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The following are various emails I have been receiving in 2002 on Catholicism. The the emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
I am a born and raised Italian Catholic (went to Catholic school all my life) and have been working for a United Methodist Church for thirteen years. I have attended both Catholic and UM services on Sundays. I tend to lean toward the UM Church. They seem to stick to Biblical teachings. I am having a very difficult time understanding the Catholic Religion as it pertains to the Bible (NIV). Perhaps you could answer two of my questions.
#1- How can a priest refer to himself as "Father" when it says in the Bible that only God is to be called Father? I find this very difficult to understand.<
It is difficult to understand, as this verse does seem to teach that calling a religious leader "Father" is wrong. And I agree that it is. the Catholic church tries to justify it by an appeal to 1Cor 4:15: "For although you* shall be having countless tutors in Christ, but not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus through the Gospel I became your* father."
Paul says he is the Corinthians "father" so, it is said, calling a religious father is appropriate. However, Paul calls himself their father because he is the one who led them to be "born again" in Christ. Moreover, there is no indication that the Corinthians or anyone else called Paul father. It was just an analogy Paul was using.
> #2- How does the Catholic church explain having all the statues to pray to, when we are not to pray to idols?
Again, I would agree the practice is wrong. What the RCC says is that you're not really praying to the stature, but you asking the person it represents (who now assumedly is in heaven) to pray to God for you, the same as you would ask someone on earth. But this distinction is often loss on the masses. Moreover, the problem with this is, how can a "saint" in heaven hear all of the people praying to him/ her at once. Has the saint now become omniscient? I don't think so.
>I would like to point out some things I noticed on your site. I am a firm believer in the teachings of Christ and a devout Catholic. However, I don’t think that we have any right to condemn others for their acts, such as homosexuals. The lord shall judge them and if the need be he shall condemn them. I don’t necessarily believe what they are doing is wrong, if they feel the need to do that so be it. <
You say you're a devout Catholic, but you disagree with the Catholic Church on this point. The Catholic Church and the Bible both concur that homosexual behavior is a sin.
>We should only be concerned with helping others and ourselves that truly need the help of God.
Yes, we should help others. But part of the way we help people is by trying to turn them from sin and destructive behaviors, such as homosexuality.
>Also, a lot of Bible verses are contradictory, <
This is a common claim, but I have an entire section on my site devoted to dealing with supposed contradictions. When looked at logically, there are none. See The Bible/ Biblical Reliability.
>And a if you have ever noticed, a King James version of the Bible is very discriminatory to women, so a Bible verse could mean something different depending upon the verse you read. <
The Bible's attitude towards women is rather controversial, but it is not discriminatory. You are correct that some verses in the King James are translated more "masculine" than are necessary. But what this means is that Christian theology should be based on the Hebrew and Greek text, not on any translation. And any theologian worth his salt will know these languages.
>If we believe in God and follow his commandments I believe we will get into heaven.<
The Bible teaches otherwise. Salvation comes by repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus Christ and Him only. It is a matter of faith in what Christ has done for us. I discuss this in much more detail on my site. See Forgiveness and Salvation.
>God wants us with him, and if he truly loves us, would not want to send us to hell unless we were truly in need of eternal damnation.<
Everyone deserves damnation because everyone is a sinner as no one can keep all of God's commandments perfectly. The Bible is clear on these points. That is why the only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for our sins.
>At least those are my opinions. Thank you for listening.
They are just that, your opinions. But the word of God, the Bible, teaches otherwise. And personally, I will trust in what God has said over the opinions of people.
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