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Why do Catholics leave, and what can be done about it?
cna ^ | April 19, 2012 | Father Robert Barron

Posted on 04/19/2012 11:58:25 AM PDT by NYer

I saw an advance copy of a survey by William J. Byron and Charles Zech, which will appear in the April 30th edition of “America” magazine. 

It was conducted at the request of David O’Connell, the bishop of Trenton, and its focus was very simple:  it endeavored to discover why Catholics have left the church.  No one denies that a rather substantive number of Catholics have taken their leave during the past 20 years, and Byron and Zech wanted to find out why.  They did so in the most direct way possible and asked those who had quit.

The answers they got were, in many ways, predictable.  Lots of people cited the church’s teachings on divorce and re-marriage, gay marriage, contraception, and the ordination of women.  These matters, of course, have been exhaustively discussed in the years following Vatican II, and I’d be willing to bet that anyone, even those vaguely connected to the Church, could rehearse the arguments on both sides of those issues.  But there just isn’t a lot that the church can do about them.  No bishop or pastor could make a policy adjustment and announce that divorced and re-married people can receive communion or that a gay couple can come to the altar to be married or a woman present herself for ordination.

What struck me about the survey, however, was that many of the issues that led people to leave the church are indeed matters that can be addressed.  Many of the respondents commented that they left because of “bad customer relations.”  One woman said that she felt “undervalued by the church” and found “no mentors.”  Many more said that their pastors were “arrogant, distant, aloof, and insensitive,” and still others said that their experiences over the phone with parish staffers were distinctly negative.  Now I fully understand that parish priests and lay ministers are on the front lines and hence are the ones who often have to say “no” when a parishioner asks for something that just can’t be granted.  Sometimes the recipient of that “no” can all too facilely accuse the one who says it as arrogant or indifferent.  Nevertheless, the survey can and should be a wake-up call to church leaders—both clerical and non-clerical—that simple kindness, compassion, and attention go a rather long way.  I distinctly remember the advice that my first pastor—a wonderful and pastorally skillful priest—gave to the parish secretary:  “for many people, you are the first contact they have with the Catholic Church; you exercise, therefore, an indispensable ministry.”  One respondent to the survey observed that whenever he asked a priest about a controversial issue, he “got rules, and not an invitation to sit down and talk.”  Unfair?  Perhaps.  But every priest, even when ultimately he has to say “no,” can do so in the context of a relationship predicated upon love and respect.

A second major concern that can and should be addressed is that of bad preaching.  Again and again, people said that they left the church because homilies were “boring, irrelevant, poorly prepared,” or “delivered in an impenetrable accent.”  Again, speaking as someone who is called upon to give sermons all the time, I realize how terribly difficult it is to preach, how it involves skill in public speaking, attention to the culture, expertise in biblical interpretation, and sensitivity to the needs and interests of an incredibly diverse audience.  That said, homilists can make a great leap forward by being attentive to one fact:  sermons become boring in the measure that they don’t propose something like answers to real questions.   All of the biblical exegesis and oratorical skill in the world will be met with a massive “so what?” if the preacher has not endeavored to correlate the “answers” he provides with the “questions” that beguile the hearts of the people to whom he speaks.  Practically every Gospel involves an encounter between Jesus and a person—Peter, Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, Zacchaeus, etc.—who is questioning, wondering, suffering, or seeking.  An interesting homily identifies that longing and demonstrates, concretely, how Jesus fulfills it.  When the homily both reminds people how thirsty they are and provides water to quench the thirst, people will listen.

A third eminently correctable problem is one that I will admit I had never thought about before reading this survey.  Many of the respondents commented that, after they left the church, no one from the parish contacted them or reached out to them in any way.  Now again, I can anticipate and fully understand the objections from pastoral people:  many Catholic parishes are huge—upwards of three or four thousand families—and staffs are small.  Yet, just as major corporations, serving millions of people, attend carefully to lost customers, so Catholic parishes should prioritize an outreach to those who have drifted (or stormed) away.  A phone call, a note, an e-mail, a pastoral visit—anything that would say, “We’ve noticed you’re not coming to Mass anymore.  Can we help?  Can you tell us what, if anything, we’ve done wrong?  We’d love to see you back with us.”

The problem of Catholics leaving the church is, obviously, serious and complex, and anyone who would suggest an easy solution is naïve.  However, having listened to a representative sample of those who have left, parishes, priests, and church administrators might take some relatively simple and direct steps that would go a long way toward ameliorating the situation.
 


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
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To: Heart-Rest; firebrand
You do realize that the writers of the Psalms (such as David, and others), including Psalm 150, also sacrificed (slaughtered) large and malodorous animals at many of their liturgical celebrations, and scattered the beasts' blood here and there. Would you advocate doing that during Christian liturgical celebrations as well?

