Why Protestants can’t receive Communion in the Catholic Church

Since I began blogging nigh on 3 years ago I have encountered with some frequency, the topic of ‘closed’ communion in regard to the Catholic Church. In view of questions recently being asked on this same topic, I thought I’d write a post about it rather than attempt to post my response as a comment. In the following dialogue, typed in bold are a selection of the type of questions I have come across with regard to this topic and my responses to them can be read in unbolded text. This is by no means an exhaustive article on the subject of ‘closed communion’, but I hope it goes some way to assisting the understanding of anyone who has questions about it.

Why can’t Protestants receive Communion in the Catholic Church?

Short answer : Protestants can not receive Communion in the Catholic Church because they are not Catholic and do not accept the teachings of the Catholic Church (or else they would be Catholics…).

Long answer ….

Jesus fed everyone gathered for the feast of the five thousand; surely he wants to feed us all, doesn’t he?

Yes, indeed Jesus did feed the five thousand and he does want to feed us all.

Then what’s the problem?

We are not receiving fish and bread when we receive Communion.

Okay, we are receiving bread and wine instead of fish and bread, it’s basically the same thing though isn’t it?

No it isn’t the same thing at all. The table of the Lord is open to all who believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and to all whom have received proper catechetical instruction and have received the first two, of the three Sacraments of Initiation which are Baptism & First Holy Communion (the third being Confirmation). Through the mystery of transubstantiation the bread is transformed into Christ’s Body and the wine is transformed into Christ’s Blood.

What is ‘faith formation’?

From the earliest times following Christ’s death and resurrection, a period of discernment, development of understanding and prayerful preparation was the norm for those who were seeking to become Catholic. In those days it took as long as three years for the catechumen to be sufficiently prepared to receive the Sacraments. As the centuries passed the period of catechesis (instructing the catechumen on the teachings of the Church, the Sacraments etc) was shortened, but never dispensed with. Each diocese now has their own requirements for those who are being prepared to be received into the Church.

Parishes run programmes for such a purpose and are usually given a title of, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) and the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Such preparatory courses may go by other titles, in my own parish we run RCIA but it rarely is publicised as such as we open the course up to those Catholics who are looking to learn more about their Catholic faith, as well as to non-Catholics – we do this because it is such a comprehensive course and so many can and do benefit from it.

Why is faith formation necessary?

When we think of formation, it might help us to think about how any event of extreme importance requires careful planning. For example, few people would decide today that they wish to marry, and tomorrow marry. Likewise, when a new life is conceived, it can not be born into this world until it has been nourished and has been formed to the greatest extent possible to enable survival outside its mothers womb.

Of course, such examples simplify the need for Catechesis somewhat, but may help to explain in simple terms that for really important life events, there is always a time of preparation; every student first has to learn the basics of speech, learning to write etc, before they can progress to graduation, after all.

The period of faith formation is a time of preparation. It is not a time of solitude and nor is it a time of deprivation as may first be thought. As a convert myself, I know that the Lord used my time of faith formation to draw me nearer to Him and I know that I would not have been able to appreciate the Miracle of the Eucharist if I had been allowed to receive Communion without being properly prepared first.

A person who discerns a calling to the Catholic faith may do so gradually, or through a sudden revelation. I’m not ruling out the latter for anyone (I’m thinking Road to Damascus here), but the former is more the usual route. Discerning a call may indeed at first be greeted with protestation (forgive the unintended pun) or even disbelief!

An individual responds of his own free will, as he will. For me, I know that it took almost 2 years for me to even enter a Catholic Church after my discernment process began. I needed to know where I was taking this family of mine; I needed to be certain that I was responding to a call from God.

I was unfortunate in that I knew no Catholic’s, but fortunate too that I was able to research Catholicism via the internet. I participated in online Catholic forums, I interacted with cradle Catholics and converts alike and the Vatican website was a daily point of reference for me. Others, may not have access to the internet and nor may they need a time of ‘researching the history of Catholicism’ before stepping foot inside a Catholic Church, but I believe my faith was all the more deepened precisely because of the care that I took as I prepared to swim the Tiber.

When it finally became crystal clear that I was indeed called to conversion, I began attending Mass. When I did first attend a Catholic Mass, so sure was I of the faith that God had led me to that my first words to the parish priest when I met him, were ‘I want to become Catholic, when does RCIA start?’.

I attended RCIA later that year and all the while I was attending Sunday Mass and many of the other parish events that would enrich my spiritual life. I literally cried in the pews on more than one occasion because my heart ached for the Eucharist, but I was not deprived and nor did I feel deprived! I understood that this great gift of Christ Himself occasioned a period of preparation, study and prayer. When eventually I did receive First Holy Communion, I stood side by side with my two children and we received as a Family and once more I cried, though these were now tears of joy an not of longing.

Well that’s a nice story, but I don’t want to be Catholic. I just want to receive Catholic Communion!

Why would anyone want to receive Catholic Communion if they had no intention of becoming Catholic?

I don’t understand.

Unless of course, they felt that they were not being fed in their own church and had recognised the ‘truth of the Eucharistic Miracle’ in some way?.

I would never, ever so much as contemplate receiving ‘communion’ in any church outside of the Catholic Church. So I ask again, why would anyone want to?

Because Communion is about coming together as a community, we are all God’s children and should all be able to receive communion wherever we choose, shouldn’t we?

Would you partake of communion at any religious service regardless of that particular church’s teachings? Would you partake of communion, for example, with Jehovah’s Witness’ when they celebrate it once a year? (how would you know you were one of the 144,000 elect who alone can take it?)

If your answer to this question is ‘yes’, then I would ask you to consider how you can imagine that it would be God’s will for your life to do so. I would also like you to tell me exactly what you think you would be receiving. If a church does not believe in the actual presence of Christ’s body and blood, then how can you believe it is Christ’s body and blood? If you think of it as merely fulfilling a community response, then you might like to look at other ways that you can feel a part of a community. Every faith group I know of believes something different than another one and expects it’s congregation to believe the same thing. And frankly, you can’t possibly believe every church’s teachings and would therefore not adhere to their teachings or necessarily agree with them.

If your answer is ‘no’, then, why is it ‘no’? Do you differentiate between what is valid and invalid communion? Do you perhaps use the Nicene Creed as a guideline to those churches’ in which you would partake of Communion? Once again, there are many differences in teachings in even those churches which use the Nicene Creed as their profession of faith.

It’s all bread to me. I believe that Communion is symbolic rather than actual and that is why I would be happy to receive it in any Creed-professing church.

Christians who ascribe to Sola Scriptura often try to find ways around those scripture passages that cause them discomfort, but Christ himself tells us that the Eucharist is not symbolic; there really isn’t any getting around it.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body. Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”Mathew 26:26-28

Christ didn’t say, this is not my body, or this is purely symbolic, he said ‘this is my body’ .

He further said, to the unbelievers…

 

“ Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” John 6:53

For a person to receive Communion in a Catholic Church it is essential that they believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. Through the mystery of transubstantiation what was bread and wine, become Jesus’ actual body and blood, all the while appearing to us as bread and wine still.

For a Catholic, Communion is more than a ‘feel good re-enactment’ of the last supper. While there is certainly truth in the idea that Communion is a building up of the community, it is so much more than that. Through Communion we are being grafted ever more closely into the Body of Christ on earth and in Heaven, and we who receive are united in belief. When we say Amen (meaning; it is so) before receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus, we are each agreeing to the one thread of belief that runs through the very core of us all. That we do believe in the teaching of the Church and in the Real Presence.

If you can not say Amen to that, then you can not receive. There are even occasions that though we believe, we as Catholics can not receive Communion, due to our not being in a state of grace. This is how seriously we take our faith!

In partaking of Communion we also become one with Christ in our physical and spiritual bodies. For those that are not in union with the Catholic Church, sharing the Eucharistic feast would be in a sense an attempt to create some kind of illusion that we were in union, which at this time, we are not. In conclusion then, while the Eucharistic table is open to all, not all will be open to the means which enable them to partake at the Eucharistic Table.

For any individual genuinely discerning the truth about the Eucharist, I would suggest that they put aside all former beliefs, all former thoughts and pray for enlightenment and understanding. While doing so it might be worthwhile to contemplate our responses to the following points…

  • “Do you believe in the Real Presence?”
  • “Do you accept or reject Catholic Doctrine on the Real Presence?”
  • “Do you believe in open communion – that anyone, whether Christian or non-Christian, should receive Communion?”
  • Do you believe that all who partake of Communion should be ‘one’ in mind and heart and consciously have discerned and agreed to what Communion is?

Ever since Christ instituted the Eucharist only those who believe in the Real Presence have been allowed to receive it. How can a belief in ‘open communion’ be reconciled with what St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 -?

“Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

God Bless you!

 

Edited:  There’s a lot of interesting discussion going on in the comments box, be sure to take a look :-)

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316 Responses to Why Protestants can’t receive Communion in the Catholic Church

  1. Steve says:

    Hmmm. I was raised Catholic but lost interest in the church as a teen because it wasn’t relevant to my life. (That and the fact the Bishop was known to make the best martinis around.) In my 30s I came to know several Godly people who lived in a relationship with the risen Christ. That was something I’d never seen or even heard of in catholic school. I became a Christian and began to learn about that relationship. Worship services were just that – worship – and not cold, dead liturgy.

    The nail in the coffin in my relationship with catholicism came when I went home for my father’s funeral. There was a memorial mass and the family sat together. At communion time, the priest became every emphatic that communion was only for ‘true believers’ and was therefore closed to non-catholics.

    It would have been a wonderful tribute to my Dad and his faith for the family to share the Last Supper as Christ shared it with His disciples.

    Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians has nothing to do with catholisism (which didn’t even come about until a few hundred years later.) Rather, he is getting to the heart issue. Those without a holy relationship with Christ, who still carry unrepentant attitudes, have no business sharing the Lord’s Supper. But for the rest, it is indeed open to all who believe on His name.

    • Camille says:

      Steve,
      I have an issue with you saying you “became” a Christian after leaving the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is a Christian Church. In fact, all protestant churches came from the Catholic Church.

      • Steve says:

        Camille,
        I understand your concern, but it was certainly the truth. Catholic school and catholic life did nothing to make me understand what true Christianity was all about – the personal relationship with Christ. It’s also true that at that point in my life I wanted nothing to do with things of faith, but I would lay that one squarely at the feet of the nuns and priests I knew at the time. They had no clue how to build Christianity into young people. It was all rote training of whatever came out of their guidebooks. It was only much later – after the catholic church and I had parted ways – that I met real believers who understood and could share a relationship with Christ. And yes, in the years since I have come to know many Christians; some of them also happened to be catholics!

      • Regina says:

        So true Camille. Of course they want to bring in corruption and this was what made the Early Christian Church disappear….I find that interesting that Jesus would build his Church on some sinful humans and then somewhere down the road, He decided the church would run better under a different group of sinful humans and so He let them begin all over again…… if this is the case, then that sort of makes Him not having been faithful to His words that He promised to His first followers, when He said that He would send the Holy Spirit to this Early Christian Church and who would guide it till the end of the ages….or time. Sounds like Jesus could not see far in the future if He knew He was to build more churches on some different kinds of christians and beliefs… …. Where is this bible that these 2nd new groups of Christians have written, since the first one written and compiled by the First Christians seems to hold some false teachings….on some issues such as about Peter, Mary, Eucharist, Confession, Sabbath, Traditions, Lord’s Prayer, Commandments, Mass and much more. But now for why these “latter Christians”, cannot receive communion with those in line with the “early Christians”, I will only add this brief explanation given:

        from: Catholic Come Home

        Why can’t non-Catholics receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church?

        This is a common question asked by both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Many non-Catholics, when attending a Mass at a Catholic wedding, find themselves being gently told that they should not come forward to receive Holy Communion. Of course, they wonder, “Why? Catholics are allowed to receive communion in our church, so why can’t we receive Communion with the other Catholics here?”

        Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, meaning that what appears to be bread and wine is really Jesus’ body and blood—not just a symbol of his body and blood. When Catholics receive Holy Communion, it is an expression of the unity among all those in communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world, who maintain the belief in the Real Eucharistic Presence of Christ. Therefore, only those who believe in the True Presence may participate in this sacrament of oneness with Christ and his Church. “… [T]he celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion” (CCC 1382).

        Ultimately, Catholics believe that we cannot celebrate this unifying sacrament with other Christians while there are disagreements about the Eucharist itself. However, Catholics pray for the day when we can reconcile with other Christians and share in the unity of God’s people through the Holy Eucharist.

        The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expresses this desire for unity:

        “We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us ‘that they may all be one’” (John 17:21).

        • Jake says:

          I believe the issue isn’t about the theology but that people in the Catholic church just don’t want to take communion in the same place as christians who have different views than they do. I can understand this but don’t believe it’s biblical it’s just a matter of personal preference. All Christ followers who repent of their sins and turn from unrighteousness are cleared and encouraged by the bible to take communion often, where we take communion I believe isn’t specified in scripture. If we make that judgement it’s a human judgement not a scriptural judgement. Harboring sin in the heart and taking communion with that sin left unaccounted for is the only thing the THE BIBLE says is cause not to take communion.

          I believe we need to use wisdom and interpret scriptures to the best of our ability with conviction to make them relevant in our lives. However if we develop incredibly complicated rules for how to do things Jesus did and explained very simply we are in fact determining that Jesus didn’t do it right or explain it enough – we are insulting God’s word and that isn’t right. (Reference James 4:11)

          • Steve says:

            Believe it or don’t, the “Big C” catholic church (i.e., the body of all believers) is much bigger than the church of Rome.
            Though you guys do have to wait longer to get to heaven because of that purgatory thing. We’ll save seats for you! ;)

  2. Lorna says:

    “I would never, ever so much as contemplate receiving ‘communion’ in any church outside of the Catholic Church. So I ask again, why would anyone want to?”

    That makes me so sad Deb :(
    I understand where you are coming from – but yeah still sad :(

  3. Suzanne says:

    A comment to Steve…Hmmm…Why was the Church not relevant to your life as a teen? Maybe you care to share a bit more than that. Is there something wrong with a Bishop enjoying a martini? It seems that there has to be more to why you left the Church…maybe it was never in your life much really to begin with. I don’t know and I promise, I am not trying to be sarcastic…truly.
    I think a priest should not HAVE to tell non-Catholic adults these days that Holy Eucharist is to be taken by practicing Catholics who are not in the state of serious sin….adults everywhere who know anything about the Catholic Church should know this by now, with all the hoopla about abortion minded so-called politicians flaunting themselves up to receive no matter what the
    TRUTH of what Christ has to say about this is.
    Catholicism has been around since Christ …since the birth of the Church on Pentecost Sunday…bottom line is for some reason you do not believe this.
    Well, God bless. I hope and pray you will look deeper.

    UKOK…Thank you for your posting here.
    Sorry if I used your box to comment to another besides yourself. Perhaps that is not appropriate.
    I’ll try to behave. :)

  4. Steve says:

    The ‘catholic church’ in the sense of the universal church has indeed been around since the time of Christ. The Roman catholic church is a much newer innovation, coming out of the wrangling of regional bishops (Rome, Alexandria, Jerusalem, etc. in the second and third centuries). In the end the bishop of Rome took primacy, but not because he was necessarily ordained by God as the leader of all the faithful. Over time the RC took on the trappings and the bureaucracy of the world, and never quite got rid of it.

    I know that there are many who enjoy the sameness and solemnity of the liturgy, but that has little to do with real worship. And I know that there are some who truly break through the crust to find and develop the personal relationship with Christ that identifies one of His own.

    Please don’t take this as a poke in the eye of catholicism, but Scripture is clear that salvation comes through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    One thing that distresses me is that, even today, many catholics have no concept of prayer. My wife took a Catholic Biblical Studies course through the dicocese of Denver (one of only 2-3 Protestants among about 60 Catholics), and was bothered by the fact that when it came time for group prayer, the Catholics were stumped if they couldn’t use rote prayers. The instructor finally had to teach folks what went into a prayer. How can you have that relationship with Christ without speaking to Him?

  5. Mimi says:

    Beautifully said, dear Deb.

  6. Pingback: Closed vs Open Communion « Careful Thought II

  7. ukok says:

    We’ve got intermittent thunder and lightening here in the Midlands and I’ve had no internet connection for the last 5 hours. Please know that I will respond to the comments as and when normal internet service resumes. Which hopefully won’t be long, but may be tomorrow :-(

    Every time I try to access my blog or post a comment I get a ‘page not available’ message, please, please, please let this one post!

  8. Beautifullooser says:

    Communion belongs to all denominations. Eucharist is Catholic.

    “Christ commanded all believers to “do this in my name.” But, thinking carefully (as the moniker on your site states), this begs the question, do what? Do a metaphoric, symbolic act that genuinely honors the Lord or receive the Lord, in actual fact under the appearance of bread and wine?

    Receiving the Eucharistic Lord with the understanding of receiving body and blood, soul and divinity is a Catholic sacrament and therefore only open to Catholics. Others who wish to receive the emblems of bread and wine or bread and juice as symbols only are quite free to practice as their belief informs them within their own church.

    There is no need to take exception. You choose to leave the Catholic Church (as I read on ukok’s blog). I do not say this with a mean spirit. It was your choice. God bless you for doing what you felt you needed to do. However, you need not now take offense that you cannot partake of that which you removed yourself from. What you can participate in to the full and in a way that brings honor to our Lord is your church’s particular version of communion.

    • God knows my heart says:

      That’s really funny because I see Catholics take communion all the time at other churches when they’re visiting, my Christian church welcomes EVERYONE but based on your comment, Catholics are equally not to take communion outside of the Catholic church. Sounds like “Do as I say, not as I do” to me.

      • unwelcomed spouse says:

        AMEN!! I sit like a bump on the log, feeling VERY unwelcome, when I attend my Catholic husbands church. However, my husband is welcomed with open arms in my Lutheran church. I find it impossible to believe that God would want anyone feeling unwelcome at his table in his place of worship.

      • myth buster says:

        And they sin greatly by doing so, for it shows they draw no distinction between the two. As such, they are committing either idolatry (worshiping as Christ what is not Christ) or heresy (denying that the Eucharist is Christ), and either way committing hypocrisy.

        • Steve says:

          Yow, that’s a scary statement. Communion is communion, whether it’s practiced in a catholic church or any other. I suppose it would be heresy for catholics, because it violates the dictates of the RC church, but it certainly would not violate Scripture, which is authoritative and prescriptive upon all believers. I’ll take the Word of God as revealed in Scripture over man’s doctrines anytime!

      • Martin says:

        Am Catholic and I won’t mind partaking communion in non-catholic church especially it’s Kool Aid and fig bars. Yummy.

  9. cjmr says:

    Great catechesis! I’ll be linking to this shortly.

  10. Pingback: Linky lovin’ « T with Honey

  11. ukok says:

    Steve, with regard to your first comment:

    I want to thank you for taking the time to post your comment. I also want to say that I’m sorry that you *feel* that the Catholic Church was lacking in relevance to your life when you were a teenager – I know of many Catholic reverts who walked away for the reasons you describe, ie, that they failed to understand ….whether through receiving poor catechesis in the home or from the pastor or catechist…or whether the teens failed to cop-operate with the outpouring of God’s grace in the Sacraments, or they failed to put any effort into developing their relationship with the Lord.

    Many teenagers lack an appreciation for the Liturgy and the Sacraments, this is nothing new, but I do believe that though the Catholic Church, the Sacraments are indeed the very best means of knowing God intimately.

    I suppose it’s funny, but you and I are actually like reversals of one another, you started out Catholic and then left the faith, I as a teenager was a part of the charismiatic movement and I found my way to Catholicism.

    Prior to my conversion I had prophesyed in the Baptist church, I had supped communion wine with the Methodists, I had taken a piece of bread from the loaves that were handed around a stadium of thousands of charismatic Christians…I’d *spoken in tongues*….I’d been *slain in the spirit*….I’d laughed in the face of what I perceived to be ‘leglistic, institutionalised religion’.

    And after many, many years of it, I had had my fill of it.

    I still knew in my heart, that with all that stuff wiped away, the bare bones of it was that I didn’t know Jesus very well at all. I needed the music, the electric guitars, the spontaneous prayers and lively worship….to cover up for the fact that when it boiled down to just me and Him, there really wasn’t a lot of substance to our relationship. I had believed all along that the most important thing was my ‘feelings’….and that as long as I was on a worship ‘high’ it surely must mean that I was doing what God wanted.

    The truth was, that ‘feelings’ are actually pretty transient and they are nothing on which we should base our faith. Base faith on knowledge, base it on a discernment and constant re-conversion to God’s will, but never on feelings!

    Some of the nicest people I ever met professed a different faith than me. I recognise that my appreciation of God’s children doesn’t conflict with my own faith. I can accept that non-Catholics have a close spiritual walk with the Lord too. We all have the potential to know Christ and I’ve met many great Christians as I’ve journeyed along. I’ve flitted though…from denomination to denomination….because there was always something ‘missing’, even when I clapped and danced and sang in front of thousands of people who celebrated their faith in such a way. But no matter how nice the people were, no matter how ‘vibrant’ thew worship, there was always something missing….it got to a point as I just didn’t know what to do anymore and it was then that I knelt down by my bed and cried and begged God to lead me to where he wanted me to be. I wanted this to be a God-decision, not a Deborah-decision. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Now, I’d like to respond to your comment on what happened at your fathers funeral if I may….I first would like to say that I am sorry for your loss.

    I’m also sorry that you were so dismayed at the instruction given by the priest at your father’s funeral Mass. Believe it or not, I’m sure that the priest was only acting in the best interests of your soul. I presume that since you mention you were raised Catholic, that you had received the Sacraments of Initiation and that when you attended your father’s funeral Mass, that you had not been to confession in over a year or had not confessed serious sin that prevented you from receiving the Eucharist? Alternatively, you may have not believed in the Real Presence of course and that is whay you did not receive.

    You write that it would have been a wonderful tribute to your father if you could have received Communion, but I would suggest (and I mean no offence) that it would perhaps be a better tribute to your father to explore the faith in which he raised you, would it not?

    Finally, about St. Pauls admonition….Steve, we’ll have to beg to differ on this too of course :-) Y’see, I believe that the Catholic Church was born at Pentecost when the tongues of fire settled on the heads of the Apostles and they went out to preach and teach and strengthen the church. believe that there was only ever one church that Christ founded, and that it is the Catholic Church.

    God Bless you!

  12. ukok says:

    Lorna,
    I’m sorry that it makes you sad that I wrote that I would not consider taking communion outside the Catholic Church – but dear friend, if I want bread to eat, I can go and make a piece of toast. If I want ‘real communion with the Lord’ I have the Eucharist, and I can only receive it in the Catholic Church. :-)
    Suzanne,
    I know that you meant no offence to Steve, you only echoed my own response and my own thoughts. Thank you for commenting, I apreciate your input, my friend.

  13. ukok says:

    Steve,

    With regard to your second comment;

    I can only imagine that you have been deceived if you believe that the Catholic Church was not founded by Christ and that Peter were not the first head of the visible Church on earth (ie, Pope). But I do understand the non-Catholic mindset, I had one once :-)

    With regard to the prayer life of Catholics. I must strenuously disagree with you when you say that Catholics do not know how to pray spontaneously. Prayer you see, is more than verbal, prayer is a raising of the heart and soul to heaven. Prayer can be expressed in acts of love as well as acts of worship and in many cases, words are rarely used at all.

    I know the point you are making though, that catholics can feel discomfort in prayer groups that pray spontaneously and with some zeal perhaps! But though there is a place for spontaneous prayer and daily we are called to lift our hearts and minds to God, there is much efficacy in quiet and contemplative prayer.

    As you will be aware, at every moment of the day and night there is a Mass being offered throughout the world. Religious communities rise to pray while we are sleeping. Catholics hold the world in prayer continually, they don’t need prayer groups, often they don’t even need words or shouts of ‘Alleluia, praise the Lord’!
    :-)

    God Bless you!

  14. Suzanne says:

    Another short note to Steve…First of all I am terribly sad for the experience that your wife had and any that you have had, however, believe me, I know many Catholics who know how to pray without repeating what you call rote prayers…they pray from the heart…they talk with Christ as if they were sitting right beside them.
    Surely, they do say many “rote” prayers, however, you nor your wife can judge what is in a person’s heart while they are praying! That is so unfair to even think that way! You nor I can judge how God takes any person’s prayer! We just do not have that right. This to me is a weak complaint and I hope you rethink it.

    There are no “trappings” in Catholicism. People are free to come and go as they choose…you were and you did.
    I am very sad about that, however, you used your free will…no one forced you out the door.
    Clearly we can’t have a relationship with Christ without “speaking with Him,” however, bottom line…noone knows who is speaking with Christ and who isn’t unless they make it obvious by regularly
    leading seriously evil lives. For we all sin and fall short, but a person who continually gets back up and tries to seek out Our Lord with a sincere heart, will find Him…and He is very much alive in the Roman Catholic Church.

    Your last comments, UKOK, were from the heart and
    I thank you for being so kind to us all and taking the time to discuss this very awesome topic!

  15. ukok says:

    Beautifullooser,

    Great comment!

  16. Suzanne says:

    “…sitting right beside Him,” excuse my error in posting above. Suzanne

  17. Steve says:

    The truth was, that ‘feelings’ are actually pretty transient and they are nothing on which we should base our faith. Base faith on knowledge, base it on a discernment and constant re-conversion to God’s will, but never on feelings!

    That’s a wonderful point that we all seem to miss at times. Christianity is not about feelings, but about the relationship with the Lord. Very well said.

    If I’ve made generalizations about why or how people pray or about the a lack of perceived depth to Catholic faith, then I apologize. We are, thankfully, unable to judge the hearts of others, and I based my comments on my experience as a young catholic and on the handful of catholics that I’ve dealt with over the past few years. Many catholics are no different from many protestants in having a poor understanding of the essentials of their faith. Again, it’s not my position to judge the heart.

    Thanks for your willingness to discuss!

  18. Lorna says:

    Deb – I’m shocked – you just put my holy Communion (sacred to me) on the level of your morning toast. That hurt!

    • Kim says:

      I agree Lorna, that was a very ignorant and hurtful comment for her to make. This seems to be an issue with a lot of Catholics, not all of them, they seem to feel that they are in some way more superior to the other branches of Christianity, it is a very arrogant view. I am proud to be a member of the Church of England where we welcome people from all walks of Christianity to join our Eucharist.

      • Steve says:

        Kim,
        I agree. There’s no reason for a discussion without grace. The celebration of Communion is open to all comers. Christ would certainly not have restricted the remembrance he commanded to a certain group. That said, as a recovering catholic, I consider the Roman Catholic church to be a large club; if they choose to limit club activities to members only, that is their right (and their rite).

        • Regina says:

          For all who are critical of the Catholic Church, I really don’t see any point of all having so much concern as to whether they do it right or not….what does it matter what Catholics believe .since you all have decided what is best for yourself… However, if one would like to know what the Catholics believe about the Eucharist, then they could begin here:: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/realpres/a12.html
          This website might answer some of the questions that you all have about Catholicism and the Eucharist. I think it clarifies a lot of everyone’s questions and comments here about why the Eucharist is important to a faithful Caholic…

          • Steve says:

            Regina,
            It’s not so much a matter of “all have decided what is best for yourself,” but rather seeking to prayerfully understand what Christ said in Scripture vice what man said through the vehicle of the catholic church. I have no argument that “the Eucharist” is important to catholics, just as the celebration of communion is important to all believers, and is and should be open to all believers. Again, it’s “your club, your rules,” so I would never attempt to dictate what a catholic can do within that club.

  19. ukok says:

    Steve,

    it’s been a pleasure discussing this with you, I hope this will be the first of more discussions in which you participate, and I with you :-)

    Lorna,

    I never said your communion wasn’t sacred to you, only that to me, there is no difference between non ‘protestant communion’ and a piece of toast. I’m genuinely sorry that you feel wounded by my words. In what way is your communion sacred to you, may I ask?

    • Ann says:

      Lorna,
      You present yourself as being very judgemental and passive-aggressive. Remember you have no right to judge others beliefs. You are no holier than protestants, and remember that God will just the people who misrepresent him the most harshly of all when that day comes.

  20. Alexa says:

    Wow.
    I’ve enjoyed reading the development of this discussion.
    IF I can add anything at all, I’m thinking of a few things that came to mind while reading:

    I’m thinking that when Jesus made the declaration that we must eat His Body and drink His Blood, there were many among those listening that couldn’t fathom what he was saying – were probably disgusted – confused – some probably immediately dismissed Him and His teachings right then and there, even if they’d (up to that point) were following right along.
    How is that different than what we are hearing today about this Topic?

    The Mass, as even many Catholics fail to appreciate, is not a re-enacted of the Last Supper, it is not symbolic in any way at all. At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “Do this in memory of Me.” Just as He said to eat His Body and drink His Blood, He didn’t mean it to be symbolic. He, with those words, declared “this” to be the First Mass of a perpetual Mass. The Mass is going on at any given moment somewhere on the face of the earth. It is constant, it is universal (catholic). Jesus gives of Himself constantly through the Sacrifice of the Mass through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. When we attend Mass we are truly present at the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. We are receiving Him in the form of Bread – all that He Is – all that He was – all that He will always be. Even tho’ He had not yet died on the Cross, the twelve disciples received His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at the Last Supper. They were the first to have Christ living in Them – a priviledge, much as Mary was saved from Original Sin through a “Baptism” at the time of her conception. God’s clock has no hands on it.

    I think, in this day and age, when we witness so many “modern miracles” – talking to people thousands of miles away through the internet and camera phones – when we witness people willing to step into a plane and cause it to crash into a building thus killing thousands of “enemies” because of a perverted, (though sincere) sense of religious zeal – why is it that so many people have difficulty understanding God’s Love for us – that He can and will and does transcend time to bring us into Himself and unite Himself with us through His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity? How can people today fail to appreciate the Zealous Love God has for us, His people and His desire for us to be One in His Body?

    As far as Catholicism not being around until a few hundred years or so after Christ – well, I’m not a theologian, and I don’t know when the term “Catholic” came about – but it’s a mute point to me. I am Christian because I feel I follow (to the best of my ability) and I believe (as completely as the gift of my faith is matured through Christ) in the teachings of Jesus Christ and I partake in the Life of Christ through the Sacraments of the Holy Roman Catholic church because they have been consistent through time – yes, since the Last Supper. Bishops being mixed up, “two or more popes at one time” issues – doesn’t matter – the Holy Spirit has and does work through it all – because? Because Jesus gave Peter the Keys and said, “The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

    Thus, I have no worries.

