From the back cover: Today's Catholic Church--Has it changed? A Response to the New Bestselling "Catechism of the Catholic Church"
When the recently released "Catechism of the Catholic Church" broke onto the NY Times bestseller list, its astonishing success confirmed the overwhelming interest of Catholics and Protestants in understanding modern Catholicism. Has the recent openness among denominations affected Catholic teachings? In the new spirit of cooperation, is there any reason why Catholics and Protestants should remain divided?
From the author:
My family are Catholics, Irish Catholics, as far back as anyone can remember. Both of my parents hail from the Emerald Isle, each from devoutly religious families of eight children. Three of my uncles entered the priesthood and two of my aunts the convent.
My parents immigrated separately to the United States following World War II. There they met, married, and also raised eight children. All were baptized. All were confirmed.
Sundays, the McCarthy family filled an entire pew. Weekdays, we were represented in virtually every grade of the local parochial school. Catholic high school naturally followed. So did Catholic weddings, usually conducted by one of the uncles who was a priest. My own wedding was performed by four priests-my three uncles and our local pastor.
I thank God for the wonderful family He has given me. I appreciate the education I received from teachers who really cared-especially the Sisters of the Holy Names. They instilled in me an awareness of God and the importance of spiritual priorities. Despite their best efforts, however, I did not know God or the biblical way of salvation.
A turning point came when a friend invited me to a home Bible study sponsored by a small Christian church. There I learned of the finished work of Christ and of God's free offer of salvation. After studying the Bible for several months, I trusted Christ as my Savior.
Two years later, I left the Roman Catholic Church. It was the most painful decision that I have ever had to make. But when I became convinced that the teachings of the Catholic Church could not be reconciled with Christianity as taught in the New Testament, I realized that I had no alternative.
I have written this book because I owe a debt, a debt of love to my Catholic family and friends and the millions of sincere Catholics whom they represent. My motivation in writing is the same desire that Paul had for his kinsmen:
Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.(Romans 10:1-2)
To the Catholic Reader
Why should you read this book? Because it contains important information from the Bible about the Roman Catholic Church that you need to know. Each week during the Mass, you are asked to proclaim with the priest: "We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." As a Catholic, you have been taught that the Roman Catholic Church alone manifests these four divine marks. The Church is one in that all its members hold to the same faith, submit to the authority of the pope and bishops, and participate in the same liturgy and sacraments. It is holy in its calling, goals, sacraments, sacrifice, and fruit. It is catholic in that it extends back in time to Christ and in space over the whole earth. Finally, the Church is apostolic for it was founded by the apostles, teaches what the apostles taught, has the apostles' successors as its bishops, and has the apostle Peter's successor as its pope. Since the Roman Catholic Church alone manifests these four characteristics, it alone is the true Church instituted by Christ. Or so you have been told, and, if you are like most Catholics, so you have believed.
But is it? Have you ever seriously investigated the claims of the Roman Catholic Church? Before entrusting your immortal soul to the keeping of the Church, be sure that you can answer the following questions:
Is Roman Catholicism the faith received from Christ? Does the Roman Catholic Church actually extend back to the time of Christ? Does the Church have a legitimate claim to the teaching, ruling, and sanctifying authority of Peter and the apostles? Are the sacraments of the Church able to make one holy and acceptable to God? Does the Roman Catholic way of salvation lead to heaven?
This book answers these questions by documenting what the Roman Catholic Church teaches on important issues relating to salvation, worship, devotion, and authority. It then analyzes these doctrines and demonstrates from the Bible why the Roman Catholic Church is not the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church founded by Christ.
My hope is that you will prayerfully read this book and carefully consider the claims of your Church, its doctrines, and your own relationship with God.
To the Non-Catholic Christian Reader
Since the Second Vatican Council, the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church has been increasingly concerned at the ever widening spectrum of religious beliefs and practices being embraced by Catholic clergy and laity alike. To address the problem, in 1985 an extraordinary synod of bishops meeting in Rome proposed the creation of a single catechism, originally referred to as the Universal Catechism, for the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. The goal was to provide a summary of the essential and basic teachings of the Church, and thereby help standardize the teaching of the Roman Catholic faith in the third millennium. Written by a commission under the direction of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and approved by Pope John Paul II in 1992, the Church released the English translation of the book in 1994 under the title of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Now for the first time in modern history, Catholics and non-Catholics alike have available to them in a single volume an official explanation of the Roman Catholic faith. Consequently, the publication of the new Catechism presents a unique opportunity to understand Roman Catholicism and to compare it to Christianity as found in the Bible.
To aid non-Catholic Christians such as yourself in achieving this goal, I have written the Gospel According to Rome. In this book, I have sought to organize and simplify the beliefs and practices of Roman Catholicism, emphasizing those doctrines that I believe are of greatest importance to readers such as yourself. Material has been drawn both from the new Catechism and directly from the sources it quotes. Throughout this book, you will also find extensive cross references to the Catechism.
My purpose in writing is to help you to grow in your understanding not only of Roman Catholicism, but of the Catholic people and their spiritual needs. In the epilogue of this book, you will find some suggestions to assist you in communicating the wonderful gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to Catholics.
Additionally, in many ways Catholicism is a fitting expression of the "way which seems right to a man" (Proverbs 14:12). As such, I think that you will find through this study that there is a little bit of Roman Catholicism in each of us. It is my hope that this book will help you to eliminate unbiblical ideas from your own thinking, to understand better the basis of your own relationship with God, and to grow in your love and appreciation of Christ who saved us.
Finally, should you be a former Catholic, studying the doctrinal roots of your upbringing in the light of Scripture should be a liberating experience. As the Lord Jesus promised His disciples: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Table of Contents
Part One: Salvation
Part Two: The Mass
Part Four: Authority
Excerpt from the book: Hail, Mary, Co-Redeemer?
Other online material of interest at the author's website "Good News for Catholics."
Prophecy/Revelation | Reference | Science
Videos: Children/Family | Documentary