For My Catholic Friends

In the continual effort to find materials that make complicated issues easier to understand, here is another discovery. This short video gives dates and information specific enough to help people understand quite a few things. As far as I know, it is all accurate. Please comment if you think otherwise.

After having “spoken” to a newly made Italian internet friend, it is now more obvious to me that the country where Rome resides is in great trouble spiritually. Statistics show that almost 80% of Italians consider themselves Catholic. My new friend informed me that no one he knows in the age group of 18 to 25 has a Bible. His grandparents and his parents were all atheists until recent medical problems that his father had led his father to have thoughts about God.

My new young friend seems very intelligent. When I asked him who Moses was he had to reach back, as he put it, to childhood memories. I know it is only one person but I’m guessing he is probably indicative of the average Italian and perhaps most Catholics; if they do believe in God it is not because they have studied the Bible on their own but they are believing what the pope or the bishop or the local priest is teaching.

I pray for my new friend and for my Catholic friends that they will trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. 

Chris Reimers

7 Responses to For My Catholic Friends

  1. Tom says:

    Thanks for this good video, Chris. I appreciate how Todd Friel faithfully teaches against RC-ism’s false gospel. Not a popular thing to do in today’s big-tent evangelicalism. I said a prayer for your young Catholic friend. He symbolizes many Catholics in Europe and the U.S. who are nominal in their religion except for “life events” – baby baptism, marriage, funerals. I was definitely an “oddball” exception Catholic when I bought a Catholic Bible at a Christian bookstore in the early 1980s and discovered disturbing incongruity after incongruity regarding my religion and Scripture.

    • Chris says:

      You’re welcome, Tom, and thank you for your continued effort to help Catholics find the truth.

      I think you would be considered even more of an “oddball” if you were in that age bracket today and bought a Bible. It is amazing that you were able to see the incompatibilities between what you were being taught and Scripture. I can only pray that more today will have that same experience.

      Thank you for your prayer for my young friend. He is not afraid to hear what I have to “say” and he is in my prayers as well.

  2. Dear Chris, I had the following thoughts about your Catholic friend and the Catholic church and tradition:

    It is not so unexpected that Catholics do not read the Bible for themselves all that much. The developed tradition was not to do that. The congregation members were never encouraged to read the Bible themselves, even those who understood Latin. The church wanted priests, who had learning, to explain the faith to them. Reading and interpreting for yourself was one of the tenets of the beginning of the Reformation, wasn’t it, and actually propelled translations of the Bible! You’re echoing Luther & co’s radical thoughts in saying “Read!”

    The first Danish (and Norwegians read Danish) Bible translation was printed in 1524. It had been commissioned by King Christian II. It had Luther’s translation into German as its basis.

    And therefore, criticism of this habit can be directed towards the Catholic church, but I think perhaps it should be less specifically directed towards each individual Catholic than what I read into what you say, even in our times! It has not been altogether lazy neglect of religious duty. There has not been, even later, the kind of emphasis in Catholic culture on reading the Bible that has been so prominent in Protestant denominations.

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Marianne. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Your comments about how Catholics were not encouraged to read the Bible themselves are very true. Now that the Catholic Church does most everything in English, I don’t think things have changed much. My guess is that most priests would rather their members come to them for spiritual instruction than to study the Bible for themselves for understanding. In these cases, I would hold such leaders responsible for the lack of this encouragement. I think, as you have suggested, that a great amount of the responsibility for the lack of understanding of basic Bible principles, particularly faith by God’s grace alone, can be laid at the feet of Catholic leaders.

    As my ex-Catholic friend who commented above has noted on his blog:

    “Roman Catholicism has always subordinated the Bible to its Sacred Traditions and Magisterium.”

    There is no excuse for placing followers in such a situation. When “sacred traditions” conflict directly with scripture, it is the sacred tradition that must be jettisoned.

    Many protestant teachers continually remind church members or followers to study the Bible for themselves to see if what is being taught is truth. At the same time, this blog contains much more criticism of protestant “leaders” than it does of Catholic ones only because it is Protestantism that I grew up in. Today, there are many leaders in Protestant Churches teaching heretical views.

    If it appears that my intention here is to criticize the average person who enters into a Catholic church, then my goal is misunderstood, and maybe because of how I have misworded something.

    The reason for this post is the hope that by viewing such a video that someone who goes to Mass might understand what Todd Friel says towards the end of this video:

    “We would love to see the very heavy work-righteousness yoke that the Catholic Church has laid on your shoulders replaced with the easy burden and light yoke of Christ Jesus.”

    He then asks Catholics to find a church that teaches “Sola” and “Tota” (only and completely) scripture.

