Posts Tagged 'judgement'

Depression Sucks

As the title says, depression sucks.  I’m stuck in a spiral, out of control, everything is getting worse world where no one even notices that I’m hurting or refuses to acknowledge it or want me to hide everything I feel because making them feel bad is the unforgivable sin.

I’m too fat.  Jeans I only bought two months ago have become too small.  I seem to gain weight even though I don’t eat bad food full of sugar.

I’m so bad that I deserve to go to Hell just like my mother and the traditionalists always say.  I starting to really believe it.  I must not be lovable or likable and I certainly don’t have any talents or gifts.  I’m just a useless, worthless, waste of space that deserves to die.  People would be much happier if I was gone.   I’m not even a person.  I don;t matter.  No one notices or cares if I’m here or not.  People say God does but it He cares about everyone so I’m not even a blip on the radar.  People say they at I’m doing this for attention, that I stay this way because I like being a victim.  No I fucking to do not want to be this way.

I want to be loved,  I want to be good at something.  I want to be a person.  I want to be cared for.  I want to be noticed and remember.  I want to go to Heaven not be damned to Hell.  I want to be special.  I want to be the go to person.  I want to be perfect.  I want to be more than a stupid mental illness. I want not to cry anymore.  I want to have actual dreams that actually come true rather than having to squash them in order to make everyone else happy or because I always make bad decisions.  I want to make good decisions.  I want to be thin.  I want to be pretty instead of the real ugly idiot that I am.  I want to be more.  I don’t want to have to settle for scraps.  I want to be free.  I don’t want to be like my mother.  I want to be me whoever that is.  I want to be a real woman not the fake woman everyone else wants me to be.  I don’t want to be the boy my parents wanted and so when they were disappointed that I wasn’t they abused and neglected me.  I don’t want to be abused or hurt.  I want to be accepted for who I am.  I want traditionalists to shut up and get lost.  I want to be something.  I want to be a federal agent.  I want people to take me seriously.  I want people to stop ignoring me.  I want people to acknowledge that a single woman is not a heresy or bad person or a failure or not a person because she isn’t married or has kids or what not.  I don’t want to keep eating emotionally.  I don’t want to be fat.  I want to be real.

 

 

 

Warning: Traditionalists are Hazardous to Your Health

It’s true.  Reading “Tradionalist” material is seriously dangerous to your mental and physical health.

It will cause you to get angry because you start thinking you have been lied to, deceived, and that you aren’t a good enough Catholic.

It will cause you to get depressed because you start thinking you are a bad and horrible Catholic that will never be good enough, that you aren’t being heard or loved by God because you aren’t praying in Latin/veiling/not wearing skirts/homeschooling/praying the Rosary five times a day/attending only the EF and putting down and calling everyone else who attends the OF heretics and horrible Catholics and name calling priests and bishops because they aren’t forcing the EF on everyone and supressing the OF outright.

It will cause you to get angry because only you see how the world will be saved by going back to the EF and destroying the OF because it isn’t pretty enough Mass with horrible translations when you know that praying in Latin is the only way God will hear you and answer your prayers otherwise you are just babbling.

It will cause you to get angry that women have rights, can wear pants, work, drive, etc. when they should be confined to the home, barefoot and pregnant and if they get out of line, beaten to keep them in line because they are second class creatures that God created to serve men entirely and not to be individuals of their own.

It will cause you to start thinking that you are doing everything wrong because you not obeying these “wise and all knowing” “traditionalists” who seem to have it all together and are perfectly holy and even can read the mind of God.

It will cause you to beat yourself up, start starving yourself and calling it fasting since you didn’t go far enough during Lent, saying yes to everyone who asks you for a favor even though it will cause you great harm to agree, and allow everyone to walk all over you and abuse you because you’ve come to believe that this is what a “Good Catholic Woman” looks like.

It will cause you to start looking for all the sin in other people’s lives from not wearing skirts (which lead a man to damnation since it is a woman’s fault he sins), to sending their children to public schools which “traditionalists” all know are bastions of pagan homosexual anti-Catholic propoganda that will lead poor Johnny straight to Hell if you don’t perform an exorcism according the pre-Vatican II rite to using NFP which says that you are distrusting God and his command to be fruitful and multiply to women enjoying sex to talking about sex at all to women not submitting like a slave and doing whatever their husband commands and do it right now or you are going to Hell and taking the whole family with you.

