Saturday, July 26, 2014


A childhood friend wrote to me recently.  She was never that interested in any church and really didn't discuss much about it with me until about a decade or so ago.  At that time, she politely asked about a prayer some people were saying together at a Catholic funeral.  I told her it was the Rosary.  I explained the Rosary--how it is a meditative form of prayer concentrating on the lives of Jesus Christ and His mother Mary.  Since she is not Catholic, I also provided her with the Scriptures for each of the "mysteries", the stories that one contemplates on while praying, so that she could see that it is Scriptural.  Her response was gracious.  Later she even attended of my sons' first communion.

Well, she apparently had a "meet Jesus" moment in recent months and has been asking questions.  However, the questions have gone from polite and curious to accusatory and downright anti-Catholic.  I don't know what kind of "prayer ministry" she's joined but they seemed to have convinced her that Catholics are not Christians or not "saved."  She has been convinced that my soul is in danger and that I can't possibly understand what a "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ (because I'm Catholic).  How can otherwise well-meaning people be so hateful to other members of the same family--God's family?  I believe it is the influence of the dark one, the one who does not want Christ's Church to be one as Christ Himself wished it to be.  I've tried to be patient and tried to be loving but it is extremely difficult to get past the feeling of betrayal.

She started off by sending me a letter telling me that I had been on her mind a lot lately.  She said, "I don't know why the thoughts come to mind over religion, its [sic] not really over being saved or not, its more of believing something that just isn't correct." So, after years of not going to any church, asking respectful questions, and listening to explanations from me as to why I am a Catholic, she's decided she knows what is "correct."  I couldn't possibly know better than her charismatic group.

She asked me a question a couple of months ago about an interview she'd heard with a priest who had stated that the Real Presence in the Eucharist was the center of His personal relationship with Christ.  This phrase, "personal relationship with Christ," raised a big red flag for that fledgling Christian zealot.  She asked me if I "could never take the Eucharist again would [I] be close to the Holy Spirit/Jesus, the Personal Relationship as Catholics put it."  As a matter of fact, one Catholic put it that way.  That priest doesn't speak for every individual Catholic.  However, I did try to explain to her that I had no objection to the priest from the interview expressing his feelings that way.  After all, how much more personal can you get than to meet Christ in the Flesh. There is nothing more intimate, more personal than Christ becoming a part of you in a real, mystical way every time you go to Mass.  But, this tack never satisfies.  I understand that Protestants, especially some of the latest off shoots of the mainstream Protestants, such as Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc.  These off-shoot sects as those who are now doing strange things like not celebrating Easter or Christmas and perpetuating lies like St. Patrick, bishop and missionary to Ireland, was not Catholic because he never mentions the Catholic Church in his writings (1-Very few of his writings have survived the intervening 14 centuries, 2-There was no need to "mention" the Catholic Church, it was the one and only Christian church in existence at the time).  They are so against any hint of tradition that might in any way lead back to the Catholic Church that they make things up about Catholics and about historic tradition.

She persisted on this tack however, insisting that I answer whether or not I would have a "personal relationship with Christ if I could not have the Eucharist."   I told her that was not a fair question.  It would be something similar to whether or not I could ever eat breakfast if I could never have eggs again.  Now, I know my example is a little absurd but I couldn't think of anything better off the cuff.  I can still have breakfast--I just can't have eggs.  I can still have a "personal relationship" with Christ without the Eucharist, but why would I want to?  What closer relationship to a person than the person themselves--in person!!!  When I go to the Eucharist (Greek word for thanksgiving), I am with Him, He is Present, and He is in me at that moment.  How much more personal is that?

1800 yo copy of Paul's letter
Her latest insult not was to ask me about authority.  She said they had talked about authority in her "prayer ministry class."  She said the class "was all around who has the Authority given by Jesus and the Holy Spirit? [sic] Much of what the book of Hebrews speaks."  She doesn't specify just what Hebrews "speaks" of authority.  If she is talking about the absolute obedience that some protestants believe is implied in Hebrews 13, she'd be wrong about the Catholic Church.  While Catholics do believe that Church leaders have authority in spiritual matters, Catholics are not now nor have they ever been mindless drones of a huge religious machine.  All one has to do is look at the rate of conversions in the Catholic Church.  Twice as many are entering the Church as leaving it, and many of the converts are the more educated of former Protestants.

But not only does my friend ask about authority, but she then equates Catholics to Mormons when she asks, "Is it only given to Men like LDS/RLDS/FLDS?"  No, we don't believe authority is "only" given to men.  The authority in the Church was given to Christ, who passed that same authority to His apostles.  The Holy Spirit was then sent by Christ to give the apostles the courage and strength to live out that authority in the Church.  The Holy Spirit is now the soul of the Church Christ founded and guides her leaders to this day.  That is the authority the author of Hebrews was referring to in chapter 13.  Christians do not act as mindless drones, but neither do they make up an aimless body.  Th
LDS Temple Salt Lake City
is comparison between the LDS and the Catholic Church is more than insulting and I will not tolerate this insult anymore.  The Catholic Church was founded by Christ upon Peter and the Apostles almost 2,000 years ago.  The LDS has no such founding or authority, having been founded by a crazy man about 150 years ago on his own fictional writings.  There is no comparison.

