Question for Catholics (Catholic Church Crisis) (2 Viewers)

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I have a question for Catholics. When an Archbishop says he is burning an altar does he really burn the altar or is it just replacing the altar with a new one? What if the altar is made of stone? Going to be pretty hard to burn? Guess where I’m getting at is the altar really burned or is it like some sort of exorcism the archbishop does to cleanse the altar? Does the Church really have backup altars? Someone educate me.
 

DaveXA

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You don’t have to pay taxes either.
That's not actually true. The churches are tax exempt. But ministers pay taxes like everyone else.

I always did my own taxes. Filed as a self-employed minister, reported income and expenses on Schedule C and paid self employment tax to pay into FICA/SS. So yeah.
 
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saintmdterps

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Correct, however, while faith alone is not enough, faith seems to be a requirement.

John 3:18
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Hebrews 11:16
And without faith it is impossible to please him.

Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
There is also the notion of doubt as a cornerstone of religion. Christian mysticism addressed doubt with the concept of The Dark night of the Soul, in which even the most devout have periods, which can last years, of crushing doubt about their chosen path.

Doubt, along with Faith and Perseverance is considered one of the three pillars of Zen. To merely accept any tenet with blind faith is seen as unskillful. Doubt is seen as the essential questioning of what we're doing, why we're doing it, and what we might expect as an outcome.

For disciples of both Zen and Christianity, to emerge from this period of doubt with your faith still intact would render that faith much stronger than one who has accepted his/her lot on blind faith alone.
 

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There is also the notion of doubt as a cornerstone of religion. Christian mysticism addressed doubt with the concept of The Dark night of the Soul, in which even the most devout have periods, which can last years, of crushing doubt about their chosen path.

Doubt, along with Faith and Perseverance is considered one of the three pillars of Zen. To merely accept any tenet with blind faith is seen as unskillful. Doubt is seen as the essential questioning of what we're doing, why we're doing it, and what we might expect as an outcome.

For disciples of both Zen and Christianity, to emerge from this period of doubt with your faith still intact would render that faith much stronger than one who has accepted his/her lot on blind faith alone.
Indeed, no doubt! Really! :hihi:

Well said, :9:.
 
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Another one,

He ran away to hide too! Who is telling these priests to run away? Now when the archdiocese transfers a priest I see red flags.
 

St. PJ

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The very famous John 3:16:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. "

I think it is very clear what happens if you don't believe in him.

By grace through faith. No faith, no ticket.
What the church teaches, simply as I can put it, is that anyone who is open to / responds to / cooperates with God's grace may be saved. God is the judge of hearts and how we each respond to the graces and lights we receive. An atheist may rightly be strongly opposed to many facets of what he/she believes God or Christianity to be and teach. There's over 50,000 denominations of Christianity alone, each with their own version of truth (only one claiming to be founded by God, posses infallibility & authority in regards to dogmatic teaching, deciding canon of the bible, and biblical interpretation).

If the God of Christianity exists, either you have only one true religion/denomination, or you have thousands upon thousands, each with differing measures of having the fullness of His truth. Either way, you are going to have many thousands with partial truths or no truth at all - each competing and claiming to be the truth.

So back to our atheist. The Church (and bible) teach God's grace comes in a plethora of ways. Through His abiding presence known as Sanctifying Grace (the life and breath of God in the soul, where God tabernacles in a soul free of mortal sin), and through the many forms of Actual Grace: through conscience, through intellect, through revelation, through all of nature.

There are many examples of atheists who reject intellectual arguments for God, who see and reject flaws and contradictions (both apparent - something that on the surface appears to be but upon investigation is not - and those that are real), yet in their actions and moral code of living, they accept and glorify God by being right true and just, by sacrifice for the sake of other, by being virtuous in any number of ways that does not happen without God's grace. Simply, by being super natural and rising above fallen nature. At the moment of death, when the veil is lifted, an atheist may very well see that everything they held dear and placed hope in and kept in their heart was of God - that just as we can do the devil's bidding without being aware, so we can also do God's will and cooperate with and love God without realizing the object of our love.

