I'm trying to keep up! :o)
What Do Catholics Believe" post.
I've found that many people are much like I am, in that they have always wanted to ask the questions, but were too "afraid" to do so because...well...This Is About RELIGION! It's a touchy subject! LOL (and frankly, we are all adults and feel that we should already know much of this...but we don't...so here we are...)
I have been busy reading, questioning, sifting through the many answers and gathering information to try to answer the inquiries.
For those who are reading this blog for the first time, you should know that I am "just" a regular Bible-Belt Protestant who happened to move to Michigan.
This blog is our family blog...left for my children...so they can read mom's ramblings when I've gone the way of the dodo bird.
Cutting to the chase: Basically, everything goes into the blog because it's our scrapbook. Literally...I have it printed into a hard back book for a keepsake....Aren't you glad kids...grandkids.... :o)
It just so happens that I have, here in Michigan, met quite a few wonderful families over the past few years that happen to be PRACTICING Catholics. I have had the uncanny luck to become close friends with many of "them" AND have open, honest discussions with them regarding religion...that do NOT lead to debates, anger or even many uneasy moments. What a hoot! I blogged about this a year or so ago, and the post basically took on a life of its own. Now, I'm on post number four! LOL
These wonderful people have put up with me. They love me even though I have said completely ABSURD things like..."Why do you worship Mary?" "Why don't you pray to Jesus?" and "You have dirt on your forehead." (Ash Wednesday...for my Protestant friends. It's something like washing feet but enforces being humble AND repentant.)
So, if you are a protestant...especially from the Bible Belt...who wants to know "What's up with those Catholics"...I would suggest that you start from the beginning with post number one. Like-wise for Catholics as you'll get "our side" too. :o)
If you are a protestant and you have a question or information for me, please feel free to drop me a line. I don't "allow" anonymous comments on this blog. This helps me "weed" out those who wish to flame these posts. I'm truly thankful for the forthright, respectful, questions and comments that have been posed and enjoy looking up the answers.
So without further adieu...
Here is part 4 of MY understandings from "the other" Christians.
In this post, I'll pose the question asked to me and then give the answer I understood from research.
HERE WE GO
Question 1: "PRAYING" TO SAINTS
It is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that Catholics do not pray to saints or Mary. Catholics can ask saints or Mary to pray FOR them. Catholics believe that asking saints for their prayers is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for us. The issue that comes to light, however is that some Catholics diverges from official Roman Catholic teaching. Some Catholics do pray directly to saints and/or Mary, asking them for help instead of asking only for prayers to Jesus.
Don't Catholics Practice Necromancy and The Use of a Medium? (ie: Praying to "Dead" Saints)
I've said before that the idea of talking to people in Heaven is preposterous to Protestants. We only pray to Jesus. That's it. So the notion of asking a "dead" person in Heaven to pray for us is just really...it feels weird to even think about it...we just don't do it.
When I noted this in my previous "Catholic/Protestant Posts", I refrained from using more direct language in the hope that I could bypass this touchy subject but the question has been asked so an answer is in order.
Here's the deal...
The reason for this belief is due to the following scripture where Moses warns the Israelites against pagan practices that they will find in the new land. Here is the passage:
Most Protestants believe that Catholics practice Necromancy when they talk with "Dead" Saints in Heaven.
There, the cat's out of the bag...pretty noisy cat...but it's out non-the-less.
Deuteronomy 18: 9-14: " 9When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. 11Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. 14For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do."
Catholics have read this passage. The Catholic understanding is that Moses is speaking to God's people and warning them against leaving their faith to join a cult. Ta Da. That's the sum total of that passage.
Protestant: What is the "sum total"?
Catholic Answer: Love God, Don't Join a Cult against God.
Protestant: Well, that's just not what that means...
Well...maybe...maybe not...let's get into the rest of what Catholics believe about this subject and then decide...
Catholic: Catholics believe that ALL Christians are one in Christ.
Catholic: Catholics worship Jesus; So they are not summoning "dead" spirits, because...my Catholic friend reminded me.....the Saints are NOT Dead...so the whole "conjuring spirits" thing is a moot point. Catholics don’t talk to the dead OR follow a different god.
To which I answered with a Protestant..."Huh?"
Answer to my Protestant "Huh?": Catholics believe that Christians are "one in Christ" and thus "never die."
"For as in one body we have many members, and all members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another."
