Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-07-26 - Jacques

Author Recorded Wednesday July 26th, 2017

There are 45 episodes in the Versus:Catholic series.

Recorded September 13th, 2017

Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-09-13 - Thomas

I met Jacques at the Catholic Monastery where I was receiving instruction on the Catholic Faith for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). He was on his way to becoming a religious, but things didn't pan out. He is now questioning his Catholic faith. • Support the CVS Podcast: • Be a guest on a livestream:

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hello I'm Jack and you're listening to Catholic versus Catholic just tell the guests a little bit about yourself first of all so they know who you are and where you're coming from I grew up Catholic and I spent some time after I finished high school with a theatre company and worked in churches of different denominations in North America and Europe then during my university years I sort of went away from the church and then came back to it and then as my university years went on I found that the church was not answering all of my spiritual needs so I became more interested in Islam and Judaism and at this time I find that I have doubts about the Catholic Church about the divinity of Christ and I find that the Jewish spirituality is becoming stronger and stronger for me and well I converted to Islam but I still continue to practice more as a Catholic and to seek Jewish wisdom more than Islam I suppose what was entailed in converting to Islam not much you say few words knowledge in Muhammad's and acknowledging that you submit to God and this was through Sufism I came into contact with Oh Sufism group and I also then spent a couple months at a Sufi durga last summer the one idea in scripture I wanted to bring up was the idea of the narrow path from Matthew it's a new testament scripture small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it and the other one is circumcise your hearts therefore and do not be stiff-necked any longer this is from Deuteronomy and it's quoted many places Jeremiah and many places where in the New Testament and what does that tell you about the cat like church versus other forms of monotheism well the Catholic Church I've found it to be limiting me and so I wanted to now grow past it to narrow yes I mean I don't know why I chose description but it can you want a narrow path but not quite that narrow yeah or a path that seems to be leading me to life unless you're willing to lose your life you won't have your life that's my Catholic beliefs yes yes I know you're you're you're still exploring and putting puzzle pieces together and you're using the scripture to do so where do you think the Bible came from because I my claim is that the Catholic Church gave us the Bible it's the one that defined the Canon it said that this book is the inspired Word of God that book is not the inspired Word of God so there's a filtering process that took place in the 4th century in the church to give us what we have today as the Bible do you think that any of the books in my Catholic Bible any of the 73 books are completely free from error concerning faith and morals I don't know I mean there are always things in the Bible that do seem quite strange it is strange anymore like you know there's huge slaughters in the Bible like is there anything that makes the Bible special or is it just that it's a flavor that appeals to your palate as a Western man or how would you explain the fact that you're drawn to the Bible more so than other religious books or are you oh I would say that I am yeah I mean I you could definitely say my favorite book of the Bible is the Psalms and the reason I like it is that it's uplifting it's not particularly dogmatic yeah it takes for granted faith you're not disturbed by the violence I guess some Psalms are violent but mostly they're mostly they're not the violence you mostly find is in the Torah the first five books and in the history book I see Christianity as part of a continuum like I see it as a bridge between monotheistic religions and maybe polytheistic we chintz okay and i see it like as a bridge that is at this time where there are different faiths at the same time but also a bridge over time and more so over time in the God's plan of salvation okay I I think I understand what you're talking about because I interview people of different faiths and I see so much overlap I know my church teaches that there's no celebration outside of the Catholic Church that's a dogma of the church so I have to believe that but I also know that the church nuance is that dogmatic teaching by saying that we don't actually know who is in the church and who is not in the church is it in scriptures something Christ said the church is Christ no one goes to the Father but through me so what do you think about infallibility because the reason I'm Catholic and not Protestant or Muslim or Jewish is because primarily because of three attribute I think that the Catholic Church wants everybody to believe the same thing so the Pope has to be able to give a judgement and then that's infallible everybody's gonna have to agree so Christianity isn't fostering people are faithful that are trained to think on their own like you know in a synagogue it's often called a shul I mean at first of all you find that there's a differentiation between men and women you know it's it's a space for men to study together and often there's tables and chairs and books and you can go there anytime and you don't study there show me in school yeah okay it's not a yeshiva but the the shul the synagogue is a place where you go during the day and you study scripture or you study Talmud just a really