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Frequently Asked Questions About Catholicism

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by KC Catholic, May 7, 2002.

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  1. KC Catholic

    KC Catholic Everybody's gone surfin'...Surfin' U.S.A

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Catholicism




    This page contains links to frequently asked questions – the answers have been provided by the Catholic members of Christianforums.com

    Enjoy!



    This is not a thread for debate. Please do not post any rebuttals here. If you have any questions, please feel free to send a private message to any of the OBOB forum moderators.


    The point of this thread is to help those who have similar questions regarding Catholic beliefs. It will better prepare you for a discussion on the faith.

    Thanks!
    OBOB Staff



    Tradition:
    Scripture:
    Sacraments:
    Eucharist (Communion)
    Penance (reconciliation, confession)
    Baptism
    Confirmation
    Morality:
    Misc:
    Communion of Saints – and Mary, Mother of God:
     
  2. KC Catholic

    KC Catholic Everybody's gone surfin'...Surfin' U.S.A

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    From Catholic Answers:

    What "Catholic" Means
    The Greek roots of the term "Catholic" mean "according to (kata-) the whole (holos)," or more colloquially, "universal." At the beginning of the second century, we find in the letters of Ignatius the first surviving use of the term "Catholic" in reference to the Church. At that time, or shortly thereafter, it was used to refer to a single, visible communion, separate from others.

    The term "Catholic" is in the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds, and many Protestants, claiming the term for themselves, give it a meaning that is unsupported historically, ignoring the term’s use at the time the creeds were written.

    Early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes: "As regards ‘Catholic’ . . . in the latter half of the second century at latest, we find it conveying the suggestion that the Catholic is the true Church as distinct from heretical congregations (cf., e.g., Muratorian Canon). . . . What these early Fathers were envisaging was almost always the empirical, visible society; they had little or no inkling of the distinction which was later to become important between a visible and an invisible Church" (Early Christian Doctrines, 190–1).

    Thus people who recite the creeds mentally inserting another meaning for "Catholic" are reinterpreting them according to a modern preference, much as a liberal biblical scholar does with Scripture texts offensive to contemporary sensibilities.

    Included in the quotes below are extracts from the first creeds to use the term "Catholic"; so that the term can be seen it its historical context, which is supplied by the other quotations. It is from this broader context that the meaning of the term in the creeds is established, not by one’s own notion of what the term once meant or of what it ought to mean.

    Ignatius of Antioch

    "Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

    The Martyrdom of Polycarp

    "And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).

    The Muratorian Canon

    "Besides these [letters of Paul] there is one to Philemon, and one to Titus, and two to Timothy, in affection and love, but nevertheless regarded as holy in the Catholic Church, in the ordering of churchly discipline. There is also one [letter] to the Laodiceans and another to the Alexandrians, forged under the name of Paul, in regard to the heresy of Marcion, and there are several others which cannot be received by the Church, for it is not suitable that gall be mixed with honey. The epistle of Jude, indeed, and the two ascribed to John are received by the Catholic Church (Muratorian fragment [A.D. 177]).

    Tertullian

    "Where was [the heretic] Marcion, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago—in the reign of Antonius for the most part—and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherius, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 30 [A.D. 200]).

    Cyprian of Carthage

    "They alone have remained outside [the Church] who, were they within, would have to be ejected.
    . . . There [in John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest, and the flock clinging to their shepherd in the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishops; and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priest of God, believing that they are secretly in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split or divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere to one another" (Letters 66[67]:8 [A.D. 253]).

    Council of Nicaea I

    "But those who say: ‘There was [a time] when he [the Son] was not,’ and ‘before he was born, he was not,’ and ‘because he was made from non-existing matter, he is either of another substance or essence,’ and those who call ‘God the Son of God changeable and mutable,’ these the Catholic Church anathematizes" (Appendix to the Creed of Nicaea [A.D. 325]).

    "Concerning those who call themselves Cathari [Novatians], that is, ‘the Clean,’ if at any time they come to the Catholic Church, it has been decided by the holy and great council that, provided they receive the imposition of hands, they remain among the clergy. However, because they are accepting and following the doctrines of the Catholic and apostolic Church, it is fitting that they acknowledge this in writing before all; that is, both that they communicate with the twice married and with those who have lapsed during a persecution" (Canon 8).

    ...

    "Concerning the Paulianists who take refuge with the Catholic Church, a decree has been published that they should be fully baptized. If, however, any of these in times past have been in the clerical order, if indeed they have appeared spotless and above reproach, after being baptized, let them be ordained by the bishop of the Catholic Church" (Canon 9).

    Cyril of Jerusalem

    "[The Church] is called Catholic, then, because it extends over the whole world, from end to end of the earth, and because it teaches universally and infallibly each and every doctrine which must come to the knowledge of men, concerning things visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly, and because it brings every race of men into subjection to godliness, governors and governed, learned and unlearned, and because it universally treats and heals every class of sins, those committed with the soul and those with the body, and it possesses within itself every conceivable form of virtue, in deeds and in words and in the spiritual gifts of every description" (Catechetical Lectures 18:23 [A.D. 350]).

    "And if you ever are visiting in cities, do not inquire simply where the house of the Lord is—for the others, sects of the impious, attempt to call their dens ‘houses of the Lord’—nor ask merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the name peculiar to this holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God" (ibid., 18:26).

    The Apostles’ Creed

    "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen" (Apostles’ Creed [A.D. 360 version, the first to include the term "Catholic"]).

    Council of Constantinople I

    "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets; in one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church" (Nicene Creed [A.D. 381]).

    "Those who embrace orthodoxy and join the number of those who are being saved from the heretics, we receive in the following regular and customary manner: Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, those who call themselves Cathars and Aristeri, Quartodecimians or Tetradites, Apollinarians— these we receive when they hand in statements and anathematize every heresy which is not of the same mind as the holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church of God" (Canon 7).

    Augustine

    "We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is Catholic and which is called Catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her, not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else but Catholic. For they will not be understood unless they distinguish her by this name which the whole world employs in her regard" (The True Religion 7:12 [A.D. 390]).

    "We believe in the holy Church, that is, the Catholic Church; for heretics and schismatics call their own congregations churches. But heretics violate the faith itself by a false opinion about God; schismatics, however, withdraw from fraternal love by hostile separations, although they believe the same things we do. Consequently, neither heretics nor schismatics belong to the Catholic Church; not heretics, because the Church loves God, and not schismatics, because the Church loves neighbor" (Faith and Creed 10:21 [A.D. 393]).

    ...

    ""If you should find someone who does not yet believe in the gospel, what would you [Mani] answer him when he says, ‘I do not believe’? Indeed, I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so" (ibid., 5:6).

