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Friday, October 5, 2007

Hopes for Catholic Grandmas

From Candy's Blog:

Q Candy, my grandma is 91 years old a devout roman catholic. Over the years we have clashed- not really clashed, but tiffed, over certain points. She thinks it's horrifying that I haven't baptized my children while babies. My 2 oldest chose baptism at church camp, and I tried explaining to her how I thought it should be an informed, conscious decision by one who has accepted Christ. But that's just one thing among many. I'm sure I don't need to tell you all we've argued over.
What would you say to someone (me) who has an elderly relative entrenched in Catholicism? I am not as proficient with scripture as you seem to be, I don't want to hurt grandma's feelings...in short- how should I interact with her when she confronts me about why I am no longer Catholic (grew up going to mass but never stayed with it into adulthood) or going to catholic church? -Shannon


My answer to Shannon:
First of all Shannon, praise God that you have the privilege and the honor to know and love your 91-year-old grandmother. Not everyone has that honor and you should be extremely grateful. 91 years is a longtime. She survived two world wars and the depression. No doubt she has known more than her fair share of hard times and sorrow. For that alone she deserves your kindness and respect in her old age. She certainly deserves it!

Certainly her faith in Jesus Christ has given her strength and perseverance through all that she has experienced. Regardless of what "denomination" she is in, surely you have seen evidence of her life in Jesus Christ. She must have done something right for your parent to have also grown to love the Lord and then transmit that on to you! "Teaching a child in the way he/she should go" isn't always an easy thing to do and it seems your grandmother has sort of succeeded with two generations

So why don't you just leave the poor woman alone? Why do you persecute her in her infirmity. You say you are not as well versed in scripture, but certainly even you have heard of the commandment to honor your mother and father, and certainly that extends to your loving and loyal grandparents. If you are so insecure in your own walk with Christ that's your problem, but I think you are dishonoring as well as hurting your grandmother to keep picking on her. I find that shameful.


Even more shameful is Candy's comment back. But I have to remind myself from reading Candy's Bio that she's had a lot of hurt in her own life as well, and she seems to have some issues with her parenting as well. I think that colors her answer here. Each of us should make an effort to pray a rosary for Candy in front of the blessed Sacrament whenever we get the opportunity.

A The next time your grandmother asks you why you're no longer a RC, just tell her you've read the Bible, straight and all of the way through. Offer to have a Bible study with her, and see if this helps. You need to keep her in your prayers daily. Also, she may not be saved, as I've found in my personal discussions with RCs that their definition of being saved and the Bible's are two different things.

What this translates to is the Roman Catholic's definition of being saved is different from Candy's interpretation of what the Bible says. Apparently agreeing with her definition of being saved is something added on to faith in order to be saved!




She may know the terminology of Christianity, but may be thinking a different definition in her head than what the Bible's definition is. Also, like all cults, Roman Catholicism takes scriptures out of context, and redefines their meanings for a lot of their beliefs.


This is actually a brilliant stand to take because then whatever biblical reply or answer you try to give, Candy can say it's taken out of context or has been redefined. With that in mind then she never EVER has to listen to a biblical exegesis from a Catholic!


They also tend to read a part of scripture, and come away with the incorrect reading, because they didn't read further on, to find out what the scripture actually meant.

I think it's pretty clear from my article on the Eucharist that not only do we read further, but the catechises on the Eucharist encompasses the entire bible!


You also need to drive home the fact the sincerity will not get anyone into heaven if they are wrong.

But wait! I thought you just had to have faith!!? Now you have to have faith, agree with her definition of salvation and you can't be sincere? There seems to be a list of things you need to have to get into heaven!!




You can be the most sincere, devout person in the world, but if you haven't accepted God's free gift the way the BIBLE says to, then you are sincerely going to hell.


Um... doesn't sincerety and devotion imply a faith in Jesus Christ? So now you have to have faith, accept in her interpretation, not be too sincere and accept the free gift.

