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September 4, 2009

Episcopal nuns join Catholic Church

Churches and whole dioceses have left the Episcopal Church since the 2003 consecretation of an openly gay bishop brought a lonstanding divide over homosexuality within the nation's sixth-largest Protestant denomination out into the open.

But on Thursday, 10 Episcopal nuns from a Catonsville convent took what scholars say is the unprecedented step of joining the Catholic Church. At a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, each vowed to continue their tradition of consecrated life, now as a religious institute within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

"We know our beliefs and where we are," Mother Christina Christie, superior of All Saints Sisters of the Poor, told sun colleague Mary Gail Hare. "We were drifting farther apart from the more liberal road the Episcopal Church is traveling. We are now more at home in the Roman Catholic Church."

In a statement, Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland wished them God's blessings.

"Despite the sadness we feel in having to say farewell, our mutual joy is that we remain as one spiritual family of faith, one body in Christ," he said.

Read the story at baltimoresun.com.

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 12:01 AM | | Comments (53)
        

Comments

Welcome Home Sisters. God bless you.

Rome sweet Home! What a wonderful addition to our Church.

Congratulations to Sisters for making this very important step. God loves you!
Praise be the Lord our Savior Jesus Christ forever and ever. AMEN.

Welcome home sisters! May you be a great blessing to the Church and may you be flooded with vocations.

To my episcopalian brothers and sisters that haven't crossed the tiber, the doors are open and the light is on. Please come home!

That is precisely the reason why we are called 'catholic'! The salvation promised by Christ is universal and open to everyone seeking the fullness of Truth! All praise and glory and power and honor belong to Him Who sits on the Throne of the Lamb!

Welcome home, dear Sisters!

I join the others in saying "Welcome home Sisters!" May your love for fidelity to the Successor of Peter be a bright light to the entire Body of Christ on earth, including to those within the Roman Catholic Church who may have forgotten the truth.

The Church's Sister population is growing dramatically as more women seek Christ, service, and to share their love. Read my book, Sons of Thunder, by Robert Epperly. A Catholic novel.

A big welcome indeed!!! The Catholic church can accommodate the whole church so the rest, please feel free to come on over :)

I am in awe of the Majesty in bringing us together. Great is His work and the work of our hands.

Dear Sisters:
In the future you will have to migrate also from the Catholic Church... if you are unstable en the Episcopal Church, what let you think that you will stay when Catholic Church is having so bad time whith the return of the Pious X sect and other similar pre Vatican II movements?

These are courageous nuns to have left the sinking ship of the Episcopal Church of America.
I was accepted into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 1995. I have hardly missed a mass since then and have become very involved in Church affairs and missions. I joined the Knights of Columbus, also, hearing the Blessed Virgin Mary, calling me into the Church. Later my mother at 74 entered the Church in 2000 at the Easter vigil. It is the greatest thing that ever happened to me along with the birth of my child in 1980.
To my fellow Sisters-in- Christ, Welcome to our happy home on the road to Heaven!

Dear Sisters,
It was a difficult decision, but you are not acting out of instability, as Hugo states. We all have to find our way in times of trial. Go on courageously and trust in Our Lord!

"Our mutual joy is that we remain one spiritual family of faith, one body in Christ." Duh?

Clearly, Bishop Sutton does not comprehend what just happened. Just more evidence of how out-of-touch with reality the ECUSA really is.

Hugo, you are correct when you say that Pious X is a "sect." That's all it is, a "sect" because it isn't the true church. You should have more faith in Jesus Christ Who said that "the gates of hell would never prevail" against His church. For the record, it is Pope Benedict XVI who is holding "the keys to the kingdom of heaven," at present, as the successor of St. Peter, and not you or your boss, whoever he is.

Dear Sisters, welcome to the One Holy Apostolic Roman Catholic Church! May you continue to be blessed abundantly in your prayer life and your service to this most beautiful Church. We are honored to have you with us!!! The treasures are never ending, the Sacraments sustain us!

The Roman Catholic Church as the one true Church? I think not. In my youth, the Roman Catholic Church led the way in the Christian values of love and inclusion. Sadly, that changed after the death of John Paul I. Now, Roman Catholics have joined the Southern Baptists and non-demoniational churches in preaching a gospel of intolerance and exclusion. For those of us who continue to believe that love and inclusion are the hallmarks of Christianity, the ECUSA provides a welcome home.

Welcome Home Sisters, you are in our prayers!

They gave wanted to leave for 7 years, so why didn't they? Also, it seems odd that the Catholic nuns now return to the Episcopal convent with the two Episcopal nuns. Shouldn't the Catholic Church house their own nuns on their own property, and this convent would now be home to the two Episcopal nuns? It's odd they leave the church and then expect the church to give them free room and board?

Congratulations Sisters!

As a life long Episcopalian I am troubled by the path my church is taking. However, I would never leave my church to join one that has NEVER made others feel welcome at the Lord's table. The Catholic church has it own problems many having resulted in the abuse of young boys and the harboring of those responsible. I hope the nuns are peaceful, however, they need to let their "new" religion support and house them. Bishop Sutton and the other bishops in the church also need to listen to all of the flock before they totally destroy my church.

