How do Catholics hear the Gospel?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by CatholicConvert, Sep 29, 2002.

  1. CatholicConvert

    CatholicConvert
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    I was a Catholic once," said the lady a few yards from me in the parking lot. "Now I'm a Christian and you can be one as well." She preceded to hand a tract to a gentleman standing next to the opened trunk of his car. I couldn't help it.

    Excuse me," I said to the lady "but could I too have a tract?" The lady's face beamed. "Are you saved?," she asked. "Of course I am; I'm a believing Catholic," I retorted. She looked at me as if I had bad breath or something.

    She continued, "I was just telling this gentleman that I too was a Catholic - a Catholic for thirty-some years in fact. Now I've found Christ and I'm trying to tell everyone I know about salvation through Christ."

    "Wow, that's really something! May I ask why you left the Church?" I could tell that, by asking this question, my new acquaintance was getting excited. After all, she had probably been snubbed by dozens of people and now she has someone that she can "witness" to Christ. I didn't mind much either, but I tried not to show it.

    "You see," she said, "I was born Catholic. I attended Mass every week, received the Sacraments and graduated from a Catholic school. Not once did I ever hear the gospel proclaimed. Not once! It was after the birth of my first child that a good friend of mine shared `the gospel' with me and I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior and became a Christian. Now I belong to a `Bible-believing' church and I'm sharing the gospel with whomever will listen."

    This shocked me. "You mean you belonged to the Catholic Church for over thirty years and you never heard the gospel?," I said. She was getting more excited. "Yes, I never once heard the gospel of salvation preached or taught or even mentioned in the Church. If you don't preach the gospel, excuse my bluntness, but you're simply not Christian." I scratched my head and said, "that's strange. I've been a Catholic all my life and I bet I hear the gospel ever week at Church." Her smile quickly faded into a look of curiosity. "Maybe, I'm missing something," I continued. "Tell me what you mean by `the gospel?'"

    The lady reached back into her purse to pull out a little tract and said, "This tracts explains the simple gospel of salvation. It can be broken down into four easy steps.

    "First, we acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of God's forgiveness.

    Secondly, we recognize that only God can save us.

    The third step is that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins and to bring us to God.

    And the fourth and final step is that each individual accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior to be saved."

    I thought for a couple of seconds and said, "If I could demonstrate to you that Catholics hear "the gospel" every Sunday, would you agree to take a closer look at the Catholic Church?" Now, she knew she had me over a barrel. "Prove it," she said. I excused myself for a second and ran to my car to grab a Missal.

    "Since you have attended Mass nearly all your life, you probably remember these prayers." I flipped open to the beginning prayers of the Mass and proceeded to show her how Catholics hear, pray and live the gospel message every Sunday.

    The Mass and "the gospel"

    The first step in my new found friend's tract stated that we are all sinners in need of God's forgiveness. After the Greeting, the Mass continues to what is known as the Penitential Rite. I read loud the text to her while she followed reading silently.

    "I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do."

    I mentioned that it is here in this section that each Catholic states publicly that he or she is individually a sinner- not merely in a general sense, but specifically in thoughts, words and deeds. You can't get much more complete than that. I continued reading,

    "and I ask Blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and to you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God."

    The priest reaffirms this confession of sin by praying,

    "May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life."

    And the whole congregation says "Amen," that is, "I believe." The priest continues.

    "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy,"

    and finishes by saying;

    "Lord show us your mercy and love. And grant us your salvation."

    I looked at her and said, "You see, we Catholics start every Mass with a public declaration of our own personal sinfulness and look to God for forgiveness." She responded, "But Catholics don't believe that God alone can save them. They believe Mary and the saints will save them." I shook my head in disagreement. "No, we don't. Remember what we had just read in the Mass. Catholic ask Mary, the angels, the saints and the whole congregation to pray to God for mercy on their behalf - just like I would ask you to pray for me to God. Does that mean that I look to you to `save' me? No, of course I don't believe that. I'm just asking for your help. Besides the `Gloria' of the Mass proves that Catholics look to God alone to save us."

    I began reading the Missal emphasizing certain words to prove my point:

    "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us, you are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father."

    Likewise, the doxology spoken just prior to communion reads,

    "Through him, with him, in him; in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is your, almighty Father, for ever and ever."