In fact, it is highly likely, and quite sad to say, but highly likely, that Mother Theresa is in hell right now. Good works will never get one into heaven.


But I thought faith was supposed to, and faith without works is dead. I guess Mother Theresa was too sincere and never had the opportunity to read Candy's blog. I also thought the bible said that we weren't supposed to judge who was saved and who wasn't. I don't think Candy was given the right to discern that.


Neither will tradition or Popes (Peter was NOT a pope. The first pope didn't appear on the scene until the Dark Ages.)

Been there done that already, here.

25 comments:

Faithful Catholic said...

Elena,

I'm starting to think getting to heaven could be like going to one great big surprise party. I hope and pray my invitation isn't retracted because I soooo want to see the faces when people see Blessed Mother Teresa chatting with our Lord! If and when I get there, I'm sure she'll have already been canonized a Saint.
The "candy's bio" link didn't work. I suspect it's been removed. Do you have it saved somewhere? I would be very curious to read that bio.

Kelly said...

Have you seen the episode of The Simpsons where Bart and Homer become Catholic? There is a part where Marge goes to heaven and finds that she is in Protestant heaven, where there are a bunch of WASPS playing croquet.

When she asks where Jesus is, she is told that He has "gone native." She looks over at Catholic heaven, where the Italians are eating and drinking, the Irish are brawling, and the South Americans are having a big fiesta with Jesus partying in the middle.

You can see the clip on You Tube, if you search. It's very funny. Well, if you're Catholic. (Don't watch it, Amy!)

I noticed one of the guys in Catholic heaven was wearing a Notre Dame shirt. *sigh* Maybe when we're in heaven, Notre Dame will actually be able to win a game.

Faithful Catholic said...

Kelly,

This is totally off topic, and maybe too personal so I would understand if you didn't answer but, your picture looks vaguely familiar to me. Have you ever lived in the D.C. area?

Kelly said...

Nope, sure haven't! :)

Erika S. said...

"In fact, it is highly likely, and quite sad to say, but highly likely, that Mother Theresa is in hell right now. Good works will never get one into heaven."

- I really do not understand what she is saying here. If you do good works you are going to hell??? How does she know what went on in Mother Teresa's head/heart. WOW I think Candy is the most self-righteous person that I have ever "seen".

Mary said...

In her bio she states she officiated her own wedding. how do you do that?

Faithful Catholic said...

Only God knows our hearts. Only God knows who will or will not be welcomed into eternal life.

If we have God's grace, what is in our hearts and souls will be manifested outwardly in how we treat each other and how we live our lives.

Mother Teresa lived her entire life living her calling to serve the Lord in all with whom she came into contact. For anyone to speculate that she could be in Hell, is truly presumptuous and evil spirited. Faith without works is dead. Despite "revelations" of Mother Teresa's long spiritual dry period, clearly her faith in the Lord remained as evident in her lengthy and loving care of the least of our brothers. Anyone can say what they will about "works" but I know the Lord called us to love one another as He has loved us. Love is not just a feeling. Love is an act. Spiritual and corporal works of mercy are necessary to live as Jesus commanded us. There is no way "good works" could send one to hell. Again, we Catholics are quite clear that works alone won't get us to heaven. We are saved by grace through faith and works. Works are an expression of our faith in the love and sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Faithful Catholic said...

I just tried the "candy's bio" link again and it worked this time.

Wow, that was enlightening!

Kelly said...

"In her bio she states she officiated her own wedding. how do you do that?"

They weren't legally married, at least initially. I couldn't tell by what her husband wrote if they got legally married a few years later or not.

In the Catholic Church, we are married by exchange of vows, in the presence of the priest. So you could say that we officiate ourselves.

We do get a legal marriage license, though, because we are supposed to obey the laws of the nation, unless they are morally unjust.

Perplexity said...

What I've been thinking is that Candy thinks being a Christian is all about who she is and what she does. Not about doing for others or caring about anyone else. It's all about her and her salvation and how she can get to heaven.

