Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why I Won’t Become Roman Catholic

I begin this with some trepidation. I hate Catholic bashing and won’t engage in it. I have Catholic friends I greatly value and do not want to hurt or offend. And I respect the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has a better overall track record of holding to the Faith than Protestant bodies.

But so many Anglicans have been quite publicly crossing the Tiber to Rome, to the diminishment of Anglicanism, that I think it’s time for the other side to be heard. It’s time for orthodox Anglicans to speak up and say why becoming Roman Catholic is not an option for them.

One reason I won’t become Roman Catholic is I refuse to take myself out of communion with faithful brothers and sisters I greatly value. Roman Catholics practice a very restrictive form of closed communion -- you have to be Roman Catholic to receive at their masses. Further, Roman Catholics are not to receive communion at non-RC churches.

So if I were to become Roman Catholic, I would cut myself off from communion with wonderful brothers and sisters. I could never again take communion at my current parish or at Pusey House or at Smokey Matt’s. And I would belong to a church that refuses communion to them. I will not do that.

Further, the Church of Rome is flat wrong for doing that. A truly catholic church should not act in such a sectarian manner.

Now I oppose handing out communion like so much candy as too many protestant churches do. Churches should require that those that receive be baptized believers not engaged in scandalous conduct. But to be more restrictive in communion than that, to cut faithful Christians off from communion is wrong and sectarian. And I will not engage in that.

Well . . . I’m sure I stirred up a hornets nest, although that’s not my intent. My Catholic friends (And I hope they are still my friends.) are very welcome to comment and/or correct. I do hope I’m at least slightly mistaken about the Roman Catholic Church as I desire the whole church to be faithful to both truth and unity.

As the above is not the only reason I won’t join the Roman Catholic Church, there may be more to come, however.


Anonymous said...

"Further, the Church of Rome is flat wrong for doing that. A truly catholic church should not act in such a sectarian manner".

But the "Church of Rome" does not claim to be "the Church of Rome". She claims to be the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church".
And that's why she practise "closed communion".

Anonymous said...


I think you are hitting on an important point. The reason Rome does this is because they don't recognize that the sacraments of any other church (besides the EO) have any validity. A true Anglican, like us two, believe that the Holy Spirit is bigger than that and that he acts fully in the sacraments of all faithful, believing Christians. Its an important point and one worthy of a principled stand. I just wish that Anglicans would do a better job of defending this principle in response to news of others leaving for Rome. I said as much recently on Stand Firm but my post got swamped by all the well-wishes and spirited defenses for the latest bishop to go Roman. I think some people just may be whupped and they just don't know it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If I am the last Anglican standing, then so be it because it, all of it, matters to me.

Keep the thoughts coming, my friend.

C3176 said...

I’m not sure if your use of the term “Roman Catholic” refers to all the rites in union with the Pope or just the Latin rite church. Catholics are free to receive the Eucharist in any church that is in communion with the Pope. Catholics may also receive the Eucharist and the sacrament of confession in an Orthodox Church in special situations if permitted by that Church. All Catholic and Orthodox Churches have a validly ordained priesthood and hence a valid Eucharist. They share the same belief in what the Eucharist is – the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Reception is only to occur when one understands this reality and is free of mortal sin (thru baptism and/or confession, 1 Cor 11:27-29). Since Protestants do not understand or believe this reality of the Eucharist, they are not permitted to receive for their own well being. A much better and more accurate explanation is available in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Why would an Episcopalian want to receive communion in a Methodist or Catholic or Baptist church when they differ on so many beliefs anyway? As a Catholic, I have no desire to participate in a denomination's communion service. But I do pray that we may all one day be of one belief.
God Bless!

The Bovina Bloviator said...

Newbie, c3176's comment is right on the mark. For more information I recommend you go to this site which addresses your very objections. Check out the ensuing comments, too. They are informative and some are hilarious.

The Catholic Church, when she denies Communion to non-Catholics does so in observance of 2000 years of Church teachings, not out of spite for non-Catholics (or non-Christians for that matter). Even Catholics themselves are not permitted to receive if they are not absolved of mortal sin. The standards to which Holy Mother Church adheres may seem unfairly high to some but keep in mind, it is the ever-lowering of standards over the years in the Anglican Church (especially among the Episcopalians), in the name of so-called "inclusiveness," that has led to the present morass you rightfully deplore.

God be with you.