Friday, November 16, 2007

Questions anyone?

The heart of the righteous studies how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
Proverbs 15:28

Readers have asked me a number of interesting questions recently. Most of these have been asked anonymously, often with initials or a name added. With regard to anonymous comments, I do reserve the right to choose not to answer questions or to choose not to publish the comment. However, where I believe important questions are being asked, which relate to the themes of my blog and may be of interest to other readers, I am likely to choose to spend time answering them. I am also more likely to do this if a person has been courteous enough to offer their name, their initials, or some other information about themselves.

Often, questions relate to topics I believe are important but I was not motivated to pursue. For example, questions about specific pro-life issues. I am far more likely to respond to questions that relate to general themes or issues than I am to respond to comments that are directed at attacking my personal life or faith. Thankfully, I have not received many such comments since starting this blog. The exceptions to this have been some unfortunate comments on my posts about the Reformation, which I have chosen not to publish.

Here are a few topics I’ve been asked about, which I intend to address at some stage:
  • Contraception and population
  • Rape and abortion
  • Science and Creation
  • The Protestant reformation – was it necessary? Am I misrepresenting Catholic teaching?
I have already made progress toward a complete answer to the question of the abortion of diabled babies, in my posts Should an unborn baby be treated differently from a newborn? and Disabled babies: is abortion a solution?.

Thanks again to those who have politely asked me these questions - I appreciate your interest, and I will answer them as God gives me opportunity. I have many more important priorities: like my husband, my home, and relationships with fellow believers who live nearby.

Please pray for me as I study how to answer.


  1. God bless you as you answer the Catholic questions. Just make sure you discuss these questions with you husband. I say this, not because I don't think you have the mental capacity for it, but it is better for you and your husband to be on the same page.

    I just went through a period where I studied Cathlolic doctrine because of my parent's conversion (they were very Reformed before and raised me that way). It was hard because I was studying this stuff independent from my husband. It caused a lot of unnecessary arguments.

    I will say that I did learn a lot and there are many things about the RCC that I did not know. There is some misguided teachings from Protestants concerning RC doctrine. I do consider it a Christian church, now. I guess there are a lot of Protestants (especially Reformed) Christians who do convert. I had not heard of that before.

    Well, I will read any of you discussions/posts with interest, but I won't promise to participate because I'm tired of the subject to a certain degree.

    In closing, I am very happy that the Reformation came, but understand that along with the good things the Reformation brought, there were some very bad things, too. We are only human.

  2. Hello Zan,

    Thanks for your advice. It must have been difficult for you when your parents converted, after having raised you a different way. I think that what attracts many Protestants to Catholicism is the sense of greater certainty, and also the strong moral values. However, in some ways unity is an illusion as there are a great many divisions within the Catholic church as well.

    This morning, before I even received your comment, I did discuss this issue with my husband. He told me that he doesn't want me to pursue it in any great depth. He is happy for me to affirm what we believe, but he doesn't want me to try and answer every objection to the existence of the Protestant churches. Thanks for your confirmation that I need to seek out his wisdom. I will continue to do so.

    I have an excellent book, "Once a Catholic", which I intend to re-read. This book focuses very much upon the Bible and the person of Christ, rather than upon tearing down the Catholic church.

    You are right that the Reformation brought bad as well as good things. While Catholics hold up certain people as saints, I have no intention of arguing that Luther was saintly in the sense that it is commonly understood :). He had a great many faults . . . and we do too, and our churches do. Yet the gospel and the Scriptures are more important than that, and through Christ's death and resurrection we are all saints.

  3. Agnes :

    In my opinion 'Once a Catholic' is not an excellent book at all. It's basically the same tired inaccurate portrayal of Catholicism. The only difference is the book is actually written by an ex-Catholic who appears to have never even bothered to learn their own faith.

    While Tony Coffey does write in a gentle and non-confrontational manner, this book is so full of wild inaccuracies about the Catholic faith

    To begin with, the author obviously has no understanding of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. For example, the Virgin Mary is not viewed amongst Catholics as a deity. Secondly, Catholics firmly believe Jesus is the one mediator between God and Man and is the Lord and Savior of the human race.

    There are many issues that are viewed in error in this book. The author who says he is a former Catholic was obviously a poorly catechised one.

    The author of the book is no scholar, so why would anyone want to take its contents any more different from intellectual giants such as Scott Hahn or respected figures such as Gilbert Chesterton?

  4. I think the passage is meant to be Matthew 16:18.

    This leads to the golden question of why did Luther or those that celebrate his views not deem it necessary to 'reform within', instead of the final course of action of creating another 'branch' of Christianity?

    Throughout the history of the Church there had been scandals far greater scandals and abuses that what Luther argued against, yet there were true 'reformer's' that achieved their goals without splitting the Church.

  5. Most reviews of the book mentioned state that few knowledgeable Christians of any persuasion would find Once A Catholic convincing

  6. Dear Agnes,

    As I mentioned to Zan, my husband has strongly encouraged me not to pursue an avenue of making posts specifically about the Catholic church. He has also encouraged me to avoid becoming deeply involved in specific doctrinal disputes. I do hope to make specific posts, at some point in the future, about what I believe about the gospel as taught in the Scriptures. However, if I do manage to write such posts they will not directly reference any church. It will reference the words of the Holy Scriptures.

    Therefore, if you do have issues with what I write, I would encourage you to show me from the Scriptures alone where I am wrong. If Luther did something evil in asking the Catholic church to reform (for which he was excommunicated - he did not "leave"), please show me from the Scriptures why. Matthew 16:18 proves absolutely nothing if you do not have a prior assumption that the passage is speaking of Peter as the first pope. The verses, of course, say nothing of the kind directly. This is an interpretation put upon them by the Catholic church. Since the Roman Catholic church is not my authority, Scripture is, arguments that stem from their interpretations and not from the text cannot be persuasive. My foundation is a different one.

    I have read the review of "Once a Catholic". Thank you for referring it to me. I will be more aware now that there may be some inaccuracies - although it has not been demonstrated that they are "wild". Anyone trying to understand a system of thought may at times make mistakes. I believe that you are mistaken in thinking of Luther as a person who set out to create division - on the contrary, he wanted to reform from within but discovered it to be impossible at that time. I say this simply to demonstrate that it is difficult to cover all the nuances of a system of thought and belief.

    I still think that "One a Catholic" has many good scriptural points about why we don't need some of the things the Catholic church says we need. The review you passed onto me actually very clearly articulates the fact that we are coming at this from different foundations. You belive that we need the Catholic church in order to be able to trust the Scriptures. I differ. It is that simple. I believe that the Scriptures are enough - and on my blog, they are the point at which I will always aim to start. I may not be a "knowledgable Christian", but my aim is simply to know Christ and his word better. I believe that "Once a Catholic" can help me to do that.