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Bern Begaso wrote:

Hi, guys —

Please help me to understand the following:

  • What is the Biblical basis and explanation for why the [date/schedule] for our Holy Week sometimes:
    • happens in March
    • sometimes happens in April, and
    • sometimes the date is totally different?
  • Can you give me some biblical verses and an explanation so I can understand this?
  • What is your biblical explanation about why Jesus was born on December 25th?
  • If a Protestant ask us, where in the New Testament does it say that Christians are taught to kneel in front of images?

I know I can use Joshua 7:6, Exodus 25:18, Numbers 21:8, and other Biblical passages if we were asked for the Biblical basis of images but the question remains:

  • Where in the New Testament can you find that Christians are taught to kneel in front of images?
  • Can you explain why many of us use the 1 Corinthians 3:13 Scripture passage to prove that there is Purgatory?
  • Why do we used this verse if the fire mentioned in this particular verse will be the fire on the day of Judgment?

Thank you very much.

Bern Begaso

  { What is the Biblical basis for these issues that Protestants are bringing to my attention? }

Mike replied:

Dear Bern,

While we welcome your questions, you may want to search our database for answers as we have already addressed many of your issues. You can search here:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/SiteSearch

There are a lot of quick answers there, so give it a try.

My Scripture Passages page may help as well:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/ScripturePassages

The false assumption behind your questions is that the Bible is meant to be a Catechism.
The Bible is not a Catechism, though Protestants treat it like a Catechism.

The Bible is a liturgical Catholic book, written by Catholics and their ancestors, for Catholics, for use in the Catholic worship service, the Mass. Mass is important for Catholic Christians because we renew our covenant and our Common Union with the Lord and His Church each Sunday and, in doing so, meet the 3rd Commandment.

I searched the knowledge base for you and found these web postings that should address many of your questions:

As stated on the Ask Us page, please limit your questions to four to five at a time so we can address them appropriately.

Mike

John replied:

Bern and all . . .

The Bible is not only a Liturgical book . . . It is meant to be proclaimed in a Liturgical setting. At the same time, it is also meant to be studied and, while it is not a Catechism or book of Systematic Theology, the foundation and principles of Catholic doctrines are found in it, either explicitly or implicitly.

As far as Holy Week, it's based on the Lunar Calendar that Jews of the time based their feasts on so it is meant to roughly coincide with Passover. Now, we don't use the same calender as the Jews or even the Orthodox Church does to determine when Passover was so we don't always match up but it really doesn't matter.

As to Christmas being on December 25th you have to follow a sequence of events.

Zachariah, John the Baptist's Father saw a vision of the Angel Gabriel (announcing the birth of John) in the Holy of Holies. He was High Priest at the time . . . but the High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies one day a year . . . on the Day of Atonement — called Yom Kipper.
That usually falls on Around September 25th so assuming Zachariah went home that day and did what was necessary so that his wife Elizabeth could conceive, John the Baptist would have been born roughly nine (9) months later . . . around June 25th, which is when we celebrate the feast of John the Baptist.

Now let's address the Feast of the Annunciation, when Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced the conception of Jesus. After Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit, she went to see Elizabeth and stayed with her for three months until John was born. Three months before John was born is March 25th. Assuming Mary conceived exactly when she said to Gabriel, Let it be done to me according to your word then Jesus was conceived on March 25th. Now add nine (9) months to that date and you arrival at December 25th.

This addresses the why about how the approximate dates coincide with the Biblical passages they refer to.

Now let's address kneeling before images. The Ten Commandments prohibit the worship of graven images . . . like statues or paintings. Catholics do not worship graven images. Catholics worship God alone . . . Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • When the Queen of England knights someone, the man being knighted kneels before her.
  • When a man asks a woman to marry him, he usual kneels on one knee.

These are acts of reverence but not worship.

Catholic worship is the only true and possible worship. It is the one and only worship of the Father by the Son by His once and forever Sacrifice at Calvary. That same Sacrifice is ever present to Eternity before God. In fact, Revelation says the Jesus was the Lamb that was "slain before the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8) And that one sacrifice is made present at the Liturgy or Mass where Catholics and Orthodox enter into and unite ourselves with Christ, Our Lord.

When we pray in any prayer posture in front of a statue, we are normally asking for the intercession of a Saint. That is not worship. The stature or painting is a point of contact for our faith. That's all.

Now as to the text from 1 Corinthians. Every man will face a particular judgement at his death including those who are alive at the time of Christ's return but there is a principle in that verse that teaches purification after death.

The doctrine of Purgatory is very simple and brief. Purgatory is a place or condition in which the soul experiences purification. This purification involves suffering and is best compared to a healing pain. In some models, people have used the term temporal punishment but, even in that model, it's rehabilitation, not wrath. It is the love of God, transforming us and cleansing us.

The Church also teaches that we can pray for the souls in that condition, as they can pray for us but while time has been used to describe Purgatory, there is no official teaching about it. It could last an instance but again, we are talking about an eternal mystery. God and the soul are outside of time so, if on earth, the person is praying for the soul of someone already fully purified, it is still effective, because God makes it so — just like He makes Calvary present to us at the Mass. The point is that God finishes perfecting us, so that we can experience the perfect joy of His Love and Presence. There are many, many texts that imply this throughout the Old and New Testament.

I hope this helps. If you need further help, let me know.

John DiMascio

Bern replied:

Thanks Mike and John,

I learn a lot from this site.

Bern

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