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What makes a Catholic Catholic?

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posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 09:21 PM
There are literally millions of catholics in the world, to varying degrees. Some hard core practicing catholics, some semi regular church attendees and some in name only.
Of those who call them selves serious practicing catholics, how many actually know what their belief is supposed to be? They may have one to the right catholic schools, attend mass whenever they are supposed to, recite the lords prayer, hail mary and the apostles creed in english as well as latin and can quote any given parts of the catechism ver batim.
Does any of this make you a 'good' catholic or does it just make you a good learner?
Does a good catholic education make you a better catholic than anyone else? Where I grew up, we all knew that the catholic schools were the best place to find easy girls and the best drugs.
Many of my friends are catholic, and of the many catholics I know hardly any of them know very much about the church. I will admit I dont know as much as I probably should, but as a non catholic I still know more than many catholics do. They know they need to go to mass, have thier 'holy communion' go to confessional once in a while and other than that do as they please because god, the saints and the priest will make it right for them. If if it does not happen while they are alive then thier families can pray for them after they die so they can still get into heaven. I am sorry, but if you do not make the descision yourself it is too late for you.
Does that church itself care too much about who is practicing or are they just interested in the numbers of card carrying catholics?
To me the Catholic church is too much like a 'secret society' within itself. Very public as a church in general, but there are factions within that do not let too much infomation through unless you have 'proven' yourself. This is why there is so much confusion and speculation about the church even from those who by birth or upbringing or baptism for the sake of marriage call themselves catholic.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 12:33 AM
reply to post by VIKINGANT

So that I'm not off topic entirely, let me respond to the question that preceded your speech about how how screwed up the Church and Catholics are.

What makes a Catholic Catholic is their agreement with the tenets of the Church.

As that is now over, can I ask how many threads are you going to start bashing Catholicism and Catholics and how many posts are you going to start that do the same? Is this some sort of obsession with you? And seriously, at least admit it this time. You don't like the Catholic Church. You have an ax to grind. If nothing else, some intellectual honesty would be nice.


posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 01:05 AM
Usually it's RCIA - Rite of Catholic Initiation of Adults - for the youth.

Or, for the more mature, go to a series of classes to learn about the Catholic Faith before joining officially.

I converted at 15.

I haven't been to the church in a while, especially after the local parish in my new town demanded paperwork proving my conversion and Baptism.

I hate paperwork, and it seemed rather cold of them, but then again - this parish plays the Angelicus in a minor key. It's a disturbing place all around, and I feel much more relaxed when I'm nowhere around it.

It's nothing like what I grew up with.

[edit on 9/19/08 by GENERAL EYES]

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 01:08 AM
reply to post by EricD

I knew as soon as I hit the post button that I would be accused of catholic bashing and that you would make an appearance. Thank you for killing 2 birds with one post.

If I am to be accused of catholic bashing I may as well make it worth my while and ask some of these questions if not for my own clarity but for others as well. I guess you could be thankfull that I have bever gone down the track of NWO or brainwashing or any other ridiculous claims but am trying to get answers on the grass roots practices of the church that have often perplexed catholics and non catholics alike.

As I have stated previously, sometime people need the question posed in such an abrubt manner as this to get the emotions and subsequently the though process going to answer the question.

What makes a Catholic Catholic is their agreement with the tenets of the Church.

This brings me to the crux of my question.
How many people claiming to be 'catholic' even kow what they are agreeing to? Like I said, even with my apparent 'ignorance' towards the church I have a better understanding than many.

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 05:59 PM
Yeah, I guess that I was just jumping the gun there.

I mean, it’s not as if you:

1) Stated that it was common knowledge for your clique that the best way to find good drugs and easy girls was to go to a Catholic school.

2) Stated that you knew more or as much about Catholicism as most Catholics that you know.

3) Wondered if the Church cared about the beliefs of its members or just wanted card carrying members to swell their ranks.

4) Claim that the Church has hidden, niche groups that horde secret information.

5) Purport that it is a widespread belief amongst Catholics that Saints and Priests can get them into heaven.

6) Have started other threads and posts regarding Catholicism that portray the Church in a negative manner.

By the way, I wasn’t kidding about the intellectual honesty stuff. There are members of ATS that I like and respect (some that I have had off board interaction with) who are most decidedly NOT fans of the Catholic Church (especially the RCC). They are at least up front about their dislike of the Church.

Just be upfront about it.


posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 07:59 PM
Hello, Vikingant.

I think to answer your question, you simply have to do a little research on the history of Christianity. I'll give ya the "nutshell" version, but you may want to look up the details for yourself.

The word, "catholic" in its original Greek and Latin (long before the Christians were established) meant "world wide" or "universal." It's still used in that way today by scholars who write long and dull papers;

So when it was founded, it was the "Universal Christian Church -- accept no substitutes."

Christianity was a real mish-mash in those days. If you think Protestantism has a zillion little cult churches, well, early Christianity had this all beat. Because there wasn't any "official doctrine book", each Christian church had a different set of books and letters and so forth that it used as guidelines for how worship was supposed to go and bishops of different cities would quarrel with local churches and each other about who was right.

Around 300 AD the whole thing was so divisive and such a mess that a huge convention of bishops and popes and the like was called to come up with ONE book and ONE set of principles they could agree on. It took them over 100 years.

Out of this comes the Bible (which was not a universally agreed on set of books... there were a number of very popular scriptures that were put into an "appendix". A scholar bishop named Jerome (St. Jerome) worked on the books, translating them out of a real mishmash of languages (including some that weren't terribly literate) and trying to edit them into one coherent book.

