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Mae Osborn wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am doing a paper for my World Religion class in college, and I have to compare and contrast two different religions.

I was wondering if I could interview someone about the Catholic Religion for my paper?

I would only be asking 10 questions for the interview portion of my paper, and the rest will be research that I have already done.

Sincerely,

Mae Osborn
  { I am doing a paper for my World Religion class — Could I interview someone? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Mae —

Sure, I'll do it.

Just send me the questions.

Mike

Mae replied:

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for my World Religion Class in college.  It really means a lot to me!

  1. What are the important holidays and traditions of your religion?
  2. How has religion shaped your life?
  3. What are the challenges, if any, to practicing your religion?
  4. How do you look at others who are outside of your faith?
  5. Do you have to take classes to belong to your religion?
  6. Does your religion acknowledge marriages preformed outside of the church? For example in a courthouse by a justice of the peace.
  7. How do you think a Christian Church is different from a Catholic Church?
  8. What goes on during a typical Sunday worship service?
  9. Which values does your religion hold the highest?
  10.  Is there anything your religion doesn't believe in?

Mae

Mike replied:

Hi, Mae —

Hope my answers help.
Sorry if they are longer then you wanted.

  1. What are the important holidays and traditions of your religion?
  2. How has religion shaped your life?
  3. What are the challenges, if any, to practicing your religion?
  4. How do you look at others who are outside of your faith?
  5. Do you have to take classes to belong to your religion?
  6. Does your religion acknowledge marriages preformed outside of the church? for example, in a courthouse by a justice of the peace?
  7. How do you think a Christian Church is different from a Catholic Church?
  8. What goes on during a typical Sunday worship service?
  9. Which values does your religion hold the highest?
  10. Is there anything your religion doesn't believe in?

  1. What are the important holidays and traditions of your religion?

_____________________________

Within the Church's liturgical calendar there are obligated holidays and
non-obligated holidays.

Obligated Holidays are called Holy Days of Obligation. The Church celebrates six of them on an annual basis and one on a weekly basis.

The six annual Holy Days of Obligation are:

Mary, Mother of God (Friday, January 1, 2010)
Ascension (Thursday, May 13, 2010)
Assumption of Mary (Sunday, August 15, 2010)
All Saints Day (Monday, November 1, 2010)
Immaculate Conception (Wednesday, December 8, 2010)
Christmas (Saturday, December 25, 2010)

There are certain years where these six days may be move or abrogated.

Although not considered a Holy Day of Obligation by members in the Church,
the faithful are obligated to obey the first commandment by going to Sunday Mass on a weekly basis.

First Commandment:
"You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."

We call them obligations because the Precepts of the Catholic Church tell us that celebrating those feast days is a part of the minimum level of commitment to the Catholic faith.

For almost every other day of the year, the Church celebrates other non-obligatory holidays. There are several types of celebrations that fall into the following categories:

  • Solemnities
  • Feasts
  • Memorials, and
  • Optional Feasts.
    (Optional Feasts are not universally celebrated.)

Almost every day throughout the Church's year, we celebrate one of these non-obligatory holidays.

These are days which the Church has set aside as having a special meaning.
Some are events in the life of Christ. Some are days dedicated to a particular saint.

For short: Catholics are "party animals" : ) We love to celebrate!!!

RE: traditions/Traditions:

Throughout the world in the Church various cultures have varying sets of traditions, customs and disciplines they practice usually due to a certain aspect of devotion or honor within the Church.

It's important to remember that the Catholic Church distinguishes between two types of tradition.

1. traditions that are passed down due to customs, practices or disciplines within the Church. These are non-doctrinal and not a matter of faith or morals.
(They can and do change over time.)

2. Traditions: Oral and Written [the Holy Bible] which have been passed down by Jesus through the Apostles and the Church that are official Teachings of the Catholic Church.
(They cannot change over time but can be clarified for the faithful.)

These are doctrinal and deal with issue of faith or morals. Understanding the Written Biblical Teachings of the Church correctly requires a prime minister to interpret difficult passages. Jesus guides the Pope in this area so the faithful can understand how to interpret Biblical text correctly.

These two types of traditions are differentiated by the terms:

  • a small "t" tradition and
  • a capital "T" Tradition.

