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Tim Peterson wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm a 21 year old, non-denominational Christian who lives in America. I just have two questions:

  1. Do you believe other Christians are saved or just Catholics?
  2. Do you have to go to Confession to be saved and, if so, how often must you go?

Tim

  { Do you believe other Christians are saved and do I have to go to Confession to be saved? }

John replied:

Hi, Tim —

Salvation is a complete act of God; it's grace from beginning to end that requires our free will cooperation.

It cannot be put into a an algebraic formula as Protestant theology seeks to do. We know that God wants all men to be saved, therefore he can save whom ever is willing to receive and respond to whatever grace He gives them.

Confession is a sacrament, an encounter with Christ. It is His work, not ours. Through the ministry He left his Apostles, He gave them the authority to forgive sins:

"Who's sins you forgive, are forgiven, who's sins you retain, will be retained."

Christ empowers us with grace to overcome the sins we confess. We are also reconciled in the sacrament with the Body, His Church. When we sin, we not only sin against God but against the entire Church. Hence we need reconciliation with the Church. This is nothing more than an application of what was accomplished at Calvary.

Catholicism isn't Witchcraft; the sacraments are not spells or rituals that we perform to force God's hand into saving us. Rather they are means which God uses to convey grace, though certainly not the only means.

God can save anyone Catholic, Christian and even non-Christian, but all salvation comes in and through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary.

John

Paul replied:

Hello Tim.

Here are quick answers to your good questions:

  1. It is possible many non-Catholics will be saved; it is also possible many Catholics will not. Labels don't save anyone, rather one must do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21) by His grace. Having said that, the Catholic Church offers the fullness of grace and truth in order to cooperate with God and attain salvation.

  2. We must go to Confession if we have sinned mortally. We are no longer in a state of grace, no longer in union with God, if there is mortal sin on our soul. Look up in the third section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church the words "serious" or "grave matter" and "grave sin". If these acts are performed with full knowledge and full consent it is a mortal sin. If you have more specific questions about this let us know.

    A person should go to Confession as much as they feel the need in order to confess legitimate sin, both mortal (which is necessary) and venial. It is popular piety to go at least once a month but it is up to each individual.

Paul

Tim replied:

Good answer.

It's nice to see someone of a specific religion actually supporting themselves with scriptures. (This isn't a slant at Catholics it's a slant at people who can't back up their religion.) Anyway, I came up with another question for you.

In Deuteronomy 18:10 and Micah 5:12 and a couple of other passages, the Bible talks about witchcraft, sorcery, astrology, etc.

  • Is this implicitly acknowledging that these things are real and have power?

Tim

Paul replied:

Tim,

What these passages say to me, as a Catholic, is stay away from them all. We don't know, if there is or, when there may be demonic power involved or whether people just attributed false power to it, but we do know that God does not work that way. So whether the power is:

  • false
  • from natural sources, or
  • from demons

it is safe to say it is not of God. On a side note, there are some good bible scholars who claim the word "sorcery" in scripture, which comes from the Greek pharmakeia, actually refers to contraceptive drugs and potions and, of course, contraception is another thing that is absolutely forbidden, and rightly so, by the teaching authority of the Church.

Peace,

Paul

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