Which soul does God grant salvation to? The one who kept what was good and right and just in their heart and let that dictate how they lived and treated others, or the one who openly believed and proclaimed all these things, but didn't let it alter how they lived or treated others, nor cooperate with God's grace? Grace is only part of the equation. Jesus is very clear in every gospel as to the criteria of judgment. When I was tired, when I was hungry, sick, poor, imprisoned, thirsty, ect. He was very clear and explicit that we will be judged, that our eternal destination rests not on what we proclaim to believe, but how we live and respond and treat others based on what we claim to believe.

You are correct that it is by grace, through faith. I'm just trying to illustrate that faith doesn't always equate to the person who holds it (faith) as someone who will always believe and state a dogmatic statement like "Jesus is Lord"; and also that Jesus Himself, in every gospel, made it very clear that faith is not divorced from works - in almost every instance He speaks of judgment, He isn't talking about faith as the criteria of what He will judge.
 

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There is also the notion of doubt as a cornerstone of religion. Christian mysticism addressed doubt with the concept of The Dark night of the Soul, in which even the most devout have periods, which can last years, of crushing doubt about their chosen path.

Doubt, along with Faith and Perseverance is considered one of the three pillars of Zen. To merely accept any tenet with blind faith is seen as unskillful. Doubt is seen as the essential questioning of what we're doing, why we're doing it, and what we might expect as an outcome.

For disciples of both Zen and Christianity, to emerge from this period of doubt with your faith still intact would render that faith much stronger than one who has accepted his/her lot on blind faith alone.
But what happens if you don't have a period of doubt, and/or don't emerge from it?
 

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Do altars get burned after a bad priest does something really bad ? Is just this situation? Or is it like a blessing with that stuff you get at Hot Topic. Incense

im looking for a YouTube video of this ceremony
Ever since God revealed and instructed to Moses how He wished to be worshiped, the liturgy, the objects that what be used, the uniform of the priests, who could or couldn't perform each duty, He also instructed on how to consecrate something, and what actions to take when a consecrated object is desecrated. To consecrate is to set apart and sanctify or make Holy for explicit use in the worship of God. If a priest used the same chalice he celebrates mass with to drink koolaid or beer out of apart from mass, it is desecrated because it is no longer set apart, but profaned for use with something other than God. In the Holy of Holies, the high priest could only enter one a year, and only after transferring his sins and all the confessed sins of the Israelites for the past year unto the scapegoat on the day of atonement, only after making the sin offering with the other goat, and renewing their covenant. When God would change the red wool on the door to white, He was saying atonement is made and that signified it is now safe to enter. The point of it was to not bring darkness into light, to not bring evil into the presence of holy. This is the same reason we believe in the immaculate conception - the ark of the new covenant, in order to house God, had to be consecrated and made Holy and free from what is not holy.

Now, when some object would be desecrated, or when something would be retired (so to speak), it would either be destroyed by fire or buried. It could never be allowed to go back to normal use, could never be subject to being profaned. This is where the teaching about Mary's perpetual virginity comes from.

Desecration
Desecration is the loss of that peculiar quality of sacredness, which inheres in places and things in virtue of the constitutive blessing of the Church. When material objects are destined for purposes of Divine worship they are set aside with a view to this end by the solemn form of consecration or by the simpler formula of a blessing, so that they assume a sacred and inviolable character which renders unlawful their employment for profane uses. Now when they lose this stamp or character of sacredness they are said to become desecrated. As a general principle it may be set down that places and things, which have been either consecrated or blessed, retain their consecration and blessing so long as they remain, morally speaking, the same as they were in the beginning, and consequently, so long as they continue fit to serve the purposes for which they were originally destined. The opinion was formerly held by some that sacred utensils, such as chalices, which are anointed with holy oil should, before being sent to a mechanic for repairs, be deprived of their sacred character by a special ceremony of desecration. This view was condemned by the Congregation of Rites (n. 2620, ed. 1900). Such a ceremony is entirely superfluous. For if a sacred utensil becomes broken and unfit for use it thereby loses its consecration; while if it is still fit for use but requires regilding, no ceremony could desecrate it. In this instance permission, express or implied, should be obtained from the ordinary to hand it over to a mechanic for repairs (cf. Gardellini, Commentary on Decrees of C. S. R., 225). Should consecrated vessels become altogether unfit for altar use, they may be melted down and devoted to profane uses. But vestments, altar cloths and linens must, in similar circumstances, be destroyed, because they retain the form under which they were originally blessed (cf. Gardellini, loc. cit).

