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Abigail: Being Catholic is Practical


GeoBQn

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Abigail is happy to be Catholic because she got some practical advice from a priest.

I just got off the phone with a beloved priest from my old parish. Father Doug walks the streets in Washington DC offering free mental health to the homeless.

Does he actually give referrals to licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, or does he attempt to help them himself without any training or knowledge of the person's background?

Abigail tells him about an incident that made her afraid to walk outside in the early morning.

I totally expected Father Doug to give me a sugary prayer to my Guardian Angel. Instead he gives me this completely secular trick to get out of sticky situations-- make a fake call on my cell phone. He said "I've been in scary situations in Downtown DC, and I've excused myself very gently "Excuse me, I need to take this call." Then he walks away. He says no one ever bothers him. He says the cellphone acts "like a light" that scares the bad guys away. It was so different from the speech I expected to get, the contrast made me laugh!

Was this really a piece of advice that no one but a priest could have possibly given her? Walking away and pretending to make a phone call was something I just instinctively did when some people were hassling me on the street a couple of years ago.

My new friend Heidi said that after coming back from a great Adoration session she thought "Why doesn't everyone want to become Catholic?" That's how I feel after every funny/real/loving conversation I have with a priest. "Hey, they are handing out free adoptive Dads who adore you over here! Who wouldn't want to become a Catholic?"

Hmmm, what major scandal has come out in the last couple of years that made people not want to interact with Catholic priests? :think:

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What, does Fr. Doug walk the streets of DC with a Thermos of mental health that he doles out in paper cups to people who are homeless?

I hate to break it to our Abigail, but you don't have to be Catholic to get advice from a priest. My agnostic, never-been-Catholic husband has received excellent counsel from our Fr. Michael over the years. He was extremely helpful to my husband while he was going through a cancer scare two years ago, and for that I will be eternally grateful to him.

Abigail, go feed your kids. And after that take them to story hour at the library and maybe let them pick out a book or three to bring home for later. Your oldest is nearly a tween, and last I heard he could barely fight his way through a sentence. Let Fr. Doug get back to dispensing his shots of mental health.

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Who wouldn't want to become a Catholic? Me! Why? Hmm, I don't know... maybe because I don't agree with some of the basic theology of the church, and I'm a big fan of birth control?

I thought everyone knew about the phone trick. It's funny how some of these more-Catholic-than-thou Catholics truly believe that you can only experience certain things if you are Catholic: a happy marriage, a good sex life, good communication, happy children, fulfilling spirituality, and apparently good street smarts...

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One the positive side, the good father didn't tell her to pack a rod. This has to be the silliest thing I've ever read. Perhaps to thank him for his advice, she can spend a couple of weeks helping him with the mentally ill ......

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Priests give practical advice? Awesome! Now that you know how to smoothly get away from a difficult situation, let's talk about a few other things that are practical.

A full sized refrigerator for your full sized family: Practical!

Buying in bulk for your large family (post refrigerator, of course): Practical!

When impoverished, selling a prize vacation and spending the money to feed your kids: Practical!

Not buying Hobby Lobby room decorations when you don't know where the next meal is coming from: Practical!

Going back to work and using a law degree if the husbands income leaves you in poverty: Practical!

I am 100% certain that the wise Father Doug would agree with me. Maybe we should contact this Father Doug and tell him to expand his practical advice to Abigail.

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I've heard of Catholic priests and nuns who do this kind of mental health street outreach, and yes, they are directing people to legitimate free mental health resources in the community, not telling them to pray away their anxiety.

People like Abigail will take common sense advice from a religious leader they would completely ignore from Joe Some. She is a selfish idiot and a religious fanatic. Not exactly a winning combination in the common sense sweepstakes.

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I've heard of Catholic priests and nuns who do this kind of mental health street outreach, and yes, they are directing people to legitimate free mental health resources in the community, not telling them to pray away their anxiety.

People like Abigail will take common sense advice from a religious leader they would completely ignore from Joe Some. She is a selfish idiot and a religious fanatic. Not exactly a winning combination in the common sense sweepstakes.

Yup this happens. Back in the late 90s and early 2000s my parents became good friends with a priest assigned to the parish we attended. This priest was originally from NYC and he also did mental health outreach on the streets. He would accompany social workers and others handing out pamphlets and sometimes he would get cabs and ride with people to hospitals or clinics.

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Yeah. I've known some really awesome Dominican Sisters who do community outreach and there are no strings attached. No pressure to convert, accept Jesus, whatever. They provide people with mental health resources, food, clothing, etc. The sisters at my alma mater regularly made trips homeless communities to distribute food, medicine, and warm clothes.

At the same time, that kind of charity and compassion isn't unique to Catholics. Anyone can be kind and care for their fellow human beings. No one has a monopoly on it.

