Home > Apologia, World Religions > Roman Catholicism

Roman Catholicism

I’m coming down with a second cold in three weeks.  I think I have malaria that has secretly hid in my system since I went to Haiti in September.  Maybe not.

So, we covered the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) last night in youth group.  I’m not going to make this a very, very, long post, but thought I’d post some of the interesting facts I discovered.

I do know that not all of these facts fit every RC Member to a T.  If anyone has corrections, discussion, or questions, I’d love to hear them.

 

  1. I did not know the view of mass.  Mass is actually Christ’s death being poured out EVERY time mass meets.  Without mass, the people cannot receive forgiveness of their sins.  That is the importance of going to mass.  It’s not just a church service, but it is in their mind, the literal act of Christ dying on the cross of the sins of people.  Through mass, the people are purified.
  2. The priest must do every step in mass perfectly.  If he forgets one, he sins, thus making the entire mass worthless, and no one receives purification.  Whoops!
  3. I’ve never read the apocrypha, but the teachings of it seem crazy that they can be accepted along side the Bible.  Many contradictory elements to the Bible are found in it.  Also, looking at it historically, the fact that it was written in Greek, yet supposedly predates Christ seems to be a red flag in my opinion.  Maybe that’s just me though.  
  4. RCC claims there is no Mary worship that happens.  I’m not here to accuse anyone of such a thing, but by claiming the Mary is completely sin-free seems to be a step in that direction.  Mary being sinless, perfect, and remaining a virgin, even after the birth of Jesus’s siblings seems like she might be on a higher pedestal than what some would like to admit.  
  5. The Pope is known as the “Vicar of Christ.”  Vicar meaning substitute.  Wow.  That’s scary to me, too.  
  6. Justification.  We believe it’s through faith alone.  Justification for the RCC is a progressive thing.  They are baptized as an infant.  This begins the justification process.  Then, the more good deeds that they do, the more justified they become.  Our justification is instantaneous, and we are seen as righteous in God’s eyes in spite of our sin.  To the RCC, they can achieve actual righteousness.  But, don’t commit a mortal sin, because that offsets everything and you’ll go to hell, or maybe purgatory.

I don’t poke fun at the RCC, but I learned a lot of things about it, and I only skimmed the surface.  To me, it’s sad that many of them are missing the point.  They are completely missing so many HUGE issues, yet still revere the God we serve.  They are led astray by leadership.  

Obviously, there are RCC people who can go to heaven, but we all know the one requirement is faith in Christ alone!  

Next week, we’re studying Mormonism.  I am honestly looking forward to it.  Well, that is if I live through my malaria attack.

Advertisements
  1. March 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I am certainly NOT RC, and not an apologist for them, and could never be one. I am very much from the Reformation wing of my own part of the Church. But I think there are a few places in your list that could use a little touch up.

    1-Yes, the view is that in the mass, or Holy Communion, the actual Body is broken, the Blood pored out for us and for our salvation. I think, though, that the theologians would say that, rather than “re-doing” the sacrifice of Jesus, we are, in a mystery, participating in the actual “Once for all” atoning sacrifice in 33 AD, thus making very real that, as Jesus is broken before me, now, it is my sin that brought this about. I am the one guilty of His blood, even as it is poured out for my salvation.
    Please understand, this is not my view, and I have heard RC doctrine misunderstood. But I believe that understood in this way, the objection to multiple sacrifices is overturned. As is noted in Hebrews, the one sacrifice is sufficient.

    2- Yes, the priest must follow the right words, with the right elements. The point here is that in RC theology, which I do agree with, is that a “sacrament” has efficacy. And that a priest has no authority to free-lance, and change things just because he thinks he knows better that milk and brownies would better show the love of God than bread and wine. In the Episcopal church, we are now finding ourselves in deep trauma because of innovations.

    3- I agree with you concerning the apocrypha. Our formula is that there are many things there tha may be instructive, but it is not to be read on the same level as the canonical books. When we do read it in the service, the customary response is to be changed from “The Word of the Lord” to “Here endeth the lesson”

    4-I agree about Mary. The troubling thing is that although official teaching repudiates worship of Mary, it is often privately done and I think tacitly encouraged. If it is wrong, as you, I, and the official RC position all agree, then it is very, very wrong to worship any being contrary to the will of God. Even angels refused to be worshipped! If it is wrong, it is a very deep sin I don’t see how the RC could believe it wrong and tolerate it as “just a pious error” at the same time.

