Friday, June 3, 2016

Catholic vs. Protestant -- why is there so much animosity? (Also published on Cathapol)

I found an article on gotquestions?.org. I thought this site was a neutral site on religion, but boy was I ever wrong. It is a Protestant site that holds nothing back. In the article "Catholic vs. Protestant -- why is there so much animosity?", I detected a lot of animosity toward Catholics.

That was the question. The author's answer and some of my comments.

This is a simple question with a complicated answer, because there are varying degrees of, and reasons for, animosity between the two religious groups.
Let's start there. What two religious groups? Technically speaking, both Protestants and Catholics are Christians, so we are actually the same religion. We just have doctrinal differences. And yes, some are doozies. Can we at least agree that we are all Christians? 
This particular battle is rooted in history. Degrees of reaction have ranged from friendly disagreement (as reflected in numerous ecumenical dialogues produced between the two groups), to outright persecution and murder of Protestants at the hands of Rome.
Yes, much of the animosity between the two groups of Christians in rooted in history. However, spreading the fictional propaganda that Catholics persecuted and murdered Protestants is not going to help ease such animosity. Neither Catholics, nor the Catholic Church persecuted or murdered Protestants wholesale. Did the Catholic Church believe Protestants did not receive salvation at one time in its history?--yes. Has there been a battle between Protestant rulers and Catholic ones?--yes. Has the Catholic Church ever advocated a war against Protestants in general?--no. Obviously, this author did not study actual history but a revisionist version with propaganda mixed in. He's probably heard this balderdash so many times, he really believes it to be true.

From the history I learned (I went to a public high school and a Baptist College), Catholics were not the aggressors in Protestant (Calvinist) Switzerland, nor in Henry VIII's, Edward VI's, or Elizabeth I's England, nor Northern France. Calvin was a lawyer turned "theologian" who left France during the Protestant uprising there. He went to Switzerland where he was instrumental in helping Protestants take over the government and the church there. It was a very restrictive society under the Protestants.

Voltaire wrote: "If they condemned celibacy in the priests, and opened the gates of the convents, it was only to turn all society into a convent. Shows and entertainments were expressly forbidden by their religion; and for more than two hundred years there was not a single musical instrument allowed in the city of Geneva. They condemned auricular confession, but they enjoined a public one; and in Switzerland, Scotland, and Geneva it was performed the same as penance." [This was my addition, not included in the gotquestions?.org article]

Neither society, nor Christianity was improved by Calvin, Luther, Zwingli and their ilk. There was no "reformation" only a deformation of the Church.
Reformation teachings that identify the Pope as the Beast of Revelation and / or Roman Catholicism as Mystery Babylon are still common among Protestants. Clearly, anyone with this view is not going to "warm up" to Rome any time soon.
It is the other way around, sir. Catholics are not going to warm up to Protestants who say such nonsense.  The Catholic Church, though its leader is in Rome, is not Rome. The pope is chosen by the Holy Spirit. Have there been terrible popes? Of course, they're human. Was the Catholic Church founded in the 16th century or later? No, but all modern Protestant churches have been. What does that tell you? The the Catholic Church has its foundation in Christ's teaching from 33AD to the present. The 16th + century churches were made from hole cloth by their founders (who were certainly not Jesus Christ). No, Catholics are not going to "warm up" to people who call them the beast or accuse them of murder.
For the most part, today at least, the animosity comes from basic human nature when dealing with fundamental disagreement over eternal truths.
I whole-heartedly agree. The problem that Protestants don't seem to see is that there can only be one truth. You can't have hundreds of different truths--as there are in Protestantism. Every preacher is his own pope, his own authority on "truth"; he is the one who interprets the Scriptures and preaches his own gospel in a church he figuratively or actually built.
Passions are sure to ignite in the more weighty matters of life, and one's faith is (or at least should be) at the top of the heap. Many Protestants think Roman Catholics teach a works-gospel that cannot save, while Roman Catholics think Protestants teach easy-believism that requires nothing more than an emotional outburst brought on by manipulative preaching.
1) Paul, the Protestant's favorite writer, says that he is working out his salvation, trembling. There are certain things we do need to do to be saved. The first work of salvation is FAITH. "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (Jn 6:29 KJV) We must believe, not as the demons do ("Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19 KJV)), but as the saints in Heaven ("The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne (Rev. 4:10 KJV).

2) We do not believe that good works ALONE save us. This is what Protestants believe that we believe. No, Catholics do not believe that; do not preach that; do not advocate that. However, Catholics do believe that you must work out your salvation in the sense that Paul meant (" out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Phil. 2:12 KJV) -by the Sacraments (especially the Eucharist) and much prayer.  If Protestants don't believe that prayer is important in the plan of salvation (it is a "work" after all), why would they be doing it in the first place?

3) Many, many Protestant churches and individuals do believe in "easy-believism." When a church advocates the "sinners prayer" is all you need to be saved--what do you call that? Many Protestant churches don't believe there is any salvific merit in the "Lord's Supper" or baptism. Things that Jesus commanded us to do. "Do this in memory of Me." "Go into all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Both from memory) I, as a Catholic, don't understand why Jesus Christ's commands are not important to Protestants.
Protestants blame Catholics for worshipping Mary,...
Blaming Catholics for what? Accusing them you mean? This accusation started after the "Reformation", as all the leading "reformers" did respect and honor Mary.

Luther said, "The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart."
(Sermon, September 1, 1522)

And, "One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521)

We honor Mary, ironically as Luther said, not for her sake, "but for the sake of Christ." We do not "worship" Mary. We worship God, in Holy Trinity, alone.
...and Catholics think Protestants are apparently too dull to understand the distinctions Rome has made in this regard.
I don't believe that to be true. Catholics, in my opinion, get tired of explaining the difference between honoring someone and worshipping them. Protestants aren't too dull, just too stubborn to see another side to the honoring of Mary but the erroneous opinion they believe it to be.
These caricatures are often difficult to overcome.
An "answer" like yours to this question, certainly will not help in overcoming the difficulties of this question, either.
Behind the particular disagreements over the role of faith and works, the sacraments (sic), the canon of Scripture, the role of the priesthood, prayer to saints, and all the issues surrounding Mary and the Pope, etc., lies the biggest rift between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism: the issue of authority. How one answers the authority question will generally inform all the other issues.
Again, I would whole-heartedly agree. The issue is authority, not any of those petty things Protestants gripe about. Our authority is Jesus Christ and His Apostles. Every point of dogma and doctrine is based in those two authorities. All the councils, all the popes, every Father and Doctor of the Church, every theologian, down to the priests today studied, prayed over, discussed debated, and argued over doctrine. Jesus promised His apostles that He would send someone (the Holy Spirit) Who would guide them into "all truth." He kept His promise--the result is the Body of Christ present in the Catholic Church today.

The fact that Protestants think that they know better than 2,000 years of Holy Spirit-guided Catholic theologians seems more like arrogance than truth. 
When it comes down to deciding a theological issue about defined Catholic dogma, there isn't really much to discuss on the Catholic's side because once Rome speaks it is settled. This is a problem when trying to debate a Roman Catholic -- reason and Scripture are not the Catholic's final authority; they can always retreat into the "safe zone" of Roman Catholic authority.
This statement is a little insulting. In my opinion, he is calling us too dull to debate--what he accuses us of thinking of Protestants. Catholics are too stupid to debate Protestants because they can always "retreat" to Catholic authority and not reason. Really? You really believe that all Protestants who debate Catholics debate more reasonably? All, and I do mean each and every, Catholic dogma has its basis in Scripture, and, yes, all "defined" Catholic dogma must be believed by Catholics. Otherwise, we would be Protestants believing any old opinion we happen to agree with.

