Catholic Confusion ,or, Who are the Faithful

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Ps104_33, Sep 22, 2002.

  1. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    Here is a letter I found from a confused Catholic.
    It is pretty lengthy but good. Please read.

    An Open Letter to Catholic Apologists From a Confused Layperson



    Here I am a confused and disillusioned evangelical. What am I supposed to believe about the significance of baptism, or about predestination and election--which view is correct Arminianism, Calvinism, or something in between? And what about speaking in tongues? Have I not been baptized by the Holy Spirit because I don't speak in tongues like some people say? Everyone's reading the same Bible, but they're not all saying the same things. If only there were someone who could tell me exactly what to believe and end my confusion. Then along comes a Roman Catholic e-pologist who lays out the case for Catholicism, and it sounds great to me. He convinces me that all the Catholic beliefs that I thought were unbiblical really aren't. My whole problem was that I was trying to interpret the Bible without the infallible Catholic magisterium to tell me what it really means and without the knowledge of all those infallible traditions the Catholic church has been faithfully guarding all these centuries, and that's why I didn't know that Mary was born without sin, that she's the Queen of Heaven and the dispenser of all graces, and that Peter was the first pope. So I sign up for my nearest RCIA classes and eventually I'm confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church. When I'm not sure what God really wants from me, I can whip out my trusty Catholic catechism and find out everything I need to believe and do to remain a faithful Catholic. No more confusion. Just one big happy family, united in doctrine, one in faith! Great!



    Once I start attending Catholic Church, I'm a little disappointed to find that there aren't too many people there who are really faithful Catholics. The people I talk to seem indifferent to Catholic dogma, often openly disagreeing with some of the basic teachings. Although most of them call themselves faithful Catholics, it's obvious that they're really not because they disagree on the dogmatic teachings of the church, and as I learned from the Roman Catholic e-pologist I talked to, that's the criteria for determining who's a faithful Catholic and who isn't. So because my faith is of the utmost importance to me, I want to fellowship with other faithful Catholics who feel as strongly as I do about my faith. I decide to go online and join a discussion board to talk to other faithful Catholics about our mutual faith. There I meet a Catholic, though, who begins sharing with me about the problems with the post-Vatican II Catholic Church. He tells me that the Church has strayed from the original faith. I tell him that it does seem strange to me to hear that documents that seemed to make it clear that no one could be saved outside the Catholic Church don't really mean what they sound like they mean, but that we can't be going around interpreting church documents on our own any more than we can the Bible. If something has been infallibly defined, we must accept it by faith. He then goes on to tell me that that's true, but that many people are confused about the infallibility issue. He directs me to a website that gives a good argument for the idea that the problem these people have is that they don't understand the difference between the Ordinary Infallible Magisterium and the ordinary, "authentic," non-infallible Magisterium. I read in this article why Vatican II cannot validly overturn the history of the Church in this matter and why. Now I'm a little confused. Vatican II certainly does seem to contradict prior Catholic teaching, but how can I be sure? I know I'm supposed to obey the infallible decrees of councils, but how do I know for sure what constitutes an infallible decree? But before I have a chance to get too disturbed by this newfound information, along come other faithful Catholics who tell me that this person is a schismatic because he doesn't submit to the authority of the Church. I wonder to myself. One person says that the changes of Vatican II don't meet the criteria for infallibility, and that they contradict prior teaching, so as a faithful Catholic, I should reject them. Another person tells me that a faithful Catholic would never reject an infallible teaching from the church, and Vatican II meets the criteria for infallibility. And before long, I begin to feel those same old feelings of doubt and insecurity about what to believe. But I put those thoughts aside for the time being.