quick note I interviewed a Raelian who believes that were created by alien life-forms but she was born in Israel and she said that the men are down below with the Torah and the women are up above throwing candies does that ring a bell to you well yes if it's a it depends on the architecture of the shul but often you do have the men down below performing the ceremony and the men have the obligation to pray there's three prayers a day morning noon and sunset and the men put on tefillin leather straps that put on their forehead and on their bicep and they can take little scrolls of anymore on the schools yeah specifically Exodus I don't know what school it is Robert I mean it is important for an Orthodox Jewish men have to fill in and this is something that the men do but not an obligation for women okay what about the candies in obligatory okay so the candy is these obligations are for the men to do but then above sometimes they do throw cannons down but I'm as an expression on this back and draw between the men and the women when the women are above it is it's kind of like you have angels above watching still participating because they're present and yet the women don't have to be there they could be at home you know with the nursing a baby or the you know maybe just don't want to go but that's not an obligation for the women to go it's an obligation for the men to go interesting yeah so with my contact with Judaism and Islam I began to then question the divinity of Christ now I should say I do still attend Mass not necessarily every day not necessarily every week but sometimes more than once a week it depends but when I go to Mass and find them less and less drawn to go to communion and I guess it is because really it's a question of faith is that I mean I certainly respect the teachings of Christ but I wonder what is it that makes him into the Son of God into the second person of the Trinity I mean it's in yoga and he and the Hinduism and more Eastern religions to the sense of a yin and the yang and I suppose this is monism this sense that the world is one rather than a dualism that I think you get really present in Catholicism it is the sense that there's good and there's bad that when you take on Christian faith you renounce the devil but when you renounce the devil you're gonna worship the devil you know you you have to allow the good and the bad in everything first of all I just want to say because sin is an infinite offense against Almighty God we need to atone for that with an infinite payment to repay that debt so we need a God man God beyond the infinite debt come from it from sin for eternal sin okay because we're in a fallen state we're not in a state of perfect grace we still have grace and we're seeing is Grace of balance but we have fallen from grace we're not in Paradise anymore I think it's evident and our exile from Paradise took place because we disobeyed God you know that's the Catholic perspective so I just wanted to mention that the Incarnation is very important and it's one of the main reasons why I'm Christian and not Muslim or Jewish because they don't have a way of repaying the debt of sin a lamb won't do it six hundred and thirty laws ritual laws won't do it those only bring condemnation yes Christianity simplifies you know sinful behaviors how do you bring them into line and that's what those you know thick and halakhah is for in christianity sometimes does lack there but it does simplify we have access to all of that we can make use of all that if we need to but I wanted to address what you said about monism versus dualism yeah and I think it's very important that you know and that everyone listening knows that the Catholic teaching is that only the good is real and that evil is a lack of good it's a privation of good it's a falling away from good so Satan is ontologically good because we made by God that means like Satan is good by nature but he's evil by choice so God is the source of life he is life itself he is goodness itself he's a source of everything that's good and we can participate in that and we can orient ourselves towards that or not and if we choose not to then we're falling away from everything that's good including health life beauty justice I would still give you the status of being a thing that you can grammatically avoid the Gnostics did that famously and st. Augustine one of my favorite Saints he was a manichaean before he became Catholic and he eventually addressed all of those philosophical issues because there are their consequences if evil has a sub a year point and when you want to say everything is monastic then why make the duality between good and evil if they're both present all the time for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction that's where I'm going with this the next thing I would go to with that is you know wondering why am I not drawn to the Eucharist and maybe I don't feel that I'm worthy of it maybe I feel that because I doubt I'm not prepared for it but maybe it's that I feel that God is present in the world everywhere and I sense God's presence anywhere so once you say what God is especially present in the Eucharist well then that's saying that God isn't present in the other things and I want to believe that God is present in everything so that would make God less present in the rest of them of the world the church teaches that Christ instituted the church and that he instituted seven sacraments and the sacrament of sacraments is the Eucharist and he said unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood there's no life in you and you will not go to heaven basically so you have to do it you don't have to understand it you don't have to like it you don't have to feel good about it and st. Paul said if you eat unworthily