    And lastly, God is big. We all pray differently. We all have different voices, we are all unique. “Rote prayers” are Catholic poetry to God’s Ears. The inability to pray spontaneously has absolutely nothing to do with the depth of a person’s faith any more than the faith a child has in his/her parents but is unable to describe.

    The Eucharist comes to us AS CHRIST and as Christ, I am prepared to defend Him from those who don’t believe it is He.

  21. Steve says:

    Deb,
    I have to agree with Lorna. Comparing the Lord’s Supper with a piece of toast is over the top. From a non-catholic perspective, I could say the same thing about veneration of Mary, worship of/praying to saints, the infallibility of the pope, and other catholicisms.

    The Lord’s Supper is a holy thing, and non-catholics don’t take it lightly.

    thanks!
    Steve

  22. ukok says:

    Alexa,

    You’ve bought to light some points that hadn’t occured to me. I LOVED this part

    “Rote prayers” are Catholic poetry to God’s Ears.”

    Thanks so much for your comment and your observations.

  23. ukok says:

    Steve,
    I apologise for having offended both yourself and Lorna.
    I was surprised at Lorna’s ‘sadness’ that I had originally posted that I would not contemplate receiving communion outside the Catholic Church, as Lorna has been a blog friend for a couple of years now and we’ve chewed the fat over this topic in the past.
    In my comment I sought to clarify why I would not receive communion outside the CC and did so, perhaps insensitively, but I felt that in comparing non Catholic Communion as ‘bread’ (toast), I was getting my point across….perhaps too, where my comment was perhaps a little insensitive, non Catholics are capable of being a little overly sensitive on this subject?

    I’ll be honest, I don’t relaly understand why it bothers them so much, after all, most protestants don’t believe they are receiving Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – so if your communion is Sacred, please explain so that we can learn more about this from your POV.

    Before my conversion I was anglican, one of my best buddies is an anglican vicars wife and I began receiving communion in the anglican church at her prompting. I truly did my best at that time, with no faith formation and no understanding of what I was receiving, to prepare as best I could to receive communion each week.
    I would listen to my friend Richard (the vicar) praying over the bread and wine and I would mull over those words and week after week I began to question….’Is this the Body and Blood of Christ?’
    I took the whole thing so seriously… I was forlorn when I discovered that all that I had been receiving was bread and wine :-(
    It was hard to tell my best friend that I was no longer able, in good conscience to attend Anglican services…
    But I can not lie. To me, non Catholic communion is bread alone. And man can not live by it…I believe I have received the Bread of Life and there’s no going back fo me now that I know where to find it!
    Please be assured, Steve, that I do appreciate your perspective on this and look forward to hearing more about your thoughts on non-Catholic Communion.
    God Bless you!

  24. Steve says:

    Deb,
    You said After all, most protestants don’t believe they are receiving Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – so if your communion is Sacred, please explain so that we can learn more baout this from your POV and then To me, non Catholic communion is bread alone. And man can not live by it…

    I’m okay with that. Communion (to a non-catholic) is not a magical thing in which we ‘partake of the nature of Christ’ or literally eat body and blood. But it is holy, set apart. We are not ingesting His divinity, but as He said, doing this in remembrance. A non-catholic is under the strictures as a catholic in the sense that we should not take the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner.

    And non-catholic communion is bread alone, but we are not to live by it. You have to finish the verse: “…but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Be careful here. I think you’re taking this verse out of context.)

    It is the Holy Spirit that sustains us after we are indwelt by Him at salvation. So, no, a ritual – even a holy ritual – is not enough to sustain and mature us as believers. We grow and develop through reading His word, and spending time in prayer and in fellowship with other believers.

  25. Suzanne says:

    Steve,
    Jesus also said THIS IS MY BODY…THIS IS MY BLOOD.
    DO THIS IN REMEMBERANCE OF ME.
    I hardly think He meant this for only one night in His life.
    He passed the power on to His Disciples…one chose to leave. The Catholic Church is still following what Jesus commanded. The other churches admit they are not changing bread and wine to His Body and Blood…they don’t even try and pretend to..some of us want to have the fullness…that seems to be the difference and there is certainly nothing wrong with the fullness of Christ.
    God bless.

    Excellent post, Alexa! Thank you.

  26. Lorna says:

    Holy Communion is sacred to me because it’s a special meeting with God. It’s a time of celebrating that His death means that those sins we repent of are forgiven and that this is a foretasting of the heavenly banquet in heaven.

    For me the absolute best thing about HC is that we can ALL come to the table absolutely sure that Jesus is enough! It’s not about our worthiness – He makes us worthy. It’s not the level of our faith or how we confessed our sins – He died for me and for you – and this supper (however we view it) is about recognising it.

    I wish that more Protestants (all kinds) had more respect for the Eucharist – that it was more meaningful – (that could also apply to RCs too – I remember one RC blogger complaining about RCs near her who talked to each other all the time after she’d received and how it offended her) but no matter how they view it themselves I would not agree that their celebration – just as Jesus told us to do – is less meaningful (for them) or less holy.

    For me the best HC is using real bread and real wine – standing in a circle and offering the sacrament to each other – because we are one body because we all share in the one bread – also across denominations and across the miles that separate one worshipping community from another.

    I love it that you are passionate about the Eucharist in your context – I am just as passionate about it in mine – It shocks me that you are unable to see why someone like me would want to come to meet with Jesus at your altar, and indeed that you would not want to do the same at mine. Your experience might be different, and for you it might not be the real presence because a RC priest did not consecrate the bread and the wine – but meeting God with other Christians is good, and it grieves me that dogma – not Christ – separates us on this.

  27. Esther says:

    Very good post Deb!

  28. You know, it doesn’t happen to me often, but I’m always surprised when I run into non-Catholics who think they should be able to receive communion in the Catholic Church without being Catholic. RC has such a specific teaching about it, you know. Why would anyone want it, if they don’t believe it? And if religions are free to be what they are, then RC is free to be what it is, too. Who are we to try to force it to be otherwise? And remember, it wasn’t Catholics who left Protestants – it was the other way around.

    Now, as a convert to RC, I have even more perspective: From the standpoint of someone outside the Catholic Church, all communions may look equal, but from the Catholic standpoint, they’re not. Only those within the Apostolic Succession, offering the validly consecrated Eucharist, are equal, are real communion, real Body and Blood of Christ, not just spiritual.

    You know, this may sound strong, but in a very real sense entering the Church is a marriage, and the Holy Eucharist is the wedding feast of the Lamb. Wanting to partake of it without being a confirmed member of the Church is like wanting to enjoy sex without marriage – all the benefits, but no commitment. It’s not enough to say “oh, but I LOVE him!” You have to get married if you want to receive Him Bodily, as God would hardly break His own commandments just so you can enjoy Him without commitment.

  29. Steve says:

    Now, as a convert to RC, I have even more perspective: From the standpoint of someone outside the Catholic Church, all communions may look equal, but from the Catholic standpoint, they’re not. Only those within the Apostolic Succession, offering the validly consecrated Eucharist, are equal, are real communion, real Body and Blood of Christ, not just spiritual.

    We have a phrase for that – pharisaical legalism.

  30. ukok says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for your further comment.

    About the ‘bread alone’ comment I made earlier, it was meant as a statement, not as an exegesis of a scripture passage. Meaning this; we have a spiritual and a physical nature, we are sustained by bodily food and we recieve our spiritual nourishment (primarily) in the Eucharist.
    I think that you misunderstand the Eucharist by referring to it as a ‘ritual’. The Liturgy of the Mass, which I believe you are referring to rather than explicitly to the Eucharist, does indeed offer us nourishment in the sense that it is a preparation for the Eucharist, and yet is is more than mere preparation.

    The whole of Mass is a prayer from start to finish and the Liturgy has a foundational place in our growth and in sustaining us as a people of God.

    We begin by calling to mind our sins and asking for God’s forgiveness, we then pray for others, we join together to off ourselves to God asn we as individuals offer ourselves whole and entire, unworthy as we are, back to Him who made us. The Liturgy, when properly understood and apreciated is a beautiful thing.

    I find it interesting that with regard to communion, you mention that

    .We are not ingesting His divinity, but as He said, doing this in remembrance.
    Not only did Christ say ‘do this in rememberance of me, he said too, “this is my body, this is my blood”
    Strikes me as a little selective, if you don’t mind my saying so :-)
    Pax

  31. ukok says:

    Lorna,

    You write that we can ‘ALL’ come to the table – I must ask then, in your church, can anyone receive communion? Does it matter not whether they are believers or unbelievers?

    Is there any formation programme in your church, a programme of preparation for those who want to receive communion?

    I agree with what you said about there being nothing that we as individuals can do to make ourselves worthy to receive communion, but I believe you misunderstand confession – it doesn’t make us worthier than we were before confession. It is however a means with which we can prepare ourselves to meet with God most intimately in the Eucharist. It is indeed a means of reflecting in some depth upon our sinfulness, particularly the sins we have committed since our last confession; unconfessed grave sin, but also venial sins, that unchecked may become grave. To examine oneself so throroughly is something to be embraced and not derided as so many non Catholics do (not you, but others I have met and interacted with have).

    Does this make us more worthy to receive Holy Communion, absolutely not! But we prepare our souls to the greatest extent possible to ensure that we have no unresolved issues with our brethren, to ensure that we are as near a state of grace as it is possible for us to be….not sinless, no…but with no serious sin separating us from God – thus, we approach the Eucharist.

    Now about your RC blogger friend – I agree 100% with her!

    After receiving Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is it really appropriate to have a discussion with your pew neighbours? No it is not. Mass lasts for one hour in most parishes and often only 30 minutes on a week day. Since Mass is a prayer, it should not be interupted by casual conversation….there are another 167 hours in the week to have discussions with our friends and relatives! Catholics believe that God dwells in the Eucharist and that He dwells in us when we receive the Eucharist (yes, he dwells in us in other ways, but especially so in the Eucharist).

    I have heard fellow catholics discussing such tirvialities as shopping and excursions and bus time tables immediately after receiving the risen Lord in the Eucharist! They are not having ‘holy’ conversations, they are not speaking in awe and wonder at receiving Christ in the Eucharist!

    I have to bite down hard on my bottom lip and ask God to forgive me for my lack of tolerance.

    You write that the best ‘HC’ is standing in a circle offering bread to one another. Can you elaborate a bit about ‘where’ the bread comes from? I mean no disrespect, but is it just purchased off a supermarket shelf?

    Is it consecrated, prayed over or blessed – if so, by whom? And what do you believe the prayer or blessing ‘does’?

    If what you receive is just bread and just wine, what do you believe it does for you exactly, when you receive it….could you receive some other foodstuff and still get the same ‘effect’?

    Though I would never take the bread and wine in your church or any other, I would certainly enjoy fellowshipping with you in person, as I do with many non Catholic friends and family members :-)
    :-)

  32. ukok says:

    Aimee, welcome and thank you for your observations and input into this discussion.

  33. Steve says:

    Deb,
    In your response to Lorna’s post and mine you touch on a few key points. You ask where the bread comes from and whether it’s consecrated. We use crackers or home-backed bread or a nice French loaf from Panera’s or matzoh. It doesn’t matter, because it’s bread, not the body of Christ.

    (I remember being an altar boy in grade school. Before the mass I was standing in the sacristy eating an Oreo out of my pocket. One of the other altar boys saw me eating and was horrified at the thought that I may have been eating the hosts.)

    We certainly pray at communion, not to consecrate the physical emblems, but that the Spirit would open our hearts to understand the magnitude and impact of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. In that context we invite all believers to share in taking the elements.

    I think that’s the essence of the difference between open and closed communion – we don’t see it as a mystical ritual but a shared meal. Read Paul in Corinthians speaking about how we are to behave at the Lord’s Supper. He addresses it in terms of people at a meal, not people observing a ritual.

    As for ‘this is my body, this is my blood,’ I read that as Christ speaking figuratively.

    Make sense.

    • Matilda says:

      Steve,
      I’m confused you don’t believe it’s Jesus so why would you want to recieve communion in the Catholic Church, if they believe it to be the real presence?

      • Steve says:

        I’ve come to the point that I won’t, out of respect for my catholic friends belief. I accept that they believe it to be a metaphysical transubstantiation. I don’t share that belief, so I won’t share in their sacrament. I was a more than a little disheartened to be refused communion at my father’s funeral mass because I am not a catholic, but I understand. Catholics (and other believers) are more than welcome to share the celebration of the Lord’s Supper at our church.

        • Matilda says:

          I’m sorry for your lost. I understand how something like that can
          Hurt especially at time of morning. I remember when my mother passed away
          And my little sister wanted to hug her in the hospital, but my uncle told her no.
          I was hurt, angry and offended. Who is he to tell my sister no, that’s her mom.
          So, I understand those feelings. I am sure you felt some kind of rejection as well. I am sorry you felt that way. I don’t have the power to heal your pain and I probably will not make you
          Come back to the Catholic faith (which I am not trying to do anyways) But I can
          Maybe help you to understand why the church teaches that not just anyone can receive. It’s not
          To reject you but to protect your soul. And it’s not just non-catholics. Even Catholics can not
          Just receive communion when they have serious sins on their soul.
          Now just imagine if you were Catholic and that was Jesus in the Eucharist. If you really
          Believed not that He meant it symbolically but he truly was present and if you really believed;
          Then you would understand St. Pauls words “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill and some have died.” -
          I think you may be interested in listening to a debate about the Eucharist between a catholic and a protestant. Here is the link; http://www.revesby.pcnsw.org.au/?p=1712
          Please do listen! Thank you and have a blessed day!

          • Steve says:

            Thanks, Matilda. The incident at my fathers funeral was years ago, so I’m long past that. I’m at a good place now where I can agree to disagree with my Catholic brothers and sisters over communion, purgatory, priestly authority, and other Catholic-isms. I have a regular Bible study with Catholic friends, and though it may occasionally get heated, we’re family in Christ. My wife and I tell them that we’ll meet again in heaven – after they’re done with purgatory.

            • Matilda says:

              Steve,
              That’s good to know. We need to be able to respect each other. We may not always
              Agree but we should at least be able to understand one another and speak to each other with kindness is much. If you are interested in learning more about the faith let me recommend a web-site
              Catholic.com – it’s called Catholic Answers. They have a radio show where you can call in to ask a question
              About the Catholic faith. Occasionally they’ll have a show for non-Catholics only. Also I hope you do listen to the debate. I will be listening to it today as well. Thanks again!

  34. Steve says:

    Oops. That should have read ‘Make sense?’

  35. Alexa says:

    How do you determine, Steve, when Christ is speaking figuratively or literally?

  36. Lorna says:

    We don’t use mother’s pride if that’s what you mean!

    But we use real bread – usually a round loaf -often made by a church member which we bless and thank God for.

    it sometimes has yeast

    I like real bread because it takes time to chew – and gives me time to focus on what Jesus did for me on the cross.

    I’d rather use real wine – but in the methodist church it’s unfermented grapejuice.

    and to answer another question

    We read the scripture you quoted – as an account of what Jesus did that first time

    and very often the pastor also enacts it -takes the loaf in his hands, blesses the bread with the sign of the cross, breaks it into two – and then offers it to the congregation.

    Also we mostly have a time of confession of sins (usually silently, sometimes writing someting that comes to mind on a paper and hanging it on the cross -later it’s shredded – or burnt – and sometimes we confess our sins to the person next to us.

    and usually we hear that we are forgiven … but that might also be implicit

    thanks for asking!

  37. Alexa says:

    I mean, it wasn’t figurative when He literally was sacrificed for our sins on the Cross – why, when we are to eat of the Sacrifice, should it be figuratively?

    Before Christ, the ultimate Sacrifice, animals were sacrificed – and they always ate the flesh of the sacrificed animal -

    Make sense?

  38. Steve says:

    Alexa,
    How do you determine, Steve, when Christ is speaking figuratively or literally?

    Through prayer and study of the Word. Here’s an excerpt from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress from Martin LaBar’s site that sheds light:

    PRUD. What do you think of the Bible?

    MATT. It is the holy Word of God.

    PRUD. Is there nothing written therein but what you understand?

    MATT. Yes. A great deal.

    PRUD. What do you do when you meet with such places therein that you do not understand?

    MATT. I think God is wiser than I. I pray also that He will please to let me know all therein that He knows will be for my good.

    This is an extract from the second part of Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan (1684, public domain). Matthew, the oldest son of Christian (the Pilgrim) and Christiana, is quizzed here by Prudence.

  39. Alexa says:

    Yes, Steve. But what YOU read and interpret, could be totally different from what OTHER good, Christian, well-intentioned studiers of the Word might read and interpret – and who, then, is correct?

  40. Alexa says:

    AND, I have to ask, why would it not be a good thing – to eat of Christ’s flesh and drink of His blood – if He is the Sacrificial Lamb of God?

  41. Steve says:

    Alexa,
    Okay, I’m going to get in trouble over this – because it’s not Christ’s flesh and blood. It’s bread and wine (or juice). I think we’ll have to agree to disagree over this one.

  42. Steve says:

    But what YOU read and interpret, could be totally different from what OTHER good, Christian, well-intentioned studiers of the Word might read and interpret – and who, then, is correct?

    Read the last part of the Bunyan quote: “I pray also that He will please to let me know all therein that He knows will be for my good.”

    Christians can disagree – look at the evolution/creation/age of the earth discussions. I can and do disagree with my brothers over any number of theological points. Bottom line – God is right and just and wise. I trust the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom where I need it.

  43. Alexa says:

    Okay, Steve. Gotcha.

    Things is, so do I. :-)

  44. Suzanne says:

    Steve, Please do continue to trust in the Holy Spirit and ask Him to give you even more wisdom where you need it. We all must…don’t stop where you are.
    God bless.

  45. Steve says:

    Suzanne,
    I’m not sure how to take that. But I do pray for wisdom. I can get ‘outwisdom-ed’ pretty quick when left to my own devices.

  46. ukok says:

    Steve,

    the word ‘ritual’ has a negative conotation, particularly when used to refer to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I think that’s because often, rituals are symbolic gestures, and as we’ve already established, the Catholic viewpoint would be that the consecration of the bread and wine is not symbolic.

    Y’know, the problem about there being so many ‘communions’ in non Catholic denominations is that it just makes me wonder how every single church can have their own version of communion and be right? God is not the author of confusion is he? (1 Cor 14:33)

    Your altar boy antics made me gasp, not that you may have been munching on the unconsecrated hosts, but that you were eating an oreo before Mass and had obviously not observed the one hour fast before receiving Communion.

    Alexa raised a good point and it was one that I was prompted to ask you too, just how do you decide which scripture passages to take as literal and which to take firguratively? Do you decide? Or do you ask the Lord to reveal his truth to you?

    As for St. Paul, well, y’know, as I’ve menitoned previously, I don’t believe that we’ll be on the same page on that any time soon.
    :-)

    • Kim says:

      Our Priest lets me eat left over bread from the bread box after the service, when I am Altar Server. I asked her and she said “Sure, help your self, it will only be thrown away”.

  47. ukok says:

    Lorna,
    It was good to learn more about the meal that you share with your fellow Christians, but I’m not sure that you really explained how it impacts your life to receive communion.
    For example,my soul yearns for the Eucharist just as my body yearns for food. Is it the same with you?
    Is ‘HC’ for you more symbolic than spiritual then?

    In the midst of our dialogue I lost track of the important question, why would you want to receive Catholic Communion knowing that we believe it to be the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord?

  48. Steve says:

    Deb,
    Great comments here. I appreciate the discussion. It’s certainly much more civil than old-earth vs young-earth creation debates I’ve been in recently.

    it just makes me wonder how every single church can have their own version of communion and be right? God is not the author of confusion is he? (1 Cor 14:33)

    No, he’s not. But if you look at it, just for a moment, in the context of the Lord’s supper (small ‘s’), it’s no more confusing than having a choice of Chinese restaurants at which to dine. I don’t mean to trivialize it, but consider it as different worship styles. If Lorna celebrates it in a circle where people administer it to each other, and we celebrate by passing a plate with the elements, so long as we are both members of the body of believers, the form is not as important.

    I’ve even heard of it being celebrated with Pepsi and pretzels, but does seem to trivialize the worshipful nature of the act.

  49. Alexa says:

    Since the discussion is at an end, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to post this:

    When Jesus told his disciples that “my flesh is real food and my blood real drink” (Jn. 6:55), his disciples took Him literally and said: “This sort of talk is hard to endure! How can anyone take it seriously?” (Jn. 6:60). Then St. John’s Gospel reports: “Jesus was fully aware that his disciples were murmuring in protest at what he had said” (Jn. 6:61). John then states that “From this time on, many of his disciples broke away and would not remain in his company any longer. Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to leave me too?”‘ (Jn. 6:66-67). The Twelve (except for Judas) stayed with Jesus because they trusted his words (Jn. 6:69-71).

    Now, “Jesus was fully aware” that the departing disciples understood his teaching literally. Obviously, if Jesus had only meant that they would eat his Body and drink his Blood figuratively or symbolically, He would have said so before they walked away. Since He did not, He meant his words literally and, of course, not sensibly or canibalistically, but miraculously!

    Some people become confused by what Jesus said after the disciples complained that “This sort of talk is hard to endure! How can anyone take it seriously’?” Jesus states: “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words I spoke to you are spirit and life” (Jn. 6:63). They mistakenly think that this is proof that Jesus is saying that He only means that the disciples will eat his flesh and drink his blood spiritually and not literally. But it is illogical that Jesus would say that his flesh is “useless” alter saying ‘the flesh of the Son of Man” gives “life” (Jn. 6:53). Rather, Jesus is not talking about his flesh, but about their flesh. Jesus is telling the disciples that they cannot grasp or come to his teaching on the Eucharist by their senses or their “flesh,” which is “useless” for this purpose, but only through faith or “spirit”.

    Now, the fourth century Church Fathers understood that the Eucharist is really Jesus Christ Himself. St. Cyril of Alexandria states: “He said This is my body and this is my blood in a demonstrative fashion, so that you might not judge that what you see is a mere figure.”[3] And St. Ambrose of Milan teaches about the Eucharist that “nature itself is changed through the blessing”.[4] So, it is quite clear from the fourth century Church Fathers that the Eucharistic consecration “changes” the “nature” of the bread and wine into the “nature” of Jesus Christ and that the Eucharist is not just “a mere figure” of Jesus Christ but “truly” Jesus Christ Himself. This is precisely why St. Augustine states about the Eucharist: “no one eats of this flesh without having first adored it . . . and not only do we not sin in thus adoring it, but we would be sinning if we did not do so”.[5]

    This teaching on Christ’s Eucharistic Real Presence was not seriously challenged until the eleventh century (after a thousand years!). Then, Berengarius of Tours held that Christ was present in the Eucharist only “as mere sign and symbol” and that after the consecration, “bread must remain”.[6] Berengarius stated: “That which is consecrated (the bread) is not able to cease existing materially.”[7] St. Thomas Aquinas (thirteenth century) calls “Berengarius . . . the first deviser of this heresy,” that the consecrated Bread and Wine are only a “sign” of Christ’s Body and Blood.”[8]

    St. Thomas also gave a very good reason why bread and wine cannot remain after the consecration: “Because it would be opposed to the veneration of this sacrament, if any substance were there, which could not be adored with adoration of “latria”.”[9] If bread and wine remained, Catholics would be committing the sin of idolatry by adoring it. So, physical bread and wine do not remain!

    Thus, the Council of Trent (1545-1563), in harmony with St. Thomas infallibly taught:

    “If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist there remains the substance of bread and wine together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the entire substance of the wine into the Blood, the species (appearance) of the bread and wine only remaining, a change which the Catholic Church most fittingly calls transubstantiation: let him be anathema.”[10]

    Finally, in 196:S, Pope Paul VI taught most clearly that, after the consecration at Mass, “nothing remains of the bread and wine except for the species (smell, taste, etc.)” and that Christ is (bodily) present whole and entire in his physical ‘reality,’ corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.”[11] So, the “physical” thing that remains after the consecration is Jesus Christ and not bread and wine.

    —Rev Regis Scanlon, OFM, Cap

  50. Suzanne says:

    Dear Steve,
    What I meant was really what I wrote..just continue to pray for even more wisdom on all of this…I am sure if you are really doing that and not settling for what you’ve decided today, that even more fruitful wisdom will come to you …the prayer must of course, be sincere
    and from the heart. I believe God will enlighten you completely. Ever read books by Scott Hahn? Try them…esp. the ones on the Eucharist. God bless you and let that be for me now.

    Thanks to all for this very inspiring discussion over the last few days. I am off to Mass in just a short while and
    I would like to pray about all of this and all of us and as I receive Jesus ..Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the the Most Holy Eucharist, I will pray that first of all, I am in His grace to do so and that we all come to the understanding that He would have us
    accept and live by. Jesus, be with us always and forever! Thank you and Amen.

  51. ukok says:

    Just got home! I’ll be back in a bit to add my (possibly) final comment on the thread :-)

  52. Pingback: Christian Argumentation « Careful Thought II

  53. James says:

    As I read this discussion I read all the really good points, waiting, just waiting, for someone to mention the Eucharistic Miracles. But it never happened, so I will bring them up. Steve and Lorna, if the bread and wine are not supposed to turn in to the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, why then, does God from time to time, actually have consecrated Hosts bleed and change into flesh and have white wine turn blood red? If it just so happens that you have never heard of them I invite you to buy the book “Eucharistic Miracles” by Joan Carroll Cruz. They are all true and amazing.

  54. Wow, what a fascinating discussion. I echo James’s recommendation of the book “Eucharistic Miracles.” You just can’t explain them without acknowledging the Real Presence.

    I also find no plausible explanation for why Jesus never said that eating his flesh and drinking his blood were symbolic words. He was losing his followers. People were walking away. If it was because they had misunderstood surely he would have explained…

  55. God says:

    Lighten up, folks ;)

  56. Valerie says:

    Very interesting dialoge going on here! Thanks for your post, Deb. You did an excellent job.

  57. ukok says:

    We’ve had so much going on here that aside from a ten minute window of time in which to dash to the computer, I’ve not been able to get online. I am remiss in my responses, I will be back tonight to rectify this, forgive me :-)

    God Bless!

  58. Christine says:

    What a discussion! I am a cradle Catholic who walked away from the church as an adult because of my life circumstances, only to retuen because, while “worship service” did provide some very emotional time of praising God, it was missing something. Contrary to popular belief, many Catholics DO have a personal relationship with Christ. We have prayer meetings, and to me, the “worship services” were much like prayer meetings. There are Catholics who celebrate Lord’s Day much in the way Lorna described communion in her church. We come together as a group to praise God and share a meal. This is sometimes known as an “agape (ah-gah-pay) meal.” These prayer times are NOT what Catholics reer to as Communion or Holy Eucharist. I do not recieve Christ bodily in the Eucharist right now because of my life circumstances. For me to receive at this point in time would be a desecration because I am outside the fullness of grace. I can, however, make a spiritual communion and adore Jesus while others partake of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. I often weep during this time because of the ache of longing I feel for our Lord.

    I have seen this asked many times of Steve and Lorna in this thread, and I ask again….Why would you WANT to partake in something YOU do not believe in? You would not be “in communion” with the community in the church by partaking. You would actually be pushing yourself further from communion as your beliefs are diametrically opposed to those who are Catholic and in a state of grace.

    Steve,
    I find it rather disturbing that you refer to the Mass as “cold, dead, liturgy.” The Mass is made up, from beginning to end, of God’s sacred word. We pray, and we read scripture. even the “rote” prayers (eg. The Lord’s Prayer…see Mt. 6:9-15) come from scripture.

  59. Christine says:

    OOPS…I did not mean to hit post…

    I would like to finish with this: God’s word is alive, not dead. If you are truly a “Bible believing Christian,” liturgy should not be something you perceive as dead.

    As to the “worship” of Mary and the saints, you are incorrect in your belief that Catholics worship them. Catholics venerate Mary as our mother. Christ gave her to us as such when he said to the disciple whom He loved, “Behold your mother.”(John 19:27).

    We ask the saints to pray for us. We do not worship them. I have been told that “Christ is the only example I need.” I, however, find great comfort in knowing that there are other HUMANS, who were not DIVINE as Christ was. I think we all agree that Christ was both whooly humand and wholly divine. The saints, then are people, just like us, who led exemplary Christian lives. The give me hope that I, too, can follow Christ despite my human frailty and sinfulness. I ask them to pray for me just as I would ask one of my brothers and sisters in Christ who is yet here on earth to pray for me. I do not hesitate to ask my best friends on earth to pray for me to the Lord. I also do not hesitate to ask Mary, who went ahead of me and is my spiritual mother, to pray for me.

    I am not nearly so eloquent in explaining these things as Scott Hahn, Patrick Madrid of Marcus Grodi, but I hope my explanation has shed some light on what we Catholics believe.

    With Christ’s love for all in the discussion,
    Christine

  60. Suzanne says:

    Oh, Christine…you have no idea how eloquent you are!
    God bless you and pray for the rest of us who do receive the Holy Eucharist, because sometimes we take the Eucharist for granted, I fear. I will pray that whatever you need that will help you will come and in
    the meantime, I felt very strongly that I am to tell you that God is pleased with you in ways you may not imagine. God be with us all!

  61. ukok says:

    Steve,

    sorry i’ve not had chance to get back sooner, but just wanted to add a couple of comments about your most recent comment

    I too appreciate the civility of our discussion. There really is no need for meanness simply because we disagree, perhaps even strenuously so and nowadays I back out of debates pretty quickly if I suspect that they are going to explode into a mess of antagonism and pridefulness.

    I’m just not interested in that side of things anymore. People can’t be bullied into changing their minds, they can only be shown in love, by example, and by the power of the Holy Spirit that moves the heart ….but even then, we all respond because we have free will to do so.

    As you would expect, with regard to your comment on the Lord’s supper, i find that a pretty unconvincing argument for the disparity ;-)

    I think I’ll adress that particular topic in my bext post if I may, rather than extend the comments box still further. It will be interesting to read your comments on it, I hope you will take the time to share your thoughts. Hopefully i will put the post up within the next 24 hours

    God Bless you!

    Alexa,

    Well done on posting such a comprehensive response in defence of the Real Presence! You just about knocked me out with all that wonderful information and those fantastic quotes. I’m sure this thread will be very beneficial to anyone who has questions about this topic, and yourself and all the contributors seeking to clarify the Catholic position, have done an admirable job. Thank you!

    More to follow….