    I decide to educate myself more about my faith, so I pick up some books by Catholic scholars to see what else I can learn. I want to be sure that the authors I read are really faithful Catholics, so I look for books that bear the official seal of approval of the Church, the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. Imagine my shock when I find all kinds of divergent opinions in these books that stand in direct conflict with some of the defined dogmas I've been told I'm required to believe. Why are these scholars accepted by the Church and their books being officially approved by Catholic bishops? Why, instead, aren't they being disciplined or excommunicated? Why can they publicly teach heresy with an official seal of approval by bishops whose authority comes straight from Rome? This doesn't sound biblical to me, but I remember that I can't interpret the Bible if my interpretation leads me in a different direction from the Church--after all the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, not the Bible--and the Church tells me that verse means that my interpretation of the Bible can never contradict the Church's. But still, this not only doesn't seem biblical, but it doesn't sound like the response from the early church to heretics, either. These early heretics were forced out of the church and roundly refuted by the church fathers--faithful Catholics if ever there were any, according to Catholics. But these scholars are teaching in Catholic universities and writing books with the approval of the Church. Huh?



    Even so, in my newfound zeal for the Roman Catholic Church, I can hardly wait to share the good news with my Jewish neighbor, and tell him about the true Church that I've come home to, and to tell him that Jesus is the Messiah. But then I hear that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says that Jews don't need to be evangelized because they already have their own covenant relationship with God. Of course, my first thought about that is that it seems very strange that Peter and Paul weren't aware of that, and that they wasted a lot of effort trying to evangelize the Jews. But then I remember that I'm not supposed to be interpreting the Bible for myself in these matters, so maybe I misunderstood all that stuff about sharing the gospel with Jews in the early church. Or maybe something has changed since then and although they were supposed to do that, we're not. Or maybe, oh never mind. I don't need to worry myself over these things anymore, because I have the Church to tell me what to do and what to believe, and these kinds of thoughts only lead to confusion and schism, so I try to ignore them. After all, I don't want to be accused of being my own pope. Still I'm curious about this, so I go online and ask other Catholics what they think. I find that many Catholics say that the American Bishops have no authority to make that decision, so they're free to disagree. Okay, I think, that settles it. I'll share the gospel with my Jewish neighbor. Just to ease my mind, I pull out my Catholic catechism again, so I can be reminded of all the unity I have with my Catholic brothers and sisters. But, much to my dismay, what do I find? According to the catechism, I'm supposed to faithfully obey my bishop. What now? Do I talk to my Jewish neighbor about his need to trust in Jesus Christ and the Church or not? Does my Jewish neighbor even need Jesus or not? Faithful Catholics are telling me that I should talk to him about Jesus, and yet according to the catechism, a faithful Catholic is to submit to the teachings of the local bishops who've told me that Jews don't need Jesus.



    I'm in such a tizzy over these things, I go back to the e-pologist who first told me about the truth of the Catholic Church and ask him what I'm to do? Again, he reassures me that the Catholic Church is completely unified, and anyone who disagrees with his beliefs is a schismatic and should be ignored. He reminds me again that all faithful Catholics agree on all defined dogmas (and those are the only things of real importance), because by definition, that's what makes them faithful Catholics. Then suddenly some old familiar feelings start to surface. I remember the time when my fundamentalist church where I first believed the gospel told me to stick with them for the true interpretation of the Bible. Whenever I went to someone there with a question, they'd tell me that faithful Christians are unified over doctrine, and those who teach other things are introducing strange doctrines that tickle men's ears. "Just ignore them, believe the Bible, and if you're confused about anything, ask us," they'd say. But yet, as I met more Christians not from my denomination, they had some cogent sounding arguments of their own about why their beliefs were the true biblical ones, and they told me that my denomination was teaching some false doctrines. So I wondered, how do I know if my denomination is teaching the truth, and not these other people? That's why I left evangelicalism for Rome; so I wouldn't have to experience that kind of confusion anymore. But now here I am, and what's changed? Catholic apologists tell me that all "faithful Catholics" are united over the "important issues"--defined dogma; traditionalist Catholics tell me that the modern Church is teaching heresy (not infallibly, of course), and that "faithful Catholics" must reject this modern teaching that opposes the true faith; Catholic scholars who teach in Catholic universities are publishing officially approved books, even saying things like Jesus wasn't even born of a virgin, and Rome doesn't object, leading me to believe that these scholars must be considered "faithful Catholics" by Rome or they'd be removed from their positions and disciplined and eventually excommunicated if they don't repent and recant; and my bishops are telling me not to evangelize my Jewish neighbor because he doesn't need Jesus, and although Rome hasn't confirmed this teaching, they have told me that "faithful Catholics" are to obey the bishops, even though the "faithful Catholic" who showed me the "true Church" says these bishops are wrong, that they have no authority to teach what they're teaching, and that they can be ignored by "faithful Catholics."



