Theoretically speaking, which of these Christians are "better off" with God?

We are in the process of converting and are in RCIA. We have made some wonderful Catholic friends who have a strong relationship with Jesus and who I feel know Him personally. However, I also have many, many wonderful Protestant friends who also love Jesus and have a strong relationship with Him. For me, conversion brings me to the Eucharist, which I believe is the most wonderful gift anyone can receive. Sadly, though, 99% of my Protestant friends don’t even understand the Eucharist or don’t see it as important.

I know only God can judge a person’s soul in the end, but the following scenarios plague me and cause me to wonder about the following…

Obviously, the “best” scenario for a Christian would be to be Catholic and truly live out your relationship with Christ. But, as for my friends, some of them have had encounters with Catholics who did not live out their faith but tromped into Church every Sunday to Mass and then lived either disconnected from Christ the rest of the week or even very uncharitably toward others. Some of my friends were even raised Catholic and this was their experience and now they have the authentic relationship with Christ* but aren’t Catholic anymore* :frowning:

Is it better to be one of the disengaged-type Catholics and have access to the Sacraments but still live ho-hum in your every day life or is it better to be a Protestant who is “on fire” for the Lord in everything they do? Can our complacency or our attitude negate the beneficial aspects of the Sacraments, even rendering them null?

I certainly want my friends to be drawn to the Catholic Church and will continue to pray for that, but I want to feel like as long as they don’t have unrepentant mortal sin, that we’ll all be together in Heaven one day…is that realistic? :shrug:

It also makes me worry for my children who are young (12 & 8). Our old Protestant church was vibrant and full of life with many educational opportunities for kids to deepen their spiritual walk. Sadly, though, a lot of Catholic kids we’ve encountered seem to emulate their parents in that they don’t seem to “understand” the faith and they aren’t excited about it. I don’t want that to rub off on my kids. What is the best way to keep Catholic kids engaged in their faith and make it “real” to them?

Sorry if this isn’t making sense :o

Pray for them because He might be wanting them (on the quiet) to make that extra “leap” and that is the main way you can be instrumental.

Come to think of it I should do the same for mine.

I understand where you are coming from. Most of my Protestant friends fully integrate their faith into their life while it seems like Catholics just go every Sunday without actually knowing Christ. Which is better off? I do not know. It is important to know God.

I understand your point, every sect has those lukewarm Christians that go to church on Sunday and are like a different person the rest of the week. And the bible warns against being lukewarm.
I think parents need to be excited for their faith and express it to their children. Most families are so busy they dont even eat together anymore let alone pray together. And i think many Catholic adults werent catechized well and really dont know their faith. We have to teach our young people about their faith and practice it in front of them, with them. We need faith building for all but especially our young adults that are heading out into the world starting their own families.

I would say that the bad Catholics are better off because they are in the Church with the Sacraments made available to them. It’s fine to hope that, even if your Protestant friends do not convert, that they will go to Heaven some day as long as they are invincibly ignorant and have had perfect contrition for all mortal sins they have committed. It is tremendously more difficult for them to get to Heaven, though, so keep praying for them.

I have seen devout children dispersed around my parish, mostly in the Latin Mass. You just have to keep an eye out for them.

Yes, I keep hoping and praying that something about our conversion will spark and reignite some of our friends who are ex-Catholic to take a second look at their Catholic heritage. I plan on starting a blog in the future for our family and friends to help better explain our research and thought process that led to our conversion.

I feel like my parish is making great strides toward emphasizing a true “heart conversion” but sadly, too many non-Catholics have such a poor opinion of lukewarmness they experienced in Catholicism, it’s going to take a lot of effort and prayer to bring them back to the Church when their spiritual life is abundant and overflowing in their Protestant sect :frowning:

Yes, “lukewarm” is the word I was looking for to use in my OP. That is the crux of the matter…The Bible had harsh words for those who are “lukewarm” :eek:

Two questions regarding your comment:

  1. If a Catholic doesn’t make use of the Sacraments with the right attitude of heart, does their efficacy diminish?

  2. Would/Could a Protestant’s love of God and desire to please Him in all things result in the the same type of grace being imparted to them by God just as Catholics get through the sacraments?

