Question of the Week

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

PUBLISHED IN ST. JOHN’S SUNDAY BULLETINS (1-197) 

1) Why do we believe that the Bible is an inspired book?

2) Why the Catholic Bible has seven books more than the Protestant Bible?

3) Why Catholics give importance to Sacred Tradition?

4) Why de we believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?

5) Why do we pray for our dead relatives?

6) Why doesn’t the Catholic Church ordain women?

7) Why confess sins to a priest?

8) Why can’t I “I just follow my conscience?

9) Why fasting, penance and prayer are recommended during Lent?

10) Why should we tithe?

11) Why the Holy Mass is a sacrifice and a sacrament?

12) What is Pauline & Petrine previlges?

13) Why there should be singing by the choir and the people on Sundays?

14) Why do we celebrate Fathers Day?

15) Why do we celebrate the Independence Day?

16) Why Jesus suffered and died on the cross?

17) What Christians should know about Islam and Muslims?

18) What are the beliefs of the Assemblies of God?

19) Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?

20) Who are the Baptists?

21) Who are Mormons?

22) Who are the Pentecostals?

23) Who are Methodists?

24) Why do we have a New Missal with newly worded prayers?

25) What is the Holy Mass?

26) Are we saved by “faith alone” or also through good works?

27) Why do Catholics honor and venerate saints?

28) Should Catholics believe in private revelations?

29) Do we have to believe in hell?

30) Why don’t Catholic priests get married?

31) What is the biblical basis of Pope’s authority?

32) Did Jesus Have Brothers and sisters?

33) Was Jesus born on Dec 25th, AD 1 or Jan 6th, 4th BC?

34) Who Were the Magi?

35) Why and how we should take New Year resolutions?

36) Why pornography is evil and sinful?

37)  What is the Catholic view on cremation?

38) What are the common doctrines of the Protestants?

39) Who are the angels?

40) Who are the devils?

41) Do Catholics worship statues and images?

42) Why do we observe Lent?

43) What are the Catholic observances during Lent?

44) Do Christians believe in reincarnation?

45) Why there is pain and suffering in the world?

46) Did Catholic Church discourage Bible reading? 

47) Why should we participate in the Holy Week liturgy?

48) Why do we believe in the resurrection of Jesus?

49) Why do Catholics make the sign of the cross?

50) Why do we have Eucharistic devotions like “Benediction of the Holy 

Eucharist?

51) What are New Age Religions and why they are wrong?

52) Do we have assurance of our Salvation?

53) What is canonization of a saint?

54) What is biblical fundamentalism?

55) Why should we dress properly in the church?

56) Can Christians practice yoga?

57) What is the Catholic position on homosexuality?

58) How Catholic Bible differs from Protestant Bibles and which is the Bible used

in the Catholic liturgy in the United States?

59) Why do we observe Respect Life or Sanctity of Life Sunday?

60) Why contraception is sinful?

61) Is not keeping statues in churches idolatry?

62) What are the sacramentals?

63) What is “Sola Scriptura” doctrine and why it is wrong?

64) Why do Catholics believe in the Assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus?

65) Are we saved by faith alone or also by works of charity?

66) How to protect your child from pornography?

67) Why cohabitation is sinful and dangerous?

68) What is the Catholic teaching on divorce?

69) What is marriage annulment in the Catholic Church?

70) What is the Catholic teaching on abortion?

71) What is the Catholic teaching on contraception?

72) What are the objectives or goals of Sunday Mass?

73) What are the main parts of the Holy Mass?

74) What is active participation in the Holy Mass?

75) What are the Eastern Rite Catholic churches?

76) What are the sacraments?

77) What is the sacrament of baptism?

78) What is the sacrament of confirmation?

79)  What is the sacrament of reconciliation?

80) What is the sacrament of the anointing of the sick?

81) What is the sacrament of matrimony?

82) What is the sacrament of the Holy Orders?

83) If God is in control, why should we pray?

84)  Why God always does not answer our prayers?

85 – Why do Catholics keep crucifixes in the churches, schools and homes?

86- What is the morality of new gun control laws?

87) What is the biblical basis for the Pope to become the head of the Catholic Church?

88) Why do we observe Ash Wednesday?

89) Why do Catholics obey the Ten Commandments given to the Jews?

90) What is a parish and its role in Christian life?

91) Where in the Bible does the Catholic Church get the idea of a Pope?

92) Why do we believe in the resurrection of Jesus?

93) Why we do observe Easter II Sunday as “Divine Mercy Sunday”?
94) Why moral relativism is wrong and dangerous?

95) Why should we follow a well-formed conscience?

96) Can devil possess man? What is exorcism?

97) What is canon law and who is a canon lawyer?

98) Why do we observe Mother’s Day?

99) Do Catholics believe in rapture?

100) Are Catholics born-again Christians?

101) What is the Catholic teaching on “Creation Science” and evolution?

102) What is the Catholic teaching on one’s eternal salvation. (L)

103) Who wrote the gospels, when?

104) Are the New Testament Books historical and reliable?

105) What is the Catholic teaching on devil and devil worship?

106) What is the Catholic teaching on the Parousia or Christ’s “Second Coming?”

107) what is the Catholic teaching on heaven and hell?

108) Are We Re-Crucifying Jesus in every Mass?

109)  How would you introduce Matthew’s gospel?

110)  How would you introduce Mark’s gospel?

111) How would you introduce Luke’s gospel?

112) how would you introduce John’s gospel?

113) Give an introduction to the Acts of the Apostles

114) How would you introduce Paul’s epistle to the Romans?

115) How would you introduce Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians?

116) How would you introduce Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians?

117) What is Stewardship Awareness Sunday?

118) What is rosary devotion?

119) Why do we observe World Mission Sunday in October?

120) Why do Catholics observe “All Souls Day” and pray for their dead relatives?

121) Why do Catholics honor saints and seek their intercession?

122) What is the Catholic doctrine on heaven? 

123) How would you introduce Paul’s letter to the Galatians?

124) Why do we observe Thanksgiving Day?

125) What is Advent? Why do we observe it?

126) What is an Advent Wreath and its meaning?

127) What is the Church Year or Liturgical Year?

128) What are the names of Jesus in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek & Latin?

129) What is the Church Year or Liturgical Year?

130) Why cruelty to animals is sinful?

131) Why do we observe the blessing of throats on the feast of St. Blasé?

132) What is the source of the Church’s authority?

133) What is the basis of Christian doctrines and beliefs?

134) Are we saved by faith alone as the Protestants teach?

135) How is the Lectionary arranged?

136) Why did the church cover the crucifixes and statues during Lent in the past?

137) Why should we pray for vocations?

138) Is there “no salvation outside the Church?”

139) Is suicide always sinful?

140) What is the meaning of Pentecost for the Jews and Christians?

141) “What is Trinity Sunday?”

142) What is the biblical basis of St. Paul’s authority as an Apostle?

143) Why should all Catholics participate in the Sunday Mass?

144) Did the Church change the Mass to make it more acceptable to Protestants?

145) Is God’s name Yahweh or Jehovah in the Hebrew Scriptures?

146) Why the Catholic Church opposes “same sex marriage.”

147) Catholic teaching on “Millennialism” doctrine of evangelical Christian

148) Why should Christians deny themselves and take up their crosses to become Christ’s disciples?

149) Why and how should Christians correct others without judging them?

150) What is the enthroning of Christ the King in our families?

151) What is Advent and why do we observe it?

152) Was Jesus really born on December 25th?

153: What is the origin of the word “Christmas”?

154) Why do we honor Mary as the “Mother of God?

155) Why do we baptize children?

156) What is the catholic teaching on infant baptism?

157) What is wrong about embryonic stem cell research?

158) Why do Catholics keep Jesus on the cross when He is risen? 

159) What is Original Sin?

160) Why do we have a parish mission in Lent?

161) What are the charismatic gifts?

162) Is there vacation from Sunday Mass & tithing?

163) What Biblical Prophecy is not, and What It Really is?

164) Why Catholics don’t have altar invitations as the Protestants have?

165) Are eulogies proper for funerals?

166) What are Eastern Rite Catholic Churches?

167) Is it be appropriate for a Catholic to pledge allegiance to the Bible?

168) Are any apparitions ever considered dogma?

169) Why do we celebrate Labor Day?

170) If Jesus was a Jew, why are we Catholic?

171) What does Bible teach on normal marriage and homosexual union?

172) What are the Aramaic words used in the New Testament?

173) Why the Aramaic- speaking writers wrote the New testament in Greek?

174) What is the catholic doctrine on “apostolic succession”

175) What does the Bible say about the 7 Sacraments?

176) Why isn’t the Sabbath on Saturday?

177) Am I using Confession as an excuse to sin?

178) How should I go about Teaching my children the Bible?

179) Why do we give up something for Lent?

180) What is the Catholic teaching on grace?

181) What are Christian and Islamic crusades?

182) What do we gain by participating in a Sunday Mass?

183) How should we forgive our offenders?

184) Why do we celebrate the feast of Assumption?

185) What is the difference between the Jewish and Christian idea of the Messiah?

186) Is there danger in church unity movement or Ecumenism?

187) What is the Catholic teaching on the end of the world?

188) Why do we celebrate First Communion?

189) Why and how to protect kids from Pornography?

190) What is Memorial Day and why do we celebrate it?

191) What is the Liturgy of the Hours?

192) What are the differences between the doctrines of Catholic and Jehovah’s Witness?

193) What are Nihil Obstats, Imprimaturs, and Church Censorship?

194) Is “Meshiach ben David” (Messiah son of David) of the Jews the same as Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, and the Son of God?

195) Why St. Paul is called an Apostle?

196) How to take your faith with the summer vacation?

197)  What are the duties of a pastor in a Catholic parish?

 

 

 


1) Why do we believe that the Bible is an inspired book?

It is not because a) It inspires me. b) Bible itself says that it is inspired. (Sacred Scriptures of Hindus and Muslims too make similar claims and most of the Bible books don’t make such a claim). c) “The Holy Spirit tells me the Bible is inspired.” (It is a subjective argument).d) “We are “convicted” that it is the word of God, and we get a positive “feeling” that it is inspired, and that’s that.” (It is also a subjective argument).  The Catholic position. As the first step we prove the reliability of the Bible insofar as it is history. From that we conclude that a Church with infallible teaching authority was founded by Christ. And then we take the word of that infallible Church that the Bible is inspired. Without the existence of the Church, we could never know whether the Bible is inspired. The Church infallibly teaches that the Old Testament books are also inspired because Jesus and his apostles believed in them as inspired books and taught that truth. The New Testament books are recorded and inspired history of Jesus and his Church. Inspiration of the Bible means that the Holy Spirit as principal author of Sacred Scripture influenced the sacred writers in three ways:  1) He illuminated the mind of the sacred writer.  2) Holy Spirit moved the will of the sacred writers to write freely, though infallibly, what God wished. 3. The Holy Spirit aided the sacred writers in the work of composition. Additional     sources: 1) http://www.catholic.com/library/Proving_Inspiration.asp 2) http://www.cathtruth.com/catholicbible/inspire.htm

3) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0510fr.asp

 

2) Why the Catholic Bible has seven books more than the Protestant Bible? The Bible at the time of Jesus was called the Hebrew Bible. It consisted of only Old Testament books. The original was in Hebrew language. When the majority of the Jews living outside Palestine started speaking Greek, a group of seventy experts were sent to Alexandria to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek, as requested by the emperor. The Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible was called the Septuagint Bible.  But it contained 46 books. The seven additional books were 1) Judith, 2) Baruch, 3) Sirach (Ecclesiastes), 4) Wisdom, 5) Tobit, and 6) Maccabees I & 7) Maccabees II. Besides, there were some additions to Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4-16:24) and additions to Daniel: (Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children, Bel and the Dragon). Since Jesus and the apostles used the Septuagint Bible, the Pharisees who finalized the official list (canon) of the Hebrew Bible books in AD 90, called the additional books in the Septuagint Bible “apocrypha” meaning not-inspired or Deuterocanonical books. But the recent discovery of fragments of three Deuterocanonical books among the Dead Sea scrolls found at Qumran proves that they were part of the ancient Hebrew Bible. Since the early Church spread mostly among Greek speaking Jews and gentiles, it accepted Septuagint as its Bible. That is why out of the approximately 340 New Testament references to the Old Testament 300 are from the Septuagint. At the Council of Rome in 382 AD, the Church finalized a canon of 46 Old Testament books (including the Deuterocanonical books) and 27 in the New Testament. This decision was ratified and confirmed by the councils at Hippo (393), Carthage (397, 419), II Nicea (787), Florence (1442), and Trent (1546). All Christians believed the 46 books of the Old Testament as inspired books until Martin Luther in the 16th century discarded the Deuterocanonical books as uninspired because they were not found in the Hebrew Bible finalized in the first century AD by the anti Christian Jews. But they were retained at the end of the protestant bibles (King James Version) until the Edinburgh Committee of the British Foreign Bible Society excised them in 1825. The Catholic Church considers them inspired and integral part of the Bible.

Additional     sources: 1) http://www.cathtruth.com/catholicbible/cathprot.htm 2) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0009sbs.asp 3) http://www.envoymagazine.com/backissues/1.2/marapril_story2.html

4) http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/markshea/sheavings/34.asp

 

3) Why Catholics give importance to Sacred Tradition?: Essentially, tradition is a thing handed down from one generation to the next. This is precisely the meaning of the biblical word for tradition: paradosis. Sacred Tradition is the living and growing truth of Christ contained, not only in Scripture, but in the common teaching, common life, and common worship of the Church. The apostles received a lot of  unwritten teachings and traditions from Christ himself (John 20:30; 21:35) and they handed them down to their successors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and so have come down to us (Council of Trent). Tradition is expressed in (and grows from) the Church’s creeds, the records of the Church’s liturgy, the writings of the great Fathers of the Church, the decrees of popes and councils, the prayer and faith of the people. Paul, in his writings (1 Corinthians 11:23, for example), states very forcefully that he is “handing on” what was “handed on” to him. Biblical texts prove that the apostolic Church accepted Tradition as a norm for faith and practice (2 Thessalonians 2:15, 1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Tim. 1:13-14) and that the Bible explicitly says not everything Jesus did and taught was written down (John 20:30; 21:25). It is true that Jesus criticized the Jewish tradition: (Matt.7:6, 15:3, 15:6-9). But the Christian tradition as explained above is different from the Jewish tradition which consisted of interpretations of Torah given by the Jewish rabbi. That is why St. Paul praises both oral and written Christian traditions: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.”(2 Thessalonians           1:14).

Additional   sources: 1) http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/markshea/sheavings/31.asp

2) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9709disp.asp 3) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1991/9112chap.asp

 

4) Why de we believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?  We believe in the corporeal, substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It means that the whole Christ is present in the consecrated host and wine – the resurrected and glorified body and blood of Christ with soul, and divinity. It is not a spiritual or symbolic presence as non-Catholics believe. It is also different from his presence in the Bible and in the praying community. Fathers of the Church starting from the first century believed it, based on John 6:45-59, Mt. 26:26-28, & 1 Cor. 11:27. In John 6:45-59, Jesus says that he is the bread from heaven, and that the bread that he will give is his flesh for the life of the world. In Mt. 26:26-28 we read: “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” Finally, Jesus gave his apostles the commission: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” The Church from the first century understood what Jesus said literally. In 1 Cor. 11:27 Saint Paul says that if we partake of the bread unworthily, we are guilty of profaning (literally, murdering) the body and blood of Christ.  If the Eucharist is just a symbol, then how can we be guilty of profaning Christ’s body and blood? Theologians explain how bread and wine becomes the resurrected body and blood of Jesus by “transubstantiation” – a process where “substance” of bread and wine is changed while retaining the “accidents” like color, taste, shape etc. because “nothing is impossible for God.”

Additional     sources: 1) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0996.asp, 2) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1998/9812fea3.asp, 3) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0901.asp

 

5) Why do we pray for our dead relatives? 1) People of all religions have believed in the immortality of the soul, and have prayed for the dead. 2) Prayer for the souls of the departed is retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that he/she may be purified. 3) II Maccabees,12: 46 is the main Biblical text incorporating the Jewish belief in the necessity of prayer and sacrifice for the dead. The passage (II Maccabees 12: 39-46), describes how Judas, the military commander, took up a collection from all his men, totaling about four pounds of silver and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering” (II Macc. 12: 43). The narrator continues, “If he had not believed that the dead would be raised, it would have been foolish and useless to pray for them.” Other pertinent Bible texts are II Timothy: 1:18, Matthew 12:32, I Corinthians, 3:15, Zechariah 13:19, Sirach 7:33.   4)  Jesus and the apostles shared this belief and passed it on to the early Church. “Remember us who have gone before you, in your prayers,” is a petition often found inscribed on the walls of the Roman catacombs. 5) The Church’s official teaching is that there is a place or state of purification called Purgatory, where souls undergoing purification can be helped by the prayers of the faithful (Council of Trent). . According to Revelation: 21:27: “nothing unclean shall enter heaven.” Holy Scripture (Proverbs 24: 16) also teaches that even “the just sin seven times a day.”   6) The early Fathers of the Church encouraged this practice (Tertullian (A.D. 160-240) & St. Augustine (354-430 AD)  and the synods of Nicaea, Florence and Trent encouraged the offering of prayers for the dead. The fire of Purgatory is an intense, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and his fire of love. God can foresee the prayers we offer for our departed dear ones even years following their death and apply it the holy souls as they undergo purification.

Additional   sources:      1) http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/williamsaunders/straightanswers/98.asp, 2) http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/markshea/sheavings/purgatory.asp, 3) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1998/9801fea2.asp

6) Why doesn’t the Catholic Church ordain women? : Rejecting patriarchy in the Church, Pope Benedict XVI said that the Church has no power to ordain women as priests.” The Church has ‘no authority’ to ordain women. The point is not that we don’t want to, but that we can’t,” the pope said in his latest book “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.” He said Christ gave the form of priesthood when he chose his male Apostles and the “man does not have the power to change it.” There is no discrimination against women in the Church because women perform so many meaningful functions in the Church and shape its image more than men do. Catholic women have played a central role in the life of the Church, from Lydia in the Acts of the Apostles, through Margaret of Scotland and Jadwiga of Poland and other great queens and women of influence, to the Englishwomen at the Reformation who arranged secret places for Mass, down to Edith Stein, whose quest for intellectual and spiritual truth led her to convent life and did not spare her Auschwitz. The pope also rejected the notion that ordination was restricted to men only because priestesses would have been unthinkable 2,000 years ago. “That is nonsense. Virtually all the pagan religions of Jesus’ day had priestesses, and it would have been entirely normal and natural for him to choose women for this task. Besides, Jesus had a number of excellent potential candidates, like his own mother, who accompanied him at his first miracle and stood with him as he suffered on the cross, Mary Magdalene, and Martha and Mary of Bethany. Instead, Jesus chose only men, and he remained immovable on this, continuing right to the end to exhort and train them all, leaving thus a Church which turned out to be safely founded on a rock. From those twelve men a direct line of apostolic succession has given the Catholic Church the bishops and priests it has today. The Catechism of the Catholic Church sets it out clearly: The Catechism of the Catholic Church sets it out clearly: “Only a baptized man (vir) receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.”

Additional    sources: 1)  http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1994/9404frs.asp  http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0105fea4.asp

http://www.mark-shea.com/rights.html

7) Why should we confess sins to a priest? Since Jesus is the one and only mediator between God and us (1 Tim. 2:5) shouldn’t Christians confess their sins directly to Jesus? Just as God empowered his priests to be instruments of forgiveness in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:20–22), Christ delegated authority to his New Testament ministers to act as mediators of reconciliation as well. Catholics do confess their sins directly to God both within and outside the confessional because Jesus advocated praying directly to the Father and to ask forgiveness for our sins (Matt. 6:12), and Catholics do this communally at every Mass and in prayer groups, and individually during private prayers. But Catholics also believe that Jesus gave the Church a unique role in his ministry of reconciliation by entrusting it with his power to forgive and retain sins. By administering the sacrament of reconciliation (confession), the priest perpetuates this ministry by acting in persona Christi, “in the person of Christ.” In other words, when Catholics receive absolution from the priest for sins confessed, it is Jesus’ forgiveness that is granted, not the priest’s. Jesus made this clear in John 20:21–23: Jesus said to them again, “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.” Here Jesus emphasizes this essential part of the priestly ministry of the apostles—to forgive men’s sins in the person of Christ. Hence Catholic Church teaches that Jesus, who alone has the power to forgive or retain sins (Mark 2:10; Luke 5:24), transmitted that power to the apostles and the apostles to their successors. How can a priest forgive sins in the name Jesus using the authority given by the Church unless people confess their sins? That is why confessing sins to a priest has been practiced in the Catholic Church from the early Christian period. In the fourth century, St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan (IV century), wrote: Sins are forgiven through the Holy Ghost. Certainly, but men lend him their ministry. . . . They forgive sin, not in their own name, but in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” (De Spiritu Sancto iii, 137).

Additional   sources: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0609btb.asp

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0604fea4.asp

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0005fea4.asp

8) Why can’t I “I just follow my conscience?”  We often hear people saying “I don’t need any guidance from anyone because I just follow my conscience.” They claim that their conscience will tell them what is true or false, right or wrong. But what they are really doing is just following their feelings or personal preferences, regardless of what may be the right or moral thing to do. Conscience is a unique faculty or power given to us by God to guide us to what is good, right, true and just. The purpose of conscience is to lead a person to the truth. It is a person’s “most secret core and sanctuary” where a person can sense the inner voice of God calling them “to love and to do what is good and avoid evil” (CCC#1776). First we should have an informed conscience by learning right and wrong in the light of the Sacred Scriptures as interpreted by the teaching authority given to the Church. If we do not inform our conscience, then it won’t be dependable and trustworthy. The Catechism reminds us that “the education of the conscience is a lifelong task.” We do this by studying Sacred Scripture, by knowing the moral teachings of the Church and our Christian tradition, and through prayer.

 

9) Why fasting, penance and prayer are recommended during Lent? 1) Fasting reduces our “spiritual obesity” or the excessive accumulation of fat in our soul in the form of evil tendencies and evil habits. 2) It gives us additional moral and spiritual strength and encourages us to share our blessings with the needy people. 3) Fasting also gives us more time to be with God in prayer. 4) We need to do prayerful fasting and acts of penance for our sins, following the example of Jesus before his public ministry. 5) When we fast, we are imitating the people of Nineveh and the Syrian King, Ben Hadad who fasted pleading for God’s mercy and forgiveness, and Queen Esther who fasted for her people. Acts of penance during Lent a) remove the weakness left by sin in our souls and give us more self control, b) pay the temporary debt caused by sin, and c) make our prayers more fruitful. Besides, it is Jesus’ teaching: “If any one wishes to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Prayer is necessary at all times because God has commanded it, and because, without it, we do not receive the graces necessary to persevere to the end. “It is necessary for adults as a means of salvation; that is to say, that a person who does not pray, and neglects to ask of God the help requisite for overcoming temptations, and for preserving grace already received, cannot be saved.” (St. Alphonsus – CCC 2744). In essence, prayer is talking to God and listening to Him. Jesus gives us the model of penitential prayer by his forty days in the desert in preparation for his public life. Prayer during the Lent Prayer, 1. Unites us to God; 2. Makes us heavenly minded; 3. Strengthens us against evil; 4. Gives us zeal and energy for good; 5. Comforts us in adversity; and 6. Obtains help for us in time of need, and the grace of perseverance unto death.

 

10) Why should we tithe? Is there any biblical stipulation on tithing? What % (percentage) of a family’s income? Biblical basis of stewardship by tithing: Both the Old and the New Testaments are full of references to tithing to the Lord. The practice of tithing is rooted in the Old Testament and was reinforced by the teaching of Jesus and his apostles and the example of the early Christians. The tithe was basically a requirement of the Mosaic Law by which all Israelites were to give 10% of everything they earned and grew, to the tabernacle. 1) Genesis 14:18-20: Abraham first gave a tithe offering as a spontaneous thank you to God. 2) Genesis 28:22: Jacob makes a pledge to return one tenth of everything he has to the      Lord. 3) Leviticus 27:30:All tithes of the land, whether in grain from the fields or in fruit from the trees, belong to the LORD, as sacred to Him.” 4) Malachi 3:10:  “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the LORD of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?” (Cfr also Num 18:26; Deut 14:24; 2Chr        31:5). Jesus encouraged the generous sharing of our blessings with others: “Give and gifts will be given to you” (Luke 6:38). 2) St. Paul exhorts the Christians in Corinth to contribute “what they can afford” to support the ministry of the Church (1Cor 16:1-4). 3) The early Christian community took Jesus literally when he told the rich young man to sell all he had and give it to the poor. The early Church practiced it as evidenced in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:45): “they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need,“. Theologically, tithing is an act of thanksgiving to God by which we are helping our own brothers and sisters in the parish community. Besides, it is a source and means of additional blessing from God.

 

11) Why the Holy Mass is a sacrifice and a sacrament? Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist during the Last Supper as a sacramental banquet and a sacrificial offering.  As a sacrament, the Holy Eucharist is an outward sign in and through which we meet Jesus who shares his life of grace with us.  In this Sacrament of the Eucharist, we do meet Jesus the risen Lord who comes to us under signs of bread and wine to nourish and strengthen us for our journey through life.  By the words of consecration, Christ is made present again through the “transubstantiation” of the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and         Blood. As a sacramental meal, the Eucharist is a foretaste of the eternal banquet of “the Lamb that was slain” (Revelation 5:12). Eucharistic celebration is a sacrifice because in the Holy Mass the same Jesus Christ who offered himself on Calvary now offers himself on the altar. According to the Council of Trent, the Mass is a true and proper sacrifice which is offered to God. The Calvary sacrifice is reenacted on the altar in an unbloody way using signs and symbols. By the words, “Do this in commemoration of me” (Luke 22:19; I Corinthians 11:24), Christ made the apostles priests. Moreover, He decreed that they and other priests should offer His Body and Blood. St. Paul told his converts in Corinth, “Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

 

12) What is Pauline & Petrine previlges? The Catholic Church believes that when two baptized Christians marry a sacramental bond of marriage is established.  When a baptized Christian and a non-baptized person marry, or when two non-baptized persons marry, only a natural bond of marriage is established. Over the course of history, it has become a practice in the Church for the bishop to dissolve the natural bond of marriage existing between two non-baptized persons.  This is called a Pauline Privilege. Likewise, it has become a practice in the Church for the Holy Father to dissolve the natural bond of marriage existing between a baptized Christian and a non-baptized person.  This is called a Petrine Privilege.  Both the Pauline Privilege and the Petrine Privilege are considered to be favors, i.e., no one has a right to receive either privilege but they can be requested, and if the situation satisfies the established criteria, the bishop or pope grants the favor for the benefit of the Catholic party. For either favor to be granted the person’s “non-baptized” status must be proven beyond doubt.  This usually entails testimony from the non-baptized party and written verification of non-baptism by witnesses (parents, siblings, relatives or close friends).  If the non-baptized party does not participate, it is still possible to prove non-baptism through witness testimony.   It must be shown that responsibilities incurred in the previous marriage (eg. child support) have been and are being fulfilled by the person requesting the favor.  It must also be shown that the person requesting the favor was not the major cause of the failure of the marriage. (http://askfrjohn.blogspot.com/search?q=)

13) Why there should be singing by the choir and the people on Sundays?  In many parts of the world, any type of communal gathering invariably includes music and songs. A proper religious “celebration,” according to our scriptural heritage, means that we should “shout joyfully to the Lord, . . . come before him with joyful song” (Ps 100:1-2) and “sing a new song to the Lord” (Ps 149:11). An ancient proverbs reminds us that “One who sings well prays twice.” Hence a statement of the US Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, reminds us that “music is of preeminent importance” in liturgical celebrations, and that “it forms a necessary or integral part” of the liturgy (n. 23, cf. CS n. 112). There is a long tradition of including music at religious rites, primarily because such rites are always “celebrations” of the people of God rather than merely the private prayer of the priest celebrant. Since the Eucharist is “the center of the whole Christian life” we must celebrate it appropriately, especially on Sundays and major feasts. We sing during Holy Mass because the Eucharistic celebration is a joyful celebration, by the people of God, of God’s love, particularly as shown in the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Besides, joyful celebrations of the Eucharist, with music and songs, will surely help the lively participation of the people and to build up the faith of those assembled as they give thanks and praise to a loving God.

 

14) Why do we celebrate Fathers Day? It is the day to offer our fathers on the altar of God during the Holy Mass, invoking our heavenly Father’s blessings on the living fathers, and step fathers and God’s mercy on the deceased fathers.  Ancient Romans observed Parentalia as an annual family reunion to remember the departed parents and kinsfolk.  In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge made the first presidential proclamation in support of Father’s Day, and later, in 1972, President Richard Nixon declared the third Sunday in June a National Day of Observance in honor of fathers. We set apart a day for our fathers because with our mothers, they gave us life, moral and religious training and a sense of discipline in our lives. Children with fathers present at home have a much lower rate of delinquency, drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and so on, than those with absent fathers. The father’s presence is also a significant positive factor in children’s getting a college education, finding a satisfying job, and making a lasting marriage.   Father’s Day is also a day to remember, acknowledge and appreciate the “World’s Greatest Dad,” OUR HEAVENLY FATHER (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6) who is our spiritual Daddy, actively involved in all areas of our lives.  It is He on whom we lean in times of pain and hurt.  It is He on whom we call in times of need. It is He Who provides for us in all ways –practical, emotional, and spiritual.  Many of us pray the “Our Father” day after day, without paying attention to, or experiencing, the love and providence of our Heavenly Father.  Let us pray the Our Father during this Holy Mass, realizing the meaning of each clause and experiencing the love of our Heavenly Father.  Let the earthly fathers draw strength from their Heavenly Father.  On this Father’s Day please don’t forget to pray for pastors who are your spiritual Fathers, men who are called to be Fathers to an immensely large parish family through the sacrament of Holy Orders.

15) Why do we celebrate the Independence Day? 1) It is primarily to thank God for the political and religious freedom we enjoy and to pray for God’s providential care, protection and special blessings, on the rulers and the people of our country. 2) It is a day to remember with gratitude the Founding Fathers of our democratic     republic, especially, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, who believed that all power, including political power, came from God and was given to the people who entrusted this power to their elected leaders. 3) It is a day to remember and pray for all our brave soldiers who made the   supreme sacrifice of their lives to keep this country a safe and a free    country and for those who are now engaged in the fight against    terrorism in   Iraq and Afghanistan. 4) It is day also to remember the basic principle underlined in the constitution that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 5) It is day to remind ourselves that we have a duty to protect these God-given rights by voting into power leaders who believe in God and who have character, integrity, experience and belief in inalienable human rights. 6) It is day to fight for the fundamental right to life denied to pre-born children to grow and develop in their mothers’ wombs and to the sick and the elderly to die gracefully without fearing euthanasia. 7) It is day to pray for and work for liberation for all those who are still slaves in our free country – slaves to evil habits and addictions to nicotine, alcohol, drugs, pornography, promiscuity and sexual aberrations. 8) Finally It is a day to remember where we came from, what we stand for, and the sacrifices that thousands of our countrymen made on our behalf.

 

16) Why Jesus suffered and died on the cross?  On April 12th, 2004, after the release of Mel Gibson’s widely acclaimed film The Passion of the Christ TIME magazine had a leading article, “Why Did Jesus Have to Die?”  Here is the basic reason: Man alone cannot atone for his sin against the infinite justice of God. Only a God–man could do that, and Jesus the God-man made that atonement by his suffering and death. Out of perfect love for us, Jesus took upon himself the punishment we deserved. Thus his willingness to suffer in our place balanced the divine “scales of justice.” The debt was now paid. His love paid the price. His passion and death atoned for our sins and redeemed us.  The apostle John calls Jesus “the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2; 4:10). Apostle Paul explains that Jesus’ death was a redemptive and atoning act because “Jesus died for us on account of our sins” (Romans 4:25). That is why John the Baptist introduced Jesus to his disciples as the Lambwho takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). St. Mark 10: 45 describes it thus: “The Son of Man came … to give his life as a ransom for many.” Christ’s making satisfaction for the penalty of our sins through suffering and death on the cross was, in fact, the way God chose to make possible our salvation and to express His love for man.

 

17) What Christians should know about Islam and Muslims: There are 1.5 billion Christians (1 billion Catholics) and 1.2 billion Muslims in the world who profess the religion Islam.  The Fundamentalist Muslims do not represent the millions of God fearing and peace loving Muslims. Unlike Christians, who believe that Jesus was the Son of God who became man to save mankind, Muslims believe that Jesus was only one of the great prophets like Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and Mohammed (570-632). For a Muslim, the Holy Book Quran is God’s Word revealed by God to Mohammed through the angel Gabriel. Mohammed, born in Mecca of Saudi Arabia in 570 A.D. became a merchant, traveling as far as Yemen and Syria with his uncle. He had a lot of exposure to the faith of the Jews and Christians. When Mohammad was 40 years old, he experienced a profoundly life-changing mystical experience. The Muslims believe that Mohammad received a series of revelations during his mystic trance, over a period of 23 years. The Quran, as revealed to Mohammad and recited by him to his followers, was later copied and finally got printed. It is received by Muslims as the Word of God. It contains 114 chapters, or suras, which cover a range of topics from reverence for Allah to practical ways of living. Islam has only lay leadership and no priests. Such religious leaders who teach Islam and lead prayers are called imams. Mosques are centers of worship, as well as of learning and study of the Quran. Islam rests on five pillars. The first of Islam’s five pillars is the ultimate profession of their faith: “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammad is the prophet of Allah.” This statement is repeated at least five times each day by the muezzin in the minaret of every mosque around the world as an invitation to prayer. The second pillar, prayer is carried out five times a day: at dawn, noon, midafternoon, sunset, and after the fall of darkness or at bedtime. The third pillar of Islam, almsgiving involves a serious redistribution of wealth by giving 2.5 percent of their wealth to the poor. The fourth pillar of Islam is the fast that takes place during the holy month of Ramadan. All Muslims all over the world during Ramadan are called on to fast from sunrise to sunset for 30 days, unless they are sick or on a journey. The fifth pillar of Islam is a pilgrimage to Mecca by all who can afford. It bonds a community of believers. There are two fractions among the Muslims: those who followed Mohammad’s son-in-law Ali (known as Shiites) and those who follow another leader (a branch of Islam that became known as Sunni).

