Parish Rot — Acceptance of Homosexuality Runs Deep in the American Church

By Joshua Charles Published on August 21, 2018

As has been obvious to many Catholics for many years, broad swathes of the American Church have been very cavalier and accepting of homosexual behavior, despite the fact that the Church is crystal clear that such behavior is gravely sinful.

So, I wanted to share a brief story.

My RCIA Experience

When I decided I had to become Catholic, I went to a local RCIA Program. RCIA stands for “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.” It is the program most converts go through in order to become Catholic.

So, I went to my first class. The instructor was a nice lady. But she had one major flaw: She took it upon herself to tell the students that she disagreed with the Church’s teaching. On what you may ask? You guessed it: homosexuality.

Up until she said that (and no student even brought it up) I had been very engaged in the discussion. But when she said it, I went dead silent. I didn’t know how to respond. I was so disappointed that an instructor in the Catholic faith wasn’t even standing by it that I determined the most prudent course of action, for a first class, would be to simply be silent — and if God intended me to speak, He would open the door.

An Open Door

Well, He did. The instructor noticed I went from lively and engaged to dead silent. “So Joshua, what do you think?”

“Oh, I’m happy to just listen,” I said, attempting to give her an out.

“No, I’d really love to hear what you think.”

I gave her another out, but then the other instructor, a middle-aged man who was subbing for the Deacon (who was sick) chimed in and said he’d love to hear my thoughts as well (he had not stood up to the lead instructor when she said she disagreed with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality).

Speaking Up

Taking this as my cue, and after giving 2-3 chances for them to opt out of getting a response from me, I looked the instructor in the eye, and firmly, but politely said:

“I am here precisely because I am no longer a Protestant; thus, I intend to obey and stand by the Church’s teachings.”

The room fell pin-drop silent. After about 5-10 seconds (which seemed like an eternity), I spoke up again:

“Also, you misquoted the Catechism.”

She had claimed that the Church taught that homosexual persons were intrinsically disordered, and that was discriminatory. I said, “That is absolutely false. That’s not what the Catechism says. It says that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”

Sure enough, she looked it up, and I was correct. Paragraph 2357 said exactly what I said: “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” Persons who have homosexual dispositions are to be loved and honored as persons. But homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.

Again, silence.

“And by the way,” I said, “the Catechism states that many actions I would be prone to as a heterosexual man are also ‘intrinsically disordered.’ So if the Church discriminates against homosexuals, it is also discriminating against me, a straight man, I guess.” Sure enough, when the Catechism was opened, turns out I was correct. Many such actions are described as “intrinsically disordered.”

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Suffice it to say I left that class horrified. How could the instructor in the Catholic faith (1) Openly declare rebellion against it; and (2) mangle the Catechism to make her point?

Baffled

To add insult to injury, the other instructor only stood up for the Church’s teaching against the dissenting instructor after I stood up for it! How on earth could this be happening? I wasn’t even in the Church yet, and yet I was standing up for her teachings more than the Catholics who were instructing me.

I was baffled.

I was even more baffled when I told the RCIA coordinator about it. The response was horrible. All I got was: “Thanks for letting us know.”

No changes were made, nothing. Someone was openly teaching error to potential converts, and they were allowed to continue doing so.

Not a Mystery

There were other troubling things that occurred during that RCIA class, but I trust the point is clear. There is a rot that has infested far too many Catholic parishes from parish leadership itself. That is why so many lay people are so furious right now. Nor was this a mystery to me prior to deciding to convert. I knew all about it, having had many discussions with Catholic friends.

But church leaders are attendants. They are not the Bridegroom. You don’t flee the altar, as many of the faithful are threatening to do. 

You don’t leave. In fact, you can’t leave. You stick it out. People will always, always disappoint. But the Church remains the beneficiary of Christ’s promises.

So, you don’t leave, for this is to base faith on men. You stay, for that is to base faith on Christ.

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  • Anne Fernandes

    Just….Yes!!!

  • Grn724

    Great lesson and articulation in what I have seen and believed for over 20 years now. The “rot” is pervasive, systematic and chronic, from the local parish to the Vatican. 80% of baptized Catholics do not participate in their faith and half of the 20% who, are lukewarm, at best. The Catholic Church has rendered itself foolish is the eyes of God.

  • James

    Most cradle Catholics don’t agree with what the Catholic Church teaches, but are far less willing than Protestants to find a church that they do agree with.

    Most Protestants, especially evangelical Protestants, are taught at a very young age to make a personal decision about what they believe. This personalization is far less common among Catholics. Catholics are told that they are Catholic and that this is what the Church teaches. But the people generally see it as an external set of rules imposed on them by an arbitrary and distant authority, not something that they have chosen for themselves.

    What this means is that while you, the Protestant convert, see probably see yourself as defending the faith that you allegedly all believe in, the cradle Catholics in the room are more likely to see you as something like the class tattle-tale.

    • James

      A more charitable take on this is that cradle Catholics don’t want to harm the Church by “working-to-rule”.

      In a large bureaucratic organization, one of the most damaging things employees can do is a “work-to-rule” strike. In a “work-to-rule” strike, every rule and regulation is followed to the letter. This generally means that all productivity grinds to a halt, yet management can’t retaliate the because workers are following the rules.

      In the spiritual context, following every bit of Catholic teaching to the letter would cause the spiritual equivalent of a work-to-rule strike. Nothing could get done because people had to follow the rules.

      • BlueMit11

        If they are just rules propagated by a bureaucracy, you’re absolutely right. But if they’re teachings meant to lead people to flourishing and everlasting life, given by God himself through his bride the Church, then you are dead wrong.

        • James

          The Catholic Church has plenty of the former.

          One of the great failures in Catholic education was failing to teach people the difference between organizational rules and laws of God.

          • BlueMit11

            That’s a different discussion altogether. The teaching on same sex attraction – really any moral teaching – isn’t created by the institutional church. It’s given by God through natural law and the revelation of Scripture. If you disagree with that, fine, but that’s how the Church understands herself and therefore how anyone representing the Church should teach these things. Failure to do so isn’t somehow “more productive.” It’s either willful betrayal or ignorance of the very essence of the Church.

          • James

            “The teaching on same sex attraction – really any moral teaching – isn’t created by the institutional church. It’s given by God through natural law and the revelation of Scripture.”

            Is it, though? That’s the key question.

          • BlueMit11

            Do you know what begging the question means?

          • James

            I’m not sure to what you are referring, but I will say that if the Catholic Church got it wrong, they are doing serious harm to people.

            The stakes are quite high.

          • Andy, Bad Person

            By questioning the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, you’re questioning the Church’s ability to teach accurately on morals altogether. Either she is divinely protected from teaching error on faith and morals (and she is), or to hell with it.

          • James

            I absolutely am questioning this ability.

            I value the Catholic Church as the world’s largest charity and its role in creating and preserving western civilization.

            Yet I am highly skeptical about the infallibility of the Church. If the Church is wrong, then their errors are leading to the needless suffering of millions.

            Logically, then, to hell with it. But there is no institution that can replace it or perform its critical role in society.

          • GaryLockhart

            Rejection of the truth is not the fault of the messenger but lies solely at the feet of those who freely choose to do so.

          • James

            But that which is not true should be rejected.

          • GaryLockhart

            Is it, though? That’s the key question.

            A question only in the minds of moral relativists.

          • James

            I am not a relativist.

            If they are wrong, they are universally wrong.

      • Willyum

        The Catechism of the Catholic Church is not a rule book; rather, it’s an owner’s manual. The Church founded by Christ does not tell us what to do; it tells us what must be done. James, you have a free will and you can opt in or opt out — it’s up to you, buddy.

      • Donna Ruth

        Dear James,
        Alas, it seems you are snatching conclusions willy nilly from the stratosphere. And comparing apples to oranges. “Nothing could get done”?? What does that mean when we are speaking about faith, spirituality, doctrine, dogma, tradition? And even if you were accurate in your comparison, why would there be a problem with a “rule book slowdown?” Further, “productivity grinding to a halt”?? The only productivity necessary is that people grow in faith, love, hope, holiness – and they go to heaven. That happens in the heart. The Church merely proposes. She is what she is: the Popeye Church – I y’am what I y’am.

        • James

          Do I really need to explain how an overemphasis on rules (“the law”) can get in the way of people getting in the way of people knowing God?

          Jesus and Paul both said quite a bit about that in the New Testament.

          • GaryLockhart

            “Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17

            “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15

            “And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6

            Inconvenient truths.

    • im4truth4all

      John 14:15 “” If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

      Luke 10:16″ He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

      “Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human.” — G.K. Chesterton, Heretics (1905)

  • Jennifer Hartline

    Amen, Josh. So glad you didn’t leave, despite the wretched instruction you received. How embarrassing and shameful. Yet I know your experience is not an uncommon one. Come, Holy Spirit.

  • im4truth4all

    Here is a quote from one of the greatest saints ever regarding homosexuality. St. Catherine relays words of Our Lord, about the vice against nature, which contaminated part of the clergy in her time. Referrng to sacred ministers, He said: “They not only fail from resisting this frailty [ of fallen human nature]…but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature. Like the blind and stupid having dimmed the light of the understanding, they do not recoginze the disease and misery in which they find themselves. For this not only causes Me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords. For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that , for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the jugdment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them…It is disagreable to the demon, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being commited. It is true that it is the demons who hit the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demons leave.

    St.Catherine of Siena, El diabolo, in Orbas de Santa Catarina de Siena

    • Vincent J.

      Demons are repulsed by a sinful act? That’s nonsense.

      • im4truth4all

        What is the source of your information?

        • Vincent J.

          What’s the source of your nonsensical notion?

          • im4truth4all

            Take a look at the bottom of the quote and you will see the source. Again what is the source of your information.

          • Vincent J.

            Oh, yeah, I didn’t notice that reference to St. Catherine.

            Demons cause us to sin. They have no reason to turn away from sin. Clearly, Catherine’s opinion is faulty. Too bad Catherine is not online to explain herself.

          • im4truth4all

            Of course the demons want us to sin but as St. Catherine states once this particular sin begins, because their nature is angelic, they leave because, in human terms, they are disgusted.

          • Vincent J.

            “… their nature is angelic, they leave because, in human terms, they are disgusted.”

            How do we know that to be true?

