Question for Catholics - Printable Version
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Question for Catholics - laurat99 - 05-16-2012 05:48 AM
Since converting from being an IFB'er to Catholic, how do you deal with the Catholic Church's "Top Down" approach? Many IBF churches glory in their autonomy, i.e. "we make decisions regarding our local church; we don't need some man in a dress from Rome telling us what to do." Having that independence of thought is hard to give up once you've had it. It IS a man/men of God directing your religious life to a certain extent, but from reading your posts, you didn't blindly trade one mog for another.
My impression is that if you are Catholic, you agree with everything The Church teaches/says. How do you deal with an issue in which you don't agree with the church, such as never using birth control? Do you not tell your priest or fellow Catholics?
My sister and brother are practicing Catholics, but I'd rather ask these questions here; our family definately subscribes to the belief of not discussing religion or politics.
RE: Question for Catholics - elfdream - 05-16-2012 06:48 AM
My personal experience entails leaving the IFB years and years ago and going through a succession of more open non denominational churches before giving up church (and coming within a hair's breath of giving up on God) completely. I did not go straight from one to the other. I took several years of reading up on several denominations (and other religions) before starting to take Catholicism seriously. Then I went through the nine month R.I.Ci.A class that the Church requires of adult converts so that you will understand the basics of what the Church teaches. I am in the process of writing that story down in detail and someday I might share it here. I came to it by several paths. One of them was by way of preterism, another by reading church history.
So I did not switch from one to the other right away. It was a long and winding road. I read history and realized that early church was not a story of the early Christians just starting a church here and there that were independent one another. They did so under the authority of Peter and the apostles who were the ancestors of the modern bishops and Priests. There was a hierarchical network in place in the very beginning and it is basically the same network that is in place today. These people were the guardians so to speak. Once I accepted that the 'one man'-the Priest- was handing down the same truths that the apostles were made it a lot easier.
There is nothing that I vehemently disagree on with the Church. I had basically the same thoughts about birth control back when I was a fundy but my ideas were drowned out by those around me and I just went along with them. Wish I hadn't but that's another story.
Now I do have one small struggle with the Church which is on issues like gay marriage. I support traditional marriage but at the same time I don't understand why I should force the person beside me who does not share my belief system to live by my values but its not a thing that will cause me to leave the church. I just sort of live with it. Yes...we talk about it among ourselves.
Every Catholic who is honest probably has at least ONE issue within the church that they struggle with. For one it might be birth control...for G.K. Chesterton it was priestly celibacy. He decided to trust that in this instance the Church knew what it was doing.
I hope that answered your questions.
RE: Question for Catholics - myotch - 05-16-2012 08:28 AM
(05-16-2012 05:48 AM)laurat99 Wrote: Since converting from being an IFB'er to Catholic, how do you deal with the Catholic Church's "Top Down" approach?
Independence of thought - that's the phrase that stuck in my mind.
The local church makes it's own decisions on a lot of things material to the local church - building maintenance, additions. Sometimes the Bishop is involved, but you don't really hear too much about that.
The way the local parish works with the archdiocese in matters of events or faith - that makes sense to me, and isn't wholly different than other churches - even IFB churches! IFB has a list of preferred events, preferred schools, preferred colleges. If an IFB church doesn't want to participate, then it simply doesn't.
The Catholic life is more autonomous in a lot of ways, and can even be freeing if you're used to IFBism. The sin you are struggling with isn't cause for people breaking friendship or fellowship with you. The pressure isn't on you to play the part of perfect, joyous Christian all the time, and many things the IFB would consider sin simply isn't sin according to the Catholic faith.
Yes, we have some core beliefs that are different than other churches, and significantly so. But the church is not nearly the cult of personality that the IFB can be. My priest - the MOG I'm most in contact with - is quiet, reflective, humble, and soft-spoken. My Bishop is gentle, respectful, and a joy to be around.
Quote:My impression is that if you are Catholic, you agree with everything The Church teaches/says. How do you deal with an issue in which you don't agree with the church, such as never using birth control? Do you not tell your priest or fellow Catholics?
I happen to agree with the Church on birth control, as did pretty much all American and European churches before 1900. But I will relate where the decision of our archbishop caused some harm and how we as a church dealt with it.
It is customary in the Catholic Church when a group of people are entering the RCC at Easter-time, that a "foot washing" takes place - the elders, deacons, and priests wash the feet of those entering into the Church. The lady who ran the RCIA (adult catechism) was particularly looking forward to this. Well, the arch-Bishop said that the foot washing was not to take place one particular Easter. The Church was deeply hurt by this. But, it was with humility and grace and a few tears they accepted the authority of the Bishop.
