Anti-Catholic Movement Prejudice, a sAnti-Catholic Movement Essay, Research Paper Prejudice, as a word and not a particular viewpoint, comes from two Latin words: pre meaning "before', and judicium meaning "judgment'. It would be a fair conclusion to say that anti-Catholicism is the action of making a judgment before knowing the facts, but in modern times, this has been taken to the extreme. The popularity of anti-Catholicism comes from the conclusion made by others without taking the initial steps to find out the facts personally. Anti-Catholic ministers and members determine the doctrines and actions of the Catholic Church mostly by the media, or by literature. Literature is the primary weapon in the anti-Catholic arsenal, since it is the work of very imaginative minds. The creative and imaginative work of anti-Catholics can be made known to the world by the publication of a simple tract, or a complex book.
Despite what harm these tracts and books seem to bring, they are actually the Catholic Church's best source of defense. The Catholic Church, despite their massive distributions, isn't fighting the tracts or the books: she is fighting pride. The pride of anti-Catholics that the Roman Catholic Church is a pagan organization and that their arguments can't possibly be right just because they are the Roman Catholic Church, leads anti-Catholics to build up such a personal defense to any information outside of their favorite anti-Catholic book, radio show, church, or pastor. But the Church, in recent years, has made a tremendous breakthrough: we are seeing the truth come into the light, and the lies falling back into darkness. We now see the most hard-core of anti-Catholics lose the prejudices they once had when they, for themselves and not by the words of a book, discover the Church. Now, these former haters of the church become her most notable theologians and defenders.
They begin to see the truth that was once hidden deep down in the catechism, but can be found as simple as a scripture verse. Propaganda has been in our world since the time of Christ. Some notable Catholic as well as Protestant theologians, after the Reformation, began to debate if Christianity was made so strong in the world either by truth that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, or if the disciples had very good propaganda. Modern theologians have concluded that it was a little of both. The most famous use of propaganda was used in World War II in Germany and the United Kingdom, and then eventually in America after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Japanese. The propaganda of war is trying to influence your side against the enemy.
Historians, after doing years of research, conclude that almost 99% of the claims made by all sides of the war were false, making virtually all the propaganda a great fiction novel. The war with guns and tanks may be over, or far less often thanks to the credits of the United Nations, but war is still in progress, and has been since the time of Christ himself. It would seem that the Catholic Church is at war with the world, but the fact is that the world is at war with the Catholic Church. The World Wars have come to an end; it seems the war between the Church and the world will never end. The propaganda in one form or another will always be active against the Catholic Church.
Despite such attempts as the Council of Trent, the Vatican II Council, and numerous ecumenical relations between the Catholic Church and many Protestant churches, the war still rages between some sects of Protestantism and the Catholic Church. Both sides seem to be as opposed as the Jews and the Greeks once were. It is a known fact, both in the spiritual sense and scientific sense, that light and darkness cannot exist together. Christ created a kingdom not of this world; the world declares that there is no kingdom, except for the one that the world wants to make.
Christ died for eternal life; the world dies for what sounds best today. This is the cause of hatred for the Church of Christ by the world, and it makes the propaganda and misrepresentations with regard to the Church seem only come more alive. The argument would be that there is perfect reason to hate the church. She has committed sin and done her part to contribute horror in the world. But the argument can be equally reversed, if not more. The Catholic Church is not a stainless church; she does have the blood of many on her hands.
However, she does and can not claim the sole responsibility in this. The opposition only chooses to focus on her sins, and they hold her in a false light. Every effort is made to not see her rights, but rather to focus on her wrongs. Anti-Catholic prejudice in this modern age has taken the forms hatred and indifference; hatred is actually the lesser of two evils.
Hatred you can combat; indifference almost requires divine intervention. Not only now does the Catholic Church have to worry about the raging war from her fellow Christians, she battles the secular world as well. Prejudice in the world is shown in Russia, China, and Sudan, and many other nations who leaders are doing everything possible to destroy Christ. It is even in our own country, where many people are so un-concerned about Christ that they are not interested enough in it to care, or what people believe and if / how they worship. There is another prejudice harder to understand, namely that of non-Catholic Christians, or, as they are sometimes called, the Evangelical Churches. It is sad to say, but true, that at times the prejudice of Protestants or Evangelicals is greater and more intense than that of the world at large.
But the secular powers are becoming a thing of the past, thanks to the evangelical movements, who risk life and limb to enter these nations, as well as go across our own, and spread the message of Christ. But along with the message of hope and happiness also comes one of hatred, directed at one group: the Catholic Church. It would seem that the Catholic Church is making a giant judgment of her own, assuming that Evangelical churches go into nations and spread a bad message of the church, but the evidence is overwhelming. 60% of Evangelical and missionary churches target not the war-torn, famine stricken un-Christian nations you see on the news, but rather the nations that seem to boast a large Catholic population. Canada, The Philippines, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, and even entire continents such as Latin America and Australia. They go in and preach an un-biblical, hateful message of the Catholic Church, and encourage people to burn their statues, rosaries, Bibles, even their own churches to now have a "personal relationship' with Jesus Christ.
