Straight talk on real ecumenism, directly from the Pope’s mouth

Sadly, too many Catholics think that ecumenism is about finding a happy medium, a compromise, mid-way point where we can all get along with our separated brethren.

That’s not what the Pope thinks.  Read this excerpt:

Meeting on September 10 with a group of bishops from Brazil, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Catholic Church has always been a crucial part of the Brazilian identity. But that identity is now challenged, he said, by the rapid rise of Evangelical sects.

(…)

The rise of Protestant sects, the Pope continued, testifies to “a widespread thirst for God.” But at the same time, the fact that so many people who were raised as Catholics now seek religious support elsewhere suggests that the evangelization efforts of their Catholic pastors has been “sometimes superficial.” “In this context it is necessary, first and foremost, for the Catholic Church in Brazil to commit to a new evangelisation which spares no efforts in seeking out lapsed Catholics and people who know little or nothing of the evangelical message, bringing them to a personal encounter with the living person of Jesus Christ Who is active in His Church,” the Pope said.

The Pontiff went on to say that Catholics must recognize the new influence of other Christian groups, and establish an ecumenical dialogue with them. Otherwise, he said, “the lack of unity is a cause of scandal” that inhibits evangelization. He cautioned, too, that true ecumenism should be characterized not by “doctrinal indifference” but by mutual respect and a shared commitment to serve Christ. (Source)

Some “ecumenical” Catholics are probably cringing as they read that statement.  They think the Pope’s words above are disrespectful to Protestants.  No, they’re not.  We are the Catholic Church.  Our Protestant brethren are wonderful and have many gifts, but we respectfully disagree on some matters of faith.  We cannot deny reality.

As we’ve mentioned on this blog before, true ecumenism does not and cannot imply a watering down of the Catholic faith in order to reach a “compromise” with our separated brethren.  The Catholic faith must be presented in its entirety and unadulterated to other churches.

The Pope doesn’t say that Protestants are “bad”, but he is clearly concerned that so many Catholics are jumping ship and joining the Protestants.  And rightfully so.  If we weren’t concerned, we would be exhibiting the “doctrinal indifference” that he condemns.  How could we be indifferent to the fact that Catholics are abandoning the fullness of Truth, including the Most Holy Eucharist and 4 other sacraments that require a validly ordained priest, in order to settle for a diminished version of Christianity?  We should be very preoccupied. The sacraments are channels of grace, which is essential to sanctification.

Did you notice how the Pope described real ecumenism above?  He speaks of “mutual respect and a shared commitment to serve Christ”.  The purpose of ecumenism is to bring unity in the one true Faith.  However, until the day when other churches come to accept Catholic teaching, the key points of unity or commonality between us are “respect” and “commitment to serve Christ”.  In other words, Catholics must respect Protestants, but we must also continue with our commitment to serve Christ in the Catholic way that has been handed down from the Apostles.  We don’t water it down.  We don’t bifurcate from the teachings, norms and discipline of the Catholic Church.  The Protestants “serve Christ” their way and we “serve Christ” our way.

Notice that he doesn’t blame the Protestants for “stealing” Catholics away.  Rather, he blames Catholics for their “sometimes superficial” efforts at evangelization.  That’s what John has been saying on this blog for what would seem like zillions of years.  Look around the Church in Canada and other Western countries and ask yourself: can we honestly say that the Church is “committed to a new evangelisation which spares no efforts in seeking out lapsed Catholics and people who know little or nothing of the evangelical message, bringing them to a personal encounter with the living person of Jesus Christ Who is active in His Church”?  Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the same question.  Personally, I never feel that I’m doing enough.

We all need to try harder.  The zeal seems to have been drained out of our apostolates.  We seem to be on cruise control, with little or no effort to reach out and allowing rampant dissent from fundamental teachings.  How can we blame people for leaving if we don’t feed them with the Truth?  It’s time to get with it.  And fast.  So many souls hang in the balance.