Every so often, St. Patrick's Day falls on a lenten Friday. Every time it happens, some Bishop will make headlines by not making an exception to the Friday abstinence of meat, thereby aggravating a lot of Irish in the archdiocese. As far as I know, they take it all by grace, or they eat their corned beef and confess to it the next confession.
If you are in grave disagreement with the Church over most matters or issues, it probably would have come up in RCIA. But let's say I changed my mind on an issue since my conversion. On all issues, I still have freedom of conscience. On most all issues, as long as I do not scandalize the Church, I can have freedom of conscience and still call myself a Catholic.
Like Elf said - EVERY Catholic has some issue with the Church on a matter of faith. Hers is gay marriage. Mine goes much deeper to the roots of Catholicism - the veneration of Mary. I've satisfied myself with the answers Catholic apologists have on my questions, but I can't help but feel that third world (and sometimes first world) Catholics haven't gotten the memo, and I do fear that the veneration sometimes crosses the line into idolatry.
In the end, the reason I and many protestants came to the Catholic Church was largely due to the issue of authority. It's from that perspective where more than a few of us deal with issues of non-grave disagreement.
RE: Question for Catholics - amyrose5 - 05-18-2012 04:34 PM
You've had good answers.
I would add this about authority and priests. It will sound paradoxical, but the fact that priests are assigned by the bishop and are frequently (and by frequently I mean every 4 or 6 or in one case I know of 12 years) moved to a new parish takes away from that dictatorship feel that happens in evangelical and fundamentalist churches. There is never that kind of idolatry of the priest in a parish. The parish exists beyond him and is not focused on him. Priests generally adjust to the parish when they arrive, not the other way around. It has a culture without the priest because that position is not permanent. And I've never met a Catholic who church shops the way my Protestant friends do. You go to your parish which is determined by where you live and that's that. You don't go looking for the perfect priest or choir or "programs". Not to say people don't have preferences. Our church has two priests and we definitely prefer one over the other, but that hasn't made us try to leave the parish. It doesn't even determine which masses we go to.
RE: Question for Catholics - elizabethn - 05-18-2012 06:08 PM
I am attending a Catholic university and taking some theology courses there. Mostly they are masters program courses to which I have gotten access as an undergrad by special arrangement because of my previous studies of theology, albeit in an unaccredited institution. My classmates are lay ministers in two of NJ's archdioceses, with the occasional priest, temporary or permanent deacon tossed in the mix. Some of the professors are academic theologians and others are also religious sisters.
To a person, I have been deeply impressed with the love these folks have for God and for the church, as well as for their clarity of understanding that those are two related but different loves. NONE of them agrees with, follows or teaches every single church doctrine, and some of them openly protest the ones with which they disagree.
I've learned a lot about how foolish and Out There the claims were that my indoctrinators made about Catholics and Catholicism.
One metaphor I heard this past semester (in a fantastic class on theology of ministry) is that the Catholic church is like a very, very large tent. Under its roof is space for an incredibly broad variety of people, ideas, creative pursuits, social justice endeavors....While yes, there are some parameters, some stakes that hold up the roof of the tent, the walls are open and there is great freedom of movement.
The teachings and structures of the church evolved over a very long time. 2,000 years of Christianity is a real thing to Catholicism, not just some number thrown about while waving a KJV Bible by somebody with no real education or ability to think. There's real, hard evidence of church and Christianity existence going back almost that far in the archives Catholics hold dear and which your average Fundy (of whatever stripe) shuns as "lies."
So, when people strive for change within the Catholic structure, it takes time. 50 or 100 years are but a drop in the bucket in the way the Catholic church sees itself and the world. There is a certain....looking for a good word....optimism, I guess, that "we've gotten this far, God isn't finished with us, so we'll keep plugging away and God will help us work it out."
I suppose I should emphasize that my view of these things, thus far, is very strongly shaped by my connection to (and instruction by) an order of sisters whose foundress was a social activist and nonconformist from day one. Their church doesn't necessarily always love them as much as they love their church :-).
RE: Question for Catholics - greg - 05-19-2012 10:16 AM
I usually leave the catholic folks alone, but I just must jump in here.