18) What are the beliefs of the Assemblies of God? It’s the largest Pentecostal denomination in the U.S. and the fastest growing religious group in the world with some 16 million members worldwide. It was started in 1914 by a group of Evangelicals who came out of the Pentecostal movement. The Assemblies of God is fundamentalist in its approach to the Bible, distinguished by its Pentecostal beliefs. Many of the arguments used by “mainstream” Fundamentalists against Catholicism are employed also by members of the Assemblies of God. The members believe in the pretribulational rapture and a millennial kingdom on Earth. In some ways, the Assemblies of God is really just a Pentecostalized version of the Baptist faith. For instance, it observes only two ordinances: the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, which is interpreted as a mere memorial of Christ’s death, and baptism. There is no infant baptism. Water baptism by adults is regarded as little more than a public declaration of one’s commitment to Christ. Assemblies of God stresses the charismatic gifts mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues, miraculous healing). They believe that these spiritual gifts should be in full operation in the life of the Church. Local congregations are independent. Each congregation hires and fires its own pastors and oversees its own affairs. At the same time, the general interests of the denomination are addressed in their top legislative body, the General Council, or by the General Presbytery when the Council is not in session. Television evangelists like Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart were Assemblies of God ministers before being defrocked.

19) Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses: The sect known today as Jehovah’s Witnesses is as American as hot dogs and baseball. Objective historians trace their origin to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, about the year 1872. Its beliefs are based on Studies in the Scriptures written by a layman Charles Taze Russell. Russell was raised a Presbyterian, then joined the Congregational church, and was finally influenced by Adventist teachings. The new sect was his response to “corruption in mainstream Christianity.” The Watchtower is their official publication. The second coming of Jesus, general resurrection and final judgment and Jesus’ rule for a millennium are some of their doctrines. The original legal name of Russell’s followers was Zion’s Watchtower Tract Society. The name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was adopted in 1931 at the suggestion of Russell’s successor, “Judge” J.F. Rutherford. Instead of churches they have “Kingdom Halls.” Most Witnesses used to be Catholics or Protestants. According to Jehovah witnesses there is no Trinity or hell. Only Father or Jehova is God. Holy Spirit is not a person but only the force of Yahweh and Jesus was not God, but rather a holy witness to God, and our souls are not immortal. Jehovah’s Witnesses will not serve in the military, salute the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance, vote, run for office, or serve as officials of labor unions. Here is a plan of action when you encounter Jehovah Witnesses: Don’t slam the door in their faces. Instead kill them with kindness and tell them you are not interested in their religion. Don’t argue or debate specific doctrines with the Witnesses because they are prepared and you are not. Don’t let the Witness get through his rehearsed presentation. Don’t allow the Witnesses to bring up multiple issues and get you sidetracked. Don’t go by the Witnesses’ version of the Bible, the New World Translation.

20) Who are the Baptists? The Baptists are one of the largest Protestant Free Church denominations. At the turn of the 21st century, there were about 43 million Baptists worldwide with about 33 million of those in the United States and 216,000 in Britain. There are over 850,000 Baptists in South America and 230,000 in Central America and the Caribbean. In the United States, the two largest Baptist organizations are the Southern Baptist Churches (SBC) and American Baptist Churches (ABC), with the former being the more conservative branch. Notable Baptists have included Martin Luther King, Jr., Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan and Billy Graham. Baptist beginnings have also been traced to medieval sects who protested against prevailing baptismal theory and practice. Baptist Churches were established in the American colonies from the mid-17th century. In 1905, the Baptist World Alliance was formed for the purpose of international Baptist cooperation. Its headquarters is in McLean, Virginia. Baptists accept only the Bible as the only authority of faith and its individual and literal interpretation. The Baptist theology holds that Christ died on the cross to give humans the promise of everlasting life, but that this requires that each individual accepts Christ into his life and asks for forgiveness.   It believes in the “believers’ baptism, the priesthood of the believer and autonomy of the local church. Believer’s baptism is an ordinance performed after a person professes Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and is symbolic of the cleansing or remission of their sins. There is no infant baptism. The Baptist doctrine of justification by faith states that it is by faith alone that we receive salvation and not through any works of our own. Baptists generally believe in the literal Second Coming of Christ at which time God will sit in judgment and divide humanity between the saved and the lost.  Administration, leadership and doctrine are decided democratically by the lay members of each individual church, which accounts for the variation of beliefs from one Baptist church to another. There are no hierarchical layers of priests. Many conservative Baptists like the Southern Baptists oppose gambling, alcohol, tobacco, and some prohibit dancing and movies.

21) Who are Mormons? Mormonism is  a Protestant sect started by Joseph Smith. Most Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), while a minority is members of other independent churches. The center of Mormon cultural influence is in Utah. But the majority of Mormons live outside the United States. They dedicate large amounts of time and resources to serving in their church, and many young Mormons choose to serve a full time proselytizing mission. Mormons have a health code that banns alcoholic beverage, tobacco, coffee, tea, and other addictive substances. They tend to be very family-oriented, and have strong connections across generations and with extended family. Mormons have a strict law of chastity, requiring abstention from sexual relations outside of marriage and strict fidelity within marriage. Mormons believe in the Bible,  in the  Book of Mormon and a collection of revelations and writings by Joseph Smith known as the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.. They believe that all people are spirit-children of God. Mormons believe that returning to God requires following the example of Jesus Christ, as well as accepting his atonement through specific ordinances such as baptism. They believe that their church is guided by living prophets and apostles. Central to Mormon faith is the belief that God speaks to his children and answers their prayers. The Mormon Church has admitted for the first time that its founder, Joseph Smith, took multiple wives. In an essay published on its website, https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng  the church said “careful estimates” put the number at between 30 and 40, including a 14-year-old and others who were already married. The Mormon church banned polygamy in 1890, and now excommunicates anyone who practices it.

22) Who are the Pentecostals? Pentecostalism is a fast growing, diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Including Charismatics, Pentecostals include nearly a quarter of the world’s two billion Christians. It is theologically and historically close to the charismatic movement. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles.  Pentecostals have an end-of- the world focus, and claims to experience Holy Spirit through community prayers, loud singing and by the use of the gifts gift of tongues and prophecy. Their main beliefs are that  Jesus saves according to John 3:16, baptizes with the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:4, heals bodily according to James 5:15, and is coming again to receive those who are saved according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17. Pentecostals are evangelical, emphasizing the inerrancy and reliability of the Bible and the need for the transformation of an individual’s life through faith in Jesus. The central belief of Pentecostalism is that through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; sins can be forgiven and humanity reconciled with God. This is the Gospel or “good news”. The fundamental requirement of Pentecostalism is that one should be born again. The new birth is received by the grace of God through faith in Christ and acceptance of him as personal Lord and Savior. By being born again, the believer is regenerated, justified, adopted into the family of God, and sanctified. Pentecostals don’t believe in priesthood, sacraments or any central teaching authority. It explains the presence of numerous denominations among the Pentecostals. There is no single central organization or church that directs the movement although some Pentecostal denominations are affiliated with the Pentecostal World Conference.

23) Who are Methodists? Methodism is a Protestant denomination of Christianity represented by a number of sub denominations and organizations. Methodists claim approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The great revival preacher in Anglicanism, John Wesley is the originator of this movement within the Church of England. George Whitefield was another significant leader.  Both Whitefield and the Wesley greatly valued the Anglican liturgy and tradition, and the Methodist worship in The Book of Offices was based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Methodism affirms the traditional Christian belief in a Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as well as the orthodox understanding of the consubstantial humanity and divinity of Jesus. Methodists recognize only two Sacraments as being instituted by Christ, namely, Baptism and Confirmation. They make use of tradition, drawing primarily from the teachings of the Church fathers, as a source of authority. Although not infallible like the Bible, tradition may serve as a lens through which Scripture is interpreted. Methodism insists that personal salvation always implies Christian mission and service to the world. Scriptural holiness is more than personal piety. Methodist Church is known for its missionary work and its establishment of hospitals, universities, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools to follow the command of Jesus to spread the Good News and serve all people. Love of God is always linked with love of neighbors and a passion for justice and renewal in the life of the world. Most Methodist churches annually follow the call of John Wesley for a renewal of their covenant with God by Covenant Services. Instead of bishops British Methodists have a strong central organization called Connexion. It is composed of Districts which is composed of Circuits which appoints ministers. But in the U. S. they have bishops who assign pastors to congregations.

24) Why do we have a New Missal with newly worded prayers? We are preparing to use the new English translation of the new Roman Missal from the First Sunday of Advent — Nov. 27, 2011. Actually, the “new” Roman Missal is not really new. It is the third revised edition of the Roman Missal in Latin, “Missale Romanum” which was first issued in 1969 following the Second Vatican Council. As in all revised editions of a book, the aim was to improve and update the content, correct any previous errors and clarify points of confusion. Our bishops and liturgy and language experts have tried their best for the last ten years to prepare for us the most suitable and accurate English translation of all the prayers from the original Latin text “Missale Romanum”. A number of changes in the prayers of the familiar Mass have also been made. The changes are made in the new English translation for the following purposes: 1) To reveal the Scriptural origins of the Mass more powerfully. 2) To cultivate a “sacred vernacular” — an elevated style of speech that illustrates the significance of the occasion, and helps us enter the context of divine worship. 3) To retain a number of rich spiritual metaphors and images in the original Latin text lost in the previous “contemporary” English translation which used superficial contemporary expressions and phrases. 4 ) To clarify some theological concepts  which were not very clear in the old translation and to capture several biblical allusions  which were not noticeable in the previous translation. Thus maximum fidelity to the official Latin text with more precise expression of faith in conformity with the biblical texts was the chief goal of the revised English translation. But the structure, essence and order of the Mass and the wording of most of the prayers remain unchanged.

25) What is the Holy Mass? Holy Mass is Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday made present today in ritual. The bishops at the Second Vatican Council brought together these three mysteries in a multifaceted description of the Mass: “At the Last Supper, on the night when he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until he should come again and in this way to entrust to his beloved Bride, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is eaten, the heart is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us” ” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #42). However, the basic “shape” of the ritual of the Mass can be described as a meal. This does not mean that we are ignoring the Mass as sacrifice. Not at all. The point is, the shape of the Mass, even when viewed as sacrifice, is that of a meal. When friends gather for a meal, they sit and talk, then they move to the table, say grace, pass the food and eat and drink, and finally take their leave and go home. The Mass has the same actions. 1) Gathering: The purpose of gathering rites is to bring us together into one body, ready to listen and to break bread together. 2) Storytelling: At Mass, after the rites of gathering, we sit down and listen as readings from the Word of God are proclaimed. They are the stories of God’s people.  3) Meal sharing: As at a meal in the home of a friend, we a) set the table, b) say grace and c) share the food (we eat and drink) and d) bid farewell. At Mass these ritual actions are called i) the Preparation of the Gifts, ii) the Eucharistic Prayer, iii) the Communion Rite: We prepare to eat and drink at the Lord’s table after saying Our Father and after exchanging peace.  4) Commissioning: Finally, priest blesses the assembly reminding the people of their mission of preaching the gospel and witnessing to Christ by their lives during the week.

26) Are we saved by “faith alone” or also through good works? Catholics and Protestants believe that we are saved (objective redemption) by the suffering, death and resurrection. The Catholics believe that we are saved individually (subjective redemption) by co-operating with God’s grace by doing what Jesus has commanded us to do i.e., by our good works. They also believe that we receive God’s grace through the sacraments and prayers. But the Protestants believe that we are saved individually by “faith alone.” They argue that good works flow from our faith as expression of our gratitude to God for saving us through His grace. The Protestants base their argument on a wrongly translated single text of St. Paul Romans 3:28: “For we account a man to be justified by faith alone without the works of the law”. But in the Greek original of the text, the word alone is absent. It is a Protestant addition. Besides, St. Paul is talking about the works of the Mosaic Law required by the Jewish faith. “Faith alone” is not meant in Acts 16:31 or Eph. 2:8-9 either. The   Catholic teaching on the necessity of good works for our salvation is based on several statements of Jesus in the gospels and references in the epistles. Examples: 1) What good is it my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?…You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone…faith without deeds is dead.” (James. 2:14-26). 2) The criterion of Last Judgment according to Matthew 25: 31-46 is works of charity: “Come you who are blessed by my Father.  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me…. Amen I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” 3) Concluding the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus says “You have answered correctly, do this and you will live.” 4)  “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.(Mt 7: 21). Other references: Romans 2:5-8, Matthew 5:16, Matt. 23:3, 2 Tim. 4:8, 2 Pet. 1:10, Gal. 6:9-10, Phil. 2:12.

27) Why do Catholics honor and venerate saints? All Saints’ Day is a universal Christian feast honoring all Christian saints, known and unknown, who are now with God in glory.  “Halloween” celebrated on the eve of the Day of All Saints, got its name from “All Hallows’ Eve” or the Vigil of All Saints Day. This is a day on which we thank God for giving ordinary men and women a share in His holiness and heavenly glory as a reward for their faith. Besiodes, the feast is observed in order to teach us to honor the saints, both by imitating their lives and by seeking their intercession for us before Christ, the only mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2/5). Reasons why we honor saints: 1- The saints put their trust in Christ and lived heroic lives of faith. St. Paul asks us to serve and honor such noble souls. 2- The saints are our role-models. They teach us by their lives that Christ’s holy life of love, mercy, and unconditional forgiveness can be lived by ordinary people of all walks of life and at all times. 3 – The saints are our heavenly mediators who intercede for us before Jesus, the only mediator between God and us. (James: 5/16-18, Exodus: 32/13, Jer. 15:1, Revel. 8:3-4,) 4- The saints are the instruments that God uses to work miracles at present, just as He used the rod of Moses (Exodus), the bones of the dead prophet, Elisha (II Kings 13/21), the towel of Paul (Acts: 19/12) and the shadow of Peter (Acts 5/15) to work miracles in earlier times. On the feast of All Saints the church invites us and challenges us to walk the walk of the saints and not just talk the talk: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). St. Augustine challenges us: “If he and she can become saints, why can’t I?”

28) Should Catholics believe in private revelations? Many Saints and Blesseds have described private revelations from God, of various kinds, throughout the history of the Church. But only some of them are approved by the Church. Many private revelations were rejected by the faithful and condemned by the temporal authority of the Church because these promoted teachings that were contrary to the faith, attacked the faithfulness and authority of the Church, and were from persons who deviated from Christ’s teaching. So the Church has outlined some Criteria for Recognizing True Private Revelations. I) True private revelations contain no theological errors, nor any doctrines contrary to the teaching of the Church. 2) While false revelations exalt the one receiving the messages, true revelations tend to humble the one receiving them. 3) True private revelations have a noble purpose, and they often show knowledge of the future. 4) Approval or disapproval of the local bishop. 5) The messages of false private revelation often contain frequent mention of Satan, under various terms, and of evil. 6) False claims about the knowledge of future. 7) False revelations  contain complicated set of prayers and rituals which are  incomprehensible to the average believer.8) Many false messages contain what seem like empty exhortations to holiness. 9) Frequent mention of worldly subject matter, or use of sensational language is common in false private revelations. 10) Clever presentation of truths to trap innocent believers. 11) Vague visions and predictions. 12) Undue delay of predicted events of bad weather and natural disasters 13) Claims stigmata, bilocation, levitation and knowledge of others’ thoughts. 14) False guarantees, false miraculous healings, false Eucharistic miracles and false claims of approval of the Church.

29) Do we have to believe in hell? The doctrine of hell is so frightening that numerous heretical sects deny its existence. Christian denominations like the Unitarian-Universalists, the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christian Scientists, the New Agers, and the Mormons reject or modify the doctrine of hell so radically that it is no longer a serious threat. A number of major Evangelical preachers advocate that he wicked will simply be annihilated and hence there is no hell. But the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (CCC 1035). The eternal nature of hell is stressed in the New Testament. For example, in Mark 9:47–48 Jesus warns us, “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” And in Revelation 14:11, we read: “And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” Jesus warns us that real people go there. He says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:13–14). The early Church Fathers were also absolutely firm on the reality of an eternal hell.  The issue that some will go to hell is decided, but the issue of who in particular will go to hell is undecided. It is not against God’s mercy to punish souls in hell for eternity. God’s justice demands that He thus punish those who, sinning gravely and refusing to repent, deliberately turn themselves from God, their last end.

30) Why don’t Catholic priests get married?  Jesus presented celibacy as a legitimate lifestyle not only by his very life, but also in his teaching. Traditionally, the Church points to this “free renunciation of sex for the sake of God’s reign” (Mt 19:3-12) as a basis for celibacy. St. Paul admitted that he himself was not married (1 Cor 7:8). Nevertheless, in the early Church, clerical celibacy was not mandated. St. Paul in his first letter to St. Timothy wrote, “A bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, of even temper, self-controlled, modest, and hospitable” (3:2). Nevertheless, the move to clerical celibacy began to grow in areas of the Church in the 4th century. The local, Spanish Council of Elvira (306) and the Council of Carthage imposed celibacy for priesthood. At the ecumenical Council of Nicea I (325), Bishop Hosius of Cordova proposed a decree mandating clerical celibacy. For the Western Church several popes decreed celibacy: Damasus I (384), Siricius (385), Innocent I (404), and Leo I (458). In the Eastern Churches priests, deacons, and subdeacons were allowed to marry before ordination. These regulation still stands for most of the Eastern Churches. In the western church, First Lateran Council (1123), an ecumenical council of the Church, mandated celibacy for the Western clergy. The Second Lateran Council (1139) subsequently decreed Holy Orders as an impediment to marriage, making any attempt at marriage by an ordained cleric invalid. Finally, the regulations concerning celibacy seemed clear and consistent throughout the Catholic Church. the Council of Trent in its Doctrine on the Sacrament of Orders (1563) stipulated that although celibacy was not a divine law, the Church had the authority to impose celibacy as a discipline. The Catholic Church has continued to affirm the discipline of clerical celibacy, most recently in the Second Vatican Council’s decree Presbyterorum ordinis (1965), Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (1967), and in the Code of Canon Law (1983). The theological reason behind priestly celibacy is that a celibate can spend all his time for cause of the Lord Jesus and enable him to serve God’s people wholeheartedly and single-mindedly (1 Corinthians 7:32b–35).

31) What is the biblical basis of Pope’s authority? Two equally important sources of divine revelation are the Sacred Scripture (written word of God) and Sacred Tradition (spoken word of God). Both these sources need a reliable and authoritative interpreter, one free from error (infallible). Catholics consider the Pope as the infallible interpreter of revelation. But the Pope is only infallible in matters of faith and morals when he clearly defines something as Chief shepherd of the Catholic Church. He only clarifies the original revelation of Christ and the Apostles. Catholics trust the Pope because he was appointed by Christ. “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Mt.16:17-19) “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” (Lk. 22:31,32). Christ named him Peter “Cephas”, which in Hebrew means “foundation stone”. Jesus said to Peter: “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” (Mt.16:19) The “keys” symbolize authority (Is. 22:15-25, Rv.1:18). Thus, the Pope gets his authority from Christ.  Jesus claims, “I am the good shepherd” (Jn.10:14) and ordered Peter: “Feed my sheep” (Jn.21:15-17) which means “teach my Church.” He appointed Peter as chief shepherd of His church. Christ is the invisible head of the Church, and the Pope is the visible head. Christ appointed St. Peter to lead in His place, which is clear from scripture. Through His mystical body, the Church, Christ continues to appoint the leader of His Church, the successors of St. Peter. Scripture shows the first dispute over doctrine was settled by a Church council (Acts 15) presided over by the first Pope, Peter, who spoke first (Acts 15:7). This is the scriptural model for settling disputes over doctrine. Peter is listed first in every list of Apostles (Mt. 10:1-4, Mk. 3:16-19, Lk. 6:12-16, Acts 1:13), first to work a miracle in His name (Acts 3:6-7), and first to proclaim the gospel (Acts 2:14-40).

 

32) Did Jesus Have Brothers and sisters? Catholic Church teaches that Jesus  did not have blood brothers and sisters. The problem arises because we read in Mark about the crowd asking, “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, a brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters our neighbors here?” (MK 6:3)). A similar reference occurs earlier in Mk 3:31 — “His mother and brothers arrived….” At first hearing, the words seem to state that Jesus did indeed have biological brothers and sisters. But the Greek word adelphos, was used to describe brothers not born of the same parents, like a half-brother or step-brother. The word also described other relationships like cousins, nephews, etc. For example, in Genesis 13:8 and 14:14-16, the word adelphos was used to describe the relationship between Abraham and his nephew Lot and the relation between Laban and his nephew Jacob. In the Gospel, Mary of Clopas is called “the sister” of Mary, the Mother of Jesus where sister means only a cousin.  In Hebrew and Aramaic languages, no special word existed for cousin, nephew, half-brother, or step-brother; so they used the word brother in all these cases. The Greek translation of the Hebrew texts used the word adelphos. Besides, other Gospel passages clarify these relationships between James, Joses, Judas, and Simon.  James the Less and Joses were the sons of Mary the wife of Clopas (Mk 15:40, Jn 19:25), and James the Less was also identified as “the son of Alphaeus” (Lk 6:15), a synonym of “Clopas.” James the Greater and John were the sons of Zebedee with a mother other than our Blessed Mother Mary (Mt 20:20ff). After the birth of our Lord, although the Gospels do not give us many details of His childhood, no mention is made of Mary and Joseph ever having other children. Never does it refer to the “sons of Mary” or “a son of Mary,” but only the son of Mary. By this time, St. Joseph has died. Since Jesus, the first born, had no “blood brother,” He entrusted Mary from the cross to the care of St. John, the Beloved Disciple. Interestingly, the Orthodox Churches solve this problem over brothers and sisters by speculating that St. Joseph was an elderly widower who had other children before he married Mary. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church has faithfully taught that Mary only gave birth to Jesus, whom she had conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jimmy Akins (Catholic answers): “Brothers” and “sisters”? The precise relationship of the “brothers” and “sisters” to Jesus is not clear. What is clear is that they are not biological children of Mary. This is known from a variety of sources, both inside and outside the New Testament. Mary was already legally Joseph’s bride (thus Joseph’s plan to divorce her upon learning that she was pregnant [cf. Matt. 1:19]). Thus, her question to Gabriel of how she would become pregnant (literally from Greek, “How will this be, for I know not man”) would be unintelligible if she were planning on a normal marriage with sexual relations between her and Joseph (Luke 1:34). She would have assumed that Joseph would be the biological father of the child. Similarly, Jesus entrusting Mary to the care of the beloved disciple at the cross (John 19:26–27) would have been unimaginable if Mary had had other children.

The earliest explanation of who the brothers and sisters were, found in the second-century document known as The Protoevangelium of James, is that they were stepbrothers through Joseph. According to this document, Joseph was an elderly widower who agreed to become the guardian of Mary, a consecrated virgin. Being elderly and already having children, he was not seeking to raise a new family and so was an appropriate guardian for a virgin. This theory is consistent with Joseph’s apparent death before the ministry of Jesus. It is the standard explanation in Eastern Christendom of who the brethren of Christ are.

Shortly before the year 400, St. Jerome began to popularize the view that the brethren of Christ were cousins, and this view became common in the West. Other views are also possible. They could have been adopted children, or the terms brothers and sisters could be used merely to mean his kinsfolk without distinguishing any particular degree or form of kinship.

33) Was Jesus born on Dec 25th, AD 1 or Jan 6th, 4th BC? The Bible does not specify a date or month or year. The traditional belief is that Jesus was born on January 6th, 4 BC  shortly before the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC. The four earliest Christian writers who report the date of Jesus’ birth are Irenaeus (late second century), Clement of Alexandria (about AD 200), Tertullian (early third century), and Africanus (early third century).  Africanus specifies the date in terms that can be understood as BC 2 or 3.  Luke 3:1 and Luke 3:23 suggest that Jesus turned age thirty in the fifteenth year of Tiberius (AD 29). Hence, many early Christians deduced by calculation that Jesus was born in 2 BC. Month and date: Several considerations strengthen the probability that 6th January was the actual birthday of Christ. Clement of Alexandria’s testimony proves that the association of Christ’s birth with 6 January was a tradition rooted centuries earlier, perhaps in the early church itself, perhaps even in historical fact. Before the church as a whole fixed the date of the Nativity as 25th December, the generally accepted date in the Eastern church and possibly also in the Western church was 6 January. In fact, no tradition linking Christmas to 25 December can be traced back beyond the time of Constantine. In 336 the church at Rome officially observed the “birth day of Christ” on Dec. 25th. The most important reason to fix Jesus’ birth on Dec 25th was that it was the Roman feast of the Sun god celebrated in the pagan Roman Empire.  Replacing the pagan feast with Christmas was also a ploy to make Christianity, the newly official religion of the Roman Empire, more palatable to Roman soldiers, many of whom had been devotees of the Roman virility god Mithra whose birthday was also celebrated on Dec 25th.  Besides, the first day of Hanukka (the Jewish festival of light) was on December 25th. Hence it is a theologically sound  date for Jesus’ birth when we consider that every other major event in the unfolding of His redeeming work also fell on a feast day. He died on Passover, He rose again on the Feast of First fruits, and He created the church on Pentecost (Acts 2).

 

34) Who Were the Magi? The Gospel of Matthew mentions the Magi who came from the East to worship the newborn Christ child (cf. Mt 2:1-12). Exactly who the magi were, though, remains somewhat of a mystery. The Magi were probably Persian priest-astrologers who could interpret the stars, particularly the significance of the star that proclaimed the birth of the Messiah. More importantly, the visit of the Magi fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament (Nm 24:17 and Psalm 72, 10-11 and Is 10: 6). St. Matthew recorded that the Magi brought three gifts, each also having a prophetic meaning: gold, the gift for a king; frankincense, the gift for a priest; and myrrh — a burial ointment, a gift for one who would die. Traditionally, we think of the three Magi as the three kings. We usually have the three kings in our nativity sets. We even sing, “We three kings of orient are….” Here the three gifts, Psalm 72 and the rising star in the East converge to render the Magi as three kings traveling from the East. The Eastern tradition favored twelve Magi. Since the seventh century in the Western Church, the Magi have been identified as Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Emperor Zeno brought the relics of the Magi from Persia to Constantinople in 490. Relics (whether the same or others) appeared in Milan much later and were kept at the Basilica of St. Eustorgius. Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, who plundered Italy, took the relics to Cologne in 1162, where they remain secure to this day in a beautiful reliquary housed in the Cathedral. Even though some mystery remains to the identity of the Magi, the Church respects their act of worship. As we celebrate Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany, we too must be mindful of our duty to adore our Lord through prayer, worship and self-sacrificing good works.

35) Why and how we should take New Year resolutions: A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to one or more lasting personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. It is generally a goal someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year. The popular goals include resolutions to improve physical and spiritual health, finances, career, education, social skills and adjustability. Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) challenges the Jews to reflect upon their wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. The Christian fasting period of Lent in the New Year is intended to atone for sins and to practice better self control over ones emotions and evil habits and make whole hearted commitment to one’s duties. But recent research shows that only 12% actually achieved the goals of their New Year resolutions. But with motivated perseverance, reliance in God’s assistance and strong determination to achieve the goal, any one can keep his or her New Year resolutions. As Christians let us resolve to draw nearer to God and Christ by having a daily reading program of God’s living and abiding Word and by being diligent in prayer to recharge our spiritual batteries in order to do good to others and to avoid evil. Let us also resolve to draw closer to our brothers and sisters in our community by engaging in acts of charity. As the old saying goes, today is the first day of the rest of your life. May it be a day you’ll long remember because you decided to make a conscious choice to become cause to a new effect in 2016.

36) Why pornography is evil and sinful? The Catechism defines pornography as “removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties” (no. 2337). Sadly, pornography is a pervasive, multi-billion dollar business in our country alone, with revenues generated from movies, cable and dish network television, magazines, books and other materials. U.S. News & World Report claimed that the pornography industry grossed roughly $8 billion in 1997 and continues to escalate each year. In the year 2002, 630 million “adult” videos were rented in the United States. The threat of pornography over the Internet cannot be discounted because 70 percent of children viewing pornography on the Internet do so in public schools and libraries. The Catechism gives three reasons why pornography is wrong and sinful: First, pornography offends against the virtue of chastity. Second, pornography offends the dignity of the participants (actors, vendors, public). Each one is exploited himself or exploits others in some way for personal pleasure or gain. Thirdly,  those who engage in pornography immerse themselves in a fantasy world, withdrawing from reality. While genuine love always involves a self-giving of oneself for the good of others, pornography entices a person to withdraw into a selfish world of perverted fantasy which may later be acted out to the detriment of oneself and others. The sinfulness of pornography, is intensified the fact that it is a spiritual cancer that corrupts the person making him an addict to all perverse activities and abusive in the society. Without question, pornography has a devastating impact upon all of society, especially women and young children. The American Psychiatric Association found that 20 percent of porn addicts divorce or separate because of their addiction.

37)  What is the Catholic view on cremation?  Cremation of the dead body is something new to Catholic Christian tradition. The early Church retained the Jewish practice of bodily burial.  The basis for this rule was simply that God has created each person in His image and likeness, and therefore the body is good and should be returned to the earth at death (Gen 3:19). Moreover, our Lord Himself was buried in the tomb and then rose in glory on Easter. A strong belief in the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, as well as the belief in the resurrection of the body, support the Church’s continued reverence for the human body.  From early Christian days cremation was viewed as a pagan practice and a denial of the doctrine of the Resurrection. That’s why cremation was expressly forbidden by the Catholic Church until recent years. Therefore, Christians buried their dead both out of respect for the body and in anticipation of the resurrection at the Last Judgment. The old 1917 Code of Canon Law (No. 1203) prohibited cremation and required the bodies of the faithful to be buried. The new Code of Canon Law (1983) stipulates, “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the dead be observed; it does not, however, forbid cremation unless it has been chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching” (No. 1176.3). In 1997 the Holy See granted permission to U.S. bishops to allow funeral Masses in the presence of cremated remains.  A rite of committal for cremated remains is provided as an alternative in the current funeral rite. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium. The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.

38) What are the common doctrines of the Protestants? The five solas (alones) are five fundamental beliefs of all Protestant denominations. These five reject or counter the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. 1) Sola scriptura (Scripture alone): It means that Bible (66 books) is the only inspired and authoritative word of God, and the only source for Christian doctrines. Catholics accept the Bible (73 books), apostolic Tradition and the teaching authority of the Church (Magisterium) as basis of its teachings. Protestants believe that Holy Spirit living in each believer explains the Bible to him or her. Hence there is no need of a teaching Church authority to do that. The sad result of the absence of a central teaching authority is the splitting of the Protestants into 30, 000 denominations in 600 years.  2) Sola fide (Faith alone): The Protestants believe that we are saved or justified by God only on the basis of our faith.  Hence good works are not needed for salvation.  They believe that “Faith yields justification and good works” while the Catholic Church teaches that “Faith and good works yield justification.” 3) Sola gratia (Grace alone) is the Protestant teaching that salvation comes by divine grace or “unmerited favor.” Hence man cannot cooperate with grace to “merit” greater graces for himself. The Catholic view is that man can cooperate with grace to “merit” greater graces for himself. 4) Solo Christo (“Christ alone”): Christ is the only mediator between God and man and the mediation of Mary or saints is not biblical. Sacraments are also not necessary. Catholics believe that although Christ is the only mediator between God the Father and us, Mary and saints act as mediators between the God-man Jesus Christ and believers. Catholics consider the sacraments as channels of God’s grace. 5) Soli Deo Gloria (To the glory of God alone): Christians are expected to honor and give glory only to God. Priests, bishops and pope are unnecessary and they don’t deserve honor or glory.

39) Who are the angels?  According to The Catechism of the Catholic Church “the existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith.”  They are immortal and pure spirits and personal beings with intelligence and free will.  They appear to humans as apparitions with a human form. Nine choirs or types of angels are identified in the Bible: i) the seraphim   ii) the cherubim iii) the thrones iv) the dominions v) the virtues vi) the powers vii) the principalities viii) the archangels ix) angels. The last three choirs are directly involved in human affairs: The principalities care for earthly principalities, such as nations or cities. The archangels deliver God’s most important messages to mankind, while each angel serves as a guardian for each of us. The main roles of angels are to praise and worship God, act as God’s messengers, do God’s will and protect human beings. “He will give His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91: 1). The most prominent archangels are Michael the protector, Gabriel the messenger of God and Raphael, the guide for humans. Although the doctrine and traditional belief in the guardian angel is not a dogma of faith it is based on the Bible. Matthew 16:10 clearly states that even children have their guardian angels: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” Psalm 91: 1 also teaches about guardian angels: “For He has given His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” Dependable angelic assistance is a salutary, encouraging thing to remember in our fears. The truth that an angel is always watching us is an incentive to do good and to avoid evil. Angelic protection and assistance form a great provision for which we must be always thankful to God.