    5- vicar does mean substitute or replacement, but not in the since of supplanting. More in the sense of a Steward, who will give an account of his stewardship to his master.

    6- yes, in my understanding, they make no distinction between justification and sanctification. That through Baptism, Confession/absolution, and the Eucharist, we are made renewed and made holy, and more and more able to avoid sin. If we should die with the stain of our actual sin still present, God doesn’t just say “don’t worry about it” nor does He say “close, but not quite good enough” But he has made a way to be purged (purgatory) of that stain. This is for Christians only. Those outside are outside.
    Again, this is not my belief- The blood of Jesus covers all. But it is a lead-pipe certainty that I will still be imperfect on the day of my death. It is also certain that in the fulfillment of God’s will I will be perfected.

    This difference between “imputed righteousness” and “infused righteousness” is the biggest non-starter for me in regards to becoming Roman Catholic. The infallibility of the Pope (only proclaimed when he speaks “ex cathedra”, not just every word he utters) is the other big negative.
    This is not an issue of salvation BTW. Does that change from imperfect to perfect require any particle of time at all? any “process” like disrobing of my old nature, or is it just *TRUE*? If there is any “scrubbing up” to be done, could that not reasonably be called “purgatory”? (Although this is not the RC conception)

    Good exercise! I think one of the best ways to know what I believe, and why, is to compare it with other beliefs. The caution is that one must be sure to read the opposition in its strongest form possible- so that we don’t end up defeating a straw-man caricature of the opponent. The other caution is to spend even much more time contemplating the truth as such. One can recognize the crooked by contemplating the straight. One can never understand the straight by contemplating the crooked. Accordingly, I am much happier being known by what I am for, rather than what I am against: “Reformed” rather than “Protestant” !

    -Blessings!
    R. Eric Sawyer

  2. March 7, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Greetings! Saw your post in Google Blogsearch and came to read.

    >”we covered the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) last night in youth group.”

    What does “covered”entail? Why just the Church at Rome? Why not discuss the entire Catholic Church, which includes 23 distinct Catholic Churches (Chaldean Catholic, Melkite Catholic, etc.). Why not ask a Catholic or priest in to present their faith and answer questions?

    >”1. I did not know the view of mass.”

    Neither do many Catholics.

    >”Mass is actually Christ’s death being poured out EVERY time mass meets.”

    The Mass is Calvary. Catholics take the Bible at its word that God is almighty, thus not subject to time nor space. R. Eric Sawyer is correct that the Mass is not a “re-doing”. When one attends the Mass, one is present at Calvary and witness to the one sacrifice for all time.

    >”Without mass, the people cannot receive forgiveness of their sins.”

    This is true when the Mass is undertood as being Calvary and without Jesus one sacrifice for all time people cannot receive forgiveness of their sins.

    >”That is the importance of going to mass.”

    While that is an important reason, the real sin that occurs from not attending Mass is that Catholics know the Mass is Calvary and that Jesus (God, Our Creator) is present and by not attending we are willfully rejecting being in God’s presence and worshipping God as He rightly deserves. Is not willfully rejecting God a definition of sin?

    >2. The priest must do every step in mass perfectly. If he forgets one, he sins, thus making the entire mass worthless, and no one receives purification. Whoops!”

    Close, but no cigar. You’ve wandered into the differences between illicit and/or invalid Masses. An illicit Mass is often valid. More here:

    http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/articles/badliturgy.htm

    >”I’ve never read the apocrypha, but the teachings of it seem crazy that they can be accepted along side the Bible. Many contradictory elements to the Bible are found in it. Also, looking at it historically, the fact that it was written in Greek, yet supposedly predates Christ seems to be a red flag in my opinion. Maybe that’s just me though.”

    Yeah, is just you and a few others. The “Apochrypha” have been included in most Christian canons. See this chart of Old Testament canons:

    http://www.bombaxo.com/canonchart.html

    I doubt there are any contradictory elements to the Bible, but rather contradictory elements to your personal interpretation of the Bible, which are not the same. Keep in mind that the 1611 King James Bible included the Apochrypha and the translators cross-referenced the Apochrypha to the New Testament in the margin notes.