19 thoughts on “Straight talk on real ecumenism, directly from the Pope’s mouth

  1. I believe that some may be leaving because they feel excited about their relationship with Christ, either a renewal or a beginning. As well, I feel that some evangelical Churches are preaching the Good News as it should be and are experiencing miracles too. I’ve personally seen healings, a friend of mine had her hearing restored. The wonderful thing about this is that we had invited her to our house to swim and she had to take off her hearing aid to get in and while her back was turned, I thought I would do a test to see how bad her hearing is. She couldn’t hear me at all. That night, she experienced a miracle at an evangelical Pentecostal Church. The one thing that we, as Catholics don’t see or even get encouraged to pray for are miracles. Our mass needs to stress the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we received from our Confirmation. You never hear about the gift of tongues which is not included in the Church’s definition (I’ll call it that for lack of a better word) of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Why don’t we bring our Bibles to Church? Why doesn’t the Church encourage this? Why is it that the Sunday Missals skip verses in the Readings? Why are the words being changed in these Readings and the Gospel? Just look at the Catholic Book of Worship III, they’ve changed “Amazing Grace”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “Good Christian Men Regoice”, “This Day God Gives Me”, and so many others. We can learn from our brethern from other religions, although we should use our discernment on that as we know how some religions reject God’s Word, ie: the United Church of Canada. There is so much more that we as Catholics, should be expecting from our leaders. I’m sorry that I probably sound a little harpish but that’s how I feel about our “religion”.

  2. Lastly, I will say that people who do leave the Catholic Church can still be saved, it just depends on what Church they go to fill that void, if they do this at all. We’re not the only Christians that will be in Heaven and experience the loving presence of Our Lord.

  3. One, one of many, of the things that brought this former protestant to the Church was understanding that when St. Paul wrote about unity he was not speaking of a kumbaya dissolution to the least common denominator but rather a call to holding to a set body of objective truth as given by the authority of Christ through his apostles.

    The Holy Father is expressing that kind of unity and ecumenical spirit and I love him for it. I also whole heartedly concur that the Church, clerics and laity must do a much better job of catechising the faithful.

  4. About your posting Sean:

    “As well, I feel that some evangelical Churches are preaching the Good News as it should be and are experiencing miracles too”
    –> Could a person not of the Catholic faith experience a miracle? Possibly, as we cannot know what God or Jesus chooses to specificallly do with certain people. Don’t forget that Paul, a non-Christian executioner got some type of miracle, changed his name from Saul to Paul and spread the Catholic Faith in eastern Europe in its infancy. I was worried a bit you sounded ecumenical to the point of the “anything goes” mentality of faith, but at least you do say this so I know it isn’t going that route: “We can learn from our brethern from other religions, although we should use our discernment on that as we know how some religions reject God’s Word, ie: the United Church of Canada.”

    “The one thing that we, as Catholics don’t see or even get encouraged to pray for are miracles. Our mass needs to stress the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we received from our Confirmation.”
    –> I agree with praying for miracles, but we should also pray to Jesus to continue His work with us, and through us, and also to honor Holy Mother Mary for her promises (Jesus as well) She (and He) will bestow onto us through Immaculate and Sacred Heart devotions. Perhaps that new translation of the Mass might change things a bit. It is supposed to be a truer translation with some additions to our parts of the mass and prayers.

    “Why don’t we bring our Bibles to Church? Why doesn’t the Church encourage this?”
    –> The Bible comment sounds somewhat Fundamentalist/Evangelical. I may be souding a bit critical here, but if you read more into the Catholic faith online and how people are defending it (start with http://www.catholic.com, a great site with an excellent apologetics journal) we get constantly attacked by Fundamentalists/Evangelicals with sola scriptura (Faith on the Bible only) arguments against the Church. I’m just warning you it could sound that way without more elaboration or proper context.

