I’m Still Not Going Back to the Catholic Church

Pope Francis only confirms my decision to leave

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St. Patrick's Cathedral
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It’s not hard to understand why people are so excited about Pope Francis. Since his sensational interview last week, many have said that with his personal warmth and determination to put doctrine in the background, Francis is just the man to bring a lot of fallen-away Catholics back into the church.

Maybe. But I’m an ex-Catholic whose decision to leave the Catholic Church is not challenged by Francis’ words but rather confirmed.

Just over two decades ago, when I began the process to enter the Roman Catholic Church as an adult convert, I chose to receive instruction at a university parish, figuring that the quality of teaching would be more rigorous. After three months of guided meditations and endless God is love lectures, I dropped out.

I agreed that God is love, but that didn’t tell me what He would expect of me if I became a Catholic. Besides, I had spent four years dancing around the possibility of returning to the Christianity of my youth. When I made my first steps back to churchgoing as an adult, I found plenty of good people who told me God is love but who never challenged me to change my life.

(MORE: Mary Eberstadt: The Pope Is No Radical)

What needed changing? Lots. My own brokenness was plain to me, and I was ready to turn from my destructive sins and become a new person. The one thing I didn’t want to do was surrender my sexual liberty, which was my birthright as a young American male. I knew, though, that without fully giving over my will to God, any conversion would be precarious. By then, I was all too wary of my evasions. To convert provisionally — that is, provided that the Church didn’t hassle me about my sex life — would really be about seeking the psychological comforts of religion without making sacrifices.

What I was told, in effect, in that university Catholic parish was that God loved me just as I was — true — but that I didn’t need to do anything else. It dawned on me one day that at the end of this process, all of us in the class would end up as Catholics but have no idea what the Catholic Church taught. I bolted, and a year later, I was received into the church in another parish.

If you know about the Catholic Church only from reading the papers, you are in for a shock once you come inside. The image of American Catholicism shown by the media is of a church preoccupied with sex and abortion. It’s not remotely true. I was a faithful Mass-going Catholic for 13 years, attending a number of parishes in five cities in different parts of the country. I could count on one hand the number of homilies I heard that addressed abortion or sexuality in any way. Rather, the homilies were wholly therapeutic, almost always some saccharine variation of God is love.

Well, yes, He is, but Sunday School simplicities get you only so far. Classical Catholic theology dwells on the paradox of God’s love and God’s justice. As Dante shows in the Divine Comedy, God’s love is God’s justice poured out on those who reject Him. In the Gospels, Jesus offers compassion to sinners rejected by religious rigorists, but he also tells them to reform their lives, to “go forth and sin no more.”

Was I frustrated because the priests wouldn’t preach God’s judgment instead of God’s mercy? By no means. I was frustrated because they wouldn’t preach God’s judgment at all, which is to say, they preached Christ without the Cross. I knew the depths of the sins from which I was being delivered, and it felt wrong to treat His amazing grace like it was a common courtesy. As the reggae song says, “Everybody wants to get to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

In his recent book about Anglicanism, Our Church, the English philosopher Roger Scruton says the greatest problem in the modern world is the “loss of the habit of repentance.” Broadly speaking, there seemed to me to be no particular interest in the American Catholic church in repentance, because there was no particular interest in the reality of sin. The stereotypical idea of the Catholic Church as a sin-obsessed, legalistic hothouse surely came from somewhere. But for Catholics like me, born in the late 1960s, this cramped and miserable picture of the church may as well have come from antiquity.

The contemporary era of global Catholicism began in 1959, when the newly elected Pope John XXIII sought to “open the windows” of the fusty old Church to the modern world by calling the Second Vatican Council. Three years later, in his opening address to the council, the charismatic and avuncular pope called for “a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind in the unreserved acceptance by all of the entire Christian faith,” without compromising on doctrine. A fierce spirit of the age blasted through those newly-opened windows, scouring nearly everything in its path. The coming decades would see a collapse in Catholic catechesis and Catholic discipline. The so-called “spirit of Vatican II” — a perversion of the Council’s actual teaching — justified many subsequent outrages.

In 2002, when the clerical-sex-abuse scandal broke nationwide, the full extent of the rot within the church became manifest. All that post-Vatican II happy talk and non-judgmentalism had been a facade concealing what then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — later Pope Benedict XVI — would call the “filth” in the church. Many American bishops deployed the priceless Christian language of love and forgiveness in an effort to cover their own foul nakedness in a cloak of cheap grace.