  • im4truth4all

    “We shall find out at the day of judgment that the greater number of Christians who are lost were damned because they did not know their own religion.” – St. Jean-Marie Vianney

    “A priest goes to Heaven or a priest goes to Hell with a thousand people behind.” – St. Jean-Marie Vianney

  • Madeline MSG

    When I joined the Church almost 30 years ago, there was similar rot in the RCIA instruction I received. But it was heterosexual. Engaged couples were known to be living together, on the way to one of them becoming “Catholic” to get married. When I spoke up against this, I was told it would be allowed as a pastoral decision. Also, when the teacher was asked what Heaven was like by one of the students, instead of saying it would be glorious closeness to Jesus, His angels, and other saved people, she said, “It will be whatever you want it to be. If your idea of Heaven is chocolate cake and ice cream, or little puppies, or bicycles, that is what you will have.”

    • Lisa

      Oy vey! Seems many who are teaching don’t know squat. Why don’t they just say “I don’t know “ instead of making up things?

    • samton909

      Heaven is not like chocolate cake?

  • John Ciesla

    As an Adult Catechist as well as an RCIA and Confirmation Instructor, I am VERY proud of the way Josh handled this situation. I always made it clear when introducing myself to a new class of RCIA Candidates/Catechumens that I was there to teach what the Church teaches, and NOT to simply share my opinion. To do so would be to cheat them. I also decided to pursue a graduate degree in Theology from the Catholic Distance University (an excellent and thoroughly orthodox Catholic Institute) so that I would have academic credibility with my students.
    In defense of many Directors of Religious Formation at our Parishes, the number of persons who are qualified and willing to serve at teachers/instructors for RCIA programs is small. So if you want to make RCIA programs better, throw your hat in the ring to be an instructor!

  • Patmos

    Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.

    The Catholic Church is one of the few churches I’ve seen that seem to revere God’s word, in terms of not trying to change it, unlike one major denomination (I forget which) in the US which decided to vote on whether or not to allow gay marriage (and yes, they voted to allow it for crying out loud, smh).

    Who in the world thinks you get to vote on God’s word?

  • Vijaya Bodach

    God bless you! I am so glad that you corrected the instructor. When I was in RCIA, I had many, many questions and we had a deacon who answered many of them. I discovered Monsignor Charles Pope’s blog during this time and began reading it daily to educate myself better on the faith. So when I had questions about contraception, I was a little confused when the deacon said to follow my conscience. It was much later that I realized that he should’ve added that my conscience needed to be formed by the Catholic Church. Alas, I think many instructors do not instruct as they should. We live in confusing times and Catholics need to speak the truth plainly and clearly. And Amen to staying in the Church, no matter its problems, because where else can we go? Jesus is here with us.

    • Vincent J.

      Jesus is with anybody who places their faith in Him; there’s no need to be Catholic. In the introduction to the catechism, John Paul 2 says that protestants are separated brethren, which means brothers in Christ. In other words, one can be a Christian without being a Catholic.

  • maron

    When I was teaching for Confirmation, I had a student who thought abortion and contraception were fine. The class “discussed” it but he would not change his opinion. I recommended he not receive this sacrament, but the coordinators said we could not withhold the sacrament. I was appalled.

  • GLT

    And now you know one reason why the Protestant Reformation occurred. I hope you thought deeply about this confrontation.

    • tomcohoe

      There’s a little more than corruption involved in the Protestant Reformation. There has always been, and always will be, corruption in institutions staffed by human beings. That the institution which is the Catholic Church survives after 2,000 years says something in itself. It is somehow protected from being swept away as all other institutions staffed by human beings have been. Protestantism itself has crumbled to bits.

      Of course there will always be corrupt men within the church, just as there always will be without it in institutions that cannot survive more than a few hundred years because of corruption.

      Look at the statue of Jesus on the Cross next time you go to Mass. Just look at it. Contemplate it. Jesus demonstrating that God is perfect love, a greater love than which hath no man.

      This is His Church, which He founded and defends with His promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it.

      You want to be in it, a part of it, a part of its right defense.

      • GLT

        “It is somehow protected from being swept away as all other institutions staffed by human beings have been. Protestantism itself has crumbled to bits.”

        As you say Christ said the gates of hell would not prevail against the church and though some have doubts I still accept the Catholic church as Christian despite its many issues. As for Protestantism crumbling to bits, that is hardly the case as the churches formed at its beginning still survive and more have come to be. There is simply no evidence to support your claim in this regard.

        “Of course there will always be corrupt men within the church,…”

        Inevitably, that is why we are not to put our trust in man but only in God.

        I am not Roman Catholic and as such a living contradiction to your claim of the protestant reformation having crumbled.

        • Josh Charles

          Not true. There are more “gospels” today than ever before among our Protestant brethren. I absolutely adore and LOVE many of them. They taught me the basics of the faith, love of the Lord, and of the Bible. But the fact is that without the principle of authority, and by abandoning historic Christianity, they are lifeboats adrift with no way to address doctrinal disputes. Hence every new dispute becomes a new “church.” Such division would be considered an absolute scandal for all of Church history prior to Martin Luther. Calvin and Luther decried the doctrinal division in their own day. They would be beyond horrified by what has happened since.

          • GLT

            “Not true. There are more “gospels” today than ever before among our Protestant brethren.”

            I’m sorry, Josh, but I must conclude you have reading comprehension problems. Where did I say anything about the Gospels per se. I claimed the Reformation doctrines were still around and thus Tomcohoe’s claim that the Reformation had crumbled was untrue. Again, you insist on reading into what people say things which they have simply not said. That, sir, is not a honest or recommended practice.

            “But the fact is that without the principle of authority, and by abandoning historic Christianity, they are lifeboats adrift with no way to address doctrinal disputes.

            Where do you get the idea Protestant churches do not have a principle of authority and have abandoned historic Christianity? What evidence do you have for this claim?

          • GaryLockhart

            Where do you get the idea Protestant churches do not have a principle of authority and have abandoned historic Christianity? What evidence do you have for this claim?

            Widespread acceptance of homosexual acts, divorce, abortion, contraception, the prosperity gospel, “once saved always saved”, sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, “ordaining” women, reliance on an abridged, edited, corrupted text.

          • GLT

            “Widespread acceptance of homosexual acts, divorce, abortion,…”

            Seriously. this is your evidence to prove Protestant churches do not have a principle of authority and have abandoned historic Christianity. I must admit I expected something with a little more intellect behind it. Oh well, c’est la vie.

            How’s the Roman Catholic Church doing with the whole homosexual abuse thing? People who live in glass houses should not be casting stones at others. And as for divorce a rate of 28% is nothing to brag about nor is the 24% of women who have abortions identifying as Catholic. Also, Ireland, an officially Catholic nation now officially supports the right to abortion. Though the Catholic church officially opposes ‘artificial’ birth control I think you will find the rate of use equal to that of non-Catholics.

            The bottom line is, Gary, these like all sins; though I would debate the claim that birth control is inherently sinful; are the acts of fallen and sinful man and you are naive if you think Catholics are somehow immune to these faults simply by virtue of being in the Roman Catholic church.

            In short, Gary, this list does nothing to support your claim the Protestant church is devoid of a principle of authority and removed from historic Christianity.

            As for the list of solas, I guess that will have to be an area upon which we agree to disagree as has been done for centuries. If you wish to believe you must work for your salvation and you are not saved by grace through faith that is your prerogative. However, I believe the Bible makes a solid case for the fact we are saved by grace through faith and not by works, lest any man should boast. In other words, your argument on this topic is with the scriptures and the Apostle Paul, not me.

            “reliance on an abridged, edited, corrupted text.”

            Really, in what way?

          • David Quelle

            GLT……. Let me just give you a hearty Amen! Thank you for defending the true church. By that I am referring to all those who are saved by grace through faith and not those who espouse a denominational affiliation (including Catholics). Affiliation means absolutely nothing but what matters is being a new creation!

          • GLT

            “Affiliation means absolutely nothing but what matters is being a new creation!”

            Exactly!

          • Kathy

            A hearty amen from me as well on all of your comments on this article. David summed it all up very nicely.

          • GLT

            Thank you, Kathy. 🙂

          • Kelly B

            Thank you!

          • You blame a large group of individuals (Protestant churches) for the specific sins practiced by a few. Then you ignore the efforts by many people who oppose such doctrinal falsities. Why?

            What is up with this overbroad, inspecific thinking? It’s not helpful to the discussion at hand and it always leaves the proponent with egg on his/her face.

          • Irene Neuner

            The six ‘Popes from hell” described in Metaxes biography on Luther ending with Leo X would be disgusted with the modern Roman Catholic Church.

        • GaryLockhart

          As for Protestantism crumbling to bits, that is hardly the case as the churches formed at its beginning still survive and more have come to be. There is simply no evidence to support your claim in this regard.
          As only one example, how many synods has Luther’s denomination splintered into? Acknowledging that “more have come to be” torpedoes your own assertion.

          • GLT

            “how many synods has Luther’s denomination splintered into?”

            How is this evidence the Protestant Reformation is crumbling?

            “more have come to be” torpedoes your own assertion.”

            Really, how?

          • tomcohoe

            Take the word “crumbling” as I meant it.

        • tomcohoe

          “more have come to be”

          That’s the point. That’s what I mean by “crumbling”.

          I come from the Protestant side, but found no way to know which could be the true church. Eventually, in my seeking, I found the Catholic Church.

          It is the Church.

          • GLT

            “It is the Church.”

            I’m glad you’re happy, I really am. But tell me, how are the Protestant churches not the ‘real’ church. They believe in the vicarious atonement, the bodily resurrection, salvation by grace, the second coming, etc., etc. What exactly precludes them from being the ‘real’ church?

          • tomcohoe

            How many Churches do you think there are?

            Does the real Church ordain women or not? Does the real Church conduct homosexual marriages or not? Does the real church hold that when Paul cast the demons out of a woman that gave her some powers of divination, he was a bigot, as the presiding head of the Episcopal Church said recently in one of her homilies … or not?

            How could the Church hold contradictory things to be true?

            Note that the Church does not hold that you are going to Hell if you are not a confirmed member. In fact, you are a member by baptism if your baptism was formally correct, and that includes most Protestant baptisms. I was baptised in a Protestant church that is now marrying homosexual couples, but my baptism was valid in the Church. Yours probably is too.

            Suppose, as recently happened in a Lutheran Church a couple of blocks from where I have my coffee in the morning, that the married pastor with several children is caught, in flagrante delecto having a gay old time with another man? Does that mean that that church is now kaput due to corruption? How much corruption destroys the church? The Levite priests went bad over and over, and were severely punished, but God did not end the Levite priesthood (until, of course, the new covenant of Christianity, planned from before the beginning of time, superceded the Levitical priestly order)?

