The past couple of days, I have had a debate over an article that I published, “Unraveling The Case Against Christmas” in which I show that the attack on Christmas is really an attack on the Catholic Faith. I do not name the individual who I was in conversation with, but I really felt that this is a great example how the Internet can be used for good. I will use the color blue for the other person. Here is the following debate:
Dear Donald Hartley, I am by no means finding fault with your argument that there is a “War on Christmas”. I do, however, take issue with your contention that the so-called war on Christmas is basically a war against the Catholic Church. You accuse “some fundamentalist Protestant groups” of opposing Christmas to oppose the Catholic Church. Don, you don’t identify who they are; nor do you cite any specific evidence of their complicity. By this means you lump the whole of Protestantism into this war as anti-Christmas, which is blatantly false. Protestantism is made up of a large number of groups, the vast majority of which are pro-Christmas and stand shoulder to shoulder with their Catholic counterparts. When President Obama moved against Catholic hospitals to force them to go against their beliefs, a noted Protestant minister observed,”Today we are all Catholics, Mr. President”.
Protestantism owes its name to the historic fact that number of groups protested against what they saw as abuses within the Catholic Church, initially during the time of Martin Luther. These abuses included the selling of indulgences and other abuses, which were not formally acknowledged by Rome until 1962 by Pope John XXIII, whom the Catholic Church has declared a saint. By the way, the selling of indulgences was the subject of most of Luther’s 95 Theses. The last thing Luther wanted was a split with Rome. There is ample evidence that suggests that Jesus may not have been born on December 25. Shepherds don’t watch their flocks by night in the middle of winter. It’s too cold. And some suggest that early Christians blended their celebration of the birth of the Son OF God with Roman celebrations of Saturn, the sun god on December 25 when Christians were being persecuted just for being Christians. The fact that some Catholic practices derive from pagan roots does not, in and of itself, taint the Catholic Church’s adaptation of such customs.
Clearly, the Puritans I identify as having such influence during the Court of King Charles I in the 1640′s, which corresponds with the Puritans in America. I’m trying not to group all Protestants in all this, but some of the most notable ones today come from groups like the Seventh Day Adventist, Conservative Baptists, some Pentecostals, especially the Oneness, and yes, there are some “Calvinist groups” the brand that Mike Gendron comes from. Just recently, the news reported converted Muslims were invading Catholic Churches in Las Vagas, they are influenced by this rhetoric.. I’m saying the Catholic Church is getting it from many different angles… But it all stems that these groups attack the Catholic Church.
Jesus was born on December 25, 2 B.C. December weather was perfect for grazing sheep, still is… The strongest evidence is the recent discovery of the Star of Bethlehem. We know it was over Bethlehem Dec 25… Thanks, I noted your issue and agree, most Protestants today love Christmas!
And most Protestants believe most, if not all, the articles of faith as most Catholics do. The chief area of contention is the church government.
The differences are wide. I’ve heard of churches splitting over weather Adam had a belly button or not. The real problem is authority. No Protestant Minister has the authority to exercise such governance. Even should they agree 100%. Deuteronomy 31:14 says, “The Lord said to Moses, the time is now approaching for you to die. Summon Joshua, and present yourself at the meeting tent that I may give him his commission…” Verse 23 continues, “Then the Lord commissioned Joshua, son of Nun, and said to him, Be brave and steadfast, for it is you who must bring the Israelites into the Land which I promised them on oath. I myself will be with you”. Deuteronomy 34:9 states, “Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid hands upon him; and so the Israelites gave him their obedience, thus carrying out the Lord’s command to Moses”. Joshua 1:6-9 the Lord says, “Be firm and steadfast, so that you may give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers I would give them. Above all, be firm and steadfast, taking care to observe the entire law which my servant Moses enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed where ever you go. Keep this book of the law on your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may observe carefully all that is written in it: then you will successfully attain your goal. I command you: be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you where ever you go”.
Clearly, Joshua is the successor of Moses. At the end of Joshua’s life, it is interesting that the nation of Israel “served the Lord during the entire lifetime of Joshua and that of the elders who outlived Joshua and knew all that the Lord had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31). Joshua would be a bridge between Moses, the placing of the Israelites in the land of milk and honey, and the time of the Judges. With Joshua’s death, the Elders of Israel consulted the Lord about the Cannaanites who had attacked them. The following time period Israel is ruled by whom God chose to lead. The tribes of Jacob were setting up their townships, they were clearing the land for the people of Israel. Several battles were waged with the Canaanites and Perizzites, Caleb was one of Israels leaders. He is a pre-Judge figure that led the people during this time of war. Judges 3:10 says that “The spirit of the Lord came upon him (Kenaz), and he judged Israel’.
Don, I’ve heard similar nonsense in Protestant circles such as churches splitting over the color of the carpet in their sanctuary and I totally agree with you. It’s not the authority I critique within the Catholic Church, but the secrecy. During the recent pedophile priest scandal, the church stonewalled investigators and hid behind layers of secrecy. Had the cover up only involved priests, that would have been bad enough, but bishops and cardinals were also involved. Caesar’s laws were violated as were God’s. What happened to “Render unto Caesar, or did the church use, or rather abuse, it’s authority to “bind and loose”?
Why does it always come back to that accusation? As deplorable as child molestation is, the Police, the Church, the media went back 50 years uncovering every rock they could turn over and the most the could spring up was 3%. Yet, during the same time, the same problems existed in the Protestant groups, even worse. Dr. James Dobson, President and Founder of “Focus On The Family” conducted a study that found within the Protestant clergy all across the board, from congregational, liturgical, charismatic, had as high as 30% of sexual misconduct to include child molestation. Recently, Billy Graham’s son, Franklin has recognized that the problem of molestation of children were even larger than that of the Catholic Church.