I know there is no way of knowing for sure but I’m trusting that God, who knows every fiber of our soul, would make a way for those who earnestly seek Him and who may not understand Catholic teaching.

Also, as a Catholic, should we let them stay “invincibly ignorant” for it seems that if we try to dialogue with these Protestant family members and friends, we are actually making it harder for them to be saved? :shrug:

I’m curious, with all your criticism of the Catholic Church as well as your Catholic ‘friends’, have you discussed all your doubts within the RCIA group? I really think you should consider a long talk with the group.

Your entire post sounds like a glowing endorsement for your ‘protestant church’, as you describe it as ‘full of life, vibrant, on fire, and all the other wonderful opportunities they offer’ which you seem to want for your children. You claim no children within the Catholic community have anything you want to ‘rub off’ on your kids’, since you have obviously gotten to know them well enough to know they emulate their parents which you do not approve of.

So, perhaps I’m not understanding what, since you seem to make it clear as far as your concerned protestants have what you’d much prefer and want for yourself and kids, that your asking by your questions? It appears you may have answered your own questions?

Maybe none of us should judge a persons faith with whom we spend limited time.

Should a church or group be accessed by how they appear outwardly to us–or–by how they nourish our relationship with our creator?

I hope I didn’t misunderstand your post.

I don’t have time right now to respond to your posts but yes, you have misunderstood my intentions.

  1. Yes, if a person has poor dispositions when they approach the Sacraments, then they receive less grace than they should. For example, if I mindlessly approach the Communion rail and receive without attention, then I will benefit less than from a nun that is devoutly receiving. Sometimes, this will make the Sacrament invalid (as is the case with confessing without any contrition).

  2. No, the grace from the Sacraments can only be received Sacramentally. There are cases in which the grace of Baptism can be imparted through desire or blood, but those are the only circumstances that I know of in which a Sacrament is received in an extraordinary manner.

As Catholics, we have a duty to evangelize them and bring them to the truth. There is the chance that they will not accept it, but we must try to bring them to the Church since it is difficult to be invincibly ignorant and the chances are that they will not go to Heaven since it is so difficult without the Church.

As for who is better off, well, the answer to that is beyond what any of us can see. Those who are best off live rightly to the best of their knowledge and ability. Sacraments and Grace and the Church give us a LOT of help in living to the best of our knowledge/ability. Those who have the option to use them and don’t are like someone who has the option to use crutches and instead limps around re-injuring their leg all the time. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t have crutches may find a walking stick helpful, but they’d really get along a lot easier with crutches. See the point? We don’t know how much pain they’re in, so we can’t judge how good of a place they have.

For me, conversion brings me to the Eucharist, which I believe is the most wonderful gift anyone can receive.

I couldnt have put it better myself! Our Lord has led your questing soul aright! May He be blessed!
How the Lord has led you is most surely a wonderful story of conversion which I am sure many would only be too happy to hear.
Please go to the website,“EWTN -Journey home by Marcus Grodi.” to see if you can share it with us there…if you have not already done so! You may even introduce it to your protestant brothers and even your catholic brothers!

The Eucharist is the greatest gift. I am a catholic from birth and now I am 53 years old, married with 3 kids 7,10,13 years of age. I have tried to be a good manager of my time to be at the altar daily…though some days, though human weakness may take the upper hand! It is the Lord…need we say more…

I am so happy for you. In your journey,may you make Him central and you will remain true and steadfast amidst all the trials and difficulties of life…though like some of us sinners, the sacrament of Reconciliation is truly mandatory in our maturing in the Faith.

In season and out of season , speak of the great gift to your children. They need to hear you though they may not understand they will surely receive the spirit which animates you…pray for them…

The Catholic Faith is the normal way which Christ has established for the growth of His Family because He is so generous. Our LORD COULD HAVE MADE IT ONLY AT EASTER OR AT SOME TIME IN A YEAR WE CAN RECEIVE HIM…but Infinite Love cannot wait to unite to us daily!!! Incomprehensible…it still fills me with awe till this day,

If your protestant friends could see what you now see, what joy would fill their hearts!
If our catholic brothers could see this great gift for what it is, it will change their lives…but alas, many need people like youself to share for them to see…will you not be dishearten in your sharings?..

