"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Monday, May 17, 2010

Why a Catholic becomes an ex-Catholic?

There are many reasons why Catholics abandon their faith and become ex-Catholics. Here are some of the things I knew.

When I was just a little boy growing up in a 100% Catholic environment, I was very much familiar with Catholic traditions such as the Holy Mass, going to Confession, feasts, procession, etc. I was a Sacristan then so I was familiar with almost everything.

A lot of stuffs I knew about Catholicism was given by-default. I was born in it and I imitated its practices. Without any effort I became a Catholic.

Just like any (uninformed) Catholic, I knew nothing why I have to hear Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation, receive Holy Communion, proclaim the Creed, go to Confession, join the procession, attend Novena prayers, say my Rosary etc. I just wouldn’t bother.

It was a pity seeing Catholics in churches bodily present but spiritually lacking in knowledge about their faith. They were just there filling our pews looking for people, criticize and talk about them, easily irritated when a priest’s sermon doesn’t go along the way they wanted it to be delivered. Some would waste their time gossiping instead of praying before the Mass starts. And NO ONE even dared stopping them from annoying those who wanted to pray in solemnity. Our Churches should be a place for meditation and prayer, not for chatting or fashion show. These kinds of Catholics are the best candidates for becoming ex-Catholics. They are potentially the best anti-Catholics if left un-catechized.

We can learn from the past. The cases of known ex-Catholics in the world such as Martin Luther (who is the Father of Protestants) and Felix Manalo (the founder of an anti-Christ cult in the Philippines) are some of the many cases in point we can extract from history for our wisdom. The fruit of their malice and arrogance scattered the seeds of division, discord and narrow-mindedness against the Catholic Church for the past 500 years and to some 95 years.

Today, members of the church of Felix Manalo are among the fiercest anti-Catholics we have in the Philippines. Using its radio and TV stations, their official magazine called "Pasugo" and "God's Message" , all have one thing in common:  They attack Catholic doctrines and practices to their own selfish advantage. They explain their doctrine by demonizing the Catholic Church which is Christ's true Church according to Pasugo publication April 1966. p. 46.

The lack of knowledgeable and zealous volunteer catechists in our parishes is a reality in the Catholic Church today. Catholic children in public schools depended so much on the availability of seminarians, nuns and parish pastoral catechists on a given hour in a week. The catechists shifting schedules and the availability of Religion Classes schedule in the present educational curriculum in public schools prevented them on catechizing Catholic children. The lack of time, manpower, financial resources makes it even harsher for our dedicated catechists to carry on their mission in spreading the Word of God.

The loss of sense of the holy and divine in our Churches in our liturgy; the lack of modesty in our dressing, our collective unsympathetic coldness to the sensitivities of other Catholics in our churches; our self-righteousness attitude all contributed to the decline of our brethren’s faith.

At home, parents who are supposed to be the best catechists do not seem to be bothered at all. They themselves give little attention to the spiritual formation of their children. Coupled with parents’ appalling role modeling eventually drifts Catholic children away from the Catholic Church and eventually lost their conviction.

On the part of the individual, the lack of motivation and interest makes it impossible for him/her in studying more concerning the Catholic faith. The fact that most nominal Catholics do not normally open their Bibles makes it impossible for God to communicate his Word. Relying only on what they hear in churches on Sundays (if they know it was actually the Bible that was being read) would make them less interested on anything spiritual.

Catholics encountering Protestants

A nominal Catholic encountering a Bible Christian is a shocking experience. His lack of knowledge of the Catholic faith and his total ignorance of the Word of God could easily put him in a defenseless situation. The convincing power of these Protestant preachers, the dishonesty of some preacher slicing Bible verses to suit their purpose; those ministers demonizing our doctrines in explaining their man-made teachings—Two things that may likely happen to a nominal Catholic. Challenge himself or allows himself be drifted away. The latter possible turn of event would make him a staunch anti-Catholic aggressor.

What a Catholic Should Do

Love the Word of God written in the Sacred Scripture. This is OUR book. Our forefathers spent most of their life defending and studying this book. They called up Synods by Synods, Councils by Councils in an unceasing prayer just because of this book. Our Catholic Scholars devoted their life and time writing with their hands copies of this book. They carefully divided book by book with Chapters and verses which no single Protestant Scholar had ever shed a sweat.

Read and meditate on the Holy Scripture. It doesn’t cost you a thing. As a matter of fact, it will make you richer—in faith and knowledge.

Do not interpret the Scripture as if it was your own. When in doubt, ask the Church, search for Catholic commentaries and understand the Holy Word in the MIND OF THE CHURCH, not by individuals. Individual interpretation has the higher risk of misinterpretation that what was interpreted by the whole Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.

Discover the richness of our Catholic faith found in the Scripture holy Tradition. Read history and understand. Believe in Cardinal Newman’s saying that to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant. (Cardinal Newman was an Anglican Bishop converted to Catholicism).

Be active in your parishes. Ask your pastor what you can do to share in this great commissioning. If you feel unprepared, use the internet to blog your faith.

You can evangelize far and wide. Use your Catholic knowledge and your faith in strengthening our brethren. Be a WITNESS. Tell the world that you have finally found the truth in Christ through his bride—the Church.

Proclaiming your faith against those who have turned against Christ and his Church will give you more reward in the life next for this is why we are called Christians— Catholics to be specific, to love, love and love.

And mostly, pray.

Pray for the whole Church, our present spiritual leader, the Pope.

Pray for our Bishops and our clergy and religious who are serving our communities. Pray for holy priests and religious.

Pray for those brethren who were led astray and pray for those who led them astray.

Pray for those who persecute us just because of our faith in Christ—the Son of God. Pray for his Church which he has redeemed by his blood.

Pray for the entire Church, united with the prayers of those righteous souls who have gone ahead of us, who are now serving the Lamb on the Throne, the saints who have washed their robes by the blood of the sacrificial unblemished perfect Lamb offering our prayers before the Throne.

Pray for those souls who are still awaiting for their purification. And mostly pray for the pilgrim Church on earth whose earthly battles still far ahead.

And may God give each and every Catholic the grace to live a holy life as we witness to the splendor of His Truth for He alone is the only Way, the Truth and the Life.

In this way, our witnessing may bring wandering souls back to Christ’s true fold—the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.

Amen! Amen!

2 comments:

  1. God Bless! I just discovered your blog and am quite enjoying it. As far as apologetics goes, when speaking with protestants, espec especially evangelicals, prayer is certainly the key!!! After that let the Holy Spirit do the rest of the work. Sometimes showing them how the Bible is the product of the Church by way of the Holy Spirit helps them better grasp Catholic Theology. It might take a while but tell them that your happy they found Jesus, now the time has come for them to complete their conversion and find His Church!

    www.prime1-marco.blogspot.com

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  2. Thank you very much Marco for appreciating my blog. It's not something extra ordinary but I thought, by blogging I can share my faith to Catholics and non-Catholics who are planning to come back home to the Church of Christ.

    God bless you and your family Marco and have a blessed day everyday of your life including your love ones.

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