(MOREWhy Celibacy Policy for Catholic Priests Is Not Changing Soon)

During that excruciating period a decade ago, rage at what I and other journalists uncovered about the church’s corruption pried my ability to believe in Catholic Christianity out of me, like torturers ripping fingernails out with pliers. It wasn’t the crimes that did it as much as the bishops’ unwillingness to repent and the Vatican’s disinterest in holding them to account. If the church’s hierarchy cannot commit itself credibly to justice and mercy to the victims of its own clergy and bishops, I thought, do they really believe in the doctrines they teach?

All this put the moral unseriousness of the American church in a certain light. As the scandal raged, one Ash Wednesday, I attended Mass at my comfortable suburban parish and heard the priest deliver a sermon describing Lent as a time when we should all come to love ourselves more.

If I had to pinpoint a single moment at which I ceased to be a Roman Catholic, it would have been that one. I fought for two more years to hold on, thinking that having the syllogisms from my catechism straight in my head would help me stand firm. But it was useless. By then I was a father, and I did not want to raise my children in a church where sentimentality and self-satisfaction were the point of the Christian life. It wasn’t safe to raise my children in this church, I thought — not because they would be at risk of predators but because the entire ethos of the American church, like the ethos of the decadent post-Christian society in which it lives, is not that we should die to ourselves so that we can live in Christ, as the New Testament demands, but that we should learn to love ourselves more.

Flannery O’Connor, one of my Catholic heroes, famously said, “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you. What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.” American Catholicism was not pushing back against the hostile age at all. Rather, it had become a pushover. God is love was not a proclamation that liberated us captives from our sin and despair but rather a bromide and a platitude that allowed us to believe that and to behave as if our lust, greed, malice and so forth — sins that I struggled with every day — weren’t to be despised and cast out but rather shellacked by a river of treacle.

I finally broke. Losing my Catholic faith was the most painful thing that ever happened to me. Today, as much as I admire Pope Francis and understand the enthusiasm among Catholics for him, his interview makes me realize that the good, if incomplete, work that John Paul II and Benedict XVI did to restore the church after the violence of the revolution stands to be undone. Though I agree with nearly everything the Pope said last week in his interview and cheer inwardly when he chastises rigorist knotheads who would deny the healing medicine of the church to anyone, I fear his merciful words will be received not as love but license. The “spirit of Pope Francis” will replace the “spirit of Vatican II” as the rationalization people will use to ignore the difficult teachings of the faith. If so, this Pope will turn out to be like his predecessor John XXIII: a dear man, but a tragic figure.

(MOREFather James Martin on the Pope’s Interview: ‘We Knew We Had Spiritual Dynamite’)

In his interview, the Pope used a metaphor for the church that is often employed by Eastern Orthodox Christianity: he called it a “field hospital” where the walking wounded can receive treatment. He’s right, but it’s important to discern the nature of the cure on offer. Anesthesia is a kind of medicine that masks pain, but it’s not the kind of medicine that heals the underlying sickness.

There is, of course, no such thing as the perfect church, but in Orthodoxy, which radically resists the moralistic therapeutic deism that characterizes so much American Christianity, I found a soul-healing balance. In my Russian Orthodox country mission parish this past Sunday, the priest preached about love, joy, repentance and forgiveness — in all its dimensions. Addressing parents in the congregation, he exhorted us to be merciful, kind and forgiving toward our children. But he also warned against thinking of love as giving our children what they want as opposed to what they need.

“Giving them what they want may make it easier for us,” he said, “but we must love our children enough to teach them the hard lessons and compel them toward the good.”

True, that. And I cherish this pastor because he loves his people enough to teach us the hard lessons, and to compel us past mediocrity and toward the good. Catholic priests of the same mind and orientation as my Orthodox pastor — and I know many of them — are telling me that the Holy Father, by signaling to his American flock that God is love and the rest doesn’t really matter, just made their mission a lot more difficult. But that is no longer my problem.

MOREThe Four Reform Themes of Pope Francis in New Interview

315 comments
josh00421
josh00421



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Josh

BradO'Donnell
BradO'Donnell

Video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQVyZ74HmiA


20 million Americans consider themselves to be “lapsed Catholics.” Of course, there are many controversies about the Church, but many leave for other personal reasons. Some leave for persistent negative feelings that can’t be logically expressed.


You’re a good person. You love Christ, but still, you struggle with your ambivalence about the Church. Of course the Methodists and Episcopalians are eager to throw you a lifeline, but you’re not sure you want to be a Protestant either… What is it? Why do you have these odd feelings about the Church?


You’re not alone. Since 1960, a third of Americans have quit church. What’s happening?


