Monday, August 17, 2009

Catholic Resources

These are some books by my favorite Catholic author, Dr. Scott Hahn, that some of you might find helpful as you continue your questions about Catholicism. The order I put them in is slightly deliberate; starting at a common general base will perhaps help with the specifics:

1. Reasons to Believe
2. Rome Sweet Home
3. A God Who Keeps His Promises
4. The Lamb's Supper

After these, you can check out his other books. I also welcome titles that you all would suggest I read.

Eucharist (part 1)

We wrap up the sacraments of initiation with what is called “the Sacrament of sacraments”: the Holy Eucharist. This sacrament is called “the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it,” (CCC 1324). Because of the great emphasis placed on this sacrament, the teachings will be divided into multiple parts.

This sacrament goes by many names: Eucharist (literally meaning thanksgiving), the Lord’s Supper, the Breaking of Bread (Luke 24:13-35), Eucharistic assembly, the memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, the Holy Sacrifice, Holy and Divine Liturgy, Holy Communion, and Holy Mass (from Latin missa, literally meaning send forth). Catechism sections 1328-1332 expound on the reasoning for each of these names (feel free to ask as well!).

In all celebrations of the Eucharist by all Christians, bread and wine (or grape juice) are used. These gifts become Christ’s Body and Blood, we believe, in substance, which is known as transubstantiation (more to follow on that). They are used because it is what Jesus himself used at the Last Supper with his disciples before his Passion (CCC 1333).

References to these gifts are also made in the Old Testament. In Genesis, we read of the priest Melchizedek who brought out bread and wine to Abraham (Gen. 14:18). “In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgement to the Creator.” The gifts also point to the Exodus and the journey that followed when God fed the Hebrews manna in the desert. “The ‘cup of blessing’ at the end of the Jewish Passover meal adds to the festive joy of wine an eschatological (future things) dimension: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem,” (CCC 1334). By instituting the Eucharist, Jesus gave new meaning to these signs.

Signs that Jesus performed also point to this feast, the Catechism teaches. “The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves…prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist. The sign of water turned into wine at Cana …makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father’s kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ,” (CCC 1335).

It is in John 6 that Jesus first announces the Eucharist, which causes divisions among those following him. They ask, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60) The Catechism echoes, “The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division,” (CCC 1336). This also echoes what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:23.

Jesus instituted this great sacrament at the Passover meal with his disciples, as recorded by the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) and Paul in 1 Corinthians. t is there we hear the words that are recited each time we celebrate the Eucharist:

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us, that we may eat it…” They went…and prepared the Passover. And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”… And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:7-20, Matt 26:17-29, Mark 14:12-25, 1 Cor 11:23-26)

By doing this, “Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus’ passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom,” (CCC 1340).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Resuming our look at the seven sacraments, we now turn to the sacrament of Confirmation.

The Catechism starts off by saying that “the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For by the sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit,” (CCC 1285). The history of this sacrament goes back to the Old Testament prophets who proclaimed that the Spirit of the Lord would be with the Messiah (CCC 1286, referencing Is. 11:2, 61:1; Luke 4:16. This was shown at Jesus’ baptism by John (Matt. 3:13-17).

During Jesus’ life, he promised his disciples the outpouring of the Spirit. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, he fulfilled this first on Easter Sunday (John 20:22 and also at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Acts then tells us of the deeds these men and women performed and how many came to believe (CCC 1287).

Pope Paul VI wrote this concerning the apostles in an encyclical titled Divinae consortium naturae

From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ’s will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.

In addition to laying on of hands, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was also performed to better signify the gift of the Holy Spirit. This anointing also symbolizes what we are called, Christians, which literally means “anointed”, just as Jesus the Messiah was God’s “anointed one” or Christ by the Holy Spirit (CCC 1289).

Eastern and Western churches have two traditions and practices with this sacrament. Since the bishop of each area could not be at all baptisms due to the Church’s growth, Western churches waited until the bishop could come to their area and confirm those baptized. The East kept them united, having the priest that baptized also be the one who confirms. However, the priests can only do this with the “myron” (chrism) oil that has been consecrated by a bishop (CCC 1290). Paragraph 1291 expresses the two traditions in more detail. Each one emphasizes a different aspect, with the West (Latin) expressing “the communion of the new Christian with the bishop as guarantor and servant of the unity, catholicity, and apostolicity of his Church” and the East emphasizing more “the unity of Christian initiation” (CCC 1292).

