Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on July 12, 2016 and has been revised.
This morning, I listened to the 6/3/16 and 6/10/16 podcasts of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show on the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, NY, with host, Mike Denz, and Catholic priest, Dave Baker, taking questions from the listeners.
Over the course of the two shows, priest Baker responded to Denz’s personal list of the “Top Ten Misconceptions That Catholics Have About Catholicism.” I’ve listed the items below along with my own comments.
1) “Jesus is the Son of God, but He is not God.”
The Catholic church has a lot of unscriptural beliefs, but at least it teaches that Jesus is God (with the caveat that Catholicism’s Christology is erroneous in several respects, including its faux Jesus wafer). However, the average Catholic in the pew is woefully ignorant regarding spiritual matters. They attend the Catholic rituals and they have certain prayers memorized, but they only skim the surface when it comes to RC doctrine. I had a very “devout” Catholic friend who said the rosary every night with his family, but during one of our discussions he passionately argued that Jesus wasn’t God.
2) “The eucharist is a symbol.”
The Catholic church teaches that their priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ at every mass. This belief, the core of Roman Catholicism, stems from a serious misinterpretation of John 6 and the Last Supper passages in the Gospels. Research shows that 70% of Catholics don’t believe the communion elements are literally changed into Jesus by the priest. Baker blamed some of this “confusion” on Protestant influence. Genuine evangelical Christians receive Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith alone, NOT by physically eating Him!
3) “Purgatory is no longer believed by the church.”
Baker blamed Catholics’ dismissal of purgatory on wishful thinking. At Catholic funerals, friends and relatives commonly refer to the deceased as being in Heaven while the reality, according to Catholic teaching, is the person is probably in purgatory if not Hell. Contrary to Catholic doctrine, there is no mention of purgatory in the Bible.
4) “Most of the Bible is symbolic.”
The majority of Catholics either haven’t read the Bible or have only read a very small portion. Their church never encouraged them to read the Bible. It’s a closed book to them, full of stories and parables (some would say myths and legends) they cannot understand. “Better just to stick with what the priest tells me to do,” is the rule for most. Catholicism declares the Bible is God’s Word, but then pushes it aside for its own traditions. Where the Bible contradicts Catholic tradition, tradition wins. Many Catholic prelates, priests, and theologians believe various events described in the Old Testament are myths and fables.
5) “Anyone can get an annulment if they have enough money.”
Baker countered by saying there is now no charge for annulments. But is there really any doubt that wealthy Catholic families in the past were able to procure an annulment via a generous gift to the church? But let’s be honest, annulments are just a slippery and unethical way of getting around divorce.
6) “No one believes in angels anymore.”
Baker replied by saying people are less-inclined to believe in spiritual things in general these days.
7) “Everyone sins and God loves everyone so there is no one who should not be able to receive communion.”
Catholicism teaches only Catholics can receive the consecrated Jesus wafer and only those Catholics with supposedly no mortal sin on their soul. Many of the Catholics who still bother to attend church on Sunday come forward to receive communion, but most of them have not obeyed other mandatory church rules (e.g., only 26% of Catholics participate in the sacrament of reconciliation/confession at least once a year as mandated).
8) “There are many contradictions in the Bible so we don’t really know what to believe.”
See my response to #4.
9) “If the words of the mass can change and eating meat on Fridays can change then things like women priests and use of articles of conception [sic – contraception] can change too.”
Baker said some teachings can never be changed, but some can change with the times. Who decides which is which? It used to be taught that Catholics committed mortal sin if they ate meat on non-Lenten Fridays, but that changed in 1966 in the USA. Were Catholics who ate meat on a non-Lenten Friday prior to 1966 and didn’t confess it and went to hell given a pardon?
10) “We should not judge people’s sins because God loves everyone.”
Baker responded that Catholics “are not permitted to judge a person’s character, ever,” but they should judge a person’s actions. Unfortunately, Catholics see themselves as “good” people who obey the Ten Commandments for the most part and don’t see themselves as sinners in need of the Savior.
Catholics are generally ignorant of their church’s doctrines, but all Catholics will agree that attaining Heaven involves “being good” and “doing your best.” The Roman Catholic church teaches that other religionists such as Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and even atheists may also merit Heaven if they’re sincere in their beliefs and “good,” so there’s little motivation for members of the RCC to learn the particulars of Roman Catholic theology that Denz stresses over. In none of Denz’s and Baker’s long discussion did I hear the genuine Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.