Christian BoyLove Forum #66655
Thank you for your response. Let me just answer a few of your concerns. I should tell you that I was a protestant myself before I became Catholic, so I have nothing but respect for brothers and sisters in the faith. There definitely is a mystical communion among all believers in some way, and especially among all those validly baptized. At the same time though, there is a more perfect communion among all those who partake of the Eucharist, where the fellowship among believers is strengthened in a real physical way through the sharing of the "body, blood, soul, and divinity" of Christ, as he commanded us to do at the Last Supper: "Do this in memory of me" (Luke 22:19). The word "memory" or "remembrance" signifies more a kind of "making present." Furthermore, in John 6 Christ repeatedly expounds upon the necessity of literally consuming his body and blood. He commands them to do it six times during the chapter, to which the disciples respond at first with confusion, disgust, and many even turn away as a result. Had he only been talking metaphorically, I don't think John would've belabored this point when writing his gospel:
"Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."
I advise you to take a look at John 6:26-60 and what Christ has to say about the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, and also note the number of theological arguments He makes for it regarding the manna in the desert.
"Catholics are neurotic about masturbation."
Masturbation closes off one to both the unitive and procreative functions of sexuality and turns an individual inward on themselves, a deeply self-centered act. It also causes one to lust after other human beings made in the image of God and seeks to use them as a means rather than as an ends as God intended. Christ forbade all lust, calling it "adultery" (Matthew 5:27-28). Lust is merely an inordinate desire for sexual pleasure, which is all masturbation is, since it has no other purpose. That which we lust for is that which we've turned into an idol, and idolatry is akin to spiritual adultery with God. Since God has determined that human sexuality has as its end procreation and the unity of spouses, any indulgence in sexual pleasure beyond the ends to which its intended ends up being a gravely disordered act. Masturbation is therefore very addictive and soul crushing (as I know very well from my own struggles with it), and seeking to overcome it ends up becomes a lesson in self-mastery and temperance, a school of self-sacrifice and virtue, which is the basis of chastity. Man either governs his passions and finds true freedom and happiness, or he lets himself be governed by them and becomes unhappy.
"Catholics emphasize the importance of adoration of Mother Mary, meanwhile dismissing the role of Mary Magdalene."
Catholics don't worship or give to Mary the devotion which is due to God alone, nor do we dismiss the role of Mary Magadalane as an early disciple of Christ. We venerate and show respect to the mother of our Lord first of all as He told us we should do from the cross: (speaking to St. John: "Son, behold your mother" (John 19:27). The reason we give the Blessed Mother admiration is because she truly is the "mother" of God, Jesus Christ (who was fully God), and no other creature in the history of creation could be called that. Jesus had two parents, God the Father Almighty and the Blessed Mother who gave Him the flesh that He would later offer up for the sins of the whole world. She was the first Christian, and like all Christians, she was tasked with "bearing her creator" into the world. Furthermore, the Blessed Mother always points the way to her son and intercedes on our behalf, as she did at the wedding feast of Cana in John 2, telling those who had sought her intercession in their problem to "Do whatever He tells you" (John 2:5), and also as she did at the foot of the cross.
Far from dismissing St. Mary Magdalene, the Church celebrates a feast day in honor of her on July 22. She's recognized in particular importance for her great devotion in anointing the Lord, being one of the few disciples who stuck by Him during His crucifixion, and being among the "holy women" that Christ chose to reveal Himself to first after His resurrection (as a proof of His resurrection). She's not dismissed or downplayed at all.
"The Vatican is laced with Gold and Jewels and political power."
Only by the grace of God, and all of it belongs to the faithful. The Church has sought to be a visible representation of God's kingdom in the Earth, and having a real presence in the world, though not being of the world. The Church has remained true to the teachings of Christ against "lust" for example, against divorce and remarriage, for the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death, while many other denominations have slowly gone in the way of the world on these essentials, permitting divorce and remarriage, permitting contraception, permitting even gay marriage...etc. It's important to recognize that just having "gold and jewels" is not in itself apostasy from the Lord, especially considering that the Church is the largest charitable organization on the Earth. Could it be a better steward of its many blessings? Of course, but the fact that it is blessed is not a sign of having fallen away. Not upholding what the Lord has commanded and is where the apostasy is.