It will cause you to start thinking of seriously beating yourself with a whip  show that you are sorry for all the mortal sins you committed just today (which since you are a woman means you commit more mortal sins and more horrible ones at that then men who are nearly perfect and women are demons from Hell) (women commit a mortal sin just by existing).

It will cause you to get very angry because you realize that no matter what you do or don’t do or dress or pray that you are going to Hell anyway, just like your mother always predicted.

I wish “Tradionalist” Catholics would learn that all they are doing is hurting people and the Church.  NO one wants to be hurt especially not in the name of Jesus.

Signs/Symptoms of a Radical Traditionalist

Having come across so many radical traditionalists in my time on CAF and even one or two in real life, I thought I’d come up with a set of diagnostic criteria for a radical traditionalist, not unlike the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV for psychologists and psychiatrists.  This isn’t perfect and I know I probably forgot things but this is what I have so far.

For a diagnosis of Radical Traditionalist, three or more of the following criteria may be met (OB is obscure):

-Believes the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, usually referred to as the Tridentine Latin Mass (TLM) is the only valid form of the Mass.  Everything else is inferior, heretical, or Protestant.

-Holds the 1917 Code of Canon Law above the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

-Believes Latin in the only language of the Catholic Church.  All prayers, private or public, are to be said in Latin.

-Believes God only understands Latin.

-Believes Palestrina and Gregorian chant that is sung by an all male choir is the only form of music, esclesial or secular, allowed.

-Believes the Rosary is the supreme and highest devotion.  It is the only prayer, besides the Mass, that is necessary for salvation.  Believes anyone who does not pray the Rosary is not a Catholic.

-Believes the Ordinary Form of the Mass, normally referred to the Novus Ordo and refuses to use the forms of the Church, in the vernacular is inefficacious, is invalid, does not present a valid Eucharist, is inferior, and Protestant.  Believe people who attend the OF are either Protestants or heretics.

-Believes communion on the tongue while kneeling at a communion rail is the only way to receive the Eucharist.  People who are unable to kneel are deemed irreverent.  Communion in the hand is considered heretic and pagan.

-Believes the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima is the only Marian apparition or at least the highest.   Believed to be the best Marian devotion and the only one worthy of belief.  Believe Catholics who do not believe it, follow what was said, or refuse to acknowledge it are heretics.  Requires automatic believe in this apparition as a criteria as to being a real Catholic.

-Believe Confession is required every week.

-Believe most things are a mortal sin, especially if they say so.

-Believe no woman is allowed anywhere near the sanctuary.  This even means the first pew unless they are a nun/sister praying the Rosary.

-Believe there is a strict dress code for every occasion.  This only applies to women and children.

-Believes women are required to veil at all times.  Mantillas only.  Hats and other forms of headcovering are not allowed.  No hair is allowed to show otherwise a woman will be inciting a man to sin.  She is at fault if a mans sees even one strand of hair.

-Believes women are required to wear dresses or skirts (dresses are the preferred option) down to the floor with full length sleeves and extreme high collars.  The prefered style is fundamentalist Mormon.

-Believes women who dress in pants or skirts above the toe are inciting men to lust and other sexual sins and just asking to be raped.

-Believes women are responsible for men’s sins, especially sexual sins.

-Believes the Church does not go far enough is legislating modesty and dress.  Believes the Church should dictate a strict dress code for everyone that must be strictly adhered to at all times.

-Believes women are to be minimally educated.

-Believes women should never work outside the home.

-Believes no one should go swimming do to the immoral form of dress required.

-Believes women are meant only to be wives and mothers, and occasionally sisters but nothing else.

-Believe Natural Family Planning (NFP) is contraception and goes against God’s will.

-Believes the number of children a couple will have is should be entirely left up to the providence of God.  Any abstinence, NFP, or any other method is contraception and a mortal sin.  A mother’s health, a family’s finances, etc. are irrelevant to family size and having children.

-Believes all children should be homeschooled.  All other forms of schooling are tools of the devil.

-Believes colleges, universities, high schools, elementary schools, public and Catholic are bastions of radical feminism, secular humanism, and atheism.

-Believes sheltering children from every interaction with the world and especially other people will make them strong Catholics.

-Believes TV, radio, movies, computers, and any other media that is not explicitly Catholics is immoral, a tool of the Devil, and never allowed in the home.

-Believes EWTN doesn’t go far enough.

-Believes most Bishops, priests, and Catholics to be outright heretics and have no knowledge of the faith.