You do realize that the SAME Holy Spirit inspired the writers of those Psalms, right? Additionally, the sacrifice of lambs and bulls and goats and other various "large and malodorous animals" were done in obedience to Almighty God. The purpose of such was to be a spiritual object lesson that only by the shedding of blood is there remission of sins. The animals that were killed were done so to drive home the point that only by death can sins be paid for. In the time before Christ came, the observance of these offerings done for the people by the High Priest was the ONLY way for anyone to be made righteous. By faith in this expiatory sacrifice and obeying the commandments as well as the hundreds of other laws and ordinances was the way God saw fit for man to relate to Him. After Christ Jesus came and offered His blood and life upon the cross as the propitiation for the sins of the world, God now has man relate to Him by grace through faith. He STILL wants us to live holy and obedient lives because He loves us and knows what is best for us. But, we are saved by faith and not by our works just as the Old Testament saints were also saved because of their faith. Read Hebrews 11 for a wonderful description of the kind of faith they had.

There is now no more need for sacrifices - bloody or unbloody - because Christ made the final and full payment for sin. He died ONCE for all. All those who would come to Him through faith are granted reconciliation with God and are the redeemed, made righteous by Christ. It is NOT by works of righteousness that we do that saves us but by His mercy and grace alone. The righteousness of Christ is credited to our account and when God looks at us, He sees Christ's righteousness covering us.

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. (Philippians 3:9)

We must be as righteous as God is - be ye holy as HE is holy - in order to dwell with him for eternity. With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible. We have the righteousness of God through faith in Christ.

151 posted on 04/19/2012 10:20:40 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: strider44
I find it hard to belive that no one mentioned the fact that homosexual pederast priests stained the reputation of the church as one of the reasons people left.

Sadly that's not even enough to get some people to leave.

FWIW, that was an unknown in my day. I think most of those on this forum who left the RCC left it before that blew wide open.

152 posted on 04/19/2012 10:21:01 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom
after I was saved ....the more I studied scripture the more I realized that Rome does not line up with it.. finally I had to go .

This also occurs with those who ultimately leave false religions and cults. Once they begin reading the scriptures themselves...and study what they are really saying...in time things just don't line up, and that's because God honors those who truly are 'seeking the truth', rather than hunting for what they want His word to say....Big Difference.

False doctrines along with overwhelming mountains of information are frequently used to divert the converts from the "simple truth' of the gosepl message, and the Centrality of Christ readily available in the Scriptures.

The average person is not going to take on checking or studying what they're taught....they simple accept what the instructors, teachers etc. are saying...perhaps with just a glimpse in the scriptures to see if what they are saying "is in there" (The Bible), and that suffices them.....or they ask others on that same journey to confirm FOR them. But they're generally not seeking the truth...and why they get caught in the cycle of constantly learning but never grasping the truth.

153 posted on 04/19/2012 10:42:53 PM PDT by caww
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To: johngrace; mitch5501
When we walk past the Pearly Gates of Heaven and we know for sure that we are at least 5 feet past then we are truly saved. Then we never will be tempted again by the enemy. But in the mean time we are still on earth. The enemy will still tempt us.

That kind of reasoning contradicts Scripture because it makes our salvation dependent on our own works righteousness and we are NOT saved by our own righteousness but by the righteousness of Christ FOR us. We are found IN HIM, not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ the righteousness of God by faith. (Philippians 3:9)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us. (Titus 2:5)

Those who have received Christ KNOW we are sinners and deserve hell but we also know that Christ died for us so that we can be redeemed. He shed his precious blood as payment for those sins - for ALL sin - and to think that somehow we must add to that perfect sacrifice our goodness in order to be saved is to reject the grace of God. Will we still have a problem with sin in our lives after we have trusted in Christ? Yes, but we know that we can confess our sins and God is faithful and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Holy SPirit is within us convicting us of sin and enabling us to live as God wants us to - in victory. We are NOT saved because we are good, we are saved because God first loved us. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We are not condemned if we have believed on Him. Only HIS blood cleanses us from sin. Only HIS blood pays for sin. I do not set aside the grace of God, if righteousness comes by obeying the law, Christ died for no reason. (Galatians 2:21) Please understand this.

BTW...cute pics.

154 posted on 04/19/2012 10:44:33 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: johngrace
"We as Christians have to confess our sins to Christ. Not once saved always saved..."

So if we neglect to confess our sin to Him who "knew all men" and to whom "nothing is hidden" then we would loose our salvation?

"When we walk past the Pearly Gates of Heaven and we know for sure that we are at least 5 feet past then we are truly saved..."

