Response to Weekend Fisher…

18 Mar

This is in response to a comment left on the New Paganism entry. 

Weekend Fisher:

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.

Weekend Fisher:

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.

Weekend Fisher:

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,

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Posted by on March 18, 2007 in Protestantism, Quotes, Reformation, Relationships


9 responses to “Response to Weekend Fisher…

  1. jh

    March 18, 2007 at 3:56 am

    It does get tiresome doesn’t it. At times I think the local Chruch should treat this more in a realistic fashion while maintaining Christian Charity. Simply because the average Catholic when confronted hears the horrs of “Rome” and get the impression that Luther and Calvin were some grat Saints. David Armstrong page on Luther was like a revelation to me.

    I was wondering why this wasn’t taught in World History.

    In the end all we can do is keep doing what we are doing. Pope John II Apologizes to the Church in the East for Events that happen 1000 years ago and the response is nothing but stony silence from the East. Ditto for the Reformation and everything else.

    Catholics dialogue with Lutherns and what is the response. Well one of the major Luther Synods in the United States still says the Pope is the Anti Christ:
    “43. As to the Antichrist we teach that the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures concerning the Antichrist, 2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18, have been fulfilled in the Pope of Rome and his dominion. All the features of the Antichrist as drawn in these prophecies, including the most abominable and horrible ones, for example, that the Antichrist “as God sitteth in the temple of God,” 2 Thess. 2:4; that he anathematizes the very heart of the Gospel of Christ, that is, the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins by grace alone, for Christ’s sake alone, through faith alone, without any merit or worthiness in man (Rom. 3:20-28; Gal. 2:16); that he recognizes only those as members of the Christian Church who bow to his authority; and that, like a deluge, he had inundated the whole Church with his antichristian doctrines till God revealed him through the Reformation — these very features are the outstanding characteristics of the Papacy. (Cf. Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 515, Paragraphs 39-41; p. 401, Paragraph 45; M. pp. 336, 258.) Hence we subscribe to the statement of our Confessions that the Pope is “the very Antichrist.” (Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 475, Paragraph 10; M., p. 308″



    I think this perception goes much deeper and is very much political. You see this in American History Class. Every thing English is Glorious. However the “dark”, “devious” Catholic Spanish are hardly talked about. Not saying we should not talk about our English orgins(indeed a lot was great and laid our foundations) but a little balance would be nice. Can you imagine the outrage if people started advocating that the First Thankgiving was at Catholic St Augustine in FLorida. Or that the town of El Paso, Texas claims the first thanksgiving held in what is now the United States .Spaniard Don Juan de Oñate ordered his expedition party to rest and announced North America’s first thanksgiving mass celebration on April 30, 1598.

    People would be outraged and I am not just talking about the local Plymouth Rock Tourism Bureau. I suppose being from Louisiana I see some of this. The achievements of the Spanish and French in Louisiana, the entire Louisian Purchase, the American West etc is barely mentioned in AMerican History. Just a hour away in very Baptist Desoto and Sabine Parish people are clueless. But it was Catholic Priests and Brothers that came into these Piney woods set down and started praying the Liturgy of the Hours in the middle of the woods and Evanglized the native Americans way back in the 1700’s. They set up settlements and trade and Western Civilization. American History tells us Nada about that in school. I think it boils down to an English viewpoint that survives to this day. I will not even get into California, and the rest of the American West.

    Therefore, much of how for instance Germany went into the toilet after the reformation is not taught. The pillage of the Catholic Church in England never hear of it. Protestant fixations over killing witches in Northern Europe? Nope.

    I really think alot of this is again an example of how politcs from hundreds of years ago still affects us today.

  2. jh

    March 18, 2007 at 4:40 am

    One final thought. Again I am not trying to be uncharitable to non Catholics. But again showing how much of this history we learn because is focused on some things for a reason.

