Anonymous: Can you prove to me that Jesus is God/Son of God using only Jesus' own words in the Gospel? I don't want anything from the Pauline epistles or the Catechism. I want you to use only Jesus' own recorded words.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.”20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Anonymous: I read on another Catholic blog that Esther & Tobit are fictionalized stories to affirm Jewish morals. Is this true? They said there is no historical evidence to believe that they are factual. Is this true?
Yes, it is generally accepted that these books are not historical documents but rather free compositions. They are, however, sacred scripture in which God reveals Himself to us.
Several other books in the Bible are also not historical documents (or at least not entirely), for example: the Psalms, Song of Songs, Proverbs, and Revelation.
Anonymous: How come animals cannot go to heaven? My friend's dog that they had for about 12 years passed away recently and it makes me wonder. I heard it is because animals have no souls but how do we as humans know what has a soul and what doesn't?
We know that humans have eternal souls and animals do not through the Genesis account of Creation.
Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.” God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
So, in Genesis, we can see that humans have been set apart in that 1) We were made specifically in the image of God (who is immaterial and immortal, so we can infer that “the image of God” means that part of us is immaterial and immortal too; we call this the soul), and 2) We were given dominion over all other living things that God created. If animals had eternal souls like humans, then they would be counted in the phrase “created in the image of God” (but they don’t, so they’re not).
We know that the Bible does not mention that animals exist in the afterlife. If it did, then we would have to spend time preaching to animals and praying for the souls they don’t have!
From a scientific perspective, we have no evidence to suggest that animals are rational beings, and therefore we have no evidence to suggest they have an eternal soul (if, in fact, the eternal soul is the source of rationality).
I hope this covers everything you asked!
I realize that humans are animals. When I say “animal,” I simply mean any living thing that is not a human being.
All living things have material souls (their “life-force”) given to them by God, but only human souls continue to exist in an afterlife after the earthly body dies. That is why human souls are known as eternal souls.
Anonymous: Can God be all races or is he how he was as a human on earth?
God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are not human, so they do not have a nationality/race.
God the Son (Jesus Christ), however, was born of the Virgin Mary, and was a Jew. After His resurrection, and Ascension, though, I would assume that Jesus would no longer be bound to any nationality, due to the properties of His glorified body.
I know there is a lot of debate on the internet about whether icons of “White Jesus” or “Black Jesus” or “Chinese Jesus” or any other “Ethnicity ___ Jesus” are valid. I think we should remember that during His time on Earth 2000 years ago, Christ was Jew, but if icons that point us to Him are relevant to a certain culture (without being turned into idols), then I’m all for those icons. After all, Paul tells us that “In Christ Jesus, there is neither Gentile nor Jew.” I believe the point of this is not to say that actual nationalities do not exist, but rather that we should recognize our primary (and only important) citizenship as members of the Mystical Body of Christ. (If anyone has a correction, please make it!)
As an aside, we should also never turn Jesus into a political tool, like the people who have “Hippie Jesus” or other heretical interpretations.
Apologetics-a-thon #2: If the Bible is a Catholic book why does it teach against the adoration of Mary? (Luke 11:27-28)
TL;DW: Adoration is reserved for God alone, though Mary deserves a special veneration for having a unique role in the history of salvation.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 971: “All generations will call me blessed”: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs…. This very special devotion … differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.
Canon 1186: To foster the sanctification of the people of God, the Church commends to the special and filial reverence of the Christian faithful the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Mother of God, whom Christ established as the mother of all people, and promotes the true and authentic veneration of the other saints whose example instructs the Christian faithful and whose intercession sustains them.
Luke 11:27-28 (RSV-CE): As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!
St. Josemaría Escrivá’s commentary: These words proclaim and praise the Blessed Virgin’s basic attitude of soul. As the Second Vatican Council explains: “In the course of her Son’s preaching Mary received the words whereby, in extolling the Kingdom beyond the concerns and ties of flesh and blood, he declared blessed those who heard and kept the word of God (cf. Mk 3:35, Lk 11:27-28) as she was faithfully doing (cf. Lk 2:19, 51)” (Lumen Gentium, 58). Therefore, by replying in this way Jesus is not rejecting the warm praise this good lady renders his Mother; he accepts it and goes further, explaining that Mary is blessed particularly because she has been good and faithful in putting the word of God into practice. “It was a compliment to his Mother on her fiat, her ‘be it done’ (Lk 1:38). She lived in sincerely, unstintingly, fulfilling its every consequence, but never amid fanfare, rather in the hidden and silence sacrifice of each day.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen: God who made the sun also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun. The moon would be only a burned out cinder floating in the immensity of space, were it not for the sun. All its light is reflected from that glowing surface. In like manner, Mary reflects her Divine Son, without whom she is nothing. On dark nights we are grateful for the moon; when we see it shining we know there must be a sun. So, in this dark night of the world, when men turned their backs on Him Who is the Light of the World, we look to Mary to guide our feet while we await the sunrise.’
angelasoup: Is there any official Church position on marijuana use in itself (that is, not in the context that it is illegal, but if it is sinful per se)? I have never used it myself and don't intend to, but I'm just curious - if temperate alcohol use isn't prohibited (and often encouraged in the spirit of fellowship!), would the same go for marijuana use? Especially considering that there is some evidence that supports the idea that moderate use is less harmful? Is the stigma purely cultural? Thanks!
