Please share this post as widely as possible, because it relies on audience participation. At the end, I want you to “comment” and give me some of your thoughts. Protestants only please: Catholics, you’ll have your turn. Please re-blog, post on FB, share anyway you can. I’m really interested in the feedback.
Growing up in a devout Roman Catholic family, I think it is unlikely that I draw a breath or have a thought in my head not seasoned by my rich upbringing in the Church. A family of eight, Irish Catholic, all six children’s names from the mother land (Maureen, Shannon, Michael, Sheila, Kathleen, Colleen), all six children attended Catholic grade school and Catholic universities. Dad was president of the parish council and church historian, mom with a masters degree in theology and another one in adult spiritual development.
The rhythm of our life was mass, the sacraments, prayer, and study.
It’s been years since I attended mass regularly or participated in the sacraments, but the reasons for this are pragmatic as well as theological. As a result of our upbringing, Ann and I have both had the opportunity to feel loved and loving, accepted and accepting, in both Catholic and Protestant settings.
I am not oblivious to the fact that some on each side of this divide have strong feelings about the heathens on the far shore, but I have also had the opportunity to see loving, humble servants in each camp. My gut feeling is that “God”, whatever we make of him, is having a good chuckle at any party that thinks they have Him completely contained in their particular box.
About six times a year, our team here at Kijabe gets together to have a discussion on a Friday night. One member leads a discussion on a topic of personal interest. We’ve talked about Islam, spiritual disciplines, and Biblical justice. The evenings are social, low-key, fun, and interesting. This Friday, I’ve volunteered to talk about my upbringing in the Catholic church.
My reasons for this are several. I have fond memories of spiritual mentors, the comfort of liturgy, and unforgettable direct experiences of the divine. But perhaps more than this, I’ve come to understand that most Protestants’ understanding of Catholicism comes from their Protestant pastors. These pastors, in turn, get their understanding of Catholicism from their reformation history classes in seminary or bible school. These classes, in turn, are taught from the perspective of 16th century Church corruption and scandal. Missing are the counter-reformation, the Council of Trent, true Catholic theology, Vatican I, Vatican II, and the fact that billions of Catholics over the last two millennia have served Christ humbly in the best way they knew how. Once the cobwebs of the last 500 years are cleared away, the two camps look very much like earnest, truth-seeking followers of Christ.
Here’s where you come in:
I’m looking for open, honest, uncensored, thoughts, questions, opinions, conclusions, and vitriolic diatribes regarding Protestants’ views of Catholics or Catholicism. Here’s your chance! If it’s too nasty or profane, I won’t “approve” it to be read on the blog, but my intent is to find out what people are thinking.
To get you started:
Catholics worship Mary, pray to dead people, the Pope is perfect, and you can party all you want on Friday as long as you go to have your sins forgiven by a priest on Saturday. The whore of Babylon, the Pope as antichrist….
Many, but not all of these ideas have kernels of truth which give them credence, and are great starting points for discussion of commonalities and differences.
Please respond, engage, participate. And remember Catholics, you’ll have your turn!