  62. ukok says:

    James,

    Gosh, you are just SO right about the Eucharistic Miracles. I suppose that if I had to offer a reason to support my restraint in mentioning them, it was because I doubted that a non Catholic would take them seriously if they didn’t first believe in the REal Presence.

    But I know that I was remiss in not mentioning them and I’m very glad that you have done so.

    For those interested, more information can be read and viewed here

    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/a3.html

    Rosemary,

    There you see, I hadn’t even read your commetn yet and I wrote the same thing as you, I knew we were alike!

    Valerie,

    I appreciate your support, dear friend :-)

    Thanks all!

  63. ukok says:

    Christine,
    Many thanks for your thoughtful and well written comments. Much respect to you for your honesty about you personal situation. I can appreciate how you must ache to receive the Eucharist, but I respect you for accepting that for now, you are not able to receive it.
    You spoke so eloquently about the Liturgy of the Mass and of the Eucharist, and your thoughts have added a further dimension to our conversation, because it is one thing to profess a belief in the Real Presence, it is quite another to speak with such love for the Eucharist and the Liturgy.
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us :-)

    P.S Christine, I don’t believe that your qauestion and mine has been sufficeiently answered either!

  64. Terry says:

    64 comments?! I am soooooooooooooo jealous! :)

    Fabulous post however!

  65. Pingback: The One True Church- The Catholic Church « … Ukok’s Place …

  66. Bro says:

    As a convert from what used to be the Anglican Communion…I say “what used to be” since Anglicans are anything but in communion these days given the American Episcopal Church’s shenanigans re: homosexual “marriage” and the like…I can only echo the question posed in earlier posts.

    Never mind Scriptural arguments re: closed vs. open communion and so forth. The question is, WHY in the world would any Protestant–by definition a PROTESTOR against all things Roman Catholic–want to receive communion in a Roman Catholic Church??? It boggles the mind!

    If a Protestant wants to receive the Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity of Christ as He comes to in the Sacrament of the Eucharist through the power of the Holy Spirit working through a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, they ought to cease being protestors and reunite themselves with the Church.

    How much more simple could it be?

    ~ Bro

    • Mary says:

      I am not catholic but have attended Mass many times with friends. I, as a protestant, believe we are taking “in rememberance”. I would never have even remotely thought that anyone could believe it was actual. I had never heard of such a thing until a few years ago. But for me communion really stops me dead in my tracks and the purpose behind it and what Christ did for me is just overpowering for lack of any term that could describe. I am “FOCUSED”.
      I have a question. If this is actually the blood and body of Christ, who would be holy enough to serve? Especially now that Christ is one again with God and Holy Spirit.

    • Regina says:

      Amen, Amen, Amen!

  67. Steve says:

    Wow,
    You guys still aren’t over that whole Reformation thing, I guess.

  68. ukok says:

    Bro,

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    Steve,
    funny you should mention that, theres some reformation-talk going on in the latest thread ;-)

    Terry,

    A lot of the comments are my own….20 of ‘em in fact ;-)

  69. Lorna says:

    “I’m sure that the priest was only acting in the best interests of your soul. ” … sometimes it’s important to put ministry before theology IMHO

    you asked why on earth would I want to have the Eucharist in the RC church? Simple because I believe we are one church and Jesus is the head. That means we are all invited to HIS table and should be able to eat and drink at it.

    you also wrote that you were sad (might be a different word) when you realised that in the Anglican church all you received was bread and wine – not flesh and blood. So it seems that the RC fills your need and I’m glad

    but I see it differently. And even if it is ‘just bread and grapejuice’ the fact that you wouldn’t sit at our table in memory of Jesus does make me sad. It shouldn’t shock you Deb because you know that I do believe in the church catholic if not the Catholic church.

    I don’t believe it matters to God how we interpret what happens to the bread and wine per se – what matters is our faith in Jesus – and whether we are willing to go the extra step to teach people about His love, His compassion and His wonderful promise of life eternal.

    I’ve got over the rankling about your referring to my Holy Communion as toast – but I do try to be respectful of your opinion of e.g. Mary – and so wouldn’t speak disparagingly of her. I think that puts my taking offence into context. But all is forgiven – cos you did it to make a point :) and it certainly helped me understand how because you think our Eucharist is nothing, that we would think the same. But we don’t – I’m glad to say.

    blessings

  70. Christine says:

    Lorna,
    I would certainly hope that your love for Jesus, rather than you fear of offending a Catholic would prevent you from speaking disparaginly of Mary. We are called in the the Ten Commandments to “Honor your father and mother that your life may long upon the earth.” Christ gave us Mary as our spiritual mother in John 19:27 when he said, “Behold your mother.” It would stand to reason that as he honored his mother and gave us his mother as our own, that we, too, should honor her. Saying anything disparaging in regard to the mother of God would then be a direct insult to Him, don’t you think?

    Mary was the first believer in Christ. She sacrificed to become his mother. In saying yes to the Lord, she was putting herself in danger. Had Joseph not also heard from the Lord, Mary may have been stoned to death. I am often awed by the trust she had, and I hope to have even a small measure of it in my own life. She is the best example of how to follow Christ.

    Christine

  71. Hidden One says:

    Steve: “Wow,
    You guys still aren’t over that whole Reformation thing, I guess.”

    Steve, if you ever got over it, you’d be a Catholic. :P

    Now, please. There have been a few questions for you psoted, adn you have nto responded to them, whether you are ignoring them or simply do not have the time to answer them. Please answer them, or at least be courteous enough to explain why you have not.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Hidden One

    PS: It occurs to me that you’re a Sola Scripturist, so I’ll tack on a question of my own to the list. Where in the Bible does it (specifically) say that the Eucharist is merely bread and wine? Yes, it says, “Do this in remembrance of me,” but that’s now what happens, that’s why we’re to do it. As certain biblical passages, some already highlighted, do appear to support transubstantiation, at least if taken literally, I’m wondering whether your non-literal interpretation is resultant from Scripture, or merely a manmade Protestant tradition.

  72. Steve says:

    H-O,
    What did I miss? Here’s my bottom line – I don’t think catholicism is heretical, but you certainly do add works (i.e., your own actions) to salvation by grace. I don’t find references to the religious bureaucracy of the RC church mentioned anywhere in Scripture. To my mind, it’s a thing of man.

    You are certainly free to worship as you will. If you find meaning in it all (which I didn’t), then God bless you. The Holy Spirit, if we are believers in the saving work of Christ on the cross, can deal with us wherever we are. I’m truly happy that I have catholic brother and sisters in the faith.

    To get back to the point of Deb’s original post, I would dearly love to share the Lord’s Supper with each and every one of you – your church or mine.

    As for where in Scripture it references bread and wine, try Luke 22:19 or 1 Corinthians 11:24-26. They were celebrating the Passover, which certainly involved bread (matzot) and wine. We’ll have to agree to disagree on transmutation.

  73. Christine says:

    Steve,
    That would be transubstantiation, not transmutation.

  74. Steve says:

    Oops, my bad. I stand – or sit – corrected.

  75. Bro says:

    Chrsit didn’t write the bible, he founded the Church. The Church came first. She then compiled and handed on what she received from Christ. Some of what she compiled she wrote down–that’s what the Church calls Scripture. Some of what she received has been passed on in other ways–that is what the Church calls Tradition.

    Arguing against a teaching of the Catholic Church by saying “But that’s not in the Bible” is no argument at all. Again, Christ did not write a book. Christ founded a Church. The Catholic Church inspired by the Holy and Blessed Trinity wrote the book later.

  76. kay says:

    I have been lurking and this is a very interesting topic. No one has mentioned Acts 15:29 when the early Church decided that one of the requirements for the new Gentile believers was to abstain from consuming blood. How can Catholics believe that they are actually drinking the blood of Christ when consuming blood was prohibited? I am a new Catholic but I started to have many doubts especially during Eucheristic Adoration. It seemed wrong to be sitting in front of a wafer and to pray to it as Jesus?? Where did this tradition come from??

  77. ukok says:

    Kay, I am terribly saddened to read that you doubt the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I must ask you, was this not spoken about in RCIA when you were preparing to become Catholic? When you made your First Holy Communion did you not believe it? If not, why did you go ahead and recieve the Eucharist? If you did believe it only a little while ago, what changed?

    In response to your question about the passage in Acts, I would first say that it is meant to be taken in context. Ie, drinking blood was abhorrent to Jews. Jesus gave us a new command, to eat His Fesh and drink His Blood. And think about it….how can Jesus’ blood be ‘unclean’ ? (which is what the passage refers to)
    God Bless

  78. Bro says:

    Intersting that after Jesus told his disciples to eat his fleah and drink my blood many disciples ceased to follow him. Probably for some of the same reasons folks today won’t accept His teaching.

    And isn’t it intersting that Jesus didn’t try to stop them?

    “And Jesus spoke unto them saying ‘Verily, I was just using symbolic language. I was only kidding thee. I didn’t mean my flesh is real food when I said “REAL.” I didn’t mean my blood is real drink when I said “REAL.” Gee whiz, thou should stop taking me so seriously and come ye back. .. and bringeth some chip dip with thee when thou comest.’ ”

    Nope, that’s just not how He said ti; that’s now how the Church remembered it, so that’s not how they wrote it down when the time came to do so.

  79. kay says:

    RCIA wasn’t the greastest although the instructors meant well. I understand where Catholics get the belief of the real Presence and since I thought I understood it I joined the Church. (My husband is Catholic). Having an understanding of someone’s belief is not the same as believing it in your heart. I prayed for belief in the Eucharist like the others I see and went to Eucheristic Adoration since people told me that would draw me closer to see Christ in The Eucharist. After 3 1/2 years of trying to believe it in my heart, I have given up. The verse in Acts is refering to the Gentile converts and not the Jews. After John 6 when most left , don’t you think it was due to people hoping for a messiah to save them from Rome and his speech about eating his flesh pushed them away. I can’t see where that is literal anymore.

  80. ukok says:

    Kay,
    It would appear that half the sentence is missing in my previous comment. It could have happened when I edited the comment to amend my spelling errors, i’m not sure where the rest of it is, forgive me for not noticing sooner. It doesn’t make a lot of sense when I read the second paragraph either. Sorry about that!

    Now then, you mention St. Paul.

    Let me do so too.

    It was St. Paul who said in his letter to the Corinthians;

    ” Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
    and Jesus who said;

    “this cup is the new covenant in my blood … do this in remembrance of me.”

    The old blood sacrifices and offerings were to be no more, Christ would be our unbloody sacrifice. The Bloody offerings of the Old Covenant that had been instituted by God in O.T times, was replaced with the offering of Christ, who instituted a New Covenant in N.T times.

    You write that after John 6 ‘most left’. Scripture actually says ;
    “As a result of this, ;many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.”, – John 6:6.

    They walked away form Jesus and no longer accompanied him, they rejected Christ and the New Covenant he instituted. You prove my point exactly in saying that Jesus words were too harsh for them to accept. Why were they so difficult to accept if they did not refer to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?

    Jesus made no apologies when the Jews said that He could surely not be talking about his own flesh and blood. Many still walk away now because they too will not accept it. Christ will not demand they stay, that’s what free will is all about.
    You write about yourself as being like the Jews who denied Christ truly present in the Eucharist,
    “The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?” John 6: 52.
    To which Jesus replied;

    “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink

    About your Catechesis. You write that you did not believe in the Real Presence ,in your heart but that you thought you ‘understood’ what the Eucharist is.

    I am saddened that you didn’t stop the process of your preparation for receiving Communion when you knew that you had not accepted this in your heart.

    If there’s one thing that really ought to be present as you come to the time you will receive it, it is the hearts longing to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, even when the mind can not fathom it.

    I take it then, that you have made your priest aware of this change and that you no longer receive communion? Do you have a spiritual director, somone who you could talk to about this ?
    God Bless you!

  81. kay says:

    I no longer recieve communion because I cannot say Amen to something I can’t truly say 100% that I believe. I haven’t said anything to our priest, he’s hard to talk with and soo busy I hate to bother him, but I would like to have a spiritual director someday. I can’t really go back to being Protestant when I do believe most of the other Church’s teachings.

  82. ukok says:

    Kay,

    I respect your decision to not recieve communion, it is absolutely the right thing to do. This is one of the many differences between yourself and a non-Catholic. Before receiving the Eucharist we are specifically asked if we agree that the Eucharist is the Body of Christ, we have to each say Amen if we are to receive it. What protestant can say Amen to the Eucharist being the Body of Christ! You, in your heart, want to say Amen, but at the moment feel unable to.

    You yourself are not now and can never be protestant again. Once Catholic always Catholic regardless of whichsoever church you may frequent or not frequent after becoming or being baptised into the Catholic Faith.

    Do you mind if I ask if you still fulfill your Sunday obligation? If so, do you think that the priest of your parish might not notice eventually that you are not receiving Communion?

    I would strongly urge you to discuss your concerns with your parish priest.

    Kay, I work for my priest and he is excessively busy all the time. He is a priest, a Dean, a teacher, a father, a husband, a grandfather etc (he’s an Anglican convert). He is overstretched to the max. But if I know one thing about him it’s that he would loathe to think that his flock (we the parishioners) were suffering in silence , spiritually.

    It is your priests job to be a Father to you and I implore you to let him help. Perhaps if you feel uncomfortable about just ‘laying this on him’ when he is busy, you could call to arrange a meeting outlining that you are experiencing difficulties in your spiritual walk.

    I think your best bet would be in attaining a Spiritual director, this does not have to be a priest. It could be a sponsor, catechist, deacon or someone else outside your immediate circle, a priest in another parish, faithful catholic in good standing with the church etc.

    I will remember you in my prayers

    God Bless you!

  83. kay says:

    Do you mind if I email you? Some of the details don’t seem to fit in your combox. You can email me first if you want to…

  84. ukok says:

    Kay, I don’t mind at all. Contact me at dashere4u (@) yahoo.co.uk.

    God Bless you!

  85. Ukok,

    Sorry, I made one comment and then got sick and disappeared. Today I remembered the comment and came to check back – and am amazed this discussion is still going on! Nice work.

    Steve, you said of Catholicism:

    “you certainly do add works (i.e., your own actions) to salvation by grace.”

    Actually, no. At least not how Protestants usually think of it (faith + works, earning your way to heaven apart from the grace of God).

    Here’s what the horse’s mouth says on that issue: “No one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2008. Forgiveness and justification are purely a work of God.

    However, once forgiven and justified, moved and empowered by the grace of God when we cooperate with His grace, we can merit increased sanctification. Merit, by the way, is just a fancy word for “reward,” which is all over the New Testament: when we strive to live for God, run and finish the race, we receive a reward, a crown, in heaven. Protestants do believe in sanctification and heavenly reward. (Catholics just use different terminology, for the sake of theological precision.)

    But even then, “The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God . . . The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace.” CCC 2011

    The Catholic teaching is thoroughly consistent with scripture, which tells us: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:8-10; Protestants usually leave off the last part)

    In other words, like faith, our works themselves are gifts of God, empowered by His grace, which He rewards with an increase of grace when we work according to His grace. We’re not “earning our way to heaven,” we’re living according to God’s will, and being changed by it in the process, while we’re on our way to heaven.

  86. Lorna says:

    we can merit increased sanctification. Merit, by the way, is just a fancy word for “reward,”

    err no .. reward doesn’t fit in that sentence! Merit here = earn – and that is a works based theology …

    Protestant Christians do believe in sanctification – but as the becoming more like Jesus in this life – not in a place between heaven and hell which is how I understand your definition of purgatory – a place between life and eternal life – that’s not heaven but most definitely not hell.

    I don’t think Protestants think sanctification is in a place after death — but have faith that Jesus’ blood (already shed – no need for extra prayers or masses fo the dead!) is enough to transform us.

    That said, I heard once that purgatory is full of protestants because no-one prays for their release. Interesting theory :)

  87. “err no .. reward doesn’t fit in that sentence! Merit here = earn – and that is a works based theology …”

    How I love it when Protestants try to tell Catholics what we really believe.

    Here’s a couple of plain English definitions of the word “merit,” from Dictionary.com:

    -something that deserves or justifies a reward or commendation; a commendable quality, act, etc.
    -Roman Catholic Church. worthiness of spiritual reward, acquired by righteous acts made under the influence of grace.

    Here’s a fancy Catholic explanation of the word “merit,” from the same section on merit in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that I quoted above:

    “The term ‘merit’ refers in general to the recompense owed by a community or a society for the action of one of its members …. deserving reward or punishment. … With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. … the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit. … The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness.” (CCC #2006-2008)

    Nothing in there about “earning” our way to heaven.

    Perhaps you could explain to me the Protestant theology regarding “reward.” Do you just sit around and do nothing, and receive a great reward just because you believe? That’s not how the bible explains it. It’s because you believe that you strive, and so receive a reward. Is the striving a type of working? Of course it is. Is it working apart from the grace of God to try to get into heaven? Of course not! It’s God’s grace that enables us to work, that then also gives us the reward when we do work – a reward that is based on the quality of our work. That’s biblical and Protestant theology. That’s also Catholic theology.

    Personally, I think Protestants try to explain away, rather than understand, the biblical concept of work in order to justify the “saved by faith alone” idea (which turns faith itself into a type of work). Actually, we’re saved by Christ alone. Faith itself is a gift offered by God when He draws us to Himself by His grace. If we respond to His drawing, we receive the gift of faith, and grace, and sanctification, and many other things. But they are all gifts. Even our free will is a gift, our very existence is a gift, given to us by God at our creation – and we can’t even use it to respond, unless He draws us first (Jn 6:44). Everything is a gift from God.

    As for purgatory and sanctification, when I was a Protestant I used to wonder how, if God is so holy He can’t tolerate sin in His Presence, we could enter heaven if we weren’t yet fully sanctified when we died. It didn’t seem like enough to just be legally cleansed, but underneath still a dungheap, as in Protestant theology. How can a dungheap enter heaven?

    The Catholic doctrine of purgatory is the only explanation I’ve heard of what happens to remaining sin when we die (and the seeds of the doctrine are in scripture – see 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7). The simplest explanation of the doctrine is from Scott Hahn: God is described as a fire in scripture. Purgatory is the fire of God’s love burning out whatever remains in us of sin when we die, as He draws us to Himself in love.

    Another way of putting it: it is Jesus’ blood cleansing us completely of whatever remains in us of sin when we die, transforming and transfiguring us, so we can go to heaven.

    The word purgatory comes from the word purge, which means “to rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify.” (again from Dictionary.com). It’s not enough, as in Protestant theology, to merely be legally clean of sin to enter heaven. We have to be REALLY clean, inward and outward. That’s what purgatory is for: to cleanse us of whatever sin or sinful tendencies remain.

  88. Joyce says:

    This is in reference to Steve’s post on June 13, 2007. I am a devout, scripture reading Catholic. I can’t get enough of learning about my faith and the Word of God. Do you know where in the Bible that it saays that salvation is by faith alone? Where can I find that scripture passage?

    The part you wrote about Catholics not knowing how to pray, well… I don’t know what church your wife attended, but people in my Church certainly know how to pray and our Sunday night Mass is a packed house all worshipping and praising God.

    Matthew 6:7 says: “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again.” The the scripture goes on to recite The Lord’s Prayer.

    I’m sorry you feel so negatively about the Catholic Church. I’ll put you on our prayer list. Peace.

  89. Joyce says:

    Amy,
    The part in the Bible about the blood being the New Covenant… well, I believe that that is the only time that Jesus used the word Covenant. It wasn’t a contract, it was a COVENANT. That was stronger than a contract. That’s why so many of Christ’s followers left him. They thought he was wack and as someone put it, “A cannibal”. YUK! Jesus could have clarified what he meant if he meant for it to only be a “symbol” of his body and blood, but he didn’t. He said, “This IS my body… this IS my blood…”

    I would highly recomend Scott & Kimberly Hahn’s book, Rome Sweet Home – Our Journey to Catholicism. It is sooo awesome. (I’m a convert to Catholicism)

    Also, if you are in Texas, I can get you set up on an ACTS Retreat. These are truly life changing and spirit-filled!

  90. Steve says:

    Joyce,
    How about starting with Romans 3:21-28? That gives a great explanation of salvation and justification through faith alone.

    I grew up in the catholic church and attended catholic grade school. Maybe it’s changed since then, but everything I’ve seen says it hasn’t, at least not much. That’s not to say that there aren’t many ‘saved’ catholics with a real relationship with Christ. For most that I know, the RCC always seems to come between the individual and the Savior. That would violate the spirit of 1 Tim 2:5 – “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”

    I’ll pray for you, too!

  91. Joyce says:

    Steve,
    Romans 3:21 – 28 doesn’t say it’s by faith alone, but it also doesn’t say that it’s not. It says that man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

    This is giving me something to really ponder.
    Thanks.
    Have a great evening!

  92. Hidden One says:

    James 2:14-24 says its not! Highlight verses 17, 20, and 24.

  93. Joyce says:

    Hidden One
    OMGosh! I found that the other day and have already hi-lited! I was going to respond with that answer! I know that God is leading this thread! It doesn’t get much clearer than this. Praise God!
    Keep ‘em coming!

  94. Joyce says:

    UKOK,
    I was perusing the thread from the beginning and I saw something that you posted regarding Confession / Reconciliation. I absolutely LOVE reconciliation. I mean, if we just confess our sins silently in prayer, of course we are going to get the answers that we want to hear. It is when we confess to the Priest, whom is given the power, for lack of knowing the correct word, to hear us and either absolve us of our sins, or tell us what we must do in order to be absolved. Sometimes, the truth is hard to hear, but it is what we need at times. I can only speak for myself there, but, oh well… that’s just my two-cents!
    Peace!

    OK… I’m not through. I’m a convert to Catholicism, but I personally know two Methodist ministers with differing views on the “Bread”. One says it is merely a symbol, the other says that it is the body. My question to her was, “If you believe that this is Christ’s body, the why do you let the crumbs, His body, fall onto the floor to be trampled upon?” She didn’t have an answer.

  95. esia says:

    really sad and shocking, read this thread, im protestant, but i do take communion (bread and wine) as a symbol of Christ Body and Blood, and i do that to remembrance of Christ, it sacred to me.

    we all one body of Christ no matter which church we attend, chatolic, protestant, methodist or else, we all served one God, praise one God, and call upon him in One Jesus Christ name, and i dont think it wise for one to say they church is the right one, or the other church not good enough or the other church communion is not sacred, who are we to tell this !?

    what do you guys think ???
    no offense but Jesus will be cry to look his children debate over this, and what did you think for other non believer(religion) see us on this thread talk like this to each other, we all one body of Christ, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. so lets be one and preach the gosper, lets devoted to one another in brotherly love, give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, practicing hospitality.
    so through each one off us, many of non believer will turn to Him, believe in Him and know Father. Amen

    God Bless You All

  96. Pingback: Why Protestants can’t receive the Eucharist in the Catholic Church « … Ukok’s Place …

  97. GiGi says:

    Hey Catholics…get off your “high horses”, Protestants are Christians too! :) We all need to get away from legalism and focus more on Jesus Christ. Isn’t Jesus what it’s all about…or is it all about rituals and who’s better at it. We need to come together, put away differences, and realize that there are more important issues at stake. We need to fight evil in this world, not each other. :)

  98. Ster56789 says:

    I am disturbed by the lack of unity within the body of the Church. As a Protestant, I see all denominations moving further apart on the issues that divide us. We say “agree to disagree” without considering the ramifications of that statement. It seems to me that that phrase means that we just accept anything the other believes, even if it means heresy. This thread is more of an attempt to understand, I hope, as no two people will agree on everything. We must take a stand on common beliefs, and our love for God and each other will be best displayed when we continue to disagree on disagreeable doctrines and hold closely to the foundation Christ had built under us.
    Saying that, communion is sacred. Here is my question: Do we risk fellowship with unbelievers allowing them to take communion at an open table, or does God deal with the individual solely on the the bases that they are warned of judgement by the priest or minister if the elements are served properly?
    I say both are the case. We are accountable to God and each other. Forbiding someone from communion who gives good evidence of unbelief (ie: lack of a lifestyle of repentence) is just. That is an extremely dangerous position. However, we represent a holy and just God. We must be clear about that, that drinking judgement upon themselves is a serious, and painful matter. As the same time, we cannot fully know a visitors heart or each others. While we should be diligent in holding ourselves and each other up in faith, I am unable to find a Biblical context to withhold the elements from those we who come faithfully to recieve communion, yet are unfamiliar to the local congregation.

  99. Libbie says:

    Wow, that made interesting reading. Thankyou for linking back to it Ukok.

    I’m a protestant and I really can’t understand the protestants who are pushing to be given communion in a Catholic church. Even though I do not believe in transubstantiation, I can see things from a Catholic’s perspective and see that it would be very wrong for someone to take Christ bodily into themselves who did not believe it was actually Christ.

    I am happy to acknowledge that bread taken at our communion is just bread, but it is, of course, a thing not taken lightly. I do indeed long to take it, because a) I want to be obedient to my Lord and b) it is a time of meditating on His sacrifice for us that is especially significant.

    Anyway, that was just to add a protestant, 5 sola viewpoint that didn’t insist I should be able to take communion in your church.

  100. Joyce says:

    Gigi,
    It’s not the “high horse” that we Catholics are on. What we believe are the teachings & traditions of the Catholic Church based upon what Christ left to His disciples as stated in the Gospels. From thence has developed our Church and our beliefs…our religion. If we believed otherwise, we would call ourselves Protestants. I don’t believe we are better or worse than the next, but I am firm in my beliefs as I respect your right to believe as you see fit. Does that make us right? No. It doesn’t make us wrong, either. But the Catholic Church, I pray, won’t change it’s view on certain things such as the reception of communion, The Holy Eucharist, just to make some Protestants feel better about themselves.

  101. Joyce says:

    My last post probably came across more harshly than I had intended. I don’t want to be misconstrued as a Reglious Eliteist, but this is my Faith and this is what I believe. For someone to trivialize the Catholics way of worshipping, that probaby aren’t familiar or know why Catholics believe what we believe, tends to make me want to help them to understand. Believe me, I am NOT condemning. I am a former Protestant (Baptist) and I know that the Catholic Church is my Home. I felt called to the Catholic Church when I was 15 years old. I became Catholic when I was 22. I am now 40. So, I knew what I was getting into when I joined the Church. God led me here. If God led you to another church, then that is where you need to be.

    My grandparents were Seventh Day Adventist, and my grandmother is one of the holiest, most reverent women that I have been privileged to know and for me to think that she isn’t correct in her way of worshipping… well, that just wouldn’t happen. Her relationship with Christ is too strong and too pure. Ok… now I’m way off track. Anyway… God Bless and have a great day!

  102. Paul says:

    Hi there. I really like your blog. I came across it yesterday.

    I would like to suggest another perspective on this issue is that of “redemptive suffering” which is not really accepted by Protestants (they often interpret it as ‘works’).
    It is through participating in the pain and suffering of the separation, that the redemptive healing of the divisions comes to fruition.
    I think the best guide to this (and then reflecting on the reception of Eucharist by non-Catholics in light of it), is John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Savifici Doloris.
    It is interesting to note that Benedict XVI also used this thinking in relation to the divorced who are either unable to receive the sacraments or be received into the Church owing to related impediments, during a Q&A session with priests last year.
    So, when viewed in the correct light, instead of feeling anger at ‘the Church’ for not allowing us to do what we want, we and they suffer the separation, and this, paradoxically, brings us closer together, by sharing in that common suffering and acknowledging our common brokenness where redemption is most to be found.

  103. Johannim says:

    YUP AND HERE’S ANOTHER CONVERT TO CATHOLIC CHRISTENDOM FROM AN ANGLICAN/BAPTIST UPBRINGING AND MINDSET.WHEN I ENTERED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH THE CONGREGATION WAS MORE LIBERAL/HUMANIST/ALMOST SECULAR IN THEIR PERCEPTION OF CATHOLICISM THAN THE PROTESTANT CHURCH I HAD JUST LEFT. THEN ALONG CAME BENEDICT 16, MOTU PROPRIO SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM AND I EXPERIENCE THE DIVINE LITURGY AS PRACTISED BY CATHOLIC CHRISTIANS IN MORE OR LESS THE SAME MANNER FOR 1700 YEARS UNTIL THE COMING OF VATICAN 2. IT BLOODY NEAR KNOCKED ME OFF MY FEET WHEN I EXPERIECED THIS MASS (TRIDENTINE) WHICH WAS CODIFIED AT TRENT. WASN’T AT ALL CERTAIN IT WAS CATHOLIC SINCE I WAS BRAINWASHED IN MY PATICULAR PARISH WITH EXPRESSIONS LIKE WORSHIP SPACE/ NOT CHURCH, COMMUNION/MEAL TABLE NOT ALTER OF G-D. BASICALLY THE “WORSHIP SERVICE MASS OF PAUL 6TH “WAS MORE HUGGY FEELY AND VERY VERY VERY NOISY. THE PRIEST DOES LITTLE MORE THAN CONSECRATION AS HE SITS IN THE CORNER AND A MULTITUDE OF EXTRORDINARY EUCHISTIC MINISTER MEN & WOMEN RUNNING AROUND LITERALLY (EVEN WATCH THE BLOODY OF CHRIST DRIPPING FROM THE CHALICE OF ONE OF THE WOMEN EM’S. AND THEN I ATTENDED A TRIDENTINE LITURGY AND AS I SAID EARLIER IT WAS REALLY THE NEAREST THING TO HEAVEN I’VE EVER BEEN. THE CHURCH WAS LITERALLY PACKED OUT TO THE STREET AND AT A GLANCE THE AVERAGE AGE WAS 15 TO 40 YRS OLD. THANKS POPE BENEDICT FOR SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM.

  104. ukok says:

    Wow, I had a lot of catching up to do on this post, especially in the comments section. Thanks Libby, Joyce and Paul and Johannim for your recent -ish comments, sorry I didn’t get back here sooner to read them.

    God Bless.

  105. Zac says:

    I was raised baptist and later joined the methodist church. yet, theres so much that appeals to me and attracts me to the catholic faith that i may as well already be catholic. my concern is, i confess and am truly sorry for having gone to mass on a regular basis and receiving the blessed sacrament, without having any catechesis etc. I never intended to cause harm in doing so, rather i thought that I was truly united with our resurrected Lord in such a holy way. I was always taught that even as a protestant that i should not recieve communion if i was conscious of grave sin. Again i repeat, i am so very sorry for having done what i have done, and in peace, i would like advice on what i should do about this. As someone who has deep hope of becoming a Catholic, i DO feel that confession and absolution is a necessity, followed by proper catechesis and proper entry in the life of the sacraments, also to be a necessity. I never meant to cause harm, but rather i jumped the gun out of excitement of our Lord and i hope to soon get on track and where i’m supposed to be.

