I am Catholic and am picking on catholics because they are the basis of this post. My wife was recently looking at jewelry and wanted a chain with a cross. She saw one that was a side-ways cross and was concerned that it might have some symbolism that was negative, so she texted me. I went to Google and did some research and you can imagine the wide range of opinions.
One site that I came across with a lot of opinions was CatholicAnswers.com. Seemed like a friendly enough group. I decided to leave a post in response to one of the comments. I was basically saying to be careful about symbolism and if you receive advice about religious symblism to make sure it is rooted in the bible. My concern is that - in my personal opinion - there are a lot of Man's laws intertwined with God's laws in the Catholic Church. Kind of like how "earmarks" are added to legislation that have nothing to do with the legislation but are a means of acceptance.
Knowing that I couldn't make such a claim in general terms, I gave some examples. I mentioned that nowhere in the bible does it say to pray to Mary (or any saints for that matter) and that Jesus states on several occasions that He is the only person to go to. He doesn't say, come to Me or Mary. He doesn't say to leave a message with Mary. I also mentioned Lent as an example.
Whoa boy! What a reception I got. You can read it here. The funniest response was from a Catholic who called me a "Protestant" like it was a bad word. lol. I was told that I wasn't a Catholic if I was talking like that. My comments were called "attacks". Please read my comment and decide for yourself.
On a lot of levels, I'm not surprised. However, it saddens me. How are we supposed to have intelligent debate and discourse if differeing opinions are characterized as attacks and we wrap ourselves in an echo chamber of like-minded people? It feels a lot like an intervention where you get attacked for mentioning the obvious and then get accused of doing the attacking.
People really need to understand that they have a 1:1 relationship with Jesus. They don't need ANY proxies. There are not intermediaries needed in order for your thoughts and words to get to Jesus. Speak diectly to Him.
Not that anyone from CatholicAnswers.com will have the courage to actually READ this website before declaring it "Anti-Catholic", but here are some more thoughts that need consideration in the Catholic Church:
The Book of Revelations
Why is this Book - tiled "The Revelation fof Jesus Christ" - so overlooked in Catholic teaching and church? It is Jesus "revealing" things to us. That is where the word revelation comes from. It starts by saying:
"Blessed that those that readeth and they that hear the words of this Prophecy".
You are blessed if you read it and blessed if you hear it, yet it's not part of catechism class and they don't discuss it in church. It's probably one of the most important books of the bible.
The first order of business for Jesus in the Book of Revelations is addressing the 7 Churches of Asia. These represent all of the modern Churches. The names don't sound familiar today, but if you read how they are depicted - with an open mind - you can tell which is which. They are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamous, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. In all cases, Jesus gave them recognition for their good works, but had something against each one of them. It is a really great read and the message is clear. "Repent of else".
The point here is that Jesus has issues will all of the churches (well, maybe not so much with Philadelphia) and that includes the Catholic church. They all have sinned and let down Jesus and he is very specific about where they have strayed.
Do the leaders of the Catholic Church not teach this book because it calls them out? They aren't alone, but you know that THEY THEMSELVES have read the book of revelations. Why not make sure that their people know all of the bible? Of the seven Churches, I believe that the Catholic Church is represented by Thyatira and that is probably why.
I'm not going to make this whole post about the book of revelations, but christians should read it and realize what is to come.
Praying to Mary and Saints
I never thought about this before, but once I did it was a no-brainer. John 14:6 sums it up pretty well: "I am the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." He's saying that He is the way. He's NOT saying he is the best way. He is NOT saying that there are other ways. He's not saying to leave a message with Mary or one of the saints if he's not available. He is saying that he is the ONLY way.
So, Jesus teaches us the Lords Prayer (The Our Father) in Matthew 6:9 and prefaces it with all of the things NOT to do (which I'll address shortly) and says finally "After this manner therefore pray ye:". Not only should we only pray to the Father, but there is a very simple way to do so.
Mass, The Order of the Mass, Rituals, and Responsorials.
Everything you need to know about prayer is in Matthew 6:5-9
- Matthew 6:5 - "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing at the synagogues and in the corners of the street, that they may be seen of men. They have their reward."
- Matthew 6:6 - "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into the closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to the Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
- Matthew 6:7 - "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking."
- Matthew 6:9 - "Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before you ask him."
I mean, it doesn't get much simplier than that.
Am I the only one seeing Jesus describing what we call "mass" today? A set of rituals that we repeat every Sunday, as if the rituals themselves were important. We sit, stand, kneel, and bow on command and parrot responses at the same time and place in the mass. Whether it's "Thanks be to God", "and with your spirit" or "I am not worhy...." (which has been changed a couple of times). Then there are the various versions of "The Creed".
I'm will not apologize for point out that this particular passage speaks volumes about what NOT to do or that it sheds a lot of light on the ritualistic nature of the Catholic mass.
Jesus was not a person of ritual and was crucified because he didn't adhere to the "laws" and rituals of the Pharisees who ran the Temple.
The Apostle's Creed
The Apostle Creed is NOT in the bible and was NOT written by the Apostles. Did you know that? It was wrtten some 150 years after they died. No problems with that. It is believed to be written as a record of what the apostles taught. I'm ok with that too until we get to:
"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church"
The Nicene Creed says "I believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic church"
Does anyone really believe that the Apostles would have said "I believe in the holy Catholic Church"?? Really?? Does anyone really believe that God wants us to put a church (especially a particular church) on the same level as the Holy Spirit, Jesus, or God?
In my opinion, this is the nature of Man injecting itself in things that are otherwise rightous.
The Bible vs The Missel
I challenge you to find a single bible on the Alter, on a podium, or in a pew in a Catholic Church. Why is that? Even the book that the Gospel is read out of isn't a complete bible. The book on the Alter during the preparation of Communion is not a bible. For worshippers, the bible has been replaced by a Missel. Chapters and books have been replaced by "readings". We've gotten a hand-picked subset of "readings" and incomplete portions of Gospels that the leaders in the Vadican feel are important.
Wouldn't that have been like Moses only giving the top 3 commandments that he personally felt were the most important instead of all 10?
The Vatican and The Pharisees
Christian means "Christ-like". What part of the Vatican or Vatican City - with it's glorious buildings, ordained in gold, and all of the ornate decorations that make up the Pope's and Cardinal's wardrobe - is reminicent of the life of Jesus Christ? What about the ritual of kissing the ring of the Pope?
Jesus lived a humble life, BY DESIGN. That was for a reason. He chastized the pharasees for how they behaved and ignored their rituals.
He NEVER would have created a place like Vatican City that is so showy and materialistic. The location is almost laughable. Does anyone really believe that Jesus would have set up shop in ROME? Really? The capital of the Roman soldiers that beat him and ultimately crucified him?
God gave Israel as the Promised Land to his people. The Book of Revelations says that Jesus will return and re-establish his Church in the Promised Land. Why would the Catholic Church choose Rome, Italy as their homebase? That is just astounding.
There's a lot more, but this is enough for one post. To be clear, I am NOT anti-Catholic, but if Catholics will NOT talk about these things without attacking me, then they care more about the Catholic Church than they do about Jesus Christ. It's that simple.
All I'm saying is that there are no religions that are synonymous with Jesus or Christianity. Christianity is solely about Jesus Christ and is found in it's entriety in the Bible. Everything else is Mankind adding Man's Laws to God's Laws.
Thanks for reading and God Bless you!