Survey finds U.S. Catholics "by and large, like being Catholic"

Details:

American Catholics have by and large remained loyal to the core teachings and sacraments of their faith, but increasingly tune out the hierarchy on issues of sexual morality, according to a new study released Monday (Oct. 24)

The sweeping survey shows that over the last quarter-century, U.S. Catholics have become increasingly likely to say that individuals, not church leaders, have the final say on abortion, homosexuality, and divorce and remarriage.

That trend holds true across generational and ideological divides, and even applies to weekly Mass attenders, according to the survey, which has been conducted every six years since 1987.

“It’s the core creedal sacramental issues that really matter to American Catholics, more than the external trappings of church authority,” said Michele Dillon, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire and a co-author of the report, in releasing the report at the National Press Club.

At the same time, the authors note, Catholic loyalty and identity remain remarkably strong, even as 83 percent of Catholics say the clergy sexual abuse scandal has hurt the bishops’ moral and political credibility.

“By and large, Catholics like being Catholic,” said co-author Mary Gautier of Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

The report identified two-thirds of U.S. Catholics as “moderately committed,” a group that inched up in size as the share of “highly committed” has shrunk from 27 percent in 1987 to 19 percent this year.

More than half (56 percent) say they would “never leave” the Catholic Church, and one in three say it is unlikely they would leave. Three-quarters of respondents said “being Catholic is a very important part of who I am.”

Across the board, Catholics tend to agree on four key markers — the resurrection of Jesus (73 percent), helping the poor (67 percent), devotion to the Virgin Mary (64 percent), and the centrality of the sacraments (63 percent) — as core to their Catholicism.

Opposition to abortion (40 percent) and to same-sex marriage (35 percent), and the authority of the Vatican (30 percent) and support for a celibate, all-male clergy (21 percent) were further down the list.

The issue of homosexuality showed one of the largest gaps between the pulpit and the pews. The portion of Catholics who say church leaders have “the final say” on homosexuality has plunged by half, from 32 percent to 16 percent, over the past 25 years, while those who say individuals make the final call has shot up from 39 percent to 57 percent.

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  • ron chandonia

    There is a priest here who is so deeply committed to social justice that his congregation has been known to walk out during his homilies, holding their ears so they do not have to hear what the Church says about controversial topics like immigration. This priest said to me once that for most Catholics he has encountered, religion is not so much faith as it is superstition, a talisman to which they can cling amidst the vicissitudes of life. Faith, in contrast, would require of them commitments they are quite unwilling to make. This latest study seems to me to confirm his observations. No wonder so many of us say we like our religion: what’s not to like?

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I love being Catholic!! I will say that this is something I’ve discovered in the last four or five years (I’m nearly fifty) but I can’t say I’ve never disliked it.

    The article says Catholics “tune out” certain issues. I think a better term is “compartmentalize.” They are conscious of the Church position and teaching, and don’t disregard it but in the course of a living day they hold simultaneous positions.

    I found this sort of strange:
    “Across the board, Catholics tend to agree on four key markers — the resurrection of Jesus (73 percent)…”

    Huh? What are the other 27% thinking? I can understand disagreeing on certain other things, but if you don’t believe Christ resurrected then I don’t see how you can consider yourself a Catholic, or Christian in general for that matter.

  • Kevin

    I don’t know what this survey means. They remain true to the “core teachings and sacraments of their faith” but “tune out the “hierarchy’ on “issues of sexual morality”? “Core creedal” beliefs? lol.

    Can someone decipher that sentence for me, because it must have been written by someone who doesn’t understand the Catechism or Catholicism.

  • Steve P

    Yeah… I’m not so sure we ought to count this as a catechetical success story.

    Sounds like Ron’s pastor has a pretty perceptive take on things. I’ve often thought– what’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done as a result of my Christian faith? And I’m afraid the answers I give aren’t all that compelling.

  • HMS

    Ron Chandonia #1:

    Ron:

    Maybe, it’s your priest’s style. But then, again, John the Baptist didn’t mince words.