 

40) Who are the devils? The bad angels or devils or demons or evil spirits-are headed by Satan, referred to in the Bible as the chief enemy of God, the tempter of our first parents and of Jesus Christ himself. The Bible attests that the devil or Satan exists and has a role in the life of man on earth (1 Chr. 21:1, Job 1, 2, Wis. 2:24, Matt. 4:1, 5, 8, 11, Mark 1:13, John 6:70, Acts 5:3, Rom. 16:20, 1 Cor. 5:5, 7:5, 1 Tim. 3:6, Heb. 2:14, Rev. 2:9, plus dozens of other verses). The devil and the other demons were created by God as good angels according to their nature, but they made themselves evil by their own doing. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death” (CCC 393). The devil, moved by envy, always tempts man to sin. How does he do that? First of all, the devil can influence us from outside, that is, externally. They also can influence us through bad companions, through persons of unsound doctrine or teachings, by the use of the media of communications. The devil must use all of the superiority of his natural powers to locate and to penetrate the weaknesses in each individual’s defenses. Moreover, the devil can work on the senses of man; influence his imagination with attractive images, leading to sinful choice. But the devil is not at the root cause of every one of our sins because there is a proneness to sin in the whole human race because of the sin of Adam and Eve. But we can defeat the devil as Jesus did, using, prayer, penance and Holy              Scripture.

 

41) Do Catholics worship statues and images?  Non Catholics accuse Catholics of   violating God’s commandment by idol worship or sin of idolatry: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Ex. 20:4–5); “Alas, this people have sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold” (Ex. 32:31). They forget the fact that on certain occasions God commanded Israelites to make statues. Examples: Ex. 25:18–20, 1 Chr. 28:18–19, Ezekiel 41:17–18. “And you shall make two cherubim of gold [i.e., two gold statues of angels]; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat (Ex. 25:18). During a plague of serpents sent to punish the Israelites during the exodus, God told Moses to “make [a statue of] a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it shall live (Num. 21:8–9). One had to look at the bronze statue of the serpent to be healed, which shows that statues could be used ritually, not merely as religious decorations. Catholics use statues, paintings, and other artistic devices to recall the person or thing depicted. Just as it helps to remember one’s mother by looking at her photograph, so it helps to recall the example of the saints by looking at pictures of them. Catholics also use statues as teaching tools. In the early Church they were especially useful for the instruction of the illiterate. God forbids the worship of images as gods, but He doesn’t ban the making of images. God doesn’t prohibit the making of statues or images of various creatures for religious purposes (cf. 1 Kgs. 6:29–32, 8:6–66; 2 Chr. 3:7–14).  It is when people begin to adore a statue as a god that the Lord becomes angry (2 Kgs. 18:4). A Catholic who may kneel in front of a statue while praying isn’t worshipping the the statue or even praying to the           statue.

42) Why do we observe Lent? Lent is a period of preparation for the celebration of Easter which originated in the fourth century. Originally, Lent was the time of preparation for those who were to be baptized. Later the whole community started observing Lent. It runs from Ash Wednesday until the beginning of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. Since Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays that occur during Lent are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent. The word Lent is the Old English word for spring. In almost all other languages, Lent’s name is a derivative of the Latin term quadragesima or “the forty days.” In the Bible, forty days is a traditional number of discipline, devotion, and preparation. Moses stayed on the mountain of God forty days (Ex. 24:18, 34:28). Elijah traveled forty days before he reached the cave where he had his vision (1 Kgs. 19:8). Nineveh was given forty days to repent (Jonah 3:4). And, most significantly for our Lenten observance, Jesus spent forty days in wilderness praying and fasting prior to undertaking his ministry (Matt. 4:2). Thus it is fitting for Christians to imitate him with a forty-day period of prayer and fasting to prepare to celebrate the climax of Christ’s ministry, Good Friday (the day of the crucifixion) and Easter Sunday (the day of the Resurrection). Catholics observe fasting on Ash Wednesdays and Good Friday. The Church prescribes abstinence (avoiding meet) on all Fridays of Lent. Biblical basis of abstinence is found in (Dan. 10:1-3) as a sign of repentance. Since Jesus died for our sins on Friday, making it an especially appropriate day of mourning our sins by denying ourselves something we enjoy. Giving up something we enjoy, engaging in physical or spiritual acts of mercy for others, prayer, fasting, abstinence, going to confession, and other acts expressing repentance in general. , “If any man would come after me, Jesus says, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me(Mk 8. 34). The color used in the sanctuary for most of Lent is purple, red violet, or dark violet. These colors symbolize both the pain and suffering leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. But purple is also the color of royalty, and so anticipates through the suffering and death of Jesus the coming resurrection and hope of newness that will be celebrated in the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

43) What are the Catholic observances during Lent? 1) Holy Mass: Making more frequent participation in the Holy Mass during the week is an excellent Lenten observance because the Eucharistic celebration is the most sublime of Christian prayers. 2) Lectio Divina: It is the practice of slow, prayerful, meditative reading of the selected passages of the Sacred Scripture. It is a major part of our Lenten prayer life which enables us to listen to God talking to us. According to Pope Benedict XV it is “the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart” (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25). 3) Fast and abstinence: Fasting is taking only one major meal per day and abstinence is avoiding meat. Lent is traditionally a time of fast and abstinence. Evidently, the obligations surrounding this have been much relaxed in the West in the past few decades, but the relaxing of the obligation does not mean there is not value in still opting to pursue these practices. Indeed, there is nothing (outside of health and age) to prevent one from taking up the practice of devotional fasts and abstinence.4) Decide on Lenten sacrifices appropriate to the age of each child in the family, reminding them that our souls need this spiritual exercise to gain strength for living as Christians, just as our bodies need exercise to remain healthy. Our sacrifices are like a gift offered to God, and all real gifts “cost” the giver something. 5) Sacrament of reconciliation: Lent is a time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that we may put things right with God and others. 6) Acts of charity: Find out some one in need of our prayer, help, support or encouragement in our neighborhood and do with utmost sincerity what we can. 7) Participation in the “Way of the cross devotion in the parish church to meditate on the suffering and death of Jesus for us sinners and to cultivate a holy fear of sin and its             seriousness.

44) Do Christians believe in reincarnation? The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” says: “When ‘the single course of our earthly life’ is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives: ‘It is appointed for men to die once’ [Hebrews 9:27]. There is no ‘reincarnation’ after death” (#1013). Reincarnation was not a topic of interest in the time and place of Jesus.  So, it is not surprising that we find no explicit reference to that in Jesus’ teachings. Jesuit priests  Gerald O’Collins and Edward Farrugia describe reincarnation as “the belief, also called metempsychosis (Greek ‘animate afterward’), that souls inhabit a series of bodies and can live many lives on this earth before being completely purified and so released from the need to migrate to another body.” It is a common belief among the Hindus, Buddhists, Neo-Platonists and others. Members of the “New Age” movement wrongly claim that early Christians believed in reincarnation. But historical facts provide no basis for this claim.  Belief in resurrection and official rejection of the preexistence of souls…rule out reincarnation. By maintaining an indefinite series of chances, the doctrine of reincarnation reduces the seriousness of God’s grace and human liberty exercised in one life that is terminated by a once-and-for-all death. Reincarnation defends a dualism in which the body is simply an instrument of the soul and is laid aside, existence by successive existence, as an altogether different body is assumed each time. As far as eschatology is concerned, the doctrine of reincarnation denies both the possibility of eternal damnation and the idea of the resurrection of the body. But the fundamental error is in the rejection of the Christian doctrine of salvation. For the believers in reincarnation, the soul is its own savior by its own efforts. Reincarnation denies the need to convert, about which Jesus spoke often. If souls keep recycling, won’t they all end up in the same place eventually? If so, why are our decisions today important?

45) Why there is pain and suffering in the world? The questions about suffering are real! How can we reconcile God’s goodness with the birth of deformed babies, with innocent people being killed or maimed by drunk drivers, terrorist attacks, starvation, disease or natural disaster? Where is God in all this? Isn’t God in charge of his own creation? Why didn’t God prevent this? The picture of God doling out blessings for good conduct and curses for bad (Deuteronomy 11:26-27) was meaningful for earlier stages of human history for nomadic tribes. But Jesus tried to correct the distorted view of those who see God as a cruel tyrant just waiting to punish people.  In the gospel Jesus asserts that the real intention of God’s will—is not to inflict blindness or leprosy or suffering upon people. Quite the contrary, God’s glory and power is to be revealed through the removal of such scourges (Matthew 7:9-11). The Church’s mission of healing, like that of Christ himself, is thus further proof of God’s desire to eliminate human misery wherever it is found. Then why God willed Jesus and Mary and martyrs to suffer? In fact, it was precisely the anti-God forces—the enemies of God—who caused Jesus to suffer. Jesus’ crucifixion was not orchestrated by God’s will but by human beings who were acting in direct opposition to God’s will. Besides, Jesus chose suffering to demonstrate God’s love for us and the martyrs chose suffering as an act of witnessing to Jesus. Although sufferings can be considered God’s ways of training us and disciplining us in holy lives, the Bible gives two root causes of suffering as the result of our own sinful choices and the imperfect state of our world.  We can sublimate our suffering by offering them for the remission of sins and accepting them as gifts of a loving and rewarding God. (Fr. Tony)

46) Did Catholic Church discourage Bible reading?  According to St. Paul, “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach… [and] to instruct in justice”? (2 Tim. 3:16).The Pope, the thousands of Catholic Bishops, and the many millions of Catholic lay people, are not aware of ever having discouraged Bible reading. The Popes have issued pastoral letters to the whole Church, called encyclicals, on the edifying effects of Bible reading. The Catholic Bible far outsells all other Christian Bibles worldwide. In fact, it has always been thus. The very first Christian Bible was produced by the Catholic Church–compiled by Catholic scholars of the 2nd and 3rd century and approved for general Christian use by the Catholic Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The very first printed Bible was produced under the auspices of the Catholic Church–printed by the Catholic inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. And the very first Bible with chapters and numbered verses was produced by the Catholic Church–the work of Stephen Langton, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury. It was this perennial Catholic devotion to the Bible which prompted Martin Luther–who certainly cannot be accused of Catholic favoritism–to write in his Commentary on St. John: “We are compelled to concede to the Papists that they have the Word of God, that we received it from them, and that without them we should have no knowledge of it at all.” Lectio divina” practice of reading and meditating on the bible passages daily originated in the Catholic Church. The Church however discourages personal interpretation of the Bible passages when it deals with a matter of faith and morals and when that interpretation goes against Church held doctrines it deals with a matter of faith and morals.

47) Why should we participate in the Holy Week liturgy? It is on Palm Sunday that we enter Holy Week, and welcome Jesus into our lives, asking him to allow us a share in his suffering, death and resurrection. This is also the time we remember and relive the events which brought about our redemption and salvation.  That is why the Holy Week liturgy presents us with the actual events of the dying and rising of Jesus.  The liturgy also enables us to experience in our lives, here and now, what Jesus went through then.  In other words, we commemorate and relive during this week our own dying and rising in Jesus, which result in our healing, reconciliation, and redemption. No wonder Greek Orthodox Christians greet each other with the words, “Kali Anastasi” (Good Resurrection), not on Easter Sunday but on Good Friday. They anticipate the resurrection.  Just as Jesus did, we, too, must lay down our lives freely by actively participating in the Holy Week liturgies.  In doing so, we are allowing Jesus to forgive us our sins, to heal the wounds in us caused by our sins and the sins of others and to transform us more completely into the image and likeness of God.  Thus, we shall be able to live more fully the divine life we received at Baptism.  Proper participation in the Holy Week liturgy will also deepen our relationship with God, increase our faith and strengthen our lives as disciples of Jesus.  But let us remember that Holy Week can become “holy” for us only if we actively and consciously take part in the liturgies of this week. This is also the week when we should lighten the burden of Christ’s passion as daily experienced by the hungry, the poor, the sick, the homeless, the lonely and the outcast through our corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

48) Why do we believe in the resurrection of Jesus? (1)  Jesus himself testified to his resurrection from the dead (Mark 8:31; Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22). (2) The tomb was empty on Easter (Luke 24:3). Although the guards claimed (Matthew 28:13) that the disciples of Jesus had stolen the body, every sensible Jew knew that it was impossible for the terrified disciples of Jesus to steal the body of Jesus from a tomb guarded by a 16 member team of armed Roman soldiers. (3) The transformation of Jesus’ disciples: The disciples of Jesus were almost immediately transformed from men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Luke 24:21, John 20:19) into men who were confident and bold witnesses of the resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2). (4) The Jews and the Romans could not disprove Jesus’ resurrection by presenting the dead body of Jesus. 5) The apostles and early Christians would not have faced martyrdom if they were not sure of Jesus’ resurrection. (5)  The Apostle Paul’s conversion from a persecutor of Christians and his zealous preaching of Jesus support the truth of Jesus’ resurrection (Galatians 1:11-17, Acts 9:1Acts 9:24-25Acts 26:15-18). (6) The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian church, bravely facing three centuries of persecution, supports the truth of the resurrection claim. (7) The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers. The apostles and the early Christians were absolutely sure about the resurrection of Jesus.

49) Why do Catholics make the sign of the cross? Most commonly and properly the words “sign of the cross” are used of the large cross traced from forehead to breast and from shoulder to shoulder, such as Catholics are taught to make upon themselves when they begin their prayers, and such also as the priest makes at the foot of the altar when he commences Mass with the words: “In the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.” Another kind of sign of the cross is that made in the air by bishops, priests, and others in blessing persons or material objects. This cross recurs also many times in the liturgy of the Mass and in nearly all the ritual offices connected with the sacraments and sacramentals. A third variety is represented by the little cross, generally made with the thumb, which the priest or deacon traces for example upon the book of the Gospels and then upon his own forehead, lips, and breast at Mass, as also that made upon the lips in the breviary prayer, or again upon the forehead of the infant in Baptism, and upon the various organs of sense in the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick etc. We have positive evidence in the early Fathers that such a practice was familiar to Christians in the second century. The Church has always attributed  effects of grace and power to the use of the holy sign of the cross. It reminds us that God has loved us so much as to give up His only Son for our sake to suffer on the Cross, and that we must love Him with our whole hearts. It recalls to us that he is bound to imitate in his daily conduct the penance, mortification, humility, meekness, patience, detachment, chastity, agape love and obedience of Jesus his Lord and Master. It revives our faith with belief in the Unity and Trinity of God and the Incarnation and Redemption. It strengthens our hope by recalling that all blessings come through the Cross and by fostering a habit of seeking aid through the Cross.

50) Why do we have Eucharistic devotions like “Benediction of the Holy Eucharist?  Exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a very old devotion in our Church. Its purpose is to highlight the fundamental mystery of the holy Eucharist — that our Lord is truly present, body and blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. In his Holy Thursday letter to priests, “Dominicae cenae” (1980), Pope John Paul II wrote, “Since the Eucharistic mystery was instituted out of love, and makes Christ sacramentally present, it is worthy of thanksgiving and worship. And this worship must be prominent in all our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament.” While emphasizing the importance of the Mass, the Holy Father then recommends various forms of Eucharistic devotion like personal prayer and periods of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, exposition and benediction, Forty Hours devotion, Eucharistic processions, Eucharistic Congresses, and a special observance of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. All of these devotions which focus on the Blessed Sacrament help us in our spiritual union with our Lord. As Jesus said, “I myself am the Bread of Life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in me shall ever thirst” (Jn 6:35). In the ritual for exposition and benediction, the priest takes the Blessed Sacrament in a small ciborium or Luna and places it reverently in a monstrance or ostensorium on the altar for adoration. At this time, a hymn of praise (such as O Salutaris Hostia) is sung as the priest incenses the Blessed Sacrament. During the period of adoration, the faithful may pray in quiet and foster a deeper spiritual communion with the Lord. Liturgy of the Hours novena prayer, rosary, and readings from sacred Scripture may be included. At the end of the period of adoration, the priest again incenses the Blessed Sacrament as a hymn of praise is sung (such as Tantum Ergo), and then blesses the congregation with the Blessed Sacrament, making the sign of the cross. After the blessing, the priest reposes the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.

51) What are New Age Religions and why they are wrong? Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is rolling out the red carpet for the New Age Religions with a weekly online class with New York Times bestselling guru Eckhart Tolle and a daily broadcast with Marianne Williamson. “A Course in Miracles (ACIM) by Marianne presented by “Oprah and friends” channel on XM satellite radio claims to be a mind training based on spiritual psychotherapy. New Agers are Universalists, believing that all paths lead to God. They fault Christians for being intolerant and narrow-minded. Most New Agers hold Jesus in high regard, believing him to be a great spiritual teacher, or guru, but not as God and Savior. They do not accept Jesus’ claim that he alone is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).The typical New Ager believes that God is in everything (pantheism), all things are one (monism), man is God, human mind creates reality, and one’s own experience validates the truth. New Agers do not believe in evil. Therefore, they do not accept man’s problem as separation by sin from God. Instead, they believe that each of us has forgotten his or her own divinity. Therefore, the New Age solution is to seek “higher consciousness” through meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, diet, crystals, channeling, alternative healing, spirit guides, and more. Each of these diverse practices has the same purpose: to awaken the god in man. The main problem with the “new age movement” is that it is just modernized superstition and its ideas are mostly antichristian. Put simply, New Age is an unacceptable  combination of humanism, eastern mysticism and occultism.

52) Do we have assurance of our Salvation? One of the doctrines of certain Protestant sects, especially among the Baptists, is that once you are saved you are always saved. This theology comes as a result of the Protestant doctrine of sola fide, or salvation by faith alone, which the Catholic Church has always condemned as a heresy, since Luther’s time when it was first espoused. To most Protestants, salvation is a one time event, usually referred to in terms of being “born again,” after which they consider themselves “saved.” By this, they mean that they are confidant that Jesus has redeemed them and that they are guaranteed entry into heaven when they die — regardless of any sin committed later in their lives. The Catholic position has always been that salvation, rather then being a one time, once and for all event, is a process that begins with our baptism and ends with our death and final judgment. Every thing we do in between should be a build up in our own sanctification, our own relationship with Christ, and every thing that we do matters in this regard. Just as we can (and should) grow closer to Christ, we can (and should avoid) grow farther apart, even to the extent in which we fall from a state of grace by committing mortal sin (1 Jn 5:16-17). If we depart this world without God’s grace, our souls are in jeopardy. But we do not fear for God has given us the sacrament of reconciliation (Confession) as a means by which we are to repent and to remain in a state of grace.

53) What is canonization of a saint?  It is an official declaration of the Pope:  “We decide and define that they are saints and inscribe them in the catalogue of saints, stating that their memory should be kept with pious devotion by the universal Church.” It is a papal declaration that the person placed on the altar now reigns in eternal glory and decrees that the universal Church show him the honor due to a saint. The faithful of the early Church believed that martyrs were perfect Christians and saints since they had shown the supreme proof of love by giving their lives for Christ; by their sufferings.  They invoked the intercession of the martyrs before God to obtain the grace to imitate them s in the unquestioning and complete profession of faith [1 Tim. 2:1-5, Phil. 3:17]. Toward the end of the great Roman persecutions, this phenomenon of veneration, which had been reserved to martyrs, was extended to those who, even without dying for the faith, had nonetheless defended it and suffered for it. In the first centuries the popular fame or the <vox populi> represented in practice the only criterion by which a person’s holiness was ascertained. A new element was gradually introduced, namely, the intervention of the ecclesiastical authority, i.e., of the competent bishop who examined the biography of the deceased person and a history of his alleged miracles. The custom was gradually introduced of having recourse to the pope in order to receive a formal approval of canonization. The dogma that saints are to be venerated and invoked as set forth in the profession of faith of Trent.

 

54) What is biblical fundamentalism? It is the teaching of Evangelical churches that all parts of the Bible must be understood and interpreted literally. Fundamentalists try to defend the Bible from the attack of modern Bible critics and scientists. The Catholics are not fundamentalists. Our Church teaches that Bible has inspired teachings   along with inspired poems, inspired stories, inspired metaphors and other inspired literary forms and each type needs different form of interpretation different from literal interpretation. Since Bible is not a book of science we cannot prove or disprove evolution from the Bible. Even the history in the Bible is a history written with a religious purpose and not the modern types of history.  The details about Jesus and his teachings in the New Testament are not strictly biographical but commentaries. So Catholics should not be fundamentalists.

 

55) Why should we dress properly in the church? Dress code in the church? 1) Jesus is present in our churches in the tabernacle, in the Holy Bible and in the praying community. We honor him in the church by wearing honorable dress. 2) Jesus, with a whip in his hands, drove away the merchants and money changers from the Temple of Jerusalem for converting his “Father’s house into a market place.” Hence dress we wear for shopping or beach is not expected in the church. 3) Scanty, transparent or provocative dress gives distraction and scandal to the praying community.  “Be careful however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling to the weak” (I Cor.8:9).  4) We come to the church to offer our lives on the altar and receive God’s blessings. Hence we must dress properly. 5) St. Paul instructs us: “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety.”(1Timothy 2:9-10). 6) People expect modesty and decency in dress and dignity in behavior in the church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2521-2524), reminds us that “Modesty is decency.” 7) If we wear formal dress for an interview or meeting a VIP but no for going to church, there is some thing wrong with our attitude in worshipping God. Appropriate dress is the mark of showing respect to God in the church. 8) Christianity teaches us that the sacredness of the human body as a gift from God, calls for thoughtful respect and privacy, not over exposure.

Anecdote: Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, papal nuncio to France (and a future Pope John XXIII), was once invited to a formal banquet. His dinner companion wore an extremely low-cut dress, which the prelate pretended not to notice. When dessert was served, however, he selected a plump apple and duly offered it to the woman, who politely declined. “Please take it, madam,” he pleaded. “It was only after Eve ate the apple that she became aware of how little she had on.” Do ushers and greeters at Mass require baskets of apple in our church in summer?

 

56) Can Christians practice yoga? As a spiritual path for Eastern peoples unfamiliar with Christianity, it may serve to assist them as “they seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust” (Nostra Aetate – II Vatican Council document). But as a spiritual path, yoga is incompatible with Christian spirituality. If you can separate the spiritual/meditational aspects of yoga from the body postures and breathing techniques common to yoga, then you might be able to use those postures and techniques beneficially for health. If you’re at all unsure of your ability to do so, you may well be advised to find another form of exercise. The question arises whether yoga can be “baptized” into the Christian tradition for use as a Christian prayer. Catholic spirituality can be attached to yoga postures. While it is possible that some Catholics may be able to recite the rosary or to pray other Catholic prayers while engaging in the otherwise neutral postures and breathing techniques common to yoga, it is inadvisable for lay Catholics to devise a spirituality for themselves that they have pulled from a non-Christian spirituality that is generally little known and understood by Western Christians. Yoga ministries such as Holy Yoga seek to “practice with our minds set on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8), not with our minds emptied. We meditate on the wisdom of God’s Word (Psalm 119:9-16, 26-27), not on man’s wisdom.” (holyyoga.net). Hence Holy Yoga practitioners exchange the classical mantra om (a Hindu symbol for the higher self) for the more biblical shalom (Hebrew, “peace”). For details read the article: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/the-trouble-with-yoga

 

57) What is the Catholic position on homosexuality? Homosexuality is the manifestation of sexual desire toward a member of one’s own sex or the erotic activity with a member of the same sex. A lesbian is a female homosexual.  Since in most cases it is discerned or discovered, not freely chosen, it is not automatically blameworthy (Human Sexuality, #55; Catechism, #2358). Hence experiencing homosexual feelings is not sinful in itself, but doing homosexual acts is. That is why the Catholic bishops in the United States noted in their 1990 document “Human Sexuality: the distinction between being homosexual, and doing homosexual genital actions. The Church has consistently taught that to act on these inclinations, particularly to engage in homosexual genital acts, is always “intrinsically disordered” and objectively and morally wrong based on the Holy Scripture: Gen. 19:5, Lev 18: 22, 20:13, Rom. 1:26–27, 1 Tim. 1:9–10.  Sexual acts are reserved only to those heterosexual couples pledged to each other for life in the bond of marriage. The 47 member U.S. bishop committee clarified in a statement released September: “What are called ‘homosexual unions,’ because they do not express full human complementarity and because they are inherently nonprocreative, cannot be given the status of marriage. The bishops cited a recent Vatican document that called legal recognition of same-sex unions “gravely unjust.” At the same time, the Church advises all to be kind and compassionate to the homosexuals and to avoid all signs of unjust discrimination against them. Visit: http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0799.asp  and http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and- dignity/homosexuality/always-our-children.cfm  for detailed study.

 

58) How Catholic Bible differs from Protestant Bibles and which is the Bible used in the Catholic liturgy in the United States? Bible translations developed for Catholic use are complete Bibles. This means that they contain the entire canonical text identified by Pope Damasus and the Synod of Rome (382) and the local Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397), contained in St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation (420), and decreed infallibly by the Ecumenical Council of Trent (1570). This canonical text contains the same 27 NT Testament books which Protestant versions contain, but 46 Old Testament books, instead of 39. These 7 books, and parts of 2 others, are called Deuterocanonical by Catholics (2nd canon) and Apocrypha (false writings) by Protestants, who dropped them at the time of the Reformation. The Deuterocanonical texts are Tobias (Tobit), Judith, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Wisdom, First and Second Maccabees and parts of Esther and Daniel. Some Protestant Bibles include the “Apocrypha” as pious reading. There is only one English text currently approved by the Church for use in the United States. This text is the one contained in the Lectionaries approved for Sundays & Feasts and for Weekdays by the USCCB and recognized by the Holy See. These Lectionaries have their American and Roman approval documents in the front. The text is that of the New American Bible with revised Psalms and New Testament (1988, 1991), with some changes mandated by the Holy See. Since these Lectionaries have been fully promulgated, the permission to use the Jerusalem Bible and the RSV-Catholic at Mass has been withdrawn. (http://www.ewtn.com/)

 

59) Why do we observe Respect Life or Sanctity of Life Sunday? We observe it to demonstrate that ending human life by abortion, euthanasia, suicide, homicide, stem cell research using embryo, genocide, unjust war, and acts of terrorism is evil and sinful. Why?  1) The Bible teaches that life is a gift of God and hence we have to respect it from womb to tomb. Based on the word of God, the Church teaches that an unborn child from the moment of its conception in its mother’s womb is precious because it carries an immortal soul. 2) It is God’s commandment that we shall not kill. (Exodus 20: 13: You shall not kill.”). The circumstances of how the baby was conceived do not change the evil of abortion: it is still a baby who is killed. 3) International Law forbids the killing of innocent, defenseless people. Abortion is the killing of a defenseless child in its safest abode by its own mother, mostly for selfish motives. 4) Abortion harms women physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially and spiritually. Ninety-three percent of all abortions in America are performed because of selfishness, just because someone doesn’t want a child! 5) Advocates of pro-choice follow a dangerous principle of far-reaching consequences in the society. If it is justifiable to kill unwanted children by abortion, then the old, the sick, the handicapped, the mentally ill, and the retarded can also be killed.

60) Why is artificial contraception gravely sinful? The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls artificial contraception “intrinsically evil” because it is   against life and   against the natural design of God for sexuality.  However, the Catholic Church is not against natural family planning based on ‘Billings Method’ and Rhythm Method.  But it is against most of the artificial and chemical methods mainly because they cause abortion. What is not acceptable to the Church are artificial methods such as the condom, abortion causing pills, spermicides etc. For example, the  ‘morning after’ pill’ is not accepted by the Catholic Church because it is more abortive rather than contra-ceptive in that they prevent the implantation into the womb of an already fertilized egg. The official judgment of the teaching authority of the Church (Magisterium) that contraception is gravely sinful matter goes back to the Encyclical Casti connubii of Pope Pius XI of 1930, where we find its most solemn and clear-cut formulation. The essentials of this teaching are expressed in these words: “No reason, however grave, can make what is intrinsically contrary to nature to be in conformity with nature and morally right. And since the conjugal act by its very nature is destined for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose are acting against nature, and are doing something that is base and intrinsically immoral“. The same encyclical states its seriousness in these words: “The Catholic Church raises her voice as a sign of her divine mission, and through my mouth proclaims anew: any use of marriage exercised in such a way that through human effort the act is deprived of its natural power to procreate human life violates the law of God and of nature, and those who commit such an action are stained with the guilt of grave sin.

61) Is not keeping statues in churches idolatry? Idolatry is an act of worshipping or praying to any image, statue, figure, icon as if it is God. It is the violation of the first commandment (Ex. 20:4–5).  Catholics venerate or honor and love saints and pray for their intercession before Christ the only intercessor between God and man. 1)  We keep the photographs of our loved ones in our wallet or around our home or office. It is to remind us of people we love, to help us feel that they’re close to us when we are not together, or to share with people you meet. It does not mean that we worship those pictures. 2) God has by no means banned the creation of all religious images. On the other hand,  the Lord commands the making of statues. For example: “And you shall make two cherubim of gold over the “mercy seat” in the Temple (Ex. 25:18–20). It means that actually commanded their use in religious contexts as long as people don’t worship them. Besides, David’s plan for the Temple, included statues of angels (1 Chr. 28:18–19). Similarly Ezekiel 41:17–18 describes graven (carved) images of cherubim in the idealized temple he was shown in a vision. During a plague of serpents sent to punish the Israelites during the exodus, God told Moses to “make [a statue of] a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it shall live (Num. 21:8–9).  It proves that shows that statues could be used ritually, not merely as religious decorations. 3) Catholics also use statues as teaching tools. In the early Church they were especially useful for the instruction of the illiterate. Many Protestants have pictures of Jesus and other Bible pictures in Sunday school for teaching children. 4)  Catholics also use statues to commemorate certain people and events, much as Protestant churches have three-dimensional nativity scenes at Christmas. 5) Though bowing (Deut 5:9) can be used as a posture in worship, not all bowing is worship. A Catholic who may kneel in front of a statue while praying isn’t worshipping the statue or even praying to it, any more than the Protestant who kneels with a Bible in his hands when praying is worshipping the Bible or praying to it. 6) If we cherish the memory of statesmen, war heroes and even sports celebrities by making statues of them , then what can be our objection to honor the heroes of the faith (Sir 44: 1-15).  Fr. Tony.
Additional     sources: 1) http://www.catholic.com/tracts/do-catholics-worship-statues 2) Catechism of the Catholic Church  2129-2132 3) http://www.dwightlongenecker.com/Content/Pages/Articles/BitsAndPieces/Idols.asp

 

62) What are sacramentals? These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church’s prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. The sacramentals obtain favors from God through the prayers of the Church offered for those who make use of them, and through the devotion they inspire. The chief kinds of sacramentals are: 1) Blessings given by priests and bishops. 2) Exorcisms against evil spirits. 3)  Blessed objects of devotion. The blessed objects of devotion most used by Catholics are: holy water, candles, ashes, palms, crucifixes, medals, rosaries, scapulars, and images of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and the saints. The chief benefits obtained by the use of the sacramentals are: actual graces; the forgiveness of venial sins; the remission of temporal punishment; health of body and material blessings; protection from evil spirits. We should make use of the sacramentals with faith and devotion, and never make them objects of superstition. Additional      sources:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c4a1.htm

http://www.catholicity.com/baltimore-catechism/lesson36.html

http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/49/Sacramentals__their_role_in_Catholic_Sacramental_Life.html

 

63) What is Sola Scriptura doctrine and why is it wrong?

The Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura (“Scripture alone”) states that Scripture is the only infallible rule for faith and practice” — hence, all “churches” and any “traditions” (today) are fallible. This is expressed by the old Protestant slogan “What is not biblical is not theological”. Catholics believe that Bible interpreted in the light of the Sacred Tradition and guided by the Christ instituted teaching authority in the Church (Magisterium) is the source of the Christian doctrines. In other words, Catholics believe in the binding authority of authentic apostolic Tradition and the Church.  The Protestants teach that each Christian has the assistance of the Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible, resulting in the sad origin of 30, 000 denominations in 600 years. If “Scripture alone theory” is correct, how can we explain the faith and salvation of millions of Christians who did not have a personal copy of the Bible till the 16th century because printing was not in existence and only synagogues and   rich people and big Christian  communities  possessed hand written copies of the Bible. Even today so many Christians are illiterate. Besides, the Bible never says that Scripture is the sole infallible authority for God’s Word. On the other hand, it mandates the use of tradition (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; John 20:30; 21:25). Jesus commanded his disciples to preach; not to write and the apostles used their Christ given authority in teaching. In the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:6–30), we see Peter and James speaking with authority. Additional         sources:

1)http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9904fea4.asp  2)http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0409fea3.asp 3)http://dwightlongenecker.com/Content/Pages/Articles/Apologetics/WhatIsTruth.asphttp://w4)ww.tanbooks.com/doct/scripture_alone.htm

64) Why do Catholics  believe in the dogma of Assumption:  Pope Pius XII in the papal document, Munificentimus Deus gives five reasons why we believe in the dogma of assumption of Mary. 1) The uninterrupted tradition about Mary’s death and assumption starting from the first century. 2) The belief expressed in all the ancient liturgies of the Church. 3) The negative evidence of the absence and veneration of a tomb of Mary while most of the apostles have their tombs. 4) The possibility of bodily assumption warranted in the Old Testament in the cases of Enoch (Gen. 5:24), perhaps Moses (Deut. 34:5), and especially Elijah (II Kg. 2:1).5) The theological reasons: a) The degeneration of the body after death is the consequence of “original sin,” and Mary, as “immaculately conceived,” is exempted from the post-mortem decay of the body.  b) As receiver of the fullness of grace and holiness, as mother of Jesus and as co-redeemer, Mary’s place is with her son Jesus, the redeemer, in the abode of holiness, heaven. Since Mary’s Assumption was a reward for a holy life, this feast invites us to keep our bodies pure and holy.  Paul gives three additional reasons: a) our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, b) our body parts are the members of Christ’s body, and c) our bodies are to be glorified on the day of the Last Judgment. Mary’s assumption also gives us an assurance of hope in our resurrection and a source of inspiration during moments of despair and temptations.

