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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Separated Catholics - Ex-Catholics: Part Three

“Ex-Catholic” Conversion to Denominational Christianity

The term “Ex-Catholic” as one may refer to them self after separating from Catholicism and entering into a protestant faith, is no more valid than to be ex-Irish or ex-blood type ‘o’. None of what is written here is intended to be demeaning to any protestant congregant who has never been a part of or educated in the true and full teachings of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Faith. Protestant faithful are more often than not, very devoted to Scripture and their own system of beliefs regardless of their individual interpretation of Scripture. In fact, it is the lack of familiarity of one’s faith and Scripture on the part of the non-practicing Catholic that leads them to be persuaded by a person of a Protestant congregation when they (Protestants) can more readily refer to Scripture, which is very sad to acknowledge. This is also why some Catholic-to-protestant converts believe they are “reborn” when in fact they only finally become somewhat knowledgeable of Scripture which they should have been in the first place.

Every valid Baptism brings a rebirth into the soul of the Baptized but it is what he or she does through their life with that rebirth that determines their depth of relationship with the Holy Spirit. The knowledge one pursues in Scripture and faith is what determines the level of intimacy one enters into with God. It is therefore misguided to suggest a Catholic or other previously and validly baptized individual is later “reborn” when in fact they are most accurately awakening to that which was already previously provided them, whether it is from the time of their rebirth through Baptism or the time they seriously open their mind and heart to the Word of God in Scripture.

Non-practicing Catholics who join these denominations are absent true knowledge of their own faith while believing they know it sufficiently. They disagree with those doctrines that they find difficult to follow in their current society. They commonly base their opinions on society’s level of liberality and morality, then develop the opinion those uncomfortable doctrines must be wrong and unnecessary to accept. If this were a correct assumption then God Himself would have to possess an “it’s all good” attitude, which of course common sense would dictate otherwise. Knowing one’s faith and Scripture properly is a responsibility of each individual and lack of familiarity of Scripture on the part of these separated Catholics, once having reached the age of reason, is of their own doing.

Let us provide an explanation as to why converting from Catholicism to a protestant denomination is not only invalid but in opposition to God and Scripture.

As every Christian denomination in its system of beliefs has its fundamentals derived either directly or indirectly from the Catholic Faith, each offers faith with less responsibility or “demands” based on only part of the teachings of Christ while rejecting what that denomination’s founder could not comprehend or accept in faith, not much different than ill-informed Catholics disregard some Church doctrines they find too difficult to follow. The only difference is that the separated Catholic has already been provided or taught not only the fundamentals but the fullness of the teachings of Christ. This simply put, is how over 30,000 denominations (and growing) came into existence during the last 400+ years. Of course only a few initially were born directly from the protestant “reformation”, founded by such men as Luther, Calvin, and so on. The many others subdivided and splintered off drastically over and over again, each based on opinions.

As the institution Jesus founded for the purpose of preaching His Gospel in order to provide all man the means to achieve personal salvation, the Catholic Church has been the guardian of what has been referred to as the “Deposit of Faith”. That deposit of faith is the complete and accurate teachings of Jesus Christ, protected from distortion within three equally indispensable components; Sacred Scripture (which also originated in and from the Catholic Church), Sacred or Apostolic Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Protestantism, however, rejects all but Sacred Scripture, a topic which will be addressed in an upcoming article.

As was said before, regardless of whether the founder be Calvin, Luther, or one of numerous others, some (not all) of those teachings are adapted to fit the founder’s opinions over the truth while others are disregarded. But as Scripture tells us, from those who have been provided more, more is expected of them. That “more” is once being provided Jesus’ teachings and being a part of the true and complete “Mystical Body of Christ on earth”, His Church, His Bride, the Catholic Church.

It is the Catholic Church that provides the only complete and accurate Christian teachings with the lineage and consistency in Christ’s Word since its establishment in 33 A.D. almost 2000 years ago. Its validity and consistency in teachings are historically and rationally verifiable for those with the interest and devotion to learn. Conversion away from Catholicism is nothing less than to choose the limited degree of devotion one is willing to offer God by shopping for a belief system that conforms more comfortably with what one chooses to accept, and that is influenced by personal and societal conveniences. There are thousands upon thousands of denominations in Protestantism founded strictly upon various men’s selective choosing and that splintering continues today. This is the reason the Catholic Faith is referred to as “the fullness of Christ and His teachings”.

God’s Word is not flexible. One cannot choose what he or she wishes to accept or reject. But at the same time the perception that to follow the teachings of God and live one’s faith means to follow a system of unreasonable rules is to ignore the many crises we as individuals and a society have buried ourselves within and come to suffer the consequences of by our own choices. Placing wealth above all leads to losses in the value of our personal lives in many ways. Disregarding the commitment of marriage and the values it truly stands for, Abortion, unplanned pregnancies, children being raised by a single parent, sexually transmitted disease, and the disregard for family values and human life not only by adults who victimize others but by our children as well. One can go on and on.

Like separated Catholics, however, Protestants including their ministers are completely or predominantly without knowledge of Church History. Many institutions of higher biblical and theological learning founded upon Protestantism will not teach or teach very minimally the history of the Christian faith as it progressed throughout history, most especially the ancient texts of the Apostolic Fathers and Early Church Fathers because these writings raise awareness to the flawed teachings of Protestantism while validating the teachings of Christianity in Catholicism since its founding by Jesus Christ. These colleges and universities also avoid teaching the origin and lineage of the Holy Bible for the same reasons, avoiding its origin; who wrote it, who identified the authentic valid texts to become the contents of it, and who ordered the first translated and compiled “Holy Bible” to be compiled and protected from any further content being added (canonized). The answer is the Catholic Church. This avoidance of teaching is reflected in the lack of knowledge of such topics even by ministers who are commissioned to lead their congregants in their respective protestant denominations. More and more of these educated men after seeking answers to those questions they can not find answers to within their own system of beliefs seek more intimate knowledge. Once having found the answers through further advanced learning they commonly convert to Catholicism recognizing the truth. “Red flags” should rise when even a single denomination can offer different beliefs from one church location to the next, or change its teachings through its history to conform more readily to popularity or that era’s current society in a type of ever-changing evolution rather than staying fast to Scripture and the teachings of Christ.

Protestants today have no knowledge of the Catholic faith, strictly relying on what they have been led to believe in bias, offered to them as justification for their separation from Catholicism and the beliefs they adopt. Catholics who convert to these denominations also have the same lack of knowledge and understanding of their faith. The end result is clear. Those who have converted from the Catholic Faith to Protestantism never knew their faith properly to begin with or they would immediately realize these facts and would return to Catholicism seeking to learn and better understand their faith. It is the ill-informed Catholic converting to the uninformed protestant beliefs. Devotion to Christ is caring more about knowing the Truth than discovering one may have been incorrect in what they initially believed.

“God is faithful: by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians CH1: v9-10)

“…Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” (Luke CH12; v48)

14. “This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.” (LUMEN GENTIUM - DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH)

We invite you to learn; once learned, teach your children.

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