Monday, July 16, 2007

I don't belong to the only true church

I had read in the news what the Pope had said about Christianity, and just let it slide right through my mind. I have had a lot on my mind as of recent, and a lot has slid through. But yesterday I read over at reverend mother her thoughts, and it reminded me about it again.

If you haven't read it; Catholic Church only true church.

Ya know, you think you are making progress on communion with the RCC, and you get told they are the only true church. (What are we fake churches?)

It says although Orthodox churches are true churches, they are defective because they do not recognize the primacy of the Pope. and then "It follows that these separated churches and communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation," (Whoops, I guess I am not saved either.)

The document adds that Protestant denominations — called Christian Communities born out of the Reformation — are not true churches, but ecclesial communities. (Just what are those?)

"These ecclesial communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood … cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'churches' in the proper sense," it said. (But we practice the sacraments.)

Reverend mother suggests they use the following Marketing Slogan. How’s this for a marketing slogan:

Christianity: Answering Questions Nobody’s Asking Anymore

Over the past 5 years the Methodist church has been in dialogs with the Catholic Church, and issued a report on these meetings called "Through Divine Love: The Church in Each Place and All Places." It said we have some parallels with the Catholic. (I guess we actually live in parallel universes.)

Thanks for reverend mother's comments, so what do you think?

I don't know how to say this, but I'll just say it, I don't believe in the Pope, I believe in Jesus.
And if that means I don't belong to the only true church, or not a Christian, than so be it. I'll just keep believing in and following Jesus to the best of my ability.

I just don't think it is about denominations anyway or even non denominational status.

What I get concerned about is how these kind of things are not a witness to God's love.

But as reverend mother said, she is moving on, and I am too. I am moving on to continue to share God's love with others.


Katherine said...

I was saddened by the Pope's comments as well. They are divisive in a time when we desperately need reconciliation and healing. Although there are certainly a number of places where there is outright strife between Catholics and Protestants (N. Ireland, anyone?) but I think this sort of statement will ignite distrust even in places that were previously not tension-filled.

Iris Godfrey said...

The Roman Catholic stand has not changed over the years. This is the same "stuff" the headship was saying when I was a little girl, many many years ago. So I guess we need to remember that and not expect anything to change it.

The Lord Jesus has not been able to change their hearts about the matter. Unfortunately it seems to be about "right doctrine" rather than right heart. I do believe our doctrines must be Biblical, but to eliminate others from Christianity is not theirs or ours to do.

God is still God, and Jesus still rules. Praise His name!

Serena said...

You said it well! "I believe in Jesus."

And, as I told leaders of the Methodist Church I currently serve, "my call is to follow Jesus" and, even tho' I'm ordained Presbyterian, I believe I can follow Jesus serving in Methodist Church or Presbyterian Church (or "ecclesial community") ... and/or other body of Christ

As one commenter on one of our RGBP pages put is pope/schmope! Jesus is the true head of his Church.

mompriest said...

revabi, not certain, since it's not posted, nor have I heard from you, if my comment last night was over-the-top or perhaps, evevn offensive to you. If so, I apologize. I guess I have stronger feelings than I thought, perhaps because I have a difficult time being taken seriously as a priest (albeit Episcopal) by my own Roman Catholic in-laws...hope all is well with you, since you have said you have a lot going on...

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

mmmm... I think I used that pope/scmope phrase... anyhow... isn't being the Church tough enough? without going back to Latin? without pointing fingers about who's not worthy? my my... maybe he needs to get out of Vactican city a little more often? or have a shot of whiskey in his morning cup of joe? or read some Luther... but I might be biased on that. (Luther not the whiskey...)

Art said...

Excellent thoughts! I agree totally. Moving on then...

Diane said...

hmmm thought I posted here, but somehow didn't get through. I'll rethink and repost.

mompriest said...