    Several years ago, I taught a Social Justice course at a Catholic high school. Two young men in the class would challenge me all the time and accuse me of being “politically correct.”

    A few years after they graduated, one came back over spring break to see us. He said to me: “Guess where I went last November?” He had gone with a group to Fort Benning to protest the SOA.

  • Catherine Windels

    As I understand the article, the other 27 percent didn’t say that they don’t believe in the Resurrection, they just didn’t see it as one of the “key markers” of Catholicism. That’s not much better, but it makes the answer less disastrous. I have to say that I think the “four key markers” were well-chosen.

  • Kevin

    When I go to confession, which is a core creedal belief for me of tremendous importance, I tend to tune out the hierarchy on issues of sexual morality.

    That’s just how I roll.

  • Amy

    These statistics are very disturbing. ” American Catholics have by and large remained loyal to the core teachings and sacraments of their faith, but increasingly tune out the hierarchy on issues of sexual morality, according to a new study released Monday (Oct. 24).” What does this mean? “external trappings of Church authority”. This is one of the more ignorant comments made by sociologist Michelle Dillon. To be Catholic means to embrace Catholicism in its entirety. Perhaps someone should communicate that to Ms. Dillon and to the responders of this survey.

  • Jake

    ” … increasingly likely to say that individuals, not church leaders, have the final say on abortion, homosexuality, and divorce and remarriage.”

    That is as it should be — one’s conscience at work, a very Catholic position to take. While those topics are addressed in official Catholic teachings, none of the teachings have been professed as infallible. That means they are, at best, the conclusions of some other person’s or group’s conscience and not required to be believed by a Catholic who in good faith is following their own conscience.

    I believe the last infallible ruling was in the first half of the last century and concerned Mary.

  • RomCath

    “That means they are, at best, the conclusions of some other person’s or group’s conscience and not required to be believed by a Catholic who in good faith is following their own conscience.”

    Utter nonsense. In the case of divorce and remarriage I think Jesus himself condemned it. Does your conscience tell you to disagree with Him?

  • David J. White

    Jake,

    A properly-formed Catholic conscience is guided by the teachings of the Church, whether technically “infallible” or not. Being guided by your conscience doesn’t mean that you are free to do or believe whatever you feel like, and still call yourself a good Catholic.

  • Fiergenholt

    Amy

    “To be Catholic means to embrace Catholicism in its entirety.”

    In an ideal world, no doubt this would be true. However, we live in a real world and none of us — including you and all the deacons who comment here on this blog — embrace everything!

    The reason is real simple. We are all human and are all restricted by the very nature of our humanity. We cannot physically embrace everything because we cannot know everything and we cannot know everything because our church teaches so much.

    Think of Catholicism as an almost eternal smorgasbord of every imaginable spiritual delight. Each and every one of us approach this banquet differently. When you keep it in terms of a human banquet, there are restrictions at work. Some of us are actually allergic to certain foods that others have dreams about; some of us are culturally attuned to certain foods that would make our neighbors retch. Nor can we stuff ourselves with stuff that we love either because we — each one of us — are also limited by our personal spiritual capacities.

    Let me repeat — each and every Roman Catholic, regardless if they are “left-of-center” or “right-of-center” on issues like social justice; or are very active versus “pew-sitters”; or are EF versus OF; all of us are in fact, “cafeteria catholics.” This includes you and me and all our deacon bloggers.

  • kenneth

    This is what happens when you have a religion where almost all of its followers are members because of cultural inertia rather than deliberate choice.

  • Katie Angel

    David,

    However, it does mean that one doesn’t necessarily fall in lock-step to the positions articulated by the heirarchy – who have, by their actions and inactions, betrayed those least able to protect themselves and thereby forfeited much of the moral high ground.

    God gave each of us a conscience and, at our Confirmation, sent into us His Holy Spirit – which is our ultimate guide. If we listen carefully through prayer and study, as well listneing to the pronouncements of the Pope and the Bishops, we can reach the truly Christian and Catholic resolution to the challenges that face us.

