9/09/2007

I Like Roman Catholics

I was raised thinking that all Catholics went to hell because you were of another religion... [More]

24 comments:

The AJ Thomas said...

I like Catholics too. Somedays I wish I was one. Maybe someday i will become one but it's doubtful. I'm guessing headquarters would frown on that. The more I study Catholicism the more I realize there is really only about one core differance between Catholics and Protestants. Most days I cime down on the Protestant side, right after mass I'm usually more on the Catholic side.

dnephew said...

One of my favorite college memories was a history class in which we were discussing an upcoming visit to the U.S. from Pope John Paul II. A classmate of mine who had long before been given the unflattering campus nickname of 'Goober' asked the following:

"Dr. Towles! Dr. Towles! Is the Pope a Christian!?"

The class was stunned. Initially it seemed to be such an obvious answer--something we had come to expect from 'Goob.' And, in light of the general state of excitement about the upcoming visit, it also seemed a little rude. However, on a moment's reflection, I realized that, in the context of a Wesleyan educational institution, this apparently easy true/false question was actually quite puzzling and profound.

Not wanting to spend the entire class period trying to solve the great divide between a Wesleyan Holiness tradition and the mother church, Dr. Towles deftly responded something like:

"Glen, I think by definition we would have to say that the Pope is, in fact, a Christian. However, he might not necessarily be considered a good Wesleyan."

Disaster averted, we then went back to discussing the historical/political ramifications of this visit and the logistical arrangements being made for those students wanting to see this Christian/non-Wesleyan Pope in person.

A year or two later, in a class on Christian devotional classics, I read a collection of letters by a Roman Catholic known as Brother Lawrence. A profound little book that helped revolutionize how I understood my relationship with God.

It wasn't until much later in my reflective life that I realized my view of all things Roman Catholic (and Greek Orthodox for that matter) had been my view of their annual carnivals. As a kid, I was taught that these were nothing more than pagan festivals filled with booze and pseudo-gambling. Dens of iniquity. No one bothered to share the Brother Lawrences or Henri Nouwens with me until much later.

For holiness folk and many others from evangelical denominations, Catholics will always be enigmatic. On the one had, their carnivals seem to be bastions of impurity, even as we compromise our own legalistic purity standards. On the other hand, some of their greats obviously have an awesome knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ. Much deeper than many, if not all of our own "greats."

I like Catholics too--especially the great ones.

Kevin K. Wright said...

You're not the only one who seems to like Catholics these days Coach. I'm noticing a new interest in Catholic studies among my Protestant colleagues. If theology was a stock market, I'd be buying large shares in Aquinas and selling off my holdings in Luther :)

John Mark said...

I like Catholics for many of the reasons in your post. Funerals are what usually take me to Catholic churches, and I like how you really feel like you're in church, not at the local Civic Center. I even like Icons, though I don't have any, (except for Salmons head of Christ-in our prayer room). I will say, and I am told that most Catholics agree; the preaching at Mass is often, ahem, less than stellar. My experience is limited, so I may be totally wrong here.
I am on the mailing list for several Catholic organizations. Occasionally I get letters asking for money to help defend Catholic youth from "Bible-believing-Christians" or they try to sell me testimonial books by Protestants who have converted to the true and living church. That makes me wonder if Catholics like me. The newest Pope is pretty clear about my status in the church, and I'm sure he feels that if I ever see the light I will come back to Rome.

And your comments on the Eucharist are on the money. When I started trying to have Communion here on a monthly basis, people told me that was waaaay too often!

tricia said...

In studying church history over the last year, I have come to have a greater respect for the richness history and tradition can add to our worship of, and walk with Christ. Catholicism certainly has that richness of history and tradition. (Of course, I realize that as with any tradition, not all of the history is good.)

In appreciating the richness of history and tradition one sees in mass, I wonder if in our attempt to be culturally current, and stear clear of the appearance of following "rote rituals" that we have lost something? I would wonder if that is part of what is fueling the current interest in Judaic and Catholic rituals and history in so many protestant Christians today.

Kim said...

I've been working with a catholic singer/songwriter for years, and every gig would take us to another catholic church. Having dabbled in the more charismatic side of catholicism - I've always seen Mark as different and refreshing...in a "Look! He's Catholic, but he's also a Christian!" sort of way. In turn, he would always take a little jab and introduce me as the token Protestant of the group. I still work with him, and greatly admire how seriously he takes both abortion and social issues like hunger and poverty. He's taught me that being Catholic has nothing to do with politics. You stand for what you believe is right, regardless of its popularity.

I really do like Catholics - for many of the reasons you talk about in your article.

Beth B said...

Thanks, Keith, for verbalizing all the things that I've felt for over 40 years! My Dad was Catholic and my mom was Southern Baptist; they married before Vatican II and one loved their church and attended faithfully. We kids were brought up Baptist. I have fond memories of mealtimes reminisicent of Acts 2, where simultaneously the Lord was beseeched: "Bless us O Lord and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, Our Lord, Amen” and "Come Lord Jesus Be our Guest May our daily food be blest Amen."
No wonder I grew up to be Evangelical Covenant! I thank God to have experienced the best of both worlds.

