Behold the Spam of God!

Almost every other day it seems, I will (like thousands of other Catholics) open my email and get something like this specimen (culled from my “delete” file):

Dear Mark, just came from your Website and have some questions. It sounds like you were a “Protestant” before becoming a Catholic? I don’t know which church you were in but I have to question whether you were ever taught the Word of God there? If you had been in a church which taught the truth concerning Baptism according to the Word of GOD and not the “traditions of men” you would have learned that not only does baptism NOT save nor “grant justification” but it is ONLY for those who ARE BORN-AGAIN by the SPIRIT of GOD by placing their faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST! It is to be symbolic of the new birth ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED by GOD as Romans 6 clearly teaches! PLEASE READ the Gospel of John and pray asking GOD to show you HIS TRUTH – HE LOVES THE WORLD and DESIRES TO SAVE the LOST – which we all are apart from the New Birth which IS FREELY offered to ALL ! Please read and be saved! I will be praying for you in JESUS Name. Carolyn

You have to wonder what is going through the minds of people who write such stuff. What do they think they are accomplishing?

One is terribly tempted to reply:

The Word of God? What’s that? Never heard of such a thing. Is that, like, the Bible? We used to read something called a “Bible”, I think, at our old Church. But that was an awfully long time ago.

Boy, thanks for setting me straight. I have never ever ever heard before that Jesus Christ loves me and desires to save the lost with his free gift of grace! I always thought that I had to perform magical rituals to make God love me. But now that you have so thoughtfully set me straight, I see clearly that when that big black book we used to read in my old church-that-never-taught-me-the-Bible says “Baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21) what it means is “Baptism does not save you.”

And thanks also for explaining that when Romans 6 says, “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” and “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” this absolutely has nothing whatever to do with Baptism. I really appreciate you setting me straight on that as well.

And finally, thanks for making me see that all that stuff in John 3 about being born again of water and the Spirit really means water and the Spirit are complete opposites.

Golly. It is so good to finally —after all these years—have somebody who really teaches the Word of God clue me in. Who would have thought that all those years of studying…. what’s that big black book called again? Ah! Yes! “The Bible”.

Anyway, who would have thought that all those years of studying the Bible could have left me so totally ignorant of what Scripture really means? Thanks ever so for enlightening me.

Do these people who write Evangelical converts to the Catholic faith honestly believe that they are the first people in the universe to ever suggest reading the Bible? If not, then what are they thinking?

I wonder this even more when I get Godspam from people who assure me they are “writing in Christian love” and then proceed to send me a farrago of raving nonsense and/or documentable lies about what the Church teaches. When you write them back and refer them to biblical and catechetical sources which show a) the fact that Catholic teaching comports with biblical teaching and b) their lies about Catholic teaching (“Mary worship!” “The Pope is sinless!” “The Mass re-sacrifices Jesus!”) are bunk, they write you back with that gooey smile of condescending “Christian love” and inform you (and I quote) “I am not interested in discussing truth issues with Catholic apologists.”

The sheer hermetically-sealed Pride is both astonishing and (as is the doom of Pride) hilariously funny. And the pride is very widespread in the ranks of anti-Catholic types who write in “Christian love”. I discovered this when I posted “Carolyn’s” note. One Catholic reader commented with his tongue firmly planted in cheek:

When I converted to Catholicism, it was the statue worship that appealed to me the most, but banner worship has its appeal as well. Historians have been able to show that pagans also worshipped primitive banners so either one has authentic Catholic-pagan connections.

I also liked that I didn’t have to read the Bible any more and that I would have to earn my way to Heaven. Besides that, I really appreciated the fact that I could check my brain at the door and blindly follow the leaders.

A really cool part of Catholicism is that now I can commit all of my favorite sins and then go to Confession right before I go out and do them again!! Actually, while I was Protestant, I guess I did that too, but without the Confession part. But sitting in that little room just feels so holy, especially with the statues nearby.

The cannibalism aspect, I have to admit, grosses me out a little, but I comfort myself by knowing that it is a false doctrine anyway and so it is only really bread.

This cracked me up and I replied :

I know exactly how you feel. For me, it’s the chance to worship Mary and adore her as the Creator of Almighty God that is so appealing. And, of course, I really love knowing that salvation is completely up to me and my righteousness apart from the grace of God. Also, the deep pride I feel in the Church’s many Inquisitors, cold-blooded killers, persecutors, perverts and criminals was a big draw. Some people think this is a problem, but I frankly have no idea what they are talking about. I am aware of no commands of God against these things because, of course, I never read the Bible.

Which reminds me: I just love adding absurd human traditions, myths and legends to the pure word of God. Also, I get a real kick out of enslaving myself to little rules and regulations so as to chain myself with fear and cut myself off from the love of God.

If you’re an ignorant benighted Catholic like me, feel free to add your favorite spiritually crippling legend, lie, or practice to the pool. The more the merrier! That’s what makes enslavement to the traditions of men and blindness to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ fun!

The response was volcanic. In a combox thread that ran to a couple hundred posts, readers vented very wittily on all the Godspam they’d gotten over the years from anti-Catholics writing (and re-writing and re-writing) in “Christian love”. Some of the choicer bits included:

I like the fact that I don’t have to really talk to God- I can just repeat prayers by rote thousands of times over to earn my way to heaven.

It’s also cool that I can have a man forgive my sins- I don’t even have to ask God!
I especially like the vain repetitious prayers of the Rosary and the sacrilegious practice of calling priests “Father.”
Yeah, having to constantly make up my own prayers as an Evangelical was a real drag. I love being able to mindlessly repeat rote prayers all the time; it makes me think for myself less so I’m easier for the Vatican to deceive and brainwash.

But for me, the best thing about being a Catholic is calling the Holy Father “Lord God the Pope” and worshipping him. That and being able to acknowledge Mary as the Fourth Member of the Trinity. You have no idea what a drag it was worshipping that all-male God of Evangelicalism!
I can’t get over the sense of history, what with all the witch-burnings, Crusades, Inquisitions and pox-carrying missionaries to celebrate.
Being a part of the corporate machine that sells salvation is the biggest reward for me. Especially since I get such a big cut of the profits.

Hopefully our next Pope will start another cold-blooded massacre like the Inquisition or the Crusades, and I can earn my justification based on my “score” of how many Protestants or Muslims I kill. I’ll “stand before God” … ATOP A PILE OF SKULLS!
You people forgot the best part about being Catholic. The priest gets to kill and re-sacrifice Jesus over and over again at every Mass, because His death on Calvary was entirely insufficient. Granted, that’s not what the Council of Trent actually said, but we all know that underneath that’s what they were really thinking.
I like sending money to Rome, which just adds it to the billions of billions they’ve collected over the millennia. So what if it makes me a sheep, at least I’m being fleeced for God!
Oh, and don’t forget those magnificent buildings in Italy built by underpaid and unappreciated workers and filled with art by artist who never got their due. All for the greater glory of the bishops who lived like kings off the sweat of their flock. It’s great to be a part of all this!
My favorite part of being Catholic is praying to dead people. Why should you pray to God alone when you have so many different go-betweens that all have their own specialties!!!

Christopher is the expert at travel, Francis in dealing with animals, and Anthony for finding things!

God is just so busy Himself that these “helpers” allow him more time to directly answer Protestant’s prayers.
I like all the cathedrals the Freemasons built for us.
Being a male chauvinist, what finally drew me to the Catholic Church in 1999 was the infinitely wise and completely arbitrary subjection of women in every aspect of their lives. I love the male-dominated doctrines of telling women what to do with their bodies, not “allowing” them to be ordained, etc.
Oh, yes and believing that sex is evil but that we also must have as many babies as humanly possible! But that makes sense since of course we’re the Antichrist and therefore we want to be as evil as possible!

And I also love how we unnecessarily make the simple Gospel stultifyingly complex, what with bored logic-chopping monks and friars having nothing to do all day but sit around making up abstruse theological questions with which to confuse people.
I like knowing I don’t really believe what I say I believe.

I like being afraid of science and logic.

I like our plan to put cameras in everyone’s bedroom.

I like the new church the Masons invented for us in 1962.
Once in awhile, I really enjoy whipping up in myself a nice raw sense of guilt. Generally, it is about nothing in particular.
Where else can a poor girl like me hope to grow up to be a saint and be worshiped by millions?
I like the clothes they give us to make us go to heaven. Even though we betray Christ’s message by thinking non-Christians, actual CATHOLICS can only go to heaven if we wear brown cotton patches.
Today, a first Friday, reminds me that I love all of our superstitious traditions. All I have to do is go to 9 First Friday Masses and I’m home free!
I like how Catholic, crypto-paganism connects me with ancient Egyptian and Babylonian religious practices. I mean, talk about continuity!
I also love the fact that we as Catholics secretly worship “Bel-Marduk” the sun god of Babylon…then we erected a giant obelisk in front of St. Peter’s in his honor! I was always a big fan of the sun, so I thought… why not just worship it?
And don’t forget how we conveniently renumbered the 10 commandments so that we did not have to obey them. Who wants to go to church on Saturdays anyway? We found it more convenient to go on Sundays in direct violation of God’s sabbath commandments…the bonus is all the idol worship that comes with it.
Yeah, I also love the fact that we can go to church on Saturday, so we can just go get drunk afterwards and party all Saturday night long. Having to get up on a Sunday morning is such a pain when you’re so hung over.