    God Bless you all

  106. Zac, I have a good and holy pastor who is a convert to Catholicism and also received before he entered the church and was catechized. Since you clearly feel bad about it I would suggest you visit a priest in the confessional and just tell him about it. In fact, I think you can receive the sacrament of Reconciliation even before entering the church. You seem to have a good and pure heart. I’m sure the Lord appreciates your excitement for him. May the Lord guide you in your walk. Here’s hoping you come “home” soon.

  107. ukok says:

    Zac,

    Rosemary has given a splendid response to your comment, one which I myself would have given in so far as even though I am not familiar with her pastor, I do believe that you were unaware of the gravity of the act of receiving communion without being properly prepared.

    I second my friend’s advice to you to seek out a Catholic Church as soon as possible and to talk this over with the priest. Also, you might want to consider joining RCIA – the catholic faith exploration programme otherwise known as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. When you have completed the programme to the satisfaction of your pastor (you don’t have to sit an exam orf anything – the meetings are friendly and informal) you will be able to recieve the Sacraments of Initiation ….Baptism, if you have not already had a valid baptism (trinitarian), First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

    Please do let me know how you get on and feel free to hang around here and read the archives where there’s lots of stuff about my own conversion to Catholicism!

    God Bless you

    Rosemary,

    Thanks so much for responding to Zac, this old thread is often overlooked, even by me. I very much appreciate your helping out our brother in Christ!

  108. Steve says:

    Zac,
    Run away!!!! (Just kidding, sort of.)

    Rosemary – I appreciate the willingness to help others in their quest to have a deeper relationship with, and understanding of, Christ, but, again, I’m saddened by all the additional legalistic trappings that Catholicism brings to the table.

    TomIntheBox had a great satiric post entitled “Pope Reads Augustine, Converts to Christianity”. Would that it were so. (Yes, I think he is a Christian, but no moreso than you or I.)

    It comes down to simple faith. Paul said that there is one God and one, count ‘em, one intermediary between God and man, Jesus Christ. Not the pope, not the ‘saints,’ not Mary.

    I attended the US Air Force Academy, which was founded in 1959. West Point was founded in 1802. We used to harrass the West Pointers by saying they had ’200 years of tradition unhampered by progress,’ while we had 40 years of progress, unhampered by tradition.’ The same applies to the catholic and Protestant traditions, I think.

  109. ukok says:

    Oh Steve,

    me thinks you dost protest too much….

  110. Steve says:

    Hee hee. Have a wonder Christmas!

  111. Zac says:

    it is indeed so very hard to get up the confidence to go and talk to a priest. i know that just as much energy as i had to commit the sin that i should have the energy and confidence to talk to the priest. please continue to pray for me, beloved brothers and sisters in christ. i truly love the Lord so much that i often do things out of pure excitement, without thinking.

    thank you for your love and prayers.

    God Bless you all.

    Zach

  112. lori says:

    question: I am catholic and my husband is luthern. We go to each others churches and his pastor always welcomes christians of all faiths who have had their fist communion to partake in communion. What do I do?

  113. Lizi says:

    I am a protestant, but actaully I am a CHRISTian, aren’t the words of the creed (in both churches) we believe in one god, one baptism for the forgivor of sins…one holy catholic and apostolic church?!?! they say these words in both churches, because by being baptised you are giving yourself to god and receiving the holy spirit, therefore communion is for anyone who has been baptised and who wants to receive the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are ALL Christians, and Jesus would never deny his body to anyone by a sub-label of who they are, a follower of Jesus is a follower of Jesus, and I think it is offensive and not very Christian like to deny communion to a Christian because of the difference in church, it is so offensive and to me against God and the meaning of the creed and the purpose of receiving communion to deny it. In answer to why would I want to receive Catholic communion, because a church is a church, and it is not a different religion, if I want to worhsip Jesus in a catholic church or protestant I should be able to, my boyfriend is Catholic and so I would like to attend his mass sometimes and both respect each other’s upbringing, but to be told I can’t receive communion in a catholic church is so offensive and to me wrong and not what Jesus would have wanted.

    • Regina says:

      Lizi, your last sentence, … if this is not what Jesus would have wanted, then why did he let those who walked away in John 6: 66…. why didn’t He tell them it was all a joke… Catholics believe what he said, therefore Catholic are not to receive where it is not likewise believed as well. Receiving Communion is not the same as a handshake, it takes faith in the truly Presence of Jesus…as Catholic believe.

  114. Zac says:

    ok. better yet, i’m just going atheist. bye folks.

  115. ukok says:

    Gosh Zac, how does one go from being Christian to Atheist just like that, what happened?

    Lori,

    Sounds like the priest is in need of a little catechesis himself! He should say that those who are catholic and are properly prepared, can receive communion. I know its hard, but maybe your husband could have a word with him and just ask him in a questioning way why it is that the priest allows this to be so when the people who recieve communion may not be properly disposed to receive communon?

    God Bless you!

  116. ukok says:

    Lizi,

    thanks for your comment.

    I can see what you are saying. I would just first point out that when the Church professes ‘one baptism for the forgiveness of sins’ it is in fact a trinitarian baptism to which the Catholic church refers. Not all christian denominations baptise using the trinitarian formula. So I think that we have to bear that in mind too.

    I will respond further in a little while, have to go get the kids school uniforms sorted for tomorrow now though.
    :-)

  117. Zac says:

    sorry i ever bothered you all.

    i’ve been a christian with closeted atheist tendencies for several years. but now i’m coming out of the “atheist closet”, never to return.

  118. ukok says:

    Zac,

    sorry to hear that. Don’t be sorry you bothered anyone here though, I’ve been glad of the oportunity to pray for you and for all who visit my blog. You may not want my prayers, but I will be praying for you, especially now.

    If you want to discuss what atheistic tendencies you’ve been experiencing, if I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to revisit this thread. I’ll be alerted via email and can then respond, as can other visitors here.

    God Bless you

  119. AutumnRose says:

    Lizi, it is a sad fact that we are divided from some of our brethren, but it is, none-the-less, a fact. Unless one can accept, fully and without judgement, the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the Eucharist, then one should not receive, nor desire to receive.

    In my (humble) opinion, those who shout the loudest at the ‘unfairness’ of a closed table are usually those who also (loudly) cristicise the Catholic Church and her teachings. I’m not saying this necessarily applies to you, but it’s something I have become increasingly aware of.

    It is not enough to be a CHRITian, but also to be in a state of Grace, which means to be forgiven of mortal/grave sin, which we, as Catholics, believe necessitates the absolution of a Priest through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession). Are you prepared to accept this also? If someone (you, anyone) was to refuse one Sacrament, then why would they expect to receive another.

    I hope this clarifies a little!
    God bless you,
    AR xx

  120. Steve says:

    Rose,
    Wow, so much to comment on:

    Unless one can accept, fully and without judgement, the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the Eucharist, then one should not receive, nor desire to receive.

    I would much rather accept, fully and without judgement, the teachings of Scripture regarding the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Christ was much more open about who could recieve Him than the catholic church ever was.

    It is not enough to be a CHRITian, but also to be in a state of Grace, which means to be forgiven of mortal/grave sin, which we, as Catholics, believe necessitates the absolution of a Priest through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession).

    Or to simply be prayerfully repentant of our sins, which does not require the actions of an intermediary other than Christ. (See 1 Tim 2:5.)

    Are you prepared to accept this also? If someone (you, anyone) was to refuse one Sacrament, then why would they expect to receive another.

    If by ‘sacrament,’ you mean a man-created ceremony loosely originated in Christ’s admonition to “do this in remembrance of Me,” then I would agree. In that case, I would agree with you. It would be like going into a Freemason’s lodge and expecting them to give you the secret handshake without any initiation.

    But if you would rather participate in a loving, prayerful remembrance of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, come celebrate worship and attend the Lord’s Supper with brothers and sisters in Christ who are not bound by extra-biblical teachings.

    I hope this clarifies a lot!

    Steve

  121. AutumnRose says:

    The best clarification I received was when I became a Catholic 15 monts ago, and the scales fell from my eyes!

    But I can happily agree to differ :)

  122. ukok says:

    But if you would rather participate in a loving, prayerful remembrance of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, come celebrate worship and attend the Lord’s Supper with brothers and sisters in Christ who are not bound by extra-biblical teachings.

    Steve, that’s the thing you’re missing…. the Mass is scriptural.

  123. The mass is scriptural? Chapter and verses please, since I went to the Catholic mass thru my whole childhood and have read over the descriptions and it doesn’t line up. Especially the offering of the prayers from the priest who allegedly collected them from the parishioners. There is one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. This is one of the main points that bothers me tremendously since it is derailing Jesus as God and Lord.

  124. ukok says:

    chapter and verse eh? I find that ever so slightly amusing, i must say! Can you offer me chapter and verse for all that your particular strand of protestantism practices?

    i’m not sure if you took the time to read my post above or just jumped in with your protestations, so if you want to know why the Mass is scriptural, peruse these….

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur144.htm

    http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Issues/sola.html

    http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/0304-96/anarchy.html

    God Bless you

  125. Steve says:

    ukok,
    I think this turns into a self-licking ice cream cone in that, a) your arguments hinge on the authority of the Catholic Church while, b) Protestants affirm sola scriptura, and c) never the twain shall meet. (Okay, never say never.)

    This why I get frustrated by ‘Christian argumentation.’ On matters of faith, it’s rarely possible to argue someone into agreeing with a firmly held belief, whether it be the authority of the catholic church, young earth vs old earth creation, or any other prized nugget of ‘faith’.

    That said, I do hold to a sola scriptura view, and I do think that some Catholic practices are not Scriptural, but I know many Catholics who have a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ, apart from what Mother Church teaches. Likewise I know many Protestants whose faith is a mile wide and an inch deep.

    It comes down to Christ’s question to Peter at Caesarea Phillipi, “Who do you say that I am?” All of Scripture and all of the Christian faith comes down to that.

    I’m happy to count you a sister in Christ, even if we disagree on the details.

  126. ukok says:

    Steve, I count you as my brother in Christ. It befuddles me that you claim to hold to Sola Scriptura, except for the parts about the Eucharist, but I don’t think we are going to agree on that anytime soon :-)

    I want yoiu to know that I have appreciated your involvement in this discussion, and I thank you that you have always commented in a gentlemanly way!

    God Bless you

  127. Zac says:

    ok. feel free to condemn me to hell. i commited a huge sin of “recieving the sacrament in an unworthy manner” and therefore i’m damned.

    that is exactly why i’ve left the realm of fantacy “organized religion”

    its all man made, mostly fictional, and just…so many more falacies that i can’t discuss without using inapropriate language.

  128. ukok says:

    gosh zac, where’s all the anger and the ‘attitude ‘ coming from? No one condemns any one to hell but themselves!

    I am not going to condemn you at all.

  129. AutumnRose says:

    Me neither!

    Is the Mass scriptural? Please read this:
    http://www.wctc.net/~mudndirt/Scripture%20in%20mass.htm
    as it gives a verse by verse commentary on the Mass :)

    *hugs*
    AR xx

  130. Steve says:

    AR/ukok,
    Scripture in the mass is a very different animal that the mass being Scriptural. I think the point was that liturgy has no foundation in Scripture, unless you read a lot into Hebrews 10:25 (“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.”)

    Obviously, this could be taken to extremes – no one is suggesting that we not meet together for worship. GraceBeliever’s comment (#125 above) simply implies that there is no Scriptural authority for formal liturgical services, or any other mandated form, for that matter. I’m not advocating anarchy, just disagreeing with your contention that the liturgy is founded in Scripture.

    ukok,
    I just caught this in your comment above: It befuddles me that you claim to hold to Sola Scriptura, except for the parts about the Eucharist. Far be it from me to leave anyone befuddled. I hold to Sola Scriptura in all things. My reading of Scripture leads me back to the original point of this post: celebration of the Lord’s Supper is and should be open to all believers.

    As I’ve thought about it, though, I will stand by my comment in #122 above: [Taking the catholic sacrament of 'Holy Communion'] would be like going into a Freemason’s lodge and expecting them to give you the secret handshake without any initiation. The sacrament is separate and distinct from the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Make sense?

  131. Steve says:

    If I can caveat my last statement a bit, I would say that instead of the sacrament being separate and distinct from the celebrationof the Lord’s Supper, it is derived from it, like applesauce from apples. My son loves apples, but hates applesauce. (Okay, I’m stretching a bit.)

    The point is that catholicism adds baggage to Christ’s injunction to ‘do this in memory of Me.’

  132. ukok says:

    Steve,

    you say you hold to Sola Scriptura in all things. Where does it say in Scripture that only Scripture is the source of divine revelation?

    Are your own Christian practices all to be found in the canon of scripture? Is there nothing you practice in your faith life that is outside the bounds of sola scriptura?

    Can you cite scripture references to me please to support every element of the ‘church’ life that you particpate in?

    God Bless you

  133. Steve says:

    Where does it say in Scripture that only Scripture is the source of divine revelation?

    I wouldn’t claim that, and I hope I haven’t implied it. There’s a reasonably good description of the differences between general and special revelation here. Scripture, or at least the Gospels, would fall under the special revelation category. God obviously speaks to different people in different ways. This is one reason I’m not as bothered as some by the vast array of denominations, so long as we can hold to the essentials (e.g., the Nicene Creed). Even, Augustine, that patron saint of Catholics and Protestants, said “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.” The question becomes, where do you draw the line? I draw it at Scripture being the sole, essential authority. The pope is a wise and holy man, but I would no more trust him to be a final authority on faith matters than I would Joseph Smith, or Sun Myung Moon. Can the pope receive special revelation? Sure. So can I.

    Are your own Christian practices all to be found in the canon of scripture?

    Probably not, but what do you mean by ‘Christian practices’? Forms of worship? Modes of prayer?

  134. ukok says:

    Christian practices, ie the pattern of your worship celebrations, any liturgical type elements, modes of prayer, your church practice of baptism and what we Catholics would describe as sacraments….

  135. Steve says:

    Stop confusing me with the facts… Let me clarify and take it back to the point of this post. In the pecking order of ‘who do I trust to give spiritual guidance,’ I would list 1) Scripture; 2) a voice/vision from God to me, and; 3) everything and everyone else. #2 and 3 better be confirmed by #1 or they drop off the list like a hot potato.

    Because of that, and as an ex-catholic, I would not trust the authority of the Roman Catholic Church to give guidance on how to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, because I don’t see its authority or guidance confirmed in Scripture.

    I have come to the point, though, that out of respect to Catholic belief, I would not publically, and as a Protestant heretic, try to take take the elements at a Catholic mass. Privately, if invited to mass, I would take it, in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Is that hypocritical?

  136. ukok says:

    Steve,

    I was working at the presbytery today when I got a phone call from an anxious Irish lady who opened up to me on the phone and told me that she had been led astray by pentecostals and had turned her back on catholicism for many years….she all but asked what she could do to return to the fold of the Catholic Church (and what better time than Lent which begins this coming Wednesday!!!). The exact words she so emotionaly used to describe how she ws feeling about her desire to return to the Church was, ‘i may have not been to Mass for years, but you know….in my heart i will always be catholic’.

    I gave her the time for confessions in our parish and the times of Mass.

    In RCIA and other catechetical work I have been involved in, I honestly have lost count of the times that lapsed Catholics have discussed with me that the faith of their youth had never really left them and that primarily they had strayed because of the poor catechesis they had received as children and young adults.

    The simple fact is that I have seen the tears of absolute joy stream down the faces of these people, reverts to the Church, who had previously and erroneously thought that the Catholic Church was a church of condemnation, that the Church was not ‘with the times’… that it was ‘outdated and irrelevent’ ….that it was all ‘hellfire’ …. all because of poor catechesis and yes, perhaps the fault of priests who did not speak with love and understanding of what is at the very heart of the Catholic Church and that is simply:

    Love.

    I wish I could make you see what I see when I look at the Church. I wish I could help you to learn, catechise you in the truth of the Church. But you would have to want to. At present you are still rebelling. I hope that will not always be the case.

  137. Steve says:

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I find it troubling that your caller “knew in her heart she will always be catholic.” I would rather be identified as a Christian than as a catholic or protestant or a … fill in the blank. To my way of thinking, that’s putting something between the believer and God. Her plea was no doubt heartfelt and wrenching, which grieves me even more. And, yes, there will always be those within all denominations who get it wrong and lead others astray. We’re promised that in Scripture, unfortunately.

    I’m happy that you’re in a church which is warm and loving and nurturing. Don’t begrudge me the same thing.

    My wife (a Protestant) is actually taking a Catholic bible study with a coworker who is Catholic. They got into a discussion in class about purgatory. After they finished the RC’s teaching on the subject, she told her coworker that she would be waiting at the pearly gates for him to finish his time in purgatory. The point – I have sense that you love the Lord and that I will see you in Eternity, even though the RC adds to essentials of the Christian faith. To my mind the ‘extras’ detract from the worship, to you, they enhance it. To each his own.

  138. ukok says:

    Steve, i don’t begrudge you a nurturing, loving church. You may believe that your church gives you everything you need and want. I would disagree, because I believe that Jesus wants you to recieve his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. His eternal, one time and for all time sacrifice.
    ‘Take this, eat it, this is my Body which has been given up for you…’.

    Christ’s own command.

    I am a Christian, but I am a Catholic Christian. I don’t believe that it’s a negative thing to identify oneself with ones Church.
    It can come in especially handy when the Jehovah’s Witnesses are knocking too!

  139. Paula says:

    Guys I am fascinated by this I am in a mixed marriage. 1 catholic 1 protestant. 3 protestant children.

    I’d confuse you all no end. We all receive communion anywhere.

    Jesus only left one message and none of you heard it.

    Love thy neighbour as thy self.

    You are so divisive and exlusive in your shockingly inflexible approach to your humanity and spirituality, that I greatly doubt you comprehend what he meant and how simple it is.

    I wish you all luck finding your way back.

    By the way my daughter made her first Holy Communion yesterday. She loves God and has no idea what religion is.

    Get your head around that if you can.

  140. ukok says:

    Paula,

    Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

    I’m not confused by your situation at all. I may be a bit saddened that you have not embraced your Catholicity (or is it your hubbie who is Catholic?), but I’m not confused.

    I help to catechise (to teach, with the permission of the Church) people who have allowed their Catholic roots to wither away and all but die. But the truth is, once you are Catholic, you are always Catholic. And the Church always opens her arms to you.

    If your daughter’s First Holy Communion was in a Catholic Church then I am saddened for her and for you that she may has recieved inadequate catechesis to fully appreciate that she consumes Jesus when she recieves Communion, and that one has to be in a state of grace to receive Jesus. To state that “You are so divisive and exlusive” makes me think that even if she did receive adequate catechesis in the parish, you would be undermining the teachings of the Church in your home. Which has me wondering, why did you allow her to make her First Holy Communion (if it was in a Catholic Church) ?

    You and yours will be in my prayers.

    God Bless you

  141. Paula says:

    You need not be sad for me. I am free to follow my spirit. I love Steves quote in point 135 by Augustine it’s beautiful. Its lovely for you to have your little box set of rules to live by you never really
    have to question yourself when you choose to follow. I was well cathechised; what a word….. but I found the answers wanting.

    I believe in one god for all of us no man-made rules that dare to state that one soul has earned its right to eternity and another hasn’t.

    What God would reward such godlike superiortity in its human image, remember humility. So willing to put down their fellow man in his/her spiritual practice i.e. rebel reference.

    To close; the problem with the Roman Catholic Church is not its faith but its practice. In truth at least 80% of every congregation according to the rules is unfit to receive Christ …………….. ACCORDING TO WHO the rulemakers. The rules are ludicrous join in the debate it will keep the faith alive.

    Sacramonious declarations about states of grace and withering catholics is killing your precious church. Return to the true meaning of catholic and allow all christian faiths to intercommune.

    Jesus would accept anyone, why does his church turn so many away. And face facts, catholics in general are protestant in their practice. Few even know about transubstanciation. Fewer what the immaculate conception means etc.
    All use contraception, many divorce and so forth.

    You will say better teaching solves all. Problem is education has led us to mistrust with good reason these rule makers. Beware of which path you choose, to be of god or of the cloth.

    Open your mind and listen more. Do not assume your answers have been chosen for you. That saddens me. In your heart ly the answers, read less, listen more. And stop assuming that you have an open line to god. All you have is a well thought out rule book.

    Happy it makes you happy just surprised you can’t open up a little.

  142. Paula says:

    To all above

    Just reread all again. I am very passionate on the subject of religion and perhaps have thundered into your site here insensitively and and perhaps glad of an opportunity to discuss.

    However on rereading I see how differently we approach faith and perhaps my comments disrespect yours.

    My apologies.

  143. Steve says:

    Paula,
    I was raised catholic and went to catholic school, but to my mind it was a death faith. The nuns and priests knew to teach rote catechism, but nothing that addressed heart issues. That said, I would not doubt that the church has figured out that it needs to change and grow and deal with these issues – and that there are catholics who have a real relationship with Christ, and are therefore saved. There are a lot who aren’t in that boat, just as there are protestants that don’t know and understand their faith.

    Steve

  144. ukok says:

    Steve,

    you raise a valid point, but you also miss one too.

    On your valid point…

    Some Catholics, particularly pre-Vat II taught as they themselves had been; to hand on the essential truths of the faith and the teachings of the Church. As yours tutors, they actually fulfiled their role.

    It may not have been with zeal and passion that your educators taught the faith…but you refer to St. Augustine yourself..and know that he himself turned away from the Church seeking pleasures and stimulation elsewhere before returning with a zeal and passion of his own, on fire for the Catholic Church.

    How dead is a faith that has lasted these 2,000 years…how dead is the faith that has you quoting one of the Church’s biggest proponants of the Catholic Faith?

    The Catholic Church isn’t a dead Church, and even now, its faithful who are deceased are more alive than we are ourselves!

    The point you miss….

    The main point you seem to miss is that it isn’t for the Church to prove itself to you, but for you to explore the faith you were baptised into.

    Do a St. Augustine for yourself….who knows, you may yet be as big a proponant of the Catholic Church….i doubt St. Augustine would have believed when he was off practicing paganism and debauchery.. that he would return to the fold…but he did.

    The Church can only open its arms….it’s not going to drag you into it kicking and screaming against your will.

    Buy a Catechism of the Catholic Church (if you haven’t one already) and read it from front to back, slowly. (for starters).

    Know what the Church teaches (instead of what you THINK she teaches), give yourself the opportunity of falling in love with her (or rejecting her, but at least you’ll know properly what it is you are fighting against point by point) I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did….so long as you open your heart and mind to where God wants you to be, so long a you don’t fight and resist, put up defences…stipulate preferences.

    Because I really do believe that it takes courage, real courage, to be a faithful Catholic…to be led, rather than seek to lead, to accept even that which we find hard to swallow because we know that God is guiding the Catholic Church, that he founded only one Church and we are members of it.

  145. ukok says:

    Paula says:

    You need not be sad for me. I am free to follow my spirit. I love Steves quote in point 135 by Augustine it’s beautiful. Its lovely for you to have your little box set of rules to live by you never really have to question yourself when you choose to follow. I was well cathechised; what a word….. but I found the answers wanting.

    ukok says:

    I beg to differ, paula….if you were well catechised, by your parents or the priest or the catechists of to the parish (and even yourself- because you have to take some of that responsibility for being open to learning about your Faith and activly embracing it), you would never have found anything wanting, in fact, you would have more food for thought, more awe for the Sacraments and the church, than could have been encapsulated in your earthly lifetime.

    I like Augustine too. But if you know anything about him you will also know that he was indisputably Catholic. It amuses me somewhat that non Catholics and Catholics who deny that they are Catholic take a strand of something that they take out of context….and almost profess that it makes Augustine a liberal protestant.

    Augustine became a Church Father, after he took a detour through paganism before returning to the Catholic Church, after his mother had prayed for his conversion of heart for 20 years. Like St. Monica I pray for all who deny their Catholicity.

    I’d like to share with you some REALLY great Augustinian quotes:

    “We believe in the holy Church, that is, the Catholic Church; for heretics and schismatics call their own congregations churches (Faith and Creed 10:21).”

    and

    [The Catholic Church’s] authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love,
    and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the
    Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave the charge of feeding His sheep, up to
    the present episcopate, keeps me here. [Even] the very name Catholic, which, not without reason,
    belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics [keeps me in the Church] (Against the
    Letter of Mani Called ‘The Foundation’ 4:5).

    “Recognize in this bread what hung on the cross, and in this chalice what flowed from His side… whatever was in many and varied ways announced beforehand in the sacrifices of the Old Testament pertains to this one sacrifice which is revealed in the New Testament.”

    - from the writings of St. Augustine, Sermon 3, 2; circa A.D. 410 {original translation}

    and

    “The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread,
    but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, becomes Christ’s body (Sermons 234, 2)”

    Paula says:

    I believe in one god for all of us no man-made rules that dare to state that one soul has earned its right to eternity and another hasn’t.

    What God would reward such godlike superiortity in its human image, remember humility. So willing to put down their fellow man in his/her spiritual practice i.e. rebel reference.

    Ukok says:

    Okay. I can undertand what you are saying. I don’t agree with you, but I have heard this so many times that I understand that you consider the Church not to be led by the Holy Spirit, not to have been founded by Christ (Mathew 16:18). The difference is, the Catholic Church has been around for 2,000 years. With an unbroken succession of Popes. No ‘man’ created the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ instituted it. The God of love founded one Church, one faith, one belief. The Catholic Church is a church of unity and order, it speaks with one voice….as opposed to the MANY thousands of voices of individual protetant churches.

    God is not a God of confusion remember? (1 Corinthians 14:33)

    Paula says:

    To close; the problem with the Roman Catholic Church is not its faith but its practice. In truth at least 80% of every congregation according to the rules is unfit to receive Christ …………….. ACCORDING TO WHO the rulemakers. The rules are ludicrous join in the debate it will keep the faith alive.

    Sacramonious declarations about states of grace and withering catholics is killing your precious church. Return to the true meaning of catholic and allow all christian faiths to intercommune.

    ukok says:

    Paula, no offence, but this is completely without any kind of sound reasoning.

    The true Church is ‘true’ because it is a unity of faith and communion. One can not practice (receive) communion if one doesn’t believe in the real presence, so to say that open communion is the way forth is entirely missing the importance of the fact that you are denying the Church that you were baptised into.

    Practicing Pagans were not invited to eat at table with Christ and commune with him. Protestants didn’t even exist. So your suggestion that anyone/everyone should receive this ‘bread’ regardless of the fact that they may abuse the Eucharist is impossible – abuses happen fairly frequently – I have heard of the Eucharist being trodden into the floor at one parish and I have seen with my own eyes, others attempt to put the Eucharist in their pockets. Last year and the year before unscrupulous people even tried to ’sell’ communion on ebay!

    We believe that the Eucharist IS Jesus body and blood. Why would we allow the Sacrament to be abused by those who have no regard or understanding of it and have not been properly prepared to recieve Our Lord in the Eucharist.

    Even St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:29

    “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

    And why would you want to receive Communion in a Catholic Church if you didn’t know that?

    Paula says:

    Jesus would accept anyone, why does his church turn so many away. And face facts, catholics in general are protestant in their practice. Few even know about transubstanciation. Fewer what the immaculate conception means etc.
    All use contraception, many divorce and so forth.

    Ukok says:

    Huge generalisation!

    And you have nothing to back it up! Cite references Paula do, particularly on these two points….

    a) Catholics are protestant in their practices (this will be interesting as Protestantism only came about in the last 500 years!)

    b) ‘ALL use contraception

    Paula says:

    You will say better teaching solves all. Problem is education has led us to mistrust with good reason these rule makers. Beware of which path you choose, to be of god or of the cloth.

    Open your mind and listen more. Do not assume your answers have been chosen for you. That saddens me. In your heart ly the answers, read less, listen more. And stop assuming that you have an open line to god. All you have is a well thought out rule book.

    Happy it makes you happy just surprised you can’t open up a little.

    Ukok says:

    Paula, I’m an open book. You have 4 years of posts you can read about me here in this blog. I am about as open open as i can get. My heart being open to God’s will is what bought me to to the Catholic Church.

    An open line to God? I’m not sure what you mean. I have never said that God doesn’t make himself present to anyone outside the Catholic Faith. But I have said that he deposited the Fullness of Truth, of Faith, with the Church that he founded.

    God Bless you

    p.s. It only takes a visit to a Catholic priest bring lapsed catholics back into the fold (and advisably, a request to recieve Catholic instruction so that you can have a right understanding about the Church, the Sacraments etc).

  146. Steve says:

    Grrr. Just lost a long comment… I’ll try again.

    but you refer to St. Augustine yourself..and know that he himself turned away from the Church seeking pleasures and stimulation elsewhere before returning with a zeal and passion of his own, on fire for the Catholic Church.

    How dead is a faith that has lasted these 2,000 years…how dead is the faith that has you quoting one of the Church’s biggest proponents of the Catholic Faith?

    Augustine didn’t return to the catholic faith, he returned to Christianity. He’s taken as a ‘patron saint’ of both catholicism and protestantism.

    And I would be cautious about your terminology. ‘The faith that has lasted 2000 years’ is not catholicism, but Christianity. The RC church coalesced around the bishop of Rome in the 4th or 5th century, but he was certainly not the only, or even the most important, bishop hanging around in those days.

    The RC church is but one of many denominations (and certainly not the only one claiming to be the ‘true faith’). Denominationalism can be damaging in some respects, but it also shows the vibrancy, breadth and depth of Christianity. Read 1 Corinthians 12 for a great discussion by Paul on the body of the church.

    The main point you seem to miss is that it isn’t for the Church to prove itself to you, but for you to explore the faith you were baptised into.

    Where is Christ in that statement? He is my Lord, not the pope, not the Catholic church. I suppose my biggest beef with the ‘Catholic Church’ is that it sets itself up as the authority on earth.

    “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” (1 Tim 2:5-6)

    That verse is jam-packed with meaning on so many levels that Catholics – and the RC church – don’t get.

    And by the way, I do appreciate your heart and your willingness to discuss!

  147. Paula says:

    I tell you what, you’ve gone to such lenghts I simply must reply.

    You say accurate teaching would guarantee that I would find nothing wanting…. how dare you decide that for me. I told you I am very well taught and find many answers do not spiritually satisfy me.

    My only interest in Augustine was his quote.
    Take note I love the thought of unity, liberty and love. Augustine himself does not interest me.

    The Roman Catholic Church is the original breakaway church.

