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Old 10-08-2012, 10:10 AM   #11
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Re: Question for Christians...

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OP, God isn't a democracy. Jesus never said - hey, let's vote on what is right and what is wrong and go with the majority. Sure, there are some branches of Christianity that seem to have a democratic style leadership and what the church professes can change with the leadership. But, I don't think that one has anything to do with the other. I am a firm believer in the governmental structure put in place by our founding fathers and also a strong Christian in my Catholic faith.

From the first moments of creation, God was absolute. He didn't ask Adam if perhaps it would be okay to put a ban on eathing the fruit of knowledge. That does not mean that we cannot be good citizens of a country that might have put that to a vote. Jesus did not come to create a secular government and he acknowledged the place of government and its right to exist in a way that does not conflict with faith.

Edited to add that priests, nuns, etc. are there to serve the people and to maintain the faith from inaccuracies, etc. The Pope is only infalliable in VERY rare instances. Anyone who feels called can work to become a member of a religious order and serve in that manner (sort of like a government official).
But, you are right. The Catholic faith has a set of beliefs, and that is it. If you don't believe them, you aren't forced to stay. Many people do not hold to every Catholic belief and are still good, practicing Catholics.

I love the line from the movie American President - America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship .... I think of the Catholic faith the same way. It isn't easy to be Catholic all the time. There are lots of other Christian faiths where you can pick and choose and basically make up what you want it to be. Catholicism isn't that way. It is advanced religion. It asks you to put yourself second to the belief system, not to put yourself ahead of the beliefs that is espouses. It certainly isn't the right religion for everyone, but I don't think that puts it into conflict with America.



While some individuals might believe that good deeds get you into heaven, the Catholic faith does not. The Catholic faith believes that - faith alone can get you into heaven. However, this is qualified with the idea that people of faith show that faith through their good works and that if you have faith then you will do good. The idea that a faith that doesn't do good isn't really faith at all since we are commanded to take care of our neighbor. James 2:14-26

I would suggest that anyone who wants to know what Catholics believe ask someone who is Catholic and is well versed in their faith - a teacher of religion, a priest, nun, etc. Sorry, these conversations tend to get me riled up because so many people claim to be able to explain Catholicism, but really do not understand it at all.
Agree with everything said here. Especially the bolded (by me) about faith vs. good deeds. I get very frustrated when people believe Catholics think only good works get you to heaven. That is a very big misunderstanding that it out there.


As for your question. I actually don't see the direct contrast of the two thoughts. If the founding fathers thought God comes first (then God should come first in whatever way you believe in God-doesn't matter the way the religion is structured). Your may believe your rights are God-given, so you can praise God for those rights in whichever way you see fit. In our world, our government helps to legalize those rights

This website link outlines the religious affiliation of the founding fathers. Note that the majority identified as Episcopalian/Anglican (which has a very similar structure to Catholicism) http://www.adherents.com/gov/Foundin..._Religion.html

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Old 10-08-2012, 10:33 AM   #12
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I don't see an issue. I'm not catholic, but I believe my church is led by God, while the government is established by the people, so the people should have control over it.

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Old 10-08-2012, 10:32 PM   #13
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Re: Question for Christians...

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I wanted to add, that in theory or principal, the Catholic religion is a beautiful faith. My grandma was an extraordinary person and a devout Catholic. She didn't believe that acts got you into Heaven. She truly lived by the motto "Love, and pray". While our experience with Catholicism was not a right fit for us, my Grandma was a shining example of what the Faith stands for.
Thank you. I too believe that it is a beautiful faith. But, it isn't an easy faith because it does expect you to subject yourself to it rather than subjecting it to your will.

I do think that America will continue to become less "flexible" as our country ages. If you look at our history, Amendments to the Constitution came fairly quickly in the first many decades of America, but they have become fewer and further between as the norm of this country has become more settled. Catholicism has existed much longer than the US. As the US comes closer to middle age, I suspect that change will continue to taper.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:14 AM   #14
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Re: Question for Christians...