I understand that line of thinking johngrace but seeing the kingdom of God through the eyes of a child does not mean if I fail to list everything I do that is wrong He will no longer be my Father and I will no longer be His child.What earthly human father would do such a thing? Is their love and acceptance stronger than God's?

This is a guarantee.... 2 Peter 1:10 "Wherefore the rather brethren,give dilligence to make your calling and election sure,for if ye do these things ye shall never fall"

*IF* you "make your calling and election sure" ("sure" to whom? God who knows all things?)"ye shall NEVER FALL"

155 posted on 04/19/2012 10:46:40 PM PDT by mitch5501 ("make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall")
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To: boatbums
"...we are saved because God first loved us."

Oh dear bb,I am undone!

"What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?"
"Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord"
"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
"make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall"
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

156 posted on 04/19/2012 11:03:10 PM PDT by mitch5501 ("make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall")
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To: Heart-Rest

I don’t think we should be critical of sincere expressions of worship. There is a tendency among Catholics to move toward more and more rigid formularies in their religion—adopting a whole new language for instance—and it is my considered opinion that in trying to be perfect to some kind of letter, they are building barriers to the spirit of the law and distancing themselves from the blessed simplicity of a living relationship with Jesus.

People at my church worship in a way that is very much like dancing if it is not dancing itself. It is so beautiful to see. No one who sees it can doubt its purity and sincerity. I wish I could do the same with the same kind of grace. Years of rigidly following rules has made that difficult.

Do me a favor if you answer this reply: don’t nitpick but deal with the basic issue.


157 posted on 04/19/2012 11:05:00 PM PDT by firebrand
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To: johngrace
When we walk past the Pearly Gates of Heaven and we know for sure that we are at least 5 feet past then we are truly saved. Then we never will be tempted again by the enemy. But in the mean time we are still on earth. The enemy will still tempt us.

We can know now.

Galatians 2:20-21 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

When God sees me IN CHRIST, then He sees me crucified IN CHRIST, and I am clothed in Christ's righteousness, which is the righteousness God sees when He looks at me. He doesn't see my own righteousness, which can never meet His standards.

I died IN Christ. I live IN CHRIST. I am seated in the heavenlies NOW IN CHRIST.

Sin is only removed by forgiveness, and forgiveness by its very nature is a gift. It cannot be earned. No amount of good works can procure salvation. There is no good outweighing the bad. There is no accounting of our deeds or motivations because we already stand condemned by the fact that we sinned ONCE. Even if all we ever did was sin once, that would be enough to condemn us, just as Adam sinned ONCE and died.

Works cannot and do not save. They never have and they never will.

It is completely by God's mercy and grace and we can know for sure now because God who cannot lie said that if we believe in Jesus, our faith is counted to us as righteousness.

Romans 4:1-8 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

And where there is forgiveness, there is no more sin to account for or try to work off.

Hebrews 10:18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

If you're forgiven, there's nothing left to work off. If there's something to work off, then you haven't been forgiven.

158 posted on 04/19/2012 11:11:35 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: boatbums; johngrace; mitch5501
Photobucket

All due respect. You are so wrong.

This is addressed to Christians. This is without a doubt about individual sins.

He is addresses it in the letter for a reason. He has to definitely point it out. This why it is in scripture. To minimize it is wrong.

James 5

The Prayer of Faith

13" Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have SINNED, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore CONFESS Your SINS to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

He is pointing out what is most important at times. How you can not see that is amazing. Or just minimize it.

Jesus open up all our eyes on what we all need from thee!

AMEN!!

159 posted on 04/19/2012 11:22:44 PM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: metmom
Dear Sister- You can prop up whatever scripture you want and read more than what was intended.

See post 159. You are just wrong. I can ask him to help yes and he will but we have to respond. We are not robots. Period.

160 posted on 04/19/2012 11:28:30 PM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: johngrace
"This is without a doubt about individual sins."

Dear Brother,who in the wide world of sports is denying this?

"He is pointing out what is most important at times. How you can not see that is amazing. Or just minimize it."

We do see it johngrace,I'm just not following how you go from this to no assurance of salvation.

This is also important,not "at times" but ALL the time..."This is the work of God,that ye believe on Him whom He has sent" (John 6:29)...so that "ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life"

161 posted on 04/19/2012 11:33:31 PM PDT by mitch5501 ("make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall")
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To: mitch5501
Hi Mitch- All due respect. If it is an absolute of an assurance of salvation, what in the world would you have to confess your sins for as a Christian. It is a after the fact "dinner mint."

Look you are just plain wrong.

I know the Holy Spirit without a doubt . I am not trying to judge I just hope whatever angle looking at in this approach Christ sees it right. I have experiences in the Holy Spirit , I know Christ. I did not get this idea at all.

