What do you think is the biggest obstacle to unity between Catholic Christians and non–Catholic Christians?

Is it,

a) Disagreement as to whether salvation is an event or a process?
b) Disagreement about the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?
c) Disagreement about praying for the dead?
d) Disagreement about the existence of purgatory?
e) Disagreement about how to understand baptism?
f) Disagreement about the doctrine of Transubstantiation?
g) Disagreement about confession of one’s sins being heard by a priest?
h) Disagreement about the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God?
i) Disagreement about the papacy and papal infallibility?
j) Some other doctrine or factor?

Curiously,
Mick
:thumbsup:

Just a side note without too much religious significance (but relevant to the OP). I’m not sure if anyone here is familiar with market theory (or has ever read Adam Smith or any notables like him) but new entrants into any market generally results in an expanded market.

In other words say I’m a widget producer, the only widget producer in my respective market. As competitors enter the market (new widget producers) the market will expand exponentially.

This is a rule of general application (with few exceptions that I know of). I doubt whether this type of study has ever been done on religion … but you have to imagine it’s applicable.

The way I see is the CC promulgated a theological scheme that is really an offspring of Roman political theory and then monarchical absolutism. It uses a few verses out of scripture (i.e. on this rock I built my church) to promulgate a regime that is really absolutist in nature (not much different, in theory, than the monopolists in our own history). This idea grew over time (it cannot reasonably be called apostolic in nature, at least it finds no support from any apostolic writing or practice, or any writing from the apostolic fathers).

Anyone with a good grasp of Christian history understands that the first adherents to the Christian religion hardly imagined a church that would eventually supplant governments (or at least stepped into the shoes of government in many areas of the lives of its constituency); beyond of course what their mythology imagined god’s ultimate kingdom would be like. Moreover, the closest thing to Catholicism you can derive from the original Christian church is either an Episcopal or Presbyterian structure (there’s reasonable disagreement over whether early church fathers used those terms interchangeably or whether a presbyter is something different than a bishop … I think the evidence supports the former idea, but again it’s arguable). Catholic historians might argue that its current structure was the natural development imagined by Christ, his apostles, and the apostolic fathers. Of course if anyone detached themselves from the emotive aspects of this argument they would easily see that this position is arguable at best.

The fact is the reformation likely resulted in far more Christians on earth than would have otherwise resulted (if Catholicism were left to try and stand alone). At this point, with the encroachment of the secular world (which is of course a far larger problem for Christianity broadly speaking then your own internal quarrels), it seems like a wasted exercise for you guys to continue this course of infighting.

Just my opinion. I frankly would rather see the world move past its need for ancient mythology (and the idea that we need to rely on a fictitious higher power to behave ourselves, act with compassion toward others, remain loyal to our spouses, and be an outstanding role model for our children). IMO the sooner it happens the better, but I also think we have to approach the transition with some level of care; and remain cognizant of the fact that shifting too suddenly can have many undesirable consequences.

J - Hatred toward and fear of the Catholic Church in general. The rest are just the specifics.

If it’s true that the first Christians didn’t imagine the Church growing in size and power as it did (and I’m not sure how you can determine what a few men thought 2,000 years ago.), do you think it has anything to do with the fact that Christianity was, at first, a small Jewish sect.

Are you choosing to ignore the writings that point to Peter’s leadership tole?

Opinion noted. It seems you have shifted noticeably in downward spiral.

You’re presuming unity among Catholics (recall the Catholic vote stats). I say throw everybody into the mix and ask what is the biggest obstacle to unity among all Christians.

I vote “J”. Too much pride, and not enough humble search for truth. If we all could improve on that, the triune God would take care of the rest.

-Tim

Sin and the devil, Mick. Sin and the devil blind all Christians (Catholic, western noncatholic, Orthodox) to the unity that already exists between us in Christ. Sure, the above things you’ve mentioned are the doctrinal dissagreements we have, but they are just the symptoms of sin.

Originally Posted by kalt
J - Hatred toward and fear of the Catholic Church in general.

It is undeniable that there is hatred in some circles of protestantism and Orthodoxy towards the Catholic Church. Of course, that hatred is equally matched in some circles of Catholicism towards Orthodoxy and protestantism. Sad, isn’t it?

Jon

Hi Tim,

I’m presuming doctrinal unity among Catholics. Do you think the way American Catholics vote in any particular election weakens doctrinal unity among Catholics? Surely the teaching of the Catholic Church is that Catholics who live in countries where elections are held can (and ought) to vote according to their consciences? Or have I got that wrong?

Cordially,
Mick
:thumbsup:

I vote “j” with occasional additions from the other categories.

From my perspective as a Lutheran and based on the discussions on a number of threads on CAF, I often think that one of the major obstacles is our (Lutheran and Catholic) inability to let the sixteenth century rest and to focus on the twenty-first century in which we live out our faith. I find it sad that so many discussions focus on the character – and the character flaws – of Luther, Pope Leo X, and other Reformers and Catholics of the past.

Now, a few thoughts on the other choices:

a) Disagreement as to whether salvation is an event or a process?

