I’ve been a Roman Catholic since 1999 in the Fort Wayne/South Bend Diocese. And I truly love the Church. I will admit, I don’t always agree with some of the doctrines, small things. Like unmarried priests (Peter the first Pope was married) or the no-remarriage without first getting approval from the marriage tribunal. But the doctrines that pertain to my walk with Christ I fully support. But this article is not about those subjects.
Before finding the beauty of my Catholic faith, I was Evangelical. And over the past few years, I have come to realize that there are things from the Protestant system that have a beauty and biblical standing that I still love. I’m not going to debate what Vatican II got wrong in implementation. Because to be honest, Vatican II (as many traditionalists claim) ins’t the problem. The over liberal way it has been implemented is.
The reason that Popes from Vatican II until now get so much vehemence from traditionalists is because of there understanding that there is beauty in some of the way that Protestants worship and believe. And I have been struggling to find a way to merge my love of the fullness of the Catholic doctrine (the oldest there is) and the beauty and biblical standing of some of the Protestant doctrines.
I will say this first and foremost, Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) is not a thing. Yes, when tradition is used improperly or forced over scripture, it can cause major issues. But one has to remember, Jesus and the Apostles were Jewish and followed that tradition. They held the feasts and followed the law (using the spirit of it more than the letter of it). And in doing so, show us that tradition, when done within the spirit of that tradition, bring us closer to God.
That being said, there are areas that all denominations fail to understand the fullness of the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. With Protestants, it is the fullness of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ’s real presence in the Holy Eucharist (John 6:54-57). Or that things like asking the Saints for aid (just like asking your Grandmother to pray for you) and understanding the Jewish mindset of the prominence of a mother and Queen Mother being the reason that we believe and love the Blessed Virgin so dearly (read the Jewish Roots of Mary). BUT, Catholics also fail in recognizing the beauty of scripture and the life of Christ and the Apostles that for the basis of Evangelical belief (1st Corinthians 12:8-11; Book of Acts).
I have seen the movement and the power of the coming on of the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost for you Evangelicals). I have seen the healing power of the laying on of hands and prayer. I believe in the speaking in tongues (1st Corinthians 14). However, most of the time it done without proper scriptural following (1st Corinthians 14:27-28).
I spoke to a wonderful man that has a Christian Catholic ministry, based in Australia, that I have followed since this year’s Lenten season. Bruce Downes is a man that, although Catholic, sees the faith of Christ much like myself. I asked a question to his ministry about the ability to merge my Catholic devotion to my Evangelical background. We spoke for about a half hour or so and when that conversation was over, my Spirit had been lifted and I finally felt a peace.
The Holy Spirit worked through him that day to make me understand the beauty of grace and power of the Holy Spirit in a way I hadn’t before. I will always defend the fullness of faith that comes from the Apostolic Seat of Peter. I also will defend the signs following that show the power and grace of God that has formed the basis of the Evangelical belief. From that moment of speaking with Mr. Downes and feeling the grace of God lighten my spirit I have come to understand more about the beauty of God in more areas of my relationship with Christ.
I do suggest that all Protestant read the Church Fathers and Doctors as well as the Catholic Catechism. It will help you understand why we believe what we do in the fullness of faith. But I also suggest that Catholics start looking more at Scripture to see the fullness of the faith in all its beauty that has become the hallmark of the Evangelical believers. Here is an article by Bishop Barron that wrote that explains Pope Francis’s understanding of the beauty of both (https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/pope-francis-and-the-evangelicals-1300).
I also suggest getting the daily devotionals by Bruce Downes. He presents the beauty of the Christian faith in a way that combines all of the faith. Here is his link (https://brucedownes.org/).
May God keep all of you in his graces and we’ll meet when we get upstairs.