Come explore the world of Catholicism, where grace can be \u201cmerited,\u201d and people atone for their sins by doing penances. We will travel through history and meet some fascinating people (both good and bad). And we will look at some official Catholic documents that show a surprising side of the Catholic Church.
God. She gradually realized that some Catholic doctrines are contrary to Scripture. She left the convent and became a Protestant Christian, and she finally found the relationship with God that she had been seeking all along.
They may think that they understand one another when, in reality, they have no idea of what the other person is thinking. They may think that they are in agreement about something when they actually disagree.
However, according to Catholic doctrine, if people do good works, and they fulfill certain specified
requirements, then they can merit a \u201cdivine reward\u201d from God. This is a doctrine of earning
spiritual things by doing good works.
The liturgical ritual for baptizing infants includes a prayer asking God to give grace to the water in the baptismal font (the water that will be used to sprinkle the infant). So for Catholics, \u201cgrace\u201d is something that can be given to inanimate objects, such as water.
When I was a Catholic, this made sense to me, because I was used to accepting whatever the
priest said without question. Now that I am a Protestant, and I have some understanding of
Scripture, the idea is incomprehensible.
In the Bible, grace seems to be a simple thing. But somehow the Catholic Church makes it seem
complicated and mystifying. The \u201cPocket Catholic Dictionary\u201d has a complex, technical, three-
paragraph definition of \u201cgrace\u201d that ends by recommending that the reader also look at entries for
actual grace, efficacious grace, habitual grace, justifying grace, sacramental grace, sanctifying
grace, and sufficient grace. It also has entries for \u201cbaptismal graces\u201d and \u201cstate of grace.\u201d
A Catholic priest wrote to me saying that the Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by grace
through faith in Jesus Christ. He failed to mention something. It teaches that we are saved by
grace through faith in Jesus Christ--PLUS being baptized, going to Mass on Sundays, receiving
communion at least once a year, going to confession at least once a year, believing the official
doctrines of the Catholic Church, and dying in a state of grace. (In America, Mass on Saturdays
can be substituted for Mass on Sundays.)
Modern popes taught that salvation comes through Mary. According to the \u201cCatechism of the Catholic Church,\u201d Mary has a \u201csaving office\u201d and her intercession brings us our salvation. In 1993, Pope John Paul II said that Mary \u201cobtains for us divine mercy.\u201d
Words can cause confusion. For example, Catholic theologians speak of three degrees of
homage, which have Latin words. \u201cLatria\u201d is the kind of worship that is due to God alone. \u201cDulia\u201d
is appropriate for honoring the saints. \u201cHyperdulia\u201d is appropriate for honoring Mary. It is higher
than \u201cdulia,\u201d but not \u201clatria.\u201d Because of these three words, Catholic theologians say that
Catholics do not worship Mary.
However, in the real world, these theological distinctions don\u2019t work. Most Catholics have never
heard of these words. Of those who have, how many know how to apply them in practical ways?
Catholics are not taught how to engage in \u201chyperdulia\u201d without crossing a line that results in
actually practicing \u201clatria\u201d towards Mary without realizing it.
When I was a Catholic, sometimes people would ask me about praying to Mary and the saints. I
used to say that I was just asking them to pray for me, like I would ask a friend. But there is a
difference. When I talk to my friends, I am talking to people who are alive--not people who have
seek the dead on behalf of the living. (Isaiah 8:19; Deuteronomy 18:11-12)
So what I said was misleading. However, I didn\u2019t realize it at the time.
Some ways of using words can result in statements that are technically correct, but the result is
A Catholic apologist told me that this made no difference, because the common people were
illiterate. They were unable to read and write. They would not have been able to read the Bible
even if it had been available in English.
However, during Mass, the priests read passages from Scriptureout loud. Even people who can\u2019t read are able to understand what they hear. If the Scripture passages had been read in English, then the people would have understood them.
At the time that he married her, he believed that Catholicism was \u201cjust another valid form of
Christianity.\u201d He attended Mass with his wife on Sundays. After a while, he began to feel that
something was wrong. Then he started investigating Catholicism. This is what my friend Jeff has
\u201cToday's ecumenical movement draws many Protestants and Roman Catholics together,
because they believe that they share a common faith. The Protestants believe that there are
outward differences, but the faith is the same. The Catholics believe that their faith is Biblical, and
that Protestants are just separated brothers and sisters who need the Mother Church in order to
experience the fullness of the faith. When you look into it, though, you'll find that the majority of
Protestants and Catholics are unfamiliar with the history and official doctrines of the Roman
Catholic Church, and, indeed, unfamiliar with the Bible. They prefer to get along with one another
in matters of faith, rather than to investigate, understand, and contend for the Gospel of Christ, as
laid out in the Bible, and to compare it with official Catholic doctrine. As a result, many Roman
Catholic teachings remain out of view for the average church-goer and mass-attendee. Those
who do earnestly investigate Catholicism, and compare it with the Bible, find that some of the
language appears to be the same, but the definitions, beliefs, applications, and perspectives
behind this language are anything but the same. They also find a multitude of additional layers
and dimensions to Roman Catholicism that they would never have imagined.\u201d (Jeff Lawlor, used
In Jeff\u2019s case, the situation worked out. His wife became an Evangelical Christian. Jeff and his wife are in agreement about how to raise children, where to go to church, and how to practice their religion in their home.
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