Catholics Vs Mormons -- Issues faced in contemporary society

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Catholics Vs Mormons -- Issues faced in contemporary society

Post by SilentDawning » 24 Jul 2020, 15:27

I came across an article on Pope Francis recently, and wanted to share impressions.

First, I won't post it because I am not sure if it would meet guidelines. It was critical of the Catholic Church, but it also helped me see that Mormons experience the same kind of resistance from society that Mormons do. It might be construed as anti-Catholic, and I am not sure how that would fly given moderation.

So, here are some key takeaways -- In common with the Catholics, we have problems with being labelled sexist at the non-ordination of women, and policies that are not friendly to the gay population. They get exactly the same resistance from society which has grown far more liberal than conservative churches like Catholics and Mormons. There was also substantial criticism of its finances -- commenting on how the Catholics had hired McKinsey (a consulting firm) to figure out how to bolster its image in America where the majority of its donations originate. But the article didn't focus on the probably wealth of the Catholics, it focused on its need to improve cash flow.

But there were other problems we don't face. The article was critical about the Catholic Church's stance on birth control, for example. It was also a very temporal look at the Papacy, commenting on the Pope's lack of power in one spot (something we never hear about in our church regarding our own Prophet). There was also criticism about it's apparent inability to help the poor, again citing lack of birth control as something that encourages poverty rather than combatting it. And of course, a discussion of the sex scandals that appear to be far more prevalent in the Catholic Church compared to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Not sure why I'm posting this, other than to draw some parallels and differences in the criticism the LDS Church faces compared to the Catholics.
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Re: Catholics Vs Mormons -- Issues faced in contemporary society

Post by nibbler » 26 Jul 2020, 06:47

Yeah, they're both very conservative religions with an established leadership hierarchy.

It might be unfair to characterize them this way, but the leaders of both religions appear to believe that they are authoritative on the issues, they might expect the world to recognize their teachings and adapt accordingly before they'd try changing to meet people halfway. No surprises there, believing you have Truth can make you be less compromising.

I have a few Catholic friends and one key difference that I see with them is that they are much more comfortable with being in open disagreement with their leaders and it appears as if they can do so without any major social consequences (one's that are obvious to me at least). That said, a Mormon may be more willing to communicate disagreements with leaders when they are talking to a Catholic than how willing they'd be if they were talking to another Mormon. Meaning my Catholic friends might have phrased things differently if I was Catholic.

Another unfair characterization... Catholicism appears to be more passive than Mormonism. Catholicisms: you go to church. Mormonism: you help run the show. If a Mormon is in open disagreement with a church leader on a specific teaching, there may be an impact on their ability to help run the show. When you aren't helping run the show you mean less to the community. There are social consequences for disagreement in Mormonism. Meanwhile the average Catholic can disagree without fear of losing or being passed up for a calling.

To my knowledge Catholics don't have a little piece of paper indicating their status with the church that allows/denies them the ability to do routine things at church. Granted Mormons are much, much more involved than lay members of the Catholic church, but disagreeing with a leader can jeopardize the Mormon's ability to hold on to that little piece of paper. When the little piece of paper is gone, a Mormon's involvement in the community goes with it. Catholics might be more reluctant to express disagreement if it meant they couldn't attend the wedding of a family member.

I'd say that the average Mormon is also more aware of who is and isn't "worthy" in their congregation than the average Catholic in their congregation. Don't ask Peter Priesthood to give prayers, the bishop put him on probation. Don't extend an invitation to Molly Mormon to go to the temple this weekend, she doesn't have a recommend and might feel bad if you ask.

Lots of words to say that I believe there's more pressure to toe the line in the LDS church because the member is more vested... and I'm sure I'm not doing justice for the plight of the average Catholic that's in disagreement with leadership.
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Re: Catholics Vs Mormons -- Issues faced in contemporary society

Post by DarkJedi » 27 Jul 2020, 06:07

As a former Catholic I see lots of parallels between the two churches. I think much of it is related to the central hierarchy/control both exhibit and that is not common in Christianity or other religions (although I suppose you could argue that Catholicism is Christianity's largest denomination by far and thus it is common). And of course both churches are quite conservative. Catholic wealth is a little less centralized, but while a big deal has been made of our $100 billion nestegg I have no doubt that were we to total the assets (including things like art and real property) of both churches Catholicism would come out way ahead.

I think your birth control point is interesting. We don't take a lot of heat for it, but we do have a policy in place although it was relatively recently softened. It was not all that long ago the General Handbook was worded such that birth control was taboo (and it was the topic of GC talks). Now it says it's up to the couple and between them and God. I think we don't take heat outside the church, but I also think judgement still occurs inside the church on the issue. We are all aware of bishops who step outside their bounds and pretend to speak for the Lord on personal topics such as this. It may be wrong, but it happens. And, there are still local families where I live who keep pumping out the kids because they believe they're supposed to - and usually they're not too shy about making it clear that if you aren't doing the same you're wrong. Related to that, I have a son who has been married over two years but they are waiting until they both finish their educations before having children (wise in my opinion). They get asked about it all the time by members and leaders, when it's really nobody's business but theirs. I also tend to be mindful of those who struggle with getting pregnant who are in that situation of being judged all the time by "well meaning" members.

While I think Catholics have some criticisms we have dodged (sex abuse in particular) I think we have two big criticisms that Catholics don't have - our historical treatment of Africans (and I believe racism is alive and well in the church) and polygamy (also alive and well in the church).

To Nibbler's points, while we both have existing hierarchies, there are differences in organization which play into how that affects us publicly and within the church. Even within Catholicism a priest is allowed to have differing opinions and voice them. He likely won't advance in his station, but he won't be "demoted" either. Members are even more free to disagree and even be vocal about it. Apostasy is possible in Catholicism but I believe the definition is far different, as are grounds for excommunication. One can be a member in good standing and believe in things like birth control and even abortion. There is not judgement associated with not taking the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper (Communion) in Catholicism, and the priest doesn't apply that as a "penalty." During Mass, Catholics go up to the alter to take Communion - but lots of people remain in their seats. It's no biggie and no one seems to care one way or the other. It is truly a personal ordinance. I am reminded of the BYUTV movie Silent Night (which I love) as a demonstration of priests with differing opinions - even way back then.

This has reminded me of the adage "Catholicism teaches that the pope is infallible but Catholics don't believe it while Mormonism teaches that the prophet is fallible but Mormons don't believe it."
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Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Re: Catholics Vs Mormons -- Issues faced in contemporary society

Post by Curt Sunshine » 30 Jul 2020, 20:17

I have said for a long time that Joseph Smith implemented Protestant-ish weekly services ("low church") and Catholic-ish hierarchy and ceremonial services ("high church"). I believe he saw the LDS Church as the restoration of what the Catholic Church was supposed to be - and structured it accordingly.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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