John 11: 25-26:
25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Well, do I believe that? In my Protestant way, sure. We're alive "in Heaven."
Let's keep reading shall we?
Luke: 20: 37-38
"37Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him."
Protestant: Well okay, we are "alive" but He's talking about IN HEAVEN...it's not like they know what's going on down here...
Well, I did some digging. I guess I'd have to tell that to Elijah and Moses then....because One "died" and one was whisked away into Heaven...but after their "deaths"....Jesus came down to earth. Just before Jesus was put to "death"...ahem....He made a point to take some of his disciples on a little hike.
During that walk, both Elijah and Moses APPEARED, very much alive again on earth, and began having a chat with Jesus!
Not only that...it all happened right there in front of HUMANS and God Himself was yelling at the disciples, freaking them out, telling them to Pay Attention!
1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." 5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" 6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus."
(See also: Mark 9:2 and Luke 9:20)
Side Note: For many years I thought people were in Heaven completely oblivious to our lives here on earth. That passage makes me wonder. Then I read this...It's Long... but only because this scripture DETAILS nearly EVERY person of Faith in the Bible and then ties it up in a nice little bow to let us know that they are ALL SURROUNDING US....well...you just read it and see what you think...
By Faith1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for. 3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. 5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. 20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. 23By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. 24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. 31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Chapter 12: 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Did you see that? He names practically EVERY Wonderful Christian in the Bible. He details their GREAT Faith and then tells us that we are "Surrounded By Such a great cloud of witnesses" (Them!! The "Dead" people...who are really Alive.)
It is within THIS context that Catholics speak with and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.They are not "conjuring dead spirits." They are praising God WITH, praying to God WITH, COMMUNING WITH our ALIVE brothers and sisters in Christ!
Now ALL of that said...
What Did The Apostles Say To Believe? Didn't the guys who walked with Jesus give us something to believe before we had a Bible to buy?
This is the Apostles Creed...written by all 12 Apostles...this is from the people who wrote the Bible...and is what Catholic also believe....and....what Baptists believe.
1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and life everlasting.
Well...fiddle...There it is...right in the Bible... So Catholics believe we never are separated from other Saints...we're all Alive...and coming together to worship Christ at all times...even after death on this earth.
Also, Catholics will point to Revelation 5:6 where we will read about the elders who actually give prayers to Jesus...just like the Catholics happen to believe...
John sees in Heaven "6Then I saw a Lamb, (Jesus) looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the the twenty-four elders (not angels) fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints (Christians) and they sang a new song: " You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
Not only did/will those men hand Jesus our Prayers but the Angels will too apparently. In the book of Revelation, we read that after the bowl full of prayers and incense are placed on the altar: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3-4).
Shewwwww...So, there's THAT topic. What a doozey!
QUESTION #2: Why Is the Catholic Bible Different?
(Question posed by Tarla on Facebook)
This is usually where I would say "Protestant's Believe"... But, I'm not quite sure how ignorant I am compared to my Protestant counterparts and/or how well versed my Protestant counterparts are on this subject. So for this Question...I'm just going to type my heart out with what I've discovered. Here we go...
Please be aware that this particular question seemed ever so innocent to me. I didn't "think" I would find anything very interesting when I began researching this question. I do believe that this one...caught me off guard. In my Protestant mind I always assumed that the Apostles and early Christians worshiped like I do. It never dawned on me to actually check to see how they worshiped.
The answers I found are a bit unsettling; to me anyway. The research is causing me to delve more deeply into why I believe the "things" I do.
Here we go to answer Tarla's Original Question.Why is the Catholic Bible Different?
Both Protestant and Catholic Bibles have the same New Testament...All 27 books are the same.
Catholic Bibles have 7 extra books in the Old Testament...BUT Protestants HAD THOSE SAME BOOKS in The King James Version....and took them out only 240 years ago.
What!? Oh yes. Truth it be.
These books are called the Apocrypha. These books were in ALL of our Bibles until....are you ready?... Until the 1700's! In 1769 publishers decided to take out the Apocrypha. (Granted...the push came from Puritans, and nobody knew what to do with the books for so many years, so it wasn't a great leap when they were dropped...it wasn't "just to save money" (see below: long version) but I can totally see how saving money played a part in this)
SO...All the people from Jesus' time...through the Bible making, printing, selling, preaching times...for OVER 1 Thousand 7 hundred years...had these books in their Bibles. What a Hoot! I'm 39 years old and did NOT know that!
