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Matthew Dangmei wrote:

Hi, guys —

  1. My child has already been christened with our ancestral name. Is it mandatory to christen the child with a saint's name during baptism apart from [his|her] original name?
  2. If so, why doesn't the Bible strictly mention it?
  3. Why doesn't the Church practice baptism by immersion instead of only baptism by sprinkling?
  4. Why is Morning prayer and Evening prayer based on a written prayer book?
  5. Do you thing those who recite prayers ever understand their meaning?
  6. Why is this so artificial?

Matthew

  { Can you answer some questions on Baptism and the prayer life of the Church? }

Mike replied:

Dear Matthew,

Thanks for the questions:

You said:

  1. My child has already been christened with our ancestral name. Is it mandatory to christen the child with a saint's name during baptism apart from [his|her] original name?

No, it is not, though in this culture it would be a helpful to have a special saint praying for the new life. For the sacrament of Baptism, Canon Law states:

"Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment." Canon 855

That's it!

You said:

  1. If so, why doesn't the Bible strictly mention it?

The Catholic Church is not a Bible-based Church; it is a Christ-based Church. This includes both the written and oral teachings that were passed down to us from Our Lord to the Apostles to the current day bishops, even before any Christian knew what books would make up the Bible.

You said:

  1. Why doesn't the Church practice baptism by immersion instead of only baptism by sprinkling?

It does! Read the following posting:

You said:

  1. Why is Morning prayer and Evening prayer based on a written prayer book?

Because we pray as one Body in Christ, from one book, manifesting a unity in prayer toward the Lord.

  1. Do you thing those who recite prayers ever understand their meaning?
  2. Why is this so artificial?

It depends on the maturity of the person praying. I'm thinking specifically about the Rosary. While we pray the "Our Fathers" and "Hail Marys" our goal should be to inwardly meditate of the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in all twenty decades. For many who do not properly understand the prayer of the Rosary, it can appear like it is very artificial and rote. What they can't see is the inward meditation while we are praying the prayers. The same can be said for one who is reading the Scriptures; a prayer more Catholics should be doing.

We also have to remember there are other forms of prayer as well:

  • Prayer of blessing and adoration
  • prayer of petition
  • prayer of intercession
  • prayer of thanksgiving
  • prayer of praise

If you are interested in learning more about these forms, check out this part of the Catechism.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Matthew replied:

Dear Mike,

I thank-you for helping me gain more knowledge on the spiritual matters in my original question, but I have one more query based on your reply. The Scriptures state:

"19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book".

Revelation 22:19

"18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book."

Revelation 22:18

In your reply you said:
The Catholic Church is not a Bible-based Church; it is a Christ-based Church.

This worries me, are we trying to over shed the Scriptures.

Thanking you in anticipation of your reply.

Matthew Dangmei

Eric replied:

Matt,

One of the common misunderstandings that people have is that the Bible kind of dropped from Heaven in just the form they have it, 250 pages, leather-bound, red-letter, gild monogrammed, with table of contents, maps, etc. (I'm exaggerating a little bit.) The fact is at the time of the Apostles, there was no such thing as a Bible, in the bound form you have today. What you had was a collection of scrolls. This is why we refer to "books" of the Bible, and why we say "Scriptures" (plural), because each scroll stood on its own.

The verses in Revelation you quote pertain to the book of Revelation and the prophecy therein.
It would be out of context to apply them to the whole of Scripture which precedes and includes Revelation, because it was many years, after Revelation was written, before it was placed with those books. In fact, Revelation was one of the last books to be put in the Bible; it was not accepted by many Christians for hundreds of years after it was written.

If that is not enough proof, Deuteronomy 4:2 says something similar about the Law Moses gave the Israelites.

  • Are we to believe, then, that only the Law of Moses should be binding on us?

Undoubtedly, Christianity "adds" to the commandments of the Lord which he revealed at Moses. Even the Jews added to the commandments of the Lord in a literal sense; look at all the prophets and instructions to conquer and so forth.

Finally, there are words such as 2 Thessalonians 2:15 which command us to obey tradition, and words such as 1 Timothy 3:15 which says that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth which finally refute the idea that we should only follow the Bible.

In summary, it is not only simplistic but a misinterpretation of the intent of these verses you quote to claim that they mean that we should only follow the Bible.

Eric

Eric followed-up later:

Matt,

I just wanted to add to my answer. Vatican II, Dei Verbum #10 states:

But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

We are Christ-based in the sense that fundamentally Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1, Revelation 19:13, 2 Peter 3:5, Hebrews 11:3), not the Bible (which is the written Word of God), and it is:

  1. Christ whom we worship
  2. Christ to whom we listen, and
  3. Christ whose body we are. (See Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:12,27.)
  • On what was the Church based before A.D. 50, when there were no New Testament books?

On Christ and his teachings, orally transmitted. Our Church predates the New Testament, which was written by our members. Still, it does not serve us, we serve it, but we can't be Bible based because we were around longer than the Bible in its present form.

Hope this helps,

Eric

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