CHEAP AND YUMMY BROWNIE RECIPE!
6 TBSP cocoa, 1/4 C butter, 1 C sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/3 C flour, 2 eggs, Cook 350 - 25 mins.

3/2/10

DO CATHOLICS PRAY TO DEAD SPIRITS?

I'm trying to keep up! :o)

I have had many emails and questions posed to me in person, via Facebook and via the "Contact Me" button on this blog since I wrote the "What Do Catholics Believe" post.

I've found that many people are much like I am, in that they have always wanted to ask the questions, but were too "afraid" to do so because...well...This Is About RELIGION!  It's a touchy subject! LOL (and frankly, we are all adults and feel that we should already know much of this...but we don't...so here we are...)

I have been busy reading, questioning, sifting through the many answers and gathering information to try to answer the inquiries.

For those who are reading this blog for the first time, you should know that I am "just" a regular Bible-Belt Protestant who happened to move to Michigan.

This blog is our family blog...left for my children...so they can read mom's ramblings when I've gone the way of the dodo bird.

Cutting to the chase: Basically, everything goes into the blog because it's our scrapbook.  Literally...I have it printed into a hard back book for a keepsake....Aren't you glad kids...grandkids.... :o)


It just so happens that I have, here in Michigan, met quite a few wonderful families over the past few years that happen to be PRACTICING Catholics. I have had the uncanny luck to become close friends with many of "them" AND have open, honest discussions with them regarding religion...that do NOT lead to debates, anger or even many uneasy moments. What a hoot! I blogged about this a year or so ago, and the post basically took on a life of its own. Now, I'm on post number four! LOL

These wonderful people have put up with me. They love me even though I have said completely ABSURD things like..."Why do you worship Mary?" "Why don't you pray to Jesus?" and "You have dirt on your forehead."  (Ash Wednesday...for my Protestant friends.  It's something like washing feet but enforces being humble AND repentant.)

So, if you are a protestant...especially from the Bible Belt...who wants to know "What's up with those Catholics"...I would suggest that you start from the beginning with post number one.  Like-wise for Catholics as you'll get "our side" too. :o)

If you are a protestant and you have a question or information for me, please feel free to drop me a line.  I don't "allow" anonymous comments on this blog.  This helps me "weed" out those who wish to flame these posts.  I'm truly thankful for the forthright, respectful, questions and comments that have been posed and enjoy looking up the answers.

So without further adieu...
Here is part 4 of MY understandings from "the other" Christians.  

In this post, I'll pose the question asked to me and then give the answer I understood from research. 
(online/off-line/in person) 

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HERE WE GO
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Question 1: "PRAYING" TO SAINTS

It is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that Catholics do not pray to saints or Mary. Catholics can ask saints or Mary to pray FOR them. Catholics believe that asking saints for their prayers is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for us.  The issue that comes to light, however is that some Catholics diverges from official Roman Catholic teaching.  Some Catholics do pray directly to saints and/or Mary, asking them for help instead of asking only for prayers to Jesus.

Don't Catholics Practice Necromancy and The Use of a Medium? (ie: Praying to "Dead" Saints)

I've said before that the idea of talking to people in Heaven is preposterous to Protestants.  We only pray to Jesus. That's it.  So the notion of asking a "dead" person in Heaven to pray for us is just really...it feels weird to even think about it...we just don't do it.

When I noted this in my previous "Catholic/Protestant Posts", I refrained from using more direct language in the hope that I could bypass this touchy subject but the question has been asked so an answer is in order.

Here's the deal...

Most Protestants believe that Catholics practice Necromancy when they talk with "Dead" Saints in Heaven.

There, the cat's out of the bag...pretty noisy cat...but it's out non-the-less.

The reason for this belief is due to the following scripture where Moses warns the Israelites against pagan practices that they will find in the new land.  Here is the passage:

Deuteronomy 18: 9-14: "  9When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. 11Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. 14For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do."

Catholics have read this passage.  The Catholic understanding is that Moses is speaking to God's people and warning them against leaving their faith to join a cult.  Ta Da. That's the sum total of that passage.

Protestant: What is the "sum total"?

Catholic Answer: Love God, Don't Join a Cult against God.

Protestant: Well, that's just not what that means...

Well...maybe...maybe not...let's get into the rest of what Catholics believe about this subject and then decide...

Catholic: Catholics believe that ALL Christians are one in Christ.

Protestant:  agreed

Catholic: Catholics worship Jesus; So they are not summoning "dead" spirits, because...my Catholic friend reminded me.....the Saints are NOT Dead...so the whole "conjuring spirits" thing is a moot point.  Catholics don’t talk to the dead OR follow a different god.


To which I answered with a Protestant..."Huh?"

Answer to my Protestant "Huh?": Catholics believe that Christians are "one in Christ" and thus "never die."

Protestant: Agreed.

Romans 12:4-5:

"For as in one body we have many members, and all members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."

John 11: 25-26: 

25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 

Well, do I believe that?  In my Protestant way, sure.  We're alive "in Heaven."
Let's keep reading shall we?

Luke: 20: 37-38

"37Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him."

Protestant: Well okay, we are "alive" but He's talking about IN HEAVEN...it's not like they know what's going on down here...

Right?

Well, I did some digging.  I guess I'd have to tell that to Elijah and Moses then....because One "died" and one was whisked away into Heaven...but after their "deaths"....Jesus came down to earth.  Just before Jesus was put to "death"...ahem....He made a point to take some of his disciples on a little hike.



During that walk, both Elijah and Moses APPEARED, very much alive again on earth, and began having a chat with Jesus!

What?

Not only that...it all happened right there in front of HUMANS and God Himself was yelling at the disciples, freaking them out, telling them to Pay Attention!

Matthew 17

 1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.  4Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." 5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" 6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus."

(See also: Mark 9:2 and Luke 9:20)

Side Note: For many years I thought people were in Heaven completely oblivious to our lives here on earth. That passage makes me wonder. Then I read this...It's Long... but only because this scripture DETAILS nearly EVERY person of Faith in the Bible and then ties it up in a nice little bow to let us know that they are ALL SURROUNDING US....well...you just read it and see what you think...

Hebrews 11

By Faith
 1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.  3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. 5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. 20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
 21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. 23By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. 24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. 31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.  Chapter 12: 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Did you see that?  He names practically EVERY Wonderful Christian in the Bible.  He details their GREAT Faith and then tells us that we are "Surrounded By Such a great cloud of witnesses" (Them!!  The "Dead" people...who are really Alive.)

It is within THIS context that Catholics speak with and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
They are not "conjuring dead spirits." They are praising God WITH, praying to God WITH, COMMUNING WITH our ALIVE brothers and sisters in Christ!

Now ALL of that said...

What Did The Apostles Say To Believe?  Didn't the guys who walked with Jesus give us something to believe before we had a Bible to buy?

This is the Apostles Creed...written by all 12 Apostles...this is from the people who wrote the Bible...and is what Catholic also believe....and....what Baptists believe.

1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and life everlasting.
Amen

Well...fiddle...There it is...right in the Bible...  So Catholics believe we never are separated from other Saints...we're all Alive...and coming together to worship Christ at all times...even after death on this earth. 

Also, Catholics will point to Revelation 5:6 where we will read about the elders who actually give prayers to Jesus...just like the Catholics happen to believe...

Revelations 5:6 
John sees  in Heaven "6Then I saw a Lamb, (Jesus) looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the the twenty-four elders (not angels) fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints (Christians)   and they sang a new song: "  You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

Not only did/will those men hand Jesus our Prayers but the Angels will too apparently.  In the book of Revelation, we read that after the bowl full of prayers and incense are placed on the altar: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3-4).

Shewwwww...So, there's THAT topic.  What a doozey!


QUESTION #2: Why Is the Catholic Bible Different?
(Question posed by Tarla on Facebook)

This is usually where I would say "Protestant's Believe"...  But, I'm not quite sure how ignorant I am compared to my Protestant counterparts and/or how well versed my Protestant counterparts are on this subject. So for this Question...I'm just going to type my heart out with what I've discovered.  Here we go...

