Jegsy Scarr

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

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How do Catholics feel about some of the things Pope Francis says, like this, his statement saying even Athiests can go to Heaven?

“They complain,†the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.†And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.†The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,†closed off by the idea of ​​possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.†“This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.†Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creationâ€

Pope Francis went further in his sermon to say:

“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!â€.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.â€

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How do Catholics feel about some of the things Pope Francis says, like this, his statement saying even Athiests can go to Heaven?

“They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of ​​possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”

Pope Francis went further in his sermon to say:

“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

 

Well, Pope Francis doesn't say anything that contradicts Church teaching. All he says is that everyone is made in God's image, Jesus died for everyone, and that everyone should try to do good instead of evil regardless of whether or not you're a Christian. That's completely in line with what Catholics believe, and is pretty basic teaching, actually.

 

The statements you've picked out, though, don't say anything about salvation or who goes to Heaven. I remember seeing the mainstream media covering this story, and the newspaper headline actually read: "Pope Francis says atheists who do good are SAVED" (the word "saved" actually capitalised for emphasis). I remember reading that and thinking, "Uh, no, I don't think the Pope said that, because no one can say that anyone will definitely go to Heaven, atheist or otherwise, and you certainly don't get there just by doing good."

 

And lo and behold, when I read the story, there was absolutely nothing there that even mentioned salvation. It was as if the writer had just said, "Oh, here's the Pope saying something nice about atheists. I know he doesn't talk about heaven and salvation at all, but he said Jesus loves atheists, so I bet he thinks they can go to Heaven, too. Oh, and here's a nice thing about how atheists can do good things. I bet the Pope means atheists go to Heaven by doing good works. There's my headline right there!"

 

Or, more likely, the journalist didn't know the difference between redemption and salvation, and didn't bother to ask a Christian to clarify. Heck, if he'd sent me an email, I could have clarified in five minutes what the Pope said!

 

And, of course, you end up with the media saying all sorts of nonsense about going to Heaven by doing good works. That resulted in non-Christians thinking, "Hey, I don't need God!", non-Catholic Christians thinking, "Those Catholics are heretics!", and Catholics just getting all confused.

 

Anyway, the Pope isn't saying anything revolutionary here. Christ died for everyone, regardless of whether or not they're Christians, and that's pretty much the gist of what he said.

 

What does Catholicism teach about salvation? We can't buy our way into Heaven. You don't get there just by doing nice things. We're saved by the grace of God. That doesn't mean that atheists can't be saved, but if they are going to be saved, they can't just "earn" their way into Heaven by being a "good person". None of us can save ourselves. The Catechism is clear about this:

 

 
"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
 
How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
 
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.
 
This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
 
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.
 
"Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."
 
(paragraphs 846-848)

 

 

 

xxx

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What does Catholicism teach about salvation? We can't buy our way into Heaven.

 

Catholicism teaches you can't BUY your way to Heaven? HAHAHAAAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA! *takes a deep breathe* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh stop! You're killing me!

 

Sorry I couldn't resist :P But yeah I agree with Jegs, the journalist had no idea what salvation means. There was initially lots of controversy around that statement. There were even sources that rewrote his words to have him explicitly say atheists can be saved by good works. But it was debunked quickly.

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Catholicism teaches you can't BUY your way to Heaven? HAHAHAAAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA! *takes a deep breathe* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh stop! You're killing me!

 

*Cough* Indulgences! *Cough*

 

I couldn't resist either :D

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*Cough* Indulgences! *Cough*

 

I couldn't resist either :D

 

I'll bet you five 'Likes' you can't give me an adequate description of what an indulgence actually is. :P

 

(Hey, we can use 'Likes' as betting chips on here, right? That's allowed...)

 

xxx

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Strange thing is (more annoying, even to me as a non-Christian) I've seen people sharing 'quotes' of the Pope saying that there is no Heaven or Hell, that there was no Adam or Eve, etc. smh. Not sure where they get these (most of the sources I've tried to hunt down turned out to be faulty at best). Almost seems like there's some sort of agenda in the media or something *sarcasm + conspiracy theorist impression* And this doesn't even get restricted to Christianity, lol. It seems like so many people these days want a religious/spiritual path shaped to their desires and whims and will go to whatever ends to try and justify such a thing (or maybe I'm overreacting, haha). Will have to find a link to this one photo that kind of summed it up. Just my two cents...and good job Jegsy.

 

See ya on the flipside,

 

Cyon

 

P.S.: Vince...were you referring to indulgences? :P

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I used to have a book on Catholicism that explained indulgences better than I can, but I can't find it, so I'll give a terribly dumbed down description from the top of my head:

 

Indulgences were (and possibly still are? not sure) things sold to family members of those who the church decided weren't good enough for heaven or bad enough for hell, and were instead sent to a in-between place called Purgatory (which is completely scriptural, for the record) and they would be forgiven and sent to heaven. For example, if your mother died and was sent to Purgatory, you could pay the church a certain amount of money and that would then grant them access to heaven.

 

Debunk away, Jegsy!