    Open communion is the only way forward. The church has no dominion over an individuals belief and therefore no right to judge an individuals beliefs. Offer Christ to all with his humility rather than the arrogance of a church that calls itself the true church. Offer him, let them come and let him judge, for no matter how a person may seem you shall never know his/her heart but your God does. You have no right to decide who is worthy.

    There is a God may he judge the judges kindly.

    Goodbye and live well.

  148. Paula says:

    I have to ask for you to define in point by point form for me what you would see as the differences between the belief and practice of a roman catholic and a protestant assuming both are fervent believers in their chosen religious practice.

    I’m happy to write them as the list is short but you are so informed I may miss something.

    Goodbye again.

  149. ukok says:

    Paula, let me just ask you something outright. Are you asking these questions because your heart is genuinely open to learning more about the Catholic Faith or do just want to run around in circles with me? I ask this as you seem a little more antagonistic than ‘passionate’ and I have little time to write here….but I do have 4 years of Catholic reading material for you on this blog….you can find the archives on the main page.

    Let me ask you something else. Presuming that you read the original post word for word, could you give me a point by point refutation, citing scripture references and any other sources you think necessary to show support for all of your assertions thus far.

    Y’see , it seems to me that no matter what i say you will dismiss it out if hand, having something akin to tunnel vision when it comes to discussing the Catholic Faith.

    God Bless

    p.s. what do you mean by writing ‘the Catholic Church is the original break away Church?”
    What did it break away from? When did it break away from whatever it broke away from? Do you have any evidence to support this proposterous assertion?

  150. Steve says:

    what do you mean by writing ‘the Catholic Church is the original break away Church?’ What did it break away from? When did it break away from whatever it broke away from?

    I wouldn’t go as far as Paula to say that the RC was a breakaway church. It’s probably more accurate to say that the liturgists gradually assumed control, from the 3rd to 5th century. I would go out on a limb and say that there was no ‘Roman Catholic Church’ as a bureaucratic entity until around the 6th century. The early church fathers were critical in refining Christianity and defending it from the heresies which sprang up (i.e., Arianism and the varius shades of gnosticism), but they became Pharisees along the way.

    I don’t think Christ would have recognized the Christian church within monolithic Catholicism, then or now. Unfortunately, the same is probably true for the mainline Protestant denominations as well. The form of Christianity remains, but not the substance. (Yes, I’m making generalizations here.)

    At the core, Christianity is about living a Christ-like life, and sharing that good news of Christ’s finished work with a dying world. All the programs and catechisms and intermediaries are meaningless if they don’t point people to Christ. Form without substance is a dangerous thing. ‘Christianity’ without Christ is even more so. I don’t say that to bash catholicism in particular, but anything that sets itself up in place of Christ.

  151. Ukok says:

    Oh Steve, you know you just handed Paula a ‘get out of answering ukok’ ticket don’t you?

    I suspect it’s because you want to help her to continue to reject Catholicism, though I don’t think for one minute that you actually understand the gravity of what you are doing.

    I would hope that you would allow others to answer for themselves and that this is merely enthusiasm on your part, to engage in further discussion with me…but you have done it more than once or twice on this post already when new commenters have joined the discussion, so forgive me if I’m wrong about that, but I’m unsure about your motives.

    In response to your comment however;

    I believe that you are closed minded about Catholicism because it suits you to be so.

    Rejecting the Catholic Faith means that you get to make your own rules, even start your own church if you feel so inclined, it doesn’t have to bear any of the four marks of the One, True Church mentioned in the bible, you don’t have any obligations to fulfill , you can follow whatever wierd and wacky so called Christian belief system you like because, well heck, anything goes so long as we all say we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savour, right?

    Because God really wanted there to be thousands of dominations which would confuse people, often leading them into terrible atrocities all in the name of God?

    A couple more questions I’d be interested in reading your (AND Paula’s) answers to are these

    1) What are the ways we can identify the Church?
    2) Where in Scripture or in the documents of Early Church Councils has it been written that diversity of doctrine and worship are acceptable?

  152. ukok says:

    And as if reading my mind, I have just found this

    http://sqpn.com/2008/05/21/the-catholic-hack-episode-no-58-the-one-church/

    which you might find hugely interesting, it’s all abut the One True Church….even though we’re on the Closed Communion thread I seem to have allowed the comments to drift…so it seems appropriate to post it here.

  153. Steve says:

    ukok,
    Sorry, I certainly didn’t intend to hijack the thread or let anyone off the hook. I have to run, but will respond more fully in a bit. For now, though, I looked at the ‘four marks’ and don’t have a problem with any of them. They certainly address what the body of Christ (i.e., all believers) should be. There’s nothing there, though, that would lead me to think that it refers to a monolithic lock-step human church.

    I’ll let Paula respond on her own.

    More later!

  154. Steve says:

    Back at you…. As I said, Paula can speak for herself, or not, as she chooses. I won’t put words in her mouth and I can’t claim to know her motives.

    I don’t see myself as being close-minded to the RCC, because I know that there are certainly some within that edifice who know and love the Lord.

    You are are probably reading too much into my motives and beliefs if you think I would support an anything-goes style of worship. Everything we say or do in worship (or in our relationship with Christ) needs to be tested against Scripture and against the leading of the Holy Spirit. You would add that it also needs to be blessed by the magisterium of the catholic church. Paul, in Corinthians, speaks about the need for orderly worship. Many would argue that his strictures against women speaking in church and the like are too harsh, but that’s a different argument. What I take from those passages is that we are to serve and worship God with reverent awe. Within those bounds, yes, we do have a lot of freedom for the particular mode of worship service. Some like liturgy, some don’t. That’s fine.

    it doesn’t have to bear any of the four marks of the One, True Church mentioned in the bible, you don’t have any obligations to fulfill , you can follow whatever wierd and wacky so called Christian belief system you like because, well heck, anything goes so long as we all say we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savour, right?

    I wouldn’t say that at all. Again, it needs to measure up against Scripture and the Spirit.

    I don’t think that you and I are that far apart, but you add a human organization to your woship and study that, to my mind, isn’t scriptural. It’s not necessarily wrong, so long as it holds closely to Scripture – sola scriptura and all that – but when it applies its own rules which add to Scripture, I would draw the line.

  155. Paula says:

    Ok Let me introduce myself properly.

    I am catholic by birth family and education. Come from a practicing family nuns alter servers etc. all current.

    I believe in God and in Christ as man’s saviour.

    I also believe those who believe and repent will be saved.

    I do not believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church.

    I made an error in entering this discussion as I misread it as genuine open spiritual debate. I now undrestand that is not the case.

    Also it was incorrect of me to use the term breakaway I referred to the split in the eleventh century from the orthodox church.

    I cannot subscribe to the rulings of a politically evolved power that has at its helm one man who can claim infallabilty.

    I am Christian I am open to all faith that motivates tolerance and kindness. I am indeed tolerant of you and do not intend to antagonise you but I do simply because I cannot understand how anyone can cite scripture like its the last word. Especially on behalf of a church which constantly uses its self appointed power to interpret scripture virtually at will.

    I said it before and will finish with it there is nothing essentially wrong with catholicism.

    But Rome is about power not faith and I do believe that the world must always question its leaders in all things. As absolute power arises from absolute obedience.

    I think you’ll agree I can speak for myself I just happen to appreciate Steve’s wider view.

  156. Paula says:

    Steve

    I have to back your point regarding scripture. I agree with you both on that in terms of the Christian faith.

    It is the true authority.

    RC cathechism confuses and blurs many simple scriptural lessons.

    However ukok is fond of cathechism and I accept that is the RC way.

  157. ukok says:

    Steve, you say that you believe that we are to serve God/worship God in reverent awe. So you do have an idea, a sense of how things ought to be?

    Then who determines what reverent awe is, is there a body, a panel, a church that you believe has the authority to determine that?

    The early Church had structure, there are many instances in the bible when St. Paul reigns in the members of the Church for their erroneous practices. If that isn’t order or structure then i don’t know what is…council after council throughout the centuries have put paid to erroneous rumours and practices and defined doctrine.

    Oh and thanks for the link about your niece, I really enjoyed reading that piece.
    :-)

  158. ukok says:

    I do not believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church.

    Paula, do you still receive Communion in the Catholic Church?

    I made an error in entering this discussion as I misread it as genuine open spiritual debate. I now undrestand that is not the case.

    The com box has 160 comments Paula….it didn’t get this way because I fail to communicate with people. I’m willing to hear what you have to say, but remember, you came to me….i don’t have to defend myself, you have to explain why you disagree with what I believe. I am not an apologist for the Faith. I’m a busy mum who has a little bit of time to passionately discuss what I believe, but I don’t need to go digging up references or giving you point by point answers to your questions when they have largely been answered in the above posts and all of these comments…if you want to talk, we’ll talk…if you came here to tell me I’m talking rubbish, then it’s best you walk away now, this is not what this blog is about. I don’t have the time to spent hours and hours debating. If you genuinely want to hear my perspective, you are more than welcome to continue posting your thoughts.

    Also it was incorrect of me to use the term breakaway I referred to the split in the eleventh century from the orthodox church.

    And your evidence that this is fact is where?

    I cannot subscribe to the rulings of a politically evolved power that has at its helm one man who can claim infallabilty.


    Politically evolved power? Nonsense! Where is your evidence that this is so? Please explain how this is so….I don’t mind you coming out with stuff that is contrary to what I believe, but please, be prepared to back it up with evidence or it’s nothing but hot air!

    I am Christian I am open to all faith that motivates tolerance and kindness. I am indeed tolerant of you and do not intend to antagonise you but I do simply because I cannot understand how anyone can cite scripture like its the last word.

    The irony of what you are saying, is that the Catholic Church is entirely scriptural! Non Catholics are the ones who want to twist Jesus’ words to mean something that they don’t….like when Jesus says;

    “This is my body” and then when people go “No way Jesus”, he admonishes them and tells them “YES! this is exactly what I say it is, this bread IS my body”

    .

    Especially on behalf of a church which constantly uses its self appointed power to interpret scripture virtually at will.



    At will? In what way, could you please cite some references of how the Church intereprets Scripture at will?

    Could you also please refer me to some evidence which shows it as a self appointed power?
    Thanks!


    I said it before and will finish with it there is nothing essentially wrong with catholicism.


    If there is nothing essentially wrong with Catholicism, then you have no argument. Only if you believe something is essentially wrong with the Church, should we be in any disagreement whatsoever.

    But Rome is about power not faith and I do believe that the world must always question its leaders in all things. As absolute power arises from absolute obedience.



    The Holy Father’s title is actually, Servant of the servants..it is his job to serve us. He is obedient. he has sacrificed his will to the will of the Father. Gave up his life to follow God.

    Paula there have been 266 Popes…there has been an unbroken line of succession in the leadership of the Church…there has never been a time when the Church has been without a Pope…in any denomination there is a pastor, in the Catholic Church there is a Pastor (the Pope) who leads us on earth while Jesus is ascended into Heaven…the Holy Father, our Pastor is fulfilling his vocation, he doesn’t do this for glory and praise, he gives up his life for his flock, as Christ gave his life for us. In fact, in Scripture, Christ tells Peter, the first Pope to look after His sheep when he is gone to heaven…..we are those sheep, remember?

    Here is the lost of Popes

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

    I think you’ll agree I can speak for myself I just happen to appreciate Steve’s wider view.


    I never meant you any offence, I certainly think you capable of speaking your own mind :-)

  159. sally says:

    An interesting post with an amazing aray of comments, first Deb I than you for reading and responding sensitively to the comments that have been made whilst maintaining the integity of your beliefs and faith.

    As a Methodist needless to say I disagree with you, we have an “open table” and whilst there is a membership course and teaching available we believe that Holy Communion can be a converting ordinance, the God by grace goes before us ( previnient grace) and makes a way. People meet with God through the elements of bread and wine as and where they are on their journey.

    I suspect the we will have to agree to disagree!!! :-)

  160. Steve says:

    Steve, you say that you believe that we are to serve God/worship God in reverent awe. So you do have an idea, a sense of how things ought to be?

    Then who determines what reverent awe is, is there a body, a panel, a church that you believe has the authority to determine that?

    I’m not sure if I understand the question. No one ‘has the authority to determine what reverent awe’ is. Are you asking who has the authority to determine styles of worship? That would be the local or denominational authority, or in the case of a non-denominational church, it’s up to the pastor or whatever congregational authority exists.

    For instance, many Protestant/evangelical churches wrestle with music. Hymns or contemporary? Both? What mix? (I remember when my dad first heard a guitar at a catholic mass. He went through the roof.) Communion every week or every month or every quarter? I’ve been to godly, worshipful services at every extreme, from heavy liturgy to very informal.

    Paul’s direction about orderliness in Corinthians applies to all types of services, as does Augustine’s unity/liberty/love statement.

  161. Paula says:

    I must indeed agree to disagree.
    It has been a really interesting experience speaking with you all.

    I have never met anyone so absolute about a religion and that in itself has been an experience.

    I thank you for your patience and time.

    Just to clarify the mistake I referred to in joining this discussion was this; I didn’t initially see that your views are so absolute and that the point is to defend the cathechism and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and for you that is you teaching us all. The reason I misunderstood is that I come from people who discuss examine and probe every issue that catholicism throws up and we all surprise ourselves from time to time. So you see I must slip away now and leave you be.

    Love light and happiness be yours,

    Paula.

  162. Christian says:

    Well let me be another to say – this has been wonderful reading and quite civilized actually… unless there’s a moderator/censorer that I don’t know about. I feel like I’m in a “unique” position myself, and I know that I’ll be discussing things with a priest in my near future about the questions I have. But I am grateful that I have come across this, and that maybe some of my “initial” questions can have some deeper answers/understandings.

    I’m a lover of Christ, and when I look for clarifications, security, hope, and all that I need… I go to Christ and His Word.

    Previous questions arose about why I (non-catholic, still a believer) would want to receive communion at a Catholic Church. My girlfriend is Catholic, and I do see a “future” with her, and I would like to worship, celebrate, and praise God with her together, in Church – fully. It was at my first mass with her that I discovered that I could not receive the Eucharist. I felt abandoned, outcasted, and what made it even worse was the music played in the background… “Jesus for all, Jesus for us all…” something like that – whatever it was, it broke me down further.

    I honestly don’t have any problem believing that the bread and wine are indeed Christ. After all, it does say so in the Bible right? If there is anything that I believe that isn’t “Biblical,” I only ask that someone confronts me with the Bible as their support.

    I have thought about becoming Catholic – just as a legalistic fulfillment. That I would be able to do all the things my future wife and I could do at the same church. I don’t want to force her to come to my church, and vice versa – but I want us to be able to freely worship and be satisfied in the churches that we are in.

    I finally begin to see, from this blogging and commenting, about why someone that has it all in the “Catholic Church” would want to have “less” at another church. I see the dangers of having “no boundaries.”

    If the Bible is not the only and complete Revelation of Christ, it opens the door for other Revelations (Book of Mormon, Islam, etc…).

    I’m side tracking here – my apologies. There are so many questions flowing through my mind.

    What is needed in order to receive the Eucharist?

    If I take the RCIA classes, and “transfer” my trinitarian Baptism, get confirmed, and “become Catholic,” will I then be able to receive the Eucharist?

    I put it in quotation marks solely because, after all that – I would still be a “believer” in Christ just as I was before – except now, I could “join” in the celebration of the Eucharist.

    But I’ve read that in order to be “technically” Catholic, you had to believe the entire teaching of the Catholic Church, including the beliefs of the Magesterium. If there was ONE thing that you didn’t believe, you are technically not Catholic. And to believe is not enough – it is to practice and do… Would it be safe to say that no one in the Church would be able to receive the Eucharist in the fact that none of us are “perfect” in faith?

    This isn’t the main question that is on my mind right now though – although it is the one that affects me practically.

    The other question is about “faith” and “works” and what salvation depends on. But I don’t want to put too much clutter on my first post.

    As for clarification for one post above… about how James speaks about “faith and works – and how faith without deeds is a dead faith.” Please take notice that the section starts off by addressing those that “claim to have faith.”

    I am really looking forward to the continuation of this discussion, and I hope and pray that I have not come to late as to not get a reply. Thanks again,

    In Christ,

    Christian

  163. ukok says:

    I am going to catch up with you all, promise, it’s just been a really hectic week and I’ve been scarcely able to find the time to blog a blog post even.

    Now Christian, I must tell you that I was so pleased to read your comment here, I will certainly respond to you within the next few days. I suspect this thread is far from over ;-)

    God Bless you!

  164. ukok says:

    In response to your comment, Christian.

    Your words regular text, mine are bolded and italic.

    Christian :
    Well let me be another to say – this has been wonderful reading and quite civilized actually… unless there’s a moderator/censorer that I don’t know about.


    Ukok :
    Welcome to the discussion, Christian. I am sorry I couldn’t get back to you sooner but wanted to be sure to have the time to respond more fully to your comment. Hope you’re still checking the thread from time to time 

    I’ve only had to moderate comments on this post on a couple of occasions all the while it’s been going. Even then there were just 2 individuals who were vicious in their anti Catholicism. For the most part, though we don’t all agree here, we do have a healthy respect for one another I think.

    Christian:
    I feel like I’m in a “unique” position myself, and I know that I’ll be discussing things with a priest in my near future about the questions I have. But I am grateful that I have come across this, and that maybe some of my “initial” questions can have some deeper answers/understandings.
    I’m a lover of Christ, and when I look for clarifications, security, hope, and all that I need… I go to Christ and His Word.


    Ukok:
    That’s great Christian I hope you will share more and more about your journey as it progresses because I’d be interested in learning about how this all turns out for you.

    Christian:
    Previous questions arose about why I (non-catholic, still a believer) would want to receive communion at a Catholic Church. My girlfriend is Catholic, and I do see a “future” with her, and I would like to worship, celebrate, and praise God with her together, in Church – fully.


    Ukok:
    It’s a wonderful thing that you desire unity in all things if you are to marry.

    Christian:
    It was at my first mass with her that I discovered that I could not receive the Eucharist. I felt abandoned, outcasted, and what made it even worse was the music played in the background… “Jesus for all, Jesus for us all…” something like that – whatever it was, it broke me down further.

    Ukok: I think I know what you mean.

    When I first attended a Catholic Mass, even though I believed, I had to spend the next year waiting for and then going through RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults – an informal course in which the foundational teachings of Catholicism are taught.

    Most parishes run this course or run it in conjunction with other parishes, it’s a necessary requirement and shows that you have a genuine desire to learn and become knowledgeable about what you will profess to believe when you say the creed at Mass, and more importantly, your participation at RCIA will reveal to your priest that you have a required level of understanding of the Sacraments and their importance and he will be able to determine when you will be ready to receive the Sacraments.

    Y’know…there were times when I knelt in the pew with my kids and I wept at being so near to Jesus and not being able to receive him. It almost broke my heart and I’ll be honest and tell you that there were a couple of occasions when I was tempted to just go up and receive.

    But I never did, because that would have been an absolute rejection of the very Church teaching that I was learning about, that would eventually enable me to live a sacramental life.

    In that position, being unable to receive communion, there are still two things you can do to feel involved in the Mass…one is to go up to the priest when everyone receives Communion and placing your hand over your heart, he will know you are not there to receive Communion but he will give you a blessing instead….and the second thing you can do is that you can make an Act of Spiritual Communion…i made one until I was able to receive the Eucharist.

    Here’s a prayer for an Act of Spiritual Communion you might want to print out and take with you to Mass next time.

    “My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee. Amen”

    Christian:
    I honestly don’t have any problem believing that the bread and wine are indeed Christ. After all, it does say so in the Bible right? If there is anything that I believe that isn’t “Biblical,” I only ask that someone confronts me with the Bible as their support.


    Ukok:
    Absolutely! It is absolutely Biblical. Just Read through John 6!

    Christian:
    I have thought about becoming Catholic – just as a legalistic fulfillment. That I would be able to do all the things my future wife and I could do at the same church. I don’t want to force her to come to my church, and vice versa – but I want us to be able to freely worship and be satisfied in the churches that we are in.

    Ukok:
    It would be a shame if your conversion would only be what you consider to be a ‘legalistic fulfillment’ because by definition a ‘conversion’ is about making the decision to turn away from what was before and fully accepting the truth that has been revealed to you…it also seems to me that from reading your comment you are actually a part of the way to opening your heart to becoming Catholic for the ‘right reasons’. And while I would like that to be so, for your sake, I should just say that in order to marry your girlfriend in the Catholic Church, you don’t actually have to become Catholic yourself 
    You do however have to promise your bride and agree in the presence of the priest that you will not prevent your wife attending Mass and also you will be required to agree that any future children will be raised Catholic.

    Christian:
    I finally begin to see, from this blogging and commenting, about why someone that has it all in the “Catholic Church” would want to have “less” at another church. I see the dangers of having “no boundaries.”
    If the Bible is not the only and complete Revelation of Christ, it opens the door for other Revelations (Book of Mormon, Islam, etc…).
    I’m side tracking here – my apologies. There are so many questions flowing through my mind.


    Ukok:
    That’s okay. If you have a questions that I or my readers can help you with, just let me know in the combox again and we’ll do our best for you, or at least to direct you to someone who can assist you.

    Christian:
    What is needed in order to receive the Eucharist?
    If I take the RCIA classes, and “transfer” my trinitarian Baptism, get confirmed, and “become Catholic,” will I then be able to receive the Eucharist?
    I put it in quotation marks solely because, after all that – I would still be a “believer” in Christ just as I was before – except now, I could “join” in the celebration of the Eucharist.

    Ukok:
    Well the Church says that so long as you were validly baptised, and have documentary evidence to support a Trinitarian Baptism (A Baptism Certificate or a copy of a Baptism register entry) then yes, you are able to continue on the journey toward receiving the other two Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation are the three Sacrament sof Initiation). Anyone can go on the RCIA course though, whether baptised or not.

    If you do want to become Catholic though, after completing the course to the satisfaction of the priest, a date would then be arranged (usually it is at Easter Vigil but it can be at another time) when you would make your First Holy Communion.

    And just before you make your First Communion you would need to make your First Confession. (It’s not so bad really!) That would be maybe a few days before, or the day before your First Holy Communion (that’s up to the priest and arranging a convenient time for you).

    After making your First Holy Communion you would then receive the Body and Blood of the Lord each time you went to Mass so long as you were properly prepared to receive Communion (ie, so long as there were no unconfessed grave (serious) sins).

    Christian:
    But I’ve read that in order to be “technically” Catholic, you had to believe the entire teaching of the Catholic Church, including the beliefs of the Magesterium. If there was ONE thing that you didn’t believe, you are technically not Catholic. And to believe is not enough – it is to practice and do… Would it be safe to say that no one in the Church would be able to receive the Eucharist in the fact that none of us are “perfect” in faith?
    This isn’t the main question that is on my mind right now though – although it is the one that affects me practically.


    Ukok:
    My advice to you if you feel unsettled about this, would be to not go to the priest with plans to become Catholic. But just do as one friend of mine did, and attend RCIA and approach it as a general learning course…instead of learning French or ICT you are learning what th Church teaches.

    You don’t HAVE to become Catholic by the end of it!

    The course in my diocese is for a minimum of 20 weeks, it varies throughout diocese and countries, but it’s a fairly long course because it’s comprehensive….you will have many weeks to question the priests and catechists about every single area of Catholic teaching. You can be like a dog with a bone with each topic until you fully understand it and then you will reach a point where you are able to accept it or reject it.
    This way you are open to learning, but that at this point you ar not making any promises to anyone.

    Christian:
    The other question is about “faith” and “works” and what salvation depends on. But I don’t want to put too much clutter on my first post.
    As for clarification for one post above… about how James speaks about “faith and works – and how faith without deeds is a dead faith.” Please take notice that the section starts off by addressing those that “claim to have faith.”


    Ukok:
    Christian, I would be happy to discuss this further, but I haven’t more time since i’ve rambled on quite a lot here already. I hope it okay if I direct you to a few othe sources online that may help you understand the Catholic perspective.
    http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9909chap.asp
    http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/faith_vs_works.htm
    Hope these help!

    Christian:
    I am really looking forward to the continuation of this discussion, and I hope and pray that I have not come to late as to not get a reply. Thanks again,
    In Christ,
    Christian


    Ukok: It’s been my pleasure to respond to you and I’d like to thank you for your clarity, your sincerity and for your civility
    God Bless you!

  165. Christian says:

    I’m still here reading. Thankyou for your time and responses – I shall be back for more! :) I was in glee when I read “I will respond soon” – so I thought I’d return the favor, as I shall reply soon too! I have finals this week :/ But yeah. Thanks again. God bless you dearly.

  166. Christian says:

    Bold, is what you wrote.[/B]

    Non-Bold Italics is what I wrote.

    [B]Oh, and also – if any of the words would have the possibility of sounding mean/distasteful – please know that I did not intend for it to come off that way. I tend to have a hard time with words – and it’s easier for me to write “bluntly.” Please give me the benefit of the doubt :)

    When I first attended a Catholic Mass, even though I believed, I had to spend the next year waiting for and then going through RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults – an informal course in which the foundational teachings of Catholicism are taught.

    Most parishes run this course or run it in conjunction with other parishes, it’s a necessary requirement and shows that you have a genuine desire to learn and become knowledgeable about what you will profess to believe when you say the creed at Mass, and more importantly, your participation at RCIA will reveal to your priest that you have a required level of understanding of the Sacraments and their importance and he will be able to determine when you will be ready to receive the Sacraments.

    Y’know…there were times when I knelt in the pew with my kids and I wept at being so near to Jesus and not being able to receive him. It almost broke my heart and I’ll be honest and tell you that there were a couple of occasions when I was tempted to just go up and receive.

    But I never did, because that would have been an absolute rejection of the very Church teaching that I was learning about, that would eventually enable me to live a sacramental life.

    In that position, being unable to receive communion, there are still two things you can do to feel involved in the Mass…one is to go up to the priest when everyone receives Communion and placing your hand over your heart, he will know you are not there to receive Communion but he will give you a blessing instead….and the second thing you can do is that you can make an Act of Spiritual Communion…i made one until I was able to receive the Eucharist.
    Here’s a prayer for an Act of Spiritual Communion you might want to print out and take with you to Mass next time.
    “My Jesus, I believe that Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things and I desire Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though thou wert already there, I embrace Thee and unite myself wholly to Thee; permit not that I should ever be separated from Thee. Amen” [/B]

    Christian:
    I went this past Sunday to mass – and it just gets better. As in, I’m not as emotional as I was the first time around. Her dad told me about going up there and receiving Spiritual Communion. I was thinking about that already. At first I did not want to go because of the remaining feelings of “rejection/out casting” – but right now after the initial emotions have simmered down – I find myself praying for and asking for spiritual communion from God Himself. As I sat there in the pew, my prayers would cry out for unity – someday – sometime – in His time.

    [B]It would be a shame if your conversion would only be what you consider to be a ‘legalistic fulfillment’ because by definition a ‘conversion’ is about making the decision to turn away from what was before and fully accepting the truth that has been revealed to you…it also seems to me that from reading your comment you are actually a part of the way to opening your heart to becoming Catholic for the ‘right reasons’. And while I would like that to be so, for your sake, I should just say that in order to marry your girlfriend in the Catholic Church, you don’t actually have to become Catholic yourself. You do however have to promise your bride and agree in the presence of the priest that you will not prevent your wife attending Mass and also you will be required to agree that any future children will be raised Catholic.[/B]

    Christian:
    Wow! I never knew that last part. I talked to her (my lady) a little bit about that – and she was very understanding on how that caught me by surprise. I know it may have sounded “blunt” – the whole “legalistic” thing. I want to see if I can explain myself a little clearer. I say it that way because I believe that I am already part of the Church of Christ – that I am a Citizen to the One and Only. And since the traditions and knowledge are supported by the Bible – I do not believe that this is “new truth” coming to me. Well, it IS new in a sense, but I am not turning away from what was before. I believe I am with Christ now, and I believe that it will still be that way if I “become” Catholic.
    Please don’t take this the wrong way or anything – it’s going to be one of those “blunt” statements again… – but I believe that I have “satisfied” the requirements to be in the One, united, Church of Christ [not to be affiliated with “the L.A. Church of Christ] – and this “legalistic” approach is to “satisfy” the requirements of the men of the Church (the institution – per say).

    I will take the RCIA classes. I know I’m going to learn plenty of things that I did not know before. But I also know, that my faith in Christ and His Word will still be in tact. I will even transfer the baptism papers. This would technically make me “Catholic.” If anyone asks me on what I believed. I would say… “I believe in the written Word of God.” Something like that – I don’t think anyone can really say you’re sinning, if you believe and follow the written Words of God.

    [B] Well the Church says that so long as you were validly baptised, and have documentary evidence to support a Trinitarian Baptism (A Baptism Certificate or a copy of a Baptism register entry) then yes, you are able to continue on the journey toward receiving the other two Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation are the three Sacrament sof Initiation). Anyone can go on the RCIA course though, whether baptised or not.
    If you do want to become Catholic though, after completing the course to the satisfaction of the priest, a date would then be arranged (usually it is at Easter Vigil but it can be at another time) when you would make your First Holy Communion.

    And just before you make your First Communion you would need to make your First Confession. (It’s not so bad really!) That would be maybe a few days before, or the day before your First Holy Communion (that’s up to the priest and arranging a convenient time for you). [/B]

    Christian:
    I have no problem with confession – I would gladly speak to any priest of my sins. They’re only there to help – no fear in that :)

    [B] After making your First Holy Communion you would then receive the Body and Blood of the Lord each time you went to Mass so long as you were properly prepared to receive Communion (ie, so long as there were no unconfessed grave (serious) sins). [/B]

    Christian:
    All these things are things that I have to “do,” but what is it that I need to “believe” before taking the Eucharist? Essentially, where does my heart and mind need to be? (This is where the whole “magesterium” come into play, and my beliefs – and others’ beliefs come into question – as to what it is to be “technically” Catholic, and “technically” not-Catholic.)

    [B] The course in my diocese is for a minimum of 20 weeks, it varies throughout diocese and countries, but it’s a fairly long course because it’s comprehensive….you will have many weeks to question the priests and catechists about every single area of Catholic teaching. You can be like a dog with a bone with each topic until you fully understand it and then you will reach a point where you are able to accept it or reject it.

