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September 11, 2013 | Feature | Number 18
By Barb Draper,

1. What have been your experiences with the Roman Catholic Church? Do Mennonites today still have the same suspicions about Catholic theology that Will Braun says he grew up with? What do you appreciate about Catholic worship? What are your questions about it?

2. Braun wonders how the Catholic Church has survived, given its inconsistencies and failures. Can we say the same thing about all religious institutions? If Protestant churches were as large in scope as the Catholic Church, would the number of scandals be the same? Does the Catholic hierarchical structure make it more susceptible to a misuse of power? How do you explain the ongoing popularity of the Roman Catholic Church?

3. As Garry Wills points out in his book, the early church was egalitarian and had no priests. Why do you think that over hundreds of years priests became so indispensable? What did the Protestant Reformation have to say about the role of the priesthood?

4. Braun points out that “Catholics are much better at ritual, beauty and drama than Protestants.” How do these things enhance worship? If Jesus criticized the Pharisees and teachers of the law for their rituals and self-important ways (Matthew 23), what would he say about rituals used in churches today?

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