The main reason for this is not because the Catholic Church is an oppressor. She is not the one causing the famine, the war, and the poverty. She is actually the one speaking out against it, and trying to make a difference to stop it. The Catholic Church is one of the most active missionary organizations in the world, with 100, 000 missionaries world wide. The best example is the late Mother Teresa, and her order of The Sisters of Charity.
The sole reason for the sudden interest from Evangelicals in Catholic nations is due to the fact that they are contenders for what the Catholic Church has found to be true and has taught for 2, 000 years: that she alone possesses, namely, the true religion of Jesus Christ. This teaching has now led the Church to gain bitterest of opponents, and has Protestantism challenging left and right the claim of the Catholic Church to be the sole true Church of Jesus Christ. To the Protestant world, the Catholic Church could end all of the hostility and bitterness toward her today, if she would contest the teachings of her. If the Catholic Church would drop her claim to being the sole true religion of Christianity, and founding church of Christ, there would be virtually no antagonism between the various Evangelical Churches and the Catholic Church. There would still be different views of doctrine and forms of worship, but since all now proclaim that one denomination is as good as another, all become tolerant of one another, and whatever rivalry may exist among the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists and the hundreds of other Evangelical bodies, each one extends to one another the hand of fellowship. Now this is far from the truth from the Catholic perspective.
The Church has never once, and never will, contest any doctrine for public relations, and will never alter a teaching to make it more tolerable for someone else. Despite the fact that Protestantism is the most divided religion in the world, literally having over 45, 000 sects and forms of theology, most can come to the same conclusion: they must band together against the Catholic Church. Again, the sudden interest in some form of unity isn't to defeat a massive army that is oppressing the well being of millions of citizens; it is for two main reasons. First, if the Catholic Church is right, they are wrong. And second, since they can't be wrong, they must find a way to make the Catholic Church wrong. Nobody wants to admit he is wrong.
But if a Protestant admits that Catholic theology is right, he himself is wrong. An Episcopalian may admit that a Presbyterian is right without surrendering his own position. That is why all the Protestant sects harmonize and fraternize. But an Episcopalian cannot admit that the Catholic is right, and yet remain an Episcopalian.
Most Protestant churches will hold that one religion is as good as another, though some claim that they alone are the only church of Christ, such as the Mormons or Seven Day-Adventists. But regardless of who is main line and radical Protestant, the outcome came as a result of the heresy of private judgment and interpretation. If the judgment of one person impels him to be a Baptist, that of another may cause him to be a Methodist, failing to see that such a way is very illogical, because it is basically saying that the truth and a lie are equally right. If the Episcopalian church is true, the Presbyterian Church cannot be true, for the simple reason that one believes what the other denies. The Episcopalians hold that an episcopate is essential to the Church of Christ; the Presbyterians deny this. Both cannot be right, so which one is truth? Truth may be with one, but can't be with both at the same time.
So to say that one religion or theology is as good as another is to ultimately believe that a lie is as good as the truth. And it is this theology that Evangelical churches rest, which is led by the Protestant move into Modernism and Rationalism, the rejection of a revealed religion. Modernists are usually logical and consistent at all events, and by following the Protestant principal of private interpretation, they have been led to reject virtually everything that Protestantism proclaimed in its early beginnings. They have themselves done what the founding fathers of Protestantism did; departing from the real religion for another.
But the Evangelical Church, refusing to acknowledge the very system that allowed them into being, has rejected the Protestant church for another. But even in the abandonment of the main line Protestant movement, they still hold true to it. In the Reformation, the Bible was to take the place of God's living Church. The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible was established as core and creed in content. The fact that the Bible proclaimed one thing to one person, and seems to be a contradiction to another did not seem to matter, because the words of the Bible are all that are necessary for the operation and instruction in the faith. But what was failed to look at during the initial hype and excitement of the new religion, which proclaimed everyone to be a "pope' in matters of the Bible, they overlooked what the Modernist Protestants are forced to look at face to face now, and have pushed aside the religion of their fathers.
But even now the Modernist position has run into yet another contradiction, and that is that every religion is as equal as another, when in fact, that is far from the truth. The fact that the truth and a lie can't both be right is the same as saying that snow is cold. But because the evangelical movement has closed their eyes to a clear contradiction in religion, which they themselves would never tolerate, they push for peace and unity. But it is all broad-mindedness. It is broad, very broad, as broad as saying that two and two make five, which is why you now find Modernist Protestants very liberal and considerate, because they know their position is weak. To admit that the Catholics are right means that you are wrong, and then all the envy and antagonism directed to the church built upon the rock of St.
Peter, which proclaims that every creed different from hers is wrong, becomes a thing of the past, and leads to the second point. Martin Luther's hardest problem was not writing a new religion; it was proving wrong the first one. Unless they could show that the church was false, they themselves were not true, leaving no need for a new religion. Now Christ had said that his Church would never error, but what he didn't say was that members of his Church would not sin or error. If this were the case, Christ would never have foretold sin and scandal in high places. He established the Sacrament of Penance for sinners in his Church, because Christ guaranteed His Church against error, but not the same promise to its members.
This promise is found in the Bible, long before the book of Acts. Jesus and his disciples were no strangers to sin and scandal. Judas was a thief and traitor; Peter was weak and denied his Lord. The first council of the Church, held shortly after the resurrection, was held to abolish this, but as we have seen over 2, 000 years, the church is in fact thriving in sin and scandal. It can be found in the Catholic Church, and every Protestant church in the world. Men are her ministers, not the angels.
