I should warn you- I'm a traditional Catholic. In fact, I probably shouldn't even be here because magic is strictly prohibited by Christ and His Church. I was actually investigating the practices of the occult and Satanism when I thought that I might check out a site, such as this, to see what sort of stuff is taught/believed by pagans/witches. I probably wouldn't have stuck around, but I caught sight of that picture of StarWitch, and, admittedly (in my weakness), had to join to see if she was the same beautiful woman that was pictured... Fyi- I still haven't figured that out. Before I lead people to think that I accept your actions here- I actually refuse this them entirely. I don't believe in witchcraft, and I completely condemn it. If the moderator wishes to remove my post because of that- that's her decision obviously. Before she does, though, she might consider that I haven't been rude or done anything but state my beliefs at this point, and that I technically haven't violated the beliefs of anybody else because I cannot force ably-minded people, such as yourselves, to believe anything. I can only convince you. Christ will certainly be wondering why I'm here, so- let me tell you. In addition to the above, I would hope that giving witness to my faith might inspire, as it has in the past on so many other occasions, others to turn away from sin and join Christ.
Without getting too heavy-handed... I'd like to tell you about some of the reasons why I believe in Christ's church, and not just a formless "God" or "man as God" archetype...
I guess my first inspiration is Padre Pio. He was a priest from the early 1900s until his death in 1968. He was a miracle in just about every fact of his life.
Hundreds and thousands of people saw things that, as far as I know, are just scientifically impossible. For instance, he had open wounds in his hands, feet and side that bled over a cup and a half a day for every day of his adult life. He said constantly that he was in incredible pain. He was the first priest to receive what we call the "stigmata," or- the wounds of Christ. His blood smelled fragrant (which it never does normally), and his wounds neither worsened nor repaired- they were static until they healed, just before his death.
Some people tried to test him by admitting false "sins" in his confessional, but before they could, he stopped them and informed them that he knew what they were doing, and then proceeded to tell them all of their real sins. Those people were converted.
There was a guy who attended one of his masses, and he was a bit of a skeptic. During the mass, the guy was white as a ghost and barely spoke. He asked his wife about halfway in- "is it always like this?" She thought he was referring to Pio's intensity during the mass and said- "yes." What he was actually
referring to was the fact that he was seeing a crown of thorns on Pio's head, and blood was dripping down his face... But, apparently- he was the only who saw it.
Padre Pio, I've read, was also seen in two places at once on more than one occasion. He communicated with people in their dreams, consulted guardian angels, saved souls in purgatory... The guy was incredible.
Beyond his wounds, there's all kinds of stuff, physically, that is just really remarkable. When doctors would try to use mercury thermometers on him, he would say "no!" but, once they did, they would explode. Why? Because Padre Pio's temperature was consistently above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
One thing that sort of confused me for a long time was that Pio was a hefty man, even though gluttony is considered a sin. Little did I know that Padre Pio ate almost nothing at all, barely more than a few grams a day, yet- he was hefty... He didn't use any form of heating (fires or modern)... He depended completely on the grace of God.
What's maybe even more spectacular are his accounts of battling demons. Pio was attacked physically on a nightly basis by demons; the people nearby would run to assist him and find him drenched in sweat and bleeding. He did many miracles as well
Now... he's only one
saint, lol. And... he believed in the Catholic Church (and that there was no salvation outside of it). There are many, many saints and miracles.
One thing that I can speak of personally, and might help you to understand why someone might be influenced or "brainwashed" into believing in Christ... You know how someone tells you about something (like what I just told you about Padre Pio) and you still don't believe it because you're too far removed or didn't see it yourself?
Check this out. My older brother is sort of a sinner without belief that he's a sinner: I confront him on it, but, he's pretty lax I think. One thing that he told me, and he still confirms today (and it would be totally atypical of him to lie to get attention- he'd see that as pathetic), is that... he saw Jesus when he was a little kid. He said that he was just standing there at the beginning of mass, and when they brought the Bible and the crucifix down the aisle, there was Jesus- just walking behind. I didn't believe it myself at first, but- Joe wouldn't lie like that... Plus- it would benefit him to not believe in Jesus tremendously, because that would free him of any guilt in what he's done. Even today, after everything, and after disagreeing with me on tons of stuff, I asked him: "Do you still believe that you saw Jesus?" ... "Yes. I do." If you're curious, Joe said that he looked "very Jewish. Just like what you'd expect... Dark hair... Dark eyes." I read another sort of second-hand account on a catholic message board about a guy who's nephew said, abruptly, that Jesus and Mary had been eating with them at their table every day at breakfast. His niece (the kid's sister) is apparently totally freaked, because she says that she's seen him surrounded by angels...
I guess people can believe what they want. I personally believe what the Catholic church (traditionally) teaches. I believe that Jesus created a new law, which eliminated the old law (Judaism), and that he was the messiah, and... that he will come again. In fact- I think he's coming back very soon. I believe that other religions, belief systems, are what Jesus warned about when he said that "there will be many false prophets."
As to the severity of Catholicism- that's explained by the fact that Jesus is all just... And, he sees all sins. People go to hell for sinning and, if you believe in Hell- you don't want to go there.
This may sound just as incredible, but: there are accounts of people seeing hell and, perhaps even more horrifying- seeing Satan himself. Most people have heard about demon possessions (like Anneliese Michel, which, if you read about, doesn't sound even close to epilepsy, lol), but few have probably heard the accounts of those who have seen "the evil one" himself. Again, in case you're curious... He is described as being so incredibly terrifying that, if it were not for the special grace of God, those who saw it would have died of "pure fright." One guy, I guess, was just in the same general area of one of the saints when he saw Satan in his physical manifestation. When he tried to tell the others what he saw, the guy literally shook from head to foot. I know that sounds like hearsay, but- if you believe in Jesus, you have to believe what he taught, and: that sort of account is totally in keeping.
I know people think that this stuff just happened a really long time ago and it's just interpreted this way and that way, but- I really can't believe that in light of what I've heard and read. The reason I condemn witchcraft, in case you're wondering (and in case you're a "Christian witch,") is because the Bible condemns this sort of stuff, and, in all likely-hood, if you're getting powers from somewhere... It's probably not Heaven. You have to remember, Satan was an Angel before he fell from grace. Don't quote me, but he may have been in one of the upper-most choirs of the angels, like the Seraphim... Not sure about that, though. But- angels (even fallen angels) are tremendously powerful beings; they can do miracles... Fallen angels, also, though- can deceive and lie and mislead and do all sorts of other things to pull you away from the truth. You may have heard of the incubus and succubus? Lot of people who have been "abducted" by aliens describe their captors as "demon-like" and "very much like a demon." There's just all sorts of stuff. Either way, Satan is very powerful. So powerful, in fact, that even if you're given straight evidence, he has put things around you in such a way that you still could not believe. Lots of people are afraid of losing human respect, for instance. But- that's why pride is one of the seven deadly sins.
Anywho- I thought I'd share that. I guess I should also say that this "Jesus Camp" movie, which I've heard a lot about- is not Catholic. Unfortunately, it's the predictable product of heresy against the Church. As these groups splinter further and further from the true church, they lose more and more of their understanding of the faith and fail to understand context, not to mention they lose any ground because they have no vicar from which to derive their authority. I've also read, in conjunction with the specific church that was mentioned, that the same sect was infiltrated by Satanists who were using it as a front to capture people over in Ireland... But that's a separate issue.
To clarify, though- I am a pre-Vatican II, traditional Catholic. I don't accept the heresies of the recent popes. Anywho- there's a Catholic outlook