His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Weird Catholic Rules

84 Comments

Is there something about the Christian church that seems weird to you? Does it seem to be unhealthy, broken? Are thoughts like these the reason you clicked on that link that brought you to this blog post?

The original post, below, isn’t very good. I recommend you don’t waste your time on it. It gets a lot of views, but I think that’s just the title attracting people. What about the title brought you here?

Whatever the reason, if you’re curious about what true Christianity looks like, I’m almost finished writing a book that might help… and I’m giving it away for free. The book, called Oh… Jesus!, is about escaping stress. But within the journey to escape stress, you can find the true meaning of Christianity. Interested? Click on this link and I’ll send you a pdf copy when the book is finished.  (Sign up here)


(and now to the original post, if you’re interested)

A few years ago my father, who was never really a church-goer, decided to join the Catholic Church, the church of my step-mother. I was pleased my dad was showing signs of faith, but my pleasure turned to dismay after I got the call from my mom. As part of my fathers’ application process, or whatever you go through to join the Catholic Church, the church mailed a stack of forms to my mother for her to fill out and sign. What the forms boiled down to was the annulment of the marriage of my parents. Since this would have resulted in my sisters and me being effectively declared illegitimate, my mom respectfully declined and tossed the forms in the trash.

Fortunately for my dad (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), the Catholic Church still allowed him to join, even without my moms signature – I guess my dads signature was enough to wipe from the record his divorce from my mom.

You see, that’s what the process was all about… the church had to first cleanse my father of his divorce record, before they would allow him to join. But the message goes beyond just divorce. The implication is that you cannot join the Catholic Church unless you have no visible sins attached to you. Since divorce is a sin, you have to void the divorce by voiding the marriage. I’m sure I’m over-generalizing, but you get my point.

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I have several concerns about this whole episode. First of all, maybe my parents’ marriage didn’t happen in the eyes of the Catholic Church (after all the forms were filled out), but God witnessed that first marriage; a marriage that began with oaths to Him, and produced three children. The Catholic Church may choose to ignore the truth, but God certainly will not. My real concern is this: does the Catholic Church believe that God will close His eyes, just because they choose to?

Second, divorce is clearly a sin – Jesus said so. We all sin – Jesus said so. But the story of our sins is not twisted in a way that makes it look like there was no sin (as the Catholic Church has twisted the story of my parents’ marriage). With Jesus, acceptance is far simpler than that. With Jesus we are accepted into His church not because of some manipulated image of sinlessness, but because of our faith – Jesus said so.

Third, so we are accepted into Jesus’ church not by being sinless, but by having faith and being repentant of the sins we do have. Yet the Catholic Church appears to have a higher standard.

The fourth thing that bothers me is this concept of the Catholic Church cleansing my father of past sins. There is no action by man that can clean someone of their sins, or hide their sins, or pretend their sins never happened. Jesus is the only one who can do this, and he’s already done it, by dying for our sins on the cross. Yet the Catholic Church appears to believe that they are the ones who must clean us of our sins before we can be presented to Jesus.

And finally, all of my concerns boil down to this: the Catholic Church appears not to believe in the grace of God. They appear not to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. They appear not to believe that we are forgiven because of our faith, not by anything we may do.

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Author: C.J. Penn

Reflections on a double life... I'm just a wanna-be writer. What's it like trying to do serious writing while also being consumed with a full-time engineering job? Between the two, I sometimes don't get much sleep. But I love writing - it gets me out of bed when it's way too dark, just so I can do some work on my book before heading off to work. I'm also passionate about the truth of God and Jesus, a truth that is not always visible in the outward view of the Christian religion. It's this passion that has pulled me out of bed to write for over 6 years now, still working on the same book, a book about truth. Will it ever be finished? God knows.

84 thoughts on “Weird Catholic Rules

  1. More like ones who preferred to carry a mountain, while all what God asked them to carry was a tiny pebble? I got your point though! (LOL)

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  2. I believe, if I recall correctly, that the reason for the paperwork to annul your father’s marriage to your mother was so that – eventually – your father and his current wife could be married in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) – which would mean the church sees him as living in sin with his current wife.

    I also know that your father will have to jump through a lot of hoops to join the RCC, going through all their “sacraments” (confession, baptism, confirmation, communion, etc.).

    The RCC considers itself to be the true church, with all matters pertaining to God to be under their authority only. They have centuries of traditions – many of them false teachings – within their doctrines.

    The RCC are the Pharisees and Sadducess of Christianity.

    BTW – I am an ex-Roman Catholic who finally heard the truth of the Gospel and repented. My faith is in Jesus Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ColoBaptist,

    Wow. Thanks for your candid comments.

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  4. I found your website by accident, but I can’t help but reply.

    First of all, an annulment does NOT mean you become illegitimate. It has to do with the sacramental nature of the marriage not its validity. I’m sure that’s difficult for you to understand as sacraments are not part of your faith.

    Second, divorce is NOT a sin in the church, it merely does not exist. The problem is the re-marriage. (I’m sure I don’t have to quote scripture on this one for you.) Its not about a sin in the past, its about the fact that he’s currently living in sin. As the woman he is living with is not his wife, according to the Church.

    Finally, whatever you think about the Catholic church, I ask you as a fellow Christian, not to post things about the Church when your knowledge is incomplete. I don’t blame you. Generations of so-called Christians have spread misconceptions, half truths and just plain nonsense about the RCC for decades. I ask you to please look with the eyes of love and not judgement.

    BTW – your “ex-Catholic” needs to realize that if your father has been baptised with water in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit, he’s baptised. He won’t be baptised again. We believe in one baptism.

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  5. Hello Lesley,

    Thanks for commenting, though I’m confused by some of your comments. First of all, if an annulment means the marriage is void, then in God’s eyes, I would become an illegitimate child. I don’t care how the church would look at the situation; all I care about is what God thinks about it. Of course, since the annulment is a church-made thing, then I guess I would not be illegitimate in Gods eyes.

    And, I obviously struck a nerve with you (sorry if I upset you). Claiming that sacraments are not a part of my faith is incredibly derogatory and outright ridiculous.

    Next, claiming that divorce does not exist is amazing. Do you really speak for the Catholic Church here? Is that how you treat sins; you just say they don’t exist? Maybe it’s just your choice of words, but you appear to be directly contradicting Jesus (see Matthew 19:8-9). And regarding your statement, “As the woman he is living with is not his wife, according to the Church.”: again, I don’t care about what the “Church” thinks – all I care about is God and His word.

    Finally, you’re right, my knowledge of the Catholic church is limited. But what I do know often baffles me, particularly when I read Gods word which often contradicts what I hear from the Catholic church. In the words of Peter, who should I listen to, men or God? I choose God.

    And please note that my sometimes harsh words for the Catholic church ARE based on love; first love for God and His truth, and then love for my brothers and sisters in Jesus. It breaks my heart to see people who appear to be missing out on the true love, grace, forgiveness and salvation that Jesus offers us.

    You are right, there are a lot of misconceptions going around, but not just about the RCC.The most damaging misconceptions are about God and Jesus, and their truth as recorded in the bible. And that is what I choose to write about; those misconceptions.

    I realize I walk a fine line between judgment and rebuking. I sincerely apologize for the judgment – it’s so easy for me to fall into that mode. Yet my sincere purpose is to rebuke. The bible calls all of us to rebuke our brothers and sisters who may drift from the truth of Jesus Christ. But rebuke with love, just like we might reprimand our precious children. As in everything, God can do it much better than me. But I will continue to speak out and rebuke as best I can.

    Lesley, with love I pray that all of us will have opened eyes and hearts to see the real truth of Jesus Christ, not some man-made image that has evolved from centuries of human traditions.

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  6. Annulments are a waste of time and MONEY!

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    • Annulments don’t cost money, if you already belong to the church…

      .I’m sorry, I just have to jump in here and put my two cents in, hope you don’t mind C.J.

      I just went through an annulment from a marriage that lasted only a year when I was 18, and being Catholic I wanted to have my current marriage blessed in the church, which it wasn’t. I also want to receive communion, which I can’t until I am married in the church. Let me say here we are all welcome and invited to any Catholic Church; married in it, unmarried, living in sin, doesn’t matter, they just ask that instead of receiving communion you go up to the altar for only a blessing with your hands crossed over your chest meaning you are “not in communion with the church” instead of taking the communion. No one looks down on me for that, in fact, it is the opposite.

