Sunday, 12 August 2018

Conversation with the devil


Devil: Ah … I see you’re going to church … again! Why do you do this?

Man: It’s Sunday. I am going to Mass.

Devil: A Catholic hein? One of them I see.

Man: What do you mean?

Devil: Well … Catholics are a bit odd. Do you know that some people do not consider Catholics as being Christians at all?

Man: Why?

Devil: Where do I start? The Pope for instance. What is all that about? Having one man at the top supposedly in charge of the whole outfit. Surely, the only one you should follow and listen to is God; if your logic is correct?

Man: Yes … God is the Supreme Being at the top, as you put it. The Pope is only a representative of God, like all priests, like all Christians really. He is “at the top” to lead and guide all in the Church. Just like St Peter did all those years ago.

Devil: OK … how about your habit of confessing your sins to a priest? That’s odd don’t you think? Surely, if you need to confess anything it should be to God. Not a man who for the most part has little experience of real life, being single, with no real understanding of raising a family, providing for his family and all the other problems of life?

Man: The Catholic Church, I understand, bases its teaching on the words of Jesus, when He said to Peter, “And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:18). I can understand that some people, Catholics even, find it difficult in these days to go and confess their sins to a priest. It is a personal choice, and I guess the Church has a lot of teaching to do on this.

Devil: Diplomatic answer … I see. I wonder if it convinces anyone. How about all the statues and images you have in your church. And people lighting candles and placing flowers by them and worshipping them. Surely this is wrong.

Man: I agree … worshipping the statues and images is wrong. We should only worship God. Over the years many Catholics have been confused by this, and again, perhaps we should teach them that it is not the statue they should be worshipping. Let me explain it another way. I have in my wallet a photo of my wife and children. Also on my desk at work. I do not worship the photos, nor do I worship my family. I love them of course. The photos are a reminder of my family. As for placing flowers and lighting candles to statues. We should do this as a sign of reverence and respect. Not as a sign of worship. Very much like many people place flowers and light candles on the graves of their loved ones. They do not worship the grave or who is in it.

Devil: You seem to have a clever answer to everything. But you must admit that your church does some eccentric irrational things at times. Like the exhumation of the body and bones of St Therese of Lisieux and taking them round from country to country for people to visit them and pray? Or mortifications and flagellations. How about the Spanish Inquisitions? And all the other evils that your Catholic Church has brought to the world? How about all the riches you have accumulated in the Vatican and other churches whilst poor people, Catholics amongst them, starve all over the world?

Man: I agree … there is a lot that the Church has done, and is doing wrong. But you must remember that the Church is made out of human beings. And human beings often make mistakes, and get things wrong, and indeed do evil too, often in the name of their religion. There are many things that the Church has done which cannot be defended. But that should not stop me going to Church, should it?

Devil: Why do you go to church?

Man: As a Catholic, I go to Church because I believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I base my beliefs on John Chapter 6 where Jesus tells His followers and disciples that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood they will not have eternal life. I admit that I do not understand this. I doubt anyone does. But I believe it because Jesus said so.

Devil: Wishy washy meaningless answer. Would it not be better for you, and others, if you just gave up on the church and followed me? I have no rules. Anything goes. Whatever you want to do or believe, just do it!

Man: I guess the difference between you and Jesus is that Jesus did what He did, for us, because He loves us and cares for us. You do what you do for yourself. To increase the number of your followers. So thanks for the offer; but no thanks!

25 comments:

  1. Perfect inspiration for a Sunday morning, Victor. Blessings!

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    1. Thank you Martha. Praying for you and yours.

      God bless.

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  2. that is such an inspiration for my sunday morning!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Laurie.

      God bless.

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  3. Not once was I swayed by the devil's words. I believe in how I was brought-up to believe in God. Having said this... I do not believe in everything the Catholic religion teaches. I won't go into it but it has to do with divorce...a very personal touchyand subject with me.

    Great writing Victor💮
    Blessings

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    1. Jan, there are a lot of Catholics who do not believe, or agree with, what the Catholic Church teaches. Me included. Especially on the subject of divorce.

      There are many reasons why people divorce - adultery, violence, criminal behaviour, drink, drugs etc ... Does a loving God really wants the innocent party in a divorce to spend a lifetime unable to marry again, and unable to find love and happiness again? I believe not. And, I klnow a number of Catholic priests who agree with me; but, for obvious reasons they do not voice such opinions.

      This is only one subject where the Church's teaching is confusing and ambiguous. No wonder so many Catholics are leaving the Church.

      Sadly, the present Pope has not help in clarifying many issues which the modern world needs guidance and teaching on.

      God bless you, Jan.

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    2. This is very true Victor. My first marriage was when I was only sixteen and my husband was nineteen.i didn't have to get married...I wanted to be a wife and a mother. Five months after we married I became pregnant and carried our son full term for nine months after that. This was in the 1960s so I know lots of people were counting the months but it doesn't take 14 months to have a baby. My first husband and I were married for almost seven years and in that time I was beaten and cheated on but I didn't want to give up easily. Then when I ended up in the hospital with my eyes swollen shut I vowed I would leave him as soon as I could get away with my son and daughter. He threatened to kill me if I left... I knew he would kill me if I stayed in that nightmare.
      Now I have been married over forty seven years to my second husband. We also have a son and a daughter. The church won't let me receive communion because I divorced my first husband. My second husband cannot receive communion because he married me a divorced woman. I fail to see where God would hold either of us responsible and refuse us communion, we are both from strong Catholic familes, made our communions were baptized...it just doesn't make sense to me.
      Sorry that I wanted here but sometimes I feel angry about it all.
      Thank you for caring.