    In the Catholic Church . . . a few spiritual men attain [wisdom] in this life, in such a way that . . . they know it without any doubting, while the rest of the multitude finds [its] greatest safety not in lively understanding but in the simplicity of believing. . . . [T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in her bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

    Vincent of Lerins

    "I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical depravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: that whether I or anyone else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they arise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways: first, by the authority of the divine law [Scripture], and then by the tradition of the Catholic Church. But here some one perhaps will ask, ‘Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation?’ For this reason: Because, owing to the depth of holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another, so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are men. . . . Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various errors, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of ecclesiastical and Catholic interpretation" (The Notebooks 2:1–2 [A.D. 434]).

    Council of Chalcedon

    "Since in certain provinces readers and cantors have been allowed to marry, this sacred synod decrees that none of them is permitted to marry a wife of heterodox views. If those thus married have already had children, and if they have already had the children baptized among heretics, they are to bring them into the communion of the Catholic Church" (Canon 14 [A.D. 451]).


    http://www.catholic.com/library/what_catholic_means.asp
     
  3. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    The Real Presence
    (copied from an earlier post)

    The Biblical history goes back to the Seder, a meal that commemorates the Jews' exodus from Egypt. Recall that the Jews were given instructions from God to take an unblemished lamb, slaughter it, and use the blood to mark the doorposts, so the Angel of Death would skip that house. They were to prepare for evacuation, to eat standing up, dressed, shoes on. They had so little time, the bread was not permitted time to rise, so they baked it and ate it unleavened. And they roasted and ate the meat of the slaughtered lamb.

    Jews were further instructed to celebrate this event every year, to remember their Covenant with God, and how he saved them from bondage.

    Without that blood, without the sustenance of the flesh of the lamb, the Jews would not have been able to be successful in their escape from Egypt.

    Fast-forward to the New Testament.

    Jesus begins his ministry how? At the wedding of Cana, where He miraculously turned water into wine. Another of His most memorable miracles was the feeding of 5000, or 7000 (depending on the writer) with just a small amount of bread. In His hands, the bread multiplied again and again, to the point where the multitude ate to sateity, and there were even LEFTOVERS!

    All of this leads to John 6: 31-69.

    Jesus tells his followers, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

    The followers start talking amongst themselves; this is STRANGE STUFF. Jesus doesn't bother correcting them, or answering questions, or clarifying, He just keeps on talking.


    Wow! Jesus felt he had something so important to say, He repeated himself SIX times by my count. Repetition in the Bible is rare. Most readings are very concise, very brief. But in one teaching, Jesus was so emphatic He kept saying the same thing over and over.

    What He said was disturbing, too. He sounded like He was actually advocating cannibalism. This concept is so abhorrent to the Jews, some of His followers actually could not bear to stay with Him any longer. They didn't understand, and they got up and left.


    Did Jesus run after them? Did He wave his arms and say, "Hey, come back! I was only speaking symbolically!"

    Hey, good ole Peter again!

    But the message here is clear. Jesus was giving a powerful message, one that people could not understand. Yet the Apostles accepted what He had to say, on faith.

    Now, we're at the Last Supper. Jesus is celebrating the Seder, just as God commanded the Jews to do after they left Egypt. Jesus says the blessing, then breaks the bread and distributes it around the table. "This is My body which will be given up for you." In my heart, I see the disciples, VERY confused, their eyes fixed on Jesus as they eat the unleavened bread. Then Jesus takes the cup of wine and says, "This is the cup of My blood." and He hands them the cup for them to drink.

    They don't know what is going on! But Jesus told them to eat, told them to drink, and they did. The next day, He dies on the cross, His blood staining the wood.

    I believe it wasn't until the Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church, when the Apostles were finally able to put it all together.

    And that is what the Church teaches today. At Mass, when the priest elevates the Host at the Consecration, and repeats the words of Jesus, "This is my body," a miracle occurs. That bread BECOMES the actual Body of Christ, the unblemished Passover lamb, killed to save us, and we must EAT that Lamb to live. The chalice is elevated, and the priest says, "This is the blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant," and the wine inside BECOMES the Blood of Jesus, the unblemished Passover lamb, and we drink His blood to mark ourselves, so that the Angel of death will also pass over us.

    I love it. I simply love it. Jesus LOVED us so much, He found a way to present Himself to us, so we can TOUCH Him, take Him within us, to strengthen us to live the lives He wants for us.

    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  4. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    Doctrine, Dogma, Discipline...WHAT?

    This is to help answer those questions like, "How come Catholics can eat meat on Friday now? Didn't they go to Hell years ago for doing that?" Or, "The Pope can make up new rules for Catholics, and another Pope can change his mind later; doesn't that mean Catholics think the Pope is God?"

    (source: David Currie, "Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic)

    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  5. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    The Blessed Virgin Mary

    All Catholic Christian beleifs about Mary are basically rooted in God' revelation in the Bible. The Bible presents Mary as a person whom God set apart to play a vital role in His plan of salvation. God honored Mary by eternally predestining her to be the mother of our Savior -- the one through whom God Himself would enter into human history. What greater gift or dignity could God give ot a human being? This honor given to Mary reveals the dignity of all women; a woman is more important in God's saving plan than any angel of other spiritual being.

    Mary's role in God's plan was prophetically foreshadowed in the Old Testament. In the book of Genesis, God tells the serpent (Satan): "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" (Genesis 3:15). The offpsring of the woman (Mary) is Jesus, who came to crush the head of the serpent, to defeat Satan and his work. The prophet Isaiah spoke of a sign that the Lord would give to Israel: "the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel" ("God is with us") (Isaiah 7:14). The gospel of Matthew presents Jesus' birth of Mary as a fulfillment of this prophecy (Matthew 1: 22-23). Some Christians have also interpreted the "Daughter of Zion" theme in the Old Testament as prefiguring Mary's role. The angel Gabriel greeted Mary, "Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you." (Luke 1:28)

    Mary freely chose to accept God's plan for her life. The angel Gabriel appeared to this young girl and announced that she was to bear a son (Luke 1: 26-33). Mary, being a virgin, was naturally perplexed and responded, "How can this be since I do not know man?" (Luke 1:34). After Gabriel explained that "the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (luke 1:35), Mary's response was simple and full of faith: "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say" (Luke 1:38).

    Catholics honor Mary because of this great faith and obedience. Many early Christian writers noted that God allowed this whole plan of salvation to hinge on Mary's free response to Gabriel's message. Because of her "yes" to God, Mary is the New Eve, reversing the first Eve's "no." By the disobedience of Eve, all mankind became immersed in the bondage of sin. Mary's obedience to God opened the way for the saving work of Jesus. As St Irenaeus explained late in the second century, "The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the virgin Mary loosed through faith."

    The Holy Spirit was no stranger to Mary. In fact, the New Testament records that she first received the Holy Spirit when she conceived Jesus, thus making her the first recipient of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Gabriel announced that "the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence the holy offspring to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). The language of this announcement is very similar to the image of "power of the Most High" overshadowing the Ark of the Covenanat in Exodus 40:34-35, or the Temple in 1 Kings 8:10. Through the power of the Spirit, Mary became the new Ark of the Covenant and the new Temple because God dwelt fully within her in Jesus.