    These are just a few examples of the kinds of issues a thinking Catholic runs into. I could go on and on with many more, but these will suffice for now. Is there any Catholic apologist who can help me with this? I'd really like to be a "faithful" Catholic, but I'm afraid I don't know what that is anymore. What I find instead is that, for all their differences, Evangelicals seem to have more true biblical unity than Catholics. What I mean by that is they seem to embrace each other as brothers and sisters in Christ in spite of their differences. Could it be that it is really the Catholic system that is "unworkable," and that sola Scriptura really does promote biblical unity?



    "Ree"
     
  2. Johnv

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    I've seen the spiritual awakening in the RCC that's been happening over the last few years and, while I'm not in that group, I think it's great. As a former Catholic, I can tell you that one of the biggest problems, not just in Catholic pews, not even Baptist pews, are the amount of people who are are not faithful to their faith.

    That is one of the reasons that I feel we need to serve the needs of our own church community before we can successfully reach out to others. The hair on my back stands up whe my local churchgoers badmouth the Lutheran church down the street, all the while turning a blind eye to our own shortcomings. That is what I think Jesus means when he told us clean our own eyes before we clean our neighbor's eyes.
     
  3. GraceSaves

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    Pslam,

    Could you please point me to where this letter was obtained? Thanks!

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  4. CatholicConvert

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    Of course, rather than give us this person's address so that we can help him (her?) out, you will just gleefully post this for us to see and to try to prove that the Catholic Faith is not worth a plugged nickel, right?

    If you go through the history of the Church, both in the East and the West, you will find times of incredible sprituality, and you will find time of corruption so bad that they spawned a rebellion called the Reformation. This is to be expected of a living, breathing organism which is made up of SINNERS!!

    And it started in the very first century. Peter acted like a hypocrite and Paul called him on it. The Corinthian parish was filled with sectarianism and had a man living in scandalous sin with his mother in law.

    In the sixth century, ALL the bishops of the Eastern Church were Arian heretics. Only St. Athanasius and the pope were faithful to the truth of Christ's divinity.

    Did any of these or the many other problems in the Church make the Church itself change ontologically? No. The Church is always the Bride of Christ, is always the kingdom of God, is always the Body of Christ and proclaimer of the Good News. Just as a tumor in your lungs does not change the ontology of your lungs, neither does the presence of sinners or sin change the ontology of the Church.

    We will get past this time, just as we did with the rebels of the Reformation and the scandals in the Church at that time. The Holy Spirit will move when it pleases Him and not a second sooner. It is the call of all the faithful to remain faithful and pray for the need changes to take place.
     
  5. Dualhunter

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    You could start by explaining Ree's questions for Ps104_33 and myself. Ree is not the only one who finds it rather suspicious that this organization which is supposed to bring clarity and unity instead brings confusion.
     
  6. trying2understand

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    At this point we don't even know if "Ree" actually exists or if this is just some made up letter that was written by some nameless anti-Catholic.

    BTW, it will be interesting to see if Psalm actually participates in this thread or if this is just another anti-Catholic hit and run.
     
  7. CatholicConvert

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    Why don't you stop with the balogna? The Catholic Church has a very CLEAR and UNAMBIGUOUS position. It is called the CATHOLIC CATECHISM. It is thorough enough that it goes to over 700 pages with copious notes, footnotes, and scriptural references to explain to those WHO WANT TO KNOW, exactly what the Catholic position is on any given subject.