If this refers to OSAS, I’m firmly on the Catholic side of the question. I believe that our salvation is not guaranteed – we have the ability to reject Christ and the salvation he brings. Why anyone would want to do that, I don’t know.

b) Disagreement about the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?

I don’t think of the Immaculate Conception as an issue so much as something that has little or no bearing on my relationship to Christ. No matter the state of her soul at the time of her conception, the Mother of God is a model of faith and obedience.

c) Disagreement about praying for the dead?

We do pray for the dead, although it normally ends with the commendation at the end of the funeral service: “Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant, (name). Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him/her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.”

With that prayer, we have passed control over to our Lord. We trust fully that the deceased is now in the best possible hands, far from needing anything our poor powers might be able to do.

d) Disagreement about the existence of purgatory?

The answer to © pretty well takes care of this. There would seem to be no need for purgatory if one is in our Lord’s hands, the same Lord who was willing to sit down with outcasts and sinners and, perhaps, even change them.

e) Disagreement about how to understand baptism?

I don’t think we have any disagreements about baptism.

f) Disagreement about the doctrine of Transubstantiation?

From a Lutheran perspective, we don’t see any need for the doctrine of Transubstantiation. The words of our Lord are sufficient: “this is my body” and “this is the new covenant in my blood.” How it comes to be so is a mystery which is, at best, imperfectly explained by any doctrine.

g) Disagreement about confession of one’s sins being heard by a priest?

There is nothing wrong with confessing one’s sins to a priest (or pastor) and hearing the words of absolution. However, a mandating that one must take part in individual, auricular confession is an issue.

h) Disagreement about the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God?

Whether or not the Mother of our Lord remained a virgin is another of those issues which has no effect on my faith in her son. It also has no effect on my admiration for her for what she most certainly is – the one chosen to bring the Incarnate Word into the world.

i) Disagreement about the papacy and papal infallibility?

I don’t see the papacy as the head of all Christians. At the same time, I recognize him as the Catholic Bishop of Rome and as the head, by consent of Catholics, of the Catholic Church throughout the world. One can argue, too, that if Catholics do not consent, they are not really Catholics. Also, I am a great admirer of John Paul II and, so far, of Benedict XVI.

I am not convinced that papal infallibility is anything to be assumed. I hope and pray that all papal teaching on faith and morals will be correct, but I’m not persuaded that the charism of infallibility exists.

Just a few thoughts.

It’s J. All the others are aboout us all straining gnats and swallowing camels. We believe that to be in unity everybody else must come round to our way of thinking. The reason for this is that differant points of veiw and beliefs on certain matters make us feel uncomfortable. We take refuge in our set of beliefs and dogmas rather than in Christ. This leads us to add a whole bunch of things we have to believe to be true Christians opr in the true church that Jesus never mentioned when he preached the gospel in John 3:16.

The fact of REFUSING to ACCEPT what Jesus did, “You are Peter upon whom I will build my Church”. Man cannot put asunder what God has put together. This is the biggest obstacle IMHO. So long as man determines in his freedom to do his will and not God’s will, Jesus will always announce to him “Get behind me satan”, For God’s will, will be done.

There is only one Catholic church that can trace her apostolicity to St. Peter himself, and that is the Roman Catholic Church. If one can reject pride, culture, language and self, and obey Jesus Christ there is no obstacles that divides the Universal Catholic church world wide which possesses every nation, tongue and people united in one body of Jesus Christ where Jesus is still the Head of his Catholic church both in heaven and on earth. There can be only One Faith, One body, One baptism, One Lord.

You forgot about the Orthodox Church.

Observantly,
Mick
:thumbsup:

True the Orthodox Church has apostolic succession, there is no doubt; but I was referring to the Line of Popes in the Latin Rite directly to St. Peter. Forgive me If I was not clear:)

Misunderstanding of each other and the Catholic church’s unwillingness to be anything other than exclusive.

I hasten to forgive you.:slight_smile:

Fraternally,
Mick
:thumbsup:

I haven’t really shifted at all … always thought the same stuff (I just can’t fit the contents of my entire brain, which holds far more information than most human brains, in a single post):smiley:

You are humble indeed as well as humble_in_doubt.:wink:

Meekly,
Mick
:thumbsup:

The basic problem is, fear of authority on the Protestant side, vs. fear of chaos on the Catholic side.

From the Catholic point of view, unity will have been achieved when everyone is subject to the Pope. From the Protestant point of view, unity will have been achieved when there is no more Pope, and everyone is just following the Holy Spirit in his or her own way, without anyone telling them what to do or what to believe in.

The Protestants look at the Catholic solution to the problem and worry that the Pope will make them believe in things and do things that go against God.

The Catholics look at the Protestant solution to the problem, and worry that, with no more standard for what constitutes Christian belief, Christianity itself will die out, to be replaced with billions and billions of individualized pseudo-Christian heresies.

I do not think that this problem will be solved in our own generation.

The Catholic Church currently includes all Catholics, which adds up to a respectable number. Who else do you think should be included that is currently being excluded?

Curiously,
Mick
:thumbsup:

Pride.

God bless

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