You are wrong about Catholicism

I want to explain up front that I have tried not to bash the Catholic church, or even speak out against their beliefs, however, I keep getting asked questions and I have to answer honestly. I do have many problems with what the Catholic church believes, but I did not want my page to be a page about refuting other people's beliefs, I wanted it to be a page which would point people to Jesus. I will not however, back away from my beliefs, nor will I refuse to answer questions just because my answers will not sit well with certain people. This conversation is of those which I do not really wish to have, but this gentleman thinks that I misrepresented his faith. I want to say here that I believe the Catholic beliefs and those of the reformers are too deep to be repaired.

I am not trying to bash the Catholic faith but since this gentleman asked questions and has written me several messages claiming that I just refuse to answer him, I decided to hit the high points.

Hello Mr. Dettwiler,

I'd like to politely address a few statements on your page of apologetics. My comments refer to an entry entitled You misrepresent Catholicism submitted by a young youth from Illinois. Before I begin, however, I'd like to thank you and all those who serve, or have served, in law enforcement. You fine folks have always been grossly under-appreciated by the public (at least in my opinion). Thanks!

References to statements you made on your page are enclosed in double brakets [[ ]].

[[You say that the church does not save you but that the sacraments do. I disagree with that, I believe what Jesus said: (John 14:6 NIV) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.]]

The verse you quoted is beautiful, one of my favorites, and definitely astute in this case. However, I believe that you are both wrong and right, to some degree. In your argument, you appear to be separating the Sacraments from Christ. However, the Sacraments and Christ are one in the same. It IS His body and it IS His blood. And because of this, you are both correct b/c it is through Christ that we are saved and the Eucharist IS Christ present.

My response is in Green:

This is a very vital dividing point between Catholics and Protestants. As you have stated you believe the Sacraments and Christ are one and the same. That is what my point was all about, I said that Catholic church says we are saved by the Sacraments. Since I disagree that Christ is the Sacraments that is where we need to start.

For instance I want to look at the Eucharist, which you say is Christ. I disagree. Below I have quoted some of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and commented on it to show my point.

1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: "This is my body which is given for you" and "This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood."185 In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Notice that section 1365 says that the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. I deny that Christ is ever sacrificed again. He died as the perfect sacrifice on the cross. Let me give you some Scripture which refutes this assumption:

(Hebrews 7:27 NIV) Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. Once for all, He does not need to be sacrificed day after day.

(Hebrews 9:12 NIV) He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. Again once for all. There is no need for further sacrifices.

(Hebrews 10:10 NIV) And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

(Hebrews 10:11-14 NIV) Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. {12} But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. {13} Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, {14} because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. His task was finished with one sacrifice.

(Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV) It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, {5} who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, {6} if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Now this is a very interesting passage. In context it is talking about something much different then what we are discussing, however, if you look at the reason the author gives for why people can't come back if they try to get to God another way it shows my point. "To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." See He can't be sacrificed again, He was once for all and never will be again. So to say that the Eucharist is a sacrifice of Christ is to go against what the Bible teaches.

We are saved by faith in the once for all perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross, not by daily re-sacrificing Him in the Eucharist.

1366 The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper "on the night when he was betrayed," [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.

Notice 1366 says that Christ's once for all sacrifice is re-presented (made present) each time the Eucharist is observed. This is just wording, it is the same as re-sacrificing Him each time and as I have already shown the Bible says this is not to be done.

Here is another verse that shows Jesus' sacrifice and atonement for sin is finished: (Hebrews 1:3 NIV) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. His atonement was also once for all.

1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."

See the Church is claiming that the sacrifice of Christ and the Eucharist are the same and single sacrifice, but there is no way around the fact that the sacrifice is being offered over and over and over again. That is just semantics. The church is in deed re-sacrificing Christ each time they observe the Eucharist. That is unbiblical.

1393 Holy Communion separates us from sin. The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is "given up for us," and the blood we drink "shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins." For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins:

For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord's death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.

Here again I have a problem with section 1393, it says as often as His blood is poured out it is poured out for the forgiveness of sins. That was done once as shown by the Bible. The work of redemption was finished on the cross.

[[I believe that the sacraments are worthless unless you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. He is the ONLY way to get to heaven, and you can know that is where you are going, without any doubt. (John 11:25-26 NIV) Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; {26} and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" Notice that Jesus did not talk about the sacraments anywhere in those passages? If we were saved by the sacraments wouldn't Jesus have mentioned them? ]]

Again, right and wrong at the same time. If you have not yet accepted that Christ is your Savior, then you are correct that the Eucharist and Sacraments mean nothing. Before you are even eligible in the Church's eyes to receive the body of Christ, you first have to profess your faith. In that profession, one that Catholics recite every Sunday, we do acknowledge Christ as our Redeemer and Savior. It is this very admittance that Christ is our Savior and IN the Eucharist that brings meaning to the Eucharist and the gift of Transubstantiation. And Christ did mention the Eucharist in the Bible according to the apostle Luke, 22:19-20

I am not trying to be rude here, but this is double talk. Do you have to be part of the Catholic Church to obtain salvation? If we are saved by the sacraments then the answer has to be yes because as you stated a person is not eligible to receive the sacrament in the Church's eyes... I again deny that we are saved by the sacraments, we are saved by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. As for transubstantiation and Jesus mentioning it. Here is the passage you said did just that.

