A letter from a Catholic for and Ex-Catholic

ConfessionHello Marta,

Hope you are fine? I have tried to answer your questions as much as I can. God bless you always. Amen. All those who continue to question our Catholic Faith I say to them, “Ignorance of Scripture, is ignorance of Christ.” (St. Jerome, Father and Doctor of the Church)

My friend’s cousin said that:

All sins will be forgiven by God, however bad it is, but God will still forgive us without us having to confess our sins to a priest or even when we do not feel sorry for it. The effect of sin is not to God but to ourselves. To God, everything is already done.

All sins will be forgiven by God, however bad it is

This is very true; God is always ready to forgive us our sins if and only if we repent and are ready to confess them.

but God will still forgive us without us having to confess our sins to a priest or even when we do not feel sorry for it.

SORRY to disappoint your friend’s cousin, but God demands that we confess our sins and repent as well.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10 RSV)

About confessing to priests, let’s see what the Bible says or at least suggests.

“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” (James 5:16 RSV)

It says, “Therefore confess your sins to one another” we as Christians can’t go on confessing our sins to just anybody. I can’t go to an unbeliever or a child or a madman to let him hear my many sins. NO! This is not what St. James is saying. There must be certain people whom we can confess to I guess? Well, YES! Not just anybody but may be a priest as we Catholics believe and obey? Let’s see more Biblical proves as to how true this practice really is.

“But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he then said to the Paralytic–“rise, take up your bed and go home.”” (Matthew 9:6 RSV) Wow! So Jesus [Bar Adam/Ben HaAdam] Son of Man has power here on earth to forgive sins? This is what the Scripture is saying. Ok.

Also, After Christ Jesus death and resurrection, He came to His disciplines to tell them a secret I guess? 🙂 Let’s see…

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”” (John 20:19-23 RSV)

Note that He “breathed on them,” something similar to what God (the Father) did to man during the creation.  It read, “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7 RSV) Also, Jesus said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” These words of our Lord are not just any sayings, He meant every word He said and He would not send the Apostles to forgive sins if no one would confess to them. The Apostles no matter how discerned they were certainly were not mind readers.  Oral confessions were necessary for the forgiveness of sins.

and then my friend said, that means that [everyone] who believes in Jesus will go to Heaven then?

And his cousin answered:

Oh yeah, of course. The flesh is the one that’s sinful not the spirit. Spirits have a union with God that cannot be separated. Like we know Our Trinity God that’s one, “spirit, flesh, soul” is also one union.

There really is great confusion out there. Hmm. Sorry not everyone who believes in Jesus would go to heaven. If faith alone (Sola fide) or the belief in Jesus is the only requirement for ones salvation then I would love you to ask your friend’s cousin this question below:

“If faith in Jesus Christ is the only requirement for our eternal salvation and the visa to heaven then isn’t it irrelevant to love God and our neighbour?” If he says “Yes” then he seriously contradicts Scripture and make Jesus Christ the Truth itself a liar. (cf. Mark 12:30-31; Matthew 22:37-40) On the other hand, if he says “No” then he contradicts his new belief and needs to repent and follow Christ words seriously. Thank you.

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:21-27 RSV)

Spirits have a union with God that cannot be separated.

Well, it is quite true that we are made up of flesh and Spirit/Soul. It is not a separate entity but the same substance in different capacity. This might sound confusing too many. Yeah the Trinity itself could be as simple as ABC or as complex as the universe.

“For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 DRB)

It is however a falsehood to say, “Spirits have a union with God that cannot be separated.” From the Sacred Scriptures we know that some angels who by their very nature as spirit got separated from God. Let’s see…

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.'(Isaiah 14:12-14 RSV)

“And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18 RSV)

“And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6 RSV)

“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12:7-9 RSV)

His cousin said we don’t have to use sign of the cross when we are going to pray, even in the Bible, Jesus didn’t teach about it.

Well, I don’t even remember the Bible mentioning the word “Bible” anywhere in the Bible. Very sad argument from him again 😦 Let’s open our eyes widely and see some few illustrations from the Great Apostle St. Paul.

“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23 RSV)

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2 RSV)

I sometimes wonder why St. Paul would be preaching “Christ crucified,” doesn’t he know that Christ is risen and alive? Yes, he knows that better than any of us, yet he does not preach “Christ risen” but “Christ crucified”. Why? This is because there is power in the cross of Christ Jesus. We Catholics know this very well and always love to remind ourselves of this great act of love by God who became man, reconciling us to Himself through the person of Christ Jesus. (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18) The sign of the Cross is a reminder for both the death of Christ for our sins and the reality of the Blessed Trinity in Unity.

Btw, in this Protestant church, they have what is so-called as a Eucharist where they eat bread too and they think of this bread as Jesus himself. Is it really possible for that to happen? I mean the consecration to be done by [someone] other than the priest?

Nope! They do eat bread, but as we Catholics believe they don’t have a valid priesthood in the first place, meaning whatever they say before breaking of the bread allegedly the Eucharist is simply a practical joke. It is not really the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Most non-Catholic Christians believe this act is just symbolic anyway 🙂

I have another question..one of my junior said, Protestant and Catholic is not different at all. We all believe in Jesus. And Jesus doesn’t see us as different. Then why are we seeing each other as different? Even God doesn’t mind that.

Hmm. Good question. In the spirit of ecumenism we might say we all are the same in a sense. However, practically and theoretically, we have differences and similarities.

Lutherans consider baptism essential, while Quakers do not. Baptists consider an “adult” profession of faith to be an essential requirement for baptism, while Presbyterians do not. Presbyterians consider the predestination of the elect to be an essential doctrine but Free Methodists do not. Nazarenes consider personal holiness an essential requirement for salvation, while Lutherans do not. Calvinists consider the “irresistability of grace” an essential belief, while Lutherans do not. Episcopalians consider sacraments essential, but the Salvation Army does not. It’s a great mess and confusion out there, but we still trust in the prayer of KING JESUS CHRIST in the Gospel of St. John below:

“And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:11 RSV)

“And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:19-23 RSV) AMEN.

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