Friday, October 26, 2007

The Reformation misconception

A fellow "Christian" told me a while ago that people around here don't want to know about the Catholic Church because of the reformation. I guess that means that they are just wild about the "Hatfields and McCoys" who were two feuding families that fought for years and when someone asked one of them what the feud was all about, none of them could remember. Or like the game of "password" where everybody sits in a big circle and someone says a word or a sentence and by the time it gets passed all around the circle, it no longer resembles what the original word or sentence was.

Since living in the so-called "Bible Belt", I have met up with the meanest, nastiest folks who call themselves "Christians" I have ever met. I had a 14 year old boy yell at me that he didn't believe in the Catholic Church, "It's a work oriented religion and not founded on biblical truth and that every single pope has been an evil and wicked man!" Where does this hatred come from? The pulpits, and parents of these young people?? I say so. Bob Jones University (BJU press) declares that the Roman Catholic Church is "teaching the Gospel at the expense of God's truth." in their World History books, thanks to some opinionated author named David Price, who doesn't know any more about the Catholic Church than how his shoelaces got untied. The homeschoolers around here snicker at my crucifix on my necklace, tell me to my face that I am not going to Heaven, "and neither are your children." They won't let my children play theirs. and they egged my home after I put up a farewell sign on our front door after Pope John Paul II died.

Christ is ashamed of these children of God, He isn't proud of them at all for be so judgemental and spiteful to their neighbors. This is not how He taught us to be, and frankly, I don't want to be associated with this type of Christianity feeling self-righteous, and better than others. The name Christian is not what I would describe many of the people I know here in the South, which is too bad, they have Christianity and our Lord's teachings all wrong.

Martin Luther was a Catholic monk and believed in the Holy Eucharist, the real presence at the altar to his death, he honored Mary, but left the Church due to the hierarchy at the time. Jesus left His Church to human men, He knew it would have warts, and evil dwell in it, but He also knew that the Holy Spirit would keep it alive. He didn't want the Reformation to happen so that we have 1000 different churches scattered everywhere. These so-called Christians need to re-evaluate their knowledge and realize that the Catholic Church is not the enemy, the devil is and he is alive and kicking in our world, as long as we have hateful people self-appointing themselves judge and jury against others who don't agree with them and practice the truth of Jesus' teachings in the Catholic Church. The protestants now do exactly the opposite of what the Catholic Church teaches, many of the 94 thesis Martin Luther wrote and nailed to the Church door have been corrected by the Church. Granted, it took the Church leaders a long time to make major changes, they have been made. Luther would be happy with these changes. Everything in the Catholic Church is biblically found and established. It is a very devout and centered Christian Church with Jesus Christ in the very center of the Church's teachings, ceremonies, sacraments, and family life.

These so-called Christians say they know the Bible better than Catholic do....well, they have memorized verses and twisted them into phrases that meet their purposes conveniently, a Catholic knows what is in the Bible, maybe not where it is or be able to quote it correctly, but we know what is in the Bible and the most basic truth there is is in John 6. Read it and then read it again, not as a "Christian" but as a child of God and a believer in Jesus Christ.


Christine M said...

I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this kind of hate - from people who should be full of love.

But you can always look at it this way - you are one of the Blessed mentioned in the Beatitudes. :)

Anonymous said...

What you describe is human nature and has nothing to do with faith or one denomination
My grand-father (after whom I am named) was a Catholic and a tailor by profession. He grew up in a Protestant Scotland during the 1920s Depression. In those days, tailor shops would advertise for staff with a sign in their windows stating: "Tailor wanted - Catholics need not apply."
But I know Protestants who lived in Catholic Ireland who met similar prejudice. As an Evangelical, I condemn the sort of behaviour you meet. It is certainly not a mark of those who follow Jesus.
But why concentrate on the negative? There are bad Protestants and bad Catholics. There are bad Muslims and bad Bhuddists. Is it not better to concentrate on the positive - such as people like Billy Graham and Mother Teresa who taught the true Gospel.
One of the great, and often unreported, miracles in the southern states of America during the 1960s civil rights marches, was the way that the Catholic and Protestant churches in places like Birmingham, Alabama, who marched together with black people who suffered truly horrible prejudice, often from whites who claimed their views were supported in Scripture.
Prejudice is present in all denominations.



aine said...