--Beth Bilynskyj

Beth B said...

oops--typo. They BOTH loved their church and attended faithfully!

--Beth

glenn harris said...

I like Catholics too.

And for all the right reasons.

Thanks for bringing this post to light. My mother was raised in the Catholic Church and while she left the church in her teens, much that was the church didn't leave her. I've always been comfortable with Catholics (most of my relatives)and uncomfortable with the tendency we had in the 50's and 60's of Catholic Bashing. So much of what Catholics believe has been distorted over the years and i've had to do the research to find out if what I was taught was true. While there is much to differ with, there is much common ground to work in and I appreciate your insight.

brownie said...

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (Gal. 1:6-9 NASB)

I'm confused. I can't cast my pearls at the moment. I don't deny that there are some things to like about the Catholics, but I can think of things I like about Mormons, too. But aren't they also to be accursed?

I'm not talking about individuals who may be blind to the doctrines of the false teachers.

Hmmmm

The AJ Thomas said...

Brownie - The Catholic answer to your post would be something along the lines of:
"Nice quite from scripture - who gave you and the rest of the world the New Tastament? Oh right we did. Who did the Holy Spirit direct to selecet the cannon, wait - us again. Who called the church councills that help define what it meant to be a christian? Us again. Who protected and hand copied those scriptures for hundreds of years? Wow we just can't lose. Who split off from the one true church and caused division and changed the universal understanding of the Gospel based on your personal understanding as opposed to hundreds of years of theological thought in clear defiance of scripture including Peter (and therefore his successor) being put over the church and in clear disregard for Jesus final prayer that we would be one? Finally, score one for the Protestants."

Although in my experiance they woulden't be quite as snooty as that and I certiany mean no personal attack. I'm not saying I agree with all their conclusions but it's not open and shut and like them or not we woulden't be here without them. We may have changed what they gave us be we got it form them and owe them thanks for it.

Our issue with the mormons is they they have taken the clear, teaching of scripture and added some other guys teachings and understandings to it and come up with something that, although it has many of the trappings of christianity it is certianly not the true, historical, orthodox gospel. What about us isn't the same when compared to the Catholics?

Anonymous said...

And who gave the world and other churches priests that molest children? Woe to them who call evil good!

All churches seem to have "had their day" and then their egos overtake them and they seem to lose their estate.

Could it be that the catholic church is suffering from the same malady as many of the protestant churches of today? They live in the past, treasure their doctrines of old, and have nothing new to offer!

Could it be that the God of which they teach and speak is just incompetent? Or, could it be that the God of which they speak and teach is no longer good enough for them and has been given a writ of divorcement to allow for a new mate?

JustinJNierer said...

My mom is a strong Roman Catholic, my Father is a strong member of the United Church of Christ (the conservative part) I am a Wesleyan. I like the list, I appreciate the list, but what about the things that we dont like about Catholics? What about the idea of prayer to "Saints" and the idea of the (for lack of a better term) "deity" of Mary, the Mother of Christ? Those ideas are not very Biblical, but of course, neither are our membership requirements.

For those of you who are curious, I was raised in both churches. Mass on Saturday with my mom, church on Sunday morning with my dad while mom made lunch.

Catechism on Monday nights for my mom. Various VBS's and Youth group meetings for my dad.

And yes, I do have an extra Catholic name but in order to know that, you need to personally come up to me and ask.

Anonymous said...

What I find most refreshing about catholics is their kind, living, caring and sharing attributes. Seldom do you find them, or a Jew for that matter, trying to re-make others in their image like the mainstream conservative christian church does.

John Mark said...

justinjnierer,
We are Protestants, and do not agree with Catholic doctrine on Mary-the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption. We dont believe in Papal Infallibility, or Transubstantion, or Apostolic Succession, or a number of other Catholic doctrines. Coach Drury did not outline this, but plainly said that he as a Protestant has serious issues with the Catholic Church.
The article was about those things he appreciates about Roman Catholics. Seemed clear enough to me.

Anonymous said...

You know, this post and associated comments makes me just wonder about what God thinks of how far we, "His People", have come.

Lately I find myself thinking more and more of how we, "His People", have trampled on His blood all the time saying:

we love Him and want His freedom,
we want His ways, and
we want to be His people.

I guess world circumstances bring this to mind more frequently now as I watch peoples who say they want

to be "a people",
live according to "a way", and have "a freedom"

yet, it seems that they daily trample on the blood of those who freely gave that blood in order to try to make it all happen for them.

It just all really boggles my mind both in the spiritual and the physical realms!

Anon-Naz-Paz said...

While I'm a true blue Holiness guy, I have more and more passion for our Catholic brothers. I will not put up with Catholic bashing in my church -- so it doesn't happen when I'm within earshot anyway. Ex-Catholics are my the best Christians in my little circle.

I also secretly long to set up a beer tent, play some bingo, and find out what my own Nazarene parish really thinks about things; especially the men.