      God's Blessings Victor 💮

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    3. Oops, sorry about the errors...that should have been "sorry that I vented here" darn tablet 💮

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    4. Thank you Jan, for your courage to share your story with us.

      In my view, the Catholic Church is wrong, wrong, wrong, in denying you and your second husband Holy Communion. Holy Communion is receiving Christ Himself. Christ was/is love and forgiveness. He would not banish someone for having found love again and maintained a happy relationship for 47 years.

      You had to leave your first husband because of violence. Does the Church really would have wanted you to remain single for life? I have known many good priests with whom I discussed cases such as yours. Each one agreed that, had they been asked for advice, they would have advised people in your situation to divorce. One explained, "Marriage is a relationship of equals loving and respecting each other. If one party abuses the other then that relationship is no longer loving in the eyes of God, and therefore God would not wish it to continue so that one party suffers at the hands of the other!" This, coming from a number of priests is enlightened, carin and realistic. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church is not so, and their rules on annulments are not universal and fair. In some Dioceses people can have their marriage annulled within six months, in others it takes years and/or never, condemning people to being unable to re-marry.

      As I said earlier, the Catholic Church needs to awake and clarify its thinking or it will cease to exist. Church attendances are down, Confessions are down, and vocations for the priesthood are also down. With no "customers" and "staff" how can any organisation exist? But the single elderly men running the Catholic Church think they know better!

      God bless you, Jan.

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    5. Thank you Victor...even after all these years I felt that I had to say it again. My second husband and I are the victims here. In my thoughts we didn't sin and we don't deserve to be treated like we did something wrong.

      I will put it to rest now, once again 💮

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    6. Thank you Jan. You did nothing wrong. If it is any consolation, many priests I spoke to in past years about similar cases agree you, (and they), did nothing wrong.

      Please try to speak to other priests in your locality. Maybe you'll find and enlightened one willing to help.

      God bless.

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  4. As a non-Roman Catholic, yes. These questions have occurred to me. These are each great explanations. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Mevely. Sadly, the Catholic Church is confusing its own congregations; never mind the non-Catholics.

      God bless you.

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  5. Catholicism is the original Christianity! This thing about having a Pope. Notice both the Eastern Orthodox and the Coptic's in Egypt have a leader called a "Patriarch." That's the same title as the Pope, which is supposed to be "Papa" or "Holy Father." All the Apostolic Churches, the ones founded at the time of Christ have the same thing. They also have the real presence in the Eucharist and a devotion to Mary. So if all the original churches have those things, isn't it the ones that don't that have strayed off path? The answer of course is yes.

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    1. Manny,

      Great to see you here again. Where have you been man? We miss your well though-out comments.

      Indeed, you are right. Other Churches have "Popes" or Patriarchs. Also other Churches believe in the Real Presence.

      But that is not my argument. My argument is on other matters relating to the Catholic Church which I have referred to in my "conversation" above. Matters of importance which the Catholic Church is not clear on and its teaching is confusing and alienate the faithful.

      Our priest told us that (in the UK at least - don't know about where you are), Church attendances are down, Confessions are down, vocations to the priesthood are down, Catholic teachers in Catholic schools are down, teaching Christianity at home by Catholic parents to their children is also down.

      If people are leaving the Church, and not teaching their children the faith, and no Catholic teachers or priests in schools to do so; how can the next generation grow up in the Faith? The average age of church attendance in our local church is 60+ They are now thinking of recruiting a Youth Officer; whatever good he will do. If the kids are not taught at home or at school, what will the Youth Officer do? Offer them sweets or take-away pizza to attend church?

      Please join the debate, Manny.

      God bless.

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    2. Oh I haven't deliberately been avoiding your blog. It's just that with an eight year old son, my free time is limited, especially during the summer. Eventually he'll go back to school - Thank God!

      I can assure you I am doing my best in bringing up my son in the Church. We'll see what happens when he gets to college. That is when most kids lose faith. Universities are nothing more than institutions to strip your children of their faith. Sometimes I think it's best not to send them there at all.

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    3. Manny, I mentioned it before, and I say it again. You and your wife are good parents. Exemplary. Keep the faith by teaching and by example.

      You've opened a new controversial subject. University. Again, speaking for the situation here in the UK only. Going to University is expensive. Youngsters leave with debts of £40k+ However, there just are no jobs. For University students and for everyone else. So youngsters are saddled with debts as soon as they leave University with good degrees in good subjects, i.e law, medicine, engineering, computing and the like. I know from experience what I am saying here.

      Speaking for the UK situation, I would NOT advise a youngster to go to University. Go straight into a job. Even if it is working in a supermarket.

      Sorry ... touchy and painful subject.

      God bless.

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  6. Tough post to comment on, Victor.
    I am no longer Catholic after struggling with many of the same issues, but I am a Christian. I was taught much about God by very patient and kind nuns while attending catechism, and for that I am thankful.

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    1. I understand, Chris. It is sometimes tough to be a Catholic. I find it so.

      The question is: Am I a Catholic because of the people in that Church and their actions and beliefs? Or am I a Catholic because I truly believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist I receive?

      The Catholic Church is full of people who have done, and are still doing, things wrong. They are people. I am not in the Church for the people.

      God bless you, Chris. May I humbly suggest you talk to a priest in your locality. He may be able to help.

      God bless you.

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