Saturday, 7 June 2014

WE CHRISTIANS MUST START AGAIN

WE CHRISTIANS MUST START AGAIN

Jesus Christ who was a Jew and who came into the world to reform Judaism and not to found a new religion.
Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian Community continued to worship in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and they met in each other’s homes for the Breaking of the Bread in memory of the Lord Jesus.
The early Christian community began in Jerusalem but due to persecution it moved to Antioch – where James – the “Brother of Jesus” was the first leader, “overseer” or “bishop”.
The Apostles, including St Paul (who had never met Jesus) were not primarily bishops. They were “Apostles” – missionaries and founders of churches. In other words they had responsibility for the whole church and not just a church in any one city, town or district. Instead they, in consultation with the local community, they appointed “overseers” or bishops for the individual churches and laid hands on them.  
For instance St Peter was never the “Bishop of Rome” and it is doubtful if he ever even visited Rome. Priest archaeologists discovered the stone coffin or ossuary of Peter in the 1950’s in Jerusalem and conveyed this news to the pope who accepted their evidence.
The early Christian Community in any place was a democratic and collegial assembly of all the Christians in that place and in the beginning there was little or no formalities or structures. As the number of Christians grew and as a number of heresies about Jesus emerged some need of structures emerged. The early Christian Community responded to these needs by appointing “overseers” (bishops); elders (presbyters or priests) and deacons and deaconesses. These appointees were servants and not bosses or masters. They merely facilitated the Christian Community with worship, meetings and various ministry, including the care of orphans and widows.   
The Christian Community did indeed spread far and wide and very early there was a Christian Community in Rome.
In a move that was disastrous for the purity of the Christian Church the emperor Constantine made Christianity the religion of the empire. From that moment on Church and State have been intertwined in a marriage that has been disastrous for both Christianity and civil society.
Seven hundred years later the Christian Church was later divided into East and West – a division that inflicted a further major wound on the Church as the Body of Christ.
In the 16th century – due principally to the corruption of what had by then become “Roman Catholicism” the further wounds of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation were inflicted upon the Body of Christ. It is important to remember that Martin Luther never wanted to found a new church or religion but rather to reform corrupt Christianity.
Today in the 21st century we have a totally divided Christianity. We have the “Catholicism” of the East and the West. We have the thousands upon thousands of “Protestant” denominations and irrational sects. We have the incurable corruption of Roman Catholicism with its skewed view of sexual morality, its scandals of child sexual abuse and its existence as a dictatorial monarchy “state” dabbling in world politics, power and money laundering.

THE FUTURE?

Somebody has wisely commented that Christianity has not failed – it has never really been attempted.
Many people in the world today are justifiably scandalised and alienated by the “Christianity” they witness.
In the context of this divided and corrupt caricature of Christianity both agnosticism and atheism are very authentic positions.
But what of the person who has a deep faith in Jesus Christ and a deep hunger for gospel based Christianity? Such a person can certainly have a powerful and meaningful one to one relationship with Jesus in their private lives.
But Christianity in essence is not a private spirituality. Jesus reduced all the commandment of God to two – love of God and love of neighbour. Christianity is a spirituality with “I am my brother’s keeper” at its very heart. This does not only mean love and service of neighbour but also involves the Christian in worship, prayer and service in the context of others. Jesus commanded his followers to meet together and Break Bread in his memory.  Jesus never intended his followers to travel the road alone. Just as he always sent his own disciples out in two’s – so he also intended his followers to meet and work together until the end of time. “Where two or three gather in my name I will be there with them”.
Those of us who have tried to live the Christian life – and I deliberately say try – know how important that fellowship and community are. It is this fellowship that we have come to call “church”. From the beginning at Jerusalem and Antioch Christianity involved assembly and community. And that need is no less great today.
But how can any of us who have begun to know Jesus come together with Christians in the USA who come to church with guns in their pockets? 