    The result of the Spirit's dwelling in Mary was praise of God and prophecy. Mary's prophetic prayer of praise, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), both glorifies God and prophesies the mission of Jesus to bring the good news to the poor and the lowly. She also prophesied that, "all generations will call me blessed" (Luke1:48), a prophecy which is fulfilled through all Christians who call Mary the "Blessed Virgin." Mary, then is portrayed by the Bible as a woman filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Catholics honor Mary and look to her as our mother in faith but they do not worship Mary or "pray to Mary" as they pray to God. Worship belongs only to God. Catholics do ask Mary to pray for us, and believe that her intercession has a great effect in calling forth God's grace and mercy. But this is because of her special relationship with Jesus, not because of her own merits.

    Catholics believe that Mary also has a special role of intercession because of her special role in God's plan of salvation. Jesus and Mary are not in competition. Jesus is the source of all God's grace and salvation, and Mary directs her prayers and our attention to Jesus. The passage that calls Jesus the "one mediator" (1 Timothy 2:1-6), also urges all Christians to bring "requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving" to God (1 Timothy 2:1). Most of us have experienced how we can be channels of God's grace to others and how others can bring grace to us. Catholics believe that God has chosen to use Mary as a unique channel of teh grace of her son because of her special relationship with him.

    (from Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs, by Alan Schreck.)


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  6. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    The Jewish Bible contains the same 39 books as the Protestant Old Testament, for reasons I'll address in a minute. The Catholic Old Testament, on the other hand, contains 46 (with some additional chapters to both Daniel and Esther). The Orthodox Old Testament has the same 46 books as the Catholic version, and some Orthodox bodies have 48.

    The reason for these discrepancies has to do with linguistic, theological, political, and historical concerns. (As LilyLamb can tell you from my posts on other boards, I tend to be long winded, and people's eyes glaze over reading my babblings, so I'll try to be brief. )

    In the 2nd century B.C., Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, decided he wanted to build the greatest library in the world, which would contain a copy of every book ever written, all of them translated into Greek, which was the dominant language in that part of the world at the time. This would include, of course, the Jewish Scriptures. In Alexandria, there was a huge diasporic Jewish community, and seventy Jewish scholars were hired from that community to locate, gather, and translate every last book of Jewish Scripture that could be found. This was accomplished, and the name of this Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures was the Septuagint, after the Latin word septus, meaning seventy---since seventy scholars worked on it. This Greek translation carried the 73 books currently found in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles.

    By the time of Christ, the Septuagint had become accepted by many diasporic Jews throughout the ancient world; it was, however, not held in favor with the "legalistic" factions in Jerusalem, which would include the Pharisees and the Sadducees. To these folks, Hebrew was a sacred language, and in their way of thinking, if God wanted us to know something, then He'd see to it that it remained in the sacred language of Hebrew; and if God didn't care enough about a book remaining in Hebrew, then apparently it wasn't terribly important to begin with. Accordingly, at a Jewish council held at Jamnia in approximately 100 AD, they put together their own collection of the Jewish Scriptures, made from only the books still extant in the original Hebrew. (Another reason for rejecting the Septuagint books had to do with the fact that the Books of Maccabees contained evidence of friendship treaties between the Jews and the Romans---and by this time, the Jews had come to hate the Romans so much that they didn't want anything to do with them.) This Hebrew collection was called the Masoretic text, or sometimes the Masora. It contained the 66 books now found in all Jewish Bibles, since it rejected the Greek books found in the Septuagint.

    It should be mentioned at this point that many copies of the Hebrew Scriptures had become lost or destroyed in the years between 300 B.C. and 200 A.D.; and Hebrew originals for some of these rejected books were impossible to find. Since the late 19th century, however, archaeological finds have uncovered copies of nearly all these books, or parts of them, in Hebrew, which were hidden by various people to protect them from being destroyed. So to use the reasoning of the Masoretic faction, God did preserve these books in Hebrew---it's just that they couldn't find them at the time.

    By this time, the Christians had come along, and they tended to use the Septuagint, rather than the Masora. As time went on, they added their own writings (Gospels, epistles) to the corpus, and by the time of Pope Damasus, the whole works was translated into Latin by Jerome. Since Jerome was usuing regular street Latin instead of high-falutin' classical Latin, the Latin version was called the "Vulgate", after "vulgar" Latin. This became "the" Bible for Christians right up into the 16th century.

    It must be borne in mind that during the first 400 years of Christian history, there was no clear-cut "canon" for Biblical books; there were many, many books produced during this period, some of them heretical (the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, for example), some of them unorthodox (like the "infancy narratives" such as the Gospel of Psuedo-Matthew and the Proto-Gospel of James), and some of them orthodox but incomplete (such as the Didache). Some of these books were held as divinely inspired Scripture by some Christian communities, while some of the books in our present canon were rejected. The list which we now have (for the New Testament) was finally settled at the Council of Hippo in 393 A.D.; the same list was reconfirmed at the Councils of Carthage (397 and 418 A.D.), Florence (1441 A.D.), and Trent (1546 A.D.)

    For a list of some of these extra-biblical books (both Jewish and Christian), go to www.bible2000.org/forgottenindex.htm or wesley.nnu.edu/noncanon/. You will be astounded at the number of ancient writings out there which never made it into the Bible (and usually for good reason). Some of the New Testament writers were familiar with these books, and even quoted them in our Bible; for example, Matthew 7:13 is an echo of the Epistle of Barnabas 18-20; Matthew 14:13-21 is an echo of 2nd Baruch 29:8. Jude loved the Jewish apocrypha---verse 6 can be found in the Book of Enoch, verse 7 in the Testament of the 12 Patriarchs, and verse 9 can be found in the Assumption of Moses. (Of course, on the other hand, Paul himself also quoted from the pagan Greek poets Epimenides, Aratus, Menander, and Cleanthes.)

    Anyway, the Greek Septuagint/Latin Vulgate was used as the standard Christian Bible right up to the time of the Reformation. When Luther came along, as we all know, he had some serious problems with certain Catholic doctrines such as purgatory. He rejected this doctrine, and in order to reinforce that rejection, he also rejected the seven Old Testament books from the Septuagint, since one of them (2nd Maccabees) contained a passage which corroborated the concept of purgatory. (Luther also had a problem with the concept of "works", and wanted to throw out the Epistle of James as well ["faith without works is dead"], but his friend Philip Melanchthon convinced him that if he kept on tossing books at the rate he was going, he was going to end up with a pretty thin Bible.) The other Reformers picked up on Luther's German translation with its omissions and additions (again, to reinforce his idea of sola fide, Luther added the word "alone" to Romans 5:1, changing it from "justified by faith" to "justified by faith alone"), and thus, all Protestant Bibles to the present day have 66 books, with the omission of the seven Old Testament books from the Greek Septuagint.