I was in the Indy church movement. Nobody talked like this 20 years ago. They all believed in personal sins confession. This "calvinism or whatever it is" leaked in then took personal sins confession away somewhere. I believe it is very wrong just like John warns about being deceived in 1John1. You have to go to God. It matters period.

I am not a strident Catholic I know the Divine Mercy is soooo Good and Great. It is his forgiveness that gives us Christ. Always his forgiveness.

162 posted on 04/19/2012 11:50:34 PM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: johngrace
"If it is an absolute of an assurance of salvation, what in the world would you have to confess your sins for as a Christian. It is a after the fact "dinner mint""

'So the only reason we confess our sins is so we can be saved' is what you appear to be saying johngrace.

What other possible reason could there be for it? Perhaps because it is deadly to us right here and right now and that confessing to one another helps us grow spiritually? Hardly a "dinner mint" johngrace.

3 John 1:2 - Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

163 posted on 04/20/2012 12:11:04 AM PDT by mitch5501 ("make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall")
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To: johngrace
"I am not trying to judge I just hope whatever angle looking at in this approach Christ sees it right"

I totally get that brother and God bless you for it.

I hope you don't see me as some sort of anti-catholic bigot johngrace but FWIW my motivations,such as I can muster,are because I love the brethren.

Well they'd better be anyway!

God bless

164 posted on 04/20/2012 12:22:30 AM PDT by mitch5501 ("make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall")
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Obama has disdain for all religious folk...remember his comments about folks who “are bitter clinging to God and their guns”. Catholics need not feel anymore attacked then other Christian organizations; we’re all going to come under general persecution.


165 posted on 04/20/2012 1:04:05 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Christ came not to make man into God but to restore fellowship of the Godhead with man.)
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To: miss marmelstein

“I wish I could think I was one of His lost sheep”

Careful for what you wish for...such desire is usually a sign that He that has been calling for you...has you spotted!


166 posted on 04/20/2012 1:24:33 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Christ came not to make man into God but to restore fellowship of the Godhead with man.)
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To: MarkBsnr; RnMomof7

“Looking at the uncounted thousands of Protestant denominations and non denominational churches, the answer is obvious”

The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; Proverbs 30:27

Now is it becoming obvious to you?

Catholics need to learn they are part of that swarm of God, whether they like or not...many Godly Catholics I know understand that already!


167 posted on 04/20/2012 1:41:59 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Christ came not to make man into God but to restore fellowship of the Godhead with man.)
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To: MarkBsnr; ArrogantBustard

you both are correct. I shouldn’t let the spiteful ones make me spiteful.


168 posted on 04/20/2012 2:22:12 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: mdmathis6; RnMomof7; MarkBsnr
err.. We ARE with you the swarm of God. With folks like you we can debate or discuss. But read RnMmom's posts. There are many who will call us the vilest of names. Of course, if you ask them about their own faith, they are mum....

please do remember mdmathis that these responses are not to you or to any of our fellow believers, but rather pointedly to certain persons, persons who have in the past called the Rev. Graham a spawn of satan when they are not calling us CAtholics the same name..

169 posted on 04/20/2012 2:45:31 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: mdmathis6

That is why I sense in my lifetime there will be a second American revolution coming. The seeds are bing planted.


170 posted on 04/20/2012 3:31:38 AM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Cronos

When I see threads like this and some of the postings, it makes me shake my head wondering WHY Christians are STILL fighting each other?

I am always brought back to the Bible passage by Paul saying there is “one Lord, on faith, one baptism”.


171 posted on 04/20/2012 3:37:49 AM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Biggirl; mdmathis6

as I pointed out to md, we Christians can debate, but there will always be the enemy trying to make us fight.


172 posted on 04/20/2012 4:30:20 AM PDT by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: RnMomof7

——Just how me the priesthood in the NT church... Show me the mass..show me the prayers to the physically dead..show me the assumption, show me purgatory, ..the fact is one does not need to be “infallible” to knw man made lies when one sees them.-—

Your question is based an important assumption.

Your assumption is that every Christian doctrine must be spelled out explicitly in the New Testament.

Where did you get this idea?

How do you know it’s true?

Ironically, you must be applying this principle selectively, since you’re probably Trinitarian, a doctrine that is only implicit in Scripture.


173 posted on 04/20/2012 4:41:52 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: TheStickman

I understand your comment, there were several google links referencing that survey. Probably one with more specific information.