But despite the corruption, the Church has survived, and is still as strong as ever. Protestantism, with all of it's pomp and circumstance, worldwide mission programs, and programs geared toward former Catholics, has found itself beginning to crumble in recent years. Now true, it did gain incredible strength in the early 1970's, but the numbers of the overall Radical Protestant movement has dropped ever since it started. The Catholic Church, however, built on the rock she is, remains stronger then ever after 2, 000 years. It is the one Church in the world that is universal, the only one that speaks with the authority of Christ and the only one that even claims to be without doctrinal error. And the lack of error within the doctrines of the Church is what led the Reformers to prove the Church wrong.
Martin Luther broke away from the Church that was founded by Christ, and brought out all means possible to blacken the Bride of Christ. The Lutheran or Protestant position will credit that Luther was the "second messiah' by bringing the church back to a Bible based Christianity. But converted Protestant theologians and scholars often go back to the first framers of the Reformation, such as Luther, Wesley, and Calvin. The study of the works of these men confirms that Protestant history was poisoned at its source, and has blamed the spread of the evangelical movement to a giant lie. It is this that leads to such a hatred of the Catholic Church.
After reading some of the most anti-Catholic books, if I were in the other person's shoes, I would hate the Church probably even more then they do. What always comes back as amazing is that the best scholars of the Catholic Church were once Protestants who converted as a result of searching for accusations against the Catholic Church. Their investigations led them to enter the very Church, which they set out to destroy, and they will become the first to admit that the bulk of Protestant prejudice is due mainly to the lies that have become lodged in the Protestant mind. It is necessary, if you " re going to debate with Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, to know where these concepts of theology came from.
Each one is different, and unique in it's own way. Basically, the evangelicals are the missionaries, and the fundamentalists are the radical group of defenders and interpreters. The fundamentalist position claims to go back to the time of Christ when they, the fundamentalists, were the true Christians, and were later forced into hiding when Constantine legalized Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, and abolished paganism in 313 A. D. But Constantine never fully abolished pagan practice from Christianity, according to the fundamentalist dogma, and mixed pagan worship into Christianity; they basically made what is the Roman Catholic Church today as far as worship and doctrine. Once the Reformation came about, the fundamentalists were able to come out from hiding, and "restore' and "reform' the lost church of the New Testament.
And now, a "Holy Ghost, Bible based' church is resurrected on earth, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now there are several problems with this theology. First is the most important fact: there is absolutely no historical, scriptural, or theological evidence to defend this claim. The fundamentalist dogma will dictate that there will be no evidence because the Catholic Church and other "heretic' churches destroyed all the evidence that supports them; they rely on a "word of mouth' teaching. But how is that any different then the Catholic Church preaching the church from apostolic succession by the word of mouth of the apostles? Second, doctrines such as intercession of saints, the Virgin Mary, purgatory, sacraments, and the priesthood were taught long before the 4 th century when Constantine legalized Christianity in Rome. These doctrines were believed by the same Christians who were disciples of the first apostles; the same ones who mixed paganism into the Church.
Despite the many heresies and schisms in the 2, 000 years of history, any accurate, historical, scriptural, or theological document will ever be found to support the lost fundamentalist underground church. It is for this reason that fundamentalists will run when you say the words "early church fathers'. Fundamentalists will never take the time to examine the works of the first Christians after the death of the apostles for the simple reason that their argument will quickly be smashed. The fundamentalist "convert the pagan' crusade is driven by both a common prejudice against the church from a lack of knowledge, and the thought that paganism is still mixed within the Catholic Church. Fundamentalists will most often quote that such doctrines as The Immaculate Conception, the Eucharist, purgatory, and the Assumption as a few of the pagan rituals invented by the Catholic Church. The root of the problem lies with a misunderstanding of terminology: doctrine and practice.
Doctrine is a set of infallible law disclosed by the Holy Spirit, and found in the Bible. Practice is changeable, and is the carrying out of such doctrines. While practices are a stem of doctrine, they are not doctrines themselves. The practices of the Catholic Church are the worship styles of the Catholic Church.
The prayers of the mass, clerical vestments, holy water, incense, and speaking in Latin are all the forms of worship within the Catholic Church, while a drum set, guitars, and a choir may lead the congregation of a non-denominational church in praise and worship. Each church has a different practice for its service. Most main-line Protestant churches are not to different from the Catholic Church, in which they use a liturgical outline, colorful vestments, candles, and memorized prayer. More contemporary Protestant churches and non-denomination churches use a very upbeat, charismatic style of worship with heavy rock music, and often incorporates charismatic worship such as speaking in tongues and prophesy into their worship style. Gospel churches focus on music for the entire service verses a sermon. The Churches of Christ don't use any musical instruments, and focus on the sermon and A Cappella music.
