I visited a Catholic cathedral in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, while on my latest adventure. Not, I hasten to add, as a worshipper but as a tourist. One of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is a Spanish territory with a long association with Catholicism. Its name means Holy Cross, reflecting its history and the pervasiveness of the church. The cathedral’s altar can be seen in the picture above, highly ornate and completely over the top, with a statue of Mary, the Holy Mother, as its centrepiece. .Her son, you’ll note, plays only a bit part in the picture above her.
Real Christians™ of course don’t regard Catholics as true Christians. They point to their reliance on the Pope, when Jesus himself says his followers should call no-one Father apart from God; the army of dead saints that intercedes in heaven when all people really need is Jesus; the need to confess sins to a priest and the worship of Mary as the immaculately conceived ‘Mother of God’, who works miracles on their behalf.
People – Catholics – who believe these things can never be part of the club. ‘Their ideas are as ridiculous as they are unbiblical. No-one in their right mind,’ Real Christians™ say, ‘should believe such fanciful stuff. Stick resolutely to what we know to be true: the resurrection of a dead man; the Virgin birth and the promise of eternal life. These things are biblical and as such we can know and trust them. Not rubbish about saints in… erm, heaven living forever, having to ask for our sins to be forgiven and thinking Mary was conceived free from the scourge of sin.’
It seems to me that it’s only a short hop from believing one lot of far-fetched rubbish to believing still more. Maybe the Catholic stuff isn’t strictly biblical (though at a stretch it could be said to have been drawn from the make-believe found there) but then there’s nothing particularly special, plausible or reasonable about that which has found its way into God’s Word. Just because something is in there doesn’t make it true. Those who invented Jesus’ Virgin birth, his resurrection and the promise of everlasting life were making it all up, just as those who, further down the line, created the phantasmagoria that is Catholicism.
Santa Cruz is nice though.