Additional   sources: 1) http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/rufuspereira/ledbythespirit/27.asp

2) http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/maryc3c.htm

3) http://www.cin.org/ans14.html  4) http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/questions/yq/yq14.html

 

65) Are we saved by faith alone or also by works of charity? Back in the 1500’s Martin Luther and his followers had declared that we are justified and saved only by God’s Grace and by our faith in God (sola gratia & sola fide). Catholic Church has insisted all along that salvation comes to us by God’s grace and our cooperation with it by works of charity. However, on October 31, 1999, the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation signed a historic document known as the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JD). The Catholic doctrine is that Justification involves the free forgiveness of sins and the re-creation of the sinner through the infusion of justifying grace, otherwise known as sanctifying grace. We are justified initially by baptism and later by the sacrament of reconciliation. We are on the road to salvation as we put our faith in God, hope in His grace and respond to it by works of charity.  According to the joint declaration the Catholic Church acknowledges that God’s grace is the root cause of our justification and the importance of faith while the Lutherans acknowledge that works of charity must follow from our justification as the expression of our gratitude to God. Thus both Catholics and the Lutherans admit St. Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith (Romans 1:17) and St. James doctrine on the role of good works in justification (that faith without works is dead: James 2:17), arriving at the compromise formula of Galatians 5:6: “faith working through love.”

Additional   sources: 1)http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html                       2) http://www.americancatholic.org/messenger/jun2000/feature2.asp

3) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2009/0909fea4.asp

66) How to protect your children from Internet pornography? Pornography is “the commercial exploitation of sex designed to stimulate sexual excitement. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines pornography as “removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties” (no. 2337). It teaches that pornography “is a grave offense,” meaning objectively in the area of mortal sin. Pornography has become increasingly acceptable, accessible, and freely available, and it is one of the biggest threats to our children’s online safety. It can have lasting negative or even traumatic effects on the child’s sense of security and sexuality.  One way to keep children safer is to supervise their online activities or limit their access to sites that can facilitate online interaction with people they don’t know and trust in real life. So set guidelines for how your child uses the computer and discuss those guidelines with your child. Don’t let your child give out personal information, such as address, phone number, or school name, online. Don’t let your child arrange for online meetings with a stranger or send his or her photograph. Tell your children to come to you immediately if someone sends them messages that they don’t like. Set the “search engine” in the child’s computer to “safe search” mode, put porn-blocking software in their computers and check their browser history periodically. The website https://store.opendns.com/get/home-free gives free software to block all adult materials from your child’s computer. You can find search engines for kids also in http://www.getnetwise.com/  offering free downloadable filtering software, and information about kid-safe browsers.

Additional    sources: 1) http://www.freedominion.com.pa/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=74398

2) Catholic perspective http://www.unityrestored.com/index.php?showPage=16
3) http://catholicwriter.wordpress.com/2007/03/01/how-you-can-help-to-fight-porn/

4) http://www.usccb.org/catecheticalsunday/2010/families-meier.pdf

 

67) Why cohabitation is sinful and dangerous? cohabitation is defined “living together,” before marriage.  It is both a social and moral problem. It is a social problem because it is rapidly gaining popular approval as a experimenting period before a stable marriage when statistics prove that more divorces occur in previously cohabited couples. It is a moral problem because the cohabiting couples live in mortal sin by misusing the sexual privileges of sacramentally and legally married husband and wife.  Arguments of cohabitants like fun filled and romantic experimenting of compatibility as future husband and wife, method saving money, a socially approved method of satisfying sexual needs by engaging in protected sex, fear of permanent commitment by marriage, are lame and illogical. In fact, the negative effects of cohabitation like abuse of the cohabiting couples and children, easy divorce without legal complications, using each other without any lasting commitment make cohabitation a social evil. The Church instructs that cohabiting couples should abstain from sex for a time and request for a sacramental marriage in private after the usual marriage preparation course and after receiving the sacrament of reconciliation. Parents and educators are expected to instruct their students and children about the sinful nature of this social evil.   (For details visit the four page article: “Morality of cohabitation” posted in our parish website).

Additional     sources: 1) http://www.ewtn.com/library/BISHOPS/LVNGTGTH.HTM            2) http://old.usccb.org/laity/marriage/cohabiting.shtml                                       3) http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3297  

   

68) What is the Catholic teaching on divorce? A civil divorce is a legal declaration stating that a civilly valid marriage has officially ended and the separated spouses are free to remarry. While a civil divorce bestows on the separated husband and wife the right to remarry, the Church does not acknowledge the right of civil authorities to dispense sacramentally married couples from vows taken in church. Even though divorce ends a marriage, it does not end a family and the couple’s obligation to their children. Christ’s teaching on divorce is given in Matthew 19: 3-10, 5:31-32 and Luke 16:18 asserting the fact that a valid and consummated sacramental marriage cannot be dissolved. St. Paul repeats Jesus’ teaching in Romans 7:2-3 and 1 Cor. 6:9-10. Hence the Church teaches that a marriage between the baptized, cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death. Catechism of the Catholic teaches that divorce is a grave offense against the natural law because it breaks the freely consented contract between the spouses. Besides, it is immoral because it is a plague in society introducing disorder into the family and into society, causing grave harm to the deserted spouse and to the traumatized children. Divorced Catholics cannot remarry in the Church unless their first marriage is annulled or declared invalid by the diocesan marriage court. Divorced persons remarried outside the Church can participate in the Holy Mass and all Church activities. But they cannot receive Holy Communion. The Church teaches that fellow Catholics should exercise a sensitivity to the divorced through works of charity.

 

Additional     sources: 1)http://www.archden.org/tribunal/documents/divorce.htm

2)http://patrickmadrid.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/What-Does-the-Church-Teach-About-Divorce.pdf    3)http://www.holyfamilychurch.com/index.php/separated-divorced-widowed?showall=&start=1 4)http://www.catholicscomehome.org/answers-divorce.php

 

69) What is marriage annulment in the Catholic Church? While a civil divorce bestows on the separated husband and wife the right to remarry, the Church does not acknowledge the right of civil authorities to dispense sacramentally married couples from vows taken in church. An annulment is a legal procedure in the Catholic Church for declaring a marriage null and void by a diocesan marriage tribunal. It is a declaration that a marriage did not exist from its beginning and that a couple was never married in the sacramental sense. But their children are legitimate. Once a civil divorcee gets the annulment from the Church, he or she can remarry in the Church. A remarriage of a divorcee without annulment is considered gravely sinful and hence such a Catholic will not be allowed to receive Holy Communion. Insufficient use of reason, grave lack of discretion of judgment, incapacity to assume essential marital obligations for psychic causes, fear, fraud, simulation, physical and mental abuse, absence of canonical form and many other reasons can make a marriage invalid.  The divorced parties must approach the pastor, do the paper work as directed and their pastor should submit their petition for annulment to the marriage tribunal. Annulment procedure will take a few months to one year.

Additional sources: 1) http://www.mobilearchdiocese.org/pages/mt_faq.cfm  2) http://www.austindiocese.org/dept/tribunal/annulment_intro.php                 3) http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/cis/cis301.pdf 4) http://www.americancatholic.org/newsletters/cu/ac1002.asp

70) What is the Catholic teaching on abortion? In the modern “culture of death” the number of unborn children slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers in the last 25 years is 1200 million in the world and 37 million in the U.S.A. (4400 per day in the U.S.). But the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is morally evil and a grave sin because: 1) The Bible teaches that life is a gift of God, and hence we have to respect it from womb to tomb. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jer 1:5). The Church teaches that God gives a soul to the fertilized ovum making it a human person with inalienable right to life and development. 2) It is God’s commandment that we shall not kill. (Exodus 20: 13: You shall not kill”). Any tiny human embryo can grow into a child, and modern medical technology can enable it to survive outside its mother’s womb after five and a half months. 3) International Law forbids the killing of innocent, defenseless people. Abortion is the killing of a defenseless child in its safest abode by its own mother, mostly for selfish motives. 4) Abortion harms women physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially and spiritually. 5) Advocates of pro-choice follow a dangerous principle of far-reaching consequences in society. If it is justifiable to kill unwanted children by abortion, then the old, the sick, the handicapped, the mentally ill, and the retarded can also be killed. Hence we need to respect and protect all forms of human life from conception to natural death; we need to work and pray vigorously to end the culture of death.

Additional     resources: 1.http://www.mobilearchdiocese.org/templates/readtjrarticles.cfm?Article=RodiArticle14.htm,

4) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2009/0902fea4.asp- Pro abortion fallacies

5) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0902.asp (In support of life)

6) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0995.asp (Gospel of life)

7) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0798.asp (Ethics of life)

8) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0898.asp (Church teaching on abortion)

9) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0009fea4.asp (This is my body argument)

10) Extensive resources : http://emmerich1.com/ABORTION.htm

71) What is the Catholic teaching on contraception? Contraception is “any action which, either in anticipation of the sexual intercourse, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae 14). This includes sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, withdrawal method, the Pill, and all other such methods. In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (“Human Life”), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence. It is sinful because it is against natural law, against Bible teaching (Gen. 38:8–10), against apostolic tradition, against the uninterrupted teaching of the Church Magisterium. The Church teaches that it is morally permissible to take into account the natural rhythms of human fertility and to have sexual relations only during the infertile times of the wife (Natural family planning) in order to regulate conception without offending the moral principles.

Additional resources: 1) http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/contraception/ 2) http://www.ewtn.com/library/marriage/cclbc.txt     3) http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0658.html (parts 1-IV

72) What are the objectives or goals of Sunday Mass? The parish community gathers for the Sunday Eucharistic celebration, or Holy Mass, in order 1) to praise and worship God, 2) to ask His pardon and forgiveness for our sins, 3) to thank Him for all the blessings received, 4) to listen to His words in Scripture and homily. 5)  to present our needs and petitions before God on the altar at the intercessory prayers, 6) to surrender and offer our lives to God during offertory, accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and 7) to recharge our spiritual batteries, gain spiritual nourishment and deepen our personal relationship with Jesus by sacramentally sharing his resurrected Body and Blood in Holy Communion. The structure of the Eucharistic celebration is organized to achieve all these seven goals.

 

Additional resources:         1) http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0673.html#05

2) http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/eucharist/structure-and-meaning-of-the-mass-backgrounder.cfm

 

73) What are the main parts of the Holy Mass? The Eucharistic celebration consists of two main parts: A) The liturgy of the Word. We prepare for this part by confessing our sins and seeking God’s forgiveness and by praising and worshipping God singing the “Gloria.” In the liturgy of the Word God speaks to us through the sacred Scripture and we listen to God.  Thus we prepare our minds and hearts for the worthy celebration of the Eucharist. It is followed by our presentation of our needs in “intercessory prayers” and offering of our lives to God symbolized by the offering of bread and wine in the “offertory.”  B) The liturgy of the Eucharist.  It is in the liturgy of the Eucharist that we remember and reenact the Last Supper as Jesus commanded (“Do this in memory of me”) and we renew the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary and offer him to God the Father for the remission of our sins, using liturgical prayers, signs and symbols. “Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Here the Holy Spirit transforms our offering of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of the risen Jesus. Then we share in God’s life and surrender our lives to Him by properly receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Finally Jesus gives us his blessing through his priest challenging us to bear witness to him and his gospel throughout the week.

Additional resources:         1) http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0673.html#05

2) http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/eucharist/structure-and-meaning-of-the-mass-backgrounder.cfm

 

74) What is active participation in the Holy Mass? The saintly Pope who conceived the phrase “active participation in the Mass” and used it first was Pope Saint Pius X. This is how he explained it: “If you wish to participate in the Mass actively, you must follow with your eye, heart and mouth all that happens on the altar. “Hence active participation means, first of all, the interior participation of all the powers of the soul in the mystery of Christ’s sacrificial love. It also means that the mind and heart are awake, alert and engaged during the Eucharistic celebration.  Secondly, Participation involves exterior action. For example, as soon as we enter church, we dip our fingers in the holy water and make the sign of the cross. During the Mass we stand, sit, kneel down, bend our heads in adoration, bless ourselves, exchange peace, and fold our hands in prayer.  Thirdly, active participation at the Eucharistic liturgy involves conscious presence, by praying and singing loudly and acting in union with the whole assembly. Fourthly, we actively participate in the Mass by volunteering to become greeters, ushers, altar servers, lectors and Eucharistic ministers and choir members.

Additional resources: 1) http://www.ewtn.com/library/Liturgy/SIGNS.HTM
2)
http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/6856  3) http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html  

75) What are the Eastern Rite Catholic churches? Many people are surprised to learn that there are twenty-two distinct Churches which form the Catholic Church: the Western or “Latin” Church, which nearly all Americans are familiar with, and the Eastern Churches, of which there are twenty-one. While the Western Church makes up the vast majority of the Catholic Church, there are around 17 million Catholics who are members of an Eastern Church. Some of more well-known of the Eastern Churches include the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (5.3 million members), the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of India (3.6),   the Maronite Catholic Church (3.2 m), the Melkite Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Coptic Catholic Church. The Eastern Catholic Churches  are autonomous, self-governing (in Latin, sui iuris) particular churches in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. They preserve many centuries-old eastern liturgical, devotional, and theological traditions, shared in most cases with the various other Eastern Christian churches with which they were once associated. However, they vary in theological emphasis, forms of liturgical worship and popular piety, canonical discipline and terminology. They all recognize the central role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops and his infallibility when speaking ex cathedra.

 

76) What are the sacraments? Baltimore Catechism defines a sacrament as “a visible sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church ties together the many meanings of sacraments thus: “The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions” (#1131).   Tradition tells us that all seven sacraments were instituted by Christ and that each of them has a real foundation in the life and ministry of Jesus. They aree baptism, confirmation, reconciliation, the Eucharist, anointing of the sick, matrimony and Holy Orders. Sacraments are rituals that are highly symbolic and meaningful. The meaning of each sacrament is multidimensional because it points to three different time dimensions: past, present and future.  We commemorate this understanding of the sacrament of the Eucharist when we pray the following version of the Memorial Acclamation at Mass: “We proclaim [present] Your death, O Lord, and profess Your Resurrection [past], until You come again [future]”. Only bishops can administer Holy Orders and bishops (and priests with permission in Latin rite)are the ministers of  confirmation and only bishops and priests  can administer reconciliation, anointing of the sick, and Eucharistic celebration.

 

77) What is the sacrament of baptism? Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven” (BC). “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word” (CCC  #1213). It is the sacrament of supernatural rebirth or regeneration. Just as our parents give us natural life, baptism confers on us God’s life or supernatural life. This life enables us to continue living with God when death separates our immortal soul from our body.  Jesus explains to Nicodemus the necessity of rebirth by water and Spirit: “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5). In John 3:5, 3:22; 4:1-2   and Mark 16:16 the Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation. Baptism removes the guilt of original sin, gives us a share of God’s life (Sanctifying grace), and makes us children of God, heirs of heaven and members of the Catholic Church with all its rights and privileges. Another effect of the sacrament of Baptism is to have the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, dwell in our souls. The final and most mysterious effect of Baptism is to receive a permanent, irremovable character or seal. The candidate is immersed in water, or water is poured over the candidate’s head while the baptizer says the formula: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Additional resources: 1) http://www.catholicdoors.com/courses/baptism.htm 2) http://catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/p/Sac_Baptism.htm

78) What is the sacrament of confirmation? “Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ” (Baltimore Catechism). “By the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed” (CCC #1285). Biblical basis: John 20:22 – “(Jesus) breathed on them (the disciples) and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit'”;( also Lk 24:49).  Acts 8:17; 19:6 – believers receive the Spirit, especially through the laying on of the apostle’s hands; Acts 10:44-48 – the coming of the Spirit is closely associated with the Baptism of new believers. Effects of confirmation: 1) Confirmation strengthens the supernatural life we receive in Baptism. 2) Confirmation (like baptism & holy orders) confers the character of assimilation to Jesus Christ, the priest, teacher, and king. Confirmation develops our sense of mission and inflames our desire to share with others what others had so generously shared with us. The Sacrament of Confirmation provides us with nothing less than miraculous power to defend the faith that we profess. In the Latin rite only the bishops or priests with permission from the bishop can administer confirmation.

Resources for detailed study: 1) http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Sacraments/

2) http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04215b.htm

79) What is the sacrament of reconciliation?  The sacrament of penance is also called as sacrament of reconciliation, sacrament of conversion, sacrament of confession or sacrament of forgiveness. Baltimore Catechism defines it as a “sacrament in which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.” The New Advent Encyclopedia describes it as “a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ in which forgiveness of sins committed after baptism is granted through the priest’s absolution to those who with true sorrow confess their sins and promise to satisfy for the same.” Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of confession on Easter Sunday night. Jesus came and stood among them. He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven. For those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20:19-23). In this sacrament the penitent confesses his sins, expresses contrition, and proposes amendment. The confessor suggests a penance and says the words of absolution ending in.... I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are: a) reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace; b) reconciliation with the Church; c) remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins; d) remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin; e) peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation; f) an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle. (CCC 1496).

Sources for detailed study: 1) Why not confess straight to God? http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0604fea4.asp

2) Prot.misconceptions:  http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0005fea4.asp

3) CCC: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm

 

80) What is the sacrament of the anointing of the sick? It is the sacrament which gives health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body when we are in at least probable danger of death” (BC).”By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ” (LG 11; CCC #1499). The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was already implied in Christ’s first mission to the twelve apostles. “So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them” (Mark 6:13). After the Lord’s ascension into heaven, anointing was commended to the faithful and promulgated by the Apostle James: “If one of you is ill he should send for the elders of the Church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he be in sin, they shall be forgiven him” (James 5:14-15). According to the Council of Trent (November 25, 1551) the elders to whom St. James refers are “priests ordained by the bishop. Strengthening of the soul, remission of sins and occasional healing of the body are the effects of this sacrament.

Additional resources:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05716a.htm (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia)

http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0196.asp

81)  What is the sacrament of matrimony?  “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. This covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” (CCC #1601). The biblical basis of the sacrament of matrimony is given  Gen 2:24 – “a man leaves his parents and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” and in  Mark 10:2-12; Matt 19:1-9 – where Jesus teaches against divorce; “What God has joined together, let no one separate.” Jesus blesses the couple of Cana by miraculously converting water into wine (Jn 2.1-11). In Eph 5:22-33; 1Cor 7:10-16 – Paul stresses the unity of husbands and wives. The central liturgical formula in the celebration of the sacrament of matrimony is said by the bride and groom because they are the actual ministers of this sacrament:  “I, (name), take you, (name), to be my husband/wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” (or a similar formula). Here the officiating priest is only the official witness of the Church. The central action of the sacrament is the public promise made by the bride and groom accepting each other as souse for life in all life situations. The exchange of rings that follows is only a visible sign of this verbal commitment. As a result of the sacrament of matrimony, the bride and groom get united (“one flesh”) in God’s eyes; becoming a publicly and legally recognized couple.

Additional resources:

1)http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm

2) http://www.beginningcatholic.com/catholic-marriage.html

3) http://www.olrl.org/Lessons/Lesson31.shtml

82) What is the sacrament of the Holy Orders? Holy Orders (Ordination of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons) is a sacrament by which bishops, priests, and deacons of the Church are ordained and receive the power and grace to perform their sacred duties.” (BC). The Catechism calls it “the sacrament of apostolic ministry” because it is the continuation of Christ’s priesthood, which he bestowed upon his Apostles. Biblical basis: The priesthood was established by God among the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. God chose the tribe of Levi as priests for the nation. Their primary duties were the offering of sacrifice and prayer for the people. In the New Testament Jesus “calls” and “appoints” the 12 apostles (Mark 3:13-19) and the apostles ordain priests and deacons by “laying on of hands” as the “ordaining” or commissioning rite (Acts 6:6; 1 Tim 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tim 1:6). In the ordination ceremony, after a long “Prayer of Consecration.” the bishop lays his hands on the ordinand‘s head and anoints his hands and performs several other symbolic gestures. The candidate becomes a member of the “ordained” clergy, joining the church’s official leadership.  Only a bishop is allowed to ordain bishops, priests and deacons. Each level of ordination confers special graces, from the ability to preach, granted to deacons; to the ability to act in the person of Christ to offer the Mass, granted to priests; to a special grace of strength, granted to bishops, which allows him to teach and lead his flock, even to the point of dying as Christ did.

For additional information, read

1) vhttp://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a6.htm

2) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0797.asp

3) http://catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/p/Sac_Holy_Orders.htm

 

83) If God is in control, why should we pray? As Christians we believe that God is our all-powerful, all-knowing and loving Father who protects us and provide for us.  But Jesus taught us a model prayer and instructed to pray. It teaches us that we should not presume on God’s automatic care, but rather we should come in trusting dependence to ask for what we need (Matthew 7:7-11). Saints teach us that prayer is talking to God and listening to Him. “We pray to adore God, expressing to Him our love and loyalty; to thank Him for His favors; to obtain from Him the pardon of our sins and the remission of their punishment; to ask for graces and blessings for ourselves and others” (Baltimore Catechism). We pray primarily to acknowledge or total dependence on God and to deepen our relationship with Him. We want to talk with someone who loves us, about what concerns us. So we talk to God in prayer to invite His attention to our specific needs. Jesus prayed to his Father to express his deep agony and to pray for the disciples, even though he already knew he would be led to the Cross. We pray also to learn His Will,  get strength from God to do good and avoid evil. We don’t change God’s mind by prayer. But we get light and strength at adjust our lives according God’s plan. Hence as we align with God’s will, it’s okay to keep calling out to God on behalf of others and ourselves. In fact, it’s more than okay: God expects us to do so: Isaiah 43:22. We are ‘too busy’ to pray or too tired.  Yet Jesus modeled a lifestyle of prayerful dependence, fellowship and intercession, challenging us to follow his example.

 

84)  Why God always does not answer our prayers?

God knows how to answer our prayers at the appropriate time best suited for our good. He always answers our prayers. But His answer may be “yes”, “no” or “wait.” Even when we feel that God is not answering our prayers, you can always know God is a God of love (Jeremiah 31:3).There are many reasons why our prayers are not answered. 1) Our payers are not answered when they are not according to God’s will. “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14). 2) Our prayers are not answered when they are designed to fulfill an inner lust, dreams, or illusions. We pray with wrong motives. “You ask with wrong motives that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:5). 3) Our prayers are denied when we show no diligence to assist God in the answer. Don’t blame God for not listening to your prayers if you’re not listening to His call to obedience. 4) Our prayers not answered when there is a secret grudge lodged in the heart against another. “Lift up pure hands without wrath or doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). 5) He who expects little from prayer will not get what he asks for. 6) Our prayers are not answered when we ourselves attempt to dictate how God should answer. 7) Our prayers are not answered when we don’t persevere in our prayer.

 

For additional information, visit

 

85 – Why do Catholics keep crucifixes in the churches, schools and homes?  The answer is that it is Christ crucified who saved us from the bondage of sin, not the cross. In I Cor 1: 3 Paul says, “…but we preach Christ crucified…” Paul knows that Jesus has been raised from the dead. So he wants us to realize that it is through the power of the crucified Christ on the cross that the bonds of sin and death are broken. In verse 24, Paul affirms that Christ crucified is the “power of God.” Paul also states: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2). Paul preaches Christ crucified because an empty cross has no power. The cross that bears the beaten, battered, and bloodied body of Jesus on the other hand, is the “power of God”. This is why, we “keep Jesus on the cross,” because we, too, preach Christ crucified. The Crucifix reminds us not only of God’s power, but also His love for us – giving His only begotten Son up for suffering and death. Besides, here in this life we do not share so much in the glory of the Resurrection, as we do in the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Jesus’ challenge to all Christians is “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” (Lk 9: 23).  In Romans 6: 8, Paul reminds us that we must die with Christ in order to live with Him.. Let us not forget the truth that Jesus died on the cross. The Crucifix serves to remind us of these things in a better way than mere cross.  Besides, crucifix is a sacramental or sacred sign instituted by the Church.

Additional resources: 1) http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/Documents/CrossCrucifix.doc

2) http://home.earthlink.net/~mysticalrose/crucifix.html

86- What is the morality of new gun control laws? Carrying a weapon for self-defense is never condemned in the Bible. In fact, it was mentioned in a positive light by Jesus Himself on one occasion (Luke 22:35-38). As far as the Bible is concerned, the use of guns is a matter of personal conviction. There is nothing unspiritual about owning a gun or knowing how to use one. With the authority God has entrusted to it and the people gave it, the government has the right to allow or disallow gun ownership to whatever degree it deems right. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, individuals have a right and a duty to protect their own lives when in danger, and someone who “defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal low.” But CCC clarifies that repelling the aggressor must be done “with moderation” in order to be “lawful” in the eyes of the church; using “more than necessary violence” would be unlawful. The Vatican’s justice and peace council’s 1994 document said, “In a world marked by evil and sin, the right of legitimate defense by armed means exists.” But every person “is called to disarm his own heart and be a peacemaker everywhere.” (Pope Benedict). “As bishops, we support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer — especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children or anyone other than the owner — and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns.” (U. S. bishops “Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration:” We call “for effective and courageous action to control handguns, leading to their eventual elimination from our society.” (U.S. bishops’ 1990 pastoral statement on substance abuse).

Additional     resources: 1) http://www.americancatholic.org/news/report.aspx?id=3906

2)http://www.uscatholic.org/news/2011/01/gun-control-church-firmly-quietly-opposes-firearms-civilians 3) http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/gun-control-can-it-happen             4) http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/10403/Catholics-weigh-in-on-gun-control-regulations.aspx

87) What is the biblical basis for the pope to become the head of the  Catholic Church? Pope is the successor of Peter whom Jesus appointed the heads of his Church. “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Mt.16:17-19) “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” (Lk. 22:31,32). Christ named him Peter “Cephas”, which in Hebrew means “foundation stone”. “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” (Mt.16:19) The “keys” symbolize authority (Is. 22:15-25, Rv.1:18). Thus, the Pope has authority. Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd” (Jn.10:14) and to Peter “Feed my sheep” (Jn.21:15-17) which means “teach, lead, protect   and nourish my Church.” He appoints Peter as chief shepherd of His church. Christ is the invisible head of the Church and  the Pope is the visible head. Christ appointed St. Peter to lead in His place, which is clear from scripture. Through his mystical body, the Church, Christ continues to appoint the leader of His Church, the successors of St. Peter. Scripture shows the first dispute over doctrine was settled by a Church council (Acts 15) presided over by the first Pope, Peter, who spoke first (Acts 15:7). This is the scriptural model for settling disputes over doctrine. Peter is listed first in every list of Apostles (Mt. 10:1-4, Mk. 3:16-19, Lk. 6:12-16, Acts 1:13), first to work a miracle in His name (Acts 3:6-7), and first to proclaim the gospel (Acts 2:14-40). The pope as Peter’s successor appoints bishops and the cardinals, who will elect his successor. He is the final arbiter of both administrative and doctrinal disputes.

Additional resources:

 

88) Why do we observe Ash Wednesday? Ash Wednesday (dies cinerum), is the Church’s Yom Kippur or the “Day of Atonement.” Its very name comes from the Jewish practice of doing penance wearing “sackcloth and ashes.” The Old Testament tells us how the people of Nineveh, the Syrian King, Ben Hadad, and Queen Esther fasted wearing sackcloth and ashes. The priest dipping his thumb into ashes marks the forehead of each with the sign of the cross, saying the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” The ashen cross gives us a firm conviction that a) we are mortal beings, b) our life-span is very brief and unpredictable. It also gives us a strong warning that we will be eternally punished if we do not repent of our sins and do penance. Ash Wednesday reminds us that we need to purify and renew our lives during the period of Lent by repentance, which means expressing sorrow for sins by turning away from occasions of sins and going straight to God. We need to express our repentance by getting reconciled with God daily, by asking for forgiveness from those whom we have offended and by giving unconditional forgiveness to our neighbors who have offended us. It also challenges us to do prayerful fasting and little acts of penance for our sins, following the example of Jesus before his public ministry.

89) Why do Catholics obey Ten Commandments given to the Jews? Catholics follow the Ten Commandments because Christ, Himself, followed them and because He told others to follow them. Jesus practiced all the virtues prescribed by the Decalogue, notably the two fundamental virtues of loving God and our neighbor. When a man asked Christ what he must do to have eternal life, Christ told him “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19: 16-19). And He cites for the young man the precepts that concern love of neighbor: “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.” Finally Jesus sums up these commandments positively: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19: 16-19). We obey the Ten Commandments also because they were given to Israel by God through Moses. Besides, we obey God’s commands because He loves us! Since God loves us and loves us perfectly, we can always trust His word and trust that He always knows what is best for us. In giving us the Ten Commandments He’s not trying to take away our fun or our freedom. Instead He’s showing us how we were meant to live. We were meant to live in a loving relationship with both God and each other. While there are 10, they really boil down to these two things: loving God and loving each other (Matthew 22:37-40).

Sources & resources: 1) http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2.htm

2)http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0403fea3.asp  3)http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Commandments/Commandments_003.htm

90) What is a parish and its role in Christian life? The parish is in many ways the most visible, local  and immediate expression of the Church. According to Canon Law, a parish is a stable community of the faithful within a particular church (i.e. a diocese), entrusted by the bishop to the pastoral care of a parish priest, with the cooperation of other priests, deacons and laity. However, since every parish is linked to the universal Church through the bishop and his bond of hierarchical communion with the Pope. The “beating heart” of parish life is the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, which is “the source and summit of the whole Christian life.” The parish is also the place where children and adults are initiated into the life of the Church through Baptism, and where sinners receive the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness in Reconciliation. Every parish is sanctified by the presence of the reserved Blessed Sacrament. Another central function of the parish is the proclamation of the Gospel to believers and non-believers. It is the duty of all the faithful by virtue of their baptism. It is exercised in a special way by parents, catechists and teachers as well as by priests and deacons. Finally, the parish community should be characterised by the life of charity expressed in good works and fraternal love. Ultimately the parish is an authentic Christian community because of the presence of Christ within it. The pastor sacramentally re-presents Christ the Head and Shepherd. And so whilst other members of the community are called to genuine collaboration in the mission and life of the parish, the ministry of the priest is indispensable and irreplaceable.

 

91) Where in the Bible does the Catholic Church get the idea of a Pope? In the Old Testament, after God brought Israel out of Egypt, He provided for a living, continuing authority in the Levitical priesthood Examples are 2 Chronicles 19:11 (“Amariah the chief priest will be over you in any matter concerning the LORD”,..)and Malachi 2:7. The infallible New Testament books were written by mere men in positions of authority in the Church. As a Good Shepherd Jesus does not lead the sheep to a pasture and then let them wander all over the place on their own having to fend for themselves against predators. Without the concrete guidance of Christ through His chosen representative of the Pope, Christ’s Church would have splintered into over 40,000 groups over 500 years, as happened to the Protestants. Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it” unequivocally states that Jesus specifically appointed Simon Peter to be the first Pope (CCC869). “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The phrase “keys of the kingdom” is an idiom meaning “you have all authority in my Name” Binding and loosing, opening and shutting are Hebrew idioms meaning the authority to rule. And this authority Jesus also gave to the other apostles, our first bishops in order to rule the Church. But, He only gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom. Peter exercised it as clear from the decisions of the Council of Jerusalem described in Acts chapter 15.

Sources & Resources: 1) http://bfhu.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/pope-where-in-scripture/

2) http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm

3) http://www.catholicthinker.net/peter-the-papacy

92) Why do we believe in the resurrection of Jesus? (1) Jesus himself testified to his resurrection from the dead (Mark 8:31; Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22). (2) The tomb was empty on Easter Sunday (Luke 24:3). Although the guards claimed (Matthew 28:13) that the disciples of Jesus had stolen the body, every sensible Jew knew that it was impossible for the terrified disciples of Jesus to steal the body of Jesus from a tomb guarded by a 16 member team of armed Roman soldiers. (3) The initial disbelief of Jesus’ own disciples in his resurrection, in spite of his repeated apparitions.  This serves as a strong proof of his resurrection. It explains why the apostles started preaching the resurrected Christ only after receiving the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.(4)  The transformation of Jesus’ disciples: The disciples of Jesus were almost immediately transformed from men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Luke 24:21, John 20:19) into men who were confident and bold witnesses of the resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2). (4) The Jews and the Romans could not disprove Jesus’ resurrection by presenting the dead body of Jesus. 5) The apostles and early Christians would not have faced martyrdom if they were not absolutely sure of Jesus’ resurrection. (5)  The Apostle Paul’s conversion from a persecutor of Christians and his zealous preaching of Jesus support the truth of Jesus’ resurrection (Galatians 1:11-17, Acts 9:1Acts 9:24-25Acts 26:15-18). (6) The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian church, bravely facing three centuries of persecution, supports the truth of the resurrection claim. (7) The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers. The apostles and the early Christians were absolutely sure about the resurrection of Jesus.