All dogma, if not found explicitly in Scripture, it is found implicitly and became a dogma after much prayer, interpretation and study by theologians (many dogmas for centuries). All of Catholic dogma is reasoned and is Scriptural. All Catholic dogma has been debated for almost two millenia. The reason Catholics "fall back" on Catholic authority is because it is inspired, proven Truth.

Seriously, how can Protestants have the Truth when they all disagree on so, so many things. How can there be many truths? ie, on what one must do to be saved, on baptism, on versions of the Bible, on communion, on what day of the week to worship on, on when or whether or not to celebrate Easter, etc, etc, etc. How can there be a truth to any of these things, if Protestants, all claiming the guidance of the Holy Spirit? I'm sorry but I don't see that as "reason"ed.
Thus, many of the arguments between a Protestant and a Catholic will revolve around one's "private interpretation" of Scripture as against "official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church."
Protestants have and do, continually, rely on their "private interpretation" of Scripture, many times with Scriptures either taken out of context or proof-texted in such a way as to be a veritable quilt of theology--patched together but not necessarily going together. They piece their theology together and step back and think, that is perfect. When, in reality, nothing goes together.
Catholics claim to successfully avoid the legitimate problems of private interpretation by their reliance on their tradition. But this merely pushes the question back a step.
Actually, what Catholics claim, again my opinion, that the issues that they argue with Protestants has been argued and argued for a millenia and a half. They get tired of the same old Protestant interpretations and prejudices. Catholic theologians much smarter than the author of that article or me argued the very same theological points long before any Protestant came along. It certainly does not take a step back, in point of fact, it is skipping an unnecessary step--reinterpreting for the thousandth times thousandth time any theological issue has been argued.
The truth is that both Roman Catholics and Protestants must, in the end, rely upon their reasoning abilities (to choose their authority) and their interpretive skills (to understand what that authority teaches) in order to determine what they will believe.
Ok. At least here the author, accidentally, admits that Catholics do reason and have some skill in arguing. All Catholic converts I know (I am a convert to Catholicism) have reasoned and interpreted "to determine what they will believe."  I know that I, personally, challenged the Holy Spirit to convince me, if the Catholic Church were true. He, personally, answered my every challenge, including issues about the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is why I became a member of the True Body of Christ.
Protestants are simply more willing to admit that this is the case.
Not true. If this is your idea of dissipating hostilities, you run short sir. Catholics do reason, and learn to do so in religious education, Catholic schools, and Catholic universities and seminaries. The picture you attempt to paint of unreasoning, ignorant, or mindless Catholics is defamatory. I don't know any Catholic that thinks Protestants are dull (your word). However, I do believe that the fact that the vocabulary of the Protestants differs from that of Catholics and thus the misunderstandings.
Both sides can also be fiercely loyal to their family's faith or the church they grew up in without much thought to doctrinal arguments.
I would agree with this statement with one caveat: Catholics do not preach anti-Protestantism in their churches; many a Protestant pulpit, however, is used to malign Catholics and their faith.
Obviously, there are a lot of possible reasons for the division between Catholicism and Protestantism, and while we should not divide over secondary issues, both sides agree that we must divide when it comes to primary issues.
What are secondary issues? Mary? Baptism? The Eucharist? What are the primary issues that Protestants hold dear? The only one I know common to all Protestants is "Scripture alone" or is it "by faith alone" or "God alone"? I hear so many versions of so-called "sola scriptura" or Scripture is the sole rule of faith for Christians, that I can't tell what this "truth" is either.
Beyond that, we can agree to disagree and worship where we find ourselves most in agreement. When it comes to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, the differences are just too great to ignore.
But...but, you just said "we should not divide over secondary issues." Now the differences are "just too great to ignore." Huh? Why aren't the differences in the many, many sects of Protestantism "too great to ignore?" In my eyes, it seems that Protestants think, "We are not Catholic, therefore we are all united in truth." That is just not a reasoned argument for the unity of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is quite physically visible in the Catholic Church.
However, that does not give license for caricatures or ignorant judgments – both sides need to be honest in their assessments and try not to go beyond what God has revealed.
Yet, you give several caricatures and ignorant judgments of Catholics in this article.

"Go beyond what God has revealed?" Nothing in Catholic doctrine is "beyond what God has revealed." All of it, in fact, was revealed by God the Holy Spirit.

He goes on to recommend a book on Protestantism compared to Catholicism--of course, from a purely Protestant perspective, and I believe would include the propaganda and "caricatures" revealed in this article.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Love This. He Loves Me, but condemns Me to Hell

I love to read all the nonsense people write about us, Catholics. This one is a doozy and I had to comment. I am putting my comments in italics interspersed in the text so those who don't see color will distinguish my comments from Mr. Stewart's. 

Why Catholics Are Going To Hell
By David J. Stewart | August 2006 | Updated October 2015
“And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” —John 8:45
Since we do follow God's Word, this would not apply.
Following Men's Traditions Instead of God's Word
I do not hate anyone.
 I love how he says Catholics are going to hell, but he doesn't hate anyone. 
I do not hate any of the Popes. I do not hate any Catholics. They are sinners for whom Jesus Christ died, just as I am.
  For Mr. Stewart's information and all those who read his erroneous opinions, Catholics acknowledge their sins and say they are sorry for them every single time they go to Mass.

This is the Penitential Rite said at most Sunday Masses:
 Penitential Rite
The priest says: "Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries."

The people say: "I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do," [here one is to strike one's breast three times as one says:] "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; Therefore, I asked blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God."

The priest then says: "May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life."

All: "Amen"

Priest: "Lord, have mercy."
People: "Lord, have mercy."
Priest: "Christ, have mercy."
People: "Christ, have mercy."
Priest: "Lord, have mercy."
People: "Lord, have mercy."
Need biblical support for the penitential rite in Church? How about these passages just to quote a few:

James 5:16: "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful."
Rev. 3:3: "Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it and repent."
I John 1:9: "If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us of every wrongdoing." 
Tobit 8:4: "My sister, come, let us pray and beg our Lord to grant us mercy and protection." and in verse seven it says "...Send down your mercy on me and on her."
All of Psalm 51: (Verse 3) "Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions."

