DO YOU KNOW YOUR CATHOLIC FAITH?
Reconnecting with your Catholic Faith
THE BIBLE AS SOLE AUTHORITY
Question: Is the Bible alone the authority in matters of faith? This doctrine is called sola sciptura by the Protestants.
Answer: Protestants will want you to agree with them that the Bible is the only 'rule of faith , but we must always answer "No" to this assertion. We Catholics accept the Bible as an authority in matters of th e Faith because it is th e inspired Word of God, but it is not the only rule of faith. The Bible tells us that Christ left a Church with divine authority to govern in His name (Mt 16:13-20, 18: 18). The Bible also tell s us that Sacred Tradition is to be followed alongside Sacred Scripture ( 2 Thess 2:15, 3:6). What's more, the doctrine of sola scriptura is not found in the Bible . As Catholics, it is very reassuring to know that we have the teaching authority of the Church which Scripture says is "the pillar and foundation of the truth " 1 Tim 3:15
Question: Are you saved?
Answer: Yes, I have been saved ....I am being saved, and I will be saved. Being saved is not just a one time event, but a daily event. I can lose my salvation by living a sinful life. Remember what St. Paul said: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling ." Phil. 2 (12)
Question: Once we have been saved, can we lose our salvation?
Answer: Protestants would answer that "once saved-always saved", but the Catholic Church teaches otherwise. Romans 11:22 states, "Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you; provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off "In so many of St. Paul's Epistles, he speaks of running the race of life and enduring until the end. In Hebrews 2:1-3 Paul says, “Therefore, we must attend all the more to what we have heard [talking about salvation], so that we may not be carried away.
2 For if the word announced through angels proved firm, and every transgression and disobedience received its just recompense, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”
We all sin, but our actions have consequences, and we must be vigilant to overcome all sins.
Perseverance to the end is required for our salvation: Matt. 24:13, "But he who endures to the end will be saved." We must continue to love God and our neighbor, to "do" something to show our love. Jesus opened the gates of Heaven for us but we must still walk through them. Remember this verse from St. Paul's letter to the Philippians, "....work out your salvation in fear and trembling " Phil. 2:12.
Question: What does the Catholic Church teach about capital punishment ?
Answer: Human life is God's gift and is sacred from conception to natural death. The right to life given to us all, even notorious criminals, is almost absolute. Saint John Paul II explained that in principle the state has the right to impose the death penalty but that right is unnecessary in the modern world. The general public can be protected from notorious criminals by a life sentence without parole. That is a greater punishment than execution and would give the criminal time to repent of the crime before the Lord. The USA is one of few free countries in the world which still legalizes the death penalty. Scripture: "None of us lives for self, and no one dies for self. In life and in death we belong to the Lord." Rom. 14:7
The intentional killing of a person who is suffering from a terminal illness or whose life seems meaningless. This killing can be a positive act (injection} or by omission (starvation).
Statement: ''It is my body, I choose not to suffer through this illness, but to end my life."
Answer: No. Your body, your life, is not yours, it belongs to God. Rom. 14:7-9 says, "None of us lives for self, no one dies for self…..whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Our Church teaches, life is sacred and a gift from God. Nowhere in Scripture or in the Tradition of the Church do we find exceptions to the 5th Commandment.
Statement: Euthanasia is legal in Holland, and some states in the USA.
Answer: Being legal does not make it moral. Many have accepted euthanasia because so many people have rejected God, and made themselves a god. Once God has been rejected, many people cannot see the spiritual value in suffering.
Question: Can a dying person in extreme pain receive heavy doses of medication even if it hastens death?
Answer: Yes, it is moral if it is given to relieve pain; shortening of life may be an unwanted side effect.
Question: How should we morally deal with a patient declared to be in a “vegetative state”?
Answer: St. John Paul II pointed out that, “even [such] brothers and sisters…retain their human dignity in all its fullness.” The Church teaches that life should be prolonged by “ordinary means”, not, at all costs. Ordinary means includes administering water, food, and oxygen to the patient; not by the extraordinary means of heavy-duty machinery. The proper response to end of life suffering is loving care.
Statement: “It is my baby and I have a right to make my own choice?”
Answer: No. Abortion is the killing of a defenseless human being in the womb, distinct from mother, though connected at this point. It is in violation of the 5th Commandment. God alone gives life as Psalm 139:13 says,
"It is you Lord who created my inmost self and put me together in my mother’s womb."
