confronting Baptist attacks : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread


Today, my girlfriend who is Baptist confronted me with these questions when in a large debate about Catholicism/Evangelicalism at Chipotle. When I told her of the Eucharist (with quotes from Scripture and Ignatius of Antioch) and its tie to this passage "unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you shall not have life within you", she said to me; "if this is true, then does that mean that I have no God given life within me?" She kept pressing me, because I would evade it and try and show how our Catholic beliefs fit Scripturally and through Church History. I finally said that yes the Scripture must be fulfilled, and not acknowledging this and other Sacred revelations is a matter of serious importance( I said its one thing for someone ignorant of the Catholic Church as the Church Christ founded, but its another when a Catholic shows the Truth and you refuse it). And, not too much later today, she ended our 7 month relationship saying "with this, we are irreconcilable".

It really hurts because I didn't want it to boil down to those kind of questions. What can I say to her or others about the necessity of being Catholic? Do Christians who fail to receive the Eucharist not gain eternal life, or those who are outside the Catholic Church? I need theological help when it comes to salvation outside the Church.

-- Andrew Staupe (, April 19, 2004


The Catechism of the Catholic Church sums up the Church's teaching on this very concisely (section 847):

"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may attain eternal salvation."

As for John 6:53, it is best understood as meaning that without the Eucharist one cannot experience the fullness of God's life, since the Eucharist is the principle channel of grace Christ provided to His Church. But there are other channels of God's grace and God's life which Christ provided to His Church, so we cannot take a literalist approach to this passage and claim that those who do not partake of the Eucharist therefore have no sharing in God's life whatsoever. As the Catechism passage implies, non-Catholics can still be saved through the truth of Jesus Christ, and experience a genuine though partial sharing in God's life, even without formal membership in His Church. Such people are saved through the Catholic Church, since the Catholic Church is the only repository of the fullness of God's truth, and is therefore the source of whatever Christian truth a person possesses.

-- Paul M. (, April 19, 2004.

Andrew should keep in mind the infinite holiness of Jesus' body and blood when contemplating the worth of Holy Communion in the Eucharist. (John 6 :54)

The Catholic Church has taught us from the beginning the doctine of sanctifying grace. It's by this grace we share intimately in the interior life of God; that which can properly be called life eternal. Sanctifying grace cannot come to the soul at all except directly from Jesus Christ. His sacraments are channels of grace as a whole, and the Eucharist is the sacrament par excellence. In Holy Communion we are given this life called sanctifying grace. No soul can enter heavenly glory without it. We are permitted a glimpse of this truth in Matthew 22, the parable of the marriage feast. --After the first lesson of this parable, comes a moment during which one man is expelled for not having a wedding garment as required. This is sanctifying grace. (Verses 11, 12, 13.)

We know there exist a limited number of alternative ways, none very secure, in which sanctifying grace can come from Christ into some souls. Here we're mainly concerned with the mystery of His sacred body and precious blood, our life-giving Blessed Sacrament.

-- eugene c. chavez (, April 19, 2004.

Christians are saved by faith in Christ alone and not by any practice, ritual, sacrament, ordinance, works, prayers, eating certain foods, observing the Law or attending a certain church (Yes this includes the Roman Catholic Church). This has been the teaching of the "church" (ecclesia) from the time of Christ BEFORE the establishment of the Holy Roman Catholic Church by Constantine in the 4th century. See Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:6.

-- Andy Andrus (, July 10, 2004.

Sorry Andy,

Your knowledge of history is seriously lacking. The Holy Catholic Church was the ONLY Christian Church from the time of the Apostles to the time of Constantine, AND from the time of Constantine until the 11th century. Constantine didn't found any Church, as clearly shown by the fact that there was ONE Christian Church before his time, and still ONE Christian Church after his time. You might be interested in this quote from Ignatius of Antioch, an early Catholic Bishop ... "Where the bishop is present, there is the Holy Catholic Church". Ignatius wrote this in the year 107, centuries before Constantine was born. Ignatius knew the Apostle John personally. You really need to brush up on your history; but of course if you do, you will have no choice but to become Catholic.

You are right though in saying that we are saved by faith in Christ alone. However, faith in Christ means accepting His Word and obeying His commands. Christ founded one Church for all men, and said that all men were to belong to that one Church. Therefore, having faith in Christ means doing what He told us to do - belonging to the One Church He founded. Belonging to a manmade tradition of thousands of conflicting denominations is NOT having faith in Christ. Christ founded seven sacraments for His Church. Rejecting the sacraments He gave us as channels of His grace is NOT having faith in Him.

-- Paul M. (, July 10, 2004.

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