ETA: It's funny Abigail should mention community outreach because that's exactly why the Vatican decided to handslap American nuns. It seems that they spend too much time actually serving people and not enough time protesting abortion. Whoops.

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Another here giving a thumbs-up to Catholic clergy who do mental health outreach. Many priests and nuns hold advanced degrees in the fields--in fact, a former pastor of mine held a master's in social work.

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Another here giving a thumbs-up to Catholic clergy who do mental health outreach. Many priests and nuns hold advanced degrees in the fields--in fact, a former pastor of mine held a master's in social work.

I am. I liked the priest I mentioned in my previous post.

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Also, I'm not Catholic so I could be wrong about this, but Abigail's obsession with "Mommy Mary" and "Priest Daddy" really creeps me out. I wonder if poor Father Doug feels the same way.

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Thanks for the explanation on mental health outreach. I had never heard of that before, so when I hear about something for the first time from Abigail I assume that it's something weird.

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Another here giving a thumbs-up to Catholic clergy who do mental health outreach. Many priests and nuns hold advanced degrees in the fields--in fact, a former pastor of mine held a master's in social work.

It's not just the Catholic clergy, either - mainline Protestant clergy are typically well-educated (being ordained usually involves getting a master's degree) and I've found that many Lutheran pastors have a background in human services. social work, psychiatry, etc. Part of their pastoral training involves some basic training in counseling. If someone's needs exceed their ability to help personally they typically have a list of professionals (including purely secular ones) who they can refer to.

It's a sharp contrast to the majority of self-styled, uneducated fundie pastors who have no formal education in anything, much less counseling or therapy.

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Catholic priests are required to have college degrees and seminary degrees, which are themselves graduate degrees. They often have additional degrees beyond just that.

As far as religious leaders go, they are generally highly trained and highly intelligent. So yes, I am familiar with some excellent outreach done by Catholics. Rarely does Catholic outreach involve the same crazy non-secular support that Protestants so often espouse.

Priests are also flawed human beings--capable of having unholy urges and using their intelligence to cover up inappropriate acting out on those urges. It is not that priests are flawed that I would never consider Catholicism personally. However, the choice of the church to NOT appropriate address the humanity and mistakes of priests has turned even cradle Catholics away, much less those of us who are not Catholic having NO desire to join a religious organization that protected the powerful systematically and failed to protect the weak and vulnerable they were supposed to have protected in the first place. In most cases, they failed not to destroy the priests who did vile wrong acts, but to not even remove them to positions where they would be unable to victimize more innocents. The good that the Catholic Church does has not come anywhere close to outweighing the wrongs they have committed at this point in time. Until they finally address this horrific mistake with humility and full honesty, they aren't going to either.

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It's not just the Catholic clergy, either - mainline Protestant clergy are typically well-educated (being ordained usually involves getting a master's degree) and I've found that many Lutheran pastors have a background in human services. social work, psychiatry, etc. Part of their pastoral training involves some basic training in counseling. If someone's needs exceed their ability to help personally they typically have a list of professionals (including purely secular ones) who they can refer to.

It's a sharp contrast to the majority of self-styled, uneducated fundie pastors who have no formal education in anything, much less counseling or therapy.

This has been my experience too. The Catholic and mainline Protestant clergy I know (Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian) have extensive formal education. Typically they have bachelors degrees as well as masters degrees, if not doctorates in theology, social work, psychology, education, etc.

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Catholic priests are required to have college degrees and seminary degrees, which are themselves graduate degrees. They often have additional degrees beyond just that.

As far as religious leaders go, they are generally highly trained and highly intelligent. So yes, I am familiar with some excellent outreach done by Catholics. Rarely does Catholic outreach involve the same crazy non-secular support that Protestants so often espouse.

Priests are also flawed human beings--capable of having unholy urges and using their intelligence to cover up inappropriate acting out on those urges. It is not that priests are flawed that I would never consider Catholicism personally. However, the choice of the church to NOT appropriate address the humanity and mistakes of priests has turned even cradle Catholics away, much less those of us who are not Catholic having NO desire to join a religious organization that protected the powerful systematically and failed to protect the weak and vulnerable they were supposed to have protected in the first place. In most cases, they failed not to destroy the priests who did vile wrong acts, but to not even remove them to positions where they would be unable to victimize more innocents. The good that the Catholic Church does has not come anywhere close to outweighing the wrongs they have committed at this point in time. Until they finally address this horrific mistake with humility and full honesty, they aren't going to either.

The sexual abuse and the systematic cover up have turned off so many Catholics in my community.My Episcopalian friends and I have noticed that there's been an influx of former Catholics to our churches. A priest at the local parish was accused of molestation. I don't think he was ever tried, they just shuffled him to another parish.

