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1/31/09

THE WHOLE CONFESSING TO A PRIEST THING

Have you been wondering how much feedback I've gotten from my Evangelical/Catholic post? Well, let me tell you. I've gotten A Lot!

I have had friends call me on the phone to discuss the post and I have had friends come to my home to chat about it. I've had emails and comments and it has come to my attention that I left out a "BIG" topic of dissension and it "MUST" be addressed by me, to give the "Evangelical Brownie Mom Thoughts" a closure.

In short: I missed the main thing and this post needs to fix it! LOL

It just happens to be the subject I had hoped not to touch with a 10 foot pole but here I go, touching it.

If you are reading this and you are not familiar with the first post, go grab a cup of coffee click here to read it first and THEN you are "allowed" to come back and read this post. :o)

If you don't read the initial post first, you will be flat lost.

Did you read the first post? Yes?

Alrighty, here we go. We're all adults here so let's be blunt and skip to the chase, shall we?

The A-Number-One reason why SOME Evangelical Christians think the Catholic religion is "not of God" is because of the use of confession. There are many things that Protestants believe are "Biblically wrong" with confession so they have a hard time acclimating Catholicism with their sense of what is "right."

The A-Number-One reason why SOME Catholics think that the Evangelical religion is "not of God" is because they do not use confession and some Catholics even believe that Evangelicals pray one time to Jesus and think they are saved forever with no other actions to be taken.

I'll try to touch on all of the "concerns" evangelicals have and I'll even number them to keep them straight. This is as much for my ease of writing as for your ease of reading. I will then note the answers that I have received from my awesome Catholic friends. The explanations are as I understand them. If I'm wrong, you can let me know in the comments. :o) (let it also be noted that not all Catholics believe the same about the issue of confession so the points could be different depending on the particular Catholic you speak with.)

Here we go!

Number 1: Catholics put their priest in the place of Jesus by repenting to him in the confessional rather than Jesus.

Many, if not most, protestants believe that Catholics believe that the Priest is forgiving their sins. Evangelicals think that confession is something between the Parishioner and the Priest only. We think that every Sunday the parishioner goes into a little confessional and tells all of their sins to the Priest and he says they are forgiven and that's the whole situation.

In that scenario we imagine that the Parishioner goes into the confessional and says,
"Forgive me Father for I have sinned."

We've discussed the whole Father thing, but I failed to mention that saying, "Forgive me Father for I have sinned" is considered "old school" and is rarely done in this day and age.

So on to the next issue of confession. Confessing to the priest rather than Christ.

Would it surprise my evangelical friends to find out that Catholics actually pray to Jesus INSIDE the confessional? Guess what....they do. That revelation turned my ENTIRE thought process on it's ear when I found this out.

Apparently, the entire confession begins with the person thinking about their actions before they even enter into the confessional or meeting with their Priest. The person is praying to Christ and asking the Holy Spirit to guide their steps. Then as they contemplate how they have been living, they pray! Not only is confession preceded by prayer there is yet more prayer during the confession itself. Here is how it goes...

The person has prayed and reflected on their life. They are guided by the Holy Spirit to repent. They go to see the Priest. They walk into a confessional or they meet face to face. The Priest says something to the affect of, "Do you have any sins to tell me about?" The parishioner says, "yep" and they begin a little dialogue. This is what evangelicals may call a pastoral meeting, prayer gathering, alter call...etc.

The parishioner tells all of the sins that they know they have committed. The two have a chat about what they have done, why, how that can be fixed and it's "like" a pastoral intervention session between the priest and a member of his Catholic flock. After the priest has talked with the member, he then asks the person if they are ready to say their act of contrition.

What?! What's an act of contrition?

Well, lets say, my evangelical friend, that you are at a revival. Let's say that the revival is going AWESOME! The preacher is stepping on your toes big time. He's telling you like it is and you are feeling that you have got to stop doing that sinful living and you are ready to go to the alter to pray because you want to lay it on Jesus' feet. You need to get right with God and you know this because The Holy Spirit has taken hold of you through what the preacher has been led to say so you go up to the alter. The preacher kneels down next to you and whispers to you, "What are your needs today?" You say something like, "Pastor, I haven't been living my life for Jesus. I've let school, work, pornography and my own wants come between me and Christ." What does that pastor do? He then says to you, "God will save you today, let's pray." He may even ask you to repeat after him a prayer of salvation.