Please be aware that this particular question seemed ever so innocent to me.  I didn't "think" I would find anything very interesting when I began researching this question.  I do believe that this one...caught me off guard.  In my Protestant mind I always assumed that the Apostles and early Christians worshiped like I do.  It never dawned on me to actually check to see how they worshiped. 
The answers I found are a bit unsettling; to me anyway.  The research is causing me to delve more deeply into why I believe the "things" I do.

Here we go to answer Tarla's Original Question. 

Why is the Catholic Bible Different?

Short answer: 

Both Protestant and Catholic Bibles have the same New Testament...All 27 books are the same.
Catholic Bibles have 7 extra books in the Old Testament...BUT Protestants HAD THOSE SAME BOOKS in The King James Version....and took them out only 240 years ago.

What!?  Oh yes. Truth it be.


These books are called the Apocrypha.  These books were in ALL of our Bibles until....are you ready?... Until the 1700's!   In 1769 publishers decided to take out the Apocrypha.  (Granted...the push came from Puritans, and nobody knew what to do with the books for so many years, so it wasn't a great leap when they were dropped...it wasn't "just to save money" (see below: long version) but I can totally see how saving money played a part in this)

SO...All the people from Jesus' time...through the Bible making, printing, selling, preaching times...for OVER 1 Thousand 7 hundred years...had these books in their Bibles.  What a Hoot!  I'm 39 years old and did NOT know that!

Long Answer: 

For many years I thought that the Catholic Bible was written by man...not the Holy Spirit.  I "thought" they used something called the Catechism as their Bible. (Turns out that the Catechism is their doctrine, like Protestant churches have our own doctrine...statement of faith...rules of the church)

I didn't know that Catholics actually use "The Bible." It turns out that they do read The Bible because their doctrine is based on The Bible...and we're talking...The Same Bible.

Here is the difference between "their" Bible and "ours"...for the past 240 or so years...since 1769.

Both Protestant and Catholic Bibles have the same 27 books in the New Testament.
Catholic Bibles have 7 extra books in the Old Testament.

Why?
Before Jesus' time, around 2200 years ago, Jewish scholars put together all of the Jewish Scriptures. All of the books together in their entirety are called the Septuagint. (What we know as the Old Testament plus more books that we've taken out over time...since Jesus' resurrection.)

Now, here's the dicey part...and the part that shook my protestant psyche to the core...

The books of the Septuagint were placed in the original Authorized King James Version of  The Bible.  I was always taught that we read The King James Version because it doesn't change. Well, that's a fine how do ya do.

Side Note: The oldest translation of the Septuagint "still around" is from the time of Alexander the Great which is from about 350 A.D.

When the New Testament was being compiled with the Old Testament, some of the books of the Septuagint were moved around in The Bibles..some of the books were put in the appendix...sometimes various books of the Old Testament would be put in the beginning of the Bibles as a history about Bible Times.  You just never knew in what order the Bible would be arranged next.
Eventually, over 100's and 100's of years...some of the books of the Bible were named the Apocrypha.   They remained in the Bibles.  Around 241 years ago, various Protestant people decided they didn't want the Apocrypha in their Bibles.  The publishers took notice because they could save money by keeping the Apocrypha out of the Bibles...so they were taken out....with Martin Luther's Blessing....as he began messing with words in the Bible and what-not well before the 1700's. He's the one who added the word "alone" or "apart"....as in faith alone....at one point.  He CHANGED Romans 3:28 and thus, started the debate between that verse and the teachings in the book of James. 


Read more here...

And Read more here....


Side Note:  So, am I to understand that ALL of those 1500 or so years...The Bible was translated by MANY people, Kings and Church Officials...and taught in Church....and NONE of them changed any words...but Martin Luther..."had"...to change a word or two to "make it work."  (I'm getting nauseated...I need someone to help me with this...Anybody?) Now it's back to normal...I think. :o(

When Luther was challenged on any of his views of which Scripture to keep and which ones to take out, Luther said, "Thus I will have it, thus I order it, my will is reason enough."

This is one of the things that caught me off guard...Okay, there I admit it. 

Granted, at the time when Luther was a Practicing Catholic, the Catholic Church in one area of the world was "selling salvation" and claiming that viewing or buying "things" belonging to Biblical Characters of the Bible would save them.  Of course, that's terrible…AND non-Christian people were being killed for going against the Church....that was, of course, even worse. 

The Faithful Practicing Catholics were still practicing the age old religion...some even underground...but the Pope at that time was a "wolf in sheep's clothing."  So Luther had every right to demand that those false teachings be dissolved. (I hope I'm getting this right!)

We all know about the Inquisition...the Medieval practices through history where people were just killing each other left and right.  We know that the "Catholic Church" did this.  I have to interject that in my studies, I see that it wasn't "the Church" so much as it was just humans all over the place who were crazy.  I found, in my historical studies that even good ole Martin Luther was quite the bugger himself. (Yes, our protestant founder...okay, I admit it) He wasn't "selling salvation" but he was calling for people to be put to death for their sins...just like people in the Catholic Church had been! Ack!!

Here are a few snippets...I'm only posting two but there are many.

Side Note: I'm putting this in here to be fair to both Protestants and Catholics.  We all stunk back then...and before this time.  History is riddled with our pathetic human carnage.  That's sin for ya.  We Protestants do like to "poo poo" that period of the Catholic Church for their heresies, but the truth is that both sides had some crazy notions about religion and how to handle those who don't believe like we do, during that time in history. So turnabout is FAIR play. :o)

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Concerning the female sorcerer. . . . Why does the law name women more than men here, even though men are also guilty of this? 

Luther "Because women are more susceptible to those superstitions of Satan; take Eve, for example. They are commonly called "wise women." Let them be killed."(Sermon on Exodus 22:18: "You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live," 1526, WA XVI, p. 551; in Susan C. Karant-Nunn & Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, ibid, p. 231)

Between September 2 and 17, 1540. No. 5207.
In Dessau there was a twelve-year old boy like this: (140) Luther: "he devoured as much as four farmers did, and he did nothing else than eat and excrete. Luther suggested that he be suffocated."
Somebody asked, “For what reason?”
Luther replied, “Because I think he's simply a mass of flesh without a soul. Couldn’t the devil have done this, inasmuch as he gives such shape to the body and mind even of those who have reason that in their obsession they hear, see, and feel nothing?“The devil is himself their soul."
-----------------------------
 
Side Note: So, there were some crazy things happening in the church at that time, though I found it interesting that during that time there was NO "new" Dogma written or declared in the Catholic Church....but in my denomination...Luther changed the age old teachings after he started his own church....I think....

Can Anyone...give me your particular take on this, please.
Can someone, tell me when/where the Protestant religious teachings were taught...BEFORE Luther...in what Churches? I'm having a hard time finding "my" church history pre-Luther in historical records. I can only find "catholic" like service examples.


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So, after ALL THAT MESS....

Eventually, in the protestant religions, the Apocrypha books were deemed NOT to have been divinely inspired and were taken out of the King James Version altogether.....only 241 years ago. (that made life easier I suppose...all of the sudden...someone decided they were not inspired...so there's that to chew on...my head hurts)

I had NEVER been taught about this...NOR did I ask about Biblical History so there's that situation.  I have to take some fault upon myself for this as I am an adult and fully capable of truly, openly and honestly studying the history for myself...(but I digress)

Here is another source if anyone cares to delve into this more deeply.

So, the point is....Our Bibles used to be the same.  The Old Testament is different....now.

QUESTION #3: WHY NOT EASTERN ORTHODOX?

(Question Posed by Emily K: What I want to know is why Catholic, and not Easter Orthodox. I'd like to compare both of those, since they both lean heavily on the church fathers.)

Hi Emily!

From Crossing The Tiber:    "There is no central leadership to tie the various jurisdictions into one coherent whole. Thus the Eastern Orthodoxy "Church" is actually "Churches." Each jurisdiction is headed by a patriarch, but there is no single, overall hierarchical structure as in the Catholic Church. The Orthodox have always depended upon the SECULAR ruler, the emperor, to call the various Orthodox churches together for ecumenical councils. Since there is no emperor representing all the Orthodox churches, they have been unable to come together as a unified whole for more than one thousand year. They hold to the same ancient traditions as Catholics but have no mechanism for unification into one cohesive whole to this day. Therefore, they are in actuality churches, in the plural."

