Jegsy Scarr

Ask a Catholic! (i.e, me...)

300 posts in this topic

@Kailey-I have three guesses about the situation.

1.) The pope might have been referring only to classes that are specifically Roman Catholic instruction courses as opposed to religious studies courses.

2.) While many higher-ups in Roman Catholic Church hold or have held the view that the Onan story refers to birth control, it might not be the "official" view per se. They might allow for members to hold the view that it is only Tadition that forbids this.

3.) Some of the colleges just don't card and, as you said, it is hard to monitor.

Sorry about the partial double post. I'm on my phone and can't fix it right now.

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I've thought of a unique question regarding birth control. Would a wife be allowed to have sex with her husband if he insisted on wearing a condom as form of birth control even if she did not want him to? Say they practice NFP and only have sex during the times when the woman is not likely to get pregnant, but the man insists on wearing a condom as a means of double protection against pregnancy. Is she allowed to have sex with the man? I understand that the Roman Catholic view would be that the man is sinning, but would the woman also be sinning?

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I've thought of a unique question regarding birth control. Would a wife be allowed to have sex with her husband if he insisted on wearing a condom as form of birth control even if she did not want him to? Say they practice NFP and only have sex during the times when the woman is not likely to get pregnant, but the man insists on wearing a condom as a means of double protection against pregnancy. Is she allowed to have sex with the man? I understand that the Roman Catholic view would be that the man is sinning, but would the woman also be sinning?

In a case where one spouse insists on using contraception, then the other spouse is allowed to have sex with them for the sake of preserving the marriage, as long as

1. they try their best to educate their spouse on what the Church teaches on the issue, and

2. the other party uses the contraception. So in the case you gave, the husband would have to be the one who used the condom, because he's the one insisting on using contraception. But if he tried to make the wife take the Pill or use a diaphragm, or whatever, then she would have to refuse.

xxx

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Interesting. I'm assuming that she would be sinning if she had sex outside of her infertile period, though, right? (The thought is she does not want to get pregnant, either, but will only use NFP. She can't take advantage of the fact that her husband is doing what the Roman Catholic Church says is sinning, I assume. She can't have an attitude of "if he's going to wear one anyway I can just have sex with him during times when I'm fertile, even though I want to restrict it only to infertile times.")

I ask this partly because this is probably what would happen if I ever married a Roman Catholic woman. I know most Roman Catholics ignore this rule, but I would think it's possible that the ones who are strict enough to wait until marriage to have sex and to have remained a virgin would also be the ones strict enough to not use birth control.

Honestly, I think it's unlikely I marry a Roman Catholic, though. She would have to be strict enough to be a virgin, but flexible enough to accept concessions that I'm not sure a strict Roman Catholic could make. (I would not want the children raised Roman Catholic, I would hope she would go to church with me at my church at least every other week even though I would not go to her church, she would have to respect my denomination more than I assume most strict Roman Catholics accept other denominations.) Also, even if she did all these things I think I still might not be able to marry her, as it might be hard to see my wife practice Roman Catholocism.

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Interesting. I'm assuming that she would be sinning if she had sex outside of her infertile period, though, right? (The thought is she does not want to get pregnant, either, but will only use NFP. She can't take advantage of the fact that her husband is doing what the Roman Catholic Church says is sinning, I assume. She can't have an attitude of "if he's going to wear one anyway I can just have sex with him during times when I'm fertile, even though I want to restrict it only to infertile times.")

Well, I think the idea behind this is that if your spouse insists on using contraception when you have sex, then you can't really just keep refusing sex, or you'll put a huge strain on your marriage. Now, if you knew when you were fertile, and you could refuse sex for just those few days without causing a problem in your relationship, then refusing sex during those times might be a good idea. If, as you say, the wife was of the mindset of, "Oh, great! If he's wearing a condom, then we can have sex all the time, and it's not a sin because I've told him how I feel about it." then that could be a sin, since she isn't really against it.

I ask this partly because this is probably what would happen if I ever married a Roman Catholic woman. I know most Roman Catholics ignore this rule, but I would think it's possible that the ones who are strict enough to wait until marriage to have sex and to have remained a virgin would also be the ones strict enough to not use birth control.