The word desecration is commonly used in regard to churches, altars, chalices, etc.

(1) A church loses its consecration or blessing when the building is destroyed either wholly or in greater part, or when an addition is made to it of larger extent than the original edifice. It does not become desecrated:

  • (a) if a portion of the walls and roof falls in, provided the main portion stands, or
  • (b) if all the interior plastering becomes detached, or
  • (c) if all the crosses disappear, or
  • (d) if all the walls are gradually renewed, provided on each occasion the old part is greater than the new, or
  • (e) if converted for a while to profane uses, provided it is not polluted (cf. Many, De Locis Sacris).

(2) An altar (fixed) loses its consecration:

  • (a) by a notable fracture of table or its support; as, for instance, if the table were broken into two large pieces, or if an anointed corner were broken off, or if the support were seriously impaired, or if one of the columns were displaced;
  • (b) by removal of the table from its support, so as to disjoint them;
  • (c) by displacing the relics, or cover of the sepulchre (cf. Schulte, Consecranda, p. 222).

(3) An altar-stone loses its consecration:

  • (a) by removal of the relics;
  • (b) by fracture or removal of the cover of the sepulchre;
  • (c) by a notable fracture of the stone;
  • (d) by breakage of the anointed corner of stone.

(4) As to the chalice and paten, see ALTAR, under subtitle Loss of Consecration.

You will also notice that this is all rooted in ancient judiaism. The Catholic Chuch didn't make any of these rules up, as it was founded by Jews and their Messiah; they didn't abandon all the norms of liturgy and consecration and worship (quite the opposite). Think of the Temple. It was profaned and desecrated so much by the abuse and idolatry of the religious leaders that it was burnt to the ground each time, and not by those who were charged with keeping it consecrated. The new temple became every church and soul Jesus tabernacled in. So it is a very grave thing to NOT burn the altar after it was profaned and desecrated, considering the altar is where Heaven touches earth at each mass.
 

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There are many examples of atheists who reject intellectual arguments for God, who see and reject flaws and contradictions (both apparent - something that on the surface appears to be but upon investigation is not - and those that are real), yet in their actions and moral code of living, they accept and glorify God by being right true and just, by sacrifice for the sake of other, by being virtuous in any number of ways that does not happen without God's grace. Simply, by being super natural and rising above fallen nature. At the moment of death, when the veil is lifted, an atheist may very well see that everything they held dear and placed hope in and kept in their heart was of God - that just as we can do the devil's bidding without being aware, so we can also do God's will and cooperate with and love God without realizing the object of our love.
But by the very nature of not having faith, atheists are not accepting or glorifying anyone or anything. The Bible is very specific in that first and foremost you must have faith. Whether faith alone isn't enough for salvation is irrelevant to the faith requirement. I posted a number of passages here that illustrate that point.

Now, if indeed there is a veil lifted at the moment of death, at the moment the veil is lifted, faith is no longer in play. Because then, you'd know for sure.
 

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But what happens if you don't have a period of doubt, and/or don't emerge from it?
Mother Teresa is said to have lived her last 50 years in that dark night. 50 years of having no internal consolations from God, of never having that feeling of connectivity that comes with the consolations. That's a long time to not be interiorly reassured, as the sweetness of the caress is so distant you can't remember what it felt like, the resulting emotions are so far in the rearview one questions whether they were an illusion or deception. She's an extreme example of not emerging from it, but she judged things by their fruit, not by what she felt interiorly. Though receiving no consolations, her work and actions bore fruit when she maintained her devotions and offering.

