The Catechism of the Catholic church quotes Vatican II when it teaches that “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained … Continue reading The Eucharist – An Overview
In my last post I reviewed the extraordinary steps God took to make His will known regarding Gentiles entering the Church, and that they did not need to first be circumcised and become Jews. As I mentioned, some want to use this example to profess that believers receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of … Continue reading The Sacrament of Confirmation Part 2
In Luke 3:16, John the Baptist tells those who ask if he is the Christ “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The Catholic understanding of … Continue reading The Sacrament of Confirmation Part 1
There is one last Biblical image of Baptism I would like to cover before I leave this topic. There is a most wonderful vision the prophet Ezekiel has in the Old Testament. “Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple … Continue reading Baptism and the Right Side of the “Temple”
In my previous post, I explored why the Catholic Church baptizes infants and young children. In other posts here and here I discussed why the Church believes that Baptism is necessary for salvation, although we quite clearly do not try to box God in about that. But the question that may remain is what happens … Continue reading What happens to children who die without Baptism?
Within the divide of Christendom, there are those who believe that Baptism is the way we come into the body of Christ, and become born again. That topic was covered here. Along with the ancient Catholic and Orthodox churches, other Christian groups who profess this view would be Anglicans (Episcopalians), Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and the … Continue reading At what age to baptize?
From the Catholic perspective, proper form, proper matter, and proper intent are required for any sacrament to be valid. With Baptism, the proper matter is water. The proper form is the Trinitarian formula given to us by Christ in Matthew 28:19 “(Name), I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son … Continue reading How are we to baptize?
My last post reviewed the scriptures that indicate to Catholics that Baptism is indeed necessary for salvation. One verse that was not reviewed in that post was some very clear language from St. Mark's Gospel when Jesus gives the apostles the great commission – “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he … Continue reading The Necessity of Baptism Part 2
Catholics believe that it is by Baptism we become members of the body of Christ and receive the initial grace of justification – we are “born again.” Some other Christian groups would believe this as well – the Orthodox Churches, Anglicans (Episcopalians), Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and the Church of Christ are some examples. Other Christian … Continue reading The Necessity of Baptism Part 1
The first sacrament I will review is Baptism. There are basically two ways to view Baptism within the Christian world. Wikipedia sums it up well: Historically, Christianity has used various metaphors to describe its rite of initiation, that is, spiritual regeneration via the sacrament of baptism by the power of the water and the spirit. … Continue reading Baptism and Being “Born Again”
I will always go back to my youth for the definition of a sacrament – “A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.” For those of us who grew up during the era of the Baltimore catechism, this was etched into our consciousness from an early age. And I still think … Continue reading The Sacraments – An Overview
Over the last generation or so, what is known as the “Prosperity Gospel” has become increasingly popular, especially within the United States. Wiki defines this theology as “a religious belief among some Protestant Christians that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations … Continue reading Catholics and the Prosperity Gospel
Caryll Houselander wrote “To the Christian, suffering is not a problem to be explored by the human mind, but a mystery to be experienced by the human heart.” I think to some degree in this life, suffering will always remain a mystery to us. It can easily lead some to despair. It can lead some … Continue reading Suffering and Our Salvation Part 2
If you are Catholic and of a certain age, I am certain you have had this experience. While growing up when I was faced with any type of difficulty, the most common response from my mother was “offer it up.” The Catholic understanding is that when we “offer up” and unite our sufferings with those … Continue reading Suffering and Our Salvation Part 1
In my last post I covered the Catholic Church’s position regarding the salvation of non-Catholic Christians. In this post I’ll review the teaching of the Church regarding the salvation of non-Christians. For many other Christian groups, this topic is a non-starter. They will look to Sacred Scripture and John 14:6 where Christ says “I am … Continue reading Who Can Be Saved (Part 2)
I have visited internet message boards with a somewhat anti-Catholic flare and have been interested to find multiple threads discussing what Catholics believe about salvation regarding those outside the Catholic faith. Some claim that Catholics believe only Catholics will be in heaven. Others claim that Catholics believe you don’t even have to be Christian to … Continue reading Who Can Be Saved (Part 1)
In my last post I looked at the Scriptures that support the idea that as Christians even though our sins have been forgiven, we still must endure “discipline” or “punishment” for our sins. As Catholics we understand this has nothing to do with some “need” that God has. This discipline is in order to bring … Continue reading Purgatory Part 3
In my last post I reviewed the primary objection from most Protestants about Purgatory. This is the idea that if there is punishment yet due for our sins after coming to Christ, this is a denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s “finished” work on the cross. This is rooted in a Protestant understanding of “penal … Continue reading Purgatory Part 2
There are few Catholic doctrines that seem to be as misunderstood by other Christians as Purgatory. One of the many false understandings about Purgatory is that it is somehow a “second chance,” or a place God sends if you if you’re not bad enough for hell yet not good enough for heaven. Catholics believe that … Continue reading Purgatory Part 1
One response to a Catholic view of the necessity of good works for our salvation we may hear is that all of our works are like “filthy rags” to God. This is a reference to Isaiah 64:6 where the prophet rails at Israel “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our … Continue reading Are All Our Works “Filthy Rags”?
In my previous post I communicated that in order to read St. Paul in a way that aligns him with the words of Christ and the other apostles, it is necessary to understand two important “keys” to his writings. One is to always remember he is fighting the first major heresy that threatened the Church … Continue reading Faith, works and St. Paul Part 2
Protestant theology of salvation by “faith alone” is heavily dependent upon the writings of St. Paul. In many ways he seems to contradict both the words of Christ and the other apostles that I’ve reviewed in my last few posts. They indicate that “works,” especially works of sacrificial love for others are necessary for salvation. … Continue reading Faith, Works and St. Paul Part 1
In this post I will continue to look at what Sacred Scripture says regarding the necessity of “works” for our salvation. As discussed in previous posts, when the Bible speaks about “faith,” from the Catholic understanding this means much more than a mere intellectual assent to an understanding that Christ paid for our sins. Biblical … Continue reading Faith, Works, and the words of Christ
In my last post I looked at a primary passage from St. James that strongly supports the necessity of works as related to salvation. I will again remind us that in the Catholic view, “works” are not necessary so that God accepts us. They are necessary for our sanctification, which is not an optional part … Continue reading Faith, Works, and the Great Judgment
I’ll begin my “deep dive” into the topic of faith and works in Sacred Scripture with the passage that Catholics are most likely to provide when presented with the Protestant theology that salvation is by “faith alone.” For you see, there is only one time in the Bible where the term “faith alone” is used, … Continue reading Faith, Works, and St. James