As regular readers know, I depart from what has become the main topic of this blog from time to time to address other matters. Today I would like to copy a post I made on my Facebook page in response to a bit of anti-Catholicism that someone else had posted.
As you will see, and while I address "Steven's" errors, "Steven's" waywardness is ultimately a sad indictment of the shallow Catholicism that has made us all easy targets for all kinds of anti-Catholics...including "the Kiko's." (Remember, there was already an exodus from the local Catholic Church to other faiths before the Kiko's got here.)
The following appeared on my timeline. I would like to address it.
STEVEN G: "As a former Catholic, I never looked at sin as a big deal because I could do something to make up for it. Also, some sins weren't as bad. A lie wasn't a big deal if it was a small lie. I never read the Bible as a Catholic. I didn't read the Bible until I was about 16. I realized how much the Catholic Church contradicts God's word. Also, I learned Hell was only for 'bad' people. I always thought I was a good person until I saw you go through the Commandments." Steven G.
ME: Let's take this point by point. Stay with me.
STEVEN G: "As a former Catholic, I never looked at sin as a big deal because I could do something to make up for it.”
ME:That’s too bad that “as a Catholic” you “never looked at sin as a big deal.” The Catholic Church teaches that sin is a “big deal.”
Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight." Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods," knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God." In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation. - (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1850)
And as for doing “something to make up for it,” that’s exactly what Jesus commends Zaccheus for doing:
Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. - Luke 19:8-9
STEVEN G: “A lie wasn't a big deal if it was a small lie.”
ME: The apostle John teaches that there are “big” and “small” sins, or rather “deadly” and “not deadly.” Obviously the killing of an innocent, helpless child is a much graver sin than lying to your teacher about why you didn’t do your homework.
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin that is not a deadly sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not deadly. There is sin which is deadly; I do not say one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not deadly. We know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. - I John 5:16-18
STEVEN G: “I didn't read the Bible until I was about 16.”
ME: Jesus never instructed anyone to read anything, nor did he ever instruct anyone to write anything (except for John in Revelation to describe the events he saw in heaven). If Jesus wanted us to follow a book he would have left us one. He didn’t. One can argue all day long that the bible is the Word of God, but nowhere does Jesus tell anyone to put his words in a book.
However, Steven obviously didn’t attend Mass. There is more scripture read in one Catholic Mass than at most other types of Christian "worship" services. Catholics experience Scripture the same way Jesus did: by hearing it. There weren’t any “bibles” in Jesus' day and the average person had no access to “the scrolls”. They went to the synagogue to hear it read, the same way Catholics do today. The Word of God is not “a book.” The Word of God is the word “proclaimed.”
STEVEN G: “I realized how much the Catholic Church contradicts God's word.”
ME: What came first, the Church or the Book? Since Jesus didn’t leave us a bible, how did the first 4 centuries of Christians get by without it? The canon of the bible (table of contents) was not officially decided upon until the end of the 4th century. And even then the average Christian would not have access to it until the invention of the printing press 1,100 years later. And then of course mass market bibles were not available until really the latter half of the 20th century. So essentially for the whole history of Christianity, Christians have had to do without a personal copy of the bible. So how did they do it?
Jesus didn’t leave us a bible. He left us a church, and a teaching authority for that church. Well which church is it? Which church traces its origins to the apostles? Chances are the church Steven belongs to is no older than when his pastor decided to start it. Sorry, Steven. The bible is a Catholic book. The church came before the book. It was the Catholic Church who decided which books to put into the bible (New Testament) in the first place. It was the Catholic Church because no other church was around.
STEVEN G: “Also, I learned Hell was only for 'bad' people. I always thought I was a good person until I saw you go through the Commandments."
ME: Not sure what he means here but apparently he only discovered the Ten Commandments when he was 16.
Of course Steven has it all wrong. But he also illustrates a very sad point. The average Catholic does not come across solid Catholic teaching in today’s Catholic Church. When was the last time you heard a sermon on the Ten Commandments…for example, or even on ONE of them?
I’m willing to bet that most of what I just said here is new to many Catholics because all they have heard at their church is “God loves you” for the last 40 years. If “God loves you” is all that matters then there would be no need for him to separate the sheep from the goats now would there? Yet, he will. He said so.
Catholics do not believe that the bible is the Word of God because the bible says so. Catholics believe that the bible is the Word of God because the Catholic Church says so.