All these are examples of practices, which come as a result of infallible doctrine. The changing of the liturgical prayer in the Catholic Church is no different then singing a different hymn every Sunday in a Protestant church. The Catholic Church never has, and never will, change doctrine that is directly handed by the Holy Spirit. However, fundamentalists pastors continue to contradict their own practices of worship by claiming that practice and doctrine are connected, and that the Catholic Church is the worst of sinners by changing both doctrine and practice, when in fact that all the practices of Protestant churches came directly from the Catholic Church. Fundamentalist pastors will use examples of so called "pagan' Catholic inventions to prove that the Catholic Church still follows the ancient Roman religion, but the facts are twisted to support a bogus fundamentalist claim. For example, the Doctrine of Transubstantiation is often said by fundamentalist pastors to have been invented in 1215 during the Fourth Lateran Council.
But transubstantiation was not invented in 1215; it was only given a name. The Doctrine of Transubstantiation is the long, technical name for the turning of wine into blood, and bread into flesh, as Jesus did in the Gospel of St. John in Chapter 6. When Jesus took bread and wine and turned it into his body and blood, he was enacting the process of transubstantiation, and was officially given that name in 1215. Another key problem with the fundamentalist movement is the confusion of pagan practice for pagan worship, or the re-adaptation of pagan practice into Christian worship for the Christian God. St.
Paul explained to the Corinthian people that is was now acceptable for them to eat meat that had once been used to offer sacrifice to idols, because, "we know that an idol has no real existence, and that there is no God but one God.' (1 Cor 8: 4). He taught that Christians could now eat meat that was once offered to pagan gods, because they did not believe pagan gods or the tribute owed to them (Romans 14). The Evangelical movement is the fastest growing movement of Christianity. Combine the missionary efforts of the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and you have the Evangelical Church. They seem to be always on the move, going from city to city, state to state, nation to nation, continent to continent, armed with only a Bible and a lot of commitment. Even though the Catholic Church is by far the largest church of Christianity, and has the most converts per denomination per year, she has not had the same social impact on both national and world society as the Evangelical movement has.
How has the Catholic Church seemed to slip away and allow the Evangelical Church to move in? How does a church with the full deposit of faith, truth, and grace of Jesus Christ seem to fall through the cracks when a movement with much division and controversy, rise up? It is for the simple fact that the Evangelical is using the same missionary methods as the Catholic Church once had. The same spirit of Evangelism today is the same spirit that was in the hearts of such men as St. Dominic and St. Benedict.
But what has changed is the Evangelical view of a radical, "holiness' relationship with Jesus- a one on one approach. The Evangelical movement has abandoned the elevation of the clergy as spiritual authority, and baptizes all people they encounter into the "priesthood of the believer'. The crisis for the church lies with the Evangelical habit of distorting the truth for popularity. Most Evangelical theologians distort the Catholic Church's teaching that all people, even those who do not explicitly know Jesus, can share in the salvation won by Christ if they respond to his grace.
The Catholic Church also has to suffer from the indifferent position of Christianity, which basically believes that the Catholic Church is just the same as every other religion, therefore just another path to God. Since the Catholic Church is yet another Christian church, why bother proclaiming the faith to other Protestant Christians? This opinion, although it sounds very charitable, is actually more detrimental both to the Church and to unbelievers then the fundamentalist habit of distorting the truth. The Catholic Church suffers because she is the Bride of Christ, the church that Jesus shed his Blood to purchase, and is now put on the same level with non-Christian religions, such as Islam of Hinduism. It also makes the deaths of all the saints who gave their lives to spread the Catholic Church seem like a lost cause. As I said earlier, the main crisis that the Church faces is the imaginative minds of the anti-Catholic movement.
One such notable author is James McCarthy, a former Catholic and now founder of the fundamentalist organization Good News for Catholic's, Inc. In his book, The Gospel According To Rome: "Do not think that by staying in the Roman Catholic Church you can change it. Though every error cataloged in this book has been pointed out by others long ago, the Church to listen. It has never acknowledged a single doctrinal error. Indeed, it cannot, lest people realize that the Church's claim to infallibility is a charade.
Far from admitting error, the Roman Catholic Church has shamelessly opposed its critics, staining its hands with their blood down through the centuries. Who is behind this great deception? According to the Bible… the lie can be traced to Satan himself, the deceiver of old, ‘ the father of lies' [John 8: 44; 1 Tim 4: 1]. This is not to say that the Pope, bishops, and priests of the Roman Catholic Church are consciously aware that they are serving Satan's purposes. Many are undoubtedly sincere… Nevertheless, they are responsible before God, for they have failed to take heed to God's Word. Having believed a false gospel, they remain in their sins.
Consequently, but for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in these last days, the vast majority of Roman Catholics alive on earth today, clergy and laity alike, will die in their sins.' (The Gospel According to Rome, pages 312, 314-315) Leading anti-Catholic literature, such as this, is carefully written with a deceptive plan in mind by the authors who write them. They are carefully combined with sections of the Catechism, church fathers, and papal documents with Fundamentalist dogma and scripture. Even though McCarthy uses Catechism references, he uses them without the slightest understanding of them, and uses that understanding to promote a false, inaccurate message of the Catholic Church. The clips of the Catechism that seem to refute Biblical Christianity convert Catholics who read The Gospel According To Rome.