This is a paraphrased quote from a Catholic message board where I received this answer.

"The Catholic Church is composed of 22 distinct (but not seperated) Churches. The largest is, of course, the Roman Catholic Church. But there are several others such as, Byzantine Catholic and The Chaldean Church.... Most of the Christians in Iraq are actually Catholics of the Chaldean Church. There are Eastern Orthodox Churches within the 22 Churches. What is really neat about the Chaldean Church is that their liturgy is still in Aramaic, which was the language that Jesus spoke as His 'native' language.  Each of those liturgies (sermons) is very distict from the regular Catholic liturgy, but has many of the same elements. Readings from Scripture, a homily (sermon), and a celebration of the Eucharist (Communion) And all are equally 'Catholic.'"
Strangely enough...the Eastern Orthodox Catholics that are "once removed" from The Catholic Church are actually in negotiations to become part of The Catholic Church again...so...it's all good any way you slice it.

QUESTION #4: WHAT IS DOGMA?...

Original Question: (prefers to remain anonymous) "Do Catholics have to believe every single answer in the Catechism?"

As with any religion, there is a community of people that make up the body.  Can we find a religion where every member believes all of the teachings in the exact same way?  In a cult, maybe, in a recognized religion...it's highly unlikely.

When I heard the word Dogma I thought it meant "Catechism."  I "thought" that every Catholic HAD to believe every single answer in that book.  I "thought" that the Catechism WAS "their" Bible.  I "thought" wrong.
 
In my defense, there was a long period of time when many Catholic Churches basically were headed by a Priest who didn't "push" the idea of reading the Bible.  Many Catholics studied what the Church taught and never opened a Bible...some didn't even own one!  This is not true of every Catholic person but in the past 30 years or so, there have been many Catholics who will attest that they didn't have the best "Sunday School."  They feel that they are just now, as adults, really understanding their faith as it "should" have been presented. So, I came by this "misunderstanding" honestly.

The word Dogma is usually thought to mean just "the teachings of a church."  Dogma can relate to any church really...their "Statement of Beliefs" is considered to be their "dogma."

In the Catholic Church, however, there is "Dogma" (teachings) that will NEVER change.  There are indeed teachings that may be understood better, or answered in a more understandable way as time goes by; as the Catechism is less about beating people over the head with what they "have" to believe and more about answering questions that have been posed to the Deacons over these thousands of years.  However, when the word Dogma is used in Catholicism, I'm finding that this is usually the word that defines the Teachings that are Unchangeable...

THE "you have to believe it, it's what Catholicism stands for"...DOGMA of the Catholic Church...
So, what is DOGMA in the Catholic Church?  What does a Catholic "Have" to believe?

Answer: THE NICENE CREED

THE NICENE CREED....What is THAT???

Well, this, my protestant friends is the big question.  This is "what Catholics have to believe to be Catholic."


The word "Catholic" means "Universal"...that's important later one... Here we go...

"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and 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; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic,(universal) and apostolic (taught from Jesus' Apostles) Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.(Confirmation Baptism...the one where we are older and choose it..it also involves asking for forgiveness from Jesus) We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."

The "Catholic" and "Baptism" parts are taken from here..."There is one body and one spirit," Paul wrote, "just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all" (Eph.4:4-5).

They believe that the Holy Spirit came down upon the Church at Pentecost at a time when "there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5). It was then that the Holy Spirit temporarily enabled the apostles to speak in the languages of all these various nations.  This was an absolutely powerful sign that the Church was destined for all men everywhere, (universal).  Many people accepted the faith at that time and began the teachings of the Church.  They carried those teachings back to their land(s).

QUESTION #5: What is Purgatory?  The actual question was..."How can they possibly think there is such a place as purgatory?!" LOL

The history of Purgatory dates back before Jesus was here on earth. Click Here for the History.  Basically Catholics believe that when a person dies, they will have the true knowledge that "God Is a Consuming Fire" Hebrews 12:29.  It is at that time that the soul will go through Judgment day... immediately.

Catholics believe that the person/soul will find out where they are going right then.  They either go to Heaven "in the Fire of God's Love", Hell "in the Fire of God's punishment" or "walk through fire"...(Purgatory)...to be purified by the Fire of Gods purgation....before they enter Heaven. Read a LOT more HERE

Purgatory is a completely foreign concept to Protestants. I can safely say that most protestants have never read the writings of the Early Church leaders...(the leaders of the Churches right after Christ's resurrection)…apart from the King James Version we know today.  That's true for me anyway. I didn’t even know there were records about how churches were run and what-not.

The idea that it was "common knowledge" that there could be a "walk of fire" has never been presented to most Protestants.  This is why we cannot understand how we would "Need" a "Walk of Fire" if Jesus has saved us and forgiven us from our sins.

Here’s The "Rub": there is often talk among Protestants about what happens if we are about to have a car wreck or if our heart suddenly stops beating and we don't have time to pray for forgiveness....knowing that we all sin every day.   We all "assume" that we are forgiven because of Jesus' Precious Grace....however....we do have this nagging knowledge that "NO" sin will enter into Heaven.  (ack!)

This is the place that ties that little psychological dance into a nice bow for me.  I understand the "need" for “a walk of fire” in "that" circumstance....though I still believe Jesus blood covers every sin...but we still pray for forgiveness every day...so...you can see the circle of never-ending thought there.

Side Note: I "think" that the big issue with Purgatory is that many Protestants "think" Catholics are trying to "pray people out of Hell."  We don't think of Purgatory at all so to us, it's hell...not a walk of fire.  We also "think" that Catholics assume they will automatically get to go to either Heaven or Purgatory just because they are Catholic.  We "think" that Catholics believe they are safe from hell right after their infant baptism.  Which, my protestant friends, is NOT the case. :o) So, you know...we can stop thinking that now. LOL

QUESTION #6: ORTHODOX AND ANGLICANISM
(Question posed by "X" in the blog comments)

Are you learning about Orthodox Catholicism?

I'm not really asking much about Orthodox (Eastern) Catholicism for two reasons...my friends are Roman Catholic so that is where my journey for understanding began. I did, however, take a look at the Eastern theology in my quest. I followed the schism that took place over the years with Orthodox and Roman Catholicism.  It "looks" to me that they basically worshiped very much the same way for 1000 years...there were "small" differences, as there are with any religion due to different people in different church buildings having their own social dynamics...but for the most part they worshiped alike. The basic teachings "look" like they are the same to me. The "meat and potatoes" of each seem to be, at their heart, the same as far as the "serving Christ and getting to Heaven" parts. The "thing" that set the two apart, in my mind, was the teaching of "filoque."(and something about unleavened bread)

I have always believed that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one, and not separate. It is my understanding that, in order to bring this point "home," the Roman Church inserted the term "filioque" into the heart of their beliefs...the Nicene Creed.

Traditionally, the Holy Spirit was seen to proceed from God the Father; the insertion of the "filioque" clause meant that, in the West, the Holy Spirit was believed to proceed from God the Father and God the Son. The Catholic Church in the East felt that Rome had overstepped its authority by altering the Creed so they decided not to follow that Pope anymore. (source)

I happen to believe that The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one, yet separate, and since the division, to me, amounts to saying Potato/PotAto...the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son or Comes from the Son or Comes from the father...they are all the same to me...though God is the Father...at any rate....that ended the bunny trail for me on the Orthodox Church.

To sum up:

Though there were small differences in Roman and Eastern Catholic churches, they all were united until the Nicene creed changed. Basically; the division came about because of the insertion that emphasizes that Jesus, the Son, is of equal divinity with God, the Father, while the absence of it in Eastern Christianity concentrates on the Father.

"There is one body and one spirit," Paul wrote, "just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all" (Eph.4:4-5).

"One Lord" to me is The Father, Son and Holy Spirit combined. If we take away any one of them we don't have God...so...that's my thought process for the questioner.