    We are not called to blindly follow the conclusions of any one else. As has been clearly illustrated over the past 20 years, members of the heirarchy are still only men – they can, and do, make mistakes and that includes doctrinal ones. Look at the controversy raging about the decision of certain bishops to discontinue receiving the Body and Blood of Christ under both species.

    At the end of the day, we are all required to answer to the Lord for what we do – and saying “the Church said it was okay” probably won’t carry much weight if it is in opposition with the core message that Christ brought of “Love God and love your neighbor – and do both in equal measure”.

    As Catholics, we should watch out for the “certainty trap” theat so frequently ensnares our Protestant brethern.

  • Kevin

    Jake, the Church has never declared the 10 Commandments infallible. Nor has it declared that 2+2=4 infallible.

  • Jake

    #10 RomCath — Utter nonsense it is not. One’s conscience is so important in Catholic doctrine that an “examination of conscience” is how one is taught to prepare for the confessional. One is ultimately responsible for one’s own salvation and does so correctly with proper introspection, which is following one’s conscience in good faith.

    #11 David White — I wrote “in good faith”. I agree one should not justify one’s actions simply because one action is simpler than another. But “Guided” is just that, not blindly accept. If it is not infallible then it is an opinion. Admittedly one from a learned source, and an opinion that is a good guide, but an opinion nonetheless. Only the infallible declarations are accepted without question and the topics of my post are not declared under that auspice.

    #15 Kevin — 2 + 2 = 4 is not a “Faith or Morals” declaration, so using it is not a valid example. The commandments? Well, if done, it has the potential to raise a ruckus with our Protestant Christian brothers, who see them in a different order.

  • naturgesetz

    Katie Angel #14

    The recent decisions and discussion about Communion under both species are not in any way doctrinal. They are merely disciplinary. Withholding the cup from the laity on most occasions is, IMO, very poor judgment, but it doesn’t mean that I am in disagreement with those bishops over doctrine.

    I must admit, though, that I think the current attitude toward condom use outside of marriage is a result of failure to think things through. When the Church considered artificial contraception, it did so first in light of scholastic categories of natural and unnatural actions, and found that condoms violated the natural end of the marital act. Now Pope John Paul II has given us the Theology of the Body, viewing the question in light of the obligation of husband and wife to be fruitful and multiply and to give themselves totally to their spouses. In that light, we can begin to see that the immorality of contraception within marriage, for the reasons the Pope gave, does not extend to extra-marital situations. Outside of marriage, people are under no obligation to give themselves totally to one another in a marital embrace that is open to procreation. Quite the contrary: they are not supposed to be procreating and giving themselves totally to each other in that way. So use of a condom does not violate their duty. As for the scholastic position, that contracepting acts are unnatural, I’ll just say that if you are doing something forbidden, there is no moral advantage in doing it “right.”

    Pope Benedict last year gave a glimmer of recognizing that the moral standards for husband and wife do not necessarily apply to others when he suggested that a male prostitute could be showing a measure of responsibility by using a condom.

  • EdSchoen

    I find it disturbing that so many people can consider themselves to be Catholic but insist on believing whatever feels right to them. I am also concerned that our Protestant brothers and sisters just wander around until they find a church that agrees with them, which is why there are now over 20,000 Protestant denominations. Speaking in generalities, it looks like Catholics and Protestants are pretty much the same; they want a church created in their own image. If Truth is whatever I want it to be, how do I know it’s True? And if Faith is only what I choose to believe, is it Faith at all?

  • RomCath

    #10 RomCath — Utter nonsense it is not. One’s conscience is so important in Catholic doctrine that an “examination of conscience” is how one is taught to prepare for the confessional.