They would be correct, only if Biblical Christianity was what McCarthy said it was in his book. McCarthy bases his teaching on 20 th century Fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, which is an interpretation that didn't exist for 1, 500 years. That is an historical fact that is shown clearly in Church history, from the early Christians and Bishops, to the early Fathers and Doctors of the first 1, 500 years of Christianity, and even by most main-line Protestant theologians. Most Fundamentalists will argue that such documents and teaching are irrelevant since they come from the heart of the problem itself. But if the church is irrelevant in what she says, then they should be able to explain in great detail verses such as "the gates of hell shall not prevail' on Christ's Church (Matt 16: 18), that Jesus promised to be with His Church to the end of time (Matt 28: 18-20), and that Jesus promises the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth would be with His Church forever (John chapters 14-16). How do we explain these promises of Jesus for His Church if McCarthy's book represents true Christianity? What happened to the Church Jesus founded? Where was it hiding for 1, 500 years or more if McCarthy is right? These are very relevant questions, and in my opinion cannot be answered.
Attempts have been made of course, by smarter anti-Catholic folks like James White or William Webster, but even they have mixed a very negative, prejudice viewpoint with trying to destroy the one thing they cant fully prove. McCarthy, across his entire book, states that "Christianity and Catholicism have nothing in common'. Well, how can anyone define what "true' Christianity is? Is it in the Bible? Where in the Bible does it say what "true' Christianity is? Where does is set out what "true' Christians are to believe? Where does it set out what are "essential teachings' and "not so essential teachings'? Where is any of this defined for us in the Bible? What do Protestant Christians do when they disagree with interpretations of the Bible? Are we suppose to "hope for the best' in finding out salvation? And where is "true Christianity' to be found today? Which churches are teaching true Christianity today? How do I know? Do I take your word for it and accept your interpretation of the Bible? Every church claims to be true Christianity; then true Christianity is defined in 45, 000 forms of Protestant teachings, and one Catholic teaching. The basis of anti-Catholic books such as McCarthy's is sola scriptura (Scripture alone) and the right to private interpretation, an issue that McCarthy unfortunately left out in his appendix in the back of his book. It is sola scriptura that is the main flaw in the Protestant approach to Christianity. With that information in mind, it is time to take a brief look at the beginning steps to learning apologetics.
What you must remember is that apologetics is not the knowing of the facts; it is how you present them. Keep in mind that a Fundamentalist is very good at what he does, though he lacks knowledge of the faith. Here is a common situation with a Fundamentalist. You are leaving mass one day when a stranger comes up to you. "I have found the way! I have found the way! Repent before your soul is lost!' You think to yourself how rude this greeting was, but you continue on your way. This person continues.
"I have come to know the truth from the Bible! Romans 10: 9-13 says ‘ If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved… for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'. You Catholics don't believe salvation is an absolute assurance!' "Friend,' you respond, "the Catholic Church teaches does teach salvation by biblical means.' "NO!' they snap back. "I use to be one of you, now I have found the truth. You must find it in order to be saved.' Now there are several ways to respond to such an incident as this. But the question is, which one will get the point across? Sure you could keep moving, or you could shout back with anger. Either way, your objective has failed horribly, and the Protestant leaves feeling victorious, while you leave frustrated.
First, you must remember that the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists are like children: they have a new toy, and are so caught up in the initial reaction that they don't think about much else. The Evangelicals exhibit this the most. Usually, evangelicals are new Christians, either from another religion, or from Catholicism. They are so caught up in accepting Jesus as Lord and to proclaim his gospel, that they have forgotten that they need to study the gospel first. Second, always ask yourself, "What would Jesus do in this situation?' He would be kind, patient, and fair. When others saw him as an outcast, he saw them as his brother.
I have personally had to overcome this. I would remember thinking how these people cannot be God's holy people, for his children would never treat their brothers and sisters in such a way. But you have to see them as equals, as brothers, as sisters, and friends. Otherwise, you stoop to their level, and have become what they are. Their whole goal is to hope that you know absolutely nothing about the Catholic faith in order to defend.
When in reality, they know even less about their own and are clinging to an inner tube in the middle of the ocean for support. They have very little to stand on, and pray that you do not either. What is even scarier now is a new tactic by the anti-Catholic movement: kindness. Some have departed from the "hellfire and brimstone' preaching tactics of their colleagues, and have turned to "converting the heathen with love.' The best example can be found from Fundamentalist author and television host John Ankerberg. In his "The Facts on Roman Catholicism' pamphlet he states, "the Catholic Church has reformed itself since the Vatican II council. It is also commendable in other ways as well.
Socially, the church has always consistently maintained the high view of the sanctity of human life and marriage. Biblically, it has continued to defend the inerrancy of scripture, at least in matters of church doctrine. It accepts the view of the Trinity, Christ's divinity, and His atonement. And a clear understanding of the seriousness of sin and its consequences in eternal judgment. nevertheless, this does not mean that the church is without problems.' (The Facts On Roman Catholicism, Pages 1-2) This would seem, by an uneducated Catholic, to be a very sincere objection to the Catholic Church. But in all reality, he is objecting to his own Fundamentalist belief.
Fundamentalists agree on the sanctity of human life, and the importance of marriage. Fundamentalists hold the Bible to be the holy, infallible Word of God. Fundamentalists hold that our God is a God in three distinct persons within the Trinity. Fundamentalists believe in Christ's death and atonement. Fundamentalists believe in sin and the consequence of it.
