"I am an ex-Catholic"

From: Joachim Tokem

Subject: WHY?!

I am an ex-Catholic. But when I left it, I did not attach to any particular Protestant confession but rather had myself (re)baptized solely as a Christian. The (re) is for your understanding of baptism. I no longer accept infant baptism as valid.

I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and so many hyperstrict Protestant Churches (usually hyper Calvinist or legalistic) confound men from the simplicity of Christ?


The Catholic Church muddies up the field with the Latin intricacies of its Magesterium, a collection of traditions equally as obnoxious as anything that came out of the Pharisees....They justify it as holy when the bible calls it fruitless and vanity.

Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

Hardshell Calvinists expect the beliver to accept the 5 principles of Dort, the TULIP: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistable Grace, and Perserverance of the Saints. But when asked to justify such a doctrine they produce essaies which always repair to arcane logic of such a nature that would make even a mathematician's head spin. I guess God only elects those with an IQ over 140. And the rest were preordained to perdition in eternity.

The Orthodox appeal to a mysticism which does not border on but frankly crosses over to paganism.

If Christ saved us and there is no other (see Acts 4:12) and if he alone is the mediator between man and God (see 1 Tim 2:5) and if God forbids the worship of the "Queen of Heaven" (See Jeremiah Chap 44) why does the Catholic church worship Mary? (You may call it veneration but it really is worship, no matter how you slice it. "...Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners...." Why?! The only mediator I want praying for me at the hour of my death is Jesus! (1 Tim 2:5))

Why do Baptists insist that drinking is always bad? Why do they frown on dancing? Why do Catholics make food restrictions? Why do they require priests to be celibate when Jesus clearly says all such silliness is worthless. Again I quote:

Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

They are not only vain but some of them may be the doctrines of devils as Paul states in 1Ti 4:1-3 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

How is it then that Paul so clearly condemns such false piety as forced celibacy, as abstention from meats and the RC Church demands of its priests what Paul clearly condemns? Wasn't Peter married? (See 1Cor 9:5) Why Lenten abstentions from meat? Why does the RC Church require what Paul clearly calls the "doctrines of devils."

I won't get into an anti-Catholic spin for Protestant denominations exhibit equal idiocy in other areas. The Amish somehow link piety to 16th century technology. The Calvinist sees nothing wrong in a view of a God which preordains most of humanity to hell for His own [God's] good will and pleasure. And thinks this is done for God's glory.

The end result of all of this is to drive men away from God. Rather than drawing men to God, they give up hope and flee. Rather than magnifying God's love, you paint a picture of a merciless, picayune, frustrating dictator who lives to make our lives miserable. No wonder people flee religion. Such legalism, in whatever denomination is condemned by Jesus:

Luk 11:46 And he said, Woe unto you also, [ye] lawyers (In this case the Pharisess - though I think a case could be made for lawyers, too)! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

What God does NOT burden us with (celibate clergy, no dancing, no drinking, arcane doctrines, 16th century technology, no meat on Lenten Fridays, no birth control, etc..)What God does not burden us with whose right is it to burden us? If God does not require it; does the Pope, the coucil of Dort, the Amish elders, or the Southern Baptist Convention know better? Why add to God's Perfect Scripture. Can you improve on God?

A couple of thoughts for all denominations:

Ditch the saints, Mary, etc.

Ditch the man-made rules.

Ditch the man-made doctrines.

Ditch the man-made traditions

Focus on Christ and him alone as Paul said:

1Cr 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

No rosary! No Saints! No TULIP! No Mary! No Humanae Vitae! No celibacy requirement Only "...Jesus Christ, and him crucified."

Instead what Modern Christianity does is to put impossible burdens on the individual, make him miserable, and thereby ensure that he/she is not a reflection of God's Love but rather as distributor of misery. The dour minister who makes everyone miserable, the nasty nun who takes out her frustrations on the kids (and I saw it first hand in Catholic School when I was a kid), all these are the fruits of man made rules.

Please stop trying to convert people to religion. For in doing so you make them not a vessel of Christ but of man's traditions and you make the convert even worse off than before as Christ said:

Mat 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

What men is Christ! Not Mary! Christ! Not the Church! Christ! Not doctrines of men! Christ! Not man-made rules! Christ and him crucified!

His yolk is easy. It is enough to get people to obey the 10 commandments. (which if obeyed would forbid abortion but not birth control). Do that!

Ask yourself concerning any rule: Is it mandated in Scripture? If not, do not require it.

As for me, I prefer home bible studies with non-denominational Christians. I am so fed up with the rules of men that I seek the Word. An elder at a bible study will be given the biblically warranted amount of respect due his measured authority. But that is all that Scripture requires.



Dear Joachim,

Thanks for writing. I also hope that God elects those with IQs under 140 - or I'm in trouble.

To leave the Catholic Church is your choice and you are free to join a home Bible study. Still, if you have time, I do have some questions:

First about Mary: Is the "Queen of Heaven" Jeremiah refers to the Virgin Mary? I'm unsure what you consider worship of her. Do you object to calling her the Mother of God (Jesus)? Or is it to asking her to pray for you? And why would you not want others to pray for you at the hour of your death? I hope at that moment I have believers around me who will pray for me. Don't you?

Secondly, you will have to explain to me what you mean by "forced celibacy." I have been a celibate - tho not always an exemplary one - for many years, but I always understood it as a charism one could freely embrace or not. Wasn't St. Paul, not to mention Jesus, celibate? And what is wrong with having days during Lent for abstention from meat?

About the commandments. I agree with you the Decalogue is enough. In fact the Catechism organizes the moral requirements under the Ten Commandments. I am glad you recognize that one of them prohibits abortion. If it were demonstrated that certain forms of birth control (e.g. Norplant, Depo Provera, IUD, "emergency contraception" and the pill) are potentially abortifacient, would you agree they are morally wrong?

Yes, Jesus' teaching is perfectly simple. (That's why I called my website Simple Catholicism) I'm glad that at the end you recognize the importance of a "measured authority." The Baptists, Calvinists, Orthodox, etc. would have to tell you why they accept theirs. As a Catholic I could tell why I accept mine. (see: By What Authority) Can you honestly say you have put it aside for something better?

Prayers, Joachim. God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

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