    –> Actually, the Church does encourage scripture. In fact there is an indulgence (removal of the temporal effects of sin, it’s not a get out of jail free card from purgatory) given to reading a 1/2 hour daily, becoming full/plenary with the usual plenary conditions of confession, Eucharist, and prayer for the Holy Father/Pope. More so, the Church under Pope John Paul II had written a lengthy document called “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church” in 1993. Read it on http://www.vatican.va using the search engine or under Pope John Paul II in the Papal archive. Also, the church does have readings every day at daily mass, though usually only a first reading (Old testament save some occasions) when it is not a Church feast day or memorial of a Saint. Problem is, most Catholics, save the elderly and people with jobs at home, or a parish with daily evening mass, go to Mass to hear the Word of God and receive daily Eucharist. Mind you if you are tech savy and have an iPod, iPhone or iTouch, you can download the following podcasts to get your daily dose of Scripture:
    – Daily Readings from the New American Bible (courtesy of the USCCB)
    – CNA – Homily of the Day (usually with pastor Fr. Gerald Murray from St. Vincent De Paul in New York City)

    Also, some parishes or dioceses might have either an adult Bible study (Catholic ones that is, not ecumenical) led by religious clergy or theologically educated/knowledgeful lay catechists. There may also be offered what is called the Lectio Divina. See this site for an example of it from the Archbishop of Toronto:
    http://www.archtoronto.org/events_news/lectio_divina_resource.html
    http://www.archtoronto.org/lectio/index.htm. He should be updating this second one soon for the new year 2010-2011.

    Only other thing I can say is yes, perhaps priests should use at least one sermon a year to emphasize the value of reading Scripture to the general Mass crowd.

    “Why is it that the Sunday Missals skip verses in the Readings? Why are the words being changed in these Readings and the Gospel? .”
    –> You mean they cut and paste? or do those like the “Living with Christ” series or the cheap paper booklets not have content like the lectors who read the word? In honesty I don’t know where you are from or what series of missals your church uses but maybe it’s a different series? Some people do criticise about books produced by Novaris including the “Living with Christ” missalettes (Maybe Pacheco does??? I think I caught something once about it???)

    –> As for words being changed, it can be due to the translations. Ever heard of New Revised Standard Version or New American Bible or St. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible??? These are all different translations of the Bible. I have this problem actually. I think the missalettes in my church are NRSV in the pews when the book that is read by the lecterns is actually NAB translation. I’m not sure though whether it is by country, diocese, or parish that set the standard for what translation is used in the churches of that region/country. The Vatican website’s bible online is NAB.

  5. Hi, I thank you for your reply, although I must admit, I was hoping for a reply from one of he authors of this site to get their input too. No insult intended. Please note that.

    I disagree with your first point. There is no possibly. Jesus wants us to be healthy and wants us to pray to Him and ask as well as give thanks and praise Him. Ecumenical is good but if a religion/faith strays from God’s Word, then I would not encourage that joining, nor would I encourage a praising as this sight, rightfully has pointed out how one priest gave praise to the United Church. I have not given any words that state that anything goes. On the contrary, my whole post directly points to the opposite. I do repeat, we can learn from our brethern from other religions. We do know from God’s Word that eventually, God’s Church will be united.

    In the United Church, we see their objection to God’s Word regarding homosexuality. The head of the UCC even states, “Jesus never spoke on this”. That illogic gives way to, “Jesus never spoke about beastiality” and so forth. It also gives way to remove the Trinity. We know how misguided they are.

    When we don’t pray to Jesus and rely on his promises, we are not allowing Him to be completely effectual in our lives. Yes, the rosary is a huge weapon against Satan and I would encourage everyone in that way. But as I’ve said, we need to pray for Jesus’ healing too. If we’re sick and injured, we can’t do God’s work as effectively when we’re well, although Jesus can use all of us at any time.

    “Why don’t we bring our Bibles to Church? Why doesn’t the Church encourage this?”

    Um, is the Bible the true Word of God or not? If that sounds fundamentalist to you, I submit that this is wrong. Which supercedes to you, the Word of God (The Bible) or the Church? For me it is the Bible. When the Church changes the words in Scripture, then it is doing wrong. The United Church and other liberal churches are doing this. I’m not sure if you’re giving the Church’s point of view here so I don’t know for certain if the Church doesn’t believe that the Bible is the inherent Word of God or not since you’ve stated your point about fundamentalism. Which supercedes, the Word or the Catechism? Personally, the Word should be the all in all but our Catechism should also compliment the Word but never supercede it.

