Catholic Relevance

As a way of expanding my religious exposure and knowledge, I've been listening to a national Roman Catholic radio station, broadcast here in the cities as WLOL 1330 Relevant Radio, "Bridging the gap between faith and everyday life", the Twin City's home of Catholic radio.

I've learned a few interesting things about Roman Catholic Christianity that I think you all might find interesting too.

Firstly, they deserve credit for helping the poor and disabled far more than I've known Protestant churches to. They have extra religious services for those with disabilities, extra accommodation and service to widows and orphans. They have seemingly perpetual food drives, shelters, ministering and missions to the poor.

It reminds me of something from the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) book of Ya'akov (James):

Religion that God our Abba accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

They have a strong stand for preservation of life that is not tied to any political party, which differs from much of Protestant Christianity. Whether that stance be on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, the death penalty, or elderly euthanization, they stand almost unbudgingly for preservation of life.

I've also found them to be inundated in ritual religion: Mass, Rosary, Eucharist, Confession, Adoration, and other man-made rituals make up most of the conversational topics, if not lives, of practicing Catholics.

Unlike Protestants, there is a unified theology with little room for budging in the form of the Roman Catholic Catechism. As the Talmud and Oral Law is to some Jews, the Catechism defines what it means to be Catholic. Without it, one may as well be a Protestant.

There are also some negatives I've discovered with Roman Catholicism. The deep ties to ritual religion and ceremony have lead to some ignorance of Scripture. For example, as I listened to "Searching the Word" show yesterday, a caller said he felt his family was being attacked spiritually. I was stunned to hear the guest archdiocese tell us how to ward off spiritual attacks against your family,

"Holy water. Sprinkle it around your house. Also, holy salt will do it too. Place piles of holy salt around the 4 corners of your house. I'd even sprinkle some in your food as you cook it."

Needless to say, this has no foundation in Scripture: there is no such thing as "holy water", nor "holy salt" in Scripture. It's entirely a man-made religious ritual.

So despite the show being called, "Searching the Word", I found it sad that the Word wasn't searched in this instance.

I've also noticed the Roman Catholics have inherited and are proclaiming hand-me-downs from pagan religions, just as they have handed us Tammuz Weeping Day/Lent, Ishtar Day/Easter, Nimrod's Birthday/Christmas, and other goodies. For example, a talk show host was speaking of the wonders of the heavens, when a caller phoned to inform the host of the apparent Roman Catholic background of the recent Perseid Meteor shower,

"Did you know that the Perseid Meteor shower is actually a feast day of St. Lawrence? The meteors are actually the Tears of St. Lawrence."

Did I mention there's much near-deification of saints? :)

Let's realize St. Lawrence is not mentioned in Scripture. His tears don't exist, the guy's dead. It's a little tongue-in-cheek to pass on this rather goofy likening of meteor showers to St. Lawrence, especially when, like many of the Roman Catholic-sponsored holidays, it is rooted in pagan mythology and relabeled as Christian by the Roman Catholic Church.

Finally, I notice a lot of debate over minutia. Much like how the Pharisees would argue over whether it's lawful for a man to eat bread cooked in an oven built with a brick laid on Sabbath (there's a mouthful!), I've heard Roman Catholics debating over minutia in Catechism and Roman Catholic dogma. For example, yesterday I heard a debate over whether is it lawful for a bishop to appoint, without papal approval, a new priest or bishop in the event of an emergency such as a war. Sheesh.

And of course, the major shocking thing is, they believe a certain man is infallible and is, more or less, Jesus Christ on earth. I am speaking of the Holy Father, the Pope, of course.

In all these things, I draw correlations to the ancient Pharisees. I say that with all due respect for Catholics, but there remains correlations between Catholicism and ancient Pharisaical Judaism nonetheless:

  • They are devoutly religious.

  • They are recognized as ambassadors of God's true religion.

  • They are flooded with rituals and man-made religion.

  • They make new rulings that are equal to or override Scripture. (The Pope is infallible, Sabbath is Sunday, to name a few.)

  • They've added their writings to Scripture.

  • Their rituals are taking precedence over Scripture.

  • Their devout religion may be mostly outward, as is evidenced by the recent molestation scandals.

  • Their own dogma is so important, that without it, one cannot be considered a member of the body of God.

If Messiah came back today -- in all his Hebrew garb, as the triumphant son of David, Torah-observant restorer of Israel -- I am convinced He would appear totally foreign and too radical for Roman Catholics.

