Protestants usually prey on innocent Catholics to win them over and lead them away from the true Church. They usually begin by asking questions to assess if the person (Catholic) knows anything about the Catholic faith or not. If the Catholic cannot answer their question(s) they begin to confuse him by citing biblical passages that appears to be against what the Catholic Church believes, and then they would make a claim that the Catholic Church is unbiblical and one should leave it and join them. Therefore, every Catholic should know the answers to these 15 common questions about the Catholic faith.
1. Why do call your priest father when the bible says call no one father but me
In Mt.23:9 Jesus Christ said “call no man Father”, do Catholics contradict this verse whenever they call a priest “Father”? In Mt. 23:9 Jesus Christ is asserting that we should not have another Father which is greater or more important than God the Father. However, this does not prohibit us from calling other people as Father, otherwise it would be a sin to call our biological “Father” as father. Whenever Catholics address the priest as “Father” it simply means that we are giving due respect to them for they gave us eternal life through the Sacrament of baptism which they administered to us. In the Old Covenant the people calls Abraham as their Father (Mt. 3:9, Lk. 16:24, Rom. 4:16, Rom.9:10). St. Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians implied that he is a father of the Christians in Corinthians “I am writing you in this way not to shame you but to admonish you as my beloved children.” (1 Cor.4:14)
2. (Mt. 27:46) please explain why when on the cross and nearing death, Jesus said “my God My God, why have you forsaken me?
This passage should not be taken out of its context and conclude that Christ was abandoned by the Father. When Jesus Christ uttered the phrase “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” he is quoting a specific passage from the Old Testament Psalm 22:1 which he applies to himself as a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy that God will send a Messiah that will save His people.
3. Why do we repeat prayer when the bible says it should not be repetitive?
Nowhere in the Bible prohibits us from praying repetitively, what the Scripture prohibits us is a senseless repetition of prayers (Mt.6:7). Even Jesus Christ himself repeated a prayer:
He left them again, withdrew somewhat, and began to pray a third time, saying the same words as before. (Mt.26:44)
The angels in heaven prayed repetitively without end.
Day and night, without pause, they sing holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, he who was and who is and who is come! (Rev. 4:8)
In the Old Testament Ps. 136 is also a repetitive prayer somewhat like the Holy Rosary.
4. My non- catholic friends ask why we separate sin from venial and mortal? Are there biblical verses?
The Sacred Scripture is clear that there are two kinds of sins, a sin that is deadly and a sin that is not deadly. The Catholic Church uses the term Venial sins (not deadly sins) and mortal sins (deadly sins) to distinguish the two. In 1 John 5:16 it says:
If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. (1 John 5:16 NAB)
5. Why tradition and scripture rather than just scripture? Does the bible support the use of oral tradition?
Scripture itself is a product of tradition in the letter of St. Paul to Thessalonians he said: “Therefore brothers, stand firm, hold fast to the traditions you received from us, either by our word or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15). If the Sacred Scripture is binding to us because it is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) therefore Sacred Tradition too is equally binding to us since St. Paul affirms that we should stand firm to it. Therefore, in the Christian faith there are two types of tradition the “Written Tradition” (Sacred Scripture) and “Apostolic Tradition” (Oral Traditions) and these Traditions contain the Sacred deposit of faith. To hold on to Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) like the Protestants you will not have the complete revelation of Christ. The New Testament repeatedly affirms the sacred authority of Oral Traditions. (by Oral Tradition are teachings that were not written down but was passed down from one generation of Christians to the next through the bishops and pope)
I praise you because you always remember me and are holding fast to the traditions just as I handed them onto you. (2 Cor. 11:2)
We command you brothers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to avoid any brother who wanders from the straight path and does not follow the traditions you received from us. (2 Thess. 3:6)
The things which you have heard [Orally preached by St. Paul, not written down] from me through many witnesses you must hand on to trustworthy men who will be able to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)
6. I don’t exactly know about the Blessed Trinity. Are the father son and Holy Spirit a one person?
We should use an analogy to better understand the concept of Holy Trinity. Take a piece of paper, fold it into three parts. After folding the paper how many parts are there now? There are three (3) parts, but how many paper? Only one (1) paper. The Holy Trinity should be understood in the same manner, there are three distinct persons in one God subsisting in one nature. Sacred Scripture is clearly demonstrates the truth of this dogma of faith.
