Or Castoffs and Casualties
Or Fallout of a System Gone Awry
Or Roman Religion Reprimanded
I’ve offended at least one friend by indicting a religious system. The personal offense was as understandable as it was unintentional; the indictment of the system was nevertheless quite intentional. Some irreparable damage might have been done by words. Yet, in this new post, I’m going to be no more careful. (Why don’t some people ever learn?)
This is about those who are victims of Roman Catholicism. Some of them have begun to see better and yet have slidden right back into it. Why can’t they see the fallacies, the corruption, the reprehensible power structures, the dominance of man-made tradition over scriptural precedent and principle? The answer probably lies, at least in part, in the general apathy of humankind.
1. I know a woman who was raised Catholic. Now, she reads her own Bible regularly. She attended a decent protestant Bible study for years. She has seen better than Catholicism. She even tried to convince a dying relative that he needed a personal connection to Jesus — i.e., more than the Roman establishment offers. I may be wrong, having lived for a while in hope that she was coming out of Catholicism, but she seems to be reinforcing her ties now. Not only can she not let go, but she seems to be sliding backward into Catholicism.
2. I knew a man who actually tried to convince me (in a time in which I was trying to be more open to dialogue about such things) of the validity of Catholicism. He said, for instance, when trying to persuade me about transubstantiation and such, “The Eucharist is the main reason I’m Catholic.” And I thought to myself, why would you be attracted to a doctrine that has little to no basis? I’m not sure where he stands now, but I’d be really surprised if he were even a committed Catholic anymore, much less a more biblically based believer. He simply had no grounding, no reason for his faith-system other than mysticism.
3. I knew another woman who was raised Catholic. By her college years, whether primarily by a) choice or b) devolving belief structure or c) negative experience (and she had some bad ones), she had slidden from marginal Catholicicsm, through youthful agnosticism, to the sandpit of outright atheism. When I last knew first-hand, about 3 years ago — she simply didn’t care about God. I suspect that if she had been raised in a genuine, more spiritually founded religious system, she would not be where she is today with faith (i.e., lack of it).
4. I knew a man — once a coworker — with whom I had a few discussions about Christianity. He, raised in a Polish Catholic family, was probably closer to agnosticism than to atheism. He married a woman from an equally high-church, but protestant, tradition. She was a believer, so he decided to be a good family man and go to church with his family when his kids were growing up. It was more than decent of him; it was loving. But I fear he has never gained any real measure of faith, and I blame Catholicism for its disconnectedness — its ability to suggest and enforce a hierarchy and a system without valid grounding.
5. I knew another man who even became a recognized leader in a Restoration Movement church. He had been a Catholic. Reportedly, he had alcohol and anger management problems, and possibly other problems, as well. (I know: “don’t judge.” Yes, we all have problems. I’m not blaming the Pope for this man’s problems.) Either before or just after his divorce, he slid back into Catholicism. We tend to move into comfortable zones when faced with stresses. One of the problems of Catholicism is that it’s too comfortable, asking more for affiliative action than personal commitment to biblical religion.
This is no scientific study, I know. It’s selective, anecdotal, and personal. Yet I imagine its particulars are not uncommon. In every case above, I submit that Roman Catholicism has been a negative influence and/or a hindering option.
Roman Catholicism is a system gone awry (awry more than 1700 years ago, with very little self-correction through the intervening centuries). It, like many other systems, has produced casualties. It, like many other religious systems, needs a stern reprimand. In my view, R.C. deserves some of the most harsh, decisive censure because of its far-reaching, longstanding tentacles. Roman Catholicism must repent, ridding itself of itself.