    Jake 16, utter nonsense it is. One has to examine one’s conscience that has been properly formed and informed. Because something hasnot been declared infallibly does not excuse one from adhering to that teaching. Anyone who has read Scripture or the consistent teaching of the Church cannot in good conscience say that the three examples used (abortion, homosexuality, divorce & remarriage) are ever morally acceptable. Hitler’s conscience told him it was OK to kill people because of their ethnicity or religion. Was that morally OK because his conscience told him it was alright?

  • selah

    @ Katie Angel

    I’m intrigued with your use of the term ” certainty trap “.
    Just what does that mean ? thanks !

  • Tyler

    I cannot believe how badly the church is awash in moral relativism. I can’t believe people actually are praising this as a “Great Report or Good News”

    Jeremiah the prophet, Pray for us!

  • ecb

    As I see those percentages on core beliefs I am reminded of a statement from Peter Kreeft. “there is no such thing as a cafeteria Catholic”.

  • Kevin

    This survey certainly confirms continued and widespread ignorance of what Catholicism is among baptized Catholics. I guess it’s useful for that reason alone. I’m puzzled by the importance of the sacraments as one of the four markers also. Church attendance is way down, and participation in reconciliation and confession is also way down. But the sacraments are “very important.”

    Who was the sample group? How many?

  • Jake

    #19 RomCath — Only an “informed” conscience can undergo examination. If not informed there is nothing to examine. That’s the good faith aspect. From the examination the formation occurs.

    But, if the definition of a “formed” conscience is to accept ALL teachings without question, then no examination of conscience is necessary, for all contrary thoughts are de facto sinful. There is nothing to contemplate.

    Additionally, if ALL teachings are to be accepted without question (no consideration of conscience), then what is the point of infallibility?

    One’s conscience is too important to be shunted aside that way. Let’s agree to disagree on this issue.

  • Kevin

    Jake, where there is a true conflict between one’s conscience, properly formed or not, and the teaching of the church, on faith and morals, the presumption of truth, according to catholic doctrine, lies with the Magisterium, not with the individual. The reason is that Jesus conferred teaching authority on Peter and the apostles, which extends down through the ages. he did not confer that teaching authority on each of our consciences.

    In practice, the conflict arises almost exclusively in the area of sexuality.

    The Church imposes her beliefs on no one, as Cardinal Ratzinger once said, and everyone is free to disregard them.

  • RomCath

    Jake 24, as I stated, the 3 issues that were mentioned (abortion, homosexual behavior, divorce and remarriage) can never be declared morally right no matter what one’s conscience thinks. One of these non-negotiables was clearly taught by Jesus himself.
    Do you think that because something has not been declared infallibly it not worthy of adhering to it?
    The Catechism of the Church has several paragraphs on conscience. I think people need to read the ones on erroneous conscience and stop justifying immorality by saying “I follow my conscience”. That is not Catholicism.

  • Melody

    I haven’t yet read the full report; but what is quoted above I find interesting. I like the way it is layed out; the four broad areas of agreement, rather that a very detailed breakdown (for example, devotion to Mary, rather than do we agree that she is the mediatrix of grace, how do we understand her Immaculate conception, etc.). Actually I find it encouraging that there was this much agreement and consensus among Catholics.
    There is a bit of “tsk, tsk-ing” in the comments here and elsewhere, because people didn’t answer as some thought they should. To which I say, the survey didn’t ask what people felt they “should” think. It asked what they actually did think. Which is useful information, whether we like what we hear or not.

  • Jake

    #27 Melody — Your last paragraph was right-on-the-money. It puts (at least part of) this in proper perspective.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    If the results of some polls shock us we should remember that polls are something new on the face of the earth. Unfortunately, some use polls to attempt to tear down Church teaching or Tradition when polls show some –or even many– Catholics disagree with the Church.
    One can only wonder how an Italian or Irish or Polish Catholic of the Middle Ages( or before )would have answered some of these questions. But we do know the Church of that time recognized a dire need to more catechize and evangelize the Catholic people and did not see this need as a reason to throw out Catholic teachings and Traditions.