    Catholic Bibles still contain those seven books, which consist of Judith, Tobit, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and 1st and 2nd Maccabees; Orthodox Bibles contain them as well, and some Orthodox churches also accept 3rd and 4th Maccabees, for a total of 75 books.

    Anyway, that's why some Bibles have fewer books than others. (I guess I didn't do too well at keeping things brief, did I? )

    Blessings,
    ----Wols.
     
  7. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    The Rosary got its start in the late 1st and 2nd centuries, when Christian monks in the Syrian and Egyptian deserts used to carry around a leather bag with 150 pebbles inside, one for each of the 150 Psalms. During the course of the day, they would remove a pebble, recite a prayer, and slip the pebble into their pocket. When the bag was empty and the pocket was full, they knew they'd said a prayer for each Psalm.

    As time went on, this system evolved into knots tied in a cord, and eventually to beads strung on a string or a chain. A crucifix was added some time later, and the prayers began to get standardized. The Rosary in its present form dates from the 12th century, when a Spanish friar named Dominic Guzman (the founder of the Dominican Order) began to popularize it as a daily devotion.

    The beads themselves consist of a circle, joined together by a medal; attatched to the medal is a smaller string, or "tail", with a crucifix on the end of it. A rosary can be made of just about anything; various types of wood are popular, as is glass in various colors. Plastic is used in two types---standard and "glow-in-the-dark". Metal can be used, anything from aluminum to sterling silver and 24-karat gold. I have seen rosaries with beads made from pressure-compressed rose petals and from seeds of plants from Palestine. Mother Teresa used to carry a plain wooden rosary with different colored wood beads, the same type that we usually buy for little children; these are cheap and quickly made, and she was constantly handing them out to people who didn't have one.

    Usually a rosary will have a large bead right after the crucifix, followed by three small beads in a series, and then another large one. You then have the medal, which you skip, and you have ten small beads in a series, then another large one, and so on, until you come back to the medal again; you have five sets of ten small beads each, all of them interspersed by one large bead. It sounds more complicated than it actually is, but if you look at a Catholic rosary, you can see that it's a relatively simple device.

    The large beads are "our Father" beads, on which is recited the Lord's Prayer. The smaller beads are "Hail Mary" beads, on which are recited a prayer called the Hail Mary, which goes like this:

    "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
    Blessed art thou among women,
    And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
    Now and at the hour of our death, amen."

    (Keep in mind that Catholics believe that Mary and the saints can receive our requests and can intercede for us with God.)
    In the space between the last Hail Mary bead in each sequence of beads, the "Glory Be" is recited, which goes like this:

    "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen."

    This is sometimes followed up by the "Fatima Prayer", which goes like this:

    "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, espcially those most in need of Your mercy, amen."

    Okay; those are the basic prayers. To pray the Rosary, you start out by reciting the Apostle's Creed on the crucifix. Then, you recite one Our Father followed by three Hail Marys and one Glory Be (the short "tail" of beads). You then recite another Our Father on the next large bead, skip over the medal, and recite ten Hail Marys, one for each small bead in the next ten-bead sequence, then, another Glory Be. You continue in this fashion for all five of the ten-bead series, until you come back around to the medal. On the medal, you recite the Hail Holy Queen, which is another prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary. This particular prayer usually gives Protestants some problems---to them, it sounds utterly and completely blasphemous, so hold on:

    "Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, O most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb: Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us, O most holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, amen."

    I had a dear Protestant friend who was scandalized by this prayer. He said, "It is Jesus Who is 'our life, our sweetness and our hope', not Mary!" And I agreed with him. I said, "Look at it this way: Jesus is our life, sweetness, and hope, correct? And Mary is the mother of Jesus, correct? Well, that's exactly what this prayer calls her: the mother of our life, our sweetness, and our hope." To be honest, if one took this prayer on its own, completely isolated from the rest of all Catholic Marian theology and what the Church teaches about her, it would sound perhaps a bit shady---but it has to be taken in context with everything else the Church says about Mary....and the Church says we are saved by Jesus, not Mary.

    You finish the Rosary off by reciting the Prayer after the Rosary, which goes like this:

    "O most merciful God, Whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating upon these sacred mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ, our Lord, amen."

    Then you're done. This is only the mechanics of the thing, however; the Rosary is supposed to be a meditative prayer---there are twenty sets of "mysteries" that you're supposed to be thinking about as you recite the prayers on the beads; they are as follows:

    The Joyful Mysteries:
    1. The Annunciation---Gabriel greets Mary
    2. The Visitation---Mary visits Elizabeth
    3. The Nativity---Jesus is born in Bethlehem
    4. The Circumcision---Jesus is dedicated to God
    5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

    The Mysteries of Light
    1. The Baptism in the Jordan
    2. The Wedding at Cana
    3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
    4. The Transfiguration
    5. The Institution of the Eucharist

    The Sorrowful Mysteries:
    1. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
    2. Jesus is scourged at the pillar
    3. Jesus is crowned with thorns
    4. Jesus carries the cross
    5. Jesus is crucified

    The Glorious Mysteries:
    1. The Resurrection
    2. the Ascension
    3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
    4. The Assumption of Mary
    5. The Coronation of Mary

    (The last two are from Sacred Tradition; we believe that Mary was assumed into Heaven, body and soul, as Enoch, Elijah,and Jesus were. She was "raptured", if you like. We also believe that Mary was crowned as Queen of Heaven, based on Revelation 12:1-2.)

    Vatican II stated that there are many more sets of mysteries that can be prayed, in addition to these fifteen, which are the old standard ones. I personally have several sets which I have devised, and I pray them as a change of pace. For example, Healing Mysteries:

    1. Jesus heals the man born blind
    2. Jesus raises Jairus' daughter
    3. Jesus heals the Gadarene demoniac
    4. Jesus heals the woman with the issue of blood
    5. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead

    I also have Resurrection Mysteries:

    1. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene
    2. Jesus appears on the road to Emmaus
    3. Jesus heals Thomas' doubt
    4. Jesus re-instates Peter on the beach
    5. Jesus appears to Paul on the road to Damascus

    And so on.

    The Rosary doesn't pay more homage to Mary than to Jesus simply because of the disproportionate number of Hail Marys as opposed to other prayers; remember that there are many types of prayer, and the Rosary is a meditative prayer. This means it comes more from the head than from the heart, as opposed to something like petitional prayer, which comes more from the heart than from the head. You're not even supposed to be paying attention to the Hail Marys you recite---you're supposed to be paying attention to the mystery you're meditating upon. All that the recitation of the prayer does is to keep your mind focused and to establish a rhythm---sort of like repeating a mantra over and over in some Eastern religions.