She asked if it were "maybe Pastor's and Deacons?"  If she means Protestant pastors and deacons, then my answer would be a no.  While Protestant Churches have some of the Truth Christ left for us, they lack much of it.  These Pastors and Deacons did not get their authority from the Church Christ established, therefore, no they don't have the authority of interpretation or the giving of the Eucharist.  They have some authority over their own church, their own little kingdom as it were, but they do not have the authority Christ gave the apostles or the Church.

Jesus gives the Keys of the Kingdom to Peter
She then asked "Is it [authority] the Pope and Priests and Saints of the Church?"  The simple answer is yes at least about the pope and priests.  I'm not sure that saints have authority per se on their own.  Saints are examples of Christian living and the holiness that we should all aspire to.  But the Pope was appointed by Christ Himself.  Christ chose Peter as the Rock upon which the Church is built.  He commissioned Peter to "Feed my lambs.  Feed my sheep."  This is an obvious referral to Christ, the Good Shepherd, passing the job as the shepherd of His sheep on earth to Peter.  He made Peter His visible representative on earth.  Minimizing what Christ did or saying it isn't so just because you don't think it should be that way, doesn't change the fact that Christ did indeed put Peter in charge of His Church.  He also commissioned the other apostles--"Go into all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."  Christ commissioned them as the first priests.  It is that simple.

The Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles
"Did it [authority] die off sometime after the 12 Apostles where put to death?"  No.  Why would it?  Christ founded His Church on the apostles--founded, not just tossed out there temporarily.  Look in the book of Acts.  Matthias was commissioned to take Judas' place among the twelve.  If authority was to "die off" with the apostles, why would they choose a replacement for one of them?  It would be pointless.  Obviously, the 11 thought it necessary to choose and train a replacement for the future of the Church.  Also, the "Council of Jerusalem" also points to the continuation of authority.  There really would be no point in hashing out the issue of whether or not one had to be a Jew to be a Christian, if they felt they had no authority to decide for future generations.  So, easily the answer to that question is NO.

"Or by some wild chance ignored by Christians over the years,..."  So, when Christ said, "...the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it" or "I am with you always" He had to have been lying.  The Church was founded by Christ, emboldened and given life by the Holy Spirit, and watched over by generation upon generation of disciples of Christ, but only "Christians" now know what Jesus meant by those words.

She says that "...we who have knowledge/understanding given by the Holy Spirit and reading the Scriptures we all have the ability given to us if we pray and seek the Holy Spirit?"  I would then ask her as I would any misguided Protestant, "What makes you right and not Joe Smith down the street?  You two don't agree with each other but you both say that the Holy Spirit and Scripture guide you.  So, who is right?"  Most Protestants don't think that deeply about what they've been told to believe.  The vast majority of Protestants believe what their Pastor or whatever they call their leader tells them to believe.  Why do some Protestants believe baptism is necessary and some just believe it is water over their heads?  Jesus said, "Go...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."  So, He just meant the original 12?  No one else needed baptism?  What about the Lord's Supper?  Since it is just a symbol to most Protestants, some churches don't even bother with the farce of reenacting it.  Jesus said, "When you eat this bread and drink this cup..."  Why don't they think Jesus' words are important?  He said when you do it; he didn't say if you do it.  Why do Protestants believe it is okay to say, "This is what we believe: x, y, z" and then just find those convenient Scriptures that support their beliefs while ignoring the rest of Scripture?  It is sad and not a little hypocritical.

 When I told her I found some of her questions disrespectful and a little insulting she said, "It didn't surprise me that you have no interest at this time. I hope sometime we might be able to enjoy talking of such things."  I don't mind talking of such things, but, I'm sorry, we are not on equal footing in this matter.  I am much more educated in my Faith and in Christology.  She may be part of a pentecostal group that believes that the Holy Spirit is guiding them--that doesn't make it so.  Telling me that I must know I'm wrong because I passionately defend my faith (which she did in a different email) is just ludicrous.  If you want to talk, let's talk, but leave the insults out of it. 

1 comment:

cathmom5 said...

"Victoria De....." , In case you are a real person and not a robot, I thought I'd let you know I will not be publishing your nonsense comment. I did google you and I see you send the same comment to any number of Catholic blogs. I am Catholic and I am a member of THE Body of Christ. I am truly sorry you feel isolated and alone in your radicalism but your bitterness has blinded you to the fact that the Catholic Church still holds the authority that Christ gave Her--"...and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." I believe His promises, I wonder why you cannot. The point of my blog has clearly been lost on you and your ilk. I will pray for your soul and those obviously tortured souls in your sphere. I pray that your eyes are opened to the Truth of the continuous and ever present Faith.