I've learned a lot but the phrases that continually amaze me are ones regarding the Catholic religion.
As most of you know, I have been blogging about my Catholic friends and our family's religious journey for almost 2 years now. I can't believe it's been that long, but I went back to find my original post, and January 20th will mark the 2 year anniversary since I mustered the guts to post about religion and my thoughts on the matter.
I do get a kick out of reading my first post, because it is obvious that I had no intention at all of becoming Catholic when I wrote the thing. My full intention at that time was to give a nice nod to my Catholic friends and try to stop harassing them for answers about their beliefs.
Of course, we now know that the first post didn't stop my questions at all. The questions actually got "worse" and led to a second post and a third one, a fourth, and ultimately a 5th post where I announced that my husband is leading our family to Swim the Tiber. (That term means "become Catholic" for all my Protestant friends)
I've often felt a bit nutty for asking so many questions about the Catholic religion because I thought that I should know these things already, being that I was in my mid thirties when I began these dialogues. I just thought that I should have known the answers by that point, ya know?
Well, it turns out that I am not at all alone. There are many people on this earth who have NO idea what the Catholic Religion teaches. It has become apparent to me that many people only know what they've "heard" from one or two Catholics or from their preacher behind a pulpit. I know this because of the questions I see popping up on my Google traffic feed.
I mean the questions that I'm seeing in my blog feed are quite amazing...even to me. Were my questions this off base? I know I had some crazy questions over these past 2 years but now that I've studied a bit, I can't help but be amused and amazed at what some people actually "think" about Catholics!
Here are some real Quotes that people typed into Google before being led to this blog:
"Do Catholic pray to Jesus" and "Do Catholics think Jesus is important"
"Do Catholics believe Jesus and Satan are brothers"
"Why don't Catholics believe in Hell"
"Why don't Catholics read the Bible"
Was I this ignorant about the Catholic Faith? The answer is yes. Sadly, there is a HUGE need for a Protestant/Catholic hand shake where both sides can share their formal doctrine so that the ignorance is put to rest and we can go on with our lives.
To answer the questions:
QUESTION: "Do Catholics pray to Jesus?" or "Do Catholics think Jesus is important":
1. Mass (Church Service) begins with the Priest saying. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
2. Every Sunday at Mass the whole congregation says:
"Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen"
QUESTION: "Do Catholics believe Jesus and Satan are brothers"
ANSWER: Absolutely Not!
QUESTION: "Why don't Catholics believe in Hell"
ANSWER: Catholics absolutely believe in Hell. The Catechism is the official written doctrine of the Catholic Church. (Kind of like the Statement of beliefs for Protestant churches) In the Catechism look at answer 1035 "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."617 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."
QUESTION: "Why don't Catholics read the Bible"
ANSWER: If you ever go to a Catholic mass (church service) you will see that there are 2 parts to the service. The first part is called the "Liturgy of the Word." Basically the Bible is read for the first 30 minutes of mass! According to the current liturgical schedule, if you attend mass every Sunday and holy days (i.e. Christmas) you will hear the entire Bible in three years.
1) Liturgy of the Word: You'll hear three Bible readings. OT, Psalm, NT, and a Gospel reading. Then a Homily (preaching) which comments on those readings. If you go to Mass every day, ya get a lot of Bible!
2) Liturgy of the Eucharist: Scripture, prayer, praise & worship - and the Eucharist. (Communion)
So, those are the answers to the questions I've seen lately from Google users from all over the world. I'm going to keep an eye on this. I just hope they found the answers they need.