He may lead you in prayer, you may sob, he may pray aloud and ask God to forgive you and lead you to His throne. You too will pray. You will say a prayer of repentance and reach Jesus....or as the Catholics put it...you have repented by praying an "Act of Contrition!"

Yep, this is the same thing that Confession is for Catholics. The difference is that they are about to speak to their pastor about their life and allow him to hear what they have to tackle in order to get right with God. He is then able to counsel the parishioner. After the parishioner feels they are ready and after the Priest has said what the Spirit has led him to say, the person confessing actualy PRAYS TO JESUS...not the priest!

The person confessing then says their "Act of Contrition" which is very much like what evangelicals call "The Prayer of Repentance."

"O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend you, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, (evangelical buzz word...we'll get back to this) and to amend my life. Amen."

It's sort of like when there is an alter call and the preacher says,
"Repeat after me. Jesus, I am a sinner, I am sorry for my sins. I confess that I have sinned against you and ask you to forgive me and lead my life from here on out."


Here's where it gets sticky for Evangelicals and for Catholics...

After the member says the "Prayer of Repentance" the evangelical pastor then announces to the congregation or says to the person praying,

"You are now forgiven! You are saved! Your sins are thrown into the sea of forgetfulness!"

He is claiming the Bible verses that proclaim that we are saved by Grace and Faith believing. He feels that He can claim this fully and without worry because that is a promise from God Himself!




On the other side of the table the Catholic Priest will say something like this AFTER the members says the "Act Of Contrition"...

"Jesus Christ absolves your sins."

or

some (Should I dare say most?
) claim Luke 15 and say...

"I absolve thee from thy sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."


No matter which way the Priest says this he is claiming the Bible verses that proclaim that our sins are forgiven by Grace and Faith believing also, though he is asserting the command in Luke 15. He is acting on that verse to release sins ONLY THROUGH the power JESUS GAVE his disciples.

The Priest is not "in himself" forgiving their sins, He is claiming the promise of God, not of vanity as some would believe, but as one of the many promises and gifts that God himself allows people to have. (such as faith healing, prayers of the elders, speaking in tongues etc...ALL of these are gifts and have been given to people by Christ through The Holy Spirit) This also is a gift, a legacy as a disciple of Christ. This is the gift they feel God has allowed them to say/do after the prayer has been given by their member to Jesus Himself! In other words, Only through Christ does the Priest have this power which was given to them by The Holy Spirit.

[Luke 15: 4-7]
"The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and he said to them again, 'Peace be with you. 'As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.' After saying this he breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive any one's sins, they are forgiven; if you retain any one's sins, they are retained."

[John 20: 20-23] On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Number 2: They think that if the Priest forgives them they can do whatever they want and still get to Heaven!

Many protestants also believe that if Catholic Parishioners get on the priests good side or give the church enough money, they will be forgiven by the Priest more easily. The obvious inference here is that Catholics want to get on the good side of their priest so they can sin all the time but be forgiven at the drop of a hat "because the priest has that power" in the Catholic religion.

I have to admit that I also thought that the Catholic person could just have a chat with their priest and then he forgave them and that was it. What I have found out from my Catholic friends and from research is something altogether different.




In reality, the priest is believing that the person is giving an honest prayer of repentance to Christ, so when the Priest absolves them of their sins, his job is done because he has fulfilled the verses Jesus spoke in Luke and John. HOWEVER, it is very well understood in the Catholic faith that if the person does not have what an evangelical would call a "relationship with Christ" meaning, if they are not truly sorry, if they are not truly repenting...that confession means NOTHING! Catholics aren't fooling around here. That prayer to Christ is the main deal. Jesus has the last say on the matter and the Priest, the Parishioner and yes, even the Pope knows that Jesus trumps everyone. If the Parishioner is playing around in that confession for earthly gain or some nonsense or if they aren't serious, they are in danger of Hell Fire...in a big way...no matter what the priest says.