    I mention the days of Thanksgiving in St Augustine. Masses were said. Now I am ALL for the teaching about the prayers of Thanksgivng by the Pilgrams and similar events at Jamestown. In fact it is much needed. However not all of us came out Mother England lol.

    Could it be that the reason these prayers ae not considered is because the English/Protestant viewpoint of American History doesn’ think they are prayers and therefore doesn’t counts. In fact our American Mother Church, (Good ole Essicopal USA) says in its articles we see the offical articles that weere adopted when the Church was formed. ANy modern day Prayer book still has them

    XVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
    Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

    The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

    XXII. Of Purgatory.

    The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.


    Romish. Well I guess that is better than Popish.

    Now I am not bashing our Anglicans brothers and sisters here and I can see why they wrote that. When I went to Charleston SC there was nothing like sitting in the old Anglican Churches and contemplating the Christian Faith and our early days as a country. Ditto for Williamsburg and especially St Johns right outside the White House where Presidents worshipped!!! So I have great respect for that faith.

    Just showing how religion/politics furthers this unbalance using a concrete example.

  3. Anne

    March 18, 2007 at 5:38 am


    Absolutely. Thank you for taking the time to type these in. The more I’ve learned, the more I realize just how ‘protestant’ our history is, the more frustrated I’ve become. I don’t want a skewed version of history, either FOR Catholicism or against it, but I SURE don’t want a history so skewed by protestantism either. I did NOT appreciate being lied to… not about history, not about the faith, not about the canon.

    It was with much angst that I have been contemplating next years curriculum (we homeschool) as I felt very strongly that a change MUST be made. I was NOT willing to continue to teach my children such a dishonest view of history any longer. I should’ve known the Lord had a curriculum ready and waiting, He always does when He allows these things to become an issue. We have switched to a new curriculum for next year which will not be ignoring the Catholic aspects of and contributions to our history.

  4. Weekend Fisher

    March 18, 2007 at 6:29 am

    Well, ok, and I’m going to stick with “Weekend Fisher” to avoid confusion though my name is likewise “Anne” in the real world. (Small world. Are you a redhead too or is it just me? Happy St. Patrick’s, btw; I’m Irish.)

    I look at this (post and comments) and I just want to talk to you two as people, not as “Roman Catholics who hate my stinkin’ Lutheran guts”, y’know. I’ve gone to Lutheran churches for quite a few years now. I’ve never been taught Luther was all that; in fact we’re taught that he has his faults, when he’s mentioned at all; mostly we just stick with the Scriptures and the Sacraments. I’ve never been taught that the RC church is a cult, just that (don’t throw anything, you’ve heard this before) they’re wrong about earning your way to heaven. I’ve talked to other Lutherans who’ve been to Dave Armstrong’s place, and they tell me it’s a mix of 1) stuff we’ve always known – nobody ever claimed Luther was a saint!, and 2) a fair bit of slander, some demonstrably false. I’ve had Armstrong’s site mentioned to me by another Lutheran as “prime example of how low RC’s will stoop in misrepresenting the facts to smear protestants” and “really blatant, hate-blinded animosity towards Luther”. I’ll see if the guy making those particular comments is available to stop by, since they’re his comments not mine, but they’re my previous semi-familiarity with Armstrong’s site.

    And when you talk about American history books being annoyingly British/Protestant, I have to smile. I’m in Texas. We had a “first Thanksgiving” here nearly 100 years before the New England states had one. But here’s why I don’t protest the “northeastern origins” view of US history too much: if we start with explorers and conquistadors, US history would be close to 100% land-grab. The only mitigating factors in US History come from the idealism, however blind and exclusive, of people who actually wanted freedom, equality, and brotherhood, rather than cheap land and plundered goods at the expense of the natives.