As for never having a period of doubt, I don't know anyone who came out of the womb 100% certain about everything that ever manifest itself in their thoughts and beliefs. To some extent, we test everything. How many things did we believe concretely, only to later find that we were so completely wrong and apart from the truth? The same is true in just about every field of science. Just look at Physics over the last 100 years. That said, it is also very easy in today's world with all the noise and distractions and everything there at a fingertip to altogether avoid examination or seek deeper union that would necessitate or bring about period of doubt. Some of us aren't interested in growth and are quiet comfortable and complacent exactly in our comfortable state. That lasts as long as it takes for us to realize that pouring in accomplishment, material objects, pleasures, objects of desire...none of these things fill the God sized hole, none give lasting happiness, none give peace.
 

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But by the very nature of not having faith, atheists are not accepting or glorifying anyone or anything. The Bible is very specific in that first and foremost you must have faith. Whether faith alone isn't enough for salvation is irrelevant to the faith requirement. I posted a number of passages here that illustrate that point.

Now, if indeed there is a veil lifted at the moment of death, at the moment the veil is lifted, faith is no longer in play. Because then, you'd know for sure.
There are multiple definitions when you look faith up in the dictionary, there are multiple words used in scripture that translate in English versions of the bible to "faith", and there are multiple examples of when language used isn't definitely all inclusive. All doesn't always mean ALL, for example. I don't count the bible as the sole authority, nor do i trust my translation and personal interpretation as correct. I do trust the teaching of the Church who made the bible.

When you die and the "veil is lifted", you can no longer gain (or lose) merit, because as you say, then you'd know for sure. But what if, as an atheist, the face you rejected your entire life was not the true face of God, but a very broken and contradictory representation? And the face of the true God looks a lot closer to the internal code you live and believe by? The bible also says "If I have all faith, but have not love, I am nothing". What we do for others matters.

Love is NECESSARY for salvation. And not just as a byproduct of a "genuine faith" one may or may not have, rather as an integral part of the process of being saved. Where does the Bible say, "If you have a genuine faith, you will automatically love and do good works?" Where?! All those people who shout, "Lord, Lord," in Matthew 7, you don't think they had a "genuine" faith? They prophesied in Jesus' name; they cast out demons in Jesus' name; they did might works in Jesus' name." You don't think they believed that Jesus was the Son of God and had died on the Cross for their sins? Of course they did. They believed. They had faith. As it says in James, "Even the demons believe." So, the demons believe...they have faith in Christ...do they automatically do good works? Hell no!

And nowhere does the Bible say, "Faith, if it has no works, isn't really faith." Or, "If I have all faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I don't really have faith." Look at the analogy in James 2:26: "As the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead." In this analogy, faith is the body, works are the spirit. For physical life, you need both body and spirit. The spirit is not just some byproduct of the body - it is integral to life. So, for spiritual life - if the analogy is to hold - you need both faith and works. The works - love - are not just some byproduct of faith - they are integral to life, spiritual life. A body without a spirit, is a real body. It's just a dead body. No one says, "Oh, if your body doesn't have a spirit, then it's not a real body." Just so, faith without works, is still faith. It's just a dead faith. You can't say faith without works isn't really faith. It is, it's just dead faith.

In the Bible, faith alone...faith by itself...faith without works...faith without love...is dead! Dead faith. Which means, there is no such thing as salvation by faith alone - Sola Fide - there is only damnation by faith alone. "Faith working through love is of avail," (Gal 5:6). Love is NECESSARY for salvation. You cannot be saved if you do not love. It is not just a sign that your faith is a "saving faith," it is an integral part of the process of salvation. The works that flow from love are an integral part of the process of salvation. "To those who by patience in well-doing [good works] seek for glory and honor and immortality, [God] will give ETERNAL LIFE." Which means, salvation...by faith alone...is not possible.

The fact that sin has consequences is a problem with Protestantism because, in Sola Fide Protestantism - Protestant faith traditions that believe we are saved by Faith Alone - when you actually examine what they are teaching, you realize that the logical consequence of the dogma of salvation by faith alone, and its corollary - Once Saved Always Saved - is that sin has no consequences.

