Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Discuss: Catholics and Protestants - Why the distinction?

In a previous comment, someone asked the question:

isn't that (Catholicism) another denomination of Christianity?


why is it always Catholic and everything else...instead of another denomination of Christianity?

These are great questions. I think what is at the heart of these questions is a true desire to know and understand why the line is drawn between Catholicism and Protestantism. Sure, there are lines drawn between various Protestant denominations, but there is a true and undeniable distinction between Catholics and Protestants. This distinction sometimes leads people to believe that one or the other, or perhaps even both, are not Christian at all.

The point of this discussion is to talk about why is there such a distinction. Why is it always Catholics and everyone else? To kick things off, I would like to start by offering a possible explanation...

The term Protestant literally means, someone who protests. Well, what is a Protestant protesting against? Protestants are actually people who protest against the Catholic Church. In one way or another, they do not accept the teachings of the Catholic Church. As a matter of fact, most Protestants denominations, identify themselves as to how much or how little their belief system aligns with the belief system of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the standard that many denominations measure against. For that reason, the comparison is always Catholics and Protestants, as oppose to Baptists and Catholics, when talking about Christianity.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Non-Catholics know about the Church Fathers?

Okay, I have to admit. I am always shocked to hear about someone who is not Catholic, yet they know about the Apostalic and Church Fathers. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Polycarp....if you would have asked me who these folks were when I was a Protestant, I couldn't have told you. More than that, I wouldn't have cared. Of course, my feelings have completely changed.

These men is part of the reason why you call yourself a Christian today. They fertilized the soil of Christianity with their blood and converted a pagan Roman Empire. For almost 400 years, it was illegal to be a Christian and Christians could be executed without a second thought. That did not deter the faith of these men.

Not to mention, many of them are only one degree separated from the Apostles themselves. That is right. Polycarp, for instance, was made the Bishop of the Church in Smyrna by St. John. (Click here for a really great video, by Non-Catholics, on the ordination and martyrdom of Polycarp) Clement of Rome was probably baptized by St. Peter. Clement of Rome also became the 4th Bishop of Rome, Peter of course being the first. (FYI - Bishop of Rome = Pope). Why so many Bishops of Rome in such a short span of time? Remember, Christians were being martyred for the faith left and right.

Another great fact about these individuals, and many more, is that today, we can still hear their voices through their writings. Do you want to know what they were taught by the Apostles? Do you want to know what they believed? Do you want to know what they thought the appropriate age for Baptism is? Do you want to know how they were taught to worship God? It is all there. Or, it is all here rather:


Question for you, for anyone? How important is it to you that your faith resembles the faith of these that were taught by the Apostles? Is it important or not important at all? If not, why not? If you found out that they believed something that completely contradicts what you believe, would you be shocked? Would you investigate why they might believe this? Would you consider looking at other Apostalic Fathers and figure out if that particular belief was shared? Would you be willing to change your belief to match theirs?

God bless...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fr. Dwight Longenecker on Married Catholic Clergy

I have been a fan of Fr. Dwight Longenecker ever since I read More Christianity, and listening to his conversion story on the Journey Home with Marcus Grodi, where he told the story of how he went from a married Anglican priest to a married Catholic Priest.

Recently he published an article sharing his thoughts on the discipline (not dogma / doctrine) of the Catholic Church regarding married priests. I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine regarding this discipline, and thought that Fr. Longenecker's post was quite timely.

If you can spare a couple of minutes, I would highly suggest the read.

From time to time I am asked to justify or explain the fact that I am a married man with four children, and also a Catholic priest. There are strong feelings in the 'celibate priests' debate on both sides, and people expect me to have all the answers. I hate to disillusion those who wish to recruit me for either side of the debate. My own views are a mixture of common sense and loyalty to the traditions and teachings of Mother Church....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Celebrating St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Today we celebrate and rejoice in the life of one of God's marvelous saints. St. Therese, also known as the "Little Flower", was a remarkable woman whose life still impacts many faithful Christians today. We look to her and what she coined as her "Little Way".

You see, St. Therese was not very good at much. She was not going to be the next Aquinas writing theological treatises on the faith. She also was not going to be a great missionary spreading the Gospel to the far reaches of globe. Recognizing this, she decided to honor God in the "little things" that she did from day to day. This is way of honoring and recognizing God became known as the "Little Way".

She wrote an autobiography called the Story of a Soul, that to this day introduces the faithful to her "Little Way". Her life was one of humility that should be imitated and shared. If you struggle with pride and pray for the grace of humility, you would have a hard time choosing a better Saint to study and whose intercession you should rely.

Ora pro nobis