            No, my friend, I believe that Betsy Ten Boom, as an example, is a shining example of a holy woman who obeyed God’s commands in act and in spirit, without being a member of the Catholic Church, and I believe that there are many others. If it were up to me, the Catholic Church would make her a candidate for known sanctity (confirmed by God through miracles).

          • GLT

            “How many Churches do you think there are?”

            One, we are all part of it if we confess faith in Christ and him alone.

            “Does the real Church ordain women or not?”

            I don’t believe it should.

            “Does the real Church conduct homosexual marriages or not?”

            Absolutely not.

            “Does the real church hold that when Paul cast the demons out of a woman that gave her some powers of divination, he was a bigot, as the presiding head of the Episcopal Church said recently in one of her homilies … or not?”

            One man expressing his erroneous opinions does not mean the whole protestant church is corrupt. Should I view the whole Roman Catholic church as corrupt because of a few paedophile priests?

            “How could the Church hold contradictory things to be true?”

            Explain what you mean, please.

            “Does that mean that that church is now kaput due to corruption?”

            No.

            “How much corruption destroys the church?”

            No amount of corruption can destroy the church. Corruption may destroy a local congregation or even an entire denomination but it cannot destroy the church as Christ stated the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

            “and I believe that there are many others.”

            Good, I am glad to hear it. I think there are more than a few great people in the Roman Catholic church as well such as GK Chesterton and Robert Barron just to name a couple. In fact I take a lot of flak from family and friends because I defend the integrity of the Catholic Church. Do not get my intentions wrong, I am not anti-Catholic in any way, shape or form. I will not, however, stand idly by while members of the Catholic Church attack fellow Christians for simply wishing to worship under a different tradition. The ‘real’ church is not the Roman Catholic church it is simply the Catholic church of which many denominations are included.

          • tomcohoe

            “Explain what you mean, please”

            I mean that with regard to doctrine, we have a lot of talking to do, since at this time there is great divergence. That is important, because doctrine guides our activity.

          • Kathy

            I believe it’s all very simple. God may be in the process of separating the wheat from the tears, the sheep from the goats in all faith traditions. He knows the transformed hearts of His children and who it is that truly hears His voice. We can only speculate.

          • Kathy

            Correction: “tares”

          • tomcohoe

            I am not talking about the judgement of individuals but about what is the truth.

          • Kathy

            Sure. It may be a matter of seeing what you want to see. The truth is all in the God-breathed Word in Scripture. We can’t fully trust anything unless it aligns with it. If what the Bible says does not fit with your agenda, you either skew it in some way or ignore it. That’s what these churches have done. To you and I, it’s obvious, but to those that are not grounded in Scripture, they merely believe what humans teach them, whether it’s biblical truth or not.

          • GLT

            “I meant that there is difficulty or impossibility in discerning what doctrine is correct when there are many churches espousing things that are so far apart.”

            I asked Josh this question and he was unable or unwilling to answer it, perhaps you can. You claim it is impossible to discern correct doctrine because there are so many churches espousing things that are so far apart. Tell me, what separates the doctrine of the Southern Baptists from the Mennonites? In what way are their teachings so far apart?

            “I do not think that marrying homosexuals is what Christ meant by love.”

            Most certainly not. The Bible does repeatedly warn us of those who will distort the Gospel so that it is happening should come as no surprise.

          • tomcohoe

            “In what way are their teachings so far apart?”

            Mennonites are pacifists for one thing. They are different, therefore, in what they see as right and wrong based on differing Bible interpretation. Not only does their interpretation differ in the moment, their own interpretation changes in time. Thus, they all wore similar, simple clothes and lived in colonies. Men and women were strictly segregated. Now, most Mennonites wear the same kind of clothes as everyone else, they do not live in colonies, and the segregation between men and women is much less. They tended to grow in numbers, not by proselytization, but by population growth within the colonies.

            But, I ask you, how are you to tell whether ordination of women is right or wrong. Churches that once did not ordain women now do? Churches that once preached against homosexuality now marry homosexuals. They interpret the Bible to support it. How does your interpretation have any more authority than theirs?

            What do you do when _your_ church changes due to different interpretation? Stick with it? Or do you pick a new one? Why would the church you pick be the right one? Why not the one you left?

          • GLT

            “Mennonites are pacifists for one thing.”

            None of the things you mention have any bearing on one’s salvation.

            “They interpret the Bible to support it.”

            Obviously not all interpretations are equal. If I interpret Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as being a play about transgender rights am I providing a defensible interpretation? Obviously not. Simply because someone claims that is their interpretation does not make it valid. This is where hermenuetics and exegesis come into play.

            “What do you do when _your_ church changes due to different interpretation?”

            I have been through that and did not enjoy it one bit. I did stick with it for a long time but eventually saw the need to move on for the sake of my young children. Ironically the church eventually left the denomination many years later citing the reasons I had been trying to get them to see as problematic.

            “Why would the church you pick be the right one?”

            The church is composed of people, not buildings and denominations. You seek to fellowship with other Christians not an institution.

          • tomcohoe

            “None of the things you mention have any bearing on one’s salvation.”

            In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Thy will be done … “. If what we presume to teach as God’s will is not God’s will, it could affect our salvation. Truth is important.

            “hermenuetics and exegesis”

            It would be nice if hermeneutics and exegesis led to a single understanding everywhere of what we are to take from the Bible. Obviously, it doesn’t. If it did, we wouldn’t have denominations that oppose, denounce, and sometimes even fight each other. That we do is a consequence of denouncing the authority of the Magisterium.

            Every denomination acts as though it has its own magisterium anyway. That is because it is impossible to have shepherds and sheep without presumed authority in the shepherds and willingness to accept that authority in the sheep.

            If one group claims to read transgender rights from the Bible, you cannot oppose that reading without assuming a magisterial authority. I may agree with you that such a reading is incorrect, but on my own authority, all I have is a disagreement with someone who disagrees.

            “The church is composed of people”

            A crowd is composed of people. I am not going to denounce a crowd, which is composed of people whom we are to love. But a church is more than a crowd. It has orders of people, pastors and flocks, except in the simplest, directionless, feel-good gatherings, which lead no-one to anything.

          • GLT

            “Truth is important.”

            Sure it is but pacifism still has nothing to do with one’s salvation, nor does the form of church government and whether you use the term elders or deacons. Some things a gospel essentials and some are not. The vast majority of times the things which separate Protestant denominations are not essentials but simply extraneous issues.

            “That we do is a consequence of denouncing the authority of the Magisterium.”

            No, it is not. It is solely a consequence of man’s sinful, fallen nature. The Magisterium, though sounding authoritative, is simply composed of sinful and fallen men. It is not inerrant nor does it have authority over the Bible.

            “presumed authority in the shepherds,…”

            The shepherds authority is not absolute nor is it superior to the Bible. The shepherds job is to guide, not dictate. Each man is responsible for himself and his personal relationship with Christ.

            “If one group claims to read transgender rights from the Bible, you cannot oppose that reading without assuming a magisterial authority.”

            The Bible is the one and only authority, not some man made ‘magisterium’. You’re being sold a bill of goods, my friend. The same bill of goods which drove Luther and the other reformers to rebel.

            “but on my own authority,…”

            Know your Bible, that is all the authority you need.

            “A crowd is composed of people.”

            True.

            “But a church is more than a crowd.”

            Also true. But what is the purpose of a church as opposed to a mere crowd of people?

          • tomcohoe

            What I am trying to say, GLT, is that every denomination has the equivalent of the magisterium. If not, you can’t teach anybody anything except give them a Bible. As soon as you use other than Bible words, you are doing exactly what you say you cannot do.

            It is simple logic.

            Even if you read from the Bible to your flock, you are choosing what part of the Bible is appropriate to read, which could mislead people.

            You can’t have it both ways.

            Without interpretation authority the Church breaks up.

            Here is an example:

            “Sure it is but pacifism still has nothing to do with one’s salvation”

            Where is that found in the Bible?

          • GLT

            “every denomination has the equivalent of the magisterium.”

            Only if you consider a Statement of Faith equivalent to a magisterium. Certainly denominations have standards when it comes to teaching but only a few, such as the Roman Catholic Church and Mormonism, for example, hold the view that their way is the only way and all who are outside of it are damned. Therein lies the difference.

            “Where is that found in the Bible?”

            It isn’t, thus my point.

          • tomcohoe

            “hold the view that their way is the only way and all who are outside of it are damned”

            The Catholic Church does not hold this view. We are told that God can save whomever he wants. We are told that being outside the Church does not mean damnation (not even for a Mormon or a Muslim), but that it is riskier.

            OTOH, I have been told by a lot of Protestants that I am on the road to Hell (usually the ones that do this are angry at me for not accepting their authority to tell me what the Bible means). Not all Protestants, of course, perhaps most, would not say that.

            Remember, I already told you that the Catholic Church considers all properly baptised Protestants are already members of the Universal Church, and that includes most Protestants. We consider that you are saved from original sin.

            So you see, my friend, there is a lot of misinformation about the Catholic Church. That’s not really too surprising since “religious” wars were fought. In war, the sides make up stuff about each other, and it gets passed down. (I put “religious” in scare quotes because I don’t think the wars were really about religion at all. Rather, secular leaders adopt a denomination as their flag of authenticity before God and it becomes a “religious” war. Of course, the sects do get fired up, but it is not natural. The war between the Protestants and the Catholics in Ireland, for example, was really about loyalty to the British Crown, or independance. Since the loyalists settled Ireland under the auspices of the British Crown, and the Catholics were “getting settled”, a pretty obvious way to tell a loyalist from those who wanted to break from British rule was whether the Church attended was Protestant or Catholic. Hence it was a “war between the Protestants and the Catholics”. Except it really wasn’t. It was a war about who would have secular control of Ireland.)

            No, we are friends and love one another – if we are good Christians and we are not having an episode of bad behavior.

          • GLT

            “We are told that being outside the Church does not mean damnation (not even for a Mormon or a Muslim), but that it is riskier.

            Who tells you this?

            “We consider that you are saved from original sin.”

            Who is ‘we’?

          • tomcohoe

            Who are you?

          • GLT

            You said, ‘we consider you are saved from original sin.’

            Who is ‘we’?

