Catholics: Could I ask you a few questions about your denomination that I find confusing?

Q: Catholics: Could I ask you a few questions about your denomination that I find confusing?

There are some things about your religion that I don’t understand and I’m wondering if you can help me…

* Why do you pray to the Mother Mary and Saints? From my readings of the Bible, it doesn’t say anywhere to do this. The only way to God is through His son, not his mother or saints.

* Why do you go to confession? Only God can forgive us for our sins, not a priest. So if you pray and ask God for forgiveness, what is the purpose of confession?

* Why are priests and nuns forbidden to marry? This is not mentioned in the Bible.

A: First of all, Catholicism is not a denomination. Catholicism is the one, true Church, that was founded, authorized, empowered, and eternally guaranteed by Jesus Christ, for the purpose of our salvation.

Catholicism is not based solely on the Bible. It is based on the revelations of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, on the teachings of the apostles, and on the continuing guidance of the Holy Spirit, who is the constant advocate of the Church and the arbiter of all divine truth, along with Jesus Christ, who is the head of the Catholic Church, and who remains at the very center of all Catholic worship.

The Bible was the Catholic Church’s idea … an idea that was inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Bible was not absolutely essential to the Church, since the Church did just fine without a Bible, for some 400 years.

Based on this, it is clear that the Bible follows the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. Anyone who doesn’t understand this has things bass-ackwards.

Prayer is the ordinary means of communication with our loved ones who are in Heaven, as facilitated by the Holy Spirit. Prayer is certainly related to, but distinctly different than worship, which is given to God alone.

Jesus promised that all who are invited into Heaven will share in his glory, and will receive, among other things, power and authority.

Catholics believe that it is acceptable to God, and quite appropriate for those in Heaven to assist their “kin folk” still alive here on earth, in obtaining salvation … since the right of kinsman to intercede for their own extended family is clearly stated in the Bible, and that same right is closely intertwined with the way our redemption in Jesus Christ was actually obtained.

Heaven does not pose a barrier to the ongoing work of our salvation in Christ.

The first thing the risen Jesus did was give his apostles the power to forgive sins in his name. It was the greatest head on attack against Satan, sin, and death that the world has ever seen, or ever will see … empowered by the grace of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice … and the Church continues to fight that battle, in the world today.

As a result, through the sacrament of reconciliation, Catholics enjoy absolute forgiveness for all their sins, right here and right now, virtually without exception, while everyone else will have to wait until Judgment Day to find out for sure if God has truly forgiven them. Catholics also appreciate the sacrament of reconciliation as a primary source of God’s superabundant grace … grace that is typically lost through sin.

Non-Catholics … even if they might be forgiven of their sins … have no particularly effective, specific way of replenishing the grace that was lost through sin … something which could leave them at a serious spiritual disadvantage.

It was Jesus who authorized those who could do it to remain celibate. Jesus was celibate, as well … something which certainly was not the “norm” when he walked the earth.

Many of the apostles were celibate, and others even gave up their marriages in order to better accomplish God’s work of evangelizing the world.

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