    As I looked up, I could see the lady intently reading the page. She couldn't believe that she had prayed these prayers for years and never noticed what it was saying. Yet, there it was in black and white. I continued with the third step - the acknowledgment that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and to bring us to God.

    The Profession of Faith reads,

    "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate."

    In the Eucharistic Prayer 1, the priest prays:

    "Remember [Lord] all of us gather here before you. You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you. . . We pray to you, our living and true God, for our well-being and redemption . . . Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen."

    The prayer ends with an appeal to God for salvation through Jesus Christ:

    "May, these and all who sleep in Christ, find in your presence light, happiness and peace. For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs . . . Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness. Through Christ our Lord you give us all these gifts. You fill them with life and goodness, you bless them and make them holy."

    Similarly the second Eucharistic Prayer proclaims,

    "Dying you [Jesus] destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory. . . Have mercy on us all; make us worthy to share eternal life with Mary, the virgin Mother of God, with the apostles and with all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages."

    Likewise, Eucharistic Prayer 3 reads,

    "All life, all holiness comes from you through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, by the working of the Holy Spirit . . .

    Father, calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and ready to greet him when he comes again, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice. Look with favor on our your Church's offering, and see the Victim [Christ] who death has reconciled us to yourself . . .

    May he make us an everlasting gift for you and enable us to share in the inheritance of your saints . . . "

    Lastly, the fourth Eucharistic Prayer reads,

    "Father, you so loved the world that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior . . .

    In fulfillment of your will he gave himself up to death; but by rising from the dead, he destroyed death and restored life."

    In this prayer, the congregation proclaims the mystery of faith:

    "Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world."

    "You see, every week Catholics proclaim that Jesus died for them," I said to the lady who was now searching for something to say. After a brief moment of silence, she shot a response back at me.

    "What about accepting Jesus Christ and their personal Lord and Savior?" She retorted. "They may be saying all this stuff, but they don't make a personal act of acceptance." What she didn't know was that I deliberately didn't mention the last "step" of her "gospel."

    I explained that if Catholics don't believe what they are praying, they ought not to be publicly proclaiming it. Since we can't read the dispositions of other people's hearts, we ought not to judge whether they truly believe what they are saying. Next, I pointed out the last step - where Catholics are accepting Jesus into their hearts. Right before communion the priest holds up the host (which is now the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord under the appearances of bread and wine) and prays.

    "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper."

    And the congregation responds,

    "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

    I looked straight into the lady's eyes and said, "It is here that all those who are prepared to receive Jesus Christ walk up to the front of the church but they don't just believing in Christ or merely asking Jesus into their hearts." "They don't?" She asked. "No," I answered, "they receive that same Christ who died on the cross on Calvary into their mouth and into their stomachs — body, blood, soul and divinity — and become one with him in an unspeakable way. Now that's accepting Christ!" She didn't have a response. I'm not sure that she had ever really thought about the Mass and Christ's real presence in the Eucharist because she appeared to be both surprised and intrigued.

    I gave her my phone number and invited her to a study group I was heading in the neighborhood which examined the Biblical foundation for Catholic doctrine. As we departed, I couldn't help but wonder how many other people, like my new friend, left the Church thinking that it had nothing to say about salvation. Yet the richness of the liturgy of the Mass and even more so Christ's real substantial presence in the Eucharist so outshines our separated brethren's "low church" prayer services that there is no comparison!

    Authors note: "Where Do Catholics Hear The Gospel?" is written to answer a specific objection and not to give an exhaustive explanation of the theology of the Mass. Indeed, the mystery of the Mass goes far beyond the simple "sinner's prayer." What I wanted to demonstrate is that all the elements of what Protestants consider the "essentials" of human salvation are presented, in Technicolor, in the liturgy of the Mass and that to deny the charge that the Church is somehow neglecting to present "the gospel."

    Yes, this is a "cut and paste" job from another site. It's good.
     
  2. GH

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    Beautiful post!

    I love the Catholic Mass.

    I remember as a 6 year old hearing the gospel from a sweet little nun. Boy did that start a lifetime of asking questions - asking, seeking, knocking - going boldly to the throne of God.

    Yes, the Mass is a beautiful expression of the gospel for those, by God's grace, who have ears to hear.