For many years I thought that the Catholic Bible was written by man...not the Holy Spirit. I "thought" they used something called the Catechism as their Bible. (Turns out that the Catechism is their doctrine, like Protestant churches have our own doctrine...statement of faith...rules of the church)
I didn't know that Catholics actually use "The Bible." It turns out that they do read The Bible because their doctrine is based on The Bible...and we're talking...The Same Bible.
Here is the difference between "their" Bible and "ours"...for the past 240 or so years...since 1769.
Both Protestant and Catholic Bibles have the same 27 books in the New Testament.
Catholic Bibles have 7 extra books in the Old Testament.
Why?Before Jesus' time, around 2200 years ago, Jewish scholars put together all of the Jewish Scriptures. All of the books together in their entirety are called the Septuagint. (What we know as the Old Testament plus more books that we've taken out over time...since Jesus' resurrection.)
The books of the Septuagint were placed in the original Authorized King James Version of The Bible. I was always taught that we read The King James Version because it doesn't change. Well, that's a fine how do ya do.
Side Note: The oldest translation of the Septuagint "still around" is from the time of Alexander the Great which is from about 350 A.D.
When the New Testament was being compiled with the Old Testament, some of the books of the Septuagint were moved around in The Bibles..some of the books were put in the appendix...sometimes various books of the Old Testament would be put in the beginning of the Bibles as a history about Bible Times. You just never knew in what order the Bible would be arranged next.
Eventually, over 100's and 100's of years...some of the books of the Bible were named the Apocrypha. They remained in the Bibles. Around 241 years ago, various Protestant people decided they didn't want the Apocrypha in their Bibles. The publishers took notice because they could save money by keeping the Apocrypha out of the Bibles...so they were taken out....with Martin Luther's Blessing....as he began messing with words in the Bible and what-not well before the 1700's. He's the one who added the word "alone" or "apart"....as in faith alone....at one point. He CHANGED Romans 3:28 and thus, started the debate between that verse and the teachings in the book of James.
Read more here...
And Read more here....
Side Note: So, am I to understand that ALL of those 1500 or so years...The Bible was translated by MANY people, Kings and Church Officials...and taught in Church....and NONE of them changed any words...but Martin Luther..."had"...to change a word or two to "make it work." (I'm getting nauseated...I need someone to help me with this...Anybody?) Now it's back to normal...I think. :o(
When Luther was challenged on any of his views of which Scripture to keep and which ones to take out, Luther said, "Thus I will have it, thus I order it, my will is reason enough."
This is one of the things that caught me off guard...Okay, there I admit it.
Granted, at the time when Luther was a Practicing Catholic, the Catholic Church in one area of the world was "selling salvation" and claiming that viewing or buying "things" belonging to Biblical Characters of the Bible would save them. Of course, that's terrible…AND non-Christian people were being killed for going against the Church....that was, of course, even worse.
The Faithful Practicing Catholics were still practicing the age old religion...some even underground...but the Pope at that time was a "wolf in sheep's clothing." So Luther had every right to demand that those false teachings be dissolved. (I hope I'm getting this right!)
We all know about the Inquisition...the Medieval practices through history where people were just killing each other left and right. We know that the "Catholic Church" did this. I have to interject that in my studies, I see that it wasn't "the Church" so much as it was just humans all over the place who were crazy. I found, in my historical studies that even good ole Martin Luther was quite the bugger himself. (Yes, our protestant founder...okay, I admit it) He wasn't "selling salvation" but he was calling for people to be put to death for their sins...just like people in the Catholic Church had been! Ack!!
Here are a few snippets...I'm only posting two but there are many.
Side Note: I'm putting this in here to be fair to both Protestants and Catholics. We all stunk back then...and before this time. History is riddled with our pathetic human carnage. That's sin for ya. We Protestants do like to "poo poo" that period of the Catholic Church for their heresies, but the truth is that both sides had some crazy notions about religion and how to handle those who don't believe like we do, during that time in history. So turnabout is FAIR play. :o)
Concerning the female sorcerer. . . . Why does the law name women more than men here, even though men are also guilty of this?
Luther "Because women are more susceptible to those superstitions of Satan; take Eve, for example. They are commonly called "wise women." Let them be killed."(Sermon on Exodus 22:18: "You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live," 1526, WA XVI, p. 551; in Susan C. Karant-Nunn & Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, ibid, p. 231)
Between September 2 and 17, 1540. No. 5207.
