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CHNetwork Online Community Forums Confronting Barriers Are there "differences" in Catholic churches?

14 replies, 6 voices Last updated by Profile photo of Jennie1964 Jennie1964 2 months ago
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  • #22398
    Profile photo of seekingtruth
    seekingtruth
    Participant
    @seekingtruth

    One of the things that I have always disliked (life-long evangelical, considering converting) about protestant churches are the sheer number of “denominations” and differences in beliefs. They all believe something slightly (and sometimes major) different, yet they all believe THEY are right!

    My dad said he knows that Catholic churches are like that too, for instance there are ” pentecostal Catholic churches”. Is this true? I always thought most Catholic churches all believed the same way- and didn’t vary in being “pentecostal” or conservating, or ???

    #22402
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    Your dad doesn’t understand the Catholic Church, Seeking. My own parish — a single congregation — contains all types of people, including “pentecostals” (we call them “charismatics”), traditionalists and others. These are devotional preferences, not doctrinal divisions, not organizational divisions. The priests of my parish offer Mass at different times on Sunday in a manner to appeal to the different tastes — with different music and homilies (sermons) designed to appeal to different people — so that everyone can participate in his own preferred manner. (Everybody still follows the same basic liturgy, however, with the same Bible readings, the same prayers, the same overall theme, because these are established by the Church at the highest level of organization.) We also have different devotional groups that appeal to different tastes: there is a teen group and a group that takes care of the altar, there are several Rosary groups and other prayer groups, there are study groups (including a couple dedicated to Bible study), there is a men’s group and a Divine Mercy group, plus a pro-life group and a pacifist group. All this is under one roof — unity in diversity.

    It is true that certain devotions will predominate in a given parish; this is simply human nature at work. Therefore, we have in our diocese a couple of parishes where the traditional Latin Mass is available for those who prefer it, but most parishes also have Masses for other tastes.

    Is there any division between all these people? No, certainly not like what we see between the Lutherans and the Baptists, or even between one independent Non-Denominational congregation and another, who have no real connection or relations between them. Catholics always have the bond of the Papacy to hold them together. What do Protestants have? Their doctrines and their customs are often mutually exclusive and their exclusive organizational structures maintain their division. This is a very different reality.

    David

    #22405
    Profile photo of Jennie1964
    Jennie1964
    Keymaster
    @Jennie1964

    Exactly what David said!  Well put, David. There is only ONE Catechism, seekingtruth, and all Catholics are required to believe it. There is one liturgy, and all Catholics are required to attend it, although as David said, there can be slight variations to how it is done. It is amazing how much united I feel when I walk into a different parish. It is quite different from my days as a Protestant. If I see a parishioner walking “out of step” with Catholic teaching, I always know that the problem is with the individual and never with the teaching. What a relief!

    #22408
    Profile photo of gachristian
    gachristian
    Participant
    @gachristian

    The only real difference I see is the dynamics of a parish. There are different Catholic churches around us. They are the same in belief, I guess have different “personalities” if you want to call it that.

    #22432
    Profile photo of seekingtruth
    seekingtruth
    Participant
    @seekingtruth

    Ok, that makes sense!

    So just to clarify, I won’t walk into a different parish and there will be people speaking in tongues? Does the Catholic faith have a stand on stuff like that? Or that is considered “an individual preference” and not a doctrine issue?

    #22435
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    The Catholic Church has a definite stand on the order of worship, Seeking. You will not encounter people speaking in tongues at Mass. That is reserved for meetings outside of Mass.

    David

    #22437
    Profile photo of gachristian
    gachristian
    Participant
    @gachristian

    As David said, the services are pretty standard. I notice slight differences depending on the priest. Some parishes have charismatic prayer groups where  “speaking in tongues” may occur however not everyone who goes to the prayer group have or use this gift. It is a totally different setting than what you might experience in a Pentecostal type church. From what I have read the Church’s stand is “cautious acceptance.”  I go to a prayer group at my church and enjoy it.

    #22438
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    To be more specific about the mingling of charismatics with the regular liturgy: At my parish, we have a Thursday evening Mass in the church. It is your typical liturgy with devout, mostly older people attending. While that is going on in English, next door at the parish hall a charismatic assembly is taking place in Spanish. Meanwhile, there is a youth prayer group meeting in the church’s conference room, and an adult Bible study going on across the way at the parish school. This all happens every week. Parishioners can decide for themselves where they fit in and attend whichever event appeals to them.