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Originally Posted by z2akids View Post
OP, God isn't a democracy. Jesus never said - hey, let's vote on what is right and what is wrong and go with the majority. Sure, there are some branches of Christianity that seem to have a democratic style leadership and what the church professes can change with the leadership. But, I don't think that one has anything to do with the other. I am a firm believer in the governmental structure put in place by our founding fathers and also a strong Christian in my Catholic faith.

From the first moments of creation, God was absolute. He didn't ask Adam if perhaps it would be okay to put a ban on eathing the fruit of knowledge. That does not mean that we cannot be good citizens of a country that might have put that to a vote. Jesus did not come to create a secular government and he acknowledged the place of government and its right to exist in a way that does not conflict with faith.

Edited to add that priests, nuns, etc. are there to serve the people and to maintain the faith from inaccuracies, etc. The Pope is only infalliable in VERY rare instances. Anyone who feels called can work to become a member of a religious order and serve in that manner (sort of like a government official).
But, you are right. The Catholic faith has a set of beliefs, and that is it. If you don't believe them, you aren't forced to stay. Many people do not hold to every Catholic belief and are still good, practicing Catholics.

I love the line from the movie American President - America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship .... I think of the Catholic faith the same way. It isn't easy to be Catholic all the time. There are lots of other Christian faiths where you can pick and choose and basically make up what you want it to be. Catholicism isn't that way. It is advanced religion. It asks you to put yourself second to the belief system, not to put yourself ahead of the beliefs that is espouses. It certainly isn't the right religion for everyone, but I don't think that puts it into conflict with America.



While some individuals might believe that good deeds get you into heaven, the Catholic faith does not. The Catholic faith believes that - faith alone can get you into heaven. However, this is qualified with the idea that people of faith show that faith through their good works and that if you have faith then you will do good. The idea that a faith that doesn't do good isn't really faith at all since we are commanded to take care of our neighbor. James 2:14-26

I would suggest that anyone who wants to know what Catholics believe ask someone who is Catholic and is well versed in their faith - a teacher of religion, a priest, nun, etc. Sorry, these conversations tend to get me riled up because so many people claim to be able to explain Catholicism, but really do not understand it at all.
Yes to all of this!

Priests, nuns, bishops, cardinals, and the pope are there to SERVE the people. While on the outside I know it looks like a bunch of rules you must follow, in reality, these people have discerned a vocation to give themselves to God and help others to live their faith.

So often the teachings of the Church are looked at as a set of things we HAVE to do, where as I have always felt that I am given the opportunity to do those things and the support from religious (leaders and otherwise) to help discern the will of God in my life.

Without some sort of structure, the Church breaks apart into different churches, it's why we have so many denominations, and within those denominations even different views based on whoever the pastor is and what the people in that community believe.

The Catholic church is not that way. Based on scripture and tradition, we follow the same teachings of the Church that have been passed down. There as things that change to better the church, and there are things that will never change because of the reasons behind them. I understand that it looks a little strange from the outside and that there are just a bunch of priests ordering people around and making decisions as a whole, but it is truly not that way at all when you take a closer look at the inside and the WHY of everything.

I love my faith, I have never felt forced into believing a certain way, or that I am following a set of strict rules. I have a personal relationship with God, but I also have the entire body of Christ in the Church itself, working together.

As for the deeds thing, no, that is silly. Catholics do no believe that you earn your way to heaven, but they also don't believe that you are saved by faith alone. Meaning, that you can't just say you are a Christian and then not live a Christian life. It is about both. I don't think there are many Christians who believe they can just say it and not live it, and that is all the "works and deeds" part means, living your faith.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:40 AM   #15
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Re: Question for Christians...

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Originally Posted by z2akids View Post
OP, God isn't a democracy. Jesus never said - hey, let's vote on what is right and what is wrong and go with the majority. Sure, there are some branches of Christianity that seem to have a democratic style leadership and what the church professes can change with the leadership. But, I don't think that one has anything to do with the other. I am a firm believer in the governmental structure put in place by our founding fathers and also a strong Christian in my Catholic faith.