    But can we talk about slanted history books? It was only when I started reading the histories of other nations and other eras that I realized the “Christian history” as I’d learned it was just as slanted as the US History. The Copts were largely sold down-river to slavery because they weren’t orthodox enough for Rome (their pope had, oddly enough, opposed the Roman Emperor’s involvement in Christian doctrine-making forums; they openly wonder how much this contributed to the “misunderstandings” that led them to be largely ignored when conquered by the Muslims). The “Nestorians” in the Middle East once, by some estimates, had as many followers of Christ as the Chalcedonian churches — and were allowed to be conquered by Muslims, even though their mission work had made significant inroads to India, China, and Mongolia by the 700’s AD, and they struggled along as a viable concern for another few centuries of oppression. They still exist today, though they’re hardly in a position to be missionary anymore. The Eastern Orthodox — well, I’ve said it before on my blog, what happened at Florence was the original Indecent Proposal.

    If you look at the areas of the map of the Old World that are traditionally marked out as “Roman Catholic” and then wonder why there weren’t Christians in the rest of the places: there were. They just weren’t in fellowship with Rome. I.e., a lot of Rome’s history has been whitewashed too.

    My point? The only way forward is redemption and forgiveness. The only ground to unite on is Christ. But that’s the first stumbling block: Rome says she’s infallible and therefore there’s nothing to discuss (except how long we plan to remain heretics for not believing she’s infallible). But Peter wasn’t infallible by himself … he needed correcting by Paul at least once on the record. Peter, alone, is not infallible … Rome, alone, is not the “one holy catholic and apostolic church”. And Rome’s current stance keeps her alone. It’s going to take all of us to be what we’re meant to be.

    Take care & God bless

  5. jh

    March 18, 2007 at 9:17 am

    Hey Wf

    First let me say I dont hate your Luthern guts. I live in the Louisiana and to be honest Lutherans are rare here. But the few Lutherans I have met I have enjoyed. I did not read fully the other post and did not even realize your were Lutheran. The only reason I knew about the Missouri Synod statement(yes I know that is not all Lutherans) was it came up in discussion I was having with one of their flock on the internet
    First let me speak up for Mr Armstrong. Mr Armstrong is one of the few that does serious Dialouges that are pretty docent decent material. The people he converses with are serious Protestant and Evanglicals and if they are not rabid Anti-Catholics it is done with respect. Further I suggest you go to the section that only defend his scholarship but also go to the pieces that defend Luther against what Mr Armstrong thinks are false attacks.
    Of note are the various articles
    In that section that is the header for those he says:
    (for those who falsely think I am some sort of “Luther-hater” or “Luther-basher”, beyond disagreeing with his theology, and can never praise or agree with him)

    [I wrote in a paper dated March 2000: “I (like many Catholics) do admire him in certain ways. I like his passion and boldness and apparent sincerity and good intentions (though thoroughly deluded and wrongheaded). He had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary and to the Eucharist.” And in February 2001, I posted on the Catholic Convert Message Board:
    “I have never maintained that Luther was “evil” or essentially a “bad” man, nor have I ever denied his good intentions . . . No one can find those sentiments on my website.”

    Also of note please look at his main Web sites especially as he debates the segment of the Traditionalist wing of the Catholic Church that think Only Catholics will be saved and other nonsense.

    If you have enecounted Cathoic Apologist that act in a unChristian way I apologize. I highly suspect again they were from the nutty segment of the Traditionalist movement that even has people in it that think our Mass is invalid. Trust Me I find them exasparating myself.

    As to Maerican History. Well I guess I just thank the Saints that any history is being taught. If had my way History would be just as important as Science and Math in the schools. I still find it the biggest genocide and ethnic cleansing outside the native Americans occurred to the Acadian becuase they would that swear Allegiance to the English Church after the French and Indian War. You would think that this would get a tad of attention since those people made it to then Spanish Controlled Louisiana and from them the great Cajun>Acadian people that populate most of this state were born. Again I have nothing against ANglo history lol. I think it should be primary. But again many of ancestors were here just as long as the English and helped build this Country before US control.