Statement: The fetus is just a clump of cells
Answer: Dr. Jerome LeJeune, world renowned scientist, points out that "All scientists know that life begins at conception." Modern technology reveals that at 3 weeks the fetus has a heart beat; at 6 weeks brain waves; at 8 weeks fingerprints and can kick; and at 11 weeks can yawn, smell, and feel.
Statement: "Abortion is legal in our country".
Answer: What is legal may still be immoral , eg. the killing of Jews in Nazi Germany, or slavery
Statement : "Surely rape and incest would be an exception".
Answer: Why add murder of an innocent to these, albeit, hideous crimes. Can we not explore adoption?
Question: Does the Church allow cremation of the body after death?
Answer: According to the official document from the Congregation for Divine Worship, “The created remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the human body. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum.” The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea or elsewhere, or keeping remains in a home, is not a reverent way to honor the deceased. Yes, a funeral Mass may be offered in the presence of the cremated remains, but the most accepted method is to have the body present at the funeral Mass and have cremation at a later time.
Question: May non-Catholics receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church?
Answer: The Catholic Church is a custodian of the Sacrament of Eucharist and has authority to decide who is eligible to receive the Sacrament. Since Eucharist is the sign of total unity with the Catholic Church, non-Catholics, members of other denominations, are not eligible to receive Eucharist. This is a consequence of the sad division of Christianity.
Reception of Eucharist by Christians not fully united with us would imply a oneness which does not exist, and for which we all pray. If a non-Catholic wishes to receive Eucharist, they should be instructed in the Faith and received into union with the Catholic Church.
Question: Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest? Only God can forgive sins.
Answer: "Yes", only God can forgive sins but hear what Jesus said to his Apostles on that first Easter evening when he appeared to them.
"Peace be with you . As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you .....Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven, whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." Jn 20 (21-23) Who does "you" refer to? Evidently the Apostles, the Church. That power to forgive sins was handed on by the Apostles and is still with us 2000 years later. God 's forgiveness is administered through his representative, the priest.
Question: Why do Catholics worship Mary?
Answer: Catholics do not worship Mary. We venerate her for a very good reason. She is the mother of our Lord Jesus. Veneration is very different from adoration, which is reserved for God alone. Mary herself said, as recorded in Scripture, "all generations will call me blessed" Luke 1 (48). If we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, would it not be an insult to say, "If you don’t mind, I would prefer to ignore your mother." Catholics do not "worship" statutes or pictures of Mary. They are visual aids to help us in prayer. They are 'reminders' of Mary just as pictures of your family in your wallet or home are reminders of your loved ones. You don't worship these pictures do you?
Question: Is it biblical to ask the saints in heaven to pray for us?
Answer: Most Protestants will say “No”', because it is in opposition to 1 Tim 2:5 that says there is one mediator between God and man. Catholics will say it is very biblical since we are all part of the communion of saints. Jesus Christ is our mediator, the one high priest who "gave himself as a ransom for all", but we are called to share in Christ's priesthood. Verses 1-4 of 1 Tim:2 urges us to make intercessory prayer for all men. Why do we ask the saints for help? They are still alive in the Mystical Body of Christ. When Christ was on earth he conversed with Elijah and Moses on Mount Tabor, Mark 9:4. We Christians are members of Christ’s one body, united in His divine life even beyond the grave, and concerned with each other's salvation. In prayer we call on the support of our older brothers and sisters who have already won their crown of glory.
Question: Why do Catholics baptize infants since they cannot accept Jesus for themselves?
Answer: Fundamentalists believe that baptism is only a symbolic washing signifying that a person has accepted Jesus as his/her Lord and Savior. They say that since an infant cannot accept Jesus for themselves, baptism is meaningless. Catholics believe that infant baptism is very Biblical, that just as circumcision was the sign that united the people of the Old Covenant (performed on the eight day after birth) , baptism fulfills circumcision in the New Covenant (Col 2: 11-12). Just as parents in the Old Testament supplied the decision for the child's circumcision, so in the New Testament, parents stand in for the child at his/her baptism. Moreover, baptism is not just a symbol. When the great St. Paul went through his conversion, Ananias told him to be baptized and his sins would be washed away (Acts 22:16). Baptism cleanses us from original (and personal) sin, and joins us to the Body of Christ, His church. Why wait to receive such an awesome grace--a grace we need so much to grow both spiritually and physically?