you're eating under condemnation so we're little babies and we're told to eat our medicine I think we should just eat it without questioning it if you believe I mean if you if you don't believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be and if you don't believe that he is who the Jews thought he was claiming to be that's why they killed him because he was equating himself with God making himself God when he said I am they knew right away that that was referring to the name of God well I guess it's better to abstain until I reach some yeah yeah agent 2 my questioning if the Catholic Church is the one true religion you don't to commit sacrilege and if it's not the one true religion you don't wanna commit idolatry by eating a piece of bread and calling it God incarnate right yeah you don't want either of us no I mean in anything I mean it's um st. Joseph's oratory is you know a place that I often have been frequenting in the last month and you I've learned that there they have a lot of Hindus coming but the difficulty is that the Hindus then don't necessarily understand the meaning of communion you know you think so they do come up and take communion oh boy so then I'm like if I take communion and the Hindus are taking communion then I'm taking communion with the Hindus and I like well I don't want that yeah you're not responsible for their confusion if they're confused and they don't have the blest bread do you know you're familiar with that part of liturgy that in modern Catholicism the Blessed brand has been left out or like in an Orthodox liturgy you know at a certain point in the Orthodox liturgy they say the doors the doors and then really nothing much happens but I think that's where it it gets really holy at that point and you know if you're not a believer in the in the in the Eucharist then you know it's better that you don't attend that part I suppose is it doors meeting there's the door if you want to leave yeah okay so that then if you had Hindus attending at this you know Greek Orthodox the Russian Orthodox Church then at that point the Hindus should leave Oh is what that's about and st. Joseph's oratory has no architecture for that even well they never say they do staff that they do usually announce that communion although everyone's welcome communion is reserved for those who believe that it is the body blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ I think it's important to make that warning and make it clear mm-hmm but as in terms of the blessing of what you called the blessing of the predicate you called it it's important to realize that there's a consecration taking place in the transubstantiation is taking place from a Catholic perspective yeah so the Blessed bread is a different thing and that is available for everyone like really you don't have to be a believing Christian and you don't have to feel that you're in the state of grace tourist ok Eucharist oh okay I didn't know in fact when people go up to receive Communion in an Orthodox Church they usually will pick up the blest bread also and they'll give it to the people who didn't go up oh okay and so that's what that's for oh and that fills that need of when someone is maybe a visitor and that giving them that bless thread will make them feel welcome that's nice we have a thing where you can cross your arms over your chest and get a blessing from the priest did you know about that yeah and that's like mostly children would come up for that sort of thing if they're and haven't reached their first communion and an Orthodox Church their first communion is when you're baptized as a baby yeah you don't have you don't the whole deal go ahead yeah okay well you could go up for the blessing at communion at st. Joseph's or wherever you go you could cross your arms and there's no shame in that I guess I could yeah if I wanted to do that I could but that's where the other thing is partly I think maybe the whole thing of going up for communion it's like a manipulation then you're into the game you know needing the priest to consecrate the bread and then I'm not the minister of my own blessing at that point yeah well the the Christian religion clearly teaches or at least in Catholicism which is the fullness of the Christian faith that we receive God's grace through channels which we call sacraments which were instituted also having were instituted by Christ so baptism you didn't baptize yourself you didn't confirm yourself you don't do your own confession you do marry yourself that's the one that you do yourself but you're not ordained it's a passing on of things through a tradition yeah it's a power it's the power of the keys and the power to forgive sins these are real things and they're in Scripture now if you don't have the church for your mother you can't have God for your father this is one of the ancient sayings in the Catholic Church you can't have your cake and eat it too if you're going to be a monotheistic you need to acknowledge the chosen people of God what they were called to the coming of the Messiah that was prophesied and the whole historical package that's why in our Creed we have historical figures like Pontius Pilate mentioned by name because it is a very concrete real story that took place in the fullness of time the Messiah was promised and he did come and the church was formed and the sacraments instituted and were commanded to baptize in the name of the Father Son the Holy Spirit and to preach the good news to all nations so it's a very historical religion and I don't think we can reduce it to some personal subjective experience where it's just you and God if you want to do that I think Buddhism is probably the better path yeah what else have you got in your notes well the other place where God is particularly