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Indulgences were (and possibly still are? not sure) things sold to family members of those who the church decided weren't good enough for heaven or bad enough for hell, and were instead sent to a in-between place called Purgatory (which is completely scriptural, for the record) and they would be forgiven and sent to heaven. For example, if your mother died and was sent to Purgatory, you could pay the church a certain amount of money and that would then grant them access to heaven.

 

Debunk away, Jegsy!

 

Right on, Stiggy!

 

Okay, firstly, let's clarify what Purgatory is (Heaven and Hell are pretty self-explanatory). It's a state of being (it could be a physical place, but not necessarily) in which a person who is on their way to Heaven, but is still imperfect, can be purified and perfected before entering Heaven (since we know nothing imperfect can enter Heaven). It's not really like a separate third thing from Heaven or Hell, or somewhere "in-between". Think of it like Heaven's front porch, where you're cleaned up before going in.  It's not like a second-chance at salvation, or anything like that. If when you die, you're going to Heaven, then you might have to be purified before you get there, but you're definitely going to Heaven. And if you're going to Hell, then you're going straight there, because there's no need to clean you up.

 

One of the reasons a person would go through Purgatory might be that although their sins in this life had been forgiven, they still had temporal punishment to go through. What I mean by that is, as Catholics we believe there are two types of consequences for sin: eternal and temporal.

 

The eternal punishment for sin is pretty simple: You sin against God, you're cut off from God for all eternity. There's absolutely nothing we can do about that punishment, because it's impossible for us to redeem. No matter how much we do, we'll never do enough to make up for the fact that we sinned against God, who is eternal love and goodness. Very fortunately for us, Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection paid off that eternal debt for us. Now, if we accept His love and forgiveness, we don't have to suffer eternal consequences for turning against God.

 

However, that's not the only consequence of sin. For example, if you kicked a football through a neighbour's window, and then felt bad about it and went to them to say sorry, they might say, "Okay, I forgive you"...but that window's still broken! You can't just shrug and say, "Well, what's most important is that we're friends again". That window has to be paid for. We have to take responsibility for the things we do. We might start by paying back things that we broke or stole, for example. If we said unkind words to a friend, we might take them out for a meal or get them a present, to try to repair some of that damage we did to them.

 

Similarly with sin, even if we sin privately, and no one else is involved, we're still going to damage ourselves spiritually. We’re going to have “attachments” to sin, where we might say we’re sorry, but we’re not completely healed: for example, if someone hits you and you hit them back, you might say you know that was wrong, but inside, you can’t help but feel good about it. So we have to fix that, too. Some ways to make up for that temporal consequence would be prayer, fasting, almsgiving, evangelisation and offering up suffering. These can all be ways in which we try to atone for the damage we caused. When Catholics go to Confession, our sins are forgiven, but the priest will also give us a penance to complete, usually prayers to say or some kind of good work to perform.

 

The Catholic Church's duty is to help people get to Heaven. Indulgences are one way to help out with that. The Church has the authority from God to declare that a particular prayer or devotion, for example, will help to remit some or all of that temporal punishment for sin. For example, the Rosary has an indulgence attached to it. By saying the Rosary, you can help to make up for some the consequences of your sins. Of course, it's not a magic bullet. You have to actually intend to make up for your sins, and you have to have the right state of mind, and so on. It's not enough to just say it aimlessly and hope that'll work.

 

The reason atoning for those temporal consequences is so important is that if you don't do it now, you'll have to do it after death! It's much easier to do it now. The ways I mentioned to free yourself from any attachments to sin – prayer, fasting, almsgiving, evangelisation, offering up suffering – those are your options here on earth. But you can’t fast or give alms or evangelise after death. And you can pray a little, but it’s limited to praying for others. So all you’d have left to do is offer up suffering. Granted, it won’t be a physical suffering, since we won’t have physical bodies in Purgatory. But still, that’s not something I’d want to go through if possible. It’s good to try to do things now rather than later.

 

Another thing about indulgences is that they don’t have to be used for yourself. If, for example, you have a relative who’s died, you could offer up that indulgence for them, just as you’d offer up suffering or fasting or whatever for them. That way, if they’re in Purgatory, that will help to make things easier for them. You’d be sacrificing your own remission of temporal punishment so they could have it. Think of it like someone paying off a friend’s debt: sin causes real damage that has to be repaired, but you can do it on someone’s behalf.

 

Of course, you can’t actually buy an indulgence, because it’s not a physical thing, nor is it a guarantee. You can’t say, “This prayer is an indulgence and remits temporal punishment”, because like I said, you have to be in the right frame of mind, with sincere intentions and so on for it to work. You can’t buy the intention to make up for your sins. Rather, we’d say, “This prayer has an indulgence attached to it – say it honestly and sincerely and it will work.” But obviously, you can’t buy a prayer either.

