Several times in the past months on YAR, I’ve noticed people mention in passing we could re-join the Roman Catholic Church* if we don’t like the idea of dividing over differences of belief and/or practice. I haven’t heard this idea anywhere else, but maybe I’m not listening hard enough. Is this an option many YARs or other Mennonites consider to be a valid and even attractive option?
Someone mentioned common objections Anabaptists have against the RCC, namely heirarchy and gender issues. I know Catholics who quit tithing to the RCC when the priest-sex-abuse scandal broke because they don’t want their tithes to become part of a payout. Then you’ve got infant baptism, obligatory First Communion, war, lgbtq, transubstantiation and the list goes on.
What is attractive about the RCC? I think I might “get” part of it, having visited many Catholic cathedrals, monestaries and schools, and having read Cloister Walk, but other aspects of “what it might mean to be Catholic” turn me off. Each congregation will vary, of course. There’s just something freaky to me about the idea of one human non-God person (the Pope) making declarations that all living people in that church are supposed to follow. Do any Catholics still believe the Pope is error-free anymore? I’m sorry if that seems flippant or dismissive, but it’s a real question. But then, sometimes we Anabaptists live like we believe a committee is error-free, so maybe it’s no different.
As much as I cringe at the writings of some popes and bishops on the issues of gender and lgbtq, I wonder how much it’s really different in Anabaptist churches. We’ve got our own baggage. Some of us can remember when men and women sat apart in church. Some of us still wear the clothes that declare to the world “I believe in specific gender roles!” Why would I cringe to be associated with expressions of the same thing in the RCC, when it doesn’t horrify me in the same way in my own denomination? Or is it not the same thing?
I’ve heard some Catholics complain even American Protestants have more respect for the Vatican than many European RCC priests. Maybe it’s more fun to be Catholic there.
*If my sources are correct, the “Catholic Church” includes more than the RCC. It is also the Greek Catholic, Byzantine Catholic, and sometimes Anglican churches. Yes, I am familiar with the “worldwide” definition of “catholic.”
**If this post seems unfocused and rambly, my apologies. I’m mostly trying to get the discussion started.
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