Honestly, I think it's unlikely I marry a Roman Catholic, though. She would have to be strict enough to be a virgin, but flexible enough to accept concessions that I'm not sure a strict Roman Catholic could make. (I would not want the children raised Roman Catholic, I would hope she would go to church with me at my church at least every other week even though I would not go to her church, she would have to respect my denomination more than I assume most strict Roman Catholics accept other denominations.) Also, even if she did all these things I think I still might not be able to marry her, as it might be hard to see my wife practice Roman Catholocism.

Well, as you say, you don't think you'll marry a Catholic, anyway, so that wouldn't be an issue. If you did decide to marry a Catholic, you'd need a dispensation from the local bishop. That would mean that your fiancée would have to promise to do everything in her power to make sure any children you had were baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church, and that she was prepared to avoid the dangers of abandoning her faith. You would be informed about those promises and responsibilities, but you wouldn't have to make any formal promises. They'd also make sure that both of you understood all of the essential properties and purposes of marriage. You could also get permission from them to have a non-Catholic wedding ceremony if you wanted.

As you said, a devout Catholic is unlikely to marry someone who refuses to raise the children Catholic, or who's decided that they'll use contraception even though it's something she's against. But, thought you'd like to know all that, just in case.

xxx

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I was actually already familiar with those rules. That is why I said it would be unlikely. But, people are surprising, especially when they're in love. I wouldn't be shocked if a woman was willing to make those concessions if she was in love with me. As far as whether the administrators of the Roman Catholic Church would allow it, I think it probably depends on which priest or bishop you talk to and how they perceive the specific case.

Basically for me it would only possibly work if the woman was more of a strict Christian who just happened to also be Roman Catholic. She would be Roman Catholic because it's what she's always known and because it's what she is comfortable with, but I couldn't be with a woman who claimed it was the one true church and who didn't understand that my reasons for not being a Roman Catholic are perfectly valid.

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Jegs,

Forgive me if it's already been addressed.

Before the Gospel is read, when saying "Glory to You, O Lord." and making miniature signs of the cross on the forehead, over the lips, and over the heart.

What are the words you pray silently/internally?

I seem to remember having a priest tell us what we are saying to ourselves at that moment. Something along the lines of "Lord be in my thoughts, on my lips, and in my heart" or something?

Thanks in advance,

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Jegs,

Forgive me if it's already been addressed.

Before the Gospel is read, when saying "Glory to You, O Lord." and making miniature signs of the cross on the forehead, over the lips, and over the heart.

What are the words you pray silently/internally?

I seem to remember having a priest tell us what we are saying to ourselves at that moment. Something along the lines of "Lord be in my thoughts, on my lips, and in my heart" or something?

Thanks in advance,

Yep, that's it! It's a reminder that we need to let the Lord be in our thoughts, on our lips, and in our hearts. Since when you hear the Gospel, you're hearing the words of Jesus, it's a special reminder that we should pay extra attention. I guess it's the same reason you stand when the Gospel is read: it reminds you that they're really special.

xxx

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Do Roman Catholics (in general) understand that Protestant denominations are all different from one another and, in many cases, are very different from one another? In my experience Roman Catholics tend to lump all Protestants together and don't understand the differences.

Also, do they realize that being part of another denomination isn't about just interpreting the Bible however you want? I feel like many Roman Catholics sort of fecetioisly say "Protestants just individually interpret it into whatever they want." In actuality, though, many denominations send their pastors to seminary, have them rigorously study the Bible, and then they come up with interpretations that are different than from the Roman Catholic interpretation. It's not about just every member believing whatever they want. Protestant denominations, as a whole, have their positions on issues and interpretations they believe in.

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Do Roman Catholics (in general) understand that Protestant denominations are all different from one another and, in many cases, are very different from one another? In my experience Roman Catholics tend to lump all Protestants together and don't understand the differences.

Well, I think it'd depend on the person, but also on where they live. Like, here Scotland, for example, the vast majority of Protestants are of the Church of Scotland. In fact, up until I was about 12 years old or so, I thought that "Protestant" was just another word for "Church of Scotland", because there's very few Protestants in Scotland who are of another denomination, and the terms are almost synonymous: if you belong to the Church of Scotland, you'd tend to just call yourself "Protestant".

