Mike Winger

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  1. Hello Pastor Mike,

    I have been following your teachings and you tube videos for a while and enjoyed a lot. Usually, you really dig deep into your themes and in that way succeed to enrich the Christian thinking and also deepen our faith to Christ.

    However, I was quite disappointed to your message re. “Why I can’t be Roman Catholic”. I think that this particular contribution by you was superficial and prejudiced and I would encourage you to re-evaluate and re-assess your message regarding this.

    I am not saying this as a catholic; I’m actually a Lutherian from the Finnish Lutherian State Church, where I am an active layman member of our local church. However, I have been studied a lot things like early church, church fathers, history of Christianity, and naturally Bible itself. I am also participating and running retreats and consider myself as a “cultivator of silence”. My recent book on a journey to myself and Christ (on tracks of St. Teresa of Avila) is currently a candidate for a Christian book of the year 2021 prize.

    There are so many things that I would like to discuss with you regarding to the Roman Catholic belief that it would take a long time to go them through detail by detail. To put this message short, I shall express my opinions as short statements that contradict with what you have said about the topic – and hopefully would also create space in your mind to think about Roman Catholic tradition in a bit anew and more open-minded way.
    – According to my experience, the best contemporary explications of Christian faith happen to come from the Roman Catholic tradition. I refer here to names such as Henry J.M. Nouwen, Wilfrid Stinissen, David Steindl-Rast, and many others. In the protestant genre, there is unfortunately nothing comparable to the depth of their teachings.
    – The best classic explications of Christian faith happen also mostly, if not exclusively, arise from the Catholic tradition. Starting from St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas to Franciscus Assisi, Bonaventura, St. John of the cross, Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwitch, Katarina of Siena, Suso, Tauler – you name them.
    – The best explications of Christian faith in culture also seem all to come from the Catholic tradition. In literature, novelist like Georges Bernanos, Francois Mauriac, Shusaku Endo, Graham Greene, in films, directors like Robert Bresson, and in arts the numerous painters from the Catholic realm. Have you ever watched the Italian TV serie “Don Matteo”? I would say that it is absolutely the best TV serie ever illustrating Christian faith. In addition, it’s a marvelous window to Catholic faith in practice as well.
    – The role of Pope is not to declare any new doctrines with the godly wisdom but to oversee that the doctrine is kept. Oh, how much I would wish that the protestant direction would also have similar type of authority somewhere! Now anyone in the protestant circles can develop their own form and mode of Christianity, invent the wheel again, develop utterly strange doctrines and practices, which has resulted in a massively divided Christian belief, multiple new strange churches, heresies, wild performations and a complete stupidness – such as prosperity theology, word of faith movement, new apostolic reformation and so many other ugly things that have virtually nothing to do with a classic Christianity and Bible. The situation is completely different among Catholics. Although they have multiple religious orders and traditions they all typically share the core doctrine of the Christian faith. The role of pope and cardinals has considerably reduced the dissolutions among the Catholic church.
    – Catholic doctrine does not encourage rising Mary to the position of Christ. This is absolutely misunderstanding of the doctrine. The true object of the Christian prayer and praise is solely Christ also in the Catholic tradition.

    By saying this, I am also fully aware that there are some aspects in the Catholic faith that I am not personally relaxed with – and that’s the reason that I am not Catholic myself. At least yet. Namely, I see so many good things in the Catholic tradition that we protestant have lost in the course of time. And the protestant faith is becoming more and more strange, ugly and rebarbative all the time. Especially in your country, Sir 

    So, with these words I would like you to open your mind and see the Christian faith and its explication from a bit different perspective. For my own faith, I see the Christ how he is painted in the Catholic Church as the friend of suffering and poor people, much more true and authentic than the prosper, supernatural, miracles-producing show Christ, framed so often in the modern day protestant and evangelical Christianity. I see the face of Christ in my brothers and sisters of the Catholic Church.

    Best wishes,
    Atte

    Atte Korhola, Ph.D.
    Professor in Environmental Change
    Vice-dean for public engagement

    Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU)
    Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme
    and
    Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science

    Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
    P.O. Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1)
    00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
    Phone: +358504154528 (work); +358405360357 (home)
    https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/environmental-change

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