  • Jake

    #25 Kevin — Is not that “presumption” but another official teaching? It is from learned sources to be sure, and clearly should be considered in forming a conscience. But it is not an infallible teaching. That makes it open to individual examination with good faith intentions.

  • RomCath

    If only 73 per cent put the Resurrection at the core of their Catholicism, what in the world do the others think it is? Some incidental story?
    Without the Resurrection there is no Christianity.

  • Melody

    About the 73% who say that the Resurrection is central to their faith; that pretty well matches up with the 75% who say that being Catholic is a very important part of their identity. If I had to guess, I’d say that ones who don’t think the Resurrection is important are probably the same ones who don’t think being a Catholic is important. They’re probably not the regular Mass attenders. Which would point to a need for evangelization and outreach, rather than being a statement about the faith formation of the people in the pews.

  • Kevin

    I think it is both. Jesus rose from the grave. But I don’t want to lead a cheering section.

  • Deacon Steve

    Rather than getting upset that people don’t understand the Church’s teaching, or choose to disregard the Church’s teaching, what we should do is look at these issues and figure out how to address them in a meaningful way. These results should be serving as the springboard to catechize people in a loving way what the Church teaches on these issues and why. If we can get past teaching them to just accept what the Church teaches blindly and explain the reasons in meaningful ways that don’t talk down to them, or don’t talk way over their head, then we have a much better chance of helping people to accept the teachings on these complex moral issues.

  • kevin

    I agree with that. but i also remember something in st peters which i never forget. an old, devout, well heeled grandfather telling his grandson, “u must believe without seeing, u must accept without understanding.” dont we all?

  • Fiergenholt

    One very wise deacon friend puts it this way.

    The Roman Catholic Church has brought more souls to the loving and healing power of the Risen Lord Jesus than all the rest of Christianity COMBINED!

  • selah

    #36 Fiergenholt – Roman Catholicism places undue stress on human works. In a simple sense , Catholics genuinely believe they are saved by doing good, confessing sin to a man in a booth , and observing ceremonies which is contrary to Eph 2 : 8-9. Adding works to faith is precisely the teaching Paul condemned as a ” different gospel “. It nullifies the grace of God , for if meritorious righteousness can be earned thru ” sacraments ” then ” Christ died needlessly “. ( Gal 2:21 ) sola scriptura !!!

  • naturgesetz

    selah #37

    If we place undue stress on works, it’s because Jesus placed undue stress on works in Matthew 25:31-46. See also Matthew 19:16-22.

    Furthermore, since we are incorporated in the Body of Christ and do not live our own lives but Christ lives in us — which makes it possible for us to fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of hid Body, the Church — because of all this our works which are done in Christ are truly the works of Christ and thus as meritorious as the works which he performed in the flesh.

  • naturgesetz

    And another thing, the sacraments are the work of Christ, not our own.

  • Fiergenholt

    #37 Selah

    There is nothing in your post that is at all accurate about Roman Catholicism; what you do say is what the very worst of the “anti-Catholic” crowd insist on promoting:

    The only item I want to argue with you in this comment specifically about is “solo-scriptura.” You simply do not know what you are talking about.

    –Depending upon your perspective, the Passion/Death/ Resurrection sequences important to the message of salvation happened in a window from AD 28 AD to AD 34.

    –The very first book of the Christian Scriptures written down was Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians and that was dictated by Paul — not written but dictated — in AD 51.

    –The very first “gospel” written down was that of Mark and he wrote it down in Greek sometime after AD 64.

    –The very last book of the Christian Scriptures written down was not the Book of Revelations (no later than AD 100) but the Second Letter of Peter AD 150.

    –The oldest complete written text of the Christian scriptures that we have is dated to AD 320 — very close to the year that the Emperor Constantine declared that Christianity was an “approved” religion in the Roman Empire. It was written in Kione Greek — the everyday-blue-collar language of the time.

    –The oldest intact text of we now call the Holy Bible was written in Vulgar Latin by the biblical scholar Jerome in AD 400.

