To my Catholic friends and family
In a crisis, we can either hunker down, fight, or flee. We can try and protect ourselves until the crisis is over, actively engage in the struggle to end the crisis, or get ourselves as far away from the maelstrom as possible. The crisis Roman Catholics find themselves in right now certainly has many of them thinking of fleeing, but likely many more hunkering down and praying their beloved church will survive.
If you are in either of these two groups (because those fighting are too committed to consider my suggestion), I implore you to ask yourself this question: Why am I Catholic? If your answer is anything other than, “Because I have investigated the church’s claims and found them credible,” it’s not really a good answer. That is, if truth matters. That’s why so many have already left the church and others are seriously considering it. They know their answer doesn’t give them a good enough reason to stay.
But what are they/you fleeing to? One of the primary reasons why I have called attention to the errors in the Catholic Church is because many who come out of her are so repulsed by some of her unbiblical and irrational doctrines and practices they reject Christianity altogether and run into the arms of atheism. Because the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) promotes herself as “the one, true church,” they figure, if that’s Christianity I want no part of it.
So maybe that’s where you are right now. You’ve seen through the facade and recognize that what the church says is true ain’t necessarily so. But if truth really does matter, then truth is worth actively seeking. Have you investigated the evidence for the reliability of the Bible? Have you compared what is taught there to what the RCC teaches? Looked into what non-Catholic Christians believe? Do you really think it’s wise to throw out the proverbial baby with the baptismal water?
Biblical Christianity has much evidence to commend it as true, and the God revealed in it as the one, true God who loves and receives all who come to him. If you reject Christianity because of a flawed representation of it, you are rejecting the one for whom you were created and in whom alone is true, lasting happiness and setting a course for an eternity of torment and regret. And if you embrace atheism, and are intellectually honest, you’ll have to accept that neither you nor anyone else have inherent worth, there is no such thing as objective morality, the existence of the universe is a mere brute fact, and your capacity to reason to truth itself is unreliable.
But maybe you’re a hunkerer instead. I understand your devotion to an institution that likely helped shape you from childhood and to which many wonderful people belong. I was there myself once. This crisis has rocked you and maybe shaken your faith a little, but you believe the Catholic Church is the one which Jesus himself instituted and said the gates of hell would not prevail against. So though many bad shepherds have abused and abandoned the flock, the Good Shepherd has not, and for you to abandon the church would be to reject him and be eternally lost. But why do you believe the Catholic Church is the one, true church? Is it not merely because that’s what she has told you? Have you investigated her claims for yourself? What if the all too human desire for power and prestige corrupted many of the early church’s leaders leading to the establishment of a centralized authority for their own selfish gain?
I am convinced that any Catholic willing to consider the possibility that the unique claims, doctrines, and practices of the RCC are not supported biblically, and to investigate the evidence apart from Catholic literature, will come to the conclusion I did. They will see that Jesus did not establish an institution nor an earthly authority usurping his as head of the church, which is his body. That this body is composed of many members who affiliate with many different denominations and none, and are united by trusting faith in Christ as Savior and Lord. And that there IS salvation apart from the Catholic Church, and it is by faith alone.
If these evils being exposed in the highest of the Catholic hierarchy have made you at least willing to examine objectively what you have been led to believe, my series on why I left Rome will get you started. And I am open to a friendly dialogue if you have questions or objections.
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An excellent message.
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Extremely well-written… and thought out. Thank you for your insight and your passion for Jesus! M. A.
Thanks to all of you for the encouragement.
I love the compassion and gentleness in and of this message. Praying that Catholics that truly love Jesus will hear him calling them to put their faith directly in him, and him alone.
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I have a lot of dear Catholics in my circle, and my mom and dad were two of the dearest, now face to face with the Lord they loved. I need and want to be compassionate for their sake. I will continue praying with you.
I have recently been told (but not confirmed) that the Hudson’s Christ Community Chapel is similar. That they believe they are the only true Christians. This person said when revealing she was Methodist, was told, “I’ll pray for you,” implying she didn’t measure up. At one time women could not teach a bible study class if a man was in the group. I also don’t know if that was or still is true. I should ask one of their flock. My mantra has always been “why can’t we all just get along”… not just spiritually, but politically, and personally. Not that I’m necessarily the easiest person to get along with, nor am I that versed in scripture, nor do I expect everyone to have the same views as I do, but I try to respect everyone regardless. WWJD?
I find that hard to believe about that church. Honestly, I don’t think any other church compares to the RCC and what they claim for themselves. But I really hope this church doesn’t project that kind of arrogant attitude.
I understand why they might have had that rule about women teaching men; you probably do too. But I think that’s likely a misunderstanding of the passage.
And, yes, I agree we need to “respect everyone regardless,” but I also feel it’s important to speak out against error and “contend for the faith.” (Jude 1:3)
Yes. I enjoy reading your and others’ comments. I rarely comment, but love the back and forth dialogue.
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Here is why you need to stay Catholic: You’re a part of a church, with all its problems, that Jesus Himself founded (Matt 16:18) for a very particular purpose: for us to have a sacramental life on the way to Eternal Life with Him (along with the Father and the Holy Spirit) in Heaven!
He gave His priests, good and bad, the power to summon Him down from heaven to be with us, each one of us “Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity”. Other Christian denominations may speak of, and indeed, offer Communion, but to them, and this is key, Jesus is being offered only symbolically not literally as in our faith.
As a reminder, when a priest, any priest good or bad, utters the words of consecration during the Mass (e.g.: “This is my body….this is my blood..”) the host he holds up and the chalice filled with wine become Jesus in the appearance of bread and wine!
And when we take Him in Communion afterwards each of us has in effect our own private audience with the creator of the world, the Word made flesh (John 1:14) who wants very much to be with you and help you in your struggles against sin.