Now, obviously, I can only speak for what it's like here in the UK. In the USA, there are a lot of different Protestant denominations, so I'd hope that most Catholics in the USA understood the difference between denominations. Unfortunately, I think a lot of Catholics nowadays don't know their own faith that well, so I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't know the difference. If they did understand the difference between denominations, then I'd think that they might "lump" Protestants together because a lot of their core beliefs are similar. All denominations believe in Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, deny the universal authority of the Pope, and so on. So if you were discussing something like Sola Scriptura, then a Catholic might say something like, "Protestants believe that the Bible is the only source of Christian doctrine", because that would be correct. However, I'd imagine that some Catholics might say something like, "Protestants don't believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist", and not realise that some Protestant denominations do believe in the Real Presence. In that case, it'd just show that the Catholic doesn't realise that there are Protestants who believe in the Real Presence. Like I said, a lot of Catholics don't know their own faith particularly well, so I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't know about other faiths.

Also, do they realize that being part of another denomination isn't about just interpreting the Bible however you want? I feel like many Roman Catholics sort of fecetioisly say "Protestants just individually interpret it into whatever they want." In actuality, though, many denominations send their pastors to seminary, have them rigorously study the Bible, and then they come up with interpretations that are different than from the Roman Catholic interpretation. It's not about just every member believing whatever they want. Protestant denominations, as a whole, have their positions on issues and interpretations they believe in.

Again, that would depend on the Catholic. I would hope that most Catholics understood that it's not just a case of "The Bible means whatever they want it to mean", but I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of Catholics didn't get it.

xxx

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Thanks for the answer. I have trouble saying the core beliefs are all the same, though. Take Calvinism, for instance. One of it's core beliefs is in predestination. That is definielty core to the faith and quite a bit different than many (all?) other denominations of Christianity.

As a side note, is the Church of Scotland similar to the Church of England? If so, I'm surprised they don't call it Anglican instead of Protestant. Anglicans are similar to Roman Catholics in the sense that they also tradition instead of only the Bible. I have no idea if they are sola fide, though.

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I just read over your post and noticed you didn't say all core beliefs were the same. Still, I think of Calvinism as being incredibly different due to the belief in predestination.

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As a side note, is the Church of Scotland similar to the Church of England? If so, I'm surprised they don't call it Anglican instead of Protestant. Anglicans are similar to Roman Catholics in the sense that they also tradition instead of only the Bible. I have no idea if they are sola fide, though.

I'm not sure how similar the two churches are as far as beliefs go. But the Church of Scotland is Presbyterian, so the beliefs might be pretty different.

xxx

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They would probably be quite different. Presbyterianism is a derivative of Calvinism. It makes sense that it would be called Protestant.

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'Rediscover Catholicism' by Matthew Kelly has been distributed by my parish and I was wondering if anyone has read it and if it's worth a read.

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'Rediscover Catholicism' by Matthew Kelly has been distributed by my parish and I was wondering if anyone has read it and if it's worth a read.

 

I'd never heard of it, to be honest. I think it's aimed more at Americans. But I just read the preview of it on Amazon. If nothing else, that introduction had me in tears...

 

xxx

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@Jegsyscarr-I'm not sure if it's aimed more at Americans. The book is titled "Rediscover Catholocism." America's population is traditionally Christian, but not Roman Catholic. If it were more aimed at Americans, wouldn't it be titled "Discovering Catholocism?" On the other hand, it could be aimed at Americans who are Roman Catholoc, even if that is not the majority of the population's religion.

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@Jegsyscarr-I'm not sure if it's aimed more at Americans. The book is titled "Rediscover Catholocism." America's population is traditionally Christian, but not Roman Catholic. If it were more aimed at Americans, wouldn't it be titled "Discovering Catholocism?" On the other hand, it could be aimed at Americans who are Roman Catholoc, even if that is not the majority of the population's religion.

