Dear Jonathan Fru,
May I crave your indulgence ab initio to take the liberty and respond to your 7.14 pm email of August 1st which you addressed to Sam Esale via the Cameroonian egroup: Camnetwork. I do so not with any pretense at theological expertise even though I am credentialed but because silence in the face of such outlandish denigrations of my faith will be nothing short of a betrayal surpassing even that of Judas. I am not holding brief for the Catholic Church but rather taking the liberty along lines of the Petrine challenge to give an account of my faith especially in the face of such stupendous misrepresentation.
I do not intend this to be any theological theatrics but cast my intervention within the Augustinian paradigm of a “faith seeking understanding.”
Excuse me if I do not address you as “Rev” for I do not know whether as a defrocked pastor you are “Rev emeritus…” and just as you do not speak for the Protestant church I do not speak for the Catholic Church.
It behooves me to state clearly that your insalubrious invective against the Catholic Church is based on a figment of your imagination. It is your version of Catholic doctrine. It is the sound and rational principle of critical analysis that one knows what he is criticizing. In this particular instance as in many others, criticisms of Catholic doctrine are based on a shallow understanding of Catholic doctrine. It is simply bad will and downright intellectual dishonesty. It is disingenuous, Mr. Awasom, for you to churn out such diatribe without a single quote from any official Catholic Church documents to substantiate your claim. Not at all surprised for a great chunk of the material you dole out on this subject is copied verbatim without any acknowledgement from the internet.
For the sake of full disclosure, permit me say here that I am a Roman Catholic who made an abortive bid to the Catholic priesthood. I have italicized the relevant sections of your mail and my response follows.
“This is what the bible teaches and since Roman Catholics don’t read the Bible as much as Protestants, they cannot understand because of lack of knowledge in biblical teachings.”
In logic, this is called the fallacy of hasty generalization. For an “intellectual” of your stature or as you would want us to believe you are, such generalities cast a doubt on your credentials.
What your highlighted argument above boils down to is the fact that when we put every Protestant and every Catholic to a test of the bible, all Protestants will outclass all Catholics. Wonders shall never end. I can hedge my bets that this is clearly not what you meant to say but I only have your writing for evidence and so will hinge on it.
The ability to quote randomly from books of the bible is not a demonstration of biblical knowledge.
What is even comical is the fact that you preface your remarks with a display of your academic profile (and by the way, congratulations on your master’s degree) but go on to prove the exact opposite of this. You do not care to substantiate your remarks with any shred of evidence neither scientifically nor anecdotally even.
Catholics have mass daily and at each mass there are at least three readings all taken from the bible. In fact, if a Catholic were to attend mass regularly and pay attention, s/he would be well versed with the bible even if s/he may not be able to shout out verses like kids in kindergarten singing out memory verses. The reality is that many do not attend mass regularly.
Nobody has put a gun on the heads of Catholics precluding them from reading the bible. One must also agree that one thing which we have learnt from the evangelical world is constant reading of the bible. In the Catholic world there are many excellent biblical publications promoting bible studies. Catholics do not need to shout biblical verses from rooftops before people know they know the bible.
I do not want to bore you with an avalanche of literature on the Catholic Church and the bible but since you an internet researcher, kindly read this article: Are Catholics into the Bible? Accessible on: http://www.catholicbridge.com/catholic/bible_catholics.php.
That may be strange to the dogmatic Roman Catholic Church because in order to be a Saint according to the Roman Catholic Church, one must obey and worship the Pope, perform one miracle and carry out some charity.
Jonathan, I am not sure you are quoting the doctrine of the Catholic Church correctly. Please apprise me of where Catholic doctrine requires that for one to be canonized he/she has to obey and worship the Pope. And by the way, what do you mean by “worship the Pope?” This facile and almost infantile description does not come close to the process of canonization at least as I know it. I am ready with eraser to blot this out from my writing once you can show me the text. If anything, read up Catholic doctrine and ask. There are many Catholics who would share with you what the doctrine is even if they knew you were going to shred it. Shred the right thing, though! What you describe is a caricature of the process and a creation of your mind.
I am a little surprised at your inability to draw the distinction between honoring and worshipping. When the soldier swears allegiance to the commander in chief, is he worshipping the commander in chief or is he honoring and respecting him?
I am speaking as an experienced and well groomed(sic) Protestant Christian with my deep and profound knowledge in the authority of the word of God, which is foreign to the Pope and Roman Catholic Church.
Culpable ignorance is inexcusable. Where do you come from with such exotic claim that the authority of the word of God is foreign to the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church? You seem to have a fascination for the papacy and if you care, I could arrange for you to visit the Vatican. I am pretty much certain that Pope Francis would love to have a chat with you on your claims but given your disposition it will be an exercise in futility.
For one who claims to be well groomed in the authority of the word of God, one is scandalized by your audacious demonstration of this “holier-than-thou” syndrome. I am pretty much certain, if you were still a Protestant pastor, the Church would have called you to order.
Just get used too the fact that the ways of the Catholic Church are not the ways of the Protestant Church. We may have and share common grounds but on doctrinal and biblical teachings, the two are diametrically opposed to each other.
My dear brother, why do state the obvious: there are differences between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church. I take umbrage at your claim that the doctrinal and biblical teachings of the two are diametrically opposed. First of all, the Protestant Church is not a uniform bloc. There are many differences even within that bloc. To use the term “Protestant,” even if loosely is disingenuous.
Your claim that the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church for example are “diametrically opposed” is a maniacal exaggeration. What unites Catholics and Presbyterians is far more compelling than what separates or divides us.
Roman Catholic Christians are too shallow and lacking because they don’t know the bible.
All I can say, Jonathan is, Father, forgive him he does not know what he is saying. Such a categorical statement insulting in essence could only be the fruit of myopia, feeble mindedness and bigotry. Tell us what barometer you used to measure this and the methodology you availed of to warrant such an outlandish evaluation. My only consolation is in the fact that you surely are referring to a different group, surely not the Roman Catholic Church I belong to.
On the substance of your discussion which is the fact that sainthood is not the exclusive preserve of a few whom the Vatican selectively designates, may it please you to know that this is exactly the position of the Catholic Church. First of all, you must seek to understand the theology of sainthood. The Church teaches that by virtue of our baptism, all of us are called to holiness. We are all saints en route to Sainthood. On the 1st of November every year, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints. This is for all those unnamed Saints and many there are. Africa for example has an impressive number of saints who are yet to be canonized.
“Caculus non facit monarchum – the habit does not make the monk.”
Post Script: If you are interested in Roman Catholicism even if just for your criticism, I am always available to share my faith with you. We can disagree without being disagreeable. If I do not know the answer, I will point you to resources and persons that will educate you on the rudiments of the Catholic faith.