          • tomcohoe

            Hi. I appear to be censored.

          • GLT

            It appears I am getting your comments unless there are others which are not coming through.

          • tomcohoe

            Catechism.

          • GLT

            That’s an ‘it’, not a ‘we’.

          • tomcohoe

            GLC, above, you said that the Catholic Church “hold[s] the view that their way is the only way and all who are outside of it are damned”

            (“Who is “their”? It’s an ‘it’, not a ‘they’. Never mind. Ha ha.)

            It does not hold that view. We (Catholics) do not hold that view. We believe that there is no salvation outside of the Church. However, we also believe that one can be an ‘invisible’ member of the Church. The God breathed Church was taught by Jesus to baptise people into the church, so anyone that God has accepted into his kingdom who has not been baptised is an invisible member of the Church. That way an Inca warrior who sincerely and properly began to seek Truth in 1000 AD, who is invincibly ignorant of the existence of Jesus due to it not being possible for him to learn in the absence of missionaries, can be saved through the love of Jesus on the Cross.

            Yes, we (Catholics) believe that. We have never believed that thundering damnation at infidels is the right way to help people find God. Study the method of Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) if you want a shining example of the right way to do it.

            People in anger thunder of course. But that is failure, not a working method.

          • GLT

            “We believe that there is no salvation outside of the Church.”

            Define what you mean by ‘the church’.

          • tomcohoe

            The Church is the Kingdom of Jesus on Earth. It includes visible members, who have entered by proper baptism or reconciliation and it includes invisible members who have not entered by proper baptism, but who entered by God’s grace. We do not know who they are, but, in their right or righteous seeking of truth (they are literally seeking Jesus, who is the truth, as He told us), if they are able (do not remain invincibly ignorant), they will form an intention to be baptised as Jesus instructed.

            The Church includes most Protestants, as I have said.

            Some who were members have fallen out in a freely willed turning from God. We cannot say who they are either.

          • GLT

            “The Church includes most Protestants, as I have said.”

            So we again then, the church is not an institution in the common use of the term? Rather it is made up of believers of many persuasions who all have put their faith in Christ and him alone. It is as CS Lewis once said, there will be far more diversity in Heaven than there will be in Hell.

          • tomcohoe

            Yes indeed, but … truth is important. Jesus is Truth. You must follow Truth and there is no contradiction in truth. That is the Way (to life). Pride, anger, and a lot of other sins do not excuse, only barriers that are invincible (which might fall in time but which are impenetrable before that) excuse from dangerous culpability. If you understand, you must follow the way that God’s grace has given you to see.

            Now that does not mean that you have to say, “Oh, I see that I must become your disciple for you are showing me the way”. No. You have to genuinely understand and only God, through his grace, enlightens. All I can do is hope to encourage you to think about it.

          • GLT

            “You must follow Truth and there is no contradiction in truth.”

            Correct, but what makes you think I am not following the truth of Christ? On what basis do you assume I am deceived?

          • tomcohoe

            I don’t think I accused you of being deceived, GLT.

          • GLT

            That is how it came across as you seemed to be implying I was in error. Do you believe I am in error because I am not a member of the Roman Catholic church?

          • tomcohoe

            Well, since you ask, of course I do, but that was not what I was expressing. Every word I said to you applies to me equally. I do not expect what I believe about you being in error to have any impact on you. We must both righteously seek truth. The light comes from God.

          • GLT

            “The light comes from God.”

            Of course it does and if you believe that why do you believe I am in error simply because I am not a member of the RC church? Does God’s light shine only there?

          • tomcohoe

            No, God’s light does not shine only there, nor is being a member of the Church a guarantee against error. Furthermore, invincible ignorance saves you from culpability as long as you are righteously seeking truth, just as with me. Just because I have discovered the truth about the Church does not mean that I am not in invincible error about other things (I would hope that it is not error maintained by pride, anger, or some other sin). I expect that I am. But, since I believe that a conscious decision to not become confirmed in the Catholic Church is an error (invincible or otherwise), how could I truthfully answer your question any other way?

            That the Church has no authority, but every two bit pastor does, makes no sense to me. Submitting to God means submitting to His Church. It is not only scripture that is God breathed. So is His Church. You can read about it in the Bible.

            Here is an example of the kind of question for which the Church’s authority is important: Are people predetermined to Hell (a Calvinist doctrine)? The Church says no. Some people are elected to Heaven. God is going to lead them there no matter how many times they turn from God in an exercise of their free will (Paul perhaps, a slave to God). The rest of us could go either way.

            Why is this important? Because predetermination to Hell violates our sense of justice. It will cause people to reject God. So, in this case, truth is important. If predetermination to Hell is a false doctrine, then the fact that it causes people to reject God as unjust is very harmful.

            Truth is important.

            I have been a Catholic for less than 2 years (out of 66) but what an experience. As a typical Protestant, I thought Christ risen was the whole point (Protestants have crosses everywhere but not crucifixes, which show Christ on the Cross. I even refused to see Mel Gibson’s film. “Why do I want to see Christ tortured and killed,” I asked). But as a Catholic, I really got it for the first time. Christ on the Cross is the very heart of Christianity. It is where God demonstrates what Love actually is. “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends.” God is love. Perfect love. Love is more important than me. God is more important than me, and God is love, and God showed us the greatest love by his act of self sacrifice on the cross. Love is self sacrifice.

            I wept for Jesus in the Catholic Church. Never before.

            There, you have my testimony.

          • GLT

            “a conscious decision to not become confirmed in the Catholic Church is an error,…”

            Why do I need to be confirmed by the RC church, is Christ’s promise that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, not sufficient? Give me Biblical support for the idea I must be confirmed in the RC church.

            “That the Church has no authority, but every two bit pastor does,…”

            The authority lies with Christ and with Scripture, not with any institution or with any man.

            “Submitting to God means submitting to His Church.”

            Show me your exegesis.

            “a Calvinist doctrine,…”

            John Calvin was simply a man and we are not to follow the teaches of men.

            “which show Christ on the Cross,…”

            That is because Christ is no longer on the cross, he is risen. Christ defeated the cross and the curse of death it represents.

            “Christ on the Cross is the very heart of Christianity.”

            No sir, the very heart of Christianity is the risen Christ. The heart of Christianity is life, not death. An empty cross shows the power of God to defeat death.

            “Can we say that we truly love God if we have never wept for God?”

            God does not want or need our tears, he wants to give us abundant life. He wants our joy, not our tears.

          • tomcohoe

            “John Calvin was simply a man and we are not to follow the teaches of men.”

            The must you not apply this to your own words as well?

            “Show me your exegesis.”

            And who wins the argument of citations? The argument of citations is a mugs game as “who wins” is as much a matter of authority as “what does it mean”.

            “No sir, the very heart of Christianity is the risen Christ.”

            When someone you love dies, you weep, or feel deep sorrow. Jesus, when asked what the most important commandment is, said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” and then added, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”. But love is act. It is sacrifice, as in when a son sacrifices his move to a desired higher paying position that will demand more of his time, so that he can spend the time to look after an aging parent. As you weep at the suffering of one you love, so you sorrow at Christ on the Cross if you truly love Christ as the Great Commandment of Christ commands you to love Him.

            Christ on the Cross is not death. It is the living Christ, willing to die, and suffering through it all, in the greatest act of love, which is dying for the other. It is the living God which suffers on the Cross, not death. We weep at the suffering of our loved one, and in the three days of His death, we weep for what we remember. Death is defeated in the sacrifice which is the greatest love. Love beats death. The Resurrection is not the defeat of death. The Resurrection is the demonstration of the defeat of death by the Act of Love, the Willing sacrifice to the death, which is the moment that ends, but does not constitute, the willed act of sacrifice by the living God, the supreme act of love, which is the supreme act of life.

          • GLT

            “The must you not apply this to your own words as well?”

            We are to be like the Bereans and test the teachings of men to assure they are in accord with scripture. We are not to put the teachings of men ahead of scripture.

            And who wins the argument of citations?”

            Exegesis is the explanation as to how you arrived at your interpretation. I want you to show me your exegesis for the following claim: “Submitting to God means submitting to His Church. It is not only scripture that is God breathed. So is His Church. You can read about it in the Bible.”

            “We weep at the suffering of our loved one, and in the three days of His death, we weep for what we remember.”

            If you wish to weep that is your prerogative, I would rather rejoice in the risen Christ.

          • tomcohoe

            Dear GLT. I have been driving all day and am now at Spearfish in the Black Hills, SD. It’s a good time to be here, because schools are back in operation and that eliminates half the crowd, but the weather is still fine, so others are still coming, so the hills aren’t shut down for the off season.

            OK. Let’s look at what we’ve got.

            I’m going to get rigorous here. If the Bible is the only sacred source of truth, then let’s go with that and see where it leads:

            “We are to be like the Bereans and test the teachings of men to assure they are in accord with scripture. We are not to put the teachings of men ahead of scripture.”

            I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you show me where in the Bible this quotation actually appears. Now you may say that I am being facetious or silly, that common sense or some other thing allows the correct inference of your words from the Bible.

            I will examine this in the analogy of human law, and we will see that it leads straight back to a contradiction (in the analogy) of the original thesis – that the only sacred source of truth is the Bible.

            Someone hands you a legal document to sign, full of impenetrable boilerplate. You say, “I can’t sign that. I don’t know what it means.” The someone says, “it just means that you agree not to take the door handles off your room doors”. You say, “OK, put that on a piece of paper and I’ll sign that instead.”

            Well, it won’t work. If the contract with the mumbo jumbo is to apply, then that is the one that must be signed. If it should end up in court (there is a disagreement) the court will not accept the signature on the simple document as a substitute for the signature on the real document, and the person with whom you are contracting will not allow you to substitute the simple document for the one his lawyers have drawn up, because his lawyers have made the mumbo jumbo document for legal reasons and it has to be the document signed. So the mumbo jumbo document becomes the sole source of truth on what was signed.

            That document is the equivalent of a Bible phrase that someone has explained with a non-Biblical phrase.

            I’m sure that you agree that a Bible that is full of explanations substituted for the real Biblical phrase is unacceptable. I’m sure that we both agree that it is lamentable that some “Bible translations” have been printed that do just that.

            No! No! No!

            The Bible is untouchable. No one can change it.

            So what happens then if there is a disagreement over what some phrase in the Bible means. Believe it or not, this happens.