    This way you are open to learning, but that at this point you are not making any promises to anyone. [/B]

    Christian:
    See, that’s the thing. I don’t feel like becoming Catholic – from a Bible-Believing Protestant (I know that’s still pretty vague – seeing on how all these “protestant” churches pop up everywhere… not down-playing all churches, but there’s “off-key things” in the protestant churches as there are in the catholic churches.) is that much of a change. I believed in Christ before, and I plan on believing in Christ afterwards. MY identity at the end of the day is “with Christ.” (I know there’s more to it – and it doesn’t seem so cut and dry – but just to get the point across and etc.)

    [B] Christian, I would be happy to discuss this further, but I haven’t more time since i’ve rambled on quite a lot here already. I hope it okay if I direct you to a few othe sources online that may help you understand the Catholic perspective.
    http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9909chap.asp
    http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/faith_vs_works.htm
    Hope these help! [/B]

    Christian:
    Those were great links. More perspectives to add into my brain :)
    I talked more with my lady, and it was funny for us to come to this epiphany… we were both like… “Geeze! There’s so much nit-picking” It was a good laugh between both of us.
    And there’s a new question to add. I want to see what you think of this. If the Church is being led by the Holy Spirit to pass down the verbal teachings of the first Apostles, and because of that, the teachings are correct – what is the purpose of the Bible?

    I feel that the books of the Bible was compiled and put together so that there would be no need to depend on verbal teachings for fear of “telephone” effect. The text of the Bible has not changed, but can we say the same thing for the words that men have passed down for the past 2000 years.

    The Bible was initially brought together by the Church in the late 300’s. I feel that it was only a couple generations after the resurrection, and that the people of the Church carefully looked through each one as to see that the books themselves coincided with the teachings of the Church. These books were essentially the very words of the Apostles written down for “safe keeping.” [This is not to say that some church traditions were not included in them]. (I think that in the midst of making/writing down this argument, I came upon a realization that will have to be saved for another response – just to keep my mind on track).

    I like analogies (as you might soon come to know). Something like… would you rather listen to the teachings of Einstein’s student’s student’s student’s student’s student’s student’s………student’s student or study and learn from the very books that Einstein’s first students wrote (and these first books existed at the same time the other students were around – so they kept each other accountable – they understood Einstein the most, because they studied with him)?

    And it’s because of this, I place the authority of the written Word higher than the authority of the spoken Word.

    [B] It’s been my pleasure to respond to you and I’d like to thank you for your clarity, your sincerity and for your civility
    God Bless you! [/B]

    Christian:
    Phew, I finally have time to write something. I’ll have a LOT less “pauses” between responses because I have much more time now. :) Thanks again. I hope none of the words came out in any wrong way. In fact, I’m going to write that at the beginning of this response. Ok, now that I’ve written that – thanks again! And I look forward to the next responses.

    God Bless you always,

    P.S. I don’t know how to “bold/unbold” so… I’m going to try the only thing I know (which is from forum’s and etc.) If it doesn’t work…well, you’ll know what all the random B’s between brackets are.

  167. Christian says:

    Is it too late now? :(

  168. Wesley says:

    I’ve read this thread and I find the same thing everywhere I look; Catholics and Protestants fighting over details. Jesus preached about love. Until we can get over the details and realize we are all CHRISTIANS, not Catholic or Protestants, we are in a sad state. Remember it was because of love that Jesus died for our sins. If he could do that, surely we can put aside all differences and become the christians that he wants us to be.

  169. Christian says:

    Wesley,

    I completely agree with you. But it’s until then. I really don’t care what church I go to, as long as it is Biblically centered. Christ summed up the laws of old in that you love God and love your neighbor. That’s it.

    You can’t improve upon how saved you are. Salvation was a gift from God through Christ – and it was given to those that surrendered their heart to Him. There’s nothing else other than that. We are all united under one church – not a church of buildings, not a church appointed by someone – but the church that consists of all those who have surrendered their lives to Christ.

    Let the things that are unclear in the Bible remain unclear, and let the simple fact that all it takes is your faith in the Savior. Ask yourselves what that other man on the other cross did – he believed… and Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

    He didn’t take classes. He didn’t get baptized.

    But, he believed, and salvation was gifted upon him.

    That’s the thing that urks me right now is that I have to do things external to show the Church that I can take communion. Change happens internally – no one can judge that… only God.

    Do you think God cares whether or not you think the bread and wine are actually his body and blood, or his spirit merged within the bread and wine, or something else? Or is He more worried/caring about how you are awe of what God has done for you?

    I hit a road block in my head – i’m going to take a break.

  170. Bob says:

    To Steve,

    To your following comment, I have to ask in Christian correction: by whose authority are you to interpret scripture? How do you know your opinion is right, and the Catholic Church is wrong? I know who gave the Catholic Church its authority to “bind and loose” and start a Church in His name (Matthew 16). Who gave you the authority to interpret Scripture? Also, your historical facts are wrong. The Catholic Church from the time of the Apostles is the same “Catholic” Church as the Roman Catholic Church……..read the Early Church Fathers:

    As for ‘this is my body, this is my blood,’ I read that as Christ speaking figuratively. – Steve.

    Where is your authority to interpret the Eucharist as “symbolic?”

  171. Steve says:

    The fundamental issue, which both Augustine and Martin Luther noted, is that Scripture is not closed. The essence of Pentecost is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who was given not to the institutional church, but to the body of Christ – you and I. One of the primary functions of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the truth of the Word to us. Historically, Roman Catholics have let Mother Church interpret for them. Can someone eat for you or sleep for you or learn for you? Can someone develop your relationship with God for you?

    ‘Religion’ (including catholicism) is about man’s attempt to reach God, while Christianity, particularly evangelical Christianity, is about establishing a personal relationship with God.

    I was raised catholic and attended catholic elementary school, but never knew God until I entered that personal relationship with him after leaving the narrow confines of catholicism.

    Men can guide us and each us, but no man is infallible. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal the personal understanding of the Word that is essential to right relationship.

    Where is your authority to interpret the Eucharist as “symbolic?”

    How about, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Christ did not say to make it a holy ritual, but rather a living reminder of what He did for us on the cross. Again, man creates a “small r” religion when God really wants our hearts.

  172. ukok says:

    Gosh i never got notification that anyone had posted in this thread since about July…i was on vacation for 3 weeks with no internet access (in mountainous Wales to be more specific) back then but it still should have shown up as an email alert. Please accept my apologies folks. I will see if i can make time this weekend to respond further on this.

  173. Steve says:

    Bob,
    This morning I was reading in Philippians and several passages struck me. Phil 2:1-18 and pretty much all of chapter three are relevant to the discussion. Nowhere in these passages (and actually nowhere in the NT) does God speak to the “organized church”. Rather, through Paul and the other writers, God provides instruction to individual believers. The essence is how to live a Christ-like life. Why let an intermediary, in the form of the catholic church, modify those instructions to their own ends?

  174. Huia White says:

    Loved reading this discussion, but I too cannot understand why if “someone dosent believe in the Catholic Faith” would then want to participate in the most profound act of our faith in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.
    The Sacrafice of the Holy Mass.

    I am so grateful to God for the gift of being Catholic, the gifts and graces of his church and that he has bestowed on us, his beloved children. There is such treasure in the Catholic church, which was founded by Jesus Christ, and bestowed on our first head of the church, Saint Peter, our first Pope.

    In scripture, both new and old, God more than once spoke of lineage, and this lineage or family tree was spoken of at the beginning of the old testiment and the beginning of the new testiment, and we in Catholic Church also have the lineage or family tree, where our lineage which is now Pope Benedict XV1 and goes back to Pope Peter (who is who Jesus gave the keys to his church to) and ultimately from Christ himself.

    We have proof of this lineage through historical records,
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

    What has this to do with who should receive the Blessed Eucharist, it is in our heritage handed down by Christ himself that we as a church honour what our early church Fathers have discerned by the Holy Spirit, and has lead the Catholic Church in its teachings. What arrogance of me to come along and say that after 1500 years the Holy Spirit has lead the church wrong and this is how it should be.
    Yes Satan dwells among us all, good and bad, and yes the church had its problems, but it also had the promise of Christ as he handed the keys to Peter and said .
    Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Indeed because of the promise of Christ, the Gates of hell shall not prevail against it, against his church, the church he built then, not in Luther or Calvins days or anyone elses days, but in his day. The beginning of the Catholic Church. Where our lineage goes back to.

    I am so pleased to be Catholic, I love our church and the teachings of the church, and being Catholic does not mean I only love Catholic, I love all of my brothers and sisters, all who Christ love. For they also are of him. But no more would I disrespect anyones elses faith, or undermine my own by taking something that I dont believe truly in. If you dont believe the Catholic faith, all good and well, but dont belittle something that you dont believe in, and again….
    “Why would you want to receive communion in the Catholic Church if you dont believe the Catholic Churches teaching”, dosent make sense to me. And then to feel “left out”, what about respect of the Catholic Churches greatest part of the worship.
    You would no more go to visit the queen and sit at her table and start eating, before being invited to do so, you would wait and know the protocol, and then you would abide by that protocol, if you didnt go along with it, you wouldnt go. So you know the ruling of the church, then out of respect for your fellow Christian Catholic church you would abide by their rules or not go. You wouldnt demand or change the rules of the monarchy to appease your hunger, how greater is Our Lord and we want to change his teachings to appease our ego hunger.
    Let us pray, the Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to Christ teachings to the truth. Let us love one another as he loves us. Loves us to death, death on a cross. Praise His Holy Name
    Huia

  175. Steve says:

    Huia,
    It’s not a question of wanting to take part in a Catholic ritual, but rather to share the Lord’s Supper with the body of believers. He commanded us all to remember His broken body and blood, not just one sect.

  176. Steve, you are SORELY incorrect in your revisionist history of the church. The Scriptures have everything to do with Catholicism, the universal church. Interpreting your claim, it seems you suggest that the “real” early church was not “catholic”, and the catholic church came much later. Inseparable from this statement would be the underlying notion that this so-called “catholic” church distorted the true faith, rather than carrying it forward. Hogwash.

    There was only one church for the first 1000 years of church history, comprising the east and west. It’s doctrine is rooted in the early teachings of the church, on Jesus’ teaching, the apostles’ teaching, and the teachings of their students, etc. etc. One doesn’t need go several hundred years forward from Jesus to read a defined doctrine of communion. One needs go well less than 100 years, while those who knew people who knew Jesus and heard teachings directly from the apostle’s were still alive. I’ll give you a hint… they believed from the earliest times that the Eucharist was the true presence and a sacrifice. No sir, the only distortions of the truth came about in latter times. Even a cursory study of history by yourself would show that the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine is (still) rooted in the early church and in apostolic authority. I would even contend that our separated brothers in the East lay more authority to the truth than you or your protestant (heretic) band ever will.

    • ukok says:

      Well said, Andrew. Thanks for your input. I regret i don’t have much time to devote to this long running thread, these days and i always appreciate other Catholic voices joining in, where i am unable to.

  177. Steve says:

    It’s interesting that in the past two weeks I’ve been told that ‘I’m not really saved’ unless I: a) embrace Roman catholicism; b) accept a young-earth view of creation (i.e., the planet is less than 6000 years old); c) speak in tongues and embrace all the sign gifts. Which is it? Just one? All three? Some combination of the three? Anything else that needs to be on the list?

    Admittedly, I heard that from three different people, but all had ‘firm scriptural evidence’ for their positions. I think a lot of people will be surprised to see who is – and who isn’t – in heaven when they get there. Who knows? Maybe catholics and protestants will figure out that we’ve just been playing church all along and that we should have just been seeking to live a Christ-like life without all the man-made trappings.

  178. Kory says:

    Peace be with you, Steve. May the Lord’s mercy envelop you. And, for the sake of Christ’s sorrowful Passion, may you extend His mercy upon those whose sins have offended you.

    Christ is begging us all to be united with Him as He ordained. And so I beg you, please, forgive my failures and the failures of other Catholics–look not upon our sins but upon the faith of the Church established and led by Christ Himself.

    May we renew each day a commitment to trust in His divine mercy and be reconciled with Him.

    Jesus desires your return.

    • ukok says:

      Kory,

      that’s a great comment an shows quite clearly that you speak with a heart of love towards all of mankind.

      Steve,

      I hope you know, that i consider you my brother in Christ. This whole thread only started as a response to emails and comments challenging me and asking me about what the Catholic Church teaches on this. It was never meant to be a stick with which to beat non Catholics (or Catholics who no longer call themselves Catholics but practice their faith no longer in accordance to the teachings of the Catholic Church ).
      :-)

  179. Steve says:

    Kory,
    Amen and amen. My goal has been to live a Christ-like life – though I certainly fall short in many areas. We absolutely need to be united in him and in his Holy Spirit, regardless of denomination.

    Jesus desires our unity in Him as a body. It’s no mistake that Paul chose the physical body as a representation of the church. We are his hands and feet and spleens and eyes. As long as we support the body, denomination isn’t a concern for me.

    Steve

  180. Steve says:

    I absolutely understand that, and it’s why I’ve enjoyed the conversation so much. As a follower of Christ, I know that I have brothers and sisters in the body that I may occasionally differ with – just like a real family!

    • ukok says:

      Absolutely Steve! Every family has much diversity in it, but there should always be a mutual respect and compassion for one another :-)

  181. JoRie says:

    I think that non catholics not being able to take communion was summed up when another post said of course communion is not fish and bread, it is bread and wine. No it is the blood and body of Christ.

  182. Steve says:

    Or the remembrance of the body and blood…

  183. Trina says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’ve been with you since the beginning of this thread. Your beliefs and mine are the same. It has been frustrating to me how when you try to make a point about the validity of other catholic beliefs such as the Mary issue that no one will touch that with a ten foot pole. Why do catholics pray to Mary, when it is not even biblical? That is the biggest problem for me with the catholic religion. Also the whole euchurist thing about the blood and body, that is confusing to me. I have never believed that it is the actual body and blood and that it is only symbolic, but if that is what Jesus wanted of me to do, actually eat his flesh and blood, then I would do it.I don’t know how a priest, who is a mere man can make bread and wine, change into the Lord’s body and blood. Several priests that are in our area have been convicted pedifiles and homosexuals. Why would they have that power? Would the Holy Spirit allow that? Communion to me is just as you say, doing it in rememberance of our Lord’s sacrifice.

  184. Steve says:

    Trina,
    As a card-carrying Protestant, I do have some pretty distinct doctrinal differences with Catholics. At the same time, they are brothers and sisters in Christ. Believe it or not, Catholics just might get into heaven! The Catholic Church (as opposed to the universal ‘catholic’ church) has gotten bad press over abuses by priests, but I could also name any number of Protestant leaders who have fallen into sin as well. Maybe Catholic priests are more vulnerable because they’re not allowed to marry. (Paul said, “I would rather that you marry, than you burn.”)

    My point is that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to lift each other up rather than tear each other down. I disagree with the Catholic notion of closed Communion, worship of the saints and Mary, the infallibility of the pope, and any number of other issues, but I hope we can disagree and discuss in love and respect.

  185. Brian Breeden says:

    This article has a lot of nice words. What is sorely missing is any scriptural reference to support your position

    You ask the question, “should non-christians take Communion…”, begs the follow-up question, “are you saying a Baptist is not a Christian?”

    Show me a scriptural reference where it is stated that only Christians of a certain denomination are allow to partake in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper

    • Trina says:

      Hi Brian,
      Merry Christmas! I have alot of issues with this blog. I am not catholic and I think alot of their beliefs are not biblical. I do have to correct you though on the title of this blog. It doesn’t say “Why can’t non-christians take communion” it says protestants can’t take catholic communion which is totally redicules! As long as you believe in Jesus as your Lord and savior and you try to walk in the light of Christ, there is NO reason we should not be able to take their communion. But quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to take their communion as they don’t offer it to protestants. I think it is rude especailly because we offer it to anyone who is a christian and who want to remember what Christ did for us. God Bless!

  186. Steve says:

    ‘Redicules’ or not, as a non-Catholic, I would suggest you keep it civil or take it elsewhere.

    • Trina says:

      How was what I said any less civil than some of the past comments you made? Some of them quite blunt, I might add. If I sound rude, I appologize. I am a kind person, but when I have had catholics trying to shove their beliefs down my throat for the whole duration of my married life, you tend to get a little bitter. My appologies to the catholics I may have offended that don’t think they are the only ones who will get into heaven. My mother in law showed up to my home on Christmas with a stack of their books. Some about Mary and she knows very well that I do not believe the way she believes about Mary. Last Thanksgiving she told my born again christian daughter that she would really have to suffer after she dies in order to go to heaven. This is just a small sample of some of the things that I deal with on a day by day basis. So, if you think I wasn’t civil, I would hate to see how you would react to my VERY catholic mother-in-law. I’ve said enough so I will not comment on this blog anymore.

  187. sharon says:

    Our daughter-in- law and grandchildren are Catholic.When they are in our chuch and communion is offered; they receive it.When we are in their chuch for whatever reason; baptism, confirmation, funeral; we are not allowed to receive communion and I feel this is wrong. We both confess our sins before receiving.Please help me to understand this because it really bothers me. I don’t like that first answer because they are not Catholic.

  188. Steve says:

    Wow, 196 comments later and we still haven’t resolved this. What’s up with that? Sharon, I absolutely empathize with you. We went through the same thing at my father’s funeral. We weren’t allowed to share the Lord’s Supper as a family because many of us were no longer catholics. Personally, I think the idea of closed communion is borderline blasphemous, but I’ve come to the place that I can accept that there is much in the catholic faith that is just different. I don’t try to change catholics – well, not usually. We’ll agree to disagree. But I don’t doubt that we will even see catholics in heaven. (When they get done with that whole purgatory thing. But that’s another issue…)

  189. Trina says:

    Borderline blasphemous?!!! Really Steve, “you best keep it civil or take it elsewhere”, as you said to me. I was going to bite my tongue, but I just had to comment on that.

  190. Steve says:

    Hey, I can be friends with folks I disagree with. Yes, I think the concept of closed communion is seriously flawed and a violation of Scriptural principles. I respect your right to practice your faith, though. …and I make no claims to moral supremacy or even logical consistency.

  191. Trina says:

    The thing is, I am protestant and I practice the same as you. I do not believe in closed communion either. I’m the one you told to ‘take it elsewhere’ recently in this blog. I just wanted to make a point that you said something worse than what I said a few months ago and you said something very rude to me about it.I don’t know if I would go so far as to say it is blasphemous though. I agree that it is VERY wrong to not allow anyone who wants to partake of communion to do so. That is between God and that person.

  192. Steve says:

    Trina,
    I apologize if I offended you.

  193. Trina says:

    Appology accepted. Thank you, Steve.

  194. Rob says:

    I was raised Protestant but I have occasionally gone to Catholic and Orthodox services with friends. I would have gladly taken Communion with them if their doctrine permitted me to do so. I felt shunned and unwelcome as I sat in the pews while everybody else received Communion. This was a bit shocking to me, because the denomination I was raised in permits everyone to take Communion, regardless of faith. The logic is that there are a lot more similarities between the churches than differences, and we should embrace each other as brothers in Christ. I was considering converting to Catholicism before that, but being denied Communion seriously dampened my enthusiasm.

    • ukok says:

      Rob, I’m sorry that you feel shunned, but it is my belief that if your heart was truly open to your being led to the Church Christ founded, you would come to understand why we believe that only those properly and sacramentally prepared, should recieve the Eucharist. I do hope you have read through the post thoroughly as i feel i have articulated reasonably well, just why it is that we Catholics hold this belief. God Bless you!

  195. Steve says:

    Hmmm. “The Church Christ founded”? I’m sure you mean the ‘small c’ catholic (i.e., universal) church, vice the RC church. I had an interesting study with an RC friend recently, who is finally coming to understand that Christ’s “upon this rock I build my church” meant Peter’s confession, not Peter himself. That said, I respect
    Catholics’ right to have a members-only celebration of the Lord’s Supper. They are also welcome to share the remembrance in our church.

  196. Trina says:

    Dear Lord! I can’t believe some of the things I have read! You have to be properly prepared to receive communion? I know many of the congregation of the catholic church are very ill prepared. Smoking outside of the church. Smoking and drinking inside of the church. At one catholic church in our area, they were playing bingo and smoking and drinking in the sanctuary because it was a new building and they didn’t have their fellowship hall finished yet. That is very sacreligious if you ask me. Were they more prepared to recieve communion than a God fearing, bible believing, born again christian? I think not! I have even heard some of them taking the Lord’s name in vein outside of the church.We don’t allow smoking, drinking or gambling in or around our church. I feel we are the more diciplined believers. Oh, and how prepared do you think the diciples were at the first communion? No more than any other Christ follower, I’m quite sure.

  197. Steve says:

    Trina,
    The last point in the original post is key – 1 Cor 11:27-30. Preparation for celebration of the Lord’s Supper is a Christian responsibility, not a Catholic or Protestant one. We can dispute whether open or closed communion is “the right way” to do it, but that sidesteps the issue of heart preparation. Catholics and Protties are equally guilty of failing to adequately prepare.

  198. queensrealm says:

    I have enjoyed these thoughts you all have shared on this website…….I want to come back and join you…..until then……pray for peace and unity as Jesus prayed, that we become One as He and the
    Father are One. God bless you all.

  199. Larry says:

    I am Anglican and I was taught that the Eucharist is the transmutated body and blood of Christ. Obviously the Pope thinks our priests can do the ritual or he wouldn’t have offered to let the Anglicans keep their ceremonies as long as we came back under the umbrella of the Catholic Bishops.

    We call ourselves a Catholic church and our differences with Rome are few, but seem insurmountable.

    Henri Nouwen on The Door Open to Anyone: Jesus is the door to a life in and with God. “I am the gate,” he says (John 10:9). “I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Still, many people never have heard or will hear of Jesus. They are born, live their lives, and di…e without having been exposed to Jesus and his words. Are they lost? Is there no place in the Father’s house for them? Jesus opened the door to God’s house for all people, also for those who never knew or will know that it was Jesus who opened it. The Spirit that Jesus sent “blows where it pleases” (John 3:8), and it can lead anyone through the door to God’s house. (Bread For The Journey / henrinouwen.org)

    There are only two commandments: Thou shalt love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and Thou shalt love your neighbors as yourself. All our other laws have been made to satisfy the needs of men and shall have no bearing on our progress to the next life.

    Christ wanted us to remember him and his sacrifice and that is what the Eucharist is for. He did not sacrifice himself so that we would fight one another over his remembrance.

  200. Steve says:

    Larry,
    I think you have the right approach, though I use the opposite convention – ‘catholic’ to refer to the one universal family of believers, whether Roman Catholic or not.

  201. James Gregory says:

    .
    As neither a Catholic nor a Protestant, I believe that closed communion is simply an expression of sectarianism. Open communion, practiced properly, is what the New Testament writers describe. Who is worthy to participate in communion is based on whether or not one is in Christ. That implies one who has believed into Christ (John 3:16 in the Greek) and has been baptized into Christ (Romans 6:1-5) in order to be in Christ. The unbeliever and the unbaptized should not participate in communion because they are not a part of the real community that is the Body of Christ, not yet being in Christ.

    The Catholics claim that Protestants are legitimately believers due to their baptism. Thus, in claim at least, are saying that they are in the Body of Christ. They refuse communion to non-Catholics only because of doctrinal difference and claim non-unity because of doctrinal difference. The chief doctrine is an agreement that the body and blood is present in the bread and the wine according to their own doctrine of Transubstantiation.

    We are not all intended to be one in doctrine. We are to be one in Spirit as Paul clearly says in Ephesians 4:1-6. Personal understanding of doctrine is a matter of growth as Paul clearly says in Ephesians 4:7-16. Doctrine in its entirety is only in the Apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42), or what we know as the Bible today. The only one who can truly claim to be doctrinally pure is the one who completely understands the Bible through the Spirit of God. There is no such individual on earth today. I don’t think that even the Catholics with all of their earthly and unearthly community would claim such a thing, since they claim to believe in the development in the understanding of doctrine in relation to their corporate expression. It is too bad that they do not give the same respect to the individual. In stead of a guide, the Catholic Church is an authority on doctrine.

    Catholics and others who practice closed communion claim that it is a practice of love to practice closed communion. Is it really love to keep people from Jesus Christ, whether in his word or in communion, the one who is our life? Even the Catholic today will welcome all to that part of the Mass that is related to the word of Christ. I have read Catholic writers that claim that communion is so efficacious that it even keeps us from sin. And from that perspective, is it right to keep anyone from something that can heal our sins, even if it is the sin of misunderstanding the meaning of communion? Would not the experience itself be a healing force in our understanding of communion?

    We do not participate in communion because we are worthy. We participate worthily as even the NAB says in 1Corinthians 11. If sin makes us unable to participate in communion, then no one is worthy since our sinful nature would not allow it. If an incorrect understanding of doctrine makes us unable to participate in communion, then no one is worthy since our inability to understand doctrine completely would not allow it. With all of the problems that the Corinthians had, Paul never said that there was any who should not participate because they were unworthy. Rather, he said that if they were not going to participate worthily or in a worthy manner thus discerning the body and blood of Christ, then they should stay home because it would make them sick.

    Don’t you wonder why, if Christianity as we know it today, is the true expression of the Reality that is in Christ in a corporate sense, why no one is sick because they are participating in communion unworthily? Don’t you wonder why, if the Catholic Church is the true Church, why the many who are born Catholics, who really have no understanding of the meaning of communion and live as if Catholicism is part of their secular lives, are not sick because they are participating in the communion unworthily, according to the Catholic Church’s own standards? Praise the Lord for his undying grace on our behalf.

    Communion is not simply a common meal. Nor is it just a religious ritual that having attended makes us right with God (that would be Reconciliation for the Catholics). It is an experience of the reality of the New Covenant in Christ and of our unity with one another and with Jesus Christ as the Body of Christ through the Spirit of God (1Corinthians 10-14). It is not an experience of doctrinal unity, nor is it intended to be. And the experience of communion will continue to be incomplete so long as those who are in Christ believe so strongly in the validity of their own sectarianism.

    Is Jesus truly present in the communion? Definitely! In a Spiritual manner as Jesus himself taught in John 6:63. The matter was never meant to be taken physically as it was taken by the Jews or as it is taught today in the Catholic Church. Nor is it just a symbol. If one reads the whole New Testament, not just the few prescribed verses used to interpret the Bible one way or the other, one sees that communion is more than a remembrance as we understand the term. It is an experiential communion of the Reality that is in Jesus Christ. And it is an experience that is through the Spirit of God, as is all of our experience in Christ. And since in Jesus Christ is the Life of God, we who are in Christ experience something of the eternal Life of God whenever we participate in communion worthily. And it is that experience that should be what is important, not whether or not we are doctrinally correct on its meaning as we understand it through this interpretation of that interpretation.

    No amount of ritual can produce the true experience of communion because the experience is according to the faith of the one who communes. We say the words that Jesus said at the beginning of communion. Not because it is the thing to do. Because it is out of respect that Jesus knew the right words to say. Catholics and Protestants both understand this and say these words, hopefully for that reason. The words of Jesus are Spirit and Life.

    I am not against the Catholic ritual per se. It is a very beautiful and meaningful ritual with a lot of symbolism that helps to understand something of the reality that one should experience. So also the Eastern Orthodox ritual. Everyone should get to know these rituals for that experience alone, even though they are prevented by denominational law from participating in communion. There was much that I did not understand until after I got to know the rituals in these two denominations. Particularly the presence of Christ in communion, having been taught originally by Protestants who understand the experience of communion as merely something symbolic.

    But the practice of closed communion in the Catholic Church proves what they really are. Sectarian. So also the Eastern Orthodox and all of the Protestants who practice closed communion. But humans, being what they are, fallen, tend toward extremes. And the practice of open communion in relation to anyone, no matter whether they are in Christ or not, is just as sectarian. I would find it amusing, if I was still an Atheist, that the Anglican communion is so open that it is becoming openly gay. Homophobic? As you wish. But I see sufficient reason to believe that one who is purposefully gay is also not yet in Christ. And I see the distinction between the one who is purposefully gay, and the one who has gay tendencies and knows it is not according to the intention of God because such a one sees that it is so in the Bible through the Spirit.

    Personally, in one sense, I am happy that the Catholic Church is closed communion. It is solid proof to my personal satisfaction that it is not the “true Church”, as it claims to be. In spite of all of its emphasis on being Apostolic and Historic. So also all other such denominations that also practice closed communion. There are other things that show whether a denomination that practices open communion is the “true Church”. The claim itself for one thing, since there is no such thing described by the Biblical writers. They only write about what is called today “local churches” or “parishes”. But that is a different issue.

    JamesG

  202. Kattie says:

    I was appalled as a non Catholic that communion was specifically only offered to Catholics at a recent wedding. It was in my opinion, very offensive, and hurtful. This is the problem today, one group believing that they have all of the answers. I wanted to walk out of that wedding. My belief and yes, I know I am right, is that no matter who, or what you are; or what you believe, if you are a good person, you will be saved!

  203. Ben says:

    For God so loved “the whole world” that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
    God offered his son to ALL so that whoever believes can have salvation. The catholic church talks a great deal about the division of the churches body because of the differences in the teachings of various Christian churches. Yet they are the main cause of it, they say to pray for unity but deny any unification with us through a Eucharist. You can call us your brothers, but DENY us the body of Christ through the Eucharist. Keep denying people that truly believe in THE WORD OF GOD and only give it to your followers with their white washed religion full of man’s laws. Jesus spoke against those churches full of man’s laws that practice only so people can see your works. Jesus said you strain out the gnat but swallow the whole camel. In other words you judge Christians who don’t practice catholic laws. Yet you fail to follow Gods laws by bowing down to statues. Remember do not have any gods before me. Do not make any images of anything from heaven above or on the earth below……DO NOT bow down OR worship them. Keep doing the feel good religion and keep doing your little rituals to make you appear holy to fellow people. But I would think twice about denying ANYONE the body of Christ. ” Therefore ANY of you who causes these little ones to GO ASTRAY it would be better for them to have a millstone hung around their necks and cast into the sea.”

  204. Alex says:

    I am an Episcopalian, which is, contrary to popular belief, not a Protestant denomination. I believe in transubstantiation, which is the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine in the Eucharist. I have been baptized and have received my first communion. So, aside from the whole not-being-Catholic part, it doesn’t seem like there is any valid reason for me not to be able to receive in a Catholic church.