I love Catholics, just as I love everyone with God's unconditional love. The love of God is unconditional. Christians who walk with God have God's love shed abroad in their heart, unconditionally loving others.
True of Catholics as well, since they, too, are Christians and follow Christ's teachings.
I don't mean to be unkind by saying that Catholics are going to Hell; but rather, to speak the truth and warn you of the judgment to come (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20:15).
The thing is, Mr. Stewart, that is not up to you to judge. We, too, believe in the Last Judgement. The difference between Mr. Stewart and Catholics is that we believe Christ, the King and Lawgiver, to be the judge.
1470 In this sacrament [Penance], the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin.79 In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and "does not come into judgment."80
79 Cf. 1 Cor 5:11; Gal 5:19-21; Rev 22:15.
80 Jn 5:24.
 679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He "acquired" this right by his cross. The Father has given "all judgment to the Son".587 Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.588 By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.589
 587 Jn 5:22; cf. 5:27; Mt 25:31; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim 4:1.
588 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.
589 Cf. Jn 3:18; 12:48; Mt 12:32; 1 Cor 3:12-15; Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-31.
The modernistic idea that we should all refrain from criticizing anyone else's religion is a completely evil New World Order philosophy. I'm going to speak the truth of God's Word, even if it offends you.
As this will be your opinion of God's Word, we will take a deep breath and read on.
I am going to warn you that you are on a wrong road, headed for the bottomless pit, even if you hate me for it.
I don't believe I am headed down the wrong road. I believe the Catholic Church is the one founded by our Savior, Jesus Christ, as all educated Christians did until 1500 years after Christ's Ascension. I was once Baptist but saw how much that denomination was lacking. There, there was Scripture but not a real intimate relationship with Christ. I  like to say the Baptist Church gave me a love of  Scripture, but the Catholic Church gave me an intimate relationship with Christ.
I am telling you the truth. Catholicism is a manmade religion that cannot save you. There is NO salvation in the Catholic Church;
I will take you at face value that you are well meaning, but you are severely misguided in what you believe you know about the Catholic Church.  The center, the heart of the Church is Christ in the Eucharist. Then following the Commandments of Christ. Christ IS our salvation. The Church is the Body of Christ. 
776 As sacrament, the Church is Christ's instrument. "She is taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all," "the universal sacrament of salvation," by which Christ is "at once manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God's love for men."199 The Church "is the visible plan of God's love for humanity," because God desires "that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit."200
199 LG 9 § 2,48 § 2; GS 45 § 1.
200 Paul VI, June 22, 1973; AG 7 § 2; cf. LG 17.
In just as genuine a way, I tell you, Mr. Stewart, that you have no idea what you are talking about.
only idolatry,
Since Catholics worship the one True God and Him only, this accusation of idolatry does not apply. We do not worship statues, pictures, images, or anything else as gods--which is the actual definition of idolatry. I know that this idea of idolatry has been pounded into your imagination over and over, but that does not make it true. The statues and pictures are simply images of our brothers and sisters in God's family. In many ancient Churches, Old and New Testament stories are emblazoned on canvas, tapestries, windows and stone. Literacy is a modern luxury; the Church put these images in places to educate the masses on the Scriptures and the history of the Church.

Mary, being the Queen Mother (her Son is the King of the Universe after all) is honored above all the saints. But, we do not worship her or the saints.
2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them."42 God, however, is the "living God"43 who gives life and intervenes in history.
2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon."44 Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast"45 refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.46
2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God."47
42 Ps 115:4-5, 8; cf. Isa 44:9-20; Jer 10:1-16; Dan 14:1-30; Bar 6; Wis 13:1-15:19.
43 Josh 3:10; Ps 42:3; etc.
44 Mt 6:24.
45 Cf. Rev 13-14.
46 Cf. Gal 5:20; Eph 5:5.
47 Origen, Contra Celsum 2,40:PG 11,861.
Here I underlined the terms of the definition of idolatry, none of which apply to a true Catholic Christian. 

Origen, Contra Celsum, Book 2, Chapter 40:

It is, moreover, in a very unphilosophical spirit that Celsus imagines our Lord's pre-eminence among men to consist, not in the preaching of salvation and in a pure morality, but in acting contrary to the character of that personality which He had taken upon Him, and in not dying, although He had assumed mortality; or, if dying, yet at least not such a death as might serve as a pattern to those who were to learn by that very act how to die for the sake of religion, and to comport themselves boldly through its help, before those who hold erroneous views on the subject of religion and irreligion, and who regard religious men as altogether irreligious, but imagine those to be most religious who err regarding God, and who apply to everything rather than to God the ineradicable idea of Him (which is implanted in the human mind), and especially when they eagerly rush to destroy those who have yielded themselves up with their whole soul (even unto death), to the clear evidence of one God who is over all things.
[I underlined the two passages from this early Church Father that would seem to apply to this author. He does have an "erroneous [view] on the subject of religion and irreligion" and regards "religious men as altogether irreligious."  And, he eagerly rushes "to destroy those who have yielded themselves up with their whole soul."]

worshipping of the dead,
Again, We do not worship the dead. We honor God's family members who have passed into the next world--Heaven--as examples of how to live good and holy lives. We ask them to pray for us.

958 Communion with the dead. "In full consciousness of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great respect the memory of the dead; and 'because it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins' she offers her suffrages for them."500 Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.
 500 LG 50; cf. 2 Macc 12:45.
The Church has always believed that the apostles and Christ's martyrs who had given the supreme witness of faith and charity by the shedding of their blood, are closely joined with us in Christ, and she has always venerated them with special devotion, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the holy angels. The Church has piously implored the aid of their intercession. To these were soon added also those who had more closely imitated Christ's virginity and poverty, and finally others whom the outstanding practice of the Christian virtues and the divine charisms recommended to the pious devotion and imitation of the faithful.   -Lumen Gentium, 50
I'm not even sure what is "heathendom," but if he means we are heathens, that is absolutely not true. We are Christians and members of the Body of Christ. He has neither supported nor proven that Catholic Christians are heathens. Catholics belong to the Kingdom of God and no other (whatever)dom.
Our worship of God has been ritualized, but that is simply a matter of traditional style.  In point of fact, somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of the Mass can be seen word for word in the Word of God. And, what exactly is wrong with ritual? That is how children learn in school; it is how we live our lives. You have a daily "ritual", ie, you get up at a certain time, wash and dress, perhaps pray or read Scripture, get to work at a certain time. Ritual is how we worship together, pray together, and become God's family together.
vain repetitions
When St. Paul talked about vain repetitions, he was talking about non-Christians, not Christians. Praising God is not "vain repetition." Praying the Psalms is not "vain repetition." Repeating Jesus Christ's words from the Gospels is not "vain repetition." Besides, I can point to so called "vain repetitions" in many churches claiming to be Christian who are not Catholic: the Doxology for one, creeds, or even opening prayers that are repeated; I even saw a "preacher" on TV that holds his Bible up and repeats some kind of silly pledge to the Bible with everyone in his audience.
and doctrines of devils (1st Timothy 4:1).
Since there are no "doctrines" of the devils in Catholic doctrine teachings, this is a moot accusation.
Salvation is NOT found in any religion; but rather, in a Person, the precious Lord Jesus Christ!
Since that is what we, Catholics, count on -- "the precious Lord Jesus Christ" -- I would guess that we are good to go.
Billions of lost sinners are dying in their sins and plunging into Hell because of the lying Popes and priests who deceive them.
This blanket statement is overreaching quite a bit. Have there been bad popes or bad priests? Of course there have been. They are human beings! Have their been crappy Protestant preachers? Absolutely!!  The weaknesses of men have nothing to do with the Truth of the His Church.
Romans 10:3, “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Jesus warned about following the commandments of men (Mark 7:6-13). Here's a list of Catholicism's manmade traditions fabricated over the centuries. 
Matthew 23:13, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Woe until the Catholic Church and their idolatrous worship of idols and images! Exodus 20:4-5 (the second of the Ten Commandment) strictly forbids even BOWING to images. The Vatican has deceitfully removed the 2nd Commandment in their Hellish Catechism!
Actually that is a completely FALSE statement. The Catholic version of the Ten Commandments existed for nearly a millenia and a half before it was changed by Protestants. Catholics did not remove the 2nd Commandment of the Protestant 10 Commandments; the Jewish 10 Commandments has the commandment "I am the Lord your God, your are my people..." 