-Believe Michael Voris is the second coming and like his in the face style and name calling of bishops and fellow Catholics.

-Believe Colleen Hammond is the go to authority for dress and follow her rules exactly.

-Believes if the book is not the Bible, the Early Church fathers, or one of  a select few writers then the books are immoral and advocating devil worship.

-Believe only young earth creationism.

-Believes they must call all behavior not exactly like theirs a sin and everyone who does not believe like them a heretic.

-Believes they are the only one on the right path to Heaven.  Everyone else, except for a select few, is going to Hell.

-Believes having fun is a sin.

-Believes contemporary music is immoral regardless of the lyrics.  Some classical music by some Catholics composers is acceptable.

-Believes the organ is the only instrument.  All other instruments, regardless of use, is profane.

-Believes that quoting documents from Vatican II is sinful and will only cite pre-Vatican II documents to support their arguments, even if they are off topic or have nothing to do with a topic or are out dated.

-Will ignore, put down, or trash Vatican II.

-Believes happiness and joy are useless and pointless especially in the spiritual life.

-Believes it is necessary to point out every little flaw and mistake a priest makes as necessary to stop liturgical abuse.

-Believes liturgical abuse is extremely rampant in OF/NO parishes and have never existed in EF/TLM parishes.

-Believes the Baltimore Catechism is the only necessary catechism.

-Believe the 1950s were the Golden Era of Catholicism in America.

-Believes the 1960s were the end of the Catholic Church in America.

-Believes Council of Trent trumps Vatican II.

-Wants all Catholics to be exactly like them.

-Believe unity is the sam thing as uniformity.

-Believe the EF/TLM would solve all the problems in the Church, including but not limited to sex abuse by priests, lack of vocations.

-Believe a college education is worthless unless you are going to be a lawyer or a doctor.

-Believe they are the only true Catholics and everyone else is a Protestant heretic.

(OB)-Believe women who dress in pants or in skirts above the toe are guilty for their own rape.

(OB)-Believes all Protestants are going to Hell.

(OB)-Believes Jews were abandoned or are ignored by God.

(OB)-Believe Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox are to be Latinized.

(OB)-Believe that is a person receives any sort of spiritual consolation, you are doing something wrong or are possessed by a demon.

 

This is not an exhaustive list but it does include what I have seen, read, and heard.

Let’s Just Beat People with a Stick, Why Don’t We?

Again, CAF seems to be full of people who would rather smack people down than help lift them up.  There’s a thread on how a “priest was harsh in confession” (harsh? define harsh) plus threads on cafeteria catholicism, soft catholicism, etc. and there are people who are going on about how priests today are weak and that nobody talks about hell and damnation anymore.  There are people advocating holding people from receiving the Eucharist (wow, even Christ isn’t that mean) for months to even years at a time, to arguing that people should have to recite multiple Rosaries, to saying that no priest preaches hell and damnation and that since most people are damned anyways (where does it say God on their drivers license) that people should know what to expect after they die.

I will admit there are people who have no concept of sin let alone their own sin.  But to advocate withholding Sacraments and fire and brimstone teaching deviates way past any truth about the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Reconciliation is not about the priest hitting the penitent over the head for not being sorry enough or not confessing every sin as if it were mortal sin or for scaring the penitent into fearful obedience.  Reconciliation is about admitting our sins to Jesus and being forgiven, being absolved of our sins, and receiving the grace that comes from that sacrament that grants us the gift of being in a state of grace to receive the Eucharist.  Reconciliation reconciles us with Jesus and strengthens our relationship with him.  It’s not meant as a means of forcing the penitent into doing what the Church expects of him/her.  It’s about repairing a relationship not reinforcing an abusive dictator.

Scaring somebody straight doesn’t work.  They tried that with juvenile delinquents.  Didn’t work and there are studies to prove it.  Yet people want people to be afraid of GOD.  Why?  A fear of God doesn’t mean you obey him out of love. It means you obey him out of fear of punishment.  That’s not a healthy relationship.  As somebody who was raised in a fear filled environment, fear only made me tense and hypervigilant to my mother’s moods and words.  It made me unable to trust people and I definitely don’t understand how to love. I was always afraid that I was doing something wrong or did something or even just breathed funny and my mother would start screaming at me for being a bad girl that’s going to Hell.  Many times it didn’t even need to be something I did.  It could be one of my sisters or something on TV or some imagined slight my mother came up with.  I was going to be screamed at no matter what and there was nothing I could do about it.  To this day I cringe when anybody says my name or I hear a loud noise or people speak in a certain way because I’m expecting to get screamed at for something I did.  Or blamed.  And I know I have to take it because there’s no arguing.  They are right and I am wrong.  Remember, this is conditioned into me from nearly 20 years of abuse.

