Your observations of the Catholic Church are severely misinformed.

ON YOUR PAGE, YOU WROTE: [Now I guess it is time to tell you what I think of the Catholic church. Stand by, even though you are not in it anymore this might upset you. I believe that the Catholic church has lost sight of God. I believe that they have accepted pagan rites. They pray to saints, but those people where human. God says to worship no one other than Him. They ask the priests to forgive them of their sins, but the priest is just a human, only God can forgive sins. (that includes Jesus since He is God). They don't actively proclaim that the ONLY way to heaven is through Jesus Christ and His FREE forgiveness of our sins. They practice getting to heaven by works. You tell the priest that you did this or that and he forgives your sins if you say this many Our Father's or Hail Mary's. This is bunk!!!!!! That came straight from paganism. Jesus said: "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." Matthew 6:7 They claim the Pope is infallible, does that not make him a god? Remember God says to have no other gods before Him. A church leader should teach what God says not make up his own rules. The Catholic church teaches that they are the only true church. Wrong again. Jesus is the only way to eternal life and anyone who believes on Him is part of His church. No where in the Bible did Jesus say, you must be a member of this or that group. No He said: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:15-16]

Your observations of the Catholic Church are severely misinformed and very alarming to see that people think this of us. There is NOTHING pagan about the Catholic faith. Your accusation is completely unfounded and without proof in the least.

My response is in Green:

I admit I was not very tactful in some of my descriptions, however, I don't think I am that misinformed. You said there is NOTHING pagan about the Catholic faith, yet you did not address the reason I said that. Jesus said not to babble on with endless words like the pagans do. My point was that is exactly what the priest tells a person to do when he tells them to say 20 Hail Mary's.

PRAYING TO THE SAINTS Prayer and the worship due only to God are not identical. Prayer is a communication between two beings, heavenly or not, and can been likened to a conversation . Any Catholic who prays to the Saints is in full understanding that the Saints are not God and does not deserve the right of adoration and worship accorded to God alone. They have no power or authority of their own. Any true Catholic knows that the Saints cannot save you, only Jesus can.

Instead, they are actually asking the Saints to pray for us. We, Christians in general, ask our friends, relatives, and parish community to pray for us all the time. When we are ill, when times are hard, we ask for prayers. The Saints are singing God s praise for all eternity in the Choirs of Heaven. They have lived very Holy lives in total, humble obedience to God s Will. How many of us can say that about ourselves? So, why then should we not ask the Saints in heaven to pray for us if we can ask humans to pray for us?

Let me answer your last question first; because they are dead and we are to have nothing to do with contacting the dead. I will agree that prayer and worship are not the same thing. I did not express myself very well. However, here again, prayer and worship are only different depending on what you are asking. If a person is praying to St. Michael for protection, then that is awfully close to worship. That is not the same thing as asking a friend to pray for you. Having statues of different saints and bowing down to them and praying to them to me constitutes worship.

We do ask our friends to pray for us, but no where in the Bible will you see where anyone asked a dead person to pray for them. King Saul asked a medium to bring up Samuel for him and Samuel told him he should not have done it. We are not to contact the dead. I would say that includes praying to them. Why not pray directly to Jesus or God the Father?

FORGIVENESS OF SINS And Jesus said to him, ""Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon THIS ROCK I will BUILD MY CHURCH; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. "I will GIVE YOU THE KEYS of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever YOU BIND ON EARTH shall have been BOUND IN HEAVEN, and whatever YOU LOOSE ON EARCH shall have been LOOSED IN HEAVEN'' (Matthew 16:17-19)

This is a key point on which Protestants and Catholics disagree. In fact there are several points on which we disagree in what you said. First is that Peter was the rock that Jesus was speaking about. We need to look at Scripture to see what the disciples would have understood Jesus to be saying. I am going to quote a lot of verses to make a point. I am not quoting all there are, but yet I will quote many. Remember that the Jews of Jesus day knew the Old Testament very well. Especially the Law and the Prophets, so they would have been very familiar with the passages I am going to quote too.