Side by side comparison of the three different versions.

 In actuality, The Protestant version split the second Commandment of the Jewish Version to make their 1st and 2nd Commandment in a direct attempt at iconoclasm.  The Catholic Version leaves out the Jewish first commandment because it only applies to the Chosen people--Israel.  It also distinguishes between a neighbor's wife and a neighbor's goods, elevating women above possessions. Up until the Protestants changed it, the "Catholic" version was the only Christian version.  Since, there is NO numbering of the Ten Commandments in Scripture, the Protestant version is not any more or less Scripturally valid than the Catholic one.
Trusting Upon Works Salvation (self-righteousness)
Satan is a master of deception!!! 
Agreed. Every Catholic would agree with that!
The Word of God states in 2nd Corinthians 11:3-4, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Catholicism preaches ANOTHER GOSPEL and has ANOTHER SPIRIT. The Gospel (Catechism) of Catholicism
The Gospel preached and taught in the Catholic Church is the one it has always preached and taught--Jesus Christ's Gospel, witnessed and written down in the Books of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John.
REQUIRES a person to be water baptized into the Catholic Church to go to Heaven. 
Jesus Christ commanded, "Go and preach to all nations, BAPTISING them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  We unapologetically obey Christ's commands.
Catholics are also REQUIRED to keep the Seven Sacraments to go to Heaven.
Jesus Christ instituted each and every one of the Seven Sacraments. We take that very seriously. 

Baptism: Matt. 28:19; John 3:22, 4:1-2; Acts 2:38-41
Confirmation: John 20:22; Acts 8:17, 10:44-48
Eucharist: Mark 14:22-25; John 6:48-58; Acts 2:42
Reconciliation: John 20:23; James 5:16
Anointing of the Sick: Mark 6:7-13; James 5:14-16
Matrimony: Mark 10:2-12; Ephesians 5:22-23
Holy Orders: Mark 3:13-19; Acts 6:6; I Timothy 4:14

These Scripture references are no where near exhaustive but are adequate to make my point. The reader will note that Mr. Stewart gives no support to say that the Sacraments are not valid. 
 These Sacraments include being confirmed by the priest,
Actually confirmation is done by the Holy Spirit through a bishop, not a priest.
regular confession to the priest,
Actually it is regular confession to Jesus Christ through the priest.
regular observance of the Holy Eucharist with the priest,
Not sure what the objection here is...Yes we have "regular observance of the Holy Eucharist" at every single Mass. We are celebrating the same, we mean the exact same, supper with Jesus at the Last Supper. In the Mass, the priest stands in Christ's stead as he calls on the Holy Spirit and says "This is My Body...This is My Blood."
last rites by the priest, et cetera.
One, Extreme Unction or "last rites", which was once only given in times of imminent death, has been replaced by the Anointing of the Sick. The sick AND the dying can receive grace in this Sacrament. Two, what is Mr. Stewart's objection to praying with someone who is dying? Does it not comfort or ease a person on his way to death? The priest allows the dying person to clear their conscience, prays with them, and gives them a blessing from God.
 The Catholic means of salvation; therefore, weighs heavily upon the Catholic priest
The "means of salvation" is not the priest, but it is the one he stands in for at Mass and in the other Sacraments--Jesus Christ. As for weighing heavily on the priest, is not the responsibility for his flock heavy on the shoulders of a Protestant minister? If it is not, what exactly is he/she there for in the first place?
Catholics are also REQUIRED to do good works to go to Heaven.
We are "REQUIRED" by Jesus Christ to "do good works" that is clear in Matthew Chapter 25. 
 Ask the average Catholic about faith verses works and they'll admit that they're trusting in FAITH AND WORKS to save them (which Romans 11:6 states is impossible). 
Actually, St. Paul was speaking about the people of Israel (see verse 7) and their attempt to follow the Law without actual love or respect for God but through outward works under the Law.  Again, I refer the reader to Matthew 25, but also the book of James. James clearly teaches that what we DO matures out faith and in James 2:18, Jesus's cousin and disciple says, "A man may say, 'Thou hast faith, and I have works.' Show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works." (KJ21) The belief of the Apostles and the Church teachings found on Christ and the Apostles' teachings was that faith and works were both necessary. Faith, as in true belief in Jesus Christ and His mission, was shown by good works such as taking care of the poor, praying for each other, etc.  Scripture says you must back up your faith with works.
Romans 4:5 states in no uncertain terms, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
When James spoke of being justified by “works,” he was clearly speaking about being justified in the eyes of MEN ... “I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Also, James was writing to believers; not the unsaved (James 2:1, “My Brethren...”). With God we are justified by faith; but with men by works, because men cannot see our heart as God can (1st Samuel 16:7). 
 I addressed this error of Mr. Stewart's opinion above. James is speaking of our inward faith being manifested in works of mercy and spirit.
Here is PROOF that James wasn't teaching works salvation ... “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” (James 2:21). Isaac? We read in Genesis 15:6 concerning Abraham, “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham was saved by faith alone in the Lord. Isaac wasn't even born until Genesis 21:3. Clearly, James is referring to two different types of justification here. In Genesis 15, Abraham is justified with God by faith ALONE; BUT in Genesis 22, Abraham's faith is justified by works in the eyes of men. 
Justification is justification. His faith was tested by God's command to Sacrifice his son. (As a foreshadow of what God Himself would do with His own Son). His inner faith was outwardly manifested in his obedience to God. His faith was justified by his work--period. One should not try to explain away the pure meaning of this Scripture.
Idol Worship!
Catholicism's spirit is one of idolatrous adoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
One of the biggest prejudices Protestants have against Catholics is honoring of Mary. We do not worship Mary, statues of Mary, or put her on the same level with God. We honor Mary because she is the mother of our Savior. God chose to became man through the womb of a special woman--Mary. You cannot even imagine how awesome it would be to carry God in your womb! Having given birth five times, I can only imagine how special that would be. 

Just as in England the ruling king or queen is honored, the queen mother is also honored. Until her death at 101, Queen Mother Elizabeth was honored and treated as a very special person in England. The British people's reverence for her was only surpassed by that of Queen Elizabeth, her daughter.  She had a special place in the heart of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, and the hearts of the people of England. So, too, does the subjects of the King of Heaven, Jesus, honor His mother as the Queen Mother. We hold affection for her and honor her but we do not worship her. 
In fact, it is a spirit of demonism (1st Timothy 4:1), as is evident by the vain repetition of 53 "Hail Marys" in a standard Rosary prayer. Jesus condemned vain repetitious prayers (Matthew 6:7). 
1. Jesus was talking about the vain repetitious prayers of heathens who did not worship the True God. Since we do worship the True God and claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior as all true Christians should, we do not fall under this condemnation.
2. There are 53 Hail Marys in a standard Rosary devotion. However, you fail to mention the praying of the Apostles' Creed, the five "Our Father"s, the five "Glory Be"s, plus meditations on the life of Jesus and Mary (There are 20 of them--all based on Scripture; five for each standard Rosary devotion).
3. It is a devotional tool developed by common people to replace the 150 Psalms traditionally prayed every day by monks. The Hail Mary is much shorter and easier to memorize. While you will be exposed to the Rosary in Church or at other meetings or gatherings of Catholics, the Rosary is not "mandatory". A good Catholic Christian could conceivably live a full Catholic Christian life without praying a single Rosary devotion.  
4. The "Hail Mary" is a prayer from Scripture:
 "Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee" (The name of Mary was added later) Luke 1:28
 "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb." (The name of Jesus was added later) Luke 1:42
 "Holy Mary,..." based on Eph. 1:1, Phil. 1:1, and Col. 1:2)
"...Mother of God."  See John chapter One. If one believes that Jesus is God, one cannot object to calling His mother, His mother.  Catholics do not believe, never have believed, and do not teach that Mary is the mother of the Godhead. She is, however, the mother of God the Son.
 "...pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."  based on James 5:16 ("The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working"); Eph. 6:18 ("Praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication..."); I Tim. 2:1 ("I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people..."); plus many more. Mary is more alive as we are, as she is in Heaven with God.
I don't know what Catholic culture you've been exposed to but there is not "moan"ing going on at all. Where did you get such an idea? 