So I have a hard time accepting that yelling and screaming and making people afraid will get them to cooperate and do good.  Oh, it might work in the short term but eventually, in the long run, it will backfire.  The Bible doesn’t just speak about God’s wrath, which usually happened after several chances to repent and change their ways but also God’s mercy.  Why do people want God’s wrath for everyone else but God’s mercy only for themselves, if that?  There is more justice in God’s mercy and mercy in God’s justice than anything we can conceive.

Why do we have to smack people down and hurt them all in the name of religion?  Jesus didn’t do that.  He criticized the Pharisees but he didn’t hurt them or say they weren’t loved by God.  He did call for them to repent and that the people should listen to them, just not act like them.  Yet people want to condemn people to Hell all for not agreeing with them or not being sorry enough in their eyes or for the priests not smacking the pulpit while preaching hellfire and brimstone and hell and damnation.  Each priest deals with a unique congregation and unique needs specific to that congregation.  Don’t put down priests just because they don’t preach what you want.  They aren’t there to please you.  They are they to be in persona Christi and to offer the Mass, not to satisfy your need to put down others and hold yourself as a superior model of Catholic living, because you aren’t with that attitude.   What the priest may not deal with in public, he may deal with in private.  It is not your place to determine which priests are acting like priests and which aren’t.  They are priests and that is all you need to know.  You are not God.  You have no place to judge for you judge Jesus himself when you judge a priest.

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Just a though.

Reality Sets In

With my new schedule at work, I’ve been wanting to update here more often.  So far, that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been so tired from working especially picking up overtime since my relief has been sick a lot lately (we’re all concerned about him) so I’ve been covering some of his shifts.  And don’t know what to post about.  I have ideas but I don’t know how relevant they are, how I feel about posting about them, how well I could write about them, etc.  So I’m going to ramble which I can be rather adept at, usually when it’s not necessary (I’m not much of a talker in real life and especially bad at explaining things.)

Something that has been bothering me is the need of some people to impose their spirituality and their spiritual practices on everyone else.  That their personal devotions are the only devotions that are allowed and should be followed.  I’ve seen people push the Rosary, the Brown Scapular, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Carmelite or Charismatic spirituality, St. Theresa of Liseux, St. Padre Pio on people usually by saying these private devotions will “cure” everything; that they are the only prayers one needs; that by not conforming they are being “Protestant;” that they have all the answers.  They don’t recognize that each person is unique and prays in the way that they can and that God calls them to pray in the best way for Him to reach that person.  What works for one person may not work for another person.  I don’t feel called to Franciscan spiritual though the Church recognizes it as one of many beneficial spiritualities and the Church doesn’t have a problem with that.  The Church Herself doesn’t adhere to one spirituality and doesn’t require Her children to either because She recognizes that each of us are unique individuals, not automatons.

Yet there are Catholics that believe and demand that there is only one spirituality/devotion that is absolutely necessary, usually the one that the person is trumpeting.  They refuse to acknowledge or accept otherwise.  This is a huge turn off, even detrimental if they want more people to learn about, practice that spirituality or devotion.  If someone is in my face about the Rosary, telling that just by praying it once all my problems will be cured, that everything wrong with me will be healed in a moment, that it’s the only prayer a woman needs, and won’t listen to anything I say, that’s a huge turn off to me.  I’ve had this happen to me and have seen it a lot. I would have a hard time taking this person seriously because even the Church doesn’t say this.  The Church and Jesus himself never said that prayer was magic.  Yet people treat devotions and spiritualities like this which is detrimental to not only the person being encouraged to try a new devotion but also to the devotion/prayer itself.  The Church treats its members as adults yet people like this treat fellow Catholics like stupid children who can’t be trusted to dress themselves.

