10 months ago #22367
One of the big ‘worldview’ shifts since leaving more fundamentalist Christianity has been understanding the mercy with which God views all humans, regardless of their religion. But I appreciate this needs balance with the understanding that the Catholic church has the fullness of truth. But I admit, it is still difficult to get my head around much ecumenical work that seems devoted to erasing and downplaying legitimate differences. I don’t want to become a Catholic version of an exclusive fundamentalist, but I can’t get away from the understanding that the Catholic church is the ‘rightest’ of all religions. How does someone keep the two ends of the seesaw in balance? I’m thinking keeping God’s mercy front and centre in my mind and heart is probably the best way to go.10 months ago #22368
David W. EmeryKeymaster@David W. Emery
As creatures, we have difficulty reconciling the paradoxes we see in God. He is one God, yet he exists in three divine Persons. Jesus Christ is both the eternal Son of God and the incarnate Son of Man — both God and a creature, living both in eternity and in time. God’s essence is truth, yet he is also love and mercy.
In light of these examples, we Catholics have developed an attitude of “both/and” when dealing with these and many other facets of the faith. We affirm both sides of the matter, and the two seemingly contradictory parts of our faith are held in tension in spite of that “impossibility.” Why do we do this? Because, so long as we have faith in his authentic revelation, “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). He works miracles; we accept his revelation as true because of them (John 14:1; 10:25, 38) and because we have been given the Holy Spirit to confirm us in the truth (John 14:26; 16:13) — far greater truth than we have in the created universe.
This is not a matter of believing in the viability of contradictions, but of believing that God has revealed the truth, as mind-boggling as we may find it.
I can’t get away from the understanding that the Catholic church is the ‘rightest’ of all religions.
There is nothing wrong with your thinking, Elizabeth. Other Christians have “some” of the truth, derived ultimately from their Catholic ancestry, but the Catholic Church has it in its fullness. Furthermore, other religions have “some” truth, insofar as they are conformed to the truth which God has revealed through the Jewish and Christian religions, even though they lack the fullness that Catholic Christians have received through their adherence to God’s divine decision to send his Son as his definitive revelation.
David10 months ago #22374
Having been both Protestant and Catholic, it seems to me that what the Catholic Church is trying to do is bridge the gaps between us all. Some of those gaps are larger than others depending upon what religion or denomination you are talking about, but the main purpose seems to be to keep the doors open and the conversation going. The Church wants to avoid polarization because that has a habit of becoming less and less charitable ( we can point to the recent presidential campaigns and election which were extremely polarized as an example of what can happen). The Church is trying to live up to the words of Christ when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers”. It is trying to walk down the road and meet people where they are at. That came across to me VERY strongly during my conversion. I was never judged or hounded, just thoroughly welcomed exactly where I was at in that moment even if I was suspicious, scared, doubtful or merely curious.
Ecumenism for the Church is less about converting (didn’t Pope Francis say something about that recently which, as usual, caused a great stir?), and more about finding common ground with all it meets. Common ground is peaceful ground because on that ground we are friends and equals. When we are on common ground we are not in defense mode. We are not territorial on common ground because there is no threat. I think that is the whole purpose of ecumenism. Evangelism, on the other hand, is the place for conversion; but unless you are on common ground in peace, you cannot have that particular conversation.
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