Anyone a Practicing Catholic?

by lovelylil2 13 Replies latest jw friends

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    Amazing doesn't post very often now. He started an interesting thread a couple of years ago that scrapped a few of my WT induced illusions about the Catholic Church.

  • lovelylil2

    Thank you so much BTS, You gave me lots of great information.

    Also thanks to Libella, Man in Black and Black sheep. I appreciate all the help. I am going to look at all the information more closely tomarrow because I have the day off. Also will visit the websites.

    The reason I am especially interested in the Catholic church is my entire family is Catholic and I was raised a Catholic. But, I am realizing fairly recently that I really never fully understood Catholic beliefs and practices. I think its because my parents were not really practicing Catholics.

    And of course when you become a witness, you are part of a group that HATEs the Catholic church more than any other churches. Its funny though how many JWs were once Catholic!

    I remember Amazing Jim. He tried to convince me that the trinity is biblical and I gave him such a hard time. Funny thing is now a year later, and I am a Trinitarian. I'm sure he would get a good laugh at that one. I guess I just had to come to the conclusion that the trinity is a valid teaching on my own.

    Thanks again everyone, peace to all of you, Lilly

  • GLTirebiter

    Lilly, I was raised Catholic and returned to the Church after a long absence. I'll do my best to answer your questions.

    What is the difference between "regular" Catholics and Roman Catholics?

    The Greek, Russian, and some other Orthodox faiths are also considered Catholic, but do not recognize Vatican leadership nor share Communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Some Eastern Rite churches are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, with common doctrine and faith but different worship liturgy. This includes the Byzantine Church, among others. There also are "Anglican Ordinate" congregations that have rejoined the Roman Catholic church, while retaining their own bishops and priests, and using worship liturgy based on Anglican practices.

    Is calling the Pope "holy father" a requirement for becoming a Catholic or can you view him as just the head of the Catholic church?

    It is traditional (with a small "t") to use that term of respect when referring to the successor of St. Peter. Using the phrase "holy father" is not, as far as I know, a matter of doctrine (a doctrinal "Tradition", with a capital "T").

    Can adults convert to Catholisim?

    Yes. Prospective converts normally go through a series of classes leading to the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA): Baptism, Eucharist (Holy Communion) and Confirmation. Baptism is not repeated for those who have received any valid Christian baptism: one using water (any amount from a splash on the forehead to total immersion) and using the Trinitarian form of Matthew 28:19. Unlike most Protestant baptisms, Jehovah's Witness baptisms do not use the Trinitarian form, thus the Catholic Church would not consider JW baptism valid.

    what are the main doctrines of the Catholic faith?

    The short versions are the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. The long version is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the adult version, not the Baltimore Catechism for Children you might remember from elementary school days). Significant differences between Catholic and Protestant doctrines include Apostolic Succession from the Apostles and St. Peter to present-day bishops and the Pope, and Transubstantiation of sacramental bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ (John 6), not mere symbolic emblems.

    As JW's we were taught that Catholics do not use the bible or know how to use it, is this true according to your observation?

    It varies from person to person. Catholics are taught and encouraged to read the Bible, but aren't forced to, so with people being human some do, some don't, and most are in between. Each Sunday Mass begins with four scripture passages addressing a common theme: in order, a reading from the Old Testament (except Psalms), a selection of Psalms (sung), a reading from the New Testament (other than the Gospels), and finishing with the Gospel reading. Each reading is in context and uninterrupted; commentary is reserved for the homily following the Gospel reading.

    The Bible was a required text in the Catholic schools I attended, including a class dedicated to the history of the Bible (Jerome's Vulgate, different vernacular translations, etc.).

    "Know how to use it" is a loaded phrase, because different faiths use the Bible in different ways. Catholic teaching is to learn the message of scripture as a whole, not a word-for-word literal interpretation. That is consistent with not being limited to one "official" Bible translation: English-speaking Catholics read the RSV, NRSV, NJB, NAB, the old Douay-Rhiems version, even the KJV (with the deuterocanonical books). "The best Bible translation is one that you will read."

    Does anyone know of a website that can answer these Q's, also I welcome personal comments from practicing catholics.

    The simplest answer works well: The comparison chart at is a good introduction, and is relatively unbiased (imo).

    For Blondie's additions:

    What does a practicing Catholic have to do to become a nonpracticing Catholic?

    Just stop going to Mass and receiving the sacraments. There is no JC, no writing a DA letter, no announcement to the congregation. Returning is almost as easy: register with the local parish, repent yor sins, and make a good confession. There's no sitting alone in the back row, no being the congregation pariah nobody wants to talk to, no probation period before being considered a full, worthy member of the congregation. Instead, it's "We're glad that you came back!".

    What does a Catholic have to do to be excommunicated?

    To be formally excommunicated, quite a lot. It generally involves scandal, publicly presenting oneself as Catholic while also publicly, unrepentingly engaging in gravefully sinful behavior.

    Knowingly committing particularly grave sins is considered to be excommunicating yourself, without any formal proceedings. This includes procuring or performing an abortion.

    Are they shunned?

    No, that is not Catholic teaching. We must not participate in or abet the sinful behavior, but neither is it our place to punish the sinner. We are to lovingly encourage the sinner's reformation. Use the carrot, not the stick: "hate the sin, love the sinner."

  • lovelylil2

    Thanks GL. Peace, Lilly

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