(Genesis 49:22-25 NIV) "Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. {23} With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. {24} But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, {25} because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb."

The Rock of Israel was who? God!

(Deuteronomy 32:3-4 NIV) I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! {4} He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

Again God is the Rock referred to here.

(Deuteronomy 32:15 NIV) Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; filled with food, he became heavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior.

(Deuteronomy 32:18 NIV) You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.

(1 Samuel 2:2 NIV) "There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

Over and over we see God referred to as the Rock.

(2 Samuel 22:1-3 NIV) David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. {2} He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; {3} my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me.

(2 Samuel 22:32 NIV) For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?

Who is the Rock except our God? Those around Jesus would have thought of God immediately when Jesus mentioned 'upon this rock' and you can see why when you read the Old Testament.

(2 Samuel 22:47 NIV) "The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!"

(Psalms 19:14 NIV) May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

(Psalms 18:2 NIV) The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

(Psalms 19:14 NIV) May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

(Psalms 95:1 NIV) Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

(Isaiah 26:4 NIV) Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

(Isaiah 30:29 NIV) And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.

(Isaiah 44:8 NIV) Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.

(Isaiah 51:1-2 NIV) "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; {2} look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.

(Habakkuk 1:12 NIV) O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.

There are more but I wanted to make the point that this is not some obscure idea, rather it was a very common idea in Scripture.

(Romans 9:33 NIV) As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

Who is the rock referred to here? Christ!!

(1 Corinthians 10:2-4 NIV) They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. {3} They all ate the same spiritual food {4} and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

Talk about clear this last one flatly says that the rock was Christ. So you see when Jesus said (Matthew 16:18 NIV) And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. The disciples would have known He was talking about Himself.

As for the binding and loosing. This does not refer to forgiving sins in the sense the Catholic church uses it. He is giving Peter and the other Apostles the ability to speak with authority in His name. That was needed because there was no New Testament at that time. They were the way Jesus built His church and passed down authority until the New Testament was written. That is not the same as Peter forgiven individual's sins. Even the Jews realized that only God can forgive sins: (Matthew 9:2-6 NIV) Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." {3} At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!" {4} Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? {5} Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? {6} But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . ." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." This was one of the signs that Jesus was the Christ, that He had the authority to forgive sins.

You constantly say that the Bible is easy to understand. How easy is this to understand? Extremely easy I must say. Jesus knew that He would not be here to speak with us forever. In knowing this in His providence, he appointed His Apostles on earth to forgive sins in His name through the power and office of the keys He gave them. He gave St. Peter the power to BIND or LOOSE on earth, and it will then be so in heaven.

As I said earlier, it was not the power to forgive or not to forgive sins, it was his authority in the matters of the church. This was for the Apostles only, it was not handed down from Peter to anyone. Until the time of the fulfillment of the cannon of Scripture God used the Apostles to give

the church structure.

If as you believe Peter was the first infallible Pope, then how do you explain Paul taking him to task?

(Galatians 2:11-21 NIV) When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. {12} Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. {13} The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. {14} When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? {15} "We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' {16} know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. {17} "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! {18} If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. {19} For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. {20} I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. {21} I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

PROCLAMATION OF JESUS Indeed, she [the Catholic Church] proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ, "the way the truth, and the life" (John 14, 6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself - NOSTRA AETATE PROCLAIMED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI

In this and countless other encyclicals and Church canon, we ALWAYS proclaim that Jesus is THE WAY, and that He died for our sins, and that He is our only redeemer.

Do you believe in the "cleansing fires of purgatory"? If so then you just said Jesus is not THE WAY or that He is not your only redeemer. See if you have to pay for your own sins in purgatory then Jesus did not do it all on the cross. If you have to pay for your own sins then you are your own redeemer at least in part. If you refuse to believe in purgatory then I guess you are not really a Catholic.

Let me quote again since I would not want to misrepresent the Catholic position. This is a long article and I am only quoting a small part of it. I have bolded the places which I will discuss after the quote:

IUCUNDA SEMPER EXPECTATIONE ON THE ROSARY
Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on 8 September 1894

To the Partiarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren, Greeting and Apostolic Benediction.