    Those who object to the Church's teachings in the Catechism, teach their own brand of theology, stir up trouble, and ordain their own heretical women and sodomite priests and bishops are NOT CATHOLICS.

    I cannot say that strongly enough.

    THEY ARE NOT CATHOLIC!!!

    And they should do the Church a favor and have the moral and intellectual decency to LEAVE the Church and join y'all Prots who HATE THE CHURCH ANYWAY!!!

    The Catholic (universal) Faith is: "That which has been taught everywhere, at everytime, and in everyplace." (St. Vincent of Lerins). A Catholic is one who subscribes to this universal faith. If the people who are confusing Ree do not subscribe, they are not Catholic. Once Ree figures this out, he will be less confused. And once he realizes that there are traitors in the Church, who will no doubt be dealt with severely at the Judgement Seat of Christ, he will understand.

    Bill Clinton and his cronies sold our secrets to the Chi-Coms for election $$$. Does that make America less American because we had a traitor in the White House? A true American is one for whom the Constitution is the last word. Those who pervert it are really not Americans and should go to Red China (are you listening Bill and Algore?) where they would no doubt be happy.
     
  8. trying2understand

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    Look to the offical teachings of the Church.

    Not really all that confusing or difficult is it now?

    Ron [​IMG]
     
  9. Dualhunter

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  10. jasonW*

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    1. So you didn't even read the 'letter' at all then? Official teachings that contradict, books endorsed by rome which are divergent from the 'truth' that rome speaks of. Ok...don't address that problem.

    2. Can a non-catholic get to heaven? Hmm...seems this has changed over time and people disagree on this. That's ok..still not confusing right?

    3. Evangelize to the jews? Muslims? Non-catholics? Hmm...seems some think yes, some think no. Which is it? What does the church teach? Oh, muslims don't need christ (Catechism)? Jews don't either (Bishops decree)?

    <sarcasm>Anyway..it all is soooo clear now. Thanks for correcting all of us nonthinking, dull witted, confused and misguided non-catholics. </sarcasm>

    jason
     
  11. Nimrod

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    At the Catholic Book store in my town. I ask the lady who runs it "Why don't you carry the CCC?". She said "You need a lawyer to understand it". So she showed me the Baltimore Catchesim and told me "This is made by bishops...and it is easier to understand". On the other side, my mother who is a devout RC, told me that she doesn't agree with the Baltimore Catchesim, there are many errors, and it is not an official RC document.

    Who should I trust, an e-opoligist who says it is "very CLEAR and UNAMBIGUOUS" or a lady who runs the Catholic Book store? It seems too me that shw would be more knowledgeable about RC documents.

    Who is right the lady at the Catholic Book store says you need a lawyer to interpret the CCC or an e-opoligist?

    Was my mother right that the Baltimore Catchesim is not official?

    Another note, my Father ,who is also a devout RC, told me that the Church was wrong to say Mary can dispense graces. He is right on that!

    Another note: What is an "Anti-Catholic"? My mother told me it is a person who tells lies about the Church. Should I believe my mother or an e-opoligist who says anyone who speaks against the "Chruch" is Anti-Catholic?
     
  12. trying2understand

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    Each of these has been (and will again, no doubt) addressed in other threads.

    Short of writing a book, how is any person to answer the veeeerrrry loooooonnnng original post to your satisfaction? So many issues were raised so as to make it impossible to your satisfacton.

    BTW, the answer CatholicConvert gave is the best: rely upon true Catholic sources, not some random Catholic who may or may not know what they are talking about.

    And yes, it is quite clear to me. There is no change or contradiction.
     
  13. trying2understand

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    Your mother..., your father..., some lady in a bookstore...

    In as much as the Catechism of the Catholic Church is readily available on-line, you really have no excuse for your lack of reliable sources for the true teachings of the Church.

