Thursday, July 19, 2007

Catholicism: Beginnings

I wrote earlier that I believe it beneficial to look at the ways Catholics and Protestants agree. So, I quote here two statements from the Catholic Catechism, which is basically a very long and detailed statement of faith. They are both taken from the prologue to the Catechism. The very first statement of the prologue, before getting into the thick of it all, is a prayer of sorts. It reads:

"FATHER, . . . this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (Jn 17:3) "God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim 2:3-4) "There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) - than the name of JESUS.


I find it stunning, this statement. Already, it dispells widely held misconceptions of Catholic belief. From this prayer alone, we can conclude that:

1) The Catholic Church views Scripture as vital and meaningful for the instruction and direction of their faith.

2) The Catholic Church does not view Mary as Redeemer of mankind, nor as equal to the nature of God.

3) The Catholic Church does not view the Pope or/and the priests as Redeemer of mankind, nor as equal to the nature of God.

And then, Section I:1 of the Prologue reads:

"God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life."


Again, beautiful. Already we see the appropriations of the Trinity, or the different operations given to the three persons in one nature/substance of God. We see God initiating salvation by drawing close to man. And to accomplish such a salvation, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior, that in the Holy Spirit we would be placed into an inheritance of eternal life as children of God. And that it is all done out of His goodness.

This is an important agreement. It means that Protestants cannot view Catholics in the same manner that they can view Mormons. The nature and operations of God are believed to be the same between both P's and C's. How many times have I heard, in the same breath, both Catholicism and Mormonism given as examples of cults. Catholicism and Mormonism are not the same, not even close.

13 comments:

*The Blogstar said...

I dig your blog.

Peace

C

FancyPants said...

Thank you, my brotha!

Peace out, yo.

F

truevyne said...

Fancy,
Love this....finding our commonalities instead of looking for discrepancy.

Discontented Refuge said...

That's a great opening statement FP, but please don't assume anything before actually reading the doctrine on what the Catholic church says about certain things. Looking forward to more posting on this!

FancyPants said...

DR,

What about my statement are you implying is an assumption?

I'd like to know so that I can respond appropriately.

And, as a side note, and respectfully, you don't know what I've read and what I haven't.

Truevyne,

Just want to make clear that I feel it is just as important to understand the differences. and that we'll get to those in time....

truevyne said...

Fancy,
I'm up for that too. I'll be reading.

kddub said...

Very interesting... I'm already learning a lot.

I wondered if the catholics elevated Mary above Jesus, it doesn't sound that way....

(btw... how did you create label groupings on your blog?)

Discontented Refuge said...

FP: Sorry to assume. Didn't mean it that way. Just saw you posting statements on one thing and applying it somewhere else. I'll look forward to your posting on what the Catholic Church publishes it believes about Mary and then try to make a constructive (non-sarcastic) comment.

FancyPants said...

KD,

From your Blogger dashboard, go to Layout. Then click "Add a page element." From there you'll see lots of options to add. Find "Labels" and click "Add to Blog." That should work.

And no, the Catholic Church does not teach Mary elevated above Jesus. Although, in the past, I think some Catholics may have mistakenly tended to pray for Mary's intercession more frequently than directly praying to God for fear of God's punishment or wrath. But I have no reference for that info. Just remember hearing it somewhere.

DR,

No problem. I still don't know exactly how I've made a statement on one thing and applied it somewhere else. I'm assuming it has something to do with Mary. I'm happy to discuss it with you further, but your comment's pretty vague. I will post about Mary so if you'd rather wait till then to discuss it, ok.

kddub said...

Thanks fancy! I'll try that out soon. I figured out how to label posts, but not make a column of labels like you have.

...so I was under the impression that catholics believed they couldn't pray to God themselves, that they had to pray through a priest? (or is that just for repentance?) They pray to Mary and the saints though?

MamasBoy said...

"...so I was under the impression that catholics believed they couldn't pray to God themselves, that they had to pray through a priest? (or is that just for repentance?)"

Catholics pray to God directly all the time. We do this both communally at mass and individually. We are just pretty big on asking others to pray for us as well, both those dead (but really living in heaven) and those alive on earth.

Regarding repentance, Catholics believe that we must go to a priest to receive absolution for mortal sins committed after baptism, as the normal course of events. Put another way, we believe that there is a communal aspect to repentance for serious sins. Put another way, we believe that the power to remit sins and retain sins that Jesus gave to his apostles did not die out when they did but was passed on to their successors.

MB

kddub said...

MB~ very interesting... thanks for clarifying that. Can you pray to anyone that has passed on, or just those that have reached sainthood?

MamasBoy said...

kdub,

"Can you pray to anyone that has passed on, or just those that have reached sainthood?"

I don't know, honestly. If someone is in purgatory, though, they are in need of our prayers and still attached to sin. With that in mind, it is the general practice of the church to pray for them and ask the saints saints (both on earth and in heaven) to pray for them.

Good question. Sorry I couldn't give a better answer.

MB