This is in response to a comment left on the New Paganism entry.
I’m curious — do believe that all evils in the church were the Reformation’s fault, or that Rome is exempt from error and uncharity towards other believers?
Welcome Weekend Fisher!
No, I do not believe all the evils in the church were the Reformation’s fault or that Rome is exempt from error and uncharity towards other believers. (Aren’t you relieved? *wink*) However, I am a convert to Catholicism. I was WELL aware of the faults of the Roman Catholic Church prior to my conversion and while the truth of that was not so extreme as I had been taught, I continue to agree there were definitely problems then and frankly, continue to be now. What body of men does not have them? Indeed, there is none because where there are men, there is sinfulness and error and lack of charity.
That said, I was NOT taught about the problems, the error and uncharity committed by we protestants. Neither has the Catholic Church been teaching me these things. The Church teaches that our protestant brothers and sisters are exactly that, our separated brethren and have not discussed with me AT ALL the Reformation or the consequences thereof. Rather, it has been in my own reading and study that God has been teaching me that both sides have sinned, and all sin has its consequences. What you witness here is the rectifying of a lopsided education.
I have been blogging of my learning of the other side of that equation. What I am learning causes me grief and mourning. It is not that the protestant side has the market cornered on sin and lack of charity. Far from it, rather, the problem is that we should be one Body. That the sin of division and a house divided has led to more sin, like the dropping of a stone into a pond causes ripples. That such division not only hurts our witness and ability to speak to the world as God intended, but grieves the heart of God.
A Roman Catholic asked me, not too long ago, what exactly was the “cringe factor” when it came to Roman Catholicism. I blogged a full-length reply, but if I had to boil it down to one phrase it would be this: how Rome treats other Christians.
I’m not sure that I agree with you on ‘how Rome treats other Christians’. At least, my experience has led me to a different conclusion and perspective. As a protestant for most of my life, I would have been the first to tell you that Catholics were not Christians (except for the odd man and why DID they stay in that cult anyway), that they were a cult (I did mention that didn’t I?), and that they were idolatrous among other things. I was rude, arrogant, and unkind to my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ. It was I, and everyone of my aquaintance, who were treating other Christians badly. (I do not assume that this is your position, only speaking to my own as a protestant.) In my experience, and the experience of many whom I have come to know in the past two years, it was the Catholics of our aquaintance who were kind, patient, long suffering. Who did not return unkind words or thoughts or looks with like, but extended grace instead.
That said, Christians of all flavors treat other Christians of all flavors badly… and unChristians too. Catholics, protestants, we are all guity of it.
In the end, I am condemning primarily myself. It is in becoming aware of just how sinful I was as a protestant, just how far from where God intended me to be, that I am able to repent of it and work as best I can to avoid it in the future. At the same time, I LOVE my protestant brothers and sisters… and in NO way intend for anything I say here to suggest otherwise.
Wishing for genuine dialog rather than polemics.
How’s this for genuine dialog? Like you, I am not interested in polemics. My belief that there is Truth, and that it is God’s to determine, and that it is WE who must correct our faulty understanding and align ourselves with Him is a belief that I have had both as a protestant and as a Catholic. I will be the first to tell you that I am guilty of these sins and am having to do so. I have grieved our Lord. I have failed to do what is right in His eyes. I have leaned unto my own understanding. I have refused to submit to those He placed in authority over me. I have been working hard to be obedient in rectifying many of those things and as much good work as He has done in me, I am far from finished. If you are perceiving finger pointing here, know that it is at myself I point first. If you perceive judgement, know that it is myself who I judge. If you perceive exhortation to change, it is of myself that I demand it above all.
I don’t know if you’ve read my conversion story included in the entries of this blog, but I did not CHOOSE to become Catholic. It is not my understanding that has led me here, or a desire for smells and bells, or a great hurt done by those in my protestant circles. It was required of me by the Lord our God. I do not presume for ONE MOMENT that He is calling you or anyone else to that journey. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. What you read here is MY journey, what I am learning, what I am struggling with, what I grieve over, what I rejoice over.
I pray that in reading this, whether or not you agree with my agreement with the Teachings of the Catholic Church, what I have learned, or any of the rest, that you will hear my heart. That is what I pour out here, in this comment, and in the blog in general. It is not an easy thing to learn that what one has believed for over 30 years, while partly true, held so much error. It is not an easy thing as an older person to change. It is not easy to admit to having been so horribly wrong. In order to do so, it is important to be willing to face my sin head on, acknowledge it, see the consequences of it as He does. As hard as this is, it would be even worse to not do so and cease to walk with God.
I do not apologize for calling sin what it is. I do not apologize for defending the faith, for if the faith or teachings of the Church and sacred scriptures give offense, it is not for me to apologize. For any mistreatment of Christians by Catholics, I extend my most sincere apologies. For anything I have said that has made you think that I do not love and esteem my separated brethren, I sincerely apologize. Not for one moment do I intend to convey a lack of love or a lack of charity just because I see that I am not the only one guilty of such sins and mourn the consequences of what we have wrought.
May God bless you above all you could ask or imagine and hide you in the secret of His Face,