    When have you heard a priest tell the congregation to bring their Bibles or to even read it daily? I’ve attended thousands of Masses and might have heard a priest mention reading Scripture once. As for bringing our Bibles to Church, I’ve never heard that. Yes, I know about the weekday and Saturday morning masses that it only has a first reading and mostly Old Testament save for after Easter when the Church reads from Acts of the Apostles. I’m sorry I don’t have an iPod or anything like that.

    Some churches have Bible studies, but few and far in between. I know that St. Pat’s in Ottawa has had some but it has taken years for them to have one. I believe that non-Catholic bible studies miss out on the books that we have in our Bibles versus non-Catholic ones. I thank you for the links, I do intend to look at them in the near future.

    Ask yourself this question, what would the percentage be of Catholics who read their Bibles verses Evangelical Christians? I would submit that Catholics would be far less and not much more than the general population. This is our personal responsiblity and as well should be encouraged by our clergy. Too often, the flock is left to it’s own wits. Look at what John and Steve are doing here. Are they part of the Diocese or are they doing this good work on their own? They’re doing it on their own. They should be backed by the Church, instead, they’re often ridiculed and labeled as extremists. One look at the investigation into D & P proves this and it also proves that the Church takes its sweet time to decide whether or not these organizations are funding abortion groups when it only took me about 15 minutes to read the evidence and decide. Look at Lifesite’s article about “How to influence the Vatican”, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10091507.html. Look at how much hierarchy they have to go through to get something done. If there ever is a process that needs to be streamlined, it is this one. When are they going to get rid of Father Raymonde Gravel? Let’s purify our Church and bring His Bride back to Him spotless.

    I just use the same Sunday Missal’s that every Catholic Church uses. Unfortunately, I don’t have mine with me as I’m typing here but let me give you an example. Let’s say the 2nd reading is on Acts 3. The verses are 1-3, 7-9. What happened to 4-6? That’s what I’m referring. My point is, if we’re relying on the Sunday Missals to give us God’s Word, we’re missing out big time and that is wrong.

    And as to rewriting, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. The Sunday Missal writes, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of people”. The removal of these words are the beginning of a very dangerous path. Look at what I’ve said about the Catholic Book of Worship III. Do you approve of liberalizing the Bible and our hymns?

    Amazing Grace: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” The new Catholic version states, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved and strengthened me.”

    This is farcical. I remember when the Mass had during the consecration of the Eucharist, “It will be shed for you and for all men, do this in memory of me.” They removed the word men. Why? Feminization. Liberalism. This is the disease that permeates our Church. I’m in the choir in my Church and I refuse to sing it the way they’ve rewritten it. God states that we should not remove nor add to His Word.

    In final, ask yourself as to why Catholics and I’m including those who are in name only, ie:Mcguinty and Chretien and Trudeau and Martin and so forth, are liberal and I use the small l on purpose. We need to reign these people in and stand up for our faith and make it stronger.

  6. Young Canadian RC Male, I just wanted to thank you for the link to Archbiship Collins. I’m just on the 1st part and am enjoying it very much. Thanks so much.

  7. Thanks to everyone for their comments.

    Sean, you’ve raised some good points. I think the other comments have addressed some of your questions. I will address some others.

    I agree fully with you that Catholics, generally speaking, don’t read their Bible enough. Protestants do a much better job at this. We need to encourage this further.

    Moreover, I sympathize with your concerns regarding “gender neutral” language that has been inserted into Bible translations, prayers and hymns. I find it unnecessary. In some places, it doesn’t really matter to me because it doesn’t affect the meaning. “Fishers of people” or “fishers of men” both convey the message. In other places, gender neutral language gives horrible results, as in Daniel 7:13, where it takes away the power of the passage. Instead of the correct translation:

    “As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a SON OF MAN coming with the clouds of heaven”

    we get instead

    “As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a HUMAN BEING coming with the clouds of heaven”

    (emphasis added by me). The gender neutral translation makes you miss the obvious link to the New Testament where Jesus identifies himself as the Son of Man.

    As for why some verses are skipped, I don’t know the exact answer. We know that the Church chooses the readings very carefully for each Mass in order to teach us something about God, ourselves or the spiritual life. Their is a common thread in the readings, although sometimes it isn’t so obvious. Removing some verses could help the reader focus on the key points, without being distracted by a couple of verses that, while still important, are not part of key message for the day. Also, I think the Church tries to keep the readings short most of the time. Unfortunately, most people don’t have a very long attention span.

