Freedom of Conscience


Q. Aren’t we free to follow our conscience even if we disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church?

A. No. The true voice of our conscience is the law of God written on our hearts. If the “voice” of our conscience seems to be conflicting with Church teaching then it is NOT the actual voice of our conscience but the voice of Our Enemy enticing us away from the Truth. Unless your heart is completely hardened you will hear a still soft voice saying to your heart, “This is the Way, walk in it.” You will actually know which voice is True, if you sincerely try to discern the truth. But, you may not want to follow it, and so try to convince your self that the Other Voice is true, the voice of our culture is true, etc. “If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.”

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Contraception



Q. Why is Natural Family Planning OK but contraception is a grave sin? What is the difference?

A. The difference is that one is indulgence in pleasure and the other practices self control. Both methods have the same effect, limiting family size, but that does not make them equal morally. For instance, if Grandma is terminally ill you could kill her or allow her to die naturally. The end result is the same but the moral difference could not be greater. Never do evil so that good may come.

The couple who practices NFP abstains from pleasure in order to limit family size while the contracepting couple indulges in pleasure stripped from its meaning and purpose.

The NFP couple practices total self giving love in their union but the contracepting couple rejects the fertility of their mate and so the union is incomplete.

God designed sex and eating to be pleasurable so that we would not forget to procreate and nourish our bodies. Stripping the pleasure of sex away from its God-given purpose is disordered just like attempting to get the pleasure out of eating but avoiding the natural purpose by throwing up after every meal.

God created the marital union to be a tri-unity of pleasure, bonding and openess to children. The attempt to extract pleasure and bypass the purpose of sex and eating is called lust and bulimia.

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Missing Sunday Mass & Holy Days of Obligation



Q. Why is it a mortal sin to miss mass on Sundays?

A. Christ said, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Now one of these commandments is,

“Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.”

Thus God demands the sanctification of one day in seven in a special way. His very use of the word “Remember” implies a grave obligation not to forget or omit this duty. It is a mortal sin to disobey God in this matter. But how are we Christians to observe this commandment? Who is to tell us? Our Lord says,

If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen.“Mt. 18:17

We must, then, hear the Church. Now the Catholic Church tells us that the central factor in the religion of Christ is the Mass, and that the chief thing in the sanctification of Sunday is to be present at the offering of that Sacrifice to God. This obliges under pain of mortal sin, unless sickness or other grave difficulties prevent such assistance at Mass. Remember that men are not only individual beings. They are also social beings. Therefore, they are obliged to worship God in their individual capacity and collectively as well. God has always demanded public worship and from the earliest Apostolic times Christians met regularly for religious exercises in common. Radio RepliesVol. 1: #1168

USA : HOLY DAYS OF OBLIGATION

The days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:

Every Sunday

January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; (Except in Southern California. Why? I don’t know) Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension;
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints;
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception;
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.

MORTAL SIN=Grave Sin + Knowledge+ Free Choice CCC

II. THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH These are the bare minimum that a person must do to be in good standing in the Faith of Jesus Christ.

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82 The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.83

The third precept (“You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season”) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.84

2043 The fourth precept (“You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church”) ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.85 The fifth precept (“You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church”) means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.86

The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his own abilities.87

You can view the Precepts of the church in the CCC

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Communion-Symbol Only?



Q. When Jesus said, “This is my body, eat it,” my friend says he was speaking symbolically.

A. No, that would be impossible. In the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke, to symbolically “eat the flesh” or drink the blood” of someone meant to persecute and assault him. Did you know that there are several places in the Bible where “eating flesh and drinking blood” is used in a symbolic or metaphorical way? Let’s take a look at what this phrase means when it is used symbolically/metaphorically.

Psalm 27:2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me…
Micah 3:2-3 “…you who hate good and love evil;…who eat my people’s flesh…”
Rev 17: 6 “I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.”
Rev. 17:16 “The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”

So, we see that when “eating flesh” and “drinking blood” is used metaphorically or symbolically in the Bible it means destruction and murder. And it is still true today. If you got a letter that said someone wanted “to eat your flesh and drink your blood” you would take it as an evil threat of some kind and not an invitation to loving communion. Jesus was speaking literally in John 6 but no one would know just what He had in mind until the Last Supper. So, communion in His body and blood is literal but not cannibalistic. Jesus feeds us spiritually with Bread from Heaven.

For other posts: Killing Jesus,Body & Blood, Bread From Heaven

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Does the Catholic Church Still Believe in Purgatory?



Q. Does the Catholic Church Still Believe in Purgatory?

A. Yes

Q. What is Purgatory?

A. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church

THE FINAL PURIFICATION, OR PURGATORY

1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

I Peter 1:7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

St. Gregory the Great: “As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.( Dial. 4,39:PL 77,396; cf. Mt 12:31.)

Mt. 12:31 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture:

Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

II Macc 12:46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

St. John Chrysostom: “Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.“, Hom. in 1 Cor. 41,5:PG 61,361; cf. Job 1:5.

Job 1:5 When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

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Conversation: Indulgences Nothing But Greed?


Q. “In 1517, Pope Leo X offered indulgences for those who gave alms to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

A. But do you know what an indulgence is?

Myths about Indulgences

by

Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers

Indulgences. The very word stirs up more misconceptions than perhaps any other teaching in Catholic theology. Those who attack the Church for its use of indulgences rely upon—and take advantage of—the ignorance of both Catholics and non-Catholics.
What is an indulgence? The Church explains, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints” (Indulgentarium Doctrina 1). To see the biblical foundations for indulgences, see the Catholic Answers tract A Primer on Indulgences.