      The church is for the sinner, not the saint. Thank God we are all there, no matter what church we feel comfortable in. Lastly, divorce sucks, but sometimes people do it because they realize they made a really stupid decision in marrying someone, and need to re-marry in the catholic church but the only way to do that is through an annulment which only stands for the marriage was in someway, not yoked properly, and therefore one should be given a second chance at finding a mate under the scrutiny of God.
      When children are born to the marriage, the chances of getting an annulment are unlikely, however when accomplished does not make the children illegitimate, but only shows that God never leaves us even when we are on the wrong path, but continues to bless us, entrusting us with his little angels for safekeeping, still allowing us to try again.
      The Catholic Church changes everyday, as do I, you, and everything else on the face of Earth .People and religious organizations make mistakes. The Catholic Church has made many, but we are in the business of forgiveness, and our hope is that there is a religion out there for everyone of Jesus’ followers that was designed for the sole purpose of making that group of people very comfortable in the manner of which they are worshipping. I know I have gone on and on, I’m sorry.
      Just one more thing though- The holy spirit was present when each and every Bible translation was translated to speak directly to the band of people in whom it was being translated for. He did not allow any translation outside of his Holy Will, and He doesn’t want us to be separated by the various versions, but to collect together as the wisdom endorsed body of Christ willing to adapt and forgive the small differences between us, while remaining true to our faith that was appointed to us. We are responsible only for that which was taught to us.
      -Loretta

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  7. It’s not about being “free of sin” to join . . . more about the fact that Christ taught that marriage was forever. Therefore, for us Catholics at least, if you marry and it doesn’t work out you have two options

    1.) Separate. You’re still married in the eyes of God and any sexual activity would be adultery.
    2.) Get your marriage annulled – this means that you were in too immature of a mental state for the sacrament of matrimony to have “taken effect”. Marriage is a sacrament with the two people being married as the ministers (not the Priest). Therefore right intention is necessary. If your first marriage wasn’t a ‘real” marriage then you can marry again (this time “for real”).

    So the reason they wanted the marriage annulled is that, if it weren’t, your dad would be living in a state of mortal sin and could quite possibly end up in Hell (no offense, Jesus did say that few people would find the right road and we take him at his word).

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  8. Ian, thanks for responding. Yes, Jesus teaches us that marriage is forever, and therefore divorce is a sin, period. But your comments coincide with what I referred to in my original post, that the Catholic Church, for some reason, feels it’s necessary to somehow eliminate sins from the record. This apparently even involves what an ex-Catholic friend of mine calls “verbal jujitsu”, or spinning words to come up with some kind of lame excuse, like you saying that the first marriage wasn’t “real.” I should shut up right now, because I’m sensing that I’m getting kind of harsh in my response, but your comments only add to my concern for the Catholic Church.
    My concern boils down to this: the Catholic Church appears to deny the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We all sin, there are none without sin. As Jesus pointed out, “No one is good – except God alone.” (Luke 18:19). And Paul said, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10). And the apostle John said, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8). It’s this last verse that seems to apply to the Catholic doctrine that you have described in you comment. The Catholic Church is deceiving themselves.
    But back to my concern: Trying to verbally whitewash over our sins is not the way to heaven. Jesus gave us the way; we are saved by faith, and God’s grace. There is absolutely nothing we can do to save ourselves except believe, and embrace the free gift of salvation offered to us from Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church seems to have forgotten Jesus Christ. For me, that’s a huge concern.

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  9. Hi, first I’d like to say that I have never been baptized and have no religious background, have not read the bible and am 19. My parents are divorced and my mom’s second marriage was annuled. I have recently opened up to the idea that God just might exist and maybe Jesus Christ isn’t so ridiculous after all although he is more diffucult to accept. I stumbled across this thread just now and noticed that it is active and was hoping someone could answer a couple of my questions.

    1) Since my parents did not get an annulment, it sounds like they are living in sin since both are dating and whatnot…would that have any affect on me in my possible attempt to find a church? I mean like…would I be sinning by loving or accepting people who are living in sin?

    2) I know you cannot really remove the sins of your past, but how can I know that I’ve been forgiven? This is assuming that you can be forgiven…

    3) How do I know if I have a real bible? I got a free one from some site that was apparently associated with the latter-day saints and is the St. James version…and my friend said it was “not good” and threw it out also saying that the Catholic version was more reliable. I thought it would make sense that the bible was free since everyone should have access to it…plus I’m still too scared to go into a church since I don’t know anything and would feel like a fake.

    I have no idea how to go about any of this religion stuff and I have no one to talk to about it since my family is closer to the athiest side of agnostic and I have no friends I trust enough to ask the questions I’m embarrassed to ask. My boyfriend would be the only person I could talk to but he is scared that I’m going to become a religious “freak” and over obsessed with it even though most of the reasons I think there might be a God are either directly or indirectly related to him.

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  10. Angie,
    These are absolutely fantastic questions that I believe a lot of people share. In fact, these are some of the same questions I had before I eventually came to know Jesus for who he really is. Anyway, here’s what I have learned…

    1. Since Jesus loves and accepts people who sin, you would not be sinning by doing the same. There’s a story in the bible about Jesus hanging out with sinners: “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saws this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” (Matthew 9:10-11 NIV) The “Pharisees” were the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They were kind of like a lot of today’s religious leaders, and they didn’t like the fact that Jesus hung out with sinners. But check out Jesus’ response: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13 NIV) Jesus himself states that he came to be with sinners.
    And that’s a good thing since in fact, we are all sinners. Which brings me back to the first part of your question: I believe it is only the Catholic Church that believes annulment results in the removal of the sin of divorce. Instead of getting more wordy about this, I’ll defer to my original post.

    2. What a foundational question. This is kind of what it all boils down to. Yet the answer is deceptively simple. If you believe in what Jesus did for us, if you believe in his love for us, then you will know that you have been forgiven. Now though my answer is short, the explanation isn’t. My recommendation is to get yourself a bible and read the gospel of John (the 4th book in the New Testament). It will tell you what Jesus did for us, how he in effect indeed removed the sins of our past, and it’s a great explanation of his love. You also could take a look at a short post I wrote sometime back: https://histruthwillsetyoufree.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/all-sins-are-forgiven/

    3. The Latter Day Saints beliefs are not based on true Christianity, so I definitely would not call that a real bible. I don’t know much about the Catholic Bible, but I do know a lot about the Catholic Church. Since they tend to like to add a lot of man-made stuff to what God and Jesus have to say, I would venture a guess they their bible is also a bit out of wack.
    It’s important to know that over the past many years, there have been many different efforts to translate the bible (from the original that is in Greek and Hebrew), into something like English. This has resulted in different “translations.” Though each of these can be considered a “real” bible, they each read a little differently (for example, I find some easier to read than others). A favorite of mine is the New International Version (the “NIV” is what was quoted in my answer to your first question). This is written in a more modern way of speaking, instead of the Old English, with the “thee” and “thou” that you find in the King James version. The “Living Bible” translation is also really good in that it uses even more of a chit-chat way of speaking. But even though the words may differ from one translation to another, the facts that are presented are all the same, which is what makes them “real” bibles.
    If you want a free bible and can’t easily find one, there are bibles on-line. You could either just Google “online bible” or one site I like is: http://www.biblegateway.com/
    I just checked out the Bible Gateway site and it has the translations I mentioned, plus “The Message” which is fantastic in that it reads almost more like a novel.
    Good luck in your search for answers.
    E.D.

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  11. you say you don’t care what the church thinks you only care what God thinks. so dont you think that if the church was spreading so called “lies” or if they were expecting anything other than what God expected don’t you think he would stop them. I am Catholic and I say that everyone is intitled to there own oppinion. But can you not see that by writing your liitlle blurb you know have people arguing with you over something so petty because God made us all differant so we are all going to have differant oppinions on differant things.

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  12. Hello Louise,
    You offer some great questions and observations. First I’d like to answer your question about the idea of God stopping a church that is spreading “lies.” Well, though I wish God would stop such things, I know He doesn’t, no more than He stops anyone of us from sinning. For example, a lot of evil goes on in the world, and some people wonder why God doesn’t stop it. The answer is that God has given us freedom of choice, and allowed us to run (or ruin) or lives as we see fit. Though Jesus left His church in the hands of men, and with His recorded word (the bible) we all have clear instructions for how He wants us to run His church, He still lets us make a mess of things if we choose to.
    To your next comment: like you I value other peoples opinions. That’s why I so enjoy it when people leave comments.
    But unlike you, (if I understand you correctly), I do not think the issue we are discussing is petty, nor a mere matter of opinion; I think it’s a matter of belief. I am talking about God’s word verses the word of a man-made church. I believe it is critical that, instead of all having differing opinions on such things, that we are all unified. We all should place Gods word above the words of men.
    The kind of unity I’m talking about is the kind of unity Jesus prayed for shortly before his arrest and death, when He offered a prayer for all believers: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)
    And one last thought. When I say that I don’t care what the church thinks, I only care what God thinks; I take my cue from Peter, when he says to the church leaders of his day: “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.” (Acts 4:19)
    Thanks and good luck,
    E.D.

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  13. i just found this site this morning – these are excellent observations and posts / definitely one i’ll revisit often

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  14. The Catholic Church has spread more lies and deceit and caused more death and suffering than any other sect of any religion. Read the Bible and interpret for yourself; that’s what God intended. Make decisions based on your life, and not worry about your parents getting divorced. God loves you for who YOU are, not what you were born into. Anybody who thinks that your ancestors sins have any affect on your future with God are full of shit. You do not need to pray through Mary to talk to God. God is open 24/7 for your prayers. (not like anybody else but God can hear you in the the after life anyway, the Bible specifically states that nobody goes to heaven or hell until judgment day.) E.D. Jones, don’t worry about what the Catholic Church does. Look at their track record and see for yourself that they are completely full of shit. Find God by yourself, not what some OVERPAID “ordained” person tells you. God looks at the heart.

