In a message dated 03/06/97 05:40:38 GMT, Brian writes:
<< An off-list friend of mine is Presbyterian (Scots-Irish on her mother's
side/German on her father's side). Could you educate me on "what it means to
be Presbyterian & their opinion of Roman Catholics?"
A pretty extensive discussion is likely to result from this one! Actually I
grew up in a Presbyterian community but was brought up an Anglican (Episcopal
Church of Scotland - incidentally, St Andrew's Cathedral in Aberdeen is
reputed to be the parent church of the Episcopal Church in the USA) and later
converted to RC so I suppose I sampled most possibilites. There is a
Scottish Bhuddist community I need to look into :-)
I hope you don't want a detailed analysis of the religious framework of
Presbyterianism (though I can go into that if you like). To be Presbyterian
is, however, to be part of a very proud tradition in Scotland. It was the
Presbyterian church (the Kirk) which laid the basis of the Scottish school
system and which influenced so many leading Scots thinkers, politicians,
explorers, soldiers, missionaries, etc. Unfortunately an element of bigotism
is not unknown and I was certainly brought up to be deeply suspicious of
Catholicism (Anglicanism was just about acceptable as long as it was "low
church" but did cause the young Tawse a few problems in his social life!). I
remember being quite surprised when I met a catholic (or two) at how "normal"
they were. Nobody went so far as to suggest that the Pope of Rome was an
agent of the devil but some odd ideas about Catholic behaviour were in
The level of suspicion does depend a bit on where you come from however.
There were almost no Catholics where I came from and they were generally
tolerated and not actually (so far as I can remember) discriminated against.
While my conversion caused some concern in my family, I can't say that I met
any discrimination either.
Much more to follow, if you want, but this will be enough to be going on with
I think. I can probably direct you some reading material if you want.