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  1. How has religion shaped your life?

_____________________________

Through regular prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments of the Church,
it has help me discern my calling or the:

"What is my purpose in this life?" question.

I am more thoughtful of other people and try to help others when I can.

I think it has made me a better person ... over time. : )

Only through prayer and a maturing over time, does a religious person like me go from a religious zealot (telling others what "they have to do or need to believe.")
to a more balanced person who is more interested in listening to others first and finding out where their spiritual journey is all about. This transition requires a daily prayer life preferably with the Rosary.

The sad thing is, for many people, a tragedy or medical illness has to happen in their life before they consider religion as an important aspect of their life.

When death faces the individual and a realization that their own body is NOT their own body (otherwise they could prevent their own death), faith kicks in.

This was true for me.

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  1. What are the challenges, if any, to practicing your religion?

_____________________________

Any church on the face of the earth will always consist of fallible members who are drawn or tempted to sin.

The problem arises when our own members don't know what a sin is, and isn't.
Catechesis or religious instruction of the faith in the Church has been very poor and, in places, seminary training of priests has been poor.

The end result, at times, is a few more "family fights" within the Church then we would want.

It can be difficult when a parishioner wants to respect and support his/her pastor, but the pastor is teaching something that is contrary to the teachings of the Church.

It can also be difficult when a parishioner wants to welcome other parishioners but the other parishioners are only Catholics "in name only".

These parishioners don't believe in what the Church teaches nor follow what the Church wants them to follow, yet they still insist on being called catholic.

I call them "Judas Catholic's". Showing up for Sunday Mass is an option to satisfy their conscience, rather than a weekly obligation.

They are also called "cafeteria catholics" in that they pick and choose what they want to believe.

The word heretic comes from a word that means "to pick and choose".

Dealing with these types of Catholics is a define challenge.

Why?

Because their actions and beliefs scandalize the faith of the Church in public.
They don't represent the TRUE faithful Catholic.

For me personally, the challenge is striving to stay holy or in a state of grace.

This means:

"beating the heck out of the devil" more than "he beats the heck out of me".

Some weeks, he wins, other weeks I win.
A prayer life is key to winning this invisible, spiritual but real battle.

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  1. How do you look at others who are outside of your faith?

_____________________________

As people who God has a specific plan and purpose for in life. Your life is not just some mistake.  Everyone has a special calling in life. That calling can have it's most beneficial effect on everyone in the world if lived out as a faithful practicing Catholic.

Nevertheless, we have to respect everyone's free will to choose what they think is spiritually best for them.

As Catholics who answer questions on the web about the faith, we can't convert people.

We CAN give good reasons for people to be a Catholic and clarify teachings and misperceptions about the Church but ONLY the individual can decide whether what we are saying makes sense or not.

These web pages may give some addition insights:

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  1. Do you have to take classes to belong to your religion?

_____________________________

For adults coming into the Church, Yes. There is a program called: R.C.I.A. which stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It's usually a nine month program during which time the catechumen learns what Catholics believe while developing a family relationship with other new members in their parish. It is also a great time to search and investigate the various ministries the Catholic parish offers.

For infants who have been baptized by their Catholic parents, the only possible obligated classes would be those taken during their preparation to receive the Sacraments of the Church and in the teenage years known as CCD:

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine — An association established at Rome in 1562 for the purpose of giving religions instruction.

Historically in the United States, religious instruction, at the parish level, has been very poor.

Good Catholic parents have to take the initiative and have private time to:

  • instruct their children in the Catholic Faith,
  • share with them its importance for them and
  • their salvation.

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  1. Does your religion acknowledge marriages preformed outside of the Church?
    For example, in a courthouse by a Justice of the Peace.

_____________________________

It depends on the religious affiliation of the bride and the groom getting married and any additional marital history involved.

Baptized Catholics have to marry in the Church for it to be valid.

A Catholic wedding ceremony involves the celebration of a sacrament, an act of Christ through and in the couple, and this sacrament conforms the couple to the Body of Christ in a special way.

Since the sacrament requires a clerical witness, and since it is an expression of the Body of Christ, the Church desires it to be celebrated in the presence of the Eucharist, preferably with a Mass, and in the presence of the assembly of the faithful.