    With regards to words being changed, I would need a concrete example. Certainly there has been an evolution in exegesis and our translations have evolved over time. This is a very good thing. It helps us get a better understanding of what is really meant in the original text.

    I certainly believe that Protestants can experience miracles. God’s grace can flow everywhere. He is very generous and some Protestants are very close to God. Yet, I would argue that all else being equal, it will be harder for a specific person to make it to Heaven outside of the Catholic Church because they don’t have 5 of the sacraments, which are huge conduits of grace. It’s like the difference between dial-up and broadband: Both will give you Internet access, but broadband lets you receive so much more in less time!

    We do get miracles in the Catholic Church. The lives of the Saints are full of stories. Many pilgrimage sites also report miracles: Lourdes, Fatima, etc. John Pacheco also wrote a blog post about a Filipino priest named Fr. Fernando Suarez, who was ordained here in Ottawa but now does ministry around the world. Read about it here: http://www.catholic-legate.com/?p=7414

    I would just like to bring a word of clarification to one of your statements. At the beginning of your first comment, you wrote:
    “As well, I feel that some evangelical Churches are preaching the Good News as it should be and are experiencing miracles too.” They certainly preach the Good News with conviction, zeal and love. However, if they are leaving out important aspects like the Eucharist, the sacraments, the Magisterium, Our Blessed Mother, etc. then it’s not exactly “as it should be” because it isn’t a complete version of the Gospel.

    Thanks for your faithfulness and God bless!

  8. Your Welcome. Glad I could help you out Sean. Perhaps if you could afford the few hour drive you could try to attend one of A.Bshp. Collins’ Lectios. After this posting I will admit you really blew me away with its content. I had written much more a short while ago, but I had a weird “Comment spam” error so I’ll try to write this in fewer words:

    Miracles II: I’ll admit some misunderstanding and personal feelings were on my part. While I don’t believe that asking Jesus “Straight up” for world peace or curing a mental/physical illness in an instant will happen, you are right in your point now that you used the example of praying for healing while sick. I understand your context more fully now.

    Bible. In short, Yes the Church asserts the Bible as the Word of God ; Summary paragraph from the catechism #141: 141 “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord” (DV 21): both nourish and govern the whole Christian life. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (⇒ Ps 119:105; cf. ⇒ Is 50:4).” 135 also lays it out: The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, because they are inspired, they are truly the Word of God” (DV 24).” See Part 1, Section 1, Chapter 2, Article 3 of the Catechism in its entirety for more.
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM

    Many of your points were dead on.
    “In the United Church … It also gives way to remove the Trinity. We know how misguided they are.” –> Glad you can see when the truth gets distorted.
    ” [On the Bible] … This is our personal responsiblity and as well should be encouraged by our clergy. Too often, the flock is left to it’s own wits …. Look at what John and Steve are doing …. They should be backed by the Church, …. Look at how much hierarchy they have to go through to get something done ….” –> YES YES YES!!!! And the Bride of Christ, the fact you address our Church as such really shows you have a mature understanding of the Church and respect it.

    “This is farcical …. I remember when the Mass had during the consecration of the Eucharist, Feminization. Liberalism. This is the disease that permeates our Church ….” –> This was the closer. The game ender. You clearly see through the falseties and realize how astray it was lead over a few decades to what it is now in developed nations.

    ” … In final, … stand up for our faith and make it stronger” –> in 200% aggrement! I’m tired of politicians who act like hypocrites in parliament/council when it comes to their faith. Let’s hold them accountable. Elections are just the start of that.

    Sean, After this last posting, I can see you genuinely respect the Catholic Church and wish that many of its leaders would assert the real Truth of it and uphold it. I may not have answered all your questions, as I too am seeking to learn its proper Truth and the teachings of the Church. If I can give you anthing, it is encouragement, that you continue to seek out the full Truth and teachings of our Catholic Faith, and not to be discouraged when our leaders fail us. Just because they are not doing their jobs, does not mean we cannot actively seek the Truth and bring ourselves to Christ. I wish you the best on your journey of faith and may we both continue to learn its full Truth.