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    • Octavarium,
      Well, I cannot help but be very concerned about what the Catholic church does. Not because of me personally, but because of their influence on innocent people. So many people are deceived and taught a false gospel (and it’s not just the Catholic church who is guilty of promoting such deceptions). If I can help one person turn away from the deceptions and lies, and turn to the truth of Jesus Christ; then I will continue to write and strive to promote the truth.

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  15. Religion is one thing in this life that no two people will 100% agree.

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  16. Y’all are wrong. I am sorry, but yall are wrong. There is a prophet on the earth, and he is the Lord Jesus Christ’s mouthpeice. The King James Version of the Bible is the one bible that the prophet has said should be used. I don’t understand how y’all can say a prayer and everything be ok. You have to make sure you do what you say; not just say what you should do. Good luck with that!

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  17. Religions are so bullshit

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  18. Hey, I too was reading this by accident.
    I’m Catholic as well and just wanted to say that my aunt is in this same situation. However, since the divorce was not accepted by the RCC, her husband now is not actually considered her husband. That’s a bit of a problem….I mean, I can see why you are upset with your situation. However, ther isn’t much point in complaining about it.
    Unfortunately, your post seems to have started quite a debate. We can’t know what’s completely right until we are in sight of our Creator. Please refrain from insulting others’ religions, I know that’s not how you wanted this to come across, but it is truly an insult to Catholics.

    Best of luck with your parents and God bless you.

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  19. Upon reflection, I’ve decided to comment on something Jovie said on February 23, 2010: “We can’t know what’s completely right until we are in sight of our Creator.”
    Well, I respectively disagree. To know what’s right, regarding this particular topic, all we need do is read God’s word.
    We have been given the bible for a reason. What makes me sad is the insistence of some (such as the Catholic Church), to ignore the bible and instead focus on their own man-made rules. If my comments come across as insults… well, so be it. I think it’s an insult of eternal proportions to ignore the word of God.
    E.D.

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  20. It is ridiculous to say that the Catholic Church (the one true church) ignore the word of God. It is a downright disgrace for you to bad-mouth what over half of all Christians follow and your ridiculous comments are severly undermined by a billion believers. The Catholic view of marraige & divorce is the interpretation of God’s word and for you, my mortal brother, to decide for yourself what is a sin and what is not is a task not suitable for a normal man, only by those who are appointed by God (ie Pope Benedict XVI etc.) can make a correct interpretation and the previous comments here approving of divorce are people hiding from facing sin, making their own laws.
    ‘Look not upon our sins but on the faith of Your Church’ – your past sins will be forgiven but not the knowledge of present sin is the thing that will bring you away from The Lord

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  21. Hi Connor,
    As always, thanks for leaving a comment. I would like to respond to a few things. First of all, I know I never said that I think divorce is NOT a sin. Divorce is indeed a sin. I just see the Catholic Church’s action of annulments as a way of pretending the sin never happened, which I believe is absolutely ridiculous.
    As a general comment I would like to say that there is a particular, and rather fundamental difference between myself and the Catholic Church: I put my faith and belief in the word of God as recorded in the bible. I trust in the words of eye witnesses, such as John, Peter, James and Paul. However, the Catholic Church appears to elevate the words of “church fathers” above the words of eye witnesses; church fathers who lived perhaps 100’s of years after the events they are “interpreting.”
    As Peter said, my response to the Catholic Church is: “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.” (Acts 4:19) I choose God.

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  22. I struggle with “organized religion” in general (regardless of what denomination it is). I grew in foster care, and have been exposed to so many different denominations and “categories of Christianity”. I am by no means an expert, but I’ve read then entire bible (not that I could quote it or anything). Through my experiences I was more confused than anything. I certainly believe in God, and what the bible has to say, but I DO NOT believe in organized religion. To me it seems that each denomination is just an interpretation of what the bible says, and I think you need to make your own interpretation. God will ensure that you get what you need to get out of what you’re reading. Organized religion (in my opinion) also add their own “rules and ideas” to suit themselves. If you believe that Jesus died for your sins, you’ve accepted him as your savior, and you live your life to serve God to the best of your ability, then you have nothing to worry about. It doesn’t matter what church you go to.

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  23. Okay, so I just read something I apparently missed before, and have a question…Is the Pope ACTUALLY appointed by
    God? Or does man pick the Pope?? Hmmm…That’s something I think I’m going to research…

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  24. The Pope is elected. NOT appointed by God.

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  25. Natasha it’s a wee thing called divine right. Pope is God’s messenger on each and he has been destined for that since his creation

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  26. Destined since creation eh? He’s elected…There for I don’t see much destiny to it. I could be wrong. It’s just my observation.

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  27. Hi Natasha,
    I think you’re right-on when you say, “Organized religion (in my opinion) also add their own “rules and ideas” to suit themselves.” I tend to look at it as: “religion” is man-made, whereas true “Christianity” is made by God.
    You’re doing the right things. You’re reading your bible and you’re asking questions. That’s the way to learn the truth about what God is trying to tell us, and the truth about His love.
    But we all need to be cautions, for if we’re not careful, we too can add our own “rules and ideas” to what God is telling us in His bible. It’s so easy for all of us to interject our own “opinions” into His word. But if we remain hungry for the “truth”, and keep our focus on Jesus, and nurture a growing desire for the Holy Spirit to be in our lives, then the Holy Spirit of God will, in a way, protect us from ourselves and warn us when our opinions begin to stray from the truth, and at the same time open our eyes to the truth.
    My recommendation to everyone is to never stop reading their bible. For every time you read it, God will open your eyes a bit more and you will therefore “see” more of the true content in God’s holy word.

    To the question about whether the Pope is chosen by God or by men: I think the answer can be found in the actions of the Pope. If the actions are in concert with the word of God as recorded in the bible, then “maybe” he was elected by God. However, if the Pope’s actions are in conflict with the words of God, then I suspect he was chosen solely by men. I think the important thing is not who elected the Pope, but what the Pope does with the responsibility given him.

    Good luck and thanks for commenting,
    E.D.

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  28. hello,
    I found this website and after reading it I simply must comment on it, and by the way I am a catholic
    I have studied history and religion of many types, and I will make what I say as understandable as possible and as accurate as possible
    first-i would like to clarify that the catholic church does NOT consider something is a mortal sin if one of these three points are missing: 1-grave matter (sin MUST be serious morally), 2-full knowledge (the person MUST know it is a mortal sin), and 3-full concent of the will (person MUST have every ounce of his will wanting to perform this sin)—>therefore I am almost positive your father is in no state of mortal sin because of his divorce.

    second-It is true that sometimes the catholic church can be a little official about things (as in the forms that they sent your father), but if they weren’t, then what could result in that? only chaos. sometimes we must be orderly and official in life to keep the lay people of the church remembering God has rules (e.g. ten commandments)

    third-I would like to comment on how I saw you in the comments above several times mention that Catholics seem to not believe that Christ’s sacrifice forgave our sins. That is Completely false in so many ways. Almost the center of our faith is based on the forgiveness of sins (it is even one of our main points in the apostles creed *a very important prayer to us*)

    fourth-I also noticed how you said that The church tries to cover up the sin. that is a very stretched statement. you see, the paperwork was like a statement showing that you were no longer in the state of sin, but do not forget to remember he still has the stain of his sin on his soul, and he must get that forgiven right away, but in no way does it cover the sin of that person’s past (btw like I said in my first statement your father is probably not in sin because he is probably missing one of those three requirements for something to be of mortal sin)

    lastly I would like to say that I recall you saying that you want to open us up to the truth because you want us to feel the true love god has in store for us. this truely broke my heart. there is so much in the catholic church that is so hard to explain. sure in the past the church has had it’s dark times but it always reformed itself and came out in full colors again. I have always felt this great oneness in the catholic church that I do not ever feel anywhere else. like one big happy family, and we have always fell together and gotten right back up together. I am not trying to make you convert to cathocism but for love’s sake I want you to know that there is something special about what the church does. it has been around for sooooo long. and yet it has not fallen apart into little tiny pieces.

    please remember that in no way do I hope to offend anyone using this website and please ask me any questions… I am ready to answer them

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  29. and Natasha,
    The pope is also the great backbone of the church, if he was not there, then the church would start spliting up into little parts. start making their own rules, etc… through history that I have studied, I have found that all of the popes have never spoken anything wrong involving faith and morals, if this is true then how could after over 300 different back-grounded popes over the ages be without the guidance of God.

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  30. John 3:16 (New International Version)

     16″For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%203:16&version=NIV

    2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
    9The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

    12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

    13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

    16Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

    Listening and Doing

    19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
    22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

    26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%201&version=NIV

    Matthew 16:18 (New International Version)

    18And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.[c]

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%2016:18&version=NIV

    I will not argue, but shall speak the word from the bible.

    There is confusion. Please be nice.

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  31. Please, for everyone here this is very important quoted from the bible.

    Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
    and do not claim a place among great men;

    7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”
    than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.
    What you have seen with your eyes

    8 do not bring [b] hastily to court,
    for what will you do in the end
    if your neighbor puts you to shame?

    9 If you argue your case with a neighbor,
    do not betray another man’s confidence,

    10 or he who hears it may shame you
    and you will never lose your bad reputation.