Number 3: What the Heck is penance then?!

What I have come to understand, is that confession is not between the parishioner and the Priest. Yes, those are the two people in the confessional/room but the parishioner is under the full understanding that they are confessing to Christ as well as bearing their soul to a Priest. Furthermore, the sins that are being confessed are the sins that the people "know" they have committed, however the sins that they cannot know are also being forgiven.

After the confession, prayer, forgiveness, the priest will ask the person to do something physical, a penance. I liken this to fasting and/or prayer in the closet instead of being seen. (Matt. 6:16-18, Mark 2:18-20, Acts 13:2-3) There is often prayer involved. There may be something like volunteerism asked of the person. They may be asked to do something to keep them busy in the place of the sin they have been partaking in. You just never know it seems what the Priest will be led to ask of you. It's a mystery and kind of interesting for this evangelical to think about.

I think this must be what disturbs many evangelicals. The fact that the Priest is asking the person to "do" something to be "saved" (buzz word for Catholics) could be the issue they have with "works." I don't think this is a bad thing to be asked of a person, however. Some of us NEED to be told to think about our actions. Some of us, do I dare say, all of us really need to understand just how much sin hurts Christ. In doing a physical deed we are forced to think, really ponder what we do to Him when we sin. This isn't a bad thing. Christ still forgives us and we have to think about that for a while. It's not a far off notion to believe that when we "do" things physically we are more apt to think about our actions, release them and try to do better.

Penance is a physical act that helps our physical body learn to stay away from whatever it is that is sinful. 

Number 4:   No Man is to be called father.

Matthew 23:9 is quoted quite often during protestant services when the topic of Confession comes up in the sermon. We are told quite often that Catholics call their priest Father and that is putting him in the place of Jesus. Oddly enough, when the entire passage is read in the Bible, it can be seen that...well...Here you read it.

Matthew 23: 7 - 12 King James Version

7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters (meaning teacher): for one is your Master (teacher), even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

When I read this I can see that Jesus is asking us not to put any person above us on this earth, but to see each other as brethren on this earth. I can also discern from this passage that if we are not to call someone Father we also have to follow verse 10 and not call anyone teacher. I was amazed to read this in context because it was not at all what I thought it to be.

As a side note, If we read the entire chapter we get an entirely different view altogether of what was actually being talked about...or do we? That is up to interpretation. All I know for sure is that I should have read the verses in context long ago and not just believed what I was "told" because there is much to be gleaned from viewing rather than listening.

The following passages from scripture should put our mind at ease that we can indeed call a Spiritual Leader, Father.  The Bible references Spiritual Leaders as Fathers and calls other men Father.   The Bible actually references people as "Father" 1206 times and Five hundred fifty eight times  the word "fathers" is used. (Source for letters in red and quotes below) 

Elders of the Church are called "father" repeatedly in the Bible:

Acts 7:2   And Stephen said: "Brethren and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopota'mia, before he lived in Haran,  Acts 22:1  "Brethren and fathers, hear the defense which I now make before you."   1 John 2:13  I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father.

Paul calls Timothy's service to him as a son serves a "father."

Philippians 2:22   But Timothy's worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.

Paul compares the Church elders' ministry to the people like a father with his children:

1 Thessalonians 2:11  for you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you
 

Paul calls Timothy his true "child" in the faith and his son:


2 Timothy 1:3  I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I remember you constantly in my prayers.

Paul calls Titus his true "child" in a common faith. Priests are our spiritual fathers in the family of God:

Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Paul says he has become the "father" of Onesimus:

Philemon 1:10  I appeal to you for my child, Ones'imus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment.

Peter refers to himself as father by calling Mark his "son":

1 Peter 5:13  She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark.

Yet again, we see John calls the elders of the Church "fathers":

1 John 2:1  My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 1 John 2:13  I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 1 John 2:14  I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Jesus himself refers to Abraham as our "father":

Matthew 3:9  and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Luke 3:8  Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
 
There are hundreds more...but you get the drift.