 

Sorry, I wasn't that clear: yeah, I think it's aimed at American Catholics, not Americans as a whole. But it looked pretty good from the little I read of it, and the introduction was really beautiful, like I said. 

 

xxx

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To coincide with the start of the papal conclave, I thought I'd share this video with you all.

 

 

Jimmy Akin shared this in a blog post. It's mostly accurate, but there's a few little errors the video makes which he wanted to point out:

 

 

 

1) It wrongly implies that the pope can simply veto the name of a potential bishop that is presented to him, causing the process to start over.
 
In reality, the names of all three proposed bishops are presented to the pope, who may choose the recommended one, another one, select another person entirely, or call for the process to start over.
 
2) It wrongly refers to the "Congress of Bishops" in Rome. Actually, it's the Congregation for Bishops.
 
3) It wrongly states that have to pick your new name before becoming pope. Actually, this is the first thing a pope does after being elected and accepting his office.
 
Assuming he's already a bishop (the scenario that the video presupposes), he becomes pope that moment, before they ask him what name he wants to be called by.
 
4) The video wrongly states that “it’s usually at least two weeks of voting” at a conclave.
 
Not in recent history. In the 20th century (and 21st) no conclave has gone over 5 days.

 

But anyway, other than that, it's fairly accurate, and very cute, which is important.

 

I figured people might have questions and whatnot about the papal election, or about the papacy in general, so I thought this would be a nice little video. Also, it bumps up this topic to the top of the board, which is always a good thing...

 

xxx

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'Rediscover Catholicism' by Matthew Kelly has been distributed by my parish and I was wondering if anyone has read it and if it's worth a read.

Hey Gil, I've read most of it, I started it during break but once school picked up again I never finished it, and I know a lot of people who have read it. I would DEFINITELY recommended it. It's a pretty easy read too.

Also, for anyone who would like to learn more about the differences between Catholics and protestants I would highly recommended the movie Common Ground, which features a priest and a protestant pastor who are close friends discuss the differences of the two types of Christianity.

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Why do catholics believe in Confessing your sins to a priest?

 

Ooh, good question!

 

The main reason is because confession is in the Bible. We see Jesus forgiving sins, and later, He gives the ability to forgive sins to His apostles: "“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)

 

Now, some believe that only the apostles had this ability to forgive sins, and that this ability died with them. But it's clear that the ability had to be passed to the apostles' successors in order to keep the Church as a living, spiritual society for the later generations. If the very first Christians could confess "straight to God" instead of to a priest, then there would be no need to give the apostles the ability to forgive sins. Unlike the ability to heal people, for example, it's not a visible sign that could be used for evangelisation. Therefore, if it was important for the first Christians to confess to the apostles, then it would also be something which later Christians had to do. This means that the ability to forgive sins had to be passed to the apostles' successors.

 

We also know that there are first-century writings about the sacrament of confession:

 

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/confession

 

Besides forgiveness, there are other benefits to confessing to a priest. It reminds us to be humble, which is important. Confessing sins to another person can be pretty embarrassing, even if you know that the priest can't tell anyone what you said. But if you're thinking, "I'm sorry for what I did, but I really don't want to embarrass myself by confessing", then there's something wrong there. If you truly love God, and you're truly sorry for what you did, then you should be willing to humble yourself like that. 

 

You're also confident that your sin has been forgiven. If you confess straight to God, then you have to rely on a "feeling" that God has forgiven you, and you might wonder if perhaps your sin is so awful that God hasn't forgiven it. If you confess to a priest, then he can reassure you that God has forgiven your sin, and you don't have to worry about it.

 

Plus, you have the benefit of talking to someone. I know that whenever I go to confession, the priest will always offer me advice about how to try and improve my spiritual life, prayers and whatnot. If you have questions or problems, or things that you're struggling with, then you can ask them for advice. And sometimes, it's just nice to hear someone tell you that they understand, and to tell you that God loves you. That alone is wonderful.

 

xxx

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Isnt that verse kind of a big leap? That verse nowhere mentions confession of sin...It also

nowhere promises, or even hints, that the authority to forgive sins would be passed on to the successors of the apostles. Jesus’ promise was specifically directed to the apostles....and
The New Testament nowhere states that the apostles would even have successors .
 