93) Why we do observe Easter II Sunday as “Divine Mercy Sunday”?

1) Jesus demonstrated the divine mercy of God his Heavenly Father by his preaching and healing ministry. 2) He instructed his apostles and followers to love others as he loved by sharing mercy, compassion and sacrificial love. 3) Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the sacrament expressing God’s mercy for repentant sinners by offering them pardon and forgiveness. 4) For centuries in liturgy the Church has proclaimed the mercy of God through the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. 5) The main inspiration behind the Divine Mercy devotion are the messages received by St. Faustina during her mystical visions.  On the Second Sunday of Easter of the Jubilee Year 2000, at the Mass for the canonization of the Polish nun St. Faustina Kowalska, Pope John Paul II proclaimed to the world that “from now on throughout the Church this Sunday will be called Divine Mercy Sunday.” Besides, In his 1980 encyclical on God’s mercy, Rich in Mercy, he developed a scriptural and doctrinal basis for our faith in the mercy of God. 6) The Divine Mercy Sunday is meant to strengthen our people’s trust in God’s mercy. 7) The Divine Mercy devotion fosters the virtue of trust in God’s mercy that finds its fulfillment in the liturgy of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist.

94) Why moral relativism is wrong and dangerous? Moral relativism is a philosophy that asserts that there is no global, absolute moral law that applies to all people, for all time, and in all places, that is, that there are no absolutes and there is no objective right or wrong. Consequently, gay rights are now being equated with civil rights, and those proclaiming that homosexuality is a sin are called homophobic and intolerant. The Moral Relativist embraces the view that one should not judge other cultures or individuals, for to do so would be intolerant.  But Christianity proclaims that there are absolute moral norms that apply to all persons in all places at all times. Studies indicate 75% of American college professors currently teach that there is no such thing as right and wrong. That is why in 1997, then-Cardinal Ratzinger described Moral Relativism as, “the central problem of the faith at the present time.” The Christian view of morality is based on the truth that God does exist, and that all things created are subject to a set of laws, whether natural or divine. God has given us in His word (the Bible) basic principles to decide what is right and wrong. The most basic principle of the Christian moral life is the awareness that every person bears the dignity of being made in the image of God. God has given us an immortal soul and through the gifts of intelligence and reason, to recognize right and wrong and to distinguish them from one another.

Sources and resources: 1) http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/morality/

2) http://www.aboutcatholics.com/beliefs/christian-morality/

3) http://carm.org/moral-relativism

 

95) Why should we follow a well- formed conscience? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, that “Conscience is a judgment of reason by which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act” (CCC 1796).Conscience is a natural facility of our reason that does three things: 1) It reminds us always to do good and avoid evil. 2) It makes a judgment about the good and evil of particular choices in a specific situation. 3) It bears witness after the fact to the good or evil that we have done. A fundamental principle of Catholic morality is that we must follow our conscience. But it must be a well formed conscience. A well-formed conscience will never contradict the objective moral law, as taught by Christ and his Church. (Catechism, 1783-5, 1792, 2039). The II Vatican Council teaches that every Catholic is morally obliged to conform his conscience to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Conscience is the means God has given us to make moral decisions. Our freedom demands that we use it: “When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking” (Catechism, 1777). A good conscience enable us to  choose to do good in order to choose God, grow in freedom, sanctify ourselves, and let God’s grace work in us to make us “children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.” (Catechism, 1996).

Sources & Resources: 1) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1282.asp

 

96) Can devil possess man? What is exorcism? Exorcism is the act of driving out, or warding off, demons or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice. It also refers to the means employed for this purpose, especially the solemn and authoritative adjuration of the demon, in the name of God. Exorcism and deliverance are healing ministries that are very misunderstood both within our church and our larger community. While many Catholics today no longer profess belief in the Devil, that belief is not a matter of opinion which one can accept or reject. It is an element of faith and Catholic doctrine because the New Testament presents several stories of diabolical possession and our Lord’s exorcism of the demons. Christ also empowered the Apostles to cast out demons in His name: “Then He summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority to expel unclean spirits and to cure sickness and disease of every kind” (Mt 10:1). In determining whether a person is possessed by the devil or his demons, the Church would first make sure he underwent thorough physical, medical and psychiatric examinations. Exorcism proper is an official prayer of the Church to God, offered by an authorized priest called exorcist, to restrain this diabolical power supernaturally.

Sources & resources

1)      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05709a.htm 2) http://www.catholicessentials.net/exorcism.htm  3) http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0362.html

97) What is canon law and who is a canon lawyer? Canon law is the legal system of the Catholic Church. The word “canon” comes from the Greek “kanon” meaning a rule or measure. Following centuries of increasing complexity in canon law, Pope St. Pius X decided in 1904 that canon law, which was then scattered throughout thousands of papal and diocesan decrees, decisions, and commentaries, should be collected and simplified into a single authoritative “Code”. By 1917, the Church’s first Code of Canon Law was ready. The Second Vatican Council felt the need of a revision of that code of canon law. In January 1983 Blessed Pope John Paul II promulgated the 1,752 canons of the new Code of Canon Law which took effect the following November. Canon law, like every legal system, protects the smooth order of the society which it serves, in this case, the society known as the Catholic Church.  It is taught in the seminary. Canon law colleges award the licentiate degree (J.C.L.)) and doctorate degree (D.C.L. or J.C.D) in Canon law. The laity, parish pastors, diocesan bishops, even members of the Roman Curia are bound by canon law. Hence canon lawyers advise bishops, priests, Catholic leaders and all catholic about their rights and obligations in accord with law. A typical example of the laity seeking the help of canon lawyers in the diocesan marriage tribunal is for “marriage annulment” or a declaration of matrimonial nullity.

Sources & resources: 1) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1991/9111cg.asp

2) http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

3) http://diocese-tribunal.org/canonlaw.php

4) http://www.canonlaw.info/a_catechistintro.htm

98) Why do we observe Mother’s Day? We observe Mother’s Day to honor our mothers because as the Spanish proverb says “an ounce of mother is better than a pound of clergy.” This is a day to admit the truth that gratefully admit the fact that none of us is able to return, in the same measure,  all the love that our Mothers have given us. Their influence on their children is so great that it affects their children throughout their lives. Mother not only gave us birth, but nursed us, nurtured us, trained us in her religious beliefs and its practice, good manners and ideal behavior, disciplined us as best as she could and made us good citizens of our country, our church and our society. Hence it is highly proper for us to express our love and gratitude for her by our presence, gifts and prayers on Mother’s Day. As Christians, let us acknowledge the truth that we have two mothers: our earthly mother and our heavenly mother, the mother of Jesus whom Jesus gave us as our mother from the cross. Let us show our love and appreciation for both of them and let us ask our heavenly mother to take care of our earthly mothers. The Catholic Church proclaims the great nobility of the mother of Jesus, Mary most holy, and presents her as the supreme model for all mothers.

 

99) Do Catholics believe in rapture? “Rapture” is the recently proposed (18th century), doctrine taught by certain groups of fundamentalist Christians.  It states that at the end of the world, Jesus will come on the clouds of heaven, and the righteous (born again Christians) will be “raptured,” that is, caught up into the air, to be with Christ. They will be separated from sinners who will remain on the earth to endure a period of great suffering (“the Great Tribulation”). Then Jesus will come back a third time the rule the earth a thousand years (“Millennial Reign”). It is unbiblical theory made by combining the events described in Revelation, Daniel, Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians as one story, ignoring their contexts. The Catholic Church teaches that, at the end of time, Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. At this time, everyone who is dead, just and unjust, will have a bodily resurrection and those who are alive, will have their bodies transformed for eternity. Those still in Purgatory will be released, joining the risen and the still-living, transformed just. Then the Last Judgment will take place. Catholics do not generally use the term Rapture, nor do they believe in a Rapture that will take place some time before the Second Coming, as do many Evangelicals. “Rapture” is a “modern heresy” resulted from the misinterpretation of the Bible.

Resources & sources: (Read Year of Faith lesson # 45 in our parish website)

1) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1005.asp                        

2) http://www.littlerockscripture.org/en/wtbsa_rapture.html                                                                                                             

3) http://www.mindspring.com/~renewal/Rapture.html                                        4) http://www.ewtn.com/expert/expertfaqframe.asp?source=/vexperts/conference.htm  5)http://www.nativityukr.org/various_files/Waiting_for_the_Rapture.html                           6) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0011fea2.asp

100) Are Catholics born-again Christians? Common view: Catholics and Protestants agree that to be saved, you have to be born again because Jesus taught so: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The Catholic view: The Catholic Church has always held the view that, being “born again” or “born from above” means being baptized. It also teaches that “born of water and the Spirit” in John 3:5 refers to Baptism. The godparents recite the Nicene Creed expressing the child’s acceptance of Christ as Lord and savior. The adult catechumens recite it before their baptism accepting Jesus as their Savior.  The Protestant view: According to the “Crusade Evangelists” one is born again of the Spirit only after accepting Jesus as Lord and personal Savior an adult and declaring it publicly, and after expressing his repentance for his sins publicly by reciting the “Sinner Prayer.”  Evangelicals claim that one is born again at the first moment of faith in Christ. According to this theory, faith in Christ produces regeneration. Catholics believe that regeneration happens at Baptism and we become the children of God and heirs of heaven. Hence Catholics are born-again Christians in the biblical sense. If the Evangelical has not been properly water baptized, he has not been born again “the Bible way,” regardless of what he may claim.  (Read full article # 47 in our website)

 

Sources and resources: 1) http://biblocality.com/forums/showthread.php?4483-The-Catholic-Church/page2
2)http://www.catholic.com/tracts/are-catholics-born-again                                               3)http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2007/mbrumley_bornagain_nov07.asp       4)http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2008/0809btb.asp                                          5)http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/11/deacon-bickerstaff-are-catholics-born-again-christians/

 

101) What is the Catholic teaching on “Creation Science” and evolution? Creation Science is based on the belief that the creation story in Genesis is literally and historically true, and considers the details of Genesis, to be scientific statements about the beginnings of all things. “Creation scientists” believe that the universe was created only several thousand years ago, in six, 24-hour “days.” Its latest version is the theory of “Intelligent Design.” The evangelical Christians argue that creation science of “Intelligent Design” should be taught in the school along with evolution. The Catholic Church teaches that the stories in the first three chapters of Genesis are meant to teach certain basic religious truths and not science. They contain ancient science and faith-based history with a religious purpose. So we need not accept its science.  They symbolically describe that God is the cause of all things. The Catholic Church holds the theory that God created the first matter and gave it the ability to evolve into plants, animals and even human body. But human soul is a direct creation of God and at conception, God infuses a soul into the human child. So Catholics don’t accept “Creation Science” as science and are not against the theory of evolution in spite of its weaknesses and assumptions requiring further proofs.

 

Sources & resources: 1)  http://www.catholic.com/tracts/adam-eve-and-evolution           2)http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=18524                                      3)http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1007.asp                        4)http://www.theotokos.org.uk/pages/creation/daylight/article1.html             5)http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/vaticanview.html   

102) What is the Catholic teaching on one’s eternal salvation. (L)Are you saved?” asks the Fundamentalist. The Catholic reply is: “As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul, I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13).” The Protestant teaching: The general Protestant teaching on salvation is condensed into the slogan “once saved, always saved.” The Bible says in Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” So, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, I was saved. It’s a done deal. Catholic Church teaches that salvation is a past, present and future event. It is not a done deal, but a continuous one. So we have to say with St. Paul:” , …”work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” by freely cooperating with God’s grace and  obeying God’s commandments, especially Jesus’  new commandment of love and by repenting on our sins and confessing them and thus daily getting reconciled with God.

Sources &     resources:                                                                                                                                                                                               http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2007/0712btb.asp                                               http://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=105

 

103) Who wrote the gospels, when? In the wake of the movie The Passion of The Christ many have started asking the question whether  the Gospels were written by Mathew, Mark, Luke and John in the first century and whether the Gospel accounts are reliable sources of information on  the  life, miracles, death, resurrection  and teaching Jesus. St. Luke makes a clear assertion: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, 2 just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.” “The sacred authors, in writing the four Gospels, selected certain of the many elements which had been handed on, either orally or already in written form; others they synthesized or explained with an eye to the situation of the churches, the while sustaining the form of preaching, but always in such a fashion that they have told us the honest truth about Jesus.”(Dei Vebum no 19). Jesus preached the good news and his apostles and their disciples preached it after the Pentecost and later all these preaching was written down by the four evangelists. Tradition testifies that the four gospels were written by Matthew (between 60-70 AD) Mark (60-70), Luke (62-63)  and John (80-90). ( See the full article no 52 in our parish website).

 

104) Are the New Testament books historical and reliable? In the wake of the movie The Passion of The Christ (2004) and Brian’ Fleming’s 2005 documentary film,  The God Who Wasn’t There (2005) many started asking the question whether the Gospels whether the Gospel accounts are reliable sources of information on the life, miracles, death, resurrection and teachings of Jesus. St. Peter has inserted an explanation for such people in his second epistle: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16) and st. Luke in  Luke 1: 1-4. The New Testament contains four biographies of Jesus (the Gospels), one history book of the early church (Acts of the Apostles), twenty-one letters (Romans to Jude), and an apocalypse (Revelation). While the letters and the apocalypse contain references to historical events, the Gospels and Acts are written as straightforward historical narratives. The integrity of the New Testament writings is substantiated through the ancient and numerous Greek manuscripts, ancient translations, quotations of scripture by early Christian writers and  from internal evidences. (For details see the Year of Faith Lesson 53 in the parish website).

Sources & resources:                                                                                                                                                                                                            

1) http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2012/february/closer-look-historical-reliability-of-new-testament.html                                                                                                                                                                                                2) http://www.john-lee-ministries.org/Historicity_of_the_New_Testament_Page.ht        3) http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3752         (Official teachings of the church through encyclicals and Pontifical Bible Commission)

105)  What is the Catholic teaching on devil and devil worship: The word devil is derived from the Greek diabolos meaning an accuser, a slanderer and the word satan comes from the Hebrew verb satan meaning to oppose, to harass someone. The synonyms for Satan in Sacred Scripture are the Evil One, Beelzebub, the Accuser, the Tempter, the Great Dragon and the Ancient Serpent. The Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called ‘Satan’ or the ‘devil.’’ Based on the teaching and example of Jesus (Mt 4:1-11; 12:22-30; Mk 1:34; Lk 10:18; 22:31; Jn 8:44), the Catholic Church has always held that the devil is real, not a mythical personification of evil.  Jesus identified Satan as the Prince of this World, as the Father of Lies, Prince of Darkness and the Murderer. St. Paul writes about the power of the devil in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and about preparation needed for a spiritual war with him in Ephesians 6 : 10-18. St. Peter gives us the warning: “Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pt 5:8). At baptism, those to be baptized are called upon to reject Satan, his works, and his empty promises. The Church provides an official rite of exorcism, which presupposes, of course, the existence of Satan. There are people who worship satan in the place of God through various satanic cults. It is a grave sin against the first commandment.  (For detailed account read lesson #54 in our parish website http://stjohngrandbay.org/ ).

 

106) What is the Catholic teaching on the Parousia or Christ’s “Second Coming?” Most Christian denominations use the Nicene Creed in the liturgy and say “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.”  The Bible describes the events of Jesus’ return in apocalyptic images. Jesus repeatedly and clearly foretold His second coming (parousia) at the end of the world (Mk 13:26-27, Mt 16: 27, Mk. 8:38; Luke 9:26). According to the gospel accounts, the parousia will be unmistakable because it will be accompanied by unprecedented signs (Mt 24:27). But no one knows exactly when this will occur. Paul, Mark and the seer John all wrongly expected an imminent parousia in their life time. In Mk 13:32 Jesus says: “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” See also 1 Thess 5:2, 2 Pet 3:10. The Catholic Church teaches that we should avoid pointless speculations on parousia. Instead, as stated in the New Testament, we should live the Gospel so as to be prepared for the parousia whenever it happens (Mk 13:33,35-37, 1 Pet 1:13-16). The church teaches that Jesus is coming for the Last Judgment to reward the just and punish the wicked. The Catholic Church does not teach “rapture” or “Millennial Reign” of Christ on earth.

Sources &      resources 1)http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/SFS/an1104.asp

2)http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1005.asp                                      3)http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08552a.htm                                                                  4) http://www.catholicapologetics.org/ap090500.htm

107) What is the catholic teaching on heaven and hell? Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “heaven is our   perfect life after death with the Most Holy Trinity. It is the communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed.  Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC.1024). In biblical language “heaven” is the transcendent dwelling-place of the living God where believers are admitted. Pope John Paul II reflects on hell as the definitive rejection of God. Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy.” Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful torments. (Baltimore Catechism). The good news is that we  have the freedom to choose heaven or hell when we are alive.

Sources & resources: 1) L’Osservatore Romano, 28 July 1999 & 4 August 1999

2) http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm

3) http://www.baltimore-catechism.com/lesson37.htm

108) Are We Re-Crucifying Jesus in every Mass? Bible repeatedly indicates that Jesus suffered and died “once for all.” Then are Catholics re-crucifying Jesus at every Mass? “No, we are simply re-doing the Last Supper obeying Christ’s command: “Do this in memory of me.”  But the fact is that Jesus’ Last Supper on Holy Thursday was a “pre- presentation” of his Calvary sacrifice on Good Friday. In other words, it was a memorial of his Last Supper (Passover Seder meal) as well as his death on the cross. Hence the Catholic Mass or Eucharistic Celebration  is a re-enactment of both. Here, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross at Calvary is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner, using signs and symbols, while the same Christ is “enthroned gloriously in heaven”  The Catholic Church teaches that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His body and His blood which were to be offered for us on the cross, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest [today ]are changed into the body and blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven. Who authorized priests to do this? Jesus himself: Because Jesus told his apostles: This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me [Luke 22:19b]. This is the command by which Jesus ordained his apostles as priests (since he was performing a sacrificial action and commanded them to do it, he was commanding them to perform sacrifice.  What is being repeated in the celebration of Mass is not the re-crucifixion of Jesus, but only a memorial of Jesus’ Last Supper as well as death on the cross.  (For details read Faith Lesson # 57 in the parish website http://stjohngrandbay.org/ ).

109)  How would you introduce Matthew’s gospel? Although the first Gospel is anonymous, the early Church Fathers were unanimous in holding that Matthew, one of the 12 apostles, was its author. However, the results of modern critical studies—in particular those that stress Matthew’s alleged dependence on Mark for a substantial part of his Gospel—have caused some Biblical scholars to abandon Matthean authorship. Modern Bible scholars believe that it was written in the 70s or even later. Matthew was a tax collector who left his work to follow Jesus (9:9–13). In Mark and Luke he is called by his other name, Levi. It was written in Palestine or in Antioch in Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic. Matthew’s main purpose is to prove to his Jewish readers that Jesus is their Messiah and the fulfillment of the OT predictions of the Messiah. He does this primarily by showing how Jesus in his life and ministry fulfilled the OT Scriptures. The whole Gospel is woven around five great discourses: (1) chs. 5–7; (2) ch. 10; (3) ch. 13; (4) ch. 18; (5) chs. 24–25. The fivefold division may suggest that Matthew has modeled his book on the structure of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the OT). He may also be presenting the gospel as a new Torah and Jesus as a new and greater Moses. Here is a brief outline: The Birth and Early Years of Jesus (chs. 1–2). The Beginnings of Jesus’ Ministry (3:1—4:11). Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee (4:12—14:12). Jesus’ Withdrawals from Galilee (14:13—17:20). Jesus’ Last Ministry in Galilee (17:22—18:35). Jesus’ Ministry in Judea and Perea (chs. 19–20). Passion Week (chs. 21–27). The Resurrection (ch. 28).

Additional resources: 1) http://www.nccbuscc.org/bible/matthew/0                   2)             http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Evangelists.htm                                             3) http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Four_Gospel_Chart.htm

110)  How would you introduce Mark’s gospel? The tradition of the early Church is unanimous in attributing the second Gospel to Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter the Apostle. We know that Mark was born in Jerusalem and that his mother’s name was Mary. The first Christians used her house as a meeting place. Quite probably, the Apostle himself baptized Mark in his own home; he refers to Mark as his son (1Pet. 5:1), and some authorities identify Mark’s house with the Cenacle. Mark accompanied Paul on his first apostolic journey, around the year 45. A few years later, Mark joined Peter, who gave him a first-hand account of “all that Jesus said and did.” With the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Mark used this material to write the Gospel which bears his name. Mark’s Gospel was probably written about the year 60 in Greek.  He addressed his Gospel primarily to Christians of Gentile origin living in Rome. His aim was to give an account of Christ’s life based on what he had heard directly from Peter. Therefore, he placed the emphasis on those events or miracles which would help the Roman Christians to see more clearly the divinity of Jesus, in whom they already       believed. Mark insists so much on our Lord’s miracles that he omits, for example, the Sermon on the Mount and many parables. He tries to show that Jesus was able to work all these because he was the Son of God.

Additional resources: 1) vhttp://www.usccb.org/bible/lk/0)

111) How would you introduce Luke’s gospel? A Syrian from Antioch was the inspired author of the third Gospel. This Gospel can be dated at the latest at the end of AD 62 or the beginning of 63. Luke mainly addressed people with a Gentile background. A physician by profession, a man of culture with perfect Greek, he was a disciple of Paul and was an early Gentile convert, from about the year 40. He accompanied Paul on his second journey (49-53) from Troas to Philippi (Acts 16:10-37), remaining there for some years, until he again joined Paul toward the end of his third journey (53-58). He stayed with the Apostle when he was imprisoned in Caesarea; he was with him on his adventurous trip from Caesarea to Rome and during his first Roman captivity (Col. 4:14, Phil. 1:24). Luke claims (Lk 1:2) that he has collected matter for his gospel after consulting the eye witnesses of Jesus’ ministry including apostles and  Mary. He begins by emphasizing the continuity of the work of salvation begun by God in the Old Testament and brought to fulfillment in the New. Luke asserts that Jesus came to redeem man from sin, to free him from slavery to the devil and from eternal death. Luke’s account stresses the universal character of salvation. Salvation starts in Jerusalem, the center of all Jesus’ activity. Luke starts his Gospel there, and there he concludes it. He leaves over to his second book–the Acts of the Apostles–the account of the spread of the Church. (For a detailed article read lesson # no 59 under Faith Formation  Lessons in the parish website).

Additional resources: 1) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1994/9403ntg.asp

2) http://www.usccb.org/bible/lk/0)

112) how would you introduce John’s gospel? JOHN the apostle, the son of Zebedee and Salome and the brother of James the Greater, was probably a native of Bethsaida, a city in Galilee on the shore of Lake Gennesaret. His family was fairly well off, and he worked in the family business, fishing. As a very young man he became a disciple, first of John the Baptist, and then of Jesus. He followed Jesus when he heard the Baptist say, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (1:36). John is the inspired author of the fourth Gospel. This is explicitly recognized by tradition and witnessed to by, among others, Papias, Irenaeus, the Muratorian fragment, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Origen. It is also borne out by the internal evidence of the text. In writing his Gospel — under the charism of inspiration — John had a clear purpose in mind: “These [signs] have been written,” he says, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, you may have life in his name” (20:31). His Gospel consists essentially of a prologue and two main parts: The prologue (1:1-18). Here John presents the Word — the Logos — as eternal, distinct from the Father, and yet identical with him.  In the first part (chapters 1-13), John presents Jesus as the promised Messiah, whom the people of Israel have so long awaited. The second part of the Gospel covers, in three acts, the most intimate and significant events of our Lord’s life — the Last Supper, his Passion, his Death, and his Resurrection.

Additional resources: 1) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1993/9309ntg.asp

2) http://www.usccb.org/bible/scripture.cfm?bk=John&ch

 

113) How would you introduce the Acts of the Apostles? The earliest tradition of the Church and internal analysis of the text concur in attributing this inspired book of the New Testament to Luke, the human author of the third Gospel. This tradition is to be found in Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, the Muratorian fragment, Jerome and Eusebius of Caesarea, among others.  As regards the date and place of composition of the book, the following information can be deduced: the Acts finish with Paul’s imprisonment in Rome (A.D. 61-63). Since Luke wrote his Gospel first, perhaps towards the end of 62, Acts must have been written between 62 and 64.  It is a continuation of Luke’s gospel, describing how the salvation promised to Israel in the Old Testament and accomplished by Jesus has now, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, been extended to the Gentiles. This was accomplished through the divinely chosen representatives (Acts 10:41) whom Jesus prepared during his historical ministry (Acts 1:2122) and commissioned after his resurrection as witnesses to all that he taught (Acts 1:8; 10:3743; Lk 24:48).  Acts also tells us a great deal about the lifestyle of the first Christian community. As Luke describes it early on in the book, “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (2:42).

Additional resources: 1) http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1994/9405ntg.asp

2) http://www.usccb.org/bible/scripture.cfm?bk=Acts&ch=)

 

114) How would you introduce Paul’s epistle to the Romans? Written by Paul from Corinth around the year 58, this is the most didactic of all his letters and the most doctrinally profound. It is also very beautifully written, from a stylistic point of view. It contains a summary (naturally, an incomplete one) of Christian teaching, starting with the Old Covenant, and an outline of God’s plans for man’s salvation after the fall of our first parents. The letter is explicitly addressed to the Christians at Rome, whom Paul plans to visit on his way to Spain (15:25). Paul writes to introduce himself and his message to the Christians at Rome, seeking to enlist their support for the proposed mission to Spain. There are two parts to the letter–a dogmatic part, centering on the question of justification (1:18-11:34), and a moral part, which spells out the duties and obligations of Christians (12-15). This epistle of Paul (see Rom 16:25) finds its center in salvation and justification through faith in Christ (Rom 1:1617). Paul regards Christianity as the prophetic development and fulfillment of the faith of the Old Testament, declaring that the preparatory Mosaic covenant must now give way to the new and more perfect covenant in Jesus Christ.  Paul was a strong advocate of freedom of Gentiles from the laws of the Mosaic covenant and, especially in Galatia, had refused to allow attempts to impose them on Gentile converts to the gospel. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is also a powerful exposition of the doctrine of the supremacy of Christ and of faith in Christ as the source of salvation.

Resources: 1) http://www.usccb.org/bible/scripture.cfm?bk=Romans&ch=

  • This Rock article by Dr. Antonio Fuentes

 

115) How would you introduce Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians? Paul’s authorship of 1 Corinthians, apart from a few verses that some regard as later interpolations from other letters of Paul, has never been seriously questioned. In Paul’s time, Corinth was the capital of the province of Achaia and the seat of the Roman proconsul. But as a seaport city of commerce it  was also a loose-living city, rendering religious cult to the goddess Venus, a serious threat for those – Jews or Christians – who worshipped the true God. Paul established a Christian community at Corinth during his second missionary journey (50-52). He preached the gospel there for a year and a half, aided by Silas and Timothy. The Corinthian Church flourished even when Paul left by the zealous preaching of Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). But almost two years later, some Christian Jews from Palestine arrived in the city trying to introduce Jewish customs. Three influential Corinthians brought Paul a letter in which they and others asked for guidance on matters they found problematic. Paul wrote his first letter, shortly before Easter 57, answering questions raised about divisions and disorders created by the false prophets,  and clarifying doctrinal questions about  marriage and virginity, offerings to Idols, problems in liturgical assemblies, women’s headdresses, the Lord’s Supper, spiritual gifts, the resurrection of Christ and that of the Christians.

Resources: 1) http://www.usccb.org/bible/scripture.cfm?bk=1%20Corinthians&ch=

2) This Rock magazine article by Navarre Bible editor Antonio Fuentes

3) http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/goodspeed/ch04.html

 

116) How would you introduce Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians? Second Corinthians was occasioned by events and problems that developed after Paul’s first letter reached Corinth. It is the most personal of all of Paul’s extant writings, and it reveals much about his character. The letter, or at least some sections of it, appears to have been composed in Macedonia (2 Cor 2:12-13; 7:5-6; 8:1-4; 9:2-4). It is generally dated about the autumn of A.D. 57; if it is a compilation, of course, the various parts may have been separated by intervals of at least some months. In this letter Paul deals with one or more crises that have arisen in the Corinthian church. The confrontation with these problems caused him to reflect deeply on his relationship with the community and to speak about it frankly. The letter deals principally with these three topics: (1) a crisis between Paul and the Corinthians, occasioned at least partially by changes in his travel plans (2 Cor 1:122:13), and the successful resolution of that crisis (2 Cor 7:5-16); (2) further directives and encouragement in regard to the collection for the church in Jerusalem (2 Cor 8:19:15); (3) the definition and defense of Paul’s ministry as an apostle. Paul’s discussion of the collection in chapters 8-9 contains a theology of sharing of possessions, of community of goods among Christian churches, which is both balanced and sensitive. Furthermore, the closing chapters provide an illustration of early Christian invective and polemic, because the conflict with intruders forces Paul to assert his authority.

Resources: 1) http://old.usccb.org/nab/bible/2corinthians/intro.htm

2) http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Paul-Corinth.htm

3) http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04364a.htm

4) http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getchap.cfm?WorkNum=243&ChapNum=7

 

117) What is Stewardship Awareness Sunday? Stewardship Awareness Sunday is observed to help parishioners realize that we are all called by the teachings of the Gospel to be stewards.  Stewardship should be a total way of life. Stewardship calls us to put God first in our lives, recognize the many blessings we have received, thank God daily, learn to get our priorities in order, and to recognize the difference between what we really need and what we want. Both the Old and New Testament are rich with stewardship messages. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the LORD of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?” (Malachi 3:10) Confer also Genesis 14:18-20; Genesis 28:22 and 1 Peter 4:10-11: As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.“ More than half of Our Lord’s parables have a stewardship theme. If we are going to teach the Gospel, we must teach stewardship.  Our Catholic parishes, schools, ministries and organizations exist primarily because of the good stewardship and generosity of our Catholic people. A return to stewardship often increases the number of parishioners who are involved in parish activities and ministries, usually increasing the number of parish ministries. A return to stewardship often increases the financial gifts that parishioners pledge to the parish. Parishes that teach and encourage stewardship are typically stronger parishes. When you recognize and encourage gifts of time and talent, you help parishioners improve their faith life and they tend to become more active in the parish. When you recognize and encourage gifts of treasure, parishioners become more generous. Research across the country repeatedly shows that parishioners are most receptive to the stewardship message in the Fall because it is a time when parishioners are most inclined to be in their own parishes and hear more gospel messages on stewardship.

 

118) What is rosary devotion? October is the month of the rosary as we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on the 7th of October. Rosary means a crown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother.  It is called the “Breviary of the common people” and the “Psalms of the Illiterate.” The prayers we repeat are Biblical and hence “inspired,” and the mysteries we meditate upon are taken from the lives of Jesus and Mary.  The prayer “Our Father” was taught by Jesus himself. The “Hail Mary” is also rooted in the Scriptures. The third prayer — the “Glory be to the Father” — ancient in its wording, surely reflects the unceasing prayer of adoration and praise found in the Book of Revelation. Rosary probably began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Divine Office .St. Dominic  preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the Faith there. One of Dominic’s future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the rosary. The form of the rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the saints and popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. We pry rosary to grow in holiness and in one’s prayer life. “There is no surer means of calling down God’s blessings upon the family . . . than the daily recitation of the Rosary” (Pope Pius XII). Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary . . . can be an excellent preparation for the celebration of those same mysteries in the liturgical actions [i.e. the Mass) Pope Paul VI.

119) Why do we observe World Mission Sunday in October? This annual observance was instituted 87 years ago in 1926 by a Papal decree issued by Pope Pius XI. On World Mission Sunday, Catholics gather to celebrate the Eucharist and to contribute to a collection for the work of evangelization around the world. It reminds us that we are one with the Church around the world and that we are all committed to carrying on the mission given by Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..” (Mt 28:19).  Pope Francis, in his first World Mission Sunday message, challenges us to proclaim courageously and in every situation the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation, communion, and proclamation of God’s closeness, his mercy, his salvation. How should we evangelize the world? By exemplary and transparent Christian life, by prayer and by financial support. The most powerful means of preaching Christ is by living a truly   Christian life — a life filled with love, mercy, kindness, compassion and a spirit of forgiveness and service. Prayer is the second means of missionary work.  Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing.”  Therefore, prayer is necessary for anyone who wishes to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. All missionary efforts also require financial support because the love of God can often be explained to the poor only by providing them with food, medicine and means of livelihood. Hence, on this mission Sunday, let us learn to appreciate our missionary obligation and support the Church’s missionary activities by leading transparent Christian lives, by fervent prayers, and by generous donations.

120) Why do Catholics observe “All Souls Day” and pray for their dead relatives?