Pastor Jay said...

While the post outlines what Drury LIKES about Catholics (as he did with Marion, Indiana last week, and did last Spring for Nazarenes, he is not telling us the things he does NOT like about Marion, Nazarenes, Catholics, (or his wife or Wesleyans or whomever else he might see some good in). Maybe he's leaving it up to us to point out the bad in these things.. which some are doing well.

As for me, I admire Catholics more than I used to. I don't want to become one, but I'm sure happy when they become one of us--they make the best Nazarenes of all!

Randall said...

Catholics did not preserve Christianity for 1500 years. God preserved His church and made it thrive for 1500 years in spite of the human foibles of the leadership of the Catholic Church.

malala said...

Great thread. It's funny because as a Catholic girl, I also want to say "I love Protestants" as well, I've always thought about it, and for the same reasons why you love Catholics. I am French, but I was raised in Madagascar where most of Christians are Protestants. I grew up in a country where Catholicism is the religion of the poor, the immigrates, the lower class... Thus Catholics were despised by the ever perfect and "right-on" Protestants. But I am Catholic because my French mom is Catholic, and my father, a Protestant man, was open-minded enough to let my mom raise me the way she wanted. And I used to hate Protestants, but at the same time I couldn't escape from some protestant education and influence because of my dad's family who wanted so much to prevent me from having my mom's "bad" religion. Other there I was Catholic inside, but I had to pretend to be a Protestant as well.
Then I left Madagascar to be in France. French people are about 80% catholics, there are many muslim immigrates but a very tiny number of protestants. Children in here are taught that Catholics are the one and only true Christians, and the others are merely "cultists". Protestantism in here only mean brainless people, hundreds of crazy cults... I was hurt, I didn't like to hear it, I constantly had the desire to tell them how great this religion was and I'm doing it still. Living in France awoke the half Protestant girl in me, and I realized, very soon that I hated French Catholics because of the same reasons why I hated Madagascan Protestants. Both of them act the same, and religion itself has nothing to do with that, it's about how people behave as if they were superior to others.

Wayne said...

Better watch out now, Keith -- you have offended the Orthodox Church :-).

I like Catholics as well -- having been through too many church turmoils, I look at my Catholic brothers and sisters and see a heck of a lot of community that even those in the "emergent" community would be jealous of -- community that they live out together, take care of each other, take care of the poor, the widows, the orphans.

I think we all have some theological differences, but hey, in the essentials -- unity.

Wayne said...

oh, speaking along the church turmoil issue -- they never seem to have them so much in the local church -- you never hear them complaining publicly anyway, about how bad a priest is or how so and so did so and so. Also, when you move to a new town, as we recently did, it makes finding a new place of fellowship easy -- no church "shopping"

DanSerns said...

We should love all people who Jesus died for, which is the entire human race. But...

Jesus says He has His people in all religions and denominations (John 10:16). He also makes it clear that there are doctrines and teachings that seem harmless or even comforting that are destructive and deadly (1 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 7:21-23).

Rather than say “I am grateful to you Catholics for preserving Christianity for more than a thousand years” perhaps it would be more accurate historically to say that those who opposed Roman influence within the Catholic church (Columba, Ambrose of Milan, Hus, Jerome, Wyclif, Tyndale, etc.), and those persecuted by Rome outside the Catholic church (The Waldenses, Huguenot, etc.) kept the Bible available during the Dark Ages.

For more information about this, particularly the Waldenses, see my post at http://npucnewsletter.wordpress.com/2007/08/21/why-not-try-this-learn-lessons-from-the-waldenses/

(npucnewsletter.wordpress.com/
2007/08/21/
why-not-try-this-learn-lessons-from-the-waldenses/)

A. Monk said...

Between my junior and senior year at IWU (January 1991) I had a two year hiatus in the Army prompted by the outbreak of the first Gulf War. I spent most of that time in Korea where two of my favorite places turned out to be Catholic, one was an old historic cathedral perched on a hilltop in the middle of a popular shopping district in Seoul and the other a martyr's shrine overlooking the Han River known as "The Hill of the Beheadings". In retrospect, I think they sparked a hunger to learn more about the historical roots of my faith.

Fast forward to 1995 at which time the Eastern Orthodox Church came onto my radar screen and re-ignited that hunger. I was visiting a friend at IWU who had a friend at Wheaton who had become Orthodox with several other students. He loaned me a kind of spiritual/intellectual periodical from an Orthodox source that his friend had given him. That spark turned into a conflagration that brought me into the Orthodox Church one year later.

I am thankful for my Christian upbringing in the Wesleyan Church. It warmed my heart to learn later that John Wesley had a great love for the writings of the Apostolic/Church/Desert Fathers from those early years of Christianity which are a great wellspring of spirituality in the Orthodox Church. Wesley said, "I read (St.) Macarius and my heart sang", not dissimilar from my own experience.

So, I'd like to see an article here entitled "I like Orthodox Christians", unless of course that is not true :^)