The LORD appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre while he sat at the entrance of his tent in the day’s heat. He looked up and suddenly saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them, he ran from his tent entrance to greet them and bowed deeply. (Genesis 18:1-2)
Who appeared to Abraham? It was the Lord who appeared to him. In what manner did the Lord appeared to Abraham? Through the three men. This is one of God’s manifestation of His true nature that there are three persons in one God.
The New Testament also explicitly stated this truth.
And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7-8 Douay-Rheims Bible 1899)
7. What proof is there that peter was the first pope?
Christ’s words in the gospel of Matthew are by itself the proof that Peter was the first pope. In Matthew chapter 16:17-19 Jesus Christ said:
And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Mt. 16:17-19 Douay-Rheims Bible 1899)
There are three important elements in this passage that we must understand in order to arrive to the truth that Peter was the first pope.
1. Simon Bar-Jona was Peter’s real name but was changed to “Peter” or “Petros” which means rock.
2. Peter was made the rock foundation of the Church “thou art Peter upon this rock I will build my church. . .”
3. The keys to the kingdom of heaven was given to Peter by Christ and whatever he binds and loose on earth will also be bind and loose in heaven.
In the Sacred Scriptures whenever a person’s name was changed it signifies that God is giving him a divine mission. Abram’s name was changed to Abraham (Genesis 17:1-5), Sarai to Sarah (Genesis 17:15-16), Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:24-28). Correspondingly Simon Bar-Jona’s name was changed to Peter (John 1:42, Cepha is Aramaic for Rock, Petros if Greek for Rock) which means rock. After changing Simon’s name to Peter, Jesus Christ established His Church upon Peter or rock and gave him the “keys to the kingdom of God” (Is.22:22) which signifies authority, and this authority is no human authority but divine authority that is why whatever Peter bind or loose on earth will also be bind and loose in heaven. Peter was seen exercising this authority in Pentecost Acts chapter 1 when he was the first one to preach the Gospel and again in Acts 15 when he has to settle a doctrinal dispute.
8. What is purgatory? Why do you believe in purgatory? What proof?
Purgatory is a place for souls in the state of purification. The Catechism of the Catholic Church number 1030 states that only those souls that died in the state of grace can enter the kingdom of God however they still need to be purified from their imperfections for them to enter heaven. In Rev. 21:27 it was said that no defile can enter the kingdom of God therefore there is a need for purification. In Zechariah 13:8-9 it alludes to the necessity of purification and St. Paul in 1 Cor. 3:15 speaks of salvation yet as though passing through fire, this cannot be hell since the fires of hell cannot save a soul. St. Paul clearly is speaking of a different fire and this fire is what we believe as purgatory. In Philippians 2:10 it tells us of a place other than heaven and hell.
That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: (Philippians 2:10)
Every knee should bend, in heaven, on earth and under the earth. “Under the earth” cannot be hell for they do not worship God. Therefore, this is a place other than heaven and hell this place is named by the Church as purgatory.
9. Why do you have to pray to saints? And Why pray to saints my friends don’t understand. Why nor pray to God directly?
In the Catholic faith saints are not seen as someone who is distant and cannot have any connection with us even spiritually. In Hebrews 12:22-23 the Christians on earth, saints in heaven and souls in purgatory are one spiritual family. We might not see them, touch them or talk to them yet we are all part of God’s family. St. Paul in his letter to Timothy instructs Christians to pray for one another and ask for one another’s intercession 1 Tim. 2:1. We are asking the saints to pray for us because we are told to do so by St. Paul.