All Souls’ Day is a day specially set apart that we may remember and pray for our dear ones who have gone to their eternal reward, and who are currently in a state of ongoing purification. People of all religions have believed in the immortality of the soul, and have prayed for the dead. Prayer for the souls of the departed is retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that the loved one may be             purified. Jesus and the apostles shared this belief and passed it on to the early Church. Remember us who have gone before you, in your prayers,” is a petition often found inscribed on the walls of the Roman catacombs. The liturgies of the Mass in various rites dating from the early centuries of the Church include “Prayers for the Dead.” The synods of Nycea, Florence and Trent encouraged the offering of prayers for the dead, citing scriptural evidences to prove that there is a place or state of purification for those who die with venial sins on their souls. According to Revelation: 21:27: “nothing unclean shall enter heaven.” Since it would be contrary to the mercy of God to punish such souls with venial sins in hell, they are seen as entering a place or state of purification, called Purgatory, which combines God’s justice with His mercy. II Maccabees, 12:46 is the main biblical text incorporating the Jewish belief in the necessity of prayer and sacrifice for the dead. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1032) recommends prayer for the dead in conjunction with the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It also encourages “almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.”

Additional resources:

The best=http://www.prayforsouls.org/library/articles/article.php?NID=3723

 

121) Why do Catholics honor saints and seek their intercession?

We celebrate ALL SANTS DAY to honor the memory of countless unknown and uncanonized saints who have no feast day. This feast is observed to teach us to honor the saints, both by imitating their lives and by seeking their intercession for us before Christ, the only mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5). We honor saints because 1- The saints put their trust in Christ and lived heroic lives of faith. St. Paul asks us to serve and honor such noble souls. In his epistles to the Corinthians, to Philippians and to Timothy, he advises Christians to welcome, serve and honor those who have put their trust in Jesus. 2- The saints are our role models. They teach us by their lives that Christ’s holy life of love, mercy, and unconditional forgiveness can be lived by ordinary people, of all walks of life and at all             times. 3- The saints are our heavenly mediators who intercede for us before Jesus, the only mediator between God and us. (James 5:16-18, Exodus 32:13, Jer. 15:1, Revel. 8:3-4,). 4- The saints are the instruments that God uses to work miracles at present, just as He used the rod of Moses (Exodus), the bones of the dead (II Kings 13:21), the towel of Paul (Acts 19:12) and the shadow of Peter (Acts 5:15) to work miracles. Let us accept the challenge to become saints. Jesus’ invitation is “Be you holy as my heavenly father is Holy.” St. Augustine asked: “If she and he can become saints, why can’t I?” (Si iste et ista, cur non ego?).

Resources: 1) http://www.catholic.com/tracts/saint-worship

2) http://www.ewtn.com/library/answers/relics.htm

 

122) What is the Catholic doctrine on heaven?  In three Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of Heaven, Hell or Purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. “Incorporeal things are not in place after a manner known and familiar to us, in which way we say that bodies are properly in place; but they are in place after a manner befitting spiritual substances, a manner that cannot be fully manifest to us.” [St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Supplement, Q69, a1, reply 1]. Heaven “is neither an abstraction not a physical place in the clouds, but a living, personal relationship with the Holy Trinity. It is our meeting with the Father which takes place in the risen Christ through the communion of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope said. When the form of this world has passed away, those who have welcomed God into their lives and have sincerely opened themselves to his love, at least at the moment of death, will enjoy that fullness of communion with God which is the goal of human life. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “this perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed is called ‘heaven.’ Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC #1024). “Heaven is the state of everlasting life in which we see God face to face, are made like unto Him in glory, and enjoy eternal happiness” (Baltimore Catechism).

Resources: 1) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/SFS/an1203.asp

2) http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2012/09/deacon-bickerstaff-four-last-things-heaven-and-hell/

 

123) How would you introduce Paul’s letter to the Galatians? The Celtic tribes of Galatians lived around Ankora of modern  Turkey. The communities in question were in the southern part of Galatia – Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Derbe, and Lystra. Paul had passed through this area on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:6), and again on his third (Acts 18:23). The letter was probably written around A.D. 54 or 55. In this letter Paul corrects the false doctrines introduced by some Judaizers who taught the Galatian Christians of gentile origin to observe some Mosaic laws like circucission. Paul clarifies his apostolic authority to teach. In his vigorous emphasis on the absolute preeminence of Christ and his cross as God’s way to salvation and holiness, Paul stresses Christian freedom and the ineffectiveness of the Mosaic Law for gaining Divine favor and blessings (Gal 3:19-29).  His enthusiasm for this new vision of the life of grace in Christ and of the uniquely salvific role of Christ’s redemptive death on the cross shines through this whole letter. The principal divisions of the Letter to the Galatians are the following: Address (Gal 1:1-5). 1.Loyalty to the Gospel (Gal 1:6-10). 2. Paul’s Defense of His Gospel and His Authority (Gal 1:112:21). 3. Faith and Liberty (Gal 3:14:31). 4. Exhortation to Christian Living (Gal 5:16:10). 5. Conclusion (Gal 6:11-18).

Additional resources: 1) http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Paul-Galatians.htm

(Clear, exhaustive and simplified study with bibliography by Rev. Dr.  Felix Justus S. J.).

2) http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/ (Electronic New Testament Educational Resources by Fr. Felix Justus S. J.)

124) Why do we observe Thanksgiving Day? We observe the Thanksgiving Day as a day of national thanksgiving 1) for the blessings and protection God has given us; 2) for the democratic government and the prosperity we enjoy; 3) for our freedom of speech and religion; 4) for the generosity and good will of our people. President Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, established Thanksgiving Day as a formal holiday to express our thanks to God. Luke 17: 11-19 describes how one of the ten lepers Jesus healed, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus to express his gratitude while the nine Jewish lepers did not care to thank the healer. 2 Kings 5: 1-9, Naaman the leper, the chief of the army of the Syrian king, returned to the prophet Elisha to express his thanks for healing. Let us be thankful and let us learn to express our thanks daily. 1) To God for His innumerable blessings, providential care and protection and for the unconditional pardon given to us for our daily sins and failures. 2) To our parents – living and dead – for the gift of life and Christian training and the good examples they have given us. 3) To our relatives and friends for their loving support and timely help and encouragement. 4) To our pastors, teachers, doctors, soldiers, police and government officers for the sincere, vital services they render us.

125) What is Advent and why do we observe it? The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin words, ad-venio or adventus, which both signify a coming. We believe in three advents of Jesus. The first coming as a baby in Bethlehem, the daily coming through the Holy Bible, sacraments and in praying community and third coming (known also as Second Coming) in glory to judge the world. We prepare for the celebration of birth of Jesus (Christmas) joyfully by renewing their lives during the four weeks of the Advent season so that Jesus may be reborn in their lives. We do so by repenting of our sin and renouncing our wrong choices. We empty ourselves of the clutter of daily idolatry and renounce the self love that can so easily squeeze God’s grace out of our lives. The Advent wreaths in the church with three purple candles and one rose candle and purple vestments of the priest during the Holy Mass invite us for the renewal of lives.  Jesus, reborn in the Christians during Christmas,   will radiate his love, mercy, compassion and spirit of forgiveness and service to the world through his Christian followers. Thus Advent prepares us, the Christians, for better witnessing of Christ through our lives during the Christmas season.

126) What is an Advent Wreath and its meaning? The Advent wreath is a popular Advent custom that originated among German Lutherans but was soon adopted by Catholics.  It consists of four candles (three purple and one pink), surrounded by evergreen branches, such as Yews, Mountain laurels or Holly.  Sometimes, a fifth white candle is fixed in the center representing child Jesus. The light of the candles signifies the light of Christ, Who came into the world at Christmas.  The Advent wreath corresponds to the four Sundays of Advent. The purple candles represent the penitential nature of the season, while the pink candle calls to mind the “Entrance Antiphon” “Rejoice in the Lord, always” of Gaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent). The priest blesses the Advent Wreath before lighting the first candle on the first Sunday of the Advent. Two purple candle are lit on the second Sunday and a rose candle also is lit on the 3rd Sunday and all four candles on the 4th Sunday and the white candle along with others on Christmas. Special prayer is given in the Book of Blessing is said by the priest while the members of an invited family light the candles. In many parishes, the youngest child lights the candle in the first week. The oldest child lights the candles in the second week. The mother lights the candles in the third week. The father lights the candles in the fourth week.

127) What are the names of Jesus in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek & Latin? Names are very, very important. When you call someone out by their name, it’s kind of a big deal. Calling someone by their name indicates that you know them—that you know who they are.  The proper name Jesus used in the English language originates from the Latin form Iesus of the Greek name Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς) which was later abbreviated to IHS.  The original Hebrew name was Yehoshua or  Yeshua (ישוע) meaning “God is salvation” or “God rescues,” with variants Joshua or Jeshua. During the post-Biblical period the further shortened form Yeshu was adopted by Aramaic and Hebrew speaking Jews to refer to the Christian Jesus.  However Yehoshua continued to be used for the other people called Jesus. The people of the South Palestine called Jesus Yiso (Yeeso)   and those Jews in the North Palestine called him Yeshu during his life time. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his [Jesus’] name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12, NIV). “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” (1 John 3:23, NIV). In the Catholic Church all the sacraments are administered in Jesus’ name and most prayers begin and conclude in Jesus’ name showing us the importance attached to the name Jesus. Mark 16:17, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.”

128) What is the Church year or the liturgical year?  In the Latin rite, it consists of six liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time after Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time after Pentecost. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew, which is November 30th.The liturgical colors of Advent are Purple and Rose, with Rose being used only on the third Sunday (Laetare Sunday). The Christmas season begins with the celebration of the birth of Jesus on the vigil of Christmas Eve. The Ordinary Time begins after the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The Ordinary Time after the Baptism focuses on the early life and childhood of Christ, and then on His public ministry. The liturgical color of Ordinary Time is green although blue is typically worn for Marian feast days, red on the feast days of martyrs and white on the feast days of other saints. The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts until Holy Saturday. Lent is a penitential season. The liturgical colors of Lent are violet or purple except on the third week (Laetare Sunday) when rose color is used. The joyous and celebratory Easter season begins with the Easter Vigil and ends by celebrating the Pentecost or the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus. The second Ordinary Time begins the day after Pentecost and extends through the final day before Advent. This is the longest liturgical season. The liturgical color of Ordinary Time is green, although other appropriate colors are worn on particular feast days. The final Sunday in Ordinary Time (34th Sunday) is the Feast of Christ the King.

Sources & Resources: 1)http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/preview.aspx?id=245

2) http://www.aquinasandmore.com/catholic-articles/the-catholic-liturgical-year/

3) http://www.wf-f.org/LiturgicalCalendar-info.html

129) Why cruelty to animals is sinful? Bible teaches that only the human person has an immortal soul. Animals don’t have it.  God entrusted the care and use of all creation to mankind: “God blessed them, saying: ‘Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth’” (Genesis1:28). So each person is morally obligated to respect the natural environment and use these gifts wisely in accord with their design and purpose. Following the principle of stewardship, animals can be used for labor, transportation, food, clothing or other needs. So there is nothing intrinsically wrong in wearing a fur coat just as there is nothing intrinsically wrong with eating meat. However, human beings must not cause animals to suffer and to die needlessly even when they are used for medical experiments. The mistreatment of animals is an affront to our human dignity and thereby sinful. (Cf. CCC, No. 2418). Proverb 12:10, “A righteous man regards the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” The Bible teaches respect for animals and life. In the Law of Moses, God forbade anyone from harming birds (Deuteronomy 22:6-7). Since all animals belong to God, and God has put their care and management into the hands of man, we can deduce that it is wrong to mistreat something that belongs to God. Read: http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/williamsaunders/straightanswers/111.asp

130) Why do we observe the blessing of throats on the feast of St. Blasé? We have only a few legends and no historical documents about St. Blaise and his martyrdom. But some Eastern Churches observe his feast day as a day of obligation. The British, German and Slavic people honor his memory. The U.S. Catholics seek his intercession for the healing of throat diseases by the ritual of blessing of the throats where two candles are placed cross-wise on the necks of people and the priest says the prayer: “Through the intercession of St. Blasé, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” According to the Acts of St. Blaise written in the eighth century, Bishop Blaise was martyred in his Episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, in 316 A.D. When the governor of Cappadocia (in Modern Turkey) began to persecute the Christians, St. Blaise was arrested. The governor of Cappadocia tried in vain to persuade bishop Blaise to sacrifice to pagan idols and finally ordered him to be beheaded. As he was led to the place of execution a poor mother rushed up to him, begging him to save her child who was choking to death on a fishbone. The bishop gave him a blessing which enabled the child to cough up the bone. Later bishop Blaise was cruelly tortured and beheaded.

131) What is the source of the Church’s authority? Christ himself is the source of the Church’s authority. Christ founded the Church, created its structure, placed Peter at the head, gave it his own authority, identified it with himself, promised to be with it forever, and sent his Spirit (the Holy Spirit) to guide it. The source and guarantee of this Church authority is Christ’s continuing presence in his Church — “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). The purpose of this authority is to give the Church the ability to teach without error about the essentials of salvation: “On this rock, I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). Jesus tells the Apostles that the authority he is giving them derives from his own, divine authority. (“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.: Mt 28:18-20). The Apostles’ authority and mission comes directly from Christ himself. The nature of this mission is to lead or govern (“make disciples“), sanctify (“baptizing them“), and teach (“teaching them to observe”). Christ promises to remain present with them always in support of this mission (“I am with you always”(Mt 28:20). To ensure the success of this mission, Christ gave his Church the ability to teach, govern and sanctify with Christ’s own authority. The Apostles appointed successors to ensure that the Gospel would continue to be handed on faithfully as “the lasting source of all life for the Church” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium” 20; also Catechism #860). Resources: 1) http://www.beginningcatholic.com/church-authority.html 2) http://anglicanhistory.org/essays/wright/bishoy1990.pdf

132) What is the basis of Christian doctrines and beliefs?  The Protestants claim Bible alone as the basis while the Catholic Church claims Bible, Sacred tradition and the Magisterium or the Christ-instituted centralized teaching authority in the Church as basis. Sacred Tradition is the living and growing truth of Christ contained, not only in Scripture, but in the common teaching, common life, and common worship of the Church. The apostles received a lot of  unwritten teachings and traditions from Christ himself (John 20:30; 21:35) and they handed them down to their successors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and so have come down to us.  Tradition is expressed in (and grows from) the Church’s creeds, the records of the Church’s liturgy, the writings of the great Fathers of the Church, the decrees of popes and councils, the prayer and faith of the people. Paul, in his writings (1 Corinthians 11:23, for example), states very forcefully that he is “handing on” what was “handed on” to him. The apostolic Church accepted Tradition as a norm for faith and practice (2 Thessalonians 2:15, 1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Tim. 1:13-14) and that the Bible explicitly says not everything Jesus did and taught was written down (John 20:30; 21:25). St. Paul praises both oral and written Christian traditions: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.”(2 Thessalonians 1:14).

133) Are we saved by faith alone as the Protestants teach? First, the Catholic Church, does not teach that we can “work” our way into Heaven.  It teaches that we are saved when in faith and hope; we cooperate with God’s grace, by acts of love, expressed as kindness, mercy, forgiveness and service. Second, Bible does not teach that we are saved by “faith alone.” The only place in all of Scripture where the phrase “Faith Alone” appears is in James (James 2:24), where it says that we are not…justified (or saved) by faith alone. So the Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith alone not only doesn’t appear in the Bible, but the Bible actually says the exact opposite – that we are not saved by faith alone. Third, if works have nothing to do with our salvation, then how come every passage in the N.T. that we know of, says that we will be judged by our works, not by whether or not we have faith alone. See for example,  Mt 25: 31-46,  chapters 15, 16,  Rom 2, 1 Ptr 1, Rev 20 and 22, 2 Cor 5, and many, many more verses. Fourth, if we are saved by faith alone, why does 1 Cor 13:13 say that love is greater than faith? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Hence as Catholics, we believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone. We also believe that we have to respond to God’s grace to receive the free gift of salvation. This response to God’s grace in faith and hope must be expressed by acts of charity. I In other words,  the  Catholics believe that a response of faith and works is necessary for salvation as the Bible puts it in Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumsion is of any avail, but faith working through love…faith working through love.”

134) What’s the difference between a Bible and a Lectionary? A Lectionary is composed of the readings and the responsorial psalm assigned for each Mass of the year (Sundays, weekdays, and special occasions). The readings are divided by the day or the theme (baptism, marriage, vocations, etc.) rather than according to the books of the Bible. Introductions and conclusions have been added to each reading. Not all of the Bible is included in the Lectionary. Individual readings in the Lectionary are called pericopes, from a Greek word meaning a “section” or “cutting.” Because the Mass readings are only portions of a book or chapter, introductory phrases, called incipits, are often added to begin the Lectionary reading, for example, “In those days,” “Jesus said to his disciples,” etc. (Source: USCCB) .

135) How is the Lectionary arranged? A Lectionary is composed of the readings and the responsorial psalm assigned for each Mass of the year (Sundays, weekdays, and special occasions). The Lectionary is arranged in two cycles, one for Sundays and one for weekdays. The Sunday cycle is divided into three years, labeled A, B, and C. 2014 is Year A,  2015  will be  Year B, 2016 will be  Year C, etc. In Year A, we read mostly from the Gospel of Matthew. In Year B, we read the Gospel of Mark and chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. In Year C, we read the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of John is read during the Easter season in all three years. The first reading, usually from the Old Testament, reflects important themes from the Gospel reading. The second reading is usually from one of the epistles, a letter written to an early church community. These letters are read semi-continuously. Each Sunday, we pick up close to where we left off the Sunday before, though some passages are never read. The weekday cycle is divided into two years, Year I and Year II. Year I is read in odd-numbered years (2013, 2015, etc.) and Year II is used in even-numbered years (2014, 2016, etc.) The Gospels for both years are the same. The year of the cycle does not change on January 1st, but on the 1st Sunday of Advent (usually late November) which is the beginning of the liturgical year. The liturgical year 2009 began on November 30, 2008, and ends on November 28, 2009. In addition to the Sunday and weekday cycles, the Lectionary provides readings for feasts of the saints, for common celebrations such as Marian feasts, for ritual Masses (weddings, funerals, etc.), for votive Masses, and for various needs. These readings have been selected to reflect the themes of these celebrations. (Source: USCCB)

136) Why does the church cover the crucifixes and statues during Lent? Before Vespers of Saturday preceding Passion Sunday [i.e. the 5th Sunday of Lent] the crosses, statues, and pictures of our Lord and of the saints on the altar and throughout the church, with the sole exception of the crosses and pictures of the Way of the Cross, used to be covered with a violet or purple veil, not translucent, nor in any way ornamented. However, it is noted that the statue of St. Joseph remained uncovered, if outside the sanctuary, during the month of March, which is dedicated to his honor. The crosses remained covered until after the solemn denudation of the principal crucifix on Good Friday. It probably derives from a custom, noted in Germany from the ninth century, of extending a large cloth (“Hungertuch”) before the altar from the beginning of Lent in order to remind the people that it was Lenten season. The statues and pictures retained their covering, no matter what feast may occur, until the Gloria in Excelsis of Holy Saturday. Crosses are unveiled after the Good Friday ceremonies. All other images are unveiled shortly before the Mass of the Easter Vigil. Of course, this practice is no longer mandatory in the Novus Ordo, but it is certainly permitted. After the Second Vatican Council there were moves to abolish all veiling of images, but the practice survived, although in a mitigated form. The practice is now observed only if the Episcopal conference should so decide. Still in many churches in Europe, crosses and statues are veiled now and will remain veiled for two full weeks. The practice was intended to remind us that we have entered the solemn Holy Week, and our attention should be concentrated only on the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. In other words, helps us to concentrate on the great essentials of Christ’s work of Redemption.

Resources: 1)http://www.ewtn.com/library/Liturgy/zlitur72.htm

2) http://www.catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/FuseAction/LawText/Index/6/SubIndex/98/LawIndex/33

 

137) Why should we pray for vocations? This year marks the 51st Anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations which we celebrate on the IV Easter Sunday. The purpose of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publically fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). As a climax to a prayer that is continually offered throughout the Church, it affirms the primacy of faith and grace in all that concerns vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life.  While appreciating all vocations, the Church concentrates its attention this day on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), to the Religious life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life. Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for vocations, “so that God may send priests and nuns whose hearts are for Him only; free from the idolatry of vanity, of power and of wealth.” So we have to pray for our young men and women that God may give them the gift of understanding to discern their service in the Church, the priesthood, diaconate, or consecrated life and for the gift of courage to follow His call. We need also to pray they may know the personal love of the Lord for them, and respond with open and generous hearts.

 

138) Is there “no salvation outside the Church? Extra ecclesiam nulla salus is the most misunderstood Catholic doctrine. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it to mean that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body” (CCC 846). The first part of the reformulated teaching—”all salvation comes from Christ the Head”—is quite easy for all Christians, even non-Catholics, to understand and embrace. It echoes Jesus’ own words recorded by John: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (Jn 14:6). But Jesus associated salvation with baptism, confession, and the Eucharist, respectively. He who believes and is baptized will be saved. (Mk 16:16). Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Lk 13:3). He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (Jn 6:54). Since these sacraments are administered through the Church, the role of the Catholic Church in conjunction with salvation is becomes quite clear. It follows that since Jesus established the Catholic Church as necessary for salvation, those who knowingly and willingly reject him or his Church cannot be saved. (Mt 12:30; Mt 18:17; Tim 3:10-11). But this does not mean that non Catholics or non Christians are not going to be saved because the Church recognizes that God does not condemn non Catholics or even non Christians who are innocently ignorant of the truth about His offer of salvation (CCC 847& (CCC 846) because God’s grace works in a way known only to God, in all men of good will, who honestly worships God. (“Gaudium et Spes).

1) http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/what-no-salvation-outside-the-church-means

2) https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/outside_the_church.htm

139) Is suicide always sinful? The glossary contained in the U.S. version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines suicide as, “The willful taking of one’s own life; a grievous sin against the fifth commandment because human person is neither the author nor the supreme arbiter of his life, of which God is sovereign master.” Besides, “Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.” Each of us has been made in God’s image and likeness (Gn 1:27) with both a body and a soul. Therefore, life is sacred from the moment of conception and natural death, and no one can justify the intentional taking of an innocent life. However, the catechism points out that, “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.” (CCC 2282). “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.” (CCC). Let us ask God to help us to be sensitive to the needs of others—especially someone who may be facing discouragement or depression or more serious forms of mental illness. For detailed articles, visit: 1) http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/SUICIDE.HTM 2) http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14326b.htm

140) What is the meaning of Pentecost for the Jews and Christians? It was a harvest festival, signifying the end of the grain harvest. Deuteronomy 16 states: You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the feast of weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God [Dt. 16:9-11a].In the Old Testament, it is referred to by several names: The feast of weeks, or the feast of harvest or  the day of first-fruits. Today in Jewish circles it is known as Shavu`ot (Hebrew, “weeks”). As one of the most important solemnities on the Church’s calendar, it has a rich depth of meaning for Christians. Here  is how Pope Benedict summarized it in 2012: This Solemnity makes us remember and relive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the other disciples gathered in prayer with the Virgin Mary in the Upper Room (cf. Acts 2:1-11). Jesus, risen and ascended into Heaven, sent his Spirit to the Church so that every Christian might participate in his own divine life and become his valid witness in the world. The Holy Spirit, breaking into history, defeats aridity, opens hearts to hope, stimulates and fosters in us an interior maturity in our relationship with God and with our neighbor.

141) “What is Trinity Sunday?” Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost to honor the Holy Trinity—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although the word “Trinity” does not appear in Scripture, it is taught in Mt 28: 18-20, Lk 1: 26-38, Mt 3: 16-17, John chapter 15  and II Cor 13: 14. The concept of the trinity can never be completely understood or rationalized, but it is clearly taught in Scripture. Understanding of all scriptural doctrine is by faith which comes through the work of the Holy Spirit; therefore, it is appropriate that this mystery is celebrated the first Sunday after Pentecost, when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit first occurred. On Trinity Sunday, the Christian Church ponders with joy and thanksgiving what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have done to accomplish the salvation of sinful humanity. It is brought to remembrance how Christians should respond to the love God has shown us, praising Him and giving Him glory. We remember the Father as our Creator, the Son as our Savior and the Holy Spirit as our Comforter. Today, Trinity Sunday is to explain, to the best of man’s ability, the clues written in Scripture to guide us to a fuller understanding of our triune God. The Father is God from the beginning  (Jn 1: 1). Jesus revealed Himself as equal to the Father in Jn 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” Together, they sent the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26) “For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (I Jn 5: 7-11).

142) What is the biblical basis of St. Paul’s authority as an Apostle? Paul did not become an apostle in the same manner as did the rest of the apostles. Acts 9, however, tells of his dramatic conversion after seeing Jesus while on the road to Damascus. In Acts 9:15, the Lord said to Ananias regarding Saul, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites.” Acts 22:14-15 records that the Lord, speaking through Ananias said to Paul, the God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of his voice; for you will be his witness.”* before all to what you have seen and heard” In Romans 1:1, Paul said he was “called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” After obeying the command to “be baptized, washing away your sins” (Acts 22:16), “immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God“” (Acts 9:20). II Corinthians 10-13 records Paul’s determined defense of his apostleship and authority. Probably the greatest proof of Paul’s apostleship and authority is found in 2 Peter 3:15-16. There Peter refers to Paul as “our beloved brother.” He states that Paul wrote “according to the wisdom given him.” Finally, Peter refers to (apparently) a collection of Paul’s letters and calls them “Scripture,” a term applied in the early Church referring to the Jewish Scriptures.

143) Why should all Catholics participate in the Sunday Mass? The Catholics gathers in the church as a parish community for the Sunday Eucharistic celebration, or Holy Mass, in order 1) to praise and worship God, 2) to ask His pardon and forgiveness for our sins, 3) to thank Him for all the blessings received, 4) to listen to His words in Scripture and homily. 5)  to present our needs and petitions before God on the altar at the intercessory prayers, 6) to surrender and offer our lives to God during offertory, accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and 7) to recharge our spiritual batteries, gain spiritual nourishment and deepen our personal relationship with Jesus by sacramentally sharing his resurrected Body and Blood in Holy Communion. The structure of the Eucharistic celebration is organized to achieve all these seven goals.

 

144) Why do we Catholics no longer keep the first commandment? Why does the Old Testament forbid images of God, and why do we Christians no longer keep that commandment? In order to protect the mystery of God and to set the people of Israel apart from the idolatrous practices of the pagans, the First Commandment said, “You shall not make for yourself a graven image” (Ex 20:4). However, since God himself acquired a human face in Jesus Christ, the prohibition against images was repealed in Christianity; in the Eastern Church, icons are even regarded as sacred. The knowledge of the patriarchs of Israel that God surpasses everything (transcendence) and is much greater than anything in the world lives on today in Judaism as in Islam, where no image of God is or ever was allowed. In Christianity, in light of Christ’s life on earth, the prohibition against images was mitigated from the fourth century on and was abolished at the Second Council of Nicaea (787). By his Incarnation, God is no longer absolutely unimaginable; after Jesus we can picture what he is like: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). (YOUCAT questions 357-358).

145) Is God’s name Yahweh or Jehovah in the Hebrew Scriptures? In Hebrew the name of God is spelled YHWH. Since ancient Hebrew had no written vowels, it is uncertain how the name was pronounced originally, but there are records of the name in Greek, which did have written vowels. These records indicate that in all likelihood the name should be pronounced “Yahweh.” Shortly before the first century A.D., the Jews substituted another Hebrew word, “Adonai” (which means “Lord” or “my Lord”), in the place of “Yahweh” because of the fear of misusing it and breaking the second commandment (“You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain,” Dt 5:11). About the 13th century the term “Jehovah” appeared when Christian scholars took the consonants of “Yahweh” and pronounced it with the vowels of “Adonai.” This resulted in the sound “Yahowah,” which has a Latinized spelling of “Jehovah.” The first recorded use of this spelling was made by a Spanish Dominican monk, Raymundus Martini, in 1270. Interestingly, this fact is admitted in much Jehovah’s Witness literature, such as their Aid to Bible Understanding (p. 885). (http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/is-gods-name-yahweh-or-jehovah)

 

146) Why the Catholic Church opposes “same sex marriage.” The Catholic Church takes a very high view of marriage and human sexuality and teaches, based on the Bible that it should be between a man and a woman.  As the account of Genesis shows, marriage and sexuality were created by God and given to mankind as gifts for our benefit. Scripture records God’s statement that “a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The Catholic Church understands marriage between a baptized man and woman to be a sacrament and a covenant with God. The Bible repeatedly compares the relationship between man and wife to that between God and Israel (cf. Hos. 9:1) or between Christ and his Church (cf. Eph. 5:21-32). The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” The homosexual persons have God-given dignity and basic human rights that must never be denied. But they simply do not have the right to marry — nor do they have the rights to the privileges of marriage. It was in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of diagnostic disorders because of political pressure.  The Catholic Church opposes same sex marriage as something intrinsically evil, and unnatural, affecting the society and civilization as a whole. It has no health benefits of a heterosexual marriage, intended by nature and stipulated by God.

For additional reading, visit:

1) Gay marriage is no marriage:  http://www.newoxfordreview.org/article.jsp?did=0712-miller

2) Catholic bishops on “GM” : http://www.americancatholic.org/News/Homosexuality/

3) Are Catholics homophobic? http://www.catholic.com/documents/gay-marriage

 

147) Catholic teaching on “Millennialism” doctrine of evangelical Christians: The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has never taught the evangelical doctrine of a “Thousand-year reign of Christ” based on based on Rev 20:1-15. The Catholic Church considers the “Rapture” doctrine sponsored by certain fundamentalist preachers as a as an 18th century heretical teaching with no scriptural basis. The Christians never heard of such a doctrine for 17 centuries. The Church does not see the Second Coming of Christ as happening at any time other than at the General Judgment of all men and women, when the resurrection of the dead followed by definitive reward or punishment for souls will take place. The Church interprets the expression “a thousand years” not literally but according to the literature in which it appears–prophetic and apocalyptic. In apocalyptic literature, a thousand years would simply indicate a long period of time, in this case, the time period between Jesus Christ’s Ascension and His Second Coming. Apocalyptic literature is not to be taken literally.

Sources & resources. (See no 55 in Adult Faith Formation lessons)

1) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/SFS/an1104.asp

2) http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1005.asp

3) https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/endtimes.htm

 

148) Why should Christians deny themselves and take up their crosses to become Christ’s disciples?  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34-35.  Suffering is conscious pain. Our suffering may be physical suffering—originating in the body; or emotional—originating in the feelings; or psychological—originating in the mind or social caused by our interaction with other people. The purpose of suffering for a Christian is to expiate sins and to achieve sanctity by becoming Jesus’ disciples.  But we must learn to distinguish between suffering that is intended by God in our lives and the suffering that is not intended in our lives. As sinners, we need to expiate for our daily sins by gracefully accepting suffering until the moment of our death. It is healthy, down-to-earth thinking that we should see all suffering as somehow coming from a loving God. That is difficult, because so much of our suffering is inflicted by others. To develop that clarity of vision, to see the hand of God in whatever we suffer, is not easy. And it is, therefore, indispensable to cultivate a devotion to the Passion of Christ and to appreciate how Jesus redeemed us by voluntarily accepting suffering and shameful death on the cross. For details read:

http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Christian_Spirituality/Christian_Spirituality_011.htm

149) Why and how should Christians correct others without judging them?  Correction is not judgment. The Bible says that we should correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning. It is to be done lovingly, in an act of caring for them in the hope that they will believe and reform their lives. That way we could contribute to the saving of a soul. If we don’t, we could be responsible for suppressing the truth which could mean eternal death instead of eternal life for that person. (James 5:19-20).  Jesus and the Apostles were very bold in rebuking and condemning evil (Matthew 18:15-17, Galatians 6:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:15, 2 Timothy 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:14). They even openly rebuked people in the church for doing evil, in order to strengthen the church. There were examples when even physical force was used to correct them (Nehemiah 13:25). Rebuking a sinner, exposing corruption, correcting someone in love or disciplining ones children is not judging wrongfully. If so, Jesus and the Apostles who were our example to follow would have been in error.  We are the keepers of our brothers and sisters in our families and community.  So if we don’t warn someone in error to turn from evil, we are partly responsible for their wrong doing. (Ezekiel 33:7-12). 

150) What is the enthroning of Christ the King in our families? It is the consecration of all our families and its members to Christ the King, by placing a statue or picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a prominent place in our homes and conducting the daily family prayers in that room. Pope St. Pius X adopted as his maxim: “To restore all things in Christ.” Pope Benedict XV exhorted all Catholic nations to seek peace and reconciliation in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pope Pius XI renewed this act of consecration at the close of the Jubilee Year of 1925, when instituting the Feast of Christ the King, and issued two encyclicals —- One in 1928 and the other in 1932 —- urging the necessity of reparation and love. He commanded that a solemn act of reparation be made to our Redeemer on the feast of the Sacred Heart each year, in all the churches of the world, “to make amends for our sins and to compensate for the violation of the rights of Christ, our Sovereign King and most loving Lord.” The Enthronement is an efficacious means to bring about this renewal of faith and love. When nations, families, religious communities and individual souls dedicate themselves wholly to the Heart of Jesus, devote themselves to Him entirely, then will the declaration of the Heart of Jesus be realized: “I will reign despite Satan and his accomplices.” The spread of the Enthronement in the families of so many countries, and the wonderful fruits it has produced everywhere, is a proof that this work is destined by Divine Providence precisely as a remedy for our times.

