I wish nothing more than to serve God and to see as MANY people as possible come to salvation and lives of love and service to Christ and others. NOT all religions and Churches are of God, no matter how many good works they might do. I understand this will take you some time to get through as there are multiple links each with things to read. PLEASE understand that I have discussions like these with people of ALL sorts of religious persuasion (Mormon, Witnesses, Pentecostals etc) I do not hate Catholics, I LOVE them and that is why I am willing to speak the truth as I understand it even though it is highly unpopular and some people DO get upset with me.
Here is a link to a writing by the late Dr. John Rice “Dear Catholic friend”
The assumption of Mary into Heaven is actually NOT spoken of in the Bible at all. Early church history records a belief that Mary’s tomb, after her physical death was found to be empty. (IF she was bodily brought to heaven like Enoch there could be no tomb) Oddly, even though we have details of the deaths and burial places of most of the Apostles the exact details of Mary’s death and the whereabouts of her supposedly empty tomb are not known. This would SEEM to argue that Mary wasn’t a central figure to the early church since no OFFICIAL record exists of her burial place OR her “assumption” This is just part of the reason I feel that Mary was never meant to be held in regard above any or all other women. I do NOT believe or accept and the Bible doesn’t teach that Mary was without Sin or necessarily better or more holy than other women, she was willing to submit to Gods will for her. I am sure there were others who would’ve. MY wife once said, “All this attention to Mary discounts what a special man Joseph was. HE also believed the Angel of the Lord and bore shame and humiliation to keep Mary as his wife!” Mary and Joseph had other children so she was NOT “pure” till death as this would’ve ALSO been violation of scripture since we have marital duties to our spouse (1 Corinthians 7:3-6) I have a couple of links that I think explain fairly well the wrongful impressions that many have of Mary and perhaps WHY these beliefs might have been fostered. http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0040/0040_01.asp
I want to forewarn you and perhaps apologize because some of the statements in Chick tracts are considered “Anti-Catholic” and certainly some of the statements you will encounter seem harsh but they all have some foundation in verifiable truth. The drawings also tend to show the representatives of the Church as leering evil people. I disagree with that assessment. I believe that most Priests BELIEVE they are doing right and have no ill intent. The hierarchy of the RCC is another matter entirely…
MY personal opinion is this, I used to “get” why the Catholic Church had been so successful. The Priest was your representative, for the most part HE was the only one who had access to the scriptures or could even read. WHY so many continue to hold to the traditions and teachings of the RCC today really mystifies me though; the entire Protestant reformation started with Martin Luther realizing and challenging many of the UN-Scriptural teachings of the RCC. The rise of literacy, the availability and affordability of Bibles and the Reformation are all elements that make it SHOCKING to me the RCC is still so huge. Calling a Priest Father, or thinking he has authority to forgive sins is wrong too.. Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Mark 2:7 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? We CAN forgive sins against US we cannot forgive sins in place of God for sins committed against HIM. IF we could what need would there have been for his sacrifice? This idea of MEN forgiving sins, I think is a clever design to cut Jesus out of the equation and put “The Church” in his stead. Then The priest tells you to say something like so many Our Fathers and so many Hail Mary’s and maybe to pray the Rosary (which has NO scriptural foundation nor odes holy water) http://www.gotquestions.org/praying-rosary.html I have heard Catholics defend this as NOT being repetitious prayer but I disagree. The power is NOT in the words we say but in the heartfelt sincerity of our opening ourselves to God. Matthew 6: 7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
The idea of last rites I find to be even more frustrating as it gives a false sense of peace and security to those dying and their family members. NO person can absolve you of sin and guarantee your entrance to heaven Jesus paid that price but you have to accept it and LIVE for him. For more information on BIBLICAL Salvation I hope you will read 5 Steps http://www.kjv-truth-ministries.org/?page_id=32 Please scroll down after clicking. The idea of Purgatory, prayer for the dead and saying that priests and nuns must be celibate and take a vow of poverty (the better for the CHURCH to attain wealth) and other ideas are unscriptural. Priests USED to be allowed to marry but a married man must provide for his household so he CAN’T take a vow of poverty. Denying Priests the right to marry may be, at least partially responsible for the abuse scandals too…
1 Corinthians 7:1-2 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
The more details I really look at on the founding, changes and history of the RCC the more convinced I am that it is like the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormon church, ostensibly created and set up to be “Christian” yet openly rebelling against scripture and God at various points. Setting up traditions that are WHOLLY man made and unnecessary to a relationship with Christ or establishing our salvation. I will post a couple more Chick tract links because they cover MANY of the errors and histories of the RCC. I also fear the RCC is going to be the seat of the one world religion spoken of in Revelations. http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1057/1057_01.asp http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0047/0047_01.asp http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0082/0082_01.asp
I know this is a LOT to wade through so I will give you plenty of time to read, think and pray on what I have provided. If you should decide not to respond I will understand. I will pray for you.
God bless you!