After Vietnam, baby boomers came out of the 60’s educated, defiant and questioning authority. This could not bode well for the age-old patronizing attitude of Roman Christianity.


Before Christ, the ancient world lived in constant fear of their vengeful pagan gods. Christ denounced that fear on the Mount proclaiming that God was a god of love, and that He only asked us to love one another. So original Christianity was a Jewish sect of brotherhood. Rome hated it and executed anyone who professed the faith for three hundred years.

In all that time, original Christianity had no judgment, Satan, hell, Easter or Christmas. These were all pagan traditions added by the Romans after they commandeered the religion and remade it into the “Roman Christianity” of the modern Church. Many boomers have figured out that the church’s hell-fire threats were pagan and not the teaching of Jesus Christ.


Joseph Ratzinger (pope) quit his first seminary because they conceded that there were two separate and opposing Christianities in the second century. One was the Jewish Christianity of Jesus. The other was the Roman gentile Christianity of Paul. They noted that Paul was indifferent to the teaching of Christ, and was the opponent of the religion of love Christ came to announce to the world.


The crisis for the Church is that people are more educated than ever before. Many doubt the Church because of this double standard of Christianity. Is it Christ’s religion of love and brotherhood or the Church’s Roman Christianity of judgment and consequences?


How Spiritual Are We?


“According to the (Parade Magazine) poll, 69% of Americans believe in God, but 50% say they rarely or never attend worship services... What Americans are doing today is separating spirituality from religion, with many people disavowing organized practice altogether... In fact, 24% of respondents put themselves into a whole new category, spiritual, but not religious…”Parade Magazine 10/4/09



According to Episcopal Bishop John Spong, the “Church has always been in the guilt producing, control business and dangled people between an imaginary Heaven and Hell as a control tactic.”


Boomers are spiritual, but don’t like being controlled by the Church. Let’s explore the issues…


Truly, Brad O’Donnell odonbrad@gmail.com wheretonowstpaul.com

Cannonkat
Cannonkat

@BradO'Donnell Why tell all these lies? You know, I went to schools that if you tried to pass off these kinds of lies, the teacher would rightly say you haven't read Sts Ignatios, Clement of Rome, Barnabus, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, Cyprian, Clement of Alexandria all of whom wrote in the first, second and third centuries, Jew and Gentile and the faith is the same from first to last, from Ignatios, disciple of of the Holy Apostle John all the way though until Benedict XVI! The Faith is exactly the same - the Catholic Faith, which you know NOTHING about, and if you continue to make up sheer fantasies like that (haven't you read any of these Saints or are you just lazy, sitting there in your mommy's basement?) you are most certainly destined to an eternally hot desert summer of +350 degrees and will have deserved every unbearable minute of it!    

Charlie1962
Charlie1962

So these people who leave the church all of the sudden don't believe in Communion?

antodav
antodav

This article expresses exactly why I left the Catholic Church. Although the author went Orthodox, and I went LDS, the problem we both identified in Catholicism is essentially the same: it isn't too conservative; it's too LIBERAL. And if I hadn't ceased to be Catholic 4 years ago Pope Francis certainly would have done it for me by now. The man openly embraces doctrines that previously had been considered heresies. There's simply no excuse for that, and it makes it blatantly obvious (to me anyway) that the Catholic claim of papal infallibility is false and that there is no direct and unbroken line of apostolic succession going back through the popes to Peter (which historical fact also refutes too).

My faith in Jesus Christ and his teachings is simply too strong for me to simultaneously have faith in the Vatican and what it preaches. The two are not congruent, and one or the other has to be false. I chose the latter.

RenegadesHang
RenegadesHang

@antodav I was raised LDS but recently discovered that it is not what it claims to be. The LDS church is going through the greatest apostasy it has ever had thanks to the internet. If you want the fastest way to understand the problems with the LDS church, read Jeremy Runnell's "Letter to a CES Director.":


A native of Southern California, Jeremy Runnells was born in the covenant. A 6th generation Mormon of Pioneer heritage, Jeremy reached every Mormon youth milestone. An Eagle Scout, Returned Missionary, and BYU Alumnus, Jeremy was married in the San Diego Temple with expectations and plans of living Mormonism for the rest of his life. 


In February 2012, Jeremy experienced a crisis of faith, which subsequently led to a faith transition in the summer of 2012. In the spring of 2013, Jeremy was approached and asked by a CES Director to share his concerns and questions about the LDS Church's origins, history, and current practices. In response, Jeremy wrote what later became publicly known as Letter to a CES Director. 