Ok, I'll try to recreate my previous post. Essentially I said that I am unable to take the Pope seriously. I struggle with a process that "discerns" it's leader by the same group that the leader designated to lead ie the Pope designates all the Bishops and Cardinals etc. and these same men elect the next Pope. It makes me wonder just how much room is left for God and the HS to be a part of the "calling" process for the Pope...therefore I always wonder if the words of the Pope are God inspired or just human efforts to maintain a sense of control and order as we (or in this case, they) determine it.

I said that even as I acknowledge that I deeply appreciate much of RC spirtuality and thought and influence over the centuries.

This latest Pope has blundered over and over with Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike; and it seems to me he lacks a real sense of God-filled hospitality. Therefore I just don't take anything he says seriously. I feel sad for my RC brothers and sisters, (not necessarily my in-laws, but friends and colleagues), who have to live with these statements from their spiritual leader.

The rest of us, well I believe God was "in" the Reformation and therefore we are a valid expression of God and of God's love and action in the world through Jesus. You are not the one true Church just because you are "older."

Well, I said something like that. Thanks, Abi...

Diane said...

Actually, the Pope says we ARE still saved, (we are not deprived of salvation just because we are in error). Big of him, if you ask me. But he's not asking me, is he? Or any other woman, for that matter.
There are a lot of things that I have appreciated about the Catholic tradition (my husband is different; he believes it is a powerful instition and is suspicious of anything that powerful, and how they use their power). I appreciate the spirituality, the mystics, the breadth of tradition.
But then there is the matter of women.
In ministry.
Like reverend mother, maybe I think it's time to move on.

mibi52 said...

Yeah, I'm reconfirmed in my belief that the Catholic Church (in which I was raised) is irrelevant in my life these days. Love some pf the people, don't love the dogma.

1-4 Grace said...

Very sad thoughts from the Pope.
I listended with great interst over the concern the RCC now has with a lessening number of priests.
Can't help but wonder if they changed their stance on some things and opened it up more, how different it coudl be.
Love RM's post on the questions.
There are many things I love about the RCC, have friends there and am close to folks in my own community.
The thing that is so great is our acceptance of one another and the realization that we are worshipping the same Lord.
I think the Pope is missing out on some of these things. Feels like, as with some other denominations, they might have taken a few steps back.

teachergran said...

Sorry - I thought I had posted this last night, but each time I pushed enter another word verification popped up, so maybe not.

I took the "neither" and "nor" in the original quote to mean that while other "Christian communities" had "defects" (such as not believing the pope gives out God's divine words?!) we still have "significance" and "importance" in the "mystery of salvation." I took this to mean we are still saved. I looked at the CBC article too and the wording was identical to Abi's, so am I missing something?

As to the Catholic (as opposed to catholic) church, I have many friends raised RCC and I have visited many RCC churches. I like the ceremony, traditions, and even the possibility of daily communion services in the RCC. However, as a born and raised Presbyterian, I found other things, such as the supremacy of the pope, the need to confess to a priest rather than directly to God, etc., harder to understand. I also find the RCC's marginalization of women to be a significant weak point. However, I think that even the RCC can change. When I was a kid, my Catholic cousins were horrified that I didn't wear a plasticized picture of Jesus or a saint (it was a loong time ago - I'm not sure which) on a string around my neck. They worried that if I was killed in an accident, the gatekeeper in heaven wouldn't know I was Christian without the card around my neck. I don't think this is still taught in the RCC. So... maybe there's still room to hope for change. (And for more diplomatic, ecumenically inclusive language from the pope - "[RCC] is the only true church"!)

Lorna (see through faith) said...

hi. I think the pope's only actually made a statement on something that he and his church thought was true all along. In some ways it feels that JPII was just stringing us along cos this statement by Benedict turns the clock back a long, long way

"I don't believe in the Pope, I believe in Jesus." is about the best thing that can come out of this. And you know what, Jesus said He'd build His church. I think I'll just let Him - because it will be glorious

and it will be much much much more about ministry than right theology!