The Rosary devotion concentrates on the life of Christ and His mother. The following are the "mysteries" Christians meditate upon when they pray 10 "Hail Mary's".

The Joyful mysteries: The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38); The Visitation (Luke 1:39-56); The Nativity (Luke 2:1-21); The Presentation (Luke 2:22-38); and the Finding of Our Lord in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52).

The Luminous Mysteries (recently added to the Rosary by St. John Paul II). The Baptism of Our Lord (Matt. 3:13-16); The Miracle at the Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1-11); The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15); The Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8); The Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper (Matthew 26).

The Sorrowful Mysteries: The Agony in the Garden (Matt. 26: 36-56); The Scourging at the Pillar (Matt. 27:26); The Crowning with Thorns (Matt. 27:27-31); Carrying the Cross (Matt. 27:32); The Crucifixion (Matt. 27:33-56).

The Glorious Mysteries: The Resurrection (John 20:1-29), The Ascension (Luke 24:36-53); The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-41); The Assumption of Mary (Song of Songs 2:2, 10-11); The Coronation of Mary (Gen. 3:15a; Rev. 12:1; Cor. 4:17)

If one looks at the mysteries or meditations objectively, one will see that the majority of the Rosary is concentrated on Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Catholics have statues galore. 
Yes, Catholics have statues, pictures, icons, paintings, stain glass windows, etc. which are exactly like the photo album and framed pictures scattered around your house! It is the pictures of our family, God's family. They are people we admire and want to emulate, and just like your earthly family members, Catholics find comfort in having our Heavenly families pictures around us. We know they pray for us (cloud of witness in Hebrews, incense is the prayers of the saints in Revelation, etc) and since they are with God, we find that a comforting thought.
Oh, how rebellious and sinful are the hearts of Catholics! They have religion without truth, churchianity without Christianity, and crucifixes without Christ. 
Very catchy and clever saying; none of which is true. Our hearts are filled with Christ and His Holy Spirit. We have the Truth--Jesus- in our "religion." Our Christianity is as obvious to those with eyes to see and ears to hear as any other Christian's actions. Our Crucifixes display the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for each and every human being on the planet. The Crucifix helps us remember His ultimate sacrifice for us.
“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God...” —Exodus 20:5
1) The Catholics here, if they are true Catholics, are not worshiping Mary. They are asking Mary's prayers and intercessions (Scripture that says just that noted above). 
2) I believe that if Protestants were transported back in time to the Temple built by Solomon as prescribed by God, they would accuse the Jews of idolatry also. 

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” —Philippians 2:10
Every knee does bow in Mass. On the other hand, I have NEVER seen a single Protestant bend his or her knee for God. 
Don't tell me that Catholicism doesn't worship Mary!!! The above photo says it all. Pope John Paul II worshipped Our Lady of Fatima (Mary) and not the Lord Jesus Christ. 
 Wow. Do you all make this up as you go along? It sure seems that way. 

St. John Paul II did honor Mary very much and the message she gave at Fatima was personal to him.
Again below...
I know it is a hard, hard concept for Protestants to grasp, but kneeling in front of a statue of Mary does not constitute worshiping Mary, any more than holding a Bible while praying. Here St. John Paul II is asking Mary for prayers for his intentions (prayer requests) to her Son, Jesus Christ. ALL prayers to saints are asking them to pray for us to God just EXACTLY as a Protestant would ask another Protestant to pray for them to God. Yes, we can go directly to God with our prayers. Why ask anyone else to pray for you or your prayer intentions? You MUST, by Mr. Stewart's definition, be worshiping the person you asked to pray for you. You must think that you cannot pray to God on your own behalf if you ask someone else to pray for you. That is what your logic says. We "pray" in the old fashioned English sense of asking. We ask Mary and the Saints to pray for us. It is a totally biblical concept that Protestants, so far removed from the original Church founded by Christ, cannot seem to grasp.
The average Catholic is brainwashed with Catechism training and knows little about the Bible. 
 1. Catholics are not brainwashed any more than any Christian of any denomination are brainwashed.
2. Every bit of the Catechism is supported by, quotes from, and is footnoted with Scripture.
3. Catholics hear and learn about Scripture in Mass. Two passages from the rest of Scripture (usually one from the OT and one from the NT), a Psalm, and a reading from one of the Gospels are read at every Sunday Mass. Weekday Masses only have one Scripture passage along with the Psalm and the Gospel. If one attends Sunday Mass, one would hear the majority of Scripture in three years. If one attends weekday Masses, you would hear Scripture in its entirety. 
4. Scripture is an important part of the Mass and its reading at home is highly encouraged by the Church.
The Word of God is clear that we are to bow at the name of Jesus (and NO other).
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
and things in earth, and things under the earth.” —Philippians 2:10
Churchianity without Christianity
We also read in 2nd Corinthians 11:13-14, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Let me ask you a question friend. What religion, or group of ministers, are the above Scriptures warning us about?  Most people would agree that Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are false prophets. BUT, what about Catholicism?  How does Catholicism compare to God's Word?  Not very well. 
Matthew 23:9 forbids addressing any priest as “Father.” 
 1. He was talking to Pharisees, not Christians. Admonishing the pharisees for their "holier than thou" attitude.
2. Jesus said not to call anyone Rabbi in Matt. 23:8 because their is only one Teacher; and said in Matthew 23:10 not to address anyone as Master.  Do you call anyone teacher? You do if you address anyone as teacher, rabbi, or even "Doctor," this too is a form of "teacher", so by the author's standards, forbidden.   Do you call anyone Mister? This is a form of the word master. By the author's standards, this too would be forbidden. Stop calling men mister and women mistress (Mrs). Indeed, Jesus did not forbid the use of the term father for a man. That is very far from the meaning of Christ's admonition of the pharisees.
3. Father used as a form of address is actually used quite frequently in the New Testament. If Christ was banning the use of "Father" for every man in every situation, one would think the disciples would have banned the use of the term also. They didn't, in fact, they used it routinely.

Acts 7:2:  St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, addressed the high priest and others listening to him as "My brothers and fathers" and refers to "Our FATHER Abraham."
Acts 22:1: St. Paul addressed the crowd as brothers and FATHERS. 
I Cor. 4:15: St. Paul says " Christ Jesus, I became YOUR FATHER in the Gospel."
Phil. 2:22: St. Paul calls St. Timothy his child and he Timothy's father.
I John 2:14: St. John addresses some of his readers..."I write to you, fathers, because you know know him who is from the beginning."