Letter to a CES Director very quickly went viral on the internet. The CES Director responded that he read the "very well written" letter and that he would provide Jeremy with a response. No response ever came. Here is the Letter: http://cesletter.com/ 


In the fall of 2013, LDS apologetic group FairMormon publicly released an analysis of the Letter: http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Online_documents/Letter_to_a_CES_Director 


If one assumes that FAIR's undisputed silence is acceptance of the facts, FAIR agrees with 79% of Letter to a CES Director. Breakdown can be found here: http://www.cesletter.com/debunking-fairmormon/donuts-breakdowns.html#cesletter 


In response, Jeremy has now released Debunking FAIR's Debunking. http://www.cesletter.com/debunking-fairmormon/ 


As Jeremy writes: "After I wrote Letter to a CES Director, I made the personal decision to move on with my life. Unfortunately, FAIR’s 'analysis' of the CES Letter, which include obfuscations, strawmen, ad hominem attacks, and even outright lies/omissions forced me to come 'back into the ring' to write Debunking FAIR’s Debunking. This was a huge project that I really did not want to undertake nor would I have undertaken had FAIR not been so outrageous in some of their responses and claims."

Fe116
Fe116

Your article does not specify whether youre still Christian? If you follow Christ, He would teach you never to say, But that is no longer my problem." He PROMOTES activism within the faith. Why do you use your voice to listen to yourself speak so eloquently complaining about the RCC but not DOING anything about it? Have you? Why not speak about that? Do something. Let us stop complaining. The RCC is beautiful. The corrupted are not. We are here to change that. <3 BLESSINGS. XOXO

antodav
antodav

It does say whether or not he is still Christian. It says that he joined the Russian Orthodox Church. Read it again.

LydiaFred
LydiaFred

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LydiaFred
LydiaFred

I am Lydia Fred i lives in united states and i was in a serious relationship with my Ex Guy for 3 good years.. One day we were in a dinner party, we had a little misunderstanding which lead to a Quarrel and he stood up and left me at the dinner party. i try to call him but he was not picking my calls so after than i contacted my brother and told him about it,my brother so much love me that he had to see him on my behalf,he told my brother that it is over between us. I cry all day, Then i contacted a friend of mine that had this similar experience and she directed me to Dr.Azuka, and i contacted him and tell him my problems how i lost my relationship with my lover. at first i thought it was not going to be possible.i was ask to come up with a little requirement information of me and my Ex Guy,so i did what i was ask to do, after 24Hours the spell was cast i was in my office when my Ex Guy called me and was asking me to forgive him and come back to him. i was very surprise it was like a dream to me. my ex is now back and he treat me very good. and our relationship is now stronger ask ever before. if you are act there looking for help is time for you to still put your hope on dr. azuka love spell, i promise you that you will be happy with your ex again email him. Greatazukalovespell@yahoo.com or greatazukalovespell@hotmail.com. tell +2348071398555.....

janicepaul011
janicepaul011

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relieftemple
relieftemple

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ThomasDavies
ThomasDavies

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ThomasDavies

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AqibJaved

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RodaRodaAltina

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Tobatz
Tobatz

Rod,


Just get real. It's quite obvious that you really hate the Catholic Church from the very beginning. You just wanted to find the right excuse so that you can lambaste it the hardest way you can. The thing is, the only church you believe in is yourself. Your conversion to Orthodox Church was for real? Come on, many who read your writings are not born in ancient civilization.

haleybarnhilly
haleybarnhilly

3 months is all you gave it? It's a year long program... Just like any course it goes through multiple topics.

windonyourback
windonyourback

Rod. 

You sound like you need a good therapist more than a good pastor. I am not sure what your sexual sin was, but I feel that you might have liked to have worked in a Magdalene Laundry. 

cataholic
cataholic

Which religion is not man made?

christianity, islam, hinduism. judaism

Which religion could still function if the god they believed in was imaginary?

Is god watching us, talking to us,performing miracles, and listening to our prayers?

When a priest is raping a young child what does god do?

When 100s of thousands of children suffer horrible deaths from starvation and disease

where is the all powerful god or loving jesus?


antodav
antodav

You seem to think that God allowing people to make choices for themselves, including heinous ones that harm others, is evidence of his non-existence. On the contrary, the opposite is true. God is the same place he has always been when all those terrible things occur: waiting, sorrowfully, for the wicked to repent and for the wounded to come to him to be healed.

He sent us into this world—voluntarily—so that we could experience the trials and tribulations of mortality in preparation for eventual ascension into an immortal, exalted, celestial state, as He has attained. Without free agency, we would learn nothing, and His entire Plan would have been futile, because we would not grow or develop at all. Sin entered the world because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, which was a necessary step forward in our eternal progression: without it, they would have never had children, and the history of the world would have ground to a screeching halt.