Where is all of this stuff coming from????
 

Now, some believe that only the apostles had this ability to forgive sins, and that this ability died with them. But it's clear that the ability had to be passed to the apostles' successors in order to keep the Church as a living, spiritual society for the later generations.

 

 

Dont alot of churches not have Confession?

 

 

what about 1 Timothy 2:5 ????

 

what about John 14:6????

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I don't see how it's a big leap to say that "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" means that they can forgive sins. Jesus has just said that they have the ability to forgive sins, and that if they say a sin is forgiven, then it's forgiven, and if they decide a sin shouldn't be forgiven, then it won't be forgiven. The only way you can decide whether or not to forgive a sin is if someone tells you what it is. So you'd have to tell the apostles what your sins were, so that they could forgive them.

 

Jesus tells the apostles that He will always be with them, to the close of the age (Matthew 28:20). The apostles are going out into the world to spread the Good News to everyone, and make disciples of all men. That's not something that ended with the apostles. We still have people in the world today who have never heard of Jesus, so it's still an ongoing task. When the apostles were alive they passed on what Jesus had taught them to others -  the first Christians and the next bishops - so that they could continue to evangelise to others. We believe that the ability to forgive sins didn't die with the apostles. The earliest Christian writings all talk about the sacrament of confession.

 

We also get in James 5 13:16 that if anyone is sick, they should call for the elders (in Greek, that's presbyter, where we get "priest" from) of the Church, and have them anoint them and pray over them , and they will be healed, and their sins will be forgiven. That's not just the apostles: that's all the priests of the Church who have that ability. (That passage is also where we get the sacrament of healing for the sick, by the way...) 

 

And remember that the sacrament of confession isn't anything new. In Leviticus 5, we see that confession to a priest was necessary for the forgiveness of sins. You'd have to tell the priest your sins, he would judge how serious that sin was against God, and you would make a sacrifice accordingly. In Numbers 5, it explains that when you sin, you have to confess that sin to a priest, but also that you also have to make full restitution for what you did. In Luke 19, Zacchaeus repents of his sins, and promises to give back what he has taken from the poor. So we know from this that it's not enough just to be sorry for your sins. You also have to make up for what you've done. The new covenant isn't supposed to get rid of the old covenant: it fulfils it. If the old covenant priests could forgive sins, then the new covenant priests, who are more powerful than the old, should have this power too.

 

All Catholic churches have confession. It's something that Protestant churches have lost, and no longer believe in, but it was something which all the early Christians did.

 

1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus".John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.'"

 

Remember that the priest isn't replacing Christ. It's not that you go to the priest instead of to Jesus. First, you have to make an examination of your conscience, where you prayerfully consider what sins you have committed. In your prayers, you'll express to Jesus that you're sorry, and that you want to be forgiven. And then once you've done all this, then you confess those sins to a priest. It's not a case of either/or, confess your sins to God or to a priest. You do both. But Jesus gave us the sacrament of confession, and it's the means through which we are forgiven.

 

And remember that it's not really the priest who's forgiving the sins, just as when the apostles healed people, it wasn't really them who were healing them. God is still the one who forgives our sins, but He acts through the priest. When a man is ordained, he effectively gives his body over to God, so that He can work through him. When a priest says "I absolve you", it's not him who's speaking. Jesus is speaking through him.

 

Any more questions, just ask!

 

xxx

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In the Old Covenant, the faithful had to approach God through the priests. The priests were mediators between the people and God. The priests offered sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. That is no longer necessary. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can now approach God’s throne with boldness (Hebrews 4:16). The temple veil tearing in two at Jesus’ death was symbolic of the dividing wall between God and humanity being destroyed.
We can approach God directly, ourselves, without the use of a human mediator. Why? Because Jesus Christ is our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-15; 10:21)

 
The new testament teaches us that there are to be elders,deacons (1 timothy 3), Bishops (titus 1:6-9)  and pastors (ephesians 4:11)...but not priests...The new testament actually teaches that all believers are priests (1 peter 2:5-9)  
 
 
Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 both describe believers as a kingdom of priests


 

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