Peter was not the first Pope, or anything resembling a pope! That is simply ridiculous, this is tradition at its absolute worst, there is nothing historical or biblical to support such a claim. There is nothing in history to demonstrate any "succession" of "leaders" in the catholic church or any other church. The bible, the final authority in such matters, specifically condemns any sort of these practices or traditions. In fact from baby baptism, last rites, transubstantiation, Mariolatry, repetitive prayers, prayers for the dead, worship of relics/cross, doctrine of purgatory, celibacy of the priesthood, the Rosary, infallibility of the church, Mary proclaimed Mother of the church................none of this can be substantiated by the bible "the final authority" and in fact goes directly against the bible.
I really hate to say it but there is more truth taught about the "church" by Jack Schapp than what is taught in the catholic church.
RE: Question for Catholics - Ricardo - 05-19-2012 10:34 AM
After two years of (Protestant) Divinity School, I can tear apart just about any Sunday service or mass I attend.
Regardless of denomination.
So the question for me is Which set of screwed up doctrines do I prefer to go to?
I visited a Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall recently. I can tell you there was NOBODY in that hall that was paying more attention to what was being said, read and sung than me. And just as I have learned to do in all the other churches I attend, I can choose to dwell on all the many things I disagree with, or I can ask the Lord what He has for me in this experience.
God continues to speak to me in JW halls, Catholic churches and even -gulp- in IFB churches.
In spite of Popes, Schaaps, Sabath worship, and all kinds of other shtuff we try to use as barriers between us and God.
RE: Question for Catholics - greg - 05-19-2012 12:49 PM
(05-19-2012 10:34 AM)Ricardo Wrote: After two years of (Protestant) Divinity School, I can tear apart just about any Sunday service or mass I attend.
I really attempt to stay away from commenting to you, because I really dislike the way you pick and choose what to believe from scripture. But you said something here which I really identifiy with and that is your statement:
"So the question for me is which set of screwed up doctrines do I prefer to go to."
I needed no divinity school to know how screwed up many denomination's doctrines are, just the study of the word of God myself. I suppose there is a non-denom somewhere out there that may fit me, I hope so.
JW's are a pure cult!
RE: Question for Catholics - greg - 05-19-2012 07:58 PM
Laura - I responded to your PM but then when I got ready to send it, discovered that I was on your ignore list. So although I was planning on staying out of this thread for anymore posts, will post what I was going to say in my PM back to you in the thread.
I don't usually stir up the SFL catholics very much, but feel compelled occassionally, because so very much of their practices have nothing to do with the scriptures, and even worse, go against the very plain teachings of the scripture. I'm ok with tradition as long as it is not against the plain teaching from the scripture.
I believe that enough of the gospel is shared in most catholic churches so someone could come to know Christ, if not I would really hammer them.
What so saddens me is that folks settle for a sick "religion" when God wants us to be in a "relationship." It's like settling for hamburger, when there is steak to be had.
Greg signing out, probably won't be back, pls study the scriptures to see what the Lord has to say about your "religion."
RE: Question for Catholics - Ricardo - 05-19-2012 10:38 PM
I ask you to look at your eyes before pointing out anything in the Catholic church.
"Plain teaching from scripture."
You realize that the reason we have a Scripture to begin with is because of the Catholic Church, right?
ALL "religions" are sick. As soon as men try to regulate what by definition is not regulatable, we will get into problems. It doesn't matter if it is the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestants or Coptic.
Find me the "perfect" denomination, show me three churches from that denomination and you and I can and will find problems in all three of them. It is not hard. We are dealing with people here.
I know you have read the New Testament. Except, possibly for the Berean church and one of the seven churches in Revelations, ALL the other churches mentioned had one problem or another. And yet, Paul never asked brothers to leave their church and start a new one. Instead he wrote to the churches trying to work with them, dealing with the many problems he found in each and every one. (In some cases he had to send more than one letter...)
When I compare a full fledged Catholic mass with many of the Sunday services I have attended in so many protestant churches, i "get" your "settling for hamburger when there is steak to be had."
Catholic masses are well though out. There is praise, there is contrition, requesting forgiveness, three readings of scripture (considerably more than in most IFB churches,) The Lord's supper, and on and on.
Is there stuff I don't agree with? Yes there is. Just like in any other church I visit.
But just like in any other denomination, "Religion" is not about going to church on Sundays.
If the only thing you see when you go to a Catholic mass is Gay or Pedophile priests, The Virgin Mary, Saints, Graven images and bogus beliefs about the elements, then, probably this church is not for you. But I warn you: if you judge all churches with the same measure, NOT ONE measures up.
Isn't there a verse about that in Rom 3?