In Dessau there was a twelve-year old boy like this: (140) Luther: "he devoured as much as four farmers did, and he did nothing else than eat and excrete. Luther suggested that he be suffocated."
Somebody asked, “For what reason?”
Luther replied, “Because I think he's simply a mass of flesh without a soul. Couldn’t the devil have done this, inasmuch as he gives such shape to the body and mind even of those who have reason that in their obsession they hear, see, and feel nothing?“The devil is himself their soul."
Side Note: So, there were some crazy things happening in the church at that time, though I found it interesting that during that time there was NO "new" Dogma written or declared in the Catholic Church....but in my denomination...Luther changed the age old teachings after he started his own church....I think....
Can Anyone...give me your particular take on this, please.
Can someone, tell me when/where the Protestant religious teachings were taught...BEFORE Luther...in what Churches? I'm having a hard time finding "my" church history pre-Luther in historical records. I can only find "catholic" like service examples.
So, after ALL THAT MESS....
Eventually, in the protestant religions, the Apocrypha books were deemed NOT to have been divinely inspired and were taken out of the King James Version altogether.....only 241 years ago. (that made life easier I suppose...all of the sudden...someone decided they were not inspired...so there's that to chew on...my head hurts)
I had NEVER been taught about this...NOR did I ask about Biblical History so there's that situation. I have to take some fault upon myself for this as I am an adult and fully capable of truly, openly and honestly studying the history for myself...(but I digress)
Here is another source if anyone cares to delve into this more deeply.
So, the point is....Our Bibles used to be the same. The Old Testament is different....now.
QUESTION #3: WHY NOT EASTERN ORTHODOX?
(Question Posed by Emily K: What I want to know is why Catholic, and not Easter Orthodox. I'd like to compare both of those, since they both lean heavily on the church fathers.)
From Crossing The Tiber: "There is no central leadership to tie the various jurisdictions into one coherent whole. Thus the Eastern Orthodoxy "Church" is actually "Churches." Each jurisdiction is headed by a patriarch, but there is no single, overall hierarchical structure as in the Catholic Church. The Orthodox have always depended upon the SECULAR ruler, the emperor, to call the various Orthodox churches together for ecumenical councils. Since there is no emperor representing all the Orthodox churches, they have been unable to come together as a unified whole for more than one thousand year. They hold to the same ancient traditions as Catholics but have no mechanism for unification into one cohesive whole to this day. Therefore, they are in actuality churches, in the plural."
This is a paraphrased quote from a Catholic message board where I received this answer.
"The Catholic Church is composed of 22 distinct (but not seperated) Churches. The largest is, of course, the Roman Catholic Church. But there are several others such as, Byzantine Catholic and The Chaldean Church.... Most of the Christians in Iraq are actually Catholics of the Chaldean Church. There are Eastern Orthodox Churches within the 22 Churches. What is really neat about the Chaldean Church is that their liturgy is still in Aramaic, which was the language that Jesus spoke as His 'native' language. Each of those liturgies (sermons) is very distict from the regular Catholic liturgy, but has many of the same elements. Readings from Scripture, a homily (sermon), and a celebration of the Eucharist (Communion) And all are equally 'Catholic.'"Strangely enough...the Eastern Orthodox Catholics that are "once removed" from The Catholic Church are actually in negotiations to become part of The Catholic Church again...so...it's all good any way you slice it.
QUESTION #4: WHAT IS DOGMA?...
Original Question: (prefers to remain anonymous) "Do Catholics have to believe every single answer in the Catechism?"
As with any religion, there is a community of people that make up the body. Can we find a religion where every member believes all of the teachings in the exact same way? In a cult, maybe, in a recognized religion...it's highly unlikely.
When I heard the word Dogma I thought it meant "Catechism." I "thought" that every Catholic HAD to believe every single answer in that book. I "thought" that the Catechism WAS "their" Bible. I "thought" wrong.
In my defense, there was a long period of time when many Catholic Churches basically were headed by a Priest who didn't "push" the idea of reading the Bible. Many Catholics studied what the Church taught and never opened a Bible...some didn't even own one! This is not true of every Catholic person but in the past 30 years or so, there have been many Catholics who will attest that they didn't have the best "Sunday School." They feel that they are just now, as adults, really understanding their faith as it "should" have been presented. So, I came by this "misunderstanding" honestly.
The word Dogma is usually thought to mean just "the teachings of a church." Dogma can relate to any church really...their "Statement of Beliefs" is considered to be their "dogma."
