I was a cradle Catholic, or at least I was raised as a Catholic from my birth. However, I took a sabbatical leave, as it were for about 10 years, in my rebellious twenties, until one day, as I stood in my kitchen with my wife, we both heard the voice of God speaking 3 words to us: "Go to Church." Since life was very trying at the time, we eagerly obeyed that voice that we knew was His.
Since then, unlike most Catholic Christians I have been catechised, to a large extent by my involvement in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which led me to study scripture and to read about and understand Catholic Apologetics. Unlike our Protestant brothers and sisters, a large percentage of whom live with their bibles tucked under their arms and/or embedded into their minds, we tend to get our faith hits from attending mass if we so choose, not from falling in love with God, in His Holy Trinity.
This is not as it should be. Our faith, Our Catholic Faith, is far too rich to be left to chance. It is a beautiful heritage that our fallen away family both inside the Church and dear believers outside the Church are missing, and we, if we do not open ourselves up to God in our lives on a minnute by minute basis, are missing as well.
I have been engaged in a dialogue of sorts with a fundamentalist Reformed Christian brother from Williams Lake BC, who was raised in the Catholic Church, but was catechised after experiencing the presence of Jesus in his life, and left the Church. He is very knowledgeable about the bible, and believes that it is important to share his faith with others.
I admire that in him, and his unwavering faith.
However, he has taken it upon himself to share the good news under the moniker Small Town Guy, with Father Tim Moyle over at the Where the Rubber Hits the Road blog. My understanding of what I have read of his comment postings is that he feels compelled to save us from the Whore of Babylon, or as he abbreviates it, the RCC - that would be the Roman Catholic Church.
He does so by quoting bible scriptures, which he knows well, but does so ad nauseum, so where I want to know about him and his faith, so I can understand him, I get more scripture. I really do want to know the real him. I am fascinated by his faith journey.
When not quoting scripture, he references Loraine Boettner, a well known, long since deceased, Protestant apologist, who took it upon himself to write categorical denunciation of the Catholic Church. I must say that all of the criticisms of the teachings of the Catholic Church are well researched (to a point), and well reasonsed, in the context in which they are written, except that they start from a bias. When you know the answer to the question you are writing about before you start to write, you frame your answer accordingly, and this is how it is with Protestant apologetics.
When Luther effected the schism in the Catholic Church, centuries back, the protesters threw out the baby with the bath water. I had planned to write that Luther executed the schism, and that would have been incorrect. It is my opinion, one that I think I can well support, that the Catholic Church was complicit directly and indirectly in this schism, and must carry a great deal of the burden for grieving God's Holy Spirit at that particular time, and since then.
Those who began the protest against certain aspects of the Catholic Church, many of them worthy of heart felt protest, ignored the rich historic legacy and tradition of faith that had animated the early Church, in part because so little of it was evident in the Church of the time. Yet, it is the relationship that the Apostles, and His mother had with Jesus that formed the basis of the teachings of the early Church, and indeed formed the basis for the discernment of what scriptures were to form the Bible.
We Catholics bear much of the responsibility for the separation that exists among Christians, and we Catholics must do all that we can to heal this division. It is not just the job of Pope Benedict, though he is worthy of the task, and well suited to do his part.
We must know our Church, her teachings, her devotions, but above all we must know Him who died to set us free from sin and death, and His Holy Spirit, who wants to teach us all things that are worthy of Knowledge and fill us with the Wisdom we need for our day to day journey to the foot of the Cross.
If we can present the truth, the Catholic truth, as cogently and as well researched as our separated brethren, then we can walk arm in arm to meet Jesus.