But why the use of oil and why anoint at all? Here the Catechism looks at the Bible for references. Oil “is a sign of abundance and joy” (Deut. 11:14; Pss. 23:5, 104:15). “It cleanses (anointing before and after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of athletes and wrestlers).” It is also “a sign of healing, since it is soothing to bruises and wounds” (Isaiah 1:6, Luke 10:34) (CCC 1293). This relates to the anointings in Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing of the Sick (which will come later): “The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination (Holy Orders) is the sign of consecration,” (CCC 1294).

Those anointed also receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. “A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority, or ownership of an object.” In ancient history, soldiers were marked with their leader’s seal and slaves with their master’s. These were also used for authenticating documents and occasionally making them secret (CCC 1295). (References to Gen. 38:18, 41:42; Deut 32:34; 1 Kings 21:8; Jer. 32:10; Isaiah 29:11).

Christ declared himself he had this seal (John 6:27). As Christians we too have a seal Paul writes:

It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. – 2 Cor. 1:21-22 (also reference Eph. 1:13)

It is this seal of the Holy Spirit that marks “our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial,” (CCC 1296, references Rev. 7:2-3, 9:4; Ezek 9:4-6).

What does Confirmation bring about then in addition to the receiving of this mark and seal of the Holy Spirit? The Catechism gives a list:

-It roots us more deeply in the divine filiation (love) which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15)
-It unites us more firmly to Christ
-It increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us
-It renders our bond with the Church more perfect
-It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross (CCC 1303)

This mark “imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the ‘character,’ which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness,” (CCC 1304, Luke 24:48-49).

Friday, July 17, 2009


Since the topic was brought up in the midst of the baptism discussion, I’ll take a small detour and talk about purgatory, one of many Catholic teachings that are easily misunderstood.

First off, purgatory takes up a small portion of the Catechism, only three paragraphs. The teaching on purgatory is found in the first section of the Catechism I skipped over, which is the Profession of Faith based on the Apostles’ Creed. It falls under the Article “I believe in life everlasting.”

The Catechism states, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” (CCC 1030). This purification’s name is Purgatory, and was formulated primarily at the Councils of Florence and Trent during the Middle Ages. “The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire,” (CCC 1031). Those Scripture references listed are 1 Corinthians 3:15 and 1 Peter 1:7:

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Cor 3:10-15, NIV,

These [trials] have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)

Pope St. Gregory the Great comments on this as well:

“As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.” (St. Gregory the Great, 600s AD)

My understanding of this is that most do not die in perfect, holy communion with God, there is still the effect of sin on us. Purgatory cleanses us from this before we enter heaven. An analogy I heard is that Purgatory is like being able to smell heaven’s goodness and scent, yet we are not quite ready for it yet. It is not a place of neutrality; people judged for hell have already set themselves against God. The same is true of those bound for heaven. But because God is all holy, we ourselves must become pure and holy to enter His presence.

Prayers for the dead and masses are based on a Catholic biblical book, 2 Maccabees. This book is not found in the Protestant canon, though Bibles with deuterocanonical/apocryphal books would have this one.

He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin. – 2 Macc. 12:43-46

St. John Chrysostom wrote about this as well in his lifetime (347-407 AD):

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would be doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.

To be honest, this part I have not fully come to terms with. My struggle is that after our death, time would cease to have meaning. So then, how can a time be put on our time in purgatory? Ultimately, we do not know what exactly happens after our death. What we do know is that God will judge us and we will be separated like sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I had a comment from my last blog that made me realize I perhaps wasn't very clear about the point of these blogs. I want to create a better understanding of Catholicism to both Catholics and non-Catholics, and if there are any questions or comments about my blog posts, please speak up!

I go under the assumption that people are understanding what I'm writing, but if it's not clear, do ask questions so I can clarify or elaborate. It helps me as a writer and also helps you as a reader because I do not want to confuse people.

Monday, June 29, 2009


As mentioned, the seven sacraments are divided into three subgroups: initiation, healing, and communion/service. Going in the order of the Catechism, we will start with baptism.