QUESTION #7: DID PEOPLE CONFESS THEIR SINS TO PRIESTS "RIGHT" AFTER JESUS ASCENSION?

Yes indeedy....though the practice of public confession was practiced quite a lot in some regions.  Public...as in...stand in the middle of town and tell EVERYONE your sins...for a long time...until the Priests told them they were "done" and allowed them to take communion again! ACK!!

Thank goodness most churches decided to nix that ridiculousness and made confession of sins a more private thing as time went on!  Here are a few excerpts from various sources regarding what the authors witnessed being practiced by Christians in various places just after Jesus Resurrection.

Examples of early worship in the years Before the Bible was compiled into a book. 

What the Catechism says about confession. 

The short version:  People used to confess to a priest and pray to Jesus for forgiveness...just as they do today.  Also, Catholics believe that "Penance" is to help people reunify themselves with their Christian Family (peers) in church.  Penance is not the "thing" that saves the person.  Jesus saves the person.

John 20
19On 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!" 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.  21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Here is more stuff on Confession

Here is more stuff on Saints


Now that I've done some research I have questions. 
Can anyone...on either side of the "others" isle... help me out with some answers? 
Thanks! :o)


1. Who created the "Final" version of the Bible?
2. Where in the Bible does it say that "they" were appointed the power to make the final version?
3. What did people use in the Hundreds of years before the Bible was compiled? They got to hear the Apostles preach and worship like the apostles. Right?
4. If the literacy rate was under 10%, and there were no compiled Bibles for hundreds of years after Jesus' death, how did people learn about Jesus in those hundreds of years?

 Bible? No, it wasn't written in fully or compiled yet.

 Oral Tradition handed down from generation to generation? Yes.

 Right?

6. If there was no New Testament or compiled Bible to read...for over 400 years...and none that could be bought until the year 1455….how could "Bible Only" have been the basis for early Christians?  Didn't they "have" to rely on Oral Tradition, just as the Jews did for all those thousands of years before Jesus was born?

7. When did "Bible Only" theology take affect? 

My head...is spinning...Anyone have some Protestant answers?  
I feel like I should know the answers to these things by now!

Okay, I'm ready for comments.  


I'm absolutely positive that I have messed up somewhere! :o)

Please give me the Protestant answers to my questions and some more Protestant history before Luther...I would especially like to see where the Apostles prayed at the altar for forgiveness, talked about Bible Only and precisely when Bible Only took affect.

Any history or Bible passages to back all that up would be great! :o)  I'm all ears for any respectful dialogue, thoughts and comments! :o)

Thanks so much! This is fun!!

-----------------

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 SAINTS?

UPDATE: POST #5: THE WHOLE RELIGION THING

34 comments:

Kristina said...

Whew! You have a lot of information there. Something you didn't mention, that my brother-in-law, a Roman Catholic scholar, told me is that another reason for the split with the Eastern Orthodox Church is because they believe that Mary had other children after Jesus. Since that is also what my Protestant upbringing taught me, I was a bit confused. I never knew that other religions believed that Mary was a virgin until death.

The MWB said...

Thanks Kristina, :o)

I'm on it! I'm writing it down for the next blog session.

This post took some time to put together...unlike the other ones. But it's fun to figure out how history, Bible and each religion ends up being molded to "make" doctrine. I can't believe I never asked these questions before.

debbie said...

Wow Shelly, you are amazing. I have a DVD Called "Where did the Bible come from" if you are ever interested in borrowing. It is good and has a lot of historical info.

The MWB said...

Hi Debbie,

Is this it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nthLboMozm0

The MWB said...

My friend Stacy gave me this tidbit about Eastern Rite...


Shelly "Eastern Rite" vs "Orthodox"

The Chaldeans (Iraqi Catholics) are Eastern rite Catholics and under the Vatican. Unlike the Russian Orthodox or Greek Orthodox, etc., who are in negotiations with the Vatican to reunite, Eastern Rite Catholics (all 22 sects) are with the Latin (Roman) Catholics right now. There are "Eastern Rite" Catholics (under the Vatican) and Orthodox Catholics (not under the Vatican).
Hope that helps
Stacie

Debbie said...

Shelly, yes it is. Wow, did not realize that EVERYTHING is on you tube. Well that makes it easy, doesn't it! Good find!

The MWB said...

Debbie,

I watched the full 6 episodes last night...and took notes! LOL I didn't have time to watch the "interpreting" part...maybe tonight!

Thank you for that! :o)
Shelly

Bettina said...

WOW! That was hugely informative! Thanks a lot Shelly! Being Mormon, I actually didn’t know all those differences between Catholics and Protestants. It’s really great to have such open, yet not argumentative discussion. I feel much more educated now! Keep it up.

DP said...

Dear Annie:

A rebuttal, if I may. Apologies for the length, but you raised many points.

1. "Not one of them is in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament."

Not true. The copies as they currently exist in the Canon were all in Greek, to be sure, but we have since found copies of Sirach in Hebrew (the Dead Sea Scrolls).

More to the point, even the OT accepted by non-Catholics as inspired has one book partially written in Aramaic (Daniel).

Also, when the New Testament quotes the Old, more often than not it quotes the Greek Septuagint version.

"2. Not one of the writers lays any claim to inspiration."

I'm not sure what to make of this argument, inasmuch as most writers in the Bible do not, and many, many other writings outside of the Bible do, e.g., the Koran. God decides what's inspired, not the writer.

"3. These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish Church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord."

There is no evidence the Jews had a canon of scripture before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. In fact, it is clear that the Jews themselves were split, with the Saducees acknowledging only the five books of Moses as biblical, to the disgust of the Pharisees. That's why Jesus when Jesus argued with the Saducees about the Resurrection, he quoted only from the Torah. Not that He was endorsing their canon, of course. Jesus promised--and sent-- us the Holy Spirit to determine things like the canon of scripture. After the Incarnation, the Jewish authorities had no power to determine the canon for Christians.

Also, it is clear from the rabbinical writings that the Jewish writers remained torn about the inclusion/exclusion of certain books, e.g., being suspicious of Esther and liking Sirach.

"4. They were not allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian Church."

Not true. Yes, certain Fathers like Jerome were not especially fond of the books (which he couldn't use to argue against Jewish debaters, for example), but he translated them anyway and never denied that they weren't scriptural. One of the OT books quoted most by Augustine was Sirach.

DP said...

Continued--sorry for the length!

"5. They contain fabulous statements, and statements which contradict not only the canonical Scriptures, but themselves; as when, in the two Books of Maccabees, Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in as many different places."

This is the same argument used by skeptics against the entire Bible, Old and New Testament, the "gotcha!" game. That there are *apparent* contradictions between –or even within--different books doesn’t mean there isn’t an explanation. I’ve heard the same type of arguments leveled against Paul’s encounter with Christ in Acts, for example.

“6. It inculcates doctrines at variance with the Bible, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection.”

There’s a bit of question-begging in that formulation, inasmuch if I define the Bible as excluding certain books, then of course I can call doctrines outside of that shortened bible “at variance.” More to the point, it’s wrong: there’s a prayer for the dead in the New Testament:
16The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.
2 Tim. 1:16-18 (KJV).

“7. It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassination and magical incantation.”

This is the Gotcha! Game again. It depicts the practices without necessarily giving them divine sanction, in the same way Samuel depicts David’s polygamy without indicating God approves, or Jael murdering the helpless Sisera with a tent-peg (an assassination much like that in Judith). I mean, God used astrology—astrology!—to lead the wise men to Jesus. He wrings the good out of His fallen human servants however it may catch us unawares. But it doesn’t mean He’s establishing a pattern, e.g. He does not want us to check our horoscopes.

“If having the Apocrypha between the Testaments disqualifies it as authoritative, then the corrupt Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts from Alexandria, Egypt must be totally worthless since their authors obviously didn't have the conviction of the King James translators and incorporated its books into the text of the Old Testament thus giving it authority with Scripture.”