 

Of course, that hasn’t stopped unscrupulous priests in the past from trying! I imagine they’d say something like, “Your mother’s probably in Purgatory, and there’s a prayer that would help her get to Heaven faster. I can get you a copy of it for [insert whatever cash amount]” or “Almsgiving will help remit temporal punishment. You should donate to [this charity which I really own]”. That’s something that’s strictly condemned by Church teaching, and was heavily condemned in the Council of Trent. Hopefully, that’s the end of it, and I’ve never heard of anything like that happening nowadays. Presumably, some priest somewhere is still trying it, but I’d hope that’s very rare.

 

But I think that’s the basics! You might have follow up questions or whatever.

 

Hmm, you did get some of that right…How about three ‘Likes’? That seems fair…  :P 

 

xxx

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Of course, that hasn’t stopped unscrupulous priests in the past from trying! I imagine they’d say something like, “Your mother’s probably in Purgatory, and there’s a prayer that would help her get to Heaven faster. I can get you a copy of it for [insert whatever cash amount]” or “Almsgiving will help remit temporal punishment. You should donate to [this charity which I really own]”. That’s something that’s strictly condemned by Church teaching, and was heavily condemned in the Council of Trent. Hopefully, that’s the end of it, and I’ve never heard of anything like that happening nowadays. Presumably, some priest somewhere is still trying it, but I’d hope that’s very rare.

 

We can thank Leo X for popularizing the malpractice of selling indulgences so he could use the money to rebuild St Peter's Basilica. Now every time I see it on TV, it reminds me that building is built upon stolen money from all the peasants he ripped off. Those poor souls are probably still in Purgatory to this day wanting a refund :P

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So let's say you committed a mortal sin, like you became a vegetarian. If you died of a heart attack waiting in line for confession, will you go to hell? :P

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So let's say you committed a mortal sin, like you became a vegetarian. If you died of a heart attack waiting in line for confession, will you go to hell? :P

 

No, you'll be fine. If you're really sorry, and you genuinely wanted to confess but just didn't have the chance, you'll be fine. God's not that cruel! The catechism says:

 

Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession.

 

 

Dying would fall under "physical impossibility", I think!

 

Also, as everyone knows, animals are for eating, otherwise God would not have made them out of meat. Or made them so delicious.

 

xxx

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@Jegsyscarr-I would be careful with that line of reasoning. Humans are also made out of meat and I hope we're not meant to be eaten. Some people probably even find humans delicious, too.

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So what is it about cats that make them so addicting to you? 

 

 

;)

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@Jegsyscarr-I would be careful with that line of reasoning. Humans are also made out of meat and I hope we're not meant to be eaten. Some people probably even find humans delicious, too.

Personally I think we're best with just a touch oregano.

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@Jegsyscarr-I would be careful with that line of reasoning. Humans are also made out of meat and I hope we're not meant to be eaten. Some people probably even find humans delicious, too.

 

I'm not really saying the reason we know animals can be eaten is because they're made of meat and are delicious. It's just a funny argument for Vince :) 

 

We can eat animals because God made human beings stewards of creation. We're the only ones on earth who are made in God's image, and who have free will and the ability to reason. Therefore we've been put in charge of them. We can't eat humans because they're made in God's image.

 

xxx

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Just to throw in my bit there which I always do when people talk about meat. Haha and Vince will be upset with me. I know I am alone in my opinion but that's okay. ;) I believe man's body wasn't built for eating meat as from the start. From Genesis 1:28-30:

 

28God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.…

 

No where here meat was mentioned as a source of food. But it came later on eventually. Maybe this is why meat takes so long to digest?

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Just to throw in my bit there which I always do when people talk about meat. Haha and Vince will be upset with me. I know I am alone in my opinion but that's okay. ;) I believe man's body wasn't built for eating meat as from the start. From Genesis 1:28-30:

 

28God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.…

 

No where here meat was mentioned as a source of food. But it came later on eventually. Maybe this is why meat takes so long to digest?

 

That could be true. I guess it depends on how literally you take the Genesis creation account. If we're taking that completely literally, that would mean that all animals, including lions and tigers, were herbivores, which seems odd. Not impossible, of course, but it would mean that carnivores would have had to evolve to have sharp teeth, and a digestive system that could handle meat - unless the carnivores were equipped for eating meat from the start, but still ate meat.

 

But that's for animals, I guess, and I think it's less important whether animals ate other animals or not. In either case, whether God intended for us to eat meat right from the start or not, we can eat it now. Yummy!

 

(Actually, I shouldn't think about eating meat and how delicious it is. It's a Friday :( )

 

xxx

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That could be true. I guess it depends on how literally you take the Genesis creation account. If we're taking that completely literally, that would mean that all animals, including lions and tigers, were herbivores, which seems odd. Not impossible, of course, but it would mean that carnivores would have had to evolve to have sharp teeth, and a digestive system that could handle meat - unless the carnivores were equipped for eating meat from the start, but still ate meat.

 

But that's for animals, I guess, and I think it's less important whether animals ate other animals or not. In either case, whether God intended for us to eat meat right from the start or not, we can eat it now. Yummy!

