A Letter to my Christian Friends
This is a great blog post about the desire for Christian unity and the joy we have in being Catholic. I could have written much of this as an answer to well meaning friends who are concerned for my decision to become Catholic.
Now, most Catholics are not judgmental about your Christian faith. We are all trying to get to the same goal—unity with Christ.
Please do not tell us we are wrong nor try to tell us just what we believe, ie: I promise, we do not worship the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In my experience, the main questions/concerns of my Protestant family and friends are not as much with what the Catholic Church actually teaches, as with what they are told that Catholics believe and do. For instance:
I have not, do not, and will not worship Mary or any of the saints.
If the Catholic church teaches this, I missed that part in RCIA.
Please do not confuse veneration and honor for worship.
I absolutely do believe in the “communion of the saints” as taught by the Catholic Church, that as saints alive and worshiping before the throne (He is God of the living, not the dead, and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, right?), they have not ceased in their prayers for us, (see Revelation chapters 5 and 8) and we can ask for their prayers as easily as I could ask you to pray for me. I am well aware that I can approach God’s throne without others interceding for me, and I do enjoy a rich personal prayer life that way. I also come to times in my personal life where I do not know how to pray, or I am having trouble finding the words to express my heart, or I cannot pray in faith, believing. This is when I ask my friends to say a prayer for me, sometimes, they are able to find the words I need, or can put my thoughts into perspective and provide intercessory help for me. Because I believe that the saints are alive in heaven, and there is no sin in heaven, I find great comfort in asking them to pray for me there. They have a front row seat to God’s throne, and can pray with a clarity that I often find lacking.
The Catholic Church does not teach that we are saved by our good works.
Again…if it does, they didn’t cover that in RCIA, and in fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church expressly denies it: “Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.458”
619 “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3).
620 Our salvation flows from God’s initiative of love for us, because “he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10). “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19).
621 Jesus freely offered himself for our salvation. Beforehand, during the Last Supper, he both symbolized this offering and made it really present: “This is my body which is given for you” (Lk 22:19).
622 The redemption won by Christ consists in this, that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28), that is, he “loved [his own] to the end” (Jn 13:1), so that they might be “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [their] fathers”(1 Pet 1:18).
623 By his loving obedience to the Father, “unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8), Jesus fulfills the atoning mission (cf. Isa 53:10) of the suffering Servant, who will “make many righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa 53:11; cf. Rom 5:19).
The Catholic Church does not discourage personal Bible study
This is probably the funniest thing I’ve heard yet. I have grown so much in my personal Bible reading and devotion. I just don’t have any other words for this outlandish claim.
Can I just make a suggestion. Don’t take the word of someone who is not Catholic for what the Church teaches. Go directly to the source. You can find the Catechism of the Catholic Church online, you might find we are not as different in theology as you thought.
What I’d love to discuss instead of perceptions, are the real differences…things like apostolic authority, Holy Tradition, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Sacraments, etc.
Edited to add a link that explains RCIA.