Mr. Hastings, perhaps you are not aware of those Christians who believe that Mother Teresa is in Hell, courtesy of not being "saved" because she was a Catholic. A popular blogger whose "ministry" is directed to mothers has proclaimed such, and it's disgusting how many Christian women, who up to that point I had no idea were so inclined, chimed in their agreement. I am not aware of many Evangelicals who have challenged this blogger, what I am aware of is the silence of the majority, if they are indeed the majority.I do agree with you that prejudice is present in people of all denominations. If only more people were like you, Mr. Hastings.

Ebeth, I am so sorry that you have had to endure so much. You are not alone. If you would be interested, there is a wonderful blog, "Visits to Candyland", started by Elena LaVictoire in response to anti-Catholicism on the net.

God's Blessings to you,Ebeth, from one Catholic homeschooling mom to another.

Ebeth said...

Christine and Aine, thanks for your visit and kind words. I appreciate it.

Hi, James, Yes you have a point that concentration on the negative isn't productive, there are many good things that have been positive in our history.

I have lived in Birmingham, AL for many years....most of my family still lives there. The miracle you talk about, well have you visited Birmingham? There is a "North" and a "South" part of this city. The Civil Rights museum is in the center of the City and is very good. It's better here than before when churches were bombed and children were killed. I really think the biggest miracle happened at Pope John Paul II's funeral when the entire world gathered peacefully without strife or violence in Rome to say farewell and thank you to a man who devoted his entire life to serving the Lord and His Church. Time stood still, hence a message to the world sent. One people, one God. Peace is necessary and it feels good. Let down your walls and open your hearts. We can be peaceful, we can love each other, we can come together for one purpose. That is worth thinking about.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments.
No, I haven't been to Birmingham, Alabama, but I'd love to visit the South one day. One of the publications I write for in the UK is Catholic Life ( Last year, I did a feature on the Catholic Church's support for the civil rights cause. I focussed on the Queen of Peace parish in Selma and Sr Antona Ebo, the Franciscan Sister of Mary, both of whom played major roles in the struggle.
I might also add that when John Paul died, three of the Protestant publications I write for in the UK (Christian Herald, New Life and Good News) all featured him on their front pages, declaring him one the greatest spiritual and moral forces of the 20th century. They all stated he is in heaven, along with Mother Teresa. I absolutely agree.
Its interesting that while many Catholics also believe this, they can't officially state so until the Vatican declares them saints. In that sense, we Evangelicals are ahead of you!
A good friend of mine here in the UK is Derek Williams from Birmingham in England. Derek is a committed Catholic, a daily Rosary man and Mass attender. He is a full-time Catholic evangelist with the group, Flame Ministries ( which is fully in line with the Catholic Church's Magisterium. Now, I disagree with some of Derek's theology, but I support him, financially and spiritually, and recommend Flame to all Catholics. You should check out their website.
Ten years ago, Derek and his wife, Lynn, were healed of severe depression at a healing event led by.........Benny Hinn!
I couldn't believe it when Derek told me, as I'd always been suspicious of Benny, but Derek states God has given him a healing mission.
The Holy Spirit blows where He choses to blow, across all denominations. Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, whatever label you choose, we are all in the Father's House.
If they are not against us, they are for us.

God bless


Jeff said...

This is a conversation that I have had several times (and, Ebeth, some of them have even been with you)... It boils down to history. The Protestant reformation was so long ago that many of the "so-called Christians" today don't quite realize that they are really "lax-Catholics". And the major reason so much of it started, thanks to the Church of England, is because a certain king could not produce a son until he had gone through several wives... (and the pope at the time would not grant an anullment/divorce).