In the Catholic Church, however, there is "Dogma" (teachings) that will NEVER change. There are indeed teachings that may be understood better, or answered in a more understandable way as time goes by; as the Catechism is less about beating people over the head with what they "have" to believe and more about answering questions that have been posed to the Deacons over these thousands of years. However, when the word Dogma is used in Catholicism, I'm finding that this is usually the word that defines the Teachings that are Unchangeable...
THE "you have to believe it, it's what Catholicism stands for"...DOGMA of the Catholic Church...
So, what is DOGMA in the Catholic Church? What does a Catholic "Have" to believe?
Answer: THE NICENE CREED
THE NICENE CREED....What is THAT???
Well, this, my protestant friends is the big question. This is "what Catholics have to believe to be Catholic."
The word "Catholic" means "Universal"...that's important later one... Here we go..."We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and our salvation He came down from Heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic,(universal) and apostolic (taught from Jesus' Apostles) Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.(Confirmation Baptism...the one where we are older and choose it..it also involves asking for forgiveness from Jesus) We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."
The "Catholic" and "Baptism" parts are taken from here..."There is one body and one spirit," Paul wrote, "just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all" (Eph.4:4-5).
They believe that the Holy Spirit came down upon the Church at Pentecost at a time when "there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5). It was then that the Holy Spirit temporarily enabled the apostles to speak in the languages of all these various nations. This was an absolutely powerful sign that the Church was destined for all men everywhere, (universal). Many people accepted the faith at that time and began the teachings of the Church. They carried those teachings back to their land(s).
QUESTION #5: What is Purgatory? The actual question was..."How can they possibly think there is such a place as purgatory?!" LOL
The history of Purgatory dates back before Jesus was here on earth. Click Here for the History. Basically Catholics believe that when a person dies, they will have the true knowledge that "God Is a Consuming Fire" Hebrews 12:29. It is at that time that the soul will go through Judgment day... immediately.
Catholics believe that the person/soul will find out where they are going right then. They either go to Heaven "in the Fire of God's Love", Hell "in the Fire of God's punishment" or "walk through fire"...(Purgatory)...to be purified by the Fire of Gods purgation....before they enter Heaven. Read a LOT more HERE
Purgatory is a completely foreign concept to Protestants. I can safely say that most protestants have never read the writings of the Early Church leaders...(the leaders of the Churches right after Christ's resurrection)…apart from the King James Version we know today. That's true for me anyway. I didn’t even know there were records about how churches were run and what-not.
The idea that it was "common knowledge" that there could be a "walk of fire" has never been presented to most Protestants. This is why we cannot understand how we would "Need" a "Walk of Fire" if Jesus has saved us and forgiven us from our sins.
Here’s The "Rub": there is often talk among Protestants about what happens if we are about to have a car wreck or if our heart suddenly stops beating and we don't have time to pray for forgiveness....knowing that we all sin every day. We all "assume" that we are forgiven because of Jesus' Precious Grace....however....we do have this nagging knowledge that "NO" sin will enter into Heaven. (ack!)
This is the place that ties that little psychological dance into a nice bow for me. I understand the "need" for “a walk of fire” in "that" circumstance....though I still believe Jesus blood covers every sin...but we still pray for forgiveness every day...so...you can see the circle of never-ending thought there.
Side Note: I "think" that the big issue with Purgatory is that many Protestants "think" Catholics are trying to "pray people out of Hell." We don't think of Purgatory at all so to us, it's hell...not a walk of fire. We also "think" that Catholics assume they will automatically get to go to either Heaven or Purgatory just because they are Catholic. We "think" that Catholics believe they are safe from hell right after their infant baptism. Which, my protestant friends, is NOT the case. :o) So, you know...we can stop thinking that now. LOL
QUESTION #6: ORTHODOX AND ANGLICANISM
(Question posed by "X" in the blog comments)
Are you learning about Orthodox Catholicism?
I'm not really asking much about Orthodox (Eastern) Catholicism for two reasons...my friends are Roman Catholic so that is where my journey for understanding began. I did, however, take a look at the Eastern theology in my quest. I followed the schism that took place over the years with Orthodox and Roman Catholicism. It "looks" to me that they basically worshiped very much the same way for 1000 years...there were "small" differences, as there are with any religion due to different people in different church buildings having their own social dynamics...but for the most part they worshiped alike. The basic teachings "look" like they are the same to me. The "meat and potatoes" of each seem to be, at their heart, the same as far as the "serving Christ and getting to Heaven" parts. The "thing" that set the two apart, in my mind, was the teaching of "filoque."(and something about unleavened bread)
I have always believed that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one, and not separate. It is my understanding that, in order to bring this point "home," the Roman Church inserted the term "filioque" into the heart of their beliefs...the Nicene Creed.
