Saturday, December 26, 2009

Why Catholics and Protestants Don't Get Along

(Read the full article here. It's a short story, so go ahead and read it!)

I recently read this article describing the fundamental differences in Catholic and Protestant perspectives. It was especially interesting for me to read since I've held both perspectives at different points in my life.

Growing up, I held fast to the Protestant notion that I didn't need anyone to show me God. I didn't need a priest or minister, a church or even a gathering of people: as an individual, I had a direct link to God. I could read the Bible all by myself and glean wisdom from the Word whenever I wanted. If I did go to church, it wasn't for community or to participate in the liturgy, it was solely for my own good. I was an island.

Having "crossed the Tiber," I see things from the Catholic perspective. I go to Mass for the community, to participate in something infinitely larger than myself, to hear the Gospel (the same Gospel preached around the world on that day!), to see Christ, to be Catholic. So much of what we do each Sunday at Mass involves the senses: incense, bread and wine, kneeling and standing, bells, holy water, and praying aloud in unison. We experience God through what we know.

It's such an odd place to be now, going from roots where everything I touch is worldly, a simple inanimate object created by human hands for human use, to this changed version of me seeing God in my fellow man, realizing that all I have is a gift from God. Realizing that my rosary is not just a string of beads but a tool to help me grow closer to God... it was a huge step. Perhaps it was my own "Great Awakening" as I learned and grew from a Protestant into a Catholic.

The article was one of the most enlightening articles I've read about the Protestant/Catholic divide. As the author finishes his article, I agree with the need for more discussion and unity. Perhaps once we learn to recognize the differences in how we think, we'll be able to come together on the things we know to be true.

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