I also don't think Abigail appreciates the theological differences in Christianity. As a Lutheran my beliefs are at odds with what is espoused by the Catholic church. I don't recognize the authority of the Pope. I believe in justification by faith alone (sola fide) not through good works. I believe that I can directly pray to God, and that I do not need saints to intercede on my behalf (although as I understand it many modern Roman Catholics believe and practice the same thing). Lutherans believe that all Christians, living and dead, are saints.

Beyond that, the ELCA promotes contraception use to prevent pregnancy and STDs. We always got a laugh out of the fact that Lutheran missions in Africa provided people with condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. The Catholic mission down the road didn't. Women can be pastors and bishops in the ELCA. Pastors can marry and have children.

What I believe just does not fit with the Catholic church.

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I cut ties with the Catholic church months ago and I waver on what I miss, but I can't support what they believe in. I'm bisexual, pro choice, and the repetitive service is a buzz kill. I need a church that's more open and lively.

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I also don't think Abigail appreciates the theological differences in Christianity. As a Lutheran my beliefs are at odds with what is espoused by the Catholic church. I don't recognize the authority of the Pope. I believe in justification by faith alone (sola fide) not through good works. I believe that I can directly pray to God, and that I do not need saints to intercede on my behalf (although as I understand it many modern Roman Catholics believe and practice the same thing). Lutherans believe that all Christians, living and dead, are saints.

At least justification should no longer be the issue between Lutherans and Catholics:

vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

I'd also like to note that no Catholic is required to pray for intercession to the saints and all that die in the faith are also considered saints (that's what the feast "All Saints" is for).

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One of the first cracks in my belief of the Catholic Church was the fact that priests would give you relationship advice on how to have a Godly marriage but they aren't even married to a real person but married to the Church. Why the heck should they be giving me advice...I would rather go to a marriage counsellor, or regular counsellor who has degrees without bringing God into this because it isn't about him..

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It's a big misconception about both Catholicism and Orthodoxy that you HAVE to pray to saints for intercession. You don't. You are as free as any Protestant to take your prayers directly to God. As for good works, you don't have to do good works to achieve salvation (that is a gift from God), but at least in Orthodoxy, you are expected not to be a drain on the human race and good works are a way to show love to your fellow human being.

Abigail's references to "mommy Mary" and "daddy priest" creep me out like nobody's business. I have NEVER heard a cradle Catholic speak in those terms. :?

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It's a big misconception about both Catholicism and Orthodoxy that you HAVE to pray to saints for intercession. You don't. You are as free as any Protestant to take your prayers directly to God. As for good works, you don't have to do good works to achieve salvation (that is a gift from God), but at least in Orthodoxy, you are expected not to be a drain on the human race and good works are a way to show love to your fellow human being.

Abigail's references to "mommy Mary" and "daddy priest" creep me out like nobody's business. I have NEVER heard a cradle Catholic speak in those terms. :?

What about asking for Mary's intercession? My son and I argue about this one all the time. Are Catholics required to 'pray' to Mary, or no? I say no, he says yes, and strongly disapproves of me for not saying five thousand Hail Marys a day.

And don't get me started on the Mama Mary thing. Around here it seems to be coming mostly from the youth and young adults in the churches. Sets my teeth on edge every time I hear it. :angry-banghead:

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No, you're not required to pray to Mary for intercession, although it is highly popular and often recommended. While Mary is regarded as the most important saint, no "special rules" in worship apply to her.

nd the rosary is also a strictly OPTIONAL devotion. You can be a "good Catholic" and have never prayed a rosary in your life. I fancy quite a few of the Jesuits who taught me belong into this category. *g*

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No, you're not required to pray to Mary for intercession, although it is highly popular and often recommended. While Mary is regarded as the most important saint, no "special rules" in worship apply to her.

nd the rosary is also a strictly OPTIONAL devotion. You can be a "good Catholic" and have never prayed a rosary in your life. I fancy quite a few of the Jesuits who taught me belong into this category. *g*

Thank you. I do consider her the most important saint and admire her deeply, and have occasionally prayed the rosary, but as a former Protestant I just feel awkward. But my son thinks I'm going to hell in a handbasket because I don't have a special devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He's been involved with a pretty strict group of Catholics for awhile now and is driving us all nuts. It's hard living with a saint, I'm tellin' ya. :lol:

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No requirement. An intercessor is just that, an intercessor. Exactly like asking someone who is living to pray for you. People should be aware that both the living and the dead make up the church, but hell no it's not a requirement you have an intercessor.

Do you mean the "mommy Mary" reference isn't solely the product of Abigail's fanatical brain? :shock: Good grief. I grew up in a neighborhood where Catholic mothers and grandmothers had portraits of John XXIII, and most of my Catholic friends grew up heavily in the social justice tradition. Someone like Abigail would freak them out.

Edit-cross posted with Cran

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