  9. Hi Steve, thanks for replying. Where I see the gender neutral going is eventually to change the Father to the Parent or the Father/Mother as some so-called religions do. Look at the hymn “Good Christian Men Rejoice”. The feminists have changed it to “Good Christian Friends Rejoice”. I honestly believe that this neutering or watering down, however one might call it is part of the problem with our clergy within our Church.

    That is most unfortunate in regards to removing verses, if Christians from non-Catholic religions can read it all, why can’t we?

    What do you think about bringing Bibles to Church?

    As for exact examples as to words being changed, I will have to get back to you as I would have to have the Sunday Missal with me and I don’t from this location. I will try to do it at a later date.

    Having the Sacraments is a wonderful thing but is it the only means? I disagree. If a Christian Church follows the Word and believes in it, what really is separating themselves from God? Nothing as far as I can see.

    I would encourage reading a book entitled, “90 minutes in Heaven”. It is a real-life story about a minister, Don Piper who died and went to Heaven. Obviously a Protestant, and yet he was there in an instant and met others who were of the same faith. I don’t have that same belief as many good Catholics do in regards to those who are from other faiths. I think that is where I differ from the Church in that way, but not in the way that it separates me from the Church.

    As for miracles, we do experience them, but do we encourage them in Church? That is my point. Have you witnessed a miracle in Church? Have you heard the Priest pray for one? I know we pray for the sick and have the General Intercessions but there is really no specifics there.
    Let’s not limit ourselves, non-saints like us and pardon me if that sounds like an assumption, experience miracles.

    This is one example of a clergyman speaking of miracles and the only one I’ve known although I wasn’t there at the time because it was a weekday Mass. My mom one time was at St. Pat’s and Deacon Scheer I believe it was, stated that they have some artifacts from St. Philomena (patron saint of workers) and he stated that if you touch it and ask for something, she will not refuse. My mom asked that I get a job. I had been out of work for over 2 years but was refusing 1 day jobs (as a rule). Not less than 2.5 hours later, I got a call from an agency for a day job. I accepted it. I then find out through the boss at the place where I worked for that day, told me that I was not registered with this agency. I then realized and wondered, how did they get my number? I don’t know.

    Then, some years later in the government, I was a CR-04 and that salary was not meeting our bills (my wife and I) and so we prayed that God would help us out to meet that need and in turn to help others too with tithing and charity. The Good Lord blessed us immensely. In 14 months, I was offered 11 different jobs and moved to an AS-04. I will read the link you posted too about Fr. Suarez. Thanks for that.

    Oh, from the link that the Young Canadian RC Male sent me, Archbishop Collins asks an important question, do we remember the 1st reading when we’re on the 2nd, and do we remember the 2nd when we’re reading the Gospel? So true. I found and I told my wife this, that when I bring my Bible to Church, I do remember the 1st and 2nd readings and the Gospel. It is certainly a blessing and that is why I am encouraging and speaking out so that others might want to do the same. I might even mention it to our Parish Priest too.

    I know that the leaders of the Church investigate these miracles and it takes them years. This I believe is not a good way to show submission to the Holy Spirit. In regards to my friend who was cured, no one needed to investigate it. It just happened and we all praise God for that and expect more miracles in peoples’ lives. D&P is a good example of the slowness of their investigation. 2 different things mind you but similar ways of dealing with it.

    No they don’t have the Holy Eucharist and that is so huge. They use Communion as a symbol although they do that in remembrance of Jesus as he stated. The big question as my wife asks me, “Is it something that would prevent souls from being saved?” If we pray to the Blessed Mother and they (non-Catholics) don’t believe that she is a conduit to Our Father in Heaven, is this something that will prevent Our Father from listening? They believe that they can directly pray to Jesus. However, I believe that they are missing out on this grace. Again look at what happened with me with St. Philomena (not a well known Saint either).

    But and just to be accurate, there is nothing in the Bible that states that we should be praying to Our Blessed Mother. But nonetheless we do, as she has appeared to the world at Fatima, Lourdes, Medjujore and so forth.