 

(Actually, I shouldn't think about eating meat and how delicious it is. It's a Friday :( )

 

xxx

 

Yeah true, though many animals today have sharp teeth and are herbivores. Take pandas, baboons, gorrilas,  hippos, and fruit bats (http://www.connecticutvalleybiological.com/images/sp2007.jpg) as an example. Though I think I meant my previous comment more directed to humans as such. 

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I eat meat but I would never go hunting because I don't think that hunting is for enjoyment of hurting other animals.

I'm a practicing catholic most of my catholic friends enjoy hunting and when I explain to them why I won't hunt they think I'm being too extreme. WE may have dominion over all animals but God never gave us the right to take pleasure in their deaths.

Like I said I do eat meat but why go hunting if there is already an oversupply of meat out there.

I love my porterhouse steak medium rare lol.

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I don't know if this has been asked before but could you explain canonization? I believe this isn't only in Catholicism but I wanted to ask someone to clarify it a little more for me.

 

Thank you! :) 

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I don't know if this has been asked before but could you explain canonization? I believe this isn't only in Catholicism but I wanted to ask someone to clarify it a little more for me.

 

Thank you! :)

 

Sure! So canonisation is basically when the Church declares that a person is in Heaven i.e. they're a saint. That's the very basic definition, I guess.

 

Why do we do that? Why is it important to know that someone is definitely in Heaven? One reason is because Catholics believe that we ask those in Heaven to pray for those on Earth, just as we ask each other to pray for us right now - since the saints in Heaven are very much alive, they have the ability to pray for us if we ask them to. Obviously, you can ask anyone who's died to pray for you if you have a good reason to think they're in Heaven. For example, just as you asked friends and relatives to pray for you before they died, you can carry on asking them once they have. You know these people well enough to have reasonable faith that they're in Heaven. They believed in God, they followed His commandments, they did works of charity etc. So by all means ask them for their prayers, because they're probably in Heaven. But of course, you don't know for sure. If you pray to the canonised saints, then you know that those people are definitely in Heaven and can pray for you.

 

But that's not the only reason the Church declares people as saints. The other reason, and I think probably the main reason, is the Church is basically saying: This person is an excellent example of how to live the Christian life. We don't canonise people who just lived a "good" life. Really, you only do so with ones who lived an exceptionally good life. They're role models for the Christians on Earth.

 

There are so many saints recognised by the Church, and they're all very different. I signed up to a little email-a-day thing during Lent, with that priest Fr. Barron from YouTube channel Word on Fire! I remember in one of his emails, he focussed on the diversity of the saints. I think I'll copy/paste a little bit...

 

One thing that strikes you first about the saints is their diversity. It would be very difficult to find one pattern of holiness, one way of following Christ. 
 
There is Thomas Aquinas, the towering intellectual, and the Curé d'Ars who barely made it through the seminary. There is Vincent de Paul, a saint in the city, and there is Antony who found sanctity in the harshness and loneliness of the desert. There is Bernard kneeling on the hard stones of Clairvaux in penance for his sins, and there is Hildegard of Bingen singing and throwing flowers, madly in love with God. 
 
There is Albertus Magnus, the quirky scientist, half-philosopher and half-wizard, and there is Gerard Manley Hopkins, the gentle poet. There is Peter, the hard-nosed and no-nonsense fisherman, and there is Edith Stein, secretary to Edmund Husserl and colleague to Martin Heidegger, the most famous philosopher of the twentieth century. 
 
There is Joan of Arc, leading armies into war, and there is Francis of Assisi, the peacenik who would never hurt an animal. There is the grave and serious Jerome, and there is Philip Neri, whose spirituality was based on laughter. 

 

 

Anyway, the point is that the saints are all so diverse. There's no one way to be a saint. That's perfect for us, because all Christians are different. When someone is canonised, we're saying that they lived a life worthy of imitation. It's a lot of fun to study the lives of the saints, because there's always going to be one who had something in common with you and your own life. So you can say, "Oh, St Francis de Sales was a writer, too! He made pamphlets about the faith and distributed them, and converted thousands of people! I could do that!" And so on. You can learn about their lives and try to imitate some of what they did in your own. And if they didn't have a great past, or struggled with certain sins throughout their life, then that gives you hope if you're also struggling, or hope that you can leave the past behind you and move on.

 

So that's the basic reasons for canonisation. The more complicated question is, how exactly does the process of canonisation work? Well, generally what happens is, someone will first bring a case for canonisation forward to their local bishop. Something like, "This person lived a really really good life, and they're a great example for the Christian faith". If it looks good, the bishop will get permission from the Pope to look into the case further. They'll do some more inquiries, and if everything checks out - you lived an exemplary life - then congratulations! You're declared a "Servant of God".

 

Next step: all the documentation from that tribunal goes to Rome. There's a special group of theologians called the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and they'll investigate further. If they think the case looks good, they'll send it onto a committee of bishops and cardinals. If they approve everything, then congratulations! You are now called "Venerable".