Here are the seven most common myths about indulgences:

Myth 1: A person can buy his way out of hell with indulgences.
This charge is without foundation. Since indulgences remit only temporal penalties, they cannot remit the eternal penalty of hell. Once a person is in hell, no amount of indulgences will ever change that fact. The only way to avoid hell is by appealing to God’s eternal mercy while still alive. After death, one’s eternal fate is set (Heb. 9:27).

Myth 2: A person can buy indulgences for sins not yet committed.
The Church has always taught that indulgences do not apply to sins not yet committed. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes, “[An indulgence] is not a permission to commit sin, nor a pardon of future sin; neither could be granted by any power.”

Myth 3: A person can “buy forgiveness” with indulgences.
The definition of indulgences presupposes that forgiveness has already taken place: “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven” (Indulgentarium Doctrina 1, emphasis added). Indulgences in no way forgive sins. They deal only with punishments left after sins have been forgiven.

Myth 4: Indulgences were invented as a means for the Church to raise money.
Indulgences developed from reflection on the sacrament of reconciliation. They are a way of shortening the penance of sacramental discipline and were in use centuries before money-related problems appeared.

Myth 5: An indulgence will shorten your time in purgatory by a fixed number of days.
The number of days which used to be attached to indulgences were references to the period of penance one might undergo during life on earth. The Catholic Church does not claim to know anything about how long or short purgatory is in general, much less in a specific person’s case.

Myth 6: A person can buy indulgences.
The Council of Trent instituted severe reforms in the practice of granting indulgences, and, because of prior abuses, “in 1567 Pope Pius V canceled all grants of indulgences involving any fees or other financial transactions” (Catholic Encyclopedia). This act proved the Church’s seriousness about removing abuses from indulgences.

Myth 7: A person used to be able to buy indulgences.
One never could “buy” indulgences. The financial scandal surrounding indulgences, the scandal that gave Martin Luther an excuse for his heterodoxy, involved alms—indulgences in which the giving of alms to some charitable fund or foundation was used as the occasion to grant the indulgence. There was no outright selling of indulgences.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

“[I]t is easy to see how abuses crept in. Among the good works which might be encouraged by being made the condition of an indulgence, almsgiving would naturally hold a conspicuous place. . . . It is well to observe that in these purposes there is nothing essentially evil. To give money to God or to the poor is a praiseworthy act, and, when it is done from right motives, it will surely not go unrewarded.”

 

 

For a more thorough explanation of indulgences click HERE

 

 

Q. The aggressive marketing practices of Johann Tetzel in promoting this cause provoked Martin Luther to write his 95 theses, protesting what he saw as the purchase and sale of salvation. In thesis 28 Luther objected to a saying attributed to Tetzel: “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs”.

Agreed. This is historical.

Q. The 95 Theses not only denounced such transactions as worldly

A. True.

Q. but denied the Pope’s right to grant pardons on God’s behalf in the first place:

A. This is flatly contradicted in the Gospel of John

John 20:22

And with that he breathed on them and said,Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

 

Matthew 16: 8

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 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.

Q. the only thing indulgences guaranteed, Luther said, was an increase in profit and greed, because the pardon of the Church was in God’s power alone.”

A. We agree that the selling of indulgences is wrong, misleading, and fraudulent. The method was wrong. There was nothing greedy about fundraising to build a church. Unless you think all fundraising for any church today is automatically, greedy.

Roast and Eat Jesus???


Q. Jesus talked in many parables during his ministry. I do not think that Jesus wanted the disciples to tie him up and roast Him over a fire so they could literally eat him or drink his blood.

A. I had to smile when I saw this and not for the reason many might think. It is an honest question.

FACT: Jesus took bread, blessed it, and said, “Take, Eat, THIS IS MY BODY”

FACT: Jesus took the cup, blessed it and said, “Take, Drink, THIS IS MY BLOOD”

FACT: Cannibalism was just as repulsive to the ancient Jews as it is to us today. They understood Jesus to be speaking literally. That is why many of them left Him at this time.

FACT: Drinking blood was prohibited by the OT Law

So, WHAT DID JESUS MEAN? He meant that he would take on the appearance of bread and wine to spiritually nourish His children for their perilous journey to Heaven. This fulfilled many Old Testament events and sacrifices. The God of the Universe further humbles Himself by becoming a perpetual sacrifice for sin.

FULFILLMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT SACRIFICE

IN

CHRIST

  • Perfect Lamb slain for sin on Day of Attonement—>Lamb of God slain to atone for all sin
  • Sin offering eaten—>Body and Blood of the Lamb of God eaten
  • Passover lamb eaten to escape Angel of Death—>Christ is our Passover Lamb whoever eats will escape Hell and live forever I Cor. 5:7
  • Blood of Lamb on the doorposts –>Cup of wine is the blood of Jesus.
  • Blood put on the doorpost with a branch of hyssop—>Jesus on the cross offered wine on a branch of hyssop
  • Water of Nile turned to blood—>Jesus turns water into wine–>Eucharistic cup of wine become blood of Christ
  • The Bread of the Presence, kept in the holy of holies—>We keep the Presence of Christ under the appearance of bread The NEW Bread of the Presence, in our tabernacles in every Catholic Church.

By becoming present under the appearance of Bread and Wine in communion, Jesus fulfilled all of the OT types while at the same time keeping the OT Law against drinking blood.