How can we belong to a Christian Church where a pope and bishops tolerated and covered up child sexual abuse. How can we belong to a Church where a secular monarch – and not Jesus Christ - is the head of that Church? How can we belong to a Church that wants to put electrodes on the heads of gay people and turn them “straight”? How can we belong to a Church whose nuns buried 800 babies in an orphanage septic tank? We cannot! Never!


So we must go back to the Gospels and to the early Christian community and come together to form a church that is faithful to the teachings and life of the Man from Nazareth and to the minimal structures of the early “Apostolic” church before Christianity was polluted by men. 

+Pat Buckley
7.6.2014

52 comments:

  1. I dont believe Christians should Start over again as this denies the good bad and ugly that is our heritage. We can however move on from where we are planted. We do this with the grace of God and the wisdom of lessons learned from the past. No doubt in 50 or 60 years time whoever is about will have to stop review and think again. Sean

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  2. Sean,

    If you take a wrong turn - you have to turn wround - go back to where you went wrong and follow the right road.

    The "heritage" has brought us war after war together with crusades, inquisitions, etc.

    How can we throw our lot in with what is patently evil?

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    1. We move forwards and away from them but like the cross we can never forget the price that was paid to make us who we are. Christianity is not a denomination it following in the path of the Risen Lord. It does not mean we have to bow and scrape to Rome. Hope this makes sense. I am thinking in terms of an evolutionary pathway. Sean

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  3. Constatine did not make Christianity the religion of the empire. He made it 'licit'. I agree with Sean. Plus I dont think all the good bits of 2000 years should be wiped out.

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  4. Why? The decision makers will not let it happen! The live in millions of pounds houses and livestyles! They will fight to the bitter end and who cares about widow and her contribution, oh Jesus does! But then do they believe in him?

    J

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  5. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gtm35Pp42BM

    Good debate!

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  6. People see a BIG difference between the way Francis lives the Gospel, and the way in which most bishops don't live the Gospel. Indeed, Francis would not be attracting the attention, or the ratings, he has been piling up if the bishops had been on board with him for the past year, or were at least beginning to switch from their bling, retirement mansions and princely ways and unnecessary creature comforts to a closer following of the One High Priest who had nowhere to lay his head, even in death! (Remember, the garden tomb was borrowed.)
    Whereas John Paul and Benedict have chosen bishops on the basis of unswerving political loyalty to the Holy See, Francis is quietly challenging the fidelity of those bishops to the ways of Jesus and the needs of their flocks. What's more, he's not building a following based on loyalty to his person. And after nearly a year, bishops and wannabes haven't gotten the message. Will they? Ever?

    Peter

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  7. “I think on many things already we have reached the point of no return,” he said. “There has been a reawakening of the Christian conscience that, it seems to me, will be difficult to reverse.”

    So one might have thought after Vatican II.

    I suppose one thing Francis has made me see is precisely how much does not come from the top. It may be an age thing, but I am no longer sure how much difference structural reform will actually make.

    The Catholic Church is in the hands of each generation of Catholics to make it work. There are some powerful forces against us at the moment- especially the consigning of all church government, local and global, into the hands of celibate males. But things have been worse before- imagine living with the Inquisition.

    Francis' great contribution, the contribution of his magisterium, to me is his insight that every Catholic is called to work directly with the poor (including enclosed religious orders, who need to be praying for them). Stop fighting with one another and get out there and get close to those worse off than yourself and learn from them.

    With all that one can say about reform, if it doesn't start there, it is not really going to make much difference in the long run.

    Sara

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  8. Very perceptive, thanks. I am also learning late in life how we all have a calling and can make a difference. But given the dominant position of the hierarchy, structural reform is still essential on many issues.

    Gerald

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  9. Take a view selfies like Francis, change has happened. So many fools believe this crap. The RRC is evil.

    H

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  10. Does nothing for me, a very lapsed Catholic, so lapsed I'm now an atheist.

    Close it down.