It makes me wonder if Roman Catholics will be the Pharisees of the second coming of Messiah. Hopefully all of us will be correctable when He comes; I suspect we all have some theological and general life issues in need of Messiah's correction.


  1. Judah,

    I wanted to point out the reason that charity is so important to the RCC. It is their means of salvation. Here is a conversation I had with a catholic over on CP:


    In Christ,

  2. Interesting. So, works is a means to salvation for Catholics? Intersting, especially since our recent conversation about the Law and it's non-relevance on salvation.

  3. Just read that CP posting through. It's interesting Red Stateler there is Catholic, I'm familiar with him and some of his shenanigans in the soapbox.

  4. Judah,
    I love what you have going here (blog). I have long thought that Catholicism was one weird and perverse religion. Why? I can't find much Biblical prove to most of the thinking. For example the holy water and holy salt.

    I must ask (being that I have just started reading your blog) do you consider yourself a Messianic Jew or a Zionist Christian?

    God Bless,
    Jason Alexander
    aka jason_lakewhitney

  5. Hey Jason, thanks for stopping by.

    Regarding my affiliation, I've been told by Jews that I am not Jewish because I believe in Messiah. Further, I've been told by Christians I am not a Christian (and have rejected grace, am under the Law, etc.) because I throw out church traditions and rituals, as well as keeping the Torah best I can.

    In the end, I would label myself as an Israelite follower of Messiah: both in the physical sense of being a descendant of Israel, as well as in the spiritual sense of being grafted into Israel through Messiah.

    Whether that makes me a Messianic Jew or a Zionist Christian, it doesn't matter much to me.

  6. Judah,

    I only asked, not to be rude, but to find out I guess your roots. I am a Christian, raised in a Christian home. Ever since I was a young boy, I questioned the different titles of Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic. As I have grown in age and in wisdom of the Bible, I have this conclusion: I am a Christian that believe the entire Word of God. Front to back. I believe in Israel and all that God has promised for them. I believe that we are no longer under the Curse, which to often people mistake for the Law. We are no
    longer bond to sin and in that death, which is eternity in Hell that is the separation from the love of God. With more understanding, I see that in the grafting in that Christians receive, gives us the ability to legally(as in not being a Jew) participate in the Feasts of the Lord.
    Understanding the foundational roots of Christianity is a must, no requirement for all Christians. The line between Judaism and Christianity is a wide as the cross. For that is the only thing that separates them.

    YHWH Bless you and keep you,
    Jason Alexander

    P.S.: You say you are a descendant of Israel. Do you know what tribe?

  7. Jason,

    Your wisdom is a nice refresher from all the folks I've been debating with lately. Thanks for your comments.

    To answer your question, I don't know which tribe, but I'd guess Judah. As you might know, all modern Jews more or less are either from Judah, Benjamin, or Levi. (The rest of the tribes are essentially gentiles now, swallowed up in the nations through their captivity.)

    Judah is the largest tribe and contains the most Jews. Most Levites have levitical names handed down (Cohen, Cohanim, Kohn, etc.), so I'd guess I'm from Judah or Benjamin, likely Judah simply because it is so much larger than Benjamin.

  8. Hi, I liked your writing. Just to point out one thing. You said: "And of course, the major shocking thing is, they believe a certain man is infallible and is, more or less, Jesus Christ on earth. I am speaking of the Holy Father, the Pope, of course."

    That's not true. At least not for the majority of RCCs. Perhaps it was in the past. Nowadays is just a man. It's more the political head of the institute.

    You also said: "If Messiah came back today ... I am convinced He would appear totally foreign and too radical for Roman Catholics."

    You should read the book "La 'tournée' de Dios", which translated would be something like "The tour of God" or "The 'tournée' of God", written by Enrique Jardiel Poncela. Although it is a humoristic novel, it resembles many points such as the one you stated above.


  9. Shalom Fernando,

    Thanks for stopping by and posting.

    I've personally found many RCs here in the US to believe the Pope to be infallible. Perhaps it differs around the world.

    Thanks for the book reference.

  10. Judah - Check this out.

    From A Catholic Gentile who is GRATEFUL for being grafted into the natural olive tree.

  11. Adoremus, I think you're rather unique in your position.

    I'm glad you are pro-Israel and that you recognize God's plan in grafting in the gentiles to Israel through Messiah. I've never met a Catholic with your views before.

