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Old 10-19-2004, 12:13 PM   #16
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I'm wary of religion per se....man can do some wierd things in the name of religion.

God/Jesus on the other hand I trust and believe in. Only He can know peoples hearts and where their actions spring from--and he judges fairly.
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Old 10-19-2004, 12:33 PM   #17
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Originally posted by ImOuttaControl
How can Catholics be proud of their church or even want to be part of their church if they don't agree with Catholic views? Why not find a different church which suits your views? Cherry picking of church beliefs one will follow makes it all a little pointless doesn't it?
Good question. I am not proud at all of the Catholic church, yet I am Catholic. There are many events in history that make it a shame to be Catholic, on the other side, there are great things the Catholic Church does, and that makes me proud of being Catholic.

Look at the help projects of the Catholic Church! www.caritas.org
I don´t know any other example of a Chrisitan help organization on that level (enlighten me if you know some).

"Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organisations working to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed, in over 200 countries and territories. Caritas works without regard to creed, race, gender, or ethnicity, and is one of the world’s largest humanitarian networks."

That´s not picking the raisins out. How could a religion with a billion of people, spread in all the world, be homogenic? Sure there are lots of things I am against. And believe me, more than once I thought of leaving the church.

But I didn´t. And you know why? Because I was talking to an African some years ago.

I tell him: You have all those great religions, you worship your ancestors, and you are much closer to nature than we, people from the Western hemisphere, can ever get. I really appreciate that a lot.

He asks me: And what about your religion?

I say: Well, you know,... the Catholic Church has made so many mistakes, it is really a shame, so our religions are different. I can understand if you appreciate yours, but I don´t really appreciate mine, there are too many critical points I have to make.

And you know what this guy from Africa tells me? He says: No, you are on the wrong track. You were born into that religion. It is your parents who passed this religion on to you. Therefore, these are your ROOTS. In Africa, we admire our roots. Where we are coming from, what our ancestors believed in, is part of our belief system. You better be proud of your roots, because if you don´t have them, you are homeless.

What can I say? He is right. I have learned a lot from that short conversation.

It´s not pointless at all to be a Catholic, and at the same time to have very social and "liberal" ideas. There are many directions you can follow within the Catholic Church.
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Old 10-19-2004, 12:41 PM   #18
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Being in a church of any kind is always going to bring some heartache...simply because a church has imperfect people in it.

I always say to people when they are going to join the church I'm at, "This is what to do WHEN not IF someone offends or upsets you...it's going to happen".

We all have a common vision and endpoint we're striving towards, we just gotta remember to help pick the others us when they trip up.
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Old 10-19-2004, 12:56 PM   #19
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Originally posted by ImOuttaControl
How can Catholics be proud of their church or even want to be part of their church if they don't agree with Catholic views? Why not find a different church which suits your views? Cherry picking of church beliefs one will follow makes it all a little pointless doesn't it?
I'll speak for myself, as a proud Catholic Christian. Please keep in mind that I'm speaking strictly for myself and do not represent the Church officially. I'm just Joe Schmuck Catholic. Yes, "cherry-picking" of Church views makes it meaningless. "Catholic" isn't just a word. You're either Catholic or you're not. God is not into money and power. We're all equal before God. I don't care who it is, we are held to the same moral responsibilities. This is true if you're the Pope, the president of the United States, a U.S. Senator, or a library worker like me. However, we're not voting for the President of the Catholic States. We are voting for the President of the United States, and the Democratic Candidate is from the Catholic tradition and claims membership in it. He's what we call a "cradle Catholic". Is he a practicing Catholic? Yes, in that he attends Mass, takes the Eucharist, and presumably takes other sacraments as well. We are required to do penance at least once a year, for example, but many Catholics do not do this. It's sort of a scandal how many Catholics don't do this and it's a Church law. No, in that he's a "cherry-picker" as far as following Catholic beliefs. It could be argued that I am also because I'm supporting his candidacy. I don't accept this argument. Why not? Because I've done what Cardinal Ratzinger said we could do, look at the composite as opposed to just one issue and decided whose platform is more consistent with a "culture of life". I pick Kerry because of his positions on health care, a crucial issue in any decision on a "culture of life". It's something honest, reasonable and decent Catholics disagree on. The past several times at Mass I have held hands during the recitation of "Our Father" with people wearing Bush campaign stickers. The only thing any priest has said to me about voting is that I need to pray about my choice, and I need to be moderate and not go to extremes. I'm doing my damnedest to do both. It isn't easy. So many people are downright manic about this election, including many public figures from both parties. I hope this answers, at least in part, your question. If not fire away.
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Old 10-19-2004, 03:38 PM   #20
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starsgoblue, you underestimate what Catholicism means to people. In many parts of the world, Catholicism and the particular culture are so closely tied together that you can no longer separate them. Religious holidays are national holidays, sometimes not even for religious reasons anymore, but traditional. The ties with the Vatican are historically important and therefore, when you talk to a Catholic, you have to understand that for most of them, their religion is part of their culture, much like Judaism is part of a Jewish person's culture, etc.

That said, I think the current Church leadership has flipped out of their gourd on a number of occasions. Particularly, this Pope seems to have a special contempt for women, and for years and years there was an internal struggle and divide between him and Mother Teresa because the Vatican did not believe it was conducive to Catholicism to have a woman be more "popular" with the people than the Pope himself. I am not so much bothered by their views on abortion, because I can see their basis even if I disagree. However, the Church's views on abstinence and continuous forbidding of ANY birth control (for married couples too!) is 100% IRRESPONSIBLE given that the vast majority of Catholics are dirt poor people in the third world who do not have the means to support their birth rate.
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Old 10-19-2004, 03:56 PM   #21
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That's right anitram. Even for a convert like me who grew up in a heavy-duty Protestant culture (can you say "Bible Belt fundamentalism"?), there is a strong cultural aspect to being Catholic. It's not just a religion. It's an environment. I am sitting here surrounded by books about Marian devotion, the Pope, books of saints, rosaries, a crucifix, and wondering how in the hell I ever lived without this stuff. My faith is my life.
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