God gave us commandments, issued through prophets and later apostles as well, so that we could know how to make the right choices that would cause our lives to be blessed and enable us to bless the lives of others. Many people, because of the cunning deceptiveness of the Adversary, choose to ignore these commandments and make the wrong choices instead. This is the cause of all the suffering you describe.

So do not blame God for the crimes of men, whether they be in the Catholic hierarchy or elsewhere. I can promise you, He is just as mad about them as you are, and the wicked will get their just reward, when the time comes.

JohnDoman
JohnDoman

An emotional man leaves the Church for emotional reasons.

Zambedos
Zambedos

If every time a Catholic wakes up, and realizes not only that God is love but that He showed it first and foremost in the complete that that love led Him to the self-emptying of His Cross, and that we are called to imitate that love and thus that self-emptying, he/she then looks around and leaves, the Church will never become what she ought to be. The Church can only be reformed from within. Saint Francis understood that. Pope Francis does too. It starts with each and every Catholic living a more fully Christian life. His Evangelli Gaudium expresses that.

KimGaurell-Jacobson
KimGaurell-Jacobson

  although i agree with so much of what you have said here about the church . i will not allow the shortcomings of sinful men , be they laymen , religious brothers and sisters , priests , bishops or even popes , keep me from the  Eucharist .Truth is found in the Catholic Church , it seems clear that you know that . blame everyone else if you wish , but you know that ultimately  it is you who knows the Truth , that has abandoned Christ in the Eucharist . for the trivial reason that you found 5 parishes  out of  17,644 local Catholic parishes in the united states lacking . yes i know , i am sure there are more that 5 . but there also are many good and holy priests preaching all that you were missing , and many good and holy people living out their Catholic faith '

  when coming across a field hospital full of sick and wounded , with doctors and nurses who for what ever reason are lacking in skill or just plain incompetent . one , especially one who knows and understands the cure that is needed should not run away into the jungle abandoning the sick to their deaths . but instead roll up his sleeves and share the cure and his knowledge of it to as many as possible who can then share that cure with still others . 

    i am very sad , and pray that you will will soon come home to the field hospital that is the Catholic Church and start helping the sick and wounded by sharing the cure .

Lampadarios
Lampadarios

The Orthodox Church has a much better claim to being The Truth than the Catholic Church. He didn't leave the truth, he found it.

kkollwitz
kkollwitz

Yet another sinner finds that the Church founded by Christ upon Peter doesn't meet his standards.

EllieRavinsky
EllieRavinsky

@kkollwitz Count me as another.  He got soft and fluffy bunny. I suffer with PTSD and depression and take medications and all I got was bashed because I was upfront about disagreeing with church teachings. I got it so bad that I was left having crippling panic attacks and shaking until I would have to leave mass.  I finally woke up and said, what in the heck kind of outfit reduces someone to a depressed mess filled with self-hatred?  I had spent over three years with 4-5 priests, forcing myself to go, I finally realized the truth.  I don't believe most of the social teachings, I don't want to suffer with my PTSD in church and I'm leaving.  He can have my dose of sitting in church alone feeling hated and unwanted.  He can have all the pounding, being cut off because  you disagree with something and the arrogant people who were happy to see you go.  He ca have my being beaten, it's all his. 

doodleword
doodleword

I understand what you are saying, and think that choosing a church that suits your belief would be recommended, since there are so many to choose from now, go by your convictions:(

George-Scully
George-Scully

I also was led to the Orthodox church. I studied the catholic catechism, and researched the origin of many of its teachings , and then eventually started finding one after another the false doctrines in the catechism many of which originated in greek aristotelian philosophy know as the "natural law". 

The roman catholic church is an apostate of christianity. It has violated the tradition of the early christians of the 3rd and 4th century that resisted and protected christianity from the corruption of greek philosophy. It has many teachings that are also not found in the Bible. Purgatory, Papal superiority and infallibility, indulgences, immaculate birth of the virgin Mary, original sin, the origin of the Holy spirit, etc... all catholic innovations. 

The one true church established by Christ and the Apostles is the Orthodox church, the church that remained faithful to early christian tradition.

