Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Protestant vs. Catholic

The Marty Minto case has really brought up the question of whether Pope John Paul was saved or not. It showed up on GetReligion today for instance.

I'd like to point out that you guys reading this are way ahead of the curve. Michael Dean asked this question in the comments on April 5th:
Do you think the Pope was a born again believer? After his death I have often wondered and hoped that he was.
For the record I'll go out on a limb and say that yes I think the Pope is in heaven right now. Just like I think Mother Teresa is too. When you look at the lives these people lived, I can't imagine them doing so without immense amounts of faith. I don't know whether the former Pope had a dramatic conversion experience, but I do know that he went through seminary in WWII when the Nazis would have executed him if they had found out. I think that is a good indication of a "calling".

I think Protestants and Catholics still have a heck of a cultural divide to work through. As a Protestant, we see Catholics as anything from institutional christians who are just going through the motions to idolators. I'm sure Catholics see us as rebels denying the true apostolic authority of the Church.

I think the truth is probably in between. There are a lot of Catholics out there who really don't get their own faith. They think that going through the motions is enough. This is bad news, but isn't any different from a lot of Baptists I know. My church is conspicuously more crowded around Christmas and Easter.

Also I understand that the saints are not prayed to like God is prayed to. At least they aren't supposed to be. The saints are prayed to as intermediaries who will carry your prayers to the ear of God, sort of like holy lawyers who will argue your case before the eternal judge. I'm Baptist so why I would need any intermediary other than Christ is puzzling to me, but at least understand the concept. Dawn Eden has more about praying to the saints.

I think Protestants should probably spend some time reading Catholic thought and philosophy. While I don't hold their Natural Law philosophy to the same standard as scripture, there is a lot of good stuff there. A lot of catholics have spent a lot of time building up a body of thought and it isn't something to sneeze at.

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