As long as one accepts Jesus Christ as their savior, to hell with the rest of the world - let them fend for themselves. Unless, of course, you get on your pedestal and preach to them to tell them either how bad they are, how wrong they are, and how they'll never get to heaven unless they home school their kids, wear dresses, read the KJV Bible, and become masters of their domain. Forget doing for others, forget life here on earth, forget everything. It is truly mind boggling to me.

As for the 91 year old grandmother. If I live to be 91 and someone, family or not, decided to preach to me about how I am not saved or have not lived the correct kind of life, I would - well, I don't know what I'd do. My instinct is to do something unpleasant, but that's not the way to handle it. Candy's response to this is disgusting to me. The person who asked the question isn't so hot either.

I remember reading about Candy officiating at her own wedding as well. It doesn't surprise me though because she shuns all societal and legal norms. Whatever makes her tick makes her think that she can bypass all social and governmental aspects of life simply because she is one of the few truly saved Christians. And, because of that, she is above having to follow governmental laws or societal mores.

That kind of thinking is just too selfish to resemble Christianity, at least to me.

Perplexity said...

On a different note, I just read the link to Candy's bio.

She has paranoid delusions. Seriously. She talked in the past of being "run out of town" for no cause, people watching her, going to a city and having every man there look at her "like a piece of meat"...

She talks in her bio about spies, and the government lying about alternate fuel, and having kids lie about her and never speak to her and turning others against her and the conspiracy of the school psychologists and forged signatures...the world has apparently ganged up on her for absolutely no reason, from the time she was two.

I honestly believe there are some very serious issues there.

Which, when you really think about it, explains an awful lot.

Rachel said...

Ah, I knew I read it somewhere about her marriage. She is always right and the entire world is wrong.

Mary said...

Rachel said...
"Ah, I knew I read it somewhere about her marriage. She is always right and the entire world is wrong."

That's her in a nutshell, no pun intended. Kind of.

Mary said...

Perplexity said...
"She has paranoid delusions. Seriously."

and,
"I honestly believe there are some very serious issues there. "

Again, you hit the nail on the head.

Elena said...

OK but ladies, the point is, she's had a hard time of it - we should really pray for her. If everyone did a rosary in front of the blessed sacrament, I'm sure that would be very helpful!

Zan said...

I'm a nurse and have taken care of many people with mental disorders. I really believe she could use some lithium. I'm not saying that to be mean, either. I don't think she or her husband are very stable. I hope that they are in a good church situation that will be able to help them.

I read a few years ago that she didn't have a legal wedding. This is just another example of my calling them both SAE's (self appointed experts). They do this because they don't want any kind of authority which tells me there is a serious pride issue here. They will say that the KJV is the only authority they need, but a lot of cults will say that.

The Mother Theresa comment made me really question if this girl is a Christian. That was horrible. She doesn't know what Mother Theresa heart was. Faith without works IS dead. From what I've read about MT, she had a love for Christ and it was manifested in her care for the poorest of poor. Even though she had a "dry spell,"...whatever. She lived a very hard life and didn't have all the mushy new feelings you have when you first become a Christian 24/7, yet she perservered until the end. There are plenty of Christians who have dry spells. I'm sure that when Paul was languishing in prison, he had some dry spells.

I get very upset when "Christians" criticize other Christians who do good works, like the Salvation Army, yet they do nothing for the poor themselves. Very upsetting to me and makes me think if their faith is real or not.

Faithful Catholic said...