From the first moments of creation, God was absolute. He didn't ask Adam if perhaps it would be okay to put a ban on eathing the fruit of knowledge. That does not mean that we cannot be good citizens of a country that might have put that to a vote. Jesus did not come to create a secular government and he acknowledged the place of government and its right to exist in a way that does not conflict with faith.

Edited to add that priests, nuns, etc. are there to serve the people and to maintain the faith from inaccuracies, etc. The Pope is only infalliable in VERY rare instances. Anyone who feels called can work to become a member of a religious order and serve in that manner (sort of like a government official).
But, you are right. The Catholic faith has a set of beliefs, and that is it. If you don't believe them, you aren't forced to stay. Many people do not hold to every Catholic belief and are still good, practicing Catholics.

I love the line from the movie American President - America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship .... I think of the Catholic faith the same way. It isn't easy to be Catholic all the time. There are lots of other Christian faiths where you can pick and choose and basically make up what you want it to be. Catholicism isn't that way. It is advanced religion. It asks you to put yourself second to the belief system, not to put yourself ahead of the beliefs that is espouses. It certainly isn't the right religion for everyone, but I don't think that puts it into conflict with America.



While some individuals might believe that good deeds get you into heaven, the Catholic faith does not. The Catholic faith believes that - faith alone can get you into heaven. However, this is qualified with the idea that people of faith show that faith through their good works and that if you have faith then you will do good. The idea that a faith that doesn't do good isn't really faith at all since we are commanded to take care of our neighbor. James 2:14-26

I would suggest that anyone who wants to know what Catholics believe ask someone who is Catholic and is well versed in their faith - a teacher of religion, a priest, nun, etc. Sorry, these conversations tend to get me riled up because so many people claim to be able to explain Catholicism, but really do not understand it at all.
First of all, we are in a representative republic. Not a democracy. That is what our country was founded on.

Secondly, my husband (I said how he was raised in my OP) was taught contrary to what you believe. He was told SEVERAL times that he basically couldn't get into heaven and that works do count. He had to do x, y, and z to get into heaven and if he forgot ANYTHING he was going to hell. How my DH stayed Catholic for 37 years is BEYOND me. I would have left a long time ago as this is how he was being taught. However I think DH was being told things and told that if he every left the Catholic church that he would go to Hell so either way he would go to hell so he "might as well stay". His parents, I will add, are still Catholic. His parents also tried to soften this stance that he was hearing from nuns and such but DH being the scholar that he is, looked it up himself and that is what he was taught.

As a side note, indulgences was recently reinstated: http://www.catholicsentinel.org/Main...rticleID=19456

I think what is getting missed is what our founders believed in. They believed in one way God then people then structure. That isn't how the Catholics or some other denominations think. It was even said somewhere on this thread that the Pope is mostly infallible. If he is infallible he is higher then I am or everyone I know as I don't know anyone that even sort of infallible.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:32 AM   #16
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Re: Question for Christians...

Indulgences have been around for a long time all that article says is that with the year of faith there are extra indulgences you can receive.

An indulgence is not a way to earn your spot in heaven it is a way to receive special graces.

I see this misconstrued so often when it comes to purgatory and indulgences. Basically Catholics believe that in order to be in heaven with God we need to be completely purged of all sin. That is where purgatory comes in. It's not a physical place there is no set "time " to be there it's a state of purifying your soul to be with God. Good works and indulgences and acting as a good Christian are things we can do to prepare our souls on earth but it's not like buying time off of purgatory. It's not that cut and dry.

It sounds like your husband received some false information along the way. It happens, preists are human as so many people often forget. Some make mistakes some have a false view of church teaching and make it up as they go. I can assure you what your husband was taught is NOT church teaching. Though I don't doubt that whoever taught him that thought it should be.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:37 AM   #17
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Re: Question for Christians...

Honestly, if a Catholic is telling someone they are going to hell for x,y,z they are not being very Catholic, because that is not what we believe at all!

God has infinite mercy, and while he desires us to love and follow him, he will not force us. Catholics do not believe that only Catholics will go to heaven. I am even of a belief that someone could live as an atheist their whole life, die, come before God, choose him and go to heaven. I don't think that ANY rules of ANY religion can decide where we end up or what God is capable of.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:16 PM   #18
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Re: Question for Christians...

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."

I think the Bible teaches we are all as humans equal however we willingly submit to leaders who are trained to teach and lead us. They in turn must be under the authority of others, usually protestant churches have a board of voted in members where serve for a term. And then there is the head office for a denomination. Though we look to our leaders for guidance we also must exercise wisdom and search scripture for ourselves to make sure what they teach and how they act line up with scripture.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:00 PM   #19
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Re: Question for Christians...

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First of all, we are in a representative republic. Not a democracy. That is what our country was founded on.

Secondly, my husband (I said how he was raised in my OP) was taught contrary to what you believe. He was told SEVERAL times that he basically couldn't get into heaven and that works do count. He had to do x, y, and z to get into heaven and if he forgot ANYTHING he was going to hell. How my DH stayed Catholic for 37 years is BEYOND me. I would have left a long time ago as this is how he was being taught. However I think DH was being told things and told that if he every left the Catholic church that he would go to Hell so either way he would go to hell so he "might as well stay". His parents, I will add, are still Catholic. His parents also tried to soften this stance that he was hearing from nuns and such but DH being the scholar that he is, looked it up himself and that is what he was taught.

As a side note, indulgences was recently reinstated: http://www.catholicsentinel.org/Main...rticleID=19456

I think what is getting missed is what our founders believed in. They believed in one way God then people then structure. That isn't how the Catholics or some other denominations think. It was even said somewhere on this thread that the Pope is mostly infallible. If he is infallible he is higher then I am or everyone I know as I don't know anyone that even sort of infallible.
You are right OP, we were not founded as a democracy. I should have been more accurate in my post.

I said that the Pope is only very rarely infallible. Not that he is usually. He is only infallible when he is speaking directly to a matter of faith as the
heir of St. Peter. Very few matters of faith actually fall within these pronouncements.

I cannot speak to what your DH was taught. Whether he did not have an adult understanding and therefore misunderstood what the faith teaches or whether he really was taught that you can get into heaven simply by works. I have no idea. But, regardless, it is not a correct teaching. You cannot enter heaven through works/good deeds, etc. But, a faith that doesn't live that faith is a dead faith. Doing good is a big part of living your faith.

OP, I know that you have really struggled with your faith for the past year or more as you have been making a decision to attempt to add to your family in a way that is not accepted by the Catholic faith. Your posts have taken on a reformed smoker feel to them (the biggest anti-smokers are often those who used to smoke). I often get the impression that you are more running away from Catholicism than you are running towards a new denomination and are looking for reasons (other than your potential pregnancy) to leave. I really do hope that you find healing and are able to find a home for your faith that supports what you believe. The Catholic Church is not going to flip flop on Life simply because some might want her to become less strict. I have never been in your shoes, so I find it difficult to embrace the choices you have had to make in this regard. I understand that that, at least in part, has affected your views and your decision making.

Personally, I cannot imagine belonging to a religion that votes on what to believe. That seems to manmade to me rather than coming from God. But, that is just my view.

Honestly, I would recommend the same thing that I recommended as you were deciding to leave. I would find a priest you can talk to and try to find peace and healing in your decisions and your feelings about the Catholic Church. I think that you will ultimately be happier in whatever religion you have chosen if you go in with joy and not a desire to escape.

I apologize if I have misunderstood where you are coming from with regard to the Catholic faith. This is just what I see as an outsider watching the evolution of your posts over the past 12-18 months. It saddens me to see you struggling.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:29 PM   #20
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Re: Question for Christians...

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You are right OP, we were not founded as a democracy. I should have been more accurate in my post.

I said that the Pope is only very rarely infallible. Not that he is usually. He is only infallible when he is speaking directly to a matter of faith as the
heir of St. Peter. Very few matters of faith actually fall within these pronouncements.

I cannot speak to what your DH was taught. Whether he did not have an adult understanding and therefore misunderstood what the faith teaches or whether he really was taught that you can get into heaven simply by works. I have no idea. But, regardless, it is not a correct teaching. You cannot enter heaven through works/good deeds, etc. But, a faith that doesn't live that faith is a dead faith. Doing good is a big part of living your faith.

OP, I know that you have really struggled with your faith for the past year or more as you have been making a decision to attempt to add to your family in a way that is not accepted by the Catholic faith. Your posts have taken on a reformed smoker feel to them (the biggest anti-smokers are often those who used to smoke). I often get the impression that you are more running away from Catholicism than you are running towards a new denomination and are looking for reasons (other than your potential pregnancy) to leave. I really do hope that you find healing and are able to find a home for your faith that supports what you believe. The Catholic Church is not going to flip flop on Life simply because some might want her to become less strict. I have never been in your shoes, so I find it difficult to embrace the choices you have had to make in this regard. I understand that that, at least in part, has affected your views and your decision making.

Personally, I cannot imagine belonging to a religion that votes on what to believe. That seems to manmade to me rather than coming from God. But, that is just my view.

Honestly, I would recommend the same thing that I recommended as you were deciding to leave. I would find a priest you can talk to and try to find peace and healing in your decisions and your feelings about the Catholic Church. I think that you will ultimately be happier in whatever religion you have chosen if you go in with joy and not a desire to escape.

I apologize if I have misunderstood where you are coming from with regard to the Catholic faith. This is just what I see as an outsider watching the evolution of your posts over the past 12-18 months. It saddens me to see you struggling.
I haven't struggled in my faith. I feel like either A) the catholic church left me, or B) [and more likely] I was never really part of the catholic church as I didn't have a full grasp of what I was getting in for when I converted. What has been hard for me is to see my DH struggle so much in the last 18 months to a year. I have seen the torment my cousin went through when she left the Jehovah's Witness faith even though her father is an Elder. I feel my DH is going through much of the same stuff. Catholicism, even what he was taught, is all he has ever known.

I do question if I should have pushed DH harder on converting to Lutheran when we decided to get married. However being a new convert myself at the time (and with no existing relatives Lutheran, though it was in my family's past) I felt that it was only natural to follow (soon to be) DH. I honestly don't think he was ready for this 9 years ago, and your right, our life has made him question things. However I think anyone who looses a loved one, or has a loved one battle an illness that could take them from this world, would do the same. We have lost 3 children, and had me have cancer. It is enough to shake the faith of even the most devout among us.

Our understanding of where we are going, is not that what we believe is being "voted on" rather it just comes from the people. An example that the pastor used is that baptism is a gift from the congregation, not from the pastor or clergy. In that regard, it is often performed in the middle of services, and not at a set aside time. I understand that the Catholics are having to do a lot of baptisms and maybe in smaller congregations they do it in the middle of services, however we have not seen that in any of the parishes we have attended. Having said that I know Catholics do allow for lay people to baptize in emergencies. When our son was dying in the delivery room, DH did ask for water to baptize him. The hospital staff thought he was feeling faint and refused. Later a priest came and baptized him conditionally (after death). What we feel like we are doing is going to the other side of the coin. We are not going to another currency if that makes sense.

One of the things that has always bothered me about Catholicism is the holy days of obligation focused on Mary. She gets 3 of them. DH would be quick to say that Jesus gets every Sunday, however on the surface when your talking about only 5 days in the year that are HDO having 3 of them (except for Sunday) seems like a big deal. Just saying.
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