The Roman Catholic Church
|My views prompted by scripture
on the Roman Catholic Church are:
1.) It misuses and misinterprets scripture when saying that Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven (keys equal the decision making process) to Peter. Then it is misuse of scripture to say Peter was made the Pope or a Pope was wanted.
The above were and are entirely inconsistent with the Spirit of Scripture. That God would put spiritual decision making in the hands of manipulative and selfish mortals to make His decisions is outrageous and silly. God is spiritual and only the spiritual must decided the spiritual fate of mortals who are far from spiritual. The spiritual must be decided by the spiritual which is sovereign and mysterious.
2.) The Roman Catholic Church really has no need of a transcendent, spiritual God because it makes its own. The priests literalize God and say a biscuit is LITERALLY made into God. When a bell rings in the mass is the sign the biscuit has been transubstantiated into Christ. This again delivers Christ into the hands of manipulative mortals who are sinful. Humans always have mixed motives.
The church has then faked out its believers by delivering a false Christ. So why should the members have a real relationship with God when they can eat Christ and claim to have had one thereby. They see before them a biscuit made into God, so God can be delivered into the hands of the power hungry who claim a spiritual monopoly.
They claim a false formulary monopoly. This false monopoly on making a biscuit into God is said to have been delivered to them by the Apostolic Succession, or a “magic touch” supposedly given by Jesus and handed down from priest to priest. This is entirely inconsistent with the spirit in scripture.
Catholics get where they go by carefully selective use of scripture verses that pervert the general meaning and spirit of scripture. They then misdirect the faith of Christ into an ecclesiastical organization. (Now they say that the ecclesiastical organization is guided always by God. Really, was Alexander VI guided by God? It was not so in the Reformation times, so why should it be so today? But the whole idea holds no water.) Yet we see the literalization of Christ in the mass makes a foundation for the manipulation of believers by an organization that thinks it makes and controls the decisions of Christ on the afterlife, etc.. This is done by exercising the magic formula monopoly. Oh, well.
3.) The believers are then subject to manipulation by the hierarchy, and told what they will do, or Christ (from) the mass may be denied them. Now this is ridiculous of course. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:15) So there is no significant freedom in Christ in their view.
By being able to hold back God, which the priest just made by a magical trick, they discipline the church. This gives them much power over gullible believers. In this way some of the sheep of Christ are shorn by this or that. In Rome I went to the Capuchin monastery to see the how the bones of the deceased friars are artfully arranged on the ceiling in ornaments, and was given two weeks off purgatory for buying a ticket. Ah, yes.
4.) Popes are considered infallible on faith and morals when speaking from a magic chair. Now you know this is not well with God. No person ever is infallible. If someone informs you another is, watch it. They seek a gullibility that will fall for infallibility. I hope and pray you are wiser than that.
Actually, I think the Roman Catholic Church rarely understands what we mean when we talk of a personal relationship with God. They don’t really need one when you can warble a creed, take a biscuit that is supposed to be God, and then go about your business supposedly spiritually fulfilled.
I would suggest Roman Catholicism may immunize you against a personal relationship with a transcendent Christ. The result of doing their own thing has resulted in claiming the Virgin Mary is co-redeemer with Christ, the infallibility of the Pope on faith and morals, and all sorts of unscriptural delusions. Their propaganda hype says they make near perfect saints. Actually we Protestants don’t. All we make is a better class of sinners. But the Roman Catholic church literalizes God, manipulates the members, and claims to have a stranglehold on Christ. A hierarchy and bureaucrats decides things for the church which then decides things for Christ. Now, really.
You might suggest the Roman Catholics are the biggest church organization on earth. What does that prove? The God of scripture usually purges and filters the majority to do His will best through a chosen minority. The mystery of God is that He uses best a minority, lest the majority think it has done something by size instead of God. His strength is more to be fulfilled in smallness than in largeness. God is not a respecter of majorities. The Book Of Exodus 23:2 tells us not to follow a multitude to do evil. God tells us plainly in II Corinthians 12:9 “my strength is made perfect in weakness.” The largeness of Catholicism cuts no ice with a believer although it may impress non-believers.
But do not despair of Catholics. We recognize by grace, but if we go a -demonizing, we pervert an enlightenment given through grace by using it wrongly. God does not want anybody to be demonized. God’s intent is to spiritualize us, and when we are spiritualized, we do not demonize.
Many fine and very good people are in the Roman Church. I suggest this is because a personal relationship with God is available anywhere, everywhere, and even nowhere. And in Catholicism some have stumbled on it. (Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ which is in Christ Jesus) And we are saved and spiritualized in our values and life by a personal relationship with God. Then we work together in a Covenanted group. The others in the group may believe or not believe as we do.
I tell you if intellectual unanimity were necessary (as Roman Catholics desire in creed) for a group working together, we should have to abolish every family on earth. I have never seen a family that agreed on everything that was worth anything. But love of each other held them together. That is a good family. Each in the family is in a different stage of life, each has different roles, but they are held together by love. So in the wide church family of God people are in different stages of grace, but they are held together by love, even if all are in various stages of grace that may clash. There is no place in Christian love for only one church organization having one stiff necked creed. The Bible talks of one spirit but not only one organization. A monopoly on Christ by Christians of one organization is absurd.
Never shun Roman Catholics or any of others faiths. Accept them, have love (show affectionate concern) for them, serve them where you may. But realize their literalizing , formulary, manipulating hierarchy of faith is just not an option for you. We worship Jesus who was a carpenter, not an imitation of a pharaoh carried about in a sedan chair and having his ring kissed. As you may notice the “pharaoh” thing is as inconsistent with the true tone and true meaning of the Gospels and scripture as the chapter and verses of scripture used selectively to wrongly justify the system. Surely you realize this whole system may be aesthetically interesting, but it does not fit anywhere the Christ of the Gospels or into the Spirit of the New Testament.
Some Roman Catholics are saved of course, just as some in many other denominations are. You are saved by a personal, real, transcendent relationship with God. This can be had anywhere, and everywhere there is grace, and grace abounds everywhere. For what does God require of you, “but do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)
Regardless of strange beliefs, be affectionately concerned (loving ) towards each other. Do not let disagreement block out grace. But neither block out truth that calls out to be told. Nor feel it is grace to cover up that truth you have recognized by grace, because that is not the way grace works.
Grace tells what it has recognized or seen as grace calls to grace, and some echo it back, because they too are called to see. But do not cease to love those in whom you see faults or delusive errors, but love them more, because they need it, having some cross to bear, although they may not realize it.
For this is Christ: Love one another. (I John 4:7) Regardless of beliefs, be concerned one for the other. Put love first regardless of the stage of grace you or others may be in. For the higher your state of grace, the easier you pass through the strange beliefs of others, as well as the lower stages of grace that others may seem to you to be stalled in, measuring according to the measure of grace given you. (I Corinthians 3:10) But be careful to “Judge nothing before the time” (I Corinthians 4: 5)
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.