-------------------------- 

I have put more thought into this than I ever thought I would. I suppose I just HAD to get to the bottom of what the differences really are in our religions. It amused me to think that some evangelicals believe Catholics actually worship Mary and their priest, yet think nothing of Jesus. I got the same kick out of Catholics who believe evangelicals ask Jesus to forgive us one time and expect to get to Heaven. I suppose it still cracks me up that I must have had some of those crazy notions myself or I wouldn't have been afraid to ask the questions in the first place!

It never occurred to me to ask...until I moved to Detroit and met some open Catholic friends. I thank God that he has given me a platform to pose the questions and friends who are equally as eager to dig into this ocean of information with me. Curiosity...hasn't killed this cat. I do believe it's awakened my understanding and piqued my interest to dig further into the roots of the Christian beliefs. I feel another college class in my future most assuredly.

Now, let me have it...what do you know, want to know or understand about these issues. The different points of view have been exciting thus far..I can't wait for the comments and emails this time! Bring them on...let's find out together! :o)

--------------------
UPDATE: POST NUMBER 1: EVANGELICAL ME AND MY CATHOLIC FRIENDS

UPDATE: POST NUMBER 2: THE WHOLE CONFESSING TO A PRIEST THING

UPDATE: POST #3: WHAT DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE?

UPDATE: POST #4: DO CATHOLICS PRAY TO DEAD SPIRITS?

UPDATE: POST #5: THE WHOLE RELIGION THING

25 comments:

Heather said...

Two things, neither one of which are corrections because you did such a spectacular job.

1. The little thing we do before going in for Confession is called (technical term) 'Examination of Conscience.' You can find little pamphlets that list questions based on the Ten Commandments, like: Have I put other things like money, television shows, or other worldly goods as more important than Christ? That's a violation of the first. Or 'Have I abused my body with drugs or alcohol?' is a violation of "Thou shalt not kill."

2. Confession is also called "Reconciliation." Now, you really aren't reconciling your relationship with the priest since you didn't sin against him, right? So Who Else must you be reconciling yourself with? :)
(I know you get it; that's just to help with your other readers.)

Johanne said...

Great job :) Um, I'm going to sound really stupid here... so do you mean that most protestants really don't believe that they can just say "Jesus, save me", and they are saved forever no matter what they do? I really believe(d) that many evangelical protestants believe that. Once saved, always saved.

I will also say that you seem to have gotten the Catholic teaching on Reconcilliation down correctly. But, be aware there are some Catholics (priests even :( ) that give Catholics a bad name through poor catechesis. Protestants may have misconceptions about what Catholics believe (or are supposed to believe), because they are only going by what they've been told by their misinformed Catholic aquaintances.

Whenever a question arises on Catholic teaching, the answer can usually be found in the catechism. And that answer in turn will usually have several biblical references :)

What abundant and overflowing Catholic parishes we would have if every Catholic took the time to learn Catholic teaching as you have!

Thanks for going through this, I'm enjoying reading it, and learning some things myself :)

The Mom With Brownies said...

Heather and Johanne,

I'm happy that I'm getting this down pat. :o)

Johanne,

MOST Evangelical and/or Protestants do NOT believe that one prayer will do the trick. There is a sect of Protestants that believe that but the VAST Majority of Protestant churches teach that we must "pick up our cross daily." We are taught to pray and ask forgiveness at bed-time or whenever we feel that our countenance is falling. We are taught that we have the ability to do something called "back-slide." A back-slidden Christian is one who has given up living for Christ and has not been "trying" to live for Him. (that's an entire post for another day and would most assuredly be longer than this one! LOL)

So, to answer your queston, Evangelicals are constantly seeking the Holy Spirit to lead us. We are asked and taught to be prayerful at ALL times lest we fall. Keeping our sights on Christ is another buzz phrase often spoken in Evangelical churches.

I hope that helped! This is awesome! :o)

Heather said...

I know I helped with this post, but I'm really curious.
What DID you think happened during Confession?
I mean, you knew we went into the little box and... what?

The Mom With Brownies said...

Hi Heather,

Well, In my mind it went something like this...

