The Catholic Church – Why I Left It
By James F. Gauss
Self-published, 2014, 198 pp.
The author of this book, Jim Gauss, was a “devout” Roman Catholic and even taught CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine – religious classes for Catholic children attending public school). In 1970, both he and his wife were troubled when their two oldest children described to them how they were being instructed to pray to Mary in their CCD classes. That spiritual “crisis” prompted the Gausses to attend a Mennonite Church where they heard the genuine of Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. They accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone and renounced their former works-righteousness religion.
In this self-published book, Gauss examines some of the major doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. He does a decent job, although it’s evident he doesn’t have formal theological training. As one example, in regards to justification, Gauss makes no mention of the difference between the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer as taught by Gospel Christianity versus the sacramentally infused righteousness (in conjunction with merit) taught by the RCC. The author also makes several statements regarding church history and doctrine that are inaccurate:
e.g., “Kissing the foot of the pope…is encouraged and practiced” (p.42). Actually, pope Paul VI (d. 1978) discontinued the practice of kissing the pope’s foot back in the 1960s.
e.g., “the Catholic Church teaches that Mary did not die” (p. 71). Actually, the RCC has never officially declared whether Mary was still alive or had died just prior to her alleged assumption.
e.g., “Catholics never speak of having ‘visions’ of Jesus, only Mary” (p. 87). Actually, many mystic Catholic “saints” reported being visited by Jesus.
The above are just a few inaccuracies. I came across several others.
I applaud Mr. Gauss’ efforts here. There is a lot of good information in this book, but I direct the reader to superior resources such as “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy, “40 Questions About Roman Catholicism” by Gregg R. Allison, and “Same Words, Different Worlds: Do Roman Catholics and Evangelicals Believe the Same Gospel?” by Leonardo De Chirico.
I read the Kindle version of “The Catholic Church – Why I Left It,” which had many sloppy transcription errors.
The Only True Church
The Creation of the Pope
Peter, the Head of the Church
The Infallibility of the Pope
The Pope as Discerner of God’s Word
Worship of the Pope and others
Repetitive Prayers & the Rosary
Mary as Intercessor and Mediator Between God and Man
The Perpetual Virginity of Mary
Mary as the Queen of Peace
The Role of Mary in the Church
Visions of Mary
Only Priests Can forgive Sins
Saints as Protectors, Healers, etc.
Canonizing the Deceased as Saints
Recognition of the Trinity
Salvation Through Works
Communion and Transubstantiation
First Holy Communion
Extreme Unction (Last Rites)
Celibacy of the Priesthood
Doctrine of Purgatory