Roman Catholics joining Southern Baptists? I think that sounds great. It wont happen though unless Catholics stop adding things (purgatory, praying to mortal humans) to the bible and stop being so absorbed with communion, where Christ wants us to have Him in out hearts more than the ritual of wine and bread. Also, Peter and the original disciples were dead for quite awhile before this church was started by Constantine in Rome. Get over all this stuff and get down to the word of the bible. I dont believe that Southern Baptists are intolerant, unless you think that voting for a Muslim supporting president shouldnt be protested and that abortion should be hushed. You have to stand up for what is right, and I thank God for those Catholics who do. All of us being Christian brothers and sisters is what it should boil down to, but that is hard to get done with all the differences between denominations. God bless.

Warmest welcome to you holy Religious Sisters to the ONE, HOLY, APOSTOLIC, KATOLIKOS [Catholic] Church which Jesus of Nazareth founded. May you be one with Our Savior and all the Holy Saints over the centuries who worship One God in Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and unto the ages of ages. Amen! Agios O Theos, Agios Ischyros, Agios Athanatos!

Thank you, Lord Jesus for giving light and grace to these nuns, and Our Lady of Walsingham pray for us.

Welcome home to the True Church - the ONLY Church instituted by Jesus Christ. Your Father in Heaven smiles on you, and for your faithfulness, your community will be blessed.

He smiles because you have rejoined the only table Our Father wants His children to eat together at. Which brings up a question...

Why would a loving father - an earthly father - want to ever see his children not eat together at the same table because they couldn't get along? This is unreasonable. More so, Our Perfect Father in Heaven wants us to dine at the same table. There was one religion in the Old Testament - which bound those people as family by covenantal oaths. Those covenants - every one of them were celebrated by a sacred meal or sacrificial offering. But it wasn't enough to just sacrifice something - you had to eat the sacrifice. There is one religion in the New Testament - Catholic Christianity. The New Covenant was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper - celebrated again by a family meal. But this time the Sacrifice was the Son of God - and he gave us His Body and Blood as real food and real drink. Read John Chapter 6.

The protestant deformation was a criminal act by a handful of finger pointers who judged MEN in the True Church and therefore Christ's Church - the Bride of Christ herself was guilty by association. The MEN twisting the teachings of the Church should have been dealt with - yes - just at today with the scandals. However, Luther's motives became lost in political exploitation of what the reformation was really initiated to do.

In readng John 17 - Christ prays that we may all be one - so that the world would know that the Father sent Him. Again, being the perfect Father - He wants all His children to get over the finger pointing and back biting. He wants all His children to eat at the same table. He wants the world to see unity of His loving children because this will show the world that the Father sent His only Son.

Being just Christian brothers and sisters isn't what Christ prayed for. If anyone is being honest then they would agree. They would agree that the division caused by protestantism has done more harm than good. They would agree that Our Father weeps at the division. They would agree that for 1500 years, there was One Church....so open your hearts and do the research these Sisters have done and the conclusion - if you are honest - is that there is only one table of the Lord - created in the Old Testament and perfected and made new in the New Testament.

The Roman Catholic Church has been around for 2000 years. The Bible itself is a Catholic book. Why was the Church good enough to give protestants the Bible that all Catholic doctrine can be proved by? Any doctrine or dogma of the faith can in some shape or form be validated by Sacred Scripture.

I encourage all out there to look for material by Dr. Scott Hahn - a former Presbyterian minister - who THROUGH study of sacred scripture came home to the Catholic Church.

Marcus Grodi, another Prebysterian minister became Catholic.

Michael Cumbie - a Southern Baptist preacher who became an Episcopal Priest...and finally through the progression of his studies, became Catholic.

If the 30,000 or so denominations would incorporate some sort of study of these mens conversions - and likewise this community of Sisters conversions, this study might reveal something quite sobering. That there is only One Way, One Truth, and One Life. Therefore, there can only be one Church.

God bless you Sisters and God bless all God's children. It's time to come home!

The Catholics did not invent purgatory. It was always believed in. The Jews believed in it and the first Catholics who were Jewish kept the belief,instead of dropping it as later on others did.Catholic means universal.Constantine converted to the Catholic faith,but did not start the church,as it was started hundreds of years before him. He did change the pagan beliefs of Rome to Roman Cathoic but the Catholic faith was already well established. Catholics take Jesus at his word when he states "this is my body" "this is my blood". Many walked away from Jesus after he talked about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, and he let them go. If he meant digesting his words instead of his flesh and blood, he would have explained it to them. He knew that they understood what he meant, after all why would they leave him and remark that this was too hard a saying if they thought Jesus meant eating or digesting his words? Jesus even turned to Peter and the others and asked if they too would leave him. This is why Catholics love Jesus who gives his flesh and blood for all who receive him in communion. Lastly. Who hasn't ever asked someone perhaps in a prayer group, or a friend or family member to pray for them in a special time of need.There are special saints who walked the extra mile for God such as being put to death,rather than give up their faith. They are honored by the Catholics for their heroic courage and deep love for God, and because they were mere mortals like ourselves, fought the good fight and won the battle for love of God. Knowing how much Jesus loves and understands what they went through for him,we give honor to them and in the name of Jesus we might ask them to say a prayer for us just as we ask our friends and family to.Knowing that they are already saints in heaven, their prayers are holy and perfect. God Bless All CB