 

Next step: you need to have a miracle attributed to your intercession. In other words, someone prayed to you for help, and their prayer was answered. It has to be a miracle. It can't just be, "I prayed to X and asked him to help me get a job, and I got the job." It has to be something that can't be explained any other way. For example, one of my favourite saints, St Gianna Molla. One of the miracles attributed to her was the case of a pregnant mother who suffered a tear in her placenta that meant all of the amniotic fluid was lost at 16 weeks. The doctors told her the chance of the baby surviving was "nil". They asked Gianna for her prayers. The baby was born alive and healthy. If you can get a miracle attributed to your intercession, congratulations! You are declared a "Blessed".

 

Finally, you have to have a second miracle attributed to you. If you get that, congratulations! You are now a Saint!

 

xxx

 

P.S. If you were martyred for the faith, and they prove that during the tribunal, then you don't need two miracles. The Pope has the power to declare you a Blessed just on the basis of the fact you were martyred, since that's a pretty big deal.

 

P.P.S. As well as miracles being attributed to your intercession, it's also possible to count miracles that occurred during your life. For example, if you were ever seen to levitate (like St Joseph of Cupertino), bilocate (appear in two places at once, like Padre Pio), or if you had stigmata (like St Francis of Assisi). They'll also count miracles that occurred after your death. For example, if incorruptibility (your flesh doesn't decay, like St Catherine of Siena), liquefaction (your dried blood turns to liquid again on your feast day, like St Januarius), or what's called odour of sanctity (this one's slightly odd. Basically means, your corpse doesn't smell like a corpse usually tends to, but actually smells nice. For example, St Teresa of Avila, who for nine months after her death had a grave that smelled of roses).

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So It’s Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of Holy Week. Nine facts about Palm Sunday:

 

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-palm-passion-sunday

 

I thought it would be a good time to share another video ( IMO one of the best videos on this subject) by Dr. Brant Pitre, Jesus & the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

 

 

PDF file to follow the video:

 

http://www.brantpitre.com/documents/jewish_roots_eucharist.pdf

 

"The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old is unveiled in the New" (St. Augustine).

 

Enjoy!

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Why is it that some non-Catholics don't consider Catholics to be Christians? I've never understood that. I mean, I consider anyone who's been baptised in 

... they always give some "reason" which is based on a lie, like "Catholics worship Mary" or "Catholics believe the Pope can't sin", or something similar. Do any of you know people who think this way, and if so, do you know why they think this way? Or maybe some of you yourselves don't think I'm a Christian; in which case, fire away with your questions!

Yeah, this is just something that's really bugging me lately, so I thought I'd ask!

 

Sorry for my tardiness. Let me preface this by saying I am not looking for an argument or trying to degrade Catholicism. I will also say that I personally believe that Catholics are Christians. A majority of my family is Catholic and some of the greatest people I know are Catholics. I wouldn't mind meeting a Catholic girl around my age either. It's just that you asked a very interesting question. As someone who grew up Catholic (but no longer is), and as someone with a Masters in Theology, I feel like I can shed light on this viewpoint. 

 

1) The biggest thing for me is that many (not all) of Catholic beliefs/positions contradict Biblical teachings. These aren't "little things" either, these beliefs are the core of Christianity. When I started getting serious about a relationship with God, I started reading the Bible and was disappointed/surprised to see that many Catholic positions contradict with what's written in Scripture. There are many examples: Catholic view on Mary, praying to saints/angels, sex between married couples, priesthood celibacy, confession to priests etc.

 

For brevity, I'll only discuss 2 of these. 

 

2) Catholic view on Mary. This is probably what stuck out to me the most. I don't know if I'll say it is worship per say, but if it isn't, it sure is close. The view that Mary was without sin, despite the fact that Romans 3:23, Ecclesiastes 7:20,  say otherwise. Not to mention, Mary admits that she has a Savior in Luke 1:47. There's also the view that she was assumed into Heaven, despite no Biblical support.

 

And also the view that she was a perpetual virgin. Obviously, we affirm the immaculate conception, but after Christ was born, Mary had sex like any other married woman, and there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't make her less of a Biblical hero (And she is, IMHO a hero). Anyway, all these things make it seem like people are trying to "equate" Mary with Christ (the virginity, the assumption, being without sin). 

 

2.) Sex between married couples. This was very important to me since I'm a waiter.

 

Yeah... I believe abstinence is best (no offense to those who disagree), and I give major credit to the Catholic church for having programs/promoting it. But... when I'm married, stay out of my bedroom please? Don't worry about what "forms" of sex my wife and I engage in. If my wife is at a "certain point" in the month, and she doesn't want to be intimate (completely understandable), we're not supposed to do anything at all because we're "avoiding" the chance of conception? The Catholic sponsored form of family planning is NFP (Natural Family Planning) which is different from FAM (Fertility Awareness Method). I have no problem with FAM, but NFP calls for abstinence even while married. Paul has a different view in Corinthians 7:5-6.

 

As long as my wife and I don't bring a 3rd person, as long as I'm not abusing her/forcing her or vice versa, there's no reason to be in my bedroom. As long as we prayerfully plan and ask for God's will, contraception shouldn't necessarily be out of the discussion (although I do acknowledge that, for a host of reasons, contraception is a whole other ball game).

