Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Attack on the Catholics

My wife and I just moved over the break to our new house.  It’s been a pretty slow and challenging transition, but we’ve made it and the majority of our boxes are unpacked.  This past week, I checked the mail and received a letter from a non-Catholic church down the street inviting me to their service.  In this packet was a pamphlet about salvation.  It had a picture of the world from outer space and printed on the front was “Are you going to heaven?  Find out inside!” 

As I opened the pamphlet, it asked me to check off which tools are necessary for heaven.  It listed 5 of our 7 sacraments, good works, charity, prayer and many other things.  After that, it began to quote scripture of how these things are only distractions and in order to get to heaven all you have to do is accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and it’s a done deal. 
After reading the scriptures they used to deny the value of the Sacraments, and other helpful tools, I really got a little fired up!  I began to think of all the individuals who have left their faith simply because they did not know it, and then had someone of strong forceful and intimidating scripture usage put their own spin on scripture to make our teaching seem wrong.  These kind of attacks could happen very visibly with someone directly telling you or your child the Catholic Church has it wrong, or it could be very subtle with choice wording, memorization of certain scriptures, or simply providing a different interoperation of scripture. 

As a Catholic, our theology goes a little bit deeper than “Solo Fide” and “Solo Scriptura” meaning Faith and bible alone.  As a Catholic, we have tons of tools that support us in our faith.  We have the saints as examples, we have the teachings of thousands of theologians, we have the canon, and canon law, we have the catechism, the Bible, the sacraments, the 10 commandments, the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, the example of Mary our Mother, we have our priests, deacons and bishops.  We have the unified leadership of the Pope.  We have so many tools to use to aid in our journey to faith.  Our Catholic faith IS Apostolic – handed down directly from the eye-witnesses of Jesus.  Many of our tradition spans over 2000 years.  The church today is probably exactly what Martin Luther was seeking when he requested the church to change.  Unfortunately, it took 400 years for the Church to release its documents at Vatican II and make many of it’s changes that we have today. 
Our Church today is actually more open and accepting of other traditions than many of our Christian brothers and sisters.  The church is very open and accepting with many stances and has become very strict when it comes to protecting life, and the moral person.  MANY people still think of the church as having our Pre-Vatican II stances – and our church is attacked and taught by other traditions incorrect Catholic teaching.  We’re attacked on our stance of Faith and works, we’re attacked on us valuing Jesus’s mother Mary, we’re attacked on our stance of Salvation most of all – that we actually have to work at it rather than it just being handed to us. 

My greatest concern is for the future of the church and our students not knowing their faith and being led astray by other faith traditions.  How much formation are you and your child receiving from other faith traditions?  What are they being taught about the Catholic Church within the prospective of non-Catholics?  This should be a concern of yours if you want to preserve the faith of your child within Catholicism.  
What is my stance on this?  It’s not wrong or immoral for your children to be learning other faith traditions.  It will not send them to hell.  It will not make them less likely to get to heaven.  It will not make them bad people, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent.  HOWEVER – it WILL change their prospective of the Catholic Church and it’s teachings.  It WILL confuse them and have them ask the questions of which one is correct.  We have many similarities with our protestant brothers and sisters, but depending on the church and their own developed theology will determine their mission to “save the Catholics so they can be born again”. 

My mission, is to help the Catholic Church grow!  It’s to help the Church be alive and strong!  We are only as strong as our members are strong!  I believe in the real presence of our Lord in all our sacraments.  When challenged about our connectedness to Christ - HELLO!  We receive the risen Lord Jesus each week at mass.  When challenged about our use of the bible - HELLO!  Our entire mass is rooted in scripture.  When challenged about Works - the bible CLEARLY outlines faith and works - yes, both are vital in living out our christian walk with Christ.  We ARE Christ centered!  We ARE biblically founded.  We WERE established by the Apostles and the first Christians.  We ARE Catholic!  I am Catholic and I love every aspect of our Catholic faith - it's tradition, it's moral standards, it's unity thoughout the world, and even it's challenges and mistakes along the way that have shaped us to be what we are today - more focused on our daily walk int he way of the Lord. 

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