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Shawn wrote:

Hi, guys —

I heard at a Catholic retreat the other day that the (UMC) United Methodist Church and the (RCC)
Roman Catholic Church are more united then many realize. They also said the RCC says that the UMC are not considered fundamentalists, like the Baptists and similar denominations.  They are considered Christians in the eyes of God.

  • How can this be when they don't have all the sacraments like we do?

This was even applauded by my priest who later said they are considered Christian as well.
I thought they were heretics.

Thanks!

Shawn

  { Are Catholics more united to Methodists than other Christian denominations? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Shawn —

Nice to hear from you again.

You said:
They are considered Christians in the eyes of God.

Yes! There are a majority of non-Catholic Christians who have valid baptisms. Granted, there are some that don't, but you can't deny those have a valid baptism.  If a person is born into a Protestant faith that practices a valid baptism, they are just as much a member of the Body of Christ as you or I am.

The important issue is in what we believe.

  • We believe in all the Teachings Our Lord left us before His Ascension and His Church guides us on moral issues that never existed during Jesus' time on earth.

  • Our Protestant brethren, whether they have a valid baptism or not, only believe in a portion of what Christ, Our Lord wishes them to believe. Although they only believe in a subset of all Christ's Teachings, there are still some areas of agreement among us. We should celebrate the teachings we have in common but never deny those that we still disagree on.

You are correct, they don't have all the sacraments but most of them have the key one that makes them part of the Body of Christ: a valid Baptism.

If your pastor is denying the differences in beliefs we have between each Church, that is a major problem.

A Cardinal once said:

The most ecumenical thing a Catholic can do, is be unmistakably Catholic.

This is what all priests should be affirming; he should be working to give them good reasons to become Catholic Christians, not implying that, "Where they are is "good enough"." It's not!

Jesus did not found ONE Church on St. Peter and his successors, for nothing. Protestants, whether they are aware of it or not, believe in a man-made Church, whereas Catholics believe in a Church that the God-Man, Jesus Christ founded, the Catholic Church. Matthew 16:13-20; 1 Timothy 3:15

You said:
I thought they were heretics?

You can't paint with a broad brush.

  • What am I talking about?

Someone who has been brought up:

  • not knowing any about the Catholic faith
  • with a bias view of what the Church believes, or
  • in a Protestant denomination with no knowledge of any other faith

can't be considered a heretic. Someone who does not know, what and why they believe, is in error cannot be considered a heretic. This is why we, as Catholics, are called to evangelize the world about Jesus and the Church He founded on St. Peter and His successors.

One who purposely avoids looking into what the Church teaches and believes, will be culpable for their inactions at their particular judgment.

One who does know and understand what the Church believes, yet refuses to follow, can be considered a heretic.

There are many people in the world today who have an array of faith backgrounds, upbringings and journeys. Even during Jesus' era, I'm sure there were practicing Jews, lukewarm Jews, Jews,
in name only, and those that never knew about Judaism, like the pagans.

You, Sean, are called to give good reasons to everyone to become Catholic.

If you need help, check out these pages:

Mike

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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