    11 A word aptly spoken
    is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+25&version=NIV

    Angie: Surround yourself with God’s children.
    We shall pray for you.
    The key is to Thank God for sending his only son Jesus.

    Matthew 7 (New International Version)

    Matthew 7

    Judging Others

    1″Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    3″Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    6″Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

    Ask, Seek, Knock

    7″Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
    9″Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    The Narrow and Wide Gates

    13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
    A Tree and Its Fruit

    15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
    21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    The Wise and Foolish Builders

    24″Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
    28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%207&version=NIV

    Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

    The word is Spoken. Believe.

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  32. I would really appreciate it if someone could answer this one for me.

    What exactly is the deal with the Ten Commandments, and why are those in the RCC bible different?

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  33. It’s the usual problem.

    Catholics use terms the way Christians used (or developed them) for the first 1,500 years of Christianity. Non-Catholic Christians use them differently, because their culture and traditions are in a separate stream.

    So there is a lot of misunderstanding going on.

    Jesus taught that one could not divorce. He did not teach that one MAY not divorce, but that one COULD not; that the union was permanent, no matter what happened. He taught that if a man divorced his wife for any reason other than her having already been sexually immoral (the term is vague; it covers adultery but other things up to and including consanguinuity), then by forcing her to remarry (an unmarried woman usually became destitute, the man who divorced her was forcing her into adultery. Adultery against whom? Well, against her first husband, who was still her husband. In other words, God does not recognize the validity of divorces. The first marriage, in God’s eyes, was and remained the only marriage, unseverable until death.

    This is the only way to read Jesus’ exact words on this subject and have them make literal sense; the churches which allow divorce and remarriage are ignoring Scripture on this topic. There is no divorce; it doesn’t exist in God’s eyes. There is only separation. But if a person, claiming (erroneously) to have been divorced in God’s eyes, should remarry and have sexual relations with their “second spouse,” then they are actually just committing adultery against their first, and actual, spouse.

    That is the teaching of Jesus on marriage: Divorce doesn’t exist; remarriage is adultery.

    There is only one “out” for this sort of thing; namely, the possibility that the original marriage was never a true Christian “sacramental” marriage to begin with, but was only something lesser, like a civil union.

    In that case, a later “sacramental” marriage would in fact be licit, because no earlier marriage existed.

    The original marriage could be declared null; that is, not a sacramental marriage, for a variety of reasons. If one spouse had been pressured into the marriage, or was not of sound mind, for example. More likely, a marriage might be declared null because the persons entering into marriage did not understand the fullness of the apostolic teachings on marriage, and never really considered themselves to be entering into something so profound.

    For example, some couples marry without intending to have children, planning to remain DINKs (Dual-Income, No Kids) in order to maximize income and lifestyle. In Jesus’ eyes, that is not a marriage, no matter what the Justice of the Peace says; that’s just exclusive sex and cohabitation. If two people entered into marriage with a plan to avoid procreation in that way, it wasn’t a “sacramental” marriage and would prove no obstacle to a real marriage occurring later on.

    When couples wish to be married in the Catholic church, but one of them has an earlier marriage to deal with, that marriage must be investigated.

    If there’s some plausible reason why the earlier marriage can be annulled, then it usually will be, and the sacramental marriage will be permitted.

    But some first marriages are never annulled because no reason is found to declare them to have been non-sacramental. In that case, the couple is forbidden to marry in the Catholic church, and the person with the earlier marriage is counseled either to reconcile with their true spouse, or live a celibate life from that point forward, in accord with Jesus’ teaching.

    Now Christians are supposed to marry sacramentally before having sexual relations, let alone children. That is intrinsic to Christian sexual morality; the alternative is a sin called “fornication.” A child born from the sin of fornication used to be called a “bastard” or “illegitimate”, but such names were never fair, because the sin was the parents’ not the child’s.

    So the question remains: Are the couple in this case guilty of fornication, since they apparently had a child while (according to the later decree of nullity) not sacramentally married?

    The answer is, “almost certainly not.” They were probably not Catholics or Eastern Orthodox, and very few other churches teach Jesus’ view of marriage with anything approaching consistency. They probably thought that they had everything required to constitute a “Christian marriage.” (For that matter, so did the pastor who officiated at their wedding ceremony, if they were married in a church.)

    They could not be held guilty of a sin they didn’t know they were committing. Sin requires a guilty conscience: You have to know that what you are doing is wrong; you have to be disobeying God consciously. That principle is made clear in the gospels, for as Jesus says in speaking of the Pharisees, “If I had not spoken to them, they would be guilty of no sin; but I have spoken to them; therefore their guilt remains.”

    If they were not guilty of fornication, because through no fault of their own they were unaware of the high bar for what constitutes sacramental marriage, then they did not sin, and labels like “bastard” or “illegitimate” cannot be justly applied to their marital relations — let alone the perfectly innocent children produced!

    Look, that’s the teaching about marriage common to all Christians in the year 300, the year 600, 900, 1100, 1400. From the 1500’s on sola scriptura caused a lot of uninformed people to act as their own popes, so things got confused after that. Moreover, we live in a fallen world, in a sexually twisted culture. No wonder, then, when people hear Jesus’ teachings on marriage explained fully for the first time, they sound foreign or even absurd!

    So you must be patient with the teachings and yourself, understanding that you are separated from them by 2,000 years, many layers of cultural change, differences of language, and by the sub-pagan barbaric degeneration of Western culture on sexual matters. Getting accustomed to Jesus’ teachings in this area will be far more unsettling than getting accustomed to the culture of, say, Madagascar or some other far-distant land. It takes time, and you have to fight your instinct to call “absurd” something that you merely haven’t yet wrapped your brain around fully.

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  34. Michelle:

    The Catholic Church (both “Latin Rite” or “Roman” Catholics, and also the “Eastern Rite” Catholics), and Eastern Orthodox churches break out the Ten Commandments one way, Protestant churches another, and the Jews, yet another.

    Basically the majority of Christians worldwide (Catholic plus Orthodox) break them out topically. They therefore combine the prohibition about “having no other God before me” and the one about “not making a graven image” to worship it into a single commandment against IDOLATRY, generally.

    But of course that would leave you with only nine commandments. So they look at the last one, about coveting, and break it into two commandments, because they reason that coveting your neighbor’s wife (a person) is a rather different thing that coveting his donkey (property).

    I put it that way because that is the way a Protestant would see it. But of course the Catholic tradition is the older tradition. So it might be better to note that, in Catholic eyes, by combining the two commandments on coveting, and breaking out the two on idolatry, Protestants have fit the verb-count better from a linguistic standpoint, but have thereby created two prohibitions against idolatry while treating wives as equivalent to possessions in the matter of coveting!

    Whichever way you look at it (or if you look at it the Jewish way, which is yet another breakout!), the moral injunctions wind up the same. We have to remember that Hebrew text did not have a syntax for numbering a list with bullet-points or anything; even spaces between words and punctuation are a later interpolation. So there’s no way to “authentically” separate it, but we’re all obligated to follow the meaning, and that remains the same from Catholic/Orthodox to Protestant to Jewish.

    As for the Catholic bible having seven additional books in the Old Testament?

    That’s a much shorter explanation:

    1. In the time of the apostles, the New Testament had not yet been compiled. “The Bible” consisted of a collection of writings from the Jewish tradition: The Torah, the Prophets, the Court Histories of Israel and Judah, the Psalms, the Wisdom Literature, and the Historical Novelettes like Esther.

    2. After the death of the apostles, various Christian teachers (all of whom believed in confession to priests and the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but that’s a tangent) debated about which Christian writings should be considered canonical, that is, fit for inclusion in the regular scripture readings in Christian worship services.

    Everyone agreed by 200 AD that the Four Gospels, Acts, at least some of the Pauline letters, and 1st Peter were “canonical” from the very beginning. Other things, like the Didache and The Shepherd (by Hermas) andthe letter from Pope Clement to the Corinthians, were read as scripture by some Christian churches, but not by others. (The Corinthians, of course, read the letter from Clement in their services regularly; it was to THEM.)

    Now, most of these books quoted from the Old Testament, and when they did so, they quoted from the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament canon, which was more popular than the Palestinian (Aramaic) canon and which included seven books not included in the Palestinian canon; namely, Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, and 1st & 2nd Maccabees.

    Since the New Testament authors seemed to use the Greek version of the Old Testament, and often to allude to teachings from the 7 books which the Greek Old Testament used but the Palestinian Old Testament didn’t use, early Christians naturally enough assumed that the Greek Old Testament was “official.” Most Jews agreed with this…at the time.

    However, after the destruction of the Jewish Temple around AD 70, and the conversion of half the Jews in Palestine to Christianity, the remaining Jews were in crisis, trying to figure out what their religion meant anymore. They rallied around tradition and Hebrew identity, and as part of this, at their Jewish council of Jamnia in AD 90, they decided to exclude from their canon any books that hadn’t originally been written in Hebrew, and especially any books that were being used by Christians a lot to convert Jews. On that basis, they excluded anything unique to the Greek Old Testament, and went to the most-constrictive of the variations (there were several) of the Palestinian canon. Later, they allowed Daniel back in, even though it was partly written in Aramaic instead of Hebrew.

