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Anonymous Anna wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am female, early 30's.

What I have is not so much a specific question, rather it is more or less a request for an opinion. I understand that opinions may be bias however a well-informed opinion from someone who understands more clearly is better than my personal misguidance.

Recently, I have been interested in trying to understand more about the Catholic Church and began to see that they (the Catholics) were in line with the Scriptures much more than other faiths. It's quite a beautiful faith. It seems so full of wonder and grace. Lately, I have been learning about the sacraments. It's something we don't see much of in Protestant churches. I've become thoroughly convinced that the Catholic Church has things more right than anyone else. In fact, I have come to the point of thinking that I want to become Catholic so that I might live more in a way that would please God.

To be honest, so far, it's been mostly through my own research. All that I've come across has urged me closer toward the Catholic Church but I found something a bit disheartening today.

It has more or less left me with even more questions and confusion than before I started this journey. Because I'm not nearly as well knowledgeable of the Scriptures as you probably are, I don't know what to make of it. Keeping in mind that some things aren't as sensible as they're laid out to be, I wish to keep an open mind and compare carefully.

This is what I encountered today within the results list while searching for seemingly reliable information about the Catholic Church:

[Web site address hidden]

I understand that you cannot go through all of this page. It would be very time consuming. Additionally, I understand that there are very likely many other pages like this one, that disagree with (and even attack) the Catholic Church. This page in particular just seemed to put me off and make me feel like I'm at a loss. For one, they make mention of the flesh and blood that Catholics partake of at Mass as being a bad thing (according to the Scripture they have cited). The way they have put it together, it seems to make sense but at the same time they seem to be taking the Scriptures out of context.

I'm not a good judge of this and I'm not sure what to make of it. It is confusing. Therefore, I'm not asking a specific question but rather requesting that one of you, who has a better understanding of the Scriptures, to take brief look at what they have said and give me an honest opinion.

My heart is really still leaning toward Catholicism. And I know that the Church offers certain classes for entering the faith but I just don't want to dive into it with such confusion or doubt.

Thank you very much for your trouble.

Anna

  { Can you advise a seeking Christian who has been thrown off by reading material on this web site? }

Bob replied:

Dear Anna,

The page you sent is typical fundamentalist rebukes. We have seen and answered it all.

It is full of distortions, falsehood, ignorance for not even grasping the Catholic teaching, and frankly, anti-Catholic bias. It is a pitiful diatribe that far too often falls on the uninformed Catholic and others to wrench them away from the truth.

Just think about the big picture for a moment: the Spirit is leading you to the truth.

  • Where have you found beauty, truth and peace?

It is in the discovery of the One Faith that Jesus Christ Himself established. The Catholic faith. Keep pressing forward and you will not be disappointed. The beauty will continue to unfold until your heart pounds for more but not all will support you in this quest. Friends, loved ones, and certainly the world, at large, will think you a fool. Be prepared to suffer rebukes in your quest, though you will never be abandoned. Now, to deal with the issues:

Because the material is so extensive I suggest you get a good read like:

That book deals with all of the issues spewed by these attackers, with real history and Scripture to back it up. You will see not only all the material that you read, but many more charges against the Church. The book is probably 25 years old and there are many newer books that also deal with this stuff, but I like it for its format.

You won't be let down.

God bless you,

Bob Kirby

Anna replied:

Hello Mr. Kirby.

Thank you for your reply.

I will be getting a hold of a copy of this book by Keating. Also, I think I'll have a much longer look through your site for the individual topics in question that might have already been answered.

Many thanks for your time.

Anna

Anna later followed-up:

Hello Mr. Kirby,

Thanks again for your reply. I have another inquiry regarding this type of thing.

As for the style of ministry on that page, it's called fundamentalist. I really hadn't understood that term before now. I suppose I don't understand why anyone would think they could persuade people to their way with a hateful argument. It does, however, remind me of what I have always heard referred to as Hell fire and brimstone preaching and that is pretty much how I felt when reading it. Sadly, in my experience, this was always considered a completely acceptable means of ministry.

I don't know the Catholic perspective on this.

  • Is such a means really acceptable for teaching in the Church?
  • Does this happen in a Catholic Church as well?

In various Protestant churches, I was taught to strive to be a good representative of God. My understanding of this included having attributes like:

  • being gentle or kind
  • being slow to anger
  • being quick to forgive
  • being compassionate, and
  • loving unconditionally even those that may (by human standards) be hard to love.

And so, this is what I thought.

Simultaneously though, our own preachers acted in this harsher, accusative, and unforgiving way, attacking everyone (even us sitting there in the church) and every other faiths.

  • In addition to wondering if this type of behavior is ever biblical, one also has to wonder whether the preachers are hypocrites based on their own behavior or form of preaching seeing that they command church members to be more Christ-like?

I don't know if Jesus ever acted so . . . unlovingly and, I don't know for sure, but I am not aware of any passage where Jesus damns everyone to Hell. If there is such a Scripture, please let me know where it is.

  • As for the term Hell fire and brimstone, what exactly does that refer to?

I had always been taught it's in reference to the rapture . . . that God would not destroy the Earth again with water, but with fire.

I have already tried to find some of these answers on your site but have not found everything yet.

Thank you very much for any and all assistance as I try to understand these issues better. I find myself trusting more and more in the teachings of the Catholic Church over any other faith and for many good reasons.

Thank you for your time.

Anna

Bob replied:

Dear Anna,

The manner of teaching you have described is seldom found in the Catholic Church and never in my experience. Sadly, the opposite is more often true, to a similarly detrimental extreme:

Not challenging the faithful enough.

Preachers vary in style but the best balance uses encouragement with challenge and correction. Think of how the best parents act. So it should be as those who are fathers in the family of God. The Church is a family, God's family, and we need the loving guidance of those who practice what they preach and do so with gentleness and respect.

Just as with Protestant churches, some will be better than others in terms of preaching but the universal constant is the Mass and the Eucharist, which does not depend on a skillful orator.

In the end you will not find that kind of uncharitable teaching in the Catholic Church.

It simply is not part of our fabric.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Dear Anna,

Bob already gave you a very good answer.

I would just encourage you to use our search engine and type in key words on topics that confuse you.

On my non-Wiki page and web site, I also have other helpful resources

Take care and come back if there are remaining issues that confuse you.

One of my favorite postings is this one:

Note what St. Pacian of Barcelona said within the first three centuries of the Church’s existence!

Mike

Anna replied:

Thank you very much Mr. Humphrey!

Thank-you for the direct links. This has made my searching easier.

I will definitely take advantage of the recommended reading list. The more I use your web site to help find answers, the more I feel like things are clearing up for me.

Thank-you guys for making this site and thank-you for replying.

Anna

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