Faith isn’t a feeling yet this seems to be a big problem for people who go looking for excitement, for entertainment, etc. in the Mass.  I’ve posted here about Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman and the effect that TV, movies, Internet, etc. have on people.  I see this play out in the Mass not only in the Ordinary Form but also in the “young people” who seek out the Extraordinary Form.  Now, not all those who seek out the EF are necessarily looking for entertainment but I believe there are those that do go for ‘the show.”  People my age have been raised almost exclusively on TV, movies, the Internet exploded with us, etc. and that has an effect on how we view our faith.  How much of this is TV’s fault and how much is our fault? And don’t our parents play a role in all this?  People are taught to be entertained, to constantly seek out pleasure, to seek out the latest newest fad, to seek out the pretty lights and flashy clothes.  I’m not trying to denigrate the EF but I am pointing out that people’s reason for seeking out one particular Mass over another is impacted by our  excessive exposure to the media and entertainment and that people need to be aware of this.  If you are looking to get something out of the Mass, you are completely missing the point.  You are at Mass to worship God, not to be entertained by Him.

Why is it if someone hears something questionable in a homily they automatically assume the priest is a heretic?  I’ve seen multiple posts to this effect on a forum I belong to.  Why can’t it be that Father just doesn’t have the innate talent for homilies?  Or that he’s sleep deprived and he’s lucky enough to stay awake long enough to celebrate Mass? Or that he practiced his homily one way but it came out another way and he didn’t realize it until after Mass?  Or that he’s still afraid of public speaking no matter how much prayer and practice he’s said and done?  Or that he’s still a new priest and still learning?  Or that the priest doesn’t and probably won’t put things the same way you do?  People seem to be waiting for the priest to make one teeny tiny mistake so they can pounce on him and denigrate him.  Isn’t the media and the Devil doing enough of that already?  If you denigrate the priesthood, you denigrate Jesus himself.  Maybe you should think twice about what you say about a priest.  Don’t criticize unless the priest asks for constructive criticism otherwise it’s all about putting someone down to puff yourself up and there’s something very, very wrong with that.  It’s called sin.

When did Latin become the only language in the Church?  Considering there are 23 sui juris Churches, only one rite the Latin Rite uses Latin.  Greek, Aramaic, Russian, Arabic, and probably a language or two, at least, that I can’t think of are also used in the Liturgies.  Latin is only applicable to the Latin Rite and even then wasn’t the only language used in the Latin Rite.  The Latin Rite has never been uniform in it’s use of Latin in it’s liturgies.  It’s only with the Council of Trent and the suppression of other rites at that time that Latin really came to dominate the Latin liturgy.  Yet, even Latins still use Greek when we pray Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy).  And one does not need to pray in Latin to have their prayers heard or answered.  God’s bigger than that but I still see people saying that we need to pray in Latin and that only prayers said in Latin are “effective.”  Considering God is the one listening and answering prayers, I think He’s the only to judge if praying or not praying in a particular language is necessary for it to be effective.  I’ve only come across Him saying that we need to pray and St. Paul saying to pray without ceasing but nothing about all our prayers need to be in Latin.

All of us are on a journey in our faith.  We each follow the same path using a roadmap that is unique to each of us.  What works for you may not work and probably won’t work for me but that doesn’t mean that you should abandon it because it only applies to you.  God didn’t create clones, He created individuals whom He loves as individuals but also as His children.  God doesn’t pigeon-hole us so don’t pigeon-hole others in their journey and how they live their Catholic faith.  Your eyes should be on Christ.  Don’t take them off Him or you will lose your way.

What? It’s Nearly Holy Week?

Yep.  Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week.  While I should write a post dedicated to that, I’m not.  Maybe in Holy Week?  We’ll see.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been around much.  My job keeps me pretty busy (and pretty so that all I do when I get home is sleep).  But there have been a few issues that have come up that I want to mention.

The first: veiling.  I actually have a whole article written (first draft, needs typed and edited) about the subject and how women are using it as a means to bash and oppress, yes, oppress other women.  Especially Catholics and non-Catholic Christians. I need to post the article.  It will make more sense.  But I hate how some women are using something that is a personal preference (there is no mandatory rule though there is a suggestion by St.Paul who was dealing with a specific issue of the day and said that there was no custom) to force other women to do what they want and if they don’t, they resort to name calling, finger pointing, and even ostrisizing women who don’t follow their demands.  It can even resort in outright abuse.  By women.  But the article covers it more in depth.  It’s fine if it is personal choice but it cannot be imposed except by a competent and respected authority.  The Catholic Church does not require women to veil but allows women to veil as personal, private devotion.

