Understanding Roman Catholicism
"Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray. Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission (Sacred Tradition) within 'the believing and praying Church,' the Holy Spirit teaches the children how to pray." Pg. 637, #2650
This Catechism quote makes two remarkably controversial statements. Let's look at each. First:
"Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse:"
According to the Bible, it can! God's Word contains thousands of examples of spontaneous outpourings... and God heard every one of them:
"I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me..." Psalm 3:4
"O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me." Psalm 30:2
"In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me." Psalm 120:1
"Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah." Psalm 62:8
Rather than spontaneous outpourings, Catholic prayers are an endless repetition of written words. Interestingly, Jesus forbids this method of praying, claiming it is a practice the "heathen" perform:
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Matthew 6:7
Secondly, the Catechism contends:
"Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission (Sacred Tradition) within 'the believing and praying Church,' the Holy Spirit teaches the children how to pray.' "
Here, the Catechism proclaims that the Scriptures can't teach you how to pray. For that you must have the Catholic church. However, long before there was a Catholic church, people prayed and received answers to their prayers:
"Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants..." Genesis 20:17
"...when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched." Numbers 11:2
"Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha." 2 Kings 6:18
These people spontaneously poured out their hearts to God, without help from the Catholic church. God offers His children this invitation:
"And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." Psalm 50:15
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6-7
God's Word teaches that God not only accepts spontaneous outpourings, He encourages them.
Is it a coincidence that this Catholic doctrine further wraps members in bondage to the Catholic church? That is for you to decide.
We have a standoff. The Bible condemns Catholicism's form of prayer, and the Catholic church condemns the Biblical form of prayer. Obviously, you must choose sides.
Will you side with God and His Holy Word, or with the traditions of men?
"They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded." Psalm 22:5
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Understanding Roman Catholicism © 1995 by Rick Jones