Again, this is question-begging, and a peculiarly KJV-purist argument at that. It presumes the Textus Receptus/KJV is uniquely pure (despite the irony that it began as the work of the Dutch Catholic Erasmus) and that the other Codices are “corrupt.” The burden of proof is on the KJV partisan. The fact remains that the original KJV contained the books of the Catholic deuterocanon, and these “apocryphal” books were—and still are—used in the prayers of the Anglican Church.

... said...

Wow, I commend you on starting a dialogue based on a true search for understanding and real communication!

I am a Roman Catholic from birth, and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

As far as "Bible alone" theology, I am not sure how that started. However it begs many seemingly unanswerable (to Protestants) questions:

1. What about the 1500 years that the common person didn't have a Bible to go by?

2. There are certain things that simply are not in the Bible, that are only passed on orally, but that you need to know. For example, there are no descriptions of Jewish ceremonies that were essential to "perform the correct way" in the Old Testament, yet somehow people knew. If they were to believe in the Bible alone, I guess they would have been out of luck!

3. A list of books that belong in the Bible, as inspired by God, is not contained in the Bible, thus necessarily contradicting the "Bible alone" belief!

4. Protestantism - even the word means "to protest". Martin Luther may have been the first to protest and start his own religion, but now you have people doing that left and right - disagreeing with their church and starting their own. There are currently thousands of branches of Christianity, all disagreeing over every little detail of faith, history, and scripture. Who to believe? The "Bible alone" basis cannot possibly hold up because we have thousands of different versions of what that means!

5. For me, it's pretty much simple that Jesus did not leave behind a book, but he did leave behind a Church, which was so important that God promised that even the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. The Bible says that "all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training ...", but this verse in no way states that our faith is "Bible only". However, the Bible itself says that the Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15)!

It sounds like you are at a place where many Protestant to Catholic converts arrived before you - in searching the writings of the founding fathers and recreating first century fellowship and church services, they discovered that the Catholic church has kept the teaching in line for 2000 years straight, and they convert. Whether you wish to convert or not, I would encourage you to read a wonderful book that will enhance your understanding and at least allow you to more fully appreciate your friends' faith: "Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic". . . .

... said...

. . . . . Again, if you have questions, I would be happy to converse with you! I have some that I have always wanted to ask of a Protestant, but have never been able to find someone who didn't simply get angry and want to end our conversation first! If you, or any readers, can answer these questions of MINE, in a kind way, please do!:

1. I don't understand why Protestants believe that you can confess Jesus as Savior once and you cannot go to hell after that, regardless of what you do. I know that Bible says that confessing Jesus as Savior will save us, and I wholeheartedly agree, but the New Testament is completely filled with Jesus saying that when you get to Heaven, your deeds on Earth may make Jesus turn His head and deny knowing you! (If you need quotes, I can give you quite a list!) I just truly don't understand this.

2. Again, in the case of believing the "Bible alone", what do Protestants think people did for the first 1500 years of Christianity without a Bible? And what about all of the referenced in the Bible to the writers passing on more info "by word of mouth", or referring to important teachings that have been passed on "by word of mouth"?

3. Why are you so scared of Mary? Because you're scared of sounding Catholic, who you think "worship" Mary? A friend of mine shared something beautiful with me about Mary - the ark of the covenant, which held inside of it something sacred, was considered itself so sacred for what it contained that if someone were to look at it they would perish. So what then, of the woman who contained the Son of God? At the very least, she must be considered worthy of honor for what she contained within her. For many Catholics, myself included for sure, she is the ultimate model of subservience to God. When told of the pregnancy, she said yes! to God, though her situation could have gotten her stoned to death! When asked for help at the wedding at Cana, she pointed seekers TO HER SON FOR THE ANSWER. Why just totally leave her out of the picture of your faith entirely?

I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones that come to mind. Please know that while I am a very faithful Catholic, I ask these questions from my heart and from a true desire of understanding others' beliefs! Thanks!

The MWB said...

Hi there "..." :o) You didn't leave your name, so I have to use the dots in your signature. LOL

I think I've talked about these in my first post. Here's the link...

http://www.icantbelievemylife.com/2009/01/evangelical-me-and-my-catholic-friends.html

Okay to answer your questions! :o)


1. You stated: "I don't understand why Protestants believe that you can confess Jesus as Savior once and you cannot go to hell after that, regardless of what you do."

ANSWER: We don't. That is a HUGE misconception about Protestants. There is a sect of the Baptist Church that believe this, however MOST Protestants do NOT believe this AT ALL. We are constantly praying and asking Jesus to forgive our sins. We pray all the time. We are told to be in a constant state of prayer and faith believing. We are also told to pick up or cross daily....meaning...live our lives for Christ. Basically, we believe He saves us when we pray to Him for forgiveness...sort of like the day Catholics take their first communion and have their first confession...that would be the "day" we would say we were "saved" however, we KNOW that we have to always ask for forgiveness and TRY to live the best that we can to do the work Jesus had planned for our lives. We DON'T believe we can go and be huge sinners and get to Heaven just because we prayed one time. That's crazy talk to us. :o)

2. You stateD: "In the case of believing the "Bible alone", what do Protestants think people did for the first 1500 years of Christianity without a Bible?"

ANSWER: There are a few "schools of thought" on this subject. A. Many protestants never even consider this. They have no clue that this one the case so it's a non-issue. B. SOME believe that the Catholic church "hid" the Bible for those years and God protected the "real" church as a "remnant" that practiced His teachings in private and later became the Baptist Church. C. Others believe that we were taught from the Bible from leaders, then when we could buy them, we did and that their religion is okay because "anyone who believes in Christ will go to Heaven"

All of those have flaws. This is where I have hit a stumbling block in my "Protestant" beliefs. Though I do believe that Christ will accept those who are fervently trying to live for Him and seeking His face....I am starting to really understand the Communion(Eucharist) as something Christ meant to happen as a "true practice of our faith" (Sacrament) So, that's why I'm starting to lean toward Catholicism.

more below....

The MWB said...

3. "Why are you so scared of Mary? Because you're scared of sounding Catholic, who you think "worship" Mary?"

We are very concerned that people begin to take their eyes off of having a Relationship with Christ when we begin honoring the vessel that carried Him. Basically, Protestants understand that she was His earthly mother, but we wouldn't dream of talking to her because we don't "talk" to anyone other than Jesus. We believe that giving Mary honor in our daily lives or asking Her to talk with Jesus for us is actually hindering OUR relationship with Christ. We believe this because the time we spend talking with Mary could be time we build our relationship with Jesus. We actually think we would be offending Jesus by asking Her to go to Him for us becuase He's the one who died for us, so we believe His love for us FAR supersedes any love She could have for us.

All of that said....though we think she was wonderful....we would never think that she can hear us down here. We are not brought up to believe that people in Heaven can hear us at all. We believe we will see each other in Heaven again, but we are all worshiping together....without actually "being" together until we meet again in Heaven.

Cutting to the chase: We don't put anyone between us and Christ because we are to have a full, committed relationship with HIM. Anyone who would come between that relationship is a hindrance to our time with Christ.

HOWEVER....The Bible says that the prayers of the Righteous avails much...so I understand that Saints in Heaven could help us reach the Throne of God. In THAT relationship, I understand talking with Mary....HOWEVER...There are many Catholics who actually ask Saints to do Supernatural things...like find them a house, keep them safe...etc. That is not what the Church teaches...if I'm reading the Catechism correctly. When we take our eyes off of Christ and begin asking other Saints to "do" things for us...we have then replaced our Jesus with His creations and THAT'S not okay.

Thank you for your questions!! What are your thoughts? :o)

... said...

Hi, Shelly! Thanks for your thoughtful answers! Oh, I have no idea why it put my name as "...". Ha ha! My name is Tanya, in case it does it again.

The explanation of what people did before the Bible was widely available - wow, I have to be honest and say that the options are kind of disturbing. But that's just me. One thing I do have to say though, is that the printing press was invented in 1843. 1800+ years after Jesus died! So the issue seems to truly be one of access, not of whether or not the few copies available were hidden from the masses. You may know, however, that the rosary meditations and the stained glass depictions from Jesus' life and the stations of the cross are all ways for those who couldn't read (which was also a very real issue when some Bibles *were* available) to learn about the life of Jesus.