2. The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace; being by worthiness and by merit most acceptable to Him, and, therefore, surpassing in power all the angels and saints in Heaven. Now, this merciful office of hers, perhaps, appears in no other form of prayer so manifestly as it does in the Rosary. For in the Rosary all the part that Mary took as our co-Redemptress comes to us, as it were, set forth, and in such wise as though the facts were even then taking place; and this with much profit to our piety, whether in the contemplation of the succeeding sacred mysteries, or in the prayers which we speak and repeat with the lips. (paragraph continues but I am not quoting it all.)

If the Catholic church truly proclaims that Jesus is the only way then why does this Pope (who you claim was infallible) state that Mary is co-redemptress? Also what about Mary's 'office' as Mediatrix of Divine grace? Doesn't that contradict this Scripture: (1 Timothy 2:5-6 NIV) For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, {6} who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.

POPE INFALLIABLE No, this does not make the Pope a god. This does mean, however, that the Holy Spirit guides the Pope, in the same manner as St. Peter, in matters of MORALS and THEOLOGY. In these matters is the Pope infallible.

By the way, here is a quote from Martin Luther, protestant reformer "We are compelled to concede to the Papists [Popes] that they have the Word of God, that we received it from them, and that without them we should have no knowledge of it at all." ~ Martin Luther

Might I bring you back to a earlier quoted I made: (Galatians 2:11-21 NIV) When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. {12} Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. {13} The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. {14} When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? {15} "We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' {16} know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. {17} "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! {18} If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. {19} For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. {20} I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. {21} I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

Paul did not consider Peter infallible. Nor did the other Apostles or leaders of the church, otherwise they would not have put up with Paul talking to Peter like this. Nor would God have allowed this to be part of the cannon of Scripture.

As for Martin Luther; yes he as a great reformer, but he was also a Catholic. He did a great service by what he did but he was just the start of the ball rolling, not the total reformation. Not that I don't believe it is possible that Martin Luther made the statement you quoted but I would feel much better had you referenced where you obtained the quote.

ONE CHURCH Again, referring to Matthew 16:17-19, the scripture does not read upon this rock, I will build my churchES, it says I will build my CHURCH

You are right within certain boundaries. Christ did set up ONE church, the body of Christ, not the Catholic Church. We call local bodies of believers 'churches' we even call the buildings they worship in 'churches' but there is only one Church and that is the whole body of true believers in Christ. That is the Body of which He is the head.

You always get upset when people put comments up without the burden of proof. Where then is your proof about the Catholic Church being pagan and that the Sacrement of Contrition is pagan?

I never said anything about the Sacrament of Contrition. I did say that the Catholic church has adopted certain customs which are pagan in origin and I stand by that statement. For example, the idea of the Queen of Heaven. The Catholics refer to Mary as the Queen of Heaven, but as far back as Jeremiah God says He dislikes that: (Jeremiah 7:17-19 NIV) Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? {18} The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. {19} But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?

Let me quote from the Constitution on the Scared Liturgy, which I copied off the Vatican website:

CONSTITUTION
ON THE SACRED LITURGY
SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM
SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON DECEMBER 4, 1963

65. In mission lands it is found that some of the peoples already make use of initiation rites. Elements from these, when capable of being adapted to Christian ritual, may be admitted along with those already found in Christian tradition, according to the norm laid down in Art. 37-40, of this Constitution.

Now since these 'rites' which article 65 mentions are pagan rites, how can you tell me that the Catholic church has never adopted any pagan rites into it's liturgy? This can be seen down through the ages. To make the Christian faith more palatable to new converts the Catholic church has often adopted pagan rites and rituals to make the new converts feel more at home. You can disagree with whether you think that is right or wrong to do (I think it is wrong), but you will be hard pressed to claim it has not happened.

I am often too blunt in my answers to people, but I never just make things up. I don't have any desire to bash the Catholic church, but I think it is wrong and if asked I will speak the truth.

Ralph

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