How is this any different from the Roman Catholic Church? If Fundamentalist positions are the same as Catholics, then how can "Catholicism and Christianity have nothing in common?' And what church isn't without problems? When have we ever said that we were perfect? As I said earlier, the church has had her share of sin in the past, but to pin all blame at the Catholic Church, to say that no man is more at fault then the Catholic Church, truly makes the sacrifice of Christ non-existent. Christ did not so love everyone but Catholics to die for the sins of Catholics; he died for all people because all are with sin. Catholics, Baptists, Church of Christ, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc. all have the blood of many of their hands. You will read of many examples of horrible, sinful actions by the same people who preach about how horrible the Catholic Church is. But praise be to God that Catholics are more in line with moral theology then Protestants in our time.
In the issue of contraception, the Catholic Church has always maintained that any form of contraception that prevents the natural process of reproduction is a grave, moral sin. It is no different than abortion. To control life, to prevent life, and to end life is the same as playing God. God created life, and can end life.
But now, many radical Protestant churches believe that, not only contraception and abortion are acceptable, but now any issue that contradicts moral and biblical truth, can be common practice. Some Protestant churches have homosexual pastors married to their homosexual partners. They bring their partners to Sunday worship and live life like this is normal. Abortion is now considered acceptable if a woman is raped, or a teenager forgets to put on a condom.
Up until 1930, the idea of contraception was considered illegal, until the Anglican Church said is was for "hard cases'. Even Luther and Calvin held this as murder. What amazes me, yet saddens me, is that so many anti-Catholic Protestant pastors go off on the "perverted system of celibacy in the Catholic clergy, which leads to thousands, if not millions of preventable rapes and sexual crimes.' Yet these people are just as guilty, if not more, of the same sexual acts they say the Catholics commit. They spout off about how the church is full of sin, yet they remain stainless. Do you think the statement that Catholics are sinners comes as a shock to us? Of course not. If we thought such a thing, the Sacrament of Confession would be useless and not used on a daily basis.
Remember all the so-called "holy Protestant people' who spent so much time preaching about the sinful, pagan Catholic Church? Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Oral Roberts; all with their money-raising schemes and / or sexual crimes. And then there was Mike Warneke's fake autobiography, and Sandi Patti's blatant adultery. The list can go on and on. No sin is acceptable in the eyes of God, and no one can regulate morality. But judge for yourself what's worse: a priest, who, according to Protestants is not saved because he leads the congregation in the Rosary, or Jimmy Swaggart, who was caught fondling prostitutes, confessing publicly (when forced) with hailstone sized tears that he's forgiven and that it's "covered by the blood of Jesus,' leaving his denomination when they discipline him, and then being caught two more times? Or maybe Jim Bakker, stealing millions from elderly people, teaching a false hyper faith gospel, living in opulence with his wife, trying to be some sort of Pentecostal "light at the end of the tunnel', while still fornicating with a church secretary and then paying her to be silent? At least Bakker has, in modern days, seemed to make a true repentance and change his lifestyle for the better.
But where is all the harsh talk to the Protestants who commit these sins? There is hardly, if any. The truth is there are plenty to go around. President Bill Clinton claimed to be a saved, evangelical Southern Baptist. The real question is which church shows the most Christ-like behavior? The Catholic Church would win this hands down. Now I am not trying to make it sound like we are better, but the facts are clear as day. We have always been at the forefront of the evils of abortion.
We have always taught Biblical principals on marriage and family until Henry VIII broke that sacred, Biblical teaching. We have always taught the contraception is wrong as well as any other form of sterilization. Somehow, the "pagan, immoral, Satanic Catholic Church' has managed to preserve both the Bible and correct doctrines of the Trinity, by the protection of the Holy Spirit and guidance of the saints while the "moral, Christ-like, holy Protestant church' has committed terrible acts of violence, immorality, and total un-Christian behavior. Which one sounds like the devil's plan? Protestants always have, and continue to, alter theological and moral doctrines. Currently, divorce and feminism and female clergy are suddenly common in Evangelical churches. Abortion and homosexuality is as welcome as a choir hymn.
The most important fact to remember when evangelizing is that knowing Scripture, the Catechism, and church document is only 1% of your problem: 99% of it is getting the message across in a way that the person will open up to hear the Scriptures and Catechism. Always have a Bible with you. The Bible is that book that is leather bound book that is probably collecting dust on your bookshelf. Open it up first to the first gospel of the New Testament, St. Matthew.
Though it is not necessary to read the first 3 gospels in order that they are written, it is best. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the "Synoptic Gospels', meaning that they are virtually the exact same in layout and content. The Gospel of John is far more distinct and somewhat difficult. Make a Bible reading outline in your daily schedule. Set aside as much time as you can each day to read the Bible, even if it is only 5 minutes; you can usually read a chapter in 5 minutes. Don't restrict yourself to just reading the Word; pray on the Word.
The Bible is not only the blueprints of the Church, but also the blueprints of our faith. Take a little extra time to pray and meditate on what God has revealed in the Scriptures as you read. Say a rosary, read a hymn or devotional, or just sit back and let God talk to you. Each of these brings you closer to God, and to his Church.