    Peace and blessings to you in Christ Jesus, Diane
     
  3. GraceSaves

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  4. Dualhunter

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    [sarcasm]Heretic! You disagree with the pope, kindly strangle yourself, tie yourself to a stake and light yourself on fire so as to save the Dominican Order the trouble of having to do it.[/sarcasm]

    The foundation of all our confidence is found in the Virgin Mary. God has committed to her the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will: that we obtain everything through Mary. Sweet heart of Mary, be my salvation! Pope Pius IX

    He will not taste death forever who, in his dying moments, has recourse to the Blessed Virgin Mary. What will it cost you to save us? Has not Jesus placed in your hands all the treasures of His grace and mercy? You sit crowned as Queen at the right hand of your Son: your dominion reaches as far as the heavens, and to you are subject the earth and all creatures dwelling thereon. Your dominion reaches even down into the abyss of Hell, and you alone O Mary, save us from the hands of Satan. Pope Pius XI

    Nothing comes to us except through the mediation of Mary, for such is the will of God. O Virgin Most Holy, no one abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; no one O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee! Every one of the multitudes, therefore, whom the evil of calamitous circumstances has stolen away from Catholic unity, must be born again to Christ by that same Mother whom God has endowed with a never-failing fertility to bring forth a holy people. Pope Leo XIII

    Which Gospel do you believe?
     
  5. GraceSaves

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    DualHunter,

    Blessed is your search for the truth, but don't go half way and then stop.

    CCC 970
    "Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it." No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by His ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rahter gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing of this one source."

    I question, where did your "Pope quotes" come from? From a larger body of text? Don't you think, then, that in the article as a whole, these quotes taken out of context might find the fullness of context to explain their true meaning? Yeah, I think so.

    Don't take a sentence and use it as a rule of faith. Catholic doctrines are like rope; take one strang away from the rope, and it gets weaker. Each doctrine works with the other doctrines to bring one rule of faith. You can't pick apart something by itself and expect it to hold together.

    Everything that Mary does is only accomplished because of Christ. If salvation comes "through" Mary, it is "from" Christ. I don't expect you to believe that; only faith harbors belief. I do expect you, however, to not pull quotes from a larger body of text without sourcing them and use them to explain away the Catholic faith.

    EVERYTHING MARY HAS WAS GIVEN HER BY CHRIST. Enough said.

    May the Lord bless you in your faith journey,

    Grant
     
  6. GH

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    Which Gospel do you believe?

    Alas, this is why I left the Catholic Church. Since I have very close ties to the church and still attend Mass occassionally with family, I see that the Mass is the gospel, except on Mary's feast days. Then I cannot attend.

    She had a great faith in God. She had a heart for God and I love the Magnificat in Luke which praises God alone. [​IMG]

    Love one another as I have loved you - Jesus Christ.

    Peace, Diane

    [ September 29, 2002, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: GH ]
     
  7. CatholicConvert

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    The first.

    The opinions of the popes you have expressed are just that -- personal writings of personally held opinion. They are not found in the official teaching of the Church, therefore you do not find them in either the Missal, the Catechism, or any other official papers of the Church. Kinda like that stupid paper on "not evangelizing Jews" that the bishops just put out. No authority nor weight to it whatsoever.

    One of these days, perhaps you will be able to make a distinction between what the Church officially teaches and the personal writings, ruminations, and sometimes rantings of Her members.

    Cordially in Christ,

    Brother Ed
     
  8. GraceSaves

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    Quite obviously, she was not saved in the Catholic Church. But that does not mean salvation cannot be found there. It makes ME wonder, how many more Baptists go to church every Sunday, and yet know next to nothing about what salvation means? Personally, I know many people in my home town who are restless in the SBC, either leaving it all together or moving from church to church every month or so because the pastor starts preaching at them (or won't let them use the parish facilities for secular fundraisers).

    No one said salvation was guaranteed in the Catholic Church. Salvation can be found there, as in the Baptist Church, but it's up to the individual to embrace what She (the Church), offers her, namely, the Gospel of Christ.
     
  9. Dualhunter

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    Popes say the darndest things ;)

    Looks like these popes were teaching stuff that you believe is junk yet you'd still claim to agree with them if they were pope today.
     