    David

    #22439
    Profile photo of seekingtruth
    seekingtruth
    Participant
    @seekingtruth

    so how is that different that going to different protestant churches to see what appeals to people?
    I have been to hundreds of different churches, some have loud rock music, others have only an organ and everything in between and the doctrine is slightly different too, but they would say “it’s preference” , but I say, isn’t there only ONE TRUTH? All of those churches/differences can’t all be right?

    I’m confused and conflicted.

    #22441
    Profile photo of Howard Hampson
    Howard Hampson
    Keymaster
    @Howard the Pilgrim

    David made it clear that the Mass is rather standardized but there are other events and gatherings that are more in line with peoples’ individual spiritual gifts, talents, needs, interests, etc.  All Catholics are to participate in Mass but the other events are usually optional.

    There is one Faith summarized in the Catechism.  One Church government consisting of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.

    So what is causing your confusion and conflict so we can help you with it?

    #22444
    Profile photo of Jennie1964
    Jennie1964
    Keymaster
    @Jennie1964

    Seeking, the doctrine of the Church NEVER changes from parish to parish no matter where in this wide world you live. The liturgy is standardized from parish to parish no matter where in this world you live, although obviously the language it is in changes depending upon the country or congregation. The hymns and songs may be more or less traditional, modern, or whatever else depending upon the preferences of the congregation, priest, or purpose of the Mass, but outside of that, the Mass and beliefs are standardized. What amazed me is that the descriptions of the very early Masses as far back as the second century are almost exactly the same as they are now!   These other things we are discussing such a prayer groups, devotional groups, charismatic groups, etc are OUTSIDE the Mass. They will appeal to different people’s sense of devotion, community, and spirituality. They are all optional and are there for the spiritual growth of those attending.  Notice though that the options are NOT in the Sunday worship, nor are they in what we believe. Those are not matters of preference but of revealed truth. The devotional activities, ministry groups, etc are based upon preference and calling.

    Patrick Madrid takes a look at how the Church Fathers describe early Masses here.

     

    #22454
    Profile photo of Howard Hampson
    Howard Hampson
    Keymaster
    @Howard the Pilgrim

    Another question I have for you, SeekingTruth, is are you also seeking simplicity as in a small safe place without confusion and conflictedness?

    The reason I am asking is that I have been there myself and I also had a friend who went through that.

    #22465
    Profile photo of zaida
    zaida
    Participant
    @zaida

    Hi Seeking! Just throwing in my thoughts – as the others have said the “teaching” and the “doctrine” is the same everywhere – Truth is Truth – but how we “express” our love for God might come in different forms. I was at a Mass yesterday where there was beautiful violin and guitar music….Ive been at Masses in Latin, and Ive been at Masses where there are a million crying babies and lots of noise, and those that are solemn…..but they all have the exact same teaching, the same Body and Blood of Our Lord, and all have their own way of being beautiful!

    #22472
    Profile photo of seekingtruth
    seekingtruth
    Participant
    @seekingtruth

    Ok, I think I understand! Thank you!

    You see, in the fundamental churches I have been to, you could walk in and there are any number of different beliefs, and practices in the church service itself, all teaching/preaching, THEY are the ones who are right, THEY are the ones correctly interpreting the Bible under the guid of the Holy Spirit, but as someone said earlier, and I always say too, “Truth is Truth” there can’t be 40 different versions of the truth.

    I understand now, that all the mass doctrine is the same, but the outside Bible study, etc might be different depending on groups, preferences, etc.

    Thank you! This coming home business is really hard!! Lovely so far, but mind-bending, when it goes against everything you have ever been told and taught (yes, brainwashing)

    #22473
    Profile photo of Jennie1964
    Jennie1964
    Keymaster
    @Jennie1964

    Seeking, it is certainly a paradigm shift, isn’t it? It is a totally different way of thinking in many respects and yet there is much familiar territory theologically as well.  I don’t know if the Protestant congregations I was in were actually brainwashing. I tended to avoid the loopier ones, and the ones I did attend were full of people doing their level best to love the Lord and walk in his ways. But they are without guidance, and so they have to figure it all out the best way they know how.  This has lead to the confusion as well as to the semi-dictatorships we have all experienced at some point or another.

     

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