These many references (there are more) are to spiritual fatherhood, and they refer to their followers as sons (St. Paul calls Timothy his "child" many times). The priest is the spiritual father of the "children" of the parish. It is right to call him "father."

1st Timothy 4:1-3 warns of false prophets who would teach "doctrines of devils." What are those devilish doctrines? 1st Timothy 4:3 tells us, “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats...” 
Just a tiny bit of research would have shown Mr. Stewart that marriage is not forbidden in the Catholic Church. In fact it is one of the Seven Sacraments instituted by Christ. Priests are not "forbidden" to marry. They voluntarily vow to remain unmarried in order to devote their whole life to Christ.  Christ spent His whole life unmarried and devoted His time to His ministry. This is the example most Catholic priests follow. St. Paul said in I Corinthians 7: 8, "Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, AS I DO,..." He said it was better to remain unmarried like he was. However, it is important to point out that unmarried priests are a custom, not a dogma, and could change someday. I hope not, because I can't count the number of times I've heard about divorces, criminal children of, and scandals of clergy of other so-called Christian churches. A man is under double pressure from the Church and from a family to be all to each. Having said that (and this may come as a surprise to Mr. Stewart and many other Protestants) THERE ARE MARRIED PRIESTS in the Catholic Church. There is an Eastern rite of the Church that does have married priests and there have been exceptions in the Latin rite when married clergy have come back to the True Church. Exceptions to the discipline of unmarried priests have been and are made when necessary.
The Catholic Churches' practice of celibacy is DEMONIC! 
How is it demonic? It is demonic to dedicate your whole life to God and His Church? I find that heroic--to give your whole life to God 24/7. I guess St. Paul must have demonic also.
Catholics are not allowed to eat certain meats on Fridays. This teaching is DEMONIC!
This statement actually made me laugh out loud. A little research, please...Catholics are not forbidden to eat certain meats on Fridays. The DISCIPLINE of giving up red meat on Fridays is now only asked of Catholics ages 14-60 during Lent. This helps us remember those who are too poor to afford meat and hopefully use the money to give to a charity that feeds the poor. It is also a spiritual discipline to be thankful for what we do have. The rest of the year we are asked to give up meat on Fridays if we can or do some other act of charity for those in need on Friday. How giving to and thinking of others as our Savior Jesus Christ asked us to do is demonic is beyond me.
 Matthew 6:7 forbids praying in vain repetitions; but that is exactly what Catholics do. 
Actually it says, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, AS THE HEATHEN DO: for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking." (King James Version) Since, as I said before, we do not pray as the heathens do, this admonition does not apply to Catholics. 
Exodus 20:4-5 prohibits bowing to graven images;
Here Scripture is referring to graven images as gods. See verse 22: "Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold." None of the "graven images" in a Catholic Church are gods.  
It is also quite clear that God did not forbid all "graven images": 

The temple built by Solomon, I Kings 6: "In the sanctuary were two cherubim (vs. 10)...the cherubim too were overlaid with gold (vs. 28)... The walls on all sides of both the inner and the outer rooms had carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. (vs. 29)...The two doors were of olive wood with carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The doors were overlaid with gold, which also molded to the cherubim and the palm trees. (vs.32) ...and had carved cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, over gold was evenly applied. (vs. 35)  
I Kings 7: "Four hundred pomegranates were also cast [of bronze] (vs. 18)...The capitals on top of the columns were finished wholly in a lotus pattern (vs. 19)...[On "the sea"] Under the brim, gourds encircled it (vs. 24)...This rested on twelve oxen (vs. 25)...its brim resembled that of a cup, being lily-shaped (vs. 26)....On the panels between the frames there were lions and oxen, there were wreaths in relief (vs. 29)..On the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, wherever there was a clear space, cherubim, lions, and palm trees were carved, as well as wreaths all around (vs. 36)
I Kings 9: "The Lord appeared to him [Solomon] (vs. 2)...The Lord said to him, "...I have consecrated this temple which you have built; I confer My Name upon it forever, and my eyes and my heart shall be there always..." (vs. 3)
yet, Catholics defiantly bow anyway, and then have the audacity to blaspheme God by saying it's not idolatry. 
Bowing in respect is not the same as bowing in worship. We do do them differently. Just because Mr. Stewart and his ilk cannot wrap his head around that fact, it does not mean what they believe is true. Catholics do not worship saints or Mary, Mother of God (the Son).
There are 1,000 things wrong with the Catholic religion!
And the author has only named a tired few that are only opinion and not proven. In fact, with just a little research one can see just how far Mr. Stewart has gone afoul.
The Catholic Church is Straight Out of the Pits of Hell
Actually, it is straight out of Scripture.
If you'd like to learn much more about the evils of Catholicism, then I plead with you to search the links at the bottom of my Hail Mary! Hail Satan! page. I am being your friend by telling you the truth.
I understand that you THINK you are doing the right thing, but you are not telling the truth. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Him, not you (see John 14:6). Since we follow Christ's Commandments and practice the Sacraments He instituted, His Church cannot be evil.
 Catholicism is religion, no more. Religion won't forgive your sins or take you to Heaven. You need to be born-again by the Spirit of God. 
All Catholics are "born again" by water and the Spirit, as Jesus commanded. Jesus forgives our sins, not "religion."
Jesus plainly stated in John 4:24 that you cannot worship God in heresy. You MUST worship God in Truth! Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). 
 "God is Spirit. His followers must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth." Since that is exactly what Catholics do at Mass, we are not worshiping "God in heresy" now are we.
God's Word is Truth (John 17:17). If you've never received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, then I plead with you now to trust upon the Lord to forgive your sins.
Another chuckle out loud...Practicing Catholics do believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Where Protestants get the idea that Catholics don't believe in Jesus or "trust upon" Him? One word: Propaganda.
Catholics are going to Hell because they have chosen to follow the traditions of men, instead of obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ.
All Traditions of the Church are based in Scripture. Scripture in actuality is the main part of Church Tradition. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was passed down orally by the Church, then written down by the Apostles, gathered together by Church leaders, and copied for all to read. We obey Jesus Christ's commandments much more closely than any Protestant "church" does.
How to Go to Heaven According to God's Word
Salvation is without works of self-righteousness (Romans 10:3-4; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
In Romans 10, Paul is addressing Israel. He is talking about works of the law versus the teachings of Jesus Christ. The "Law" was so stringent and so stiff that it was hard for God's Chosen to give it up for the salvation preached by the Apostles. Since Catholics do not depend on works of the Mosaic Law for Salvation but on Jesus Christ, this admonition does not apply.

Interesting how you ignore Ephesians 2:10: "For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the GOOD WORKS THAT GOD HAS PREPARED IN ADVANCE, THAT WE SHOULD LIVE IN THEM."  The statement of the earlier versus applies to the Catholic Church also. We live by faith, but we also live in the good works that God prepared for us to live in.

