In your conversations with conservative Evangelical Christians, has anyone else ever noticed a strange double think? It is a common tactic for Conservative Evangelical Christians to find some abuse of liberal Catholics and beat all Catholics with that abuse. Let us say that the conservative Evangelical discovers that Catholics do not believe in healing miracles, or a liberal Catholic has denied the historicity of the gospels, or a liberal Catholic nun ministers to lesbians or most Catholic priests do not preach against sin, speak in tongues or cast out demons at their weekly Mass. Suddenly all Catholics are blamed for the same problem.
If he were trying to be objective, logical or fair the Conservative Evangelical critic should do two things: First of all, before hitting all the Catholics with the same stick he should find if there are actually Catholics who are different and who counter the impression he has been given by the liberal Catholic.
Secondly, he should realize that if all Catholics have to answer for the liberal Catholics, then all Protestants should have to answer for the liberal Protestants. If he wants to criticize the whole Catholic Church for the beliefs and behaviors of the liberal Catholics, then he should accept responsibility himself for all the liberal Protestants.
This, of course, he will never do. This is because Protestantism is, by its very nature, sectarian. The conservative Pentecostalist doesn’t feel he has to answer for the liberal Episcopalian, nor does the Charismatic Church of God member feel at all responsible for the views of the liberal Church of Christ pastor. All of them can stay in their own holy huddles believing themselves to be the right ones.
In fact such throwing of stones doesn’t do anyone much good. If we’re to really have any dialogs with conservative Evangelical brothers and sisters we must ask them to get away from all the subjective impressions they have of the Catholic Church (for good and for ill) and discuss the facts. The discussions we have should not be on the individual impressions, local practices or abuses of Catholics, but on the objective, quantifiable teachings of the Catholic Church.
This is where the discussions should focus: “This is what the Catholic Church teaches. Is it true or false? If it is true it demands my allegiance. If it is false I must reject it.”