Anyman
Anyman

You obviously went to the wrong parishes or heard what you wanted to hear.  I've attended many and been all involved many Evangelical, Charismatic and Protestant "houses of worship" in my life and have come to find that the Catholic Church is still "The first and only Church".  I think protestant churches broke away because being a Catholic and a "Practical Catholic" requires more determination and discipline than other spin off religions.   Good luck and God bless you Ron.

diggit03
diggit03

According to the US Department of Education’s report on the issue, entitled Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by [Catholic] priests.” Why, one wonders, in the ever-present debates over the pay of teachers, public school programs and the like, is there no brilliant, hip man who stands up and says, “Yes, but everything you’re saying is suspect because teachers rape children,” as many have said about priests on this blog.


and this: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.ae/2012/11/this-is-my-story-it-might-be-your-story.html


Peace in Christ. 

okuntemple
okuntemple

Samantha

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he ask me to provide him with the resources so i did dr okun casted the spell and 3
days later my ex called to say he was sorry that it was the devil's work i write this for the world to see as i promise okuntemple@gmail.com i am now married to him all thanks to Dr Okun my friends contact him now if you seriously need help because okun donot give room for unseriousness you can also call him through his mobile +2347060595685

mase414
mase414

I am most disturbed by the Marian teachings of the RCC.  Was Mary conceived without sin? No. (Luke 1:47)  Did she ascend bodily into heaven? No. (John 3:13)

seraphsup
seraphsup

@mase414 

RC teaching is that in a singular act, Jesus' saving grace was given to Mary at the time of her conception, so he was her savior, too. God is outside of time and is not limited, after all. As to the second verse you cited: Jesus hadn't opened the gates of heaven, yet, when he said that. What paradise did Jesus take the "Good Thief" to? (Luke 23:43)

FrankGrace
FrankGrace

MY Joy is back to me after a very long time which i an my ex separeted since i was alone my life change every thing about me change a friend of mine gave me an email address and told me that this was the email address she contacted when she was in the same problem so i contacted the email i got a reply he ask me to send him my number so i did he was a man call Dr. cliton he caster a spell for me and told me that within two day that my ex we be back for good within that two days my ex was back, i and my ex are getting married. next week, you contact him at DRCLITONSPELLTEMPLE@GMAIL.COM once again thank you dr cliton a God to me.

MatLow
MatLow

From the time of Jesus Christ on Earth, the church has struggled.  No servant is greater than its master.  And know this - wherever man is so is the propensity for sin and evil.

THE CHURCH STRUGGLES, FALLS AND PREVAILS

 The apostle Peter struggled constantly yet Jesus entrusted him with the authority to continue the church's establishment in Our Lord's physical absence:

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."

While remaining its head Christ prudently made provision for the church's continuation throughout the ages starting with Peter and charging the remaining apostles and disciples to bring souls to God through the spreading of Christianity - that through acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and by believing in him, one could receive eternal life [with God] as opposed to eternal damnation [with Satan].

Peter's discipleship during Jesus' time is very much the template of the Catholic Church's history. He doubts the power of Jesus as he walks across the water:

 ...he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 

Peter is also rebuked by Jesus for intending to prevent the fruition of Christ's purpose:

 "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."

The Catholic Church has evolved in much the same way.  And towards the end where Christ needed Peter the most, Peter turns away completely and denies knowing him - three times:

"Woman," he said, "I don't even know him!"

While this comparison to the history of the Catholic Church, especially in today's times, may appear extreme it is not.  Finally Peter himself is crucified in Rome.  

The upside of all this, at least as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, is Jesus's spoken word: 

"...on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL against it."  Prevail in this context means to 'be victorious'.
   

Hmm, so there is hope despite the colossal failures and mistakes perpetrated within and without the Catholic Church.

Here again are Our Lord's words:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." 

THE HOLY SACRIFICE

There has been much disillusionment over the years with the modernising of the Liturgy of the Mass, which was once prefaced by the word Sacred.  In 1570, Pope Pius V enforced upon the clergy that the approved liturgy of the day, which had evolved through several previous variations, had been deemed the only form necessary for the celebration of the Catholic Mass. The papal command given at that time was that this liturgical form was to be used in perpetuity and by order of obedience was not to be changed by anyone.  Ever.  Here are the final words of Pius V in his Papal Bull 'Quo Primum':

Therefore, NO ONE whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul. [Emphasis added]. 

This liturgical form survived four hundred years, loved or hated.  And of course where God is, or at least where his followers are, the evil one is sure to be.  And the Catholic Church is no way exempt with many of its followers throughout the ages, both clerical and laymen, falling to the insinuations of Satan.

