Intelligent Quote of the Day

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 …HWA’s teachings in this regard were very similar to Catholic teaching – HWA was the “Pope” of the WCG.  And like the Pope, he saw himself as 3rd in command of the universe, after God the Father and Jesus Christ.

They also agreed that their Church government superseded – was higher in authority than – any human government and was answerable only to God.

They agreed on the “One True Church” doctrine.  Both the Catholic Church and HWA’s WCG laid claim to being the one and only true Church founded by Jesus Christ.  The Catholic Church tends to downplay this doctrine when dealing with other faiths in an “ecumenical” setting, but it’s still their official doctrine – the Pope recently reiterated it.

They agreed on the “give till it hurts” philosophy of supporting the Church.  Both the Catholic Church and the WCG grew rich on the backs of hard working people and widows mites.

They agreed on building massive, opulent shrines to their own greatness – again, on widows mites.

The agreed on the “minister is always right” philosophy – WCG imperial ministry was every bit as arrogant as the Catholic Church’s imperial priesthood.  Anyone who disagrees simply has a bad attitude.

I’ll stop there, lest I provide yet another list of 7 things 😉

—FYI Again briefly touching what Herbert W. Armstrong and the Roman Catholic Church had in common in J’s Shadows of WCG message board August 9th, 2007

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5 thoughts on “Intelligent Quote of the Day

  1. The big differences between Herbert Armstrong and the Pope is that recent Popes are nowhere near as rotund as the Roly-Poly Apostle and a Pope is still in office, whereas the WCG, while it has Joey Junior, cannot say that they have anywhere a powerful and influential leader any longer.

    Beyond that, both churches are predatory packs on the hunt for prey.

    Say, that picture of Herbert Armstrong looks terribly familiar….

    As for the list of 7 things, we all know what is at the top of the seven deadly sins, and not to put too fine a point on it, lions have their pride….

  2. As an ex-Radio Church of God, aka Worldwide Church of God, aka Church of God International member, who is now a Roman Catholic, I must disagree with many of the insinuations out there that those who embrace Catholicism, particularly Roman Catholicism, are simply trading one “evil” for another. Yes, the Pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church–all churches have their physical heads. And, in many countries, the “give till it hurts” situation and historical power of the Catholic Church (especially in South and Central American countries) has created poverty and social ills which have had quite devastating effects (but no more so than religious imperialism in other non-Western countries)–that said…
    There are issues with my current, and chosen, religion with which I (and my husband, a Roman Catholic from birth who happens to be from South America) disagree, among them the following: I am pro-choice, although abortion is not a route I would take; I have never felt the need to go to confession, but I do believe confession is “good for the soul” if one chooses to do so; I would argue against the perpetual virginity of Mary based upon Judaic marriage tradition; I believe priests should be allowed to marry, and women should be allowed to become priests. Many of these are issues that the Roman Catholic Church, itself, is examining. There are others, but I think I make my point. The difference between the two religions, Armstrongism (a cult) and Roman Catholicism (a mainstream organization) is that, despite the fact that I do not adhere to some of the established beliefs, I am never turned away at the door, I am not refused communion, I am not “marked”, nor have I ever been called on the telephone, e-mailed, or visited by a priest to “warn” me of my impending doom and ex-communication if I do not adhere to policy and authority. I am encouraged to think for myself, to question doctrine, to spiritually examine myself (at this season of Lent, especially). I chose to become Catholic when I met my then-future husband–it was not forced upon me, therefore I cannot see how I was, or am, a “victim” or “prey” in any way. To the contrary, I attended the RCIA classes, which consisted of very open-minded and educated individuals, of my own free will. I was constantly reassured that I did NOT have to become Catholic to attend church OR to be married in the Church, or to continue with the meetings OR TO BE SAVED. I have never heard a priest say he was “always right”, or even hint at such a thing, any more than any other mainstream minister–it depends, I suppose on the area and the individual. There was, and is, absolutely NO pressure whatsoever. The choices are, ultimately, between myself and my God. I made the decision to be baptized, married, confirmed, etc. in the Roman rite because it has brought me a peace I had never before felt. Yes, the Roman Catholic church has a troubled past–Vatican II addressed many of these issues. The Roman Church of today is NOT the Roman Church of the middle ages, or even of the early 20th century. And one has only to look at the late John Paul to conclude that not all of the popes were “evil” as they were portrayed by the Armstrongites, although the fact that there WERE those who were, certainly, of questionable character is readily admitted to by the Roman Catholic Church of today. Papal infallability does not presuppose humanity, but only pertains to official scriptural interpretation. The Roman Catholic Church and tradition continues to grow and change: they admit to mistakes, and they admit to error–including public apologies to those whom they have hurt in the past. Please, before we compare Armstrongism to Roman Catholicism (or any other mainstream religion or form of Catholicism or Orthodoxy) research, research the researcher, and do not allow old bias and prejudice to influence the results of that research. Apples and oranges may both be round, but they are definitely not the same fruit.