Hi Catherine. You seem to be saying that Christ's disciples were Catholic. Isnt there a lot of difference between their practices and those of current Catholics? Why isnt purgatory mentioned in the bible, particularly the New Testament? Who started praying to Mary first? Why isnt it mentioned by the New Testament writers after she died? Who started mentioning St Peter and St Paul first in Catholic prayers? Didnt Peter get upset when people knelt before him? Why would any of these men want someone to mention them in prayer? To me these seem to be nonbiblical creations. If God wants us to pray to Mary, why doesnt He tell us in scripture? The bible says that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Why are people allowed to drink beer and get drunk at Catholic functions? Why is not eating meat on Fridays allowed to continue if it was started to help the fisherman? Why do Catholics say that Peter started the Catholic church? Why do they say that it is the only true Christian church? When was the word Catholic first used to describe a church? Why do priests command Christ to come down into a wafer or bread? Why isnt this mentioned in the bible and who started it? Fact is, no one can answer most of these questions. Mary certainly wasnt prayed to when she was alive. Someone must have started it. It seems to make Carholics uncomfortable to think about someone starting it, because they seem to want to believe that it came from God. They want to act like it is scriptural, when it isnt. Dont the statues of Mary get taken almost as idols by some? Also, I dont go for paying the church for a prayer, especially to get out of a place called purgatory. How did that get started? Thanks.

In addition, Christ says that we must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. Why doesnt the Catholic church stress having a born again experience? It seems as though the church is saying that if you believe in communion, that is is the body of Christ, and if you have stayed away from sin enough, then the communion is your born again experience. But is it? Which one is more important? You can take all the wine and bread you want and die and go to hell. But if you are truly born again then you are a new person. The communion wont matter then no matter what because you are a child of God headed to heaven. This seems to be more important than communion. The fact that Messianic Jews were the first Christians, then the good news spread to others who werent Jews, then many years later a church that was Christian started calling itself Catholic with Catholic traditions and then other churches started doesnt mean that all Christian churches came after the Catholic church. Other Christians were worshiping whenever this church started and they were never part of this church. Their ancestors still arent today, and they are free to join the church of their choice, whichever one God allowed to be created. The Catholic church seems to have more influence from Roman and later traditions than anything started by the first followers of Christ. Thanks.

...and just one more thing - you say that we Catholics should stop being so involved with communion. Well then, if God loved us so much as to take on Himself our flesh and blood and the burden that goes with it to become one us - and suffer in flesh and blood for us, doesn't it stand to reason, outside all the other evidence for why we have the Eucharist, doesn't it stand to reason that Christ would expect us to be as intimate with Him and receive HIS flesh and blood? Do some study on the covenants and sacred meals of the Jewish faith - which Christ was...and NEVER disowned. He perfected the sacrifices of the Old Testament in which the sacrifices were eaten. Because God instructed them of the Old Testament to do so, that is Truth. And since Truth changes not, it's no different in the New Testament. The Sacrifice - the Perfect Sacrifice - must be eaten. THIS is how intimate Christ wants to be with all - in His ONE Church. The ONLY Church that believes that His Flesh is real Food and His Blood is read Drink - is the Catholic Church. As in John 6 - THIS Church stands by Christ - but where would you place your church? Is it the ones that walked away?

Therein lies the answer to WHY you should belong to the ONE Church Christ prayed for in John 17. You can't get the Eucharist in any other man-made church.

To Clay:

As far as things being in the Bible and only believing that..... Then do me a favor and flip to Trinity in the Bible. Triune God. Find it. Find that term in the Bible. It's not in the Bible even ONCE - but protestants accept it because the truth of it is in the Bible. And you know what else? The Catholic Church gave you that doctrine. In 325, a CHURCH COUNCIL.....the Council of Nicea set out to officially define the relationship of the Son to the Father, in response to the controversial teachings of Arius. Led by bishop Athanasius, the council established the doctrine of the Trinity as orthodoxy and condemned Arius' teaching that Christ was the first creation of God. The creed adopted by the council described Christ as "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homoousios) with the Father."

Moreover, the final canon of Scripture, thereafter recognised by all Christians for over 1,000 years, was settled on 28 August 397 AD by a CHURCH COUNCIL....the Council of Carthage after the example set by St Cyril of Jerusalem in 350.

Now here's the kicker - the Trinity doctrine was given to the world by a Church with no Bible.

So then...there was a Church for 300 some years that existed WITHOUT the Bible - and yet still teaching? A teaching Bible-less Church? How could that be, you ask? How did they receive the teachings of Christ? What carried them through? Tradition did. The traditions and teachings of the Apostles handed down to their successors is what was used for 300+ years. The guarantee that the Holy Spirit would be with them - is what preserved Catholic Christianity for 300+ years without a Bible....and still does 1700 years later.

The fact is, ONE Church was founded by Christ - and it has existed for 2000 years. I can prove that too. ONE Church - has lasted for 2000 years - because the gates of hell have not prevailed against it - as Christ promised. The history of time itself is the biggest evidence that Christ's words were true and only ONE church makes the claim - can HONESTLY make the claim that Christ is Her founder!

Why would God the Father, define in explicit terms - the Jewish Temple and the altar - if the church wasn't important. Why would a good Father want the confusion for his unchurched children looking from the outside - and try to pick from 30,000 different churches to go to? Would God the Father really make it that hard? It's a spit in the face of Christ's prayer in John 17 to assume all this division is OK. WE can answer Christ's prayer by becoming ONE again. We were ONE for 1500 years. But as it is with all things that involve humans - if they don't have a personal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then it is doomed to be weakened by passions and feelings instead of strengthened by fortitude and faith.

