My final reasons
This is No. 28 in the series. Please read my introduction and explanation here.
As I’ve crossed addressed objections off my list of reasons, I’ve also crossed off a few that I haven’t addressed. Once I sat down to write about them I realized that either they weren’t really an issue for me or were simply too trivial to include. But if you’re willing to stay with me for a few more posts, I do have just a bit more to add.
We’ve had a number of baptisms in our church lately, and they are often powerful testimonies to the activity of God in a person’s life as he convicts them of their sin and they repent and believe. But whether or not we hear their stories, going public with their faith by going under is a testimony in itself. The Catholic Church sees baptism not as a confession of faith but as a washing away of sin and an incorporation into Christ’s Body. So infants are baptized very early.
Many Protestant denominations practice infant baptism as well, but every record of baptism in the New Testament follows faith. Babies can’t believe, and no one can believe for them. It’s another reason why I am not Catholic.
Marian apparitions. I began this series talking about the Church’s extreme and unbiblical devotion to Jesus’ mother, and there’s so much objectionable there I probably could have done the whole series on it. One of the elements that helps keep the faithful looking to her instead of God is the Church’s stamp of approval on a number of supposed miraculous appearances of Mary over the centuries.
One of the best known was at Fatima in Portugal where Mary urged frequent use of the Rosary and “works of mortification,” as well as “devotion to herself under the title of her Immaculate Heart.” “In October, 1942, Pius XII consecrated the world to Mary under the title of her Immaculate Heart.” Another was at Lourdes, France in the mid-nineteenth century where she also called for works of penance and that a chapel be built there.1 Millions of pilgrims still flock to the site, and help support the Church in the process.
Also in nineteenth century France Mary is said to have appeared to a young nun-in-training whom she commissioned to have a medal made in her honor. Mary even provided the design, front and back, and told the now Saint Catherine, “Those who wear it will receive great graces.” It is commonly known as the Miraculous Medal and you can purchase one at your local jeweler or Catholic supply store.
The Church condones the wearing of the Miraculous Medal, as well as the brown scapular which was also commissioned by the Blessed Virgin herself when she appeared to a 13th century monk. And who wouldn’t want to if her guarantee to the monk is true, that if you’re wearing it when you die you will not “suffer eternal fire.”
According man-made items with supernatural powers treats them as talismans and is more superstition than devotion. As is the Church’s use of holy water to bless the faithful, their homes, their Easter baskets, and their pets.
Relics of saints. The Catholic Church decrees that her members must venerate these supposed pieces of their bodies, articles of clothing they wore, or items they had touched. They have been credited with miraculous healings and every Catholic church is required to have one or more relics hidden in its altar.
It would be interesting to determine, if possible, how much money has come in to the Church’s coffers as a direct result of shrines built to Mary and the saints and the promotion of sacred talismans and relics. Of course every church needs a source of income, but the way the Catholic Church has solicited it over the years and continues to is troublesome to me. She keeps close tabs on the giving practices of her members with supplied personalized offering envelopes. If an individual or family is tracked as not giving what the local parish thinks they should be, they are likely to be notified of their deficiency, as experienced by several of my personal acquaintances.
And finally…reason number 30 why I left Rome. Legalism. Like the Jewish scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, the Roman Catholic Church has multiple rules and traditions that the faithful are expected to obey, and go far beyond what is decreed in Scripture. Required attendance at Mass on Sundays and all Holy Days of Obligation, assent to all official Church doctrine, assent to the Church’s singular right to correctly interpret Scripture, participation in the Church’s sacraments, denial of participation if divorced and remarried, required days of abstinence. Through their many laws upon laws, obedience to which can affect one’s eternal destiny, the faithful are kept in bondage through fear of death.2
I’ve only summarized these objectionable teachings and practices. Much more could be said and has been by others familiar with Scripture, church history, and Catholic Church doctrine. Tomorrow I intend to summarize and evaluate my series. I hope you’ll check back then.
1 Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac 1999 2 Hebrews 2:15