    May I say one more thing, I do appreciate you writing to me. I pray that the Good Lord continues to use you and John (as I do with others who proclaim the Word). May he keep you safe and may you continue to use the gifts that the Holy Spirit provides. Take care.

  10. Young RC Male, same thing happened to my post but I clicked on back and my post was there and I copied it and went out of the comment area to the general page and then went back in and pasted it.

    As for the rest of your post, all I can say is Amen Brother.

    We all know that all religions are man-made to a degree, some unfortunately more than others. Therefore, there are parts that are imperfect because man is imperfect.

    Lastly, this is about ecumenism and I would encourage Catholics to reach out to those from other faiths and find good, solid common ground which won’t take one word from the Gospel.

    Oh and here’s a little tidbit, how many of us know that God was about to kill Moses? Look at Exodus 3:24-26. I mentioned this to my Parish Priest when I found it (my wife and I had supper with him a month ago) and I told him that this probably won’t save a soul but it is interesting. Fr. Brennan (my Parish Priest), told me that I should meditate on it, maybe it will help save a soul. He’s so right. I seem to have a bad habit of trying to limit God sometimes and here I am speaking about the Catholic Church doing the same thing. Yikes.

  11. Sean, you ask “is the Bible the true Word of God or not?”

    Sean, Jesus is the Word of God.

    The Bible is a testament or a witness to what God has revealed in Jesus.

    The gets us around that silly “Scripture-alone” debate. We don’t believe “Scripture-alone.” Jesus is the object of our worship, and is communicated through the Bible, but also through sacraments (uniquely through the Eucharist), through the Church’s larger tradition, and so on.

    That is why something that isn’t necessarily a part of the Bible, still is an object of belief for the Catholic person, because the Catholic person doesn’t believe Jesus is communicated only through the Scriptures.

  12. Hi Kelly, why is Scripture not the Word of God? I am Catholic and I don’t understand what you are actually saying here. Aren’t the Sacraments derived from Scripture?

  13. I’m a Catholic too Susan.

    The easiest way to understand this is simply to recognize the priority Jesus has.

    Jesus is the *revelation* of God, and the Scriptures *witness* to this Revelation. Even when there were no Scriptures, no *witness* in the sense that no text existed cataloguing Jesus’s life, death and Resurrection, there was still Revelation which had come in the person of Jesus.

    As for the Sacraments deriving from Scripture, I would say instead that the Sacraments derive from Jesus, although certainly in the case of the Eucharist, we see how the Scriptures witness to how the Eucharist derives from Jesus.

    But Jesus has to remain the source, and he does in Catholic theology.

  14. Sean,
    The sacraments are not the only means of receiving grace, but they are major conduits. To be deprived of the sacraments puts one at a disadvantage.

  15. Hi Kelly, yes the Sacraments are from Jesus and I must clarify that when I use the word “Scripture”, I do mean it is from God/Jesus. After all, Scripture is where we learn who God is and all the things he has done for us, etc. I believe unequivocally that the Bible is the unerred Word of God. Yes, Jesus is the Word, just like John states in his Gospel. How I learn more about God/Jesus is from the Bible. I believe that is how the Lord provided for the future as when we look in Revelation/Apocalypse where Jesus tells John to write everything down.

  16. Sorry Sean, I’m glad you realized that my last comment was to you. I don’t know why I put Susan.

    It’s not just about “learning” about God. It’s about responding to God, and experiencing the love that he initiates. This happened in the Incarnation, and in something like the Eucharist, Christ is mediated.

    Learning more about Jesus is good, and you can do that with the Scriptures. But you can’t give them a place they do not have. You’ll be far better off taking the Gospel’s to your prayer life, than you will be upholding an untenable position on inerrency. Might I suggest some more reading about what the Church teaches about Scripture?

  17. Hi Kelly, please do suggest. But you state that it is an untenable position on inerrency. Jesus states, “Be perfect, just as my Heavenly Father is perfect”. To me that sure sounds like it is obtainable. What place do you think the Bible should have?

    The thing is, I believe that you have to have both prayer and the knowledge, one without the other is useless. As well like James states, “Works without faith is dead”.

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