Go to http://www.catholic.com/library/faith_tracts.asp
and for every refutation you make there is an answer.

Stop telling Catholics what they believe and what they do - when what you are doing is projecting what you think they believe and do as real because you heard it somewhere and believe it to be so so you can validate your position outside of the Church started by Christ Himself. It's a typical tactic used by protestants. There are weak - ill-informed Catholics out there that don't know how to answer you or others like you. Their example may be quite typical because they weren't instructed properly in the True Faith. However, I'd like to engage you further and clear up your misconceptions. For its what people THINK the Catholic Church is - that they don't like. But if they knew, they couldn't love Her enough - this Bride of Christ - the only Bride of Christ!

Stop projecting what you believe it to be instead of finding out what we as Catholics really KNOW it to be. We have 2000 years of Church teaching - including the Trinity and Bible - to share with the whole world.

If you are honest and sincere, get real and learn for yourself with an open heart.....

http://www.catholic.com/

http://books.google.com/books?id=HjFZQxuuVsEC&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86&dq=Protestants+come+home&source=bl&ots=mvgtmaYW5w&sig=VnE1u1nNoFe3qilQX0YMHdQYynA&hl=en&ei=cW-mSrnRD4aeMai2wPkP&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3#v=onepage&q=Protestants%20come%20home&f=false

http://www.crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/

http://www.protestanterrors.com/

We can touche all day - but logic tells you the answers to these simpler questions. Would a good Father want His family divided? What was Christ praying for in John 17? Who gave the reformers their authority to do what they did to the Bride of Christ? They may have had reason to - yes - but who gave them authority?

God bless,
luke1_28

Hi Luke. If communion makes someone feel closer to God then great. I am just saying that what is in the heart is more important and that has to include a born again experience if Christ says so. I am not telling anyone to not take communion. And if triune God isnt mentioned in the bible, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit sure are. John says that in the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was God and that the Word became flesh doesnt it? The Holy Spirit came upon the earth after Christ left us. What are you saying about the word triune not being mentioned? I am not sure about your point. And you are right about one church being founded by Christ. It is the church of us Christian believers, no matter what the denomination. Even during this 1500 years there were those who were Christians and never attended a Catholic church. It is the same now as it was then. It seems prideful to say that the Catholic church is the only true Christian church, and it seems prideful to have traditions that were never preached by Christ or his first followers and that have never been mentioned in the bible and to say that those traditions are things that everyone should follow. Who was the first to pray to Mary? Thanks.

Clay instead of continuing to discuss what you do not understand try learning what the Catholic Church does and doesn't do and not what someone else told you or what you think it does. It's pretty obvious you don't. The only real question is are you even a Christian yourself or just someone stirring up trouble. Are you aware you are preaching a tradition Christ never mentioned? Nowhere did Christ say the bible was the sole source of Christian Doctrine. In fact it didn’t even exist did it? Another point of clarification is the Church doesn't pray to Mary. It's hard to imagine you as anything more than an agitator. You are unwilling to learn about Catholicism. BTW from what I can see the prideful one appears to be you. You've spent considerable time criticizing Catholicism and making judgments. You are either an agitator or an ill-informed Baptists. Either way I feel sorry for you.

My point in saying that the word Trinity isn't in the Bible is precisely for the reason to show you that just because a word like purgatory isn't in the Bible doesn't meant the Truth of purgatory isn't in there. Just as with the word Trinity.

....and so it is with ALL the Truths of the Catholic Church. When you are finally ready to do some sincere reading and research....click these.

Mary and the Saints:
http://www.catholic.com/library/mary_saints.asp

Scripture and Tradition:
http://www.catholic.com/library/scripture_tradition.asp

Church and Papacy:
http://www.catholic.com/library/church_papacy.asp

The Seven Sacraments:
http://www.catholic.com/library/sacraments.asp

Purgatory and the Last Things:
http://www.catholic.com/library/sacraments.asp

And last but not least a summary of what we as Catholics believe:
http://www.catholic.com/library/sacraments.asp

Am I as a Catholic proud to be Catholic? Yes. There is good pride and bad pride. My pride stems from having 2000 years of history to stand on as the basis of my faith. God willed that the Church will last forever. The CATHOLIC Church - not some generic Christianity that protestants try to label it - to detract from Catholic claims.

Investigate the claims.

I challenge you. And if you are sincere about finding the FULLNESS of Truth, then you will come home just as these nuns did. However, if you put some work into learning the TRUTH about Salvation History, and then you are still content being in a church that cannot ever say it was founded by Christ Himself, then stay where you are. However, I promise you, you won't have much to say to nuns who have converted to Catholicism. Instead, you will wonder why you haven't done it yourself. Again...people don't like what they THINK the Catholic Church is....but if they knew, they would love Her....this Bride of Christ.

There were no Christians outside of the Catholic Church you speak of - that flies in the face of history. All Christians were called Catholic - until Luther and his henchmen.