174 posted on 04/20/2012 4:44:59 AM PDT by MomwithHope (Buy and read Ameritopia by Mark Levin!)
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To: NYer
"But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way."
- Matthew 13,25

That's why so many have left the Church and non-Catholic churches haven't fared a bit better than the Catholic Church. The majority of non-Catholic Christians in this country are every bit as messed up and lax as any of the lapsed Catholics so many people love to point at. Those who worship their Most High and Holy Self and constantly repeat outright lies aren't fooling anyone. Their little anti-Catholic games work hand in glove with the Secular Humanists in the King Barry crowd just like all the other disinformation and lies from the antiChrist crowd do.

There are a lot of folks who can't focus on anything but that they're not Catholic and lot of Catholics who can't seem to understand that it isn't all of their fellow Christians who are attacking the Catholic Church. The longer it takes for Christians in this country to unite and focus on Christ and Him crucified rather than on what divides them the more painful our return to being a Christian nation is going to be.

175 posted on 04/20/2012 4:55:41 AM PDT by Rashputin (Only Newt can defeat both the Fascist democrats and the Vichy GOP)
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To: Cronos

I have great faith Christ will exalt the valleys and make low the mountains and the way before him will be made straight. In the end, some may be thinking more Catholic, others more Protestant or Orthodox, yet definitely all will be thinking more Jewish as in the image of Christ Jewish! And all of his children will be like HIM for we shall be able to see HIM as HE is, having glorified incorruptible sinless bodies. No more tears and no more raising of fists!


176 posted on 04/20/2012 5:23:38 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Christ came not to make man into God but to restore fellowship of the Godhead with man.)
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To: miss marmelstein

-—I go back as a total Papist, lol! It’s the most beautiful, the most intellectual of the Christian faiths. It is very much an aesthetic with me, as well as a faith.-—

We need you back to help fight off the banner and balloon people!

I sympathize with you. But I’ve learned some things by sticking with our local parish. At our parish, the leading banner and balloon lady is also our hardest working parishioner. I imagine her aesthetic sense was shaped in the sixties. And our feminist, former-nun, DRE (sounds like a nightmare, right?) is dedicated, soft-hearted, and an adoptive mother.

So... I’m not sure what my point is, but there is something to be said for living in community. It rounds our edges. I’ve learned a lot. And had I sat out the last 15 years, I would have missed some unforgettable moments. I love my parish. Ok, I said it ;-)


177 posted on 04/20/2012 5:35:31 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: crosshairs
As long as Catholics have large families and babies are baptized as Catholic, they may be able to keep up with the pace of those leaving after they see the light.

Great point.

I think what often doesn't get taken into account when calculating membership numbers is how observant the "member" is. For example, in Europe there are a large number of RC's, but the churches there are museums. However, because people were made members before they were out of diapers they are counted even though most don't attend services regularly.

Also, in areas such as sub Sahara Africa, central and south America and Asia where we are seeing the fastest growth of Christianity it is Evangelical Christianity that is driving the growth.

178 posted on 04/20/2012 6:47:00 AM PDT by wmfights
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To: crosshairs
As long as Catholics have large families and babies are baptized as Catholic, they may be able to keep up with the pace of those leaving after they see the light.

Great point.

I think what often doesn't get taken into account when calculating membership numbers is how observant the "member" is. For example, in Europe there are a large number of RC's, but the churches there are museums. However, because people were made members before they were out of diapers they are counted even though most don't attend services regularly.

Also, in areas such as sub Sahara Africa, central and south America and Asia where we are seeing the fastest growth of Christianity it is Evangelical Christianity that is driving the growth.

179 posted on 04/20/2012 6:50:51 AM PDT by wmfights
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Hah! I didn’t know they were called “banner and balloon” people! That’s so funny.

I sometimes go to the Latin Mass at St. Agnes here in NYC. Although the beautiful old church burned down, it was rebuilt as a replica. The locals all contributed to buy replacement statues of Mary and some of the saints; they are not as beautiful as the originals but they are very touching.

These quiet Latin Masses seem to draw a wonderful type of Catholic - some simply exude holiness. I find it very calming after the tumult of NYC!

I wonder if there is a way to educate your beloved parishioner in the arts? She sounds great and with a little tweaking, maybe she could become an advocate for a return to the beauties of pre-Vatican II art.


180 posted on 04/20/2012 6:57:00 AM PDT by miss marmelstein
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To: miss marmelstein; RnMomof7

You should get these guys to help you "Stay out the bigots".

Seriously, the RCC does _NOT_ teach the truth of Ephesians 2:8-9.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

"For by grace you are saved through faith,

and that not of yourselves,

for it is the gift of God;

Not of works, that no man may glory."

181 posted on 04/20/2012 7:15:54 AM PDT by fishtank (The denial of original sin is the root of liberalism.)
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To: fishtank

I have no clue as to what you are saying.