Think about it. We are saved by faith alone. As long as I have faith, as long as I have accepted Jesus Christ into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior...I'm saved. The only determinate of whether we go to Heaven or to Hell is whether we have faith or not. Sin plays absolutely no role in the fate of our souls. Non-believers go to Hell. Why? Because they sinned? No! Because they didn't have faith. Believers don't go to Hell. Why? Because they were holy? No! Because they have faith. Regardless of the sins they commit, they still go to Heaven because they have faith.

The problem for Protestantism with all of this, is that it goes against almost every grain of the Bible. For example, in Matthew 25 when Jesus is talking about the Last Judgment (verses 31-46), what is it that separates the sheep (who inherit the Kingdom of Heaven) and the goats (who inherit Hell)? Do the sheep have faith and the goats don't? Nope. The sheep do things for others - feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. - and the goats don't. In other words, the goats commit sins of omission. They sin by not helping their fellow man. And their sins have consequences. They end up in Hell.

But, according to Sola Fide, this ought not be so! Jesus should have said to the sheep on His right hand, "You accepted Me into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you." And, He should have said to the goats, "You never accepted Me into your hearts as your personal Lord and Savior, so depart from Me into the eternal fire." But He didn't. He said one group had done right, and the other group had sinned. And there was a consequence - an eternal consequence - for those that sinned (and, of course, never repented of their sin). Sin has consequences.

In Revelation 21:8 we are told the following: "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." What do we see here? Well, we see people that the Word of God is telling us are headed to Hell - the "lake that burns with fire and brimstone...the second death" - because of their sins. Sin has consequences here. Furthermore, there is no distinction made here between believers and unbelievers. In fact, unbelief - being faithless - is cited as just one type of sin along with murder, fornication, sorcery, et al. The fact that unbelievers are specifically mentioned as just one type of sinner, shows that this list is talking about believers and unbelievers alike. Nowhere does it say that this list is just referring to unbelievers.

In fact, in Sola Fide theology, it wouldn't make sense for this list to be referring to just unbelievers. If it was referring to unbelievers, then it should have just said, "But as for the faithless, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone..." Because it isn't murder or fornication or sorcery or idolatry or lying that gets one sent to Hell, it is unbelief...period! In Sola Fide theology, believers can commit all of those sins, and not repent of them, and still go to Heaven - because it is by faith alone that you are saved.

What does God render, in Romans 2:8, to those who are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness? The Book says God will render to them wrath and fury. That's not talking about Heaven. Sin has consequences.

And there is literally passage after passage after passage in the New Testament that tells us sin has consequences. But let me wrap this up with one final passage. This passage in Matthew, chapter 5, shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that sin can, and does, have consequences - eternal consequences - for believers, contrary to what Sola Fide theology teaches. In verses 27-30, Jesus tells His listeners that if their right eye causes them to sin, pluck it out. Or, if their right hand causes them to sin, cut it off. Why did He say that? He said it to stress in a very strong way the point that you need to avoid sin at all costs because sin will get you sent to Hell. And we know he was not talking about unbelievers here, because if His listeners are able to avoid sin, then they will not go to Hell. Which means, they will be going to Heaven. And, for that to happen, Protestant theology says they have to be believers.

If Sola Fide is true, then there would be no reason for Jesus to tell these folks to pluck out their eye or cut off their hand to avoid sinning. There would be no reason, because if He is talking to believers, then they are going to Heaven whether they sin or not...so why pluck out an eye or cut off a hand? So not necessary, Jesus. There would be no reason, because if He is talking to unbelievers, then even if they pluck out their eye or cut off their hand, they are still going to Hell because of their unbelief. If Sola Fide is true, then this passage of Scripture, along with many, many others, is completely bogus.

So Jesus is telling believers here in Matt 5:27-30, that if they sin, they could end up in Hell. Again, that is not possible in Sola Fide theology. In Sola Fide theology, believers go to Heaven. Their sins have no consequence in regard to their salvation. However, in the Bible...in the Word of God...sin does indeed have consequences in regard to the salvation of believers. In the theology of the vast majority of Protestantism, sin does not have consequences when it comes to your salvation. You either believe or you don't believe. If you believe, you go to Heaven. If you don't believe, you go to Hell. So, which do you believe - the Bible...or Protestant theology?