  205. Arron says:

    Think of every catholic mass and thier would have been hundreds of millions since the 6 th century
    Think of the notion that a priest,can envoke down from hevan,the real presence of jesus,in bread and wine,?
    Since the 6th century,untill now-man has inflicted untold horror against fellow humans and also horrors against people who happened to hold to a different view of the almighty
    I find nothing more insulting to the human dignity,than as good people fought for thier lives,begged to god for mercy for there life to be spared,-
    People of all faiths as well as decent citicens who held no faith,were tortured,murdered,acused falsly,
    And yet a catholic priests,held masses around the world,during these 14,000 years,claiming god is present?-/////in bread and wine
    Dont conn me or those who paid the altimate price,its insulting to their memorys and to what they suffered.
    If God comes down in bread and wine,as u believe,why did he leave all those poor souls to perish?
    And you catholics wonder why protestants and moslems,rightly reject-the real presence-well thats why,its incompatable to the suffering of millons for who no help came,no doubt many many of them,were presious in the lords eyes and of strong faith.
    I hope in Australia,we never get another papal visit,-
    And never forget,when jesus fed the 5 thousand,it had nothing to do with real presence as some catholics like to claim,
    What i believe jesus was meaning was,i am he,the same almighty who gave the manna in the wilderness.
    Lincoln was right to stay out of the churchs,-he loved the scriptures,but had wisdom to see the foolishness,that can and does go on in organised religion.
    Aussie lad.

    • Steve says:

      Arron,
      As a Protestant who firmly believes in open Communion, I thinking you’re missing the point. This is not whether the elements are the literal body and blood of Christ (and I don’t think they are), but rather the fact that we live in a world tainted by Adam’s sin. As a result, there will continue to be death, disease, cruelty and suffering until God washes this world wiuth fire and ushers believers into the new heavens and new earth. God “allows suffering” for the same reason that we “allow” criminals to serve time in prison – it’s the consequence of sin. Thankfully, God has given us his son who has atoned for the sins of believers, thus allowing us entrance into His presence.

  206. Arron says:

    Steve,i agree with you that the elements are not the literal body and blood of Christ,in the Catholic mass.
    My point is that Catholics lord it over people that it realy is the actual presences,blood body of our lord,-All i am doing is challenging a claim that is unbiblical,un scientific,and bullying in the extreme,that one cannot be saved unless they kowtow to catholic teaching,
    If rank and file catholics believe this as truth,fine,live peacefull lives and let bible based Christians who reject succsession to peter and church teaching alone to serve jesus,then im happy.
    When i take commuunion,and it is very rarely,my choice,-i do so in memory of what jesus gave us,a once and for all action of how much he gave to the world and those he loved,and the many millions who would follow later,right up to know.
    I have a awfull feeling for manyyears,that islam or more correcrly Muhhaamad,wittnessed the horror that the church of his time had become,and so acted to bring in extreme monothesism to right and erase what man had added to jesus teachings.
    Ponder that one,if it is true,that God,jesus Yahwah,allah,sent a new reverlation to mankind,because of the added traditions of men,to the faith of jesus,yeshua-
    These are very hard issues,if catholics take the ostrich position in what thier taught fine.
    But history is littered with the bones of brave men woman and children who took a stand and said these things cannot be right,the heart knows it as does the soul,
    Steve lets hope your courage and mine,is worthy of those brave souls who faced the stake rack amd flame,for what is truth,-i extend this comment as well to the brave catholics who lost their lives as well,in the war for truth/v aauthority in the lords name.-when will we ever learn,-amen,peace.

  207. Arron says:

    I forgot to mention,chicainery,and the old thimbul and pea trick,throwing a blanket over a volkswagon,and holding hands over it and presto,it has changed into a rolls royce,?
    That Catholics still fall for this today its a shame,but heck dont blame the papacy,the blame lies at the feet of all catholics,who have gave untold hundreds of millions of dollars,down thru the ages to fund,these things,that jesus warned us about,-the worthless traditions of foolish serpents masquarading as teachers of the law.-good luck at the judgement getting out of that one.

  208. Steve says:

    Arron,
    I’m sorry you’ve had such a tough time with the Catholic church. I’m a former Catholic and am now gladly and unequivocally a Protestant, but despite some significant doctrinal differences there is still more in common than separates us. I would advise you (and anyone else, for that matter) to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the Scripture. Our fight is against the flesh, the world and the devil, not each other.

  209. I stand by the word of my lord & savior Jesus Christ the gospel of St John 6: 30 – 59, you have to think about that the Jews are grumbling of what Jesus said because he did not speak allegorically.
    that reflects St Paul letter to the Corinthians 1 Cor 11: 23 – 29 specially verse 29 “For anyone who eat s and drinks without recognizing the body of the lord eats and drinks judgement on himself” because st Paul believe the real presence of Christ in the most Holy Eucharist. Let me remind you that the Catholic Church is very careful on this because the protestant do not believe this. They have been lied by the invention of a nominalist idea of Martin Luther and John Calvin. If you dis agree with me Show me a church Father that did not believe this.

    • Steve says:

      Russel,
      I could just as easily say that Catholics have been lied to by “church fathers”. As a Protestant I stand by Paul’s letter tot he Corinthians and fully accept the passage, “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement on himself.” There is nothing in the passage to imply that Paul is speaking of the literal body and blood of Christ. Christ himselt says, “Do this IN REMEMBRANCE of me” so I see it as an incredible memorial to the sacrificial gift Christ has given us, rather than as a reenactment complete with literal flesh and blood.

  210. tdangerptrow says:

    This is way past due, but I have one simple question to ask Steve. If the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is there, truly present on the altar…what would that the mean?
    If the infinitely powerful Lord Jesus Christ who holds the universe in His hands allowed us to hold him in our hands, what would that mean?
    If anyone who received our Lord TRULY recognized and accepted this, wouldn’t that be the most shocking life-changing revelation of their life?
    Wouldn’t that be the greatest act of Love to ever happen in that person’s life — outside of the sacrifice and redemption our Lord, of course?
    If the Lord continued to come down to Earth fully present, to be intimately Whole and Present with us, what would that mean?
    What would that mean, if the Lord loved me enough to swoop down, wash the feet of this sinner, and allow me to dwell in His Presence?
    If He is truly there, then what does mean about my value in the Eyes of our Lord?
    If He is truly there, then what testament does that give to Lord’s infinite Love and Longing for my and your love?
    I believe that the discrepancy in the Catholic Church between those On Fire for Him and culturally-only Catholics can largely be attributed to the belief that Jesus Loves us poor sinners enough to Come down in humility to Be One with us.
    Just as the Christian Faith hinges entirely on the belief that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, the Catholic faith relies on belief in the Eucharist. For the mass without Jesus Truly Present is dead. It is nothing but a lie. It is nothing but shallow beliefs and rote prayers.
    If Jesus Loved you enough to come down to you and be one, What Would That Mean?

    • Steve says:

      If apples were oranges, what would that mean?  The strongest argument against the “real presence” of Christ in communion is His own words.  He says in John 16 that if He does not go away, the Comforter (i.e., the Holy Spirit) would not come.  God is present with believers, Christians and catholics alike, through the person of the Holy Spirit, sent to us at Pentecost.  We would not need the Spirit if Christ were still here.  Why does the rest of the New Testament speak of Christ’s ultimate return if He were already present?  I am allowed to dwell in his presence (see John 17) because I am indwelt with the Holy Spirit and because of the completed atoning work of Christ on the cross.  The physical presence of Christ is not required, nor is it a scriptural concept.  When we add content or concepts to Scripture, we are heading down a wrong path.  Remember Sola Scriptura?

      • tdangerptrow says:

        Haha, Steve, you have an awesome logical mind! One I would definitely expect from an ex-Catholic. Good argument, indeed!
        “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.
        Hmmm…I’m curious how that would pertain to the appearance of Jesus to Paul. Paul clearly stated that Jesus appeared to him “[8] Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. how would that pertain to the appearance of Jesus”
        I need to explore more in to the Catholic belief of the Eucharist before I can properly answer you.

        I can, however speak on sola scriptura. Sorry, but there is no scriptural claim for sola scriptura. No where in the scripture is it said that scripture is the only depository of faith. Scripture in fact supports otherwise: in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “[15] So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. ”
        Also in 2 Peter 3:16-17: “[15] And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
        [16] speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.
        [17] You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability. ”
        The Council of Jerusalem in Acts also suggests that tradition also plays a role in faith.
        Even in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the verse most commonly used to support sola scriptura, there is no claim that scripture is the only truth “[16] All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
        [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Yes, scripture is inspired by the Lord and it is useful and good. But no where does it say that scripture is the only truth.
        The reality is that if you trust fallible sinners to be guided by the Holy Spirit to create something infallible like the Bible, then fallible sinners guided by the Holy Spirit could create infallible teachings of the Church.
        Thank you for your willingness to respond!

        • Steve says:

          Good points. My concern with the corporate/bureaucratic church (as opposed to the corporate body of believers) is that it has no authority, yet it promulgates doctrine. I would disagree with your last statement. I trust fallible sinners to be guided and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not to “create something infallible like the Bible”. Men did not create Scripture, God did, through the person of the Holy Spirit and His recurring act of inspiration. Men are not and cannot be infallible. The Roman Catholic doctrine of human/papal/church infallibility to me smacks of the worst kind of arrogance. God can and does inspire human beings, Catholic or catholic. I’m good with that, but when it comes to adding doctrine to Scripture, I have to draw the theological line.

          I interpret Sola Scriptura as meaning that in matters of doctrine, I should rely on the Word. RC doctrinal concepts such as infallibility, the papacy in general, sacraments, purgatory, the divinity of Mary, the authority of Peter and others, I simply don’t find in there. Councils can guide and enlighten, but they can’t overrule Scripture.

  211. karesha says:

    Wow after skimming through the post on here I have so much to say but I do not have the time to do so. Yet I would like to say that first off everyone on here has the fact that you believe in jesus christ in common.
    I relationship with him is between u and him not the entire world.
    Steve shared his beliefs with u without forcing them onto you yet each person on here seems to be pushing their beliefs on him as if they can only be right.
    The thing that bothers me the most is if catholics are christians than why attack another christian?
    Also the comments like pray for wisdom is very rude and only makes someone think less of ur religion.
    Everyon who believes in the lord needs to come together and be peaceful. We all see things differently and should worship in the mannor which we see fits best.
    Every religion is following someones interpretations from the past. Do whats right do whats just and worship the lord.

    P.s anyone who recieves communion does not take it lightly and to say we do is offending. No one needs a class to understand the holyness involved.

    I will not respond im far to busy I know my spelling and gramer is horriable im on a cell phone thats lagging. The point im sure can still be read. Thank u.

  212. C. says:

    Hello everyone!
    I am 15 years old, and a strong protestant. I am curriently taking Religion 25, and it is all based on the Catholic faith. I mean abosilutely no offense to anyone; I mean only to ask a few questions that I hope will be somewhat challenging. My school is Catholic, and the reason I am taking religion is to graduate in grade 12. One problem I have always had was that is someone who was born to a Catholic family and was baptized as a baby would have no problem getting into my school and do not have to take the extra courses because they are “Catholic”. Many of these good “Catholic” people I know swear, talk dirty language, and get involved with smoking and drugs. Are they Catholic? I’ve always heard that actions speak louder than words. I have also noticed that these same people partake in comunion in the school services, while I do not. I do respect Caholic beliefs, and will not eat comunion, but I was just wondering what anyone has to say about this. Thanks!

    • Trina says:

      Hello C.
      I totally know where you are coming from with these questions. I am protestant also and have dealt with the same things as you wrote of. When a protestant says they are a christian it usually means that they are “born again”. We become a new person through the Holy Spirit as we are born into the family of God. Therefore we are changed in a way where we try to resist sin and live as holy a life as we can. I don’t know as a catholic person has the same convictions. They may sin on one day and then confess it to the priest on another day and that is that. They may even take communion after sinning because it is done so frequently it loses it’s special meaning. When we partake of communion we should be free of any sins or grudges toward anyone. I know many Catholics that don’t really worry about being prepared to take communion. I am sure there are also protestants out there who just go through the motions also. But you need to remember that being Catholic is just being religious and most do not have a personal relationship with Jesus which is a must to have eternal life through Him. You are right to not take communion in their church. Respect their rules even if they are silly.

    • Steve says:

      Trina,
      I am a Protestant as well, but the same applies to Catholics and Protestants: we are sinners who are saved by grace. That means we are not perfect and never will be until we are raised to heaven. I can point to any number of “imperfect” practicing Catholics, Protestants, Jews, etc. The difference (from a Protestant perspective) is that when we are saved we become indwelt with the Holy Spirit. From that point on, the Spirit works within each of us to make us more Christlike. We still struggle with sin, but so long as we seek God, He will work in the Spirit to perfect us. Some people claim the name of Christ, but don’t really seek Him while others are saved and still struggle with sin. It’s not our place to judge between them, but love them and deal with them as they are. Sometimes (oftentimes) God works through us to change them. Be faithful, seek Christ, love others and let God work on them in His time.

  213. C. says:

    I do understand what you mean, Trina, but I woudn’t say that the rules are silly. I also want to maek it clear that I don’t think all Catholics are like the ones at my school; a big issue is that they are young, and many teenagers go off the path of Christ. The one thing I failed to point out earlier is that unlike Protestantism (I think it’s called that), Catholics require that they be baptized in order to begin their journey with God, and in my denomination, what is required is a true change of heart. That is why I disagree with many Catholic teachings, but I think you are being unfair to describe them as “silly”.

    • Trina says:

      It is silly that they do not allow other believers to take communion in their church. Or should I say rude or judgmental? I think silly is a kinder way to put their closed communion. They don’t allow it because they judge our hearts of what we believe and if we don’t believe the way they do, that is is the actual body and blood then we are not welcome to receive it. Let God Almighty be the judge is what I say. Believe me, that is the least of their problems that they think they are partaking of Christs actual blood and body. And those of us who really know what that religion is all about know what I am referring to.

      • C. says:

        Just something I just thought of last night:
        A true Christian is one who has accepted God’s gift of mercy and has given their life to Him; whether they are Protestant or Catholic is irrelevant.
        Really, only God knows each of our hearts, and it is not our place to judge others. Just read Romans 14: 4-6, Paul is addressing exactly what I mean to say.

        • Trina says:

          Sure C. I totally agree with that. And I am sure there will be some Catholic people in heaven. The ones who have truly accepted Christ and live for Him. The problem though is that there are many who only go through the motions. Or they put Mary before Jesus. I know because my mother in law is one of those people.

          • C. says:

            I’ll be sure to keep your mother-in-law in my prayers then :) Just remember, that witnessing through example is the best way to witness.

            • Trina says:

              Thank you. That is kind of you. And yes, I do try to witness to her but it all falls on deaf ears.

          • Regina says:

            Trina, This is off the subject of the Eucharist, I wanted to address another issue you mentioned in your message about Mary. Interesting that you say your mother in-law ‘puts Mary’ before Jesus….again, isn’t that is sort of judgmental if you don’t understand what is going on? I would like to point out that “God the Son” came to us through Mary … and I am not at all surprised that your mother in-law offers her prayers through Mary so that Mary can offer them to her Son ‘who is God’. Mary would do all things for her Son and she offers everything up to Him and holds NOTHING for herself….. Since she is a person FULL OF GRACE, then our prayers going through her to her Son can only be more purified… She can take our tainted prayers when given to her and offer them to her Son as a much more perfected prayer than we can do in our going directly to Him. Surely all the prayers she offers for us to Him are more purified and without all the tainted worldly thoughts and/or sins of ourselves that we have attached to them. Since it is said, that the average person can commit around 7 sins a day, then that tells me that most of us are not in the ‘state of grace’ many times while we are praying, but the Blessed Mother of Jesus is “FULL OF GRACE” and has been since the day of her birth and now the Church honors her as she is the HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. Can we beat that for our title, when we offer our prayers to Him….If this is how the Father has honored the mother of Jesus, then it seems to me that she could do a better job than us to offer up our prayers to Him…..Again, she keeps ‘nothing for herself’, everything she has she has given to the Son….and everything that He came to do for us … was made possible through her saying YES to the Father. I believe it is for reasons of her holiness and her love for all the children of God, that she will do whatever we ask of her to help us to be close to her Son… She also would want for us our salvation, and God has given her to us while He was on the Cross to be our Mother so that we can go to her to seek her help, to call on her to help lead us back to her Son. When she offers ‘our prayers’ to her SON, be assured it is a more perfected pure prayer than what we can do directly to Him… I believe it is for these reasons that the Church encourages us to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary and to ask her prayers for us as she is the mother of Jesus Christ and He will listen to her and deny her nothing.
            Yes, we can pray directly to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but as I have stated above….when we ask Mary, our Blessed Mother to offer our prayers to her Son for us, then it can only help us to send a more pure prayer to Him as she is Holy and we are not. Whether we ask Mary to offer our prayers for us or we do our own direct praying to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit could be compared to something like this: It is like the difference of serving to Jesus a piece of pie ‘on a clean plate or a dirty plate’. I think we can visualize that; can we not?

  214. stefan says:

    What a crock of theological horse hockey. Or as the Trix Rabbit would put it: Silly Catholics. Wafers are for everyone. The RC church needs to let God out of the box. Or better yet, discard the box. Stop making Jesus laugh.

  215. Trina says:

    Exactly! Or making Him cry.

  216. Regina says:

    I am new here and I would like to suggest to all who questions the Eucharist as Catholic understands and partake of this Sacrament, then please read in Scripture ….John, Chapter 6;…. Verse John 6:53 …. where Jesus makes it very clear that He is speaking about HIS BODY (Flesh) and HIS BLOOD. Now we can get all kinds of interpretation about this Chapter from different religious “so called” experts, but when they put words in these verses that are not there, then they have stretched the truth into a non-truth. If one, who reads the Bible can claim that they accept every Word it says literally for their beliefs, but, then, they come to these words in John 6:53 and then, these Words are supposed to mean something differently and not be taken literally. My question is: How come with these words…they cannot read and accept them as the teaching written down by the Apostles and Early Christians, as was the rest of the New Testament that they accept word for word as gospel truths? In my opinion, this is being as a “cafeteria style Christian,” to pick and choose what one will or will not believe in Scripture. Do we believe that the Holy Spirit guided the Apostles and Early Christians the Teachings that they wrote down for the Believers and were compiled to make up our New Testament, For us, then, to not accept what Jesus said about His flesh and blood is doubting the Holy Spirit who was guiding the Church and what was written in our Bible. What Jesus did in John 6:53 and what the Catholic Church professes as Truths is what makes the Catholic Church outstandingly different from all other Christian denominations. When one finally can understand that passage, then they too would want to seek the Church that believes It and where they can truly receive the Body and Blood of Jesus that gives life as Jesus had said; and to know that His Presence is in every Tabernacle in every Catholic Church throughout the whole world. .

    Here is a more complete understanding of these verses. John 6:51-58: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” 52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 “This is the bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

    • Trina says:

      That’s weird. A Catholic telling Christians to read the Bible?We do read the Bible! The Catholics are the ones who, until just pretty recently didn’t read their Bibles. Do YOU take the Bible literally? If so, why do Catholic’s pray ritual prayers to Mary and give her so much adoration over Jesus?(Voodoo priests do the rosary too, by the way) Jesus spoke against this when the woman yelled out in the crowd he was speaking to “Blessed is the woman who gave birth to you and nursed you!” And Jesus said “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:27and 28. A clear message to the Catholics who He knew would be misinterpret the scriptures. Why do they bow down to statues? That is breaking one of the ten commandments. Sorry but if read further in verses 60 through 63 of the verses you referenced you will see that Jesus said “my words are spirit, the flesh counts for nothing.” Remember, when Jesus left the world he left the Holy Spirit. Jesus is not here in the flesh, His Holy Spirit is.See how you didn’t mention that? It seems you are just like the rest of the Catholics and just pick and choose what you read and not read the whole story. And nothing some priest who is just a mere man can do can bring back Jesus in the flesh. My mother-in-law taught in the Catholic schools for 30 years and she would always tell me that you can’t take the Bible literally. A devout Catholic teacher saying that. Kinda says it all. She however is like you and takes that part literally. She was Eucharistic minister and she took it very seriously. Hey, if that is what Catholics want to believe that is just fine. I am sure it won’t send them to Hell that they think that. Don’t fault us Christians who know that Jesus was speaking symbolically like very often did. Like when he said “Ye must be born again.” He obviously didn’t mean we would be entering the womb again.

  217. Regina says:

    Trina, it is obvious that you prefer to be critical of Catholics. Another thing that surprises me about many Protestants is that they do not realize that Catholics are Christians too. In fact, Catholics are in direct line with the “First Christians” … If you question this, check it out and you will find that the First Christians belonged to this “Church instituted by Christ” and He had intended that this Church would be for all mankind; it would be universal, If you check out the word catholic you will see in that it means “universal” deriving from the Greek language that was also used when the messages were written and later compiled in the New Testament. Those early Christians who belonged to this “catholic (universal) Church of 2000 years ago have passed down their Scriptural Word and Traditions to us this very day….Catholics still follow those Teachings and Traditions as written in Scripture.

    It was approx.500-600 years ago that the Reformers came to undo the Teachings of the Early Christians and these Reformer, who had the “nerve or was it wisdom(???)” to not only have changed what Jesus had established through His first universal Christians, but these reformers also were the ones who changed the 10 Commandments from what was already established by the Catholic Church and they also changed the Lord’s Prayer…and the list goes on. They want to say that the Catholic Church made all these changes, but it seems to me that the Catholic Church was already on first base for 1500 years before other denominations came along and made their changes only 500-600 years ago…(go figure) …. My question is this: From whom did these anti-Catholics get the authority to make changes and then say they are the right ones when they undid everything the “First Christians” had placed in order from Christ Himself. It blows my mind!

    Trina, you don’t have to accept anything Catholic, but I would like to remind you that the Bible you are reading as your Truths, was written and compiled by those “First universal (catholic) Christians in the Church Jesus had founded and I believe I follow those Truths as a Catholic.
    I am not being critical of your beliefs, but please, don’t be so judgmental as to think that Catholics are not Christians…Catholics continue in the line of the ‘first universal “catholic” Christians..
    Does it surprise you that Catholics follow Christ too, and YES, WE ARE CHRISTIANS
    We are following “The Teachings and Traditions of those First Christians” and proud of it.
    As for the fallen away Catholics, I believe they never understood what they were giving up. Some do finally learn the truth and return. Praise God!

    I would like to reply to your comments about “Catholics not reading the Bible” but this would take another message to explain…..Also about your comments on “repetitious prayers” and the Catholics reverence for the Virgin Mary or about statues…. but again, due to length of this message, it would need to be covered at another time. I will go there and give my thoughts if you wish that I should continue.

  218. Trina says:

    First I should apologize for not referencing Catholics as Christians. I guess a non Christian would be atheists and Scientology followers or Jehovah’s Witnesses etc… I know that you believe in Christ. Yes, I do believe that the Catholic religion is the first religion. But it became corrupt and that is why Martin Luther stepped in. There are a lot of things we could go back and forth about but I know what I know and you know what you know. Basically, it is all about the fruit that comes from a Christ follower. It is all about Him. Living for Him. Giving Him all the glory and praise! Loving one another and being kind and giving. If you see that fruit from your church followers and they are not off in ” Mary land ” then great! But, I know exactly what she has been made into and boy, I would not be part of it! It is not biblical at all! She was hardly spoken of in the bible and she admittedly claimed she was a sinner when she sang “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in my God my Savior.”Luke 1:47. Mary had other children after Jesus so she is not a virgin .Also, Jesus called her woman quite often.If she deserves such recognition as is done in the RC church, wouldn’t He have said so? And don’t try to use the verse where He tells her to behold her son and he his mother when He is on the cross. She had done the Lord’s will and she was blessed because of it. BUT that is not a justification for all the worship she receives. That is a perversion of the word of God! It takes away from Jesus who is the Savior. And for those who say she mediates for them, why? “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5 .
    The Mary who is being prayed to is not the Mary of the bible. I am afraid to say who they are really praying to. The ex-Catholics that I have spoke to speak of how much guilt they have for all of the rituals that they performed while being Catholic. They feel a weight has been lifted off of their souls now. They feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Just sayin’

  219. Regina says:

    My dear Trina,
    I could put so many holes in all you have just written. It is very obvious you have only read information that comes from those who want to hate rather than love a fellow Christian…..and accept where they are, as we are to accept even the atheist and all the other non-Christian people of other faiths…what good does it do us to knock down what they believe. They are there because God is allowing them to be there and the same for you and me. However, I do believe strongly that I am in the Church instituted by Christ and I don’t know if this is how members in other faiths believe also….If they firmly believe they are where God wants them, then there is nothing we humans can do to change that. We can learn from one another, but Only God can place on the heart of anyone to seek Him and be led to His Way, His Life and His Truths. As He has told us that He is the Way, the Life and the Truth….and if we are not in it, then we should be asking Him to help us find it. I do not have any questions about where I feel He has led me…and if you are comfortable with yours, then there should be no reason to attack others where God has placed them.
    As for the Catholic Church being corrupted…never in the spiritual order of the church has it been corrupted, it was humans who became corrupt and taking a good thing and doing bad with it, just as the “humans” in the Church today, in these very times there is again the human sinners who have become sexually corrupted. Not all, but those who have…but that does not mean that it changed God’s plan for the Church….He is still working through it guided by the Holy Spirit to redeem the people through His Son Jesus… The news media wants to make sure the world knows the weakness of the human side of the Church, certainly we are all sinners…they are in all denominations, but the Church still remains Holy as it is guided always by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will weed out the corruption and make the Church believers stronger, as the Holy Spirit has done over and over throughout history when dealing with us sinners who have not lived up to what we are called to be…. Jesus dealt with sinners back in his time too, in fact he founded His Church on a group of sinners, or at least many were not “full of grace” such as His mother Mary, Who was. I would need another whole page to tell you about Mary….The Gift that the Father has given us … to not only be the mother to His Son, but to be our mother too….. There is no end to all the wonderful things that can be said about the Mother of Jesus, God the Son. I strongly believe that God her FATHER and Jesus her SON and the Holy Spirit her SPOUSE will become very defensive of her when we all make it to our final destination. I would not want any guilt on my soul for saying one word against the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ our God, Redeemer and Savior. I am just saying……..

    • Trina says:

      Wow, Regina. How very misled you are. Thank you for reaffirming what I already knew about the Catholic cult though. Yikes! Very scary!

  220. Regina says:

    Trina, I have no idea what you read in what I had written that gave you reason to believe that …. “I am very misled. Please, I would like you to tell me where I have gone wrong. I have notice that many of other faiths like to tell Catholics how wrong we are but they never explain it to us with a sound biblical doctrine how we have done that. It appears to me that you seem to have a good understanding of all that Catholics believe, so please tell me where and how I went wrong according to Scripture, not by something that you have been taught otherwise. I would appreciate this, thank you for considering it.

  221. Regina says:

    I have visited this site several times but have not found any new posts. Am I to assume we now have this question settled?

  222. asydwy says:

    @ Regina….The question being answered in this blog is “Why non-Catholics are not allowed
    communion in the Catholic Church”. I think Trina’s diabribe is a good example of why…and you
    refuted her arguments beautifully. That she is not open to the Holy Spirit at this time is not your fault but something for which we can now pray, for Tina, and all our separated brethren who have been so misled by those who would do our beautiful church such harm.
    To the question being raised in this blog and to the many comments in the combox i think we
    need to point out that the Liturgy of the Catholic church, namely the Mass, is not contrived or
    designed by humans but rather it is given to us directly by God Himself Who is the only One
    who could create a liturgy deserving of Himself. AND it IS Biblical going back to the Old Testament
    where Melchizedech, the King of Salem and a priest at the time ( who had no known beginning)
    foreshadowed today’s Mass of the New Law ( Jesus Christ) by offering bread and wine as the Sacrifice of the Old Law. (known eventually as the Showbread) which was then consumed.
    (Genesis 14:18) Todays Liturgy mentions Melchizedek when the priest in the Offetory recalls
    the sacrifice of the Old Law. In the early Church, the catechumens were present only in the
    first part of the Mass during the Gospel readings and the homily as they were still in preparation
    to become full members of the Church. Thus the church has always with-held the Eucharist
    from not only total non-believers but also from those not fully formed yet in the Faith. I think
    this fact, that our Liturgy, given to us by God Himself, as the only way He wishes to be worshipped
    is something that adds to the explantion to the question being asked here. It is interesting to me
    that this discussion has been going on now for over 5 years…and we can still add to it.
    I appreciate that Ukok has kept this blog going for the purpose of enlightenment of not only
    our separated brethre but also many within the fold who have not been properly catechized.

  223. Regina says:

    Thank you ‘asydwy’ for your support. I enjoyed and appreciated your reply… well said; for sure. God bless!….

  224. Steve says:

    asydwy/Regina,
    While Trina did not present the best argument or with the most grace, I was struck by your circular logic and somewhat more graceful attempt to poke Trina in the eye. Your argument boils down to this: Roman Catholic dogma is true because the Roman Catholic church says it is. I was raised catholic and see in catholicism divisive, man-made attempts to reach God. Scripture does not support such a creation, and early church fathers (Irenaus, Origen and others) certainly did not have a man-made bureaucratic/theocratic construction in mind. What amazes me (and shows the grace and power of God) is that through all the abuses of the catholic church throughout history, God preserved “His church”, which is the universal catholic church of all believers – including some roman catholics!

    Steve

    • asydwy says:

      @Steve….you said ” your argument boils down to this: Roman Catholic dogma is true because the Roman Catholic Church says it is true”. Roman Catholicism is based upon the following three things: Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium.
      Either you accept this on Faith and or you do not. You seem to choose to follow your own
      definition of what Catholicism is and is not. Given the gift of free will you can do this but at
      the risk of your immortal soul and the danger of leading others astray as you redefine for your
      own convenience the Church. Instead of lashing out at others here you might spend your
      time more wisely reading books that are solidly Catholic, study the Catechism and become
      better informed before pronouncing on Church matters.
      I was not “poking Trina in the eye” but simply pointing out that she, like you, made several
      statements that were grossly eronneous which is my Christian duty. Peace be to
      you brother!

      • Steve says:

        “Roman Catholicism is based upon the following three things: Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium.” And two of the three are man’s attempts to reach God by their own means, rather than through Scripture (remember Sola Scriptura?), prayer and the indwelling of the Hloy Spirit. If catholic doctrine were to lead us back, first and foremost, to Scripture and to a relationship with the lving God, I would be all for it. Strip away the “magisterium” and man’s traditions and return to Christ. That said, I won’t deny that there are many catholics whom I would consider Christians because they place Christ above a created bureaucracy/theocracy.

