Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Answers to recent questions

Here are some interesting questions and comments that bloggers have posted recently:

"One thing I have to say is I know the Catholic faith says that animals don't have souls. I really have a hard time believing that as I feel as animals are living creatures and they too should have souls." Actually, Catholic theologians have disagreed about whether animals have souls. One of the greatest theologians that the Church has ever seen, St. Thomas Aquinas, believed that animals have souls because animals have life. To him, soul meant "life". And, there are some theologians who believe that there are animals in Heaven. It's an interesting question...

"There are so many miracle occuring in Medjugorje, why doesn't the church recognize that place as it has with Fatima and Lourdes?" As far as I know, it has been under investigation by the Church for some time now. I can't exactly say why it hasn't been approved (as an Apparition) because I don't know what the investigation has produced. But, I can say this: the Church is so thorough and strict with Her investigations of apparitions that we can truly trust that She will reveal to us the truth about different sites.

"I just don't see Jesus doing that giving people to torturers unless some major sin has been commited. For little things I honestly believe He will excuse it." Yes, I am with you on that. But, please keep in mind that it's all about the Grace of Christ as far as being admitted to the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to be in a state of Grace in order to enter the Kingdom. Venial sin does not take us out of the state of Grace, but mortal sin does. If we die in a state of mortal sin, we have no Grace within us as we go before the Judgement Seat of God, and thus cannot enter the Kingdom.

"Protestants don't believe in Purgatory do they believe that unless you have saintly traits you automatically go to Hell?" Well, there are almost 30,000 different Protestant denominations, so there are almost 30,000 different theologies concerning your question. In general terms, Protestantism doesn't accept the Church's teachings on Purgatory, saints, or Hell. It proposes "salvation by faith alone", "salvation by Scripture alone", and "predestination" (God predestines some to Heaven and some to Hell). By and large, it rejects 'saintly traits' as a way for someone to be saved.

"I also heard that the water represents the humanity of Christ and the wine, the divinity of Christ. Is that true?" Yes, that is one understanding. The prayer that the priest says while pouring the wine and water into the chalice reflects that: "By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity".

15 Comments:

At 9:01 AM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

Fr. Greg,

I'd love to see you address the faith/works issue (for lack of a better word), as it pertains to salvation. That is, if you already haven't given it a full post (and if there is interest from others).

Isn't it true that the Catholic teaching is that faith is the one pathway to salvation, and that good works are a manifestation of that faith? To take an example--Wouldn't it be the case that Mother Teresa is it the Lord's side today because of her faith (devotion to the Eucharist, etc.)? Her good works were born of that faith, but are not why she has entered into eternal salvation.

I probably have this all knotted up! Disentangle it for me!

Peace,

Steve

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger Tenderfoot said...

I like that! I never thought of it that way.

 
At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always thought that animals have souls. I never heard someone say otherwise.

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Protestants seem to say the Christians are saved at a moment in time - like when they say a certain prayer proclaiming CHrist as their Lord and Savior. A lot of them think, once saved, always saved. My understanding is that Catholics believe we are only saved because of Christ's death on the Christ and that we are in a constant state of conversion if we are following the faith. So we are not "earning," it but we know that we can lose salvation by mortal sins(out of a state of grace). Is this right?

 
At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Nick said...

What I don't understand is that if the protestant credo of "once saved, always saved" is true, would that mean that after one is "saved" one could theoretically convert to Islam or Hinduism or something really radical like Catholicism and still be saved?

(OK, I really don't wonder about that, I am just being snide. I hope to use it one day though!)

 
At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many co workers, friends, and family believe that we are not "really," saved. My protestant friends have all said the sinners' prayer and believe that their salvation can never be lost. WOW! I don't mean to be sarcastic but that is pretty simplified and backwards. WHat happened to the scriptures 'we must live out our salvation and finish the race' or faith without works is dead. Also what about God's promise of judgement at the time of death? No wonder all those reformists bolted over hundreds of years ago. THey had to make up stuff, delete stuff and so forth because living out the Catholic Faith, well, that's just too daggone hard.

 
At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

I heard that in RCIA.

 
At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is birth control really a bad idea? Not everyone can afford raising a lot of kids.

 
At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Times have changed. If one stays chaste until marriage, then they are looked upon as an oddity.

 
At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FATHER GREG HAS A LOT TO SAY
BUT HE ALSO NEEDS HIS TIME TO PRAY
GOD'S GIVEN HIM GREAT AUTHORITY
AND MANY A PRIORITY
MAY WE SHOW HIM OUR LOVE
AND MAY JESUS LOVE HIM FROM ABOVE
THREE MEALS A DAY AND TIME TO REST
WILL KEEP HIM AT HIS BEST!
THE LABORERS ARE FEW
WE NEED MORE FROM THE PEW
PRAY FOR PRIESTS
WE NEED MORE TO SAY THE LEAST!
I AM NOT POET
AND IT KNOW IT
DON'T WORRY I HAVE A DAY JOB.
GOD BLESS FATHER GREG AND FATHER MIKE!

 
At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course animals have souls!

So do plants and brown algae. All living things have souls. The question is which souls are immortal.

Scripture and Tradition say that human souls are immortal, and leave the question of non-human souls as an exercise for the reader.

 
At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All living creatures have immortal souls.

 
At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last anon,

All living creatures have souls? Can you support that statement? Like do ants have souls? Never thought about it.

 
At 4:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My" belief is that the soul-all souls is immortal. There isn't an immortal and mortal soul.

 
At 7:59 PM, Anonymous pete said...

I find it hard to believe that there are non-immortal souls. But I also only see the necessity for souls in self-aware animals. If something is selfaware, like dolphins, or apes, its not really fair for it to cease to exist, when all humans, good or bad, live forever.

I guess to me it doesn't really matter whether or not an ant has a non-immortal soul, or whether it doesn't have a soul at all: it doesn't know it exists, so what's the difference. Nor should this make a difference in how we treat things- living things can be killed in eaten, as the apostles frequently ate fish.

 

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