            Well, the final answer is to go into a court where the court will decide. It turns out that the only source of truth is not the signed contract. In case of irresolvable disagreement, an authority in the court also becomes a source of truth in the matter of what the contract means. This is the judge.

            Now the judge is not the actual court, where the right of authority lies. But in his person, in the court, he represents the authority of the court, and his decisions are, through that representation, the decisions of the court.

            The idea that the written document is the only source of truth about what it means is contradicted.

            So it is with Christ’s vicar on Earth.

            ” I want you to show me your exegesis for the following claim: ‘Submitting to God means submitting to His Church. It is not only scripture that is God breathed. So is His Church. You can read about it in the Bible.’ ”

            Well, OK, since you insist. I will take the well known passage where Jesus said, “my church”.

            The Church on Earth is the sacred part of the sacred Kingdom of God. It is not a human institution. Christ said, “my church”. The truth about what sacred scripture means is in God, and by its proper constitution as a sacred institution (“my Church”), it lies in the Church. Not in any humans (we agree on that). But, it cannot work unless there is a human who represents the authority of the sacred Church, one who is properly appointed (solemnized) to the position and whose decisions, through that properly solemnized represention are the decision of the sacred Court.

            But how could a fallible human make God’s rulings on truth?

            Do you think that it is something God could not cause to be correctly done? Beyond God’s power to cause humans to represent him truly in the case of infallible decisions? The same God who caused fallible humans to pen infallible scripture? God couldn’t do it?

            Oh yes he could.

            Now you haven’t really answered my question about the double predestination in the Calvinist interpretation of scripture: predestination to Heaven for those going to Heaven and predestination to Hell for those going to Hell. Literally, you have dodged it. The Calvinist doctrine must be either true or not true. It cannot be both. Nor is it a trivial matter. Certainly people have argued about it with fury. Certainly the answer impacts the ideas that they have of the justice of God. It is an important question. Argument will not settle it. Only authority. Only a single authority. There cannot be two answers.

            My exegesis: Jesus said “my Church” and what follows, by reason, as explained in analogy above.

          • tomcohoe

            If I include a link to the Catechism, I get censored.

          • GLT

            Your reply from the Black Hills seems to have disappeared so I am placing my response to it here.

            “I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you show me where in the Bible this quotation actually appears.”

            I did not provide a quote. However, the reference to the Bereans can be found in Acts 17.

            I’m sorry, your analogy is fallacious. It starts with the assumption a legal document must be complex or as you put it, ‘full of legal mumbo jumbo’ to be effective. This is simply not the case as a legal document can be quite brief and very uncomplicated. As an example, a simple cheque is a legal document, a two line bill of sale for a car is a legal document. In fact, there is a case in Canada where a farmer mortally injured in a farming accident wrote his will by scratching it into the paint on the fender of the tractor he was pinned beneath. The will was upheld as legal and binding.

            Simplicity does not equal inadequacy. So it is with the Gospel. The Gospel is very simple, we are to put our faith in Jesus Christ and him alone and if we do so he is willing and able to forgive us, by grace, our sins and grant us eternal life. We do not need ‘church fathers’ we do not need institutions, we do not need works or rituals, we need only Jesus Christ and him crucified and resurrected. Simple, not complicated and no need for ‘legal mumbo jumbo’.

            “Literally, you have dodged it. The Calvinist doctrine must be either true or not true.”

            No, I did not dodge it, I simply did not provide an answer you liked, quite a different scenario.

            As for predestination, no, I do not believe all are predestined to either heaven or to hell. Such a doctrine flies in the face of free will and the sacrifice of Christ for our sins. However, an argument can be made for the idea God may predestine some for particular reasons to particular ends.

          • tomcohoe

            GLT, if legal documents were always simple, no one would have to go to court to determine what they mean. Often they don’t have to, but often they do. Similarly, if the Bible were simple in all its parts, no one would argue about its meaning. I agree with your reasoning about predestination, but obviously a large group of Christians do not.

            That’s an example.

          • GLT

            “if legal documents were always simple,…”

            Where did I say legal documents were or should always be simple? I said they did not need to be complicated to be legal, effective and binding.

            “if the Bible were simple in all its parts, no one would argue about its meaning.”

            Where did I imply the Bible is simple? I only said the Gospel is simple and it is.

            “I agree with your reasoning about predestination, but obviously a large group of Christians do not.”

            There is a difference between something being complex and someone simply trying to make the simple complicated. The question of predestination is such a case.

          • tomcohoe

            “Where did I say legal documents were or should always be simple?”

            Nowhere. I spoke of legal documents, not of what you said. They are often complex. Disagreements over what they mean often arise. The court decides with human beings speaking as representing the court.

            The king says, “My court”

            “Where did I imply the Bible is simple? I only said the Gospel is simple and it is.”

            I was quite aware that you said Gospel and I said Bible because I am talking about the Bible, but there are also disagreements over the meaning of the Gospels.

            The King says, “My Church”.

            “There is a difference between something being complex and someone simply trying to make the simple complicated. The question of predestination is such a case.”

            You are speaking as an authority, because I don’t find your words in the Bible. What if I disagree with you? To what do you appeal? Without a properly solemnized authority which speaks for the Church, there is no answer to that question. It cannot work, hence 40,000 Protestant denominations which cannot settle questions over the meaning of the Bible.

          • GLT

            “They are often complex.”

            They do not have to be was my point.

            “The King says, “My Church”.

            Correct, and all who put their faith in him and him alone; not the Pope, not an institution, not the teachings of men, not works; are members of his church.

            “You are speaking as an authority,…”

            The word of God is the authority.

            If you disagree to what would I appeal? The word of God, the Bible.

            “Without a properly solemnized authority which speaks for the Church, there is no answer to that question.”

            I just gave you one. That people will disagree over what the Bible says is inevitable due to man’s sinful nature.

          • tomcohoe

            “If you disagree to what would I appeal? The word of God, the Bible.”

            If we disagree over what the Bible means we appeal to the Bible? That doesn’t make any sense. People disagree over what the Bible means, not because they are sinners, but because they are confused. To be confused is part of our existence in this world, which is not Paradise. One does not incur guilt for not understanding unless it is some sort of refusal to understand.

          • GLT

            “That doesn’t make any sense.”

            Sure it does. God’s word is not confused, we are or may be. If we stay diligently in his word we will not be confused. Confusion comes from listening to too many people telling us what the Bible says. How can we hope to allay that confusion by listening to more mere men?

          • tomcohoe

            By confusion, I mean the state that we are all in because of the nature of the world to which we have been banished. I am not talking about God’s word. Catholics believe in trans-substantiation. Lutherans believe in con-substantiation, Greek Orthodox believe that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood, but don’t like the process called “trans-substantiation” – these are all forms of the Real Presence. Others believe that is just symbolism. Others don’t bother with it at all. If you believe Jesus when he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me” (John 6:53-57).

            (Did you know that early Christians were called “cannibals” by their enemies because of this?)

            Many sects of mere men have failed to understand that Jesus is saying that we eat and drink an actual substance (“food indeed”, “drink indeed”) that is God, although Jesus said it simply and plainly enough, and that is because they have withdrawn from the authority of the Church and tried to figure it out on their own. Really, it is a lack of faith that what they crunch and what they swallow is actually God, the same lack of faith that bedeviled the disciples that left (“This is a hard saying”). Even though the flesh and blood that was a man who could perish at Calvary was God they cannot believe that flesh and blood that can be crunched and sipped could be God – that God couldn’t do that, effectively. And what is the problem. It is that they see the sacramental species sitting there looking like a biscuit and wine and it is too hard for them to believe that what they actually see is God, where they have not actually seen Christ and have not been tested in their faith that the man they actually see is God.

            Luther went with consubstantiation – the bread and wine were just bread and wine, but that God was insubstantially present with them, already clearly lacking the ability to believe that what his eyes saw as bread and wine was truly God (“my flesh is food indeed”). And why is this lack of faith not surprising? Because he already lacked the faith to stay in the Church, from which he withdrew to figure it all out as a mere man on his own authority.

            But we cannot say that of Protestants today, as they had no choice about being outside the teaching of the Church as they were not raised inside it.

            I do not know what you believe about the bread and wine, but I will tell you that I most certainly believe that I crunch the flesh of God and drink the blood of God as material substances which can be crunched and sipped, just as Jesus described it in John 6. I believe it, not because I figured it out for myself, but on the authority of the Church, but I can also tell you that upon accepting that authority, I discovered that it is supported by a very powerful and satisfying argument indeed. It is not just a matter of “we are the authority so you must believe and never mind thinking about it”.

            It is “this is what the Church teaches and here are the reasons why, which you must know so that others cannot shake you from the truth.”

            Nothing in Catholic doctrine is not massively supported by reason.

            The Church, literally, is splintered because so many do not believe in the Church. They believe in themselves ahead of the Church. They believe in the matter of solemnized truthful interpretation through the agency of a man in a solemnized appointment that “God could not do that”.

            Well, he can.

            I know that this is a hard saying.

          • GLT

            “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;,…”

            I just want to be vary clear, do you believe this to be a literal eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of Christ?

            “Nothing in Catholic doctrine is not massively supported by reason.”

            Nothing? How about the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven? What is the massive reasoning behind this belief?

            “The Church, literally, is splintered because so many do not believe in the Church. They believe in themselves ahead of the Church. They believe in the matter of solemnized truthful interpretation through the agency of a man in a solemnized appointment that “God could not do that”.”

            There are in fact things God cannot do. As such your argument needs to be fined tuned at this point to make it clear what you’re trying to convey. What do you mean when you say ‘many do not believe in the church’?

          • tomcohoe

            “do you believe this to be a literal eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of Christ?”

            Indeed I do.

            “What is the massive reasoning behind this belief?”

            We have many well studied appearances of Mary, witnessed by many. She always appears with a body. The reasonable conclusion is that she has one, unlike almost all of the rest of the saints who will have to wait until end times to get their bodies. One of the most famous of these miraculous apparitions was at Fatima in Portugal, during which something like a hundred thousand people, including many skeptics, witnessed the Miracle of the Sun. This was in 1917.

            “There are in fact things God cannot do”

            There is nothing that God cannot do. Contradictions are a type of mental process in which we describe something incorrectly leading to a contradiction in our statements about what God could do, but nothing in what actually happens is impossible to God. (Aquinas explains this much better than me).

          • GLT

            “Indeed I do.”

            Okay, give me your exegesis to support that belief.

