I am a Non-Denominational Christian of Protestant origin. I have felt the grace and freedom through Christ to enjoy such books as 'Ragamuffin Gospel' and 'Abba's Child' by Brennan Manning and have attended a Private Catholic College. I did not feel the need to convert, nor did I feel pressured while in college. I found refuge in the small sanctuary among the Sisters and Catholic imagery/atmosphere. My relationship with Jesus Christ and my personal beliefs have been increased and influenced by Catholicism and even Zen Philosophy. I admire St. Francis for his abandoning of riches and service to the poor..which was an influence for me while I was struggling through college. I also liked the fact that he pursued God eagerly with no regard for how he may be viewed.
That being said this article is somewhat disturbing...
"Pope Benedict called on Tuesday for a "world political authority" to manage the global economy and for more government regulation of national economies to pull the world out of the current crisis and avoid a repeat" (emphasis noted with red text)
Here's an interesting link describing the Pope's view of the Roman Catholic Church being the only true church and other churches are wounded or incomplete...
"Pope Benedict XVI approved a document late last month saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation."
"The document stated other Christian communities such as Protestants “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” since they don’t have what’s known as apostolic succession – that is, the ability to trace their bishops back to the original 12 apostles of Jesus."
My complaint with the above article and with the Catholic Church is lack of emphasis on a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and too much emphasis on 'the Church', hierarchy and rigid structures that I think sometimes stifles the creativity and genuine power of the Holy Spirit... I think God meets you where you are..whether you wear dirty rags or drive a BMW to the MEGACHURCH down the block in a suit an tie with bleach white teeth. God sees past our 'defenses' our 'impostor' that we create for ourselves to present to the rest of the world. God wants a humble and contrite heart. He doesn't care about our money or if you perform this ritual correctly or attend this or that Church.
While I am on the subject check out the following books which really helped me comprehend how radical and loving Jesus Christ is:
His two best books are 'Abba's Child' and 'Ragamuffin Gospel'.