Once you have finished with the Gospels, you reach the book of Acts, which is the sexual to the Gospels. While each Gospel ends at the Resurrection of Christ, the Acts of the Apostles picks up where the Gospels left off. You read of the first Pentecost, the first sight of St. Peter as the leader of the church, and the most climatic moment in Acts: the first mass. After Acts comes the Epistles and Letters, such as Romans, Hebrews, the epistles of Peter and Paul, and then James. You eventually reach Revelation, but don't be in a huge rush to get there.
If possible, re-read each book when you have completed it. Take the Bible slowly. If you feel the need to rush, go to God in prayer and ask for patience. You will only do yourself more harm if you rush into apologetics without taking it slowly, because if you do have the chance to evangelize, and put your own ambition over patience, you will find yourself searching for answers, and will make your position for the Church useless. So now you have read the New Testament.
Your ready to defend the Church! Wrong. You have only begun the basics. The real task comes with combining the Bible with the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church, and this is found within the Catechism of the Catholic Church. All of the Church's teachings are found in the Bible, mainly the New Testament, but they aren't organized in a way that is easy for most people to understand. This is where the Catechism of the Catholic Church comes in. It is not only important, but absolutely necessary to study the Bible with a guide to know how to discern the Scriptures.
Protestantism began, and thrives, by someone reading the Bible and interpreting a particular passage based on a personal opinion, then makes this normative for how they read everything else in Scripture. A new denomination forms when the entire Bible is not viewed in context, and a single verse becomes the doctrine of the whole Bible. Usually, untrained ministers are unaware of where else in the Bible a particular teaching is found, and if they are aware of it, they may twist the rest of what Scripture says to fit their interpretation of this passage. We find this even in the Scripture itself, because St. Peter was very concerned about taking on the task of reading and discerning the Scriptures without proper training and teaching. He addressed it in two places in his letters.
In 2 Peter 1: 20-21, he said, ." no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.' St. Peter, in this context, does not mean the prophesy of seeing into the future, or seeing particular events, but by the revelation of the Scriptures. The reason why the Catholic Church is so hated by most radical Protestants is because the Church dosen't set forth doctrine by asking "what does this Scripture mean to me, and how can I make it work for me?' The Catholic Church spends years, sometimes decades, discerning and studying the Scriptures before setting any doctrine, to make sure that it is accurate and from the Holy Spirit. This is why Christ established a Church, and a teaching authority.
What are the dangers if we leave the study to ourselves? We lead ourselves into deeper and deeper confusion, and leave open room for the devil to tempt our minds with actions that are not from the Bible, but claim to be by Satan. St. Peter wrote about what his fellow apostle St. Paul, had written and taught, but he cautioned that Paul's letters can be difficult: "There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures' (2 Peter 3: 16). Ignorant people (those who have not been taught the true interpretation of the Scriptures) and unstable people (those who do not adhere to the true interpretation that they have been taught) can twist the Scriptures to their own destruction. These are strong statements, but St.
Peter wrote them so that we would know that we must not approach Scripture as an ignorant or unstable person would do, and embrace the infallible, Holy Ghost directed teaching of the Church. The next step to understanding apologetics is knowing the position of those you wish to evangelize. While this isn't the most difficult part in theology, it is the most difficult part spiritually. Gather up as much anti-Catholic literature as you can, and begin to study it as much, if not harder, then you did the Bible and Catechism. Most anti-Catholic works are products of a vivid imagination, but there are the anti-Catholic "professionals's uch as Bob Jones, Oral Roberts, James Mccarthy, and Jimmy Swaggart. Though it is difficult to read the works of men who have a very hateful and ignorant position toward the Church, it is vital to read the objections, because without the objections, there is no way to evangelize.
Catholic apologetics is not intended for every Protestant in the world. After all, 4 major Protestant denominations (Episcopal (Anglican), Presbyterian, Methodist, and Lutheran) are very similar to Catholicism, and many contemporary Protestant denominations, such a Baptist for example, can be very flexible towards Catholics. Catholic and Protestant relations are still very weak, but we have also made a huge step. Interfaith marriage was considered the worst of sin by both churches, but Catholics and Protestants are happily married with children, basing their family life on the ways of the Bible. Catholics are now best friends with Protestants, and Protestants are best friends with Catholics. Protestants now attend a Catholic Church with their Catholic friend, and Catholics attend Protestant services with their Protestant friends.
Catholics will bring their Protestant friends to the parish picnic; Protestants will bring their Catholic friends to their weekend retreat. While the formal, church organization to church organization relations seems to be going slow, the one on one relationships with different members of different denominations are on the rise. And these same Protestants will now come to the defense of the Roman Catholic Church against those who attack her. They have done the research, or just have a very open mind to the truth, and have no problem considering a Catholic their brother or sister in the Lord Jesus Christ. It becomes a simple doctrinal issue that causes a disagreement, but unity is still there by the conviction in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the views of the Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians that must be feared.
They have views that far exceed loyalty to the gospel; they go almost to the point of insane. They are so hot with rage toward a group of people, and they will stop at nothing to make sure you fully agree with them. With them, there is no compromise, there is no peace, and there is no unity. You are either one of them, or nothing at all.
