This is going to be a two-fold piece. First it will correct some misunderstandings of the Catholic faith. It was also show not all Catholics are alike. So hang on for a roller coaster ride.
My last post on Catholic faith was a reasoning on the Rosary. In it I defined why the Catholic Christians do it, the biblical understanding behind it, and the way it is done. This posting will look at devotions, such as the Rosary, in a broad form.
Devotions, such as the Rosary, chaplets, the Divine Office, Adoration, etc are all ways that those of the Catholic denomination allow themselves to enter into communion with God. To Catholics, these are the same as study of the scriptures, daily devotionals,etc.
Here is the main misunderstanding. They are not required or forced by the Church. They are a take it or leave it type of thing. There is no punishment attached for not doing them. I personally do very few devotions. I will do the Rosary, although I am starting to do the Jesus prayer beads more often. I do the Divine office daily, because the Divine office is just multiple daily psalms and readings (reading your bible and a good book).
Another misunderstanding is believing that we take the word of the Pope as law. There is only one point in time when that is required. This is when the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra (from the Seat of Peter) which is only about Doctrine and Dogma and has not been done since Pope Pius X in the 1950’s. Yes, the Pope may write encyclicals, but like any other writings, they can be taken or not taken.
The first statement of this piece listed two objectives. Correcting misunderstandings, and that has been done, although no to extent. So what is the not alike part of the statement about? Here’s the roller coaster.
I do not adhere to every doctrine of the Catholic Church. Nor did I adhere to the whole doctrine and dogma of Protestant denominations. Let me explain before you, the reader, says that statement ‘he picks and chooses’. No, I don’t. I do not adhere to doctrine and dogma that is not supported by the Holy Scripture.
All denominations bend their view a bit on varying doctrine’s of the faith. Here’s a main Protestant one for those of Pentecostal and Charismatic beliefs. The speaking in tongues. The speaking in tongues within these denominations and movements believe that the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. This comes from the verses that speak of the Disciples on the day of Pentecost. However, seeing that each person that heard understood the Disciples in their own language, it has to be assumed that only means that the Disciples spoke a foreign and known language that they did not know how to speak. Not some ‘Angelic tongue’.
Now the bible does speak of an angelic tongue, but it does come with rules. There either must be an interpreter or the speaker needs to refrain or go to another area until the utterance is done. The ‘angelic tongue’ is strictly for teaching and edifying the church. Hence the need for an interpreter.
While diverse tongues is one of the nine gifts of the spirit, this is a reference of the immediate change of language through the power of the Spirit so that someone of an unknown language may understand. This is also the job of another gift, interpretation of tongues. While, angelic tongue is real, that is not what the majority of verses speaks of. I’ll write later about ‘angelic tongue’ being the proof of the holy spirit and its origins as we now understand them.
Likewise, in the Catholic faith, there are dogmas and doctrine that are not biblical based (and determined at varying points of the last two thousand plus years. Such as Purgatory. The Church uses verses such as ‘prayers of the dead’ to justify this doctrine. However, the Old Testament tells us that the dead know nothing. This doctrine ties into limbo for those who die without reaching an age of understanding and without baptism.
This concept was reversed by the Protestants. Instead of a place to finish cleaning away sin, the immortal ‘dead’ immediately go to Heaven or Hell upon death depending on the state of their soul. This I also have a problem with. If there was the immediate transport to one or the other at time of death, why would there need to be a resurrection of the DEAD?
The first resurrection actually happened. Don’t believe me? Read the varying texts of the Crucifixion. When Christ was Crucified, some of the dead came out of their graves. That aside, If I’m dead and immediately transferred to Heaven, going back to the grave to be resurrected at the coming of the Lord would be a huge waste of time. In turn, if the evil are in hell at time of death, why the need for the White Throne Judgment? Hell is the place of punishment after that judgment takes place. See how illogical that would be? Why would Christ force you to be removed from eternal happiness with Him just to have you return to the grave and be resurrected again?
Neither purgatory (place of removing all sin because apparently the Cross did not do enough’ nor immediate heaven/hell (place of reward or punishment) make any sense. And do not say God is mysterious in His ways. Yes, He is. But He also gave His word (Holy Scripture), the ability to discern through the power of the Holy Spirit, and a brain to think things through.
Another thing I do not adhere to is the concept that a priest is needed for forgiveness. Do I go to a priest in the confessional? Yes, a couple items a year. BUT, after having repented and having been forgiven by God through the Cross of Christ. I go to the priest because everyone needs to hear they are forgiven from time to time.
If you do something to a loved one or friend, or even someone you don’t know, and you repent, hearing those words lifts a pressure from you heart. You can feel the relief. If it is someone who you know has forgiven you, but you you do not hear it, it can play on your mind until you hear the words. To me (and I don’t know the thoughts of many other Catholics on it) that’s why I go. I know God has forgiven me, sometimes, its just nice to have that spoken assurance.
Another is that Mary, Mother of Jesus (GOD), was born without original sin. This I do not believe. Bible contradicts that theory. The Scriptures tell us through Adam came sin. Everyone born beyond that point (when BOTH) Adam and Eve messed up, that sin was now perpetual in man until the day of his being born again. I do believe, the by accepting the will of God to be the mother of the Christ, she was made holy and without sin at that point. But born without it, nope.
I am not a typical Catholic because I am not a typical anything. I was saved and baptized in the Seventh Day Advent Church. And before you say anything, they are Christian too. I may write about that sometime in the future. I was Confirmed into the Catholic Church in 1999, three years after I was saved.
In between 1996 and 1999, I have felt the presence of the Holy Ghost (Spirit). I have witnessed miracle instant healings, even after becoming Catholic. I believe there are still prophets and dreamers. I still keep with me, certain parts of my non-Catholic Christianity. Why? Because I know the power thereof. I know the signs following and believe them. I also believe in the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist (Communion). I have felt the presence just as much taking communion as I have with the laying on off hands.
No one denomination has the whole truth. It has become a bit skewed because of the edicts and thoughts of man. We, as Christians, must remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, covered and washed by the blood shed at the Cross. Yes, we will have difference of opinion. But the one thing to remember is that Christ Himself said that there were followers and believers other than the Apostles.
The Bible has a few people that believed but were not walking with the people of God. Melchizedek was a priest and king of God when he met Abram. The Centurion at the Cross was not a follower of Jesus but believed.
A person’s walk with God is personal. The Church he attends is public. The fruits he shows are from the first, not that latter. Just because you are not Catholic does not mean you are not saved. Just as not speaking in tongues does not mean you have not been touched by the Holy Ghost.
We as the body of Christ are too busy missing one of the most important teachings of Holy Scripture. God corrected Samuel the Prophet as He now corrects us. “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1Samuel 16:7)So, I’ll remain a mixture of Protestant and Catholic. I’ll still read the RSV-Catholic Edition and the KJ. I’ll still sing liturgical and hymn. I’ll still tell about the love and reward as well as sin and punishment of God. I’ll still give my testimony. Because for me, it’s about saving a soul, not the sign in front of the building.