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Michael Miller wrote:

Hey Mike,

  • Do we have any detailed record from secular history or Tradition about what occurred during the 40 days before Jesus ascended into Heaven beyond what is written in the Scriptures?

I have looked all over for sources but have not been able to find much. Any help would be much appreciated.

  • Also, when Catholics refer to the assumption of Mary, is it similar to the way Enoch and Elijah were taken up to Heaven or something else?

Thanks,

Michael

  { Do we have any record of what occurred during the 40 days before Jesus' Ascension and . . . ? }

Mike replied:

Hi Mike,

You said:

  • Do we have any detailed record from secular history or Tradition about what occurred during the 40 days before Jesus ascended into Heaven beyond what is written in the Scriptures?

No, not to my knowledge, though I am not familiar with the other non-biblical apocryphal writings of the Early Church.

You said:

  • In addition, when Catholics refer to the assumption of Mary, is it similar to the way Enoch and Elijah were taken up to Heaven or something else?

Yes, it is!

These posting may help. Remember always check the knowledge base first.
There is a wealth of information there: AskACatholic.com/SiteSearch

I hope this helps,

Mike

John replied:

Hi, Michael —

It wouldn't be Tradition rather tradition with a small t. In other words, such a record would not, more likely than not, be part of the Church's official teaching but come from some traditions or customs found in non-biblical books that might have some roots in truth.

Like Mike, I am unaware of any such a record.

Hope this helps,

John

Michael replied:

Hi guys,

I forgot to ask these last set of questions:

  • Is there a web site that evaluates how faithful web sites that claim to be Catholic are?
  • What is your view of Pope Francis?
  • Are Catholics required to wear crucifixes or do they wear them as a devotion to Christ and an identification as a Catholic?

Michael

Mike replied:

Hi Mike,

You said:

  • Is there a web site that evaluates how faithful web sites that claim to be Catholic are?

Yes there is. Catholic Culture:

You said:

  • What is your view of Pope Francis?

My view of Pope Francis is not important. The Holy Spirit chose Francis and I'm not as stupid as some Catholics to question a choice made by the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Though not important, here's my two cents view.

I'm personally very pleased that many have taken to the people-oriented nature of Francis. Some in the media try to distort what he has said or, as in his first interview on a plane, I thought he made some poor choice in words which may have lead to some misunderstandings.

I really like his non-judgmental approach, not because as a Catholic, I shouldn't judge. We all make judgments. We have to discern what are pearls and what are swine. (Matthew 7:6)

What we can't do impute guilt for a specific reason behind the act of a person or people. We can't get into their conscience or possibly be aware of their previous upbringing, etc. Our Lord alone judges in this second sense of the word, to judge.

We correct once in charity, like reminding someone that Christians are obliged to renew their Sunday Covenant by going to Mass but once we tell them once, the culpability for future shortcomings falls on them.

In playing up Francis, many unjustly put down Pope Emeritus Benedict. This is ridiculous as Benedict was one of the key collaborators on encyclicals by Pope Saint John Paul II and he also changed the way we worship here in the United States.

It's important to remember that infallibility is a negative safeguard. It does not mean the Pope will always say or do the holiest thing. It protects him against doing or saying anything that would bring errors into the Deposit of Faith: the teachings on faith and morals which Catholics must believe, if they are truly faithful Catholics.

Sometimes in history we have had popes sinning so much, they had no time to teach on faith and morals. I think one Pope had several mistresses.

You said:

  • Are Catholics required to wear crucifixes or do they wear them as a devotion to Christ and an identification as a Catholic?

Catholics are not required to wear anything of a devotional nature but the Church would certainly encourage it. Generational practices have changed but because Protestants don't believe in a sacrificial priesthood, sometimes Protestants will only wear a Cross as opposed to a Crucifix.

If you see a Christian wearing a Crucifix, there is a higher probability that person is a Catholic Christian.

I hope this answers your questions.

Mike

Michael replied:

Mike,

I have another question, but this one is on behalf of a friend.

My friend is of the opinion that most, if not all, human suffering stems from this formula:

collective population +
hierarchical structure +
power hungry psychopaths (or misguided persons) =
human suffering

From his perspective, the Catholic Church meets the first two parts, with a collective laity and a hierarchical priesthood centralized on the papacy. While normally OK, all it would take is a few evil people at the top to complete the formula and lead to human suffering. He points to some of the Church scandals as examples of where Church hierarchy prolongs human suffering.

  • Does the Church have any safeguards to ensure that the hierarchy is not abusive?

These next questions are my own:

  • Why has the Church persecuted some saints, only to canonize them later on?
  • As an aside, what does praise and worship look like in a Catholic Mass in the Ordinary Form?
  • Is it traditional hymns or are contemporary compositions with modern instruments used/permitted?

Regards,

Michael

Mike replied:

Hi Michael,

Great to hear from you.

You said:
I have another question, but this one is on behalf of a friend.

My friend is of the opinion that most, if not all, human suffering stems from this formula:

collective population +
hierarchical structure +
power hungry psychopaths (or misguided persons) =
human suffering

From his perspective, the Catholic Church meets the first two parts, with a collective laity and a hierarchical priesthood centralized on the papacy. While normally OK, all it would take is a few evil people at the top to complete the formula and lead to human suffering. He points to some of the Church scandals as examples of where Church hierarchy prolongs human suffering.

Here's my two cents. Although your friend has the general idea correct that purifying suffering, for our sins whether among the priests, Catholic lay people, or other non-Catholics, is redemptive, the mystery of suffering will always be just that, a mystery. He appears to have a formula for suffering but I would tend to disagree with this concept.

This Letter written by Pope St. John Paul II on this topic may provide addition insight. I would print it out and share it with him.

You said:

  • Does the Church have any safeguards to ensure that the hierarchy is not abusive?

Yes! The Church has implemented safeguards. The primary responsibility for clergy abuse issues always lies first with the local bishop of each diocese.

That's why liberal media who blamed John Paul II and Benedict don't know what they are talking about. As soon both Pontiffs discovered the globe nature of this problem they took steps immediately to correct the issue.

You said:
These next questions are my own:

  • Why has the Church persecuted some saints, only to canonize them later on?

Because like any other human organization, we have sinners as well as saints.
At one point in history, I think almost 95% of Catholic bishops held to the Arian heresy.

This is just a divine proof that with all this sinning going on in our Church, something divine must be keeping Her together. We believe it is Jesus, Himself.

I have heard other friends say that if any business ran its finances the way the Catholic Church runs its finances, it would be out of business a long time ago : )

Bob has also said in some of his recent answers, it took years to develop some of the doctrinal teachings we understand today on topics like the Trinity.

Some of our greatest theologically-minded saints were much more advanced than even the local bishops of their time.

You said:

  • As an aside, what does praise and worship look like in a Catholic Mass in the Ordinary Form?
  • Is it traditional hymns or are contemporary compositions with modern instruments used/permitted?

I would say it is (more) contemporary compositions with modern instruments used/permitted.

No matter what form of the Mass appeals to you, it's important not to politicize one liturgical rite over another. We are all on different faith journeys and all have different spiritual needs.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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