    But of course Christians ignored that council, believing it to oppose them and certainly not obligate them! So they went on using the Greek OT canon, with the seven extra books (plus some longer interpolations in some of the other books).

    3. As time went by, the bishops gradually became more certain that all the Pauline letters belonged, and both letters of Peter, and 1st John. 2nd and 3rd John, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation were considered questionable for a longer time, and it took a long time before Didache and The Shepherd and Clement’s letter to Corinth were excluded from use in worship (though they were always considered quite orthodox and recommended for devotional reading…for the few non-clergy Christians who could read!).

    And, they continued using the Greek OT canon.

    4. Finally, in 375, bishop Athanasius became the first Christian writer in history to propose that the canonical books of the New Testament should consist of the 27 books we use today. And of course he kept the Greek OT.

    Shortly thereafter, the Pope agreed, at the Council of Rome (380 AD), with those 27 books, plus the Greek OT.

    Shortly thereafter, the Councils of Carthage and Hippo agreed, spreading that official NT canon to North Africa.

    And after that, the canon remain unchanged for over 1,100 years. Even though most Christians couldn’t read and write, the ones who did, read a Bible with Tobit, Judith, et cetera in it. (And those who couldn’t read, heard that Bible read to them during worship services.)

    The first person to challenge this canon was Martin Luther in the 16th century. He didn’t like how a passage in Maccabees hinted at Purgatory; or how James said salvation was not by faith alone, but also required the works of grace, or how Revelation was “too confusing to be revealing” (and made heaven’s worship sound too much like a description of a Catholic/Orthodox Mass, to boot!).

    So Luther published a translation of the Bible which inserted the word “alone” after the word “faith” in one place to make the Bible say that salvation was by “faith alone.” He also replaced the Greek OT canon with the Palestinian one adopted by the Jews at Jamnia, in order to get rid of Maccabees. And he excluded James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation.

    Some of his followers complained, and eventually he brought James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation back in.

    That is where the Protestant canon comes from: It is Luther’s second attempt at a canon, consisting of the 27 books of the New Testament first proposed by Athanasius, combined with the 39 OT books from the Palestinian OT canon.

    The Catholic and Orthodox bibles are a bit larger, because they contain the 27 books first proposed by Athanasius, and the 46-ish books from the Greek OT canon. This was the canon used by all Christians from AD 380 until the 16th century.

    Apart, that is, from the Coptic Christians, who also include the Book of Enoch, probably because one of the NT writers quotes it.

    But that is another story.

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  35. Hello R.C.,

    In regards to your first comment of the day: I agree that most divorces are a sin in God’s eyes.

    I would like to respond to the following statement: “There is only one “out” for this sort of thing; namely, the possibility that the original marriage was never a true Christian “sacramental” marriage to begin with, but was only something lesser, like a civil union.”

    Actually, there’s another “out”, if you will. And only Jesus provided for that out, yet it seems to me that the Catholic Church likes to ignore Jesus. And what they are ignoring is the FACT that Jesus died for our sins; He paid the price for our sins. Yes, divorce in most cases is a sin, but for those who believe in Jesus and acknowledge their divorce as sin (repent), their sinful divorce is forgiven.

    Yes, divorce is wrong. But so is ignoring the grace of God and the incredible gift that Jesus gave us when He paid the penalty for our sins.

    I’m sorry… I’m just so frustrated with Catholic double talk. They re-define something, like calling a first “marriage” a “civil union”, just so they can avoid acknowledging that something is actually a sin. It’s like they’re trying to play Jesus and take away the sins of the world. The Catholic Church cannot erase sins; Jesus already did that.

    And regarding one of your final comments: “No wonder, then, when people hear Jesus’ teachings on marriage explained fully for the first time, they sound foreign or even absurd!”… it’s not Jesus’ teachings I find absurd; it’s those of the Catholic Church.

    I am sincerely sorry if my response seems harsh. It’s just that I’m frustrated with how the Catholic Church has developed these traditions that set themselves up as the governing power behind Christianity. But Jesus is in charge and no one else.

    Good luck,
    E.D.

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  36. Hello again R.C.,

    Regarding your second comment of the day, thank you very much. I too was hoping someone would come forward and offer an answer to Michelle’s question. And WOW, what an answer! I really appreciate your detailed response. Very fascinating. Thank you very much.

    Take care,
    E.D.

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  37. You’re welcome, E.D.

    In reply to your first reply to me, let me point something out: When you say that you feel the Catholic church is ignoring Jesus and making stuff up; well, yes, it sounds harsh as you say, but in the interests of intellectual honesty you have to state clearly what you actually think FIRST, and worry about how to phrase it as charitably as possible as a secondary matter. It should be as charitable as possibly up to and until, but not beyond, the point where the charitable trappings obscure the meaning of what you’re intending to convey.

    And I think you’ve done that okay, so don’t worry about the fact that, at the end of the day, it still sounds a little harsh. Better TRUE, and still a bit harsh-feeling, than not-at-all harsh, and a little less true.

    Having dealt with the “tone-of-voice” issue, let me reply more directly on point. Is the Catholic church “forgetting” Jesus, and His power to absolve us of the eternal guilt of our sin, in this matter?

    I don’t think she (the Church) is doing so, but I can see how you might get that impression. If you think of the issue as “Here is a married couple; one spouse has a child from a previous marriage, but got divorced and is now remarried. The divorce was a sin. Can’t Jesus just forgive the sin and make it like it never happened, so that this married couple can get on with having the sacraments of the Church? Instead of going through this annulment process, perhaps only to find at the end that the annulment cannot be granted because the original marriage was a true sacramental (and thus permanent) one? Isn’t saying, ‘Your sins are forgiven, go in peace’ more grace-filled than ‘Let’s investigate this whole thing’ and digging that uncomfortable past up again?”

    I think the answer to this is that Jesus graciously forgives sin when (a.) actual sin has occurred, and (b.) provided the sinner is actually repenting and not intending to persist in the same sin. This is not because Jesus’ power to forgive is constrained, but rather because humility and contrition and repentance and willingness to make restitution are, collectively, the act by which humans accept Jesus’ gift of forgiveness. Jesus gives and gives when He forgives and forgives…but we can accept or reject that gift.

    If we don’t humble ourselves in contrition, taking the attitude of a penitent who knows he needs forgiveness…or if we say we’re sorry but we actually intend as an act of will to persist in the same sin…or if the sin involved damage to our neighbor which it is quite in our power to rectify, but we refuse to do so, even part-way…in any of those cases, we are not really receiving Jesus’ grace but rejecting it, and the gift of forgiveness remains unopened under the Christmas tree, so to speak.

    Furthermore, there is a question of fact here. Was the first marriage sacramental; that is, an eternal joining created by God? If so, there was no actual divorce, for divorce from that sacramental state is impossible. And if there was no divorce, then the first marriage’s husband and wife are still husband and wife. If the spouse now in a second marriage knows that, yet continues to persist in relations with his/her second partner despite being actually still married to the first partner, then that is sin, and persistent sin, and forgiveness comes after the person makes the decision to stop sinning and repent. Until then, Jesus wants very much to offer forgiveness, but the sinner doesn’t want to receive it.

    But of course, the question of fact might work the other way (in fact, usually does). Was the first marriage non-sacramental? In that case divorce in God’s eyes was unnecessary, because marriage in God’s eyes did not exist. And that means that there was never anything to prohibit the second marriage in God’s eyes, either, and nothing to repent about the second marriage. Quite possibly this was all in ignorance of the distinction between sacramental and merely civil marriages, too…in which case, ignorance prevents guilt, so there was no guilt at all in the whole process save whatever uncharity caused the original breakup. What a relief to know that! …and possibly, to be able to objectively evaluate the uncharity that caused the original breakup, look back at it from an expanse of years, repent finally of it, perhaps apologize to the former (civil) spouse one last earnest time, and be absolved of the whole bad mess. That is often one of the best parts of the annulment process: The assistance in finally putting the past to bed, in a settled and resolved way, permanently.

    The concern of the Church, then, is that depending on which way the question of fact goes, they want either to encourage a sinner to repent or to assure them that the past is done and gone and forgiveness and resolution is finally complete. Very few divorces in our era reach that state, and it’s not good for us to have festering wounds still ragged for years.

    Anyhow, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. And of course it’s also a matter of the required honesty: Before one can say “ego te exculpo,” one must know exactly what happened; what was done wrong, and what is to be forgiven. Without that it’s not forgiveness, but rather a fancy way of sweeping sin under the rug, which isn’t healthy.

