Catholic 101: Purgatory

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Where does the doctrine of Purgatory come from? Even before Christ, Jews believed God could forgive sins after death (2 Maccabees 12:46). Matthew 12:32, Luke 12:59, 1 Corinthians 3:15, and other passages may refer to Purgatory. Early Christians prayed for the dead.

Purgatory is not a second chance for those who reject Christ. It’s a place for those who follow Him to be purified of remaining sins or attachments so they can enter Heaven. If I steal, then repent, God forgives me, but I still must give back what I stole. If I hate my neighbor, I steal something from him too, and I must repay it, even after I repent—often in Purgatory.

We can avoid or reduce our time in Purgatory by going to confession often, performing acts of love for God or our neighbor, or—as St. Therese taught—having perfect trust in God.

Before commenting, please read the guidelines for this series.  And, check out the rest of the series here.

**Catholic 101 posts are designed to be short snippets of our faith. Please consider emailing this to one person who might be seeking an answer.**

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Connie Rossini gives whole families practical help to grow in holiness. She is the author of the just-released Trusting God with St. Therese and the free ebook Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life. She writes a spirituality column for The Prairie Catholic of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, and blogs at Contemplative Homeschool. She and her husband Dan have four young sons.

Catholic 101: Things the Pope Says

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You’ve probably heard the news: the Pope is changing some major Catholic teachings that have been a point of contingency with the general public for a long time. Welp, you heard wrong. Let’s hear things correctly, shall we?

The things the Pope has said? This is what the church has been saying alllllll along; there is nothing new. Catholics feel like we can finally say, “Yes. This is what we have been trying to tell you. Do you get it now?” We have always loved the sinner and hated the sin. Maybe you have run into some Catholics in your life who didn’t practice this very well, but that doesn’t change what the church believes.

There are real risks that come with the way Pope Francis is talking about these things. He will be misunderstood—sometime through ignorance, sometimes through malice—and those who want to use his words to undermine the Church’s long-standing teaching will be given the opportunity to do so.- CV

Again: nothing has changed; it never will.

Don’t misunderstand: we are not condoning any of these behaviors. We are simply saying that a person is greater than the sum of his or her sins, and we must treat all humanity with respect and love if we are to bring them into the one true church.

So, don’t get excited because non-Catholic news sources have found another way to sell papers by misinterpreting what the Pope is saying. We don’t like your sin, but we love you. We have always loved you. We will never stop loving you. We want you to come to the church.

Nothing new here.

Before commenting, please read the guidelines for this series.  And, check out the rest of the series here.

**Catholic 101 posts are designed to be short snippets of our faith. Please consider emailing this to one person who might be seeking an answer.**

Catholic 101: Papal Infallibility

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Catholics believe the Pope can never be wrong.  Right?  If you look at some of the corrupt Popes throughout history, you’ll know that this simply cannot be true.

What then is Papal Infallibility? 

First, let’s talk about Apostolic Succession.  Catholics, believe the original authority given by Christ to his apostles has been preserved and passed down from Bishop to Bishop throughout the ages.  Because of this direct line, the Pope traces his authority back to Peter, whom Christ appointed to lead His Church.

Because of Apostolic Succession, the Pope cannot err when he is 1) exercising his role as the leader of the Church AND 2) defining a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.

The first requirement means anything outside his official role as Pope (i.e. his personal life) is not subject to Papal Infallibility.  The second part is much more restricting: only in issues of Church dogma is he incapable of error.  Dogmas are the most serious and essential Church teachings – in fact, most Church teaching are not dogma.  If you know anything about Catholicism, new teachings are rare, new dogma even more so.  Indeed, these instances are so uncommon that the vast majority of Popes have never had an occasion in which Papal Infallibility applied.

The Church does not put a stamp of approval on the romantic dalliances or greedy schemes of the medieval Popes.  She doesn’t approve of misstatements by modern Popes.  She simply teaches that in the most serious of religious matters, she will not allow a Shepherd to lead his flock astray.

Before commenting, please read the guidelines for this series.  And, check out the rest of the series here.

**Catholic 101 posts are designed to be short snippets of our faith. Please consider emailing this to one person who might be seeking an answer.**

This is a guest post from Mandi. Mandi is a 20-something wife and mother who takes her Catholic faith seriously.  She shares the joys and challenges of marriage, parenting, and Catholic womanhood at Messy Wife, Blessed Life.  When she’s not blogging, she’s probably wrangling a toddler, selling Lilla Rose hair accessories, playing word games, or moving cross country.

Write for Catholic 101

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Have you read any of my Catholic 101 series?

I’m considering making it an ongoing series with no end date. Just something that I will add to as I complete the posts. No deadlines here.

Basically what I am looking for are short (100-150 words) snippets on the Catholic faith. I want to make sure they are easily accessible to all people. The main audience I am trying to reach is people who may have fallen away from the Church or people who have misconceptions about Catholicism based on false information. I am looking for basic and easy apologetics topics that are completely in line with the teachings of the Magesterium.

I’m so glad you’re interested in writing one – you are interested, right? Let me know what other questions you have – callherhappy {at} gmail {dot} com. And be sure to check out previous posts to see what topics have been covered.

Catholic 101: The Eucharist

Patty was super kind enough to post for me today. A little about this gem: “I’m a newlywed, youth minister, and grad student. Lover of good books, traveling, pink moscato, and am passionately Catholic. I blog about marriage, ministry, recipes, and more…its all done with a wee bit o’ sass and a dose of honesty :)” Check her out on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. And, don’t forget her blog, Tales of Me and the Husband.
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One thing that’s kind of awesome about being Catholic is the Eucharist.