151) What is advent? Why do we observe it? The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Christians often speak of Christ’s “first advent” as a baby in the manger and “second advent” (second coming) as a judge in glory. Advent is a period for devout and joyful expectation. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas. Today, the Advent season lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. The Sundays of this season are named the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays of Advent. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. It is observed as a time of penance, prayer and renewal of life preparing ourseleves for the rebirth of Jesus in our lives. The purple or violet color of advent vestments used by priests signifies seriousness, repentance, and royalty. The color rose may be used in joyful expectation, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent).  The Advent wreath is a ring or wheel of of evergreens decorated with four or five candles in the center. The wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ. The four colored candles represent the four Advent weeks and the white central candle represents Jesus the light of the world.

 

152) Was Jesus really born on December 25th? You’ll find strong opinions on both sides of this question, with some saying definitely yes and some saying definitely no. Although the Church today liturgically celebrates the birth of Our Lord on December 25th, whether this is the exact date of his birth is a question that the Teaching authority (Magisterium) has not settled. So we are free to accept the date as true date of birth of Jesus or deny it. The important thing is that Jesus was born as a child in Bethlehem. The Bible does not specify a date or month. One problem with December is that it would be unusual for shepherds to be “abiding in the field” at this cold time of year when fields were unproductive. The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. Also, winter would likely be an especially difficult time for pregnant Mary to travel the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem (70 miles). “A more probable time would be late September, the time of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, when such travel was commonly accepted. Since no one knows the day of his birth, the Roman Catholic Church felt free to chose this date. The Church might wished to replace the pagan festival with a Christian holy day (holiday). Since Rome dominated most of the “Christian” world for centuries, the date became tradition throughout most of Christendom.

153: What is the origin of the word “Christmas”? The word “Christmas” comes from the Old English phrase Christes maesse (“Christ’s Mass”)—that is the Mass celebrated in honor of Christ’s birth. From this original reference to a particular Mass celebrated in the Church’s liturgical year, the term came to apply both to the day on which the Mass was celebrated and to the liturgical season associated with it (i.e., the Christmas season, aka Christmastide). The term Christes maesse began to be written in English as one word in the mid-1300s. In Spanish, “Christmas” is Navidad, in Italian it is Natale, and in French it is Noël. These terms are derived from the Latin root nativitas, from which we also get the word “Nativity” (i.e., birth). it is “okay” to write “Xmas.” It’s just an abbreviation, and there is nothing sinful about abbreviating a word, even one containing the term “Christ.” In fact, the earliest Christians did frequently abbreviate sacred terms. Today, in English, Yule refers to Christmas, and Yuletide refers to Christmas time, although it originally referred to a pagan feast. The first Christians do not appear to have had a word for this day, because the first Christians do not appear to have celebrated this day. It took some time for the practice of celebrating Christmas to emerge. The Church’s year of feasts first developed, not with a view to the birth of Christ, but from faith in his Resurrection. Thus the original feast of Christianity is Easter, not Christmas.

154) Why do we honor Mary as the “Mother of God? We honor Mary primarily because God honored her by choosing her to become the mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, when He took on human flesh and became man as stated in the Bible. The angel said to Mary: “You are going to be the mother of a Son and you will call Him Jesus, and He will be called the Son of the Most High.  After the angel had appeared to her and told her that she was to be the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Elizabeth. At Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth said, “Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me?” [Lk. 1:43]. Hence, the Council of Ephesus affirmed in AD 431 that Mary was truly the Mother of God (Theotokos), and in AD 451, the Council of Chalcedon affirmed the Divine Motherhood of Mary as a dogma, an official doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church. Celebrating the feast of Mary, the Mother of God is a very appropriate way to begin a new year. This celebration reminds us that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is also our Heavenly Mother.  Hence, our ideal motto for the New Year 2015 should be “Through Mary to Jesus!” It was in 1970, that Pope Paul VI instituted the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Let us strive to be pure and holy like our Heavenly Mother and seek our heavenly Mother’s prayers to have a better physical life and spiritual life in the New Year. Let us make the New Year meaningful by having  a) something to dream, b) something to do, and c) Someone to love

155) What is the festival of Hanukkah?  The festival of Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for “dedication,” celebrates the second-century B.C. defeat of Assyrian Greeks who had captured Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple, and the rededication of the Temple with a new altar and purification of the sanctuary (1 Maccabees 4:36-59, 2 Maccabees 10:1-8). Today, however, this holiday is perhaps better known as the Festival of Lights. Light and flame have always served as signs of God’s presence. When Moses first experienced the nearness of the Lord, it was at the burning bush. When Moses received instructions for the decoration of Israel’s sanctuary, he was told to make the Menorah, a bush-like seven-branched lampstand, which would light up the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was kept (Exodus 25:31-40). Solomon also set up ten golden lamp stands in the Temple (2 Chronicles 4:7). The light in the Temple sanctuary was likewise a sign of God’s presence. After the Temple was retaken, according to Jewish tradition as recounted in the Talmud, only one vial of consecrated oil for the sanctuary lamp was found, sufficient for one day only. However, the light miraculously burned for the eight days it took to make more oil (Shabbat 2). As our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate Hanukkah, this time can be an occasion for Jews and Christians together to remember that it is God himself who is Light that is everlasting. More than light from oil, which runs out, God is the Eternal Light which cannot be extinguished.  (See more at: http://cardinalsblog.adw.org/#sthash.LvDFeOy2.dpuf)

 

156) What is the catholic teaching on infant baptism? Fundamentalists often criticize the Catholic Church’s practice of baptizing infants. According to them, baptism is for adults and older children, because it is to be administered only after one has undergone a “born again” experience—that is, after one has “accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.”  But we don’t find any example in the New Testament of a child raised in a Christian home who is baptized only upon making a “decision for Christ.” Besides, since the New Testament era, the Catholic Church has always understood baptism as a sacrament which gives us remission of sin, both original sin and actual sin, and makes us children of God and heirs of heaven (Acts 2:38, 22: 16 & I Peter 3: 21) . Furthermore, Paul notes that baptism has replaced circumcision, which was done on Jewish children in the Old Testament and on adult pagan converts (Col. 2:11–12).  Besides, the Bible nowhere says that baptism is to be restricted to adults. On the other hand, the Acts of the Apostles speak of the baptism of the entire household (including children) of Lydia (Acts 16:15), the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:33), and Stephanas (1 Cor. 1:16). In all these cases, whole households or families were baptized, definitely including children. Probably, there were both younger and older children. Fathers of the Church unanimously taught the need of infant baptism. Origen, for instance, wrote in the third century that “according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants” (Homilies on Leviticus, 8:3:11 [A.D. 244]). The Council of Carthage, in 253, condemned the opinion that baptism should be withheld from infants until the eighth day after birth.

Resources: (1) http://www.catholic.com/tracts/infant-baptism,  2) http://threeminuteapologetics.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-do-catholics-baptize-infants.html, 3) http://www.aboutcatholics.com/beliefs/a-simple-defense-of-infant-baptism/

157) What’s so wrong about ESCR or embryonic stem cell research? Adult stem cell research is good. Embryonic tem cells can only be found in a blastocyst (150 cells stage) in human embryos. It means that the embryonic stem cell research uses a human person, in its earliest stage of development, for the (potential) benefit of society.  The Church’s teaching against ESCR is clear and concise.  The dignity of the human person begins at the very moment of its existence, because we are made in the image and likeness of God, endowed with an immortal soul. Destroying life in its beginning stage is a gross violation of the fifth commandment. Besides, it is always, everywhere, in all situations, gravely immoral and offensive to our inherent dignity to use another person as an object. It is an intrinsically evil act to kill an innocent person so that another may benefit. From the moment of conception, in which an entirely new organism is created, with its own DNA, to our natural death, human life endowed with an immortal soul is worthy of the right to live.  Besides, No research has demonstrated any true benefit exclusively from embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have never been used in human patients, and won’t likely be used in the near future.  It is actually adult stem cells which seem to hold some promise for future cures/therapies for ALS, Diabetes, Parkinsons, etc etc. With the discovery  that embryonic stem cell-like lines can be produced by reprogramming adult human skin cells, the potential usefulness of embryonic stem cell research has been lost for many stem cell researchers, as they are now pursuing the new technology, which will be cheaper and provide fewer problems for use in patient-directed therapies. (http://www.godandscience.org/slideshow/stemcell.html)

 

158) Why do Catholics keep Jesus on the cross when He is risen?  The non-Catholics claim that they serve a Risen Christ, not a bloody, suffering victim as seen on Catholic crucifixes. For them it is a violation of the command to make graven image of Christ on the cross. The short Catholic answer is that we are saved by Jesus, and not by a cross. Hence we adore both a suffering Christ and a risen Christ. You cannot preach a gospel which proclaims the Resurrection without the Crucifixion, or an Easter without a Good Friday. That is why Jesus challenged us: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” -Luke 14: 27. One cannot look at a crucifix without seeing Great Love.  For, as Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  -John 15:13. Jesus came to be the Lamb of God who took away our sins through his atoning death on the cross.  That is precisely why Catholics focus on a bloody, suffering victim.  That is why the Church added the figure of Christ to remind the faithful of the great suffering that brought about their redemption. The crucifix has many advantages: It helps produce contrition for sins. It reminds us of the seriousness of and consequences of sin. It helps us in Mass to focus on the Holy Sacrifice! It comforts us in our sorrows. It inspires us to bear suffering patiently. It shows us the price Jesus paid for our salvation, increases our gratitude towards Christ. Resources: 1) http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/prayers_and_devotions/cross_vs_crucifix.htm; 2) http://www.catholicdoors.com/faq/qu381.htm)

159) What is Original Sin?” Original Sin itself is the absence of God’s sanctifying grace in our souls. So a person who is born in Original Sin is born in a state of spiritual death and separation from God. But Original Sin also has certain consequences, such as concupiscence — the disordered desires and cravings which lead us into actual, personal sins. These consequences of Original Sin are known as its stain. Now when a person comes to God and is born again, God forgives the person’s Original Sin and takes it away. God puts his sanctifying grace in the person’s soul, with the result that the person is now spiritually alive and in union with God. The symptoms of original sin demonstrate our need for God. Original sin is the loss of original holiness and justice due to Adam’s sin. As a result man is alienated from God and also other men. Man has a wounded nature inclined towards evil. A denial of this fact can only lead to serious errors in education, politics, social action and morals (CCC 407). Original Sin is overcome when God gives us new birth through baptism, but the stain of Original Sin remains. We still have the disordered desires that lead us to commit actual, personal sins, and we still have to wrestle with these sins through the remainder of our life on earth. However, when we die we will be freed even from the stain of Original Sin, and we will no longer be led into sin by our evil desires. It means that one day, we will all be rendered immaculate, free from the stain of Original Sin. (Resources: http://jimmyakin.com/the-key-to-understanding-mary

160) Why do we have a parish mission in Lent? Every parish deserves and needs a parish mission once in a while. Lent is primarily the time of intense spiritual preparation for conquering our temptations using the means Jesus used.  It is also the time for renewing our lives for the celebration of Easter with our Risen Lord who conquered sin and death by his suffering, death and resurrection.  A fruitful parish mission during Lent will increase bonding among parishioners. The renewal, enthusiasm and shot in the arm from this type of event invigorate even the best of communities.  It renews their faith, commitment and attachment to the Body of Christ present in their faith community. By its very nature, a parish mission has in its DNA a conversion mode. The mission is a preaching event. God’s Word is proclaimed through the Bible and Catholic doctrine. In times past parish missions were often seen as a time to “scare the hell” out of people, putting the fear of the Lord into them. Its main emphasis is centered upon how much the loving Lord desires to encounter and save each one of us.  A parish mission is also a time of grace, a time for repentance, for change, for becoming a renewed person. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an essential part of a good mission. St. Alphonsus used to say that the thermometer for a successful mission was judged by how many people used the confessional.

 

161) What are the Charismatic gifts? The ordinary charismatic gifts, the invisible gifts that help us fulfill our state in life, are widely given. These are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. They are wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe) (Is.11:1-3). The extraordinary charismatic gifts are given when and to whom the Spirit wills, as St. Paul tells us in 1 Cor 12.11. They are not routine today, though they were in the first generation Church, as we see from 1 Cor 12-14. By these many special graces (called ‘charisms’), by which he makes the faithful ‘fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church.’ [CCC-252] “Among the special graces (motivational gifts) ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church. Having gifts that differ according to the grace give to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness {CCC 55]. The gift of tongues is considered the “least” of the gifts, even though it is often presented as a very important manifestation of the baptism in the Spirit. It is the ‘gateway’ gift to the other gifts. Peter 4:8-11 shows us how to use our Motivational Gifts – “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” “It is not true that extraordinary charismatic gifts are simply actualizations–putting to work–of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that all Catholics have. Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 12 said of the extraordinary gifts: “. . . they are not to be rashly sought, nor should one presumptuously expect of them the fruits of the apostolic works; but the judgment as to whether or not they are genuine, and as to their ordered use pertains to those who are in charge in the Church.

 

162) Is there vacation from Sunday Mass & tithing? As Catholics we belong to more than just our parish — we are members of a universal Church and therefore we are never strangers when we meet with other Catholics in other parishes to celebrate the great Mystery of our Faith which is the Holy Mass. It is true that vacations are a time of rest and enjoyment — a time to recharge our weak batteries so to speak. But if we are serious about our Christian commitment, we cannot neglect to recharge also our spiritual batteries in the central act of our worship, the source and summit of all Christian life: the Holy Mass by praising and worshipping God and receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Sunday Mass during vacation is also an occasion to ask God’s pardon and forgiveness of our sins and to thank God for the gift of a safe and entertaining vacation and all its blessings and to offer our lives on the altar asking our Lord for the additional blessings we need. It is the tithing of our parishioners which makes possible all the various ministries of our parish church and the maintenance of all its buildings and property. Hence it is our duty to send our weekly contribution to our parish even during vacation as our act of thanksgiving to God.

163) What Biblical Prophecy is not, and What It Really is? Contrary to what many fundamentalist preachers or radio hosts would have you believe, biblical prophecy is not primarily about “predicting the future” or finding clues in the Bible that correspond to people or events in our own day and age! The prophets of Ancient Israel did not look into some kind of crystal ball and see events happening thousands of years after their own lifetimes. The books they wrote do not contain hidden coded messages for people living in the 20th or 21st centuries! Rather, biblical prophets were mainly speaking to and writing for the people of their own time. They were challenging people of their own world, especially their political rulers, to remain faithful to God’s commandments and/or to repent and turn back to God if they had strayed. They were conveying messages from God, who had called or commissioned them, rather than speaking on their own initiative or authority. However, because the biblical prophets were transmitting messages on behalf of God (as Jews and Christians believe), much of what they wrote for their own time is clearly also relevant for people living in the modern world. The overall message of faith and repentance is timeless and applicable in all ages and cultures. The messages transmitted by the biblical prophets are not only or primarily about the future, but about the past and present as well. They provide interpretations–from God’s perspective–about past events, present circumstances, as well as future possibilities. Note that I say “future possibilities” rather than “future events,” because when biblical prophets speak about the future, it is usually not about what will inevitably happen, but rather about what might happen, depending on how people choose to react and act: whether they listen to the prophetic message and live their lives accordingly, or ignore the words of the prophets and suffer the consequences.(Source: http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Prophecy.htm).

 

164) Why Catholics don’t have altar invitations as the Protestants have? Many Protestants are used to seeing a preacher invite listeners to accept Jesus as Savior. For them, accepting Jesus as one’s personal Savior is how one becomes a Christian. It is being born again. At this juncture they consider themselves “saved,” and this holds despite any future sins they may commit. As Catholics, we believe that the process of salvation begins at baptism, continues by the way we live co-operating with the grace of God, and is complete only when we are judged at the end of our lives. We believe that it is through baptism that we become members of Christ. While we don’t have an altar call, as they refer to it, the Mass is full of invitations. Inviting people for Holy Communion the priest says: “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.” Communion itself is an invitation to receive the whole Christ, not just into our hearts but into our whole being, body and soul. There is nothing on the face of the earth that can equal this. Unfortunately, so many Catholics are ignorant of what they have. http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/do-priests-ever-ask-their-parishioners-to-accept-christ-as-savior-as-protestant-minis

 

165) Are eulogies proper for funerals? I heard somewhere that a layperson cannot deliver a eulogy at a funeral Mass. Are there any circumstances in which it would be acceptable? According to the Order of Christian Funerals, there is never to be a eulogy at a funeral Mass (OCF 27), although the celebrant may express a few words of gratitude about the person’s life in his homily, or he may allow a relative or a friend to say a few words about the deceased during the concluding rite (GIRM 89). The remarks must be brief and under no circumstances can the deceased person be referred to as being in heaven. Only the Church has the authority to canonize. Contrary to common assumption, the purpose of the funeral Mass is not to celebrate the life of the deceased but to offer worship to God for Christ’s victory over death, to comfort the mourners with prayers, and to pray for the soul of the deceased. Relatives or friends who wish to speak of the deceased’s character and accomplishments can do so at a prayer service to be held in a home or funeral home or at the graveside following the rite of committal.

 

166) What are Eastern Rite Catholic Churches? Many people are surprised to learn that there are twenty-two distinct Churches which form the Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic or Western or “Latin” Church, which nearly all Americans are familiar with, and the Eastern Churches, of which there are twenty-one. While the Western Church makes up the vast majority of the Catholic Church, there are around 17 million Catholics who are members of an Eastern Church. Some of the more well-known of the Eastern Churches include the Ukrainian Catholic Church (5 million members), the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (3.6 million), the Maronite Catholic Church, the Melkite Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Coptic Catholic Church. The Eastern Catholic Churches  are autonomous, self-governing (sui iuris), particular churches in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. They preserve many centuries-old eastern liturgical, devotional, and theological traditions. The canon law that the Eastern Catholic Churches have in common was codified in the 1990 as the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The Congregation (dicastery) that works with the Eastern Catholic Churches is the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which, by law, includes as members all Eastern Catholic patriarchs and major archbishops.

 

167) Would be appropriate for a Catholic to pledge allegiance to the Bible? A Protestant-dominated homeschool group requires all to pledge allegiance to the Bible, which goes something like this: “I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God.” Is it appropriate for a Catholic to say this pledge? First, Jesus is God’s Word; the Bible is God’s words. The idea of Catholic children reciting this pledge is troubling, as it could confuse them about the Protestant belief in sola scriptura. Catholics do not believe in the doctrine of sola scriptura, the idea that the Bible is our only source of revelation. Instead, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church are the Church’s sources of certainty about everything which has been revealed (Dei Verbum 9).

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168) Are any apparitions ever considered dogma? No. Apparitions and locutions are considered “private revelation,” and while some have been recognized by the Church, they do not belong to the deposit of faith. Catholics are not bound to believe even Church-approved private revelations. The Catechism explains the role of private revelation as follows: It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive revelation but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church. Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects that base themselves on such “revelations.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 67) (http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/are-any-apparitions-ever-considered-dogma)

 

169) Why do we celebrate Labor Day? The first Labor Day was observed on September 5, 1882, to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers and to give them a day off on the last day of the summer. Today, Labor Day unofficially signals the beginning of a new “school” year of work and study and the end of the lazy days of summer. 1)      It is a day to acknowledge the dignity of labor and workers. a) The Bible presents God as working six days in the creation of the world and commanding Adam to work. b) Jesus, God’s Son, was a professional carpenter. c) Most of his apostles were fishermen and Paul was a tent-maker. d) In his inaugural speech in the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus expressed his preferential option for the poor – the working class and those who cannot work. 2)       The Church teaches the nobility of work and the necessity of just wages. In the encyclical Laborem Exercens, the Holy Father John Paul II instructs us that all of us are called to work together for a just society and a just economy which allow us all to share God’s blessings. He reminds us that governments should see that the greed of a minority does not make the life of the majority miserable. He advises labor unions to fight for social and economic justice, better wages and better working conditions. 3)      It is an appropriate time to acknowledge and bless the temporal and   spiritual work that our parishioners do for their families and for the parish community. It is also a day to remind ourselves that our workplace gives us an opportunity to practice what we believe and that it is a place where we can display a level of integrity that matches our Faith.

 

170) If Jesus was a Jew, why are we Catholic? The term Jew is used in at least two senses in Scripture: to refer to those who are ethnically Jews and to those who are religiously Jews. Jesus Christ was a Jew in both senses. In fact, he completed the Jewish religion by serving as the Messiah (Christ) whom the prophets had long foretold. The completed form of the Jewish religion is known as Christianity, and its adherents are Christians or “followers of the Christ.” Unfortunately, only some Jews (the apostles and their followers) did recognize that Jesus was the Messiah and embraced the new, completed form of Judaism. Hence the apostles began to make many Gentile converts to the Christian faith and most of these Christians are not Jews ethnically. Unfortunately, over the course of time some Christians broke away from the Church that Jesus founded.  So it was decided to call the Church Jesus founded the “universal” (Greek, kataholos = “according to the whole”) Church, and thus the name Catholic was applied to it. That is why Jesus was a Jew and we are Catholics: Jesus came to complete the Jewish religion by creating a Church that would serve as its fulfillment and be open to people of all races, not just ethnic Jews. As Catholics, we are those who have accepted the fulfillment of the Jewish faith by joining the Church that Jesus founded.

171) What is the Bible teaching on normal marriage and homosexual union? Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God with Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:24 states: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. “In Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus reaffirms this: “He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’?” The first mention in the Bible is in Genesis 19:1-13. The wicked men of Sodom attempted a homosexual rape of two messengers from God who had come to visit Lot. As a result of this and other widespread wickedness, God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in a storm of fire and brimstone. The next two mentions are in Leviticus: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22). If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13). There are two other New Testament mentions of homosexual acts, in Romans 1:25-27 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10. In this passage from Romans, again in the context of idolatry, Paul mentions women who “exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.” This is the only mention of lesbian acts: They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. (Romans 1:25-27). We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law, with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, sodomites,* kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching (1 Timothy 1:8-10).

172) What are the Aramaic words used in the New Testament? We know the New Testament was written in Greek. However there are a few verses from Jesus in Aramaic. They are generally recognizable because when you are reading along in English, or hear the scriptures read aloud, these words jump out at you:Talitha cum meaning “Little girl, get up!” (Mark 5:41). Ephphatha meaning “Be opened.” (Mark 7:34). Abba meaning “Father” (Mark 14:36). Raca meaning “fool” (Matthew 5:22). Rabbouni meaning “teacher” (John 20:16). Eli Eli lema sabachthani meaning “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Hosanna meaning “O Lord, save us.” (Mark 11:9). Maranatha meaning “Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). There are a handful of other words and names that have a clear Semitic origin, but it is not known whether they are strictly from Aramaic or biblical Hebrew. Some examples of these are: mammon, Bartholomew, Barabbas, Boanerges, Gethsemane, and Golgotha.

 

173) Why the Aramaic- speaking writers wrote the New testament in Greek? The question is asked why Aramaic speaking Mathew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the gospels in Greek. The simple answer is that the gospel writers (evangelists) who composed the gospels in the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were different people who gathered information about the message and deeds of Jesus from eye witnesses and their preaching at the end of the first century and put them into the common popular language of the majority of the pagan convers who spoke Greek and the Greek speaking Jewish converts who used the Septuagint Greek translation of the Jewish Hebrew Bible (Rev. Dr. Raymond Brown). Paul was a Jew of the diaspora, and diaspora Jews used Greek in their everyday lives, with many of them unfamiliar with the Aramaic (or Hebrew) of Palestinian Jews. Aramaic was the primary language of the land, Greek was the language of business, education, and for communication with foreigners (because it was a wide-spread language), and Hebrew was the religious language of the Jews and was primarily reserved for prayers, religious teaching, and communication with other Jews.   At the end of the first century, Greek was the third major language spoken in Palestine. Jesus, who was reared in ‘Galilee, of the Gentiles,’ lived only three or four miles from the thriving Greek city of Sepphoris and probably knew basic spoken Greek. Two of Jesus’ disciples were even known by their Greek names: Andrew and Philip. In addition, there are several incidents in Jesus’ ministry when he spoke to people who knew neither Aramaic nor Hebrew. Probably Jesus spoke Greek during the following occasions: the visit to Tyre, Sidon and the Decapolis (Mark 7:31ff), the conversation with the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30).

 

174)  What do Catholics believe about ‘apostolic succession’? In Matthew 16:18 Christ tells Peter that he is the rock on which He will build His church. When Catholics use the term apostolic succession, they are referring to the line of bishops that stretches all the way back to the apostles—to Peter—the first Pope. Apostolic tradition (the authentic teaching of the apostles) was handed from Christ to the apostles, and from them to their successors. This unbroken line of popes (the bishops of Rome) and all other bishops have guided the Church for the past 2,000 years, just as Christ intended (Matthew 28:19-20).Christ sent His apostles out into the world with authority to teach and heal (Luke 9:1-2) and to forgive sins (John 20:23). This God-given authority is exercised by the bishops within the Catholic Church to this day. The role of apostolic succession in preserving true doctrine is illustrated in the Bible. To make sure that the apostles’ teachings would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, “What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first three generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, and the generation Timothy will teach. “[The apostles] founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches.” Tertullian 200 AD).

1) http://www.catholic.com/tracts/apostolic-succession

2) http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-is-the-biblical-support-for-apostolic-succession

 

175) What does the Bible say about the 7 Sacraments? The seven sacraments celebrated by Catholics all have their roots in scripture, although some are featured more prominently than others. There are many references to baptism, of course, beginning with Jesus’ baptism by John. The Eucharist was instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-29). Confirmation, though not specifically named in the Bible, is traced back to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism and on his followers after Jesus’ resurrection (see John 20:22 and Acts 2:1-4). The sacrament of reconciliation, while not practiced in the same way in biblical times as we know it now, is rooted in Jesus’ ministry of forgiving sins and proclaiming salvation to the lost. After his resurrection, he breathed on the disciples, imparting them with the Holy Spirit and stating, “if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them” (John 20:23). The sacrament of the anointing of the sick can be traced to the New Testament Letter of James (5:14): “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.” Finally, the two sacraments of vocation — marriage and holy orders — derive from scripture, although the format of the liturgical celebrations have obviously evolved through the centuries. The Bible begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and very soon refers to them becoming “one flesh” (Genesis 1-2). Countless other passages refer to the covenant between married spouses, and Jesus himself defended the nature of marriage when he declared, “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6). Holy orders take shape from Jesus’ appointment of the apostles to extend his ministry of teaching, healing, and proclaiming salvation (Matthew 10:1-8). Later, those apostles prayed and laid their hands on other “men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” to share in the ministry (Acts 6:3-6). Thus the succession of the apostles began, and with it the tradition of a pope or bishop laying hands on a man to ordain him as a bishop, priest, or deacon.http://bustedhalo.com/questionbox/what-does-the-bible-say-about-the-7-sacraments

 

176) Why isn’t the Sabbath on Saturday as the Jews observed it? Question: If the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Father and is rated among the 10 commandments as equally important, how is it that Sunday has been chosen for worship and the Seventh Day forgotten? Answer: The Hebrew Scriptures make many, many references to honoring the Sabbath, beginning with the injunction to honor it because that is when God rested from creating the world. For hundreds of years Jews did this — resting on the seventh day of the week, what we recognize now as Saturday. Jesus, his family, and his apostles did this in his lifetime, attending the synagogue and refraining from unnecessary work on those days. A change happened several decades after Jesus’ death and resurrection because Jesus’ apostles, who were all Jewish and were accustomed to attending synagogue services on Saturdays, were trying to assimilate their new beliefs in Jesus as the Son of God with their developing practice of celebrating the Eucharist. (More accurately these early followers of Jesus after his resurrection are known as Jewish-Christians.) Eventually it became incompatible for Jewish-Christians to continue worshipping in the synagogue with Jews who didn’t profess Jesus as their savior. The Jewish-Christians then began celebrating the Sabbath on Sundays (the first day of the week) as a testament to the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Over time, Christians have almost all adopted Sunday as their day of weekly worship, the “Sabbath” day, with the exception of some like Seventh Day Adventists who still celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. http://bustedhalo.com/questionbox/why-isnt-the-sabbath-on-saturday

 

177) Am I using Confession as an excuse to sin? I commit the same sins over and over, and I feel bad going to confession when it is most likely I will commit the same sin. How do I say I will not sin again when I feel inside I will sin again? Am I using confession as a excuse to sin knowing I can confess and be forgiven? All of us have weaknesses and our sins are consequences of that. No one is perfect, and usually many of our sins are things that continue to trip us up time and time again. That said, while we have this tendency toward some particular sin, we also need to attempt to get over this. Our efforts here must be true attempts to get past our sin, to get underneath the tendency, and to make a true attempt to stop the behavior. .Again, none of this is easy and therefore we have confession to go to when we inevitably fail in our attempts. So, confession does not remove the need to make an effort at trying to change our behavior. It does allow us to try again when we fail and to be forgiven by God. Two terms to keep in mind: Perfect contrition is when we ask for forgiveness because our motivation is that God loves us and forgives us and therefore we should not sin. Imperfect contrition is when we ask for forgiveness because we think we’ll go to hell if we don’t ask for forgiveness. Attempting to look at our sins as what separates us from God’s love is the goal here. In the future, look for ways to move closer to who God made you to be and become more of who God knows you can become.

http://bustedhalo.com/questionbox/am-i-using-confession-as-an-excuse-to-sin

 

178) How should I go about teaching my children the Bible? The first and most important thing you can do in this vein is to buy a children’s Bible and read it with them. The Bible is confusing enough for adults to understand, so why would we assume children can make sense of it if we only read them one with adult language? There are some great children’s Bibles available, and they are geared to children of different ages, from toddlers through college students. You can check out this link for suggestions of age-appropriate ones: http://www.growingupcatholic.com/finding-a-bible.html Pick a story or two to read as a bedtime story in the evenings, or read the children’s version of the Sunday gospel to them. The stories they hear will prompt questions, musings, and reflections that you can share together even as the Bible does the hard work of introducing them to Jesus and his friends and family. Also, don’t worry if you don’t know all the answers to their questions. It’s ok to say or “Hmm, good question. I don’t know. I’ll have to find out” or “Hmm, I wonder about that too. What do you think?”

http://bustedhalo.com/questionbox/how-should-i-go-about-teaching-my-children-the-bible

 

179) Why do we give up something for Lent? Today we know Lent as a season of conversion: we acknowledge the ways we have turned away from God in our lives and we focus on turning our hearts and minds back toward God. Hence the three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These observances help us turn away from whatever has distracted or derailed us and to turn back to God. Giving up something for Lent is ultimately a form of fasting. We can deprive ourselves of some small pleasure or indulgence and offer that sacrifice up to God. Or we might “give up” a bad habit such as smoking as a way of positively turning our life back towards what God wants for us. A small positive change can have a big impact that lasts beyond the 40 days of Lent. Take the time now to think about what you might give up this year. Is it something you enjoy that you want to sacrifice for a while, like your daily latte? Or is it a bad habit you want to conquer, like running in late to meetings with co-workers? Or perhaps you want to turn your cell phone off for a few hours each day and not let it distract you from the loved ones you are with in real time? Find something that works for you, and whatever it is, may it help you to turn towards God in this holy season of Lent. ( http://bustedhalo.com/questionbox/why-do-we-give-up-something-for-lent) .

 

180) What is the Catholic teaching on grace? Grace is a free gift from God to man.  Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us (CCC 2003). It enables us to do good and avoid evil. There is nothing man can do to merit grace, because it is a gift, after all. Grace is a participation in the life of God. Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is a favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. (CCC 1996). “But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” Acts 15:11. (Note: We are saved by grace, not “faith alone”) John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Romans 3:24: they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. St. Paul writes: “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). 1 Corinthians 15:10: “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” Catholic theology distinguishes two types of grace. Sanctifying grace stays in the soul. It’s what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly, it is supernatural life. Actual grace, by contrast, is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace. (For details, read: https://www.ewtn.com/library/DOCTRINE/MNGGRACE.HTM)

 

181) What are Christian and Islamic crusades? The Christian Crusades don’t have the best reputation although its primary intention was to regain the Holy Land from Islamic invaders and to block the Islamization of Christian Europe. Soon after the death of Muhammad in 632 AD, there were many military expeditions and a more aggressive posture interpreting the Jihad of Islam to be necessary.    Islam very quickly acquired territory militarily from Arabia into Egypt, the Middle East, all of North Africa and into the heart of Europe. The fact remains that by the time of the first Crusade in 1095 AD, Christianity had become strictly a European faith as three-quarters of what had been Christian territory in Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Africa and Hellenized Byzantium (Modern Turkey) was wiped out by Islam. Christianity had been fighting and losing a defensive war against Islam for more than 450 years.  The most important lesson however is that this history lesson is still fresh in the minds of ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and others of the same mind.   Note that the propaganda announcements by these groups often refer to vengeance against “Rome”, “People of the Cross”, and the “Crusaders.” It includes People of the Cross wherever they may be found leading to the brutal persecutions of Christians in Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Indonesia.   Jews are not forgotten in Islamic radicals hatred and persecution and are often singled out and murdered. We are presently seeing the cruelest resurrection of Islamic barbarism.  It is also the worst representation of a religion that appears to be hijacked by those committed to evil and fueled by ill-informed ancient memories of religious wars best forgotten.