The very first Sacrament any Christian (let alone Catholics) should experience is that of Baptism. Baptism is "the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments" (CCC 1213).Catholicism recalls various biblical events as signs of baptism:the great flood in Genesis, the Hebrews’ liberation from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and the Hebrews crossing the Jordan River into the land God promised them.All this culminates and climaxes into Jesus’ baptism by St. John the Baptist, which is “a manifestation of his self-emptying” (CCC 1224).

In Catholicism and various Protestant denominations, Baptism is typically practiced at infancy. The rationale for infant baptism is that most parents want what’s best for their child, and what is greater than the grace the baptismal waters offer?Also, it is entirely plausible that when households were baptized as recorded in Acts, infants were included if any were present.“The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth” (CCC 1250).Some may question that this hinders with free will, yet as children we did as our parents modeled and said because of their wisdom and experience and because we respected them.

Adults becoming Christians through the Catholic Church go through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).Typically, the catechumens begin this process in the fall and leads to their baptism and full initiation into the Church during the Easter Vigil Mass, which includes all three initiation sacraments (the latter two will be discussed later).For “separated brothers and sisters” (i.e. Christian non-Catholics), baptism is recognized by the Church if done using the Trinitarian formula (In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit) and water.The full liturgy can be found in CCC 1234-1245.

The Church teaches that “by Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin” (CCC 1263).However, we must continue to live with the consequences of our sinful actions along with what is called concupiscence.This is essentially the propensity or ability for us to sin, or metaphorically, “the timber of sin” (CCC 1264).We still carry that ability to sin, but through God’s grace we can resist it.

We all become “new creations” in baptism, receiving sanctifying grace (CCC 1265, 1266), and we become members of the Body of Christ, incorporated into the Church (CCC 1267).“Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church” (CCC 1271).Through baptism, we all find unity as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sacraments Intro

After realizing that much of the beginning of the Catechism is filled with orthodox, fundamental doctrines of the Church and Christianity, I've decided to move on to the next section: the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. Now, as mentioned in an earlier post (see "My Reasons" from Feb.), I think that all seven Sacraments are practiced by both Protestants and Catholics, though names and rites/rituals might be slightly different.

A basic definition of a Sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible grace instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church (see CCC 1210, 1211). Through them, God speaks to us in ways we can understand and with symbols that are simple. We use water, bread, wine, oils in these Sacraments because they are simple and appeal to the human senses.

The Catechism divides the seven Sacraments into three sections: Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist), of Healing (Penance & Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick), and "Sacraments at the Service of Communion" (Holy Orders and Matrimony) (CCC 1533 Title). My approach to this section is address each Sacrament individually in the order they appear in the Catechism.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lent and Easter

No doctrinal explanations today, just some reflections on celebrating Lent and now the Easter season.

Holy Week services and masses have touched my heart each year, and this year was no exception. Contemplating Jesus preparing for his death, his prayer to God in Gethsemane, and washing the feet of his disciples are humbling reminders to us on Maundy Thursday. The service I attended ended with the Taize song, "Stay With Me", which simply says, "Stay with me, remain here with me. Watch and pray, watch and pray," referring to Jesus imploring his disciples in the garden.

Good Friday is very solemn, with no music at the beginning or end of the service. Many times, decorations around the altar are taken away to further emphasize this solemnity. The Passion is read with all participating, each with a part when their time comes. Having to be the crowds that say, "Crucify him!" is a sobering reminder that everyone, each and every one of us, took part in Jesus' crucifixion because of our sin.

Then Easter comes and there is much celebrating and rejoicing. Parts of the Mass that have been omitted return (primarily the Gloria), and hope is renewed. New converts are received by the Church, and songs chosen are filled with an air of rejoicing. A wonderful thing I love about Catholicism is that Easter does not end with Easter; it continues for the next five or six weeks until Pentecost, when Jesus ascends and leaves us to continue his work. Let the celebration continue!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Scripture and Tradition?

Since I have partaken on what will surely be a lengthy reading journey of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), I'll probably post on issues that this book addresses as I come to them. First stop: the place of Tradition (note capital T) within the Catholic faith. What's discussed here can be found in CCC 74-83.