    Can I ask you some questions? I don't want to mislabel you guys or demon-ize you folks, so can you clarify something in the post?

    In the post, of Roman Catholics I said,

    "They are devoutly religious.

    They are recognized as ambassadors of God's true religion.

    They [the religion, rather] are flooded with rituals and man-made religion.

    They make new rulings that are equal to or override Scripture.
    (The Pope is infallible, Sabbath is Sunday, to name a few.)

    They've added their writings to Scripture.

    Their rituals are taking precedence over Scripture.

    Their devout religion may be mostly outward, as is evidenced by the recent molestation scandals.

    Their own dogma is so important, that without it, one cannot be considered a member of the body of God."

    Would you say that's accurate and fair? If not, please tell me what's inaccurate or unfair and I'd love to talk about it. I'd really like to understand you guys better and I certainly don't want to speak wrongly of you. I'd like to hear what you have to say about these things.

    The goal isn't to put anybody down, but rather, figure out what's right. To me, current Roman Catholic theology is off; so far off, in fact, that I suspect a majority of Catholics won't recognize the Jewish Messiah when he comes back. What do you think?

  12. Reading more on that website, I see that one of your goals is to bring Messianic Jews into the Catholic Church. Without this, we (Messianics) can only be in "imperfect unity" with you (Roman Catholics).

    That's wrong, and here's why: Messiah never said we must belong to a certain sect of a church to be in perfect unity with anyone. Instead, he only commands us to follow him and keep his commandments.

  13. Judah - Its not my website although I have no problem with it. Naturally Catholics believe that they are in the closest possible union with Messiah and this enables us to "divide the word of truth" in the closest accord with His will. So we would want all followers of Yeshua to be in perfect unity with us because we think this is how to best be in perfect unity with Yeshua. So we would think Yeshua followers would be better off "objectively" in the RC Church and assuming all our personal subjective hearts are in the right place (which they aren't as you have noticed with a number of Catholics- but also true disciples of all stripes). Thus, mere formal membership in the Catholic is no guarantee - but with someone like you, I cannot imagine you would be a nominal go-through-the-motions member of anything. You've got the personal inner desire for Yeshua - we believe we've got the objective deliverables(from Him not really "us"). So enough of that. We could be wrong and I understand why you think it's just the opposite and that you are spiritually better off in the Messianic Synagogue. I personally was willing to stake my spiritual destiny to the Catholic Church. I am a convert from Lutheran and also a bit of time in non-denominational evangelical Christianity (and I was looking into Messianic communities when I started looking into the Catholic Church).

    There is no way to cover all points but you asked me to respond to your observations so I will:

    "They are devoutly religious.

    My answer: This is very nice of you. Many of us are and a fair number are not. I fall down myself more often than I like.

    They are recognized as ambassadors of God's true religion.

    My answer: Again very nice compliment. However, many protestants feel just the opposite about us. i.e. "whore of babylon" etc.

    They [the religion, rather] are flooded with rituals and man-made religion.

    My answer: There is a grain of truth in this. As far as "rituals" I don't see the problem as long they are accompnied by heartfelt desire. A ritual is not by defintion an "empty ritual". As far as "man-made" since I am familiar with this lingo, I would disagree although I understand why you feel this way (it was formerly my view). Although there is a grain of truth to this - but not much more.

    They make new rulings that are equal to or override Scripture.
    (The Pope is infallible, Sabbath is Sunday, to name a few.)

    My answer: This would take a long answer to really answer right(like a book). We wouldn't say we "make new rulings" that changes the "revelation given to Apostles" by Yeshua and the Holy Spirit. As far as Infallibility goes, protestants don't understand what it is (either do most Catholics). Think of it this way: Infallibility just means the Holy Spirit supernaturally protects the Pope from uttering heresy as an "official" teaching.

    They've added their writings to Scripture.

    My answer: No. Maybe you're confusing "writing" with Sacred Tradition. There you would have a bit of a point but would still not understand what we mean (to be honest).

    Their rituals are taking precedence over Scripture.

    My Answer: I can't agree here. But you aren't being very specific.

    Their devout religion may be mostly outward, as is evidenced by the recent molestation scandals.

    My answer: I personally think this is a legitimate criticism but only for individual Catholics. But that there are apparently so many problems is a problem.

    Their own dogma is so important, that without it, one cannot be considered a member of the body of God."

    My Answer: Actually not true. The Catholic Church would teach that you are already joined (though "imperfectly" - I know you hate that term) to the Body of Messiah and receive many graces from him where you already are.

