Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Taking on some of the commenters

Of course one of the downsides to the way Candy "manges" her comments is that we can never engage or dialog with any of her readers, and of course, it is more difficult for them to find us. But I did want to try to answer some of those comments here.

First of all, to all the commenters who had a grandmother, sister, brother, friend whoever who use to be Catholic and left for whatever reason, I say this, catechesis in this country after Vatican II was terrible. Catholic schools and educators weren't sure what to teach after the council and so they taught almost nothing. I think most of you are not quite of a my vintage, but I can tell you that my expensive Catholic High School education consisted of a lot of new agey stuff mixed with creating burlap banners and talking about our "feelings." It was crap. When you get an entire generation of people who have no clue what their faith really is, it's not hard to get them to leave for something more "meaningful." I have been there, done that. Interestingly and by the grace of God, it was in depth study of scripture and church history that brought me right back into my Catholic Faith. My sister eventually came back too, but she veered off into Evangelical land for a while. There are some bishops who will have a whole lot of s'plainin to do in the next life for the lack of instruction that happened under their watch.

So when I hear those types of stories, it's sad, but I can only shrug. How hard is it to shoot fish in a barrel anyway.

Moving on...

This was in the com box:

I have a dear friend who is a Devout Catholic. I have discussed salvation with him many times. He views my belief as okay. He has nothing against what I believe as far as my salvation. However he is adamant that 'his' choice in 'religion' is correct. Now in situations like this I have to think logically...

If his religion, "Catholicism" is the only way, then why isn't he trying to convince me of it? Why isn't he trying to expose my belief as being wrong?

Now if he could prove to me with scripture that salvation through Christ alone is wrong then I would be faced to listen to that. And make a decision.

Isn't it fair to say that anyone who disagrees with you should just look at Scripture? Shouldn't all Christians, whether Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, etc base all their 'Christian' decisions on Scripture?

I attend a Baptist church. It's non denominational and not directed by a 'church' doctorate. We just try to follow the Bible as closely as we can.

I have a wonderful Pastor and there have been times when we have disagreed about 'preferences' but doctrine is always based on the Bible.

I read that and the first thought was that perhaps evangelizing her via scripture or apologetics just isn't his gift. There are different ways to spread the Gospel, not all of them involve words and an in depth effort to persuade from the scriptures. Maybe this friend's gift is that of being a powerful prayer warrior. Perhaps he is fasting and praying for her in ways that she will never know because he is a man of deep humility. Perhaps he is a simple man (simple as in childlike faith- which of course the bible says is very commendable) and he is waiting until he is asked instead of getting in her face about salvation.

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Kelly said...

Now if he could prove to me with scripture that salvation through Christ alone is wrong then I would be faced to listen to that. And make a decision.

I'm not sure this is a given. I mean, we've proven to Candy time and time again that her claims are not the reality of Catholicism. She doesn't seem to have been forced to listen and make a decision.

Tracy said...

Elena, I was so hoping you would address the comments.. thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

EmilyC said...

I've never posted a comment here, or at Candy's blog, but I couldn't help myself tonight. I saw this comment:

"I have been trying to read this article for a couple of days now, but kept having interupptions. Your series on the Catholic Church is always interesting and I do love reading about this. I shake my head at how black and white this all is....people are still defending it. You know what's interesting, not sure of the history or whatnot, but the Catholic church seems to go into places demanding conversion under severe penality, yet most missionaries you read about for the Christian faith go into places as servants, bringing medicine, services. Interesting comparison."

I left this comment (which will probably never be published)

"So Melissa, was Mother Theresa was converting people under severe penalty?"

I just cannot understand the ignorance!!

Elena said...

Emily go ahead and leave that comment right on Melissa's site

unknown anon said...

Catholic missionaries in the past and the present provide their charitable works to all comers; so many of the Protestant groups require that those who want food or shelter or medical care 'get saved' or at least 'listen to the salvation message' before they can receive help.

The ironic thing about Mother Teresa's work is that she is condemned for accepting people where they were and NOT demanding that they convert before she would help them.

As has been noted so many places: pick and choose facts based on the argument one wants to make, and ignore the inconvenient ones.

