I have been trying to decipher the actual religion of Catholicism.

I grew up in a Roman Catholic household, with extremely devout Catholic parents and went to a Private Catholic Grade School that, back then was rather pricey for my parents with limited means to send me too.(I feel as though that money could have been used to buy me a nice car or a trip to Europe instead)

Here are the reasons I think Catholicism should fall under a Pagan vs. Christian "Label":

1. They pray to Saints, Mary, and Angels....doesn't sound very MONOtheistic to me. True, none are considered deities, but what really makes ONE a deity? Why can't a being whom one prays to be considered a deity? If you pray to them, honor/worship them, light candles to them isn't that the same actions as honoring or having a relationship with a known deity?

Here is the 3rd definition of the word DEITY from Merriam Webster:

"one exalted or revered as supremely good or powerful one exalted or revered as supremely good or powerful".

That sounds like what one does with Saints, Mary and Angels, in my opinion anyway.

2.  They have their own set of rituals.  Think about a Coven. Does a coven not have it's own set of rules, boundaries, and guidelines of behavior? "Harm none"( i know this isn't ALL covens just using this as an example) is equivalent to "Love others as I have loved you." And in a catholic mass, they light candles, burn incense(Good Friday mass or funerals for example), sit, kneel, stand, (repeat), they sing(chant) and worship pretty much the same as any coven (or even solitary practitioner) does. They have a place where you can light a candle and send your prayers to Mary(a grotto) in the church I grew up in. I still remember the nightmare I had in my twenties, I was in there lighting a candle, when that statue of mary chased me out of the church. She floated in the air and I was literally horrified. Churches give me the heebie jeebies. No joke.

3.  They have a Priest.  Just not a Priestess.  But they do have nuns...not many these days, but they still have them nonetheless.

4.  A lot of Catholics do Novenas/Intercessions. Isn't that the same as magic? They light candles for say, 5 days, say a prayer in the same fashion for those five days and wait upon a miracle.

I also remember finding a ouija board in our upstairs closet when I lived at home, I was 18. My sister and I toyed around with it for a while. Yes, we "played" with a ouija board. It gave me some surprisingly accurate answers. Of course I never could go down in my mom's basement(where we "Played" with the ouija) ever again without feeling some sort of presence there. Still gives me the willies to go there alone and I'm 43 now.

What are your thoughts on this? Is my point valid? Agree/disagree?  Anything you'd like to add to this list?

*I just want to thank everyone who commented and despite differing views kept this conversation mature and peaceful without name-calling or drama, I enjoyed reading all the replies.*

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I absolutely agree.

Mainstream Catholicism absorbed all the already present pagan religious rituals and events in order to make conversion easier.

You only start to hear the differences when you study early Christianity from the Judean or Gnostic or some other small Christian groups POV.  They were always critical of pagan religious rituals, disdaining graven images, chanting, temples and priests/priestesses.

Fast forward to Constantine and the centralization  and standardization of Christian dogma and structure of worship.

Suddenly all those critics were dismissed as heretics and the pagan way of doing things, from sacred meals, holy ground, chanting, singing, dancing, incense burning on altars, holy water, processions, graven images and temples are A-OK with Christians.

Mainstream Catholicism absorbed all the already present pagan religious rituals and events in order to make conversion easier.

I also remember reading somewhere that Cernunnos(is he the Horned God?)was where they got the "devil" concept from. (trying to "scare" the masses so to speak into their faith)

I'm not bashing Catholics, but this really peaked my interest and I've been wanting to ask this question for the longest time.

Thanks for your reply. :)

I also remember reading somewhere that Cernunnos(is he the Horned God?)was where they got the "devil" concept from. (trying to "scare" the masses so to speak into their faith)

Could have been, up north.  But around the Italian and Greek areas, who does someone with horns, hooves, half goat, and lusty thoughts remind you of?  

Pan.

Aurelia,

You are totally historically correct.  There are lots of similarities even before Constantine, but after it was totally Pagan except for the names of saints. It continues that way now, but I would never actually say the Catholic is Pagan...it is fake pagan.

LOLOL I use ot say the same thing....  except ofr the pope part  the rituals our very much the same...

Doesn't every religion have its own set of rituals?

I just thought this was an interesting concept. Not saying I'm right in what I shared here, sometimes though I think "outside the box" I suppose. I think a lot of religions take from other religions to find more folks to add to the flock so to speak. I don't know if there is a religion/tradition out there that isn't similar to another one in one way shape or form. It's how cultures and religions evolve I suppose. Look at how many people are now "Christian Wiccans"...who'd of thought that would happen? Some may call it an oxymoron of sorts. But it's a valid tradition/path. It's what works for those individuals.

I really was just curious to see what others thought which is why I posted this. Wasn't looking for a debate or anything of that nature. Which I am glad to see it didn't turn into one.

Interesting replies if I may say so myself here.

 I think a lot of people who move toward neo-pagan paths for some reason need to try and still claim Jesus and/or Catholicism. I'm not sure why this is important to them. 

Simple answer, Rose - they're hedging their bets, just in case. Fear can be a powerful motivator, and often causes smart people to do dumb things.

Where are all the folks trying to claim Hinduism for pagans? Lol. 

You have made some good points on here, Rose.  Thank you.  But in accordance with Hinduism, as a Catholic myself, I never really thought of Hinduism as a Pagan religion.  Yes, they have many deva and devi (gods and goddesses) but they are all aspects of the central Brahman and the deva and devi seem different to me than other Deities.   

Brahman is not a god per se and everyone has brahman because we're all extensions of it. Also, Hinduism is diverse and ranges from staunch polytheism to atheism. Brahman or no. Remember, human beings and the Asura are also manifestations of brahman.

That is correct.

So should Hinduism have more broader description like "Multi-Thought Religion"?  

More like an umbrella term as pagan is for beliefs that are indigenous to India.

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