present besides the Eucharist is of course the Word of God and you know to a Muslim the Quran is even beyond the level of the inspiration that we would consider the scripture to be holy they claim that the Quran is perfectly free from error but the holy books from Judaism and Christianity are tainted with errors and liens all suits as a manipulation so they are perfectly happy to abandon the Old Testament and the New Testament and just stick with the Quran because it's more reliable from that perspective that makes a lot of sense why risk having error in your holy books right but did you become convinced that Mohammed is a prophet of the one true God well I think we have like Noah Moses Jesus Mohammed you know they call muhammad rasool rasoolallah is the main title that muhammad gets that other prophets or you know avatars or representations of god don't get it's higher than a prophet yeah he's a prophet but he's also restful okay and are you convinced that he's wrestle or no I don't know what I wanted to say about Islam is the daily prayers and of washing okay I mean it's not a theological thing it's a very pragmatic thing yes in it it is cleaner yeah I mean people do say that about Muslims that they're very clean people to hit yeah they're cleaner than Christians the other thing I wanted to mention was gender roles and I think post Christian society as has left the path as far as gender roles are concerned I mean we're like Paul talks about women should be submissive and I don't think Paul is you know you know instituting anything he's just trying to express something and Jesus is more you know trying to elevate the stamina such as you can and and be as equal and and respectful to women more than they were treated in their day and then Paul is coming after that and saying that the women need to respect their that their husbands and and be submissive in much of what the words are but he sort of was trying to put things back in place and I mean I don't know exactly what the Mediterranean world was like with all the pagan practices and what you know men's and women's roles were like and his been at what part of Asia Minor or Italy they were in and what social classes they were in in which cities and how you know submissive we're not women were used to being or how different Christians were from what the regular practice was but I do think that there is something in divine masculinity and divine femininity that religion does touch on and needs to be brought out and I think modern Christianity has well especially postmodern Christian society has left the mark modern Christianity has dealing with it because it's mixed in with the non-christian society that you know Christianity has led us to but what is the ideal I don't understand are you saying that the ideal is that men and women do have different roles and we need to stick to them well I look at Orthodox Christianity and I would say that there when you find an Orthodox woman compared to like a Catholic there's a difference she's a real woman he's everything that there's is she living up to the ideal of one with so yeah I guess it is in my head that way it's it's but it's always so hard to talk about gender roles and and divine masculine your divine femininity but my God has no sex and no gender by the way yeah yeah hmm I tend to refer to God as he we do we do refer to God as he and there's a reason for that as a theological reason for that because he is pure actuality there is no potential in God the masculine is characterized by actuality and feminine like receptivity and so we refer to God as he even though there are passages in the scriptures that refer to God as a mother even Jesus himself refers to himself as the mother heaven mm-hmm so I wouldn't get too hung up on that sort of thing but there is definitely it's definitely an issue today especially with feminism and the different sort of extreme forms of feminism that we that are sort of going out of control I think in our society what role does family play in your sort of vision of an ideal monotheistic well well let me see like education I would say the education of the the woman is so that she can pass on her education to her children educate her children herself okay rather than expecting the church or the society or the public school or the daycare if you educate their children for her the woman should be there for that and you know the education of the woman is ideally and principally for that okay because just biologically there's things that a woman can do for her children the men can't and the presence of the man is so important and the more present than men can be the better it is but yet the I don't think the presence of the father completely makes up for the person isn't you know the its it just works a lot better when the man is the main bred women winner and the woman is the main guardian of the family in the harbor and the education of of the man and the woman should be separate in order to foster that Oh rather than sort of our society seems to have fostered the opposite and yet you can't go that far so it's sort of off the track yeah I think I know what you're saying and if I do then I agree that we've sort of lost our way with the family and with the roles of men and women is that we're sort of yeah yeah I didn't either yeah and I haven't been able to accept that in my faith journey and that's caused me a lot of problems with my own family because oh they sort of pushed me off to the side of the lawyer yeah because you voiced your pain yes okay and they would rather not hear it yeah interesting so is it is it is it fair to characterize that look of yours conservative I'm conservative yeah that's a conservative outlook yeah my my primary concern with so-called gender issues has to do with like