Saturday, 21 July 2012

Twelve questions to ask your Protestant friends

There are so many issues concerning the Protestant faiths that it is hard to know where to start.

Was it Archbishop of Canterbury................(Michael Ramsey or Geoffrey Fisher) who was honest enough to state, in the 1960s, "We have no doctrine other than that handed down to us by Rome."

 Dr Ian Paisley might have a few words to say on that topic.

But, so many non Catholic friends seem to live in a glass bubble where all that has gone before is forgotten and all that is to come is ignored.

So here are my twelve questions, you may well have others you wish to add:-

1. When did your church last canonize a saint?

2. Why have you covered up that fine holy water font? (on visiting a pre Reformation Church)

3. Why have those effigies of Catholic nobility had their features hacked off?

4. Did you know that St David was a Catholic? (this for my non Catholic Welsh friends)

5. What does your church believe in precisely?

6. Why do you speak of "Jesus" and "Mary" as if they were your next door neighbours?

7. When Our Lord and His followers were all male, what is the case for female ministers?

8. Did you know that England and Wales were once Catholic countries?

9. If there is both heaven and hell....what is the procedure for gaining access to the former?

10. When was your church founded - and by whom?

11. Did you know that there have been circa 86 Catholic Archbishops of
      Canterbury and 34 Protestant ones?
12. Why on earth don't you convert to the one true Faith?


  1. Why don't you have the full canon (of the Old Testament) in your Bible?

    By whose authority were the books of Tobit and Sirach, for example, taken out of the Bible?

    Where does it say in the Bible which books are to be included in the Bible?

  2. ¡Pobre de mí! Viejo, con muchos achaques, Alzheimer, apenas puedo leer 10 líneas sin perderme
    ¿qué os voy a decir, queridos del alma? Creo que estamos ya al final de los últimos tiempos, el ataque diabólicamente visible, hasta con el Bendito, (para mí, a quien conocí personalmente y besé su Anillo), Mons, Levfebre , y romperán también su Obra, pero pido a Dios N.S. que os de fuerza a los pocos que queden, la Santa Iglesia Catolica, Apostólica Romana se va quedando solita y DENTRO DE LA SANTÍSIMA MISA TRIDENTINA, DOGMATICA,UNIVERSAL, EN LATÍN: Nuestro Señor no necesita que le hablemos en ésta o aquélla lengua, EL ESTÁ DENTRO, NOS LLENA, NOS HABLA CON INFINITO AMOR , el latín es el cofre sagrado para que no se descomponga su PALABRA y le HABLEMOS
    con el corazón Y DE RODILLAS, A D O R A N D O: LA iglesia acatólica impide que los fieles ADOREN, NI EN LA CONSAGRACIÓN TAMBIÉN TRASTOCADA(la fórmula de Consgr.del vino,luterana,sacrílega, válida no sé.......Bueno me quedo en blanco, os quiero, pedid por mí,estudié pero ojo izq. nulo y el derecho mal, operado corazón y,.. Bendecidme.

  3. Wendell, I would be grateful if you would first answer my questions.

  4. Richard,
    1. I think Wendell is proposing additional questions.
    2. Question number 7 is badly worded. Our Lord did have female followers: He did not choose any as Apostles.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Patricius - Wendell is asking further questions and I will respond once I receive his answers. Yes, you are correct, I should have said Apostles. Many thanks. Richard

  7. The trouble is, Richard, I don't think an intelligent Protestant would have any difficulty at all with these questions. He'd answer them according to his Protestant understanding of them. Your challenge presupposes him having to answer them in a "Catholic" way, from a Catholic perspective; but he's not a Catholic - that's the point! Catholics do tend to get bogged down in this kind of circularity - citing Catholic self-understanding in support of Catholic self-understanding. Trust me - I know about this: I'm Orthodox!

  8. Anagnostis, I don't mind which way they would be answered, it would just be nice to get some answers, most of my C of E friends look blank when any of these are mentioned. And - I do trust you, believe me. Aherm.