    The way I keep focused is to concentrate on one aspect of the mystery in question for each bead, keeping that in my mind as I recite the Hail Mary. For example, let's say that we're doing the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, Jesus Carries the Cross; ten beads, ten Hail Marys, ten pictures to focus on:

    1. Jesus was shoved into a carpenter's shop and a heavy, rough-hewn pine beam was thrown across His shoulders and lashed to His arms with ropes. The smell of the fresh wood shavings gave him a pang, thinking of the happy days He had spent as a child in Joseph's carpenter shop.

    2. The soldiers shoved Jesus into the street, where He fell and skinned one knee on the rough paving stones. He struggled to His feet and staggered forward.

    3. The streets were lined with people screaming for His death, spitting on Him, mocking Him. Also in the crowd were those who loved Him, who wept with horror and sorrow as He passed by.

    4. Weak from carrying the crossbeam, Jesus fell to both knees. A woman came out of the crowd with a cloth and mercifully wiped the sweat and blood from Jesus' face.

    5. As the procession turned a corner, Jesus came face-to-face with His mother. Mary's heart twisted within her when she saw what they had done to Him, and she began to weep unconsolably.

    6. A group of women stood nearby, weeping as Jesus passed. Gasping under the weight of the crossbeam, Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me; weep rather for yourselves, and for your children."

    7. Jesus fell again, this time full-length upon His chest. He tried to rise and could not, even though the soldiers kicked Him and cursed Him.

    8. One of the soldiers yanked Jesus to His feet by His hair, while another yanked a man out of the crowd and forced him to help Jesus carry the crossbeam; this man's name was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus.

    9. At length, the place of execution was reached; this was a garbage dump outside the city wall of Jerusalem. This place was called in the Hebrew tongue "Golgotha", and in the Latin tongue "Calvarium", which means "The Place of the Skull".

    10. Jesus was tripped by the soldiers and thrown flat on His back; the wind was knocked out of Him and He gasped for air. As He struggled to breathe, two of the soldiers approached Him on either side, bearing heavy iron hammers and long, sharp, rusty iron spikes.

    And so on. It takes a while to go through five decades this way, but it really helps to keep you focused.

    The only thing left to say is that the Rosary is a devotion, which means it's entirely optional. You can be a faithful Catholic and never say a Rosary in your entire life. If it's for you and it helps you, you should use it. If it doesn't, then find another devotion that does.

    Well, I hope this helps you understand the Rosary better; if it doesn't, or if you have questions, by all means ask them and I will try to clarify for you.

    Blessings,
    ---Wols.
     
  8. Steadfast

    Steadfast Dominus vobiscum

    64
    +0
    Catholic
    You could think of Mary as the highest member of the Communion of Saints in Heaven and on Earth. The Saints in Heaven, (The Church Triumphant) unite with us in our prayer to The Father, through The Son in unity with the Holy Spirit. It works the same with the Saints on Earth, (The Church Militant) That's you and me. You ask for my prayers and I pray in UNION with you. Is it necessary for you to ask me to pray for you for God to hear your prayers? No. Are you praying to me when you ask for my prayers? No. Why do we pray for one another then? The answer is because Scripture commissions us to do so.

    Now, through our Baptism in Christ, the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant make up the Mystical Body of Christ. Since the Body of Christ can not be divided by death, Catholics do consider the Saints in Heaven to be alive in Christ and not dead, we are simply asking those who live with the Lord in Heaven to join us in prayer.

    To sum up, the Church invites us to include Mary and the Saints and the Angels in our prayer to The Father, through The Son in unity with the Holy Spirit. Together with Mary and the Saints and the Angels we worship God and He alone do we worship.
     
  9. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    The short answer is yes. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the Church established by Christ. That is why it never refers itself as a denomination. Let's see if this helps explain our perspective.

    God Bless,

    Neal
     
  10. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

    +1,538
    Catholic
    Married
    US-Others
    The short answer is yes---and so did the Apostles.

    Jesus and the Gospel writers referenced the Deuterocanonicals in the following instances:

    Matthew 6:12, 14-15---"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; if you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your heavenly father forgive your transgressions."
    Sirach 28:2---"Forgive your neighbor's injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven."

    Luke 1:17 (describing John the Baptist)---"He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers towards children and the disobediant to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord."
    Sirach 48:10---"You are destined, it is written, in time to come, to put an end to wrath before the day of the Lord, to turn back the hearts of fathers towards their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob."

    Luke 1:28, 1:42---"And coming to her, he said, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you!'.....Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."
    Judith 13:18---"Then Uzziah said to her: 'Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women of the earth; and blessed be the Lord God, the Creator of heaven and earth.

    Luke 1:52---"He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones, but lifted up the lowly."
    Sirach 10:14---"The thrones of the arrogant God overturns, and establishes the lowly in their stead."

    Luke 12:19-20---"I shall say to myself, 'Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!' But God said to him, 'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?'"
    Sirach 11:19---"When he says: 'I have found rest, now I will feast on my possessions,' he does not know how long it will be till he dies and leaves them to others."

    Luke 18:22---"When Jesus heard this, he said to him, 'There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.'"
    Sirach 29:11---"Dispose of your treasure as the Most High commands, for that will profit you more than the gold."

    John 3:12---"If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?"
    Wisdom 9:16---"Scarce do we guess the things on earth, and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty; but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?"

    John 5:18---"For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but he also called God his own Father, making himself equal to God."
    Wisdom 2:16---"He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father."

    John 10:29---"My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand."
    Wisdom 3:1---"But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them."

    Paul and James allude to them as well:

    Romans 2:11---"There is no partiality with God."
    Sirach 35:12---"For he is a God of justice, who knows no favorites."

    Romans 9:21---"Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for a noble purpose andanother fo an ignoble one?"
    Wisdom 15:7---"For truly the potter, laboriously working the soft earth, molds for our service each several article: both the vessels that serve for clean purposes, and their opposites, all alike; as to what shall be the use of each vessel of eiother class, the worker in clay is the judge."

    Romans 11:24---"For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?"
    Wisdom 9:13---"For what man knows God's counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?"

    1 Thessalonians 2:16---"(The enemies of Christ persecute us), trying to prevent us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved, thus constantly filling up the measure of their sins. But the wrath of God has finally begun to come upon them."
    2 Maccabees 6:14---"Thus, in dealing with other nations, the Lord patiently waits until they reach the full measure of their sins before he punishes them; but with us he has decided to deal differently"

    James 1:13---"No one experiencing temptation should say, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one."
    Sirach 15:11-12---"Say not: 'It was God's doing that I fell away'; for what he hates he does not do. Say not: 'It was he who set me astray'; for he has no need of wicked man."

    James 5:2-3---"Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver hav corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire."
    Judith 16:17---'The Lord Almighty will requite them; in the day of judgement he will punish them: he will send fire and worms into their flesh, and they shall burn and suffer forever."