Hi, Clay. Thank you for inviting me to answer your questions here from another article's post. Sorry, lots of questions mean lots of answers:

Isnt there a lot of difference between their practices and those of current Catholics? --
No. The Catholic Church is the same Church founded by Christ when He commissioned St. Peter to be the Rock upon which He would build His Church. It's the same Church that the Bible tells us baptized entire families including infants (Acts 16:15, 27-33, Acts 2:37-41, 1 Cor 1:16), confessed their sins to their priests (James 5:15-16, 1 Tim. 2:5, Acts 19:18, 1 Tim. 6:12, John 20:23, Matthew 18:18-19, Luke 24:45-49, 2 Cor 5:18-20), and celebrated the Holy Eucharist (1 Cor 11:23-30, Acts 2:42, Luke 22:19). The combination of the words "the Catholic Church" (he katholike ekklesia) is found for the first time in the letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, written about the year 110. The words run: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church."

Why isnt purgatory mentioned in the bible, particularly the New Testament? --
Just as the words "Bible" and "Trinity" are not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, "Purgatory" exists and is revealed in scripture. Revelation 21:27 says that nothing unclean or profane can enter Heaven. In Matthew 12:32, Jesus tells us that saying things against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this age OR the age to come. Why would He need to say that unless some sins ARE forgiven in the age to come. And concerning all the good people who died before Christ's death opened the gates of heaven, where did they go in the mean time? This shows that scripture does support a place after death other than Heaven. In 1 Cor 3:13-15, St. Paul speaks of men being saved "yet so as by fire." Surely they are not returning out of hell's fire. And in Mt 5:26, Christ said, "Amen I say to you, you shall not go out of there until you repay the last farthing." He wasn't telling that parable because it was an interesting story, it was a revelation of our path to salvation.

Who started praying to Mary first? Why isnt it mentioned by the New Testament writers after she died? Who started mentioning St Peter and St Paul first in Catholic prayers?... ?... ? --
First of all, it's interesting that out of the 12 apostles, only two wrote Gospel accounts; and John wrote his after the book of Revelation. But I think we both agree that there are people in Heaven right now. But since their bodies are still on earth, are they all deaf, dumb, and blind to each other since their eyes, ears, tongues, and brains are buried? No. So perception in Heaven is different than what we know here on earth. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard... As Scripture indicates, those in heaven are aware of the prayers of those on earth. In Revelation 5:8, John depicts the saints in heaven offering our prayers to God under the form of "golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." In 2 Thess. 2:15, St. Paul says "Hold fast to the traditions you have received from us, either BY WORD or by letter." This is one of those received by word.

Why are people allowed to drink beer and get drunk at Catholic functions? --
Drinking beer is not a sin. Getting drunk is. The Catholic Church never condones drunkenness.

Why is not eating meat on Fridays allowed to continue if it was started to help the fisherman?--
Fasting is a form of prayer used by Jesus in the bible. Abstaining from food any time as an offering to God is mirroring Jesus' actions. Meat fast on Fridays is not required since Vatican II, but Catholics are supposed to offer some sort of fast in remembrance of the passion.

Why do Catholics say that Peter started the Catholic church? --
We don't say that; we say Jesus started the Catholic Church when He gave Simon the keys to the kingdom and changed his name to Peter (always a monumental event when God changes someone's name).

Why do they say that it is the only true Christian church? We don't say that either. We say the Catholic Church is the original Church founded by Jesus, and that other denominations are still united with us, though separated by men. That's why baptisms by mainline protestant churches which follow the creed are considered valid. In Mark 9:40, Jesus said, "Anyone who is not against us is with us." (Ephesians 1:22) As Catholics, we consider protestants to be "with us," even if we believe some of your interpretations are in error. You and I are both part of the Body of Christ in His Church, because Christ can have only one body, and we both are for Him, not against.

When was the word Catholic first used to describe a church? -- St. Ignatius, 110 A.D.

Why do priests command Christ to come down into a wafer or bread? Why isnt this mentioned in the bible and who started it? --
Jesus started it! In a prefigurement in the Old Testament, God did provide manna to the Jews. God DID instruct them to sacrifice and eat a paschal lamb at every Passover through "EVERY GENERATION" (Exodus 12:14). And Jesus was celebrating the Passover meal when he initiated the New Covenant by requiring us to eat His glorified, living body, physically present in the Eucharist instead of the passover lamb. The Bible calls Jesus the Lamb of God--the very Lamb whom God the Father asked for all generations to consume at the Passover meal, now the Holy Mass in the New Covenant. Jesus Himself said "Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; the bread I will give IS MY FLESH, for the life of the world." In 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, St. Paul said, "...whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord...He who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks a judgement on himself." The strength of those words proves that St. Paul knew the Eucharist was NOT merely symbolic.

Fact is, no one can answer most of these questions. --
Wrong. I just did. But this information is all over the internet on Catholic sites. Try Google!

Mary certainly wasnt prayed to when she was alive. Someone must have started it.--
Perhaps when St. John took the Blessed Mother into his home, he discovered that her prayers were answered more often than his own. Who knows? What we do know is that many people pray to saints to intercede for them, and their prayers ARE answered. We're not fools... if it didn't work, we'd have all stopped after 2000 years. And forget the notion that it's the devil at work; he'd never do anything that brought people closer to God. Saintly intercession does just that.

It seems to make Carholics uncomfortable... They want to act like it is scriptural, when it isnt.
Hold onto your hat, Clay; but it doesn't have to BE scriptural. In 2 Thess. 2:15, St. Paul says "Hold fast to the traditions you have received from us, either BY WORD OR by letter."