The second: reading materials.  I’ve been able, with no working TV or DVD player, to read many books.  Several have been especially helpful in understanding how and why people act and think the way they do. A couple of recommends:

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

Blues for Cannibals: The Notes from Underground by Charles Bowden

Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse by Greg Jants, Ph.D. and Ann McMurray

Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror by Jeffrey Goldberg

Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs trapped by the Nazis’ final gamble by Roger Cohen

Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression by Ida Lichter

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Middle East by Neil MacFaquhar

The third: politics, well stupid politics.  “our” government in its infinite stupidity decided to pass a health care bill that hurts Americans and funds abortions while forcing people who probably can’t afford health insurance to buy it while the politicians who passed it exempted themselves from it.  Yeah, government of the people my ass.  Politicians don’t care because if they had they would of listened to us and not passed the bill.  This wasn’t a surprise to me.  We have such a pro-death anti-American government in power headed by the most pro-death anti-American pro-Arab terrorist president in history.  See why we’re in such a bad state. But this isn’t the end of the US, not if we don’t want it to be.

The fourth: the sex abuse scandals that have hit in Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Austria.  The thing is, sex abuse By ANYONE is bad.  However, the Lame Stream Media is specifically targeting the Catholic Church where the abuse, for the most part, happened 20, 20, 50 years ago.  At the time, psychologists and the those that listened to them including Bishops in the Church thought homosexuality and pedophilia were mental illnesses that could be treated.  So, yes, they covered up but that was the conventional wisdom at the time.  Plus, 50 years ago child abuse and spousal abuse and sex abuse and rape weren’t really considered crimes.  They weren’t talked about.  Now we know better and they are prosecuted.  However, by targeting one specific group denies the validity and the reality of the problem (sex abuse knows no boundaries and doesn’t discriminate by age, sex, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc.; it’s a sick pervasion that needs to be stopped and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law) and ignores other victims who were abused but weren’t abused by Catholic clergy and religious.  Or tells these other victims that they really weren’t victims because their abusers didn’t fit a specific stereotype that the Lame Stream Media wants to hype.  Basically, if you aren’t abused by Catholic priests, you weren’t really a victim.  So go away because you won’t sell.

If there’s a fifth thing, I don’t remember it.

Have a blessed Holy Week.

Judge Not Salvation

Luke 6:37

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (NKJV)

I point out this particular passage because I find, especially on the Internet in blogs and other venues on the Internet, the words and conclusions of those that declare someone intelligent or stupid, beautiful or ugly, saved or damned.  The last particular dichotomy is one I see the most especially from those who believe in a very narrow, out there set of beliefs though there are those who are supposedly who seem “mainstream” (thinking and believing like everyone else) who also determine people’s eternal fates.  Now, this is nothing new, judging people acceptable or rejectable by some arbitrary set of definitions.  The concept of us versus them has been around since we humans have had the ability to classify and assign value to those classifications.  How else would our ancestors have known that one group was an enemy or another group was a friend or that a friend had turned into an enemy.  But it is more than that.  It is a matter of fear but also of pride.  If Person A says the Person B isn’t a person or less than a person because they (I’m going to use an absurd example here) use the color purple to color in a picture of a flower and that by doing so they reject the superiority (as defined by Person A) of the color red, then Person A is operating from a place of pride.  Now Person A may also be operating from a place of cultural influence but even then it is still a matter of pride.

Christians, in some cases especially American evangelical fundamentalists, certain American developed Protestants (I refer to those Protestant sects that were created in the US after 1800 and especially those groups that developed in the 1900s like Calvary Chapel and non-denominational churches) predicate much of their interactions with Christians who don’t belong to their church in determining their likelihood of becoming a notch on their belt (“winning souls”) or damning them to Hell for not having the “correct beliefs (read “Not agreeing with exactly every word, small thing, and made up rules and regulations that the “pastor” and/or “elders” have come up with) (usually done to Catholics because they believe in a “false gospel” and “added beliefs and kept pagan ones”).

This determining of the eternal destination of others is not only problematic but un-Christian.  It attempts to place the judger in the place of God.  Only God alone can determine if a person is to go to Heaven or Hell.  No one can know if they are saved (there is no assurance of salvation i.e. no one knows if they are bound for heaven or hell) (CCC quotes 1741, 456-460).  From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. “For freedom Christ has set us free.” In him we have communion with the “truth that makes us free.” The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Already we glory in the “liberty of the children of God.””  Now there is more to salvation but it is important to understanding that salvation isn’t just about one specific thing be it saying a prayer or having a relationship or “being saved” or being freed from sin.  Salvation isn’t simple and it is not complex either.  It is, however, wonderful and desired of all men.  Not just a select few who dress the right way or say prayers in a certain way.  Further in the CCC 456-460, “