Does the Iroquois indian living in what is now upstate New York in the year 1350 have any chance of going to Heaven? No Christian has ever set foot anywhere within a couple thousand miles of him, so he has never heard - and never even had the possibility of hearing - of the Triune God, of Jesus Christ, of the Catholic Church, of Baptism and the other Sacraments. Is he then automatically condemned to Hell? The Church says, "No." The Church teaches that God is a just God, Who, according to Scripture, wants "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," (1 Tim 2:4). So, if God is just, and He wants all men to be saved, then it is reasonable to believe that there is some means provided by God by which all men at least have the opportunity to be saved. So, we say that the "ordinary" means of salvation comes through the Church, by way of the Sacraments. However, if one never knows the Church or the Sacraments, then the Church reasons that there could be some extraordinary means of salvation, known only unto God, by which that person maybe saved. That does not mean, though, that they are automatically saved because of their ignorance...far from it. Paul tells us in Romans 2:14-16 that when Gentiles (which would include our Iroquois) "who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse, or perhaps excuse them on that day when...God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."

The Church teaches that the Sacraments are necessary for salvation. However, we are bound by the Sacraments, God is not. God has given us the ordinary means of salvation - through the Sacraments. We hold out the belief, though, that God, being a just and loving God, and being a God Who desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), gives all men at least the opportunity to be saved, even if they have never heard of Him or His Church or the Sacraments. This would be through some extraordinary means of salvation known only unto God Himself. So, God has given us the requirements by which we are to be saved - faith, Baptism, holiness, forgiveness of sins, the Eucharist, etc. - but He is able to make exceptions to what He has bound us by. Does He make those exceptions? We don't know. And, are they really "exceptions," or is He just able to convey those to someone - possibly at the point of death - in some extraordinary way? We won't ever know in this lifetime.

My point is that your definition of faith is very rigid and limited. Furthermore, what the Church does say, is that "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation." (CCC #847). In other words, as I stated above, the Church holds out the possibility that God can save those outside of the Church through some extraordinary means known only to Him. We don't know that He does, but that He can. It is, as Romans 2:14-16 says, "When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse, or perhaps excuse, them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." Their conflicting thoughts "perhaps" excuse them...perhaps.

So, when the Bible tells us Baptism "saves us," and that we need to eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood to have "eternal life," and that we must confess our sins in order to be forgiven, and so on...these are requirements that hold for all men. Which is why the Church tells us we have the right and the duty to evangelize, so that all men can be saved and "come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4), because it is the truth that "makes us free" (John 8:32).
 

DaveXA

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There are multiple definitions when you look faith up in the dictionary, there are multiple words used in scripture that translate in English versions of the bible to "faith", and there are multiple examples of when language used isn't definitely all inclusive. All doesn't always mean ALL, for example. I don't count the bible as the sole authority, nor do i trust my translation and personal interpretation as correct. I do trust the teaching of the Church who made the bible.

When you die and the "veil is lifted", you can no longer gain (or lose) merit, because as you say, then you'd know for sure. But what if, as an atheist, the face you rejected your entire life was not the true face of God, but a very broken and contradictory representation? And the face of the true God looks a lot closer to the internal code you live and believe by? The bible also says "If I have all faith, but have not love, I am nothing". What we do for others matters.

Love is NECESSARY for salvation. And not just as a byproduct of a "genuine faith" one may or may not have, rather as an integral part of the process of being saved. Where does the Bible say, "If you have a genuine faith, you will automatically love and do good works?" Where?! All those people who shout, "Lord, Lord," in Matthew 7, you don't think they had a "genuine" faith? They prophesied in Jesus' name; they cast out demons in Jesus' name; they did might works in Jesus' name." You don't think they believed that Jesus was the Son of God and had died on the Cross for their sins? Of course they did. They believed. They had faith. As it says in James, "Even the demons believe." So, the demons believe...they have faith in Christ...do they automatically do good works? Hell no!