Your answer regarding Mary was very helpful and definitely the most understandable answer I have ever heard. Understanding that it doesn't make sense to talk to someone not here on Earth (except God/Jesus) to Protestants really, really helps to understand the whole issue. I didn't really mean *talking" to Mary, though (but I am so glad to finally understand that as well). I just meant that in Protestant churches I have been to (Baptist for a while with someone I was dating at the time, and Pentacostal), Mary is *never* mentioned, even in the context of Christmastime. Other people are mentioned - there are studies of Moses, Job, Paul, but I have never even heard Mary mentioned, and it has been suggested that Protestants are scared to mention her, for fear of sounding like Catholics. I just wonder if you study Job's response to adversity, for example, why not study Mary's willingness to accept God's will in her life? Also, what do you make of Jesus on the cross saying, "here is your mother", and "here is your son"? Why even mention it in the Bible if it is insignificant? What about the queen of Heaven mentioned in Revelations? Mary seems to have a role besides birthing Jesus. If honoring your mother & father is important enough to be one of only ten commandments, how do you think Jesus felt about his own mother? And then think of that in relation to him saying "here is your mother".

Again, typing doesn't convey tone and can be easy to misunderstand. I seek to understand others' ways of thinking about these things. I am not trying to convince you of my thinking or judge others. I have wondered what Protestants think of these issues for years! Thank you so much for your thoughtful posts & answers to comments!

The MWB said...

Hi Tanya, :o)

You aren't offending me at all. I have actually posted much about how Protestants "think" in my earlier Catholic/Protestant posts. If you click on the words in my post that say, "post one" "Post two" etc...you will find out more than you ever thought you wanted to know about Protestants thinking. :o)

Now to answer your questions.

QUESTION: It has been suggested that Protestants are scared to mention her,(Mary) for fear of sounding like Catholics.

ANSWER: I have heard a sermon or two about Mary in a Protestant church. They usually deal with her immediate obedience and unwavering faith through her life. I could see that some churches "may" steer clear of her to try not to "sound" Catholic, but I have never heard that concern voiced.


QUESTION: I just wonder if you study Job's response to adversity, for example, why not study Mary's willingness to accept God's will in her life?

ANSWER: Mary's willingness to accept God's will is looked upon much the same way as Job and talked about as such in the churches I attended.

QUESTION: What do you make of Jesus on the cross saying, "here is your mother", and "here is your son"? Why even mention it in the Bible if it is insignificant?

ANSWER: Protestants believe that Jesus was making sure she was going to be taken care of after He left earth.

However: I have to wonder why Jesus would ask someone who is not His "brother" to take care of Mary....IF...she had other children as most Protestants happen to believe. I was always taught that Mary had other children...but didn't know that "brother and sister" could mean Aunt, Uncle, Cousin... So IF she had other children...Why allow someone else to care for her other than a natural brother of Christ. Hmmm... There's another pickle my Protestant mind has to navigate. :o)


QUESTION: What about the queen of Heaven mentioned in Revelations? Mary seems to have a role besides birthing Jesus.

ANSWER: Agreed. But does that mean we HAVE to talk with her to get to Heaven? Wouldn't she be happy that we are serving her son. Would she NEED us to talk with her and honor her?

QUESTION: If honoring your mother & father is important enough to be one of only ten commandments, how do you think Jesus felt about his own mother? And then think of that in relation to him saying "here is your mother".

ANSWER: I actually go in depth into my thoughts about this in my other posts. He was our Brother "in Christ" and He is our God. How much more would he want us to honor our Mother In Christ?


Your questions are great. They are just the things I've been traversing during my study of Catholicism and the answers are leading our family to the Catholic Church...however....we are still asking, waiting and watching for what God wants for us. It's an interesting process to say the least. VERY big decision.

... said...

Thanks again, Shelly! I've now read all of your posts - thanks for pointing them out to me (doh!). =)

I honestly never knew that I could just appreciate "the other" point of view for what it is, and I can now that I actually understand it. I bet that your posts will be a blessing to many people. We may or may not ever "all be one" as God so fervently wishes, but if we at least appreciate each other and stop bashing and ridiculing each other, that will be something.

Having been raised a Roman Catholic from birth, and coming from many generations of Catholics, I still think I have way less to do with Mary than many Catholics. And that's OK. There's no Catholic requirement regarding Mary - ;) One way I do see her, though, is this: after taking courses in college on Western Civ history (which turned out to basically be church history), as well as studying world and historical beliefs, it seems that pre-Christian religions always had a male AND a female God, or aspect of God. Maybe - and I'm delving into a bit of anthropology here - we have an inner need for a father and mother that drives us so that we have always created myths with both. Suddenly a very patriarchal religion enters history, and perhaps Mary fills a "motherly" need we have. I know as a psychologist, that many people who grew up without a father or with a harsh father, have trouble having an intimate relationship with what we in Christianity always portrayed as a male God. Should they turn to Mary instead? No!!! But I do believe that when Jesus said on the cross, "here is your mother," that he meant it for all of us, and that is how I see Mary. As a spiritual mother who can help me in my walk with her Son. Who can help me be obedient as she.

Whatever you decide, wherever God leads you and your family, I will pray that your faith be strong and God brings you where He wants you to be.

God bless you!
Tanya

marion326 said...

It amazes me how Protestants do not know anything about their history.
The reformation happened and books of the bible were removed. There are many words in the bible, which have no english translation, such as cousin therefor everyone is called brother. thus the reason that other religions believe that Mary bore other children. To us she was conceived without sin in preparation to live a life without sin to give birth to our Lord Jesus Christ. We honor Mary for without her there would be no Jesus.
The missing books of the bible are locked away in Africa. 20/20 or dateline did a special on this a few years back. they interviewed the Monks who are in charge of keeping it under lock and key.

camptaylor said...

I am reading your blog for the first tim and am really enjoying the content. I also homeschool my kids and love to have theology talks at the park with my Protestant friends. I am an Orthodox Christian, and I am a little dismayed at the utter lack of knowledge regarding Orthodox Christianity. The Orthodox do NOT believe Mary had other children. Orthodox do NOT consider themselves many churches, but One Church. We may look "divided" but this is only administrative. All Orthodox Churches in the world, worship and believe in exactly the same way. We are in communion with one another.
Also we are not trying to "get back into the Catholic Church"! We believe that all bishop are equals, and that the Roman Bishop was never intended to rule over the others, but was a first among equals. In Acts, you can see that St. James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem, was heading up this Apostolic Council and that he, not Peter, issued the final decision.

It does get a little hard being the odd man out on the Catholic- Protestant debate.
We aren't Protestants with sacraments.
We aren't foreign Catholic-wannabe's.
We have a rich history and a lot to bring to the "American Christian" table.
Here is a great place for more info:
www.ancientfaithradio.com

I'll get off my soapbox now... :)

The MWB said...

Hi Camptaylor,

As you may know, I am currently Swimming the Tiber. I understand your frustration. I hope I can address each issue. Please know that I'm not trying to convert you or bash your religion. I can only tell you why I'm not choosing Orthodox Christianity. These are "just" my thoughts as I study and go along my personal journey.

I'll try to address your concerns in order. :o)

Concern #1: The Orthodox do NOT believe Mary had other children.

Answer: I believe that was a commenter who made that assertion. I don't have any input on that subject.

Concern #2: Orthodox do NOT consider themselves many churches, but One Church. We may look "divided" but this is only administrative. All Orthodox Churches in the world, worship and believe in exactly the same way.

Answer: I cannot become an Orthodox Christian because the Orthodox have always depended upon the SECULAR ruler (the emperor) to call the various Orthodox churches together for ecumenical councils. Since there is no emperor representing all the Orthodox churches, they have been unable to come together as a unified whole for more than one thousand years! That's a LONG time. They hold to the SAME ancient traditions as Catholics but have no mechanism for unification into one cohesive whole to this day. Therefore, they are in actuality churches, in the plural. Without true unity, there is no union. They hold themselves to be united in much the same way as Protestants hold themselves to be united. As a former Protestant, I can't stomach that "general oneness" belief anymore.

more in next comment...