Zan,

I spent much time yesterday reading Candy's older blog posts on her old site and also her "bio." It's quite clear to me, as a person in the mental health field, that she has experienced significant trauma in her life. She speaks of a "birth mother" which leads one to believe she's adopted which can be difficult, she speaks of childhood molestation, of being accused of perpetrating and also of being ostracized as a child, of criminal activity as an adolescent, of witnessing horrific violence, of feeling like a failure at the psych testing performed during her schooling, of being labeled for "special ed." of adolescent promiscuity. In adulthood, she speaks of being followed, run out of town, unable to commit to a single "church" community, etc. She has established for herself a rather rigid structure and routine. Her belief system seems pretty rigid as well as evidenced by her multiple posts regarding the adherence to the "King James Only" policy as the basis of her faith. She seems unable to cope with any questioning of her understanding of Catholicism. She has developed for herself a very rigid idea of "godly" femininity and behavior. And, you are right, she quite clearly has authority issues.
In all of those self disclosures, she never once mentioned any person to whom she was able to turn for help or comfort. She does not speak of any intervention to help her deal with all these traumas. She only spoke of being "tested" by the psychologist on numerous occasions. It seemed to me that there may have only been testing done to determine educational placement. It didn't sound as if the testing was done to determine what type of interventions or therapy might be necessary or helpful to address her issues.

Of course, I'm speculating, which is a dangerous thing to do with so little information but, clearly, anyone who experiences these events or situations will have some issues to address related to their mental health and well-being.

I believe that anything she perceives as a threat to her belief system could be her undoing. She is not open to any other views or beliefs. She is not interested in expanding her understanding or correcting any errors in her understanding when it comes to Catholicism. She thinks she's got it "right" when it comes to her understanding of "salvation." It's probably not a good idea to confront that with her, even if she would allow it, as it could cause her to come completely unglued.

For my part, I intend to leave it alone. It's a fruitless, one- sided debate. In thinking it through, it continues to become clearer to me that Candy is and probably will remain one of those people who will need to criticize the faith or beliefs or doctrine of others in order to justify her own beliefs, and for her, it might just be dangerous to challenge her own beliefs herself. It's a shame. She truly needs to work on these issues and recognize how they have effected her. It's not likely to happen in this venue.

I've decided that the only thing that will be productive is to pray for her and her family.

All that said, I choose to remember that she and other Christians like her, are truly invested not in seeking truth or seeing Jesus in others, loving others as He loved us, serving the least of our brothers which, when done, naturally lead to spiritual and corporal works of mercy but, rather, in proving that they are right about their understanding of God, or Jesus'sacrifice for our salvation, right about their assurance of their own salvation and right about our lack of understanding and participation in and with "false" doctrine. We understand that faith without works is dead. We understand that works are the manifestation of our faith in Jesus Christ.
We understand that we can't club people over the head with the Truth, that they have to come to it of their own volition and in their own time. I pray that this will happen for Candy and all others. I also pray that I act as an example of my faith, and honestly, having engaged in this discussion, and having allowed myself to be frustrated, agitated and angry about Candy's attacks, I don't think I've been a good example to others. I'm going to disengage, pray and work at keeping my mouth shut about it. That's very hard for me. Please pray for me.

Elena said...

Faithful Catholic, why then do you think there is such a following for Candy's blog?

Faithful Catholic said...

Elena,

You know, I really can't figure out what the attraction is. I mean, I've read many of the blogs that women have up which I find to be just as, if not more useful and entertaining and certainly more well-written. She puts herself out there, she presents as quite self-assured, which, in my experience, when accompanied by that certain tone, indicates almost anything but self-assurance.

I happened to find her blog by reading Sister Mary Martha. A commenter there asked Sister what to do about such info. (it was about the Sister Charlotte post)and posted a link. Well, I used that link, read the post and about went nutty. That's when I first attempted to post a comment. It was quite polite and not at all accusatory. Of course, she didn't publish it. I tried again. Same thing. That made me mad. Third time, I got "banned." Well, truly, seeing that "banned" at the top of the comment box was my first clue that she really doesn't like Catholics and doesn't care one bit about what we have to say. I can't help it; that ticks me off no end when people won't even engage in discussion or debate. I started reading the blog. I thought to myself, "now, who does this woman think she is?!" Then, I did a bit of googling and found your blog. So, feeling like this would be a good place to vent, I jumped in. I love reading your responses to her posts and the responses of Kelly and Erika. I think you all do a wonderful job in countering her attacks. I like reading the comments that people make on your blog and on Candy's, to see if she lets any Catholic traffic through. But, I can't help feeling like a rubber necker at a traffic accident. Especially after I read all those many blog entries in which she disclosed all these things about her life. I started feeling like my attitude is like that of a bully picking on the know it all kid who nobody likes. Clearly, there are many who like her. Honestly, I don't know what to make of that. She's kind of pied piper-ish or something akin to that. I will say though that I've clicked on the"homepage" link of some of her commenters and can't say I'm surprised at what I find. Some seem like Candy-wannabes.