    I hope you aren't offended by any of this. I always think people should just put their cards on the table. I am not offended, for example, if you sincerely believe the Catholic Church has a theology that is "so far off" etc. I used to believe the same thing.

    Adoremus (Todd).

    "Shalom I leave with you; my Shalom I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you." John 14:27.

  14. Todd, thanks for answering those points. Also, thanks for being respectful and not spiteful or vengeful against my objections to Catholicism. I think that reveals some goodness in you.

    I guess the base part we disagree on is the belief Catholics are in the closest possible union with Messiah. I disagree because I see too many not-from-God things going on in Catholicism:

    I don't believe that the Pope is protected by God's spirit to be incapable of speaking wrongly or speaking heresy, I don't see Scriptural support for that. The near-deification of saints, the rosary, the confession, priest and nun celibacy, Latin mass, mass itself, Easter, Lent, holy water, holy salt and so on -- such things may be well-intentioned, but I see no Scriptural support for them, thus I cannot believe you guys are in "closest possible union" with Messiah.

    Todd, obviously you disagree. But in such a circumstance, I prefer clarity over agreement.

    (p.s. I'm intrigued by the good works you guys do. Some Catholics, like the one linked to in the first comment to the post, believe salvation to come through good works. Do you believe that? What is the Catholic Catechism's stance on that?)

  15. wThanks Judah. I agree - don't tiptoe around the differences but show each other respect.

    As for that link...well that guy (is he even Catholic?) may have not put it quite right. On the other hand the Catholic position is so nuanced, he could defend the sentence in another context- works are "necessary" in the sense that if God's grace is in you, works will necessarily follow(even though we aren't perfect).

    But you had the right idea to look for the Catholic intrepretation of Scripture - what does the Catechism say?

    Without going into the full blown treatment, the Catechism teaches we are saved by Grace. God also gives us through Grace the ability to do good works that can be legitimately called "merit" - but since the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the ultimate source for our meritorious deeds - they are in fact His gift ("grace") as well. We don't "earn" our own salvation, but God rewards, expects, encourages and enables our good works. A few quotes:

    "Our Justification comes from the Grace of God" (paragraph 1996)

    "Justification has ben merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men." (paragrpah 1992)

    "With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man."(para. 2007)

    "The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit. (para 2008)"

    "Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the divine nature, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God's gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us "co-heirs" with Christ and worthy of obtaining "the promised inheritance of eternal life." The merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness. "Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due. . . . Our merits are God's gifts." (paragraph 2009)

    "Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions. (2010)

    "The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace." (2011).

    I realize there may be a few things in the quotes you will have an issue with, but I didn't want to pick and choose. For the full blown context see para's 1987-2029. Here is a link to a great searchable online version of the Catechism:

    By the way the best scriptural defense of Catholicism I know of is : "A Biblical Defense of Catholicism" by Dave Armstrong. If it is out of print you can get it from Dave's website/blog.


    Ephesians 8-10: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

  16. hi Judah,
    I just stumbled upon this thread and read it with interest, as I am one of the chief contributors of I liked the respectful spirit of the discussion. However, your own words reflect a great lack of understanding of Catholicism. I don't know if you have read my testimony , but in it I go into details as to why I came to the conclusion that Messianic Judaism is not biblical enough and why Catholicism really is truly Jewish and truly the faith of the Bible. For example, Messianic Judaism usually uncritically accepts the two pillars of Protestantism: sola scriptura (the Bible as sole source of authority) and sola fide (salvation by faith alone). Yet both of these doctrines are neither Jewish, neither biblical, nor genuinely Christian! For more details, have a look at our multi-media online course where we touch upon the difficulties which you have with the Catholic faith. God bless you on your journey!
    PS: if you reply, pls do also leave a copy on our forum... not sure when I will re-stumble upon your site.

  17. Hi Ariel,

    You may be surprised to know both of my parents, as well as all sets of grandparents were devout Catholics at one point.

    I visited the website and briefly went over your testimony. Your testimony is an amazing journey, and I agree with most points you made. Your constant questioning is good! I think if we questioned religion enough, we'd weed out a lot of junk that's taken over.

    First thing, I differ with Messianics on some points and I don't always consider myself one, so I can't speak on behalf of them.

    You mentioned some points that aren't Scriptural. I will study those points you bring up. If they're not Scriptural, I'll change.