            “The reasonable conclusion is that she has one,…”

            I don’t doubt for a minute Mary has a body but that is not conclusive evidence Mary was bodily assumed into heaven. As for the appearances of Mary, how is it known that the figure seen is indeed Mary? After all, no one who has witnessed these events ever saw Mary when she was alive, as such, it would not be a case of recognition. Also, if such an event occurred do you not suppose at least John would have mentioned it? After all, he was given the duty to care for Mary at Calvary and she most certainly would have died before he did. The bottom line is you have no Biblical support for this claim.

            “There is nothing that God cannot do.”

            God cannot lie nor can he be unjust.

          • tomcohoe

            (My post above, which began “By confusion, I mean the state …” has now been censored.)

            “Okay, give me your exegesis to support that belief.”

            I just did. John 6:53-58. You may interpret that differently. That would just illustrate my basic point.

            I caution you that when you argue that something “isn’t proven” you are taking the same stance that atheists take against Christianity. Not that I disrespect your concern, but it is true that the claim “not proven” can always be made. Anything can be doubted. A solipsist can claim that it has not been proven that anything exists beyond his own experience.

            If you agree that Mary has a body then the direct assumptions into heaven of Elijah and of Enoch are precedents that should have significant weight in your mind. If Mary was not assumed into Heaven, how did she come to have a body? Why would she be taken from her body just to have it returned when God directly took others without death occurring?

            You must remember that death of the body is a punishment for original sin, but Mary was full of grace, without original sin, so she did not qualify for the punishment of bodily death.

            “God cannot lie nor can he be unjust.”

            God cannot lie because God is truth. If God lied, this would be a contradiction. A contradiction happens in a mental description, which is what I meant above. If I said “God is black and God is white” I would be expressing a contradiction in my description of God. The contradiction would be in me not in God or what God can or cannot be. A similar situation arises in describing God as “unjust”. The contradiction is in our language not in God. If justice is part of love and God is love, than to say “God is unjust” is to contradict ourselves, in our mental process.

            But I accept that God cannot lie and God cannot be unjust as true statements, simply because we cannot comprehend the infinite and must always speak from our finite experience, which is inadequate but all we have, when we speak of God. Certainly all finite intelligent beings can be spoken of as being “unjust” or as “untruthful” without speaking a contradiction, so in our description of God in which we use our experience of finite beings they are all we know, it is important to know that the terms “untruthful” and “unjust” cannot be included in a description of God without contradiction, even though finite beings can be described this way without contradiction.

            Now, about your question about many not believing in the Church. This does need refinement. Earlier, I agreed that Protestants are members of the Church because they have been baptised. They certainly believe in the Church and that they are members in that fundamental sense, they believe in following the instructions of the King, and many are holy indeed. But in another sense, they do not believe, and that is that the Church is an authority above “mere men”. Look at what you said above:

            “Correct, and all who put their faith in him and him alone; not the Pope, not an institution, … ”

            Do you know what an institution is? It is something that has been instituted. And who instituted the Church? Jesus did.

            Yes the Church is an institution. It has to interact, on behalf of God, with men, in a definitive way. It is not just a thing of fuzzy feelings.

            This is the sense in which you do not believe in the Church.

          • tomcohoe

            I kind of skipped over replying to your important last two sentences. I will add it when I reply to your next response so as to avoid splitting this into two threads.

          • GLT

            tomcohoe,

            Your last comment has somehow disappeared. I read it a while ago but did not have time to respond right away. I came back now to respond and it is not showing up anywhere. Are you able to send it again?

          • tomcohoe

            GLT, my comments on this thread have been attacked several times now. We could continue by email if youlike. I have had two comments deleted as spam in the last 2 or 3 days, and earlier I had comments containing innocuous links to the RC Catechism refused. I do still have the deleted comments.

            How about we go to email and leave this censorious environment where the tiny minds and the no minds (computers) can’t interfere (yet)?

            You can reply at cohoe98@gmail.com and I will send you a better email address and the two deleted posts.

            Tom

          • GLT

            tomcohoe,

            I just read your last response about continuing by email and it disappeared almost as soon as I read it. Something strange is going on somewhere in the system. Try sending something to gertun51@gmail.com and we’ll see what happens.

          • tomcohoe

            Google “baptism saves from original sin catechism” and click on the “Catechism of the Catholic Church – Grace and justification” link.

          • tomcohoe

            It’s in the Catechism built strictly on the Bible, the logical ramifications of Jesus statement, “Seek and ye shall find”

            You are not damned if you are invincibly ignorant, but you must seek truth. A Muslim may not have been able to conclude that Jesus is God due to lack of time before, say, being struck by a bus and killed. But if he has willed to seek the truth and turn to it and act by it whenever he recognizes it (pride, anger, stubbornness, impatience, inexcusable laziness, etc – all are culpable) … then he is already on the Way. His free will act has already been taken.

          • tomcohoe

            I just want to add that this stuff about the Catholic Church not condemning anyone to Hell can be found in the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the most important Catholic theologian, who wrote almost 800 years ago.

            One of our prayers goes:

            O my Jesus,
            forgive us our sins,
            save us from the fire of hell,
            lead all souls to heaven,
            especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.

          • GLT

            You’re right, the Catholic Church does not condemn anyone to Hell, people do that themselves. If one rejects the vicarious atonement provided through faith in the risen Christ he sends himself to Hell, God does not and Jesus does not, the individual does it all on his own.

          • tomcohoe

            As C. S. Lewis said (paraphrasing from memory), “there are two types of people. Those who say, in life, ‘Thy will be done’, and the other type, to whom God says after they have died, “thy will be done”.

          • GLT

            Which is exactly what I said, people send themselves to Hell by an act of their own will.

          • tomcohoe

            Yes, we agree.

          • That denominations oppose, denounce, and fight with each other is not necessarily evidence of anything except for sin. Sometimes it is right and proper that they do so, for instance, for denomination A to opposed denomination B because denomination B practices homosexual ordination. You are still painting with too broad a brush.

            Every denomination has its own structure, and so what? Within that structure, there are clear lines of authority, as some are overseers, etc, and some are not.

            LOL. It is clear from the text itself that transgender rights from the Bible is laughable. Also, the testimony of the Holy Spirit demonstrates such is morally incorrect. This is obvious.

          • tomcohoe

            “It is clear from the text itself that transgender rights from the Bible is laughable”

            That it is laughable to you and me dodges the issue here. Without authority it is just a culture war. If the other side says black is white, who are we to say that it isn’t? The question here is not whether or not black is white but “who are we?”

          • Kelly B

            Thank you brother, for standing up for Truth here. Well said, every word. 🙂

          • GLT

            Thank you, Kelly, I appreciate that.

          • It’s really not very hard. You are supposed to search the Scripture for yourself, as the Bereans did. You are responsible to seek, and God will reward you.

          • tomcohoe

            Different people find different things but there is only one truth.

        • Andrew

          The Reformation began with ringing acclamation of the innerancy of Scripture, of “Sola Scriptura!” and other slogans the point of which was that “We don’t need a Pope, Bishops, priests to tell US what scripture means!!”

          500 years later, those denominations which were founded by the “Reformers” now have turned the “plain meaning of Scripture” on its head and changed their official teaching on a broad range of issues, most notably on matters relating to sexual morality. Every denomination has its own particular set of teachings which contradict one another, and every pastor has become his/her own pope.

          While the Church has proven abundantly in these days that its clergy falls woefully short of having the level of integrity we would hope for, what remains true is that the Church retains its integrity in its teaching – in spite of the best efforts of so many high-ranking Modernist clergymen. Protestantism however, and with respect to the many good, honorable, God fearing people who make up its ranks, proves itself more and more to be a soft, malleable substance which can easily be molded by those who wish it to be conformed to the thinking of men. THIS is what Protestantism crumbling to bits means.

          • GLT

            “We don’t need a Pope, Bishops, priests to tell US what scripture means!!”

            We don’t. The word of God is not some mystery which only a few can understand, that was the attitude of the Gnostics. The Bible is accessible to all, not just a few.

            “those denominations which were founded by the “Reformers” now have turned the “plain meaning of Scripture” on its head and changed their official teaching on a broad range of issues, most notably on matters relating to sexual morality.”

            Yes, some have fallen off the rails but we were told in scripture this was going to happen, so what’s your point?

            “Every denomination has its own particular set of teachings which contradict one another,…”

            In the matters of importance how do the Baptists differ from the Mennonites?

            “THIS is what Protestantism crumbling to bits means.”

            Really? Perhaps you would like to provide some evidence for your claims?

            “with respect to the many good, honorable, God fearing people who make up its ranks,…”

            If the church is not good, honourable, God fearing people, what is it? You say Protestantism is crumbling and yet you say its people are good, honourable and God fearing. You’re contradicting yourself. Which is it, Andrew?

          • AndRebecca

            The same thing goes on in the RCC.

        • Todd19731950

          Please don’t wait for your turn at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ to repent of this prideful protestation and–get in Jesus’ Holy Catholic Church. Just refusing the Body and Blood of Jesus as offered at each Mass is serious enough as an offense.

          • GLT

            “repent of this prideful protestation,…”

            What prideful protestation would that be?

            “refusing the Body and Blood of Jesus as offered at each Mass is serious enough as an offense.”

            Show me where the Bible teaches communion is essential to one receiving forgiveness and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ?

          • Vincent J.

            In one of Paul’s epistles, he tells us that we must not take communion, if we don’t see Jesus body in it, but there is no scripture which I can remember which tells us we must take communion.

      • GaryLockhart

        The pope that Napolean captured told him that (paraphrasing from memory), “we priests have not been able to destroy the Church and you will not be able to either”.

        That was actually Cardinal Ercole Consalvi.

    • Josh Charles

      Sorry GLT, no. Not related. When you have found this pristine and pure period of Church history, please let me know. When you have found pure and pristine Protestants, let me know. I lived 30 years as a Protestant, and shady and seedy things happened all the time. But when your sect is one tiny sliver, you don’t get the attention that the Universal (Catholic) Church does, because instead of being 1.2 billion strong, you’re maybe a few hundred. Read the Church Fathers—read the Bible! Moral failure, sometimes on a catastrophic scale, have always been with us. This rot at the parish level isn’t because people are obeying the Catholic Church, but because they are explicitly, and obstinately, DISOBEYING it.

      Also, read Exurge Domine, which excommunicated Martin Luther based on various propositions he was making. Not a single one of the propositions that caused his excommunication had to do with: “faith alone”; “scripture alone”; or the morals of the clergy. Not one. This is the history. It’s an original document you can read yourself today, rather than cast aspersions based on caricatures.

