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Find out from Yr. Obdt. Svt. over at the Register.
Fantastic article Mark! I found it very helpful. Would you agree that it might be helpful to the questioning protestant to “admit” that plenty of well-meaning Catholics do appear to get it wrong and treat the sacraments like magic? It seems to me that in general it is helpful to start out saying that there can indeed be a problem with the way an individual Catholic practices his faith versus what the church actually teaches.
I’ve always thought that the evangelical Christian belief — that if one simply expresses belief in Jesus, this will provide instant lifetime immunity from responsibility for sin (penance) or damnation in hell — is more of a magical belief system.
Having the sacraments in our physical lives strengthens the lifelong process of God’s change in us and brings us closer to Him. The sacraments reflect the spiritual (God) expressed through the physical human form (Jesus), as our pastor explained yesterday at mass (but I don’t think I’m capturing what he said as eloquently).
Our pastor mentioned that some have asked him, “Why not just confess one’s sins to God in private? Why confess to a person, the priest?” He explained how the Sacrament of Reconciliation involves the human interaction with the spiritual (i.e., the priest, who gives absolution). This sacrament, as do the others, brings us closer to God, and heals us.