The following happens to deal with one of my pet peeves, if you will. It deals with misconceptions and downright ignorance that some "theologians" preach about Catholic teachings. In order to cut to the chase, I've decided to highlight a statement made by a very, misguided man named John F. McArthur Jr.
Yes. He's full of crap.
1. Corruption Of The Mass: Some people "think" that Catholics "re-sacrifice" Christ every time they take the Eucharist. (communion) This could NOT be further from the truth. When partaking of the Eucharist (Communion) every Saturday (the Sabbath) or Sunday (The Lord’s Day), Catholics believe we are actually transcending time...well, Christ is transcending time to come to us. Catholics are actually partaking of the last supper in remembrance of Jesus until His return to earth. Catholics are not "re-sacrificing" Him. They are accepting His one sacrifice and doing it until he comes back, just as Jesus asked us to do. (Luke 22)
To sum up: Catholics believe that Christ saw each and every person on earth when He took the sins of the world onto Him during his crucifixion and that He offers himself to us through communion, sacramentally, to strengthen us...through time...until He comes again. The best way I know to explain this is that Jesus royal blood flows through a Catholics veins both spiritually, through repentance and faith believing AND physically by partaking of the last supper each and every church service. (mass) They believe Jesus is handing them the “bread/wine” through time. (CCC 1323)
They know that we are to honor our mother and father in Christ so, if Jesus was fully God and He was fully man on this earth also...making him our God AND our brother "in Christ"...we should Honor Our Mother in Christ. She IS Jesus' Mother chosen by God. She conceived him from the Holy Spirit, she was THERE when Jesus was born, she raised Him and she watched Him die. She was at the foot of the cross agonizing. A Catholic can't comprehend NOT honoring her.
The issue for Protestants is that we don't ever, ever talk to anyone but Jesus. We see any chatter between ourselves and someone in Heaven as worship. Catholics, however, talk with their brothers and sisters in Christ in Heaven all the time. They read Hebrews 11 thru 12:1 and believe that when we die, we can be part of the cloud of witnesses. Though our bodies died on earth, our spirit is alive and still able to worship Christ and pray for our fellow brothers and sisters. To Catholics, asking one of the cloud of witnesses to pray for them is no different than asking our friends on earth to pray for us. Catholics recognize the huge difference between honor and worship. They worship Christ. They honor Mary.
Side Note: Some sects of the world do put Mary in a position of worship, but this is NOT what the Catholic Church teaches. As with any religion, you will find people who go a bit "off-track" from the actual teaching of their religion. There is even a sect of Catholics who want the church to change their teaching so Mary can also forgive sins. BUT! that is NOT what the church teaches and has been denied by council after council when anyone has tried to bring this to the table. Mary Worship is NOT something that is in the Catholic doctrine....though she is highly looked up to for her unique relationship with Christ. There are words that are used for Mary that cause Protestants to bulk...Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.....and there HAVE been some people, and even some leaders of the Catholic Church to call her the Co-Redemptrix...weird name, sounds like some sort of warlock or whatever to me.. In the context that these terms are used, the leaders of the church are meaning that she served as Christ's mother and was there at all of the important times in His life when His work with Salvation was taking place. That is to say that Mary helped HIM do HIS work for our salvation AS HIS MOTHER. THAT is the "Co" part of their equation. She is NOT the person who saves sins and her work is not what saves us, but she was THERE...right beside Him... for all of it. In "that" way they are using those terms. They are using words to honor her role in helping Christ on earth while he completed His task. They do NOT mean that she can or ever will forgive our sins...but that she helped Jesus fulfill His work so that our sins could be saved by His one sacrifice.
I personally think they should not use the term "co-redemptrix" because it causes great confusion and could be dangerous if some uneducated people come to believe that she is a savior.
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)…before The King James Version of the Bible was even compiled. That's true for me anyway. I didn’t even know there were records about how churches were run before the Bible was compiled 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...And...If a person is going to hell, purgatory is NOT a stop on that trip. So, you know...we can stop thinking that now. ;o)
For Example: Just think of the Ark of the Covenant. People could not even touch it or they would die!
Mary was not "perfect" in herself, because there was no perfect human on earth...no not one! She was human BUT God put enmity between her and Satan ALLOWING her to be sinless FOR Jesus sake and Jesus WAS her savior! (Luke 1:46) She was NOT a "perfect human" on her own or by herself. That's impossible. She also needed Jesus as her savior. The Catholic Teachings go something like this: The early Fathers of the church...before the Bible was "made" and before printing presses were invented....passed on Jesus' teachings by mouth. They said orally that “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, The Virgin Mary loosened by her faith” (Lumen Gentium 56). That teaching was highlighted in Mary being the New Eve sent by God; prophesied by God Himself in Genesis.
Catholics are saved by Grace through Faith!
We will never be "good enough" to go to Heaven, but by accepting, loving, and following Christ we will be able to get there. By practicing His teachings and striving to fulfill His plan in our lives, we can have hope in our Salvation. Let Our Souls Rejoice when God announces it on that Joyous day!
So, let's answer the question. Why are we Catholic?
Because the Catholic Church has the fullness of the Eucharist; The communion that Jesus handed down through time...to do until He comes again. We aren't "better than" protestants or "more saved" and we certainly aren't worse or less saved either. We just get to take the Eucharist. Your mom and dad need that...and so do you. It's as simple as that...and as important as that.
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