The MWB said...

...continued...

Concern #3: Orthodox Churches are not trying to "get back into the Catholic Church"!

Answer: I may have gotten bad information on that one.

Concern #4: We believe that all bishops are equals, and that the Roman Bishop was never intended to rule over the others, but was a first among equals. In Acts, you can see that St. James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem, was heading up this Apostolic Council and that he, not Peter, issued the final decision.

Answer: Actually you will see in Acts 15:7-11 that Peter is the ONE who spoke to the leaders of the council in order to give them the information they need to pass on. Only AFTER hearing Peter state the following did James go and pass this information to the people. Only THEN was he able to PASS ON the Apostolic Decree.

Acts 15:7-11 (New International Version)

7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."

In Addition: In the Bible, Peter is mentioned no less than 195 times in the New Testaments, while all the other apostles combined are mentioned less frequently. Also, Peter is Always mentioned first among the apostles and Judas is always mentioned last. In Matthew 10:2-4 we see that Peter is mentioned as the first. (Protos: means first and foremost) He is always mentioned as Protos even though in John's Gospel we learn that Andrew is the first apostle to have faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Peter is blatantly laid out in the Bible as First and Foremost.


Concern #5: We aren't Protestants with sacraments. We aren't foreign Catholic-wannabe's. We have a rich history and a lot to bring to the "American Christian" table.

Answer: Though I am American, I am of French/Cherokee lineage and my husband is Italian. Please know that this isn't an "American" decision. This is a spiritual decision in God's world. I'm studying the History of the Bible, not American history.

I do understand your frustration. I was protestant all my life. I was so very tied to my Protestant beliefs. I wanted them to make sense, but I have to assert that after picking up a history book (ie: studying the history of Jesus' life and the years following and weighing it with the Bible) I can no longer "dutifully" hold to my beautiful and loving religion. I have to come home to The Church Jesus ordained through Peter and Breathed into His apostles.

I hope that my answers helps you better understand my journey. I am not trying to offend you. I'm basically just trying to log our journey into our family blog. I have to be honest with my mental flow and thought processes so that our children will understand them when they read these books in the future.

Thank you for reading my blog. I do appreciate your input.

camptaylor said...

Thanks for your response. I wasn't at all offended, and I hope you weren't either. I really enjoy a frank an open discussion. :)
Some of my comments were based on other posters and some on my personal experience. There is a lot of misunderstanding out there about the Orthodox.
About emperors calling councils.... No where in the Church's teaching does it EVER say that we are ruled by a secular authority. The Orthodox are currently preparing for another council, and no secular authority is calling it. Rulers may have been involved, but they are not controlling the church.

camptaylor said...

about unity.....
The Orthodox do not have a "general oneness" type theology. We share the same faith, belief, and the same communion. I can walk into any Orthodox Church in the world, and know that they believe exactly as I do and that I can receive Holy Communion in their parish. This cannot be said for the Protestants! Here is a great short article on the Orthodox idea of unity by a notable Orthodox author:
www.frederica.com/writings/orthodox-catholic-unity.html
So why do Orthodox have "different" national Churches? Because the Gospel can be best transmitted by people of the same language and culture... that's all.

camptaylor said...

About the council in Acts:
Wait a second! If you read the next verse (12) it says that Paul and Barnabas next gave testimony that backed up what Peter said... THEN did James stand and give his, "I judge", decision. So I think what you really see is three apostles giving testimony, followed by the local bishop giving the decision based on the fact that a consensus was met at the council. Then you get the "Amen" of the people in verse 22. This is exactly how the Orthodox work.
BTW, Orthodox had no problem with the Bishop of Rome being first among equals. But we believe he did not have the authority to change the creed or to alone declare dogma. This must be done in council. If the Catholics have always believe that the Pope has this authority, then why were there the seven ancient councils anyway?

camptaylor said...

the "American Christian" table...
I completely agree that it is a spiritual problem and not an American one. What I was speaking to was the fact that the Orthodox have almost no voice in this country. I think Orthodoxy has such a unique opinion about a great many things, that it would enrich the Christian to Christian or Christian to world conversations.

Thanks again for your response. While I love these discussions, I now that since they are topics which are so dear to our inner most being, it is easy to offend someone. So please forgive me if anything came off too harsh. Really enjoy your blog and your frank discussions.

The MWB said...

Hi Camptaylor,

If you read The Orthodox Ecumenical Guidelines you will see in the very first guideline that Orthodox Churches "used to be" in unanimity. You'll see the quote about unanimity and see how it was talked about in a rejoicing manner "during the age of Ecumenical Councils."

However, Since the split there cannot be a full convening. The first guideline also acknowledges the fractures of the Orthodox churches. It basically agonized over the fact that Orthodoxy cannot be united in oneness now.

Here is the full text of the Orthodox Churches.

http://www.scoba.us/assets/files/guide_for_orthodox.pdf


They still spell out beautiful guidelines after that first paragraph, however, the first guideline itself exposes the truth (to me at least) that these churches cannot be THE Church breathed by God. Why? Because it would still be standing as One and not splintered by various social stigma and alterations, unable to be convened for council to this day. At best, the Orthodox Churches could convene one or two sects at a time in unity.

I hope you can see why I (me personally) cannot "accept" them as "The" Church.

Thank you for this dialogue. You are very gracious and respectful.

camptaylor said...

Forgive me I am really trying to understand. I have met people who don't believe that OC is THE church. I get why people might believe that. But you seem to be saying that the OC doesn't see itself as THE church and doesn't see itself as One body? Is that what you are saying?

General Ecumenical Principles #1 is actually saying that the pre-schism church was one and that the churches (Orth. Cath and protestant) are no longer one.
"The Church is one and remains one and visible in the historic Orthodox
communion. However, it is painfully obvious that there is a difference between the faith-
affirmation of the unity of the Church and the empirical fractured appearance of
Christendom."
#6 and 7 speak about the Orthodox view of the unity of the Church.
you said-"...that these churches cannot be THE Church breathed by God. Why? Because it would still be standing as One and not splintered by various social stigma and alterations, unable to be convened for council to this day."
What social stigma and alterations are you referring to?
As I was driving around this morning I began thinking about the Orthodox concept of unity. I have to admit, it is one of the most beautiful aspects of the Church to me. As the Church is planted in a new region by a "mother" church, it slows grows in maturity. At first it has the little t traditions of the mother church, but slowly the Faith begins to be expressed uniquely within that culture. The Greeks sent missionaries to the Slavs, but the Slavs now have their own expression of the identical faith of the Greeks. The weren't expected to be Greek, but their culture was respected and honored, and all that was good in it was "baptized". It's the One Faith expressed in a variety of culture. I think that's pretty cool!

Thanks for listening to my rants.
May God help us and guide us all!

The MWB said...

Hi Camp, :o)

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I've been reading and I keep coming back to the same "issue" (for me)

Papal Leadership

This was established from day one. Peter was the first.

The OC even recognized that there had to be a Leader as they always called the Pope the first among equals. Of course, they were playing semantics as there is no "first" if there are equals.

Also, You'll notice that in Galatians 1:18, after Paul had converted to the true faith, where did Paul go? He went to Peter. He made a journey to go see Peter. Why would he do that? What would be the point of it? I think it was because he wanted to check his doctrine against what the Church taught, not just against what he knew in the Old Testament.

Furthermore, the Pope didn't change the creed alone. The first discussion about the better understanding began wayyy back in AD 589, at a church council in Toledo, Spain. It was discussed over 100's of years and held to In 796 when Paulinus of Aquileia defended the filioque clause at the Synod of Friuli. More discussion took place and after much time an ecumenical council was convened and the change was made after being agreed upon by the council. The officil standing came about at the Council of Lyons in 1274 which was called by the Leader (Pope).

I suppose this all hinges on the interpretation of "on this Rock" and each person's thoughts about having a leader and council rather than a bunch of leaders. Papal leadership beliefs are "basically" what divides OC from RC.