On top of this is the problem of divorce among Protestant clergy which is about 50% like the national average. This would really take a tremendous toll if 50% of the Catholic priesthood were to have to deal with divorce among the clergy. The anti-Catholic then gives the appearance that it is OK to attack the Catholic priesthood for molestation while giving themselves a free pass. I personally strongly feel that molesting children is horrible no matter who does it. I had a five year old niece who was sexually molested by a Protestant Police Officer. Should I then oppose all Protestant police officers? The truth is that Pedophiles will go where ever they can find opportunity. They go to day care centers, schools, anywhere they can find places they can conceal themselves. The Catholic Church has taken steps to prevent the opportunity for any possible wrong doing by any Catholic leader (clergy or lay) within the diocese. In order to serve you must have a background check done, and then have to undergo periodic training. This has all but stopped the problem in it’s tracks.
Don, I am not trying to sway anyone. There are two entities, the Catholic Church, a human institution which is prone to error, and the Catholic Faith, which is spelled out in both Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds and is protected from error. It is the Catholic Church I question for its habitual hiding behind every device it can whenever its actions are called into question. They did that with the pedophile priest scandal and also with other incidents that they were called into question. This does not reflect the actions of the One Who “has spoken openly before the world”.
The ultimate question really is: Is the Catholic Church the one true faith or are the Protestants correct in protesting it. That is the bottom line. Naturally, if anyone in their personal life sins, that reflects on the whole, so there is always the need for healing, not division…
Don, a thing is not right simply because the other guy is doing it too. The sad fact is that the pedophile priest scandal happened. You apparently suggest that the Catholic Church is immune from criticism because Catholics hold that it was founded by Christ. At His trial before the Sanhedrin, which brought Him up on trumped up charges, He stated that He,”Had spoken openly before the world”, and nothing He said was said in secret. As you recall, one of the members of the Sanhedrin slapped the Son of God across the face at that answer.
Had the hierarchy responded differently to the scandal than by hiding behind walls of secrecy, that would have been quite different. The scandal would still have happened but the church bishops and cardinals would have worked with civil authorities to deal with the problem and put a stop to it. This they did not do, and that saddens me. You are also right in suggesting that such goings on also occur in Protestant circles and with more frequency. A Protestant minister with no authority to answer to can be guilty of such behavior, humbly resign, and lay low for a couple of years and then dupe an unsuspecting congregation and the whole sordid affair starts over again. I’ve personally seen that happen. What’s sad in all this is not only the depths that Catholics and Protestants go to cover up these things, but the reflection they are on Christ Himself in the process.
Not at all, Catholics who are guilty of such things will incur Matthew 18:6-7 for sure. I am not defending such actions. It is that usually, when a person can’t win a debate on substance, they resort to the Molesting scandal. I am here applauding the 97 plus percent that are totally innocent…
Don, Mary is certainly the mother of God, not because of who she is but Who her Son is. Similarly, we talk of Barack Obama’s mother as the mother of the President. Of course Obama wasn’t president when he was born but became president later in life. By similar logic, Mary is the mother of God, not because she pre-existed Him (that is impossible and possibly a reason for the false teaching), but because of Who her Son was.
Your beginning to sound more Catholic here, either you have a great love for your faith, which I respect BTW, or your working hard to justify why you left the Catholic faith years ago? I once had to come to terms with this in my own personal life… I too am a revert!
Don, I am not resorting to the molesting scandal. No church organization is perfect. The response of the senior hierarchy to the scandal is, perhaps more important than the scandal itself. By that initial response of stonewalling and secrecy, the senior hierarchy tried to cover the whole sordid affair. Priests had allegedly threatened these youngsters with mortal sin if they revealed the contacts. We looked up to priests. I loved my parish priest. I actually wanted to become one.
A priest is the most important person in a youngster’s spiritual life. The priest forgives his sins, gives communion, and all the other things that priests do. But after the scandal, how do you trust an entity that has been compromised? How do you know? That question not only applies to Catholics but Protestants as well.
Yes, in the eyes of a child, they see authority and they trust it until trust is lost. But the real discussion here is who is the actual authority? It is the Catholic priest because his ordination is the anointing from above. St. Paul was made an apostle for our benefit, so were all Catholic priests. I can not give that to any Protestant clergy, I can give respect, but not my loyalty…
Don, I still believe. I never stopped believing. I have attended church in a Southern Baptist church with my wife. We were married for 42-1/2 years. I have recently re-met a girl I went to Catholic school with and recently become engaged. I now have to ask myself if the last 42-1/2 years of my life was a lie. I never denied Christ. I never betrayed Him. I just went to a different church that upheld the same faith as found in the Nicene and Apostle’s Creed.
I respect that, but if we look back to 1847, the Southern Baptist church did not exist…. The Catholic faith did and it goes all the way back to the Upper Room with that first 120… I have seen dramatic reversions some more than 50 years, I would love to see you come home to the Catholic Faith, you have the heart for it… I believe the Holy Spirit is calling you home, what a great Christmas present you could give the Christ Child this Christmas!!!
You’re right. I do have the heart for it. Sometimes I think I never left.
Well, unfortunately, sometimes we see religion like we see fast food, kind of like a smorgasbord… But what happens is moral relativism sets in, we see things from our own perspectives and make sense of it giving the Holy Spirit credit for our positions. The Lord is the founder of the Catholic Faith, he did not find nor endorse all the man made ones…
I ask for your prayers for this individual, I really believe that he is open to coming home to the Catholic Faith!
O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because in revealing them you can neither deceive nor be deceived.