  10. GraceSaves

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    It never gets old . . . judging people's innermost thoughts (you know, the ones you don't even have access to). Right, DualHunter?
     
  11. Dualhunter

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    Quite obviously, she was not saved in the Catholic Church. But that does not mean salvation cannot be found there. It makes ME wonder, how many more Baptists go to church every Sunday, and yet know next to nothing about what salvation means? Personally, I know many people in my home town who are restless in the SBC, either leaving it all together or moving from church to church every month or so because the pastor starts preaching at them (or won't let them use the parish facilities for secular fundraisers).

    No one said salvation was guaranteed in the Catholic Church. Salvation can be found there, as in the Baptist Church, but it's up to the individual to embrace what She (the Church), offers her, namely, the Gospel of Christ.
    </font>[/QUOTE]She was a baptized Catholic and you just admitted that she was not saved in the Catholic church therefore admitting that baptism doesn't save.
     
  12. GraceSaves

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    It's no wonder you dislike the Catholic Church so much. Who claimed Baptism saves? Last I checked, the belief was that no one can be saved unless he is baptised. That means that Baptism is one step in the salvation process. It, in itself, is not salvation.

    Hope that clears things up for you,

    Grant
     
  13. Dualhunter

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    It never gets old . . . judging people's innermost thoughts (you know, the ones you don't even have access to). Right, DualHunter?</font>[/QUOTE]Don't need to know their innermost thoughts, it's their outermost thoughts that they make known and from them we see that they do not know the truth.
     
  14. Dualhunter

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    It's no wonder you dislike the Catholic Church so much. Who claimed Baptism saves? Last I checked, the belief was that no one can be saved unless he is baptised. That means that Baptism is one step in the salvation process. It, in itself, is not salvation.

    Hope that clears things up for you,

    Grant
    </font>[/QUOTE]The thief on the cross didn't go through a long ardous process, he trust in Christ alone and Jesus promised him salvation.
     
  15. GraceSaves

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    He was Baptised by desire, a Catholic teaching. How far off track do you want to take this, DualHunter?
     
  16. Dualhunter

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    If baptism is just one step in the process, what happens when a baby that was sprinkled dies without finishing the process. Doesn't the Catholic church teach that the baby's baptism was sufficient to save it?
     
  17. Dualhunter

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    He was Baptised by desire, a Catholic teaching. How far off track do you want to take this, DualHunter?</font>[/QUOTE]Jesus never mentioned baptism on the cross, why would the thief desire baptism having never heard of it? Baptism is very much part of the Catholic gospel, though not mentioned in Paul's Gospel, and hence this discussion is on topic.
     
  18. Chemnitz

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    Why not go straight to the source then, why go through a middle man or woman in this case? No offense but the above quote can be read as an attempt to raise Mary above her position.

    Yes the Mass can be a great proclamation of the Gospel. It is a shame that the RCC has to bury it under needless, if not harmful, fluff.
     
  19. GraceSaves

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    How many arguments have you brought up in the past 10 minutes? Five? I take it where answering all of them, since you keep moving on. Thanks be to God!

    At Baptism, original sin is washed away, and all sins committed up to that point are forgiven. If the baby died right away, the baby would be in a state of grace, thanks be to God! When you live to be 80, you tend to have a pretty high chance of messing up, and thus the process requires extra things (confessing of ones sins and seeking forgiveness, etc, etc, etc).

    God bless,

    Grant
     
  20. CatholicConvert

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    Yeah, as a matter of a fact, popes not only SAY the darndest things, some of them, if you do a study of history in the Church, DO the STOOOOPIDEST things too!!

    Guess that means that they are human, right?

    Oh, and as a matter of a fact, there are several things I don't agree with the pope on right now. His dislike for the death penalty is one of them. But that is HIS OPINION and not doctrine, for the Catechism (the OFFICIAL teaching of the Church says that the death penalty may be used).

    We Orthodox (I'm Orthodox, remember?) have some other ADMINISTRATIVE and CULTURAL issues with him also, such as the Roman rite not communing their infant children. In my opinion -- BAD move.

    So, yes, one can find lots of silly pronouncements (the opposition of the pope to Gallileos theorem comes to mind), and if one wants to, one can make case against the Church for these things.

    Brother Ed
     

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