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ANSWERS--to typical questions people have about Catholicism

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Audio Prophecy, Jan 12, 2002.

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  1. Audio Prophecy

    Audio Prophecy Guest

    Here's just a few answers to typical issues people have about Catholicism (from a forward my mom sent me :) . Number 2 (really number 1!) is very vague, and i'm not to sure about number #12, but it does answer some of these questions pretty well.

    2. Why do Catholics believe that their church is the one true Church?

    Catholics believe that theirs is the one true Church of Jesus Christ because theirs is the only Christian Church that goes back in history to its founder, Jesus Christ.

    3. Why are Catholics so devoted to Mary?

    Catholics are fully aware that Mary was human and therefore not entitled to the honors reserved to God alone. What many non-Catholics mistake for adoration is a very profound love. As Christians, we are called to model Christ and his behavior, including his deep love and veneration for his mother. Catholics do feel that Mary is entitled to exaltation because, in choosing her as the mother of Jesus, God exalted her— more than any other person before or since. Catholics know that the glory they give Mary, they actually give to Jesus… just as Mary magnified God, not herself, when Elizabeth blessed her.

    4. Why do Catholics believe the Pope is infallible?

    Jesus appointed Peter the first Pope who would then select his descendent with the help of the Holy Spirit to help make that decision. The doctrine of papal infallibility does not mean the pope is always right in all his personal teachings. Catholics are aware that, despite his great learning, the pope is a human being and therefore liable to commit human error. The doctrine simply means that the Pope is divinely protected from error when, acting in his official capacity as chief of the Catholic fold, he makes a decision which is binding on the conscience of Catholics. In other words, his infallibility is limited to his specialty – the faith of Jesus Christ.

    5. Why do Catholics believe Holy Communion is the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ? Why don’t they believe that Christ is only present symbolically?

    Holy Communion is the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ because that is what Christ said, "This is my body…This is my blood" (Matt:26:26-28, Luke 22:19-10 and Mark 14:22-24). Jesus did not say it was a symbol. The grace and power of Christ that enables us to go out and do His work cannot be conferred from a symbol.

    6. Why should I go to Mass every week?

    The heart of our faith is a relationship of love with Jesus Christ. Going to Mass regularly is an expression of our love for Jesus, who gives to us 24/7. This love means we want to be nourished by his body and blood in the Eucharist and helps us keep His commandments. Although Saturday is the Sabbath for the Jews, the early Christians changed it to Sunday to commemorate Jesus’ rising from the dead on Sunday.

    7. If God loves us, why do bad things happen?

    God doesn’t cause accidents or tragedies. God allows things to happen because he has given us free will. He doesn’t control us. As people exercise that free will and make choices, there are consequences to their actions that can hurt us. God allows for the natural course of events to occur – he does not cause them, he simply permits them.

    8. What is Purgatory?

    Christians have always believed in the existence of a place between heaven and hell where souls go to be punished for lesser sins and to repay the debt for sins that have been forgiven. Purgatory is a place for the cleansing of the soul. Metaphorically, if you were working out and were dirty and came home to a surprise party, you would want to take a shower to cleanse yourself to be prepared to meet your guests. Because God is so perfect and we come to him with human sins, we need to prepare ourselves before meeting Him. Purgatory provides that cleansing before meeting God.

    9. What is a sacrament?

    A sacrament is an "outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace" (holiness) to the soul. That is, a divinely prescribed ceremony of the Church in which the words and action combine to form a sign of divine grace. We are a physical people and a spiritual people and a sacrament bridges our physical and spiritual sides. Christ is always present in sacraments. Even if you "don’t feel like being there" (as many people say about Reconciliation), you will always encounter Christ spiritually in sacraments. No matter how we feel, he is always there to meet us.

    10. Why do Catholics confess their sins to priests?

    Catholics confess their sins to God. The priest is there as a channel for Jesus’ grace and forgiveness. To the apostles, the first priests of His church, Christ said, "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain they are retained." (John 20:21-31). When Catholics confess their sins to a priest they are actually confessing their sins to God, for God hears their confessions and it is He who, in the final analysis, does the forgiving. The sacrament of reconciliation also gives us special graces, helping us to go on and not sin again. Verbally expressing sins is different than just thinking about them and in reconciliation, we can know we are forgiven.

    11. Why can’t priests marry?

    Celibacy is viewed as a better example and model of Jesus’ priesthood. Catholic priests are married to the church and its people. If they are married, they cannot give 100% of their attention to the church. Without these obligations, they are free to relocate as the church needs them, be more objective in counseling (eg, their own married problems will not be projected), require (and receive) only minimal salaries and they are examples of sacrifice and self-control.

    12. Why is ordination to the priesthood reserved only to men?

    The church’s teaching that only men can be ordained to the ministerial priesthood arises from identity to the example of the Lord as witnessed by the New Testament and to the constant tradition of the Eastern and Western churches. The church considers this constant t and universal tradition to be in accordance with God’s plan and to constitute a permanent norm. Jesus chose only men as members of the twelve. This example was followed in the apostolic community; and by means of a Tradition of practice, the church acquired a certainty about this norm. The issue of the possibility of ordaining women was first raised in the second century and has been raised and addressed by theologians down to the present day.

    13. Why does the Catholic Church believe in abstaining from sex before marriage?

    God created sexual intimacy and it is wonderful and the most intimate expression of human love. He chose the sexual act as the means by which humans (with an invaluable soul) are created. But when sex is used indiscriminately, it can be a source of diseases, unwed pregnancies, broken hearts, hardened hearts and low self-esteem. True love is based on sacrifice and fidelity. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and we need to exercise self-control in our lives. If you are not faithful to God’s laws, what evidence is there that you can be faithful to each other? Is it really love if a couple is willing to put each other at risk for early pregnancy, devastating diseases and emotional stress? Sexual intimacy is a wonderful gift from God that needs to be part of a lifelong commitment that is blessed by God and open to having children.

    14. Why does the Catholic Church oppose the use of artificial birth control?

    The Catholic Church opposes any form of artificial birth control (Natural Family Planning is accepted) because it takes God out of the marital act. One of the most awesome gifts God gave us is the ability to generate new life in His image. We are co-creators of that process with Him. Contraception deliberately thwarts this God-given gift. Additionally, the birth control pill can cause spontaneous abortion, where a woman becomes pregnant and abort the baby without even knowing it has occurred. Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a morally acceptable means to avoid pregnancy by restricting sexual intercourse to the infertile times of a woman’s cycle. People who practice NFP feel especially blessed because they are doing God’s will and their relationship is never in the dark but exists in the light of God’s blessing. NFP is NOT the same as "rhythm" – it is far more scientific and proven more effective.

    15. Why does the Catholic Church oppose abortion?

    The Catholic Church views abortion as the taking of an innocent human life. A baby is a separate human life distinct from his or her mother. Each child has its own genetic identity, its own heartbeat, brain waves, eyes, ears, mouth, etc. Of course women have rights over their own bodies (just as men do), but these rights are limited when they affect other people’s bodies. Abortion directly involves two bodies – the mother’s and the unborn child’s.

    16. What is the Catholic Church’s view on homosexuality?

    Jesus loves everyone and everyone deserves love and respect. Jesus tells us to love the sinner but not the sin. The church does not say that a homosexual orientation is a sin, but the sexual activity is because sexual acts are intended by God for husbands and wives joined in the sacrament of marriage, not unmarried persons, whether the same or opposite sex.
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  2. The Squalid Wanderer

    The Squalid Wanderer The Fool

    Does that mean that the Orthodox are not a Christian Church, or is it just an oversight?
  3. InspectorVol

    InspectorVol Regular Member

    What verse did Jesus appoint Paul as the first Pope in, and tell him to select his successor as such? Also where does does the name Catholic come from and where is it mentioned in the bible?
  4. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

    United States

    He didn't. Paul is not considered to be the first Pope, Peter is. The verse in question is Matthew 16:18---"You are Peter (the rock, kepha in Aramaic), and upon this rock (kepha in Aramaic) I will build My Church." I am aware that there are manifold other interpretations of this verse; I am merely giving you the Catholic interpretation of it. You are not required to agree with it.

    Apostolic succession is clearly demonstrated in Scripture, notably Acts 1:15-26, where Matthias is chosen to replace Judas Iscariot, to fill his office and apostolic ministry; and Titus 1:5, where Paul, an Apostle, has appointed Titus as the bishop of Crete, and Titus in turn appoints priests (presbyters) in every town on Crete per Paul's instructions. Examples of passing on authority by laying on of hands can be found in 1 Tim 4:14 and 5:22; and the passing on of authoritative instruction to qualified teachers is found in 2 Tim 2:2.

    The name "Catholic" derives from the Greek word katholikos, meaning "universal". It is not found in the Bible; it was first used in the Epistle of St. Ignatius to the Smyrneans in 110 A.D.

    Catholic was only one of the monikers being used for the Church in the early days; followers of Christ were also called "Christians" (Acts 11:26), and "Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5).

    Catholic as Roman Catholic didn't gain popularity until the split between the Eastern (Greek) Churches (today called Orthodox) and the Western (Latin) Church (today called Catholic) in 1054 A.D.
  5. nyj

    nyj Goodbye, my puppy


    Though I cannot cite you a source immediately, I read that the term Roman Catholic actually came into being after King Henry VIII broke from Rome and formed the Anglican Church. The term Roman Catholic was coined because Henry VIII claimed that the Church in England still benefited from Apostolic Succession (and hence Catholic) because they were the Anglo-Catholic Church. So, according to Henry VIII there were two parts of the Catholic Church (Anglo and Roman).

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