And nowhere does the Bible say, "Faith, if it has no works, isn't really faith." Or, "If I have all faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I don't really have faith." Look at the analogy in James 2:26: "As the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead." In this analogy, faith is the body, works are the spirit. For physical life, you need both body and spirit. The spirit is not just some byproduct of the body - it is integral to life. So, for spiritual life - if the analogy is to hold - you need both faith and works. The works - love - are not just some byproduct of faith - they are integral to life, spiritual life. A body without a spirit, is a real body. It's just a dead body. No one says, "Oh, if your body doesn't have a spirit, then it's not a real body." Just so, faith without works, is still faith. It's just a dead faith. You can't say faith without works isn't really faith. It is, it's just dead faith.

In the Bible, faith alone...faith by itself...faith without works...faith without love...is dead! Dead faith. Which means, there is no such thing as salvation by faith alone - Sola Fide - there is only damnation by faith alone. "Faith working through love is of avail," (Gal 5:6). Love is NECESSARY for salvation. You cannot be saved if you do not love. It is not just a sign that your faith is a "saving faith," it is an integral part of the process of salvation. The works that flow from love are an integral part of the process of salvation. "To those who by patience in well-doing [good works] seek for glory and honor and immortality, [God] will give ETERNAL LIFE." Which means, salvation...by faith alone...is not possible.

The fact that sin has consequences is a problem with Protestantism because, in Sola Fide Protestantism - Protestant faith traditions that believe we are saved by Faith Alone - when you actually examine what they are teaching, you realize that the logical consequence of the dogma of salvation by faith alone, and its corollary - Once Saved Always Saved - is that sin has no consequences.

Think about it. We are saved by faith alone. As long as I have faith, as long as I have accepted Jesus Christ into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior...I'm saved. The only determinate of whether we go to Heaven or to Hell is whether we have faith or not. Sin plays absolutely no role in the fate of our souls. Non-believers go to Hell. Why? Because they sinned? No! Because they didn't have faith. Believers don't go to Hell. Why? Because they were holy? No! Because they have faith. Regardless of the sins they commit, they still go to Heaven because they have faith.

The problem for Protestantism with all of this, is that it goes against almost every grain of the Bible. For example, in Matthew 25 when Jesus is talking about the Last Judgment (verses 31-46), what is it that separates the sheep (who inherit the Kingdom of Heaven) and the goats (who inherit Hell)? Do the sheep have faith and the goats don't? Nope. The sheep do things for others - feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. - and the goats don't. In other words, the goats commit sins of omission. They sin by not helping their fellow man. And their sins have consequences. They end up in Hell.

But, according to Sola Fide, this ought not be so! Jesus should have said to the sheep on His right hand, "You accepted Me into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you." And, He should have said to the goats, "You never accepted Me into your hearts as your personal Lord and Savior, so depart from Me into the eternal fire." But He didn't. He said one group had done right, and the other group had sinned. And there was a consequence - an eternal consequence - for those that sinned (and, of course, never repented of their sin). Sin has consequences.

In Revelation 21:8 we are told the following: "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." What do we see here? Well, we see people that the Word of God is telling us are headed to Hell - the "lake that burns with fire and brimstone...the second death" - because of their sins. Sin has consequences here. Furthermore, there is no distinction made here between believers and unbelievers. In fact, unbelief - being faithless - is cited as just one type of sin along with murder, fornication, sorcery, et al. The fact that unbelievers are specifically mentioned as just one type of sinner, shows that this list is talking about believers and unbelievers alike. Nowhere does it say that this list is just referring to unbelievers.

In fact, in Sola Fide theology, it wouldn't make sense for this list to be referring to just unbelievers. If it was referring to unbelievers, then it should have just said, "But as for the faithless, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone..." Because it isn't murder or fornication or sorcery or idolatry or lying that gets one sent to Hell, it is unbelief...period! In Sola Fide theology, believers can commit all of those sins, and not repent of them, and still go to Heaven - because it is by faith alone that you are saved.

What does God render, in Romans 2:8, to those who are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness? The Book says God will render to them wrath and fury. That's not talking about Heaven. Sin has consequences.