    I fail to see why an Old Testament written in Greek would be a red flag as the Golden Age of Greece peaked before Jesus and most literture of the day was written in Greek. Perhaps we should consider a New Testament, or even a Bible, written in English as a similar red flag.

    >”… by claiming the Mary is completely sin-free seems to be a step in that direction. Mary being sinless, perfect, and remaining a virgin, even after the birth of Jesus’s siblings seems like she might be on a higher pedestal than what some would like to admit.”

    First, why is it impossible for an almighty God to save someone from sin? Adam and Eve were also created sinless (immaculate) by God and I’d wager you don’t see them as being on a higher pedastel.

    The Christian Church has always held that Mary was a perpetual virgin. To believe that Mary was not a perpetual virgin is the Helvidian Heresy and makes one a follower of Helvidius, thus a heretic. The problem with your phrase “birth of Jesus’s siblings” is that no where in the Bible does it ever identify these “siblings” as children of Mary. This errant belief is a tradition of man and very much un-Biblical and un-Christian. Jerome, the translator of the Bible from Greek into Latin, wrote the definitive apology for the perpetual virginity of Mary.

    http://christian-apologetics-society.blogspot.com/2008/03/apologetics-perpetual-virginity-of-mary.html

    >5. The Pope is known as the “Vicar of Christ.” Vicar meaning substitute. Wow. That’s scary to me, too.”

    Just means that you have never connected Jesus words to Peter in Matthew 16:15-19 with Isaiah 22:22. Isaiah 22 tells of the rle of the Chief Steward of the king and of the steward’s authority as represented by possesion of the king’s keys.

    Its less scary if one understands that Jesus reinstituted the Davidic office of the Chief Steward with Peter as the first Chief Steward (vicar) of Christ.

    “6. Then, the more good deeds that they do, the more justified they become. Our justification is instantaneous, and we are seen as righteous in God’s eyes in spite of our sin. To the RCC, they can achieve actual righteousness.”

    Which is better? To be seen as righteous or to be made righteous?

    Scripture is clear that nothing unholy will enter heaven? Being seen as righteous means that one is still unholy, thus cannot enter heaven. Jesus didnt tell us to be seen as holy but to be holy (1 Pt 1:15-16).

    “But, don’t commit a mortal sin, because that offsets everything and you’ll go to hell, or maybe purgatory.”

    The Apostle John pretty much says that when he warns of “sin that is deadly” versus “sin that is not deadly”. (1 John 5:16-17) Good job paraphrasing!

    Keep in mind that purgatory is the name given to the “event” of final purification and that all souls undergoing purification enter into heaven. Its that thing the Bible describes as occuring after death that one reads about in 1 Corinthians 3:15.

    If you ever need clear concise answers regarding anything Catholic, Catholic.com is the place to go. I also invite you to attend a Catholic Mass at least once so you have first hand knowedge and not second hand hear say. Catholics have Mass (and the Lord’s Supper) each and every day. Its that prophecy of Malachi 1:11 thing. (There’s a zipcode lookup tool on my blog)

    Catholics only ask that you abstain from communion as your reception is a public statement of faith that you are in communion with the Catholic Church and believe as Catholics believe, which you don’t.

    Gos bless… +Timothy

  3. March 9, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Reading your post just reaffirms my thankfulness in the new covenant. I’m glad to have a God I can approach on my own, and I am thankful I do not have to go through someone else to get to Him. Jesus became that mediator for us. No earthly priest can do that.

    I’m also very thankful God will forgive me when I seek repentance, no matter if that’s 2 AM or 2 PM, or in a church or my own home. It’s a great thing to know God’s schedule for forgiveness does not have to be in line with a church’s schedule for services.

  4. March 9, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Amen to all you say.
    Many RC practices have a grain of truth in them, but(at least in my opinion)have a tremendous down-side, particularlyamong the lay understanding of those practices. Your comments about confession and repentance are perfect examples.

    I absolutely agree with you about the blessings of God’s intimacy with us, and that among the fruit of Jesus’ work is the access granted us to the Father through Him. But there is something incarnational, or a fruit of the incarnation, that sees in a brother the Holy Spirit, and emptying my heart to God in the person of /in the presence of my brother, indwelt be the Spirit, and hearing him tell me that God has forgiven me.

    That is the grain of truth hidden in the ritual of “confession”

    -Blessings!
    R. Eric Sawyer

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: