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Thread: Catholic Problems

  1. #1
    tWebber TimelessTheist's Avatar
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    Catholic Problems

    Well, seeing as how I just recently debated an anti-Roman Jansenist heretic (Quite well, if I do say so myself :D), it put me in a debating mood, and there isn't a thread like this yet, I'll be the first to do something like this. To anyone either is not a Roman Catholic, or was one and left, I want to know: Why? Tell me any problems you have with the Church of Rome, and I'll answer them to the best of my abilities.
    Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

    -Thomas Aquinas

    I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

    -Hernando Cortez

    What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

    -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

  2. Amen hansgeorg amen'd this post.
  3. #2
    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    I love many of the unpopular dogmas of the Catholic Church, but perhaps not for the same reasons as most Catholics.

    I really respect papal infallibility, as one pole of various models of leadership and responsibility, as well as conciliarism, Episcopalianism, Presbyterianism, individualism, and quietism, but the typical defense of infallibility (papal and magisterial) is immature in my opinion. Nobody is infallible. We do the best we can, but need not be defensive or argumentative when we get something wrong. Better to own up to it, humbly admit we were wrong, and that we have learned something. Instead, when Catholic popes and councils change their opinion on something, they bend over backwards explaining how their opinion has not really changed, that whatever is new is really old and what everyone thought the church was saying previously was not really what the church meant because, well, we were right all along.

    I love the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth, but do not think celibate prelates should spend much time thinking about Mary's hymen. Sorry, but, seriously, a miraculous birth, not just a virginal conception, but a magical, miraculous virgin birth as well?

    But here's the real kicker. A friend of mine in graduate school was studying to be an Episcopalian priest. She really struggled in her scripture courses because she did not know the original languages. Previously, I had given a retreat for high school kids and met her daughter, who urged her parents to invite me over to their house. That's how I got to know the family. The father and I were best friends from Day One. He was an Austrian Catholic and we drank more than our fair share of ice cold Austrian Riesling until very early in the morning many, many nights and I ended up spending most weekends at their house. The mom was serving as a deacon in the local Episcopalian church so I ended up going there for church serves on Sunday mornings. Parishioners, neighbors, kids, dogs, were in and out of their house at all hours. Their family was the center of the church and it was an extended family of worship, service and communal fun and relaxation in the midst of the work-a-day worries of the rest of the week. I began to see a model of the church that was grounded in human love, family, and respect for all comers, regardless of their station in life or their outlook on life and politics. It was so refreshing, delightful, and inspiring. When I would go back to the dead services of the old, imported, sexless or worse, Catholic priests, it was depressing and lifeless. Sometimes scandalous. Or worse. I learned that the Catholic Church is just wrong about their requirement for an all celibate priesthood, and wrong about women's ordination as well. After spending so much time with my adopted family of fun-loving Episcopalians, I just could not find any inspiration in the dead churches of Catholic Europe. Eventually, my friend graduated, and because I had patiently helped her pass her scripture courses, and knew her level of training better than anyone, she asked me to testify to her preparedness for ordained service at her ordination ceremony. I felt very proud and humbled to be asked to perform this important role and wore my Franciscan habit as an expression of ecumenical hope for greater Christian unity of the churches so that we might all be a better witness as the body of Christ in our world of suffering, tears, and injustice.

    I would never convert to Anglicanism or become an Episcopalian, in part because I do not want to belong to a church founded by a wife murderer, but, more importantly, because I was born, raised, and educated Catholic and I cannot, and would not want to, change that. I am as Catholic as anyone I know, and I know an awful lot of very pious and devoted Catholics. Most importantly, I could never leave the Eucharist, especially devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, the little old ladies of the Rosary Society, and all the courageous and long suffering nuns who selflessly do the lion's share of the work and leadership of the church, all the while being underappreciated and even maligned. You cannot easily change something which has been a part of your soul from before your birth just because you think your church leadership is a little behind the times. OK, a lot behind the times. Part of the value of our Catholic church is that it has more or less successfully preserved the Christian scriptures and witness over many, many centuries. No easy task. It is expected that it would become a rather conservative institution in order preserve the deposit of faith over such a long period of centuries. And I respect that. Just don't always agree.

    Ok, that's my 3 or 4 theses. Not as many as Martin Luther, but I'm not as wacko as he was either.

    Pax et bonum, robrecht
    Last edited by robrecht; 04-01-2014 at 06:39 PM.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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    tWebber
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    Sounds like something that should be in Ecclesiology.

    That said, I still dislike how Catholics don't let their priests/bishops marry, call the Pope the vicar of Christ on earth (don't hate church hierarchy though), and I'm distrustful of prayers to the saints/Mary. Also think that there are some misuses of monasticism (thankfully, no forcing people into it though), have heard stories of priests telling the laity to not read the Bible but just listen to the priest, and am under the impression that Catholics are more willing to practice religious syncretism than Protestants. Also not a fan of Anslem's penal substition theory of atonement, which has taken root everywhere, but that's more excessive devotion to one guy's idea than church-wide practice (and its a Protestant problem too).

    Course, on the other hand, I disagree with the idea that the Catholic "rule" over Europe constitutes as a religious dark age. My Baptist upbringing, an wrongheaded upbringing that has more in common with modern atheist understandings of the medieval period than what actually seems to have happened. Also, even though I have no idea if Catholics consistently hold to this, but after reading "Socratic Logic" by Peter Kreeft (and being unable to see a Protestant writing such a book) and actually being impressed with said logic and philosophy in said book (I'm generally skeptical of modern logic and philosophy), I'm more sympathetic to Catholics than my upbringing would lead me to do. Again, not sure if Catholics actually consistently hold to a "old, traditional, Socratic logic;" it's more than I was just generally impressed with said book, and I have a hard time seeing a Protestant break through the modern haze to write such a book (mainly cause of my personal experience, have no idea if this is an objective observation though).

    Also, since it was bought up, what are your main arguments for a females in the priesthood (i.e., priestesses) in the Christian church? I know you've had a good experience with some, but unlike other religious offices I see in the Scriptures - especially prophet, but also judge (Deborah), maybe even apostle (Junia), as well as deaconesses - I still don't see any room made for female priests (all male at all times, unlike the others), nor do I know of any particularly good argument for suddenly allowing such. I know that the Old Testament priesthood is fundamentally different than modern priest/pastors (and females preaching I can't oppose, as that was part of the role of the Old Testament prophetess), but I still don't know of any strong reason to change what was in place.
    Last edited by Just Some Dude; 04-01-2014 at 06:48 PM.

  5. #4
    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Some Dude View Post
    ... and I'm distrustful of prayers to the saints/Mary.
    Are you distrustful of people who ask you to pray for them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Some Dude View Post
    Also think that there are some misuses of monasticism (thankfully, no forcing people into it though)
    Such as?

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Some Dude View Post
    have heard stories of priests telling the laity to not read the Bible but just listen to the priest
    I think that's mostly a Protestant myth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Some Dude View Post
    Also not a fan of Anslem's penal substition theory of atonement
    Me neither, but as you say that is not a specifically Catholic problem, especially since Catholics, following Irenaeus, tend to emphasize the salvific role of the incarnation rather than focusing merely upon Jesus' death. Besides, Anselm's theory was more evocative of the feudal social order of his day than post Protestant rebelliousness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Some Dude View Post
    I'm more sympathetic to Catholics than my upbringing would lead me to do.
    Good for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Some Dude View Post
    Also, since it was bought up, what are your main arguments for a females in the priesthood (i.e., priestesses) in the Christian church? I know you've had a good experience with some, but unlike other religious offices I see in the Scriptures - especially prophet, but also judge (Deborah), maybe even apostle (Junia), as well as deaconesses - I still don't see any room made for female priests (all male at all times, unlike the others), nor do I know of any particularly good argument for suddenly allowing such.
    I don't think there's any danger of this happening all of the sudden in the Catholic church so we can probably dismiss that concern. My only argument in favor of women's ordination is that I see no good reason against it. And, as you say, I've seen it work very, very well in ways that inspired me to be open minded about this.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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    Thanks Old Man... Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    I don't like that they excommunicated me for getting divorced with a biblical reason to do so...


    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals --- Manya the Holy Szin --- The Quintara Marathon ---

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common --- Stephen R. Donaldson ---

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    tWebber Spartacus's Avatar
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    When asked about the possibility that a lay person-- even a woman-- might be appointed as a member of the college of cardinals (something that is technically possible through a loophole in canon law), Pope Francis replied by denouncing clericalism.. To say that all Christians have a share in Christ's priesthood is not to say that they ought all take on the priest's part in the celebration of the Sacraments. Indeed, to do so is to cheapen the universal call to lives of holiness. Integrating the laity into the life of the church doesn't mean giving the priests' jobs to the laity-- it means helping the laity live out their holiness in the world. It might be argued that not ordaining women is itself a testimony against clericalism: women, who, after all, are far more likely to attend church than men, are nonetheless not allowed to serve as priests on the altar as a reminder that Christian duties consist of so much more than the celebration of the liturgy.

    Is this a novel and overly symbolic interpretation? Probably. Is it plausible? I leave that to you.

  8. #7
    tWebber
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    I consider more women coming to church to be likely a cultural problem, but aside from that, I don't even know how to address what you said. I'll respond to other posts a little later. Maybe not even tonight.

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    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    When asked about the possibility that a lay person-- even a woman-- might be appointed as a member of the college of cardinals (something that is technically possible through a loophole in canon law), Pope Francis replied by denouncing clericalism..
    I don't see why it is a loophole. There is no reason why a Cardinal should only be a man or a priest. I know of men in modern times who have been Cardinals without being priests, but can't think of any women.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    To say that all Christians have a share in Christ's priesthood is not to say that they ought all take on the priest's part in the celebration of the Sacraments. Indeed, to do so is to cheapen the universal call to lives of holiness. Integrating the laity into the life of the church doesn't mean giving the priests' jobs to the laity-- it means helping the laity live out their holiness in the world.
    Of course not! I don't think anyone is suggesting that everyone should

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    It might be argued that not ordaining women is itself a testimony against clericalism: women, who, after all, are far more likely to attend church than men, are nonetheless not allowed to serve as priests on the altar as a reminder that Christian duties consist of so much more than the celebration of the liturgy.
    The same argument could be used for not ordaining men, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    Is this a novel and overly symbolic interpretation? Probably. Is it plausible? I leave that to you.
    I don't think it's simplistic, but it does not address the issue directly.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

  10. #9
    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    I don't like that they excommunicated me for getting divorced with a biblical reason to do so...
    Wow. Excommunicated in the formal sense, or refusing to offer you communion in public, or privately advising you not to seek communion? Don't get me wrong. All are wrong in my opinion.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

  11. #10
    tWebber TimelessTheist's Avatar
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    I really respect papal infallibility, as one pole of various models of leadership and responsibility, as well as conciliarism, Episcopalianism, Presbyterianism, individualism, and quietism, but the typical defense of infallibility (papal and magisterial) is immature in my opinion. Nobody is infallible. We do the best we can, but need not be defensive or argumentative when we get something wrong. Better to own up to it, humbly admit we were wrong, and that we have learned something. Instead, when Catholic popes and councils change their opinion on something, they bend over backwards explaining how their opinion has not really changed, that whatever is new is really old and what everyone thought the church was saying previously was not really what the church meant because, well, we were right all along.
    1) I dare you to cite any example of this. 2) Papal infallibility only applies to the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra. Something the Pope says, off-hand, isn't infallible. Even then, it applies to declarations of faith and morals 'only'.

    When I would go back to the dead services of the old, imported, sexless or worse, Catholic priests, it was depressing and lifeless.
    That's not only untrue, it's also a freaking horrible thing to say about Catholic priests. Also...."imported"? Do I detect some weird racism in there somewhere?

    Or worse. I learned that the Catholic Church is just wrong about their requirement for an all celibate priesthood, and wrong about women's ordination as well.
    Oh, I see, so it's wrong because it makes you feel bad? Great argument there.

    After spending so much time with my adopted family of fun-loving Episcopalians, I just could not find any inspiration in the dead churches of Catholic Europe.
    It actually just sounds like you enjoyed your family, not the church itself.
    Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

    -Thomas Aquinas

    I love to travel, But hate to arrive.

    -Hernando Cortez

    What is the good of experience if you do not reflect?

    -Frederick 2, Holy Roman Emperor

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