182 posted on 04/20/2012 7:17:38 AM PDT by miss marmelstein
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To: RnMomof7
"I do not care if they are Catholics or Mormons or JWs ... my desire is for all to come to Christ"

It is my desire that you too put aside your injuries, hatreds and prejudices and come to a more true and loving relationship with Christ. Those feelings you carry towards the Catholic Church and Catholics are corrosive to your soul and salvation. The belief that they do not love Christ who do not love like as do is a vanity. Anyone who professes a love of Jesus already has the Holy Spirit working within them. You need to forgive whatever wrongs you may have suffered and release yourself from that burden. Forgiveness is not a gift you bestow on others, the ability to forgive is a gift bestowed on you by Jesus when he paid the price all sins on the Cross.

God does not need or ask you to hate sinners or to destroy or diminish the Church. What glory or gain would there be for Him in that. If He wanted it destroyed or diminished it would already be so. Instead, after 2000 years, it is growing and vibrant in spite of its human flaws.

"For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” - Acts 5:38-39

I simply suggest that, before you hit the post button on your future posts you perform a simple check to see if the Fruit of the Holy Spirit is evident in them and to see if the recipient of your posts will have their hearts opened and become more receptive of the Holy Spirit or if you might be responsible for further hardening of hearts. The choice to help or hinder the Holy Spirit is your along with the consequences.

Dominus vobiscum.

183 posted on 04/20/2012 8:42:36 AM PDT by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, if not raise your standards.)
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To: metmom

Not talent, Mom, GENUIS.

I’m not sure what the great painters of the Renaissance would have done without the Church and the great Catholic patrons (my favorite, the somewhat comical Il Moro) who supplied them with money, housing and vast canvases to create the greatest of Western art or - as Jean Brodie might say - MY favorite.


184 posted on 04/20/2012 8:59:35 AM PDT by miss marmelstein
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To: metmom
"The RCC isn't responsible for their talent and is not the only venue available for the expression of their talent."

The drive to artistic perfection was driven by the Thomistic belief that to pursue beauty was to pursue God because God Himself is infinitely beautiful. The degree to which any society is Catholic is manifest in the relative beauty of it's art. That is nowhere more apparent than in the drab gray and brown environments of Protestant iconoclasm and the stark facilities where they gather, not to celebrate and worship, but to lecture.

185 posted on 04/20/2012 9:48:17 AM PDT by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, if not raise your standards.)
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To: johngrace

Nobody ever said that we don’t have to respond.

We are convicted of our sin and sinfulness, we repent and confess our sin and our faith in Jesus and we ARE saved.

Not hope to be. Not if we try hard enough. Not if the good works outweigh the bad works because works to not garner salvation. It is given to us FREELY. God is not an Indian giver.

We are transferred into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We are clothed with the righteousness of Christ which God sees when He looks at us instead of the filthy rags of our own righteousness that He’d see otherwise.

Once we are saved and become a child of God, He does not disown us every time we slip up and sin. A parent is certainly grieved when their child sins and the child is chastised, but NEVER disowned.

We may not get all the reward we’re entitled to in heaven, but we’re not kicked out of heaven.


186 posted on 04/20/2012 1:21:56 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: johngrace; boatbums; mitch5501
This is addressed to Christians. This is without a doubt about individual sins.

If you're calling them Christians, they ARE saved.

Individual sins committed after being born again do not cause us to lose our salvation. They break the fellowship with God that He would like to have with us. They may make us ineffective in our ministry. They may cause us to lose our reward in heaven. They may cause others to stumble. But they do NOT damn us.

The damnation for our sins was dealt with on the cross. If you don't think so then what you are essentially saying is that the cross wasn't and isn't sufficient.

187 posted on 04/20/2012 1:31:37 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: miss marmelstein

The idea that Catholics or the Catholic church take credit for the talent of the great painters is the height of arrogance.

They are NOT responsible for the greats, even if they did provide a venue for them. If the church wasn’t there, there would have been some other outlet for them. You can’t keep good men down.


188 posted on 04/20/2012 2:04:25 PM PDT by metmom ( For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom
Uh...Medieval Italy was hardly the go-go of 20th Century America, lol! If artists weren't hired and petted and nurtured by the Church or Catholic patrons, they didn't eat. Try reading the beautiful book “The Romance of Leonardo Da Vinci.” It is a wonderful kaleidoscope of Renaissance Italy and the lives of “talented” painters.
189 posted on 04/20/2012 2:20:23 PM PDT by miss marmelstein
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To: metmom
"The idea that Catholics or the Catholic church take credit for the talent of the great painters is the height of arrogance."