Since we DO acknowledge and pray for God's mercy for our salvation, Titus 3:5 absolutely can be applied to Catholics. We pray for God's mercy at every single Mass. 
Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15; 6:23),
We believe that, too.
freely offered (Romans 10:13),
We believe that.
and freely received (Revelation 22:17).
Believe that too, but not by that verse.
We are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, i.e., the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 6:33).
Actually, II Cor. 5:21 says we "become the righteousness of God in Him." and Matt. 6:33 says we are to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." Neither says what you say it does.
Our part is simply to believe on Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, to forgive our sins (Acts 10:43; John 20:31; John 1:12).
Since Catholics do believe in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, we do, according to your "proof" we are forgiven of our sins.
The Holy Bible teaches that is is very easy to be saved and go to Heaven. First, you must realize that you are a guilty sinner in God's holy eyes. You need to know what you're being saved from. God's law was given as a measuring stick, by which when men are compared, we all fall short and see our desperate need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. ...
Romans 3:19-20, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
If you admit that you are a sinner, then simply BELIEVE the Gospel and you will be immediately and forever saved. Here is the Gospel (Good News) according to the Holy Bible:
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
If you BELIEVE (rely) upon Jesus' dying on the cross for your sins, and that He was buried, and bodily resurrected three days later, you are saved!!! Salvation is a new birth. You cannot ever lose eternal life. Once you are born-again, it is irreversible and permanent.
Many people view religion as a good therapy, a necessary part of life; but they deny the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just as 2nd Timothy 3:5 says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Religion cannot take you to Heaven. You need to be born-again by the Spirit of God, by the Seed of God's Word (1st Peter 1:23), by faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Eternal life is a free gift!
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” —John 1:12-13

The biggest difference between Catholics and Protestants, as I see it, is that Protestants ignore Christ's teaching and just about any other author but Paul. Paul seems to trump Christ.  But while belief is "easy" it is still only the first step. "The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent." (John 6:29) In answer to the disciples question, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?...You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:25 and 27)", Jesus said, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS and you will live." (vs. 28) He goes on to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of how to love your neighbor. He asked them who was the good neighbor; they replied, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said, "Go and DO LIKEWISE." (vs. 37) Jesus did not say believe and then just sit around until time to go to Heaven. He constantly tells His followers to DO.  To treat people with mercy; to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the sick, the old, the imprisoned, etc and you do this for Him; he said to go preach the Gospel baptising in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

What Protestants don't understand is that the Catholic Church does not teach that we get to Heaven by doing works (and certainly not works of the Law as Paul was speaking against) but by doing work along with our faith. These good works are meritorious in helping us to be more Christ-like, in showing mercy to others, in being witnesses to the teachings of Christ and what HE DID on Earth, in giving our lives for the good of others, like Christ. We don't believe belief is enough by itself because "even the devils believe", and I am pretty sure the author is not advocating that devils are saved through faith. Their works show us that they are not saved.

Monday, November 9, 2015

My Answer to "Forty Questions for Christians Who Oppose Marriage Equality"

This is my answer to Matthew Vines' 40 questions for Christians who oppose marriage equality.

1. Do you accept that sexual orientation is not a choice?

No, I do not. I believe that many are made the way they are and many have psychological or physical abnormalities.

2. Do you accept that sexual orientation is highly resistant to attempts to change it?

Yes, as any other psychological problem does. Up until about 50 years ago, the APA also thought that same sex attraction was a psychological aberration.

3. How many meaningful relationships with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people do you have?

Unfortunately, I have known two of them personally. They were neither happy nor pleasant people. I’ve known quite a few “defenders” of same sex friends, acquaintances, etc. There seems to be a vast majority more defenders of same sex couples than actual same sex couples. Which tells me that many, many people in our society are bending over backwards for people they do not want to offend because of the political or familial backlash.

4. How many openly LGBT people would say you are one of their closest friends?

5.  How much time have you spent in one-on-one conversation with LGBT Christians about their faith and sexuality?

None. I don’t believe you can be both anyway.

6. Do you accept that heterosexual marriage is not a realistic option for most gay people?

*edited* I misread the question: Yes, I accept that heterosexual marriage is not realistic for most people who say they are gay. If one identifies themselves as gay, are they going to keep their vows to a person of the opposite sex? Doubtful. So, they would be going into a covenant without the intention of keeping their promises. That is also grave sin, and a very good reason for an annulment.

7. Do you accept that lifelong celibacy is the only valid option for most gay people if all same-sex relationships are sinful?

Yes.  However, I have known of, and read autobiographical stories of supposed gay people who have become heterosexual. One I know of in particular is now married. He led a gay life style for decades, became a Christian and resigned himself to celibacy. That was not God’s plan for him. He met a fine Christian woman, who he thought would be a good friend. They eventually fell in love and are now married.

8. How many gay brothers and sisters in Christ have you walked with on the path of mandatory celibacy, and for how long?

None. That is neither my place, nor my ministry.

9. What is your answer for gay Christians who struggled for years to live out a celibacy mandate but were driven to suicidal despair in the process?

I would say that they either do not understand what God asks of them through celibacy (or suffering) or they are not strong enough in their Christian faith. The Christian faith is not meant to be an easy road, and the whole LBGT political power trip is not helping any one ease their pain, their walk in life, or the demands of their faith.

10. Has mandatory celibacy produced good fruit in the lives of most gay Christians you know?

I only know of a few cases, and, yes, they did yield “good fruit”.

11. How many married same-sex couples do you know?


12. Do you believe that same-sex couples’ relationships can show the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

I believe that those relationships can have any or all of those feelings or personality traits, but that they not proven to be fruits of the Holy Spirit. People can have moments of joy even in a prison camp. They can love a neighbor even if that neighbor does evil. Their character traits may indicate patience or kindness, goodness or faithfulness, gentleness or self-control, but these characteristics, one or many, can be found in non-Christians, and in non-Christian gay people.

13. Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support same-sex marriage in the church?


14. Do you believe that it is possible to be a Christian and support slavery?

No. One has nothing to do with the other.

15. If not, do you believe that Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards were not actually Christians because they supported slavery?

I believe that all were sinners, and all were Protestants, that is they protested the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I do believe they tried to be Christians in their way but went very awry of actual Christian teachings. I don't know any of their stances on slavery. I know that Martin Luther and John Calvin were of the 16th century and slavery was not the issue in Europe at that time. So, their support of it would be moot. I know that I have much more theological than political problems with Luther and Calvin. I don't know anything about Jonathan Edwards.  I cannot judge their hearts pertaining to their Christianity; only God can judge them.

16. Do you think supporting same-sex marriage is a more serious problem than supporting slavery?

No. I never have and don't compare them. I think murder is a more serious problem, but I don’t equate same-sex "marriage" to murder either (as I don’t equate same-sex marriage and slavery) Those are “apples and oranges” comparisons.

17. Did you spend any time studying the Bible’s passages about slavery before you felt comfortable believing that slavery is wrong?

No. I already, intrinsically, knew it was wrong. And, thank God, slavery has not been legal or supported in the United States for over a hundred and fifty years.  Why would I support it? That is what is called a strawman.

18. Does it cause you any concern that Christians throughout most of church history would have disagreed with you?

No. Because I don’t agree with you that that is true. Small (and small-minded) groups of men tried to justify their grave sin with Scripture—an even greater sin. Not all Christians, and certainly not every Christian, “throughout most of church history” believed that slavery was okay or good. The thing I would ask any gay person—What has this got to do with you?

19. Did you know that, for most of church history, Christians believed that the Bible taught the earth stood still at the center of the universe?