    I'd hope you keep questioning, though, and not be held back by your old ties to Catholicism.

    For example, it is not Scriptural to have a Pope, nor is it Scriptural to have an otherwise ordinary man represent Jesus Christ on earth. Papal infallibility, even though you claim does not prevent the Pope from saying or doing anything wrong, is also not Scriptural.

    Friend, after finding God again and had gone to ICB, according to your testimony, you looked at the sincere faith of true Catholics, including your parents. This was one thing that drew you back to Catholicism.

    We both know there is true faith and sincerity in true believers in Messiah, even if they reside in the Catholic Church, or the Evangelical Church. This alone cannot vindicate the Catholic Church as the true Biblical faith, however.

    You mentioned you were then drawn by the sound orthodoxy of the fundamentals of the Christian Faith, as expressed best in the Nicene Creed. Ariel, brother in Messiah, are you aware of the views of those present at Nicaea? The founders of the formal Roman Catholic Church, frankly, were racist haters of Jews and Torah. Please read my article that quotes Constantine's directly and see for yourself: Church, Behold Your Founder

    Ariel, it's true there are theological differences between us in regards to the rituals of the Roman church. Those things are only trivial to me, however.

    What's more important, and the reason you're wrong about this, friend, is that the Roman church's roots are poisoned. Constantine and those present at Nicaea adopted anti-Jewish, hate-filled doctrines that were crafted specially to do away with both Torah and God's true people, Israel.

    Yes, there are sincere folks in Catholicism. Yes, there are ignorant criticisms of the Roman church. Yes, Protestantism and Messianic Judaism doesn't have it all figured out. Maybe the Catholic Church has some things right that the EVs and Messianics have wrong. All these things, however, do not vindicate the Roman church of its poisoned roots, which have come to the fruition, not in the sincere faith of a few, but in widespread persecution of God's people for 2000 years.

  18. hello Judah,

    thanks for your reply; I saw it only now. As I mention in my testimony I was not drawn back to the Church because of family ties, nor because of the sincerity of Catholics. We all know that it's perfectly possible to be sincerely wrong!

    Re. the pope: the fact that Jesus appointed Peter to be "the rock on which I will build my Church" is quite clear from the NT. See the wealth of other scriptures and quotes from the early church (way before Constantine!) in this presentation .

    The same goes for Sunday. There is no doubt that Jesus himself by his resurrection inaugurated the new creation on the "8th day". Christians celebrated "the Lord's Day" long before Constantine; in fact, this is already attested in the book of Acts. See more Early Church quotes here - though I disagree with the statements on this page that Sabbath observance has been "abolished" and replaced by Sunday. For sure, the Sabbath is the sign of God's eternal covenant with Israel and remembrance of the first creation - but Sunday is the day celebrating the new and greater one!

    Your comments on Constantine contain a number of inaccuracies. For one, though the statements concerning the Jews are indeed regrettable, it is not correct that they are 'racist'. For such language was an integral part of the religious polemics of the time. Jews did not write any more charitably towards Christians. You may forget that Jews persecuted the first Christian believers for some time; and so you can't expect Church leaders to be all full of warm feelings towards them in the early 4th century.

    Further, Constantine or the Nicene fathers are certainly not the "founders of the formal Catholic Church" - for most Catholic beliefs are well attested long before Nicea. In fact Catholic beliefs were held even before the NT canon was closed.

    Though your desire to 'restore the Hebrew roots' to Christianity is laudable, your writings betray many inaccurate cliches. I can almost guess the books you have read, and those you have not. It would probably be wiser, before you lauch into polemical and inflammatory statements ("poisoned roots...") to read more of what the Church fathers REALLy wrote, and to find out more about the biblical roots of Catholicism.

    No doubt, there is need of repentance for the past words and deeds of Christians/Catholics towards Jews. Amen to that. But by saying that the one Church that goes back to apostolic time has "poisened roots" and within a few generations immediately went astray doctrinally from the pure biblical faith, then you are effectively saying that the Lord failed in his promise that "the Spirit of truth will lead you into all truth"... until the Protestant Reformers came along? The Jesus I know promised that the gates of hades would not prevail against his Church - But a church going into near total darkness for 1,000 years is not exactly a success story!


  19. Hi Ariel,

    Rather than continue our debate here where it's burried in the comments of an old post, I've created a new post which addresses some of your points: Upon This Disciple I'll Build My New Religion?

    Shalom in Messiah.