The only reason they have a bible that they can memorize, misquote, and otherwise abuse, is because Catholics back in the early hundreds compiled the letters and works that now form the book.

And the point here (for those keeping score at home)... is not that we are dwelling on the negative, but voicing frustration at the abundance of narrow-thinking here in the south.

The hypocrisy is rampant among those that say they are Christian, but insist on acting like it only on Sundays, or when it's convenient for their political agendas. This goes back to the "Fish Across the Butt" thread from earlier this summer...

Here's my parting shot on this... when there is a problem in a church (a particular congregation):
- Catholics will handle it like business: appoint a committee and find a way to fix it, or that the money is in place to pay for a project before committing.
- Protestants (esp. Baptists) will leave and start their own church, if they don't like the way something is being done.

Ebeth said...

Jeff, I couldn't have said it better!


Journey of Truth said...

Amen, Jeff and Ebeth!! I lived in GA for a while and ran in the un-loving of Catholic circles for a while. I even became one for while (gulp!). Thank God for confession and healing in the Catholic family!!

What turned me around was when my hubby (cradle catholic) made me look at the truth of who I was: a hater. I hated and that is so opposite of Christ's mission with us. So, I repented, came HOME to the Catholic Church and I have been loving the closest to Christ as I can since!!

Jaimie said...

Don't get me started. Sadly, I know this only too well. My story is too long to tell in a comments section, but it has a happy ending. I am so immersed in my Catholicism now that the past is slowly drifting away. New ideas about God and the Bible are renewing my mind and my soul is a much brighter place. The fear (and that is the heart of their problem, fear) is gone, God's love has prevailed. Thanks be to God!:)

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

God bless you.
I am so sorry that is what you have suffered.
I thought some of the things I had put up with from family was bad-but not such pure hatred.
They are irritated that I am homeschooling and that we have too many children(we have 6) and I get a few remarks, but that's all.

My oldest son is going to EWTN in Jan and will be staying nearby.

Is there any advice you can offer an 18yr old Catholic English boy for staying in Alabama?
Take care.

gemoftheocean said...

Hi Ebeth. Sorry you have had so much trouble. 40 some years ago I lived in Roanoke Virginia. My experience as a youngster then was much better than yours is now! I went to the parochial school, but had a fair number of protestant friends - virtually all the protestants were Baptists. We did have a statue of the Blessed mother in the front of our house. Not once did I hear a nasty word said of it. My parents got along well with our neighbors. I think, looking back that there was only one girl who didn't particularly care for me - her dad was a minister, but they didn't live in the development for very long. Years later my mom did remind me about this girl, I had rather blocked her out - I now realize that perhaps she got a dose of anti-Catholicism at home. But that was the sole exception I encountered, and mildly at that. I was polite to her dad, and he was civil to me. To my face, anyway. My protestant friend's parents were very nice that sometimes if invited to stay for dinner on a Friday night, they'd rustle up a non-meat entry for me. I had sleep overs and fun with them as much as I did with my Catholic friends. It seems they were a lot more tolerant then than now! I know things weren't all rose-color tinted (there was a KKK back then - once we found a KKK meeting flyer on our car when we came out of the local bowling alley - but it was like a shadow of evil passing by. That was the sole time we saw anything like that, scary as that was. I think this nastiness comes from some of these televangelists and some of the Bob Jones university types. And Roanoke, certainly back then, was no where near cosmopolitan. They seemed to have a lot better manners back then!

rccjourney said...

Thank you for your blog and this post. I came across your blog through another friend, and I definitely understand this total lack of information about RC leading to hatred and so much predjudice. I'm within arm's reach of entering the Church and anticipate all the negative comments -- but God is providing the strength and courage needed. Thanks for your encouragement.