We believe it is actually the same Jesus who suffered, died, and rose again we receive in communion; it ain’t no symbol to us, but the real deal (that is is actually Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity).  Crazy concept, huh??  And no, we don’t “re-kill” Jesus at Mass and are not cannibals.  But rather time stops at Mass…

And…BOOM. We are present at the Last Supper.  BOOM. We are present at the foot of the Cross.  BOOM. We are present at the Resurrection.

And you thought time travel really didn’t exist, gotch ya!! ;-)

Jesus told his disciples in John 6 to “eat his flesh and drink his blood to have eternal life.”  Many thought he was way crazy and left him right there on the spot.  So either Jesus meant that this piece of bread/cup of wine truly IS his body and blood or either meant it was just a symbol.  But see Jesus didn’t say “this is a symbol of me,” He said “this IS me…do this in remembrance of me.”  So we really do receive Jesus in holy communion at Mass, and its AWESOME.  If people really knew WHO they were receiving in communion at Mass and why it matters, I really think they would never leave the Catholic Church.

The Eucharist is spiritual food for our journey through life…to help us become holy, love others, serve the poor, and to follow Jesus with every ounce of strength we have.  We all need nourishment to keep our physical bodies alive, healthy, and strong…why not take advantage of this precious gift of heavenly food to keep our spiritual bodies alive too??

Before commenting, please read the guidelines for this series.  And, check out the rest of the series here.

**Catholic 101 posts are designed to be short snippets of our faith. Please consider emailing this to one person who might be seeking an answer.**

Catholic 101: Worshiping Mary?

Camille from Assorted Joys was wonderful enough to tackle to topic of the Blessed Virgin Mary – no small task. But, somehow she summed up the Catholic view of Mary in a perfect Catholic 101 post. Check out her blog to learn more about her travels, homeschooling and her triumphs and not-so-good mom moments.

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Mary: Mother of God.

Mary isn’t a goddess and we don’t worship her as if she were.  We don’t idolize statues of her and the title “Mother of God” doesn’t mean she is above Jesus Christ.

Who is Mary to Catholics then?

The ultimate mother.  A mother free of sin, gentle, kind, and unfathomably loving.  She knew her Son was the Son of God and she spent her lifetime on earth and her eternity in heaven bringing others closer to him.  “Do whatever he tells you”, she said to the servant at the wedding at Cana, and she says the same to each of us.

We ask Mary to pray for us (we do not pray to her as an equal to God), to pray with us, and to intercede on our behalf. When Catholics ask Mary to pray for them, it is much like asking a friend to pray for you. But, Mary has a much closer connection to the Son than anyone on Earth. Why do we ask Mary to intercede for us? We know that she was chosen directly by God for one of the most important jobs ever held by a human being on this planet – to raise, love, and care for the Son of God.

 

Before commenting, please read the guidelines for this series.  And, check out the rest of the series here.

**Catholic 101 posts are designed to be short snippets of our faith. Please consider emailing this to one person who might be seeking an answer.**

Catholic 101: Moral Relativism

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Pope Benedict XVI said, “Relativism, which considers all opinions true even if they are contradictory, is the greatest problem for our time.”

On this same subject, Matthew Kelly explains that relativists believe that if something cannot be scientifically verified, it is subject to relativism. But, as Catholics, we are called to challenge this idea.

Relativism is often disguised in our society as being open-minded and tolerant

Relativism is often disguised in our society as being open-minded and tolerant, but there are many instances in life where it is good to be closed-minded and intolerant.

Kelly continues this idea by saying that relativists say we cannot impose our morality on others, but we do this each and every day. Can you think of an instance where this happens?

If you saw someone beating a child?
If you watched a drunk woman climbing behind the driver’s seat?
If you heard a man verbally abusing his girlfriend?

Challenge the idea of moral relativism. There is a right and a wrong in many situations, despite what society tells you. Believing this is called “standing up for what is right”.

Before commenting, please read the guidelines for this series.  And, check out the rest of the series here.

**Catholic 101 posts are designed to be short snippets of our faith. Please consider emailing this to one person who might be seeking an answer.**

Catholic 101: The Church is for Sinners

Overview

I often overwhelm myself with ideas for posts. I try to spare you the inane details of my life (What? You don’t think I do?) I have high hopes that I can change the world with the right words – I’m more of an optimist than you might think. And then, eventually, I fall short or become paralyzed by too many ideas, and I end up doing nothing at all. You probably have no idea what this feels like…

I got to thinking, as I try to do: what if I just shared a small part of my faith in simple terms? I can do that.

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Catholic 101

My intentions with Catholic 101 is to share a bit of Catholicism with you in hopes that you will pass it along to someone in need. No, I don’t want to do this for the traffic – I highly doubt these snippets would do the trick. Instead, I hope these are quick little blurbs that you can email someone who has questions about being Catholic.

I would imagine this goes without saying, but I’m not perfect as I lead you to believe, I’m sure. I might make mistakes. Please (nicely) let me know when I do. However, these posts are not designed for you to hate on the Church and stir up debate, but I would be more than happy to try to answer earnest questions, so ask away!

My First Topic: The Church is for Sinners

Catholicism is a sinner’s religion. It was not designed for people to live out perfectly. Instead, it offers the promise that no matter how badly we sin, the Church offers guidance and forgiveness.

In fact, the leaders of the Church sin too. I don’t need to go into this; you can probably tell me a million ways.

But, it is not the people that make up what we believe. Instead, it is the teachings of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago that are the only perfection we have.

Don’t judge the Church by it’s people. We are a bunch of sinners striving to better ourselves each day in the image of Christ.

**Catholic 101 posts are designed to be short snippets of our faith. Please consider emailing this to one person who might be seeking an answer.**