    Gary

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  11. I think Francis may be a smokescreen. A nice face to put on for the public. If he was put there on purpose as a PR exercise then the church is even further gone and more cynical than I'd thought.
    It's like the US government, it seems to be liberal and progressive by having a young, funny, basketball playing black guy as president but it's the same shower pulling the strings behind the curtain.

    I really like Francis but I suspect he's just a Ronald McDonald for the Vatican's real movers and shakers.

    Too late really. We must start again.

    Zoni

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  12. As refreshing as Francis' papacy has been, I think his lifespan and the attitudes of his immediate successors will really determine any long term, serious change in the ethos of the church. The one after him will answer your question.

    Arnie

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  13. I think Pope Francis is sincere in his statements about ending poverty. But (the obvious point), one of the most effective ways of ending poverty in the developing world is to promote the availability of reliable contraception. Will he turn his words into action on this front?

    I really hope that is his intention, and that the "brownie points" he has gained by rescuing the Church will give him enough power to overcome the conservatives and take the humane and progressive path.

    (But maybe, as some commentaters say, it's all just PR....) Not sure.

    Jonny

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  14. In paraphrasing Warren Buffets wise words one really has to fear for the Pontiff and what he trying to do.

    "When an individual with a reputation for decency and honesty tackles an organisation with a reputation for bad and corrupt practises, it will be the reputation of the organisation that remains intact."

    Lets get real, it is as lost as lost can be.

    Paul

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  15. If it is to change this is how Frankie should continue.

    Here's how he should continue:

    1. Avoid defining the church in terms of sins

    2. The key thing about Christianity is treating other people as an extension of yourself

    3. Treat religion as a hobby that people take up because they want to

    4. Pre-empt the upcoming debate on Requested Death

    (This is sometimes erroneously called 'euthanasia' - the putting of an animal to death because it is in pain, even if death is not requested by the animal)

    It would be a pity for the church to define itself in terms of this minor issue - but I can see it doing that.

    5. Take on the loony type of religion espoused by RC & D&C conservatives

    6. Update Christian theology

    7. Take on the so-called science of economics. This would be a wider focus than attacking self-serving conservatives

    Karen

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  16. I'll be honest that when I read or hear people preaching about 'what the Church should do' I am at a loss. There is no key 'thing' to Christianity, there is a person who is called Christ. He said and did a lot of things, including mentioning sins, hell and the devil, as well as love, forgiveness, and justice. Often. If that offends, bamboozles or intrigues, then fine. But don't let's make up a new Christianity that suites you.

    Ross

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  17. But that's how all religion has lasted this long

    once an "Unchanging Absolute and Eternal Truth" no longer suits an era it conveniently morphs into something changeable, relative, temporary and untrue

    it's called moving the goalposts

    Fra

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  18. Francis's two predecessors and their admirers dismissed as too nebulous the notion of "the spirit" of Vatican II. They hijacked the Vatican II process and effected a counter-revolution.

    This "spirit of Vatican II" required the Church to adapt to the times and to speak in the idiom of the day. It moved away from a spirituality based on rules about how to make it into heaven and avoid hell. Rather, it envisaged a spirituality that enthusiastically but humbly embraced and contributed to contemporary society at all levels: in the sciences; in deploying knowledge in technology; and in developing societies where laws and policies are based on freedom, justice, truth, peace, respect for others and for the environment.

    Ordinary Catholics who imbibed the spirit of Vatican II already think and believe in this way. Unlike his predecessors, Francis is not trying to shoo such Catholics off the path that they instinctively know they should be walking. Instead, he is like the familiar saintly non-condemnatory parish-priest-down-the-road we have always known. It is his very ordinariness and familiarity that is at the root of all the excitement about him.

    Chico

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  19. I can remember a priest saying during his homily a few years ago, "I know we all cringe with embarrassment every time the Vatican opens its mouth".

    Justin

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  20. I hope not. I'm quite content to see Catholic Church in meltdown. I enjoy warming my hands on the flames, to be honest.

    Actually, there is one difference I would be pleased for Francis to make. He could make it possible for me to be removed from his register of party members. I object to being counted as one of his "flock", just because my parents saw fit to have me baptised as a baby.