I’m so glad they made this rule for us drunkards. Thank you, Catholic Church!
I like how the IHS on the Host actually stands for Isis, Horus, and Set (SET especially) and that my priest has a human skull in the tabernacle as well!!!
I actually love it that the Pope is truly the anti-Christ…I mean, we’ve all seen that upside-down cross above his very head in that “throne” of his. Of course it has nothing to do with St. Peter (first pope – yeah, right!) being crucified upside down; it’s the sign of Satan. I can prove it to…didn’t you see “Rosemary’s Baby”? Well, then.
I also like the arguments about how many angels can (liturgically) dance on the head of a pin.
It never fails to cheer me up thinking that when I get married my parents will have to sell all their worldly belongings and go live on the street to pay the priest to perform the wedding, thus keeping the Pope in all those solid gold diamond-encrusted vestments he wears.

What strikes me about all this is how so much “Christian outreach to Catholics” appears to be—judging from its utter failure to elicit anything but exasperated mockery from its educated targets—entirely ordered toward the self-medication of the witness and utterly uninterested in the actual human being who is the ostensible object of the “love” of the “evangelist”. The Catholic who dares to do anything other than be the passive object of the “gospel” being thrust at him by the anti-Catholic is, by turns, an enemy, a deceiver, a dupe, a stumbling block, and a rebel. He is never a person. He has no place in the alleged “relationship with God” which is allegedly being proposed to him.

Which, of course, leads me to wonder if and when I act the same way. God save me if I do!

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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  • neiders

    I love this article! It sums up all of the misunderstandings about Catholics in a neat package for me to use.
    Unfortunately there are many ex Catholics or lukewarms who belieive this stuff too. I have several in my family who have gone over to non-denominational or Protestant faiths and will try to tell me them! The result of poor/non-existant formation or catechesis in their youth? Interestingly enough, I managed to not end up that way, and never got this out of the same formation. Praise God!
    We have a lot of work to do. Thanks for providing such a comprehensive list of what we are up against.

  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    It never fails to cheer me up thinking that when I get married my parents will have to sell all their worldly belongings and go live on the street to pay the priest to perform the wedding, thus keeping the Pope in all those solid gold diamond-encrusted vestments he wears.

    Since we Catholics still maintain that myopic tradition of men that disallows divorce, the best part is that my parents will only ever have to do this once. I can certainly understand the attraction of submitting the entirety of one’s private life to the abstruse scrutiny of a secular court. Though such a prospect is tempting, I must confess that I’ve already milked my parents for all they are worth. So a second go-round just wouldn’t be the same.

    Of course, the whole children thing is a huge draw as well. After listening to what Luther and Calvin had to say on the subject, we just couldn’t resist. It is quite easy, after all, to chase down ten or fifteen children. Compare that to memorizing Bible verses! We are particularly drawn by the fact that the secular culture is completely supportive of the Catholic position on this matter. This makes it all even easier.

  • I can see that I have yet to be initiated into the world of anti-Catholic diatribes. The most that has ever happened to me on my blog is that a fellow suggested that it was “interesting” that I was “renumbering” the Ten Commandments. I heard the Church shaking on her foundation at that, but I posted a polite reply and he went away. Nothing like the stuff I read about in Mark’s article. Maybe that’s because nobody reads my blog? I think I like it that way!

  • Bruce Roeder

    Don’t forget the extra books we get to add to the Bible!

    Not that we would ever read it, of course.

  • jgillen

    I’m in real trouble – my big black book is white. Thanks Mark

  • And my “black book” is actually red-covered. of course what would you expect for a priest who, like all priests, really is an agent of the devil!

  • I don’t know who you people are but I think I love you. Just got confirmed this Easter in the midst of a career in protestant vocational ministry. So glad to clarify just how crazy I am for doing so. Have to run and pick up a gift Crucifix for a friend because I just don’t get that Jesus isn’t on there anymore. Silly me. Keep up the good work!