Obedience ends when sin begins.  Vatican Council ll, pastoral as opposed to dogmatic, began a precipitous descent into the desecration of the Sacred Liturgy and in particular the Canon of the Mass, which actualises the true presence of Christ on the altar - a mystery of faith.  This is the only offering we poor sinners can make that is capable of truly pleasing God. With the changes made to the liturgy which Pope Pius V had commanded was not be enacted it is now somewhat doubtful whether the True Presence is actualised, hence the reason some Catholics have returned to the old liturgy.  The old mass.  And these people have been vilified and persecuted because of it.  But as already mentioned where man is so too is the evil one and many there are among the practicers of the old mass who also bring ill-repute often by way of rigorism and scrupulosity.  The danger here for us as observers is to pridefully conclude that the fault of a minority is an accurate reflection of the majority.  Only God can know such things. 

In hindsight can one come to the conclusion the Sacred Liturgy was and is the central energising core of authentic Catholic teaching and communicative reconciliation with God.  With this authenticity comes the fair and equitable instruction of both good and evil, Heaven and Hell, justice and mercy, rewards for good works and consequences of sin.  Teaching is centralised on respect for God first then subsequently man.  These prescriptive teachings penetrate the schools and families of Catholic community.  What we see today is predominantly unauthentic teaching in both a Christian and truly Catholic sense and therefore a recognisably evident deconstruction of respect, whether toward God, others or self.  From this we see a pandemic of ill-discipline and the devastating effects of such and it those in want of discipline who complain the loudest against God's instruction: charitable respect and self-control.  What is all the more surprising in the authentic Christian instruction is charity [love] as the primary motivating catalyst.  Today we spit at this just as the cursing bystanders spat at Jesus on his way to Calvary.  We really are stupid.

FINALLY

Yes the Catholic Church is an old corrupted battlewagon that has precariously sailed down the sea of ages with a radical captain and crew determined to give it a new paint job as she goes.  And despite all the rust and holes and war ravaged panels she's still there.  And Our Lord Jesus Christ is still and always will be the driving force within its engines that relentlessly propel it forward regardless of any thieves and brigands that enter into. 

Return or no return to the Catholic Church is secondary to a fuller and deeper understanding of that which you finally adhere to.  Ask a few questions, seek wise counsel, don't let emotion decide your course.  Emotions are like a weather vane, pointing in a new direction with every strong breath of wind.  Know that God made you, helped you, allowed you to develop your skills, talents and abilities, the use of your faculties so that one day you may have the courtesy to ask Him, "Would you like to use my abilities that you have so freely and graciously given me for some purpose?"  A hundred to one on that he asks you to help Him to help you and others to come to live with Him - forever.

Peace. 

Franny_Priest
Franny_Priest

People ARE like sheep and they will be led back to, or into, the Catholic Church because they cannot figure out that Pope Francis is the Catholic Church's 'damage control'. It's being found out for what it really is; a massively powerful monetary organisation filled with pedophiles which uses God to control people. God has nothing to do with it; in fact he knew the truth all along as stated in Revelation 17 'Its sins are piled up to the highest heaven and it wears scarlet and purple robes and holds a gold cup'. It is Australia's largest employer and growing ever stronger. All the kings of the earth bow down to the leader of the ring of pedophile money merchants and people were beginning to wake up but behold 'a charming leader of the pedophile money merchants, one who says we need access to more 'poor'. The vatican, note, has never given a thing to anyone but as they say, it is the richest organisation with the poorest congregation. So, more poor, more money. Go Holy Francis!

CharlesMcDermott
CharlesMcDermott

I am attending a Catholic church with my wife.  I am not Catholic.  Before the new priest that just came it was "business as usual" at this parish.  People went to mass, went through the rituals and left.  There was more focus on "who I am" than on being in God's house and worshipping Him.


A new bishop is appointed to the diocese and a new priest is assigned to this parish.  WOW!  Has he shaken up parishioners.  Those that thought they ran the parish have been told to "take a hike so to speak and  the priest is in charge".  Not only is he in charge of the administration but his homilies are more evangelical challenging the members to read the Bible everyday and come to mass to worship Christ.  By the way the priest is from Nigeria,


My point is Americans culture has moved towards people supposedly being "nice" to everyone.  Well, what has happened is that the rich have become richer being nice and the poor poorer.  Our churches have forgotten about preaching the old "hell, fire and brimstone" from the pulpit.


As the Nigerian priest has so aptly put it, "aren't these people worried about their souls?"  He also commented that there have not been enough men in America who have become priests and therefore the Catholic church has had to go to other countries to get their priests. So Catholics, don't complain.


This all leads to the old phrase "we dig our own graves".  Americans churches, wake up.  People want to hear the Gospel.  They want to be led and instructed like children to the knowledge that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the answer.  Religion is not a course that you learn in k-12 or college.  


