Ask yourself: why do I hate the Catholic Church? Who taught me what I think I know about the Catholic Church? Is what I was taught true? Have I looked at what the Catholic Church has to say about itself, using official resources such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal encyclicals? Could my opinion of the Catholic Church possibly be based on bias, bigotry, bad history, propaganda from the secular media, or the bad priests who get publicity (i.e., the sick, and sickening, ephebophile priests or those certain heretical modernist priests the secular media love to give press to)? Is it fair to judge doctrine by such things? Is any group with human beings in it free from sin and scandal? If I am wrong about the Catholic Church, what does that mean?
Here are some common myths about the Catholic Church:
Wrong: Because Catholics reject the tradition of "sola fide" ("faith alone"), they think they can work their way into Heaven and believe they are saved by works
Wrong: Catholics think the pope does not sin
Wrong: Catholics re-crucify Christ at their Masses (or at least think they do)
Wrong: Catholics think Mary is part of the Godhead and is to be worshipped
Wrong: Catholics worship statues
Wrong: Catholics think they can't pray to God directly but have to go through saints
Wrong: Catholics conjure the dead
Wrong: Catholics believe people can be saved after they die
Wrong: The Catholic Church teaches that one who isn't formally a Catholic is damned to Hell
Wrong: The Crusades are an example of Catholic aggression
Wrong: The Inquisition(s) killed hundreds of thousands of people and targeted Jews
Wrong: Pope Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope" and didn't do a thing to help Jews during WWII
Wrong: The Catholic Church wasn't around until the time of Constantine, a pagan who controlled the Church. The Catholic Church did more than baptize pagan calendar days for the good of Christ, it is pagan in its very roots.
If you believe any of the above myths, I implore you to research. For doctrinal questions, ask the Church what it teaches; it's the only fair thing to do. For historical questions, look at balanced and objective scholarly research from a variety of sources (including Catholic ones).
And as you research, keep in mind the common logical fallacies that are often used in attacks against Catholicism:
"I knew a Catholic/ex-Catholic (or I was a Catholic) who was (mean, a drunk, not holy, didn't like the Church, was superstitious, didn't know the Bible, didn't have a deep relationship with Jesus, etc.), so therefore, the teachings of the Catholic Church are wrong." (Ignores the fact that bad catechesis, misunderstandings, or other shortcomings of a few Catholics do not reflect on what the Catholic Church teaches)
"If the Catholic Church doesn't teach that it's faith alone that saves, then it must teach that men are saved by their own works." (Ignores that we teach that we are saved by Grace alone -- a Grace with which we must cooperate through "faith that works in love")
Cum hoc ergo propter hoc:
"Winter Solstice is on 21 December; Christmas is 25 December. Therefore, Christmas is a pagan holiday. (Ignores that fact that there are only 365 days to choose from in a year and that the early Church Fathers had good reasons to choose the date they did. It also ignores that Protestants' "Reformation Day" is celebrated on 31 October, the pagan festival of Samhain.)
Post hoc ergo propter hoc:
"Constantine must have been the real source of the Catholic Church's teachings because after his reign the Church grew tremendously, and before his reign it wasn't as well-known" (Ignores the simple fact that Constantine merely stopped the persecution of Christians with the Edict of Milan and allowed Christianity to spread. It also ignores the writings of the Church Fathers who lived before Constantine -- and who were Catholic.)
"You guys worship statues, and that's evil. Therefore, your religion is Satanic." (Ignores that fact that we don't worship statues)
Meanwhile: The Final Challenge
... and now I challenge each of you who calls on the Name of the Lord to take two hours of your life to listen to theologian and former very anti-Catholic Presbyterian minister, Scott Hahn, and to Rosalind Moss, who was raised Jewish and later became Evangelical. Both are now Catholic; don't you want to know why? Truly, I challenge you to listen and pray and think about what you hear, all with an open heart to God's will. (Listen to the audio here found at the bottom page).
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