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I am not (and have never been) a Roman Catholic, but multiple Catholic websites that I found listed the following as "traditional Catholic Lenten practices" (with capitalization of words as given on the sites): 1) Do a very humble and sorrowful confession. 2) Go to Holy Latin Mass every day. 3) Pray the Holy Rosary. 4) Read the Bible. 5) Pray the Stations of the Cross slowly. 6) Read a traditional Catholic book. (Examples given are "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis and "The Secret of the Rosary" by Louis de Montfort.) 7) Make time for heartfelt prayer. 8) Disconnect from social media and news. 9) Stop watching television news. Instead, use that time to love and communicate with family members. 10) Concentrate on eating healthy, and in the company of family members. 11) Forgive and pray for those who have hurt you. 12) Stop taking the salvation of the world on your shoulders. Hand your spiritual concerns regarding reform and renewal of the Church over to God in prayer. It seems to me (speaking from my own Protestant perspective) that, while the above list has some commendable suggestions that any Christian could benefit from taking to heart (and not just during Lent, but throughout the year), it also reflects an overemphasis on rote ritual or outward actions (such as confession to a priest, attendance at mass, and praying the rosary and the stations of the cross), that can give an individual (irrespective of the person's other actions and innermost thoughts) a false sense of spiritual security, or of being in a right standing with God. (Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14) comes to my mind in this regard.) Also, it seems to me that, with time and repetition, even these rituals themselves could lose any real meaning or significance for the person employing them, who may reach a point of being entirely distracted, or thinking of wholly worldly matters, even while engaged in them. In addition, there is the employment of human (such as a priest) or spiritual (such as Mary or saints) intermediaries between the believer and God, which, to me, contradicts passages such as 1 Timothy 2:5. There are undoubtedly many Catholics who are sincere, believing, saved Christians who are depending solely on faith in Christ rather than works for their salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), but, to me, they arrive at that status in spite of Catholicism's established traditions, rituals, or practices, rather than because of them.
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