I must say this is the absolute last thing I planned to post today again, or ever for that matter. But I think it is time, now that the earthquake is over and the volcanic ashes settled over his use of the word “religion,” which seemed to be the main point of contention for most of my liturgical brothers and sisters in Christ, to hear with more clarity what he was attempting to say here.
At the outset, I will say that there are points of theology I probably disagree on with Bethke. I am not a Calvinist. I would believe in and defend the Roman Catholic position on doctrine anytime, not just “because I am Catholic” but more to the point I am Catholic because I fully believe in and follow, as best I know how, the authority of the Word of God through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, which of course is not “every tradition” but the ones which have their basis in the early Church and Church Fathers, and have thus stood firm through the Councils and over the many centuries of the Faith.
Having said that, the official and clear Catholic position is that there are Christians, meaning potential “saints” who are headed for heaven, in all Christian denominations who teach the basic creeds of historical Christianity (such as the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds). Our Catechism of the Catholic Church could not be clearer on this point.
“However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”
I do not believe the point can be any clearer than that. This is our brother in Christ. He is 22 years young. He has turned from the world and, as the old song goes, has “decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.” No parent in their right mind would be ashamed of having this man date their daughter or be their son for that matter. And, as strongly as I believe in the concept that Christianity flows from Catholicism, and I do accept this, I also would daresay that I would rather have a hot-blooded evangelical Christian in my family than a near-dead Catholic Christian who puts in for Mass twice a year.
We can argue the theology of “his church versus ours” all day. But the first and foremost issue is bringing souls to Christ. And that can happen through the Sacraments or beyond them. See CCC reference below:
The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.).
It however won’t happen by calling people such as he or Tim Tebow or others who are at least attempting to share the Lord who they love so very much such things as “idiots” or “heretics” when they are neither.
As I shared to him in a personal note, when I was in my Protestant years I never bought into the anti-Catholicism I saw around me. What I was shocked to find after my return to the Church was that many of those who had indeed had their lives totally changed through a committed relationship (yes, I said it!) with Jesus Christ now had no problem ripping to shreds those who found Him outside of Catholic circles. And I have seen more examples of this in regard to both Bethke and Tebow than at any time since my return to Rome. Maybe we should just revive burning at the stake or something else equally Christ-like…
Rubbish, folks. And that is the nicer word for it.
Real “religion” always respects the other, even when we disagree on points, even important ones. Anything else simply kills dialogue (another word some who read this no doubt just cringe when even seeing it in print, no doubt). But dialogue we must.
Here is a very positive example of Jefferson Bethke and a Roman Catholic priest in that very dialogue on the secular CBS This Morning…with deep and obvious respect on both sides clearly shown. We can all learn from it.
So may I now challenge you to once again watch the video, and then read what our brother in Jesus Jeff Bethke says about it in the link below? You might be surprised at what you missed the first time around. In fact, read his thoughts first, and then watch the video again. As we always teach and say we believe, context is everything.
- The Inquisition and State-Churchism (dawnmarie4.wordpress.com)
- Loving Jesus, Hating “Religion” – Yet Another Take (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- “Loving Jesus” – 3rd Take (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- No BOOGEY-MEN! Perceptions vs. realities of the Catholic Church (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- Why I Don’t Hate “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” (kirkmillerblog.wordpress.com)
- Why I Love Religion, And Jesus (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- Jesus vs. religion? (breathenetwork.org)
- Why Jesus Loves Relationships AND Religion Too (3dchristianity.wordpress.com)
- ‘Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus’ Creator Surprised by Criticism (abcnews.go.com)