    –The earliest translation of the Vulgar Latin into anything that remotely resembles English was the “Old English Heptateuch” of the early AD 900′s.

    –The earliest translation of the Vulgar Latin into anything that resembles modern English was the bi-lingual translation of the Psalms done by Richard Rolle– the Hermit of Hampole — no later than his death in the Plague of 1343.

    –The very first published complete Bible in English was printed in the 1530′s by Miles Coverdale.

    –The coveted King James version of 1611 was not at all the oldest English translation but probably the thirteenth!

    On top of that; by 1611, something less than 50% of everyone alive in England were even literate at what we even would consider the third grade level.

    How did folks receive the “Message of Salvation” if they could not read? The listened to it orally proclaimed by he powerful preachers of the word — the Catholic priests of that era.

  • selah

    Fiergenholt

    The Bible contains everything tha one needs to know in order to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life. There are no deficiencies in Scripture that need to be ” filled ” with by tradition , pronouncements of the Pope, new revelations or present-day developments of Doctrine.
    ” In all cases , the Church , which has it’s Head ( Jesus Christ ) is to be judged by the Scripture , not the Scripture by the Church “. John Wesley

  • naturgesetz

    selah #41

    People don’t “obtain” salvation, they receive it as a gift from God.

    How do we know what the Scripture is? Either a God-given authority (the Church which Jesus built and against which the gates of Hell shall not prevail — Mt 16:18-19 — the ground and pillar of truth — 1 Tim 3:15) can tell us or people like Luther are free to toss books out when they don’t like what they say. The Church discerned what the Scripture is.

    The Scripture needs to be interpreted. What does it mean to do what Jesus did at the Last Supper? Without a tradition of interpretation people come up with all sorts of nonsense, like the 19th Century invention of the “rapture” as something apart from the final judgment. Interpreting Scripture and judging it are two different things. The Church does not claim to judge Scripture. It is not deficiencies in Scripture itself that require developments in doctrine etc.; it is deficiencies in private interpreters.

    BTW if Jesus is head of the Church, and Scripture judges the Church, then Scripture judges Jesus. People get into all sorts of absurdities when they try to deny the proper role of the Church in the life of the Christian. Since the 16th Century, they have come up with various doctrines of men in order to justify separating themselves from the Church which Jesus built to stand firm on the foundation of the apostles and which did stand firm up to the time of Luther and has continued to stand firm despite the Reformers’ defection from it.

  • Jake

    #14 Selah — Loved your comments, with which I agree. I’ve long maintained that Catholics spend too much time being Catholic (rules, writings, pronouncements, etc) and too little time being Christian (acts of Charity).

  • Jake

    I meant #41 (Selah), not #14 — my apologies.

  • Deacon Norb

    Selah #41 and possibly Jake #43

    I hate to tell you; John Wesley was wrong. But more to the point — I agree with my colleague “Fiergenholt.” you are parroting the very worst of anti-Catholic propaganda that you can find out there in Internet land. This is the stuff that the followers of Jack Chick; Tony Alamo; the Conversion Center and Loraine Boettner still publish.

    In case you never heard; Keith Greene of Last Days Ministries and his team completely retracted publicly all the anti-Catholic propaganda they wrote way back in the 1980′s; Loraine Boettner has died but others continue to publish his rubbish; Tony Alamo was convicted of interstate transport of minor children for felony child sexual abuse and is currently serving a term of 175 years in prison; Jack Chick is still alive but very reclusive.

    What Fiergenholt was trying to say was — in fact — said by “naturgesetz” in #42. The church– the Christian Community of believers — existed long before there ever was any written version of any of the works of the New Testament and many centuries before there ever was an intact “Holy Bible” as we know it today.

    Bottom line: If you are their followers, then you are not following the Risen Lord Jesus.

  • naturgesetz

    Selah #41

    “Faith comes from hearing.” Romans 10:17

    Paul doesn’t say, “Faith comes from reading the Scripture.”