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  1. How do you think a Christian Church is different from a Catholic Church?

Your question implies a misunderstanding. I would rather answer:

How do you think a non-Catholic Christian church is different from a Catholic Christian Church?

_____________________________

The ONLY Christian Church Jesus founded on St. Peter and his successors is the Catholic Church. The Bible tells us in Acts, that they were first known as Christians in Antioch. Through Oral Tradition we know that in the same town of Antioch,
less then 80 years after Our Lord's Ascension into Heaven, they were first know as Catholic.

Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

St. Ignatius of Antioch in 107AD

One of the main differences between non-Catholic Christians and Catholic Christians is non-Catholic Christians only believe what is in the Bible, or so they say.

Catholic Christians believe in BOTH the Written Word, the Bible, AND the Oral Word passed down through the centuries.  This Oral Word can be found in many places in the Scriptures.

If non-Catholic Christians were TRULY Biblical Christians, they would become Catholic.  The Bible was written by Catholics and their ancestors, for Catholics, for use in the Catholic Church.

The primary difference between non-Catholic Christian churches and the Catholic Christian Church is that the Catholic Church was founded by God-Incarnated HIMSELF: Jesus Christ. Jesus is True God and True Man:
consubstantial (of one substance with the Father).

Any sinfulness or bad behavior among members in the Church clergy does not effect the Truths that the Church officially teaches. Why? Because Jesus promised to protect the Church's official Teachings and we know that Jesus, who is God incarnated cannot deceive nor be deceived.

All other churches that call themselves Christian, were founded by MEN who did not like what the Catholic Christian Church taught. For that reason, they created their OWN man-made church "picking and choosing" what they liked and didn't like about the Church Christ founded.

No other world religion can claim and prove that God is the founder of their religion. ONLY Roman Catholics can claim and historically prove that God is the founder of their Divine Faith.

[ top ]
  1. What goes on during a typical Sunday worship service?

_____________________________

My knee-jerk reaction answer: Something literally out of this world!
(I will explain later.)

Our Sunday prayer, like any pray is four-fold. It is a prayer of:

  • adoration of God
  • praise and
  • thanksgiving, and
  • intercession and petition.

It is manifested in what we call the Liturgy, a word that means: "the work of the people". That which is offered up by the people to God to God.

It consist of two parts.

The Liturgy of the Word:

This consists of readings from the Old Testament, a New Testament Epistle and a reading from the Gospel.

Following the readings, the worshipers receive, hopefully, enlightening reflections and commentaries from the pastor or priest on the readings that will assist them in their daily lives for that week to be holier, better people according to God's plan.

After the priest is done with his homily, petitions are mentioned by either the priest or a helper to the priest. These petitions could vary from:

  • the health and well being of people in the parish
  • more vocations to the priesthood and/or religious life
  • for people in crisis areas around the world
  • as well as other petitions.

NOTE: During the Liturgy of the Eucharist prayers are always offered for:

  • the local bishop and
  • the [Pope | Holy Father]

A monetary collection is also taken up to support the work of the local parish Church.

Following the Liturgy of the Word is the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in a manner we can only understand by faith,
we enter into the Passover sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus on the Cross.

This is done by the priest re-enacting the last words of Our Lord at the Last Supper, before his cruel death, where he stated:

"DO THIS in memory of ME." It is also a re-entering into Christ's death on the Cross.

The Catechism states:

When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father. His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole  economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection.
The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his  Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church. CCC 2746

But Christ is NOT being re-sacrificed though. Why? Because a human person did NOT die on Calvary, but a DIVINE person, Christ, the Lord.

Because, by definition, a Divine Person is a Eternal Person who is OUTSIDE of time, the parishioners at Church enter into His ONE sacrifice that happened back in 33AD in a manner that can only be humanly accepted by faith. By their attendance at Mass, they receive many graces.

The Old Testament Passover is a prefigurement of the New Testament Passover of Christ's death and resurrection. In what way?

When Catholics go to Mass they celebrate the New Passover. In the Old Testament, the lamb had to be slain; in the New Testament, Jesus is the New Testament lamb, but the people of Old Testament, had to eat the lamb AS WELL. This wasn't optional.

