Roman Catholicism and Abuse Survivor Blogs
About 12 or 13 years ago, I did a lot of reading about Roman Catholicism. (I was brought up Baptist, and I’ve been in a questioning phase myself the last few years – as in, I don’t know how much I consider the Christian faith true or not, and how relevant is the Bible to me today, and so on and so forth.)
I came to the conclusion that I disagree with a lot of Roman Catholic views and theology. (Please be careful here and keep reading – my main concern with this post is not Roman Catholic beliefs per se.)
I’ve had Roman Catholic friends and co-workers over the course of my life, and I’ve met some here and there on other sites, and all are friendly and fine people.
However, I cannot come to share the view that Roman Catholicism is Christianity.
I can grant Catholics that there are issues with sola scriptura (as you may be aware, Roman Catholics frown on sola scriptura, to put Papal ex cathedra, their Magisterium, and Church Tradition on par with the written Word), but unlike other questioning Baptists (or Protestants), or those who feel they’ve been hurt or wronged by the Protestant or Baptist church, I don’t see the correction to that to be to dump sola scriptura and run out and join Roman Catholicism.
With our without sola scriptura, Roman Catholicism has its share of problematic theology.
My biggest gripe with Roman Catholicism is its rejection of sola fide. (And no, I am not posting this to entertain Catholics who want to debate this topic with me in the comments below, to convince me that salvation is not by faith alone but faith plus this, that, and the other).
In Roman Catholicism, in part due to the rejection of sola fide, you end up with a system of salvation that is ultimately works-based, though they will say no, no, it’s of grace. But that’s not how it works out in practicality.
Roman Catholics will say grace and faith plays a role in salvation, but really, there’s no guarantee of an afterlife in Heaven; one must continually run down to a Mass and receive more grace from a priest guy infusing it into a wafer (transubstantiation).
Some of your Protestants have beliefs I find similarly troubling: they will say that upfront, salvation is by grace through faith alone, but then, once “saved,” you are in Hell fire danger of “losing” this salvation through new sins you may commit, so you must continue to work to keep your salvation in place.
This Protestant view is sometimes referred to as “conditional security,” and is, in my view, another works-based form of salvation, and like the Roman Catholic version, is in contradiction to what the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 3.
My post here is not intended to be a take-down or over-examination of Roman Catholicism. The Protestant/ Baptist Vs. Catholic debate has been raging for centuries, and I’m sure not going to solve it in my blog post today.
I’m not interested in de-converting Catholics and having them become Baptists, even.
(I was never terribly interested in converting atheists I met to Christianity even when I was at my most-Christian, either. That really perturbed many of the atheists I met.)
I don’t even want to use this post to argue for or against transubstantiation or the Bodily Ascension of Mary or the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, or all the other things Catholic Vs. Protestant debates usually get wrapped up in.
These debates have been going on for centuries.
Nobody can be argued into leaving one church for another, or for believing in a deity that they don’t believe exists.
I can put my reasons out there for why I believe what I do, but I don’t want to waste my time or yours by bickering with you about these things, trying to persuade you to my view.
I think if someone leaves atheism for Christianity or leaves the Catholic Church for a Baptist one, it’s going to be through a process of self-discovery, something they do on their own, through research of their own, and/or through life experience that gets them to rethink their assumptions about God or religion – and not because some argument by me changes their mind.
That brings me to the usually unspoken stance on some abuse survivor blogs that it is always wrong to question Roman Catholicism.
It is assumed and a given on other blogs that Roman Catholicism is just as much solidly Christian as are Protestant denominations.
To reiterate, I’m not interested in trying to convince a Roman Catholic to jump RC ship to run around with Baptists.
My pet peeve resides in the fact that one cannot even mention the possibility that RCism is, or may not be, not ‘true’ Christianity on some of the survivor blogs, or criticize RC beliefs.
On the other hand, members on such blogs (Roman Catholic members) are allowed, by blog owners or moderators, to take subtle (and sometimes not- so -subtle) jabs at Protestantism or Baptists or Baptist beliefs.
At least one member, who I presume is Roman Catholic (“Christiane” – though at least one person says she is Orthodox?), not only subtly promotes Roman Catholicism (or her religion, whatever it is) on other sites, but she will at times, make under-handed, quiet digs at Protestantism or at Baptists.
I don’t see the blog owners asking her to knock it off.
No, knocking it off is really directed at people who hold reservations about Roman Catholicism.
A few years ago, when I was on survivor blog TWW, a guy dropped in to say he had been hurt in Protestant churches, so he said, he joined the Roman Catholic Church.
Looking back on this, I wonder if that guy was trolling the comments there?
At any rate, I’m pretty content to sit back and not bicker with Roman Catholics on other sites over Catholicism. If they want to remain RC, I have no interest in deconverting them, though I believe Catholicism is in error on many subjects.
My one exception over not confronting Catholics on other sites: Roman Catholics who are not content to “live and let live” with Baptists and Protestants, but who promote their Catholicism at the expense of both, by insulting them.
When this guy at the TWW not only mentioned he found personal happiness in the RC after dumping Prostestantism (he claimed to have been spiritually abused in Protestant churches), but he started openly and vehemently bashing Protestant and Baptist beliefs, I had enough and started firing back at him.
TWW (and Istoria Ministries blog) member Christiane (it’s my understanding she also posts to Southern Baptist blogs) is more quiet and not- so- obvious in her Baptist and Protestant bashing on Protestant and Baptist sites, but she does engage in it.
Why do these other sites tolerate Roman Catholics bashing and questioning the beliefs of Baptists and Protestants, but consider it verboten and “mean” for any Baptist or Protestant, or whomever else, to question Roman Catholic views? Or if Roman Catholicism is even truly Christian?
Such sites make one feel uncomfortable being forth-right about their misgivings of Roman Catholicism.
I’m at a loss to understand why some other sites have this standard (a double one?) in place where Catholics can “trash” non-Catholic views, but the non-Catholics cannot fire back and question Catholic teachings?
Why can members on some blogs pick apart Protestant Neo-Calvinism until the cows come home, but nobody is really allowed to pick apart Non-Protestant religious views, such as those found in Roman Catholicism?
(Not that I am a supporter of Neo-Calvinism, mind you. I don’t agree with it, either. But why is one up for critique, why is it open season on one, but not another category?)
I understand if you don’t want your blog to turn into a Catholic Vs Protestant debate forum, but. However.
If you have a blog, and you’re not going to permit people to question the Christian bona fides of Catholicism, why would you then allow the Catholics who show up to take swipes at Baptist views or Protestant views, or try to lure vulnerable Protestants over to becoming Catholics?
I’d like to reiterate that this blog post is not about Roman Catholicism vs Protestantism per se – it’s more of, why is there a full, unquestioning acceptance of Roman Catholicism on spiritual abuse blogs, and Catholics are permitted to strongly (or quietly) criticize Protestantism on those sites, but anyone else is heavily discouraged from critiquing Roman Catholicism in return?