Some of her readers may be entertained by her anti-Catholic diatribes. Some may be in agreement. Some may have held no opinion and are being led astray. THAT is the big shame of the whole thing, in my opinion. As I've said before, there are a multitude of sites where one can find the same type of information regarding household management and organization. Also, hopefully, people don't take all of her birthing and childcare information at face value. Some of it is atrocious.

Anyway, I feel like I need to "clean my own house" so to speak before I can engage in posting my own comments about her Christianity. Don't get me wrong. I'm very clear about how wrong she is when she posts her crazy ideas and opinions about all things Catholic. I think it's hateful behavior. I don't think she recognizes that it's hateful. I also don't think she's open to even considering what anyone who knows better has to say on the subject. I think that's a defense mechanism to protect her house of cards that she's built to protect herself.

Here I go again. I feel like I'm gossiping about her again! I cannot seem to control myself. I just don't want to be writing stuff about her, true or not, that is sinful. I've got that feeling. Do you know what I'm talking about? I feel the way I wish she would feel when she writes anything about Catholics but, she'd first have to know it was wrong before she'd get this feeling.

Wow, sorry for the rambling!

What's your take on why she has such a following?

Annie C said...

The current question is "Why does Candy have so many followers". I think these essays may shed some light on the subject

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/08/cracks-in-wall-part-i-defining.html
http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/08/cracks-in-wall-part-ii-listening-to.html
http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/08/cracks-in-wall-part-iii-escape-ladders.html

Annie C said...

Granted, those essays are political (be warned) and tend to apply to men. I think the social scientists who created the theories Sara is writing about missed the women because they tend to be SAH wives and mothers. But then, they blog. I think if you look at Candy as being a female High-SDO personality, among the female followers, it all starts to make sense.

Annie C said...

Nope, take back my previous post, mostly This is what I get for posting based on memory and not re-reading. Let's see if I can do better this time.

From what I'm reading of Sara, according to John Dean and Dr. Robert Altemeyer, what they are calling "Right-wing authoritarian followers " display the following traits:

1. Submission to authority. "These people accept almost without question the statements and actions of established authorities, and comply with such instructions without further ado" writes Dean. "[They] are intolerant of criticism of their authorities, because they believe the authority is unassailably correct. Rather than feeling vulnerable in the presence of powerful authorities, they feel safer. For example, they are not troubled by government surveillance of citizens because they think only wrongdoers need to be concerned by such intrusions. Still, their submission to authority is not blind or automatic; [they] believe there are proper and improper authorities…and their decision to submit is shaped by whether a particular authority is compatible with their views."

2. Aggressive support of authority. Right-wing followers do not hesitate to inflict physical, psychological, financial, social, or other forms of harm on those they see as threatening the legitimacy of their belief system and their chosen authority figure. This includes anyone they see as being too different from their norm (like gays or racial minorities). It's also what drives their extremely punitive attitude toward discipline and justice. Notes Dean: "Authoritarian aggression is fueled by fear and encouraged by a remarkable self-righteousness, which frees aggressive impulses."

3. Conventionality. Right-wing authoritarian followers prefer to see the world in stark black-and-white. They conform closely with the rules defined for them by their authorities, and do not stray far from their own communities. This extreme, unquestioning conformity makes them insular, fearful, hostile to new information, uncritical of received wisdom, and able to accept vast contradictions without perceiving the inherent hypocrisy.