you said the family and education it's the building block of society and if we mess with that it will have repercussions negative repercussions in the long term and I think we're seeing it with divorce contraception single parent families things aren't going too well mm-hmm I don't know what to do about it certainly pushing conservative values on society won't be tolerated it's not gonna be taller yeah you have to be very delicate and hunky things yeah yeah I don't know how to deal with that so what else have you got well I think Christianity and Islam both bring Gentiles into I was kind I have written here into the Jewish world but I guess it's more into the family of Abraham is this another one of your observations about the sort of gateway religion phenomenon where people can come in to monotheism through polytheism and sort of what yes and then at this continuum also I think in a way Christianity is maybe a bridge between Hinduism and bringing people into this monotheistic way and I don't know if it's you know best you know in one religion for all I mean the Catholic worse than anything but there's a building on the way of salvation so the scripture I sort of think of this is you know about kosher foods in x10 where Peter is meditating on the roof in Caesarea and then he has the opportunity to go to a Roman centurions place and he has this vision where he is surprised where he feels that he's being led to eat non kosher foods and so this is in order to preach to non-jews and I guess this is what makes Christianity acceptable I mean you know the the you couldn't in a lot of Christians societies take the pork out of the diet and the people would just be we're not following that religion circumcision wasn't probably too popular either among adult converts after a it's a bit much to ask yeah than to how do you read that story then about Peters vision do you you see it as in a cynical way as a manipulation to open doors or do you see it as a genuine vision that's being faithfully recorded in the book and that it has some mystical meaning that's coming straight from God how do you see it I think maybe the end goal is to go back to observing kosher dietary laws okay it sound like the museum on Wednesdays it's free but once you know that's just to get you to join I guess that's nasty yeah so you go on Wednesday for the free museum day and then you want to suddenly want that membership I guess something like this yeah but on the other hand I mean I don't know I I'd love to talk to you about if it's not too controversial talk to you about the Messiah and the prophecies of the Messiah you thought about that no seems kind of important for you because you're a mama theist it's not quite sure which religion is true the one I seem to be learning the most from the that I find corresponds the best with me seems to be Judaism and yet I'm not there yet for whatever reason yeah I'm speaking here as a questioning Catholic yeah if you were to characterize Judaism Christianity and Islam in sort of a caricature which means that it's not completely exhaustive or accurate but it paints a bold sort of picture to differentiate the three what roles do they play for you because they're all monotheistic religions but it seems like Islam attracts you because of X but Judaism offers you why and yet Christianity has the Zed factors do you know to me so I'm a cherry picker and I want to take from each monotheistic religion what I'd like well I don't know if that's what's happening or if you're just sort of figuring it all out but what what are the salient features of each that that make you still dabble in each well I guess Judaism it's the wisdom that I sort of the worldview it's there's something there that I just see it corresponding more as it's so much seeing so much older than Jannetty where Christianity always seems so syncretic with Celtic calendar when you look at Anglican churches I don't know if you ever noticed stuff and you know the Celtic calendar has feasts according to a soul or schedule and generally Anglican churches will have Christian holidays on that schedule the day-to-day cultural sort of gritty reality just day-to-day how these people live are you more sympathetic to Judaism or Islam or Christianity because the Jews have a very strong cultural element even if they're not religious there's a strong cultural level yeah and it's this much smaller group it is like there's so much similarity I think between how Muslims along with Jews don't eat pork but there's I mean differences between halal and kosher dietary laws and Christians by definition don't really have dietary laws you know how one dietary laws and we must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ that's pretty much the one dietary I have a couple things I wanted to say in closing I believe in one God and I think of Christianity as part of a continuum of religions in this moment and across time and all part of God's plan of salvation and I think I mostly seem to be adopting a more and more Jewish perspective as time goes on as I keep searching but you know for now I practice both Christianity and Islam at times and I wanted to make a comment on the scripture of psalm 119 God's Word is light unto my pet and on to my feet and as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and it's one of my favorite scriptures and you know I would encourage anyone to be nourished by the Word of God and to build your house on the rock and this is a reference to Luke 648 and Matthew 725 where it says that hearing the Word of God and responding to it the right way is building your house on a rock that would be destroyed if you like it will view if you think it's got some questions a piano tell all you got to do is ask all you got to do to do is ask all you got to do