May Our Lord and our Blessed Mother bless you in your journey,
God bless.

Yours in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Kentcara2003 (3rd order SSCC)

Okay, finally having time to respond.

First, I’m not criticizing Catholic friends at all. I have some very wonderful Catholic friends who truly live their faith in all they say and do. I said that I have ex-Catholic friends who have bad impressions from their experience with the faith/attitudes of the Catholics they knew and the homes they were raised in. I have no doubts at all about the Catholic faith or the Eucharist. I desperately want my Protestant friends and family to have it.

Your entire post sounds like a glowing endorsement for your ‘protestant church’, as you describe it as ‘full of life, vibrant, on fire, and all the other wonderful opportunities they offer’ which you seem to want for your children.

Yes, the Protestant church I left DID have those things but read again, I said that the Eucharist is the MOST IMPORTANT gift. I also said the parish I was at was becoming enthusiastic and emphasizing true heart conversion. That’s not just my take on it. The Pope has even called for a “New Evangelization.” It truly is a wonderful parish with a lot of activities. Just because I said the Protestant one had those didn’t mean that the Catholic one didn’t or wasn’t trying to. Have you ever converted with kids? It’s hard and it’s a huge adjustment!

You claim no children within the Catholic community have anything you want to ‘rub off’ on your kids’, since you have obviously gotten to know them well enough to know they emulate their parents which you do not approve of.

Nope, I said a lot, not all children.

So, perhaps I’m not understanding what, since you seem to make it clear as far as your concerned protestants have what you’d much prefer and want for yourself and kids, that your asking by your questions? It appears you may have answered your own questions?

Protestants don’t have the Eucharist or the other sacraments. That’s what I desire for myself and my family. But, I don’t think there’s any harm in also desiring the vibrancy that many Protestants DO have, where as another poster stated, it permeates all areas of their life.

So, my questions were centered around those issues: Sacraments and Vibrancy/Authenticity/True Heart Conversion

If you read my OP, I plainly said it was obvious that being Catholic AND having the true heart conversion would definitely be the ideal, but, I wanted to know about the other two scenarios: Being Catholic with no heart conversion vs Being Protestant with a true heart conversion

Maybe none of us should judge a persons faith with whom we spend limited time.

Perhaps not, but my point is that shouldn’t our faith be OBVIOUS to anyone we encounter, even if only for a “limited time”? :shrug: Shouldn’t we be a glowing witness for the Catholic faith? Should we take our “light” and hide it under a box?

Should a church or group be accessed by how they appear outwardly to us–or–by how they nourish our relationship with our creator?

I hope I didn’t misunderstand your post.

Again, shouldn’t the world encounter Catholics and the Catholic Church in such a way that it is attractive and shouldn’t they see our faith permeating everything we say and do?

Thanks! This makes sense :slight_smile:

  1. No, the grace from the Sacraments can only be received Sacramentally. There are cases in which the grace of Baptism can be imparted through desire or blood, but those are the only circumstances that I know of in which a Sacrament is received in an extraordinary manner.

But I suppose God’s grace, albeit not sacramentally, can and likely does extend to Protestants who truly have a relationship with Him.

As Catholics, we have a duty to evangelize them and bring them to the truth. There is the chance that they will not accept it, but we must try to bring them to the Church since it is difficult to be invincibly ignorant and the chances are that they will not go to Heaven since it is so difficult without the Church.

That’s a hard truth to swallow :frowning:

Good example :thumbsup:

Thanks!

Your post made me smile :slight_smile:

Thank you!

Yes, Our Lord’s graces certainly extend to Protestants and He can even answer their prayers. They are surely receiving graces that will help them get to the Church, too.

It is difficult to swallow. However, we can always have hope in the mercy of God and pray that He will bring them to His Church. While it is difficult to be invincibly ignorant, it isn’t impossible. :slight_smile:

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