        • Trina says:

          Again, another misinterpretation of God’s word. While I do think Mary was a wonderful woman who was blessed and did the will of the Father, I do not in anyway think God wanted us to place her on such a elevated platform. There is NOWHERE in the bible that says to do that. She was a sinner just like everyone else except for Jesus. I believe that my mother in law has cursed everyone she has prayed for with her type of prayers. My family is under the protection of the blood of Jesus but the people she has prayed for all have died. Young people, not just old sick people. Even my husband who was raised catholic and was even an alter boy sees this now. Even when he was involved in the church he could not and would not do the rosary. He said he always knew it was wrong. How are your prayers working out for you? Hopefully you and yours are all well but I believe those types of “prayers” are not reaching our Lord. There are no other mediators except Jesus Christ himself. This I will always believe.

          • Trina says:

            And another thought: Why did God send a part of him to earth to be in human form? My understanding is so He would experience what it was to be human and to be sympathetic to our imperfections. And I would assume that means our imperfect prayers. We can come to Jesus just as we are. He wants to know us and he doesn’t expect perfect prayers, rehearsed prayers or ritualistic prayers. That is how I know my Lord. He is my friend and he accepts me as I am. Ours is not an uncomfortable relationship. He knows me and all my imperfections and he still loves me. That is what it is all about. A personal relationship with Him. That is sad that you don’t understand that. It is wonderful and fulfilling to have that with Him.

            • Trina says:

              Also, I should have added that the main reason He came to earth was, of coarse, to be the Savior of mankind. Mary was a sinner that needed a savior too, I might add. She even said so in the song she sang. Why would she have said that if she was perfect and without sin?

            • Regina says:

              Trina,
              Again you are getting very judgmental, when you say YOU have a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus and to say that “I don’t understand that…or have one, I must say how observing….! ….. Of course, I desire a personal relationship with Jesus and it is my hope I have that, but I feel I could go one step further and say that I not only have a “personal relationship with Jesus”, but I also got to know His whole family, Mary and Joseph…
              I think what I can say is this, I enjoy visiting the whole household and I think they, too, will interact with me……if I come to visit with them and I seek their company…
              It is true that one can and should directly pray to the Father, Son and Hoy Spirit, I am not arguing that one or discouraging anyone from doing this, as I often pray to them directly, but there is great help in the intercession of Mary for us when we need help, or for that matter also to other great Saints to intercede for us….
              If our Blessed Mother is not worthy to ask for her prayers and intercede for us as a good thing, then how can we possibly expect to ask (those in our surroundings who are sinners) to pray for us and expect that to be better for us than asking one of the Saints.

              Example: If you have a family, you might understand this:
              How many times will a young child approach his/her mother and give their wish through his mother, with hopes that she will go approach his father with the idea, because they feel the mom will understand better what they want and knows how to approach the father with the wishes and intercede for them… I have many children and many times when they wanted something … they found it a lot more comfortable coming to me first … and, then, ask … if I would ask dad if they can do it or have it…..it was like they knew I had understanding and more pull with their dad than they did, when it came to so many little details. I think many parents will have experienced these moments with their children. It seems I heard once something like this: The mother rules the home with her heart and the father runs it with his head… And it takes both to have harmony in the home…So it is with the children of God, it is ok for us to go to our Mother to ask her to speak on our behalf ….. I think our earthly family is modeled much like our heavenly family….God has his reasons for everything.
              I know you will disagree with me and maybe other will too, and all I can say about prayer, is to ask: Is there a right way or a wrong way?….As long as our prayers are directed to God then that is the bottom line.

            • Trina says:

              Yes Regina, I do have a husband and children and if my children want or need something they ask their father directly if that is the person they need to ask. I understand what you are trying to say but I don’t look at it like that. I wasn’t saying that you don’t have a personal relationship with Him, by the way. That would be judgmental. I don’t believe in praying to saints and asking them for anything. That isn’t biblical. I also don’t believe in confessing your sins to a priest. That is not biblical either.

            • Regina says:

              Trina, First, I want to say you are to be commended for the great interaction between your children and their dad. It is obvious, I did not choose the right example or my kids were very different.
              May I ask how many times do you repeat the verse John 3:16. Gee if done often enough, it could become a prayer, couldn’t it? …. just saying.
              About Mary having other children…I must say if she had others, and if Jesus had all these blood siblings, where were they when he hung on the cross? And if there were other siblings, then why did he give his mother to John as he was hanging on the cross? Besides, if Mary had other children, how come she is so concerned just about this ONE? …. If she was just an ordinary woman as you say she is, then she would not have known that this Son was God… and since no one else believed him, then what would have made her believe him if he was to tell her that he was God? Being just an average woman as you say, she probably thought just as one of us would respond to such a comment from a kid… if our kid told us he was God. “SURE YOU ARE” So if I use your generality of her that she is nothing special, then it seems this is how it would have all played out and she would not have become an issue among Christians.

        • To our Sola Scriptura friend, Steve: You say Mary was a sinner like everyone else
          and that God Himself did not elevate her above all the rest of creation? Please
          re-read Luke chapter one…the visitation to Mary by Gabriel, the Archangel, who
          as God’s personal messenger to Mary. Consider his greetig : Hail, full of grace, the
          Lord is with thee….To be full of grace means without sin! He chose the spotless one
          from all time, to be the Mother of His Son…and our Mother. He redeemed her before
          her conception (unless the rest of humanity)so that she would be worthy of being
          called His Mother, the New Arc of the Covenant. Catholics feel bound by this to
          honor (not worship) her because of what God did for her and who she represents
          to us.

          • Regina says:

            TO: ThirstforTruth
            AMEN! Thank you!
            If only Protestants would realize that every time we Catholics ‘repetitiously’ say our prayer “The Hail Mary” we are repeating the very WORDS from our Scripture, therefore, basically reading our Scripture prayerfully….. this prayer is the actual Words said by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary..and what Scripture says happened when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Every time they criticize Catholic for repeating a prayer they are actually being very critical of the Words of God written down in our Bible. .I would suggest if the Protestants who only depend on Sola Scriptura for their faith, to read those Words over and over that was said in Luke: chapter one, about the Virgin … and if they did that as often as we pray a Hail Mary, then, they too, would be praying the Hail Mary as they read their Bible. Seems the Father had to know what He was doing when He chose a perfect arc to carry His Son…Would He had chosen less? If he had chosen less then what would that have proven to us? That nothing matters????…It seems like we have enough of that kind of thinking going around these days (that being: nothing matters). God does not do things according to our measuring stick… He has His own…and that is what He will use to measure what is worthy…not what we believe is or is not worthy. With that said, Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus….. For our Protestant friends who have not seen these words, you can find these in Luke and these are our repetitious prayer we Catholics say. If you read it once, you will have at least said … “one Hail Mary” …. Praise God: now how great is that?

            • Trina says:

              Regina, That greeting from the angel Gabriel was a greeting. Not a prayer. He was giving her a high greeting because she was favorable in God’s eyes and was chosen to conceive Jesus. So basically catholic’s just keep greeting Mary over and over again and think they are praying. And one other thing that needs to be address is that
              Mary did not stay a virgin so you can’t say she is the “blessed virgin”. She was a virgin until she had Jesus and then went on to have a normal relationship with her husband.

            • Trina…I don’t know what your definition of prayer is but Catholics believe that meditation on
              scripture leads to prayer…at least one kind of prayer of which Hail Mary is a type. You are right that it was in greeting Mary these are the words used by Gabriel. In saying the Hail Mary, we are greeting our Mother Mary, following the angel’s example by honoring her in much the same reverent fashion. We offer this prayer of petition to her as we meditate on her life with Jesus.
              It is very scriptural and is hundreds and hundreds of years old, not a recent thing as you say.
              As the prayer goes on after the words of Gabriel and Elizabeth….Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us ( meaning intercede for us) now and at the hour of our death…Amen. When we
              say our Rosary of Hail Mary’s we are meditating and praying the gospel story through what we
              call the mysteries as they unfold in Scripture as they were revealed to us, His incarnation is the First Mystery of Contemplation followed by the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, as well as His Presentation in the Temple and Mary and Joseph finding Him after losing Him in the Temple Teaching ( the Joyful Mysteries) These are There are five decades of ten Hail Mary’s in each of the mysteries we contemplate in her life with Jesus. The Joyful Mysteries are followed by the Sorrowful Mysteries including The Agony in the Garden, the Scouraging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, The Carrying of His Cross, and he Crucifixion. The Glorious Mysteries include the Resurrection, the Ascension, The Coming of The Holy Spirit, The Assumption and The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven.
              Blessed Pope JPII added before his death five more mysteries which he called the Luminous Mysteries: The Baptism of Christ, The Wedding Feast at Cana, The Coming of the Kingdom, The Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist, each one of these depicting important events
              rounding out Christ’s public life. So you see all this is very, very biblical. And not at all recent
              as the Rosary is hundredes of years old. You can google its historical significance.
              We call Mary, the Blessed Virgin, to honor her perpetual virginity. We believe those brothers
              and sisters referred to in Scripture as mis-translation, for the word for brother used here is
              really in Hebrew just like relative…could be cousin, etc. Some believe that any siblings would
              have belonged to Joseph who likely was older than Mary…and a widower. You must also know
              that Mary has been considered a virgin, way back in the early days of Christianity, who were
              closer in time to her than you and I. If also Mary had other children, why did Jesus say while
              on the Cross to John, ” Behold your Mother ” and also to Mary ” Behold your Son” if there were
              other family members who could have cared for her after His death? Remember, Sacred Tradition carries lots of weight if for no other reason that these people were witnesses and closer to the
              time and personages than any of today’s historians/scholars. You can accept this or not but this
              is what all Catholics believe and some reasons why.

            • Regina says:

              Thank you ThirstforTruth for your detailed explanation, which is all Biblical.

  225. Regina says:

    God bless you..Asydwy Thank you for your kind remarks. Regina

  226. Dwayne says:

    James 2:10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. I wanted to copy and paste this verse in response to the statements made in some of the postings regarding “serious” sin. According to the bible there is no difference between “sin”. If I am missing this fact please quote book and verse. My point is that we can only be saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. Look into John 3:16 and the entire New Testament. The Apostle Paul wrote many letters in the New Testament. He is often dismayed and frustrated by people that could not understand Grace. So he explains it in great detail. Paul admitted he was a sinner and he could not stop sinning. He said “I don’t do what I want to do and I do what I don’t want to do”. His point was that he was a helpless sinner. No Law could stop him. Not even the 10 commandmants. Only through Grace could he be saved. Jesus death, buriel, and resurrection is our only chance. That is Faith in that alone could only remove the yoke of the Law. God loved us so much that he gave his son as a ransom for our sins. Our sins are covered by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. NOT ANYTHING ELSE. No church or religion can substitute the free gift of Grace that was given freely by Jesus Christ our Lord. When Jesus walked the earth, he often called legalistic church followers hipocrites. The Old Testament form of church referred to Temple’s, Buildings, and Synagoges. The New Testament Church are Jesus Christ Believers. You don’t have to have a membership at a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic,,etc church to be Born Again Saved Believer. Of course I think it is smart to find a BIBLE believing church to receive guidance and be exposed to Gods Word and receive Gods Grace through his Holy Spirit. We all need God’s Grace. Pray for His Grace and you will receive it. If you are confused about this, find a Christian, who could be of any Bible believing Christian denomination and ask for guidance and you will find. If they tell you that you have to join their particular church first or go through some sort of initiation first. RUN. Anyone trying to introduce you to Christ should just be trying to introduce you to Christ. No other alterier motive.

    • Regina says:

      Dwayne, True, God gave the Commandments and under each of these Commandments they cover a multitude of sins, great sins and lesser sins, but all are sins …some would certainly be more serious, for example a murder is a greater sin than to steal a cookie…though both are wrong doings, but seems one is a greater sin…Only God knows how they will be judged… as for our human judgement, we would believe one to be far worse than the other and seems one would call for a different degree of punishment for each in our human decision.

      I am not any authority on all that you wrote about, but I would like to add the following in brief to give an answer ….As you have said with God… it is all possible that A Believer by just knowing about God, accepting Jesus, and reading the Bible and practice what it says…can, as it says, be saved by faith, all things are possible in God… However, there seems to always have been such a thing as gatherings of Believers, going way back in the Old Testament, the Temples and the Synagogs …. The New Testament must have intended to continue this form of gatherings and worshiping together…… as the Early Church began within these places of worship with the Jews… I would like to suggest that you check out this website: http://www.biblelessons.com/origins.html … It covers many things quite well and especially to scroll down to read: Early Christian Worship.

      • Steve says:

        there seems to always have been such a thing as gatherings of Believers,
        Regina, I must be careful how I phrase this, but those gatherings were never to take precedence over the Word. Yes, we are in the Epistles not to forsake meeting together, but by the 3rd or 4th century the “meeting together” have become the man-made, bureaucratic/theocratic body which eventually became the Roman catholic church. I have to think that grieved God’s heart. Here was a recreation of all the Pharisaical practices which Jesus warned against. Through it all, though, God protected his Word and His church.

  227. Regina says:

    Steve, Congregating of the people have been happening since the beginning of worshiping…. way back in the early history of the Israelites….I believe we can agree on that…..so I don’t know what you are getting at……it was the Early Church who wrote about the teachings and practice of the Early Christians who had compiled the New Testament of the Bible. The Early Church Fathers write about what they believed and were practicing and they are recorded for us…with the help of them, we, then, must find the modern day Church that still believe and practice in what they believed.
    I would suggest for a better understanding of the Church, for then and now, is to read the Letters of the Early Fathers of the Church and understand how they believed and worshiped. . It is pointless to debate the Church, from the Early Church to the present day Church without understanding what the Early Fathers of the Early Church believed and practiced in their faith that has been passed down to us from the beginning. There are many good sites available to us: Peace of the Lord….

  228. If I had a loaf of bread and a jug of wine and my neighbor had none, I am obligated as a Christian to share this. However, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the bread and wine become something quite else…they become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and to share this
    with a non-believer would be tantamount to bringing damnation upon them. It is a teaching of the Church which is supported by Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition as well as the teaching Magisterium. You either accept this …or not.
    The Catholic Church is like every other church in its sinfulness but unlike *any* other church in its Divinity….Divine origin. This is supported again by the same sources for Truth as mentioned above. You either accept this….or not.

    • Steve says:

      to share this with a non-believer would be tantamount to bringing damnation upon them
      Wow. First, we are not speaking of sharing with a non-believer, but with other brothers in Christ who don’t happen to be catholic. Second, what arrogance to presume that you could bring damnation upon anyone! That is God’s purview and it would be an incredible act of grace to share communion with another, whether catholic, Protestant or “non-believer”. Third – and I think this is the crux, your theology is backward. You state that this is a “teaching of the Church which is supported by Holy Scripture”. The authority is Scripture; man’s institutions can only confirm what God has said through his Word.

      • Regina says:

        Steve, I believe the Catholic Church is not speaking on their own, they are believing the Word given IT by Jesus Himself…The word Catholic is not used in Scripture, however, Jesus meant for HIS CHURCH, to do as he said and He gave the power to do all in HIs Name, however even as He walked with them, many did not believe then and many still do not believe.. It is very clearly written in John 6:55-66 what he described as would be true flesh and blood and we were to eat of it… That seems very clearly pointed out what He said a follower of His would need to do……… However, He empasized this: “Yet, some of you do not believe.” John 6:64 and then it goes on to sayin verse that ‘those broke away and would not remain in his company any longer.” John 6:66 ….. It is all clearly there in the Bible and if Protestants would really listen to what Jesus said and truly read the Words, then they would know he is talking about His true flesh and blood that he would leave for us…….and He was able to do this under the appearance of ‘bread and wine” as He did at the Last Supper.. So the bread and wine must be changed into the true Body andBblood of Christ; and that is what the Catholic Church means by “Transubstantiation” and the priest use the WORDS Jesus used at The Last Supper to do so as He gave all authority to them. (Matthew 28:18) . The Catholic Church has believed all this from the beginning of time when Jesus formed His Church on the Apostles………..our Creed tells us this in our belief. It is not the fault of the Catholics that Protestants “have chosen to walk away from all these Biblical truths” and want to interpret the WORD to suit each and every one as they so choose…….to practice their walk in faith. As a Catholic, I accept the teachings of the Church, the Bible and the Apostles as taught and passed on from Jesus Christ.

        I don’t know how I can pose the following question, and to do so, with the heart and mind of an understanding Christian.
        My question to Protestants is this: If you are so certain that you are doing the right thing, then why not be happy there and not have to keep attacking other Believers if they are not praying or believing as you are? It seems to me that many of you are searching for Truth and to attack Truth Itself tells me that you know where the Truth is or you would not be fighting it and attacking the Catholic Church so much as is happening by so many.
        As you have heard many times from others is to suggest you begin searching for the Truth and listening to THE TRUTH and forsake all that the devil would have you believe to remain in “his lies ” then maybe the Words in the Bible will be seen in their total Truths as written. I say this in Christian love and I hope it will be accepted as such.

        • Steve says:

          Regina,
          No offense taken, though there’s nothing Satan enjoys more than Christians squabbling amonst themselves. With my catholic friends (and I am a happy ex-catholic as well) this is one of those topics for which we will agree to disagree. Let’s not wish each other damned to hell over this. No doubt I will be pleasantly surpised when I get to heaven to actually find several catholics there. :) As for having to “to keep attacking other Believers”, that goes both ways. Believe it or don’t, the “Big C” catholic church (i.e., the body of all believers) is much bigger than the church of Rome.

  229. Regina says:

    Steve, you are probably correct that you might run into a few Catholics in heaven, perhaps one of the first you will meet is Mother Theresa…..I feel ALL CHRISTIANS, great and small are connnected to the Catholic Church in one way or other and to Peter who landed in Rome. For some reason that is where God chose to take Peter to establish the Head of His Church and possibly IT was to be a visual force against the Romans of that time. I have no idea why Rome became the place to where the Head of the Church was to be established. Perhaps you or someone has that answer.
    I only want to say that it seems to me that the only Christians who are constantly being attacked for what they believe and the religion they are practicing, are the Catholics. I have never heard anyone attack so viciouciosly other denominations for what they believe as they have attacked Catholics. I never hear anyone criticiize the Episcopalians, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptists, Pentecostals, SDA, Jehovahs Wiitnesses, Mormons, or even the Orthodox Churches of their various names, or even Muslims and never about the Buddhists, Shintos………..and never the Athiest and the list goes on, too many to name……it seems to me that no one ever attacks any of the above mentioned; and I feel that concerning most Catholic, they are always being called upon to explain or defend their faith. Why is that ? If anyone can explain this to me then maybe all these questions about the Eucharist and more will ring a bell with me. Thanks for your replies

  230. Steve says:

    Regina,
    I attempted to post a reply, but it didn’t make it through for some reason.
    With regard to persecution, I firmly believe that the reason practising Catholics and and evangelical Protestants are attacked is that we remain a threat to a status quo lost world. Mainline Protestant denominations, (i.e., Episcopalians, Methodist, Presbyterian, and many Baptists) and the non-Christian religions (JWs, Buddhists, Shintos, and arguably Mormons) aren’t likely to upset any apple carts, so they are no threat. As for being called on to explain or defend the faith, I say, “Bring it on!” 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We have an answer; they don’t. This is one reason I love this forum (and the loooong string of comments): we are wrestling with core issues of our faith. As we participate in the back-and-forth, we grow more prepared to give an answer for our faith. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” So thanks for keeping me sharp!
    We will likely still find things to disagree over, but I count you as a sister in the faith and I pray you will be strengthened in that faith.

    • Regina says:

      Steve, thank you for your message and I truly appreciated it… I hope to hear from you again so please bring up something more for discussion… It is late at this moment as I write this so this is brief, just wanted to say I enjoyed your reply and thank you ….and I also consider you my brother in Christ. I wish I could share the little book that I wrote about the faith…it has been well accepted in all faiths…It does help to explain many aspects of the Church. Take care Steve…snd I consider you my brother in Christ too.

  231. Meow says:

    I just happened upon this blog and wanted to add my 2 cents… I am a non Catholic who HATES yes I said it HATES going to Catholic church because it goes out of the way to tell me I am not welcome. I am not welcome in the house of the Lord. In the bible Our Lord God said all are welcome but apparently in the Catholic church all are not welcome. Only Catholics are welcome and made to feel that they are worthy of God’s love….and this make me feel sad. In my church (albeit protestant) all are truly welcome and made to feel like they are worthy of God’s love. It is not exclusive only to members of our church and most importantly we are all Christian. I absolutely support and understand that Catholics follow their rules and teachings and catechisms however by showing such disdain for others you are training the children of the future to do the same. My niece is being taught that because I am not Catholic I don’t believe in God. I pray that one day we will live in a world where all of God’s children are welcome in all churches no matter what the sect of Christianity. We are truly living in frightening times and we should be supporting each other not segregating each other. We will never agree on the communion question however I thought I would add my 2 cents… for what they are worth.

    • Regina says:

      Your final sentence gave you your answer; this was the very thinking of those in John 6:66 after they heard what Jesus said in John…. chapter 6 …. Catholics believe all that Jesus said and understanding that chapter…It is so clear and from verses 30-70. Read it over a few times… then perhaps you wiill understand and see more clearly… by the way, let Him be speaking this directly to You… pretend there is only you and Him there… Now ask youself “What choice did I make about and with John 6:66″ ???? Your 2 cents will be asking yourself, “What did the verses in John 52-58 mean and why would any one want to walk away from JESUS in John 6:66 ???

      • Steve says:

        Regina,
        I read that as applying to those who followed their own way, rather than the way of the cross; it includes all those who put anything between themselves and the cross. In context of this conversation, I would include those man-made institutions, such as the RC church theocracy/bureaucracy. Are there Christians within the bounds of the catholic church? Absolutely. But Christ calls us to separate ourselves from those trappings. Whenever I hear of catholic dogma which demeans or ‘otherises’ non-catholics I get a picture of Christ laying into the Pharisees. You’re missing the point of the exercise.

        • Regina says:

          Steve, I guess we will leave it as “in the eyes of the beholder ” It is obvious things have not changed all that much since Christ walked the earth…He told it as it was and it says those who did not accept, walked away.. so it is today, only He has the light if one chooses to seek it. It is all in the Scripture. May you be blessed.

        • Taylor says:

          The argument for allowing those outside the Catholic Church to receive Communion, seems to come down to not feeling welcome. I can understand that (Catholics aren’t welcome to receive Communion by much of the Orthodox Church and some of the Eastern Rites). But what should be argued is 1) Whether they have the authority to justly make and enforce this doctrine 2) Whether they are actually right in doing so.

          This is a question of Truth, and I present that Truth is not coherent with Sola Scriptura and Relativism.
          The problem with Sola Scriptura and Relativismis that you can interpret whatever you think Jesus is intending without any objective measurement. You have no way to measure Truth, because it is impossible to draw a consistent set of morals and doctrine from the Bible alone. Martin Luther himself predicted that by handing the interpretation of Scripture to the people, they would eventually develop a consensus view of Scripture and doctrine. This obviously did not happen. The Protestant church is part of the body of Christ, of course, but it is not even close to being unified in doctrine. New churches and denominations are formed each day. With all these different churches, how can any of these claim to possess the entirety of Truth? How can one man’s opinion or interpretation of Scripture hold any more value than any other?
          Please provide evidence for your statements you mentioned earlier so they.can cross from opinions into Truth.
          Where in scripture does Jesus Christ call us to “separate ourselves from those trappings” to a Church? Where does Jesus say that is best to follow your opinions above that of the Church (handed down from the Apostles that were with him)? Where did Jesus say that he desired the Body of Christ to be splintered by the opinions of men? Where did He say that there is no truth?
          I have to wonder whether one can even believe in real Truth as a Protestant.

          • Regina says:

            Taylor, hello my friend in Christ…. It is obvios and a historical fact Taylor that the Church has been around since Apostolic times, some of these disciples actually walked with Jesus… Jesus said, upon this rock I will build My church… if you read where that is written, I believe you will find that he is addressing this to Peter whose name was Simon, if you read ‘why did Jesus change Simon’s name.. For approximately one thousand years there was only this ‘one Church’ …again, historical facts…The EAST and WEST of this Church had problems and a division came, the. EAST separated from established Church under ‘Simon-Peter’…Whom became known as only Peter as Jesus called him. This Church, under Peter never left Its Post or separated from Itself.
            What hap,pened with the East…. now once again was to happen again, when a priest in protest began a new rebellion against this Church, still under Peter…this hsppened around the year of 1500, just a bit over 500 years ago. Once Martin Luther brokr away, then he lost all leadership that had been found under Peter… Thus, without A HEADt to lead him and to stay as one body, it all began to fall apart, thus now there are hundreds of divisions all without a head, so they now believe whstever they want and decide what they accept in scripture, some judging it on how it makes them feel, rather accepting all thst Jesus said, if it happens to be what they choose not to accept. This seems to be the over sll picture and with how so many of them speak so badly about the Catholic Church, then why would anyone want to receive the Catholic eucharist… As for me, I would not have any desire to receive communion at a table I did not believe is the real Church of Christ.. and especially if it is so wrong as majority of Protestants believe. Can anyone explain to me “why” non-Catholics have such an issue with something not believed in ???

            • Steve says:

              As for me, I would not have any desire to receive communion at a table I did not believe is the real Church of Christ.. and especially if it is so wrong as majority of Protestants believe. Can anyone explain to me “why” non-Catholics have such an issue with something not believed in ???

              You’re missing the point; what is wrong is not the celebration of Communion. Anyone can receive that, anywhere. What is wrong is the proprietary nature of catholic communion. Christ called all of us to “do this in remembrance of me.” We can argue whether Peter had any relevance in church history. I don’t see evidence in Scripture of that. My understanding is that when Christ said, “upon this rock I will build my church,” he was not referring to Peter but rather to Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ. I’ve said before in this forum that if catholics choose to exclude others from their version of communion, they can, simply because those are the rules of your club. But again, the celebration of communion as a remembrance of Christ’s incredible sacrificial death and resurrection are open to all.

            • Regina says:

              Steve the point of this whole issue is the substane between what Protestants believe what this “Communion” is. It seems you see this whole difference as a “Club” rule…. Is it seen as a social toast, cheers to all in the room now share the bread and wine in friendship with one snother? If this is what it is about, then it is different than Catholic belief of it… Catholics believe it is the True Body and Blood of Christ, in complete body, blood, soul and divinity. Our Communion is to receive Him and if no one else received, this is my personal Communion with JESUS,.. receiving Him in true Body, Blood, Soul, Divinty. Is this the real reason for those who desire to receive Communion in the Catholic Church, but will not let it become a Truth….to allow this to become Truth might require one to become Catholic….? just saying….

            • Steve says:

              Regina,
              I may have spoken a bit flippantly, and for that I apologize. It is not a social event, except insofar as it is a communal celebration of remembrance. I understand that catholics view it as the literal body and blood, and there we differ. I was raised catholic and understand the implications. I have no desire to ‘return to the fold’. Martin Luther and the rest were onto something and I am happy with that. My wife and I have a weekly (mostly) bible study with some dear catholic friends. We learn from each other. We joke that when we die, Cyndie and I will be there waiting for them to get done with Purgatory. As with this conversation, there are several areas in which we will agree to disagree, but we still regularly meet in fellowship, prayer and study of the Word.

            • Regina says:

              Steve, I can appreciate your humor…. seriously. By the way, I am using an Ipad while my computer is in repair, I am as clumsy with it as a bull in a china shop, thus so manr typo errors. So please excuse them. Now to issues, It has been said that it was not Martin Luther’s intentions to leave the CHuch, he was concerned about the ‘human abuses’ that had crept in, whatever took place from that, got out his control, I suppose, so he either left or got excommunicated, I have never really studied all that took place then,..however, it seems that even since his time, that much he still believed in got watered down more. I think some things are in mind for some shifting in recent years. ??????? Other than all that, I hope to meet you after my puratory tour… I am thinging I might be too defiled to enter directly into heaven since it says in scipture…that anyting defiled or profane will enter… I have to ask myself, when that day comes, will I be that spotless?… So to me, purgatory will be ‘a godsend’ so to speak. Good hearing from you… Regina

            • Regina says:

              Steve, it is obvious th+at my line sbout defile and profane had wrong words I needed some negatves there ~smile~ as you know it should rea “Nothing defiled or profane shall enter” and thst is not word for word as written in scripture, but is the general message related to it.

            • Regina says:

              I also can see that I really improved on my spelling.

            • Steve says:

              Regina,
              I’ve been chewing on this one for a bit, particularly as it comes up periodically in our Catholic/Protestant bible studies. First, I don’t see a Scriptural basis for the idea. I know Matt 5:25-26 and Matt 12:32 are typically given as justifying purgatory, but those are not convincing proof texts. What I typically hear from both sides is that no unclean thing (or person) can come into the presence of God. [That doesn’t address how Satan came to be in the God’s presence in the Book of Job, but that’s a slightly different topic.] Catholics solve this issue through the notion of Purgatory. Protestants solve through the doctrine of justification. Both are simply means of addressing sin in the lives of believers. Martin Luther saw justification – God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous – as one of the most important truths of the Christian faith. I go along with that – the only way we can enter the presence of God is through the completed work of Christ on the cross. Luther extends it by saying that we receive that righteousness sola fidei (through faith alone). I’m not sure if I completely accept sola fidei as the mechanism of justification, but the doctrine of justification is scriptural. Salvation and justification guarantee us entry into the presence of God, but our works dictate the rewards we attain in heaven.

              If I accept the notion of purgatory, I have to accept that humans have three lives: one on earth, one in purgatory, and one in God’s presence in heaven. Hebrews 9:27 says that it is appointed for men once to die and then be judged.

  232. Regina says:

    Subject: PURGATORY
    I would like to ask all who do not accept or believe in Purgatory this question… Would you allow yourself or your children to come to eat at the dining table with hands that just came out of a manure pile? However you answer that… is how we might be compared and considered how our ‘Father, Holy Spirit and Jesus’ will see us as we approach His Banquet Table.. I might think those who have been purged and cleansed through Purgatory will be prepared and have on their wedding garment to meet the Groom and to sit at the table when the dinner bell rings… All those who are just coming from the manure pile, may have to spend some time washing up for the meal.. Just another way to understand the purpose of Purgatory, since it says in the Bible that “…. Nothing defiled can enter the kingdom of God” … and it seems to me that most of us have soiled our hands, also our feet, all our senses and our intellect in so many ways…Will we have time to properly repent and cleanse ourselves from all these things before we are called… if not, then Purgatory will be a very welcomed (so to say) bathing pool for us… Some of us might need more than a sweet fragrance soap waiting for us, some of us might need a harsher detergent and a scrub brush…
    I believe Jesus will expect us to come properly prepared for the Banquet. Just saying…

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