 

Again, was not trying to start anything. I just felt like I was in a place where I could shed light. Nothing against Catholics.  If I could meet a cute Catholic girl around my age...*drool*. 

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Sorry for my tardiness. Let me preface this by saying I am not looking for an argument or trying to degrade Catholicism. I will also say that I personally believe that Catholics are Christians. A majority of my family is Catholic and some of the greatest people I know are Catholics. I wouldn't mind meeting a Catholic girl around my age either. It's just that you asked a very interesting question. As someone who grew up Catholic (but no longer is), and as someone with a Masters in Theology, I feel like I can shed light on this viewpoint. 

 

1) The biggest thing for me is that many (not all) of Catholic beliefs/positions contradict Biblical teachings. These aren't "little things" either, these beliefs are the core of Christianity. When I started getting serious about a relationship with God, I started reading the Bible and was disappointed/surprised to see that many Catholic positions contradict with what's written in Scripture. There are many examples: Catholic view on Mary, praying to saints/angels, sex between married couples, priesthood celibacy, confession to priests etc.

 

For brevity, I'll only discuss 2 of these. 

 

2) Catholic view on Mary. This is probably what stuck out to me the most. I don't know if I'll say it is worship per say, but if it isn't, it sure is close. The view that Mary was without sin, despite the fact that Romans 3:23, Ecclesiastes 7:20,  say otherwise. Not to mention, Mary admits that she has a Savior in Luke 1:47. There's also the view that she was assumed into Heaven, despite no Biblical support.

 

And also the view that she was a perpetual virgin. Obviously, we affirm the immaculate conception, but after Christ was born, Mary had sex like any other married woman, and there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't make her less of a Biblical hero (And she is, IMHO a hero). Anyway, all these things make it seem like people are trying to "equate" Mary with Christ (the virginity, the assumption, being without sin). 

 

2.) Sex between married couples. This was very important to me since I'm a waiter.

 

Yeah... I believe abstinence is best (no offense to those who disagree), and I give major credit to the Catholic church for having programs/promoting it. But... when I'm married, stay out of my bedroom please? Don't worry about what "forms" of sex my wife and I engage in. If it's that "time of the month" for her, and she doesn't want to be intimate (completely understandable), we're not supposed to do anything at all because we're "avoiding" the chance of conception? The Catholic sponsored form of family planning is NFP (Natural Family Planning) which is different from FAM (Fertility Awareness Method). I have no problem with FAM, but NFP calls for abstinence even while married. Paul has a different view in Corinthians 7:5-6.

 

As long as my wife and I don't bring a 3rd person, as long as I'm not abusing her/forcing her or vice versa, there's no reason to be in my bedroom. As long as we prayerfully plan and ask for God's will, contraception shouldn't necessarily be out of the discussion (although I do acknowledge that, for a host of reasons, contraception is a whole other ball game).

 

Again, was not trying to start anything. I just felt like I was in a place where I could shed light. Nothing against Catholics.  If I could meet a cute Catholic girl around my age...*drool*. 

 

Okay, let's start with the claim that Catholic Church contradicts the Bible. Your first point was that you think the Church teaches Mary didn't have to be saved, because she never sinned. That's not what we believe! Mary needed a Saviour just as much as anyone else. The only thing we'd say is that they way she was saved was different.

 

Here's an analogy I like. Imagine that there's a path in the middle of a forest that many people like to use. However, about halfway into this path, you come to a hole, which is invisible from above. So everyone who comes along that path falls in. Luckily, when people fall into the hole, there's a man nearby who'll give them a hand to get out again. One day, a woman is walking down that path and is about to fall in. However, this time, the man rushes towards her and says, "Don't go any further. There's a hole." So the woman never falls in. Does that mean that the man didn't save her? Of course not. He saved her just as he saved everyone else. Without him, she'd have fallen in.

 

Mary still needed to be saved. It's just that in her case, it was like a pre-emptive strike. Without Jesus, she couldn't have been saved, just as people who sin can't be saved without the forgiveness and redemption that comes from Jesus.

 

Your other claim is that because it doesn't say in the Bible that Mary was assumed into Heaven means that it can't have happened. That's more an argument for Sola Scriptura, really. First, you'd have to prove that the Bible is the only source of truth, something which the Bible itself never claims, only that it is a source of truth. The idea that Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven certainly doesn't contradict Scripture, either, since we know that God did the same for Enoch and Elijah. 

 

(Firstly, I think you mean, "we affirm the Virgin Birth", since "Immaculate Conception" refers to being conceived without Original Sin, and we tend to use the term specifically talking about Mary's conception...)

 

I'm confused by why Protestants believe so strongly that Mary had sex, since there's nothing in the Bible that says she did. Even Martin Luther believed Mary was a virgin her whole life, as did the early Christians like St Jerome and Athanasius of Alexandria.