(Luke 22:19-20 NIV) And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." {20} In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Now my question is this; had Christ died already when He said this? Of course not. He was showing the disciples how to remember His death with was yet to come. He's blood had not yet been shed and His body had not yet been broken, so He had to be making a representation of them not changing the wine into His blood or the bread into His body. Sorry but this passage does more to dispute the idea of transubstantiation then give evidence for it.

[[You say I am wrong by saying that the church discourages Bible reading. Okay again I think there is a fine line between what we are both saying. You say the church does not say either way it is there if you want to read it, yet you say that no one can understand it. That is my point the church stresses that to understand the Bible you need a Priest or someone else to explain it to you. To me that is discouraging people to read it for themselves. Why would someone read something they are told they won't be able to understand? I believe that the Bible is God's Word and that if you read it and ask Him He will help you understand it. ]]

I believe the young man made an incomplete statement here. Rather than stating no one can understand it , he would have been better to state that it is DIFFICULT to understand it all without some additional help and guidance. Let's take for example the US Constitution. In comparison to the Holy Bible, it is a relatively simple document. Yet, there is an entire governing body, the US Supreme Court, to interpret and uphold the law contained in this document. The constitution was written by man and written not in parables, but straightforward sentences. Why the, would we need the Supreme Court to interpret for us? How much more complex and divinely inspired is the Bible? Adding to that, we don t need a Priest or someone to explain it to us. However, since the Priests are extremely learned and skilled in areas of theology (not to mention appointed by apostolic lineage), they have a better understanding of it and can HELP us work through it. A good analogy of this would be working a typical problem one would encounter at work. Sometimes, regardless of how much we hit our heads and look things up in references, we are unable to find the answer to our particular problem. But, when we start talking to another person, perhaps a senior member of our team, we are able to see through their experience, what the answer really is. I whole heatedly agree with you that we should ALWAYS ask Him to help us understand His word every time we read it.

I again disagree with you on several items. The Bible is spiritually discerned, meaning that a person who is not a Christian is going to have a horrible time figuring out what it means, but a person who is a Christian who has the Holy Spirit living in their heart will not have a problem. The US Constitution is not a good example, but I will use it also. If you had Thomas Jefferson living at your house would you still have a problem deciding what the Constitution means? Maybe if you refused to ask him for advise or refused to listen to him, but not otherwise.

While we're on the subject Another misconception other denominations have about Catholics is that the Church frowns upon the laity reading the Bible. They cite that fact that the Churches in the olden days even chained the Bibles in the Church to keep the people from it. NOT TRUE AT ALL! The fact is, books were all hand-copied back then. To reproduce a simple book would take days, even weeks. It took even more time and more expense to reprint a book as extensive as the Bible. For that reason, the books were chained within the Church in hopes that it wouldn't be stolen or damaged so that it would always be available to ALL WHO WANTED to read it.

I understand what you are saying about the chaining, but let me ask you; do you know Latin? How many people do you know who know Latin? Are you seeing my point? Until recent history the Mass was held in Latin, the Scriptures were in Latin. Why? I guess you have to answer that for yourself, but I don't think there is any misconception. Also I don't just pick these ideas out of thin air. My wife grew up in the Catholic church and most of her family is still there. They are discouraged to read the Bible because they are told they won't be able to understand it and it will just confuse them more.

I will admit that might not be the official church's position but it is a fact in many locations.

[[I am not against Catholics but I will tell you if Sister Teresa did not accept Jesus Christ as her savior (and I am not saying she didn't, I have no way of knowing) then she is not in heaven. Period. No amount of good works will save you, no amount of sacraments will save you, only Jesus Christ can save you]]

This is, unfortunately, an often-stated misrepresentation of the Catholic faith. The works that such wonderful Catholic role models like MOTHER Teresa, Padre Pio, and other Religious perform is NOT for their own good. In fact, they suffer much for other people s sake. If you would read any biographies or other references about them with an open mind and heart, you can see how much they truly loved the people they helped. It was for them, and their salvation through evangilization, that Mother Teresa selflessly offered to suffer and work. Not for her, for them.

The only misconception here is your's about what I was saying. I used Mother Teresa because and only because she is the most well known person who has done so much for the needy. But let me restate it with a different name: If Billy Graham has not accepted Christ as his Savior then he will not make it to heaven. All the people he has brought into the kingdom of God mean nothing for his own soul, only faith in Jesus Christ atoning sacrifice on the cross mean anything.

I don't care what the reason Mother Teresa did the works she did, my point remains the same for her and for every other human being, if they did not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by the time they died they will spend eternity in hell.

Thanks for taking the time to read my comments. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Thank you for your prayers. I do not want to keep debating our different beliefs. Either a person is a child of God, by faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ or they are lost. That is the bottom line.



E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)

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