Regardless of your own antipathy toward the Church denying the Church's role in forming the inspiration and providing the incentive and opportunity for the artistic masters of the Renaissance is unfounded.

190 posted on 04/20/2012 2:24:36 PM PDT by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, if not raise your standards.)
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To: metmom
"They may cause us to lose our reward in heaven."

A reward is by definition something given or received in recompense for worthy behavior, in other words, works. This is different than the presumption of Salvation you have claimed in the past. Of the two kinds of presumption of Salvation, one either presumes his own Salvation based upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save oneself without help from God), or one presumes upon God's almighty power and mercy (hoping to obtain God's forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit). You have often presumed the later. I am hoping you have had a change of heart and did not simply misspeak.

What you now appear to be professing is completely in line with Catholic Teaching and with the Gospel. Remember also that Jesus taught the consequences of unworthy behavior in what we have done or failed to do.

Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” - Matthew 25:45-46.

191 posted on 04/20/2012 2:53:48 PM PDT by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, if not raise your standards.)
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To: Natural Law; metmom
I find this very interesting. Do you think the Renaissance period was any more beautiful or masterful than say the seven wonders of the ancient world? Was it more inspiring than the architecture of the ancient Romans or the Greeks? Or Babylon? Have any of those, including the Renaissance period been any more masterful than the awe-inspiring works of modern man? Pictures taken of the earth from the moon? The unbelievable Body Works, showing the workings of the human and animal world from the inside?

I say all this because there are artistic masters in every age. But what I don't find is God directing men to paint frescos or ceilings or buildings with pictures supposedly depicting Jesus Christ. Or Peter. Or Paul. Or angels. God has directed and given instructions for two items: The Ark and the Jewish Temple. The rest is man's reaching out to God. The opposite of God's reaching out to man. This world is about God reconciling man to Himself through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Everything else, no matter how "inspiring" or "masterful" takes away from His Word of reconciliation. Meant to please the eye and feed the senses, but void of truth.

192 posted on 04/20/2012 2:55:25 PM PDT by smvoice (Better Buck up, Buttercup. The wailing and gnashing are for an eternity..)
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To: mitch5501
Amen!

Sometimes I think we care tooooo much that's why we step on each others toes on these threads! Lol!!

What with what all the enemy throws at the human race. We can see the light from a different angle at times. We then do not understand why the other one does not see it like us.

Praise Jesus!!

Cheers!!

193 posted on 04/20/2012 3:10:20 PM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: smvoice
"I say all this because there are artistic masters in every age. But what I don't find is God directing men to paint frescos or ceilings or buildings with pictures supposedly depicting Jesus Christ. Or Peter. Or Paul. Or angels."

To explain this simply I need to introduce and define several Latin Terms used by the Church that I am certain are completely foreign to Sola Screiptura Protestants; Ipsissima verba and ipsissima vox.

Ipsissima verba means the actual words used (ipsissima verba Jesu – the actual words used by Jesus, Ipsissima verba Deus – the actual words used by God, ipsissima verba Scriptura – the actual words used in Scripture, etc.). Ipsissima vox means the actual meaning accurately conveyed (either by paraphrasing, or analogy, etc.).

An example would be if I invited you for dinner and asked that we meet at 6:45 at a Ruth’s Cris. If, in response to a question about it by someone you replied 6:45 at Ruth’s Cris you would be exercising “ipsissima verba”. If, on the other hand you answered a quarter to 7:00 at that really good steak house on Broadway you would be practicing “ipsissima vox”. You would have, with 100% fidelity relayed what I meant without actually using my exact words.

If we try to reconcile minor differences in accounts of the same event in Scripture we will find that Scripture contains numerous examples where ipsissima vox is used. Catholics and Catholicism, in reading the entire Bible, in the context of 100% of itself and in the context of the Apostolic Tradition substantiate many doctrines by the Magisterium determining Ipsissima vox Jesu, Ipsissima vox Deus and Ipsissima vox Scriptura.

Masters have existed in every age. Man is by nature and vocation a religious being. Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God. Absent divine revelation, by only natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of His works and His creation.

CCC2501 - Created "in the image of God," man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being's inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man's own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God's activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man.

194 posted on 04/20/2012 3:47:45 PM PDT by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, if not raise your standards.)
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To: editor-surveyor
>> “Rome is a city, not a church.” <<

. Yes, this city:

Rev.17 [18] And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Tell me. What kings of the earth does Rome reign over? Let's see. The top dude in Rome is the mayor, and he has a city council. Which 'kings of the earth' do they boss?

195 posted on 04/20/2012 4:50:04 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: boatbums
A little less broad brush painting of all non-Catholics would be nice, as well.

That's not what Bob Vila says. :)


196 posted on 04/20/2012 4:57:21 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: metmom
Did Jesus or Paul lie then?