  • daughterofeve

    Awwww….I haven’t gotten any “God Spam”. But I go to a Catholic School, and people sometimes leave paphlets in our front office. Honestly….sheesh.

  • Ray II

    A friend saw my wife and I out with the four boys at Long John Silver’s on a Friday eating fish dinners.

    He asked: “Catholic?”

    We joined the next day figuring it must be a group discount club of some sort.

    Ray and family (cradle Catholics since 1969, well at least the old one that is)

  • Paul

    I like being a member of a Church that became apostate in the first century and managed to hang on while the true believers went underground and out of history for like 1500 or 1800 years (depending on which group of true belivers you believe).


  • goral

    We have very little of that now since the state run schools have restored faith in education, but when I went to school, I really liked it when nuns brutalized kids and messed up their minds.

  • Ann

    Sheesh, all those Latin words. Nobody told me I needed to be bilingual!

    Though it is a great convenience to only have church on Sunday so I can stay home on Wednesday nights.

  • jcstab143

    Ohhhh…I get it!- From the song: Behold the Lamb (spam) of God!

    I’m a little slow…

    Which probably answers why I haven’t left the Catholic Church yet, before I run, I try to understand.

    Haven’t found anything to run away from yet that I properly understand. ;^)


  • criostoir

    I grew up in a variety of Protestant churches. As I became drawn to Catholicism, the #1 issue for me was “Mary Worship.” But, as I began to study the theology behind the veneration of Mary and even the writings of the early Reformers (who has quite a healthy respect for her, to say the least), I began to wonder why it was such a big deal. Thus, I wrote the following hymn of “praise” to Mary from a Protestant perspective. (I hope you take it as intended, not making fun of the blessed Virgin, but of Protestant attitudes towards her):

    Protestant Praise of Mary

    O, most mediocre mother!
    O, somewhat meritorious [former] maid!
    We hail thee, most OK, though no better than us.
    Though thou wert the form from which Christ took flesh,
    verily, any of us could have done it,
    random choice of the Father.

    Though the Ark of the Covenant was so holy
    death was dealth to unworthy wielders, for it contained
    the Staff of Aaron, Law of God and Bread of Heaven;
    Yet thou art still of small account, and nothing special,
    though the Word willed your womb be His dwelling.

    Therefore, though God grew a baby in thy belly,
    we dutifully ignore thee,
    and chafe at those who sing thy praise.

  • philothea

    I get a lot of these too. Since I wasn’t Christian before I became Catholic, a lot of people seem to have genuine concern that I’ve never read this “Bible” thing they tell me about. In my more snarky moods, I reply and say, “It seems like you have strong faith that the Bible is the Word of God. I am impressed with your deep trust in the Catholic Church to be able to correctly choose the canon.”

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  • cblanch912

    I love worshipping in an opulent cathedral while knowing so many people are starving in the world. In the back of my mind, I’m positive we could eradicate world hunger by scrapping and melting down our churches and the idols they contain.

    I also dig the Church’s teaching on contraception. I know their main motive for this policy is to create more members…but I really like the way everyone assumes I’m ignorant when I turn up pregnant…again.

  • jwash

    I appreciate the humor in this, and I can get a good chuckle out of it.

    As a Christ follower seeking the truth who has been engaged in discussions with a Roman Catholic for many months, I confess to having made many mistakes similar to those lampooned here. Each time, a pure desire within me (as best as I can discern my heart) was corrupted into a sword thrust at my opponent by my own ignorance, impatience, arrogance, foolishness, and pride, and I often drew blood. My friend could rightly have doubted whether I had love for him at all. Many times I had to repent and confess my errors to my friend.

    Despite much searching, he chooses to put his faith in one thing, I choose to put my faith in another.

    A lot of humility is in order for all of us. When we think we have enough humility, that’s a good indication that once again, we need more.

    I respect those of any faith who do what’s difficult and reach out to those they feel are missing the truth. That takes guts and makes one vulnerable. Once one is vulnerable, emotions run high and one easily makes ignorant, arrogant, foolish, and prideful statements when they feel their brave attempt has fallen on deaf ears. I’m afraid much of this ‘Godspam’ is likely from that category.

    Our frustration with well-meaning people means we have a problem with pride and a lack of love. Do we think Jesus would have been frustrated at the people and institutions around him? Jesus would have received a _lot_ of Godspam on his IPhone.

    How would Jesus have responded? May I strive to do the same.

    Without love (and humility), we are just a clanging gong – perhaps with a fancy blog and an email address.