Actually, that statement is not totally accurate. A long time ago just about all people in general thought that the earth was the center of the universe. Some Greek philosopher/scientists understood that the earth revolved around the sun. But, come on, the sun comes up on one side and goes down on the other. Why wouldn’t ancient peoples think that? And the Old Testament was authored by ancient peoples. Those Christians who believed that Sun revolved around the Earth were ignorant (in the original sense of the word) of the science behind the universe; it is simple as that. The Bible also says that Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. Most agree that he was swallowed by a whale, which is now considered a mammal—a distinction not made in ancient times. (A man in modern times, 1930's if memory serves, was swallowed by a whale and recovered within 24 hours, by the way.) When scientists (most of whom were either Catholics monks or Catholic laymen in the early Christian era), watched the sky and “discovered” that we were moving around the sun, the Church adopted this as true—as it was proved to be true.

20. Does it cause you any concern that you disagree with their interpretation of the Bible?
No, The ancient peoples who wrote the Old Testament didn’t know any better than their peers about the science of the universe. They sought to explain the universe in terms they could understand. The early Christians did not know either—just as science lagged behind civilization. Who knew eking out a living would take priority over science, huh?

21. Did you spend any time studying the Bible’s verses on the topic before you felt comfortable believing that the earth revolves around the sun?

Really? Do you always address other adults as children? Or just Christians?

I was never, ever in any doubt that the Earth revolves around the Sun. I live in modern times, went to modern schools, and learned about the universe from an early age. There is nothing I needed to get “comfortable” about. I, unlike you, understand that the Bible was written in ancient times and the ancients saw the universe differently.

22. Do you know of any Christian writers before the 20th century who acknowledged that gay people must be celibate for life due to the church’s rejection of same-sex relationships?

No, because it was not an issue before the 20th century.

23. If not, might it be fair to say that mandating celibacy for gay Christians is not a traditional position?

I would say it is not a “traditional position” because no such position needed to be taken. Homosexuality was considered a grave sin, and many Christians still believe it to be so. There was no celibacy “position” because there is only one “position” on sin--confession, forgiveness, and penance, which includes change.

24. Do you believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that all gay Christians must be single and celibate for life?

No. I believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that being “gay” is a sin. If you need to be celibate in order not to sin, then, yes, you need to be celibate. That would be the implication of Scripture--to sin no more.
*edit*: I believe that the Bible explicitly teaches that "gay" sexual acts are sin, not that believing one is "gay" is a sin. This was a definite mistake on my part. The act is a sin, not the feeling.

25. If not, do you feel comfortable affirming something that is not explicitly affirmed in the Bible?

Yes, because it is implicit in the Bible. If you are not do that sin, you must do something to avoid whatever leads to that sin. Therefore, celibacy would be a viable option to do committing the sin of same sex acts.

26. Do you believe that the moral distinction between lust and love matters for LGBT people’s romantic relationships?

I believe that there are LGBT people who believe that.

27. Do you think that loving same-sex relationships should be assessed in the same way as the same-sex behavior Paul explicitly describes as lustful in Romans 1?

Yes. Love is not the problem. Love is good. Feelings are not bad; what you do with them can be very bad. Love does not and should not always lead to sex. So, yes, I agree with St. Paul that women should not be sexually involved with women and men should not be sexually involved with men.

28. Do you believe that Paul's use of the terms "shameful" and "unnatural" in Romans 1:26-27 means that all same-sex relationships are sinful?

Yes, I do.

29. Would you say the same about Paul’s description of long hair in men as “shameful” and against “nature” in 1 Corinthians 11:14, or would you say he was describing cultural norms of his time?

I think that you are grasping at straws with this supposed argument. Here St. Paul is comparing men’s hair with women’s. Yes, I think a man’s long hair, if he looks like a woman instead of a man, is “shameful.” Now, what is long hair? Past the ears? Past the collar? Past the shoulders? Who knows? I have seen men with ponytails that still looked like men. I have seen men with mullets that looked ridiculously feminine. Who is to judge? I do think it “shameful” if you cannot tell if the person is a man or a woman (that goes both ways—when you can’t tell if the person is woman because of her short hair, tattoos, and piercings in every possible place on her face.)

30.  Do you believe that the capacity for procreation is essential to marriage?


31. If so, what does that mean for infertile heterosexual couples?

That is not the same thing. I find it rich when an LGBT supporter uses this fallacious argument. Most Christian couples when they marry are open to having children. Infertile couples are usually not infertile on purpose. If they cannot have children because of a physical problem of the wife or husband or both, the intention was still there. They married for the right reasons. Having said that, if the couple makes themselves infertile through artificial contraceptives, operations, or devices, marriage would be a grave sin on the couple’s part. They did not marry for the right reasons and their marriage would be just as wrong as a same-sex "marriage" because they then would be infertile like a same-sex couple.

32. How much time have you spent engaging with the writings of LGBT-affirming Christians like Justin Lee, James Brownson, and Rachel Murr?

None, and I don’t intend to start. I do not believe that you can be a Christian and LGBT or a supporter of LGBT. These to things are intrinsically opposed to each other.

33. What relationship recognition rights short of marriage do you support for same-sex couples?

I support all humans being treated with dignity and respect. I believe same-sex couples are wrong but I do not advocate violence, prison, or the nullification of human rights. Other than that, I do not believe same-sex couple should have the same rights as heterosexual married couples. I don't believe heterosexuals who are shacking up should have the same rights as heterosexual married couples, either, for what it is worth.

34. What are you doing to advocate for those rights?

I am Catholic. The Catholic Church works for the human dignity and rights of all humans. I support the rights of all humans to live in dignity and respect, no matter their condition in life, their religion, their sexual orientation, or anything else.

35. Do you know who Tyler Clementi, Leelah Alcorn, and Blake Brockington are, and did your church offer any kind of prayer for them when their deaths made national news?

No. But by the last part of your sentence the implication is that they were killed because they were gay. I do not know personally, but I am sure that there were prayers said for them. That’s what our church does.We pray for those who are killed unjustly, through murder (as a gay-related killing would be).

36. Do you know that LGBT youth whose families reject them are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than LGBT youth whose families support them?

No, but thank you for letting me know this supposed statistic. I have told all five of my children that if they declared that they were "gay", I would still love them. I draw the line at gay relationships. I will not accept my son's boyfriend or "husband" as family, nor will I accept my daughter's girlfriend or "wife" as family. I will never accept a gay relationship as "normal." As far as I can tell, this will not be a problem. Thank God.

37. Have you vocally objected when church leaders and other Christians have compared same-sex relationships to things like bestiality, incest, and pedophilia?

No, because I have not heard that. My Church does not say such things. I would say something if my church leaders did.

38. How certain are you that God’s will for all gay Christians is lifelong celibacy?

I’m not. I think that change can happen. I know that is not the politically correct view but that is what I believe. If a “gay” person wants to be a Christian, he must change his life, just as any other sinner must.  As Jesus said to the woman “caught in sin” (adultery), “No one accuses you. Go and sin no more.”

39. What do you think the result would be if we told all straight teenagers in the church that if they ever dated someone they liked, held someone’s hand, kissed someone, or got married, they would be rebelling against God?

Since that is a strawman argument, I cannot answer it. Straight teenagers should be taught celibacy prior to marriage, but they will never be condemned for something that is not a sin.

40. Are you willing to be in fellowship with Christians who disagree with you on this topic?

No, not particularly. I’ve had these discussions. I have found that most LGBT supporters are stubborn, hard-headed and not willing to see the other side of this “topic.” For the most part, as this series of questions indicate, there is a set agenda with an A, B, C “logic” they believe supports their “point of view.” I do not agree and I will not be converted to agree that what is evil is good, and that aggravates and angers too many. I do not wish to cause anger, but I will not be submissive either.