That's the Vulgate Bible in Latin.

They come up with a creed (the Apostle's Creed (this is a good page on it) and other things that represented what the Christian faith stood for:

Big fights continued over doctrine points (including whether there was a trinity or not) -- too long to go into here, but you can look up things like the Aryian heresy.

I'm going to one-line this and say "in the 10th century or so the church split into the Greek Orthodox Catholic Church and the Roma Catholic Church." There's a very long and very fascinating story behind this, involving the sacking of Rome, the position of Roman emeprors as the High Priest of the god/gods, cowards, heroes, idiots, the Dark Ages and the preservation of knowledge in the East by the Greek Orthodoxes... but you'll have to look it up.

It's fascinating. Really.

The two churches continue (reforming corruption on occasion, torching the occasional heretic, etc, etc) until the rise of Protestantism. Protestantism does away with the extra-canonical books and develops into a mess with Protestants taking only the things that the liked from the Catholic Church as their theology (so some sects have saints but most don't. This is also where the notion that "babies and the innocent go to heaven" -- an offshooot of the Catholic belief which was a reaction to the treatment of babies in the Bible (children not "of the faith" went to hell) comes from.

Protestant churches originally had ruling bodies (synods) similar to the Catholic church, but without a pope. The leaders were elected -- however, anyone who disagreed could go start their own branch of Christianity. So the Anglicans and Lutherans aren't too far away from the Catholic beliefs and so forth, but the churches like "Potter's Wheel" are... somewhere off the map:

The Catholic churches don't actually have different teachings. They teach what is dictated by the governing body, though each one may emphasize different things or have different types of services to meet the needs of the community. Roman Catholic practices and beliefs are slightly different from Greek Orthodox... if I had to guess I'd sat that Greek Orthodox Catholics are slightly more similar to the teachings of the first Christian churches, but that's a non-researched guess.

As time went on, more teachings that weren't in the original churches develop (including the "end times theology")

posted on Sep, 19 2008 @ 08:08 PM

Originally posted by VIKINGANT
I ...(snip)... am trying to get answers on the grass roots practices of the church that have often perplexed catholics and non catholics alike.

I think they only perplex people who don't read the early Church Fathers or read much history. The stuff I gave you is common knowledge and has been for centuries.

But there are a lot of biased sites out there that pretend to tell about the history and instead present very biased and un-knowledgeable information. Have a good look at information-neutral sites and books, particularly the ones that go into history. There's also a SUPERB podcast about the Byzantine empire that touches on much of the church history. It's short segments and totally fascinating.

Recommended!! :

posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 12:15 AM
reply to post by EricD

I finally decided I should respond to your post with the disrespect it deserves. I take it from the tone in your post that I will not be joining your long list of non catholic friends. Time to break out the Kleenex...

The Catholic church is the most sadistic, manipulative greedy and corrupt organisation on the planet. They exist only to overpower the weak individuals as part of thier plot to rule the world.....
Is that what you want to hear? Then you just don't get it then do you?
It is not what I am saying now nor have I ever. Just in the same way you attack the posts of those that make negative comments about the church, but you have never refuted the claims. As with above. You did not state that anything on the list was false did you?

General Eyes helped make the point of thier want for 'membership' in that she was not welcome without the right identifying documentation. And can someone please explain RCIA. 'Initialtion' into the church? What happened to accepting everyone?

Thank you very much for the info you have provided. It is a truely fascinating history of the church and also raises more questions for another time. I have found that the further one looks into the RCC you find the more there is to discover.

But there are a lot of biased sites out there that pretend to tell about the history and instead present very biased and un-knowledgeable information. Have a good look at information-neutral sites and books, particularly the ones that go into history.

This is very true. Partly why I ask these questions here to get a wide scope of answers to wade through. I like to see other peoples interperetations on things.

posted on Sep, 27 2008 @ 01:55 AM
There is a lot of information about the structure and official doctrines of the Catholic Church at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For a view of questioning of tradition within the Catholic Church, you might check out Joan Chittister's blog column. She is a Benedictine Sister who writes on numerous topics of interest to catholics and non-catholics, including her support for developing a female clergy.

The National Catholic Reporter generally is a good place to see what some of the debates among today's catholic laity about the direction of Church policy is.

GENERAL EYES is correct about the RCIA -- Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults being what makes a convert a Catholic. What makes a baby a Catholic is baptism.

The Catholic Church believes in the efficacy of sacraments: that participation in these physical rites directly affects the state of your soul. That's not a popular position to take these days, but they do anyway. That being said, it is my understanding that some of the sacraments (confession and absolution, for example) require the penitent to be genuinely sorry and to intend to try not to sin again.

Not being Catholic, or even christian, I am not sure how that translates into practice in the confessional.

If you are really interested in Catholicism, and not Catholicism-bashing, I highly recommend attending a Mass once or twice. Another really wonderful thing to do is to walk into an urban Catholic church sometime when there is no mass going on, and join the people praying, saying "hi" to their god on their own time. Personally, as someone raised in a ritual-starved environment, I find it beautiful.

Hope this has been of some help.

EDIT: I forgot to respond to VIKINGANT's question about whether requiring classes and a formal rite to accept a person into the Church doesn't make it exclusive. They will let anyone into the classes, and they're pretty easy to find on the internet -- just check out the web page for your diocese. It does, however, mean that they won't take in people just to increase their numbers without making sure that those people want what they're offering.

[edit on 9/27/08 by americandingbat]

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