And there is literally passage after passage after passage in the New Testament that tells us sin has consequences. But let me wrap this up with one final passage. This passage in Matthew, chapter 5, shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that sin can, and does, have consequences - eternal consequences - for believers, contrary to what Sola Fide theology teaches. In verses 27-30, Jesus tells His listeners that if their right eye causes them to sin, pluck it out. Or, if their right hand causes them to sin, cut it off. Why did He say that? He said it to stress in a very strong way the point that you need to avoid sin at all costs because sin will get you sent to Hell. And we know he was not talking about unbelievers here, because if His listeners are able to avoid sin, then they will not go to Hell. Which means, they will be going to Heaven. And, for that to happen, Protestant theology says they have to be believers.

If Sola Fide is true, then there would be no reason for Jesus to tell these folks to pluck out their eye or cut off their hand to avoid sinning. There would be no reason, because if He is talking to believers, then they are going to Heaven whether they sin or not...so why pluck out an eye or cut off a hand? So not necessary, Jesus. There would be no reason, because if He is talking to unbelievers, then even if they pluck out their eye or cut off their hand, they are still going to Hell because of their unbelief. If Sola Fide is true, then this passage of Scripture, along with many, many others, is completely bogus.

So Jesus is telling believers here in Matt 5:27-30, that if they sin, they could end up in Hell. Again, that is not possible in Sola Fide theology. In Sola Fide theology, believers go to Heaven. Their sins have no consequence in regard to their salvation. However, in the Bible...in the Word of God...sin does indeed have consequences in regard to the salvation of believers. In the theology of the vast majority of Protestantism, sin does not have consequences when it comes to your salvation. You either believe or you don't believe. If you believe, you go to Heaven. If you don't believe, you go to Hell. So, which do you believe - the Bible...or Protestant theology?

Does the Iroquois indian living in what is now upstate New York in the year 1350 have any chance of going to Heaven? No Christian has ever set foot anywhere within a couple thousand miles of him, so he has never heard - and never even had the possibility of hearing - of the Triune God, of Jesus Christ, of the Catholic Church, of Baptism and the other Sacraments. Is he then automatically condemned to Hell? The Church says, "No." The Church teaches that God is a just God, Who, according to Scripture, wants "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," (1 Tim 2:4). So, if God is just, and He wants all men to be saved, then it is reasonable to believe that there is some means provided by God by which all men at least have the opportunity to be saved. So, we say that the "ordinary" means of salvation comes through the Church, by way of the Sacraments. However, if one never knows the Church or the Sacraments, then the Church reasons that there could be some extraordinary means of salvation, known only unto God, by which that person maybe saved. That does not mean, though, that they are automatically saved because of their ignorance...far from it. Paul tells us in Romans 2:14-16 that when Gentiles (which would include our Iroquois) "who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse, or perhaps excuse them on that day when...God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."

The Church teaches that the Sacraments are necessary for salvation. However, we are bound by the Sacraments, God is not. God has given us the ordinary means of salvation - through the Sacraments. We hold out the belief, though, that God, being a just and loving God, and being a God Who desires all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), gives all men at least the opportunity to be saved, even if they have never heard of Him or His Church or the Sacraments. This would be through some extraordinary means of salvation known only unto God Himself. So, God has given us the requirements by which we are to be saved - faith, Baptism, holiness, forgiveness of sins, the Eucharist, etc. - but He is able to make exceptions to what He has bound us by. Does He make those exceptions? We don't know. And, are they really "exceptions," or is He just able to convey those to someone - possibly at the point of death - in some extraordinary way? We won't ever know in this lifetime.

My point is that your definition of faith is very rigid and limited. Furthermore, what the Church does say, is that "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation." (CCC #847). In other words, as I stated above, the Church holds out the possibility that God can save those outside of the Church through some extraordinary means known only to Him. We don't know that He does, but that He can. It is, as Romans 2:14-16 says, "When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse, or perhaps excuse, them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." Their conflicting thoughts "perhaps" excuse them...perhaps.

So, when the Bible tells us Baptism "saves us," and that we need to eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood to have "eternal life," and that we must confess our sins in order to be forgiven, and so on...these are requirements that hold for all men. Which is why the Church tells us we have the right and the duty to evangelize, so that all men can be saved and "come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4), because it is the truth that "makes us free" (John 8:32).
It's really not that simple. :hihi:
 

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