There are many, many misconceptions about the Catholic Church and what we Catholics believe. I have been a devout Catholic all my life, and know my faith pretty well. What is being described in this thread is not my faith. It is contrary to Catholic beliefs (for instance, it is a very serious sin to worship Mary as a goddess), and contains much misinformation about the Catholic Faith. I am prepared to defend myself against any criticisms you might have of my beliefs, and prepared to answer any questions about them. If I had more time, I would go through everything that has been brought up on this thread already, and correct, clarify, or answer various posts. However, since I don't have time to do that right now, I would appreciate taking your questions, criticisms, et cetera, as they come. Feel free to ask me and I will do my best to support my claims with Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church council documents, etc.
Please note that Christianity includes everyone who follows Christ and believes he is God (it can even be given a broader definition, but that one will do for now). Thus, Catholics are most definitely Christians and I find it offensive that you claim otherwise here. Our beliefs aren't all that different from yours, as you seem to think, though there are some major distinctions, of course. We worship no one but God, we believe no one besides God has God-like powers, but that God works through people. There are many other things that are commonly misunderstood about us, and many lies told about our beliefs, so I would appreciate a chance to correct them and build a greater understanding between Catholics and our Protestant brethren.
I also have a question for you to get things started:
Where in the Bible does it say that the Bible is the only source of infallible truth (if you are able to give me the actual verses, as well as the verse locations, that would be helpful since I'll be able to communicate more often and more quickly).
God bless you all and I look forward to your replies.
I have to ask you: is it that important to you to be a Roman Catholic? To remain a Roman Catholic? If you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what they believed in, what they teach, and how they practice their faith is wrong - in God's eyes - would that be enough for you to leave their fold? In other words, what would it take to convince you that what they do is in gross error and it is time to separate from them?
I, too, am a former Roman Catholic and the Lord lead me out of that organization back in 1991. It took a long time to finally come to grips with the fact that they are not what they purport to be - the "One True Church". They are anything but. And that comes after years of going to their masses, CCD classes, 6 years of their grade school, being an altar boy for about a year, and generations of our family being firmly entrenched into their system. After about 10 years of Bible study and the Holy Spirit's conviction, I finally came to the obvious conclusion that what I was reading in scripture was far different than what Rome taught.
While they do teach and believe in the Virgin Birth, the deity of Jesus, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, I firmly believe now that what they are is a counterfeit Christianity, complete with another gospel and another Jesus.
Instead of them appearing to be led of the Holy Spirit to point their followers to Jesus, it actually appears that it is Satan calling the shots and directing them to point to popes, dead saints, Mary, graven images, relics - anything and everything, instead of rightly keeping the focus on Christ alone for our salvation and worship.
Jesus Christ declared on the cross during the agony of His crucifixion, "IT IS FINISHED!", meaning God's wrath for our sins was expatiated by the suffering of Christ for our salvation. But Satan deceives and says no it isn't, and thru Romanism "Christ" is re-sacrificed or re-presented daily on a bloodless altar in Catholic masses. Their Jesus has to be sacrificed over and over and over again, and it will never satisfy God - as today's mass will have to be repeated tomorrow, ad infinitum.
The Bible declares that Christ paid the penalty for ALL of our sins, but the devil tells the followers of the popes, that the adherents of Roman Catholicism have to pay a penalty or penance for the sins that apparently Christ couldn't cover by His death of the cross. And furthermore, they will have to spend some time in a place called Purgatory, because again Christ was insufficient to wash us clean from ALL sin. The Catholic Church doesn't waste any opportunity to rob Jesus of His glory, or to make meaningless His atonement for sins on the cross. Instead, their Jesus comes to them in the form of an inanimate wafer - through the so-called "miracle" of transubstantiation (not much of a miracle if the wafer still looks and retains the characteristics of a gluten wafer [the Emperor is also wearing new clothes!]) - and this "Jesus" is the one sacrificed on a Roman altar. That, is of the devil - not God. Christ is physically seated at the right hand of the Father - not being continually transformed into a lifeless wafer.
Their gospel is one of works - not grace. Works, via the sacraments, and then the ultimate dishonoring, inglorious, lie of the notion of a Purgatory - again, because God's plan of salvation, since the foundation of the world, was flawed and Christ couldn't cover the penalty for all sins. It is a purely Satanic teaching, from a counterfeit Christianity, based in Rome.
They lie to their followers about the biblical Mary (Miriam) and give her attributes of God. She did not remain a virgin; she did have other children; she was not sinless; she is not a co-redeemer, nor co-mediatrix (another means to discredit Christ); she is not the "Queen of Heaven" (a pagan title as seen in the Old Testament; she is not the "mother of God" (she is the mother of our Lord in His physical manifestation - she would have to be deity herself to be the Mother of God); and we don't pray to her. How could she answer prayer, unless she is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent? Is she everywhere at all times, to hear someone praying in Latin America, or China or Antartica or anywhere, or is able to be all powerful to answer their requests? No, it is another lie of the devil. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father; Satan would have us use other venues as part of his deceptive schemes, to nullify what Christ taught. Roman Catholicism is a clever, deceptive scheme of the enemy to rob Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit of their rightful honor and glory.
They claim the pope is the Holy Father; only God the Father is the Holy Father (Catholicism lies). They claim the pope is the Vicar of Christ - Christ's representative on Earth. The Holy Spirit is Jesus' representative on Earth; His role is to point us to Christ. No man stands in for the Holy Spirit (Catholicism lies). The pope, through supposed apostolic succession, and in the footsteps of Peter (as they claim was the first pope) is the Head of the Church on Earth. Christ is the Rock, our High Priest and is the leader of HIS Church - not fallible men (Catholicism lies). As I said before, Roman Catholicism doesn't waste an opportunity to rob Christ of His glory nor to declare that His Word (Christ came in the flesh and is the Living Word) alone is enough for matters of our faith. They, through the persuasion of the devil, declare their tradition and magisterium. Curia, the popes teachings are on equal footing with the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God - another ill-fated attempt to make God out to be a liar. In other words, and by their system of belief, they actually nullify most of what Christ and the Apostles taught, regarding Christ, our faith and our means of salvation. Theirs is a false gospel, lead by sinful men, whose inspiration must be from our enemy.
Is it worth clinging to a false religious system, that does a grave injustice to everything that Jesus Christ went to the cross for? To set us free from bondage, and to show us He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? One day, you and I will stand before Him; make sure that you will face Him without shame.