Other facets can be contemplated, but for me there has to be a leader. That was true from the beginning of time and I believe was set forth when Jesus established His church on earth...with Peter....the other men were his council and leaders of their specific churches.

I hope I worded all of this correctly. Basically my journey to The RC is based on my belief that there has to be a leader. If I didn't beleive that the OC would be fine too. Their beliefs are generally the same in most every other way from what I can gather.

camptaylor said...

Hi there,

I didn't do any extra reading,maybe I should have, it just took me a while to respond... :)

You said: "The OC even recognized that there had to be a Leader as they always called the Pope the first among equals. Of course, they were playing semantics as there is no "first" if there are equals"

Maybe the early Church wasn't "playing semantics". Perhaps they insisted on the term "first-among-equals" to ensure the office of pope was not turn into a "Head" position. The Orthodox view Christ alone as THE Head of the Church. As I said before, the OC doesn't have an issue for the pope being the first-among-equals.
Does the first-among-equals system work? Well, yes, it's worked for 1,000 years.
Orthodox doctrine has not changed under this system... With respect, I don't think you can say the same about the Catholic faith. The Catholic faith has continued to change its doctrine, adding so much to Holy Tradition, that it lead to the Protestant Reformation. This never happened in the Orthodox Faith. The Orthodox Faith remains the same.

BTW, I want to clarify the situation of Orthodoxy in America. As immigrants flooded into America from different parts of the world, they brought along their Orthodox faith. Usually these immigrants would send for a priest from "back home" to serve the needs of their people. Since the country was so new, there wasn't an already existing presence of the church here. So all of a sudden you had priests who were under different bishops or patriarchs. You had overlap, several bishops represented in a single geographic area. This is not normal within Orthodoxy. It has taken years for us all to speak a common language, let alone establish a single American diocese. But we are in the process, and God willing, it will happen within a few years, then there will be a single American Orthodox Church.

In Galatians 2 you also see that Paul rebukes Peter...

As far as the council in Spain, we don't consider it ecumenical, it was a local council and, for us at least, does not hold the same weight. Did it include bishops from the east, who would not have supported the filioque? I don't know, but if not, doesn't sound "ecumenical".

Your journey is between you and God. I firmly believe that people are not convert by arguments; but rather by the Holy Spirit giving them confirmation.

There are many other differences between RC and OC. Many are hard to explain; I think the best way to see is to experience both. I think if you spent two Sundays in an Orthodox Church and two in a Catholic Church, you would begin, just begin, to get a feel for the differences. ( And yes I have spent time going to a Catholic Church:) Just a thought.. or as we homeschoolers like to say "Field trip time!!" BTW, I am taking a group of Protestant and Orthodox kids to the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Cathedral for a tour next month.

May God bless you on your journey.
Christina

The MWB said...

Hi Camptaylor,

I’ve gone from Protestant to Catholic without having to argue one side or the other because I can recognize the similarities. I’ve come to Catholicism because of my need to take the Eucharist. This is why I’m getting a chuckle that I’ve had to spend a lot of time debating “what kind” of Catholic I should become since it was the unity of the Catholic Church’s practices from Christ’s time to the present that sealed our decision.

All of that said…

I’m finding all that all of your reasoning cannot change the fact that the Eastern Orthodox Church has no leader and cannot be called “one” church. The “buck” doesn’t stop anywhere. There is no way to “call” a council. At best, there can be a “suggested” meeting of churches.

I don’t view that as “A” church, let alone “the” Church. That’s the sum total of my decision right there.

next comment...

The MWB said...

However, I’ll give further thoughts on your comments, though I know this is bordering on “arguing” and I really don’t like to argue things that just aren’t’ going to be agreed upon in the end.

We aren’t’ going to agree; we know that right? And that’s okay. :o)

I’ll try to give my thoughts about your answers. I do appreciate that you have found your place of worship. I do think we are both serving Christ and hope that we both can have our questions answered by him together one day. :o)

1. You need to know that I am not able to commit to a religion that has been unable to convene under a leader on earth since they split from Rome.(and I do recognize that you believe that the EC didn't "split from Rome")

2. You and I both know that the Roman Catholic Church does not teach that the Pope is God. Roman Catholics understand VERY well that Christ is THE Head of the church. The Pope is the Head on earth only and Christ is the Pope’s God and Leader. Let that be very well understood.

Next comment...

The MWB said...

YOU: Maybe the early Church wasn't "playing semantics". Perhaps they insisted on the term "first-among-equals" to ensure the office of pope was not turn into a "Head" position. The Orthodox view Christ alone as THE Head of the Church. As I said before, the OC doesn't have an issue for the pope being the first-among-equals.

ME: During the council of 1274, Eastern Church leaders were in attendance. All told there were 560 Bishops and Abbots. The council was actually a success with leaders leaving on good terms; However, the dissensions from Rome had spread among members of the Eastern Churches with cries of “traitor” being heard from the lay people. The council WAS ecumenical, however, after the death of Michael VIII, his son, Andronicus II REPUDIATED THE UNION. He took the lay people’s cries to heart and split from Rome. He wouldn’t have had to Repudiate a union if there wasn’t one agreed upon at the Ecumenical Council.

So AFTER THE ECUMENICAL COUNCIL had been successful, Michael VIII died and THEN THE EAST…USING ANDRONICUS…separate once and for all from Rome. After splitting from Rome, there ceased to be “The” church in the East. This is why “the” Church that Jesus formed on earth cannot be the Eastern Church. THEY cannot convene as one church. There is no leader on earth to call such a meeting. AT BEST there can be a suggested council; not a formal call because there is NO leader. They are Churches by many leaders NOT A Church with A Leader.

Next comment...

The MWB said...

YOU: Does the first-among-equals system work? Well, yes, it's worked for 1,000 years. Orthodox doctrine has not changed under this system... With respect, I don't think you can say the same about the Catholic faith. The Catholic faith has continued to change its doctrine, adding so much to Holy Tradition, that it lead to the Protestant Reformation. This never happened in the Orthodox Faith. The Orthodox Faith remains the same.

ME: That is Completely False. There was NO New Dogma made during those years of chaos. NONE. God protected His church when wolves in sheep’s clothing were TRYING to change things. Though there were some men in the church trying (successfully) to make money from lay people by selling indulgences, that practice was NEVER a dogma of the Catholic Church.
YOU: In Galatians 2 you also see that Paul rebukes Peter...

ME: “Rebuking?” I would use the word, oppose. Peter was human and, as you know, would not have been perfect except in cases of declaring official dogma after ecumenical council. It would have been completely correct for Peter and Paul to communicate one to another in regard to issues of The Church and how to go about implementing those situations. Peter to the Jews specifically and Paul to the Gentiles…working to build The Catholic Church. I am completely confident that those first ecumenical councils…though they weren’t called such back in that day…were not all sugar and spice and probably have challenges to this day. We’re all human…look at the people who lived WITH Jesus, they denied him and led his killers to him. Why would you think that His Church would be led by perfect people? Of course there were issues and still are to this day…BUT DOGMA IS PROTECTED by God.

YOU: As far as the council in Spain, we don't consider it ecumenical; it was a local council and, for us at least, does not hold the same weight. Did it include bishops from the east, who would not have supported the filioque? I don't know, but if not, doesn't sound "ecumenical".

ME: I explained that it did have bishops from the east and it was ecumenical and considered so for many years until the East chose to split under the rule of Andronicus II.

That’s all I’ve got. I’m sure there are things in my statements that you can reason this way or that way, but in the end, The East doesn’t have “a” leader. To me they are “they” they aren’t THE and that makes every difference in the world to me. Unless you can pull a leader of “the” church from a hat. I’m not going to convert to the church that Andronicus built. I’m sorry but that’s how strongly I feel about this…FOR ME and our family.

I do respect that you have a whole slew of varying ideas and thought as to why you and your family are EO and I would never take that away from you. I hope you know that I respect you . Though I’m sure you’ll need to communicate my errors, please know that we’ll never know for sure who’s “right” until we leave this earth. I’m hoping for Jesus’ Love and Understanding to bring us together in that day. :o)

The Mom with Brownies said...

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

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

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

Thank you all for commenting! :o)