456 With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”

457 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”:70

Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?71

458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”72 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”73

459 The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”74 On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: “Listen to him!”75 Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.”76 This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.77

460 The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature“:78 “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”79 “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”80 “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

Many err on this because they want to be in “the right” and determining someone’s eternal destination gives that person a smug feeling of superiority, smug satisfaction of knowing that they and they alone have the truth and Jesus, and that they are better than everyone else because they have the “correct” beliefs, the “correct” behaviors, the “correct” “interpretation” of the Bible, and that Jesus and God speak to them all the time and reveal all that they need to know and what to decide.  They have a very narrow view of the world.   Sounds a bit like Gnosticism doesn’t it?  It is but it is also lack of charity, not loving one’s neighbor, pride, selfishness, not loving God.

With recent celebrity deaths and the deaths of loved ones, neighbors, friends, and others, I have seen in the blogosphere several posts where the poster has unequivocally determined the final eternal judgment without any input from God.  They determine where this person had gone based on their own criteria, usually what that particular poster believes.  They refuse to entertain let alone respect the fact that judgment is God’s and God’s right alone.  He gives that right to no one else yet there are those who certainly talk and believe that they have and use this un-given right to judge others, usually quite harshly and with great venom.  Many times they cast them into Hell for doing something the poster doesn’t like even if it is not a sin.

Then there are those who judge others not to be Christian because they don’t believe what they do, they belong to a different theology or sect, they are Catholic, or they aren’t in communion with the Catholic Church (I’ve seen this from many Catholics in regards to Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox, calling them names and saying they are schismatic or even heretics (which is false)).  Again, many who do this belong to or adhere to evangelical fundamentalist ideology.  Actually, many are likely to be weak in faith and understanding of their own faith.  They may know a few basics and are sent out or even forced out to “win” converts, i.e. make members for that group.  This tends to be more common.  Way of the Master is a good example.  They use a flawed opening question, “Are you a good person?” to break the ice.  It’s a loaded question meant to start the ‘sales pitch.  If the questionee answers yes, then the questioner follows up with more questions and into the Ten Commandment (note they use a different numbering order than Catholics and Lutherans use where 2 is not to have idols where as Catholics have you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (the first reads like legal definition if you were to look at a section in the criminal code for a state you would have the offense (I am the Lord you God. You shall have no other gods but me) and the elements that make up that offense (no other gods, no graven images, etc.)).  They then go through the Ten Commandments to see if you have broken any of them, which everyone had at least at one point in their lives.  However, it’s a trap.  They continue through the sales pitch to get you to say a prayer to accept Jesus as you personal savior (remember, they’re selling a product and they have to” make a sale” to be a good Christian).  That’s it.  They don’t follow up, usually.  They tell you to join a “Bible-believing” church and that’s it.  Way of the Master only believe, or limits their definition of a Christian to somebody who had gone through this process (accept Jesus as savior, say a prayer, join a “Bible-believing church) so Catholics and even liturgical Protestants such as Lutherans are considered apostate because they follow a false gospel and added pagan elements in their worship (because organized worship like a liturgy is pagan, apparently).

Those who consider people not to be Christian because don’t believe as Group A does.  Group A’s definition of a “Christian” will be defined not by essentials but by non-essential or even disciplines rather than doctrine.  For example, no dancing, no smoking, no playing cards, no pants on women, no watching movies, long hair on women, no partying, no mixing between genders, marriage only (no single life), mandatory Bible reading for a set period of time a day, no wearing makeup, no jewelry, women aren’t allowed to work, women aren’t allowed to serve in any kind of ministry or service, praying in tongues, praying in a specific manner, not praying spontaneously, must win converts, contemporary worship songs, no musical instruments, etc.  These are all disciplines (subject to change) and some are even deliberate misreading of the Bible (marriage only, women have no place, praying in tongues, no musical instruments, anything with regards to women).  Catholics are typically called apostates or heretics for:

-supposedly adding to the Bible (which is laughable since the CATHOLIC CHURCH put the Bible together!),

-believing in false or pagan doctrines such as Mary as the Mother of God (Nestorianism, a heresy, denies that Mary is the Mother of God),

-Mary as the Queen of Heaven (again, Biblical; just look to the mother of kings in the Old Testament where the mothers were Queens and sat at the King’s right hand and offered advice and supplications/petitions) (if you ask someone else to pray for you, you can certainly ask a saint to pray for you),

-the Mass (which can be found in parts of Saint Paul’s letters and in the Book of Revelation),

-praying to saints (again in Revelation) (if you ask someone else to pray for you, you can certainly ask a saint to pray for you otherwise you would never be able to ask anyone to pray for you since you can only pray to Jesus, according to that logic),

-salvation by works (Ephesians 2:4-10) (“4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Good works were set aside for us to complete for our salvation.”)(again, not true and very Biblical that we can’t just say a prayer and we’re saved; we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12)). We are not saved under the Jewish law, true enough, but we must obey Jesus’ commandments: love God and neighbor, and to eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood (John 6:51-58) (“51 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.”)