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  38. I married a man that is Catholic by culture (he is an athiest now) and as I have gotten to know his family (still Catholic and kickin’) I have learned that there is a spectrum to consider. Not all Catholics fall into the same category, some are more fanatical and extreme in their views than others. Some Catholics even question the Pope’s declaration that birthcontrol i sinful. So really when you are looking at Catholicism, it is useless to look at individuals and their beliefs because they can differ so much. For example, my husband’s family is VERY extreme. No birth control, no talking about any private parts, no public schooling, no meat on fridays, no voting for a politician that is not anti-abortion, not believing that the Vatican knowingly covered up the sex abuse within its ranks, wearing of protective charms and amulets, statues and pictures of Mary all over, and a view that if you are not Catholic then you are not truly saved. So there is one side of the spectrum. On the other is a dear friend of my mother’s: she believes very strongly in Jesus, is filled with love of everyone and unconditionally tries to serve (even people she may not particularly like), she was devastated by the sex abuse scandals, asks questions, tries to answer questions… Like I said, each individual or each family seems to be slightly different therefore it is best to turn your lense on the institution.
    I can appreciate and agree with the Church in that they believe Christ to be their savior who died for their sins… But I think that is about where it stops. All my research and all my questions that I have asked Catholics don’t quite add up. I get three different answers for the same question and all of them just sound confusing. I once asked my husband why Catholics praying to Mary isn’t considered to be blasphemy: “Well because it is just like asking a friend to pray for you. Same for praying to the Saints.” Another answer from a practicing Catholic was “As the mother of God Mary holds intercessory power” (please note that the Bible states VERY clearly that JESUS is the only intercessor between God and man) asking yet another practicing Catholic yielded this gem “It isn’t really praying, it’s more like talking to your mother. Just like having the pictures and statues of Mary isn’t worshipping her image, it’s just like keeping pictures of your mom.”
    Needless to say, I remain somewhat confused by it all. I chose to buy a copy of the Catechism and borrow my brother in law’s Vatican approved Bible. As I read through the Catechism, I compared it to the Bible (Catholic Bible) and then to the NIV. It is worth noting that aside from the Apocrypha, the Catholic Bible and the NIV line up pretty well. What didn’t fit in was the Catechism. The catechism sites scripture as its source, but my observation was that it picked and chose verses out of context to support things. An example is priests not being allowed to marry. There was a verse for that, but it was completely out of context. Historically speaking, priests used to be permitted to marry. Also historically speaking, the priest’s land and money would go to his eldest son upon his death. Still staying true here, the church did not like this. They wanted more land and money so declared that priests could not marry. This way they would inherit the deceased priest’s assets.
    This is something that I learned recently, courtesy of a documentary featuring Father Tom Doyle who is a canon lawyer as well as a theological historian.
    I do not doubt that most practicing Catholics are kind hearted individuals, but I also do not doubt that the Vatican is wrong. Any institution that elects a man who knowingly participated in sex abuse cover up as Pope loses a great deal of credibility (in my not so humble opinion). An institution that declares that penance (in other words, earning) is the way to salvation has turned from serving God towards having God serve them.
    I recommend for everyone a book called “The Christian Athiest: Believing In God But Living As Though He Doesn’t Exist” by Craig Groeschel. The author does an amazing job of explaining what it really is to be a Christian without coming across as scathing or fire and brimestone-y. My prayer is that people pursue truth and question everything and come to know my God who is so loving and forgiving and who showed his great compassion through His son Jesus.

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  39. Bear,
    Thank you for some really interesting comments.

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  40. It was sad to read that you consider your fathers enlightened decision to revert to the one true Faith in such a negative and envious manner.

    You state “this concept of the Catholic Church cleansing my father of past sins. There is no action by man that can clean someone of their sins,” is riddled with unhappiness and feelings of desertion. Joining the CATHOLIC church would help you too, as your father will attest.
    Further, the only man who is qualified to save your soul and forgive any sin is the priest of the CATHOLIC church. He is Gods own representative within his parish and has the power to make your father whole and save him from eternal damnation.

    You also state
    “This is one of many Catholic rules and traditions that have been handed down from past generations.”

    Precisely, only the CATHOLIC church can trace its roots back to Jesus and His Apostles acting as his emissionaries on earth. Please understand this. God will forgive you but only if you see the fatal error of your ways before it is too late.

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  41. Hello p.l.s.
    Wow, there is so much about your comment I wish to respond to. First of all, I’m not at all envious of my father’s decision; if anything, I’m concerned about him. I believe he’s being deceived by the Catholic Church.
    For example, you say that, “…the only man who is qualified to save your soul and forgive any sin is the priest of the CATHOLIC church.” This is a huge deception. The truth is, the only man qualified to save someone’s soul and forgive them is Jesus Christ. But for some reason, the Catholic Church likes to ignore Jesus.
    Maybe this is why you apparently misunderstood my previous statement about “no action by man can clean someone of their sins.” Only Jesus can clean us of our sins, and that truth is not at all filled with unhappiness and feelings of desertion, as you say. The truth of Jesus Christ should fill us with joy and feelings of love, and that truth is that only He can clean us of our sins, only He can save our souls, and only Jesus Christ can forgive our sins. And the best part is this: all we need do to receive these incredible gifts is believe in this truth of Jesus, and in our heart say we are sorry for our sins (i.e., repent). Salvation comes from faith alone; not from works or affiliation with a particular church.
    The Catholic Church as gone too far in overstepping the authority given them by God. My hope is that the Catholic Church and all those who choose to follow them, will see their own fatal error, before it’s too late.

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  42. As a former Baptist, I struggled with God as to where to put me. I had no idea of Church History and no idea as to where each Church received their authority.

    I have a challenge for everyone here….

    Find out about history. Read a history book… then look at your own church. Where is the authority from. Why can Pastor Danny of So & So Church teach something so opposite of This & That Church?

    Find out how many Protestant Churches there are? What is their history? Where did they break away from and why?

    How old is the Bible you read? Is it the original Bible that the early Church put together. Oh and by the way…. Who put the Bible together.

    You will more than likely after research and prayer fight with God over His true Church – The Catholic and Orthodox Churches. They are the Only True Churches that can claim their faith, traditions, and laws were handed straight down from the apostles. Can your church claim that?

    Jesus prayed that his followers would be one…. Is your Christian Church in full communion with other Protestant Churches? I assume not.

    Also – What does the Bible say is the pillar and foundation of all truth? The Bible? Nope – the Church…..

    Good Luck, its a wonderful and scarey journey home, but when you get there you will be so full of peace and understanding.

    Blessings to you my brothers and sisters……

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  43. Hello Lori,
    Thanks for commenting. I am compelled to respond to a couple of your statements.
    First, what does the bible say is the one true church? Paul has a lot to say about this, as follows:
    “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22) and, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) and, “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” (Hebrews 3:6)
    God’s house, God’s dwelling, God’s temple, God’s “church” is the collection of Spirit-filled believers. The true church of Jesus Christ is not some man-made organization filled with a collection of man-made traditions.
    And to another of your statements I wish to comment on: yes, 1 Timothy 3:15 does refer to the church as “the pillar and foundation of the truth.” And as I’ve pointed out above, the church is made up of Spirit-filled believers. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the pillar and foundation of the truth. And by the way, neither Peter (as the RCC claims) nor any other apostle is the foundation of the church. Only Jesus Christ can claim that honor. Yet as seems all to common, the RCC tends to ignore Jesus by trying to put themselves in His place.
    Why does does the RCC have this tendency? For the same reason there are so many different Protestant denominations with sometimes vastly differing beliefs. It all boils down to the original sin… pride, ego, self-centeredness. Unfortunately for all of us, part of our human nature is to be self-centered and prideful. This is why people tend to pervert the truth of Jesus Christ and customize it with their man-made beliefs and traditions. And the RCC goes so far as to state that their traditions are to be considered equal to God’s word: “As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (Catechism 82)
    The solution lies in humility, and absolute surrender to the Holy Spirit, not in some man-made institution.

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  44. E.D. –

    Thanks so much for your repsonse. I do know that what you say and how you say it comes straight from believing you are “saving” others from something you really know nothing about. It puts a smile on my face to know that somewhere in you, you will fight with God about this whole subject – because I was you at one time.

    Well, you definitely proved my point on a number of my comments.

    1. Who gives YOU the authority to call The Catholic or Orthodox Church a man made religion?

    2. If not for “traditions” how would we even be able to have Christian Churches in the first place?

    3. The Holy Scriptures were put together almost 4 centuries after Christ died. Many, many, many catholics died for your Bible that you use to tell me Catholisism is wrong.

    4. How many of our Church Fathers have you read? You cannot claim that the Catholic Church is “man-made” when it is the only one (as well as our Orthodox brothers and sisters) that can claim its roots straight from Our Lord.

    Read John chapter 6. Read it a few times. Pray about it as you read it. Ask our Precious Lord to guide you as well as the Holy Spirit as to what He wants you to hear…..

    You are on your way… as well as many others of you on this thread. Jesus prayed that we would all be one. He gets what He wants because its out of His Love and Blood.

    Consider your reply. I know what you are going through.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you… And give you peace…..

    Lori

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  45. Hi again Lori,
    Thanks for your additional comments and advice. Knowing that I am definitely fallible and that I am not always correct in my thinking, I will take the time to carefully consider what you have said. With lots of prayer, I expect the Holy Spirit will give me clarity as to what the truth is, for all truth comes from the Spirit.
    When I feel clarity of the truth, I will respond to your latest comments.
    Sincerely,
    E.D.

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  46. oh boo
    whine a little more about your fathers happiness.
    youre like a 4 year old with advanced language skills

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  47. Anonymous,
    Where did that comment come from? Is there something else that’s bothering you? Maybe it’s my 4 year old mind, but I really don’t understand what your point is, if you’re trying to make one. But since I really am interested in what’s on your mind, if you like, please try again.
    E.D.