    Now, of course, you may say that these don't sound like exact quotes, and you'd be right; but there are thousands of allusions in the New Testament from the Old, both Deuterocanon and not, which are not exact quotes. Romans 11:34, for example, also has an allusion to Job 15:8, but ironically the allusion to Wisdom 9:13 is closer in actual wording to it than Job is. And, of course, if you want to get into loose allusions, we could expand the above list to ten times the size it is. Then there are also the cases of outright error in some New Testament quotes, such as Matthew 27:9, in which Matthew quotes "the prophet Jeremiah", when the allusion is actually found nowhere in Jeremiah but rather in Zecheriah 11:12-13.

    There is also the case of some Old Testament books not being quoted by Jesus in the New Testament: He didn't quote from Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, or the Song of Solomon. And yet they are still considered to be canonical Scripture even though He did not reference them. :)
     
  11. Reader Nilus

    Reader Nilus SISU

    +230
    Eastern Orthodox
    There is the Sadducees questioning Our Lord in Matthew about the 7 brothers who are married to the same woman without having children and they all died, and who's wife would she be in the resurrection. Matthew 22:23-33. That comes from the situation of Sarah in Tobit. Tobit 3:7-17. By that allusion it is clear that Tobit was well known.
    Jeff the Finn
     
  12. Rising_Suns

    Rising_Suns 'Christ's desolate heart is in need of comfort'

    +770
    Catholic
    9. Where did Tradition come from?
    In the very beginning of Christianity after the death of Christ, the Bible—namely, the New Testament—simply did not exist. It had not been written yet. For many years after Christ’s death, all that people really had as a basis for their faith was what had been passed down by the Apostles through word or action. Since most people could not even read or write anyway, Christianity was practically sustained through the tradition of handing down what they have learned from the Apostles and elders that preceded them. It was these traditions which were handed down from the Apostles that preserved Christianity in the very beginning, and this is in a nutshell, what the Church terms; “Apostolic Tradition”.
    The Webster’s dictionary defines tradition as “the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction”. This definition could not be any more fitting to the truth. Yet, many people today discount Tradition on the basis of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone), which as we have previously discussed asserts that the Bible alone should be the sole authority of God. While it is true that the Bible forms a basic framework of the nature of God and salvation, it is clear that there was still valuable instruction from Christ and the Apostles that was not recorded in written form. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul reminds them of this; “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thess. 2:15). And in his letter to the Corinthians “I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you.” [1 Cor 11:2] There is no doubt that Tradition is both Biblical and historical, and as detailed in the next section, it was through Apostolic Tradition that the Church was able to discern which books to include in the New Testament.[1]
    [1]For more information, see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 120.


    10. Where did the Bible come from?
    After a few hundred years following the death of Christ, the Catholic Church saw the need to put together a unified compilation of documents to set as a standard written authority. At the Council of Rome in 382 A.D., the Church met under the authority of Pope Damasus I and gathered all writings discerned to be inspired by God, while discarding all other non-inspired and heretical documents. It was at this council that the Church--through the knowledge of what the Apostles taught and the grace of the Holy Spirit--decided on the twenty-seven books that now make up the New Testament. This list (canon) was reaffirmed at subsequent councils (Hippo in 393 A.D. and Carthage in 397 A.D.), and eventually became the standard for the Christian world.
    Both Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition were then acknowledged in their true form as the foundation of authority for Christendom (together, both make up the Deposit of Faith Jesus Christ left to His Church), as both were acknowledged as divinely inspired and infallible. And as such, the Catholic Church has sought to preserve Scripture and Tradition in their entirety throughout history.

    Why do Catholics believe that their church is the one true church of Jesus Christ?
    Catholics believe that their church is the one true church because they trace their roots back to 33 A.D., when Christ told Peter that he is the rock and upon him He will build His church. The Catholic church is in the fact the original Christian church, where all other denominations have broken off of through time. Jesus told us that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church, so we must have the faith that the Catholic church has held true to its founding beliefs and traditions.

    Why do Catholics believe some things that are not found in the bible?
    We hold the bible dearly to our hearts as God’s word to us, but it is not the bible alone that the church abides by. Christ told His diciples to not only carry on what is written, but also carry on the oral traditions as well. ``Stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.'' (2 Thess. 2:14. Also see 2 Thess. 3:6). The Catholic church has sought to preserve the oral traditions passed down from the Apostles, even thought the world may not understand it or reject it. It is also worth noting that these traditions we hold to do not in any way conflict with anything written in the bible.

    Do Catholics worship Mary and the Saints?
    No. The bible tells us Mary was set apart from all women and most blessed "hail mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus". Thus we honor Mary because God chose her to bear His one and only Son Jesus Christ, and we ask her and the angels and saints in heaven to pray for us, just the same as we ask each other on earth to pray for us; "pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. amen." Thus, when we pray to Mary and the Saints, we are not worshiping them. We are only asking them to pray to God on our behalf because we believe in the power of prayer.

    What is purgatory all about?
    We believe that before any of us can enter into heaven, we must first be cleansed (or purged, root word) of our sins, and that is all purgatory is; a cleansing process before entering heaven. Thus, anyone who is in purgatory is already going to heaven. Now, purgatory in no way diminishes what Christ did for us 2000 years ago on the cross. His death gave us salvation, but we still walk in sin. So what happens between the time of us living on earth in sin and entering heaven with our sinfull ways cleansed from us? The bible describes this process as a “purifying fire”, but Catholics just call it purgatory:

    "If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one's work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone's work is burned up, that one will suffer loss; the person will be saved, but only as through fire."--1 cor 2:12

    Do Catholics believe in “Once saved always saved”?
    Unlike most other protestant denominations, Catholics do not believe that once you are saved you are always saved. We believe that just as we have the free will to accept God’s gift of eternal life, we also have the free will to reject it. Catholics believe that salvation is a process, not a one time event. As the bible tells us, we must work out our salvation in fear and trembling, and always seek a deeper realationship with Him through our savior Jesus Christ. It also says that recieving the holy spirit is a "first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's posession"--eph 1:14, as there is more to come. Logically, believing in OSAS is also risky because then people can justify a passive and even sinfull lifestyle and still feel fine about it because they believe they are going to heaven no matter what they do.

    What do Catholics believe regarding faith and works?
    We believe that faith and works are very much interconnected. Unlike most other denominations which stress that faith alone is what saves, we believe that if one truly has faith, then they will naturally desire to act on their faith. As the bible tells us, faith without works is dead. And just the same, works without faith is dead. One cannot exist without the other.
     
  13. Rising_Suns

    Rising_Suns 'Christ's desolate heart is in need of comfort'

    +770
    Catholic
    QUOTED FROM: www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/faq-cc.html[/I]
    Why do Catholics confess their sins to priests? What makes them think that priests can absolve them of the guilt of their sins? Why don't they confess their sins directly to God as Protestants do?

    Catholics confess their sins to priests because-- as it is clearly stated in Sacred Scripture--God in the Person of Jesus Christ authorized the priests of His Church to hear confessions and empowered them to forgive sins in His Name. To the Apostles, the first priests of His Church, Christ said: ``Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.... Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.'' (John 20:21-23). Then again: ``Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.'' (Matt. 18:18). In other words, Catholics confess their sins to priests because priests are God's duly authorized agents in the world, representing Him in all matters pertaining to the ways and means of attaining eternal salvation. When Catholics confess their sins to a priest they are, in reality, confessing their sins to God, for God hears their confessions and it is He who, in the final analysis, does the forgiving. If their confessions are not sincere, their sins are not forgiven.
    Furthermore, Catholics do confess their sins directly to God as Protestants do: Catholics are taught to make an act of contrition at least every night before retiring, to ask God to forgive them their sins of that day. Catholics are also taught to say this same prayer of contrition if they should have the misfortune to commit a serious sin (called a ``mortal sin'' by Catholics

    Physchologically speaking, it also makes perfect sense. Confessing to a priest is, in a way like a spiritual therapy sesssion. Just the fact that you take the time to go and speak your sins to another person provides much encouragement and closure to change from your old ways. God wants us to help each other, and places much value on fellowship, which is in part why this sytem is set up.
     
  14. Rising_Suns

    Rising_Suns 'Christ's desolate heart is in need of comfort'

    +770
    Catholic
    Where does the pope come from and what’s he all about?

    Jesus’s disciple, Peter, was the first pope. After Jesus died, Peter moved to Rome where the succession of popes began in. Here’s a quote from a good FAQ site (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/faq-cc.html):

    Why do Catholics believe that Peter the Apostle was the first Pope, when the word ``Pope'' doesn't even appear in Catholic Bibles? Just where does the Pope get his authority to rule over the Catholic Church?


    True, the word ``Pope'' doesn't appear in the Bible--but then neither do the words ``Trinity,'' ``Incarnation,'' ``Ascension'' and ``Bible'' appear in the Bible. However, they are referred to by other names. The Bible, for example, is referred to as ``Scripture.'' The Pope, which means head bishop of the Church, is referred to as the ``rock'' of the Church, or as the ``shepherd'' of the Church. Christ used that terminology when He appointed the Apostle Peter the first head bishop of His Church, saying: ``Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona . . . Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.'' (Matt. 16:17-19). ``There shall be one fold and one shepherd.'' (John 10:16). ``Feed my lambs... feed my sheep.'' (John 21:15-17). The words ``rock'' and ``shepherd'' must apply to Peter, and they must distinguish him as the head Apostle, otherwise Christ's statements are so ambiguous as to be meaningless. Certainly the other Apostles understood that Peter had authority from Christ to lead the Church, for they gave him the presiding place every time they assembled in council (Acts 1:15, 5:1-10), and they placed his name first every time they listed the names of the Apostles. (Matt. 10:2, Mark 3:16, Luke 6:13-14, Acts 1:13).

    In addition, there is the testimony of the Church Fathers. In the second century St. Hegessipus compiled a list of Popes to the time of Anicetus (eleventh Pope) which contained the name of St. Peter as first. Early in the third century the historian Caius wrote that Pope Victor was ``the thirteenth Bishop of Rome from Peter.'' In the middle of the third century St. Cyprian related that Cornelius (twenty-first Pope) ``mounted the lofty summit of the priesthood . . . the place of Peter.'' Even Protestant historians have attested to Peter's role as first Bishop of Rome, first Pope of the Catholic Church. Wrote the eminent Protestant historian Cave in his Historia Literaria: ``That Peter was at Rome, and held the See there for some time, we fearlessly affirm with the whole multitude of the ancients.'' Hence the source of the Pope's authority to rule over the Catholic Church is quite obvious: It was given him by none other than Jesus Christ--by God Himself.
     
  15. Rising_Suns

    Rising_Suns 'Christ's desolate heart is in need of comfort'

    +770
    Catholic
    yet another quote from the site above:

    Why do Catholics believe in seven sacraments, while Protestants believe in only two? Exactly what is a sacrament, and what does it do for a person?

    Catholics believe in seven sacraments because Christ instituted seven; because the Apostles and Church Fathers believed in seven; because the second Ecumenical Council of Lyons (1274) defined seven; and because the Ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563) confirmed seven.

    In short, the enumeration, seven, arises from the perpetual tradition of Christian belief--which explains why that enumeration is accepted not only by Catholics, but by all of the other ancient and semi-ancient Christian communities--Egyptian Coptic, Ethiopian Monophysite, Syrian Jacobite, Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox.

    To understand what a sacrament is, and what it does for a person, one must know the correct, the traditional Christian, definition of a sacrament. Properly defined, a sacrament is ``an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace'' (holiness) to the soul . . . that is to say, it is a divinely prescribed ceremony of the Church in which the words and action combine to form what is at the same time both a sign of divine grace and a fount of divine grace. When this special grace--distinct from ordinary, inspirational grace--is imparted to the soul, the Holy Spirit of God is imparted to the soul, imbuing the soul with divine life, uniting the soul to Christ.
    As the Scriptures point out, this grace is the grace of salvation--without it man is, in a very real sense, isolated from Christ. And as the Scriptures point out, Christ gave His Church seven sacraments to serve as well-springs of this ineffable, soul-saving grace, the grace which flows from His sacrifice on Calvary:

    BAPTISM--the sacrament of spiritual rebirth through which we are made children of God and heirs of Heaven: ``Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'' (John 3:5. Also see Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:2-6).
    CONFIRMATION--the sacrament which confers the Holy Spirit to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ: ``Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost.... Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.'' (Acts 8:14-17. Also see Acts 19:6).
    The EUCHARIST--the sacrament, also known as Holy Communion, which nourishes the soul with the true Flesh and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, under the appearance, or sacramental veil, of bread and wine: ``And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.'' (Mark 14:22-24. Also see Matt. 26:26-28, Luke 22:19-20, John 6:52-54, 1 Cor. 10:16).
    PENANCE--the sacrament, also known as Confession, through which Christ forgives sin and restores the soul to grace: ``Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. '' (John 20:22-23. Also see Matt. 18:18).
    EXTREME UNCTION--the sacrament, sometimes called the Last Anointing, which strengthens the sick and sanctifies the dying: ``Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord . . . and if he be in ,ins, they shall be forgiven him.'' (James 5:14-15. Also see Mark 6:12-13).
    HOLY ORDERS--the sacrament of ordination which empowers priests to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, administer the sacraments, and officiate over all the other proper affairs of the Church: ``For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins.... Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was.'' (Heb. 5:1-4. Also see Acts 20:28, 1 Tim. 4:14). Also: ``And taking bread, he gave thanks, and broke; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.'' (Luke 22:19).
    MATRIMONY--the sacrament which unites a man and woman in a holy and indissoluble bond: ``For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.'' (Matt. 19:5-6. Also see Mark 10:7-9, Eph. 5:22-32).

    There you have it, the Word of Christ and the example of the Apostles attesting both to the validity and the efficacy of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. In truth, every one of them is an integral part of Christ's plan for man's eternal salvation.
     
  16. Rising_Suns

    Rising_Suns 'Christ's desolate heart is in need of comfort'

    +770
    Catholic
    still another quote from the site above:

    Why do Catholics believe that Christ is sacrificed in each and every Mass, when Scripture plainly states that He was sacrificed on Calvary once and for all?

    Most non-Catholics do not realize it, but Christ Himself offered the first Mass at the Last Supper. At the Last Supper He offered (sacrificed) Himself to His Father in an unbloody manner, that is, under the form of bread and wine, in anticipation of His bloody sacrifice on the cross to be offered on the following day, Good Friday. In the Mass, not now by anticipation, but rather in retrospect, Christ continues to make that offering of Himself to His Father--by the hands of the priest. ``And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.'' (Matt. 26:26-28). Christ ordered His Church to perpetuate that sacrificial rite for the continued sanctification of His followers, saying, ``Do this for a commemoration of me'' (Luke 22:19)--so the Catholic Church complies with His order in the Mass. In other words, every Mass is a re-enactment of Our Lord's one sacrifice of Calvary. The Mass derives all its value from the Sacrifice of the Cross; the Mass is that same sacrifice, not another. It is not essentially a sacrifice offered by men (although men also join in), but rather it is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
    Christ's bloody sacrifice on Calvary was accomplished ``once'' (Heb. 10:10), just as Scripture says. The Catholic Church likewise teaches that the sacrifice of the Cross was a complete and perfect sacrifice-- offered ``once.'' But the Apostle Paul--the same Apostle who wrote this text in the book of Hebrews--also bears witness that the sacrificial rite which Christ instituted at the Last Supper is to be perpetuated--and that it is not only important for man's sanctification, but is the principal factor in man's final redemption. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, St. Paul tells how, at the Last Supper, Our Lord said: ``This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come.'' Thus at every Mass the Christian has a new opportunity to worship God with this one perfect sacrifice and to ``absorb'' more of Christ's saving and sanctifying grace of Calvary. This grace is infinite, and the Christian should continuously grow in this grace until his death. The reason the Mass is offered again and again is not from any imperfection in Christ, but from our imperfect capacity to receive.

    Finally, the holy sacrifice of the Mass fulfills the Old Testament prophecy: ``For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.'' (Mal. 1:11). The Sacrifice of the Mass is offered every day throughout the world, and in every Mass the only truly ``clean oblation'' is offered, that is, Christ Himself; thus the Mass is the perfect fulfillment of this prophecy.
     
  17. Rising_Suns

    Rising_Suns 'Christ's desolate heart is in need of comfort'

    +770
    Catholic
    Why do Catholics believe their Holy Communion is the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ? Why don't they believe as [most] Protestants do that Christ is only present symbolically, or spiritually, in the consecrated bread and wine?

    Catholics believe that their Holy Communion, the Blessed Eucharist, is the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ, because that is what Christ said It was: ``This is my body... This is my blood'' (Matt. 26:26-28; see also Luke 22:19-20 and Mark 14:22-24); because that is what Christ said they must receive in order to have eternal life: ``. . . Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you...'' (John 6:48-52; 54-56); and because that is what the Apostles believed: ``The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?'' (1 Cor. 10:16). ``Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.'' (1 Cor. 11:27-29). Also, Catholics believe that Holy Communion is the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ because that is what all Christians believed until the advent of Protestantism in the 16th century.

    Wrote Justin Martyr, illustrious Church Father of the second century: ``This food is known among us as the Eucharist . . . We do not receive these things as common bread and common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior, being made flesh by the Word of God.'' Wrote St. Cyril of Jerusalem, venerable Church Father of the fourth century: ``Since then Christ has declared and said of the bread, 'This is my Body,' who after that will venture to doubt? And seeing that He has affirmed and said, 'This is my Blood,' who will raise a question and say it is not His Blood?'' In addition to the witness of Sacred Scripture and Christian tradition, Catholics have the witness of the Holy Eucharist itself: On numerous occasions great and awesome miracles have attended its dis- play, and seldom has its reception by the Catholic faithful failed to produce in them a feeling of joyful union with their Lord and Saviour. In the face of all this evidence, Catholics could hardly be expected to adopt the Protestant position.
     
  18. Rising_Suns

    Rising_Suns 'Christ's desolate heart is in need of comfort'

    +770
    Catholic
    Why does the Catholic Church baptize infants, who have no understanding of what is taking place?

    The Catholic Church baptizes infants because Christ wills it. He must will it because He said, ``Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me.'' (Matt. 19:14). According to the Apostle Paul, one cannot truly come to Christ except through Baptism. (Rom. 6:3-4). Christ must will it because the Apostles baptized ``all the people'' (Luke 3:21 ) and whole households (Acts 16:15, 1 Cor. 1:16). Certainly ``all the people'' and whole ``households'' included infants. Christ must will it because He stated categorically that Baptism is a necessary prerequisite for salvation (John 3:5), and He certainly desires the salvation of infants. He must will it because the primitive Christian Church, which had fresh firsthand knowledge of His Will, baptized infants. In the ancient catacombs of Rome the inscriptions on the tombs of infants make mention of their having been baptized. One such inscription reads: ``Here rests Archillia, a newly-baptized; she was one year and five months old; died February 23rd.''
    An unbaptized infant is not simply in a ``natural'' state; it is in the state of reprobation, living under the reign of Satan, with the sin of Adam ``staining'' its soul. Therefore infants should be baptized as soon as is reasonably possible--usually within 2-3 weeks of birth. When children grow up with Our Lord dwelling in their souls, they have a powerful protection against sin. Moreover, Our Lord can thereby draw children to a deep love for Himself at a very early age--as He did with St. Therese, St. Maria Goretti, St. Dominic Savio, and Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
     
  19. Rising_Suns

    Rising_Suns 'Christ's desolate heart is in need of comfort'

    +770
    Catholic
    Why is the Catholic Church opposed to birth control? Where in the Bible is birth control condemned as being contrary to the Will of God?

    The Catholic Church is not opposed to birth control when it is accomplished by natural means, by self control. She is opposed only to birth control by artificial means, by the employment of pills, condoms, IUD's, foams, jellies, sterilization, non-completion of the act of sexual union--or any other means used to prevent conception from resulting from this act--because such means profane the marital embrace and dishonor the marriage contract. God slew Onan for practicing contraception (Gen. 38:9-10); the word ``onanism'' derives from Onan's deed. In fact, up until the Church of England's Lambeth Conference of 1930, which accepted contraception and thus broke with the Christian tradition, contraception had been considered by all Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant, to be gravely sinful. The Catholic Church does not feel free to change the law of God, as do Protestants.
     
  20. KennySe

    KennySe Habemus Papam!

    +251
    Catholic
    Matthew 13:24-30
    Another parable put he [Jesus]forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

    But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

    But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

    So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

    He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

    But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

    Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.


    Are all who go to a church service saved? Is attendance alone a guarantee of salvation? I am not grouping together all non-Catholics.
     
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