Friday, May 18, 2007

Non-Catholic "Experts" on Catholicism

It's curious to me how so many people out there, namely non-Catholics, are somehow so sure that they know more about Catholicism than Catholics. Now, I admit I was once among this number. For some reason, I had it in my head that the Big Bad ROMAN Catholic Church (doesn't the emphasis on ROMAN just give it that nice extra touch of whore-of-babylonish-ness?) had people duped, and that I was privileged enough to have found out the "real" truth about what they taught. Those mindless Catholics had obviously just shut their brains off and embraced the vain rituals (pretty beads! pretty colors!) as if those rituals would save them. Poor Catholics.

Having been there myself at one point helps me to be able to clearly see the same attitude in others. Case in point:

A Methodist pastor shares a story, in this post, about a ROMAN Catholic family whose non-baptized son tragicly committed suicide. He asks for help in trying to understand a "strange" experience with this Catholic family. He explains:

The family was Roman Catholic, but of course the Catholic Church would not do the service, since this young man was cursed to go to Hell. This is where I came in. Why this was so strange, and the part I don’t understand is while the Roman Catholic church turned their back on them, and said that the young man was going to hell, the family still put a rosary in his had, and repeatedly genuflect over the coffin.

Somebody help me here! If the “church” said I was going to hell, why would I still honor the church in the service? Are those rituals that are jammed down our throats as children so ingrained that we cannot even recognize the hypocrisy in them?
Now, several Catholic commenters came and kindly offered an answer to his question, correcting some of his misunderstandings along the way. Namely, the misunderstanding that the Catholic Church ever "condemns" anyone to Hell, and also that a Catholic funeral was most certainly denied because of suicide, since it was more likely denied (assuming the family did in fact ask) because he was never Catholic (having not been baptized).

Now, after having asked the question, you would think he'd be happy to receive an answer from several, seven in fact, knowledgeable Catholics, all echoing the same sentiments, offering their support for his kindness to the family and service to God, while charitably explaining what the Church really teaches about all that. But instead, we find out that he's one of those non-Catholic experts on ROMAN Catholicism that knows more than all of the actual Catholics. His response was this:

Interesting replies to my earlier post. Obviously a group out to save RC from the horrible protestants. [Huh? I simply saw charitable answers to the question posed!] My information on salvation came from my local priest who clearly informed me that outside the "church" there is NO salvation. Maybe he is wrong (of which I am certain), but he sure thought he was right! [COULDN'T be a misunderstanding on his part, of course.]

He also refused to allow a non-catholic to participate in a funeral mass, because non-catholics were not allowed --- again quoting him "according to the bishop." [It's not clear whether by "participate" he means as in a co-pastor type situation, or just attending the mass, though I'd really be skeptical if he meant the latter.] Maybe it is different where you all are from, but unfortunately, Vatican II has not come to North-West Indiana. [*eyeroll*]
It gets even better...after another commenter tried to explain that he had a misunderstanding of the often used phrase "NO salvation outside the Church," he pulled out the old pedophile priest card in his combox. Nice! I guess there were too many Catholics saying the same thing (that he was misunderstanding the teaching), because suddenly comment moderation was turned on. (Nothing wrong with that, of course, it's just interesting that while usually people use that to make sure things don't get ugly, it seems he just didn't like the fact that Catholics were trying to explain their faith.) Well, if you don't want the answer, don't ask the question!

Of course, it's clear that all the informed Catholic commenters who have spent years studying their faith and all had essentially the same response are just WRONG, cuz, y'know, he talked to a priest once (who later became a pedophile, gotta be sure and mention that, ZING!) that said there was NO salvation outside the ROMAN Catholic Church (nevermind what that actually means).

(On a side note, isn't it interesting that while so many orthodox Catholics are surrounded by priests who take inclusiveness and "tolerance" to heretical levels, the one priest a Protestant talks to just happens to be a mean old jerk condemning all non-Catholics to Hell! It's amazing, really!)

