A Liberal Catholic’s take on the comparison of Catholicism and Armstrongism

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I am darn glad that I have been getting new and enthusiastic posters on this blog and James Thoughts and Musings James Pate’s mother, Janice fits that bill to the T. She has been responding to a past Intelligent Quote of The Day post (Dec. 2, 2007) where FYI Again describes the similiarities between Armstrongism and Catholicism. Janice believes there is no comparison and it is simply to errant to make some comparisons. She believes the Catholic Church today is multi-faceted as opposed to being monolithic. Interesting enough while former WCG(or XCG) members who are now practising Catholics like Darren Carrey (who is a conservative Catholic in the John Paul II tradition) and Jared Olar and apparently a “Jordan Potter” (who are very no-nonsense conservative in the Benedict VI tradition)—Janice takes more of  a liberal and progressive approach in Catholicism and submits to some degree the Roman Catholic Church has been like that because the RCC has been no means been static. Here again is Janice comments in it’s own post:

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.

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