Anonymous said...

My experience with missionaries is the exact opposite of what Melissa commented on. Missionaries who do good for the community, regardless of conversion, are the only ones you will ever see me supporting in any way. My uncle was one of the others, who did good only for those who joined his church; he made me sick with his hatred and prejudice, towards those in the community in which he was raising his own children, who did not join his church. His own children were taught to help others - but to help the other members of their church. He told story after story of what went on where he was (He was in Micronesia, on the island of Yap) and how once, they watched a woman beat to death in the street, saying he couldn't interfere because it was the island's class system and "besides, they weren't Christians".

One of the last go's I had with Candy was over the missionaries she posted about. I read their site and was bothered about how prideful they were about where they've gone and what they've done to convert others to Christianity; nothing on their site said anything about helping the community into which they went.

I've never known an Evangelical/Fundamental/Baptist missionary to help for the sake of helping...and through my uncle, I met a lot of them. There was always - always - the condition that they join the church before receiving help.

I've talked before about how my Uncle was key in my feelings against religion over the years, and this is one of the key reasons I went running as fast as I could, the opposite direction.

motherofmany said...

Unknown anon-

Do you have something to back up this statement?

"Catholic missionaries in the past and the present provide their charitable works to all comers; so many of the Protestant groups require that those who want food or shelter or medical care 'get saved' or at least 'listen to the salvation message' before they can receive help."

Because I can give you several links to news stories of Protestant missionaries providing relief aid who were arrested for supposedly even mentioning Jesus. These organizations have been established in countries for years, so if they were requiring people to accept the gospel first, they would have been ousted years ago.

There is a young man from our church in Israel right now doing volunteer work in the fields who is not allowed to mention Jesus or his faith unless directly asked by someone. That does not stop him from doing the humanitarian work, just like the hundreds of other Christians working with him. If Protestant churches required you to listen to a sermon or accept Jesus first, they wouldn't be there.

In fact, I cannot find any stories of any Protestant missionaries who require people to be saved or hear the gospel before receiving aid. Fair is fair, and if you feel that broad, generalized statements about Catholicism without backing are irresponsible, so are the same in reference to Protestants.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for causing an uproar; I WAS talking about MY experiences, with my uncle and those I met through him. My "always, always..." statement was about those I met through my uncle, as I said..."...and through my uncle, I met a lot of them. There was always - always - the condition that they join the church before receiving help."

Here in our little town of 2000 there are three churches. One Catholic, one Episcopalian and one non-denominational. All three are involved in our community, and all three work together often to raise money for causes; over $18,000 was raised in our little community for the victims of Katrina, and that drive was headed up by the combined efforts of all three churches.

I am fully aware that there is never a time when one can say "all" or "always" or "never"...unless talking about their own personal experiences, as I was.

faithful catholic said...


I can give you two very specific examples of adult Christians who wanted to "volunteer" to help with the kids at the residential facility where I used to work.

The group of women would come to the center and throw "parties" for the kids including cake, ice cream, soda, snacks, candy, games and arts and crafts projects. Always at the end, the women would read from scripture, sing a hymn or two and say a prayer with the girls. Some of the girls would leave the room as the readings started. The leader of the church group was offended and said they had decided to do the scripture reading, hymns and prayer at the beginning of the party and they would not allow in any of the kids who didn't participate from the beginning.

So, I explained to the kids that if they wanted the "party" part, they had to be in the "spiritual" part too.

NONE of the kids went to the next party. The leader of the group was angry and started loudly criticizing our kids right in front of them. Some of the words she used included "little heathens, ingrates, selfish. . . "
I asked her if she felt she was setting an appropriate Christian example for the kids who were listening to her tirade. She was very unhappy and never returned.

I've also had to deal with a group who volunteered to transport some of our kids to and from church services on Sunday. If a child wanted to attend, they could. Eventually, the youth pastor called and said they'd not pick up our kids anymore. I was concerned that maybe there had been a behavioral incident but, he said no, the group just felt the kids weren't serious enough about their faith because none had asked to be baptized.

Granted, there were a few of the kids who I'd be willing to bet only went to church so they could get away from the center for a bit but, there's always hope, isn't there? Apparently not.

