As a Catholic I fully believe in the 7 Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Sick.
But I do not believe that God and His Grace is absolutely confined to the Sacraments.
The Spirit blows where it will and God is free to act in countless and indefinite ways and does so every day.
God’s Grace is not confined to Catholics either but is available to all and given to all.
God was clearly at work in Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela Dietchrich Bonhoeffer and a myriad of other non Catholics.
I do not believe that the Roman Catholic Institution is “the one true church”.
The Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God is the one true church.
And only God knows who all its members are.
The 👪 Fanily of Mankind is also the Family of God.
CLERICS AND HIERARCHS – THE MIDDLE MEN
It’s over 52 years since I entered seminary.
This year please God I will be 46 years a priest.
This year I will also 24 years in episcopal orders.
I believe that the priesthood is necessary and that it was part of Christ’s plan.
But remember priests are not only priests, they are in canon law, clerics.
When a man is dismissed he is not dismissed from the priesthood. He’s reception of that Sacrament is not, and cannot be undone.
Rather he is “dismissed from the clerical state”.
He ceases to be a cleric but remains a priest.
Once a priest, always a priest.
Jesus did intend a “priesthood” but he did not intend clerics and clericalism. They were human, man made categories.
They resulted because Constantine became a Christian and Christianity became the religion of the empire
The old political Roman Empire was replaced by the new religious Roman Empire – with the bishop of Rome, the pope, as emperor.
I do not believe that this was the intention of Jesus.
Gradually, the Church of Jesus and the New Testament became the Roman Catholic Institution and empire.
All kinds of new empire like laws and offices emerged.
And all of that developed and its what we have today.
As Catholics we believe that God reveals himself in Scripture and Tradition.
And all this is good.
But genuine Tradition MUST always conform to Scripture.
Bishops and priests, who initially started off as SERVANTS gradually began to emerge as MASTERS and DICTATORS. And this is absolutely contrary to Scripture.
And there then developed “magisterium” canon law, doctrine etc.
And in the recent past, in Roman Catholicism law and doctrine replaced Scripture as the leading inspiration.
Until the early 1900s there was an index of banned books – books that lay people could not read.
THE BIBLE was on the list of banned books !!!
1. A return to the Church of Jesus time and the New Testament time.
2. Bishops and priests returning to their original role as SERVANTS.
3. A massive concentration on God’s Word especially in the New Testament.
4. Bishops and priests being real bishops and priests and not being primarily clerics.
5. Doctrine and dogma being totally scriptural and never anti Scripture.
6. Property and monies being in the hands of the laity (deacons and deaconesses ??) and bishops and priests concentrating on preaching, teaching and sacramental ministry.
7. A spiritual renewal of priests and bishops in terms or private prayer praying together and searching and finding God’s will and way in prayerful cooperation with all church members.
A retreat master once said of priests
“He went out to do good – and he did well” 😀
“He worked so hard for God that he forgot the God for whom he worked” 😀