As long as you approach Him in a state of grace, that is to say free of any mortal sin, Jesus is there, ready and more than willing to hear your prayers, pleas, doubts, joys, everything. More importantly, in this Sacrament of the Eucharist (Holy Communion) He wishes to give you grace to help you fight sinful temptations and inclinations.
Grace comes in two “flavors”. A soul with Sanctifying Grace is free from Mortal Sin and shares in God’s love, making it a fit place for our Lord to dwell and work in. Actual Grace consists of subtle but important “nudges” God sends you to do what’s right, according to His will.
As a quick reminder, the Sacraments are outward signs, vital to Catholicism and living a good Christian life, instituted by our Lord Himself to give us grace we need on the road to Heaven. I’m dealing here with the two of the Seven that Catholics can receive on a regular basis: the Eucharist (Holy Communion) and Penance (Confession).
Communion isn’t a “magic bullet” or some kind of wonder pill in which our Lord takes away all your anxieties and troubles (presto!) and makes everything right again. But the more you approach Him in trust and prayer, the more He can help fill you with a sense of peace and purpose in this crazy world! Is this difficult at times? Yes. Jesus Himself knows that. Is it very lonely at times? Absolutely! Our Lord Himself experienced a very profound loneliness during His Passion.
Remember that He was deserted then by most of His followers (including the Apostles, except St. John). And what was worse, He was slandered as a low life criminal by some of the very people who had been literally singing his praises only a few days earlier, on Palm Sunday.
In sum, in partaking of Jesus in the Eucharist we are strengthened against our own sinfulness by the graces He gives us there. In Confession, we receive true forgiveness of our sins and return to a state of Sanctifying Grace. This is necessary for our souls to receive the actual graces our Lord wishes to give us in Communion, as described in part here.
Keep in mind our Lord chose “sinful man” to lead His church and shepherd His flock from the beginning. Priests and laity alike, like those in the secular world, we’re all sinners! As such Jesus didn’t choose angels to administer Holy Communion but priests, frail human beings prone to temptations and the 7 deadly sins. As such, it’s important to pray for them. They have to become saints just like you and me, through their actions, not through their vestments.
Dave, you’re one of the fighters, so I don’t expect to persuade you to reconsider your commitment to the church. But I still pray that someday you will be able to trust God to guide, teach, and save you apart from any institution, any ritual, or any man other than Jesus.
That is exactly what I pray for you. The “Institution “ that you speak of was instituted by Jesus Christ. I will follow His Church.
I pray that you and all of our separated brothers and sisters return to One true faith handed to us by the Apostles.
Your sect was handed to you by some guy in the 1900’s.
You pray that I will trust God apart from any institution (which I do) but you “will follow His Church.” Not God, but a man-made institution.
And what “guy” would that be?
Dear Ms. Smith:
That actually is my answer to why I’m Catholic. I have compared what the Catholic Church teaches to the teachings of Scripture, and defended multiple doctrines on my blog. I grant that if the Catholic Church is not founded by Christ Himself, she is extremely arrogant, but I have reason to believe she is.
If you don’t mind my asking, if you were a former Catholic, what kind of Catholic were you exactly?
I was baptized and raised Roman Catholic.
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Yes, but what kind of Catholic? For example, did you pray the rosary and read Scripture daily? Did you participate in the sacrament of reconciliation frequently? Which did you care more about: Fátima, the biggest approved Marian apparition of the century, or Medjugorje, the condemned one which contained heresy and blasphemy to the Catholic Church? etc.
I was a “good” Catholic for most of my young life. Went to Catholic elementary and high schools. Went to Mass often in college. Never read Scripture because it was never recommended.
I don’t, and never did, care about any of the Marian apparitions.
Indeed. Catechesis at Catholic school isn’t particularly good. An acquaintance of mine went to Catholic school and didn’t know about the doctrine of transubstantiation, so I don’t have a particularly high opinion of Catholic schools. Other people I knew who went to Catholic schools constantly took the Lord’s name in vain. From “often” do you mean not every single Sunday and holy day? If you didn’t, I wouldn’t consider you to have lived a devoutly Catholic life, not that it is my place to judge your soul as it once was. Believe me, if you had grown up in a devout Catholic home like I did, Scripture would have been certainly recommended and you would have been taught to pray the rosary as well, probably daily.
I apologize again if anything I said was rude. I had a theory about ex-Catholics and I wanted to test it.
I said I went “often” in college, after I was out of my parents’ home. They were very “devout” Catholics and very concerned that all ten of us continued in the RCC. Less than half of us did. You can read more about my upbringing in my series which I linked to at the end of this post.
But what does any of that have to do with my view of the Catholic Church today?
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It relates because how you were raised as Catholic effects your view on what the Catholic Church is, believes, and does. I’ve made a scientific theory about those who leave the Catholic Church, especially the ones who become Protestant, and I’m now testing it. My father had twelve brothers, making there thirteen of them. Only three stayed Catholic. I’ll look at the post concerning your upbringing when I find the time
Just keep in mind that how one comes to believe in something says nothing about the validity of that belief. Judging a person’s belief that way is committing the genetic fallacy.
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I am aware of that. I never said your belief was fake.
In other words, it’s not so much your belief as your approach on arguing with Catholicism. For example, there was a guide to how to witness to Catholics, to which I responded here https://thecatholicofhonor.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/the-catholic-of-honor-responds-to-witnessing-to-catholics-what-is-the-key/, if you are interested.
It might work on some Catholics, but it would be a perfect guide to get a person like me annoyed. I don’t mean to call your family lukewarm. I’m just saying that you might not understand the psychology of Catholics in general as well as you might be tempted to think as a former Catholic.