Tradition is held at the same level as Scripture. The biggest reason is this: after Jesus ascended into heaven (Matthew 28 or Acts 1), the disciples at that time only had the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) as their Scriptures. What they also relied upon were the words and teachings Jesus gave them during his earthly life, which they preached through the working of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).

The Gospel has been handed down in two ways: 1) orally by the apostles and their followers and 2) in writing by such people as Paul and Luke (CCC 76). The oral transmission is what Catholics consider Tradition, while the writings are Scripture. The two are "closely connected" (CCC 78), for both share one common source. "Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own 'always, to the close of the age.'" (Matthew 28:20, CCC 80).

As mentioned above, the apostles had only their Scriptures; the New Testament canon as we know had not even started forming! Thus, the early Christians relied on the teachings of Jesus as they were handed down from the apostles. The NT canon itself was not formed until the early 300s at the Council of Carthage because of the heretic Marcion. Thus, "the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition" (CCC 83).

What then, is the difference between Tradition and tradition(s)? Catholic Tradition is the oral transmission from the apostles. "This living transmission, accomplished by the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it" (CCC 78). These are ideas and teachings that add to our rich Christian heritage and complement Scriptures, not detract from them. Other traditions in Catholicism are subject to change, such as priests being celebate (a possible, but highly unlikely example I know).

Part of this Tradition includes practices such as the seven sacraments, the order of the Mass, even baptism. Various doctrines such as the Trinity and how Christ is fully human and fully divine (2 natures in one person), things which Protestants hold to as well would also fall under Tradition.

This is why Catholics hold strongly to the idea of Tradition. Without a proper understanding of Church/Christian history, one would wonder why this emphasis is placed. But seen in its historical context, it makes sense why Tradition is important to the Catholic faith, and perhaps even, the entire Christian faith.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Salvation and works

"Catholics believe you need works to be saved." I've heard this argument time and again from well-meaning friends and a few authors. The truth is that Catholicism does not believe this either, since as Paul said in Ephesians, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) All Christians agree that God's grace is what ultimately saves us, His free, undeserving grace. But, Paul also wrote that we are to "work out [our] salvation through fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). What it boils down to are two different perspectives on another principle: justification.

To most Protestants, justification is like a court trial. We, as sinners, stand before God and are deemed innocent because Christ's blood covers our sins. Luther described this as a snow-covered pile of dung, clean on the outside, but not on the inside. This view is prevalent in many Protestant denominations.

Catholics view justification more in terms of bathing or healing, like someone washing another or a doctor tending to a sick patient to make him healthier. With this, there is a transformation that takes place. Now, I know there are many Protestants who would agree with this, yet still use the court trial analogy.

Another analogy would the story of the leper found in the Gospels. In Mark, Jesus cleanses a leper (Mark 2:40-45). Here, Jesus does not merely call the man clean, he transforms and heals him, even touching him (in Jewish law, touching something unclean also made you unclean)! This shows that Jesus is the source of cleanliness and transformation, purely clean so that no thing can make him unclean. Psalm 51 illustrates this as well. Here, David prays to God to blot out his offenses (more legal) (v.1), cleanse him (intrinsic) (v.2), wash him to be like snow (intrinsic) (v.7), and blot out iniquities (legal) (v.9).

This is where works comes in. While we are initially cleansed and justified, Catholics see another step: progressive justification, or sanctification. While the quality of the initial justification is perfect, our quantity is relatively small. Here's a recent analogy I came upon:

Say you have a glass of 100% pure water. That represents our righteousness. Jesus' righteousness is like an ocean, vast and infinite, while ours is quite finite. Sanctification is like adding more water to our glass (or getting a larger glass of water), and this addition comes through our good works within God's grace and with the help of His grace. In other words, doing a good work for selfish or wrong motives is not a purely good work.

The opposite is also true. Not doing purely good works diminishes our righteousness. James said it well when he wrote, "Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (2:17). He then talks of Abraham and Rahab and how they were rewarded for their works (2:21-25), and concludes with this: "For just as a body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead" (2:26). A dead faith is no good to the Church or to God. It's like a runner just barely crossing the starting line of a race and stopping when there's a whole race to be run for God!