Yet there are Christians who don’t look to Jesus’ words but to Saint Paul.  They have to be read all together rather than in isolation and separate.  Plus, they have to be read in context.  Paul is writing to a specific audience in a specific place about a specific problem.  Many who read the Bible assume the Bible can be read and interprets (everyone interprets what they read) that it can be done the same today as it was when it was written.  That the meaning and application of a passage is the same then as it is today.  Not true.  Some passages are very specific for the time and have no real application to today (passages referring to slavery for example) and so cannot be applied or used in a contemporary sense.  Others are misinterpreted, deliberately in some cases, to support a specific belief or practice that isn’t Biblical at all (Ephesians 5:22 is used by some men and some “churches” as a means to oppress and abuse women when the meaning of the verse is more than just submission; you have to read the verses before and after to understand the whole meaning and context). (emphasis mine)

Catholics are the first Christians.  Catholics believe in Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him in the Eucharist.  Yet, many say Catholics aren’t Christians because they don’t believe exactly as Person A or Group B, etc.  They do not determine if someone is Christian or not.  Only the individual and God truly know.  Anyone else is just guessing or making false judgments against their neighbor which is a sin and lack of love for their neighbor.  It bothers me but mostly it saddens me when I read posts or blogs or what not by people who accuse or vilify or condemn others for not believing as they do or calling Catholics apostates and heretics and condemning them to Hell for nothing more than a lack of understanding or deliberate ignorance on the part of the poster.  Most people do not want to learn the Truth.  They are satisfied with the little truth they have and so stay in their comfort zone.  If they learned that Catholics are truly Christians, that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ and gave us the Bible and preserved it and all the beliefs such as the Trinity and Jesus’ divinity down through the ages it would destroy some people because they can’t handle change especially in their world view.  They would refuse to believe because it means they were wrong (coming from pride) and wouldn’t accept the Truth.  They would hang on to that pride because it gives them false comfort and a false sense of superiority.  They want their own easy truth to swallow.  They don’t want The Truth handed down and preserved by the Apostles to the Bishops and the Priests of the Catholic Church for over 2000 years.  They don’t want to be wrong.  They would lose their sense of self especially if their identity is built upon a specific belief system or set of beliefs (Mrs. Smith is a Baptist preachers wife and will always be one and if she didn’t have that, she wouldn’t know what to do with herself because being a Baptist preachers wife is all so knows; it’s who she is).

With regards to Catholics who don’t consider Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox as Catholics, this again comes from pride.  All contain the fullness of Truth and have preserved that Truth for over 2000 years.  Praxis, meaning actual practice, varies and has always varied by culture and region.  The Latin Rite of the Church is not the normative right of the whole Church.  It is only normative in the Latin West.  Latins are not superior or better or holier than Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox.  While there are divisions, there are similarities and the fullness of Truth.  All hold the fullness of Truth, as I have already stated.  Yes there is a difference is ecclesiology (how the church is organized and governed) but the Sacraments are the same and the graces available are the same.  I’m not up on the differences but in some ways it doesn’t matter because I am to love my neighbor.  I have no need to convert them to the Catholic faith because they already have it.  Unfortunately, many Latins don’t see this or refuse to see this and it leads to prideful posts and behaviors and even in some cases, attempts to proselytize (convert or perish mentality of evangelization).  They will even damn them to Hell.  Unfortunately, some Orthodox and Eastern Catholics are no better and refuse to see the similarities and that they are all brothers and sisters in Christ and rather resort to name calling (calling Latin Rite Catholics Protestants) or resorting to nationalism (there are divisions along ethnic and nationality but I’m totally not up on the differences but again comes down to pride and lack of love of neighbor rather than a love of the Truth).

Judge not lest ye be judged.  Remember that rather than falling into sin.  It isn’t easy but it is possible.  Love your neighbor.


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