    Sean

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  21. If there must be a 'Christian' church then let's hope somebody finishes the work of Calvin, Luther and Zwingli then, in turn, somebody sorts out the protestant shortfalls. The RC church was past it in their time, so they protested, a few hundred years on it is worse. Time to deal with it.

    Brian

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  22. Many dioceses have already gone bankrupt paying out settlements.

    Its shutting up shop!

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  23. " Even in Latin America, Bergoglio's backyard and a modern bastion of Catholicism, the pentecostal and evangelical churches were on the rise. "
    And Now ??? Any movement of people moving back to the Catholic Church ??? Going again to mass to their local churche on Sundays ???
    The fact that Pope Francis seems a nice man, is certainly a change from the unpopular policies of his predecessor.
    But the crisis is much deeper than a problem of personality. It is not even the problem of the face of Catholicism today. The same is happening for the other old churches (Lutheran, Anglican, ...).
    In Europe-North America (and it has started in Latin America-Brasil), people are leaving RELIGION all together: the number of "non-religious" is increasing dramatically since the eighties. In twenty years time, they'll be the majority in many countries. This is a dramatic change of historical scale. Like the passage from polytheism to monotheism 2000 years ago.
    Although Catholic priests boast about the vitality of Catholicism in Africa, the reality is that numerous new churches spring in those countries, check for example: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/802967.shtml#.UxwKMs60M6I

    Pope Francis impact is mainly reduced to a a positive stance of the media who like such celebrities.

    Its a going church. Although it has so much to hide, many world powers will give it a lifeline to keep world history hidden.

    John

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  24. WilliamOneTell

    09 March 2014 6:48am

    Recommend
    28


    It will take more than Pope Francis' cotton candy to introduce any substantive change in the Catholic Church - until such time as for example, priests are allowed to marry, women can readily be ordained as priests/ priestesses, and artificial means of birth control are endorsed etc, then the Catholic Church (and its teachings) will remain a dysfunctional entity rooted in the dark ages and of no positive relevance to the current human condition.

    William

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  25. When the present Pope sends Bernard Law back to face the people of Boston, when he sends Laurence Soper back to Ealing to speak to the police, and when he releases secret files on the activities of other priests, then we can say he is addressing one of the most serious failings of the Catholic Church.

    Bret

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  26. The Church is the past. We are now able to debunk the Bible as being a book of stories, attributin natural events to the "Man in the Sky".

    The Roman catholic Church has stood back, denies and allowed centuries of abuse to innocent people. They are planning to make the last Pope who was covering up child abuse a Saint. If he did not know, he was a fool. Denied condoms were good protection against AIDS.

    The only claim to fame he has, is a great mascot.

    Paul

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  27. The Catholic religion was not written to please you. It will not make life easy for you, because it demands you a new life. The vice-principal and everyone who supports his flagrant disregard for Catholic teaching should know this. The church exists to inculcate the teachings handed down by God himself when he came to live amongst us. It does not exist to pander to popular opinions, or to be politically correct. It's not a democracy otherwise the word of God would be to watch TV 8 hours a day and never go to Mass. If you don't like it, then don't practice it and stay away from the church and its facilities.

    Jose

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  28. A majority of people that went to the Catholic school near where I grew up became atheists.

    Ryan

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  29. There's no change to doctrine - and there won't be, unless they start to loose followers in large numbers, and money, in even larger numbers.

    Thru ignorance and a desire for control, the RCC has painted itself into a very large corner - a very lucrative one, that they are very comfortable in.

    Neil

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  30. The Catholic church has already lost an enormous number of members worldwide, particularly in the developing world where the evangelical denominations grow at an alarming pace. The clergy sex abuse scandal has damaged the church's credibility permanently, and cost it over three billion dollars in damages. And yet the church has chosen to double down on the extremist rhetoric, blaming homosexuality for its coverups and malfeasance. The current pope was, until his elevation, extremely vocal and strident in his scurrilous defamation of gay people and their rights. Now he's put a lid on his loud anti-gay pronouncements, but I don't believe for one minute the church is going to loosen its death grip on gay rights or condom use, the two issues that most clearly define their alienation from society at large and the attitudes of the modern world. Sin is in the eye of the beholder, and the church has shown its lack of ability to adapt to the new landscape. Irrelevance awaits the church.