You walked in and said,
forgive me father for I have sinned it has been 1 week since my last confession...
Then he would say something like, Okay my child what have you done?
Then you would say,
I cussed, ate too much, drove too fast, drank too much and told my mother-in-law to shut up.

Then he would say, Say 2 hail Mary's. I forgive you of your sins.

And then you thank him and go off to sin some more and think nothing of it until you see your priest again! ACK!

We are basically told that the priest has the power to forgive you and Jesus died for nothing because he gave all of his power to priests and that was that.

I believe many, if not most protestants think this type of scenerio! We are told that the "priest forgives their sins" We are never told that you pray to Jesus and the priest is quoting scripture through the authority of Christ. We are basically told that you worship Mary and Jesus is the last think on a Catholic's mind.

Isn't that sad?!

Cascia said...

Great job explaining the sacrament of Reconciliation! We do believe that it is a sacrament and that is also another aspect of the Catholic faith that is different from Protestants. Usually when I go to confession the priest will give me a few prayers to say. I've never had to do community service. But I suppose it would depend on what your sins were. And no we are not saved after going to Reconciliation. This act is just a way to help improve our life and grow closer to Jesus. We are all sinners and will return to confession again. Great post! I enjoyed reading both of them.

Lori said...

I have found it better to go the source when looking for answers. In the 14th session of the Council of Trent the Catholic Church has declared that this very penance of forgiveness is necessary for salvation and also states that if people disagree that confessing to a priest alone is NOT required then they are eternally condemned (anathema). So I either have to agree that confession to a priest is necessary for my salvation and an institution of God or I am condemned by them. Yes, I know, most catholics don't seem to believe that, but it is what their church believes, whether they know that or not.

In fact, according to their catechism it says "Outside the Church their is no salvation" (the header to sections 846-848.) In that they mean their own magesterium leadership, not the universal church as Pentecostals refer to it. We must also remember that these documents are held by them to have the same authority as Scripture (Catechism 81-82) and they claim that only they have the power and authority to interpret Scripture (100).

So while your friends may not mean this or mean that, their church actually does.

The Mom With Brownies said...

Hi Lori,

Thank you for your comment. I will say that your research is very good, however you have missed the newest information regarding the last Vatican session of the Catholic Church. The interpretation session, if you will, was 50 years ago and the reforms are still being set in motion today.

There were many interpretations given at that last meeting of the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul XXIII stated that "it was time to drag the church out of the Dark Ages and into the Modern World."

If you read up on Vatican II you may be very interested in the newest revelations from the Catholic Church. :o)

I hope that helps. The dialogue is wonderful! :o)

The Mom With Brownies said...

Here is one reference for Vatican II


http://tinyurl.com/dce9t7

Lori said...

It is in their current catechism where it says "Outside their church there is no salvation"
http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p123a9p3.htm

And even more recently their current Pope Benedict clarified that the Second Vatican Council "neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine..." He also said:

"these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches"

"these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church...because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery[19] cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense"

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070629_responsa-quaestiones_en.html

The Mom With Brownies said...

Hi Lori,

Yes, of course Catholic and Evangelical doctrines are different. In fairness, if we pick on the Catholic church doctrine for stating they are the only "real church" we must also pick on the Protestant churches who believe their way is the only way also.

The cause of these posts are not to say that we all believe every detail in the same way, but to say that we are all more alike than we are different.

Do we have differences in some of our belief system? Yes.
Do we all hold Jesus dear to our hearts? Yes.
Can our knowledge grow as time and the Holy Spirit leads us with discernment? Yes.

Those are the points of unity between our sisters and brothers in Christ.

It is relatively safe to say that each Evangelical does not believe EVERYTHING their church doctrine states. It is also safe to say that each Catholic does not believe EVERYTHING their church doctrine states. Interpretation is the key! :o)

It is my hope that in learning more about the practice of Catholicism and the practice of Evangelical worship, we can learn that we are more alike than we may think. That has been a huge eye opener for me and I hope that it has been a blessing to others also. :o)

Lori said...

Believe me, I have many catholic friends and we do have a lot in common and they are a blessing to me. However, that does not mean that I should ignore the differences of our faiths.

I will leave it at that. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

The Mom With Brownies said...