RobertCatone
RobertCatone

I am a Roman Catholic since my cradle days, However;  I can not in good conscience take part in anything to do with the Church today.  I cannot get past the pedophilia horror and the morally corrupt fathers in the Church who, through horrific means hid them, lied about them, cast aspersions on the injured parties.  After all of that many of these same leaders had the unmitigated gall to expect parishioners to forget and help pay the debt created by these very leaders.  Some day in the (hopefully) not too distant future, these disgraceful, corrupt sinners will be gone.  Unfortunately for me, I too will be gone.  I have not lost faith in the Lord, I have lost faith in humanity and human institutions.  Of late I have begun to get really serious about the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church, who I know, have had their own share of horrors in the past.  I do feel at one with their spiritual view of everything as opposed to the scholarly view of the Roman Catholic Church. 


Honestly I know in my heart that my inability to forgive is costing more and more as time goes by.  I guess we do all have our own cross to bear.  Right now I am a religion and church of one. 

JohnDoman
JohnDoman

I'm a cradle Catholic as well, and don't feel the least need to abandon the church that logic tells me was founded by Jesus Christ, as opposed to historical accident.

Lampadarios
Lampadarios

Orthodoxy as historical accident? Have you read a history book?

bunchalotta
bunchalotta

I'm a current convert and I had to re-read this article to make certain you were talking about the same church I'm converting to because it sounds like you're talking about the evangelical Christian non-denominational churches to me.  My experience couldn't be more different than what you've described here and in fact, is completely opposite.  And like you, I've attended mass at many different parishes, not only around the U.S., but around the world AND I was attending them as a born-and-bred protestant.  I don't understand how you could have such a wildly different experience than I am having.  I'm around your age and have been brought up in the Christian faith my entire life but have learned more in the past 3 months about God & religion than I ever learned all those years.


Also, if you quit your classes after only 3 months, no wonder you didn't learn anything about the Catholic Church and what she believes.  The first parts of RCIA are about history.  Learning about Catholic doctrine and the sacraments comes after Advent.


I'm sorry you didn't find the truth you were looking for.  But I've had enough of the sugary "we don't want to offend anyone" sermons where the preachers are treated like rock stars, the music is a performance rather than God-focused and no-one is held accountable for anything.  To each their own.

edseroloc
edseroloc

Being a cradle Catholic I have heard my share of homilies that were feel good for sure, some people may need this. But you seem to be looking for something that the Parish you choose didn't address. I don’t think you should feel pushed away by this but you should look to different Orders in the church, maybe one that preaches the catechism more. My only advice to you is spend some time in adoration and ask the Lord for guidance. He is the only one that can guide you,,,, If you listen that is….      

KimberlyMargosein
KimberlyMargosein

Rodney, face up to your cowardice.  Be honest with yourself, and realize that you are a gay man who likes it a bit rough. 

DeGaulle
DeGaulle

Rod, I am very sympathetic with your views. You are obviously very sincere and absolutely Christian in your approach to these issues. As a Catholic, and one who intends to remain so, your views strike me as the very definition of Catholicism. I fear you may have been misled by the wicked propaganda of the media and certain sedevacantists into misjudging the intentions of the present Pope. As Francis has in the past, as a Cardinal, declared that Catholics should be prepared to be martyred, even unto death, over the issue of abortion, I am content to stick with him and the Church, for all his faults. Christ Himself said that one needed only to love God with all your might, and your neighbour as yourself, and that the rest would inevitably follow. If God is Love, how can anyone be honest with themself and kill their baby, or have indiscriminate sex? Francis' call may not be any more unsuccessful than his predecessors' absolutely correct condemnation of all these obscenities. I wish you Godspeed, whatever.

jonfraer
jonfraer

Sin is one thing. Denial and mocking God and jesus Christ is a double abomination. I see hom0SEXuals do all of that. Their attitude is if it doesn't agree with what I like to do, put it down and out of my life.. Throwing away god in exchange for sexual pleasure. THE GAY AGENDA is more evil then what is on the surface.. History DOES repeat and the USA is heading way of sodom and Gomorah and Rome did fall too. 

betamax1978
betamax1978

@jonfraer Your homophobic HATE is a crucifixion of hate against my Saviour Jesus Christ. Repent your anti-gay hate and go SIN NO MORE. DO NOT PUT JESUS ON THE CROSS WITH YOUR HATE! I don't need to be nailed to your cross of hate as well as the rest of the LGBT community.

As Jesus said-GO SIN NO MORE!