10. Why do you have statues to praise to? Why do Catholics pray to statues? Isn’t it a sin to kneel before statues and icons? How do we answer those who criticize us for worshipping idols?
We have to first clarify the Catholic stand on statues and images. First and foremost Catholics do not praise a statue nor pray to it. Catholics give respect to statues and images because of the people they represent after all we are told to give honor to whom honor is due and respect to whom respect it due (Rom.13:7). For instance, if you are to desecrate the statue of Jose Rizal you can be sued for it, because the people and the state gives due respect to Jose Rizal. However that doesn’t mean that we are already worshiping or praising the statue or Rizal. The same treatment also applies to the statues and images of saints. Catholics have statues and images of saints in the Church because it serves as a reminder for us that we can be like the saints. In Exodus 25:18 God ordered the creation of images of Cherubim on top of the ark of the Covenant. The temple of God in the Old Covenant was also filled with statues and images (Num. 21:8-9, 1 Kings 6:23, 1 Kings 6:23), since the Catholic Church is the New Covenant of God it is also fitting to have images of saints in the Church. The most common contention against the Catholic belief is that they are accusing Catholics of worshiping idols for kneeling in front of statues. Kneeling is not an exclusive act of worship it can have different meaning depending on the circumstances. When a Catholic kneel in front of a statue of a saint he has no intention of worshiping the saint or statue contrary to what Protestants are saying, rather he is like King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:46 which gives due respect to the prophet Daniel, but in the Catholic’s case he is giving respect to the saint.
11. Why do Catholics make sign of the cross?
Catholics make the sign of the cross because it serves as an external way of professing our Catholic faith in the Holy Trinity (1 John 5:7) and reminds us that we are baptized into Christ (Mt.28:18-20). The cross also serves as our mark as Christians (Ez. 9:4).
12. Why do we baptize infants?
We baptized infants because we want them to become part of the body of Christ (Mt. 28:19-20, Col.1:18. Eph. 5:23), and partakers of the kingdom of heaven (John 3:5).
13. Why must we confess our sins to the priest and how can he forgive us our sins? If Jesus will forgive the truly repent why confess to priest?
It is not us who choose to confess our sins to the priest in order to be forgiven. It is Christ who chose that he will forgive us through the priest. Whenever the priest forgives us of our sins it is not the priest per se who forgives but Christ through the priest. In the Gospel of John Christ gave the priests the authority to hear confessions.
He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John 20:21-23)
Therefore, if we make our own way for God to hear our sins and forgive us without following what Christ has said then we are directly opposing what Christ himself instituted for the forgiveness of our sins.
14. Why are priests not married?
There are two main reasons why the priest remains celibate.
1. As an imitation of Christ who remain celibate and dedicated His entire life in evangelizing people.
2. They choose to be celibate for the kingdom of God.
Since time immemorial it has always been an accepted practice of Catholic priests to choose not to marry and dedicate themselves for preaching and celebration of the Holy Eucharist. This practice has become a norm and was made into a law to not allow a priest to be married.
15. Why do Catholics not believe that salvation is by faith alone? Isn’t it more convenient that salvation is achievable by merely having faith alone?
Salvation is not about convenience it is about following the will of God (Mt.7:21) even if it is beyond our comfort zone. Catholics do not believe that salvation is by faith alone because the Bible never mentions it. On the contrary the Scripture is telling us that “a man is justified by his works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24). Salvation cannot possibly be by faith alone because even the devil himself believe in God (James 2:19), what differs us from the devil is that we have both faith and charity (good works) while the devil have faith alone. The devil cannot do works of charity because the root of charity is love, and God is love (1 John 4:7) and the devil does not have God with him. Both good works and faith are necessary for salvation we cannot separate the two. In the final judgment Christ will judge us basing on our good works (Mt. 7:21, Mt. 25:31-46, Romans 2:7).