    Why rely upon someone else's representations concerning how confusing the Catechism is when you can very easily go to it yourself?

    Ron
     
  14. Nimrod

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    CCC 841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

    It is clear to me that the CCC says that faith IN Christ is not necessary for salvation. Faith of Abraham, and they adore one, merciful God. Muslims don't believe in the Trinity but they do believe in One God.
     
  15. trying2understand

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    What is the context of the above paragraph?

    Have you weighed this within the context of infallible ignorance?

    And apparently, I was right. The subject of the original post was, "I can't tell what is Catholic teaching." Now it will be a series of questions on a variety of topics, merely with the intent of creating an illusion of confusion.

    If you would like to discuss Muslims and salvation, great. Or will you momentarily be switching the topic to another "confusion"?

    Ron
     
  16. GraceSaves

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    I've already addressed this issue in depth.

    Who did Christ die for? Everyone. Everyone includes the Muslims. It also included "Christians" who only carry that name because it makes their family happy, but have no relationship with Jesus.

    These people are included in the "plan for salvation," that is, God's plan to save the whole world through His only Son, Jesus Christ. We're all a part of that plan. It STILL takes a response of faith from us to achieve that gift of salvation. That doesn't mean we weren't in His plan.

    Why is this in the Catechism? Most likely because Muslims are on the right track, and simply haven't found the goal (Jesus) yet. We should pray for all Muslims that their eyes might be fully open to the love of Christ. Unfortunately, those who hate the Church use this as a pathetic example to attack her. Could it have been worded better? Based on your responses, most definitely. Does that make the true meaning void? No.

    Now move on.
     
  17. GraceSaves

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    I see. So I'm supposed to discuss these books....OF WHICH I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE. Exactly how can I defend a blind accusation with no information? What book am I supposed to talk about with you, here, Jason? You're condeming the Church based on a virtually anonymous letter (that has yet to be sourced for validation) that speaks of pure ambiguity. I have very little to go on. Heck, you're second question wasn't even addressed in the letter!!!!

    Let's beat the dead horse until he turns into topsoil, eh? We are you bringing this up again, when we've explained it to you and you still don't get it? I'm so sorry you aren't satisfied with our answers, but they HAVE been provided. It's like attacking a deaf person because he can't hear; it's not MY fault you don't understand.

    More beating of a dead horse. Read my reply before this one, something I've addressed in LENGTH in previous posts which you no doubt read. And the whole Jewish-reachout thing was also addressed and resolved in a previous post. That letter was written by a COMMITTEE, and is not official Church teaching. If it ain't in the Catechism, the Church don't teach it.

    You desire perpetual confusion. These are all issues Catholics have addressed in length, and you conveniently forget about them OVER AND OVER AND OVER again so that you can make us out to be con artists. Cute.
     
  18. Dualhunter

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    Why is Islam singled out? It seems to be suggesting that a devote Muslim will be saved on the basis that it claims that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. This is the impression which we get when we read the statement, if that's not what you think it says, then it's not particular clear but instead it is a bit confusing.
     
  19. trying2understand

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    You should ask Nimrod. He is the one who brought it up, Not GraceSaves.

    Nimrod is the one who selected the particular paragraph to quote. That is why I asked for context.

    Ron
     
  20. GraceSaves

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    I'll ask you to reread my statement, as I just addressed that issue. Muslims acknowledge God the Father; they're already part of the way to the truth. It's an attempt to show them that we consider them separated brethren (by our belief in Christ and their lack of belief in Him) and hope that they will come to know God's salvation. In this same section in the CCC you'll find statements about Judaism and other religions. Of course it's "singled out" here because it was taken out without the context of the entire section of the CCC.

    Frankly, I just told you that it's NOT saying what you're claiming to read into it. Thus, I can only conclude that you don't care for my answer, and will continue to read into it falsely. What am I to do? You have the answer; that's what the Catholic Church teaches. Out of context, it's confusing. In context, and with my answer, it should no longer be confusing.

    Okay?
     

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