Conformity also feeds their sense of themselves as more moral and righteous than others -- a perception that's usually buttressed by the use of magical absolution techniques that they use to "evaporate guilt," in Dean's words. Because they confessed, or are saved, or were just following orders, they can commit heinous crimes and still retain a serene conscience and sense that they are "righteous people." On the other hand, when it comes to outsiders, there is no absolution. Their memory for even minor transgressions is nothing short of elephantine (as Bill Clinton knows all too well).

Dean lists other traits of right-wing authoritarian followers, most of which flow directly from the three core traits above:

Both men and women
Highly religious
Moderate to little education
Trust untrustworthy authorities
Prejudiced (particularly against homosexuals, women, and followers of religions other than their own)
Mean-spirited
Narrow-minded
Intolerant
Bullying
Zealous
Dogmatic
Uncritical toward chosen authority
Hypocritical
Inconsistent and contradictory
Prone to panic easily
Highly self-righteous
Moralistic
Strict disciplinarian
Severely punitive
Demands loyalty and returns it
Little self-awareness
Usually politically conservative/Republican

(It's a political blog, I apologize if that offends anyone. I'm not using it to discuss politics)

It's almost like she's a leader among the followers. But she can't *really* be a leader, because in this group true leaders are almost always men. I've noticed a few of these around the blogsphere. They almost always insist their blogs are about homemaking and homeschooling, properly womanly topics (as opposed to a blog like this one, which is run by women and yet is admittedly about apologetics) and yet they go off on political and sociolgical topics. I think because they insist they write only about homemaking, they flew under Dean and Altemeyer's radar.

Why am I seeing a paper comming out of this...

Erika S. said...

Yikes I consider myself conservative.

Annie C said...

I don't think it has all that much to do with traditional conservativisism

-----

From Wikipedia:

Conservatism is a term used to describe political philosophies that favor tradition and gradual change, where tradition refers to religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs. The term is derived from the Latin, conservāre, to conserve; "to keep, guard, observe". Since different cultures have different established values, conservatives in different cultures have different goals. Some conservatives seek to preserve the status quo or to reform society slowly, while others seek to return to the values of an earlier time, the status quo ante.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism

-----

I think this is something quite different from that.

Perplexity said...

Independent Fundamental Baptists tend to seek each other, just as other groups of like people do. They, like every other group, religious or not, have organizations, web sites, etc. that lead them towards particular beliefs, and towards others who think like them.

Candy's ideas aren't necessarily original. She just seems to regurgitate what she reads on other Baptist sites and gives them her own twist.

Mother Theresa being in hell? That's not only a Candy thought. It is a shared Independent Fundamental Baptist thought.

http://gideonsword.net/WordPress/?p=28#more-28

I think part of the reason for her following is simple. People often doubt their own choices, abilities and decisions. When they do, they look to others for validations that they are doing things "right". It's not just a spiritual thing to do, it is done in all aspects of life. I did it when I quit working full time at the age of 30 and went back to college to finish my BA. I found many groups online of adult undergrads who used each other as support, and validation, that we were not only doing the right thing but that it was a good thing as well.

I too have clicked on homepage links and seen the pages of many of these so called followers. One, many of the pages are brand new blogs; people who started them within the past couple of months. Two, they are living lives just like Candy from the homeschooling to the way they shop for groceries. Plus, many of them are very, very young. I can only guess, and it is just a guess, that these women are unsure of their choices and are looking for validation. And, Candy's blog is several years old and there is no easy access to archives to see that she struggled herself with her choices and her life. What these women see is someone who appears to have a following and a handle on life so they jump on the bandwagon. Someone to validate what they chose and confirm their own beliefs and choices.

Again, it is not a Baptist Christian thing, every group of people does just that. We all seek out like minded individuals.

It is just sad that sometimes, the one that stands out above others, is the most confused of all.