    Paul G

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  31. it's time to watch the fall of a horrific tradition that has been justifying sociopathy by appealing to a delusional all encompassing authority...all while there is no criteria available that would establish there is an all encompassing authority...and in order to recognize the existence of an all encompassing authority, one would need to BE that all encompassing authority...

    wake up sleepy heads....

    Belfast ex-catholic

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  32. "Pope Francis seemed to reveal a new tone, if not a new doctrine, on the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality."

    Let us begin with this first sentence. The word of import is 'seemed", indicating subjectivity. In order for the above to be accurate to anyone but the original perceive, and even to him perhaps, one needs to ignore 2000 years of theology, and history. One also has to reject reason and rational thought in favor of the view de jour.

    The Pope iterated that he was not the Judge, God is. That is not a Doctrinal change on the part of the Church, and any who think it is do not understand Catholic theology. Tone is subjective and is often the concern of those who care not what the message is but only concern themselves with how they feel upon hearing it. That is irrational as it does not allow others the freedom of expression so essential in communication.

    The moral teaching of the Church is that sex for any purpose other than procreation is immoral. This is based in potentiality, probability and human nature as articulated in the theology of the Church. Marriage is the Sacrament that "blesses", for simplicity, procreation and has its roots in Judaism. Thus, sex outside of marriage is considered wrong. Nothing has changed Doctrinally. The change is sociological and in the ears of the perciever, not in the message.

    Arthur

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  33. I don't have any illusions that the current Catholic leadership, and even the new pontiff, will either want or be able to fully resurrect itself and bring the Church into the modern era>>>

    I don't either. They'll stick with God's word and Church doctrine over the self-serving wishes of "cafeteria Catholics," who prefer to pick and choose which rules they feel like following

    Chris

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  34. The church will change once the money dries up. It has not dried up in Lisbreen!!!!!

    Lisa

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  35. The church hasn't existed for 2000 years and its notion of "truth" is demonstrably anything but. In the less than 1,700 years that it has existed with its head at Rome, it has gone through innumerable and profound changes. To try to claim that it has "consistently taught the same thing for 2000 years" is not only impossible since it hasn't been around that long, but is rather laughable, given how much it has bent and shaken and responded to cultural change throughout its history. I'm afraid trying to make out its been constant and unbending amounts to sweet nothings and if you're that loyal to the church you might do well to better acquaint yourself with its history.

    Lewis

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  36. As the people of planet Earth become wiser they will depart from their Churches and the empty pews will be a testament to the advancement of human intelligence.

    Jeff

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  37. The Catholic Church performed gay weddings back in the middle ages.

    G

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  38. "Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ" - St Jerome

    There is nothing in Catholicism that contradicts the Bible but there are things in Catholicism that are not explicitly stated in the Bible. Where in the Bible is Sola Scriptura? Christ did not establish the Bible, he established a Church that had the authority to create the Biblical canon. The Bible was never meant to be the be all end all of Chrisitianity, the Magisterium of the Church and Sacred Tradition had authority as well. It is just that once the protestants rejected the church, that is the only thing they had left.

    The Bible was not promoted by the church for individual reading in the early times because of fear people would misinterpret it and take it out of context, which of course the protestants have visibly demonstrated, with over 40,000 denominations and all sorts of heretical beliefs supposedly based on the Bible.

    "To be deep in history is to cease to be protestant" - John Newman

    Julian

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  39. The fact that Catholic Church had to establish the Catholic Catechism is a blatant proof that they are creating their own teachings and are separating from the scriptures. And average person should be able to realize this.