Don't the statues of Mary get taken almost as idols by some? --
Statues or pictures of saints simply remind us of a person whose life and closeness to God we admire; they are our role models. The fact that God answers prayers offered through the saints already in Heaven confirms this. God, Himself, instructed the Israelites to make angel statues to put on top of the Ark of the Covenant, angel patterns on the curtain surrounding it, a serpent on a pole to heal those who look at it, etc. But you are NOT supposed to worship statues as if they are a being with any sort of power--that's absurd (read Exodus 25:18-20, 26:1, Numbers 21:8-9, 1 Kings 7:23-29, 6:23-28, Colossians 1:15).

In addition, Christ says that we must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. Why doesnt the Catholic church stress having a born again experience? -- Catholics believe we are born again in baptism. "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he can not enter into the Kingdom of God." That's when you enter God's family and are absolved of your original sin.

From your other post... In Luke 1:41-48, God's words to Mary delivered by the angel Gabriel said, "Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women." Then the bible says: "Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out in a loud voice: 'Blessed art you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. But who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" Then Mary, with our Lord and Savior at that very moment residing in her womb said, "...all ages to come shall call me blessed." ...a prophecy of the Holy Spirit written in your Bible

When you trust in your own authority to figure out truth instead of trusting in the Church, you are prone to error. St. Paul says "it is the Church [not the Scriptures], that is the pinnacle and foundation of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15)

Thank you everyone for indulging my answers. I know they were lengthy.
Steve

Hi Steve. I appreciate your answers. I still see a lot of differences between the Catholic church of today and the church started by Christ with his disciples. Christ may have started one church, but it definitely went in different directions. I see this church as a body of Christians. There had to be Christians in those times who didnt follow the traditions of the Catholic church. If you choose Christ, you choose Christ. You are then part of a body of believers. Why does it make a difference what the church is called? Any body of believers is going to have differences. You believe that you are born again through Baptism. Like the late Pat Kelly used to say, "when I was baptized I went down a dry sinner and I came up a wet sinner." I think being born again through receiving the Holy Spirit and truly feeling different is what is important. If it comes through Baptism fine. I have seen it come when people have come to the altar and given themselves to Christ. Mary was certainly blessed. I am not convinced that what it says in Revelations is any instruction to pray to her. Why not just pray to Christ as the bible instructs us? I suppose some people ask her if she can help them hit the Maryland lottery. This is less likely to happen when people pray to Christ. I also dont believe in paying any church for a prayer. I appreciate your concern and attempts to bring all of us Christians together. That is what being a Christian is all about. I wish we could all worship at the same church. However, I would want it to not be called Catholic or Baptist or whatever, that God would say what it is to be called and exactly what traditions to follow, now and not what the scriptures have already said or what has already been practiced at any church. However, you know as well as myself it wont happen. The best all of us Christians can do is to try to get along and to encourage one another. God bless.

Thanks, Clay. The problem is, how do ANY of us know what the Church was exactly like in its infancy? Well, for starters, we both agree that there are the accounts in the bible. Unfortunately, those accounts are sketchy and limited since only four of the 12 apostles (Peter, Matthew, John, James) wrote anything that was included in the bible. So what else do we have? Well, we know that the Holy Spirit helped the apostles to be awesome evangelists and teachers. So wouldn't it be safe to say that the people they taught would have the purest, unadulterated teachings of the early Church? Enter the "Church Fathers." If those directly taught by the apostles or Jesus, Himself, couldn't get it right, then none of us will. So Clay, it's now your responsibility to go back and read what those directly taught by the Apostles have written. You will be shocked to find descriptions of the mass, holy eucharist, papal authority and succession, sacraments, infant baptism, Catholic, clergy, ministerial priests, confession, Sunday sabbath, bishops, etc. Check out Clement-Bishop of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Origen of Alexandria, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Basil, Saint Gregory Nazianzus, St. Maximus of Turin, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Dorotheus, Optatus, Jerome, and Augustine. When you REALLY look back at all we know about Church history, you'll come to the same conclusion so many anti-Catholic apologists have (see Stephen Ray, Scott Hahn, Dave Armstrong, Robert Sungesis, and many, many more) who had no choice but to embrace Catholicism upon trying to debunk her. Be not afraid. The Holy Spirit will guide you. God bless!

Thanks for your info. The thing is, those taught earlier were human and sinners just like all of us. That is obvious by some of the practices today like paying the church 1500 dollars for a divorce annulment. I believe that the most important things we can pay attention to are what Christ tells us in the bible. That isnt to say that everything else is wrong, just that it could be. Thanks and God bless.

Unfortunately, Clay, your argument is circular. Because you wouldn't have a bible unless the Catholic Church had decided which books to put in it. It didn't drop down out of the sky, it was compiled by men. And those men were Catholic in theology. So you'll believe that Jesus said something if Catholics "approved" it for you, but you won't believe Jesus said something if they only tell you that He said it? I'd be curious to know what the traditions are that protestants keep by word as St. Paul instructed that are not in the bible.

You know, there really are administrative costs to process an "annulment." And it's not a divorce; an annulment (which is not easy to get) says that there was something false in the marriage that indicates it may not have been sanctioned by God.