Traditionally, the Holy Spirit was seen to proceed from God the Father; the insertion of the "filioque" clause meant that, in the West, the Holy Spirit was believed to proceed from God the Father and God the Son. The Catholic Church in the East felt that Rome had overstepped its authority by altering the Creed so they decided not to follow that Pope anymore. (source)
I happen to believe that The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one, yet separate, and since the division, to me, amounts to saying Potato/PotAto...the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son or Comes from the Son or Comes from the father...they are all the same to me...though God is the Father...at any rate....that ended the bunny trail for me on the Orthodox Church.
To sum up:
Though there were small differences in Roman and Eastern Catholic churches, they all were united until the Nicene creed changed. Basically; the division came about because of the insertion that emphasizes that Jesus, the Son, is of equal divinity with God, the Father, while the absence of it in Eastern Christianity concentrates on the Father.
"There is one body and one spirit," Paul wrote, "just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all" (Eph.4:4-5).
"One Lord" to me is The Father, Son and Holy Spirit combined. If we take away any one of them we don't have God...so...that's my thought process for the questioner.
QUESTION #7: DID PEOPLE CONFESS THEIR SINS TO PRIESTS "RIGHT" AFTER JESUS ASCENSION?
Yes indeedy....though the practice of public confession was practiced quite a lot in some regions. Public...as in...stand in the middle of town and tell EVERYONE your sins...for a long time...until the Priests told them they were "done" and allowed them to take communion again! ACK!!
Thank goodness most churches decided to nix that ridiculousness and made confession of sins a more private thing as time went on! Here are a few excerpts from various sources regarding what the authors witnessed being practiced by Christians in various places just after Jesus Resurrection.
Examples of early worship in the years Before the Bible was compiled into a book.
What the Catechism says about confession.
The short version: People used to confess to a priest and pray to Jesus for forgiveness...just as they do today. Also, Catholics believe that "Penance" is to help people reunify themselves with their Christian Family (peers) in church. Penance is not the "thing" that saves the person. Jesus saves the person.
19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
Here is more stuff on Confession
Here is more stuff on Saints
Now that I've done some research I have questions.
Can anyone...on either side of the "others" isle... help me out with some answers?
Thanks! :o)1. Who created the "Final" version of the Bible?
2. Where in the Bible does it say that "they" were appointed the power to make the final version?
3. What did people use in the Hundreds of years before the Bible was compiled? They got to hear the Apostles preach and worship like the apostles. Right?
4. If the literacy rate was under 10%, and there were no compiled Bibles for hundreds of years after Jesus' death, how did people learn about Jesus in those hundreds of years?
Bible? No, it wasn't written in fully or compiled yet.
Oral Tradition handed down from generation to generation? Yes.
6. If there was no New Testament or compiled Bible to read...for over 400 years...and none that could be bought until the year 1455….how could "Bible Only" have been the basis for early Christians? Didn't they "have" to rely on Oral Tradition, just as the Jews did for all those thousands of years before Jesus was born?
7. When did "Bible Only" theology take affect?
My head...is spinning...Anyone have some Protestant answers?
I feel like I should know the answers to these things by now!
Okay, I'm ready for comments.
I'm absolutely positive that I have messed up somewhere! :o)
Please give me the Protestant answers to my questions and some more Protestant history before Luther...I would especially like to see where the Apostles prayed at the altar for forgiveness, talked about Bible Only and precisely when Bible Only took affect.
Any history or Bible passages to back all that up would be great! :o) I'm all ears for any respectful dialogue, thoughts and comments! :o)
Thanks so much! This is fun!!
UPDATE: POST NUMBER 1: EVANGELICAL ME AND MY CATHOLIC FRIENDS
UPDATE: POST NUMBER 2: THE WHOLE CONFESSING TO A PRIEST THING
UPDATE: POST #3: WHAT DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE?
UPDATE: POST #4: DO CATHOLICS PRAY TO DEAD SAINTS?
UPDATE: POST #5: THE WHOLE RELIGION THING