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  48. The issue is really sensitive. A lot of facts were already thrown by people commenting on this article and I’m just a bit shocked and stunned

    with the comments that they provide. They are all very helpful but some of them are pointing out that RCC is bitter which is actually not a

    good thing. Just please don’t dwell on blaming the Catholic Church for this mess because in the first place there should be no issue if you’re

    father would have been loyal
    The problem is not with the church but primarily with your family. We all follow rules, laws and whatsoever doctrines and it shouldn’t be

    judged just because you’ve became ” born again” then you will just simply speak as if you know everything.

    If you can’t stand then do not push yourself to be part of it. Human problem is that we always look into other people’s flaws and not minding

    the core mistake.
    If you’re not yet sure to get marry then stay single so as not to blame RC with this kind of mess which is obviously out of LUST and PRIDE.

    Love is not a matter of finding the right person but building the right relationship based on respect, trust and understanding. It’s really a

    nonsense relationship if you’ll take a vow in the church with all your heart then just file your divorce decades after. Good thing, aside from

    the Vatican City, divorce is still not legal in my country.

    ” LET HE WHO WITHOUT SIN BE THE FIRST TO CONDEMN”

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  49. Why won’t you just create new stuffs and not post things discriminating Catholic ways. We all have different ways of believing and what

    shows right now is that you wanted people reading your articles to stoop down Catholicism as well. Is that how your religion mold you to

    become? I thought you’re already born again but why is it that you’re simply showing lots of negative criticisms.

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  50. Well, Jesus said I would be persecuted for standing up for His Truth. So I will not challenge the criticisms leveled against me. My focus is the truth of God, as recorded in the bible. When I see practices that are counter to God’s truth, such as the topic of this blog post, then I choose to defend God’s truth. And for some, my approach obviously comes across as criticism to the things they hold dear.
    We all have choices to make. Peter and John had a choice to make when they were called before the Sanhedrin and told to no longer talk about Jesus. Peter & John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.” (Acts 4:19)
    I choose to obey God, rather than man-made rules and traditions.

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  51. LUKE”I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! …Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division…You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? “Why do you not judge for yourselves what in right?…″Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock…(You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church)… But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand…When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
    And who put the first Bible together? And if the Bible is always correct, why do two of the versions from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John even differ on such a small thing as the inscription placed above Jesus head on the cross? Which is correct? Or are neither? Does It matter? My children, we are all children of God. He is a Just and Forgiving God. He will forgive our transgressions but being a “just God” he will insure that he doles out justice.Every time that a new ‘prophet’ arrises, God’s household is divided, again and again. This will continue until the end of time because of human pride and weakness. Nobody wants to be wrong. Everyone must strive to be ‘right’ in their interpretations.

    Even when Jesus, at the last supper, stated ” do this in memory of me”. What was he talking about? The meal, the forgiving of his “bad” disciple, the communion, praying,… Does it matter? It all matters.
    It all matters. There is life after death my brothers and sisters. There are souls in heaven. One of the men crucified with Jesus, Mary, Lazarus, etc. Can we call on these souls and ask them to intercede for us, to ask God to look kindly on us. Is this praying to them or asking for their assistance? Are there husbands and wives in heaven or are we going to be there only to praise God for all eternity with no ties to humanity whatsoever? In ‘John’, when Jesus said, ‘Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Was that just for his disciples or to all of us? Does that give me the authority to retain someones sin against me, but by the same measure, I will also be judged by the same standard that I use? Thus if I am “forgiving of all” then I will be “forgiven by all”. Does believing in Jesus grant me eternal life or eternal life in my father’s kingdom? Are my actions going to determine what type of eternal life I live? Are there different “levels” of eternal life? If not, then why did Jesus make those comments to the convict on the cross.What is the difference between being in Paradise and being seated next to God? There is a difference and some places are reserved. If an angel says the Mary is “Blessed”, can I call her blessed?
    My brothers and sisters, we are no prophets. We have been called to life to bring glory and praise to God. That is all. We are not here to judge churches and each other. Our mind cannot explain things of heaven or expect to interpret them. If being baptized by a meer human, if Jesus had not come, if the Shroud of Turin is not the image of Christ my Savior, if the Blessed Mary and Lazarus cannot help me from Paradise, if holy men such as the apostles cannot assist me when I ask for help, if women such as Clare (whose earthly body has not corrupted) cannot help me enter the Eternal Kingdom, if keeping images of relatives, friends and others is bad, if only saying Jesus is my Lord and Savior by mouth and not works saves me, then everything matters. We must strive everyday to be holy for “much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” EARTHLY THINGS DON”T MATTER. Arguing about them does.

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  52. I’m a Catholic and I blog/podcast about Catholic teaching. I’m comfortable doing so because I have learned a fair amount about Catholicism and work to learn more. I do not write or speak about other religions, sports, politics, or any other topic because I frankly don’t know enough about those subjects that I would dare ask another to take my opinion on them.

    From the original post I’m pretty sure you’re not well informed about the actual Catholic teaching on annulments or the process by which a person becomes Catholic. I know you admit this; but then why post it? For example, why tell the world that “The implication is that you cannot join the Catholic Church unless you have no visible sins attached to you” and go on to say a person cannot become Catholic unless they are “sinless” when you aren’t sure this is what Catholics believe?

    Catholics believe baptism (the first Sacrament received) washes away all repented of previous sins. Why would we require a person to be sinless before they receive a Sacrament that removes all sin?

    There must be some other reason for the Church seeking your father’s annulment. The reason you stated is illogical so there must be (and is) another one.

    You’re perfectly entitled to disagree with the Church’s actual reasoning and teaching; but please don’t misrepresent what the Church teaches in such a public way.

    I’m not explaining the Church teachings I’ve mentioned because someone else probably already has and because this comment is long enough as it is.

    Thank you.

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  53. We as Catholics do NOT believe the priest is our way to salvation- as you so put. We look to the priest as a ‘helper’ in a sense to ‘represent’ Jesus , and lead us closer to him! I try to understand all the Catholic faith- having been Catholic my whole life. I read all these arguments, and although many of them are valid comments and thoughts, many of them are actually written incorrectly. I find it amazing- those who bash the Catholic faith, actually know little about it. You have been pointed out the reasons for the annulment- according to the Catholic faith. Yet you choose to still stick to your own beliefs. We do not feel we can wipe sin away, or choose to ignore it, as you said. However, we do believe we should continually strive to rid ourselves of any and all sin- in order to be closer to Jesus- who deserves a pure heart. I understand your reason for being upset. I also understand why you think some of the things you do. I am not asking you to convert to Catholicism, that is everyone’s own personal journey. However, what I do not understand is how you could bash and continually put down others beliefs in faith (whether an organized religion or not) especially when you do not know the meanings behind these things- or why they are done the way they are. We as Catholics stand strong and united for a reason. We are happy with our choices, and we know why we do the things we do. If anyone else wants to know- just ask. In my eyes, with all this bashing- I have to wonder- is Jesus really in your heart? Not condeming you, just curious. Maybe you need to look to him more- and he will show you the answers.

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  54. Pssst…………Its all a lot of hokum…………….smoke and mirrors.

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  55. Lost in all the malarkey is where the Bible “fundamentalists” “Bible-Christians” etc. cling to came from. A King James Bible didn’t just fall out of the sky upon our Lord’s Ascension & evil Catholics have been trying to manipulate it ever since; that’s garbage, but it plays well in some congregations.

    Humans wrote the New Testament, well after Jesus at that. Humans mess up. People need to relax & love one another as Jesus said to.

    How about people use faith that is not predicated on knocking down someone else’s.

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  56. An annulment basically states that the marriage never existed….which, if you ask me, is a bunch of cr*p, because clearly the marriage existed. My mom was Catholic when she married my dad, but they got married in a Methodist church. After 25 years of marriage, they got a divorce. A number of years later, my mom remarried, but the marriage didn’t work. Again, a number of years after THAT, she got married again. She then decided to start going back to the Catholic church, and asked about having her current marriage blessed. The church said she had to first have her marriage from my dad annulled. Now you tell me, how could the church possibly come along and state that her first marriage to my dad didn’t exist when the RCC DOES recognize the validity of marriages that don’t take place within a Catholic Church?? Her marriage to my dad lasted 25 years!!!! And she had my brother and myself with my dad. Jesus said “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder”. Whether it’s called a “divorce” or an “annullment”, the RCC put asunder my mom’s and dad’s marriage!!!

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    • Rob,

      First off I get how confusing that is and it must be pretty painful to experience. To understand this I suggest doing some reading (the Catechism is a good place to start) on what the RCC thinks “marriage” is. The Church doesn’t deny that your parents had a 25-year relationship. The Church doesn’t even deny that they had a 25-year legal marriage. What the Church says (assuming your mom got the annulment) is that they did not have a “sacramental” marriage.

      To be sacramental (or “valid”) then several conditions have to be met. These are assumed to be met when the wedding happens but it may be that they weren’t (that’s the point of the annulment process; to determine if the requirements for a valid marriage were met). The RCC considers marriage between baptized non-Catholics to be valid if their church considers them valid. So if the non-Catholic baptized belong to a church that recognizes weddings performed while skydiving then the RCC also recognizes that marriage. This is done out of respect of the other church.