Isn't the humility refreshing? Who knew that a non-Catholic was so much more educated on ROMAN Catholicism than all the Catholics? I had forgotten that as a Catholic I'd become a mindless sheep with whose faith doesn't make sense. Silly me! Off to eat some grass...baaa-aaaa.


The Mominator said...


It's so interesting to be on the other side of misinformed criticism, isn't it? And no one likes to be told, however gently, that they are indeed wrong.

The pedophile card was just an excuse to avoid examining the truth behind the comments. And what does that really say? It says that all people sin, priests and pastors and the plain old sheep.

You said what you did much better than I could have.

Lori from da' board said...

Can I just say that I LOVE your phrase "whore of babylonish-ness"? ROFLOL! That's good stuff.

And BTW...Happy Birthday a few days late. :-)

Stephanie said...

It says that all people sin, priests and pastors and the plain old sheep.

Amen to that!

Stephanie said...

Thanks Lori! :-D

Pamela said...

Stephanie, I think you've pretty much nailed the type. Who knows -- maybe the good Reverend C. doesn't fit the type, but he's sure quacking like the duck, you know? ;)

Anonymous said...

You would think that perhaps the UMC minister would give a pedophile priest *less* credibility. You know, kind of like, "this priest says x, y and z, but he's also a pedophile, so that makes me doubt anything he has to say." Why would you even *talk* to a pedophile???

It should also be noted that he said that this priest was caught up in the pedophile scandal. Sadly, every Catholic in the world has been caught up in the pedophile scandal. So, maybe this priest wasn't even accused. Maybe there was another priest at his parish who was.

Wow! I just went back because I like to make sure that when I paraphrase someone I get it right. I sure got this wrong. He says the priest was "arrested for some indescretion {sic} with children". Still, no word on innocence or guilt. And, if you think this priest is such a dirtbag, why would you insist on believing 'what he said' over what other Catholics have said? Answer: because you want to continue to believe that the Church is this horrid thing.

Absolutely cracks me up that he has closed free comments. I'm surprised he hasn't deleted the 7 that are there. Maybe he can't? Also, he didn't address the initial issues or the Catechism quotes.

Poor fella.


La Mama Loca said...

"Catholic funeral was most certainly denied"

You mean this to read "most certainly not denied" because of suicide, right? I think this is just a typo. Otherwise, excellent response!

Jane said...

My brother-in-law committed suicide, and he received a Catholic funeral. Clearly it's not a forbidden thing.

What you have here is a case of some guy whose granddaddy told him Catholics were evil, and his granddaddy wouldn't lie, and anyhow, HIS granddaddy told him Catholics were evil, and that many good men couldn't possibly be wrong.

Peter said...

You have to chuckle, or it'd be kinda sad really.

With respect to the old "Pedophile" thing, Philip Jenkins book "Priests and Pedophiles" is a MUST for anyone facing this furphy. It uses clear calm and non-catholic stats, observations and articles to show the rates of abuse are higher in Protestant clergy (all up) and that they had at least the same number of documented cases of repeat offenders. Difference being? Catholics can be sued because if they followed canon law, they would have prevented it. Baptists? No hope. It's all documented. Like I said, very handy.

Great post btw :)

jdavidb said...

Sounds to me like "I talked to my local priest" is more of a rhetorical device (I'm being charitable -- make that a possible out and out lie) to mean "I know what my local priest would say if I talked to him." After all, what Protestant would talk to an icky priest? They're all pedophiles, you know.

Stephanie said...

Pam - Quack!

SandyJuan - I thought something similar!

la mama loca - Actually, that is referring to his misunderstanding, so it's correct, but it's awkwardly worded, sorry!

Jane - It sure seems like it! (And I'm sorry about your BIL, may he rest in peace.)

Peter - STOP recommending books!! lol ;-D Sounds like another good one.

Jdavidb - I wondered the same thing!

Thanks all!