    1. You say you don't mind which way they are answered - but when I did answer them you took my answers off your site.

  9. My protestant self would have said
    1. protestants believe that all Christians are saints
    2. Prayer is more effective than water
    3.I live in Australia so perhaps my ancestors did the hacking of Catholic nobility in Sussex and Scotland
    4.We believe in the Traditio of the Undivided Church so yes we were all micks then
    5.Look at the Nicene Creed and that is what Proodies believe
    6Because Mary gave birth to Jesus who is our Saviour,but she was a normal woman
    7.Priesthood of all believers- in Christ there is no east nor west ,jew nor greek ,male nor female.
    8. Yes i know English history and all 200 years of Australian history
    9. Repentance of sins,acceptance of the Finished work of Christ on the cross ,live each day asking for forgiveness of sins and trusting in Jesus
    10 .The Day of Pentecost when the Apostles ,after peter's sermon before the pubs opened,baptised 3000
    11.yes the tradition of the undivided church runs through some Proddy churches just as m uch as it odes in Catholicism
    12. I did 2011,not because of anything written above but because the Catholic church maintains doctrinal purity more thna other churches I know-aside from mariolotary that I cannot get my head around

  10. Anonymous, leave a name and I'll keep it on site.

    1. Richard,
      I did - it's Peter

  11. Peter, apologies, please send again. Richard

  12. In answer to the twelve points above:
    1. The Anglican Church tends to commemorate people considered holy examples (e.g. religious and social reformers), rather than making Saints in the Catholic sense. The last person who came closest to being recognised as a Saint and Martyr was King Charles I - although not all would agree with that.
    2. Font covers have a long history in the churches of England - going back to the time when England was a Catholic nation. I believe that it was in the 1220s when an order was decreed to cover fonts because at that time it was usual practice to bless holy water at Easter time and keep it for later baptisms. The font cover was designed to keep the water free from dirt, bat droppings etc. And probably has been retained to that end - even though common practice now would be to bless fresh water at each new baptism.
    3. The effigies and other statuary around churches (along with stained glass and wall paintings), were often destroyed at the time of the Reformation by reformers carried away with zeal against the display of graven images and the idolatry that they associated with them. Many priests and congregations tried to save the images at the time (with mixed degrees of success), and then in Victorian times, and later, some were restored or replaced.
    4. Saint David would have been Catholic although Wales was not using the Roman Rite until at least the 8th Century and so probably he would not have been Roman Catholic in the sense that I imagine you would prefer. Admittedly, he is reported to have been in contact with St Paulinus who had come from Rome so, perhaps his sympathies and practices were slightly different to the majority of Christians in Wales at the time.
    5. The Anglican Church believes in many of the things that the Roman Catholic Church believes in. Like the Roman Catholic Church we also have a range of opinions. Not all of our bishops say the same thing - just as the American and British bishops in the Roman Catholic Church have a tendency to divert from the line that Rome takes.
    6. I don't really understand what you mean by this - but if we do speak of Jesus in such terms perhaps it is because in John's Gospel we hear that the Word dwelt among us!
    7. One argument for women ministers stems from the fact that Mary Magdalene in John's Gospel was herself appointed by Christ to be an Apostle to the Apostles.
    8. Yes, I know that England and Wales were formerly Catholic countries - and before that they were pagan countries - so again what is your point?
    9. Through faith in the saving power of Christ - as Saint Paul suggests.
    10. The Anglican Church traces its lineage back to the first Apostles.
    11. I didn't know the exact number but, clearly there would have been more pre-Anglican Archbishops than Anglican.
    12. Why on earth don't I convert to the one true faith? I am a Christian and I believe in the saving power of Christ. What is the one true faith? Is it Roman Catholicism or is it Orthodoxy, or is it Coptic Christianity or Ethiopian Christianity - all of which have a long pedigree. The Roman Church has many faults of its own - the Borgia Popes, the Inquisition, the French puppet Popes of Avignon. Only God is perfect and becoming too convinced of your own perfection and looking down upon the ways of others you risk becoming like the Pharisees who Christ advised to change their ways. I feel that you might benefit from reading the works of a fellow Catholic - a Jesuit called Anthony de Mello.