 

And I'm not sure why emphasising that Mary was a virgin, assumed into Heaven, or never sinned would equate her with Christ. Lots of people remain virgins for their faith, not just Christ. As I mentioned, Enoch and Elijah were also assumed into Heaven, and Christ was not assumed in to Heaven but rather ascended by His own power. And saying she never sinned is as much of a testament to God and His mercy that He saved her from falling into sin. She couldn't do it herself, but only by God's grace.

 

Your other main point was about contraception. I'm confused by your statement that "the Church should stay out of the bedroom." You would agree with me that a couple couldn't say, "It's none of the Catholic Church's business if we have a threesome, so they should stay out of it." You'd recognise that adultery is a sin, and therefore the Church has every right to say you can't do it. Likewise, if using contraception is a sin, you would have to concede that the Church likewise has every right to say you can't use it.

 

You referred to 1 Corinthians 7:5-6 as support for the idea that it's wrong to abstain from sex in marriage. I'm confused again. The passage reads:

 

"Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control. I say this by way of concession, not of command."

 

...That's a pretty good description of periodic abstinence! Husband and wife, although they have a right to each other's body, agree not to have sex for a few days after prayerfully considering whether or not to try for a baby. They use the time to deepen their love in non-sexual ways, but also to deepen their relationship with God.

 

The other issues you mentioned briefly, I'll just briefly touch on:

 

Praying to saints/angels: The Bible does say that it's good to pray for one each other, and ask others to pray for us. The Bible also makes it clear that the saints in Heaven are not dead, but very much alive. There's no reason why asking people to pray for us shouldn't stop just because they're in Heaven. In fact, if the prayer of a righteous man has great power (James 5:16), then prayers from the most righteous men - those who had faith in God and are now saved and with God in Heaven - should have the most power of all. Revelation 5:8 also talks about the angels bringing the prayers of Christians (saints on earth) to God.

 

Priestly celibacy: Paul makes it clear that it's good for a man not to marry if he doesn't have to. Jesus never married. The Church has always believed that ideally, a priest should be a man who's dedicated his life entirely to God. It's not an absolute rule. In the Eastern Catholic churches, priests do marry, and deacons are able to be married in both the Eastern and Western rite churches. Some exceptions are still made for priests in the Western churches. However, it's ideal for priests to not marry so that they can dedicate their lives entirely to God, and it's been that way for centuries.

 

Confession to priests: The Bible is very clear on this. Jesus himself gives the apostles the power to forgive sins in John 20:21-23. The priest is the instrument through which God forgives sins, though, and doesn't have any power apart from God.

 

xxx

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Mary still needed to be saved. It's just that in her case, it was like a pre-emptive strike. Without Jesus, she couldn't have been saved, just as people who sin can't be saved without the forgiveness and redemption that comes from Jesus.

 

Your other claim is that because it doesn't say in the Bible that Mary was assumed into Heaven means that it can't have happened. That's more an argument for Sola Scriptura, really. First, you'd have to prove that the Bible is the only source of truth, something which the Bible itself never claims, only that it is a source of truth. The idea that Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven certainly doesn't contradict Scripture, either, since we know that God did the same for Enoch and Elijah. 

 

Sola Scriptura does not mean it's the only source of truth, nor does it deny that biblical content was originally in oral form. What we argue is that it's the only reliable and infallible rule of faith for salvation. It does not deny that creeds or councils or even tradition are authoritative, it just means that all those things must submit to Scripture and must not contradict it. While it is true that the Bible doesn't explicitly say it's the only infallible source, Jesus and the Apostles frequently appealed to Scripture in their teachings and Jesus often spoke against tradition. Now one may argue that the tradition He was only speaking against was the traditions of man and not the tradition that 2 Thess. 2:15 is speaking of. Well if one is to argue that the Tradition that Paul is speaking of consists of infallible teachings not in Scripture, then the burden of proof is on them. Which I do not believe it can be proved.

 

Why do I say this and how does all this relate to the topic at hand? Well all Christians agree that the Bible is infallible, but there was lots of disagreements in church history over alleged oral teachings apart from Scripture or even over what Tradition actually means. But lets assume that it means oral teachings not in Scripture. In the case of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, a whole slew of great theologians, saints and popes denied the Immaculate Conception. Among them was Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, St. Bernard, Clement of Alexandria, Pope Gallatus, Pope Leo I, Pope Gregory I and Pope Innocent III. So it's a little difficult to rely on Tradition as a reliable source of revelation if there is vast disagreements over what the content entails. As far as I'm concerned, the oral tradition and the written tradition is the exact same thing in content.

 

In addition, Luke 1:28 is often used to support the Immaculate conception when the angel said Mary was "full of grace" and was therefore preserved from Original and personal sin. We also see that phrase attributing to Jesus in John 1:14 in that He was "full of grace and truth." Except when you read onto verse 16 it says, "Out of his fullness, we have received grace in place of grace already given." Grace simply means "unmerited favor" which Jesus bestowed on all mankind. So even though it is possible that God can preserve someone of Original Sin, it is not taught in the Bible that Mary was specifically preserved. Also, if one is to say "full of grace" means Immaculate Conception, then Stephen the first martyr in Acts 6:8 would be such as well since he was said to be full of grace. 