    And actually, the Catholic Church tramples almost half of the teachings of Jesus, or maybe more. Its just that you don't read the Bible or you refuse to understand it, that's why you are clueless to the teachings of our Lord.

    Bible reading catholic

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  40. Why do people hate the Catholic Church, the Church committed no crime, the people in it did, people make mistakes, you cant tell me that a Preacher in a Protestant Church has never made a mistake or committed a terrible crime. Everybody makes mistakes, why pin it on the Catholic Church? The "universal" church.

    Matthew 16:17-19 states:

    Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

    The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.

    The Pope is the senior pastor of 1.1 billion Catholic Christians, the direct successor

    Che

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  41. People probably hate on the catholic church the most because its hypocrisy is most evident.

    These crimes against humanity can most definitely be pinned on the Church. They were not a few individuals sinning occasionally. The selling of indulgences was a was a widespread practice that financed St. Peter's Basilica for god's sake... (St. Peter was married BTW)

    George B

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  42. the catholic church doesnt even believe in jesus as the one and only savior of the world! the catholic church hates God and his decrees. they are a whore who deceives its members and leads them away from CHRIST! and yes the catholic church did commit many crimes! even the pope supported hitler! do a little research and see the sinful church that you are apart of!

    Larne prod

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  43. he church is an institution established by God, Jesus Christ himself. he wont let his people keep sinning and sinning. and not all people are his people. the catholic church has had sooo many controversial stories even you would learn to doubt the catholic church if you would just open your eyes. these are historical facts and not just any other fairytale you see on tv or read in preschool books. i cant blame you though. reading is a whole lot different from really experiencing or witnessing.

    Fra

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  44. Ahhhh, The Catholic Church. The Papacy. The Holy See. The biggest bunch of bullsh*t slinging, altar boy diddling, peasant swindling, hypocritical, snake-oil salesmen on the fact of the planet. They've kept the masses ignorant and sedated on their "do as i say, not as i do" conga line, defrauded millions, murdered more people than any tea-pot dictator, burned their own holy books, and kept their old, white and rich good ole boys club better and tighter than any KKK member's wildest wet dream. If the funny hats and the little boy diddling are the finest culmination of over 1000 years of "God's will" can muster I'm so glad I'm a dirty heathen.
    Just my view!

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  45. Typical British anti Catholic rants. You do understand that it was the English who killed Joan and the King who killed the Templars was French and not from Spain. Try to get history correct before you make your typical British rants.

    Charlie

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  46. What about the Catholic priests in the Vatican who sheltered Nazi war criminals and arranged safe passage out of Europe using forged Red Cross documents?

    Amanda

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  47. BY THEIR FRUITS YOU SHALL KNOW THEM, BY THE WORKS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH YOU SHALL KNOW THEY ARE FAKE

    Richard

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  48. Its a dead religion that's why they send their priests to cemetery school lol

    Joe

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  49. Think we could debate a lot about that. As any theologian can tell us, Catholicism today is very different from the original christian church. It is no secret that it deliberately changed or 'updated' it's dogma to suit it's political interest. I actually see it as a perversion of original Christianity .
    Would it be incorrect to label Catholicism as a sect which officially came into being during the great schism?

    Maxwell

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  50. Roman Catholicism doesn't date back to Christ. Christianity dates back to Christ.

    Lee

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  51. Bishop Pat,

    I've been reading ur blog for some time now but this last post has left me wanting to ask u a question.. I hope u trust me when I ask in all sincerity ..

    What if ur wrong... What if Jesu is a myth like roman or eastern gods. What if this is as good as it gets and we are being deceived into a religiosity that is focused on the end of the world and worldly destruction rather than true human living and experience?

    I respect u and ur stand Bishop Pat... But I have major doubts. At the minute I believe we end our lives no different than we do falling asleep At night ~ for me this is a better alternative than following a god who wishes to condemn for ever and ever those who question or refuse his love ...

    Personally ... I find the Christianity questionable..

    Would love to hear ur opinion or to read u blogging on it. I really appreciate ur honesty.

    Edmund, Oban

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