  3. Hello Janice,

    I originally wrote the above quoted comparison last August on an ex-COG oriented message board in response to questions about what (if any) similarities there might be between Catholicism and Armstrongism. It may seem an absurd question at first blush, considering the vast differences between them. But as I thought about it – recalling the history of the Catholic Church – some similarities were apparent.

    However, as you have correctly pointed out, the Catholic Church has changed much from earlier times. My statements were based on the record of history and were in no sense intended to be a blanket condemnation of an institution which today commands a degree of respect – even admiration – from even its harshest detractors.

    For what it’s worth, I do not think the Catholic Church – as a whole – is evil. Are there evil men in it? Well of course there are – just as there are in any organization, religious or secular. Considered in its historic context, it cannot be denied that much terrible evil has been done in its name and by its authority. But conversely it also cannot be denied that much good has been done as well. It would be ignorant to say otherwise.

    Certain it is that I am not its judge, any more than I am the judge of Armstrongism. I have stated opinions about both over the years, sometimes in ignorance. But they were only opinions, and opinions can change.

    You defend the Catholic Church based on your positive experiences. I understand that. I’ve done it myself. I defended Armstrongism for years based on my largely positive experiences in Rod Meredith’s Global/Living Church of God during the late 90’s. I was in a Church area with a good, decent, caring minister amongst good, decent, caring people. For years, I didn’t experience any of the harsh realities which I later learned were the norm for many COG members. From 1996 to 2001 it was as positive an environment as is possible in an Armstrong based COG group.

    It wasn’t until I started experiencing a very different minister, with divisions and suspicions sprouting in the local Church, and found myself embroiled in a controversy which exposed not only the local minister but the entire LCG chain of command as a thoroughly corrupt good old boy’s network that I began to realize the true nature of the organization and the hollow principles upon which it was founded.

    It wasn’t until I began to recognize that the things that were happening to me were very familiar – having been warned of them years earlier by people who knew better – that I began to realize how wrong I had been, and that those I had once considered enemies had been right all along.

    I am sorry that my words offended your sensibilities – you seem a decent person and I have no wish to offend you. But I cannot sugar coat Catholicism any more than I can sugar coat Armstrongism. Apples and oranges they may be, but their many obvious differences do not negate their similarities.

    Please understand that I do not hate Catholics, or the Catholic Church. Quite the opposite in fact. I grew up in an area that was (and still is) heavily Catholic. At least half of my friends over the years have been Catholic – including a man who has been my best friend for 45 years. There are many Catholics in my extended family, some born to it, and others – my brother for instance – who converted to it in later years. I’ve attended mass. I’ve attended many a Catholic wedding and funeral. I’ve met and chatted with priests and nuns. I’ve also seen first hand the good that the Church can do in a community, at the local level. In fact, if my opinions of the Church were colored solely by my own personal experience, I would have only good things to say about it.

    But history shows that it hasn’t always been that way. The Catholic Church hasn’t always been so benign, especially outside the US. And even in the US, there have been serious problems, some of which have been in the news over the past few decades.

    Like any organization – religious or secular – and indeed like any INDIVIDUAL, the Catholic Church is capable of both good and evil. It and has done and will undoubtedly continue to do both – as it always has.

  4. In some ways, I do concur with you–in any organization, religious or secular, the bottom line is humanity–humanity with its incredible proclivity for doing evil, as well as its immense potential for doing good. Our personal experiences tend to influence how we view any situation. I also would have to agree with Lord Acton’s insightful observation that “[p]ower tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” This would apply to both secular and religious organizations no matter how large or how small.
    Nothing much offends my sensibilities…I find it good to agree to disagree because it lays the groundwork for intellectual (as opposed to emotional) discussion, especially on the oftentimes volatile subject of theology and religion. Fortunately, this blogsite offers that opportunity.

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