      I’m sure there’s a lot of frustration with the situation and you’re looking for someone to blame but the RCC didn’t “put asunder” your mom and dad’s marriage. What it did was determine that the conditions for a valid/sacramental marriage were not met. This is exactly what your mom must’ve asked for (investigations aren’t opened unless one of the spouses requests it).

      As a director of RCIA I see this a LOT and I know it’s hard to grasp how this process is loving, charitable, or even good. I’ve had people leave the program because they couldn’t enter the RCC without an annulment and didn’t want to get one. It’s painful all around. I’m sure this sounds hollow but I’ll say it anyway because I believe it sincerely; the RCC’s stance on marriage, remarriage, divorce, and annulments all come from faithfulness to exactly the passage you referenced; what God has joined no man can separate. It’s not done to make money or to punish people, or any of the other reasons people put out there.

      God bless,

      Dan

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  57. They’ll let anyone back in the church. They need the members and money.

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  58. they weren’t trying to get rid of all his sins so he could join. the catholic church doesn’t believe in divorce, and therefore still saw your parents as married. however, an annulment basically says that the marriage never happened. obviously since your dad had already married someone else he didn’t want the church thinking he was still married to your mom and that’s why he was trying to get an annulment before joining. the reason the church probably let it go is because they didn’t have a catholic marriage. if you don’t register your marriage with the church or whatever then you’re married legally, but you don’t have a catholic marriage recognized by the church, and therefore don’t have to get an annulment if you ever get divorced.

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  59. my parents were married for 10 years before they decided to make it an official catholic marriage because they wanted to make sure they wouldn’t get divorced.

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  60. Have any of you ever been educated? Cuz if you have you would know the theology beging all I this and that everything the church does dates back to the beginning of Christianity.

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  61. Um, wow. This is so false. You have no real understanding of the RCC, so how can you speak as if what you are saying is truth? I won’t try to defend or correct the false things you’ve said, but just take it as a lesson to never speak of another group of believers as if I understand their beliefs.

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  62. Hello Jen,
    You’re absolutely correct… I don’t understand the beliefs of the RCC. All I know is this: what I hear from the RCC doesn’t match what I ready in the bible. My response to the RCC is like Peters response to the Sanhedrin, when commanded not to do as Jesus had instructed them:
    “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.” (Acts 4:19)
    I choose God.

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    • I get a huge kick out of Christians using the Bible…….the same Bible that the Catholic church inspired by the Holy Spirit took years to put together, to prove catholicism wrong. Monks spent years and years handwriting it, saints would burn or be tortured in order to preserve it, and still Christians today will be strong enough to say that a 2000 year old faith is wrong. Even Jesus told peter the gates of hell would not prevail against it! Wow! Can any other protestant denomination claim that? No way! What did Jesus say was the pillar and foundation of all truth? The Bible? Nope…..the church. People need to stop being sheeple and really start testing the spirits.

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  63. What came first; the chicken or the egg? A tough question to answer.
    What came first; the Catholic Church, or Jesus? According to some of the comments on this post, it seems like many believe the Catholic Church came first.
    Yet the truth is this: Jesus walked the earth and proclaimed His word before there was a formalized church. Also, according to what I read in the bible, the true “church”, as Jesus intended, is not a building or an organization. As Paul said, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
    The true “church” are all Spirit-filled believers. The temple (church) is where God resides, and “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” (Acts 17:24)
    So yes, it is reasonable to “use” the bible to refute the Catholic Church, or any church for that matter. For God’s word pre-dates all existing Christian churches.

    Liked by 1 person

  64. I loved your comment, do they think GOD will close his eyes because they choose to awesome.

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  65. God is too big- wonderful – powerful- just – and forgiving ( that’s the short list) for any ONE religion.
    Your post is so clear and readily understandable to me, one who once practiced Catholic and who now attempts to practice THE WORD.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. CJ – I was thinking about your blog just yesterday and how I thought I missed a God moment. When you liked my blog post the first time, this post was one of the ones the notice highlighted. It was the third, and I noticed it was old, so I let it go. Today, it was listed first, and I felt like God nudged me a little harder. You may be done with this post, but if you’re not, I would highly recommend getting a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, many teachings and practices are misinterpreted, misunderstood, and misrepresented, and sometimes by the very people who are trying to practice them. They just don’t know, or don’t understand. They’re human, not perfect, that’s for sure. Go to the source and see what it says. Try not to focus on any “trigger” words, but read what is truly being said. It is generally well thought out and beautiful. I’m sorry that the annulment was mixed up in your father’s conversion – it is not a requirement to enter the church, and the children of an annulled marriage are not considered to be illegitimate in any way. I’m sure they were just trying to get a lot of things done in one fell swoop, since they were already in the process anyway. God bless your search and may you be filled with His light and His peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Pingback: Standing up for Jesus | His Truth Will Set You Free

  68. I tried reading most of this, but had to stop. There is a lot of resentment here and a lot of harsh assumptions about The Church, and that bothers me. But more than that, I’m deeply saddened that you and your family were hurt by this paperwork process so much. I’m sorry that happened in such a way, or that you felt that it implies you and your siblings are illegitimate. I can see how the formality certainly would cause you pain– it’s a final rejection of the love of your parents’ marriage. You and your siblings were the wonderful product of that, even if it didn’t last forever.

    I don’t consider divorce a sin, but a tragedy. It hurts everyone, but it’s a fact of modern times. People marry for many reasons– and love does not promise compatibility. But the fact that your father was welcomed into our family is the most important thing– he is now part of the living Body of Christ. I wish you could see that as the positive and defining aspect of this process.

    I am no Bible scholar or theologian, but I am a cradle Catholic. I’m glad your father still joined us. And I also appreciate the hope it must have given you to see signs of faith in your father when he didn’t previously have any. I know the pain of seeing Atheists or those struggling with faith as they try to work out what they believe, or don’t. I think the fact that he went through so much is a wonderful testament to his love for your step-mother and her influence on him. But could you look at it as a sign of respect from The Church, to include your mother and acknowledge her marriage to your father? Ultimately it’s just legal closure, but I understand your mother being upset and I respect her decision to not participate, given the way you and your siblings felt about it.

    Also, I disagree with your assumption that you need to be free of sin to join us. We are not about pretending we’re holy– that’s why we have Confession. It’s an opportunity for us to discuss our struggles and yes, sins, with a priest– and receive forgiveness. It’s a beautiful sacrament. It’s meant for us to find relief– not to feel judged. We are given a Penance, and we do that with humility. It’s the act of repenting that matters. We are understood to be sinners by nature, as humans. And we do not disregard Christ– that’s why we receive Him in Holy Communion, which we believe IS the body and blood of Christ.

    No one believes more in Jesus Christ than The Church. But we also believe in God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Mary, who helps intercede for her son.

    I’m sorry you hate The Church so much. I hope you find some peace with it.

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  69. Many of you are extremely judgmental and without proper knowledge. Hate only comes from the evil one thereby distorting your understanding that creates division. You are so blind by the evil one that you cannot see but your own pride. I am disappointed by this website. I thought it would be a place to find consolation instead it does not heal but fosters hate. How sad… our struggles and crosses in life can make us wounded healers not destroyers as I have seen in this website. Tell me…what would Jesus say about your comments?

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    • Hello. I am sincerely sorry that my words came across as hateful. I agree, that back in 2009, I wasn’t feeling very graceful. Yet my purpose has never changed… all I want to do is testify to the truth of Jesus. Thankfully, over the past five years, though my purpose hasn’t changed, my words have softened, I believe. Also thankfully, just as Jesus forgave my dad for his divorce from my mom, Jesus has also forgiven me for any words of mine that were not filled with His grace. And I’m so grateful.

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  70. The annulment of your parents’ marriage does not make your sister and you illegitimate. The annulment enables your father’s second marriage to be blessed by the Church.

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  71. friends arguing about religion is the thing of the past.
    be focus and do your best as believer.

    relegate contrast things to the background and stay up

    Liked by 1 person

  72. One of my favorite poems that God gave me is this:

    It’s either God
    we try to please,
    or some form
    of the Pharisees.

    Many churches and religions are still selling “indulgences” (a black mark in Catholicism’s history) and in doing so, hinder the return of His children to Him instead of facilitating it. Should we do as we please and then ask forgiveness of Catholic priest (or Christian minister) or shall we ask permission of God (in prayer) BEFORE acting? If we believe the Holy Spirit is truly guiding us, we will ask permission and guidance OF GOD before sinning and we will start to sin a whole lot less. When you are born again (meet Jesus), you are forgiven but the ability to “sin no more” comes from our intimate daily HUMBLE checking-in with the Counselor and Comforter. Praise be to God for such grace and mercy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  73. Divorce…annullment…two diferent words…same result. The end of a marriage.

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  74. Agreed completely. Jesus set the tone for acceptance and forgiveness. Somehow the Catholic Church in which I was brought up believes that human powers can decide who has sinned, whether or not they are forgiven, and whether or not they deserve a life of eternity in heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  75. Thank you CJ. I am very into how man has interpreted the Bible to suit their purposes. People need to wake up to that fact. Great blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  76. You know that in the catechism of the Catholic church it teaches that you can become god’s.

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