There are two main things to think about here:
1) Will what I do harm my body?
As St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19, our bodies are “temples of the Holy Spirit,” and that we do not own our bodies. Since God created us and our bodies, it’s fair to say that we have to treat what He created with love and respect. If smoking marijuana leads you to get lung cancer or anything that’s mortally dangerous like that, then I’d say it’s putting yourself in the occasion of sin.
2) Will what I do lead me to the occasion of sin?
This one is connected to the first condition. If you’re at a party, and you smoke a lot of marijuana, then have premarital sex, are you still committing a sin? It’s far to say that you are, because you consented in the action that put you in a state where you were more likely to sin. After we receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest tells us to “avoid the near occasion of sin.” This means that whatever we do, even if what we do in itself is not a sin, it cannot lead us towards sin. It’s like driving outside even if you know there’s going to be a snowstorm and you know that because you’re a shaky driver, you’ll get into an accident.
I think that these two conditions combined (treating your body like the Temple of the Holy Spirit it is, and avoiding situations that could make you sin) would result making the smoking of marijuana a sin. If you take it for medicinal purposes, obviously that’s different, but I’d advise to stay away from it. And besides, there are lots of other ways to get “high.” You’d be surprised at what a few hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament can do for your happiness levels!
I hope I didn’t seem to judgemental. I’m personally against the abuse of marijuana, so maybe if any other Papist would like to make a rebuttal, that’d be okay too?
Afterthought: If marijuana is proved to be “as harmful” as alcohol, and alcohol is condoned in the Church, then there’s no logical reason why marijuana shouldn’t be allowed. But I don’t think there’s any evidence that it’s good for you, either (besides pain relief).
Anonymous: Why is a priest necessary for confession? God, who is omnipresent, is the one who forgives me, so why must I mediate between someone? The point is to be sorry for your disobedience and work to remedy it, typically by not partaking in it again. Why do I need a priest to tell me to say a prayer ritualistically, when I could figure out for myself that I've done wrong, pray, ask for forgiveness and recompense with something worthwhile?
Well, for starters, let’s talk about the two different types of sins: venial sins and mortal sins.
Venial sins are the little sins that chip away at our connection with God. They hurt him, but they don’t completely cut us off from God. We can be forgiven from venial sins in the penitential rite during Mass, in receiving the Eucharist, in saying a rosary, etc… (different types of prayer, fasting and almsgiving) because they’re just little offenses.
On the other hand, mortal sins completely sever the connection between us and God. Without a specific concrete act, we can’t return to communion with God. The way to do this, though, is by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Confession.
John 20:23 recalls Jesus commissioning his disciples:
If you forgive anyone [their] sins, they are forgiven; if you retain them, they are retained.
This was basically a direct order from Jesus to hear sins and absolve sinners on His behalf. The Catholic Church carries, to this day, this tradition of Jesus’ disciples (the priests, directly handed down authority from Saint Peter through apostolic succession) formally forgiving peoples’ sins.
That’s the theological and scriptural answer.
For me personally, the answer is because there’s literally nothing greater than hearing these words: "I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Go in peace.”
When the priest acts in persona Christi (in the person of Christ), he is simply doing what Jesus told his disciples to do 2000 years ago. And praise God, because the sacrament of Reconciliation is a darn good one.
Anonymous: Why is Gen. 38:9-10 cited for condemning contraception? In context, it appears that Onan is being punished for disobeying Judah's command, rather than for spilling his seed. Further, Catholics have argued that biblical penalty for not giving your brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death (Deut. 25:7–10), but Onan received death as punishment for his crime, so it must have been for something greater. Except that Onan's punishment came prior to God giving the law to the Israelites
Gen 38:6-10, 6Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death.
8Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.”9But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.10What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death also.”
In both instances, the LORD put both Onan and Er to death, not because they disobeyed Judah, but because their actions were wicked in the LORD’s eyes. This is apparent in Gen 38:10 “What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death also.” It was in the LORD’s eyes that what he did was wicked, not Judah’s. What is it that he was doing that was wicked? He spilled his seed whenever he slept with his brothers wife. He prevented conception, just as contraceptives do.
You are right, not giving the brother’s widow children was public humiliation, not death. Catholic Answers gives a great explantion of this here under the scripture section.
God’s laws and punishments still were in effect prior to giving the law to the Israelites. The difference was that the LORD was the judge and carried out punishments rather than the high priests and judges of Israel.
Anonymous: The Bible is obviously NOT the word of god when it's been re-written so many times. Originally hell wasn't even part of the Bible, it was a creation of man to terrify people into the religion.
And your proof is where?
The Bible is a historical piece of work, actually. How could so many different writers have the exact same opinion about the same man(Jesus and the Gospels)? How could they have all sent the same message but written about different details?
For example, in John 8:1-11, Jesus meets the woman who committed adultery. While everyone is freaking out because this woman slept with another man, Jesus just stoops down and writes in the dirt with his finger. I mean, seriously, what kind of fiction writer would add a tiny detail like that? The Gospels are all eyewitness accounts of the three or so years that Jesus spent in public ministry. As such, they all vary in the details, but the message of Love stays the same.
And where is your proof regarding the man-made creation of Hell?