation for her to participate in all of it - they can come and just watch (I watched Masses silently for almost two years) and spend that time focussing on the glory of God and how He has brought so many of His people together. Make sure you have the hymnal ready with the right songs, and keep an eye on your friend that she is following the Order of the Mass.
None of us like to look like we don’t know or don’t understand, especially in a group setting. If you remove those barriers, she might be a little more willing to at least come with you.
Yes the Church is complicated. Life is complicated. Just in the field of bio-ethics alone one could probably come up with a thousand moral questions that need clarification.
But it also governs a much larger body of people than the Jewish law did. Also, Wikipedia says that the Talmud, in a standard edition, is well over 6,000 pages long, so I think they may still win.
Just compare the Church to Parents:
Parents make “strict” “rules” (guidelines I prefer) to discipline their children, not because they are trying to control them, but because they want them to trust them and grow up to understand how to properly live with a steady free-will. In the same way the Church makes “strict” guidelines to help her children use and understand their freedom properly in order that they may reach the final goal, which is ultimately heaven.
So, the Church has rules not to oppress people but to free people.
The laws in Cannon Law are like the laws in our own country. They are not necessary for the ordinary person to know them. We know some laws like speeding, trespassing, etc., and that is all that is necessary in ordinary life. In our own society we have lawyers that deal with the particulars of the law but for the most part everyday citizens don’t need to know the various laws in every situation.
The same with Cannon Law. The ordinary Catholic person will know what applies to them, and that’s all. Nor is it necessary to know anywhere close to 1,752 of the laws. That’s what Cannon Lawyers are for. Also from what I’ve read, Cannon Law deals primarily with the governance of the Church, not the individuals within the Church.
Possibly the person was referring to the verse or verses where Christ says that his yoke is easy or light? Be well-blessings.
I can readily understand why the Church seems complicated. There are prescribed forms of worship, that have over 2000 years of development, there is wealth of history, and there is the universality aspect of Catholicism It represents the Kingdom of God here on earth, so it can be very complicated. There is also the Roman influence that can be very legalistic. It is beautiful in its liturgy, and requires some understanding to appreciate it. In many other religions there is a simplicity in worship, not as much liturgy. In some cases a lot of discernment is needed in the liturgy, where as one has been proven over the ages, little discernment is need for the execution of the proper liturgy and worship. There is something to say about the simplicity of the liturgy for those who have yet to understand the Catholic liturgy and doctrines. God only expects what you can give, and if you find worship better in a certain way than by all means use it, but you may not find this acceptable versus Catholic liturgy, but it is legitimate worship. Pray and worship as you can, not as you can’t. You will find legitimate differences even in the Catholic Church. There is the Pentecostal Dimension, even in Africa they have the Mass of the Drums But the Mass is the same in content of Faith and worship the world over, and going on in some part of the world all the time.
It would be interesting to get them to list the rules. If they see the mass is celebrated in an orderly manner, it is. I am sure the Baptist church service is not a-open-for-all meat market. Even Paul has to ask his Church folks to behave in an orderly manner. 1 Cor 14:26.
Which rules defocus from God? That is a sweeping statement. Obviously as an organization of such size, the RCC need administrative rules for its proper functioning. Every organization no matter how small, has some rules to keep it functioning properly. Need more details here.
Which verse is it that says “religion is easy”? It is easy if everyone qualifies entry to heaven and need not obey what Jesus mandated. Apparently, those have not encountered Sin yet and/or is clueless what Sin is e.g. divorce, abortion etc. Rules are there to guide the faith so that there is common understanding and compliance. We have been told to take it to the Church to settle disputes and with 2000 years of experience, I think rules do evolve out of that. I shudder to think by now how many denominations would have arose out of the RCC if there are no rules or everyone set rules for themselves based upon what each one think is right.
Here is a site which shows the Mass from a Scriptural perspective. It might be useful for your friend.
Second, I would insist on the her providing the verse that she is referring to. As far as I know, Jesus did not say He came to do away with rules. He came to not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Big difference from “He came to do away with rules”
What rules are so burdensome for her to stop her focus on God?
Maybe the ones that, um… require her focus on God?