  13. peter
    Although a Catholic i am uncomfortable with the:
    Borgia Popes
    The Inquisition
    Child abuse coverup.
    There needs to be repentance and humility . if the Curia moved into a humble abbey ,good grief what consternation there would be ,but closer to the Prince of Peace Who was born in a Manger ,died on the Cross and between both called no place home

  14. Peter, thanks for resending. Here are my responses to your answers.

    1Why then do Anglicans name their churches after saints? (who are Catholic anyway.
    2. We are miscommunicating on this one. I meant the fact that so many pre Reformation churches have their holy water fonts (in the entrance porch normally) obscured or hacked out. I was not talking of baptismal fonts.
    3. Yes, I am aware that the images of saints were destroyed by Protestants. It was a rhetorical question aimed at highlighting the fact that these acts of gross vandalism and sacrilege were carried out in the first place.
    4. St David was Catholic, believe me. Who other than the Vicar of Christ appointed him as Bishop?
    5. The Catholic Church has dogma, that is, we believe wholly and without deviation in key facts regarding Christ’s Church on earth. Opinions do not count, anyone may hold those, it is cast iron, unswerving beliefs that matter.
    6. Modern Catholics and Protestants tend to be overly familiar when it comes to using the holy names. Traditional Catholics would normally qualify such usage by prefixing with “Our Lord….” Or, “Our Lady/Blessed Mother.” You may find it rather nitpicking but we would not address the Son of Man in the same way as we would address a friend.
    7. Our Blessed Lord is the High Priest and also the One who suffered and offered up His life for us. In the same way a Catholic priest is expected to offer up his life to Christ and to be, in effect, another Christ. No woman may occupy that role.
    8. So many people, Catholics included, are ignorant of the fact that this country was once the most Catholic in Europe. Catholic history has long been airbrushed out of the national awareness.
    9. But millions “have faith” and we know that, from what Christ has said that faith alone will not take us to our goal. My point is really that, if Protestants only believe in heaven and hell and yet, as is humanly natural, commit sins throughout their lives; how does that sin become erased and the gates of heaven opened?
    10. The Anglican church traces its lineage back to Henry VIII – full stop.
    11. Again I highlighted this to show non Catholic Christians that the Catholic Faith was deeply embedded in the history of our country.
    12. “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build My church” Even Anglicans say the Creed….but do they mean it?

    Thanks for taking the effort to respond, God bless. Richard

    1. Richard, you really do need to ease up on your pomposity - it is very unattractive. If this is the face of the Catholic Church in Britain no wonder you have to rely on the new wave of Polish migrants to fill your pews.
      1. Our Churches are dedicated to Saints - men of women whose life and faith set an example for us all to follow - they are not owned by the Catholic Church like some commodity - any more than you own God or the development of christianity. You might do well to study the example of those Saints particularly with reference to their humility.
      2. I see what you mean - you are referring to the stoups for holy water at the entrance to churches. This originally Jewish custom of spiritual cleansing that was taken into usage by the early Christian Church is one that has largely lapsed in many Anglican churches - though not all. They are still usable in the churches near where I live - though not used by most. Does it matter that they are not. Sadly, I think that perhaps you have mistaken outward form and ritual for faith.
      3. Such acts of vandalism were carried out by Catholics too at the sack of Constantinople and in destroying Protestant churches during interdenominational violence on the continent. The fact that such damage was done should serve as a warning against the sort of rabid factionalism that you would seem to be promoting.
      4. St David was Catholic in the sense that you describe if you believe the fables written about him by Rhygyvarch in the 1090s. These stories were written to further the cause for the separation of the Welsh Church from the oversight of Canterbury - and is widely held to be fanciful propaganda - with a hint of truth attached.
      5. Clearly you seem to be able to believe without wavering all of the 2865 points in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I wouldn't be surprised if you couldn't quote big chunks of it as well. As I said, however, there are many within the One True Faith who are clearly not as faithful as you and who do not hold with all of the teaching of Rome. The more you speak the more I am convinced that you would have made a good Pharisee.
      6. You distinguish yourself from Modern Catholics - so the One True Faith has different variants? Or are Modern Catholics damned along with the rest of us? Richard, in the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus himself says that it isn't enough to simply call him Lord - you have to practice love as well! He won't be fooled by the words you utter - it's what's in your heart that matters. And being overly judgemental isn't a plus!
      7. That's what you believe as does the central structure of the Roman Catholic Church. But not all within your Church feel the same. I'm sure that even some within the Hierarchy might have their own doubts about it - and given the woeful level of Catholic vocations in this country you may well have to reconsider the role of the priesthood one day soon.

