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Dana Lyons wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a number of questions. I was born Catholic but really don't know everything I should.

I read the Bible all the time however I don't currently attend a Catholic parish and I've really wondered about these questions.

  • Why does the Church believe in sacraments?
  • Why do you make the Sign of the Cross after prayers?
  • Why do Catholics say prayers in repetition?
    • Like the Hail Mary, Glory Be and the Rosary?
  • Why do Catholics pray and worship Mary and saints?
  • Why do you have to confess to a priest?
  • What does Confirmation mean?
  • Who says that 7 to 8 year-old kids should make their First Holy Communion at that age?
  • Where in the Bible does it say 7 to 8 graders should make their Confirmation at that age?
  • Why does the Church have so many man-made rules?
  • How come Sunday Church services don't use the Bible more?
    There are a lot of man-made traditions in it.
  • What is the difference between:
    • Protestant
    • Jewish
    • Catholic
    • Methodist
    • Born again Christians, and
    • Jehovah Witnesses?
  • What does it mean to be saved?
  • How do you get to Heaven in the Catholic teachings?

Thank you in advance for all your help.

God Bless,

Dana

  { Can you answer this list of questions about the faith from a Catholic who never knew the faith? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Dana —

You said:
Why does the Church believe in sacraments?

The Church believes in sacraments because history tells us they were all instituted by Christ before He ascended into Heaven. Most of the early Christians who lived from 100 A.D. to 850 A.D. attest to this and have written about this.

I would suggest you check out a book called: The Faith of the Early Fathers.
I little pricey, but worth it!

You said:
Why do you make the Sign of the Cross after prayers?

Making the Sign of the Cross either before and/or after prayer reminds us of our Baptism in Christ and is a way of saying:

"Jesus, we offer up this prayer to you!" or
"We are addressing this prayer to you or one of your holy friends."

You said:

Why do Catholics say prayers in repetition?

  • Like the Hail Mary, Glory Be and the Rosary?

First we must understand what they are: meditations. When Catholics recite the twelve prayers that form a decade of the Rosary, they meditate on the mystery associated with that decade. If they merely recite the prayers, whether vocally or silently, they're missing the essence of the Rosary. It isn't just a recitation of prayers, but a meditation on the lives of Jesus, Our Lord and His parents, Joseph, His foster father and Mary, His mother. Critics, not knowing about the meditation part, imagine the Rosary must be boring, uselessly, repetitious, and meaningless, and their criticism carries weight if you reduce the Rosary to a formula.

Christ forbade meaningless repetition (Matthew 6:7), but the Bible itself prescribes some prayers that involve repetition. Look at Psalm 136, which is a litany (a prayer with a recurring refrain) meant to be sung in the Jewish Temple. In Psalm 136 the refrain is "His mercy endures forever." Sometimes in Psalm 136 the refrain starts before a sentence is finished, meaning it is far more repetitious than the Rosary, though this prayer was written directly under the inspiration of God.

It is the meditation on the mysteries that make praying the Rosary meritorious.

The Joyful Mysteries are:

  • the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)
  • the Visitation (Luke 1:40-55)
  • the Nativity (Luke 2:6-20)
  • the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:21-39)
  • and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-51).

The Luminous Mysteries are:

  • the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17)
  • the Wedding Feast in Cana (John 2:1-12)
  • The proclamation of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15)
  • The Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-35)
  • and the Institution of the Eucharist (Mark 14:22-25)

Then come the Sorrowful Mysteries:

  • the Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46)
  • the Scourging (Matthew 27:26)
  • the Crowing with Thorns (Matthew 27:29)
  • the Carrying of the Cross (Luke 23:26-32), and
  • the Crucifixion (Luke 23:33-46).

The final Mysteries are the Glorious:

  • the Resurrection (Luke 24:1-12)
  • the Ascension (Luke 24:50-51)
  • the Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4)
  • the Assumption of Mary into heaven, and
  • her Coronation.
You said:
Why do Catholics pray and worship Mary and saints?

We Don't Worship Mary Or The Saints!

We pray to Mary and to the saints. We honor those, God honors.

Your possible reply:

"But why can't I pray straight to Jesus?"

You can! I do, all the time!! but...

We see prayer as a family affair because that's the way the Bible
sees it.

Also, praying for each other is biblical:

  • Jeremiah 15:1
  • Acts 12:5
  • Romans 15:30
  • 2 Corinthians 13:7
  • Ephesians 6:18
  • Colossians 4:3
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:25
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:1
  • 1 Timothy 2:1
  • Hebrews 13:18
  • James 5:16

You said:
Why do you have to confess to a priest?

Because the Bible tells us to: John 20:19-23:

    19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (John 20:19-23)

In doing so, I'm obeying Jesus! The Early Church Christians wrote a lot about this.
This is the way Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

You said:
What does Confirmation mean?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."

You said:

  • Who says that 7 to 8 year-old kids should make their First Holy Communion at that age?
  • Where in the Bible does it say 7 to 8 graders should make their Confirmation at that age?
  • Why does the Church have so many man-made rules?

First, the Church was founded by Christ before he went to Heaven. He, Jesus, gave the authority of His (Christ's Church) to St. Peter and his successors to govern his Church and protect it from incorrect/wrong teachings. See Matthew 16:13-20 and 1 Timothy 3:15.

So when the Church makes a decision on faith or morals or even on matters of discipline, it is a decision made by Christ.

  • Example: Why do people go to Church on Sunday?

The Bible says the Lord's Day is Saturday. The reason: Christ rose from the dead on Sunday; and the Church, using the wisdom of Christ, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.

I find it semi-humorous that Protestants protest the Teachings of the Catholic Church, yet obey Her moral discipline to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. No where in the Bible is it taught to worship the Lord on Sunday.

The same is true for your question about "Who says that 7 to 8 year-old kids should make their First Holy Communion at that age?" Because the Church or Christ has decided that the age of reason for a person is age seven. As you may know, Catholics believe Jesus is really present in the Eucharist: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! It would be incorrect for the Church to decide that some boys/girls should receive Our Blessed Lord when they don't understand what it is they are receiving; they would then be receiving Our Lord with no reverence or understanding.

You said:
How come Sunday Church services don't use the Bible more? There are a lot of
man-made traditions in it.

I don't understand? The liturgy of the Mass is 96 percent made up of Bible verses.

The first part of the church ceremony, or Holy Mass, is listening to the Word of God, the Bible.

The second portion of the Mass is the Eucharistic prayer which is almost all biblical. Why do we have the Eucharistic prayer? Because Jesus, on the night before His death, said: Do this in remembrance of Me.

Once again, Catholics are just obeying Jesus. We are Biblical Christians.

You said:

  • What is the difference between Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, Methodist, Born again Christians, and Jehovah Witnesses?

This web posting may help:

You said:
What does it mean to be saved?
How do you get to Heaven in the Catholic teachings?

Here are some tracts from our colleagues at Catholic Answers that should help answer your questions.

I hope this helps,

Your brother in prayer, your brother in Christ,

Mike Humphrey

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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