"What do Roman Catholics believe."


"Four Kinds of Roman Catholics"


It is as difficult to classify neatly the Roman church today as it

is to classify Protestant churches. Any classifacation is bound to lump

together those who feel uncomfortable at the association; we must allow

for much overlapping and various combinations of viewpoints. It is

useful, nevertheless, to group comtemporary Roman Catholics into four


Still vigorous, and, under the administration of Pope John Paul II,

continuing strong and influential within the Catholic hierarchy, are the

traditionalists. This important segment of the church, specially

powerful among the laity of the nation churches, the older clergy, and

the bishops and upper level of the hierarchy, adheres to the whole of

creedal Roman Catholicism and obedience to the church as interpreted by

the pope. In recent years, these traditionalists have come to assume

less and less importance in the church, yet Pope John Paul II has

certainly sought in some ways to nudge the church back in this direction.

A second group is often identified with the charismatic movement. It

tends to be more evangelical and lays great emphasis upon faith as a

personal commitment, the New Birth, personal piety, and loyalty to the

Scripture. Particularly, it stresses the necessity for a conscious

"actualization" or personal appropriation of one's faith, and an active

acceptance of the Bible not just as divine revelation, but also as the

means of grace by which the Holy Spirit guides one's thought anad action.

A third group is composed of liberals. These vary greatly in the

degree to which they have departed from the traditional position of the

church. From the Protestant perspective, naturally, some of these

departures seem to be good because they are moves in the direction of

evangelical doctrine. When Hans Kung wrote a book in defense of

justification by faith and another against the infallibility of the pope

and the church councils, Protestants recognized a voice proclaiming the

truth. However, when he went on to cast doubts upon the infallibility of

the Bible as well, and even questioned the traditional Christology of the

church, evangelical Protestants regretted his move as an unnecessary and

unwise concession to modern rationalistic unbelief stemming from the

Enlightenment, not from his biblical roots.

No doubt the majority of Roman Catholics fall within a loose fourth

category often labeled cultural Roman Catholics. They were born into the

church. They are commited emotionally to their "mother church," but do

not understand its doctrine and are not really obedient to its ethical

instruction. They remain within it more because of convenience than

because of religious conviction. Their values and lifestyle do not flow

from their understanding of the gospel, but are molded by the predominant

culture around them. In the U.S.(and Canada), Roman Catholicism is their

way of being an American(Canadian) and of finding their own identity in

modern society. My Comment: It would be disasterous to lump Catholics

into any one particular category listed above but to make sure and talk

to each one individually as they may be part of all the categories or any

combination of them. When giving your testimony to them make sure that

you know what that individual believes in, listen carfully to what they


This info was uploaded by Mike Paulson, who received the information

from an Editorial from Cornerstone magazine which was sent to him by The

Christian Research Institute in San Juan Capistrano, California.


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