 

Reading further into Luke 2: 41-49, we see that Mary had faults and indeed had sinned. First, she lost track of where Jesus was which is a sign of irresponsibility as a parent. Then in verse 48, Mary said, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you?" To complain to God and to question Him is a sin and a sign of a lack of faith which is not unlike the apostles.

 

In regards to the Assumption of Mary, I admit that is the one Marian doctrine that I have the least issue with. You are correct that Enoch and Elijah was assumed into heaven so it's not impossible Mary was too. My issue is that the Catholic Church requires belief in that doctrine for salvation as Pius XII threatened mortal sin on anyone who denies it. First off, Jesus says He is the only way to salvation. Secondly, if the Assumption of Mary is as vital to Christian belief as the Catholic Church makes it out to be, then I think the Apostle John would have recorded it in one of his books since he was the one Jesus entrusted to take care of Mary after His death. Also, the Church Father Ephiphanius in 377 AD wrote that no one knew Mary's fate and no one in the early church mentioned the Assumption. In fact, Pope Gelasius condemned the doctrine as heretical in the 4th century and was later reaffirmed by Pope Hormisdas in the 6th century. Kind of ironic that eventually became a dogma and it took the Church almost 2000 years to defined it. I'm not saying it didn't happen because it might have. But I don't think it was likely and I definitely don't think it's wrong to deny it.

 

And I'm not sure why emphasising that Mary was a virgin, assumed into Heaven, or never sinned would equate her with Christ. 

 

Because we believe that the titles that the Catholic Church has given to Mary throughout the centuries have elevated her to the status of a goddess because many of them imply traits that only a deity would have. If you compare all of them, you can see each has a clear parallel to Jesus:

 

Mary is called "Queen of Heaven"  parallels Christ as "King of the Universe"

Mary was immaculately conceived parallels Christ's sinlessness

Mary was assumed bodily into heaven parallels Christ's ascension into heaven

Mary was a perpetual virgin parallels Christ's perpetual virginity

Mary is called "Mediatrix of All Graces" parallels Christ as Mediator between God and man

Mary is called "Co-redemptrix" parallels Christ as Redeemer of mankind

Mary is called "the New Eve" parallels Christ as "the New Adam"

 

The Catholic Church officially teaches that Mary neither adds nor subtracts from the merits to Christ. If that's true, why go through all the trouble to develop all these doctrines about Mary? It seems to me that they are required to believed salvation in Catholic theology otherwise we would not be threatened with mortal sin if we didn't. All these doctrines are a distraction for Christ as best. At it's worst, it's hard to believe that she can be seen as anything but a goddess.

 

I'm confused by why Protestants believe so strongly that Mary had sex, since there's nothing in the Bible that says she did. Even Martin Luther believed Mary was a virgin her whole life, as did the early Christians like St Jerome and Athanasius of Alexandria.

You referred to 1 Corinthians 7:5-6 as support for the idea that it's wrong to abstain from sex in marriage. I'm confused again. The passage reads:

 

"Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a season, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control. I say this by way of concession, not of command."

 

...That's a pretty good description of periodic abstinence! Husband and wife, although they have a right to each other's body, agree not to have sex for a few days after prayerfully considering whether or not to try for a baby. They use the time to deepen their love in non-sexual ways, but also to deepen their relationship with God.

 

If we read the full text of 1 Corith. 7 regarding marital duties, it says,

 

"Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time,so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that."

 

It is clear that Paul is commanding married couples to have sexual relations both as a marital duty and to guard each other from sexual immorality. While he does give permission to be abstinent for a time, a couple is to come together again so a sex free marriage cannot be for all time. So if the CC claims Mary is Immaculately Conceived, then she can't possibly be a perpetual virgin because she would have neglected her marital duty to Joseph (and vice versa) and therefore would have sinned. I'm also confused as to why the Catholic Church believes in this doctrine if it teaches that a marriage isn't valid unless it's consummated.

 

The idea of Mary's perpetual virginity was first found in an 2nd century work called the Gospel of James, which Catholics and Protestants agree was an apocryphal book. The document claims Mary took a life long vow of celibacy. However, there were all sorts of things in it that contradicted the Bible. Among them was the claim that Jesus was born in a cave outside of Bethleham and it says Mary and Joseph hide Jesus in Jerusalem to escape Herod when the Bible says they fled to Egypt. We should not be making doctrine from any source that isn't inspired by God.

 

I may talk about the other things that was said about prayer to saints, priestly celibacy etc. later. But I think I've said enough for now and my fingers are getting tired. :P

 

I do want to end by saying that while I do believe Catholics over emphasis Mary in their theology, I think Protestants don't emphasize her enough. It could be simply out of reaction to Catholicism's seemingly obsession with her. But i do think that Mary is the greatest woman to have ever lived and was given a high honor for birthing Jesus and she should be honored for that. At the very least, she provides a great example for girls since she was humble, brave, loving and submissive to God's will.

 

I hope you don't take offense to any of this, Jegs. This is just friendly discussion is all :)

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