182) What do we gain by participating in a Sunday Mass? Blessings we receive from our active participation in a Sunday Mass? The parish community gathers for the Sunday Eucharistic celebration or Holy Mass to “observe the Lord’s Day holy” as demanded by the fourth commandment. Holy Mass is a double remembrance. We remember, celebrate and make present Jesus’ Last Supper as commanded by him “Do this in memory of me.’” On the altar, we also remember and re-present the death and resurrection of Jesus as reminded by St. Paul, by using liturgical prayers, signs and symbols, and we offer the one-time Calvary sacrifice of Jesus to our Heavenly Father for the remission of our sins. We achieve these goals during the Holy Mass in seven steps. 1) We praise and worship God by singing and by responding to the prayers by the priest. 2) We ask God’s pardon and forgiveness for our sins. 3) We thank God for all the blessings received during the course of the past week. 4) We listen to God’s words in the three Scripture readings and in the homily preached by the priest. 5)  We present our needs and petitions for the new week before God on the altar at the intercessory prayers, 6) We surrender and offer our lives and all our activities to God during the offertory, accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and surrendering our lives to Him with repentant hearts. 7) We recharge our spiritual batteries, gain spiritual nourishment and deepen our personal relationship with Jesus by sacramentally receiving his resurrected Body and Blood in Holy Communion. The structure of the Eucharistic celebration or Holy Mass is organized to achieve all these seven goals.

People who think that they don’t get anything from the Holy Mass forget all these blessings they receive by their active participation in the Eucharistic celebration.

 

183) How should we forgive our offenders?  10 commandments of forgiveness: 1. Forgiveness is not easy. 2) Forgiveness is not forgetting.  Nobody ever forgets where he buried the hatchet. It is not “forgive and forget” as if nothing wrong had ever happened, but rather, “forgive and move forward.” 3) Forgiveness does not overlook evil or injustice for that would be to deny the truth. 4)  Forgiveness does not mean approval. A strong person rebukes and forgives; a weaker person is too timid to rebuke and too slow to forgive. 5) Forgiveness begins with knowing you have been forgiven. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned 6) Forgiveness recognizes that people are always bigger than their faults.  If we look for the good it is easier to forgive the bad. 7) Forgiveness allows the other person to start over again. 8) Forgiveness surrenders the right to get even. Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.  9) Forgiveness wishes the other well, and even prays for the blessing of the other person. “Love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you.” 10) Forgiveness is twice blest. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.

184) Why do we honor Mary and believe in her Assumption into heaven?  We honor Mary, venerate her, express our love for her and never worship her. Why do we honor Mary: 1) Mary herself gives the most important reason in  her “Magnificat:” “All generations (ages) will call me blessed because the The Mighty One has done great things for me a) by choosing  Mary as the mother of Jesus  b) by filling her with His Holy Spirit twice, namely at the Annunciation and at Pentecost, c) by making her  “full of grace,” the paragon or embodiment of all virtues, d) by allowing her to become the most active participant with Christ, her Son, in our Redemption, by suffering in mind what Jesus suffered in body. 2) Mary is our Heavenly Mother.  Jesus gave us his Mother as our Mother from the cross: “Woman, behold your son.” … “Behold your mother” (John 19: 26-27). 3) Mary is the supreme model of all virtues, especially holiness of life (“full of grace”), obedience to the will of God (“fiat”) and true humility (“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me as you have said”). Reasons why we believe in the dogma of Assumption:  Pope Pius XII in the papal document Munificentimus Deus gives four reasons why we believe in the Dogma of Assumption of Mary. 1) The uninterrupted tradition about Mary’s death and Assumption starting from the first century. 2) The belief expressed in all the ancient liturgies of the Church. 3) The negative evidence of the absence and veneration of a tomb of Mary while most of the apostles have their tombs. 4) The possibility of bodily assumption warranted in the Old Testament in the cases of Enoch (Gen. 5:24), perhaps Moses (Deut. 34:5), and especially Elijah (II Kg. 2:1).5) The theological reasons: a) The degeneration of the body after death is the consequence of “original sin,” and Mary, as “immaculately conceived,” is exempted from the post-mortem decay of the body.  b) As receiver of the fullness of grace and holiness because she is mother of Jesus and co-redeemer with Him, Mary’s place is with her son, God’s Son Jesus, the Redeemer, in the abode of holiness, Heaven.

185) What is the difference between the Jewish and Christian idea of the Messiah: The idea of mashiach (messiah) is an ancient one in Judaism. Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of Rambam‘s 13 Principles of Faith,  the minimum requirements of Jewish Belief. In the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, recited three times daily, we pray for all of the elements of the coming of the mashiach. The Jewish idea of mashiach is a great human leader like King David, not a savior. There is much speculation about when the mashiach will come. The Hebrew Bible identifies several tasks that the mashiach will accomplish. Before the time of the mashiach, there shall be war and suffering (Ezekiel 38:16). The mashiach will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing us back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). He will establish a government in Israel that will be the center of all world government, both for Jews and gentiles (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1). He will rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship (Jeremiah 33:18). He will restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land (Jeremiah 33:15).  Jews do not believe in Jesus as the messiah because he did not accomplish these tasks. Modern scholars suggest that the messianic concept was introduced later in the history of Judaism, during the age of the prophets. According to Christian belief Jesus is God incarnated to save mankind from sin by his suffering, death and resurrection. So Jesus is the Savior Messiah. (http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm).

186) Is there danger in church unity movement or Ecumenism? Ecumenism is applied today to both what is legitimate and that which is not, in seeking unity in religion. The New Testament–and Old Testament prophetic writings–teach us that God intends there to be only one Covenant, one Mediator, and one Church. That Church, in its fullness and perfection, is what we often refer to as the Catholic Church. The recent document by the Vatican, approved by the Pope, “Dominus Iesus” unambiguously affirms Jesus Christ as the one Mediator and the Catholic Church as the one true Church. In light of this recent declaration and much else which has been written by the Church and popes, rest assured that the Holy Father is not compromising the integrity of the Church in ecumenical gestures. However, that is not to say that others who act in the name of the Church are necessarily authentic to a true ecumenism, which does not compromise truth or the integrity of the Faith. Individuals or groups which are not firm in non-negotiable principles of the Faith may compromise such matters, and do more against the integrity of the Church than move matters ahead. But we must not allow these to jeopardize what is legitimate in this matter. Trust the Pope in the area of ecumenism; the Lord does lead him in a special way and I believe that this Holy Father is so solid in his theological thinking and dedication to the Church as established by Jesus Christ that he will not mislead us. A world religion as well as world economies and armies may be in the works and there are signs already of such, but you can bet that while there may be a lukewarm or renegade component of Catholics involved in such a project, the Church Herself will not be swept away by a false religion is not the one holy Catholic Church. (http://www.ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage.asp?number=349558&Pg=&Pgnu=&recnu=0)

 

187) What is the Catholic teaching on the end of the world? The Church knows by divine revelation that certain things will happen related to End Times. But at the same time, the Church is careful not to overstep what has been revealed and can be known with certitude. Unfortunately, many non-Catholic preachers are utterly convinced that they can read the signs of the times and preach and teach and write with a certitude that goes beyond what we can know by the divine revelation. That is why the evangelical preachers preach on the “rapture”, second coming of Christ to defeat the anti-  Christ in a fierce battle at Armageddon, separate judgements for the born again Christians and other Christians and unbelievers, and “millennial (1000 year) rule of Christ on earth.” They teach these false doctrines quoting scriptures out of context and giving meaning they never intended. Sadly, each preacher gives his interpretation and claims that it is guided by his indwelling Holy Spirit. According Catholic teaching, Christ returns at the end of the world, only once, to judge the whole world and reward the just ones (saved ones) by taking them to their eternal glory in heaven and to punish the sinners by eternally separating them from God, which we call hell.  Jesus asserts that only God his Father knows the exact time of the end of the world, although there are certain signs mentioned in the gospel may give us a rough idea. Consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs 668 to 676 http://ccc.usccb.org/flipbooks/catechism/index.html#94) for the church teaching on the end of the world and the supporting bible quotations.

Additional websites: 1) https://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/endtimes.htm

2) http://www.catholicscomehome.org/your-questions/church-teachings/the-end-times-and-last-things/

3)http://blog.adw.org/2016/08/essential-catholic-teachings-end-times/

188) Why do we celebrate First Communion? The First Holy Communion is a Catholic ceremony, which marks a child or adult’s first reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. For Catholics, Holy Communion is the third of seven sacraments received. Of all seven sacraments, the Holy Eucharist, and Holy Communion, are the most central and important to Catholicism because the Eucharist occupies a central role in Catholic theology and practice. The Holy Eucharist refers to Christ’s body and blood present in the consecrated host on the altar, and Catholics believe that the consecrated bread and wine are actually the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. “I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not have life in you.(John 6:48-58). When we receive Holy Communion, we are intimately united with Jesus Christ — he literally becomes part of us. Also, by taking Holy Communion, we express your union with all Catholics who believe the same doctrines, obey the same laws, and follow the same leaders. First Communion opens the door of our children’s understanding of the mystery of Jesus in their lives.  They receive First Communion at a time in their lives when they really start to know the difference between right and wrong.  That is why First Communion is an extremely important event in a Catholic family’s life and is marked with celebrations, family gatherings and festive parties as well as gift-giving and special white clothes.

189) Why and how to protect kids from Pornography: The United States Department of Justice recently reported that children have never before been this vulnerable to obscene sexual material. Over half of today’s teens have visited sexually explicit websites and suffer predictable consequences, including increased uncertainties about their own sexuality and increased feelings of loneliness and depression. Jesus taught that lusting (i.e. looking at pornography) is spiritually deadly. It is akin to committing adultery with your heart. Viewing pornography “burns highly charged” images into the brain. These images become difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Children should only connect with people whom they have met in person. Tell children clearly and often, that their activity on a computer, table, smartphone, etc., will be monitored by installing monitoring devices.  Parents should also establish a rule that the usage history of all computers, tablets, and phones will be reviewed and tracked. A child should never delete a device’s history. Similarly, cell phones should be left on the counter at the end of the day so that parents can quickly check Internet activity. People can become immediately addicted to Internet porn after just one exposure. In this way, it follows the addictive path of crack cocaine, and often requires years of intensive treatment to get back under control. (For details visit: http://www.faithfirst.com/hogan.html).

 

190) What is Memorial Day and why do we celebrate it? Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May honoring those who gave their lives in the Armed Services. Formerly it was known as Decoration Day from the custom of decorating the tombs and gravesites of the soldiers and of one’s own family members.  Today we remember with pride and gratitude all the U.S. men and women who died while in the military service.  Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m., Eastern Time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each gravesite at National Cemeteries. Many Americans also use Memorial Day to honor other people who have died after fighting their life’s battle and gone for their eternal reward. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4: 7).  Memorial Day is a day to remember the promises made and kept by our national heroes. They promised to keep the unity and integrity of our nation and freedom of other nations. They kept their promise by their blood. We believe in Jesus who hailed the willingness to lay down one’s life for others as the quintessence of true love. We pray that Jesus may grant eternal rest and reward for all our fallen heroes.

191) What is the Liturgy of the Hours? The Lord has commanded us to pray without ceasing, and this is what the Hours help us do. “Seven times a day I praise you.” – Psalm 118(119):164. The purpose of the Divine Office is to sanctify the day and all human activity.” – Apostolic Constitution, Canticum Laudis. The Liturgy of the Hours is the richest single prayer resource of the Christian Church, with prayers, psalms and readings for each of the Hours, changing each day and through the seasons. But such riches come at a price. With more than a thousand different Hours every year, the books are thick and using them is complex. So complex that it is rare to find anyone reciting the Hours apart from the clergy and religious. Which is not as it should be. This treasure is too marvelous to be the exclusive possession of our servants: “The Office is… the prayer not only of the clergy but of the whole People of God.” – Apostolic Constitution, Canticum Laudis.  Morning Prayer – at the start of the day’s work and the coming of the light. Daytime Prayer – at mid-morning, noon and in the afternoon, to unite us with the one for whom and through whom we are working. Evening Prayer – at the end of the day’s work, to offer up what we have done. Night Prayer – last thing at night, to commend our souls to God. And finally, there is the magnificent Office of Readings, at whatever time of day is best for us to reflect on the mystery of salvation, with the help of Scripture and the writings of the Fathers of the Church.

192) What are the differences between the doctrines of Catholic and Jehovah’s Witness? 1) Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses both base their teachings on the Bible. 2. They both believe in afterlife but in a different manner, Catholics on having immortal souls, while Jehovah’s Witnesses on resurrection of the dead. 3. Catholics support politics and military services, while Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t. Jehovah’s Witnesses remain politically neutral, meaning they don’t vote for any candidate during elections. They also do not tolerate patriotism: they do not participate in any military activity, salute or pledge allegiance to flags, or sing national anthems or nationalistic songs. They believe that God’s Kingdom is the only government in which they must have their highest allegiance to.  Baptism is practiced by both but in a different manner, Catholics on infant baptism, while Jehovah’s Witnesses on having their basic teaching known to a person.5. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not use any idol or religious symbol in their worship and they don’t celebrate special occasions with pagan roots, vice versa on the Catholics.6. There is also a big distinction in talking about leaders in both groups. Catholic priests  must undergo a higher educational attainment so as to have a full understanding of the history, practices and beliefs   of Catholicism. While Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize all its member as ‘ministers’ being guided by men known as elders and ministerial servants in every congregation so as to have organization. Catholic ministers are not allowed to marry, while marriage is allowed to everyone by Jehovah’s Witness.

 

193) What are Nihil Obstats, Imprimaturs, and Church Censorship? The Magisterium, the teaching authority of our Church, has the duty to “preserve God’s people from deviations and defections, and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error” (Catechism, #890). the Magisterium will examine those works, particularly books, on faith and morals and pronounce whether they are free from doctrinal error.  Censorship—i.e., oversight or regulation of religious content—predates Christianity and includes our Jewish ancestors in Old Covenant times. In addition, we see in St. Paul’s time that a number of people involved in the occult burned their own books publicly after witnessing the misguided nature of their practices and the genuine, redeeming power of the gospel (Acts 19:19). At the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325), not only do the Council Fathers condemn Arius’s misguided beliefs about Jesus, they also condemned his related book, Thalia. In 1564, proceeding from a directive the Council of Trent, the Church issued a series of rules on the oversight or censorship of books, Pope St. Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, directed all bishops to have qualified theologians review the contents of submitted books with a nihil obstat (“nothing obstructs”) provided to those favorably reviewed, along with the reviewing theologian’s name, and then the imprimatur (“let it be printed”) by the local bishop. Some works might also have the imprimi potest (from the Latin, “It can be printed”). Today, according to canon law, you will sometimes see Church approval given via the simple edict “Printed with ecclesiastical permission” with the name of the approving bishop below and the date he provided his approbation. (http://www.catholicdoors.com/faq/qu89.htm; http://catholicstraightanswers.com/what-are-imprimatur-and-nihil-obstat-in-catholic-book/, http://www.cuf.org/2006/03/nihil-obstat-and-imprimatur/).

 

194) Is “Meshiach ben David” (Messiah son of David) of the Jews the same as Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, and the Son of God? By the phrase “Meshiach ben David” they are saying in Hebrew “The Messiah [who is] the Son of David”. Meshiach means “anointed One”, and God’s promises to David leave no doubt about the fact that He will be David’s Son (cf. 2Sam.7:1-16). Orthodox Jews, at any rate, are looking forward to the return of the Messiah. The Jews  don’t believe, as Christians believe,  that the expected Messiah has already come,  first and fundamentally for the glorious liberation of all mankind from sin and death by being judged in our place and dying for us, a prophecy well documented in the Old Testament (e.g., Gen.3:15; Ps.22; Is.52:13 – 53:12, etc.) and he will come again at the end of the world. Jesus made this very clear when He asked the Pharisees in regard to Psalm 110 how David’s Son could also be David’s Lord (Matt.22:41-46). They were not able to answer and neither are those who are waiting for.  But it is important for all true Christians to remember that God loves and protects Israel “like the apple of His eye” (Zech.2:8). Therefore we need always to be careful to adopt an attitude of love and respect towards those who are Abraham’s seed according to the flesh (cf. Rom.3:1-2), even as we continue our spiritual advance as those who are Abraham’s seed by faith (Rom.4:1-17).  (http://ichthys.com/mail-Messiah2.htm). & https://youtu.be/et6nmxsSEKM

 

195) Why is St. Paul called an Apostle? He wasn’t one of the 12 Apostles that Jesus picked. The word apostle comes from the Greek apostolein, meaning sent ones. Although Jesus specially designated 12 of his followers in a symbolic restoration of the 12 tribes of Israel (see Matthew 10:2-5Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:13-16), these 12 men were not the only ones sent by Jesus. Mary Magdalene and the other women who saw the risen Jesus were sent by Him to share the good news of the resurrection with the other disciples. And before the ascension, all of the disciples were sent forth by Jesus to proclaim salvation to the ends of the earth. Paul, though not one of the original companions of Jesus, considered himself an Apostle sent by Christ. Even though the Church has reserved the title “Apostle” in a special way for the 12, Paul was such a pivotal figure in the spread of the gospel that the Church has also applied this title to him, calling him “the Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul can rightfully be called an apostle because he fulfilled the same three basic requirements the specially-selected twelve original disciples met. After the death of Judas, the church (totaling about 120) met in Jerusalem to decide who among them would be uniquely qualified to replace him (Acts 1). Those to be considered for this awesome responsibility had to have been personally called by Christ, taught by him directly for several years, and seen him alive after his resurrection (Acts 1:17, 22, 25). While traveling to Damascus in 33 A.D., three years after Jesus was resurrected, Paul was miraculously confronted by the Lord and brought to repentance (verses 3 to 6). But the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Go, for this man (Paul) is a chosen vessel to Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel; 16. For I will show him what great things he must suffer for My name” (Acts 9:15 – 16. During his three years of exile in Arabia he was personally taught by Jesus (Acts 9:20 – 25, Galatians 1:11 – 12, 15 – 18). At this point in his life he fulfilled the same basic criteria the original disciples did in regard to being considered an apostle.

196) How to take your faith with the summer vacation?  The summer season marks the end of a school year and the beginning of a much-anticipated long break for many school-aged children. Typically, summer vacations indulge the senses, open up the world, and promote a good time in the quest of relaxation. Most people don’t associate vacations with a time to grow in our faith. But to be truly refreshed, both physically and spiritually, vacations should also be a time to grow closer to God and family. Going on an actual pilgrimage for vacation is a way to mix fun with experiencing your faith up close and personal. Pilgrimages don’t have to be exotic or an expensive a trip to Europe. There are many trips in the U.S. you can take and do on your own. For example, a trip to the studios of the Eternal Word Television Network near Birmingham, Alabama and the Eucharistic Pilgrimage they offer to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama makes a wonderful trip for the entire family along beautiful the countryside of the deep South. Make every vacation catholic by bringing holy water and blessing your family and car with it before starting. Start the trip with a prayer for safety and end it with one of thanksgiving. Games and conversation are special when everyone is in the car together. Pray a rosary while traveling. Find the nearest church where you are staying; stop in and make a visit. Plan for where you will go to Sunday Mass and consider making time for Daily Mass… both at your destination and en route. Check out the local shrines. Find and listen to Catholic radio in the areas you pass through. Whatever you do, and wherever you go this summer, take your faith with you.

197)  What are the duties of a pastor in a Catholic parish?  A pastor has responsibilities, especially preaching and teaching and administration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharistic celebration, which are uniquely his, arising from his ordination and appointment to the pastorate by the Bishop. He is primarily the  pastor of the parish entrusted to him, exercising the pastoral care of the community committed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share, so that for that same community he carries out the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing, also with the cooperation of the deacon and with the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful, according to the norm of law.(Canon Law 519). When a priest accepts a pastorate, he becomes the appointed leader of the parish, the bond of communion, the designated head, and the father in the faith to this community of believers.  By his “ministerial priesthood,” he is also called to be a servant of the people, giving them spiritual and sacramental service.  Moreover, he is to be the animator, motivating his people to work together, and at the same time to be the healer, bringing peace and unity to avert division and anger.  Consultation with parishioners, as parish council, as individuals and as a community, is required for a pastor to carry out his duties responsibly.

 

 

Catholic YouTube lessons for CCD/Youth/Adults/RCIA

>>> Three methods of watching these video lessons: 1) Just click on the links given below. 2) If it doesn’t work, send this as text to your email address as an email and when you receive the email, click on the links (URLs) to open 3) Copy the link in Google Search or YouTube search and push the Enter button on the key board<< Note: You need High speed Internet connection & Adobe Flash Player in your computer to watch these video lessons.

 

Items included below: 1) Sacraments 2) Video lessons for the Youth 3) RCIA lessons/Adult Faith formation lessons 4) Liturgical hymns with lyrics (Useful for teaching children in the CCD classes).

 

Procedure for downloading the following YouTube videos to USB

Procedure no 1:

1) Copy the URL (Web address) of the YouTube video in two steps: i) Right click on the video while playing. ii) Click on Copy Video URL iii) Paste it on a file (Page) by pressing Control & V at the same time.

2) Open: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001002.htm

3) Copy & paste the URL (web address) of the video in the box  under no 2

4) Click on “download

5) Click on MP 720p or MP 360p

6) Click on OK. You will find it in 2-4 minutes under “Downloaded documents”

7) “Drag” it to your USB or “Right click” on the video icon and “Send” it to USB

Procedure no 2:

1) Copy the URL (Web address) of the YouTube video in two steps: i) Right click on the video while playing. ii) Click on Copy Video URL iii) Paste it on a file (Page) by pressing Control & V at the same time.

2) Open: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001002.htm

3) Copy & paste the URL (web address) of the video in the box  under no 2

4) a) Click on “download the video” b) click again on “Download video.” 5) When downloading begins, click on MP 4 720p or 360p. 6) Click on Save as. 7) Click on Desktop. Within the time shown, the video will be on the Desktop. 8) Right click on the video icon after inserting a USB to your computer 8) Click on “Removable Disk.” The video will be transferred to your USB in a minute 9) Insert the USB in any computer or DVD player and open it to watch the video in a big TV or on Screen using a projector. (Most YouTube items can be copied and preserved for CCD/ Youth/Adult classes using this procedure. Only some videos will show the sign “No link found” which means that you cannot copy them. But you can copy it through Google search)

1)  The seven sacraments: “101 sacraments” – Busted Halos series

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL60396574E0A0B9A2  (no link to copy)

 

1) Baptism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05YB2jdHLsY&list=PL6B4C7AFE0C248511

2) Confirmation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt32SyDWuW8&list=PL6B4C7AFE0C248511&index=2

 Fr. Barron:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4RLXgSneEaw

3) Anointing of the sick;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEppjWNO2y4&index=3&list=PL6B4C7AFE0C248511

4) Sacrament of penance:

1 &2:  Fr. Dave Dyer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz5-vu6A58E&list=PL6B4C7AFE0C248511&index=8

2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=oJg29UG6028

3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=R04tUsSC5WA

4) Fr. Barron on confession

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RlGnBeFz8BU

5) Four reasons why we confess to a priest:? By Ken Yasinski

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=nIAhOvcD9ng

Why and How to make confession? Step by step

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=m0V93Q54HTY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tvo0OCcp600

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=jgFndZIH568

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=lVSa0aSgdxk

5) The Holy Eucharist:  1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMSiHGTBdGk&list=PL6B4C7AFE0C248511&index=12

2)https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=10RVv4vGan8  (USCCB by Msgr. Zenz)

3)Eucharist as sacrament (Fr. Barron) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=PFsFv-TWVfY

4)Eucharist as sacrifice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=z6ROgZfVu6o

5) Eucharist as real presence:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sgy_TFeIyiM

6) Further lessons on real presence Presencehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=3BsVC77Yu7g

7) How to receive Holy Communion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qdGkTdv4Dt4#!

6) Matrimony: a

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=uq2RDYlOLrs

Marriage preparation questions: Fr. Tom Elliott

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sN2bIkpH5RE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=wasWQSeKhxI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq2RDYlOLrs&list=PL6B4C7AFE0C248511&index=7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-ts=1421914688&v=qR41fFtPBzM&x-yt-cl=84503534&feature=player_detailpage

Praying together as a couple: Fr. Tom Elliott

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R3ORxh4-c8&feature=player_embedded

 

7) Sacrament of Holy Orders: 1) Fr. Dwyer (Sacraments 101) No link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&list=PL60396574E0A0B9A2&v=q904xIwxnSc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q904xIwxnSc

Watch https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL60396574E0A0B9A2  or visit Bustedhalo.com  for beautiful YouTube lessons for kids & the youth.

Additional YouTube presentations by others

Fr. Steven Bell’s “Sacraments series:”

 

http://resources.archkck.org/media/MEVb52

 

Busted Halo series: articles & Videos: http://bustedhalo.com/

 

More YouTube presentations

 

Fr. Barron’s famous online free videos

http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/video/

Fr. Barron’s Catholicism series- free online

http://brandonvogt.com/catholicismseries/

2) Youth questions answered in YouTube

1) Chastity – Cattie Rose (Hilarious!!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbmVotesBQI

2) Why wait until marriage to have sexMark Gungor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pDNe2R9U8k&feature=player_embedded&list=PLQWplwgh82nNkZT0_TmT5WpG_UtvQrEOn

3) Why Choose Chastity? http://catholicbridge.com/catholic/chastity.php

Why condoms don’t work to prevent STDs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=85114404&v=YYtH3x2GiG8&feature=player_embedded&x-yt-ts=1422579428

4) Archbishop Sheen on Youth and sex ( par I, II, II, IV)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZgWOmnSoIY&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-N2u4QPrK2I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Qybg9tA7gKA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=xWTPpGBTo4g

 

5) Emily on Chastity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msY_cmi9WC8

 

6) Parents: Talk to your teen about sex & chastity!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnh7DCRX1TI

 

7) Understanding porn

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgAYDNwTEAM

 

8) Pornography addiction part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZISqNyIwJQE

 

9) Pornography addiction part II

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oKo_JHAYPE

10) Why wait until marriage to have sexMark Gungor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pDNe2R9U8k&feature=player_embedded&list=PLQWplwgh82nNkZT0_TmT5WpG_UtvQrEOn

11) Why Choose Chastity? http://catholicbridge.com/catholic/chastity.php

12) Why condoms don’t work?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YYtH3x2GiG8

 

13) Is it wrong to drink alcohol?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-ts=1422579428&v=Yxd9RpvDETg&x-yt-cl=85114404&feature=player_embedded

14) How to be happy?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=liIdQ-m8Qtw&x-yt-ts=1422579428&x-yt-cl=85114404

15)  part I: Morals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JNcXbsEyKg

 

16) Part II Doctrines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg33yqBo5l4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8Uh3WhMX8g

 

17) Church and evolution

https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=85114404&v=eq-ZLC3ubO4&x-yt-ts=1422579428&feature=player_detailpage

Creation or evolution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=85114404&v=f1ztVJfytVU&x-yt-ts=1422579428&feature=player_detailpage Evolution or creation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFUnf3E_rGE

Part II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg33yqBo5l4 Doctrines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8Uh3WhMX8g

Evolution or creation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFUnf3E_rGE

Devil: https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=85114404&v=IfBP6UGz_O0&x-yt-ts=1422579428&feature=player_detailpage

 

18) Sexual morality questions answered: visit Q& A in  http://chastity.com/

19) Why choose chastity? A comprehensive study: http://www.catholicbridge.com/catholic/chastity.php

3) RCIA YouTube classes by Fr. Tom Elliot (Click on the URL links) Fr. Elliott’s classes are the best RCIA classes in the YouTube (Fr. Tony)

>>>Just click on the link (URL) to open or copy the link in Google Search<<<

Procedure for downloading these YouTube videos to USB

1) Open: http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001002.htm

2) Copy & paste the URL (web address) of the video in the box  under no 2

3) Click on “download the video” 4) Once video is downloaded, click on MP 4 720p or 360p. 5) Click on Save as. 6) Click on Desktop. Within the time shown, the video will be on the Desktop. 7) Right click on the video icon after inserting a USB to your computer 8) Click on “Removable Disk.” The video will be transferred to your USB in a minute 8) Insert the USB in any computer or DVD player and open it to watch the video. (Most YouTube items can be copied and preserved for CCD/ Youth/Adult classes using this procedure. Only some videos will show the sign “No link found” which means that you cannot copy them.

 

1) Conversion and an Intro to RCIA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzqcEc46ieY&list=PL8VQPaaPgmPskYJxlIModQpzKoDjS_X31&feature=player_detailpage

2) Tour of a Catholic church

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=JWgXU4R6_DY

3) The Creed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvFSYvIirmk&feature=player_detailpage

4) Jesus Christ:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=le9mxGC-5Xg

5) The Bible part I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=gaT3bFptqqQ

6) The Bible part II

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VsQvGAqEHdM

7) Prayer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZvv5PsWmRs&feature=player_detailpage13) 8) The Mass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEro_SKu8SE&feature=player_detailpage9) Church history part I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_UmDXTJ90w&feature=player_detailpage 

10) Church history part II

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAlR4abSHiM&feature=player_detailpage

11) II Vatican Coucil & liturgical calendar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45nPLMBlEPg&feature=player_detailpage

12) Mary and the saints

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzzTeDrmL4Y&feature=player_detailpage13) Introduction to Sacraments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thwmygXTwq8&feature=player_detailpage

13b) The sacrament of Baptism by Fr. Dyer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05YB2jdHLsY&list=PL6B4C7AFE0C248511

13c) The sacrament of confirmation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qt32SyDWuW8&list=PL6B4C7AFE0C248511&index=2

14) Sacrament of the Eucharist

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=le9mxGC-5Xg

15) The Sacrament of marriage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wasWQSeKhxI&feature=player_detailpage

 16) The sacrament of Holy Orders

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Z6vihWJZjn8

17) The Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngP_v4KC2gc&feature=player_detailpage

18) The Sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqyCYn9tn0M&feature=player_detailpage

19) Suffering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nk5eSJdrsw&list=PL8VQPaaPgmPskYJxlIModQpzKoDjS_X31&feature=player_detailpage

20) The Last things – death, judgment, purgatory, heaven, hell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceCHVbJfuko&feature=player_detailpage

21) Church and community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJgFPEb-nFs&list=PL8VQPaaPgmPskYJxlIModQpzKoDjS_X31&feature=player_detailpage

Holy Land-1- by Rick Steve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg1unr6eNpQ&feature=player_detailpage

4) Popular liturgical hymns

1) Here in this place …..Gather us in the lost..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vBMHAfLXghA

2) All the ends of the earth…….O sing a new song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Z2w9XWVuX-M

3) Awake from your slumber…….Let us build the city of God

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=KSyu-a8ov7A

4) Longing for light …….Christ be our light…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caA4sIXkD44&list=RDcaA4sIXkD44&feature=player_detailpage

5) I the Lord of the sea and sky…..Here I am Lord….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=K6fYAiqV-Bs

6) All creatures of one God and King

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0d3gO6qDLNA

7) Amazing Grace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=u4qbmPpfG6s

8) Blest are they who are poor in spirit (no lyrics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=chqY9S1Lm2w

9) You satisfy the hungry heart (no lyrics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=c–MydaMidQ

10) Hail holy queen enthroned

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=HwVt3q336nw

11) Immaculate Mary your praises we sing (no lyrics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=EsoVBQvaLDM

 12) Holy God we praise your name

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=TVBQYnfkiBM

13) On eagle’s wings

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvpjxfWrjzY&feature=player_detailpage

14) One bread one body

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6xIdDYiA9A&feature=player_detailpage

15) Hail Mary full of grace….Gentle woman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RERoQ1biLdE&feature=player_detailpage

16) On this day o beautiful mother

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDjlNcYp1b0&feature=player_detailpage

17) You shall cross the barren desert…..Be not afraid, I go before you (Funeral)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBxWQIPbOig&feature=player_detailpage

18) Now thank we all Our God (Funeral)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1v8kHKX61fg&feature=player_detailpage&list=PL13E82693F9E3A3AF

19) I heard the voice of Jesus say  (funeral)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AmFu58Tk2Y&feature=player_detailpage

20) Alleluia sing to Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL13E82693F9E3A3AF&v=2-tX-D8rW8E&feature=player_detailpage

21) O Lord my God …..Then sings my soul….. how great thou art

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL13E82693F9E3A3AF&v=Cc0QVWzCv9k&feature=player_detailpage

22) Glory to God in the highest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sZNsKic0vmw

23 ) Silent night, holy night

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T4WB2zfmps&list=RDiyInjf1bEZE&feature=player_detailpage

24) Seek ye first the kingdom of God

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-7spyhVBrA4

 Apologetic videos

https://youtu.be/vJo1OZcLtlA – Once saved always saved hetresy

 

Incomplete (Please add to this list hymns of your choice used in your church)

Note: You can download all these videos into one 8GB USB using one of the two procedures given above. I have downloaded most of them in an 8GB USB and I use it on a 50’’ TV in our parish hall for CCD, Youth, RCIA & Adult classes. Fr. Tony (akadavil@gmail.com). You will find it a very effective way of teaching because of the audio-visual presentation.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fr. Anthony. Kadavil, St. John the Baptist Church, P. O. Box 417, Grand Bay, AL  36541