That is whom this book is for. It is to maybe, just maybe, make a dent. Now I am not asking or expecting for a Fundamentalist, who is just as set in his / her own beliefs as I am in mine, to, after reading this book, suddenly run to the confessional at the nearest Catholic church (I mean, that would be nice, but we must stick to reality). Only God can convict them of that. Only God can open their hearts to truth. But what I hope to do is make a dent in that heart to allow God into it.
Many Fundamentalists preach so much on prayer and surrender to Jesus, when they are the guiltiest of not doing it. They totally close themselves off to the rest of the Christian world. The Fundamentalist position is very one sided, and with them, it is either "their way or the highway', and the one thing that will cause them to run is for you to get two words out of your mouth. Fundamentalists are usually the best public speakers in the world; they love to talk, and hate to listen. You see, Fundamentalists think they know the Bible with a few scriptures, just like knowing the whole alphabet by a few letters. When they see that you may have even the slightest bit of evidence to refute them, the conversation is over, because they know they really have no defense, because one: they have no idea, and two: they haven't taken the time to figure it out.
And the main line Fundamentalist Protestant problem is that they can't back themselves up, let alone convert another. Some Fundamentalists use five or six verses from the New Testament to validate the entire doctrines and actions of Christianity. They will quote that John 3: 16 is your key to salvation; Romans 10: 9 is how you reach that salvation. Fundamentalists will often use "we have the Bible; therefore we have the truth'.
But what good is that since Protestantism is broken into 45, 000 different versions of the truth? Who is right and who is wrong? The only good news out of this is that most main line Protestant churches are somewhat less radical then Radical Protestant churches. Main line Protestants hold many of the customs and teachings of the church. But the fact still remains that all the Protestant "lock, stock, and barrel' comes from the Catholic Church in our Nicene, Apostles, and Athanasian creeds. They use a liturgical calendar as the Catholics do. They even have the same clerical clothes as we do. And even the same pastors who say that the Roman Catholic Church is pagan, brings Catholicism into their Sunday service by standing up on the pulpit with a white Roman collar on with a black shirt, or is dressed in a bishop's cassock.
It is all the same topic, all the same issue with Protestants. They are so divided that they can't see straight. Yet, despite the fact they are so divided as a people, they at least follow one principal; they all "go with the flow'. They just add in and take away whatever they want when it is necessary and fits the sermon on Sunday.
They all make up stories about how the Catholic Church does this and the Catholic Church does that. I once heard one anti-Catholic preacher make up a story about "yet another example that the Catholic Church is the anti-Christ.' This pastor said that he use to be Catholic, and used the ringing of the bells during the consecration of the Eucharist as his main example. He stated in his sermon that "the Catholics contribute to being the anti-Christ without even knowing it, and the solid proof is the ringing of bells for their form of communion.' He goes on to totally twist around the point of the ringing of bells for communion into a fake and false story. Since the bells are rung three times, two times each, that would equal to six rings of the bells. And since it adds up to six rings, and they do it three times, that becomes the number 666, the sign of the devil. That was his sermon! Hard to believe? Well you can believe it now.
This is how Fundamentalism operates, and that is why it is so successful and such a moneymaker in Christian America today. Being a Fundamentalist has one rule: make sure you " re a great storyteller who has a vibrant imagination. The fact is that the bells are rung three times only twice at the consecration. If the Catholic Church truly was the anti-Christ by the use of the bells, then it would have to go something like this: the bells would have to be rung 2 times, 3 different times.
The bells are used to call attention to the elevation of the host in the consecration of the Eucharist. Bells have always been a device to call attention to something. In the pioneer days of America, bells were attached to houses to summon the children and farm hands that dinner was prepared at the house. Even Protestant churches have bells on them! They are rung before and after services conclude! So the bells aren't evil and they aren't Satanic. This is all just another example of how twisted the Fundamentalist religion is. It is all the same, all the time.
It is made up and twisted to support one man's thinking. The other group of people who this book is for is for my fellow Roman Catholic brothers and sisters who are confused on the faith, or have had dealings with fundamentalists, but just don't know how to respond. Yes, there are many wonderful apologetics out there, but the majority are so confusing and end up getting the reader no-where. It is my goal and prayer that you get the most out of it. As Catholics, we have a lot to deal with. I know I personally do, being a Roman Catholic in the "Bible-belt South'.
I live in a place where our entire diocese doesn't even make up 12% of the population in other larger ones. The total statewide population of Catholics in Tennessee is only 8%. Also, consider that the Catholic bookstore I work in, is just 4 blocks down the street from the Southern Baptist Convention headquarters. Catholics have a real challenge here, but now it is a problem going worldwide. It is infecting this country like a plague.
I also know that, as Catholics, the majority of our faith is not taught in schools, both Catholic and public. Our Sunday schools don't encourage much teaching on matters of doctrine and defense, but on First Communion and candles. So many Catholics have absolutely no-idea about their own church. Some think the Immaculate Conception refers to Jesus; some think that the church still burns people at the stake, even in the year 2000; some don't even know the Nicene Creed after maybe saying it all their lives in mass. And Catholic attendance at mass is dropping.
Not only don't we know anything about out faith, but now we are learning less about its founder, Jesus Christ, who just also happens to be the savior of all mankind. This book is designed to be an uplifting, positive outlook for both Catholics and Protestants. After all, our Lord says in John 17: 21, "I pray, Father, that they may be one, as you and I are one…'.