    The Ethiopian eunuch was puzzled by Scripture until the deacon Philip interpreted it for him. Acts 8:26-40

    The disciples on the road to Emmaus were surely familiar with Scripture, but it was not enough. They needed to have it explained to them, which Jesus (the head of the Church) did. Luke 24:13-35

  • Selah

    dcn norb, naturegestz & fiergenholt ,

    it is difficult to dialogue with people who believe the rcc is the ” only true Christian church on the planet “. yes, faith does come by hearing and by hearing the word of God.” how beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings / the good news “.” how are they to hear without a preacher?
    there is a ” famine ” in this land not only in the rcc but in many protestant churches. the preaching of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ is lacking !! people leave the church the same way they come in because they hear ” cotton candy / puffball messages / homilies / and they walk out thinking they are saved but are really not. ( the wheat and the tares ). as for the ” rapture ” being an invention, along with Paul i do not want y’all to be uninformed about the rapture / ” snatching ” harpazo “/ catching away / caught up. the people who are alive in Christ and remain until the coming of the Lord ( parousia ) when He comes shall not precede those saints ( born again ; blood bought believers ) who have died. Jesus will come down with a shout and a trumpet and all true believers in Christ will be snatched away from the coming ” wrath ” of God. you may or may not have noticed that the ” Church ” is not mentioned after REV 3 .
    to be honest . i have only heard of chick ( tracts )
    i will leave you with this quote : ” I my self felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt i did trust in Christ and Christ
    alone for my salvation and assurance was given me that He had taken my sins away , even mine and saved me from the law of sin and death. ” Sola fide / Sola gratia

  • naturgesetz

    Selah #47

    The thing to note about 1 Thessalonians 3:13-18 is that it is talking about what happens at the second coming of the Lord (verse 15) and that the resurrection of the dead happens before the living join them in the Lord’s presence (verses 16 and 17). This passage says nothing of other people being left behind. Matthew 25:31-40 gives the context. When the Lord returns, that’s the end of this world for everybody, elect or not.

  • Selah

    naturgesetz # 47

    here it is in a nutshell: the sequence of events :
    the Lord Jesus Christ comes to ” Rapture ” His Church out , then comes Phase #1 of the Day of the Lord: the holocaust of judgment. then we come back with Him to reign with him in that 1000 yrs in our glorified bodies. remember ? ; justification / sanctification / glorification. at the end of time He destroys the Universe, preserving the already made righteous and redeemed thru that destruction.and ushers us finally at the end of the 1000 yrs. into the Day of the Lord.
    may we all live in expectation and eagerness and watchfulness for the coming of the Savior as we head for a new heaven and a new earth to dwell in His presence for eternity. ” Surely I am coming quickly / swiftly / speedily amen ! Yes , come , Lord Jesus ” Rev. 22 : 20

  • Deacon Norb

    To Selah and possibly others:

    There is a wonderful lady who lives in Delaware who was born and raised Roman Catholic; left the church because of some of the same arguments you are using; became a very bitter “ex-Catholic/anti-Catholic Biblical Fundamentalist.”

    But she came back to the Roman Catholicism of her family’s heritage. She — and others — created an outreach known as “The Ministry of the Gathering 1980.” They know all the arguments you have posted and they know how to explain why those arguments are wrong in ways you can understand.

    You could, if you are courageous enough, contact them at:

    TMOG1980@aol.com

    BTW: Because of my work with her, I am convinced that the most bitter of the “anti-Catholic Biblical Fundamentalists” were — in fact — “ex-Catholics” themselves. Does that description fit you?

  • Deacon Norb

    OOPS!

    Wrong E-mail address. Correct one is MOTG1980@aol.com

  • Jason

    Why doesn’t the Catholic Church see that we want the pope and the bishops on the altar and not in our bedrooms. I can understand that abortion unless it is to save the life of the mother is wrong but gay marriage is here. Get used to it. Probably 85% of Catholics support it.


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