James asked:

I never understood people who would say they have a personal relationship with Christ. What does that mean as a Catholic and what do Evangelicals mean by it?

Karl Keating replied:

"Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Protestants have various senses of what they mean by having a personal relationship, there's a bit of a spectrum there. For many of them it means accepting that Christ is their savior and the trusting in him. Their perception of the trust is that everything is set for them now. They need not do anything particularly at their end to achieve salvation. So there's a distinction there from a Catholic understanding.

Think back to the phone call we just took about the need to have our sins forgiven by going to confession and so on. There's something you have to do. You still have to be sorry for your sins and get them resolved ... There's an element within the Catholic understanding that includes not just faith, but action, works that need to be part of the mix. The Catholics can accept the Protestant understanding of personal relationship to the extent that Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Christians have it. But they go further and actually see, I think, a deeper kind of relationship for example, the relationship in the eucharist. Where we receive the actual Christ into our bodies, into our souls in a way that Protestants don't even claim to. And many of them can't even understand how that can be ..."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: October 8, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Karl Keating

Question appeared in show: 22:36

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