Ultimately, it all comes down to grace and our acceptance of it. We should be so grateful for God's grace that we want to do great things for Him, not take this most precious gift and keep on our mantle.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My reasons (preface part 2)

Now I know some might ask, "Why are you Catholic in the first place? What are your reasons?" Here is what I say (this is from an earlier "blog" via Facebook note):

Why am I Catholic? Because I firmly believe that we as Christians should be united together as one catholic (universal) body. Yes, we espouse this today, but many Protestant churches view themselves as their own entity and do not interact at all with other churches that are sometimes right across the street! In Catholicism, there is that unity. All parishes and churches are answerable to the hierarchy that has been established. There are many independent churches today, and it gives me pause because they are answerable to no one but themselves.

Why am I Catholic? Because I believe in the power of the Eucharist. Before converting, I had to stay back while others received the body and blood of Christ, and I longed and at times ached to join them. It was an exciting moment for me to finally be able to receive the sacrament in front of many friends and others who came to support me. Now I am able to join in this great gift.

Why am I Catholic? Catholicism is grounded in Scripture. During each mass, there are three readings: the first typically from the OT, the second from the Epistles, and the third from one of the four Gospels. Between the first and second readings, there is a psalm that is sung as well. It is amazing to hear the readings and the themes that run throughout them. It shows me that the Holy Sprit truly worked in the hearts and minds of not only the biblical authors, but also those who compiled both the OT and NT canons.

Why am I Catholic? Catholicism values those who have gone before us, i.e. the saints. Up until college, I had little clue who some of the great people in Christian history were, such as St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas. Catholicism calls us to imitate these men and women of faith who are like us in many ways. No matter your belief or faith, it’s hard to deny the working of Christ in their lives.
Asking for these men and women to pray for us is powerful as well. During the early years of the Church, believers would meet in the catacombs where their Christian brothers or sisters had been buried after they were martyred, believing their holiness still permeated the area. This is how the practice of praying to the saints and relics came about.

Why am I Catholic? Because I believe in the power of the sacraments. I have come to realize that Protestants also practice the same Catholic sacraments, though the means differ. Baptism and the Eucharist are the most similar, but the sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage are practiced by Protestants through ordination and marriage done by a pastor.
Reconciliation/Confession is something that has become encouraged in Protestant denominations through small groups and accountability partners. With this sacrament, I find it much more meaningful to physically hear the priest through the Spirit forgive the sins I confess. James himself wrote, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, so that you may be healed.” Knowing that I walk away with my sins forgiven is a wonderful feeling!
Anointing of the Sick is another sacrament practiced by Protestants. I know there have been many times when at the end of a service the pastor has asked for those who wished to be anointed and prayed for to come to the altar.
The Eucharist is especially powerful and meaningful to me. Each Mass, we as Catholics partake of Jesus' body and blood, our spiritual food! In this sense, we literally become temples of Christ and renew our covenant with him!

Why am I Catholic? It has a rich history. Catholicism has essentially been around since the 200s, at least in a form we recognize today, though it espouses that it’s the church since Christ ascended. Throughout that history, many heresies have been fought, councils have convened, and through all this our beliefs and traditions have been forged. The traditions Catholicism holds today have been handed down since the early Christians way before the 1500s and the Reformation. Luther himself believed what Catholicism believes and has believed; what he disagreed upon were not those beliefs, but instead certain practices that required reform, which the church did at the Council of Trent.


After being out of blogging for a while, I thought I'd start a new one up, though for entirely different reasons. The purpose of this blog is to answer questions that various people have asked of me about Catholicism. These questions have come up primarily because of my journey and recent conversion to the Church. It is my belief that many well-meaning Christians have a misconception of what the Church stands for and believes, and I seek to clear the cobwebs as it were.

My ultimate goal is to create a mutual respect between Catholics and Protestants. I am someone who grew up with these very same misconceptions and have hacked my way through that jungle to find the oasis inside. However, I fully admit that do not have all the answers; I am no scholarly theologian. However, there is a secondary goal to this. In seeking answers to the questions that have been posed and (hopefully) will be posed, I hope to gain an even greater appreciation for the Church and its founder, Jesus Christ.

What I do not explicitly seek with this is to convert people to Catholicism. Should my answers and my reflections drive people to pursue it themselves, then that's all the better. I am not here to force my beliefs on anyone, only explain them in the hopes we can respect each other or at the very least, agree to disagree.

Peace be with you all, and God bless.