      • GLT

        “Sorry GLT, no. Not related.”

        If this is what you believe you are not arguing with me but with history, good luck winning that argument.

        “When you have found this pristine and pure period of Church history,…”

        Where did I make a claim or even an implication that any period of Church history, Catholic or Protestant, was pristine? Please confine your remarks to what I actually said and not what you think I said, to do otherwise is simply disingenuous. That distortion of the Gospel was a motivating factor leading to the Protestant Reformation is an indisputable fact of history. Read anything written about the subject and that is very clear.

        “Read the Church Fathers—read the Bible!”

        I have.

        “Moral failure, sometimes on a catastrophic scale, have always been with us.”

        Exactly, that is simply the nature of fallen man and one would have to be naive to believe it would not infect the church.

        “rather than cast aspersions based on caricatures.”

        Where did I cast aspersions or present caricatures? I sense you are overly sensitive when it comes to this topic and it is affecting your reasoning. Again, please confine your comments to what was actually said, not what you think was said.

        • Josh Charles

          You claimed the “reformation” was because of moral failure. That is a silly, silly argument to break away from the Church. As I said, “scripture alone” and “faith alone” were NOT even mentioned by the Pope in his excommunication of Luther, because Luther hadn’t even come up with them yet.

          You speak of “the gospel,” but WHOSE gospel? That is the problem. Since the “reformation,” there are now many “gospels,” each contradicting, and each new one springs up a new denomination of “church.”

          This is unknown in Christian history, and is deeply unscriptural.

          • GLT

            “You claimed the “reformation” was because of moral failure.”

            You’re simply being dishonest, Josh. “And now you know one reason why the Protestant Reformation occurred.” That is what I said, where does it say or imply moral failure?

            “there are now many “gospels,” each contradicting, and each new one springs up a new denomination of “church.”

            Really, how does the Gospel of the Baptist’s differ from that of the Mennonites for example? You appear to be implying they have different gospels and I would like to see your evidence for that claim.

          • Josh Charles

            Alright. This clearly won’t get very far. Good day.

          • GLT

            “Alright. This clearly won’t get very far. Good day.”

            Alright, then I can only take this response to mean you actually do not understand the subject or the nature of the claims you are making. Good day to you and may God bless your efforts. 🙂

          • Josh Charles

            Think what you want.

          • GLT

            You’ve given me ample reason to believe what I said is true. You made claims you were either unwilling or unable to support with a cogent argument. Exactly what do you expect me to think?

          • Josh Charles

            I’m not in the habit of taking any of these online threads too seriously, whether they are complimentary or not. Nor do I have a snide remark to end the the thread on. Goodnight.

          • GLT

            “I’m not in the habit of taking any of these online threads too seriously,…”

            Then I would suggest you not make serious accusations against other Christians unless you’re willing and able to back them up.

          • Uh, the gospel that is contained in every version of the Bible I’ve ever heard of. That’s the gospel we’re all talking about.

            What you’re saying is not true. There are a few cults who write their own gospels, and yeah, everyone knows who they are. No-one except themselves confuses them for Christians.

            I’m not to blame, nor is Luther, or anyone else, for the actions taken by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Lay the blame at their feet for rewriting the gospel. Blame the Mormons for perpetuating the lies of Joseph Smith. Also, none of this is a byproduct of the Reformation. There were cults and heresies way before the Reformation.

            I am stunned and appalled at your lack of logical consistency.

      • GaryLockhart

        This rot at the parish level isn’t because people are obeying the Catholic Church, but because they are explicitly, and obstinately, DISOBEYING it.
        IOW, they are behaving as protestants.

        • GLT

          “IOW, they are behaving as protestants.”

          It appears you are making the same accusations against Protestants as Joshua, are you going to be any better at defending your claims or are you going to cut and run as he did?

        • LOL. Again with the overbroad characterizations. Are you really all such lazy thinkers?

    • Bob Wilkens

      Yes, and it was a lost chance at true reform. Instead, it followed the will of kings wanting Church money and property, and also simply open chaos in Germany killing millions, and fractured the Church. Because rather than reform, they went their own way to even worse, losing most all that was good and beautiful.

      • GLT

        “Instead, it followed the will of kings wanting Church money and property, and also simply open chaos in Germany killing millions, and fractured the Church.”

        You’re painting everything with a very wide brush. Has the Reformation been perfect? Of course not as is always the case with anything involving sinful man.

        • samton909

          Right. The Soviet Union has to be given a break for killing 100 million people. Nobody’s perfect!

          • GLT

            Your point?

          • What was the point of the Soviet Union? Who made the decisions? Who was responsible?

            What was the point of the Reformation? Who made the decisions? Who was responsible?

            Until you’re willing to be honest in your answers, there cannot be a real conversation.

      • So who killed millions? Luther, Calvin, or Zwingli (sp)? That’s right. None of them.
        Who followed the will of kings? See above.
        Who wanted church money or church property? See above.

        So the people responsible for the Reformation are not guilty of any the crimes that you accuse them of. This lazy thinking and wild accusation is sadly typical among those who say that there is only one church.

  • Tim Pan

    During my Sunday meditations out of the blue I was asked : ” Do you stand behind the cross or in front of it?” Josh is an example of standing in front of it. Me ? I am still pondering the question. I suggest you do the same.

  • Pete the Greek

    I sometimes wonder if the Church has veered too far into the ‘peace, love, recycle, I’m ok you’re ok’ silliness I see so much of in many of the parishes I’ve been in in the midwest.

    In so many of those parishes the SOP seemed to be not to say or do anything that might make anyone feel uncomfortable, as that ‘comfortably welcoming’ thing seemed to be the end all, be all purpose of the church’s existence.

    • Lisa

      That’s gone on my in my evangelical church, too. Many taboo subjects we never tackle.

    • Vincent J.

      2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

    • Billiamo

      That’s right. The scourge of sentimentalism . . .

  • tony

    Well done Joshua. My wife attended the same course and there has been a lot of confusion over the past 50 years or more. The lines have been blurred due to our conflicting sense of mercy and justice within the Church. I think we all need to examine our conscience and renew our sense of faith in Christ who paid for all our sins

  • Darin H

    The church is divided into two camps – “be good” vs “feel good.” If you believe that God calls people to repent of their sins, you’re in the “be good” camp. If you believe the church exists to make people feel good about who they are – with no need to change – you’re on the “feel good” side. Nothing wrong with belonging to the “feel good” club, just don’t confuse it with Christianity.

    • Josh Charles

      Great way of putting it.

  • Dave Snyder

    A lot of us old guys talk about how bad you young guys are. I guess that conversation has been going on since Cane and Able were complaining about their folks morays. But, I have a few grandkids that are starting life now and have been around their friends. While the society as a whole may be going to hell in a hand basket, I see some pretty good kids getting out of college even though they have had to listen to liberal bilge for four years.

    Josua you are an example of the good guys we old guys can take solence in. Keep it up young man. You are a winner and God knows it.

    • Josh Charles

      Thank you Dave. That is very, very kind of you. I will strive to live up to your praise.

  • ArthurMcGowan

    “Someone was openly teaching error to potential converts, and they were allowed to continue doing so.”

    This misuse of “they” has been mandated by the powers-that-be in journalism, but it hould be eschewed by all Catholics.

  • ArthurMcGowan

    If a priest would like to rile up the poisonous snakes in his parish(es), just mention from the pulpit that contraception is a sin. You will get the cold shoulder right away, and whispering campaigns, and poison-pen letters to the bishop. It will go on until you are reassigned. Rinse. Repeat.

  • linda eaton

    swimming upstream

  • Margaret O

    Well said, Josh! We need people like you, to stand up for the Truth.

  • Bob Wilkens

    The real problem for we folk who actually LOOK and see what the Church teaches is that we are quite alone at most parishes. I can go to an 1800 family parish and find only four or five folk who love God and pray with him, and study, and share with each other. The rest are just going thru the motions, including the rare open adoration chapel whose normal attendants treat it as study hall or library time, ripping through pages, rustling through purses, jangling keys, leaving phones on to buzz of play obnoxious tunes….the focus on God, RIGHT THERE, is totally lacking in every aspect of parish life.

    Posts of this type are of such great value, because we, like Isaiah, often complain to God, saying, we alone are the only faithful….to which God replies, saying, nonsense, there are huge numbers just like you, now, get to work.

    • Lynda Keebler

      1 Kings 19:18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

  • Phyllis Cory

    Their insolent airs bear witness against them,
    they parade their sin like Sodom.
    To their own undoing, they do not hide it,
    they are preparing their own downfall.
    Tell them, ‘Happy is the virtuous man,
    for he will feed on the fruit of his deeds;
    woe to the wicked, evil is on him,
    he will be treated as his actions deserve.’ Isaiah 3

  • L Almaraz

    I love converts!! So many of them enter the Church fully aware of her awesome truth and beauty but also with full knowledge of how sinful, disordered and ignorant Catholics can be. They have no illusions that inside the Church they will find only bliss, happpy feelings, and good loving Christian members. They have taken fully into themselves the words of Jesus and that this is his Church who holds the full deposit of Faith and salvation. They have also recognized that this glorious Truth is held in earthen vessels and that their journey can be rough and hard. But they have seen, believed and recognized the Truth and so they come in and join the rest of us who live out the words of Peter. “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.

  • Maria

    I am fairly sure our last priest was gay. Had him for years. It was awful….there were so many clues. The worst moment was when I realised the ‘young man’ he had picked up from the train station was at the Vigil. The chemistry between them from the pew to the sanctuary was nauseating. I don’t think the granny brigade picked it up. The priest was acting like I don’t know what all the way through. Then this ‘young man’ who was never to be seen again scuttled around to the rectory straight after Mass without a nod to anyone. After that the penny dropped and all the clues came rushing in and I wonder now about one young parishioner in particular whom he used to show an interest in…this young person suddenly ran away to a woman he met online to be hauled back, and now has left the Church but turned up once with his relative and was now decidedly camp.

    This same priest, there was a terrible moment at a Christmas Vigil when just after the Eucharistic Prayer and we were to say ‘Lord I am not worthy…’ and a visitor another young man suddenly stepped into the aisle and dropped to his knees in adoration, or so we thought. Then the priest went rigid…stared at him like he wanted to attack him and suddenly said in the most awful tone…’get up!’ (Everyone else was standing at that point or mostly). The young man hesitated but the priest still stared at him and then he went back into the pew. It was the most awful moment I have ever witnessed and don’t know if the reverence got to him…he hated that sort of thing…of that young man was known to him in some personal way.