Jesus, being God, does not lie. Paul, while being a salesman, does not lie. Once again, we come down to YOPIOS versus the Faith. The same division we have had since we've had the pleasure of chatting to each other on FR. Either add up the time and incidents that Paul spent with the Jews and in synagogues and reconcile it with that statement or else admit that YOPIOS isn't working for you.

Scripture is correct. Private interpretation of Scripture is often wrong.

197 posted on 04/20/2012 5:01:19 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: mdmathis6
“Looking at the uncounted thousands of Protestant denominations and non denominational churches, the answer is obvious”

The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; Proverbs 30:27

Does that really apply here? Do you consider yourselves locusts, looking to lay waste to entire lands? Or would something like this apply a little better?

Matthew 28: 16 And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And seeing them they adored: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Now is it becoming obvious to you?

Certain things are becoming clearer.

Catholics need to learn they are part of that swarm of God, whether they like or not...many Godly Catholics I know understand that already!

Men are not locusts, mindless organic eating machines. They are the pinnacle of God's Creation, able to love Him (also to reject Him).

198 posted on 04/20/2012 5:10:52 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Cronos
you both are correct. I shouldn’t let the spiteful ones make me spiteful.

Ehh, it happens on occasion. Your friends have your back, though.

199 posted on 04/20/2012 5:11:41 PM PDT by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel, if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr; metmom; boatbums; CynicalBear; caww
I don't know how many times this has been explained, but I can personally tell you I've explained it at LEAST a WHOLE LOT. One more time. And whether you choose to believe God's Word or not is up to you, but it doesn't change the FACT that you WILL find the answer in Scripture. In Acts, the transition Book you don't seem too keen on.

From Matthew through Acts 8 you will find Israel's prophesied and long awaited Kingdom promised to them and offered to them through Christ's earthly ministry and the day of Pentecost, up until the stoning of Stephen. Acts 8 ends with Stephen looking up into heaven, and seeing the glory of God, and Jesus Christ STANDING on the right hand of God. STANDING, NOT SITTING. WHY? Judgement was about to fall. Standing means judgement. Israel had allowed the murder of John the Baptist, demanded the murder of Jesus Christ, and actually murdered Stephan themselves. Strike three. They're out. Judgement time.

Except for one thing. Instead of judgement falling, God in His grace reached down and saved Saul, the chief sinner, as Paul called himself. Paul was saved and sent with a new commission, whereby Gentiles could be saved WITHOUT Israel. Purely on the finished work of Christ.

So, why did Paul go to the Jews first? And he did, all the way until Israel was finally blinded and set aside, in Acts 28. Until God proclaimed them "lo ammi", not my people. We have from Acts 10 to Acts 28 to find out what was going on with Paul and the Jews and the Gentiles.

Paul was commissioned to a two-fold ministry during the Acts period (Acts 9:15 with Acts 13:3, 47; 26:16-19). FIRST, Paul had a ministry of CONFIRMATION to the JEWS. That Jesus Christ was INDEED the Messiah. Remember, Paul was both Jew and Roman. Paul preached to the Jews concerning Jesus, the promised Messiah (Acts 13:14-41; 18:5; 26:22, 28:23). HENCE, Paul went to the JEW FIRST (Rom. 1:16 with Acts 13:5,24,46).

SECONDLY, Paul had a ministry of REVELATION. Paul preached the UNSEARCHABLE (UNPROPHESIED) riches of Christ (Eph. 3:8); that is, the gospel of the UNCIRCUMCISION (Gal. 2:7), or the ministry of reconciliation by grace alone (2 Cor. 5:18-19; Eph. 2:8-9). This means that Paul preached the dispensation (fellowship) of the mystery (Eph. 3:9).

Paul was sent out to proclaim "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24; Eph. 3:1-3). While he CONFIRMED the FACT that Jesus was Israel's Messiah, he NEVER PROCLAIMED THE KINGDOM AT HAND OR OFFERED IT FOR ISRAEL'S ACCEPTANCE. BTW: NOR had the TWELVE UNTIL PAUL was given his commission, EVER PROCLAIMED THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.

One more thing, for your consideration: The message and commission of the twelve was based on Israel's ACCEPTANCE of Christ. The message and commission of Paul was based on Israel's REJECTION of Christ.

Oh, and one more one more thing. Have you ever read in any of Paul's epistles that he was given authority to remit sins? He was an apostle. Yet you will not find a single Scripture that says Paul remitted sins. Have you ever wondered why?

200 posted on 04/20/2012 7:35:07 PM PDT by smvoice (Better Buck up, Buttercup. The wailing and gnashing are for an eternity..)
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