It would be nice to think that the sentence above was a line out of a book or movie – it wasn’t. These were actually words used on Facebook a few months ago by a Catholic who took offense at another person’s disagreement with a twisted version of what one priest thought constituted a “mortal sin”.

What may have added fuel to the fire is that a few of the people who disagreed were ex-Catholics turned Episcopalian. Rather than rationally discuss the issues, the OP chose to go the route of attacking and patronizing those who disagreed.

I had to restrain myself from joining in and telling the OP that, as non-Catholics, the people she was disagreeing with are not subject to the worship, doctrine, or discipline of the Catholic Church. However, with the sort of mentality that lead to her attacking people she didn’t know, I doubt my pointing that out would have made any impact.

Spiritually abusive and legalistic attitudes do cross denominational boundaries. I’ve encountered members of groups known for being rigid in their thinking who have been open-minded and members of mainline denominations with bigoted attitudes where it comes to doctrines.

My church’s baptismal covenant encourages us to “respect the dignity of every human being”. For me, I’ve found part of that to include not condemning people to hell over doctrinal disagreements or otherwise usurping God’s place.

I think it’s helpful for Christians as a whole to realize that every group has a different basis for their doctrines that is no doubt influenced by the circumstances occurring at a time when the group came into being. When extra-Scriptural traditions or interpretations are treated as a requirement for salvation for all, there is too much of a risk of losing focus on the Gospel.

Adding to the Gospel invariably leads to taking away the whole message.