    I have never discussed this and no one in the parish seems to notice or care. He is gone now anyway but the same old similar tone keeps coming except for the overseas priests.

    • Lynda Keebler

      1 Kings 19:18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
      All of 1 Kings 19 helps me greatly because I have seen great evil in God’s Church, as you have and so many others also. But God knows all things and He IS victorious!

  • JSB

    Amen Joshua!

  • Irene Neuner

    Come out of her my people for …
    She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.

    • Todd19731950

      Oh Lord, you biblically confused pentecostals. Get in Jesus’ one Church quick!

      • Lynda Keebler

        The confusion occurs when we ignore Scripture and refer only to the Church or vice versa. The Church does not over power Scripture nor does Scripture over power the Church but the two are consistent and Holy and live as ONE through the Holy Spirit which dwells in both and is One. How can one be greater than the other, the Church is not greater than God’s Holy Word nor is God’s Holy Word greater than the Church. The problem has come when Satan divided the Church by those who believed Scripture was the only power of Truth while ignoring the Holy Spirit’s power of and in Christ’s Church, and the Church in turn diminished the authority of Scripture greatly and began to ignore the power of God’s Holy Word. Satan is the master of confusion that will divide and conquer to gain power and destroy, GOD unites and says be united not divided, so in that we are powerful in and through the Holy Spirit.

    • Lynda Keebler

      There are plenty of “haunts and demons and every impure spirit” to go around. We need to examine how evil has infiltrated the Christian Church to deceive and destroy and turn Christians one against another, to divide and deceive, to destroy the Church from within it’s own ranks with all sorts of temptations and deceptions.

  • The General

    The Catholic church had a golden opportunity in the 1560s to allow priests to marry. Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, was the most powerful ruler in Europe. He was Catholic, but he was willing to compromise with the Protestants and pushed for the Catholic church to allow priests to marry, but the pope wouldn’t budge on the issue, so here we are today. Homosexual men will continue to be attracted to the priesthood because they know no one will ever ask them “Why aren’t you married?” or “Why don’t you do date women?” John Paul II and Benedict were both regarded as very conservative popes, but neither of them addressed this issue.

    • Bob Wilkens

      Marriage has nothing to do with a rampant homosexual, ACTIVE homosexual, clique in the power structure of the Church. The numbers of celibate people living normal everyday lives seems to have slipped anyone’s mind when talking married priests…celibacy is quite normal and attainable, exactly the same as is a faithful monogamous marriage. It is the same thing. Anyone saying different speaks only with the raging hormones of extreme youth.

      • The General

        Yeah, it’s attainable. But most people can’t do it. That’s why Paul said it was better to marry than to burn. Most of these RC priests never had any attention of being celibate.

        • Darren

          The line of logic here is missing. You talk about men getting married but you say that same-sex attracted men are attracted to the priesthood. So, even if the Catholic Church allowed marriage, these same-sex attracted men wouldn’t want to be married because they are not attracted to women.
          Are you trying to state that the Catholic Church change her teaching about the fact that marriage is between one man and one woman?
          And you mention Paul. He says nothing about the fact that it would be better for a man to be both married and a priest. Just married. So your comment falls flat.
          The other thing, being a priest is in essence being married to the Church. There are exceptions but this only proves the rule.

          • LOL. If marriage was allowed, then there would be additional pressure for single men to marry women.

            There were no priests in the time of Paul. That says a lot right there. Paul lays down some guidance for those in leadership positions, though, and one of his recommendations is that the person be married to one woman — Timothy 3:2.

        • Gail Finke

          It’s simply not true that most people can’t do it. Over history, most people HAVE done it for most or all of their lives. And they were FINE. Maiden aunts, bachelor uncles, people who were widowed and never remarried, younger children in societies where people only married for money or land, servants with no way to support themselves.

        • samton909

          You apparently are uninformed on the problem Go read “Goodbye Good Men by Michael Rose. It details the ways homosexuals took over the seminaries and chased all the good men out, leaving only homosexuals. All we need to do is make sure the seminaries are functioning as they should rather than being homosexual havens.

      • sc_cannon

        Homosexuality is just a pale substitute for the real love that only a man and woman can have. Homosexuals are just deluding themselves that they are not on the path to hell.

    • Kim58

      Celibacy doesn’t cause sexual disorder…sin does. Marriage doesn’t heal sexual disorder…Christ does.

      • sc_cannon

        I think celibacy is a bad thing for all people, from the older teen to the time a person does not feel like having sex anymore. Of course marriage is good for loving couples and will heal them of any sexual deviance that might have been trying to substitute for the real love and sex immersion that marriage will provide.

    • samton909

      The very stupid idea that allowing priests to marry will solve all the problems is lame. Protestants can marry, and they abuse at the same rate as Catholics. The problem with homosexuals in the clergy can be easily solved -DON’T LET THEM IN. as the Vatican has said for years, but American bishops ignored the directives.

      • Nobody said it would solve all problems. Yes, Protestant clergy can marry (there might be some exceptions), but they don’t abuse children at near the same levels. That is because Protestant clergy are EXPECTED to marry. Now the homosexuals have corrupted some older mainline and shrinking denominations (as seen in the comments here), but that doesn’t change what I’ve said, either.

        You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Paul

    I have to give you credit for sticking to your convictions in the face of such wickedness in the place you’re trying to join as a matter of faith.

  • Gail Finke

    About 12 years ago, at a seminary class for laypeople with people from another diocese, several of them said that in their diocese the person who trained catechists was a religious sister who insisted that they change all readings to “inclusive language” and that she would not pass them if they didn’t. We were all shocked, and they said that everyone knew this and you just did it for the course and rolled your eyes. Similar to your story, but in that case most of the students (according to these people) thought the teacher was wrong. They said the bishop knew but no one ever did anything about it. Sound like a familiar claim?

  • Gerrard

    It is important to remember that we now live in a pornographic culture that celebrates sexual licence. No one is immune to this including our children who are the most vulnerable. Most institutional abuse of children by far occurs in our schools. We all need to be aware and take responsibly to help support and protect each-other and our families. This means focusing on healthy supportive relationships in the parish and the home. This is where Christ lives. Shalom.

  • Dan

    A very similar thing happened to me in RCIA about 15 years ago. I had become pro-life as part of the process of my conversion from secular liberalism to Catholicism. In a discussion group a (liberal) Catholic sister asked us to each say what we would do to live our Catholic faith. Each person received encouragement after having his or her say. When it was my turn, I said that I had discovered the joy of being pro-life and would seek to promote the culture of life. This was met with stony and awkward silence.
    This is all a reason why a lay-led investigation into the McCarrick scandal is not a panacea. On the whole the Catholic laity is probably worse than the clergy when it comes to the Church’s teachings on sexual morality.

  • Thomas Sharpe

    Same thing happened to me when I met with the head of the Diocese CCD program, she told me she rejected the Church’s Teaching on Humanae Vitae. What should I do?

    • JoeD

      Thomas, I’m sorry that she’s such a poor witness to the Church’s wonderful teaching. Bottom line: her personal opinion is irrelevant. Her job is to expose you to the Church’s teachings clearly so that you understand them, perhaps struggle with them, and yes, love them. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you through them. I would speak either to her and/or to her pastor about what is communicated in class as it affects the quality of instruction, and most importantly, your formation. Perhaps others in your class experience the same thing. God bless!

  • Lisa

    Great story. Thanks for sharing.
    I got the wishy-washy Catechism growing up. Maybe that’s why I left the Catholic Churches as a newlywed.

    • Todd19731950

      Only one Catholic Church,Lisa. Jesus and the Catholic Church are one thing. Come back quick.

      • GLT

        “Jesus and the Catholic Church are one thing.”

        “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me.”
        John 14:6

        I see no mention of the Roman Catholic Church, or any other formal church for that matter, in that verse or its surrounding context. Contrary to what you may believe, one can have salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ outside of the Roman Catholic Church. It was happening before the Roman Catholic church and it will continue to happen. A person’s salvation does not depend on the Roman Catholic church or any other church you may wish to name. Salvation involves the individual and his relationship with Christ and Christ alone.

        • samton909

          You can have salvation, but it is much harder since you probably belong to one of those churches where some renegade bible guy made up his own interpretation which varies from the other 1500 interpretations of Christianity that Protestants come up with. If you want to make slavation a crap shoot, good luck

          • GLT

            You can have salvation,…”

            Salvation is achievable in only one way, through faith in the risen Christ and it is no harder for one than it is for another.

            “If you want to make slavation (sic) a crap shoot, good luck.”

            It’s only a crap shoot if you put your faith in anything other than Jesus Christ. Putting your faith in any person or any institution, including the Roman Catholic church, is placing your faith in something other than Christ.

          • That right there is one reason I’m not Catholic — inaccuracy, slander, and groupthink.

      • sc_cannon

        i do believe that Catholics are Christians even though they have made many mistakes such as insisting their priests be unmarried.

      • LOL whut? Jesus is not the Catholic Church!

  • Anneke9

    “And by the way,” I said, “the Catechism states that many actions I would be prone to as a heterosexual man are also ‘intrinsically disordered.’ So if the Church discriminates against homosexuals, it is also discriminating against me, a straight man, I guess.”

    So the church discriminates against sin. Who knew (and yes, I’m being sarcastic).

  • George Mehnert

    Unless you are talking only about Catholics; for example, it is incorrect to use the term “American Church”, consequently the balance of the discussion is bogus.

    • sc_cannon

      No it is wide spread, the Episcopals, Methodist, and others have conceded to the homosexuals right to call themselves Christians. Even among the writers for the Stream it is being accepted.

  • sc_cannon

    I left the Episcopal church in about 2004 because they allowed a homosexual bishop marry his partner and stay a priest. They lost a lot of us, but then I read the bishop got a divorce and I don’t know if he stayed in the church or not but I decided that they probably learned their lesson so I went back to them briefly in 2013 but then they decided to allow homosexual priests and I was through with them. I hear the Episcopal Church is very down from where it was in 2003 with a lot of parishes closing.

  • Stratusrunner

    Celibacy is a gift from God. If a man has sexual desires he can’t easily control he should not enter the priesthood. That, however, would eliminate many Godly men who want to serve our Lord. Let them marry.

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