That's exactly what Catholics do when they receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Himself in the Blessed Eucharist.

We call this Holy Communion. It looks, tastes and smells like ordinary bread, but it's not. The substance changes, though the appearances of leaven bread (taste, touch, smell, and looks) remains the same. Every one who is in a state of grace, should receive Holy Communion. If they are not in a state of grace, they should not receive Holy Communion until they go to Confession, a sacrament of the Church.

So as I said initially, we receive "Something literally out of this world!"

The priest finally blesses the people and sends them into the world to talk about the Gospel or Good News of Jesus and His Church.

[ top ]

  1. Which values does your religion hold the highest?

_____________________________

  • Life - from conception of the fertilized egg in a mother's womb to natural death, no matter what the case.

Whether a woman has an unplanned pregnancy or is brutally raped.

The Church would say, the woman needs love, support, and care, not an abortion or being yelled at by a boy friend or family member.  The Church is probably the largest care provider to younger and older woman who have had an unplanned pregnancy. They have services to care for the mother, father and baby and can work with all parties involved to ensure new families have housing, jobs, needed educational skills, etc.

You just don't hear about it, because the news media and abortion industry strives to silence this. In America alone, I think there are around 1,300 crisis pregnancy centers for women who have had an unplanned pregnancy.

http://www.pregnancycenters.org

  • Traditional Marriage between ONE man and ONE woman.

This is the cornerstone to any stable civilization. When Traditional marriage is seen as an option to other partner lifestyles that CAN'T bring forth new life;
e.g. homosexual; then populations in those countries decrease.

A homosexual lifestyle within a country ends up destroying societal growth in that country. Fruitful Christian family life is replaced with an unfruitful, selfish, homosexual lifestyle.

This unfruitful lifestyle's motto is:

"If it feels good, do it, even if it hurts others, including society."

A man's body was meant for a woman's body and visa-versa; just talk to any medical doctor who is not "politically correct."

God made man and woman to bring forth new life (children) into the world.

Why is this important?

Because a man and a man cannot bring forth new life; a woman and a woman cannot bring forth new life.

After 2040, the world's population will sharply DECLINE. WHY?

Because Traditional Marriage around the world is only considered as an optional lifestyle, not as THE normal lifestyle it is.

  • Women and some men, some who have been hurt by abortion, have put their personal career first, before absolution, forgiveness and a future family.

  • Others have bought into this immoral lifestyle that their own bodies were not designed for.

If fewer people are having fewer children this translates to:

  • fewer workers
  • less productivity and
  • a weaker economy

You are seeing this around the globe on every continent, in every country.

Source: EWTN: The Demographic Bomb

This is why Christian marriage has ALWAYS been given a special privilege in every culture.

  • A person's free will.

All Christians, both Catholic and non-Catholic Christians believe we should respect the free will of people to choose whatever faith they believe is true and best for their salvation.

In the work I do in answering people's questions on the Church, I remind them:
We don't do this to convert people.  We do this to clarify misperceptions about the teachings of the Church.

Only THEY can decide/choose whether "what we are saying" is true or whether we are a bunch of nut cases.

This is unlike our Muslim brothers who many times demand or force you accept their faith. Period. This is also why Christians are persecuted throughout the world today, mainly in Muslim/Islamic countries.

[ top ]

  1. Is there anything your religion doesn't believe in?

_____________________________

We only believe in the teachings of Christ and the Church he founded on St. Peter and His successors.

New and previous cultural trends and practices are discerned to be true and trustworthy based on what Christ's Church, the Catholic Church, teaches the faithful.

Why?

Because is it Christ speaking through the Church to his believers.

That said, we DON'T believe in:

From the Catechism

2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

[ top ]

Hope this helps Mae,

Mike
AskACatholic.com Web Administrator

Mae replied:

Mike,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful answers.

This is really going to help me with my paper for my World Religion Class! The information you provided has blown me away, and I am very grateful you took the time to answer my questions.

Thank you for all your time and effort it took to answer my questions. I have done so much research for my paper, but nothing as been so easy to understand as your answers.

Once again, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Mae

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