Hi Lori,

Sure we could name all of our differences. I would rather focus on what we have in common because unity brings discussion and friendly discussion binds that unity. :o)

Glass half full? Glass half empty?

Though, I would LOVE to chat in person with you sometime. I'm sure we'd have some long conversations. LOL

Dan said...

In all fairness there really is a significant difference between a priest granting absolution and a protestant pastor declaring your sins are forgiven. Catholic doctrine teaches that the protestant pastor absolutely (no pun intended) can not do what the priest is doing when the priest grants absolution. Catholic teaching maintains that the priest is acting under an authority handed down through apostolic succession and that the priest can only be vested with this authority by the Roman Catholic church. So there is clearly something different going on (according to Catholic teaching) when a priest grants absolution than there is when a protestant pastor declares that someone's repentance has resulted in their forgiveness. The priest is literally "granting" absolution, not just announcing it. He is doing exactly what Christ did when He forgave sins (and was confronted by the Pharisees who considered it blasphemy since they didn't believe He had the authority to forgive sins).

Dave said...

Historically The false teaching that the sinners prayer does anything is mainly a pentecostal thing. Its a virus thats running rampant nowdays,
but false doctrines have been running around ever since 100 AD. This is nothing new, just classic man making himself more powerful then God.
If a person is truly saved, (has faith in christ as Lord and submits to that lordship) then he is truly saved and yes its permanent.
I am a baptist, and Ill be the first to tell you the sinners prayer is an evil doctrine not supported by scripture.

Netmilsmom said...

I know I'm really late to this party but I wanted to clarify something for Lori. I find many Non-Catholics taking the same quotes out of context from the Vatican website to say the Catholics believe that if someone isn't Catholic, he/she is damned. The EXACT opposite is true.

Here is the "money" quote.
“It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church”[12].

So where my Protestant family says that I am damned because I am a "Papist", Catholics believe that anyone who walks in the steps of Chirst can make it to heaven.

Liz and Hopes Mom said...

Wow. I'm speechless. Many of my own thoughts were splayed before my eyes while reading this and it wasn't pretty.

I am (or thought I was) an accepting "hate the sin, love the sinner" type of gal who is truly thankful for the forgiving and patient God I serve. I'm not even sure where I am with the similarities or difference in these two major religions, what I am more struck by is seeing my own thoughts in the evangelical pre (mis) conceptions listed in this blog. Wow. Some "Christ-like" person, I am.

Thanks, Shell, You've given me something huge to gnaw on. Thanks for showing me how my shallow-minded-pride-filled thoughts were oh so wrong...I'll have to get back to you on the rest! :)

The MWB said...

Hi Liz & Hopes Mom, :o)

Some of us were really raised to believe some crazy things about Catholicism, weren't we?!

When I realized that my Catholic friends were "meaning" the same things I "meant" but were using different words to convey the message, I was stunned. It really has been a journey to discovery on my part.

I'm still journeying, I might add.

Diane said...

I so appreciate reading what you have learned about Catholics. I, too, grew up evangelical (and still am) but am being exposed to more Catholic teachings and gaining more understanding. I love what you wrote in your first post about not living your life from fear. My wonderful Baptist pastor when I was young told us, also, to be very careful in not opening our minds too wide, not being silent before God because other spirits could get in, not lighting a candle when we pray because New Agers did that. You get it. It was fear based in that sense, and I was really strong in allowing God to transform my mind through His word but lacked in allowing Him to change my heart through more mysterious ways that perhaps our Catholic friends have experienced. So much here. I see God is using you to bridge some gaps, and that's a lovely thing! My husband is related to you through the Bannisters (his grandpa was a son of Roy and Nellie), and it's a blessing to find some more believing relatives! I guess our kids are related!!

The MWB said...

Hi Diane! :o)

What a small world! Yes, My dad's grandparents were Roy and Nellie also. :o) Our kids would indeed be related. How Fun!

You will find that there are many believers in our family. The Bannisters are VERY devout Protestants. My father has run a jail ministry and preached at our churches in my youth. We're quite the Jesus Freaks! LOL And THAT'S a Good Thing!

