The following is a response letter written by Paul Malcomson (08/07/04) challenging the arguments of "Father" Patrick McCafferty who defends the Christian credientials of the Roman Catholic Church.
I regret the tone and approach that Mr McCafferty assumes in his letter (in the Irish News on 2nd June), where he attacks myself and fellow evangelicals. Whilst my concerns were equally directed towards the corridors of the Catholic Church and the Protestant Orange Order, Mr McCafferty’s are directed solely toward the Protestant side of the fence. Whether he means to or not, his letter, and the one-sided sentiments he articulates, only serve to substantiate my initial contention that the major problem existing within Irish religious life over the years has been the blinkered attitude existing on either side, and their refusal to test their respective practices and teaching by the Word of God. On this flawless foundation the Roman Catholic Church and the Orange Order are both found wanting.
The whole thrust of his argument is built upon a defective premise – namely, if an evangelical dares to oppose the errors and abuses of the Catholic Church he is consequently “anti-Catholics.” This reasoning is puerile, deliberately misleading and archaic, especially when one observes the widespread opposition existing within the Catholic community today to the practices of the said church. Why would evangelicals today not have the same genuine concerns about the Catholic Church as the average Catholic? The problem is, in Mr McCafferty’s mind, it is the unpardonable sin for any evangelical to question the anti-Christian practices of the Catholic Church.
To sustain his stale tribal argument, Mr McCafferty conveniently dismisses my condemnation of the Orange Order as an irrelevancy to the Catholic reader, and then proceeds to castigate ordinary evangelicals for their beliefs, whilst on the other hand lauding the character and track-record of the Catholic Church – as if it were lily-white. In doing this, he totally ignores my highlighting of the widespread institutionalised paedophilia within the Roman Catholic Priesthood (including the countless hierarchical cover-ups). He closes his eyes to the deep-seated bigotry that has blighted that religious system over the years – as it has equally the Orange Order (see www.evangelicaltruth.org.uk).
Moreover, instead of addressing my central contention that Christ alone is the answer to Ireland’s problems, he aggressively rubbishes those who would even dare to highlight the wrongs of the Catholic Church as expounding “ridiculous views,” “spiritual arrogance” and “inflammatory polemics and poisonous invectives.” Interestingly, this is the very same reckless charges that are directed toward me from the extreme wing of Orangeism for daring to expose the religious hypocrisy hiding behind lodge doors. Frankly, when these barrages are coming equally from either extreme, then it shows that one is maybe coming close to presenting a fair analyse of the Irish problem.
We must understand, salvation is not found in a church, as Mr McCafferty tries to argue. Neither is it found in a ritual, form or a creed (Catholic or Protestant); rather it is found in the person of Christ – God’s only provision for sin and uncleanness. One thing we all have in common on this isle is that we are all born sinners. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We all therefore require a Saviour. That Saviour is Christ. He said in Luke 13:3, “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” This repentance isn’t done to a Protestant minister or a Catholic priest, but to God alone. The Bible says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
Bigotry and false practices on either side of the religious divide is wrong, but the responsibility of Catholic and Protestant alike on this island today is to expose and abandon the antiquated religious systems that have kept our respective communities in bondage for years, and look for a Christianity built solely upon scriptural truth. In proposing this I don’t point anyone to a church or denomination, I simply point them to Christ. He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Paul Malcomson, Evangelical Truth
Irish News Article by Roy Garland