That said, there were also several groups from different churches who did wonderful things with and for our kids with no strings attached. God bless them.

Elena said...

(Amy seems to feel that she has been severely wronged by the removal of these posts. She blogs about it here

So for historical and educational purposes here they are in chronological order from my e-mail notices.


All through Jr. High and High School I was part of our church's outreach program. We had a building full of clothing and housewares for anyone who needed them. We opened the building and let them come and take whatever. FREE. We did not ask for income verification, religious affiliation, or anything in return.

We also provided hot meals every Sunday. People would come from OTHER CHUCHES, including the Catholic church after mass, for lunch. It was a very impoverished area. The door was opened to all and there was never a gospel message presented.

I personally visited a Catholic Charities store where I paid for the items I chose. I have no beef with that, but I would not then post a comment that all the Catholic charitable acts require that people pay for them or offer something in return while Protestant services are free.

You cannot possibly know enough Protestant missionaries to make a judgment such as they only help people who become saved. And if all the missionaries you met were from the same denomination, it only stands to reason that they would have similar unbiblical standards like your uncle's.

Last summer our church set up a booth at the fair and did fingerprint ID books for kids. We asked for nothing in return and we did not preach anything at them while they were there. It was a service to families.

As much as you claim Candy is ignorant about the Catholic church, you are just as biased about Protestants. As I stated above, fair is fair.

Posted by motherofmany to Visits to Candyland at April 10, 2008 2:32 PM

Amy, Perplexity was very careful to qualify her comment with "in her experience." This is what she experienced and not a blanket statement against ALL Protestants.

Since you're here, care to comment on any of the other carefully thought out refutations we have put up over the last week or so?

Posted by Elena to Visits to Candyland at April 10, 2008 2:49 PM

It stands to reason that when you make a statement such as, "There was always - always - the condition that they join the church before receiving help.", that you are projecting that experience onto an entire grouping.

If I were to say that in my experience, Catholics only ever help people when they get paid for their services, people would be enraged. You, Elena, would be at the front of the boot-kicking line. It would be universally understood that my inference was pointed at the whole of Catholicism. Perplexity's comment was also in reference to the statement that Protestants require something before giving aid, which lends an undertone of meaning to it.

I am here because Kelly asked me to read her recent post. But your comment is exactly my point in why there can never be fair dialogue with you. What I love about Kelly and our discussions is that she is willing to concede a point. You are so determined to be right that you can't even agree to the good in something unless you do it sarcastic and half-hearted. Both churches do a great deal for people all around the world every single day and don't require anything for it. What is so hard about agreeing to that? Your decision to pick a fight over it shows your true intentions.

Posted by motherofmany to Visits to Candyland at April 10, 2008 3:16 PM

*sigh* Please don't drag me into this. Elena and I are two different people, with different personalities, and a shared goal. It isn't right to compare us.

Amy, I think you make a valid point about generalizing groups of protestants. I did understand perplexity to be speaking about her uncle and his denomination. It might be because perplexity has been posting here a while, and I'm more familiar with her backstory, so to speak.

I have a friend who was an evangelical missionary and medically transported people from the Amazon basin, as well as offered English classes, with no religious strings attached.

I really have no more time at the moment, but please guys, just stay on topic and play nicely? Pretty please? :)

Posted by Kelly to Visits to Candyland at April 10, 2008 3:32 PM

I was merely doing my job as one of the moderators to point out the qualifier that I saw in Perplexity's post. Nothing more, nothing less. Then I invited your comments on some of our other work.

Just as an historical note... when I first started debate boards etc 10 years ago, I was "trained" but a pretty sharp group of secular humanists to take qualifiers under consideration.

As for being in the front of the boot kickingline... shrug.. the church behind me, I think it's congregationalist, provide free lunch for the neighbor kids and the homeless twice a month. My kids get in scapular and all! But that's my experience.

Now put the big chip on your shoulder down before you hurt someone.

And once again, please remember that I am giving you consideration that even this week you denied me. So let's keep it civil okay?

Posted by Elena to Visits to Candyland at April 10, 2008 4:21 PM