    My prayer is that average Catholic would wake up to the problems in the traditions they believe in and find true hope in Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection once and for all.

    Thank you for sharing the Norwegian history with me.

    “The first Danish (and Norwegians read Danish) Bible translation was printed in 1524. It had been commissioned by King Christian II. It had Luther’s translation into German as its basis.”

    I can only hope that more Norwegians, along with more Americans, would dust off their Bibles and study them for themselves in our times.

    • Some further thoughts – Is this bearable, Chris? It is way too long (a major fault of mine):

      a)
      I am sure your intention was not to be down on individuals, Chris. My own formulations should anyway have been different in emphasis, so I will try again:

      Yes, a LACK of knowledge of the contents of the Bible, even of central parts of the New Testament, has certainly been spreading in most countries of Europe in the last decades. I see a tremendous difference between the generations here in Norway and no doubt there has been something of the same development even in the south European countries. And the spreading of atheism goes hand in hand with that, of course, partly as a cause but then again as an effect (if you don’t know anything about it, then of course you do not believe in it).

      Perhaps in Catholic culture there is even less individual resistance to fall back on when the powers and coercive influence of the church fades? – because they do not have a strong tradition of individual Bible reading, nor what we had in Norway way back: a tradition of communal Bible reading:

      b)
      From 1736 in Denmark-Norway (in union until 1814) and later in Norway, confirmation was obligatory until 1912! That necessitated children learning to read, because as Lutherans the children were going to have to read the Bible and be examined on it! So there was general literacy in the population from very early. (Yes, no individual freedom in matters of religion! I know that shocks Americans. But it at least had some important, positive ‘side’ effects.) Reading was taught in school, or in places where there was no school in early times, it was taught by a sexton or other functionary of the church.

      Certainly in 1950 there would still be a Bible in practically every home, even to provide a self-evident groundwork of general understanding of the culture which everybody was familiar with whether devoted or not, and ‘Bible history’ was taught as a matter of course in every school in my childhood (although children who were not Lutheran Christians were exempted).

      c)
      About the translations of the Bible into Danish and Norwegian:

      Danish and Norwegian are closely related dialects, descended from Old Norse. Written Danish and one of the two written standards of Norwegian are still almost identical. While Norway was in union with Denmark, the administration language was Danish, easily pronouncable in Norwegian. The Danish translations of the Bible served for Norway too; some editions after 1814 had some minor adaptations. In 1904 came the first edition independently translated into Norwegian.

      I have read around a bit since my last comment, and find that the story of the early translations of the Bible into Danish is more complicated than my first source said: It seems right that the very first such translation is from 1524, but it was neither as good as it could be nor was it complete. Only five years later a better one appeared, and the whole Bible in Danish came in 1550 under king Christian III. Ar least that one directly built on the one by Luther into German.

      In other words, there was a lot of translating and printing going on in those years, with the Bible as a/the central object! (Gutenberg’s invention of a printing press with movable type, which made it much much cheaper to produce printed text, and the proliferation of printed text, took place around the middle of the 1400s).

      • Chris says:

        Bearable is never an issue with you, Marianne.

        Thank you for this interesting information. I’m just heading out the door to meet with my sister and I will give a better response later in the day.

        God’s blessings…

      • Chris says:

        I have had some time to look at your comment, Marianne, and thank you for sharing your thoughts along with interesting religious history of Norway. Your point about Catholic culture never having had an emphasis on individual Bible reading is a good one. I would think that the lack of such reading, with the ebb and flow of the church’s influence, would result in what we see today.

        What you have shared about required confirmation in Norway, until 1912, is an engaging fact. That Norwegian Lutherans had communal Bible readings and that Bible History was taught to most in 1950 shows how quickly things can change.

        Most public schools in America said a Christian prayer at the beginning of the school day until 1962. That was the year our Supreme court ruled that school-sponsored prayer in public schools violated the First Amendment of our constitution. I was a small fellow when the ruling came down but I am under the impression that it was not overly popular at the time as many public schools ignored the decision and continued opening school days with Christian prayer for many years to come. Many think this Supreme Court decision was the beginning of a continuing but steeper decline in Biblical literacy and Christian beliefs in the U.S.

        You might be interested to know that I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in my eighth grade year. From what I can recall, it was pretty orthodox theology that we learned and very educational. Why that particular church decides to teach this type of thing when students are least likely to pay attention is beyond me. At the same time, I think it is a noble attempt.

        It is nice to know that the Bible was very important to Norwegians for hundreds of years. The huge differences you have seen in Bible literacy in your lifetime is something I have also witnessed here in the U.S. I think it is the world’s greatest tragedy. I also think that no one can really quantify the repercussions of such a collapse.

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