    2. 8. Many people in this country are ignorant of this nation's Christian heritage full stop. Not just Catholic ecclesiology - but the role of the Bible - and wider issues concerning Christian faith. Again, this does not belong exclusively to the Catholic Church - although you seem to want to paint yourself and your Church as some sort of victim. I don't know that the Holy Father would necessarily agree with you - he sees that we need to speak out together for the good of our shared faith. Unity in diversity.
      9. If faith won't save us then tell us what will - paying for indulgences? Paying for requiem masses? Endowing churches or colleges? Learning all 2865 points in the Catechism? Crossing yourself at a Holy Water stoup? I don't remember Christ ever saying any of that. If anything he spoke out against such legalistic practices and he was not one for people to take his teachings literally. Instead, he wanted people to be aware of what they did and why. The Catechism won't save you!
      10. The Anglican Church has its roots in the Catholic Church - its first bishops were ordained as Catholic priests and Bishops - its therefore traces its roots back to the first Apostles by the actual grace of God bestowed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments of the Church.
      11. I would agree with you - the Christian faith made manifest by the Catholic, Anglican and other Churches is deeply embedded in the history of our country.
      12. I am sure that Anglicans do mean what they say when they recite the Creed - every bit as much as Modern Catholics - but perhaps not as much as the much more holy and pious Traditional Catholics - for it would seem that they truly are much higher than the angels - whereas the rest of us are only a little higher!

      I feel that it is unlikely that you would ever agree with me in anything that I say - not least because I am not a Traditional Catholic. Sadly, I feel that you are the loser in the long run because you are not willing or open enough in your own faith to see the good in the faith, belief and practices of others. Your world can only get smaller as your congregation dies out - and Modern Catholic practices and Evangelical churches take a stronger hold and dilute or discount your cherished ideals as being overly brittle and not conducive to living a Christian life with other Christians.


  15. The C of E used to be Established because it was important; now it's only important because it's Established.
    Pathetic bitching about who has the more real invisible friend.

    1. Turnip Ghost, you trot out the usual tired secularist put downs - but without actually thinking about what it is you are so smugly saying. If you had thought about it you might have got your borrowed put down right and criticised the pathetic bitching about who has the better imaginary friend. An invisible friend, after all, is still a friend - even if you can't see him.
      Clearly you need to think a little harder before giving us the benefit of your lack of wisdom - and preferably you need to learn to think for yourself rather than simply repeating tired platitudes.

  16. Hi everyone,

    I wanted to share one of the best explanations of the Papacy from Scott Hahn.
    I would love to know what some of you think after listening.

    Scott Hahn on the Papacy:

    God Bless,
    Dan D.

  17. I've come to this post nearly three years too late as I found it on my wandering around the net trying to learn more about the Catholic faith at this time when my daughter is preparing for her first communion (my wife is Catholic). My own story is quite common for these times - baptised at two months (Lutheran in my case, as my mother was) and then little else. Chapel daily at a non-conformist school and then really high days and holidays for church. I was never confirmed but am wondering now whether I should now that I have reached a somewhat greater maturity. The trouble is - where? I know that even asking such a question probably means the answer is 'nowhere yet' but I am still searching and asking.
    The multitude of Protestant denominations out there suggests that none is really 'correct' but equally I am troubled by the ubiquitous Catholic certainty that it is the One True Faith, given that it arose out of the even more ancient Jewish religion.
    Having attended several services recently I find myself drawn to my of the ceremonies and rituals (and I found the Tenebrae service particularly moving recently) but then wonder whether all this doesn't detract from pure faith. I don't understand why in Catholicism one prays via Mary and the Saints, whereas Protestants use a more 'direct line'.
    I suppose above all I want to be as sure as I can that, if I join up in any particular section, I am not making a mistake and following the 'wrong' one. Luther after all only protested against corruption in the church so age is no guarantee of holding the correct keys. Who's to say he wasn't wrong later, and so on.
    Sorry to ramble on but as you can see, I am something of an ecclesiastical mess and am looking for enlightenment.

  18. Bernard,

    I hope others will respond to you. I hope to circle back with some specifics myself in the next few days.

    Until then.....whenever I've not know what to do/which way was up....I've never gone wrong by doing & saying nothing....and.....just.....praying.....unceasingly......

    In time.......the answer/the right thing to do/God's will.....become clear....

  19. Thank you - I shall do as you suggest and also keep an eye open here for any more replies.