I was thinking about something you said about Catholics believing that they are born again through baptism. I suppose that you will say that these people are baptized when they feel they are ready, etc and that they pray when they are done, etc so that they will receive the Holy Spirit. What is happening is that the person feels that because they went through this process that now they are saved. Nothing could be further from the truth. They may be saved but probably arent. Being born again means having a true experience with God so that the person feels truly different. Someone may feel this when they go to the altar to give their problems to Christ or it can happen in other ways. It will not come because of any official procedure by a church. If this is how it is done in the Catholic church it is a huge mistake and probably the biggest one being made by the Catholic church to help satan. If people feel that the church has given them this procedure then they will tend to feel that things are taken care of, which of course they probably arent. People need to be given the opportunity to give themselves to Christ every Sunday. It is when they decide, and not because of any baptism that anyone goes through at a certain time or age or whatever, that this person is ready to receive Christ. Again, I am not saying that it never works. I am saying that too much church business into anyone's life is a mistake, and that is the major point I have been making about the Catholic church on these blogs. Thanks and God bless.

Clay the Catholic Church doesn't teach that the process alone saves one. In fact I’d say that’s a trait more applicable to many Protestant denominations. n fact don’t Baptists teach that once one is saved that person can never sin as to be lost. Sin, yes; but die in sin, no I don’t know if that is Baptist doctrine or not so I’ll leave it at that.

The Sacrament of Baptism gives the person a new life through Jesus. It brings the person back to God. But there is one thing that baptism does not change. That is the physical body of the person and its worldly inclinations towards sin! The body continues to be weak in nature, desiring to sin. Because of that, there is a constant spiritual and worldly battle within the person. (C.C.C. # 405)

I've said this in the past and am saying it again your knowledge of and assumptions about the Catholic Church are woefully inadequate. I have no idea if they are based on your own feelings or those that someone else has told you about. However, if you want to comment on the Church's teachings I suggest you learn what they are first.

As Steve says above, "Catholics believe we are born again through Baptism." So Ravensfan your conceptions of the Catholic church may not be what all or even most Catholics follow. The sacrament of baptism does not give the person a new life through Jesus. Baptism gives us a wet head. It is the individual who decides that they want a new life and asks Jesus to come into their heart, baptized or not. Thanks.

And to both of you and everyone here, the Anabaptists started their church with Christ when the Catholic church was started, if you want to call the other church a Catholic one, even though it wasnt called Catholic until around the year 110. They were never and still arent a part of the Catholic church. They believed in a public confession of baptism along with a change of heart to be saved. Most Baptist churches (including mine) believe in Baptizing when a person joins the church, that it isnt necessary to be saved nor is communion, although we have communion about 4 times a year. It is the acceptance of the Holy Spirit and Christ into one's heart that truly leads to repentance that saves a person. Also, Constantine changed some of the practices of the Catholic church, and it wasnt for the better but rather to fit Rome. The Catholic church also has changed the scriptures when their bible is printed. For example, their bible does not have all of the ten commandments. The Catholic church doesnt believe that Mary had other children and instead died a virgin, even though the scriptures speak of Jesus' brothers and sisters, etc. Have these passages been left out of the Catholic bible? If you want to know the truth, I have had about enough of Catholic history, but I appreciate all the help people have given me in clarifying things. God bless.

Clay your view of when the Baptist Church started is the belief in Baptist belief in perpetuity. Not all Baptists hold that view. There are those who also attribute it to the descendants of the Puritans, influenced by Anabaptists, and thus products of the Reformation. Johannes Warns states that the first independent Anabaptist church was that at Augsburg, Germany, in about 1524. Baptists separated from the Church of England in the early 17th century. Either could be correct and really isn’t worth debating. I don’t know enough of Baptist history and am not interested in trying to criticize someone else’s faith.

You are also wrong on your comments regarding the ten commandments. Different versions of the bible group them differently in fact they appear in more than one place in the Old Testament. Keep in mind unless you are reading from the original language the book was written you are reading someone else’s translation and there are many. I read recently that the NIV is going to be undergoing revisions soon. There is more than one translation version in the Catholic Church currently. One use here in the US and the other in the rest of the English speaking world. In any event having read quite a few versions the differences are all semantics. As for your commentary on Mary I suggest you read this link.

http://www.catholicsource.net/articles/perpetualvirginity.htm

Clay you may think you know Catholic history. Trust me you don’t. If you don’t want to take the time to learn it that’s fine. Then I suggest you refrain from commenting on what you think you know because it’s based on biased false assumptions. I’m not going to get into your baptism comment because again you are arguing without understanding what you argue against. In the end you seem to be on a quest to do one of the very things you have criticized the Catholic Church of doing. Suggesting that your faith (religion) is the only way to salvation.

Religion never brings anyone to salvation. In fact the word isnt mentioned that many times im the bible. It isnt a good word. Only true acceptance of Christ into one's heart brings about salvation, not any procedure or ritual in any church. I have had so many Catholics and former Catholics comment about only nine commandments in their bible it isnt funny. Wasnt one left out because of Mary? I thought that I remembered hearing that. Which one was left out of some versions as you say and why? Ten commandments are ten commandments, never nine in any translation. The Anabaptists started their church with Christ, after Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. If Paul witnessed to someone in Greece, for example, that family may have practiced Christianity without attending any church, including a Catholic one. Why should I read a link about Mary's perpetual virginity if the bible says that she had children after Christ was born? I am not interested in something that contradicts the bible. Adding to it is bad enough. Thanks and God bless.