On another note, I'm a protestant still...though, my hubby has informed me that he wants to go back to his Catholic roots...most of his family are Catholic and he was raised as a Catholic as a very young child. So, I'm learning and searching...that's the best I can do for now.

Are we friends on Facebook? :o)

The Mom with Brownies said...

2011: UPDATE: We are Catholic as of April this year! :o)

Just wanted to update posters from the past. Here's the blog post about it.

http://www.icantbelievemylife.com/2011/04/religion-perceptionperspective.html

Thank you all for posting! :o)

Jessi said...

Please Please read this article titled "Dear Catholic Friend" I was raised catholic. I love Catholic people, most my family is catholic, but the church is just so contrary to the Bible and has a very dark history if you study it.I ask you in love to please read this whole article.

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Roman%20Catholicism/dear_catholic_friend_john_rice.htm


The Bible way to heaven
How the Bible says you get to heaven
God wants us to know for sure- *1John 5:13 -These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

* God Says That None Are Good - "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10

* God Says That All Are Sinners - Romans 3:23"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

* God Tells Us The Reason All Are Sinners -Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

* God Tells Us The Penalty For Sin is Going To Hell - Romans 6:23 -"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord "
Rev 20:14-And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

* God Tells Us Of His Concern For Sinners - Romans 5:8 "But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

*You are not going to heaven by doing good works. Why would Jesus have die if we have to work our way to heaven?
Tts 3:5-Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Eph 2:8-9 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Isa 64:6 -But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

* God's Way Of Salvation Is Made Plain -Romans 10:9-10 - "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

The word "confess" means to agree with God that you are a sinner and that Jesus alone was your substitute in death on the cross.

To "believe in the thine heart" means to make a commitment of yourself to Christ as you hope for eternity.

*Salvation is trusting in Jesus only to take you to heaven not good works or anything else.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

*John 3:3-Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:7-Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
2 Corinthians 5:17-"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

*John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Good works and going to church are good things, but they do not take you to heaven. The Bible says the only way is to be "born again" Trusting and putting our faith in Jesus only. You must have a time and a place where you were born again.
Pray a prayer like this from your heart.

"Dear Lord, I am sorry for my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead for my sins. I want you to forgive me of all my sins and come into my heart and save me. I trust you NOW as my Savior. Amen."

The Mom with Brownies said...

Oh Jessi, Hurling Bible Verses at me is not going to help your cause. The Catholic Church were the priests preaching the gospels before the Bible was even compiled.

The Catholic Church compiled the Bible through their councils and was able to do so because Jesus Breathed the Holy Spirit within them.

Bible verses are meant to be read all together...as in...The Whole Bible.

Please do not talk to me about "The Dark History" of the Catholic Church. Jesus filled his cabinet with "dark" people. All of them had faults. They denied him, failed him and turned on Him over and over. Do you think that the faults of humans would be different in His Church on earth?

The puritans burned witches, The Baptists condoned Slavery.

The Church is made up of people who are not perfect. Your church is also made of people who are not perfect. The Catholic Church, however, is not one of the 44,000 Protestant churches that are rolling around in confusion. They hold fast to the teachings that were taught before the printing press was even made. They kept Christianity alive and it happened that way because Jesus meant it to.

My friend; How did Christians worship just after Jesus ascended into Heaven? I want to worship that way...and I do because I am Catholic.

Here's a snippet of information from History just after Jesus' Resurrection. In one of the first Christian texts, St. Justin the Martyr narrates how the Eucharist was celebrated during the ancient times.

(St. Justin the Martyr, Letter to Antoninus Pius, Emperor, 155 AD)
"And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, And the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. (San Justino) Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying “Amen”; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do in remembrance of Me, (Lk 22:19) this is My body;" and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood;" and gave it to them alone. And we afterward continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit."

The Mom with Brownies said...

Jessi,

You also need to know that everything you have said is taught in the Catholic Church. We are not saved by works.

I believe you were not taught the Catholic Faith as it is, but maybe you've been taught the Faith as your family "thinks" it is.

Please read this.

http://www.icantbelievemylife.com/2011/04/religion-perceptionperspective.html

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