    As to your other Historical references I will not get into everyone. Even though I would like too if you like to engage that. As to the examples of the Copts and others that suffered under Muslim rule might I suggest that Catholics were in the same boat. Also might I add around periods of this time the Pope had other concerns. Such as just trying to stop the Muslim advance into Europe themselves. I mean Moslems Sacked the Vatican. May I humbly suggest that in that era the Pope couldnt do much if he wanted too as to the Nestorians.itself. As to the Orthodox I intend to find your entry. That is a complicated matter and there was fault on all sides.I ahte to bring up Mr Armstrong again but please take some time to read
    Reflections on the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 and Lesser-Known Byzantine Atrocities

    I think it is fair and balanced and also points out it wasnt all on horrible Romans in history as to the Orthodox.

    You said “If you look at the areas of the map of the Old World that are traditionally marked out as “Roman Catholic” and then wonder why there weren’t Christians in the rest of the places: there were. They just weren’t in fellowship with Rome. I.e., a lot of Rome’s history has been whitewashed too.”

    Hmm I would say that all the dirty Laundry has been exposed a million times. If there was a whitewash I certaintly havent seen in it. Further I think any educated person knows that the ORthodox were Considered Christian then and in fact there hopes of Reunion over the years. Of course most American Christians untill fairly recently never even thought of the Orthodox at all.

    I am not saying that history is all glorious for the Catholic Church. Just looking for some balance.

    “Rome says she’s infallible and therefore there’s nothing to discuss (except how long we plan to remain heretics for not believing she’s infallible).”

    Small point here. When was the last time that Rome has refered to our seperated Breathen as heretics? Been quite a while. This isnt 1600.

    I look forward to reading you blog and also give some of us Catholic Apologist a chance. I think you will be surprised. Many of us like me are from the seep South where we get along fine with non Catholic neighbors. We date them , marry, them, go to the Lions Club together, we vote for each other and etc.


    Look forward to reading your blog

  6. jh

    March 18, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Real briefly in reference to your home school materials. I mentioned in the above post the Acadian Explusion. This is a fascinating part of AMerican history. From these exiles that suffered horribly came the Cajun and the Acadian people. A People that was the largest Bastion of Catholicim in the South. It is a incredible story and something that would be entertaining for kids.

    I am not sure if this Louisiana Catholic Home Schooler has any materials btu I do know she is from French hertitage so she very well might

    You also might Check with the organization called Codifil. Which is the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana.

    This agency ahs somewhat Govt ties and I dount they have religious materials. But I suspect they do have materials relating to the French and especially the Explusion available for Home Schoolers. I shall be on the outlook for more. Also such material would prob touch on the Catholic influence in Alabama and Mississippi. Their Link page is a goldmine for French resources and their cultures iin the entire US as well as the NorthEast

  7. Anne

    March 18, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Thanks jh! I appreciate the resources! That does sound like an interesting period to cover and is during a time we are coming up on in our study. We’ll be sure to include it.

  8. jh

    March 18, 2007 at 11:29 am

    My point? The only way forward is redemption and forgiveness. The only ground to unite on is Christ. But that’s the first stumbling block: Rome says she’s infallible and therefore there’s nothing to discuss (except how long we plan to remain heretics for not believing she’s infallible). But Peter wasn’t infallible by himself … he needed correcting by Paul at least once on the record. Peter, alone, is not infallible … Rome, alone, is not the “one holy catholic and apostolic church”. And Rome’s current stance keeps her alone. It’s going to take all of us to be what we’re meant to be.

    AMen by the way on Redemption and Forgiveness. Butlet me ask you this.Ok lets take the Catholics out of the picture. What about the Several Hundred million Eastern Orthodox. They don’t ahve a Pope. THey don’t have a single person that says they are infalliable. Again I don’t agree with all the Orthodox stances or I would be one. But they are as John Paul II says the Second Lung of the Church. On these theological issues if Rome and infalliabilty was the major stumbling block how come I don’t see people engaing the Church of the East in a fundamental and real way?


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