:: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 ::
Blogging Back And Forth
It appears that LeonPeon is trying very hard to do the conversion thing, though it looks like she never really had any good instruction in Catholicism in the first place. Rather than place her response and then my own on the site, I've decided to do a line-by-line commentary, not only because it'll make more sense but also 'cos her emails are line-wrapped really weirdly.
This is LeonPeon. I got your e-mail. I decided to leave the Catholic church because it was too much tradition and not enough Bible.
All Tradition (with a capital "T," an important distinction) in our Church stems either from the Bible itself or the documented practices of the Apostles and their followers, i.e. those who actually knew Christ himself. If that isn't an authentic source, I don't know what is. Besides, after Vatican II there were many changes to the way things were done in the church, stripping away many of the (small "t") traditions that had cropped up in the past 1500 years. Also worth noting is that there are three readings from the bible in every Sunday Mass, plus two during the weekday Masses. Catholics are also encouraged to join bible study groups. I don't understand where you get the idea that Catholicism is lacking in scriptural involvement.
Plus, the whole Pope thing never made any sense to me. We should never bow down to any man. We should only bow down to Christ.
I don't remember ever bowing down to the Pope. On that subject, John Paul II, the current pontiff, is a very learned man. He is a leading religious scholar, reads and writes over 90 languages and can speak 14 fluently. Conservative as he is, he deserves some respect. I will admit that medieval Popes were, shall we say, less than desirable for the position (as was, sadly, most of the church at the time). I am glad to say that things have turned around considerably post-Rennaissance, though.
In regards to your email about liking the fact that you don't know if you will go to Heaven when you die, I can only tell you that is a risky way of thinking.
Risky? I don't understand how you mean that.
If you should fall into sin, you will not be damned to hell, unless you don't ask for forgiveness and repent. What do you mean by, "if I can be redeemed."? If you believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, then you already are redeemed. You don't have to wait until you die to find out whether or not you are going to Heaven. God promises salvation to anyone who hears the word and believes on the name of Jesus Christ. Now, that doesn't just mean believing, it also means living your life in such a way that no one would ever question whether you are a Christian. Everyone sins everyday, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to Hell. I have sinned today, but I asked for forgiveness and I know that God washed away my sins, just as he did yours if you are His child, by giving Jesus, His Son, as a living Sacrifice. Jesus' blood washed away all the sins that were, are, and will be committed. There is no reason for Purgatory. You said that in Purgatory, souls remove all that is sinful in themselves. Souls cannot do that. Only God can remove all the impurities in souls and if you are a Christian, Christ's blood has already removed all the sin from your soul.
I apologize for the unclear language. Your understanding on sin is correct, as far as I can tell, though need some clarification. With God's help, all sin can be erased, but only if you (or I) let Him help. If anyone were to try on their own, they would fail, as removing sin is something only He can do. As for salvation, no one is absolutely guranteed salvation. Christ's death on the cross did redeem humanity, but it his ressurection that is more important, in that it opens to us the possibility of everlasting life. Jesus loves you whether you like it or not, but you have to love and respect yourself, others, and Him in order to let that love work in you and change you to be ever more like Him. This is a process that is not instantaneous, as anyone who has truely "grown in Christ" can attest. Continual discernment and guidance is required to proceed upon this path. Also, because sin is an integral part of the world as we know it, this is a process that cannot be totally completed here (though one can get a good start). In this understanding, Purgatory is the place where this process continues after death, in an environment where no external sin exists. Again, it is through Christ's resurrection and the promise of everlasting life, as well as with God's constant help, that this salvation is possible.
Side note: all Catholics are Christian. We kinda started the whole gig and get a bit miffed when people imply that we're not Christian. All other Christian faiths are some distortion of a phase of Catholicism (or Orthodoxy, but that a whole other barrel of worms...).
Yes, you will still sin, but God promises that if you ask for forgiveness, your sins are as far from you as the East is from the West.
Umm, nope. If I ask for forgiveness and truely repent, my sins not only separate from me, the cease to have ever existed.
In closing, (which by the way, I'm only hitting the surface) I will agree with you that switching faiths is not a light decision, however, I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be.
Unless either of us have degrees in theology, philosophy, or divinity shoved someplace, (and I know I don't) any of our discussions will only scratch the surface.
1 love, 1 God, 1 way
A Slave of Christ
I do look forward to your response to this post, LeonPeon.
Yours in Christ,
:: The Squire 11:47 PM :: email this post :: ::