Good grief, Clay! You are so misinformed, where do I start? You seem to be implying that Catholics do not have a personal relationship with Christ from within that you do. That couldn't be further from the truth. But in Acts 2:38 Peter says," You must reform and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven; then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." In Acts 22:16, Jesus has sent Paul to Ananias who says, "Why delay then? Be baptized at once and wash away your sins as you call upon His name." That doesn't sound like an empty ritual to me. Ravensfan hasn't said anything that disagrees with what I've said. Your misinterpretation is because you believe in once saved, always saved which is very explicitly NOT in the bible. Show me in the bible where you're supposed to "ask Jesus into your heart."

The Catholic bible (the original, unabridged-by-Protestants bible, with 7 more canonical books) certainly contains all of the commandments and doesn't omit a single one of them. The only difference among various Christian denominations is how they are broken up, since Ex 20:2-17 and Deut 5:6-21 list them differently. See Wikipedia for a complete, non-biased explanation.

Anabaptists like to say that they are descended from the Apostles, but where is the proof. Where are their writings? Where is the bible they compiled? Show a line of succession. Biblical and church scholars of all denominations can really only go back to the 1500s.

Clay, if everything that Protestants said about the Catholic Church were true, none of us would belong to it. But that's the problem, it's all misinformation, lies, and falsehoods. So stop believing what your pastor or friends (or so-called Catholics) have told you, and seek the information for yourself. You can find all of the info you want with a little web searching on true Catholic sites.

Clay, show me the specific verse in the bible where it says that Jesus' mother, Mary, had other children. The topic of Mary's Virginity is so well examined and supported by scripture on the internet, I'll save space here and just refer you to some scriptural explanations that you can research in your own bible:

http://www.scripturecatholic.com/blessed_virgin_mary.html

http://thiscatholicjourney.com/2008/02/perpetual-virginity-of-mary.html

Why would I say that no Catholics have a personal relationship with Christ? I am just trying to make a point about the church being so wrong on many of its traditions. Thanks.

Clay there is no commandment missing. Clay no commandment is missing. As I said before Different versions of the bible group them differently in fact they appear in more than one place in the Old Testament. In fact the Lutheran Church follows the same layout as the Roman Catholic Church. In fact there are actually more than 10. The confusion comes from how they are grouped. This link may help you

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_commandments

Clay you are mistaken when you say “The Anabaptists started their church with Christ, after Christ was baptized by John the Baptist”. After he was Baptised he preached but no churches were formed. In fact that process didn’t even begin until after the apostles received the Holy Spirit as written in the Acts of the Apostles. The term Christians wasn’t even used until Antioch well after Christ’s ascension the Apostles began proclaiming the Gospel. Your claim is Anabaptist dogma which contradicts Scripture.

Like I said you don’t know what your are talking about when you comment on Church traditions. It’s funny that you criticize Catholic traditions as not being based on the Bible, but are willing to accept Baptists tradition on it’s origin which is not even mentioned in the Bible.

Well Christ's church certainly was formed after He was baptized. I didnt mean right away. Also someone says to Christ, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside to see you." Christ says, "Who are my mother and my brothers and sisters?" and points out that His followers are his brothers and sisters. The bible also mentions a Mary looking upon Christ on the cross and mentions her two sons who are with her. I dont see any evidence in the scriptures that Mary had no other children after Christ. I think it is heresy to pray to her. What difference does it make that some of the prayers have been successful? I can pray to someone and it may come true but does that mean God is behind it? Thanks.

Clay if you didn’t mean right away then why the reference to John the Baptist? It’s pretty clear that you don’t know what you are talking about Clay. Not only don’t you understand the Catholic Church, but also the Baptist Church teachings as well. It really makes me suspect you aren’t what you claim.

As for your comment on Mary maybe you could give me the book chapter and verse because I don’t recall your account of Jesus on the cross. The closest I come is John 19:26-27 and it doesn’t fit what you claim, no big surprise there. You are good at making vague generalizations then backing off when called on them. Once more sign that you may not be the Christian you claim to be.

Clay it’s getting rather tiresome correcting your misinformed assumptions about the Catholic Church. What’s even more troubling is that I appear to know more about the Baptist Church then you do as well.

Clay one more question. Why no response on my reply to your comment about the Ten Commandments It seems like you make assertions then when proven wrong you simply ignore the response and raise a different equally false accusation. Why is that Clay? It certainly isn’t the behavior of someone trying to further God’s Kingdom.

I am done arguing about all of it. Catholics are my Christian brothers and sisters and we all have to get along and try to follow scripture and do what God wants us to. The most important thing that means is to have Christ in our hearts. God bless.

Clay you don't have to agree with Catholics. If you want to debate an aspect of the Church do the research first. I don't think anyone is saved by the Church the belong to anyway. The probelm with most of these discussions is people end up commenting on what they think practiced and not what actually does happen.

This blog is screaming out for Robert Littel to blast it with his atheist equipment.

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About Matthew Hay Brown
Matthew Hay Brown writes and blogs about faith and values in public and private life for The Baltimore Sun. A former Washington correspondent for the newspaper, he has long written about the intersection of religion and politics. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, traveling most recently to Syria and Jordan to write about the Iraqi refugee crisis.
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